Hola Malaga!

Why didn’t I discover you sooner, Malaga?

This is a ‘hit and run’ post folks! Let’s just say, not many words needed!  Enjoy…

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Playa de la Malagueta

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A typical ‘local’s’ breakfast, at Café Central

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Anywhere where they take their coffee this seriously, is so my kind of place!

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Love it!

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Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga.  The Picasso Foundation’s exhibition doors.

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Churros de Chocolate

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Ok, so this freaked me out a little.  Not a hint of clear plastic in sight! But I think I figured out how they did it.  Can you?

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A fish stall in the local food market

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A Sangria and Tinto de Limon toast to capture the moment!

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Lunch at the fish bar in the food market.  Fresh off the boat. Literally.

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This was very yummy!  I just followed the crowd to this bar!

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The architecture was something else!

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A tiny hint of heaven on earth!

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I wonder if you can ride this?

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My new favourite bag spotted in Old Town Marbella

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Puerto Banus

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The Donkey Taxis in Mijas, a beautiful little village near Malaga.  Can I just say that donkeys are the most undervalued animals! LOVE them!

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My kind of street art!

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What an entrance

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Beautiful lights at a shop in Malaga

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Museo Carmen Thyssen Malaga

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And this is how I felt after my stay in Malaga!

(Carmen en Malaga, by Mercedes Lasarte – 2011)

TE QUIERO MALAGA! Thank you for the ‘it’ memories!

All photographs via ME

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Three Six Five

NOTE: the reading of this entry will be much more appreciated by first listening to the beautiful Auld Lang Syne (which one day can should have its own post) via this memorable scene from Sex and the City.  Done?  OK, you may now read on.

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Reflecting on the year that has just been. The Queen’s annual Christmas Day speech, on the BBC (3pm local time). It’s not Christmas without it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR lovely readers!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday and are feeling rejuvenated for the year ahead. Alas, the blogging world did not end on 21/12/12 and our www-dot-com friendship continues (wink, wink). I am truly grateful for each and everyone of you and your loyalty.  I know that I have not been the most entry-producing of bloggers, but believe you me, I do want that to change for 2013, and it is one of my New Year’s Resolutions (NYR).

Although the ‘New Year’ is traditionally a time for resolutions,  I for one have normally not been a NYR type of a gal.  Mainly, because I have always associated ‘September’ as the beginning of the year.  However, I heard of possibly one of the best ideas for a resolution that has left me inspired ever since, and I wanted to share it with you.  It is definitely not your typical ‘eat less, exercise more’ kind of a NYR that usually fails by, say, week 2.  So here it goes.

A friend of a friend decided that for his NYR, he would try something ‘new’ every day for a year.  OK, re-read previous sentence.  Creative, no?  Well, some of the things included on his list were:

  • To read a newspaper he had never read before
  • To play his guitar by the river
  • To take a homeless person out for lunch
  • To do his weekly grocery shop in Harrods (just the once!)

These are just four out of the 365 ideas that he came up with and I can only imagine what else was on his list.  I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this idea when I first heard about it and it made me think about the importance of trying more new things in life;  even something as simple as taking a left turn, where I might normally take a right.  

So for thinking outside of the NYR box and coming up with 365 new ideas, this NYR will be my first ‘it’ for 2013. Here’s to a blessed year!

An Inspired Generation

If you know me, you know that Florence is the love of my life, but London is my LOVE (Confused? Don’t worry!). And now, I love London even more than ever before (if that was even possible!). The reason? The Olympics in London 2012.

The Olympic rings on Tower Bridge, a.k.a. ‘the gates to London’.

World Peace on Regent St. (front row): Bulgaria (Europe), Burkina Faso (Africa), Burundi (Africa), Cambodia (Asia), Cameroon (Africa) and Canada (North America)

SO, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, AND CHECK OUT THESE HIGHLIGHTS FROM LONDON 2012:

Inspire a Generation‘, the 100 day countdown, The Olympic Torch here, there and everywhere to sleeping safely at The Tower of London after its dramatic arrival, The Olympic rings on Tower Bridge, a quirky and fun opening ceremony a la Danny Boyle (Beijing 2008’s will always be in a league of its own), 007 and the Queen, the  very original steel and copper Thomas Heatherwick-designed cauldron lit by the ‘next generation’, the best logo…EVER!, the hippest font on fantastic pink signage, the cutest mascots (looove Wenlock and Mandeville!), the most historic and picturesque venues, Mo Farah’s double,  Usain Bolt’s double double, Jessica Ennis’ gold at the Heptathlon, Michael Phelps as the most decorated Olympian of all time, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius a.k.a. the fastest man with no legs running against Bolt, Tom Daley’s splash in the pool after his bronze win, the Italian swimmers lovebirds Filippo Magnini and Federica Pellegrini making out on the tube, Andy Murray‘s first championship win, Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France win to Olympic gold, Stephen Kiprotich’s marathon gold and Uganda’s first medal in 40 years, the first  ‘WOMEN’S’ Olympics (36% of medals won by Team GB were by women, Saudi Arabia’s first women delegation at the Olympics, women’s boxing debut as an Olympic event, etc.), the most user-friendly website (and that is coming from me!), empty seats and sellout crowds, free tickets to London schools, tickets ‘for all’ at £20.12…

OK, take another breath and stay with me!

Stella McCartney for Adidas‘ Team GB (individually fitted uniforms for ALL Team GB athletes, years in the making) to Giorgio Armani‘s Team Italia and Ralph Lauren‘s Team USA,  a great Athletes’ Village (the best one yet according to athletes), Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, The Orbit by Anish Kapoor, the Badminton scandal, 70,000 incredible volunteers a.k.a. ‘the face of the games’, a secure and safe games with gratitude to the army, crowds moving fluidly at every event, a very friendly and fun atmosphere (GB fans cheering on even for other countries), Boris Johnson’s contagious enthusiasm, no congestion on the tube and beyond, the most environmentally-friendly Olympics ever (stadium made of previously used materials, basketball court de-assembled to be re-used, possibly in Rio), The Spice Girls’ reunion at the closing ceremony, and on and on and on. .. ‘An Inspired Generation’ indeed. Mission accomplished 007. Overall, a very priceless ‘it’.

You rock London and you did it with style! And now, the best for last: Paralympics, you are next!

What were your memorable moments of London 2012? Let me know if I missed anything!

More Flags on Regent St.: Norway (Europe), Oman (Asia), Pakistan (Asia) and Palau (Australia / Oceania)

All Photographs via Me

Do Come In To Spend The Queen

First impressions count.  And British retail got it perfectly right when designing their shop displays in honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Not only was ‘window shopping’ made even more  fun and exciting, but it also made it more enticing to spend the pound sterling and purchase a piece of  ‘a moment in time’.  After all, a Diamond Jubilee tea towel from Cath Kidston comes around only once every 60 years!

So enjoy some of the great window displays, as seen on and around The King’s Road and Sloane Square, for what was a very ‘it’ shopping experience.

 The fabulous L.K. Bennett, who started out with her first shoe shop in Wimbledon Village.  Kate Middleton made this shoe of Bennett’s very popular when she wore it with several outfits during the week of her wedding.

The Best of British at Space NK. I can spend hours here just browsing!

Jack Wills.  The British answer to Abercrombie & Fitch.

Probably the nicest JIGSAW location in London, at The Duke of York Square.  As we happen to be talking ‘Kate’, this was the company she worked for prior to becoming The Duchess of Cambridge. Love the clothes at Jigsaw.

With her first shop in London’s Notting Hill in 1993, Cath Kidston MBE, has made her signature  nostalgic floral patterns as iconic as the Burberry plaid.  I happen to LOVE her toiletry bags and take mine everywhere with me!

Famous for her candles, fragrances and more, the Jo Malone scent is uforgettable. Loving the hot pink  Union Jack bunting at this Sloane Street location.

The White Company, for all things ‘white’ in luxurious bathroom and bedroom linens. Would not expect anything less than a white display!

Even the Union Jack gets Orla Kiely‘s signature stem design!  Love this Irish, London-based designer.

All Photographs via Me

A Royal Affair

Boy meets girl.  Boy likes girl.  Boy marries girl.  Girl becomes ‘it’.

The morning after the night before

One year ago today,  everyone wanted to be a guest at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  I was lucky enough to have front row seats, as a guest of the BBC that is!

Bunting for the special occasion

Setting the London 'scene'

Everything about it was magical.  From the extra Bank Holiday Friday that we were all given off, to the revival in British pride that saw neighbourhoods hosting street parties, you could literally smell English roses everywhere you went!

Outside a pub in Hampstead

And then, the dress. That dress. No matter which angle it was photographed from, it was the perfect dress for the perfect wedding.  Sarah Burton did the late Alexander McQueen proud.  And Kate did her future history proud.  Those photos will live on forever, and with a dress like that, let forever reign!  Happy one year anniversary W & C!

The 'it' couple

Will they? Won't they?

Heston Blumenthal's 'Royal Trifle' for Waitrose - in honour of the special occasion

Quite a 'rich' trifle, rose petals and all!

The morning papers and an amaaazing cup of cappuccino!

Breakfast with the newlyweds

 All Photographs via Me

Cappuccino Alla Cavalli

This entry is courtesy of my dear friend T.S. who has allowed me to re-blog this italian masterpiece.

Via Tornabuoni

In Italy it’s fairly hard to go wrong when you order a cup of cappuccino.

But I can say without hesitation there is one café in Florence, which surpasses all others when it comes to brewing a frothy and creamy cup of perfection.

Owned by famed designer Roberto Cavalli, the Caffè Giacosa is nestled in a cozy side street – 10R Villa Della Spada – just off of the city’s designer shopping strip, via Tornabuoni. Situated right next to the Cavalli store, the café seems quaint from the outside yet impossibly chic and decadent upon entering thanks to the trademark Cavalli leopard and zebra print décor captured in the plush seating as well as the tapestries and picture frames adorning the wall.

Many of the locals sing the praises of the cafés warm beverages as well as their pastries and lunch specials which is a sure sign that tourists are going to be impressed. Should you choose to sit, there is a lovely albeit small patio outside where you can enjoy the fresh air and the passersby. Of course, as with most bars and cafés in Italy, there is an added charge for seating which is why most patrons (particularly the locals) prefer to head indoors and stand at the bar. Upon entering there is a cashier seated near the door, be sure to pay here first and then present your receipt at the bar.

The barista will expertly whip up your cappuccino into a dainty white porcelain cup and right away you’ll notice how delightfully thick and frothy it is on top. But it doesn’t stop there. The finishing touch is to adorn the froth with a swirl of rich dark chocolate syrup in the shape of a “C” (for Cavailli of course). As if being in Italy isn’t already enough, the first taste will feel like a sip of heaven. A touch more creamy than the typical Italian cappuccino, this smooth and milky creation is always served at just the right temperature to please the palate. It’s the perfect perk before a long day of sightseeing or shopping in the city.

Tip: Italians only drink cappuccinos first thing in the morning, but if you wanted to enjoy a cup at the end of the day, no one would blame you!

When it comes to Cappuccino, the Cavalli way seems to be the ‘it’ way.