Paris

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These are pretty standard Paris photos.  The standard tourist shots.  But to me, they’re beautiful moments of a whirlwind week-before booked long weekend in the City of Love with the boyfriend.  And we certainly had a beautiful time.

We roamed the streets breaking in my new Vans, stopping for cheese and macaroons, paying 10 euros for a pint (sinful), climbing spiral staircases galore (don’t), got angry at Ipad tourists, drank cheap wine by the litre, read books by the river and even got a little sunburnt.  It was a beautiful weekend, it really was.  I’m thinking of doing a couple of niche posts about a market we visited and an incredible restaurant experience we had – interested?

Fall in love with life.

 

 

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Barcelona

I went to Barcelona last weekend.  Casual.  Just jetted off for a couple of days.

We booked a very last minute trip to celebrate boyfriend and I’s 3 years (nawww) with two nights in Barcelona.  We didn’t have that much time, so I thought Barcelona would be a great place to head as it’s quite a small city and we’d be able to do everything we needed in three days.

Arriving on the Saturday morning we checked into our hotel then trotted swiftly off to Nou Camp (the Barcelona FC football stadium).  It’s the biggest stadium in Europe and has one of the biggest capacities in the world.  Expecting this just to be a boy thing, I really enjoyed it!  It was amazing seeing the real life press rooms, the changing rooms, not to mention the pitch and the trophy room.

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Nou Camp – Barcelona

After a rest up at the hotel and a bath (cor, I do love a good hotel bath) we rambled down La Rambla (see what I did there?!).  It was so beautiful with all the Christmas lights, and a perfect temperature of about 12 degrees C.  Not so cold you had to lug a duffle around!  We checked out a market then had a wonderful meal at a traditional Catalan restaurant before heading home, drinking wine and playing cards.

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The traditional Catalan restaurant we ate in

On the Sunday we were up bright and early to visit Parc Guell, the park the architect Gaudi designed which was just absolutely incredible.  I’ve found my new kitchen tiles there!  The weather was beautiful (I even got a little bit red on my nose!) and the views stretching across Barcelona to the sea were gorgeous.

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View from Parc Guell

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My new kitchen tiles – please Mr Gaudi?!

We next headed to the Sangrada Familia, another Gaudi work of art towering over the city.  Managing to escape the crowds, we found a lovely local park where we just sat and marveled at it without the hubbub of ipads and audio guides.

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The Sangrada Familia

After a winding walk through the old town, we had a spot of lunch then a rest, before heading out on the town.  We ate at a lovely back street local tapas bar (also go on the back streets for cheaper food!) then bar hopped our way back to the hotel sampling lots of traditional Catalan delicacies …!

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Definitely considered a delicacy.

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This too.

On our last morning, we stumbled across a very new and modern flea market, that we gathered had been built due to the tradespeople’s old site being demolished.  It felt rather an odd juxtaposition, the old style flea market and the postmodern architecture.  Nevertheless, we had a great saunter round and I picked up some very cheap vintage jewellery.

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Barcelona Flea Market

I had a wonderful weekend and Barcelona is a city that I would most definitely recommend.  We did the whole thing very last minute, and very cheaply so it just goes to show you can jet off for the weekend with just a couple of hours planning – a great trip!

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La Rambla, Barcelona

Social Media Madness

I love social media, I absolutely love it.  I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.

In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go.  I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out.  That’s fine, I do it too.  I encourage it, I embrace it.  What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others.  Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting.  I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.

It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table.  It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification.  What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping?  Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie?  They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.

It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone.  Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish.  Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world?  No.  Not on.

I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend.  I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is.  Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!).  He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about.  This saddened me.  I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it.  But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.

Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family.  If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave.  I believe this is how it should be.  It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?

I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox.  I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me.  I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others.  What do you think?  I’d be really interested to hear another take on this.  Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of.  All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.

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Woops