Barcelona.

So, I went to Barcelona for a two and a half day stay last week. I went to just get away from the cold weather in Switzerland and to take advantage of my 3 days off work.

As Christmas and New Years is approaching, work is getting busier and busier. Which gave me all the more reason to get away, relax and meditate before the storm. I have a feeling that time will go quickly this month (December) and if I blink I might miss it!

I can’t guarantee that this blog will be very infomative about Barcelona tourist attractions but it’s more of a chill-traveler’s guide to the city.

I’ve mentioned this before in another blog of mine, that I find shopping relaxing and calming. Hence the name Retail Therapy. That’s what I did for a lot of the time between getting a hair cut, eating at a cute cafe everyone is on a waiting list to get into.

Day 1: I got up in the morning around 8am and started to pack. Yes, I always pack last minute! I planned for 3 outfits and took 1 extra pair of shoes for just incase. I only took carry-on luggage, so only the nessesary toiletries were packed. As I was already wearing so many layers to the airport to leave Switzerland, (becasue it was around 5 degrees celcius!), I was wearing already half of the things I was taking.

-Flew with Swiss to BCN from ZRH over the midday-

I landed in Barcelona and had a hard time trying to actually find the bus shuttle that would take me to the city center.  You would think I did enough research into this but I actually hadn’t seen or heard about AeroBus until I was standing infront of it. It’s cheap, clean, direct and has no-fuss wifi! The buses are also made for people with suitcases and has USB charging stations near the seats. This was definetly worth the €5,90 fo sho.

I got to my hotel and left my tiny bit of luggage at the lobby because I knew that if I went to my room, I would have found a good reason to take a nap. I also was excited to explore the city but also a little overwhelmed on what to see first. I walked, ate snack sized portions of food and drink the whole day. I found a place to get my facial done on the last day of my trip, then pondered my way back to the hotel by the time it was getting dark. I decided to have a chill night in which was nice after being on-the-go since 8am.

Day 2: Slept in. Got breakfast at a little place called Brunch & Cake. This place has a waiting list. I was told I had to wait 20 minutes but I was seated within 5 minutes, which was a pleasant surprise. I ordered an iced matcha and some sort of refreshing juice with mint, (I was thirsty!), then I orded the “Eggs” (scrambled eggs) which came in a bagel with hummus, avocado and salmon – I ordered without salmon. I really liked this place! Just keep in mind everone was taking photos of their plates before eating, including myself. I ate brunch but sadly never got round to trying the cake. Tip: the chocolate pancakes are really just two chocolate cake layers with a ganache filling. Literally, a cake on a plate. Another guest beside me orded it and said it tasted delicious but he was expecting normal pancakes. Just a heads up!

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The good thing in Barcelona is that a haircut is about half the price there than in Switzerland. I walked in to a hairdresser and luckily got seated straight away. There’s something special about getting a haircut that gives a boost of confidence! Wash, cut and blowdry was only €35. I highly reccomend you go to Louis Philippe if you want a modern style for a reasonable price. I know I will be going back.

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I went back to the hotel, inspected the rooftop pool and found that even though it had been sunny, the water was cold. The sun was setting as I made a mental note to go back onto the roof again in the morning when the sun is really shining down, before I go back to Switzerland.

It was then time for dinner. I went to a nice place called Firebug, which was on the same block as the hotel. This place is warm, friendly and has really good food. I’m not a huge fan of tapas for dinner, so I ordered some nachos and some amazing chicken wings. With one Sangria and I was ready to sing karaoke or dance on the bar (maybe because I’m a lightweight, or it was really strong?) I guess you’ll have to find out for yourself. The chicken was amazing (it’s called sticky fingers on their menu) and the nachos were the best I’ve had in a long time.

Day 3: It was a good thing I went to check out the rooftop the day before because I spent a good 2 hours laying out on a pool chair, reading “Start with Why” (which is a really good book, btw), listening to music and soaking up as much sunshine as possible. I had my shoes off, t-shirt and jeans on and I wasn’t sweating yet I was warm enough. The morning couldn’t have been better. There was one other person there also, but they had seated themselves far away. It was so peaceful and quiet. It felt really good to just “be”.

My facial was for at 15:00 and by the time it was midday, I was hungry. So I left my luggage in the lobby of the hotel again and set off in search of lunch. I stumbled across a super cute bubble tea place called AM8. For some bubble tea, cake and stable wifi (which is not so common in Barcelona) this place is good. It’s not the most modern place, but the rose milk bubble tea was really good!

Ceiling in AM8 cafe - very cute!

The second best part of the day (first place would be the sun bathing on the roof in the morning) was getting a facial and deep clean at Dr Beatriz Beltran’s clinic. I got a microdermabrasion session, followed by a thick, cooling peel off mask. I fell asleep just a little, and left the place feeling so refeshed and relaxed. The women there are really warm and helpful with all questions I asked. They don’t speak perfect english but it was enough for me to understand. I had gotten microdermabrasion done before a few times and had forgotten how refreshing it is for the skin.

Afterwards was basically just enough time for me to wander back to the hotel to get my little bit of luggage, get the shuttle bus again back to the airport and check in for my flight back home.

That basically sums up my short, relaxed trip to Barcelona. I didn’t intend to blog this trip because I wasn’t sure it would be enough information but a good friend told me I should anyway… I’m glad he inspired me!

So in short – Highlights:

  • Having alot of “me” time.
  • The weather
  • The FOOD!

Lowlights:

  • I couldn’t shop as much as I wanted to because I had little space/weight to take it back with me (in hind-sight this was a good thing!)
  • I didn’t play “tourist” as much as I could have.

Have you been to Barcelona and would add more to this chill-travel guide? Let me know below.

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How to make a berry nice tart

See what I did there? Terrible pun, I know, but I’m sorry, not sorry! I made this the other day, tried, tasted and loved it! It’s sweet but not too sweet. Try it for yourself and see if you like it. I used half of a recipe for a tart form with a 22cm diameter. I have a tiny tart form which is about 14cm in diameter. This recipe was near perfect – I just had a little too much dough. Good thing, this dough can also be used to make cookies if you add some chocolate drops! The recipe I used is below.

For the dough:

90g Softened Butter

15g Milk

1/2 Egg yolk (for this I broke the yolk and spooned out how much I needed. You can also  just add a whole yolk. Hopefully you have a larger tart form than me and you use the whole thing!)

1 Pinch of Salt

15g Sugar

125g Plain Flour

Mix the butter until soft (be careful to not make the butter too fluffy, it’s not buttercream!), add the salt and sugar. Slowly add the milk and egg yolk. Mix until it is all combined. Start adding the flour, only folding it in. Towards the end you can use your hands and slightly kneed the flour in. Cover the dough in plastic wrap, leave to settle in the fridge for 2-12 hours.

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For the filling:

15-20g ground Almonds (this is to spread on the base of the tart before you put the fruit in. You could also use Hazelnut)

1 Whole Egg

50g Sugar

75g Cream

1 tsp Flour/Maizena/Custard Powder (your choice, all of them will work)

approx. 100g  Berries (fresh or frozen)

Melted Butter (for greasing the form)

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celcius. Grease your tart form with melted butter. Roll out the dough no more than 3mm (any thicker and the tart wont bake properly). Lay it inside the form up to the edges while being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim any overhang. With a fork, poke some holes all over the base. This helps reduce any air pockets later. Spread the ground almond over the base and put the berries on top.

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Whip the cream, sugar, egg and thickener of your choice until combined and pour over the berries. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling has thickened. Either serve while it’s hot or enjoy it cold.

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Try this recipe for yourself – hopefully with a bigger form than mine! Let me know how it turned out below.

Autumn. Fall. Herbst. 2017.

It’s getting cold here in Switzerland. The sky may be blue but it can get as chilly as f**k! I’m sort of stuck between wearing a trench coat with a few layers underneath and wearing a full on winter coat. I wish the weather would stay between 14 and 18 degrees because I’m not ready to hang up my trench coat just yet…

Between the two seasons of Autumn and Winter, all outfits are usually paired with the same accessories: Scarf, Hat/Beanie, Boots! As we already know the next big trend before the end of the year is a puffy jacket, I actually have a few more predictions of what we are going to be seeing a lot more of soon…

  1. Studded boots/ jackets/ hats… studded anything really! Bonus points for anything studded, pearled and encrusted with diamonds all at the same time. I love the pearled sweaters and t-shirts. It makes every day clothes a little more special to wear.

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I can’t seem to find this for sale, but it’s Gucci.

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Pearl Studded Jeans  – Image found on Pinterest

 

 

2. Less fur. Gucci has declared that they won’t be using fur anymore. It’s definitely will inspire many other artists and fashionistas around the globe to think more consciously before purchasing fur. Read more here.

3. Corduroy aka, Cords. Remember when we all thought velvet was gone forever and then they made a come back? Well, same thing with cords. They were a thing of the 70’s and 90’s fashion, it was only a matter of time before they come back into our wardrobes again. I love the shades of pink! A lot is being sold through Urban Outfitters and ASOS.

 

 

4. Last but not least, brighter/ bolder colours! From Emerald Green to Pumpkin Orange… Maybe my predictions about yellow will also come true?

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Picture from here. Jacket from ASOS.

There are probably more but these are the ones I’m most excited about. Let me know what your favourites are below!

Retail Therapy

It’s Monday again and I have the day off. I never really have too much planned when I’m not working because I like to be spontaneous! I like that the opportunity is there and it’s up to me to use it.

There was one thing that I had planned and that was to get my lashes done and have lunch with family in Luzern. Apart from that… no obligations! Love it!

Where I’m going with this long introduction is basically to find out if there are others like me who find shopping calming? Now I know why it’s called Retail Therapy. It’s odd but I find it really relaxing but also exciting! I love picturing outfits on in my head and how I would wear “crazy” pants or shirts in day-to-day life.

“Choose a job you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life”

I guess I should be asking also for advice how to get into the business of styling and personal shopping. I’d love to see if I have what it takes! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job now also – but you never know ‘til you have a go. Fashion is something ever growing, ever evolving and maybe there’s a niche out there for me.

Tips? Tell me below! Or contact me on one of my social media pages.

xx Gill Tonic

Can I just say…

To the writers of Grey’s Anatomy,

Thank you!

Thank you for the scenes of when Meredith Grey dances her anxiety, fears and sadness away to one her favourite songs. For everyone like myself, who might happen to be in a bad mood from time to time, (okay, maybe even a whole week) can appreciate the way Grey manages to just let it go.

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It’s genius really. So simple yet effective. Trust me, I’ve tried it!

Sometimes when I’m feeling like shit, it’s hard to remember about the better days. It can feel like everything is harder to be happy and grateful for. It spirals out of control and I even feel like simple tasks at work are a test to see how I perform. I then worry that I’m a part of a joke I don’t know about. I worry that my relationship has meant nothing, or worse, it had all been a game.

But then… I start putting myself in the shoes of famous people celebrities and characters. Weird, but it works. I think about “what would Ashley Graham/ Beyoncé/ Meredith Grey do?” I think of my problem or worry and picture in my mind how they would react and resolve the issue I’m stressing about. Out of the many situations I can think up, I tend to land on Meredith Grey quite often. I remember how that even after so much tragedy, drama and loosing her husband, she still manages to have her life in order. Yes, I know she’s just a TV show character… I think of how she just dances away her pain and moves on with her life simply by dancing. I love it.

She literally just puts one of her favourite songs on and starts to move. She jumps around mostly. But it’s to the beat. And she drops her bad mood right then and there. She leaves her problems on the floor of where ever it is she decides to dance. It’s genius and pure magic. If it works for Meredith Grey and it works for me, I wonder if it works for everybody? I wonder how different everyone’s lives would be if it was mandatory to dance it out every night before bed and then then dance it out again in the morning just to make sure you leave your house in a good mood. Hmm, well that’s some food for thought!

Well, that’s one of my secret (now, not so secret) ways of dealing with life problems or just a small moment of anxious-ness. Comment below if you’ve tried this and love to dance it out too! I’m curious to find out…

 

 

5 of my favourite songs right now

These songs were all heavily influenced by how much Australian radio stations played them and how every time I heard them, they made me want to dance! That’s basically how most songs get to be a favourite of mine (if they are cool and dance-able).

  1. Dua Lipa – New Rules. Firstly, I’ve always loved her voice (Last Dance is my all time favourite) and the film clip is cool and quirky. The chorus is quick and although hard to understand its fun to try to sing a long to/ guess what she’s saying. Btw, she sings: “I got new rules, I count ’em. I got to tell them to myself”
  2. Katy Perry – Bon Appétit ft. Migos. Sexy and catchy. It’s the kind of song to dance around a kitchen in an oversized shirt to while making dinner. Yes? Qui!
  3. Sam Hunt – Body Like A Back Road. This is 2017’s country hit song. Now, I’m not usually one to love a country song but this is cute and cheesy. Which is a combination. Like a cheese toastie. It reminds me of when Kid Rock sang All Summer Long and it became a hit and everyone loved it!
  4. Lauv – I Like Me Better. It’s a cute love song and fun to sing along to at the top of your lungs while driving down the Bruce Highway.. It also is relatable to anyone else who has had/ is in a loving, supportive relationship. Oh, the feels!
  5. DJ Snake – A Different Way ft. Lauv. Again another love song with Lauv. Coincidence I’m not sure, because for most of the times I heard this I was convinced it was Adam Levine! This song is definitely dance-able and catchy, I especially love the Reggaeton vibes which sound also a little like Major Lazer.

13 songs guaranteed to make you feel good

There’s this thing that music can do to you, and what love the most is that it can change your mood. It makes you feel things you maybe never thought you felt before, it can also take you to a deep fantasy or just have a tune that gets stuck in your head on loop!

Of course I could make a list of over 100, I’ve looked through my latest playlist to try and narrow it down to the few songs that really make me happy. I loose focus of anything else going on around me and just enjoy the sound and lyric. If one of these songs were to be played in a bar or club – they are the reason I would then buy another round and hit the dance floor…

This list is of  my personal favourite songs that make me feel happy or ready to party (even if that party is just for me at home while cleaning the apartment in my underwear…) in no particular order:

  1. My Love ft. Jess Glynne – Route 94. This song is a bit slow but gently gets me in the mood to move around. House and great vocals. What more could you want?!
  2. Hotline Bling – Drake. It probably get’s on your nerves if you’re a person who listens to radio day in and out, but for me, it’s fun, chill and you can always break out your worst dance moves in clubs and people think you’re trying to imitate Drake. To this song, anything goes.
  3. Latch ft. Sam Smith – Disclosure. It’s sexy just because of Sam Smith alone, but I like the music also. Beware, the chorus is catchy…
  4. Or Nah ft. The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa & DJ Mustard – Ty Dolla $ign. This song is definately one to get your hips moving to… again sexy and slow but also a bonus for having such dirty lyrics.
  5. Tried to – TAPES. “I’ll take care of you…” Actually a Drake song but remixed in a way you wouldn’t think it’s Drake. I love it!
  6. Move Your Feet – Junior Senior. For millennials, this may be considered “old school”… It sounds like Beastie Boys but somewhat more suitable for children.
  7. Night Riders ft. Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & Mad Cobra – Major Lazer. Amazing beats. I love imagining some sort of twerk choreography to this. Dancing to this makes me feel bad ass!
  8. Say It ft. Tove Lo – Flume. I love the vocals. Slow build but again, feels ok to dance to this anyway you want. Which is good for anyone who can’t really dance…like me!
  9. Be Right There – Diplo & Sleepy Tom. Diplo is one of my all time favourite DJs. So of course at least one of his songs must be on this list!
  10. Fade – Kanye West. For anyone who hasn’t seen the video for this; you need to! The video catches your eye but the music keeps you coming back for more.
  11. 7/11 – Beyonce. Again an amazing video! Apparently she filmed it while on holiday with a very basic camera. Dance like Beyonce does in her bed and bathroom. Who hasn’t pretended to Queen B at least once in their lives already…
  12. Do Your Thing – Basement Jaxx. Classic and catchy. Basement Jaxx also makes many other great songs. I just felt like it’s the one everyone knows and loves.
  13. No More – Shlohmo & Jeremih. I have start off with how much I love Shlohmo. He is amazing! Jeremih and Shlohmo have done a handful of songs together and I also love all of those songs too! So for me, personally, if I hear some song I know and love (even if it’s not as upbeat) it makes me happy! That’s why this song is on the list!

That’s it for now. Maybe I should get working on that 100 song list for another time..

If you also love these songs, or have a few more you would add, let me know below!