Madrid the food and the City and the drinking girlsu

food, Travel

So day 1 was awesome. Day two I woke up fine, dreaming of a breakfast of dreams. So I hopped in the shower and got ready.

We hopped in a cab and headed to our breakfast place which was truely amazing. Only it was there that the hang over hit me. I was doing well until this point. I ordered my coffee and a fresh juice and then my food arrived.

Federal Cafe

Hangover

Whenever I am hungover I feel like avocados and smoked salmon are my best friends. I normally ask for the hollandaise on the side but I didn’t.

I wish I did.

They had added garlic in it which didn’t settle well with me. I wasnt sick but I felt horrible and just needed to be quiet. But my friends were worried so they asked a lot of questions and I withdrew into my hangover dreaming of my bed!

I just wanted to be alone.

Segways

This is were Becky informed me we were on Segways for the next section of the day! I couldn’t think of anything worse. Little did I know this would clear my hangover right up!

So we walked over to the Segway area the temperature had cooled to a 30 degree heat so although it was super hot still it had nothing on yesterday.

We all got water and hydrated but I wasn’t thirsty I was just tired. I sat in a slightly shady street with my wedding attire on and slowly died by the side.

Our instructor was brilliant he was super funny and patient. He had to be, we were awful! Becky went first and was so scared she screamed the street down and I could stop laughing. We all laughed at Becky as she awkwardly used the Segway. Tears streamed down my face of pure joy and I forgot my hangover and cane alive again!

It turned out none of us were much good. Two were okay and the rest of us hated it and swore we would never get on one again. He gave us ten minutes to feel it out for ourselves and one by one we dutifully got back on.

City tour

Whizzing around Madrid on the Segways were amazing. It was a great way to see the city and it was so safe. Madrid laws state that cars must wait for the Segways so we were allowed in the road not on the pavements.

It was so much fun, the driving helped cleared all our

Then we went do the market place! Yes it’s touristy but the bustle of all the food stalls and all the choice wow I loved it!

I bought an octopus skewer which was so tasty and massive!

Then we went to the main square for beer and ice cream. The bar where really sweet although they didn’t know what a shandy was but they looked after us.

Nap time

I was still exhausted. A few of the group had already left and now it was my time to put my head down and catch up on sleep.

So I went back to the hotel and caught up on some sleep. When I woke up we headed back upstairs to the roof top bar!

I needed the pool! Everyone ended up coming up for a glass of cold wine, gin and a dip in the plunge poool again.

Today was 34 degrees so it was still super hot! Then we all headed downstairs to get ready again. Becky had planned everything so well. Even down time was accounted for! We had a great day and it was about to be followed by an amazing meal!

Barata

jiminy cricket batman that starter was heaven on a plate. The mozzarella was soft and creamy the pesto was injected by me served with bread oh my word. I would actually fly back to Madrid for this meal right now.

The fish and pudding were also great but starter was out of this world.

The sangria was flowing the laughter was constant and the games were fun.

It was such a great night but we had an early flight and we were all aware of it! So we finished the hen how we started!

On the rooftop drinking gin!

Oh Madrid, flamenco and the Danettes: Day 1

Travel, Wedding

So last weekend I was in the most incredible people with the best bunch of girls any one could ask for. A few of my friends couldn’t make it but honestly the girls were amazing especially my best friend Becky.

Hen do do do da do

We arrived about 11.00am Spanish time went straight to our gorgeous hotel and hit the roof top bar.

Madrid is full of amazing bars and restaurants and our hotel was awesome it also had a tiny pool that we took advantage of after a short but alcohol fuelled flight!

We drank a really nice white wine which was ice cold and perfect. Did I tell you it was 38 degrees and super super hot.

Hence our mini dip in the pool. We had to wait for a lot of posers to take their photos before we could go in ourselves!

We all gave ourselves time to get ready. This was my hen do, and I wanted to look really nice. The girls had a flamenco lesson organised for me so I offered them dress options and they chose my black swishy dress.

Apparently non of them thought it was black because it had a tropical print on it!

they should really know that I don’t really do black clothes as I find it drains me! And

Dyspraxia and dancing

I love to dance, you put a song I love on and I rarely leave the dance floor. At Weddings I am the guest who will dance with your grandma or distant cousins if I love the beat.

But I can’t sequence. Learning dance routine I find so difficult. Remembering how things go is so tricky I stay away from a lot of routine aerobics. This is a part of dyspraxia I have had to deal with my whole life. So I was freaking out when I was told it would be flamenco dancing.

Flamenco is about your whole body especially your hands and feet. We didn’t do to bandly if I do say so my self. I really really loved it and so did the girls. Our tutor was exceptional and really chilled. I red

Reading about Madrid

I read Victoria Hislops The Return which is about Spain and the Ramirez family who are caught up in Francos civil war. The youngest is a flamenco dancer who dances so much her shoes are transparent. Franco banned dancing and Flamenco. I had this vivid image in my head of flamenco dancing and it totally lived up to it.

So flamenco dancing left me feeling an even deeper connection with Spain then I had before. I really do love Madrid and I have been to a lot of places but this city is spectacular.

Dinner and drinks

After Flamenco we went upstairs to watch a flamenco show as well as eat really good food.

We were starving and had just exercised and it was still 35 degrees at this point. The Sangria was flowing and the food kept coming and I was getting really drunk so I had to slow down.

We decided to head back to the bar in the gardens which was near my hotel. As I was a bit tidly me and half the group decided to walk.

Half an hour into the walk I had sobered up a bit and was now tired. It was a long walk in the heat. So we popped in a cab and headed to another roof top bar this time in the middle of the gardens.

It was so beautiful up there!

On the way out we discovered there was a club underneath so the dancing commenced.

Unfortunately I may have drunk too much!

Far too much but I had the best day ever with a great bunch of friends!

Hen do packing, what to take on a mini break

Planning, Travel, Uncategorised, wardrobe

Can you believe it. We are finally going to Madrid for my Hen do. I can wait. Madrid is one of those magical places that feels big and small at the same time.

Full of history, bars and restaurants I can’t think of any where I would rather go. I know the girls are going to love it but we are all praying that its not too hot. Any temperature above 24 degrees and there is going to be issues. At the moment it is 35 degrees.

So packing is going to be tricky!

Packing for all possibilities

Pretty sure that Becky has a few outfits for me so not sure what I need to pack. Thank fully she is letting me not Gavin pack.

I am a packing addict. It makes me happy. So the idea of Gavin packing my clothes filled me with dread. No offence to him.

I didn’t need any new items for this trip however I managed to pick up a few tee shirts from MnS in their contentious cotton range that sung to me.

Things to bear in mind. It is going to be hot and although I will wear factor 30 I still may get burnt. This isn’t good but a coverup is always useful. I will definitely want to change in the evening.

Travel outfit

Cotton trousers to travel in (Emma hill I listened)

  • Pink cotton Vacation tee shirt
  • Sports bra crop top think from Primark ( I love these)
  • Thin Jumper ( I get cold on planes)
  • Summer Jacket

The rest

My hand luggage is going to be minimal this time.

Outfits, the funny thing was when I was laying out my clothes I put far too much out! So photographing and planning this out has helped me slim down my choices.

  • Tropical black dress (for evenings or day)? Still deciding about this.
  • Pink cropped Jeans
  • Navy Shorts
  • White Tshirt that says the world is your lobster
  • Navy and white vest
  • Gold sequin Zara vest For going out out can team up with pink jeans or navy shorts for a cute look
  • Tropical jigsaw soft Hawaiian dress
  • Black tropical dress for days or nights

Accessories

Tan bag it goes with everything

Flat Espadrilles we will be walking

Tan tom toms sandals I can walk in them and they are slip on

Silver/ gold sandals for out out occasion

Pink block heals that are also cute but I haven’t worn them yet so still deciding

A cute little rope belt

My prescription sunglasses which are a must for being able to see, write draw ( don’t think I will have time) and protect my eyes.

A loose white linen shirt. If I get burnt I can drape it on my shoulders without sweating to death.

That is pretty much it.

I don’t need to take a lot and I don’t really like to take too much, plus I would like to pick a bottle of gin for the collection.

I use packing cubes to put everything in. I have even put my makeup and beauty bag in a packing cube so I can scoop it out when we arrive.

Thursday the hen do begins and I can’t wait.

Beauty products for a weekend in the sun

Beauty, Planning, self care, skincare

Madrid in the sun is glorious but I need to be careFul about what I pack in my beauty products. I need to be a bit more minalist when it comes to packing. It is only a few nights so I don’t need much and In the Frow sorted me out with a cute travel bag full of products.

what I need to pack for

  • Protection
  • Skin
  • Hair

Sunscreen & essentials

A bit over the top but I will be taking my body spray factor 30, my little diddy handy sized Lacura one which I love because it fits in my hand bag. My latest edition my Drunk Elephant SPF for my face. I will also be taking a mini can of mosquito spray just in case. I don’t like to travel any wear hot without my bug spray. Mosquitos eat me alive.

Prescription sunglasses. I bought these a few years ago and haven’t looked back.

Also have

  • Toothbrush
  • Sensodyne toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Venus mini razor in case
  • Ear buds for sleeping
  • Hair-grips
  • Mini Mitchum dioderant

First aid

I have my own first aid kit that I have made. It just contains pills, plasters, face shield and all sorts of things I may need.

Tech

I am just taking my iPhone and iwatch so I just need the chargers for those. I bought a Amazon multi usb plug and I love it. It means you can charge 3 usb items at once and I only need two! Also taking my European plug so I can use my charger.

Night skincare

So I am taking my Omorovitzca cleanser because I love it so much, my elemis night cream with is really indulgent but if I have any red bits of skin them this will sooth it. My matryxal from the I can be without it My azelaic acid which I use in the morning as well. I will take some of myDrunk elephant minis because I still have my Marula oil but I wont take any retinal because there will be a lot of sun there.

Day routine

Cleanser is the same

Then I will take my Mini lavender toner from elemis because its cute and gentile. I will apply my drunk elephant duo of B-hyra and CFirma. Add my Drunk elephant Spf and that should be me set for the day when it comes to skin care.

From the In The Frow Travel bag I will keep the Guerlain night mask in case I need it, the hand cream and face mister.I never really got face misters till I used this. I know that when I run out it will be replacing a long with the cleanser from Omorovizca . I will also be taking the Sleep mask and hair bobbles. I really do love this set.

Body

I have a shower gel mini from the body shop which is heaven and for my hair I will be taking my new Philip Kingsly trio, my boots cream or Sainsburies hair gel ( can’t believe it’s 50p) decanted and a body lotion for hydration.

I won’t have time for anything fancy so I will try and keep my beauty routines nice and quick.

A packing list helps

I am trying to keep it simple but I have a lot of space in my suitcase so I may through a few things in at the last minute which I hate doing!

I live by my packing lists. Planning this all out is my favourite bit and it helps me not to over pack! Although I probably still have a few too many items.

I will do a mini blog on what I did and didn’t use when I get back and see how it goes.

It will be a good lesson.

What are your essential packing bits?

What’s in my make up bag for my hen do!!

Beauty, Make Up

This is a slight joke as I don’t have that much makeup but I have decided to show you my new purchases and what I am taking on my hen do.

My hen do is so close I can almost taste the Rioja! It’s going to be hot which normally means a bare face for me however this is a special trip and I want to look nice so my skincare is already packed.

This is about my face!

Let’s start with my base layer. I bought a cheap primer from and am trying that at the moment but from what I am learning about skincare a good moisturiser is all you need so I may leave that and just use my moisturiser.

Foundation I have the Tarte Amazonian clay base. Plus a little concealer but I am not sure if I will take that yet need to practice a bit more. It is lovely if you apply it with the brush. I will take it and also my La Roche Posay as that is a tinted sunscreen for the day.

Eyes I bought my Tarte palette but also treated myseflf to a gold metallic sparkle eyeliner just to add a bit of glamour. I don’t want to do to much. I have my normal eyeliner from Loreol which I find doesn’t last and also my eyebrow pencil from Elizabeth Arden which is great.

Nars duo is brilliant it has orgasm blusher and Laguna bronzer. I bought it because it was a great price and perfect for travel.

This Maped sharpener is the best. It’s from any art shop and it is so sharp I have one for my make up pencils and one for my drawing!

Lipsticks I am going with my trusty red Chanel CoCo Rouge and my little bobby brown I got with my Birchbox.

So this it’s.

That’s what’s in my makeup bag.

Not too much but more than I have ever had before. I had a little practice with everything on Sunday and was pretty happy with the results.

Planning and Organising 3 Hen Dos

Advice, Organising, Planning, Travel

 

Have you ever tried to plan a hen do? A group of relative strangers who are all linked via one person. It is not easy.

The older you get the more difficult it is to plan things.

To organise x amount of people with different things going on in their lives, sometimes it is practically impossible.

I have about 6 Whatsapp groups where we all try and meet up. Most of the time it is a text from Jess saying are you still up for Saturday. I have completely forgotten that I had plans but then I just end up going.

I used to be worse!

Completely dysfunctional; I forgot everything. But this isn’t anything this is my hen do.

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Snow Boarding group!

 

I am having a few: one in Madrid (my favourite city at the moment), A Hag do in London/France Skiing and another Hen in Essex. This way all mine and Gavin’s friends can attend the ones they are available for and can afford.

It sounds excessive but my sister lives in New Zealand so won’t be there until a week before the wedding. She is a bridesmaid so that’s why I am having an Essex Hen Do. Plus, the elders can attend that one.

Hen Dos are expensive

We are having a few, goodness knows how I am going to save for them.

I don’t really believe in your hens brunting all of the cost. I don’t mind them paying for drinks and the odd meal but not flights and accommodation.

hen do

Becky’s Hen do Edinburgh

I have organised one hen do, been part of the creative side of my sister in Law and attended a fair few myself.

My best friend gave me a list of 44 people.

I was freaking out about what that many people could do and stay. Luckily it was a small group of us that went away and a larger group that attended the London hen do.

Still there were cross words, tears and I am pretty sure one hen never paid me. Guess that’s my fault for not being more organised.

One of the biggest issues is people not getting back to you. Dongle the organiser was a great help for picking the date but still I only had people’s emails to deal with.

Nightmare

My dyspraxia means that I tend to read an email and answer in a very straight forward way. Which can come across as abrupt, blunt sometimes rude. I don’t mean it. I read emails at face value, without a tone and certainly not between the lines. Some of the hens didn’t understand this.  I had to explain myself to them and as soon as I talked about my dyspraxia they understood my reply’s.

All in all, we had an amazing Hen do in Edinburgh, caught up with old friends, drunk lots of booze in our old haunts. Walked up Arthurs Seat! Had afternoon tea at the Dome (you have to do this) did some touristy bit too. Scotland rocks!

But I made a lot of mistakes.

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Abi’s Hen do Munich

So, with this info I am going to aid my organiser

Becky told me where she wanted her hen do one drunken night so when it was my turn, she asked me where I wanted to go. First place I thought of was Madrid.

Hot, sunny, beautiful Madrid. I loved it there and can’t wait to go back. Gav is off to Krakow which I also adore but there is something magical about Madrid.

Flights and accommodation can be sorted out for less than £200 so it would be the same price staying in the UK.

Things I learned from hen Dos I have been to

  • Organisation is Key
  • Let people pay for themselves
  • Respect people budgets
  • The hardest part is finding a free weekend
  • People don’t respond to people they barely know
  • There is a lot of pressure on the person organising
  • We are adults, let people be

 

Organisation is key

in planning a Hen do it doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 44 people leaving things to the last minute doesn’t work.

Let people pay for themselves

I get that sometimes people find it easier to pay on one credit card and then people can pay them back later. But that puts the stress on one bank account. I couldn’t afford to do that so why should other people.

Respect people budgets

We all have different pay check and budgets, respect that some people can’t afford everything. You invite them because you love don’t make them feel bad if you can’t afford it.

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Sam’s Hen Do, Penfest, yes those are dark clouds!

Finding a free weekend

I have set the date and given everyone 11 months’ notice. If they can’t make it I understand but almost a year should be plenty of notice especially for dates and also to save.

People don’t respond to people they barely know

I have also taken it upon myself to invite the guests on my Facebook account. I have done this so Becky doesn’t have the hard task of chasing everyone up. After collecting money, I found this the hardest. The yes/no’s the last-minute cant makes it’s made me book a place, then cancel it loosing my booking fee and paying for a cancellation.

The person organising is gold

Becky is just looking after one hen do. She is then organising with the girls to see do the final details that I am not allowed to know about she has two rules, no strippers and no penis anything!!! She is a super star but I know it will be work for her.

 

Sorry Becky.

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Sam loves Tennis, Penfest

We are adults, let people be

I mean it. If you can’t make, I totally understand. If you can’t afford it, I really do understand. If you just don’t fancy another hen do then don’t come. If people want to go to bed early, let them. If they don’t fancy dancing till 3am I don’t blame them.

 

My bed time is normally 10pm.

 

I am not getting involved in my hen do anymore. I will leave the planning to my bestest.

All I want is lovely wine, great food and my friends.

That’s it

A perfect hen do for me.

Have fun with your hen do and treasure those who are helping. They are gold.

Dana

Jess and Crispin’s Hag Do, Drink Shop Do

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Madrid and Engagement ring shopping

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Uncategorised, Wedding

I honestly thought this would be easy, I mean it is shopping for my engagement ring?

I kind of knew what I wanted, something vintage or unique? I thought I would love shopping for jewellery, I didn’t expect it to be filled with pressure.

 
Having to pick a piece of jewellery that sits on your finger forever is hard.

 
With every ring I tried on I felt the price tag and the weight of my decision.

 
I have a new respect for partners choosing the ring. This isn’t my favourite necklace or bracelet. This is something that will stay on my finger permanently. And with that come a massive amount of pressure to get it right, so I will be happy forever, without regrets.
When Gavin asked me to marry him, those words were all that mattered but still.

 

I would like a nice ring on my finger at the same time.

 

We won a competition to Madrid through Brockman’s gin, see being a gin drinker really pays off! So we decided when we were there we would do a bit of ring shopping. Madrid has a lot of emeralds and I knew I wanted a green stone.

 

The first ring I tried on was a beautiful emerald cut emerald with two diamonds at the side on a gold band. It was expensive and beautiful and when I looked at it, it really wasn’t me. I felt strange knowing that this expensive ring wasn’t me and Gavin looking at me with his big beautiful eyes.

 
He just wanted for me to be happy and a drink.

 
We were in glorious Spain.

mnap

Engagement shopping in Madrid this was google maps helpful reminder

 

We all wanted a drink!

 

This continued in about five shops, the green was too green. The gold was two yellow.
Then we found a street filled with antiques… oh if I had a bigger suitcase!

 
I doubted my decision and my preference. We walked a minimum of 16000 steps a day. This was broken up with wine cheese and a bit of site seeing so I am not complaining. I really fell in love with Madrid a little bit.

 
We eventually found a gorgeous 1920 diamond ring. It fit perfectly. Was an unusual shape but I just wasn’t sure?

 
I couldn’t commit to it.

 
We were in Madrid not in London and leaving the next day it was not as though I had a lot of time to think about it.

 
I felt pressured to make a big decision

 
At first, I was grateful that I got to choose but then it started getting stressful and I started resenting the options out there.

 
So, I had a think.

 
Looking around shops was getting crazy.

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We had eaten a lot of churros!

My plastic ring was broken due to its fragility.
If you havent read about my proposal please find it here  Gav bought me a replacement in Sainsburys for £6. Yes, it turned my finger green, then black but after that it was fine. It was simple and pretty and I had lots of complements on my sparkling £6 ring.

 
Finding the real thing was proving tricky and stressful. I couldn’t commit to what I wanted.

 
I now admire men who go out and see the perfect ring for their partner and buy it. There is a reason that so may people just like a diamond solitaire.

It is simple and elegant.

 
Green is my favourite colour so I knew I wanted green stone. We have a running joke that my favourite colour is purple when it is green, Gav constantly tells me it is purple. So, when I was looking at stones I came across a green amethyst. It suits us! It should be purple but it is green.

 
I have a Pinterest board called hint, hint Gavin. Filled with pale green rings on white gold.

 
So, we planned a trip into London’s Hatton Garden.

 
I popped into a shop in Romford and they had some nice stones in the window. I had a two-minute chat with the girl who was working there and was told to come back when the manager was back at the weekend.

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We were busy that weekend so didn’t come back for two weeks. Hatton Garden was waylaid due to birthdays and parties that kept getting in the way. I took Gav with me and as we approached the window there it was. A pale green cushion cut amethyst with a white gold band and little diamonds on the side.
She had got it.
It was perfect.
How was it possible. It even fit me. They had made it so easy, I thought it was going to take forever. She had even found me some matching earrings and a pendant. The woman was a genius!
And that its.
A two-minute chat and a lady who knows what she is doing and I have my beautiful engagement ring.

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My Green Amethyst Engagement Ring

It’s probably not your cup of tea.

 
I love that it is not traditional. This little beauty is going to sit on my finger for the rest of my life. It wasn’t lovingly selected by my fiancé but we did pick it together.

 
Finding it was a journey, in a stressful first world problem kind of way. Our trip to Madrid was heavenly, I have never felt so at home in a place I have never been to before. So although we didn’t find my ring there it we cant wait to go back. I did start to think that my £6 ring was in it for the long haul.

 
But nope, here is my ring. In all its simple elegance.
Now to find the band!!!
Dana