December 25, 2017
One of the Most Special Meals We Had in 2017

One of the Most Special Meals We Had in 2017

December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas you guys! I hope you are all having a great time with your loved ones. Today I want to share a special meal we had earlier this month. We celebrated my mom's birthday at the place where we tied the knot last summer. Going back to the place where we got married was very emotional. Not only because of our big day but also because it's closing down for renovations and we won't be able to go there for two years. We are quite sad about it because we love this place, it brings so many memories!
This is a different hall from the wedding one (since it's a hotel, it has a few) but equally beautiful.
Apart from the magnificent building and halls (it's from the 16th century), we love the place because of the food. It's traditional Spanish food with a twist. The ingredients are the usual ones, but the cuisine is modern and exquisite. The dishes are as pretty as they are delicious.

We are really excited about seeing it refurbished but we are surely going to miss it. Are there any places that hold a special place in your heart?
I'm sorry if I'm a bit MIA during this week. I promise to post some InstaStories so that you know what I'm up to. As a little preview I can tell you that I'm going to sleep in a medieval castle situated in an Arab fortress. Stay tuned by following me on Instagram.
xo Cristina

OUTFIT DETAILS
Claudie Pierlot top and pants


English corner 
tie the knot - get married
refurbish - renovate and redecorate (something, especially a building)
MIA - missing in action
December 21, 2017
What to do in Madrid this Holiday Season

What to do in Madrid this Holiday Season

December 21, 2017
cafe de oriente madrid navidad christmas
Cafe de Oriente

The biggest advantage of living in a big city is the wide variety of leisure options that you have. Madrid has so much to offer all year round and the holidays are no exception. I've put together a list of things to do whether you are here for a short visit or you are living here for a while. botilleria de oriente madrid navidad christmas
La Botilleria de Oriente

THE BEST FOOD AND DECOR
Pay a visit to Cafe de Oriente and/or its little sibling La Botilleria de Oriente for great food, service and decor. La Botilleria is currently offering a Christmas menu for 19€ that we got to try last weekend, it was so good!

El Invernadero de Salvador Bachiller. There's a beautiful "greenhouse" in the basement of Salvador Bachiller's store in Gran Via where you can have delicious food and the fanciest cocktails. Even the china is beautiful, we got to eat from a (china) pineapple and an aloe vera leaf. The menu is pretty similar to the one we had at El Jardin Secreto earlier this year.

The legendary Chocolateria San Gines is the best place for chocolate con churros in the capital of Spain. Definitely a must to recharge batteries on a cold winter evening.

Salon des Fleurs is not on the touristy area like the previous ones but worth a visit. This mixture of coffee and flower shop is probably the best thing I've seen so far.
botilleria de oriente madrid navidad christmas
Cafe de Orientecafe de oriente madrid navidad christmas
cafe de oriente madrid navidad christmas
SHOPPING
The most famous Christmas market is in Plaza Mayor. Unfortunately, this is very far from the traditional Christmas markets around Europe -I'd love to see more craftsmanship and less tacky knick-knacks- but it's still worth seeing the ambiance.

My favorite shops in Plaza Mayor are two traditional hat shops: Casa Yustas and La Favorita. I have already devoted a full post to shopping in Madrid which you can read here
mercado plaza mayor madrid navidad christmas
el invernadero de salvador bachiller madrid navidad christmas
El Invernadero de Salvador Bachiller
calle postas madrid navidad christmas
santarrufina madrid navidad christmas
MUSICALS
If you haven't seen The Lion King, you have to do it. It's going to be in Madrid until the end of April and tickets go fast. We watched it earlier this month and we wouldn't mind going again. Our mouths were wide open from beginning to end. The costumes, the dancers, the singers, the staging...it's all breathtaking.
Other musicals currently in Madrid are The Bodyguard, Billy Elliot and The Adams Family.

NAVILUZ
It's a Christmas bus that takes you around the city to see the lights of the main areas of the centre of Madrid.
teatro calderon madrid la familia adams musical
salon del fleurs madrid navidad christmas
salon del fleurs madrid navidad christmas
chocolateria san gines madrid chocolate churros
chocolateria san gines madrid chocolate churros
What are your favorite Christmas activities?
xo Cristina

BUNDLE UP
English corner
knick-knack - a cheap ornament


December 14, 2017
How to Survive Christmas When You Are Living Abroad

How to Survive Christmas When You Are Living Abroad

December 14, 2017
carmel by the sea california christmas travel blogger
I've been an expat which means I've spent special occasions far from home. From birthdays to Christmas, I've missed a few gatherings that are important for me. When you’re travelling or living abroad, spending Christmas outside of your home country can be a difficult time. Everywhere you look there seem to be families spending time together. People ask you if you’re going home for the holidays... However, there are many ways to make those times less hard and I'm going to share them with you today.carmel by the sea california christmas travel blogger
Carmel-by-the-Sea

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
During my first time as an expat in Ireland I spent many hours using Windows Messenger (does it still work?), then I moved on to Skype while I was in California. Nowadays, there are even more ways to communicate like Whatsapp or Facebook. I didn't have a smartphone back in the day, now you pretty much have the world in your pocket.

FIND WAYS TO GIVE BACK
One of my favorite activities as an au-pair was helping out at the Food Bank in San Francisco. Find out how you can make a difference, maybe you can help the elderly, volunteer at a Soup Kitchen or spend some time with kids who are having a hard time. It's such a fulfilling experience!
rodeo drive L.A. California Christmas travel blogger
 Rodeo Drive L.A.
rodeo drive L.A. California Christmas travel blogger
SHARE A ROOM
If you are traveling by yourself, stay at a hostel. Chances are you'll find people in the same situation.

GIVE YOURSELF A TREAT
Yes, we live in a consumer society but a little retail therapy didn't hurt anyone. I found that giving myself a treat made me feel much better when I was feeling blue. It can be clothes, eating out or a visit to the spa. Think about what your guilty pleasure is and spoil yourself for a day.

EMBRACE LOCAL TRADITIONS
One of the beautiful things about living abroad is learning about and embracing other cultures. Do what the locals do and you can still follow those traditions and show them to family and friends when you go back. If you are in Spain for instance you can eat the 12 grapes on New Year's Eve or celebrate the day of The Three Wise Men by watching the parade and eating Roscon de Reyes (more on Christmas in Spain coming soon).

KEEP YOUR TRADITIONS
Show those around you what you do back home during the holidays. Do those things that you miss even if it's just watching your favorite Christmas movie.
Brussels Belgium Christmas travel blogger
 Brussels
brussels belgium christmas abroad travel blogger
SEND CHRISTMAS CARDS
This is the tradition that I miss the most, not getting any mail. While living abroad I used to get letters and birthday cards but not anymore. The excitement of seeing that someone was thinking about you and cared to send your something is gone. So maybe send some Christmas cards home, you will probably get some from family and friends too.

GET YOUR LOVED ONES TO VISIT YOU
"If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain". I was really lucky that my parents could come visit me in California that year. They spent Christmas Day on a plane but at least we could spend a few days together.
san francisco california christmas abroad travel blogger
 San Francisco
san francisco california christmas abroad travel blogger
san francisco california christmas abroad travel blogger
Have you ever spent Christmas abroad? What did you do to beat homesickness?
xo Cristina

English corner
expat - a person taking up residency in another country
to give back (to your community/society) - help those in need
retail therapy - shopping in order to make oneself feel more cheerful
to feel blue - depressed
guilty pleasure - something that one enjoys
December 7, 2017
5 Recipes for Your Sweet Tooth to Make this Holiday Season

5 Recipes for Your Sweet Tooth to Make this Holiday Season

December 7, 2017
christmas recipes for sweet tooth
You already know that one of my favorite activities is baking. We are currently experiencing Christmas weather in Spain with temperatures below 0ºC, so we don't feel like spending time outside unless strictly necessary. That means the oven is on more often than any other time of the year. So today I want to share with you 5 mouth-watering recipes that are guaranteed to take care of your sweet tooth.

christmas recipes for sweet tooth

1. Christmas Loaf Cake
Chestnuts + chocolate + candied fruit. Need I say more?

2. Christmas Tree Brownie
My cravings for chocolate increase as the temperatures fall. It probably has something to do with the body burning more calories to keep warm. Any excuse is good to indulge in a straight from the oven brownie.

3. Christmas Tree Marzipan Cake
Soft, spongy and tastes like Christmas. Marzipan is the main ingredient in sweet treats all over Spain during the holiday season.

If you want to make a Spanish themed Christmas party, I advice you to try the next two recipes.

4. Roscon de Reyes
It is a traditional Spanish ring-shaped cake baked for the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season.

5. Membrillo
In English quince paste, membrillo is Manchego cheese's best friend. It should be one of the elements of your cheese platter together with nuts or grapes.

christmas recipes for sweet tooth
Do you have any favorite holiday recipes?
xo Cristina

December 4, 2017
Bows For The Holidays

Bows For The Holidays

December 4, 2017
bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat
Last week I spilled all the details about my birthday celebration except for one: the coat that I wore. I bought this beauty at the beginning of the season but I decided to save it for the big day. I was looking for something elegant that I could use during the holidays. Needless to say this was love at first sight, un coup de coeur as the French say. Having a coat in this color is new for me, my previous coats have been black, navy or camel but I've never had one in a pastel color, even though they are my favorite hues. The coat has three bows and Peter Pan collar, which you can't see because of the scarf. However, I'm glad you can take a better look at the scarf this time. Can you spot the skier?  There are several all over it. This is probably the most original print I've ever seen. I wish you could feel how soft it is. Do you think we'll ever be able to show senses through the internet?
bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat
If you follow the blog you probably know about my love for bows. They are the most feminine detail you can wear. I have sweaters with bows like this one or this other one, bow tie tops, stripes mixed with bows...and the list goes on. Basically, I'll buy pretty much anything with a bow on it. At the end of this post you'll find a shopping list with the best bows for the holidays.bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat

bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat
bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat
bows for the holidays fashion blogger elegant coat
Are there any more bow addicts out there?
xo Cristina

OUTFIT DETAILS
Loiba dress
Claudie Pierlot dress (last seen here)
Purificacion Garcia scarf

WHEN IN DOUBT PUT A BOW...
ON YOUR DRESS
ON YOUR SHOES
ON YOUR HAIR
November 27, 2017
Another Year Older

Another Year Older

November 27, 2017
rhodes marine lace dress claudie pierlot fashion blogger
I've been extremely traditional when it comes to celebrating my birthday so far. Except for the years I've been abroad, the celebration has always taken place at home. The most important thing for me is to be surrounded by my loved ones so I didn't really care about where the party took place. However, this year we decided to do something different. Back in August we had been to a very special restaurant and I wanted to go back for my birthday.

This restaurant is like no other. I've never had a gastronomic experience like this one. The name of the place is LAV and it's in my hometown, Leon. The name is an acronym for Laboratorio Alfonso V, and if you pronounce it in Spanish it sounds like "lab", short for laboratory. So what's so special about this place? Well, everything. From the food to the fact that you don't start eating at your table. restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
It all starts at the bar where you order drinks and eat unique tapas. See the four big grey stones below? They are edible. It's foie covered in chocolate. How genius is that? Meanwhile, you take a look at the menu and choose what you want with a colored marker. 
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
Next stop is the open kitchen for some live showcooking.
The rest of the meal takes place at the table. Take a look at the picture below, you can see the menu card. As I said before each one of us chose what we were going to eat with a different marker: red, black, green and blue. When you get to the table you put a colored card next to you so that the waiter knows your menu choices.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa rhodes dress claudie pierlot
All dishes are carefully curated in terms of design and flavors. They are incredibly pleasant to both the eye and the palate. These are the starters.restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
The starters are followed by soup.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
Afterwards, we had fish and meat. It may look like a lot of dishes, but the portions are small so you don't really feel full until the end of the meal.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
To transition from the meal to the sweet taste of dessert, you get a digestive mousse in a beaker. A nod to the name of the restaurant.
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
And last but not least my favorite part...
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
restaurante lav leon alfonso V hotel españa
The whole experience takes about two hours but it doesn't feel so long.
Have you ever been to a restaurant like this? What's the most unique experience you've had when eating out?
xo Cristina

Restaurant info
LAV
Av. Padre Isla 1, Leon
Tel.: (+34) 987220952
TripAdvisor

OUTFIT DETAILS
Claudie Pierlot dress
Purificacion Garcia scarf

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LACE DRESSES
English corner 
edible - something you can eat
curated - selected