Saturday, 30 August 2014

LIFE | Barcelona (Part 1)



Each time I go back to Barcelona I fall in love with it just a little bit more. It is a wonderful, vibrant city that offers so much from the mass of cultural buildings and the fine work of Antoni Gaudi to the glorious long, sandy beaches and vast array of bars and restaurants.
 
 
 
 
 
My friend lives in the Barceloneta area which is right by the beach.  I visited for a few days last week.  It's the first time I've taken Mini Greenoid and he absolutely loved it.
I think I'm a city girl at heart.  I adore London and, as I've said before, Barcelona it fast catching up and becoming my favourite city I've visited.
We wandered down the beach front to let the children have a play on the climbing frame rope thing, which is right by the W Hotel.

Along the stretch of beaches is the Playa de Mar Bella nudist beach.  I've 'oops!ed' over the poor man I managed to photograph with everything on show! Apparently, there are no laws in Catalonia that states whether nudism is allowed or not.  In Barcelona you can, as I understand, be naked anywhere in the city as long as you're not causing a 'public nuisance.'

There aren't actually many nudist on this beach and it is mainly filled with men and women in the normal beach attire of swimming shorts or bikinis.



 

I have to say I would not like to be on the beach and all of a sudden be desperate for the loo...



After a relax by the beach we wandered around a bit.  We walked to the Christopher Columbus statue which is at the bottom of La Rambla. 
 
The monument is 40m tall with a 7.2m statue of Columbus on top.  It's said to depict Columbus holding a scroll in one hand and pointing out to America.  This, however, is not true as he's pointing southeast and if you know you're geography you'll know that America is not in a south-easterly direction from Spain  

 
I love this funky little lobster statue that's situated at Passeig Colom near the Port Vell.  It was designed by the same artist who designed the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games mascot, Coby.  It was originally part of the d├ęcor at the Gambrinus seafood restaurant but when that closed it was restored and moved to it's current location. 
 

They'll be more Barcelona photos soon.  I hope you enjoyed these ones.

Have you been to Barcelona?
 
What's your favourite part of the city?
 
Where is your favourite city?

Friday, 29 August 2014

LIFE | End Of The Holidays

I'm back! Did you miss me? (Don't answer that one!)
 
I've been pretty much AWOL from blogging life for the last 3 weeks and I have to say I've missed it.  I've been on holiday in Spain and have had pretty much no internet connection for all that time.  Can you imagine? 3 weeks with no internet!  Actually, I tell a lie. I did have internet connection but only if I went down to the local bar and access their WIFI, as I certainly wasn't going to use 3G and get charged the extortionate amounts they charge you for using it abroad.
 
gemzicle sprinkles holidays
 
 
I've digressed slightly into a moan. I'm sorry.
 
I did plan to sit lazily by the pool or on the beach writing ideas for blog posts but I just didn't.  I did keep up with my #What I Ate Wednesday posts though.  All I can say is the last 3 weeks have been very pizza heavy!
Post holiday diet and exercise plan may need to be enforced. Bleurgh!

I started off so well posting a Day 1 post but every day after that just got lazier and lazier I'm not sorry to say.
 
I've been home approx. 8 hours - I've had a few hours sleep (I arrived home middle of the night) and I'm up checking up on my YouTube and my Blog. Oh how I've missed them so and can't wait to get back into it.
 
What do you look forward to after a holiday?
 
After being on holiday in a lovely hot country, sleeping under thin sheets with a fan whirling above my head, walking on solid tiled floors I just love the odd sensation of carpets under my feet and curling up under my snuggly, cosy duvet. Ahh bliss.
 
I had an amazing holiday with lots and wonderful friends.  I loved my new big girls camera and I enjoyed experimenting with that - trying to learn the dreaded manual mode.
 
beach holiday spain
 
 
And on that note I'm off to upload all my pics and get creative with them.  I'll be back soon with some of my creations.
 
Enjoy your day.
 
Hasta Luego
Gemzicle Sprinkles
xoxo
 
 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | A Day In Barcelona

Guess what? I'm STILL in Spain for this weeks #WIAW. I've relocated slightly from our beach house to a friends apartment in Barcelona for a few days. I love Barcelona. It's currently rivalling London as my favourite city.

I've had a wonderful time in Barcelona visiting many touristy sights such as the Olympic Statium, Camp Nou, Montjuic Castle and many more.

I'll share the photos when I'm back home in rainy England.

This weeks eats are from my first day in Barcelona and it's definitely a 'pizza day.'

Breakfast

Breakfast was a delicious pineapple pancake at a little crepe place. It was delicious. I figured I'd have a pineapple one to offset the badness of all the sugar.

Snack

Wandering around Barcelona is hungry work so I had a mid day snack of 2 chocolate chip cookies.

I've kinda given up being healthy for the last few days of my holiday and am indulging in a fair few treats.

Lunch

I've mentioned in previous #WIAW how hard it is for me as a veggie to find food in Spain so I was again 'forced' into my stable of pizza. 

Myself and Mini Greenoid shared this delight of a margarita pizza and the only veggie tapas dishes we could find of pimientos and patata bravas.

As I'm in Spain it was, of course, washed down with lots of water and a little glass of vino.

Tea

 
I met up with friends around 5 o clock and the plan was for us to share a bottle of vino in the square whilst the kids played in the park. Then move on for an early tea.

Inevitably, this didn't happen as more and more friends joined us and another and another bottle of vino were ordered.

Eventually myself, a friend and our kids (1 each) decided we really should go and feed the children.

My friends child is celiac and I'm a veggie so you can imagine the headache we had in trying to find somewhere to each.

Eventually we were kinda forced into the decision to go to a pizzeria as everywhere was heaving.

The pizza I ordered was called La Madonna and honestly, after the vino, I can't quite remember what was on it. Is that bad? I think it was asparagus, artichokes and various other veggies. 

I have to say, it was one of the best, if not the best pizza I've had in a long time (and believe me, I've tried a few!)

I'm not normally a dessert person but there was a lemon sorbet, prosecco and vodka mix on the menu and I just couldn't resist. Unfortunately in my hast to eat / drink it I completely forgot to take a photo.

Do you like desserts?

Do you eat differently on holiday than you do at home? 

Do you like experiencing the local cuisine or do you stick to what you know?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | A Healthy Holiday?



Hola everyone. I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday. I'm still in sunny Espana so of course my Wednesday is filled with glorious sunshine, lazy lying by the pool and maybe a stroll to the beach stopping off at our local beach side bar for a little drink.

I had hoped to post more on holiday but internet access is infrequent. I also only have my trusty iPhone and iPad so it's not all that easy to post.

It's Wednesday though so let's crack on with this weeks #WIAW.  

Breakfast

If you've read any of my #WIAW before you'll know that I've recently purchased the Breville Active Blend and LOVE it. So much so that my sister and I decided to purchase another one for out here in Spain. 

This morning I had a mango, nectarine and paraguay smoothie with a banana and strawberry yoghurt drink. 

It wasn't the nicest smoothie I've made but it used up some of the over ripening fruit.

I absolutely adore mangoes. After using the flesh in my smoothie I sat on the balcony of the villa with the stone to bite off any last bits of the juicy, sweet flesh. I loved it. Whenever I use mangoes in anything it's my little cooks treat to suck the mango.

Do you do that with mangoes? 

Lunch

I had a couple of avocados that needed eating so I decided to make a kind of staple for me - avocado, tomatoes and cheese. 

If bought some 'tostas' from the supermarket which were like, well I'm not sure really? Kinda mini wheat cracker things. I loaded them up with mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, under the grill for a minute or so and ta da!

I also ate a chopped pear, plum and nectarine, again in my quest to use up the fruit before it over ripens.

Snacks

We took a stroll down to the port and grabbed an icecream at our favourite icecream parlour there . I'm normally a vanilla girl but with the vast range of flavours on offer I decided to mix it up and go for the marshmallow flavour. It was quite sickly sweet and I thought it would have bits if marshmallow in it (which it didn't) but it was ok.

On the walk back to the villa we decided to stop off for a bit of wifi (we can only get wifi at our local beach side bar - excellent excuse I say!) Of course a cheeky glass of vino had to be consumed - I'm on holiday afterall!

Tea

It was some friends last night so a group of us made the long trip across the road to a delicious pizza place. I had my usual there of 'pizza vegetal' or veggie pizza. It was simply delish and I ate it all. It's the kind of pizza that's cooked in a proper pizza oven and I just love them so much. Thin and crispy. The topping included tomatoes, courgettes, mushrooms, artichokes and I'm not sure what else. 




What do you like to eat on holiday?

Do you find yourself being more / less healthy on holiday?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

LIFE | A Level Results Arghhhhhh

I've just realised it's A Level result day here in England. It brought back all sorts of bad memories of my own A Level result day.


Back in 2000 I was collecting my A Level results and I remember all the mixed emotions throughout the day.

Theoretically it's a day you've worked for for the past 2 years of your life. Personally I was awful in college. I'd passed all my GCSEs without any revision or working that hard (I guess I was one of the lucky ones who didn't really need to put much effort in at school to achieve reasonably well) and chose to do Spanish, Art, Geography and General Studies at A Level.

Unfortunately I was a 16 year old girl whose last priority was her future and studying hard to achieve good grades. I skipped classes to hang out with friends, lay in bed far to long and was late for classes and of course, I had discovered boys!

When it came to A Level results day I was so nervous. I knew I hadn't worked as hard as I could have done but I was ever hopeful that I may just have achieved 4 decent passes.
I remember opening the letter and my heart sank. I'd achieved (or not achieved depending how you look at it) 2 fails and 2 E grades. I was fiercely disappointed. For a girl who had never really failed anything, I felt like a complete and utter failure.

Then the next thought - how the hell am I going to tell my parents?! They will be so disappointed in me. I was disappointed in myself. I'd let them down. I'd let myself down. They were on holiday at our villa in Spain - exactly were I am now. (I'm writing this by the pool)


I couldn't face phoning them so I put it off. I was delaying the inevitable. I knew they'd phone me. I knew I had to talk to them.
My Dad phoned and I choked up. It was so hard to tell him my grades. As I told him I burst into tears. 
To cut a long story short I had to go though clearing and eventually managed to get in to university doing a primary teaching degree.
My message to anyone getting their results today is 'it will all turn out ok in the end.' You might not believe that now but trust me - I felt the world was over but in reality it was just beginning. 
If you achieved good results, well done you. All that work and effort was worth it. If you didn't achieve what you'd hoped, there are so many options and paths you can take so chin up, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and plan what you're going to do next.

What I Ate Wednesday | Holiday Eats

I'm still in sunny Spain so this weeks eats are holiday eats.

Breakfast


I love to have freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast and some fruit. Today I had delicious, juicy watermelon, followed by muesli and a chopped banana.




Lunch

A group of 18 of us went out for a lazy, boozy lunch which included lots of wine and to eat - just a huge salad. Being a veggie I struggle to find anything I can eat in Spanish restaurants - they don't really cater for veggies in Spain!
We went out for lunch at our local beach restaurant at 1:30pm and arrived home at around 9pm - like I said a lazy , long and boozy lunch with friends. Perfect.


Tea

A quick snack for tea to soak up all lunchtimes vino. A tortilla sandwich, a nectarine and a paraguay.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Espana | Day 1 | Water Park

Happy Friday everyone.
 
I'm enjoying Day 1 of my holiday in Spain today. 





We arrived yesterday lunchtime at Barcelona and made the 2 and a half hour car journey to our family villa.

 First on the list of things to do was to meet up with friends. We come every year and have a fab group of friends that we meet up with, drink vino and just relax.  

All the children play together and we have such a wonderful time.

We have what we call 'The 5 o clock Club.' What that means is wine time! There's around 6 families and we take it in turns to bring jugs of Bellinis or a bottle of wine to the pool, have a gossip and watch the children playing.

After our little drink me and Mini Greenoid headed out for a pizza across the road. They're Mini Greenoids favourite thing to eat in the world and he's been looking forward to it for weeks.
I had a delicious goats cheese salad and a vegetarian pizza. It was yum!



It's our first full day today and a group of 16 of us have come to the waterpark.


I'm gonna go find a water slide to go on. 

Hasta Luego

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | Using Up The Fridge



Well, Wednesday's swung round again fast hasn't it?  Can someone just slow down time a little bit please? - it's going far too fast for me at the moment.
 
I had a very colourful, fruity day for this #WIAW.  The reason was, not to be healthy, but I'm on holiday tomorrow (have I mentioned how frickin excited I am?!) so todays eats (or should I say drinks) were all about using up the food I've got in.  It just so happened it was mainly fruit so that could only mean one thing for me lately - trying out new recipes with my new Breville Blend-Active.

Breakfast


The first smoothie of the day was a yummy concoction of
  • 2 bananas
  • 3 plums
  • a handful of strawberries
  • pure squeezed orange juice
  • a handful of ice cubes


I loved this one.  I thought it was going to be a bit odd with mixing bananas with the orange juice but it was delicious and very filling.

 

Lunch

 
 
In the morning I was checking over my greenhouse and found quite a few tomatoes that were ready for eating so I picked them and decided to use them in my lunch.  I couldn't think of anything majorly exciting to do with them but I had a seeded bagel or two left over, bit of cheese in my fridge so I made pizzas.  My love for pizzas is never ending!
 


Snack

 
Honestly, this was one of the most revolting things I've ever tasted and I only managed to drink half of it.  I found the recipe on Breville Creative Kitchen which has some tasty looking recipes for the blender.  It was one of the only recipes that I had all the ingredients for so I thought I'd give it a go. 
 
When I follow a recipe I never pay attention to quantities.  I always just add what I think.  On this occasion, I think I messed up the quantities.  I'll try making this smoothie again following the instructions but this time it was just all wrong.
 

Tea

I was not put off by my smoothie snack and stuck to another smoothie for tea.  This one was
  • 2 nectarines
  • 3 plums
  • 3 tablespoons of greek yoghurt
  • squirt of honey to taste
This one was delicious.  I didn't add the honey at first but after tasting it without I decided it needed a little something to sweeten it slightly. 
 
My fruit bowl is now almost empty and I'm pleased that I used most of it up before my holiday.  I hate wasting food.
 
I was surprised that I wasn't at all hungry throughout the day.  I've never tried a smoothie/juice detox before as I felt it would be impossible for me but I really enjoyed making the smoothies and might look into these detox things a bit more.
 
 
What do you do with your fruit / fridge contents before a holiday?  Do you make weird and wonderful dishes to use it up?
 
Have you tried a juice cleanse?