Dare to Double Denim

A couple of weekends ago we attended a “double denim” pub crawl for a friends farewell. Most of the outfits that made an appearance reminded us of the 1980’s and not in a good way. Light washed, high waisted baggy jeans, oversized denim jackets (also light wash) and flat brim denim hats. Not the hottest look out there. It was like the AMA’s all over again when Britney and Justin stepped out of the car as a couple, covered head-to-toe in denim. Ew.
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But some managed to pull off the “double denim” and since then we have started to notice a trend. Is the double denim starting to make an epic comeback? Many celebrities and high end fashion labels are starting to bring back the Double Denim and we have decided we want in. Here are some tips on how to Double Denim the right way.
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Mix the washes – Don’t go all dark or all light, mix and match the washes to keep it light, simple and stylish.
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Fitted Denim – Denim looks great when fitted so make sure those jeans are fitted nicely (even boyfriend jeans can be fitted around the butt) or roll up your sleeves to show a bit of the arm off. Don’t sink into a pit of blue denim and get lost.
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Blocking – Whether you break up the denim with a big bag and a coloured pump, or you pull over a sweater to break up the blue in the collar and the blue in the jeans it all works the same way – not too much, but still achieving the double denim look.
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Denim doesn’t mean just jeans – When we refer to denim we aren’t talking about just jeans. Make sure you check out shirts and dresses that have a bit of a lighter fabric and are a great  contrast to the heavier “jeans” style.
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Coloured Denim – Denim doesn’t just come in blue. Double denim it up with bright coloured jeans, a shirt or a jacket.
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Avoid the Western look – If you don’t want to slip back into that tacky look then make sure you avoid the country style boots, fringed tops or the big western belt buckles. They won’t help one bit (unfortunately).

caravan dream

Caravans, also known as airstreams, bring back memories of a childhood full of family holidays to the caravan park and camping. They weren’t the ‘coolest’ of holidays but were always fun nevertheless. The caravans we stayed in were pretty tacky and tasteless (I guess in the 80’s they might have been considered modern) but they are certainly a far cry from todays interpretation of them.
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Full of modern essential amenities like wifi (obvi), a plush cosy bed and a chefs kitchen, the caravan forces designers to think outside the box whilst still being constrained to fit inside the walls of a small trailer. It’s all about minimalist innovation, sustainable materials and the little details.
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Exploring a place by road allows you to see beyond the beaten path and wake up in secluded locations. The caravan is no longer just for the “grey nomads” but an entire generation of hipster gypsies are taking over the scene searching for adventure. As with all things, vintage is back in fashion and we think it’s the caravans turn for a shot in the spotlight.
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Monte Urgull, San Sebastian

San Sebastian is filled with great walks around the whole city but the main one that stands out (literally) is the Monte Urgull walk. The hill stands overlooking the bay (only 123m tall) with a castle like structure and giant Jesus statue on the peak.
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There are many different pathways to get to the top but whichever way you go you will get an amazing view of the bay and city of San Sebastian below.
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The walk is about a one hour round trip, if you include stopping to take photos and having a look at the free museum up the top in the castle as well. (To get closest to the Jesus go through the museum.)
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Also, half way up, just below the castle, there is a little bar where you can enjoy refreshments. Happy hiking!

A guide to Barcelona

Barcelona is a city full of history, food, culture, wine and political debate. It is the capital of Catalonia in Spain and boasts a mixture of old, intertwined streets and buildings based around new, grid-like streets with lots of fantastic local art and a great local public transport system. Barcelona only started to receive tourists after it played host to the Olympics in 1992. Even the beach where tourists flock to was built just for the purpose of that, tourists (it actually used to be part of the industrial shipping yard).
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With so many tourists flocking to Barcelona every year (and with good reason), it is one of the richest cities in Spain or Catalonia (we are still confused by this). Catalonia is a district with it’s own police force, parliament, language and more and more they are pushing to become separate from Spain but have not yet succeeded, so instead they run as an autonomous state within Spain. The list of amazing things to see and do is endless, from shopping (as we’ve mentioned previously) to art to food and wine – which together create a super relaxed and fulfilling Spanish getaway.
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See
Sagrada Familia - This is the most visited site in Barcelona and Spain with over 6 million tourists a year. The church is still not yet complete and has been in construction for the last 150 years based on the architecture and craftsmanship of Anthony Gaudi. It is funded by tourists entering to visit the church and each of those tourists will most likely tell you it is one of their highlights of Barcelona. We recommend you buy tickets online before you go to avoid the queue. You can opt to take a guided tour if you can find a time-slot with one available in your language (book far in advance) or you can also get an audio guide headset upon arrival (there will be a line once you enter though). The church is incredible but make sure you head downstairs and check out the museum underneath as well. We can’t wait to head back there to see it finished, which they say will be in 12 years but we are thinking more like 50!
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The Cathedral of Barcelona - A great big church just off the main street La Ramblas. Inside you will find some outstanding stain glass windows and a little garden terrace complete with palms and swans. Go between 8am-12noon or 5pm-8pm for free entrance and make sure you are dressed conservatively (shoulders and knees covered) otherwise you’ll be turned away at the door.
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Park Guell - This park is also known as Gaudi Park as you will find more of his great artwork here, this time in form of mosaics. You can walk around the whole park but to see the artwork close up, pre-book the tickets online to go into the restricted area. Here you will find the best viewpoint of the park and Barcelona.
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Montjuic Castle - Take the metro to the end and finish with the funicular to Montjuic (included in the metro ticket). Once you arrive go up the hill on the gondola to get one of the best viewpoints of the whole of Barcelona. You can enter the castle (for a small fee) and once you’re in we recommended you head up to the terrace for the best 360 degree view of the city.
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Fat Tire Barcelona Tour - Keeping active while traveling is great and these tours are the best ways to orientate yourself in a new city and get ideas of what you might like to go back and see later. The Fat Bike Tours are popular, running twice a day, so make sure you pre-book or email in a reservation and arrive 15minutes early. The bikes are comfortable and the tour leaders are great. You will be given a lot information throughout the tour. Along the way you will stop at various hot spots to get information and if you want to go back later ask the guide the best way they recommend to see the site. Tours run for four hours so come prepared with a hat, water and sunscreen on.
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Eat
Breakfast - Most mornings we ate in our apartment but we did splurge and go out to Brunch + Cake one morning for breakfast and it was one of the best decisions we made that day. Here we found some very yummy food with giant portions and fresh orange juice and coffee. Do not miss it. They also have huge slices of red velvet cake for an afternoon tea snack.
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Lunch - For a taste of tapas and something very local head to La Flauta. This place can get very busy over the lunch period and for a good reason. Trust us.
To satisfy the vegetarian in you (even if you are all about the meat still go here!), head to Teresa Carles. Another busy place over lunch, vegetarians and vegans will be in absolute heaven and meat eaters may have a change of heart, if only for a second.
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For something a little more fancy and to re-hydrate with some great wine in-between the shopping, you can’t go past Mordisco. With an open kitchen and a conservatory restaurant feel you will automatically feel a rush of relaxation. The food is portioned perfectly and is so tasty.
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Dinner - Chill out in the backstreets of La Ramblas. Enjoy a glass of sangria and some delicious tapas food followed by some fresh cuisine at Bar Lobo. The waitstaff are cruisey and have a bit of quirk to them.
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Steer away from Spanish for a night and head to Japan. This place doesn’t take bookings so get there a bit earlier if you don’t feel like waiting for ages. Restaurante Nomo is Japanese tapas and it is every bit as delicious as what you would expect it to be. For desert head next door to Xocoa for some of the best chocolate gelato in town.
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If you feel like spending a little bit more and indulging on the fine dining experience don’t miss out on heading to Tragulaz. On the second level of an old house walk through the kitchen to the dining area where you will be waited upon and wined and dined like you are the King of Spain.
Shop
It is not hard to find the shops in Barcelona but head to the following areas to satisfy your shopping cravings.
Passege de Garcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Av.Portal de l’Angel – All the main streets where you’ll find the finest selection of big name brands.
Las Ramblas - The typical tourist street with all the big names and smaller stalls on the middle island. The main food market is also just off to the side – a definite stop on any food lovers agenda! Make sure you watch your bag and pockets closely though as it’s a stomping ground for thieves.
The Born District - Small, intertwining historic streets that are home to some of the coolest off the beaten track boutiques. A little more pricey then the big brands but quality and uniqueness is the highlight. Most of the boutiques have the designer’s workshop out the back so you can even see them at work.

homemade muesli bars

When you have spare time over the weekend it’s always great to do a bit of baking to prepare yourself (and your meals) for the week ahead. This weekend we decided to bake a batch of homemade museli bars ready for some tasty and healthy snacking throughout the week. We found this recipe on “oh she glows” and it is delicious!
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Ingredients
3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
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Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a square pan with baking paper.
2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. (You may need to soak the oats a little to soften them if the blender is struggling). Blend the dates and water until smooth.
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4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
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5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.
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6. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer onto cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
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Shopping in Spain

We shopped a lot in Spain, especially in Barcelona. The shopping is incomparable to back home in Australia so why not? We didn’t focus on anything in particular, just the fact we wanted to come home with a completely new wardrobe. Here are some of the shops you cannot miss when in Spain.
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Zara – We got excited when Zara was opening in Australia but Spain is where it all began. This is the mothership. And don’t think you can go into one and not go into the other five. In each you will find most things the same but a lot of different items as well.
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Massimo Dutti – Our new favourite for men and women. Under the same umbrella group as Zara these clothes are a little more expensive but still at a reasonable price range. The clothes are gorgeous, and so are the shoes and accessories. Men can even get a tailored suit for half the cost of back home.
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Bimba y Lola – This is a Spanish based label, owned by two sisters. The brand stocks clothing, shoes and accessories with our favourite items being the fun and quirky patterned clutches.
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& Other Stories – This is a store you wouldn’t think came from under the H&M umbrella. Their range is stylish and there is sure to be something there for everyone. Their stock ranges from shoes, to clothing, to beauty, to accessories and everything in-between.
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American Vintage - A French brand spread across Europe and the UK, the founder re-designed the basic Tee and essentials of the wardrobe. The clothes here are stylish and super comfortable.
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Cos - Collection Of Style is also under the same umbrella as H&M but is a more high end fashion label at affordable prices. This is a shop for the more timeless office outfits at a great price.
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Tax Free Shopping: When traveling you see this everywhere and most people can never be bothered to do anything about it, but this time round we tried it out. If you are a non-European resident/citizen and you spend more than 90 euros on one receipt ask for the tax free receipt. You will be given an envelope. Collect these throughout your stay and you can either go to the tax free office in town on your last day to get the cash back and just have everything stamped at the office at the airport or you can stamp at the office and then collect the money once past customs. It sounds like a lengthy process but it takes about ten minutes total and you get money back which is the best part! We recommend you look into it the next time to head over the European way!

 

Adding to the list: Churches

As we have mentioned previously, churches are always brilliant structures. Whether you’re religious or not, these churches have once been the centre of the town and the community. After spending a few weeks in Spain, we are now adding to the list of these wonderful structures.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
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Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Barcelona Cathedral)
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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See (Seville Cathedral)
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Cathedral of the Incarnation (Granada Cathedral)
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Santiago Cathedral (Bilbao Cathedral)
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Jesus statue on Monte Urgull, San Sebastian
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Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (San Sebastian Cathedral)
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