The Devil Wears Prado

The Devil Wears Prado

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Wow! We have had such an exciting week with so many great meetings and we have been working on some super exciting projects that I can’t wait to share with you, but first I wanted to share with you the last day of our Madrid trip!

Our time in Madrid was truly fantastic, we followed in footsteps of Naomi Campbell, Penelop Cruz and Jimmy Carter and ate churros with hot chocolate at the most famous Chocolateria, Chocolateria San Gines. We played golf, had Tapas and enjoyed evenings with our family and friends.  Probably one of the highlights of our trip, or at least the one that would impact my day to life forevermore, was getting my first pair of prescription glasses, because I hadn’t realised but after doing an eye test, I was and still am, actually pretty blind. Now that I have my glasses, I’ve realised that things far away ( TV, paintings in a museum, people) were a bit of a blur, like in those Specsaver adverts where people kiss strangers on the train platform…Yes that was me…but NO MORE! * Victory Fist Pump! Thanks to Gustavo and his parents who bought me the glasses, I can now see the world and Madrid in HD! Hurray for Specs!

So, now that I had been given the gift of sight, there were so many great shops and beautiful streets left to explore, but my parent’s voices kept resounding in my head ” Abi…Make sure you go to El Prado to see the Vilazquezs and the Goyas”…  I had put it off for too long and now on our last day I could ignore it no longer… So in true good girl fashion, on our last day, we set off in search of some serious culture. We took the train to Sol and walked passed the Jamon and the Wine Shops and made our way passed the impressive Congress towards a beautiful tree lined boulevard. We went first to the famous Reina Sofia National Museum to admire Picasso’s impressive and most powerful painting Guernica and the most amazing collection of Salvador Dali paintings. I could have stayed here for days admiring the all the modern art but, after a quick stop off in the shaded museum garden, we walked back towards the beast…towards El Prado.

 We waited until 6pm to go to El Prado, because it is free to get in after 6pm and although the queues was pretty long to start with, they soon died down. El Prado is Spain’s national museum of art and features one of the world’s finest collections of European Art. The building itself was very beautiful, it had large columns, vaulted ceilings and incredibly wide corridors. We got to see the Goya’s and the Velazquez’s in all their glory, my favourite being of course Las Meninas by Velazquez… it was an incredible experience and definitely a must if you visit Madrid!

Whilst we waited we enjoyed the incredible views of the Ritz Hotel and took pictures of the most beautiful church tucked away behind the museum.  It was still pretty hot, so I wore a lace French Connection Top with Spanish floral espadrilles, Zara jean shorts and a Louis Vuitton Clutch Purse and I of course took with my Affelou glasses so that I could admire the masterpieces! Don’t forget the Macaroon Phone-Cover from I-Paint Store! 🙂

I hope you like my new specs! 🙂 Happy Sunday Everybody xxx

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NERD ALERT! FUN FACTS! 🙂

  • El Prado features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. El Prado is one of the most visited sites in the world, and is considered one the greatest museums of art in the world. The numerous works byFrancisco de Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens and Hieronymus Bosch are some of the highlights of the collection.
  • The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings, in addition to a large number of other works of art and historic documents.
  • The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by Velázquez. Velázquez and his keen eye and sensibility were also responsible for bringing much of the museum’s fine collection of Italian masters to Spain, now the largest outside of Italy.

All Star Girl in Madrid

All Star Girl in Madrid

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I am sure you will agree that a day that starts off well is one that starts off with Strawberry Milkshakes and Chocolate Sunday’s! 😉 So I bet you could imagine my excitement when we decided to go to the most amazing “All American Diner” right in the heart of Madrid for breakfast. Tony & Mel’s has everything from the black and white tiled floors to the neon lights and duke box and really all that was missing really was Hillary Duff on roller skates. I had to restrain myself from completely filling my phone memory with pics and also from ordering an extra slice of cheesecake to go with my milkshake…OK, fine! I admit it, I failed on both accounts, but still it was super fun at least it meant we had energy for the day’s adventures!

 After eating the equivalent of breakfast, lunch and dinner in one sitting, we made our way to El Retiro, a massive park in the center of Madrid, filled with trees (one of which is the oldest in Madrid), beautiful gardens, a lake and impressive moments, such as the one to King Alfonse XII. We walked around, took some pictures and enjoyed the sun. You could see why people refer to it as the lungs of Madrid, it was so great being surrounded by nature whilst being so close to the heart of the city.

After some serious relaxation time, we drove around Plaza de Colon to admire the many monuments built to commemorate the explorer Christopher Columbus and saw Cibeles, the important fountain in front of the Town Hall of Madrid where Real Madrid celebrate their victories. The whole square was simply stunning, with marble sculptures, the fountain and the impressive neo-gothic hall looming above us! 

In the morning I wore ripped blue jeans with high top black and white Vans shoes and a street style t-shirt that worked well with the American vibe of the diner and then in the afternoon, because it was really hot I changed into white jean shorts and a grey top with lace detail that I wore with high top converse All Stars. I also wore a light crochet jumper to wear inside when the air-con was on. I took with me some of travel essentials, like my Nikon Camera, I-Phone and of course my Passport, because in Spain you have to have identification on you at all times. I showered my look with my some of my summer essentials including my Pull & Bear triangle purse that was perfect for keeping my euro coins in, my Deluxe Store Bahrain jewel encrusted bangles and last but by no means least, my customised, specially made sterling silver ‘Abi” sunglasses from Epitome, that I loved wearing all summer because they were specially made to my taste and had my initials put on the arm. The perfect touch of bling to make any outfit unique!

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WEARING

High Top Black & White Sneakers – VANS

Ripped Jeans – PRIMARK

Street Style Top – PILAR PRIETO

Customized Sterling Silver Glasses – EPITOME

Triangle Wallet – PULL & BEAR

Jewel Bangles – DELUXE STORE BAHRAIN

White Jean Shorts –  H&M

Grey Top with Black Lace – MANGO

High Top Sneakers – CONVERSE

Satchel – QUICKSILVER

MADRID MANIA

MADRID MANIA

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We had such a great time in Motril, it was really sad to say goodbye to the sea, but I was pretty excited when we set off on the next leg of our road trip – MADRID! We set off on convoy early in the morning, driving through the mountainous region of Granada, the olive groves of Jaen and then up through the sun scorched fields of Castilla de La Mancha – the land where petrol stations stock hunting knives and massive cheeses and where I saw my first ball of tumble weed. TUMBLE WEED :)))! Wouawouawoua (Wild Wild West Music)…Indeed, the motorway stops and motels of Castilla de la Mancha look like they have come straight out of Tarentino’s film “From Dusk Till Dawn”- Creepy vibes from the knife window displays, stares from men with eyes in weird places and the motels look like you would need to sleep with one eye open or you could wake up without a kidney… Needless to say we stopped and had the most amazing Spanish Tortilla and Strong Coffee and we left without a scratch, but with all the knives on show, the imagination does go wild…

The traffic intensified as came into the capital. We drove past sky scrapper’s and along grand boulevards to reach the city centre. It was really nice and sunny and so, after dropping our things off, we went to explore the city straight away. Our first port of call was Puerta del Sol, the centre of the radial network of Spanish Roads. It was super fun standing at the Kilometre 0 point, taking pictures of the iconic billboard signs of Tio Pepe and the even more famous symbol of Madrid El Oso y El Madroño, a giant statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree, the symbol of the city.

Puerta del Sol was pretty busy but we sat for a few moments by the large fountain in the centre of the square and enjoyed the sun. All of a sudden, a gaggle of giant foam cartoon characters appeared and started mingling amongst the crowds in the aim of getting tourists to take their photo. Mr Bean, the Minions, they were all there. I really wish now that I had take my picture with them because they were hilarious, especially when Mr Bean and Bart Simpson started engaging in some sort of photo turf war, which after some comical gestures, required a hot flustered Bob Square Pants to intervene.  Was I in Madrid, or was I actually dreaming?

The cartoon action was getting intense and so we decided to move off in search of some shade and the old quarters of Madrid. The narrow streets were cool  and lined with orange trees. The houses were brightly coloured and in between the old fashioned barbers and coin collectors there were flamenco taverns and tapas bars. This place seemed to embody everything Spanish, from the food to the sounds, it was all there. A must see if you are ever in the area is the Arco de Cuchilleros, the Barber’s Arch, that leads to the grand Plaza Mayor, which has beautifully painted walls, corner turrets and balconied three-story residential buildings –  starring up at those houses was most definitely a “life goals” moment if ever there was one…

Although the open air terraces of Plaza Mayor looked appealing we decided to have lunch at the famous restaurant, Casa Lucio’s, who’s signature dish “huevos rotos”, Spanish Ham, Eggs and Chips has been enjoyed by all sorts of celebrities, from Leonardo Di Caprio to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. For pudding, because there is always room for pudding, we waddled over to the Mercado St Miguel, an incredible place, full of counters and stands with dried hams, cheeses, olives, wine, coffee, fruit smoothies, exotic fruits and of course my favourite, macaroons and cakes. Not too dissimilar to La Boqueria in Barcelona, along the counters there were stools to sit and it would have been a great place to have a more informal lunch surrounded by locals and definitely the right place if you are looking for some seriously photogenic food! After some amazing pistachio and raspberry macarons, we rounded off our first day at the symmetrical French design Sebatini Gardens and incredible Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, who unfortunately forgot our invite for afternoon tea..

So here are the pictures from this glorious day, some of you may have seen some of them already in my Madrid Trip post featured in Mess Magazine, but for those who haven’t here they are!

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WEARING

Reflective Glasses – LEFTIES

Blue Faux- Leather Jacket – ZARAS

Blue Jeans – RIVER ISLAND

Shoes – CONVERSE

White Shirt – STRADIVARIUS

White Floral Jumper – LEFTIES