Foodie Finds, Clouded Skies, and Treasuring Independence
I thought I’d kick off the start of my long weekend with my favourite post to write. Although it’s something I don’t do often enough, I love taking a timeout to document some of the minutiae of everyday life. It’s so easy to forget the little joys or occurrences amidst the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives. Reflecting on the smaller things which easily become nebulous memories can be so cathartic and a perfect way to unwind. It’s needless to say I adore reading these posts too. Whether it’s reading about a bagel someone devoured in a new local café or a recent TV show discovery, I find these kinds of long-form blog posts so cosy and comforting to read.
That being said, I don’t want to read back on my blog posts in a years time and only recall lesson planning, meal prepping and all things adulthood from my year abroad. So aside from those tedious tasks, here’s what I’ve been up to and enjoying these past few weeks.
Of course, I have to start off by talking about food. I promise not everything from here on out is going to be Madrid related, but I couldn’t resist mentioning the food scene here in Spain’s capital. The first place which stole my heart was the renowned 100 Montaditos. This tapas, pinchos and sandwich chain has undoubtedly also stolen the heart of every Spaniard with its 1€ mania Wednesdays and Sundays. Who can turn down a mini cream cheese and smoked salmon sandwich for a euro?
That’s just the beginning. In all honesty, I could dedicate this whole Little Things to the beautiful abundance of cafes, restaurants and patisserie scattered across the city. I can’t wait to try out some of the triple-layered cake shops I’ve eyeballed in Malasaña. The same goes for the hipster health-food cafes which serve up smoked salmon and avocado toast galore, i.e. every Instagram foodie’s dream. Even walking past these places have woven poetry into the most stressful of days, so it’s safe to say Madrid hasn’t disappointed on the food front.
I did have an incident on my first day of arriving in which the chicken I had plated to me may as well had been back on the farm laying eggs, but we won’t talk about that.
Netflix is everybody’s trusty companion. It’s a shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling down, the go-to for when you want to have something playing in the background while getting ready. Lately, however, I’ve particularly been loving their new releases. First of all, The Good Place and Dynasty have returned. While I’m over the moon about them being back to bless my screen, I’m always left disappointed as I remember that I’m stuck with no choice but to cling onto their cliffhangers for a whole week.
Luckily however, Netflix has recently added to their originals collection with Elite, a Spanish-language teen-thriller. Three working-class teens enrol at an exclusive private school and the clash between them and the wealthy students leads to murder. The show unravels to become a melodramatic coming-of-age show with elements of a whodunit murder mystery intertwined.
I’m only halfway through, and already it’s dealt with some real issues amidst its suspenseful plot: Islamaphobia and the repressive nature of fundamentalism, coming out of the closet, open relationships and threesomes, HIV and the seeming impossibility of reinventing yourself in high school. What I also loved was how there were some familiar faces from La Casa de Papel, a show which I already praised in 4 Reasons Why We Should All Be Learning Languages.
From Summer 2.0 to Autumn
I spoke in my last Little Things instalment about kicking off my Autumn wardrobe as the British summer came to an unfortunate end. However, upon arriving in Madrid, I spent my first week strolling around in shorts, sleeping without the quilt and chugging water down my throat like my life depended on it. It was hot. I just wish I relished in the last of the sun. To my despair the clouds are blanketing the summer skies and the supermarkets are starting to make a capital out of the wet weather with their array of umbrellas on display.
It’s like the sun suddenly remembered that Halloween is approaching and it shouldn’t be around anymore. If I were at home, my fluffy jumpers would be coming out of hibernation and my dressing gown would become my second skin. Unfortunately, I seemed to have neglected my winter wardrobe when packing and opted for strappy vest tops and various pairs of shorts.
On the bright side, I did venture into Primark and purchase a duvet. The paper-thin sheet wasn’t cutting it. I’m not waking up at 2 am shivering anymore, so not all is bad.
A Trip to Toledo
Being the capital, it’s a given that Madrid is well connected, therefore making travel around the country a doddle. On the 13th October I decided to hop on the bus to Toledo, free with my travel card, and oh it was stunning. I’m planning on writing a blog post on my day, but it was a fairy tale plethora of architecture and cobbled streets with culture bursting around every corner. The views didn’t fail to spark my wanderlust either. Despite the falling temperatures and emerging rain clouds, one thing I look forward to most while spending the year in Madrid is having the time and opportunity to travel around the country. Toledo is just the first of many mini excursions to come.
In the short span of a couple of years, my independence has shot from being virtually non-existent to a source of comfort. I would cling onto my friends, rely on my mum to make doctor’s appointments (ok, still guilty of that one) and my anxiety would eat me whole at the thought of travelling anywhere without someone leading the way. Now, however, I’m no longer nearly as anxious doing things independently.
Alone time is something I cherish; being free to do whatever you choose, knowing exactly what it is that makes you happy. It’s also the key for a clear headspace. What’s more, solo-travel is one of the many things on my to-do list and living in Madrid and being able to travel with so much ease stimulates my goal and offers me a teaser for the possible future.
Long-haul flights are still daunting, and the fear of going days on end without speaking to a single soul is fearsome. However, that’s where the beauty of languages comes in, but that’s another blog post entirely.
In light of what I’ve mentioned above about cherishing independence, I adored This Week: Take Yourself On A Date by Daisy Butter.
One of the reasons I love blogging is that it opens the door to the discussion about so many prominent and important problems in society, feminism being one of them. That being said, Amy Louise Writes’ Feminist Story was such a touching read.
If you’re looking for a hearty meat-free meal or a new meal-prep option, try this Smoky Vegetarian Chilli featured on Bowl of Delicious. Such a cosy meal!
What have you been loving this week? TV recommendations, foodie finds, blogs you have enjoyed reading, let me know in the comments!