Welcome to #OFNOTE number 4, a list of recently enjoyed things. Little luxuries, moments of appreciation, experiences that make life that little bit sweeter.
Or in the words of Maria Kondo, things that spark joy! Confession: I never read her book, I read this one though. Basically the same thing, right?
I have really been enjoying the transition from summer to autumn in Granada. It’s so weird living somewhere where you actually notice the seasons change.
The temperatures are perfect at the moment; warm and toasty in the afternoon, still in the mid to high 20s. It hit 30 some days during early October, which Granada folk tell me is unheard of for this time of year.
When I walk in the morning its nice and fresh, about 15 degrees, and there’s a nice breeze.
It’s getting darker much earlier, and once night falls you need to throw on a light sweater. It’s still pleasant enough to sit outside though, the perfect time of year. I do recall the weather being similar when I moved here last October, time seriously flies! Speaking of, when I first arrived there was a collection of photography from around the world along Paseo de la Bomba, the walkway pictured above. It’s nice to see the exhibition is back again this year. A lovely addition to a beautiful part of Granada.
These flowers! I bought them at a stall at Plaza del Campillo for just €3, where there were rows and rows of flower vendors selling beautiful bunches in every colour imaginable for the Virgin of Angustias festival. When I first got them the smell was very heavy, like a forest after a lot of rain. Buckets of it! My apartment smelled like what I imagine Fern Gully smells like. It also took a while to whittle down the leaves and stalks. Wild, wild flowers (to the tune of Wild Horses, of course). Most of the bunch lasted two weeks, and I downsized the last few to a smaller vase and put the most alive looking one in the middle. You can barely notice the half dead ones!
I realise I’m very late to any sort of Emmy conversation. It being over a month ago. I didn’t even watch them, truth be told. But I adore this Chanel dress that Alessandra Mastronardi wore. In fact, she’s head-to-toe in Chanel. She looks magnificent; sophisticated, fresh, happy…everything about this look is so delicate.
She’s easy to have a girl crush on. I check in now and again on her Instagram for a creep and that’s when I saw, THE DRESS. I’m referring to it as THE DRESS from now on. Anyway, I remember her in Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love, but I’ve been known to throw on Masters of None when I’m cooking or doing things around the apartment (it makes for very light watching) and she’s dreamy in that – her role and her style. Allora!
(Left image: celebmafia, right image: vogue.com)
Following on from Italian with more Italian, nothing is better on this earth than my favourite pizza after a very busy week. I’ve often joked here that I think that images of this pizza have appeared here over the years more than people, but it really is a winner. If you have this pizza, you really don’t need humans.
I tend to go to La Tagliatella closest to me (there are three in Granada, three!) usually bring a book, order this pizza of all pizzas, a glass of Viña Pomal, read until it arrives then watch the world go by. It’s one of my preferred and most relaxing things to do. That and anything to do with truffle drives. me. BANANAS.
I mentioned the week being busy* – it’s been like this for some time now, but I’ve kept a pep in my step each day with a walk to clear my head followed by a simple, nourishing and filling lunch. Mostly I’ve had delicious crispy pumpkin seed bread from my local bakery with burrata and avocado, or that same delightful bread topped with few slices of jamón Iberico, tomato, a little oil and sea salt. The oil I use is pure luxury in itself, local produce from Omed.
*This part was written before my two weeks off for holidays; I only got around to finishing the second half of this post now…but you get the gist!
Introducing: the cat pack. I left two cats at home in Ireland and I miss them so! It helps that all day every day, there’s a bunch of lazy furballs sprawled along the Cuesta del Realejo, the very steep walkway in my neighbourhood which really is the best way to get up to The Alhambra or Alhambra Palace Hotel for the most incredible views and sunsets. These kitty cats are usually sleeping under the flowers, trying to squish a family of ants, or lay around huddled together, totally unfazed.
My new tray and tin box, I love them! The prints were too good to pass up and they brighten up my kitchen; so glossy! They’re both from Sugar, which I have a feeling could be a Granada only store. All the more reason to visit. People go nuts in there for unique gifts. They have really nice homeware stuff, mostly the kitchen and some bedroom signs, things like that. The box was €8.50 and the tray was €4.00.
I’m happy to say that I’ve tried and tested the Metro de Granada.
Open since September 22nd, it’s very much like the Luas in Dublin but goes underground as well as overground. Granada is a very walkable city, but some places take just under an hour to get to and obviously an hour back.
It’s handy coming from Nevada Shopping if you need to make some awkward to carry purchases (me last week with a rake of pillows). The metro stop for Nevada is right outside the centre, and I get off at Recogidas and go from there. Much faster! Such luxury! The bus station to catch a bus to Malaga Airport is a bit of a walk too, so I’d say that’ll work out very handy when toing and froing. The metro also goes to the hospitals, the university and plenty more useful places. It’s 82c per journey if you have a travelcard, or €1.35 if you don’t. Tourists can get a travelcard too for €4.50 a day. The future (or at least the long-awaited metro) is now.
This wine! I love discovering a new wine that’s worthy enough to join the invisible list in my mind. I chose it at a recent dinner with my sister at Los Patos, and we really enjoyed it. It’s a local wine (the ‘Nevada’ kinda gives that part away) and there are different types; the gold and bronze I have yet to try. It’s one of those funny situations where it was hiding in plain sight, as now I see it everywhere. Well worth ordering here in Andalucía. The silver is a mix of merlot, syrah and tempranillo. You can even stay at the Señorío de Nevada winery and enjoy a wine tasting tour, which I’ll definitely do at some point. In the name of research, obviously.
This next thing has literally changed my life. Very dramatic, but very true. My new irreplaceable bedroom accessory, my Wuloo alarm clock. The Spanish are geniuses for creating blackout blinds, but at the same time, it’s always dark (duh.) With no natural sunlight getting through, it’s impossible to wake up without feeling groggy. I also hit snooze over and over, which always ends up making me feel worse. Something needed to change; I wanted value from my mornings.
So I went on the hunt for a wake-up light/sunrise mimicking alarm clock and found a bunch on Amazon. Mine was relatively cheap (under €28 including P&P) as I wanted to test one and see if they work without committing to a fancy expensive one. The Wuloo is great – it has a sunrise and sunset mode, coloured lights, various sounds to wake up to (mine is always bird noises) or you can have the radio wake you up. 30 minutes before your desired wake-up time, a light comes on gradually, brightening up the room. When the sounds kick in, you open your eyes, feeling oddly refreshed, with no desire to hit snooze. No horrible jolting out of sleep like a regular alarm. Admittedly I haven’t been using it during my holidays (I was away the last two weeks) but I’m back waking up with Wuloo again and it’s just as beneficial as ever. Trust me, it will change your life if you’re not a morning person.
This book, Big Magic. My wonderful sister who knows me to my very core bought this for me last Christmas. The reason I only read it now was because I had this crazy idea that if I’m living in Spain, I should only read books in Spanish. I felt guilty reading something in English, which is totally ridiculous! Anyway, this book is inspiring, and helps with self-doubt or overthinking when you just want to start making something new.
Creating anything is always fun. But when you approach it with fear or comparison, fear can sometimes take over – what If its not successful? What if it has already been done? Liz’s basic message is that life is about creating and creating for you; pushing your own limits – don’t compare what you’re doing to what others are doing; none of us are getting out of here alive anyway, so make what you want to enrich your life to best the best version of you. Humans are happy when were interested in something, inspired by something; when we’re making something, whatever that something may be.
I found it really enjoyable as relatable, as over the years, blogging has become strange. So much of it is sponsored content, products shoved in our faces at every turn and all that seems to matter is your social media following. Snapchat was the final straw for me, and the feeling of having to ‘keep up’ turned me off, so I ended up making less and less time for it. Big Magic reminded me that I write because I love to, I enjoy taking pictures, documenting my experiences and memories. BM also inspired me to carry around a little notebook (something I haven’t done in years) where I scribble down any thoughts that come to me; quotes, new words, inspiring places and even doodles. It feels nice to write things down than manage everything in my iPhone notes app. Highly recommended if you feel you could be passing your time in a better way, or simply need a little pep talk on creativity.
Last but not least, pionono meriendas. Just as much as I enjoy a breakfast and the sights and sounds of a bustling cafe or coffee shop most mornings before work (it sets me up for the day and I love these moments to myself) I love my merienda just as much. These are more of a weekend thing for me, and I love the ritual. A cup of coffee, a sweet treat and once again, some kind of reading material. The pionono above is from Casa Isla, the most famous in the city (most bakeries do them here, the Granadinos take their pinonos very seriously!) These sweet little treats are made from eggs, flour, milk, sugar, cinnamon and rum.
Some of the things mentioned in this #OFNOTE really reflect the pace and lifestyle here. Savour and enjoy every moment. And that is what I intend to do, for the rest of the bank holiday weekend. And I hope you will too.
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