Recipe: nutella and cinnamon muffins

Hello!

_IGP9180A little sweetness to start the week!

These little babies are nutella and cinnamon muffins… As soon as I seen the recipe on Sally’s blog (you can find the recipe on this link),  I could not stop thinking of giving it a try, so when E. came over, of course we gave it a go!

Unfortunately -and most likely due to the fact that I bought a cheap version of hazelnut spread – it wasn’t as heavenly as it should have been, but still, the cinnamon and sugar crust is such a good idea!

Anyone has a clue on how to make sure the nutella is not going to fall down to the bottom of the muffin? I put the nutella in the middle of the batter, but somehow it ended on the bottom… Any clues are most welcome!

Have a great week everyone!

xx,

M.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Heya!

And yet another week end is gone… I have been working once again on my thesis, trying to brush it all up and make it gorgeous before finally handing it back… Thesis, is a long, tedious work of research that for me represented an absolute torture… How to keep concentrate so long on a piece of work that has no interest whatsoever for me?

When I’m sitting in class or at my desk overlooking a project of some kind that’s where my mind will escape. Always, I find myself on top of that hill among the sheeps, claiming that big city that is Christchurch but from where I am, I can’t hear any of the usual noises of a city. All I can hear is the rush of the wind in the grass, and the sounds of nature. I am cold but happy, for what is in front of me is the life I love and I am sitting where I always wanted to be. But Alex calls me so we move on, or maybe it’s reality and the dream fades. If the vision fades, the feelings won’t ever be changed, or moved, they won’t let me go.

I absolutly love this foto, the colors of the sky that represents so well the South Island of New Zealand, the green of the grass, the mountain range covered in snow, and the sheeps running away from something, of course, absolutly terrifying.

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Cheers!

M.

Book review: The Rose of Sebastopol

Hello!

How is it going?  It was my 24th birthday yesterday, and I spent all night telling everyone I was turning 19, and every single one believed me… I got home at 6AM, so proud of having FINALLY achieved a true Salamanca fiesta but my roomie laughed at me for about 30 minutes because this could NOT be the longest night of my life for sure…

Anyway, back to the point, the last book that I read, book that I love just the same everytime I read it: The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon.

The Rose of Sebastopol - Katharine MCMahon

The Rose of Sebastopol – Katharine MCMahon

One of these books that I randomly picked in a bookstore for the gorgeousness of its cover, not having a single clue about the author or story… Sebastopol drew my attention as well, for some reason I find it one of the most beautiful name a city can hold.

The story takes place during the Crimean War, seen from the English side (apparently, it seemed we were allied with the English on that particular war. Should it be a hint as why I have never ever heard of it in any history class that I’ve had?). The whole book is about a friendship between two girls of complete opposite personalities, and that’s what fascinates me.

Rosa, she is the centerpiece of this whole story, we’ll spend the entire book looking frantically for her with Mariella, however, we will never have the chance to meet her. Everybody knows Rosa, the name runs on every mouth, from Balaklava to Sebastopol, English soldiers, Russian soldiers just alike. Mariella will reveal little by little who Rosa is, through memories of their childhood, until the very last chapter where I believe is the clue on why Rosa’s like this.

I love that the story is not chronological, the pieces of the puzzle come in disorder and slowly will take shape. As if Mariella could not hold either the harshness of her reality or the heartbreaks of her memories. I always have a thing for friendship stories, probably more than love stories. Love, it falls on you without leaving you a choice, and it will leave just the same. Friendship, you build it, you earn it and it never fades. When Rosa disappears, what is left for Mariella?  The pain of missing someone, it comes in waves, it rushes in your veins till your heart. Entire period of time you’ll go on with your life as if nothing, and when you stopped expecting it, it will hit you so hard, the memories as vivid as flesh, the aching and longing will start all over again.

The whole war background is quite interesting as well. For instance, the story of this troop of nurse who decided to go all the way to the front to try and save what could be saved is fascinating. The evolution of medecine and the vision of women in society are as many subjects you will find, quite different from what I would expect from this kind of books.

My favorite quotes: “Mariella, don’t love me. I’m worthless. And I won’t be coming back. Look at the state of me. Dear God, the state of me (…) Mariella, I can’t keep my promises. Forgive me” Henry to Mariella

“Sometimes, I am terrified by your utter faithfullness. You humble me. I know in my bones, you will be loyal to your dying day” Henry to Mariella

“Rosa, where are you? (…) Instead I was faced at last by her complete absence” Mariella

“I have come to the end of this world, and this is a bitter end (…) I discovered that I couldn’t stand my own kind any longer (…) All I am is a hand to hold while a man dies. (…) It’s too late Mariella, I reach out my hand, I listen for your voice and I can’t find you. (…) But for a while longer, I will exist, I think, in each of your immaculate stiches” Rosa

I hope you are all  having a good week end. As for my daily weather update, it was hailing between two showers yesterday, and today we have reached 6 degrees. Yes, I live in Spain.

Cheers!

M.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air

Hello!

How are you? This week is finally coming to an end! So much had to be done for this last week of uni, WTF happened!! I put an egg to boil tonight, forgot about it, went to the kitchen on intense procrastination – probably around an hour after I put my egg – and the thing litterally exploded to my face. Did you know that could happen? With my face covered in boiling egg, I went back to work as if nothing happened and went straight back to procrastinating…

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I know you don’t care a bit about all this, so I’ll just go straight to the point of today’s post: Eden. This little piece of heaven (I know I say this pretty much about every place in OZ) on the coast of New South Wales. It is far less touristic than other sites of NSW, but I had a very pleasant week end there! I took the bus from Melbourne to meet my friend A., her boyfriend’s parents live there and believe me, they have the perfect beach house, with the best view on the ocean and kangaroos on the lawn. The best part? It is not their beach house but they everyday life… It takes about 10 hours bus down there, I had no clue when I booked it. A 10 hours trip in Europe, it could probably take me to Poland. Or Madrid. The kind a trip I would never choose for a week end, the kinda trip I would never devote less than an entire week for ‘it is so far’. But in Australia, in 10 hours you are barely to the next city!

Anyway, we spent three days swimming, sailing, sunbathing, fishing shrimps and eating delicous food. As for Australia Day? Imagine your perfect day, chilling at the beach with your beers and your mates, a barbecue and ice cream, and there you have it. It was worth the 10 hours bus ride with a sick stomach. Did I not mention how I caught my first ever gastro? Yes, Australia has a habit of taking me down fairly easily… The first time ever I missed a day of work for I felt too sick. Or maybe it was because I had stayed up till two in the morning to watch the semi finals of the Melbourne Open?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the fotos, a bit of sunshine, I don’t know about you, but here in Salamanca we have welcomed winter again… Under 10 degrees in mornings and no more than 13 in the arvos. And of course, my NEMESIS, rain has made a brilliant come back….

Cheers,

M.

Madrid – Part 2

Heya!

Catedral

Catedral

On Saturday, the weather was perfect : hot but not too hot, blue sky without a cloud. My friend E. arrived around 10:30 and we headed straight to the Museo de la Reina Sofia, where you will find the famous Guernica, from Picasso. The queue for the Dali exhibition was already HUGE, so we did not even bother. E. and I, we’ve be stuck in vain for about 7 hours in the queue for Picasso in Paris a few years back and we’ll never do it again! We went straight to the counter for the permanent collection and the lady gave us… free tickets for Dali! Don’t ask, I have no clue what went through her mind but I feel we have been so lucky to have this opportunity to see so much Dali, for this is an artist that I love.

Picnic in the Retiro was next on the list, and of course we rented a little boat and paddled on the lake for 45 minutes… Really I could spend every sunny day in El Retiro!

Next, El Prado – everything is in the same area. Huge museum, to which you could dedicate an entire week end, we only had a few hours so we went for the 30 or so major pieces. After six, the museum is free for everyone, and everyday for students.

EXHASUTED

Restaurant and drinks to finish this successful day and back at the hostel! We were staying at No Name City Hostel on Calle Atocha, between Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Great location, cheap, new and clean, free wifi and free breakfast, what else could we ask for? However, we did not go to bed before 2:30AM because our worried american roomie was deligthed to find some french girls to share her worries about her upcoming trip to Paris…

‘So, I am taking Ryan Air, and they say they only allow 15kg, but I’m a bit overweight, do you think that’s a problem’

‘Probably yes, how overweight is it?’

‘I have at least 21 kg’

God, six kilos overweight, I mean come on, of course that will be a problem!! Especially Ryan Air! Her first trip outside of the USA, cute no? It wasn’t very cute anymore when she litteraly spent all night typing on her computer: as she had to leave at 5AM, no point in going to sleep… Well thank you… At 6, that girl came stumbling in the room and crashed on the floor by my bed. Her friend put her to sleep, and she started snoring like a man… At 8, was woken up by a horrible noise, I thought E. was having an asthma attack, but no, it was just my roomate choking in her own puke. It did not even woke her up, but at least she stopped snoring. Americans, they just can’t handle their alcohol 😉 Ah dear, it ached how much I miss hostel life.

After all that adventure, we headed to the flea market at El Rastro, where you will find everything necessary to commit the perfect murder.

For lunch, we bought the delicacy of Madrid: bocadillo de calamares ( fried calamaris sandwich) AND against all expectations, it is not that bad! Last stop at the train station of Atocha on our way to the bus, they have recreated the rain forest in there, with a pond full of turtles.

It was a very touristy week end, but they say Madrid is a city that never sleeps… I am already planning a second trip with C., fiesta being the main purpose of visit!

Cheers,

M.

Photo Week Challenge: Patterns

Hi!

Want to know what happened today? I woke up, I realized -5 months later – that yes, I had left NZ, that it wasn’t just a f*** nightmare but actually my life.

How do you even let go of your dreams once they are fulfilled?

Blah, horrible day really, I spent about 5hours preparing a magnificent Power Point presentation for my class tonight, went up in front of everyone to present, and that’s only when I realized I actually did not bring the power point document with me. FML or what??

Catedral Vieja, Salamanca

Catedral Vieja, Salamanca

Thank god for a nice Photo Challenge! Patterns, it’s exactly what came out of my trip to Madrid. Churches, cathedrals or convents, they all have this very peculiar kind of decoration, with amazing paintings on the ceilings. I picked what to me are the most beautiful ceilings I have seen so far.

Hope you had a better Monday than I did!

Cheers,

M.

 

 

 

Madrid – Part 1

Hello!

I was woken up this Sunday morning at 8:30 by the church next door… I don’t know why, but the priest decided he’d do his entire mass on speaker phones… After half an hour of his screaming in my ears ‘Rosanna… Senor…Misericordia’ and on and on and on, I decided to get up and started a full on day of studying… I gave up at 7:30 tonight because really, how is it that 5 years later I am still studying the same bullshit wondering why I only ever study things I’ll never know of what use they’ll be to me, and how it is that 5 years later I still cannot understand any of it.

Boring story no? So let me talk to you about my week end in Madrid! I spent two days and two nights there, with a brilliant sunshine, my favorite friend and I was very agreeably surprised by this city! So much fun, so many people – NICE people – so many GUYS (Salamanca is absoluty empty of the 20-35  years old male population, I still have no clue why), and just purely beautiful architecture. My favorite part was of course El Retiro, bloody huge park in the middle of the city. We spent a few hours there, just chilling and we had an amazing sunset! It was a rather quiet day that we had to start, just eating, drinking sangria, lambrusco and mojitos. We wandered the streets and found the cutest market ever, Mercado San Miguel and definitly you have to go there at night to have some tapas and wine. We had a yogurt ice cream, this guy comes to me to ask where I found my ice cream (I was literrally standing by the ice cream stand…) and I recognised him from being a schoolmate from France! Small world no?!

Madrid is so much more expensive than Salamanca, but it’s probably on the level of France. I went way over budget that first day, but on our second day, we did a lot more visits, sights seeing, museums which was even more fun! But that will be for another post, because as usual I do not know how to pick JUST the best pictures…

Another week of exams, papers due, and other presentations and then I am finished! Before finals that is…

Hope everyone had a great week end,

M.

Travel theme: Beaches

Thank you Where is my backpack? for this beautiful theme this week… Just what I needed!

I love beaches obviously, and I have a million photos from my trip Down Under, but I tried to narrow it down to the very best… My favorite beach in the whole world is the one from Fremantle, it is perfection itself: white thin sand with blue lagoon water. If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I can still feel how it was to walk on it, the freshness and pureness on my skin …

Freo <3

Freo ❤

No more for today, I hope these few pics will make you travel… We are having some sun in Salamanca for a couple of days, finally!!

I hope everyone is having a great week end as well, any great plans to share?

Cheers!

M.

Take me away

Hello!

Friday again can you believe it? Where has this week gone? But thank god for the week end, the weather has been horrendous all week again, this winter just won’t end! God damn continent, take me back Down Under!

IMGP0315Which leads me to talk to you about the West Coast of Tasmania this week (see this post last week on the East Coast)… Driving in Tassie, it is very slow, very narrow and winding, it’s deep in the forest or on the edge of a cliff, but it is so much fun!

I drove from the Freycinet to Lake St Clair National Park, where I had a little walk around the park. It was a lovely walk, just like all the parks in Tassie, the path is drawn on the ground, or completly covered with wood to protect the wilderness. That’s when I realized something was wrong with my feet, I had so much discomfort I took off my shoes and they had trippled volume from the amount of bites… I haven’t been able to wear them again all week, but the great thing was, I could drive bare feet, like a true Australian bush man! My only disapointment? I did not see a single platypus!

 

I spent the night in the little village of Strahan, as adviced by Lonely Planet. If the YHA was a bit of a ‘challenge’, Strahan was a lovely wee village to spend the night, I had a delicious fish and chips watching yet another gorgeous sunet!

 

 

I then drove to Craddle Mountain, probably the most famous site of Tasmania and indeed, it is picturesque! I only took the small hike around the lake, but you can do the big journey to the top, or rent a kayak and paddle on the lake. Beautiful beautiful site, I must have taken a million pictures of it from every possible angle, however, it is very rare that you’ll see it with blue sky… unfortunately.

My journey ended where it started, in Launceston. I spent the day roasting in the sun at the Cataract Gorge before taking the plane back to Melbourne.

A week was defintily not enough to see all that Tassie has to offer. The fact that I rented a car was a huge plus, but definitly my most expensive holiday!

Have a great week end everyone!

Cheers,

M.