City of colour

This is probably the longest time since starting my blog that I haven’t posted, but I’ve honestly just been having such a busy, fast-paced summer that I decided to go with it and take some time to enjoy all the experiences. I could have squeezed in a post a week, but the truth is it’s been super refreshing to not have to think too much about social media or getting my thoughts down on here while travelling around and spending time with great people. And now after a bit of a break I feel re-energised, positive and focused on sharing the content I have collected as well as creating more over the coming months.

First stop was Barcelona, and I can honestly say I’ve never come across such a colourful and vibrant city, even if everything didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to! Most of the time when travelling everything has run pretty smoothly for me, so it seemed too good to be true that not one of my holidays would throw some obstacles in the road. Our flight got delayed so we missed the last train in Barcelona, taxi companies were on strike and night buses were our last resort but not our greatest friends. Luckily, my pals and I are a pretty positive bunch and turned every bump in the road into a belly laugh and a good story to tell when we arrived home.

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DRESS Zara (old, similar here) | MULES ASOS | BAG Shein | SCARF Vintage

Knackered, we made it to our hotel about 2am (four hours later than expected) but the wait was worth it as the H10 Itica welcomed us with open arms. The service was lovely and the room was dreamy (complimentary chocolates and bottled water definitely well recieved). The breakfast selection was huge and when we felt like we physically couldn’t do anymore walking in the heat we could chill by the pool with a cocktail and a good book. Although it wasn’t located quite in the centre the surrounding bus and metro links  are fab (it helps if you can read a map though, unlike me).

Day one consisted of exploring the fascinating Gothic Quarter, with stunning antique architecture, towering cathedral and cobbled side streets filled with character. From what we saw this was by far my favourite slice of Barcelona – old towns always intrigue me with their charm – and had a great selection of bars, cafes and shops as well as the touristy areas.

In the evening we dined at the top of Las Arenas de Barcelona, a shopping centre with a selection of restaurants and an amazing 360 rooftop view of the city as the sun set. On recommendation from the hotel we ventured to a funky little Tiki bar called Kahala, with equally funky cocktails, and then headed into the centre to a club called City Hall (note: don’t bother with a night out halfway across town unless you can get a taxi as the night buses were a nightmare).

The weather was gorgeous but the heat was intense, so I opted for a lot of casual, throw-on day dresses and comfy shoes. This yellow knitted wrap dress was ideal and a bargain from the Zara sale at £5.99 and these heeled ASOS mules have lasted a good couple of years and are surprisingly easy for long city day treks. I feel like Barcelona is definitely my kind of place aesthetically; bursts of colour and quirky details everywhere made me feel right at home in my summery outfits. Having a scarf to tie my hair up in also proved a godsend (the sweaty frizzy mess wasn’t a great look) and this straw bag held all my bits and bobs for exploring and the beach while complimenting all my outfits too.

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TOP H&M | SHORTS Oysho (now on sale) | SANDALS Birkenstock | HAT H&M | BIKINI (worn underneath) Shein

For most of the trip I did rely on my trusty Birkenstock sandals – no other shoe compares to their comfort and versatility and while I packed other pairs I just didn’t dare risk it when walking so much. Oysho is a brand I’ve previously declared my love for (we had a mooch around the store in Barcelona too and I picked up some great sale pieces) and their linen shorts were a dream in the sun and as a beach cover up. The earthy tone creates a base for summer neutrals and such an easy outfit meant I could stick my yellow bikini on underneath for a pop of colour.

The agenda for the second day was a relaxing one to cure our hangovers, so we headed for the castle on the hill (Montjuic) which was incredible, again with amazing views of Barcelona. The history and sheer size of it was so interesting, and if you’re under 30 you can get a pass for 3 euros. The atmosphere buzzing through the city is so much fun and there’s music everywhere – brilliant buskers dominated each corner of wherever we went and brought a smile to our faces on pit stops for snacks and water. We caught a cable car to Barceloneta beach and spent the afternoon sunbathing there (warning that this is the most overpopulated and toursity seaside ever, we mostly came here for the novelty of using the cable car).

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DRESS New Look (sold out, similar here)

Park Güell is where we spent the majority of our final day and is definitely worth a visit. It features some of Gaudi’s work (as does the Sagrada Familia which we saw beforehand) and summarises the colourful aura of Barcelona as a whole. It’s about a fiver to enter the section of the park with beautiful mosaics and sculptures, but the rest is pretty spectacular too and you can walk for miles. We spotted a cross up on the hillside so headed over there and it turned out to be a viewpoint for the city and the sea which was an amazing way to end our Barcelona adventure.

I bought this green floral midi for my graduation earlier in the summer but I knew it would double-up as a great summer dress. Evidently I have a thing for wrap dresses at the mo (who doesn’t?) and the flattering style and pretty pattern of this New Look steal is still a winner for me. It’s flexible for day and night, dressy occasions (like graduation) or casual situations like strolling round Barcelona. New Look have really surprised me this year with their on-point collections for such good value.

If you haven’t seen Barcelona (probably not many of you as I’m pretty certain everyone and their dog visited this year) it’s definitely somewhere I’d recommend for a weekend break. Four nights was the right amount of time to fit in what we wanted to do without rushing, and I’d say to avoid too touristy areas and live life like the locals a bit more as this was when we had the best experience.

After travelling back to Bristol airport I headed straight to Bestival in Dorset for the weekend and captured it all on film which I’ll be sharing very soon!

Lily x

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