Snow in London and a weekend in Sweden

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It snowed in London last week and everything came to a grinding halt like it always does. Although there is a slight improvement year to year. At least they don’t cancel ALL the buses anymore. But some more salt and grit on the pavements wouldn’t go amiss.

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Once it settled it was rather pretty (I must admit) but I’m so glad it’s all melted again.

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As it was freezing as well, I made some soup to warm me up one night. I used to make soup all the time and I must get back into it; it’s so warming and delicious and takes only minutes to make!

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I also went to the cinema and saw Phantom Thread and managed to celebrate a friend’s birthday despite the snow disruptions. But the best part of the week was my weekend in Sweden. a) Because I actually got there – which wasn’t certain at all because of the snow, and b) because I was the godmother at the christening of my best friend’s baby girl. It was such a special moment that I will treasure forever.

Because there was a lot of snow in Sweden too I just stayed in with my parents for the rest of the weekend which was lovely. We had a lovely dinner on Saturday night and just enjoyed having quality time together!

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Dinner with the girls and a weekend in Norfolk

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This past week was just lovely. I had a few evenings to myself but also had a wonderful dinner with Ro and Gaby one night. Ro cooked this really yummy chicken dish with mustard and panko breadcrumbs – recipe here – and we had a lovely time chatting and drinking prosecco.

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Gaby brought pudding; amazing doughnuts from Crosstown Doughnuts! We tried three different ones and they were all yummy (yuzu & passionfruit; cinnamon and raspberry) but I think the winner was the raspberry one.

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On Friday night I went up to Norfolk for the weekend and had such a lovely time walking on the beach, breathing in the (very) fresh air and just taking it easy.

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The countryside there actually looks a lot like the part of Sweden I’m from so I felt right at home, although the beaches here were even wider. It was so nice to be in the countryside and lower the pace for a bit.

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And eat nice food in cosy country pubs and have fish and chips by the beach. Now, it’s back to the real world, but that’s quite nice too!

Barcelona: Born and burgers at Bacoa

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Lots of restaurants in Barcelona are closed for Sunday dinner, so we hadn’t made any proper plans. Instead we decided to go for a walk, from our hotel in Barri Gotic to the Born district not far away, that went from scruffy to trendy quite recently.

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Now it was filled with restaurant (some closed for the evening, some fully booked) and hipster bars and we really liked the vibe here. I really enjoy walking around different neighbourhoods in a city and get to know the city that way. It paints a picture of what it’s like to live there and that beats queuing for tourist attractions in my book.
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After walking around Born for a while we turned on to the main street by the seafront and saw a packed burger place. Yes, we could eat a nice burger and take a break from tapas. And it was completely rammed with people, young and old, which we took as a good sign.

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The burger chain (they have a few restaurants in Barcelona and one in Madrid) isn’t your typical fast food joint. You order by the counter but get to choose what type of bread you want and any toppings you like to really make the burger your own.

I chose the best quality beef burger, a brioche bun, cheddar and their recommended trimmings and truffle mayo on the side and it was seriously good. The beef was really tender and full of flavour. The garnish nice and fresh and the bun lovely.

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Emma had the chicken burger that had been marinated and was really tender as well, with brioche bun and the recommended toppings. We also shared a side of patatas pravas that were really nice!

Oh, and another good thing. Once you’ve ordered you get an order number, sit down at the wooden tables and then they bring you the food when it’s ready. Much more civilised than McDonald’s. And obviously nicer!

Bacoa, Av. del Marquès de l’Argentera 1, 08003 Barcelona

Barcelona: brunch at Milk and Catedral de Barcelona

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Only five minutes’ walk from our hotel was this cute place serving some of the best brunch in the city. I found this out via Time Out and I was certainly not the only one as we were met with a long queue, but it moved quickly and about 15 minutes later we sat down to eat.

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It’s a cosy place with a lot of tables and a few seats at the bar. It was packed and buzzing; nice atmosphere for a Sunday brunch before exploring more of Barcelona.

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The service was really quick, so we got our cappuccinos, and my freshly squeeze orange juice almost directly after we ordered them.

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And soon after that our food arrived. Emma had the Greek yoghurt with fruit salad and granola which was really nice and fresh. Extra points for serving the yoghurt in another bowl.

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I was craving eggs and had the scrambled eggs with morcilla and gruyère on toast.

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We also got a bread basket just to make sure we had enough carbs for our long day walking around the city.

Milk, Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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After brunch we headed to La Pedrera, via Catedral de Barcelona. We both like “ticking” things off along the way. Efficient sightseeing – that’s us!

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The Cathedral is rather breathtaking and definitely worth a little detour.

Catedral de Barcelona, Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

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I also enjoy looking at pretty old buildings, and especially Barcelona offers a lot of nice facades.

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Some more traditional, and some in the iconic modernista style.

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Like Palau de la Música Catalana; a pretty concert hall with pillars, angels and painted walls.

Palau de la Música Catalana, C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

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I think I prefer the simpler styles though, like these more traditional facades with shutters and balconies. So pretty!

Barcelona: cocktails at Old Fashioned and late supper at Bar Mut

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After our fab (but early; we sat down at 7pm) dinner at Bodega 1900 we found a nice cocktail bar called Old Fashioned to chill in. It was small and cosy, had nice music on but you could still talk and an extensive cocktail list. Lovely! Also, all the staff were bearded men with white shirts and suspenders. Cute!

I went for a Gin Tonica, the Spanish version of gin and tonic served in a large glass on a stem. I tried one with strawberry notes and it was served with a dried strawberry slice. Really nice!

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Emma asked for a fruity drink and received one with strawberries and raspberries. It was good fun sitting here chatting and people watching for a bit.

Old Fashioned, Calle Santa Teresa nº 1, Gràcia, 08012 Barcelona, Spain

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Until we got hungry again and headed to nearby Bar Mut that I was drying to try. I so love that the restaurants here are open late.

At Bar Mut there’s no printed menu, but some dishes are written on the board and your waiter will tell you the rest. You can also choose your fish and shellfish from the iced counter. Everything’s fresh and seasonal. Simple, but not too simple.

We started off with white asparagus that were perfectly cooked, and served with a light mayonnaise, nuts and leaves.

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I’ve never been able to resist croquetas and this time was no exception. These big ones with iberico ham were amazing!

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Our last dish (I mean, we had had a proper dinner earlier that evening) was a this lovely beef dish with morels and a delicious sauce.

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We walked out happy and full, heading back to the hotel in our taxi for another full day of exploring Barcelona the next day.

They don’t have Uber here but other similar taxi companies (the one we used had its own fleet and all cars had free water and wi-fi – so good!) that we used a lot, especially in the evenings when we were tired from walking all day.

Bar Mut, Pau Clarís nº 192 (Diagonal), Barcelona, Spain

 

Rosendahls Garden Café, Stockholm

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Our last day in Stockholm was sunny and warm, so our plan of spending the first part of the day at Djurgården was perfect.

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We took the ferry there from Slussen, walked around and then stopped for fika and rosé at Rosendahls Trädgårdscafé, a lovely garden café. I had a roll with cheese while mum and dad had a cinnamon bun each. Sadly, we were too full to have the proper lunch as we were still full from the hotel breakfast buffet of bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes. But at least we had room for rosé! It was so lovely to sit outside enjoying the sunshine and sipping wine in beautiful surroundings.

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We had a look in the nice shop and walked around the garden before heading back to central Stockholm with the tram.

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We still had some shopping to make before heading to the airport. It was such a lovely long weekend and I recommend anyone thinking of visiting Stockholm to go during spring or summer when the weather is (generally) nice.

Rosendahls Trädgårdscafé, Rosendalsvägen 38, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden

My Stockholm weekend in pictures

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I spent the first May bank holiday weekend in sunny Stockholm with my parents. It was lovely to see them and do Stockholm with them. Since they live in the south of Sweden (where I grew up) they have Copenhagen around the corner so visits to the Swedish capital don’t occur very often.

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I arrived late on the Friday night so our weekend started on the Saturday morning with a lovely hotel breakfast before we headed out to a nursery called Zetas trädgård. My mum is very into gardening so she was the one who wanted to go, but my dad and I enjoyed the beautiful surroundings too and especially the lovely café.  In the afternoon we came back into the town centre and did some shopping before we had dinner in the old town.

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The restaurant we went to is a very classic Swedish one, called Den Gyldene Freden, and one my dad had been to before and really liked. The food was lovely and it was fun to be in a restaurant were everybody were drinking snaps. Old school!

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After dinner I met up with my friend Carina for drinks at Tweed, also in the old town and we had a lovely evening catching up over cocktails. Such a great bar!

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On the Sunday we walked around the city in the sunshine and made sure to see the cherry blossom in Kungsträdgården. It’s such a lovely sight and a must-see this time of year.

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We then walked to Gamla Stan (old town) and did some sightseeing.

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We happened to be at the Royal Palace at the time for the changing of the guards, so by chance we were proper tourists!

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That afternoon I met up with my friends Mirja and Linus in the afternoon for fika and ice cream outside. So lovely!
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On the Sunday night we went to a great restaurant I have wanted to try for ages; Rolfs Kök. And it was even better than I expected it to be!

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The bank holiday Monday we took the ferry to Djurgården and walked around.

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We had a nice walk around the island and stopped at the café at Rosendal for some rosé and fika. It was nice and warm and lovely to sit outside in the sunshine.

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We took the tram back to the town centre for some last minute shopping before heading to the airport. I like the mixture of nature, water and city life Stockholm has to offer. It really is quite relaxing to go here for a city break!