A Weekend in Spain: Barcelona and Free Art


Barcelona is a fairy-tale city that’s brimming with architecture and art that rivals (or arguably exceeds) that of most other European cities.

The really good news is that you don’t need a vast budget to discover the best of the artistic backdrop here, as there is plenty you can enjoy for free over a weekend in Spain.

In passing, yes, Gaudi is the city’s most famous artist and architect but there’s so much more, too!

Seeing Barcelona’s Artistic legacy for free

The incredible La Sagrada Familia is like nothing else. Descriptions and photos cannot do it justice but you don’t need to even find the entrance fee because so much can be obtained from admiring the architecture from the outside.

On your way there, if you stroll along the ‘Modernism Route’, you’ll pass the Casa Mila and the Casa Amatller, which are both fantasy houses that look more like they were designed as a theatre set!

Barcelona is also famous for Joan Miro and the ‘Fundacio’ set up to display his work. There is a modest entrance charge to get into the Fundacio but note also that Miro’s work is widely visible throughout the city and much of that is available to admire entirely free of charge. These cost savings can make a weekend in Spain break to Barcelona just that bit more affordable.

Don’t forget also the Parc de Joan Miro with its wonderful sculptures and look out for his amazing mosaics on Las Ramblas.

On Sundays, most of the museums here are free – worth keeping in mind if you’re on a budget!

Places to see also include:

• El Ravel, one of the most famous streets for art and street art
• The Roy Lichtenstein sculpture
• Frank Gehry’s ‘Peix’ on the seafront.
Getting to Barcelona

Most people taking a weekend in Spain break arrive by air. A flight from London airports to Barcelona takes only two hours. You may opt to take the train or drive to Barcelona, but this can be a long and tiresome journey – albeit a scenic one!

In terms of transfers, Barcelona airport is a short and easy ride into the city, only about 25 minutes. The public transport system in the city centre is excellent. Airport buses run at regular intervals into the city, with total journey time running about 40 minutes.

Where to Stay

Hostal Grau – A good budget hotel well positioned for Las Ramblas. An eco-friendly and family-run establishment, the rooms are simple but stylish and all come with private bathrooms. The restaurant is charmingly eccentric and serves excellent local dishes.

The Catalonia Catedral – This hotel offers good mid-priced accommodation in the city.
The modern building has a terrace, garden and a rooftop swimming pool. The rooms are beautifully decorated and provide the latest amenities. A big plus point is that the hotel has a stylish bar and a brassiere with great views of the Palacio Pignatelli Gallery.

Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona GL – For those who don’t mind spending a little extra, the Majestic Hotel is a fantastic choice. This luxury hotel offers steam baths, a sauna and related treatments. Then there’s the fitness centre, rooftop swimming pool, terrace and wonderful views, all of which help to set this stunning hotel apart. All in allArticle Submission, a wonderful hotel in a fantastic location for a weekend in Spain holiday – if your budget so permits!

12 Mistakes You Should Never Make With Your Skin

Everybody always talks about what you should do to your skin, and how you should treat it. But does anybody ever talk about the things you shouldn’t do? There are so many mistakes you can make, and it’s imperative you avoid them if you want gorgeous skin. Here are 12 mistakes you should never make – ever!

Using Products That Don’t Suit You

Using products that don’t suit you should be classed as a crime. In order to ensure you never do this, you need to know your skin type. If you don’t know how to analyse it, look online. Do some tests and answer some questions relating to your skin, or go and see a professional. Just bear in mind that your skin can change over time, so you should look out for changes and then treat it accordingly.

Touching it Too Much

If you constantly touch your face and other areas of your body, you could be transferring bacteria onto yourself. This will cause spots, imperfections, and oiliness. Pay attention to the times you touch your face and mindfully stop yourself. If you go to the gym, it’s even more important that you avoid doing this! Many people have fallen ill due to being unhygienic in places prone to bacteria such as the gym.

Failing to Exfoliate

Exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells and encourages new skin cells. You’ll instantly reveal brighter, more glowing skin. If you don’t exfoliate, you can get patchy, uneven skin. You may even find that your complexion looks quite dull. Make sure you use a facial exfoliator to get the smooth result you crave. Anything too harsh could damage your skin! Make sure you use one for sensitive skin if you think you might be prone to broken capillaries and things like that.


Staying Sweaty for Too Long

Going to the gym is great. Kudos to you if you workout! Just make sure you don’t stay sweaty for too long. Wash your face and body as soon as you can after working out. I’d give yourself a half hour window, max. This way, you can fight off any spots and get rid of excess oil.


Smoking is bad for so many reasons – I could write a post based on this alone! However, it’s also very bad  for the skin. It’ll age you by reducing your elasticity and creating lines where there shouldn’t be any lines.

Drinking to Excess

Drinking too much is bad for skin too. It can age us, cause redness/broken capillaries, spots, and so much more. Having an occasional drink is OK, just not drinking all the time. Monitor your intake and be honest with yourself.

Eating Rubbish

Food can make or break your skin. You can use as many great products as you like, but if you’re eating rubbish, your skin may not benefit. Cut down on processed foods and sugar for a start. Some people even believe that dairy can be to blame for bad skin. Eat lots of foods that are good for the skin, like vegetables. Eating healthy the majority of the time should encourage your skin to look great.

Using Sunbeds

Many people try to justify the use of sunbeds, but the truth is; they’re bad. Australia has already banned them. Using them just a couple of times can increase your risk of skin cancer. You’ll age, develop sun spots, and there are a number of other things you can suffer from. If you’re not you without your tan, get it out of a bottle instead. It’s much safer!

Failing to Protect from the Sun

When you go out in the sun, you need to protect your skin. Even if it isn’t sunny outside you need to protect your skin! The sun can damage our skin whether it’s hot or not. Make sure you use products containing an SPF, and that you wear protective clothing. This is especially important in hot countries, but also in your home country. Do it now or regret it later!


Neglecting Your Hands and Neck

The hands and neck have a thinner layer of skin on them than anywhere else. This means that they can begin to look much older than they are if you’re not careful. That, paired with the fact that they are usually exposed, means they can quickly become damaged. Make sure you protect them in the same way as the rest of your body!

Picking at It

Any time you pull or pick at your skin, you’re creating damage. Most of us know we shouldn’t do it, yet we do it anyway. Remember that whenever you do this, you’re creating a scar or a wrinkle. If you consciously decide not to do this, you’ll enjoy younger looking, perfect skin for longer. Using a product such as http://www.platinumskincare.com/tca-peel-13-20-30/ can help to reduce any impurities that are already present. Make it your goal to avoid making more of them!

Cleansing Too Much

Cleansing too much can strip the skin of natural oils and make it even worse. Your skin will over compromise by creating more oil, and then you’ll end up with impurities and blemishes. You should only cleanse twice per day; in the morning and at night. If you exercise, make sure one of your cleanses is afterwards. If you want to give your face a wipe over any other time, using a micellar water is gentle enough to be used again. You could even use a toner!

Avoid making these 12 mistakes with your skin, and you should notice big improvements in no time at all. Even if your skin is in pretty good condition to begin with, making sure you use the tips in this guide will keep it that way. If you don’t start taking care of your skin now, you’ll wish that you did later on down the line. If you have any skincare tips of your own, make sure you leave a comment below. Come back for more tips soon!

5 Quick Tips for Boosting Skin Health


Healthy skin is beautiful skin, but sometimes it can be all-too-easy to ditch a step in our skincare regimen here and there. The skin care experts over at www.skincarebyalana.com are firm believers that what you put on your skin is only half the battle, which is why I want to share these 5 quick tips for boosting skin health with you!

Quick Tip #1 – Apply (and Reapply) Your SPF – Sun protection seems to be a pretty engrained practice in today’s skincare/makeup world, but how many of you can honestly say you diligently reapply? The typical rule of thumb is to slather one your SPF once every two hours when you are relaxing in indirect sunlight, and at least once an hour if you are sweating or soaking beach/poolside in direct sunlight. While applying SPF in the morning is a great first step, it does not protect you throughout the day, so be sure to find a reapplication method that works for you and stick to it! A huge trend as of recently has been powdered sunscreen, and we are also seeing an emergence of sunscreen infused makeup setting sprays hitting the market as well!

Quick Tip #2 – Try Exfoliating – If you have not jumped on board the exfoliating train, there is no better time than now! Exfoliating does so many things for you skin, and helps to deliver both immediate and long-term results. In the short term, you can expect to see brighter, healthier skin. This is the result of sloughing away dead skin cells to reveal the fresh skin underneath. In the long-term you can expect a smoother, more even skin tone! This is because exfoliation helps to stimulate cellular turnover, and also allows your products to penetrate your skin much better.

Quick Tip # 3 – Get Your Hands on a Primer – Though primers have gained some traction in the makeup/skincare world, the honest truth is that many people still are not embracing them. Why? Because it is yet another step in their makeup/skincare routine – though a totally worthwhile one in my opinion. If large pores, oiliness, or uneven skin are an issue for you, primers can be a great quick fix. Good primers help to fill in enlarged pores and fine lines, and even out skin tone, in an effort to give you a beautiful canvas. A common misconception is that you must wear a foundation over your primer, which is not so! Enjoy a loose setting powder or powdered SPF for lighter coverage, and beautiful results. A quick tip: don’t be afraid in invest in a good primer. Some of the best formulas not only help to make your skin look beautiful, but contain ingredients that will help contribute to skin health in the long term!

Quick Tip #4 – Two Words: Eye Cream – This is yet another step that many people seem to overlook, but definitely shouldn’t. The right eye cream can take you for tired looking, to fresh and vibrant in a matter of minutes, while delivering a dose of moisture and nutrients to your skin. The skin around your eyes is some of the most delicate skin on your body, so it is important to preventative care.

Quick Tip #5 – Always Do a Test Strip – There are way too many people who get a new product and confidently slather it on their face, eager to see the results. The fault in this is that you never know how you will react to a new product. While things often turn out just fine, it is very possible to have a negative reaction, which can range from minor to major. Rather than diving right in, be sure to apply a test strip 24-48 hours in advance. You can do this by swiping a small amount of the product along your jaw line (somewhere you can easily see) and waiting to see if any reaction occurs.

3 home decorating tips to get a luxury look for less


Renovating your home within a reasonable budget can be difficult, especially when construction is included. Sometimes your ideal choices of materials and pieces may be unaffordable. However, there are ways to get luxury for less, either by investing in your future needs or with look-alike alternatives.

Kitchen worktops

Expert suppliers of kitchen worktops in luxury materials, like Modern Worktops, aim to encourage buyers to pay extra for quartz or granite worktops. Rather than choosing the mildly more affordable wood options, the advantage of stone is its durability, resilience and longevity.

Formed naturally, granite, quartz and marble are all beautiful looking kitchen worktop materials. They are also heat proof and chip resistant. Quartz comes with a hygienic bonus as natural gaps in the stone are sealed.

However, the cost that comes with stone worktops means that many seek out a cheaper option. For the look of granite, use upper end laminate. The cheaper the laminate the weaker the material, so mid-range sheets in a style of your preference will give the illusion of stone without the cost.


A good rug, with a stylish design and soft feel, will cost several hundred pounds. But a great rug can cost over a thousand. Bespoke rug designers like Bazaar Velvet specialise in providing a superior selection for those seeking the very best. Not only are the materials of the finest quality, but the hand-knotted construction is as much an art as the design of the rugs.

While a stunning rug like theirs would be an investment and sure to last a lifetime, you simply might not be able to afford it. That doesn’t mean that a good, well designed and durable enough rug is out of reach. Rugs make for great accents in a home so getting one that suits your house is important.

John Lewis’ range of rugs starting at the overly affordable end for less than £100, then move up to several hundred. For a classic look rug in ornate patterns and a close weave, you’ll be looking at around £600 on average. But for a more modern, arty print rug, you can find great choices in the £250 to £350 range.


Your furnishings will be one of the most important finishing touches for you home. For example, without somewhere to lounge on your evenings in, you might as well not have a living room. But, as with rugs and kitchen worktops, after other big renovations, you might not have the funds for expensive furnishings.

While companies like Argos and Mahahome offer affordable furnishings, an even cheaper alternative is to try using Gumtree or Freecycle. If you are quick and willing to make the trip to collect them these can be great bargains.

Once you have your furnishings, you can either keep them as is or, if possible, get them reupholstered for a cheap price. Doing your own upholstering or using a local seamstress could save you hundreds and allow you to find the perfect pattern from a wholesaler.

5 Interior Design Mistakes That Everyone Makes, Even Me!

As any regular reader of my blog will know, I love home improvement. Although I don’t consider myself an expert, I do think I know more about interior design that most people. After all, I am doling out tips so people can improve their homes! However, even I make mistakes from time to time. I no, I am as shocked as you are!

But, because I am here to help, I thought I would go over these mistakes, so you don’t fall foul of them, too.

Buying Furniture Before Measuring A Room

On the face of it, this one sounds like a something you would never do. How do you know what can fit into a room without measuring it first? Exactly, but time plays a huge part in this decision. Depending on the size of the renovation, it could take ages to finish the job. For that reason, people try and cut corners and make mistakes. Not only will guessing if furniture fits cost you money, but it will also cost you time as made to measure furniture can take weeks to build.


Not Taking The Doors Seriously

With interior design, everything is important because the little details can make a big difference. However, there are parts of your home that you will take more seriously than others. For example, you will concentrate harder on the lighting and colour scheme than you will on the windows and doors. But, the doors, in particular, can transform your home. Interior doors take up a lot of space and are plentiful in most properties. For that reason, you cannot afford not to decorate them and make them look amazing. Dull and ugly looking doors can affect every room in the house that you have tried to make look so appealing.

Getting Everything In One Day

Again, there is a need to speed up the process. The problem with buying everything in one day is that it is incredibly stressful. Spending the full day picking out every aspect of your home will leave you tired, angry and stressed. Even worse, you run the risk of matching every room because you cannot keep up with what you have purchased. And, you could change your mind and buy new stuff. That means you could waste a fortune because you couldn’t wait.

Decorating Without Help

Now, you don’t always need a professional. Obviously, professionals have a lot of benefits. But, the negative of the price could easily outweigh all the positives, especially if you cannot afford them in the first place! Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enlist someone else’s help. Any person who is capable with a paintbrush or wallpaper will make the process a lot easier. Remember: finding help is the legitimate way to speed up interior design.

Overcomplicating Everything

Because it is your home, there is a need to go over the top. With regards to interior design, simplicity is always best. Stick to the basics and your home will never lose its appeal.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list, so always be on the lookout for more potential mistakes.

Ideas For Planning A Hen Do With A Difference

Traditionally, the hen do was the bride’s last chance to let her hair down with her friends before tying the knot. This meant a night on the town partying, sipping cocktails and having a laugh with the girls.

Today, however, that’s not always the case. Not all brides like the idea of spending their hen do going out and getting drunk. Many prefer to do something a little bit different, and that’s absolutely fine.


If you are in the process of organising a hen do for a friend who doesn’t want to go out and party, you may be a little stuck for ideas. However, there is no need to panic, as I have put together a guide to lots of hen party ideas with a difference.

Book a spa weekend

If the bride-to-be is in need of a good pamper, booking a spa weekend is the perfect way to celebrate her last days of freedom. Choose the poshest hotel that you and the other hens can afford, and spend a couple of days having treatments and sipping champagne.

The best thing about a spa weekend hen do is that even if the bride doesn’t like the idea of going clubbing, you can still have a drink at the hotel bar. You can also enjoy delicious meals in the restaurant, complete with more champagne.

Go to London

If the bride-to-be fancies a hen do that’s fun and exciting but doesn’t want to go out and get drunk, planning a trip to the capital is ideal. There are so many amazing things to see and do here, so no matter what happens, you will have an amazing time.

If you have a look online, you should be able to find a few package deals for London hen dos. These won’t all include clubbing, there will be various deals that will be perfect for you, the bride and the other hens. From cocktail making classes to sightseeing deals, you should be able to find lots of fantastic deals.

Stay in a fancy hotel and have afternoon tea

For an elegant hen do, consider booking rooms in a nice hotel for a couple of nights. While you are there, you could spend the afternoon enjoying a sophisticated afternoon tea. This could either be at the hotel where you are staying – you may be able to get a deal that includes this, or at a local cafe.

If the bride wants to include her older relatives in the hen do, including her mother and the groom’s mother, afternoon tea is perfect. To make the occasion more special, why not opt for a venue that offers champagne, as well as tea?

Go on an activity day

If the bride-to-be loves sports, an activity day could be the perfect option for her hen do. From abseiling to archery, there are lots of fantastic activities you can do. If there is something that the bride has always wanted to try, such as whitewater rafting, find an activity centre that offers it.

To get a good deal, keep an eye out on sites like Wowcher and Groupon. You should be able to find some good deals on these sites. There are lots of activity centres to choose from, so you should be able to find a suitable one.

Planning a hen do with a difference is a lot easier than you think, all you need to do is take note of the tips and ideas, above.

How I Manage to Save the Pennies When I Go Clothes Shopping

Like most ladies, I love to go shopping, but I’m forever shuddering at the prices. So I’ve developed some great methods to save myself valuable pennies when I go shopping. Check them out and try to put them into practice yourself.

I Set a Budget

My first piece of advice to you would be to always make sure you set a budget. I do this before I even leave the house. I sit down and decide what I want to buy. And it doesn’t matter if I’m getting shoes for this summer or a coat for the coming winter. I always make sure I set a budget. This means I know exactly what I can spend, and how much I have to play with. By not setting a budget you’re going to end up overspending and coming home with bags of things you don’t need. Believe me, I’ve done it!


Always Shop the Sales

I can’t stress this enough ladies – always make sure you shop the sales. There will always be sales on no matter what time of year it is. And a lot of the time you’re going to find that you can get really great bargains by using the sales. You might even think about buying stuff off-season as I sometimes do. For instance, as we move into winter some stores will start to put their summer stock on sale to get rid of it. This is the perfect opportunity to buy some bits for next year at knockdown prices. But I’m sure there will be current seasonal stuff on sale as well.

Remember to Use Vouchers

These days it seems like there are vouchers and coupons that can be used for anything. And this is great because it means that there are money saving opportunities out there. It’s just a case of us finding them. Now, I like go online and check out the range of vouchers that are on offer. Click here and you can browse them yourself. There’s no good reason to not make use of vouchers nowadays. These are essentially free discounts that are just lying there waiting to be used. And the stigma surrounding discount vouchers is no longer around these days. I always make sure I have plenty of vouchers with me whenever I go shopping, and you should do the same.

Check Out Charity Shops

Okay, before you turn your nose up at me I should tell you that charity shops are a gold mine! So many of us ladies look down on the idea of shopping in charity shops. But you need to try to get past this opinion. I used to be the same, but I have discovered that charity shops are an untapped resource. Sure, you’re not going to find anything nice in most of these places. But there will be one of two things you might find that you really like. Experience tells me that we’re going to end up paying much less for charity shop garments. So don’t you dare discount charity shops as a way of saving money!

We all love to go shopping; as women it’s in our DNA. But the problem is money is so much tighter these days. And a lot of clothes seem to be getting more expensive. So we’ve always got to look for new and improved ways to save money when we shop. I’ve listed mine here for you, so try them out and let me know how you get on.