22nd July 2016
Helloo Friday! After travelling a lot in the past few weeks I’m excited to be back in the studio, but also pretty happy that I get to legitimately hang on the sofa and relax tomorrow. I’m sure you are too. In case you think you’ll get bored after a few hours of couch time, I wanted to share with you a very quick project that can be done in less than a few minutes, but will have you smugly admiring it for much much longer. The wood slice coffee table. If you’ve been following along on snapchat you’ll see how much I love to throw it in! I had been wanting a coffee table to put in the lounge room of our apartment (the before & after is going well!), but needed to find something small – more like a side table. I played around with the idea of marble and metal but always came back to the concept of wood. After looking around for a wood slice and coming up empty handed, I happened to stumble upon these large Chinese chopping boards – and knew they would be perfect. If you can’t find them locally, try Amazon or (if possible) your local China Town. Enjoy and have a great weekend!
- Wood slice or thick chopping board
- Hairpin legs
- Screw driver
- Place the hairpin legs on the bottom of the wood slice, adjusting so that they are spaced equally apart. Also make sure that none of the metal corners stick out over the wood.
2. Secure the hairpin legs down using screws and a screw driver, and you’re done!
I told you it was quick 🙂
After sharing the tutorial over on snapchat while I was making it, I put it out there about whether we should paint the top of it white – I wondered if that would be more fresh. Virtually everyone said no (via snapchat screenshots hahaha) so we decided to leave it. Very happy with it and glad we didn’t go for the paint. 🙂 Ps follow along for more DIY over on snap: @apair_andaspare.
Photos by Bryant Lee
21st July 2016
…As recommended by you guys. We had the best time in Madrid, partly because it’s just such a cool city, and also the Spanish have a way of making everything fun. But also because we knew all the cool places to go, thanks to you! In fact it would be wrong for me to take the credit for this guide, considering just how much time and effort you guys put into telling me where I should (and shouldn’t) go. Sadly with only 3 nights in such a big and interesting city, we weren’t able to see or do everything you guys suggested, but I tried my hardest to tick off as many things as possible. If you’re here to work out what to see and do, take a moment to look over this previous post, where so many lovely readers with Spain intel were kind enough to share.
We stayed at Dear Hotel, which I really liked and was fairly affordable (in fact a lot of accom in Spain is affordable). Even though it has a hectic lobby, and the pool is nice but not amazing (fyi the photos make it look better than it is) the real drawcard is the rooms – the decor and vibe is perfectly minimalist but also homely. We got a balcony room and loved! Another one I looked at was Praktik Metrople, but it was undergoing renovations at the time.
See & Do
Fall in love with the afternoon light at Palacio de Cristal aka the Crystal Palace. Heart eyes!
Then, hire a boat around the corner on the lake (also in Buen Retiro Park).
Wander the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (Botanic gardens) and stop in at the Cacti Greenhouse… You know me and my plants guys!
Visit El Rastro flea markets and the rest of the La Latina area on a Sunday.
Wander the Malasana District in the late afternoon as all the shops start to open up – by 9pm it’s truly buzzing!
Visit triangle of art – the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza are all within a short walk of each other. We loved the modern collections at the Reina Sofia the most.
Shop at homewares store/ cocktail bar KikeKeller. Spain seems to be full of these cool mashups!
Finally, if you have time head out for a day trip to Toledo, I’ll be sharing more on that soon.
Eat & Drink
Have a long relaxed lunch in the garden at Bosco Des Lobos – the library was gorgeous too but the breeze and plants were calling me. These guys have a few other restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona – worth checking out if you’re looking for something not on this list.
Round out a Sunday afternoon visit to La Latina with drinks on the terrace at El Viajero.
Have tapas at Mercado de San Miguel. I enjoyed going around 11am for that pre lunch snack, eaten standing at a tapas bar or counter.
Have a late dinner of fish and calamari at La Pescaderia.
Have the best tortilla at Bodega La Ardosa – they even have certificates on the wall to prove it’s the best! (?). I’m hungry just thinking about that tortilla!
Chow down on Bocata de Calamares (calamari sandwiches) in Plaza Mayor.
Take tea in the garden at Museo Nacional del Romanticismo (or… wine? The waiter tried to get us to drink this blue coconut wine but we chose rose instead).
Pay your 5 euros and join the masses at the Tartan Roof Bar. A few of you said it was too touristy, and I tend to agree. But as long as you’re looking out at the sunset instead of at the 462493 people around you it’s worth it. We had dinner there (I was hangry again!) and inside the restaurant is quite nice and a little bit away from the crowds.
Good to know
When you arrive, you really to get on Spanish time. Meaning, push all your mealtimes back 2 or 3 hours – lunch and dinner at least. You could eat dinner at 8pm, but you’ll be the only people there. I get truly hangry so was only able to conform to the 3pm lunch and 10pm dinner but having another meal between breakfast and lunch. Not a bad thing!
Everything’s just better looking in Spain, you know?
Always searching for that cactus garden.
El Rastro Flea Market
View from the top of Tartan Roof
Tiled frontages, and an accidental snap of Ben!
The library at Bosco.
Beauty everywhere you look in Madrid.
Crystal Palace was so incredibly gorgeous.
Afternoon drinks in Spain *always*
Finding ourselves a Botanical Gardens to hang out in!
The pretty facades of Madrid
This was a sight for tired, jet lagged eyes. And hungry tummies!
The pool at Dear Hotel… Small but sweet.
Sunday (market) blues
My favourite little store along El Ribera.
Keeping it light and casual – Madrid in summer is boiling hot!
Wishing I had Mary Poppin’s suitcase at this moment.
Naturally lots of the trip was captured on snapchat (add me! @apair_andaspare) – in all its randomness. Ps if you want value for money when drinking in Spain, opt for a Gin and Tonic (said as one word: ginandtonic) – they come in these giant glasses that were the size of my head, and the waitresses and pretty relaxed on the free pouring :). But don’t blame me for your headache the next day ok?
Thanks once again guys for all your insights, it’s times like these I’m so happy to have started this blog – and created a place where so many cool, lovely and generous people come and share. Here’s to travelling somewhere amazing soon! x
20th July 2016
By now you’ll probably know about my penchant for rugs, it would be scary to admit how many hours I’ve spent poring over Etsy, Ebay and just about every other rug boutique online. Between you and me a few weeks of my life at least! One thing I notice time and time again is how hard it is to buy a large sized area rug that is a) gorgeous and b) affordable. Unless you search really, really hard you’ll often find it’s one or the other. And with out little home before and after underway, you can guess that I’m on the hunt for the best solutions to potentially expensive problems. I wanted to share with you an idea I stumbled across in Barcelona (such great interior inspiration there!) – the layered rug. And not in the way you’re probably thinking.
The hotel we stayed in Casa Bonay (couldn’t recommend more highly) had this really cool courtyard/central space, where breakfast was served and it also doubled as a bar and restaurant at night. They obviously needed really big cool rugs to give the space some warmth and of going for a few huge ones, they created large sized rugs by layering smaller ones together. I’ve seen a b it of layering here and there, often a neutral rug with a bright one on top, but this was different. They used 4 to 5 of the same type of rugs, and tessellated them into a large rectangular shape. It might sound expensive, but what I noticed was that they used lighter weight kilims to create something more substantial, which in all likelihood maybe have been cheaper, and gave them the flexibility in terms of size. I really like this idea!
Check out more A Pair & A Spare Apartment posts here.
19th July 2016
Trends that I’ll love forever? Scallops are definitely up there. Whenever I see something with scallop detail I can’t help but do a double take – in a world of trends that come and go mighty quick it’s rare to find something that continues to hold me attention like that! And they’re such an simple detail to what’s in your wardrobe.
I’ve already experimented with shoes, and so we thought this time we would apply the idea to skirts. Bearing in mind that many of you have asked for projects with different variations (particularly more work appropriate ones), here’s two ways to do it.
These were the skirts we found at a local thrift store. As you can see they are super basic which makes them the perfect base for a little before & after action.
- Rik rak trim (about 2m each, depending on how wide your skirts are)
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine and thread
1. Shorten the skirt to the desired length (if at all). For the navy skirt we made it 45cm (18 in) long from the waist and added 2.5cm (1 in) for a hem, we cut the lining 1cm shorter than the finished length of the outside shell to prevent it from sticking out.
2. Fold and pin the hem in place, then sew to secure. Do the same with the hem of the lining.
3. Cut two rows of rik rak trim matching the circumference of your skirt hem. Pin the two rows together to create a wider trim by slightly overlapping the edges.
4. Use a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine to join the two trims together at the overlapping edges.
5. Pin the rik rak trim in place on the skirt so that the curved edges hang over the edge, creating a scalloped hem.
6. Using a straight stitch, follow the curve of the top edge of the rik rak and sew to the skirt.