Friday, July 31, 2009

{ B E S T }

I'm part of a the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team - BEST - and we're holding a virtual BBQ Scavenger Hunt this weekend, August 1-3. The winner gets a $30 gift certificate! All you need to do is browse the amazing offerings at 18 participating shops, locate hidden items and submit your finds to enter. You also get a chance to win for each purchase you make during the event.

Check our this post on our book team blog for details:

Most of the team members are in the Northern Hemisphere but with the beautiful weather in Sydney at the moment, it's not too much of a stretch to dream of summer BBQ's.

Here's a selection of some lovely books made by my team mates (note, these aren't necessarily the participants in the scavenger hunt!):

Monday, July 27, 2009

{ walking the streets }

I spent my days in Barcelona wandering, it's a really great city to do this particularly in the old town. Often I did this on my own but I did do two walking tours which were wonderful. They went for 2 - 2 1/2 hours each which is the perfect time for a tour I think. Enough time to learn lots but not too long to get bored.

I just booked the tours through the Tourist Information Centre in town my first day. The company I went with are called 'Barcelona Walks' and they have 5 different walking tours. The two I did were:

"Gotic - Stroll through Barcelona's Gothic Quarter where past and present meet and discover the charm of its streets, squares, hidden corners and hundred-year-old buildings.

Gourmet - Enjoy a flavour-filled journey through the old town and discover Barcelona's gastronomic culture. During this walk you will find out about the history of Barcelona's cuisine as well as some of its flagship shops and food outlets, and sample some of their produce."

There's nothing quite like having days of unstructured time in a different city - no working, washing, cooking, cleaning to think about (let alone do), just days full of time to do whatever the mood strikes. One day I sat in a park in the sun watching the world go by for about 3 hours - wonderful!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

{ en route }

I’m back after a wonderful week in Barcelona, arriving at my hotel 42 hours after leaving Sydney! I travelled British Airways via London and had a 12 hour transit there. Long transits are usually a pain but I took this as a wonderful opportunity to wander London for a couple of hours.

Flying is the only time when I'm grateful for being short! Infrequently on work trips I'm lucky enough to travel in Business Class, but the vast majority of times I travel I'm in Economy. I can't imagine what it would be like being really tall and squashed into an Economy seat all the way to Europe. Even short distances must be a nightmare.

It’s about an hour each way from Heathrow on the Tube so I had about 6 hours after travel and re-check in time.

My first stop was breakfast – Club Sandwich from Pret a Manger! Probably a strange choice in most peoples minds, but I love these sandwiches - the bacon is insane!

Went initially to Covent Garden but was a bit early for the shops so wandered around, through Soho, Tottenham Court Rd up to Oxford Street. Not completely knowing my way between these points, I just walked down whatever street looked interesting.

I must say, the shops in Oxford St have really deteriorated. Not that they were ever all that good I guess (mostly chain stores), but it now seems really run down and cheap.

From there I made for Liberty. What a beautiful looking storefront! I was kind of surprised how little fabric there was. The floors were filled mostly with bags, cosmetics, jewellery, homewares and even carpets! I did eventually find the fabric and made some purchases. I’m not really a traditional floral pattern kind of girl so the fabrics I bought weren’t actually Liberty but it was a nice shopping experience.

Fish and chips for lunch in a pub and some more wandering before heading to the airport and onward to Barcelona.

Friday, July 10, 2009

{ barcelona bound }

Every year the company I work for holds it's 'Global Gathering'. It's a celebration and recognition of high achievers for the previous 12 months. They really go all out with a brilliant party somewhere in the world and this year it's Barcelona. I'm lucky enough to be attending as the representative of my team as we were the most improved shop in our area. I head off on Monday afternoon, spend Tuesday in London and then the rest of the week in Barcelona.

Each year there's lots of pre-talk and guesses as to who our guest speaker will be at the conference that's held during the day on the Saturday. Last year in Honolulu we had Lance Armstrong and in Dublin the year before it was Bob Geldof! The main money is on a European as there seems to be a pattern of having a local, possibly a Spaniard but who could it be? All will be revealed in a little over a week.

A couple of years ago my husband and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks travelling through Spain however we didn't make it to Barcelona so it will be all new to me.

I've been super busy at work and only found out a week ago that we made the cut, so I haven't had any time to research and plan my days in Barcelona. Once I give it a couple of minutes thought, I'm know filling the day on London will be NO problem, but do you have suggestions for either city? I'd love to hear them.