July 21, 2014

Baluard Bakery Barcelona

The newest Praktik Hotel in Barcelona, Praktik Bakery, is a hotel with a great asset {not to talk about its superb location!}. Its entrance has a yummy bakery, the perfect spot for both guests and passers-by, with lots of pastries to choose from and a very nice sitting area. I'm talking about Baluard Bakery, which has its main branch in La Barceloneta, but has now opened here, next to Passeig de Gràcia, to my delight. 

I had a mixed berries pie, which was a bit bitter, probably due to the blackberries. I wouldn't go for it again. I paired it with cold Cacaolat, a chocolate milk drink from Catalonia.

This bakery is really close to the nice cafe I reviewed last week, yet the style of both places couldn't be more different. Baluard has a younger feel, with a trendy yet low profile decoration, perfect for a casual afternoon.

Visited on: July 16, 2014
Overall Quality: 3.5* 
Price: 2.10 euros for the pastry, and 2.10 for the Cacaolat
Value for Money: 4*
Would I recommend it? Yes, it's a nice atmosphere in a good location.

Baluard Bakery @ Hotel Praktik Bakery
C/ Provença, 279
Phone: 93.488.00.61

July 15, 2014

Jaime Beriestain Cafe - Barcelona

Next to busy Passeig de Gràcia is Jaime Beriestain, a cozy interior design store with nordic inspiration, a must for any lover of the trendy Scandinavian style. Connected to the shop, there's one of the nicest cafes you'll find in town. Jaime Beriestain Cafe is beautifully decorated and is a safe bet for a relaxing afternoon. 

If you want to go for lunch or dinner, bookings are in order. There is little chance of finding a table for dinner without a reservation, specially on weekends. For afternoon tea though, you can just walk in any time. On weekdays specially, you're bound to find plenty of available tables.

You can either access the cafe from the back through the concept store, or through the cafe's main door on C/ Pau Claris. If you choose the latter, you'll be delighted by the cafe's window display, filled with all the homemade cakes of the day. How can one resist to get in with goodies like that?!

J and I shared their lemon meringue tart, which I paired with a white tea from Mariage Frères, while the hubby went for a cafe latte. I'm not the biggest fan of meringue, but J did enjoy himself like a kid. He's the one who chose the pastry anyway and, let's be honest, it was superb.

In the hall that separates the concept store from the cafe, there's a floristry, which makes for an even more beautiful sight while hanging out in the cafe. 

You can also opt to sit outside, Barcelona people love to do this, and there is indeed a very cozy area for that purpose, as you can see on the picture below. 

The service was not exactly outstanding. I had to order the bill three times, all to no avail, and I finally had to go to the bar and ask for it there on my way out. Come to think of it, I'm quite positive I could have left without paying and no one would have even noticed. 

Visited on: July 10, 2014
Overall Quality: 4* {aww, this could have been a 5 if I hadn't had to ask for the bill so many times}
Price: Around 5 euros for a dessert, 3.5 for a tea, and 1.5 for a coffee.
Value for Money: 4*
Would I recommend it? Yes, it is a great spot for a relaxing break right next to Passeig de Gràcia.

I haven't been blogging much about cafes ever since I got to Barcelona, mainly because, honestly, I think they are not as good as in Hong Kong, but I'll try to keep it up! Hope you enjoyed the review!

Jaime Beriestain Cafe
Pau Claris, 167
08037 Barcelona
Phone: 93.515.07.82

July 6, 2014

My baby shower

I'm so super thrilled to share the amazing baby shower I hosted a couple weeks ago at home! I organized the whole thing {with the help of my supporting husband} and threw a party for my girlfriends I shall never forget! I set up a dessert table for a tea party, and decorated the living room accordingly {mostly in blue but also with hints of yellow}, and was so delighted with the result! I decorated the walls and mirror with a blue pram garland, put a couple balloons, and then... the masterpiece, the table! I used a blue tablecloth made of paper but which imitates fabric, it didn't look like paper at all! Then I threw some white confetti all over the table, and started setting up the food, which was all made by myself! Vanilla cupcakes, lemon tarts, brownies, oats cookies and berries smoothies. 

The centerpiece was the cake, can you recognise it??? It's our wedding cake!!! OMG, now it's when you think I'm totally nuts, but I was so deeply in love with our cake {mainly because I designed it myself from scratch and turned out wonderful}, that I decided to keep it after the wedding, which resulted in me keeping the cake in my room for... 9 months! xD Oh well, I said it, and now you can think whatever you want! Of course one of the layers was missing, it was the only eadible one, which we ate for breakfast on the morning after our wedding! The other three layers are made out of pure sugar, so you can't really eat them! And those are the ones I successfully kept in my room without any particular purpose, just because it was a too beautiful and meaningful a cake to throw it away! Well, as it turns out, my baby shower arrived, and I had this great idea of finally giving a use to the cake! You may remember it had light pink details, so what I did was painting those in blue {ok, my hubby did, he is such a handyman at home, I figured painting a cake wouldn't be much of a challenge for him, and I was right!}. The result was absolutely stunning. The dessert table would have never been the same without it. And, yes, you guessed it right, once again I just couldn't throw the cake away, so it's now in Liam's nursery and I have no idea how long I'll keep it there for...! 

On both sides of the cake I put a cake stand with 6 cupcakes on each. I was originally planning on doing carrot cupcakes but they require a bit more time than other more simple cupcakes, so with everything I had to do, I finally decided on easier vanilla cupcakes, with blue coloring for the icing. On top of each cupcake I put GORGEOUS personalized stickers with the message "LOVE, the Lau Vives family". These stickers are from one of the cutest stationery shops ever: Tiny Prints. Let me tell you more about this. About a month ago, I received an email from them, saying they'd love a collaboration with my blog, and asking me whether I had any special event coming up, seeing how their main business is event cards. And, of course I had something special coming up! Nothing less than my baby shower!!! I couldn't believe my luck. As soon as I looked more into Tiny Prints' website, I realized just how cute everything they have is, and how blessed I was to be given this amazing opportunity of working something out with them for my baby shower. We exchanged several emails and finally decided I would be getting baby shower invitations, the stickers I just talked about above, and baby shower game cards, everything personalized, of course! I chose which designs I wanted for each of the sets, and personalized the whole thing with their super easy to follow online application, which allows you to change text, colors, and much more, until the point where your card is totally unique! These are the gorgeous invites I came up with...

And these are the baby shower game cards I got...

And a close-up of the stickers, which I also used on the envelope I sent the invites with. I still have lots of these left, which is a good thing, since they can be used for whatever!

If you ever have an event coming up and want flawless invitations, announcement cards, etc., Tiny Prints is really one of the best choices out there. Their price is very reasonable for such good quality and lovely designs, and they do ship worldwide. All my friends congratulated me on the pretty invites, I myself actually liked them even more than my wedding invites, can you believe it? The stickers were a success as well, they really made a difference both on the envelopes and on the baby shower itself. The game cards were lovely as well and it was so nice to have all my friends fill them out with good wishes for my baby! Too bad I was too excited to remember to take any pictures!

We also played a very fun game, guessing how big my belly was! I gave each of the girls a blue tape about a metre and half long, and asked them to cut it so that it would fit my waist perfectly. Well, it turns out my belly may be quite small after all, because all of them cut the tape bigger than my belly was!!! The winner was my friend Carla, who almost nailed it, and is who had the shortest tape among them all :)

I got {or should I say Liam got} loooots of presents, I loved every single one of them! I even got presents sent over from the UK from Soraya who couldn't make it to the baby shower, and from Marta who couldn't make it either. It was such a lovely party, I enjoyed myself so very much! 

Thank you girls, I can't wait for our next party, how about for Liam's 100th-day celebration? The one-year mark seems way too far away :p