Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Switching to feedly!



If you're a fellow blog addict, you probably use bloglovin' to keep up with everything going on with the blogs you like. I used to do too, however some months ago bloglovin' changed some features that made my life easier when reading blogs on my computer, plus i changed my phone (I now have a Nokia 925 - which means using windows phone, which means... no bloglovin' app! Booo..)... but hey, i definitely have to talk about my phone/os change later!

Whilst i decided to give a try to the new bloglovin' frame and changes (and maybe get used to them), in the end it was kind of a hassle for me, since i was unable to use it on the go. 

In the end, the only possible solution for me was using another feed service and after checking reviews on different ones, i decided to start using feedly. let me tell you this wasn't easy, but there's definitely lots of pros + cons to this decision, and here is my list of what you can expect if you ever make the switch:

PROS

  1. You can add both blogs + youtube channels to your feed, plus the website lets you play the video directly (no link to youtube) and you can open it full screen (which some websites don't let you do anymore)
  2. There's an app for that! - meaning, not only is there an official feedly app for android + ios, but there's also an unofficial app called nextgen reader for windows phone (which according to reviews is even better than the official one) plus you can also download this app on your pc or windows-powered tablet!
  3. Lets you tag easily, creating collections and folders to organize your feed (i know the folder option is available too on bloglovin')
  4. You can share to many other places like evernote, onenote, facebook, twitter... etc.
  5. You can read the blog on the feedly website or go to the blog page itself (which most of the time i don't do)
  6. I was able to do a huge clean out of blogs i didn't even read anymore or that weren't in existence at all, as i usually follow +100 blogs and you definitely get some lost in the mess

CONS

  1. I miss bloglovin' sometimes, especially when I'd like to see the original blog's design whilst being able to skip from blog to blog, just by using the bar (which after those changes, evolved into a huge frame that was kind of in the middle, tbh!) - still, it's more convenient to use feedly in my opinion, as it's easier to read what you want and just erase what you just aren't interested in!
what do you use to read your blogs + feed in general? :)

-M

Friday, September 11, 2015

Scandinavian tour - Part 4 (Norway)

Hi guys! :)

I've kind of been dreading and putting off writing this post since it's gonna be pretty LONG (I'll try to summarize, though!) Half of our trip was spent in the wonderful Norway.

We started visiting Oslo for a couple of days (we didn't catch the metro AT ALL, so that tells you how easy it is to walk around). We liked Oslo and the centre is particularly nice. However, it didn't have the same charm (in our opinion) that Stockholm does, although you can definitely see a bigger mix of cultures.




While I did like Oslo, I don't think it's even comparable with the rest of places we visited in Norway... 

Hemsedal was our next stop, although not by conscious choice since we needed to spend a night halfway between Oslo and Stranda (fjordland, basically)... and it was such an unexpected surprise, because we loved it! It was here when we started seeing the Norway we had heard so much about... Just looking at these landscape pictures I wanna go back.





After our night in Hemsedal, we finally got to Stranda (fjords) and we fell in love with the landscape! I mean... I know I'm a city girl through and through, but even I had my doubts when looking and experiencing being here. It got to a point where even my dad + brother couldn't resist going and taking a quick dip in the fjord (I was a bit of a coward... it looked so cold!) Norway is kind of like that: it makes you go a little crazy for nature, you end up wanting to buy a cabin up in the mountain and taking a dip in frozen water.




Our last stop (even if the rain ruined it a little bit for us) was Bergen. We only spent 24h in this wonderful city and we loved the dock area and the fishermen's houses (they're a UNESCO heritage site, btw!) We were also able to try some incredible shellfish in the dockside market (it wasn't cheap, but you're only in Bergen once). After that, we tried to avoid the rain as much as possible, as it was literally pouuuuring.
I would've loved spending a sunny day in Bergen as I would've enjoyed it far more, but we didn't have more time and we had to go back to Oslo to catch our flight home! But we loved you anyway, Bergen.





Norway, I'm head over heels for you! (and i will go back)


M.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scandinavian tour - Part 3 (Stockholm)

Hej hej!

I'm back in Spain already and due to WiFi issues I wasn't able to write absolutely anything. But back to the story... 


We left Helsinki and caught a 5 am bus to Torku, where we caught the ferry to Stockholm at 9 am. It was a 11h trip (ferry only!) but it didn't feel that long as we had our own room with 4 beds (berths?) where we could catch some shut-eye. We also went up to the bar deck and played cards, ate and watched the beautiful views from the huge windows on the boat. 


We finally got there!

That first afternoon we went straight to our AirBnb apartment, which is located in the district of Rissne (15-20 mins away by metro from the centre) and it was the most amazing apartment ever! If any of you are ever interested to visit Stockholm, let me tell you that Linda is the most amazing host and even if it's not in the dead centre of the city, you get to see how Swedish people really live.

Anyhow, on our first day (I don't count the day we got there, because we crashed the minute we got to the apartment) we visited the infamous Skansen Museum. I think this is an ideal choice if you have kids, as you can see lots of animals that are typical of Scandinavia and still get to see how people used to live throughout the ages in Sweden.


Reindeeeeeeeeeeers <3


Wolves! Wolves! *read this in a child's excited voice*


After visiting Skansen, we walked around and just decided to chill and have something to eat by the sea.


Hi mum!

So our first day was getting to grips with Stockholm and walking around. Falling in love, basically.


Can we speak about how beautiful this place is? 
We checked this one out on our 2nd day, after visiting the Vasa Museum (just 5 mins walking from this restaurant). The Vasa Museum (or Vasamuseet in Swedish) is all about the Vasa galley, which sank in 1628 as it was being inaugurated, and everything surrounding the mystery of why it sank in the first place.


The galley in question. (Quite impossible to fit into one picture, sorry guys!)

We then decided to visit the Old City and the Palace (where the Swedish royals currently live), which was full of colourful + cute houses... my favourite part of Stockholm!


My brother, dad + I! 


Although our stay was too short, I can definitely say that I've fallen in love with Stockholm and I see myself coming back here... and maybe staying? 

Much love
<3 

Maria

P.S. Next/last part coming soon: Oslo + Norway! 









Saturday, August 8, 2015

Scandinavian tour - Part 2 (Helsinki)

Hei!

Well, after our eventful and rainy 24h in St Petersburg, we finally got to Helsinki. We stayed at Citykoti Apartments, which I can recommend as for cleanliness and location, although price-wise, I still prefer good old AirBnb! (as you can see, they aren't paying me to say this)

Anyhow... we got there late midday and it had started raining (oh, that damn rain AGAIN), so we decided to catch a bite inside the train station and that's when we figured out the huge price difference between Russia and Finland (not that we were surprised, though!) Take into account that Finland has euros, which makes it easier for us europeans (eurozone, of course) to visit this country, in comparison to other scandinavian countries!


After leaving our stuff in the apartment, we decided to go for a walk around the port and see this amazing cloudy yet beautiful sunset. And since our lives basically revolve around food, we had a beer on a café that overlooked the sea. But then we decided that we could also have a pizza and a salad while we were at it, since it was such a cool place... and all those excuses we say just to keep eating!



The next day we decided to go visit a much recommended place: Suomennlina Fortress. (please forgive me if I write the name incorrectly! I have checked though, but one can never know...) It's such a great little island (very close to Helsinki by ferry) to spend the day at, especially in summer, when it's sunny and colourful, even if it was still windy as hell and quite cold anyway (I was OK with my short-sleeved T-shirt though!)




 

Yup, windy as hell!

When we caught our ferry on the way back to Helsinki, we ate lunch at the Market Square (at the market, obvs haha) and then we went to check out two things: 1) the Senate Square


 
Yikes! (still, it was the best photo of the 4 of us in this Square)

2) The views up in the Torni Hotel (the last floor is a café where you can go have something to eat, a coffee or -even if it sounds terrible- just go up to take a picture and come back down!)

 
Not a great great panorama photo, but whatever! It was free! FREE!
(I kind of feel guilty though haha)
 

 
All in all, Helsinki (and Finland in general) was a great surprise for me, even if it's a much calmer version of Stockholm, so if you like having a slow life, it's your perfect city. If you're more of a party, let's go on adventures everyday kind of person, I think you're going to love my Stockholm post (ST - Part 3, coming soon!)
 
Maria :)
 
 

 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Scandinavian tour - Part 1 (St Petersburg)

Hei! (Hello in finnish)

It's been 4 full days of adventure since we left Spain for greener (and cooler) pastures and I have to say, I'm in love with Scandinavia already.

We started off on a bad note, since we were supposed to leave on tuesday for St Petersburg but due to overbooking in our flight, we lost a full day and had to catch the next flight (24h later than expected). Therefore, we only had 24h in St Petersburg, when we initially expected to have 2 days, and we had to miss a couple of important things that we wanted to check out (like the Peter and Paul Fortress)
 


First of all, we checked out the Hermitage Museum. It's an extremely impressive building, and it's full of great art and very weird and cool objects (like the infamous golden bird clock). However, just for the building, it's worth it to go inside and check out the different royal rooms.

 

 Blog, meet my brother!
  
After that, we went to see the Church of the Savior on Blood, which just for the exterior is completely worth seeing. It's the church where the Tsar Alexander was taken after a bomb exploded just outside and he was mortally wounded. The inside is completely decorated with colourful mosaics depicting religious scenes, and it's way more impressive and beautiful than any fresco on other churches.
 
So basically, it was a whole 24h of adventure (take into account we arrived at 6am that same morning!) and rain :) just what I expected from a russian summer!
 
The next morning we caught a train to Helsinki (Finland), which lasts only 4h and was super comfortable. Thank the gods for our Airbnb hostess, who helped us call a taxi when we were running late!
 
On to Helsinki... (See you in part 2!)
 
Maria :)
 
P.S. If you want to check out my Instagram (@mdemaria), you will be a tad more updated!
 
 

Monday, June 29, 2015

What's up?


Hi there!

I have been studying non-stop, but FINALLY, I have finished my exams! Yaaaaay

Taken in: Krakow, with my Nokia Lumia 925
 
Right now, I’m working at my father’s office helping around, which is nice for my curriculum but kinda awful for my summer haha. However, it’s only on mornings, so I still have quite a lot of free time!

On the other hand, there are some trips and things to look forward to planned for this summer, so let me fill you in:

¨     A short visit to my Erasmus roommate, who lives in Lisbon (Portugal), which is going to be so amazing! I will be going on the 10th of July, and we will also be attending the NOS Alive Festival, which I’m so excited about!

¨     A couple of weeks travelling around Russia (only St Petersburg, sadly), Finland, Sweden and Norway with my family! That’s kind of the highlight of my summer, really. I have always wanted to visit all of these places and I think it’s going to be pretty amazing.

Mmm, what else?
Well, basically my boyfriend came back from his Erasmus! As you probably know, I spent a semester in Vienna while he was spending two whole semesters in Warsaw. We still saw each other quite a lot (every 1-2 months) so it wasn’t TOO bad, but I still missed him massively! <3 Gahhh!

 

So now, having him to myself (and his friends and family too, of course haha) is too incredible, and I still can’t believe it. It definitely is true what they say, that distance can either break or strengthen any relationship, and for us it was definitely the latter.

I have a couple of posts prepared and I’m really excited to keep the blog going this summer, as it’s when I’m most inspired and have more free time, so definitely expect more blog posts coming more frequently, and hopefully soon with a schedule! (I REALLY need to force myself into doing this)
See you in my next post J !

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review: Lucas' Papaw Ointment



Hello everyone! I'm so sorry for the months of silence on the blog, I have had the worst semester ever, having come back from my Erasmus (I still have so much Erasmus + travel stuff to talk to you about!) and I've been completely swamped with so many projects and exams... 

Anyway, I am here today to write to you about the miracle worker that is Lucas' Papaw Ointment. Basically, this little guy does everything under the sun, well... almost! I have used it to treat:


  • Mosquito bites - I am known in the mosquito community for my sweet blood apparently, which makes me the ideal target for them. As soon as I notice itching from a mosquito bite, I apply some Lucas' Papaw Ointment (LPO) to the bite and usually by the next morning it's either gone or almost gone! Living in the southeast of Spain, this is specially amazing in summer.

  • Lip dryness or cracking - it doesn't feel AS nourishing as other lip balms that I own, but if I apply it at night, the next morning my lips feel soft and hydrated. 

  • Skin dryness - for example, on my hands, if I don't have any available hand cream, I extend a small quantity of LPO and it works like a charm (but it doesn't sink in as fast as hand cream, so beware of touching stuff right after!). Basically, I use it wherever I have a dry spot.

  • Itching - sometimes your skin just itches for no reason at all or you have a small skin reaction, and in this cases, I put some LPO over the affected area and the itch and redness just... DISAPPEARS. 


The tub also claims that it is quite good with burns (sunburns I guess), boils, bruises, rash (heat, nappy, etc.), temporary relief of dermatitis and eczema, pimples, splinters... and many more uses, which I can't vouch for as I haven't tried it for any of those problems myself.

I guess it's not surprising at all if my conclusion is that I would recommend this stuff to everyone*, as buying it in bulk on Ebay is very easy and cheap (I bought a pack of 6 tubes for 28€). Plus, if you are going on a trip, this is the perfect companion as it has so many uses and isn't bulky at all. 

*Always do a patch test in case you're allergic, as I'm not sure that this is a hypoallergenic product! 

Maria :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Erasmus Experience

 
For those that don’t know what Erasmus is, it refers to an exchange programme that takes place between European universities. It can take place in a semester or a full year.

Everyone’s Erasmus is different. This year, my boyfriend and my three best friends are on their own Erasmus’ too.  Two of my friends went to Kraków (Poland), my boyfriend to Warsaw (also Poland) and my other bf went to Toulouse (France).  Meanwhile, I went to Vienna (Austria).
 
 

However, our Erasmus’ experiences have been completely different from each other. This is of course due to which people you meet during your exchange and how you “think” about the whole thing.
For example, I wanted to make the most out of my Erasmus by travelling as much as possible (which I have done and I will do a round-up post this week), while my friends in Kraków decided they wanted to party like the world was going to end tomorrow. This is fantastic too, and no matter what you choose, the important thing is that you feel happy with how you use your time when you are gone.
 
With my friends in Kraków!
 
Choosing Austria as my destination, and more specifically Vienna, was the best decision I could've made. I had never visited Austria before and I knew Vienna was amazingly beautiful so I decided to pick it, and I can't be happier with it! The location was a great advantage too, as it was really near to many other European countries that are quirky and beautiful too! 


 


There have been many disappointing things about my Erasmus though. I was actually happy to go home after being done with my adventures and I missed the stability and friends that I had at home, even if my boyfriend is staying in Warsaw until June *sad sad emoji*.
Some things like having to change subjects a month before leaving (messing up my Learning Agreement and making me take an extra subject this semester because of that) were definite downers.
My conclusion is that institutions (residences, universities, etc.) will try to make you pay and pay; they will always have an extra fee here and there that you DEFINITELY MUST pay.
I am sure that if I were Austrian, I would have more power to not be cheated but sadly, Erasmus students are pretty defenseless in this sense. This may of course only be my case, but from what I know, this is very common in most Erasmus destinations.

But I don’t want to end this post on a bad note. I have LOVED my Erasmus. I have seen so many places that I would never have gone to if I stayed in Spain, many amazing things and I have met incredible people. I will never forget this semester as I have learnt so many things about the world and about myself.
 
 
 
However, like people always say… there is no place like home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Confessions in Copenhagen

I’m a terrible blogger. I am.


I have been on so many trips lately and have taken so many wonderful pictures, but when it comes to posting about them on the blog, I always forget. And then time goes by, and it feels stupid to post about a trip that happened months ago, doesn’t it?
As an avid blog reader, I find that most bloggers that I really like know exactly how to get their voice through to their readers. However, I never know HOW to do that exactly. Is it because English is my 2nd language and maybe I should be writing in Spanish? English is the language in which I watch movies, TV series, and also the language I use to read most of my books and sometimes… I even dream in English!
Anyway, these are just my thoughts and I just wanted to thank you guys for sticking with me through all of these ups and downs.


Right now, I am back in Spain and a week has passed since I was in beautiful Copenhagen. I decided to visit it by myself, so I rented a room through AirBnB. The apartment was owned by Sara, a girl in her 20s that was really fun and amazing (too many drinks were had the first night!). I am so glad I decided to come alone, as I feel I was also more open to knowing people from Denmark instead of sticking to my travel buddies as you usually do when you travel with other people.
Also, if you take the plunge, you better have a GoPro + selfie-stick. Best combination for travelling alone and being able to actually appear in your pictures.




The thing about Copenhagen is that it’s too beautiful not to visit, but then you will never want to leave. Coming from Vienna, I definitely know what a beautiful city looks like and while they don’t look anything alike, I am in love with both cities and I feel at home in both of them.

I spent the whole weekend walking around, since there aren’t many metro stations and you can walk for 30 minutes to get to the next one. I visited Nyhavn (the famous colourful harbour that is the most pinterest-y thing of Copenhagen which you can see in the picture above), the Kongen Have, the Little Mermaid (very symbolic of the city which you can see in the picture below), the Botanic Gardens, etc. But in general, I think Copenhagen is a city you have to walk around to discover.

However, I was quite bummed out because I definitely wanted to see the Tivoli (an amazing park which inspired Disney to create Disneyland!), one of the most important attractions of the city. My friend Sara told me that I should come again during the summer. It’s the best time to visit Copenhagen because of the flowers, the warmth, plus more hours of light… No matter what, I don’t regret coming here in January at all… and I was so lucky because the 1st morning... it snowed!


I definitely loved this city so if you ever think about coming, maybe do it in June and save a bit because it’s NOT cheap (and least of all for a student)… but definitely worth it!
After Copenhagen I was lucky to be able to visit Prague and Kraków, but... more about that in the next post! :)

xx Maria