Catalonian Calm | A Stay in Montseny National Park – Masia El Buxaus

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Last week we enjoyed our first real planned-on-purpose foreign hiking trip. Our recent stay at Montseny Massif in Catalonia was so beautiful and relaxing that I couldn’t resist sharing a little writeup of our accommodation and area – of all the places I’ve visited, I’d 100% advocate that anyone/everyone makes an effort to visit here. It’s cheap, it’s close by (approx. 2 hour flight from Manchester) and it’s so tranquil.

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We stayed in Montseny national park, which is near to Barcelona and Girona. 30 minutes winding drive up a dirt road from the nearest town (Arbucies) we crept across the dusty, beautiful threshold of Masia El Buxaus, a 18th century traditional Spanish house with sweeping, breath-taking mountain views. The first few words either of us uttered were “wow” and “wooow” – you could see Girona and even Lloret del Mar  over the hills. Being at around 900m elevation meant the views were spectacular at any time of day, too – the sunrise creeping over the peaks draping the lazy landscape with golden light. The twilight sneaking in, hiding the sparse farm houses, waking up their twinkling window lights. The crisp midday, with the sun beaming down and illuminating everything. The deep night, where the full moon smiled its silvery grin on the treetops, making you wonder whether that was a wild boar or just a bush rustling in the breeze.

  It’s the sort of place where it was impossible not to relax – no traffic noise (like…at all), the most disturbing noise was our own breathing (and the occasional bark of the resident dogs… but for a dog lover, that’s no biggy!)

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The guest house we stayed in was absolutely perfect, very traditional, with ceiling beams, old wood and that *feel* of quaint oldness. The bed was easily the comfiest I’ve ever slept in (except for my own, but that’s a black magic we all know about). The hosts, Noemi and Jaume were the friendliest and most welcoming I’ve had the pleasure of meeting for a long time – and such good cooks! We were served foraged mushroom risotto, veal, pork fillet and all manner of delights during our short stay. Jaume even took the time to set up the telly so we could watch England play – which was great as since we were the only residents there for the weekend, we had the entire centuries-old lounge area to ourselves.

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They were also really great about directing us around the area – lending out maps whilst we toured the local area. Over our 2 days we took long, picturesque walks, following tracks (like… wild pig tracks, and deer tracks) and enjoying some very interesting wildlife (wild snakes, anyone?).

For walkers, there are several long, gorgeous routes up and down the peaks, and they aren’t too strenuous  – and for beginners, there are plenty of trails you can complete in an hour or two which won’t break too much of a sweat but are still very rewarding.

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For those of you who aren’t into walks, but are seeking solitude and sanctuary, Masia El Buxaus is just that. With a room chock full of games and (Spanish) books, and comfy seats by the log burner for evenings, and a beautiful pool with staggering views for the daytime, there is plenty of R&R to be had too. If you’re a party animal, or like to tootle off to the local bar when tranquillity becomes tedious, this place is not for you – but as someone who has a tendency to get a little stir crazy, a few days unwinding here was just what the doctor ordered.

Find your own stay in Montseny Massif here.

Kitty

 

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Ethical Sports Fashion | Sundried Activewear

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Recently I learned about a sportswear brand that I really wanted to talk about today – Sundried – I haven’t tried their product yet but, on reading about their business ethos and mission statement, I decided it was definitely something I want to share.

Before I get cracking, I want to point out that I haven’t been paid to write this post. I haven’t been sent product, vouchers, money or anything else. I just really like the brand message.

The brand was founded by a guy named Daniel Puddick – a PT, Triathlete and Dad who wanted to create a brand that his kids would be proud to associate with in future. His thoughts were that the next generation would be focused on ethical production and carbon footprint, so set about creating a product that supports both.

Premium ethical activewear was the goal. Encouraging healthy lifestyles, responsibly – that’s the motto.

Sundried product is made in Portugal with European fabrics – and each product comes with a unique code which, when entered on the website, shows you the journey of your garment. It also includes a donation to Water for Kids, and you will be given information on specifically what your donation will achieve. You can read more about Water for Kids here, but rest assured it’s a good thing – they work hard to deliver safe drinking water to communities (mainly in Uganda and Zambia).

The range is limited right now – but new collections are in the pipeline. Happily, the products are pretty safe – simple shapes and shades mean the brand can work for literally anyone. Sure, it’s a little expensive but it is specifically designed to need less garment care, contributing to the eco-friendly factor. Sundried’s range is designed to be washed cool and sun-dried – saving the planet by eliminating hot washes and tumble dryers (plus the garments pay for themselves in what you’ll save on your electricity bills!)

Something I really love  about Sundried’s values is their “EHOH” concept – every hour on the hour – where they suggest doing 5 minutes of exercise every hour, to reduce the negative effects of sitting down for long stretches. Read more about their values here.

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Right now their collections are available exclusively at http://www.sundried.com. If you’re on the market for some new sportswear, or are interested in investing in ethical fashion choices, you should definitely check them out!

Kitty

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Gorilla Perfumes Death & Decay | A Review

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I’ve known Lush dabbled in fragrances for quite a few years, but never before checked out their ranges as, simply put, I am lazy.

However since buying cruelty free I have a new-found appreciation for just how expensive Molton Brown fragrance is and was on the market for a more reasonably priced Cruelty Free fragrance. I decided to give them a go, and added a couple variations to my Christmas List. Yes it’s taken me since Christmas to write this.

The first one I’m going to talk about is my favourite – Death & Decay. Don’t let the name fool you, this fragrance is full but fresh, and although it takes a little getting used to I’ve permanently promoted it to my go-to fragrance.

I suspect the name comes from it’s Lily-heavy notes (Lilies being the traditional funeral flower) which compliment the indole – which I assume represents the decay (indole is found mainly in white flowers, but is also present in … human poo). Read this for more information – it’s not all bad.

I recall my first sniff with humour – I really didn’t like it – it was slightly “weird” smelling and a bit overpowering. However it was a gift from my brother so I persisted, applying it liberally on Christmas day – and by 11am I was hooked.

The scent softens quickly, but also has great staying power, meaning I get sweet pangs of scent throughout the day. Despite the way it sounds, it softens to a very gentle, sweet effect which is a little vanilla-esque, although there is no vanilla listed in the ingredients.

The overall effect is quite calming – it feels sort of exotic but not in the same was as those sickly coconut based perfumes. It’s mysterious, and complex, and not like anything I’ve worn before (sorry I can’t compare it!)

At £30 for 30ml it’s slightly cheaper than Molton Brown but still in the price range of designer fragrance – but without harming any animals!

I would absolutely recommend trying this fragrance out by going into your local Lush store. Try it on and leave it for a couple of hours to settle on your skin before you decide.
If you live more on the edge you can buy online here.

Have you tried Lush fragrance before? Do you have a favourite?
My next Lush review will be Furze.

Kitty

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