Although I am a big believer of always looking forward, sometimes it can be great to look back at what you have done, what you have achieved and what you are happy about. It is a great reminder of your abilities and friendships and definitely gets me excited for the possibilities for the year ahead.

Here are a few of my favourite things from 2016.

Photos by Helena Willemijn - follow her on Instagram @yogielena

My Favourite Things from 2016

Merry Christmas!

I'm sure you're very busy today seeing friends and family, eating lots of food and eating lots of chocolate - so I'll keep it brief. I would like to share with you my December 2016 Mixtape as a little Christmas present to say a big thank you for your support, lovely comments and messages on the blog and social media from Copper Pink. It's been quite a special year for me personally, but I'll get into that more near New Year's.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Christmas Day and my December 2016 Mixtape. Which you'll notice includes exactly zero Christmas music - not something I listen to in my spare time, although I am so so excited for today don't doubt that!

December 2016 Mixtape

Hope you have a fabulous day and do let me know what you're getting up to in the comments xx

Merry Christmas! + December 2016 Mixtape

Every year I search for my three winter wardrobe essentials: a super soft and cosy jumper, similarly soft and cosy scarf and a comfortable yet still fab pair of winter boots. And this year has been incredibly good to me.

You may already have read my four tips to find the cosiest, softest, fluffiest jumper ever. This year I found the perfect roll neck jumper - and yes, it's cashmere. So so soft. Paired with my amazing gift from Chouchou after my summer internship and my new black boots from New Look, I think I've found a winning cluster of three of winter wardrobe essentials for 16/17.

Photography by Cera Kamonji | Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Three Winter Wardrobe Essentials with Chouchou

When asked by my photographer and cheerleading friend Siobhan Morton if I'd like to help her out with her next shoot, I pretty much jumped at the chance. I am always up for glitter, contouring, hair brushing, some cheeky smizing and all while getting to wear my sparkly prom dress again. And what made this shoot all the more appealing was that it is inspired by Picasso, whose work I studied in high school, and seven of his different styles and periods of art. Do you recognise which periods I'm modelling in the final images below?

Photography by Siobhan Morton | Facebook | Instagram
Makeup by Michaela Walker | Instagram

Picasso Photoshoot by Siobhan Morton

A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to attend the press opening of the shiny new KIKO Milano store in Aberdeen's Union Square. Having only visited the store in Barcelona previously and wishing I'd bought more then, I was super excited for Aberdeen to have its very own KIKO Milano.

KIKO Milano Hits Up Aberdeen

You may have noticed my posts lacked a little in November. This was due to a heavy load of coursework due for university as well as me just not feeling 100%. We all have those days, weeks and sometimes months, mine particularly in winter as I'm adjusting to the dark and the cold. One morning I surfaced from my cosy bed into the chilly world with the first thought of I can't wait to get back into bed tonight.

About 20% of the UK population experience mild symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and although not diagnosed, I feel I am one of those 20%. It sucks. And often you can blame the symptoms on other happenings - anxiety on that coursework due, hunger for comfort foods and snacks because you've just moved out of home again and can decide what you want to eat etc. But it's okay to feel sorry for yourself even if others say you just need to 'get a grip' or 'just get up earlier' even though it's dark, cold and all you feel like you want to do is hibernate, when usually or in the lighter and warmer months you're quite the spring chicken.

But here are a few tips to get back at SAD and not let the winter blues get you down. It can be difficult, but try just taking one step at a time and motivate and feel good about yourself when you do achieve one step.

Get Outside

This is one I do find difficult for myself. The thought of even my 5 minute walk to the bus stop for university in the dark cold mornings can feel like a mountain hike. But even just a short walk outside during a lunch break can help break up the long day indoors, expose you to natural light and boost your mood.

Pop of Colour

I haven't read this tip online anywhere, but it works for me. A lot of us wear mainly black and grey in winter, which I do love, but recently I have been wearing pretty pink-ish hues as this is my favourite colour. It really does lift my mood and just adds a little brightness to my appearance and to my day. Read here why blush pinks and rose gold are so appealing.

Go to the Gym

My aim is always to go to the gym three times a week, but usually I manage two - which is still better than none. I have found a class I like (body pump) and I go with my flatmate Biba who motivates me to get out the house when I really, really can't be bothered - thanks Biba <3. I don't always look forward to the gym, even though I do like it, but the feeling after finishing a session is amazing. It honestly helps my spirits so much especially during winter when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and physical exercise or movement is the last thing on my mind. The gym is also great for winter as it is indoors, and you don't have to jog through rain, wind and darkness - which all horribly dampen my mood. Even if jogging isn't your thing (it's definitely not mine), give the gym a bash and bring along a friend too so you can motivate each other.

Light Therapy and Wake-up Light Alarm Clocks

Something I have heard of and always wanted to try, Lumie are well-known for their light therapy and dawn-simulating alarm clocks, with specific types for different reasons. Light therapy (put simply: sitting in front of an extra bright light for about 30 minutes a day) has been proven to be effective at relieving symptoms of SAD whilst the alarm clocks can help massively in getting up and allowing you a positive start to the day. If anyone has tried these techniques out, please share in the comments how you found it - I'd love to know and I'm sure others would too.

List all the Pros of Winter

At first thought this may be hard to consider, however once you start I'm sure you'll quickly be on a roll. Here are a few to start you off: Christmas, The Body Shop's festive scents, pigs in blankets, seeing family, snow, wooly jumpers, scarves, black winter boots, robins, decorations, fireplaces, pretty landscapes... Immerse yourself in what winter does have to offer and try to forget the negatives. Always try to think and see the positive in any situation.

I am of course no professional or expert on SAD and all these tips are based on my personal experience, but for more information on SAD and what you can do to prevent it, see the NHS' advice and also this greatly informative article by Lumie on light therapy as treatment.

You can do it.

Feeling SAD? How to Pull Through Seasonal Affective Disorder

Vanilla chai, frosted berries and spiced apple: The Body Shop's three exclusive scents for Christmas 2016. My favourite is definitely vanilla chai, with spiced apple coming in a close second. It was fantastic to be shown a preview in Aberdeen of what The Body Shop has to offer this year, including shiny makeup, skin oils, personalised body butters, advent calendars and of course the three new delicious scents.

Christmas at The Body Shop

And so, the quest for the perfect winter coat has begun for another year.

ASOS Winter Coat Edit

You may have noticed my posts have been lacking a little in November. This is due to a heavy load of coursework due for university as well as me just not feeling 100%. We all have those days, weeks and sometimes months, mine particularly in winter as I'm getting used to the dark and the cold.

As I have an inkling that this feeling is probably caused by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a post will be up shortly on how I combat this and how you can too. But in the meantime, music is always an aid for me. This month's playlist is helping me transition from the slightly less cold months to the -trillion degrees of winter. It's a little slower and softer than usual, but it works for me so I hope it does for you too.

And yes this month has flown by - hence why this post is late, as I thought today was the 19th and not the 22nd. Come back summer.

November 2016 Mixtape

How has your November been and what have you been listening to?

November 2016 Mixtape

Today I was reading Cosmopolitan when I happened upon a rather odd advert. An advert for a rose gold toothbrush - a toothbrush - which made me wonder why we are so obsessed with rose gold? Why do I love the colour, as well as copper and blush pink tones so much? Why do we have rose gold iPhones but not lavender silver or blue steel? Blue steel lol. Anyway, I did some googling and surprisingly didn't find a lot of answers, but this article by WIRED describes one possibility thanks to Pantone and the captivating theory of colour.

Photography by Sarah Johnson

Why Are We Obsessed with Rose Gold?

University is going great. For once I’m feeling on top of things and organised, my flatmates are fab, I’m loving getting back into cheerleading and I am looking forward to Christmas now it’s chilly outside. Soon it’s my birthday and- oh wait, that means Halloween is first. Crisis.

We’ve all been there. You’re having a blast just loving life whilst 31st October creeps up on you ever so slowly, and then BOO! It’s 2 days before Halloween and you have nothing prepared. You could go as a cat again, but that’s just boring isn’t it. And that party you’ve said “Maybe” to on Facebook really wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t bring some spooky snacks or decorations, would it?

Don’t worry, this is me every year. Luckily I have some tips for you and I this year which I’m sure will win you best dressed and best lad for bringing cake. You’re welcome.

How to Ace a Last Minute Halloween Costume and Party

I didn't used to be a scarf person. My love for the long fluffy things started when I found a loop scarf in my two favourite colours to wear - grey and pink. I have since, however,  found more uses for scarves than just looking pretty and keeping you warm. Yes, they are an excellent substitute for a bra.

Most people probably think I chose to wear that lovely scarf to accessorise my outfit or to prevent chills as I do live in the north of Scotland. And although they are partly right, they never know my number one reason (well, until now). I strongly dislike bras. They're restrictive, expensive and uncomfy (and yes, I have been fitted). I don't really need a bra in all honesty, and if nipples were accepted in society I would gladly always go braless and scarf-less. But until that day (#freethenipple) I'll just keeping buying tops that are thick enough to cover my nipps or use my scarf technique which I am happy to share with you all today.

How to Go Braless With a Scarf

October has flown by! My first piece of coursework is due in about 3 weeks (should probably start it eh), on Tuesday I organised Cheerleading's first bake sale of the year for my Fundraiser role, I've now finally joined the gym again and I've had job interviews and set up my very first printer. I highly doubt I'll ever experience a joy greater than that of successfully printing onto an envelope. Exciting things ahead...

I still need to decide on my costume for Halloween and plan on spending an hour or two scouring blogs, vlogs and Pinterest for inspiration - all I know is I want to experiment with face paint and lots of it. Now I have organised most of my work and am settled in to Aberdeen, I am finally feeling a little less stressed. Thus (great word, thus) October's playlist fluctuates between songs I listen to when feeling stressed and down and others I listen to when that stress has gone. I'll let you try and figure out which ones are which.

My October Top 3

  1. She Don't - Ella Mai, Ty Dolla $ign
    1. This month I also discovered Ty Dolla $ign's very own playlist of his top hits and recent tracks and it is a beautiful playlist. So yes I have been obsessing a little this month. I just need someone to share my obsession with - tweet me if it's you xxx
  2. Don't Stop Me Now - MNEK
    1. Now I'm sure you know the original, and probably the McFly cover too, but give MNEK a chance and keep an open mind. Yes it's different, but that's why I love it.
  3. Still Falling For You - Ellie Goulding
    1. Yes I did see Bridget Jones' Baby in the cinema. And no, I haven't seen the first or second Bridget Jones - but they are both next on my list. I honestly haven't laughed out loud at a film in so long so I recommend you all see it and of course listen to this amazing song which features in the film.

October Mixtape 2016

Feel free to follow me on Spotify for more fab tunes such as my And Breathe playlist for when you're feeling pretty low and my Focus playlist for studying and chilling.

October 2016 Mixtape

With every winter comes the annual search for the cosiest, softest, warmest, fluffiest, most dressing-gown or duvet-like jumper or cardigan. And this year I think I have found just that, thanks to Primark.

Photography by Sarah Johnson

4 Tips to Find The Cosiest, Softest, Fluffiest Jumper Ever

Velvet has returned for AW16 in many beautiful forms: crushed, dark, bright, all colours of the spectrum, boots, trousers, jackets - the list is endless.

Although I do love how velvet has been interpreted and presented on the catwalk this year, there's always that 8 year old Christmas dress flashback I get from some items. Please say that's not just me? In an attempt to avoid reliving those childhood memories, I have taken to the crushed velvet pieces now on offer on the highstreet. Since we seem to be going crazy for top-to-toe velvet, I thought I'd give double velvet a go. If double denim is a thing, why not double velvet? What do you think?

Photography by Sarah Johnson

Double Velvet

Hello Aberdeen,

It is good to be back. No more sunny Spain for me, back to the 'deen for university and grey skies. Luckily, I'm a big fan of grey.

University seems like a lot of hard work this year, but it's work I am super excited to do. Part of that includes starting a fashion based blog - oh look, here we are already. Please do expect one outfit shoot per week at least until the New Year (and hopefully I'll be able to continue this after my uni project is over!). Three are already shot, are currently being edited and I am feeling so so inspired and motivated to keep it up. Blogging come at me.

Another part of my course involves creating beautiful content for my year's very own glossy physical 3D magazine. Right now I am overwhelmed with the infinite possibilities for my photoshoot for the magazine. If anyone knows any amazing locations or models in Aberdeen, let me know!

Here's how my first two weeks have been so far back in Aberdeen, thanks to Instagram <3.

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

Of course, decorating my room was one of, or quite possibly the most exciting part of moving into a new flat. And the bed is the key component. My grey floral sheets from last year have returned, as has my favourite stripy pink duvet, silk pillowcase, fluffy white cushion and cat cushion. However this year we have the greatly appreciated new addition of a copper pink cushion gifted by my lovely friends Danni and Beth. Thanks guys - the room feels complete with this metallic touch. If you fancy a room tour, give me a wee comment.

It's one thing to be good friends with someone, but to live with them challenges and takes your friendship to a whole other level. Luckily my flatmates, Sarah and Biba, seem to be pretty fab so far. My evidence? These delicious cupcakes bought by Sarah for the flat. However Biba now needs to get her act together doesn't she. The pressure is on.

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

Annnnd even though I do love my flatmates, it was fantastic to see all my friends from Edinburgh when they came up to visit me for my flat warming. Everyone had a great night out and I truly appreciate the 60 chicken nuggets bought for the flat the next day. You're welcome back any time guys xxx

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

And honestly, what would two weeks in Aberdeen be after a whole four months away without a trip to Rev (for a bev?). Usually a loyal to the Panang Chicken Curry, I branched out and sated my newfound obsession for halloumi with the halloumi and chips dish. Crispy, deep fried, oozing chunks of halloumi that taste like perfection. Try it. Now.

Cheer is already a huge part of my uni year as I have the Fundraiser position in the Committee. Meeting and teaching all the Freshers so far has been a really rewarding experience and I am so excited for the training and competitions to come.

So, Aberdeen, I must say I am really looking forward to this year. I know it'll be intense and hard going at times, but that's all part of the fun.

See you in my next post for pretty outfit photos (finally)!

Hello Aberdeen

So at the time this post is published, I have just arrived at the airport (I'm terrible at directions so this is a great achievement - go me) and am checking in, going through security etc. from Barcelona to Edinburgh.

Where has the time gone! It's honestly crazy how fast my internship with Chouchou has felt. Buuuut I have had the most amazing time, experience and feel so grateful for this opportunity. I am so glad I just went for it and pushed myself out of my comfort zone - personally I have benefited in so many different ways. I will definitely write another more detailed post about what I got up to in the last few weeks (as my blog posts were noticeably lacking) and about how I found the whole experience but if you have any questions in the meantime just leave me a comment! And if you're swithering between taking on an abroad internship like this or not, I say go for it. Trust me.

This month's playlist has a few songs that I now associate with Barcelona, and some have strangely but definitely connected with how I've been feeling. I'll let you interpret that how you like!

My September Top 3

  1. Pony (& Pony) - Ginuwine (& Pretty Sister)
    1. This is the song I associate most strongly with Barcelona. Why? Perhaps not for the reason you're thinking. The studio where I worked looked oddly similar to the workshop in Magic Mike, and then some engineers turned up to work there, with no shirts on. So that's why. Just a little workplace banter. But also an excellent song (and remix by Pretty Sister).
  2. Ketto - Bonobo
    1. An old favourite of mine for when I used to have relaxing baths. Perhaps surprisingly, this song is instrumental. But it's just amazing. It's perfect for when I am feeling stressed out or just want some time to focus, breathe and reflect. I reckon you should give it a chance too.
  3. Cancer - Twenty One Pilots
    1. Have you heard Cancer by My Chemical Romance? Well then, prepare for something pretty mind blowing. You're welcome.

There are too many other amazing songs (in my personal opinion) so a special shoutout to Step Down - CRNKN remix by Elliphant for when I'm feeling down and need a motivational "shit happens" and everything-will-be-okay pep talk; Hurts so Good - Broiler remix by Astrid S for when I need to belt out my emotions and to Suburbia by Kilian & Jo feat. Erik Rapp for just being amazing and so intense.

September 2016 Mixtape

What have you been listening to in September?

September 2016 Mixtape and Goodbye Barcelona!

Imagine if you could click on a post on Instagram, then pinch, zoom and rotate to your heart's content and see the scene outwith the square frame. Admittedly you now can zoom in on Instagram photos, but what if you could zoom out? That would make a great YouTube video - let me note that down.

Perhaps this is the idea of the new Instagram stories - to provide behind the scenes footage of what you have posted on Instagram that day. However, for now, I'd like to explore this idea through a blog post with a few of my favourite recent Instagram images from Barcelona and why they are special to me.

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

This building is the Palau de la MΓΊsica Catalana, a beautiful grand concert hall in Barcelona. This was a weekend where I really wanted to relax. I met up with some guys and girls from the Expats group I have found here for coffee, shopping and then we headed to L'antic Teatre - a secluded beer garden just down the street from Palau de la MΓΊsica Catalana. Feeling dehydrated I had a peach juice (my non-alcoholic summer drink) but I have since returned for an Aperol Spritz which was perfection. Now one of my new favourite alcoholic summer drinks - one of. I also rate a long island ice tea (preferably peach flavoured) and I have been converted into a mojito lover, much to my cinammon-flavoured toothpaste's disgust.

I took this photo during a photoshoot for my work. So behind the camera here is a model lying on the ground posing while a photographer stands above capturing a birds eye view of the beautiful Chouchou designs. This is a lovely square in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, and my heart honestly melted when I heard the cello. Such a pretty sound in such a pretty place. I began to learn the cello when I was in Primary 4 at school, so about 8 years old, and played until I left high school last year - till I was 17. That's a long time. Unfortunately the cello belonged to the school and not to me. And I do miss it. I miss experimenting and the freedom of the cello. I miss the sweet but strong sound of the strings and the notes. That's why I bought a slightly less expensive ukelele. But it's just not the same.

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

This photo is special to me because I didn't know it was being taken. This occurred thanks to my aunt whilst visiting my holidaying family in Tamariu, Costa Brava. Read all about the weekend here. It was lovely to see more of Spain with a weekend getaway in the nicest accommodation I have ever stayed in, with a private pool. Very nice. One of my favourite things about pools and the sea, is the feeling of drying off in the sun afterwards. It's an incredibly serene sensation. I can't remember exactly what I was thinking at this time, but I know it wasn't worrying about how I looked in front of the camera. And that's why I like it.

A photo posted by Lifestyle Blogger πŸ’– Mairi (@copperpink) on

Finally, an uplifting story to finish off. I am a huge believer in always staying positive and believing that good things will happen. So this quotation really spoke to me. When I first moved to Barcelona, I was nervous about going for food by myself because I couldn't speak the language and everything was scary and mysterious and I would be alone. It honestly was so hard for me which may be hard to believe if you know me and my apparent carefree happy personality. But on this day I forced myself to brave lunch alone, and with a little confusion of languages between the waiter and I (who really was so helpful even in Spanish) I successfully ate my lunch, by myself, in front of this quotation. And that's why I decided to Instagram it, as a reminder to stay positive, as I do always try.

What did you think of this style of post? I might try and post some more in future so do let me know what you think! Do you have any interesting stories behind your Instagrams?

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @copperpink for pretty photos once a day 😁

P.S. just changed my blog header - what do you think? New signature coming soon!

Behind the Instagram: Barcelona

Hello there September, where did you come from??

So I guess that's summer officially over then isn't it? Hope you had a blast! However I am still in Barcelona till the 20th, and even though the locals are now wearing jeans during the day and cardis at night, I am always roasting. Fearing my return to Edinburgh to be hit by the inevitable blast of cold once off the plane. My winter wardrobe is currently non-existent.

But I guess I should enjoy the sun while I still can, and that's what I definitely will do.

Photos by Helena Willemijn - follow her on Instagram @yogielena

So: what happened to my goals for August? Well, that's a very good question.
  • Join a gym
    • Lol. I did not join a gym. I started to join the gym - I did get my free 7 day pass and I tried to phone to organise my first trip but no one picked up. And then I just didn't phone again. But I have been doing my daily stretches for preparation for cheerleading at university, so I am looking forward to getting back into the zone once I'm in Aberdeen. Barcelona is just too hot and has too many nice bars, beaches and restaurants for the gym. Que sera sera.
  • Improve my Spanish
    • Well I think that little phrase up there proves my Spanish has improved - by about three words. I definitely can understand people better now, but I have not put in as much time as I could. I guess it's hard since at my work I speak in English, and the group of girls I have made friends with all speak English, oh and my flatmates speak English, so I haven't been forced to speak much Spanish. Me gusta los frijoles however is a good sentence. Google Translate that. You're welcome.
  • Be brave
    • I feel I have been more sociable and just done more stuff in general since setting this goal. Of course there are still lots on my bucketlist but I know it will never be complete - however it does give me an excuse to return in future!
  • Stay organised
    • My Leuchtturm1917 is serving me well. A few days have been missed here and there where I was so busy with work I didn't have time for much else. But, if I ever am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I just whip out my notebook and jot everything down in the Dump, the Vault or the Live List section. Click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about.
  • Go to the beach by myself
    • Since I am here to work, I haven't been to the beach as much as you would on holiday for example. However I did accidentally go to the beach by myself so I am counting this goal as completed. By accidentally, I mean I went to meet Helena at the beach to do yoga (follow her fab yoga Instagram here!), but I was very early so just lay on the sand reading for about an hour. It was lovely.

So although I technically didn't complete 2 or 3 of my goals, it's important not to beat yourself up about it. Of course I am a little annoyed I haven't been to the gym and I can feel the difference already. And it would have been great to have learnt some more Spanish. However all I can do now is look forward and be excited for the future, knowing I will join the gym again in Aberdeen and that if I choose to return to Barcelona in future to work or live then I can learn Spanish then. No ragrets. What's the point of being negative? Exactly, there is no point. Positivity only please. Hop on my bike of positivity and join me for the ride.

And now, for September. It looks to be a pretty crazy month.

September Goals 2016

  • Make the most of my last three weeks in Barcelona
    • Yes, just three more weeks until I return home. It is honestly so crazy how fast my time here is going. It's been intense and exciting and such a unique experience that I am so grateful for. For the rest of my time here, I want to go all out in regards to work, new places, new people, sightseeing and trying new eateries (and the beach once more would be nice too). Similarly to my August goal of being brave, I really just want to make the most of this amazing experience I have been given.
  • Settle into Aberdeen and university
    • If you didn't know, I am returning home to Edinburgh for about two days before driving up to Aberdeen to start university the week after. I am feeling a little unprepared in regards to decorating my new flat (bedsheets, cutlery, fairy lights etc. - the essentials) however luckily I am living in the city centre so have Oliver Bonas and pretty stores right next door. Although not Barcelona, I am honestly looking forward to starting my course again and seeing all my friends as well as living with Sarah and Biba who I'm sure will make my year unforgettable and absolutely hilarious.
  • Instagram every day
    • I have started to fall in love with Instagram again, and my aim is to post one image every day, usually around 8 or 9am. Be sure to follow me for updates and pretty pictures!
  • Start up the gym again - in Aberdeen
    • lol

How was your August? And what are your goals for September?

September Goals 2016

If you work from home, or if you blog or play hours of Club Penguin from home, you may sometimes wish you could work, blog or play Club Penguin out of the house. In Barcelona, I often work the morning in my flat. That is, my flat with no air con. It's hot. Like, thirty degrees hot.

Since I am wanting to explore Barcelona while I am here, I thought it would be a good idea to try out some cafes and coffee shops while working. I know how stagnant your days can become when you feel you are stuck in the house, even if it is doing work you enjoy. When the sun is shining it definitely affects me more, however even if you're not abroad, I know the feeling. I can feel a lot more productive in a public space. Not always, because then I can't belt out Dej Loaf sadly, but if you ever feel in a similar rut, then keep reading.

Available on Apple and coming soon to Android, the Work Hard Anywhere app has been a lifesaver for non-Spanish speaking me living and working abroad for the first time. The app, also known as WHA, is a platform which suggests the best public workspaces based on users' feedback and comments. The app takes into consideration factors such as Wifi speed, price (of coffee & snacks), parking space, seating options and noise levels. All important aspects for getting solid productive work done.

Think of it as a simplified TripAdvisor solely for work-friendly cafes, libraries and other public spaces. Its incredibly user friendly and aesthetically pleasing, just what I like.

My first visit using WHA was very encouraging. Discovering a cafe (or plant concept coffee shop) opposite my street about a 10 second walk away was a fab start. Espai Joliu is one of the most Instagram and Pinterest-worthy places I have visited. Hidden amongst the outskirts of Barcelona, its rustic and super creative interior charmed me - it was love at first sight.

Espai Joliu lived up to the expectations I had after reading tips and ratings from users of the WHA app. The coffee (and the cookie) was delicious and affordable, it was a quiet and welcoming space to work, there were plenty of seats and the WiFi was free and fast. The owner was also lovely and asked about why I was in Barcelona and what work I was doing that day, as well as saying he hoped to see me again soon. I should probably add this to my review on the app. I'll do that after this post.

And now I'm off to find another laptop and work friendly cafe using Work Hard Anywhere! Ensuring it has amazing coffee, of course.

Click here for more information about the app, and over here if you'd like to download it straight away - or search for "work hard anywhere" in the Apple Store.

Let me know if you find any great spots with the app, I'm hoping to add some myself to the map back in Aberdeen! Have you used Work Hard Anywhere before?

Remember to follow me on Instagram for Barcelona updates!

How to Find Laptop Friendly Cafes and Workspaces

I am very proud that I have managed to publish this on the 20th, as promised in my July 2016 Mixtape post. There have been a few times I have said "post coming next week..." like my non-existent university room tour (I did have a nice pinboard though), however my monthly mixtapes are something I am really enthusiastic about. So do honestly expect one each month. Seriously - they'll be here. I swear.

My August Top 3

  1. Hometown Girl & Working For It - ZHU
    1. If we get technical, these are two songs. However both from the same album, GENERATIONWHY, and WHAT AN ALBUM. Love. Beautiful and amazing. I just love ZHU's signature style ever since I heard Faded. Fangirling brb.
  2. Bacon - Nick Jonas, Ty Dolla $ign
    1. I have recently been having just a little obsession with Ty Dolla $ign (okay quite a big obsession) so this song is perfection. AND THAT BASS!
  3. You Don't Know Love (Cheat Codes Club Mix) - Olly Murs
    1. My Olly Murs fangirling days were a thing of the past, however this remix with my now beloved beats and synths has reignited my love.

So, basically, my top 3 songs are due to fangirling and obsessing. Judge me however you want. I'm happy and belting out all the words and that's all that matters.

UPDATE: One of my favourites, Leikeli47 has just released a new track, Money. So this is now my number one and has been added in. You're welcome.

August 2016 Mixtape

Remember you can follow me on Spotify for more amazing tunez. Let me know what you've been listening to in August!

August 2016 Mixtape

Lying by the pool, sipping wine on the veranda, playing countless games of ping pong. Not the main activities that come to mind when you think of busy Barcelona. Although I love the hustle and bustle of the city, it was great to have a break last weekend whilst visiting my holidaying family in Tamariu, Costa Brava. Coincidentally travelling to Spain whilst I'm living here; my aunt, uncle and cousins invited me to stay for a couple of nights to which I gratefully and excitedly accepted!

Shoutout to Robert, Melanie, Chris, Clidna, David and Lindsay ✌🏼

let's just ignore my uncle's feet sticking out the side of my head there eh

I arrived on the Friday afternoon, luckily managing to drive up (well, be driven up) with my family who flew into Barcelona airport. Arriving a little too early to get into the villa, we took a wander down to the bay of Tamariu - a stunning and serene space of nature as you can see above. I love the ocean.

For lunch I accidentally ordered a sharing plate of Catalan pa amb tomΓ quet (crusty tomato bread) with Iberian ham just for me. You know the ham I'm talking about, that ham, we all do 😏. Luckily I was starving so ate most of it myself. Give me pa amb tomΓ quet and Iberian ham all day, every day.

The rest of Friday was spent cooling off in and by the pool, trying out the beloved ping pong table and for dinner we made use of the beautiful veranda and had a barbecue, while sipping wine under the sunset (and just a few gin and tonics).

The villa was such a dreamy place. Definitely Pinterest-worthy. You may have seen a photo of it on my Snapchat, but unfortunately I forgot to save that photo. So the lesson here is, you should definitely add me on Snapchat right now so you don't miss other important and interesting happenings (@mairixlowe πŸ˜˜).

Here is a very chilled selfie of me (and a sneaky peek of the villa) after having managed to spend a whole hour stretching and doing yoga on the veranda at about 8am. In such a bliss state the time flew by. Yoga with the morning sun (warm but not hot) is amazing. Unfortunately I don't think the sun has discovered Aberdeen yet so I may have to give outdoors yoga a miss when I return for university.

Saturday was an incredibly chilled out day which was greatly appreciated. By the pool, I began reading a book from my self-confidence/girlboss reading wishlist (post coming soon) called You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. So far, it's quite an eye-opener. It has detailed ideas and feelings I have had but never really understood, and shown that there are lots of people who live happy and successful lives doing what they want - which I think is what I'd like too. I'm just not quite sure what that or those things are yet.

So after spending a deep philosophical day reading by the pool, falling asleep for about an hour and playing some more ping pong and watermelon ball ralley (new Olympic sport for 2020 by the way), everyone showered and glammed up for dinner. I even wore mascara. Pushing the boat out.

It was great to head out with my aunt, uncle and cousins as I don't see them an awful lot at home, despite living in the same city. Christmas reunions are always fun but a summer outing was also fab. The main differences I'd say are more heat and less turkey.

After quite a few games of cards and some 1am yoga poses, we slept off the gin and tonics and I didn't quite manage to get up at 8am for yoga unfortunately. More like 9.30, which is still impressive for me.

After a chilled morning and more deep philosophical reading of my new book; Chris, Clidna, David and I decided to take a coastal walk to a nearby beach. Although we got lost and ended up in non-treaded forest and someone's back garden, the scenery on the way was breathtaking.

The beach itself was a lovely beach, just not my favourite type. The type with big and small pebbles instead of the sand all Brits crave when abroad. Once you found your comfy sunbathing spot you couldn't move for fear of a rock in your back. I did want to swim in the sea but was feeling a little unwell so decided to give it a miss (very rare for me). However it was great to be in such an enclosed space of nature and it really was beautiful. Different from your usual dream beach, but just as or perhaps more charming.

Then I had about an hour bus journey back to Barcelona, and I was feeling relaxed and raring to get back to the busy city working life. That's not to say I wouldn't appreciate another beach day or weekend, but I am still enjoying my internship and can't believe how fast my time here has gone so far. I only have about one month left before I return to Edinburgh and soon after to Aberdeen. One month. That's less than I have been here already! So crazy. There is still so much more I want to see and do in Barcelona, and I know I will never complete my bucketlist, but that just gives me an excuse to visit again another day.

Where would your dream weekend getaway be?

Again, massive thanks to my family for inviting me down for the weekend - I had a blast!

One Weekend in Tamariu, Costa Brava

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