Travel Guide

Celebrate the Holidays in… Madrid with Las Cosas Buenas

Hi there! Did you enjoy yesterday’s trip to Sydney? Today we’re in Madrid with Diana of Las Cosas Buenas and Royal Caballito. I guarantee you’ll be dying to jump on a plane to Madrid before you finish reading this post! If you do, let me know because I’m here today! I’m dying to eat the delicious pastries Diana described and hopefully meet up with her sometime during this trip. Please show Diana some love by commenting and visiting her blog!

Where do you live?

Madrid, Spain.

What is your blog about?

Las Cosas Buenas (All the Good Things), is dedicated fundamentally to all the creative things & art that inspire me and make my heart tingle, and which fuel my day and my work as a fashion and surface pattern designer. I’m particularly drawn to all things handmade, the DIY culture, and modern and vintage objects made with love, passion and lots of creativity. Nature, music, family and friends are also a very important part of my life that, one way or another, find their way into my posts. I have however almost just started a new blog, which is focused on my recently launched clothing brand, “Royal Caballito”. To tell you the truth, I’m currently in the process of trying to decide whether if it would not be a bad idea to make the two into one sole blog entity, as they are in fact very much related in substance.

What do you love about your city?

Through the years, I think I’ve had a love-hate-love relationship with my own city (I was born and raised in Madrid). Since I’ve lived so many years abroad -in the USA, UK, Italy and France-, the experience of being faraway has probably given me the possibility to miss my city and to more deeply understand what connects me to its rhythm what makes it such a special to live in. Madrid is a city devoted to be lived by its people in the street. Also, as much as Madrid has grown to be a big city, it has –probably unpurposely- managed to keep some of the character of smaller towns and that quaint personality that I have grown to love.

I never tired myself of watching the ritual of the “aperitivos” time, the tradition of meeting with friends at midday on weekends to share some tapas.

On my day-to-day life, I love to take long walks through the old parts of the town center, spending time in some of the beautiful big parks in Madrid, visiting the El Prado Museum, or making small trips to the mountains and countryside just outside of the city. And, have I told you about the skies in Madrid? No offense here, but they are really about the best in the whole world ;-) (If you are into art, check the Velazquez paintings and you will understand what I mean when you see his skies).

What is your favorite holiday site in your town? 

Oh, every year, at least once during the holidays, I love to go to the Christmas Market located on the square of the Plaza Mayor. It reminds me of when I was a kid and my mum would take me there to find a new decoration for our Christmas Tree or the very popular here Nativity scene. Apparently this same market has been going since 1860, and although it has become a lot more commercial through the years, you can still find some artisan like goodies.

What is your must have holiday food in your town + where is it from?

A popular ancient Spanish tradition at Christmas is to eat “turrón”. This tasty, sweet dessert is typically made of honey, sugar, egg and toasted almonds or nuts and usually shaped into a rectangular tablet. I usually buy mine from Casa Mira (Carrera de San Jerónimo 30) or from El Horno de San Honofre (it really makes a huge difference when they are of good quality).

What is your must have holiday beverage in your town + where is it from?

Definitely “chocolate a la taza” (best if you have it with churros) from San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés 11).

What is your favorite spot for a night out during the holidays?

Josealfredo (calle Silva 22). Love that place.

What is your city’s unique holiday tradition?

On New Year’s Eve, we eat the “Twelve Grapes” during the last 12 seconds of the year, on a tradition dating from at least 1909. The tradition consists in eating a grape with each strike at midnight of December 31. According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity. The twelve grapes are linked to the Puerta del Sol tower clock in the very city center of Madrid, from where the change of year is always broadcasted to the whole country and where thousands of people converge. By the time the clock has finished chiming, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts… (it is quite a fun time, full of laughter and joking, as I can tell you it can be a challenge to be able to eat the full 12 grapes by the time the New Year has arrived). This is probably my all time favorite tradition. I remember once while living in Los Angeles that I so did not want to miss it (it was the passing from 1999 to 2000), that I decided to congregate all of my friends for New Years. Just before 12h00, everyone gathered around the sound of two forks that, hitting each other, made for the sound of the chiming bells (don’t ask me why we chose forks out of all possible objects, but they complied with their duty!), and to eat one by one the 12 grapes on the last seconds of the year. I loved having shared that experience with my American friends and we still remember it today!

What is your goal for the New Year?

I’m currently immersed in a very creative period of my life. And I’m really loving it. I have many new projects for the New Year related to my brand, Royal Caballito. I’m developing a new ceramic line, which is about to see the day now. I’m very excited about that. I’m also working on a knitting line, and will soon start to plan my next clothing collection. As you know, I do all the textile pattern design, so it is pretty an extensive process. I’m very much interested in the quality, sustainable and ethical side of the process, which means I’m always on the lookout to find new providers and ways that do not compromise my vision. On top of all of that, I am a mum of a wonderful two and a half-toddler boy, with whom I love to spend time. Until now, he’s been at home, but next September he will start pre-school. This will imply some adaptation and change of routine for all of us. Continuing to find a good balance between being an entrepreneur and being a good mum is always a priority and it involves a good amount of flexibility and left hand. It is never a token and, for the New Year, I plan to keep working to get the best at it!

 

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