Travel Blog: Formentor, Mallorca

formentor mallorca
While in Mallorca, the gang and I were all so excited to explore the island that we got into the habit of waking up at highly unreasonable hours. I mean, seafood and sunbathing at the crack of dawn? Aint nobody got time for that.

Instead, we filled our mornings with activities. One of our first was a hike into the clouds of Formentor.

Formentor – especially the ‘Cap de Formentor’ in peninsula’s Eastern end – is postcard perfect. Starting with 13.5km of winding roads that defy all safety and logic, the peninsula’s lookout points are the real attraction. Though many tourists take the curves and bends straight to the beach or lighthouse, the Mirador del Mal Pas is the all-encompassing ‘destination’.

From Mirador del Mal Pas’ dizzying heights and even more dizzying drops down (this virtual view can’t possibly encompass the fear you feel when a gust of wind blows through the rocks), you actually start to feel very ready for a trip back down to the beach.

formentor mallorca 4
formentor mallorca 9
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In Review: Gaucho, Leeds

gaucho leeds
As The Manfriend wasn’t much of a foodie before dating me (I think we could safely categorise him as a Food Is Fuel connoisseur), it has always surprised me how much he has raved about Gaucho Leeds.

Though he last ate there for his twenty-first birthday (more than a few moons ago), the restaurant had made a lasting impression on him. Frankly, our trip for Sunday lunch was long overdue.

Lured in by their Late Spring Lunch Menu (two courses for £23 or three courses for £26), we descended their secret staircase into a dark and open miscellany of well-furnished rooms to take our seats.

We were presented with two wine lists; one Argentinian-packed plethora of wines (sparkling and still) as well as a charmingly handwritten selection of rare bottles. Knowing we weren’t going to leave without a steak in our systems, I elected a Malbec – a bottle of Domingo Molina Mortero 2010 – to share. This particular Malbec is clean and sharp (the way I prefer my reds) with very pure notes of dark cherry and blackberry, leading into a savoury finish.

It’s a freshly baked bread wine. A pea and mint soup wine. A bruschetta of tomato, basil, and goat’s cheese wine. (Thankfully, those were our starters.) The bruschetta was presented beautifully and was near perfect, barring a slightly overgrilled base. The pea and mint soup, however, was balanced tastefully and was as moreish as soup can get.

In hot anticipation of our mains (the Spring Menu selections of Spaghetti Provencale and Chicken Milanese had to chance of winning out over steak), our 180g medium-rare rib eyes arrived shortly thereafter. Though each was plated with chips and Béarnaise sauce, the ‘sides’ almost disappeared when I bit into the steak. I don’t often choose rib eye when cooking or ordering steak (it might be its American omnipresence in my childhood), but I would happily pay Gaucho the £26 for this course alone.

We slowly drained the Mortero between business talk, planning of our next (BIG!) visit to Gaucho for celebrations later in the month, and indulgent bites of dessert. The millefeuille with fresh strawberries and shortbread didn’t quite live up to the puff pastry versions I have tried in France, but the Manfriend’s ‘Gaucho Eton Mess‘ whipped up a smile so big it didn’t matter.

From maître d’ to our final farewells, service was impeccable and the food – despite a few niggles – was well worth its price. Go, Gaucho.

gaucho leeds
gaucho leeds
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Travel Blog: Caves of Drach, Mallorca

caves of drach
The drive to the Caves of Drach (or Cuevas del Drach) was filled with anticipation. While the five of us had agreed to assign one ‘group activity’ each over the week, we were all pretty negligent to take credit for the idea. In fact, I think everyone suggested the Caves of Drach in the first few days…

…but when something is heavily featured in basic travel guides, it screams tourist trap.

The Caves of Drach were an exquisite exception. Based near Porto Cristo in Manacar, the Dragon Caves (should we be talking literal translations) do welcome a mindblowing number of tourists, but you feel completely unaffected as soon as you enter the caves.

The four – the Black Cave, White Cave, Cave of Luis Salvador and Cave of the French – are joined together and reach depths of up to 25 metres. As you can see, they are also mesmerising – a complete envelopment of stalactites, stalagmites, and a wealth of natural history.

At the conclusion of the cave paths you are welcomed into a stone theatre to enjoy a brief classical music concert (loved by some, slept through by others) before taking a subterranean boat trip across Lake Martel.

Tourist ‘trap’ or not, I would have paid twice as much to even glimpse inside the Caves of Drach.

caves of drach
caves of drach
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Decorating with Love (Inkifi, In Review)

inkifi
A single glance at my beloved SLR will reveal all: I love photography. I knacker every photo-taking device I can get my hands on out, then spend hours oogling over every uneaten food snap and hasty image of a beautiful stranger.

But I hate photo frames.

While I think the idea of surrounding yourself with photos of memories you’ve made and people you love is fantastic, the reality often turns into a haphazard arrangement of bargain frames, awkward print sizes, and ‘gifts’ that you have to place around your home when the gift-giver is scheduled to come over.

I love uniformity, therefore, I love Inkifi. As a business model, they have been set up to help you print Instagram photos, but actually go much further than that. From typical square prints, to vintage prints, to photo books and acrylic prisms – they have a variety of tools to turn your Instagrams into something you actually want to decorate your home with.

I went for magnets as our ‘wood and gray’ kitchen is the fugly bane of my rental existence. Eighteen 2×2 inch snapshots of love and laughter in The Manfriend and I’s life so far. It is a source of constant happiness and gratitude.

(Please go support their business so I will be able to order more organised magnets in future. Thank you.)