With Black Friday behind us and the city’s Christmas lights on full display, Madrid’s navideño spirit is alive and well. The holidays are only a few weeks away, and while some of us are looking forward to a few days of sleeping in and reading by the fireplace, others are in full-on gift hunting mode and ready to find something for everyone on their list. So, in the spirit of giving, I contributed a guest post over at Naked Madrid about the best Christmas markets going on in the Spanish capital. From pop-ups that only last a few days, to season-long traditional “mercadillos”, these are my recommendations for Madrid’s best Christmas markets.
[Photo credit: TheHovse]


In just over 24 hours, I will be getting on a plane to cross the Mediterranean for Rome. From there I will eventually make my way down and over to Sicily: the ball that the boot kicks, the haven for Italian mafia, the island of volcanos and waters in brilliant blue. In anticipation of such an adventure (and as I sit staring at an empty duffle bag) here’s what my ideal Sicily-bound suitcase would contain…

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There is something contradictory about “effortless” style: it looks so easy and thoughtless, yet it is often hard to achieve. But Kowtow‘s new collection debunks this. It transpires light and simplicity in every piece. Breezy yet perfectly structured shirts, relaxed but tailored pants, tent dresses with flattering oversized drape… There is something androgynous in an otherwise naturally feminine selection and so, it turns out, Kowtow’s ‘Solid Light’ collection is actually its own kind of contradiction.

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Never judge a book by its cover… Unless it’s a vintage book cover on a t-shirt. In that case, you’re allowed. Out Of Print knows this well and has stamped the covers of our favorite vintage classics onto soft cotton tees. Have fun checking off the titles you’ve read and trying to choose which tee you’d wear. Believe me, it’ll be hard to pick just one.

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If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll notice that I have a soft spot for ethical fashion. And while this is certainly a big reason to love the Ghanian-inspired, Australian-based brand Yevu, I loved the punchy prints before I even discovered that the brand also had an ethical back-bone. After a year living in Ghana, the designer Anna Robertson, left with a vision to create a print-focused label of clothing. Wandering through the West African marketplaces of wax-print fabrics, Anna “just kept picturing the things [her] friends in Sydney would want to wear.” With print-on-print suiting in trend this season, Yevu’s vibrant collection arrived just in time.

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olend backpack in green

I came across Ölend the way one usually finds beautiful things: by accident. And when I discover something this unique, I go to great lengths to find out all about it. Adriana Dumon and Fran Rios started making backpacks by hand for their friends. They loved doing this so much that they turned it into a business. Ölend is an example of the comeback of slow fashion – a return to small-batch production and the use of locally-sourced materials. The Barcelona natives’ love for the craft is what keeps their young entrepreneurial spirits alive, despite a dismal Spanish economy that does not readily support young business owners. Inspired by the alpinist’s packs of the 50s, each canvas backpack is made-to-order, and all colors and trims are picked by the customer. People are catching on and business is flourishing. Even in the midst of a full schedule of orders, Adriana still took the time to answer my questions.

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Since this blog knows few boundaries when it comes to subject matter, it was only a matter of time before a beauty-related post appeared (I am a human-being with skin, after all). I always like reading about what other people use, recommend, prescribe… This is how we find the products that work for us (or don’t, which is probably more important). So I figured I would do the same, and share what I have been using recently for my problematic face – it’s stubborn, trust me. Of course, it wouldn’t be like me to just brag on about a single product which is the holy grail of all skincare. Instead, I use globalization to my advantage, and source my pomades from around the world, resulting in a pretty diverse mix.

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Karen Walker is known for her statement eyewear and smile-inducing campaigns. So it’s not surprising that for her latest collection, Visible, the artisans themselves are the stars. Working with the UN’s ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative, the Kiwi designer commissioned Kenyan artists to create the screen-printed and beaded pouches to accompany her Summer 2014 collection (available February 10, 2014 worldwide). But she’s taking the project one step further, and using the oversized shades to bring the focus on these Kenyan artisans at work.

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In crossing my neighborhood park one day, I paused in front of the boarded up mint green windows of what is now this cool, clean, fresh concept store: The Broken Arm. They’ve only been open for 2 weeks, but are already the hippest kid on the block in NoMa (Northern Marais).

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