Luxurious, Exclusive Sarongs, Foulards … by QBe-e

QBe-e produce beautiful, unique, natural and hand-crafted scarves, foulards, sarongs and shawls, a brand created and inspired in Spain. All natural fabrics, limited edtions and gorgeous materials – alpaca, cashmere, cotton, linen and silk.

My love affair with them began after winning (via Twitter) this fabulous 100% cotton, sensationally soft sarong.

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To quote from its website:

QBe-e is creativity, a real and tangible social commitment. It’s nature and exclusivity. A unique art. It is luxury embodied in a traditional artisan setting. It’s a limited edition. It’s like a search for something special and different. QBe-e is to be.

QBe-e is warmth. It expresses love, sparkle and light. Its products have a soul that changes and feels. They are works of art. They are inspired by the power of the sea, the sunrise and sunset. QBe-e is nature.

I find it impossible to say more. Not only are the products sublime they come in 100% ecological packaging using recycled paper and water based ink and a gorgeous soft linen case for travel or storage.

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I totally applaud the QBe-e commitment to the charity ‘El Compriso’ and the building of a nursery for African children and their wish to stay true to their roots and  collaborate with emerging Spanish artists.

You must visit QBe-e and see for yourself its riotous range of loveliness.

Spanish Leather Fit for a Queen

Spanish Leather – Ubrique, a small town with a big name in Cadiz province near the Malaga border and better-known Ronda, is famous world-wide for its leatherwork.

Since the 19th century when Italian leather workers arrived bringing the tools of their trade leather production has thrived in Ubrique. In the 20th century leather manufacturing was Ubrique’s main industry and today using traditional and modern methods its leather, mainly cow hide, is highly sort-after across Spain as well as by French designers includung Loewe, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as Chloe.

While dogs may be a man’s best friend I think bags are a girl’s best friend. Here are some of my favourite from El Potro online shop.

In 2014 when Letizia was crowned queen her choice of bag was a Spanish design, Magrit, made from Ubrique leather. Ubrique produces around 75% of Spain’s leather goods and some factories, which include Milli Millu, El Potro, Barada and Piel&Mer make up to 1,500 bags a day (that’s a lot of lovely bags). There is also a huge range of boots, purses, wallets and travel bags.

The town has a Leather Museum – Museo de la Piel with original machinery and a gallery with tooled marroquineria  leather which originates in Morocco. You can also see how leather is made into gorgeous  bags. Of course while visiting the town there are plenty of opportunities to browse, buy and inhale all that wonderful leather.

Toledo – Spanish Gastronomic Capital

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Spain’s new capital of gastronomy 2016 has been chosen. The last five years, since its beginning, the Spanish Gastronomic Capitals have been 

Logroño  – 2012
Burgos – 2013
Vitoria  – 2014
Caceres  – 2015

This week the new capital for  2016 has been decided – Toledo. A double celebration as it will also be its 30th Anniversary with the UNESCO Ciudad Patrimonio de la Humanidad.

Famous for its flavoursome yet simple dishes and with support of local chefs it’s expected that Toledo will see a rise in visitors not only during it’s year of fame. Probably one of the best times to visit is in autumn and winter when groups of hunters can be seen trawling throughout the countryside and their provisions of hare, rabbit and deer on the menus.

Another famous product from Toledo stretching back to its Moorish influence is marzipan and nougat, now popular at Christmas time.

Michelin Star Restaurants in Castilla-La Mancha

Out of Spain’s 134 new Michelin One Star eateries Toledo and its surrounds boasts three, so where to experience the best of Toledo’s gastronomy? Right here

Maralba in Almansa
El Bohio in Illescas
La Casa del Carmen in Olias del Rey
Las Rejas in Las Pedroñeras
El Carmen de Montesion in Toledo
Tierra in Torrico

Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina, a Castle Hotel in Malaga

The Hotel Castillo Santa Catalina fulfilled my expectations and more. Obviously high up with great views overlooking the Med, the views, its history, and the fabulous original tiles wowed me (almost) speechless.

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Having a suite and terrace overlooking the original castle ruins, views of Malaga and the port, I wished our overnight stay could have been longer.

On a balmy late September evening, with the calming sound of the waves and floodlit grounds hubby and I made a brief escape from reality. Far from watching for enemy attacks we admired the ruins from 1624 with its five circular arches softly lit and soften by climbing plants and inhaled the clean air well above the city.

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The hotel itself, a neo-Arab summer mansion built in the early twentieth century, remains a testament to its times. A gorgeous old building with many original features and fabulous floor and wall tiles ( a passion of mine). Will I return? Oh, yes.

Now we’ve discovered this hotel our passion for Malaga old town will mean we’ll stay again when on the many airport runs we find ourselves doing. With only eight rooms in total we may even see them all. A pleasant downhill walk to the sea and perhaps 15 minutes to the cathedral and Alcazaba and you’re in the bustle of the city. I love the idea of both – peace and tranquilty at the hotel, free parking, which isn’t the case downtown, yet a short walk and you can be in the center of it all and an even shorter taxi ride back uphill!

The Santa Catalina is worthy of a visit even if you can only do it visually – Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina.