Unique, Handmade Spanish Leather Bags

Fernando Garcia of FG Bags designs, makes and sells unique 100% leather handbags, satchels and purses in his shop in Grazalema near Ubrique in the south of Spain. Ubrique is a small mountain town in Cadiz province which has a long tradition of making leather goods.

Handmade does mean exactly that. Fernando doesn’t use any machines all his bags are stitched by hand and every item is a one-off gorgeous bag that he produces, each piece begins its life when he chooses a piece of leather. The  top-quality leather, its thickness, its uniqueness is what inspires him.

When Fernando abandoned his stressful job in Madrid and came to the area he brought with him his uncle´s leather-working tools. He´d chosen to live in a place ‘famous’ for its leather-working traditions and so had full and easy access to tools and top-quality animal hides. He started small, selling from home and craft fairs around the provinces. Then he obtained the shop in Grazalema and now he runs a very successful business which supports his family.

“ I never do the same thing! I never repeat a design for a bag. I go down to Ubrique to buy the hides….. I look at them, smell them, feel and handle them. Then the ideas are sown. Every hide is different so every piece which comes from that hide is different.  All my bags are unique….. When I´ve used a pattern to cut out a bag I throw the paper away”

 

Fernanado Garcia Bags

Fernando left his stressful job in Madrid and went to the area around Ubrique with his uncle’s leather-working tools. He’d chosen to live in a place which was famous for its leather-working traditions and top-quality animal hides.

 

FG Bags also has an ‘organic’ range with leathers that are made from natural vegetable tanned cowhide which influences the form, texture, thickness and natural colour of the material.

From starting small, selling at craft fairs and from home around the provinces, he now has a shop in Grazalema, the town next to Ubrique,  and  runs a very successful one-man business.

For gorgeous, individual bags you must check out Fernando Garcia. His unique and bespoke designs can be bought directly from his shop and they can also be ordered online from FG Bags.

 

 

Winery – Bodegas Tradicion in Jerez

Bodegas Tradicion

Although Bodegas Tradicion is a fairly new winery it is the successor of the oldest one in the Jerez wine producing area.

The original winery was Bodega CZ, J.M. Rivero which  dated back to 1650 and was the supplier of the Royal Houses of Spain and Portugal winning many different international rewards.

Art Gallery Bodega Tradicion

Opening in the late 1990s by a descendant of the oldest sherry house the bodegas are open for viewing as well as wine and brandy tastings while viewing the considerable private art collection. It is reported to be one of the best  collections of Spanish paintings  in Andalusia and contains over 300 paintings, some of the works are by Grand Masters Goya and Velazquez  amongst many others 15th – 20th century  artists.

 

There are two types of unique and limited production Tradicion Brandies and six fabulous wines:

Fino
Palo Cortado VORS
Amontillado
Oloroso VORS
Cream VOS
Pedro Ximenez VOS

A trip to this winery will have you taking away a great choice of fine wines and brandy – if there’s any remaining.

For more information or to book visits go to the Bodega Tradicion website.

Handmade Spanish Mediterranean Fashion

Tongue Bags the handmade in Mallorca collection of stunning Mediterranean bags and T-shirts shout summer, style, coolness. And everything has that light, bright Mediterranean feel.

Tonguebags Mallorcan Fashion

Handmade in Mallorca the bags collection is a fine example of a Young Mallorcan fashion label who use the distinctive “llengües” fabric which has been made on the island for hundreds of years.

TongueBags

These handmade casual bags originated from two young Majorcan brothers who are interested in contemporary design and the traditional Mediterranean lifestyle.

Tonguebags

All the designs are handcrafted in small workshops near the Mediterranean and all the supplies are sourced locally.

Each carefully produced product made by the craftspeople is hand elaborated making each unique.

The material “llengües” which translates as cloth of tongues is made by complex ancient weaving techniques passed down through generations of craftspeople.

The result is a fabric which is exclusive to the island of Mallorca which is the only place in the world where it’s manufactured and has been so since 1854.

tonguebag-mini-artisanal-fabric

Why not see the full range of colours and designs from this young, vibrant fashion team’s collection of bags and T-shirts?

Jaen’s Best Gourmet Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Jaen Selection 2016 prize-winning extra virgin olive oils from Elaia Zait come with a fine price and story.
_mg_00025-copiaRealising that extra virgin olive oils (evoo)  weren’t being presented as a gastronomy/gourmet produce Elaia Zait set out with this challenge to produce that very product.

The gift presentation box Premium 2016 features the Jaen Selection, prize-winning oils, and paying tribute to the local painter Quesada Rafael Zabaleta and one of his best works “Formas en tierras de Secano” which can be seen in the painter’s museum in Jaen._mg_00033-copia
Deconstructing the painting into two parts gave rise to the two parts of the presentation pack which is made from olive wood and contains not only eight of the best evoos but a limited edition numbered lithograph of the original painting.

The presentation packaging places the bottles upright  like an olive tree and for this reason the inside also is made of gorgeously-grained olive oil. Only 100 of this series has been produced._mg_00018-copiaProduced totally in Jaen province using various providers it has been a careful and detailed project from the fine oil produced to the laser engraving and special varnishes used.

For more information and/or puchase contact Elaia Zait

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Granada

DSC_0140 - Copy

Without even realising  we were airborne. Floating gently, the distance between us and the ground growing. The views over the town of Guadix, 60 km from Granada city, revealing its beauty, calmly we drift upwards. In tandem with a smaller balloon we are at times above it, then below with no sensation of rising or falling – just a steady calm, barely noticeable movement.

DSC_0144 - Copy

This is the land of cave houses, stunning scenery and mountain ranges. The cathedral captures my eye, a merge of Renaissance and Baroque style, with clay ridges behind and in the distance the mighty mountain range of the Sierra Nevada with glints of white snow still visible at the end of June.

DSC_0180 - Copy

Higher we go, 360 degree views of uninterrupted beauty. The silence is calming then the flare of the flame a noisy blast and serenity resumes. I could live up here, peacefully drifting the skies, looking down on the hustle and bustle of the city below and the immense expanse of nature far greater than that of civilisation. Never for a moment feeling scared or unsafe.

DSC_0152

And those views go on forever, oh to keep on flying.

DSC_0153 - Copy

Where to stay in the province of Granada – Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels in Granada

My balloon flight experience  was thanks to GloventoSur and part of the GRXperience blogtrip run by Granada Tourist Board. A big thank you to both. Would I go again? Oh yes. I want to fly over the Alhambra in Granada city and over Ronda and the stunning mountains around it.

All photos are mine except the one with me in the basket! – copyright deMiku

See my Offroading in a 4×4 Land Rover post from the same trip.

Malaga Cruise Stop – What to Do

If it’s your first or fifth port stop in Malaga there is plenty to see and do in this vibrant, great-for-shopping city. Or if a spot of relaxing is in order then La Malagueta Beach is only a short walk away.

Museo Automovilistivo, Car Museum, Malaga
Car & Fashion Museum, Malaga

My Favourite Visits in Malaga

Calle Larios (opposite the port) for shopping

Car and Fashion Museum

Muelle Uno for shopping

The Alcazaba and Roman Theatre

Mercado Atarazanas great fresh food market

Mercado Atarazanas, Malaga
Mercado Atarazanas, Malaga

Where I like to Eat

Beach Bars on Playa La Malagueta

Balneario – a decent walk along the beaches

Mercado Merced – Gastro Market, usually busy with an incredible chose of tapas and rations

Pimpi – a great traditionally decorated bar

Playa La Malagueta, Beach Bars, Malaga
Playa La Malagueta  Beach Bar

A Bit Different

If you’ve been to Malaga several times and want something different and unique to do why not choose A Cooking Day. A cookery day with a Malaga local, Maite who speaks excellent English. She will collect you from the port and whisk you inland to her family farmhouse and you will gather fresh ingredients from her vegetable garden, cook and eat together.

What about a Hammam Al Andalus experience. A unique, sensual massage and cold, tepid  and hot Arab Baths to cleanse both body and mind right in the heart of old town Malaga.

Hammam Al Andalus, Malaga
Hammam Al Andalus, Malaga

 

Spanish Hampers in Hand Weaved Picnic Baskets

Bring a touch of Spain in the UK with these classy hampers from George Scott. The best Jamon Iberico de bellota is chosen by George himself a born in Spain of English parents bilingual guy who travels regularly between the exquisite family-run hotel Trasierra in  the wilds of Seville province and London.

There´s a range of jamons and smaller  hampers available in gorgeous hand weaved picnic baskets via the families hotel website.

Visit the Trasierra hotel website and feel the pull from the touches of pure Englishness in a historic 16th century house in the heart of the mountains of the Sierra Morena to the north of Seville.