Barcelona Yoga Teacher & Photographer Maria Mathison on Her Favourite Places

Maria Mathison, Barcelona based yoga teacher

I had the enormous good fortune to meet Maria when I travelled to Barcelona a few years ago. Above a children's shoe store not far from Las Ramblas, there's a yoga studio up a spiral staircase which is like a little spiritual haven far from the madness of the streets.

From the studio, you can see right across the city. It's divine.

I asked Maria for her recommendations on where to go and what to do in Barcelona for those who don't intend to purely shop and stare at the Sagrada.

Favourite places to eat: Cana de Azucar (Carrer de Muntaner 69); and Nolita (Carrer de Llull 230)
Nolita in Barcelona

Favourite ice creamery: ("I don't drink, just ice cream and tea!") Dela Crem (Carrer d'Enric Granados, 15)
Dela Crem in Barcelona

Favourite walk: Montjuic and Fundacion Miro

Favourite beach: Badalona

Maria teaches at Yoga Studio Barcelona. They're on Facebook, of course. Find them on the map here. Find the timetable here.

Maria is on Instagram at @onceuponanillusion

Makeup Inspiration from the 2015 Runways

I used to love the runway shots of John Galliano for Dior. Alexander McQueen also sent some ethereal and alien looks storming down the catwalk too. Makeup artists like Val Garland and Pat McGrath created futuristic creatures that lived on imaginary underwater islands, or punk-cyber-goth bombshells with huge hair and glued on diamantes and lashes.
Now, short of the nightclubs, these looks aren't going to wash in everyday life, but be inspired to dare something different.

The beauty of makeup is you can transform - take on a role that is more confident, more daring, more adventurous than you feel. 

Then you can wipe it off and change again.
Here's my pick of the 2015 looks you can adopt and adapt.

Nanette Lepore did iridescent purple lips, spidery lashes and metallic gold nails. Try doing ONE of these things at a time. As a purple lover, my preference is daring the lilac lip. Go on! Maybelline Color Elixir in Vision in Violet. Try a gold shimmer from NYX (Roll On Shimmer in Almond).
The Givenchy runway shots were ubiquitous. Sure, it's extreme.

The Victorian Chola Gang looked tribal and dark and confronting, but editors swarmed to the images and the clothes were not lost beneath the styling. While in Barcelona, I noted gleefully that all the beautiful young things were tattooed and pierced. The once rare septum piercing was no longer confined to hippies or punks. And the
super small rings that merely glinted under lights were super chic. If you're not ready for the real thing, I recommend a faux septum piercing. I got mine
from Junylie on Etsy.

As ever, Chloe and Michael Kors runways gave us a youthful nude palette that emphasised flawless skin, blushed cheekbones and beige toned eyes and lips. Go for the super luxe foundation (Urban Decay Naked Skin) and then pick budget friendly NYX for the entire nude palette.

Depending on whether you're gothic pale or Naomi Campbell, your nude colours will fall within a spectrum of flattering shades. Go for peachy (NYX Lipstick in Snow Cap) through rose beige (Pops Explosif) and make a subtle statement with the NYX Love In Rio eyeshadow kit of three shimmery beige/brown options. Skip the eyeliner and emphasise the lashline with Over The Taupe eyeshadow. Blush is mandatory - hit the apple of your cheeks and trace up to the outer corners of your eyes. With a subtle brushstroke - we're not going for a warpaint look.

Need a bit of oomph to your lips? Put a subtle dot of Angel Food Cake Butter Gloss in the cupid's bow and in the centre of your lower lip to finish. The light-reflecting gloss will make your lips appear fuller and smoother.

Yoga, Blood Oranges and Fuschia Pink Lipstick in Barcelona

Yoga isn't yoga for Barcelona natives. It's "Joe - Ga" so if you get confused looks when enquiring about a studio...that little difference makes everything clearer!
I was literally walking, mapless, through the alleys of Barcelona when I saw a curly-haired, tanned, super stylish hipster Spanish girl about to enter her (enviably city central) apartment and I tapped her tattooed shoulder and asked if she knew of a nearby yoga studio. She was hugely generous in recommending Yoga Studio and going through directions 3 times for me. Located through a hidden side door inside a children's shoe store, I would never have found it without her help!
The classes were extraordinarily cheap, especially for Europe! Just 12 Euros for 3 classes a week. Perfect for the short term traveller. The classes are entirely in Spanish, but I kept up in the three 1.5 hour classes I did without an iota of  Spanish literacy. I loved it. We started each class with the Om, then a rejuvenating vinyasa flow and strength moves, followed by meditation. I met some wonderful women and I hope to remain in touch with all of them. I highly recommend doing yoga there and if you can, attending Maria, Beatriz and Reitxu's classes. They are incredible instructors who provide excellent instruction and assistance with alignment and technique. They're also beautiful people with a quick laugh and generous spirit.
Yoga Studio
Pza. Universitat, 4 - 1º - 2ª
T. 934512928

Bonus! If you love raw food or you have a curiosity for it, Reitxu has a mouth-watering blog at

Also, before the LONG LONG flight, I shopped Kiehl's at Mecca Maxima for the skin perfecting toners and super hydrating serum. Don't skimp on quality skin products when you're spending 20 hours in a tiny, compressed air space. My pick? Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner and Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

Get the Barcelona Look

Lipstick: Flat Out Fabulous by MAC
Skin: St Tropez Self Tan Dark Mousse and MAC Strobe Cream for highlighting brow, cheekbones and cupid's bow (instant GLOW!)
Fragrance: Orange & Bergamot Aroma Reed Diffuser by Molton Brown and the enormously tropical and summery Frangipani by Demeter (available at MU in Australia)
Drink: Organic Birch Juice (it's the new coconut water!) by Weleda
Eat: From the fresh food market! Fruit salad with tiny plastic fork will make you right at home.

Yoga pants: Ellebie purple tights (available at Be Activewear)
Yoga top: Mandy neon orange tank (available at Be Activewear)

All Black Yoga Wear Edit

You know I freakin' obsess over Onzie! So for my upcoming trip to Barcelona and Paris, I want to look Euro Chic in all black everything. I also want to be ready for yoga and barre at the flip of a Euro coin! I don't want to look like a sweaty mess on the Saint Germain though. Black. Mesh. Print. Dots. This is the All Black Edit.

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  • Black mesh, black magic print and the tri coloured black, silver and futura print leggings are all in my suitcase. I plan on doing yoga, barre and whatever other fun fitness classes Parisian and Spanish girls are loving. That's between trekking the beautiful streets of Saint Germain, Barcelona and stretching my pins while watching the countryside from the train from Barcelona to Paris mid-May. A girl has to invest in her fitness gear. You know it. I've even been super prepared by buying black sneakers to match  my outfit. It was necessary! The second pair? Well, that was just fun. Stay tuned for photos.