Viewing: Marbella

First baby clothes

Apart from a gorgeous first day, Costa del Sol hasn’t quite dished out the sunshine and sandals weather I came here for. So I figured: what else was there to do in the pouring rain but shop?

Mata Caprichitos Marbella1

When we first arrived, I saw a shop called Mata Caprichitos, moda infantil, in the old center of Marbella. It was closed for siesta (from 1-5pm… how does anything get done here??) so I decided to come back and check it out today.

Mata Caprichitos Marbella2

The display window was just too precious. Admittedly, the clothes for older children are a bit too traditional and proper for my taste, but they have the sweetest details. Somewhere in my subconscious, I have this impression of Spanish baby clothes—knits in particular—as being cute, well-made and good value for money.

Mata Caprichitos Marbella3

“Is this your first?” the smiling sales lady asked in Spanish, as I lurched vaguely towards the clothes for 4-5 year olds. “Newborns, this way.” As I went through the racks, I dredged up what was left of my Spanish to make conversation, enjoying the rarity of friendly customer service (unfortunately not a strong suit of the Dutch).

Funny thing about baby clothes: seeing them used to give me massive baby pangs, which vanished as soon as I got pregnant. Finding out that we were having a girl didn’t make me rush to the nearest baby store, which surprised me. I didn’t even want to shop online despite pinning dozens of images to my growing Baby Love board on Pinterest. I felt like I could go for at least another month or two before wanting to buy anything for Little Mango, and I was happy to wait for the second-hand baby clothes offered by my generous mommy friends in Amsterdam.

I suspected my undoing would be walking into a baby store on purpose. And I was right. There was nothing scientific or methodical at all about how I purchased Little Mango’s first baby clothes. I had no idea if I was buying the right sizes for the right seasons. I just turned into one big puddle of hormones; it took nearly all my willpower not to buy everything in sight.

Not only did I feel slightly weak-kneed and giddy upon leaving the store, I also walked away with some pretty cute baby clothes. Want to see?

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Hola from Marbella!

A warm hola! from Spain’s Costa del Sol, where I am playing the tag-along wife. Marlon had a work conference to attend in Marbella, and I was dying to escape the cold. I also didn’t want to be alone for a week, so here I am.

In the ’60s and ’70s, this was the summer destination for Europe’s wealthy and glamorous. As a kid in the ’80s, I remember going to a Batangas beach resort called Marbella, obviously modeled after this town. My mom caught the tail end of its heyday, but I never thought I’d get to see the real Marbella.

We arrived on Monday with just enough time for a stroll around the center before Marlon had to work. My impression of Marbella, at least from its old town, is more charming than glamorous, and I like that. Tourist season is over (though it’s still a good 8-10℃ warmer than Amsterdam), so the town is practically deserted. I like that, too.

I’m not really here to see the sights. If all I do is hole up in a nice hotel room, occasionally take some nice pictures, and spend time with my husband after his long conference days, I will be happy. Getting to eat churros con chocolate and wear sandals in November would be huge pluses, obviously.

They say the second trimester is the best time to travel, and so far I’m inclined to agree!

By the way, I’m trying two new things in this post. First is this Photoshop tutorial for vivid color photos from A Beautiful Mess. My photos sometimes turn out much darker than I’d like (especially in gray Amsterdam), so I like this quick fix. Do you like the results or do you find the images too bright?

Another one is a tip from The House That Lars Built. In her column called 15 Minutes to a Better Blog, contributor Tori Bowman suggests making all images the width of the post for a good flow. I like taking tall/portrait photos (vs the usual wide/landscape orientation) so I struggle with this a bit. I’m trying it out here, so let me know what you think: is the last image way too big or just right? If you have a good fix for these pesky tall photos, I’d love to know!