Cool place

I’ve only been to Eastern Europe once and that was in Hungary and I absolutely loved it. I grew up with folk culture from all over Europe but it has always been the eastern European one that has struck a special cord with me. It’s in the colours, the melancholy, the general spirit that pervades this tradition. I really can’t explain and don’t quite know but I was happy to see, on this recent trip to Poland, that there is a renaissance, a rediscovery of this beautiful land. I really wasn’t expecting it. Wonderful food, amazing exhibitions, great bookshops and architectural beauty restored to its glory but not over-polished like it often happens here in the UK or in other richer European countries. If only I could have mastered the language, just a little bit. Really hard… Here are some of the images I came back with which will inspire me for a long time, I’m sure.MeWindowsKrakow1FoodLovely restaurantsKrakow2Wooden architecturechurchChurchesOpen museumGreat exhibitionsShows

Urban charm

I spent sometime in my old town visiting my mom I hadn’t seen for a whole year. It never happens as I always make time to go and visit her. Not this year though as many things have changed. I live between two places at the moment and summer has been pretty hectic with the b&b in my old house ( keeping two places is really hard work) and trying to be creative with lots of ideas in my head that not always get the attention needed. Ideas, sometimes I find, are like ghosts : you think you see them but they’re mere illusions till you grab them and make them real… The town I grew up has certainly changed, it’s not functioning properly and I found almost everybody I know going through a bad patch. But the place is charming with incredible architecture, unique cusine and blessed with eternal blue skies that almost hurt your eyes. I love going back as I’m an islander at heart after all… Some images below capturing some of it.October-Sicily

A day in London

What do you do in London in a day on a Saturday? Well lots of things and in the end begging for more. Flowers in the trees were in bloom and they were an unusual contrast against the milky sky. Lots of lovely shops selling all sort of things: from beautiful and tasty pastries at Lisboa pastellaria on Golbourne to the wonderful antique shops selling old and interesting furniture. We found a stylish material shop, we really liked, selling great linens and upholstery fabrics at very good prices with inspiring colours and stylish displays. Then down to overpriced Portobello road. Lots of things caught my eye but nothing so special I couldn’t live without… But hey I will go back very soon.London2Linens

A visit to Stow

It’s such a pleasure to vist these small towns in the Cotswolds: the warmth ( not the weather) of the honey coloured stone gives a wonderful glare and welcomes you in such a way you want to explore some more. This is Stow on the Wold and here is the magical north facing portal of the Norman church of St Edward’s with its imponent yew trees. They look like gigantic, prehistoric, mammouth-like legs. The beauty was almost overwhelming and it really felt like stepping back in time where I could have left my horse outside the yard regaining strength till ready to take me home…Stow-yewBeautiful old shops throughout the town. Loved it!Shop-window

A Cornish Heaven

We spent a few days in Cornwall over the holidays where luckly we missed the storms and instead got rewarded by beautiful sunshine, fantastic food and a wonderful exhibition at the Tate St.Ives named Aquatopia. I particularly loved the blown glass creatures by Leopold and Rudolf Blashka. Absolutely amazing! There’s so much Cornwall has to offer visually and with its own unique style: it’s picturesque but with an edge and so beautiful in winter away from the crowds and washed by occasional big waves. The salt in the air messing your hair…PorthlevenEdenSt.Ives

Hungarian trip

I spent a few lovely days in Hungary visiting a good friend of mine. Beautiful country with an amazing culture : unique language, wonderful food ( the cakes were pure poetry) and very strong Folk Art roots. Embroidered textiles, wonderful ceramics,  painted wood were all  really beautiful with strong reds and blues crafted by skilled craftwomen/men.

It was so refreshing to experience a culture blessed by a tradition that hasn’t gone stale, with coffee shops serving food not dictated by trends but by flavours people like that are strongly linked to the land and climate… I brought a little Hungary with me back home and lots of ideas that are buzzing in my head…

Hungary

London

I spent a few days in Cambridge and London with my dear friend Beatrice. She was giving a talk at Cambridge School of Art on her career as a children’s book illustrator.It was both inspiring and exciting and full of anecdotes with images from the past, the present and the future.

We spent some hectic but lovely days in London meeting friends and taking it all in. London is a pot full of ingredients of many colours. Certainly it would take more time to savour them all.

Deep blues and maiolica tiles

It’s amazing how one colour can have so many nuances. Especially on old, battered surfaces. I love the colour blue of the sea and the reflection of it on everything it touches. Well these images and the memory of it all, I’m sure, will keep me warm on the coming cold winter months.

Mimma’s world

I haven’t posted anything for a while as I have been away for a few weeks. I went to Sicily again visiting old friends and enjoying the great outdoor with blue skies and a very laid back lifestyle.

A good friend of mine took me to a part of Sicily I had never been before: the Madonie. A mountain range ( Sicilian style) crowned by interesting villages where it gets cold in winter and the architecture is a mix between Umbrian stone construction and unusual maiolica tiles conical towers. The stark beauty of the landscape sweetened by the gentleness of its inhabitants. We stayed in the best place we could have stayed: Mimma’s house in a lovely tiny hamlet in the countryside. Mimma’s hospitality was amazing! The place was crowded with plants, flowers with amazing scents and everything was made with love. She had a prickly-pear plantation so we had prickly pears for breakfast, home made cookies and we spent time drinking coffee whilst amaze at her embroidery skills. Even the sugar jar had a cross-stitch label she had embroidered stuck to it! I loved this place!