A Glorious Autumn

Hello everyone!

Firstly I must apologise for not having written for a while! I really want to get into a better routine and get myself organised so I am posting more regularly, but still being fairly new to blogging, I have some work to do on this! I have been really busy with work and finding a new apartment, which I am very excited about and moving into in the next few weeks, so plenty of packing and organising and best of all…shopping to do!

Last weekend I went back to England for my Mum’s ‘special’ birthday! So Happy Birthday again Mum for last week, you are amazing!  I am so glad I got to be there to share it with her and my family! We had a delicious meal last Sunday in a beautiful restaurant called The Barn Brasserie, a very elegant barn conversion.  Lunch was accompanied by some stunning piano pieces played live by a very talented young musician – she played all sorts including pieces by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Daria Marianelli, who wrote the soundtrack to the film version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley. It was truly a wonderful weekend, if a little too short!

In recent weeks I have become slightly obsessed with taking photos of trees, streets, parks, gardens and any green spaces I see! Is it me, or we having one of the most amazing Autumns ever? I can’t remember being so enticed by the colours and sights of Autumn before. Everyday seems to be more splendid than the last and I find myself really appreciating the colours of the nature around me.

Autumn, England

Norfolk, England

Driving home from the airport last weekend, my father and I kept remarking on all the different shades of oranges, yellows and reds lining the roadside and here in Milan I have even seen trees in tones of pinks and purples! Whenever possible I love walking through the park and crunching through the piles of leaves underfoot.

Autumn, Milan

Parco Sempione, Milan

Autumn, England 2

My dog enjoying and exploring an orchard. Norfolk, England

I have always loved Autumn and Winter more than the other seasons. Of course I love to go to the beach and be out in the sun, but I find there is something quite restorative about the Autumn. Maybe it is because we start school/university/new jobs at the end of Summer, beginning of Autumn. For me it always seems a period of possibility and change, much more than the Spring or Summer.

The thing I find annoying about Autumn, is the period when it isn’t quite hot enough any more in the morning to not wear a cover-up or cardigan, but by midday you are too hot, then come five o’clock you are cold again! I wake up and find myself changing outfits between the morning and afternoon! However, once the really cold weather hits, I am ridiculously happy! I love wearing winter boots, coats and big scarves! Here in Milan I have over ten different coats and  in England I have about the same again! My Winter wardrobe is much more extensive than my Summer one.

I also love Winter food, my Mum’s leek and stilton soup, goulash, stews, jacket potatoes, roast dinners, blackberry and apple crumbles! Real wholesome, hearty food! Then of course with Autumn and Winter comes Harvest, Guy Fawkes Night, Halloween, Advent and then best of all Christmas – where there is nothing better than walks in the crisp cold with the dog and coming back home to a cup of tea and a real fire crackling away with the Christmas tree lit up in the corner! I love being inside the house all wrapped up and warm and outside there’s a slight frost in the air.

I am getting carried away and all dreamy again…back to Autumn. Who else is enjoying the beautiful Autumn we seem to be having this year?  Let me know what it is like where you are, I would love to hear/see! I hope you enjoy my pictures – all of which I have added no filters to – the colours speak for themselves!

Giardino Valentino Bompiani

Giardino Valentino Bompiani, Milan

Giardino Valentino Bompiani

Giardino Valentino Bompiani, Milan

 

Anna

Things I Love Catch Up and Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Dad!  One of the hardest things about living abroad and being away from your family, is missing birthdays or anniversaries or even Sunday Lunches! Of course this makes the time I spend at home even more special but I do miss being there for special occasions and of course birthday cake!! Thank goodness for skype! When my Mum lived in Germany she could only call my grandparents or write letters…these days you can face time, skype, whatsapp, distances of thousands of miles can be forgotten in seconds!

I haven’t done a Things I Love Sundays post for a couple of weeks, for one reason or another, so today I am doing a little catch up of everything I have been thankful for and loved over the past weeks!

Spontaneous trips to Venice Catching Up with one of my best friends Laughing uncontrollably and not really remembering why Cappuccinos and Amaretti Singing in a choir again for the first time since High School Surprise birthday dinner for my friend and seeing her completely shocked French lavender candles – Skyping with friends The first signs of Autumn in the park Unexpected late Birthday presents…loose leaf Sencha and Oolong tea which smells divine! Salted Caramel and Rose Macaroons Walking for hours and getting lost, but not really caring Peaceful nights sleep at the Casa Caburlotto and waking up early (something I don’t find comes naturally!) Late night walks to buy chocolates in Venice Singing and dancing around my apartment to 60’s and Motown music…The Shangri-las, The Shirelles,  Procul Harum, (which my love for, is thanks to my Dad! It was all we ever listened to in the car when I was little!)

One of our favourites…

Have a great week everyone!

Anna

 

 

 

Il Campanile di San Marco

One of the things I highly recommend when visiting Venice, is to go up to the top of the Campanile di San Marco.  The bell tower standing opposite the Basilica in Piazza San Marco, began its’ life as a watchtower in the 9th Century and was transformed into a bell tower in the 12th century. Other the years, it has suffered various forms of damage from lightning and earthquakes, including a fire in 1489, which seriously damaged its wooden spire. The bell tower took on the form we recognise now, only in the 16th century.

IMG_2731

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture from further away! So you can’t see the very top of the tower!

IMG_2723

The amazing Iron gates of the bell tower, with the Palazzo Ducale in the background.

It features a solid square brick tower, topped by the belfry which houses five bells, on top of which is a cube, with alternate faces showing the Lion of St Marc and La Giustizia, a female representation of Venice. On top of the cube is a pyramidal spire, with a gilded statue of the Archangel Gabriel holding a lily, completing the tower.  The tower stands at 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall and is 12 metres (39 ft) wide. There is a lift which takes you to the bells and the viewing platform. There you have 360 degree views of Venice!

IMG_2733

IMG_2732

The five bells of the Campanile, each had a different purpose!

The five bells of the Campanile, were each rung to mark different occasions, although all were tuned to the Scale of A.  The largest Marangona, was rung to mark the beginning and end of the working day; the Nona, sounded at midday; the Trotteria, called members of the Maggior Consiglio to council meetings, the Mezza Terza, signalled a session of the Senate and the Renghiera or Maleficio, announced executions!

After the tower had taken on its final form (between 1511 and 1514) it stood proudly in the square and became a landmark of Venice. However, on the morning of July 14th 1902, cracks started to appear in the bell tower, which quickly spread and before long the tower had crumbled to the floor, leaving only a pile of rubble! The way the tower fell caused very little damage to any other buildings in its vicinity, and I read that the only fatality was the caretakers cat! Poor thing!  The Campile, which had become a landmark of the city and known world over, was rebuilt in less than a decade to its original design, height and width and was reopened on the 12th April 1912, supposedly exactly one thousand years after the foundations of the original tower had been laid!

IMG_2735

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2015_10_07_21_33_36

IMG_2724

IMG_2727

IMG_2728

This plaque commemorates how Galileo Galilei demonstrated his telescope to the Duke of Venice Antonio Priuli on the 21st of August 1609.

IMG_2726

Here you can see the Duke’s Palace to the right and the top of the Basilica di San Marco on the left.

IMG_2729

IMG_2725

Piazza San Marco – which was slightly flooded when we visited!

The views from the top are magnificent and truly worth the queues! Wrap up warm though…as it gets really quite windy up there!! And make sure you don’t forget your camera!

IMG_2730

Here we are looking very happy to be re-united in Venice – just slightly windswept and cold!!

Anna

A Weekend in Venice

I consider myself very lucky that I have been able to visit Venice on a number of occasions, a few times just for the day and a couple of times for the weekend! But I find that every time I go, I discover something new and find beauty and magic in the city. Whether it be visiting the Basilica, stumbling upon a second hand bookshop – stuffed to the brim with quirky and unusual books or going for a Venetian Rowing lesson, there is always some new adventure to be had or something to be experienced.

Last weekend was no exception! I met my friend on the Saturday at Casa Caburlotto, a Convent situated very close to the main railway station, where we would be staying. The convent is run by the Suore Figlie di San Giuseppe del Caburlotto and we had found it on the website Monastery Stays, which my father has seen written about in the Guardian and suggested we checked out.  Expecting all the properties to be completely booked up at such short notice, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Casa Caburlotto had availability!  Monastery Stays, may not be for everyone, but I found it perfect for our weekend in Venice. The rooms were very simple, but extremely clean, with excellent, friendly staff and the  breakfast was typical of Italian hotels -croissants, cereal, bread, cake, yoghurt, coffee and juices! There was a small chapel and a pretty inner courtyard.  It was only half an hour walk to Piazza San Marco, which was great as we didn’t have to take any water taxis or ferry’s the whole weekend! The only thing is there was a curfew of midnight, but for us that was fine, as we were exhausted from all the walking – after which, I slept so well! It was very peaceful at the Convent and had a lovely calm atmosphere!

IMG_2705

Casa Caburlotto, built in the 17th Century – the congregation was established in 1850 and founded by Monsignor Luigi Caburlotto.

IMG_2706

IMG_2707

The building had really interesting heads on the exterior…all slightly weird and wonderful!

IMG_2708

The garden area was very tranquil and tended to by the Nuns. I wish I had taken more pictures inside the Convent, but you can check some more out on the Monastery Stays website.

Saturday we spent wandering around Venice, getting lost and discovering tiny streets and pretty bridges, as well as amazing macaroon and chocolate shops!  We ate extremely well over the weekend and found on both the Saturday and Sunday, lovely restaurants filled with Italians (which is always a good sign) away from the main tourist areas. On Sunday we went up the Campanile di San Marco for some amazing photo opportunities and visited the Ca’Rezzonico, a museum of 18th Century Venice, set in a beautiful palace with some of the most incredible chandeliers I have ever seen! I will be sharing photos from both of these later in the month, as well as my top tips for visiting the city!

IMG_2498

IMG_2497

The houses in Venice have strange and intriguing door knockers! Keep an eye out for them…I have spotted all sorts, heads, lions…

IMG_2499

This boat yard was opposite a great place we found for a glass of prosecco and crostini, which are pieces of bread topped with delicious things, such as aubergine and smoked cheese, pesto with mozzerella and tomato or smocked mackerel! It was packed with Venetians and was super cheap, I’m talking €2.50 a glass of prosecco! Look out for Osteria Alsquero!

IMG_2500

Have you visited Venice? Did you discover any hidden gems?  What did you think about the city? I would love to hear!

Anna

 

Meet me in Venice…

How can you refuse when a friend asks you to meet them in Venice? You simply cannot and so I find myself heading there for the weekend, rather spontaneously! We decided I think on Sunday evening! My friend, whom I lived with whilst at University, is living in Dubai, but has popped over to Europe for the week and as our meet ups are now spread so far apart from one another, they are even more special! So I am super excited!

This will be my second trip to the city this year, as I went to meet another friend from University there in March, when we ended up going for a Venetian Rowing lesson which you can read about here and I attended a talk by Art Historian and presenter of the BBC’s Italy Unpacked Andrew Graham-Dixon. The talk you can also read about here.

I am not sure what we have planned for this weekend, but I am sure we will end up having an adventure or two! The first, shall be finding one another…I don’t think I have ever visited Venice, without getting a little lost!

I am looking forward to my train journey as I can read some more of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, which is the first book I am reading for my Read Around the World feature! More to come on that soon, but you can read my first post here and I am still looking for suggestions of other books, from each country around the world! So let me know if you have any!

For now, I must pack, as I am prone to leaving things to the last minute! Only thing is, I am at a loss as to what to take! This week has been a disaster weather wise, Wednesday was 13 degrees, stormy and rainy (I even wore wellies!), Thursday and Friday 23 degrees and sunny! It makes my head spin all this weather changing…but the forecast says it should be nice, so fingers crossed!

Have a great weekend everyone!

IMG_2427

A picture I took of San Marco from the water taxi back in March

Anna

Things I Love Sundays

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It has been a busy and full week back at work and I have to say it is taking me a little while to get used to it again! However, it has warmed up slightly here and the sun is shining bright today…which puts you in a good, positive mood!

I am thinking about doing my ‘Things I Love Sundays’ feature every two weeks, or as a month review, but I haven’t decided yet. What do you think?

For now however, this week I have been loving…

Going back to work and seeing all my students! Getting organized  Making new friends New opportunities arising  Lavender and Chamomile room spray Saturday lunch with my girls Catching up with friends who live way too far away Being asked if I live in a library because I always have new books…then being told by a little girl we should open a library together and call it ‘La libreria dei sogni’ The Library of Dreams Chamomile, lemon balm and lavender tea (Loving Lavender and Chamomile everything, at the moment!) – Discovering new places in Milan I haven’t visited before, like the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio (pictured below!) – 

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2015_09_20_18_34_57

The outside of the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, Milan

What have you been up to or enjoyed this week? I want to hear!

Here’s to a productive and happy week ahead!

Anna

A few days on the Suffolk Coast

Whilst I was home for the summer, my parents and I (as well as the dog!) decided to spend a few days in Suffolk. We stayed at The Westleton Crown on the Suffolk coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh. The Crown is a charming hotel, restaurant and traditional pub, serving delicious food, with a great atmosphere and of course dog-friendly – Robbie loved sitting in the lounge after dinner! All the rooms were named after birds, rather than having numbers, which was a rather charming touch! I was in the Wren room and my parents in the Nuthatch.

We had a very relaxed few days visiting Snape Maltings, Southwold Pier, Dunwich, Dunwich Heath and Woodbridge. The countryside in  Suffolk is beautiful, especially Dunwich Heath where we went for a really lovely long walk (getting just slightly lost at one point), before heading back to the National Trust tea rooms for tea and scones! Perfect and how very English!

IMG_2413

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2015_09_20_17_01_19

IMG_2412

It was a rather rainy day when we visited Southwold Pier, but I love how this image looked when I gave it this filter! Slightly mysterious!

Image-1 (2)

The Pier has an ‘Under The Pier Show’ with hand-built machines, all a little quirky and out there! I had a go on the ‘Crankenstien’, which you have to wind up and watch as Crankenstien becomes more and more angry! It made me jump when he suddenly screams at you!

IMG_2422

British street artist Pure Evil, created this piece of art to commemorate George Orwell and the time he spent in Southwold. Orwell wrote ‘A Clergyman’s Daughter’ whilst in Southwold. The artwork will remain a permanent feature of the pier.

IMG_2415

The stunning Dunwich Heath

IMG_2411

IMG_2414

IMG_2190

Giant (and surprisingly comfy!) deckchairs at Dunwich Heath!

IMG_2189

In the village of Westleton, where we stayed, there was a really interesting and quirky second hand book shop! My Dad found three history books, and when you wanted to pay, there was an old oil can and a wooden stick which you had to beat to get someone’s attention! Very eccentric…but charismatic! They even offered us a cup of tea!

IMG_2423

If you have never been Suffolk is a lovely place – great countryside, friendly people and it feels very traditional, very British! If you have been, where did you enjoy visiting? What did you see and do?

Anna