Sunday, 19 March 2017

{off to Tokyo!}

Well tomorrow I'm off to Tokyo!
Really looking forward to it. I've spent time in Asia, but never Japan, so I'm in for a treat, I know!
I'll be giving a paper at the History of Consumer Culture conference at Gakushuin University. The conference organisers have some lovely dinners planned, as well as a sightseeing tour on the Saturday, including dinner at the traditional Ukai Chikutei, an idyllic hideaway in the mountains, where there will be live music and Geisha dancing!
it's of course cherry blossom stay tuned for pictures, like this one:
{the kimono gallery}
follow me over on instagram for #postcardsfromtokyo

Thursday, 16 March 2017

{quotable thursdays}

It's international women's month, so today I'm choosing a short & punchy quote:
{she persisted}
That quote could simply read 'she persisted' and it would reveal the strength of so many women, past and present, who have persisted in the face of adversity. Whether it's famine, abuse, discrimination, or simply the challenges of everyday life.
Last weekend I had a group of amazing women over for brunch. We met through poppy loves bookclub in London and I invited them out for a 'day in the country'. We brunched and chatted and then went for a country walk. By the end of the day, I felt lighter, happier, and simply positive.

{all laughs!}

 It's wonderful what happens when you surround yourself with amazing women.
Thanks to all the inspiring women in my life!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

{postcards from Mexico-the highlights}

Well, I'm finally playing some catch up. It has been busy since my trip to Mexico for our Christmas reunion, and I've fallen ill a few times, and had a long trip to Italy as well...
So even though it's March, I thought I'd post the highlights of my trip to Mexico!
 We had a wonderful time--hosted by my sister Rachel and her family--we also managed to have a sisters' night out, a celebration dinner for my Dad's 70th (belated), and general fun times together. Veracruz is an important port historically, as it was used very early on for that purpose by the Spanish, so there are important early colonial buildings, but also very important indigenous sites too.
You'll have seen that I posted some pictures from my niece and nephew's first communion and party, or if you missed it, that post is here.

Without further delay, here are my favourite picks from the trip:
{ a visit to the nearby ruins}
It was here, where Cortez allied with the ruler, Xicomecoatl and together defeated Montezuma.

{these stones line up with the cardinal points}

{the church near Cortez's house}

{Cortez's house, the ruins}

We then drove to the Chapel of the Rosary, first church built by Cortez in the 1520s.
{oldest church in the Americas}

A highlight was celebrating my Dad's 70th birthday, where we took over an entire restaurant, the wonderful Silvestre
{our for dinner celebrating Dad's 70th birthday!}
 And then...we went on a boat ride!
{a boat trip through the Mangroves!}

{4/5 sisters of the 7 cs}

{mariachi, river side}

Old Veracruz is filled with charming buildings with lovely restaurants...
{traditional coffee house}

{the market in old Veracruz}
 & we made sure to carve out time for a sisters' night out, but were sad to be missing my fourth sister!
{sisters night out (minus one)}

& then it was Christmas!
{Christmas dinner!}

{the cooks!}

{the feast!}

{old Veracruz}
As you can see, it was a lovely holiday!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

{quotable thursdays}

Hello blog land!
Despite my hope/promise to slow down for 2017, I have a to-do list that seems to keep growing...& they aren't small things. they are big things, like finish edits on a whole textbook, finish an article, finish two other articles, finish edits on a (monograph) book and seek copyright for 55+ images...and compile an index while I'm at it.

But it'll all get done... and if one day I congratulate myself on my accomplishments, it's not out of pride or vanity, but out of sheer happiness I made it.

and on that note, here's today's quote:
{success is hard work}
now back to the edits..

Thursday, 16 February 2017

{quotable thursdays}

Hello World!
I'm back--back in England, and hopefully back (shortly) to health. I came down with a terrible terrrible flu in Genoa and was having to lie low for quite some time. I'm still feeling ill, but bit by bit I think I'm on the mend.
With that, I feel like things can only get better. My health can only improve, and the weather is just a little warmer and just a little brighter today, which makes me think...spring might just be on its way!
I've got some lovely tulips adorning my beautiful new/old vintage table cloth I bought in Italy at the antiques market (which needs ironing, but never mind!)

So much to catch up on, but that'll wait until I'm really better. I'm trying to do only essential things these days in order to get better as fast as I can.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

{quotable thursdays-postcards from Genoa}

{view from the flat I'm staying in!}
Ciao da Genova!!! I got here last night from Milan and am staying in a fabulous charming flat. In a beautiful palazzo, with antique furniture with large windows looking onto a typical Genoese square. Fab!!
Today's quote comes from Henry James, summing up the place perfectly:
Genoa, [...] is the crookedest and most incoherent of
cities; tossed about on the sides and crests of a dozen hills, it
is seamed with gullies and ravines that bristle with those
innumerable palaces for which we have heard from our earliest
years that the place is celebrated. These great structures, with
their mottled and faded complexions, lift their big ornamental
cornices to a tremendous height in the air, where, in a certain
indescribably forlorn and desolate fashion, overtopping each
other, they seem to reflect the twinkle and glitter of the warm
Mediterranean. Down about the basements, in the close crepuscular
alleys, the people are for ever moving to and fro or standing in
their cavernous doorways and their dusky, crowded shops, calling,
chattering, laughing, lamenting, living their lives in the
conversational Italian fashion. 
-Henry James, 'Italy Revisted, 1877, in Portraits of Places, 1883

I have to say, not much has changed since the 19th century. The palazzi still stand tall and proud, many striped black and white, with architectural details that in some ways point to Venetian architecture. Indeed, this city of merchants, also a seapower like Venice, has a resemblance to the Serenissima. But instead of canals, one is jostled hither and thither by tiny winding streets--the vicoli--where shops spill out onto the pavement and above ornate Baroque icons tower down on the observer.
{my flat is above this lovely shop--those windows to the left, with the big green shutters is where I'm staying!}
{the archives!}

As someone who grew up sailing the world on tall ships, I suppose it's no wonder I feel slightly at home here, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. I'm here on research--spent the day in the beautiful archives (Archivio di Stato di Genova), but am hoping to explore the city a bit more this weekend. I have caught a flu, but hoping that I can quickly overcome it.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

{quotable thursdays-postcards from Milan}

{taken in 2007}

Ciao da Milano!
I arrived late last night and am already immersed in the beauty of the city! So a little something from Henry James on my adopted city for the next week:

Milan, at any rate, if not bristling with the
aesthetic impulse, opens to us frankly enough the thick volume of
her past. Of that volume the Cathedral is the fairest and fullest
page--a structure not supremely interesting, not logical, not
even, to some minds, commandingly beautiful, but grandly curious
and superbly rich. I hope, for my own part, never to grow too
particular to admire it. If it had no other distinction it would
still have that of impressive, immeasurable achievement. As I
strolled beside its vast indented base one evening, and felt it,
above me, rear its grey mysteries into the starlight while the
restless human tide on which I floated rose no higher than the
first few layers of street-soiled marble, I was tempted to
believe that beauty in great architecture is almost a secondary
merit, and that the main point is mass--such mass as may make it
a supreme embodiment of vigorous effort. Viewed in this way a
great building is the greatest conceivable work of art. More than
any other it represents difficulties mastered, resources
combined, labour, courage and patience. 
-Henry James, Italian Hours

When I was a PhD student, many moons ago (actually exactly 10 years ago!), I lived here for a few months. It's an exciting city to be in with all its fashion and style and of course its fascinating history. I'm back again for archival research--here for a week and then off to Genoa next week.
stay tuned for pics etc... and you can keep up to date over on instagram!