Thursday, 14 July 2016

{quotable thursdays}

Hello Blogland! Thursday again, already?!
I spent my last weekend like a maniac--I painted the exterior of the house, the guest bedroom and the kitchen! phew! I was inspired because my middle sister is coming this weekend with her two kids!!!
I haven't seen her or them in over three years. Super super super excited!!!!
She is an amazing woman--a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, she's often on the news because of her research on refugees and displaced youth, she is successful in her career but still manages to make homemade cookies for her children. I live in awe. But she's also super down to earth and I can't wait to just catch up!
So today, a quote about the people in our lives that make us feel good:
{feed your soul}
In case you're interested, a couple of pics of my painting transformations, but stay tuned for a proper blog dedicated to the renos!
The exterior:

The guest bedroom:
... & now that's the last of the dreaded wallpaper in the house-GONE!
 et, la cuisine:


Thursday, 7 July 2016

{quotable thursdays}

I'm doing book edits for the next few weeks. It's rewarding and frustrating and difficult and creative and... sometimes I want to give up and just say it's all rotten and at other times I think to myself 'this is pretty good.' It's the strangest process. But I need to keep reminding myself this:
{from daily quotes}
The news just keeps getting more depressing by the day. I am trying my best not to let it get me down...and summer also seems never to have arrived in Blighty! but my garden furniture arrived yesterday so I'm hoping this encourages some summery weather. I also need to do a whole load of painting outside but haven't been able to because of the weather. Here's hoping the sun (& summer) follow today's quote too!

Sunday, 3 July 2016


Last weekend I visited Sissinghurst Castle with my cousins, to celebrate my cousin's birthday. It has loads of history, but it was the likes of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson who made it what it is today. They bought it derelict and in need of lots of love, and turned it into a mini-village where they lived with their family. Each property on the grounds serving different functions from Vita's study in the tower, to the kitchen occupying another area, to the living room/library in an old barn, to the oast houses which stand proudly...
Their love of gardens also means that the grounds are simply stunning to wander. It was rose season, but I'm sure at any time of year, it's a stunning spot.
{oast houses}

{part of the old castle}

{the tower (where Vita's study is)}
{Vita's study}


{library with portrait of Vita peering out}

 The tower is closed when there is bad weather, particularly lightening. We were lucky, as we climbed up right before we were told we had to head down...& it remained closed for the rest of the day. Stunning views!
{views from the tower}

 The gardens are simply delightful to wander in...

{Harold Nicholson's study--that's a view to inspire!}

From the house there is a beautiful countryside walk... we managed to time it perfectly, as the sun shone right when we began our walk!


Saturday, 2 July 2016

{postcards from Israel-Church of the Holy Sepulchre}

Hopefully you'll have been following my posts on Israel, but if not, you can find them here on the Holy City and here on the markets & here on our arrival...
I've decided to dedicate a whole post on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre just because it is a really unique building and it was quite an experience.
{on the rootfops of the church}
The door to the complex is  through a tiny unassuming hole in the wall from one of the souks:

{exterior architecture}

Once inside, you are overwhelmed by the glitter of gold from the mosaics and the flickering of candles:

To orient yourself, you might find this map useful: 

Upon entering the church, you find the stone of unction, where Christ's body is said to have been prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea:


From here you can take steps up to the chapel, where an altar, a gift from the Medici grazes one corner, and Byzantine mosaics glitter above.

Here at the centre, the main altar is said to be directly above where Christ was crucified.

From here you descend again into the main church, where you can circumambulate the side chapels, and visit the tombs of Jesus' contemporaries, as well as enter the Holy Tomb of Jesus.
{the stunning dome}

{side chapels}
Everywhere you look, you can see traces of centuries of worship...from different architectural styles, to faded frescoes, to pilgrims' graffiti...
{layers of architecture over time}

{signs of pilgrims over the centuries}

 Down the steps to Helena's chapel:

 What is the most striking thing you can do, and the most moving, is to join in one of the processions held every evening at 4pm or 5pm depending on the time of the year.
Holding candles, you process through the church, saying prayers, and following the stations of the cross, as well as accompanying the monks as they sing. For me, this made the significance of the space much more real, rather than a tourist attraction. It is still a church used by these holy men, but of different denominations. At one point the Franciscans chanting were in competition with the nearby Orthodox chanting, underlining how many different denominations of Christianity call this site holy.
 The monks chanting:

{orthodox procession}


{in procession with candle (Franciscan procession)}

The striking thing about Jerusalem is the evidence everywhere you look of co-existence between the various religions. Right outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a mosque, and while we were standing there we heard the muezzin call for prayer:


Stay tuned for one last instalment on Galilee and Nazareth!