I love getting in the car and driving away from the city and going on an adventure. We didn’t have to travel very far, for we went to plane watch at Delta de llobregat which is just a few miles out of Barcelona (actually its where Barcelona El Prat airport is). Such a weird combination of industrial aeronautical, yet whilst being amongst a nature reserve. The landscape is absolutely beautiful. On the coast, you walk through paths of reeds, poppies and rivers. Beautiful abandoned houses and paths. Sea views and just the weird feeling of watching planes glide over. I love nothing more than just getting out and going on a nice long walk with my camera and enjoying seeing wildlife and nature. It felt like a perfect spring day.
On a cold blustery day in the Welsh/English countryside we found ourselves in this wonderful, worn little workshop. Tucked away at the bottom of a garden. Where a ginger cat ruled the roost and roamed in an out. A large old range stove constantly fired up and ready to go. Everything coated in a fine orange dust. Piles and piles of clay. Tools scattered. Projects ready to be created.
There is something about manual arts and crafts which always makes me feel better and more real. Making something beautiful out of quite literally nothing makes me feel myself and takes me back to the reason of being really. As cass as that sounds. I love from a lump of almost earth you can create beautiful objects that have use. I love that out of a sheep’s’ wooly jacket you can create clothes, out of a simple piece of cloth you can create a beautiful garment and out of a piece of led or ink on paper you can create a master piece. When nothing becomes something is quite magical. Thats the reason I make to create something out of nothing, to remind my self that thoughts become things.
Learning how to throw pottery is quite a task, it looks so much easier than it actually is. Its something I really loved doing, so much technique to learn. Its a craft I want to explore more and I am itching to find some studios here in Barcelona. I loved using my hands and getting stuck in, quite literally, I loved the feeling of making something useful and functional but beautiful at the same time.
In this studio, on a cold winters day, we learnt how to make little bowls with the help and guidance (and a hell of a lot of patience) of a skilled craftsman. Just being in this scene, in this studio, made me feel alive again. For its places like these that I do love the very most!
Step inside this wonderful decay and you will find treasure. We used to live right across the road and its a building that I always looked out on. Visiting it was always a treat and used to take me right back to the days of studying fine art at uni. The smell of turps and paint, the sound of buzzing minds and the silence that is creativity. I absolutely love the studios, each one so personal to the artist. I love peering into work in progress’s and things just waiting to happen. Its messy and old and looks almost abandoned. What was an old fabric factory on the what was once the main highway of Barcelona. This building bares its bones and houses magic. I love it a lot and I hope it always remains. One day I would love to have a place in a studio like this, in the meanwhile I can dream a little.
This is a little series I started on my blog to help me keep track of and share and celebrate some of my most treasured places. Places where I feel happy and that make me feel like me and places that I find super inspiring. Here are past places
I wrote in my last post that I have recently made a massive life change and have upped sticks and moved to the country. We are now pleasantly situated in the hills that surround Barcelona. It has been the change, the literal breath of fresh air, that we have needed.
We are spoilt with the choices of walks and hikes to explore and have been out quite a few times on dog walks that have taken us to the most beautiful vista’s of the city and the surrounding country side. I love nothing more than going out and just noticing the area around and nature as it grows and changes. I love going out with my camera and taking a million and one pictures of every tiny leaf and bit of beautiful light.I also love using these photos later as a reference for sketches and incorporating them into my work. I love drawing plants and botanical things. They will forever feature in my work because that is when I am most at peace and that is where I feel my happiest. So things are good and I am forever grateful to live here and often find that I am pinching myself just to see if it is all real.
It all went a bit quiet on my blog as I have been busy with “The Big Move”. That’s right, we upped sticks and moved to the country. We are still here in Barcelona but now live amongst green and tree’s in the hills that surround Barcelona. I have been enjoying going out and being amongst nature and getting fresh air and just being away from the daily stresses of the city. Being out in the country side has changed my priorities a lot, especially when it comes to what I want to wear out and about. I want to be comfortable but at the same time still feel like me. I think you can be stylish and still embrace the outdoor’s life. Both I and Came have enjoyed getting out and about and going on dog walks. I have put together some of my outdoor wear favourites as a future style inspiration reference.
I quite like the sporty style of outdoor wear and I am currently hunting for the perfect padded jacket. I am always armed with my camera and also a good backpack to keep all necessities such as water. I wear my Activite pop watch by Withings to keep track of my daily steps and sleep.
My next inspiration comes in a more lets-go-out-for-a-stylish-picnic walk. Roaming outdoors in meadows whilst wearing the most perfect wellies, stopping off for a brisk picnic and a spot of tea. Combining that with nature spotting and rosy cheeked healthiness.
Can You Pull Off the Countryside Look?
You can always tell a city dweller in the countryside as they often stick out like a sore thumb through their ill-advised fashion choices. Countryside clothes are a fashion in their own right and in order to help you fit in we look at some examples of classic countryside style.
When it comes to inspiration it is always best to start at the top and in this case that means the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. Last year Vanity Fair reported that the Duchess of Cambridge posed for her first ever fashion shoot with fashion magazine Vogue. The pictures were taken in the Norfolk countryside where the Duchess lives and they show how effective a simple country getup can be. According to the magazine, Middleton swapped glamour for a “Burberry trench coat and a £293 white jacquard shirt by the same fashion house.” While this may seem expensive, it’s worth knowing that country clothes exude quality and longevity. The clothes you wear need to be able to face the unpredictable British weather. So when choosing your country outfit think about whether it can withstand the rain and be a part of your wardrobe for many years to come.
The great thing about trying a new fashion style is being able to try new looks and outfits. For example, when in the city would it ever be ok to wear a cape? The answer is never. But in the country there are plenty of occasions when a cape is perfectly respectable. Lady Alice Manners told The Telegraph that it is best to “wear well tailored trousers when sporting a cape to avoid the shape drowning you out.” If you’re not so keen on a cape then a good quality coat can make any look work.
Of course it is not all-suitable clothing and if you are going to live in the countryside you need to be ready to dress up. Horse racing is one of the few events in life where wearing a fancy hat is almost a requirement. Next month the Cheltenham Festival will take place. It is considered one of Britain’s most prestigious and famous events alongside the notorious Grand National, which “is the biggest race in British jumps racing, according to Betfair. Both of these race meets require horse racing enthusiasts to dress smartly. In terms of the Cheltenham Festival, the second day of the festival is called Ladies Day and it is where the best of British countryside style meets high-end fashion. If you are going to fit in and be considered a proper country girl then a bold dress complete with an outrageous hat is essential. The Guardian did a photo article from last year’s event to give you a good idea of what to aim for.
Shoes are a women’s best friend (alongside diamonds of course) and dressing for the country allows you to wear shoes that would be completely out of place in the city. A good pair of boots is essential for walking through muddy fields. Even Wellington Boots are acceptable for everyone to wear all the time.
So there you have it. Hopefully you will be fully prepared for the country the next time you are heading out by following these tips.
So summer has well and truly arrived. Which for me means sweat, melting and hiding away from the intense heat of the Barcelonian sun. Out come the milk maid legs and dresses, sandals until October and wanting to live in a fridge. I lose my sense of style a bit in this heat, as not feeling like a gloopy mess trumps any sort of style decision. Its nice to wear floaty dresses and flounce around beautiful stately parks (this one being in Badalona). Also having lupus means I need to stay covered up, so light weight tops or jackets are a must. I would like to sew some little kimono jackets myself. Lets see if I can do that.
What a week. It has been filled with highs and lows. The low’s been very very low indeed. I have had many a hospital visit (infiltrations, new medicine etc). ATM it seems like the second round of Rituximab has worked and I can finally (for the first time in over a year) reduce my cortisone dosage. Which is a small, good new step (YAY!).
This week has been the hottest so far and I can say that summer has officially started. Sleeping and feeling sluggish and heat and the sun for me in general are terrible. I try to hermit away in the day as much as possible because I just CAN’T. But it is nice to get outside and go on little strolls either to the beach or the park. Getting my legs out and freckles on my arms.
Thursday night was so nice, getting out for San Joan. San Joan is crazy, fireworks and fire and noise everywhere. We went down to our beloved Poblenou (our barrio) and watched the parade of the Corre Foc, with its amazing percussion band, go and ignite the bonfire. We then walked along the beach and watch the fireworks and chinese laterns before sitting in a park talking about our future and drinking a clara. Perfect.
Waking up in tears to the news on friday, manic family chats and feeling genuinely shocked and scared at the state of things here, there and everywhere. I feel sad and scared for my future as an EU Migrant/citizen. Now more than ever borders need to be opened. I can’t stand this “Great” Britain rule Britannia island mentality. Which to be honest I find embarrassing- its actually something I have noticed more and more when going back. I am also VERY angry that my postal vote did not arrive on time and my proxy vote was unable to vote for me. DESPITE sending everything well in time. I am shocked to the core at some of the things I have seen people I know think and believe (everyone has a right to their opinions and beliefs BUT when they are just down right offensive and racist etc it hurts my heart). I will write something more on this in the future as my head is fuzzy and still reeling from it all. Tuesday marks my 10 year anniversary so expect a post then.
Friday I escaped to my favourite place, sat on a rock and watched my busy, hot chaotic home from above and felt a sense of pride and belonging for one of the first times since arriving. It felt right to be where I was and looking at it all pan out from above I felt incredibly lucky and fortunate to experience it. I took a deep breath and felt instantly better. My favourite place is magical like that. It is healing and where I shall escape to more frequently.