Transformers

IMG_0104In free magazines, leaflets, through Facebook, word of mouth; there’s so many ways to find out what’s going on in this city. I often make a mental note to visit a new bar or buy tickets to an exhibition, fast forward a few months and have I been there? Have I got off my arse and done it? Of course not.

I am getting better at it though, the pursuit for self improvement continues; tickets are bought, outings organised and days well spent. Here’s some snaps from one of those days. IMG_0107IMG_0109TelephoneCallSecurity GuardIMG_0118IMG_0240We spent some fast-passing hours roaming around the Maxxi, to see the Transformers exhibition. Some of the photos are from other exhibitions of this modern art museum, but worth including nonetheless.

The idea of the exhibition is to use art and design to highlight social causes and to create discussions about them. For example, we saw a mechanical orchestra made from weapons confiscated by the Mexican Army. Notes created by hitting a xylophone made from gun parts show the potential to transform even the most dangerous of objects.  IMG_0125IMG_0121IMG_0133I particularly liked the idea of using everyday materials, albeit in a new way, to create art which is easily accessible to everybody.  Hubble Bubble, the green ‘suspended forest’ below is made from plastic colanders, while Life Life, this walkway of long swirling balloons, continually transforms as visitors pass through it. IMG_0126IMG_0145IMG_0127IMG_0142IMG_0147IMG_0151More than meets the eye – this is usually true isn’t it? It seems to me inspiration and ideas are out there for the taking, it’s the ‘doing’ part that’s difficult. But the transformation into something concrete and tangible makes you realise getting up and getting organised is well worth it.

More stuff soon.

Forbidden Fruit

You might have forgotten what I look like…yes it’s been a long time. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Rome has the ability to swallow you up and hypnotise you. Before you know it, an embarrassing number of months have passed since your last blog post.

Let’s just get right back into it with a trip to Giardino degli Aranci.

Giardino8Tree ClimbingFirstly, I suppose I should say that you’re not allowed to pick the oranges! And that’s certainly not a photo of me climbing a tree in order to satisfy my desire to take home a souvenir! I always find myself cringing at the typical ‘Brits abroad’ behaviour, but this time it was me being somewhat disorderly. At least I didn’t carve my name into the Colosseum or ravage a historic monument. Compared to some, I’m not so anarchic.

Giardino10Giardino6Giardino9One of those slightly hidden green spots in the centre of Rome, Giardino degli Aranci is where (if you haven’t already guessed from the name) you’ll find a garden of orange trees, which at this time of year are flush with bitter fruit. If you visit for some tranquility from the city, be sure to walk just around the corner and take a peek through the Aventino keyhole for a really special viewpoint of Rome. One of my favourites. FountainMiPacMoving country with only one suitcase in tow means I now choose from a more limited wardrobe. Less choice can be liberating, but it’s fair to say I’m getting sick of living in the same clothes all the time. Being light on outfits is probably one of the reasons my posting has dropped off the radar, however, I do want to say a little mention to my MiPac backpack – it deserves it.

I’m now a convert to the convenience of the backpack, this one comes with me on overnight stays, airport check-ins and faithfully carries my language books to and from school everyday. It’s also the bag that a friend of mine declared as ugly, suggesting one of MiPac’s usual canvas offerings instead. Always an advocate of animal print, I remember my friend’s differing opinion when I sling it on my shoulders.

Giardino12OrangeCakeAs you’re not supposed to take the oranges, you’re probably not supposed to eat them either. But cooked and added to cake mix, with a little extra sugar than usual, they’re really delicious! Plus, cooking and eating the day’s loot completes the story in a rather satisfying way.

DuomoMilano VinoOlio
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If you do want to know more of what I’ve been up to during this hiatus, send your eyes to my Instagram page where you’ll mainly find things I’ve seen and things I’ve eaten.

One last thing, I want to introduce you to the lovely Rosie and her blog Ragazza a Roma. If you look closely you’ll also spot me in an apron making pasta by hand…

Burnt Sienna

Emma (14)Just when you think you’ve got the hang of this living in a new country thing, when you no longer get stumped by public transport and when you can find your way through a maze of side streets by instinct, Rome likes to remind you that you know nothing! We were all set for a day away from the tourist filled streets with a visit to Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome’s largest park. Well, that was the idea anyway.

We got pretty close, but the walls of the park and roads which twisted away as soon as we got near did a good job of keeping us out! Rome is full of delights though, with things previously unseen hidden around every corner. We ended up at Gianicolo (if you know Rome, you know just how close we were) so the day wasn’t wasted by any means. It also means you get this blog post in a lovely shade of burnt sienna, what a treat. Emma (2)As much as I love piling on the layers to keep out the English chill, it’s a welcome change to wear a simple summer dress with just a liberal spray of factor 50. To my eyes, this lemon shift dress looks very vintage in shape (and in that delicious print!) although it’s actually from Topshop via eBay a few years ago.

Emma (4)The white pumps are a happy accident of my limited wardrobe here in Rome – none of my sandals went with the dress so a fresh pair of white trainers it was. Not only had I forgotten how satisfying that pristine white canvas is, I’d forgotten how quickly they get grubby. Not ideal for pounding the pavement in a dusty city.Emma (7)Emma (8)Emma (9)And if you look closely, you’ll see no Roman outfit is complete without a smattering of mosquito bites around the ankles. Yum.
Emma (13)

Getaway

Outfit 1It’s been just over a month since my last post, so we’ve got a lot to catch up on. First things first, if you think these photos look a little sunny for the UK then you’d be right! This outfit post comes to you from my new home in Rome!

Standing on the balcony outside my room, I had to get a little inventive with the picture taking whilst I was home alone. I figured if I snapped away then at least one or two would be useable – especially with a little strategic cropping.

This ASOS skirt has been sitting in my wardrobe for a while waiting for some warmer weather – I don’t think it looks as good with tights. Contrasting black and white on the front and back, it’s quite different to the other clothes I own. However it’s the royal blue stripes down the sides which I really love about it. ‘Go faster’ stripes and a curved hem to make me feel a little sporty (although not casual!) so something a bit different from my usual tastes.

Outfit 4 OutfitFor simplicity I paired it with a plain T Shirt and pumps, both grey. Usually, on the blog I’ll show you my snaps from a day trip or whatever sightseeing I’ve been up to. This time though, my outfit and I stayed in the local area so you’ll have to wait until next time for some of Rome’s big sights. There’ll be plenty to see in future though!trainers

For now, here’s a few insights into my day to day so far: L-R: Fresh pizza with a ton of mozzarella; pasta varieties for the tourist crowd, a rainbow of tomatoes from the market at Campo de’ Fiori; another day, another pizza of pancetta, onion and fontina cheese. Italian FoodWalking by the Pantheon on the way home; kaleidoscopic tiles at a language class I trialled, enjoying a rest after my first bike ride in probably 10 years; the limestone palette of Piazza Novona.Rome snapshots

A Million Dead End Streets

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Things are changing round these parts! You may have noticed a little bit of painting and decorating going on on the blog, in other words, a new and hopefully improved format. It was starting to look a little tired and dated, but with a little TLC it’s looking perkier and fresher, although it’s very much a work in progress. There’s also some news in the pipeline which should make for some exciting future posts. Watch this space.

I spent yesterday mooching around Oxford and taking in all the (free!) attractions the city has to offer. We saw Dodo’s, dinosaurs and a variety of stuffed animals (which you are invited to touch!) in the Museum of Natural History. I took lots of colourful photos, but for this post I wanted to pare it down and keep the photos consistent too. The sandstone colour palette of Oxford is rather pretty so the technicolor museum snaps are staying under wraps for now. 01
This ASOS jumper has been a staple for me lately. Easy to add layers to depending on the weather and with an interesting side split to keep my fickle attention span happy. A polka dot shirt underneath keeps things fun – sometimes I feel a little boring if I’m not wearing a print of some sort. The boots are from Dune and have been lived in this Winter, a wise investment even if I do say so myself.duneboots Polkadot collarportrait portrait5

Go to bed with wet hair and this is what I end up like, thank heavens for hairdryers eh!
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I only live about an hour away from Oxford so I can’t believe I’d never been before, it’s a beautiful day out. A lot of the museums and university buildings are free to enter, and there’s lots of architecture to see across the city centre. The choice of restaurants and shops is good too, both independent and the usual chains…I can’t think of anything it was missing!White Jumper

A Stormy Sky Over The Mountains On A Sunny Sunday

sittingSo you may have noticed that I’m trying out outfit posts on this blog. As such, I’m trying to keep reminding myself to stop being camera shy and awkward and just ask people to take photos for me. I think it’s always a strange request, but I repay my friends in weird expressions, strange poses and many many outtakes. Totally worth it, don’t you think?

Anyway, whilst I’m practising how to stifle my natural strange expressions, here’s a quick post from the other weekend!

Plans were made on where we would eat and breakfast was skipped in order to work up an appetite. In reality, that was a dumb idea as were told there was a 20 minute wait for a table. An absolute age on an empty stomach.

Thankfully, we quickly whiled away those 20minutes with these outfits shots.

spotty dress red shoes bag coat red dolly shoesI love these little dolly shoes, so red and shiny. After living in boots all winter, it was weird to switch back to a more summery shoe, especially without an in-between phase in the middle – I haven’t worn a brogue in so long!
The shoes are from Mellow Yellow, the bag and coat (both seen before on the blog) are vintage.
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torsoThis vintage denim shirt is one of my favourite ways to change up a dress, especially in warmer weather when I don’t need a jumper too. If you’ve noticed the glint of gold flashing at you, then I don’t blame you – this necklace certainly turned my head! I’d fallen out of the habit of wearing jewellery, preferring a simpler look without the tons of accessories I wore in my youth. I spotted this necklace on Eclectic Eccentricity and immediately loved the Art Deco triangles and chunky slice of Amethyst. It’s called Tove Amethyst Triangle Necklace if you want to find it on the site. I thought their description was pretty damn cool:

“Tove comes from Scandinavian mythology, taken from ‘Tófa’ meaning “Beautiful Thor”. Being the God of Thunder, this necklace so looks like a stormy sky over the mountains.”

amethyst necklaceIt’s the sort of jewellery which you wait excitedly for the postman for, and Instagram almost immediately after unwrapping. That’s fairly geeky isn’t it, but why not? It’s such a pleasing and satisfying thing to admire.

We've patched up our differences and I've fallen in love with #jewellery again! #amethyst

A post shared by Emma (@_emmalaw) on

redshoes leamington2 outfit viewI’m thankful to my friend for taking these photos for me, otherwise my outfit photos would look only like this last shot!

 

 

Budapest Part II

You can probably tell just by looking at them, but we exhausted ourselves climbing to the top of a very steep hill to take these photos! The night before, we’d been on a cruise down the Danube and spotted the Liberty Monument overlooking the river. It was just so beautiful at night, we made plans to trek up Gellert Hill the next day. Gellert Statue Gellert HillOnce you make it to the top however, you find yourself a bit too close to take a decent snap of the Liberty Monument. These are two smaller statues which stand to her side. Liberty is a big old lady holding a palm leaf up to the sky commemorating those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Hungary. She’s quite the beauty – especially in comparison to the St Gellert Monument a bit further down the river which marks the spot St Gellert was hurled to his death in a spiked barrel. Grisly.

Porthole Budapest View of PestNo such action going on anymore, the hill was a quiet spot for some shots of the skyline, including a panorama which my friend captured. Panorama River Budapest Panorama Heroes SquareThe next day bought a change in weather, some crisp blue backgrounds for our photographs and with it a sense that Budapest had lost a bit of its mystery. For me, it’s not Budapest unless it’s misty, grey and bloody cold!
War statue Heroes Square Traffic Bike Lights Budapest outdoor Ice Rink city park budapest Anonymous Statue Budapest Tour GuideAfter taking in Heroes Square and City Park, we had just enough time to see Budapest’s  Timewheel and Revolution Monument. The Timewheel is the world’s largest hourglass, some 8m high and 60 tonnes in weight. The sand empties from the chamber over the course of the year and the wheel is reset at New Year. I would have been impressed, if it had been working! Budapest Time wheel revolution monument 1956 revolution monument hungaryIt was worth a look though, as was the 1956 Revolution Monument. It was fun to weave in and out of the columns and see how far you could make it in. 
Budapest holidayWell that’s it, another trip over. All the postcards, tickets and metro stubs have been stuck in my scrapbook, ready for some more to join them soon.

A Faithful Old Shoe

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Isn’t it funny how a new item of clothing can reinvigorate your outfit choices, reminding you of some long forgotten gems at the back of the wardrobe?

military coat

red collar

Freshly delivered to my door via eBay, I knew I’d be wearing this vintage red coat at the weekend and planned my outfit around it. Once I’d clapped eyes on the sapphire/navy blue collar, the rest of the outfit presented itself from the depths of my wardrobe. A blue velvet T-shirt which rarely gets an outing these days, black trousers, and some beat up brown shoes. As my friend commented at the time they’re old favourites of mine, with leaky soles and faded toes to prove it.

Vintage coatHeatonex Coat Label

Anyway, back to the star of this post, the coat! Trying it on for the first time I noticed the somewhat cropped sleeves (not the usual fit for a 5’2 woman) and suspected it might have been a kid’s coat. Inspired to do a little digging I looked into the name on the label and found some rather sweet adverts for Heatonex. (I’ve pinned some more here.)

-1950s-uk-childrens-heatonex-the-advertising-archives 3342422684_4371b99154_o 10940602663_7ab43936b7_oHeatona were a Yorkshire clothing company specialising in coats, Heatonex being their girl’s fashion range. It’s definitely a name I’ll look out for when vintage hunting now, the designs are adorable and the quality still great. I wanted to keep the rest of my outfit quite low key, letting the coat be the main focus but I think it’s versatile enough to go with lots of styles and slot into my wardrobe nicely.

Vintage outfitcrest

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Oh, the title of this post comes from an expression which my mum frequently uses to describe the cat!

And Your Bird Can Sing…

Woodland dress

jephson gardens

It’s getting to that time of year when you can start to feel the season changing, with gentle reminders of Autumn nudging you for attention. Getting ready yesterday morning, I was choosing which sandals would go with my Summer dress only to see (and hear) the rain reminding me to be slightly more practical! On went the standard tights and sensible shoes instead.

Thankfully, the shower abated and I took advantage of what I suspect will be one of the last days of Summer with a trip to some nearby Gardens.

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swan print dressI love this swan print dress! It was love at first sight when I spotted it on eBay –  with a cute collar and even cuter print I knew it had to be mine. It’s actually maternity wear which means it’s a bit, ahem… busty for me but I think it’s manageable.

tie waist

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With such changeable weather I covered up with a favourite army shirt of mine. It magically fits into that slot of your wardrobe when it’s too hot for cardigans, and too chilly for bare skin. Being so useful must be why it’s so worn and bobbly but I’m not ready to part with it yet.

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NoCycle

yellow flower

wasp flowerIt turns out having your picture taken for blogging is mortifying and hilarious in equal measure. Of course, I’ve edited out the dodgy snaps but I can tell you they come with captions such as; “what’s wrong with your face?”, “yeah, you have got a funny mouth” and “what are you doing with your arms?” Not my words, but those of my trusty friend behind the camera :) So, for balance, please enjoy some pictures from around the park including a rather adventurous squirrel!

grey squirrel

sitting in shelter

swanThe real deal :)

Here, There and Everywhere.

London Cartoon Map

I live an hour away from London and I’d never really seen the big tourist sights – ridiculous I know! I’d done a couple of the museums and seen the inside of plenty of bars over the years, but considering how much of a sight-seer I am on my holidays my London to do list was shamefully long. So when I had a day to myself in the big city I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

I packed a map and my camera and pranced onto the tube!

breakfast in hyde park

My first stop was Hyde Park. I spent a little time on the edges, but the early start meant my stomach soon demanded breakfast. I leisured over a paper in Green Park and gained some energy for the day ahead. One more consultation of the map and I was good to go and tick some landmarks off my list…

Wellington Statue Hyde Park

Hyde Park – check!Wellington Arch Hyde Park

Wellington Arch – check!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace – check! Trying to walk through Buckingham Palace I realised I’d timed it right to see the Changing of the Guard which was good to watch. That said, it was so busy so I scurried off and watched from a distance.  It was far to hot to stand like a sardine with all the other tourists!

column in trafagarNelson’s Column – check!

trafalgar square

Trafalgar Square – check! I quite enjoyed mooching through the National Gallery too. Some of the more traditional stuff wasn’t really to my taste but there’s a good collection of Impressionists which was popular.

Big BenBig Ben – check!

london wheelLondon Eye – check!

So what do you think, did I miss anything out?!

This isn’t quite the order I did things in, as there were lots of pit stops for ice cream and cool drinks. I also meandered through St James’s park – how’s this for a splash of colour in the middle of London?! What a beaut.

st james park nature