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.

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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…

Last Pop Of Summer

Rome Vintage Outfit 12It’s officially the end of Summer. This Tuesday was the Autumn Equinox, that time of year where I usually look forward to wrapping up in layers and digging the woolies out from the back of my wardrobe. Checking my Instagram feed I’ve began to see hot chocolate instead of ice cream and ankle boots instead of flip flops from you all back home.

In Rome, we’ve still got temperatures in the high twenties so I’m a little disconnected from the usual routine. That said, last night we had a crazy thunderstorm (they really are so much more intense here and they go on for hours!) so Autumn should hopefully be here soon.

So, in contrast, introducing the last post of the Summer!

Rome Vintage Outfit 17Ask an Italian and they’ll tell you this Summer was much colder than usual and rather disappointing. If that’s true, then thank god!  It was bloody hot, I’m not sure how I would have survived anything much hotter.

As for clothes, I lived in bikini’s, sandals and loose cotton dresses to cover up when sighting seeing or walking to and from the beach. Not actually owning much of this type of clothing (there just isn’t the demand for it in Coventry), everyday was an easy and rather liberating choice.
Salt Water Sandals 3Rome Vintage Outfit 4skirtThis has got to be one of my favourite vintage dresses, originally bought from Freshmans Boutique in Sheffield (remember that uni friends?!) it started out allocated to the party dress section of my wardrobe. These days I find the 100% cotton and loose cut makes it perfect for scorching hot days. Label by Pop Vintage so I suspect it’s remade from vintage fabric – good work on find that kaleidoscopic pattern guys, I’ll never get tired of it.

It’s an uncomplicated outfit, simply paired with a pair of white Salt Water Sandals which I treated myself to a few months ago. I love their traditional style and they’ve really withstood a battering of sun, sand and seawater. Recommended.

Rome Vintage Outfit 25So let’s wrap up with some postcards from an Italian Summer…San Felice Circeo Old Town The view from the old town in San Felice Circeo. I also spent a few weeks further afield and travelled to the region of Puglia which (think of a map!) is the heel of the boot. PugliaPuglia sunsetPuglia DolceGood food is everywhere you look in Italy – and in every place I’ve visited I’ve been told “Oh, the mozzarella is very famous here”. Everytime.

Locorotunda PugliaScooter South ItalyTrulli Puglia Puglia is well known for this type of white brick building called Trulli, the distinctive dome rooves are topped (and sometimes painted) with different symbols, each from different religious meanings. Puglia Puglia StreetPuglia ChurchIMG_1791italian tilesIMG_1863If beautiful towns comprised of maze like streets is your thing, then Puglia is the region to visit. I also think it is impossible for Italians to be far from the sea in Summer, so of course there’s plenty of gorgeous beaches too.
Puglia rock beach

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

Different Class

tatton house tatton garden Last week I stayed with a friend in Manchester and took the opportunity for a bit of road-tripping. One of our visits was to Tatton Park, which as you can see from the pictures is just so beautiful. It’s ran by the National Trust (gotta love those guys) and pretty much ticks all their usual boxes: Stately home, gardens, deer park, and a working farm all fashioned in a particular style from the estate’s history. For example, the groundskeepers cottages are of a similar style mentioned in my Back to Backs post earlier this year.

Exploring the gardens we spotted some giant plants which made for some fun photos of me scrambling around the supposed undergrowth. A bit pixie at the bottom of the garden, a bit ‘Honey I shrunk the kids’.
Giant5 Giant1 Giant7 Giant3 tatton park maize maze I did want to do another outfit post and share my new dress with you in detail. Unfortunately my batteries ran out which only demonstrates my terrible planning!
60s outfitInstead I took a quick outfit snap when I got home. Listed as vintage, the dress was from eBay but is actually modern garb. Personally I don’t mind vintage inspired clothing but it is annoying that some sellers list any old thing as vintage; last years Primark dresses just don’t cut it for me!

I’m really enjoying using this brown shoulder bag at the moment too. The quest for a new handbag is such a tricky thing that finding the perfect combination of practicality and design is so pleasing. Judging by that musty bag smell, I’d deem it genuine vintage too!
tatton park gatewaySpending the day in a historic setting, we debated how we would have lived if we were to be transported back to a Gosford Park type situation. Sara reckons she’d enjoy the secrets with the downstairs staff but I think I’d prefer the banquets and luxurious clothes of the owners.

Let’s finish with a few snaps from around the gardens…
tatton park fountainbutterfly flower flower bedhanging flowers red white flowers garden tap lavender tatton park gardenpastel pink rose

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.

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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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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 :)