Thursday, 14 December 2017

{quotable thursdays}

Today's quote is a little reminder what Christmas is alllll about:
{the grinch}
& some jolly home-made orange decorations from Chota House!:


Monday, 11 December 2017


We got snow this weekend & it was just too pretty to not share these pics of Leighton Buzzard I took! There's something very beautiful about England at Christmas time...

{the market cross and the big Christmas tree in Leighton Buzzard}

{the medieval church of All Saints}

{the market cross}

{Mary Norton's house, where she wrote the Borrowers}

{& my little house-chota house}

{snow comes to Chota House!}


Sunday, 29 October 2017

{postcards from Spain-Madrid}

Hello blogland!
Huge apologies for my absence! I've been doing loads of travelling this autumn and it's been hard to keep up!
I'm finally blogging about my trip to Madrid in September...
It was fab! It started off with a a sangria looking onto the Royal Palace in Madrid...and then from there it was amazing!

The first day we had a special tour of the Escorial Palace & Monastery, which was fantastic!

We got special access to the cloister that is usually closed--it was stunning! The water reflecting on the marble on the central pavilion was simply amazing...

 & of course the interiors were pretty fabulous too. My favourite was the library, but we weren't allowed to take pics there...sadly!

Of course I gave my paper at the conference,  & attended sessions, as well as museum visits... but in the evenings it was tapas at Mercado San Miguel and simply taking in all the delights of the streets....

{we had dinner here in this lovely little taberna after my panel--a little hole in the wall that filled up with locals at about 11pm for dinner!}

{mercado san miguel}

{Plaza Mayor}

I've still got to catch up on Salerno & Naples stay tuned for more soon!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

{quotable thursdays}

It's Thursday! Already!!??
This weekend, I'm going on just under a 10K walk to fundraise for the preservation of historic churches in my area. If you want to support me you can donate here. In England, churches aren't simply places of worship, but repositories of the past, many housing fantastic art objects and sculpture from the centuries, not to mention they are architectural gems!
On another note, I'm off to Madrid next week! So excited! I'm presenting at the Kings & Queens' Conference, but really hoping to also take in the great city.
We're getting a special tour of the Prado & Escorial Palace, which should also be fab.
So on that note, two quotes today! one on travel and the other by Cervantes!
{adventures abroad austen!}
{Miguel de Cervantes}

Stay tuned for pics--& in the mean time, follow my travels over on instagram!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

{chastleton house}

{gorgeous Chastleton House}
Chastleton House is a Jacobean manor preserved in time. Eery cobwebs and dust appear on furniture frozen in time. Unlike other manors or great estates where subsequent generations had money to make a mark and often transform the fabric and makeup of a house,  the aspirations of the merchant who built it never were realised. Built between 1607 and 1612 by a prosperous wool merchant who had hoped to gain a title, the family became more and more impoverished, and thus no renovations were undertaken or no new furniture bought. For us, it means an authentic Jacobean house and a visit that brings to life the way people lived in the 17th century.

In early August, my cousins and I try to take a few days off and go on a 'clark holiday'. Our first was to Highclere Castle (the home of Downton Abbey) and highlights from past trips have been to places like the Peak District, walking in the footsteps of Eliza Bennett and her beloved Mr Darcy. This year we visited the Cotswolds, with stunning little villages on the water and lovely National Trust properties like Chastleton!
{the fabulous entrance leads into an amazing hall}

{the interior hall--it was a chilly August day so we were happy for the fire}
{furniture frozen in time}

{the plasterwork is seriously stunning and amazingly original!}

{old jacobean bed with the bedspread that was painstakingly done by hand 100s of years ago!}

 At the top of the house is what feels like a grand hall, with the largest original plaster ceiling in existence in England. This was not a formal entertaining space--rather it was used for exercise when the English weather was rainy--shuttlecocks were found under the floorboards indicating the family used to play badminton up here!

 Downstairs unsurprisingly were the servants' quarters with a wonderful old kitchen:

From there we drove to some beautiful Cotswolds villages including Bourton on the Water:

A truly wonderful Clark Holiday--already looking forward to next year!