The Beautiful Colours of Santorini

One of the things my husband and I loved when we went to Santorini was how lovely the island is in terms of the scenery – the sea looks amazing, there’s beautiful flowers like bougainvillea everywhere, and there’s plenty of white-washed architecture everywhere. However, I’ve noticed that most people assume that Santorini is just blue and white buildings with a beautiful sea – and that’s it. To be fair, if you Google the island, that’s all you’ll find – that iconic blue-and-white spot which is actually the island’s capital city overlooking a rich blue sea.

Unfortunately, this is just a tiny side of the island – literally. A lot of tourists and honeymooners come to Santorini for the blue and white scene, as well as the famous sunset part in Oia, which is a popular (but very expensive!) part of the island. While the area does look as beautiful as it does in the the pictures, it’s easy to be fooled by the images. My husband and I signed up for the sunset tour on one of the days that we were on the island, and could not believe how busy it gets – there’s literally about a thousand people all packed against the walls to see the sunset. It’s a lovely vibe, but very crowded, so not exactly romantic! Similarly the blue and white part of the city is a very popular place for people to pose, but the pictures are worth it, if you don’t mind queuing for the spot.

I thought I’d show the other side of Santorini, which is grassy, hilly and mountainous, and surrounded by beautiful flowers and blue water. Below are pictures I took from our holiday – if you notice, there’s not a single blue-and-white picture presents!

Balmy Evenings at Camden Lock

The hubster and I were wandering around London town a few days ago, and found ourselves in this peaceful spot, the beautiful river bank alongside Camden Lock, with serene floating boats moored at the edge against pretty cafes and restaurants. We managed to make the most of the warm evening and enjoy the gorgeous view for a while (until we got hungry and ran off to have a meal!)

I love finding spots like these around London which don’t feel like London – serene, beautiful spots which take you away from the ordinary moments and give a little peace for the day to think about things : )

DSC_4193

Quirky Bookstores & Libraries: A bookstore in Oia

One of the things I look out for whenever I go somewhere new are bookstores and libraries. I’ve been lucky enough so far to find some beautiful examples, such as this lovely bookstore in Istanbul which I found while strolling around in the New City, and which was beautifully put together.

I was pretty delightly, then, to find this colourful, quirky bookstore in Greece one on of the Islands, in the area called Oia which is famous for its beautiful sunsets and landscapes, (and which is a very popular tourist spot for honeymooners) – it was hidden away along the main street with stairs leading down into the bookshop inside. What I loved about this bookstore what the the outside was just as pretty as its interior – there were plenty of paintings and decor around the building so there was something to catch your eye wherever you look.

DSC_4706

I loved the random pieces scattered around – bookshelves, plants, typewriters and handwitten signs to give the personal touch and make it feel homely. I always love finding places like this, and it was great to see the effort put into decorating this bookshop.

The interior of the bookshop was a little dark (excuse the grainy pictures!) but it felt a little like a personal dreamland – hundreds of books in various languages crammed together on bookshelves, with some hanging from the ceiling, piled up on the cabinets and generally giving plenty of invitation for passerbys to come and immerse themselves in the world of books.

DSC_4709

We left this place with a big smile on our face (myself more than anyone else) because it was such a beautiful corner of a beautiful city, and I loved the fact that it seemed untouched by commercial values, instead asking customers to give what they can and to make the most of seeing the books. It’s made me keep an eye out for more of these places around the city, and of course, I’ll be posting more of these when I find them!

DSC_4715

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #12: L is for London

Summer-time is a great time to wander around London, seeing all the tourist attractions fully abuzz, enjoying a scorching day with lots of events happening and plent to see. Occasionally I’ll take my camera and wander around to see where I end up – this one’s from a few days ago where I thought this was an interesting angle – the Big Ben positioned inside the Millennium Eye.

I did take a few more pictures around the main roads, but I liked this one the most, although I wish the colours came out less blurred!

DSC_3424

Flashback Friday: Topkapi Palace

One of the places I would recommend to anyone visiting Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, a gorgeously luxurious palace-slash-museum with some seriously gorgeous artifacts, and several buildings and gardens to wander around and admire. I love looking at historical pieces, and there were several from different eras of the Ottoman Empire, but the best thing about this place was wandering around the different gardens and palace buildings and seeing the work that went into each of them.

Wherever you wander, there’s blue tiles, gilded gold walls and beautiful arched doorways to walk through and explore, although I think my favourite place was a small clearing on the side of the palace which lead to a view of the sea – serene, peaceful and somewhere to think about the history of this palace and its legacy.

DSC_4029

Cable Cars over River Thames

This weekend we took some of my nieces and nephews out to ride on the Emirates Air Line, which have cable cars flying across the River Thames from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. We got there at the perfect time, the sun set while we were in the cable car, and by the time we got to the other side, it was already dark.

The kids had great fun in the car (my toddler niece was fascinated by the view and was the quietest I’ve ever seen her!), and we took plenty of pictures and selfies from our height. It was pretty amazing seeing the o2 Dome, the River Thames and all the boats, and also the bright lights and motorways around which added to the view.

If you’re ever around this area I’d recommend a visit, it’s cheap and doesn’t take long, and it’s a great way to travel across the river!

DSC_0069 DSC_0047 DSC_0048 DSC_0062 IMG-20141207-WA0003

Throwback Thursday: Potions & Cauldrons in Harry Potter Studio Tour

I went to the wonderful Harry Potter Studio Tour a while back, and thought some of the sets, costumes and details were amazing – I’ve said before that I won’t post too many photos so I don’t ruin the experience for anyone who wants to go, but I thought I’d do a quick post of a shot I took of the Potions room, which was beautifully laid out with bottles, glasses, beakers, potions and of course, cauldrons.

I love the atmosphere of this photograph, there wasn’t a lot of light so it was almost a night-time view, but it worked because of the soft glow of the lamps and the blue shades in the shadows – you can almost imagine a student creeping through the room trying to steal ingredients or hide from Snape!

DSC_0956

Paul Friedlander’s Beautiful Kinetic Light Sculptures

Paul Friedlander is a scientist, artist and extraordinaire – just look at his beautiful light sculptures to see how he has managed to merge science into beautiful art. Friedlander focuses on kinetic light art, which primarily uses spinning strings and something called chromastrobic light, which is light that changes colour faster than the eye can see, so that it creates moving shapes.

The best (and perhaps simplest) way to explain the way the science works would  probably be this: “The vibrating string becomes invisible, but the white light that’s being reflected off the rope becomes visible in an exchange that lets our eyes see magic, as real as science can make it.”

The end results are beautiful, giant rays of lights which become beautiful sculptures. Friedlander has taken this further over the years by manipulating the colours, shapes and sizes over the years, in his exhibitions and tours to various countries. I love how spectacular these sculptures look, and how fluid and colourful they are. I’m waiting for Friedlander to announce an exhibition in London so I can visit and ooh-and-ahh at them, but in the meantime I suppose I’ll have to swing some ropes around and see if any sparks come off them!

You can visit his website for more images from his various tours and exhibitions in the last 14 years, or otherwise have a look at some of his videos to see how the light sculptures look like in motion – or read his bio and more about Paul Friedlander on his page here.

paul1


All images belong to Paul Friedlander

Pink Room Mondays

I visited the Warner Bros Harry Potter studios last year, which was amazing fun because of all of the props, huge sets and detailed little pieces which were all over the studio. After my visit, I decided against posting pictures of the tour and the studio, because I thought it would spoil things for people who wanted to visit, especially as there are plenty of different things to do, sets to see and activities to try out.

I’ve been reading Harry Potter since I was a young top hat, and grew up loving the books without ever knowing what a phenomenon it was and how popular it became – I’m glad I never knew while I first started reading it, because it meant I read with no expecations, and genuinely loved the books. I was 11 when I first started the series (same as Harry Potter was!) and it’s always felt slightly like I grew up with the series, at the same time as the hero did.

Even though I won’t spoil the tours for you, I’ll post one photo from the day, which was one of my favourite sets. This was the set used for the extremely pinky office for Dolores Umbridge in the film, which surprisingly looked a lot more glamorous up close than it did in the film (pink decor wouldn’t exactly be my first choice!) The room is in a little round concave, which looked amazing from the outside looking in, particularly when you see the tea-cups and saucers on the wall.

So here’s to some pinky mondays, not always favoured, but sometimes glamorous.

DSC_1016