Friday, 30 September 2016

Milan fashion week favourites!

Normally I am not a huge fan of Milan fashion week and struggle to find 5 favourite collections, this time I struggled to ONLY select 5 collections. I'm going to restrain myself and stick to 5 but here is a list of the others I love too:  San Andres Milano, Alberta Ferreti, Ports 1961 and Stella Jean.

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Milan fashion Week, Summer fashion, textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, fashion week, Emilio Pucci, rainbow fashion, colourful fashion, bright colours, rainbow style, new collection
I actually loved the colour palette of the SS17 Pucci collection so much that I featured it on instagram as well. It isn't the most inspiring collection for print, but the colours....WOW!

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Milan fashion Week, Summer fashion, textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, Salvatore Ferragamo, Italian fashion, white ground floral, fresh floral, floral print, floral fashion, fashion week, new collection
It was the fresh floral prints on white grounds that caught my attention in the Ferragamo collection.

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Milan fashion Week, Summer fashion, textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, outline floral print, abstract print, fashion week, new collection
The new Marni collection is just amazing!From the outline floral and abstract prints to the on trend styling of the garments all finished off with a utility twist- I loved it!

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Milan fashion Week, Summer fashion, textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, Antonio Marras, soft punk, eclectic fashion, gingham, fashion week, new collection
I think the Antonio Marras collection might be my favourite from Milan fashion week. It offered a softened version of the new 'eclectic' trend that has taken the SS17 collections by storm(I will be positing about this next week) and combined beautiful loosely coloured hand drawn floral prints with black and white gingham and pale botanical prints.
Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Milan fashion Week, Summer fashion, textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, Etro, fashion week, new collection
Etro always seems to make it into my top 5 posts, I think it is mainly because they are consistently good and they have a niche(paisley and 'ethnic' prints) and have really become artisans in that area. Their SS17 collection offered another range of beautiful paisley designs and loose garments.


Milan is now over and I'm trying to get through the Paris collections and organize all the images into a half decent trend report. Hopefully I will have compiled and labelled everything to put into a post at the end of next week. This season I won't be doing colour boards, I've decided just to focus on the prints(this is a print blog after all) and any new shape/trim details that I pick up on. I also have new trend board design layouts so I'm interested to see what you all think of them and hopefully get some feedback! x

Thursday, 22 September 2016

London fashion week: collection favourites


My favourites from the London collections...

Textile Candy, fashion blog, runway collections, catwalk collections, Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, runway favourites, Burberry Prorsum, London fashion week
I love how this heritage brand has completely remade itself. Until fairly recently it was only seen in the outerwear of the upper classes and as rip off market stall caps, but it has completely turned itself around to reach it's current 'could-not-be-more-on-trend' status. One of the main reasons this collection is one of my favourites is probably because there are SO many prints.

Textile Candy, fashion blog, runway collections, catwalk collections, Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, runway favourites, Erdem, London fashion week
I honestly haven't been a huge fan of Erdem's recent collections but this one I LOVED! It actually might be my favourite collection from London fashion week. The relaxed styling, chintz prints, lace up/tie details and tight oriental inspired colour palette made this collection bang on trend.

Textile Candy, fashion blog, runway collections, catwalk collections, Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, runway favourites, Peter Pilotto, London fashion week
Acid brights, gingham checks and painterly florals are all popular trends in the SS17 collections and the Peter Pilotto collection combined them all perfectly.

Textile Candy, fashion blog, runway collections, catwalk collections, Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, runway favourites, Sharon Wauchob, London fashion week
It was mainly the styling of the Sharon Wauchob collection that peaked my interest, I am a huge fan of the long, relaxed pyjama shirt and skirt combination and think this could work perfectly if combined with the 'Dandy robes' prints in the Autumn/Winter 2017-18 PV print trend report(http://textilecandy.blogspot.de/2016/09/premiere-vision-autumnwinter-2017-18.html)

Textile Candy, fashion blog, runway collections, catwalk collections, Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, runway favourites, Temperley, London fashion week
I love how bright the colour palette of this collection is, also really excited about using acid bright embroidery on sheer fabric.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

New York fashion week: Collection favourites

I want to do a quick round up of my favourite collections from each fashion week as a bit of a teaser to the actual trend reports so here is the first installment- New York. I would have posted it sooner but completing the Premiere Vision Autumn/Winter 2017-18 print trend report has been my priority(you can check it out here: http://textilecandy.blogspot.de/2016/09/premiere-vision-autumnwinter-2017-18.html)

 I've written a little caption under each board to let you know why I like each collection but will keep these "runway favourite" posts as text free as possible!

Spring/Summer 2017, Runway collections, fashion trend, favourite designers,New York fashion week, Delpozo, Textile candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, bright colours
I absolutely love how colourful this collection is, giving a nod to the new garish 'eclectic' trend(keep checking the Textile Candy blog to hear more about this trend)without being too overpowering. I also love how the Delpozo collections are consistently smooth and sculptural, you can always tell a Delpozo collection by this signature style and I think that's really important in creating a brand.

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Fashion trends, Trend prediction, fashion favourites, fashion blog, runway collection, trend report, Boss women, primary colours, primary fashion, sports luze, cutout fashion, cutout dress
Hello Sports luxe!!! Boss women has absolutely nailed the sports aesthetic in this collection with cutout bodycon details, utility pockets and contrast straps and trims. I also love how tight the colour palette is: blue, black, red, green, white....simple and clean.
 
Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Fashion trends, Trend prediction, fashion favourites, fashion blog, runway collection, trend report, Adeam, sports luxe, athleisure
Generally I wouldn't look twice at this small 26 look collection because I am always so print focussed but I chose Adeam for the styling, garment shape and details- they're just so easy and relaxed. The whole collection hints at a lot of the main styling trends for the season(cutout, ties, exposed shoulders, layering) without overpowering you with them.

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Fashion trends, Trend prediction, fashion favourites, fashion blog, runway collection, trend report, panama design, craftmanship, artisan fashion, Nicole Miller
Always a favourite, I am always keen to see the Nicole Miller collection as it always promises a lot of print. This season is no different, inspired by craftmanship in Panama, it boasts a range of intricate patterns and embroidery.

Spring/Summer 2017, SS17, Fashion trends, Trend prediction, fashion favourites, fashion blog, runway collection, trend report, soft punk, punk trend, punk fashion, punk style, biker jacket, biker fashion, romantic trend, punk romance, soft punk, floral print, Coach
I have been anticipating a punk comeback for quite a while now and here it is! The Coach collection embodies the perfect combination of hard punk rock and soft translucent romance with sheer layers and floral chiffons combined with studded biker jackets and heavy duty boots.

 
That's all for New York fashion week! London finishes today so I should have another 5 favourites from the London collections for you tomorrow....stay tuned ;) x

Premiere Vision Autumn/Winter 2017-18



Premiere Vision Paris, Premiere Vision AW17-18, Autumn/Winter 2017-18 fashion trends, textile trends, print design fair, textile fair, fashion trade show, Paris, Fabrics fair


 HERE IT IS!!!The Textile Candy Premiere Vision trend report for Autumn/Winter 2018, not completed as fast as I would have liked but still completed and up on the blog within1 week of the event...not too bad ;)

Last week, September 13th-15th, Premiere Vision Paris took place and I, along with several thousand other textiles/fashion professionals and students, descended on the Parc des Expositions eager to see what the new fabric mills, design studios and trend forecasters were offering for AW17-18. 

Premiere Vision Paris, Premiere Vision AW17-18, Autumn/Winter 2017-18 fashion trends, textile trends, print design fair, textile fair, fashion trade show, Paris, Fabrics fair

As always I have taken the forecasted print trends shown at PV and amalgamated them to create a smaller collection of boards.Here is the full list of 16 trends given at the trade show-I've given the French names as well as I always feel a bit like the names get a little lost in translation:

+ INHABITED FLOWERS/fleurs habité
+ LITTLE DOTS.../des petits points
+ DECIDEDLY HERRINGBONE/assurément chevron
+ FUNNY ANIMALS/drôles d'animaux
+ GEOMETRIC CONSTRUCTIONS/constructions géometriques
+ STRANGE GLEAMS/luers étranges
+ THICK LINES/à gros traits
+ JAPANESE NIGHTS/nuits Japonaises
+ BOUQUETS IN THE SHADOW/bouquets dans l'ombre
+ GRATING FLOWERINGS/floraisons grinçantes
+ ORIENTAL COMPOSITIONS/compositions à l'orientale
+ DANDY ROBES/peignoir d'homme
+ STYLISED ART DECO/stylisé art déco
+ ALL OVER FLAKES/semis de flocons
+ TO BE COLOURED/à colorier
+ EASTWARD HO!/ à L'Est, lié


As you can see from these titles there is a VERY obvious Eastern/Oriental theme here; delicate florals, dark grounds, silk pyjama patterns, kimono inspired fabrics and art deco geometrics  working together to create an altogether opulent feel. 

While writing this post I have been flicking through the Spring/Summer 2017 runway collections and already there is an obvious movement towards more opulent fabrics(silks and crushed velvets) for SS17 combined with a lot of relaxed pyjama style draping -you can definitely begin to see how this style will work brilliantly with these print trends.

Premiere Vision Paris, Premiere Vision AW17-18, Autumn/Winter 2017-18 fashion trends, textile trends, print design fair, textile fair, fashion trade show, Paris, Fabrics fair, Bouquets in the shadow, dark florals, dark ground floral, japanese floral, japanese nights, to be coloured, thick lines, thick outlines, strange gleams, eastward ho!, dandy robes, little dots, all over flakes, funny animals, geometric constructions, stylised art deco


I decided to combine the above trends into 13. I combined "All over flakes" with "Little dots" under the header "Dots and flakes" as I feel they sit well together and can often appear to be the same thin. I also combined "Geometric constructions" with "Decidedly herringbone" under the title "Chevrons and geometry" as I, personally, don't think these two work as stand alone trends and would be better together as they are both quite geometric. One further amalgamation I made was to merge "Inhabited florals" with "Grating flowerings" I will admit that this is partially because I couldn't really understand either of these trends from the fabric samples provided at PV, but I surmised that Inhabited florals were flowers with fill effects/imagery in the flower silhouettes and grating flowerings had a texture layer over the top/a watercolour effect in the petals. Other than combining these boards the only other change I made was to the title of "Eastward, ho!", which I renamed as "Eastbound", translated from the French it means basically the same thing but I just feel like the word "ho" has far too many other connotations nowadays!

So with no further ado here are the boards...

Premiere Vision Paris, AW 17-18, Autumn/Winter 2017-18, Print design, Textile Candy, www.textilecandy.blogspot.co.uk, Trend report

Adult colouring book, coloring book, coloring pages, to be coloured, colouring book illustrations, Johanna Basford, The secret garden, half coloured, unfinished illustration, Premiere Vision, colouring book fad, trend, fashion, teextiles, print design, textile design 

Raoul Dufy, Fairbairn & Wolf, Ink studio, Collect Scotland, Karolina York, Camilla Frances, thick outlines, brushtroke outline, dark outlines, bold outline, outline illustration, outline floral, glowing edges, hand painted floral, painterly floral, painted flower, floral trend, flower design, floral print, textile design, print design, fashion design, AW17-18, future trends, trend prediction, textile candy


Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, chevrons and geometry, decidedly herringbone, herringon print, chevron, chevron design, zigzag pattern, Fairbairn & Wolf, Missoni stripe, Baxter Fawcett, textile design studio, design studio, print studio, Ensell & Hall, geometric constructions, 80's silk shirt, 80's pattern, shapes, geometric design


Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, nuprimary studio, Alessandro Monaco, speckle print, spot design, spot pattern, polka dot, irregular spot, dash pattern, abstract print, flec print, splodge print


Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Eckhaus Latta SS17, Pocket square, mens silk scarf, mens silk pyjamas, patterned silk, mini geometric pattern, mini print, geometric print, regular print, shape print, rich colours, menswear, mens suiting, patterned silk, printed silk tie, silk headscarf, silk cravat, dandy robes, modern dandy, 18th century fsahion, contemporary dandy


Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, opening ceremony, art deco, stylised art deco, art deco architecture, 1930s design, 1930s art



Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, funny animals, animal conversationals, animal pattern, cat print, cat design, M.C. Escher, Anna Sui SS17, The colorfield, Markus Lupfer SS17, Dries Van Noten AW16



Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Inhabited florals, grating flowerings, textured floral, patterned flower, distressed floral, watercolour floral, bleeding floral scratchy flower, hand painted floral, line floral, floral collage, Liz Casella, Xin Song,Ensell & Hall


Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Ink Studio, Baxter Fawcett, Japanese floral, oriental floral, oriental painting, oriental art, Japanese art, Delicate floral, outline art, outline painting, illustration, Japanese art, floral painting, floral print, dark floral, floral fashion, dark ground flower, bouquets in the shadow, dark bouquet

Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Pattern textiles, Zara, strange glean, pearlescent florals, light florals, ehtereal floral, soft floral, fashion, floral print, japanese print, kimono fabric

Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Kona Bay, Michelle Morrin, Appaloosa, kimono fabric, kimono design, traditional japanese kimono, oriental fashion, oriental design, japanese print, japanese silk, painted silk, oriental silk

Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, Eastward Ho, Eastbound, eastern textiles, eastern design, oriental design, oriental inspiration, bright colours, dark ground, bright florals, rainbow flowers, eastern embroidery, Naeem Khan SS17, Pattern textiles, Fairbairn & Wolf, Liberty of London, rich fabric

Textile design, print design, textile candy, trend forecasting, trend prediction, WGSN, premiere vision, printed fashion, fashion print, AW17-18, Autumn/Winter fashion trends, trend report, tc, oriental compositions, oriental inspired, oriental scarf, paisley scarf, global design, pattern mix, pattern clash, aboriginal scarf, aboriginal design, floral border, paisley


I've included a front page with the trend boards this time and they're all formatted as A4 landscape pages so that they can be printed off easily. If anyone uses them for business purposes please let me know in a comment at the bottom of this post, it's great to get feedback when people are finding my trend reports useful. Alternatively, if you do print them off, feel free to tag me on instagram in a photo of the printouts @beckyloisburns

Also keep checking on the Textile Candy blog as I have a pretty awesome Spring/Summer 2017 Runway trend report coming soon ;)

Enjoy x












Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Italian road trip: the hunt for my 'joie de vivre'


As all of you who read my blog know, I recently handed in my notice at work. I had intended to do this in September so that I could leave in December and enter the new year with a clean slate. This did not happen,instead I moved the decision forward to before my holiday. I didn't want to leave for my Italian road trip with my resignation hanging over my head and thought Italy would be the perfect time to come up with a plan.

I am now back from my trip and still planless and feeling a little lost.....but very inspired. I have never been on a more painful, tiring, exciting, amazing and inspiring holiday in my life. I have been feeling so creatively flat for most of 2016 and Italy really reignited my 'joie de vivre'(see- I have picked up a little French while living in Brussels). I have consumed delicious food and wine, marvelled at beautiful architecture, hiked through the hills/villages of Cinqueterre and soaked up ample amounts of Vitamin D. This was my first trip to Italy but will definitely not be my last, I threw my coin into the Trevvi fountain and will definitely be returning. 

Roman holiday, Italian road trip, Interrail Italy, Italia, Italy, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Florence, Cinqueterre, Venice, Burano Island, Manarola, Murano Island, Summer Holiday
Some of my favourite photos from the trip!


Anyway I thought I would share a little bit about my holiday and hopefully it will be of use to anyone thinking of travelling to Italy.

                                                                               -----------------

So... firstly, I have always dreamed of visting, so many things on my bucket list revolve around this country. This year, my 25th, is the last time I qualify for a cheaper "youth" interrail ticket and the Scottish heritage in me means I always go for the cheapest option. Italy is supposedly one of the most romantic countries to travel round, I can now confirm this. However, I am currently experiencing a (long) gap in relationships and I refuse to put an Italian trip on hold until I find a guy..... so I enlisted my younger brother to come along with me. It was actually extremely well timed for him as he has just finished his A-levels.

We both wanted to see as much of Italy as possible on the trip and so planned to visit: Naples, Pompei, Rome, Florence, Cinqueterre and Venice- in just over a week. In hindsight this was a terrible idea as there is so much to see in each city that you could happily stay in each for 3-5 days. Anyway, in our naivity, we stuck to this plan and booked our Air b&bs. I'm going to list and post photos of all the places we stayed below as we really couldn't fault any of them and Air b&b is definitely a great way to get around as you feel like you're experiencing local life in each city .

Airbnb, Air B&B, apartments, Rome, Venice, Florence, La Spezia, Interrail, Italian travel, Where to stay in Italy
Our Air B&B's. Top to bottom: Rome, Florence, La Spezia and Venice.

Our trip began in Naples. I flew back to the UK for the weekend and we left from Manchester airport on Monday. I can honestly say that, regardless of what I thought was good planning, it was an absolute nightmare... all thanks to Monarch airlines. Our flight was delayed by 45 minutes which meant we missed our check in time for the apartment and had to panic book a groggy room in a fairly average hotel. Not the best start, stress levels rose and our holiday budget was cut into.

Naples is not a city I have ever been particularly interested in, I hadn't heard great reviews about it and, now that I have been, I doubt I will visit again.Walking around the central station of Naples felt like walking around a council estate, apologies to anyone reading this who might live there- this is just my opinion of the area we stayed in. I am not really aware of how the recent refugee crisis has affected Italy but after traveling between cities it seems that Naples has been affected the most.

Anyway...the real reason we were in Naples was to tick off something on my bucket list and climb a volcano, so off to Mt. Vesuvius we went. I was pretty excited for this, as was my brother, I'm a bit of a not-so-secret history geek and I have always been fascinated by the 79AD eruption that reduced Pompei and Herculaneum to ash and stone. It didn't disappoint. I would definitely recommend a visit to anyone doing an Italian roadtrip. it was really interesting seeing the distance between Vesuvius and Pompei and the panoramic views from the summit across the Bay of Naples were breathtaking. Naples definitely looks much better from afar. 

Pompeii, Pompei, Vesuvius, Volcano, Bucket list, Herculaneum, Excavation site, Roman city, volcanic eruption, 79AD, Bay of Naples, Napoli, Panormaic view, Summer holiday, Italian roadtrip, Naples, Roman ruins

After the climb we went back down the volcano, we didn't have time to visit both Pompei and Herculaneum so, as all tourists do, we opted for the site we had heard most about. We had started quite early in the morning, a theme throughout the holiday, which meant we arrived at Pompei around 10am and avoided peak tourist time. I have few words to describe the impact of seeing the excavation site, it really transports you back in time, I felt like I was on the set of Jason and the Argonauts. I had never realised how huge Pompei actually was, in its day it was the main city in the area, the amount of times we got lost around the excavation site is testament to this. The site seems to be an ongoing excavation and there were a lot of fenced off areas still being worked on but it was amazing seeing how well preserved some of the ancient roman houses were! It must have been a really spectacular place in its heyday with mosaic tiled floors, carefully painted murals and bronze sculptures everywhere. Another thing I loved about Pompei is how they have used the original stone water containers to create fountains of drinking water for the visitors.

Drinking water at Pompei. NB: these photos are taken from google images.

The next leg of the journey was Rome, a city I was particularly excited about visiting because of the rich ancient history. We arrived in the evening and our airb&b apartment was lovely, set up in the eaves of a Roman townhouse in Trastavere, surrounded by lovely little restaurants, vine covered bars and gelateria's- perfection. It was also right next to the river which became our main point of navigation. Tip to anyone airb&b'ing their way around Italy- always choose a place near a landmark/geographical point of interest then, regardless of how much wine you consume, you will always find your way back. This being said, I would have spent my time constantly lost if it weren't for my little brother- his orienteering skills and internal navigation never ceased to amaze me on this trip. The only times we found ourselves lost was when I took the lead, even his drunken navigation was better than mine sober.

Italian road trip, Italia, Italy, Roman holiday, when in Rome, all roads lead to Rome, The Roman Forum, The Colosseum, Opera, Roman opera, The 3 tenors, the three tenors, Italian Graffit, the trevvi fountain, make a wish, roman temple, roman ruins, roman numerals

 Having only allotted 2 days to exploring Rome, definitely not enough to do it justice, we had to be very strict with our timing and decisive about what we wanted to see. We decided to see the Roman forum, Colosseum, Spanish steps, Trevvi fountain and the 'Bone church'/ crypt of the Cpauchin monks on the first day and the Vatican on the second day. Once again we started super early and arrived at the Roman forum around 8.30am, ahead of the majority of the tourists, which meant that we could take some pretty great photos without other people in the background and without having to join a selfie queue. The Roman forum was definitely one of my favourite parts of our Italian trip, I think its partially because of the time of day we visited, it was surprisingly tranquil and well signposted with information placards everywhere so that you understood what you were looking at. The Colosseum, however, was an anticlimax. Too many tourists, which is a fairly obvious thing to say, but in contrast to the forum it just didn't measure up- although it is a spectacular building solely based on size. To think that gladiators arrived there knowing they might never come out is a pretty overwhelming thought.

video

Next was the Trevvi fountain and Spanish steps, we had decided to skip public transport and do everything by foot, that way you get to see a lot more and explore the side streets on the way. In theory this was a great idea, in practice...not so much. After scaling a volcano the day before in below par footwear, my feet were ripped to shreads...blisters EVERYWHERE. Note to self, do not wear previously unworn New Look pumps when walking large distances/up volcanoes. Needless to say, while in Rome I was in a great deal of pain, only one pair of trusty shoes actually fit me as the others had ankle straps and my ankles had swollen up in the heat, I could almost have been confused with someone with elephantitis. Anyway, I'm a pretty determined person and we still took on Rome by foot. I threw 3 coins into the Trevvi fountain(as you can see in the video above) so I will be returning to Italy hand in hand with my beautiful Italian husband(yet to be discovered,but I'll keep you posted on that haha). 

We then went to the bone church which I had actually really been looking forward to as I had wanted to visit the Paris catacombs earlier in the year but didn't have time and had attempted to do this again in Budapest but they were closed. Despite my excitement I really didn't enjoy it. Firstly the man at the ticket desk was exceptionally rude to my brother and I, then walking around it felt more like we had entered into a cult than a museum. There were oddly painted portraits of monks everywhere and the instruments they use for self-flagellation in glass cases. When we finally got to the bone crypt we were unable to take photos, which was disappointing as I hadn't been aware of this. The crypt itself was both interesting and extremely creepy, definitely the creepiest place I have ever visited!Patterns imitating ornamental plaster moulding were created from bones in a tromp l'oeuil way. It was both exquisite and disgusting. I've put some images of the interiors below so you can get a sense of what it was like, although they are all taken from google. Despite my mixed emotions about this, I think it would make for a great source of inspiration for a project.

The bone church, Roman catacombs, crypt, capuchin monks, skeleton decor, skull design
Details from the bone church.
After a lot of walking during the day we went home to get ready to cross another thing off my bucket list- opera. Where better to experience your first opera than in Rome! It was my little brother's 18th while we were in Italy and I had bought him the opera tickets for his birthday present- I had given him the choice between opera and a crazy night out and he chose opera. So we got dressed up fairly fancy and hopped into a taxi to the small, beautiful church 'Chiesa de S Paulo entro le mura/St Paul's within the walls' and tucked into a few glasses of wine and complimentary pasta while we were waiting. The 3 Tenors, minus Pavarotti(who died in 2007) stepped out and began their performance. It wasn't a busy venue, there were about 50 people there and the church was so small with such good accoustics that no microphones were needed and it felt quite personal. They performed so many of my favourite pieces of classical music including "volare", "o sole mio"  and "funniculi funnicula" and, at one point, I actually felt my eyes dampening a little. I can honestly say that it was one of the best nights of my life, here is a video clip from the night.

video

We continued the merriment with some cocktails, a lot of cocktails. My brother decided that, now that he had finally turned 18, he was obligated to decide what his signature drink would be....so, of course, to make an informed decision we had to try all of the drinks....error....huge HUGE error. When it came to waking up to go to the Vatican the next day we both struggled. Neither of us had actually made it into our beds the night before and had fallen asleep in random locations around the apartment, needless to say there were a few aches and pains and upset stomachs on the way to the Vatican. We managed to pull ourselves together enough to walk there in time for our 10.30am group tour which was to take 3 hrs walking around St Peters square, the basilica and the Sistine chapel. The Vatican is a phenomenal building, so much detail has gone into it, seeing as it took 123 years to complete I would expect nothing less(little fact from our group tour). There is so much gold on the interior of St Peters basilica, it's such an extravagantly decorated place of worship that, although I marvelled at it architecturally, it sickened me. to think that this building was brought into being through taxes and money given to the catholic church- money that could/should have been used to help those in need ...I'm fairly sure this wouldn't have been something god wanted.

Italian roadtrip, Italia, Italy, Rome, Vatican city, Vaticana, the pope, St Peters basilica, swiss guard, west wind, angels and demons, sistene chapel, papacy, church interior, religious architecture, renaissance, michaelangelo

While visiting I also got to see the Sistene chapel, which I am sure I would have enjoyed had it not been for the Vatican security claustrophobically herding everyone to the centre of the room and repeatedly shouting "silencio!no phones!" down a microphone every 3 minutes, ruined the ambience a little. I did get a chance to marvel at Michaelangelo's amazing sense of perspective in 'final judgement' and 'creation of adam', he painted with such depth that he managed to make the ceiling look twice as high. The tour finished around 2pm and our intention was to go to the pantheon but, after climbing versvius and tackling the entirety of Rome on foot, I really couldnt walk any further so sadly we had to skip it.


The vatican, vatican city, michaelangelo, the sistene chapel, the final judgement, creation of adam, renaissance painting, church mura
The Sistene chapel ceiling, 'The creation of Adam' and 'The final judgement'- all photos borrowed from google images.

Onwards to Florence. My brother was particularly excited for this one as I had found an airb&b with a huge terrace and an amazing view of Il Duomo. We arrived and it didn't disappoint. The view was amazing, so, of course, I used it as a photo opp...

Interrail Italy, Italia, Florence, Firenze, Italian architecture, Il duomo, selfie, terracotta rooftops

Italian trip, summer holiday, la dolce vita, florence, firenze, boboli gardens, italian sculpture, italia architecture, ponte vecchio, painted ceiling

After so much walking we decided to take it easy in Florence, indulging ourselves with sunbathing/reading on the terrace in the day with an amazing bottle of Tuscan wine and a beautiful meal in the evening- probably up there with the best food I have ever eaten. The place was called 'La Menagere' and I really would recommend it to anyone visting Florence. The portions were teeny, the menu pricy, but the food was worth every penny. I had a candied lemon and poppy seed risotto with aubergine for my main meal and a creamy tiramisu for dessert, here's a link to their website and menu in case you fancy a look :) http://www.lamenagere.it/food-2-2/

La Menagere restaurant, Florence, Firenze, restaurant review, florence restaurant, where to eat

The next day was probably the one I had been most excited for- Cinqueterre. We had stayed overnight in La Spezia at another Airb&b which I would definitely recommend as our host was extremely friendly and helpful and the location was perfect. From there we got on the train at 7am to Riomaggiore to get a glimpse of the Cinqueterre trail and the quaint little fishermans villages before the tourists rolled in. From Riomaggiore we went on to Manarola where I managed to catch a video of the sun rising over the village- it was a pretty glorious moment. Manarola to Corniglia was next and from there we jumped onto the hiking trail between Corniglia and Vernazza. 

Map of the Cinqueterre villages, taken from google images.

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  For anyone thinking of visiting Cinqueterre I would definitely recommend hiking one of the trails as you get to see the beauty of the area a lot more than by train as most of the track is through tunnels. If you do this though please proper shoes and carry a lot of water. The shortest trip is around 1 hr on uneven surfaces with jagged steps that seem to have been made for giants/people with very long legs, I wasn't warned of this. The views from the trail were so breathtaking, the only way I could flaw the experience is that you can see places along the trail where you would like to head down the cliffs and swim but there is no trail down. I loved this day so much and I even managed to get a mini beach and swimming fix too. This was quite a rushed day unfortunately as we had to get a train from La Spezia to Florence at 2.15pm then Florence to Venice at 5.30pm. In hindsight I wish I had allotted more time to exploring Cinqueterre, 5-6 hrs was definitely not enough.

Italy, Italia, Cinqueterre, fishermanx villages, colourful buildings, hillside village, kimono selfie, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, cactus, blue sea

The last few days of our Italian road trip were spent in Venice, a city I had made absolutely no plans for but felt the need to visit anyway. It was beautiful in a forgotten historical kind of way. I don't think I have ever been anywhere where I have sensed the history of the city so strongly, I was particularly interested in its history of plague as it seems to have left such an impact on Venetian culture, particularly in the design of the carnival masks that line the streets.

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 Venice is a beautiful place but I felt like the macabre history combined with the murky green waters made it feel quite eerie. My brother and I did a little bit of research into this and found that, in November of 1630, 16000 people died of plague IN ONE MONTH!!!!The Venetian government of the time created quarantine islands in the lagoon in an attempt to control the deadly outbreak where anyone even suspected of having the plague was sent to die. Lazaretto vecchio and Povoglia are two such islands where quarantine colonies were created. Walking around in the evening as the sun was setting, passing by dark doorways with steps down to the canals as silent gondolas pass under the old iron bridges, the history was almost tangible. Oddly, I really enjoyed the eeriness perhaps I will combine the venetian history with the bone church and make a sinister Italian inspired project....

Italian roadtrip, Interrail Italy, Italy, Italia, Venice, Venezia, Venetia, Gondola, Water world, Ventian canals, Murano Island, Burnao island, Lagoo

We had one day in Venice and two evenings, which actually felt like the perfect amount of time, I can see how if you were visiting as a couple you could happily stay longer though. On our solo Venice day we woke up early, as usual, and got on a water bus to Burano island, something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Constantly featured on bloggers' instagram feeds and in travel guides, I couldn't wait to visit this colourful little island. Among my friends I am known for dressing quite/very colourfully and if I ever turn up to work wearing black they assume I am either in a foul mood or that it is laundry week-perfectly valid assumptions. When I arrived on Burano island I literally felt like, if I was a village, Burano would be me. So, of course, I took a thousand photos.Ii took a photo of me against every coloured wall I could find(well....I made my brother do it which is almost the same thing) and made a Becky on Burano colour palette...

Italy, Venice, Burano island, Burano, colourful, life in technicolour, rainbow village, town, fishermans village, over the rainbow, colour palette, pop colours, rainbow walls, Becky on Burano

I don't think I have ever seen so many colours in one pace, I felt like I had just stepped over the rainbow like Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz'. I read somewhere that, traditionally, the fisherman painted their houses in bright colours to distinguish between different properties because they are so tightly packed together- why don't we do this in the terraced mill/factory houses in the North of England. We actually saw one man painting his house and he was taking so much time and care while doing it, his house was next to a blue painted church and he was painting each brick in his wall a different colour, it was really inspiring to see someone taking so much pride in making their house beautiful. I loved the contrast between the different streets and that the only part of the village to be in black and white were the striped poles for mooring boats on the canal. Looking around that island truly made my heart feel glad.

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Next stop Murano island, where they make the most beautiful glass. I think its amazing that this is such an artisanal island, dedicated to one craft. I felt quite reflective on this part of the trip and it made me think that instead of trying to be good at everything, surely its better to become an artisan of one thing...I just need to explore what that one thing will be.

Here are a few photo collages of some architectural details I came across on the trip :)

I think this would make a pretty nice colour palette for my Macabre and eerie Italian project!


This Italian trip came at a really necessary junction in my life. For pretty much the entirety of 2016 I have been feeling like my 'joie de vivre' has been dissipating, my creativity has been waning and I have been struggling to find the motivation needed to reset it- I think this has become increasingly obvious through my blog posts...or lack of. I needed to marvel at something, to experience beautiful art and architecture, to eat delicious food and drink rich wine and to find my 'raison d'etre'(seeeee the French language isn't completely lost on me, Brussels has taught me some things). I'm not saying I'm completely there yet but Italy has definitely helped. I finally feel the buzz of new inspiration and ideas seeping back in to me and I definitely have Italy to thank for this. 

I am very keen to return, Italian people are some of the warmest and friendliest souls I have ever encountered. Their culture is rich in history, both modern and ancient, and their lifestyle, in my opinion, is exactly how life should be- full of passion and the pursuit of things that bring them enjoyment while maintaining traditional family values. I prefer it to the U.K very much, and I definitely prefer it to Brussels. 

So there's my holiday summary. I can only apologise for its length but I wanted to be able to remember it fully and writing it down on here is a good way for me to do that. I was hoping to use the trip to figure out what i want to do now that I have handed in my resignation at work but I honestly didn't have the time. I am no closer to deciding and the 31st October(my last day) is looming-wish me luck and, as always, I am very open to any freelance opportunities people know of.

Ciao for now ;) x