a road to pompeii

{cave canem}

Pompeii is so overwhelming it doesn't really matter how many times you visit, I think. The ancient site is vast and although there is more than a days worth to absorb, better to be taken slowly to allow its wonder to sink in.

Much of Pompeii's ruins may be passed by with little more than a second glance but there are larger and more complete homes where wealthier inhabitants would have lived. These still show startling mosaics, frescoes in beautiful sienna, ochre and brick hues, artefacts surprisingly well preserved after 2,000 years, and therefore it is easy to imagine Roman life a couple of centuries ago.

What struck me the most were the rut marks from the Roman carts on those fine cobbled streets. Then the famous 'beware of the dog' mosaic in the entrance to the home of the Tragic Poet. Rows and rows of clay urns and statues in varying sizes. But mostly the heart breaking plaster casts of victims who were caught unawares, suffocated by the volcanic gasses with expressions showing their final moments.

The walk up Mount Vesuvius is an easy, half hour stroll if made from the car park below. Hardier hikers would trek from its base but with two children and a searing heat I confess that's not my idea of fun. Besides, the prize is its crater, and despite it seeming rather uninspiring, aside from the occasional sulphurous odour, the views along the way are pretty amazing. From the summit you can see right across the bay of Naples and the sprawling city itself.

Conscious of my last two holiday posts featuring Italy's famed gelati, it seems only fitting to include it here too. Bougainvillea offered the best in Sorrento (and boy did we try) and they organised lessons too. So, donned in aprons and hats, the Model and I went down into the basement where the famous ices are made and learned how to concoct our own Sorrento delights.

{walnut gelato}

{lemon sorbetto}

And now, as I look out of the window, Summer appears to be giving way to a new season. But we are thankful for the small amount of lemon sorbetto in the freezer to remind us of Italy.

Happy weekend.



How was it for us?

{Golden post box in honour of Helen Glover, Penzance girl and Gold Medallist rower. The lopsided King George VI  box is one of Royal Mail's oldest}

{Volleyball: Russia beat Tunisia}


 {Volleyball: Poland beat Argentina}

{Mexican supporter}

{Quarter Final: Mexico beat Senegal}

{Mexican waves}

{Semi Final: Mexico beat Japan}

{Filled to capacity}

{Olympic Stadium courtesy of John Lewis, Stratford City, and its Lego collection}

How was it for us?

What do you think?


floral linen dress

Another linen retrieved from the bowels of the cupboard that is my fabric stash. One so greedily hoarded although, unlike others, one that has enjoyed being taken out and lovingly pondered over, followed by much contemplation over whether to cut or not to cut. Then finally its time came.

But first I made myself a toile, and then another, before its day of reckoning. The fabric is a medium weight linen, real quality stuff with a wonderful drape and as it happens, perfect for this dress. It was also perfect for Italy's heatwave because of the loose fit, however when I make a second I'll include darts for a more fitted version I think. Oh, and I used French seams, my new favourite thing and especially brilliant for linen with its tendency to fray.

The photos were taken in a deserted Piazza San Rufo, Rieti, considered to be the very centre of Italy. And boy it was hot.

But nothing a gelato couldn't sort out!

Have a lovely week, everyone.




We spent the second week of our Italian holiday on the Amalfi coast, but if you've ever read this post, perhaps you'll not be surprised to hear that the near disaster, that likes to strike once in a blue holiday moon, returned.

The 'charming, typically Italian riviera villa, filled with antiques in a desirable location called Meta, a couple of kilometres outside Sorrento' was in fact an exhausted dump of a place in a rather uninspiring town a short but traffic jam-busy journey away. With a filthy oven and kitchen contents of chipped crockery and particles of previous inhabitants' food, stained and less than springy mattresses which would have surprised me if there weren't any bed bugs, lumpy pillows, broken windows, not to mention some kind of mouldy life form growing it really wasn't the place for us.





But what unnerved me the most was the condition of the three boilers which looked antiquated, eroded in parts and so badly fitted I would put money on them having never been maintained. There are too many news stories about families who never make it back from their holidays because of carbon monoxide poisoning and there was no way I was going to have our family bump up the statistics. So, we took our bags and decamped to the nearest hotel!

We lost a day and a half of our holiday, negotiating a refund and finding somewhere else to stay, which is not easy in high season, believe you me. It even crossed my mind I'd rather go home but air miles and flexibility don't go together!  However, we are if not tenacious and eventually got our money back. As risky as the internet is when it comes to portraying holiday rentals, it is without doubt a useful tool for threatening to post unsightly photos!

Things have a habit of working out for the best and we found ourselves a wooden cabin, beautifully peaceful and nestled amongst lemon trees, and a mere 500 meters from Sorrento town centre in Villagio Verde. Run by a family, it was extremely friendly, basic but nice and clean and the children were ecstatic to have a pool once again. And being so close meant we were able to meander down to promenade, dine out and watch the evening street entertainment, which was all incredible and oh, how I LOVE Sorrento!

We were much more active this second week, visiting a thronged Sorrento market which was mostly tat apart from a lady selling lace .. I can sniff that out from a mile off now. And visits along the coastline to Amalfi and Positano were picturesque and glamorous beyond belief.


I'll have to leave the highlights for another time but till then, enjoy the sunshine. We've been soaking up some Olympic atmosphere this week and there's yet more to be done ..



imperfectly pink


Thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging comments on my feature in Homes & Antiques magazine, I'm still very excited and have probably bored a lot of people this weekend. No one has escaped! While I still haven't got round to sorting out holiday photos from our second week away, I thought I'd show you a dress I made for the Model a couple of days before we left.

You see, once I saw the temperature forecast for Italy I knew there was only one way to bring the body thermometer gauge down. Linen. And luckily I have plenty of that. A super quick dress was needed to keep the Model cool and with her teetering on the cusp of her pink phase I thought I had better get this one used up fairly pronto.

As soon as I had cut the fabric, though, I noticed its poor quality. A large, annoying flaw and a bit of discolouration at the shoulder to be precise. And, tut tut, rather than cutting another couple of pieces out I went ahead anyway but quickened the pace, now knowing that this dress ain't one for keeps. As I stitched away it occurred to me how good it is to have a dress to grub about in, to have not a care in the world, no worrying over rips, pulls or stains that might appear.

So all plans for a vintage broderie anglaise trim were abandoned and instead, the whole thing was kept perfectly simple. The Model and her friend ransacked the button tin to choose a glittery button, taken off and used for another project in the near future, I dare say ... and who knows what will become of the dress itself one day.

The pattern is the same as the one used here. It is such a lovely, simple one to sew and this version took me a mere couple of hours I reckon. I can't be too sure, though, because despite the children each having a friend to play, there were still a few interruptions .. sorting out the odd clash I seem to remember!

{strawberry and lemon sorbetti}

It seems those balmy evenings and raised temperatures are long since gone now but goodness, it was wonderful to get away from the rain!

Have a wonderful week, everyone. I'm off to check the 5-day forecast ..


homes & antiques

My favorite magazines are without doubt Country Living and Homes & Antiques. I used to buy more monthly mags but when I did a brutal cull, these were the ones to remain on the list, whilst others fell by the wayside. Several weeks ago I was contacted by H&A, asking if I could send a selection of my wares over to them for a possible shoot. Several, I squealed .. surely that meant there might be a chance of one thing being used. So yesterday, when I got my hands on that brand new copy I nervously flicked through the pages with fingers crossed, hoping that there would be a little piece of harmony and rosie inside. 

I am beyond excited that five pieces of my vintage jewellery, together with my Golden Roses purse are featured in the new September issue of this wonderful magazine. And proud.

The week has been epic, as my children would say. Truly epic!

Wishing an epic weekend to you, too.