Remember how a few months ago everyone wrote about the travel movies to get you through lockdown? The below movies are far from the ones you usually find on best travel movie lists and they for sure couldn’t cure my wanderlust, but they did transport me to other places for a bit.
Summary – A documentary about the last female bee-hunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance in Honeyland, when a family of nomads invade her land and threaten her livelihood.
The fairytale-like landscape combined with the raw living circumstances make this documentary heartbreaking to watch. Every movie set in the Balkans is a way for me to travel back home and this made me reminisce and think about my little hill and though they are usually happy memories, Honeyland did make me think about who will take care of the elderly now the majority of the younger people moved out.
Summary – In 1950s New York, a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.
I do love a slow movie, so Motherless Brooklyn was right up my alley! Especially since it transported me back to 1950s Brooklyn and the fashion, music and cars that came with it.
Summary – A young, naive boy sets out alone on the road to find his wayward mother. Soon he finds an unlikely protector in a crotchety man and the two have a series of unexpected adventures along the way.
Kikujiro is the perfect road trip movie with a great soundtrack and atmospheric shots. For some reason the intro scene brought back old summer holiday memories. Not that I ever had an older man accompany me to go and find my mother, but the scenes where on the first day of summer holiday the boy goes to football practice and learns it has been cancelled, then goes to his friend’s house, who is leaving to go on actual holiday.
Summary – In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.
I wanted this adaptation of Emma to be the next Marie Antoinette so so bad, but it did not do it for me. Despite the pastel colour palette and sharp edits it was still too dusty for my liking. What I did enjoy were the glimpses inside the manors that I, under normal circumstances, love to visit. I for sure will attend Kingston Bagpuize House, Wilton House and Firle Place sometime in the future.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Summary – Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
You can’t go wrong with Fast & Furious on a lazy Sunday. Also, can we give it up for having a main woman not needing to actually get saved and kick ass herself? Hobbs & Shaw travel to a number of locations including Samoa and Russia, and though most of the exterior scenes were filmed in Glasgow, there were a few shots of London. Seeing Central London and the its skyline made my heart jump a bit.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Summary – Lizzie McGuire has graduated from middle school and takes a trip to Rome, Italy with her class. And what was supposed to be only a normal trip, becomes a teenager’s dream come true.
I’ve never made it to Rome (I’ve done Tuscany), but I definitely hope they do a Lizzie McGuire-inspired tour there, because I’d be booking that for sure.
Since lockdown began I’ve been going for daily walks around the block for a break from the screen, a bit of fresh air and to see some green, and then on the weekend I’d do some bigger walks to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
I initially just walked to and around a nearby park, but once the lockdown kicked in it got too busy to keep distance and enjoy, so I switched to exploring side streets and some smaller local parks. The last week or so, the streets have become much busier so the charm might have worn off now, but we’ll always have the photos.
Looking back to when it all started, it still seems so surreal to me. Like when these banners started popping up, then shops in the area advertised their toilet paper range and then anything you could possibly use as outdoor work-out equipment got barricaded.
I keep forgetting that behind the main busy streets there are some boujee houses in my area. There are the cute coloured houses but also a 5 million villa that looks like it’s something that belongs in LA, a converted church tower loft and then this dream of a house. I’ve looked at the listing photos so often that I feel like I know every corner of this place.
Some proper dystopian feels on a 7 AM walk was going past an Army Reserves Centre and the scary looking trucks while a fog covered Central London was in the background. And a bit further up was a street where five houses were for sale, now I want to know what is going on there!
Hidden gems I keep forgetting about or didn’t even know existed: a mews I accidentally stumbled upon, a little park behind a church and the cutest library. I hope they don’t demolish this one to make place for flats.
Other random things I spotted were ‘take me’ spots that started popping up, this one was initially started as a book swap, but later I saw tinned food and even seedlings, then this street art that brought me home for a second or two and an obligatory photo of the local ‘Instagram car’.
Seeing the flowers bloom week by week was something that kept the walks more interesting and you were never sure what colour you would find the tree or bush in. Though I enjoyed wild flowers a lot, this house is the clear winner.
Have you explored your neighbourhood during lockdown or quarantine?
Around this time last year I wrote about the trips I took in the first half of the year and what I had learned from each of them. I never published the second part of the post, but there’s definitely some great stuff to shout about, so here are all the places I visited in the last 12 months and the lessons I learned.
I’m saying Eastbourne, but I really only walked from the station to the pier and then on to Beachy Head. Which led to the Belle Tout lighthouse where I stayed for a night in the actual keeper’s hut before walking the Seven Sisters towards Seaford the next morning. My favourite bit was reaching the ocean at Cushmere Haven and dipping my toes in the ice-cold water.
Lesson l learned – I can handle a 4 hour hike. Also, put on another layer of sunscreen, even if you already have.
The journey from London to the Dutch Island took me 9 hours and 6 modes of transportation to reach, but boy it was worth it. I forgot how much I love the charm of the little places in the Netherlands: staying in a hut at an eco camp, cycling across the island and relaxing at the beach. Next time, I hope it will be a bit quicker to get there though.
Lesson learned – E-bikes are the best way to explore the island, where have they been all my life?
I got the most out of my first trip to New York and saw everything on my list, well except MOMA which was closed during my visit. But I managed to do everything else that I put on my New York For First Timers list: from exploring Central Park to seeking shade in the museums and getting the ferry to Staten Island to get a closer view of Lady Liberty. And not forgetting running around at Sleep No More, cheering at an ice hockey game and trying out all the ice-creams the city could offer. But don’t worry, the list for my next visit is three times as long.
Lesson learned – Don’t book accommodation in Brooklyn on your first visit. For convenience, it’s really easier to stay in Manhattan.
I was sooooo surprised by what the island had to offer! I was always put off by the all-inclusive holiday image it had. But there is always room to admit one is wrong! And I owe Lanzarote an apology, because the landscapes were amazing and I really enjoyed Timanfaya National Park, Cueva De Los Verdes and the Cactus Garden. But the definite highlight was dipping in the pool that came with the house.
Lesson learned – Don’t judge a place by its image.
Amsterdam changes so much that every visit feels like new. This time I crossed off Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Museum van Loon and the Amsterdam Light Museum. And I got to devour all my favourites including pancakes with syrup and powdered sugar, a cheese sandwich and glass of buttermilk combo, and, of course, Dutch fries with satay sauce.
Lesson I learned – The Red Light District is quiet and empty from 8 am until 9.30 am
Does 4 hours in Paris count? I mean it was for a meeting, but I did have to take the metro to a new neighbourhood, where I walked through the main street, ate a Quiche at a random corner bakery and had a glass of wine. So yeah.
Lesson I learned – If there is a queue in front of a bakery, chances are the €2,50 quiches are to die for.
The last trip I took before lockdown. It was only a few weeks after the first COVID-19 case was there and I initially wasn’t sure I wanted to go, in the end I was happy I went and explored the different ages via the city that is York: from the Roman walls, to Medieval streets and Georgian buildings. I’m still dreaming of the pastries from The Bakeshop.
Lesson I learned – I really need to explore the UK more.
What has been your biggest travel lesson this year? Or well … if you travelled in the first 2.5 months of 2020
It’s been well over a year since the opening of the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A. The exhibition was sold out in no time, the duration was extended and even broke visitor records. I previously wrote a post about my visit and how you could get tickets at the time. I thought I’d share a photo-filled post with everything that you missed at the exhibition.
The exhibition showcased the evolution of House of Dior and spans from 1947, when Christian Dior opened his couturier, to today via the six designers who succeeded him.
What was very interesting about the setup was the immersiveness as well as the set-up: rather than showing the collections chronologically, they were grouped together by themes and highlighted examples from each of the designers.
Once you got through all the different kinds of queues you were introduced to Christian’s life through a timeline. You then entered the first room that pays homage to the Bar suit that set the New Look off: an ensemble of an hourglass jacket and full skirt which came with shapes and silhouettes. This shaped the brand and set him apart as the design was different from the boxer look which was popular at the time.
This darkened room displayed an overview of garments in mirrored boxes lined with bright white light that showed the different shapes and silhouettes Dior introduced to us. This room was just one big celebration of his craftsmanship and legacy.
Dior in Britain
You then arrived at a section dedicated to Dior’s love of Britain and its culture. It included the famous dress that Princess Margaret wore for her 21st birthday portrait. Also it’s actually a skirt. The room also included exclusive pieces from the Christian Dior London line. This section was for the UK only and I believe it won’t travel to the exhibition in the Hague.
The Historicism room showcased the influence that the Belle Époque era had on Dior’s designs – think Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette style. While the dresses in the previous rooms were behind glass, from here on the dresses were openly exposed meaning it was easy to see the details. And details they gave us!
Next on came the travel room that consisted of dresses from different travel themed collections. It included Asian, African, and South American influences. The designs here were the least Dior-like and there is the question of cultural appreciation, but it was interesting to see how the different designers combined the fabrics and silhouettes to fit Dior.
This scented room with paper wisterias spilling from the ceiling and floral inspired pieces on display, including the dress Natalie Portman wore for the Miss Dior campaign, was everything. As someone who loves a good floral dress, this room was so dreamy and I love how you could see the styles and fabrics of the dresses reflected in today’s collections.
Designers For Dior
Since Christian Dior passed away in 1957 there have been six creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. They all got their little corner highlighting the contrasting styles and vision of each designer who also abided by the traditions of Dior.
My favourite room was the floor to ceiling exhibit of toiles (prototype dresses) where you get to see the garment in its purest form before any of the fabric and extras get added and the effort that goes into making each item. Very inspiring.
The Ateliers lead you through the Diorama, on one side it was covered with magazine covers featuring Dior garments and on the other side a colour-coded glass cabinet that showcased the accessories. Everything from costume jewellery, hats and shoes to bags, archive lipstick and perfume bottles.
I’m glad I got some photos because I did not know where to look in the Ballroom. How do you display 70+ years haute couture evening wear? With an over the top projected light show that transported you to another theme every 5/6 minutes. The room included the golden dress Charlize Theron wore for the J’adore perfume ad as well as red carpet dresses worn by Rihana, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.
And to close it off there was a dress displayed in a mirrored box and designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who created it as an homage to 1950’s Dior and that beautifully shows how the legacy of Dior comes back in full circles
Before it went to London, the exhibition was shown at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and you can catch it from October 2020 on at the Kunstmuseum in The Hague.
London offers a great selection of places to go out and admire them or take a moment to stop and recharge your mind. Here are some of my favourite gardens, conservatories and nurseries to feed my green addiction.
Make sure to check the safety measures each place has before you go out and visit.
Chelsea Physic Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden and has been an apothecary garden since 1673…so you can imagine they know their plants and how to display them, all 5,000 of them! I loved the Mental Wellness corner that encouraged you to smell and touch the plants and to sit down, close your eyes and listen to the sounds. I also learned that there are way more chillis than I thought – so I need to work on my chilli pepper game. But the highlight of course is the little section dedicated to the elixir of life: tea.
Barbican Conservatory The Barbican Conservatory is a botanical dream! You’ll find species of trees and plants as well as a special cacti and succulents corner, all against a concrete backdrop which gives you the idea you escaped (or got lost in) a dystopian world. Many of the outdoor gardens are not active during the colder months so the Conservatory is the go-to place that allows you to enjoy the beauty of plants, trees, and flowers throughout the year.
The Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Among the towering buildings and power suits of Canary Wharf you’ll find a green oasis. Designed to display and conserve plants from the eastern and western hemispheres to reflect the indigenous to countries visited during the 19th century by trading ships, this place is really a haven from the madness of the city.
St Dunstan In The East
Head on over to London Bridge and you’ll stumble upon St Dunstan in the East, a green space that’s built around the church that was damaged during the Blitz. If you are visiting London you might want to skip the place during lunchtime but if you come before or after that, you can have the pretty garden nearly all to yourself – except for a photo shoot here and there or a school class stopping by for a demonstration what happened at the place during the Great Fire.
The Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola If flowers and trees are your thing, the Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola is the place to be. Story goes that a rich philanthropist wanted to build a pergola for his garden parties, but sadly he passed away before it was finished, so in his spirit lets all go hashtag him while you spam our Instagram #Leverhulme. And while you’re there why not watch the sunset at Hampstead Heath? If you manage to cough up some change with all the money I’ve saved you, get cheese and a bottle of finest M&S red and enjoy.
The Phoenix Garden is where I used to escape the chaos when I worked in Holborn. And one of my observations is that a lot of people seem to walk into the community garden when they spot the Stik graffiti wall and stay for the range of urban wildlife the little place offers.
Dishonourable mention – Sky Garden
You don’t really go here to escape or enjoy the plant selection, but the SkyGarden (located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building) offers one of the most beautiful and free views of the London skyline. Though the green bit seems to reduce every time I visit it, so enjoy it while it lasts.
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