An Indian Odyssey – Sacred Cities

In autumn 2014 I spent a month in northern India on an itinerary that took me via trains, planes and automobiles from Delhi to McLeod Ganj, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Haripur, Jawai, northern Goa and Mumbai.Continue reading “An Indian Odyssey – Sacred Cities”

A Somerset sojourn

Last month I spent a glorious weekend in sodden Somerset, which at time time was still knee-deep in flood-water in some places.

Continue reading “A Somerset sojourn”

Worldwide Wedding

It’s been a while since I last posted (tsk tsk), mostly because I was busy getting married.

With that in mind, here’s a brief post with some of the travelly things we wove into our wedding, from places that we’ve visited and loved in the years before we got married.

Boarding pass invitations

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We had these boarding pass invitations customised by White Knot stationery with our own ‘carny’ font and plum colouring. People tore off the perforated RSVP coupon then sent them back to us with their preferences.

Papel Picado, Mexico

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These decorative, perforated tissue paper banners are also found at Easter celebrations, Christmas, christenings and on the Day of the Dead. The village of San Salvador Huixcolotla in Puebla is the centre of the craft. I got mine from Milagros on Columbia Road in East London.

Lotería matchboxes, Mexico

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The Mexican game of Lotería is similar to bingo – you try to match images rather than numbers from a deck of 54 cards – the portray anything from the devil to a melon and a drunkard. I found a seller on Etsy who glued the little cards to matchboxes, which we filled with sweets and gave out as favours.

Piñata, Mexico

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Another Mexican party favourite that has become popular in the UK. We went for a traditional donkey that was filled to the ears with sweets for the children to get hyper on.

Flower garlands, India

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I love the vibrancy of floral decorations in India, particularly the ochre marigolds that are strung into luxuriant garlands on a daily basis in markets across the country. They’re not so easy to come by in Britain (I found some good plastic replicas at the Pak Khlong Talat flower market in Bangkok, but they didn’t have enough of them), so instead we decided to come up with an alternative – tissue paper flower pom poms, which my bridesmaids and I were making until midnight the day before the wedding. They looked almost as good as the real thing and I’ve decided to start selling them in a variety of colours here.

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Silk lanterns, Vietnam

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The ancient riverside town of Hoi An gets even more enchanting as dusk falls and its heritage buildings are illuminated by hundreds of coloured paper and silk lanterns. To recreate the effect, I picked up a few strings of heart lanterns at the vast Chatuchak market in Bangkok.

Temple parasols, Bali

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We didn’t end up having these at the wedding, but only because we decided not to buy them at a market in Kerambitan, where they were $10 each. Note to self, next time don’t dither! We searched for them high and low when we got back home and couldn’t find anything cheaper than £200. They’re all over the temples (and hotels, bars and restaurants) of Bali and would add a welcome splash of colour to any wedding. They traditionally symbolise protecting those beneath you while greeting the gods above.

Picturing Portugal

A quick splash of sunshine before the weekend with a photo gallery of a recent trip to the eastern Algarve.

It was a long way (in spirit rather than distance) from the crowded beaches, mega resorts and neon strips of Albufeira, the glitzy marina of Vilamoura or the golf courses of Val do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.

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Faro Island – the airport is just to the right and planes come in to land Wayne’s World-style over your head

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There were wildflowers everywhere among the olive trees

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A stork nesting on a lamppost in Faro, where they’re as common as pigeons

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Pousada de Faro, Estoi’s pink palace

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Taking it easy at Fazenda Nova, Estiramantens

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Heading off to deserted beaches on Ilha Armona

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…and here they are

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Waiting for the ferry back across the Ria Formosa to the mainland