When the gaudy commercialism that heralds the Christmas season starts hitting the stores, I’m usually immune. The plastic pines, giant baubles, and boutique balustrades frothing with tinsel do nothing to spark a warm and festive feeling in my heart and, disappointingly, it’s been a while since I’ve experienced that childlike excitementΒ at the sight of rows of β€˜gift ideas’ lining shop shelves and windows. There is, however, one thing that seems toΒ be igniting a little thrill this silly season – and… Read more »

β€˜The people who come to Paris to find themselves are outsiders,’ he said. I was finding this to be true. There was a palpable perfume in the air, borne of us lost souls who drifted in on the breeze and turned our palms out towards the city, as if to display the invisible stigmata that has always marked us out as misfits. We were sitting in La Belle Hortense on the Rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais, a beautiful… Read more »

Amazing peaches. As big as your head. The colour of sunset. I couldn’t resist the fuzzy globes and bought two for lunch from the store. I was in Siena and had just finished exploring the great striped confection that is the Duomo. Choosing at random a street to peruse I saw the grocer on a corner. This is one of my favourite things about Italy (Tuscany in particular) – the fresh produce spilling out of the tiny shop fronts. Crates… Read more »

While the morning mist falls in marzipan blankets over the hills, snagging on the threaded grapevines and wallowing in the grooves of the landscape, the chipped shutters in the perched medieval town of Siena flutter open like waking eyelashes to a day that catches alight in shades of apricot, melon, sand,Β and dry clay. She is waking, waking from a dreamscape every bit as beautiful as her reality, though darker and richer in metal and mythology. The city, Siena, stretches out… Read more »


There is no shortage of good gelati in Italy. My love affair with the delectable dessert began on my first trip to the country as part of a school excursion, and my beloved Italian teacher announced that the strictest rule to which we must all adhere would be to try a different gelato flavour every day for the duration of the trip. For me, this sparked a personal endeavor, which has endured, to find the best gelato in each Italian… Read more »