Rialto Market | Venice

Rialto Market

I visited the Rialto Market January this year in the early hours of the afternoon. So these pictures have a definite end-of-market vibe. Which suited me perfectly as it meant I could take pictures without disturbing anyone.
You see, I was a bit nervous as I had been shouted at for taking pictures of food a few days before. Venice is magical and all that, but the truth is, as a shutter-happy tourist, it can be a bit daunting. I made more than one Venetian roll their eyes at me while capturing a moment; a moment I ended up not wanting to keep anymore for feeling like an absolute dork.
I don’t know if it was because the market was about to close down and the sellers were relaxed and happy to go home soon but they made me feel welcome, greeting me with gleeful Buongiorno’s. So my camera and I were once again happy together, taking portraits of heart-breakingly beautiful artichokes and those weird vegetables that look like Rastafari martians called ‘Treviso Tardivo‘ (I had some on a pizza on my last day, they taste like mild chicory).

Rialto Market
Rialto MarketRialto MarketRialto MarketRialto Market

Rialto MarketRialto MarketRialto MarketRialto Market

I’ve wanted to see the market ever since I stumbled upon Skye McAlpine’s instagram (she also has a dreamy food blog). She seems to always bring the most beautiful produce and flowers from the market. I couldn’t see any flower stalls (is there a specific day for the flower market, does anyone know?) but her instagram was certainly telling the truth, everything was looking well delicious and fresh. I only wished I had rented an Airbnb so I could bring some home and slice, sniff, taste and cook to my heart content… Do I sound like a vegetable pervert?

Rialto Market
Practical Information

Rialto Market
Campo de la Pesceria
San Polo, 30125 Venice

Opening Times
8am-1pm; it can be a bit earlier or later (Mon-Sat; Fish Market Tue-Sat)

Vaporetto
Rialto Mercato (line 1)

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3 interior design shops in Dublin that will make your Pinterest dreams come true

I’m going to blame Spring but I’ve had home decor on the brain a lot lately. I have this urge to strip everything from my flat and redecorate. Start afresh.  I’ve been trawling Pinterest and I enjoy so many current trends: open shelves, brass, wire, copper, earth toned ceramics and linen, marble, … give them all to me! Seeing my current obsession, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the brilliant design shops we have in Dublin today. All of them are greatly curated by passionate owners who pride themselves in stocking contemporary Irish makers. You could say they have their finger on the pulse of interior design trends but each shop differs in personality and atmosphere. Let’s see how, shall we?

Moss Cottage
Moss Cottage

MOSS COTTAGE

Moss Cottage is the cutest little shop located in the red brick cottages on Dundrum Main Street. The owner Jen managed to fit so many goodies in this tiny little space. You can see that she puts so much heart in her shop, only stocking what she would want to buy. As a result, the display changes quite frequently. When I came in last month, she was joking that candles were taken over the shop and funnily enough, as I was browsing, a new delivery came through the door: candles in copper tins whose scents are inspired by famous authors. Some bad-ass candles, if you ask me!
The overlook of the shop is colorful, feminine and there’s a definite crafty vibe about it. The shelves are full of very well-priced giftware and homeware, ranging from cheerful mugs to copper wire candle holders. And if you’re like me, obsessed with anything Anna Bond does, you’ll be delighted to know that Rifle Paper Co stationary is available at Moss Cottage. Hurray!
PS: For all the craft-lovers out there, Jen also hosts chalk paint and wedding DIY workshops.

Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Mon-Sat); closed on Sundays & Bank Holidays
website | online shop (international)

Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin

DUST

Dust is located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Dublin 8. Two friends, Sarah and Lisa, united by a love of interior design, opened it a couple of months ago, after setting up successful pop ups.
It is pretty much the new ‘kid on the block’ of decor shops and it’s making quite a wave. Understandably so. As I stepped in 4, Grantham Street, I felt like I was entering the living space of a toned-down Diana Vreeland. The girls’ motto is to ban beige, which actually sounds like something Mrs Vreeland would say.
The shop is sophisticated, colourful but doesn’t take itself seriously as fun pieces are also stocked up like cute pillows (look at the little Bowie rock pillow <3 ), porcelain pineapples and unicorn heads (!!).
Another surprising feature of the shop awaits you on the second floor, a whole room is dedicated to faux flowers. I must confess I wasn’t very convinced on the matter but seeing them in person, so intricate and letting the light sofly trickle through their petals like a real flower would, I was decidedly won over. The trick is, according to Sarah and Lisa, to display them just like you would with fresh posies.
PS: They’re celebrating the launch of their new online shop today with a 20% discount (available until Monday 04/05 midnight).

4, Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6pm (Mon – Sun; opens until 7pm on Thursdays)
website | online shop (international)

Article Dublin
Article Dublin
Article Dublin

ARTICLE

There’s something really serene about the shop Article. It has this vibe that Japanese neighbourhood cafes give off when they’re trying to emulate the Scandinavian aesthetic. On its shelves, you’ll find contemporary homeware mixing natural material and vibrant colours, local independant magazines, Irish stationary and prints as well as something that fills me with joy (hope I’m not the only one here): mini washi tape rolls! They’re really cheap which means you can try lots of them #happynora
Located in the beautiful Powerscourt Townhouse, Article makes for a delightful shopping experience so much that they were voted the best design shop by the Irish Times last year.

Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2
Opening Hours: 10.30 am – 6 pm (Mon – Wed, Fri & Sat); 10.30am – 7 pm (Thu); 1 pm – 5 pm (Sun)
website | online shop (international)

Libreria Acqua Alta | Venice

Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta
I remember finding out about this bookshop while watching a documentary on Venice during wintertime with my mum last year. I found it hard to believe that such a place existed in real life and was not a part of a film set. So when I went to Venice last January, I couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes. It was actually one of the first thing I ticked off my ‘to-see-list’. It’s no easy feat to locate the Libreria Acqua Alta, like most places in Venice, really. I was walking on a shopping street, literally about to give up, when I stumbled upon a little square, or campiello as they call it there. At the back of it, an arched entrance, lit up from inside, seemed to invite me in. Could it be it, I thought, trying to match what I saw with my televised memory. ‘Welcome to the most beautiful bookshop in the World‘ says a sign… Surely, if one bookshop could legitimately claim this title, it had to be the one I saw in the documentary. So, in I went!
Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta
Once inside, there couldn’t be any confusion. I was indeed standing in the aptly-named Libreria Acqua Alta I had seen on my screen a few months earlier. Towers and towers of second-hand books standing in bathtubs, gondolas, crates and other little boats. All at the ready for the next flooding or Acqua Alta (literally meaning high water). As the bookshop stands just on the bank of the canal, it gets flooded during those extreme high tides that Venice experiences during Winter. If you go at the back of the shop, there’s a little corner with a couple of chairs facing an opening on the canal (the ‘fire escape’, see picture above), you can see there already the water dangerously licking the wall of the shop.

If you want to have an idea what the shop looks like during high tide, talk to the dapper owner who wears a tricorn. He’s super chatty and friendly and will happily show you pictures he took of his shop flooded. He will also make sure that you saw all the ‘best bits’ of the shop: the aforementioned fire escape, the courtyard with the staircase made of books (which you can actually climb!), a trippy 3D Venice picture and other bits and bobs…
Libreria Acqua AltaLibreria Acqua Alta

Also, this shop gets extra bookish points for all the cute cats roaming around. I feel like this place has been dreamed and imagined by every book-lover in the world. I wish I had bought a book so I can have a physical memory of this wonderful place but I was silly, too busy taking pictures and filming (multitasking is not my strong suit obviously). I did spot a selection of books in the English and French language so the shop is also catered to tourists. That is if you’re ready to rummage through boats and gondolas of books!

Libreria Acqua Alta

Practical Information

Libreria Acqua Alta
Campiello del Tintor
Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa, 5176
Castello, 30122

Opening Hours: 9am -8pm (every day)

Vaporetto: Ospedale

Last Minute Gift Guide: Christmas Shopping in Dublin

I don’t know about you, but each year, i feel it’s the year of change. Every time November rolls around, I firmly tell myself, enough is enough, the Christmas shopping will start now and come december, I’ll be armed, beribboned and wrapped-ready for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even have a colour design and fancy handmade tags for the wrapping. And without fail, a few days before Christmas, my Santa’s sack holds nothing but a sad echo and I convince myself that newspaper is totally cool and edgy to wrap presents.
Well, here it is, the week before Christmas, 2014 was no different, not one name has been crossed off my list. Instead of banging my head against the wall in shame, I thought I would share a little gift guide with you in solidarity for all the last-minute shoppers out there. Believe me, I know how you feel. This list features items that I secretly covet but also some I love and use on a daily basis. Hopefully you’ll find something in there to fill a stocking or two. This post is also an invitation for you to check out some of the awesome shops in Dublin.

christmas gift guide dublin 2014 with prices

Gobshite Mug (€12)
Please tell me, I’m not the only immature one who giggles at the sight of this cup.

Jam Art Factory
14, Crown Alley
Temple Bar

64, Patrick Street
Dublin 8

Bewleys Christmas Chai tea (€2.99)
I normally have this little tradition of buying loose Christmas tea in a specialised shop every year, but I stumbled upon this box of Bewleys Christmas chai tea in my local supermarket a few weeks ago and decided to give it a go. It’s very much on the fruity side which is an interesting change from other Christmas tea offerings I’ve sampled before that were predominantly spicy. Basically, it’s like drinking mince pies. I’m completely hooked and plan to stock up to hold until next Christmas!

Bewley’s Café
78-79, Grafton Street
Dublin 2

Iittala votive (€22)
This cute little votive is totally on my Christmas wishlist. I keep seeing them on Scandinavian blogs peppered around perfect minimalist white decor and while this style is probably out of reach for little old messy me, I see this candleholder as a little piece of the nordic interior dream. And luckily, Dublin has a design shop for all things Scandi!

Inreda
Royal Hibernian Academy
15, Ely Place
Dublin 2

Atlantic Aromatics rosewater (€7.95)
I have gone through bottles and bottles of this Irish organic rosewater and I can’t see myself stopping here. I love what it does to my skin, a few spritzes get it all smooth. I use it as a toner, sometimes make-up remover combined with an oil and it helps me to wake up in the morning. Also, if I need a little pick-me-up while working, it’s always within reach on my desk during the day. It’s fair to say I’m addicted to the stuff and I seriously couldn’t recommend it enough!

Nourish (6 shops are located in Dublin)

Mark’s Inc diary (€14.50)
I was browsing in Article a few weeks back and stumbled upon this Japanese stationary brand and fell in love. It’s very minimalistic and maybe later in the year I will miss polka dots and gold details but right now I feel like it’s been made for me. The layout, the size, the font, … it just works!

Article
Powerscourt Townhouse
South William Street
Dublin 2

Dyflin candle (€35)
Dyflin is the Norse word for Dublin. This candle evokes the Viking past of the city with notes of juniper, birch and camphor. It is a unique scent and would make for a sweet present for someone who misses Dublin.

Indigo & Cloth
9, Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Damn Fine City by Annie Atkins (€60)
Not sure if it’s something that made the news outside of Ireland but there was a lot of talk this year that the Poolbeg chimneys should be destroyed. For anyone who’s never been to Dublin, you could say it is our double Eiffel towers. It is a recognisable landmark that can be spotted from anywhere upon the Dublin coastline. For me, they mean ‘home’ as they signal the end of the journey when I travel back to Ireland by ferry.
Amidst those talks, Annie Atkins designed this striking blue poster featuring them. You may remember I visited, earlier this year, the exhibition dedicated to her work on Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.
I don’t think you could get a cooler gift than this.

Damn Fine Print Block T
Smithfield Chambers
Smithfield Square
Dublin 7

Kilkenny Food & Craft Trails | co. Kilkenny

Abbey House b&b

Here is Day 2 of the blogger tour of Kilkenny I took part in at the end of the month of October. If you missed Day 1 and want to get caught up, you can find the summary of the day here.

After a cosy night at the Abbey House bed & breakfast, I woke up to a beautiful autumnal view outside my window. I packed my stuff and all of us went to Goatsbridge Farm for breakfast. We gathered around Mag & Ger’s table to hear the story of trout fishing in the region and how his father started the family business. The visit of which was our first stop of the day on the Kilkenny Food trail.

goatsbridge trout farm
goatsbridge trout farm
Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Ger gave us a tour of the farm, telling us all about trouts from egg to mature fish. We had a look at the different ponds where the fish hang out in what seems like a constant rush hour, swimming against the current.
Goatsbridge, as well as being a farm, is also a visitor centre and a shop where they sell their beautifully packaged trout products: trout caviar, fillets & pate. They even have a snazzy website with an online shop if you want to have a look and treat yourselves to some local fish delicacies.

Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.goatsbridgetrout.ie
Opening Hours: 9am-5.30pm (Mon-Sat)

karen morgan ceramics
karen morgan ceramics
Karen Morgan Porcelain

Next, we visited Karen Morgan’s studio & shop, where we admired her beautiful homeware collection. She makes these elegant flowy pieces, inspired by the movement of clay and water. Her jugs, cups and dishes have that whole Scandinavian minimalist vibe that is so pleasing to the eye. She also stocks in a couple of places around the county, and she has an online shop as well.

Karen Morgan Porcelain’s studio & shop
Market Street
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.karenmorganporcelain.com/
Opening Hours: 10am-1pm/2pm-6pm (Tue-Sat)

jerpoint glass
Stoneyford
Jerpoint Glass

We then managed to squeeze a speedy visit at Jerpoint Glass Studio. There was no glass blowing demonstration unfortunately that morning but Roisin led us in the gallery and told us all about the story of Jerpoint glass. Back in the Sixties, her father went to Sweden to train as a master glass blower and then decided to come back in Ireland and set shop in a beautiful converted barn in Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny. You will find there today a gallery, a shop where they display their colourful creations and you can also attend glassblowing demos. Added bonus, the view outside the barn rolls out on miles and miles of a patchwork of fields. I couldn’t help snapping a quick picture on my way back to the car.

Jerpoint Glass
Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny
http://www.jerpointglass.com/
Opening Times

knockdrinna cheese farm
Knockdrinna Cheese Farm & Shop

At Knockdrinna Farm House, we discovered that Helen’s business started in her back kitchen where she decided to experiment with cheese making about 10 years ago. Fast forward to today, Knockdrinna Farm house holds a visitor centre, cheese making classes and a cute little shop-cum-café. You’ll find there cow, goat and sheep cheese and this month they released a nifty little thing, a combination of soft cheese and pesto, or relish, on top, that looks a bit like those fancy yogurts with jam on top (for my Irish readers, I think it is available in Supervalu). Helen generously gave us a little prototype pot and I can tell you one thing  it was such a success that it hardly had any time in the fridge.

Knockdrinna Cheese Farm, Shop & Café
Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny
http://www.knockdrinna.com
Summer Opening Hours: 9.30am-6pm (Mon-Sat) / 11am – 5pm (Sun)

feta & beetroot salad
Cafe Sol Bistro

For lunch, I was happy to be back at Cafe Sol Bistro where my feast took place the night before. I decided to go for a lighter option this time and picked the feta & beetroot salad, which was very tasty but also filling. Beetroots are my faves <3

Cafe Sol Bistro
Low Street
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.restaurantskilkenny.com

thomastown school of food
francis nesbitt
Thomastown School of Food

After lunch, we went on the site of a former boys’ school in Thomastown. This is where the food education centre, the whole county has been raising money for the night before, will stand. Francis Nesbitt, the project coordinator, gave us a tour of the grounds and explained us where everything will be. Once the school is up and running, chef training and public cooking classes will be available. If I’m not mistaken, construction is supposed to start this month but they haven’t reached their target quite yet… Almost there, though! So if you want to give the little push they need, here is the link to donate.

zwartbles farm
zwartbles farm
Zwartbles Farm

And lastly, Suzanna kindly invited us over at her farm where she raises a cuddly fluffy breed of black sheep called Zwartbles. She sells yarn, rugs and blankets made of their unusual wool. What a tremendous place and what a freaking amazing woman. I felt like I had been propulsed inside one of those big countryside saga novels. I left truly inspired and I wish I had more time to roam around, pet the sheep (we were losing the light fast) and unfortunately, I had to catch the bus back to my urban surroundings. Sigh.

Zwartbles Farm
co. Kilkenny
http://www.zwartblesireland.com

I’d like to dedicate a whole post to some of these places so keep your eye out for that if you enjoyed these Kilkenny posts. Also, I wanted to apologise for the few phone pictures inserted in these, I had just opened an instagram account and sometimes forgot to take photos on my DSLR when taking instagrams. I hope you don’t find them too offensive.
A huge thank you again Dee, Susan, Mag, Ger and all the Kilkenny producers for this splendid introduction to Kilkenny. It was amazing to hear all your stories. And finally, I wanted to thank my fellow bloggers Elaine, Billy, Margaret, Janine, Sadhbh & Miriam for their awesome company.

(For transparency purposes, this is not a sponsored post, but accommodation & meals were kindly provided)

Broadway Market | London

broadway market + red car
london fields park

After the Wiltshire fiasco, I thought I would comfort myself by reminiscing my time in London over the past couple of years. So over the next few weeks, here I will revisit a couple of places that I enjoyed in the British capital and hopefully you’ll find some good recommendations along the way.

Let’s kick it off with the Broadway Market, the go-to market in East London. It’s a total foodie paradise with its selection of fresh bread, cheese, cured meat, cakes, good coffee and the old fruit & veg’. Other goods are available too, such as flowers, crafts and vintage clothing. I don’t like throwing the hipster word too much around but one could say it has that distinctive buzzing vibe.

The bordering shops are also well worth your time, settle in a cute café or browse artsy magazines in Artwords, which has one of the greatest selection of fashion magazines I ever seen; or pick a classic or two in Broadway Bookshop.

broadway cafe
flower market
broadway bookshop
young coconuts

Broadway market is one of those places I want to come back to next time I’m in London as I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of this bubbling area. I keep learning about new places that each sound more fabulous than the last; like this shop that sells rainbow meringues or this vintage seller under the cover of a launderette.

broadway market

Practical Information

Broadway Market – website
Hackney
London E8

Opening Hours: Every Saturday, from 9am to 5pm.