Once upon a time in Fairytale Alsace

One of my favourite regions Ive come across as an artist to inspire me, is the 'Alsace' region , a beautiful group of fairyland villages located in north eastern area of France, where cities are dotted with half timbered medieval buildings and flower lined canals, a land full fo colour and magical charm.

COLMAR, a city where you can find the most prettiest village, a very inspirational city  that holds secret visual scenes from Disneys  ‘Beauty and The Beast’ and it is not hard to see why.

 

Walking the streets of Colmar is like walking through a real life fairytale, with wooden turrets, resembling Rapunzals tower, tiny cottages that would ideally suit the 7 Dwarfs and candy coloured shops and bakeries, right out of a ‘Hansel and Gretal’ world. Collar, lying in the north eastern boarder of France, a short train ride from Switzerlands ‘Basel’ airport will take you directly to a true dream come true. Bordering Germany and Switzerland, while it holds the french natural ‘Belle France’ charm, while clearly influenced by it’s neighbours. It is a truly preserved french village, with an abundance of pretty features, flower pots and uneven cobblestone streets.

It is an ideal base for exploring the fairytale Alsace region.

Magical fountains and chocolate box houses

Fairytale squares seen above - chocolate box houses where on every corner you stop and wow!

Yummy Bakeries. Pretzels mmm

 

Smells of Baking line the streets too.

Ribeauville. 

A village about 5KM from Colmar set along the Alsace's wine producing region, is probably the most medieval of all.

repunzel towers.

Riquewihr

A colourful gem...

magical colourful Streets.

The most colourful playland Ive come across, where plenty of chocolate box houses dot a very very!!! busy touristic village, heaved with shops, themed restaurants and defining art galleries... a joy:)

Dreamy art Galleries with a twist.

Kaysersberg

And then to Kaysersberg.. when you think one can't get any better than the previous village, this is mind-blowing. Prettiness excels.

Hansel and Gretal springs to mind.

And lastly to Eguisheim. 

Set directly from a storybook, featured in the beloved movie "Beauty & The Beast' It has to be seen to be believed. The streets are said to resemble a 'swiss roll' the sweet story  unwinds, dotted with the most beautiful tiny house full of charm.. a dream come true.

 

Picture perfect houses.

 

Taking a short trip to the alsace will not disappoint only excite the child within:) be prepared to skip and sing !!! XX SR.

(Accommodation - plenty of bnb's to be found  - an ideal base)


Welcome To ‘Toyland Austria’.

Austria.. A truly breathtaking country that is just perfect in every way. A country that leads your imagination towards dream land, ignites your creative fire and lifts your soul with its beautiful rolling hills.. a time to rest from the ordinary and fill your heart with warmth of nature and see that  ‘The Hills Are Alive’

Austria’s style is radically different to many European countries, keeping its own simplified uniqueness, mostly incorporating the beautifuly natural formations, from mountains, rivers, streams, to its pretty floral tyrolean villages. I was completely surprised how Austria’s culture manages to encorporate such simplicity in every way, and to find myself dreaming of a fairyland and adventure into toyland.

Green Meadows Of Tyrol.

I began my travels in a small village outside ‘Zell Am See’ known as Kaprun. Each of these are well known ski destinations but hidden gems in the summer.

I wanted to explore this region, merely for its toy land villages and see for myself how the region could influence my art development.

Nature lifting the soul
A dose of the ‘Hills are alive’ came to mind..

Travelling  towards Kitzbuhel, from Kaprun, is absolutely such a gorgeous drive, where during the drive of about 1 hour, I was literally blown away by such incredible natural beauty.. again not believing it was real, so beautiful that it really is mind blowing. Along the trail, high up in the mountains you are greeted by toy like trains, colourful villages and dream like rolling farmlands.. so cute it definitely got me thinking of little boys and adorable toys.

 

A field so rich in colour.
Toy land village of Kitzbuhel, in Tyrol.
The Toy train with 2 carriages that ran through the mountains known as the ‘ PINZGAU’ line - running for over 115 years. It definitely looks like it was plucked from a fairy book.

I also took a trip to the German border of lake Koenigsee, a natural lake with its most beautiful church of ‘St Bartholomew’ literally again taken from a toy village, and a lake so clear, your reflection smiles back at you.

Lake Konigsee. Magical world.

A trip to Austria is never complete without a visit to ‘Salzburg’ once again driving through the most incredible lush mountain our scenery to reach a complete fairytale untouched town, one that literally personifies a ‘Disney Set’.

Salzburg is a must for all music buffs, heaped with stories from the infamous ‘The Sound of Music’ and Mozarts birthplace. It is a city that I found to be the master of baroque architecture with some beautiful playful additions of obscure stunning street signs, to magical fairy gardens of ‘Mirabell gardens’ where the magic of the ‘Sound of Music was created’ and remains untouched to date.

 

Street Charm!
Stunning Austrian Squares.
Brogue perfection.
The Icing on the cake, Buildings that look so good they could be eaten. Sugar coated Rooftops.

From Yodelling, to dancing, to dreaming Austria is a true dreamy destination, and a destination worth seeing for anyone loving nature, music or simply just living in Fairyland!.  XX SR

 


Lisbon Delights - A new colourful adventure.

Ever Wonder where they hide the colours in Europe.. Well Lisbon has all the secret colours heaped into each street and definitely high on an artists city bucket list.

Lisbon is the second oldest City in Europe, after Athens, with its own cultural vibe, tiles streets, infamous cobblelock roads, and ‘Fado’ music, heard around the beautiful streets.

Aflama 

One of the oldest Districts, and a walk through here, fado music is inescapable. From its beautiful views of the City to its old art charm where you can stroll the walls of Castello de S George. Orange rooftops shine as you walk and watch views ‘Above it all’

Views from Afalma

Bari Alto.. 

Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional area, a walk around the arty streets, local living spotting and vintage shopping whilst catching some magnificent shots of the colorful tiled buildings that line the streets. Bari Alto district is architecturally dreamy.

Tiled to perfection
Examples of wall tiles to be found on buildings.
Sloping streets of Colourful Bari Alto.

Baxa Chiado

fashionably stylish district, with its selection of monuments, vintage shops, protégées traditional stores, and fantastic restaurants, catch the buzz of the trams as they Zip through the streets...

Street Art on the famous Elevador Da Bica.

 

Lisbon, Famous for its hilly streets, and its fun vibe, to complete a journey, visit Sintra, known for its fairytale castle and colourful walls, an artists dream world.

 

Archicetural beauty. Bari Alto District.

Lisbon is a Hilly wonder to the colourful eyes. Enjoy the vibes, (Remember the trainers! ) XX SR


With Irish summer In bloom!

It wouldn't be an Irish summer without someone making lists of the essentials to bring for an Irish day out, umbrellas, rain coats, factor 60 creams, ham sandwiches (which usually end up as ham & sand sandwiches), tayto crisps but to name a few things. But a simple ramble through the Irish Countryside and simply enjoy it's stunning natural colours and beauty, is a special treat, an Irish Green wonderland. 

and you can find .... rolling hills

beautiful Rolling Fields

beautiful scented cherry blossoms bursting with colour and vibrancy ....

Cherry Tree Hills

Rolling rapeseed fields of golden sunshine bursting with delight...

Rolling Hills of Rapeseed

 

explosions of pink marshmallow balls puffing through the air...

Cherry trees bursting with colour

 

blue skies ... beautiful blue skies....

The Skies the limit

 

and soft sounds of birds chirping

Soft touches of the magnolia tree

 

magical Ireland, We are blessed. XX SR


The Cotswolds; Chocolate Box Perfection!

Stepping into this artistic location delights the senses, with its beautiful fresh rolling hills, picturesque villages and country charm, there is so much to see that it can be hard know where to start in the Cotswolds.

Here are a few inspiring ideas I managed to come across while touring this absolutely beautiful part of the world - one area that is picturesque no matter what the season, one of my most inspiring art trips I have been lucky to visit...

the Church where many Downton Abbey scenes were created.
Home Sweet homes.

Share The View - 

Beginning with a stay in the most picture perfect village of 'Bampton', around 1 1/2 hour from Bristol Airport, you are immersed in English Chocolate box perfection. The village, where many Downton Abbey scenes were filmed, is a perfect way to settle into the gorgeous tranquil way of life, picture postcard perfection in the fantastic heart of the cotswolds.

Down the Valleys - 

A short drive away & into a medieval hill town of 'Burford', set along the river Windrush, a place to take stunning walks into the plentiful forests. It is often referred to as the 'Gateway' to the cotswolds. Heaved with country bars, art galleries and quaint little shops, its beauty marvelled by its historical atmosphere.

Down the Misty glen - Steep hilly town of Burford

Live the Fairytale - 

Arlington Row, Bibury

A visit to the cotswolds wouldn't be complete without living  the fairytale and taking a trip to 'Bibury' where 'William Morris' called Bibury the most beautiful village in England. wonderful tiny cottages are strung together along the banks of the river Coln. Arlington Row, owned by the national trust, old weavers cottages, is one of England's most iconic 'picture perfect' sites, and it truly is, breathtakingly pretty. It even appears on the cover of UK passports, personally my favorite delight to be found!.

Tea For Two - 

Explore the magical sweet shop charming village of 'Stow on the Wold' - the highest town in the cotswolds, full of history, charm and delicious coffee and tea houses. Personally my little dream art village, where magical art vibes are alive.

treat yourself to delicious home made toffees and fudge. The aromas will guide you there.

Fields Of Green - 

Dotted along the roads, some of the prettiest views and drives can be found in the tiny villages of 'Swinbrook' and 'Minster Lovell' - where you will find magical views of rolling hills and stumble across houses that are so pretty, no doubt of total chocolate box perfection.

Rolling Rapeseed Hills - Views from Swinbrook.
'Minster Lovell village, chocolate box perfection

A little Boat Spotting -

Known for being named as ' The Venice of the cotswolds'; the village of  ‘Bourton on the water’, featuring a replica minature toy village in the village itself. Bourton on the water is known for its low bridges which run through its centre, with narrow pathways and stone houses, holding a beautiful charm of its own.

'The Venice of the Cotswolds'

So no matter where you go into the heart of the Cotswolds, you will be emersed and wrapped in its elegance and total perfection, ambiance and love.

Happy touring and dreaming! XX SR


Central Park; A tranquil elegance amongst chaos. .

Cities excite me, but none as much as the grand sudden burst of uncontrollable energy felt when arriving to New York City, with its chaotic multitudes of colour and splendour of noises. Their sounds alone sooth me but nothing so much as visits to the grandest of spaces, Central Park, where the power of its vastness silences the chaos inside us and outside its walls.

Into the light

Central Park is an oasis for New Yorkers and ‘wannabe’s’ alike, stretching across three avenues from 59th street all the way up to 110th street, its vast 900 acres (6 percent of the entire manhattan) is one complete, tranquil, pure escape.

I was lucky while here, to experience the transition of seasons from Autumn into Winter, with its golden transformations visible from all angles. Streets, especially close to 100th and 103rd street boast some of the most beautiful foliage, pure artistic paintings in their own right.

 

The archaic skyline rising above natural beauty.

Don’t miss seeing the reflection of trees in the lakes, taking walks along the rustic stone bridges, the arches, where walks can be most appreciated. The Ramble’ lake, located with access from 79th street, romanticised by many Hollywood movies, where you can rent boats or merely walk around the largest body of water in the park, enjoying again some of the best views.

Lake views - colour explosions

 

Closeby, from 71st -74th street, Strawberry fields, paying tribute to the late beatle, John Lennon, musician and peace activist, where a beautiful black and white ‘Imagine’ Mosaic was created in tribute to him.

Flowers placed as a symbol of peace.

And a frosty reminder for the wild side of us all - the ‘Wollman Rink’ opens every winter for skaters of all levels, and although a tourist draw, this rink located in the heart of the park, boast the most beautiful view, with the backdrop of skyscrapers

Central Park tranquility - located 59th st and 5th avenue.

Shop 'Colour In The City' Collection for more insights on NYC. 

Peace !  XX SR.

 


The Magical World of Ms Potter.

Believe there is a great power silently working for all things good, behave yourself and never mind the rest” - Beatrix Potter.

A short inspiring, long wished for trip, brought me to the truly calming ‘Lake Windermere’ for some rest time, and to emerse and become inspired by the tales and illustrations of Beatrix Potter, (best known for her tales of Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddleduck’ ) and breath the fresh crisp air of the surrounding countryside, where Beatrix devoted her life protecting this beautiful landscape.

Stepping back & being called into nature, views of Windermere.

“Hill Top farm” the original home of Beatrix Potter, is located in Hawkeshead, a short scenic lake cruise, across the lake from ‘Bownes’, followed by a short bus trip through a twisty road taking you to the most wonderful destination overlooking the countryside.

 

Hill Top is a 17th Century house, a stunning timecapsule of her life, a house built with the traditional Cumbrian slate stone walls, now treasured by the national trust. It is a grade 2 listed building  and is now happily open to the public as a writers house museum, showing off how Beatrix herself would have lived and best known it.

Beatrix bought the house and its 34 acres in July 1906 as her retreat home from London and her artistic retreat. The house, farm, and nearby villages feature in her books, (The tale of Tom Kitten, the tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck). The farm was managed by Tom Cannon, a long friend of Beatrix Potter and the wing of the house was left to him in 1906.

Hill Top Farm.

The beautiful tale of Jemima Puddle Duck was dedicated to his children, who appear in her illustrations as does their mother.

Many of her furnishings are displayed throughout the house and you can take a beautiful walk around her gardens and enjoy the tranquil views of the surrounding countryside. You may even meet the gardener in charge of Hilltop who will show you some exciting features:)

Stories of her books to be found around the nearby village
Stunning view of the countryside

A beautiful few days at Windermere, bringing nature and a love for art closer to home.

Shop 'In Dreams' collection on my website for more insights & dreamy images.

(Details of Hilltop Farm can be found on www.nationaltrust.org.uk) Enjoy, xx SR.