Brayce Yourself

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London.

I am just so happy that the weather is getting warmer, the evenings are lighter, and we had bright sunshine again today.The good weather also means that all the all the plants are pleasantly happy and are flowering far earlier than usual.  Instagram is blooming with photos of blossom, and if you follow me on insta you will be very aware that last weekend I helped out with a flower show, and got a little snap happy.If you do want to see these flowers in all their glory, you must be quick as they are blossoming right now and always go-over much faster than you think.  My current favourites are camellia, rhododendron, cherry and magnolia which you can see below (left to right, or top to bottom): And here are four independent English gardens not all that far from London, to see all these wonderful flowers this weekend 💐🌸🌺😍:   I hope you have a lovely, lovely Easter Weekend, a flower show post to follow next week.Alice xxx

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly.

For Lent, I decided to give up coffee.

And so, at 10am on Feburary 28th 2017, I went to Press the most hipster coffee shop I could hunt in the distinctly straight laced Chancery Lane.  I purchased a medium almond milk capuccino (I think I threw in the request for it to be ‘extra hot’ because I heard an american do it once and thought it sounded authoritative). It cost me the princely sum of 3 pounds. All being well (as I write this on Friday) I will have not let a drop of coffee pass my lips for 40 whole days.What was the motivation? I have never given up anything in my life, EVER. Except for Snapchat – but that doesn’t really count because deleting an app is easy. Why coffee? It’s expensive, unnecessary and although I do like it, I’m not a mega fan – so it would be easier to give up than something truly scrumptious, like chocolate.It hasn’t been exceptionally difficult, the first few days were slightly rough, and although it might have been mental, I did feel more tired than usual. Tea, although delicious is just not the same, and I did miss my mid-morning caffeine kick. The worst part was visiting Kaffine on Great Tichfield Street and having to order an Earl Grey – it was so lame. I’m no coffee snob but the coffee there is just the best. The struggle was real, especially when meeting people for ‘coffee’ - as an alternative I consumed a lot more tea and hot chocolate than I would normally do. But overall it was a good thing, I am convinced I saved money, and towards the end I didn’t even miss it.Not quite simultaneously I decided to take up playing tennis. I can play tennis, but am very very poor at it. My friend (shout out to Jemima) had told me about ‘Will To Win’ a tennis organization that hold lessons all over London. She told me not to join the beginners, as they could barely hold their rackets up – so I opted for the six week  intermediate course at the (newly refurbished) Hyde Park center. I chose 7-8pm on a Monday night, because realistically now that Broadchurch is finished – what else would I be doing? At this point in time, I am only one session down, but I can honestly say it has been a winning decision. The class contains roughly 16 people, there are two teachers and everyone is about the same level. It is a fantastic opportunity to do some exercise, outside and enjoy long summer evenings. Furthermore you meet new people – I estimated the age range being about from 22-50 and hopefully it will mean that in future when asked to partake in a tennis match, I will actually be able to hit the ball in the right direction.On the balance of it I would recommend taking up over giving up, it makes you less of a martyr and people will actually care when you start banging on about it – because you are actually doing something, rather than smugly abstaining.

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world.

The youngest Miss Bray's dissertation is due to be handed in very soon, and she hasn't left the library for around 48 hours except to buy large quantities of Irn Bru and fish and chips to keep her going.  She will be back with us next week once the dissertation panic has subsided.  She did however take a few minutes out to send over Uncyclopedia's thoughts on St Andrews University which you can read below.  Susannah is currently studying International Relations...

"The University has four Faculties, each of which is divided into subject-specific schools:

The Faculty of Arts has 48,000,000 students, most of whom are Wanna-Be CIA Agents (International Relations) or Sloane Rangers (History of Art). 93% of them will end up working in middle management or data entry.

The Faculty of Science has 213 students, studying such diverse and uninteresting things as molecular biology, biochemistry and that one with all the numbers.

The Faculty Divinity has 12 students. No-one has ever met any of them, except God who has met them all and disliked all but one (who was later expelled and later burnt at the stake for not being Christian enough). It is said they wield magical powers such as their ability to shoot Doritos out of their hands. Divinity students tend to be overweight and non-violent.

The Faculty of Medicine has no students at all, because Hugh Macdougall refuses to smile."

Brayce Yourself

A weekly column in which Emily, Susannah and I contemplate life in our 20s.

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London

Living and working south of the river in London, some weeks I do occasionally forget to cross over it, and I always appreciate it when someone says let's do something 'central'.  This week it was dinner close to Oxford Circus, and as it was a beautiful evening I hopped on a Boris Bike by Battersea Park and peddled north to spend some time in actual London.

 I have a big love for the shops close Oxford Circus, and I always make time for the big Topshop.  Entering Topshop for me, is a bit like entering Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, as far as the eye can see is an array of beautiful items, in pretty colours happily delighting the senses.  Handbags first in pretty pastels (this one), shiny accessories by Skinny Dip (this laptop case), and then jewellery, I always find this hardest to resist.  Downstairs bright primary colours are competing with pastels, yes please to these trousers in lavender and in green and then even further down to the basement to the wonderful world of every shoe imaginable - I have no idea how I don't already own these.  And I love that Miss Selfridge is attached - it can be hit and miss, (is it too tacky?!) but this time I fell in love with this powder blue leather jacket and these wonderful shoes......😍.  This week I heard of a customer who cried, yes cried because she thought a certain brands shop display was the most beautiful thing she had every seen, perhaps retail therapy is a real thing.....

There is however one aspect of Topshop that I find very trying indeed, and certainly not therapeutic.  Once I have enough clothes to try on, I head to the changing rooms, and once there, as one does, I tend to take most of my clothes off, in order to put the other clothes on.  But there is a moment in-between items coming off and going back on again, usually when I'm just in my underwear, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the huge brightly lit mirror, and then I can't help but look properly, and then I don't entirely like what I am seeing.  WHY do they do this?! The lighting is equivalent to Macdonalds lighting, the mirror is enormous, and really I don't need to see myself in such detail, it's quite cruel.  My general reaction is - I MUST give up the creme eggs, I MUST go for more runs, and I dash (fully clothed) out of the shop as fast as possible.  Topshop, please work on kinder lighting.

With my retail therapy hit not satisfied, I headed to Liberty, maybe my favourite shop of all time and wandered through the ground floor, I really love this print at the moment.  I found myself in the chocolate shop (apparently even Topshop's cruelly lit changing rooms cannot convince me I should be giving up the sweet stuff), and I delighted in all things chocolate.  I have the sweetest tooth and am also completely taken in by pretty packaging -  Mast Brothers, I love what you are doing, I really do. The British are excellent at making chocolate and I discovered many recognisable brands and some new, and of course, with Easter on the way, they are in full swing Easter Egg mode.  So this week, my British brands below are all chocolate makers - happy Easter Egg hunting 🐰🐣.

Alice xxx

   

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly

Boom Boom Shake The RoomSitting at a desk all day can’t be good for us. So this week, I decided to shake up my exercise routine with a bit of spinning. So I’m not a complete couch potato, but I’m also no Paula Radcliffe. Sometimes I go to the gym, run when I have time and obvs cycle to work. But I wanted to add a little extra, so I found my nearest spin class and boldly signed up. 8am on a Wednesday morning in Holborn – nae problem!When my alarm went off at 6:45am I was horrified, I felt sick – I try my best never to see such hours of the day, unless catching a flight. I seriously considered going back to sleep but it was light, and I was already awake, so I hauled myself out of bed. Luckily I remembered to bring my water bottle, stole a banana from one of my housemates – and hit the road.My destination was Boom Cycle in Holborn. A trendy spin studio where they blast loud music and shout inspirational things at you to distract from the voluntary torture you are undergoing. I wasn’t going into this blind, I had been to Psycle on Great Mortimer Street before and knew what was waiting for me.I got the tube from Barons Court to Holborn, and only got slightly lost before finding my location. The first thing I noticed was how helpful and nice everyone was. The staff at these ‘clean eating’ ‘healthy’ ‘inspo’ fitness places can tend to be a frosty bunch – but these guys were great. I was assigned a pair of the funny shoes, given a towel and a locker and headed for the changing room. The changing room was trendy, not as swanky as at Psycle (but you do pay £2 more per class, and last time I went Millie Mackintosh was there – so it’s a slightly more flashy crowd) but perfectly nice. I think these places must have a partnership with REN as they have so many of their products which are just a-mazing. Boom also had lots of inspirational quotes stuck on the mirrors ‘You Look Awesome’ etc – I was pepped up and ready to go!The class started bang on 8am and I was surprised how few of us there were, perhaps the trendy fitness fad is dying (fingers crossed). If you haven’t been to such places before, imagine a small nightclub, complete with mirrors and a few spin bikes thrown in. It’s relatively dark, and the music is very loud (for the motivation – duh!) There was also a scented candle …Approximately 10 minutes in I was intensely regretting my decision. Despite only cranking up my resistance the bare minimum, I still felt like my legs were made of lead and I was going to collapse. For those of you who haven't attended spin before, it’s not just cycling. The inspirational fitness guru sits on a platform facing her sweaty congregation and tells you when to turn up (or down) the resistance, when to stand up in your saddle, or sit down. It’s basically a lot of bobbing around which is actually VERY tiring.There are also the weights. Usually I would have chosen the lightest weights for myself – but at Boom Cycle they assign you weights, and I was too much of a nervous newbie to question it. As such I was lumped with some extra heavy ones, which I subsequently struggled with during the bicep curls etc and could barely feel my arms by the end. I’m sure it was good for me though!About three quarters of the way through the 45 minute session, I actually started to push through the pain and start to enjoy myself. It did get easier, and the music was excellent. There was a moment they switched off all the lights which was a bit disorientating – but by the time the last song came on I was feeling like a regular Bradley Wiggins.I hobbled back into the changing room, grateful for the REN shower products and quotes on the back of the shower door.I was absolutely ravenous for the rest of the day, and kept smugly telling anyone who would listen that I had been to a spin class BEFORE work. And despite all my complaining, I will probably go back....

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world

'Adrian Brody joins Peaky Blinders’http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2017-03-24/adrien-brody-joins-the-cast-of-peaky-blinders-series-4Peaky Blinders is rapidly becoming the hottest spot on television, Adrien Brody is jointing the gritty Birmingham drama.People love, oh so much to comment on the accents of the actors in this show, either Irish or brummie and it does make me wonder where he will fit in. Perhaps the Americans are getting involved in fray. The show is expanding and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.Peaky blinders from onset showcased an impressive cast, Cillian Murphy, Helen McCroy, Sam Neil and Annabelle Wallis are the big names who make up the cast. An Irish man and a Londoner both playing brummies, a Kiwi and another Londoner playing the Irish. Where does Adrien Brody fit in? Odds would say not an American, so maybe he’ll pick up a Russian accent on the way over. The Russians were introduced in Series 3 when they pressed the refresh button on quite a few characters.The cast also introduced Tom Hardy and his real life wife Charlotte Riley in Series 2 so this show really is snowballing. Hardy plays London gangster Alfie Solomons, while Charlotte plays one of  Thomas Shelby's love interests. Where do you go next? This was Hardy’s first step back into television with him leading the questionable Taboo affair. That really just felt like an Ode to Tom Hardy rather than anything worth watching. Jonathan Pryce’s character seems to be on  aserious vendetta that he is only able to  express through swearing. Welcome to the post-Game of Thrones world where if there isn’t incest or extensive swearing it won’t clear the first round with the producers (even for the BBC). I relish the idea of Governor Swann the kindly but cowardly character in Pirates of the Caribbean, unjustly killed by the East India Trading Company, being reincarnated in Game of Thrones as a religious fanatic only to be blown to bits by another crazed character, to be reincarnated back as the head East India Trading Company. Life has dealt a hard hand and with that track record I certainly would have something to swear about.In all honesty I think this is where Tom Hardy should further his career:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fkoan2f-Po&t=191sLife for Thomas Shelby is tough but maybe he’ll get to break Adrien Brody’s American or Russian nose in a standoff. Somehow I think they are not going to be the pals in the show, too much bone structure for one.Peaky Blinders should be out sometime this year, although they have a intensely annoying un-reliable record for bringing the show out inconsistently.Fun fact: John Shelby and Michael, Polly’s Son are brothers Joe and Finn Cole in real life.

Brayce Yourself

A weekly column in which Emily, Susannah and I contemplate life in our 20s.

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London

This week I have been spending a lot of time answering the phone. When I was younger I would refuse, point blank, to pick up the phone, I just hated it so much -  the thought of picking up and speaking into the unknown, to a disembodied voice who would most likely ask you questions you didn't know the answer to, or how to answer.  These days, I spend a lot of time on the phone at work and am very happy to answer calls, I don't think twice and almost relish the possible challenge that might be at the other end.

People are different on the phone.  They feel they can say things they would never say to someone's face (often rude things), even more so if they do not know the person they are calling.  Dealing with phone calls correctly is about ascertaining the tone of voice from the first Hello - are they trying to pick a fight, are they upset, are they a time waster - and it's always about maintaining a tone of complete confidence, never ever giving the caller any reason to doubt you.

I sometimes wonder if the world of catalogue and online shopping has taken in the many lost souls who once upon a time would have attended church regularly, prayed often and even gone to confession.  Nowadays with no one to listen, or no one listening without judgement, women in their hoards ring up online shopping companies and order anything and everything, cashmere jumpers, toasters, hair straighteners, dog beds.  And there is always someone to listen.  'Don't worry about the hole in your cashmere jumper we can fix that'. 'You don't like the colour of the towels you bought? that's fine we can exchange them for you'.  'Of course you look great in those glitter eye lashes you bought, blue is definitely your colour (although I have no idea what you look like) and everyone is wearing blue this season'.  They love it, they love to call, they love to chat, and there is always someone at the end of the phone willing to talk and help them with any queries they have at all, to listen, and to keep listening.  And often they get hooked, I genuinely believe there are people out there who order more, just so they can chat more.

One of my current favourite phone caller curiosities is the use of phonetics.  I will happily admit my phonetics are not excellent, and I have no problem if you say B is for Beta or F is for Freddie - these are relatable and fine.  Although I do get a little annoyed if you incorrectly correct me, 'Is that W for Whiskey?' 'Yes W for Winston'.  But the best are the people put on the spot, who must have repeated their own postcode a thousand times, and when asked to repeat it say, 'T for Cup of'.... kind of clever, I like that.   But the real treat came this week in the form of the letter 'K'.  'Did you say K?', 'Yes, K for Knee'.  WHAT?!  I was so taken aback, I had an unusual prolonged hesitation in my postcode entering, 'K for Knee'... of all the K words you could have chosen.....

And below four British Brands for this week 😍

    

Alice xxx

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly

Six Of The Best

This week I have decided to write about some trendy, vacuous stuff that looks fun:Pom poms pleaseOn trousers, jewellery, hats, anything really. These babies are going to be EVERYWHERE this summer. So get ahead of the curve and get them while you can: Topshop Pom Pom Hem Jamie Jeans and @pom_bombs  earrings. In the gardenSpring is officially here. And what better way to celebrate than by dousing yourself in a new springy fragrance? Geranium by Diptique has notes of pink peppercorn, bergamot, rose & bourbon geranium (obvs). Feel smug, smelling sweet, fresh and springy – even on a sweaty morning tube.  Geranium OdorataTwelfth Night at The National Even if (like me) your only real reference point for this epic Shakespearean saga is the film ‘She’s The Man,’ this revamp of the piece will leave you in stitches. A gorgeous, rotating set that would make even the snobbiest interior designer drool and costumes to complement, there was never a dull moment in the farce that ensued. Vintage cars, shipwrecks, yellow tights and a hot tub – what’s not to love? And for all the Green Wing fans out there – it is a dream to see Dr Caroline Todd and young Boyce reunited. Twelfth Night tickets.Making a beeline  This gadget is very cool. I've yet to try it, but I really think that it would make all bike rides a lot easier. With beeline, instead of having to stop every five minutes to consult your phone - risking your life and your phone screen - you simply clip the device to your handle bars, type in your destination and a handy arrow will point you in the right direction. No more excuses for being late! They claim to make ‘smart navigation simple’ and I think I really do believe them.  BeelineChin Chin Warm weather calls for ice-cream. Everyone knows that. This whacky ice-cream parlour, Chin Chin Labs takes its product VERY seriously. If you are looking for a 99 Flake, this is the wrong place. They freeze ‘mapcap flavours’ with liquid nitrogen to spectacular effect (or so it appears from their mouth-watering Instagram feed). Intriguing creations include stout served with a potato cake & seaweed wafer, cream cheese with red velvet fondant cake & a beetroot crisp, and rhubarb sorbet served with lemon curd candy floss. It sounds a lot like Florean Fortescue but real.Caveat – I have not actually visited yet but am very keen if anyone fancies it? Chin Chin LabsAt the pubAfter work, or weekend drinks in a summer pub garden on a warm evening. There is literally nothing better. Finding space in a nice garden can be tricky but once you do, and are settled in you will never want to leave. So get yourselves to the pub with an appropriately summery beverage, a couple of pals and hope that it doesn’t rain. Maybe even take a board game? The Leather Bottle

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world

In other news this week:

In a moment of madness I sent this email to an ice cream company. From: Susannah BrayTo. info@lakenhamcreamery.co.ukSubject: Stockist Question 10:50am 24th March 2017Dear Sir/Madam,I was curious, as in need of a tasty treat, to where the nearest stockist would be to St Andrews, Fife?Best,Susannah To put this into perspective, I am quite aware this may not be an entirely normal thing to do, especially at 11am in the morning, but, apparently I wanted some ice cream. Also to reveal the ice cream in question is stocked in Norfolk. Yes, Norfolk, as I found out is slightly too far to go to get some ice cream. All I wanted was some Rich Butterscotch or Double Chocolate Chip.Just to notify you, I do not work for their marketing team. Although if they wish to send me free ice cream I would happily accept.When I was younger, as I am sure, as any of my family will tell you I used to have a slight obsession with ice cream. Most meals wouldn’t be satisfied without it, the said flavour of choice was Mint Choc Chip. My obsession probably realised itself on weekends or weeks spent in Southwold when we would go to visit my Grandmother. As soon as lunch was polished off, ice cream would appear, and then probably an hour later I would pester anyone to take me to the ice cream parlour for my fix of Mint Chocolate Chip, generally having being coaxed on a walk before.But where the source of this unusual email comes from is the first ice cream course. As we would be served, straight from the freezer dollops of Norfolk County Ice Cream. And apparently this is what opened my eyes to the world outside of Mint Chocolate Chip - what an eye opening experience that was. I discovered that I could indeed eat all flavours of ice cream, and apparently I was dissatisfied with the quality of ice cream in Scotland, or the nauseating sweetness of the mass produced Hagen Daas or Ben and Jerrys. I expect a lack of cream might be to blame in their recipes or indeed, americanised sugar. If you aren’t aware my dissertation is essentially about how America is ruining the world, and therefore I tend to blame them for everything, realised or edible and sweet. Or perhaps I had been too often traumatised by people serving, Carte D’or Vanilla, what should be the bane of any pudding eaters life. Am an ice cream snob? Perhaps, but at least my ice cream buds are more developed than whoever decided that the French could make ice cream. No-matter how inviting your apple crumble is, all anyone will taste is the sweet joy if Uniliver happened to raise the tax on it. Please, leave the marmite and keep your shitty sweet slop.Divulging from snobbery, after racking my brains, I remember the source of this ice cream being in Norfolk and therefore set out on an internet search.Discovering the creamery was situated in Norwich, I hastily type this into google maps. A mere 437 miles one way (via glasgow obviously) is what I found, and after arriving back in Fife the day before, decided that this route was not for me. In perspective that's 7h 54m drive time and £60 of petrol. Diverting from this route I next found myself on SkyScanner, with the ease and accessibility of Edinburgh airport only an hour away. A 5.50am 3h25m flight from Edinburgh to Norwich via Amsterdam seemed pretty reasonable, made all the more appealing as I had the option of 4 hours of Norwich sightseeing before my next flight, at, 5.20pm. The price also was fantastic, all for the bargain of £335. Faced with the issue that my pots of £300 ice cream would have melted by the time I got back to Scotland I decided to click the About Us button.There, to my delight, I found:'Our ice cream is available in several farms, deli's and retail establishments such as Waitrose and Co-op. You can always call us to find your nearest stockist or you can visit our factory shop where we keep the full range of both Norfolk County and Aldous flavours. We'll be very happy to supply you and your family.’The nearest Waitrose is in Edinburgh. And somehow I thought the Co-op in Anstruther would’t stock Norfolk Ice Cream. So contact it was. To my shame I decided to email them as I thought my desperate situation would come out better typed that with spoken word. Ice Cream madness apparently knows no bounds.I have yet to receive a response.

Brayce Yourself

A weekly column in which Emily, Susannah and I contemplate life in our 20s

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London

This week @thatcoat has been getting itself a little attention again (if you've not heard of #ThatCoat / having been living under a rock, you can read about it here and here).  Zara have rehashed the design (added a frill) and brought it out a sassy red and classic blue version for Summer.  It's still a classy coat, people are still buying it, and I got very excited when I passed a young style maven wearing it on her way to work this morning - keep sending us photos #CoatSquad (we love the new hashtag The Express) and Zara we'd still love to hear your thoughts...I met Paulien Riemis of Polienne blog fame and discovered something quite amazing for an instagram obsessive like myself - Paulien has TWO instagram accounts, one is her actual (you can see it here) and the other is a tester account.  She puts all her photos up on a private account to double check how they will look before she puts them up on her actual one.  Mind blown / what a great idea - the amount of times I think 'I'm sure that filter isn't quite right...)I have spent a lot of this week in Shoreditch - I really really like Shoreditch, there is so much going on, and it's perfect for exploring.  I am slightly obsessed with concept stores - specifically coffee shop / boutique ones and found two really fun ones on Redchurch Street - Modern Society which has a really good selection of independent brands and trendy attire, and also Kit & Ace whose shop till area is also a coffee bar with seats - such fun.Going forward, I am going to be focusing the blog on all things British, and I wanted to start you off with 4 British brands I am loving right now, do click on them below.Alice xxx Also do have a look at my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas on the menu drop down (3 little horizontal lines at the top right of the blog) 💐😍.

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly

This week I have been very disappointed that Spring didn’t arrive, had my umbrella actually turn inside out mid storm and tried sag aloo for the very first time (it was delicious). Also went all the way to Hogwarts (Watford) had some Butterbeer, loved the real Hogwarts Express and once again became sad about being a Muggle. Although I would almost certainly have been sorted into Ravenclaw ...It’s been a tough week for London but we keep calm and carry on. Is it just me, or when something like this happens, do people seem friendlier and kinder towards each other – especially on public transport?You will notice in my reference to public transport that I am still lurking in waiting list purgatory for my bike space at work … #notbitter(Literally as I am typing this, a friend sent me some bashed up selfies from a hospital bed in Rome – having been knocked off her bike! Starting to think perhaps the bike waiting list is trying to tell me something).I have also been thinking a lot about time. We think we have so much of it, it either drags or flies, we waste it or lose it, misuse it or are smug and incredibly productive with it. Ultimately it’s our time, and we should be using it to do what makes us happy. Easier said than done, but it’s about time we realised it. As youths in our twenties we are constantly being bombarded by inspirational Instagram quotes, Facebook posts and autobiographies of world-class entrepreneurs telling us what we SHOULD be doing. But what about what we could or even want to do?On the theme of time, the clocks go forward this weekend. I am incredibly resentful of losing an hour of sleep, but I love the prospect of longer evenings – one step closer to summer! Picnics, Pimms and pool parties (ok this isn’t the O.C but we can dream).Also despite the fact that supermarkets have been reminding us that Easter is on the way since New Year’s Day, as the big day approaches I for one am a huge fan of the orgy of chocolate on display. Crème Eggs, Malteaster Bunnies, Mini Eggs – there literally isn’t a weak link among them. Also if you haven’t tried the Mini Egg Easter cakes – with a lurid looking yellow cream inside, you absolutely must. They look hideous but taste delicious and are becoming increasingly elusive in the supermarkets of London. But if you track them down, it’s well worth the effort.It’s the small things … 

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world

This week Susannah has written a piece on her visit to the Tempietto in Rome during her university Spring break

A Harmonious Observance

Location: Rome, Italy.

The Morning of 12th March 2017.

This weekend I visited Roma, to see a friend who happens to be working there. However, what I don’t think she expected was me to force her to go and watch the sun rise at San Pietro in Montorio, or more famously the location is known to hold Bramante’s Tempietto.

The Tempietto is a highly underrated and almost entirely perfect part of Rome, and, as I discovered even better at dawn. One of the more fantastic parts about this purely simplistic and somewhat majestic building is that it is seems to avoid the draws of crowds of tourists. Leaving a visit to be one of reflective calm as you look back over the glory of Rome. As yet, I have failed to mention, the San Pietro in Montorio also holds one of the best views of Rome, although not one of the highest, and I am sure there are more majestic ones, to be able to hold Casel Sant’Angelo, St Peter’s and slightly controversial ‘Wedding Cake’ all in one eye range is truly remarkable. And, even more an ode to Bramante, when you see the various Dome’s peeking above the Roman roofs.

I have been before, but determinedly feel as if a trip to Rome without a visit is incomplete. However, this time I was determined to see the structure at dawn. And, even with danger of beginning to sound monotonous, it really was well worth the visit.

To precede such an occasion my friend whom I was visiting in Rome, Cosima, spent the evening out accompanied by various others. However, when the time came to head home, around 4 o’clock in the morning I suggested a visit to Piazza Navona to delight in the empty Piazza at night. Already ticking through my mind was the possibility of making it to 6.30am for dawn, I may have craftily looked up the time of the rising sun- so my aim was to fill the time until then. Piazza Navona soon led to a 24 hour cafe, where we revived ourselves on cups of tea and speck sandwiches. And such we found ourselves wondering home, where I informed Cosima that we would be climbing the up to visit the Tempietto and the sun. After slight protestations, I persuaded her that as we were already awake it would be silly not to. And, as we found out it really wasn’t very far away as we were staying in Trastevere. So with full energy restored we bounced, with quite a large amount of running up to the top of San Montorio. Upon the hill we were greeted by a fantastic view and were able to wish Good Morning to the Tempietto. Not a soul in sight we sat on the wall and waited around ten minutes for the sun to come up over the eastern hills. We found at that point not, much necessity to talk and instead listened to the tolling half hour bells, and the whizzing of vespas of those winding their way on early work routes through the city. To confirm, it was certainly worth it, and both of us had a sense of achievement when lazily strolling back down the hill towards the warm comfort of bed, being greeted on the way down by those tending to dogs early morning needs, where, half an hour previously had not been a soul inside, suddenly found single figures with their furry friends on mass. Sad to report on the option of another mass, that although we made plans to attend in Piazza Navona, we blissfully slept through the 11am starting time- leaving our sins for another week.

A bit about:

The Tempietto, is regarded as the epitome of the High Renaissance, for its simplistic and symmetrical form, commissioned by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The Spaniards still hold this part of Rome as the structure abuts the Spanish embassy.  What made it unique in 1502, was the use of the hemispherical dome. Dome making, perfected by the Ancient Roman’s was an lost art form, until Brunelleschi, applied it to Santi Maria del Firori in Florence about a third of the way through the 15th century. It was not until Bramante that the hemispherical Dome that, now makes up most of the Roman skyline, was rediscovered in his formation of the Tempietto. The structure was built to mark the spot where upon St Peter was martyred, however, in a Renaissance and Classical mix up, they sadly got the wrong hill.