A Tuscan Adventure

Greetings. Life right now is me, stuck home alone with two excitable dogs while my mom, dad, sister AND boyfriend are all away in various parts of Spain. Seems I missed the memo. Since I am laden with free time, I thought I would share some of my photos from my family holiday to Tuscany earlier in the summer. It was completely wonderful. We had three days in Florence to begin with, which of course is an Art Historian’s paradise. My poor family were dragged all about the city. And once more to be sure we had seen all my favourite things, from the top of the Duomo, to the Medici tombs. We eat pizza, parma ham and melon, we drank copious amounts of prosecco and absorbed Italian life.

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From top left: 1)Little jelly sweets and me making a funny face. 2)H and I discovered square pizza for lunch. 3)The perfect moment to capture the unique shadow from atop the Duomo. 4)You cannot take a bad photo in Florence

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From top left: 1)Family rebelling against their tour guide. 2)Father Fothergill in new hat. 3)See the similarity with Mom and I? 4)My favourite meal in the world.

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From left: 1) Florence Baptistry interior mosaics in the morning… 2)..to aperitif’s in the evening

After Florence, we drove out to the countryside to an estate of villas called La Foce, where some much-needed R&R was had. All we did was read books, play tennis and tan by the pool among the olive groves. The whole estate was built on volcanic soil and it smelled amazing, of lavender, cedars and olives. The heat of the day stayed on your skin into the evening as we went out to explore the local towns, revealing in the local life.

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From top: 1) View of Tuscan countryside never gets old 2) Neither does the sunset 3) Close up of a bee on lavender at La Foce

I hope you have had the holiday you deserve this summer!
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Love
Anna (Tuscan Raider)

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The Foretelling signs of Exam Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. The usual seasons. But for thousands of students around the world, there is another season. Exam season. 

The phrase is dreaded by some, ignored by others and inevitable for all. And the signs of this forthcoming era have crept into my room. For me personally, I am not particularly scared by exams. I have a theory that my handwriting is SO bad that examiners assume I know the answers. And since I have started simply studying a subject I really love, exams are not the trial they were when I had to learn about numbers and…sciencey things. Ugh.

Me...not panicing

Me…not panicking

Exam Season also means an excuse to invest in beautiful new pens, folders and paper trays. I am definitely not a naturally organised person…at all. I think I was born with the anti-neat gene. Which is REAAALLY frustrating because I desperately want to be organised! I feel like half the battle with organisation is having the right gear. So I managed to get organised enough to buy the pens, the paper and the flashcards. The Signs of Revision.

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I really do think it is important to create a nice workspace for yourself. It does increase motivation, it is not just a procrastination tool ha.

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Stay organised
Anna

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Top Ten Summer Must-haves

Every year, when the  little April showers have faded, and the darling buds of May are springing and when there is even a mere hint of sun, I start dreaming about summer (for fans of Frozen, I relate to Olaf in many ways). And I proceed to convince myself that I NEED an entirely new summer wardrobe, a tan, and other accessories that will make my summer perfect. So through various blogs, recommendations and product auditions, I have created a list for you lovely readers, of the Top Ten items I am IN LOVE with for this summer.
This was a tradition I started privately in my journals when I was about 15. That first list included: Dove self tanner, wear red lipstick for all of summer, espadrilles with those ribbons and teal nail polish. I have not become much cooler since then, but I think we can generally agree my taste has developed and I promise this list will be more specific and oh so fancy. Warning, may not all be realistic or accessible. But one can dream….

I aim to own everything on this list by the end of  summer (however brief in might be here in the UK) but my bank account usually has other ideas!
In no particular order:

  1. Vitamin C Skin Reviver – Body Shop

Vitamin C Skin Reviver

I discovered this product a few years ago and I still love it. It can be used as a primer or simply just to make your skin as soft as a unicorn’s tail washed in angel tears. The best part is, pop into Body shop, try the tester, and if it doesn’t feel like you are smoothing pure silk into your skin, don’t buy it.

2. A Brit-Stitch Bag

 

I NEED ONE OF THESEEEE! I discovered this company over instagram and fell in love with their simply block colouring and practical size. You can even build your own on the website! They are perfect for evenings out as well as day time casual. I need one.

3. The Statement Necklace

It’s everywhere. I actually bought this one last week from Forever 21 and I am discovering it goes with a lot more items than I originally thought. Have a browse around Forever 21, they have a great selection and a statement necklace can add another layer of interest to an outfit.

 

4. Navy Striped Shorts – Zara

I think stripes are very summary. Guess they invoke images of boats and shimmering blue seas. But these stripe numbers from Zara are both adorable and silky soft. Good quality and good style.

5. A Clean Perfume

 

I am saving up for Si by Giorgio Armani. Keep any summer scents easy, light and not sickly sweet. Si has a light sweetness and floral tones and it does not get tired over the day. Pick a scent and stick with it for the summer!

6. A Good pair of Running Shoes

Good shoes = good run = good bikini bod = good health = good vibes = good summer =Good investment!

7. The Maxi Skirt – Forever 21

I confess I own a disproportionate amount of maxi skirts. But they are SO practical as well as girly, floaty and stylish. So can one really own too many? They are perfect for hot summer nights strolling through some Croatian town, as well as throwing on after the beach. They are comfortable and alternative. GET BROWSING!

8. Concoction’s Shampoo and Conditioner

This brand has to be one of the most genius ideas I have come across in a while! A shampoo brand where YOU customize the shampoo. WAAAAH? You can pick a base scent and then add to these anything your hair might need. Blonde or brunette, dry or flat, there is a mixology method for you. Swoon, personally tailored shampoo!

9. Turn Blue – The Black Keys, album out 12th May

Okay, slightly cheeky one…I am very biased towards them. But so far, I am enjoying their newest singles. Also, I will be journeying to Latitude festival in July to see them IN CONCERT! My joy is almost uncontainable! But anyway, while their new stuff pales is not as mindblowing-must-listen-over-and-over again, as El Camino was….I still can’t get enough. Soundtrack to Summer: Sorted.

10. Top Notch Friends

Of course, no material thing compares to sharing any summer, rainy or sunny, with the best of friends. Gather a grand group of like-minded people, reconnect with lost laughs and make new connections.

Happy hunting!
Anna

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A Snowy Project Life

I am back! Sorry for the silence, Easter break has been a wonderfully busy time. I went skiing for ten days with my family and brought J along. It was a week of sun and snow, adorable mountain chalets and instagramming every moment. It was the perfect get away. As well a Switzerland, I spent a few glorious days in Cambridge and attempted to work in the couple of days of unexpected blazing sun.

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My favourite day was J’s second to last day. We woke up far too early, bought vanilla and chocolate croissants and headed up the mountain. To the very highest peak. We stepped out into whipping cold and bundled up to the ears, we swooped down the slope. Down a gloriously long empty run and by the end our cheeks were red and our appetites up. So J and I sat on the side of an Alpine peak and ate our breakfast. The rest of the day was filled with more runs up and down the mountains and ended with a delicious dinner. It was perfect.

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Zermatt is really beautiful. Very Swiss is feel and a melting pot of languages and nationalities.

skii2I loved all the retro ski posters that were available so I included some of them in my layout. As you can see, we were very lucky with the conditions and amazingly, even J began to Instagram the mountains!

Hope you have had some lovely travels this Easter!
Anna

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The confusion of Intention.

 

Intention.

This one little word has recently caused a whole lot of anxiety, confusion and anger for me. It’s a seemingly harmless nice word and before the end of Term 2, I would have said it is a word with positive implications. However, after the stress this word has caused, i have come to the conclusion that it is in fact the most deceptive, irritating, terrible word in the English language.

Alright that might be an over reaction, but I have been wanting to share my recent thoughts about this word with you, the people of the internet and see if you felt there is any truth to my new hatred.
It all started with an essay selection for my least favourite module I have been forced into doing this year: Methods in Art History (shudder). This module has had me going grey. I cannot describe the intrinsic difficulty of it and among my year group it has been a regular source of ranting and raving. We have all been united this year through the nonsensical pretentious criticisms we have been “studying”. There is a new sense of camaraderie as we have battled to get to the heart of Wollheim, Hegel and Winklemann (what kind of name is that?) say about art. These are the critics who should not be named. Looming over the end of term was the 3000 word essay on some complicated topic presented by any one of these.

As I browsed the options available to me, a growing panic started. They were all awful. There seemed no way to actually talk about art, rather the philosophy of “art”,  a concept that conveniently enough can’t be absolutely defined. Fantastic.
In the end the question I chose was this:

“To what extent does the artist’s intention arbitrate the meaning of the work of art?”

It seemed a relatively accessible title, so I began my research.

Little did I know what kind of hurdles I would come up against with that little word in the middle there.

Intention. In actual fact, intention is not a solid concept. How did I not think of this before? Intention, like art supposedly, cannot be defined. It is not an action, and it is not a wish, a desire or a plan. It is some kind of mysterious internal motivation that propels us. But we can have intentions and never act on them. I might intend to write an amazing Methods essay but I know that is impossible. I can intend not to cry in despair as I re-read Wollheim, but the thick convoluted ideas might just get to me anyway. You can start with one intention and this intention may lead to other intentions. But what is intention? Does intention matter? (See how easy it is to become trapped in the circular nature of this one little devilish word?)

People say “I had good intentions”. However, does intention really matter in the fact of the final result? This was what I started thinking about during the writing process. If I ran someone over, I may not have intended to but the result is still the same. They have been run over, and I will face consequences for that. So why do people, when finding themselves in a situation where they have made a mistake, cling to the idea that they had ‘good intentions’? We do not like coming across as intentionally bad people and if our internal motivation was pure, then somehow we are free from the guilt of our action. We can never know the internal motivations of people so we look to their actions for clues of their inner thinking.

All this is not to say that intention is not a valid concept, but it will never definitively determine our actions. I personally intend to live a good live. I act out this intention by trying to be loyal  to my friends and family, pursuing activities that make me happy and building a solid foundation for my future. My life may not be realized in exactly the way I intend, but perhaps a life based on good intentions has better potential for one’s own peace of mind. But if my actions do not reflect my intentions, then all the good, kind intentions in the world do not matter for it is my actions that will speak for me. I am not saying give up on having good intentions. Rather put more time and effort in be active. Into doing the things you want to do.

I have confused myself greatly the past few week by trying to define an indefinable word. It has got me thinking about what my real intentions are and whether or not they are indeed intentions. I hope I have not confused you too much with this little post, but I think I have found a quote with nicely captures the validity of intention:

In the light of our actions, intentions are worthless. Let your actions speak of your intentionality. We are the only ones who know of our “good intention” but when we do “good action”, the rest of the world knows of them. And isn’t that the real purpose of intention?

 

Unintentionally confused
Anna

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