venice film festival

cinema screen at venice film festival

A couple weekends back I headed to Venice for the day to go to the Venice Film Festival with Tim, a work colleague and Eryn who I met through twitter. Being only a few hours from Venice we thought we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to the famous festival and maybe spot a celebrity or two. So a few months before the festival I checked out website but it didn’t prove very useful.

As it turns out the list of movies that will be shown are only made available a few weeks before the event and tickets are only available to buy online at around that time. (In retrospect it makes a sense as it is a competition that needs entries). Up until this point I had thought we would have to head to Venice the day before to buy tickets at the box office, which would have been a bit of a pain, especially if we couldn’t get tickets. However, buying tickets online was pretty easy and the tickets were emailed to us and we could just show the barcode to gain access. Tickets for the day time and not in the ‘Grand Cinema’ were very reasonably priced at €9 each. The earlier show was pretty empty so you could probably buy tickets on the day. Although we were there on the last day so don’t quote me on that!

When the day finally dawned we got the train and then a vaperetto from the main station to the Lido (after grabbing breakfast of course). The cinema complex is about a 15 minutes walk from the vaperetto stop through a residential section of the island. I quite like the Lido. It feels like a beach town and has some beautiful art deco architecture.

We arrived a few minutes before our first movie started, Words with Gods. This was a series of short films which explored various religions around the world. I didn’t ‘get’ all of the references I am sure but it was still really interesting.

After our first movie we had 10 minutes before our second movie The President, which is the story of a dictator attempting to escape with his little grandson from a country that has turned against him. Dachi Orvelashvili played the role of the grandson absolutely brilliantly.

Both movies were subtitled, which meant this was they were the first movies we had actually seen in Italy since moving here and that made it even more of a treat!

Sadly we didn’t spot any celebrities …

After the movies we headed back to the main island groups and had an apertivo at a converted greenhouse where Tim and I had gone on my birthday and Eryn was keen to visit. We then took up our friend’s food suggestion and headed to Osteria al Portego where I was finally able to try chichetti (Venetian pre-dinner nibbles) and had a delicious plate of pasta with mushrooms. The chalkboard menu didn’t have any vegetarian options but when we phoned to make a reservation we were informed of several options (a rarity for veggies going out on the Continent). I would definitely recommend this place if you are in Venice.

I then promptly fell asleep for the two hour train ride home!

eat | the best tomato soup

roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup

The changing season means soup are going to start coming back into my life. One of my favourites is a classic tomato soup. I have to say I quite miss the lentil and tomato soup from M&S, although it might be more from the convenience than the actual soup. So I have been experimenting with my own, last winter and again in the last few weeks.

Although everyone has their go to recipe, I thought I would share some of tips for making a fool proof delicious tomato soup.

1. good quality tomatoes

For a good tomato soup you want a bright red, fresh tomato. I like cherry tomatoes in particular for their sweetness.

2. roast the tomatoes

Roasting the tomatoes gives them a great depth of flavour. Get them to where they are just getting blackened. Yum. If you are roasting bigger tomatoes you can pop a clove of garlic in too

3. the secret ingredient

Red peppers! They makes the soup even sweeter. I chop up the peppers put them in a large pan or soup pot and pop a lid on top for the first ten to fifteen minutes to soften it up, stirring occasionally. I then take the lid off and fry until they are caramelising. Everything is better caramelised. Right? You can add some red onion too if you like.

4. optional extras

For this soup I added some red lentils. Fresh herbs are also a goody

Then blend it up. As smooth or as chunky as you like. Add some final seasoning to taste. Serve with a rustic loaf or even better a toasted cheese sandwich.

Do you have any special tips for a good tomato soup? You know what to do …

I wouldn’t say I am one of those obvious shout out loud sort of feminists but honestly being a woman and living in the world we live in I don’t know why you wouldn’t be a feminist. Also as I get older I recognise more and more the little ‘unfairnesses’ and more obvious statements of every day sexism in the West (I won’t even get onto the subject of the situation of the vast majority of the world’s women).

Anyway I saw this video the other day …

It is beautifully done but I noted that of the 90 portraits shared only two of them were by female artists.

So I thought I would highlight some female artists from history that you might not have heard about and I think could have been included in this video.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Allegory of Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi

Gentileschi has become more well known in recent years as knowledge of her sort of ‘disappeared’ after her death. However, in her lifetime she was the first female artist to become a member of the Design Academy in Florence and counted the Granduke Cosimo II de Medici and several other royalty as her patrons. Her paintings often represent strong female characters, thought to be influenced by her rape at the age of 17 by her father’s friend who she also studied under.

Sofonisba Anguissola

Sofonisba-Anguissola-self-portraitAnguissola was perhaps less dramatic than her later counterpart, Gentilesche. She excelled in portraiture at a time when women weren’t allowed to study anatomy and nudes and so were limited to portrait compositions. I saw one of her portraits in the Brera Gallery in Milan and loved her modestly sized self-portrait. She seems like she would have been interesting to know don’t you think? She lived into her 90s and this is one of her older self-portraits.

These two ladies aside I was also thinking about Frida Kahlo. And was watching a programme the other day to discover that I knew Tamara de Lempicka’s work without knowing that these famous portraits were made by a woman. I am kind of blown away by these women who must have faced such difficulties in an ‘industry’ that was incredibly male driven on top of living in a much more patriarchal society than now. Wikipedia has a whole list of other women artists through different periods who have also ‘stood out’ if you want to learn about more female artists.

Do you have any favourite female artists from the past, or present? I’d love to learn more!

Image 1: Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1630s, Royal Collection (possibly self-portrait)

Image 2: Self-Portrait, c1540, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan (taken by me on my iphone)

read ‘em and eat

broken breakfast

It was a sort of busy week. I am now working my standard hours at the job but I did some extra tutoring lessons this week and am attempting to get back to more regular blogging, exercise and set aside time for working on my dissertation, Italian and creative projects. On the last three nothing has happened of late (oops). On the exercise I did a Jillian Michaels video on Wednesday and walked like an old lady for the rest of the week. Remind me not to not do Jillian Michaels for a few months again!

I feel it takes a couple of weeks to work into a routine anyway and it is just about testing and changing. Do you have any tips for settling your routine quickly?

READ EM >>>

This made me giggle.

You don’t have to tick a box.

I could move into Darwin’s House.

How about signing up to Decorator’s Notebook’s newsletter and giving a notebook to a child in need?

Maybe if I can’t find a vintage portrait I might get some more contemporary pieces. Like from Elizabeth Mayville or Clare Elsaesser

Instagrammer to follow: Need a bit of calm in your life? You know how I love a feed which is consistent and @michellelouise__ is doing it with perfect simplicity.

EAT >>>

On Friday we had one of Tim’s tutees around for dinner. Man is it nerve wracking cooking for an Italian! So of course it was probably the worst meal I have made in ages! A dry main and a baking disaster.

The baking disaster was an attempt at what I dubbed ‘a deconstructed autumnal Victoria sponge with an Italian twist’. Perhaps this is where I went wrong. I basically wanted to make sponge cupcakes with a plum sauce and marscapone (because you can’t buy double cream in Italy, or at least that I have found). I used a combination of this recipe and this one but swapped the flours for spelt and buckwheat. I don’t know if it was the ingredient combination or the fact that baking in a gas oven is really hard but the ‘sponge’ was more crispy in texture and broke when I took it out the pan. It still tasted quite good and there were enough ‘good pieces’ to give to our guest without being totally mortified.

I had the leftovers for breakfast!

 

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Wow I can’t believe how many people took part in our September #1day12pics. It was so great to see. Do head over to some of the other people who took part too.

I didn’t have a perfect ‘per hour’ day but the sentiment was still there. It was mostly pretty relaxed with not much happening in the morning, then heading out for coffee, grabbing something to eat from a street market that had popped up and then heading up to the mountains for a lovely long walk. I finished the day off doing some lettering and making a poster of my new daily motto.

I did try to work a theme of shapes but it did feel a bit forced so although some did reflect it I don’t think the theme was as helpful this month as it has previously been for me. I really need to come up with a theme before hand rather than deciding what it is after the second picture!

travel | venice on film

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Before I share some bits on the Venice Film Festival and our trip at the weekend I thought I would share some film photos I took while we were on our familymoon. I am really happy with how these ones came out. I think in future all photos of Venice should be taken with film.

My favourite is the photo I took of the little boy sitting (dangerously I might add) on the edge of the vaparetto stop with his captain’s hat and mini gondola. It isn’t a perfect picture but it just feels so right.

I also love how the black and white so perfectly captures the texture of the city.

Like this? Check out my thoughts on how shooting on film can improve your photography.