How the Italians do markets

My market odyssey continues during various trips throughout Italy.

The magical city of Florence has a wealth of impressive markets including the Central Market. Butchers, fishmongers and delis are on the main floor, while fruit and vegetable sellers are on the top floor,


Colourful soaps in every colour and perfume beguile the grimy travellers while pasta comes in every shape and size.


These stacks of crates are bursting at the seams with a tasty looking selection of fruit, veg and herbs.


Strings of garlic adorn this rustic stall while herbs, goose grease and salad leaves offer us a ideal photo opp.


Sieves, baskets and booze jostle for position on this compact and crowded little stall.


Are you bored of piles of food yet? Tough! There’s SOOOOO many markety photos yet to show you  . . .  ho ho ho


More magical markets

Carrying on my pictorial romp though markets that I have known and loved!

These are a throwback from a trip to Southern France way back in 2009. From flavoured salts to olives and figs, there’s a host of delicacies on offer.

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These snaps are from the bustling Cours Saleya market in Nice which is at the heart of the Old Town.


Cours Saleya hosts four different markets. The most well known is the Marché aux Fleurs, or Flower Market, held Tuesday through Sunday.


Expensive mushrooms nestle on a bed of greenery while pretty tins full of sweets tempt the younger market goers.


These little marzipan delights come in all shapes and sizes. Bananas, tomatoes, cherries and ladybirds – which ones tickle your fancy?


A rainbow of soaps are available in every colour and shade. From juicy cherry to tangy lime, they make your mouth water and your nose twitch.


Get yours in peach, violet, mimosa and rose amongst others.


And if you want less perfume and more spice then there’s a veritable cornucopia of seasonings to chose from.


Let’s end on this rather peculiar vegetable. A giant orange courgette!


Colourful markets

While I wait for the next jaunt I’m filling in the time with some collections of some of my favourite photos from the past few years.

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Along with peeling paint and endless buildings I also have  HUGE fascination for markets, food, textiles, herbs, spices, kitchen utensils – you name it, I love to snap it.


No matter where in the world I’ve been, whether Thailand, Italy, Greece or Hong Kong, I always seem to gravitate towards them.

Here’s just a few of the many many colourful market memories from recent trips.

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The mobile crisp cart plies its trade in Sadar Market in Jodhpur while an onion seller poses in Pushkar and a colourful sari clad woman waits for customers.

This collection are all from our fantastic trip to India back in 2010. Travelling from Delhi, across Rajasthan and ending in balmy Kerela.


Under the sweltering sun this pair of street sellers in Pushkar display a wealth of luscious produce for the passing crowds.


A customer haggles for the best possible prices in the Clock Tower market – women often seem to drive the hardest bargains!


This thoughtful woman was sat in the middle of the hectic Clock Tower / Sadar Market in Jodphur. She’s an oasis of calm amongst a whirl of humanity.


Meanwhile the back streets are crammed full of family run stalls that are stacked high with packages, boxes, bags and tubs of snacks.


This rather sombre looking stall holder stands guard behind a colourful, neatly stacked selection of goodies in the blue city.

These mobile veg sellers stroll along the pavements of Jaipur offering a tantilising array of gorgeous vegetables. Even the smallest of stalls is immaculately set out, its wares perfectly arranged as if in a high class shop window.


Finally I get caught out snapping these ladies with their perfectly stacked baskets of vegetables.


Gun powder, shell caves and detention cells

Carrying on our wet and windy tour of the lovely little Isles of Scilly. Here we take a tour of the defences of the Garrison on St Mary’s.

They form one of the most remarkable and impressive coastal defence systems in England complete with tiny detention cell.


There’s also a a sunken powder magazine, later called the Rocket House. Here’s one of the powder barrels.


Another feature to be found on the isles is this ornate, shell encrusted cavern that offers a brief respite from the driving rain!


Rain aside, the scenery is stunning, here’s a peep through the window of another of the isle’s fortification, The Blockhouse.

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The Old Blockhouse, also known as the Dover Fort, is a 16th-century fortification on the island of Tresco. It was built between 1548 and 1551 by the government of Edward VI to protect the islands against French attack.

You can see for miles and the gorse bushes add a splash of colour to the scene.


It’s a beautiful place to spend a few days, exploring the islands and chilling out on the beautiful beaches.


Flash back to the Scilly Isles

Just checking in and keeping the ole blog ticking along until the next trip! However I have found a real throw back trip to keep you going!

I visited the glorious Scilly Isles way back in 2006 (hence the fresh faced look in the photos!) We stayed on St Mary’s, the largest of the islands.

Air access to the islands is via St Mary’s airport. The scheduled helicopter service, which previously linked Penzance heliport with St Mary’s Airport sadly ended in 2012 so you can’t arrive in style like we did!


St. Mary’s is the only island with a significant road network; in 2005 there were only 619 registered vehicles on the island!! You can hire electric powered golf cart type buggies for use on the island’s road network though.

During our trip we visited the beautiful Tresco Abbey Gardens.


Due to its unique situation, the sub-tropical Abbey Gardens hosts thousands of plants.


All in all, the tropical garden is home to species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa.


Here’s some succulent semperviums.


They grow in every crack and crevice!


You can take a stroll around the atmospheric ruins of St Nicholas Priory.

It was founded in the early 12th century by Benedictine monks and it was where the first plants of the Abbey Garden were planted in the mid-nineteenth century.


The garden is also home to a collection of shipwrecked figureheads, which are displayed at the Valhalla museum.


Next up the weather might have been a bit naff but the scenery certainly wasn’t!! Stay tuned 🙂

Colourful mishmash

This post is a bit of a free for all dumping ground for some of my most favourite pieces of street art from the Brick Lane tour.

From the colourful  D7606 telephone box paste ups to Icon’s re-imagining of childhood games, it’s a crazy whizz though some particular highlights of mine!


Possibly my favourite snap of the whole day, this line up of psychedelic phone boxes is a sumptuous colourful treat.


More phones boxes, a colourful wall and a sneaky C215 spot too!

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Here’s some angelic artwork, St. Gentrfiizian. Brick Lane and The Kraze.

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Another line up of phone boxes filled with iconic women, I think I spy Liz Taylor and Rhianna in these.


More paste up boxes, C215 and a Gee thrown in for good measure.

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It’s a very good question . . .


And finally Icon reinvents Thomas as an actual tank!


And shows Mario the error of his mushroom experimenting ways.



Birds, boys and British street art

Wow I took a lot of photos in a single graffiti hunting day!


Above are some stunning Bom.K and Liliwenn murals on Hanbury Street in Brick Lane while below are a selection of paste ups, sticker art and close up details of other pieces dotted about the place.

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Here’s a few pieces of work from Louis “masai” Michel with an exotic green bird and Otto Schade


Colourful concoctions, weird images and smoking frogs all combine to feel just a little bit trippy . . .

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And a few final snaps of things that caught my eyes!

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I still seem to have so many pictures to put on! I’m on a roll . . .


Walls of colour

Whether it’s walls full of eye popping colour or the tiniest little sticker, every crevice in Brick Lane is crammed with art.


Whatever your preferred style you are bound to find something to tickle your artistic taste buds.


A mix of stickers, stencils and paper mash ups ensure that no two walls are ever the same.

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From iconic film stars turned into munchkins to delicate praying hands, there’s a variety of different subject matters and styles to spot.

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No door, wall or building escapes some form of decoration.

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As interesting, hip and edgy as it all looks in the sunshine, during a flying visit, I am not sure whether I would want to be surrounded by graffiti and peeling posters all the time.

Would the novelty wear off and be replaced by a more mundane weariness as every surface is deluged with “art”?

Sclater Street art cluster

Some areas in the East End seem to see a particular concentration of art. One such place is Sclater Street, just off the main drag of Brick Lane.

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Entire buildings are smothered in gigantic images.


The vivid colours provide a perfect foil to the drab, derelict industrial surroundings.


There are some recognisable figures gracing some of the walls. Below is an immense Usain Bolt by James Cochran AKA James C.

According to details about it the portrait is “created in a distinctive ‘scribble style’ developed by the artist to reflect the inherent energy and vibrancy of Bolt’s personality, as well as visually communicate a sense of speed.” Read more about James C and his work here.


This disturbing trio of washed out figures is called The Letter Box Bandit and is by Id-iom another prolific artist. You can find out more the story behind the image here.


These snaps were taken about a year ago and most of the work will already have disappeared, painted over, tagged by other artists or covered in posters. Almost as if it never existed at all.

But part of the joy of street art is its transient nature. Fluid and ever evolving you’ll visit the same spot just days later and it’s all changed again. Does that make the art more or less valuable?

I look forward to visiting the same streets again soon and seeing what has changed and what has endured.