All aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland with a steam train
Calling all Harry Potter fans out there! If you too are still waiting for your acceptance letter from Hogwarts, all hopes may not be lost. You can now board the Hogwarts Express – or at least some of the carriages used for the film, and go on a magical trip around Scotland, where most of the movie was shot.
The 2-day round trip on the West Coast Railways takes you to the most extreme sights Britain has to offer, including the highest mountain, the shortest river and the deepest seawater loch in Europe. It also crosses the now famous Glennfinnan viaduct and stops on the way at several picturesque villages.
Departures are from Fort William, Scotland (Platform 9 3/4 is always too crowded with muggles anyway) and run from April to October. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go pack my stuff.

La fille de l’artiste

What have I been doing in the past 10 days? Well, I have been working on a tiny personal project: a lookbook. Having quite a few clothes for sale, I thought it would be fun to be a bit creative in the process of putting them for sale. The theme of the lookbook is The Artist’s Daughter, and was shot in an artist’s workshop in Paris. It’s obviously the work of a beginner but I thought I should put it here anyway!

1.vintage gingham dress

2.lecture du matinvintahe yellow top4.beaded bag5.polka dots dress6.vintage green dress7.vintage saylor dress9.little black dress

If you are based in France and wish to buy any of these items, here is where you can do so!



Meet the first forensic jeweller

Maria Maclennan

In the event of a plane crash, natural disaster or homicide, it happens that there isn’t much evidence left for the forensics to analyse. This is when Maria Maclennan, pioneer in forensic jewellery, comes in.

Originated from Scotland, Dr Maclennan first studied jewellery design before she started helping the Scottish police on local cases. Her knowledge of jewellery (metallurgy, marks and engravings, serial numbers…) prove itself invaluable and quite out of the ordinary compared to the regular forensic. Her expertise has been so helpful to the local forces that she now collaborates with the UK police, Interpol and private investigators alike.

Jewels are very resistent to extreme conditions and can carry skin cells and DNA, which makes them useful to find clues on the victims and possible culprits. With forensic jewellery, Maclennan has pioneered a brand new field of research and proved that if your dream job doesn’t exist, you can just create it.

(image : © Claire Maxwell for the FT)


Van Gogh at the Tate Britain, London

Things are going well for me here, I have a wonderful home and it’s a great pleasure for me to observe London and the English way of life and the English themselves, and I also have nature and art and poetry, and if that isn’t enough, what is?

Letter to Theo van Gogh, January 1874

starry night 1888

A few weeks ago I went to London and saw the Van Gogh exhibition shown at the Tate Britain. Now, Van Gogh isn’t exactly up-and-coming and we have all seen various shows featuring his famous works. This particular exhibition though left me elevated and inspired. So much so that it still is very much fresh in my mind. This is why I decided to write about it here, even though the exhibition has ended a few days ago.



One thing that stroke me about the exhibition was the original angle chosen by the curators : Van Gogh’s relationship with England, and how he influenced modern British art. For once, the emphasis wasn’t so much on his many life struggles dealing with poverty, mental illness and lack of recognition, but on his life as a young man moving to London to work for an art dealer. This brings me to my second point: I learned SO MUCH about Van Gogh’s life thanks to this exhibition – like how he enjoyed walking along the Thames every day to go to work, or how he loved prints and collected over two thousands throughout his life. I also found out that he started drawing when he was writing letters to his family back in Holland. He would describe familiar sceneries and sites and would often add drawings for better understanding. He was also very moved by the life conditions of the working class and this concern is visible in his paintings.


van gogh prison

All in all, the exhibition enlightened me on Van Gogh’s inspirations and life choices that then brought him to become one of the most important artist of the 19th century.

Sadly, the exhibition is now over, but I strongly encourage you to get the exhibition catalogue if you are interested in Van Gogh’s life.

Fairytale home – Sretsis


This fantastical home was created by the three super creative sisters behind the (equally wonderful) fashion brand Sretsis. It started off as a renovation of their childhood home, and from there they created the most magical residence, now home of three generations of the Sretsis dynasty.

Using art, design and nature as inspiration, the sisters managed to create an incredibly original, playful and welcoming home for their family. The residence features giant mushrooms by the pool, a Lady and the Unicorn themed tearoom and a whale house, amongst other things. Now, I don’t know about you, but I might ask them if I can move in too!


Berthe Morisot at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris


Have you ever heard of Berthe Morisot? Neither had I. Until very recently – a couple of weeks ago to be precise, when I saw her work at the Musée Marmottan-Monet, I had never heard of or seen any of Morisot’s work. Even though she was one of the main figures of the impressionist movement. What a shame! It makes me wonder as to the reason why? Is it because of bad luck or missed opportunities? Or is it because, as a female artist, her work isn’t as famous as her counterparts such as Monet or Renoir?



In any case, I am glad I found her because her work, which is currently exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, shows so much talent and dare that it would have been a shame to miss it.


Working mainly on figures and portraits, Morisot uses her painting to document modern life, particularly the life and status of women in the 19th century. Using her personal technique of nervous brush strokes that sometimes approached abstract art, she sometimes decided not to paint the whole canvas to point the focus entirely on the subject of the painting, usually absorbed into a reverie.


Morisot’s work is poetic, beautiful and in a way, avant-garde. It demands contemplation. You can do so if you’re in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay until Sept. 22nd.


Céline Clanet | Máze

02-maze-sami-lapland03-maze-sami-lapland04-maze-sami-lapland27-maze-sami-lapland38-maze-sami-lapland"The Wedding, M‡ze, 2008"

French photgrapher Céline Clanet decided to document the life and surroundings of Máze, a small Sámi village in Norwegian Lapland. Her poetic photos show a peaceful way of life in a place where people seem to be connected with nature (to the point of always having binoculars at hand, according to Clanet).

The immaculate landscapes, covered with snow, bare trees and occasional houses, are documented with love and talent. But Clanet’s beautiful photographs are also a harsh reminder of the dangers of global warming, and how quickly these populations will be affected by it.

Chika Usui and her family of scarecrows


Japanese artist Chika Usui has a thing for scarecrows. So much so that she decided to only feature them as the main theme of not one but two photographical projects, in which she also poses.

Arranging the scarecrows in life-like positions and sitting or interacting with them, Chika’s photos could almost look like candid family portraits… only with stuffed puppets instead of real human beings. The result is both cute and disturbing, but definitely worth a look!

(via Frankie)

LiDAR – or how technology can help archaeology

A 3D LiDAR map of the Maya site of Caracol in Belize
old and new
Before and After
(copyright of both images: A&D Chase)

For centuries, the common way of finding archaeological sites was to prospect for possible signs of early settlements and then proceed to dig and hope for the best. Thankfully, a revolutionary tool called LiDAR has made this prospecting job a much easier task, by mapping the ground and reveal structures and objects that would have otherwise remained invisible.

Used in the 70s by the US army for space exploration, LiDAR’s technology is based on laser sensors shining from the air to the ground, emitting a pulsation of light that is then reflected back and measured. The data gathered by the pulses are then computerised and used to build a 3D map of a geographical zone. This method has led to amazing discoveries such as a lost Mayan city in 2010.
Although this new technology has its flaws: it doesn’t work underground or through densely wooded areas, it remains a major advancement and an incredible tool for the archaeology of today and tomorrow.

Staying in with Chloe Joyce


There is something very comforting about Chloe Joyce’s illustrations. Perhaps it is her use of somewhat muted colours in warm shades of pink and green, or perhaps it is because they show scenes of time spent in the intimacy of home. These private and cosy moments make me feel close to these women as I identify myself with them.

No need to say that I find these illustrations oh-so-lovely, and if you fancy seeing more of Chloe Joyce’s work –which I strongly recommend; you can do so via her website or her Etsy shop.