Hagia Sophia


The Hagia Sophia, glory of the early 6th century building spree that the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora went on the 520s and 30s had to be a must see when in Istanbul recently. After all, I’d spent the best part of two months studying this history at uni and the myth-making, deliberate rebranding and reinvention and circularity of Byzantine history fascinated me.


Unfortunately it was a cold and gloomy day and large parts of it were under renovation. (Stay with me – I don’t want to be like some of those tourists a friend overheard in the Sistine Chapel drawling “well I thought it would be more impressive.”) I did find the main body of the church impressive but also not somewhere I wanted to linger.


It was initially a real shock – I’d expected something completely different, and maybe if I’d visited on a sunny day where the interior felt blessedly cool and the sunlight lit up the curves of the dome and gold mosaics I’d have had a different first impression.


As it was, it felt grand but funereal and it wasn’t till I got up in the galleries that I really started to enjoy it.


This is where the mosaics of Byzantium appeared, burial slabs for a doge of Venice who died on the Fourth Crusade, and painted ceilings soared above it all.


March 2018.

Lucy Gauge


For someone who loves colour, I do also have a lot of black answers white art, and I also like both abstract and botanical-inspired pieces. So this exhibition of Lucy Gauge’s art at Botany in East London is on my to-see list. Temptingly for sale too!

Photo by @weareherenow

Cathy Cullis


I’ve written before about how much I like Candlemas and it’s tipping point between dark and light. It’s also primarily a Marian feast, ie a holy day marking the development of Mary in her journey not just towards adult life as the mother of Christ who links the generations ans puts us on our journey towards the next birth and Christmas, but also mother of the church and protector of the masses.


Cathy Cullis’ beautiful work of women and angels therefore feels just right for today. All images via Cathy’s Instagram feed.


Waiting spaces


I love that moment before the show starts, when you sit in the dim light, chatting with friends and filled with anticipation. These shots are from recent outings to the Royal Festival Hall, and to the play “Ink”.



Looking forward to both a trip to Paris later this month and also continuing to catch up with friends over January. The need for company is actually greater after Christmas than before, I think.

photo from 1954 by Ed van der Elsken

Cosying in


The day after Christmas is for diamond earrings, bubble and squeak, the Racing Post, a bit of jazz:

and a velvet lounging dress.


Some or all of the above may be true. Photos from Christies (diamonds) and Kate Strasdin (velvet).

All Saints’ Day


Wonderful icon of saints Felicity and Perpetua.

Posting this late this year, but as ever, at this time of year I’m grateful for the friends I have in my life: the friends I text jokes with, who I can discuss  worries with, who come out to the good, the bad and the I-need-a-cocktail-now ugly of the theatre scene, who I chat and laugh and carve pumpkins with, who come out to dinner to celebrate, who share cat pictures, who are doing amazing things in their jobs, who are starting families, who hold nights for quartets that are really an excuse to eat cake and talk about hedgehogs, who are up for trampolining, who discuss politics, who share book recommendations, who are making homes and lives for themselves and who have known me better than I know myself for two thirds of my life. And of course, family and the man who is there every day.