Immersed in Light


Located in the 11th Arrondissement in Paris the once industrial home of the Pichon Iron Foundry is now home to an immersive experience of art, light and music – the ‘Atelier des Lumières’.

I was lucky enough to visit the opening exhibition displaying the works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Friedensreich Hundertwasser and fellow artists of the Vienna Secession.

The experience was like no other the artwork brought to life through digital projection surrounding you on every wall and the floor.  I was immediately immersed into the paintings with their vibrant colours, literally reflecting off every surface.



Every picture told a story and the music of Puccini, Chopin, Beethoven and Wagner brought each one to life, bringing out individual emotions to those absorbed in the room. Everyone found their own space to enjoy the ‘show’, from lying and sitting on the floor, to watching from the balcony,it was quite incredible.

There are certain pieces of music that ilicit deep memories and emotion for me and Giacomo Puccini’s humming chorus is one of those. When I walked through the door of the Atelier this music greeted me and I was transported not only into the world of Klimt but also into my childhood and precious moments with my dad and the opera Madame Butterfly.

Giacomo Puccini – Humming Bird Chorus


I am sure that everyone would find something to take away from this exhibition so if you are visiting Paris soon, it is well worth a visit.

The Atelier des Lumières can be found on 38 rue Saint-Maur, Paris.

A new addition to our family

fleurEver since I was a little girl I dreamed of having a dog, I used to look at the local newspapers classified sections each week and circle in pen the one that I would like.  I always hoped that my Mum and Dad would see it and surprise me but it never happened. As you grow older you understand the time and patience needed to look after a dog so it is not until now in my 4th decade that I opened the door to the dream once again.

By chance I saw a post on facebook about the plight of Romanian dogs and how there were wonderful people out there saving them from being killed in dreadful ways and working relentlessly to get them forever homes. So I knew that I wanted to save the life of one of those beautiful animals and adopt.

When I first saw a photo of Fleur I immediately fell in love with her. Her beautiful brown eyes and sweet face just melted my heart.

Well after a long journey by road she arrived with us this morning, a little frightened but in good shape. This little girl has changed our life already and whilst I know there is a long way to go to make sure that she is happy in her forever home, she has brought us so many smiles in just a short space of time.

San Nicolás (Valencia)


Walking through Barrio El Carmen passed the little bohemium shops and cafes and you could miss the local parish church of San Nicolas.

You are not sure quite what to expect as you follow a narrow guinnel to a large gothic door. On entering you are welcomed by a vaulted church with floor to ceiling painting, each one telling a story and mesmerising you with its colour and detail.


This is a little jewel and well worth a visit if you are ever in Valencia.

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Seeking a New Horizon


Looking to the horizon, seeking a new destination
Not looking back or focusing on what has been before
That moment has passed, but it has taught us well

With each step let go of the old
Whilst things become more uncertain
Let the imagination grow and grasp the unknown

We can live in fear of what lies ahead and
We can spend time pleasing others and forgetting our own happiness
But remember it is not selfish to fulfil our own destiny

Be brave, explore your own horizon
Life is short so make every moment count!

Julie Payne



A Modern Twist in Valencia

Away from the beautiful old town of Valencia and a bus ride later we found ourselves at the City of Arts and Sciences. A complex of wonderful modern architecture designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava.

With a series of buildings that house an aquarium, a science museum, a 360 cinema and an opera house it covers almost 2km of the former River Turia riverbed.

The Umbracle is an open acess garden space characterised by mediterranean trees and plants.

As a fair English traveller the only down side was that there was very little shade on a day with temperatures in excess of 35 degrees!!!!

Trading Places at La Lonja


One of the favourite places that I visited in Valencia was La Lonja (the silk exchange), just a few minutes walk from my apartment. Built between 1482 and 1548 it is a building full of interest and amazing gothic architecture,a little gem within the city centre. Designated as an Unesco World Heritage site you enter through the main entrance and find yourself in a courtyard full of beautiful orange trees.


The main hall, Sala de Contratacion (The Contract Hall), is inspiring with its twisted columns, like barley twists, each one opening up like palm trees as they meet the vaulted ceiling. It is possible to visualise the merchants buying and selling their wares, a centre of commerce in its day.



Each room has its own identity with beautiful carvings in the ceilings and a sense of wealth and beauty.

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A little Valencian walkabout


With the summer dwindling in the UK it was time for a break to find a sunnier climate and put the old feet up. With a thought of a return to Spain, Valencia seemed like a good option. As someone who loves being in the middle of the city, living amongst the locals, I was lucky enough to find a lovely apartment in the heart of the old town in the Placa Redonda. Just a few steps out of the front door and we were at the cathedral and the beautiful tree lined squares where ice cream was plentiful!! The only slight downside however, of living in an old apartment is that there were no lifts and after going up 9 flights of stairs every day I would like to say that I became super fit. However the numerous cervezas, tapas and temperatures of 33 degrees every day meant that I just wheezed a little less every day!

Having the bell tower outside of your bedroom was lovely and did provide early morning wake up calls.  It’s funny how you get used to the sound of the chimes.

Valencia is a very friendly city and I can honestly say very laid back in its approach to life. Even though my Spanish was non existent and the locals spoke little English we managed to get by very well.

I was able to see so many beautiful places and so I have a few more chapters to share with you.

“The best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen, and the memories you’ve made along the way”