Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

A visit to Find The Door and a walk around Birgu

This past weekend I finally managed to visit a shop that I first heard about in the beginning of 2020. But what with COVID and all it brought with it, followed by the start of our long, hot summer, my plan to visit had to wait. But last Sunday afternoon felt like a perfect time to drive to Birgu to visit Find The Door.

Find The Door

Find The Door is housed in what once was an old bakery and it came about after a number of artists and artisans collaborated together to set up this unique space in the heart of Birgu. Each artist is allocated an area within the store to exhibit their beautiful creations, creating the 'shop within a shop' concept that is quite common abroad. The advantage of this type of set-up is that the items for sale range from paintings to jewellery and ceramics, making gift-buying relatively easy. 

Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu
The colourful art of Alvalenti
Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu

Cute creations by She Chases Butterflies

There's also a Little Library on the premises where you can take a book and leave a book. On the day we visited, Vogue Xchange was holding a sale of vintage clothing - and I am still kicking myself for not buying the camel coloured jacket in the softest leather that I tried on but which felt just a little bit snug. I hear that camel is all the rage this winter.

The brands behind Find The Door are:

Lovely Little Island (Malta related souvenirs and lamps)

The Blind Hedgehog (Vintage items and furniture)

JAD (Jewllery)

Ro Art Ceramics (Hand made ceramics)

Beaded & Wired (Vintage and Jewellery)

She Chases Butterflies (Handmade items)

Antje Liemann ((Art)

Alvalenti (Humoristic art)

Lali Corevetti (Malta photography)

RD Enchanting Handcrafts (Crochet accessories)

I truly believe there is something for everyone at Find The Door. This time I came away with a little vase from Ro Art Ceramics that perfectly matches the feature tiles in  our new bathroom (which I was supposed to share with you but never got round to doing it because I still need to get a few bits and bobs to complete the whole thing). 

Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu

Now that Christmas is only 3 months away (how did that happen?), Find The Door will be the perfect place to get a beautiful item made with so much love by a skilled artist. If you live in Malta, I truly recommend this shop for buying a gift for someone special (or for yourself).  For those that don't live here, I am sure that many items can be shipped overseas without any problem.

And why the curious name? You only have to look at their front door to find the answer. 

Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu
Find The Door
27 Triq it-Tramuntana
Birgu
Open: Wednesday to Sunday 12.00 - 18.00

A walk around Birgu

After satisfying my curiosity about Find The Door and bookmarking it as a great place to shop for unique gifts made with love, my husband and I decided it was the perfect time to take a walk around the Collachio area of Birgu. Birgu has a very interesting history and I had written about it quite extensively on my old blog dedicated to Malta Snapshots of an Island. I am including the links to some of these posts at the bottom of this blog. 

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

But today, I am just sharing some photos that I took on  our walk. This is the first time that I ever explored the Collachio area extensively and I only had my phone with me. Next time I want to go back with my camera. In case you were wondering, the Collachio area is a medieval warren of narrow streets that are mostly free of cars. It was in this area that the Knights of St John built their auberges when they first moved to Malta in 1530. Since Birgu is a maritime city the Knights favoured it over the land-locked city of Mdina as they wanted to be close to their precious (in more ways than one) galleys.

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Birgu, the  Knights and the Maltese withstood the might of the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565. In 1566 the foundations of Valletta were laid and the Knights eventually moved out of Birgu to their brand new fortified city across the water. I wasn't supposed to mention anything about history but it seems it's a habit I can't shake off. Let me know in the comments if you're interested in learning more and I can do a special post about it.

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

 Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu
Anyway, as I was saying before I got diverted by knights in shining armour, I had never really explored this part of  Birgu and I was pleasantly surprised by the beautifully restored houses and the variety of colour with which doors, windows, shutters and balconies are painted. Amongst the interesting buildings located in the Collachio is a Norman house that is thought to be the oldest dwelling in Birgu.
Sincerely Loree: Norman House, Birgu
Siculo-Norman House
In its heyday, this area was the thriving centre of the city and the streets would have been lined with houses, shops and taverns, the occasional church and chapel, a few brothels, and other more significant buildings such as the bishop's palace, the armoury and hospital of the Knights. Finally, on the outer boundary of this historical area, a flight of steps took us up to a rampart that boasts one of the most magnificent views of Grand Harbour.
Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Sincerely Loree: View of Grand Harbour from Birgu

Sincerely Loree: View of Grand Harbour from Birgu

More about Birgu:

Sincerely Loree: The streets of Birgu

Hope you enjoyed today's little walk. I took so many more photos that I wanted to share. But I suppose they will have to wait for some other time.

Monday, 14 September 2020

The last days of summer

I felt happy this morning when I woke up to a golden-red glow in the sky that is usually the precursor of a storm. 'Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning', goes the old adage. Today, it was perfectly true. I am writing this to the staccato rhythm of pouring rain and crashes and booms of thunder. The swallows have returned again, heralding the end of one season and the start of the next. Even the rain does not stop them from their incessant, happy chirping. They lift up my spirits with their twittering as nothing seems to dampen their spirits. I must learn to be more like the swallows.

Sincerely Loree: Ghadira Bay,   Malta

Monday, 7 September 2020

Frayed at the edges

By the beginning of September, even the oleanders, those hardy desert plants, are starting to look a little bit tired and frayed at the edges. Which means that you probably won't be surprised to hear I'm feeling very much the same. I've forgotten what the coolness of rain feels like and the daily blue colour of the sky; without even the hint of a cloud, has bored me to death. If I thought that doing a rain dance would change things, I'd be out in our yard leaping like a demented rabbit. When I scroll through my Instagram feed (more on that particular topic later) I feel envious of people talking about 'a chill in the air' and 'leaves turning gold and orange'. Here, the status quo has me chafing at the bit. I'll try to be patient. For a little while longer.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Armchair travel - Part 3

In any normal year, this would have been the time that we would have just got back from a trip out of the country. But 2020 has been anything but a normal year and, although I didn't anticipate that the COVID-19 virus would still be around at the end of August, it is. And here we are. So, although I had not planned on doing another Armchair Travel post, I feel that, with most of staying put, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to do another one. I hope that these small glimpses of these places that I have been to will inspire you to travel to some of them as soon as it is safe to do so.

July 2016
Dunster, England
Dunster, England - Sincerely Loree

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Books I read in 2020 - Part 2 (April - June)

 If you are looking for book recommendations, I hope you will enjoy reading today's post about the books I read in the second quarter of this year. Between April and June, I  managed to read 12 books in total. That's a very good number and I think staying  in so much due to COVID-19 had a lot to do with it. I tried to fill up every moment when there was nothing else to do with books and I ended up reading these:

1. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer 4/5 stars

2. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy 3.5/5 stars

3. Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow 3.5/5 stars

4. The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill by Dominique Enright 4/5 stars

5. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi 4/5 stars

6. A Conspiracy of Friends by Alexander McCall Smith 3.5/5 stars

7. Siena Summer by Teresa Crane 3.5/5 stars

8. After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss 4/5 stars

9. The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve 3/5 stars

10. The House by the Sea by Santa Montefiore 3.5/5 stars

11. The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall 4/5 stars

12. Flight Patterns by Karen White 3.5/5 stars

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