maryhelene maryhelene

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Mary Warner  Sharing my perspective & creative process at Coucou Home. Also home of #CordiallyContessa. Sign up for monthly digest of all things beauty & becoming:

We ended our walk early to spend more time staring at each other instead of at our backs. That was dad’s advice. Yesterday we were in Cardigan and St. Dogmael wandering the ruins of an abbey and bits of the coast walk while drinking local cider. We go fully off the grid tomorrow when we head to the land of Merlin!

Mary on Mary Street in Newport. This is the entrance to Newport Castle, now privately owned and still a magical place. We could only get a peek of it from the street. The rest of the city is in my IG stories. Of all the places we’ve visited in Wales, we’ve been most moved by the hospitality of Newport. From the outstanding service and happy vibes at @castleinnpembs & the lucky find of an old inkwell at an antique shop, to the meandering garden streets that led to the sea, we felt at home.

Sometimes all you need is a little perspective. We’re in Newport now, a charming town before our final leg of this trip that is home to an old castle and the most delicious restaurant and beautiful inn @castleinnpembs. This is a picture of our other favorite place along the walk on Whitesands Beach, near where St David was schooled. I learned a thing or two about life there as well. 💛

Before it was known as a “poor village”, St David’s was once a place where one pilgrimage there was equal to two to Rome. My ignorance of the significance of this place reminds me of how stories hold the meaning of places and why we MUST share them. If we only get our histories from Wiki, what’s the point? For that reason, I was pretty excited to hear from a guy called Rhydian the history of Carmarthen, our last stop. 🧙‍♂️ Oh, and I did attend Evensong service. Felt like home.

Things happen when you learn to let go, or so the Welsh landscape is teaching me. This trip has been brutal on my body and heart and yet I wouldn’t take a minute of it back. We slept under the stars unexpectedly last night and wow, what brilliance. Sometimes it takes a bit of darkness to see all the stars that shine. More pictures of the trip in my IG Stories. 💛

A journey’s end for day one. 18 Miles! We couldn’t have been happier to see Whitesands, along with Carn Llidi rising above the landscape. The warmest welcome. I’ve been a crab for the last week — ghost of previous long walk past perhaps — and this lightened my mood. The general vibe of Wales is chill and the people we’ve met have been warm and friendly. The language is musical and familiar. A tiny nation with a big heart. It’s been wonderful connecting with this place, which according to family history and DNA I’m descended from. 💚 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 ❤️

And were off. First stop: Solva. More pictures of this beautiful rainbow town in my IG Stories. 💛🧡❤️💙💚💜

At last. Made it to Kew Gardens, a place my grandpa told me he would take the family when they lived in Swindon. The flowers, the air, the trees! We had one day in London and it was well spent. More pictures of the day in my IG stories.

What to pack for a hike across Wales? My Apple pen of course! I played with it a bit last night and can’t believe how much the results resemble the work I do on paper. When not traveling with my pen it lives in this 19th century ink well. How’s that for perspective?

More #cordiallycontessa is coming! I spent a lot of time this summer trying to figure out where Contessa would live and Coucou Home made so much sense. Sign up via the link in my profile to get her latest drawings & stories. She’s packing her backs for a hike in the UK too!

Leaving Hanoi for a month to retrace the steps I made with my mom in the Uk, with my husband. I would love it if you signed up (link in profile) to get the digest & see the makeover that’s long overdue to Coucou Home. Until then, I’m heading to Europe not only see my brother in Lucern, but also to do some paperwork to make it possible to become a UK citizen. Why would I do this? I get asked this a lot, especially with Brexit. It’s to honor my mom and her mother, but also because I always feel at home in the UK. (Yes, I actually wrote that in my registration paperwork!) Send us good vibes for the walk along the #pembrokeshirecoast!

Finished these drawings in the midst of final prep for a special luncheon for my friend, Laura. I want to say something about friendship after college. I was always told it’s harder to make friends once you exit the fertile ground of university, but that’s never been true for me. Wherever I’ve lived or even visited, I leave not with things but with friendships. I’ve made a few friends here in Hanoi that I’ve no doubt will last our lifetimes, but even if they don’t, it’s enough to know these people have sustained me, built me up, been shoulders to cry on, and made me laugh on some of my darker days in Hanoi. (And I’ve done the same for them.) I’m here to remind you that your new friend might actually be your neighbor (one of mine was), so go say, “Hello!”, invite them over for tea or a drink or WHATEVER! You never know what your new friendship might bring you.

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