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Wordless Wednesday was so easy, I'm clearly going to have to do that again. If only we could have Wordless Thursday too. I know there's TMI Tuesday but I'm not even going to consider that one XD

Tomorrow I'm off to Westminster Abbey, come Hell or High Water!

In the mean time I've been getting back in to my genealogy. Primarily but joining in with Ancestry's World Archives project, but also through the Billion Graves website.

Pauper's Grave Pinback Badge by beanforest

Billion Graves is a website that is trying to collect burial information from cemeteries across the world. If you have an iPhone or an Android device then all you need to do is download their free app, go to a graveyard, and take photos! The pictures will be GPS-tagged, so people know what cemetery the photos were taken in.

If, like me, you don't have an iPhone or anything else that will download an app, then you can be a transcriber! You get to look at the photos and type up the information on the graves.

Or you can do both, if you have time.

If you live near a small cemetery then you will probably find you'll be the only one photographing it, but it won't take too long. If, on the other hand, you live near a very big cemetery then you might want to collect a very large group of friends, or other genealogists. Or you might want to just find a smaller cemetery!

Have a nice evening everyone!


Inspired by my day in the kitchen I decided to have a little browse for kitchenware on Etsy. I currently flatshare, and while my housemates are lovely I think they would be a little bit frustrated if I started filling the flat with tons of bits and pieces for baking and cooking, so I've refrained.

But one day I would like to have my own place, in which case I'll probably end up buying quite a few things from various Etsy shops, not just kitchen things.

Vintage Style Bowl by poppyhousepottery

One of the things I WILL get for my kitchen though will be this gorgeous bowl. The outside pattern of red and white background with polkadots is already pretty, but then the gorgeously detailed decoration and embellishment inside pretty much seals the deal! Just look at it makes me feel that I could use it to cook some seriously delicious things, or mix up some lovely dough for cookies.

Have a lovely day everyone!

Origami Paper

I recently re-read a book that I haven't read for a good few years, The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby. It's a fictional account of the life of one of the world's first female novelists, who wrote the Japanese story The Tales of Genji. It's a pretty good book, I mostly like it for the lovely descriptions of kimono, which always look amazing and have the loveliest colours used for them.

So I had a little browse on Etsy with the word "kimono". Along with finding some really gorgeous vintage kimono fabrics for sale in various vintage shops (if I knew I'd use them for something I'd seriously buy them!) I also found some very pretty origami papers.

Origami Paper Pack by AntnFrog

These are so pretty! I really like the lilac one that's hiding behind the blue. I already know that I can't cut in a straight line, let alone fold paper in a straight line, so origami is not a feature in my life. But these papers are really gorgeous, if anyone can think of another project for them then see if it'll work!

Have a nice day everyone!

Day in the Kitchen

Today is my only weekend day off since I was working yesterday, and I appear to be spending all of it in the kitchen! I've made fairy cakes to take to work in my packed lunches this week, now I've got bolognese cooking ready to go in to mini lasagnas for my freezer, and then this evening I'll be cooking dauphinoise potatoes for my dinner!

There won't be any photos as the light is pretty bad, outside is very grey and overcast and while my flat is lovely it's not the best place for photography. And since I'm so busy in the kitchen I'm not going to have much time for an excessively long blog post.

But I did have a quick look on Etsy for lasagna stuff and look what I found!

Miniature Italian Lasagne by Minibonbons

This shop is perfect for anyone that wants to add finishing touches to their dollhouse! The mini lasagne is only the start of it, there's sandwiches, doughnuts, biscits, cakes and a tiny "decorating easter eggs" set! There's also cute pieces of jewellery made with these mini sweet treats.

Have a nice day everyone! Now it's off to make cheese sauce!

Hotel Chocolat

For once, not a post reviewing an Etsy purchase, but a normal shop purchase! I'm a member of a cashback site called Quidco, which gives you a few pennies back when you go through them to get to various websites. They also often feature codes for money off or free postage, and since I haven't been able to get to Kingston recently I decided to use a free post code from them for Hotel Chocolat.

The chocolate is expensive, but seriously delicious. Since I had free postage I decieded to take advantage and try some different chocolates, as well as my usual, especially since I'm sure I hadn't seen them in my usual shop.

Billionaire Shortbread from Hotel Chocolat

These were one of the ones I decided to try, yummy biscuit on top and caramel praline inside, and ribbons of caramel chocolate mixed in with the milk chocolate shell. I'm not a big fan of caramel, but these were quite nice, the chocolate shell was nice and thick, and I liked the biscuit on top.

Praline Melt by Hotel Chocolat

These are my favourites! If you like praline, or even just hazelnuts, then you really need to try these! They've got bits of crunchy chocolate in, as well as finely ground hazelnuts, and you can never have just one!

I should also say that I had a small delivery issue (couriers can be a pain in the neck), but one email and Hotel Chocolat's customer service team had it all sorted out for me!

Have a nice evening everyone!

Pixar Day

A friend of mine at work recently told me that he finally got round to watching the Pixar film "Cars". We both agreed that while it's a decent enough film, it's not what we'd consider to be Pixar's best work. In the end we couldn't decide what was the "best" that Pixar had to offer simply because there's several to choose from (including Wall-E and the Toy Story trilogy), but it did inspire me to have a small Pixar Day!

Up Adventure Book by AlbumOptions

The first one I watched was Up. I think it's a film that will go down in history simply through being the film that makes everyone cry in the first ten minutes and manages to show a couple's life with no words and some beautiful music. No matter how often I watch the film I end up getting very teary-eyed. Adventure is out there!

Chibi: Merida from Brave by CuteChibisandMore

The second film I watched was Brave. I never got round to watching it when it was in the cinema, so I added it to my Lovefilm DVD rental list and it arrived this week, so I made it part of my Pixar day! I liked it, although I don't think it's ever going to be my favourite. However I did think the animation for Merida's hair was incredible, and really shows the talent that Pixar has in it's studios.

I think everyone deserves a Pixar now and then, if some of you aren't now scouring your shelves for DVDs to watch then I haven't done this post right!

Have a nice day!

As part of my aim to get 365 blog posts I thought once a month I'd highlight one of the first twelve Roman emperors! This is mostly inspired by my friend Erin who blogs a series on Hidden Historical Heroines.

So today we have the first of the Roman emperors, Augustus!

Augustus was born Gaius Octavius, referred to by many as Octavius. He was the nephew of Julius Caesar, and was adopted by his uncle in Caesar's will. He was popular with the troops that had been formerly commanded by his uncle, and with them and help from the Senate proceeded to wage a war against Caesar's enemy, Mark Antony.

Vote Augustus badge by The Creative Historian

The battles between Octavian and Mark Antony went on for over a decade. Caesar was murdered in 44BC, Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30BC. Over the following years he was granted more and more powers by the Roman Senate, until he gave himself the title Imperator. He expanded the Roman empire through a series of wars against various peoples and tribes, including north Spain and areas of the Alps, and expanded the empires borders in Africa.

Italy at the Age of Emperor Augustus by CabinetofTreasures

When Augustus died in AD 14 he had set up his step-son Tiberius as his heir. The work of his life led to several hundred years of lines of Emperors, and even when the Roman Empire itself fell the title continued through the Holy Roman Emperor  for centuries more.

Just a shame that some of his heirs proved to be a bit mental...

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Last year for Valentines Day I posted about daffodils, inspired a conversation I had in a supermarket queue. Sadly I never got daffodils in the end, and I doubt I'll get any this year either :(

However I must admit I was very, very tempted to get this card for a few people I know.

Funny Valentine Card by emilymcdowelldraws

It's no longer actually available in the shop, because today is Valentines Day so buying it today would be a bit redundant. But there's still lots of great cards, prints and calenders with Emily's illustrations on so I'd highly recommend taking a look at her shop!

Have a lovely day everyone!

Pancake Day!

Today is Pancake Day! More traditionally known as Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent.

Pancakes were the way to use up "rich" foods, during Lent worshippers were expected to eat plainer foods. Along with giving up eggs and milk they also stopped eating certain meats and sweets, so there were plenty of things to wrap up in the pancake!

My favourite pancakes are French crepes, and galettes for the savoury option. Whenever I have a proper French crepe I always find it's so warm that the sugar has melted slightly, closer to syrup than sugar, and seriously delicious.

This evening I'm going to be making my own pancakes, although I never make them as nice as the French. I also need to remember to halve the recipe as I'll only be cooking them for myself and I've learned in the past that I cannot eat 12 large pancakes on my own, not without feeling a bit ill afterwards XD

I would put up my recipe but it's the standard one you can get off the BBC website. So instead have an adorable pancake plushie!

Pancake Kawaii Plushie by TheCraftyButtonUK

Have a lovely Pancake Day everyone!

What's For Dinner

I go through phases of trying to get a bit more organised. Sometimes these phases go well, last time I bought a large bookcase and sorted out a lot of stuff that had been sitting around cluttering up my desk for months.

Recently I decided that I needed some new notebooks to help keep bits and pieces organised. I already have one notebook entirely dedicated to Creative Classics, and another notebook for various bits of writing I think of when I'm at work. But things like to do lists and shopping lists get scribbled in a small notebook from a supermarket, and then I tear pages out to take to the shops and they invariably get lost the next time I empty my pockets so even though I have food, actually remembering my planned menu for the week goes out the window.

Meal Planner by mikiodesign

So I bought this lovely notebook! The left hand column is a list so I can write down what I'm going to cook and eat each day, and the right is my shopping list to match the menu. Because it's a notebook dedicated just to food I don't turn over random pages during the week and forget where I left my list. The paper is nice and thick so when I take it out my pocket after folding I don't throw it in the bin by accident, and the bright blue helps me finding it when other notebooks cover it on my desk.

Unfortunately it appears that they're no longer available in the shop. But mikiodesign has other notebooks, including a Day Planner notepad that is going to have to be a purchase sometime in the future! It came in a nice plastic cover with a cute thank you tag, and was despatched pretty quickly.

If you want some custom invites or a notepad to help you get organised then I would highly recommend this shop!

Have a nice day everyone!

Feeling Better!

My cold is feeling much better! Still felt rather ropey yesterday, but today my throat is no longer sore and I don't feel randomly cold! To celebrate I've made cookies, but I don't have a photo of them as it's been dark and rainy all day so the light hasn't been good enough for photos.

I'm very glad I'm better today as I've had lots of bits and pieces to do. I've cleared out loads of random bits of paper, baked the aforementioned cookies, and best of all I have two orders to send out from Etsy! The Bibliophile sold one of my favourite books, a 19th century German book with the most gorgeous gothic typeface, while Creative Classics sold four of my new postcards!

That's just one of the postcards I have in my shop. So I need to package everything and address it and get it ready to be posted out tomorrow.

Have a great week everyone!

My trip to Westminster Abbey has been postponed due to my cold. I went to buy food this morning but now I feel very cold despite wearing four layers and having the heater on and burying myself under the duvet. So my cupboards are no longer bare, but I'm not in the mood for a big old building.

I recently got a new book, "Queens Consort- England's Medieval Queens" by Lisa Hilton. It was recommended by my friend Erin, and makes a difference from my normal historical reading in that it's non-fiction. It details the lives of the various Queen consorts of England, from Matilda of Flanders (the wife of William the Conqueror) through to Elizabeth of York (the mother of Henry VIII).

Matilda of Scotland from WikiCommons

I will admit that I'm a little rusty at reading non-fiction. Unless it's a cookbook I tend to stick to plain old fiction, and when I used to read more factual work I was at university and used to make notes as I was going to remind myself of what I had just read. Like all such books it can be a bit dense so notes probably would have been a good idea.

The book should be a good read. A lot of the pre-Tudor consorts haven't been studied in particularly great detail in the past (although Philippa Gregory has done more for that with her recent books on Elizabeth Woodville and Anne Neville). The problem is that even as Queens women were not generally noted in historical texts except in relation to their husbands and children. Some of their letters have survived over the years, along with wills and charters which give an indication of their relationship with courtiers and family members other than their husbands. There are family trees for the various Royal families, but there aren't any for the Queens themselves, they are only shown in relation to their husbands when it would be interesting to show their own background. Most queens only have an approximate date of birth often calculated on their age at marriage (if contemporary sources happen to note it), again due to the recording problem, so it is a bit more difficult to track family trees but I feel it should have been attempted.

Philippa of Hainault by WikiCommons

I found the information about lesser-known queens such as Adeliza of Louvain and Berengaria of Navarre quite interesting. But it is difficult to take this book seriously when there are some seriously glaring errors that should have been picked up by the editor, or even by some decent self-editting by the author. For example Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII, is labelled as being the son of Henry VI when really he was the son of Henry VI's half brother Edmund Tudor.

Probably the best bit about this book is that it doesn't fall in to the trap of talking about the Kings rather than their wives. So many books end up talking about the men rather than the women, but this book really does focus on the women. This may cause the issue of ignoring some of the context of the relationship, which could effect the way these women acted and thought. But if one focuses on the relationship then I think the women would end up coming across as being permanently passive figures next to their powerful menfolk.

Overall this book is a decent read, but you will need some background information in medieval history as it talks about some of the main events in history assuming that you already know about them. If you'd like to know a bit more about the women that helped shape English history then give this book a try, but don't take it as a factual reference book due to some of the glaring errors.

Have a nice day everyone!

Cold Germs

I'm full of cold germs, with a runny nose and a throat that feels very scratchy :(

I've managed to battle in to work most of this week, but today it's finally hit me properly. Good thing I got most of this post drafted last night.

Today is going to involve doing the first half of what this poster suggests...

 Pink Print Poster by AmandaCatherineDes

 Stay healthy everyone!

Vintage Goodies

Hope everyone is having a nice Tuesday! Today feels like a nice day for something vintage, and I'm currently staring intently at one vintage item, seriously considering buying it.

Pie Dish by LittleJayVintage

Yes, I will admit that I have yet to make a pie myself, but if I bought myself this dish I think I would soon learn. LittleJayVintage is a vintage shop based in the UK and is primarily homewares, with a few pretty brooches thrown in for good measure. If you are looking for some nice vintage to decorate your home then I would highly recommend having a browse of this place!

I'm going to have to buy that pie dish aren't I?

Have a good day!

Kew Gardens in Snow

Those of you in the UK will no doubt remember the snow we had a few weeks ago. For those that aren't in the UK, the country had a decent dusting of the white stuff, which lasted a few weeks. I was incredibly excited as I live in London and when I moved here I was told, by numerous people, that it never snowed in the city.

Last year it snowed, my first winter in London had snow and I was very happy. It appears that I've brought the snow with me, second winter and it snowed again! It snowed pretty much all day on Friday, to the point where my work closed early and we were all sent home. By Saturday it had stopped snowing so I took my camera to Kew Gardens and went to see what I could find.

Minka House

The Minka House is one of my favourite spots to visit when I visit the Gardens. It's an old Japanese house that was dismantled, the wooden frame shipped across the world from Japan to London, and then reassembled by Japanese carpenters and the folks that worked on the Globe Theatre in London. It's very pretty, and looks lovely whatever the season, including winter!

Lazy Snowman

King of Winter

There were lots of snowmen around the Gardens, lots of people were out with their children and snowmen were the main task of the day. One group had made one on a bench, and nearby he was being presided over by a snowman crowned with some oak leaves.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed for a little bit of February snow, and then I'll be ready for spring!

Have a nice day!

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