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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! I went for a nice walk around central London, with lunch before the walk and tea afterwards, so now I'm back at my flat feeling very tired and very full up, but quite happy because the walk was good.

I've got several Easter eggs, one from my parents, two that I bought myself, and then my housemates friends bought me one too, so I've got enough chocolate to last me...well, a month in theory, probably a week in reality.

I had trouble settling on an Easter item to feature today, so have several!

Easter Bunny by wiggiewoo

Wool Felt Easter Eggs by madamecraig

Easter Card by Nikelcards

Have a lovely day everyone!

Time Off

It's Easter this weekend and then I have the week off work. I think I might have over estimated how much stuff I need to do over the next few days. Admittedly my laundry is piling up, and I need to hoover, and I have some new badges to list on Etsy, but these things won't take up two weekends and five days in between.

There are definitely things that I want to do;
- Play lots of Sims 2.
- Visit Portobello Road market.
- Make cheese straws, or cheese scones.
- Make and freeze bolognese and lasagne.
- Have a nice few hours in Caffe Nero.
- Possible wander around central London.

There, clearly I just need to work these fun things around the less fun but necessary things.

In case you can't tell, this blog post is because I still can't think of anything to post, but I set myself the challenge of a post every day and darnit I'm going to stick to that challenge!

Plus it'll remind me of what I can do during the week.

Have a nice evening everyone!

Books and Writings

I must admit, I was sitting here on my bed, struggling desperately to think of something to write about for my blog post today. I decided to browse through some of my favourites for inspiration, so I logged off Creative Classics and swapped to The Bibliophile and before I'd even got to my favourites on that account I saw that one of my vintage books had been included in a Treasury!

The theme is Books and Writings and features both vintage books and notebooks and some very cool hieroglyph works as well.

The Republic of Plato by TheBibliophile

That's my book there! I've actually got some more that are waiting to be photographed, it's difficult when you have no decent weather to take photos in.

Have a nice evening everyone, I'm off to look for Wordless Wednesday inspiration!

Find The Eggs

Those of you in the UK might want to check out this nifty little game;

Tesco: Find The Eggs

Basically you click on the link above, type in a location that you want to start at, and then zoom around on Google Streetview until an egg pops up on the screen, click it and it'll be added to your tally. If you get three eggs then you get a prize! Once you've put in your name and email address to get your prize you then select a spot on the map to drop some eggs for someone else to find.

The prize is pretty simple, it's just a chocolate Malteser bunny, but it's still a fun little game to play and free chocolate is always worthwhile.

You can only play it once though, so don't play repeatedly to get more chocolate as it's against the T&C's, and also mean for other people that might want to play.

Have a nice evening hunting chocolate!

Post It Notes

Part of my trip home involved giving my Mum her joke Mother's Day gift, and since it's now been handed over I can post about it since I bought it off Etsy!

I didn't want to mention it before since I occasionally send her links to posts and I didn't want her to read about the surprise early on.

You Park Like An Idiot Post It Notes by FlytrapOnE

Okay, rather typically I can't find the ones I got my Mum in the shop anymore XD But I actually bought 6 of them, including the one above which is a birthday present for my brother since his birthday is next week. This shop has got lots of these brilliant post-its, along with a wide variety of cards as well. Quite a few are Not Safe For Work so be careful when you browse, but they're all funny and definitely worth a look if you want an unsual gift for someone. I got mine all wrapped up in a nice little plastic cover to keep them dry, and I got a free little fridget magnet advert as well!

Have a nice evening everyone!

Owl Mug

I'm a massive fan of tea. One a week day I'll have two cups first things in the morning and then two, sometimes three, throughout the rest of the day. When I'm on holiday or during weekends I'll probably end up having at least 6 cups, spread throughout the day.

I'm also a fan of bright colours. One day I'm going to have my own place and it will probably have quite a lot of bright, cheerful furnishings and things scattered around.

These two things combined are probably what's pushing my love of these mugs!


These are so bright and with such a lovely mix of colours! The shop also has plates, and some very cute heart decorations and bird ornaments, if you need some colour to brighten up your home then I would highly recommend you check out this shop.

Have a nice day everyone!

The Rain Rain Rain

"And the rain rain rain
Came down down down"

I bet you never realised I was a Winnie the Pooh fan! It's been raining quite a lot here in London recently, if it was cold enough then it would be snow and I'd be very excited right now. Instead I'm simply looking out the window observing the puddle that seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

I quite like the rain, although for once I wish it was a little warmer. That said, once summer comes around I'll be complaining that I wish it was cooler XD

City Rain by OriginalArtShop

I like the picture above as one of the things I like about rain is the way people and buildings are reflected in wet pavements. There's some lovely artwork in this shop, including some nicer sunny-looking ones.

Have a nice day everyone!

St Patrick's Day

Today I wanted a day where I could just lounge around and do nothing and play Sims 2 (I am their God!) but unfortunately it's my only day off this week and so various chores need to be done so no lazy day for me.

On the other hand I do have the week off after Easter Monday so I think I will be able to find a lot of time to be lazy then.

It's St Patrick's Day and I should really post about kind of historical profile of St Patrick, or possibly use this as an opportunity to waffle on about my Irish ancestry, but like I said, I'm in a lazy mood and so I'm just going to point out that the BBC has got a bunch of photos of landmarks around the world that are lit up with green lights to celebrate today.

Right, better get back to those chores!

Have a nice day everyone!

The V&A Museum

Hopefully you remember that when I went to Westminster Abbey I stopped off at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, also called the V&A.

In the past I've only stopped by the V&A very briefly, mainly while visiting the London Family History Center or visiting for a clue as part of a friend's scavenger hunt. I must admit that I wasn't fully prepared for how big it is, I normally go in via Exhibition Road but this time I went to the main front doors along Cromwell Gardens (I think that's the name of the road).



I took a right and came into a lovely large gallery with a high ceiling and a small fountain in the middle. The combination of the ceiling, the fountain and the gorgeous marble statuary scattered around made me feel as if I was in the garden of an Italian Rennaissance villa, it was a stunning effect and one that you really can't appreciate unless you visit. There's even two small balconies on the floor above, with the front covered with more marble carvings like a proper villa balcony.




After wandering around various other galleries, including one full of gorgeous Chinese artefacts and a Japanese one with some very pretty kimonos I stumbled across the central courtyard (also known as the John Madejski Garden) with a currently dry fountain in the middle. What I was most amazed by was the ornate brickwork and mosaics along wth tops of the windows. It's a hidden artwork in itself, from the outside of the building you picture the whole building as have a rather plain facade with bits of statuary here and there, but then you find this lovely red brickwork instead.


The door on the other side was carved with pictures of various leaders of various fields, and the top had this marble carving of two men with the words "Better it is to get wisdom than gold".


The leader in the field of sculpture is none other than Michael Angelo, and of course he had his own space on the door.

I only managed to get around half of the ground floor as my legs were very tired and refusing to carry me further, so once I went back inside I followed the final gallery down to the door at Exhibition Road and started to head home. But before I got to the station I paused to take one last photo of the monument that always strikes me whenever I visit this little corner of London.


Bomb damage. During the Second World War the V&A was hit by several bombs dropped by German planes. A lot of the various collections had been stored safely in various places around England, including some pieces stored in an underground station that the V&A shared with the British Museum. But two bombs exploded in Exhibition Road itself, causing a lot of damage to the facade of the building and destroying the glass roof. While the damage looks awful, and while the bombs themselves blew out all the windows and doors, the craters are not actually structurally unsound. At the time it was decided to not repair the damage since it was not actually harming the building, and after the war the damage was kept like this as a memorial.

In 1985 a carving was included further along the wall which reads; "The damage to these walls is the result of enemy bombing during the Blitz of the Second World War 1939 - 1945 and is left as a memorial to the enduring values of this great museum in a time of conflict". To me I like it because it's a reminder of what happened to London. Most of the city was repaired when the war was over, but occasionally you'll find things like that remind you of what the city went through. The V&A holds many beautiful artefacts from history, I find it very fitting that it also holds one of the ugly sides of history too.

Have a nice day everyone!

Mothers Day

Today is Mother's Day, and I've been a bit distracted in the past 2 weeks so it only occured to me on Thursday afternoon that Mothering Sunday was traditionally the time when girls that were in service as maids and the like returned to their home villages to see their mothers and so I should do the same, but that point it was a little late to call and say I'd be going back to Hertfordshire on Friday.

So I'm an idiot.

But I at least remembered to get the card posted out on time, which is a rarity for me.

I've mentioned before that my Mum is very talented, what with sewing wall hangings and Doctor Who purses, she's also a very good cook even with two out of her four children being ridiculously fussy eaters.

Therefore a very big Happy Mother's Day to my Mum!

(I know I said this would be a V&A Museum post, but I forgot what today was so the V&A write up will be next weekend).

Have a nice day everyone!

Today, as the title suggests, is International Women's Day. You'd probably expect me to be focusing on an Etsy shop run by a woman, but if we're honest then I think it's fair to say that 90% of Etsy consists of female shop owners, and therefore most of my blog already highlights women's shops.

So instead I thought I'd highlight a group that helps men and women who own and run businesses in the developing world.

Kiva is a non-profit organisation that works with microfinancing groups in developing countries across the world. The people in these countries don't have access to funds through normal banking systems, their "local" branch of a bank could be in a city hundreds of miles away. But they still need money to help expand their businesses, pay for tools or essential repairs, or help towards school fees for their children.

When you sign up you choose a person to lend $25 to. You can sort through applicants by gender, location, length of time for repayment, or how much of their target total they have left to reach. You can read the descriptions of their business, often translated by the Field Partners that work with them, to see what they have to say about their plans for the future of their business and to find out what they'll be using the loan for.

There is a risk of course, the statistic on the right hand side of each page tells you about the Field Partner, their "delinquincy rate" (the number of people that don't repay their loan), and of course in some countries sudden political turmoil or a natural disaster can lead to people being uprooted from their homes and businesses. But if it all goes well then not only do you lend $25 which you then get back to lend on again, you'll also be helping people in developing countries make a better life for themselves and their families.

If you have $25 to spare then I suggest celebrating International Women's Day by finding a woman-run business on Kiva and lend them the money. My last loan was to a woman in El Salvador who runs a general store and wanted to expand the range of products she sold.

The links to Kiva above are referral links, if sign up by them then I'll be able to loan another $25 for free. If you don't want to go via referral then the website is www.kiva.org/.

Have a nice day everyone!

Lovely Soap

My spring theme feeling is being encouraged by the warm weather we've been having recently. I do like snow and cold winters, but I must admit that's nice to be getting a bit of sunshine and temperatures aren't in the single digits.

Of course when summer rolls around all you'll hear me do is complain about bloomin' hot it is and how I want winter to come back.

So to keep the sense of spring going I found some soap that looks absolutely lovely.

Lemon Suger Soap by DressGreen

I love the shade of yellow in this soap. I'm allergic to a lot of things, but I'd happily risk a reaction or two just to try this soap. It's made with lemon and mandarin to give it a citrus smell, and shea butter to make your skin nice and soft. And it's also just a really pretty bar of soap.

Have a nice day everyone!

Westminster Abbey

After weeks of my plans being foiled by illness and chocolate deliveries I finally decided to take Friday off work and put in motion my long-term goal to visit Westminster Abbey.

I've wanted to visit the Abbey for years, but somehow never got round to it. When I was a little girl my parents used to take me to London to see the museums and places like the Tower of London, but again the Abbey never really featured. So since I've now been living in London for nearly two years I decided that this year is the year to start visiting all that the city has to offer!


The main entrance is the Great North Door, which actually looks quite small from the outside. There's a security guard doing bag checks, and while there was a bit of a queue it moved quite quickly. Once your bag has been checked you can go through one of two doors to pay for your ticket, luckily for me I was there quite early in the morning, 10:30 (it opens at 9:30), and a lot of the tourists in front of me had London Pass cards so they were through very quickly. My ticket was £18, and before I knew it I was through the main doors being greeted by a friendly gentleman who gave me a map and pointed me in the right direction.


They have free headsets so you can listen to a commentary as you go around, however I decided to not bother. On reflection I probably should have taken one, there's far more to see than I had expected and I got a little disorientated by the multiple memorials and little side rooms so that, on occasion, I had no idea what I was actually looking at. I was expecting a few more labels and things as I went around, but obviously these are limited as you don't want to attach too many things to the very old brickwork. You can't take photos inside the Abbey, so sadly my camera stayed in my bag. But if I'd had a camera I probably would have ended up even more lost as there is a LOT that you could photograph given half a chance.

After getting around the whole building, pausing regularly to stare up at the ceiling and wonder at the skill required to build something so elaborate and beautiful, I emerged in the Cloisters and went to the Abbey Museum. This is a very small area, but nice and warm after the rest of the building, which houses various effigies of some of the deceased buried in the main part of the Abbey. The effigies were carried at the funerals and then set up near the tombs of the dead, and were often dressed in specially made robes for the occasion. Again, photos aren't allowed here.


By this point I was pretty cold, the weather in England was still pretty chilly this week and I had forgotten to bring a scarf with me, so I went to the Abbey's cafe and had a seriously delicious bacon sandwich and a pot of tea. If you are ever near this cafe then you really have to go and try the bacon sandwich, it was made with fresh sourdough bread and had a decent number of bacon rashers in it!

I finished my trip by wandering all around the outside taking lots of photos, which are the ones I'm using in this post. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be carvings of saints or virtues or demons, some of which were hard to photograph properly and some which were closer to ground level and easier to snap. I also wandered up to the Houses of Parliament and got a few shots of Big Ben, but the Abbey ones have come out better.
 

In general I had a very nice time, but I would definitely recommend going on a weekday rather than a Saturday. There were a lot of tourists using the audio guides, which then caused bunching in various areas as they were stopping in groups to look at various monuments being discussed, and they proceeded to frown at me as I tried to edge past. I suspect it would be far busier on Saturday, especially as the opening times are limited to 1:30, and in the afternoon on a weekday as well. If you're going to go, then do it on a weekday and get there nice and early so you can avoid some of the groups. Probably the only problem I had was that it felt more like a museum than a church, especially since you have to go around in a specific, set direction. But it's nice to see it because it's amazing at how old it is, and contains the tombs of some of England's most well-known monarchs.

Have a nice day everyone!

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