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Tulips

It's Tuesday! Carrying on the "T" theme with both the day, and yesterday's theme of "Treasury" today I've decided to go with a tulip.

I haven't seen any wild ones around, it's all daffodils and crocuses here in Kew, but they're still very beautiful, and also seem appropriate as they're a flower associated with Holland and they crowed their new King today (although they didn't crown him with tulips).

Quilled Tulip Card by PaperDaisyCardDesign

It's amazing what some people can do with bits of paper. I can barely fold a sheet of paper evenly, let alone cut it in a straight line. This shop is full of cards made with quilled flowers and animals and is freaking awesome!

Have a nice evening everyone!

Japan Treasury

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you've all had a nice day, including those of you who went back to work after the weekend.

One of my latin quote postcards was featured in a Treasury, which of course then made me go and see what other Treasuries are around at the moment. There's some very beautiful ones with lots of spring themes, but my eye was caught by Big In Japan, a Treasury all about Japanese things.

Furoshiki Japanese Fabric by pannkoneninngyou

Ceramic Sake Cups by sewZinski

If these two images strike a chord with you then definitely go and look at the rest of the Treasury! You'll love it.

Have a nice evening everyone!

Kew Gardens - Spring

After what felt like an unusually long winter, spring has finally come to England. The daffodils and crocuses were out a few weeks ago but it seems like the leaves have only now returned to the trees. It's even been warm in recent weeks!

Last Sunday I went for a walk around Kew Gardens and managed to get some photos, although it was then difficult to find some that I actually liked XD


This one was taken near the lake in the middle of the garden, as far as I know you can follow the path around the edge of the lake, but it's too short a walk for me so I haven't gone round again.


This little seat tends to get photographed a lot by me, I just like how tucked away it looks, like a little space of peace (not as peaceful as you'd expect though due to the Heathrow flight path).

Hopefully I'll have some nice pictures for a summer in Kew Gardens post!

Have a nice evening!

Taurus Birthday

Happy St George's Day! I should be using this post to celebrate the patron Saint of England, even though we don't bother with a Bank Holiday for him, but I can't because it actually clashes with something else.

Today is the birthday of a friend of mine from work who shall be referred to as J. Of course having a birthday today means that he's a Taurus!

Taurus Zodiac Typography Print by PaperBleu

Looking at that list...well I'd definitely say he's covered by stubborn, organized and artistic XD

Have  a lovely day everyone!

Vintage Ring

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you've all had a decent start to the week!

Last night I decided to have a look through vintage rings on Etsy. I used to have a pretty vintage ring with a tiny piece of turquoise in the middle and some lovely embellishment around the edge, but I lost it a few years ago, an unfortunate side-effect of moving multiple times during my university years.

I knew I wouldn't find exactly the same ring on Etsy, not unless I was incredibly lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view). But I did find some very pretty alternatives, including this lovely piece;

Vintage Silver Turkish Ring by sadeFinds

Isn't it pretty? I'm seriously tempted to buy it but the listing says it's a size 7 and I have no idea if that would be too big or too small for my fingers. I also have no idea when I would actually wear it as I don't normally wear rings XD There's more vintage jewellery in this shop, so have a look and see if there's anything that catches your eye.

Have a nice evening everyone!

Foundling Museum

Happy Sunday everyone! Following on from my London Marathon post yesterday I spotted a Twitter link to a story about the first man to run the London Marathon with Motor Neurone Disease. This guy, Mark Maddox, is absolutely amazing, since his diagnosis with MND back in 2010 he has run the Liverpool Marathon and skydived, and today he's running in the London Marathon. GO MARK GO!

Yesterday I took advantage of the sunshine to visit the Foundling Museum near Russell Square in north London. It was Britain's first home for abandoned children, founded at a time when Britain had a high infant mortality rate and women were blamed for daring to get pregnant out of wedlock, regardless of whether or not the circumstances had included her consent.

The Foundling Museum by me!

 It was created by a man named Thomas Coram, who campaigned for a Royal Charter to create a hospital for abandoned children. He was eventually granted the Charter by King George II. A house in Hatton Garden was used as a temporary hospital when it first opened, while the proper hospital was built in Bloombury in the middle of the 1740's. The charity had several famous men as governors and supporters over the years, including the artist William Hogarth and the musician George Frederic Handel. Hogarth donated several paintings to the museum, which opened as the world's first public art gallery, while Handel allowed a concert performance of Messiah in order to help raise funds.

The hospital was given a government grant, under the condition that it would accept every infant brought to it's doors. The hospital was overwhelmed, along with women who had borne illegitimate children there were also women whose husbands had left to fight in one of England's numerous wars at the time. The men weren't paid until they came home and it often meant that they wives were left in poverty back home, they couldn't afford another mouth to feed and so placed their children under the protection of the hospital in the hopes that when their husbands returned they would be able to reclaim their children.

After 1801 the practise changed and the rules were tighter, children would be admitted if the mother showed that the father had abandoned her and that this was her only child. It was believed that if she gave up her child the mother could then "rehabilitate" herself in the eyes of society by returning to respectable employment, something that would be impossible if she had a baby to care for.
 
Thomas Coram's statue by me!

If you visit the museum at the moment you can visit the current exhibition in the basement, which focuses on the tokens left by the mothers of the children. These were used as a way to identify the child should the mother or father return to claim them, as part of her petition to get her child back the woman would need to describe what token she had left with it. The tokens were sealed up in the admission packets of the children, if the child was reclaimed then the packet was opened and if the mother's description matched the token then she could be reunited. I must admit it was difficult to work out which was more heartbreaking, the number of children that were never reclaimed, or the number of stories that seemed to end with the parents coming back for their child only to find it had died in the intervening years. The children themselves never knew who their parents were, their names were changed when they entered the hospital and if no one came to claim them then their records were never opened, they were never given the tokens their mothers had left them. This was probably done to give the children a "clean slate", no one would know if they were illegitimate or not, but at the same time severing all links with their past seems rather harsh in the light of the modern world.

There were some happy endings though, some mothers were married and were able to come back with their husbands to claim their child. The babies were nursed by women in the countryside before being brought into the city and some of these nurses bonded with their charges to the point where they "adopted" them (there was no formal adoption process back then). Some of the children maintained their links to the Foundling Hospital for the rest of their lives, the father of the artist Emma Brownlow was a Foundling and he became Secretary and Treasurer of the Hospital, dedicating his life's work to the running and administration of the hospital.

If you are ever near Russell Square then I would highly recommend a visit to this museum. It's a few minutes walk away from Russell Square station, entrance is £7.50 (£8.25 if you're a British taxpayer and happy to pay the GiftAid price) for adults and free for children under 16. You visit this museum and then head on over to the British Museum for a good day out!

Have a nice day everyone!

London Marathon

Tomorrow is the London Marathon. I was going to go along and cheer like I did last year but it's 7:15pm and I already feel knackered since I've had a day out in London today, I don't think I'm going to have the energy to go all the way out to east London tomorrow.

So good luck to everyone running in it and even more good luck to anyone running it for the MND Association!

Have a lovely evening everyone!

Chocolate

This week has been very busy at work, every evening I've come home with aching feet and an empty stomach.

Typically the first thing I'm putting in my stomach while my dinner is cooking, is a little bit of chocolate. I've been very good about carefully rationing my Easter eggs this year, but I still bought a new Malteser Teaser bar to try (it was incredibly yummy, if you see these in the shops then buy one to try yourselves!) so I've nibbled on a piece of that once food is in the oven.

So of course I've browsed on Etsy to see what chocolate can be found on there.

Salted Caramel Lollipops by ZukrBoutique

These lollipops look soooo tasty. I think I'd end up eating too many in one go and spend the rest of the day feeling sick. They've also got flavoured marshmellow, strawberry champagne lollipops and biscuits with pictures that make your mouth water. Best not to browse if you're already hungry.

Have a nice evening everyone!

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the Roman Emperor Augustus. I was going to write about the first twelve Roman emperors as they tend to be the most well-known, but after doing some browsing on Etsy it turns out that there aren't many products about the Emperors on there. But I thought I'd at least do a piece on Claudius as I always felt a bit sorry for him when we studied him during my degree, and if I had to pick an Emperor as my favourite then Claudius would be it.

Born in Gaul in 10 BC, Claudius was related to the Roman imperial family by blood and marriage. His paternal grandmother Livia was the second wife of Augustus, the first Roman emperor, while his maternal grandmother was Augustus' sister Octavia. These connections should  have led to him having a glittering political career from a young age, but an illness in childhood left him with partial hearing and a limp. He was dismissed by his family, who believed that his physical problems meant that he was a lazy, good for nothing idiot. He dedicated himself to studying and appears to have had a passion for history, Livia hired a tutor in that subject for him.

Vintage Books - Robert Graves by FannyandLil

He was turned down for various honours and political positions during the reign of Tiberius, despite his apparant popularity with the general public and the Senate, but he was promoted to power when Tiberius died and Claudius' nephew Caligula came to power. He was appointed as Caligula's co-consul, but the joke was on Claudius, literally. He was his nephew's favourite person to torment, including playing practical jokes and humiliating him in front of the Senate. Claudius became ill and lost a lot of weight, the stress of his nephew's torment having a massive physical effect on him. However it was probably what saved his life, Caligula had a short temper and no real sense of self-control, had Claudius been less of a source of amusement he may have been executed on his nephew's orders. His relatives overlooked him constantly, but in the cut-throat world of the Imperial family their belief that he was an idiot meant that they didn't see him as a threat, and that enabled him to survive the constant in-fighting and assassination attempts they directed at each other.

When Caligula was murdered in AD 41, Claudius once again became a survivor. He was protected by a group of Praetorian Guards, who declared him Emperor, and the Senate soon agreed.

Vote Claudius badge by The Creative Historian

Claudius' had spent his entire life researching and studying, and now it was time for him to put everything he had learned in to practise. He worked to make the Senate more efficient, including removing those who no longer met the legal requirements to be Senators and promoting others from different families. He arranged the construction of many public works, building roads and canals to improve transport throughout the Empire, and building several new aquaducts. He personally judged legal cases, and set a law declaring that a master who killed a sick or injured slave would be charged with murder.

There were various attempts on his life throughout his reign, and he was finally poisoned in AD 54, after 13 years in power. The sources that refer to him describe him in harsh tones, alternating between portraying him as a man with a harsh temper and love of violence and death, to a man who was easily led and controlled by his wives and freedmen. At the end of the day I think that his actions speak louder than words, while he certainly came down hard on those that betrayed his trust, or who committed treason against the Empire, he seems to have been a diligent, hard working Emperor. He was certainly less of a murderous nutter than Caligula before him, or Nero after. Perhaps he was so vilified by contemporary writers because they couldn't get past his physical problems. He lived in a society that demanded physical perfection, especially from their leaders, and his limp and stammer reminded people that he was merely a mortal, one that they had raised above all others, but still mortal.

Have a nice day everyone!

Yellow!

For those that haven't seen the news, Margaret Thatcher has passed away. I don't want to post anything about it on here as I don't fancy a political debate in my comments, I just wanted to note it and move on.

Today the sky is cloudy and grey, although at least it isn't raining or snowing, so I thought I might cheer things up with a bit of yellow!

Pottery Bowls by REDceramics

Don't these bowls look gorgeously bright? I love the shade of blue used as it compliments the yellow, making both look lovely and summery.

Have a nice day everyone!

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday! My card and gift were left safely in my Mum's keeping when I went home a few weeks ago, so hopefully she remembered to give them to him today.

My Dad is a big QPR fan, although the current season has led to him giving up a bit because there's only so many bad results a fan can take before they want to bash their head against a wall. He is the reason why me and my brother are QPR fans too.

Out of curiousity I typed "QPR" in to Etsy's search and found diddley squat, Etsy is not really the place to go for football fandom gifts. BUT I did spot this nifty piece of artwork which I thought was quite cool.

Book Clubs "QPR" - A4 Football Print by TommySauce

This shop is simply stuffed with British football club prints, I also spotted West Ham and Crystal Palace so that's two of my work colleages covered as well.

So happy birthday to my Dad!

Have a nice day everyone!

Croissant In A Can!!

I had to do my food shopping today, to make it a little easier on myself I ended up doing two weeks worth so I don't need to go in to Richmond again next Friday. Although this does now mean that my freezer is a bit on the full side.

As I wandered around the supermarket I spotted canned croissant dough from Jus-Rol on a fridge shelf! I've only had these twice, once when my Mum made them and then the second time back in September when I stayed in Holland with my friend Eva and she made them for me. So as you can imagine I grabbed a can off the shelf and added it to my trolley.

The basic premise is that the can contains the ready-made dough, with lines cut into it to make triangles for you. You just roll out the dough, cut out the triangles, roll them up and pop them in the oven on a baking tray to bake.

To get the dough out you just pull a tab and let the cardboard unwind. They really stuff the dough in properly as just as I got to revealing the dough the whole thing popped, revealing a big round of dough that was twice the size of the can! I made three to eat today and then rolled the other three and put them in the fridge for tomorrow.

They are very tasty, not quite as light and fluffy as proper French ones, but an acceptable substitute. You can also roll a slice of cheese up in them, as Eva did when she made them for me.

If you want something different for breakfast then I highly recommend these.

No pics this time as I was far too hungry for all that malarky.

Have a nice day everyone!

Wordless Wednesday


Have a nice day everyone!

7000 Hits!

My blog hit a milestone over the weekend, according to Blogger's stats my blog has crossed over the 7000 hits line! I was very happy to see it like that as I wasn't expecting it to hit that number so soon. I can only assume that blogging every day is starting to pay off.

Taking a closer look at the stats for this blog, my most viewed post is Tasty Treats, most of my hits come from the USA, with the UK coming in second, and eight of my top ten keyword hits involve food, primarily ice cream and cookies.

So, thank you very much to everyone has read this blog and helped contribute to the 7000 hits! I promise I will try to be more prepared for my 10k so I can do something proper for it!

Have a lovely day!

April Fools!

Today is the 1st April and therefore it's April Fool's Day. I'm not very good at practicaly jokes myself so I thought I'd simply list some of the ones that have been spotted around the internet.

Virgin Launches Glass Bottom Plane - This would be pretty cool, but I think I'd freak out a bit and wouldn't be able to leave my seat.
The BMW P.R.A.M - This is AWESOME, BMW have a good track-record of April Fool's jokes and today is no exception.
Google Treasure Maps - Google Maps becomes a treasury map!
Firebox Has New Products - I want the Iron Man suit, anyone got a spare £250k? (Some of these are Not Safe For Work).
Wikipedia - Check the news and On This Day for some giggles.

Have a good April Fool's Day everyone!

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