Life has been dramatic recently. Once again I feel I’m going through a cycle of intense change…(more…)
I wrapped my arms around you, on the last day of September. As the train rattled through the countryside, bound for London and the rain, I had this funny feeling that wouldn’t go away.(more…)
The other day I sat by the river, watched the sunlight dance across the ripples in the water and the gentle tide pull pieces of driftwood to the bank. In the river I saw myself; a lone peice of debris, head barely above the cold, being pulled to and fro in no particular direction – just flowing where the waves decided to take me.(more…)
Tonight I drank half a bottle of vodka, and thought about what lies between the gaps – of the things we say and that which we cannot.
We do not always say goodnight, but in the gap I think of you – drunken, distant, from afar.
With clumsy hands I draw your face to remember, a time that we could be together.
And as the gaps grow, and the distance stretches on, I think about all that goes unsaid.
Like I love you. Like I miss you. Like I wish I could lie beside you – that ‘goodnight’ was just a sweet afterthought, muttered under a half-breath, instead of a gap I’ll slip through until the morning.
And when I wake I’ll be sober, but the feelings will remain. A hollow space inside me, that I can’t seem to share.
When you ask me how my day is, I’ll tell you it’s all okay. But I’ll think of you and wish you’d read between the lines, to find the pauses in the conversation, the gaps in what goes unsaid – and remind me that you’re there, waiting on the other side of the ellipsis.
On a cold, rainy Autumn day there’s nothing I like more than to draw a hot bath, slide underneath a blanket of bubbles and let my troubles melt away. Bonus points if I can find a way to make it spooky and instagrammable (tattooed leg shots in orange sparkly water anyone?)
As it does each year, the Lush Halloween range dropped signalling a change in the season and my bath game. Here’s what I picked up…(more…)
October 1st has rolled around once again and with it, the annual tradition of Blogtober. As always I am woefully unprepared, highly doubtful, ever so slightly reluctant – but here to give it a go anyway.(more…)
As always, time has completely escaped me and I find myself writing a review on the June box in…August! Yikes. In my defence they do arrive on the last day of the month so technically that only makes me a little over a month late to the party – but better late than never eh?! So here’s what was included in the second instalment of the Lush subscription box!
I love Halloween – next to Christmas it’s my most favourite time of the year. I enjoy all of the spooky events, the dressing up, all of the themed snacks and seeing porches lit up by carved pumpkins.
Last year I had a whole house of my own to decorate. I didn’t go mad but I definitely had pumpkins on my doorstep and a whole host of hanging things adorning the living room as well as orange lights in the window. I gave out goodie bags to Trick or Treaters too. But this year things are a little different and I’m back living with my Mum. I was pleasantly surprised one morning to discover (as I was leaving for work) that both my younger brother and Mum had decided to decorate the front garden! So for today’s Blogtober I thought I’d share how they chose to decorate. Considering this was done on a fairly low budget I’m impressed! Carved pumpkins will follow shortly…
It’s that time once more; a new year is upon us, a fresh start, a blank slate and the potential to do, to be and become anything we wish.
Some people think it’s cliche’ to set goals and resolutions for the new year but personally I find it gives me a sense of purpose – something to focus on and strive toward. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now you’ll know these resolution and reflection posts come each and every year. For those who are new, you can catch up (here, here and here!) Today I thought I would reflect on the year that has been and share some resolutions, goals and hopes for 2019.
For those of you who may not know, I’m a huge podcast junkie and love nothing more than a good binge. I find them fascinating and always have one on the go, whether I’m in the bath tub soaking away my cares or furiously tapping away at my computer at work. And ever since Serial, my podcasts of choice have always been true crime.
It’s funny really; I’m a complete wimp when it comes to horror – I can’t stand scary films! But I find true crime podcasts really interesting. Sure it’s a bit morbid, but it can really tell you a lot about the society we live in! Anyway, today I thought I would share my top five true crime podcasts with you, you never know, one of these might be your next listen!
I have never been to a country show before. I guess I’ve never really lived close enough to the countryside for it to be a thing. When we saw the Weald Dog and Country Show advertised, I wasn’t really sure what it was all about but I thought given the bank holiday weekend it might be nice to spend my Sunday doing something other than napping. (Although I did manage to find the time to do that too.)
I was pleasantly surprised by just how much was going on at Weald. As we entered I saw masses of tents, stalls, food vans and various ‘arenas’ seated out with straw bales. The atmosphere was lively, with lots of excitable dogs running around, people clutching boxes of hog roast and children with fistfuls of ice cream. I’m not usually a fan of overly busy or packed out events but Weald is a really big, open space and this country show was very well organised.
Naturally I wanted to see the cute farm animals first so we headed over to the stalls and pens that were owned by Gemma’s Farm. Honestly, it took all my willpower not to stuff my pockets full with adorable fluffy chicks. The Silkie chicks in particular really melted my heart. I’ve always wanted to own Silkies as they are such friendly balls of fluff.
We stopped to watch a training exercise hosted by Canine Security. If I wanted a dog before this show it was only compounded further by this and the sheer volume of adorable dogs all around us. I must admit, the smaller ones did look particularly kidnap-able (but don’t worry, I didn’t steal any dogs. This time.)
Sheep racing was another fun event that drew a large crowd of mostly excitable children who were used as obstacles.
I definitely had a soft spot for Bellini who was just five weeks old, rather small and an absolute cutie-pie.
The Weald Country Show had a really good mix of stalls, activities and events which made for a packed itinerary. We just drifted around however, catching shows as we passed them and sampling the freebies. It was really great to see lots of local businesses selling local produce and I was particularly pleased to see the RSPB stand recruiting members.
One stall that we found particularly interesting was the Brentwood Model Boat Association. This quirky stall was packed with realistic miniature boats that were impressively detailed. I even spotted a tiny Steve Zissou. One man was driving a model boat on the big lake and it was fascinating to watch!
We stopped for a bite to eat before watching the Motorbike Stunt Team perform in the main arena. This team consisted of a mother and son duo and although I’m not really in to the whole motorbike thing, I found myself really enjoying the show and cheering them on. This was clearly a crowd-favourite as a huge swarm of people gathered around the sidelines.
And of course, no country show would be complete without a birds of prey display. Sadly we missed the main World of Wings flying event, however I was pretty happy with just observing the birds. I was particularly fond of the Tawny Owl.
Another super-fun stall was one selling hats, gloves and accessories all made from Alpaca wool. To the side of this stall was a little pen with three alpacas inside. I have seen alpacas before but none as cute as these guys; I definitely wanted to get in the pen and give them a cuddle.
On one stall we sampled the most amazing toffee vodka and fruit liqueurs. (I’m happy to report we purchased a couple of bottles.) I was also fascinated by the stall selling Antler cut offs (and I’m kind of regretting not purchasing one now. Not that I have any use for it whatsoever.) And of course, I naturally gravitated to the stall selling bath bombs and products.
All in all we spent around three hours wandering around the stalls and watching the displays. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday and, as I mentioned previously, so well organised. I will definitely be looking out for more country shows to attend!
Firstly I just want to apologise for the weird publishing schedule lately; I have been incredibly busy and not putting out posts as frequently as I would like. Whilst there may be a few kinks for me to iron out, I’m going to endeavour to publish more content next month. That out of the way…
I am a big fan of impromptu trips and exploring places I haven’t seen before so, when we found ourselves at Calke Abbey on a sunshine-filled Wednesday morning I was very happy. Calke Abbey stands on the site of a medieval religious house and is a Grade I listed property that sits just outside Ashby-de-la-Zouch (AKA the home of Adrian Mole and KP.) The Baroque Mansion was passed in to the hands of the National Trust in 1985 and is affectionately described as ‘The Un-stately Home and Country Estate’.
As we were on a flying visit to Gareth’s hometown to partake in some early birthday celebrations with family members, we had the pleasure of visiting Calke Abbey with his parents which was lovely.
We started out with a walk through the grounds and up a winding hill to a wooded area, past an enclosure filled with beautiful fallow deer. As we walked we noticed fun sculptures of insects and animals which we guessed were part of a trail.
Gareth’s dad had mentioned that around this time of year the woods were filled with bluebells and, as I have always wanted to see the bluebells in Spring I was keen to take some photographs. We were in luck as the further in to the woods we walked the more we saw, the ground littered with a sea of flowers gently bobbing in the breeze.
There are lots of different walks that you can take around Calke Abbey, and the one we took looped around in a circle that brought us up a hill then back down and around to the front of the mansion. I imagine I added quite a bit of extra time to that walk, stopping every so often to take photographs! Naturally I was particularly drawn to a tree filled with bird feeders and chirping. I was excited to spot a pair of chaffinches among lots of other garden favourites such as the little coal tit I managed to snap a photo of.
After our walk we headed to the mansion. Entrance to Calke Abbey is £13.50 per adult. I think this is really reasonable and I would be more than happy to pay that for the whole experience, although on this occasion Gareth’s parents very kindly treated us to the day out.
I must admit, I didn’t know what to expect from Calke Abbey; I certainly didn’t expect it to be as intriguing as it was.
Inside Calke Abbey we were immediately greeted with the site of dusty glass cabinets filled with curious taxidermy; stuffed otters with fish clamped permanently in their jaws, birds captured in mid-flight and impressive stag heads mounted to the walls. The first room was impossibly full with a wooden table at the centre set with tea things and a faux cake, a grey coat casually slung over the back of one chair. Something about this set-up left me feeling as if the room had only recently been left, as if the occupant would appear at any moment and resume tea. This left me deeply reminiscent of Dennis Sever’s house which is designed to leave you feeling as if you have stumbled upon one families abrupt exit from the property.
On the first floor of the property the rooms are dark, lit only by lamps and flickering candles (fake of course.) There is a strange mix of opulence, disrepair and clutter. Each room seemed to be in competition with the last in terms of what it could contain. Threadbare armchairs and elaborate paintings in ornate frames sat side by side; it really was quite unique to see.
In one room the contents of drawers from the Breakfast Room were laid out and displayed on tables. As we poured over carefully preserved insects, shells and other curios I couldn’t help but wonder about the family that had lived there and collected all this stuff with such earnest. I think that this was one of the rare occasions where a walking tour of the building would have actually been not only useful but extremely interesting.
One thing that became obvious with each room was the inhabitants love of taxidermy. I honestly think there were enough stuffed birds and animals on display to rival that of the Natural History Museum. I particularly enjoyed perusing the cabinet of pheasants, even if the colour had somewhat been bleached from their initially vibrant feathers.
I particularly enjoyed a room that resembled a tea parlour. (But really, I have no idea what the rooms purpose was.) With lots of little round tables and chintzy chairs, this dark room felt cosy yet strangely claustrophobic. I’m not sure if all the stuff was placed for us to view or if it was very much a part of the Harpur’s everyday life. The latter would not surprise me if it were the case; the sheer volume of possessions in the house would inevitably lead to clutter on every surface.
The library was another room of interest. With shelves lined with impressive leather bound books, we were reliably informed that unlike most estates, the books were all completely readable and not fake. I particularly enjoyed the story of the Ostrich egg which was given as a 21st birthday present.
Unlike the lower floor, the upper floors were in state of disrepair with peeling paint walls and original wallpaper that had somewhat succumbed to the damp. One ceiling looked particularly precarious with a great big crack through the plaster. We were informed this was being held up and suspended from above. Some rooms seemed to be mostly for storage, with old rocking horses, dolls houses and small nursery chairs stashed away to gather dust, unloved but intriguing all the same.
We walked a loop of the house and ended back down on the ground floor and by a cold stone passage that led to the kitchen. This was a large, open room; still cluttered but this time with useful kitchenalia.
In the kitchen I came across a little door that led to another side room. This room really made me think of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings and for me, was quite reminiscent of ‘The Room’. This is my favourite photograph from the day, it feels really characterful to me.
We ended our tour with a walk through a cold, bricked tunnel and brew house, lit by an eery orange glow. As someone who enjoys exploring tunnels, caves and dark spaces I found this really interesting.
Finally we stopped for tea and the most delicious scones I have ever tasted, complete with thick cream and sweet jam.
All in all Calke Abbey is a wonderful day out. Not restored but instead preserved, it is like stepping in to a time capsule and is deeply interesting. With its’ collection of strange and unique objects, I feel that Calke Abbey is the type of place you could visit time and again only to spot something different on each occasion. I really hope that I will have another opportunity to pay it another visit as this has been one of my favourite days out of 2017 so far.