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New Books!

Happy weekend everyone! Currently my NaNoWriMo total is just over 31k! I hope other Etsy NaNo-ers are having a good month as well!

Recently I have been listing some more books on The Bibliophile, so I thought I'd show off a few of them, I'm quite proud of the photos since I took them myself and I think they came out pretty well.






Have a nice weekend everyone!

Remembrance Sunday

Today is the 11th November, and Remembrance Sunday.

Which means today is poppy day.


Flanders Poppy by begurple


Remembrance Poppy by StitchedWithLoveUK


Felt Poppy Brooch by accidentalvix

Remembrance Poppy by GracesFavours

We will remember them.

RIP.

NaNoWriMo

Another November, another NaNoWriMo. I'm taking part, yet again, but only because I've managed to hit the 50k target in the past two years and so it seems silly to not go for a third time. I must admit though, I'm not quite as enthusiastic about it as I have been in the past. Possibly because I have more going on this year since I now have two Etsy shops and a full time job.

But we shall see how it goes!

Oh and speaking of Etsy shops, I had my first sale on Creative Classics!

Anyway, to celebrate the first NaNoWriMo weekend I figured I would highlight some of the nice things on Etsy that you can write scribble in!

Swirl Tree Notebook by Kreativlink


Tardis Journal of River Song by mistermostaccio

A Day In Paris by BBhandmades


Alice in Wonderland by anistadesigns

And now I need to run and finish baking cookies before the football kicks off!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

And enjoy the fireworks if you're in the UK!

Christmas Shoeboxes

In the past few months I've been building up towards creating and donating some Christmas shoeboxes for charity. I remember making these for my Mum when I was in primary school, and a few years ago I looked into it again and found a charity called Link Romania. They're a small UK-based charity, but I went for them because they don't give out any literature with their boxes, unlike other charities that give out bibles and "education leaflets" in an attempt to convert children.

So two years ago I did two family shoeboxes. The Christmas after that I remembered the whole thing too late and found they had stopped receiving shoeboxes at their Area Collectors and I couldn't get down to Worthing to drop one off, so I didn't do it.

But this year I remembered in plenty of time, and started to plan it all back in May. They now also do shoeboxes for the elderly, so I decided to make two family shoeboxes and two elderly shoeboxes. I had various candles and notebooks already that I no longer needed, and I kept any eye in various shops for extra little things. At one point I got a £5 eBay voucher that I spent on some stickers. I found an Area Collector near my parents home and during a trip home two weekends ago me and my Mum went shopping to get the last things I needed (which turned out to be more than I had realised). My Mum decided to make one shoebox, and then bought so much stuff that she made two!

I remember every single thing I bought, but in the end every shoebox had;
- Soap
- Toothpaste
- Toothbrushes
- Sweets
- Shampoo
- Socks
- Wooly hat
- Gloves
- Safety razors
- Pens
- Notebooks
- Flannel

The family ones also had pencil cases, colouring pencils, crayons and colouring books and the elderly ones had mugs and candles. There are other bits and pieces that I scattered among them, and then wrapped them all up with the help of my youngest sister and my Mum (because I need all the help I can get when it comes to wrapping things, even easy things like boxes XD).

And then my brother drove me to the area collector in Orwell, and forgave me for not having a particularly accurate address and proceeded to wait while I filled out 6 customs forms to stick onto the shoeboxes.

I know you all want some photos!





Overall it was a lot of fun! The hardest part of it was getting the shoeboxes, a problem which was solved by my lovely friend Poppy who brought 4 shoeboxes into work in a giant bag for me, and then my other lovely friend Lucy brought one in too, so I had plenty instead of scrabbling around begging shoe shops for help.

You've still got time if you'd like to make a shoebox, area collectors close on the 2nd November! If not, then keep it in mind as a fun thing to do next year. No one cares if you've just bought an extra bottle of shampoo on buy one get for free, or stocked up on tealight candles that you realised you don't need and don't want to throw out. As long as you have a nice mixture of things for all ages, and don't break the prohibited items rule, you'll be fine.

Have a good week everyone!

Walking for the MNDA

As some of my followers may remember, last year I did a walk around Bushey Park near Hampton Court, in order to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. I signed up to do it again, and was all prepared to spend my Sunday strolling around.

But then I got an email early Sunday morning to let me know that due to the bad weather that was forecasted the walk had been called off. Had it rained the little room we were using wouldn't have been big enough to hold all the people that were coming, and there was a LOT of rain due! The email said that those of us who wanted to were welcome to do their own walk in their own time, but the South West London organisers wouldn't be setting another "official" date (it takes a lot of organising to set up something like this, so simply rearranging it for another day is not really possible).

Not only did it not look like the weather would be getting any better any time soon, but there are very few weekends that I'd be able to do it. It was either do it this weekend, or end up not doing it at all. Since I was prepared anyway I decided to do it on Sunday anyway.

The next problem though was location. I had never been to Bushey Park before last year's walk and I hadn't been since. It's quite a long bus ride away and I don't know the rest of the area very well either, if I wanted a cup of tea after I wouldn't know where to go. So I looked up Richmond Park, it looked big enough for me to be able to cover a couple of miles and it was close by. So I got my fleece, my QPR hat (which keeps my head dry since I'm not fond of umbrellas) and my backpack and headed off to Richmond Park.

I got off the bus at Petersham Gate. After orientating myself with the help of the map next to the gate I headed down the path towards Ham Gate. And then down to Kingston Gate, across and up to Ladderstile Gate, from there to Robin Hood gate, up to Roehampton Gate, over to Sheen Gate and then finally to Richmond Gate, where I managed to find another bus to me back into the center of Richmond where I followed my Mum's suggestion and went to Cafe Nero for a nice hot chocolate.

It was very tiring. There are more hills in Richmond than in Bushey. There's also more joggers and cyclists whom you have to evade, and you can only find a map at a gate so if you think you're lost you can't really check without finding a gate. At one point I thought I had gone the wrong way so I had to double back to the previous gate to check I was going the right way. The rain started pretty quickly once I got there so I soon got soaked, each time the rain stopped it soon started again so even if I got slightly dry I soon got wet again. It's also difficult to do the walk on your own, not only do you not have anyone pointing you in the right direction but there's also no one to tell you how much further to go. Towards the end it was getting very tiring, if I had planned on walking back to Petersham Gate I probably would have given up before that (as it was I couldn't see a direct route to it from Richmond Gate, hence my decision to make Richmond Gate my end-point in the first place.

According to Wikipedia, Richmond Park is 3 square miles. I don't know what that is in terms of non-squared miles, but my housemates are sure that I walked well over the 5 miles I had been intending. I'm fairly sure they're right, I was very tired afterwards and definitely felt like I'd walked far, far more than last year (although it didn't help that I was soaked by the rain). I was also aching a lot more when I woke up on Monday morning. If anyone wants to try and work out how much I walked using the map I linked above (I think I missed Bog Gate but I'm not sure, I might have taken the sand-coloured path by accident) then I'd be very interested!

Overall I raise £140 for the MND Association! If anyone else wants to sponsor me that can do so here- https://www.justgiving.com/Katie-Collins5

I'm currently on holiday in the Netherlands! Watching lots of TV and relaxing. Apologies for the late post, I spent Sunday afternoon getting warm, finishing packing, and resting my tired legs!

Have a good week everyone!

I think we all know from my name and the numerous references, I like books. I don't just sell them, I also read them. Most of what I read is historical fiction, which means I tend to read a lot of Philippa Gregory and that includes her newest book The Kingmaker's Daughter.

Photo from Amazon

The Kingmaker's Daughter is the story of Anne Neville, the daughter of Richard Neville the Earl of Warwick. Her father helped put Edward of York (King Edward IV) on the throne, hence his nickname of "Kingmaker". Anne was married to Edward Prince of Wales, the son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou and then, after his death at the battle of Tewkesbury, went on to marry Richard of York, the youngest brother of Edward IV (her sister Isabel was already married to George Duke of Clarence, the other brother of Edward and Richard).

This book is one of those in Gregory's series "The Cousins War", which features female characters during the War of the Roses. Unlike some of her other books, which feature points of view of two or three characters (The Other Queen and The Boleyn Inheritance are two examples) the Cousins War books focus on one character each.

Having read all the other books in this series I was quite eager to read The Kingmaker's Daughter, especially since it featured a woman that I had never really heard of before. Unlike some of Gregory's other books, when you can sense the obvious bias towards one side or in favour of one character, you don't really get a sense of whether she sees Anne as a woman that was wronged, or the one doing wrong. Instead she portrays Anne Neville as a woman who tries to be strong, like Gregory's other female characters, but who somehow ends up being manipulated by others. She is eager to please her father, lives in fear of her first husband and mother in law, is effectively imprisoned by her sister and brother in law, a situation which then leads to her rushing into marriage with her second husband, Richard.

I liked the running theme of her fear of Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV, who is portrayed in all the books as being a witch. Having read The White Queen, which has Elizabeth as the main character, you can see that more often than not, Anne effectively scares herself with her belief that the Queen hates her and has cursed her. I also liked that the book covers all of Anne's life, from her childhood to her death. The White Queen starts with Elizabeth as an adult and includes the death of her mother Jacquetta, while The Lady of the Rivers starts with the teenage years of Jacquetta and ends where The White Queen starts. Anne herself died at the age of 27, and when reading her book you get a feeling that there isn't much about her in historical records compared to some of the other women Gregory has written about.

What I didn't like about the book was the inconsistencies, some of which can be related to the differences in view between characters but others are just baffling. In The White Queen Anne is a tertiary character, referred to as a "sickly" woman. However, apart from her infertility and her final illness, there is nothing in this book that indicates she is anything other than healthy. At one point there is a mention of Elizabeth and King Edward's fifteeen year old daughter Mary dying in the same year as their infant son George, but in The White Queen there was no mention of Mary's death, and considering that they are portrayed as a close and loving family it seems odd that it would just be ignored in Elizabeth's story.

As usual this is one of Philippa Gregory's books that is well worth a read, just don't be surprised if parts of it make you want to shake Anne Neville and tell her to stop being so stupid. I would also recommend reading The White Queen first, just to put some of it into context. I'm now seriously looking forward to her next book, The White Princess, as it features Elizabeth of York (the mother of Henry VIII) who has minor roles in The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter.

Have a good weekend!

Walk Around London

A few months ago I saw a picture of a dilapidated church covered in vines and trees. This kind of picture isn't too unusual in the countryside, where tiny Parish churches have been abandoned as the community has moved on (on occasion the community has literally moved on, to another location, so the church spire will be the only thing left), but I was surprised to find out that this church was in London!

St Dunstan's in the East was originally built in Anglo-Saxon times, so a church has been on that spot for a very, very long time. Unfortunately it hasn't been a lucky church. Along with many others it was a victim of the Great Fire of London in 1666 and became one of the projects of Sir Christopher Wren, who is famous for rebuilding St Paul's Cathedral but who actually dealt with the rebuilding just over 50 churches in London. St Dunstan's wasn't rebuilt from scratch, it was simply patched up and given a Wren-designed spire, and then rebuilt properly in the 1800's.

However it only stood for a few hundred years before the Blitz of the second world war led to it being damaged again. Post-war it was decided that the church would not be rebuilt, and in 1967 it was turned into a public garden!

When I realised this church was in London I decided I had to go and see it, and so last weekend I packed up my camera and a book and headed from Kew Gardens out to Monument station (you gotta love the District Line). Monument is one of the stations in "The City", the financial district of London. Normally it's insanely busy and you have to dodge stockbrokers as well as tourists, but on Sunday it was blissfully quiet apart from a few people stopping to gawp at Monument itself (it's a big tower that commemorates the Great Fire).

St Dunstan's in the East

Remember when I said my camera meant I would start putting up my own pictures? Well that's what'll be in this post! That's the entrance to the church, it's a bit difficult to find as you go down a tiny side-street and practically stumble on it. But it's very peaceful and very green!

On my way to St Dunstan's I came across another church, I didn't go in but I did get a snapshot.

Random Church

I wish those bollards weren't in the way, but if I moved closer to get them out then I ended up losing the sense of the narrow street. Personally this is my favourite photo of the whole day, the Italian flags outside the restaurant and the fact that there's actual sunlight suggests you're in Italy rather than London.

I was getting a headache by this point, mostly caused by the underground journey, so I went to a nearby Caffe Nero for a drink and a tasty snack!

Tea and Syrup Waffles

With caffeine and sugar in me I felt much better, and since the rain was still holding off and it was warm without being hot I decided to see how far I could walk. I set off down Eastcheap and simply walked until my legs wore out. I kept finding churches for some reason, I don't know if God was expecting me to pop in for a visit but I always feel weird wandering into a church on my own, so I popped my head round a few doors and then left. There was one very big door I didn't pop in to though, mostly because I want to go back one day and have a proper look!

St Paul's Cathedral

Yes it's St Paul's Cathedral! Excuse the road sign but it's difficult to get a decent photo of the blasted thing as it's surrounded by busy roads, and frankly I was simply relieved that I hadn't over-exposed the sky, which is my biggest problem with these kinds of shots.

Bracken House

I have no idea what Bracken House is but I had to take a photo of the "clock" over the doorway simply for the zodiac signs! It looks even more beautiful when you're right in front of it.

Strand Station

For a year of my life I walked past this station once a week as I headed to Kings for a lecture as part of my MA. Strand Station is an abandoned underground station that is now regularly used for films. During the second world war it was used during the Blitz to store art from museums and art galleries that were at risk of being bombed.

And at this point I was started to get a bit tired, so I walked on a bit further and then cut down a road to the river and walked along until I found Embankment station and decided it was time to call it a day.

If you're ever in London and full of energy then walking from Monument down to the Strand is ridiculously easy and takes in a lot of well-known areas, along with St Paul's you also end up going down Fleet Street, where the newspapers used to be, and go past The Old Bailey, and if you carry on further than I did you'll end up at Charing Cross near Trafalgar Square. Plus there's lots of places along the way where you can stop for a drink and a sandwich.

Have a good week everyone!

Random Stuff

I decided to take a random day off work and then had to rearrange a delivery of my new passport. Since I was already off today I figured this would be as good a day as any, but it now means I'm stuck in the flat until it arrives.

Normally I'm happy to stay indoors but I don't like being forced to stay in, and now I'm craving a GBK burger and have to put up with it while I wait. So I figured I would pass the time with some random updates and things to check out.

First of all, I've recently opened a new shop! Creative Classics features ancient-history themed products and is basically an off-shoot of my Zazzle shop, only run by me and with everything being handled by me! Currently it's just badges but postcards will be coming up!

A friend of mine from university, Erin, has been blogging about unknown historical women. One post a week gets you some great knowledge about women who are generally ignored, but played significant roles in history at the time. The first three were; Joan of Kent, Nest ferch Rhys and Isabella MacDuff. Most of the books I seem to read tend to be historical fiction (especially Philippa Gregory) so I'm loving these articles and highly recommend them (Erin has also published a Kindle book called The Last Train Home and Other Stories so if you like her writing style you might want to check it out).

And speaking of books, my vintage book shop The Bibliophile has got some new listings, including a 1944 edition of Try and Stop Me by Bennett Cerf.


And now I need to go and find some lunch, and stare obsessively out the window until my passport arrives!

New Books!

I know the Olympics are on and I know my country, and the city I live in, is the host. But I just can't bring myself to get particularly excited about it. On the plus side this means I won't be repeating my Euro 2012 blogging but with Olympic countries so you're all spared that!

Instead today I'm going to dedicate a bit of time to my own Etsy shop. I'm getting some more books listed on The Bibliophile, including these two beauties last week!


This is one of my new favourites simply because of the gorgeous gilt illumination on the front. It's a collection of French poems translated into English and was published in 1893. Frankly I don't think we do book covers properly anymore.


This one is less pretty on the front, but still quite lovely inside. It's a music tuition book written by the composer WS Rockstro. It once belonged to an RAF Bandmaster, if the inside dedication is to be believed, and clearly has a bit of a proud history behind it.

Keep an eye on The Bibliophile to see what else I've got!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Catherine Wilkinson

Good news, Euro 2012 is over! Back to blog posts once a week. I swear blogging so regularly was exhausting, I have no idea how people manage to blog once a day every day, it really does get to you after a while. I also suspect that people were getting fed up with me constantly Tweeting the links. Hopefully you can all have a rest, I have come down off my football high before the proper season starts (in fact I'm quite bored without having football to watch every evening), and in 2 years time the World Cup will roll around and all of us will have forgotten how mental this experience was so I can do similar posts featuring World Cup countries instead XD

Back in June last year I wrote my "Oh dear I'm Irish" post detailing my recently discovered Irish ancestry. That whole side of the family posed more questions than I had originally answered, questions which I have spent a year filling in the details for, and it's got to the point where I now have a better idea of the family!

As I said in the first post, my Mum asked me to explore the family of Catherine "Kate" Smith nee Wilkinson, my maternal grandfather's mother (and my great-grandmother). With the help of the lovely people on the British Genealogy forum I managed to fill in the gaps from the 1901 and 1911 census.

Catherine was indeed adopted by the Anderson family. Adoption in those days was a far less formal process, from what most people say it sounds as if families simply went "Yes we can look after a child", one was given to them, and that was that. I wish I knew what had prompted the Anderson family to adopt my great-grandmother. They lived in the same village as Catherine's grandmother and aunt, Bridget and Jane, so it may have simply been a favour for a friend (a bloody big favour!) or sense of Christian charity. Either way, in 1901 she is living with the widowed Mary Anderson and her two sons, and in 1911 she's still living with Mary Anderson along with one of Mary's sons and a daughter (and a lodger).

What I find most intriguing is that Catherine's half siblings lived just up the road. In 1901 Grandmother Bridget was living with her daughter Jane and her granddaughters Ada (daughter of a deceased daughter also called Bridget), another Catherine (Jane's daughter), and Hilda and Mary Gertrude (my Catherine's half sisters). By 1911 Grandmother Bridget had passed away, so aunt Jane was looking after the household on her own. Ada and First Catherine aren't there, I assume they were either married or followed the family tradition and left to work in service at a house in one of the nearby towns. But they have been replaced by John and Robert Wanless Wilkinson, my Catherine's half brothers, and Hilda and Mary Gertrude are still there!

When I read that I had to wonder if Catherine knew she was growing up with her family nearby. She knew she was adopted by the Anderson family as she alternates her maiden name between "Wilkinson" and "Anderson" on her marriage certificate and my Grandfather's birth certificate. But was she raised to believe that the other Wilkinsons down the road were her cousins, or her siblings?

As for Catherine's mother Mary Wilkinson (Mary Harraughty), unfortunately I'm still not sure what happened to her. There's several Mary Wilkinsons in Northumberland and Durham on the 1901 and 1911 censuses and I just can't work out which one is my great great Grandmother. I also can't tell which of several death certificates in later years is hers since the indexes give the barest amount of information.

I apologise for the lack of pictures in this post, I assumed you're all fed up with being bombarded with Etsy shops, so I'm taking a break from it for today! :)

Have a great week everyone!

Give Blood

I went and gave blood today. It was my 3rd donation. I need to remember to drink more before giving blood, you get to drink when you get there but I was already thirsty by then and I felt a bit light headed during the donation which doesn't normally happen unless I make the mistake of looking the arm they're taking the donation from.

So they now have another pint of A+ blood, and I have a big plaster on my right arm. Only 4% of the UK population donates blood, which is a very small percentage when you think about it properly. Blood isn't just used for emergency surgery, it also goes to people that need scheduled surgery (such as hip replacements), to people undergoing chemotherepy, and to people who have chronic illnesses that mean they need regular transfusions. If you're healthy and haven't had tattoos/piercings/antibiotics in the past few months then have a ponder about becoming a donor yourself! If I'm scared of needles and can do it three times, then so can you! You find out more at blood.co.uk

Anyway, propoganda over. In typical fashion I went to have a look at what blood-related things there are on Etsy. Turns out, not that many, but some are pretty cool.

Give Blood Play Rugby by geekthings

Dragon's Blood Soap by thefinchnest

Give Blood Play Hockey by snottub

Sports seem to involve blood O.o

Have a good weekend everyone!

My Talented Mum

When I was a little girl my Mum was a keen crafter. Dried flower arrangements, paint stencils and patchwork were the main things that went on in the house. Me and my brother both have a patchwork quilt each and I have a patchwork cushion as well. However as more siblings came along such things were replaced with painting, felt tip pens and ensuring none of us ran around with the scissors.

However my littlest sister is now 12 years old and able to be arty without assistance (although that didn't stop our brother helping her with glue and tissue today) and in the past year she has started to get back into patchwork sewing (and is currently learning to crochet). Both my sisters now have their own quilts, one was made as a Christmas present for my grandmother, another is being made for the living room, and at some point me and my brother have been told that new quilts will be made for us too (mine has gone all over the place, from my parents home to university and back again and now to Kew as well).

My cousin is currently at university and her walls are a bit bare, so my Mum made her a lovely patchwork wall-hanging.


Excuse the slight blurriness of the photo, it was taken with an iPad. As you can see, my Mum went with bright colours for this so it's a lovely, bright, cheerful quilt. The back is in the same dark pink and has my Mum's initials and the date embroidered in the corner. She did the edges in long strips of blue.


She alternated the thread used between royal blue, dark raspberry and a bright grass green so it shows up against the contrasting material (you can just see the green around the edge of the pink in this picture).

And for those of you wondering if we're an artistic family, my Dad dabbles in photography, my Little Brother is training to be a carpenter, Eldest Little Sister is a bit of a graphics/design fan and is a dab hand with a needle, and Youngest Little Sister is constantly doodling, painting and making things out of card and glue, and I write and also dabble in photography.

I think it's fair to say there's a bit of interest in crafts of all kinds in all of us XD

Have a good week everyone!

Postcards and Prints

When I moved to London just over a year ago I found myself living with rather bare walls for a while. I solved some of this by buying some cheap posters off eBay (I have The Boondock Saints guarding my bedroom door as a result) but I'm quite fussy and it was difficult to find posters that I liked.

However I do like postcards, especially photography print ones, and so I have slowly but surely been buying ones I like and sticking them on my walls. Some have been bought from Zazzle, but others have come from lovely Etsy shops so I thought I'd highlight a few that I've purchased already and a few that I hope to purchase in the future!

Winter Ice by Maddenphotography

Bree Madden of Maddenphotography currently has an 8 x 10 BOGOF sale going on so if you like her work, this is the time to buy! I got a lovely autumnal photo as well when I bought this print as BOGOF, they both came as photos on folded card, so I cut the excess card off before sticking them on my wall. She's got some lovely flower and shabby chic prints as well, and everything arrived really quickly in a nice secure card envelope. Definitely check her out!

Hearts All Over by AmeliaKayPhotography

According to her shop descrption Amelia Kay has been featured in quite a few magazines recently, and it's easy to see why! I love photos with light and light manipulation, which is why this postcard was one of my first purchases when I decided to decorate, but she has lots of other beautiful photos too which you can buy either as postcards or as prints.

Paris Photo Postcards by GeorgiannaLane

I always love photos of Europe, especially France as I spent many summer holidays out there as a child, and I love the bright colours Georgianna has used for this set. She's also got some gorgeous photos of Venice, and her shop also has photo pendants which you can use for jewellery making. This is one set that's definitely on my wishlist.

Postcard Set- Paris by TheParisPrintShop

When I said I love photos of Paris I wasn't joking! Nichole of TheParisPrintShop has got a whole collection of photos in various colour sets, I've chosen purple for the blog but the blue one and the red one are also catching my eye. She's got lots of lovely photos in her shop, or if you're near New York she now has a book out for sale which can be found in Anthropologie (we won't get in to how much I love Anthropologie and how happy I am that they now have a branch in London).

I'm going to go and count out the pennies in my penny jar and see what I can buy!

Have a lovely week everyone!

London Marathon

Last year, when I had only been living in London for a few weeks, I went to see the London Marathon with a bunch of people supporting the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Some of my readers may remember this charity from the sponsored walk I did back in August, for those that don't know the MNDA is my favourite charity and I do what I can to help out when possible.

Last weekend was the Marathon again and so I donned one of my MND Association t-shirts and headed to Limehouse in the docklands to cheer loudly for all the runners and then cheer extra loudly for the MNDA runners. I clapped so hard that my hands hurt on Monday, cheered so loudly that my throat was still sore on Monday, and the supporter group also had a DJ with them so I was still a little deaf on Monday as well. But it was well worth it and if any of the MNDA runners are reading this I want you to know I am in total awe of you. I can barely run 26 yards let alone 26 miles.

Hence also why this post is on a Tuesday instead of a Sunday, by the time I got back to my flat I was a bit too dazed to write anything.

The MND Association's colours are blue and orange, and so to celebrate my favourite charity and the amazing people that work for it, support it, and fundraise for it by running a marathon, I bring to you some blue and orange items!

Blue and Orange Wedding by JulianaWJewelry


ZigZag Lap Quilt by becauseimme


Feather Fascinator by MaddieLus


Blue and Orange Necklace by Karismabykarajewelry


Have a good week everyone!

The Zodiac

After my post about Little Brother and Dad's birthdays last week I realised that me and my siblings cover each of the elements in the western zodiac, air, earth, fire and water. I actually find this quite a fun coincidence, so today we're having a look at star signs!

Subway Art- Aquarius by PaperBleu

Doing these in date order, first of all is Youngest Little Sister! Her birthday in January puts her in Aquarius, which is an Air sign. Out of that list above I'd say she's definitely friendly and thoughful, and quite intellectual as well. She's the first out of me and my siblings to be put in the top class for maths!

I am an Aries by blushface

As you might have guessed from my post last week, my brother is an Aries and therefore a fire sign. I'm not sure about energetic, he seems to spend most of his weekends sleeping, but he's pretty enthusiastic about cars and QPR, and generally thinks he's good at everything so that's the confidence sorted XD

Virgo Cell Phone Charm by loveyourathlete

Eldest Little Sister is a September baby, one of the earth signs. They tend to get stressed easily, and they like things to be neat and organised, which is VERY much how Eldest Little Sister is, to the point of borderline OCD. She also has a way of finding small things to do for people, like clearing the table for our Mum after dinner or sharing her chocolate with me, another Virgo trait :)

Scorpio Hammered Pendant by PointyKitty

And then last but not least there's me, the Scorpio, one of the water signs. Scorpios are often given a bad reputation for being unforgiving (true) and stubborn (also true) but we're not so bad. The keepers of both promises and secrets. And we're passionate, you've all seen me rant about the football XD

So there we have it, the four signs of my siblings and me, air, fire, earth and water!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Birthdays & Easter

In recent weeks my internet has been VERY wobbly. My housemates have now switched suppliers and we have a faster (although not necessarily more reliable) connection! So hopefully this will inspire me to post regularly again.

First thing's first; the two men in my family have had birthdays recently! Happy belated birthday to Little Brother (dying days of March) and my Dad (2 days ago)! Little Brother went to see our beloved QPR play Arsenal two days after his birthday, and win! This followed a recent pattern as a friend of mine, who shall be known as "G-man", had us beat Liverpool on his birthday, both tough matches that I assumed we would lose. I therefore hoped that today would be the same, QPR played Manchester United today and since it was close to my Dad's birthday I thought the birthday luck would continue! Sadly not :( But at least we're out of relegation zone (barely).

And then today it is Easter Sunday! My parents gave me a Lindor easter egg when I saw them last weekend, and it has been sitting on my shelf, mocking me, ever since. I'm trying to ration it as it seems like a waste to buy chocolate bars in the week after Easter XD

Easter Egg Sugar Cookies by WackyCookies

Here's a lovely picture of some tasty-looking biscuits! If I could bake like that I don't think my work colleagues would let me come in empty handed every day.

Happy Easter everyone!

Mothers Day!

A quick post because it's late. Here in the UK it's Mothering Sunday today, so I went back to my parents for the weekend.

We won't mention my brother crashing his car on Thursday (he's fine, the car has been written off). Friday was spent having a nice wander around Cambridge, Saturday involved watching DVDs with Youngest Little Sister, and then today Mum got gifts and cards from her four children, myself included.

I also agreed to make dauphinoise potatoes for lunch. However I'm used to cooking for myself, using a gas oven. Today I cooked for three adults (me and my parents, my siblings do not like cream let alone cream with potatoes) and was using an AGA. There was a moment where I thought it was all going to go wrong, but eventually the potatoes cooked fine and tasted very nice indeed!

So Happy Mothers Day to my Mum! Pictures of my brother's written off car may come in the week if he agrees to let me publish them XD

Crocuses

Spring is coming to the UK at last! Despite recent chilly snaps and extra snow up in Scotland and northern England it's slowly starting to warm up properly. There's blossoms starting on various trees around the place, daffodils are popping up in the grass in front of my flat, and when I go to Kew Gardens there's carpets of crocuses dotted around the place.

So since I've already done a post about daffodils I figured this time it should be crocuses. They look very delicate, but when there's lots of them together they create a really lovely sea of purple.


First Flowers by AniseSprout

Of course crocuses don't just come in purple, as this photo by Christine of AniseSprout shows. Her shop has got some really lovely photos of flowers and I highly recommend having a browse if you're looking for some new photography art for your walls!


Felted Crocus Heart Brooch by SandhraLee

I love the attention to detail in this brooch, right down from the beading to the thread used on the leaves SandhraLee has some seriously gorgeous felted pieces in her shop, well worth a look!


Miniature Purple Crocus by Marianne26

Speaking of attention to detail, I think it's safe to say that Marianne Cook has the steadiest hands in the whole of Wales! Her shop Marianne26 is all about miniatures for doll houses, including beautiful pots of flowers made using tissue paper such as these crocuses. It's fair to say I wouldn't have the patience to make even one of these!


Purple Crocuses Blank Notecards by pinkbathtub

These notecards are simple but very pretty, and just one example of the lovely paper goods that can be found in pinkbathtub. She also does recipe cards and giftpacks, all with lovely illustrations and designs.

Have a lovely week everyone!

SNOW!

My first year living in London and I've been lucky enough to get some snow! My main worry about leaving Hertfordshire was that I would miss one of the best bits of winter, the village I grew up in gets snow and in previous years me and my siblings have had a lot of fun building snowmen in the garden but London is always a little bit warmer than the rest of the country so snow isn't that common.

I will confess to staring at the weather forecast all week waiting for the good news. Then on Friday afternoon everyone was announcing that it was meant to snow this weekend. On the one hand I was incredibly excited and on the other I was very worried that it would miss us and hit the rest of the country, my luck has been terrible recently so I expected lack of snow to follow suit.

Imagine my excitement last night then when a few flakes fell, and then a few more, and then the snow started properly. I was bouncing between my bed and the window on a regular basis to see the progress of it settling. I even slept with my curtains open last night so I could occasionally lift my head up and see the snow falling, although this didn't work very well as I'm short-sighted and don't sleep with my glasses on so every time I tried it all I could see the orange blur of the streetlights XD

When I woke up this morning it was already starting to melt, so I downed two cups of tea and ate a biscuit, pulled on a multitude of layers, grabbed two cameras and went to Kew Gardens. I took quite a lot of photos with my Dad's old Canon Digital Rebel and two with my aging pocket Nikon, the Canon ones are in RAW and will need to wait until I get a new PC before I can edit them, the Nikon ones are simply awful quality so I won't be posting them up on here. However regardless of photos the actual Gardens were beautiful covered in snow.

I also ended up going to Marks & Spencer to buy a scarf as I don't have one and since the cold is due to hang around a while longer I figured I should get one, and then I also ended up buy 2 cheese scones XD

I've already had chicken soup and a lovely fresh roll and more tea, this afternoon will feature baking some cookies and then I'm doing roast beef for my dinner tonight!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and if you've got snow, have fun with it!

Bit of a short post today because I'm being very naughty and having a little lazy day today. If I ever get dressed it will be so I can go and buy cheesecake from a shop XD

Despite being lazy though I've just listed a new book, The Travellers Handbook to Paris from 1937!


Along with the usual itineraries one gets in these travel guides it all has thirteen maps and a whole load of adverts for shops and hotels one could visit in 1930's Paris. What makes this book special to me though is it's date; 1937. Two years later the second world war broke out and in 1940 the Germans occupied Paris. How many of the shops and hotels, immortalised in these pages, were still around by the time the war ended?

I've also been included in a Treasury this week! Everything Must Go features my vintage book "The Romance of Modern Electricity", thanks to LinniR for including me!

Have a nice week everyone!

Happy Birthday YLS!

Mini post today, it's a very special day because it's my Youngest Little Sister's birthday!

As an explanation for the way I describe her, I'm the eldest of four children. After me comes my brother, and then two sisters. Since both of them are my little sisters I end up referring to them as Eldest Little Sister (ELS) and Youngest Little Sister (YLS).

YLS is turning one year older today! Doesn't matter how old she gets though, she'll always be the baby of the family.

Trying on hats in Hyde Park


She'll also always be the adorable one (ELS, if you're reading this, you'll always be the fashionable one!) it's just a shame that only 50% of the photos of her come out fine, the other 50% she's blinking or pulling a silly face XD

Happy birthday baby sister! x

The Flying Sock

Just before last Easter I packed up most of my life (about 20% of it stayed in the old stables at my parent's home) and moved to south west London. I rent a small room in a small flat. There's a small kitchen, a small bathroom, no living room because it's used as a storage room instead, and three housemates in two other bedrooms. It's actually quite nice, I have my own space (which I love) but if I need company there's generally always someone in the kitchen I can talk to.

It also means that things can't go missing in the flat. It's too small for you to lose something (although I do occasionally misplace one of my QPR mugs at the back of a cupboard). Sooner or later something will be found. And in my case I'm constantly losing track of my socks. It's rather embarrassing actually, I rarely wear matching socks simply because the other half of a pair will wander off somewhere (generally to the bottom of my laundry basket).

This evening this happened;

Housemate Mon- Biiiiibliophile?
Me- Yeeeeees?

Suddenly it came through my open door, flying through the air with all the grace and aerodynamics of something foot-shaped made of cotton and elastic. It hit the floor like a the lightest potato known to man, and sat there accusingly as if to say "why did you leave me in the storage room? Aren't I good enough for your feet?"

Housemate Mon- Hehehehehe.

Snuff

It occured to me the other day that despite the title of this blog being "The Bibliophile", and despite me claiming to love books, I haven't actually said that much about books recently.

But that is changing today because I got a great one for Christmas that I really struggled to put down!

Snuff by Terry Pratchett on Amazon.co.uk

Snuff is the 39th Terry Pratchett set in his alternate universe, the Discworld. Commander Sir Samuel "Sam" Vimes of the Ankh Morpork City Watch goes on his first holiday in years, visiting the country estate of his wife Lady Sybil. But all is not right in the countryside, and soon he becomes a one-man policeforce against murder, smugglers, and the persecution of the goblin race.

Ankh Morpork iPhone Sleeve by Flaming Watermelon

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett and I really love the City Watch series. I read Unseen Academicals (not a City Watch one but set in Ankh Morpork) and struggled to get in to it. It didn't seem to flow as well as Pratchett's previous work and given his health problems I had to wonder if things were finally taking a toll, would Snuff actually be any good? Well I'm very happy to say that Snuff was brilliant. I took it to work to read during my lunch break and then wished I hadn't done so because it was so difficult to put it down and return to work!

Wee Free Men (and Woman) by LunasCrafts

Yes the Nac Mac Feegle even get a tiny mention, as do Carrot, Angua, Nobby, Fred Colon, and Vetinari of course! If you're a Terry Pratchett fan then you really must read this book. Really. Just go to your nearest bookshop and buy it now, unplug the phone, abandon work, sit down and read it.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

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