Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another busy day today in London, so just a few pics today. Tomorrow I'm off to Shrewsbury.
Today I went to Trafalgar Square and saw St Martins in the Field church and then the National Gallery. The National Gallery was incredible! So many great works of art! I saw some of my favorite non contemporary artists - Goya, Hans Holbein the Younger, Titian etc.
Who are your favorite artists?



Cleaning up in Trafalgar Square








Olympic countdown








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Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding and effigies

First off, I'd like to thank Juliet at Julietslace for the versatile blogger nomination! Thanks for this! :)
I'd also like thank those that made comments recently. I really appreciate the kind words feedback. :)

Today I made my way into central London, with a friend, to try and see the procession. We got off the tube at Green Park and tried to make our way to St James Park but it was already barricaded off at 8am when we arrived. So we ended up staying in Green Park and watching all the action the big screen. It was a bit strange knowing that Buckingham Palace was just minutes away, but we couldn't get there. On the bright side, we were able to get a spot on the grass and watch it all, while getting up for snacks and the loo when needed.


The atmosphere was great, and everyone was in a very festive mood. I have to say Brits know how to party!

Did you do anything to celebrate the wedding today?






Later in the day we went to the V&A (Victoria and Albert museum). I think I'm becoming obsessed with effigies. I love the Idea of ones image on top of a tomb, shown resting. It would give people an idea of what you looked like, and what your interests were. Your effigy could be holding a book, or a guitar, or show you dressed in your finery. I think they could be very personal and would make cemeteries even more interesting than they already are. What do you think? If you had an effigy, what would it be like?
I think I would have my arms crossed holding a book, a paint brush and a guitar pick.







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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stonehenge

Another exhausting and fun day. So again, just a few photos. We got up very early and went on a tour to Stonehenge and Bath. It was a tour where you could go beyond the fence at Stonehenge, and actually go into the site! It was really amazing. The morning wind was cold, but it didn't matter, I took loads of photos.
After that we went to Bath, and saw the Roman Baths. All in all another fun day.

Stonehenge












Bath Abbey




Roman Baths













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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

London and yogurt

I'm really tired this evening, from another day of touring the sites. It was an exhausting but fun. So here's just a few picks from the day out.

Kew Gardens






This Jade Vine in the Palm house looks very exotic.




St.Paul's










I also have to say I developed a passion for English yogurt on my last visit, and am revisiting this obsession again. It's so much better than the North American stuff! So creamy and yummy! My favorites are Lemon Curd and Devonshire Toffee. I wish I could take some on the plane with me for home. But alas, I will just have enjoy this perishable treat while I'm here.

Tomorrow Stonehenge and Bath. :)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Walking Around London

Today was my first real day in London, as yesterday I was recovering from the time difference. Today we set out to see some of the famous sites in central London. The first was the Globe Theatre, on the South bank. It's not Shakespeare's actual theatre, but a replica rebuilt in 1997 in roughly the same area. I have to say I'm impressed with the job they've done recreating this Tudor building.



First we watched a demonstration on Elizabethan clothes, where they Showed how an upperclass woman would dress. They started with a basic linen dress with silk stockings and then put a corset on her. The guide explained that during Elizabethan times corsets were outer wear (aren't they still? I thought). They also explained how clothes were all pinned or tied on and how people only bathed once or twice a year - ewww. Queen Elizabeth was said to bathe three times a year, which was considered excessive!
At the gift shop I found an amazing handbag. It says "Out Damn Spot" on it and has a print of blood dripping on the inside.






After the Globe we continued on down the Thames Path towards the Westminster bridge. We saw many of the sights including the London Eye.


We crossed the bridge and went to Westminster Abbey, which was packed with tourists. It's too bad they don't let you take photos in the building. I was blown away by the beauty of this medieval church. The art history geek in me was overjoyed at the site of flying buttresses, rib vaults, stained glass, and tombs with effigies on them. The Lady Chapel is probably the most magnificent part, with lots of stained glass windows, it's a gothic marvel.

After that we walked through St. James park and to Buckingham Palace, where we saw some of the preparations for the Royal wedding. We saw loads of media setting up and the stands being built for them. There's also British flags, hanging down the Mall, the road leading to Buckingham Palace.







All in all, an eventful day out. Hopefully tomorrow is as good. :)

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Holidays!

Just a short post today as I'm exhausted from traveling. I started out at home yesterday at 12:30pm and got into London at 7:00am. With the time difference it felt like 1am to me. I took a nap when we got in, and then we walked around the neighborhood. Here's my fave photos from today. I will try to post something more substantial tomorrow.



Teehee




It's green! There are flowers here!



Me (in comfy t-shirt and jeans today for traveling).

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review - Oh My Goth

I downloaded this book recently, as it was on a list of "goth" books I found. It was a quick read, which I expected, as it's a book aimed at teens.



Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter (Pocket Books), is a first person narrative by it's protagonist Jade Leigh. Jade has lost her mother in a car accident, and lives with her dad, a newly single parent. She fells disconnected from him, and gets into trouble at school, where she and her goth friends are bullied by the popular kids. One enemy in particular, Mercedes, the most popular girl, is her biggest rival. When Jade gets into trouble for mouthing off to a teacher, and Mercedes for getting into a cat fight, the principle decides on an unusual punishment. The girls are sent to a mysterious lab where they are drugged and sent into a virtual reality game.
In this new reality, the popular kids are all goth, and so are the adults. The outcasts are the preppy kids, the "Barbies" and jocks of the world. Jade has to face the issues of being popular, and one of the crowd, and Mercedes what it's like to be an outcast. There's also a love interest to(of course). The girls then have to work together to get back to the real world.
Personally I found the premise to be pretty weak. I suspended my belief while reading though, hoping that more explanation would be forthcoming as the story progressed. I have to say I was disappointed. The plot did move along quickly and at a good pace, but I think this was the only good thing about it. The main characters were unrealistic in my opinion. It was obvious to me that the author is not a goth herself (or ever was), and I don't think she even remembers what it's like to be a teen. She characterized Jade and her goth friends as malcontents who get in trouble with authority and the law. This is in sharp contrast to most goths I know who are generally quiet, smart, and stay out of trouble. The author also spends more time describing their outfits then developing the supporting characters. The ending was rather weak and wrapped up a little too quickly. I think this book would be okay if you were a young teen looking for a light read, but I worry about it perpetuating a negative stereotype. For this reason, and it's overall weakness, I give it one parasol.



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Versatile!

I'd like to thank Amy at Ultimate Goth Guide for nominating me for a versatile blogger award! It was a really nice surprise. I'm pretty new to this blogging thing, so it was quite encouraging. :)
Check out her blog, linked in my blog list on the left.

So here are the rules for the versatile blogger award.
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link them.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 of your favorite bloggers and link their sites. (I managed 8).
4. Contact them and let them know they've been nominated.




Seven Random Facts
1. I am going to the UK next week to visit family. My mum is from Rugby, and my relatives are scattered around Oxfordshire, London and Wales. I will be spending a week in London and two in Shrewsbury. After I booked my holiday the Royal Wedding date was announced and it's during the week I'm in London!
2. I'm left handed. Only about one in ten people are left handed, and only one in ten left-handers are female.
3. My favorite foods are mince meat pie and Christmas cake with royal icing.
4. I have pet rabbit named Pippin and a pet guinea pig named Percy.
5. I have a phobia of spiders.
6. I enjoy Spongebob Squarepants cartoons.
7. I have had a crush on Axl Rose since I was 13. That's for 23 years. I think that length of time turns it from crush to illness.




Nominees in no particular order (all are listed on my blog list to the left - check them out!)
1. Boots at Sincerely Boots. Cool gothic fashion,great gothic cathedral photos, movie reviews etc.
2. The Green Fairy at If Only I Were A Goth. Fashion, quirky gothy items, individual thought.
3.Opiate Vampire at the Dark Victorian. Gothic Lolita fashion and subculture info.
4.Black Lily at Clockwork Mice and Toy Spiders. Gothic fashion, items, game reviews etc.
5. Everyone at Unlacing the Victorians. A wealthy of Victorian historical knowledge, and NeoVictorian And Steampunk info.
6. Victorian Kitty At Sophistique Noir. Beautiful photos of her daily outfits and mature and elegant fashion sense.
7. The Countess at Gothically Yours. Goth accessories galore!
8. Amy at Ultimate Goth Guide. This blog is very inspiring to me with it's daily thoughtful posts.

Now back to packing my leopard print suitcase for the hop across the pond.




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Monday, April 18, 2011

Voodoo Doll

This weekend I hung out with my best friend Rheina (I've known her since I was 2 - we call each other fetus friends). She just came back from her honeymoon in New Orleans, and very thoughtfully brought me back the cutest voodoo doll! It is a love voodoo doll, a positive doll. I named him Beaubichez. It sounded French and upbeat, and cute - just like the little poppet.



I'm loving the red bat wings and the tiny stitched on heart!

When people think of voodoo dolls, they think of the Hollywood shows and movies where people stick pins in dolls, that represent someone, in order to hurt them. In New Orleans voodoo (in Haitian Voudun, dolls are rarely used) pins are used to attach a picture or name to the doll. The dolls are used primarily in positive magic for prosperity, health and love. They can be used in negative magic to, but this is not as common.

Whatever your belief about these little dolls (magical amulets, or tourist trinkets) there are some cute ones out there.



This one is to help your electronic devices.





Witchy ones!




Awww..a little vampire one.

What are your thoughts on voodoo dolls?


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Victorian neighborhood

I was feeling a bit uninspired today. On Saturday afternoons I work in a volunteer position at an artist run gallery, where I am a member (see the Outworks Gallery link). I was trying to think what to write today, when I realized that Victorianism is all around me!
The gallery/studio is located in the Exchange district of Winnipeg, an area where most of the buildings were built 1880-1918. So I took a walk around and shot some pictures with my iPhone.



The name comes from the Commodities Exchange that still is located in the area. From 1880-1918 this was the commercial district for the city, with banks, factories, newspapers, etc. springing up in the area. At the time Winnipeg was the gateway to the west, and the fastest growing city in Canada. It was the third largest city in 1911, and nicknamed the "little Chicago" for it's Chicago style architecture and importance as a transportation hub.



With the opening of the Panama Canal, the importance of the city as a trade route diminished, and Winnipeg's growth rate slowed. The commercial district moved south, to the current downtown area. This helped preserve the buildings from being demolished and replaced by newer ones.
The result is one of the largest turn of the century commercial districts in North America. It was declared A National Historic site in 1997.
The area was neglected during the 1970s and 80s, becoming sort of red light area, but in the last 20 years or so has seen revitalization. Now it is a neighborhood with galleries, funky stores, restaurants, theaters, and trendy loft apartments. Hopefully this trend will continue while preserving it's Victorian heritage.




Side note of the day
I have been searching for the past couple of months for striped tights, but had no luck. I found striped socks, but no tights! Well yesterday I finally found some. I like putting fishnets overtop, as I like the look better. So while I'm playing with my camera phone, here they are, along with my outfit for the day. (the tights don't show up as well in the outfit photo, so I took a close up).







Oh and it snowed today - in April!



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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The dear old Earl

It's getting cold tonight, (down to a chilly -4 in April) so I thought I would brew myself a cup of one of my favorite teas - Earl grey.



There's something very comforting about a cup of tea. For me coffee is a morning drink, a beverage to give a boost, but tea is a drink I turn to in the evening, when I need to relax and wind down. I guess it's a result of my upbringing. My mother is English and true to the stereotype, tea was a constant presence in the house. Any problem could be eased by a cup of tea - from a stressful day to a broken heart.

Over the years I've tried many different varieties, but I keep coming back to the tried and true, the dear old Earl. Named after the 2nd Earl of Grey, British prime minister From 1830-34, he had the tea blend made to offset the lime tinted water at his estate.


ps. Prime Minister Grey oversaw the abolition of slavery in the British empire in 1833 :)

The Earl Grey blend is black tea with orange bergamot rind. His wife Lady Grey served it when entertaining during his time in office, and visitors loved the blend. She decided to see if it could be sold, and the British tea company Twinnings picked It up. There is also a Lady Grey blend which has lemon as well as bergamot, I must try it some time.
Maybe I'll serve Lady Grey at the next parlour then me and the ladies can try it together.




Side Note
I must warn my readers that in 10 days I will be going for a three week holiday to England, to visit family and enjoy the sites. I intend to keep blogging, but it might take a slightly different turn for those weeks, so bear with me. For those of you that live there or have been there, any suggestions on things to do and see?


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