as a girl, everything my parents did i pretty much did with them. where they went, i went. we were a very strong unit, me, my mum and my dad. just the three of us. it was pretty damn perfect. they both worked full-time and worked hard too. weekends and holiday times were precious to us and we took full advantage of every moment. this is something that as a family of three ourselves, where we too both work full-time and very hard, we strongly embrace this too. having the opportunity to get away, revives our souls, charge our batteries. it’s a time for us to kick back, relax and take it easy. for us to spend those precious moments together. the three of us. me, mr HPMcQ and ronnie rockstar.
for quite some time we have been meaning to “head” (sorry) over to the tower of london, her majesty’s royal palace and fortress. actually if the truth be known only a very few, (the a-list celebrities of their time i guess) have been executed actually on the green inside the tower of london. only seven in total were recorded, three of them queens, anne boleyn, catherine howard and jane grey.
outside on tower hill, is where the main executions happened. 125 “unfortunates” were beheaded here, until the last in 1747. dukes, knights, earls and nobles all came to their end outside the tower walls. an execution could draw a crowed of 100,000 spectators. this was considered entertainment, the whole family would go, with a picnic to boot! possibly the x factor of the day. the first being simon sudbury in 1381 and the last simon fraser in 1747. so if your names simon, i’d give tower hill a wide berth!
whilst recently wandering the streets of williamsburg in brooklyn, searching out independent retailers who have a point of difference, something out of the norm to say, we stumbled quite delightfully and unexpectedly across a chocolate shop. but this was no ordinary chocolate shop. as we opened the doors to this store we weren’t quite prepared for the intense smell that was about to hit us. it was epic, like something i have never smelt before. pure chocolate. this was no shop or store, this was a real life chocolate factory. the chocolate factory of the mast brothers, rick and michael mast, bearded food-loving pioneers from primghar, iowa, what a find.
it was a bit nippy out this morning, as ronnie would say, but the sun was shining so everything was alright. we scooted over to the east end after breakfast, to have a cuppa char with nanny minnie. on our way home we decided that actually it would be rather lovely to have a little walk around the park before lunch rather than after, well just incase that beautiful sun decided to disappear from our skies. we quickly popped home to grab our cameras and off we set.
halloween hasn’t ever really been a big deal for me, not as an adult anyhow. maybe a few parties here or there when i was little, but i think it was just an excuse to get dressed up! ronnie however is really getting into at the moment. he really wants to go trick or treating but not sure how i feel about that really? i’ve gathered some ideas together, i’ve brought back some treats from the states and we will decorate, and carve out pumpkins and paint faces. however this seems a little lame in comparison to the american approach to halloween. this is big big party time for them and with halloween just a week away the preparations have already begun. i hadn’t really expected it to be as ready as i found this week. houses already in full dress, pumpkins ladened doorsteps and tree hugging witches. this is clearly a city that likes to celebrate the ghoul!
before i ever came to new york, i always had cagney and lacey in my mind. you remember don’t you? all that hustle and bustle, everyone being busy busy busy, rushing here there and everywhere. well the thing is the first time i came to new york i didn’t see this. i found i actually found it incredibly peaceful. yes there are loads of people, but the side walks are wide, so there’s no pushing and shoving. the roads are full to the brim of traffic, but again the roads are wide and the cars are so very quiet. weirdly quite. everything and everyone moves around in a peaceful calm. for me new york has always been about walking, up and down the blocks, uptown to downtown, westside to eastside. i absolutely adore walking through the streets.
on walking through these streets i took some snap shots of the different kinds of vehicles that passed me by, in silence of course.
yep we are still celebrating ronnie’s 5th birthday, nearly 3 weeks on! he didn’t want a party, he was quite clear about that. he very much wanted to go to legoland instead. so to lego land we went. we’ve been before though, so we wanted to make this visit a little bit different. so to make the most of a weekend we decided to have a lego sleepover, at the legoland resort hotel in windsor and with ronnie loving all things pirate we stayed in a pirate themed room. a theme you say…
after lunch on sunday, we went for a walk in the woods. nothing too strenuous, just a little meander through the woody loveliness. we certainly weren’t going to lose ronnie.
i don’t really do camping. i like comfort and i like toilets and showers. i also like being warm when it’s cold, and cool when its hot. so freezing or over heating in a tent whilst desperate to go to the loo or stinking like a piggy isn’t quite my idea of heaven.
however glamping is something quite different. this is can deal with. knights glamping is set in the beautiful ground of leeds castle, not to be found in leeds, but kent. a tent with an oak four-poster bed, a wood burning stove, solid wood floor, electricity & wifi. a short walk to the knights cottage where toilets and showers a plenty can be found. this i was prepared to do and what a great little treat for ronnie for his 5th birthday.
stop start stop start stop start. that was pretty much the weather all day long today, and then finally the drizzling nonsense stopped late afternoon, so being slightly cabin crazy (and hangover) we dashed out of the door as quick as quick can be. we headed straight up to the woods on sydenham hill for a spot of fresh air and adventure. the perfect excuse to try out that new camera of mine! yippeeee.
as we entered the last week of the summer holidays, i was finally bullied, yes bullied (you know who you are) into buying an actual proper camera. it was scary stuff you know. everything so far has just been snapped on my iPhone. i feel comfortable with it and it’s with me everywhere i go. to buy a camera was quite a big deal for me, and then what to buy?! after weeks of umming and ahhing i decided on a compact system camera. much much more than a point and shoot but not as bulky as a dslr. anything too big and i feared i would spend a massive amount of money for something i simply wouldn’t carry around, so it had to be neat and fit in my bag. so that was that, the perfect camera for me. but now what? a grown up proper camera, what on earth do i do now? best way to learn? i was told the same thing by several people, to charge it up and go on an adventure. so that’s what we did.
we live in london. close enough to town to potter in when we fancy, and far enough not to be in the hustle and bustle of a busy city.
the plan today had been to go to the seaside. early morning start, pack the car and off. however the sky didn’t look like it was playing ball when we woke, so we rolled over and went back to sleep for a bit. zzzzzz
it’s probably not the first place you would think of to go to spend the afternoon, with it being a cemetery and all that. but what a beautiful place.
each year the friends of nunhead cemetery hold an open day. this year it was yesterday. they run tours of the magnificent cemetery surround by stalls run by local groups, bug hunts, face painting, badge making, music in the open chapel, furniture making, cakes and tea, furniture making and birds of prey.
so finally the weekend arrives. we missed the opening night due to other commitments, which were no way near as much fun as last night transpired to be, but hey, life goes on. today however, after a super lazy lay in, we trotted down the road to 265 lordship lane. the art house.
i’ve talked about this project both here, here, here, here and here. i shan’t bang on again through fear of boring you, i seem to be quite in love with this project. and this project is far from boring. here are some snaps from the house today. tomorrow 19th may, is the last day the house will be open. so if you can get your backside down there, you will not be disappointed, that is for sure, it is a feast for your eyes.
emmetts is hidden hillside little treasure of a garden. it’s location, sevenoaks in kent and it is the garden of an edwardian estate, previously owned by frederic lubbock. the garden were laid out in the late 19th century and contains many rare and exotic trees and shrubs from all around the world. called emmetts after the local word for ant, which covered the area up until the 1950′s. it has been cared for by the national trust since 1964.
in may the bluebells bloom as it’s quite a spectacular sight. the hillside is covered within an inch of its life with these gorgeous little flowers, and when the sun is shining the fragrance that hangs in the air is somewhat magical.
each year in sunny dulwich, a little festival is thrown. based in various locations throughout dulwich, it’s a big mix of art, creativity, music, open houses, charity, discussions and a family fair thrown in right in the middle. it runs for 9 days and the whole community is asked to join in the fun.
right in the middle of dulwich is the world-famous, dulwich picture gallery. it was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA bequeathed his collection of old masters “for the inspection of the public”, and was england’s first public art gallery. so art has always been very much at the core of the community, and very much celebrated in the festivals.
this year however a remarkable project which is running in line with the festivities called “baroque the streets” will change the streets of dulwich into an outdoor art musuem. in collaboration with street art london, and small group of street artists from all over the world have been selected to work on specially commissioned walls all over the area, each and every one inspired by a different painting or artist represented in the picture gallery.
there are dinosaurs roaming the park of crystal palace, ronnie could barely believe his eyes. giants surrounding the lake, frozen in time. these wonderful beasts were unveiled in the park in 1854, and had been commissioned in 1852 following the crystal palace of the great exhibition of 1851 being moved to sydenham hill. they were the very first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of charles darwins on the origin of species by six years. they have grade 1 listing, and were designed and sculpted by benjamin waterhouse hawkins in his near by studio in sydenham hill with help from richard owen.
and here they are, aren’t they marvellous