Wednesday, 30 September 2015

FO: crochet macarons and a knitted bike hat

box macarons crochet coloured

crochet macarons cake

My projects for last week were a bit of an interlude from all the craft fair preparations.  My friend loves macarons and since I didn't have the time to make the scarf I promised her, these little woolly cakes were a placeholder.  The scarf is slowly making its way up the list though!  This pattern came from a book I found on Issuu - the fact that it's called Simply Adorable Crochet may have persuaded me to look inside, just to check the title was accurate.  It totally was.  Besides the macarons, there's strawberries, cupcakes and ladybugs, to name just a few of the ridiculously cute makes on offer here.

We put them on the table with all the real cakes on coffee morning day and they blended in perfectly, although my choice of yarn colours may be a bit questionable with regards to realism...  The shape is made from three identical pieces made in the round, with the top and bottom sections being stuffed lightly.  I used DK wool with a 3.5mm hook and they measured about 1.5 inches wide, so they fit nicely into an actual macaron box that A brought back from Betty's in York last week.  I was trying to be all secretive when I asked to borrow it, but the first reason she came up with was that I was going to knit macarons.  At least I could reply truthfully that it wasn't the case...  Crochet and knitting are wildly different, ya know.  Apparently I'm not as good at being sneaky as I'd like to think.

bicycle beanie knitted hat macarons

I only got a quick picture of the bicycle beanie hat as I was finishing up a bunch of projects the other night.  I like how it turned out in the end, although it was a little big when it was done.  I had the same problem the first time I used the Jacques Costeau pattern so I downsized it slightly, but I think next time it will require more meddling with.  This was also done in DK yarn, with the bicycle chart borrowed from here and a pompom added at the end.  This was another gift, for my oldest pal who's moving to the other side of the world.  He seemed pleased with it so hopefully it'll come in handy when he's watching bike races in the winter!

This week's book is still Northanger Abbey.  I'm hoping it'll be finished today since I'm picking up a library order tonight...  It's fantastic but I seem to fall asleep before I can get very far through it each day.  Story of my life.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along.


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Macmillan Coffee Morning

paper cakes accessorize decorations

shaun the sheep fairy cakes marshmallows

malteser cake nigella chocolate

marshmallows chocolate crispies cake stand

baby photo game

matching clothes work twins jeggings purple black jumper long tall sally

On Friday, coffee morning time rolled around once more.  We're a bunch of cake lovers at my work, so everyone gets very enthusiastic over planning the perfect day in which to eat a better breakfast than usual while supporting a very worthwhile cause.  (Check out the Macmillan site for more info on the event)  My contribution was chocolate crispy cakes, marshmallows dipped in chocolate and coconut, and the idea for a 'guess the baby picture' game.  L and I also decided that since we have very similar wardrobes, it would be the perfect time to co-ordinate ourselves.  I might be wearing his shirt here since mine was too big to wear under my jumper...maybe we should just keep sharing clothes, I had a hard time returning it!

A made her famous Malteser/birthday cake (ok, it's Nigella's, but I doubt she'd make it better), K made Shaun the Sheep fairy cakes and lemon slice, and R made Anzac biscuits.  We have an even bigger leftovers pile than last year now, but we also made close to three figures for the charity, so everyone wins really.

Did anyone do a coffee morning last week?  Is there any better start to the day than cake?


Monday, 28 September 2015

Photo an Hour - September

This month's Photo an Hour post should be subtitled 'How I managed to make this day all about me', owing to the fact that I unintentionally took pictures of myself for the first three hours then just decided to keep on theme for the rest of the day.  I guess it's a bit different from my usual style anyway.  (Although not terribly unique - Kerri did a selfie version back in March)

reflection mirror

09.27 - Getting up after another not great sleep.  I'm staying at Mother's for a few days, but my uncle and cousin are also staying while his new house is being renovated, so the weekend involved a game of musical beds to fit us all in.  I'm mostly in the smallest one which is fun when I want to lie on my stomach and my feet hit the wall.  Still, it's more comfortable than the floor!

running gear clothes bright headphones trainers

10.52 - A lot of faffing was done as I swithered over whether or not to go a run.  The problem with going out running in the small town where you grew up is that at least one person will want you to stop and talk, so I was weighing up if it was worth it!  God bless my anonymity in Glasgow.  Finally, I just decided to go for it and stick to the outer town paths.

nikon camera lens DSLR mirror selfie

11:46 - Back from running.  It was super windy (as evidenced by my mad hair) and my usual red face appeared so I had to get creative with camera placement.  Sure enough, a couple of folks peeped car horns at me (one my uncle) and I was also chased by a dog, so it was an interesting hour.

moccasins slippers sheep pyjamas

13:14 - After some multi-tasking involving stretching, grilling a bagel (Mother has no toaster), running a bath (or shower) and sanding my feet, I was all clean and back in my pjs.  No sense wasting clothes on the couch!  My slippers are in hiding so I pinched this pair from Mother's wardrobe.  She thought they were mine, so clearly they aren't an important part of her life...

pyjamas knitting phone couch

16:30 - I watched a film on Netflix and somehow stayed awake.  No idea how I managed that.  At one point I decided I should get on with some knitting but it didn't last long.  Everyone seemed to arrive home at once and there was too much talking and rushing around to do before we went out for dinner.

mirror selfie camera wrap coat long tall sally

18:09 - We were going out to celebrate Mother's birthday and I decided to walk to my brother's place via the cash machine and get picked up there.  It was a bit warm for my new coat, but I was glad of it later that night!  (I also wore this dress and these shoes.)   I did my hair and then we went off for food.  Dinner for me was salt and pepper calamari to start and haddock for main - it was fish day I guess.

There was so much shuffling about in the restaurant that I didn't think to get my camera out, and then we went home, I got back in my pjs and was falling asleep on the couch before long.  I sense I have a cold on the way - this whole week has been a sleepy blur with too much rushing around for my liking.  My aim is to stay in bed as long as I can on my days off!  I'm only at work two days this week so it shouldn't be too hard...

Thanks to Louisa and Jane for hosting!


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Autumn essentials with Long Tall Sally

I'm slowly beginning to accept that summer might be over for another year, even if it still feels like it never quite started.  Never mind, eh?  With autumn comes cool walks through the crunchy leaves, Christmas crafting schedules and new jackets.  Long Tall Sally seem to agree since they sent me a few items from their new collection to encourage me to accept my fate and drag the tights out again.   

zip detail skinny jeans m&s blouse tan loafers long tall sally autumn collection 2015

loafers tan college green M&S blouse zip skinny jeans long tall sally autumn collection 2015

First up is the cornerstone of any good wardrobe - jeans.  I'm not sure it's possible to have too many pairs of jeans, especially of the dark rinse, slim fit variety like these beauties.  The zip pockets mean any bulkiness is gone from around the middle (ie the place where I have a tendency to store some extra poundage) but also gives them a flash of interest when I decide to show off my waist.  Also, how cool is this shirt?  I got it from a charity shop in Brighton for a very reasonable £2, and I was swayed by the quirky design despite its obvious fit issues...  Apparently I have a weakness for that sort of thing though.

I've worn the jeans a couple of times already and love the fit.  I'm interested to see how they keep their shape after multiple wears, although Long Tall Sally has definitely improved the fit of their denims in recent years.  Both my Camdens (red and polka dot) are prone to stretching and have to be reined in with washing after a couple of wears, but the Hoxtons keep their shape flawlessly and are only now (after almost two years of regular use) starting to show some fading on the knees.  The structure of the new range feels like a better fit already compared to my oldest pairs so fingers crossed they see me through a few more seasons!

blouse - M&S via charity shop
zip detail skinny jeans - c/o Long Tall Sally
loafers - College Green via TK Maxx

check skirt sweater shirt layers long tall sally autumn collection 2015

brogues clarks loafers college green tan

Then there's the check pull on skirt.  My favourite thing to wear in the rotten weather, due to the speed at which tights and jersey dry off!  This skirt is the perfect addition to the somewhat lacking bottoms section of my wardrobe.  I was a bit worried that having hips would be a hindrance as far as the pattern goes, but it wasn't an issue.  If in doubt, sizing up would help, but Long Tall Sally tend to cut their clothes pretty generously and I found this just right.

sweater - EWM via charity shop
shirt - M&S
check skirt - c/o Long Tall Sally
brogues - Clarks

wrap coat camel jeggings ankle boots long tall sally autumn collection 2015

camel wrap belted coat long tall sally autumn collection 2015

Finally, there's this camel coloured wrap belted coat.  I must admit, I feel pretty chic in this!  It's unlined, so it may not be much use to me in a wintery downpour, but right now it's a perfect top layer over jumpers and shirts.  I love the big dramatic collar, the lack of fiddly buttons and the fact that it goes splendidly with my most worn scarf, this big plaid almost-blanket.  Hopefully I won't need that pairing for a while though...

wrap coat - c/o Long Tall Sally (also in black)
jeggings - Long Tall Sally
boots - H&M
scarf - M&S
Long Tall Sally seem to be going from strength to strength as each new season's looks are released.  I love their seemingly limitless denim selection and how they have a coat for every occasion.  It really is my first stop for anything I need (and don't need, if I'm being perfectly honest).  It's great to see somewhere that caters exclusively to us tall ladies and doesn't treat us as an afterthought, with a few longer garments tacked onto an existing collection.  They even have their own blog now, so it's easier than ever to find out what goes on behind the scenes - I loved reading the interview with stylist Christine Delassus (dream job, anyone?) and their Models of the Moment post, with illustrated versions of all the great supermodels of the past eight decades.  Who knew Twiggy is only 5ft 6.5?  Never mind, she's still ace.

*I was sent three items from Long Tall Sally in exchange for an honest review*


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

How I spent Doors Open Day in Glasgow

scotland scottish flags george square glasgow

bagpiper george square glasgow doors open day

Two things about me.  I love local history and I'm a cheapskate.  To have a whole week dedicated to learning more about Glasgow's architecture and past, and to have every event, walk and open building be free to access is basically my idea of heaven.  This year I got my act together in time and managed to snag tickets for some interesting walks on Doors Open Day (which lasts a whole week in the city so...Doors Open Week?)  I crammed four tours into Saturday and also visited a handful of buildings open for general nosing around.  There's a chance I wasn't very active the next day...

Here's what we got up to -

Glasgow Photography Walking Tour
I was out of bed and in town for 9am to spend three hours walking around with my camera in the presence of an actual photographer, hoping to pick up some tips.  The tour was run by Dreghorn Photography, who also spent the day teaching us bloggers a thing or two at last year's Toast of the Town workshop.  Although I remembered a few of Stuart's pointers from that class, it was great to get a refresher and also go a bit more in-depth - I learned what a couple more camera settings do and got to wander around with my tripod, a tool that normally never gets to leave the house.

vintage lamp glasgow trades hall doors open day

trades hall glasgow doors open day

st andrews in the square glasgow doors open day ceiling chandelier clock

st andrews in the square glasgow doors open day ceiling chandelier clock

The group met at George Square where we had a quick chat then set off to take photos!  There was another Yes rally setting up that morning so there were plenty of interesting and patriotic shots to capture.  Afterwards, we moved on to the Trades Hall and finally St Andrews in the Square.  Both buildings were beautiful, although the decor inside the church blew me away.  That clock!  Those chandeliers!

west brewery kegs drums beer doors open day glasgow

West Brewery Tour
Tam joined me in time for the next adventure, a tour of the West brewery.  I think Tam picked this outing, although it might have been me trying to fit all the places into one day that led us here.  West is a micro brewery located inside the old Templeton carpet factory.  Anyone who's been in Glasgow Green or to the People's Palace will have seen this iconic building, and I was definitely up for exploring the inside.  Of course, the only parts we saw were the (delightfully dog-friendly) bar and the brewing room, but it was exciting nonetheless.  The tour was pretty short but our guide was fantastic - like a beer genius and comedian rolled into one.  We also got to taste four different grains used in the brewing process.  They were...interesting...

(Book a tour of West here)

barras pipe factory glasgow doors open day

barras market glasgow doors open day

Barras Walk
The meeting place for this one was a cafe inside the Barras with no signage whatsoever.  By the time we'd found my friend Leanne and asked a couple of people where the cafe actually was, we'd missed the start of the walk.  A very nice lady pointed us in the right direction though, and we caught up, having only missed a pit stop to check out a nearby church.  The walk mostly covered the area around the outskirts of the famous market and took in Saint Luke's church, which reopened that night as a gig venue, and The Heilan Jessie, one of the oldest buildings in the area and now a pub.  We learned about Bible John, a serial killer who murdered women he met in the Barrowlands Ballroom, and the McIvers, who founded the Barras market in the 1920s.  The walk ended up being a bit shorter than advertised, so we had time for a peek into the Pipe Factory, which is now home to studios and the world's oddest bathroom.

row of vintage buses glasgow bridgeton bus garage vintage vehicle trust doors open day

macbraynes vintage bus glasgow bridgeton bus garage vintage vehicle trust doors open day

colourful vintage buses glasgow bridgeton bus garage vintage vehicle trust doors open day

Bridgeton Bus Garage
This was unexpectedly my favourite visit of the day.  I'm not sure why that's so surprising, since the Riverside (previously Transport) Museum is one of my top places to visit in Glasgow, and anything vintage-related gets me excited, whether it involves buses or bustiers (see what I did there?).  Either way, I didn't know the Vintage Vehicle Trust existed until now and I'm so glad we got an insight into the work they do.  The walk started with a seat, as we all gathered in a modern bus to hear some safety rules and learn about the background of the trust.  We started the walking part with a glance into the workshops (from outside unfortunately, due to all the hazards!) and then it was into the main garage to get more info on the history of transport in Scotland.  We each spotted buses we remembered from school days although I was particularly taken with one that had gorgeous leopard print seat covers.  Apparently buses were better before we were born.  Our guide also told us about their upcoming open day, which I think is the perfect time for a return visit and a better look at some of those colourful interiors...

britannia panopticon music hall glasgow interior doors open day

britannia panopticon music hall glasgow interior bunting flags

Britannia Panopticon Music Hall
The only unplanned stop of the day, but probably my absolute favourite place in Glasgow to take visitors to (sorry Riverside).  The Panopticon is the world's oldest surviving music hall and is part of an ongoing restoration project to bring it back to its former glory.  The last time I was there I noticed a couple of changes, so work is happening on it whenever funding allows.  They have various bits of memorabilia on display and even a book published about the hall, which I might have to get my hands on soon.  It's not a huge space but it's well worth a visit on the weekends or during one of their special events.  I love that such a fascinating part of Glasgow life is being preserved right there among the rows of shops on the high street outside.

Has anyone visited any of these places?  Any favourite parts of historical Glasgow?


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

What five years of blogging has taught me

picture frames vintage

Five years ago today, I published my first post on Elise and Life (then Foof and Faff) and I'm somehow still here today.  For someone who can barely keep a diary for a couple of months at a time, it's no mean feat.  I couldn't go that long without picking up a few tips and observations along the way, so allow me to blether on a bit about how I approach blogging...

Accepting the evolution of blogging 
The online world has changed so much in the past few years.  So much of the information we consume now is digital, so it makes sense that blogs have become slicker looking, easier to read, more pictures, less words...  (In theory.  I'm about to write many words.  Just a warning.)  We also have so much choice of what to write about, but if we want to be noticed we have to write something that stands out and appeals to readers while still incorporating popular themes - the latest one for lifestyle bloggers seems to be giving advice on how to do just about anything blog related, from building your followers to optimising SEO in posts.  Sure, it's helpful stuff, but I like a sprinkling of personal anecdotes with my side of learning.

Realising so many people are better at this than I am...
Increasingly typical scenario - 'My blog turned one today!  I just passed the 1000 followers mark!  My goal for next year is to get 5000!'
Me - 'Wut.'  *stares at my 172 (awesome, amazing, terrific) followers on Bloglovin.  Wonders what I'm doing wrong.*

...but also knowing my integrity is intact.
I comment on blogs or chat to others on social media when I have something to say, either to compliment a post or add something to the conversation.  My sucking up skills are non-existent.  I'm incapable of shilling something I don't love or giving a less than honest review.  I have a passionate hatred for click-bait articles.  I don't tweet 'follow me!' links twenty times a day because I know you guys are smart enough to find that stuff out for yourselves, or refer to that one tweet I posted a few hours/days ago.  That's not to say every successful blogger out there has ignored their conscience when it was convenient, but it's not difficult to spot someone who's trying a bit too hard to be noticed.

loafers shoes M&S vintage carpet rug

Walking the line
Occasionally, I'll have a moment of doubt and wonder what the hell I'm doing, documenting bits of my life on the internet.  I get a fleeting desire to remove myself entirely and just live in the 'real' world instead of flitting between blogging, tweeting, Instagramming and pinning.  Being invisible sounds oddly appealing.  Then I remember how much I enjoy sharing my views and photographs and stories with a wider audience and I relax again.  Although if I ever do disappear, just assume I'm holed up somewhere, scribbling all my thoughts in pencil instead of on keys.  

Scheduling promotes sanity
Since I got into a proper blogging routine earlier this year, I've felt better about my content and productivity.  Monday evenings are for all things blog related.  I write posts for the week ahead, edit pictures, take part in Twitter chats (when I remember) and generally feel all efficient and social.  The writing is my downfall though.  If I get posts ready for the next 2-3 days I'm doing well because I'm ridiculously slow at stringing cohesive sentences together.  If I get a chance to write at other points during the week (tea breaks, during Netflix binges) then that speeds me up significantly, but either way I know Monday nights will be late ones.  

I also spend a few hours writing and visiting other blogs during the week, except Tuesdays which are always reserved for eating my favourite dinner and knitting in front of a movie!  I don't really get a chance to write at the weekends (Tam hates talking to me over my laptop) so nights after work have to be planned with precision.

Promoting is as important as posting
It's all well and good to write the most kick ass post ever, but if that's all you do, no-one will notice it.  I know my page views go up if I make an effort to promote posts on social media - a couple of times on Twitter, a picture on Instagram, adding it to StumbleUpon and linking it on Pinterest, although I must admit I get virtually no traffic from the latter so chances are I'm doing it wrong...  Still, I like to tell myself there must be people out there who would like my blog if they found it, so I see social media promotion as a way to try and catch them all!  Plus I'm nosy and love to read about what other people are up to, so it's a win-win.

pompom quarterly magazine knitting

Supporting blogger buddies feels awesome
Whether it's sharing a post on my blog, leaving a thoughtful comment on theirs or giving them a shout out on Twitter, helping my fellow bloggers get noticed is one of my favourite things to do.  I'm not saying to retweet every link you come across (cause let's face it, too many of those clogging up my feed gets old fast) but the ones you love deserve to be seen by others.  My 'favourites' tag in the sidebar is generally attached to posts where I've included links to the best blogs I've read that week, and the Blog Love page up the top has links to all my must read blogs, although it could probably do with an update now!

Acknowledging that I could do better
Blogging is not quite my top priority in terms of how I spend my time.  Working full time, that has to come top, and hanging out with my favourite people, although I guess the only good thing about not living near family or Tam is that I get a bit of time to myself each day.  I have crazy admiration for anyone who can work forty hours a week and then spend all their free time on blog related activities - I know I'd go nuts if I attempted that.  As a result though, the quality of my work on here isn't as high as I want it to be.  The images I take specifically for the blog could be better, the writing could be stronger, I could put together craft tutorials and scheduled tweets.  All this is ok for now because on the other end of the spectrum, the work I do put into the blog has improved tremendously over the years - my pictures are bigger and brighter, my priorities are more focused and I know so many amazing people in the same boat as myself, so I'm not letting myself feel guilty about something I could change but choose not to.  I'm slowly getting better, and that's good enough.

I'm not really one for celebrating blog milestones (or real life ones for that matter) but this one felt worth writing about, if only so that I had an excuse to say a massive thank you to everyone who's ever clicked on here, or left me a comment, or emailed me, or chatted on social media.  You make me smile every day and you are all stars.  From bloggers to brands, any support I get on here makes me feel like what I'm doing is worthwhile.  

And now I'll go back to being my usual unemotional self.  Sorry to scare you like that.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Threes - Moments, Purchases and Blog Posts

21 up 7 up tv series uk
image from here
1 - When Netflix goes wrong - You know when you find something on Netflix that you're so excited to watch you just want to swallow it up right there and then?  That was me this week when I found the Up series.  '7 Up' was filmed in the mid-sixties with a cross section of British children who were asked their opinions on various subjects and gave the viewers an insight into their lives.  Some came from privileged backgrounds, some very much didn't, but it was a fascinating study to watch unfold.  The filmmakers decided to go back seven years later and film them again to see how their lives had changed, and kept going every seven years after that, right up to the present day.  I watched the first four episodes in two nights (they ain't short!) and could hardly tear myself away.  Since my favourite part of any reality show is that bit at the end that tells you where the participants are now, watching a long version of that was right up my street.

Then yesterday it was gone.

Yup, no sign of it anywhere.  I checked every region plus ITV Player and...nothing.  I was gutted, and had to watch over three hours of costume drama to calm down.  I know, I need to get out more.  This is where Netflix stumbles though - they don't tell you when things are being deleted.  Sure, if it's a film you've been looking forward to watching, it's annoying, but imagine being invested in a series only to find you can't bloody well complete it.  Maybe I'll write them an angry email.  Or maybe I'll just watch more costume drama.

2 - Getting shit done - Speaking of yesterday, I took a half day at work to tackle a bunch of jobs I had waiting around for my attention.  Nothing exciting, just ironing, sewing and Ebaying type tasks, but I had flexi hours to use so figured they may as well be put to good use!  I also wrote a list of my crafting plans from now until January and yeah, it's long.  That's my next thing to tackle!

3 - Discovering Issuu - Who knew you could read magazines online for free?  I'll assume everyone but me, since I'm usually one of the last people to discover a bandwagon, but my colleague forced me on here this week.  I figured it would be a load of spam, but there's actual craft magazines and books on there to read!  Of course, not everything is free, but more than enough is.  I found a few fun projects to add to my list (unfortunately...)

popcorn jar charity shop shetland wool week annual 2015 scholl velvet smooth diamond pedi

1 - Popcorn jar - I found this for £1.99 in a charity shop in Brighton and, after a few seconds considering how to cart it home, I figured I just couldn't live without it.  I suspect it may be from one of those random BHS Christmas gift sets that invade their store every year, but that's fine with me.  It makes the perfect storage for my odd bits of yarn.

2 - Shetland Wool Week Annual - Since I don't have the funds to attend Shetland Wool Week, I'm bringing it to me.  When I saw there was a magazine being published to go with the event, it was in my virtual shopping basket as quick as my fingers could click.  So many awesome designers in one place.

3 - Scholl Diamond pedi roller - Yup, I fell for the hype.  I'm an advertiser's dream - expose me to a TV once a week and I'll buy whatever new wonder product is on the market.  In my defense, I have both an Amazon voucher and a weird phobia of rough feet, so maybe this will help me get over myself...

Blog Posts
1 - How to reclaim your creative spark on Jesmgia - An awesome way to engage your brain, although I may love the internet too much to try it...

2 - When my most noticeable accessory was my acne on World of Joy - Hazel's struggle with adult acne and how she cracked it, something I know about all too well.

3 - Bairns baa-ble hats on Donna Smith Designs - Remember the sheep hat?  Well, Donna has kindly resized the pattern for wee ones!  Now I just need to find a kid...

How's everyone's week been?  Any weekend plans?  I'm looking forward to Doors Open Day tomorrow - I managed to book myself on four walking tours from 9am til 4pm so there's a chance Sunday might be a very quiet one indeed...  But Tam's coming on three of those tours and my friend on two, so at least I get to hang with some of my favourites.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Yarn Along

navy yarn knitting bicycle chart bike jane austen book northanger abbey

Knitting - A beanie hat for my friend.  He's about to move to New Zealand and therefore won't really need a hat until next year, but I wanted to give him a little something and this is the quickest thing I can whip up!  He's mad on cycling so I had a rummage for a bicycle chart online and found this one.  I'm planning to do a band of bikes after the ribbing section, but if it doesn't work out I'll just turn it into another Jacques Costeau hat.  My adorable pretzel stitch markers are available from AbsoKnittingLutely - they sort of make me hungry though...

Reading - I did more train crochet than train reading on holiday, so I just started reading Northanger Abbey the other night.  I'm only a few pages in but it's looking good so far!  I have a few books reserved at the library, but they're taking forever to get to me, so I'm planning to take my time over this one.

Linking up to Ginny's Yarn Along


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A trip to London

london skyline

wall stuff brick lane market london

juice stand brick lane london market

Our September holiday is over.  Boo.  It was a double location one this year though, with a few days in London followed by a few more in Brighton.  As I'm sure you can imagine, there are many (many) pictures from each place, so Brighton will be coming up next week when I can find time to sort out that batch!

First up was London.  We got the train down to Kings Cross and stayed in a flat near there.  I booked through Airbnb since it seemed like I was the last person in the world to use it, and it's certainly the only time I'll be near them.  I had so many problems that I'll just save money and use a hotel in future!  It didn't spoil the trip though.  Our objective was to hit up all the museums and markets we could cram in, and we sure did a good job at getting through our list.

london eye wheel

westminster deckchairs park london

picadilly circus london night statue

V&A couple london

british museum london foyer roof statue

Out of all the museums, the V&A was my favourite, purely for the fashion and costume collections.  Tam made it around half the museum while I was lurking in front of the dresses and suits, taking in every detail.  I love how much clothing can paint a picture of the past and the vast displays in the V&A were fascinating to study.  The jewellery cases were similarly outstanding, although my weakness for beautiful rings was put to the test here...  Tearing myself away was the hardest part!  My work pass would have got me into a special exhibition about killer shoes (sounds fun, right?) but I obviously left it at home.  Sigh.

I wasn't fussed on the Tate Modern (although I probably could have muttered 'I could do that' a bit less) and the British Museum was absolutely rammed with tourists (and had a confusingly non-British set of collections) but the Museum of London was fun and housed yet more costumes, along with an olde worlde street and some great glass storage cases set into the floor, filled with old china.

prince albert memorial london park

pie and mash london borough market

cars market london

camden market london

Then there were the markets.  Oh my word, the amount of food we ate was unreal.  Sushi that was made fresh in front of us, slices of pizza the size of our faces, dark, dense tiffin cake and my personal favourite, pie and mash.  I don't normally get to eat pie and mash since I don't eat beef, but this one was filled with sweet potato and goats cheese and it was freaking AMAZING.  If you find yourself near Borough Market at any point, find the pie stall.  I'd go back just for that.  And the sushi at Brick Lane.  And all the food at Camden Market.  Man, I'm hungry.

I insisted on visiting a couple of tourist spots, so we hit up Picadilly Circus and Leicester Square at night - I'm a die hard Odeon fan so I have to see the big one all lit up anytime I'm in London.  Speaking of cinemas, my favourite part of the trip (well, equal with all the eating anyway) was seeing a film at Screen on the Green.  That's my kind of cinema!  Sofas with footrests and a bar in the screen.  We also tried to visit the cinema museum but they'd scheduled our tour wrong so when we got there we could only look around the ground level for a few minutes before they had to prep for an event.

I feel like I see a different side of London every time I go there.  I definitely don't go often enough - that was the main thing I took away from this visit!  This time was all about walking and tubing and tasting and marvelling our way around the city, and after four days I still feel like I barely scratched the surface.  Maybe we'll go back next year...

vintage style shop london

(check out last years summer holiday to Blackpool and the year before in Italy)

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