Sunday 30 June 2013

When Morriarty Came to Stay

While my sister and her fiance are away in Italy soaking up the sun, Morriarty their beloved hamster is staying with us.

He's been very active around 11:00 pm and like all hamsters, he always seems to want to escape but I put that down to him missing his owners too much. I've never had a pet so its actually been really exciting to have him in the house. Seeing him run around the house in his ball has most amusing and I keep having the urge to feed him all the time (I only feed him the amount I've been told though).

He is just so darn cute. I'll definitely be sad to see him go home next week.

Monday 24 June 2013

Marvellous Murder Mysteries

I do love a good murder mystery. I love playing Cludeo, no matter how long it goes on for. We used to play it at Christmas until my mum (usually or another family member) would complain and get bored and end the game by going for a guess after two turns and told everyone who the murderer was. We sometimes play now but mostly card games which are just as hilarious to play.

Cluedo aside, its the master a murder, Agatha Christie who has been taking up my attention these days. I've always loved watching Poirot and Miss Marple, I am ecstatic about the new episodes for both but upset as these will be the last. David Suchet who plays Hercule Poirot is hanging up the tash and cane. It will be a sad day when the last episode airs. I got both the Poirot and Miss Marple box sets for two birthdays in a row, one after the other. I am that obsessed I am.

I recently finished the most famous of Agatha Christie's books (after Murder on the Orient Express of course), And Then There Were None. Its a brilliant, disturbing tale of ten people being invited to a mysterious hotel on an island. They've all been led there for various different reasons and of course don't know each other. But its when they start being murdered one by one is when the fun starts. It's a genius tale. I can't say anymore than that except you are kept guessing who the murderer is until the very end.

As well as eating up every Poirot and Marple episode I have also just finsihed watching the second series of Case Histories, where Private Investigator Jackson Brody solves some new, some old cases brought to him by all the random people in Scotland. Marvellous TV.

As well as TV watching I also went scouting around the charity shops and discount books for some detective/murder mysteries. No luck in the charity shops but I did strike gold elsewhere. In the same place I found The Pirate King by Laurie R.King, a most excellent read by the way, especially if you like Sherlock Holmes-esque stories, Gilbert and Sullivan musicals and silent cinema, its all in there, I found some other gems. Murder on the Homefront by Molly Lefebure, true tales of murders, morgues and mystery during the second World War. The book was recently turned in to a two part drama on BBC and I have my fingers crossed for another series. The other gem was a random find, They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer. I think its a standard rich man is found dead sort of thing. But it sounds thrilling!

Saturday 22 June 2013

Postcard Heaven

As I said when I went on my trip to Mousehole (Mowzle) I found a shop that was my postcard heaven. Just like Berlin before Cornwall and Brussels before that I bought plenty of cards. I was looking through my treasure trove of cards and paper (I used to keep them all in two boxes because they over flowed in one) I felt like I just looking up random addresses in the phonebook and sending them all cards! But buying loads of stamps would hideously expensive so I had to put that idea to the side. Anyway here are my Cornwall posties that I will now be treasuring.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Mousehole and Homeward Bound

It was my last day in Penzance on Monday and I made the most of it. Firstly by keeping to my word by having a cooked breakfast. I was going to be out all day without rest so a bigger breakfast than usual would be fine.

I had to check out at 10am and I wanted a head start to my day as it would be cut short(ish). I usually got tired around 4pm anyway but I still wanted to explore some places in Penzance that I'd missed. I caught the bus to Mousehole the last place I wanted visit on my trip. I had been there once before when I was younger and I knew about it from the famous book The Mousehole Cat.

The bus ride went a different way to the previous days as Mousehole is only a 15 minutes away from Penzance even though it is in the same direction as Land's End. There were a few curious tourists on the bus with me and we all wondered around in the same direction. Mousehole is very small and as the lady in the Pilchard Press Tea Rooms told me, it is made up of 75% holiday homes and during the Winter months it is like a ghost village. It was very windy on the last day and actually quite cold. But that didn't stop me from climbing around the rocks near the harbour walls. I had done this before when I was younger. My parents showed me photographs when I got home. But after a while I needed some warmth so I went and had a Cornish Tea,  but with coffee. The scones were homemade this time, so extra delicious.

Then I wondered around the very shops, well art galleries. I wondered into The Little Picture Gallery and stared in awe some of the artwork in there. But the greatest surprise of them all was finding a book and artwork by one of my favourite artists when I was young, Michelle Cartlidge.

The owner of the gallery told me she lived just around the corner. I was tempted to go round and knock on her door but I thought that would be weird. The gallery owner was also an artist, and his wife and his son. They were selling a few postcards of their own work so I bought a few. I love buying postcards so I was more than happy to. I also bought a copy of the book above (and its signed!). This was my holiday present to myself, as well as that smugglers brew tea.

After getting excited over that little discovery I wondered into the only other postcard related shop, The Cat & Mouse. It was postcard heaven! I ended picking quite a lot in there, but I say you never have enough postcards.

I caught the bus back into Penzance and finally went to Archie Brown's vegetarian cafe. I treated myself to some homemade orange cafe (its was amazing) and some good old coffee. I sat there for quite some time writing about 10 pages. Then I picked up a Cornish Hen sandwich for the train journey and finally walked down historical Chapel Street. I had a look in some of the shops but The Artist in Residence Hostel was closed and I had really wanted to look around there. I also got to have a good long stare at The Admiral Benbow. Can you see the character on the roof? And yes that is a pirate flag.

After the walkabout I collected my bag from the B&B and made my way back to the train station. It was sad to leave. Unlike other holidays, you get that 'ok its time to go home now' but not with Cornwall. Maybe because its in the UK and doesn't feel like I'm leaving.

I was early at the station so I finished watching Hyde Park on Hudson (more on that later). Luckily this time round, there were mini TVs on the back of the seats on the train, so I had a great time watching Wallander and Vexed on the way home.

I had a great time in Cornwall and I will most certainly be going back!

Graduate Fashion Week

Last week was Graduate Fashion Week and I was lucky enough to have an invitation to University of the Creative Arts (Epsom)'s show.

With hundreds of students exhibited their work at Earls Court, we had a difficult time navigating around the space. It was like a labyrinth of fashion walking through all the different universities. Designs for women/men's wear, underwear, shoes and jewelery. Eventually we found UCA Epsom and all of this year's graduates' work. Represented by their sketchbooks and designs, some with photographs of a piece from their final collection. It was overwhelming at how talented and creative these graduates are.

The show was even more impressive. I have never been to a fashion show (apart from one I filmed during Uni) so I was very excited to be in the audience. I'm going to try and write about a subject I don't know about so here is a collection of designers that I liked. I'm sure if you Google them, more info about them will pop up.

 by Sian Hulse
 by Brooke Curling
 by Hannah Rose Flores
by Bradley Snowdon

My favourite designer in the show was Dunia Baghdadi's collection, Bombs Over Baghdad. She has been featured in various fashion blogs including Trendstop Blog . As well as the clothes, Dunia also designed and made the shoes and bag that is featured.

You can see a more in depth look at her collection, plus better quality photographs, here at Not Just A Label.

You can watch the entire UCA Epsom fashion show here

Sunday 9 June 2013

Definitely a Lazy Sunday

I had a plan this morning which was rapidly changed. In fact I made the plan yesterday evening and it then changed this morning due to the fact that Penzance is a ghost town on Sundays.

 I got up at my usual early time, had breakfast, was slightly moaned at by the B&B owner for not having a cooked breakfast yet again, then went to my room to apply sun lotion, I had to be prepared this time. I was annoyed about the breakfast thing. If I don't want a cooked breakfast, I don't want it!!

As for the sun lotion being needed, it more as a precaution. The weather last night said the morning would be warm then when I checked again it said the afternoon would be. But as I walked through ghost town at 9:30 looking for any sign of life, I thought what the hell, I'm going to the beach today. I sprung into to action then. Tesco was open so I got a few previsions but no cider. They had a curtain drawn over it and I didn't want to explain I wanted to drink it on the beach. So no cider by the sea this time. But I still needed a towel and a mat or something to sit on. The only shop that sold towels was closed so I just borrowed from the B&B and then I wandered around until 10am for Argos to open, the only place that I thought would sell a cheap mat. Ans hazaar they did. A plan foam like map that was cheapish but as a beggar I couldn't choose. Still had to wait a bit for my bus though. I sat downstairs this time as it wasn't exactly warm. The sun shined a bit but the wind made it cooler.

I had my mat, snacks, towel and the means to get there. The walk down to the beach was short (perfect) and pleasant. I took off my boots and walked across the sand to find the perfect spot. I never thought I'd be sitting on the beach for the day just hanging out.

I got bored after 30 minutes. That's why I'm not a beach person. I was too distracted by the people walking on the coastal paths above my head on the cliffs. I listened to some music and wrote a few pages but after that I was back to just sitting. What I really wanted to do was swim. I had no costume though and no one to look after my things. So after an hour or so I gathered up my mat and bag and headed towards the sea. I carefully put them on a rock near the water so I could still see them. Not that any off the families with young kids or the randoms would bother with my stuff.

I walked along the beach in the water. It was great but very very cold. I went back and forth a few times. I really wanted to swim out though.

I'd been on the beach two hours but instead of catching my bus back I went and had a gammon steak at the local, recommended, Cable Station Inn. I also had the local beer, which was refreshing. Then I  looked at the time and realised I had eaten in 20 mins and still had over an hour to kill until the next bus. I hesitated about going to the Telegraph Museum across the way but the leaflet said allow an hour and half for the visit so I waited in the shade. I was freezing by the time bus showed up so I sat downstairs and fell asleep.

I walked along the entire promenade watching the waves crash against the wall. It was very cool by then I actually started to shiver. I came back to my room and had some warm tea.

Right now I'm about to pack up my things a check out is 10am but the hosts or whatever you call them, said I could store my shiz here while I go and visit one last place, Mousehole.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Meet Me at Land's End

 I woke up this morning and it was dark. It was raining. Couldn't believe it. I got sun burnt yesterday and today it was raining. Thunder storms and everything. I was tempted to go outside to see a Cornish storm but I had breakfast instead.

I thought about waiting til later for the weather to change because according the BBC it would but I was impatient and went out as the rain calmed down. I was determined that my plans would not e ruined by morning rain. I got the explorer bus that takes you all around the coast from Penzance to St Ives. It was open top and the sun had come out just as the bus was heading out so I braved the upstairs. Luckily my seat wasn't wet from the rain so I settled in for about an hour's drive. It was brilliant. Although my hair was ruined once again and it was really rather windy up there on the top, I had a fantastic view of everything.

We reached Land's End and just as most guide books have said the gaudy 'Land's End Experience' is terrible and trivializing, it almost ruined what is meant to be a famous point in England. It is the end of the land. The visitor centre and all the bits and pieces near it are a waste of space. I walked through that bit to the famous sign post only to find a short queue of people lining up to have their photo taken but a random photographer and charged for something anyone could take. I skipped that part too and went straight to look at the view and walk along the cliff edge path. I thought the 'First and Last House' was interesting but even that was a lame cafe and gift shop. The view was amazing and the fact that I got to see it was enough. The tacky surroundings was something I could ignore. But I was very hungry by this point seeing as it was past midday.

I had planned to go to a recommended cafe but it was inland. I was told it would have taken me 15 minutes to walk. I was lied to. It took me 5 minutes to get out of Land's End and I wouldn't have made it back for the bus in time and I couldn't catch another. They are every 2 hours! So I had a meal at the cantine posing as a cafe. On the plus side, I was fed and I wrote a new story.

I caught the bus just in time, this time sitting on the lower deck as I was getting off at the next stop, Porthcurno. The lady bus driver had some skill maneuvering the giant bus around very narrow roads and dealing with very stupid drivers who kept causing traffic. After a short drive I arrived at my next destination.
I first caught a glimpse of the beach. Oh my god it was incredible. Now, I'm not the type to sit on the beach all day and blah blah blah, but oh my god it looked so inviting. It wasn't crowded and the water was so blue! It was clear it was bright, it made me want to run right in. I am hoping that I can get there tomorrow, but I'm hoping now everyone will do the same. More people seemed to arrive when I caught the bus back. I am also swimming costume challenged so I'll have to make do with paddling. I am also without a anything to sit on or dry my feet. But I was thinking of borrowing a B&B towel and pray they won't notice.

The trek up to the famous Minack Theatre was not as bad as the mount but by this point it was boiling hot. I had had to wear a scarf all day too as I was still sun burnt suffering, not fun. There was also not path for walkers so I had selfish cars zooming past me on the road. The layout of the Minack and the visitor centre is awesome, no other word to describe it. The out door theatre is situated 60 yards above the sea, I admit I did have trouble walking down to the stage on the sea side. The theatre staged its first production, The Tempest, back in 1932. Apart from Twelfth Night, I couldn't image a better production staged here. Mostly because of the island settings. I explored every part of it. If I had had more time I would have tried to see a play performed there. But after some refreshments and quick look around the gift shop I had to dash back down the hill to the bus stop.

Gravity was winning. The steepness of the road made me travel quicker but faster than I wanted, it was a hot day. I reached the bottom in 5 minutes whereas it took me 20 minutes to get to the top. And of course my bus was late anyway so I sat in the shade until I was chased away by a gigantic bee/wasp. I was also colder on the journey back. I sat up top for the view but I still fell asleep and woke up just before I saw a low hanging tree hit someone a few seats in front in the face. Most amusing and I ducked too.

As soon as I got off the bus I ran to Superdrug and got some after sun and sun lotion. On my way back to the B&B there was a man reading a map but trying to keep his coat that was tied up round his waste. He let it drop a little and then got muddled as he tried to walk, pull the coat and hold his map, but the coat was so far down that he couldn't walk. He then just dropped the coat and laughed. I was also laughing as it was very funny to watch.
 Moving on from me laughing, I am hoping that the weather is at least nice until tomorrow afternoon, I am going to the beach. Never thought I'd say that.

Friday 7 June 2013

Round the Ragged Rock and Castle

I think I should call this the Adventures of Yellow Boots. 

Woke up to the faint sound of seagulls and the sea. Marvelous.

Had my breakfast and some amazing coffee. Unfortunately I've got none of my wheat and gluten free food with me, so apart from the pain, I really enjoy the fresh bread at breakfast.

I learnt-ish how to use the panoramic setting on my camera.

I set out bright and early (as the breakfast ends at 9:00 so I had to) for Saint Michael's Mount.

Even though I set out early with the intention of getting there early but unfortunately I had to wait til 10:30 for a bus. No bother I was treated to some locals moaning about the position of the buses, most amusing. The journey to Marazion, nearest stop to the mount, was really pleasant. Got to see the coast and the mount get bigger and bigger because even though I can see it if I step outside, it seems so far away.

The walk across the sand was amazing too. I haven't been to a beach since last year! And this was a beach trip that suited me, like the last time, no sun bathing, no sitting around but more exploring and watching people walk their dogs. There wasn't a huge crowd either that made its way to the mount across the causeway. The nearer I got the harder it was to simply skip across the stones.

Saint Michael's Mount is a famous 12th Century castle perched on an island, it is a, well famous landmark in Cornwall. Just before I started my trek someone complimented me on my boots and asked how do I keep them so shiny. It's the boots! The walk, once on the island, is at first a hike but then after climbing up the hill in the sun, it gets tiring. At the top though, the view is, I hate saying this, breathtaking. I had a huge grin on my face when I saw it. Being up so high made very hot and very windy, so naturally my hair was a mess the entire day.

The castle itself is interesting to look round. I stayed a long while in the library, it was so odd to have an almost modern room compared to the rest of the castle. Out on the terrace you get another chance to see the amzing views. As a Natural Trust lady said, you get a 306 degree view. Before I went into the little map room, a room with loads of maps on the wall, I turned around and this is the first thing I saw. A mummified cat.

 After that strange discovery I finally had a traditional cream tea at The Island Cafe. I sat outside as I thought it was too sunny to be inside. After about 5 minutes of my hair being flicked about I faced into the wind. It was easier to eat and drink, even though the wind was so strong it blew tea on my scones. Delicious! I also broke into my fancy notebook and wrote some pages of a new short story. More writing to follow (hopefully). I already had an idea before I arrived in Penzance for a story, it was inspired by recent events at work. More on that later.

I wondered around in the beach listening to Kings of Leon. It was just nice to relax and not have to worry about anything apart from what I was going to eat later. I treated myself to some ice cream too, it was so good! If my bus hadn't arrived I would have ran back for some more!

 The afternoon/evening was a little less hectic but still more walking around. I had walked past a cafe/deli place called The Cornish Hen yesterday and made a mental note to return. That I did. Sandwiches made on the spot for you as well as many homemade products. My Cornish ham with mustard and salad sandwich looked so good my stomach rumbled all the way to the sea front where, like yesterday, I sat and enjoyed the sea view. There is something s refreshing to walking out the front door and seeing the sea.

Tomorrow's plan is more packed, fitting in two trips in one. Mostly to save on bus fares.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Captain Lestrange Has Landed

I have arrived. I am in Penzance, Cornwall. It has been amazingly sunny all day and I am loving it!

It has been ages since I have had a break, a real break anyway, not just weekends.

The journey started in Paddington station where I, for the first time, got to see the Paddington Bear statue and visit the shop. I have loved Paddington Bear since I was young and read the books, watched the TV show. A little dream came true.

After that I dashed down the platform after waiting ages in Starbucks for my coffee, which was actually the wrong order, and quickly found my seat. I was then uprooted by a massive group traveling together and swapped seats with them. They did ask nicely and they were asleep for most of the journey so I don't mind. I didn't appreciate the screaming baby though. For the part of the journey where I was awake (it was a 5 hour train ride) I saw the amazing British coast, so pretty.

I'm not going to lie, by the fourth hour I had a serious case of numb bum. I had to keep twisting in my seat just so I remembered it could move. I was also very tired having stayed up late packing and washing my hair last night. Not the best plan but hey, I got to my destination in one piece. Whe I stepped of the train I was almost blinded by the sun and was a tad disorientated and so I had a little trouble finding the tourist office. It was right next to the station. The dear old man at the desk came over to help but didn't actually answer my only question. No matter I picked lots of leaflets. Mmmmm free leaflets.

It also took me a while to find my B&B which was meant to be 11 minutes from the station. I ended up using my phone and not my pre printed and researched map. It led me a strange way and went off map just as it was telling me to climb over some residential fences. So glad I did because as I turned a corner I saw the ocean and it was beautiful! I could smell the salty sea air and it reminded me of all the family holidays we went on when we were younger.

The first thing I did when I got settled in my room (its just perfect!) I had a cup of tea! Then I went out in search of food. Instead I walked along the promenade taking in the sea and the surroundings. Sorry if that sounds poncey. I explored around the town too while trying to find an open cafe. It was only 5pm but most things were shutting or already shut. I managed to find Chapel Street, a famous place in Penzance, a cinema (of course) and vegetarian cafe I was looked up. So I have a plan for the next few days and places to visit.

But like all things, my plan has changed slightly.