Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Five Phone Photos

Five completely unrelated photos from recent times when I've been caught without my camera. Why is it that the supposed fanciest smartphone in existence has such a pathetic camera?

Above: at the Grand Opera House in Belfast waiting for King Lear to begin. Derek Jacobi was wonderful but never having read the play I must shamefully admit that I didn't have a clue what was going on.

We spotted this heron during our towpath walk on Saturday. It caught a little frog and downed it in one.
Below: Dan tries to feed the local geese but we had very few takers. North Belfast birds are too good for stale bread it seems.

Latest finds

I used to buy just about all my clothes from charity shops but these days I bypass the clothes and head straight for the 'bric-a-brac'. That must mean I'm growing up or nesting or somehting. I've also started thinking about the whole idea of buying fewer but more expensive pieces of clothing instead of my usual end of sale bargains, I've yet to put those thoughts into practice though.  

Today though I found this cute playsuit which I can't wait to wear as soon as the sun makes an appearance, and I also got some harem pants from oxfam. But it was the bric-a-brac again which won out. I bought a veritable trove of treasure, including this doll which I'll be bringing along to the book fair on Saturday, and some more vintage books. Gotta love the English/African stereotypes on the cover of 'The Valley of Mystery'.

Random photo of the day

I took this photo of a road with gnarly trees near Ballycastle, Ireland while out for a walk with the family. (I'm informed that these trees are known as the 'Dark Hedges' and are 300 years old!)

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Children's book swap at the Black Box

This Saturday the 2nd April marks International Children's Book Day and I'll be doing a craft stall at the Black Box in Belfast. 'Nice to be Nice NI' (look them up on facebook) are organising a children's book swap and family fun day and my stall will have some photography, vintage and crafts for sale.

It should be a really good day, encouraging reusability and raising money for the Simon Community - the Northern Ireland charity for the homeless. Entry is £2 for adults and FREE for children.

And get this; while I was looking out some vintage children's books to bring along to the event, I found a book mark from Children's Book Week 1980!

Random photo of the day

Yesterday I went for a long walk along the Lagan Towpath with husband Danny and our friend Ashley. We followed the river out of the city and then settled ourselves for a while in a sunny patch in a meadow. I carried my heavy camera all the way out there only to discover I'd left my memory card at home (doh!) but here's a photo I made there earlier. It was a nice day.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Today's find

Found! This lovely chocolate tin with Art Nouveau style lady on the top. I googled the name Salmagundi and found out that the tin is from the 1920s, unfortunately this one is a bit more battered than some for sale online but then it is 90 years old, and it makes another great treasure box.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Today's find

I didn't actually find this amazing brooch from the 40s/50s - my mum did. She's been picking up brooches for me so that I can make another vintage brooch wedding bouquet, but I think this one is going straight into my jewellery box. Thanks mum!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spring has sprung

I'm sure you've all noticed a change in the air (Belfast was positively balmy today!), and the recent Spring equinox has brought cherry blossoms and promises of good times along with it.

But I must apologise for my lack of blogging recently - I've gone from working a 15 hour week with loads of blogging time on my hands (but not much money), to a 40 hour week in a new job and today was my 7th of 9 days in a row. Bring on the weekend! I'm planning to go horse riding for the first time in years so that should be interesting, and probably smelly.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Adventures on planet Earth: Cambodia

On my way back from 11 months in Australia in 2005 I spent some time in Thailand and Cambodia, meeting up with various school and travel friends along the way. My friend Luke and I took a big fancy coach out of Bangkok (above picture shows some Thai school girls waving at people on our bus) and after crossing the Cambodian border got back on to a decidedly less luxury vehicular contraption.

That broken down bus journey along a mud road with regular potholes nearly the same width as the road, was one of the most fascinating and magical journeys I've ever experienced. We saw groups of little kids leading their buffalos to water, we waited while the onboard mechanic fixed our rusting sweatbox of a bus numerous times, we heard about the many family members that our guide had lost during Pol Pot's regime, and yet he was the smiliest man I've ever met. We saw six people on one scooter and people travelling sitting on the roofs and bonnets of cars. It was wonderful.


The view from our TukTuk on the stunning approach to the huge Angkor Wat temple complex.
At some stage in history some philistines knocked the heads off most of the hundreds of buddha statues.

Stone relief 'Devetas' in Angkor Wat - they're just so much more joyous than images you get in Christian churches aren't they?

Below - Luke and I in Ta Prohm or the 'jungle temple'. If you haven't been there you may well have seen it in the Lara Croft Tomb Raider film. These photographs really don't express anything of the grandeur and beauty of Angkor Wat, I'll have to dig out the negatives and see what else I have. In the meantime why don't you look it up or better still just go there and see for yourself?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Random photo of the day

I took this photo of one of the many fountains in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain a couple of years ago when I went with my mum and her school exchange trip (she was a Spanish teacher).

The Moorish builders of this palace complex used mind-boggling techniques to transport running water through all areas, there are even water rivulets flowing down the stair hand rails - check it out!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Another mini adventure

Yesterday was a cold and initially foggy day but the sun soon made an appearance so my mum and I took another long walk, this time on the other side of the river in Castlerock. We walked through the Black Glen towards Bishop's Palace, the C18th estate of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and bishop of Derry. I've been to the Mussenden Temple on the cliff edge countless times so instead we walked out to the mausoleum.

Above is the view back from Castlerock to the mouth of the river, beaches and Portstewart is barely visible through the haze. Below is an ancient burial cairn which I never knew existed until today, Bishop's Palace visible in the background.

Mussenden Temple, the North Atlantic and one of the most scenic train lines ever.

My mum approaching 'Belvedere' folly. Methinks I have found a spot to camp for the summer solstice this year!

One of my school friends grew up in this house which forms part of the demesne, (complete with walled gardens, dove cote and ice house), so many summer days and parties were spent roaming these fields and ruins.

Bishop's palace and the Mausoleum.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Vintage cake stands

These are a few of the cake stands I made recently using vintage china and glass. I love the colourful one (above) so much that I may have to keep it, but I'm making plenty more to sell at an upcoming craft stall I'm doing on the 2nd April.

The pink cake stand above is for sale at £25 so just leave a comment if you'd like to buy it, or they can be made to order to any size/colour specification. Unfortunately due to the fragile nature of the piece they're only available to buy within N.Ireland. More pictures coming soon.

The one below is one I gave to my sister and mother in law for Christmas. I probably should have stacked them with cupcakes for the photos but then I'd have to eat them and that would upset baby jesus what with it being Lent and all.

Today's finds

Found! This 60s mirror which I'm going to hang with two similar ones I already have, and a retrolicious round table cloth. They were only a couple of quid each, happy days!

Home sweet home

What with my parents both hailing from Belfast and Danny and I living there now, I've always felt at home there. But home is where the heart is and my heart will always lie in Portstewart, the town where I grew up on the North coast.

I don't know quite how it happened but I hadn't been back to the port since Christmas so today I jumped on the train and was soon breathing a sigh of relief as well as deep lung fulls of sea air. My parent's house is just a few minute's walk from this heavenly 2 mile stretch of beach called 'The Strand'. I'll never tire of this view.

My day at home consisted of a traipse around the local charity shops, this invigorating walk with my parents, a dinner of homemade shepherd's pie and the cinema. Perfick.

The above picture shows the town from the beach, the two of which are linked by a cliff walk.

The building that looks like a castle on the cliff is my old school, Dominican College, where my mother taught until last year and where many lifelong friendships were forged. Beyond it you can see the town - one single street of shops called 'The Promenade' - beautiful in summer, wild in winter.

Below is the 'Barmouth', the pier which guides the River Bann out to sea. On the other side of the river is the town of Castlerock and you can see 'Mussenden Temple', actually the old library for the nearby ruined Bishop's Palace. Both it and the beach are looked after by the good old National Trust.