A typography walk

January is a good time to try something new. It was completely unplanned, but this weekend I’ve managed to try two new things – pretty good going!

The first was a new magazine, Breathe, which jumped off the shelf and into my hand whilst browsing the magazine rack in a supermarket on Saturday morning.

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I am a bit of a magazine addict. The Simple Things is one of my favourites, and probably the only one that I get every month without fail. I tend to gravitate away from the traditional ‘women’s lifestyle’ magazines – you know the kind that are full of make-up tips and fashion spreads – those aren’t really my thing. To be honest I’ve been feeling a bit fed up with homes and interiors magazines lately too – they always seem to have the same spreads of all white houses. Magazines like The Simple Things which mix features that I actually want to read, recipes, craft and travel items are much more my cup of tea these days. Breathe seems to be after this pattern, and I’ll be looking out for it from now on. I haven’t had a chance to read much of it yet, but it looks really good, with lovely photography, interesting features and ideas for things to do.

So, buying Breathe led me to try my second new thing of the weekend as one of the short features in this issue suggested a typography walk as something fun to do. This is exactly what it sounds like – grab your camera, head out side and find and snap as many interesting examples of typography and signs as you can. I love to take photos and I do like interesting signage and typography, so this seemed perfect. So, when S and I headed out for lunch today I brought along my camera. I wasn’t really expecting to find much just in our local area, but I found about 10 good examples of typography within a short distance of our flat.

 

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This was really good fun (well to me it is anyway!), and I think is a great way to be a little more observant of your everyday surroundings, including the kinds of places you see week after week and don’t pay much attention to.

Stay cosy x

 

Cornwall 2016

I’ve just returned from a beautiful holiday…

S and I spent a week down on the Cornish coast and loved it. There is so much to see and do there…

Secret gardens to discover…

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Unusual plants to admire…

little coastal towns to discover…

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history to soak up…

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beaches to paddle on…

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and sunrises to bask in…

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It was just great! I can’t wait to go back again next year!

Chepstow Castle

Hey there…

I thought I would share another set of snaps from my recent travels in the West Country (see my post about the Bristol Balloon Fiesta from the same trip). Whilst we were in the area S and I also spent a morning at Chepstow Castle

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Chepstow is just over the border in Wales. It’s a ruined castle, which, if I remember correctly was originally a Norman castle with later Medieval additions.

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I know ruined castle’s aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like this sort of thing then Chepstow is great. Maybe it’s a bit unusual but I love looking around ruined castles. Family holidays when I was a child usually involved a trip to at least one ancient monument – my Father being a big lover of history and in particularly ruined castles. I guess he’s passed that on to me too! There’s just something so evocative about a ruined castle, especially if you know a little about British history (which I flatter myself that I do) and apply a little imagination to thinking about the people who would have once inhabited these places, and what their lives must have been like.

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Castle

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I’m also a bit of a romance novel fan for some light, escapist reading, and Barbara Erskine is a long time favourite of mine. Her novels are often partially set in the past and often based on real historical figures who owned or lived in some of the UK’s medieval castles.

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Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016

I am so excited to be sharing a blog post about this with you, because this event is becoming a real highlight of my year. Some of you, may have heard of the above annual event which takes place at the Ashton Court Estate on the outskirts of Bristol. Up until a few years ago, I’d never heard of this event although I can’t think how I had missed it for so many years!

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For those of you who don’t know, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is an event held in August every year, spanning a weekend where hot air ballon-ists from around the world gather to launch mass ascents. What is a ‘mass ascent’, you may ask? At 6am and 6pm on scheduled Fiesta days, the balloonists gather together in the Fiesta launch area, inflate their balloons and head for the skies! This can mean over 100 balloons taking off together during the same hour. The mass ascents are combined with a fun-fair, various entertainments (I believe some baby-racing took place, though S and I being childless don’t go in for that sort of thing for obvious reasons) and stalls selling food and drinks throughout the weekend.

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I absolutely love this event. S and I went last year too, and vowed to return as often as we could to marvel at the spectical of these beautiful balloons in flight. We’ve just returned from this year’s event, so of course I had to share some photos with you.

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This year’s event was a little tense – there were problems with the evening mass ascents on several days- the balloons were unable to go up because of the weather conditions – high wind speeds and too much cloud cover prevented them.

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Sunday was the final day of the event and our last chance to see an evening ascent. We crossed our fingers and headed over to the site in good time arriving not long after 5pm to choose our patch of grass. The balloon pilots gather for a pre-flight briefing before each planned ascent – this is where a final decision on whether to go up is made, dependent on weather conditions. The crowd on this occassion was certaintly waiting with bated breath! Once the decision is made, the crowd are notified using a smoke signal – yup, a smoke signal! A pipe near the launching area gives off red smoke for no ascent, yellow or orange for partial and green for a clear mass ascent.

Well, we were in luck – the signal was green, the balloons could go! One balloon is sent up first to do a final test of conditions. Provided everything is satisfactory up above, a klaxon sounds and the mass ascent begins!

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I can’t really describe how amazing it is to see all the balloons take off, but as you can see, I did take a lot of pictures! It’s also quite fun to see the tethered balloons inflating on the ground, but really nothing beats seeing them glide up over the horizon, silent and serene except for the occassional blasts from the burners.

All I can say is, if you can, go – you will love it!

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In and around Hampstead

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This time I thought I’d share a little bit about a day out S and I had in London. We often think that there are a lot of hidden gems in London. Places to visit that tourists might overlook and that we as London inhabitants probably forget or never hear about. So, I thought it would be fun to tell you about a visit we had to Hampstead this weekend. It’s one of my favourite areas of London for wandering around. And it’s not just about the famous Hampstead Heath or and the view from the top of Parliament Hill. There’s a lot more to Hampstead.

The main reason for this little wandering was for me to have a chance to try out a new camera. I’ve been lucky enough this week to snap up a new-old camera in the form of a second hand Canon Eos M compact system camera, in virtually mint condition. I wanted to take it out for a spin, so came up with the idea of a walk around Hamsptead to visit some of my favourite haunts.

There are some lovely back streets and side streets, which seem to have hardly changed since Victorian times. If you like old street lamps, street signs and forgotten little churches with overgrown graveyards carpetedin flowers, you’ll be in heaven here.

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Benhams

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When the weather is as gorgeous as it was yesterday, it’s enough for me to just roam the streets – I don’t need anything more to make me happy!

However, if you are after some more of a destination, and a little bit of culture for your day out then there are a few National Trust properties in and around Hampstead. We happened upon this one, Fenton House.

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We didn’t go in on this occassion, but just peaked through the gate.

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However, it’s now on my list of London places to visit, so I’ll hopefully be returning there soon.

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The final destination for our morning out was the Hampstead Pergola. The Pergola is sort of part of Hampstead Heath, but is a little bit away from the most popular spots on the Health. You can find out more about it, and a map here.

It’s a beautiful spot to visit on a summer’s day, and yesterday it felt positively mediteranean!

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It’s truly a beautiful spot to sit and lounge, soaking up the sun. There are plenty of benches where you can sit and take in the view and enjoy the site of the occasional rose peeping out from between the stone columns.

That’s all for now, but I promise to be back with a crafty catch up soon. Hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend, whatever you’ve been doing!