21 September 2015

A Day Out to Beamish

This weekend Mark treated me to a lovely day out for my birthday! He planned it all himself and decided we should go to Beamish! I was SO excited when he suggested it! I'm a HUGE fan of museums and have not been to Beamish since I was at primary school.  I would just never have thought about going here....

In case you don't know what Beamish is, it's an open air 'living' museum in the North East, it was about an hour and a half drive from Carlisle.  There are different parts to wander round from different eras.

The collections are the actual buildings, it is like visiting a super pretty, cute little village where you get to go in all the houses and snoop round!

My favourite bit has to be the 1900s town! I could SO live there.  You get to go in the little shops and they are REAL shops, is there anything MORE exciting than that? In the bakers they are literally baking and selling the bread and cakes they bake.  Then there is a sweet shop and a pub! Mark loved the garage jam packed with original vehicles.

Some parts of the shops were just for show like the Co-Op general store, which had a haberdashery section.

The little town had a park with a band stand.  We sat here in the park to eat our lunch.  The day we visited was really sunny, there was also an event at the museum, a traditional agricultural fair so there were a LOT of people there!

The attention to detail in the museum is stunning! I loved all the old packaging etc.

I was SO excited to see that all vehicles on site were actual old vehicles, even the lady who went round emptying the bins was in costume and driving this little blue van.

There was a little stall selling Fentimans drinks, we thought that was cool!

I LOVED how all the staff were in costume, but not only in costume but in character! The museum does not have signs or interpretation boards as it would really distract things, instead it has people, who you can speak to and ask questions if you wish.  But they are not just 'gallery assistants' they all have jobs! The ladies in the houses were busy washing clothes or baking cakes, there were men out in the fields ploughing and some ladies bathing a horse and there was randomly a man driving round the place in a motorbike with his dog in the side car! We even saw a policeman patrolling round.

There were loads of animals around too, so the farm had pigs, chickens, horses etc.  There were cats allegedly living in some of the houses, but I didn't see them.

I found all the costumed people so exciting! Imagine if that was your job, I wouldn't want to go back to my real life at the end of the day! We saw a farm boy wandering past eating an ice cream! Dream job!

There were old vehicles everywhere, as I explained and you got to actually go in the old busses and trams! There were proper costumed conductors.

Whilst we were wandering round I kept asking Mark which buildings were 'real', Mark just 'knows' stuff, so I always ask him random questions! But even he couldn't figure out the history of the buildings.  I found this aspect of the museum fascinating. Two buildings, the Pockerley manor house and the Farm were original to the site and still in place, but all the other buildings like the whole town, the pit, school etc were all collected from other places and literally built back in place in the Beamish grounds brick by brick! This church above is a relatively recent acquisition for the museum and you can see that all the bricks have a number on, which shows how they re-built it.

All the buildings and their content look so authentic, but I couldn't figure out how the whole place must be original to the site, and have everything so perfectly near each other.  I think it is amazing that they 'collect' buildings, so much hard work has gone into making this place amazing.  We spent hours there wandering, exploring, visiting each building.... Absolutely brilliant place for a day out!

Pockerley Old Hall from the 1820s, what a stunning house! This one is original to the site.

I adore this kitchen, I could happily live here.

My favourite home was the Farm, was super cosy and the interior was pretty, they had crochet blankets and the place was decked out like a 1940s war time farm.

Another section was the pit village from the 1920s with a coal mine, colliery, school, cottages etc. There was even a real, working fish and chip shop in the town too! This is us ready with our hard hats to go down the mine.

The miners lamps.

The school, inside was all the school desks and a scary looking teacher!

We really wanted fish and chips but the queue was very long! The queue for all the food was really really long too! We also wanted to go to the tea rooms but ended up getting takeaway sandwiches. I loved everything about the day, but if they could improve things even more they could improve the food facilities.  Clearly they get a LOT of visitors so have to make things very large, but the tea room had no proper queue system and the food could have been more 'authentic'.  But it certainly did not ruin the day! We filled up on 'authentic' Victorian sugar mice and cinder toffee instead from the sweet shop.

If you are looking for an interesting and different day out then I can not recommend Beamish highly enough! Even if you are not into museums, it is fab! Such a pretty place and it rally appeals to 'nosy' people as you just get to poke around all the buildings. The place has such amazing attention to detail and authenticity that it really does feel like you are walking into people's homes.  

GO, you will not be disappointed!  Have you been to Beamish? What was your favourite part?

17 September 2015

My Favourite Necklaces

I'm not really an 'accessories' person, but the one item of jewellery that I am never seen without is a necklace.  I have gathered quite a few lovely necklaces over the years, and I thought I would share a few bits from my collection here...

I guess you can tell from this pic, a name necklace is a particular fave of mine.  I do however often forget I walk around with 'Joanne' around my neck then get surprised when somebody I've never met before calls me by my name! duh!

My name necklace obsession, well my whole jewellery/necklace obsession, started with Tatty Devine, the true original and best quirky jewellery designers! I've loved them since they began with plectrum earrings and one type of name necklace.  My sister bought Number 4 for me, many many years ago, because I bought one for her (first!) This little pink one snapped in the middle one day, I cried (a LOT!) Daddy fixed it with super glue (aw, thanks Dad!).

Number 2 and 3 are also Tatty Devine and this rather lovely wooden Number 1 is a purchase from Finest Imaginary you can purchase one for yourself right here.

A relatively new discovery is the absolutely fantastically talented amazing Layla Amber, check out her beautiful website here. I'm such a HUGE fan, all her jewellery is just sooo pretty and unique. It is also incredibly well made and excellent quality.  I've already bought a few Layla Amber pieces and some for friends and family too, I can't wait to expand my collection.   Numbers 5,6, and 7 all Layla Amber, buy here... 

My necklaces used to be stored away carefully in their boxes in a little set of drawers.  However I found myself wearing the same ones every day as some of them were just being forgotten about.  I decided that as they were all so beautiful they needed to be displayed and arranged so I can see them. So I bought this fab necklaces hanger online here.

I was always such a huge Tatty Devine fan that I would wear little else, but recently one of my absolute fave things to do is to trawl though Etsy and discover new cool jewellery designers! Anything bright, quirky, perspex or wooden gets my attention!

Number 8 is from Kayleigh O' Mara, Number 9 was a birthday present from my sister, but I suspect she bought it from Ladybird Likes and Number 10 is from Rockcakes.

I am SO happy it is finally Autumn and I can wear this beauty again, I adore this necklace, I have such a thing for oak leaves and acorns (I have an Oak leaf tattoo even!). This necklace is quite large so really makes a statement when I wear it, and always gets compliments.  This was a special 30th birthday present from my friends.  I also have a smaller version of the necklace in black perspex, another pressie from my wonderful sister!

Number 11 and 12 are of course both Tatty Devine. I love this sweet little button necklace, super cute!

Can we have a little word about Tatty Devine... I am so sad that I find myself falling out of love with them a bit recently! Whilst they still have some pieces I badly want, a lot of their new collections just do not inspire me and then THIS happened, which I am devastated to report has really put me off them. (Super sad face!).  Anyone else?

Ah, just look at them all, so pretty! It makes me smile each morning picking a lovely necklace to wear for the day...

Who are your fave jewellery designers, do you have a new discovery I MUST check out? Do let me know...

14 September 2015

Holiday Adventures: Canada

Welcome to the third and final part of my awesome holiday blog series, you can find parts 2: New England Road Trip here, and Part 1: New York here... Wow, looking at these photos it feels like sooo long ago, in reality we got back only a few weeks ago.  I do wish we were still adventuring and exploring though.... (sad face!)

So, I mentioned in part 2 that it was a bit of an adventure to get over the border from USA to Canada. Having to drop one hire car off in Bangor Maine, then a taxi a few hours up the road to the border and then another hire car from St. John in New Brunswick.

The taxi journey was a bit surreal, once we got out of Bangor there was literally nothing for miles and miles! The roads were empty and just lined with trees as far as the eye could see, it was amazing scenery though, but felt soooo big!

We got the taxi to St John airport and picked up our next hire car relatively easily.  Mark was disappointed as it was a much smaller, less powerful car.  Our destination was Rothesay, New Brunswick as this was the location for Mark's brother's wedding. We decided to arrive at the hotel the night before and just relax before the big day, I'm so glad we did as the hotel was stunning. By far the nicest place we stayed over the whole trip, it felt so fancy after our road trip motels.

The hotel is called the Shadow Lawn Inn and it is a really lovely old building with very traditional decor.  I was so in love with our room, it was huge, with a massive four poster bed, but the best bit were the little stairs down to a sunken bathroom, it was so lovely!
So that evening we met with Mark's parents, sister and nephew Alex at a restaurant down the road, a BBQ restaurant, I don't think there are many vegetarians in Canada! haha.  But I did find something to eat so was all good.

On the way back from the restaurant as a special treat we found a frozen yogurt shop, I was SO happy! I've never been in one of these before, and I was literally a kid in a candy store.  Picking lots of crazy flavour combinations and ALL the sprinkles....
 Look how happy I am.... easily pleased.... haha!

So the next day was the wedding, the reason for the whole trip.  And typically after blue skies and stupidly hot weather the whole week before it decided to rain today! boo!  But as the ceremony was inside anyway it didn't matter too much.

We hung out in the morning, playing with Alex, Mark's nephew, who was a bit over excited about being in the fancy hotel.  Then we got ready for the ceremony which was later afternoon.  The wedding was a very small family ceremony but it was lovely. I always get so emotional at weddings and have to fight back a little tear.  The bride looked stunning!
The food at the wedding was amazing! By far the nicest food of our whole trip! Well we had mostly been living off junk fast food in America! Oh god, I could eat that smores dessert everyday for the rest of my life, drooool!

Mark and I were keen to explore Rothesay a bit, so we asked Will (Mark's brother) what there was to see and how far it was to walk into 'town', we were a bit surprised to find that like most Canadian towns there was no 'town' there was not really a central, focal point.  There was simply a big busy street with fast food restaurants and larger shops down each side.  It seems it isn't quite the done thing to walk, and most people just drive from shop to shop.

We walked anyway and wandered up to Tim Horton's! Every town has a Tim Horton's - FACT! Also it is practically illegal to not go to one when visiting Canada! They are basically just a Starbucks/Costa type place with coffee, some hot food, paninnis etc and doughnuts! We liked it anyway, good cheese toasties and of course I might have sampled a doughnut or two (we went to Tim Horton's a LOT during our trip! hehe).

The other place we got over excited about was Sobey's supermarket, isn't that just THE most Canadian sounding name? Lol! The header image above is my happy excited Sobey's face! So in the places we visited in Canada we always checked out the Tim Horton's and the Sobey's! They were both the same layout everywhere you went!

The night following the wedding we all went back to Will and Steph's house, which is about 20 minutes drive from where the wedding hotel was and in the middle of what seems like nowhere.
Their house was huge with loads of land.  It was nice to hang out with Mark's family and we had a BBQ on their terrace.

The following day Mark and I were off again to continue our road trip through Canada, Mark's parents, Sister and Alex stayed on another few days with Mark's brother and Steph.

We decided to go a few hours down the road to a place called Shediac, we had heard good things about this place and it didn't disappoint.  Again it was pretty much a big busy long street with big shops either side but there were more shops, and a lot more to explore here.  Plus the place is known for the beach, so we couldn't wait to check that out...
We were so happy with our little cottage (it was randomly called Stephen!) we rented for a couple of nights, so deceptively large.  A huge kitchen, sitting room and two big bedrooms.  So we popped to Sobey's to stock up....!
We enjoyed a lovely day on the beach with Mark's family joining us on their drive over to Halifax. They had decided to get to Halifax (our last stop) the day before us to explore some more of the town.  So they stopped off for an afternoon at the beach as we told them how nice it was.
Final day in Canada! We left Shediac and made our way to Halifax, Nova Scotia the day before our flight.  We stayed in a hotel at the airport with Mark's family too.  On the day of our flight we had some time to kill as we were not flying until midnight.

We were very disappointed (well I was!) not to see a wild moose on our many travels... so we went for a visit to a local wildlife park as I read they had one. So exciting!

We met a Groundhog, I didn't even know they were real!!!

Alex and Mark fed a cute deer.

And YES, we finally saw a moose! He was asleep! He was huge though, so impressive!

Later in the afternoon, we were keen to cool off a bit before our flights so we popped to a lovely lake, Mark had a dip, I paddled.... Then onto the airport to catch our flight home... boo, sob!

Have you visited Canada? Which parts? What would you recommend doing there should we visit again?