Photo an Hour #47 ~ June 2017

Last June’s Photo an Hour day fell on the 18th, a day when I was travelling back to my home town to stay at my sister’s house. We’ve had nine Photos-an-Hour since then, so it seems mildly ridiculous to both to round it up now, but I’m going to.

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9am ~ Starting things off in the most interesting way possible, with a photo of my washing. I miss being able to hang things on the line – I need warmer weather!

10am ~ The Instagram caption on this was ‘Shopping for gifts’, and I couldn’t remember who I was shopping for, given that I am always giving people presents months after their actual birthday. But it turns out that this was actually for my nephew who’d had a birthday a mere 12 days earlier.

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11am ~ On the bus. Instagram leads me to believe that it was a very hot day.

1pm ~ Choosing a sandwich and lamenting the lack of options without tomatoes.

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2pm ~ Shopping with my sister and brother-in-law. Or watching them shop. There’s something about the time that I spend with them that always makes me feel like a child, and I don’t know why really. Sarah is only fourteen years older than me, but I just think I’ve known them both as parents for so long, that they often feel parental to me, especially when we are out

4pm ~ Sitting in my sister’s garden; while she enjoys the sun, I have to sit under a parasol otherwise I’m a lobster within minutes.

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5pm ~ My nephew got home from work and stripped down to his underwear immediately.

6pm ~ I popped to see my great-niece and watched her making her granddad read her a story.

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7pm ~ Salad for dinner, because cooking in that heat (or expecting someone else to do it) is just unnecessary.

And that’s another Photo an Hour day rounded up!  I don’t know how I get so behind, it really doesn’t take very long, and I do so love looking back on them. In case you’d like to play next time around, March day is set for Saturday 24th March. It’s really easy to join in, just take a photo each hour and upload it to Instagram using the hashtag, or save them for a blog post (or do both, like I try and fail to do in a timely manner). More details can be found here.

 

36 Before 36 ~ Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library

Try as you might, there’s no getting away from Harry Potter. Twenty years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the series’ popularity shows no signs of abating, and though J.K. Rowling herself rarely goes a week without putting her foot in her mouth, (or furthering the careers of domestic abusers) the books and films continue to enthrall.

I love Harry Potter as much as the next person, though as I get older and wiser I am certainly more aware of its problems than I was fifteen years ago. But I love the stories, so news of Harry Potter: A History of Magic – an exhibition taking place at the British Library, was very welcome indeed.

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So I took myself off to London on a very, very wet Saturday morning, and, after spending a couple of hours wandering around Bloomsbury, photographing blue plaques, made my way to the British Library. In all honesty, other than knowing that the exhibition would include many of the original notes and doodles made by Rowling during the writing of the series, I didn’t know much else about what I’d be seeing. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn, once I’d entered, that there was a whole other element to it – something that should have been apparent from the name of the exhibition: A History of Magic. Alongside the very exciting notes and doodles, there were rare books, magical objects and artefacts peppered throughout covering each of the main subjects that Harry and his classmates study at Hogwarts.

It added a really fascinating dimension, as much of the inspiration for the subjects come from these traditions of folklore and magic. It’s also very humbling to stand next to a book that is hundreds of years old and realise that you are but a blip in the universe!

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Of course, I did particularly enjoy seeing Rowling’s handwritten notes planning the stories, and Jim Kay’s drawings and illustrations are truly wonderful – my favourite was his drawing of Hagrid.

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition, of course, so I wasn’t allowed to take any photos to share with you, There is, however, a companion book available, which I haven’t bought yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

Sadly the exhibition finished at the end of February, and even before that, I think it was mostly sold out. But the book is probably a good alternative for anyone who didn’t get to see it, and I believe that some of the exhibits are going on tour around the world.

This was another 36 Before 36 item, so I’m already ahead of myself compared to last year!

1.Visit Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library. 

 

There you stand in your dungarees

I have a thing for dungarees. I have a pair of short ones, but I’ve been on the lookout for some full-length ones for a while, and when I found a culotte-style pair, I couldn’t resist.

And with new clothes, comes the once-every-couple-of-years urge I get to do some outfit photos. I am under no illusion that I look like a bit of an idiot, and I feel so awkward while I’m doing them (even though my photographer, Hannah, is awesome and great at taking photos and just generally wonderful), but I’m trying hard to do things that I want to do, and overcome awkwardness and nervousness.

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Jumper ~ Primark
Dungarees ~ Tu at Sainsbury’s
Shoes ~ Very
Glasses ~ SpecsPost

As you can see from the photos, I am a bit squinty, and that’s because it was such a sunny Sunday! We haven’t had too much sunshine in recent weeks, so it was nice to have an entire weekend of it, even if it was still very much on the chilly side. Spring has not yet sprung, and as I write this, the skies are very grey and full of the promise of rain, but there’s the promise of better weather in the air.

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One more photo then, with a filter on it, because I think I look uber-cool in a seventies kind of way. I’m never going to be a fashion blogger, but these little forays into outfit posts are fun from time to time!

My Vegan Diary ~ Fairfields Farm Crisps Heat & Eat

Item received for review purposes

There have been some exciting developments around these parts; I’ve gone vegan! It’s been a long time coming, to be honest; working as I do for a vegan company, in the industry that I do, I could and should have done it before now. But Veganuary 2018 was my starting point, and now here I am, over six weeks vegan, and I feel great!

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Now, I’m not the sort of vegan who is going to start preaching to you about why you should go vegan. I’m also not going to turn into a ‘vegan blogger.’ But I am planning to continue to eat far too much food, and when I find something delicious that is suitable for vegans, I plan to tell you all about it.

So when the opportunity to try some Fairfields Farm Crisps came up, I jumped at the chance. I love crisps – I know that I eat far too many, and being a vegan hasn’t changed that in the slightest – so many crisps out there are suitable for those on a vegan diet.

Fairfields Farm is a brand that I’m already familiar with, as they are extremely local to me – they are based 20 minutes down the road from where I live! I always see their crisps in my local East of England Co-Op, who have a Sourced Locally initiative that brings lots of local produce into the stores.

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But up until now, I hadn’t tried their Heat & Eat crisps. I received a box of crisps with two different flavours; Sea Salted with a Tomato Salsa Dip, and Cheese & Chive with a Caramelised Onion Dip. Sadly the Cheese & Chive flavour isn’t suitable for vegans, so I passed them on to a friend who confirmed that they taste great. (Whilst it’s incredibly common to find bacon flavoured crisps that are suitable for vegans, cheesy crisps remain mostly out of reach for now.)

The sea salted ones made a perfect Sunday afternoon snack for when my friend Hannah and I sat down to continue with our Friends rewatch (we’re up to series four). The dip comes in the bag, so you just rip it open, take the dip out, and put the bag in the microwave for thirty seconds. The crisps are tasty enough as they come; they are thick cut and full of flavour, but heating them up really adds another level to them!

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It’s also good to know that Fairfields Farm is an entirely energy-efficient business, meaning that these crisps are powered solely by renewable energy. It’s nice to have a tasty treat knowing that their production isn’t adversely affecting the environment too much.

If you’re vegan, tell me your favourite crisps!

Item received for review purposes. 

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Blog Tour ~ Force of Nature by Jane Harper

26363669_820356591500735_835523176619311104_nAlice Russell is missing. She went on a team building exercise in the Australian bush, with the company on who she is currently whistleblowing, and while her four colleagues made it back safely, she didn’t, and nobody seems to know what happened.

Aaron Falk, the federal police agent who readers first met in Jane Harper’s debut novel The Dry, has been secretly working with Alice to uncover some of the financial wrongdoing of the company she works with. When he discovers that she is missing, despite being an officer with the financial division, he’s drawn into the investigation,

Following on from The Dry, which I read and reviewed last year, I had no idea that Jane Harper’s next novel would feature Aaron Falk, figuring that this would be a stand-alone novel. The story itself is completely distinct from the family murder from Harper’s first book, but the consistency in the lead investigator of Falk is great; he’s a great character who I really enjoy spending time with. Although the focus of the story is with the missing Alice, Force of Nature continues to explore Falk’s relationship with his father, which made up a large part of the first book.

The case itself is a fun one to follow; the timeline splits into two, so we start almost at the end, with four women emerging from the outback, and one of them missing. We then go back to the start, discovering each woman’s character, and finding out exactly what happened, and why Alice goes missing. Interspersed with this action, we are part of the investigation with Falk, so as the police start to piece together what has happened, the narrative from the lost women approaches its climax, and the two timelines culminate together.

It’s a really fantastic crime novel, and it builds to such a pace that, as with all good crime stories, you reach a point where the whodunnit/what happened is so close to being revealed that you won’t want to put it down before you find out!