Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Reflections of the year and Goals for 2015

With the transitional period of the New Year quickly approaching tonight I've contemplating my aims and goals, whilst, reflecting over this amazing year as I look back. I've done so much and did things I thought I would never do.Here some of the highlight from 2014:

I met one of the most amazing couch surfing hosts; Sangmesh, he showed me how to party in Germany. 

I visited Sarajevo,I always wanted to go

Great hosts in Sarajevo, they took me and my American friend Jason, around the city to the best place ever.

My first Ćevapi, amazing,  I am still searching for a Bosnian Cafe in Newcastle 

I visited Cappadocia, in the Anatolian region of Turkey and translates as the land of beautiful horses from old Persian. Cappadocia is famous for its fairy chimneys, which were shaped from the erosion of wind and rain over centuries. Christians escaping persecution from the Roman empire took sanctuary in the rocks and craved homes into the soft rock

I took the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride; it was the most phenomenal experience of life

Met my new boyfriend unexpectedly

I started my blog 

I visited my the Roman Baths in Bristol

I felt inspired by some of the blogs I've been reading to consider some of the goals I want to achieve for the New Year.


My goal is to achieve a holistic health, rather than focusing physical health. My lifestyle is appalling I feel as though I have been procrastinating too long on the path of apathy leading to self destruction.

1. My first aim is to become physically fit and start eating healthily, as I tend to eat out and rarely make home meals because of the long hours I work. I am wanted to learn to cook and preparing my own meals again. I am not too bothered about losing weight perhaps loose at least half a stone or to at least maintain my current weight. Last years, I was eleven and half stone I didn't want to be that heavy again.

2. I am going to start some form exercise – walking and hiking again. I live about an hour away from some of most specular scenery in the country, and I should take more advantage of that. I love walking and being amongst nature, particularly in forested areas. I find it has a spiritual calming effect and assists to redistribute my energy.

3. For a while, I've been down and self doubting myself, which has started my confidence issues, and panic attacks off. I feel like a black hole of negativity which extremely draining it's impacting on all aspects of my health, also I am feeling irked by attitude Now, I desire to overcome this, by focusing on the positive area in my life, like my family, friends and boyfriends.

4. For years, unknowingly I was dyslexic until, I was diagnosed two years ago by an educational Psychologist. This was both a blessing and course in some ways; the first it explained a lot about issues I have, and secondly, I used it as an excuse instead overcoming my issues. For this new year, I take-up reading, as last years I found my an immense difference in communications style .I aim to become a succinct and effective writer,so I plan to devote time practice my writing ever.

5. Lastly, is to become confident and self assertive - currently, I shy away from conflict or become extremely abrupt due to my lack of confidence. I want to develop the strength and confidence to be firm and stand my ground, whilst remain calm to consider all my options before leaping in.

My Christmas

Christmas this year has been reticent and pleasant, I very much enjoyed it. Usually, I despise Christmas for numerous of reasons:  I find it's an emotional time of year, in previous years; I had to work over the festive period and feel over the years that Christmas has become over commercialised. What has changed this year is I've made the minimal effort with Christmas and kept it simple. I only bought presents for my boyfriend who was relatively easy to buy for got, a bottle of Tobermory Whisky, socks and a box of jelly babies. The rest of my family got money as I find it difficult to buy them presents, and they can choose what they want.

For the first time in seven years, I spent Christmas with my mam. She cooked a dinner; consisting of roast chicken dinner with veg, and I ate two servings of vanilla cheesecake accompanied by soft scoop ice cream, my favourite part the meal.

 For Christmas I got a beautiful black net with sequence dress; from Dorothy Perkins I chose and money. Surprisingly, my sister gave me an array of Tatty Teddy goodies; a mug, pen and a sweet miniature Teddy with sister stitched on its t-shirt.

For Christmas, all I wanted was a digital camera, so that I could take more professional looking photographs. My previous camera I've had since being 18 years old, and my mobile camera isn't great. My boyfriend surprised me with a new digital camera, honestly I didn't think he would get me one. He kept me guessing as he first gave me a camera case, memory cards and the camera. I also got a t-shirt with the image of a map from How to Train My Dragon, this is one of the favourite films.

                                                            My New Camera, source

I ended up eating a second Christmas's dinner with the boyfriend, and I purchased a frozen pheasant stuffed with apple pork stuffing for £8. I also attempted to make stuffing balls and Yorkshire puddings; however, these weren't great as  I added too much water to the mixture. My attempt to make mash potato went better as I added Northumberland cheese and milk to the mixture; it took away some of the dryness of the potatoes. By the time, we had our dinner it was about 8pm. I also purchased a sherry trifle, but after stuffing myself with two Christmas dinners my stomach was ready to explode; I ended up falling asleep my boyfriends sofa.

My bad attempt at cooking, lol

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Life update

Over the last few weeks, I've been busy with general life . Work have implemented changes by  restructuring my team, resulting in new a Manager and my team relocated work space', that's life I guess.

In beginning of December, I visited the Gothic: Terror and Wonderment event at the National British' Library, which was extremely informative . I've wanted to write either a critique or a review about the exhibition.  I've been experiencing blogger's block, and I've attempted numerous times to write about it; everything I written has turned out to be s*%^
. I have taken My boyfriend's advice, so, I've finally, admitted defeat for my sanity and after Christmas I may retry to write it. 

I wish everybody a wonderful Christmas and a Happy News Year

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A great day out in Sunderland

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Kerry-Anne, and we went to Sunderland National Glass Centre; Sunderland a city about eight miles . Kerry-Anne suggested booking up this workshop to make Christmas glass baubles; she felt it was a great activity for us to share. We both share a passion for arts and crafts, however, she's extremely talented as she sews, knits, crochets, cross stitches and bakes the most amazing cakes. The workshop was great sharing it with Kerry-Anne as we both created a great memory, and a uniquely crafted bauble.
Kerry-Anne, photo taken glass artwork display

We were guided to the glass workshop, and the Glass Craftsman instructed us how to create the baubles. The workshop furnace temperatures were 1100 degrees centigrade, creating an intensely hot environment.Kerry-Anne volunteered to go first as she previously did glass making at university, she chose pink and fuchsia frits. I chose for my bauble black, purple and fuchsia frits.

The process involved : choosing coloured glass frits for the design of baubble, and the artist passed a long iron rod with molten glass. The tutor instructed to continually roll the iron rod in the frits, and press the molten glass's bottom in the frits. The glass was placed in the furnace and rotated to meld the frits with molten glass. The furnace hole was nicked named the 'Glory Hole'. I apologise for being juvenile; I found this funny. The participant blew into the iron rod to shape the bauble into glass; personally, I found it extremely difficult to do. The instructor added molten glass to create a loop, and it was placed into a giant fridge, preventing the bauble from cracking.

Yay, this my glass bauble I made :

Monday, 24 November 2014

DIY: Netbook decal

I've had my current netbook for two and half years; it is has been around half  the planet accompanying me, travelling .It's not the flashiest thing; however, it continues to work, despite its hard life It  accompanies  me everywhere, it's my most precious possession, along with my hard drive. If I ever had, a fire it's the only item I would save. 

When I first got it a friend recommended getting a decal to protect the front lid.  I originally had a white tiger decal on the screen to protect the front of it and after a while I got sick of looking at it . Only after removing it, I realised that the screen was getting damaged. So, I wanted a new decal, but I have looked everywhere for one and can't find one I like. I was browsing on the Internet, and I got the idea to purchase sticky back plastic and covered the back of the computer screen with it.

I was looking  on the hobby craft website, a chain of stores in the UK, that sells a range of craft items. I found a role of patterned sticky back plastic; the product was called Fablon Craft Sticky Back and the pattern is Classic Ornament, it cost £4. 

The plane blue HP screen of my netbook 


I laid the netbook lid on the sticky-back plastic, I traced around the screen using a pencil and cut it out. I carefully positioned the sticky plastic into and I trimmed the excess from the edges.  


 I love the final result of my new lid it looks magnificent, and  it has more of a Gothic appearance, I was after.  It will assist in protecting the front from further damage . 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Gateshaead's Oxfam charity shop

I came home from my Boyfriends, and I went to look in Oxfam charity shop. Normally, I avoid going into Oxfam shops because I tend to find they can be overpriced for the quality of items they're selling; especially in more affluent areas they tend to charge extortionate prices. Oxfam shop in Gateshaed is reasonable priced, and I always get amazing finds. Generally, I prefer to support more local and animal charity shops, but if I can find a great bargain and support a good cause, I can't argue.

Oxfam background information 

Oxfam was first established in 1942, and the name originated from the Oxford committee for famine relief. The committee campaign
ed for food donations to be delivered to Greece  because The Allies established a Navel blockade; preventing supplies to be delivered to the enemy country, leading to the population to starve. In 1995, Oxfam became an international charity  providing aid and reducing injustice along with poverty. It's implementing long term strategies in the worst effected communities to assist them, to become self sustaining. Oxfam is also campaigning to stop global climate change, promoting fair trade, demanding a decent standard of education and health services (1).

For the United Kingdom, Oxfam was one of the first of charity shops to open. Later this started a booming charity industry in the UK.The first shop opened in 1949, and it was founded by Joe Mitty. He was Oxfam's first paid employee. Originally, he was charged to manage and oversee the cloth distributions to war torn Europe. Mitty suggested that the clothing could be resold to generate revenue and developed the motto "if you donate it we can sell it.". During the 60's the Oxfam shops became popular resulting in several more opening over the country. In 1971 Oxfam shops were a'house hold' name and made one million pounds in 
profit. (2).

My finds

Today, I brought a gorgeous pair of black sheepskin boots for £7.99. They're not Uggs, but they are real sheepskin by a company called hotters. I used to own a pair of sheepskin boots, which never got took off my feet. I've always wanted another pair, but could never justify the cost. But for £8 I can't argue, and they look in excellent condition 

I purchased a book called the Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad. I first heard about this whilst watching The Art of Gothic: Britain's Midnight Hour; on the third Episode Blood for sale: Gothic Goes Global. Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon The third episode uses Condrad's book describes the darker side of colonialism and relating the book to the real horrors of the 19th and 20th century.After watching this show it very much inspired me to read the book and when I found it for £2.

Previous finds 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

An Afternoon in Hexham

On Tuesday, I was sick of being indoors, so I decided to visit Hexham. In previous a post 
Shopping In Hexham  . I sojourned in Hexham for an afternoon, and I completed my usual Charity shop rummage in forty minutes.  To be honest I spent most of time looking around Hexham Abbey, I have fallen in love with. Recently, I watched the Gothic season on BBC Four, which has lit my passion for Gothic Architecture, and I'm intrigued to learn more about the subject.

These are some various photographs of Hexham :


My charity Shop Finds 

I found this beautiful  wool jumper by M&S for £3, from Tynedale Hospice, it's Hexham's local hospice,  a complete bargain. 

I got this amazing gothic pvc waist cincher and buckle studded belt. It a little worn, however looked amazing on. I bought this from the RSPC charity shop for 99p, it by Dorthy Perkins, which do something fantastic styles of gothic clothing considering it high street shop.   

Hexham Abbey. 

This is background history of the Abbey. I must admit I spent a good part of my afternoon. I feel my pictures doesn't do any justice to show the spectacular majesty and grandeur of this place. Previously, I've stated I love looking around churches, despite not being religious. I adore the craftsmanship only their hands and limited technology to built the Abbey. The age of this building astounds me, considering it has stood for over 1200 years and even after I've gone it will be standing. Whilst walking around the grounds and interior, I developed a serene, peaceful feel. I wish I could articulate my feelings these buildings generate, it's indescribable

Hexham Abbey was built between, 674 - 678; established in 673 AD and dedicated to St. Andrew. It was built to house to Benedictine order of  Monks, to further the spread of Christianity, and a place of pilgrimages for Christians. The Abbey was built by Wilfred, Bishop of York Hexham Abbey is decorated to St. Andrew and on Wilfreds' trips to Rome it's believed he may have brought some relic, e.g a piece of cloth that touched the saint's bones, venerated from St. Andrews in Rome, where he worshipped. This was kept in the crypt for pilgrims to worship . 

Originally, Hexham Abbey held substantial amount land known as Hexhamshire and it remained so until the 16 century. Æthelthryth, Queen of Northumberland donated the land for the Abbey to build on and use it. Historians believe that the original church was built in the Roman basilica layout and was one the first to utilise stone,which is possibly reused stone from a Roman fort from Corbridge.

 Wilfred was banished from Northumberland due to disagreements between Wilfred and the king of Northumberland, as Wilfred persuaded the King's wife to devote herself to Monastery life. Twice Wilfred made trips to Rome enlisting, it's supported the council found in favour in 679 and was rejected in 703, and was granted his title for Hexham and Ripon, where he died shortly after. Wilfred implemented Benediction, practice's emphasised study and copying of scriptures.His friend and successor Acca improved the church,through adding paintings, sculpture, and wall hangings. He created, a library and introduced a music ten Europe.

In 821,the Church was no longer a cathedral, and the monks abandoned their monastery. Due to the Northumberland King's loss of power through invading Vikings and their attacks damaged the Cathedral. However, the church survives serving as place of worship for the locals and one priest.

In 1083, the priest Elaif obtained grant to rebuild from the church from the Archbishop of York, who was Norman and in the Archbishop of York installed Cannons to restore Hexham's monastery and church. In between 1180- 1250, In 1280 the cannons changed their plans wanting to enlarge the church with changing the layout of slype and cloister layout. The cannon were influenced by new emerging Gothic style incorporating stonework, rich decoration, pillar shafts and pointed arches .



In 1296, Tynedale were involved in the Scottish dispute for the throne as William Wallace and his army marched to Hexham, set it and it's priory ablaze.

In the 15 century Roger Thornton had left money to for building churches, the personal belief if they donated money to the local parishes,and helped to design, along with building chantey chapels where prayers were said for their souls.

These are carved stone work of the Leschman chantry chapels and traditional devotion scenes. Then contains the tomb of Rowland Leschman, Prior, between 1480-91. The carving with both crude, satirical and almost humorous faces. It contrast with the more traditional devotions carving of faces of Saints, Jesus Christ and Mary, even St. Geogre fighting the Dragon, I get the impression the Prior was very worldly experience with a sense of humour, but with strong faith of the church

During the reformation of Henry VIII, in 1536 commissioners tried to close to the priory down the cannons refused and fought to prevent this from happening. In 1537, the Priory was closed; the younger cannons were chucked out, and the elder ones were given a gown along with forty shilling to act as a pension.

The Priory continued exists only as a Parish church with a single priest. The priory buildings became home for Lord of the Manor. In 1625 Worshipful company. By the 1700's the Nave was abandoned and became graveyard. In 1830, the east in disrepair and the East part was disassembled and rebuilt on designs replicating the Whitby Abbey, work began in 1858. A lot of the stain glass is from the Victorian era as well.

Rev. E.S Savage persuaded Thomas Spencer, to endow £12,000 to rebuild the east side of nave. Savage obtained Temple Moore, to build (he primly utilised) the Victorian Gothic revival style and built the appearance subtly different from the Medieval style and the work was finished in 1908.
The new east extension

Victorian & Edwardian Stained glass
Even today Abbey still envisages Wilfred's and Acca legacy still live on as the Abbey is utilised for the local population to worship, community uses as place of meeting, displaying local art and producing harmonious choirs.

This cross was believed to be the at the foot of St. Acca's grave, Wilfred's successor.. He was one of the early bishops of Hexham between 709AD -732 AD and died in 740AD

This is a Roman tombstone, dedicated to Flavinus was a standard barer, who died at 25 years and old ready served seven years in the legion, The tomb stone depicts Flavinus' and his horse trampling a native Britain. It from Roman Tomb stone found in the Roman miltary cemtary in Corbridge

The crypt

For me one of the most exciting time, as it was my first time visiting the crypt. The crypt is original foundations existing are from the seventh century. It was rediscovered in 1725 a builder who was working check on the arch way on the North side of the church started to bow. Believed this may of have been caused by subsidence. Builder was digging down and fell into a large hole. He rediscovered the original passageway of wilfred's crypt which had been lost over centuries.As the part of the church had been blocked up by Monks during the a Scottish invasion of William Wallace.  


It's believed that a Monk would sit hear and ask for donations from Pilgrims to fund the running of the Abbey and to assist the poor.

These are Roman decorative Roman carvings found in the walls of Crypt. 

This is a curved arch of the alter tomb in the wall. made in the 13th century 


This was my favorite part of the church I love the three story arches, which offer complete difference in characteristics. This part was built between in 1180 and 1215 and was built in the early English Gothic style.Formed of finely detailed pointed arches accompanied by a semi-circle aches separated with smaller delicate arches. It was built allowed light into the building which in both physical and spiritual allowing God to come through in the essence of light creating a divine feeling amongst worshipers.  

The are the remains are decorative arches called lavatorium within the cloister where monks washed before entering the refractory  for meals 

This is the Abbey shop where I purchased my book about Hexham Abbey. Originally, would of been the Monk's dormitory and at midnight cross the Vestibule to attend prayers.    

All information provide - by Hexham Abbey book, by the Reverend Canon Graham Usher, 2008

Yum food 

I found this little local cafe opposite the bus stations,  the Coffee cup. It was kindly recommended after talking to the customer assistants, who worked in Hexham Abbey shop. It was reasonably priced along good selection of menu. As I get older I prefer to support local businesses, rather than mass cooperation owned, I tend to find that the price are more expensive and the quality of the item is substandard.   

I opted for scampi and chips,  priced at £5.95 it included handmade potato chips, salad, coleslaw and my favorite scampi, it was gorgeous,I getting hungry thinking about it. Yum 

I also got some homemade carrot cake, it was £2.50 the cake was deliciously moist with beautiful layering of cream icing found on top of the cake and in between the middle layer. 
In comparison to when I  purchased a piece of cake from a major American coffee chain shop, I was  disappointed, finding the cake was dry and tasteless. Besides I adore cake, my favorite is carrot cake,   

Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...