Sherlock Holmes: 130 Years

Hey guys! 

Hope you’re well and plodding through October soundly. I’m trying to have a restful Saturday, I have been exploring though! Nevertheless, the focus of this post is that today is the anniversary of the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet. 130 years ago, Sherlock Holmes first appeared and the rest, as they say, was history. I wonder if Conan Doyle know that he had created an absolute literary legend?! 


As an avid Sherlock Holmes fan, it felt like the perfect opportunity to celebrate this occasion with you all. So, to celebrate this I wanted to share 5 awesome things about Sherlock Holmes (in my opinion!)
1. He has his own statue in London. Pretty cool. 

2. Queen Victoria was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. It had royal approval! She invited Doyle to the palace for a private reading and gave him an emerald tie pin. 

3. Sherlock Holmes has been on film for over century. That’s a lot of variations to watch. 

4. Conan Doyle wanted to kill Holmes off out of boredom after two years. Can you imagine? 

5. 221B Baker Street did not exist in Doyle’s time. It wasn’t until 1930 when the houses were renumbered. It was knocked down the same year anyway. 

What would life be like without Sherlock Holmes? It’s a collection of novels that have changed me because they’re just so smart. After all: “To a great mind, nothing is little.” I refer to Sherlock Holmes in my teaching. Therefore, I can safely say, my life would be very different without him! 

Have a great weekend everyone. 

Big love xx

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Filed under Books, Classics, Victorian Lit

Tattershall Castle


Hi everyone! 

We are experiencing some excellent autumnal days and I have to say, I’m enjoying having my autumn scarves on! 

Last Saturday I went exploring, this time to a castle! Tattershall Castle, to be specific. It was awesome! It sits proudly in the Lincolnshire fens; a fabulous setting for a castle if I do say so myself. 


First of all it’s a magnificent 15th century red brick castle. It was the size and the colour that stood out to me as I was driving up. The dates of this castle show that it’s been standing for years and years. The sights that castle has seen and stood through. The people that have been there and the stories the walls could tell. 


On exploration of the castle, I learnt that it was built by Lord Ralph Cromwell, who was Treasurer of England. Like all good castles it was built to show off his wealth and power. 


Yet it wasn’t free from its own turmoil. In 1911, the castle was saved from exportation to America. As one of the earliest surviving examples of English medieval brickwork, it was crucial that it was saved. Thankfully, now in the hands of The National Trust, it will forever be safe. 


So this castle is grand on every levels. 149 stairs along the winding staircase take you to three levels. Each floor has the most incredible stained glass windows. I love a good stained glass window, the way the light hits the colours; just stunning. 


Another prominent feature was the gothic fireplaces. They are just fantastic on every level, with little pictures depicting various scenes. Again, showing wealth and power. You can hardly blame him really. 


At the top of the tower, the views of the Lincolnshire countryside were breathtaking. It was a bit breezy up there but it was a nice sunny day which meant I could see quite far. 


I highly recommend this castle. It’s just wonderful. The spiral staircase is magnificent (but did make me feel slightly queasy) and the large rooms create a feeling of wonder. I just wish I could have seen this castle in it’s prime. 


Have a fantastic autumn everyone! 

Big love xx

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Filed under Days Out, Exploring, National Trust, Photography, UK

Illustrated Potter – Part 3!

Hey guys!

I can’t believe we are in October already. Time is moving rapidly and I can barely keep up! However, I did have a nice surprise today at work. Of course, I’m talking about Jim Kay’s illustrated Prisoner of Azkaban. Oh my it’s absolutely beautiful. (Why wouldn’t it be? The first two were just as stunning!) 



The second part of my surprise was a free tote bag with the book cover on. Bloomsbury absolutely ROCKS. 20 years and still going amazingly strong. My childhood being relived. A new generation of readers are embarking on this Harry Potter journey. It takes me back to that little girl who was lost in this magical world of wonder. I remember my very first reading. I love it just as much today. The illustrations bring the story to life in another way. 


Tuesday night for me is pjs, heating on, hot chocolate and my new lovely book. I wish you all a peaceful October! 

Big love xx

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Filed under Books, Harry Potter, New Books

The Shop That Must Not Be Named – York


Hi guys! 

It’s Saturday, Strictly is on and I’ve had another busy, up and down week. However, I decided (after some hauling out of bed) to visit The Shop That Must Not Be Named in York. 


The first thing I absolutely loved was the fact that lots of people in York were wearing something Harry Potter based (myself included – shoes!) Here are my feet in the shop!! 


The second most amazing thing was that the windows were dressed immaculately. I didn’t mind queuing because I got to see all the exciting things on offer. 


I was very good actually. It would have been easy for me to completely loose myself and buy everything there. I wanted everything I saw. However, I was reserved and treated myself to a couple of things only

The first thing I spotted and purchased was an awesome Platform 9 and 3/4s tote bag. Perfect for transporting my marking to and from school. That’s my justification anyway! 


My other purchase was a bit of a splurge I must admit. But, it’s really really beautiful. I treated myself to a journal. My only worry is that it’s too beautiful to use. 


The little shop brought to life my childhood. Those kind of memories are priceless. I really need to read the books again. I loved it. It really was pure magic


I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I would go back tomorrow. I might do! We all deserve a little magic in our lives. I’m so pleased I’ve seen this little wonder of a shop. 


Big love xx

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Filed under Days Out, Harry Potter, Photography, Places, UK

900 Followers! 


Hey guys! 

Happy Saturday. Today I realised some really exciting news… I’ve reached 900 followers. I genuinely can’t believe it. When I started my little blog I don’t really think I had any idea what I was doing really. I read a few books, visited a few places and thought I’d just write about it, almost like an online diary. Little did I know what I would learn and who I would stumble across. 

Today I had a day away, I popped to Newcastle to see the amazing Souter Lighthouse. Despite the spirals and the stairs, it was amazing. The views were lovely. I got lucky and saw a rainbow. 


I’ve never been in a lighthouse before but it really is awesome! I highly recommend it actually. On a sunny day you can see for miles. I enjoyed seeing the tide come in. There’s something about hearing the sea against the rocks; the continuous ebb and flow. I even took a smooth pebble home to remember my little trip. 


So, 900 followers and a trip to a lighthouse. Not bad for a quiet September Saturday. 

Big love to you all. Thanks for being a part of my journey. 


Xx

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Filed under Blog, Follows, Photography, UK

Back To School! 

Hey Lovelies!

Happy September. Okay, I know we are a couple of weeks in, but school has started and I swear my feet haven’t touched the ground. It’s back to the conveyor belt of exams skills, mocks, teenage hormones and confidence building –  not in any particular order! 

In a desperate bid to clear my mind before bed, I was mooching about the internet for quotes about reading for my classroom, when I stumbled across this awesome poster. 


I can relate to each and every one of these. I believe them and can associate them to different challenges and students. Even myself. 

All I’ve ever wanted to do is help and advise; to support young people on their starting journey. I’m so passionate and I think that’s why I love this poster. It brings together some amazing fictional teachers and inspirational statements. I only hope that I give some comfort to my own students. I’d like to think I do, but I’ll always strive to be better. 

Big love xx

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Filed under Quotes

Birmingham Back To Backs 


Hey guys! 

I’ve got another post about a place I’ve visited. However, I never normally post on the same day. I like to take time to sleep on my thoughts, as it were, but this place is just too incredible to keep to myself. 

Birmingham Back to Backs is a place that my dad was desperate to see and it’s taken most of my summer holiday to get a booking slot. Yet, today was the day we finally got to step back in time and visit a piece of our history. 

Back to Backs centres around Court 15, the last remaining court of back to back houses. It wasn’t until 1830 that it actually became a court of backs to backs. Originally, in 1789, it was a handful of workshops. 1802 brought the start of the house building. 


Today, the houses have been restored and conserved to show examples of the similar houses that were build around shared courtyards, for the rapidly increasing population of Britain’s industrial towns. You can imagine three main things: the air, the smell and the noise. 

The first thing you notice is the courtyard. Naturally, this would have been quite communal area; children would be playing here. There wasn’t really any privacy or alone time; everyone was part of everyone business. In this area were the toilets and wash houses. 



House 1: The 1840s

This house is a representation of the Levy family. Lawrence was a watchmaker and it is highly that he used part of the house as a workshop. The family business was carried on by his sons. Nevertheless, what this house shows us how life used to be. There were small rooms (you only had one if you were poor which the Levy’s were not) but it was a time before electricity, heat and entertainment: iPads, games etc. What I adored about this house was the stencilling on the walls. 


However, this family did have a little money. They left behind and inventory of all the furniture they owned, of which a fancy bed was listed. 



House 2: The 1870s

It was in this second house the homes of the Oldfields were reproduced. Birmingham was a city of many trades and Herbert Oldfield definitely lived up to that reputation as a glassworker. Both he and his son made eyes for toys and animals as well as the occasional glass eye for people. As with the first house, Herbert used part of this house too as a workshop. They also had two lodgers with them, resulting in 6 people sleeping in one room! 

It is in this house where you can see what the court and back to back houses were like before the restoration. They did find huge layers of wallpaper, some of which were on display. 



House 3: The 1930s

House three showed the home of the Mitchells. This family stayed here for almost a century. When they arrived there was no electricity. When they left there was. It is families like this that really experienced the changes of our own social history. Their family trade: locksmiths, something which his sons continued after his death. 

It is here we see signs of wallpaper still on the walls. Wallpaper during the Victorian period was incredibly expensive; seen as flamboyant and extravangent. How it was produced meant that it was taxed. (Another hint that the previous family did have money; others were not so lucky!) Now, mass production was in place. The houses were getting slightly larger, electricity was becoming more available and living was getting slightly easier. 



House 4: The 1970s

The final house showed the residence of George Sanders, a tailor originally from the Caribbean. He made a huge number of suits as well as pieces for the the Horse Guards. He was hugely successful and popular, after he spent time building up his reputation. What was amazing here was there are original items that had been left. The history really was alive. 



Finally, the 1930s Sweet Shop

It’s been standing there since 1910 and it was amazing. Naturally we got some sweets to take home. Back in the 1930s all of the famous brands would have been there: Cadbury, Rowntrees. Everyone deserved a little treat! 



What makes this place to special me and the reason why I’ve been writing this post since I got in the car home is because of my grandma. My grandma’s grandparents used to live in backs to backs in Birmingham. My lovely Nan was telling me all about it today, the cold, the one room, the lack of money, the best memories. “It’s true history! It’s my history.” It is this that resonates with me most. My dad also was animated when he was walking around because of this. My mum could see numerous things from her grandma’s house. There’s even items my grandma has that she uses every day now. It’s so special. We are very lucky because we have heating, space, electricity. Life is so different now. This little time capsule keeps our history alive. I absolutely loved it. 


Big love all xx

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Filed under Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK