Sunday, 31 August 2014

London Wetland Centre

Yesterday I headed to the London Wetland Centre. My parents had recently been and my mum had sent me some photos of the otters there, they looked so cute! I was really jealous and desperately wanted to go, so we decided to make a trip and planned it around the otters' feed. Every day you can see the otters being fed at 11am and 2pm. This is a great chance to see them up close as they are normally hidden away, but of course food brings them out of their holt

Whilst one of the Wetland staff feeds the otters they give a little talk. We learnt that the otters there were a male and a female and that the male was the smaller one, but this is not normally the case with otters, he just comes from a small family, like me! We also learnt that there are different types of otters, including the giant otter. Seriously, check them out, I couldn't believe how big they are!
The only negative thing about the centre is the planes passing overhead, however you can get cool reflection pictures!

Say cheese!

They have some little houses set up like homes in wetland areas across the globe, this is just one of a few. 
Hey, stop looking at my fat neck!

Did you know that Black Swans are originally from Australia and not native to the UK!? 

Show off.

I thought this was an eider duck... but having looked it up on the internet I'm now not sure. And yes, if you're wondering that is where eiderdown feathers come from!

Wearing my new blue shirt from Topshop.

Spot the lizard!

Sweets in the shop!

There are also birdwatching huts in the 'wild' part of the wetlands. I would thoroughly recommend visiting the wetlands centres, which are all over the country. They are vital to saving rare and endangered birds and are a great way to spend an afternoon with your family or friends. There is something for everyone, the 'wild' part is great for older relatives as it is really peaceful and the tallest hut even has a lift in. There is a picnic area for families and plenty of activities for kids. Plus there are brilliant photo opportunities at every turn!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Pizza Pilgrims – Soho

Pizza Pilgrims has become a bit of a cult pizza restaurant. Everyone raves about it, it's in Soho, it's independent and achingly cool. I had to try it out. I have been to Homeslice before which is equally gaining cult status and I have recommended it as one of my top five places to eat before, however I have never been to Pizza Pilgrims.

I was trying to arrange dinner with my best mate from Uni, obviously trying to pursuade her that Wahaca was the best option, when she suggested Pizza Pilgrims. We didn't book as I don't think you can unless there are eight or more of you but we arrived at 6pm and were seated quickly. The waitress we had was really friendly but not in an annoying way. I liked the decor and the toilets were acceptable. I get worried about locks on public toilets and I can tell you this was an easy lock, if anyone else even has this fear!!!!

We sat down and browsed the menu. I ordered a margarita and my friend had a plain tomato and garlic one with no cheese as she has a dairy allergy. They were very understanding about this and my friend has been there many times before so it is definitely a good one for any of you with dairy allergies. 

I had the margarita with the cow's milk cheese – I can't remember the exact name! You can add buffalo mozzarella for £2.50 and to be honest I really wish I had. I didn't really enjoy the consistency of the cheese. The base was delicious and the tomato sauce tasted really fresh. I washed it down with a sparkling blood orange drink, which was absolutely delicious! 

I would recommend Pizza Pilgrims as the prices are good but I'm not sure it quite lives up to the hype. If I had to choose I think Homeslice is better. 


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why my blog motivates me

I'm having one of those moments where I keep thinking: what should I do with my life?! I often get like this if I feel my career isn't going well. At present my job doesn't offer me any training opportunities or promotion. In order to keep staff motivated it is so important that there are goals, things to work towards. If you are working somewhere where it feels like a glass ceiling, then you are naturally going to look elsewhere. This is what has been happening to me. I recently had an interview for a job and was expecting a second interview tomorrow, however the second interviews have been postponed until September. This does not even mean I have a second interview and I am beginning to feel pessimistic about it. 

In the past two years I have probably had about a dozen or so interviews for jobs I really wanted. This is not counting the applications I have made. I have never been successful. The reason I have applied for other jobs is because my current role is so unstable and heavily relies on funding; I have already been made redundant there and then had to reapply for my job. 

I know that I want to work in the arts or to write for a living, however these are both incredible competitive and difficult careers to pursue. I am lucky enough to already work in the arts, but even though I am fully qualified and have the experience I am yet to find another job in the arts. The problem with the arts is that it is so underfunded and your salary expectations have to be low. This makes me then think, how am I ever going to move forward in my life with buying a house or being able to afford children. Maybe I should focus on a new career? I thought for a while about teaching but then I became really sad about the idea of not being absorbed in the art world. When I really think about it I feel I have no choice but to stay in the art world, although this is harder than it looks!

I really want to progress this blog and to make it better, to improve the content, my writing style and in time, the design of the blog. When I look on Google analytics I can see there are roughly 200 people reading my blog each month, which makes me so happy. Whenever I get down about things I look at my blog and it reminds me that I can succeed by myself and it will always offer me opportunities to progress. I can always improve things about my blog and I don't need to wait for someone to tell me it's good enough to move onto the next stage. I am in control of it and how far I want to take it and this excites me, and I hope you will continue to stay with me on this journey! I am excited about what the future holds for Brown Paper Roses  and hopefully one day I can start to earn a living from it. Until then, I hope to keep producing enjoyable content. Thank you for reading this!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mini Tiger haul

I have a couple of friends' birthdays coming up and with the Australia trip breaking the bank I have had to try and buy budget-busting presents. Enter... Tiger! I went to the Tiger store in Richmond, London. It is all so reasonably priced.

I purchased:

  • 2 cards, one with cakes on and one with eggs and cress on for 50p each!
  • Glow sticks for £1
  • Pink paper straws with hearts on for £2
  • Rabbit mood light for £2 (one of the girls has a rabbit)
  • Fruit pattern tea towel for £3

I am also putting in a couple of extra treats but I'm pretty pleased with the purchases and think they will make really nice birthday presents. Let me know what budget friendly presents you have recently purchased!

Monday, 25 August 2014

A visit to the Buddhapadipa temple in Wimbledon

Who would have thought, a Buddhist temple in Wimbledon. Many people have no idea that this even exists and to be honest, why would they?! It is not something you would casually walk past. When you walk up to the location of the temple it feels like you are walking into someone's back garden. The temple is just behind a large house. There were a few other visitors coming to see this magnificent building out of curiosity. The only other people we saw were Buddhist nuns. I had no idea Buddhism had nuns, I thought it was only monks, probably very naive of me to think that! I went to see the architecture of the building and to just see what this was all about. I had seen photos on the internet but nothing could prepare me for the scale of the building. The size just does not come across in these photos or any photos I have seen. You have to see it for yourself to really grasp the size. It's not bigger than a standard church, but it is not a garden shed. I have tried to get as many photos that help you to understand the size, e.g. with the benches and then a shot where the house is in view.

The temple was the first Thai Buddhist temple to be built in the UK. It was originally located in Christ Church Road in Richmond in 1965 but was moved to Wimbledon in 1976. There are lots more photos on their Flickr group.
There is also a garden and a lake in the temple grounds. We stumbled upon this circle with what looked like Peter Rabbit in the centre.

When you leave the temple you can walk around the roads of Wimbledon village and take in some spectacular views of London.

I really recommend making a day trip to the temple, but perhaps ring in advance to see if you can visit inside the temple. When I visited there was a service going on so it didn't feel right to go in and have a nosey around. Also, the bluey-green thing in the middle of the photo above is part of the Wimbledon tennis grounds. Do let me know of any hidden gems you have found in your area!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A day trip to Hastings!

A few months ago my uncle and his family moved to Hastings from London. It was a smart move as the rental prices in London are becoming more and more unaffordable. However little did I realise how brilliant their new place of residence would be. I have been to Hastings once before and got out of the station on a cold winter's day and stayed for about half an hour before thinking this was not going to be the nicest place to hang out for the day. Little did I know that only round the corner was the old town, Jerwood Gallery and many many antique shops, plus an excellent ice cream stand. The old town is so quaint and has so much character. I was overwhelmed with the amount of vintage and antique stores, if you like antiques and flea markets, then you have to visit Hastings. 

My uncle and his family live on a hill overlooking the sea, it is only a short walk to a playground, again, overlooking the sea, and the view you can see above. 
We had lunch at my uncle's house, which consisted of a baked potato, homemade guacamole and a delicious salad. It was probably one of my favourite lunches, simple yet filling and tasty! After lunch we headed down to the old town and browsed the antique shops, and happened upon an indoor flea market. It was vast, there was everything you could want, from old vinyls to furniture and porcelain cats. The photos below are from this market.

We then headed to what is apparently the best ice cream in Hastings. It was Kelly's ice cream. I had a banoffee flavour one and my sister had a toffee fudge one. I would really recommend getting these if you are in the area! 
Where better to eat your ice cream than on the beach?! We headed there and passed all these old huts and random bits and bobs, like this random piano set up!

I had a lovely day in Hastings and I also went on the dodgems with my little cousin who is two and a half. You can catch the train to Hastings from London, but make sure you head straight for the old town and you won't regret it! 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Black leather rucksacks

I have a friend who is a fashion designer and I remember her asking me a while ago whether or not I liked the idea of a black leather rucksack. I was unsure and thought, oh god, is this going to be one of those horrible trends that I can never get in to. However after seeing Whistles' Portland backpack, I was sold. Now I know that if I buy a winter bag this year, it will most certainly be a black leather rucksack. Not only are rucksacks better for your back but they are much easier to walk with, which means I may be more likely to walk the last bit of my commute rather than get the bus. Although I have included the Portland backpack in this post, I have also searched the web for some equally beautiful rucksacks that are a little more purse friendly! Also... what do you call them... rucksacks or backpacks?!
Not all of these are leather but they are all at least faux leather.
1. Structured rucksack, Next, £30 

2. Suede Clip backpack, Topshop, £65

3. Track backpack, Royal Republiq, £160

4. Quilted rucksack, River Island, £30 

6. Strumpf backpack, Aldo, £50

Which is your favourite?
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