Wednesday, 29 October 2014

LIFE: Girl Meets Pumpkin


Ten year old me to dress up as a witch or a bat for Halloween. Me and the girl that lived next door but one use to go trick or treating every year for a while, since then I don't particularly do anything to celebrate. Neither have I ever carved a pumpkin. Until Sunday when my afternoon was spent on the kitchen floor doing just that.

Pumpkins Pumpkins

Seeing we finally have a house, and the all important front porch we finally have somewhere to stick a pumpkin and decorate. We picked up one of those super cheap (like $3.99 super cheap) carving kits you see in the stores everywhere from September on wards.. They come with these "tools" and a set of templates to get you carving away. Being the first time doing such a craft thing, and feeling a bit adventures I opted for the 2 pumpkin difficultly of the spooky ghost.

It actually was a tonne of fun, even the snooping out all the gooey matter part. Even though by the time i'd finished, it felt like I was covered in the stuff. Apparently I don't fancy the smell or how slimy the inside of a pumpkin is, either.


Mr ghostly pumpkin sat on our dinning table until it was dark enough to get him outside. The official lighting the tea light inside the pumpkin ceremony was on Sunday night and it's been sitting on our porch ever since. Our street gets pretty dark at night, so he shines rather well. We live down a street people don't seem to do much decorating for this holiday, there's no front gardens turned into graveyards and asylums or huge blow up ghosts and pumpkins at any right.


So here he is, trying to look all scary. *insert scary ghost noises here*.

And yeah, i'm kinda pleased with myself about it all even if this is about how festive I get for Halloween.

Have you been carving any pumpkins?

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Monday, 27 October 2014

TRAVEL: Oswiecim, a Town in Poland

One of the best ice creams I've ever licked and slurped and crushed was in a small quiet, little Polish town. On a warm April day a long time ago in 2007, we'd been walking around this town, taking notes, photographing as part of our university project about social and economical change in Poland since the fall of communism. The ice cream was something to do while killing time, walking around the cobbled streets, seeing the colorful buildings, the quirky little cars you only find in that part of Europe. 

A castle sits on the edge of the town, just off the main street, it watches over the place and glimmers in the sunlight. It's fortunes raising and falling, it's population changing as the fortunes of Germany and Poland changed hands over the centuries. 

The little town is named Oswiecim, located about 30 or so miles west of Krakow. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come near, drive pass but may never stop in the town ever single year. Why? Because they are on their way to the place that since World War 2, came to define the town more than anything, the place who's German name many also know the town by - Auschwitz. 

Since 1945 the town, at least under it's German name, has been known the world round. The dark twisted horrors of the death camp that still lands outside the town, has become entangled with life in this small, Polish town. We visited the town, spoke to Jewish leaders, learn of the Jewish history before the German invasion. We walked around the streets, saw the homes the German commanders made home, we drove past the IG Farben factory before taking the drive out to Auschwitz.

Oswiecim had and still does have a life before and after the death camp, yet many don't separate them, the town was small, unremarkable enough, just a normal Polish town like any other. Even after WW2 the town continued, people lived there, made it their home. Yet those six years of WW2 define it more than any other. We don't hear of the Oswiecim of now, just the Oswiecim of then.

If you're ever in the area, whether your enjoying the sites of Krakow or you're paying your respects at Auschwitz. Take a trip to that little Polish town, enjoy an ice cream and walk along it's streets.

Friday, 24 October 2014

LIFE: Call This a Hello

Edinburgh Book

Sometimes you need to step back and get back down to the basics. We can all get a little too caught up with sharing the must have thing, that product you just gotta run out to the store and find or just sharing that huge hot chocolate we had the night before. Sometimes we just have to stop and say hello.

The past couple of months my followers have increased (yey) without me really trying (double yey). But when you stumble across a blog, a couple of years in, they have a substantial back catalog of posts, it's a little hard to really grasp what they are all about. Even with the help of an about me page. So I thought, hey why not just have a break, say hello and talk about myself for a little, and even perhaps get you to do the same down in the comments (see I like comments - there you're finding something out about me). 
So what might you know about me already? You might have worked out I live in Michigan, right outside of Detroit, you might have worked out I wasn't born in the US - in fact I'm a Brit, from a super small rural (narrow minded ahem) town in East Yorkshire. I'm 28, a little scared of turning 30, Michigan has been home for nearly three years (come November) and I share my home with my guy and my two kitties - Ed, who is fat, purs like a motor and speaks with a Russian voice - don't ask, and Smoky who is super timid and playful, aka tiny face, smokes, teeny tiny ickle bickle.

Anyway so once upon a time I met an American guy (online - controversial I know) and we got talking, fell in love and five years later we're still together. We managed the whole long distance relationship malarkey for just over two years. I filled out lots of paper work, paid lots of pennies, had interviews and moved to the US in 2011. Joe is my comic book geek, he's hell bent on corrupting me into liking comic books, Transformer toys, Star Trek and model trains. And he's succeeded. It's a good job I love him.

In a previous life I lived in Newcastle in my university years - four wild years of partying, drinking too much and studying even more in both geography (BA) and sociology (MA). My one university regret is not exploring more of the region which in turn sparks my passion for visiting and documenting the places on my doorstep (and showing them all off here). I'm a firm believer of a couple of things - you don't need to travel far and wide to see amazing things, live life with your eyes open and always look up, but you probably want to look down too, just so you don't trip up.

Saying that I have a lot of issues walking into things - sign posts, a couple of pillars in Target. You get the picture.
Aside from blogging you'll find me picking around estate sales, getting far too attached to vintage postcards, taking far to many photographs, taco bell is my weakness, I have stress issues, often found trying to craft something, pretending that I know something about gardening, cross stitching, being sarky about something. I enjoy whiskey and playing my music on old vinyl records, lots of vinyl records.  I treat chocolate digestives like gold dust and I always enjoy runny eggs. You get the picture. 

I'm a bit of an expat blogger - even though the term expat bugs me a little, a Michigan blogger, a Detroitish blogger, a Yorkshire blogger, a lifestyle blogger. I'll throw out a recipe, a kitty picture, some rant or another. But most of all this place, this blog reflects me. It's a mixture of all these things, it's a mix of everything any anything that makes up me and my life. I'm not trying to be a big blogger, or have everyone love me, I'm just trying to be myself and find the words to make them all come through the screen.

Most of all I'm glad you're all here for the ride, whether you've been here from the start or you started reading three days ago. I just want to say thank you, thank you for all the comments and shares and everything else. 

If you like what you see you can always find me in a couple of other places;

So that is enough about me, come say hello, and if you have any questions you'd love me to answer about myself or my blog, feel free to drop them into the comments! :)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

LIFE: Mushrooms and Autumnal Rain

mushroomsMushrooms Mushrooms Mushrooms mushrooms Mushrooms

Heavy rain seems to herald the mushrooms poking up through our grass around the old maple tree. They seem to sprout up within hours although not so many to form fairy rings. Which is probably a good thing, old British folklore would have you believe any human stepping inside a fairy ring would succumb to a hundred year sleep, or worse yet be taken away to fairy land to never return. Luckily i'm still standing.

While I can't lay claim to any knowledge about they types I do find them incredible to look at. Their peeling layers, the shades and colours, their shapes. Something I hope these photographs I managed to capture on a very damp and dark morning managed to achieve. Somewhat. I guess many may see them as a pest, an unattractive grass feature. Yet I look upon them as a sign that least the garden has lots of organic matter going on in the soil which is more then fine with me.