A - Z Challenge 2016

A – Z Challenge 2016, E if For…

Eis for East, Alfred. I did not really have an E that sprang to mind so had to do a search and after dismissing a fwe others settled upon this gentleman.

Painting of East by Laszlo
Painting of East by Laszlo

East was born in Kettering in Northamptonshire and studied at the Glasgow School of Art. His romantic landscapes show the influence of the Barbizon school. His The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour was published in 1906. In April 1888 he had shared an exhibition at the galleries of the Fine Art Society with T.C. Gotch and W. Ayerst Ingram, and was commissioned the following year by Marcus Huish, Managing Director of the Society, to spend six months in Japan to paint the landscape and the people of the country. When the exhibition of 104 paintings from this tour was held at the Fine Art Society in 1890 it was a spectacular success.

East visited Spain after 1892 when he visited Algeciras at the southern end of Iberia.[2]

In 1906 he was elected President of the Royal Society of British Artists, a position he held until his death. In that year, he published his 107-page illustrated “The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour”; in its preface, he made the observation: “The greatest errors in landscape painting are to be found — contradictory as it may appear — not so much in the matter of technique as in the painter’s attitude toward Nature”. In this book he described his techniques using colours, half-tones and pencil sketches.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 1910 by King Edward VII. His portrait was painted by Philip de Laszlo. The Alfred East Art Gallery in Kettering, designed by John Alfred Gotch opened on 31 July 1913. The Alfred East Gallery is Northamptonshire’s oldest purpose-built art gallery.

East was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1899, having been a regular exhibitor since 1883 and elected to full membership in 1913.

On Sunday, 28 September 1913, Alfred East died at his London residence in Belsize Park. His body was taken back to Kettering and lay in state in the Art Gallery, where it was surrounded by the pictures he had presented to the town, and attracted crowds of several thousands.

I cheated and lifted the bio from Wikipedia simply as there is not much said there apart from a list of his accomplishments, for those outside the UK you may not know Kettering is an army town and has been for many years and I would speculate he came from a fairly well off military family but for all his travels there is something very homely about his art.

BAL14993 The Fiesta by East, Sir Alfred (1849-1913) Roy Miles Fine Paintings English, out of copyright
BAL14993 The Fiesta by East, Sir Alfred (1849-1913)
Roy Miles Fine Paintings
English, out of copyright

I chose this picture first as it struck me that on the one hand you have the feeling of an impressionist, Monet himself regularly painted figures in the garden but the back ground structure was what really made me stop and look again. I cannot be sure if it is an aqueduct or a railway bridge, certainly by this point the age of steam was in full flow, Monet and several other artists painted in the stations in Paris yet East chooses to show architecture blending into the landscape rather than jarring against it,

Many times writers go to extremes in an attempt to surprise and entertain but it is just as true for us that in integrating layers of ideas subtly you can create depth in a story and achieve the same impact  eventually but at a what could be considered a slower pace, in some ways this makes the juxtapositions of ideas more surprising than an initial jarring at seeing them side by side.View_at_Kettering

The final one reminds me again of numerous other artists but I think it also serves as a reminder that just because something is similar to other things it does not negate the quality of the work or the time spent crafting it. They say all stories can be tracked back to half a dozen themes, after that everything is just a variation. Likewise when you consider that there is every chance dozens of artists have stood in that self same spot he paint from at countless points through time, the time differences caused by his eyesight looking at that spot on that day may not be obvious without another next to it for exact comparison but just consider how very different that same painting might have felt if there had been black clouds and rain on that day.

We should all remember that often it is the slightest things that can change everything without seeming important at all.

Glossybox Monthly Review

Glossybox Review July 2015

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OohLaLa! Oh my what a pretty box this months goodies arrived in, I know the box should not matter but it does, I love it when I get something different and I do use these for storing things in, my Marilyn Monroe one from a few months ago now holds note cards waiting to be sent out into the big blue yonder. Even the bottom of this is pretty…

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However I guess we should move onto the contents…

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As you can see we have an extra layer this month so on we go…

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First thought is disappointment at no make up but lets go into the products one by one, the first one is the second from the right I have no close up picture because despite taking a couple of shots they were all blurred and  can’t be bothered getting the camera out for just one photo lol sorry!

Teoxane Cosemecteuticals Perfect Skin Refiner

I have to put my hands up I have not tried this yet but I am interested to as soon as I can. At the minute I am still struggling to get the last break out under control and because this seems to be some sort or chemical peel type thing even though very very mild I am thinking putting it on crusty scabs is possibly not a good idea. The fact you also need to use a high SPF while using it suggests it is going to remove top layers of skin so it will have to wait. As the full size version is £70 the chances are I will love it lol

So next up and back to normal review procedure…

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Vichy Liftactiv Advanced Filler

I have previously failed to be impressed by Vichy and I am afraid it continues, the full size is £31 and not something I will be buying, yes my skin feels nice after I use it but I don’t really think there has been any difference to the fine lines, I do know people who sing the praises of these products so I am not saying they don’t work only that they don’t seem to have worked for me.

Next up will it get any better…

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Lollipops Lip Balm Delicieuse

I loved the Lollipops eyeliner I received previously and the packaging for this fits in with the fun look of the company, at £4.15 it is slightly pricey for a lip balm but it is nice, soothes dry cracked lips but can be a little gloopy if too much is applied, would I buy this again, if I saw it in a store on offer yes, would I go looking for it probably not.

This month has not seemed good so far…

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noxidoxi Enhancing Serum Base

I like this, I don’t love it as I will explain in a minute but I do like it. Full size costs £33.46 (I think the strange prices this month are the conversions from Euro prices) and the idea is you put this on under you moisturiser.  Now that on its own works nicely and I really like it but here is the reason I don’t love it… when you move on to the next stage and apply your make up unless you are very careful it has a strange effect on your foundation. It reminds me a little of cleaning a frying pan and not using enough washing up liquid, you know what I mean where the oil goes opaque and leaves smears but as long as you have time to do the extra blending it is not a problem.

And finally…

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Glossybox Exclusive Travel Pouch

They say this costs £3.99 but really unless you have bought the box you are probably not going to ever come across it. I totally love this, okay I am not using it for make up I already have a make up bag I like and as I am not travelling in the near future it would be waiting a while to be used so I have appropriated it as a pencil case. Because it is quite large it means a good shake flattens everything out for when I am loading my bag and means I can fit a few extra bits in.

Not the best box I have received in terms of contents and I am hoping for more make up next box as the last few have been heavy on the skin care side but still some interesting things I would never have tried otherwise.

8. Vlog Time

Vlog Time #33 – My Week

I started out the week full of good intentions for sharing parts of the whole week with you but things did not go quite to plan… I know the weather we have had in the last week has been nothing to that in other parts of the world and I actually slept through the best storms but I thought my friends around the world might enjoy a bit of an English Summer lol

8. Vlog Time

Vlog Time #29 – Bad Moods & Manuscripts

I just want to sort of apologise for the rant at the video however it really got to me because many people out there are more vulnerable and may not have had my conviction to say no, I hope you will understand after watching why it wound me up.

Highs and Lows · Thoughts on thursday

Wet and Windy


The wind is picking up again outside and although the sun is shining and it is dry at the minute you know it will not last.

The weather at the minute is full of extremes no matter where in the world you are while friends in the States post tales of snow drifts and freezing temperatures, those down under complain of the heat as do other friends in different part of the States.  But here in the UK there only seems to be two words needed this winter WET and Windy.

The first two pictures are from my local paper the Huddersfield Examiner and were taken yesterday…

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The second picture shows the roof which was torn off a swimming pool by the wind while the kids were having a swimming lesson inside.

But as always the thing to remember is there are always those who have it worse than you…

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Of course compared to some countries we are better equipped to deal with these things, we are an island so there are always plenty of boats available…


We can turn anything into an excuse to get romantic if we choose…


Everything stops for a single snow flake but a ‘bit of water’ won’t stop us…


The kids are loving the extra days off school…


And the biggest advantage we have in harsh times….

our sense of humour…


Whatever the weather is like where you are today stay safe and remember it could be worse!

3. Wednesday · Places that Inspire

500 Posts and An Amazing Stately Home

500 hundred posts I can;t believe I have reached that mile stone already and that so many of you are still here sharing my journey, some of you have been here since the first post, you are such gluttons for torture lol.  I just want to say….thank_you

Now I actually did something a little different while I was at Castle Howard in that I took a note book and scribbled a few thoughts down during my visit to share with you rather than just sharing a few pictures.

The first lines are scrawled as we take our seats on the mini bus…

Before we even set off the whingers are off ‘it is a minibus it’s supposed to be a coach’, ‘it looks like an ambulance’. ‘it smells’  The irony is at their age if they were so concerned with comfort then at their age they should have taken the train, it would actually have probably worked out cheaper for them.

Not a brilliant start to the day but determined not to listen to their moaning I put on the headphones and turn up the music my next entry is as we let the first group off in York centre,

As we pass through York I am reminded just how much I love this place and that I really must bring the monster again now he is older.  I am tempted to try out the new big wheel thought when the time comes am not so sure my resolve will hold though the monster would love it and want to go on so who knows.

image courtesy of Google
image courtesy of Google

We then depart for Castle Howard and I am gutted as we fly past a garage that has Daleks and a Cyberman on top but I couldn’t get my camera out in time (I thought I could snap it coming back but we take a different route) then we turn onto the longest approach to any house i have ever visited the ‘drive’ or road leading up to it is 5 miles long this is what I wrote about it,

We pass beneath two arches about a mile apart, both of them part of spectacular walls built to mirror those of York itself before taking a right at the recreation of Cleopatra’s Needle now sat in the middle of a round about and enter the grounds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI passed through the courtyard or as it says on the map the stable block paid my money and am now sat on a bench taking a minute by the walled gardens before I plunge in just to savour the total splendour.  You can sense the wealth, the awe which the buildings and grounds must have inspired and to just jot down these few lines before I begin exploring.  The real difficulty is deciding where to begin.

My first glimpse of the house
My first glimpse of the house
One of the entrances to the walled gardens
One of the entrances to the walled gardens
How the hide something this big behind trees is beyond me
How the hide something this big behind trees is beyond me
First real idea of the scale of the house
First real idea of the scale of the house
Obligatory Wild Boar all good homes should have one

I decided that I would explore the house first so I will post a few pictures from the house then the lines I wrote after I had walked round it.

Selfie just in case you were mad enough to want to see me
Selfie just in case you were mad enough to want to see me
My bed - or it would be if I could fit it in my handbag
My bed – or it would be if I could fit it in my handbag
Perfect writing space, the window next to it looked out onto the lawns and fountain
Perfect writing space, the window next to it looked out onto the lawns and fountain
Time to beautify oneself for dinner?
Time to beautify oneself for dinner?


Freaky sculptures - when I visited Chatsworth I noticed how beautiful and elegant all the sculptures were but here a lot of them gave me the creeps
Freaky sculptures – when I visited Chatsworth I noticed how beautiful and elegant all the sculptures were but here a lot of them gave me the creeps
the cupola in the great hall
the cupola in the great hall
I loved this room all the panels were exquisitely painted
I loved this room all the panels were exquisitely painted
Not the most impressive dining room I have seen but this one does feel more inviting and not so intimidating in terms of place settings
Possibly my favourite room I loved this colour although Lord David Prosser may argue about the use of bright colours in confined spaces

So much to see around the house, I took hundred of pictures as always (I will provide a link to the full album on Facebook at the end) it was sad to see the damage done by the fire, so many paintings on the walls still in need of restoring and I cannot help but wonder if Brideshead had not been shot here how little would have been restored at all if anything. There are definitely ideas for a story lurking in my mind now.  The sculptures were very different from Chatsworth Rather than the Classic beauty and elegant lines many appeared sinister, then again lots of story potential there.  Why would someone live in a house of evil statues? 

I then decided to wander down towards the lake knowing there was a coffee there where I could have lunch.

I also had a slice of Bakewell hidden behind the coffee
Cake porn especially for Vikki xx
Cake porn especially for Vikki xx

At the minute I am sat by a lake and could happily never leave.  The food was pricey but good ( thinking about it later is wasn’t really that expensive the whole lot come to just under a tenner) and worth it for the view alone.

the view from my seat out on the deck where I had lunch
the view from my seat out on the deck where I had lunch

Lunch was shared with several ducks who decided it should be share and share alike, one was also kind enough to ensure there were no crumbs n my bag.

Duck bag inspector

On the little map it shows boat trips but in reality there is no sign of them, whether that is a holiday time option only I don’t know it would be interesting to find out.  The adventure playground is okay, more like a playground than anything special but the monster would still love it.

I think rather than live in the big house I would build a cabin down here near the water and spend most of my time living here.

There is rain in the air and I have two hours left to explore the grounds and there at least two areas I really want to look at, the Atlas fountain and the walled rose garden.  I fear it will take another visit to find all the hidden gemsand I am sure the monster would love to come and take a look round the woods with me.

I then walked round to the other side of the house exploring an exhibition about the Mistresses and Maids in the house down the years and also the on going building and restoration that continues, I strolled around the fountain, spotted a pyramid on the horizon (no I was not hallucinating there is proff in the full album) then sat by the other lake.

One of my favourite views
One of my favourite views
The spectacular Atlas Fountain
The spectacular Atlas Fountain
Attempted panorama of the lake
Attempted panorama of the lake

I am sat by the other lake now it is so wonderfully peaceful and less ducks as there is no cafe here but you do get an idea of all the other places to explore, structures and statues peep out from amongst the trees in the distance.  I have just seen the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen it must have been at least four inches long.

I am thinking that the views I have seen in the grounds will form the basis for  a Pride and Prejudice fan fiction when I feel brave enough to take that challenge on,

I then moved on to the walled gardens, I have to confess I get very giddy at the thought of a walled garden one of my favourite books as a child was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few more lines scribbled from within the walled garden, the smell is astounding Lily and Lavender, and fresh cut grass, though many of the flowers are past their prime the place is still enchanted, I had expected peacocks but not seen any though there is still plenty of gardens to explore.  Every time I go somewhere I seem to fall in love with it and this is no exception, it might be worth me looking into the lakeland accommodation as it also appears dogs are welcome in the grounds, a weekend here with or even without the monster would be lovely and I think very productive creatively.

Well that’s it for my notebook if you wish to see more picture click here to be taken to my Facebook album with hundreds of pictures and I have to say I am really thrilled with some of them.

Please let me know as well if you like this style of post if so I promise to take my notebook on my next day out

Away Days · Me And Mine · Tuesday Reflections



This weekend we took a day trip to Whitby the birthplace of Bram Stokers creation Dracula, or rather the home of the events which inspired the creation.  I had never been before infact it had been quite a while since I was headed to that coast and I had forgotten how much I love the countryside in that part of the country.  Heading their across the moors reminds me of my roots growing up in a country village but more than that the great expanses of open space remind me of true freedom and total immersion in nature.

But yesterday was also about having a good day and exploring somewhere new, we took the open bus tour round Whitby which was great as it allowed us to see a lot more in the few hours we had there than we would have found on foot, it also ensured we are confident that there will be more than enough to do for us to revisit for a longer period.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went up to the  ruined Abbey and looked round the church and graveyard next to it.  I loved the ruins but I will say if you are planning a visit that you should consider your visit, I had my daughter and the monster with me, it had started raining and the ruins are exposed to the elements, as my daughter was not really bothered about getting up close to the ruins she offered to stay outside with the monster while I went in and took some pictures.  The reason she waited outside?  At £6.40 for adults And around £5 for children and students it is an expensive choice for anyone who either has children who will not be kept interested by ruins or in our case who will not be happy standing out in the rain.  I was lucky my daughter is grown up and could wait with her brother but it is certainly something I will plan better for another visit.


I did have lots of fun as well snapping away with the camera, I know a lot of people don’t like Seagulls and I will admit that the are a little brash, loud and obnoxious but I think they are incredible, they have learnt to adapt and survive as human habitations take up more and more of the coast line.  They have learnt to survive when their natural habitat has been commandeered they have found new food sources and homes and if they steal the odd chip can we really complain when we sit eating their fish?


Whitby is one of the few laces where the two main industries of tourism and fishing still co exist side by side, evidence of the less glamorous side of life is apparent along the harbour, the rough working boats moored alongside sleek yachts and pleasure boats.

If you are interested in Ruins, Seagulls, boats or just Whitby in general click the Facebook button at the top of the page and it will take you over to my facebook page where you can see all the pictures from our trip, I will leave you with a picture of me and the monster out at sea on his first open air boat trip, he loved it a natural born sailor.