Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle is the last attraction we’ve been to on our trip to north Yorkshire at the beginning of the month. Middleham Castle is owned and managed by English Heritage.

The nephew of William the Conqueror built a wooden castle in the 11th century, after the Norman conquest. Only the circular earthwork that surrounded the castle still survives today. In the 12th century, a stone castle will replace the wooden one. In late 13th century, the castle passed to the Neville family. It stayed in the Neville family until Anne Neville married Richard, who will become King Richard III.

Middleham Castle

Maybe the most important thing about Middleham Castle is that it was the childhood home of Richard III. Richard and George, his brother, were cared for by the Earl of Warwick at Middleham from 1460. There they meet Anne and Isabel, the ladies they will marry later in life. The Earl of Warwick was called The Kingmaker for his instrumental role in getting Edward IV on the throne. After less than 10 years later, King Edward IV was imprisoned in this castle during an uprising led by Warwick and his brother George.
Warwick would die in 1471 in the Battle of Barnet, after his death Richard will marry Anne and he will acquire the castle through marriage. Richard was Protector of the Realm after King Edward IV’s death in 1483. He would usurp the throne from his 12 years old nephew, Edward V. Edward V and his brother will be known as The Princes in the Tower, after they disappeared. To this day is unknown what happened to them. Richard III’s son, Edward, will be born and die at Middleham, aged one, a year later.
After Richard’s death in battle, in 1485, the castle was property of King Henry VII. It fell into disrepair.

Continue reading Middleham Castle

Viking Arty Party

Today starts the National Stationery Week. To celebrate, I was invited to Viking Arty Party, organized by Viking. I was so excited to try new things, as there were planned three very interesting activities on the day. It was a really fab event, I had the chance to chat to lovely bloggers I haven’t seen for a while and everything we tried was fun.

 Viking Arty Party

The day was lovely, beautiful and sunny, so it was fab that we could relax, to have a chat and a drink on the terrace of King Street Townhouse in Manchester. Look at the views, it is just stunning.
We were divided into three groups and #VikingArtyParty has started.

Continue reading Viking Arty Party

Royal Armouries Leeds

The Royal Armouries in Leeds were on my list to see for a long time. I jumped at the opportunity to see the Royal Armouries Museum when we had to go to Leeds earlier this month. I thought that a couple of hours will be enough to see the whole museum. I was so wrong. It’s huge and it’s interesting and I need to go back to see more.

Royal Armouries

One of the staircases in the museum is decorated with breast plates and swords and it looks beautiful.

Continue reading Royal Armouries Leeds

National Stationery Week

Next week, from 24th to 30th April, it’s National Stationery Week. Writing is important for me, I take notes when I’m at a seminar or at a fair, I write my shopping lists and cards for special occasions. I have a diary (actually 2) filled with to-do lists and goals and other bits&pieces. I always write down the places I want to see when we plan a trip somewhere. One of my diaries is filled with ideas of blog posts, that might sound strange, but I feel inspired when I’m in front of pen and paper.
I’m traditional when it comes to reading, I love paperback books, flipping through pages and not a pdf on a tablet. As I’ve started reading regularly again last year, I have a small notebook to copy quotes from books.

 National Stationery Week

Imagine my delight when I was asked to review all these items in preparation for next week. I was very excited to try them, obviously.

National Stationery Week 2017 has a different theme for every day of the next week:
Monday is #PenAndPencilDay
Tuesday is #GetCrafty
Wednesday is #WorldStationeryDay
Thursday is #ThankYouThursday
Friday is #FountainPenFriday
Saturday is #SignatureSaturday
Sunday is #WriteALetterDay
Do get involved if you fancy, I know I will. I’m not sure if I will do a craft project or I will write a letter, but I will certainly do something special next week.

 National Stationery Week

From Maped I received an eraser with a pink and black casing, a bunny pencil sharpener, DUO Graph’ pens and a DUO tip colouring pen.
The DUO Graph’ pens are fab. I like that they can “split” into 2 pens, as you can see in the picture. They have a 0.4mm fine line and come in this transparent case. I really like them. I think I will use them when I’m going to make plans, colour-code helps me organize better.
The bunny pencil sharpener is so cute! I love it, when I use it to sharpen a pencil it moves its teeth. How cute is that? The eraser is good and I like that I can close it.

 National Stationery Week

Cactus sticky notes, Cat in a book page markers and 12 crayons from Mustard are next on my list.
I have some boring page markers that I will replace with these cute cats. The markers are reusable and quite sturdy. I might use one as a bookmark for the book I’m reading now: “A street Cat Named Bob”, as it would be very appropriate.
The cactus sticky notes can stand up. It’s hilarious and it’s unlikely I will forget a sticky note looking like that. I can’t use the crayons just yet as I don’t have a colouring book, but I plan to get one and they will be handy at that point.

 National Stationery Week

The Sheaffer 100 Ballpoint pen looks great. I will use it when I’m going to fairs, along with the Monologue Platinum Notebook. They are stylish and look professional, I like this a lot. The notebook is the perfect size for a handbag. These two will be great as a gift too.

 National Stationery Week

It’s been a while since I’ve used an ink pen. It was lovely to try this one from Stabilo, it reminded me of my childhood, when I used to change the ink cartridges at school.
I also got these Sensor fine 0.3 drawing pens. I like them a lot and the colours are lovely: green, teal, pink and purple. I will use them for colour-coding too. My drawing skills aren’t spectacular, but I like colour-codes, as you can see.

 National Stationery Week

nu: craze notebook it’s another fab thing I got. It has ruled perforated paper and it will be very helpful for me, for my work. I can take notes, remove them from the notebook and file them with the rest of the docs, easy and with no fuss.

 National Stationery Week

The last things I’m going to talk about are these age appropriate pencils from Write Size. I knew the concept, even though I don’t have children, and I think it’s great. Children have smaller hands, so special pencils for them must be helpful and make writing comfortable.

PR Samples.

Easter and Duck Race

I was wondering if I should talk about my Easter and Duck race in the same post. It was a good idea in the end as we managed to miss the race while searching for a car park, more on that to come.

01 Easter and Duck race

On Easter the weather wasn’t great. We had a couple of long walks with Festus, we had a lot of yummy dishes. I blogged on my food blog about My Easter Menu. I made these dyed and decorated eggs, as I usually do for Easter.

Continue reading Easter and Duck Race

Mount Grace Priory

In our trip north we ended up visiting Mount Grace Priory, an interesting and beautiful priory. According to their website, Mount Grace Priory, the unusual monastery, is the best preserved Carthusian priory in Britain.
I have to admit I didn’t hear about the Carthusians before visiting the priory. The funny thing is that now that I’m reading the last book in The Cousins’ War by Philippa Gregory, I learned that the son of Margaret Pole lived and studied at Sheen Priory, a Carthusian monastery.

Mount Grace Priory

This is a new built, from the 17th century. The Priory was set in the woodlands and was founded in 1398, a small monastery with 23 monks and a prior. The priory was closed in 1539 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII. The priory was sold and buildings were dismantled. The guest house, in the picture above, was repaired and it was a manor house.
In 1953 the Bell family gave the house and priory to the nation, now owned by National Trust and managed by English Heritage.

Continue reading Mount Grace Priory

York Cold War Bunker

One of the most unusual English Heritage properties can be found in York, it’s called York Cold War Bunker. Considering it was decommissioned in 1991, it’s very different than the castles and abbeys we can see in the English Heritage booklet. This is not the first bunker we visit, as we’ve been to Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker a few years ago.
The bunker can be visited only with a guided tour. I think that is the best way to see the bunker.

York Cold War Bunker

Unlike other bunkers, this one had a different purpose. Bomb strikes would have been mapped and coordonates would have been sent to the HQ bunkers where the important decisions were made. It is preserved as it was when it closed in 1991.
At the York Cold War Bunker, group 20 of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC).

60 people would have been in the bunker for 30 days. It wasn’t a place for saving people, but for getting data and transmitting it. 120 people would have been trained to work in the bunker, but only 60 would have been able to get in, the first ones to arrive. The rest would have been left out, people were expendable and everybody was aware that this was the situation. After the 30 days they had to work in the bunker, the doors would have open regardless of the situation that was outside. Sounds bleak and cruel, but it had a vital role if the WWIII would have started.

The situation in the bunker wasn’t meant to be pleasant. Water was scares and people wouldn’t have been able to shower. They all would have slept in the same beds, in 8 hours shifts. They had a generator that had enough fuel for the 30 days.

Continue reading York Cold War Bunker