When I first started this blog, it was intended as somewhere to post work for university. However I never used it for that purpose, and in the last few months I've been using this little corner of the internet to blog more personally.
Now, along with this change I felt there was a need for a new name too, as it never really felt like it had one to begin with.

So, let me introduce you to...

I've ummed & ahhed over possible blog names before, running them past Andrew, seeing how they sit for a week, only to change it back in the end. But this time, I found one that we both liked! Success!

Now I've always loved using "V&A" for us as a couple (note: the header image*) but obviously naming a blog "V&A" wouldn't work, as I hear there is quite a famous museum using that name already... But, I found spelling out the name of the symbol (ampersand) made for quite an interesting alternative when put between V and A. I like the new word it creates.

I'd also quite like to include some posts from Andrew himself in the future - as he's quite the Master Baker in our household - making the new name even more appropriate. I like this new name.

*It's a real shame Andrew isn't called Albert.

The Snail Mail Collective - September

Last month I signed up to The Snail Mail Collective - a wonderful monthly gift exchange that gives you the opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. A truly awesome idea!
I heard about SMC through this blog post by Laura from Wrapped Up In Rainbows, and I was luckily just in time to sign up for the September exchange (sign up is during the 1st - 7th of each month).

I was paired up with Katie from Doing Dewey and it was an absolute pleasure getting to know her!

Katie lives in Ithaca, New York where she is a PhD student at Cornell University. She loves reading (her blog is solid evidence of that!) and nature photography.

We exchanged a number of emails before sending our letter/gift and it was great to learn all about Katie and where she lives. We also had a few things in common - we both enjoy reading & photography, we are the eldest of three siblings and we've both been with our other half for nearly 6 years. Katie was so easy to talk to & we've both agreed we'd like to stay in touch. My first SMC experience has been a very positive one :-)
The contents of my parcel to Katie.
The theme for September (each month comes with a theme for the gift) was "Back to School". I sent Katie: a Muji notebook with her blog name stuck on, pens from both the Isle of Man & London, and chocolate - an essential when studying! I also added a Manx £1 note & some pictures as I rambled quite a lot about the Isle of Man in my letter (sorry, Katie).
My gift from Katie.
In my parcel from Katie I received a gorgeous apple themed card with more information about where she lives and a beautiful little book of Frida Kahlo postcards - I love it! Katie recognised her work from my blog post and surprised me with this incredibly thoughtful gift.
Frida Kahlo
Thank you again Katie! :-)

If you're interested in signing up for The Snail Mail Collective you can do so here. The next sign-ups will be open from the 1st - 7th November. I highly recommend giving it a go!

A town called Looe...

I fell in love with Cornwall when I visited last year, and one place that really stood out to me was Looe. It is a small coastal town and fishing port in south-east Cornwall; the town is situated around a harbour, with the River Looe flowing between East and West Looe.

I found Looe to be incredibly picturesque and it's somewhere I'd love to live one day - when I can leave the hustle & bustle of city life behind!

Reasons to be cheerful - September

  • The Mexico: A Revolution in Art exhibition at The Royal Academy - it was a truly wonderful collection of art works depicting Mexico and it's culture.
  • Going to my first life-drawing class in years at the Battersea Arts Centre, it was nice to spend quality time drawing again!
  • Starting back in the world of Girl Guiding as a leader at my local Girl Guides unit - it's a big change from the little Rainbow Guides I'm used to!
  • My first time travelling on the Eurostar for a 3 day holiday in Lille, France. The architecture there is beautiful!
  • French macarons - so many delicious flavours!
  • The biggest bowl of mussels I've ever seen! And I ate every last one!
  • Being reunited with Andrew & then spending a lot of wonderful time with him.
  • And how happy he was to receive his first coffee delivery from Has Bean.
  • Three 2 day working weeks. I wish I only had to work 2 days. That would be lovely.
  • Seeing the Ship Opera at the Thames Festival. It was an interesting experience...
  • London at night, when the weather is calm & the temperature still warm.
  • The Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition at The British Library. It was fascinating to see international state propaganda from the 20th & 21st centuries.
  • Re-potting some of my succulent babies, some of them have grown nice & big!
  • Accidentally buying a new's all too tempting!
  • The BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery. I have no idea why it took me so long to go to one as it was so inspirational!
  • The McFly 10th Anniversary Concert. I can't believe it's been 10 years since I first saw them perform as support for Busted! I always enjoy seeing them perform :-) Plus it was my first time going to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall!
  • McBusted! There was the awesome surprise of James Bourne & Matt Willis (2/3 of Busted) joining McFly on stage to play Air Hostess & Year 3000. It was amazing!!
  • A mini family gathering. It was great to see family I've not seen in years, plus some I've never met before.
  • Andrew coming home with a surprise bouquet of flowers. I'm so lucky :-)
  • Signing up to the Snail Mail Collective & being partnered with an awesome pen pal!
  • Not letting a horrid cold hold me back!
  • Visiting Germany for the first time. I loved it! Now I want to take up German again.
  • Accidentally exiting into Switzerland at the airport. I reckon that should count as another country visited though, right?
  • Visiting the Black Forest in Germany and travelling up a mountain on Germany's longest cable car - the views were unbelievable!
  • Oktoberfest and the atmosphere inside the tents.
  • Eating lots of wonderful German food - wurst (obviously), pretzels, spƤtzle, schnitzel, flammkucken! And bringing home a-hell-a-lot-a German chocolate!
  • Getting in to the Oktoberfest spirit in Munich last week by trying on a dirndl. Andrew also tried on lederhosen. I have to say I was a big fan of the latter in particular! Phwoar!
  • Watching the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Marienplatz, Munich chime at 5pm.
  • Staying in a gorgeous apartment in Munich. Airbnb is the greatest!
  • Splurging on lots of stationary. I just can't resist nice stationary!
Reading & Watching:
  • A lovely evening spent watching my absolute favourite film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Pop Up Screens in Bishop's Park.
  • The return of Downton Abbey! I was so late to watch it the first time round but after a mammoth marathon I was in love. How can you not be??
  •  Reading John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. He is one of my favourite authors and this book is certainly a goodun! His writing is so wonderfully descriptive.
  • The one off IT Crowd. I really wish they had done a whole new series but this one-off extra was a great reminder in to how great the show was! Man I love Moss.
  • We are so close to finishing Breaking Bad! Oh my goodness!! It's all getting very exciting. We are trying to get it finished before anyone has the chance to ruin it for us. Damn spoilers!

To look forward to in October:
  • The arrival of my friend’s second baby.
  • The arrival of my first Snail Mail Collective!
  • Finally watching the finale of Breaking Bad! Oooh how exciting!
 To do in October:
  • Make good progress on my brother’s Christmas present! Andrew & myself have made a deal that if I get it done in time for Christmas he’ll buy us tickets for The Book of Mormon. And if I don’t, I have to buy them. We even Pinky Promised on it so this is pretty serious business!
  •  Finish processing pictures from our America trip. I just need to lock myself in a room for 24hrs & be done with it!