All posts by Hannah

Beyond the Tourism: Gaudi, Park Güell and Barcelona.

Beyond the Tourism is my new series of articles which will focus on popular places with information useful to a tourist, only with the sense and reality of a local. I aim to also provide history and tips and tricks for making the most out of your visit!

If you don’t know who Gaudi is, about 5 minutes after stepping off the plane in Barcelona you’ll get a good idea.  Heck, if you read the in-flight magazine you’ll know before you even step off! And even if you don’t know the name, you’ll certainly know the figure.

Gaudi, full name Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, is Barcelona’s most famous and notable figure. He designed or inspired the majority of the famous landmarks in Barcelona. Here’s a list for proof;

Born in 1852, Gaudi showed from a young age a great understanding of mathematics and was exceptionally talented in arts and craftmanship. This is helped to create his unique style of interesting shapes and textures, as he could easily calculate how it would all fit together and stay sturdy. Not impressed so far? Look up  La Sagrada Família and click on “images” and you’ll get a better understanding.

Gaudi’s other interests and inspiration were nature and religion. It’s a weird and wonderful fusion that creates extremely unique structures.

And speaking of unique structures, Parc  Güell certainly is one. Commissioned by Count Eusebi  Güell (where the name comes from!) it was designed in mind for a “bohemian” village, where all the art-loving aristocrats (because it wasn’t going to be cheap) could live and mingle inside it’s creative boarders. Sadly, only two houses were finished as the project couldn’t gain enough backing and funding. Güell moved into one of them, and convinced Gaudi to move into the other. Today, Gaudi’s house is now home to the Gaudi musuem, which holds some of the furniture he designed within it. Please note you’ll have to pay extra (I believe 5 euros at the time of writing) to enter this house, as it is not included in the main ticket price.

IMG_2760

So here’s what you need to know about visiting Parc Güell as a tourist or traveller: It can be hard to find. Seriously, whoever writes the signs to get there needs to be fired. They lead you in circles, take in into bizarre routes that confuse a non-local and can require asking for directions which isn’t always easy if you can’t speak the language or end up in a residential area with no one else around like I did.

IMG_2761

The easiest way to get there: is to take the Line 3 to Lessops or Vallcarca. Know that it will be a 10-15 minute walk including about 700 metres uphill. There are sign posts but they can be misleading and/or confusing. If it’s a busy day you can usually just follow others in front. You will go through a busy street first, then at one point turn left and walk up hill. You’ll know you’re heading to the right place when you’re surrounded by tourist shops selling Parc Güell postcards or merchandise and find there suddenly seems to be lots of other people!


Map by http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/ 

You can also take Bus Lines H6, 32, 24 and 92.  Just check with the driver “Es Parc Güell en esta ruta?” (Is Parc Guell on this route?). If he says yes, then say “dos entradas para Parc Güell por favor!” (two tickets for Parc Güell please!). You can also say this last one when buying parc entrances.

IMG_2765

Also, sometime in the past two years they have started to charge entrance for the main area of the park. The area is now roped off and heavily guarded, so they make sure you don’t sneak it. Walking around the park can be harder as you have to queue up and spend to get close enough to take decant pictures. Queues are long and if the sun is hot it’s tedious. To buy tickets at the bottom of the parc, near the main entrance, there are two queues; one for paying with cash and one for paying with card. However you can buy tickets on line, and they can even be purchased up to three months before! Rates change but currently for me, the most expensive ticket is 7 euros. Discounts available for disabled, elderly and children.

IMG_2780
See that dragon? Yep, that’s about how much you’ll be able to see it once you’re there too!

Most days it’s hard to get close to the famous lizard (although the Spanish/Catalans refer to it as El Drac – the dragon).

IMG_6700
Inside this little area are seats, this is a great spot for a break and a bite to eat… providing you’ve bought one with you!

Ice cream and water are sold just outside the parc slightly more expensive then down the street. You can eat and drink in the parc, but you’ll have to keep the rubbish about you until you can find a bin later.

IMG_2799
If you’re impressed with the music, there’s a high chance they’ll be selling their CD too, so you can go home and re-live that Parc Güell experience. 

The parc may seem small once you’re in it, but there’s lots of places to explore and little hidden gems, and quite a few stairs to work on your thighs. There are also lots of musicians and artists placed around the parc. This creates a great atmosphere!

IMG_2796
Not really sure why I took a photo of the toilet queue but, it’s come in handy it seems!

There are some electronic portable type toilets in certain areas of the parc, that cost money. There are also some built in ones near the upper entrance to the roped off main area and food carts. These always have impressive queues. Just know that for anything other then walking around there is probably a long queue for it. If you have children they will probably tire quickly; entertain them by telling them the history of the parc or Gaudi, detailing the lizard/El Drac or bribe them with the promise of ice cream later!

IMG_2794
IMG_2793  IMG_2785

Credit to those Barcelona Bus Tours I’ve taken about 5 times with visiting friends and family, and the information I read when living in Catalunya for my sources!


Please note: Unless stated otherwise, all photos were taken by me.

My Little Box UK Review – January 2015

Well, it’s official; I’m in love.

IMG_6895

Today My Little Box arrived from last month (I ordered at a point when they’d run out, only to get an email two weeks ago saying they were getting more in stock so I would be able to get a January box too) and I’m over the moon if I’m honest.

IMG_6898
I love the “Good Vibes only” sticker on the packaging – very cute.

When I first saw the brown box the “little” box arrives it – I was surprised (and pleased!) with it’s size. It has a bit bigger then I was expecting, which was strange after Birchbox seemed smaller then I was expecting. More room for goodies though, I suppose!

The cartoon drawing on the box is adorable and many similar are found throughout. Looking at these is a treat alone, in my opinion! You get a card each month with a quote and drawing, and it’s the first thing (besides the adorable ribbon) you see.

IMG_6899

Beneath that was a magazine, which looking through was full of great articles and a few unique things you don’t find in my magazines – like this motivational quotes. Love it. I also love the material the magazine is made from – only slightly glossy and much stronger then  most magazines.

IMG_6901
I love this outfit too. Summer inspiration, as I think I’d freeze to death if I wore in now… she types from under a blanket.

IMG_6902
The contents had a few variations on lifestyle tips and inspiration – love the photography throughout. Quite arty and pleasing on the eye!

IMG_6904
Some sweet motivation pages to cut out and hang up.

Under the magazine was… a gym bag! Woohoo! It’s really adorable and lightweight and useful for the gym or even as an overnight bag. I do think you’d have to be careful as to how much you put in there weight wise – though this is a general rule for all bags. A towel, gym clothes (or swimsuit or change of clothes), keys and some toiletries should be fine though.

IMG_6905
IMG_6914

  And underneath that there is a calender! Simple, stylish and useful if you do not have one already or could do with two. (i.e One at work, one at home… one in the kitchen, one in your study…). The simplicity and size of it means it’d be great for pinning to a  small cork-board.

IMG_6906

IMG_6920

IMG_6919

Last but by no means least, is a small draw-string bag with beauty goodies inside! This month included a facial spray, red nail-vanish from  Nails Inc and a facial cream from . Tucked next to them all was a little leaflet explaining the history and use of each product and company. Very cute, and all my ideal kind of products. No kidding, I love facial sprays – great for traveling, keeping nice skin through -out a hot day or very cold one (helps keep it shiny and healthy-looking, stopping the dryness such weather will give you otherwise).

IMG_6907

IMG_6908

IMG_6911

IMG_6916

The red colour is very pretty, and should suit most shades. Do be warned it takes a while to dry though – or you may end up ruining your little bag like I did!

IMG_6922
The gloopy 3-D texture on my nail is NOT caused from the nail polish they provided – well, they’re not to blame anyway. I was just so excited to test it I tested it over my pre-existing chipped nail vanish… 

So… as for the VERDICT: 

How usable are the products?:  Depending on whether you go to the gym… extremely useful! If you’re not into fitness the gym bag, motivational quotes and calender may not be so great to you.

How good are the products?: I’m a little wary as to how much weight the bag can hold and how it’d react in the rain but, other then those queries I think it’s good! (great even!). The nail vanish is from Nails Inc, so yes it’s good (if you can be patience for a little while…). The facial spray feels lovely and smells rather pleasant. At first I thought “ooh fruity!” but that quickly changed to “…floral?”. Different but, nice regardless. I have not tried the cream yet but am looking forward to! And as I said before, I like the material in which the magazine (and other little bits and bobs) are made from. All seem recyclable (and even made from recycled paper for some?)

Would you buy it again?: Yes! I believe I’ve already bought February’s 🙂 It’s such a nice little treat to receive and,  considering what some others had said about this being the worst box so far… I’m very excited!!!

So what’s the price of the box and shipping like?: The box is £11, and shipping is £3.95. Why that pricey? Because it’s a pretty big box full of goodies and is being shipping over from France. Don’t worry though – if you’re curious to try a box but are turned off by the shipping price, type in FIRSTBOX at the checkout to only pay £11 for the first month (basically, get free shipping). Remember to unsubscribe after the initial payment and box is sent if you’re hesitant, as they will automatically charge you the 1st of the next month.

Anything extra I should know?: This box usually arrives between the 10th-20th of each month, unless you’ve ordered a little later in the month and they still have some boxes left over. It took 2 weeks for mine to arrive, although others have had theirs arrive earlier, and they advise that it can be between 2-3 weeks. Do be warned they shall charge you for the box before they let you know – something that may not be great for those in a financial struggle!

“Is Birchbox worth it?” – Birchbox Review, January 2015.

I first heard about beauty boxes many, many years ago when a friend at boarding school mentioned the concept. Being however young I was (certainly 16 or under) I didn’t have the money nor the interest really. Yet recently I came across them again – Facebook (dam it’s targeted adverts now) had a promo for My Little Box, and it looked cute so I looked into it. When researching the adorable French beauty and lifestyle box, I came across Glossybox and Birchbox and confused as to which one to go for… I subscribed to all of them, deciding that with the help of promos codes I could trail them all at least one month. Well, my Birchbox arrived today and I’m glad I canceled my subscription before I opened it… or I would have had an hour long battle trying to get my fingers to click that “save changes” button. I really like it!

IMG_6873
IMG_6875

The theme of this month was exercise (well,  technically Women’s Health), which is also the theme of My Little Box (I snooped around a little… or a lot during my research). Some people seemed really annoyed that the two boxes have shared a similar theme for this month, but as a health freak I am loving that I get two boxes full of goodies dedicated towards it! Birchbox has some great after-gym samples and motivations, and from what I’ve seen on this month’s My Little Box I’m going to get a great gym bag to keep them in!

So enough blabbering on for now, here’s the goodies!

IMG_6878IMG_6879First thing I noticed was a Women’s Health magazine offer and then a sweet little Welcome! card.

IMG_6880
IMG_6882
This is pretty cute. Will I actually stick to it? Probably not. But the tips weren’t that bad and full of extra information on the back.

IMG_6883
IMG_6885
This is what the box looks like once you’re past all the paper leaflets they include. The bag is a good idea! But I can’t help question if I’ll get one every month and if so what I’m meant to do with them?
IMG_6886

IMG_6891

IMG_6893
Tiny, but going to be useful for weekend trips!

IMG_6888

Verdict:

How usable are the products?: Very useable I’d say. In fact, the only thing I worried about was the stila lipgloss colour. I saw they had red ones and was a little gutted I didn’t receive that colour, but then remembered I choose the “natural” look in my personal survey. It is still a pretty colour though, and upon wearing it, it comes out rather clear – so would be easily to use on top of other lip colours.

How good are the products?: I am quite in love with the Dr. Jart+”clear away gel”. I was expecting it to feel all sticky and goopy but it’s so smooth and pleasant smelling! The lipgloss is not sticky either – rather moisturizing actually, and the matcha tea sample was amazing. I love matcha tea though so I may be (read: am) biased. The cooling gel I accidentally tried (got some on my fingers then wiped on my arm to rid of it) but haven’t tried it for it’s proper use yet. The Electric shampoo and Agave oil I’m saving for a weekend/week away where I can’t bring my beloved Moroccan Oil, so can’t comment on them yet.

What about the brands?: Dr. Jart+ is a Korean brand I’ve been gifted a BB cream and facial oil of before. I was surprised to see such a company featured, but I love it! As for the others I have never heard of them (although Electric hair does sound familiar), but am going to assume that’s good. For a company that claims to sell luxury samples, I’d be annoyed if it was something I’d recognized from Superdrug or Boots. (No disses to Superdrug, I myself use and appreciate it, but it is known for its affordable pricing not “luxury” products).

Would you buy it again?: YES! Literally, as soon as my money for February comes in (it’s going to come in around the middle of the month, and should I be so lucky with the new job I’m hoping to get it should be the end of the month) I’m going to re-subscribe. I am a little worried that I’m in love with the theme and that boxes of future months won’t live up to this standard however… only one way to find out!

So what’s the price of the box, and shipping like?: The price of the box is £12.95, and shipping is free. Look around for promos though, if you’re a little hesitant to try it. I managed to get my first one for only £7.95, woohoo!

Anything extra I should know?: Birchbox has a pretty cool reward system. While you can’t spend the points on future boxes, I actually think it works out better than that. You can spend the points on full-sized products in the shop. The points are fairly easy to collect too – 1 point for every £1 you spend (so buying a box each month alone gives you 10 points), and you get 5 for every review you get – and there’s 6 items and the box as a whole to review – which is another 35. That means in less than three months you’ve got enough to get £10 store credit. And if you really like something featured in that month’s box, it will have free shipping on its full sized product. Which is pretty awesome!

Now to wait for My Little Box and Glossybox to arrive! 🙂

I’m back, baby!

Okay! So firstly, I am aware some apologises are owed… I told a lot of people I was going to be writing updates when I was in Korea, but I did not. I did write most of the updates on my iPad, but never got around to actually uploading them. Over the course of the next week or so, I shall work on finally editing them. Prehaps I’ll do one big re-cap then some individual topic/review posts… who knows. Regardless, something about Korea will get uploaded sometime soon.

Secondly,  I have to apologise for only starting to update this blog in my second week here. It’s been something like 13 whole days where I could have posted something but I haven’t (now I’ve said it – it doesn’t actually sound that long. It feels like I’ve been here a long time though). It’s been about 100 passive-aggressive Snapchats from Alice and 10 not-so-subtle hints from Dad. I do have two excuses but you are probably going to ignore them anyway; 1) The internet does not quite reach my little house, which does not help my motivation, 2) I’ve been at a little bit of a loss on what to write. Sounds crazy I know, everyday is a blessing when you work with kids yada yada and they will always say some absolute gold for you to work with, but some days that’s just it – I’m so exhausted after looking after them that I just curl up and read or write the rest of the day. More often than not I’m working on my novel now, and nobody wants to hear about that. (Well, you might – what’s the plot like Hannah? How big will it be? What’s the genre? Do I need to act nicer to you in case you are the next J.K. Rowling or G.R.R.Martin? – but if I were to update you, it’d be more like “Wrote 2,000 words today. Was an important scene. Pretty proud of myself. Will probably re-write tomorrow”).

There’s also the factor that I already did all the embarrassing trials of learning to adjust (I hope), and already know how things more or less work around here. I’m not sure if much is new or exciting, but then I’m not sure if people like reading my blog just to read some sort of diary entry that was vastly different to their day.

With all that said, I should probably actually write something proper now…

 

So I arrived in Spain at about 9.15 in the morning. Natalie came to pick me up as the girls were in a theatre show, and the family had gone to watch them. Sat-nav messed up (as it always seems to in Barcelona – when did they last update it?), so while Natalie had to deal with some stressful driving through the centre of Barcelona, I got to admire all the lovely buildings I love underneath the glorious Spanish sunshine. If it wasn’t for Natalie’s stress and my inability to help her, it would have felt like a beautiful return to Barcelona. It took a lot longer than the motorway, but a chance to drive through Barcelona is something I rarely actually get to do, so I really enjoyed it (sorry Natalie – if it helps, I didn’t like that sat-nav was stressing you out!).

When we finally arrived at the house, I went straight to my little wooden house (which is a good thing really, as it turned out the main house was locked) and checked out all the décor. I’d seen a few photos, and heard lots in emails, but none of them gave the little house justice. To be fair, they had only put the finishing touches in that morning, so the photos I’d seen didn’t really have much to work with. To describe it to you, I think the best way to explain it is it feels like a rustic Tardis – while quite petite from the outside, once you step inside you realise it’s actually quite sizeable. They have decorated the house with vegetable paintings, gingham and floral fabric, and used mostly wooden furniture. Along with getting fresh vegetables every morning and collecting pine cones the other day for winter – I sometimes feel like I’m in an old western movie. Sometimes I even find myself singing Calamity Jane songs while cooking – a habit I’m really hoping will stop before Rosa arrives. At least it’s a change from Let it go (let it goooooo). Anyway, as I was meant to say – The place looks a lot cuter then I ever pictured it to be, and my bedroom is super cute too. I was expecting it to be quite plain and holiday-cabin like, but they added little girly and sweet touches (two storage boxes I have look like suitcases) and as soon as I unpacked my things it seemed instantly homely. I really like it. Reaaaaaaally like it. Especially since the shower and kitchen taps work better than any at boarding school or Uni did. I mean, you turn the hot tap on, and hot water comes out! Amazing! And then you turn the cold tap, and oh my god it’s cold water! I’m sure the people who went to boarding school/University with me are nodding their heads in agreement like “I get you Hannah, I get you” while the rest of you are thinking “well, that is what is meant to happen…”.

Back to actual matters, after I unpacked my things I sat in my room waiting and waiting. I started to get real hungry, and realised that I didn’t actually pack that much. The day before I left, I kept checking my bags like “you can go without this” and “you have too much stuff already, they’re going to be too heavy-“. Turns out I was wrong and am a far lighter traveller then I realised. I suppose that with the amount of travelling I’ve done over the past three years, you’d hope I’d be accustomed to light travelling by now (I can just picture Alyssa shaking her head in disagreement).

Eventually everyone showed up and Maria made lunch and the girls enjoyed looking at all their new presents. Baby Sergi was asleep for a while, so was very confused when he saw me. He pulled the obvious who are you face, but I couldn’t help but laugh at how judging you it seemed. He pulls that face a lot though. He did cry and run off the second time he saw me – I was expecting that – but the third time he brought a little football over to me, and ever since he’s been on good terms with me. Well, sort of. He has now worked out that when he sees me, 90% of the time it means Mummy and Daddy are going, so he’s cautious of me when he’s not sure where mummy or daddy are. When they go however, he only cries while they drive away. Once they’re gone, he’s absolutely fine. I understand though and it’s still much easier then when Jordi was a baby. For what felt like the entire first month, he would cry the whole 2 hours I had to look after him in the afternoon, and point around the house determined to find daddy hiding somewhere.

As I arrived on a Saturday, I had two days non-teaching to settle back into things. I went swimming that Saturday afternoon, before which we went to Mataró Parc to buy some storage food/ important objects like a microwave for my house. Sunday I can’t remember doing anything that significant, which is a worry as it was only two weeks ago. Oh! I looked after Sergi while they all went to church, and he was so well-behaved I couldn’t believe it. I think I played some board games with the children in the afternoon, and watched Frozen with them. I bought them some Frozen stationary and music sheets as I knew they would love it, but of course they had to watch the film before they could really appreciate their gifts. Jordi liked it too, expect for the Love is an Open Door and ice palace bit, in which he wondered off the first time (we watched it again on Monday afternoon as a pre-Sant Joan celebration, in which he watched the whole of it that time). Monday night we had fireworks to welcome in Sant Joan and the whole of Mataró was lit with fireworks from about 6pm to 6am. No joke, I woke up at 6am and could still hear them going. I wasn’t quite sure why – seeing as fireworks seem a little useless in sunlight, but hey-ho whatever floats their boats. I’d gotten up at 6am expecting to teach – totally forgetting about Sant Joan day despite the fireworks outside my window – and found out at 9am that I didn’t need too (I was so annoyed at missing a potential lie-in!). The girls wanted to read some history books though so we talked about the first humans until their grandparents arrived, and then after lunch everyone played board games and talk for a little bit. I felt much better being able to understand most of the conversation. Even if I couldn’t really join in, I still feel much more involved. I did speak a little Spanish now and then though, which felt nice (even when I got a word wrong).

The week then past like normal (well as normal as it can with no internet lunch-time onwards) and on Friday evening I met up with Natalie and got crazily sunburnt. It’s still showing, even now. It will probably still show for another month, if it ever fades. I once got sunburnt so badly on my shoulders, that the skin has never really returned to normal. Hopefully rubbing aloe vera gel (99.9% aloe vera apparently…) every 5 minutes will help out in the long run.

Last weekend I walked up to Mataró Parc and resisted the temptation to buy Dunkin’ Donuts when I saw how disappointing the choice  was (just you wait until tomorrow, Dunkin’ Donuts in Barcelona!). I did however fall in love with Zara Home, which is potentially very damaging to my very little paycheck. I bought some Native American themed glasses and felt like a proud little (ex) American Studies student. I could just imagine them displayed somewhere near a whiskey case, American home bar style, ready to showcase and debate my degree knowledge when people asked about them, because I’m the sad sort of person who puts too much thought into buying glasses. (So she’s going to be more of a G.R.R.Martin then a J.K.Rowling?)

After that the days have been pretty standard. I did walk back to Mataró Parc one afternoon, needing to celebrate my degree results in the worst way possible for someone with an overdraft before pay-day, and discovered that if I open the window and hold out my iPad or phone I can get almost two bars of WiFi (desperate times call for desperate measures) and crazily agreed to bake biscuits one day when I only had the boys to look after. Nightmare. As I’m nearing a “too long didn’t read” blog post anyway (why did you tell us about the glasses Hannah? No-one cares about the glasses!), I’ll summarize it with this – Jordi added the phrase “Big Mess” to his limited vocabulary.

Tomorrow is the weekend again and I am SO EXCITED to get myself into Barcelona and walk the streets I love. (Walk the streets of love, the streets of loveeeeee). I’m trying to save up (Ha ha ha ha ha! – I know, I know) so I think I’ll just have a photography-trip kind of day. I’ll probably end up spending a lot of money on food, so I’m going to have to be careful (not the donuts – anything but the donuts!). Before you suggest I take a packed-lunch, it is 1) boiling during the day here, so it would all be gross by the time I ate it, and 2) a huge inconvenience space wise. But it’s okay. I can do. Just resist that €5 salad and find something cheaper/ better valued for money.

I think I am more or less up-to-date now, and if I am not – you probably don’t want me to go on writing even more anyway. I can always add that next time.  I don’t know when that will be (maybe tomorrow, maybe not), so I’ll probably just post a link on Facebook again to let you know.

Well, in looney tunes style… That’s all for now folks!

x

Beamish (The Living Museum of the North) Review

So yesterday I went to Beamish – an “Open Air” Victorian Museum – and had such fun I knew I had to review it. For those who don’t have a clue where Beamish is (I can imagine most of you won’t…), it is in Northumberland… and for those who don’t know where Northumberland is, it is a county at the top of England.  If you like your history or cultural bites, it is a great place to visit.

Paying entry, I wondered why it cost so much for the four of us, as three of us were on discounts! Yet after a few inquiries as to who we each were, the lady presented us with a card each which granted us a years entry.

I think this is a good and a bad thing – it’s great for the locals, but as for the rest of us who travel there… yet for how much you get to do, I suppose the price is quite reasonable for a day pass anyway!

A quirky note about the ticketing area was that, while the building wasn’t decorated greatly, the staff were all dressed up!

IMG_3219

IMG_3220

IMG_3223

Once you exit the ticketing area, you enter a room that projects a map that tells a little Beamish story. Once you exit that area, you find yourself outside, looking down at a tram station. They supposedly run every 20 minutes, but perhaps on the busier days they run every 10 minutes. The 1-story (or should I say deck?) trams full up very quickly. We ended up on a double decker though! You never have to wait for the next tram if the double decker arrives for you! Woohoo!

We decided to sit on the bottom deck, and off we went for a glorious little ride through the countryside. The first stop was the stream train section, which we admittedly never visited. (The place is so big). The second stop was the Georgian house and farm, but we didn’t stop until the third stop, which was… The Town! 

  IMG_3249

IMG_3245

IMG_3248

IMG_3398

I guess now is good time to mention that all the buildings in Beamish aren’t actually from Beamish. They were all moved there, and re-built to resemble a typical life in the Victorian (and Georgian) age.

The Town is full of shops, a pub, a grand park and a few houses. We started with the houses (they were opposite the town’s tram station), then made our way to one side of the shops before stopping in the Grand Park for a picnic. After that, we made our way down the other side of the street and to the Town bank and council hall.

The first house we visited was really smoky. That chimmy needed a good cleaning. Had Alice been a boy I’m such we could have sent her up.

IMG_3252
That’s not light fogging up the photo, that is smoke.

The next house was the Dentist’s. I think had I been Victorian I’d have wanted to marry a dentist (if a Prince or Duke weren’t available, of course). The Dentist was the only one to have an inside toilet. He also had a house next door to his practice, so he knocked down the inside to join them. He had a lovely nursery for his children too, full of toys and white frills and high chairs and all the lovely things you take for granted until you see the next houses.

IMG_3263
These all look a little eerie, don’t they?

The young boy playing the dentist was really great; he was so informative in his role. He told us all about the various treatments we could get and how much they’d cost us (in addition to how much the miners got paid). For young women – around my age – he suggested all teeth were removed and replaced with dentures. Dentures were attractive for suitors, and would ensure my future husband need not pay dental fees for me. As a bonus, the procedure would be less painful than childbirth, so I’d be all set for my wifely duties. If you marry the dentist will he do that for free?. Well, those are the benefits should I survive the dentist chair anyway.

To have all my teeth removed would have cost me 10 pounds. Miners use to earn a pretty reasonable (at the time) wage of 2 pounds… so that sort of treatment was out of their budgets. They should go to their local barber or butcher for a few shillings and get their teeth pulled out with pliers, or for free if travellers were in town. Travellers would instead charge the people who wanted to watch. They may also take one or two healthy of your healthy teeth for good practice beforehand. All share a few things in common however; they sterilize the equipment once a day (or maybe that’s just the dentist), and will take your money before they treat you, just in case you don’t survive either.

Why wouldn’t you survive? Urgh, the details were just appalling. Simply put, you could die from the gas, blood loss or “post-operative shock” (pain). I’m sure another is inflection, but that will take a few days of pain as opposed to the length of your doctor’s appointment. 3% of patients – so 3 in 100 – would die from one of the first three. I won’t spoil the other interesting (and painful) facts I learnt… so you’ll have to visit Beamish or read on Dentistry if you want to find them out!

IMG_3257

IMG_3284

IMG_3283

IMG_3303

IMG_3393

IMG_3304

A few honourable mentions in the town are the paper shop, park and of course – the favourite of children and adults alike – the sweet shop! 

IMG_3425 IMG_3433

After a good hour or two in the town (it’s easily possible to spend far more here), we moved onto the next place – the pit village and Victorian farm. On the way, we passed a Victorian carnival field. Note to self in future; check out the map in more detail. You have to walk to the Victorian carnival from the Town.

IMG_3440

IMG_3517

IMG_3450

IMG_3461

 We choose to see the farm area first, which is honestly probably the best way to see them. The pit village is much bigger, although both share great amounts of detailing. I noticed in the smaller farm houses, although you can’t enter, they leave things like bread by the window. (Actually, come to think of it, maybe people live there? It is a working farm!)

IMG_3444

There was lots of animals, and the main farm house was beautiful! There was a woman dressed up sewing by the fireplace, all of which were lit with real fires. In the farm house, they were drying some sort of cakes (Mum knows the name!) on a rack above the fire place. There is so much detail you must be sure to look out for it all!

IMG_3494

The Pit Village is the main attraction (other then the sweet shop I hear…), as it is the only original aspect of Beamish. Alice, my sister, and my granddad went into the mining shaft and saw the drill, but mum and I stayed outside. Apparently – and easily understood – the conditions were awful. Honestly, everything seemed out to kill people back then.

IMG_3522

If the miners put up with the conditions however, they earned themselves a free house. The free house measured two rooms down, and one room upstairs. Parents would sleep in the front room, and the toilet would be like a cupboard outside. No bathroom. For a bath, they would fill up a tin one, and take it in turns to wash themselves. The eldest (or youngest) would go first, so if you’re last, in a family of 14, you get the cold and dirty water. Nice. It’s a hard knock life indeed!

IMG_3560 IMG_3562 IMG_3581 IMG_3580 IMG_3575 IMG_3573 IMG_3574

A good perk to the houses would be the front gardens, which go on quite some length. They allowed space for growing plants and herbs, and one ‘family’ even placed birds at the top of them! The down side would be that, if you were too ill to work in the mines, you would have a week to move out your house. I can imagine men would prefer to die in the mines then admit they were ill, with those sort of conditions.

IMG_3633 IMG_3638 IMG_3654 IMG_3656 IMG_3668

On a more cheery note, the Georgian house was our last stop, and was just as beautiful. There was a woman making fresh bread in the kitchen, which everyone was welcome to try. This house was by far the most… interactive? There were no ropes to limit your entry in the room, and only the cupboards were closed off/locked. There are plenty of walks around that house too, but we just didn’t have any time!

IMG_3683

All areas are well equipped with toilets, picnic benches, and a food/snack shop of some sort, so are really family friendly. There was also staff placed well around each area, usually involved in some sort of activity relevant to their character. They were all really friendly and full of jokes and information for everyone.

If I didn’t live so far away, I’d love to go back for their Christmas Fair!

Entry Costs:

Adult  £17.50 
Senior (60 years) / Student* £13.00
Child (5 – 16 years) £10.00
Child (Under 5) FREE
Family (1 Adult + 2 Children) £32.00
Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)   £46.00

Address:
Regional Resource Centre,
Beamish,
County Durham
DH9 0RG

Phone Number:
0191 370 4000

Website:
http://www.beamish.org.uk/

Opening Hours:
10am to 5pm, open all week during main season (Summer).
(Last entry 3pm)

Weather Dependency:
While there is plenty to do indoors, a lot of the outdoor beauties would be missed in heavy rain. Light rain, with rain coats, would be manageable however.

Hola!

About time really… I know, I’m sorry…

Since my last update, everything has happened really fast. It’s quite nice actually. I did admittedly have a free, chilled afternoon yesterday, but I’ve been researching housing for next year and essay planning!

The first day I arrived was spent admiring any changes, playing with the children and getting to know Natalie (their new Au Pair). I was surprised the girls weren’t shy with me at all, and that even little Jordi remembered me! That was really nice, and totally unexpected! My name has also changed from “Aiya” to “Anna” too.

My second day – which was a Sunday – Natalie and I went to Barcelona. We were chatting so much on the train that we missed our stop… (My fault! … Happy now Natalie? Haha!) but thankfully as we got off the next stop and took our chances with the other train… We were quickly back. Seriously, our timing for trains was -for a total first in my life- amazing. They were always waiting there when we needed it, and we never missed one.

Now, some of you might remember (or know from your own knowledge) that Sundays in Spain almost everything is closed. So we had a somewhat limited choice of what to do. Our day trip to Barcelona basically consisted of walking the quieter streets of Barcelona and chilling at various bars/cafes. It was really nice to just appreciate the sun and get to know Natalie better. At one point we did accidentally stumbled upon Earth Day celebrations, and had a walk around the stalls.

After we got back we chilled outside a bar in Mataro, while I got some late night ice-cream. When I was meant to walk home, and Natalie to another spot, two guys in a car stopped by us, and starting shouting out the window. I went in with Natalie for a while, to wait until they’d gone, but she kindly ended walking me back. I love going out here, but not at night. It’s really, really scary! Tonight we’re going out again, for some festivities but I’m a bit worried how I’ll get back… So much that I’m considering staying home… But I’m sure it’ll get sorted somehow though… It was kind of nice for Natalie to see how much attention I get though… because finally someone understands what I’m trying to explain!

Monday was a chill day, which was really, really appreciated. I spent the morning playing with little Jordi, and once they’d finished their homework, the girls. Then when they went out, I spent some time chilling in my room doing the research I already told you about! It was really nice though… The cleaner and gardener were in in the afternoon, but when they both talked to me… I understood them! I even told them that I was sorry I only spoke a little Spanish, and she helped me help the gardener with something. It was such a relief! Before I use to be really nervous because I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying.

Speaking of speaking a little Spanish… Today I went to Barcelona to see the Sant Jordi celebrations, and when out the house I didn’t speak English until I returned. While I didn’t speak lots, I spoke far more then I ever had before. Even then, at least I understood our conversation and quickly! I didn’t have to spend long translating it into English. Even numbers! Woo! After all the struggles last summer… It was quite nice!

I’ve taken a bunch of photos, but not on my iPad… I’m maybe too safe about my things in Barcelona, but as the city is notorious for pick-pocketing, getting my iPad out in front of so many people didn’t seem like a wise idea… So as ever I’m afraid you shall have to wait. Admittedly I didn’t get to take lots of photos, but enough to show you how Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi day! There were book stalls and rose stalls everywhere… Some roses were beautiful, fully bloomed with gorgeous rich colours, and some had only bloomed a little bit with a faded tint to them. Most were crazily overpriced, but I managed to find two rainbow-tinted ones for a reasonable price! I bought them for Jo and Natalie! While I was thinking of buying a yellow rose, and that symbolises friendship and is generally a nice colour anyway, I’d never seen rainbow or blue tinted roses in person before! Up close, they are really unique. The petals are each a different colour! Sadly, the roses already show signs of death. Maybe the two can flower press them or something. If not, even the few days they have with the rose!

Got to go out now… Shall probably blog tomorrow morning about tonight’s celebrations!

Until then,
X

Hola!

About time really… I know, I’m sorry…

Since my last update, everything has happened really fast. It’s quite nice actually. I did admittedly have a free, chilled afternoon yesterday, but I’ve been researching housing for next year and essay planning!

The first day I arrived was spent admiring any changes, playing with the children and getting to know Natalie (their new Au Pair). I was surprised the girls weren’t shy with me at all, and that even little Jordi remembered me! That was really nice, and totally unexpected! My name has also changed from “Aiya” to “Anna” too.

My second day – which was a Sunday – Natalie and I went to Barcelona. We were chatting so much on the train that we missed our stop… (My fault! … Happy now Natalie? Haha!) but thankfully as we got off the next stop and took our chances with the other train… We were quickly back. Seriously, our timing for trains was -for a total first in my life- amazing. They were always waiting there when we needed it, and we never missed one.

Now, some of you might remember (or know from your own knowledge) that Sundays in Spain almost everything is closed. So we had a somewhat limited choice of what to do. Our day trip to Barcelona basically consisted of walking the quieter streets of Barcelona and chilling at various bars/cafes. It was really nice to just appreciate the sun and get to know Natalie better. At one point we did accidentally stumbled upon Earth Day celebrations, and had a walk around the stalls.

After we got back we chilled outside a bar in Mataro, while I got some late night ice-cream. When I was meant to walk home, and Natalie to another spot, two guys in a car stopped by us, and starting shouting out the window. I went in with Natalie for a while, to wait until they’d gone, but she kindly ended walking me back. I love going out here, but not at night. It’s really, really scary! Tonight we’re going out again, for some festivities but I’m a bit worried how I’ll get back… So much that I’m considering staying home… But I’m sure it’ll get sorted somehow though… It was kind of nice for Natalie to see how much attention I get though… because finally someone understands what I’m trying to explain!

Monday was a chill day, which was really, really appreciated. I spent the morning playing with little Jordi, and once they’d finished their homework, the girls. Then when they went out, I spent some time chilling in my room doing the research I already told you about! It was really nice though… The cleaner and gardener were in in the afternoon, but when they both talked to me… I understood them! I even told them that I was sorry I only spoke a little Spanish, and she helped me help the gardener with something. It was such a relief! Before I use to be really nervous because I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying.

Speaking of speaking a little Spanish… Today I went to Barcelona to see the Sant Jordi celebrations, and when out the house I didn’t speak English until I returned. While I didn’t speak lots, I spoke far more then I ever had before. Even then, at least I understood our conversation and quickly! I didn’t have to spend long translating it into English. Even numbers! Woo! After all the struggles last summer… It was quite nice!

I’ve taken a bunch of photos, but not on my iPad… I’m maybe too safe about my things in Barcelona, but as the city is notorious for pick-pocketing, getting my iPad out in front of so many people didn’t seem like a wise idea… So as ever I’m afraid you shall have to wait. Admittedly I didn’t get to take lots of photos, but enough to show you how Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi day! There were book stalls and rose stalls everywhere… Some roses were beautiful, fully bloomed with gorgeous rich colours, and some had only bloomed a little bit with a faded tint to them. Most were crazily overpriced, but I managed to find two rainbow-tinted ones for a reasonable price! I bought them for Jo and Natalie! While I was thinking of buying a yellow rose, and that symbolises friendship and is generally a nice colour anyway, I’d never seen rainbow or blue tinted roses in person before! Up close, they are really unique. The petals are each a different colour! Sadly, the roses already show signs of death. Maybe the two can flower press them or something. If not, even the few days they have with the rose!

Got to go out now… Shall probably blog tomorrow morning about tonight’s celebrations!

Until then,
X

Hola!

About time really… I know, I’m sorry…

Since my last update, everything has happened really fast. It’s quite nice actually. I did admittedly have a free, chilled afternoon yesterday, but I’ve been researching housing for next year and essay planning!

The first day I arrived was spent admiring any changes, playing with the children and getting to know Natalie (their new Au Pair). I was surprised the girls weren’t shy with me at all, and that even little Jordi remembered me! That was really nice, and totally unexpected! My name has also changed from “Aiya” to “Anna” too.

My second day – which was a Sunday – Natalie and I went to Barcelona. We were chatting so much on the train that we missed our stop… (My fault! … Happy now Natalie? Haha!) but thankfully as we got off the next stop and took our chances with the other train… We were quickly back. Seriously, our timing for trains was -for a total first in my life- amazing. They were always waiting there when we needed it, and we never missed one.

Now, some of you might remember (or know from your own knowledge) that Sundays in Spain almost everything is closed. So we had a somewhat limited choice of what to do. Our day trip to Barcelona basically consisted of walking the quieter streets of Barcelona and chilling at various bars/cafes. It was really nice to just appreciate the sun and get to know Natalie better. At one point we did accidentally stumbled upon Earth Day celebrations, and had a walk around the stalls.

After we got back we chilled outside a bar in Mataro, while I got some late night ice-cream. When I was meant to walk home, and Natalie to another spot, two guys in a car stopped by us, and starting shouting out the window. I went in with Natalie for a while, to wait until they’d gone, but she kindly ended walking me back. I love going out here, but not at night. It’s really, really scary! Tonight we’re going out again, for some festivities but I’m a bit worried how I’ll get back… So much that I’m considering staying home… But I’m sure it’ll get sorted somehow though… It was kind of nice for Natalie to see how much attention I get though… because finally someone understands what I’m trying to explain!

Monday was a chill day, which was really, really appreciated. I spent the morning playing with little Jordi, and once they’d finished their homework, the girls. Then when they went out, I spent some time chilling in my room doing the research I already told you about! It was really nice though… The cleaner and gardener were in in the afternoon, but when they both talked to me… I understood them! I even told them that I was sorry I only spoke a little Spanish, and she helped me help the gardener with something. It was such a relief! Before I use to be really nervous because I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying.

Speaking of speaking a little Spanish… Today I went to Barcelona to see the Sant Jordi celebrations, and when out the house I didn’t speak English until I returned. While I didn’t speak lots, I spoke far more then I ever had before. Even then, at least I understood our conversation and quickly! I didn’t have to spend long translating it into English. Even numbers! Woo! After all the struggles last summer… It was quite nice!

I’ve taken a bunch of photos, but not on my iPad… I’m maybe too safe about my things in Barcelona, but as the city is notorious for pick-pocketing, getting my iPad out in front of so many people didn’t seem like a wise idea… So as ever I’m afraid you shall have to wait. Admittedly I didn’t get to take lots of photos, but enough to show you how Barcelona celebrates Sant Jordi day! There were book stalls and rose stalls everywhere… Some roses were beautiful, fully bloomed with gorgeous rich colours, and some had only bloomed a little bit with a faded tint to them. Most were crazily overpriced, but I managed to find two rainbow-tinted ones for a reasonable price! I bought them for Jo and Natalie! While I was thinking of buying a yellow rose, and that symbolises friendship and is generally a nice colour anyway, I’d never seen rainbow or blue tinted roses in person before! Up close, they are really unique. The petals are each a different colour! Sadly, the roses already show signs of death. Maybe the two can flower press them or something. If not, even the few days they have with the rose!

Got to go out now… Shall probably blog tomorrow morning about tonight’s celebrations!

Until then,
X

Quick Update before I fly!

I’m flying at 10:25 (I think…!) this morning, so can only do a quick update, as I’m about to run for the bus!

The other day I went to Insadong by myself, and it was a mixture of traditional Korea along with tourist Korea. Then I got back before the other two, and as I knew they’d eaten, went out with some Australian guests who are staying at the hostel. It was really nice to hang out with some other travellers. Two were a couple who were backpacking for 6 months around Asia and Europe (mainly the Eastern side), and the other was a worker/traveller/sculptor. The couple had just done a year teaching in Japan too… Anyway, the main point was the conversation was about travelling. Be it cultural differences, favourite cities, future plans… It was really nice to talk with people as passionate (or probably more so!) than I on the topic.

The night before that, we went to karaoke for around 4 and a half hours. We got back about 4.30am. Yesterday we went to Everland (a theme park, a bit like the “Korean Disney”), so we had to wake up early. Last night I only got one hour of sleep, so I’m looking forward to sleeping on the plane. With my lack of energy, I’ll be surprised if I don’t… Or I’ll be beyond grumpy when I get to the other side (and then have to go on a 4 hour coach journey!).

Well, I guess a “See you soon for a proper update!” is all I really have to write, as no one wants to hear more on lack of sleep and flight fears! I shall post all my photos when I get home too! The only thing is, I can’t guarantee it will be straight away. I need to catch up with sleep, get ready for Barcelona and look at the assignments I need to do….

CatchUp!

Because I’m feeling really lazy this morning (afternoon), and kinda limited for time (not really it just takes ages to write and re-draft), I’m going to start with what I wrote… Two days ago? Then add on after an update…

So right now (while writing this) I’m sitting in a little local “noodle fusion” place, by myself, surrounded by locals. It’s a little daunting, but not as daunting as when I just accidentally spoke Spanish to a Korean. I was thinking about Spain and in Spanish, so when he asked me “Do you want a bag?” in Korean, no surprise when I replied “Ci!”. I realised my mistake as soon as I’d said it, so I quickly corrected myself. “네네네!” (yes yes yes! Pronounced, “ne ne ne!”). He took that as “No” though, and I hurried out of the store in embarrassment.

Last night we kind of went out. We stayed out until midnight, but it wasn’t clubbing or bar hopping kind of “out”. Instead we went strolling the streets for dinner, and watching a free concert (they call them “guerrilla concert”?), that was pretty good! They covered a few English songs, and as I was singing along, they keep looking to check they were getting it right! I can confirm this because, at one stage, they didn’t get it right. So he turned his back to me and pulled a face at his guitarist haha! It was so funny! But they were still really talented, and I love the atmosphere that surrounds a (good) live band. Everyone was singing along and clapping or dancing and the whole thing was just awesome. We came to the place I’m currently sitting in last night, which was great because I’ve been craving vegetables.

image

Ah. I’m not sure what I’m meant to do. Show them my ticket? Oops. Awkward, I’ve been sitting here a while. Okay maybe not. Even more awkward. Not really sure what I’m meant to be doing. We weren’t sure yesterday, but I wasn’t facing away then and the lady saw us. Ahhhhh. Oh well.

Anyway, this morning we planned to get up earlier, so my body woke up me super early and went into that horrid half asleep/ (got my food now) half awake stage. Min Unnie asked us if we wanted to go to a party with her, and Mad and I agreed since Alyssa is going out with her friends. (Okay, my meal is SUPER HOTTTT!). I plan to shower and maybe nap when I get back so I have enough energy for tonight! The theme of night is “Soju Lab” so I’m a little scared. (Oh! My eyes are watering…). Soju is the name of Korea’s alcohol. I don’t plan to drink much, if any, but I guess this gives me a chance to experience a Korean night out!

Mad’s joined me now! She wants to go to the cat cafe out wards (she says hi. First shout out on my blog!) so we’ll probably do that next!

The reason I planned to wake up early was to go the palace! But, Alyssa asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her near Ewha Woman’s University. That’s where we went the other day, but I didn’t have any money. There were loads of cheap, cute clothes so I agreed to go again. I got so much for quite little!

So I cut writing my blog post then and started eating/talking to Mad. After that we went to get some banana milk (may possibly have an obsession with it), and shop a little on the way. Then we dropped our stuff off, and went to a cat cafe. I will write a more detailed post on this later, along with posting all of the photos (soooo many cats), but I’ll just say that the cats liked me more than the dogs, and the cat that liked me was really possessive. If another cat came near me, he/she would scratch them away. “MY HUMAN!!!”.

After that I went back to the dorm, but Mad went out. In case you’ve forgotten and wondering what’s happened to Alyssa, she’s gone out with her friends (and she’s allergic to cats). I kind of sorted out my stuff and had a shower, but forgot to get the conditioner (we keep it in a bag by Alyssa’s stuff), so my hair went SUPER FRIZZY, and I only had around 20 minutes until we had to (ideally) go. Mad got back and tried to help me look OK before we left. It kind of worked. Kind of. We then went to the meeting place, in Itaewon. Even in the subway, I told tell why this is the foreign region of Seoul. It’s where all the American forces hang out in Seoul, and I’m not sure if this is due to the place being a cheap nightlife area, or the place is cheap because they all go there. Either way, it’s packed with clubs and bars.

We followed Min Unnie and her friend to a bar where more of her friends were. I only had two cocktails but that was enough. More people slowly arrived, and everyone was super nice. We then headed to a hip-hop club. The event was called Soju Lab! I felt relieved haha. A party with the theme of Soju Lab sounds kind of scary, a club with the event called Soju Lab is completely different! It was great fun, and easier to enjoy since guys would either ask you to dance, or just look at you. I dislike clubbing in England when guys just “dance” (crappy excuse for them to try and feel you up) with you. When they just start dancing behind you, until you turn around to tell them off, and then they use it as an excuse to be like “HEYA!”. I get really, really annoyed and angry at them. I’m in the club to dance with my friends! Not be felt up by a stranger! But no-one did that here. They’d either be like “Want to dance?” Or ask you where you’re from/your name etc then you’d join your groups together.

Some of us returned to Hongdae (area we’re staying out), and went out for food. I left around 4am, and although it sounds bad that I left Mad out by herself, 4am in Korea looks like 11pm in England. The streets are full, and she was close by. I also trusted those she was with, and because it was so near to the dorm, I knew she’d be okay. She came back around an hour later.

The next day – or yesterday – we went up with Michelle Unnie in the Hello Kitty Cafe (SO PINK!!), and waited for Min Unnie to wake up! We all then went out for food, and because there was a lot of vegetarian food, we shared quite a lot. I got to try lots of stuff! It was really nice!

image

Then the Unnies helped us get our nails done, before they said their good-byes. It was pretty pricey (most expensive thing we’ve done by far), but it was a great experience! (It did take a long time too…)

image

After that, we went back to the hostel and ordered pizza. We pigged out and watched our World Date DVD together (Michelle Unnie gave Mad’s to her, where as the rest of us had them shipped out to us). Our friends in the hostel watched it too, so it was a little weird, but fun to watch it together.

Our days should quite short, but we wake up late and go to bed late. Most Korean shops don’t open until around 11 or 12 am anyway, and close around midnight. Tomorrow I plan to go to the palace, and hanok village, and then meet Mad and Alyssa for a temple lunch. (They don’t want to come with me, they want to go shopping). Today it’s another shopping day, and Mad wants to go back to the dog cafe. I don’t really fancy that again though, so might go do something else.

image
Look at all the stuff I got (so far) for Alice! Aren’t I a good sister?

P.S have a few funny stories to tell, about people’s reactions to me, b you’ll have to wait until later I’m afraid! We also visited the Zoo the other day, but admittedly there’s not much to write about that.