Saturday, 22 October 2016

A Snapshot of Ireland

Ireland, a little blast from the past as August is a wee while ago now. I typed up a whole post, which Blogger then promptly ate, so I lost the will to go back to it for a month or so.

In any case, rather than bore on at length about what we got up to, I thought I would mostly share some photographs of some places that I would recommend if you're ever visiting the west coast of Ireland.

You'll also see that the weather we had, for the most part, was absolutely glorious. That is by no means guaranteed but the country will still be's remarkably well-suited to drizzle.

The first few days of the holiday were spent at a family wedding and I didn't really take many photos at all, not wanting to carry my camera with me. The wedding was in Bunratty, in County Clare and we decided to stay on for a few extra days, moving to Ennistymon, to spend a little more time in Clare and Galway, where my mum's side of the family come from.

Inis Oirr

There are three Aran Islands - Inis Mor (pronounced Inishmore), Inis Meain (pronounced Inishmaan) and Inis Oirr (pronounced Inisheer) - which you can take ferries to from the mainland (we travelled from Doolin).

This was a must for me as I have amazing memories of getting a fishing boat out to the islands on a trip to Ireland when I was small, fishing for mackerel (can't imagine helping very muh, I was quite young, but I have strong memories of carrying slippery fish around a boat) and then eating the freshly cooked fish that evening.

We decided to do a trip incorporating Inis Oirr (which is the most eastern island) and a boat trip back via the Cliffs of Moher. With the benefit of hindlegs, I'd choose a trip giving you longer on the island as it was so gorgeous and the boat trip back was so crowded, quite long and a lot of us were forced to stay inside as the journey was quite rough - I have a strong stomach so was fine but being around people throwing up on a small boat was not the most fun. It was incredible to see the Cliffs from underneath though!

Visiting Inis Oirr was like travelling back in time - some scattered old cottages around but mostly fields and animals. The main language on the island is Gaelic which was fascinating to hear too.

The Cliffs of Moher

You can walk the 5 miles along the cliffs, some of which passes some perilous drops. It's home to lots of different kinds of sea birds, including puffins which we sadly didn't see!

According to some literature picked up at the exciting Cliffs of Moher Centre, on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsual and Blasket Islands in Kerry. It was not that clear on our visit but still stunning!

Kilmacduagh Monastery

Kilmacduagh is a ruined abbey near Gort in County Galway. We passed lots of ruined (what looked like) churches as we were driving around throughout the few days but stopped off at this one because it looked so beautifully haunting, standing out amongst all the green.


Ballyvaughan is a small harbour village in County Clare, where we stopped for a few Guinnesses (alas not me) and some fresh seafood.

We had to stop here to quickly snap the disappearing sunlight... So beautiful.

The Burren

In Irish, the Burren is Boireann which means 'great rock' and is more than slightly appropriate. It's a vast landscape of bedrock, with cliffs and caves, rock formations, fossils and archaeological sites to visit.

We only drove through and stopped off briefly, unfortunately, so will definitely need to go back and explore more.

If you do visit, look out for signs to 'The Burren Chocolatier', which will lead you to the Hazel Mountain chocolate shop and factory. I know I mentioned this in my first post-Ireland Wonderful Wednesday post but I am still thinking about their orange blossom carrot cake so it had to be mentioned again!

What would you recommend for our next trip to Ireland? We'll definitely be going back again soon, can't believe we left it so long this time.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 22

Credit: Becky Cameron, pop over to her Instagram
for heaps of her wonderful illustrations. This was just perfect!
I may be slightly late to the party to be raising this now but it's so fantastic to see just how many there are of us in Sally's merry Wonderful Wednesday brigade now! It's really lovely that I can count on my Twitter timeline having a flurry of Good Things at that mid-point in the week when last weekend starts to feel like too long ago but the weekend to come is still just sliiiightly out of reach. I love it.

The air is getting much crisper too. I don't feel quite so over-heated walking to the station in my scarf in the mornings and the merry lights glowing in the shop windows in the darkness as I make my way home have me counting down the days to November, Bonfire Night and then all sorts of mulled things ahead. I don't think I've ever been busier at work but I'm focusing on the good things, which I know a little dose of weekly Wonderful Wednesday helps me to do.

Onwards the little snippets of splendid over the last seven days...


♥ Cosy mittens... I picked up these cosy woollen mittens in Ireland back in August and they've been folded up in my chest of drawers waiting for the weather to get just that little bit cooler. This weekend was that time and I love them! They may also be perfect for the office when it's just too cold for fingerless gloves outside but the heating is not always completely effective inside but I still need to type. How about that for forward planning?!

♥ Slow cooker meal planning... We received a slow cooker as a wedding gift but haven't been able to use it yet because there was just no space for it in our previous flat, so it sat in its box waiting for our move. The mister excitedly unpacked it on Sunday evening and has been researching slow cooker stews ever since. I've already bookmarked Helen's German Slow Cooker Pork and Beer Hotpot, which looks incredibly tasty. Gluten free beer though, mind.

♥ Children's books... My friend's little boy is turning 2 in a few weeks and as we were visiting them this weekend, I used the opportunity to pick up a few books for him. There are so many wonderful books to choose from, it's really difficult! I knew he didn't have the Gruffalo but that was only available in a slightly different format but I did spy Stick Man, which is by the same author and I watched the TV adaptation at Christmas last year (? Maybe the year before?) and it was so wonderfully heartwarming, all about a lost Stick Man trying to get back to his Stick Lady Love and Stick Family. They went down a TREAT with the little man!

♥ Spending time with some of my favourite littl'uns... So leading on from the above, we spent the weekend with one of my closest friends, her hubby and their (almost) 2 year old little boy. I haven't seen him in months and he's grown so much! He's talking lots now, loves splashing in puddles (nyaaw!) and is obsessed with spiders (ew). Seriously though, I overcame my fear of spiders when he toddled up, held out his little hand and said "spiders?', just so I'd go on a spider hunt with him several times over the course of the weekend.

My friend lives down the road from my aunt and uncle and 3 of my cousins so we popped over there for lunch on Sunday, meaning I got to spend some time with my cousin (who was one of my bridesmaids and is my God-daughter) who I adore. We had a massive Harry Potter geek-out, as she's been to see the stage play and I am so so jealous!

♥ Mid-week Date Nights... I attended a seminar in London on Tuesday evening, so decided to meet up with the mister afterwards and we went out for a spot of dinner, heading to our favourite Japanese restaurant in Soho. My seminar was on Fleet Street and we decided to walk to Soho rather than pushing onto the rush hour tube. It was about a 20/25 minute walk but there's something magical about London at night...despite the crowds...Somerset House was all lit up and the theatres were just starting to let people in for the evening performances. Wonderful. We really felt like we'd earned our dinner too by the time we arrived at the restaurant! Although we may have over-ordered slightly as a result...

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaEl, LauraSarah and Mimmi - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 21

ALWAYS Liz Lemon.
Anther week, another train-based Wonderful Wednesday. I'm looking forward to a return to the weeks where I can sit and leisurely draft my happy little catch up, rather than frantically tap out what I can remember on a train journey home when all I would like to do is shut my eyes (and try not to fall asleep only to end up in Kings Cross - I suppose that's one perk of tapping away on my phone! Look at that, I really am finding the happy here!) before getting home to spell check the bejeesus out of it, before hitting 'post'. Gah.

So without further ado, as Michelle would suggest, ON WITH THE WONDERFUL...


♥ Perfect cheesecake...even if I do say so myself. My brother and his girlfriend bought me an amazing new gluten free cookbook for my birthday, which I'd been wanting to buy for myself after hearing so many good things about it - Naomi Devlin's River Cottage Gluten Free. They came over to ours for dinner on Saturday (and stayed, because we finally have a guest room!) so I decided to bake something from the book in honour of the occasion. Long-term WW readers may have worked out that I definitely bring the sweet on these occasions, while the mister cooks up the tasty savoury options.

I decided to choose the blueberry cheese cake, pulling out all the stops myself by making the base from scratch rather than using gluten free digestives and even making it the night before to allow for extra chilling time. It did not disappoint. So much so that it disappeared in two sittings. Yums.

♥ Time with my brother... My brother and I have always been close but there were times growing up when I absolutely haaaated him, couldn't stand to be in the same room as him. So on those occasions the thought of inviting him over for dinner as we did on Saturday and to stay over would have been unthinkable. But our Saturday night was so much fun! I remember thinking (and I may have been slightly tiddly at the time but it still counts) that it was just so great to be getting along like the closest of friends, like adults (ha - says the 34 year old!) Does that even make sense? My brain is not working right now, it is late as I type this!

♥ Autumn walks... I walked into the town centre on Saturday morning to pop to the hairdresser and pick up a few last minute bits for dinner that evening. I had thought about getting the bus when I'd left earlier as it was drizzling slightly miserably and I needed to do a frantic pre-guests clean of the house, but when I stepped outside the skies were clear and blue, and there was a fresh cool breeze so I decided to walk home instead. I'm so glad I did. I walked through the park, which was full of joggers, dog walkers and kiddoes playing football. The trees are all just starting to turn and the leaves haven't started falling to such an extent that the paths are covered...there are still heaps of conkers lying around and the beginnings of leaf fall. I looked up as I walked along and couldn't resist snapping a photo. Gorgeous yellow canopy. Beautiful autumn day.

♥ Successful adulting... This could have been a really sad item but I'm turning it around and seeing the good in it - my aunt came over at the weekend and told us all about a little kitten that turned up on her doorstep. She has a dog, so can't really contemplate keeping it but she took it to the vet so that it could be checked for a microchip. Nothing was to be found and, with a heavy heart, she left it with the vet hoping that its owner would somehow track it down. She received a call from the vet at the end of the week saying that no one had turned up looking for the kitten and asking if she would consider re-homing it or knew of anything who would. She offered it to the mister and I and my goodness, we were so tempted! She sent a photo, which nearly broke my heart (the big kitteny paws!) but after much thought (we may even have chosen a name for it by this point! Sob!) and a very sensible discussion, we realised that we just couldn't have the kitten. It's not the right time.

♥ New slippers...I couldn't end on a sad kitten story (even if I did manage to turn it into a Good Thing) so I'll finish with the glorious news that I have some new slippers for winter 2016 - they're more of a slipper sock really, but they have a grippy underneath - I'm quite clumsy, need all the help I can get - and...wait for it...a fluffy white pom pom on the top of each one. Practical, warm and stylish.

That's it for this week, my lovelies. Short and sweet but I was determined to post something and not let work stress take over. That was the whole purpose of joining this happy little bunch in the first place!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamanthaKerri, LauraSarahPetaEl and Laura - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 20

The fantastic Lizzy Stewart
This picture is everything I have wanted to do for the last week but alas, these last few weeks have been so incredibly busy at work...and the rest of October isn't looking like it's going to be any different. I'm using my commute home on Tuesday evening to type this post, so I am sorry if it's a little more rushed and typo-ridden than usual (the horrors of auto correct and a small screen!) I haven't had a chance to respond to all of the lovely comments left on my last post, which I always try to do, or comment on any of the wonderful posts in my Bloglovin - honestly, I usually save the wonderful wednesdays until the weekend to have a glorious wonderful-binge with my Saturday morning breakfast but this weekend there were just so many posts saved by the time I was able to take a look that I just couldn't face them. NOT GOOD at all.

I have managed to trawl my tired old brain for some of the highlights of the last week...not always easy when you're working really late and can only just about drag yourself onto a train and off again, before going to bed! Ok, so before all the tiny violins in the world start playing for me, on with the happy!


♥ American chocolate... Not all, mind, but one of my colleagues just returned this week from a trip to the States and brought back peanut butter M&Ms and salted caramel Hershey Kisses. Bad timing for my pre-Christmas healthy eating plan (I have to at least try!) but great news for my manic work-induced stress eating. I'm a conflicted soul but wow they're good.

♥ Return of the bobble hat... Tying into my recent excitement about the cooler weather but on Tuesday morning I was able to wear my hat to the station without overheating and managed to retain a straight fringe despite the (very pretty but very damp) early morning dew.

Also fitting into the 'yay the weather's infinitely cooler!' category but not specifically mentioned as they don't contribute to frizz-defying wonder - the snuggly hoodies I've dug out of boxes, the extra thick duvet we've replaced our lighter summer duvet with and setting the heating to come on just before we have to be up in the morning. So wonderful.

♥ Relaxing weekends...or at least Saturdays. This weekend, the mister and I popped up to Norfolk to visit his mum. We travelled up on Friday evening and I was really excited to discover that there's now a Leon and an Ed's Diner at Liverpool Street Station, both of which are excellent for gluten free options. I very virtuously ordered a falafel-based option at Leon (albeit swiftly negated by the side order of baked fries and the bag of Percy Pigs on the train) and was able to sit and enjoy it in plenty of time before our train arrived. 

Saturday was a day of glorious relaxation. Honestly, I've been like a coiled spring of stress over the last week, with shoulders up around my ears somewhere, but for the first time all week I had nothing to do and it was BLISS. I read my new issue of the Simple Things, drank lots of tea and even managed a quick meditation...although my mind wandered constantly throughout that so it wasn't the most successful option. I helped the mister make a roast dinner (strictly sous-chef I might add) before curling up in front of the TV with a few glasses of red wine. Of course, the benefits of all that were swiftly undone the following day thanks to a rail-replacement disrupted journey home and a nasty pushy woman on the tube. Not very wonderful Wednesday but ugh woman, don't give Londoners a bad name!

I couldn't end the weekend thoughts on that though, so here's a shot of the gorgeous evening light on Saturday evening and my mother in law's last blooming (blossoming?!) tomato plant. 

The beginnings of a bullet journal... Finally, I'm so excited to have started a bullet journal this month. I'd been planning to wait until the new year but with the next few months already proving to be quite busy and the wonder of this system meaning that you can pick it up at anytime, I decided to pick up a new notebook now (always exciting!) and dive right in. I'm really enjoying all the different possibilities and having laid out October already, have started thinking about what I'd like to do differently next month. There are so many beautiful bullet journals out there and while I don't think I'll ever have the time or patience to turn mine into such a work of art, it's making my stationery/planning/list-loving heart very happy indeed.

I hope you've all had wonderful wonderful weeks so far!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamantha and Kerri and the lovely Wonderful Wednesday newbies LauraSarahPeta and El (I thiiink that's everyone - do let me know if I've missed anyone!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 19

Image found here
Is it actually getting cooler, folks?! I don't know why I'm making such a big deal about it, it's not as if we've had three months of blazing sunshine but I do get a little more excited when it gets darker, the breeze picks up and the leaves start to turn red and fall. I'm starting to sniff out Autumn - scarves, woolly hats and boots, ahoy! I may be a summer baby but I do not cope well with warmth. I'm a lover of cosy things and while this does mean it's more difficult to get out of bed in the morning when the sky is still dark outside, I will gladly take this season over the summer heat.

So without further ado and before I start waxing lyrical about how Autumn means Christmas isn't too far away (!!), here are my highlights from the last week...


♥ Visiting the dentist... Aha yes, an odd one to start the week. It had been a long time since my last visit and I had been putting it off and off but finally booked a visit this week - Saturday morning, what a treat. I shouldn't have worried, my teeth were absolutely a-ok and surprisingly, despite my exceedingly sweet tooth, I still don't have any fillings! *beams* (To be fair, this probably wouldn't have made my list of wonderful if I had needed a filling...)

♥ Cooler weather... As mentioned above, I am so happy that the weather is slightly cooler again! (Particularly on days when it's not damp and humid - what is up with that awful combination, weather? My hair has reached new heights of frizz.) We've celebrated this week by re-introducing some wintery dinner treats - on Monday night, the mister cooked pork chops with mash and gravy. Mmm mmm. Last Thursday's storm also makes it into this week's highlights - nothing beats a crashing storm when you're curled up in bed safe and warm.

♥ Some much-needed parents time... Doctor's appointment on Friday afternoon and dentist on Saturday morning, both close to my parents so I decided to stay over there on Friday night (also giving the mister a night out pass - win win!) It was a lovely peaceful evening, we opened a bottle of wine and I cooked a paella. We then all curled up to watch Joanna Lumley exclaim about Japan for an hour. It was wonderful. To ramp up the cosy, I went to the library with my mum on the Saturday morning and while she browsed for more books, I curled up in their magazine corner and read Good Housekeeping. I don't think I've felt so relaxed in weeks (and very necessary at the moment).

♥ London exploring... On Sunday, the mister and I decided to pop into London for some lunch and a mooch around the shops. Excitingly, I needed some new black trousers. It was also the Open House London weekend, which somehow we manage to miss every year. This is an event where some of London's most fantastic buildings, which are usually closed to the general public, are opened up with information about the architecture, design etc. Some of the most splendid buildings are ticketed but there are so many where you can just turn up and have a good nose around. (One of my most favourite things!) We decided to go to Freemasons' Hall on Great Queen Street, which is an impressive building just from the outside but inside, wow it was quite incredible. Stained glass windows with images representing the Freemasons' ideology, beautiful Art Deco architecture and light fittings and the Grand Temple inside? The murals on the ceiling could rival some of the most impressive churches I've visited in Europe. It was fantastic and has spurred us on to see more of the buildings next year - perhaps even plan a whole day's worth! Crikey. One peeve though - a ticketed event called 'Fashion Scout' was also being held in part of the Hall, showcasing emerging and established fashion design talent. The stylish young thing who walked in ahead of us was asked if she was there for Fashion Scout or the Open House. The mister and I? "You're here for the Open House, right?" OUTRAGEOUS PRESUMPTION! Ahem, yes we are.

♥ Plumdog... This is something I discovered during my Sunday wanderings with the mister. We decided to pop into Gosh, which is one of our favourite comic shops - we could both happily spend a good long time browsing that shop, in very different sections mind. This Sunday I happened upon a book called Plumdog, which is an illustrated diary of the days in the life of the author's dog, Plum. The book blurb reads as follows:

Hello. My name is Plum and I'm a whoosell - that's whippet mixed with Jack Russell and poodle. I especially like swimming, leaping, catching, and croissants, and my favourite fragrance is fox poo. I live with Emma, an illustrator, and Rupert. My sister, Liffey, lives nearby.

Over the last year I've been keeping a diary. Emma has helped with the pictures but the words are all mine.

A diary?! From the perspective of a dog? I'm in. It was hard enough to stop me devouring the entire book there and then. If you're still not convinced, JUST LOOK AT PLUM!

Image found here
You can check out Plum's adventures on Emma's blog here. My vicarious dog ownership continues...

♥ First Aiding... I went on a first aid course on Monday - emergency first aid at work. As much as I hope I will never have to use it, I really enjoyed the day's course and am now able to (hopefully!) dress a wound, put someone in the recovery position and do CPR. I was also the only person in the room to make the CPR dummy produce a strange farting noise from its nose - win?!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you're all having great weeks so far.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamantha and Kerri and the lovely Wonderful Wednesday newbies LauraSarahPeta and El (I thiiink that's everyone - do let me know if I've missed anyone!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 18

A slightly different Wonderful Wednesday this week, focusing on just the one wonderful tidbit. It's been a lovely week with lots of moments that have made me smile but one in particular that I'd like to dedicate this post to.

Monday was our first wedding anniversary, which surprised us both as we felt that we've done so much over the last year but at the same time can't believe that a whole year has passed already. I thought I'd share what we got up to interspersed with some photos from our day last I still love looking at them!

We both booked the day off (there's something particularly special about a three day weekend not shared with most of the rest of the country) but decided to make the whole three days time for just us. We finally (!) started working on our wedding album, went to mass at the lovely little church we got married in and spent some time pottering around the area afterwards just reminiscing. It's in Farringdon in the City of London so while it's full of suits during the week, it's practically deserted during the weekend. We spent most of our wedding weekend there this time last year - our reception was in the Crypt below the church, we spent our wedding night (and the following night) in a gorgeous boutique hotel down the road and met our friends for catch-up drinks the following day in a pub near Smithfields Market. 

On the day itself this year we went to the Bleeding Heart Restaurant, which catered our wedding. I made a point of choosing the wines we had on our wedding day (it was lovely to get to enjoy them myself this time - you talk a LOT on your wedding day, who knew?!) and we had a really perfect meal, even being given some free champagne in honour of the occasion. Tiddly at lunchtime on a Monday? Goodness me, what a way to start the week!

It's been a fantastic first year of married life and I'm really excited about what the future holds for my mister and I. He's a keeper.

I hope your weeks have been just as wonderful!

[Photo credit: our fantastic wedding photographer Kat Hill]

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmmaSamantha and Kerri and the lovely Wonderful Wednesday newbies LauraSarah, Peta and El (I thiiink that's everyone - do let me know if I've missed anyone!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Wonderful Wednesday 17

A snap of a bedroom ceiling from William III's apartments at Hampton Court Palace - dream ceiling!

Ahhh a Wonderful Wednesday after a bank holiday weekend, is there anything sweeter?! A holiday is fabulous but one that everyone has had has its own unique quality - you're not the only one coming back after a break to be faced with all the letters/emails that have built up over the course of your break for a start. It also makes the week shorter too, even more so for me because I took yesterday off because it was my birthday. (Being a summer baby I don't think I could ever face having to work on my birthday, it's just not on).

This last week was filled with oodles of happiness and joy too. My mother in law has been staying with us since last Wednesday, which has been lovely, and we used the bank holiday weekend to do a couple of really touristy things that it takes someone visiting from outside London to inspire you to do. (Honestly, I know I could do these things anytime but somehow you just don't and I suppose that makes them extra special, together with visits from an out-of-towner). So without further ado, here are some of my favourite bits from the last week...


♥ Being a Tourist in London... As I said above, we've done a few touristy things over the course of the bank holiday weekend, which I absolutely adored. As I'd been working up to the weekend, we took it easy on Saturday morning before spending the afternoon at the British Museum (which is actually something I do on quite a regular basis, love it there. On Sunday though, we spent the day at Hampton Court Palace, which is somewhere I hadn't been to for a few years. It was really busy as the GoodFood festival was taking place in the grounds too and, you know, bank holiday and all. They seem to have spent a lot of money over the last few years making the place more 'visitor-friendly' as there were lots of interactive-style exhibits and pieces of information hidden all over various rooms, meaning you picked up lots of little details that you might have otherwise missed. One of my favourites was in the small closet-type rooms in the Tudor apartments, where people might have gone to escape being looked at all the time in the larger appearance rooms - the wooden panelling on the walls was textured like cloth, to mirror the tapestries that would have been on the walls in the main rooms of the palace. When we visited the Georgian apartments, there was a play just beginning which led us all through the apartments and taught us snippets of information about that era that I had no idea about. (Although it initially panicked me when one of the actors tried to get me to join in a group dance - audience participation is one of my greatest fears.)

The gardens at Hampton Court are another reason to visit and the sun shone for us as we wandered around the grounds. The garden above is one of the Pond Gardens, originally ponds made for Henry VIII. Another top fact, which I shared on Instagram with the above photo, is that the eighteenth-century lead statue of Venue in the garden was discovered in 1892 in 'Mrs Grundy's gallery' - a private room in the palace used by a prudish housekeeper to hide paintings and sculptures which she felt were unsuitable for the public. Firstly, 'Grundy' - hilarious in and of itself. Secondly, I would LOVE to have discovered that room! It made me remember that one of my classics lecturers at university used to mention a theory of his that there's a secret room in the Vatican filled with all the rude bits lopped off classical statues - teehee!

On bank holiday Monday, we headed to London Zoo - somewhere I haven't visited for years and years! I think we saw pretty much everything over the course of the day. Like Hampton Court, it's become much more interactive than I remember it to be, and you can even walk through various areas with the creatures rampaging around you. The lemurs were a particular favourite, although seeing a sloth in the rainforest area came a close second. I didn't enjoy the butterfly experience so much, coming over a little claustrophobic in the humid tent with all the wings fluttering around. It was a fantastic day overall though. Top tip - bring a packed lunch as the food is quite pricey!

♥ Gorgeous Stationery and Art Supplies... When we were walking back to the station from the British Museum on Saturday afternoon, we stumbled upon the most gorgeous little shop selling art supplies and all manner of other stationery-related delights - L. Cornelissen & Son. Pushing open the door, it was like stepping back in time. Old wooden floors and little drawers filled with lots of tempting purchases - there were drawers just filled with pen nibs, for example. I went through a little calligraphy phase when I was younger...perhaps it's time to get back into that again? It was the kind of place that you could just browse in for hours and daydream about all kinds of different projects. I came out with a new pen and a notebook, but the difficulty now comes in deciding what to use it for! Does anyone else have 800 new notebooks which are too beautiful to write in and sit on a shelf just waiting for inspiration to strike about something perfect enough to fill their pages?!

♥ Takeaway Treats... Although we're really trying to be better with money and save more now that we've moved, a takeaway is a good treat every so often (and less pricey than eating out!) Since moving though, we've been on the hunt for a local curry place that delivers and on Saturday night, I think we found a new favourite locak place. Really fresh-tasting curries, not greasy and oh my goodness, we opted for some sides too and the dhal was amazing. The portions were huge too, so we had leftovers for dinner on Sunday too. Yum.

♥ Stranger Things... A few of the Wonderful Wednesday collective have been raving about this already but if you haven't watched it yet, you must. If you loved the Goonies when you were young (who am I kidding, I still love the Goonies), you'll love this. It's also got a hint of the Stephen King about it, leading me to watch some of it from behind my hands. We have only one episode left to watch and that's only because we've had a guest staying with us, otherwise we'd have devoured it all in a matter of days.

♥ Birthdays... I had such a lovely birthday this year! 34, which I wasn't too excited about celebrating in any large way - I'm not really a fan of the big party in any case (ties into the whole fear of audience participation, not wanting to be the centre of attention type thing) and just wanted a day with my mister, which was exactly what happened. We travelled into London, picked up a cake-based lunch at the National Portrait Gallery before going to the William Eggleston exhibition, which was all kinds of wonderful. We then stopped for a few drinks at a pub we went to on our first date before going on to dinner at La Polenteria, where the mister had booked a table. It's a gluten free Italian restaurant and it was fabulous. My goodness, their gluten free pasta tasted how I remember the real deal tasting and, although absolutely stuffed, I had to have the cheesecake when I saw that on the dessert menu. So delicious. I also wore my dungarees, which I'd been looking for an excuse to wear with my new wedges, which the mister had bought me for my birthday. Although fabulous, they are of course the shoes of extreme pain...the destiny of all beautiful shoes. Oh well, here's to 34 - may it be even more exciting than 33 was!

♥ Using my Actual Camera... Over the weekend (and on holiday of course) I've really enjoyed taking photos on my camera. I love the ease (and lightness!) of my IPhone but the photos really don't compare to a proper full-sized camera snap. Something I need to try to do more often I think.

What have been the highlights of your wonderful weeks?

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below (I do love comments!) or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoEmma, and the lovely Wonderful Wednesday newbies Samantha and Kerri - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight!