Ouseburn Farm

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Grant Museum Of Zoology

Grant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton,Grant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton,Grant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton,Grant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton,Grant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton, koalaGrant Museum Of Zoology, Grant Museum, UCL, Zoology, museum, london, red brick, euston, london museum, animals, taxidermy, skeleton, thylacineThe Grant Museum of Zoology is one of my favourites in London. The building is very near the Euston UCL campus, which to my mind is about as quintessential as London university buildings get (although my own alma meter, Goldsmiths, looked nothing like this!). Anyway, as we know, I love animals and I am passionate about animal rights so the Museums slant on ecology and biodiversity is perfect for me.

One of the most emotive exhibits is on extinct animals which includes the fur and skeleton of a thylacine – otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger. This animal went in extinct in the 1930s and remarkably we have video footage which I’ve linked below. I remember first seeing this short video when I was about 16 and basically weeping for hours; I was so moved to be seeing an animal that simply no longer existed and will never walk the earth again. I find it so upsetting to think of how many thousands of years it takes for each species of animal to evolve, and in the short time we’ve been around we are just watching species die. It’s those thoughts that enforce my resolve to try and live in a green and ethical way.

I was also really interested in the wall of slides. As the description said there are tons and tons of creatures that are too small to house in a cabinet so a slide makes more sense; in practise the wall of slides is overwhelming to look at! The slide that stuck out most to me was this one of “helobdella stagnalis”. It’s a species of leech so not the most instagrammable, but I was weirdly moved by the mother leech and her babies on the slide alongside the description that babies were “carried”.

On a side note, these images are the first featuring my new lens! I also just wanted to mention my readers blog survey – if you haven’t taken part there’s just one week left to tell me what you think and I’d be so grateful!

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Oxford University Museum

oxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaCamel Skeletonoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaI was lucky enough to spend a week in Oxford recently with one of my dear friends. There is a certain charm to the place itself but for me the highlights are definitely the museums. Last time I was there I wrote a post on the wonderful History of Science Museum and this trip we visited the OUM of Natural History and adjoining Pitt-Rivers Museum.

It was actually quite an odd experience. The Museum itself is great; wonderful architecture and factual displays. As you probably know by now, I’m obsessed with animals. Whilst we wandered around I thought that perhaps my love of animals stems from being exposed to a lot of animals at a young age. There were a lot of kids wandering around and drawing pictures of giraffes, tigers, lions etc – all the exotic, faraway animals you learn about in school.

Thing is, I can first remember seeing a giraffe aged about 4 and at this point in my life I’ve met most of these animals numerous times. I wondered if that has something to do with why I’ve always felt so strongly about animal rights and care. Perhaps the dangers and problems animals face seem more real when the animals themselves stop being theoretical?


Seeing a preserved taxidermy tortoise when just a few short weeks ago I was interacting with real ones was a truly bizarre experience, the camel skeleton just reminded me of Casanova (the camel that “flirted” with me in Egypt), and by the time we reached a stuffed fox, all I could unhappily think about was the foxes that play outside my bedroom window here in London. I was still fascinated by the skeletons of dinosaurs and the fossils of long extinct animals, but for some reason I found the exhibits of animals still alive today really jarring and it left me feeling a bit despondent (as per usual) about the way animals are treated in our society.

My friend made the point that it’s weird to see skeletons and taxidermy and think that all those animals were hunted. I sarcastically replied that it’s hardly like animals roll over and die for us to eat them every day – but he had genuinely never considered the fact that animals were hunted to be displayed before. Perhaps it’s just the way different brains work?oxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, lailaoxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, laila
oxford university museum of natural history, dodo, skeleton, tortoise, camel, laila

Animal Kingdom – Casela

giant tortoise tortoises Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoisegiant tortoise tortoises Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoisegiant tortoise tortoises Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoisezebra Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseFor some reason I forgot to post these with the rest of my Mauritius posts last month! I went to Casela Nature Reserve on the penultimate day of my trip to Mauritius and as I LOVE animals I was completely in my element.

It’s been two years since I last visited and most of my thoughts are the same. The enclosures at Casela are huge which I think is brilliant. The larger animals (tigers, rhinos, zebras etc) share a huge safari style enclosure, and you’re not guaranteed a glimpse as there’s loads of spaces the animals can run off and avoid the visitors if they wish, which I think is great (although some people were complaining).

I was particularly emotional about seeing the rhinos; an entire species of animal which will almost certainly be extinct within our lifetimes. 3 subspecies were declared extinct in 2011, and poaching numbers are increasing by almost 50% each year. There are less than 100 individual Javan and Sumatran rhinos and just 3 individual White rhinos left in the entire world, which is heartbreaking.


The animals have a lot of space to wander around and the fences and dividers between the smaller enclosures seemed almost non-existent this trip. I really like this aspect of the Park, as instead of seeing one animal per enclosure it was more like a free-for-all with animals roaming around between different areas. I saw lemurs hanging out with the tortoises, peacocks with the giraffes and a pet pig hanging out with the baby goats.

There were also random wild animals; we saw wild monkeys stealing food from the giraffes, lizards in the rabbit enclosure, and even a cheeky mongoose in with the giant tortoises. Talk about animal kingdom! Overall I think Casela is a great animal and nature reserve and I haven’t seen one that better typifies what a zoo should “be”, in my opinion. Where should I check out next?Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
rhinocerous Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
giant tortoise tortoises Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseostrich Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoisegiraffe Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise
Casela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoiseCasela Nature Wildlife Reserve Mauritius day out tourism animals tapeparade safari birds tortoise

Halloween

halloweenHappy Halloween! I hope you’re enjoying Halloween. I love Halloween – it was my favourite holiday as a child and I came up with increasingly weird costume ideas (such as ‘The Eternal Ruler Of All Darkness’; black dungarees covered in actual cobwebs, full cape, a lot of netting and a series of plastic orbs- let’s just say I’ve always been creative). Back then Halloween was still a bit of niche thing; although it’s hard to believe now we were under strict instruction as kids to only trick-or-treat the houses with pumpkins as the other houses would genuinely have no idea what Halloween was. These days the retail, film and even food industry have caught on to the financial potential of Halloween and marketing is EVERYWHERE!

Skeleton dances, witches, sci-fi, the dead, ghosts, Frankenstein, gothic, black, velvet, The Addams Family, voodoo, supernatural, Hammer Horror by Kate Bush, fear, unexplained mysteries, Thriller, graveyards, the occult, the science of fear; these are just some of the things Halloween means to me. I love it all! I love being scared and I’ve always been interested in death and the afterlife; I’m not a gloomy person but it’s something that has always fascinated me. Tonight I’ll be firmly in the world of the living as we’re throwing a big combination house/birthday party with a bit of an unusual theme; I’ll tell all next time but it does involve me wearing a sequinned union jack dress…

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Birthday

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birthday time birthday girl
Happy birthday to me! I absolutely love birthdays! Parties, presents, being the centre of attention and getting older; I love it all. My Mum made me some gluten-free granola and some vegan peanut butter snaps which was the best start to the day and also got me such a gorgeous card. My Dad paid for my car to get serviced which was my main present but also loaned me his amazing Canon camera for the day for all these photos! On my actual birthday I met some of my best friends and we spent the day at the Natural History Museum before going to the pub. I wrote a song about dugongs last year hence all the photos with the dugongs!

I also went out the week before with all my friends and was honoured that the lovely Jess from Jessthetics could come too! It was such a fun (and particularly bleary) night and it felt like Jess had been part of our gang for ages. I felt very loved by the amount of birthday gestures I received this year; flowers (in the photos!) and cake from the charity shop, more flowers and cake from my theatre group, cake and wine from work, homemade vegan birthday cake from Jess, cuddly wolves, polkadot dresses, posh glittery things, LUSH goodies and headdresses from my friends and an animal safari t-shirt (!!!!!!) (amongst other things) from James.

It sounds cheesy but the nice thing about growing older is having people to grow older with! I don’t have much family  or many friends from childhood so it’s fairly recently I’ve been able to appreciate how wonderful it is having close friends who you’ve known through multiple stages of your life. Pete (the tall ginger one) for example has been at every single birthday I’ve had since we met and we’ve gone from being two awkward teens to being two successful musicians running creative businesses (although still awkward every now and then!). I’m very grateful to grow up surrounded by inspiring and brilliant people every day and so lucky to call them my friends. :)

lizzie and jess hahahahah birthday tapeparade jessthetics roxy londondancing at roxy laila carina jess tapeparade party birthday jessthetics curly hair pink shirt laila pink dress mink pinkdancing at roxy laila carina jess tapeparade party birthday jessthetics curly hair pink shirtbirthday flowers lilies popcorn urban outfitters vase goldfish bowlbirthday flowers lilies close-up carnations

Moomin Skirt

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I’ve been a big fan of the Moomins from a young age and like most people of my generation I came to know of the delightful inhabitants of Moominvalley via the nineties cartoon. I didn’t read the wonderful Tove Jansson books until I was in secondary school, and was enchanted all over again by the free-spirited Moomin family and their decidedly bohemian friends. A lot of the stories are overlain with melancholy, and the whimsical tales often carry a lot of depth or wisdom.

This particular fabric depicts the Moomins in the jungle or on safari (just like me!) and therefore combines two of my favourite things: Moomins and animals! Rather than a repeated print the full length fabric was like a mini tableau, featuring Little My commandeering a rhino, Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden climbing with the monkeys, Moominpappa dozing in a hammock above some tigers and Moominmamma calmly watering her pumpkins in between the chaos.

IMG_7156 aIMG_7167 I’m holding my Moomin egg timer in these photos which is one of my most treasured possessions. I’m not from a very close family and we are all terrible at gift-giving (James says I’m just hard to buy gifts for, in which case I take after my Dad) but my Mum bought me this last Christmas and it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever had! I like to use egg timers when I’m practising to divide my time between different pieces.

I followed my usual skirt pattern (first seen here) and for this particular skirt I also engaged in some pretty rash pattern cutting decisions in a vague attempt to preserve certain characters. I sewed it by hand as I don’t have a sewing machine. Whilst this may have resulted in some untidy stitching (which would never have been allowed to see a shop floor) I don’t mind too much, as how many other people have a Moomin safari skirt?
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Horniman

ImageImageImageWhilst in Forest Hill (one of my favourite areas) last Friday, I decided to visit one of my top London museums, the Horniman. Lorisidae have been in my dreams of late and my primary goal was to find a specimen. I’ve explored the musical instruments and anthropology collections numerous times before whilst living in nearby New Cross, but my favourite gallery at the moment is the natural history section. They have some hugely informative displays comparing brain sizes and skeletons of different animals but I decided against any squeamish pictures. I’m going through a primate phase at the moment and am always awed by the gorilla skeletons (below) as at first glance it looks like a display of mismatched human skeletons.ImageImageImage If Wes Anderson were to curate a museum gallery it would surely be the Horniman natural history collection. The thoughtfully laid out displays, pastel backgrounds and gratuitous use of ‘Futura’ font lend the gallery a certain Anderson aesthetic. Without my sketch book I happily wandered around taking photographs and scribbling notes on which animals to further research. There was such a feeling of tranquility and calm in the upstairs gallery especially and I spent about an hour alone, just me and the exhibits. After, I sat in the medicine garden listening to the wind chimes and thinking about all the thousands and thousands of creatures in the world, and how at one time we were all the same.ImageImageImage