Monday, 25 August 2014

Little Adventures

The end of summer means that I am finally reaching the end of my long break before heading back to university. As such, I recently decided that I ought to be making the most of my free time before I return to being busy. Hardwick Hall has been on my list of places to visit for about two years. It may look familiar to some of you as it was used as Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I had been hesitant to visit before as I wasn't quite sure how to get there and how far it was. Fortunately, I discovered that the journey only took forty minutes rather than the two hours that Google predicted.

We paid to go around the gardens and the new hall. I was not aware that you could pay a joint price to go around the gardens and the new and old halls, and so I think I will be going back for another visit to go around the old hall ruins. We headed to the gardens first in an attempt to make the most of the weather as rain was predicted for the afternoon. The gardens are magnificent, and very well maintained. Despite visiting during the school holidays, they had a very tranquil atmosphere. I can only imagine how peaceful they must be during the quieter months. I was incredibly impressed with the attention to detail in the gardens. The little fairy houses that we found tucked away in the gardens, complete with furniture were a lovely surprise. I would have loved them when I was a little girl!


After an extensive stroll around the herb garden and grounds, we decided that it was time to look around the hall. We declined the offer of a guided tour, as I prefer to look around at my own pace and sometimes find tours a little overcrowded. The hall was built in the late sixteenth century for Bess of Hardwick, and was designed by the architect Robert Smythson, who also designed Wollaton Hall.


As with the gardens, the house has been wonderfully maintained and worth a visit. We also walked through the lower park which I don't recommend if you have difficulties with mobility. It is a pretty walk, but I personally found it to be a very difficult walk as it was so steep, and my leg was very stiff and sore afterwards. Just a warning!

I absolutely recommend visiting Hardwick Hall if you are ever nearby. Both the hall and house are extraordinarily beautiful. I am already itching to go back to go around the old hall!

Have you had an enjoyable summer?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Thou joy’st in better marks, of soil, of air, Of wood, of water: therein thou art fair.

I am aware that the quote used in the title of this post is from Ben Jonson's 'To Penshurst,' but I think it is applicable to almost all county houses, and so I believe it is quite fitting.

I adore that summer is finally beginning to fade into autumn. Autumn is my favourite time of the year for two of my favourite pastimes: reading and walking. Unfortunately England appears to be going through quite a wet spell at the moment and all of my outings have been interrupted by pouring rain. The forecast was looking relatively dry today but I was at work and so couldn't go out for the day. Instead, I decided that the only way I was going to be able to go out and make the most of my time away from university was to go out for a walk in the evening. I chose to go back to Wollaton Hall, as it is so close to me. I'm aware that I've posted about Wollaton Hall many times before, but I haven't really posted any photographs of the grounds, and so I figured that posting a few more photos wouldn't be too much of a terrible crime. Fortunately, starting my walk so late meant that the park was quiet and peaceful, and I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the gardens and around the lake. I've been to Wollaton Hall at least a hundred times, but I never cease to enjoy the beauty of the park. As stated by Celia in As You Like It, 'I like this place. And willingly could waste my time in it.'


I was also surprised when I when I arrived home by this beautiful illustrated edition of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. My mum came across it whilst exploring a second hand bookshop and thought I would love it, and she was definitely correct! I now have three editions of the complete works, but I can't help but fall in love with beautiful editions. I must apologise for the strange light in these photos, the light was incredibly orange in the house (even after adjusting the white balance on my camera) so I thought I'd take some photos in the garden, and these are strangely blue. Apparently it's impossible for me to find perfect lighting.


As with the Barnes and Noble edition, this omits The Two Noble Kinsmen, which I again assume is due to its status as a collaboration play with John Fletcher. It is a beautiful edition, and I adore the illustrations. My favourite so far (I have not yet perused it thoroughly) is the one shown above from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The best part is that this wonderful edition cost only £1.60!

I plan to spend the rest of summer enjoying having time to read freely, without having to prioritise my course reading over my recreational reading, and hopefully going to visit more interesting places. The next place on my list to visit is Hardwick Hall, as I have never been and I have wanted to visit for a very long time.

Have you been enjoying summer?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Almond & Cinnamon Oil Organic Hair Mask by Old Wives Tail

As some of you may have noticed, I recently reverted back to my natural hair colour. While I'm hoping that this will improve the overall condition of my hair in the long term, my hair has been incredibly damaged from having to bleach the black out of my hair repeatedly. So far I think I have purchased at least six different hair conditioners and masks in an attempt to repair the damage, but unfortunately I was struggling to find anything that even slightly improved the condition of my hair. Therefore, as you can imagine, I was intrigued when I was contacted by Lily from Old Wives Tail and asked if I would like to review one of their products. I was sent their Almond and Cinnamon Oil Hair Mask. Old Wives Tail specialise in cruelty free organic hair products, with 10% of their proceeds donated to animal charities.



My first impression was how beautifully the product was packaged. I always admire companies who go that little bit further when it comes to presentation. After unwrapping, the mask comes in a little pot with a white lid embellished with the Old Wives Tail logo.



I was expecting to have to warm the product up first as the texture is quite thick, but fortunately I've not had any problems with applying this to my hair. It has a pleasant smell, which reminds me of something that I can't quite place! The scent may be a little too strong for some people, but I like it. My hair is incredibly thick and getting quite long, but the tiniest amount of product goes a very long way. I've used this mask five times now and I've not even used a quarter of it.  I apply this to the lengths and ends of my hair before shampooing and rinse after one hour. I shampoo and condition with my regular products after rinsing, with the conditioner only applied to the very ends of my hair.



After drying my hair feels so much smoother and the ends are nowhere near as damaged and broken as they were before. My hair was in such a mess that I doubted that this would have an effect on my hair, and I'm thrilled to say that this is the only product that I've used on my hair in a long time that has actually worked. My hair feels so incredibly soft after using this, and the smell lingers for several days after washing. As you can see from my before and after photos, my hair is so much smoother after using this treatment and it has completed healed my frayed and splitting ends. I'd recommend this mask to anybody with hair on the drier side.

On a side note, I've also found that this hair mask also works incredibly well as a hand cream. I was noticing how soft my hands were after applying the mask to my hair, and I've taken to using a tiny amount to rub into my hands.

I adore this product. I don't have a single negative comment to make, which is particularly rare for me in regards to haircare! I've used masks that cost three times as much as this one that haven't worked anywhere near as well. I'm incredibly pleased.

The Almond & Cinnamon Oil Organic Hair Mask by Old Wives Tail costs £14.99 and can be purchased from the Old Wives Tail website.

Have you tried anything from Old Wives Tail?

Disclosure: I was sent this product to review, but this does not affect my opinion whatsoever.
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