Reflection on an Old Manuscript

1a758da2f53a727c7ef4aab3180e5c57A few years ago, I tried my hand at writing a mystery. It wasn’t just any mystery. It was a mystery set in England during the very early years of the Second World War. The story was inspired by my love of WWII history, of all things British, of Downton Abbey, and of mysteries. I had even chose it as the basis of my English undergraduate thesis.

 

However, there was one tiny problem. Or perhaps a huge one.

I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.

I tried numerous things but for the life of me I just couldn’t figure out the story. Which is weird because I love mysteries. I watch them all the time whether that be American crime shows or British ones. I read them as well.

Then the unthinkable happened. About a week ago, I started thinking about the story idea again. And how much I really want to write British mystery or series knowing me that takes during WWII. And about a scene that hasn’t quite left my imagination. One that I am not sure quite how it fits into the story at all.

So you might be wondering what this all means? And what I am going to do about it? For starters, I’m going to pick one of these lovely London themed journals from my collection, a good pen, and let my imagination run wild. Do you know of any good pen brands? Let me know in the comments below.

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January 2019 Haul

Whenever I go into shops these days, I always have my eye out for anything London themed whether that be decor, tea, or books. These past couple of weeks I have been very fortunate to come across a few new London themed items some of which I discovered quite unexpectedly. So without further ado let’s get into the haul.

Now this haul is tad bit different from previous ones in regards to there is only one photo containing all the items rather than several individual ones. So because of that I will talk about each individual item and then showcase the photo.

  1. A purple tin of English breakfast tea. If you recall from December’s haul, I bought a Queen Elizabeth II tin of tea. I’m not sure if I will enjoy the tea and I have not tried it yet but I bought for the tin. The company that designed it also made one featuring Duchess Catherine and Prince William as well as Meghan and Harry. I did not purchase the Meghan and Harry one and most likely never will. I did, however, buy Kate and William’s. You can find this tin online either on Amazon or locally at TjMaxx and Home Goods.
  2. When I was at Home Goods, I went there looking for one thing only: the tin of tea. After I spotted it and went to the checkout aisle, I came across some cosmetic looking bags made by British designer Milly Green. There were two different sets there but both depicting Christmas. The first one had more of what I’d call a “Christmas around London” themed. The second one featured Father Christmas. I went with the second one. Even though it is Christmas themed, I will be using it all year round for carrying pencils and pens and such. I don’t really wear much makeup. This was an entirely unexpected purchase/find.
  3.  One of my favorite shops is Hobby Lobby which is a Christian craft company that sells yarn, fabric, paint, scrapbooking supplies and home decor. I had gone in there one afternoon hoping to find a wooden sign that said Aloha. Sadly, I have not found one yet. However, I did find an unexpected item. I found two different London themed luggage tags. At first I was only going to buy one of them but couldn’t pass up the second one. So I ended up buying both and they came out to be pretty inexpensive due to a coupon I had. They seem rather heavy to me for using as actual luggage tags so I’ll probably hang them up somewhere in my room.

 

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December 2019 Haul

Over the past couple of weeks, I have stumbled upon a few Anglophile type gifts that I couldn’t pass up purchasing. With it being December and Christmas around the corner, I could have waited and put them on my Christmas list but with the low prices I couldn’t chance them being gone.

The first item I purchased was a glittery red telephone booth ornament for my Christmas tree. Sadly, I don’t have a photo to share on here. But if you follow me on Instagram, there is a photo of it on there. In case you are wondering where I got it, I bought it from Joann’s. Normally, I think it’s 12 dollars but there were having a 50% Christmas sale which made it cheaper.

The second item was a tin a of British tea. But it isn’t just any tin. It is a blue tin with a photo of Queen Elizabeth II on it. There was also one of Meghan and Prince Harry but I didn’t buy it. They arent my favorite royal couple. I wish they had one for Catherine and William. This was only 5 dollars and I bought it from Marshalls.

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I love how they included a younger photo of her as well.

All through December, I have been looking for the perfect Christmas mug. I have checked the Dollar Store, the Dollar Tree, Target and Walmart. But none of these stores had what I was looking for. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of mug I wanted. Till I entered T.J. Maxx and spotted this one.

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It’s not only the perfect for the holiday season but also for an Anglophile. This is my third British themed mug. My other two mugs I got as a Christmas gift years ago. The first mug says “Keep Calm and Drink Tea” and the second one says  “Keep Calm and Call Mom,” which happens to my mom’s favorite. LOL.

The last item I am going to show I did not purchase but instead it was given to me by my best friend Abby as a Christmas gift.

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She knows me so well! Not only are these tins, London themed but they also contain tea which I love! I love tea! Though I haven’t drank much this year. Must change that.

Birthday Haul

One of my favorite websites sends out a birthday reward for their members. And this year I was able to use it on not just one book but three. Two of which I have always wanted and third one I picked up as research material for my book. As many of you know (and as this blog’s title suggests), I am a huge Anglophile and being a fan of the Royal family comes with the territory. Now, I am a fan of certain members of the family more than others.

My three top favorite members of the Royal Family are:

  1. Queen Victoria
  2. Queen Elizabeth II
  3. Kate Middleton

In today’s mail, I received one of the biographies on Queen Elizabeth II that I have had my eye on ever since I saw it one day at Barnes and Nobles. At the time, the book was rather pricey for a lowly college student. So I hoped by the next time I visited the store it would come down in price. However, by the time I returned, Barnes and Noble no longer carried. So I ended up adding it to both my Amazon and Thriftbooks wish lists. And I finally was able to purchase Kate Willaims’ biography titled: Young Elizabeth: The Making of a Queen.

A similar story happened with the second book I purchased. I am a huge fan of the Netflix original show The Crown (even though I know the Queen herself is not a fan of the show) and when I saw Robert Lacey was coming out with a companion book to the series I knew I had to have it. Of course, when it came out and with it being hardcover, it was very expensive. So I waited till it was available on Thriftbooks and snatched it before it disappeared. Pictured down below are the three books I received in the mail today.

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It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like ChristmasI know. I know. Some may think it is way to early to be thinking about Christmas. After all, it is only the seventh of November. We haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet. However, it is never too early to be thinking about Christmas and the true meaning of this wonderful holiday. Christmas is not about the presents underneath the tree in the living room that your parents, siblings and relatives bought for you to unwrap either Christmas Eve night or Christmas Day. It is about the ultimate gift. The birth of Jesus Christ, God’s only son who came down from heaven and was born a virgin Mary so that we could have everlasting life.

That is why we celebrate Christmas. That is why it is never too early to be thinking about Christmas.

And it is kind of hard not to be getting in the Christmas spirit when Hallmark has already begun their Countdown to Christmas movies. Yes, I have seen a couple of them already. I’ve watched Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses starring Jill Wagner and Matthew Davis and Merry and Bright starring Jodie Sweetin and Andrew Walker. Both were excellent and I highly recommend them. This Saturday Hallmark is airing another original Christmas movie called Picture a Perfect Christmas starring Merritt Patterson (one of my favorite actresses) and Jon Cor. I can’t wait to watch it!

Not to mention stores have already started bringing out and displaying their holiday decor. Hobby Lobby especially has some great stuff this year which is one of the reasons I am writing this post. To show you some of the Christmas themed scrapbook paper I picked up during their 50% sale. They also started playing Christmas music which is wonderful! I loved listening to it as I shopped the other day.

*Insert Quick Note Here: At the end of this post, I will be including a picture of spot in my room that I am going to be decorating for the holidays. So be sure to stick around for that*   

Now without further ado, let’s dive into the things I picked up from Hobby Lobby.

 

The first photo on the left is a collaboration of everything I own that is Christmas themed. Note the large scrapbook paper booklet and Christmas tree stickers. Those were actually given to me by my parents for Christmas a few years back. I have yet to use them but I hope to incorporate them into an idea I have. The second photo (the one on the right) is of the stuff I purchased at Hobby Lobby this year. Two scrapbook booklets sized 4.5 inches X 6.5 inches and three sheets of stickers two of which are of snowflakes. I might pick up some more stickers online.

This year for whatever reason my siblings do not want to decorate the living room and dining room with Christmas decor. Instead we are just going to put up our one artificial Christmas tree in the corner spot in our living room. So I thought this year, now that I have a desk, I am going to decorate my bedroom. I still have to pick a tree because our small artificial ones broke. I have a few ideas on how to decorate it one of which requires help from my dad. Hopefully, he wont mind too much in bringing down the Christmas ornament boxes. Anyway, check out the photo down below of where I am thinking of putting my tree.

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I am hoping to do some more Christmas themed posts down below. So if you are interested in seeing them, please let me know down below. Or if you have any Christmas topic you would like to see covered please drop me a comment down below. Cheers! Until next time. 

A Haul Fit for An Anglophile

I had to meant to share these wonderful purchases with you awhile ago but life got in the way and I was unable to until now. Also, I had thought I had already done a post about them then realized I had shared it on Instagram/Facebook group. Anyway, I am sharing them now. Besides as to quote the great Queen Clarice (aka Julie Andrews): “A Queen is never late, everyone else is simply early.”

Back in the Spring, on the way home from school, I decided to take a quick peak inside the local used bookstore which is attached to the public library. I was so glad I did. I stumbled upon a biography that I had not only been eyeing for a very long time and would gaze longingly at every time I walked into Barnes and Noble but also has been on my Anglophile list on Amazon. This biography is Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Beddell Smith. I have always been a great admirer of the queen and most of the royal family. So when I saw this displayed proudly on the top shelf of bookshelf I knew I had to grab it. And it was only 3 dollars too which was nice.

Another member of the royal family that I greatly admire is Kate Middleton. Unfortunately, I did not find a copy of her biography at the bookshop but I did acquire a copy via one of my favorite websites: Thriftbooks. And if I recall, I think I only had to pay shipping because I had some points that allowed me to purchase a book for free that was under a certain dollar amount.

Then during the summer, just by accident, I stumbled upon a used book sale inside the local strip mall. That was a very exciting day! They had a ton of amazing books! I snatched up quite a lot of various books ranging from history to biography to fiction and one DVD. The sale went on for 3 days and I went each day with my brother. Among the books I purchased was a biography one of my favorite British queens: Queen Victoria. Just like with the Elizabeth book, I had been eyeing this one for a while but it just seemed to be too expensive at Barnes and Noble. When I came across it at the sale and in good condition I couldn’t pass it up and it is hardcover too! In fact most of the books in this haul are hardcover with exception of the last one.

Last but least, a week ago I went to Barnes and Noble with one of my best friends. Ever since the new Downton Abbey movie came out, I have wanted to check out the bookstore’s display tables for this movie. By the time I visited a Barnes and Noble, there weren’t as many tables out but there was still 2 dedicated to promoting the release of this movie. On one of them, Barnes and Noble had included books that were similar to Downton Abbey. Among them I found The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I have wanted to own and read this book ever since I learned Netflix had turned it into a movie starring a number of actors from the Downton Abbey franchise. They also had British chocolate which I couldnt pass up.

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Aren’t these books gorgeous? I can’t wait to put them on a shelf dedicated to British history once I acquire new bookcases.

London Themed Stickers

I think  I  might have a problem. I love stickers. Whether that be stickers to go on your laptop or stickers for scrapbooking/planners. I love them. I am even looking at more on Redbubble as we speak.

There is only one problem. I have a small laptop and the laptop cover thing does not have a lot of space for them.

See what I mean? I have no idea where to put them. I could put some sort of sticker on either side of the mousepad. What do you guys think? Any suggestions?

My Top Seven Favorite British Telly Shows

The other night I was talking about different topic ideas for future posts with fellow blogger and Anglophile, Emmalisia from Exquiste Emmalisa. She came up with a lot of great ideas and I hope to implement some of them on here. Tonight’s topic is British television. It is rather hard to to narrow done only five of British television shows because I tend to watch a lot of telly. But I shall do my utmost to meet this challenge.

 

TV

  1. Doctor Who. I had to start with this one because Doctor Who was what started my love for British television. I literally watched this show when I was really little.
  2. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. This was another TV series I watched with my father and was what turned me into an Anglophile and an avid mystery fan.
  3. Foyle’s War. Another show my father introduced me too. This is a historical mystery series set during the Second World War. It stars British actor Michael Kitchen.
  4. Downton Abbey. This is a period drama set during the Edwardian period. It follows The Crawleys, a British aristocratic family. It is filmed at the famous Highclere Castle. (More about this in a future post).
  5. The Crown. The Crown is a Netflix original period drama set in the 1950s. It follows Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George VI, who becomes queen after the death of her father and the challenges she faces as queen. It stars Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby.
  6. Sherlock. Sherlock is a modern day retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective stories featuring British detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful side kick Dr. John Watson. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson.
  7. Victoria. Victoria is a period drama aired on PBS. It is based on the novel Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. It tells the story of how Victorian becomes queen of England after the sudden death of her grandfather, struggles she faces as a young queen, and her romance with Prince Albert. It stars Jenna Coleman as Victoria and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert.

All of these shows are amazing and I highly recommend them. I have watched many of them countless times and never tire of the story. American television could learn a thing or two from the British when it comes to good stories.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

untitled designFor the past several years, it has been a tradition of my family and I to go to the cinema on Christmas Day. Because my father’s family is of Swedish background, we open gifts on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas Day. This year my family and I went to see Mary Poppins Returns.

Growing up Mary Poppins was one of favorite movies. Scratch that. It is still one of my favorite movies of all times. I do not tire of watching it over and over it again. And I pleased to say that my family owns first movie on DVD and I sort of took the digital copy code so I can watch it on my telly. Anyway, when I heard there was to be a sequel, I was thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. Of course, I was a bit leery of it because sometimes sequels are not as good as the first.

But I am happy to announce that this movie was everything I wanted it to be and then some. The acting was superb. Emily Blunt did an amazing job portraying the character of Mary Poppins. The children are so adorable. The story line was fantastic especially when you realize that the true purpose for Mary Poppins showing up at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane was not to save/help the children but for someone else. The music was incredible!

If you have not yet seen Mary Poppins Returns, I highly recommend you go see it. I loved every second of the movie and I cannot wait for it to come to DVD. I will definitely be adding it to my movie collection.

A few days later, my family and I continued our Mary Poppins holiday theme and rented the movie Saving Mr. Banks. This movie came out in 2013. It stars Tom Hanks as Mr. Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers. The movie revolves around the story of how Disney procured the rights from Travers to create the 1964 movie Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

This movie is both delightful and sad. But I also recommend renting via an online video website such as Google Play, Amazon, or Vudu or borrowing it from the local library. You will not be disappointed.

My Very First London Popbox

Ever since I joined Instagram and started following London sites and fellow Anglophiles, I have always wanted to receive a London Popbox. Now you might be wondering what exactly is a London Popbox. Well, simply it is a monthly or yearly subscription where you are sent London themed gifts. These gifts arrive in a very beautiful red box like the one pictured down below.

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Each month has a different theme. The month of December featured beauty products. And this December I received my very own popbox which was given to me by my good friend Emmalisa. She herself is a fellow Anglophile and blogger. You can check out her blog at Exquisite Emmalisa. Check out the products down below.

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This is a set of hair ties.

 

Aren’t these hair ties gorgeous?

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When I first laid my eyes on this small package, I had no clue as to what was inside. My first guess was tattoos or something. But once I opened the flap it revealed small nail filers in the shape of cat paws. Super cute.

The next item is super useful especially during the winter months when your lips can get really dry and chapped due to the cold bitter air.

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Then finally the creators of London Popbox included a tan canvas cosmetic bag that says Popbrand on it. Very useful.

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! Have you ever received a London Popbox?