Saturday, 31 October 2015

Recent buys!

I have recently been spending quite a bit of money on things that I tell myself I need. These are some of my favourite recent buys. 

I have wanted a cap for a while but haven't been able to find one I really like. I wasn't willing to pay over £20 for one as I know I wouldn't wear it all the time. Then I found this one in Matalan! At a very reasonable £12 I popped it into my basket feeling very happy with myself. I haven't worn it yet as is has done nothing but rain since I bought it, but hopefully I can wear it soon. 

I bought this top from Urban Outfitters in their fabulous sale. Not only was it a sale item but I also managed to still use my student discount card! For £9 it was definitely worth it, and its so soft! 

This is my favourite item that I have recently bought. I bought it from Topshop for £26 and I thought that was a great price. Its so comfortable and soft and you can dress it up with heels and a clutch bag, or dress it down with some tights and chelsea boots. 

This item is my bargain item. Originally from Topshop I thought it was going to be quite expensive but at an incredible £7.99 I couldn't resist. I bought it from The British Heart Foundation charity shop and my mother keeps trying to steal it, which means I have to wear it all the time!

I am not really the one to celebrate Halloween, I much prefer Christmas and New Year but I couldn't resist buying this munchkin pumpkin when I saw him. He is the tiniest little thing but I think he does the job. 

Finally I would like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween! I hope you all have fun trick or treating and dressing up! 

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Rome Part 3!

My favourite part of our Rome trip was the visit to the Colosseum! This last part of my Rome blog post shows some of my best pictures from the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon and the Museum. 

A building that everyone knows about is the Colosseum also known as the arena. It was built in the space of 8 years and opened for its first games in 80AD by Emperor Titus. It was built on a lake previously owned by Emperor Nero. It is also known as the Amphitheatre, amphi meaning on both sides and theatre for performance. It was capable of holding over 50,000 spectators. The last gladiator games were in 435AD. The reason for this was a christian monk from Egypt heard of the games and petitioned for them to be stopped, as his faith did not support the torture and unnecessary death. The more influence Christianity began to have, the quicker the Colosseum closed. Although the gladiator fighting stopped, they still continued to hunt and have other games until the 500s. 

After the Colosseum closed it was abandoned and became a refuge for beggars and craftsmen. The craftsmen soon set to the task of chipping bits of the building away and drilling into the stone to steal the iron clamps within the pillars. Others also took advantage of the abandoned building and stole stone and marble. Some of the stone and marble was later used to build parts of the Vatican. Over a thousand years after the Colosseum closed, it was finally given the status of a protected building and work to preserve what was left of it began. 
They are still finding treasures that once belonged in the Colosseum, and in 2008 they found what was left of a statue of a Roman soldier on a horse. 

On the left is a piece of marble flooring that used to cover the Colosseum. Now there is hardly any of the original flooring left save for a few pieces like this. To think that over 1500 years ago Roman soldiers and Emperors walked over this marble its quite extraordinary. 

On the left are some heads of statues that once stood in the Colosseum. They have no identities but do have descriptions as to what status they would have held. On the right is a photo of what would be under the Colosseum floor. This is where the gladiators would have waited to fight and where they kept the various animals used to fight against the gladiators. 

On the left is a photo of the only remaining seats left in the entire Colosseum. Most were stolen for various reasons so these are all that remain. On the right you can see half of the Colosseum. They have put sand coloured wooden flooring down to try and show what it would have looked like back in the day. 

Palatine Hill is thought to be where Rome was born. Legend says that the twins Romulus and Remus were taken to the hill by a she wolf who raised them. Here is they founded a village which would later be known as Rome. There was a dispute between the brothers over who was the leader and eventually, Romulus beheaded Remus after a sign from the Gods told Romulus he was the rightful leader. It was here that Rome was born and some of the earliest huts were found here. Palatine Hill was also where the first Emperor Augustus was born in 63 BC. 

On the right is a picture of the Circus Maximus, an Ancient Roman chariot racing stadium established in the sixth century BC. 2 fires attacked the Circus Maximus over the many years, the second being in the reign of Nero and the one that led to the burning of Rome. It was later rebuilt by Emperor Trajan in 103 AD and was made of stone. The last race in the Circus Maximus was in 549 AD. 

The Colosseum is situated at the bottom of Palatine Hill so that Emperors did not have far to walk when they attended the games. There are many sites all over Rome like one on the right that show parts of buildings that used to be there back in the day. Many of these sites hold grand doorways with no walls and pillars supporting no roof. Many of the original grand buildings were demolished and taken apart to make other, newer buildings. 

Above are pictures of the Altare della Patria the central museum in Rome. It was officially opened in June 1911. There is also a 'Tomb of the unknown soldier' that was added to the building in 1921. It is made out of Botticino marble and it the largest monument to have ever been built in this type of marble. 

Above is the Pantheon, a building that opened in 126AD by Emperor Hadrian and served as a religious building. In 609 AD it became a christian church. In 1870 it was made into a memorial chapel or the kings of Italy. The middle picture is the first King of Rome, and the picture on the left is the second King of Rome. The roof is domed and has a 9 metre round aperture that allows the sunlight to light up the whole building. 

Here are some pictures from our visit to Piazza Navona one of Romes most beautiful squares. It is also home to three magnificent fountains. In the fifteenth century the square was built over an arena built by Emperor Domitian. The fountain on the right is the largest fountain of the three and is called The Fountain of the Four Rivers and was constructed between 1647 and 1651. The other two fountains are the Neptune Fountain and the Moor Fountain. 

So that concludes my visit to Rome! I strongly recommend visiting if you can. It is such an amazing place and it really does feel as though you are stepping back in time. 

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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Rome Part 2!

Well this is part 2 of my journey to Rome! It covers our trip to the Vatican, the Mausoleum of Hadrian and a museum dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci. Rome is an amazing city and there is so much to see. There is something for everyone and its really is simply beautiful. 

This is outside of the Vatican. Vatican City is actually a small country, the smallest in the world and was declared as such in 1929. Emperor Nero crucified St Peter after the great fire and it is suspected that his tomb lies beneath. Known as St Peters Basilica, the original construction began under Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. However, the current Basilica began construction in the 1500s. 

Much of the Vatican is made of stone and marble taken from the Colosseum. Back in the day the Colosseum wasn't protected like it is now, so many builders took bits from it to build other buildings. You can see the holes in the pillars of the Colloseum in the next post. As you can see the pillars of the Vatican are fabulous. They are huge and magnificent and decorated with gold. 

Mass is performed in the Vatican and looks amazing from up in the dome roof. A domed roof on a building indicates a place of worship. All of the churches have a domed roof and look very regal. 

For 7 euros you can climb the many many stairs to the top of the dome on the Vatican and look out onto the best view in Rome. It is absolutely breath taking so of course, we took a selfie! Also if you fancy going to Rome, The Vatican has free entry every last Sunday of the month and on World Tourism Day!  When in Rome....

This lovely building is Castel Sant'Angelo, aka Castle of the Holy Angel, aka Mausoleum of Hadrian. It was originally built in the 2nd Century by Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was later used as the Popes fortress when the Vatican was under attack. It is thought that Hadrian, his wife and their adopted son were buried there. 

In the 14th Century the building was converted into a castle and a secret tunnel was built linking the Vatican and the castle. This enabled the Pope of the time to escape to the castle if they were under attack. This was the case for Pope Clement Vll when he needed refuge from the siege of Charles V and the sacking of Rome. There is a lovely little cafe atop the castle for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. 

Now, I was stunned by Leonardo Da Vinci's Museum. It was brilliant. Da Vinci lived from 1452 until 1519. These are his books that he used to jot down his sketches or ideas for which he had many! He was famous for his art, science and his inventions. Some of my favourites are below. 

On the left is a wing. Leonardo was keenly interested in flight and the way the wings supported the body during flight. Therefore he studied birds and came up with a prototype wing that should support the human body. On the right is the very first bicycle. Its hard to imagine that he was coming up with these ideas years before they actually came into use. 

On the left here is Leonardos version of a tank. It was designed to move on a continuous caterpillar track just like the ones we have today. It was also designed to turn around whilst still moving. Genius! On the right is a very scary looking invention. It is actually a suit that is now known as a scuba diving suit. A person would wear this and tubes would be connected to both the suit and a bucket that would float on top of the water which would provide air. 

Da Vinci was fascinated by the human body and they way it worked. Throughout his life he conducted autopsies to discover the skeleton, muscles and organs. He found out not only how they all worked, but how they all fit together and what would happen if something started to fail. He learned how a fetus would grow in the womb and at what stages it would develop at. His work on anatomy has led to great discoveries and medical procedures that have been built upon today. 

The Ideal City. This idea came about after the plague killed off a third of Milans population. He wanted to prevent such a thing happening again so designed a city completely above ground with higher and lower levels. It also had wider streets and canals for sewage to prevent the passing on of disease. It would only consist of elegant buildings. Although this idea was sound, it could never happen due to the cost of rebuilding the entire city. 

The Vitruvian Man. This idea was designed in 1490. Da Vinci created this to show his understanding of the proportions of the human body. Each part of the body was a fraction of the whole body. Vitruvius was a Roman architect who shared the same ideas as Da Vinci. Both men thought that this principle should also apply when designing buildings. 

The most famous painting in the world. The Mona Lisa. Leonardo began painting in Florence 1503 and finally finished in 1517. It is thought to be the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco Giocondo. The alternative name for the painting is La Giocondo. She is famous for being extremely unremarkable both in fashion and beauty. Leonardo made her smile the centre of the portrait and it is known as the Giocondos Smile. 
On the right is his own self portrait. 

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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Rome Part 1!

I am the luckiest girl in the world. For my birthday my amazing boyfriend took me to Rome. For three nights we had the Colosseum, the Vatican and the most beautiful museums right on our doorstep. There are no words to describe how fabulous and graceful these buildings and their contents are. Out of the 800 pictures that I took, I narrowed it down to 400. Then, I had to decide on my favourites. Here are just a few of them from the first day we spent in Rome. 

To say we didn't even know what this building was, we were stunned by its beauty and grandness. It turned out to be a museum to John the Baptist aka San Giovanni. It was first opened by Emperor Constantine and his Mother Helena. She had collected many statues and paintings which were later donated to the museum. It was the first Christian Church to be used for worship. 

Places of worship are easily recognised by their domed rooftops, many of which contain gold and marble. I don't know who the statue on the right is but he looked very important, and he looked as though he was judging everyone who walked past. 

Every painting was beautiful. The designs were lovely and always so meaningful. On the right is a cross made entirely from gold surrounded by marble pillars. 

Now, beneath all the tourists are the Spanish Steps. They were built in 1723 and greet thousands of visitors a year. They are also surrounded by many designer shops such as Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo and Chanel. 

Situated at the bottom of the steps is Fontana della Barcaccia aka Fountain of the Old Boat. It is rather beautiful like everything else in Rome and you can drink from it! Babingtons Tea Rooms is the little part of England in Rome. With an extraordinary amount of different types of tea to choose from one can't help but feeling rather British. 

Watching the sun set atop the Spanish Steps was breathtaking. Such a lovely view. 

The first and second pictures are of the Roman Opera House or in Italian Facade of the Teatro dell'Opera. It first opened in November 1880 and used to seat over 2000 people. However due to changes over time and recent modifications, the current building seats 1600. 

The third picture is the Corte Di Cassazione or The Supreme Court of Cassation. Built in 1888 it is the highest Court of Appeal in Italy and has its seat in the Palace of Justice. Looking at it you would think it was a palace. One thing you can say about the Romans....the knew how to build! 

So this was just part 1 of my adventure to Rome. There will be 2 more parts shortly consisting of the Vatican and of course the Colosseum. None of my photos have been edited. 

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