Summer Sunsets

Half term in Britain starting on a Bank Holiday weekend meant it had to start off with rain! Not just any old rain in this part of the country though – a full on thunder and lightening storm with torrential rain. After spending the previous afternoon sunning it up in a field (whilst youngest daughter took part in her sponsored walk), giving us hope for an unusually sunny and hot bank holiday, we were then plummeted back into the depths of winter by the time the children came out of school. Dramatic much??

Anyhow, after I was pretty sure a surge of lightening hit the house and in doing so knocked off the downstairs electricity, it appeared my argument for lighting the log burner was flawed as there was no way on God’s earth that anyone would be venturing to the shed for logs. That being so, I settled for the option of PJs and bed.

By Sunday the weather was much better thank goodness and we had an early start heading down to Lydden Hill in Kent for the World Rally Cross Championships.  After a great day of racing we were all tired and less than enthusiastic about the traffic home. After being stuck on the motorway for hours and a little closer to home, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset while stuck in traffic once more, right next to Stonehenge.

I’ll probably be greeted by gasps at this statement – but I’m usually underwhelmed by Stonehenge! It’s so much smaller than I always expected, although no mean feat if the stones were in fact moved there by hand! This however, was just a WOW moment and my Iphone photo just doesn’t do it justice. Although completely exhausted it was the perfect end to a 16+ hour day.

Photos of half term to come tomorrow

Amy xx

Linking up with IBOT#CityCountryLife

Culture & Heritage // June Exhibitions

It’s the first of the month once more, which means it’s time for my selection of exhibitions that I’d like to visit in June.

STOMPING GROUND: Photographs by Dick Scott-Stewart // Museum of London // 27 May – 18 September 2016

A black and white photo of two young people posing in post-punk or 1970s London

Copyright Dick Scott-Stewart Archive

Stomping Grounds captures London’s eclectic social scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s through the lens of Dick Scott-Stewart.

From the New Romantics of the Blitz club to Rockabillies in Elephant and Castle, 38 photographs explore Scott-Stewart’s fascination with people and subculture outside of the mainstream.

Dick Scott-Stewart was a freelance photographer and an admirer of the great European and American black and white photographers, using high contrast and a vivid use of light and dark to distinctively portray those with “a withdrawal from and opposition to the realities of the present”, who he saw “escaping…into their music, their dress style, their meeting places” during the late 1970s and post-punk era in London.

Born in Cheltenham and educated in his art at the London College of Printing, Scott-Stewart remains relatively unknown – although the Museum of London’s new exhibition, Stomping Grounds, aims to correct that by beaming them into widescreen vision via a projector.

Scott-Stewart published a book, Fairground Snaps, in 1974, and the museum is featuring 117 photographs from his finest personal projects, as well as ephemera and a wrestling series, drawn together 14 years after his death.

A large-scale projection of images from Scott-Stewart’s wrestling series is also shown together with personal ephemera and objects reflecting the photographer’s career.

The photographs are a new acquisition to the collection following a generous donation from the Dick Scott-Stewart Archive.

FOUND // The Foundling Museum, London // 27 May  – 04 Sept 2016

The Foundling Museum explores the history of The Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and the first public art gallery.

The Foundling Hospital was set up in 1739 by the philanthropist Thomas Coram, to care for babies at risk of abandonment.  Instrumental in helping Coram realising his vision were the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. Their creative generosity set the template for the ways in which the arts can support philanthropy. The Foundling Hospital continues today as the children’s charity Corams and the museum celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 275 years.

Foundling Fellow Cornelia Parker has invited over sixty outstanding artists from a range of creative disciplines to contribute either a new or existing piece of work, or an object they have found and kept for its significance, for a major exhibition opening in spring 2016. “In order for something to be ‘found’, it has to at some point in its history been ‘lost’ ” says Parker. Her intention is to create a “riveting collective cacophony” which will be displayed throughout the Museum, interacting with historic works in the permanent Collection and with each other. Her inspiration has in part been taken from the Museum’s collection of tokens – small objects left by mothers with their babies as a means of identification should they ever return to the Foundling Hospital to claim their child.

The museum also has a programme of excellent workshops for all the family and more information can be found HERE.

ART FROM ELSEWHERE // Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Arnolfini // 22 April – 17 June 2016

Copyright Stuart Whipps

Art From Elsewhere is a compelling exhibition of video, installation, photography and painting across two sites in central Bristol, which gathers 38 artists from 22 countries. Their work addresses life, politics and identity in a globalised society. The exhibition includes some of the most important artists working today, seminal figures in the history of conceptual art, and young artists whose work enters British museums for the first time.

The culmination of a national tour, this specially-conceived and ambitious presentation for Bristol reflects the city’s historic significance as a port, our diverse cultures, and our place within a rapidly-changing world.

Artists exhibited at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery:

Bani Abidi, Ai Weiwei, Yael Bartana, Robert Breer, Nathan Carter, Thomas Demand, Shilpa Gupta, Ola Kolehmainen, Barbara Kruger, Glenn Ligon, Ana Mendieta, Adrian Piper, Shahzia Sikander, Nancy Spero, Kara Walker, Yeesookyung.

Artists exhibited at Arnolfini:

Shirin Aliabadi, Carl Andre, Stephen Antonakos, Yto Barrada, Lothar Baumgarten, Paulo Bruscky, Meschac Gaba, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Jitish Kallat, Amar Kanwar, Imran Qureshi, Rashid Rana, Józef Robakowski, Robert Smithson, Beat Streuli, Akram Zaatari and Horacio Zabala.

Art from Elsewhere was born from a 2007 scheme, Art Fund International, which awarded a total of five million pounds to museums in five regions to develop new collections of international contemporary art. The successful museums were Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery with The New Art Gallery Walsall, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Towner, Eastbourne.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery collaborated with Arnolfini to acquire 41 works of groundbreaking international contemporary art by ten female and nine male artists.

Curated by David Elliott, this Hayward Touring exhibition, supported by the Art Fund, is a selection of work from all five collections.

Art from Elsewhere is accompanied by an extensive programme of tours, talks, performances and family events, offering numerous ways for you to engage with and explore the exhibition.

This  is a drop in exhibition where you pay what you think and for further information take a look at the Bristol Museum or Arnolfini websites.

Amy xx

Monday Motivation

Source Unknown

I went to bed last night with little enthusiasm for the upcoming week. Things have been challenging of late (how long have I really been saying that for?), I had the signs of an almighty flare up brewing and I just didn’t know if I could cope with whatever is going to be thrown our way this week. Despite being awake a lot of the night (eldest daughter has come down with a chest virus that youngest daughter had some weeks back), I seem to have woken up with a bit of a spring in my step and the ‘to-do’ list I’ve been making for what seems like weeks has become somewhat shorter.

The next couple of months are going to see so much change for us and I although I so excited for it, it is daunting how much planning, preparation and organisation is required to get there. Whilst there has been little going on here lately, I can assure you that so much is going on below deck and I can’t wait to share it all with you here shortly!

Amy xx

#CityCountryLife // Life Lately

I’ve loved the sunny, warm weather that we’ve been having recently. Life lately has consisted of making the most of it, whether that be strolling around the garden centre picking out plants, afternoons tidying up the garden and brightening it up, or picnics and walks with the family back home in Wales.

The poor dogs aren’t enamoured with the heat, what with having masses of husky fluff and a jet black coat; so have been searching out the shade and enjoying water bowls full of ice until the cooler evenings arrive.

Meals have got lighter consisting of delicious, bright salads with fish or picnic food and bubbly and moods are generally lifted.

I’ve done the opposite to most when the summer months arrive and had my hair coloured darker, but it looks so much better and hopefully will be set off nicely with glowing skin if the sun continues.

But in true British form, as soon as we get excited because the sandals and sunglasses are out, the rain reappears and the pups are not happy as they don’t want to go out in the rain either. With it set to last for a while, at least the flowers don’t need watering for a few days

Boxset, blankets and ice cream anyone until the sun returns?

Amy xx 

Linking up with #CityCoutryLife

Exhibitions Ending Soon

I’ve not written a post like this for a little while but after a bit of a heritage and culture fix this weekend at Tyntesfield I’m feeling that I need to create a new ‘must see’ list!

I’ve got a long list of days out and new exhibitions that will be opening later this month, some children friendly that would be great for half term. I’ll be publishing that post a bit later in the month but for now here are two exhibitions that are well worth a visit, but will be ending in the next few weeks. If you will be in the London / Liverpool areas they both have events and talks still going on alongside the exhibitions. I’m disappointed to be missing the Victoria Beckham in conversation with Claudia Winkleman tomorrow evening at the NPG; if you go along please let me know how it was!

Vogue 100: A Century of Style // National Portrait Gallery, London // Ending 22 May 2016

This exhibition has been organised by the National Portrait Gallery, London in collaboration with British Vogue as part of the magazine’s centenary celebrations. It showcases the remarkable range of photography that has been commissioned by British Vogue since it was founded in 1916, with over 280 prints from the Condé Nast archive and international collections being shown together for the first time to tell the story of one of the most influential fashion magazines in the world.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012, one of the first patronages taken on after her marriage to Prince William, recognising her interest in photography and portraiture. The National Portrait Gallery and British Vogue have collaborated on a very special series of photographic portraits with the Duchess. Two of the images photographed by Josh Ollins are now displayed in the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition and the full portfolio of eight photographs including the cover will appear in the centenary June 2016 issue of Vogue.  In June, the Gallery plans to show these images plus others from the shoot as part of a free display, advance booking is highly recommended and details can be found HERE.

Poppies: Women and War // Museum of Liverpool // Ending 5th June

Renowned photographer Lee Karen Stowes, has captured striking images of women whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. Her compelling images invite visitors to learn more and consider the impact of conflict on the women whose stories are lost behind the dramatic headlines of the battlefield.

There are four women who feature in the exhibition, whose experiences range from serving in World War Two, Afghanistan, a civilian in Sierra Leone and a mother who lost her son in Helmand Province in 2009.

“Poppies: Women and War is evolving. This is not an attempt to cover every conflict, or to dare to hope for peace. My research and my portraits grow organically as women and their stories enter into my own awakening.

I wasn’t aware of my own mother’s childhood during the Blitz in the Second World War. ‘You never told me’, I said. ‘You never asked’, she replied. I began to ask more. I hope others will do the same.”
Lee Karen Stow

Poppies: Women and War is a touring exhibition supported by Arts Council England.  It will be in the Museum of Liverpool until 5 June 2016. The next venue it will be on display at is the University of Hull in summer, 2016.

As always, if you know of any  must see exhibitions this month, please let me know!

A xx


Lizzie Somerset

Monday Sunshine

It’s Monday morning and for once I’m not unhappy about getting out of bed! I’m looking forward to this week. I’ve got lots in the diary and hopefully we’re at the beginning of a new, more positive phase in our lives. I’m heading over to Cardiff this morning as much as I’m getting used to and enjoying more of the country life, there is a part of me craving to be in the city albeit for a few hours. I’m hoping the weather forecast is correct because when the sun shines onto the magnificent buildings of Cardiff, the city is taken to a whole new level of beauty.
It’s also Bath in Fashion week and I’m hoping to get to a few of the events. There are some exciting looking workshops, an array of talks and of course catwalks put on by some major brands. I’m particularly excited to be taking Megan to an evening with Julien Macdonald on Thursday night. He is one of my favourite designers, being Welsh of course helps and will be talking in The Assembly Rooms with renowned fashion writer Colin McDowell, MBE. The fact that he has dressed many of the worlds major stars and is a favourite of Taylor Swift helps, but Megan will be studying Fashion and Textiles for GCSE and loves him almost as much as I do. I think I may be racking up major mum points this week! There are full listings of all the events on and some tickets remaining HERE.
Friday I’m looking forward to meeting up with Tamsin from Half a Dozen for Dinner for a cuppa and to chat all things blogging. Tamsin is new to this online community but her blog is beautiful and she bakes the most amazing cakes and desserts! Head on over to her blog or Facebook page HERE. In between, there’s plenty of new content to be produced and some exciting things to share with you soon, so here’s to a productive and (hopefully) sunny week!

Linking up with IBOT

#CityCountryLife // Life Lately – Ston Easton Park

Woman, Bed, Female, Attractive, Bedroom, Girl, People
The kids were back to school on Monday and it’s only today that I feel like I may be getting back to normal! The hustle and bustle of the last few months and the school holidays finally caught up with me and unexpectedly I came to a stand still last week due to an almighty fibro flare up. I’ve been lucky in that it’s the first time in a good while that I’ve been bed ridden, but I’d somehow forgotten how painful and frustrating a flare actually is. During those few days I was once again crushed by the pain and the feeling of helplessness and guilt of not being able to do anything. The good news is that it didn’t last as long as normal and I am up and about again already (although by the afternoon I am once again ready for bed). It also made me think once again about our situation and how best to plan for times when my illness takes over; over the next week or so I’m going to have a mass cooking session to make sure that there is an array of healthy meals in the freezer which can be easily defrosted and put in the oven.

It also means that I am even more pleased that the weather has been so beautiful over the last day or so. I’ve made the most of working outside and the dogs have loved being in the garden all day and sunbathing on the patio. I’m hoping that the forecast is not correct for this afternoon and the rain doesn’t return because as I’d really like to get a takeaway coffee and sit on the Cathedral green this afternoon!

Dodging the rain seemed to be the story of the Easter holidays, it was constantly a question of “shall we risk going out?” but I’m glad that we risked it and were able to spend some time out in our beautiful surroundings and the fresh air. Easter Sunday was one such gamble that paid off! After becoming downhearted at the thought of spending the day indoors we saw a break in the rain and hail and made a dash to Ston Easton Park. Although it is just down the road from us, we had never explored the grounds and the Easter Day Dog Treat Hunt provided us with the perfect opportunity to walk around some of the 36 acres.

The hotel is known as one of the most luxurious in Somerset and the grounds didn’t disappoint either. The dogs and kids enjoyed hunting out the dog treats but although there were plenty of other dogs running around and into the water, we decided to keep ours on the lead as they are very excitable and can’t be trusted not to run off! The weather was absolutely beautiful and you would never had believed the Arctic conditions we had woken to that morning. The sun showed no sign of disappearing which meant we were able to wear the dogs out and the fresh air was most definitely appreciated after a few days of cabin fever.

The Dog Treat Hunt was free with an optional donation to the Bath Cats and Dogs Home, which we definitely wanted to support with both of our dogs being rescues. It was nice to do something other than the traditional Easter Egg hunt and we just managed to escape the rain which returned as we drove home! The rest of the day was spent watching the Boat Races with a lovely roast and looking at other events on the Ston Easton Park website! I would love to stay at the hotel for a night and Afternoon Tea is definitely on the cards!

Linking up with #CityCountryLife 
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