A weekend in Kent

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This weekend, myself and my friends went to Kent for the weekend and it was simply lovely.

We went on a bit of a tour around the county to get out of London (I know I’ve only just got back!), get into to the countryside, and see the sea. It was brilliant, even if the weather wasn’t.

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The poppies at the Tower of London

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This year marks the 100 year anniversary since the start of the First World War. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. Together he created 888,246 ceramic poppies which have filled the Tower’s famous moat, one for each of the British casualties in the First World War.
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The Libertines, Hyde Park

I went to see the Libertines with Virtual Festivals last Saturday and they were awesome! Here is a copy of my review!

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In a set that was plagued with crowd interruptions, The Libertines’ reunion was filled with energy, controversy and compassion – it was everything the crowd wanted from the band whose history has been so filled with drama.

The set was called to a halt three times due to crowd crushing (one person passed out), flare throwing and the crowd climbing the camera towers. After a patchy stop-start for the first few songs, Carl, Pete, Gary and John got into their stride and revived the audience with a roaring version of ‘Horrorshow’ followed soon after with a raucous ‘The Ha Ha Wall’. Deafening crowd sing-alongs then came in the form of ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ and ‘What Katie Did’.

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The guitars were tight, the bass solid and dependable and the drums kept everyone together. Each Libertine played brilliantly, and Carl and Pete sung as well as they ever have. The sound quality, which was at times patchy (as has often troubled Hyde Park concerts) couldn’t distract from the show of talent on the Main Stage.

When ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ came round, a song which used to be filled with such anger during their troubled times, Carl and Pete simply sang it to get past it. There was little dwelling on the song which became the theme song to the Libertines’ breakup. Instead the set focused on the happier times – archive images of the band filled the screens behind them adding to the sense of nostalgia.

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My guest in VIP

The Libertines finished with a riotous ‘I Get Along’. Pete and Carl sharing mics and singing to one another made for an emotional end to a thrilling set, hugging and celebrating at the end until they were on the floor. Pete led a singalong of the hokey cokey before praising the crowd and the armed forces, and with Carl, performed a rather beautiful rendition of Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem Suicide In The Trenches to finish. The frontmen were back as one once more.

There was high expectation on this gig after the success of the Glasgow warm-up shows and the boys in the band definitely delivered. Carl and Pete played with a confidence which was lacking in their 2010 reunion – they seemed more focused and much more comfortable together. The announcement of two more dates in London later this year confirms the band’s commitment to one another and hopefully rather than a reunion, this becomes a revival in the Libertines’ history book.

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The Libertines at British Summer Time 2014 set list:

‘Vertigo’
‘Boys In The Band’
‘The Delaney’
‘Campaign Of Hate’
‘Time For Heroes’
‘Horrorshow’
‘Begging’
‘The Ha Ha Wall’
‘Music When The Lights Go Out’
‘What Katy Did’
‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’
‘Can’t Stand Me Now’
‘Last Post On The Bugle’
‘Love On The Dole’
‘Death On The Stairs’
‘Radio America’
‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’
‘Tell The King’
‘Up The Bracket’
‘What A Waster’
‘France’
‘Albion’
‘I Get Along’

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Photos from my Virtual Festivals article (and my iPhone)

Did you go to the Libertines? What did you think? I loved it!

Rx

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Myself and my friend Gill went to visit Kew Gardens the other day and it was bloomin’ marvellous. (Warning: There may be a large amount of horticultural puns in this post!)

It was a glorious day and as the sun shone over London we made our way along the Thames to Kew. The area around Kew Gardens is beautiful and oh so typically English – we passed the cricket green on the way – it was delightful.

Once you arrive at Kew you are faced with 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses. It is a gardener’s paradise! But what I found most amazing at Kew, is that whatever your expertise on plants, it is so accessible to everyone. If you don’t want to read the plaques and information you can just wander around the stunning gardens. If you want to learn all about a particular type of plant, the chances are it will be at Kew as the Botanic Gardens plays host to the largest collection of living plants in the world. In the WORLD. It is simply staggering.

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One of my favourite parts of Kew was the Princess of Wales Conservatory which recreated ten different climate zones. The cactii were brilliant but the iguana which was roaming free frightened the life out of me!

Another highlight was the bar… There was a huge display of herbs and plants which are used in bitters and tonics – often found in cocktails (a particularly passionate hobby of mine…!)

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Kew costs £16.50 for an adult (with a £1.50 donation) but a membership is only £72 per year. If you live nearby I’d get a membership and go whenever the sun pokes his head of out a cloud!

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Kew Palace is also situated within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was the home of George III in his youth and has been a resides of the royals for many years. Now, however, it is open to wander around.

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I think these pictures prove just how beautiful Kew is. I absolutely fell in love with the place. It feels like you’re out of London, in your own perfect paradise. As a Northerner stranded in the South I often find I miss greenery, countryside and, you know, space – but Kew has it all. It was wonderfully tranquil and reminded me of home. I can’t recommend it enough.

Have you been to Kew? What did you think of it? Leave links and comments below!

Rx

Rebel Bingo

I write this from my bed. So far today I’ve managed to get in the shower, make some toast, have a cup of tea and get back into bed. It’s 4pm.

The reason for this most unproductive of days? Rebel Bingo.

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It’s not just a game anymore

Rebel Bingo is bingo as you’ve never seen it before. It’s a massive party with loud music, alcohol and a lot of red pen. It was an amazing night and you should definitely try and get tickets for the next one if you can (be quick, it sells out super quick!). I really don’t want to give too much away but here are a select few photos from last night:

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Rx

Highgate Cemetery

My housemates and I visited Highgate Cemetery recently.

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Highgate Cemetery has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country. It is a place of peace and contemplation where a romantic profusion of trees, memorials and wildlife flourish

When I told my parents I’d been to visit a cemetery their reaction was ‘What?! Why would you want to visit a cemetery’ They couldn’t understand. And I’m guessing a lot of people will feel the same, especially because I know no-one (personally) who is interred there. There are however, many famous and well regarded individuals in Highgate Cemetery and its truly lovely to be able to pay your respects to figures you admire.

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Karl Marx is perhaps the most famous resident of Highgate. All around him were fellow communists and political thinkers. It was interesting to see how some people wanted to be close to their heroes in death, even if they weren’t in life.

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My housemates

My housemates

The cemetery itself is wild. Overgrown trees and ivy fill every crevice of the grounds. Some of the graves have been disrupted because of this which is a shame. But on a glorious day like I visited on, it’s absolutely beautiful.

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Wandering around graves makes you think about the futility of life and how fragile us humans are. It makes you think about death and how you’d like to be remembered. It was an incredibly peaceful place which gave me a lot to think about afterwards. It’s a place that stays with you.

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Learn more about Highgate Cemetery on their website.

Rx

Hello 2014!

Hurrah! It’s a new year!

I do hope you all had a wonderful festive period and an excellent new year. I just wanted to give a little update of what you can expect from A Lot of Lovely Things this year…
Firstly, more posts! I’m aiming for two uploads a week so make sure you’re signed up and following my site for the latest updates!
Secondly, more London! I recently bought Tired of London, Tired of Life and I’m keen to try as much of the things in it as I can!
Thirdly, more books! One of my new year resolutions this year to is read everyday something that isn’t internet news – so novels, interesting magazines, articles, essays – the lot. So they’ll be posts about my latest readings too.
Finally, more lovely things! As the title suggests… 😉

So a new year means a new start. 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag for me but I have high hopes for 2014. So onwards and upwards. Let’s go!

Peace and love,

Rx

Look – a puppy stuck in bowl!

Hint Hunt

You’re locked in a room. A murder has happened. You have one hour before the police arrive. There are clues everywhere and you and your team have to escape. Now.

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Intruiged?! It’s time to put your detective cap on and solve a mystery in one of the best London events I’ve ever been to.

Hint Hunt is a live escape game and your team (between 3-5) have to thinking laterally, logically, mathematically and inventively to get yourself out. I went last night with some friends and it was so much fun. One of the best hours I’ve spent in London thus far.

Time Out describe Hint Hunt as a cross between the Crystal Maze and LA Confidential. I see it more as Murder, She Wrote versus CSI myself but whatever way you see it, Hint Hunt is a brilliant night out. Its something different, challenges your brain, you work in a team and with the timer on a big screen

I can’t tell you much more (other than it is brilliant!) because I just don’t want to give away the game. But please trust me, this is a gem of a night out.

Located in Euston its really easy to get to. Prices vary depending on the number of people in each room but its about £17-20 per person. Well worth it!

Rx

Benefit Brow Bar

Let’s talk eyebrows!

Confession time. I have never, ever plucked or waxed my eyebrows. Ever. I’m 24. A little weird you might think for someone who is very interested in make up, beauty and all that jazz.

The reason for this is simple: I have very fair eyebrows. I have white, blonde, translucent eyebrows and I always have. They shine beautifully in the sunshine and glow white when the rest of me is burnt. They are very difficult to see – On at least two occasions I have been asked if I have shaved my eyebrows off – yes they are that fair! And as they are so fair, it seemed stupid, irrelevant and pointless to put myself through pain for something that no-one would notice.

That was until a couple of months ago… Whilst they are still about 95% white a few of my eyebrows have started to colour themselves in a bit. They are trying to make a name for themselves on my face and are slowly but surely succeeding!

So, to avoid cocking up my eyebrow shape as I lost my eyebrow-plucking virginity I thought I’d better get a professional to shape my brows for the first time. And I chose the Benefit brow bar in Debenhams Oxford Street. The brow bar itself has just had a revamp – they’ve added waxing services and all manner of other treatments women are conned into thinking are necessary to function adequately in society.

My brow expert was called Monika and she was brilliant – so friendly and down to earth. She wasn’t intimidating or judgemental or any of the other traits associated with counter staff. But to the waxing! Monika used a silvery wax on my brows to shape them and then plucked out some pesky stray hairs. Whilst it was painful, it was no where near as painful as I’d expected. She then used a cooling cleanser to clear away any excess wax, covered up any redness with concealer and then filled my brows in with Benefit’s Brow-Zings. Overall it was a very nice experience – I learnt a lot about the shape of my brows (and what to do from now on) in a really friendly environment.

Once I’d had my brows done I had a nosey around the products and got my make up done by one of the other members of staff. Benefit counters are my favourite for their friendly, positive attitudes and their willingness to help. I would highly recommend their brow shaping service – ask for Monika!

Have you had your brows waxed? What did you think? Would you do it again?? Leave links and comments below as I’d love to have a read!

Rx

More funny eyebrows here http://www.2dayfm.com.au/scoopla/trending-now/galleries/23-hilarious-dogs-with-eyebrows/

More amazing dogs with eyebrows here