Category: Life

My Iceland Adventure: Outside the City

Here at last, is part two of my Iceland adventure! Find part one here: My Iceland Adventure: Reykjavik.

I’ve saved up my favourite photos from the trips I took outside of Reykjavik, and in all seriousness, looking back on the trip now, I can hardly believe how lucky I was to see so many stunning things. I hope you enjoy these photos, and maybe get inspired to visit Iceland – I cannot recommend it enough!

The Northern Lights

Photo of green northern lights
Watching the Northern Lights dance across the sky was one of the most amazing and awe inspiring things I will ever do. I was so fortunate to see such a wonderful display of colour and movement. My photography skills let me down… but I have learned a lot from the experience (mainly that I need to practice long exposures more and test out tripod stability too).

Photo of green and yellow northern lights
I’ve included the people in the photos to give the spectacle some context. These photos were taken with a super-wide angled Sigma lens and my Canon 60D on a light weight tripod or placed directly on the ground, lens facing up.

Photo of pink and green coloured northern lights
These shards of light were directly overhead, arcing across the sky, changing shape and colour.

The Blue Lagoon

Photo of the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is like a spa, only set on another planet! The temperature of the water is so hot that it constantly steams. Its a divine experience, though getting in and out is very cold!

Photo of mist rising off the Blue Lagoon
If you visit the Blue Lagoon, make sure to take INTENSIVE hair conditioner. The water absolutely ruined my hair and its not been the same since. Lesson learned!

Langjökull Glacier

Photo of Bonny on a glacier
This glacier was like nothing I have ever seen. We took a snowmobiling safari and got to drive all over it. It was like being in a film – so stunningly beautiful, and painfully cold. I lost a camera on this glacier with many treasured photos on it – its a lesson to use lots of smaller memory cards as loosing a few photos is bad, but loosing hundreds was terrible.

Photo of Langjökull glacier

Geysirs

Photo of an Icelandic Geysir
The geysirs stank. Really, really stank. Gag-worthing stank! Beautiful, but oh-so-smelly! I have been told the ones at Yellowstone in the USA don’t smell like these ones, so if you fancy seeing some steam burst out of the Earth, they may be a more pleasant experience!

Photo of a geysir erupting
There she blows!

Photo of geysir steam against snow capped hills

Gullfoss Waterfall

Photo of Gullfoss waterfall
Gullfoss waterfall is two waterfalls on top of each other. Its right near the Geysirs – so its worth a look if you visit those and vice-versa. The food in the cafe near Gullfoss is disgusting though!

Photo of Bonny at Gullfoss waterfall
I was so painfully cold here. You can see the pain in my face. I’m trying to smile, but its just not working.

The land of landscapes

The thing about Iceland, is its one amazing landscape after another. Your eyes cant take in all the stunning scenery. They become overwhelmed with the awesome.

Photo of a lake
This is close to the place where the Icelandic parliament was first founded. Its also right near where the Icelandic prime minister has a summer house.

Photo of rocks crushed by tectonic plates
The power of nature and the Earth is apparent everywhere. In this photo you can see how the North American and European tectonic plates are crushing each other.

Photo of steam over rocks
How other-worldly is this?!

Photo of the Icelandic coastline
The coastline is ravaged by the freezing cold sea. Its stark and stunning. I went on a whale watching trip but sadly saw no whales, I believe there is more chance in the summer months.

I really hope you enjoyed my photos, and are perhaps inspired to visit Iceland – I certainly want to go back – I cant wait.

My Iceland Adventure: Reykjavik

Last month I went on an adventure to Iceland, and I loved it. Really, really loved it! I stayed in Reykjavik, the world’s most northern capital city.

I’m splitting my posts about Iceland into two separate posts, this one is all about Reykjavik, and the next one will be about things outside of the city like the geysirs and the Blue Lagoon!

Beautiful Reykjavik

Photo of Reykjavik skyline

Photo of Reykjavik rooftops

The houses and buildings in the city are charming as they are very dinky and brightly coloured. They make the city feel like its a living and breathing Legoland.

Photo of the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik

The Harpa Concert Hall is stunning – each of the honeycomb glass windows refracts light in different colours onto the area around the building.

Photo of Hallgrímskirkja church

The view from Hallgrímskirkja Church stretches for miles – out to sea and across the landscape of the city and beyond. The statue in front of the Church is of Leif Ericson, the Icelandic Viking who is thought to have discovered America.

Photo of Bonny in front of a wall of balls of wool

This is me in the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s shop. I was in knitting heaven!

Photo of cat

Reykjavik has a lot of cats (who the tourists admire as much as some of the main tourist attractions!).

Photo of the Sun Voyager sculpture

The Sun Voyager sculpture is small but striking in person. It looks out on to the harbour area of Reykjavik.

Photo of Bonny standing with a carved wooden viking

Me, posing with a large Viking.

Photo of Tjörnin lake in Reykjavik

Tjörnin lake is in the city center. It would be even more beautiful in summer. I’d love to live in one of the houses along the edge – what a view!

Photo of Bonny next to Tjörnin lake

I was sooo cold in this photo! Serves me right for not wearing a coat when it was -3!

Photo of two whaling boats

These whaling boats were in the harbour. I found it interesting to learn that its mainly tourists that keep the boats running – if tourists didn’t eat whale then the Icelandic whalers would loose their customers as Icelanders don’t eat it (the national dish is shark not whale). If you do visit Iceland, don’t eat whale.

Photo of a burger cafe

Hamborgarbúllan hamburger restaurant. A really sweet little hamburger joint with excellent food that was good value and served fast.

Reykjavik Tips:

  • Höfnin is a gorgeous little restaurant on the harbour-side which cooks beautiful Icelandic and Nordic food. I had a lovely meal of a traditional grains and vegetables to start, reindeer meatballs for a main, and skyr and berries for dessert. I would go back in a shot.
  • The Icelandic Phallological Museum is not for the faint-hearted and after visiting, I felt sick for hours (no, I’m not joking). Seeing so many pickled penises in one room was not amusing like I’d thought it would be!
  • Talk to locals: they’re really friendly and keen to share information, and they have a great sense of humour!
  • Wear layers. Its cold outside but very warm inside all the restaurants and shops.
  • Buy a real Icelandic jumper – they are beautiful. I put aside some money for such a purchase, and I’m so pleased with my gray real-wool-hand-knitted number. It cost somewhere between £80 and £100… which brings me on to my next point…
  • Take a calculator or a currency converting app on your phone. The exchange rate of Icelandic Kronas to pounds is way too weird to do in your head!
  • Take a good camera. My photos (above) were taken with my Canon 60D and a super-wide angle Sigma lens which enabled me to get more of the city into each shot.

Next time…

I’m going to post my photos from my excursions outside of Reykjavik soon, and yes, they will include the Northern Lights 🙂

Have you been to Iceland? Did you like it as much as me?

Post-Hibernation

Illustration of a snowdrop
I’ve been off the blogging thing for a while. You know how it is, life can get in the way of the best made plans and all that.

My job has been manic, I’ve been on holiday and I have had a down patch which has led to a lethargy for doing anything beyond the essentials of day-to-day living. Although family worries are still very much present, I am trying to get beyond the stress and do more creative things to boost myself and find some positive outcomes of negative circumstances.

I want to be blogging again anyway, I have LOADS of ideas and posts that are nearly complete or that I am desperate to explore. I am also planning on doing a bit of a re-design here on Over Stuffed to make it a bit more pleasing on the eyes and a bit more useful.

Over the coming week or two you can expect the following sorts of posts:

  • How to deal with having cave-woman hair
  • Making the Simplicity 2226 skirt
  • Photos from my Icelandic adventure
  • …Plus an update on my 30 before 30 challenge

See you soon!

Signature

World Pangolin Day 2013

Poster for World Pangolin Day 2013

Today is World Pangolin Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness for the Pangolin, one of the Earth’s most unusual yet persecuted animals.

Photo of a pangolin on grass

The Pangolin is a scaly mammal that lives in Africa and Asia, and is being hunted towards extinction due to its body parts being used in traditional (but unproven) medicine. Much like the more publicised causes such as the black market for Rhino horns and the like, Pangolins face brutality at the hands of poachers. Unlike the Rhino or Tiger, Pangolins are far less well known or talked about – their plight goes unheard.

As today is all about them, I would like to ask you to help raise awareness for these very unusual, special and charming creatures in the hope that by more people hearing about them and learning of their plight, perhaps more can be done to save them before they are hunted to extinction.

Current Global Pangolin Status

The status’ below is taken from PangolinsSG.org.

Asian pangolins:

Manis pentadactyla (Chinese Pangolin) – Endangered
Manis javanica (Sunda or Malayan Pangolin) – Endangered
Manis culionensis (Philippine Pangolin) – Near Threatened
Manis crassicaudata (Indian or Thick-tailed Pangolin) – Near Threatened

African pangolins:

Smutsia temminckii (Cape or Temminck’s ground Pangolin) – Least Concern
Smutsia gigantea (Giant ground Pangolin) – Near Threatened
Phataginus tricuspis (Tree or African White-bellied Pangolin) – Near Threatened
Uromanis tetradactyla (Long-tailed or Black-bellied Pangolin) – Least Concern

How you can help Pangolins today:

Twitter:

Please consider Tweeting with the hashtag #worldpangolinday


Facebook:

‘Like’ World Pangolin Day on Facebook

Donate:

Consider making a donation to the Pangolin Specialist Group who are part of the Zoological Society of London.

Coming in From The Cold

Photo of a garden covered in snow

It snowed today! I woke up to a blanket of snow covering the garden at my parent’s house. It’s snowed on and off all day, which has made me all wistful for cosy gloves, scarves and blankets. I love going for cold, bracing walks and then coming in and cuddling up under a duvet and watching a film while I thaw out. Heaven! (‘Fargo’ is my favourite film for this activity).

Getting into the spirit of warming up from the snow, here are six beautiful and cosy ideas for keeping warm on Etsy!:

Images of winter-themed hand-made items from Etsy

1. Arrow print jersey scarf, £20.60

Although I do love wool, it can be a bit itchy around the neck. This jersey scarf solves this problem! It wont be quite as warm, but it does look cool, no? You can buy this scarf here: Jersey Scarf with Graphic Arrows on Etsy.

2. Mittens with pearls, £37.34

These are such pretty and simple mittens. The little pearls are such a sweet touch! You can buy these mittens here: Mittens with pearls on Etsy.

3. Colourful crochet blanket, £51.51

I’ve fallen in love with this gorgeous crochet blanket. I love the colours and the shapes. The neon pink is just perfect. You can buy this blanket here: Colourful crochet blanket on Etsy.

4. Antique vintage quilt, £146.32

This is such a perfect quilt, just the right mix of clashing fabrics. I love how the bright yellow fabric sings with the red chevron print. I want to snuggle under this quilt right now with a cat and a big mug of tea. You can buy this quilt here: Spectacular double wedding ring antique quilt on Etsy.

5. Totoro hat, £19.32

Such a cute hat! What Totoro fan wouldn’t love to wear this beauty with pride?! The ear flaps are great for keeping out chilly winds… I think I need to make something like this for my upcoming Iceland adventure. You can buy this hat here: Totoro grey crochet hat on Etsy.

6. Scandinavian socks, £21.98

Handmade socks are one of life’s ultimate luxuries. These Scandinavian styled socks are simple but beautiful and because they are made of wool, will keep feet toasty warm. These are also in a sale at the moment, so they are a bargain. You can buy these socks here: Handmade knitted knee high socks on Etsy.

Have you found that the snowy weather has made you lust after cosy goodies too?

Indie Shop Love: Flo Jo Boutique

Photos of Flo Jo Boutique

Flo Jo Boutique

Address: 36B Gloucester Road Road, Bristol, BS7 8AR
Website: Flo-Jo Boutique.co.uk
Twitter: @Flojoboutique
Facebook: Flo Jo Boutique

Flo Jo Boutique is a gorgeous haberdashery shop on Gloucester Road that also runs sewing workshops. Its packed with sewing and crafting goodies, think pom pom trim, printed bias binding, Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics and velvet ribbons. Half of the boutique is dedicated to lovely haberdashery, and the other half is filled with workshop space for the sewing classes they run (check out the sewing classes here).

Flo Jo also has some really cute knicker making kits – I really want to have a go doing this, as they look so pretty. They run knicker making parties which look like such a great idea for something a bit different to do with a bunch of friends.

I really love how the boutique carries sewing accessories that all co-ordinate: the fabric and trimmings all go together really easily.

Photos of ribbons and thread

Photos of fabric

Photo of fabric and cute gifts

Photo of a knicker making kit

Have you visited Flo Jo? Are you going to do any of their sewing classes?

Iceland Adventure!

Photo of the northern lights behind a church

I have news! I’m going to Iceland in March and I cant wait! This trip marks many changing things in my life: letting go of the past, and taking control of things. I’m no hippy-tree-hugger, but I do believe we are all in charge of our own happiness. Without goals and things to look forward to, I find it hard to make sense of time, and that makes me prone to feeling down. One of my 30 before 30 resolutions is to visit a country I’ve never been to before, and Iceland has been on my list of places I’ve wanted to go for years. So why not make it 2013, and do something really exciting, and memorable to change things up.

I’ve booked some amazing trips while I’m there: a northern lights tour, whale watching, a day at the Blue Lagoon, a trip to the Gullfoss waterfall, geysers and a snow mobiling safari on a glacier! I’m beyond excited.

Photo of a whale
Photo of ice in the sea
I found some amazing photos of Iceland on the Creative Overflow site. They are really inspiring me to get skilled up on my photography before I go.

Have you been to Iceland? Do you have any tips or recommendations for me?

Hitting the Sales

Photos of toiletries bought in the Boots sale

I’ve hit the sales today, and picked up some tasty bargains! Here is my run down of what I have picked up today. Today is the only day I am sale shopping, as I am starting saving for a very special trip from now on… more on that another day!

Boots

I’ve had my eye on the Liberty – Hello Kitty collection for several months, but somehow I have resisted until the sale. I really wanted the blue wash bag to make up a set (I got a mini and a big one last year) and this one is just the right medium size for travelling. It had sold out online on Boxing Day, so I went to town to see if I could find it, I did, and I ‘found’ some other goodies while I was there…

Hello Kitty Liberty Wash Bag

Photo of a blue patterned wash bag and contents

The wash bag comes with body butter, body scrub, bubble bath and one of those net scrunchie things (given to my Mama to clean her greenhouse with!).

Hello Kitty Liberty Make Up Bag

Photo of the contents of the Hello Kitty make up bag

This make up set comes in a little pencil case featuring the pink paisley Hello Kitty design. There is a lip gloss, lip tint and a mini palette of eyeshadows. I’ve not swatched these yet, they look OK though (if you ignore the bright turquoise one!). I want the case to use for my work make up bag (to keep my emergency items close at hand).

Hello Kitty Liberty Brush Set

Photo of a set of make up brushes

This was an impulse buy… With sets like this the brushes tend to shed a lot, but we’ll see. If they do, I will put my existing brushes in the pouch. I’ve been getting really frustrated with how dusty and dirty my brushes get when I’m travelling and I cant fit them in my normal make up bag. I’m hoping this little set will help sort out this problem. I like how the brushes have a little plastic cover over them to stop bits getting to them.

Here is a detail shot of each of the Hello Kitty fabric designs:

Photos of Hello Kitty Liberty fabric

Other goodies:

Photo of a set of lipsticks
Soap & Glory Wowed Mouth lipstick set, half price

Photo of a f.c.u.k diary set
FCUK The Date Planner Set, half price

Fox and Feather

This is a tshirt I have lusted after for months and months it seems, and I found it reduced in the Fox and Feather sale!
Photo of a tshirt with large lettering saying Smitten with Kittens

And finally…

I’m working on my 30 before 30 list on this one. I have ordered a new Canon 60D DSLR! I shopped around and asked for some recommendations, and I found a great deal 🙂 My Christmas bonus covered it *just* so it really is more like a Christmas present to myself. I am stupidly excited about it arriving and getting to play with the HD video and all the different features it has compared to my 400D.

Photo of a Canon 60D

So that’s my sale haul! Seven items in total, there could have been more, but I restrained myself. Have you been to the sales?