If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll already know what a geek I am when it comes to maps. Old, new and anything inbetween – maps are intriguing, enticing and informative. I’m the kind of person who wanders over to information maps on footpaths or in city centres and looks like a total tourist, but really I’m just interested in the map itself. Why is it here? What’s nearby? Any special information? Someone has taken the time to make that map and put it there, so surely there’s a reason that’s worth investigating. So it probably comes as no surprise that I also love to have maps in my own home too, and that’s where Mapify comes in. Read on to find out more about my Valentine’s map and how you can win your very own personalised map created just for you by Mapify in my giveaway – and there’s THREE prizes to be won!Thankfully, my husband is equally interested in maps, so when there’s an museum exhibit of old relief maps in the Lake District, or an exhibition of Max Gill’s famous street maps at The Lettering Arts Centre we are first in the queue to see it. I guess we’re well suited to each other, eh? So what better gift could I get for my husband this Valentine’s Day than a personalised map? Well, I’m pleased to say that it IS possible to create your own map of any location throughout the whole world, and have a fantastic quality print on your wall in a matter of days. Mapify is the serviceI used to make this special gift, and here’s how I did it.
We’re mid-way through the summer term and that means one thing – a sunny half term break with nothing to do! This is one of my favourite holidays of the school year, because it’s warm enough to get outside and enjoy last days of Spring, yet it’s not the over-priced days of the summer holidays when you’re likely to burn to a crisp if you venture out into the midday sun. I’ve shared a few ideas for fun days out on my blog this year so here’s my round-up of things to do during the half term holiday.1. Go to the coast and enjoy some cheesy fun at the great British seaside. Eat ice-cream while sitting in a deck chair, feed 2ps into arcade machines and enjoy fish ‘n’ chips on the pier. Read my review of Southwold Pier and check out my ideas for a day out with the kids at Blackpool too.2. Stay indoors on rainy days at a museum. Check out photos of my recent visit to the National Railway Museum in York and my tips for surviving a visit to the museum during the school holidays! If you’re planning to visit a museum during the holidays I’d recommend checking the website before setting off as they often plan special workshops for children during the school holidays and it can be a free way to get your kids interested in the exhibition. I visited the new ‘Shaping The Body’ exhibit at York Castle Museum and blogged about it at Easter. It’s a really fun exhibition (I loved the Victorian Street!) and they even having a dressing-up area for children.
Even though we all like our homes to reflect a little of our own style and personality, it can be difficult to make your house feel like a ‘home’ when you’re renting. Of course you can add your own furniture, pop some photos on the mantlepiece and throw down some colourful cushions, but the bare bones of the property – the walls – generally need to remain untouched. So how can you make a room feel cosy, comfortable and ‘yours’ when you’re restricted to magnolia paint and prohibited from wallpapering? Well, my solution is wall-art – and I’m talking some pretty large pieces too!
When you can’t repaint a room or add a feature wall, investing in artwork is a great way to add personality and colour to an otherwise bland, rented apartment. Landlords tend to allow framed images to be hung on walls, as long as they are correctly fitted with picture-hooks etc – but don’t quote me on this, always be sure to check your tenancy agreement before you start to drill! If your landlord is happy for pictures to be hung on walls, you can make a big difference to your living space with some wall art and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune either..!I’m a huge advocate of using posters to change the feeling of a room, to add colour and pattern to a bare wall, or to define a space for a specific use. And we all know that posters are one of the most thrifty pieces of wall art that money can buy – that’s why we plastered our teenage bedroom walls with low-cost posters! But I’m going one step smarter than simply blu-tacking a poster to the wall, I’m suggesting that you frame your posters and even group them together to create a gallery wall of coordinating (or contrasting, for that matter) images.
And seeing as I love maps so much (remember my Map Geek articles last year??) I decided that a map would be the ideal solution for my living room. No more wallpapering for me; I can make a big impact with just a 120 x 100cm poster and it fills the space above my sofa perfectly. A huge poster of this size certainly gives the room a focal point and ties together all of the colours in the room. World maps are easy – and relatively cheap – to find, and always tend to be the largest prints around. But I don’t only want to stick to traditional world maps – I love something a little more arty and abstract and that’s where the collection at Posterlounge comes in.
Wall-art makes a great gift too – how about framing a map of somewhere you’ve travelled with your friend as a birthday present? Continue reading “Map geek + Tips for adding personality to your rented home” »
I’ve got that map-Monday feeling and I want to show you all something I got for my husband this week; a map on a t-shirt. Not just any map – I could actually choose the location of the map and have it custom-printed. Cool, huh?The company I went to for this personalised top is MapOnShirt.com. I could choose any spot on earth and the map would be recreated on the clothing product of my choice – or even a pillow! Fabric is sublimation printed with the graphics of the map chosen (and any text or markers you wish to add) and then stitched up into a classic t-shirt silhouette. I didn’t want any graphics or text on the t-shirt so I went ahead and ordered a simple map of the Suffolk coast. Continue reading “Map geek – Wear your map on your sleeve” »
I can’t believe it, we’re nearly at the school half-term holidays again! Where did the last 7 weeks go? If you’ve got children of school age you probably base your life around the academic calendar too and are looking forward to, or dreading (!), the impending half-term break. I thought I’d share with you a recent trip that we took to the Suffolk coast to give you a little inspiration for a day out during the holidays and, if you read on, there’s also a chance to nominate someone special to win a holiday to Majorca, but more about that later on!The reason for my recent trip to the seaside was to visit an art installation. To mark their 50th anniversary The Landmark Trust commissioned five art installations by Anthony Gormley as part of its LAND sculpture series. Each sculpture was created in response to the location and was installed on five different Landmark sites across the country. The sculpture that I visited was on the Suffolk coast so it was a fun visit to the seaside and an ideal day out for the school holidays. Continue reading “Map Geek – Land by Anthony Gormley” »
I only heard about the supermoon lunar eclipse when my brother mentioned it to me on Saturday night. I always seem to hear about these big celestial events just after they’ve happened so it was a real treat to be able to experience it for myself this time. I did my research yesterday and found out that the full lunar eclipse was due to take place just after 3am and would last for around an hour and ten minutes. As a supermoon lunar eclipse hasn’t occurred since 1982 and won’t take place again until 2033, I wasn’t going to miss it!I therefore set my alarm to wake up at 4am while the eclipse was in full swing just have a look and head back to bed. But when we saw how big and bright the ‘supermoon’ was when the sun set, my husband set up the tripod and took a couple of shots of the moon. I was surprised how well the images came out and was determined to get just one photo of the blood super moon during the night. Happily, I woke up naturally at 2:45am, which never happens to me – perhaps it was the celestial pull of the moon that woke me? – and we got up to check out the moon. It was a gorgeous crescent shape but at the base of the moon rather than the waxing or waning moon we’re used to seeing in the sky. The shadow was already a rusty red colour so we took some more photos before, disappointingly, the clouds came over and covered the moon entirely.The supermoon occurs when the full moon is at it’s closest point in it’s elliptical orbit to our planet (perigee) and will look around 7% bigger than it normally does. Last night the whole garden was illuminated by the brightness of the moon in the clear sky, looking almost like daylight. The last time that a lunar eclipse could be viewed in it’s entirety from the UK was 2008 and won’t happen again until 2019 (bbc.co.uk) so this ‘blood moon’ coinciding with the supermoon is a rather special celestial event indeed! I’m really chuffed that I got to see the moon be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow and, thankfully, that the clouds moved away for long enough that we could get a couple of photos of the blood moon before it was engulfed in cloud-cover again. Did you see the Super Blood Moon last night? Did you manage to get any photos? I’d love to see them so please tweet me @Cassiefairy or tag me in your Instagram photos @Cassiefairy.
This week I took a trip to the Suffolk coast to enjoy a day of traditional seaside fun and, more importantly, to hunt out Southwold Pier. This hidden gem is a classic seaside attraction and I really can’t think of anywhere better to spend the day when the weather is as glorious as it has been over the past week. In fact, the pier itself is like a little micro-climate with the sea breezes keeping us cool on the hottest day of the year so it’s ideal for a summer trip. Let’s start off by saying that I really, really like a good attraction map. I actually enjoy being handed a visitor’s guide when I arrive at a theme park, event, museum or visitor attraction. They are usually hand-drawn and often feature cute little comic characters and in-jokes that make me giggle. I picked up the map of Southwold pier at a tourist information centre and immediately knew that I would enjoy visiting the attraction – it looked like lots of fun, with traditional penny arcades, tearooms and even a micro bandstand!
MacDonald Gill, known as Max, was a major figure in the graphic art world in the first half of the 20th century. Back in November I visited an exhibition of his work at The Lettering Arts Centre completely by accident and I was fascinated by the maps on display. The exhibits were a recent discovery, found in a cottage in Sussex which had been Max Gill’s last home, and until then his work has gone largely neglected. I’d never heard of the designer until I stumbled upon this exhibition and I am so pleased that I stuck around to listen to the talk about his life and work.The one thing that you may know Max Gill for is his famous lettering work. The Imperial War Graves Commission appointed him to design the lettering alphabet and regimental badges for the standard military headstone after the first world war. This standard script is still used today and can be found on military memorials all around the country – a small yet very visible success for this little-known cartographer.It was his maps rather than his lettering that really sparked my imagination and I spent hours browsing the posters he’d designed. The muted colour palette was beautiful; each map was a gorgeous combination of mustard, denim blue and burnt red – all my favourite tones – so I was immediately drawn into the work and was compelled to take a closer look.
The night sky has always fascinated me. From staying up late to watch Patrick Moore on The Sky At Night as a child to getting far too excited about Stargazing Live as an adult, I’ve always had a ‘thing’ for stars. Couple that with my love of maps and you’ve got one excited geek on your hands!
I’ve been doing my research on constellation maps and star charts, and have found that the earliest charting of the stars was by ancient Chinese, Greek and Babylonian astronomers in the early ‘BC’ era. They simply drew what they saw in the sky, including the movement of the moon, sun and stars. Although not always accurate, from these early records a number of constellations were identified in the dot-to-dot shapes that the stars made. These were used for astrological predictions – an early take on cosmology – and for understanding the workings of the universe.
Even though constellations are a rather basic way of looking at the universe, they are still widely accepted by astronomers today to identify parts of the night sky, although Latin names are widely used to describe constellations within modern academia. Thanks to developments in technology today – and the scientific discoveries since the ‘space race’ in the 60s – our star charts are considerably more accurate and maps of the solar system have been created through digital imaging.
Huddersfield is a very beautiful town in West Yorkshire, England. The special atmosphere of the city and architectural refinement attract thousands of tourists from around the world so today I’m focusing my map research on the town and its university. Its location – one hour from Liverpool, York, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Birmingham and only three hours from London – makes the city an ideal place to explore different parts of the UK. Huddersfield is a thriving and friendly regional centre in the north of the country.
The lively city centre with its Victorian architecture is characterized by a magnificent combination of traditional and modern styles. It has the third tallest building in the United Kingdom – Victoria Tower on Castle Hill. Every year the city hosts many different festivals that attract a considerable number of tourists. One of these festivals is the festival of fire. It is usually held in November near the famous railway station in the city center. The beauty of landscapes surrounding Huddersfield is breathtaking. Local features provide plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor recreation.