Hem and Away: The Story Museum

Hem and Away: The Story Museum

Once upon a time we took a trip to the land of Oxford to visit the magical world of the Story Museum. We had so much fun exploring this delightfully quirky wonderland that we couldn’t help but dedicate a whole post to our adventures. Shall we continue?

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Since opening in 2009, the museum has been steadily working to create an international centre that’s dedicated to celebrating all forms of storytelling. Thanks to a willing army of volunteers (who are all very helpful and friendly), teachers, artists, and authors they have been transforming what they have called a ‘dilapidated building’ (but what is now more sort of charmingly ‘shabby chic’) into the most incredibly fun place to spend an afternoon. We honestly had so much fun there, it really does make you feel like a big kid!

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Just when you thought we couldn’t get any more ridiculous! You can imagine how happy we were when we stumbled across ‘The Changing Room’ where you are encouraged to throw on all sorts of ludicrous fancy dress and then sit on a giant talking throne! We spent a fairly unreasonable amount of time here.

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Much merriment was also had as we wandered around the ‘Draw me a story’ exhibition which features six fabulous illustrators. It was wonderful to see their original artwork, prints and sketchbooks as well as seeing so many children getting involved with the workshops and chatting to the the artist in residence!

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On the top floor of the Story Museum you are treated to the extreme reading room in which you can sit and read (books are provided) in all manor of ridiculous spots including a garden shed, a cage or, if you’re like us, one or two boats! You are then invited to pop on a dressing gown and enter the ‘Time for bed’ room in which you will find a 15ft bed, complete with patchwork quilt. This quite magical space is all lit up with fairy-lights and is, quite possibly, the comfiest room in the land!

The End

 Have you read our guide to Oxford

Hem and Away: Oxford

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

We were recently invited by First Great Western to take part in their #BeAGreatWesterner campaign which aims to showcase the excellent places you can visit by hoping on one of their trains. We decided to take this opportunity to venture 90 minutes up the line to beautiful Oxford for a weekend city break as, despite meeting there at a festival, neither of us had ever spent any time in the city itself.

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Taking our love for hotel bars to the extreme, we checked into The Malmaison – a former prison which just so happens to also be a medieval castle! But of course! It certainly is a very impressive sight and we had a lot of fun exploring the hotel and its impressive grounds. With a central location and incredible cocktail bar, it was without doubt the nicest prison either of us has ever stayed in.

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

Whenever we visit anywhere new we always spend an obscene amount of time scouring Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for nice places to eat and drink. Thankfully Oxford didn’t disappoint! We can highly recommend The Modern Baker for their delicious green macha latte and their ridiculous array of yummy cakes! We also had a great time in Brew drinking coffee whilst listening to The National on their record player – the dream! For dinner we visited SoJo to sample their much raved about dim-sum (turns out it deserves all the raves) and the fab Turl Street Kitchen, whose menu changes every day depending on what’s in season. We thought their two courses for £14.50 deal was a bit of a Saturday night bargain and oh my god look at those puddings!

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We spent a lot of time just wandering around gawping at all of the pretty buildings as it really is an incredibly stunning city! We coincidentally managed to time our visit to coincide with the last day of exams so the atmosphere was one of great jubilation and we loved watching all the happy students covering each other with flour and silly-string! We also had a great time at the Story Museum which had been at the very top of our ‘to do’ list. We actually had so much fun there that we are going to dedicate a whole post to it! We also found time to visit the very Instagramable Modern Art gallery to see Lynn Hershman’s Origins of the Species (Part 2), as seen above, which is on until 9th August.

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See? Pretty beautiful! After spending a long time browsing the historic Covered Market as the rain poured down outside, we were relieved to see some sunshine and decided to make the most of it by paying a visit to the gorgeous Botanic Gardens followed by a mosey around Christ Church college. There’s just so much to look at! Did we miss any Oxford gems? If so, let us know, as we need an excuse to go back!

J&V

 

On set with Fix Up Look Sharp by Clic Sargent

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On a sunny day at the start of the month we had the pleasure of visiting the lovely team behind Fix Up Look Sharp, the super trendy clothing line raising money for Clic Sargent. In fact, ALL of their proceeds go towards supporting children and young people living with cancer. Blooming legends! We met up with designers Ruth and Hayley whilst they were shooting the fab new SS15 collection. We took a sneaky peek behind the scenes, admiring the model’s ability to pose without looking awkward (something which we are yet to grasp) and wondering how we could get our mitts on one of the wind machines. We also chose our favourite pieces, which you can find over on the Fix Up Look Sharp blog.

The SS15 collection launched at the beginning of spring, and it really is quite brilliant. Just look at those floral dungarees. We would wear them every daisy! As Fix Up Look Sharp is all about upcycling and recycling fashion, creating new pieces from material kindly donated to Clic Sargent charity shops, everything they produce is a unique, one of a kind item. So, if you are having a wardrobe clear out anytime soon, pop it all down to your local Clic Sargent. Not only are you helping a worthy cause, but your old, unwanted item could end up as part of next season’s collection!

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If you want to make an online donation to Clic Sargent, or find out about other ways to help out, head to their donation page.

V&J

Moomin Mania

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We’ve said it before (here and here) and we will definitely say it again; we really love hanging out at The Watershed. Want to know what we also love? Hanging out with a bunch of jolly old eccentrics of course! Last week, those came in the form of a family of cuddly Moomins, blooming lovely children’s author/huge Moomin fan/epic tie wearer Philip Ardagh, and our BFF Ellie who, along with lots of other Moomin enthusiasts, gathered to watch a special one-off screening of the beautiful ‘Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson’. As you might expect, it was Moomin marvellous!

In 1945 Tove Jansson wrote The Moomins and the Great Flood, the first book featuring Moomintroll, Moominmamma (and her rather fetching handbag) and the rest of the Moomin family, including She and Hem icon Little My. Last month, a mere 70 years later, Moomins on the Riviera was released, continuing the story of the much loved family and very much in the spirit of their revered author. Indeed, dedicated Moomin fans should not fret, as during a Q&A session Phillip expanded on how the film captures the charm and wit of Tove’s books perfectly. We will definitely be grabbing some popcorn and checking it out, as we have fallen in love with the Moomins all over again.

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Many thanks to The Watershed for inviting us along. We definitely recommend keeping an eye on their What’s On page for future events!

“I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!”

V&J