Thursday, July 20, 2017

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The British Museum: An architectural Masterpiece in Photos

Quote of the day: 

While we are living in the present, we must celebrate life every day, knowing that we are becoming history with every work, every action, every deed. -Mattie Stepanek 

South Entrance, The British Museum

One of the main attractions of any town or city can be found inside its Museum. It is here that history can be revisited and new stories learned while exploring amazing artifacts and items. There is a special feeling to be surrounded by so much history as one finds in a Museum and there is nothing that compares to the feeling and experience. You tend to leave with a sense of awe and discovery.

Blogoratti -British Musuem exterior

Blogratti -The British Museum

Visiting the British Museum in London is an adventure. Founded in 1753 it was mostly based on the collections of scientist Sir Hans Sloane and first opened to the public in 1759, on the site of the current building in Bloomsbury, London.

Blogoratti -British Musuem Fore Court

At present the Museum is dedicated to human art, culture and history. With a permanent collection of over 8 million items, it is among the largest and most extensive in existence, spanning over 2 million years of human history. All world cultures under one roof, housed around remarkable architecture and centred around the wonderful great court.

Blogoratti -British Musuem Fore Court
Blogratti -The British Museum

The architecture is as interesting as the objects it houses. It consists of 4 main wings of the Museum-north,east,west, and south which was designed in the 19th Century. The core of the present day building was designed by the architect Sir Robert Smirke- in Greek revival style, in 1823 and completed in 1852. It included galleries for classical sculpture and Assyrian antiquities and also residences for staff.

Blogoratti -British Musuem South America gallery

The British Museum has 10 curatorial and research departments ranging from prints and drawings, ancient Egypt and Sudan, to Britain, Europe and prehistory all housed in an architectural landmark.

Blogoratti -British Musuem Egypt gallery

The original 1753 collection of Sir Hans Sloane has grown to over thirteen million objects at the British Museum, 70 million at the Natural History Museum and over 150 million at the British Library.

Blogoratti -British Musuem

Blogoratti -British Japanese Gallery

Fun facts

1. The oldest object in the over 8 million collection is a stone chopping tool that is nearly 2 million years old.

2. The British Museum is the world's oldest national public Museum, founded in 1753. Back then it was free to all ‘studious and curious persons’, and till today it is still free to visit.

3. The Museum got so big that two other institutions had to be created -The Natural History Museum and the British Library.

4. The Museum was one of the first buildings to use electric lighting.

5. The Museum has been a popular film set with 15 films to its name including 2014's 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb starring Ben Stiller. Each year around 50 film crews visit to film documentaries, and even music videos.

6. The Japanese galleries house a replica of a traditional tea house, and the Korea gallery a full size replica of a scholar's study known as 'Sarangbang'.

7. The Museum has over 6 million visitors a year visiting popular objects like the Egyptian Mummies, Parthenon sculptures and the Rosetta Stone.

For more fun facts visit the British Museum Blog.

Have you visited a Museum lately, and what did you think of the design, architecture and the objects and artifacts you found inside?

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Sonny Rollins -Blue 7

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3 Amazing Websites Offering Free Stock Images to Download

Quote of the day: 

We don't take advantage of our position. We keep saying no to free stuff, as we can afford it now. 
-Lukas Forchhammer 

When it comes to photography finding the right image for use on your blog or website can be daunting. On a good day most of us would make use of our own images, to tell a story or enhance a part of our social media presence or brand. But sometimes we end up with unprofessional looking images that are not as good. The wonderful thing is that there are lots of websites offering free public domain stock photography -thanks to photographers who have given then up for free. These are professional looking photos that are free to use for any purpose without purchasing any license, unlike the royalty-free and rights managed stock photos which require a license to be purchased.

With free stock photos the options are unlimited, as rather than made do with your own photos, or hiring a photographer, you can search large databases online and quickly find something that matches what you are looking for, and is especially popular with web designers as it is a cheaper and less stressful option. Popular photos on these websites include those of people, places, hobbies, pets, architecture, abstract, business, nature, food and many more.

Below are 3 websites that offer free stock photos.


Free stock image website -Pexels

Pexels is a great website that offers free stock photos you can use anywhere and it is even free for commercial and personal use. Also attribution (setting a link to the source) is not needed. This has been my favourite go-to website for professional images that match my preferences. It has a great interface and although the images are limited, but you can always find something close to what you are looking for. And the best thing is you don't need to register to access the website.


Free stock image website -Pixabay

Pixabay is an enterprise founded in Germany in 2010, and it is similar to Pexels and offers a somewhat similar service -free images to use for personal and commercial use. The key difference between the two is that Pixabay also offers other media types. They claim to offer over a million high quality images, vector graphics, illustrations and free videos that can be anywhere from 7 seconds to a minute in length -both in HD and 4K resolution. However, you may find two or more videos -depending on your search term, that are provided by Shutterstock and which would require payment. But overall majority are free to download for personal use. You do not need to register to download the images on this site.


Free stock image website -Unsplash

Unsplash claims to be a platform with 'over 200,000 high resolution images brought to you by the world's most generous community of photographers'. The photos are again, free to use like the other websites, and one does not need to register to download them. However, after downloading a photo, the message below appears: 'Crediting isn’t required, but is appreciated and allows photographers to gain exposure'...

So those are three stock websites that offers free stock photographs for personal and commercial use. There are many more online that you can search for if you don't end up finding what you are looking for -but with millions of photos on these sites, it's highly doubtful you wont find the photos you need. Do you use free stock websites? Do share if you know of any others that could be beneficial.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Sade -Cherish the Day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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Poem: Where Streets Are Paved With Marble

Quote of the day: 

But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep the nerves at strain, to dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and begin again. -Robert Browning 

What If
Demons were angels in a reverse play
And angels were demons for a day

What If
Religion or different gods did not appear
Then we would have to invent them said Voltaire

What If
You woke up as a bird of prey
Becoming a predator to zealots who pray

What If
The sun sets in the east and not the west
And all men became women as a test

What If
You wrestled with your innermost fear
And in the end become something people jeer

What If
Tomorrow you trek under a thunder rumble
Where streets are paved with marble

This poem was written in second person, and continuing my attempt to write outside my comfort zone. It can be interpreted in different ways. Like art, poetry can change each time you view it. The whole idea came about with the title, with initial thoughts about reversal or roles building up to this poem. It is jagged, raw, unfinished and is a smokescreen to a thousand underlying paths. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Thelonious Monk- Ruby My Dear

Monday, July 17, 2017

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What an Examined Life Looks Like

Quote of the day: 

I have a simple philosophy: Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. Scratch where it itches. 
-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Socrates the classical Greek philosopher whose way of life had a profound impact on both ancient and modern philosophy once claimed that the 'un-examined life is not worth living'. Now this thought can be interpreted in several ways by different individuals. After all philosophy is simply attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior. In other words, it is the faith, belief, ideology, doctrine, or values that has shaped you all along. But it can be said that for life to be worth living, one must examine the layers therein. We birth personal philosophies that keeps us going. And as we age and experience more of life, our philosophy may either stay the same or change.

One of my personal favourites is 'just be yourself'. A simple yet sound ideal when you think about it. But what does being yourself entail asides the obvious. As humans we are never satisfied with the way we are, heck with almost everything around us. We are constantly changing things but the hardest thing to do is to change ourselves. I believe it does carry a lot of weight -the way we view ourselves is completely different from how others see us. We are all actors performing scene after scene. But there are no cuts or breaks, there is no script to rehearse, no scenes to re-enact, and certainly no playbacks. We write, direct, and film our life how we want.

Living an examined life would mean getting in touch with your true self, using your potential to enrich your soul and others too. For Socrates the examined life was one of wisdom and humility. For Mahatma Ghandi the examined life meant being the change you wish to see in the world. For Mark Twain the examined life was one of always telling the truth, and not having to remember anything. For Maya Angelou the examined life meant that how we treat others is how they will remember us. And for me it can be simplified into several thoughts:

1. Know yourself
2. Embrace your shortcomings
3. Challenge your perspective on things
4. Discover like minded individuals and appreciate them
5. Take risks. Win. Fail. Repeat
6. Be kind. Even to those deemed undeserving

Make up your philosophy as you live through life. Amend it, add to it, own it. But whatever you do, never live without one. It is the balance that shapes everything.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Charlie Parker - All the things you are

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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3 Things to Inspire Your Weekend: #58

Quote of the day: 

Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world. -Ramana Maharshi

Credit: Fortune

The world's second most richest individual, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett has given away a huge chunk of his wealth -totaling $28 Billion to charities over the last decade. He made a personal pledge to make annual gifts of stocks to some foundations and his shares given to philanthropy throughout his lifetime and beyond. More recently the Billionaire has donated yet another $3 Billion worth of shares in his Berkshire Hathaway company. The five lucky foundations receiving his donation include: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Credit: twitter/c_chambon

Thanks to an initiative by a student from the UK's prestigious Imperial College, Clementine Chambon, an Indian village is now connected to power. Chambon, a final year PhD student has helped to connect homes with a small 8kWh solar energy grid and providing 1,000 people with energy for affordable lighting, and fans to cool their homes, through her social enterprise start-up -Oorja. According to her "The renewable energy generated will also power pumps to provide irrigation services to farmers".

As seen on Arch Daily, PI House
Architects: Gaztelu Jerez Arquitectos

Brief: Simple construction to mirror the surrounding environment.

Theme: Central patio with links, natural air circulation, whitewashed façades, Campaspero limestone wainscots and reddish tile roofs.
Location: Burgos, Spain

Peace. Love. Light* 

 Current Listen: Miles Davis -Boplicity

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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Musings of mine: Rambling Mind on This and That #8

Quote of the day: 

Only one kind of species of animals bites the hand that feeds them - mankind. -Fakeer Ishavardas

Tattoo Mirrors

Do people who get their backs tattooed have double mirrors at home -this must enable them gaze at the artwork on their backs daily. Or is It more like once they get it done, it is forgotten -like a pair of glasses missing but forgotten on the owners head, or is it a case of only seeing the tattoo through the eyes of others who admire and talk about it when they catch a glimpse of the dragon with flames.

Don’t Get Comfortable

Why is it that once you’ve settled in comfortably in a chair or in bed, you remember one crucial thing that is still outstanding to do, and which you have to reluctantly get up for -like settling in to watch TV, when the remote control is half way across the room. Noooo.

Rain is Magical

Rain after a long spell of hot summer sunshine is bliss. The type of rain you are actually glad to be in, arms swinging about in maddening joy. Imagine being in the desert lost, thirsty, and on the edge for days. And just as you were giving up, the skies opened up and you think ‘nothing could have been more timely’.

The Kid Just Wanted His Playgroup

Ever been so happy doing something you enjoy, and then all of a sudden someone else comes around to shut you down mentally and emotionally. Like a kid throwing a tantrum in public just because he hadn't felt like leaving the play nursery. We know this because it was said in passing to another mom, and the wind blew this information to the right ears.

Angry human. Threatened Squirrel

Have you ever heard a squirrel shriek. To rephrase that, have you ever heard one squealing alarmingly at 2am almost every other night, and at first you thought it was a cat, fox or hawk or something. Not that you know what a fox sounds like. And why would a hawk be screaming at that time anyway instead of being in bed. A quick search on almighty Google, and yep it sure is a squirrel sound -and it must feel threatened by something and annoyed to have been making so much commotion.  The joys of living and almost being surrounded by trees.

Why Farts Make Noise

Fart questions as seen on almighty Google. Don't ask. 

What is a fart made of? I don’t even want to think of that right now, please.
Why do farts make a noise?. I don’t know, might be to warn others and give them time to escape after hearing it, maybe.
Are farts flammable?. Well of course, watch out you may just light yourself on fire.
Why do we fart before we poop? Oh really, this is something I must investigate further.
How many poop particles are in a fart? Mic drop.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Norah Jones -Come Away With Me

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The British Library: Photos and Amazing Facts to Know

Quote of the day: 

A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. -Norman Cousins

The British Library

Returning for its eleventh year, the 2017 London Literature Festival will explore how literature and poetry can remind us of our shared humanity in a world on the edge. The festival will hold from 13-29 October 2017, opening with the 50th anniversary of Poetry International. It is certainly one to check out if you are in the city and around the Southbank Centre.

Now in view of the upcoming festival here is a look at a well known and important library in Britain. The British Library is the national library of the U.K., and it is the second largest library in the world by the total number of items catalogued -over 150 million (The Library of Congress, US, has 162 million making it the largest in the world), including items such as books, maps, prints, stamps, drawings, videos, patents and more from all around the world both print and digital. The library's collection includes over 14 million books. In what is known as foundation collections, the core of the library's historical collections is based on sets of donations and major acquisitions from the 18th century.

Drawing by Sir Colin St John Wilson, 1991

The British Library has many rooms including two that were converted into the Business & IP Centre and which is said to hold arguably the most comprehensive collection of business and intellectual property (IP) material in the U.K.

Fun Facts 

1. The British Library is a legal deposit library and receives copies of all books published in the U.K and Ireland, including a proportion of overseas titles distributed in the U.K.

Entrance, British Library

2. The library has two sites, the major one in London (St.Pancras) and the other in West Yorkshire (Boston Spa). The library in West Yorkshire has over 100 km of shelving that houses collections devoted to inter-library loan.

3. The London site was opened in 1998, it was the largest U.K Public building project of the 20th Century with its design and construction taking 37 years to complete and is said to be the pinnacle of architect Sir Colin St John Wilson's career.

Item collections display, British Library

4. Ten million bricks and 180,000 tonnes of concrete were used in its construction, and mirrors the red brick exterior of nearby St Pancras Station -with the bricks coming from the same source in Leicestershire.

5. It holds 310,000 manuscript volumes - from Jane Austen to James Joyce, Handel to the Beatles. And has over 60 million patents.

Bird's eye view, British Library

6. There are over 3 million new items which are added each year, and with existing collections all of it requires over 625 km of shelves, growing by about 12 km every year.

7. The collections are spread over 14 gigantic floors -nine above ground and five below ground level, with the the basements extending to a depth of 24.5 metres.

Asian and African Studies Room, British Library

8. If you see five items each day, it would take you over 80,000 years to see the entire collection held.

British Library

9. The space outside the library includes pieces of public art, including a large sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi -a bronze statue based on William Blake's study of Isaac Newton.

More facts about the British Library can be found here.

Have you ever visited any large library in your location? And do library buildings fascinate you?

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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4 Ways to Share Your Blog With The World

Quote of the day: 

We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth. -Virginia Satir

A working space

When you think of it we all are content creators whether you have a blog or website. What some people get paid to do, that is, journalists and professionals, with all the time and resources at their disposal, we on the other hand create time our of our busy schedules to think of ideas, research where necessary and take photos, all to add to a post to publish. The very beauty of blogging is that most people do it because they love to share their time, skills, and passion to the world. Blogging is an escape of sorts and a close knit community where everyone is looking after each other.

In the real world, it would amount to bloggers getting notified and coming over to your house to check out a new sofa you have bought. Sofa, being a new post. Each individual looks it over, commenting on this and that, and they eventually leave. On the flip side, you will also visit their home (blog) and discuss their new post. It all seems lovely, no?

On to today's post. When you finish publishing a new post, do you share it elsewhere on social media for instance?. I know bloggers have different processes, some just publish and it ends there, while others tend to share elsewhere. For me, I make use of social media tools like Twitter, and Google+. And more recently, Bloglovin and Facebook. The idea is to not only share on various platforms, but also to interact with new people and connect with other bloggers.

1. Google+

As uninteresting as it sounds, Google Plus is actually a great social media platform. With millions of users and thousands of communities it offers an ideal way to further share your content. You can basically search for any topic you can think of or just scroll through the recommended communities. Search displays a ton of related communities which you can join or ask to join depending on the community rules put in place by the moderator(s). The good thing is that many allow content to be posted and shared -which you can link back to your blog or website.

But the best thing about Google+ is it allows you to have a following, and also follow other interesting people. This is called a circle. You can choose what to share and with whom to share on Google+. And you can connect your blog to Google+, enabling your new posts to automatically appear on your public profile page.

The only downside is that you must have a gmail account to access Google+. What I have also seen are some blogs where their comment section has been restricted to Google+ users only. This is limiting, as only a visitor with a Google Mail account can leave a comment. But as far as Google + goes, if you don't have a Google mail account you may have to create one in order to access this service. The benefits far outstrip this little inconvenience. Here is a resource link to get you started -if you haven't already.

2. Twitter

Twitter is another great place to share and promote your latest blog post to your followers. The post can be linked back to your blog further engaging with visitors. If you don't have an account, its pretty easy to set, just a few clicks and you are good to go. As with all things, moderation is the key when tweeting links. However, it is not all about just posting links or sharing content, you can also interact with followers from time to time. You can also add your blog or website link to your bio. Lastly, you can also put your twitter content on your blog or website. When signed in, go to the twitter widget settings to get things started.

3. Facebook

Facebook has just recently surpassed the 2 Billion monthly users mark. That is a tremendous milestone indeed. So what better way is there than to share your content on the biggest online platform?. I have only just started using the 'Page' tool. You create your own page for your brand and basically just share content, invite users, and monitor the insights with the tools provided by Facebook. On the other hand, if you don't want to create a page, you can just post directly to your main Facebook profile. And you can even link your blog to Facebook and have new posts appear on your profile page.

4. Bloglovin'

Bloglovin' home page -Blogoratti

This is a platform that allows you to discover new blogs or follow your favourite ones. After you are all signed up -which is very easy, you can then go about searching for blogs by topic, and you can even link your blog to the platform, and have all your latest posts appear there and easily accessible by anyone searching for a particular topic or content. I have not used this service for long, but it appears to be a great way of connecting with known bloggers and discovering blogs similar to yours. On the right hand side of my page, I have included my Bloglovin' icon for easy following.

Lastly, this is by no means a comprehensive list. These are just the four main platforms that I use at the moment and thought to share. If you are new to any of these, it can be hard to wrap your mind around initially. You will have to learn as time goes by.

These platforms offer a chance to share your ideas and passion, grow your readership while interacting with more people than ever before -but only if you want to take that chance.

Peace. Love. Light* 

Current Listen: Kenny Barron - Fungii Mama