Thursday, 22 December 2016

Internet Scrapbook: the Christmas Edition!

With Christmas being so close you can almost taste the egg nog, so to up my Yuletide game here at Ellie & Co, I've put together a special Christmas edition internet scrapbook – let's call it my little holiday gift for you. Enjoy!

1. Carrie Fisher, in Finse, Norway during the filming of Star Wars, 1979.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

25 Sweet Reasons to be Naughty this Christmas

It goes without saying that Christmas really is not the time to be on a diet. That can start in January, so until then, see if you can

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Tuesday Giveaway!

As 2017 creeps a little closer, the beautiful vintage stationary brand based in San Francisco, Cavallini & Co, is giving Ellie & Co readers the chance to win one of its 2017 desk

Timeless Letterpress Christmas Cards

Do you send out Christmas cards? Just when I was about to tell everyone I wasn't going to send them this year, I found these. Aren't they beautiful? They're from my new favourite card shop

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas in an East London Time Capsule

We stood nervously outside the imposing black front door at 18 Folgate Street in East London, tip toeing inside when it opened slowly... The smell of Christmas past,

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers Gift Guide

I've been making my list and checking it twice, and here are a few curious gems I think we deserve to ask Santa for this Christmas... OK let's do this!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

London Uncovered Book

eltham palace peter dazeley

If you own one photography book on London's most curious places and spaces, it should be this one (maybe this one, too). I've been following Londoner Peter Dazeley's work over

Monday, 5 December 2016

Abandoned LA Home Art Installation

I love an art installation (like these infinity mirrored rooms and hanging flowers) and am fascinated by abandoned buildings (especially these ones in Porto), so was intrigued to read

Friday, 2 December 2016

Meet the Ice Skating Cocktail Waiters of St Moritz

I love nothing more than an excuse to nip to a cosy pub for a festive mulled wine or four over the holiday season, but,

Beautiful Hidden London Photography Book

Photographers have the best job. They get to discover all those amazing hidden places some of us can only dream of seeing inside, let alone know about – just because it's

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Vintage National Geographic

This morning I was looking for a mindless distraction in between copywriting projects and took a dive into a Tumblr pool of photos dedicated to Vintage National Geographic. Some of

them offer a humorous take on the world, others look like they could today, but mostly I just enjoyed them for some escapism. Maybe you will too.

Giant sponge off Roatan Island in the Carribean, March 1977

La Jolla's cliffs in San Diego, January 1942 

Boot shaped pool in Texas, April 1980

Marshall Islands, September 1945

Diver with a baby porpoise at Marineland in Florida, July 1947

Aurora borealis in Troy, New York, October 1990 

Cabin on porcupine creek, Alaska, February 1994 

Snowflake, an albino gorilla, March 1967 

Hula dancer in Tahiti, January 1949 

Brown bear cubs in Alaska, September 1975 

Cluster of observatories atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano, June 1983 

Heads of State stand neck and neck with other famous and infamous figures
from Madame Tussaud’s wax exhibition in London, October 1979 

Abandoned house keeps company with dairy cattle in Penobscot County, Maine, June 1977 

Viennese and their guests gather in the Great Gallery, showroom of Schönbrunn, June 1968 

Ioanninan shoemaker making slippers in Athens, March 1940 

Flooded and abandoned Russian Orthodox chapel in Russi, June 1994 

Members of the San Diego Ballet rehearse The Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker, July 1969 

New Guinean warriors pound drums, July 1969 

Maori grandmother and granddaughter near Reporua in New Zealand, October 1994 

Wild horses are rounded up at Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, April 1979 

Greenland tots, December 1973 


Meadow in the Crest of Tirsuli, Himalayas, August 1952 

Indian outside the Basilica of Zapopan, Mexico, March 1967

Dive into the Vintage National Geographic Tumblr feed here.

Pssst! Three more amazing Tumblrs: My Parents Were Awesome and Awesome People Reading

Friday, 25 November 2016

Inside Brighton Pavilion at Christmas

Have you ever been to the curious Brighton Pavilion? This oriental-style seaside pleasure palace built for George IV, a hedonistic prince, is open nearly every day for tours, but this

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Meeting your Future Self

Back in 1977, when film maker Stoney Emshwiller was just 18 years old, he interviewed his future self. Sitting in a chair in a dark room, “I asked my older self tons of questions about my

The Replica Hollywood Mansion in Brighton

So, it turns out there’s a Hollywood mansion on my doorstep and I didn’t even know it! On a recent late-night real estate browsing session, I came across this gem which has just sold

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Snowy Forest Hiding in a Brighton Cocktail Bar

Snuggle up in a faux fur coat and grab a rum-laced hot chocolate. Then sit back and watch as snowflakes fall softly through the air, foxes dart in front of your feet, inquisitive reindeer

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Our 60s-Inspired London Winter Wedding

Today, Dan and I have been married for five years. FIVE YEARS. So in case you're in a blog-reading mood, I thought we could celebrate and flick through the wedding

Friday, 11 November 2016

The London Pub with an Exotic Secret

If you’re looking for a traditional English pub with a twist, here's something I want to share with you. The other night, Dan and I were in London for date night at The

Thursday, 10 November 2016

9 Cosy Winter Knits

Even though I only just packed away my shorts and threw away composted my Halloween pumpkin, somehow all of a sudden it's Christmas in under SIX weeks

Sunday, 6 November 2016

All the Buildings in New York

I may or may not be obsessed with New York, so I'm loving the new book All The Buildings In New York by illustrator, James Gulliver Hancock (great name) based in Brooklyn, originally

Monday, 31 October 2016

Hollywood Halloween Pin Ups

I've just stumbled upon a great little Flickr account dedicated to everything Halloween and found they have a wonderful archive of old publicity pictures of Hollywood

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Cool 70s-Style T-Shirts

Electric West is a teeny independent company in San Diego that makes awesome 70s-inspired t-shirts that scream out California sunshine, desert road trips and Tarantino

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

My Perfect London Pied a Terre

Growing up in London, I never think to stay in a hotel when I visit seeing as I still have lots of lovely friends to visit with comfy spare rooms. But sometimes I do crave a romantic city

Friday, 21 October 2016

10 Plaid Pieces for Autumn

I don't know what it is about Autumn, but something happens to me when pumpkins start popping up on doorsteps and crunchy leaves fall underfoot and I start craving plaids. Any

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Tiny Cabinet of Curiosities in Brighton

I've lived in Brighton for 12 years, but never been to a museum in the city. Shock horror! I don't have an excuse. It might be because I grew up in London with some of the world’s best on my doorstep and am not far away if I need a culture fix. 

So in an effort to 'rediscover' Brighton, this weekend, Dan and I wandered over to the windswept Dyke Road Park just a stroll from Seven Dials to The Booth Museum. This is Brighton's very own natural history museum, but with London so close, what makes this one worth visiting?

For one, this tiny museum is described as the home of the 'diorama' – the first of its kind to display birds in their natural habitat. It's an idea since copied all over the world and perfected in New York's American Museum of Natural History and The Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Imagine! A ground-breaking Smithsonian-approved museum just 10 minutes from my house. 

But before we take a peek inside, first a bit about its founder, an English eccentric born in Buckinghamshire, raised in Hastings and Brighton in Sussex, Edward Thomas Booth. 

Booth as a young boy, around his time at Trinity College.

Booth was a typical affluent Victorian, exposed to shooting, the natural world and taught taxidermy at an early age, it's no surprise he became a man with a serious ambition – to exhibit an example of every species of British bird. The more obsessed with his project he became, the more time he spent on expeditions – Trinity College, Cambridge, kicking him out even asked him to leave for neglecting his studies. As time went on, he became more obsessed with his goal, keeping extensive diaries including frighteningly long lists and tallies of his prey, eating Cross and Blackwell tinned soup, drinking whiskey or four, recording the names of his dogs, but not his wife's, and occasionally firing his shotgun at unsuspecting postmen...

And then there are those hunting sandals...

By 1874, his collection of birds and taxidermy had outgrown his marital home – Bleak House – on Dyke Road, so he built a new home for it in his garden, soon to become The Booth Museum we know today.

The Booth Museum when it opened, 1874.

A colour postcard showing The Booth Museum, 1909.

We're almost ready to look inside... but first you have to close your eyes and imagine the sounds of chirruping forest birds echoing from the ceiling and around the museum, for the full effect, because this is what you hear while you're browsing the cabinets. Then there's that small-museum musty smell – inescapable when you're surrounded by over 100-year-old stuffed birds and animals. With all this in mind, let's begin! 

There are 300 dioramas – glass cases depicting birds in their natural habitat – inside The Booth Museum building which is a basic building that resembles a giant shed with a high galvanised pitch roof. 

The cabinets of diaoramas stretch along each side of the museum from one end to the other, show every British bird in its natural habitat. From seagulls and owls, to hawks and starlings. I love these beautiful herons... 

Once he'd fulfilled his ambition to exhibit one of every British bird, he began setting his sights further afield, collection species from all around the world... from birds of paradise to parrots – even returning with the skeleton of a Dodo, that mysterious and beautiful extinct flightless bird once found on the island of Mauritius until the 17th century.

A recreation of his home reveals a treasure-trove of Victorian curiosities and taxidermy, giving us a sense of his character and life...

Perhaps most mind-boggling is the extensive and carefully categorised collection of butterflies and moths – 23,070 in total...

But don't stop there, for hidden at the back of the museum is a gigantic skeleton cupboard filled with all kinds of bones, from human to horse, blue whale to narwhal, turtle to terrapin, spider monkey to chimpanzee... even an Indian elephant.

Perhaps local museums are good after all!

Visit The Booth Museum at 194 Dyke Road, Brighton.