Living with Gods: Peoples, Places and Worlds Beyond – British Museum

Living with Gods exhibition sign

Before it closed I visited the Living with Gods: Peoples, Places and Worlds Beyond exhibition at the British Museum. The exhibition was timed to coincide with a Radio 4 show on the same theme, but as I never listen to the radio, I can’t comment on that. I did enjoy the exhibition – even if I didn’t always agree with it.

Medieval skeleton relic
Medieval skeleton relic

This fascinating exhibition looks at how people over time have represented their religious beliefs. Christianity, Islam, Judaism are all represented, are as lesser-known and older religions from all corners of the globe. The exhibits are arranged by theme, with seemingly different artefacts displayed alongside one another as they are said to reflect similar aspects of belief. I particularly liked the inclusion of cheaper everyday items alongside valuable and unique artefacts.

Lion Man
Lion Man

The exhibition begins with the Lion Man, the oldest known figurative sculpture in the world that dates back 40,000 years. However, does it necessarily reflect religious belief as the exhibition claims? Regardless, it’s a fascinating talking point.

Judas-devil figure
Judas-devil figure

There is an impressive Judas-devil figure used in Mexican Day of the Dead processions. Masks from the Congo, Jewish prayer caps and Japanese phalluses linked with fertility prayers are among the varied items displayed. One of the most moving is a cross carved in 2014 from a wrecked refugee boat that carried 500 refugees; at least 360 are known to have drowned. Towards the end of the exhibition, we see how Communist regimes in China and Russia directed religious feeling towards the regime leaders and away from traditional religion. The exhibition is incredibly interesting and thought-provoking, and I’m glad I made the effort to go before it closed.

Jewellery brand of the month: The Storybook Rabbit

As it’s nearly Easter, I thought it would be appropriate to pick a brand that focuses on that well-known Easter symbol, bunnies. This month’s jewellery brand, therefore, is:

THE STORYBOOK RABBIT

The brand is the creation of Kelly White, who is based in Sydney, Australia. Her designs mostly involve animals, are incredibly cute.

‘Shy bunnies’ are some of the best-known brooches in the Storybook Rabbit range. I particularly like this little Red Strawberry Bunny.

Red Strawberry Bunny

Articulated bunnies made from different acrylic pieces are also prevalent. St Patrick’s Day has just passed, but I think this Lucky Clover Bunny Buddy would be an adorable brooch for that occasion.

Lucky Clover Bunny Buddy
Lucky Clover Bunny Buddy

This Lop Rosette Bunny is made with white pearl acrylic, but he is available in lots of different colours, and matching rose brooches are available too.

Lop Rosette Bunny
Lop Rosette Bunny

It’s not just bunnies though – this Pretty Kitty Brooch is super sweet too. Molly the cat comes with an extra, tiny kitten brooch.

Pretty Kitty
Pretty Kitty

My favourite is possibly this gorgeously detailed Shadowbox Brooch.

Collectors Shadowbox
Collectors Shadowbox

If you like the look of these creations, check out the Storybook Rabbit via the following links:

Etsy: etsy.com/uk/shop/thestorybookrabbit

Instagram: instagram.com/thestorybookrabbit

Facebook: facebook.com/Thestorybookrabbit

Twinings Tea Museum

Twinings Tea Shop

I wandered past the Twinings Tea Shop and Museum quite by chance on my day off; it’s located on the Strand, a busy street in the heart of London, and still retains its old-fashioned look. Inside, it sells more kinds of tea than you can shake a stick at: from black tea like good old English Breakfast and Earl Grey, to fruit teas and green teas, as well as rather more bizarre flavours like Salted Caramel Green Tea (not recommended). It’s possible to buy a Twinings-branded wooden box (like the kind you get in posh hotels) and fill it with teabags of your choice. I made a mental note of this for future reference.

Plaque

The ‘museum’, which is right at the back of the narrow shop, has artefacts from Twinings rich history, which dates back 300 years, founded by Thomas Twining who helped to ensure tea became a rival drink to coffee which was then popular in London’s coffee houses. Tea’s popularity rose dramatically, and Twinings was later granted a royal warrant.

Royal warrant

TIP box

There is also a ‘tea bar’ where you can sample different varieties of tea.

Tea bar

The shop is a really worthwhile place to visit, whether you want to stock up on tea, look round the museum, or just sample a few different brews.

FACTS

Address: 216 Strand, London, WC2R 1AP

Website: twinings.co.uk/about-twinings/flagship-store-london-216-strand

Opening Hours: 9.30–7 Mon-Fri, 10.30–5.30 Sat, 11-5 Sun

Price: Free

Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic – V&A

Winnie-the-Pooh poster

As a lifelong Winnie-the-Pooh fan, I was delighted to be able to visit the V&A‘s new exhibition, Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic. Themed around the world of the books, it welcomed visitors with a greeting and the themed decor made you really feel part of the Hundred Acre Wood. There was a slide and assorted activities for children – but I couldn’t help being glad that during my visit, on a Friday evening, there weren’t many kids around.

Hallo

Pooh-themed toys
Pooh-themed toys

The exhibition began with a display of the various Pooh-themed toys, games and accessories that have been created over the years. I was particularly pleased to see a cuddly toy version of the Soviet Pooh, which I love, but was gutted to spy a gorgeous Cath Kidston dress that I obviously missed when it was in store.

Soviet Pooh
Soviet Pooh
Cath Kidston dress
Cath Kidston dress

The exhibition explored the writer, A. A. Milne, and the illustrator, E. H. Shepard, and the history of the Pooh stories. Particularly fascinating were the sections on how the two worked together to produce stories that seamlessly blended words and pictures, strongly appealing to little ones (as well as grown-ups like me!).

North Pole

I found the exhibition completely fascinating, and it really reignited my love for Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. (I’ve always felt a particular affinity for Piglet).

Goodbye

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