Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wild Wednesday: Snowdrops

Tis the season for snowdrops. They can bloom as early as January in the UK and are the first light at the end of a gloomy winters tunnel. This year we had a bit of a trickle as opposed to a wave of blooms, however we are in full swing now.

A number of places throughout England and Scotland have snowdrop walks as blankets of snowdrops can be found in formal gardens to woodland wonderlands. This link to the Woodlands Trust  has information and identification sheets, discussions and blogs about the best places are at the time to see where snowdrops have naturalized. That's right naturalized.

Once thought of as a wildflower, there is only documentation of snowdrops in England in cultivation before the 18th century. When you see woodlands with a carpet of white blooms, there is no wonder why it's origin was mistaken.

Snowdrops along with crocuses are very important for pollinators as well. Bees and other early arousing nectar drinking insects are happy not to have to wait for happy hour to take a sip.  That being said, they are only polinated and produce seeds in times of very mild weather, like this year.  Most of the time, they reproduce not by seed, but by bulb division.  

I am not the only one smitten by the snowdrop, here is a poem by a much better writer than myself.

By William Wordsworth

LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


Monday, 27 February 2012

Wild Wednesday: Lady Birds Beetles

Or lady bugs if your American. As spring approaches and the weather is mild, the lady bugs are waking up. I went into the back yard (garden) and I couldn't believe how many were on the evergreens. I had to come inside to get my camera there were so many.

I have identified these as 7 spot lady birds, one of the more common species in England.

Here is a great web sight identification page for ladybirds.

With my science background and rural village life I have found a variety of citizen scientist opportunities. has a larvae ID page in addition to the adult ID page linked above. This has been the citizen scientist program I have had the most participation with as ladybirds seem to be the most common wildlife in the area.

The seven spot ladybugs are the ones I see most commonly, however on 2 occasions I have seen a tiny yellow ladybug which I have finally identified as the 14 spot lady bird. It is so little, I am sure it is slightly more abundant than my annual sightings may suggest, it is just very well hidden in the garden.

I even managed to get a video to go along with Wild Wednesday, hopefully I can get it to load by the end of the day!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Help me nail it!

On Saturday my husband and I are joining a few friends for the "Champagne & Feathers Ball". This black-tie event benefits Meningitis Charities as our friend had a nearly fatal battle with spinal meningitis. Several years later and fully recovered, paying her gratitude forward is genuine.

While I am looking forward to the event, I am a bit nervous. While my casual Florida style is accustomed to formal events, the English level of formality is completely different than what I am used to. My husband and I went shopping a couple of weeks ago and both managed to get something to wear with very little stress.

Obviously, finding a tux is a bit easier than a dress, but we found one to buy that was cheaper than renting practically. We figured we can take it on our cruise and it will be a good test to see if we should invest in a higher quality tuxedo for my husband.

My dress was much too easy as well. Very little alterations are needed and are things I can do myself. Surprisingly enough, I found a full length dress that can I can wear without hemming as long as I wear some platform heels. I think I have a pair to wear, and they're from Clark's, so they will be comfortable as well. I just have to stop looking, like most women, I'm a bit of a shoeahilic and continue the quest regardless of what is in my closet.

My other dilemma is how to accessorize. There are some gem details on the dress, so I think less is more. With nail art being so popular at the moment, I thought fun nails would be my big accessory. Here are a few ideas I've come up with, let me know what you think. My husband likes the blue and glitter.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

American Suburbanite in Portugal: Food!

There were two things I had been looking forward to in Portugal, the fresh fruits and vegetables and seafood. I was not disappointed by either one.

We did shop in the regular grocery store when we first arrived, but the local market wouldn't be open for a couple of days and we needed a few staples to get through until then. But even in the grocery stores the fresh fruits and fish were abundant.

One of my favorite things I ate almost every day was oranges. We could see a small orange grove across the street from our villa and the trees were laden with bright orange fruits. In the mornings we could see the woman picking buckets of oranges and her husband driving off, presumably to the market in Caldas da Rãinha. Knowing from my time in Florida this was prime citrus season, I couldn't wait to taste some. They were so sweet and juicy, better than drinking a glass of orange juice! I have told my husband to look for portuguese oranges at the grocery store here in England in hopes to find some as tasty.

At almost every restaurant you are served olives and bread. Often it is brought to the table before ordering. Unlike olives you get on a pre made salad or pizza, these have a lovely firm texture. I like a flavorful extra virgin olive oil, so I am glad I have found olives I enjoy as well. My only fault in the olives was the extremely salty brine some of them had been stored in. It did help the wine go down a bit faster though!

Another delight was the bread. We snacked on bread more in Portugal than we did in Paris. Whether it was toast, a bacon sandwich, croissants, or the yummy chorizo stuffed mini loaves, we had tons of bread.

Finally, the fresh seafood was amazing. Anytime we ate out, seafood was our choice. I had a tiger prawn the size of a small lobster. We shared a whole sole between the two of us. We were a little nervous to see the bill when they brought it out to us, but managed the bill better than the fish. We had to ask for it to be wrapped in foil to take home.

In addition to sea bass and sole, fresh sardines are quite the specialty in Portugal. I have to admit, after years of serving sardines and herring to the marine animals I cared for, eating them myself has not been easy. It has more to do with making baby dolphin/whale formulas than the fish themselves. I know they are healthy and sustainable, but they take a conscious effort to eat for me, and I wish they didn't. However, they were so fresh in Portugal, I found myself stealing some from my husbands plate. If that doesn't say they were good, I don't know what else does!

I'll tell you about our favorite restaurant and some of the local beverages of Portugal soon.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sweet Treats (or maybe not): Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

To those who know me well, it is no surprise I wanted to try Buffalo Chicken cupcakes. I absolutely love buffalo flavored anything - wings, shrimp, on a salad, a sandwich, in chili, ANYTHING! Every time I go back to the States, there are 2 things I order: buffalo shrimp from Frenchy's restaurant in Clearwater, FL and Louisiana Lickers chicken wings from Quaker Steak and Lube wherever I can find one.

About a year ago, I made barbecue chicken muffins and they were quite tasty. I simply seared some bite sized pieces of chicken until it was almost cooked and coated it in barbecue sauce. I filled mini muffin tins with corn bread batter (use your favorite mix or make it from scratch) and set some chicken on top. Placed it in the oven for about 15 minutes, enough time to bake the corn bread and finish cooking the chicken, and ate them. They were great, and I had started coming up with ideas to up the wow factor on them (think I have been watching too many cupcake wars lol).

So, when I saw a recipe on the blog "cupcakes take the cake" for buffalo chicken cupcakes I was very excited. This was just before the Super Bowl and after a month of anticipation I finally got to the business of making buffalo chicken cupcakes...and they were awful. I even wasted the last 1/2 cup of my 'American import specialty food item' Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

I was not expecting a sweet cupcake taste, the post said it would be like corn bread. I like corn bread and I had given my own go at the savory cupcake, I thought I knew what to expect. You know that moment when you have a flavor expectation in your head and you take a bite and the actual flavor and the flavor expectation are complete opposites? All I can say is I was glad I was at home and I did not have to be polite. I actually took a second bite in hopes it was not as bad as my first reaction, but I was wrong. I even had my husband taste it afterwards and he affirmed my conclusions with his response, "No offense honey, but they are awful".

Oh well, they can't all be treats! I guess this one was more of a trick. We will be chucking these out the kitchen window to see who can get more on the roof of the outhouses. Maybe the birds will enjoy them more than we did!

More about the buffalo chicken cupcake from:

Yeah, Pancake Day!

Whether you call it Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, pancake day, or Sprengidagur (bursting day in Iceland), they all mean the same thing! You eat (and drink) a lot before you abstain from all (or some) of your vices during Lent.

In England pancakes have become the traditional food for "Shrove Tuesday" because they contain fat, butter, and eggs, all things forbidden during Lent. If they think the pancakes are bad, I wonder what they would think of my fillings?

In England it is traditional to use lemon juice and sugar on your pancakes. While my husband still enjoys this simple way to top his pancakes he has not turned down any alternate fillings.

Last year we had 3 courses of pancakes. This year we lightened it up a bit with only 2 courses. Our savory pancake was Greek inspired this year. It consisted of ground turkey with peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. I simmered everything until the ground turkey was cooked through then topped with feta cheese.

Our sweet pancakes never change much, and why should they? Nutella and strawberries are a winning combination any time! This year I added a bit of banana and instead of whipped cream from an aerosol can I mixed vanilla and confectioners sugar into some marscapone cheese...Heaven!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Handy crafts of Portugal: Cork

Aside from tourism, the major industry of Portugal, is cork production. With 35% of the worlds cork oak trees, Portugal produces more than half of the worlds cork. For more statistics about Portuguese cork you can go to This post is not about the the production process or even how the Portuguese economy is feeling the switch to twist cap bottle tops.

Instead, this is about the unique products the artisans of Portugal make out of cork. So everyone knows about bottle corks and floor tiling. It is used as beverage coasters and place mats, but those are the mundane uses for cork. Artisans and craftsmen (and women) throughout Portugal have taken cork to another level. Jewelry, postcards, iPad cases, umbrellas, shoes/slippers have all been beautifully hand crafted from cork.

If you check websites such as you will see examples of these products.

We brought back a couple of bracelets as gifts and sent ourselves a postcard.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sweet treats: black bottomed cupcakes

I never need an excuse to eat chocolate, but what better reason than Valentine's Day? My mother was recently telling me about cupcakes she made, she got the recipe after a patient brought them in for my brothers office, and I guess he wanted them again. Wait, my Mom made cake from a recipe? Cakes made at home have always been from a box, wow retirement is agreeing with my Mom! When I overheard my nearly 3 year old nephew asking for a cupcake for breakfast, I thought it would be worth a try.

The cream cheese topping is divine, and the chocolate cake is moist and delicious. I may even make a few of these without the topping for a friend of mine with a lactose intolerance.



8oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar (I used icing sugar)
1 egg beaten
6oz chocolate chips (I used Cadbury buttons)

Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and salt until well blended
Add egg and beat well
Stir in chips/buttons and set aside

2-1/4 cups flour
6 TBS cocoa
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup oil
1-1/2 tsp white vinegar

Sift dry ingredients
Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla and mix well

(mommy's version- cream sugar with wet ingredients, then add flour...)

Fill cupcake liner 3/4 full with chocolate batter, then top with cheese mixture. (Mine overflowed a bit, but my liners were much taller than my cupcake tin, I would do half way with the chocolate cake then a bit of the topping)

Bake at 350degrees for 20 minutes.

Well it's Saturday and the cupcakes are gone, so they must have been good!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Handy Crafts of Portugal: ceramics

My traveling style has been shaped greatly by my time Traveling with Clarence, my biology professor from Westminster College, during our J-term courses. Although J-term is no longer practiced at the school (a huge mistake on their part I believe) he continued traveling with students and alumni as long as the economy has allowed, in fact, we still discuss going to dive the Great Barrier Reef together.

While I earned biology credits on my J-term courses, we gained a great deal of insight about the cultures of each location we visited. I have a number of treasured hand made items collected from each location and Portugal is no different.

I have already discussed the wall plaques my sister had and my quest to add to her collection. Pottery of all levels is an extremely popular handy craft. My husband brought a cat mug back from one of his first visits to Portugal. It is very cute and has a 3d cat inside the mug. Mr. G may be drinking from it as he reads this post!

Ceramic tiles are also widely used throughout the area. We picked up this little hand painted letter tile, I can't decide if I should frame it or make it into a Christmas ornament. Tile work is not reserved for bathrooms or kitchen. Our villas are tiled throughout. The portuguese take tile work one step further though. Here are a few examples of external tiles, and not just around the swimming pool!

Friday, 10 February 2012

100 and counting...

For my 100th post I thought I should do something to commemorate it. What I came up with wasn't all that impressive, but here it is.

I realized in the nearly 2 years I have been "living" in the UK I haven't been writing often enough. I hope this upcoming year will bring more writing, if not daily, then at least 3 times a week. I will also be starting a new series of posts called "Wild Wednesdays". Each Wednesday I will go back to my college roots and talk about either a wild flower or critter endemic to England that I have encountered during my residency here.

As I look back on my move to England I have had some ups and downs. I have spent 17 weeks away from my husband due to visa issues, but on the other hand, we have spent nearly 80 weeks together. When we first met we were only spending a week or 2 together at a time, now we are only on separate continents minimally. What a difference that can make, I love hearing "honey, I'm home" and not shouting it through the computer.

I have lost a few people very close to me. It was especially difficult not going back to the States for funeral services or to be with my family. On the up side, I know these people are watching over me. I think about how much the world has changed over the lifetime of my grandfather, from writing letters or sending telegraphs to using Skype to catch up. What an amazing life he had, I hope to live as long as he did, 92ish (we had 3 different birth years for him).

I have not only lost, I have met and made friends with a number of new people. They will not replace the friends who have passed, but help get through the hard times. I count myself lucky to have them.

Finally, looking back at the places I have been. I had an opportunity to visit Europe in my teens, unfortunately the orchestra program did not raise enough funds and the trip fell through. I was very disappointed at the time, but I have seen far more than I could have ever imagined during a 2 week whirlwind tour. I am also at a much better age to appreciate what I've had the opportunity to experience.

And let's not forget the weather! After 15 years in Florida I never thought I could tolerate a temperate climate. Well, armed with my happy lamp, plenty of chocolate, and a few blankets, I am hanging in there. A few strategically scheduled holidays during especially gloomy months doesn't hurt either!

So here's to another 100 posts filled with trials, tribulations, celebrations, and travel.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Wild Wednesday

In college(university), I studied environmental science and biology. I traveled to amazing places during our J-term and the professor I traveled with (Clarence) was keen on having a species checklist, or a list of key plants and animals that are integral in the ecosystems of that area.

Since moving to England, I have started keeping a bit of a species checklist through photos and making online digital albums sorted by family (King Philip Came Over From Germany Sunday). I look up scientific names and natural history and put in the captions of each photo. It keeps my brain active and helps me learn about my new environment.

Each week I will share a species with you. Some may not be so exciting, but they will all have something special. This weeks feature for Wild Wednesday is the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea).

This is one of the larger birds in England standing 36-40 in tall. It is mostly grey and white with black plumage on the leading edge of the wings and a wispy black cap. ( very similar, but slightly smaller than a Great Blue Heron without the blue).

It is described as a wading bird and often found in shallow waters hunting fish, frogs, or salamanders. It can also be found 'wading' amongst tall grasses, as I observed, feeding on insects or small rodents. Like other 'wading birds' it stands very still with only a slight weave as if it were blowing in the wind. It's long legs, to prey, blend in with grasses or branches giving the bird a stealthy approach. Then once prey is spotted and location locked in, with lightening speed the heron will grab or stab with its large yellow beak.

Population in the UK is quite strong (status green) with approximately 61,000 birds wintering in the British Isles and over 14,000 nesting here. They typically nest in treetop colonies where 4-5 eggs are laid (usually one brood per year) between January and May.

In my three years of visiting/living in the UK, I have seen only one great heron. A single bird was in tall grasses between a field and the road on the way to Harrogate. We managed to pull over and I got one picture with my iPad before he flew into the field where he continued hunting. With such a stable population, I really expected to see them more frequently, a stark comparison to Florida or even Pennsylvania. So I was very excited to spot this one and get another check on my list. I will be hunting for more and hope to have my dSLR camera at the ready on my next sighting.

Happy Wild Wednesday!

*all statistical information from the RSPB website and book

How my Superbowl Plans were Sidelined

And what good plans they were, I was even going to try my hand at buffalo wing cup cakes. We were surprised when my husband had both Saturday and Sunday off from work. Now, in GMT Sunday and Monday would have been much better for watching the game, when you work retail, you take what you can get.

We decided Saturday would be an errand day as we were just back from holiday and my husband's late night work week did not lend itself to getting anything done. I mentioned snow was coming in the afternoon, so we should get out relatively early. Since my husband didn't get home from work until nearly 2am, early was by no means morning. We watched a weather report, and all indications were snow after dark. We figured we had plenty of time to do a bit of car shopping and stop at the grocery store on the way home.

As we were driving to the car dealership, snow began to fall. Not much accumulation, but the snow had come and it was barely 1pm. We spent HOURS at the dealership, my husband treats buying a car as a part-time job. We took our first choice car out for a test drive and didn't bother driving the runner-up. During the test drive, snow was accumulating and getting slick where there was little traffic, but the main roads were still clear.

Back at the dealership, we discussed monthly payments, length of payment options, deposits... My husband has been researching cars for nearly a year, he knows how much the dealership markets the car for and how much we should pay for it. The only question was how much the change in annual mileage from 10,000 to 20,000 per year would change our payments.

While we were bargaining for complimentary floor mats, my husband and I were bargaining with each other for color choices. I liked the new dark brown color that was being offered. The salesman said it was the new "fashion" color of the season, just available and there weren't even any on the road in the country yet. Although I firmly believe brown is the new black, my husband was dead set against it. We compromised on blue with almond interior, for a little while. We ended up with black on black, a bit of a mob boss car, but at least my husband won't keep looking at cars. Also, I get to pick the next car and color combo...hello red camero!

the red light is our car, the 2 on the left are the SUV we hit, and the rest are the gritter/plow...
We finally sign some papers, shake hands, and head towards home. The snow is still coming down pretty heavy and although we had seen gritters/plows out on the road, the were still covered and slick. We made it through H-gate and were leaving K-borough. As we came to the bend leading out of town it happened. There was incoming traffic and a car pulling out onto the road. I think the car pulling out was well into our lane and my husband tapped the breaks. It was enough for us to loose control on the snow. Instead of allowing us to skid into oncoming traffic, my husband turned hard left, onto the road where the SUV was pulling out from. There was a brief moment when I thought he did it, we weren't going to hit anything. Then "thud", we side swiped the SUV

 External damage didn't seem that bad. Details were exchanged, insurance companies contacted, and we continued on our way. We could hear something rubbing, but still thought we could finish our night with groceries and a curry. After taking 10+ minutes to go

We contacted the insurance company who in turn contacted AA (English AAA). Between the two, we were asked if we could get to a coffee shop or something. I laughed as they asked my husband these questions as we were in the middle if nowhere. I used the google maps app on the iPad to get an idea of where we were and there was a golf club about 100 yards up the road, but no sidewalks or lights to walk to it, nor would we expect it to be open.

The AA told us they were very busy and it could take up to 2 hours to get a recovery vehicle to us, but we were prioritized due to our rural location. We were told a better ETA would be given in about an hour.

One hour goes by and I had to wee so bad at this point (was talking about it before the accident) I was wiggling in my seat. My husband finally talked me into going on the side of the road. He needed to go too, and I don't think he wanted to go alone! I had him hold up my coat like " the cloak of invisibility", although I don't think it hid that much. My bladder was thankful, my bum was just cold!

The theory that a recovery vehicle would show up as soon as I was in position was disproven and we waited for another hour. We had several cars stop and the drivers ask if we were ok. We explained what happened, let them know AA was on there way, and we kept waiting. One couple saw us on their way out and their way back home. After two hours we called again and were told it could be another hour, but a pick up should be there and they would call us back soon.

We waited again and when there was no recovery vehicle nor call back, we called again. With more run around we got frustrated and started thinking about moving. Back on google maps, we calculated how far the village was. It was about equally as far as we have already driven. My husband was confident he could get the car that far.

Snow in our headlights, giant flakes comng down at a 45 degree angle
Scrumptious Chunky Chi
It took more than 15 minutes to get the car < half a mile, but we did it. We pulled into The General Tarleton  and realized we no longer had cell service. The hotel was generous enough to let us use their phone, little did we know we would be on hold for ages. Even though the kitchen had closed, they made us some fab chunky chips. My husband and I took turns eating and listening to the hold message.

After several more phone interactions and the AA not being able to give us any straight answers, we decided it would be best to spend the night at the hotel and get the car recovered in the morning. Had they told us when we first arrived at the hotel that our priority had changed and due to the number of accidents in our area that pick up tonight would be unlikely, we would not have been so disappointed in their service. Not to mention all the time that we were not kept abreast of wait times while we were stuck on a dark country road.

We checked into the hotel and they gave us the room for the extra night rate as opposed to the full rate. They even supplied us with toothbrushes and toothpaste. We watched 'The Full Montey' and went to sleep.

Sunday morning light showed a beautiful snowy landscape. We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel ( full English for my husband and gypsy toast for me), and made contact to determine when we would be recovered. Last night they said they would come out at 10am First conversation with AA this morning said before noon. Second conversation said a tow truck should arrive between 12 and 12:30.

With little faith we watched some good old tv, Roger Moore's pre-Bond work on "The Saint". At 12:30 we started to get ready to check out of the room and AA showed up!

We finally made it home after about 19 hours since the accident and more than 24 hours away from the house. My husband handled paperwork with the tow truck driver and I came inside to find 7 very hungry cats who were very happy to see us.

We never made it to the grocery store to pick up some key ingredients for football food, so we raided the freezer for pizza, scampi, and chips. By the time pre-game was to begin, both my husband and I were out cold, too tired to watch The Superbowl. Such a disappointment for any red blooded American!

Ah well, next year we will stay up for sure! With any luck my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing again!
view from our room in the morning 

full English Breakfast at The General Tarleton
Lovely Gypsy Toast!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

American Suburbanite in Portugal: a souvenir for my sister

With our last full day in Portugal upon us, it was time to do some housekeeping. It was not as if we had big parties or anything, but when we weren't at the beach we were picking up firewood. We had lots of sand bark in the car, and well, lots of sand and bark everywhere! After we finished tidying up, I built one last fire in the wood burner (bliss in one match for us or the next guest) and even netted the leaves from the pool since the sun was out again.

When all was said and done we headed out to do a little shopping. I had a very distinct idea of what I wanted to buy, my sister has a couple of wall plaques from Portugal. They were in the first house she bought and she has brought them with her to her new house with her husband. I asked her to send me a picture, but it didn't come through before I used all the 3G on the sim card, so I was going by memory. I remembered one was a church and one a smaller building. I had checked a couple of shops in Obidos the day before, but nothing seemed quite right, so we headed to São Martinho do Porto. The only shop we noticed was closed until 2pm so, after taking a few pictures of the extremely low tide and crazy waves at the mouth of the bay, we headed back to Obidos.

If 3 visits isn't indication enough, I absolutely love Obidos. Even though not on the water and we visited out of season, I think I could say it is my favorite town/village on the Costa da Prata. We walked a slightly different path this time viewing the inside of a gate we saw whilst walking the walls on our first visit. The gates are so impressive, they are well worth stopping in as opposed to just walking through.

Ceramics/ pottery is one of the primary handicrafts of Portugal. Not surprising when you think of the amount of natural clay within the Portuguese soil. We found numerous shops with blue and white painted plates and tea sets, but we were looking for a slightly more rustic approach to the craft. We found several churches and a number of doors, but many were overly decorated with flowers or had Obidos written on them. They just appeared a little too touristy.

We finally found the right style and purchased a clock tower. They also had a church, but thought that might be too similar to what my sister already has.

After a bit more shopping, we went home, out for a meal. I carefully packed the clock tower into our hand luggage.

It safely made it back to England and when we got to a point where I could check my messages...I discovered her church is the clock tower with a cross. Oh well, we only got ourselves a cork postcard (I'll go into cork another time), so I guess we have our own souvenir.

As for my sister, she also has a painting of the Alto Vista Chapel ( that she acquired during some of her travels. She thought a companion canvas would look nice. Her initial idea was to print a photo on canvas based on a picture I posted on instagram. I have decided I might give a go at painting a church in acrylic on canvas myself. Wish me luck!