National Masturbation Month

Today I'm going to be blogging about something very different from my usual posts. I've been wanting to blog more about issues and topics that are important to me or that I feel need to be discussed more, and up until now my anxiety has always made this difficult. I've decided that I'm now ready to blog about these kinds of topics as I wanted Raiin Monkey to be a space where I can blog about the things I love and my everyday life, however I also wanted my blog to be a sex-positive one that reflects my feminist opinions and values. It has always bothered me that there are so many taboo topics of which discussion is discouraged in society, and one of the ways to end this stigma is to not be afraid to talk about them. I hope you all enjoy reading!

National Masturbation Month, Masturbation Month,

May is a month which marks several awareness days; it is National Bike Month, National Strawberry Month, Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and so much more, but what many people don't know is that it is also National Masturbation Month. This is a time to encourage something which is a perfectly normal and healthy thing to do, to remind people that no matter how society makes us feel about it, the majority of people masturbate. Although the discussion of masturbation is taboo in regards to both men and women, I believe that there is a lot more stigma when it comes to women and masturbation.

Growing up, boys at school would openly discuss and joke about masturbation, even parents would laugh about discovering that their sons were doing it and it was something that was quite regularly shown on comedy movies aimed at teenagers and young adults. The only time I ever heard girls doing it being mentioned was at high school, when boys were laughing at terms such as 'flick the bean' like it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard! None of my female peers felt comfortable discussing masturbation and it was never discussed in sex education (although we all know that not much as discussed in sex ed)! 

As I got older and began to talk more openly about sex with my friends, I found that although they were happy to chat about their sex lives, masturbation was still something that was never brought up. Even as adults, so many women are embarassed to chat about masturbation because it has been ingrained in us that it's inappropriate and as a consequence a lot of women feel ashamed even to the point that they are discouraged of trying masturbation. Studies have found that only 40-60% of women masturbate, versus 95% of men (source), however the results may be lower for women as they are not confident in admitting they do it.

National Masturbation Month, Masturbation Month, feminism,

Society teaches girls and women that exploring their bodies and embracing their sexuality is a negative thing. Due to this stigma, lots of adult women grow up without knowledge of what the female anatomy looks like and without understanding much about their own sexual response. I think that masturbation should be something that is mentioned in high school sex education classes and that the outer female anatomy should be on the sex ed/biology curriculum, not just the uterus and the ovaries. As the National Masturbation Month poster above states, there are lots of benefits to masturbation and it is a great way for people to get to know their own bodies. Self-love is something that should be promoted and conversed about more and it is definitely nothing to be ashamed about!

Masturbating has a positive effect on both our physical and psychological health in so many ways! It is a massive stress reliever, as it causes the release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins which make us feel happy and can reduce pain. For women, masturbation can help reduce period cramp pain because of the increase of blood flow into the pelvic region of the body and can also help reduce urinary tract infections. It helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and is said to relieve back pain. For men, it is believed that it helps to keep the prostate gland healthy and free from infection, and may even prevent prostate cancer. Overall, for both men and women, it helps maintain the function of the reproductive organs and is also an energy booster. Basically, masturbation is awesome!

The more people talk about masturbation, the less taboo it will become and more people will be encouraged to learn more about their bodies, their pleasure and their sexuality. Masturbation is natural and fun, can be done with your partner or on your own, and there's so many toys out there to help make it a more interesting experience.

Thankyou for reading! 


I hope you all enjoyed today's post, go and give yourself some self-loving! :)

May Pop in a Box

Trying to organise this blog post today was stressful. My laptop is broken and it's seriously about time I got a new one. I'm saving for a new fancy camera so I'm sad that I'm going to have to dab into my savings to get a laptop now! But finally, here is today's post! It's all about which Funko Pop figures I got from my Pop in a Box subscription this month. Enjoy!


Funko Pop, Pop Vinyl, Pop Funko,


I'm really happy with the two Pop! figures I received this month. I actually squealed with joy when I saw the orange box through the bubblewrap and was 96% sure that I'd received a Dragonball Z character! I'm over the moon that I finally have a character from one of my favourite animes ever to add to my fast-growing Funko collection! I'm super happy to have received a Beauty and the Beast character too, since it's joint 1st place in my list of favourite Disney movies along with The Lion King. 


 The DBZ character that I received is Super Saiyan Goku and wow, he looks so awesome! He's really cute and I love all of the details of his design, too. He's not my favourite character in this whole collection but I'm still glad to have received him as I want to get all of the DBZ Pop! vinyls. I really like how bright this figure is and his costume looks great. 


My favourite thing about this Goku Pop! has to be his incredible hair! Funko did an amazing job of it, it really resembles the cartoon and has so much detail. Another thing that I really like is Goku's clenched fists. I'm completely in love with this figure. One thing that is a little annoying is that there's a tiny blob of paint on his right eye which makes it not smooth. It's not really noticeable on the photos but now that I've seen it, I can't stop noticing it! It's not a major problem though, and I'm still really chuffed that I got my first DBZ Pop!


 Here's a close up of Super Saiyan Goku's hair, just because it's fantastic and I wanna show it off!


How adorable is this figure of The Beast though!? I love the smile on his face and his cute little fangs. I mean, just look how sweet his 'beard' and eyebrows are! Awww, I love the design of this Pop! I think his suit looks so nice and I'm really glad that they choose to put him in the outfit he wears to dance with Belle. I'm lovin his bright yellow waistcoat and royal blue blazer. 


Another feature of his design that I love are his horns, but my favourite part of The Beast figure is his little ponytail which has a royal blue bow in it. It's super cute and I'm glad that they included it in his design! I just need the Belle Pop! now; I'll be really happy when I can display the adorable couple together.



Even though he's really adorable, I have to admit that I'm not happy with this particular figure because of how bad the paintjob is! As you can see in all of the photos of The Beast above, the painting on his right fang is really messy and it's a shame that it's on his face because it's then visible everytime I look at the figure. There's also bad painting on his eyebrow, his yellow waistcoat and in various little spots all over the figure. A further disappointing thing is that the head is not attached very well (visible in the photo above) and I've tried to push it to see if it will straighten, but it's doesnt. I wish that Pop in a Box would check the figures before packing them as they are collectables and are supposed to be on display so it's a real shame when they look messy. 

If anyone has any tips on how I can remove the messy paint around his fang without removing the brown paint from his face, please let me know :)


Overall, I am very happy with the characters that I received this month and I'm looking forward to receiving June's Pop in a Box (I'm tempted to order three this time!). I've been showing Super Saiyan Goku off to anyone who will listen! I'm completely fangirling over him and he's gonna be getting pride of place on top of my gecko's tank for a while :) Until I get Vegeta that is!

Thankyou for reading!


How many Pop! figures do you have? Do you have a favourite? 
Which Pop! are you most wanting to add to your family of figures right now?

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my previous Pop in a Box?

May Wishlist

Good evening everyone! It's time for another monthly wishlist :) I hope you all enjoy reading these posts! How's your day been? Let me know what you've been up to in the comments. I had a very nice lie in, watched tv, relaxed for a few hours in the garden and then got straight to organising this post. I'm lovin' how nice the weather is getting! 

wishlist, may wishlist, fashion wishlist,


 1. Festival Woven Rucksack I'm in need of a new backpack for summer to take with me when I visit places, like the zoo, new towns, etc, as I usually carry a lot of stuff with me especially when the weather is nice as I need to keep hydrated and like to carry a few bottles of water. This rucksack has a lovely design; I really like the colourful patterns and the brown straps. It also looks big enough to fit all my essentials in.

2. Marine A5 Notebook How cute is this notebook!? I really love the origami style of the animals on the cover. I love marine creatures and I've never had a notebook with them on! This needs to be rectified immediately, and it's the perfect time for me to get a new notebook. I like to keep all of my expenditure plans and other finance information in a 'money book' and the one I currently use only has a few pages left. Something I love about this marine notebook is that it has multiple sections in it, so I can organise the days I get paid into one section and what I'm spending in another. I can't wait to get a new notebook. It feels so nice to start a fresh book. I use all my favourite pens and my handwriting is always super neat. If only I would keep this up! My writing gets increasingly more messy as the book goes on! haha

3. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig I've seen so many great reviews about this book so I'm really looking forward to reading it myself. The book tells the true story of one man's struggle with depression. I also struggle with depression and I'm hoping the book will be helpful to me in some way, even if it just reminds me that my feelings are shared by others and that I am not alone in my struggle. 

4. Disney Princess Vans I absolutely adore the Vans X Disney range! I got the Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat ones for my birthday and they are so pretty. With summer fast approaching, I need to get myself more shoes because most of the footwear I own right now are boots. I like how colourful these Disney princess Vans are, and that they have all of the classic Princesses on. Which are your favourite Disney Vans?

5. Diva by MAC Cosmetics This gorgeous shade of burgundy/red lipstick has been on my wishlist for a while now and after buying my first ever MAC lipsticks last month, I'm now ready to try more! I'm a big fan of the darker shades of lipstick and I would love to add this one to my collection. I'm definitely becoming more and more addicted to lipsticks! What's your favourite darker shade of MAC? I'd love some recommendations :)

6. Floral Smudge Tunic Dress Another thing that I need to do before summer is stock up on some new clothes! I love wearing black clothes so I only have a few items of coloured clothing in my wardrobe and the majority of those are evening dresses. I seriously need to do some clothes shopping and the first thing on my list is the lovely floral dress. The print instantly makes me think of butterflies and I love that it's not too bright with just a few splashes of colour on a darker blue background. 

Thankyou for reading!

 

What's on your wishlist this month? 
What do you need to buy in preparation for the warmer weather?
 

Premier Inn Manchester City Centre Review

This Saturday, my best friend & I headed to Manchester city to go to the Busted concert at the MEN/Phones 4 U Arena. It was an absolutely amazing experience! We had been waiting for 10 years to see them and live out one of our teenage dreams! Back when we were 13 years old, we were huge fans of Busted and we have them to thank for the start of our friendship! The first conversation that we ever had was about our love for the band and how much we both adored Matt Willis! It's been almost 11 years since that day and we've been best friends all this time. I don't know how she's managed to put up with me! She means the world to me and going to see Busted together was sort of symbolic for our friendship, so nostalgic too! Today, I wanted to share a review with you all of the hotel that we stayed in, Premier Inn (the Arena/Printworks hotel). Enjoy!

Premier Inn Manchester, Premier Inn, Premier Inn Manchester City,


The Arena/Printworks Premier Inn in Manchester City Centre was in a fantastic location! It's just a short walk from the Victoria Station (where the MEN Arena is), a 5 minute walk from Urbis/The Printworks. It's also less than 10 minutes walk from the Arndale Shopping Centre. The hotel is situated in the perfect place close to several restaurants; the Printworks has a Hard Rock Cafe, a Frankie & Bennys and much more, and there's a food court in the shopping centre. It was really easy to find because you can see the tall building with the Premier Inn logo from outside the Arndale shopping centre. It was fantastic being so close to the arena where our concert was. 


When we were checking in, we had to wait around for 10 minutes in a queue because there was a large group of people booking in for a Hen Party and a couple in front of us, and there was only one member of staff at the check-in desk. There were some self check-in machines at the desk which we actually couldn't see until the queue finally went down so that was a little annoying. It would be better if they were situated in another area of the lobby in plain sight. Eventually another member of a staff appeared and we didn't have to wait too much longer. She was really friendly and welcoming which put me at ease and was great as I really don't enjoy checking-in because of my social anxiety. 

The rest of the hotel was great and I was really happy with it. After checking-in at the front desk, we had a look around to find out what facilities they had and where our breakfast would be served in the morning. There were several vending machines located just by the front desk with both drinks and snacks available. There were then two small escalators up to the main area were there was a restaurant, a bar (which served Costa too), a sitting area with two sofas and some public toilets. It was really convenient to have access to toilet facilities downstairs and it was also wonderful to be able to go to the bar for a drink when we arrived back from the concert. 


We booked online and the hotel was pretty full because of the concert and the Great Manchester Run so the only room left available was a disabled room. I had always been curious about how the room would be designed to make it accessible for wheelchairs and what other features they would have in the room. It was nice to see that the room was wide with enough space for a wheelchair and there was a lot of space next to the right side of the bed for wheelchair accessibility. The desk and the area where the mirror and hairdryer were located was at a good height for wheelchair access, too. We were told by the staff at the check-in desk that the bed was lower too. Our room cost £135 for the night because it's a lot more expensive on a Saturday night and in a big city.



All the usual hotel hot drink making facilities were provided, although I always wish that they would provide more than two teabags and two sachets of coffee because if you both want a hot drink at night and in the morning too, you have to go downstairs to the desk to ask for more and I would have a difficult time doing this due to my anxiety. Here are some more photographs of the bedroom: 



Our first impressions of the bed were great, and we loved the addition of the cute little Premier Inn cushion! We were provided with two extra cushions located in the bottom of our wardrobe which I was very happy about because I can't sleep well without two pillows. The bed was comfy and I had a good nights sleep. In fact, I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning! haha Located on the back wall of our room above the desk was a TV, which we didn't actually use. The wardrobe was a simple design, a wonderful full length mirror at the front and open sides with no doors. There was another mirror on the wall next to the wardrobe with a little shelf underneath and the hairdryer was situated in a holder on the wall. Our bedroom was nice and warm throughout the night, too.


 Our bathroom had a huge sliding door. This was the first time either of us had stayed at a Premier Inn hotel so I'm unsure whether this style of door is a feature in all the bedrooms or whether it was to make the bathroom more accessible. The bathroom was large and the sink was low enough for wheelchair access. There were lots of rails throughout the bathroom to aid access to the toilet and the bath (which had a shower too). Here are some more photos of the bathroom:



The flush for the toilet was a type that I've never seen before, it wasn't a typical handle or a button but a handle that you have to pull back and then forth again to flush the toilet. Maybe I've just not stayed in enough hotels, but it took both me and my friend a while to figure this flush out! :) Both the bathroom and the bedroom were both very neat and clean and I would definitely be happy to stay here again. 


Above, you can see the random assortment of food on a plate belonging to a fussy eater :) This is why I much prefer when hotels have a self-service style breakfast. We paid for our breakfast when we booked our room online and it was £8.99 each for an all-you-can-eat option, which included both the full English breakfast and the lighter options. There was a menu provided in our room which was nice, so we could check out what food would be available beforehand. This just made us even more excited! If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen my delight when I saw that they served American-style pancakes! 

At the weekend, breakfast was served until 11:30am and we went down at around 9:30. When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a member of staff who booked us in and lead us to a table. I personally don't like when they do this as I prefer to choose where I want to sit especially in the morning when my health conditions are worse and my anxiety is high as a consequence. I was brave enough for once to ask if we could sit in a specific place, which made me a lot more comfortable. The full English breakfast area had baked beans, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, hash browns, scrambled and fried eggs, sausages (as well as a vegetarian version too) and bacon. The pancakes were here too and the only thing I didn't like about them was that they were cold. I wish they'd have been on a hot plate or something to keep them warm. There were a selection of toppings to put on the pancakes, such as maple syrup, jam and nutella. Additionally, there were toast-making facilities, mini blueberry muffins, flapjacks, fruit, yogurts and a selection of cereals. 

The drinks on offer were juices and water, and there was a coffee machine and tea-making facilities. I was sad that you couldn't get hot chocolate! I really enjoyed the breakfast; I prefer self-service buffet style food as I am a fussy eater and it makes it less stressful for me to just get the food I like and plate it myself. I don't like certain foods touching my other food... is anyone else the same?

Busted, Busted Concert, Busted Concert Manchester,

The Busted concert was incredible! Matt, Charlie & James were fabulous performers with an amazing stage presence and they were everything I imagined and more. One thing I can say is that they have definitely got more attractive with age, and Matt Willis is as gorgeous as ever! Fellow Busted fans, who was your favourite band member? The stage looked awesome with fantastic lighting and they played a mixture of their old songs and new ones. It was so fun to sing along and dance to all my favourite songs surrounded by loads of other fans, most of them around our age too. They sang 'Year 3000', my absolute favourite song last and the photo above is of the stage during that song. What a truely amazing way to end the concert! My best friend & I bought ourselves a band tee of course, too.

On Sunday, we had to check out of the hotel by 12pm so we decided to spend some time in Manchester before heading back to the train station to go home. It was lovely and sunny, perfect weather to relax on the grass near Urbis. We popped into WHSmith to get some drinks (and I got over excited when I spotted postcards and obviously bought lots!). After enjoying the sun and chatting for almost 2 hours, we wandered into the Arndale so that I could go to Lush and the Disney store. We had a lovely time at the hotel, the concert and in the city. I can't wait for our next trip to Manchester! I hope you enjoyed reading my Premier Inn review. It was a lovely hotel, a great bedroom and I will definitely be staying there again.

Thankyou for reading!


Have you ever stayed at Premier Inn? What did you think? 
Also, who else has been to a Busted gig this year? 

 Like reading Hotel Reviews? Check out my Travelodge Review 

What I bought in Sweden

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you've all been having a good start to the week. Today I thought I'd show you all the souvenirs I purchased on my three day trip to Stockholm, Sweden. I love reading about what people have bought on their holidays, so I hope you all enjoy this post too! 


My favourite souvenir from Sweden has to be this beautiful hand-painted wooden Dala horse. The Dala or Dalecarlian horse is a traditional carved wooden statuette originating from villages in Dalarna, Central Sweden. 100 years ago, they were made by the villagers and sold at markets, and the villagers would also teach their children how to make them :) (If you want to learn more about them, check here). 


Just look how beautiful they are! They were all over Stockholm in the souvenir shops, and there were even big models of them around the city for tourists to take photos with. I love traditional wooden items so I couldn't resist getting myself one, even though they were pretty pricey. I got the smallest size available and it cost me the equivalent of £13. How could I not get one? I love how bright they are and the lovely patterns painted on them. The red was the most traditional colour, but they were available in so many different colours. I wish they weren't so expensive because I would have bought three different sizes because I think they'd look great displayed on a shelf. 


We arrived in Sweden on Friday 13th May and after checking into the hotel and having a nosey around our room, we decided to get straight to sight-seeing. We headed to Stockholm's Old Town which is gorgeous, full of old buildings which are occupied by cafes and unique little shops; there's also several souvenir shops so I popped into them to look for gifts for my family. I absolutely loved this keyring, the moose/elk is the national animal of Sweden and yellow and blue are the colours of the Swedish flag. I just think it's really pretty!


On our second day in Stockholm, we went to the ABBA Museum so I got a little something to remind me of my trip there. Most of the items in the giftshop were pricey so I just got myself a postcard because I collect them, and a wristband which says 'The ABBA Museum' and 'Dancing Queen'. I'm thinking of making a scrapbook all about my highlights of 2016 at the end of the year so I will probably put this awesome square postcard in there. 


 I so wish that I'd gotten a teddy when we went to the Skansen Museum & Zoo. They had some adorable red fox teddies, but I didn't bring enough cash out with me. I was really happy with these gorgeous postcards though. I love how they have a wavy edge and the photography is so great. I wish there was a postcard of the Wolverine though! 


So I said how much I loved traditional, wooden things, well I got myself another one. I first spotted one of these things when I was choosing my food at the hotel breakfast. I was looking around at the different spreads that were on offer and I spotted one in the margarine tub. I discovered that it's a traditional Swedish butter knife. I admit that I wasted a piece of bread just so that I could have a go at spreading on the margarine using the butter knife and I thought it was awesome. 

It's so unique and I thought it would be really cool to have one so on our last morning in Stockholm before setting off to the airport, I was determined to find a souvenir shop and get myself one. I hadn't been able to get my family any gifts yet so when we came across a souvenir shop, I went crazy in there buying presents for my mum, sister and best friend. I also got me & my mum a traditional Swedish butter knife each. There were lots of pretty ones with flowers hand-painted onto them, but I had a budget to stick to so I just got these ones with the cute little reindeers cut out. 




I bought a few things in the airport before we headed to Sweden because I noticed that there was a Paperchase and got excited! I, of course, went straight for the stickers and got myself a good few sheets. I love the variety they have in there and that they are small enough to fit neatly on my postcards for postcard swapping and my snailmail. I really love the seashell ones. They are also only £1 a sheet (other than the one of the far left, which was £1.50) so that's fantastic!




I've been after the two postcards on the right for ages now so I was really happy when I saw that the Manchester Airport Paperchase had them. I absolutely love the illustrations by the amazingly talented Gemma Correll. They are so adorable! How cute is 'The Crumpet of Courage'!? It's an illustration by an artist called Katie Abey and is so sweet and bright that I couldn't not buy it. Lastly, I thought this illustrated map of Manchester city was very cool and would be great to use for postcard swapping, so I popped it in my basket too. I'm so happy with all of the items I bought on my trip, and I hope you all enjoyed reading about them.

Thankyou for reading!


Which is your favourite item? Who else loves traditional souvenirs? 
  

Bomb Cosmetics Haul

I'm on a roll today, two posts in one day! :) I wanted to finally show you all the products I ordered from Bomb Cosmetics last month. I'd been after some of their lovely bathbombs for a while because they are just so pretty and I'm really excited to try them out! Since becoming a little obsessed with Lush bathbombs, I decided that it's to start trying some other brands out too.

 
 I love how colourful and lovely the bathbombs from Bomb Cosmetics are! I've been lusting over them since I spotted them at my local market. I really like the massive variety of designs that they sell, and that so many of them resemble cupcakes with cream on top. I also really like the range of scents they do. It was so difficult to narrow it down to just these seven products. I'll definitely be doing another haul soon!


 The bathbombs from Bomb Cosmetics are called Bath Blasters and Whoopie Bath Blasters (the one that looks sort of like a bagel with stars on top). One thing that I loved about their products is that the prices were great! They were all £3 and under. I like how they come individually sealed in plastic meaning they can't crumble all over my 'bath stuff' drawer. 


The products I bought: 

- Flight of the Frangipani Bath Blaster
- Ladybug Hug Bath Blaster
- Morning! Sunshine Bath Blaster
- Parma Chameleon Bath Blaster
- Party Popper Bath Blaster
- Rhubarb & Custard Bath Blaster
- Raspberry Pav-lover Whoopie Bath Blaster
- & Hello Ducky Bath Creamer


I decided to try a bath creamer too since I've really liked the bath oils that I got from Lush and I wanted to see if these were similar, and I just couldn't resist this one because of the adorable little duck! My favourite product based on scent is the Parma Chameleon bath blaster. It's fragrance is made from a mix of violet leaves, heart of the violet, rosebuds, roses, lilacs, mimosa, cedar wood and purple iris. It smells like parma violets, which are one of my favorite sweets and I couldn't stop sniffing it when I opened the box. My favourite based on design is probably the Hello! Sunshine bath blaster (orange & grapefruit scented) because I love it's bright yellow colour and I think the additon of the pink cream with the pretty flower is just so cute. I'm really looking forward to see if these bathbombs are as good as they look!

Thankyou for reading!


Have you ever used Bomb Cosmetics products? What did you think? 
Do you have a favourite product? Also, any recommendations for other brands that sell bathbombs would be very much appreciated. 

 Similar posts: 

 

My Trip to Sweden | Part 3

Hey everyone! I hope you've been enjoying my travel posts all about my adventures in Sweden :) We only went to Stockholm for three days so this will be the last post about how we spent our trip. I wish we had more time in Stockholm as there was so much that we didn't get to see! We still had a incredible time and I've been looking forward to sharing this post with you. Enjoy!

Skansen, Skansen Museum, Stockholm, Sweden,

On Sunday morning, we had a well-needed lie in after the Eurovision celebrations the night before. Once we eventually managed to get out of bed, we headed out to look for somewhere to eat. We came across a bar called 'Pub Anchor' which I thought was quite cool since there's a similarly named pub at the end of my street back home. It turned out to be an alternative bar so it was really awesome listening to a mixture of Swedish metal/rock and popular US bands. Green Day even came on! (They will always be my favourite band). For lunch, I ordered a burger meal; my burger came with bacon and salad on and I got some delicious chips. My friend chose chicken pasta and absolutely loved it! It was a great way to kick start our day. 

 
I can't visit anywhere without checking out the local zoos, so I was really excited when I discovered that there was an outdoor folk museum and zoo in Stockholm. Two of my favourite things in one place, History & Animals The place we went to is called Skansen Museum & Zoo, and its the oldest open-air museum in the world (established in 1891). It's such a massive place! We weren't expecting it to be as big as it was, so we couldn't see it all since we arrived three hours before closing time. There was quite a lot of it that was uphill too; hills are not very compatible with my asthma and my feet were really sore from all the sight-seeing we'd done so we walked around at a nice leisurely pace. The grounds are filled with beautiful buildings that would have been found in old traditional rural Sweden. The museum aims to show visitors the way people lived between the 16th century and the beginning of the 20th century in the countryside towns and villages. 


skansen museum and zoo, skansen stockholm, rural sweden,

 How gorgeous is this building!? it's a little school house. All of the buildings that are open to the public on-site are filled with traditional furnishings which is really cool to see. The old black stoves inside are in working condition, and are on so the buildings are toasty warm and it's awesome to be able to see them and get a feel of what it would have been like for the people living in the buildings all that time ago. The staff working in the buildings at Skansen were dressed in traditional clothing too, which was another thing that I thought was fantastic. There was a teacher in the school house explaining about the life of the man who was the teacher in this actual school. She was telling us that school teachers made little money so had to do other jobs in order to support their livelihoods. The teacher who taught in this particular building also raised bees and sold the honey, and apparently he made more money from that than from teaching. I absolutely love learning about anything historical!


 I loved seeing this traditional classroom! It made me think about all of the movies and musicals I've seen set in Victorian and Edwardian England, and it made my imagination run wild thinking about what it would have looked like in 16th century Sweden filled with students. What would they have been learning about? What would they have been wearing to school? What materials would they have been using to do their school work? Inside the school, there was also a kitchen, the teachers bedroom and his office. 


 The next building we explored was called 'The Skane Farmstead'. The sign outside said that the farm had been transported from Skane, in Southern Sweden and it was set up how it would have looked in the 1920's when the Akesson family lived there. The farmstead was surrounded by enclosures with different farm animals in so walking around it felt almost like we'd been transported back in time. There were sheep and cows, and geese and chickens roaming around. The house you can see at the back of the courtyard was so pretty inside but unfortunately no photos we allowed to be taken. There was an elderly man in there dressed in traditional farming clothes and he talked to us about where the house had come from, which was really interesting. I loved seeing the original furnishings in the living room and the bedroom, and again the stove was on in here too. 


 There was lots of old artefacts around the farm such as this water pump, as well as milk churns and old farming equipment. I was so fascinated by everything I saw. We saw some adorable lambs by the farmstead too! I'd love to visit more outdoor/open-air museums. I went to one with my best friend when we were around 14 years old in Yorkshire called Ryedale Folk Museum, and that was awesome!


I had to snap a photo of this goose on a roof because it made me giggle! I don't know why, but I thought I'd share it with you all anyway :) haha 


This building was a traditional village hall. Inside there were rows of wooden benches and with wooden walls and floor, it reminded me of the rural churches I've seen on American movies. It was gorgeous inside with the light shining in through the windows and across the floor; I felt so peaceful and could have sat in there for ages. I just love the red colour that all of the buildings were painted in. We saw lots of houses that were this traditional colour on our first train journey from the Arlanda airport to Stockholm city. They were so picturesque. There was a lovely man sitting inside the village hall who chatted to us briefly and gave us a leaflet all about the village hall, and then left us to look around. I prefer this so much because it makes me really anxious when I have to make awkward conversation with people! 


At the back of the village hall, there was a room filled with cabinets. I LOVE this one packed with books. I think old books are gorgeous! I also love old photos so it was great to be able to look at the ones in this cabinet. There was a tiny room at the side of the village hall with a bed and a kitchen area in, too. This is the last building what we went into, but we also saw a massive church, some huge farm houses, a barn and some cool storehouses. There were some staff dressed in traditional farming outfits who were sawing logs and carrying out other activities that would have been seen back in 20th century rural Sweden. I really recommend going to Skansen if you ever get the chance! 


I thought this 'Soldier's Cottage' was really pretty because of it's roof! I just adore buildings like this that look like they perfectly blend in with the natural surroundings. It would be a dream to live in a little cottage in the woods with a roof like this and a garden full of flowers.  The next part of Skansen we explored was the zoo. It was only small with a few species of animals but it was lovely to see some Scandinavian species. I didn't get many photographs because the weather wasn't the best on Sunday and so most of the animals were hiding in their sleeping quarters. The zoo has wolverines, otter, lynx, brown bears, elk, reindeer, grey and common seals, wild boar, owls, red fox, woodpeckers and European bison. 

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I think bison are beautiful so I was really happy to see them at the Skansen zoo. They are in the process of shedding their coats so they look really patchy and shaggy, but it was nice to see that the zoo had provided enrichment in the form of brushes on the trees so they can scratch against them. In the enclosure with the bison, there were also wild boar. The wild boar had given birth to piglets so there were 8 gorgeous babies running around! 


I was really excited about seeing the elk! They are known as moose in America but elk in Europe and I can't stop calling them moose. I think they are so adorable with their long noses. The elk/moose is the national animal of Sweden and the souvenir shops in Stockholm were filled with moose themed gifts. I got myself something with a moose on, as well as  a moose pin badge for my brother and for my best friend a pink moose keyring (she loves pink!). Another animal that I was looking forward to seeing and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit Skansen was the wolverine. They are beautiful animals and I don't know of any zoos in the UK that have them (please tell me if you know of any) so it would have been amazing to have the chance of see one. However, the wolverine was no where to be seen which was a shame, it was probably asleep inside off public view.

Skansen zoo, skansen museum and zoo, stockholm, lynx, skansen stockholm,

The lynx was hiding in it's cave at the back of it's huge enclosure but thankfully, I could zoom in with my camera to see it. How beautiful is it!? It's ears are so pretty and I love it's markings. I've never seen a lynx before! There were some absolutely fantastic enclosures at Skansen. They had naturalistic set-ups filled with trees and foliage, with ponds and fallen logs to resemble the natural forest habits of the species housed there. It was lovely to see so much enrichment (which are things provided to animals to encourage the expression of normal behaviours). I was completely nerding out over the enclosures and the enrichment I saw. I have a degree in Zoo Biology, so this is my thing! 


This is just one part of the lynx's enclosure, omg i just really love it! I didn't get to see the wolves either because they had some new arrivals so they were off-public so that they could settle in. Their enclosure was just as awesome! After looking around the zoo, we found a little shop so I managed to get some postcards. I'm honestly postcard obsessed! I look for them everywhere I go. Next to the shop, there was a 'children's zoo' which was a building filled with smaller species and there was also an area with enclosures set up with teddies inside to resemble real animals to educate the children. The animals in the children zoo included a European tree frog, toads, sand lizards, newts, snakes, rabbits, rats, fish and some really adorable field mice that were too fast to photograph! 



Since most of Skansen was on top of a hill, we got some amazing views over Stockholm. It was really windy up there too, I felt like I was going to get blown away! Overall, Skansen was an fabulous place and I really enjoyed our visit there. Something that did disappoint me a little about my trip there was that I couldn't go into the aquarium/reptile house, and world of monkeys. This part of the zoo was owned by a seperate company so you had to pay an extra admission fee to get in. It's quite close to the entrance so we'd literally only just paid to get into the park. I would have probably paid to get in before leaving the zoo but we didn't have time. Reptiles are my favourite group of animals so I was sad that I didn't get to see them! Nevermind, I saw some lovely animals and I absolutely loved the museum side of Skansen. It was a great way to spend our last day in Sweden. It was an amazing trip and I can't wait to go back there someday.I'm so proud of myself to stepping out of my comfort zone and going abroad with my friend, we can fantastic time and I really challenged my anxiety.

Thankyou for reading!

 

Have you ever been to an open-air/outdoor museum? What's your favourite Scandinavian animal? 

Check out my other posts about Sweden: