Scotland Trip – part 2

The fourth day into our trip we decided to spend seeing parts of what Scotland was well known for. We had a good plan for the day but as the day went on we ended up doing all sorts of other things instead.

We were up early to go to some local markets. We made our way to one nearby only to find that it was closed. We then had to circle round to another one we found further away. This market wasn’t great but it was good to look around and see what was on offer. I ended up buying a blue stone necklace for my little niece as it was her birthday. It caught her eye and I couldn’t say no.

After spending half an hour or so at the market we were still on schedule, so the next stop was going to the Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Walking up to the entrance we were told that due to the pandemic we had to pre-book and that they had no slots for walk ins! Helpfully though the staff told us that there was another museum nearby that we could go to that did have free slots. We booked our places online and made our way to the Royal College of Surgeons where the Hunterian Museum is based. It was a steep walk up but the building and the view from the top was stunning.

We also found this iconic view, I love the symmetry and elegance of the arches.

We located the entrance to the Hunterian Museum and made our way up the beautiful yellow staircase.

The museum itself was lovely, high ceilings and lots of light. I also really liked the exposed wood beams in the ceiling. Inside there was an array of beautiful and strange objects. I only took photos of artefacts that were attractive or interesting to me but there were lots of jars with eyeballs, and other odd animal parts in that I didn’t take to too well.

After walking around the museum we headed back to the car to drive into town to find something to eat. There was some cool street art around although I wasn’t able to have a proper look around for them.

As we had to find food that was suitable for a halal diet we found restaurants were closed either permanently or due to the pandemic, so it took a lot longer than expected. After finding our patience frayed we finally found a restaurant and then headed back to the hotel to freshen up.

Chatsworth House

Earlier in the year my sister was kind enough to invite me to go away with her and her family for a few days to Scotland. We were driving up so we decided to make a stop on the way to break up the long journey from London. We stopped around half way at the Peak District and while we weren’t able to spend any time in the country park I did suggest going to Chatsworth House, a place I’ve wanted to go to for years (as any Pride and Prejudice fan will understand).

Driving towards the house I suddenly spotted it sitting in the amazing green landscape with the Peaks as it’s backdrop. I couldn’t wait to get a closer look.

We only had an afternoon so we decided to explore the gardens where we could also have a picnic instead of going inside the house. The gardens were huge and were broken down in different parts. There were flowery gardens which were organised and had some very pretty flowers in them.

There was also the Victorian rock garden where I didn’t know what to expect but I was quite impressed with. The kids (and some adults) seemed to love climbing up the rock sculptures which were scattered at different heights. We ended up climbing quite high after following steps to wherever they took us.

There was the Cascade Fountain on the grounds too, which had water flowing down a long pathway of steps. It was quite an amazing feature due to it’s size and how perfectly it sat in with the slope of the hillside.

Walking on, we found a maze which was sadly closed but I loved the gate at the parameters which seemed to be in the shape of the face of a certain gentleman perhaps.

We finally made out way around to the other side of Chatsworth house, where there was a huge fountain called the Emperor fountain. We had actually spotted the water shooting high up in the air on our drive down and wondered what it was. The water shoots up upto 300 feet into the air.

The Emperor fountain sits in front of the house. Here was the iconic view from the films and photos that we always see. The house was simply stunning in all grandeur.

The house had been celebrating dogs so there were statues of them scattered statues around the house. Maybe a good idea to help give the house some scale.

Having spent some time taking pictures and admiring the house we started making our way towards the gift shop and then the car as the kids (and the rest of us) were tired and the dark clouds that had been present all afternoon had finally decided to let loose and pour down on us. I really enjoyed our visit and it’s a place I can finally tick off my bucket list. I really hope I can come back one day and explore the house and walk further into the grounds. A memorable visit for sure.

The Old New Inn Model Village

I’ve always wanted to visit a model village, but have never been able to until now. On the way home from the Confetti Flower Fields we were passing by The Old New Inn Model Village so we decided to stop and take a look.

The model village is the only Grade II listed model village in the country and was first open to the public in 1937. Thee village is made up of older building and has been updated to include new shops as the times have changed.

The shops have have a lot of detail, you can see products in the windows and people sitting at mini tables. To give an idea of scale I asked my sisters to pose next to some houses.

There was a church model that when you got close enough to you could hear a choir singing, a mini zoo with penguins splashing and a little greenhouse with a gardeners and lots of mini pots and a barbeque. There was also a model famous red phone box, which was lovely to see.

One of my favourite things in the model village was a replica of the model village, which also had another replica of the model village!

There was also a model replica of the author Thomas Hardy’s cottage which is is the area (Dorset). He was born in the area and stayed to write a number of novels.

The details that had been put into the model buildings was impressive. Shops windows with products, gardens with plants and one that even a real mini pear tree that had pears growing on it. It’s nice to see that the attraction had been maintained for so many years and that it was well looked after, reflecting the town in modern times as well as old. It was an enjoyable visit and a fun detour.

Winter sunset

One of the things I love in Winter, especially on a cloudless day are the amazing sunsets that I can see from my desk at work. The beautiful shades of orange and yellows that blaze just before succumbing to darkness always makes the London skyline that I can see in the distance even more enticing.

Groombridge Place

I recently went to Groombridge Place in Kent for a day out with my family. It seems to be a fairly popular tourist attraction but thankfully it wasn’t too busy the day we went.

Groomsbridge Place is a moated manor house and was used as Longbridge house, the home of the Bennet’s family in the film Pride and Prejudice. This was the view as we started to walk up to the main part of the site.

The manor was closed off unfortunately, but we could see the house and the details through the gate and over the low walls. I was quite excited to see this place as Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books and it’s always fun to see places and buildings used in films too.

After we had a look at the manor house, we continued along the path up to the main entrance. Having bought our tickets we found a place to have our lunch and take in our surroundings. We spotted a Sherlock Holmes sign on one of the smaller buildings. It turns out that Arthur Conan Doyle regularly visited Groombridge.

After lunch we then decided to take a boat ride down the stream, looking out for wood beings along the way.

Departing from the boat we were near the play area, where there was a play about to begin. We left the kids and my mum to keep an eye on them and the rest of us decided to go into the Enchanted forest. The forest was quite wild, you could see some trees that had been tidied but left where they had fallen. The thing that jumped out the most was that there was seemingly an endless carpet of bluebells.

Getting closer we were enthralled by how beautiful the rich blue looked in the forest. I tried to get some close up photos but it was tricky as there were quite a few spiders which I could see, which I wasn’t too keen on.

We wandered around the forest for quite some time, there were quite a lot of steep parts and it was quite tiring, especially as it was becoming fairly hot, and the air starting to feel quite close. Along the way we found some interesting things. We found a huge totem pole, with expertly carved animals, some travellers caravans that were really pretty and intricately decorated, a huge amount of wild garlic plants, and my favorite, swings hanging from tree branches. There were some strung from high branches that swung over a carpet of bluebells which I thought was very picturesque.

Finally finding our way out we collected my mum and the kids (who all wondered where’d we’d been for so long) and made our way to the birds of prey show. Along the way we crossed paths with a family of geese, who hissed at us when we got too close to their gosling sand some zeedonks who were resting in the sun. The birds of prey show had some really cute, tiny owls that were great fun to watch as they ran around.

The star of the show was a falcon that flew incredibly fast over the crowd. I felt the wind clip past my head as it zoomed past at super speeds. Once it landed it enjoyed a well deserved meal.

Once the show was over we headed down to the gardens. There were some pretty, hidden away parts as well as areas that were more formally groomed. There were also peacocks walking around and showing off their beautiful feathers.

I really liked how neat some of the hedges and flower arrangements were.

After walking back to the main entrance we bought some souvenirs and headed back to the car. We were all pretty tired but we all had a really nice day out at Groombridge and all the beautiful, interesting things it had to offer.

London quirks

One of the many things I love about London are the quirks that you unexpectedly come across. There’s old and new sitting side by side and some really creative and fun quirks. Here’s a few that I came across in my recent visit that made me smile.

I went to Hyde park and came across a lovely vintage car. Upon closer inspection I saw that it had been transformed and was selling ice cream which I thought that was a wonderful idea.

Further on I discovered this bright blue house. I love how bold and vibrant it is.

Also on my wonderings around London I came across a really high pink building, which I thought was a unique colour and some really pretty floral displays which made me feel Spring was on it’s way.

I wasn’t in London for very long but I enjoyed coming across some lovely, quirky things. I look forward to my next visit and will keep my eyes peeled for more curiosities which in London are always just around a corner.

Winter Lights 2019

Canary Wharf is hosting it’s Winter Lights event again this year and last night was the first night it was on, so I, along with my sister and niece, went to see what colourful, creative displays would be on show.

Stepping out of the station we were greeted with one of the most popular displays. This consisted of coloured light balls hanging on wires in neat rows, changing colour in time with the rhythm of the music that was being played. It was quite surreal standing in the middle surrounding by these lights and really fun one. I did, however, find it really tricky trying to get a good photo.
I also thought the recycled plastic insects were interesting which didn’t have any light but the fluorescent paint made them glow. And the lit up hopscotch game made me think of when I used to play when I was younger (and yes I did have ago!).

Some of the installations had music or sounds to go along with them, like the lines making up the shape of a whale, which emitted whale noises and moved like one too. The fountains had playful music along with varying shapes and colours the shooting water made which I quite enjoyed.

One thing I noticed was that there was a lot of colourful pieces this year. The lit up, colour changing maze was one, and was quite fun, but the other piece I really liked were the beautifully colourful prisms, that you could spin to create a reflective effect. These were also tricky to photograph as people kept spinning them really fast but I finally got a decent shot. Next we walked up to the square filled with glowing, colourful trees making them seem almost dreamlike. This one was nice just to sit and look at, giving us a chance to have a little rest.

I think one of the most clever and interactive installations was the colourful bench that when you put your hand on the sensor showed your heartbeat in lines and patterns along where you were sitting. I also liked the animal silhouettes that walked along the water edge with corresponding animal sounds playing around you, something simple but effective.

It took us a few hours to find all the installations, by which point we were pretty cold and tired, but we did all really enjoy the event. The Winter Lights event is on for 2 weeks and I would definitely recommend if you happen to be around. Just remember to wrap up.

Camden Street Art

Camden is known to have some great street art, and on my last visit there I decided to go looking to see what I could find. With street art you often have to go off the beaten track (so to speak) to discover art on sides of buildings, behind fences and on practically any surface that looks appealing. After some searching I found some really amazing art, by some talented artists.

I think my favourite find was this Chimpanzee face painted on a wall, I thought the detail was really impressive, and I really liked the colourful owl made with bold strokes.

There was probably loads more tucked away on side streets and behind buildings and I hope to go back at some point to see what else has been left behind, as well as new pieces drawn over the old.

Snow in London

It’s been really cold in London very recently leading to some significant snowfall. It doesn’t snow a lot here but among the travel chaos and freezing temperatures, the snow looked beautiful. As per usual the cat stayed tucked away somewhere, having ventured out in the garden first.

And our garden bench looked very pretty and wintery in a layer of snow.

In the centre of London grand buildings looked even more scenic with a snowy surroundings.

Most of it has melted away now and everything is back to normal. It was nice to have a blanket of snow for a while that can transform a landscape, even amid the chaos and cold.

Here’s to the best of 2017

We’ve reached the end of 2017 and in some ways it’s felt liked a long year, in another it’s like it passed by quicker than ever. I’ve been lucky to go to lots of amazing places this year with family and friends and I leave you with some of my favourite photos that I took. I hope 2018 is an amazing, blessed year for you and me and that the World is calmer, more peaceful and that ease comes to those experiencing hard times.

Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for taking an interest in my little world.