Hampton Court Palace

I went to Hampton Court Palace a few weeks ago with my family for a day out. The Palace was once the home of King Henry VIII and was built in the Tudor style in 1514. The building and grounds are huge, with mazes, gardens and so much more.

Walking up to the Palace and through the entrance was a large courtyard. There were huge tall pillars along a walkway leading to other rooms, high walls with a decorative clock and a fountain with statues to depict what life may have been like.

Inside were some beautiful rooms and staircases. The King’s Staircase was especially wonderful, with a huge painting across the entire wall and ceiling, and an intricately made handrail leading up the stairs.

The rooms were set up as they would have been when it was lived in, with costumes and props on display and with facts of King Henry’s life there. The inside ground walkways opened up to courtyards that had fountains and statues.

On the other side of the building was the was the Queen’s Staircase, also quite beautiful, and was lit in a soft, warm light.

After looking around the main part of the Palace we headed towards the gardens. The Great Fountain Garden is one of the largest and was one that we came upon first. Just as we entered a horse and carriage pulled up, and we all piled on excitedly for a ride around the garden.

After our ride we walked towards the other gardens, the main one was The Privy Garden which was set out in an Italian style and was very well looked after. Along one side was a long, vine coloured walkway which was lovely for a stroll. Nearby were other well kept, but smaller gardens. I personally loved walking through the rose garden which gave off an amazing scent.

The Palace also had a maze, which is England’s oldest surviving at 300 years old. We had fun looking for the centre and then our way out. Next we visited the huge play area for children, with high bridges, hills and sculptures. Hidden away, the Palace also had The Great Vine, the largest and oldest known grapevine in the world, at over 240 years old.

There was a lot to see, with some beautiful, grand rooms, staircases and gardens, and we easily spent a whole day there, after which we were all completely exhausted. I can see now, why Hampton Court Palace is so popular and it was amazing to see and learn about the history of how Kings and Queens of our past lived in such an opulent palace.

St Dunstan in the East

London has some beautiful old buildings, some that are hundreds of years old. One such building that I visited recently was St Dunstan in the East which was a church built in 1100. It was badly damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and then again in the second World War, after which instead of repairing, was turned into a public garden. Over time nature has grown around and over the stunning, ornate walls, doorways and windows making the view look almost enchanting and something out of a romantic fairy tale.

The steeple built by Sir Christopher Wren has survived and stands tall over the garden, and the rest of the building built in a gothic style looks even more amazing as it has been weathered by time and the elements.

The vibrant green leaves of the shrubs and climbers create a drastic contrast against the huge, grey stone walls as well as dampening the noise a little making it easy to believe that you’re the only one around.

This garden is tucked away in the centre of London and surrounded by modern buildings looks almost surreal. Once you’re within the walls though you feel transported to an older time, and the tranquil feel of the place along with the stunning architecture and nature make this a spot that I would love to come back to.

Halal Street Food Festival

I recently went to a halal food festival in London with a friend. I usually don’t go to food events as I’m never too sure what I can eat, but as this was one where I could have my pick and not hold back I was keen to see what they would have. The event was held in London’s iconic Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch. There were lots of stalls with food on offer, so it took us a while to look around and decide what we wanted as well as it being super busy.

We finally decided on masala cheesy chips and chicken wrap to share and delicious looking waffles on a stick for dessert with freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down. We then headed towards the games section where we played giant noughts and crosses and connect four and just soaked in the atmosphere.

The event was very popular and queues were super long, but the food was varied and enjoyable. I’d be interested to go to such an event again but maybe on a weekday to try and avoid the rush.

Palestine Expo 2017

Palestine has been a controversial issue for many years but it’s one that I’ve felt quite strongly about for some time, so when I heard about a Palestine Expo coming to London I made sure I was able to go. The Expo was in London and was the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine in Europe.

There were lots of people from all backgrounds attending which I thought was great. At the venue there was a knowledge area, food quarter and a gallery. I thought the day was very worthwhile; I attended some talks with inspiration speakers and learnt about issues that Palestinians face today, about their culture and tried some of their food.

As tensions continue in the Middle East I think events like these are important to share information and broaden views and I would definitely attend an event like this again. I hope that Palestinians facing hard times know that they aren’t alone and that they have support from around the world to help and resolve the situation they are in.
You can see my sisters’ posts here and here

Hatfield House

A few weeks ago I went to Hatfield House, situated just outside London, which is a Jacobean styled country house that was Elizabeth I’s childhood home. The site was huge with beautiful gardens, grounds and a farm along with the main building. The house itself was grand looking and had an unusual looking, moving fountain in front of it.

The rooms inside were stunning, and as I walked from room to room and through the corridors I could see the level of detail that went into the embellishment and upkeep of the place. The ceilings were one of my favourite features with each room having a particular style, each beautiful in their own way. The hallways were covered with intricately woven tapestries and the elegant furnishings were stunning, like this green velvet chair.

My absolute favourite room was the Armoury. The pretty cut out panels contrasting with the masculine figures wearing amour made the room both modern and historical at the same time. The other rooms that really stood out to me were the Long Gallery with its distinctive golden ceiling and the Library which would be my dream room with all the amazing books.

Once I’d looked around the grand house I made my way to the gardens. There were several garden each with a different style and character. The one that I liked the best was West Garden with the fountain centrepiece and pretty flowers. The others were just as lovely, one had a large sundial while the others had long walkways and primped hedges.

Heading further out were the Woodland Gardens, and I was happy that I was in time to see the carpet of bluebells that had bloomed. Beyond, were the grounds, which were magnificent. I was able to look in all directions at the wonderful green landscape without seeing the borders. One interesting landmark that I came across was a tree with a plaque, stating that this was the spot that Queen Elizabeth I was standing in when she was told she would be queen.

After walking through part of the enormous grounds I headed back towards the entrance, stopping to visit the gift and toy shop.

Spending the day at Hatfield House was relaxing, informative and beautiful. The House had stunning rooms that were without doubt fit for a Queen, and the gardens were amazing with pretty flowers, fountains and greenery as far as the eye could see. It’s no wonder that such a place has been used so frequently in films and holds such appeal with the public.

Ramadan Mubarak 2017/1438

Ramadan has started this weekend all around the world for Muslims. In the UK the days are looking to be quite long and warm so I hope everyone is pacing themselves. I hope that everyone fasting during this special month makes the most of the days ahead to shake bad habits, create new ones and purify heart, body and soul.

Chocolate, cheese and wine fair

I recently went to a mini chocolate, cheese and wine fair to see what goodies (by which I mean chocolate) was on offer.

The stall were stacked high with various cheese blocks, and excitingly, in one section, there was a cheese carving competition. I only managed to see the beginning of the sculptures (as I forgot to go back) but they did have on display a finished cheese sculpture of someone famous.

I took a quick whizz around the wine stalls just out of curiosity, but didn’t linger long as I don’t drink. One wine that I did think was interesting was a chocolate flavoured wine. Wonder what people think of it. Other foods on display were delicious looking breads and baked goods as well as different oils to add taste.

There were only a few chocolate stalls but the products on display were really unique. There were chocolates embellished with coloured patterns and prints, which would make great gifts, and some that had unusual flavours and designs. I especially like the pearl effect Easter eggs on display.

Even though the fair wasn’t very big I thought the products and competitions were interesting and it made for a nice afternoon out.chocolate, cheese and wine fair

Lights, Camera, Action

London is known for being quite an old city with lots of history and culture, and one thing that the streets and buildings are often used for are film sets. A stone’s throw from where I work is lovely area and is being used for just that. The film set when I last passed by had some beautiful vintage vehicles against the elegant Regency era buildings.

I especially liked the classic vibrant blue Rolls Royce

After some digging I think I worked out what title they were filming for. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s right once the finished film makes it to the big screen. In the meantime I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any famous faces.

Mother’s Day 2017

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK today and my mum got really spoiled with lots of flowers, presents and cards from her children and her grandchildren; a way to show her we all love and appreciate her. I hope all mum’s out there were treated like royalty today too.