Chelsea in Bloom 2019

The Chelsea Flower show is world famous and incredibly popular, so for those of us who can’t visit, an event called Chelsea in Bloom is a nice aternative. Shops in the Chelsea area take part in celebrating the flower show by decoratating their shop fronts in beautiful flowers. They compete with one another to create the best displays. Can you guess this year’s theme?

My sister and I went along one day to take a look. There were 88 displays in all but I don’t think we managed to see all of them. Some were really impressive, some were quite fun and others pointing to a more serious aspect of pollution.

I really liked the ‘pretty’ fish made of leaves and flowers.

Some displays were huge covering the height of the building while others had more detail to them.

My favourites displays were the purple shark, the oyster shell surrounded by colourful flowers, and the googly eyed octopus.

We spent a few hours walking around looking at the displays before we decided it was getting late and headed for home (not to mention we were exhausted). I thought some of the displays were really creative and colourful and I enjoyed seeing them. If you’re interested in seeing who the winners of the competition were click here.

Eid Celebrations

Eid is usually a hectic but fun filled affair at our house. Everyone comes over to eat my mum’s delicious lunch and then stays for conversation, food and games.

My youngest sister kindly bought some Eid balloons which we put up.

I didn’t get a chance to take many photos as it was a full house with 16 adults and 9 children and with other relatives dropping by at various intervals (our latest guests left at 11.30pm!), but I managed to get few photos of gifts that we shared with one another. Traditionally children are given money and sweets are shared among the adults but in our family we try and give each other gifts when we can. I love that my mum still doesn’t think we’re too old to receive Eid money, even if others do.

I bought these initial mugs for my sisters that I thought were quite unique.

And for all my little nieces I ended up with a rainbow theme of t-shirt, bracelets, sweets and other little bits. They were so excited to receive a bag of colourful goodies.

My eldest sister decorated and personalised these boxes for each of us that I thought was really nice. I loved my ombre clutch, which will go perfectly with an outfit I plan to wear at a family wedding next month. I also got lots of chocolate and a scented rose (which I forgot to include a picture of) from my other sisters.

We all had a great day which was full of lovely clothes, amazing food and smiles. I hope that others celebrating Eid had a lovely day as much as we all did.

Dholki party

I was recently asked to take photos at a dholki party that a friend of my sister’s was having. A dholki is a party that takes place before a wedding which involves dancing and singing traditional songs to the beat of a drum – a dholki. The event was held in a private space in a restaurant meaning that we would be able to have good food and then have a space for the entertainment. Dholkis are mainly for women (and young children), giving the women a chance to let their hair down without any inhibitions.

The theme of the event was peacock feathers with colours pulled out to decorate other parts of the space which I really liked.

The bride-to-be’s friends set up dessert tables near the entrance that I though were really creative and colourful. I thought the popcorn was a nice way to keep the kids happy until food was served. I also loved the cake shaped in a cushion.

After everyone had dinner cushions, the drum and song books were placed together so that everyone could sit and sing songs together.

Once everyone had sung enough songs, the floor space was cleared so that people could dance. The bride and her friends had choreographed a few dances together, which was fun to watch.

It was a fun evening and a nice way to give women close to the bride-to-be a chance to spend time together with the her and her family.

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.

Rainbow lollipop class

My sister and I recently went to a candy making class, something that we both have wanted to do. We arrived for the class and excitedly looked around the shop at the wonderful sweets as we waited for the candy to be heated to the correct temperature. Once this was done we made our way to the workshop with our instructor. It was only a small class with another woman, my sister and me and the instructor who was going to lead the class. Today we were making rainbow lollipops.

The mixture of glucose, water and sugar was really hot, and so it was only safe for the instructor to use. The instructor poured the mixture onto a specially made table that was heated to enable him to keep working with it. The flavour of the mixture was tutti frutti and it smelled great. Once the mixture was on the table our instructor started to add colour, made with natural flavourings and were vegan, vegetarian and halal which was great to know.

First the primary colours were made, and then our instructor used these to make the secondary colours. The white was stretched to add air which would then bring out the colour. All the colours were then laid out in rainbow order and wrapped around the white candy to create a long, colourful tube. We were now able to start making our rainbow lollipops.

Our instructor stretched the candy tube to make it thinner and then gave us a piece each to create our shapes. Working on heated tables and with gloves on we made a simple shape first, the swirl, and adding a wooden stick our lollipop was complete. We then made a few more shapes; starts, hearts, flowers and butterflies. I think my favourite was the duck which came out quite well. We had to work quickly with each piece of candy as it would become difficult to mold as it cooled, hardened and turned glass-like.

The class was about 1 hour long, but the time went quickly, as it always does when you’re having fun. Our instructor was friendly, and very knowledgeable, and the candy making process was almost scientific when it came to understanding the way the ingredients interacted with each other. And the best bit; we all got to take our tasty creations home with us, which was a lot more than I expected. I would definitely recommend doing a class like this, as it’s not every day that you get to have a hands on experience that involves such tasty treats.

Surprise Baby Shower

My younger sister recently had her second baby, a daughter, but before she did we threw my sister a surprise baby shower. There were lots of secret plans, conspiring and her poor husband getting in trouble for being difficult but the surprise baby shower went off perfectly and my sister had no idea what we had planned for her.

We decided on a rainbow pastel theme to make it gender neutral but to also make the room look colourful. On the day we asked my sister’s husband to delay my sister on her trip to our house so we could set up.

When my sister finally arrived and walked through the doors, we all shouted surpise giving her a huge shock!

We had a colourful sweet table with balloons, lots of treats and presents. My sister in law made some really cool bottle and baby grow shaped biscuits. I also thought the baby carriage favour boxes were a really cute.

We ordered a lovely two tiered button cake to fit in with the theme, and the icing inside was both pink and blue which I thought was a really creative.

As the weather was nice we decided to have everyone outside for games and socialising so we hung lots of colourful scarves and decorations to make it all look really pretty. One of the games we played was guessing the melted chcolate in the baby nappy (which looked a bit disgusting).

Everyone had a great time at the baby shower, and most importantly my sister did. She left with a hoard of presents, a big smile and hopefully lots of memories. I’m glad the baby shower went to plan and that we all gave the new addition to the family a great welcome.

Hello there

Some of you may have noticed that I disappeared for a while. I managed to annoyingly, break my laptop and have just had it fixed and returned. I’ve been up to lots of things these last couple of months, which I will post about soon, but for now, I’d like to say hello and share this photo of this beautiful purple rose, which is not only an unusual colour but smelled amazing.

Eid-ul-Adha 2018/1439

Eid Mubarak everyone. Taqabbal Allahu Minna Wa Minkum (May Allah accept it from you and us).

Happy Eid to all to Muslims around the world who are celebrating Eid-al-Adha which coincides with the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and honours Abraham’s promise to God. In these blessed days may all pilgrims’ prayers and ours be accepted.