Elephant Parade London

There’s an Elephant’s Parade in London for a few weeks this Summer. The elephant’s in this case are not real elephants but statues that have been decorated and dotted around London for you to discover. Last weekend I took my sister and my niece along with me to find them.

The first few were close to the station as was a shop selling miniature versions of the elephants that you could take home.

After visiting the shop we looked for the others in the area. There were a number clustered in a park that were decorated in different colours and styles. I really liked the black elephant with colourful flowers, and thought some of the styles were quite innovative and interesting

After spending some time looking at the elephants, taking photos and admiring the paint work we looked for others that were located close by.

The last few that we found were also very pretty, I especially liked the blue and white patterned one and the metal one made of clock faces. The elephants were all located fairly close to each other so it didn’t take too long to find them, which was good as it was very hot (and in previous years looking for the statues has taken a lot longer as they are spread out so much more across London)

What I like about these sorts of events in London is that they’re free, everyone of all ages join in and the artwork is always really creative, colourful and fun. I also love how they make you go off the beaten track in London and discover some parts that you would never otherwise see, such as the last few located near a big screen showing tennis with deckchairs to relax in. These elephants will eventually be auctioned off with the money raised going to charity which I think is great.

Chelsea in Bloom 2018

The Chelsea Flower Show is a world famous event that happens each year in London. Lucky for me though an alternative event called Chelsea in Bloom that takes place at the same time. Chelsea in Bloom is a flower competition that boutiques, restaurants and other retailers take part in around Chelsea, each showing off their creative flair. This year my sister and I decided to scout out the displays. The theme this year was ‘Summer of Love’ inspired by the Royal Wedding and the 60’s/70’s cultural revolution. Some of the shop fronts had pretty arches over doorways, others had some truly creative and beautiful pieces.

One that I really liked was the arch of blue and purple flowers, because it was really neat, I love blues and purples and most importantly the flowers smelled amazing. I can’t say the other displays really smelled of much but this one had a very fragrant smell, one that I wish I could have bottled.

The other ones that really stood out for me were the giant colourful skeletons, The pretty swans and the huge floral engagement rings. My other favourite was the hotel front covered entirely in flowers, unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a good photo of that as there was a double decker bus parked right in front of it!

It was quite tiring walking around, especially as the map provided wasn’t very accurate, but we did manage to find most of the flower displays and it was great to see fresh flowers used to create some really interesting, fun and sometimes beautiful displays. I think it was a nice, free, event and one that I can imagine revisiting next year.

Eid-al-Fitr 2018/1439: Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak to Muslims around the world celebrating Eid-al-Fitr after a month of fasting. I hope you all have a day full of happiness, love and blessings as well as lots of delicious food. Lets also be sure to remember all those who continue to suffer around the world, may they find peace and ease soon and may we all be grateful for everything we have.

Blossoms in Greenwich Park

In Greenwich Park in south east London there’s a walkway that’s lined with trees, and every Spring these trees erupt in pink flowers making the path look quite beautiful and very photographic. Earlier this month my sister and I went to Greenwich Park and found the walkway that seems so popular. We went early but there were still plenty of people around enjoying the pretty sight.

We spent some time just soaking in the atmosphere and flowers on the trees, as well as trying to take some photos that would show just how lovely it all was.

We were lucky the weather was so bright and warm, making our visit there even more enjoyable. The flowers are probably all gone now, but seeing these and knowing they last for such a short time made us appreciate the experience even more.

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist

The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square has recently become home to a new piece of art called The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by Michael Rakowitz and is a replica of Lamassu, a mythological beast that guarded Assyrian city of Nineveh, which was destroyed in 2005 in Iraq. In the hot sunshine, the colourful Iraqi date syrup tins pieces that make up the beast glimmered.

I really loved the colour, details and symbolism of this statue and I felt it was quite different to what’s been displayed in Square in the past.

If you have a chance I would definitely visit this piece of art which will be on display until 2020.

Winter Lights 2018

The Winter season in London can sometimes feel long and cold, but to help brighten it up there have been a couple of light events to make the most of it getting dark early. There was Lumiere London which had art installations scattered around central London, and there was also a similar event held in Canary Wharf, which was just as great. This event was also held last year which was very good, so I was looking forward to this year’s.

One windy evening my sister and I headed down to see what was on show. There were installations indoors ad well as out but we decided to do the ones outside first. There were some really interesting ones that I really liked, such as Halo which was a ring of lights and to make it even better it was suspended above a pool of water giving it a nice reflection. My favourite was the wonderful Dodecahedron which you could also climb into to take in the stunning colours. The huge inflated, lit up rabbit was also cute I thought. There were also pieces that interacted with music or with movement by people that was interesting.

Once we’d seen all the installations outside, we headed indoors to see the ones displayed there as well as warm up, as we were freezing. I thought these ones were even lovelier than the ones outside. There was wearable fashion such as a dress with LEDs and a clutch that you could have words appear on.

One that was really intriguing, simple and so effective were the giant, colourful, bubble-like balloons hanging from rods. They were made from plastic strips and as they retracted and expanded they changed shape as they spun. My absolute favourite though, were the colourful mosaic lanterns that cast beautiful light patterns on the walls and ceiling. I did suggest it could be my next birthday present but I don’t think my sister will be taking it as they were quite pricey.

There were a few we couldn’t find but having wandered around Canary Wharf for long enough we decided it was time to go home. I thought this light event was really good, and I feel lucky to be able to see such great art installations close to home, which certainly helped brighten up the winter nights.

London’s Festive Lights

London has been looking very Christmassy these couple of months, and on my recent walks around the city here’s some of what I’ve come across.

Covent Garden has lots of decorations up.

I really liked the lights on Oxford Street, especially the glittery, golden waterfall inside one of the department stores.

My favourites was the trees made up of fluorescent coloured lights at Liverpool Street, in Shoreditch.

It’s really lovely to see all the effort that has gone in to making London festive and bright for this time of year.

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.

Spiral Staircase

In Heal’s furniture store in London, tucked away towards the back is a wonderful staircase. It was designed by Cecil Brewer in 1916 and it is as beautiful today as it was then. The staircase spirals from fourth floor to the basement level, with a stunning Bocci chandelier filling the space in the centre with 65 glass pendants.

This is the lovely view from the bottom to the top

The handrail is a rich dark brown, giving a lovely outline to the staircase, and the glass pendants sit at irregularly giving a sense of height

My favourite view is from the top down to the basement. There is a black glass table sitting just under the chandelier which reflects back the lit up pendants giving the view an extra twinkle.

I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area, as access to beautiful structures isn’t always so easy.

Impromptu visit to Kew

One of my favourite places in London is Kew Gardens, so when my sister and her husband invited me for an impromptu trip recently I couldn’t say no. Kew is known for having plants, trees and flowers from around the world, there’s so much to see and it’s a great place to get lost in for the day.

First stop was the Hive which is a large structure made of metal and has lights that blink according to bee activity in a real beehive at Kew.

You can’t go to Kew and not visit the Palm House, which holds tropical plants from around the world. It’s usually really hot in here and as usual I had to wait for my camera to de-fog before I could take some photos. One plant we were pleased to find was the Sensitive plant. When you touch the open leaves they react immediately and close together.

From there we went to the Waterlily House hoping to find the giant lily pads that I remember from my childhood but have missed on my previous visits. Unfortunately they’d been moved, so I’ll have to try again another time. I did, however see some pretty waterlily flowers though.

Next we went to the Woodland area, and with it being late summer and the weather unsettled we got caught in a heavy downpour, thankfully though we were able to shelter under a giant Elm tree until the rain stopped. The Woodland area had a great number of trees of all types, my favourite though were the Redwood trees. These giants have a reddish, rough grain trunk and can grow to a phenomenal size.

Walking further along came across a huge wooden table, which seems like it would be perfect for all my family when they come to dinner! And hidden nearby was a log trail that you could walk across, made up of different types of trees, so educational as well as fun. There was also a badger set and tunnels you could go into.

By the time we reached the log trail we’d made it to the far end of the grounds and it was getting late so we started heading back towards the gates. I had a relaxing, fun day out and it’s always a pleasure and a privilege to see the beautiful plants, trees and flowers that can be found around the world so close to where I live.