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.
My brother and his family went to Qatar not too long ago to visit family, and my sister-in-law kindly brought back some treats for me in the shape of this colourful rainbow popcorn. The popcorn kernels are coated in coloured sugar with each colour having a different taste. I was told they’re all the rage in Qatar.
It’s quite fun to try and work out what each colour tastes like but I did find the popcorn quite sweet so I couldn’t eat a lot.
It’s a really colourful and fun idea, and it’ll be interesting to see if it catches on in the UK.
I enjoy taking day trips to places I’ve never been to before and one such place that a friend and I went to not so long ago was Brighton. It was an early start and took a few hours by train to get to but we managed to arrive just as the sun was becoming brighter and warmer. First we wandered throughout the lanes discovering lots of cool street art (which I will post separately) and just in time for the market and shops to start opening. Something I noticed quite quickly was just how quirky some of the shops and props were and that there was so much colour everywhere, which I loved.
We walked along the market stalls that had interesting products for sale and along nearby roads, some of which had some really colourful houses. One shop that I was particularly keen on visiting was a well known cake shop called Choccywoccydoodah which has some amazing cake designs and eggs just in time for Easter. We didn’t stop to buy any though as we were keen to keep moving and see everything on our list. Another shop that I was pleased to unexpectedly come across was one that sold rubber ducks and only rubber ducks.
Next we went to see the famous Royal Pavilion which upon arrival, we could see why it was so popular and considered so beautiful. The Indo-Islamic style of the building was striking especially against the bright blue sky and quite unusual for an English town. I spent quite some time just looking up at the intricate detail of the embellishments and the curves and spires that reached up high.
After the Royal Pavilion and it’s gardens we headed towards the coast, photos of which I will post soon.
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
Spring has well and truly sprung in London so I took a walk into one of my favourite local parks to see how the turn of the season has made itself known.
There was lots of colour on display such as this bright, yellow daffodil ‘runway’ which made me really smile. It made me want to run down the middle of it too (but I didn’t). There were also beautiful pink and white magnolia flowers and cerise Primroses reaching out for the sun.
The water in lake was sparkling, and was alive with graceful swans and paddling ducks. The row boats were sat on the side, not yet in use, but I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re in demand by eager rowers.
As I walked along the path I was watched keenly by a squirrel that was trying to be brave and not run away from me and my camera. Nearing the exit I saw the pretty white blossoms filling the trees, making me feel that the new season will be filled with hope, beauty and new opportunities.
Canary Wharf in London hosted a Winter Lights festival which I went along to last week. Last year was London’s first light festival which was huge and was based in the centre of the Capital. This year’s festival, however, was over a 2 weeks period, with less installations and in a less busy part of London, although still very attractive.
On arrival to Canary Wharf we were welcomed by a giant egg shaped structure that was lit up with changing colours that you could walk through, which I thought was vey pretty. Walking on we saw some lovely, illuminated angel wings with halos, but one of the best pieces on show, for me, were the bright neon strips tied around tree trunks. Light was shone one to them to bring out the reflective nature of the strips which looked very bright and almost psychedelic. It was a simple idea but one that was so striking.
Next we came across some balls that changed colour in sync to music being played, which was relaxing and entertaining, and some mist on water that had shapes and colours projected onto it, which if you moved around in front of made the shapes dance and change. Another of my favourites pieces on show was the super innovative water fall where the water was dropped in letters to form words that shone for a second before disappearing.
The last part of the festival was set up indoors which gave everyone a chance to warm up, and get out of the freezing cold evening. The most interesting light installation here was one that was operated with an EEG headset which a person put on, converting the person’s brainwaves into light movement and sound. It felt quite futuristic and I can imagine it being an idea that grows.
After 3 hours of walking around, I think I managed to see most of the light and art installations on show. The festival didn’t cost anything and it let me see some really innovative art, as well as enabling me to spend some in a part of London that I never usually visit.
Today is the last day of 2016 and it has been a tumultuous year both in the world and, I feel, for me personally. I hope 2017 is calmer, more peaceful and more fulfilling, for all of us. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite photos of this past year, of places I’ve been lucky to visit and things I’ve enjoyed. Happy New Year to all of you.