Brighton – part 1

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.

London walk about

I know some parts of London quite well but with it being a large city there’s still plenty for me to discover. On my recent walk with a friend I was able to see some well known landmarks up close as well as unexpectedly come across buildings that I thought were very interesting.

We started at Leadenhall Market which looked very grand with its high arched roof and traditional style shops. We then walked along and discovered a really tall, steel building which looked quite futuristic to me. I was surprised to learn that it was actually a bank. One building that we were drawing closer to and that I was particularly excited to see was one of my favourite buildings in London, The Gherkin. I see it every day on the train into work but had never up close, so I was really pleased to see it from the ground up, even in the rain.

We then walked along to the Tower of London where we found an artful looking pride of lions guarding the walls, and along the banks of the River Thames there were some stylish, unique igloos that you could enjoy some lunch in. I wasn’t able to sit in them but they did look cosy and inviting with a great view of the river and London’s skyline.

Next up was Borough Market where there were lots of stalls selling a range of great products. The ones with the sweet treats especially caught my eye. Around the corner and something hard to miss was one of London’s newest and tallest landmark, The Shard. I was delighted to be able to get close as I’d seen it from far away so many times. Whenever I get up close to a tall building I always have to tip my head right back and look straight up at the top.

On the last part of our walk was St Paul’s Cathedral. We were lucky enough to get there just a it’s loud bells began ringing (and we discovered why later when we stumbled across a bride and groom that had just been married inside). I don’t think my photos quite did the famous, grand cathedral justice but it’s a huge building that has a great level of detail and history to it.

The walk took us most of the afternoon and tired us out, so after listening to the church bells for a while we headed to the station and towards home. I was able to see some famous, beautiful landmarks as well as lesser known spots that held my attention and made me smile. I hope to come back to some of these one day and venture inside to see what else there is to discover.

Skate park street art

On Southbank, near the River Thames there’s a skate park that I’ve passed a few times that has some great street art. On my visit there yesterday I stopped to take a few photos.

There were several skaters doing jumps and tricks which drew in a crowd, as well as a couple of talented artists that we were lucky enough to see at work.

What I like about the art here is that there are layers upon layers of street art and paint that have been left by artists, making the area one that is always changing, and that always has something new to offer.

Nail

Nail

I like coming across odd bits of art around London and this sculpture is certainly that. Its a giant nail stuck in the ground, hidden away opposite the famous landmark that is St Paul’s Cathedral. I like the texture and rusty look of the nail and that you don’t realise what it is until you look up and see the head.

Winter Lights 2017

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.

Thumbs Up

One of my favourite spots in London is Trafalgar Square, I love the open space in the middle of London filled with the sound of gushing water pouring out of the famous fountains and all overlooked by the proud bronze lions on one side and squared by plinths in each corner. The fourth plinth on the Square displays pieces of art and now it is home to a new one. In the past I have posted about the Gift Horse and the Blue Chicken, which were displayed and now it is home to a statue called Really Good which is a hand with a very long thumbs up. I’m not too sure what I make of it but it makes me smile, and think positive which I guess is what it’s supposed to do. What do you think of it?

Really Good Thumbs Up

Really Good Thumbs Up

Discovering street art

What I love about London is how things are always changing and developing making walks around the city interesting and varied. One of the things that I particularly keep an eye out for is street art. There’s always a splash of colour or a cheeky face peeking out from just about anywhere. One talented artist whose work I’m quite fond of is Nathan Bowen and he seems to be quite busy leaving his mark in various places.

Nathan Bowen Art

I also see a number of Stickmen (by Stik) popping up which I also really like and I thought the chicken were good fun too by Holly Frean.

I always like coming across artwork that makes me think of something in a new perspective or just brings a smile to my face. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and hopefully will share more creative street art as I chance upon them.

London Muslim Lifestyle Show 2016

This weekend my sister and I went to the London Muslim Lifestyle show in West London, which was an event bringing together different products and services that are available for Muslims. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I was looking forward to finding out.

There was a wide variety of things on offer; from different kind of foods, to jewellery and books.

My favourite things were the beautiful pieces of Arabic art, the stunning bottles of attar/perfume and tasty food on offer. I learnt lots of new things and was genuinely impressed by all innovative ideas that were presented from new phone apps to products that filled gaps in the market.

It was tempting to buy everything I liked, which was too much, but I managed to hold back and stick mainly to window shopping and tasters, treating myself to a few lovely things.

As you can tell I got a bit carried away with my photos, but there was just so much to see. As well as stalls there were fashion shows, singers and workshops that you could attend. My sister and I also had a lot of fun having our photos taken in photo booths wearing silly props. I thought it was an interesting event and meeting a diverse range of smiley people people, both Muslim and non created a great atmosphere.

Elephant parade

On my travels around London I often spot interesting and quirky pieces of art work, and one I came across recently was an elephant dressed in a Mayor’s outfit. I remember a few years ago lots of these were decorated and then placed around London to be auctioned off, and in recent years, in the same vein, there have been eggs, bears and phone boxes. I love the idea of taking a generic mould and personalising it in a creative and fun way to raise money for charity.

Ella May elephant

Over the years here are others that I’ve spotted, all decorated beautifully.

As this seems to be a popular and fun way to raise awareness on important issues, I look forward to seeing what comes next.