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.

Colourful Beach Huts

I went to Bournemouth over the summer for a few days, I have lots of photos to post (which I plan to do soon), but for now, here’s a photo of some colourful beach huts that I have wanted to take wanted photos of every time I went to the seaside. Colourful beach huts are quite iconic of British beaches and I love how they brighten up the landscape and look so neat and uniform. I was really pleased to have finally have spotted some.

Sunflower and Lavender Fields

Yesterday I went to a sunflower field in Hertfordshire with my sister, my nieces and my brother in law who kindly drove us there. Last year I visited Mayfield lavender farm which was a lovely visit and I was keen to see other flower fields (I’d love to see tulips in Holland). Hitchin Lavender had a sunflower field and next to it a lavender field, which meant that we got to see both on this visit.

We started at the far end and walked up the rows, but more than the sunflowers and lavender, what really took my attention was an empty field with nothing but bales of hay scattered around. I’ve seen such bales on drives through the country on numerous occasions and always wanted to stop and take some photos. This one has a fence around it but part of it was broken so I took my chance and went through it to take some shots.

It was quite difficult to walk in this field as the corn stalk were short but quite sharp so I had to tread carefully or risk being poked in my ankles (which I did), but I worked my way across the field and to see the bales of hay that were spread out as well as get up close to a few.

After some time gazing across the field of the round bales I came back through to the main field which had the sunflowers. There were thousands of sunflowers but I think due to the very hot summer we’ve had and the heavy heads the sunflowers were quite droopy, which made it difficult to take photos. There were still some smaller ones though that looked fresh with all their petal intact which looked pretty.

After walking through the sunflowers we moved onto the lavender field which was right next to the sunflowers, but was much bigger.

The lavender smelled lovely and looked great, spread out ahead almost as far as the eye could see. We were given paper bags and scissors at the entrance and told we could take back any flowers we pleased, so we filled our bags with a few sunflowers and plenty of lavender.

Having wondered around for a couple of hours, taking photos, smelling the scent of the flowers and just taking in the pleasant, relaxing view on a sunny day we started heading back to the car and to get something to eat – it’s hard and hungry work walking through large fields but immensely rewarding, and I would definitely recommend a visit, especially as a small break from the city.

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.

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.

Camden Street Art

Camden is known to have some great street art, and on my last visit there I decided to go looking to see what I could find. With street art you often have to go off the beaten track (so to speak) to discover art on sides of buildings, behind fences and on practically any surface that looks appealing. After some searching I found some really amazing art, by some talented artists.

I think my favourite find was this Chimpanzee face painted on a wall, I thought the detail was really impressive, and I really liked the colourful owl made with bold strokes.

There was probably loads more tucked away on side streets and behind buildings and I hope to go back at some point to see what else has been left behind, as well as new pieces drawn over the old.

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.

Lumiere London 2018

I’ve had a couple of busy weeks so far this year attending various events. One such event was Lumiere London which was back for a second year showcasing various light installations across London for 4 days. I went a couple of years ago to the first event that was held in London and when I heard it was back I couldn’t wait to see what was on show this time.

I met up with my sister just as it got dark in the early evening at Bond street and found our first piece, which was a see saw that lit up when you rode it. This was actually in London last year and I sadly missed out having a go, so was happy to be able to have a go this time, being the big kid I can be. After the see saws we looked for other light installations in the area and found a neon bike, coloured tube lights covering the front of a building and one of my favourites, coloured umbrellas that people were dancing around with. There were several other pieces too that played music when you struck them or as they came on or off that were interesting too.

The next area we went to was Oxford Street up to Piccadilly Circus. There were light shows projected on the buildings that changed with music, which was relaxing to watch and was good for larger groups of people. In this area there were also other pieces, one that I thought that was really fun and sweet was Supercube. It was made up of lots and lots of tiny jars and in the jars were images of tiny women dancing or people making faces coinciding with music. I thought it was really innovative and another of my favourite installations.

We then went to Leicester Square which was filled with lots of huge animal shaped paper lanterns that I thought where great. Nearby in Chinatown there were more animals, here there were cheeky flamingos flying around, weaving in and out of people which I thought was brilliant.

The final area that we explored was Kings Cross. We first came across huge desk lamps in a row with seating beneath them which made for a great photo backdrops. Further on we entered an area filled with mist and light beams shooting across it. The effect was quite cool and like something out of the Twilight zone.

After looking around at the other light pieces on show we headed home, after some 4 hours of walking around London looking at innovative, fun light art, I can honestly say we were exhausted, but it was an engaging evening and I hope they do one again next Winter.