Groombridge Place

I recently went to Groombridge Place in Kent for a day out with my family. It seems to be a fairly popular tourist attraction but thankfully it wasn’t too busy the day we went.

Groomsbridge Place is a moated manor house and was used as Longbridge house, the home of the Bennet’s family in the film Pride and Prejudice. This was the view as we started to walk up to the main part of the site.

The manor was closed off unfortunately, but we could see the house and the details through the gate and over the low walls. I was quite excited to see this place as Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books and it’s always fun to see places and buildings used in films too.

After we had a look at the manor house, we continued along the path up to the main entrance. Having bought our tickets we found a place to have our lunch and take in our surroundings. We spotted a Sherlock Holmes sign on one of the smaller buildings. It turns out that Arthur Conan Doyle regularly visited Groombridge.

After lunch we then decided to take a boat ride down the stream, looking out for wood beings along the way.

Departing from the boat we were near the play area, where there was a play about to begin. We left the kids and my mum to keep an eye on them and the rest of us decided to go into the Enchanted forest. The forest was quite wild, you could see some trees that had been tidied but left where they had fallen. The thing that jumped out the most was that there was seemingly an endless carpet of bluebells.

Getting closer we were enthralled by how beautiful the rich blue looked in the forest. I tried to get some close up photos but it was tricky as there were quite a few spiders which I could see, which I wasn’t too keen on.

We wandered around the forest for quite some time, there were quite a lot of steep parts and it was quite tiring, especially as it was becoming fairly hot, and the air starting to feel quite close. Along the way we found some interesting things. We found a huge totem pole, with expertly carved animals, some travellers caravans that were really pretty and intricately decorated, a huge amount of wild garlic plants, and my favorite, swings hanging from tree branches. There were some strung from high branches that swung over a carpet of bluebells which I thought was very picturesque.

Finally finding our way out we collected my mum and the kids (who all wondered where’d we’d been for so long) and made our way to the birds of prey show. Along the way we crossed paths with a family of geese, who hissed at us when we got too close to their gosling sand some zeedonks who were resting in the sun. The birds of prey show had some really cute, tiny owls that were great fun to watch as they ran around.

The star of the show was a falcon that flew incredibly fast over the crowd. I felt the wind clip past my head as it zoomed past at super speeds. Once it landed it enjoyed a well deserved meal.

Once the show was over we headed down to the gardens. There were some pretty, hidden away parts as well as areas that were more formally groomed. There were also peacocks walking around and showing off their beautiful feathers.

I really liked how neat some of the hedges and flower arrangements were.

After walking back to the main entrance we bought some souvenirs and headed back to the car. We were all pretty tired but we all had a really nice day out at Groombridge and all the beautiful, interesting things it had to offer.

Ramadan Mubarak 2019/1440

Ramadan Mubarak everyone. I pray that this month is a beneficial one for all of us, that we break old habits and create new ones, that we have an increase in peace, blessings and mercy and that we all come closer to God. Ameen.

Regents Park in Spring

The recent Easter break in London was accompanied with soaring temperatures, and I wanted to make the most of having a couple of extra days off work and the great weather. I love the royal parks in London so I decided to explore Regents park especially as Spring is well and truly in swing.

The area surrounding Regents park is quite posh, the Regency style buildings look really elegant with their tall pillars. Upon entering the park I was greeted with a beautiful, colourful flower display, a theme that carried on throughout the park.

Walking through the main path I came across a pretty pink, blossomed tree overhanging a stream that I thought looked iconic of Spring.

Walking over the nearby bridge I came across wonderful weeping willow trees and what I loved even more was that the humble daisy was making it’s mark too among it’s beautiful cousins by creating what seemed a carpet white. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many daises before.

Further on I came across some more beautifully arranged flower displays, the colours and types all cleverly and carefully working together.

Moving away from the flower displays I spotted trees that had pink and white blossoms. There were plenty of flowers on the trees but the grass seemed to be covered in pink and white petals, making all look very pretty. One blossom tree that really intrigued me had dark red flowers and red leaves too. I’ve never seen a tree like this before so it was nice to come across it.

Following the path through the trees I came across a garden with a waterfall so I tried to make the water look misty by slowing down the shutterspeed. I think my photo came out ok but I still need to work on my skills.

Also in the area I saw a well-dressed scarecrow guarding the allotments and its early sprouting vegetables, people sheltering from the sun under the long droopy branches of willow trees with a book, and a really interesting but slightly creepy tree with branches that were growing and intertwining with the fence it was next to.

As well as the areas of that park that were groomed and very orderly, there was a section that had trees and foliage growing more wildly. I liked that you could go off track if you wanted to and get lost among tall tress and less beaten path.

At this point, having walked around for a few hours (and getting lost a couple of time), it was starting to become quite hot and I was getting tired, so I thought I should leave and get something to eat. I headed towards the Avenue gardens and the exit nearby. The Avenue gardens have lots of formal displays of flowers and fountains. I like that they have used flowers in some of the fountains too instead of water to create an interesting look.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Regents park and I loved the wonderfully varied, colourful, flower displays, which all made me smile. I look forward to visiting other royal parks soon and coming back here to see what more there is.

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.

2018 Highlights

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s natural to reflect back on the year. I hope that you all have had a significant and positive one. 2018 for me has had some highs, such as having a new niece join our family, starting a new job, as well as experiencing fun, new things such as taking a candy making course. I’ve also been able to visit new places and had a break away with my family. My lows have been feeling unmotivated and uninspired at times to post on my blog, and wondering if it’s still relevant. I have also felt like the world is passing me by and that I have so much I still want to do.

I leave you with some of my favourite photos of the 2018 and I wish you all happy New Year and with the hope that 2019 is one of fullfillment, happiness and adventure for all of us.

Bournemouth Family Trip

At the end of Summer I went to Bournemouth for a few days with my family, it was initially meant to be a several days away for a few of us, but in the end it was 15 of us in our cars heading to the coast.

On the day we got to Bournemouth and once we were settled into our hotel rooms, we decided to make the most of the rest of the day and headed to the beachfront. Although it was late summer it was still pretty warm, especially as we have had an incredibly hot summer this year in the UK.

We all spent time splashing around in the sea, relaxing on the beach and then when it became too cold we started our way back to our room to freshen up and then go to dinner. I found it incredibly refreshing to be by the sea and away from the city landscape.

The next day we split up into smaller groups, with my group first going to the aquarium. I didn’t really take many photos here as the lighting wasn’t great, and with the thick glass it was difficult, so I just enjoyed my young nieces’ excitement at the various fish and sea creatures they saw and tried to guess the names of, and walked steadily through the exhibits taking in the sights, sounds and smells.

After the aquarium we decided to go to the gardens that were nearby. There are Lower, Central and Upper Gardens, which seem to stretch on for miles, with changing flora and fauna to create various textures as you walk through.

After lunch we had planned to do some more activities but it rained for the rest of the day. It didn’t stop me though; I asked my sister, her husband and her daughter to pick me up and we made our way to another beach close by called Boscome. It was still raining steadily and it was quite windy too on the seafront, but I thought it felt refreshing and a change from the sun. I was also really pleased to find some colourful beach huts, which I have been on the look out for whenever I go to the coast.

We didn’t stay too long, as it was getting cold and quiet late. After my sister dropped me back at my hotel I rested before getting ready for dinner and then to watch the fireworks on the pier.

On the third day we packed our bags and checked out, ready to leave Bournemouth, but before we did we made a detour to Durdle Door, which is along the Jurassic Coast, and is a World Heritage Site. I’ve been go Durdle Door a few years ago and loved it, so I definitely wanted to visit again. There’s a really steep rocky path that leads from the car park to the coast edge, and then a steep set of stairs that lead to the beach. On my last visit you had to walk strategically on rocks to get down and then back up again, thankfully since then they’ve carved out steps that make it much easier.

The view from the top was amazing, and we were lucky to have some fantastic, sunny weather too, making the blues of the sea and sky really striking.

Once on the beach we soaked in the sun and the sea breeze while walking along the pebbly beach.

We didn’t stay too long, before making our climb back up to the car and heading towards another place nearby called Lulworth Cove. This is also along the Jurassic Coast and seemed to have a lot of boats sitting in the arc made naturally by the sea.

After sitting on the white pebbled beach and relaxing for a while, we made our way back to the car, visiting the gift shop along the way and started our very long journey home.

The trip to Bournemouth was great, I really liked that there was a lot to see and do, and most of it didn’t cost very much or was completely free. We had some really good weather and I loved walking along the various seafronts, and exploring the seemingly endless gardens. I would go back again some day as I’m sure there’s much more to do than what we covered in the few days that we were there.

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.