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.

Here’s to the best of 2017

We’ve reached the end of 2017 and in some ways it’s felt liked a long year, in another it’s like it passed by quicker than ever. I’ve been lucky to go to lots of amazing places this year with family and friends and I leave you with some of my favourite photos that I took. I hope 2018 is an amazing, blessed year for you and me and that the World is calmer, more peaceful and that ease comes to those experiencing hard times.

Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for taking an interest in my little world.

Mist and leaves

This is a photo from the Palm House in Kew Gardens from my trip there earlier this year. The Palm House is a greenhouse full of tropical plants and trees and to create the right atmosphere hot steam is released at intervals to make the air moist and hot. These wide leaves from a tall tree amongst the steam really made me feel like I was in a dense jungle. I also love the colour of the green leaves beneath the misty fog, creating an eerie look.

St Katherine Docks

I passed through St Katherine Docks a few weeks ago. The docks are tucked away near Tower Bridge and hold lots of different types of boats, from modern yachts to boats of a more older style.

There was also a nice surprise of seeing the Queen’s royal barge Gloriana situated in the marina.

There’s lots to take in as you stroll across the bridges and sidewalks, including some panels of vibrant colours and prints along one wall. I personally always love to take in the details of the older boats; the way the ropes have become frayed after years of use, the rusty anchor and chains and the pretty lettering of the names of the boats.

St Katherine Docks is a calm space in a bustling part of London and it’s a great spot to take a stroll through or to stop and have a drink or a meal and admire the view.

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.

Enchanting Doorways

I recently went around London to visit some locations that are very popular as they’re pretty and eye catching. Here’s some that I thought were great.

I started in Kensington at this cake shop. The outside was very charming with it’s pastel pink and quaint tables and chairs. The arch of flowers and pumpkins was very seasonal and made for a grand entrance to the inside where there were some delicious looking treats.

Nearby was a bakery which was also looking very Autumnal with an archway that represented the harvest at this time of year.

Next I went to see a very picturesque house that was painted immaculately in white with the shutters and door painted in a popping pink.

Walking to the station I came across a lovely restaurant with a flora and fauna decorating the front with a well placed bicycle to add to the look. There were also other well kept doorways and walkways and of course the huge beautiful building that is Harrods. The best thing I saw all day though, was a huge suspended rhino above a jewellery shop. It looked surreal and it really made me smile.

I can see why some of these locations are sought after and busy, and it’s always nice to come across something unexpected too. I have more photos of other locations that I visited, that I will post soon.

Afternoon Tea on the Thames

Afternoon tea is quintessentially British, and it seems to be a big craze at the moment in London. I’m not particularly keen on it (how in-British of me, I know) as I don’t particularly drink hot drinks and I prefer a big tasty lunch to sandwiches and cake, but when I was came across afternoon tea on the River Thames with a guide that would inform me of Muslim history in London, I thought it would be quite fun. As a cruise linked to Eid I decided to buy myself and my mum a ticket hoping she’d enjoy it too. My sisters, my sister in law and her mum also joined us.

The meeting point was at Tower of London and after we were all checked in we were able to get on the boat. Once we were in our seats we had tea to start with and then the some delicious looking food.

As we enjoyed our food and the view, the guide started telling us about some of the connections of Muslims to the city of London, which was quite interesting. When we reached Westminster Bridge the boat turned around to go back towards the port. By this point I’d had enough to eat so I grabbed my camera and went above deck. The sun was out and with the cool breeze it felt so refreshing. We passed some iconic landmarks that sit on the banks of the River Thames.

After spending some time above deck taking in the sights and some photos we headed back downstairs. The organisers held a competition that my sisters and I (and it seems no one else) entered so we won a big box of chocolates, as the odds were definitely in our favour!
As we docked back into the port we gathered our things and headed for the exit. It was a lovely afternoon that we all really enjoyed, and I thought it was a real treat to actually go on a boat down the River Thames instead of just watching the waves from the shore.