Whipsnade Zoo

I went to Whipsnade Zoo this summer with my sister and her family. It’s partnered with London Zoo I visited a few years ago. Whipsnade Zoo is huge so we started from one side and made our way round.

The animals are sectioned according to the continent they came from, so we started with Africa. The first animals we saw were chimpanzees. They were a bit far away but I liked that they had a lot of space to move around. We then moved onto the penguins which again I was pleased to see had a huge space and also a great view of the English landscape.

As we made our way along the path we suddenly spotted an animal that was outside like us! After a closer look we saw it was a wallaby hiding in the long grass. Did it escape?! Turns out no; there’s wallabies and Maras (like giant Guinea pigs) that are allowed to roams free. My 2 year old niece had fun chasing after the Maras, much to our amusement.

Getting over our surprise we next visited other animals typically found in Africa; rhinos, giraffes (my favourite), lions, ostriches, meerkats and zebras. Lions apparently sleep up to 20 hours a day so I didn’t hold much hope in seeing them running around. There was a cheetah too but they were hard to spot sleeping in the tall grass.

Walking along leaving the Africa section we turned a corner to see sudden bright pops of pink! Flamingoes!

Their pink feathers looked so lovely against the greeny water. There were flamingo chicks, their feathers stull grey, pelicans and herons all surrounding the same pond.

After stopping for lunch and a rest we made our way to the next section, the Asian continent. Here we saw elephants and tigers. The tigers were also pretty sleepy, making little movement. Nearby was an area dedicated to dinosaurs. There were various shaped and sizes, some growling and moving. My niece of 7 enjoyed making scared faces at them and digging for fossils.

Next we ventured into the aquarium and butterfly house. The kids enjoyed seeing the various fish and it was nice to go at a slower pace. By the time we reached the butterfly house my youngest niece was fast asleep and the older one didn’t like butterflies so didn’t stick around. I’m not fond of flying insects in closed spaces myself but I did manage to take some nice close up photos of some of the calmer butterflies.

Last stop was the farm, here they had a striking long haired Poitiven donkey, cows, ponies, alpacas, hens, rabbits and my little niece’s favourite baby goats! Feeling refreshed after her nap she spent her time petting, chasing after and hugging them.

I always feel conflicted when visiting zoos as I feel sad that animals are kept in smaller spaces than they would be in the wild. But the truth is that zoos can play an important part in conservation and survival of some animals. Seeing them in large, open spaces in nice and I’m glad that they seem to be well looked after at Whipsnade.

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.

Regent’s Park Frieze Art

Regent’s Park is one of the Royal Parks of London, and this Summer it has been host to Frieze Sculpture a free outdoor display of contemporary art. I had the chance to go a few weeks ago and unknowingly stumbled across the strange, striking and fun art pieces.

The ones that really stood out for me was the stunning white tree when seems to glow in the sun, and the robotic man statue.

My favourite was the elephant carefully balanced on it’s trunk, but I also really liked the bronze angles and the silver crouched man made of letters, symbols and numbers from around the world.

There are 21 statues in all, some are huge, fun figures and others have lots of complex details and make you wonder what they mean. There’s still time to go visit, so if you’re in the area I would definitely recommend it.

Roaring good cake

My recent trip to the farm was fun and interesting and once my family and I had seen all the animals we headed over to my sister’s house to get some rest and some delicious food. Once we were all fed and relaxed it was time to cut the birthday cake my sister had made for her daughter. Weeks of preparation had gone into making the cake and the end result was brilliant. It was colourful, fun and neatly fitted into the theme of the day; animals.

Animal birthday cake

My sister made all the animal cake figures from scratch as well as the cake and the matching cupcakes. I love all the details of the animals and how the rest of the table was tied in with animal toys scattered around the table and animal characters on the cups, plates and napkins.

Once the candle was lit and blown out by the birthday girl we all tucked in, and enjoyed a cake that tasted as good as it looked.

I wish the birthday girl good health, happiness and love for all the years ahead of her.

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.

Trip to the garden centre

Every year in early Spring my mum visits our local garden centre to buy a range of plants for our garden, this year I happened to have a few days of work so decided to tag along. There was a wide range of flower and vegetable plants to choose from.

There were also some interesting garden ornaments; I love the giant chess pieces and the elephants and cheeky gnomes would make a nice addition to any garden too. I was also intrigued to see the old fashioned styled brooms made of straw.

We got a little carried away and it was hard to not buy at least one of everything, but in the end we chose some strawberry and pepper plants and and variety of flowers so we have a range of treats for the eyes and tastebuds to look forward to.