London Zoo

London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world, and it’s one that I never got round to visiting, until now. On the day that I went it was cold but bright, meaning that I would get some good photos and that it wouldn’t be too busy; I think I was right on both counts.

On arriving I first headed towards the small mammals area. They looked curious and peeped out from their hiding places to see who had come to visit. After a quick look I headed towards the lions that are newly housed there and were one of the reasons that I wanted to visit. As they were one of the main attractions the area was decorated and staged as if it could be an authentic Indian village, with colourful paintings and props. The lions themselves were huge and very impressive and with only a pane of glass between them and us, I was able to have a look up close and see the might of such creatures.

Next I went on to see the petting animals where they had some tiny, super cute kids that you could feed and play with and that the young children seemed to enjoy. The llamas and camels were nearby too that I could see. A short distance away, the tigers were housed. The adult tiger was very active and difficult to photograph but my patience paid off when I managed to get a clear photo. I was also rewarded with seeing the beautiful baby cubs, playing and running around.

As it was coming up to Christmas there were reindeer out on walks with zookeepers, meaning that I was able to get close. Onwards I went to see one of my favourite animals, the giraffes, making me happy upon reaching their enclosure. I always find giraffes surreal looking with their long necks and gangly legs. I loved that they were so close it seemed that if they really stretched, they could easily lick my camera.

The path then led me onto the Reptile house which had some quite scary looking but beautiful reptiles from around the world.

There were some magnificent birds at the zoo too, some that could fly and some that couldn’t, each with their own colourful and unique features. Some were in cages but the larger ones were left in an open space, making me wonder why they hadn’t flown away.

I had a quick walk around the Bug house but as I’m not a fan I didn’t hang around too long. What I did find surprising was that there were live ants on display that didn’t have any glass around them. They were Leaf-cutter ants and looking carefully closer I could see each of the ants marching back and forth across a rope carrying tiny pieces of a leaf to take back to its home. I didn’t take too many photos of this area as bugs aren’t too appealing to me but it was amazing to see some of the numbers enclosed such as the hundreds of locusts and various stick insects. I sharply made a turn into the aquarium next, to warm up and see the pretty fish. Amongst all the diverse fish in tanks I was pleased to come across some miniature blue starfish too.

Lastly I came across the Butterfly house, where I was debating whether to go in or not, seeing as I don’t particularly like flying things (apart from birds). I did decide to enter thinking I could make a sharp exit if it wasn’t for me, and I was really glad I did. Once my camera stopped fogging up in the warmer temperature of the area, I could see some beautiful, exotic butterflies flitting around, including the Glasswing Butterfly which I’ve already posted about. There was an array of brightly coloured butterflies, most of which were too fast to capture, but after ducking and flinching about a hundred times I think I managed to get some nice photos. There were also moths in the house but they were largely inactive being night time creatures. The Atlas moths were amazing, I wasn’t sure they were real at first due to their stillness and size; each wing being the size of my hand, but as always, nature astounds.

There were so many other animals around too, such as the gorillas and monkeys, penguins, Komodo Dragons and tortoises, to mention a few. Some weren’t easy to photograph or even see but the vast variety of the animals in London Zoo is amazing. I know zoos can be seen as bad places that imprison animals; I did feel particularly sad for the big cats and caged birds, but as the world we live in is increasingly destroying habitats, I feel a place like London Zoo can help preserve and protect some endangered animals. I spent most of the day looking around and there was still areas I missed as the place is huge. I really enjoyed seeing all the different animals and their colourful and varying feathers, scales, fur and skin, and I feel like I learnt lots too.

Stylist Live event

I recently went to a fashion event in London that my sister was able to get free tickets to. The event was called Stylist Live in relation to the fashion magazine that circulates around the UK. The event was a chance to see new up and coming products, have make overs and attend workshops and talks by industry leaders.

On arrival we saw the sparkling, gold display that marked the entrance.

Stylist display

Inside we were able to grab a fancy drink and have fun in the magazine cover style photo booths.

Walking around the many stalls we saw lots of unique products as well as interesting gift ideas for Christmas such as personalised baubles and lipsticks to natural based candles and soaps.

It wasn’t all about buying though, there were lots of workshops running throughout the day that you could attend and learn from. Lots were popular and booked up in advance but we did have a go at painting a clutch bag, which was fun. There were also relaxing spaces around the arena for colouring giants walls and print outs or to take photos against fancy backdrops.

It was a fun evening where we were able to see lots of interesting products, try free samples and have makeovers. I’m sure others enjoyed it as much as we did and maybe we’ll attend again next year.

Farm day out

My sister organised a day out for us all this weekend to a farm local to her, to coincide with her daughter’s birthday. This farm was quite big and had all the typical farm animals you would expect but also had several unusual ones too.

It was great to get up close to some of these animals; the sheep, goats and llamas were lively and eager for attention and the animal feed they could see in our hands. I’ve never seen a turkey before and I found the amazing plumage fascinating.

We were able to pet some of the more interesting animals in the farm, namely a snake, which was soft and warm, a Bearded Dragon which was spiky and my favourite, a Chinchilla, known as one of the softest animals in the world and I can see why with fur that’s as soft as a cloud.

The other animals I was excited to see were the flamingos, ones that were on my bucket list. As the day warmed up they cooled off in the pond becoming more active. The enclosure they were in also had other birds such as peacocks and Scarlett Ibises, which I thought was an interesting mix as they would normally never meet in the wild.

As well as animals to see there were play areas for the kids to enjoy, including a ball pit and mini golf. We also enjoyed a tractor ride around the farm and ice cream in the sun.The farm really reminded me of my visits to Pakistan as a child and playing with the animals my grandfather kept. It was a really fun day out that everyone enjoyed, and we left exhausted but happy.