Hampton Court Palace

I went to Hampton Court Palace a few weeks ago with my family for a day out. The Palace was once the home of King Henry VIII and was built in the Tudor style in 1514. The building and grounds are huge, with mazes, gardens and so much more.

Walking up to the Palace and through the entrance was a large courtyard. There were huge tall pillars along a walkway leading to other rooms, high walls with a decorative clock and a fountain with statues to depict what life may have been like.

Inside were some beautiful rooms and staircases. The King’s Staircase was especially wonderful, with a huge painting across the entire wall and ceiling, and an intricately made handrail leading up the stairs.

The rooms were set up as they would have been when it was lived in, with costumes and props on display and with facts of King Henry’s life there. The inside ground walkways opened up to courtyards that had fountains and statues.

On the other side of the building was the was the Queen’s Staircase, also quite beautiful, and was lit in a soft, warm light.

After looking around the main part of the Palace we headed towards the gardens. The Great Fountain Garden is one of the largest and was one that we came upon first. Just as we entered a horse and carriage pulled up, and we all piled on excitedly for a ride around the garden.

After our ride we walked towards the other gardens, the main one was The Privy Garden which was set out in an Italian style and was very well looked after. Along one side was a long, vine coloured walkway which was lovely for a stroll. Nearby were other well kept, but smaller gardens. I personally loved walking through the rose garden which gave off an amazing scent.

The Palace also had a maze, which is England’s oldest surviving at 300 years old. We had fun looking for the centre and then our way out. Next we visited the huge play area for children, with high bridges, hills and sculptures. Hidden away, the Palace also had The Great Vine, the largest and oldest known grapevine in the world, at over 240 years old.

There was a lot to see, with some beautiful, grand rooms, staircases and gardens, and we easily spent a whole day there, after which we were all completely exhausted. I can see now, why Hampton Court Palace is so popular and it was amazing to see and learn about the history of how Kings and Queens of our past lived in such an opulent palace.

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.

Holland Park, London

We’ve had some lovely weather this summer in London and I was able to make the most of it by going to Holland Park one sunny day. The park has so many different types of plants and flowers, and it was a delight to walk along the winding paths taking in all the vibrant colours and varying scents.

One of the main features of the park is it’s beautiful Japanese Kyoto Garden. I was surprised to see that they had Koi carp (and pennies) in the pond as well as a peacock strutting around. There was a pretty waterfall and a walkway that allowed you to cross the pond and through the garden. I found the garden very peaceful and aesthetically pleasing.

There are also some smaller gardens within the park, some that held interesting statues, and others that had stunning flower displays, as well as a giant game of chess.

Overall the park had some beautiful features and you can tell it was very well maintained, and on a sunny day it made for a lovely day out, one that I would definitely recommend.

Cherries

During Ramadan I watched the cherries on the tree in the garden grow, redden and become ripe. There was no sense in picking them though as there wasn’t a lot of time (or stomach space) for cherries, but on Eid the family all got together and picked the big, juicy cherries that had been tempting us for so long. Here’s some of the hundreds that we picked, and that were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Orchids festival

Recently I took a trip to Kew Gardens with my last visit being a few years ago. I love Kew Gardens and all the different plants, trees and flowers it has from around the world. I can spent hours there and not lose interest or manage to see everything. My trip this time was to specifically see the Orchids Festival which celebrated the rich biodiversity of Brazil.

Upon entry of the conservatory there was a lovely floral scent and my eyes were drawn to the wide range of flowers in artistic displays hanging from the ceilings and wrapped around pillars. A very unusual plant that caught my eye was Nepenthes. Nepenthes is shaped like a pod and is insectivorous, meaning that it traps and digests insects. This plant was used to create shape and colour in archways to walk under.

The bright colours and the different shapes and sizes of the exotic flowers drew my attention and I found myself weaving along the path from one flower to another delighted that I was able to take a closer look.

The Orchid Festival was really popular and I would certainly recommend a visit. The flowers on show were beautiful in various, vibrant colours and really captured the theme of carnival season in Brazil.

Autumn has arrived

Summer has come to an end and Autumn has now arrived, here in England. Autumn is probably my favourite time of year, as the days are cool but still bright and there are less bugs around too which in my opinion is always good! The other things I love about Autumn are the beautiful displays of newly changed leaves, from luscious greens to fiery reds, yellows and oranges.

On one such bright a day, I decided to take a walk in one of the several parks near where I live. This particular park is lovely; it has a nice lake, a grand looking mansion with a pretty flower garden, and a boating and play area. Armed with my camera, I kept my eyes open for any new autumnal displays, and it wasn’t long before I came across lots.

The highlight of my walk was coming across some cute, late summer ducklings (I didn’t get too close in case their protective mother came after me) and several curious, cheeky squirrels who were very interested in my camera. I also loved seeing freshly fallen conkers reminding me of childhood fun-filled contests.

I really enjoyed my walk and as we go deeper into the season I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more interesting developments.

Italian gardens in London

Wondering around Hyde park earlier this year I came across the Italian Gardens. The Gardens have embellished statues, urns and large water fountains, all which create a really nice relaxing space.

The main water fountain leading to the top of the Serpentine lake was a combination of a group of boys holding a huge platter with a woman on either side holding an urn, all pouring water into the lake.

On the far side of the garden is a chapel with really pretty flowers planted on either side in neat geometric rows.

I thought the gardens were laid out nicely and kept in really good condition. I found them to be a calming space with the sound of rushing water from the fountains drowning out some of the background noise and pretty flowers soothing to the eyes. I’ll definitely look to visiting it again at some point.

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.

Vegetable patch

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Every Spring my mum, who has very green fingers, grows a variety of herbs and vegetables in our garden, with more varieties being added every year. This year as we are shooting through Summer lots of the plants are now bearing their offerings which are now ripe and ready to be picked. Here we have aubergines, chillies, French beans and tomatoes (you may wonder why some are still green though – my mum likes to add these to cooking to give food a tangy kick). There’s also others in our garden and as we head towards the end of Summer they too will be ready to enjoy

I’d love to hear what others are growing in their gardens and whether you’ve had a chance to enjoy them yet

Brown lines

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brown table garden
I got this composition almost by accident; I was out in my garden with my camera and as I went to pick it up off the garden table I noticed that it was pointed in the direction of the fence which had vertical lines like those of the table.
I really like this image because the lines of the table draw your eye up towards the fence which continues the verticle line. The light falling on the table brings a contrast in colour to that of the fence which helps to convey greater depth. I think the top of the chair also helps to break up the image. I think this is an nice example of how simple lines, colours and light can be used to create a a refreshing composition even with ordinary, day to day objects. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are, what you’d change if anything and if you can give me any tips