Brighton – part 1

I enjoy taking day trips to places I’ve never been to before and one such place that a friend and I went to not so long ago was Brighton. It was an early start and took a few hours by train to get to but we managed to arrive just as the sun was becoming brighter and warmer. First we wandered throughout the lanes discovering lots of cool street art (which I will post separately) and just in time for the market and shops to start opening. Something I noticed quite quickly was just how quirky some of the shops and props were and that there was so much colour everywhere, which I loved.

We walked along the market stalls that had interesting products for sale and along nearby roads, some of which had some really colourful houses. One shop that I was particularly keen on visiting was a well known cake shop called Choccywoccydoodah which has some amazing cake designs and eggs just in time for Easter. We didn’t stop to buy any though as we were keen to keep moving and see everything on our list. Another shop that I was pleased to unexpectedly come across was one that sold rubber ducks and only rubber ducks.

Next we went to see the famous Royal Pavilion which upon arrival, we could see why it was so popular and considered so beautiful. The Indo-Islamic style of the building was striking especially against the bright blue sky and quite unusual for an English town. I spent quite some time just looking up at the intricate detail of the embellishments and the curves and spires that reached up high.

After the Royal Pavilion and it’s gardens we headed towards the coast, photos of which I will post soon.

London walk about

I know some parts of London quite well but with it being a large city there’s still plenty for me to discover. On my recent walk with a friend I was able to see some well known landmarks up close as well as unexpectedly come across buildings that I thought were very interesting.

We started at Leadenhall Market which looked very grand with its high arched roof and traditional style shops. We then walked along and discovered a really tall, steel building which looked quite futuristic to me. I was surprised to learn that it was actually a bank. One building that we were drawing closer to and that I was particularly excited to see was one of my favourite buildings in London, The Gherkin. I see it every day on the train into work but had never up close, so I was really pleased to see it from the ground up, even in the rain.

We then walked along to the Tower of London where we found an artful looking pride of lions guarding the walls, and along the banks of the River Thames there were some stylish, unique igloos that you could enjoy some lunch in. I wasn’t able to sit in them but they did look cosy and inviting with a great view of the river and London’s skyline.

Next up was Borough Market where there were lots of stalls selling a range of great products. The ones with the sweet treats especially caught my eye. Around the corner and something hard to miss was one of London’s newest and tallest landmark, The Shard. I was delighted to be able to get close as I’d seen it from far away so many times. Whenever I get up close to a tall building I always have to tip my head right back and look straight up at the top.

On the last part of our walk was St Paul’s Cathedral. We were lucky enough to get there just a it’s loud bells began ringing (and we discovered why later when we stumbled across a bride and groom that had just been married inside). I don’t think my photos quite did the famous, grand cathedral justice but it’s a huge building that has a great level of detail and history to it.

The walk took us most of the afternoon and tired us out, so after listening to the church bells for a while we headed to the station and towards home. I was able to see some famous, beautiful landmarks as well as lesser known spots that held my attention and made me smile. I hope to come back to some of these one day and venture inside to see what else there is to discover.

Steampunk kaleidoscopes

On my recent wander around London I came across Piccadilly Market. I don’t normally go to this part of London, so I decided to have a look around. There were lots of unique things to look at and buy, from hand crafted pop up cards and precious gems to pocket watches and stamps. What really captured my attention though were the steampunk kaleidoscopes. I’ve always loved kaleidoscopes, the lovely colours and the endless patterns that emerge from so simple an idea using mirrors, reflections and beads.

Steampunk kaleidoscopes

Steampunk kaleidoscopes

As I loved them so much I couldn’t walk away without buying one. I decided on a keyring version as I felt it was a more sensible size, plus I could have a peek whenever I felt like.

Steampunk kaleidoscopes keyring

And just to give you an idea here’s some (blurry, sorry) shots of what I can see through the tiny eye hole.

Kaleidoscope pattern

Kaleidoscope pattern

The kaleidoscopes keyring is a nice addition to my set of keys and I’m glad I came across it so unexpectedly.

All the fun of a Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park, London hosts Winter Wonderland every year which is a family event running over the festive season. There’s fairground rides for thrill seekers, Christmas markets for anyone looking for beautifully crafted gifts, and tasty food to make sure energy levels are topped up. Seeing as it looked like a fun evening out I went with my sister and her family to experience the sights, smells and tastes on offer.

I went on a ride or two with the kids, was distracted from stall to stall with the interesting and beautiful items on display and was awed by the pretty lights and great atmosphere.

I didn’t manage to experience everything as we ran out of time, but hopefully I’ll be able to return next year to enjoy more rides as well as see the circus show, the cool ice sculptures in the ice kingdom and take a spin on the ice rink. We left with smiles on our faces and our goodies from the markets but were absolutely exhausted, with the kids falling fast asleep all the way home.