Farewell 2021

2021 has been a tough year; the world had aims of leaving the pandemic behind and returning to a more normal life, but sadly the pandemic is still with us, still raging in too many places. Vaccines have brought us hope though, and more freedom. I pray that less wealthy countries have access to them just as we have. I would specifically like to thanks the NHS health workers for the endless hardwork in vaccinating us and caring for those that are ill.

This year has been a quieter, more reflective one for me, I have taken time to look at the world around me and have tried to shape a path for myself that I hope will lead to fruition in the future. Below are some of my favourite photos of the year that we now leave.

I hope 2022 is a happier, healthier one for all of us, I pray that we can finally leave the pandemic behind us and have more gratitude for the freedom we have. I hope that 2022 is one that allows us to fulfil some of our ambitions and gives us drive to be better to ourselves and each other. Happy New Year.

Ever After Garden

In Grosvenor Square in London is the Ever After garden. The garden is made up of over 25,000 illuminated roses, each rose representing a person that has been lost due to the pandemic. Roses can be dedicated to a person, the cost going to charity.

From above the roses are arranged in the shape of a butterfly.

The garden was peaceful and the display felt poignant. A beautiful way to remember those that are being missed I thought.

London Christmas lights

London seems to have really upped it game in regards to Christmas lights this year. Having seen a few photos on social media my sister and I decided to go have a look around. Here are some of what we came across and liked.

Some building had lights all over, while others had a more subtle look

There were also more simple lights that I really liked, like the stars strung across Oxford Street.

The lights look really festive and seem to bring a much needed uplift to what has been another tough year for everyone.

Light Field

I visited a light art installation by Anthony James which is currently being shown at Marble Arch. It’s called Light field. I really enjoy light art, especially if creates optical effects.

Looking into the hexagonal shapes made it look like the space went on forever. There was a similar styled longer shape too. I also liked the square boxes, all placed in a uniform way. The boxes changed colour in time to some music being played, which I found quite relaxing to watch.

The exhibition is at the Mound and is free. Worth a look I think.

Double birthdays

My younger sister shares her birthday with her daughter so this year they decided to a have a shared party. They kept things simple and ordered pizza but I like how they did the decorations. One side for my sister and her pink theme and the other side for her daughter, a baby shark fanatic.

There were also 2 cakes, one for each theme. The white and pink one was made by my sister’s brother in law, I was impressed with the colourful layers. The baby shark one my sister made who has a real talent for making cakes.

Obviously I had to try some of each (and the chocolate ones too). They were all as delicious as they looked, I’m not sure I could pick one that was best.

It was a nice gathering and I enjoyed the food and company. Happy birthday to my sister and her daughter, may they both have a lifetime of good health and happiness.

Local mammoths

My local borough decided to get in on the art trail idea as they seem to be quite successful. There are mammoths scattered around the town centre for you to find. I didn’t find all of them but these are the ones that I came across while out and about. I thought they were quite fun and brightened up my walk.

Gratitude statues

There seems to be a lot of art exhibitions in London this year, and I’m always up to see people’s artistic expressions. I heard about the Gratitude trail and thought the idea of decorating statues to acknowledge key workers and pay tribute to the NHS was really nice and needed, especially after all the hard work they have put in over what has been a really tough year or so.

The statues were place in the courtyard of Southwark cathedral in aesthetically pleasing neat rows.

Here are some closer pictures of some of them. Most of them were really colourful. I thought the bubblegum machine and ballerina ones were fun.

I really liked this blue and white one. It reminds me of the pattern you find on traditional English china.

I had a look around, some were amusing, and others had a lot of detail on them.

I also liked this one with the head the shape of a bottle pump, something I’m sure we’ve all become more familiar with.

It didn’t take too long to have a look around. I really enjoyed the statues and how they were all creatively decorated, and for a great cause too.

Frieze Art 2021

I have visited the Frieze art festival for the last few years and after the absence of last year’s display, it was nice to see it back. The pieces are displayed in Regents park and is free to the public.

Here’s what we saw at this year’s festival. Some of the pieces were huge and others were quite playful. I like the huge colourful panels that you could walk through. The red shape in the trees was made up of recycled bottles which I thought was a timely piece.

I think my favourite art piece on display was the cloud with lightening strikes. I just love storms and lightening.

Other pieces had more poignant messages. The mass of tangles wire was wrought from the salvaged remains of the security fence raised around the U.S. Embassy in Oslo after 9/11. The stack of colourful spheres depicted motherhood and the female body. The red circular piece allowed you to sit on it and play, I had to ask some kids to get off for a moment so I could take a picture as they were clearly enjoying themselves.

I also liked the more odd pieces. The giant pineapple was fun and the meaning of it was amusing as it was meant to be wry commentary on the ‘prickly woman’. And the monster was strange, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or whether it made me uncomfortable.

Another fun piece I enjoyed was a huge semi circle made up of colourful panels. I enjoyed looking through the different colours at the landscape around me.

I thought there were some interesting art pieces at this year’s Frieze and I enjoyed having a look, and pondering about the meaning of some of them. I look forward to seeing what will be shown for next year.

Van Gogh Alive

One of my favourite artists is Vincent van Gogh, so when I managed to get free tickets to the latest artshow in London based on his work, I was pretty excited.

We arrived on time and got checked in. We then made our way to the main part of the exhibition which was a room filled with floor to ceiling screens. The screens all lit up to start the story of Vincent and his journey of how he created his art.

I managed to find a space where I could see the screens clearly and took in the displays. The various screens showed different art pieces and quotes by Vincent, so I did do a lot of looking around.

One of the parts I really liked was when the screens all showed his blossom painting and it had been animated by showing falling petals across the screens.

The show lasted around 30 minutes. Afterwards I headed towards a small room filled with sunflowers and mirrors which was a nice touch.

There was also a space where there were easels and a video showing you how to draw like Vincent but I didn’t do this bit. I then headed towards the giftshop and treated myself to some magnets with a some of Vincent’s famous artworks.

I enjoyed the exhibition which was meant to feel immersive by being surrounded by screens showing Vincent’s work but I didn’t think it was that engaging and I felt the quotes selected romanticised the artist too much. I have to admit I enjoyed a Vincent van Gogh exhibition I visited a couple of years ago more as I felt I learnt a lot more about Vincent making him more real and it felt more interactive too.

Family day out to Southend

Summer in London has not been great this year weather wise. It’s been fairly cool and overcast most days, so when the sun came out bright and hot towards the end of summer we decided to make the most of it. The nearest coast to us is Southend on Sea so my family and I made decided to take a trip.

While we waited for others to arrive we wandered around the shops. I saw these mask shaped earrings that I thought were interesting.

When everyone had arrived we had a quick lunch and then made our way towards the pier, which is said to be the longest pleasure pier in the world at 1.33 miles long. The sky was bright and the sea was a beautiful blue and with a cool breeze we all set off.

At the end of the pier we all treated ourselves to ice creams and slushies, and taking in the beautiful blue sea, skies and sun.

After a rest, we sent my mum and the kids on the train back to shore and the rest of us walked. With the sun now low in the sky and the tide going out, the light cast some lovely silhouettes and shadows on the water.

We were pretty tired after that and after a quick visit to the gift shop we headed home for an even bigger family gathering and much needed dinner.