“As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.”
―Kristin Hannah, Summer Island
I love living in east London, because of all the colourful corners and walls I always come across. I’m a huge fan of street art (as I’m sure you’ve noticed) and can never go past any without stopping to have a good stare.
This is some artwork by Mr Cenz, a London-based street-artist, whose work I found in Plaistow, east London. They were both slightly hidden away and I managed to see both going past by accident (I saw one while was on a bus and came back later after remembering where it was!)
Apparently this one is called ‘The Wish’, and it’s a beautiful dreamy piece which covers the bottom length of a whole building block (took me a while to get the whole piece in one phoyo!). I love the whirls and contouring in this, as well as the black, grey and white tones on top of the colourful, magical background.
Not far from the above piece is this more sultry looking portrait, a beautiful mix of blues, greens and purples on the side of a shop wall. Again, there’s a beautiful mix of shapes on top of colours, with a very dreamy look to the whole piece that I love.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for more pieces around east London, especially some from this artist!
Lasts week my sister and I managed to catch the Winter Lights Exhibition at Canary Wharf, which is a follow-up from the amazing Lumiere London light festival last year. It was a cold night but we persevered and followed our trusty map to get to as many light installations as possible – and were not disappointed!
The exhibition was on for a week, and like the ones before, it was pretty busy while we were walking around, but there was also a lovely vibe in the air – lots of people enjoying art, London and beautiful lights.
The first one which caught our eyes immediately was this egg-shaped installation, which was in front of the station as soon as we stepped out, with changing colours, musical lights and lots of people exploring the inside of the egg.
We saw most of the installations (out of 30 I think we only missed two!) and managed to get a good look at most of them (and also take three hundred photos!). I loved the different ideas from all of these, from moving art to stationary, lights, pictures and words which all looked pretty beautiful.
Alongside the egg-shaped installation (called the Ovo), we also found lots of angel wings in the park nearby, which were very popular. I loved this idea, it let the public interact, take pictures and wander around exploring.
We then walked onto West Ferry (which took us a while!) and got to these beautiful neon-lines wound around trees with fairy-lights. There was something very surreal about this part, which felt a little like a dream-world and was really fun to walk around. The interesting thing was, although these look like glowing strips, these were just ordinary coloured tape lit up with lights in the right places. We also went on a little further to see a Garden of Blooms – coloured baubles which changed colours and tinkled soft music, which looked like beautiful flowers.
Next we went onto the more commercial and busier side of the area to Canada Water / Cabot Square, which had more buildings and offices. My favourite about this place was the Water & Light installation, which dropped quickly enough to form words (you can see in the video below). We also went into a few office buildings and saw spinning ‘Poemdums and Koans) which were cylinders and cones in various colours and sizes, some with words which caught your eye.
We then moved on to the Cross Rail which was the busiest part of the Winter Lights exhibitions, although it was spread out on three floors with lots of outside exhibitions that were lit up in the night. These are my favourite pieces, colourful rainbows, columns which mirrored your movements, flowers that lit up, recycled bottles used with lights, and a really fun musical and light show on the water controlled by people’s movements.
There were quite a few very innovative ideas, which were really interesting as these were things we hadn’t seen before. I managed to get a clip of a very popular exhibition which was lightwaves affected by brainwaves, and the idea of thoughts, focus and brain activity. I also liked another exhibit which were mirrors that said one thing but changed into another word when you looked at the reflection, as well as a ‘body scanning’ exhibit which scanned the person standing in front and posting a quick ‘imprint’ image on the screen in front.
We finally finished by wandering around and enjoying the lights (and even popped into Zara at one point) on our way back to Canary Wharf station, so that we had come to a full circle, where we found this poem lit up in the park.
We also managed to find lots of light benches (which we spent lots of time sitting on and posing on!) in front of a colourful lit-up ice-skating rink, which looked very surreal. I’m pretty terrible at skating, so didn’t want to risk damaging myself but having a go on the ice rink!
All in all, it was a really fun evening (although still pretty cold!) and we found a lot of things to see which we loved. I love that light shows are becoming more popular in London, and that a lot of people like myself and my sister enjoy wandering around and exploring the city. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of these over summer, and have already seen a few which look interesting!
Did you go to this event? Which light installation did you like best?
One of my favourite things about winter (when I‘m not shivering from the minus-degree temperatures and binge-eating seasonal chocolates) is to look for all the beautiful lights which have been installed around the city. Because it gets dark so quickly (at the moment, the sun has been setting at 4pm) it’s easy to explore all the lights in the area and see how lovely they look.
Unfortunately, I’m sure many of you photographers will know that the bane of taking photos when going out are low-light photograph – it’s difficult to get a decent picture without it being too grainy or blurry! Here’s one my husband took of me after dinner, where we explored the O2 arena a few weeks ago and strolled around. The best thing about this was the night-time atmosphere, there were plenty of tourists and lots of shops and restaurants open, which really created a pleasant buzz.
One of the things I am intending to do this year is to learn when to relax and enjoy the moment – I’m one of those freaks who is always simultaneously Snapchatting, Instagramming, Whatsapping and using a DSLR to capture a beautiful sight. Thankfully my husband is used to it, but it’s something I’m trying to cut down on! Let’s see how it goes this year – quality photos over quantity!
My sister-in-law just came back from sunny, luxurious Qatar recently and brought us all gifts – huge bags of multi-coloured, multi-flavoured popcorn for us to enjoy. My husband and I enjoyed guessing the flavours (after I took about a hundred pictures and wouldn’t let him touch any) – and this is my favourite.
Who said you can’t play with your food, eh?
Took me a while to get this shot, managed it in the end with a burst shot setting and changing to suit a low light setting.
I’ve always loved fireworks and sparklers, the way they transform the night and make it feel magical (and not just because I’ve read the stories of Gandalf’s fireworks and the sparkles at Hogwarts!).
So here’s a little something to dazzle and brighten the week, especially with Guy Fawkes night coming up next weekend : )
I’m a big fan of crafts and creativity, whether it’s clever decor, home DIY or yummy masterpieces of baking, chocolatiers and beautiful treats (and especially these things because it means I get to eat them).
My sister, niece and I recently went to the Cake and Bake Show last weekend, which was huge fun for us as we all love seeing different ideas and creative pieces, and of course we all love stuffing our faces with cake. We knew it would be a good show when we were greeted with this huge BFG sculpture at the entrance – who doesn’t love Roald Dahl, fantasy and cake mixed together?
We saw a huge range of cakes, cupcakes, biscuits cakepops, meringues and many more, plus lots of professional baking and cooking tools, which was serious inspiration heaven, whether you’re a baker or not.
Below are some of the professional cakes we saw, as well as many of the ones on display we loved – it’s amazing how many ideas there were.
(Be warned, my sister and I took hundreds of pictures, I’ve tried to cut down how many I’ve posted below but there were just too many we loved and which I didn’t to keep out!)
This was a display of professional companies advertising their services and showcasing their cake and biscuit skills. I loved that some of these were set up like wedding dessert tables, where the treats all match each other and have a theme. Serious luxury here!
These were cakes and cupcakes on display by vendors selling tools for baking, so a lot of these were on display to show how the tools could be used to make something beautiful. Again, I had a lot of favourites with these as I never realised how many ways of decorating and creating baked goods there were, but I did love the beautiful pieces and colours. I guess my most favourite is the first picture below – the Alice in Wonderland theme cake, which really appealed to my love of all things Wonderland!
There was a long line to see this, but we just had to line up to see these. The theme for the cakes in the competition was ‘Myths, Legends and Fantasy’, which I just loved because it’s always been one of my favourite themes in just about everything (film, books, games…!)
It was amazing to see how this was interpreted, with a range of myths and stories from across culture (not to mention media, like the Neverending Story!).
I was going to only post a few of these, but then opted to show all of the entries because I thought each baker had something beautiful in each piece – I wouldn’t know which one to choose as the winner!
I’ve heard about this a few days ago – KitKat is opening a chocolatory (very much like the popular ones in Japanese) in London – specifically, east London at Westfield Stratford! So when the store opened today, I popped down at the first chance (i.e. lunch time) to take a look for myself – and loved what I saw!
The store is located at The Street, Westfield Stratford and is a lovely, bright pop-up shop where you can customise your own bespoke KitKat – from flavours, colours and toppings and even box design – on a computerized screen which is brought to life by a group of chocolatiers, all while you watch.
I really like the idea of a bespoke KitKat (you get to design an eight-fingered bar, so at least it’s big enough!) which I think really appeals to Londoners who like something a little creative. And of course, seeing lots of melted, sumptuous chocolate always makes me feel happy too.
You can watch a mini clip of how the KitKats are made below – sorry for the grainy quality!
If the bespoke KitKat is too pricey (or takes too long!) for you, there are also various ‘Special Edition’ flavours – new flavours are introduced every week, I’m told.
Here are some of this week’s flavours, don’t they look beautiful – almost too pretty to eat!
I think that this a really interesting concept brought over from Japan – I’ve always been fascinated with the quirky flavours from Japan like matcha, lavender, cheesecake and there’s even a potato flavour! (not sure I’d try that one though). I’ve already posted a few of these pictures on my social media and the viewers are loving the idea – although be warned the KitKats are slightly pricey for £7 to design your own bar.
The pop-up KitKat bar is open for the next 5 weeks until mid-November – pop down if you’re around! You can also see more pictures here of the opening today – what do you think of this?
I’ve been a busy bunny these days, so it feels like I hardly get time to blog. It’s frustrating as heck because I have a few blog posts to write and a few book/food/cupcake/city reviews to write and I keep getting caught up with domesticity!
I’ll do my best to post this weekend, but in the meantime, here’s a beautiful sunset hubby and I caught last week while dining in Canary Wharf. I feel like I don’t see enough of these (either the day is too long or the sky is too grey!), so this was a special one for me – first sunset picture in ages!
Happy weekendings all, I’ll be posting soon!