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!
Every now and then, I’ll find something unexpected when walking around, even if it’s just in the local neighbourhood around where I live. During an evening walk with my husband recently, we found this beautiful mansion nearby, which I’ve been meaning to visit – the Eastbury Manor House. This is a beautiful large house which was apparently built in Elizabethan (the First!) times, although I’ll admit, as an avid watcher of Downton Abbey it reminded me of the TV show first!
I loved the beautiful, peaceful feel to the house, and the ethereal surroundings of trees and quiet roads, with the glowing lights – so naturally I couldn’t resist from stopping to take a few pictures.
I mean to visit Eastbury Manor House again soon (in the daytime this time), hopefully for tea and a tour, so hopefully will post pictures of the actual grounds, which is meant to be lovely as well!
Every now and then, my husband and I will take a break from our normal routine (work -> home -> dinner -> computer -> bed) and take a walk somewhere different, go try something new to eat or just do something spontaneous to see where we’ll end up and treat ourselves to a new experience.
I’ve been in a bit of a writing/blogging slump in the last month or so, partly because I feel like I’ve run out of ideas to post about, and also because I’ve been feeling a little bored of my ideas and have wanted to write new things. I’ve also been taking a break from writing for a little so that I can look for new things, more inspiration and generally have a deep think about the things which are important for me to write/photography/doodle about.
As ever I’m sure the world of blogging will keep calling to me, and I’ll be blogging here and there until I get into my groove – but until then, here’s a picture of the London Eye at night. I’m used to seeing the usual London landmarks but they’re look entirely different at night, and it’s a rare treat to see them looking ethereal and beautiful at night. We saw this a few days ago while wandering around Embankment and crossing one of the bridges to listen to Big Ben (and the big crowd around it at night). In front of this view is a small plaza to sit on a bench and enjoy the view, perfect to watch the waters, the boats and the still night, before you can step out again into the hustle and bustle of the busy roads.
It’s nice to have an odd wander around London every now and then to see when we’ll end up, and it’s always nice to find a different view. This is a random view of some docks and the River Thames, against the Shard and the Tower London, which all look glowy and surreal at night – loved how the neon lights looked against this backdrop.
I love a wander around London Town, there’s always something different to catch my eye, which I’ve never seen before. I’ve lived in London for my whole life, and I’ve always travelled to and from the main central streets, roaming around east London, crossing over the river to South and venturing towards West and North to see more beauty, and yet I never fail to see beautiful things.
This is something I saw after work a couple of days ago, after a spontaneous walk around Carnaby Street for some dessert and shoe-(window)-shopping, and saw this tucked away in a side alley – a small, busy restaurant between two streets, with orange and yellow light bulbs hanging criss-cross across with wires and hangings, bright lights floating above.
(What completed the scene was a man in costume shouting his wares under the lights a little futher down, trying to pull customers into the restaurant, while a group of school boys threatrically pretended to be scared by the mask and screamed).
If I find the restaurant again, I’ll be sure to go inside and see if there’s more lights, but for the moment, these make beautiful aritifical stars in the night : )
I thought I’d try a writing challenge this week, which is about ‘blogging your block‘, that is, about the area we all in live in. I don’t often spend a lot of time wandering around my neighbourhood, especially because I tend to rush home from work, or jump on buses and trains all the way home.
Every now and then I’ll stop to dawdle in the local shops, particularly the ones which display and sell beautiful Pakistani and Indian style outfits – beautifully draped saris, elegant maxi dresses, blingy abayahs and lovely embroidered shirts which come down to your ankles.
I’ll admit it, I’ve always been a bit of a diva when it comes to clothes. I like having a wardrobe of beautiful things, and I especially love my ‘desi’ wardrobe, that is, my clothes which are more on the Asian-influenced. And I also reluctantly will admit that I probably have too many clothes (somewhere in the world, a Bollywood star is crying and doesn’t know why).
Nevertheless, the Lane that I live near is chock-full of Asian shops with Indian and Pakistani style outfits which are always worth an ogle (and perhaps stepping into the shop for a moment or two doesn’t always hurt either!)
And there’s the flashes of jewellery displayed carelessly all over the display cabinets, draped along luxurious velvet and self-printed silk, beautiful gold-plated rings, jewelled necklaces and stone-embedded purses.
These days, there’s a veritable land of fashion shops lining almost every other doorway, all with beautiful clothes, blingy jewellery and pretty scarves which all have their own styles and influences. It’s lovely looking through the window glass at the beautiful things (although these days, the more beautiful they are, the less I can afford them) and seeing the vibrant colours.
I suppose it’s important to me because when I was a child, these shops weren’t there, and the fashions and styles were completely different. When I was a child, my mum used to take myself and my sisters to the local fabric shops to buy several yards of cloth to stitch herself on her sewing machine (which she still has!) and we’d always have the same generic style of stitched kameez (or shirt) with a salwar pyjama (the bottom, pants). Mind you, we still loved it, it was an adventure going to see all the rolls of fabrics lining the shelves while my mum dreamed up our outfits.
These days there are styles which I never imagined wearing – I’ve always worn traditional Pakistani clothes, and I’m always trying new styles and cuts – but there’s always something else new to look at. I was 22 when I wore my first sari, which was to a close friend’s wedding, and I went for something simple and vibrant (in purple!) These days, there’s every style of sari imaginable, various colours, cuts, embroidery and influences – be it Indian, Pakistani, Bengali or even Western-influenced. When I walk along my local lane of fashion, I’m always getting inspiration, and not just for my wardrobe (although that bulging thing will always keep growing) – it’s a place of art, of beauty, of culture and when you’re fed up of shopping…of food food : )
This is a huge clock sculpture I saw at the wonderful Harry Potter Land (otherwise known to muggles as the Warner Brother studios) which I thought was apt for the whimsical mood I’m in today. I love huge sculptures (as well as miniature things too!) and thought this was pretty symbolic of the beautiful things I’ve seen lately. I’ve had a lot of things going on lately (hence the sporadic blogging, which I’m still trying to resolve!) and feel a little stretched for time – trying to make arrangement for a wedding, my potential living situation and also all the nitty-gritty things which come up at work, home and my own hobbies.
Not to mention finding enough time to read all those books I want to read (next on the list is the highly acclaimed ‘The Fault in our Stars‘, which I’m looking forward to!)
Nevertheless, weekends are my favourite times right now (okay, they always have been, but not more than ever they’re my favourite days of the week!) – it’s the time I get to spend with family, to reflect on myself and to have some ‘me’ time, even if it’s just to sit in peace and re-arrange all of my lipsticks : )
I love the weather in May, it’s warm and balmy, slightly breezy and there’s plenty of daylight so that the sun sets late, making evenings the best time to walk around. There’s a beautiful calm which makes for a really eye-opening experience, particularly when walking around streets, past hidden away stores and small parks which are separate from the rushing public and busy traffic.
This picture below was taken in the Embankment area, next to the River Thames, which was next to some empty offices (after all the usual inhabitants had gone home and only a few lights were on), and some quiet cafes, away from the main train stations and hubbub of the streets. There’s something soothing about the stillness of this picture, but there’s also plenty going on, the tumbling clouds moving along, the lamps just minutes away from being switched on, the small boats jostling in the corner, and most of all, the feeling that something is about to erupt onto the scene (most likely me with my camera).