Winter Fun at Winter Wonderland

Over-priced food, busy rides, and freezing weather – what else but Winter Wonderland! My sister and I visited Winter Wonderland a few days before Christmas to enjoy the lights and sights, especially as both of us have not been for a few years. We enjoyed a few (expensive!) rides, and had a look around to enjoy the fun vibe in the air and the beautiful lights. One of the things we liked as well was exploring the market which is around the area, which sells lovely hand-made goods and pretty pieces.

I’m not sure I’ll be going again next year as I did find the rides and food very expensive – we easily spent over £30 on two rides which felt a little extortionate, especially as most theme park tickets now cost this much. It is a seasonal thing and it has a nice atmosphere, but it makes me think that Winter Wonderland is an example of a seasonal thing which has become too commercialised, which takes advantage of the holiday season to make a lot of money! While I understand that this is normal for the Christmas season, I have decided a long while ago that when I do spend my money, I’d like to spend it on things which are worth it, good value and also enjoyable!

But that’s enough for now – here’s a few snaps I took at Winter Wonderland. Unforunately my phone camera is great at night time, but I did try!

Glow Trees in Liverpool Street

My sister and I came across these lovelies a few weeks ago in Broadgate, next to Liverpool Street station – beautiful glow trees. The art installation is called Lumen, part of artist David Ogle’s collection called Light Traces, and designed to make us stop from our busy lives and appreciate the environment around us, by enjoying the bursts of colour in the dark after a short winter day.

One of the things that I liked about these pretty trees was how cheerful and calming they look, and how nice it is to walk around and bask in the coloured lights. It’s striking how simple the trees look together, and yet when you look a little closer and see how the different pieces are fixed together, it’s surprising how much more complex it actually is.

This art piece will be up in Broadgate until 22nd February 2018, so if you’re around then take a quick look, it’s a nice place to stop and admire for a little while.

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Lumiere London 2016: Lighting up a city

My sister and I were lucky enough to see all the beautiful lights which were set up last week for Lumiere London, one of the country’s biggest light festivals. We managed to see most of the light installations – out of 40 of them we only missed around three or four.

I won’t describe them too much because there were so many, and because the pictures looked amazing – the lights were looked beautiful in the night and there was such a nice atmosphere of tourist and Londoners all out at the same time exploring the different streets with installations.

Mayfair and Bond Street

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Regent Street and Carnaby Street

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Pall Mall and The Strand

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Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Westminster

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Kings Cross

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We spent about four hours walking around all over London, but it was great fun and we managed to find spots of London we hadn’t been to before!

You can see more pictures on my sister’s blog, and also on my instagram account too. Did you manage to see any of these?

All the fun of a Winter Wonderland

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My sister went to Winter Wonderland recently and posted some seriously gorgeous pictures of the bright lights, decor and yummy food – take a look at her blog post about it,  the pictures are beautiful!

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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…

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The Animal Applicance Kingdom comes to John Lewis

I saw this amazing Christmas-themed display at John Lewis a few weeks ago and loved it, animals made purely from household appliances, electrical goods and random furniture. I love the cute quirkiness of all of these animals, and especially how well crafted they are – I can certainly  see how they’ve tied this display in with their Christmas advert.

Here’s a few pictures (or several!) of the different animals which have been created using some brilliant creativity and a lot of imagination – my favourite are the penguins but there’s so many more which are just adorable.

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #16: Perspective

Perspective. Looking at things from different angles. I suppose this could be applied to Ramadan too, where fasting makes us view food, luxury and privilege in a different way.

I thought I’d post different perspectives of various things I’ve seen to show how conventional things we may be used to can look different when viewed from a different angle (the dandelion one was difficult because I have to crouch down really low to get the camera under the flower!) Perhaps just a reminder that sometimes the best way to look at something isn’t always from the obvious angle.

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A view of a dandelion from the bottom
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An arty bridge that I saw recently
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A picture in Canary Wharf taken a few years ago, I love this picture because of the way the buildings disappear into fog

Weekend Pretty…Winter Trees

You’d never think I took this picture outside a cinema. Okay, you kind of would cos of all the cables in the way and the random cable mast at the back, but I’m just going to pretend they blend in with the trees and are all invisible. I did like the dramatic effect of the tree at the front with the fading light, though. And yes, I did get a few weird looks for taking a picture of a tree which was, essentially, in front of a busy motorway, but heck, I’m a tree fan and you just have to put up with these things 🙂

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