I am planning a lovely little getaway over Easter with my two girls, we are hoping to visit Italy but struggling to decide which part to visit as it all seems so beautiful!
In the meantime, to keep myself busy, I have put together a list of places I would like to visit locally.
- Sky garden – A lot of people pay to go up to the top of the Shard to experience the views over London but it can be pricey. I have heard that the views are just as good from the sky garden and free so win, win! I imagine as it’s free that it gets really busy but a friend from university works there and has recommended going in the morning as it is quite empty so I think breakfast at the Sky garden is in order!
- Emirates cable car – I have wanted to do this or ages but want to go when there are clear skies so I can get a good view over the Thames so I think springtime would be perfect.
- The Saatchi gallery – With Sloane square, Kensington and Chelsea surrounding it the Saatchi gallery is situated in a perfect place to explore. I have been past it many times but never seen an exhibition in there, I have my eye on the upcoming ‘From selfie to self expression’ exhibition. Exploring the history of the selfie and highlighting the emerging role of the mobile phone as an artistic medium it sounds very interesting!
- Somerset house – This is an amazing building with so much history and has loads of events and exhibitions to visit. I am particularly interested in seeing the photography exhibition of Malick Sidibe who chronicles the lives and culture of the city of Bamako.
- Kensington gardens – With London being such a built up city we are still lucky that we have so many amazing green spaces and parks. I cant wait for all the spring colours to start blooming and would like to explore some of the parks that are not so close to home for a change.
- Movie at the Southbank – I love going to the movies and the BFI at the south bank has lots of independent or old movies that are not always on show at other local cinemas so it makes a nice change. The last movie I saw there was with a class I was supporting and it was a subtitled Polish adventure and we all really enjoyed it.
- The photographers gallery – This is the first gallery in Britain dedicated entirely to photography, they have exhibitions, workshops, events and talks updated regularly. I am interested in seeing the Roger Mayne exhibition hat opens in March looking at London communities in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Borough market – I haven’t been to Borough market since I was young and my daughter works just around the corner so I have decided that I will meet her for lunch and see what the market has to offer, I’m sure there is a lot as it always looks really busy when I go past it.
- The V&A museum – I love the V&A, described as the worlds leading museum for art and design, it is definitely one of my favourites and always has interesting things on show. At the moment they have a history of photography exploring the body and Beatrix Potters London which both look interesting.
- Posh hotel for afternoon tea – I love the little sandwiches and cakes displayed on cake stands it just looks so cute and I always see those offers on sites like Groupon with really good deals, so I may just be posh for the day and have some afternoon tea!
If you could visit anywhere in London where would you go?
I have quite a few books downloaded onto my kindle app but there’s nothing quite like having a real book to hold!
This year I have set a target on goodreads which you can see on the widget to the right. I don’t often give myself a target but I have so many books I want to read and I think having a target will encourage me to read more. In 2014 I did a 50 book challenge and just managed to finish my 50th book on new years eve so it was pretty tight. I thought I would make it a bit easier on myself this year as I have a lot of university work as well as juggling general life stuff.
I have started ‘After You’ by Jo Jo Moyes which I ordered online after finishing the first book ‘Me before you’ I really enjoyed it and love following characters in book series as I feel like I know them and already have a connection to the book.
I found Abi’s house by Jenny Kane in poundland, I often have a flick through their books when I’m in there and am impressed with the selection for only a pound. I’ve never read anything by Jenny Kane but this seems like a nice easy read about a young woman who has been widowed and decides to follow her dreams of moving to a cottage in Cornwall.
Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington has been sitting on my book shelf for a few years, it was part of a large set of books I bought and didn’t get around to reading. I have seen reviews of this book and it seems quite promising so looking forward to getting stuck in!
I have been searching for some new books to order so would love some recommendations! What are you reading at the moment?
On Wednesday I was invited, as a TimeOut tastemaker, to the opening of the magical lantern festival held in the grounds of Chiswick house in West London.
The festival is to celebrate the upcoming Chinese new year, which this year is the year of the rooster. The theme for the festival is ‘Explore the silk road’ and it is filled with amazing pieces of art in the form of oversized lantern scenes lit up in bright colours.
I am not very familiar with Chiswick so tried to plan my route as best I could, unfortunately there seemed to be some sort of flood on the Victoria line so I had to take a total of four buses to get there!
I took my daughter and it was a freezing cold evening which she wasn’t impressed with. Once we reached the park and could see the giant handmade sculptures through the fence we had to navigate our way around passing three gates that were all closed before asking a passer by to direct us to the correct entrance. I think they should definitely have better signage or another entrance because I was already worn out before even getting there!
Once inside the park I was really impressed with the amount of sculptures on show, they seemed to go on for ever and I only managed to photograph a few because my hands were just too cold to hold the camera.
My favourite scenes were the ones overlooking the lake as the reflection of the lights on the water make them look even more magical. We followed a trail which you could take at your own pace and half way round there was an area that sold marshmallows that you could heat up on the fire and a few other pop up shops (unfortunately I didn’t notice any that sold coffee). There is apparently an ice rink and other attractions such as fair ground rides but I didn’t see them, although we were in a rush as we knew we had a long journey home and we were freezing (did I mention it was cold)
I think had the night been a bit milder and we didn’t have to walk miles to find the entrance to the park we would have enjoyed it more and stuck around to see what else was happening but I am glad that I got to see the amazing work and would definitely recommend a visit, especially with little ones.
The festival is on until 26th February and tickets are around £14 for a child (4-16) and £20 for an adult but there are other prices for families, groups and concessions.
I was browsing through the Tesco website looking for somewhere to spend my clubcard vouchers and thought the restaurants are a good bet because they give you 4x the amount. I came across Chimichanga which I hadn’t heard of before and asked Kieron if he would like to go there for his birthday (he is a bit of a foodie like his mum)
We went on a weekday evening and the restaurant was fairly empty. I was quite impressed with the Mexican themed décor and how fresh and clean it looked but that may be because it is fairly new. There was nine of us in total, including two little ones and they offered us a highchair for the baby and a long table right down the middle of the restaurant.
The food was impressive and we all enjoyed our main course, although the man did send his back to be heated up as it wasn’t hot enough (it never is for him.) I had the smoky mountain burger as I am not really a fan of burritos or fajitas and I wasn’t disappointed, it was one of the best burgers I have eaten!
Unfortunately I cant say the same about the dessert!
We were all quite excited to order the churros and the churros sundae in particular looked really yummy. We were not so impressed once we tasted them! They were not really sweet and had a rather tough texture and the sundae just didn’t hit the spot like I expected it would.
Apart from the disappointing dessert we all left feeling full up and Kieron really enjoyed his birthday. Unfortunately a few days later everybody came down with a stomach bug. I’m not saying it is anything to do with the restaurant as my daughter was complaining she didn’t feel well before we went and the winter bug was doing it’s rounds at the time but the normal reaction from everybody was “I’m never eating in that place again” I’m not saying personally I wouldn’t eat there again but it probably wouldn’t be top of my list.