Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Travel, Uncategorized

Oh Pretty City is One!

Although I have been blogging for many a year it is hard to believe that my first post here was only written a year ago today. Blogging for me has always been a part time thing – my ‘bit on the side’ but I have been lucky enough to attend some lovely events and the blog has been a great inspiration for getting out and experiencing places to share with my lovely readers and hopefully it has inspired some of you too!

To celebrate a year of blogging I am going to share some of my favourite locations that I have posted about since last summer.

Favourite restaurant

I have visited quite a few restaurants in the past year, armed with my Tastecard I love to look out for quality restaurants that offer good service and value for money but one of my favourites has to be Le grand bistro in Paris, fine dining in a perfect Parisian setting!


Favourite night out

I don’t really blog much about nights out because I’m not much of a raver but I have been to a few silent discos in the past year which I thoroughly enjoyed. The silent disco at the Shard was a great experience which I would happily do again, it is a great night out of drinking and dancing with the added bonus of amazing views to take in!


Favourite theatre show

I have really got a taste for the theatre in the past year after seeing some great musicals, I hope I get to see a few more in the next year. The classic love story of An American in Paris is full of super talented singers and dancers that have you singing along in awe and was a proper feel good show.



Favourite green space

London is full of some amazing green spaces but my most recent visit to Kew gardens showcased some lush green lawns and beautiful exotic plants that you’re not likely to see anywhere else, unless you are taking a lifetime trip around the world! Also has some great structures to admire like the hive.



Favourite trip abroad

I had managed to reach the ripe old age of 37 before embarking on my first girls holiday with my girlfriends and although it was only a weekend away we had a fab time in Tenerife. One of the things I loved about it was just how clean the area was and although we went in November the sun was shining enough for us to brave the swimming pool!


Favourite family attraction

As my kids have got older they are more reluctant to accompany me on day trips because they find it boring so it is nice to visit family friendly places that appeal to them as well. My son particularly liked the Art of the brick Lego exhibition down the Southbank with its large collection of impressive superhero Lego structures and the opportunity to create your own.


Favourite market

I haven’t visited as many markets as I would like this year but I think it will be hard to find somewhere that would beat Borough market just for the fact that it is full of such a wide array of delicious food and it is hard to not buy a bit of everything while there. Plus I interviewed Maria from Maria’s café for a university project and she was very sweet and helpful!


You probably wouldn’t believe it but I am actually quite a homely person, I much prefer a night in to a night out and if I have the opportunity I will lay in bed all day reading and watching Netflix so I have impressed myself with the amount of adventures I have been on in the past year, as well as taking care of four children and working towards a photography degree!

I hope I get to visit loads of new places in the following year to share with you. I would love to know where your favourite places are!

Posted in London, Travel, Uncategorized

A cable car mission

The Emirates airline is a cable car that travels across the river Thames from Greenwich to the docklands and back again giving a unique view of the area.


Opening in 2012 it is used as another leg of the transport for London network but is also popular as an attraction for tourists and visitors of the area.

I have wanted to take a ride on the cable cars for a while but wanted to visit on a clear day so I could make the most of the views and Greenwich is quite awkward for me to get to so it’s not somewhere I frequent often.

The cable car is pretty easy to find, as you exit Greenwich north station, the O2 is on the left hand side and the cable cars are towards the right amidst a load of building works.


As it is part of transport for London you are able to use your Oyster cards on the cable cars but if you don’t have one you can just buy a ticket from the ticket office, although this is slightly more expensive as the oyster gives you the discount rate.



As we were not sure that there was anything else to do in the area we decided to take part in the cable car mystery trail with Treasure trails who produce trails all over the UK to make exploring different areas more fun!

Getting onto the cable car was simple and quick and each group got to travel in their own cars so it was just the three of us, although I assume when it is busy they do fill them up with 10 in each car so you may have to share with others.

The journey was around 10 minutes and it was further to get across than I expected but we had some lovely views to look at on the way. As well as endless building works we also spotted people taking part in water sports and a cute beach.






As we approached the other end Kieron made himself familiar with the clues to look out for which was just as well because there isn’t much else to do over there. Some people were obviously aware of this and they stayed on the cable car and went straight back!

Although there wasn’t much to do we decided to take a walk down the riverside and it was really empty and peaceful which was surprising considering the area is quite built up. We continued our clue hunting and not sure if it was because of the way we printed the booklet out but Kieron found it a bit confusing following the order so I had to help him out. We definitely built up an appetite with all the walking and decided to return to the O2 arena to find somewhere to eat.


It was a fun day getting out, exercising our legs and exploring a new area of London that we hadn’t visited before. Not sure if I will go on the cable cars again but I have spotted a travel exhibition on at the Excel centre in November which I would love to visit so it may be sooner than expected!

Have you had a trip on the cable cars before?

Posted in London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

An afternoon at Kew

Kew gardens, also known as the Royal botanic gardens, is set in 300 acres of land in the London borough of Richmond and is home to the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world.


I had last visited Kew gardens 10 years ago with my eldest son on a school trip and had vague memories of sweating in a giant green house. This experience was pretty much the same only I just had the responsibility of supervising one 12 year old (The youngest son who reluctantly joined me) and we were free to roam wherever we liked.

Armed with the map of the gardens it reminded me of a theme park for nature lovers as opposed to thrill seekers, I’ve definitely become more of the latter over the years! The park has different attractions dotted around and because we arrived quite late in the day we headed towards the right to see how much we could fit in.

Palm house

The palm house is a Victorian glasshouse and is home to some unique palms and tropical plants from the warmer climates of Africa and America. It is very warm as you walk in but if you venture up the spiral staircase you have to start removing items of clothing and wiping the steamed up lens of the camera as it is so hot!




We left at the rear exit of the palm house to sit and admire the rose gardens while we cooled off for a bit before heading towards the Hive via the broad walk.

The broad walk

The great broad walk is a stretch of 320 metre pathway with double herbaceous borders described as an ornamental promenade.




It is so much nicer walking from one attraction to another when there are pretty things to look at on the way!

The Hive

One of the things I was mostly looking forward to seeing at Kew was The Hive. Described as an immersive sound and visual experience, it was designed to give humans an insight into what it is like for a honeybee inside the hive. As it was a sunny summers day with lots of visitors the hive was definitely buzzing and although there isn’t anything to do inside it I did really like the experience.



Princess of Wales conservatory

Described as one of the most complex glasshouses, this conservatory contains ten different environments and houses all sorts of exotic plants. The conservatory commemorates Princess Augusta, who founded the Gardens and it was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in July 1987.





Davis Alpine house

This innovative, award winning structure is home to the alpine plants. The design enables it to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favour and this glasshouse is surrounded by beautiful scenery of rock gardens and waterfalls.




There were so many more places within the gardens that we didn’t get to explore including the creepers and climbers and the treetop walkway, I suppose this means we will have to take another visit again soon!

When I asked my children if they wanted to join me on a trip to Kew gardens they all refused, my daughter even decided that she would rather revise for her GCSE’s (which are not until next year May) than come with me. My 12 year old wasn’t very enthusiastic about the trip but came anyway and upon leaving the gardens he declared that when he is older he is going to buy me a house in Kew and get a membership card so we can visit everyday… I think that is a result!

Posted in London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Geffrye museum – Shoreditch

The Geffrye museum, situated on Kingsland road in East London, explores the home and home life from 1600 to the present day. It reminds me of a historic Ikea only you cant enter the rooms an try out the furniture.



The museum is set in beautiful 18th-century Grade I-listed almshouses of the Ironmongers’ Company and is surrounded by a lush green at the front and period and herb gardens to the rear.


The outside space

We started our tour by entering around the side to see the herb garden which is only open to the public between April and October.

As well as being full of fragrant green herbs such as sage and rosemary there is also spots of colour to brighten it up.





Can you spot the miserable 12 and 15 year olds who are not amused at being taken to explore a herb garden? Luckily they were a bit more enthusiastic about the inside exhibitions of the museum!

Inside the exhibition

The exhibition itself is full of period rooms set up like they would be in different eras. As well as just having the rooms there are also cabinets full of historic memorabilia, paintings, books that you can browse and interactive activities.

If you have smaller children then they can follow a trail answering questions such as how many windows are there in an Edwardian drawing room? Obviously my children were too mature (I wont mention that they bickered with each other throughout the whole trip) for such an activity!










As you reach the end of the first exhibition which is all about historical homes you are greeted with a bright open space that houses the shop and café.

This then leads onto the modern part of the exhibition which shows homes from the 20th century, it also has a downstairs area where you can answer questions such as ‘how do you feel about housework?’ and stick the answers on the wall. I think this area is mainly used for education purposes.




It is a shame that the first part of the exhibition isn’t as spacious as the second part but I suppose as a listed building they are limited to what they can do with it. I also found it strange that there wasn’t an exit at the end and you had to make your way back to the start to get out.

My primary school is not far from the Geffrey museum and I remember visiting it on school trips as a child. It was lovely to go back 30 years later with my own children and see how it has developed and I can say it is still as interesting as it was back then!

Have you ever visited the Geffrye museum?


Posted in London, Travel, Uncategorized

The chocolate museum – Brixton

I am not sure I know anybody that isn’t a fan of chocolate, I know that I absolutely love it! I have often wondered how anybody managed to discover such a great tasting product so when I realised that there was a chocolate museum just down the road I had to go and visit.

Hidden away on a side street in the heart of Brixton is the only chocolate museum in London. It may not be as grand as The British museum or as well known as the V&A but that is one of the great things I love about London, it is full of little treasures!


The chocolate museum has two floors. As you enter you could be mistaken for thinking it is just another coffee shop as you are greeted with a bright space where people are sitting around at tables. This is the workshop space where customers can purchase and make their own chocolate either as a pre-booked class or walk-in session.



As you descend the colourfully artistic staircase you enter the museum section which is home to objects and artefacts that showcase the history of chocolate in the UK.





As well as putting on workshops the museum also welcomes groups of school children to teach them about the history of cocoa, where it comes from, how it is made and the connection it has to slavery. I love the fact that it comes from a tree that bears fruit which means we must be able to class it as one of our five a day right?




The chocolate museum is fairly small so doesn’t take long to look around. If you want to visit and make a day of it then it is probably worth joining in with a chocolate making session. I didn’t personally have time to stick around when I visited but I would love to go back and see what chocolate creation I could come up with!

Are you a chocolate fan?




Posted in Photography, Uncategorized

A guide to using external camera flashes

I am a lover of natural light and feel much more comfortable controlling the exposure on my camera when outdoors where there is loads of available light, but there are occasions when this is not always possible.

An external camera flash is a powerful piece of equipment that opens up a lot of opportunities to improve photos particularly when there is low or unavailable light. By having the option of adding an external light, you can control exposure as well as reducing ISO noise control. External camera flashes are most useful when shooting indoors, particularly at events and celebrations where it is important to capture those special moments.

If like me you find it all a bit technical then here is a simple guide to the terms used and the accessories that go along with using a camera flash.

camera flashes

If you are interested in purchasing an external flash for your camera then check out the Reviews Bee guide to the top 10 best camera flashes that are available to purchase on Amazon. Reviews Bee is a website dedicated to consumers, and performs conclusive research on products so that you don’t have to!