Beetles and Huxley is a gallery space situated in Mayfair and represents a number of influential photographers. We went to visit while Alec Soth, photographer of the career defining project ‘Sleeping by the Mississippi’ which documents his journey on a number of road trips along the Mississippi river.
The gallery is fairly small and intimate and doesn’t take very long to look around but it is a nice relaxed atmosphere, apart from our group there was nobody else there at the time we visited.
The gallery is free to enter and the work on show is available to purchase. Each exhibition is usually on show for 3-6 weeks and the Alec Soth project has recently been replaced with The Masters of Photography exhibition which is on show until 16th November.
Frankie and Benny’s is described as a New York Italian restaurant and bar and has over 250 branches. The food is a mix between popular American dishes and traditional Italian ones with burgers, pasta and pizza just a few of the options on offer.
We decided to pop into Frankie & Benny’s restaurant along the Strand before our trip to the theatre to watch Kinky boots. We didn’t have any booking and were told we could use the Tastecard for 2 for 1 dishes on a certain menu.
The restaurant had a 1950’s American Italian theme with dark wood and warm mood lighting. The walls were adorned with traditional family photos that fit the theme and we were given a seat in a comfy booth by the friendly waiter.
To get us in the mood for an all singing and all dancing evening we started our meal with a couple of cocktails ( I was very tempted to try one of those freakshakes) which went down nicely! Although they were so nice that a fly decided to nosedive straight into Jasmin’s purple rain, luckily the barman was happy to replace it for a fresh one!
We skipped starters as we didn’t want to be late and thankfully the waiter was really quick to come and take our order. I chose the BBQ chicken cheese wrap with fries while Jasmin went for the pasta dish – chicken and prawn alfredo.
The wrap was really packed with filling which made a change from usual wraps which are very doughy from the wrap itself. The pasta was full of plump prawns and chunky chicken which made both dishes really filling. Even though the dishes were 2 for 1 we decided to share a dessert because we were so full from the main course.
With a mix of rich brownie and chocolate brownie ice cream this was a perfect dessert for sharing and was a nice treat to the end of the meal.
Finishing just in time for the start of the show we left feeling fully satisfied. Would definitely like to try some other branches of the Frankie & Benny’s chain, particularly for one of those freakshakes!
The Goldsmiths’ centre in Farringdon is described as a unique community for design, creativity and craftsmanship. It is a leading charity for professional training and plays host to events, exhibitions, workshops and studio space. I visited after hearing about the Fair luxury responsibly sourced jewellery selling exhibition.
As I walked through the entrance I was greeted by the exhibition that filled the bright and airy atrium. It consisted of photographs of miners in Uganda, taken by photographer Ian Berry as well as loads of information about ethical and sustainable extraction of raw materials.
You may have seen in my photography post taken at New Covent garden market that I am working on a project following the journey of a flower and this project is really similar following the journey of gold, from being mined to travelling across the world to be made into stunning jewellery pieces, so I thought it would be great to visit the exhibition for my research.
I really loved that the photographs were very focused on the people and that hard work that goes into mining. The description for this photo is ‘A sluice cloth, used in the process of partitioning gold from sediment, is washed in a river basin adjacent to the mine’
Further along are photos of the gold after it travelled to the UK.
The second photo here shows how the ‘maker Tony Power, uses a precision gauge to measure and manipulate the width of a solid gold ring.’
As well as photographs the exhibition also featured a film and display cabinets filled with jewellery created by fairtrade gold licensees.
There were some really beautiful pieces of jewellery and each one had a note about the designer and descriptions about individual pieces.
The Goldsmiths’ gallery was a perfect space for this exhibition and I will be looking out for future events there. If you would like to see fair luxury presents it is only open until 27th October but it is free to visit.
I imagined Kinky boots would be an all singing, all dancing energetic show from the adverts I have seen but I didn’t realise the depth of the storyline and the spectrum of emotions it would evoke.
Kinky boots tells the story of Charlie Price who is struggling to follow in his fathers footsteps and live up to his expectations, an unexpected turn takes his business from the factory floor in Northampton to the glamourous catwalk of Milan via the sassy Lola and her team of vivacious drag queens.
With clever staging and sparkling costumes (how they managed to dance their way around the stage in those heels I will never know) the storyline is brought to life on the stage. The characters are very endearing and there are many laugh out loud moments. Cyndi Lauper did a great job with the music and there are some real catchy tunes that you’ll find yourself singing along to.
This is probably one of my favourite west end shows and if you are a musical fan then I highly recommend, full of fun and joy you will be leaving the show with a smile on your face!
*photos of the show are taken from the Kinky boots website as you are not allowed to take pictures during the performance
I am currently working on a project for university where I have to produce a body of work by the end of the year, I can then extend this further as my major project to be completed by May of next year.
I have decided to work on a documentary piece depicting the journey of a flower. I started on my own journey by visiting New Covent Garden flower market in Vauxhall.
Although I really admire fine art photos of flowers that concentrate on colour, detail and shape I am looking at the way they are packaged, lined up and moved around during this stage of being passed between grower and seller.
I really enjoyed my time at the market, there is a real buzz around the place and lots of energy for somewhere that operates between such early hours of the morning (4am – 10am) The market is split into companies that sell everything from freshly cut flowers to decorative items and is all under one roof.
Most of what is sold is for wholesale purposes but the market is open to the public if you wanted to have a look around and purchase for yourself, although it is recommended you come during the quieter hours of 8 – 10am and it is quite difficult to find on your first visit as there are no helpful signposts and you have to navigate past the busy car park.
I am hoping to go back and spend some more time at the market with one of the florists that has a workshop upstairs as well as visiting a farm that grows flowers and spending some time with a charity that makes bouquets for well deserving individuals out of flowers that have already been used at events.
I’m sure I will share updates with you as the project develops!
If you happen to be around the Southbank between Friday and Sunday and are struggling to decide where to eat you may want to head towards the Southbank centre’s street food market.
Whether you are looking for a snack, cooked food, a sweet treat or even just a tipple then there is likely to be something here to tickle your tastebuds. We decided to check out the market after our meal at The Archduke down the road. We were looking for dessert but there was so much food to choose we actually thought we should have just went there to begin with.
We were hoping to find a stall that did waffles and crepes but didn’t see any, there was however loads of cake!
We chose a selection of these cupcakes from sweet tooth factory (which I had to unfortunately share with my kids) and the they were delicious. We didn’t get to sample anything else but if I happen to be around there again when it is open I would love to try out some other dishes.
Where is your favourite food market?
The Courtauld gallery is situated at the entrance to Somerset house and I have actually walked past it a couple of times without realising the masterpieces that hang within it.
The collection of paintings range from early renaissance into the twentieth century and features legendary artists such as Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin.
The collection is spread over four floors which is accessed via the winding staircase and they all have a description of the piece placed next to them with the artists name and information about the piece.
The displays are not just placed on the walls and some of the rooms are incredibly ornate and a work of art in themselves. It is not just paintings featured in the gallery, there are also prints, drawings, sculptures and decorative arts.
My favourite pieces were the bronze ballet dancers by Degas accompanied by his painting entitled Two dancers on a stage.
I found the Courtauld to be a real hidden treasure that is a lot more compact than some of London’s more well known galleries, although it does have an entrance fee but this means there are less visitors so there is more space to take in the artwork. I managed to get in free with my student ID and there are other concessions. Under 18s are free although I don’t think it would be too popular with young kids! Check out their website for more up to date information.
We are over a week into the 10th month and I have so far made it to 27 books out of my 45 target. I am knee deep into my dissertation which has to be complete by December so im sure my reading for leisure will take it’s toll but it is a great way to take some time out when needed.
This month I have the fifth letter which is a bit of a mystery thriller about a group of friends who decide to each write an anonimous letter containing a secret, only an extra letter turns up and nobody knows who it’s from!
The stranger in my home is about a women with a seemingly perfect life until she finds out her teenage daughter is not actually hers as someone else took her baby home from the hospital.
As it says on Falling, it is a love story which I don’t read very often so will make a nice change. I wonder if it is actually just a love story if there is more to it?
Lastly I will be reading Hold still, a memoir with photographs by Sally Mann. I am reading this as part of my dissertation but I am actually looking forward to it as it sounds really interesting. Sally is a famous photographer who sparked controversy after taking posed photos of her naked and injured children and also made a project about teenage girls which was seen as distasteful. It will be great to read about her work from her point of view!
My recommendations from my last reading pile are Everything Everything which is an extraordinary story with fun illustrations, it really makes you think about life and how we choose to spend it. The breakdown was also a great book, a bit frustrating at times but still an enjoyable read. Im still working my way through my kindle books from my last update so am not going to add any more this time.
Do you have a reading target this year?
Situated right in between Waterloo station and the hustle of the Southbank is Archduke cocktail, steak and Jazz restaurant. From the outside it seems like any other steakhouse but inside it feels a lot more upmarket and plusher than the average burger joint.
We went to the Archduke on a weekend afternoon and got a table for three with no reservation, it was fairly busy upstairs where we sat but still plenty of empty tables throughout the three floors.
The seating is really comfy and the walls are adorned with Jazz prints, The exposed brickwork and high ceilings add a contemporary touch but it still feels cosy.
The menu included a good range of dishes including, salads, steaks and a chargrilled section. We went for the double classic burger, chicken breast in a brioche bun and the roast chicken with fries and salad. I didn’t notice any child section on the menu but then I didn’t notice any other children except my own 12 year old and he eats bigger portions than me!
The food had a good portion size but I was a bit disappointed that my brioche bun seemed to be a normal burger bun and although my burger was pretty tasty, Mr OPC said his was very bland, which may explain why he covered it in English mustard and tomato ketchup.
Although the restaurant seems to be popular for its cocktails I stuck with a coke but the Mr went for an espresso martini which looked delicious.
We decided not to order dessert as the Southbank street food market was just outside and we thought we would have a mooch and pick up something sweet from there.
The bill came to £65 for the three of us which is pricy for burger and chips but I think you’re definitely paying for the setting and atmosphere as well as the food and it’s nice to experience somewhere different for a change, although not sure I would go back for that price.
The Imperial war museum in London has been housed in the previous Bethlem hospital since 1936 but has in recent years undergone a £40 million revamp. The museum records the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of Britain and its Empire since 1914 and has some spectacular displays on show.
As you enter the museum you are faced with the wide open atrium filled with all sorts of vehicles and aircraft hanging from the ceiling and over the sides of different levels.
The museum is divided into different sections across four floors and it is suggested that it takes half a day to work your way around all the galleries.
I really wanted to see the holocaust exhibition and was really blown away by the size and vast amount of information in the one section, it is like a museum in itself! Unfortunately you can not take photos in this particular exhibition but it is filled with photos, personal stories, posters, models, film and so much more. Children under the age of 14 are not allowed in but this is understandable with the sensitive nature of the subject.
Another part of the museum I perused was the first world war section. It was a lot busier downstairs so was hard to take in a lot but still contained lots of eye catching displays and interesting facts.
I spend a lot of time in Elephant and Castle as I attend university there so found this painting really interesting.
If you are a history buff or student learning about the wars then this is a great hangout and it is also set in beautiful grounds with interesting architecture which complement an autumn stroll perfectly.