Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Going Ape in the Snow

When I booked tickets for my kids to Go Ape at Battersea park my idea was that they would enjoy themselves whizzing around the treetops while I went for a winter stroll around the park, I didn’t realise that it would fall on the only day that it was to snow in our part of town.

It didn’t go off to a great start as it was a freezing cold day and although the snow looked really pretty it was also raining which kind of takes the magic out of it. Following that I booked the kids on the junior trail of Go Ape which they were not impressed with as they have been a few times and consider themselves pros at it!



What I love about Go Ape at Battersea Park is that it overlooks the children’s adventure playground so if you have younger children they can play for free as the bigger kids climb around in the trees while still in sight if they need a bit of encouragement.

All suited up and briefed about the safety of the course and the kids were ready to go…


Understandably the park was empty when we visited but there was a whole party of children on the Go Ape course, unfortunately my kids seemed to be stuck behind them as a few were really scared and needed help from staff members to get across a couple of obstacles. I really love the idea of trails across the trees but having been up there myself I know how scary it looks and I do think there should be some way of letting more competent users pass as it is no fun standing for half an hour in the freezing cold waiting for your turn, and even less fun standing on the ground watching your kids waiting for half an hour for their turn.

Between each bridge is a standing platform that can hold three people and each bridge can only hold two people so as you can imagine when it is busy it does take longer to get around. As it was snowing it was also quite slippery which I imagine makes it a lot more challenging!





I would like to say that the kids loved their experience of Go Ape as they usually do but like most of the little ones on the day, they just came off complaining that they were cold and wanted to go inside in the warmth. Because of the hold up they only managed to go around the course once instead of the usual two or three goes but as they were so cold I’m not sure they would have wanted to keep going anyway.

In the winter months Go Ape in Battersea park is only open weekends and half term holidays, I would definitely recommend that if you don’t want miserable children that you should wait until the weather warms up a bit before sending yours up into the trees.

Have your little ones ever tried Go Ape before?

Posted in London, Photography, Uncategorized

Metro imaging and end of year show

Metro imaging is a Photographic, printing, framing and retouching service with a shop just off Clerkenwell road in London.


Most people that want to print everyday photos will probably use an online service or high street shop but if you are looking for something special then a C type or Giclee print is the way to go, often used by professionals or photography students that are displaying work for a gallery.


Metro imaging is very hands on, you can go in and print your own work in a variety of sizes with staff members on hand to provide assistance or you can send it over via the website. There are so many options to chose regarding printing on different media and finishes that it can seem overwhelming but it can also give your work the wow factor and make it stand out from the crowd.



This is a selection of work printed on different materials, including wood and metal.


We visited Metro Imaging as a class as we were preparing for our Pilot major project work to be exhibited at the end of the year. It was great to see how work can be displayed in so many different ways and a few of us from class decided to use the services of Metro imaging to print our work.

My project has been documenting the journey of the flower and you may have seen in previous posts that I have visited places such as New Covent Garden Market and Columbia road flower market. I have also been spending time with an event florist in their workshop and accompanying them to events to photograph for them.

I ended the project with a selection of nine images printed out in A3 and A4 size I then mounted them myself on mounting board using the vacuum press at uni. I didn’t chose the images that I thought looked the nicest but the ones that told the story of the process the flower goes through in its short lifespan. I am hoping to carry on this project in semester two  and hopefully visit some floral gardens in Holland and spend some time with the charity Floral angels who donate bouquets of flowers to nursing homes and refuges after they have been displayed at events.


We were all really pleased with our exhibition which was displayed at Borough road gallery and looking forward to the final major project which should be displayed at Free Range photography festival in The Old Truman Brewery in East London in June.

Here are some of the work of other students…





Posted in Food, London, Uncategorized

The charm of Leadenhall market and Pizza Express


Situated in the picturesque Leadenhall market in the city of London is the newly renovated Pizza Express. Myself and a group of other bloggers were invited along to check out the makeover of the branch and were treated to our own pizza making experience while there. You may have seen my previous attempt at making pizza at the Gloucester road branch and was pretty good and remembering the techniques I was taught the first time round.

We started the evening with some nibbles while getting to know each other before preparing ourselves with hats and aprons for the pizza preparation.





Stela is the manager of the branch and talked us through a bit of the history of Leadenhall market which has been owned and managed by the City of London Corporation since 1411. Originally it was one of the best places in London to buy meat, game, poultry and fish and because it has kept the spectacular historical look it has attracted the likes of Hollywood and been featured in film and TV including as Diagon Valley in Harry Potter.

To fit in with the character and history of the grade ii listed site, the Pizza Express in Leadenhall recently underwent a stylish refurbishment and Stela took us on a little tour while our pizzas were being cooked.





The basement area is finished in rich and elegant colours and exposed brickwork, new dark wood timber flooring and artwork that celebrates the history of the area. There is a bar, a section for the pizza making parties and enough room to rent out space for private parties or meetings.

On the street level are the smaller marble tables that are synonymous of Pizza express but they are accompanied by warm, gold pendant lighting and an original spiral staircase. This leads up to a private dining space which is unfortunately not open as yet due to safety issues of carrying food up the ornate staircase.



Stela with really friendly and informative, you could tell that she has a passion for the restaurant and was eager to please all the customers.

After our tour it was time to tuck into our handmade pizzas. I chose the toppings chicken, mushroom, red onion, yellow pepper and spinach so it was nice and colourful! We finished the meal with either a Baileys, limoncello or Latte, I opted for the latte which was a lovely finish to the meal and warmed me up ready for my cold journey home.


If you fancy checking out the charm of Leadenhall then go during the week as the city is empty over the weekend with most places closed. The Pizza Express has over 180 capacity so would be perfect to fit in a large group and is open 11:30 – 22:00 Mon – Fri.

*Written in collaboration with Pizza Express, all thought are my own!
Posted in London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Columbia road flower market

I have wanted to visit Columbia road flower market for a while and with my recent photography project documenting the journey of the flower, I thought it would be the perfect time to go and take some photos.

On the bus journey over, the streets were empty as it was a cold, drizzly afternoon, that is until I reached Shoreditch and there was a real buzz as the streets were lined with people carrying bunches of flowers and Christmas trees.




The flower market is open from 8am until around 3pm and I decided to go in the middle of the afternoon because I wanted it to be busy. I don’t think I was prepared for just how busy it was and trying to navigate through the market while taking photos is no mean feat. The road is quite narrow and the pavements have even less space, so although they are filled with what looks like quirky little shops and cafes it is hard to have a proper look when you are fighting your way past other people.





I had plenty of photos of flowers from my trip to New Covent garden market so what I really wanted to capture was the people.

Being a flower market and with a street lined with cute shops it obviously attracts people with their cameras but a lot of the market traders don’t seem too impressed by this, one asked me to delete his photo as he was “fed up of people taking photos to put on Facebook” I was going to tell him that they would more likely end up on Instagram but didn’t think he would appreciate it either way!







The market obviously attracts lots of customers but I think a lot of people also go just to have a look and take photos. I didn’t actually buy any flowers but the prices seemed pretty reasonable. I would like to go back in the Spring when it’s a bit warmer to buy some flowers but I think I will go a bit earlier or later in the day when it isn’t so busy.

Have you visited Columbia road before?

Posted in London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

North: Fashioning Identity @ Somerset House


Currently showing at Somerset house is the North: Fashioning identity exhibition. Bringing together a collection, including photography, fashion, music and lifestyle artefacts by a number of artists, the aim is to showcase visual representations of the North of England.

“The show looks at the themes and tropes present in these collective visions of northern England and consider why these regions, or representations of them, are increasingly a source of inspiration and still so idealised today.”





The exhibition is split into different rooms that you follow around until you get back to the entrance. The first few rooms are mostly photography and film but it then moves on to clothing, the focus is on particular styles and brands that are often associated with northerners through the music and fashion scene.







At the end was a room made up to look like a house with lots of television screens, people were lazing around on sofas and beds listening to interviews and documentaries that had been filmed with people from the North, looking at how their home town has been an inspiration in their creative output.

A catalogue featuring all the work is available to buy as you leave or if you don’t want to purchase it, you can have a seat and read through it along with loads of other publications on the same subject.


I really found the exhibition interesting, particularly the mix of contemporary and vintage pieces and the perspectives of so many different artists.

If you would like to visit, the exhibition is on until Feb 4th and a full price ticket is £7. There are concessions available and children under 12 go free. At the moment there is also a very festive ice-skating rink right outside so if you fancy, you could really make a day of it!

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

10 benefits to staying at a villa

We have been on many family holidays and are always torn between booking a villa or a hotel. With the miserable weather outside and my current dreaming of sunnier climes, I thought I would put together a list of advantages to staying at a villa.


Exploring the James Villa holidays website, I came across lots of Villas in the Gran Canaria region. Gran Canaria offers beaches with an expanse of white sand and is architecturally rich with numerous cultural scenes. With the annual temperatures rarely going below 18 degrees across the Canary Islands it is a great place to visit all year round.


So if the pictures are not convincing enough, here are a few reasons to stay at a villa…

  • Spaceit is no fun, particularly if you have a large family, being squashed together in a couple of rooms and racing to get a chair by the pool is not a problem when you don’t have to share it with other holiday makers.


  • ComfortA villa is a real home away from home with all the amenities you would find in your own house, unfortunately this includes the washing up but most have a dishwasher to help you along with that.


  • Self cateringthis may be a negative for some but I love exploring the local supermarket when I go away and seeing the price difference compared to home is so amusing (I’m easily pleased) plus I want to eat when I’m hungry not when the hotel announces that it’s lunchtime. Eating out is great a few times but the cost soon adds up when you have a lot of mouths to feed so being able to cook is a great alternative.


  • BBQNothing gives you the feeling of being on holiday like a BBQ and most villas have a built in one accompanied by an outdoor dining space.


  • PrivacyNo need to feel self conscious in your bikini by the pool when you are the only one there! Also nobody likes to be interrupted from their afternoon nap by somebody paying a visit to change the sheets!


  • Energy savingIt’s a short walk to the pool when it’s outside your back door and you don’t have to drag wet towels across holiday complexes when you’ve finished drying yourself off. You can also chose how close you want to be to the town centre or beach at your convenience.


  • SecurityI always worry about leaving my possessions poolside when I go for a swim but no need to hide your phone or other valuables inside your shoes while staying at a villa.


  • RelaxingYou want to let your hair down on holiday and let the kids be themselves (which often means making noise) but you don’t want to worry about disturbing the room next door or in turn, having to listen to annoying neighbours through the walls. You don’t have to at a villa.


  • FreedomA holiday is the perfect time to forget about your daily routine so why follow one on holiday? If you want to go for a moonlight swim and eat your breakfast at lunchtime then why not?


  • EconomicalYou are charged one rate rather than per person which can work out a lot cheaper for larger families and does not include a lot of the hidden costs that hotels have.


Well I think I have managed to convince myself that a villa is a great choice of holiday home, now I just have to find the flip flops!

Have you stayed in a villa before? What would you add to the list?

*Written in collaboration with James Villa holidays, all thoughts and opinions are my own