Posted in London, Photography, Uncategorized

Gursky – Hayward Gallery

The Hayward is a newly refurbished, world renowned contemporary art gallery along the Southbank in London that has just reopened in all its brutalist glory after two years.

This was my first visit to the Hayward and I was quite excited to see the work of Andreas Gursky after seeing his work in books and online over the past few years, you really don’t get to appreciate the scale of his work until you are standing next to it looming over you.

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You may be aware of Gursky as he previously held the title for taking the most expensive photograph ever when his photo Rhine II (above) sold for $4.3 million in 2011. It was nice to see the photo up close although I must say it is not one of my favourite pieces and I wasn’t that impressed by it!

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There were a few smaller photos but it was his very large scale images that really got my attention, I loved to look at them from afar and then go up close to see all the detail. Particularly the one at the airport and the block of flats where you could actually see into the windows. (maybe I’m just nosey)

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You may notice a lot of people in my photos, the exhibition was quite busy but I could have probably photographed the pictures without onlookers, I do however enjoy seeing the way people interact with the work as much as looking at the work itself.

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Gursky is known for his spectacular large scale architecture, landscape photos that often feature crowds and global economy or contemporary life. A statement from the Southbank centre website states:

Gursky makes photographs that are not just depictions of places or situations, but reflections on the nature of image-making and the limits of human perception. Often taken from a high vantage point, these images make use of a ‘democratic’ perspective that gives equal importance to all elements of his highly detailed scenes.

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You may think from seeing this post that you don’t need to see the exhibition because I have shown it all to you but I don’t think I even photographed half of the pictures in this show, the gallery is huge and just when you think you have seen it all you turn a corner and there are more photos. The work goes right back to the 70s so it is a large collection and probably one of my favourite photography exhibitions I have seen (and I have seen a fair few)

Are you a fan of the work of Gursky or visited the exhibition?

Gursky at the Hayward runs until 22 April so there is still plenty of time to get down there. A gift aided standard ticket costs £16 with various concessions available with kids under 12 going free. Check out the website for further details.

Posted in Food, London, Uncategorized

Southbank centre street food market

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.

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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.

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We were hoping to find a stall that did waffles and crepes but didn’t see any, there was however loads of cake!

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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?

Posted in London, Travel, Uncategorized

Courtauld gallery @ Somerset house

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Posted in Food, London, Uncategorized

Archduke @ Southbank

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Posted in London, Uncategorized

Silent disco at London sea life

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I wouldn’t have thought of the London aquarium as a setting to host a disco but it actually worked really well. You may have seen my post on the silent disco at the shard and I also recently visited the aquarium to see the new ocean invaders so this was a lovely opportunity to combine the two experiences and it didn’t disappoint! I mean where else are you going to get the opportunity to see two giant sea turtles getting it on while listening to Justin Bieber and sipping prosecco!?

While attending the silent disco at sea life there is a main dance area where the three DJs are based but you pretty much have free reign to explore as you wish although there are a couple of areas that are not open, it was a shame that the penguins were not available to visit as they are my favourite! But the new Jellyfish displays are open so if you haven’t visited the aquarium in a while and want to see them then this is your chance!

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The aquarium has all manner of sea life from lobsters to sharks and with the relaxed atmosphere, music playing in your ears and no kids dragging you around it makes the whole experience all that more enjoyable.

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The DJs were great, playing everything from Disney classics to hardcore Hip Hop (I like them both equally) with the option of switching the channel if its something that doesn’t float your boat or get your feet moving. The only downside is that while exploring certain areas the signal cuts out so you cant hear the music but still a great experience and really good atmosphere!

I don’t really drink a lot but I heard that you could purchase a band for £20 that gives you unlimited beer or wine for the night which sounds like a great offer if you want to make a night of it.

There are not many opportunities to join in with this unique night out (only three dates between August and December) so you should check it out on the Timeout website if you are interested. Tickets are a reasonable £29 which includes entry and a glass of prosecco on arrival.

Posted in London, Uncategorized

7 deadly sins at the London Dungeon

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The 7 deadly sins at the London dungeon is an adult only themed food evening running on a Friday throughout June.

This is definitely an experience like no other, not sure where else combines the facts of a museum told through theatrical performance with food and drink thrown in which makes it a great night out, although saying that it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

The evening is a 75 minute tour that takes you along candle lit passageways through different parts of London, meeting historical figures that give you information about the goings on at the time including the murders by the infamous Sweeney Todd.

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We started the evening getting into character by dressing for the occasion in Victorian style hats and sipping on green coloured cocktails. We were shown the menu so we were prepared for what would be offered at different sections of the tour.

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Some of the food on offer was really nice, my favourites were Mrs Lovett’s pies and the sausage and mash which had a strong mustard taste. If the drink is alcoholic then it must be watered down quite a bit because I am usually a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and I didn’t feel tipsy in the slightest. I thought the concept of it relating to the seven deadly sins was clever and there was a good selection of food and drink.

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I wasn’t too keen on the way it works as a guided tour because I like to take my own time when looking around, I suppose this is so everyone gets to see the actors but I spent most of the time trying to avoid their glare as I hate being the centre of attention and didn’t want to be picked out by them. One of the rooms is a courthouse and a few members of our group were picked out as criminals, it’s all fun and games as long as I am not the one in the dock!

I understand there are usually a couple of rides in the London dungeons which are not featured in this particular event, I feel like they could enhance the experience because it did feel that there was something missing and I wasn’t scared as much as I was expecting to be. I would have had more photos but we were asked not to use cameras throughout the tour, I assume this is because the actors want to keep your attention and the cameras/phones can be distracting.

The ticket for the 7 deadly sins is £59 which for me seems a little steep but if you like an immersive show and are a bit of a foodie I think this would suit a group of friends as a prelude to a night out.

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Ocean invaders – Sea life

Over Easter I went to see the new addition to the London sea life aquarium. Ocean invaders is a new world of Jellyfish and if you are a fan then you won’t want to miss it as it’s the largest jellyfish experience in the UK. I didn’t know that there are over 350 different species of this mesmerising creature or that apparently they have been around for 500 million years!!

 

This was my first visit to the aquarium and as I went in the evening there were some sections that looked closed off but there was still loads to see. The jellyfish were the main attraction of the night but for me the penguins were the stars of the show, I just find them so amusing to watch. Each Penguin wears a coloured band so you can tell them apart and their names are on the wall. They would walk towards the glass and see everyone watching and then turn back and walk to the back wall, I don’t think they are fond of human company!

The aquarium itself is rather large but does look like it is in need of a makeover, it looks a bit dated but then I imagine it would be a pretty large and expensive job considering a lot of it is under water. As well as having various sea life to admire there are also some interactive activities and games aimed at children. It was great to be able to walk over and under the glass as the fish, including sharks and stingrays, swim past you and the rock pools and smaller tanks allow you to get a better look at the fish close up.

I think this would make a great day out if you have a young family and situated along the Southbank it is perfect to see lots of other sites while you are there. Have you visited the London aquarium, what did you think?