24 December 2014

My top 3 favourite London events of 2014

How to chose a top 3 when it's been such a busy year in London?  Looking back through my photos it became clear very quickly that the Tower Poppies, Spectra London and the Tall Ships in Greenwich were easy winners. Have a look and see why......

The Tower Poppies was a powerful and moving art work created to remember the 888,246 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the First World War and there was one poppy for each of the fallen. I went to visit on 4th August 2014 which was one hundred years to the day that Britain entered the war. The installation was called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red and millions of visitors have come to marvel at the sight and reflect on the loss of so many soldiers. 

The red poppies begin to spread

The 'Wave' takes shape

I returned on 28th August as a volunteer to plant 120 poppies and the fields were growing rapidly. It was a privilege to be a part of this amazing project.

We planted this section

A moment of quiet reflection for a Beefeater

I returned several times before the 11th November when the last poppy was planted to see the red spread and the moat of the Tower of London completely fill with poppies. 

The poppies have all gone now, sold to raise money for charities supporting servicemen and women. Every one of the 888,246 was sold and I was lucky enough to be able to buy one as a lasting memory. 

My poppy in a box which I will be giving to my mother for Christmas
The tall ships setting sail from Greenwich was a great sight in the summer sun.  They had been gathered along the Thames for the Tall Ships Festival and then one bright sunny September day they all put their sails up and nearly 50 ships of all shapes and sizes set off to sea. It was a brilliant sight and I especially loved moment when the galleons hoved into view and I was transported back to Tudor times! Enjoy the parade:

My 3rd top London event was Spectra London, an incredible light display which took place from 4th to 11th August and was another First World War commemoration. 49 massive searchlights pierced through the London night sky and could be seen all across the city. I went to seem them close up and enjoyed a wonderful friendly atmosphere as people sat on the grass and marvelled at this stunning installation and the accompanying soundtrack which perfected suited the warm summer's evening. It was hard to photograph but I hope these give you some idea of its impact:

Arriving at Spectra next to the Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament in the background

So many other events are worthy of a mention but here's just a few: the stunning performances of Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo in Romeo and Juliet at the Albert Hall; the emergence of Kings Cross as a glorious station and resurgent area; the Tour de France whizzing through the streets; a great summer; and, the arrival of a huge wooden hippo on the Thames - ok, here's a  last photo to make you smile:

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2015.
Bye for now,

17 December 2014

More of London's fabulous festive lights!

I'm feeling very Christmassy now as there is just over a week to go! Each time I got out and about in London I see even more festive lights so I wanted to share these with you. If you missed my first lights tour click here.

I'd like to take you down Regent Street, along Carnaby Street and into Covent Garden...

Regent Street is sporting its usual wonderful antler lights but unfortunately they have gone commercial and are promoting the latest Night at the Museum film - at least it's set in the British Museum this time!

A quick detour via a spectacular golden window from Liberty's;

My favourite is always Carnaby Street and they did not disappoint this year with a series of headphones and white moustaches - what's not to love!  Each side street had a lovely little Christmas tree next to the old fashioned street sign. 

Seven Dials looks like series of small space ships have landed!

Our last stop is Covent Garden where we have the return of the huge reindeer, great by day or by night.

Covent Garden's lovely enormously tall tree and the massive baubles in the main hall!

 A new addition in Covent Garden is the Santa, sleigh and reindeer all made of Lego which is an amazing sight and must have taken ages...

....and from above:

Few things say Christmas more than a group of school kids dressed up singing Christmas carols so I'll leave you with this one:

Best wishes for a merry Christmas time and all the best for 2015 - hopefully including a visit to London!

Bye for now,

8 December 2014

London's festive lights! (Part 1)

When does Christmas start in London? If you believe some of the shops it's September or even August but for me it's when the famous Christmas tree is lit in Trafalgar Square on 4th December.  The tree has been sent from the people of Norway every year from 1947 to thank the people of Great Britain for their support during the Second World War. I was in the square to see the lights go on as the carols are sung and suddenly felt all Christmassy! The reflection in the fountain was a bonus.

A tour of all the Christmas lights with a good friend is a Christmas tradition and here is this year's photo gallery so you can join our tour virtually. There are so many lovely lights I've split them into 2 blogs - welcome to part 1:

Selfridges department store is famous for its lights and windows: 

A bold claims

Paddington is everywhere this year with his marmalade and a taxi

Mother Goose

Golden spider's web
 Marks and Spencer are making their slogan as big as possible:

 Classy Mayfair has great windows and some peacock feather new lights:

House of Fraser is hard to miss:

South Molton Street is an annual favourite of mine - classy, simple, festive: 

John Lewis have gone big on penguins in their window among household bringing us cute fun - penguins with pants on their heads!!

Part 2 of London's festive lights to follow very soon. 

Bye for now,