Posts tagged London

As staircases go the one in City Hall, London is fairly impressive. Its understated, simplistic curves and never ending spirals make for one aesthetically pleasing piece of architecture. Residing on the banks of the Thames, near to Tower Bridge the building is most well known for housing Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London among other city officials. Starting from the top I indulged in the view, which unfortunately wasn’t much further than Tower Bridge in all its grandeur (at a squint I could just about make out Canary Wharf in the murky distance). However I was far more taken with the view coming down, it was a slow meandering process that involved stopping at every other step;  but that staircase just doesn’t have a bad angle! I visited City Hall as part of Open House London and I am very tempted to visit again next year as this Norman Foster designed building is possibly one of my favourites!

The Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall Building, View from the 40th Floor40th Floor, The Leadenhall BuildingI’m a sucker for a good view, so last month I diligently waited in line to be whisked up to the 40th floor of The Leadenhall Building in London. Once a year Open House London lets the general public roam around some of the most architecturally intriguing buildings across the city, which is great if you don’t mind a bit of queuing. This distinctive design by Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners was finished earlier this year and is currently the tallest building within the City of London. Visiting the Leadenhall Building was a slight anticlimax. After waiting over an hour to get in (crazy I know) and experiencing a stomach lurching, ear popping assent over The Gherkin (fastest lifts in Europe); all to be rushed around the 40th floor as quickly as possible it was just a bit disappointing. Unfortunately London was being its usual miserable self weatherwise, with zero visibility the skyline was cloaked in a thick cloud of fog.

I made a hyperlapse of the jaw-dropping descent, going down at 8 metres per second it was pretty quick!

Sensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesSensational ButterfliesIf you have an interest in all things that flutter then you may like me have visited the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. Upon entering the tent you are transported into a sickly sweet paradise (aka a greenhouse) filled with a variety of different species flying overhead. It was interesting to see the evolution of these delicate insects, from caterpillar to chrysalis, to their final form. The chrysalises are flown in from all over the world to create this little tropical home filled with sweet smelling flowers to attract the butterflies; and it really was filled to the brim with these wonderful creatures in all stages of their very brief lives.

 

 

 

Leadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketI’ve walked down Leadenhall Street many times, but never have I managed to stumble my way into this charming indoor market. Dating back from the 14th century Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest in London, and the mix of ornate architecture and decor instantly transports you to diagon alley a time of colonialism and British rule. Unfortunately my accidental visit was early on a sunday morning and most of the shops were still closed, but there were a couple of stalls open selling some wonderful handmade items.

 

EPOTY ExhibitionEPOTY ExhibitionEPOTY ExhibitionEPOTY ExhibitionTidal Surge, Laura Howell A couple of months ago I received some very exciting news – one of my photos had been shortlisted for the Environmental Photographer of the Year exhibition. I was beyond shocked, considering I had entered on the day of deadline, with approximately an hour to explain my work and make sure every last box was filled out correctly (my forte in life – I’m seriously not capable of doing anything in a timely fashion). If I could choose to have my work selected for anything, then I think this would be the one, I’m literally obsessed with landscapes and if I can find an environmental element then my mind kind of goes into creative overdrive. Over 10,000 images were submitted from all corners of the planet, so I feel very lucky to have my work included. All of the images selected show environmental and social issues that both encourage awareness and show the consequences of climate change. Some of the the issues examined were poverty, natural disasters, population growth and innovation. The exhibition was recently being shown at the Royal Geographical Society in London, but its now travelled to Cumbria and will be on show at Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre until the 2nd of November. My shortlisted image shows the after effects of the tidal surge that hit the east coast of England in December 2013. In Hemsby, Norfolk the cliff face gave way to the sheer power of the sea and the damage caused was phenomenal, with many homes left unsalvageable.

 

The last of my photos from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and I think I saved the best till last. ‘Positively Stoke-on-Trent’ was designed in partnership with Bartholomew Landscaping and it represents the future of the city, with the aim of being self sufficient in energy. You may wonder how this is communicated through the vibrant display of blooms and the ambiance of the quietly bubbling pool. Hmm well I didn’t quite get it either, but I cheated and read the display book!  The colour scheme is enchanting, with a mixture of English roses in glorious hues of pink and intricate ceramic globes placed in between. I couldn’t help but photograph them, and show them off in all their beauty. If you missed my first two posts from the Chelsea Flower Show you can find them here and here.

 

 

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014 The Great Pavillion at Chelsea is filled with the most opulent and lavish displays, with every last nook and cranny of the vast tent populated with both people and plants. I loved wandering around capturing all of the beautifully coloured blooms – especially the multi colored array of lupins which dazzled the crowds. On the Saturday at exactly 4pm the annual plant sale kicks off and the whole tent erupts with noise. It is one of the craziest sites you will see, with people jostling to scoop up any bargains and struggling away with humungous plants; often larger than themselves. Anyone who doesn’t have a chauffeur (which is most of us) can be seen ambling to Sloane Square underground, and it must be the most bizarre site for anyone passing through as the platforms are filled with showgoers and their purchases. This year I brought back one of the lovely bright sunflowers (seen above) from the Marks and Spencers stand, but it’s since perished which doesn’t say much for my plant tending skills.

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Apologies this post is long overdue, I’ve been editing and rewording for days now. My visit to the Chelsea Flower Show seems like it was weeks ago, leaving me with a slightly hazy memory and very sore feet. Although the tickets were slightly expensive, it is an all day affair with an abundance of plants and gardens. Of course if there isn’t a horticultural bone in your body then it may not be the place for you! There is much to see, plenty to eat (ahem chelsea buns) and of course drink, in the form of Pimms.  

From top to bottom: The Telegraph Garden, Gold Winner designed by Tommasco del Buono & Paul Gazerwitz // A Garden for First Touch at St George’s, Silver Winner designed by Patrick Collins, The RBC Waterscape Garden, Gold Winner designed by Hugo Bugg (such beautiful blue Irises) // London Square, Gold Winner designed by Jo Thompson

Patience is really the key to seeing the outside gardens, with little or no space to move about you have to really have to treasure the moments of space. Best avoided during a thunderstorm (which saw the entirety of Chelsea cram into the show tent) but the place to seek out at 4pm when plant sale craziness kicks off!

 

A couple of shots from last weekend on my flying visit to the capital, a mere five hours of roaming and adventure. I frantically raced back from Notting Hill towards the river, trying to catch the pretty sunset; but sadly I missed it and ended up with the blue serenity of the London skyline instead.

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Strolling through the streets of London is always a magical experience, but its especially enchanting at sunset when everything is thrown into that golden dewy light. Either by chance or luck;  me and my good friend Loren (my lovely model) stumbled onto the steps of St. Pauls Cathedral. With its grand architecture (designed by Sir Christopher Wren)  and a lot of history it seemed like the perfect picturesque London location. Normally the steps would be bustling with tourists and city dwellers, but with the fading light it was almost serene. And how amazing is that floor?! If only I could play chess…