Return to Kenwood House

OK, so we’ve been to Kenwood House before. But with such a beautiful place nearby, it’s difficult not to… While last time was a fleeting visit on the blog, this trip we decided to look at things a little more closely.

Remodelled by Robert Adam in 1770 (you know by now how much we love good old Adam!), Kenwood sits in 74 acres next to Hampstead Heath, with views across to the City of London. The house is run by English Heritage but remains free entry to the public, thanks to the Iveagh Bequest. This was a gift of art from the 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1920, and comprises internationally-significant Old Master and British paintings by artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Reynolds. Indeed, it is the finest collection of Old Master paintings given to the British nation in the 20th century.

Kenwood House

There is also a fine collection of furniture in the house, either designed by Adam or brought in sympathetically. We liked this tiny lion:

Table at Kenwood House

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The ashes of Clandon Park

Today we’re coming to you with a bit of a different post. You know how we love our days out to National Trust houses; beautiful furniture, textiles, cups of tea in the café and walking amongst gorgeous gardens. But this time we made a pilgrimage to a place that, very recently, had all the above. Now, however, it has none.

On 29th April, 2015, Clandon Park was struck down by a devastating fire, which moved through the house more quickly than anyone thought possible. The fire destroyed the entire interior of the house; walls, floors, staircases, leaving a shell.

Clandon Park

The fire spread from the basement, and is thought to be an electrical fire, although no-one is entirely certain. One room in the house survived relatively intact; there are no photos online, and we were unable to get that close, but miraculously it looks to be nearly as it was (save extensive water damage from the hoses).

Clandon Park

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Blink and it’s gone – the Bloodhound SSC

I was very fortunate last week to be able to see the Bloodhound SSC (Super-Sonic Car) make its world debut in London. By pure chance I had the afternoon off work for something else later in the evening, and happened to hear about the two-day event that was happening in the East Wintergarden venue in Canary Wharf. So, with my last-minute ticket in hand, I headed over to check it out… [I had to work, on the other hand, so couldn’t go. Pity. Fortunately there were about 300 photos of cars for me to look at… However, they actually turned out to be fairly amazing, so do keep reading even if you’re not an engineering fan!]

Canary Wharf tube

For those who haven’t heard of it before, the Bloodhound SSC is a British engineering project to break the land speed record (which is already held by the same team, headed by Richard Noble), with the ultimate aim being to travel at over 1,000mph. The car being unveiled today is the “product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities”. Jaguar are one of the key sponsors, and have provided many vehicles for research: the car below was used to test the use of parachutes as a braking system, a method that was eventually abandoned in favour of air brakes.

Jaguar test car for Bloodhound SSC

But I’m teasing you – it’s time I actually showed you pictures of the beast itself! [I can hardly wait.] And here she is:

Bloodhound SSC

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Supermoon eclipse

Today we’re dropping in with this quick photo – we got up at 3am on Sunday/Monday to watch the supermoon eclipse, and brought the camera with us. Being in London, it never felt like it got completely dark, but this time lapse is an interesting take on the movement, moody colours and different angles of the eclipse. See you again in 2033! [Can’t believe we’ll be almost 50 by then…]

Supermoon eclipse

#Liebsteraward

Thanks to lovely Michelle (Petite Tea Lover) for nominating us for the Liebster Award!

Liebster award

For those who haven’t heard of the Liebster Award before, it’s awarded to new blogs just getting started which the nominator feels deserve more attention or recognition. The rules are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 10 (or 11) questions given by the nominator.
  3. Nominate and link 10 (or 11) bloggers.
  4. Notify all the bloggers you’ve nominated.
  5. Create 10 (or 11) new questions for your nominees to answer.

So let’s get started on Michelle’s questions…

Why did you start blogging?

He had just bought a fantastic camera [it was a Canon 600D, a good starter DSLR] and was starting to take [apparently] great pictures, and I thought more people should see them. Around a similar time, one of our friends complained that he didn’t know how to have a great day in London on a budget, so we thought we’d combine the two in a “days out” blog, with hopefully some artistic pictures.

She was working in communications and social media at the time, so suggested starting a blog – I liked the idea of having something to focus on (no pun intended) to give my photography more direction as I was getting into it, and this was the perfect opportunity for that.

What/who inspires you?

In terms of the blog, I think we inspire each other [cheesy…]. It’s tempting on a Saturday morning to lie in until lunchtime (and we do, sometimes!) but some of our best and most memorable days have been when we’ve convinced each other to get moving, with a great idea for a day out or something to see. Also in terms of photography, we draw each other’s attention to different things, and we love that. Now that I have my lovely little bridge camera (grateful girlfriend!) it’s a really collaborative hobby, which is even better.

Photographically, I’m inspired by fascinating details, whether it’s a window frame or a street lamp, and how they interact with the broader scale around them. I love beautiful architecture and hidden historical magic. On days out I love immersing myself in the history of the people, whether it’s a family who lived in a stately home or photos of slums in the 1800s at the Museum of London.

It’s great that we both have ideas of things we’d like to do, and often they overlap which is helpful! She has also been really supportive in encouraging me (and being very patient with me) in pursuing photography. 

In terms of what I like photographing, I’m particularly inspired by architecture and nature. London is a great place to explore a huge array of different architectural styles mixed alongside one another, but there are plenty of other places further afield with great architecture to enjoy as well. I’m quite a fan of modern designs; for example, one of my favourite buildings in London is the classic Gherkin, and I love the buildings at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. I also love walking and photographing beautiful scenery, particularly in my homeland of Yorkshire.

Yorkshire

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Cats everywhere – a visit to the London Cat Village

We’ve dropped in on a Sunday night because we couldn’t wait any longer to share these photos… Don’t worry, there aren’t too many words to read here, just some incredibly cute cats from the Cat Village in Shoreditch.

Cat

With cat cafés popping up around London, there’s some competition, but we’re pretty certain that this one is up there with the best. Particularly now, as they have a ten-week-old litter of kittens roaming around…

Cat

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A sunny stroll in Hampstead

We’re north Londoners, it turns out [for the moment at least]. I’m not quite sure why, but what it does mean is that we have the joy of Hampstead Heath on our doorstep. Every time we go we ask ourselves why we don’t go every week – I guess those National Trust properties won’t visit themselves…

After a short walk from Gospel Oak Overground station, you end up here at the top of Parliament Hill, looking out over London. Spottable are the Shard, St Pancras station, St Paul’s and other highlights of the London skyline.

View from Parliament Hill

Facing the other direction, though, was another popular activity – kite flying. Ostensibly for children, there were a fair few parents not too keen to give up the reins…

Kites over Hampstead Heath

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Afternoon tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly, courtesy of RIBA

Today we are breaking the tradition of a blog lifetime and telling you about something that happened midweek. On a Wednesday, in fact. But fear not – it was very exciting and blog-worthy…

We were invited by the team from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the lovely people at Le Méridien to a bloggers’ afternoon tea at the beautiful hotel on Piccadilly. RIBA and Le Méridien are currently collaborating, and as part of this partnership, RIBA has curated a beautiful photography exhibition, ‘Unlock London: A City in Pictures’, showcasing a stunning selection of 17 black-and-white images of London’s most iconic landmarks taken by leading architectural photographers from the 1930s through to the 1960s.

We were given a tour of the balcony first, and the opportunity to snap a few pictures in the last of the summer sunshine…

Terrace at Le Meridien, Piccadilly

From atmospheric architectural shots down to finer details:

Flowerpot on table at Le Meridien, Piccadilly

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Return to Cornwall, part 2 – coastal paths and cosying up

[Haven’t read part 1 yet? You can find it here!]

You know we love the National Trust. They don’t sponsor our blog (maybe they should!), but they just always seem to appear in the right place at the right time, even when you haven’t planned it…

What we did plan was a day of walking, exploring the beautiful coastline around the Fowey area. One trip to the tourist information centre later, and we found ourselves with an invaluable National Trust map of walks. It took us to secluded coves…

View over bay near Fowey

We made friends with some frankly hilarious-looking pigs…

Pig

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Return to Cornwall, part 1 – exploring somewhere new

It’s time for the second (and final, sob) summer holiday post of the year… After our rather more exotic trip to the Algarve, we decided to re-run last year’s brilliant camping holiday to our beloved Cornwall. However, this time we thought we’d try somewhere new – Padstow, Mevagissey, we love you, but this year we drove to Fowey, two days before the miserably forecast Bank Holiday weekend.

Butterfly

But fabulous as Cornwall nearly always is, we arrived to its own micro-climate of bright sunshine and barely a cloud in the sky… Fowey welcomed us with brightly-coloured houses and bunting all over the town, steep hills to the car park (ouch!) and picturesquely narrow streets.

Coloured houses in Fowey

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