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.
There is also a fine collection of furniture in the house, either designed by Adam or brought in sympathetically. We liked this tiny lion:
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!]
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.
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:
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.
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…
A quick post of an unexpectedly great London day…
We strolled around lesser-known but lovely parts of Islington, spotting some beautiful squares.
A very friendly neighbourhood cat:
J is away in Durham, so I thought I’d share some photos with you from a quick lunchtime stroll around Clerkenwell.
I’ve worked around this area near Farringdon on and off for a few years, but as ever when you go somewhere every day, it’s easy to forget some of the details you see all the time.
Maybe this particular weekend we were missing the countryside, or maybe we just wanted to see the more natural parts of London, but we decided to fill our weekend with flowers [urgh] and animals [better]!
We started at Hackney City Farm, which neither of us had been to before. It’s free, so definitely ticks the frugal box, but there isn’t too much there to see so not worth a long trip. With the help of the camera zoom, though, we did find some bunnies… (Common theme, we know)
We also spotted some very peaceful-looking donkeys, who were proving to be pretty popular!
This was an unexpectedly fun day. With no real plans, we checked a few of our favourite sources for inspiration (we’ll do a post on these soon).
We found a series of sessions called Daylight Music at the gorgeous Union Chapel in Islington. From 12 noon, they have an eclectic mix of up-and-coming artists. This was our first visit, but we imagine it encompasses quite a range of genres, and also features a pretty amazing café at the back, with proceeds going towards a homeless charity. They serve endless cups of tea, home-baked cakes and bacon sandwiches [!!!], with an informal atmosphere. We saw the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment‘s Experience ensemble perform Haydn, a slightly too intense guitarist/singer/songwriter, and The Swingles (previously the Swingle Singers), in an amazing line-up (which, to be fair, isn’t a typical weekly occurrence!).
The OAE performed brilliantly, but the Swingles were the real highlight. They sang some of their well-known material and some new, but they interestingly described their technique of live looping, where they sing something once and their sound engineer instantly records it and replays it. This enables them to layer their vocals even further and develop their rich sound.
One of the main things I miss about the North are the many beautiful places to walk, and whenever I’m back there I always make an effort to get outside as much as possible. Today, before the winter frost had had chance to melt, I headed for a morning walk with some friends at Newmillerdam Country Park, an area of woodland surrounding a large lake near Wakefield.
Just as we set off, my friend somehow spotted a spider frozen on the ground. We wondered whether it would just carry on as normal once it had defrosted!
Hello everyone! We’re excited to share with you a few photos today which are hopefully just a little bit different… We were happy with the colours we achieved amongst the rather grey skies.
We planned a festive wander around some rather famous London landmarks. We aimed to take in some of the traditional Christmas markets, but ended up more fascinated by some of the photo opportunities we discovered.
We enjoyed how the dramatic, austere, grey St Paul’s (above) was brilliantly offset by this fun bubble (below) created by a riverbank entertainer who was entrancing a large group of children, as well as us!
One evening we went for another walk on Hampstead Heath (we’ve previously talked about it here). The sun was setting as we headed up, so we enjoyed some dramatic silhouettes of our fellow walkers…
A pretty church spire in the distance…