Friday, 15 January 2016

Lumiere London & Winter Lights

(not in any of the books)

It's January. Officially winter. It's cold. And is dark at what feels like 2pm most days. But the last bit about darkness isn't necessarily a bad thing... it just means you can see lights better :) 

Currently in London town, there are two light festivals going on. Lumiere London in central London and Winter Lights in Canary Wharf. 

So last night, 14 Janauary, I met @Cowfields in Canary Wharf (mainly as it's where I work) and we had a look around the Winter Lights exhibitions in the freeeeeezing cold. 

And there were some lovely lighty things indeed...

There were many words, but the only words I captured that you could actually read were Think and Arrested... thankfully Sex didn't make it! They had something similar to this (maybe even the same one) when the Olympic Games came to London in 2012. Brought back some fabulous memories. 

We wondered around a bit more and found this really strange exhibit that reacted to mobile phones. It wasn't overly impressive so didn't bother with a photo. I really wanted to see the giant inflatable man, but it was a further walk away and @cowfields had already seen it on the bus, plus it was frickin' freezing. So we wondered back toward the tube station and noticed there was more stuff in Jubilee Park.

And these bits were pretty cool...

I took some photos of this one, but they didn't turn out amazing... so a video was needed instead. I stood for a while just listening (and having a little bop!) to the music and watching all the lights.

Then we wondered round and saw the multicoloured flowers - that also moved with the wind.

By this point, the Arctic winds of Canary Wharf were slowly killing us, so we jumped on a warm tube into town to have a look at the official Lumiere festival.

We started off in Trafalgar Square, where there was a really odd bottle exhibition in one of the fountains. I wasn't entirely sure if it was part of the exhibitions or not, so we didn't stick round for long. Although having looked at the website just now it was.

The Centre Point wording from the top of, well, Centre Point was on display. They're currently renovating it I think, so the added it as part of the festival. Pretty cool.

That was pretty much all we saw of Trafalgar Square, and we had a wonder to Piccadilly where the festival continued. 

Piccadilly had some really cool floating fishes... with really relaxing Harry Potter like music in the background. This was probably my favourite thing of the festival.

Sadly the picture doesn't make it look as amazing as it was, but I did record a little video of it, so you can get the picture :)

They were also bits in Mayfair, but as it was so cold, we decided to miss it out and cut through to Regent Street. Between Regent Street and Piccadilly, is Air Street and there is an archway adjoining the buildings either side. The road goes through the bottom, and an open space at the top. As part of the exhibitions, the open space above was closed and a moving image (with  pretty loud sounds!) of an elephant was projected. Regent Street had the front, and (unfortunately) Piccadilly had the rear. But it was pretty impressive.

Regent Street side
Piccadilly side
By this time it was almost 9pm and we'd been walking around for aaaaages. So we did what any civilised people would do... we went and ate in China Town :) YUM!

Once we were fed, on the way back we walked through Leicester Square and noticed that there was an exhibit in there too. And it was very pretty...

There were other exhibits that we missed out on in this area, plus there are more based in Kings Cross. Check out their website for a full list (and a map too) of all the exhibits.

But what we'd seen was pretty good. The Lumiere festival is on until Sunday 17 January, and the Canary Wharf one is on until Friday 22 January.

So if you have a free evening, go see!

Good Morning London!

This is why I love living and working by the Thames, I get to see spectacular sunrises on my walk or cycle to work. On a nice day obviously...!

If you like this, please check out my Instagram account @orangetadders. You'll often find me taking pics like this and sharing them on there :)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Outdoor Ice Skating - Tower of London

(surprisingly not in any book)

As my main present to one of my nieces this Christmas, I booked for us to go ice skating. It's kinda turned into a tradition of sorts, each winter for the past few years we've been ice skating (2015 was the London Eye, 2014 Winter Wonderland, pretty sure we did somewhere else in 2013), so this year I thought we should go somewhere else and chose the iconic Tower of London.

Image courtesy of (frustratingly I forgot to take a photo!)
So on Saturday 02 January 2016, my niece and I got on a train from east London to the city. I was a little worried as I knew of a few occasions where the rink had been closed due a pretty damn warm December. 

Thankfully that wasn't the case for us! But we did have to contend with this...

Water. A lot of water.

Don't get me wrong, there was ice. And it was enough to skate on. But it became more and more of a large pond as the session went on.

If you look at the picture above closely, you can see the ripples of the water as people are skating. And falling over. There was a lot of people falling over. On to cold water, in January. I am pretty sure that it was only me and my niece that didn't fall over during our session! And if you look in the photo there is some legs sitting on the ice... We also didn't have that many people on the ice with us which helped, if it was fuller, I'm pretty sure we would have been on the floor at some point!

Anyway, we had a great time with a gorgeous setting of the Tower, Tower Bridge, the Thames and the Shard.
My niece and I
Obligatory skates shot...
The session was for an hour (although I was convinced it was 45 mins for some reason), and I'll be honest it was enough. My feet were fairly sore afterwards, but it did remind me just how much I like ice skating. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty hopeless with it - I can only really go in straight lines. Slowly. But it has made me want to take some proper lessons which I've already looked into and will probably start in a couple of months. 

So the prices and stuff... for an hours peak time session it was £14 for me, and £10 for my niece as she's under 16. Didn't think it was too terrible to be honest. Although, we didn't get asked for our tickets once which I thought was pretty bad. Although the rink is now closed, I'm pretty sure it'll be back in November/December this year. I was going to put the website down here, but all it does now is tell you the rink is now shut. Not entirely useful. 

Next year will probably be the rink outside the Natural History Museum, another one that I can tick off the list. And by that time I'm pretty sure I'll almost be on par with Jane Torvill...

Friday, 1 January 2016

2015 - a round-up

Wowza... the last time I posted anything on this blog was in December 2013. TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTEEN. A whole 2 years ago!!

So I'm not going to bore you with everything I've done in the past 2 years, but I will give you a run down of how 2015 has shaped up for me.


I have some truly fantastic friends, and this year they have been there to help me through some pretty tough times in 2015.

There are my locals - a group of us who live in the SE16 area who just have such a blast when we meet up. 

The girls that make up the Awesome Foursome - one of us may have moved thousands of miles away, but that makes no difference.

New friends I've met and/or met properly this year (in no particular order), @Cobblerino, @BreatheFitPT@cowfields@jason_best, @nickellis374 and @G_Moneeee.

And of course everyone else... can't name you all but you all know who you are!


Dec 2014 saw me move to a different job within my company. That lead me from being constantly behind a desk in my old role, to doing a whole load of travelling!

Work wise, I have been to Amsterdam (4 times), Stockholm (3 times), Frankfurt (2 times), Dublin (8 times) and Las Vegas (just the once!). Amsterdam I had been to already, but the other 4 places I got to tick off my cities/countries to visit list. To confirm... I spent a lot of time working and these are taken early in the morning, late at night or time off!

Amsterdam - June 2015
Stockholm - July 2015
Stockholm - July 2015. 11pm at Night!
Frankfurt - March 2015
Frankfurt - March 2015
Las Vegas - Sept 2015
Las Vegas - Sept 2015
Las Vegas - Sept 2015. Jumping off the Stratosphere :)
Las Vegas - Sept 2015
Non work wise, i.e. for PLEASURE, 2015 saw me visit some other cities/countries that I can now tick off. 

My main holiday was with @kroedel2 in May to the Dominican Republic, Caribbean. And it was 2 glorious weeks with blue skies and crystal clear waters. 

July saw a group of us surprising @chrisnotwell in Berlin for his 40th birthday. Love Germany so much. 

September I went to Krakow with @brob11, Poland is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. We also managed to go to Auschwitz which was a sobering experience that I never want to experience again.

December saw me visit Belgium for the first time, luckily enough to stay in Ostend with my friend and his wife, and visiting Bruges and most excitingly, Ypres and the Menin Gate.

Ypres - Menin Gate
Charity and Fitness

Ok, so these two don't exactly go together. BUT I have done some charity runs and a cycle this year so there you go - tedious link successful! Hurrah :)

During 2015 I continued to volunteer for Contact the Elderly, a charity that tackles loneliness amongst the ever increasing elderly generation through monthly tea parties. I have a fantastic group and we've had some fab times this year, including a trip to the British Museum, beano to Herne Bay and also summer and Christmas parties at Club 338.

Herne Bay - Aug 2015

You'll all be glad to know that I am still obsessed with all things London 2012 and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, so this year saw me do three runs there. The first was Pretty Muddy, second was the Great Newham Run (formally the National Lottery Anniversary Run), and the third was a night time Colour Run.

Pretty Muddy with @Orbette and @londonfox
Great Newham Run with Bradders
Colour Run Night again with Bradders

And in August I did my only charity cycle ride of the year the London Bikeathon for Bloodwise who tackle blood cancer. Was one of my favourite routes I've done. Mainly as it starts and finishes in London. 

Entertainment (inc theatre, gigs, sports)

I saw a lot of great things in 2015. 

Theatre - including Book of Mormon (twice), Edward Scissorhands ballet, Cats (all I could think about was Thundercats!), Avenue Q, Who's Line is it Anyway?, the Car Man, Rocky Horror (with Richard O'Brien!), American Idiot, Hairspray, and Disney on Ice.
The Book of Mormon

Gigs - including Olly Murs, Let's Rock - an 80s day with @starbug78, my first ever festival Rewind - an 80s festival (theme here perhaps?), FFS (a collaboration of two of my favourite bands, Sparks and Franz Ferdinand), the Hoosiers and Stereophonics.

Let's Rock - Jason Donovan on stage
The Hoosiers... signed set list! :)
Comedy - got to see Michael McIntyre.

Sports - the London Marathon runs pretty much outside my flat so obviously had to cheer everyone one, saw Reading vs Arsenal in the 2015 FA Cup semi final, two lots of the ATP Tennis and of course I still have a season ticket at Dagenham and Redbridge FC (for my sins!).

Jensen Button running the London Marathon
Reading vs Arsenal at Wembley
ATP Tennis
And on to 2016...

There will be a few fairly big things for me during 2016. 

Home life... After a fantastic 3 and a bit years, I will be moving to another flat early on in 2016. Fingers crossed anyway. Got myself some lovely sods to move in with too. Also not at all that far away from where I'm living now. Please keep all your fingers crossed that it happens smoothly and quickly!

Work... My company is due be brought by another company in a few weeks, and so I'll soon be working for a different company. Will be odd after working with my current company for over 7 years now, but I'm hoping it is going to be a good thing.

I also have the wedding of the year when my best friend @londonfox marries @chrisnotwell.

New Year Resolutions

I gave up doing New Year Resolutions a long time ago, they don't work. But I am going to try and do some of the following;
  • have more time for me - treat myself a bit more and don't feel guilty when I do!
  • say "no" more - relates to the above
  • read more books
  • get back into blogging about the city I love so much
  • see more theatre shows
  • finally travel more! Already have Toronto lined up for March... (hoping to also add Brazil to that in September for the Paralympics!) 
So here we are 01 January. 2015 done. A new year is upon us.

Happy New Year to you all and cheers to 2016! 

Tadders xx