Fashioning a Reign at Buckingham Palace

State Rooms

State Rooms

The Queen is off on her Summer holidays to Balmoral in Scotland and the public are able, from today until 2 October, to tread the royal carpets, and enjoy the beauty of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. You can read a full review at:

Coronation Dress

Coronation Dress

Posted in Culture, fashion, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Slide opens with Speeds up to 15 miles an hour


A slide has been incorporated into the Arcelor Mittal Orbit the continually looping tower at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Orbit, the sculpture designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, is located within the 560 acres of parkland at Stratford in London.

Measuring 178 metres the slide is the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. Created by Carsten Holler in conjunction with Kapoor, participants will twist and turn 12 times in their descent which includes a tight corkscrew section. In the 40 second trip, riders are expected to reach speeds of up to 15 miles an hour.

To ride the slide visitors need to buy a £5.00 slide ticket in addition to the £17 adult ticket (concessions available).

Accessed by two high speed lifts, the Orbit has viewing galleries which have views as far away as 20 miles across London. Screens allow visitors to learn about key sights across the Capital. Two quirky mirrors flip and twist the horizon. Visitors are encouraged to walk down the 455 steps which spiral around the central column. Fortunately, the Orbit also has wheelchair access.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is spread across 560 acres of parkland which includes waterways, and sporting venues. A vibrant arts and events programme adds interest to a visit. Access, if coming by train or tube, is via the Stratford Shopping Mall which has lots of open air cafes.


Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tate Modern extension Opens



The newly expanded Tate Modern, the gallery of modern and contemporary art, opened on 17 June with free live performances, new commissions, and a host of special events. Three weeks of live art will animate the displays. The Switch House is the new extension of the Tate Modern on the site of the old Bankside Power Station, and increases the size of the Museum by 60% offering a   variety of new experiences. The collection is now more diverse and includes photography, performance, and film as well as more work by women artists.

The free collection displays 800 works by over 300 artists from more than 50 countries. The new displays tell a broader story of modern and contemporary art over the last 100 years. They range from the subterranean concrete Tanks, the first permanent museum space dedicated to live art, to new spaces for learning, and a panoramic public viewing terrace on level 10. The Tanks will host new performance commissions every day from 17 June to 3 July 2016 highlighting the place of live art in the 21st century museum.

Digital technology is now fully integrated with interactive spaces, a new app, a timeline of Modern Art, touch screen and a digital drawing bar as well a series of weekly short films. From September, Tate Exchange, an ambitious ‘open experiment’ is taking place over nine months. 50 organisations will be participating in Tate Modern’s creative process running events and projects on site, using art as a way of addressing wider issues in the world around us.

In the Boiler House, four displays offer different approaches to modern art, each spanning 1900 to the present day. They explore art history, demonstrating vibrant and internationally interconnected art scenes and the shared concerns of artists across history and geography.

In the Switch House the four displays explore how art became active, starting in the 1960s when artists began forging a dynamic new relationship with audiences.



Sunday – Thursday 10.00 – 18.00    Friday and Saturday  10.00 – 22.00

Bankside, London SE1 9TG  T. 020 7887 8888

Posted in Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gulet sailing in Bodrum


Turkey is suffering dreadfully from the migrant issue but it’s good news for holiday- makers. Hotels at every level have had to lower their prices considerably to attract visitors.

Read a full account of my trip to Bodrum from Saturday June 4 on

I would never have imagined that I would enjoy gulet sailing. Being a natural red-head with fair skin, keeping out of the sun is a must. I was delighted, on my first experience of gulet sailing in Bodrum, to find that the yachts have areas that are covered by canopies. This meant that I could lounge around on comfortable seating, even stretch out, and enjoy the weather while at the same time, be sheltered from the strong rays of the sun.


Barbaros Yachting has a range of yachts from the small, intimate to the larger ,grander ones. I joined a day cruise on the 33m Afroditi. Although I wasn’t sleeping on board, I was able to look at a couple of the cabins, of which there were seven. They were surprising well fitted, with enough space for a double bed, and quite luxurious with en-suite shower rooms. The back area where I made myself comfortable, and where we ate lunch at a long table covered with a tablecloth, had several loungers.

The handmade gulets, which are wooden, are built locally in the traditional manner. We sailed past the boatyard as we left Bodrum. The bonus of being on a comparatively small vessel is that it was able to moor in secluded coves and, of course, with the weather in the late 20s° it was wonderful to be able to swim and snorkel. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of all that was on offer, some gulets also have windsurfing, canoe, and water sports equipment on board.

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Season opens at Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park

Running Wild

Oona faces the tiger (rehearsal shot) Photo Johan Persson

Oona faces the tiger
(rehearsal shot)
Photo Johan Persson

Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, has another hit on his hands with Running Wild which opened this year’s season at the Open Air Theatre in London’s Regent’s Park. The cast includes 57 young performers from the local community alternating performances. Three children take it in turn to perform the lead role Will, as the young boy or Lilly, as the girl.

I saw it at a Preview with Joshua Fernandes as Will, a truly talented youngster and obviously a star in the making. The performance includes wild animals,cleverly portrayed by a team of puppeteers, which includes an elephant, a family of orang-utans who are given names, and a tiger. Top marks for Morpurgo who, in his story-telling, makes a stand against the racketeering that is currently going on in Indonesia whereby wild animals and their habitats are being destroyed.

The story centres on Will who, on the death of his father, goes on holiday with his Indonesian mother to learn about his origins. It’s a new start, with the chance to ride an elephant called Oona. Then the tsunami hits. Oona escapes the beach, charging deep into the jungle, with her young rider desperately clinging on. Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures amongst the orang-utans. As thoughts turn to his mother left behind on the beach, tigers prowl, and hunger hits. Will must learn to survive in the rainforest – a story of love, loss, loyalty, and living for the moment.

Having a picnic is always fun and at the Open Air Theatre there is always a barbecue with tables on the grass. If the weather allows it is definitely worth coming early and enjoying this option.

Ava Potter as Lilly on Oona Photo Johan Persson

Ava Potter as Lilly on Oona
Photo Johan Persson

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) are partnering on Running Wild. Through education modules created by ZSL, Years 7-8 (KS3, Ages 11-12), will have the opportunity to explore the themes within the production. At ZSL London, the ‘Wildlife under Threat’ module will show how wildlife crime continues to endanger species and how the rapid expansion of unsustainable palm oil demand (found in half of packaged supermarket products, and increasingly used as a bio fuel) is devastating natural habitats.
At ZSL Whipsnade, the ‘Ecosystems’ module reveals the importance of each piece of the ecosystem puzzle, and also how human activity relies on the effective functioning of natural systems.

Box Office 0844 826 4242
Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4NU
Performances: Tue – Sun (7.45pm) matinees Weds, Sat & Sun (2.15pm)
No matinee on 14, 18 May. Finishes 12 June,2016.

Posted in Culture, Theatre, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunken Cities opens at the British Museum

Statue of Hapy, Egyptian god of the Nile flood Thonis-Heracleion

Statue of Hapy, Egyptian god of the Nile flood

Be prepared to be bowled over by some of the objects on display at a new exhibition at the British Museum Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost World which opens today, Thursday May 19, 2016.
At the end of the 1990s two cities Thonis-Heracleion, an international port, and the city of Canopus near Alexandria were discovered, submerged beneath the Mediterranean sea. Only a fraction, around 5% of the sites which date back 1,300 years, have been explored. Some of the finds which include statues of gigantic proportions are on display at the museum’s first large-scale exhibition of underwater archaeological discoveries.

Royal Decree of Sais monument showed that Thoniis (Egyptian) & Heracleion (Greek) were the same city

Royal Decree of Sais monument showed that Thoniis (Egyptian) & Heracleion (Greek) were the same city

The exhibition explores the importance of major cities through these treasures together with pieces loaned from Egyptian and British museums. 300 objects have been brought together including more than 200 finds excavated off the coast of Egypt near Alexandria between 1996 and 2012. These are complemented by objects from various sites including Naukratis – a sister harbour town to Thonis-Heracleion, and the first Greek settlement in Egypt. The discovery at the mouth of the River Nile has transformed understanding between ancient Egypt and Greece.

The exhibition, which is family friendly, runs until 27 November, 2016 with a range of lunchtime lectures and talks as well as evening events.

Apis Bull 117 - 138 AD dedicated by the Roman Emperor Hadrian for the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria

Apis Bull 117 – 138 AD
dedicated by the Roman Emperor Hadrian for the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria

Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, British Museum,
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.
£16.50 members and under 16s free.
Exhibition and event booking:
T. 020 7323 8181

Posted in Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Painting with Light opens at London’s Tate Britain



Dante Gabriel Rossetti Proserpine 1874

Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age opens at the Linbury Galleries, Tate Britain.

The invention of photography in 1839 contributed to a period of change for the visual arts in Britain. The development of new materials and techniques influenced painters and photographers who shared ambitions and ideas. Spanning over 70 years, the exhibition brings together nearly 200 works to reveal their mutual influences.

The dawn of photography coincided with the a tide of revolutionary ideas in the arts which questioned how pictures should be created and seen.

As the quality of paints and lenses improved, painters and photographers tested the bounds of perception and representation. Photography adapted the Old Master traditions within which many photographers had been trained, and engaged with radical naturalism. As the nineteenth century progressed, some artists moved away from the clarity and detail that had been the aim of pre-Raphaelite art. The first colour photographic process in 1907 saw the introduction of auto-chrome.

Within the exhibition the role of women photographers is also celebrated. Highlights of the show include examples of three-dimensional photography which incorporated the use of models and props, and a rarely seen Royal family photograph album.

Related events include the Curator’s Tour Friday 20 May and Curator’s Talk Friday 10 June – £20.00 a session.  The exhibition closes on 25 September, 2016.


William Holman Hunt Wood engraving on paper The Lady of Shallot illustration published 1857

Open daily 10.00 – 18.00   T. 020 7887 8888     




Posted in Culture, Travel | Tagged , , , ,