Sunday, 29 November 2015

Kerala - India's coastal paradise


There’s something in the water in Kerala which creates a feeling of absolute relaxation.  A tropical paradise, this coastal state in the south west of India is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country and the perfect location for an autumn/winter escape to the sun.

Think pristine beaches, sprawling plantations, lush hill stations and the chance to soak up gorgeous scenery while sailing down coconut tree lined backwaters in a traditional houseboat.

With seafood, spices and coconuts all in abundance the curries are of course pretty incredible, and there’s often the added novelty of eating it off a banana leaf.

No wonder the locals call it ‘God’s Own Country’ – it’s all enough to make you feel like you have died and gone to heaven.


Ps. the Indian head bobble (that funny motion that is halfway between a nod and shake of the head) has been widely and enthusiastically adopted in Kerala. Don’t worry it doesn’t signal disagreement (exactly the opposite). Inevitably you’ll start doing it yourself before you know it, and will blend right in with the locals.

By the way, this is a slightly different blog post from my usual. Instead of writing lots about my trip I am have instead decided to let the photos do the talking. Hope you enjoy them!


























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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

London Life Hacks: budget-busting tips


I can't count the number of times while living in the London that I have promised to set a budget in a bid to be one of those cheerfully irritating people who actually have savings in their savings account.  But the reality is that I usually manage a week of being super-strict with my spending, before being lured by a bargain flight or a brand new pop-up experience, and ending up falling off the wagon with an almighty thud - forget yo-yo dieting, this is yo-yo budgeting in action!

Let's be honest, saving in London is bloody tough, as there always seems to be some new restaurant, theatre show or interactive experience which everybody is raving about tempting you to part with your hard-earned dough, and even modest plans for after-work drinks or a quick dinner out can easily leave you wincing at the bill.

So that's why I am always thrilled when I learn about a new tip to still have fun but also save some pennies and what better than to share them with you, my lovely readers, in a first of a series of blogs titled 'London Life Hacks'  -

Budget-busting 3-course meal




My flatmate and I try and have a house dinner every once in a while to have a proper catch-up. As vociferous carnivores I was expecting a bit of a reaction when I recently suggested that we go to a vegan restaurant which started life a communal kitchen serving neighbourhood squats, and I definitely wasn't disappointed. However I had heard such good reviews of the Bonnington Café in Vauxhall that I was determined that we check it out. The Bonnington Café is a restaurant run by the community, for the community. There is a rota of local cooks  manning the stove so the cooking style can vary wildly depending on who is in charge that evening from North African and Meditteranean fare, to the taste of the Far East. The only menu is etched on a chalkboard on the wall and consists of a choice of two starters (costing £3), main courses (costing £8) and desserts (costing £3). We loved it as the feel is super-homely (especially if you go on a weekday when it's a bit quieter and the cooking team have more time to chat) and the food consists of tasty, healthy, home-cooked fare. Add in the fact that it's B.Y.O and you pretty much have the perfect place for both carnivores or herbivores to unite and relax.

Keep fit for free
Like most people at least once a year I briefly toy with the idea of joining a gym, promising myself that I will get up at 5am to work out (usually its that point in the day when the post-Christmas dinner meat sweats have made me seriously delusional). Sometimes I even make it as far as doing a cheap one week trial. But I rarely sign up beyond that because, once the holiday high is over reality bites about how many times I will actually attend, especially as what I really love is less about plodding along on the treadmill and more about the range of classes designed to trick my brain into forgetting that I'm doing exercise. If you're in a similar boat fear not because there is a way to get fit for free. Our Parks is a new initiative bringing group exercise classes, led by experienced, fully qualified and insured instructors, to parks near you in partnership with Local Councils. Everything from bootcamp training, yoga and pilates, hula hoop classes and boxfit are on offer and are completely free, which means you can now you can stay fit without sweating about the cost.



Movie Madness
Going to the movies isn't always a cheap outing in London, costing as much as £15 in some cinemas. As someone who loves watching a good flick with friends I need a cheaper alternative, which is why I was thrilled when my sister introduced me to a really cute cinema in the East End. In a market crammed with generic cinema chains with the same overpriced snacks and boring interiors Genesis is a breath of fresh air. Classic film posters hang from the wall, there are comfy sofas in the foyer to relax , the snack bar is manned by super friendly staff who sell a variety of tasty treats including absolutely delicious cronuts (a croissant/doughnut combo which tastes as good as it sounds) from the local 100 year old Rinkoff bakery and after your movie you can head up the stairs to the bar area to  continue your night with cocktails. As if that's not enough Genesis also prides itself on showing local indie films and cult classics as well as traditional Hollywood blockbusters. Oh and the best bit - tickets cost just £4 on Mondays and Wednesdays! Yep it's the perfect Hollywood ending.





Best seats in the house - bargain theatre tickets
One of my favourite treats, and one of the best things about living in London is the fantastic theatre on offer. It is however an expensive hobby, which is why I am always one of those right at the back, in the nosebleed section, peering down at the stage which is often a little fuzzy dot in the distance.  However I recently went to see my favourite musical, Miss Saigon, and for the first time ever had a front row seat. That experience would usually set me back around £100. How much did I pay? Just £20! Here's the secret - basically few sold out shows are truly sold out, as many theatres release a limited number of day seats on the morning of weekday performances. The only way to get these coveted golden tickets is to queue up early (box offices usually open at 10am so if you are there by 8.30am that is plenty of time) and you will be rewarded with a ticket at a fraction of the actual price. And what's it like being in the front row - just incredible, a totally different experience, and even better knowing that you got a bargain. Be warned once you've done this once, it is mighty difficult to ever return to the nosebleed section. For a list of participating theatres and policies check out this fantastic site.

Hope you enjoyed these tips. Watch out for the next part of London Life Hacks and in the meantime, happy saving!

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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Galway Girl


London is an intoxicating, sometimes inspiring, occassionally infuriating but undoubtedly fun place to live, yet however much I travel or wherever I call home there will always be a piece of my heart that will forever belong to Ireland. I have a particular soft-spot for the north of the country especially Belfast where I grew up, having seen it emerge from dark days of the Troubles to become a thriving city which draws tourists and locals alike. That will of course be the focus of a future post but I recently visited County Galway, in south-west of Ireland for the first time and wanted to take this blog post to share the trip with you.

Before I go any further, in case you have never been to Ireland, this is the 'the 411' on this wonderful little island -

- It's often said that in Ireland you will get all four seasons in a day - this really isn't an exaggeration! You'll get periods of gorgeous sunshine, interspersed with rain (lots and lots of it), as well as the wind and cold. This means going out without a coat or umbrella, even during the elusive Irish summer would be seriously foolhardy. Inevitably you're going to look wild and windswept but my advice - just embrace not being in control - it is, in fact, incredibly liberating!


- Irish people are mostly very friendly. Ask them where to eat, drink or anything else and they will happily stop and chat with you for a good 10mins about your life, their life, the rain, the state of the world etc. A chat about the weather ended up with a dairy farmer inviting me to come and see his cows in Wexford - yes, Irish men really do have the gift of the gab!

- Apart from Dublin which has a small touch of London's frenetic energy, expect a much more chilled out pace of life. One which will make you feel super relaxed at first, but may eventually lead to restlessness as you start feeling withdrawal symptoms from city life. Prolonged exposure can either lead to a determination to pack in life in London for good and buy a field and some cows in Wexford too, or an uncontrollable desire to jump into the Irish sea and swim back to London - you have been warned!

Anyway back on topic, when my family suggested a road-trip to the Republic of Ireland I knew exactly where I wanted us to go. Galway City is widely considered the most Irish of Irish cities (on account of having the most native Irish speakers) and everything which visitors traditionally associate with the Emerald Isle (minus leprechauns who tend only to emerge for the Annual Pot of Gold Convention) have congregated en masse there.

The west coast is Ireland at its most romantic. So if you want a token of true love for your sweetheart there is only one place to go - head to Thomas Dillon's in Galway City, birthplace of the original claddagh ring (below) for a gorgeous traditional Irish symbol of timeless love. The ring represents love (the heart), loyalty (the crown) and friendship (the hands).


Need to clear out the cobwebs? Take a stroll along Galway Bay which provides a quintessential picture postcard view of Ireland of pretty little cottages set against the backdrop of the sea. On the day we visited the weather was wild - the wind so strong that it almost lifted me off the ground and was blowing grit from the beach and my hair into my face so much I bore an uncanny resemblance to Cousin Itt. Did I hate it? Nope, I actually though "Ah this is the life!"




Keen to soak up some history? Check out the Spanish Arch, the remainder of a 16th century bastion, added to the town's walls to protect merchant ships from looting. Step through the Arch and you will find yourself at Galway Museum. It's completely free and worth a wander round when the inevitable downpour begins.


Sampling Galway's nightlife is an absolute must-do. Head to Tig Coili, order a Guinness and sit back and enjoy some traditional Irish music. Standing round the band with the locals, drink in hand, nodding your head gently to the music, you can't fail to fall for Galway's charms.


Of course there is so much to see in County Galway beyond the city walls. Lacking in time we had to be incredibly selective so decided just to do a mini detour to Connemara. There are some gorgeous views enroute but the real treat is Kylemore Abbey below. Set against a dramatic backdrop of rolling hills, the first glimpse of Kylemore took my breath away.
 



Naturally a fairytale castle like this it comes with a story. The castle was built  in 1800s by Mitchell Henry a Manchester businessman and MP who was utterly devoted to his wife and built the castle for her after she fell in love with the area while on honeymoon. Kind-hearted souls that they were, they wanted everyone to be part of their good fortune and invested in lots of improvements for the local area, building a farm, dairy, saw mill etc. for the community. They had 9 children and were blissfully happy. Unfortunately it wasn't to last, as tragedy struck when Margaret died on a family visit to Egypt. Her devastated husband built a beautiful gothic church on the grounds in memory of her (a sort of mini Irish Taj Mahal) and had her remains brought back and placed in a mausoleum on the grounds. He never remarried and on his death his ashes were brought back to Kylemore and laid to rest next to his one true love. The castle passed hands a few times after that and is currently a Benedictine monastery. It is an absolute must-see if you are in the area.




While I so often dream of exploring far-flung places, this trip was a great reminder of the beautiful places on my doorstep. If this whistle-stop tour of some of the west coast of Ireland hasn't convinced you to visit then the video below of some of the stunning scenery in this little corner of the world surely will -




Now if you'll excuse me blogging is thirsty work and I have a pint of Guinness waiting with my name on it.

Slainte (Cheers!)



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Saturday, 25 July 2015

The alternative guide to London's coffee scene


Whoever invented coffee surely studied at Hogwarts, as one cup of this magical brew in the morning has the ability to work this miraculous transformation.......

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Monday, 6 July 2015

Unearthing London's hidden gems


When visiting London the tendency is to flock to the iconic sights of Tower of London, Wesminster, Buckingham Palace etc. and admittedly if it's your first time in the city they shouldn't be missed (apart from the London Eye which in my opinion is a ridiculously overpriced ferris wheel). 
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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Recipe for the perfect fun run


Surely the term 'fun run' is a bit of a misnomer? Don't get me wrong I am wildly jealous when people talk about the runner's high (that rush of endorphins where pain and exhaustion give way to complete euphoria) but despite some serious training for the marathon last year, I think I am destined to plod along painfully slowly, swearing under my breath as mothers with prams, the elderly and even people on crutches lap me.

After a 14-month hiatus from activities which bore any resemblance to exercise following my marathon outing I recently decided to dust off my trainers and get my butt moving again.

While still in the process of deciding exactly what my next challenge would be, a friend of mine suggested Tough Mudder.




For those of you who haven't heard about it, Tough Mudder it is a 15mile military style assault course that is billed as one of the toughest endurance events out there. The obstacles which include crawling through claustrophobia-inducing underground tunnels, barbed wire, electrocution and being dunked in ice cold water, strike me as something that the writer of Fifty Shades of Grey might dream up if she decided to take up an alternative career as a fitness instructor.

Having decided Tough Mudder was absolutely not for me (and now seriously questioning the sanity of my friend), I was on the lookout for another less intense way to get a bit of exercise. That's when I stumbled across Colour Obstacle Rush. Colour runs are a dime a dozen these days but this event offered something a bit different, combining a standard 5k run not only with coloured powder, but also with inflatable obstacles and foam. The event which was founded in Finland last year quickly became the most popular obstacle run in Scandinavia and is rapidly taking the rest world by storm.
 






Last weekend I completed the Colour Obstacle Rush at Kempton Park Racecourse, just outside London. After collecting my pack I was ushered into the pre-race area which had an incredible party vibe as I was greeted by crowds of runners pogoing on the spot to classic dance anthems whilst simultaneously throwing sachets of coloured powder up in the air, creating multi-coloured plumes of dust.


After an equally upbeat warm-up it was soon time for the main run. Even if this is your very first run there really is no need to worry - no one cares if you finish first or last, the Colour Obstacle Rush is genuinely just about having fun.

And it definitely succeeds at that aim. Every once in a while when I was starting to get shin splints I would be perked up by the sight of another colour station or inflatable obstacle to conquer. Some of the colour stations simply involved being pelted with coloured powder, while others were a little more elaborate, for example entering a tent lit only by strobe lighting, and crawling under netting and through a giant spider web while being pelted by powder from above.


However the coloured powder is only part of the fun. Let's not forget the obstacles which include everything from inflatable columns and zorbs (which block your path as you try and make it through to the other side) to inflatable hurdles, to name but a few. The race ended with me climbing up a giant inflatable slide and sliding down the other side into a sea of foam before collecting my medal and another colour pouch just in time to join the after party. I looked like a rainbow had thrown up on me and my legs and feet were totally covered with foam but it had been a truly epic run and I really wished I could do another lap.



So what's the overal verdict? Well if you are super serious about exercise and athletic challenges this run probably isn't going to be for you. Amongst other things having to dodge the walkers and having to queue for obstacles will no doubt be a source of frustration. However if your idea of a great exercise regime means looking mildly ridiculous but having an absolute blast, you can't go wrong. So congrats to the Finns on their genius idea - in my view it has definitely earned the title of fun run.

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Ms.Adventures of a dancing queen

 
I have been thinking recently about the idea of everyone having a soundtrack to their life – the songs which catch you at those defining moments and help shape who you are. It probably says a lot about me that my earliest musical memory is of dancing around the living room to David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s 1985 version of ‘Dancing in the Street’. In case you haven’t seen the video or have deliberately wiped it from your consciousness, I have included it below -


This is surely one of the most brilliant/ridiculous dance sequences ever and has definitely defined my dancing ability for better or worse ever since. Despite not having any sense of rhythm or coordination I still remain as enthusiastic as ever about dancing and have been to lots of different classes across London.

Just last week I attended a one-off series of Regency Style dance classes where I learnt the dance that Mr Darcy and Elizabeth danced to in Pride and Prejudice, see video below. I was hoping to meet my very own Mr Darcy, unfortunately since the 19th Century Mr Darcy has morphed into a 90year women called Rita (*not real name) who kept wondering off mid-dance. Sigh!


Anyway back to modern day dance classes, here’s my round-up of just a few of the ones I have done across the city -   

Probably the best known of all of London’s dance studios I finally made my way down to Pineapple for a couple of classes earlier this month, signing up for a commercial dance class and a hip-hop dance class. Both classes started about 10mins late – not great when you are paying for an hour. Also be prepared to get very sweaty as it can get incredibly warm in the rooms.
The hip-hop class began truly bizarrely with the teacher entering the room and sitting by the door in silent meditation before leading an equally silent hip-hop style warm-up. I was convinced that he must be mute until he jumped onto the sound system and started busting out instructions to dance along to the new Snoop Dog track.  The routine involved a wee bit of popping and locking – looked great when he did it and just ridiculous when I tried to copy him. Also sadly he missed out the cupid shuffle (see video below - skip forward to 2mins10 onwards) which is something I have learnt of since by YouTubing hip-hop moves and is a move that I might actually add to my dance repertoire.

On the upside once I just let go and enjoyed the class in all its ridiculousness and free styled my own variations when I couldn’t keep up with the actual moves, I had a whole lot of fun. However when my friend went home and showed her hubbie the routine his response was “please never do that dance for me again!”, a sign perhaps that as much fun as it might be, what happens in Pineapple should probably stay in Pineapple!



Seen on Screen classes are all about fitness made fun. They run dance classes where you can learn everything from strutting and shaking your booty like Queen Bey, to striking a pose and voguing like Madonna. My friend and I went to a Rihanna Rude Boy class on her insistence (definitely not the class I would have chosen because if my dancing ability is questionable at the best of times, when you add in Rihanna’s sultry sexiness, my attempts to emulate her are truly hilarious). Several of those attending were clearly taking it quite seriously and had invested in Rihanna style outfits. I on the other hand was in my ‘Be Happy’ t-shirt with a big smiley face on it – basically I looked as far from Rihanna as is possible. My lack of ability/dress sense aside, how was the class? Well the instructors are brilliant – clearly seasoned pros. However the class itself moves pretty quickly and if you are a rubbish dancer be prepared that a number of your fellow classmates will be considerably better than you. That said, the atmosphere is welcoming for all abilities and almost convinces you that you look like Rihanna/Beyonce as you are strutting your stuff….…..at least until you watch the video footage back afterwards!


Ever since I saw the show ‘Tango Fire’ several years I have been dreaming of learning Argentine Tango. When you think of tango most people think of the ballroom variety – all stiff and controlled movements. Argentine Tango is a completely different ballgame – it was born on the streets of Buenos Aires and sizzles with South American style passion.

A few months back I got a taster class as a present. This dance company is pretty unique as instead of being teamed up with someone who is only moderately less clueless than you, you are coupled up with a professional partner. So you essentially get a one-on-one lesson but in a group setting.
The whole point of Argentine Tango is that you are so connected with your partner that you follow the movements of his body rather than a pre-defined routine. I struggled with this at the start and was charging about the dance floor pretty independently of my partner, but he showed incredible humour and perseverance in sticking with me and by the end, even I was able to see progress. At £50 per class it was too expensive for me to carry on but if I ever come into money I will definitely sign back up.

Drink Shop Do is a café/bar, designer store and arts and crafts venue that now also stages dance classes. I went along to the ‘Stop! Hammertime!’ dance because surely learning the MC Hammer Can’t Touch This Dance is an essential life skill which is on everyone’s bucket list? The dance classes takes place in the bar area downstairs – it’s not an ideal dance venue as space is pretty limited but the advantage of not having a wall of mirrors is that you can’t put yourself off by catching sight of how funny you look.
Having been to the ‘Seen on Screen’ class I decided to dress up. As I didn’t own an actual MC Hammer outfit, I made do with a pair of flowery, baggy pyjama bottoms – somehow I think I should have probably not bothered! Anyway the class itself was lots of fun and for once I seemed to be around a group of people whose dancing ability seemed on par with mine. The class as a result moves at a pretty manageable pace even for a beginner. However on watching the recording back several days later I realised that the routine we were taught bares very little resemblance to the MC Hammer original so if you are determined to perfect the real routine this class probably isn’t for you. However if you just want to have fun in a relaxed, informal setting definitely consider it.



So by the end of all these dance classes have I gone through a ‘Dirty Dancing’ style transformation – probably not, although I am slightly less terrible than I was before. That's mainly because along the way I have learnt to let go and in true Bowie/Jagger dance about like a complete idiot as if no one was watching.
Borrowing/tweaking the words of Mr Swayze himself, from now on “Nobody puts Betsy in the corner” :)


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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Let them eat cake - Marie Antoinette Style Tea


Afternoon tea is surely amongst the greatest inventions ever and definitely in my top ten reasons to love this city. From being an absolute afternoon tea novice when I moved to London, over the past five years I have consumed countless dainty fingers sandwiches and delicious cakes everywhere from The Ritz and Harrods to tiny budget tearooms, in a carb-fuelled quest to refine my palate and become a Mary Berry-style cake aficionado.
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Monday, 25 May 2015

Grape Expectations - World travel through wine?


A friend recently told me that London has a bigger collection of billionaires than any other city in the world and that a whole industry has been created to cater for the culinary tastes of the super-rich, from ultra-exclusive wine to early testing for a new frogspawn infused caviar.

The thought of paying for frogspawn infused caviar made me laugh out loud. But as I headed home, I got to thinking, what about those of us whose bank balance is a fraction of this size. Is it possible to eat and drink well whilst living in this ridiculously expensive city we call home when you are on a tight budget?

I honestly believe the answer is yes and have had so much fun discovering incredible places across the city which I can't wait to share with you in future blog posts. But I have had less luck finding those lovely, quirky but affordable places to drink (perhaps it's because I am just far too used to paying Irish prices).

As a result I was genuinely intrigued when my good friend and fellow blogger Marie managed to wrangle me an invite to the launch of Asda's new Wine Atlas range. Firstly, because as summer approaches I know that we will soon hit bbq season and I never know what wine to get (usually I spend ages looking through the options before just grabbing the same old bottle/whatever is on offer). Secondly because the event combined two of my favourite things, wine and travel, and involved the chance to hear from the editor of Wanderlust magazine (Wanderlust being one of my favourite travel publications - I basically cornered the poor lady and pumelled her for travel ideas). And last but not least, did I mention there was also a chance to sample over 150 other wines! (well it would have been rude not to at least try at least a glass or ten right??)




The focus of the event was of course the new Wine Atlas range, which in a nutshell is all about breaking out of your routine and experimenting with wines from obscure locations or grapes that most people won't have tried. Those clever little marketing people have added to the appeal by creating gorgeous labels based on old 1920's style travel posters rather than attaching considerably less alluring own-brand labels to the bottles.


I loved trying Hungarian and Romanian wines (who knew Eastern Europe was the place to go for wine) but for me the real test, given that I don't have an Asda store nearby, was whether there was a wine that I would go out of my way to buy.

Using this as my criteria there were two obvious stars of the show for me -

Wine Atlas Marsanne 2014, (£5,47)
From the south coast of France (but great value as its not from a famous region), there was general consensus that this little number is just gorgeous. Its a lovely mix of peach, apricot, lemon and spice. Super easy to drink but enough character to ensure that you won't get bored. This one is bound to fly off the shelves once people catch on, and rightly so.

Wine Atlas Saint Chinian 2013 (£5,47)
Again another French one this time from lesser know Languedoc region. This one is more of an aquired taste but I personally thought it was great. From the deep ruby colour I was sure it would be quite heavy but I found it quite the opposite, making it a perfect summer drink.


I headed home later that evening, incredibly merry, not just by all the wine I had consumed but also at the fact that the night had proved that it is possible to drink well on a budget. 

And if that isn't a reason to break open the frogspawn infused caviar and celebrate, I don't know what is? :)

For more information on the Wine Atlas Range click here.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Festival Fever in London


Caffeine junkie, sci-fi geek, cocktail queen or literary buff - whatever your tastes, at some point, somewhere in London, there will be a festival/convention going on which suits you down to the ground. What's a girl to do when presented with this cultural smorgasbord? Grab a spoon and tuck right in of course!
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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Jurassic Park & the Giant Walrus

No this isn’t just some really obscure Cockney rhyming slang, London really is home to both a unique version of Spielberg’s prehistoric playground and a giant moustached, marine mammal.



The Giant Walrus is star of the show at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, which showcases the private collection of Frederick John Horniman, a wealthy Victorian tea-trader who was determined to bring the world to South London. His collection includes everything from the nightmarish spiders, old wine bottles dredged up from the Thames, Egyptian mummies, masks and shrines from distant lands and a Japanese monkey fish/mermaid (see image below).

(Courtsey of Horniman Museum Website)
The result is much less like the TV show 'Hoarder Next Door' than you might imagine. In fact, it's much more akin to something Albus Dumbeldore would have created – a brilliantly eclectic treasure trove of objects from someone who was clearly fascinated by the world and all its offerings.

The museum begins with Horniman’s taxidermy collection which is fascinating but unquestionably slightly macabre. After 30years of collecting Horniman’s family gave him an ultimatum that the collection had to go or they would – understandable when you imagine having a late night loo run and bumping into a stuffed vulture or rattle snake.

Some of my favourite items were from the anthropology section. Visiting this area was like getting a glimpse of hidden cultures and traditions from around the world.


Sanni Curing Masks from Sri Lanka - worn by dancers in healing ceremonies to expel evil spirits. The masks represent either the demon causing the disease or the sickness itself, such as a stroke, smallpox, or a toothache. (Courtsey of: Commons.wikimedia.org)
I could definitely spend several hours wondering around this museum. There is also a room full of musical instruments, an aquarium where you can spy sea creatures from around the world and watch tropical butterflies fly around a live rainforest display, as well as vast gardens to explore, making this the perfect spot to wile away a Sunday afternoon.

If after this visit you still have an appetite for more idiosyncrasies from Victorian times, you should definitely head to Crystal Palace Park.  

You’ll wonder when you have arrived why on earth I have just sent you to yet another green space, but bear with me. Head towards the lake at the south side of the park and you will be greeted with this sight……





Yep, that’s right….dinosaurs! You have literally wondered into the Victorian’s answer to Jurassic Park. I like to think that this place was an inspiration for Spielberg's classic creation (the original, not the truly terrible follow-ups). Just add a bit of CGI and you could practically re-enact your own version of the movie. 

Amusingly the models are riddled with inaccuracies, leading to the British Museum at the time to describe them as “gross delusions appealing to the curiosity of the less informed.” Hmmm…..I probably shouldn’t admit to thinking they are fantastic then??

For more information on Crystal Palace Dinosaur Court visit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Palace_Dinosaurs


For more information on the Horniman Museum & Gardens visit - http://www.horniman.ac.uk/

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