Go Down to Kew in Lilac-time

Despite having lived in London for 18 years now (!!!!) there are still a lot of things that I have yet to do.There is SO much to see and do in London. SO. MUCH. A lot of it is free too, or you can find great offers, like the 2for1 if you travel by train.

I’ve done a lot of the major tourist attractions, such as the London Eye, Tower of London, London Zoo, The London Aquarium, London Dungeons, The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, British Museum, and I’ll be here all day if I list them all.

But, despite living in South West London for the last 6 years, I have never ever visited Kew Gardens. It is right on my door step. I’ve been to Kew of course, we went there one year to go ice skating, but it was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything at all, so I don’t count that time. Also, it wasn’t great fun for me, because I’m no good at ice skating. Some days its a challenge to stay upright, much less stay upright on slippery ice wearing boots with blades on the bottom.

After 18 years of living in London, I have finally paid a visit to Kew Gardens. It. Was. MAGNIFICENT. It is one of my new favourite places.

  
My grandmother, Emma and I picked a brilliant sunny day to visit, the weather was glorious. We used a 2for1 travel by rail voucher, so we only paid £16.50 to visit, instead of £33 and children 3 and under go free. (more money for cake and coffee)

Kew Gardens is HUGE. We got there at 10am and left at 4 pm and we hadn’t done everything there was to do. Which of course means that we need to go back.

Seriously contemplating looking at an annual family pass which is £109 (its almost Christmas to be fair, so maybe Santa will leave an annual Kew pass under the tree)

Might have to plan a few autumn days at Kew, for Emma to run through the leaves, and pick conkers and leave with pink flushed cheeks, whilst I drink copious amounts of coffee!

Blogging Conferences

The best part of blogging for me isn’t page hits, or comments (although they are nice) but rather the community of bloggers that I interact with.  I interact with some fabulous bloggers on a day to day basis and they are from all kinds of backgrounds. From different countries, the USA, Canada, the UK, Switzerland, Hungary, Austrailia, you name it.

There are the “mom” bloggers, the “dad” bloggers, the “humourist” bloggers, the “political” bloggers but generally it’s just people who blog and most of them at some point on their own blog cover every single topic from parenting, sex and food to politics and current affairs and they are all fabulous.  I’m still finding my way, and there are always things to learn, ways to improve.

Every year for the past 3 years I have followed my favourite bloggers, reading their posts and tweets and facebook statuses about going to conferences, BlogHer, Blissdom, Mom 2.0, Dad 2.0, BlogHer Food, SheCon, Type-A Con, there are so many conferences! The one thing they all have in common?  It’s that they are in North America. Problematic for me, living in London and not being rich. The cost of attending just one of these conferences in my lifetime is pretty much next to nil. It’s just too costly for me to go, even with a sponsor, which is a WHOLE other story.

Then last week a UK blogger that I interact with posted a tweet about going to BritMumsLive. A conference for “mummy” bloggers in London. HOLY SHIT.  A CONFERENCE IN LONDON. Oh. Wait. it’s called BritMumsLive. I don’t have kids. I think to myself, “is it wierd to go to a conference for “mummy” bloggers when you’re not a “mummy”?

I really want to go to a conference, to hear people speak, to interact with other bloggers in person. Why?  Because there is so much I can learn and also, it’s interacting with the people I’ve built up an online rapport with over the last 5 years (mostly). I sent a message off to BritMumsLive asking if you had to be a “mummy” to attend and they said “no, all bloggers are welcome!” Cue my heart going pitty-patty with excitement. A Blogging Conference in my own city!!!

Whilst I’d love to go to BlogHer, the cost for me is phenomenal, compared to BritMumsLive (see approximate costings below).  So guess where I’m going next year?!?

BlogHer vs BritMumsLive
*hotel in London is optional

 

New Year Greetings

So 2011 is over and 2012 has begun.
Its going to be a busy year for me!

The Olympics is in 208 days, and as most of you know, I’m involved. I’m part of a team that has to ensure part of Londons transport network is robust and efficient. It’s exciting and busy and going to be very hard work!

This year I’m helping to organise an 18th birthday party AND doing the catering for 70 people!

Then it’s my own birthday, which I get stupidly excited about.

This year I also have a family holiday to go on (the first in 12 years!) and a wedding to attend.

My lovely brother-in-law is getting married to the wonderful Tash in August and I’m the make up artist for the bridal party! No pressure!!

It’s my 3rd wedding anniversary this September.

After September I don’t know quite what I’ll do job wise or life wise actually, so watch this space!!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!!

UK Riots

For the second evening in a row I find myself glued to the television news channels, unable to tear myself aware from the horror unfolding across the UK.

It started out in London, moved to Birmingham, then Bristol and Liverpool and now Nottingham and Manchester.

Riots everywhere. Fires burning, hot and fierce. Alarms blaring out. Homes and Businesses lost.

Already 1 person has lost his life, a 26 year old man, shot during the riots in Croydon. He lost his battle to live this morning. He was 26, a year younger than me. It’s heart breaking.

The news seems to be mainly concentrating on Birmingham and Manchester. The riots across London seem to be calming down (knock on wood).

There have been 111 police officers and 5 police dogs injured. Over 500 arrested. Custody suites throughout London are full to the seams, practically bursting. Sky News are reporting that one of the rioters and looters arrested was just 11 years old.

What is the world coming to when the police are arresting 11 year olds for public disorder? Where are their parents?

This is a horrific time for the UK. My heart goes out to those affected and my deepest and sincerest thanks goes out to our emergency services for their continued hard work during this difficult and trying time.

a city in flames

Last night I sat glued to my television, flicking from news channel to news channel, horrified.
I stayed up way later than I should of, watching horror after horror unfold.
I listened and watched the reports as it got closer and closer to my home, not frightened, not yet.
I woke this morning, showered, dressed and grabbed breakfast, glued, yet again, to the news reports. The horror continued into the night.

My city is literally burning to the ground and it’s heart breaking. Thousands have lost their homes, businesses, jobs, cars, and lives in a matter of days, adding to what is already a difficult time across the country.

What started off as a peaceful process to complain about the death of Mark Duggan has turned into an absolute slaughter-fest across London. The stories surrounding his death are not crystal clear and the IPCC are investigating, but I suspect it will be a while before we find out the entire story.

His death is being used as an excuse to destroy our city and economy. An excuse for yobs to terrify the Capital City. An excuse to steal what they can’t afford. An excuse to create mayhem.

The police are working flat out to bring control to the streets.
The fire service is working flat out to bring fires across the city under control.
The London Ambulance service and hospitals are rushed off their feet, helping those injured, suffering smoke inhalation and most likely panic and anxiety attacks, not to mention regular emergencies.

Looting and Rioting has spread to Birmingham, Bristol, and other cities.

My heart breaks for London and it’s people. My heart breaks for those who have lost everything.

Anger wells up inside of me, these people are creating absolute chaos and a part of me wants to grab the nearest shotgun and start taking people out.

I’m wondering when this will end. When will London be controlled again. How much damage has been done and how long it will take for people to recover, for London to recover.

It’s a sad week for London. A sad week for the UK.