Wednesday, 29 October 2014

East London Vibes

It is a known fact that the cool kids of London live East. We live in North West 3, in the leafy area that is Primrose Hill where homes are as big as shoeboxes and park life is our equivalent of having a garden. I love my neighbourhood, but on Sunday we decided to go East for a change and we all had a great day. 

I had bought tickets for 'The Art of the Brick' exhibition that is on at the Old Truman Brewery, so the first stop was the fun and quirky Brick Lane, home to some of the most authentic curry restaurants in town as well as some good clubs and bars. Brick lane is also unequivocally linked with some of the best graffiti artists and anyone from Banksy to Ben Eine has had a go at making this London area vibrant and colourful.

How very fitting indeed that 'Art of the Brick' is housed amongst these surroundings for the show itself is nothing but eye catching, mesmerising and, above all, fun. Exactly like this pocket of East London. 

Nathan Sawaya is an ex-lawyer turned artist. In his craft he uses one specific tool, the simple Lego bricks. Some call him a sculptor, other critics reject the idea that he is an artist at all, but as far as I am concerned I thoroughly enjoyed his exhibition and so did my husband and my 4 year old and we would recommend anyone to go and see 'The Art of the Brick', you won't be disappointed.

You walk in straight into Michelangelo's David and The Venus de Milo all recreated in grey Lego bricks. Then you are in for a treat with a Lego interpretation of the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh 'Starry Night', Klimt 'The Kiss' and my absolute favourite Munch 'The Scream'. 

Nathan Sawaya is not only good at recreating famous artworks with Lego bricks, but his repertoire expands into recreating animals, fruit, musical instruments, the planets and the human body. From giant faces with interesting expressions to a swimmer floating on a plexiglass table, the sculptures are as colourful as they are mesmerising. 

Whilst Miss G thoroughly enjoyed copying the statues facial expressions and poses and was utterly spellbound by the blue swimmer, her highlight of the whole exhibition was without a doubt the 6 metre long T-Rex skeleton build out of more than 80,000 Lego bricks. She was in utter awe of it.

After spending some time having fun and building scultpures in the Lego playroom at the end of the exhibition, we headed off to nearby Spitafield market for a spot of lunch and market browsing. I must admit that I perhaps preferred Spitafield a few years back when it was less pristine looking and a bit rougher around the edges, but even after its recent facelift I must confess that the market still holds its appeal.

Vintage traders share the market with artisans and students who make anything from hats to jumpers, from candles to leather goods. There are plenty of food stalls, well appointed shops and chain restaurants offering a variety of world cuisine. We came off £71 pound lighter; £40 for lunch, £20 for a hat for me, £10 for a beanie for Miss G and £1 for a flower garland for Miss G - you can't go to a street market without buying some tat, right?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

About Fathers and Daughters. And Husbands and Wives.

It is hard to switch off these days. A quick check of Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and one is presented with a million interesting photos and stories, let alone friends' updates and invites. A couple of days ago a link to a Huffington Post story caught my eyes and I have found myself thinking about it a lot.

The story is called '15 Things All Dads of Daughters Should Know' by Justin Ricklefs, a father of four girls and a boy. Now that Little G is 4 - yes, this happened last week - I keep thinking about how she sees Mr H and I and if she will in fact base her future relationships on ours. It is an utterly scary thought. Yet one that creeps up in my mind now that she notices more things and she asks more questions.

We all want our kids to grow up feeling loved, secure and content, but I often forget that she should also understand that she is not the centre of everyone's world, or at least not at all times. Justin Ricklefs goes as far as saying "Love your wife, make time to date her, take her on trips, and show your kids that she is a bigger priority than they are". 

I thought hard about this one, but ultimately I think he is right. One day my Little G will be all grown up and I'd like her to expect that much from her partner. I want for her to find someone who loves her unconditionally and above all else. 

I have a couple of friends who are forever settling for the next guy, rather than hanging out for 'the' guy and so they waste their years in broken relationships that they are trying to make work when they were shaky from the outset. Of course all relationships have ups and downs, but I want Miss G to be choosy, to not settle for anything less than real love.

And now the pressure is all on Mr H and I to show her how to make each other the biggest priority so that one day she'll expect no less than that of her own partner. As parents we often forget that we are a couple first and parents next. As much as my husband often drives me crazy like nobody else in the world can, I also know that he is the one that I want to share my life with. Call me a masochist, but there we go.

As for Mr Ricklefs suggesting that Mr H has an influence on Little G's future partner...holy shit, the pressure is on you, my dear husband! If in 20 years time she brings home some loser I know who I'll take it up with... #joking #notjoking

These two jokers! They drive me nuts, but they are my world.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A very fine day

Sunday was yet another sunny and hot day in London. It started at the park where we met my good friend Kari and her family. Miss G is very fond of Kari's sweet and funny son, but this time she was in for an additional treat in the form of their two adorable schnauzer dogs. Needless to say, the kids loved hanging around in the park together, playing dog walkers and running around with the dogs.

Luckily for us the day was going to actually get even better thanks to an event organised by The Little White Company at the Electric cinema in Notting Hill. I confess that, as a Londoner, Notting Hill does not have a huge appeal to me (too many tourists), but the Electric cinema is one of my favourite movie theatres in London. It has comfy seating, tasty food, an interesting crowd and it makes you feel as if you stepped back in time when a night at the movie was indeed a charming way to have a date.

The Little White Company made it even more magical by scattering fluffy polar bears and penguins around the seats as well as soft pillows and wonderful throws from their new Autumn bedroom range. Miss G went straight for the circus range, which was also my favourite thanks to the cute - but not 'too-cute' - animal motifs. The movie of choice was of course Disney Frozen, every child's favourite, with the added bonus of copious amount of popcorn and orange juice. Miss G was in actual heaven and it was as if I did not exist for a whole two hours.

So whilst she watched the movie and inhaled the popcorn I relaxed in my armchair, caught up on some reading and admin whilst sipping coffee. 

The bliss that ensued reminded me of how lucky we are to live in a city like London where we are very much spoilt for choice when it comes to fun venues that cater for both the kids and the grown up in equal measure. 

A quick hop on the 31 bus and we were home with a new soft monkey friend and the nicest pillowcase courtesy of the Little White Company. After a quick bath and dinner, Miss G soon proceeded to strip one of my pillows of its case and placed her 'Nelly cushion' at the centre of her little den where she then demanded that I read her and monkey some books before going to sleep. 

I guess some Sundays are so good that they are worth blogging about. And if you are in London, Sunday or not, do check out the Electric cinema, it won't disappoint you. 


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