June 2012 Archives

Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth is a plinth dedicated to showcasing works of art in London. The Fourth Plinth was set up in 2005 for different works of art to take prominence in the square, following regeneration works in Trafalgar Square and the closure of the road between the square and the National Gallery to make way for pedestrians. Trafalgar Square has changed considerably over the past ten years. The square used to be home to many pigeons, but feeding them is now banned, and the square is cleaner and a place commonly used by street performers, protests, and events.

In the past, the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square hosted a variety of different works of art. It started with Marc Quinn's "Alison Lapper Pregnant" sculpture, which depicted a woman without arms in the last term of her pregnancy. This was on the flint from 2005 to 2007. Next, Thomas SchΓΌtte's "Model for a Hotel" was a large red, yellow, and blue structure that took on a different shape when viewed at different angles; this was on display from 2007 to 2009. This was followed by Antony Gormley's idea, known as "one and other" for the Fourth Plinth. This idea was to allow members of the public a spot on the plinth for a few months in 2009, and the people would be the works of art. Yinka Shonibare created "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle", which was a giant glass bottle containing a wooden ship. This celebrated the historical significance of the square and was a breath of fresh air to the items that were previously in its place. This work of art featured until earlier this year.


Currently, the artwork on display on the fourth plinth is a boy on a rocking horse, named "Powerless Structures, Fig. 101" by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, and it represents growing up and the boy as a hero. The artwork is a new 'take' on the common horse-and-hero statues. For more information and to listen to the artists talking about this work, visit the Fourth Plinth website: http://www.london.gov.uk/fourthplinth/commissions/shortlist2010/elmgreen-dragset

Next year, we have a giant blue rooster to look forward to in Trafalgar Square, which is a commission known as "Hahn/Cock" by Katharina Fritsch.

What do you think of the artwork on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth?

An Afternoon in Gloucester

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I first visited Gloucester twelve years ago, and it became a favourite place to visit. The city has a mix of interesting shops, a cathedral, docks, and other historical areas. Gloucester Cathedral is one of my top favourite cathedrals (along with Salisbury and Canterbury). I believe that the cathedral was used to film some of the scenes in Harry Potter. Another favourite area of mine are the Gloucester docks, which have been redeveloped since I last visited. I really enjoyed the large antique centre in one of the old warehouses, but this seems to be in the process of redevelopment now. Whether or not it will remain an antique shop is unknown to me. 

I've taken a few photographs of Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, and Gloucester Docks. I hope you enjoy these.

These clock figurines are on the side of a building in Gloucester, and they ring the bells at the appropriate times.

This door in Gloucester Cathedral exits from the cloisters.

Gloucester Cathedral's cloisters are beautiful and highly detailed with intricate ceiling vaulting, stained glass, and decorative elements.

Gloucester Cathedral's stained glass window with a waterfall and natural scene, which can be discovered around the Christian themes.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester's historic docks

These warehouses line Gloucester docks.

When To Avoid Displaying Your Brand

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Recently, I have been giving a lot of thought about branding and its importance, particularly in today's world with the use of social media to build direct relationships with customers. The trend in the past few years is for companies is to establish a social media presence, and social media has come a long way in a short time to meet these needs. As a result of this need or desire to establish these relationships with customers and promote "word of mouth" marketing, companies are establishing instantaneous and closer relationships with consumers or brand champions (those who actively engage with the brand). 

Today, many companies have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networking websites. Since consumers can view this information instantaneously, these interactions and representations of the company's brand must be carefully thought through. After all, we would not want to compromise the brand and its integrity. In her article about the use of Instagram, Jessica McLaughlin (1) states that companies must decide which social media websites best align to their business needs and ensure that they devote enough time to this social media website. In this example, companies that use the photographic social media website Instagram must keep imagery fresh and find creative ways to showcase their brand imagery and values without recycling images.

In short, companies should not jump on the social media bandwagon without giving thought into how the particular social media website will help them. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than an 'empty' or 'ghost town' social media page or community that is rarely updated or that is updated with irrelevant content. This is harmful to the brand.

Now that I have discussed the social media impact on a brand, I will discuss the basics of branding and learning to identify mistakes. After all, the company you are working for has probably spent money on a new brand or branding materials, wether this is on business cards, brochures, logo, or a website. I don't need to state how important brand is; that is a lengthy topic of discussion that is beyond the scope of this article.

What is brand? In short, a brand should correctly convey the company and its message to customers in a positive light. The treatment should be consistent and revisited regularly, in line with the goals of the business. There are many examples where companies fail to grasp this concept or ignore the brand guidelines once their brand has been developed and the initial work has been completed; this can be immediately or a few months after the initial release. However, once the style guide and logos have been delivered and the money paid up, there is much more work to be completed. In my opinion, once this work has been done, the fun work in the brand execution is just beginning.

Let's face it. Creating a brand is a time-consuming and expensive task, and following through with the branding correctly and continuing to roll it out consistently, while keeping the brand fresh, is a challenge. It's also a task that should not be taken lightly. The branding exercise does not stop once the new brand has been created. A new brand is not going to miraculously work its way into the subconscious of potential customers and increase sales overnight. Correctly utilising the brand will, and there's much more to the brand than a "pretty logo". The brand should encompass an ideal and uniqueness of the company or product/service.

I've been locating articles and resources to back up my beliefs, and there's a lot of research out there to support this. I have taken the time to list some of these common branding mistakes and have identified some areas where designers and employees should be cautious to avoid common branding mistakes, which reflect poorly on the company.

  1. Inconsistent Branding. The branding guidelines are interpreted differently across different mediums. For example, the treatment of the brand on the website may be different to the treatment on business cards, signage, or invoices. The way that employees interact with customers may be inconsistent. The branding treatment should always be consistent.
  2. Failing to Update the Brand. Branding can get stale, and marketing materials should be refreshed and revisited often to ensure that it does not get "tired". This is an ongoing process. Precision Intermedia (1) mentions that some companies print a large order of brochures and use these brochures for several years; by that time, the company or message would have changed. Stale branding does not reflect well. The same can be said about keeping company websites up-to-date.
  3. Poor Visuals or Signage. Similar to brand inconsistently, companies must ensure that their visuals are pixel-perfect and also translate well in the physical forms. (Keep in mind that logos may be resized or photo-copied.)  Due to background colours or sizing issues, a good web designer will always ask a company for the original artwork instead of using a small, grainy and pixelated GIF or JPEG logos at the beginning of any web redevelopment project. Outdoor signage must be given the same attention. (It does not look professional when a company does not fix its broken signage. It's the same feeling as when your neighbours leave their Christmas lights up all year.) When FedEx employees were asked how small companies sabotage their own brands, the following comments were made (6):
    •  "poor banners at trade shows"
    • "bad signage"
    • "poor quality of printed items"
  4. Lack of Brand Training or Guidance to Employees. Employees should act as brand ambassadors and may need to be briefed on the importance and uses of the brand as well as professionalism in public when wearing branded materials. Employees should be trained to execute branding materials correctly to avoid inconsistency and to be briefed on how to follow brand guidelines. Where possible, this should be done by professional designers. In the least, a professional designer or marketing individual should monitor the use of the brand and any materials sent to customers.
  5. Not Using Professional Existing Customers to Promote. Every company probably has a brand champion. These customers could help generate new customers. "Word of mouth" marketing is particularly important in today's world. Offering incentives and competitions may help the brand, and identify customers who are good for enhancing your brand. This also means avoiding controversial people, such as celebrities. Remember that mess with Tiger Woods a few years ago and how he was ditched by top brands? Follow the same rules.
  6. Poor Communication. Gutscher (4) mentions poor signage harming a brand, such as having signs in washrooms/parking spaces/indoors telling people how to behave. She also mentions communication in forms being poor and/or negative and that companies should take care and construct letters that present the brand in a positive light. This leads us on to the next point.
  7. Avoid Brand Contamination - Errors. Anderson (5) mentions association of negative feelings with a brand, such as displaying an electronic company Vizio's logo on a television whenever it crashes. This creates a negative feeling about the brand. Showing your brand on error pages sends the wrong message; for this reason, social media company Twitter use their "Fail Whale" image. This brings us to the idea of "Fail Pets", typically cartoon animals displayed in a website error page instead of the company's branding (3).
  8. Incorrectly Using Social Media websites. Companies must dedicate time to invest in social media websites and avoid being tempted to jump on the latest craze. Companies must ensure that the social media website works for them. For example, a fashion company may be able to successfully adopt use on Pinterest.com (pinning fashion photographs), but this may not work for a company that sells interactive online games. Once a company has invested in a social media website, content must be unique and tie in with the brand.
  9. Failure to Track Branding. Feedback should be noted, and customers thoughts on the brand should be obtained from time to time. Website tracking could also be recorded. This assesses if your branding is working.
  10. Adopt Employee Branding. Successful branding starts within the company. Generating employees' enthusiasm for the brand and promoting it is the key. The employee can help the company by engaging in social media or "word of mouth" discussions showing that they are proud to support the brand (7).

In conclusion, companies should ensure that their brand translates correctly to the audience, and branding activities must be ongoing and consistent. Companies must avoid using the branding in negative ways and work on ensuring only the best for their brand. Branding must be worked on continuously and developed, and companies should engage in the methods to help their brand instead of harm it. After all, a lot of effort has gone into building a brand.

Have you ever worked for a company that is making one of the mistakes above, or have I missed something from this list? Please let me know your thoughts.

1) McLaughlin, Jessica. Five Instagram Marketing Mistakes. http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/05/instagram-marketing-mistakes/ [22 May, 2012].

2) Precision Intermedia. Top Ten Branding Mistakes. http://www.precisionintermedia.com/branding_mistakes.html [13 June, 2012].

3) The Evolution of Fail Pets: Strategic Whimsy and Brand Awareness in Error Messages. http://uxmag.com/articles/the-evolution-of-fail-pets [02 November, 2011].

4) Gutscher, Mary Lou. Oops, your brand is showing. http://www.profitableprospecting.ca/2011/11/oops-your-brand-is-showing/ [15 June, 2012].

5) Anderson, Jonathan. Your logo is making me sick. http://uxmag.com/articles/your-logo-is-making-me-sick. [22 May, 2012].

6) Campbell, Anita. Is your brand helping or hurting your small business? http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/05/brand-helping-small-business.html [17 May, 2012].

7) Vermeiretim. Beyond employer branding people are the brand. http://vermeiretim.com/2012/06/13/beyond-employer-branding-people-are-the-brand/ [13 June, 2012].
At the beginning of June, I visited Newent and Three Choirs Vineyard. Three Choirs Vineyard is set in beautiful rolling hills near Gloucester and the village of Newent. As I visited early in June, the vines were green and covered with leaves and trained to fit along the wood railings, but the actual grapes were yet to form or blossom. I enjoyed the wine produced at this vineyard. (For information about the vineyard, visit: http://www.three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk/.)

After having a tour and tasting of wine, I drove through the market town of Newent. The village of Newent is a typical village in this area (the Cotswolds). The village contains a timer-framed market house on stilts, and the square was decorated for the Diamond Jubilee. I took several photographs of the bunting at Newent and of the timber-framed market building.

Vineyards at Three Choirs Vineyard.

Newent's timber-framed market building.

Timber-framed buildings in Newent contain red, white, and blue bunting for the Diamond Jubilee.

Bunting in Newent
I have been looking forward to visiting the 'Swans of Wells' art sculptures since I heard about them appearing in Wells, Somerset (England) at the beginning of February. I visited the swans at the beginning of June, and despite the poor weather, I managed to locate nearly all of the swans. A few swans were yet to be on display at that time, but they should all be on display at the end of June.

The sixty large (five foot) swan sculptures are currently on display in various locations in and around Wells. At the end of September, the swan sculptures will be auctioned off, and the money will go to charity. The swans are representative of the city of Wells, which is noted for its famous swans. (For those who do not know, the swans ring a bell when they want fed, and this tradition has been passed down for many generations.) In addition to a symbol of Wells, the swans are popular with the monarchy as they are owned by the Queen. Since this year is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the swan sculptures are appropriate to celebrate this and to celebrate the city of Wells. As a result, some of the sculptures feature monarchy symbols.

This exhibit is put together to bring visitors to the city, and it follows up from last year's Gorillas in Bristol. For others who enjoyed Gorillas in Bristol, Eggs in London, Elephants in London or Lions in Bath, view the following blog entries:

The swans can be seen in Wells until the middle of September, and they will be in one place before being auctioned. For more information about the swans, visit the Swans of Wells website here: http://www.swansofwells.com/ 

I have added a few photographs of my favourite swans below.

"Oscar" by John Gould greets visitors at the door of the cinema in Wells. I loved the representation of the Queen and her two corgis wearing 3D glasses at the cinema. The swan even has its own 3D glasses.

The Queen, the Beatles, and British cars decorate this patriotic swan.

"Grace" by Linda Green is a colourful rainbow.

"Guinevere" by Ian Marlow sits in a silver nest in front of Bishop's Palace.

"Queen of Hearts" by Helena Howcroft in front of a church. I liked the colours used, and I love the detail. I've included a close-up photograph of the detail of this swan.

"Toothy Fruity" by Loch Ness sits under a tree in the grounds of Bishop's Palace.

"Queen of Shells", Candace Bahouth; "The Snow Swan", Mary Griese; "Queen of Hearts", Helena Howcroft

"Sundari", Heidi-Lee Sperring; "The Snow Swan", Mary Griese; "The Swanster - Doyouthinkhesarus", Tony Hitchcock; "Swan About Town", Charlotte Moore.

"Candela", Fiona Campbell; "Last Night I Dreamed of Flying", Tessa Farlow; "Naomi", John Yeo; "The Crown Jewels", Helen Stanfield.

Order Pizza Via Fridge Magnet

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A pizza company based in Dubai have created a fridge magnet that allows the user to order a pizza at the touch of a button. The device (VIP Fridge Magnet) was created by 'Red Tomato Pizza' company. The device is connected to a user's online account, where they have specified their usual pizza order, and the request is sent via Bluetooth connection. The user receives a confirmation text message, and upon confirmation, the pizza is sent on its way. The user can update their usual pizza selection online at any time.

I think that this is a fantastic use of technology and simplifies a process that can be a little over-complicated. Normally, users place the same order, so the idea of storing this data and reusing it for future orders is ideal and saves time. I remember struggling with ordering pizzas online as the idea was first launched several years ago, and I had many problems and wasted many hours by trying to place an order online at various pizza companies. Since these issues have been resolved and the process is more reliable, there has been progress in this area. The VIP Fridge Magnet is a useful interpretation of solving the desire to order a pizza. I am sure that this use case can translate into similar areas.
Petticoat Lane is a popular street market just outside the financial district of the City of London, and it's not far from other famous markets, including the Brick Lane Market and Spitalfields. The market has a rich history. During the weekdays, the market has a smaller selection of stalls; its prime shopping day is Sunday. This street market has always specialised in items of clothing, and it's a colourful market. It's located at the north part of the City (the Gherkin pointed-skyscraper can be seen in the below photograph), and I visited it a few times during my lunch break. During the weekdays, there's a few food stalls set up to trade, and these can get popular in the summer months as workers far outnumber restaurants in the City.

The photographs below were taken in late March. 

Crowds walk past the stalls in Petticoat Lane, and the Gherkin building can clearly be seen in the distance.
Colourful racks of clothing line Petticoat Lane Market.

A woman on her phone walks past the colourful market clothing racks.

Petticoat Lane is set up on Wentworth Street in the City of London.
A few weeks ago, the street artist Banksy was credited to artwork of a young child and bunting that appeared overnight in London. Recently, another image has surfaced on the streets in Bristol, but this may not be the work of Banksy. The artwork depicts the queen with the iconic Ziggy Stardust makeup, and the artwork was drawn on a building that had previous artwork from Banksy. (The previous Banksy artwork on the building was destroyed by other graffiti.)

I attended a wedding in Bristol a day after the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and I saw this artwork while I was in Bristol on that day. 

More about the Banksy Diamond Jubilee artwork can be read here: Banksy's Diamond Jubilee Street Art. I have also posted a photograph of the new artwork.

Nan (Shannon) Lawson is inspired by television shows, such as Doctor Who and Harry Potter, and she illustrates many quirky characters, emotions, objects, and architectural scenes. I love most of her artwork, and featuring only a small selection was difficult. Nan also has created custom portraits of couples for those looking for a wedding or anniversary gift. The illustrations show much emotion, and they are cute. I would love to buy several of these.

Nan Lawson's website and more examples of her work can be found on her website at  http://nanlawson.com/

Visit Nan Lawson's shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NanLawson

The following prints include an antique typewriter and fan, a couple playing musical instruments, and characters from Doctor Who (Doctor Who and River Song)


The following prints feature Elizabeth and Darcy, houses, and female characters.


A Baby Bird Starts its Journey

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With spring drawing to a close, I imagine that many baby birds will have recently left their nests to begin their lives. While I was at work at the end of May, I discovered this baby tit on the decking area at the offices. He (or she) was just as curious about me as I was about him, and I managed to take a few photographs at close range. Unfortunately, the baby tit could not fly (or fly well), but I was able to take many photographs before continuing on my way. I hope this bird is happily flying the cloudy, wet skies of Britain or has managed to fly somewhere warm and sunny by now.


Making Pizzas and Pasta

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For Valentine's Day, we drove over to Tucci's Kitchen outside of Reading and learned how to make pizza and pasta with a small group of five others. We got to try a specially-made pasta sauce with some speciality breads made while we were there. We were each given some dough to divide up and knead into the perfect pizza base for our pizzas. After popping the pizzas in the oven, we were taught how to make pasta and spent the remainder of the class creating shapes, which were demonstrated, with the pasta dough.

When the pizzas were cooked, we ate them around a table and shared the bread and the tomato sauce. I had loaded my pizza with a lot of toppings, and it was delicious. We got to take home a second dough ball to make our own pizza, which we made the next day.

Our pasta shapes were also taken home in little boxes, along with the pizza dough ball, and it was the best pasta I have ever eaten, as I often have the dried pasta that can be bought in supermarkets.

Looking at the image of my pizza below makes me hungry. Fresh, quality ingredients really make a difference to the taste of food.


The owners discussed their new restaurant and cooking classes while we were there, and we had a nice chat over our meal. For more information, visit: http://www.tucciskitchen.com/

LED Artwork on London Bus Shelters

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Bus shelters throughout London are being used to showcase artwork from the general public on top using LED lights, and the top deck of buses is the best place to view the artwork. So far, thirty bus shelters have been transformed to display art. The organisers, Dennen and Le Dieu state that "the installations are intended to pleasantly and wonderfully disrupt commuters experience of riding on buses" and "inspire joy and wonder in the last place you'd expect it - on the roof of a bus shelter. (1)"

Anyone can submit artwork, and this encourages artists from all over the world to interact and submit artwork to display in the LED lights on top of the shelters. Submissions can be made by visiting the Bus Tops website at http://bus-tops.com/create/. Some examples of the artwork can be viewed here: http://bus-tops.com/explore/interesting/. I have included three of my favourites below.

From top:
"Homage II Rebooted" by Nansky
"Tatooed Couple" Steve_Tiffany
"Do the Breakfast Dance" by Matt_Partridge

The display is a part of the Cultural Olympiad, "Artists Taking the Lead" programme. You can visit the website to submit your artwork until the end of June, and "Bus Tops" also has a Twitter profile here: http://twitter.com/#!/bus_tops

1) Beekmans, Jeroen, How bus shelters became art installations. http://popupcity.net/2009/09/how-bus-shelters-become-art-installations/ [22 September, 2009].
A few months ago, I visited BOXPARK in Shoreditch (outside the station), which is marketed as "the world's first pop-up mall." (1) This shopping area is made from shipping containers and was opened to the public at the end of last year, and they state on their official website that they will remain there for five years. The shop hosts various outlets for fashion and art and is an attraction for near-by workers to grab a quick meal and sit outside during the lunch hour. 

The shops run along street level and an additional level is located up a flight of stairs. The level off-ground contains additional shops, small food stands, and seating. BOXPARK is very much in line with the artistic style around the Shoreditch area, and according to their website, they only select independent vendors that appeal to the art/culture and that can offer something to the community.

I enjoyed the atmosphere at BOXPARK, and the top row of shipping containers had pop-inspired artwork lined between the rows of shops. The artist behind these is known as "Pure Evil", and the art features faces of women and uses bright colours and 'tears' running from their eyes to create an illusion. According to "Pure Evil", the tears symbolise "the product of broken dreams and love." (2).

BOXPARK is worth a visit. View my photographs below to be inspired.


BOXPARK spans the street in Shoreditch, as taken from the stairs at the top.


Artwork by 'Pure Evil' lines the sides of the containers, and seating area for one of the cafes and a cafe is located ahead.


Pop-inspired artwork by 'Pure Evil' on the sides of the containers.


Looking at the eyes and the image does play with my own eyes. I do love these paintings by 'Pure Evil'.


Shipping containers double up as shops on the top level of BOXPARK.

1) Box Park Website. http://www.boxpark.co.uk [May 27, 2012].

2) Holloway, Ruthie. Pure Evil artworks now up at Boxpark. http://www.theglassmagazine.com/forum/blog_post.asp?TID=4000 [7 March, 2012].
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee River pageant on the Thames took place this afternoon, and I went to the river to watch it. The weather was not good today, but the rain halted for the later morning and early afternoon. I got to London in the morning and waited on the bank opposite of Big Ben. I had a good view of the river, and there were not many people about. The crowds, however, did arrive later. Of course, this meant waiting for many hours so I did not lose my space. (I was alone, so I made sure not to eat or drink anything for fear of losing my spot!)

Many people were dressed up and carrying flags or masks of the royal family, and everyone was celebrating and enjoying the event, despite the poor weather. 

Finally, the boats reached Big Ben and Westminster Bridge by about 3:30, and the first were row boats. The royal barge, Chartwell, was in the middle of the parade. This contained the royal family, who were waving to the crowd. Fire rescue boats, military boats, canal boats, barges, steam boats, and small yachts were also in the parade. 

I took many photographs. I hope you enjoy them. Were you watching the pageant as well?

A boy gets his face painted.

Crowds on Westminster Bridge wave flags.

Hats, headpieces, and faces contain the British flag 'Union Jack'.

A couple sit by the Thames and wait for the pageant to begin.

A young patriotic boy waits for the pageant.

Flags line Westminster Bridge; this one stands against the Houses of Parliament.

Crowds wait on Westminster Bridge.

Rowboats in the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Lords - Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Chartwell, the royal barge

The queen waves. Camilla and Charles, Harry, and Kate and Will are also present.

Harry, Kate, and William. (Camilla is wearing peach, and Charles is in the background.)

The royal family on HMS Chartwell

I like Kate's red dress.

The royal family wave from HMS Chartwell

Another boat sails by with a message on it: God save the queen.

Steamboats sail underneath Westminster Bridge.

Big Ben is a lovely backdrop to watch the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant from.


A fire boat lets water out of the hoses. 

The rain descends, and people put up their umbrellas.

Two girls stand on top of bins.

The canal boats drift by South Bank and a crowd of people.
I visited London today to see the decorations and preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Along the way, I stopped off at the Mall and Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, and the "Avenue of Sails" between London Bridge and on the other side of Tower Bridge. I also stopped at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair and treated myself to their "Jubilee Afternoon Tea", which consisted of sandwiches, scones, and miniature Jubilee-themed desserts.

The Diamond Jubilee weekend will be a busy one. Tomorrow, the queen will board a boat and sail down the Thames, and there will also be a procession and a concert and other events taking place this Bank Holiday weekend.

The first area I visited was the Mall and Buckingham Palace, which was lined with flags, police, cameras, and many tourists. A concert hall with seating was set up in front of Buckingham Palace, and this is currently blocked to the public. (The media presence for the Royal Wedding last year was larger.) I visited St. James' Park to see the Floral Crown, and I soon discovered the "Trooping the Colour" taking place for the Queen's birthday in two weeks. The event today was the first practice, also known as the Major General's Review. I watched the parade of guards from along the side of the Mall, and I visited the Horse Guards Parade to watch them practice before crossing the Mall and heading up to Piccadilly Circus.

Piccadilly Street and the shopping arcades off of the street contain flag bunting. Many of the shops had decorations in their windows and messages relating to the Diamond Jubilee. I visited Brown's Hotel off of Piccadilly Street for afternoon tea. I loved the Jubilee-themed pastries, and these tasted delicious. These included a strawberry tart, chocolate and custard cup, trifle, macaroon, and Battenburg cake slice. The afternoon tea option also included a slice of Victoria Sponge along with scones and cold sandwiches. Fresh tea was provided for me as well as the offer of as much food as I could eat, if I did desired a second helping of anything.

After leaving Brown's, I visited Oxford Street and Regent Street to take photographs of the bunting. I also visited Carnaby Street, which was also decorated with bunting and Jubilee signage. Covent Garden was as busy as always, and the covered market was completely decorated with bunting. 

My last visit was to London Bridge and Tower Bridge to view the tall ships along the "Avenue of Sails", and I walked from London Bridge and up the river to Wapping to see the ships. By this time, it was late afternoon, and the grey clouds started to part. I hope that isn't the last we see of the sunshine this four-day weekend.

The concert area is set up in front of Buckingham Palace, and the Mall is lined with British flags, police, and the media.

The Buckingham Palace end of St. James' Park contains a floral crown as a tribute to the Queen.

This is a close-up of the floral crown in St. James' Park.

Visitors to St. James' Park watch as royal guards walk through the park after their practice.

Royal guards practice "Trooping the Colour", and some of them look quite tired. I imagine they have a lot of pressure with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations coming up.

A group of royal guards walks down the mall during the "Trooping the Colour" practice.

Royal guards walk down the Mall during the "Trooping the Colour" practice.

Royal guards play their instruments and walk down the Mall during the "Trooping the Colour" practice.

Horses trot down the Mall during the "Trooping the Colour" practice.

Tourists dressed in Union Jack raincoats (ready for the Diamond Jubilee) watch the royal guards walk down the Mall.

This brightly-decorated group of tourists stands along the Mall, clutching flags. The guy at the back has a cape made out of a Canadian flag.

The guards practice the "Trooping the Colour".

The guards practice the "Trooping the Colour".

The guards practice the "Trooping the Colour".

The "Jubilee Afternoon Tea" pastries at Brown's Hotel brightened up my day. Delicious.

After the "Jubilee Afternoon Tea", I visited Oxford Street.

Regent Street is covered with Union Jack bunting.

Regent Street is covered with Union Jack bunting.

Bunting on Regent's Street

Carnaby Street is ready to party.

I discovered this bunting on the side streets off of Carnaby Street.

Covent Garden is filled with bunting, and these tourists are also in the spirit.

Bunting in the covered market, Covent Garden.

The "Avenue of Sails" tall ships await the boat parade.

This ship awaits the boat parade.

The "Avenue of Sails" tall ships await the boat parade, with Tower Bridge in the background.


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  • jenn: Yes.... but that's only for the islands. Mostar and Montenegro read more
  • jenn: Hello, the code is not mine to hand out. I'll read more
  • pantich: More info about the best day trips from Dubrovnik can read more
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