December 2013 Archives

Radiant Orchid is PANTONE® Colour for 2014

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This year, emerald green was our colour (Pantone® Colour of the Year for 2013 is Emerald). In 2012, it was 'Tangerine Tango', and I discovered that the colour was popular for clothing and fashion items (Pantone® Announce Colour of the Year for 2012). In 2011, the colour was Honeysuckle (Celebrating Colour with Pantone®). This year, Pantone® have announced that the colour for the year in 2014 is 'Radiant Orchid', PANTONE® 18-3224. 


'Radiant Orchid' is a paler shade of purple described as 'captivating and magical' by the company in their press release (1). While 2013's colour represented growth and renewal, 2014's colour across the colour wheel from emerald represents imagination and creativity, and this is increasingly important. 

Expect to see this colour used in fashion (for men and women's clothing) and beauty over the coming months as it is currently being embraced by lead designers and beauty companies for clothing, make-up and accessories.

1) Pantone®. [5 December, 2013].

Ohio Amish Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns

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Earlier this month, I went on the Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns, held in the Amish Country in Ohio. The tour involves a stop at one of twelve inns or hotels as designated on the map. At each stop, the visitor can look at some of the facilities and rooms that are designated as on display; each of these hotels were decorated for the holidays.

Visitors could help themselves to snacks and drinks at each stop, and many of these followed the holiday theme. In addition to free snacks, those visiting with tickets could also pick up a free special cookie at each hotel. The cookies were individually-wrapped, and the tour book contained a recipe for each cookie. The tour theme this year was 'gingerbread'. Many of the cookies contained ginger, and at each stop, the visitor could find a special gingerbread man. Some of the hotels also had gingerbread houses, and the visitor could vote for their favourite one.


Barn Inn

Barn Inn is located near Millersburg, Ohio. The inn is a converted barn and former home of the Honey Run Dairy Company and contains its original beams. The barn was restored in 1997. The rooms on display were decorated with Christmas trees. In the main lobby above the doorway and shelving on the top along the ceiling were various Christmas items, such as a sleigh. The chandelier in the lobby had Christmas baubles hanging off of it. A neat idea seen in the hallway on the top follow, behind the gingerbread man, is a Christmas wreath made with deer antlers painted silver.   (Cookie: Gingerbread). 

The Barn Inn

The Barn Inn also included a wonderful table setting. I thought that this would be perfect afternoon tea. (I asked if they did do afternoon tea here, but they do not.) The table was decorated with a gingerbread and reindeer centrepiece with tinsel and baubles. Each setting included a gingerbread cupcake and a miniature gingerbread house over the side of the teacup. I loved this idea.

The Barn Inn

Ferngully Creek Cabins

These secluded cabins are located a few minutes from Berlin and Millersburg, Ohio. They are just off the main road and are located in a quiet grove of trees. The tour included visiting a couple of the different cabins to see how they were decorated. Each cabin contained all amenities needed for visitors expecting a relaxing trip: a kitchen/lounge, bedrooms, television, fireplace, Jacuzzi, and comfortable-looking bedrooms. The fluffy snowmen stood around the Jacuzzi was a cute touch in one of the cabins. Another cabin contained a Christmas display with trees and snowmen above the interior front door. One of the cabins had a large porch. (Cookie: Butterscotch Gingerbread)

Ferngully Creek

Hannah's House

Hannah's House is a five-room Victorian house located near Berlin, Ohio in a wooded area with waterfalls at the back of the house. When we visited, we parked up the road and waited for a horse-drawn wagon to take us and several other visitors to the house. We had a snowy horse-drawn ride down a lane and through a wooded area. The main dining room table in the house is laid with Royal Albert plates. (Cookie: Peanut Butter Oatmeal)

Hannah's House

Berlin Hotel and Suites

The Berlin Hotel and Suites has a movie theatre, fitness room, indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and racketball court. We did not spend long looking around the hotel. The tree in the main lobby is decorated with lime green and red ornaments (a modern twist to Christmas), and I enjoyed the cute gingerbread house on the lobby desk. (Cookie: Pumpkin Ginger Chocolate Chip)

Berlin Hotel & Suites

Guggisberg Swiss Inn

Guggisberg Swiss Inn is located near Charm, Ohio. A duck pond is located at the back of the inn, and the Amish Country Riding Stables are located on site; guests can take horseback rides with this company and wintertime horse-drawn sleigh rides. The inn resembles a Swiss chalet with a high ceiling in the lobby with a carved wooden clock and stuffed bear. (Cookie: Orange Jello)

Guggisberg Swiss Inn

Comfort Suites Berlin

Comfort Suites Berlin is located in Berlin, Ohio. The rooms we visited were decorated with Christmas throws and cushions on the beds and lights and pine branches throughout the room. The lobby was particularly nicely-decorated with a fireplace, Christmas trees, and other decorations. (Cookie: Pennsylvania Dutch Light Ginger)

Comfort Suites Berlin

Lodging on the Square

Lodging on the Square is located in the middle of Berlin, Ohio, with all of the tourist shops on the doorstep. (Cookie: Swiss Treat Bar)

Lodging on the Square

Berlin Grande

The Berlin Grande hotel is a four-storey hotel with modern design. Most of the decor was dark red and white with dark wood furnishings. The lobby was very large, and they served up warm cookies along with other nibbles and drink. We saw a choice of three different types of rooms, and they also have special rooms that pets can stay in. (Cookie: Red Raspberry Top)

Berlin Grande

Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek

Rooms at the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek are all decorated differently. The hotel has multiple stories with nice views. There were several areas throughout the hotel that were decorated Christmassy. (Cookie: Maple Snickerdoodle)

Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek

Wallhouse Hotel

Wallhouse Hotel is a new hotel with modern, energy-saving rooms and earth-friendly design. The hotel is located near Walnut Creek, Ohio. The decor uses lime green and grey and white colours. While I do like the colour combination and used it for my UK reception party, I think that is a bit strange for a setting in the Amish country. (Cookie: Holiday Ginger)

Wallhouse Hotel

Grapevine House

Grapevine House is accommodation located in Winesburg, Ohio. The accommodation contains different options - a house, converted barn. There are various amnieties on offer, and some of the rooms come with a living area and kitchen. A large porch spans the side of the house at the back, and there is a sculpted garden area. The rooms all looked comfortable and attention to detail was made to make the rooms and areas look Christmassy. One neat idea was a pair of old-fashioned ice skates making up the centrepiece of a wreath and a small bag of Christmas sweets tied onto the door knob for one of the rooms. (Cookie: Fudge Nut Bar)

Grapevine House

For more information about the tour, visit

A Trip to Bronner's CHRISTmas Store

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At the beginning of December, I made a trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. I posted some photographs in the previous post of my trip: A Start to the Christmas Season in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Located in this town is the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland. The Christmas store covers over seven acres, including landscaped gardens decorated with Christmas lights and Christmas items. A memorial chapel, the Silent Night chapel, is also included on site and is dedicated to the song and contains boards of the song written in different languages around the chapel. The interior of the store is also decorated with Christmas displays along the ceiling and above. When visiting, there's so much to see but do not forget to look above eye level at the displays.

I love glass ornaments, and I took a few photographs of these in the shop. Any subject that you could think of for any person would be made into an ornament: cameras, mobile phones, laptops, animals, and so on. Ornaments were grouped into several categories, such as by colour, by interest, by country, by animal/bird, by theme, and by job.













Exterior display

Happy holidays to everyone!

London's Christmas Eros Snowglobe

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This year, Piccadilly Circus's Eros statue has been decorated for Christmas. The statue was sculpted by Alfred Gilbert and is not of Eros but of Eros' brother Anteros for Shafestbury Memorial; the figure points down Shafestbury Avenue. This Christmas, the statue is surrounded by a snowglobe that contains 'snow' blowing around inside of it. 

Eros snowglobe

Eros snowglobe

Up the road in Leicester Square, a Christmas funfair has been set up with a carousel, a ferris wheel, and several games and food kiosks. 

Leicester Square Christmas

Leicester Square Christmas

Trafalgar Square's decorated up for Christmas with the usual large Christmas tree. 

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree

Christmas trees for sale in east London

Covent Garden's Christmas Lego Snow Globe

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Last year, Lego created an advent calendar out of Lego bricks and installed it at Covent Garden for the public to enjoy throughout December; each day, a Lego window in the advent calendar was opened to reveal a Christmas item made out of Lego bricks. (My blog entry about it is here: Lego Advent Calendar in Covent Garden.) This year, Lego returned to Covent Garden in London with a large snow globe filled with London buildings that the public could walk around and inside in order to admire.

Lego snow globe featuring London's iconic buildings

The wintery London scene was created using 120,000 Lego bricks. Visitors to the snow globe can also count the red Santa figures in the scene and post their answer on the social media website. Apparently, the snow globe could blow the snow around, but this was not working when I visited it, and all of the fake snow was at the bottom.

Lego London Eye, Millennium Dome (the O2), and the Shard

Lego buildings

The iconic Lego buildings included the Shard, Big Ben, the Gherkin, Covent Garden, the Globe theatre, Nelson's Column, Battersea Power Station, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral,  the O2, and cable car towers.

A view of the snow globe

This was the last weekend to enjoy the Lego snow globe in Covent Garden. Today was the first chace that I had to see it, and the weather was not the best with the rain, but many others were also out to enjoy the attraction and to count the red Santa Lego figurines. Due to the weather, I sadly wasn't able to get many photographs as the snow globe had droplets of water stuck to it, but the detail on the London buildings and the little figurines was well worth seeing.

Two girls enjoy the London Lego buildings inside the snow globe

I'm looking forward to seeing what Lego have in store for us in Covent Garden next Christmas. Last year was the advent calendar and the year before (in St. Pancras station) was a giant Lego Christmas tree. Will they come up with another interactive Lego Christmas or winter scene or a giant Lego Christmas sculpture of some sort?

At the end of November, I visited Frankenmuth in Michigan. This was approximately a four-and-a-half journey from my parents', and it marked the beginning of the Christmas season. Frankenmuth is a tourist town, and it has the largest Christmas shop in the world amongst other attractions. I spent about three days here. This is probably enough time to see nearly everything, though there are more attractions open in the summer - such as a riverboat and other boat tours. The river freezes in the winter, so these river tours are not available until spring.

Looking down the main street in Frankenmuth

One of the highlights was a horse carriage ride. The ride is set at a fixed price, and the carriage can accommodate up to four adults. (They say that up to six can fit in a carriage, but perhaps they mean children as well as adults.) We rode on the carriage at dusk and took advantage of seeing the beautiful Christmas lights. 

Horse-drawn carriage

One of the prettiest buildings in Frankenmuth is the Bavarian Inn. A clock tower rings a melody of bells at each quarter of an hour and wooden figures come out on display on the clock tower on the hour. The Bavarian Inn has several restaurants inside it and a large gift shop in the basement. 

Bavarian Inn

Bavarian Inn and clock tower

I had dinner at the Bavarian Inn one evening. The speciality seemed to be chicken dinners, which consisted of chicken and potato and gravy. The food on offer had a Germanic theme. For dessert, I had pumpkin ice cream.

Pumpkin ice cream

We were lucky with the weather in Michigan. The weather was cold, but we did not have any rain. 

Crab apples

The frozen river

The frozen river from the covered bridge

I walked across the covered bridge and got some photographs of the frozen river.

Covered bridge

Covered bridge

In addition to the Bavarian Inn, another restaurant (Zhender's) serves chicken dinners and is one of the largest restaurants with several dining rooms and shops and bakeries on the basement level. We also ate here one evening, and the dessert was especially nice: peppermint ice cream and a chocolate brownie.

Zhender's sign

Another place to eat in Frankenmuth is Tiffany's, an old-fashioned bar with beautiful lamps, stained-glass windows, wood paneling, and painted ceilings. The bar area on the floor even has ceramic tiles created into a trough; I'm assuming that this is easier to clean and any drinks that are spilled go down the drains in the trough. It is worth stepping inside for a drink or a meal to see the decor.

Tiffany's stained glass window

Interior of Tiffany's

Gift shops of many varieties and sweet shops (fudge, taffy, ice cream and so on) are in abundance. In many shops, you can watch fudge being made and taffy being made.

Taffy being made

Frankenmuth has a brewery and a couple of wineries. In one shop, chocolates and wines can be paired together and bought. The company also operate small boat trips and a chocolate-and-wine-tasting boat trip. If it had been spring or summer, I would have gone on this. However, the chocolate-and-wine-tasting is available in the winter. 

Chocolate and wine sampling

Christmas decorations and wreath outside a shop

Christmas-themed cupcakes

Iced Christmas sugar cookies

The Cheese Haus is a popular shop. The shop has free samples, and visitors can try and buy chocolate cheese.

Cheese Haus sculpture


Another attraction in Frankenmuth is the Michigan Military and Space Museum. The museum contains stories about different soldiers (pilots, nurses, and so on) in one of the different wars from World War I to the war in Afghanistan. The museum shows items used by these people and also contains the largest display of medals. The people had all come from or lived in Michigan at some point.

Tank outside the Michigan Military and Space Museum

Christmas tree

Christmas lights

On the first night, Frankenmuth's River Place shopping area hosted an evening of candle-lit Christmas carols, free cookies, and hot chocolate to kick off the holiday season. 

Candle carol ceremony

I hope that you have enjoyed my photographs of Frankenmuth.

I previously blogged about Dublin here (Dublin:Goal, Whiskey and Cathedrals) and here (Dublin: Guinness, Castles, Colleges and Culture). On the third morning of our visit to Dublin, we visited the market on Moore Street. They were just setting up the stands, but a cafe/bakery on the street was open, and we had breakfast here. I took a few photographs of some of the stands, and the street was slightly busier by the time we left the cafe.


Fruit for sale on Moore Street market

Our first stop was to the museums. We visited the National Gallery, the National History Museum (the "dead zoo"), and the National Museum. The National History Museum is filled with fossils, a dead insect selection, and taxidermied fish and other creatures, including the Irish deer. (The Irish deer is now extinct.) The National Museum contains hoards of gold discovered in Ireland, bog bodies, and artefacts from all over the world.

Dublin's National History Museum

After the museum trip, we walked to St. Stephen's Green. The park is not too large, and it contains a small lake and a few statues. On the fencing outside the park was artwork for sale, and I admired the paintings. There were so many to look at, and I really liked a few of the ones I saw.




St. Stephen's Green

After the walk around the park, I walked back through the gates to Grafton Street. This is the main shopping area, and there are many street performers on this street. There's a few department stores and indoor shopping centres, such as Powerscourt Townhouse and George Street Arcade.

The gate from St. Stephen's Green to Grafton Street

One popular place to visit on Grafton Street is Bewley's Tearooms. I had a cup of tea here. I thought that it was a little bit over-rated and very touristy, though.

Bewley's Tearoom

In the late afternoon, we explored more of the touristy pub area Temple Bar. We never stopped for a pint, however. I took some photographs of the more interesting pub fascades. 



Temple Bar pubs in Dublin

We had an early night and walked back to the hotel as the sun was getting ready to set. I got some nice photographs of Ha'Penny Bridge (Half Penny Bridge) and Upper O'Connell Street. Upper O'Connell Street was the backdrop to Irish history in the early 1900s. There's a large spire in the middle of this street and several statues to famous writers (James Joyce) and residents. On the next day, we only had the morning to look around and see a few last attractions before getting back to the hotel. There was a big game going on, so we had to leave a little earlier to ensure that we were not stuck in traffic and missed out flight.

Ha' Penny Bridge

Upper O'Connell Street

The last attraction that we visited the following morning before our flight was the Jeanie Johnston tall ship, which is located on the harbour.

View of Dublin along the river

The Jeanie Johnston ship was remodelled after the coffin ship by the same name. The ship is historic because miraculously, no one died on board. The ship carried immigrants, and the conditions were less than ideal for new people leaving Ireland to go to the new world. Many people left Ireland during the famine years. A few yards away from the ship is the Famine Monument. These depict starving Irish individuals, with their families, leaving Ireland on the coffin ships that left from this area.

Famine Monument

On the ship, we were told the history of the immigrants and introduced to some Irish history. We were also told about the ship and its reconstruction. 


On board the Jeanie Johnston

That wraps up my short break in Ireland, but I could have used one more day in order to visit the zoo and the botanical gardens. 

Street Art: David Shillinglaw

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Street artist David Shillinglaw creates murals across the world with tribal, abstract, and pop art influences. Earlier this year, he painted the four panels on Great Eastern Street and also painted the building next to the Village Underground. Some photographs of work from this artist that appeared this year are below.

'My idea of fun' by David Shillinglaw

Various views of David Shillinglaw's building next to Village Underground

A panel; next to another piece of steret art (a group of signs)

An abstract piece

For more information about the artist, visit his Facebook page:

Sculpture in the City 2013

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The City of London has several sculptures at the moment. These sculptures interact with the buildings and the environment around them and each holds its own importance. Some of these have been built by well-known and iconic sculptures. Each one brings the city to life.

One of the most iconic pieces of art, reproducd on a large scale, spells out the word "Love". This sculpture is located on Bishopsgate.

Robert Indiana: Love

Numbers held meaning for the artist of the iconic "Love" sculpture, Robert Indiana. These numbers are located near Leadenhall Building and are in the shadow of the Lloyds Building. I like to name this one "fun with numbers" as I was taking my own artistic photographs with friends around the numbers.

Robert Indiana: NUMBERS

These three sculptures of prehistoric creatures (dinosaurs) dominate the area outside the Gherkin. They are made of steel and are the first outdoor project from artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. 

Jake & Dinos Chapman: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This shiny globe, located near the Gherkin, is comprised of small metallic parts that and meaningless on their own, but they make up the whole. 

Ryan Gander: More Really Shiny Things That Don't Mean Anything

Twenty-Four Hour Flag is a work of art comprising of red kitchen chairs placed on the top of a building. The artist encourages people to look up to the sky in the city. String Quartet is a series of steel ribbons that break through the concrete near the site of the Cheesegrator; these are influenced by light and shadow.

Richard Wentworth: Twenty-Four Hour Flag; Shirezeh Houshiary: String Quartet

These two human-like iron figures dominate the pavement near the new Cheesegrator building. They seem to be in flow with the flow of humans walking on the pavement. The human-like figures are angled/leaning.

Antony Gormley: Parallel Field

This skeleton of a park bench demonstrates urban decay and loss, which is a popular theme for artist Keith Coventry. In addition to the bench, Mare Street, E8 is the bronze cast of the small trunk of a sapling growing out of concrete, that has been vandalised. These bronze casts are located side-by-side. 

Keith Coventry: Mare Street, E8 and Bench

These sculptures will be on display until May 2014.

A Day Spent at Scotney Castle in Kent

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This year has been a busy one, and I was recently looking through some pictures that I had taken late in August on a day visit to Scotney Castle in Kent, England. Scotney Castle includes a newer castle that was built to be a stately home. It's a modest size with beautiful views over the countryside and over older medieval castle ruins by the lake below the hill. Tours are arranged in time slots to the newer castle, but visitors can then rome the gardens and the ruins of the older castle in their own time.

We toured the new castle (home) first. The house was left as it was when its last occupant passed away, and the house greatly reflected her personality and love of cats. Her cats (their descendants) currently live in the home. Her room on the upper level boasted excellent and beautiful views over the romantic medieval ruins and countryside.

The library

I loved the colour of the Queen Anne's Lace flowery wallpaper that was within one of the bedrooms at the back (pictured below). One of the staff who was in one of the rooms told us that the beautiful fireplace in one of the rooms was probably removed from the medieval castle and relocated to the new castle.  

Books in a bedroom and the beautiful wallpaper

The view of the medieval castle

After our visit to the new castle was complete, we visited the gardens. We admired the sundial and a cement cat decoration added to the fountain near the castle. (This was no doubt a tribute to the owner's love of cats.)


I particularly loved the gardens and the lakeside views of the romantic ruins. The flowers were in bloom in the quarry area in the upper gardens.





A little further along the garden walk were beautiful beds of lavender, and these will filled with busy bees. I spent a little bit of time here snapping photographs of the lavender and the bees.







We followed the trail down to the lake where we discovered a thatched hut that was used for storing ice. From here, we followed the lake around to admire the views of the medieval castle ruins and its reflection in the waters.





On the other side of the lake, we saw the boathouse and several ducks competing for our attention. The lakeside was peaceful, and we were lucky with the weather on the day as we had sunshine but there were small showers just before we went to explore the castle and gardens.


Our last stop was to explore the medieval castle ruins, which could partially be entered to see the rooms on the ground floor and some of the rooms on the floors above. 


Before we started our journey on the exploration of the castles and the grounds, we had grabbed a little bit of lunch at the cafe. Unfortunately, the cafe was having some issues with food and could only serve cold sandwiches and tea. I opted for cream tea with scones. 


That concludes my trip to Scotney Castle. I hope that you enjoyed the photographs.

Smithfield Market

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A few weeks ago, I went to Smithfield Market in London. Smithfield Market is the wholesale meat market that sells to restaurants and the catering industry, and visitors can get meats in bulk for a the market rates, instead of the rates marked up by supermarkets. Visitors must arrive early as the market starts to shut at about 7:30 in the morning.  I arrived at about 6:45 as that is the earliest that my train can arrive into Waterloo for me to get to this area of London.



Smithfield Market is near Farringdon Station and Chancery Lane. It's located in an area of London, on the fringe of the City, that is rich with history.

Upon arriving, the market was busy with men and women in white uniform loading meat into vans or carrying it around on carts. Others, possibly buyers, were having coffee near the market. Inside the market is a central aisle with meat counters on both sides. Each vendor sells their own unique range of meats. Behind some of these displays are meats (pigs, sheep, cow) hanging.





I saw some pigs ready to be roasted, various organs (hearts, livers, tails), and even sheep heads.





By 8:00 in the morning, the individual markets inside of Smithfield close up. The market gets quieter, and the vehicles start to leave to take their purchases elsewhere.

Smithfield Market from Charterhouse Square

The streets around the market feel 'alive' while the rest of London is very quiet and still asleep. The coffee shops and cafes are open for breakfast. 



The pubs near Charterhouse Square also had their lights on.



I walked out of Smithfield Market with 2 kilo of fillet steak, a large honey-roasted gammon, and chicken breasts. This will keep the freezer full for a while.

Street Art: Milo Tchais

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Milo Tchais is a street artist from Brazil whose work is colourful and fluid. His work is easy to spot in London because of the bright colours of paint and shapes used to create the subjects. His work can be seen in The Foundry (near Old Street), off Brick Lane, and on shutters in east London.

'The Cage' in The Foundry

More images of 'The Cage'

Chivitz and Milo Tchais collaboration (has been painted over)




For more information about the artist, visit his website here:

Visit his Facebook page here:

London's Christmas Window Displays for 2013

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This year's Christmas window displays in London tie in with the branding of the company and also tie in with traditional Christmas. I felt that this year's window displays were more interesting than the previous year's. I have taken a few photographs of Selfridge's, John Lewis, and the Liberty department store windows in London.

Selfridge's department store focused on traditional Christmas scenes, such as those miniature holiday villages that some put up over the holidays, with a twist. The scenes feature small people (elves and Santas) in a setting with model houses and trains and a larger-than-life product placement. For example, a large shoe or pair of headphones or a brand name purse is amongst the setting. I've photographed some of the window displays to show below.




The corner window display at Selfridge's, which is the most interesting, contains a village made out of gingerbread and a train made out of vintage packaging. 





The Liberty department store window displays feature several products, such as these colour-coded products.


John Lewis's window displays followed their advertising this year with their well-received bear and hare commercial ( The window displays feature the woodland creatures made out of items sold at the store, such as birds made from scissors and a brown bear made from baskets and pillows and a fox made out of cleaners.


This year's window displays are certainly creative.

Derelict London

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Although London is an expensive place to live in, there are still areas where you can find abandoned and interesting buildings that may have seen former glorious days. There is something almost romantic about derelict buildings.

Old Bath House and an abandoned building near Weaver's Fields

I like to think of what the building was like or what it was used for or what it looks like inside. Every building has a large story and has touched multiple lives. We live in buildings, go to work in them, socialise in them, and walk past them every day. The following link shows photographs of the exteriors and interiors of abandoned buildings across the city of London. In some cases, it has a story to tell from visitors to the website who have come across the photographs of a place that they used to visit many years ago.

Photo of part of the menu from Derelict London's website

I have added a few derelict-looking places in London that I have discovered on my walks.

Air conditioning units and an open box

Sign on a fence to prevent people from breaking in to steal items

Well, someone dumped an old washer-dryer and an empty box of detergent on the street...

Derelict London:

I recently published an article about my first day in Dublin, Ireland (A Day in Dublin: Goal, Whiskey and Cathedrals). This is the second installment of that trip, and this was the busiest day of sight-seeing because it was "Culture Night" and many of the tourist attractions were free of cost and open very late. Obviously, I took advantage of this as did hundreds of others. 

The morning started out with a stroll across the river to Temple Bar, where I got some photographs and then caught the bus to our first stop of the day, Guinness Storeroom. 

A fishing shop in Temple Bar

Now, I do not drink beer, but this was recommended despite that. As Dublin is the birthplace to the well-known drink, I guess, "When in Dublin...". So, we took the tour. The 'museum' had an extremely large shop and several floors dedicated to making beer and the beer's history. We had a tasting, and we also poured our own pints. Unfortunately, I did not like it, so mine got poured and left. These drinks could be enjoyed upstairs on the top floor in the Gravity Bar. There are great views over Dublin from here, but the bar was much too busy with all of the seats and floor space occupied, so we just walked in and then back out again.

Guinness Storeroom

Our perfectly-poured pints waiting to be topped up 

We spent many hours in the Guinness Storeroom, and in the early afternoon, we caught the bus back to town. Our tour continued to the docks area, and I got some nice photographs of the Custom House from the southern bank of the river.

Custom House

After getting off the bus on the southern side of the river and near Trinity College, we walked through the main part of Dublin.

Molly Malone statue

Our next stop was the castle, but it closed early so that it could be open later for "Culture Night". We ended up visiting the castle then. By that time, it was dark and the building in the photograph below was lit up with pink lights and had a band playing on the balcony while we queued. We saw the old part of the castle, of which only a couple lower walls and part of the moat are remaining. The newer part of the castle had a few lavishly-decorated rooms and people dressed in period costume.

Dublin Castle

After our castle visit that evening, we walked around the corner to the Charles Beatty Library and admired the illustrations and manuscripts from all over the world. 

Chimney stacks

We visited St. Patrick's Cathedral after our afternoon visit to Dublin Castle. This is an impressive cathedral. 

Interior of St. Patrick's

Interior of St. Patrick's

I had a mint hot chocolate from Butler's, a chocolate shop chain in Dublin. 

Hot chocolate

Our "Culture Night" evening started with a trip to Trinity College, which was busy. It was also Fresher's Week. We waited around thirty minutes in the queue to enter the college to see the Book of Kells (an ancient illustrated Bible) and the impressive library.

Trinity College

Trinity College

The library was impressive and was on multiple levels with book shelves to the ceiling. Each area had its own ladder. There were also busts of famous writers here.

Library at Trinity College

Street Art: Pang

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I've been noticing street art by Pang in east London since the start of this year; these started with drawings of ash trays with the name 'Pang' written inside of them. Since then, their artwork is more widespread, and I've noticed their 'cowboy' character, hats, and ash trays popping up on the streets. In fact, they recently created some work on Hackney Road, which I have photographed below. 


Additional work, which mainly consist of drawings, can be seen around east London. Some of these included paste-ups, and some of these were drawings onto  scaffolding or walls. At times, other artists add to their work. (You can see one of 616's motifs peeping out of a hat on one of the images below.)


For more information about Pang, view the official Facebook page: 

London Christmas Lights 2013

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The Christmas season in London has arrived for 2013, and as usual, there are many decorations and Christmas lights. This year, Oxford Street has new Christmas lights that are shaped in round balls and purple-blue in colour. Last year, Marmite sponsored the Christmas lights with an interactive display on Oxford Street. I prefer this year's decorations on Oxford Street, even though they simple and not as imaginative as the Marmite tie-in with social media and technology.



This year, the Marks and Spencer store on Oxford Street replaced their Christmas lights with several flowery lights on the corner of their store. These were pretty, but they seemed more summery than wintery to me.


Selfridges also went out to add their lights to their shop front as well as decorations above the main door on Oxford Street.


Carnaby Street also invested in new Christmas decorations this year. Last year, their Christmas lights had a rock and roll music theme which tied into the street's rock 'n' roll history in the 1960s. This year, the designers of the lights went to the birds with bright red robins and encouraged visitors to use Twitter. I have enjoyed the Carnaby Street decorations for the past few years as they are always creative.



The Liberty department store's decorations were similar as previous years with Christmas trees upon the timber-framed side and a purple glow.


Regent Street had the same Christmas lights as last year's with the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' theme.


However, around Oxford Circus, the lights advertised 'Mr. Peabody and Sherman', which is a film coming out in 2014, and these covered up some of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' boards immediately around Oxford Circus.


Additionally this year, some of London's iconic red buses contain a lit-up "Christmas is coming" message, which is sponsored by Sky.


Boots' shop in the middle of Oxford Street has new Christmas lights this year. I do not remember seeing Christmas lights on their shop before, unless they were strands of white lights perhaps. Their lights look festive.


St. Christopher's Place off of Oxford Street has replaced their brightly-coloured metallic giant baubles with white snowflake giant baubles this year.


I always enjoy seeing the Christmas lights in London every year, and it's worth going to see the window displays as well if you do not mind the crowds. I went on a weeknight, and although it was busy, I did not feel it was particularly unbearable.

Street Art: Pablo Delgado

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Pablo Delgado, originally from Mexico but now based on London, has been adding artwork in walls in London since 2011. He is now one of the most well-known street artists. His work has included paste-ups of doorways and scenes featuring people and animals. The paste-ups are located at ground-level and are easy to miss unless you are looking for them. They feature dark shadows on the pavement in front of them, which do help to locate them. Recently, a few scenes have appeared around Brick Lane, and I managed to photograph these. Often, his subjects are a bizarre juxtaposition of events that tell a story. I've included his newest work below.

People with a giraffe

A dog on a car

Nuns and boys fighting over a goldfish bowl

A selection of work from Pablo Delgado, including the new piece at the top

One series of his work covered trees. An A4 sheet of paper was printed out and hung on walls around east London for each "Missing" item. The item was 'cut out' of the sheet of paper, and the user was given a radius to search for the item. Some examples of these and earlier work is pictured below.

Examples of earlier work from Pablo Delgado

Some of the artist's work is in a bad state, but you can still make out the shadows, and often you can see remains of the paste-ups. In some cases, the walls is painted yellow to portray light. Unfortunately, a lot of his work spanned a couple of years ago, so not much remains. Piecing these together with 'before' and 'after' shots of the work in the open weather was also difficult as it looks as though some of his work was not photographed or seen before.

Older work from Pablo Delgado

However, I was able to track down a 'before' and 'after' shot of the image below. It features a lady in an elegant red dress with a row of what looks like perfume.

'Before' and 'after' shots of one of Pablo Delgado's paste-ups

The trees are always one item that makes me smile. It is as if it is another world, a smaller world. I discovered the following tree recently, and it was located underneath a tree, so I believe that this was protected from the elements.

A tree

A series of work seems to depict soldiers. This one isn't too badly-damaged.

A soldier

Others are hardly recognisable now.

Very worn examples of Delgado's work

Others features a series of working girls dotted around the east part of London. I managed to track down a few of these.

Various work from Delgado

And, the following pieces, only the shadow and possible pieces of worn paper remain.


A small fish also appeared recently, hanging from the top of a building. It has been attributed to Pablo Delgado.

A fish

A figure that looks like Jesus

Pablo Delgado and work by Pang, Phlegm and D7606

'The Little People Project' Street Art

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'The Little People Project' began in 2006. I have yet to see these tiny sculptures in real life. I imagine that it would be difficult to locate them, and they would probably would not last long before being removed or trampled over. The artist behind these is known as Slinkachu, and his profile lists him as living in London. In an interview (1), the artist states that he wants people living in the city to take note of their surroundings. For more information about the artist, view his website:

The Little People Project

'The Little People Project' features tiny plastic figures of people set around various world cities. Many times, these tiny figures interact with their environment. Some shelter under banana skins while others slide down railings. Others sweep up leaves or play on top of broken glass bottles.


Inner City Snail

The artist also uses live snails in his artwork. He creates miniature sculptures and sticks them onto the backs of snails or paints the snail's shells. This project is known as 'Inner City Snail'. I like the idea of coming across one of these snails.


For more information and photographs, view the blog:

1) Spotted by Locals. [29 February, 2012] 


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