London in Bloom

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Spring is one of my favourite times of the year for me in England, it is the sign of the end of a long, drizzly and cold winter, a sign of new beginnings and hope. I tend to spend March anticipating the first signs of daffodils, for me, daffodils symbolise spring more than any other bloom! Once the daffodils are out, it’s just a short wait for the blossom and magnolia!

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For those of you who are considering visiting London and don’t know what time to come, Spring is perfect if you want mild (sometimes unpredictable) temperatures, quieter streets, and lots of pink.

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Despite what you might generally see on Instagram, I actually prefer East London to West. However, spring in the West is almost unbeatable, I would definitely recommend taking a day to enjoy the leafy streets of Notting Hill, Holland Park and south Kensington. there are lots of lovely, less well known cafes off of the main roads that you can pop into between the trees of blossom.

 

Disney’s Dazzling Hollywood Studios

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I first visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios when I was 5, back then it was called MGM and if I’m honest I don’t remember a thing, other than Indiana Jones almost getting mowed over by a giant boulder (turns out it wasn’t real).

I headed back when I was 10 and the park had grown a little by then, I remember my obsession with the Rock’n’Roller Coaster.

17 years later and I am back again, the first time visiting since its rebranding.

Guests enter the park onto Hollywood Boulevard, a colourful Art Deco street lined with shops and palm trees. If you are lucky you might even spot Mickey Mouse or one of his friends. It is a great photo opportunity too!

Make your way up Hollywood Boulevard and turn left, here you will find a number of 1950’s all American diners.

Echo Lake is a beautiful gathering spot, surrounded by places to eat and things to see. Be careful you don’t forget where you are, as this area could easily be mistaken for California…

Next up are the streets of America, and by this we mean New York and San Francisco. You will know exactly what city you are supposed to be in when you head up this way, and if it is Italian food you like then this is where you are going to get it!

Sunset Boulevard opened in 1994 so has been here a fair while, since I was little even! However, I totally forgot how pink, colourful and beautiful it was! As you walk up the street you get magnificent views of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror that towers over the park. The palm tree-lined street also leads up to the Rock’n’Roller Coaster, one of Disney’s most popular rides.

This is a park I could just spend all day walking around in, however, my family did want to experience a few rides! My favourite here is Tower of Terror, partly because it brings back such great memories.

Whilst Hollywood Studios is not Disney’s biggest park, it is definitely a must see for those visiting Orlando!

 

 

 

A Photo Tour Through Lincoln

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Located in a quiet corner of the East of England, the city of Lincoln can sometimes be overlooked. Okay so it isn’t the easiest place to get to in the world (although this is soon hopefully changing!) but this almost adds an extra quaintness to the city.

Lincoln is split into two halves, the Cathedral Quarter which is the ancient part of the city, and the modern city down on the River Witham. The photos you see above are of Steep Hill, one of the most picturesque streets in Britain.

Steep Hill is the path connecting the Cathedral Quarter to the modern part of the city, it was originally constructed in the Roman Times as they expanded the city down towards the river, originally there would have been steps down the hill, now you just need to be careful not to slip!

I woke up early on Sunday morning so took the time to walk up and down Steep Hill whilst no one else was around. I would highly recommend setting your alarm and heading out at 7am as you feel as though you are taking a step back in time and into the most beautiful and quaint town you have ever seen!

Lincoln Cathedral is often described as one of Europe’s finest examples of Gothic Architecture, and you will understand why as soon as you take a step inside. It also owns one of four original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta (however this is housed in Lincoln Castle).

Whilst Lincoln might be a small city, it doesn’t mean you are missing out on shopping, restaurants and nightlife. The High Street, which is the main thoroughfare through the modern city is lined with over 300 shops, bars and restaurants. Whilst it is more in fitting with the 21st century, there are still a number of beautiful, historic buildings lining the way. Shops include House of Fraser, Top Shop, H&M, Next and many more High Street favourites.

Heading back up Steep Hill towards the Cathedral Quarter you can make a quick detour to the Usher Gallery. The Usher Gallery is known for miles around and is regarded as one of the region’s premier art collections.

Past the cathedral is Bailgate, another one of Lincoln’s historic streets, lined with independent boutique stores and delis. You might also find a wonky house or two…oh, and some Roman remains!

No trip to Lincoln is complete without a visit to the impressive castle, dating back to 1068 on a site occupied since the Roman times. Home to one of just 4 original copies of the Magna Carta, the castle offers impressive views over the whole city, and especially the magnificent cathedral.

  • A big thank you to Visit Lincoln who put together an itinerary for me so I could make the most of the city in the short amount of time I had. And thank you for organising accommodation and entrance into the attractions. Lincoln is a small but stunning city and a superb backdrop for a fun weekend getaway.

 

Notting Hill: Through The Lens

Whilst many people will instantly think of Hugh Grant when ‘Notting Hill’ is mentioned, not everyone knows that it is one of London’s most fashionable neighbourhoods. Notting Hill began as an area known for its piggeries and pottery and was even previously known as being one of London’s ‘slum’ areas.

In 1840 the area became more residential with the construction of the Ladbroke and Norland Estates, by the end of the 19th Century began the building of the pretty white terraced houses we see so much today.

The area soon became one of London’s most desired places to live, however, in the early 20th Century it became overcrowded and crime was on the up… Racial tensions arose after World War II with increasing amounts of Afro Caribbeans settling in the area and Notting Hill was the first place in the UK that saw race riots in 1958.

In response to the riots and race tensions, Notting Hill Carnival emerged in 1966 to help combat the issues. The carnival is now one of the largest street festivals in the world, attracting over 1 million people over the August bank holiday weekend.

By the 1980’s, Notting Hill once again became an attractive place to live due to stylish architecture and leafy open spaces, the elite were moving back in…

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Due to the pretty housing, cafe culture, up and coming businesses and more independent shopping opportunities, Notting Hill has become a visiting point for many, especially those partial to grabbing a shot for Instagram.

The rows of multicoloured houses you might have seen can be found along Hillgate Place, Hillgate Street and the adjacent roads…

Another place you might recognise is Portobello Road and Portobello Market, constructed in the Victorian era. Here you will find many restaurants and pubs as well as pretty architecture, curving through the city. The shops have been squeezed together, and each distinctive in their own right, this does make a great photo opportunity…

If your thirst for pretty streets hasn’t yet been quenched, from Portobello Road take a turn onto Elgin Crescent where the houses are more grandeur than simply just ‘cute’. Elgin Crescent is a street of houses built in the 1800’s and sharing pretty communal gardens, it was named after the town of Elgin in Scotland.

This is where my photo walk ended… my friend and I continued our wander and ended up in Westfield, a rather fantastic shopping mall located in Shepherd’s Bush.

Halloween In London

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Whilst the origins of Halloween can be found in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the UK generally is not on the same level as the US when it comes to celebrating Halloween. However, in the last few years more and more people have been celebrating and decorating their houses…

Things started out pretty tame on Hillgate Place, a cute and colourful street tucked away behind Notting Hill Tube Station.

Things certainly got spookier as the day went on, we found displays in Clerkenwell and Bloomsbury as well as in Notting Hill.

Then there were the families who went all out, although if I was 8 years old I would probably be a little too scared to trick or treat at these houses.

So that is Halloween over for 2017, I wonder what displays 2018 will bring, will another neighbourhood take Notting Hill’s crown?