I mean, once you’ve done a full week and had a few bevvies on a weekend, it is easy to just stay in bed and watch Netflix to recuperate, especially in those horrid, rainy winter months.
However, now that the sunshine has actually started to come out, I have decided that I really want to make the most of my weekend and see and explore all that London has to offer!
Now, I know what you’re thinking ‘It’s too expensive to do loads in London every weekend’, and it can be. However, it can also be very, very reasonable when you start searching out the whole host of free events that are going on in the city.
One such event was the Wimbledon Art Studios Open Access Show that took place at the weekend (Thurs 14- Sun 17 May).
This free show allows visitors to come and view the art of all those based at the studios, as well as buy the artwork commission-free. There is also fashion shows, food, a bar and a tearoom on hand to keep you fed, amused and hydrated whilst you make your way around all the different art on offer.
As I said above, the event was open from Thursday, but I decided to take a little stroll down to the studios on Sunday for the afternoon. As soon as I walked in my eyes were treated to an array of amazing works full of colour, texture and interesting concepts.
I’m the type of person that always needs to be stimulated in some way, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed with the amazing paintings, photography, jewellery , clothes and accessories on offer.
The first thing I saw when I walked in was Peter Valliant‘s breathtakingly colourful acrylic paintings. His inspiration behind the work is the ‘dramatic essence of light captured from the last hues of colour from the day’, which you can definitely tell from his pieces.
Next I came across Atlas & I, who specialises in making personalised products all printed on vintage maps of your choice. This brand really grabbed my attention, as my sister Kerri loves maps, so I wanted to get lots of photos just to show her! Sophie Kirkpatrick, who has been running the brand since 2011, creates a whole host of products, including leather stationery and fashion accessories, to wall art and greetings cards, all made to order, printed with a vintage map, location of your choice, here in the UK.
Another highlight for me was Raj Burnett’s adorable jewlellery line. Raj has been working on the range for the last four years and creates all her pieces by hand – hoping to create a unique product that her customer can treasure. Again, her tea range particularly caught my eye as my friend Laura loves tea-inspired accessories, so it reminded me of her and how much she would like them! She also has a ‘Laser Garden’ range too, inspired by nature and a semi-precious line on its way.
However, I do have to say that my favourite artist that I discovered at the event was Gavin Mitchell. On display at the show was his ‘East Meets West 2015’ artwork that I instantly fell in love with.
Describing the range, Mr Mitchell says: ” The ongoing collection of work using early 20th century Japanese postcards depicting the daily routine of a Geisha. Disrupting the inherent tranquility and ethereality by juxtaposing Western iconic imagery and exposing the implied seductiveness behind these culture portrayals.”
I have also looked at Gavin’s other art collection and they are just as inspiring – I would definitely recommend you having a look at his website.
Of course, there were many other great artists on display, however I don’t want to bore you by listing my view of every single one of them here.
You can check out all of the artists at the studios here though and definitely keep an eye of for the next free event coming in November.
Seeing as the band formed in the late 80s, when I wasn’t even born, I wasn’t familiar with their music. The day of the gig, I looked them up on Spotify to see if I recognised a few songs, but I didn’t even know one!
This left me a little apprehensive before the gig. However, there was really no need for me to worry. Despite not knowing one song, I instantly started enjoyed myself the second the band came on stage.
Considering the band have been around some time, it wasn’t a surprise that most of the audience were middle-aged, and the vast majority of those were men. However, this wasn’t intimidating. In fact, it was kind of nice to go to a gig where everyone was a bit more sensible, and they definitely gave you more breathing space than your usual gig-goer does.
One guy did come up to me and my friend however and commented that we looked ‘far too young’ to know the band, but he did in in good jest and was said ‘fair play’ to us as he high-fived us, which was quite funny.
Anyway, back to the actual gig… as I was saying, the band were really fun to watch. Frontman Tim Burgess had a good energy about him, and I loved his long blonde crazy hair, we he liked to swing around. He had a good repore with the fans too telling them as he came on stage ‘It’s been a while, hasn’t it?!’.
The venue was also great too. If you hadn’t guessed already by the name, Brooklyn Bowl is used for bowling in the day, however hosts a number of events in the evening. The fact that it only holds a few hundred people meant that the gig felt really intimate, as you are quite close to the band, even if you are a fair way back.
The gig was held as part of ‘BRITS Week’ – celebrating British music in the lead up to the BRIT Awards 2015, which is this Wednesday coming (February 25). To mark the occasion, there was a massive BRIT Award statue by the stage, as well as Brit Award signs throughout the venue, which added a nice touch and a good Instagram opportunity!
All in all, it was definitely a fun night and I would 100% go back to The Brooklyn Bowl to see many more bands in the future.
Check out some pictures of my night below…
Left: The band on stage. Right, me and Bex having a selfie outside the venue.
Both of us having a little pose inside.
Left: Bex with the BRIT statue. Right: Capturing our tube journey home.
This is so exciting for me as I have literally dreamed about living and working as a journalist in the city since I was about 15 or 16.
As you can probably guess, it’s been so busy and hectic getting myself settled in my new flat and getting everything sorted. Plus I’ve been out lots mingling with my new housemates and my friends down here, which hasn’t really left much time for blogging!
However, I feel like I’ve finally getting settled and back into a sort of routine (as much as you can do in this exciting city anyway), so you can expect lots more posts coming up!
In the meantime, I’ve included some photos below of all the things I’ve been getting up to so far…
You can probably tell I’ve had the best time and I’m looking forward to having much more fun in the big city!
My new flat… and yes that is our very own private bar on the right!
More flat pictures… this was our first roast on the right – it was so tasty!
My new flatmates Kat & Hannah! Kat’s birthday on the left, enjoying a drink at our local & cosy wine nights in.
A random Sunday night out in Clapham…
Partying with some of my besties 🙂
Getting to go to the ’50 Shades of Grey’ premiere in Leicester Square!
My sister Kerri coming up to visit.
Well you’re in luck as Beyond Retro is opening a pop-up shop, purely dedicated to the novelty woolies, in London this Winter.
The shop, which will be based at Old Street Station, will open for six weeks from November 11-December 21. The jumpers being priced from £18-£26.
What’s even better is that for each jumper sold, Beyond Retro will donate £1 to Save the Children. The store is helping to celebrate and raise awareness for the charity’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’, which encourages everyone to wear a festive wooly and donate to the cause on December 12.
Wacky Christmas jumpers, shopping & a good cause? Sounds good to me!
For more information on Save The Children’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ visit the website here.