Lumiere London – Review

Liberty’s

 

I was so pleased to see the City AM email about the Lumiere London Festival. Great excuse to go to London for a fun day out.

Carnaby Street

 

It was an absolutely fabulous adventure seeing this free light festival, which brings together the world’s most exciting artists. First, we sauntered down Carnaby Street and ended up at Liberty’s. My husband, who has not been to the famous store before, was eager to explore. What a fascinating place it is and such a beautiful old building too. We looked around the whole store including clothes, ornaments, objects d’art, furniture, and of course, what they are famous for, the fabrics department. Great fun and we did every floor!

Afterwards we frequented Carnaby Dishoom for a curry which was delicious 😋 and then ventured out towards Regent’s Street.

Here are the pics…

Origin of the World Bubble
Miguel Chevalier (France)
Oxford Circus

 

The ever changing ball was the best part of the show. Surreal and so effective. It’s about the movement and division of cells and ever changing universe. This installation is suspended above Oxford Circus and a wonderful feast for the eyes.

We walked along and saw the Umbrella Project, which entailed a choreographed performance piece using LED umbrellas. I found the performance quite bizarre and good fun.

We walked further and saw Frictions, Mader Wiermann (Germany) which shows a building appear to twist and buckle and return to the original shape. Then onwards to the Piccadilly area to see Voyage Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein (France) which was again, a wonderful journey through time and space. It shows, by a moving format, the works of time and marks a changing world. Very clever and innovative.

Voyage
Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein (France)

 

Then onwards to Spectral which is a colourful cord construction and illuminated with different colours and a striking and unusual spectacle.

Spectral
Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Stugocki (Poland)

 

Another favourite was Love Motion by Rhys Coren (UK) in the Royal Academy of Arts courtyard. Wow! This was a remarkable animation of two people dancing and kissing. It was projected onto the facade of the RAA’s building and so effective and moving. You felt like you’d had a hug after watching this!

Love Motion
Rhys Coren (UK)

 

By now, we had walked miles and was ready for a pint. We made our way to Leicester Square Gardens to observe the amazing Nightlife by Lantern Company with Jo Pocock (UK). This is an illuminated nocturnal wonderland, bringing together the garden and animals and the relationship between them. Wild spaces and urban life reflecting a celebration of the natural world. Brilliant and a masterpiece.

Nightlife
Lantern Company with Jo Pocock (UK)

 

Finally, just before grabbing a quick pint we viewed the installation called Child Hood which consisted of luminous spheres flashing on and off whilst moving in the wind. Quite mesmerising.

Collectif Coin (France)

 

We also saw some small installations but I’ve concentrated on the magnificent ones, here. So glad we went on this adventure as we had no idea what to expect. My idea of bliss is finding an excuse to walk around London. A lot of the major roads were shut so it was a truly, surreal and magnificent occasion. Next year, we may try to see more during several evenings.

For more photography, film, comments and stories visit the Mishmash Media Blog Instagram. Thank you.

Andy 🙂

More photos…

Leicester Square – Nightlife

Off Carnaby Street

Harmonic Portal
Chris Plant (UK)

 

Beating the January Blues – 8 Tips…

The January blues appear to be even more prevalent this year. I’ve read several articles and heard many people complain about feeling ill and or despondent this year. Does this resonate with you?

Psychological research helps discover the reasons for this annual lack of vitality and is intensified by a perception of how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. The disparity between the two are highlighted during January after the excitement of December. This is not helped by the cultural activities which include spending so much condensed time with friends and family and in my opinion, now it is splashed across the internet, is exacerbated even more. Apparently, it is a time when people think about what they have achieved and this can lower their mood. The research at the University of Exeter explores what the mechanisms underpinning depression are and find the underlying factors which cause depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. The research concentrates on three main areas which include underlying psychological mechanisms, psychological treatments plus trials and third, increase the accessibility of evidence-based treatments for as many people as possible.

The research determines how you can attempt to improve your mood and unsurprisingly include physical and mental exercise with an emphasis on socialising, hobbies but there is an interesting thought process that also helps according to Professor Ed Watkins, Director of the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre (MDC), :

“There is good evidence that being more active – physically and mentally – connecting with other people, getting absorbed in interesting activities, becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?) all help people to feel better.”

(Source: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/janblues/)

Ask yourself how rather than just why? This is making the thinking process more discernible, helpful and can change our perceptions.

The unit is working with Dutch colleagues processing controlled trials by providing internet treatment. Preliminary data shows this treatment reduces the risk of depression by a third. The unit is working with the charity Help for Heroes to support the mental health of veterans and their families. Also, a trial will be implemented by NHS Cornwall with a 1000 patients. Interesting times.

One thing we do know, is feeling low in January is common and so at least if you are feeling fed up, you know you are not alone.  Studies have shown that you can boost your mood by having Vitamin D. During the darker months we are not getting enough Vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine. This is another reason to go out for a walk!

Many foods help with this too and include:

Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy, eggs and fish such as sardines, herrings and salmon are all good sources. Plus, along with improving your mood, topping up on vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system and keep bones and teeth healthy.

(Souce: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/keep-momentum-how-beat-january-blues-0)

Another tip is to lay on the floor with your legs raised which helps boost energy and makes you feel calm. This is from the Chinese principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and relaxes the back and opens the stomach energy channel. Health expert Fiona Slatter suggests you do it when you wake up when your body needs the energy.

To sum up, there are many things you can do to help with the January blues but obviously if you feel really ill you should visit the good old GP. Personally, my favourite exercise at present is a countryside walk. I’ve done quite a bit of walking lately, some in a solitary way and some with others. Going with a local group is good because you hear some of the local news and about how others are coping with their lives. Exploring the local area by yourself is a fruitful way of doing something for your soul and is invigorating.

Something like checking out your outside space could be prudent. Wash your car, sweep the drive or tidy the garden. You may start chatting to the neighbours! Also, book a day trip, holiday or some sort of adventure. If you haven’t much dosh (it is January after all) go on an exploration adventure and take a picnic!

Hope you find some of the research and tips useful because it does seem to be a widely discussed issue. Think we all need some motivation to spark some life back into ourselves. As usual, I need to follow this advice too. Sometimes, you do have to just embrace the winter months and at least we can try to convince ourselves that spring is around the corner!

Top Tips…

Physical and mental exercise

Socialising

Hobbies

Becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?)

Vitamin D

Diet (foods above)

Exploring new areas

Use your outside space

Book a holiday/adventure/day out

It’s all about the insta! https://www.instagram.com/mishmashmediablog/?hl=en 

Sources:

https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/janblues/

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/keep-momentum-how-beat-january-blues-0

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-154138/How-beat-January-blues.html

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-january-blues-what-is-it-and-how-can-you-beat-it

Photos – Andy’s

Musings about December…

After my rant about the festivities, I had a wonderful holiday and feel quite refreshed. However, now realise some motivation is required to move forward any projects, etc., planned for this year. Funny how you tell yourself ‘after December, I’ll do this, that and the other’ and now it’s here, finally, one needs to make some decisions about life! Trying not to panic haha.

After the family gathering on the 25th Dec, which was a hoot, we went to Sheffield Park Gardens on Boxing Day and had a saunter around the lakes, decorated Christmas gardens and woodland. We took a picnic lunch, because, and I must plan this better, we had so much food left over. Next year, I must remember to prepare less food. I really didn’t need to bake those lemon cakes, and quite so many mince pies. Do you do this?

When in the car for a coffee break, the heavens opened and it poured with rain, so as it was 1 o’clock, we had our lunch. It was delicious and I’ve decided to start taking picnics more often because it’s so much less hassle than queuing up with the crowds and over paying for something quite ordinary.

We ventured back around the gardens and I concentrated on taking some photos with my new camera, the Nikon D3300 which was great fun. The place is beautiful even in the winter. The trees expose their structural form and reflect over the lakes. Having recently done a photography course, I was rather chuffed with the results and hopefully will improve during 2018.

We explored the 250 acres of parkland which dates back to the 18th century and you find yourself pausing and admiring the view of copses of trees around the hills. It is a wonderful place to explore, reflect and admire the parkland, streams, meadows and woodland. If you haven’t been, I can highly recommend a visit. A relaxing and serene environment where you feel you can get away from it all.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

The next day, I took the borrowed dog, Oscar, for a long walk. It was quite windy and the sky was incredible with an amazing sunset. Really enjoy our walks and I’ve got to know many woodland and field walks in the area.

On Thursday, 28 December, we visited family and enjoyed a trip  to the pub for a couple of beers. I drank a very hoppy Dark Star, Hop Head. The Land of Liberty in Hertfordshire, is a CAMRA pub and always has an exceedingly splendid selection of beers.

On Friday, 29 December we went with my son and girlfriend to see the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. I cooked a beef casserole which was delicious and made a change from turkey. The film was brilliant and wonderfully produced. To be honest, I found it a little long, but I did enjoy it.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda

Mistakes are inevitable. They hurt. They’re hard. But we learn from them. Lift someone up after a misstep with this quote from Yoda.

On Saturday, we met my husband’s brothers for a few beers and a meal in London, Bakers Street. We met up in The Volunteer a pub near Regent’s Park. It seemed funny, because I used to drink there when I worked in the area many years ago. Someone then told me that people don’t drink during the lunchtime anymore. This I find hard to believe. Although, judging by the amount of suits in the pubs during the evening, I assume evening drinking is the new trend? Anyway, the food was good and I tried to have something healthy so opted for a Verdure and then Seabass for my main course. Very pleasant.

On Sunday, we were rather relieved to have ‘a day off’ which is a little ironic as it was New Year’s Eve. We stayed in and enjoyed some beer and watched the BBC drama ‘The Miniaturist’. It is about a new, young wife who is given a doll’s house for a wedding present. The exquisitely made contents, which she mysteriously receives, appear to reflect the Brandt family’s hidden secrets. The drama is majestic and creepy, but quite enticing. The photography of the Amsterdam canal house is extraordinarily clever. In fact, you feel like you are watching a Dutch masterpiece.

We were so pleased not to have to go out, we couldn’t even be bothered to go to our local. Rock and Roll. Strange how we go out all year round, but stay in the one night most people go out!

After all that, although I am against dry January, because it does harm to the pub industry, I do feel I need a break from alcohol and rich food so will focus on feeling better with some exercise and fresh air, etc. More on that in the next blog posts!

So another year over and onwards and upwards. Happy New Year everyone!

Andy xxx

 

Rochester Dickensian Festival, celebrations, musings and updates…

Remembering what Christmas is about…

Christmas, which annoyingly starts earlier and earlier in the UK, is not always about being happy, joyful and full of glitz for many people. It can be a time of childhood memories, sadness and grief. Everyone, has someone they have lost and miss and unfortunately, for me, it seems a time when I remember missing family. Probably, most people feel like this, don’t they? If someone is not embracing Christmas the reasons could be some of the above and not because they are horrible. Unfortunately, the irritating commercialism, which starts after summer, doesn’t help. It is a reflective time and I think we must all remember this and be aware that not everyone is happy and joyful at Christmas all of the time. Personally, I enjoy it when it finally arrives but hate all the stuff before December. Does any of the above resonate with you?

Dickensian Christmas Festival…

Once I spotted the ad for the ‘Dickensian Christmas Festival’ it went in the diary. I’ve been feeling fed up and eager to have a day out. It is a wonderful occasion when folks dress up as Dickensian characters and partake in various activities which starts off with the morning parade.

After the parade the characters wander about amongst the crowds and mingle. Some perform mini plays, magic, readings, dances, singing and photo opportunities. Also, there are various activities aimed at children, such a Punch and Judy. It is a wonderful and great way to immerse oneself in all of these English traditions.

The parade was an exciting affair, led by the Mayor of Medway  and starting in the High Street onwards into the Esplanade and continuing up Castle Hill before finishing on the Boley Hill Stage. A fantastic site which is a brilliant festive occasion for everyone from the surrounding communities.

We enjoyed some delicious mulled wine and a mince pie, then later on, for lunch, we succumbed to a juicy burger. It was great fun to spot all the Dickensian characters and the day flew by.

CAMRA Christmas Meal…

Last Sunday, we had our CAMRA Christmas meal which was a great success. This was partly because the wives turned up and I was able to have a good natter. My only complaint, was that I didn’t like any of the beers because they were all dark, so I had wine. The establishment didn’t have any craft beers either and this surprised me, because even my local has and I think they are missing a trick. Anyway, the food was excellent and delicious and this was followed by a jolly singsong of Christmas carols and a visit by Father Christmas. The Father Christmas was very authentic I must say! After this excitement, the village tree was lit with much fanfare. Another excellent day!

Updates

The presents have now been wrapped, cards delivered so now it is time to concentrate on food. I shall try and locate the Christmas pud which is in a cupboard somewhere and at least two years old! This is the last one of the batch of puddings, so I will have to do some more next year. For the actual day, I will make some mince pies, a chocolate squidgy roll and a cake or two. Busy times!

Yes, you’ve probably guessed it, the fitness thing is not going to plan at the moment. Having said that, it could be worse. I’ve stopped eating rubbish and not drinking too much. Also, I’ve really enjoyed some invigorating walks around the surrounding countryside with the borrowed dog, Oscar.

The gym has been used four or five times a week so I don’t feel too fat but can see the weight is not dropping off either. From January the 2nd it will be all systems go though. I promise.

Promoting the blog – Instagram

My latest social media effort has been with Instagram which is fun particularly as I’m interested in photography. Photos are being posted most days and I am beginning to receive some interest now. It seems better than Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest but I will keep you informed. So do follow me if you are on Instagram.

Enjoy the festivities everyone and thank you for reading my blog, liking and commenting which is much appreciated.

Andyxxx

#Running again and some healthy tips… Update

Pleased to say, that I’m beginning to run on the treadmill again. It is rather exacting and the “random” level has been lowered so the hill climbing isn’t too ridiculous. Also, during the so called run (shuffle), I’m tending to walk a little too. It isn’t a good idea to overdo things.

The funny thing is, moving at a faster pace should be harder, but I find the process is advantageous and oddly relaxing. The same with fast walking. You feel you’ve achieved something and are re-energized afterwards.

Apparently, the best foods to eat after a run are eggs, bacon, toast, yoghurt and fruit. For lunch a chicken sandwich with a side salad or a burger with sweet potato fries. So a selection of healthy fats, lean protein, dairy and fruits are ideal. When over 50 years old, it is recommended to try ‘protein pacing’ and spread out your meals so you eat about every four hours and drink plenty of water. This is good for muscle repair so make sure you get plenty of healthy protein. To be honest, this is good advice because once you start getting really hungry, you start manically stuffing rubbish food and the diet falls apart. If that happens call it a PLUS DAY rather than a bad day, and start again the following day.

I’m pleased to say that it is ok to run before breakfast if you don’t run for more than an hour. This is great because it is the best time to exercise, in my opinion. Going to the gym in the morning is far more successful than in the evening. It’s easy not to bother after work and the energy levels are so much better in the morning.

Anyway, it has been a slow process for me, but the aches and pains have gone, at least for now. As running was on the after Christmas agenda, it is a good result. Well goodish. Still feel that fitness should take a higher priority, but you have to have fun as well, don’t you?

Apparently, a beer or two is OK because it offers fluids, sodium, potassium and carbs although you shouldn’t choose a beer over four per cent alcohol. Well, that’s me in the dog house then. I  drink the craft beers (American IPA) and they are usually high in alcohol. Oh well, I am improving and it is a tricky time of year…

Tonight, I’ve had a lovely salmon stew with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, fresh basil and it was rather good, even if I say so myself.

So I’m trying to retain some sort of sensible diet but it is challenging isn’t it? Taking small steps is a good way to get going so I’ve managed to cut out rubbish food, particular processed sugar. It is all about having the right frame of mind and when you are poorly, it is hard. It is great to feel better and hopefully I will stay healthy. Anyway, hope you are all well and looking forward to having some time off at the end of this month for the festivities.

To sum up:

  • Take exercise and build up slowly
  • Morning exercise is best for motivation (in my opinion)
  • Eggs, bacon, toast, yoghurt and fruit are best after exercise. For lunch chicken, beef with salad
  • Have a treat!
  • Check out my previous foody blogs for inspiration
  • If you have a bad day just call it a PLUS DAY and start again, the following day.

Thank you for reading my blog,it is appreciated and don’t forget to follow. 🙂

,  Salmon Stew

 

 

Source: https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/nutrition/10-running-nutrition-questions-get-answered

Are you feeling SAD?

With the onset of winter, it is easy to feel tired and fed up. The clocks change and make the mornings glaringly light for a few days but the evenings darken immediately.

When I went to Iceland, a young chap told me they only have about three hours of daylight in November and everything tends to get done during that time. During the summer, they party into the early hours as it barely gets dark at all.

In the UK, around 6% suffer from seasonal affective disorder or Sad and in countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that people cannot function properly.

The condition can cause disruption of sleep, weight gain and depression. Apparently, women are much more likely to suffer from SAD and this is thought to be because of evolution…

Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto says,

“Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance.”

Many people get the “winter blues” and this is characterised by feeling uninterested in your surroundings, unmotivated and fatigued. Around 15% suffer these symptons although my humble opinion would put it higher than this.

Light therapy is recognised as helpful for people suffering badly. Many people suffer from low spirits during the cold, dark months. However, sometimes you can embrace it, as I have done and explore other places in the world, such a Norway, Rome or warmer climes like the Canary Islands during the winter months. Or just have a jolly day out or a long walk preferably with a lunch break in the pub! Curling up with a cup of tea and a good book is another favourite of mine too. A break and change of routine, during the winter months is helpful and refreshing. Too much emphasis on summer holidays can become tedious and it is interesting to explore different areas and participate in a variety of activities.

So what is the solution? The main thing that will cheer you up is socialising. Sometimes I will invite someone for a meal and take time planning and preparing it. Having a good natter is fun and enlightening. But as for December, it does go on a bit, doesn’t it?

Of course, the most obvious thing that may help is going outside to exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day. Nothing more boring that being stuck in an office. Put on your brightest clothes, (we all wear too much black and grey) and wander out for some fresh air. You will catch some light somewhere among the grey clouds and feel better moving your body.

So what do you do to get through the winter? Do share!

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

Walking at night? Really? Here is why you should!

It is irritating when you come home from work and it is too dark to  venture out. Or is it? Not according to this article on night time walking.

When I spotted the article, in The Telegraph, I initially ignored it and then went back to find the article because it is, well, something a bit different. Then I decided to go out for a walk around the village even though the sun was setting. The fresh cold air was invigorating and as I increased my pace, I soon warmed up. Time to wear the old leather gloves though.

“Britain has a great tradition of literary nightwalkers. First Chaucer, in an age when darkness could be banished only by faltering, fallible candles; later the Elizabethans, then the flaming torch or cradled lantern passes to Wordsworth, De Quincey and Dickens.”

Well, I know we don’t have “fallible candles” anymore but if those literary nightwalkers can do it, so can I! Yes, some of them may have been high on opium, but all great writers.

Anyway, the photos I took, made the local ambiance look brighter than it was. Night had definitely arrived by the time I was home. The walk was peaceful, helped my annoying aches and pains and frankly gave me some time to think. This, maybe a habit I will repeat. In the past, I have been walking in Ashdown Forest before, to look at the shooting stars and planets and it is eerie but quite fascinating in a solitary sort of way.

Christopher Salisbury, a professional outdoorsman and storyteller says, “It’s a beautiful time; reflective and contemplative. The darkness forces you to come into the present moment.”

“The winter is a dark time – let’s celebrate it. Let’s capture some of that mystery and enchantment and bring it back,” says Christopher [Salisbury, outdoorsman]. “Culturally we’ve banished the night. We have light bulbs and street lamps. So, to particularly be in a natural environment, where we can experience true darkness, or even true silence, culturally we’re a little comforted by those things. There’s some excitement. Some little edge of, dare I say it, danger of the night-time.” 

Is this mad? No, my area is fairly safe and I am talking late afternoon/early evening. The pedestrian exploration is invigorating and gets you out of the house. I may not want to traipse around the countryside, but will consider some village/town walks. It is a good idea, isn’t it? The question is: Is this the weirdest idea I’ve ever posted about?

In the country | Five night walks to get you started…

Holnicote Estate, Exmoor

Exmoor National Park was designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe, and it’s one of the UK’s best spots for stargazing, thanks to low levels of light pollution. You can get closer to the stars at Dunkery Beacon on the Holnicote Estate, the highest point on Exmoor. The 1,700ft summit offers stunning 360-degree views of the skies above Somerset, so there’ll be plenty of stars and constellations to keep you occupied. You can also listen out for nightjars, and keep your eyes peeled for low-flying bats. nationaltrust.org.uk/holnicote-estate/trails/dunkery-and-horner-wood-circular-walk

Warrens, Girts and Ouzels, Dartmoor

Starting and finishing at the historic Warren House Inn, with its famous open fire that is said to have been burning since 1845, this route can either be walked or cycled and has a number of variations that make it more or less challenging. It is also accessible by bus, although at the present time these do not carry bikes. This route is almost entirely off road following unsurfaced bridleways, so expect rough going in places and some mud or lying water at times. visitdartmoor.co.uk/things-to-do/warrens-girts-and-ouzels-p2356713

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

Formerly a grand private estate, Stackpole provides access to some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. It’s also home to Broadhaven South, one of four designated Dark Sky Discovery sites in Pembrokeshire. Run by the National Trust, this is the perfect spot for staring up at the Milky Way. Make an afternoon of it with a walk around the lily ponds, ending up at the beach just in time for the sun to go down. Remember to take warm clothes and a torch. NB: take particular care crossing the lake on the narrow causeway bridges. nationaltrust.org.uk/stackpole/trails/bosherston-lily-ponds-freshwater-magic-walk

Barbury Castle and the Ridgeway, Wiltshire

A delightful downland walk along the Ridgeway, said to be Europe’s oldest road. The Iron Age hill fort of Barbury Castle is believed to be the site at which Cynric, the King of Wessex, defeated the Britons in 556AD. Constructed in a double-earth bank design, the outer bank was reinforced with huge Sarsen Stones that can still be seen today. Barbury Castle can be a good spot to watch the sunrise. The car park closes at 7.30pm but there’s places to park on the track outside. visitwiltshire.co.uk/things-to-do/activities/walking

Keswick, Cumbria

An easy short walk from the centre of Keswick or Lakeside car park by the Theatre by the Lake to Friar’s Crag looking down Derwentwater. You will need a torch but most of the trail is fairly level. On the way, past the boat landings and through the trees, listen for the tawny owls. At the end of the trail there is a viewing point (with bench) that looks down the length of the lake into the dark of the Borrowdale Valley, making it an excellent spot for stargazing. visitcumbria.com/short-night-walk-keswick/

 

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/night-walking-helps-see-things-new-light-ten-walks-get-started/