Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf

Immersive shows

For the sixth year Canary Wharf, London is welcoming the return of the award-winning Winter Lights, where the area is transformed by 26 spectacular Light installations.

This wonderful spectacular event is free to attend and is only showcased for a fortnight, ending this weekend 25th January 2020.

Finding your way around

We wandered up to the city On Sunday to see the Winter Lights glow up the surrounding area with immersive light displays and exhibitions.

The best time to visit the displays is from 4pm, the earlier the better as the crowds do start to build up later on in the evening. We downloaded the map from Canary Wharf website to help us to navigate our way around but there are stewards dotted around the area that hand out a paper map too. This was far better for us as the children got to choose where they wanted to go.

The map not only shows you where the light displays are but also where you can find a toilet, parking, information, street food and train/tfl stations.

On the back of the map there are pictures that show you what each display or exhibition looks like along with the title and where they are.

Light installations and interactive art

The Winter Light Festival showcases light art and interactive installations by some of the most innovative artists across the globe working in light art today. Alongside some favourites that have been shown before are some newly commissioned artworks that have never been seen in the UK before. Some of the exhibitions can be seen for afar and some will allow you to get up close and interact with.

You are advised that the whole event should take about 90 minutes to walk around, but I would give yourself longer if you really want to experience it all and just enjoy the atmosphere.

My children and I didn’t manage to get round all of the displays, as some of them had huge queues, like the Luma Paint Light Graffiti and Sky On Earth. This is because they are interactive exhibitions.

A favourite of ours was the Constellation display, the children and I were mesmerised

https://youtu.be/swaYuIFaJGc

As you can see the displays make great photo opportunities.

We thoroughly enjoyed what we managed to see at the Winter Lights Festival and will definitely be visiting again next year.

Just remember if you are going to attend to wrap up warm, maybe pack a few snacks as the street food, as tasty as it was, is quite expensive and not to forget your camera.

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My Child’s Modelling experience with Burberry

Just under a year ago an email landed in my inbox from my son’s modelling agency with regards to a high end fashion brand requesting up to date pictures of my boy. They were seeking pictures without him smiling. We took some photos and didn’t think anything of it. Two days later I received an email back from the agency stating that the client would like to book my son for a campaign that they were doing in January 2019. They wanted to meet with him before they were going to confirm a booking. The meeting didn’t go ahead as planned so they requested more pictures instead, which we sent over.

In December the client confirmed my Son for the modelling job. We put in for his licence just before the Christmas holidays as the job was at the end of January

It was all very exciting as he had never done modelling before. He had been featured on a few adverts, so had experience with acting but had never done a stills shoot.

Over the Christmas holidays he lost his first tooth, we was really worried that he would be dropped from the shoot because of it. We contacted the agency and was asked to send over pictures of his gappy smile. We needn’t have worried so much about it as they went ahead with the booking.

With the School letter signed and authorised for a day off we soon had a licence and was all booked in for the shoot. Nan was going to take him to it as both myself and dad had to work. My son was very excited and really looking forward to the shoot.

He spent the day the day in a country stately home with lots of other children of different ages being photographed in their clothes.

Photos from the first SS19 campaign

Since that booking he has had a further 6 jobs with Burberry; one more campaign shoot and the rest ecomm (which are photos for the website).

2019 was a successful year for my son with his modelling, especially with Burberry. He has had lots of fun on set but also struck up relationships with the team. Every shoot he has had with them he has been welcomed and treated like a professional.

As modelling involves being around lots of people, it has helped my son gain confidence in himself, he now understands and has developed a positive work ethic. He has never been made to feel rejected by anyone or felt pressurised to do something that he is not comfortable doing. Over the year I have witnessed my son grow from a young shy boy who would hide behind my legs to being a confident boy who is happy to socialise with young and old without me being by his side.

I always love to watch him whilst he is on set to see how much he changes for others, he listens to direction well and always does as he is told. Yes, he has his moments just like any child does, he can mess around and get a little silly at times but once its out of his system he gets right back into the job in hand. He has a laugh with the team and they always tease him about pinching his sweets. I am quite amazed at how they manage to get him to stand still, I may have to ask for some tips next time he does some modelling.

I am looking forward to seeing what this year may bring to him. He may not get another booking and if he doesn’t that is fine but here’s hoping that this may just be the beginning of a new adventure for him.

Photographs have been taken from the Burberry Website and Pinterest Site

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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Review – Top 5 Places to visit

The Most Spectacular Christmas Destination In London

Located in the heart of London in Hyde park, get ready to fully immerse yourself in the biggest and best Christmas fair that there is around. Offering an array of attractions, activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Winter Wonderland is FREE to enter and it is huge! There are more than 50 rides, over 10 pre-bookable attractions, up to 200 bars and food stalls and London’s biggest Christmas Market to enjoy. The shear size of this place is phenomenal and the work that has gone into putting it together is really impressive. At night the park is transformed with hundreds of sparking lights.

Press invite

Last Sunday we were invited along to experience Winter Wonderland ourselves. We have been once quite a few years ago to visit the Ice Rink and The Ice Kingdom, but didn’t really spend much time there. So we were looking forward to spending the day walking around and fully immersing ourselves into the Christmas Festive Spirit.

My eldest two boys arrived before myself and the youngest as we had a football match to attend first. They arrived just before 11 and managed to try out about three or four rides before we joined them at lunch time. Mornings are ideal for families to visit, we found it to be busy but with mostly people just leisurely walking around. The queues for the rides weren’t massively long, in fact the longest we queued for a ride was about 10 minutes and that was later on in the day.

What to expect

Winter Wonderland is split into festive themed areas.

You will find

  • Santa Land – Explore the land of Santa, see his workshop, meet the elves or ride on the Santa Express. Enter through the Red Gate, a dedicated Family Entrance that takes you straight into Santa Land.
  • Arctic Circle – Visit The Magical Ice Kingdom; a spectacular snow and ice sculpture walk through and ride on a real ice slide
  • Circus Town – Here you will find the Circus Megadome that is home to Zippos Christmas Circus, Mr.Men and Little Miss Show and Cirque Beserk.
  • Bavarian Village – This picturesque area is the perfect place to unwind, with its cosy chalets, outdoor seating, bars, cafes and restaurants.
  • Thrill Zone – Home to the world’s largest transportable roller coaster The Munich Looping and many more rides for those that are not faint hearted
  • Traditional Funfair – Young and old will adore this area full of beautiful Victorian-style rides -the carousel, helter skelter and vintage fairground games.
  • Angels Christmas Market – Over 100 charming traditional wooden chalets will tempt you with unique gifts, traditional Christmas decorations and culinary delights

Zippos Christmas Circus

Step inside the Circus Megadome to watch this fun packed daytime show last just under an hour which makes it perfect viewing for the younger ones. The boys were transfixed from the beginning introduction from the circus Ringmaster to the end performance of illuminated acrobats.

The show is jam packed with energetic routines and dare-devil antics that will keep you on edge of your seat.

There were unicyclists, trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, roller bladers, acrobats and a juggler who entertained us with a repeat action of his Guiness World Record of keeping five boomerangs in the air at the same time and catching them all without dropping one. Unfortunately, on his first attempt he dropped the last boomerang but not to be downhearted on his second attempt he was victorious.

Zippos Christmas Circus is a fabulous family show that will keep the whole family entertained. Emilion the Clown kept the crowd entertained throughout, throwing huge beach balls into them and finishing the show by putting on a little mime act using people from the audience.

The Magical Ice Kingdom

An indoor Magical Ice Kingdom walk through experience with a temperature of -10c you really do need to wrap up warm for this attraction. This year the incredible Ice sculptures tell the story of A Christmas Carol. The moment you enter the Ice Kingdom you are transported into the wintry streets of London following Dickens’ Christmas tale of goodwill, where Scrooge is taught the true meaning of Christmas. The magnificent sculptures of the characters and settings took a team of very talented ice artists months to carve and create. This was, personally, my favourite attraction. I could have stayed in there for ages just taking it all in, if it wasn’t so cold. The Ice Kingdom really is Magical! The whole experience from the beginning to the end is amazing, there is so much to see. Every ice sculpture has so much detail and helps you to relive the Dickens’ timeless classic story.

I don’t think the children felt the cold as they slid down the ice slide; they love it!

Giant Wheel

Winter Wonderland has the tallest transportable wheel in the world. The giant wheel is 70m tall and is a new attraction to Winter Wonderland. We rode the wheel at about midday and only had to wait about 5 minutes to board. We had a ski-like pod to ourselves. As you enter the pod, you are given a welcoming pre-recorded message where you are given the option to listen to music on your flight. The views are amazing, although I did get a little freaked out when the wheel stopped at the top to allow passengers to get on at the bottom. Our flight took about 10 minutes and went round slow enough for you to take in all the sights around the park and across the city, also it’s a great way of looking around the fair from above and working out where to go next, especially if you ride during the day. The view is spectacular and you get to see the shear amount of time and effort that has been put into the organisation of building Winter Wonderland.

Real Ice Slide

The Ice Slide in Winter Wonderland

Situated on the edge of Santa Land is the Ice Slide; a giant, 5-lane slope made entirely of slippery ice. After being given a helmet and a rubber donut to sit in you hike your way up to the top. We queued for about 5-10 minutes before we got to the top. Once there, you place your tube down in a lane and sit inside it. The friendly Winter Wonderland staff will then proceed to push you down the slide. You can reach a pretty high speed coming down, and it’s even better when you’re out of control and spinning around wildly as glide not-so-gracefully to the bottom. You get two turns on the slide per entry. It’s great fun to race your friends or family down the this spectacular slippery slope. There is also quite a breathtaking view of the park at the top of slide.

A slide made out of ice in winter wonderland

Ice Mountain Coaster

An indoor spinning roller coaster that takes you on a ride through a mountain cavern. We queued for about 15 minutes for this ride and that was mainly down to it being later on in the day. This was the last ride of the day for us, so we didn’t mind the queue. The queue went down rather quickly and soon we were all in the car ready to be carted off into the darkness of the mountain. We really wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. We got flung from side to side and the car spun around making us feel rather dizzy. As the spinning coaster passed through the illuminated cavern we were transported through a world of penguins and polar bears.

We spent about 4 hours walking around and taking in the festive atmosphere. I found the facilities to be clean and well staffed and there were plenty of friendly staff around to help with any queries or questions that you may have. There were plenty of places to sit down and enjoy some tasty food or a light refreshment. The prices of food varied from about £5 upwards. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Bavarian village for some refreshments, we bought some Churros for £5 and there was enough to feed the four of us. We found a fire pit to sit around to enjoy a glass of bavarian beer and a festive mulled wine, it really was lovely and got me feeling rather warm and excited for Christmas.

Although, Winter Wonderland is free to enter you will need tokens for the rides, which are available from token booths around the site. Contactless is also available. Rides vary from £2 up to £8 per person

I would highly recommend pre booking attractions as they can get booked out rather quickly on a weekend

Zippo’s Circus – £14.00 per adult and £10.50 per child

Magical Ice Kingdom – £10.00 per adult and £8.00 per child

Mr Men Show – 10.50 per adult and £7.50 per child

The Big Wheel – £9.00 per adult and £7.00 per child

Winter Wonderland is open from 10am to 10pm up until the 5th January 2020 https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

We were given tickets and tokens for the purpose of this review

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A Special Bond With my Boys

When I found out that my first born was going to be a boy I was slightly unnerved and a little freaked out. What did I know about raising a child? Let alone a Boy! What did I know about boys? Would I be able to understand him and guide him in the right direction to manhood?

I had heard about the sayings that little girls had special bonds with their daddies and little boys bonded well with their Mummies. I was hoping that this would be true, But I just couldn’t foresee it.

I’m not really a girly girl but am so far away from being in touch with my male side; I don’t know a thing about football, I couldn’t talk politics and wasn’t really an outdoor person. Give me an evening with a bowl of ice-cream and a chick flick and I would be happy.

But I had nothing to worry about. The moment I held my first born, I felt that instant connection – as I did with my other two boys.

A Mother’s love.

I can not compare the relationship that I have with my boys to what I could have with a daughter, Perhaps it would be the same. But, I do know that people have commented on how close my boys are to me and that they have a different relationship with their Father.

All three of my boys have different personalities but they all share the deepest and most sweetest love for me, of which they will show affectionately in public.

When my middle boy was younger he used to say that he was going to marry me and that he would always live with his Mummy. How sweet is that? I tease him now that he is older with what he used to say and he just smiles and says that it’s true – he will never leave Mummy.

I am so in love with all three of my boys. Each one of them with their special qualities and each one of them makes my heart beat faster. I never thought that it could be possible to love someone as much as I love them.

I take my youngest to football practice and matches every week, but I don’t understand a thing about the sport. Yet, he will talk to me for hours about the tricks that he did whilst out on the pitch or the goal that he got in ‘Top Bins’ (BTW I have no idea what that means). He will place his head on my shoulders at the end of the day, his fingers twiddling with my hair, and tell me how much that he loves me.

My middle boy is the most caring of them all and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a very sensitive boy. Out of all three of the boys he is the one that is closer to his Dad. At 12 years old, nearly a teenager, he is growing up to be a respectful young man. He enjoys running, cycling and climbing. All things that I can not relate to, as I am not a sporty person. He starts every day giving me huge hug in the kitchen and finishes it with hugging me before bedtime. Out of the three of them, he is the one that yearns the need for love a little bit more. I think it’s hard being a middle child, he had so much to prove to his siblings, parents and to himself. He wants to make me proud and is always asking me if I am proud of him. He doesn’t see that that he doesn’t need to be top of the class in school or be the best at running to make me proud. I am proud of the young man that he is becoming. His smile warms my heart. He is always telling me how pretty I am and how good I look in new outfits. He is very good at giving compliments and when I am not feeling very well he will always be the one that holds my hand or rub my back after a hard day at work.

My eldest is the quietest of them all and will often spend all day in his bedroom working hard on achieving his high grades for school. My sweet little boy who had to sleep by his Mum’s side every night is now turning into a sweet young man. He never leaves the house without giving me a kiss and even if he is just going round the corner to the shop he will call out bye to me. My son enjoys running and every race he has been in he will always come to me once he’s finished and give me the biggest hug, It almost feels like he is racing for me.

We have moments of madness in the kitchen where we will all dance to music, laughing and giggling. Their father often looking at us and wondering what we are doing. The boys will bake cakes or offer to cook dinner with me, just so that they are spending time with me. We skip down the road and hold hands. They protect me from coming from any harm.

I am not a confident swimmer and every year when we are on holiday they will be by my side in the ocean swimming alongside me giving me encouragement. To see this just makes my love grow even deeper for them.

The bond I have with my boys is simply special. We do not share the same interests or hobbies but they are my best friends. I am their advisor and protector.

The moment I became a Mother to my boys I became the richest person alive.

As they grow older I know I will hold a special place in their hearts, as they do In mine. I am hoping that I have taught them how to Love unconditionally, selflessly and free.

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