The children are taking over, it’s official! From Monday February 10th until Sunday February 23rd children will transform the Southbank Centre as they proceed to run what promises to be a spellbinding show. Literature, dance, theatre and art are all big on the agenda at Imagine.
Designed to coincide with half term holidays there will even be a sleep over one night at the festival, which could give mum and dad a chance to pop out to see a West End play.
The first two days of this spirited children’s event are dedicated to dressing up. The show is kick-started by the kids being encouraged to wear everything back to front and the wrong way round. On ‘Topsy Turvy Day’, socks are worn as gloves and shoes on the wrong feet, and, as you can imagine, garb chaos sets the scene. The following day’s theme is ‘Call of the Wild’, when the children use their imaginations to dress up as their favourite plant, tree or animal.
Politicians and other influential figures will also be present at the Imagine Festival and the children will have their very own question time where they get the chance to challenge officials about children’s rights. Question time will take place in the Purcell Room at 1pm on Tuesday 11th.
London’s Chinese New Year jubilations – Yet another example of London’s affiance to celebrate multiculturalism
Part of what makes London so special and unique is its multiculturalism and devotion to celebrating cultures from around the world. With more than 300 languages spoken and over 50 non-indigenous communities with a population of more than 10,000 residing in the capital, London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.
Chinese people constitute for the fourth largest Asian group in London. The Chinese New Year celebrations in London is a popular event which means a lot to a huge proportion of London’s population. But what makes the Chinese New Year in London so special is that everyone is welcome and invited to join in. People of all ethnicities, ages and tastes, attend the celebrations and join in the fun.
The biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia take place every year in London. The Chinese New Year is based on lunar and solar calenders so the actual date varies but it always falls between the end of January and mid-February.
In 2014, this mesmerising event is scheduled for January 31st but the celebrations will take place on Sunday 2nd February. On a rotational basis through twelve yearly cycles each Chinese New Year is designated to an animal. 2014 is the Year of the Horse.
If you’re looking for a night of sensational music, poetry and words performed by a legendary artist then you’ll be interested to hear that the ‘Queen of Punk’ will appear at London’s Cadogan Hall for an evening of poetry and music.
For 35 years Patti Smith has thrilled us with her primal rock and roll and her hard-hitting yet beguiling prose. For one night only Patti will be performing in London alongside her son, Jackson Smith and her long-term collaborator,Tony Shanahan. She will take questions from the audience, so you have a question you’d like to ask the highly influential American singer, now is your chance.
It was with her début album ‘Horses’ in 1975 that Patti began to gain notoriety, becoming an influential component of the New York punk rock movement. ‘Easter’ was another prestigious album for Patti, which featured the classic hit “Because the Night”.
This legendary track was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. In the eighties Patti married and had her first child, Jackson, who will appear with her at the Cadogan Hall this coming February. Jackson married the White Stripes’ drummer, Meg White in 2009.
Patti has known a great deal of sadness in her life. Her husband Fred (Sonic) Smith, the former MC5 guitarist, died of a heart attack in 1994 and just a month later, her brother Todd died unexpectedly, also of a heart attack. She was persuaded in her darkest hours to get back on the road again by the likes of Michael Stipe of REM and the American poet Allen Ginsberg, who is a good friend of Patti’s.
Spa days are beginning to be one of the great social trends of the 21st century, as can be seen by the many blogs, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts of our fellow Londoners taking a break from their hectic city life to indulge in a bit of pampering. This may be a current obsession, but the root of a spa day will forever come from the bath houses of ancient Rome and Greece.
Back then, only the very wealthy would be able to own their own private bath house, so men from all social classes would meet at a public bath house to exercise in the adjacent gymnasium, enjoy a sauna session and bathe in the heated pools. Of course, personal hygiene was the main reason for the long afternoons men spent pampering themselves, but it was also largely a social activity, for men and women to separately bond with others in their community. The Romans found spas so essential that they built many in England, most famously in Bath, but also for the benefit of their soldiers at Hadrian’s Wall on the border of Scotland.
Fast forward to the present and it seems that women are beginning to enjoy the benefits of a spa day, more so than men. The theme of bonding with friends and family at the spa remains a key aspect of a Spa day and at Blue Harbour Health Club and Spa we love to see groups of ladies coming to celebrate a birthday, a pregnancy or simply for a relaxing catch up.
What makes the day so special for our spa day ladies? It could be our friendly service, beautifully heated pool and wet spa areas or luxurious amenities. But sharing the experience with a loved one is what will undoubtedly continue to increase the popularity of spa days for years to come.
Until next week…
Chelsea is synonymous with affluence, style, fashion and sophistication. Much of the desirable connotations of this chic West London suburb stem from its exquisite range of shops. From arty upcycled items to cool vintage fashion, designer ties to quirky curios, if you’re looking for a unique keepsake of your trip to London, look no further than Chelsea. Here’s the best boutiques in Chelsea.
Lulu Guinness, 3 Ellis Street
If you’re into handbags then you simply can’t leave London without visiting Lulu Guinness. From bags embellished with tiny beads and flowers, to bags that are so unusual they look more like work a of art, this fantastically arty boutique sells handbags guaranteed to turn heads for every occasion.
Rough Trade West, 130 Talbot Road
If your quest to locate a super rare record has been unsuccessful so far then it’s very possible that you might find what you’re looking for in Chelsea’s Rough Trade West. Known for its exceptional collection of rare music, Rough Trade is the place to head to if you’re looking for music that’s certainly not deemed as mainstream. Although be warned, the row upon row of LPs of almost every genre and artist stretching back decades, it’s quite possible to spend hours browsing through Rough Trades’ collections.
Baker & Spice, 47 Denyer Street
All this shopping for handbags and ultra-rare LPs is hungry work and to get a true taste of affluent Chelsea make your way to Baker & Spice on Denyer Street. So renowned has this highly expensive bakery become for creating some of the best bread and pastry in London that it is regularly used by many of the capital’s best chefs.