Being from Scotland an having spent most of my years in Aberdeen, I am constantly looking at London as a tourist and loving this wonderful city. As I saw once in a poster "A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else". This was certainly one of those weeks. From even something as simple as walking from London Bridge station along the South Bank to the Globe theatre and seeing this wonderful sight of the little appreciated Southwark Bridge with St Pauls peeking over the top, just perfect!
All of this and I hadn't even got to the Globe yet. Having lived in London for almost 11 years and loving the culture I was surprised to realise that I hadn't yet been to the iconic Globe theatre. I was certainly not disappointed! With some of my flamenco amigos we had tickets to see the wonderful singer Rocio Marquez in the Sam Wanamaker playhouse in the theatre. Wow! Just magical. We were spirited back to a pena in Seville - it felt so intimate and emotional. The picture below was a sneaked shot before the woman herself came onstage. No pictures would quite capture the feeling. More flamenco at the Globe please!
Continuing on the cultural theme, a visit to the wonderfully intimate Heike Moras gallery where I often do small events. Heike was not only hosting the exhibition by Marie Jacotey, but a talk by leading writers and curators called "Likes and Follows" which discussed how technology was changing the way art is distributed. Very thought provoking and prompted a lively discussion.
Lots of culture again this week, but the highlight was undoubtedly seeing a young girl I have been teaching to swim taking her first strokes unaided in the water. I volunteer as a swim coach at Greenhouse Sports, a fantastic charity which promotes inclusive sports. Every Saturday afternoon for 2 hours I am literally immersed in this pursuit which is so rewarding. Last weekend, a lovely young girl whom I had been working with for months, but who never quite had the confidence to 'let go' finally swam halfway across the pool to my delight!
Another female at the other end of the sports spectrum is also doing really well this week....go Dame Kelly, who is now into the final of Mission Survive!
Another varied week which gave me the fantastic opportunity to meet Dame Kelly Holmes! Working with her charity on some exciting events (more on that in a future post). As an iconic sportswoman and heroine of mine I was really pleased that I managed to hold it together and maintain some professionalism. She really is a fantastic person, full of ideas and exactly as enthusiastic as you would expect. Currently appearing in 'Mission Survive' I was saying how impressed I was...whilst knowing of course that she couldn't tell me what the outcome of the series is, ah well I will continue to watch avidly over the coming weeks, come on Kelly!
Monday saw the first appearance of myself, Charlotte and Sandra, aka 'Las Nenas' performing at the Hub Dot 'Art of You' event. This was in the fantastic Kensington Roof Gardens venue, so we were delighted to be in this space sharing 30mins of flamenco guitar as the guests arrived. We are now plotting world female flamenco guitar domination....
Rounding off the multi cultural experiences of the week, my wonderful 'foodie friend' Dawn visited from Edinburgh with a suggestion of visiting a Venezuelan restaurant. This is what I love about entertaining my friends from further afield, it gives me a great opportunity to sample some little gems of London that I otherwise might not have thought about. The lovely 'Arepa & Co' is in Haggerston, who knew! What a find, a lovely relaxed venue right on the edge of the canal, complete with hammocks for an even more relaxed experience! The food is fantastic, we sampled their speciality 'arepas' and 'cachapas' and of course couldn't resist a cerium, the Venezuelan version of a caipirinha. I don't now how we managed it but we somehow rounded of the international evening with a visit to the new 'The Social' tapas bar in my 'hood' Willesden Green. These are two places I will definitely be making a return visit to. Ole!
Definitely showing my age here quoting from an XTC song from the 80's....This has indeed, thought been a week of multi sensory experiences.
To cover sound first, I was delighted to attend performances at Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival including the amazing Arcangel accompanied by Dani de Moron. Along with my flamenco guitarist friends, we were transported back to wonderful times at the Flamenco Biennal in Seville last September, good times!
There were two visual highlights in the week. As a member of the Creative Exchange (artist and designer network in North London), I also manage a series of events for their members. This month's event was a talk by travel photographer and writer Nori Jemil. Having won awards for her photography in travel magazines, Nori talked us round her current exhibition in Palmers Green. From Antarctica to the top of a glacier in Peru, her images were fascinating, and the stories behind them truly inspiring.
My second sensory adventure was to Ottolenghi's wonderful 'Nopi' restaurant for a friend's birthday. If you have never been there, you HAVE to go! The food is amazing - Middle Eastern and Asian inspired sharing plates including the best sea bass I have ever had. AND, to add to the sensory overload, pay a visit to their very quirky toilets, which thankfully I had been warned about so that I didn't get lost/stuck inside this kaleidoscope like tardis!
Last and by no means least, I was honoured to deliver another event on behalf of the MS Society to launch their £100m appeal. If they meet this target over the next 10 years it will be ground breaking as they are on the cusp of finding a cure for the the cruel disease of MS. Eminent scientists and clinicians in their field including Professor Robin Franklin, Dr Jeremy Chataway and Professor David Miller led an inspiring Q & A to tell everyone more about the exciting advances being made in this area of neuroscience.
Denise Yeats is an events professional with over 18 years of creating inspiring events ranging from arts events at Tate to Tower Running races. She set herself a personal challenge over two years called 'The Secret Life' which involved doing a new pursuit every week which is chosen at random by an allocated colour and number. This has led onto the creation of 'nnoodl - discovering your secret london life' where people are led on surprise activities...