A day of culture in London

The 14th of March will be forever remembered by me as my Day of Culture, when Steve and I took in the Picasso exhibition in the morning, the Super Troupers ABBA exhibition in the Southbank centre at lunchtime and then the Paloma Faith concert at the O2 in the evening.

I think this piece, Sleeping Woman, has to be my favourite of the exhibition. I love the tenderness conveyed through colour and pose. The body of work comprises of not only paintings, but sculptures, notebooks, sketches and installations. The show marks a significant period of Picasso's life, one of turmoil and change, and is well worth a visit. If I get back to London in the summer I will certainly view the exhibition again. 

Given my passion for ABBA, it's no surprise that I had to include this in our trip. The show took the form of a group tour throughout a collection of memorabilia that was staged in rooms recreating strategic events in their 10 years together. A recording studio with a microphone used by them, a hotel bedroom with a guitar from a performance, even a catsuit in green satin from the Mama Mia show - all made for an authentic and at times, interactive exhibition that had us singing and (for me) holding back the tears at the finale. I'm so pleased I had the opportunity to see it.

Last autumn I bought tickets for the Paloma Faith concert at the O2 as part of Steve's 60th birthday celebrations which also meant it could be part of mine too. We were all booked to fly out from the islands on Saturday the 10th, but the weather got a bit iffy resulting in us having to leave two days early. After a few days spent pottering about in Cornwall we took the train to London on Tuesday and on Wednesday had an entire culture vulture day. 

This shows where we sat, just above the stage with a fantastic view of the proceedings. Paloma came on stage at 8.30pm and sang for just over two hours. The arena was at full capacity, teaming with fans of all ages, and it don't think we were even the oldest there at all.

Paloma arose from the centre of the stage like a shining vision. The stage set mirrored her 3D silver space age jacket which she quickly dispensed with to reveal a shimmering cape and matching bodysuit.This tour is the first in two years since she had her baby and yet she looked like she's never been away and her voice was as strong and clear as ever. 

A sublime duet with Zac Abel, "I'll be gentle" went down a storm. See a full review of the show in the Independent here.

Paloma plunged into the audience to hi-five her fans.

Watching you, watching me.

Much of Paloma's appeal is her quirkiness and yet as she talked about her life we saw her as a very ordinary mum struggling with post-baby weight (I kept a little bit as a reminder, she said), sleepless nights and even her fears about the world sliding towards world war three. Her words about kindness particularly struck a chord with me after my recent Mindfulness retreat where this was a major talking point. Paloma gave a heartfelt plea to the audience that we all take part in instigating a global kindness epidemic through small daily acts, such as talking to a homeless person or checking up on a neighbour. She urged us to read more on her website here.

I'm left with a few paper reminders of our day of culture on the 14th March, but I also have a host of memories to play back. One might even say Thank you for the music...

Anna x


Feels like spring

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of winter coats and at the slightest hint of spring I've been embracing a lighter look. I bought this rather fabulous pinstripe trouser suit for £7.50 in a charity shop in Penzance in January. The lining caught my eye before the price, but the combination of the two meant I just had to buy it.

I decided to push the boat out colourwise by adding my favourite floral satin shirt (preloved from Next) which upped the style factor to at least 8 out of 10. 

And to finish the look it had to be these old faithfuls, my silver brogues from Office. Between these and my Quay Australia sunglasses I'm pretty sure this could be a 10 out of 10 outfit today - what do you think?

For this shoot Sasha and I took a wander off the beaten track and ventured onto the boardwalk that leads to the bird hide. Her photographer's eye saw the creative opportunities that lay here. Not only did I benefit from some lovely photos for the blog, but she gave me some lessons with her snazzy camera too. 

At the moment I'm actually on the mainland with Steve on a little jaunt. We're spending a few days in Cornwall catching up with friends and then on Tuesday will be travelling to London. Wednesday will see us at the O2 as we join the thousands of star struck fans gathering to enjoy an evening listening to Paloma Faith. Our tickets for this have been delivered to a guest house in Truro so I'm not 100% convinced that we're really going until we and tickets are firmly together.

I'll be posting on Instagram over the next week, but I'm afraid that there's no blog post lined up for you mid-week this time. The hiccup with the loss of broadband for five days meant that I've struggled to get ahead of the game before I left.

In the meantime, I hope you're having a breath of spring wherever you are. Enjoy your week and I hope to be back with another post next weekend.

Anna x

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