Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to make an effort to spend more quality time with my daughters. We’ve always been quite good at getting out and about, however I’ve also been really busy with blog stuff and some work we’ve been doing on the house. After spending most of our half term doing fun things I’ve been reminded to put them first and enjoy every minute of being a mummy.

Last weekend we popped to London for a trip to Tate Modern and a little wander around the surrounding area. We had a really lovely day and I thought I’d share a few iPhone snaps from our day. If you’re in London with little people I’d really recommend the Bankside area as there’s plenty to interest them.Tate ModernWe started off by meeting my brother at Tate Modern and looking at all the fantastic art. I always enjoy going to galleries with the girls as their perspective on everything is so different. They also got to make their own sculptures using card which they really enjoyed.

BanksideAfter saying goodbye to my brother we had a stroll down the Thames path and watched a fantastic busker juggling flaming batons (we gave him a generous tip for the great show). I also showed the girls the Globe Theatre, Jess was absolutely fascinated by it and really wants to go and see some Shakespeare performed there now! We also had a look at The Golden Hinde, a reproduction of Francis Drake’s famous ship and had a look at Borough Market which is eerily quiet when it’s closed.

Southwark CathedralWe spent half an hour in the absolutely stunning Southwark Cathedral, which is actually the oldest cathedral in London. The interior is absolutely breathtaking and full of amazing history. We were lucky enough to catch the choir practicing and the organ playing which made the experience even better. If you’ve not visited this amazing cathedral I’d really recommend it, it’s definitely one of London’s hidden gems.

St Paul's CathedralFinally we took a few selfies, before going back the way we’d come and wandering over the millennium bridge and taking in the amazing views across London. I can’t visit the area without walking round my favourite building of all St Paul’s Cathedral. We also stopped to look at the memorial to the Blitz firemen, it’s one of my favourite war memorials.

We had an absolutely amazing day, I feel so blessed to have children who appreciate art and heritage and patiently listen to all the little historical facts I tell them. I’ve certainly brought them up to be as much of a proud Londoner and history geek as I am! They may be seriously hard work, but they really make me proud on days like this!

A couple of days ago I ventured into the city with Fay for a day of taking photos and exploring. The weather in London has been a little unpredictable of late. Sun one minute, stormy skies the next. It has been impossible to know whether to go out in a raincoat or a summer dress! My take on unpredictable weather is to dress for the sunshine and if necessary get wet. There is nothing worse than having to carry a coat and umbrella round on a hot day after all.

20140814-203151.jpgThe dramatic stormy sky made for amazing photos and the view from Madison just can’t be beaten.

We mostly stayed around St Paul’s to take lot’s of pictures before stopping for champagne at Madison and take in the incredible view across the city. We then crossed the river and wandered along the Southbank to watch the sunset. I took a lot of photos which I am saving for another post.

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I wore a dress from Laura Ashley which I had wanted for absolutely ages, but not managed to buy. I was delighted when I spotted a brand new one on eBay last week and managed to get it for a bargain £28. I love it so much I want it in more colours now! Thanks you to Fay for taking my pictures for me. Excuse my hair, I had been rained on quite a bit by this point!

Standard telephone box shot, I felt like a total tourist doing this! Does anyone still use phone boxes?

20140814-203213.jpgPhotos taken using Nikon DC40, Nikon S9500 and iPhone 5.

More London photos coming soon!

I have a total love affair with London, I’ve lived here all my life and adore all the history it has to offer. One of the most iconic buildings in London would have to be St Paul’s Cathedral and it is also my favourite place to visit. To me it is the most beautiful and interesting building in the city.

My favourite image of the cathedral would have to be the iconic photo ‘St Paul’s Survives’, taken after ‘The Second Great Fire of London’. This was the most ferocious night of the blitz in December 1940 in which the Germans dropped more than 24,000 high explosive bombs and 100,000 incendiary bombs on London in one night. More than 160 Londoners died that night and over 1500 fires were started, however despite all the buildings around it being destroyed amazingly the most iconic building in London survived. Over 200 volunteers fought to extinguish small fires on the roof and a bomb even lodged in the dome. Winston Churchill had ordered that the cathedral be saved at all costs. The survival of St Paul’s during the blitz is an iconic moment of the war and the photo has gone on to become one of the most famous images of The Second World War.

St Pauls Survives

St Paul’s Survives by Herbert Mason 30th December 1940

“I focussed at intervals as the great dome loomed up through the smoke. Glares of many fires and sweeping clouds of smoke kept hiding the shape. Then a wind sprang up. Suddenly the shining cross, dome and towers stood out like a symbol in the inferno. The scene was unbelievable. In that moment or two I released my shutter” – Herbert Mason, Daily Mail 31st December 1940

Daily Mail 31st December 1940

The cover of the Daily Mail – 31st December 1940

 

The current cathedral was built between 1675 and 1720 after the previous cathedral was destroyed during the first Great Fire of London in 1666. It is designed by Sir Christopher Wren who is well known for designing many of London’s buildings and churches after the fire as well as The Royal Naval College in Greenwich and the South Front at Hampton Court.

St Pauls Cathedral

Wrens final design for St Paul’s Cathedral

 

The Cathedral was the tallest building in London until 1962 and it still has one of the highest domes in the world. It is the second largest church in Britain second only to Liverpool Cathedral which was completed during the 1970s.

Many iconic London events have taken place there including the funerals of British heroes such as Nelson, The Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill. The wedding of Charles and Diana took place there as well as jubilee celebrations for both Queen Victoria and Elizabeth.

The church still holds daily services and I would definitely recommend attending one. I recently went to a sung service and the choir was absolutely amazing. It is the most beautiful place to sit for a while and have a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. In non service times it can be quite busy with tourists however during services it is free to enter and you get a real feel that this is still a working church.

There is also a small garden around the cathedral known as St Paul’s Churchyard and it’s a lovely place to sit a while and enjoy a quiet moment.

Whether you’re a born and bred Londoner or just a visitor to the city this would definitely be a visit not to miss, and if you’re not as terrified of heights as I am I hear the view are amazing from the top of the dome.

I wouldn’t be right to talk about St Paul’s without including this clip from Mary Poppins one of my all time favourite films…

Links:

To find out more about The Second Great Fire of London and the way St Paul’s was saved I’d really recommend watching Blitz: London’s Fire Storm on 4od it’s an absolutely brilliant documentary with lot’s of brilliant re-enactment of the nights events.

St Paul’s Cathedral Website