Slow Sunday at The Barbican Conservatory

Did you know that hidden on the third floor of The Barbican there is the most magical conservatory?

I've seen photos from this magical place over the years but I never really knew where it was in the maze-like structure that is The Barbican. At some point I actually just thought it was a myth. When I finally figured it out, I also found out it was only open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holidays. 

My usual Sunday routine includes doing housework and spending most of the day at church so I've never really taken the time to go to the conservatory, so very foolish of me. But, one of my besties is soon leaving the country to go study in Australia and we had been talking about visiting for months. So, two weeks back, we finally took a Sunday off and spent a bittersweet afternoon at the conservatory catching up and taking the time to be together for one of the last times before she leaps into her new adventure on the other side of the world.

Turns out the Barbican conservatory is the perfect setting for an afternoon of strolling around, chatting and making memories with your dearest.

With more that 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, the conservatory is a visual delight. There is an inspirational collection of cacti and succulents, beautiful bamboo 20 feet tall and, plants and trees I've never seen before.

We spent time sitting amongst the trees marvelling at the strange contrast between the wonderful plants and the harsh brutalist architecture they are set in. It's a contrast that shouldn't work in theory but in practice is perfect.

I have a soft spot for brutalist architecture and The Barbican is one of my favourite iconic London buildings. I also spent a fair bit of my childhood there at music concerts with my parents, it holds a special place in my heart. Little did I know it housed this beautiful conservatory, the second largest in London.

Do you know where the largest one is? (Note to self: google that when I'm done here)

This has quickly become my new favourite spot in London and I will not stop talking abut it with everyone I meet.

Which has made it clear to me that I wasn't the only one who didn't know about it. So many people I've spoken to had no idea it existed. 

If you've never been I suggest you make plans to check it out one Sunday soon. 

(Before you do, check the website because sometimes they have funny closing times)

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Let me know if you make a trip and tag your Instagram posts #gowildlyandslow so I can see all your photos! 

Happy adventuring!

N x

Photo Journal - Misty Morning Walk on Blackheath

Last week the stars aligned to deliver me a Monday morning off from work, a marvellously foggy misty London and beautiful Blackheath and Greenwich Park right at my doorstep (well not my door but the door Nik's house).

Basically, a dream combination for a walk with my camera. 

Having a super nice camera which isn't attached to my phone has been such a blessing for me these past few weeks. It means I have a reason to go outside even if I'm by myself and that has such a positive impact on my mental health. And of course, I don't get distracted by Instagram or the internet like I do if I'm using my phone.

I hate the cold, and normally you couldn't convince me to go for a walk on a frosty morning by myself. But with my camera? Yep, always, I'll be jumping at the possibility of capturing something beautiful!

I had so much fun walking around the heath and into Greenwich park snapping the eery beauty of the thick fog that morning and I'm pretty proud of the shots I got. I've been using 35mm film cameras for that last 10 years and I was so scared of using digital but I'm loving that I can take the photos and start editing and sharing them pretty much immediately. 

I'm going to do a full review of the Fujifilm x100t soon but for now, have a look at this photo journal from my morning walk.

Blackheath foggy walk
Blackheath Lamp Post
Foggy Blackheath Walk

What helps you get outside when its a bit cold and miserable? If you're on Instagram I'd love to see what inspires you to get outside when it's all bitter and cold outside. Share your moments with #gowildlyandslow 

In other news, I'm going to start sending out newsletters soon and alongside that, I'm thinking of running a little giveaway on Instagram. So watch this space (and sign up for the newsletter)

N x

Baking Sourdough Pizza at E5 Bakehouse

Last month Nik and I went to belatedly celebrate his birthday by taking a sourdough Pizza baking class at the E5 Bakehouse in Hackney. It was such a great evening and something I highly recommend trying out. 

I've seen lots of small cottage industry businesses like the E5 Bakehouse offering workshops and classes on all sorts of different activities and I really love it. I was particularly attracted to the idea of a sourdough pizza class as we both love us some sourdough pizza and I'm really eager to learn how to bake sourdough bread but I didn't feel ready to tackle a full on bread class (which they also offer). 

Photo credit: E5 Bakehouse

Photo credit: E5 Bakehouse

How does it work?

You spend the first hour and a half learning what sourdough is and how to use it whilst making your own dough. We had a lovely guy named Luke teaching us, he had a wealth of knowledge on all things sourdough and a calm, relaxed way of teaching. The class size is small which was great and there was plenty of time for asking questions. 

After you've learned all the things and made your own pizzas you spend the last hour or so eating the products of your labour and drinking really great beer from the Kernel Brewery (a local London brewery). At the end of the night you go home with some pizza dough, all the recipes from the evening, and your own sourdough starter.

Since coming home with my sourdough starter I've been thinking about how sourdough as a process is really representative of slow living. When you're baking bread this way you can't be in a hurry, you just have to be present because there is certainly nothing fast about the process. 

Photo Credit: E5 Bakehouse

Photo Credit: E5 Bakehouse

Have you thought about gifting an experience over a product? This was a first for me and I was a little nervous that it might not be that great. I was wrong. And now I'm really into it (maybe it comes down to my love of quality time).

As the (dare I say it) festive season is upon us and we start thinking about gifts for loved ones I'll be looking out for unique ways to gift people experiences instead of stuff. 

If you've got any ideas for good experience gifts please let me know in the comments or through the internets.