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What’s on in London – February 2017

Vivid and vibrant colours never fail to cheer us on a gloomy February day and you can always depend on Kew Gardens to bring a bit of tropical warmth to London; their Orchid display being perennially popular. David Hockney is still entranced by colour even as he approaches eighty years of age and the Imagine Festival is literally bursting with rainbow-hued events for children. We’re feeling brighter already.

Orchid Festival – Kew Gardens 

Floral sculptures are never more beautiful than when adorned with that magical tropical ingredient: the orchid. Their vibrant colours adorn buildings, events and transport all over the Indian subcontinent and a slice of that culture is available for all to see in West London.

Apart from the displays, there are talks by horticultural experts, behind the scenes tours and half-term competitions for the kids. Be sure to check out the on-site restaurant which is adding tasty Indian treats to its already extensive menu.

David Hockney – Tate Britain 

Any collection that includes the most famous works of Britain’s greatest living visual artist is sure to attract interest from experts and browsers alike. All of Hockney’s mediums are represented in this exhibition. Paintings, sketches, photography and video all document the restless and inquisitive nature of his mind and methods.

Entering his ninth decade, Hockney has recently become a dab hand at using arts software on his iPad and is totally unfazed by any attempts to compare it to his earlier work. Inspired, as always, by his native Yorkshire, his subjects also include swimmers in California, vibrant gardens and quirky portraits.
https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/david-hockney

Imagine Children’s Festival – Southbank Centre

As the half-term holidays loom into view, parents will be on the lookout for creative distractions in the Capital. The Southbank Centre is famous for its informal approach to festival planning and putting on an event specifically designed for kids seems to be a natural progression for them.

The Imagine Festival will feature the best children’s theatre, poetry and music, with an emphasis on workshops and free activities for children up to 12-years-old. Storytelling set to a live orchestra is bound to be popular as Chris Riddell and Friends make stories like The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom crackle with energy.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/imagine-childrens-festival

Gin Festival London 2017 – Tobacco Dock

This quintessentially English drink has recently become the trendiest tipple in town and is no longer the preserve of old ladies and retired brigadiers. Over a hundred brands will be on show, including brand new derivatives and old favourites. In the hands of the experts, they’ll be transformed into hard-hitting cocktails and smooth combinations.

There will be live bands, bar snacks and plenty of education as distillers explore the history and methods that have gone into gin making through the ages. The cashless bars will operate a token system, so equip yourself with plenty of tickets as you go in.

Ugly Lies the Bone – National Theatre

Using virtual reality to treat PTSD may sound like a heavy subject to tackle and there are indeed times when this drama starts sounding like an extended therapy session, but it’s a surprisingly hopeful drama. The story revolves around Jess, a veteran of the Afghan War who returns to Florida after seeing too much and caring too little.

As the Space Shuttle is preparing to launch next to her hometown, Jess retreats into a virtual world in order to escape the disaster that she is convinced is only days away. Instead of feeding her paranoia, however, this tactic starts to find ways of overcoming her dread. The play is based on some real life case studies and the director will be giving talks about them on select nights.
https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/ugly-lies-the-bone

London Fashion Week Festival – The Strand

Taking place directly after the main London Fashion Week, the festival goes on through the weekend and focuses on up and coming stars of the industry. Based primarily in The Strand, the festival will feature catwalk shows, pop up shops and industry talks and is a great opportunity for designers, bloggers and students to network.

It’s also good for those of us outside the industry who wish to get a view of the coming spring trends and maybe snap up a bargain from a designer who is about to go global. The catwalk events are surprisingly accessible; you can obtain a ticket even if your name isn’t Gigi, Poppy or Ri Ri.
https://londonfashionweekfestival.com/

London Classic Car Show – ExCel Centre

Boy racers can give this one a swerve as this is where petrolheads go niche. The exhibition is dedicated to the times when driving a performance car took a certain level of skill and respect for others. Incorporating Historic Motorsport International, the event organisers have built a massive runway in order to display the cars in motion as well as allowing enthusiasts a closer look.

A fleet of classic Ferraris will be on show as well as some legendary machines from the heyday of Le Mans. Racing driver Jacky Ickx won that event six times and he’ll be on hand to describe what it’s like to compete at that level without the aid of computers or tyre changes. The show is squarely aimed at the purist collector, but with a pop up pub, it is also a good way to while away the weekend.
https://www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk/

Kensington Creperie – South Kensington

As Shrove Tuesday comes around, the humble pancake takes its place under London’s culinary spotlight. Americans have turned this light dish into a marathon of buckwheat heaviness and unnecessary fillings, but the classic crepe style is enough to excite the tastebuds. Kensington Creperie sticks to the basics and delivers on both taste and presentation.

Pancakes are crisp, slightly fluffy and not too eggy. Toppings are fresh and not overly sweet or sharp. The idea is to get through a stack without risking indigestion, but if you can’t, there is a takeaway service available. Waffles and ice cream are also on the menu.

Valentine’s Day – Various Venues

With London now possessing far more elevated landmarks than Paris, it’s no surprise that it is set to challenge its French rival as the City of Love. The London Eye is offering a champagne package for two in a private pod and the Shard is also a good place to enjoy a spectacular sunset with your loved one.

High rise restaurants like the Oxo Tower or the National Gallery are always a good bet for a romantic dinner and will doubtlessly have some tasty aphrodisiacs on their menus. Down at street level, the Thames Bateaux operates a night cruise down the Thames with a candlelit dinner and a live jazz band.

Listed Property Show – Kensington Olympia

If there’s any area that needs expert input, then it’s the restoration of listed properties; mistakes in this line of business can cost dearly in terms of time, money and stress. This exhibition brings together a whole host of specialist advice under one roof and its aim is to get owners and conservationists working together.

There’s plenty of practical demonstrations of the techniques and personnel that need to be used when restoring a precious building. Lead work, plaster work and woodcarving are artisanal skills that are in as much need of preservation as the properties they restore. Legal advice is also important and experts will be on hand to answer your questions.
https://olympia.london/whatson/listed-property-show

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Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 19 prominently located branches and 8 international offices.

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