| Explore | The Hidden Park

Most Londoners don't seem to know that the Thames Barrier has its own park. Opened to the public in 2000, it lies on the north bank of the Thames with a commanding view of, yep you guessed it: the Thames Barrier. The Park was designed by Parisian landscape architect Alain Provost and London based architects Patel Taylor. It included some ambitious and dramatic ideas such as a trench of undulating hedges that lead up to a Pavilion of Remembrance, dancing water fountains and of course an impressive view of the Flood Barrier.

The site has a toxic past, quite literally. An armaments factory, tarmac plant, chemical and dye works once spouted and spewed their pollutants into the land here before they were cleared for the Thames Barrier construction site. Decontaminating the land before it could be transformed into what we see today must have been a colossal challenge.

Years have come and gone and the once manicured park had begun to shrug off its designers' intentions. Interesting isn't it? How a designer's concept and best intentions are only ever as good as how they are maintained? Interesting how a design and intention can be altered entirely by the passage of time and how people interact with it?


So here is the reality of the Thames Barrier Park as we saw it on our recent visit.

Located right beside Pontoon Dock DLR station, the park is in a neglected section of the Docklands that is now undergoing a surge of regeneration. 

The once finely trimmed hedges are now a little dishevelled and the wooden decked areas are splintered and broken in parts. The air is different here too, I can't put my finger on it but I know for sure that it doesn't have that laid back feel you get in London's more famous parks. Guess what? We can like it just as it is. The view that it is named after, the feat of engineering that is the mighty Thames Barrier is still the most prominent sight. However, the view it has of the once magnificent abandoned Millennium Mills is poignant. 

The former flour mill closed down in 1992 and has since fallen deeper into a state of dereliction. You can read about its history HERE. Millennium Mills is known to every urban explorer in London for sure. Location scouts and film-makers have also had the epically proportioned building on their lists for decades. It's been the setting for Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket and Terry Gilliam's Brazil to name but a few films.

The newspapers say that £3.2 BILLION is being pumped into the regenerating the area. Whilst construction sites dominate the skyline, so much remains still derelict.

|For the curious|

An Urbex perspective of the Millennium Mills

Millenium Mills in Arctic Monkey's bonkers video.

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Collecting Colour, Pattern + Texture.

This fascination I've developed for colours, patterns and textures has become a strange sort of mania and it has altered how I see and engage with my surroundings, mundane or not. These days, it is second nature to stop and take photo of things that have most people scratching their heads over as they watch me snap away in awe.

I am obsessed, more than obsessed with colours, patterns and textures that appear in my everyday life. 

Corrugated shutters just the right degree of rusty....

THAT sun bleached fence against THAT crumbling wall....

The happy accidental geometric shapes a shadow casts.....

The almost perfect greenish-bluish-greyish door...... 


Walking anywhere with me must be such a trial. Eyes scanning, taking in everything, camera twitching, always playing catch up because certain details are far too irresistible to leave un-captured (they might get 'fixed' or removed by the next day!). 

The trouble, (if you wish to call it one), is that once your mind and eyes train themselves to enjoy these often overlooked details....Something magical happens. A connection is made and you just won't stop finding the wonder in the seemingly banal and mundane.

Which is why I find myself with a ginormous, albeit disorganised archive of images. Some find their way onto Instagram where they catch the attention of fellow colour, texture, pattern obsessives. This would explain the influx of requests we receive from design/art students and the occasional studio to use images. We never mind. We like being asked. So long as we are credited - it's all good!

Most of my collection just gets lost on my hard-drive. I thought about putting them on the blog and while I may do this ocassionally, the archive is so huge that I am certain it would become tiresome for people less into this kind of preoccupation. Then I came across the hugely inspiring PATTERNITY whose manifesto reverberated across my pounding heart:

"Patterns are something we come across every day. 
We wear them, we walk over them, we even eat, drink and think them – we always have and we always will – but it’s unlikely they demand too much of our attention…
At the heart of everything we do at PATTERNITY lies several fundamental thoughts:
  • Can the way we look at the smaller details enhance our understanding of the bigger picture?
  • If we visualise the unseen, can it drive forward innovation?
  • Does being more mindful make us happier and healthier?
  • Can challenging our perception of the everyday positively affect the world around us?"

Apply the manifesto to colour and texture and....I can no longer feel satisfied with decanting my photos into a sightless void. So I've spruced up my abandoned TUMBLR and have dedicated it to my obsession. 

I am doing this mainly for my own satisfaction.  When I imagine a digital catalogue of all my collected images neatly labeled so I can flit from one theme to another - well I get all giddy with smiles. That said, I would be just as happy if it became a resource of inspiration and curiosity to others. I hope that it might serve as a nudge to mindfulness which encourages change in the way we see things. Because by sharpening our awareness of the vast details in our everyday surroundings, we can only enrich our lives on so many levels.

You can access my TUMBLR from the menu just below the homepage or here: WORSHIPBLUES' COLOUR, PATTERN & TEXTURE REPOSITORY 

Thank you so much for looking! 

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| Night Lights | Yick Fat Sights

Once upon a time, Kowloon's Walled City imposed itself on Hong Kong's skyline. A fascinating vertical and pretty much lawless slum that blighted daylight and enclosed a host of dubious activities. It was eventually decanted and demolished and today a park remains where it once stood.

The Yick Fat building is reminiscent of the Walled City without the controversy and illegality. Dense, steep and vertiginous. It is on all accounts, a sight to behold.

Hiro managed to visit the area one night. The skyward views are staggering.

Hiro says;

"I really like seeing the random patterns of occupancy in these residential towers. The Yick Fat building is like nothing I've seen before. I wish I had the chance to revisit by daylight".

| How to find The Yick Fat Building |

Find Yau Man Street and head down the alley towards Quarry Bay Street.

| Links For The Curious |

Fascinating film on YouTube documenting Kowloon's Wall City. 

What the Yick Fat Building looks like by day.

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Where To Buy Plants in East London

It begun when I started using Snapchat. 

My enthusiasm for the app took over my actual ability to use it and I happily share little moments of our days never expecting anyone to bat an eyelid. 

Suddenly, I started to get little messages asking where a certain snap was taken. It progressed to requests for suggestions for places to visit, shop and explore. As a mum of a little nipper who  attacks my laptop as soon as it is in sight, I don't get much time to get back to everyone individually so I thought I would put up some of these little guides on the blog for everyone interested.

Conservatory Archives
Hackney Road, E2 9ED.

I fell in love with Conservatory Archives the very moment I set foot through the door. It's more than just a plant shop - it's a labour of love and a magical kingdom where plants steal people's hearts. It is on the expensive side, but then again just look at it - this is no ordinary plant shop! I wrote about it previously HERE

5 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LH

Botany Shop is another special plant shop for me and one that I wouldn't hesitate to anyone.  I wrote about it previously HERE

Geo Fleur E20
Geo Fleur
15-19 Penny Brooks Street, E20 1DA
I have followed Geo Fleur from internet to market stall and then to their new digs just up the road from us in East Village. I have been told that they will not be at this premises for too long - they will be moving into the East Village Market when the space is ready for them. Geo Fleur have a fabulous collection of plants at much fairer prices than most. I have bought a couple of my Xeographicas from here, both were lovely plants. Definitely the best place to buy these if you are looking for one!

Grace & Thorn Hackney

Grace & Thorn
338 Hackney Road E2 7AX
Hackney Road could well be on its way to becoming a plant seeker's paradise of sorts. Not one, but TWO of my stand out favourite plant haunts beckon to me along this once humdrum stretch of road. Grace & Thorn offers fresh flowers alongside growing plants and an ace selection of plant pots, hangers and candles too. This is where I bought my beloved Pilea Peperomioides and also where my eyes were transfixed by the biggest terrarium I've ever seen!

12 Broadway Market Mews, E8 4TS

Are coffee and plant pairings are thing these days? I'm spotting a welcome rise in the combination lately. The latest establishment that caught my eye and had me reaching for my pennies is TWIG just off the main thoroughfare in Broadway Market. The most friendliest of people seem to work here. All those good vibes seem to rub on on their plants too because they seem in tip top form.

The Green Room Café.

The Green Room Café.
113 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0UD

The Green Room Café in Stokey, is part florist, part plant shop with space to sit and watch the world go by. They hire out their venue for private events which is ever so appealing.

Larkspur & Lavender
Larkspur & Lavender
211 Victoria Park Rd, London E9 7JN

I am not a big fan of Victoria Park Village in Hackney BUT I do so like to pop into Larkspur & Lavender before rushing back to the other side of the park. I also like that they are doing away with all the subdued pastels and monotone pots and going for something lively and vibrant alongside the seemingly compulsory concrete planters scattered across the house plant world these days.

The Earl of East London
Netil Market, 13- 23 Westgate St, London E8 3RL

The Earl of East London is a lifestyle brand perhaps best known for their olfactory pleasing candles, but they also have a lovely selection of plants. Find them in the corner of Netil Market.

Nook Shop


Nook is an interiors and lifestyle goods shop with a penchant for design and plants, of course! They usually have a tidy supply of hard to kill plants and host terrarium workshops too.

Flower Warehouse 

Flower Warehouse
519-523 Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9BU

Walking off the more often than not dusty Cambridge Heath Road and into the Flower Warehouse is like stepping into a jungle alternate dimension. Alongside their floristry, are some spectacular cacti at spectacular prices for the connoisseurs, as well as some great deals on less rare covetable plants.  I've never seen so many pitcher plants in a shop nor such vibrant and healthy looking spider plants.

The Peanut Vendor
6 Gunmakers Lane E3 5GG

The Peanut Vendor has more to offer than foliage. It is primarily a vintage furniture emporium specialising in early to late 20th century pieces. I wrote about them previously HERE

Olive Loves Alfie East

Olive Loves Alfie East
6 Victory Parade, E20 1FS

Olive Loves Alfie can be found in London's newest postcode, E20. While their main focus is on family lifestyle goodies, they have some eye-catching plants vying for my attention each time I visit or just walk passed - eyes firmly on their awesome displays.

Growing Concerns
2 Wick Lane, E3 2NA

Growing Concerns is a proper gardening centre that not only sells desirable houseplants, but herbs, tools, seeds and everything that you would need to help maintain healthy plants. I love living near this place.
Rebel Rebel
64-66 Brooksby Walk E9 6DA

Rebel Rebel are known for their unusual and spectacular bouquets and they never fail to impress with the flowers they have available on any given day. Recently, their potted plants have begun to really beckon to me too.

N1 Garden Centre

N1 Garden Centre
25 Englefield Road
London N1 4EU

The N1 Garden Centre sits in a former derelict button factory and is quite the luscious oasis of greenery. With just as much knowledgable substance to match the stylish post and plants it sells and a focus on urban gardening - it is pretty much a 1 stop shop for all your London green thumb needs. It can be found just a short walk from central Dalston. 

Columbia Road Flower Market. No list is complete without this old firm favourite. Always popular with Londoners, it now pulls in tourists too (with their suitcases - annoyingly). The best deals on most of your houseplant desires can be had here - you just have to battle your way through the crowds, protecting your leafy finds as you go! It has to be done! Our tip is to go towards mid-afternoon when the market is winding down, the deals are even better and there is a better chance of getting away unscathed.

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