Back to Bedlam at Bethlem Museum of the Mind

A startling one in four Brits will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.  With workplace stress viewed as a major cause of mental health issues, a range of well being initiatives from healthy eating to exercise programmes are now the order of the day in most offices.  But how have treatments changed in recent times?  I went along to the Bethlem Museum of the Mind to find out.

video screens at Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Bethlem Museum of the Mind exhibition room

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October Plenty Autumn Harvest Festival in photos

October Plenty is an autumn harvest festival which is held each October in Southwark. A colourful procession of medieval pageantry weaves its way through the ancient cobbled streets of the Thames walkway to Borough market.   Led by the formidable Green Man, the procession is a joyful celebration of the passing seasons and the abundance of the harvest.

close up of the Green Man at the October Plenty Autumn Harvest Festival

The October Plenty Autumn Harvest Festival

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An afternoon of thrills and spills at London Nocturne

With bikes now constituting up to half of all road journeys on some central London routes, cycling is taking the capital by storm.  And with bike racks now as customary as breakout space, there’s never been a better time to get on your bike.  Keen to get a piece of the two-wheel action, I headed down to the City to catch a peek at  London Nocturne.

teams of cyclists on the first lap of London Nocturne

cyclists competing at London Nocturne

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A colourful afternoon at the Vaisakhi Festival

Living in a city that’s home to 270 nationalities, I’m constantly amazed by the different cultures that surround me daily. And with such a range of faith festivals, there’s ample opportunity to learn more about those I regularly rub shoulders with on my daily commute. Intrigued by the brightly coloured turbans that grace our city, I decided to spend an afternoon immersed in Sikh traditions at the Vaisakhi Festival at City Hall.

Sikh man in a costume at the Vaisakhi Festival in London

A costumed Sikh man at the Vaisakhi festival in London

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A fire-cracking afternoon at London’s Chinese New Year

Kicking off on Valentine’s Day, London’s Chinese New Year celebrations replaced the traditional helium-filled hearts with a sea of scarlet lanterns.   As the biggest celebration outside Asia, 300,000 people flock to Trafalgar Square and Chinatown every year to take in London’s most colourful festival.  Braving the masses, I sacrificed a lazy Sunday  to monkey around with the rest of the revellers.

Dragon dance - an afternoon celebrating Chinese New Year

Office Breaks Dragon dance

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An afternoon at Winchester Christmas Market

With December’s salary quickly plundered, a mini break to a German Christmas market soon gets relegated to the one day wish list.  But this year why not swap Wuerzburg for Winchester Christmas market which attracts a staggering 350,000 visitors every year.  Nestled below the impressive façade of Winchester Cathedral, the market is a treasure trove of quirky artisan wares where you can warm your cockles on gluhwein, bratwurst and stollen.

wooden chalets during an afternoon at Winchester Christmas Market

Office Breaks Winchester Christmas Market

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A soothing afternoon off at Mayfield Lavender Farm

With nearly a quarter of British workers feeling increased pressure at work, our dearly departed colleagues can make August a particularly challenging month for those left behind to pick up the pieces.  Using up a half day’s leave earlier this week, I sought sanctuary at Mayfield Lavender Farm – a Provencal paradise promising a soothing few hours of peace and relaxation away from the stress and strain of holiday leave cover.

Asian lady posing in the lavender fields at Mayfield Lavender Farm

Office Breaks Mayfield Lavender Farm

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Time travelling on the London Underground

Hurtling from home to office, I pay scant attention to the stations that pass in a blur on my daily commute on the Metropolitan Line.  Washed up at King’s Cross on a tidal wave of bodies, my main focus is to get out of the station as quickly as possible. But unknown to most of the four million commuters who use the network every day, the tube is due for a facelift.  As part of the London Architecture Festival, I popped along to the achingly trendy offices of Studio Egret West to find out what’s in store for the London Underground of the future.

From pavement to platform

Office Breaks From pavement to platform

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An afternoon at Working Process

If you’ve ever embarked on a work project which has consumed every waking moment, you’ll identify with Working Process.  The exhibition documents the painstaking creation of the late Alexander McQueen’s final couture collection, Horn of Plenty in 2009. From the first pin and tuck to the high-drama of the Paris catwalks, the exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the working process of one of the UK’s most celebrated designers.

catwalk models Alexander McQueen final collection

Untitled from the series 'Alexander McQueen Working Process' 2008-09 © Nick Waplington Working Process

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An afternoon at Art of the Brick

As a former lego fan, it was with nostalgic wonder that I noticed The Art of the Brick.  Boldly going beyond the realm of spacecraft kits, the exhibition promised to elevate the humble plastic brick into an art form.  Intrigued though not entirely convinced lego could be called art, I booked an afternoon off to discover the lofty heights my beloved bricks have now reached.

man holding child made out of lego

Office Breaks My Boy, The Art of the Brick

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