Butterflies, Wildlife Photography & Vegan Cupcakes in London

Sunday, 23 August 2015

With Chris and I living in Surrey and my mum still living back home in Norwich, the closest almost-half-way point for us is London.  We've met up there once before and decided to do it again since we hadn't seen each other for a while, and we decided to check out the Natural History Museum's Sensational Butterflies exhibit and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 exhibition.  I'm glad we did too, because both of them close at the start of September!
I love butterflies and moths and I really enjoy photographing insects, so Sensational Butterflies was something I'd been excited about for a while.  Tickets are £6.50 including a donation to the museum, and you get to spend as much time in a big tent full of butterflies as you want.  A word of warning though, they're all tropical species so the tent is very hot and humid!  I was literally dripping with sweat the entire time, probably also because this was one of the hottest days of the month at a horrible 29°C in London today...

There were tons of different species to see and information about butterfly life cycles, and there were even some beautiful Atlas moths!  They're one of the largest lepidoptera in the world, and wow they are definitely huge and amazing to look at.  The butterflies are absolutely gorgeous as well, and one little critter even landed right on my top knot just as we were leaving!
After the butterflies, we went to see the photography exhibition (£14.00 entry) which my mum had mentioned to me and wanted to see for a while too.  Photos weren't allowed in it, but I would definitely recommend it to nature and photography lovers alike.  All of the photos were stunning, and the talent on display (especially in the youth categories, which had photographers as young as around 8!) was just incredible.  Seeing the beauty of the natural world like that is pretty emotional, all the more so because of a category they had focused on humans' relationships with and impact on wildlife.  The images were beautiful, but came with a lot of feelings - mostly disappointment in humanity and a fear for the plants, animals and landscapes we share the world with.  Maybe I'm just overly emotional, but that part in particular gave me a bit of a lump in my throat, especially having been investigating the environmental reasons to go vegan recently.

Later, we wandered down to Camden Town to try and find some food, which unfortunately didn't turn out quite as planned.  I'd spotted a few things online that we could try, but the combination of it being super busy and exhaustingly hot left us less than enthusiastic about grabbing street food and having to find a place to sit.  We also spent a while trying to track down Cookies and Scream, a vegan bakery that looks amazing, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out where it was and got a bit too frustrated with the hoards of slow-walking people to keep trying.  Oh well, we'll have to go stuff our faces with delicious street food and vegan baked goods another time.

We finished the day with a round of tea and coffee near the station before my mum caught her train back to Norwich, and me being determined to get some treats to take home, I stopped by Lola's Cupcakes on the way back.  I saw a while back that they do a few dairy, egg and gluten free cupcakes, and I wanted to give them a try; the flavours I chose were Passionfruit & Coconut and Strawberry & Coconut.

The icing on the passion fruit one wasn't quite to my taste, I think maybe passion fruit just isn't quite my thing.  The strawberry one though, was delicious and the icing in both even had bits of coconut flesh in it as well as probably being made from coconut cream.  They also both had a little fruity cream or sauce or something in the middle which was tasty as hell.  The texture of them was a bit more dense than I was expecting, but they were wonderfully moist and perfectly flavoured - not to sweet, but not too... unsweet?  I'm planning on trying another when I'm next in London, the chocolate one looked particularly tempting but I just wasn't in a chocolatey mood today!

It was a long day but in spite of how hot it was, it was really enjoyable and great to see my mum again.  I didn't take many photos outside of the butterfly tent - I'm still a little anxious about using my camera all the time in cities here.  I don't know what it is about using it in public in the UK that makes me feel awkward when I'm always fine carting it around and shooting everything in sight in cities in other countries, but I'm working on getting over it for the sake of blogging.  In the mean time, here are the rest of my butterfly snaps!





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