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Shane Scanlon

Shane loves the outdoors and travels around the UK visiting and reviewing all the top attractions.

Posts by Shane Scanlon


Snow Joke - What to do when the Weather's Cold

Posted: Friday, March 2, 2018 |Category: Tips

The Beast from the East, combined with Storm Emma, has sent the UK into a week of fresh hell. No one knows what to do, whether they should go to work or how they can possibly survive without 15 loaves of bread stockpiled at home. For us down in the South East, the worst has passed (although as this post is being written the snow has started once again), but for those all around the country still experiencing the blistering winds and icy tundra that is your local high street, the weather is snow joke…

In all seriousness, the snow is at Red, Amber and Yellow alerts for most of the country. Whoever said March was the month of spring has lied to us, and we are not happy. Whilst the first day of snow is amusing, the novelty has worn off and is wearing thin (like our patience). So, there won’t be many Days Out in the UK this weekend we feel – as it’s advisable to remain inside in the adverse weather conditions. So, instead of telling you about all the wonderful attractions (that are most likely closed), we’re going to talk to you about ways to keep yourself amused this weekend!

Yes, if you’re stuck inside, entrapped by the snow, then you’re going to be pretty bored of daytime telly. However, we’ve got some fun alternatives you can try if you don’t fancy watching multiple episodes of Jeremy Kyle and Come Dine With Me… Here’s our list of things you can do this weekend instead of venturing into the cold.

  1. Board Games

Yes, board games can make or break a family weekend. Monopoly is out the window (quite literally thrown out the window in some homes). So, maybe it’s time to dust off the playing cards and teach the family poker? Or, there’s always good old UNO. Any game would be fun, but if you want to cause a rift in the household, we’d recommend monopoly.

  1. Re-Decorate

One thing that some couples and families may find themselves doing is giving the house a fresh coat of paint, on the inside. Since you’ll be trapped inside, there’s really not much excuse – unless you find yourself without paint, paint brushes, wall paper or the energy to bother. Hey, don’t look at us, we’re only suggesting things to do.

  1. Clear Out

Are you sick of the items dating back to the early 80s in your wardrobe? Well, whilst you’re snowed in, it may be the perfect time to have a big clear out in your wardrobe! Not only will you free some space up, but you can take your clothes that you don’t want anymore to homeless shelters and charity shops around the country, to keep those at risk warm through the cold weather. Remember, every donation helps so if you’ve got some clothes you don’t wear anymore, donate!

  1. SNOW BALL FIGHT

And if all of that doesn’t tickle your fancy, venture into the wild and chuck some snowballs at each other. Alleviate that boredom by engaging in some semi-non-violent fun. As long as no one takes a snowball to the face, or a block of ice to the head, you should be fine. Remember to wrap up warm!

The MET Office has advised to stay in doors / don’t travel if you can avoid it in this weather. So, have a nice weekend in. Maybe read all of our old Blogs or scroll through our Events page to kill some time? Why not. And hopefully, better weather will spring upon us soon… Until then! Stay warm, stay safe and maybe don’t venture for a Day Out this weekend.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

3 Places to Dump People

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 |Category: Tips

We’re back with a highly satirical blog post, so please take this with a pinch of salt…

If you felt bad dumping someone just before Valentine’s Day, well we’ve got some good news. February is coming to a close, so you can now begin to think about ways to break it off with unloved ones. We’ve done a survey around the office of great places to take people before you dump them.

Whilst this may seem cruel, it’s a nice way to treat someone before you part ways, and both move on with your lives. We’ve talked strategies and optimum locations, in order to create our 3 top choices, for places to dump people. If you’re feeling uninspired and want to break it off, read on. And if you can’t take a good joke, please click the back button…

Here’s our list…

  1. Museums

Whilst a good exhibition is a great day out, the benefit of breaking it off in a museum is unmeasured, and we’ll explain why. Firstly, you know that awkward silence you’re trying to fill when thinking about ending it with someone, well in a museum there’s lots to see and talk about. ‘So where is this relationship going?’ can be answered with ‘Ooo look a big whale skeleton’, and so on. It’s a perfect amount of time until the end, where you can finally break the bad news. The second advantage is that museums are usually a fairly crowded place. Usually, us Brits aren’t one to make a scene in public, so your other half won’t be able to scream at you, until you’re on the phone to them later…

A fun day out + no public drama = a semi-happy breakup.

Our top choice - Natural History Museum

  1. Parks

There are some lovely country parks all across the UK, with some of the best views and wide-open spaces – perfect for making your escape. See, not everyone reacts well to ending a relationship. So, when it gets ugly, get out. You can sprint to your hearts content across the beautiful landscape, hopefully making it back to the car before they do… Just don’t run on the grass or flowerbeds. The key is to be respecting of the dumpee, the grounds and the environment.

Beautiful scenery + Room to escape = a semi-happy breakup (maybe, we promise nothing).

Our top choice - Hyde Park

  1. Paintballing

Paintballing is the past time of stag parties and company team builds, mainly because it’s a great way to vent any frustration in a ‘non-violent way’. However, we’d recommend layering up for this one, because it could get ugly. Yes, paint balls hurt, so if you’re anticipating a bad break, beware. However, it can be very therapeutic and beneficial for you both, airing your frustrations via shooting paint. In all honesty, it’s a great day out – even if you end it on a sour note.

Painful Paint – Relationship Frustration = a semi-happy breakup (we’re only assuming at this point, we don’t know what’s going on…).

Our top choice - Mayhem Paintball

 

And that’s our list, if you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends / those on the verge of a breakup. And once again if you’ve got this far and don’t like a good joke – hit the back button. We’ll be back next week with some more great days out in the UK.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Hello to our lovely readers, it’s been a while. We’ve been swamped over here at DOUK. However, we haven’t forgotten about you (don’t worry). Is it too late to say happy new year? Probably…

With so many new and exciting things set to happen this year, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on one of our favourite attractions in this post. The V&A has so many great and interesting exhibits coming out this year, so we thought it only fair to share our insider knowledge with you, and let you know what’s coming up in 2018.

The V&A, or the Victoria and Albert Museum, has been around since the late 19th century, and is rich with history and intriguing exhibitions too. The museum has changed so much over the 100+ years it’s been around, with a host of almost 5,000 years’ worth of human creativity and innovation under it’s roof. The building itself is a marvel and is strikingly beautiful.

Below, you’ll find our top 5 exhibition picks coming to the V&A this year…

  1. Videogames: 8th September ’18 – 24th February ‘19

First on our list we have the Videogames exhibition, which runs between September 8th, 2018 into the new year of February 24th, 2019. This exhibition dives into the world of video games, and the resurgence happening within the expansive genre. Looking at a new wave of designers, players and critics who are enhancing and advancing the platform in new and exciting ways. This unique exhibition looks at videogames as a platform of design, art and experience (as opposed to being ‘a waste of time’ as cited from parents around the world).

This exhibition will look into the changes undergone since the mid-2000s, when this gaming renaissance began, and look at all the technological advancements that have happened over the past 18 or so years. Exploring the impact videogames have on the internet and social media too, with how this directly effects how games are played, discussed and designed. There’s loads of hands-on stuff to get involved with, and surely, you’ll find a few games to play as well.

For more information on this exhibit, you can click HERE.

  1. Ocean Liners: Speed & Style: 3rd February ’18 – 10th June ‘18

This exhibition, sponsored by Viking Cruises, looks into the history of ocean travel. From Brunel’s 1859 steamship to the launch of the QE2 in 1969, this exhibition sheds a light on ocean travel like you’ve never seen before. This exhibition is already underway, and runs until early June this year, so be sure to hurry down to the V&A soon!

Featuring stories of the ships’ designs and all the innovative architecture behind the luxurious ships, there are more than 250 objects to see and learn about. Some of the highlights of the exhibition include a panel fragment recovered from the infamous Titanic’s first-class lounge and some art deco interiors of an early 20th century ship (Normandie) too.

Click HERE for more info on the current exhibit.

  1. Fashioned from Nature: 21st April ’18 – 27th January ‘19

Up third, we have an exhibit that explores the relationship between fashion and nature. Fashioned from Nature looks at fashion from the early 17th century up until the modern day. Looking at fashion inspired by nature, as well as the raw materials that are in the fabric of the very clothes we wear. In this UK exhibition first, you will dive into and explore the relationship between fashion and the environment, looking at the impact of mass production and sourcing these materials has had on the natural world. Throughout this exhibit you’ll see items from the past 400 odd years, with some beautiful pieces of clothing as well as objects of protest against fashion’s ‘environmental crimes’.

Learn about the current research behind developing fashion fit for the modern ages, from eco-friendly sources materials and recycled food waste fibres too. It’s an exhibit that’s not one to be missed, and its prevalence is of the utmost importance in our current age. The exhibit includes work from designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and many, many more.

To find out more about this upcoming exhibit, click HERE.

  1. Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up: 16th June ’18 – 4th November ‘18

From one of the most widely recognised, and most innovative, painters of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo is an icon of both art and fashion, crafting herself through dress and self-fashioning.  For the first time outside of Mexico, this exhibition will be hosted by the V&A and will feature Kahlo’s clothing and personal possessions too. All of these items were discovered back in 2004, in the Blue House, following the opening of storerooms which have previously been sealed for fifty years. This ground-breaking exhibition will feature Kahlo’s iconic style, and how it presents her complex duality behind her Western and Mexican identity.

Highlights of this exhibit include some stunning hand-painted corsets, and iconic paintings such as My Dress Hangs There and The Love Embrace as well. This exhibition will run from mid-June until early November, so see it while you can!

For more info, click HERE.

  1. The Future Starts Here: 12th May ’18 – 4th November ‘18

We’ve previously written about this exhibit in another blog post, however we can’t get over how amazing this exhibition is going to be! This exhibit is the first of its kind for the V&A, as it looks into technology and how it is shaping the future and our current age. All of the items on display, are either in development or at prototype stage, so the future doesn’t seem so far off (you might say the future starts here…). From aerial unmanned drones to laundry folding robots, this exhibit has so much to see.

You can read our full post covering our exclusive press preview by clicking HERE. As for more information on the exhibit? If you want that, click HERE.

 

And that’s it from us! Hope you enjoyed our 5 V&A exhibits coming this year. If you want anymore information about upcoming events from the V&A and any of our other wonderful attractions, click HERE.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

It’s official, we’ve settled back into the office after the struggle of the first day back. We’re here, we’re happy – it’s 2018! We hope all our readers had a lovely festive period and a fantastic New Year. With the New Year comes some great new events from up and down the country. We’re here to fill you with some 2018 inspiration, with a list of fun things to do this year.

Here’s our top 5 events, happening in January across the UK!

  1. Ghost Tours – Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

Although Halloween is 10 months away, some of you just need a little bit of paranormal spookiness in your lives. Hampton Court Palace has the solution for all your needs. This exclusive out of hours tour of the grounds will uncover the mysterious haunting of the palace, with the keen eyed able to spot some ghouls. With over 500 years of history, the palace is teeming with ghosts and stories, like the Tudor royal nurse, whose spirit stalks the old apartments and the mysterious ‘Skeletor’ figure - captured on CCTV in the dead of night.

There’s a family event available too, for the little ones (7/1) Tours are available on selected dates 7th, 14th and 21st, and tickets are priced as follows: Adult Ghost Tours: £27.50, Family Ghost Tours: Adults £14 / Children £7.

  1. Dress Up your Dog Day – The True Crime Museum, East Sussex

If you love learning about the world of crime and spending time with your dog, then boy do we have a day out for you! As it is National #DressUpYourDogDay on January 14th, bring them along to The True Crime Museum and enter them in a fancy-dress competition. Plus, bringing your dog gets you free entry! 1 dog = 1 owner’s free entry. You can even put up your pooch’s pic on the Dog Mug Shot Wall. Admission is between 10am – 5pm.

  1. Rainham Harries Social Run – RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, Essex

Every January there is a surge in gym memberships, workout gear and healthy food. But then the novelty wears off, and you’re left wondering why you paid for a gym. If you’re tired of staring at a blank wall on a treadmill, we’ve got just the thing! Run around the beautiful RSPB nature reserve in a fun and active session for all ability levels. With distances from 5km to 12km, there’s enough running to fill your lungs with fresh air and achievement. Running on January 21st, this session only costs £1 – and runs between 9.30 and 10.30.

  1. Think Space Lecture – Royal Observatory, London

On January 16th, visitors to the Royal Observatory will be able to attend an exclusive lecture on the latest developments and research in astrophysics. You don’t need to be a pro, just have a taste for space, and come along ready to learn. Renowned astrophysicist at University College London, Professor Raman Prinja, talks the evolution of stars. Stars; from dusty birth to explosive death’ costs £10 for adults and £7 for children (ages 11+).

  1. Confessions – Tower of London, London

Marking the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ infamous ‘confession’, head down to the Tower of London, on January 31st to hear some of the innermost secrets of poets and storytellers alike. This exclusive performance explores the themes of coercion and free will, inspired by Guy Fawkes’ interrogation following the ‘Gun Powder Plot’ failure. Tickets are £25, and this is an over 18s event. Taking place at 7pm in the atmospheric St Peter’s ad Vincula chapel.

For more information on upcoming events in January and beyond, click HERE for our events page. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting events coming in 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

DOUK Christmas Message 2018

Posted: Friday, December 22, 2017 |Category: Uncategorised

Sorry if we go quiet for the next week or so - we’ll be out of Office enjoying the festive period! From all of us at DOUK, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year and any other winter holidays out there! We’ll be returning to the office on January 2nd, to bring a whole New Years’ worth of events and exciting new attractions in 2018.

Unfortunately, there will be no updates on DOUK from December 22nd until the date we return. Blogs and news will resume on January 2nd. Have a wonderful festive period! And stay tuned for all the latest events and attractions in 2018.

Keep an eye on our Facebook! We’ll be posting some stuff on there to hold you all over.

Oh, and for New Year’s Eve at 11:59:59… HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you all in 2018!

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Christmas is so close we can taste it! We can practically smell the turkey roasting in the oven. However, we can’t help looking forward to the new year to come! With the passing of Christmas comes New Year, and in 2018, there are some amazing things happening all across the UK.

Yes, the new year will hold some of the most exciting and innovative exhibitions we’ve seen to date, in various attractions up and down the county. With some great events coming up, we’ve put together a list of our top 4 exhibitions coming in the new year. If you have the chance, you should definitely check out all these exhibits coming up!

  1. The Future Starts Here – V&A, London

Kicking off our list is The Future Starts Here at the V&A - in fact we went to a preview of the exhibit in November of this year. Curated by the Design, Architecture and Digital Department, this exhibition is a first of it’s kind for the V&A. Instead of focusing on art, this exhibit showcases items of the future, that are available today. Futuristic devices and objects that are in production, prototype stage and even available on the market to purchase.

Supported by Volkswagen Group, this innovative exhibition takes you on a journey into the future, where you can see where the world is heading and look at all the cool gadgets that will impact future life. It’s an informative and interesting experience, suitable for all the family. Demos and displays will feature throughout the exhibit, set to ‘wow’ everyone who attends.

The event opens on 12th May and runs until 4th November in the new year. Catch this exhibit while you can, for a look into the world of tomorrow, today. Advanced tickets are £15 and V&A members go for free. To find out more, click HERE.

  1. Titanic Stories ­– National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Cornwall

Beginning on 8th March, running until 7 January (2019), this fascinating new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, will offer a new insight into the great and infamous legacy of the Titanic. This exhibition will bring to together objects and stories from across the globe, to delve deeper into the true history behind the disaster. Was the ship doomed to fail? Were the women and children really taken off the ship first? The answers can be found at this new exhibit.

Collaborating with private collectors and national museums, rare items are brought together to tell the untold stories of the Titanic, it’s crew and passengers. The exhibition will also look into the speedy growth and commercialisation of the disaster, making it one of the biggest and infamous disasters of the 20th century.

This exhibition will run from 8th March until 7th January. It is a chance to glimpse into the past and discover the mystery of the Titanic, from personal accounts, objects and items of the crew, passengers and family of those lost. For more information on the event, click HERE.

  1. Wildlife Photographer of the Year – National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Returning again for another year, the annual celebration of wildlife photography begins January 19th, and will be on display until 29th April 2018. Displaying some beautiful and awe-inspiring photos of wildlife from across the globe, taken by some expert and extremely talented photographers. Back for it’s 53rd year, there have been over 50,000 entries from both aspiring and professional photographers, across the world – 92 countries in total have submitted entries to the exhibition.

This exhibition will give you a chance to see the vast wildlife around the world, in beautiful detail captured by artists. Not only can you see animal habits and habitats, but amazing landscapes too. You’ll be transported on a wild tour of the world, to see the beauty of the natural world, up close. With the affect global warming has on the planet, wildlife is rapidly – this exclusive exhibition captures our natural world, and highlights the vast landscape and animal life on our planet.

Running from January 9th until April 29th, and for more information, click HERE.

  1. Slaves of Fashion: New Works by the Singh Twins – Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Exploring the history of relationship of fashion and slavery, this insightful exhibition will feature the history of Indian textiles, Empire, luxury consumerism and enslavement. Running from 19th January until 20th May, more than 20 new artwork pieces by the internationally renowned artists will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery. The Singh Twins have combined traditional hand-painting with digital created imagery, to make beautiful works of art.

Examining the relationship between Britain and India, this exhibition will delve into the details of Europe’s colonial past and the hidden legacies that have been uncovered. Looking into the debates around ethical trade and responsible consumerism too. For more information on this exhibit, click HERE.

 

Keep your eyes locked on our Events page for all the upcoming events in the New Year. As always, we’ll be back to bring you the best attractions and events in the UK for 2018!

Sorry if we go quiet for the next week or so - we’ll be out of Office enjoying the festive period! From all of us at DOUK, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year and any other winter holidays out there! We’ll be returning to the office on January 2nd, to bring a whole New Years’ worth of events and exciting new attractions in 2018.

Unfortunately, there will be no updates on DOUK from December 22nd until the date we return. Blogs and news will resume on January 2nd. Have a wonderful festive period! And stay tuned for all the latest events and attractions in 2018.

Keep an eye on our Facebook! We’ll be posting some stuff on there to hold you all over.

Oh and for New Year’s Eve at 11:59:59… HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Not only has Santa got his annual worldwide trip for everyone on his nice list, but he is visiting the UK for some exclusive appearances. It’s going to take a lot of Christmas magic to get him around the country, with a lot of same day appearances to attend. If you’re looking to bring your little ones along to meet Saint Nick, we’ve put together a list of where he’ll be and when.

  • West Dean Gardens

Santa’s first stop on his Great British tour is down in West Sussex, at West Den Gardens. Appearing on the 16th and 17th December between 10am – 4.30pm (last admittance is at 4). Kids will get the chance to meet Father Christmas and get a little pre-Christmas present from him. There’s mince pies and mulled win for the grownups, and a chance to make ornaments and Christmas cards too!

Booking to see Santa is a must, as he’s a very busy man and everyone wants to see if they’re on the nice list! Child entry is £5 and Adult entry is £5.50.

  • Sandcastle Waterpark

Santa returns on the 16th – 17th in his temporary grotto at Sandcastle Waterpark. Enjoy a day of waterpark fun whilst you wait to see the big man himself! Tickets are £7.50 and can be purchased online. Click HERE to see winter opening times for the waterpark.

  • Hornchurch Country Park and Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre

Appearing on the 16th,17th 21st and 22nd, Santa’s second stop is to the magical woods of Hornchurch, in Essex. He’ll be using some special Christmas magic to make his way between Essex and Sussex on the same day! Wrap up warm to visit Santa’s woodland grotto! You’ll receive a special Christmas present and a chance to have a photo with Father Christmas. Booking is essential, tickets are £7 per child.

  • ZSL London Zoo

Not only can little ones meet Santa, but they can enjoy a fun day out at ZSL London Zoo too. Santa will be in the centre of the zoo, along with all the other wonderful animals too. Santa will be using his festive magic again, as he’ll be in London again on the 17th right through to 24th, before he returns to the North Pole to get ready for his big Christmas delivery.

Money from the Santa experience goes to Zoological Society of London conservation charity, so it’s all for a good cause. Ticket prices can be found, HERE. Booking is essential.

  • LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

Santa is arriving to LEGOLAND, in the form of bricks. Yes, the park has made a full-scale model of Santa and his sleigh. Whilst you won’t be able to meet Saint Nick, it’s a perfect time to grab a picture with this impressive LEGO model. The LEGO Santa will be at LEGOLAND until late December.

More information and tickets are available by clicking HERE.

Expect Santa to have some mini breaks throughout the day, whilst he visits other attraction on the same day! He’s a busy man but wants to see all the smiling faces – so please be patient! The elves will be there to keep you entertained.

For all Christmas events, across the UK. Visit our events page by clicking HERE.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

What conversation is the topic of every office discussion and winter gathering before Christmas? You’ve seen the shops littered with décor and heard the tunes on the radio, but when, WHEN DOES CHRISTMAS ACTUALLY BEGIN? It drives families and friends apart, but when is it socially acceptable to start talking about Christmas and putting up decorations in your home? Well, we’re going to settle this, once and for all.

The general consensus in our office is when December begins, (although, one staff member casually suggested Christmas begins on the 25th…) But, the general vibe is that Christmas begins, in the month of December. And rightly so. Anything festive pre-late November is what you’ll see in shops. Like Selfridges opening their Christmas shop on September 4th

So, without further ado, here’s 5 reasons why Christmas doesn’t start until December.

  1. Christmas’ Date

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, what do they have in common? CHRISTMAS. And what dates are they on? 24th and 25th of DECEMBER. We shouldn’t need to show you our working out to prove that the Christmas period begins in the month CHRISTMAS IS IN. Even in America, where Christmas is commercialised at a huge scale, they respect the Christmas rule. November is for Thanksgiving. Don’t over shadow other important events in November like Remembrance Day and Bonfire Night with pre-emptive Christmas nonsense… (give Guy Fawkes some credit for the stupidest plot in history). Let the other months do their own thing!

  1. Our Christmas events don’t begin until December…

As you know, we love a day out at DOUK. And, in December, we love a Christmas day out. Christmas markets, meeting Santa, perusing winter wonderlands – we love it. BUT ONLY IN DECEMBER. Don’t let the events listed as Christmas ones in November fool you, the real Christmas magic begins in December and starts at DOUK. To see all our great Christmas events (in December) check out our events page, by clicking HERE.

  1. Michael Bublé needs to wake up

It’s not Christmas until Bublé is officially sighted.He emerges from his year long slumber to grace our ears with the finest Christmas CD of the 21st century (take that Justin Bieber, no one liked your Christmas album). The undisputed symbol of Christmas covers, once Bublé emerges the Christmas flood gates are opened. And, let’s be honest, Christmas music loses its charm pretty quickly, so let’s not exhaust the Christmas tunes before the big day, yeah?

  1. It’s a trap

Any celebrations of Christmas before December is a marketing trap! - don’t let it fool you! The decorations in the shops in October are subliminally signalling you to start buying your presents early, which is smart for them, but not for you. Don’t forget about all the sweet discounts and deals you get in December. Don’t let the Christmas marketing plan draw you in, it’s a clever tick – but you won’t fool us!

  1. We did a vote

Finally, we asked everyone in the office and it was confirmed that it is OFFICIALLY CHRISTMAS IN DECEMBER. So, don’t exhaust Mariah Carrey and fall into marketing traps before the 1st, Christmas begins when we say so (we’ve carried out the polls after all, so…) But of course, December is only a few days away… sooooooooo it’s nearly time!

To talk about Christma…

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

Guess what? As you know, we love a day out at DOUK – and today, we went out for one! Well, sort of. We were invited to an exclusive unveiling of the brand-new spring exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. The Future Starts Here is the museum’s new, and experimental, exhibition opening in May of 2018. Featuring over one hundred objects and gadgets that are set to enhance the human experience in the future – or in the not so distance future.

Curated by Rory Hyde, Mariana Pestana and the Design, Architecture and Digital Department, supported by the Volkswagen Group, this exhibition is truly an original experience, and an experimental first for the V&A.

All of the items in the collection are either on the market, in development or at the prototype stage. Not only does the exhibition showcase the tech and design of the future, but it asks questions of where our world is heading. Is this technology set to enhance our experience, or will it be a detriment to our lives? How is smart design shaping our future cities? Through the exhibition future technology and design are interrogated and explored on an unprecedented scale.

What we saw

Although we only saw the exhibition in part, it gave a fascinating insight and left us wanting more. From a 3D printed rendering of Chelsea Manning’s face made entirely from DNA, to a portable lab, from Bento Labs - the size of a keyboard with the power to analyse, manipulate and explore DNA on a scale that was only available to scientists and experts up till now. The Future Starts Here outlines the limitless potential of the future, through real futuristic tech – things you couldn’t imagine but are in development and tangible.

Huge tech giants have invested in new creations as well, with Facebook rolling out a light aircraft that brings the internet to the two thirds of the world, that don’t have it. The Aquila transmits internet to parts of the world without it, and the aircraft is light, hovering and solar powered. Mark Zuckerberg believes that connection is a basic human right. A look at Apple’s newest headquarters and a Crowd Funded pedestrian walkway in Rotterdam, shed a light on the architectural design of the future.

Other features include a drone sailing ship, Protei, that collects rubbish and oil spills in the ocean. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves seeds in the event of large scale crisis– this tech is shaping the future but set to save and preserve it as well. The tech on display dances a fine line between the good technology can do, but also the harm it can inflict.

The Future Starts Here aims to not only help you envision the future to come, but question what this tech and design can do. To inspire a wide audience with design and tech that seems impossible to imagine but is here, now. For the visitor, ethical and speculative questions are asked to engage you in the future, with tech that inspires and innovates – there’s a robot that does all the laundry for you, who wouldn’t want that? We could go on and on about all the fascinating design and tech we saw, but instead we’ll tell you what’s in it for you.

Why YOU should go

This daring and experimental exhibition is nothing like we’ve seen before. A first for the V&A, it features so much to see and engage with. It explores tech in 4 large main scales. The self, public spaces, the planet and finally the vast cosmos above. This exhibition can teach, both adults and children, so much about the future and engage an interest in technology and design. The Future Starts Here can educate and engage everyone. From a curious child who is inquisitive about what their adult lives will be like, to the sceptic grandma/parent anxious of where the world is heading. This exhibition has something for everyone. The ‘wow’ factor for everything on display can’t be measured. The Future Starts Here is a truly fascinating exhibition.

Opening on 12th May 2018 and running until 4th November, this exhibition is not one to be missed. A year in the making, The Future Starts Here is an informative and engaging insight as to where our world is heading. Advanced tickets are £15 and V&A members go for free. You can book your tickets by either calling 0800 912 6961 or visiting the V&A’s website, by clicking HERE. Supported by Volkswagen Group, the exhibition will be held in the Sainsbury Gallery for the duration of Spring and Autumn. The future has arrived to our world and truly, #TheFutureStartsHere at the V&A, Spring 2018.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:

It’s official, we can now start talking about Christmas! Yes, we’ve held in our excitement for long enough, but with the passing of Bonfire Night, Christmas feels a whole lot closer! The lights are going up in all the towns and villages across the UK and the decorations are out in full force in shops and homes. So, what better way to get you in the festive mood than with some fun Christmas facts! Stuff to wow your colleagues, friends and family with before the festivities commence.

We’ve created a list of our favourite and most obscure Christmas facts, for you to show off with.

  1. Best Film and Song

It’s a matter of taste, but everyone has their own favourite Christmas song and film. But, if we’re talking about the highest grossing and bestselling, we can confirm that there is one song and film, that take the Christmas cake.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Starring Jim Carrey, this film is the highest grossing Christmas film to date. Released back in 2000, this film is a titan of the Christmas film industry and has not been surpassed by the likes of Elf or any other festive favourite.

White Christmas – To much surprise, the bestselling tune of all time is White Christmas by Bing Crosby, with an estimated excess of 50 million copies sold worldwide. (personally, my favourite is from another Carey – All I want for Christmas)

  1. Christmas Creations

Some of the most famous staples of Christmas were created as parts of marketing campaigns and dreams, from the early 1900s and even further back. Santa Claus was originally depicted in green clothing until Coca-Cola swapped the forest green for a vibrant red in the early 20th century.

Whilst Rudolph, Santa’s little red nosed friend, was created to promote Montgomery Ward’s holiday colouring books in 1939. His original name was going to be Reginald and his nose was never supposed to be red – as a red nose emulated the nose of an alcoholic.

Santa’s famous sleigh was created by Washington Irving as early as 1819, in a series of short stories. Irving described a dream where he saw good ol’ St. Nick flying across the sky, in a wagon of sorts. Dicken’s may have even been inspired by Irving when he penned his classic, A Christmas Carol.

  1. Some Stats

An estimated 6.8 million IOS and other mobile and tablet devices are activated on Christmas Day. Whilst, 4.25 million of us Brits will travel abroad for Christmas. 6 million rolls of Sellotape are estimated to be sold in Britain in the lead up to Christmas. One more for the millions, 60 million Christmas trees are gown in Europe, each year.

On to the percentages; 13% of families will attend church on Christmas day and a mere 27% will watch her Majesty’s speech on the telly.

Finally, during the 20th century, there have only been 7 recorded white Christmases in the UK. For a Christmas to be declared as a ‘White Christmas’, officially, a single snow flake must be seen from the roof of the Met office within 24hours.

  1. Historical Facts

Over the years, Christmas has come with some rather odd traditions which we all just accept because, well, they’re Christmas traditions… When you find a tangerine in your stocking, it actually originates from French Nuns leaving socks filled with fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor, in the 12th century.

The act of hanging stockings from the fire place comes from Dutch traditions, where food would be left out for St. Nicholas’ donkeys and in exchange, he would leave small gifts. Eating mince pies on Christmas? You could be breaking the law. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas pudding and mince pies from being consumed on Christmas day. To this day, the law has never been retracted.

  1. Let’s get global

Whilst we have strange traditions here in Britain, the most popular food of choice in Japan on Christmas day is KFC. Yes, orders for the festive season must be put in 2 months in advance, in order to deal with the increased demand. Whilst in Sweden, it is extremely popular to watch cartoons on Christmas Eve. But, not just any cartoons – specifically, Donald Duck ones. This tradition dates back as early as 1960.

In Norway, families will hide their brooms to avoid them being stolen by witches and evil spirits. One of the stranger traditions, in Norway, it was believed that evil spirits and witches returned on Christmas eve, to find a broom to ride. The most terrifying tradition we’ve heard comes from Australia. Where Krampus, Saint Nick’s evil counterpart, comes out to punish the naughty children and taking them away. Young Australian men dress up as Krampus, running through the streets at night in December with chains and bells – Halloween’s supposed to be over right?

 

And there you have it! Some fun Christmas facts you can show off this festive season. For upcoming Christmas events, stay tuned to our Blog or visit our events page by clicking HERE.

Posted by: Shane Scanlon | Tags:
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