Blog Every Day in May: Bank Holiday Fun

“It’s a long weekend! What are your favourite ways to enjoy the extra long weekend off work?”

This is where I start cheating! Those of you who have read my blog before will know that Mondays are usually weekend catch-ups on my site….I nearly always write up what I did over the weekend, and on a Bank Holiday that includes the Monday too! My “Something From The Weekend” posts are actually the one thing I’ve pretty much done since the start…my blog was always meant to be a diary I could come back to in order to remind me of what fun I’ve had, and weekends are where most of the fun happens…especially Bank Holiday long weekends!

Anyway, this won’t be too far away then from my usual Monday posts…..

Saturday morning began with a lovely walk over the common with Adam, Cooper, Adam’s Mum, and her two dogs Newton and Piper. We all came back to our house together afterwards, stopping off at our nearby artisan bakery, Quotidian, for some of their amazing bread on the way….we toasted some of that up for breakfast with marmalade (and a pot of coffee) and then set to work in the garden.

Our garden was a bit of a state when we moved in….it clearly hadn’t had any attention for a while, and certainly not from anyone who knows anything about gardening in an even longer while! It’s pretty big, which is nice, and we have a large patio at the top with borders at each side, then a long lawn. Well, I say ‘lawn’ but actually it’s more like a little woodland….crammed in there are two holly trees, two yews, a very large bay, an ash, an apple tree, a medlar tree, a Victorian tulip tree and another very large tree which nobody had been able to identify! So, where the lawn would be underneath them there is not enough light for grass to grow, so instead it’s full of bluebells, daisies, primroses and other wild things. I quite like it like that and as we have the patio to sit on, I don’t feel like we need a proper lawn really.

Anyway, we’d done some work on one flower bed just after we moved in, so that just needed a tidy up, lots of water and a few more plants adding. The opposite bed however was another matter! We spent hours digging it over, rescuing Japanese Anemones, Snowdrops and Blue Bells from within stacks of knotty Ivy and Ground Elder….the roots were horrific and it was back breaking work, but we managed to clear the upper part of the bed really well and planted lots of nice new things there…I just have to keep an eye out for any vile Ground Elder leaves that pop back up!

We took lunch outside…more of the yummy bread along with cheese and chutney….plus a nice cold shandy to drink! Then after a bit more tidying up, we had to come inside as it started to rain.

After a little rest up from our hard work, we took the hound for his afternoon walk and then headed to one of our favourite pubs, The Plume of Feathers at Little Wymondley. They serve us-friendly meat there, so Adam and I always enjoy their bacon cheese burger, plus of course their amazing chips! We were pretty tired and full after all that, so it was a relaxing evening of telly watching (still on X-Files) for us.

We awoke quite early on Sunday morning, and to the most stunning day. We made the most of it by heading straight out for a lovely long walk….we took the hound through lots of the local farm land, seeing lambs and calves, as well as some buzzrds above! It felt absolutely divine walking in the warmth, and the blue skies made me feel so very happy!

We had a quick breakfast after our walk, and then drove to nearby Royston for a little dog-date…..we’ve been thinking of getting a second pooch for a while now and heard last week about a suitable dog that has just been taken into foster by one of the local rescue charities. We were so excited to meet him, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! He’s a brilliant little Basset Hound cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier (we think!) so he’s really long with little Queen Anne legs, and a big face! He loves being near to people, answers to pretty much any name and adores kisses and cuddles! We’d decided within two minutes that  we wanted him to come and make his forever home with us, and after not much longer I think he’d decided that’s what he wants too! We’ve reserved him, so just now have to wait for our home check, then hopefully he’ll be with us very soon!

After our exciting visit, we popped back home for an iced tea, then went straight back out to catch the last hour of the car boot sale at the market. We found two lovely cake stands to add to my collection, and I got a great cowboy hat for our friends’ Wild West wedding this summer!

We had a yummy lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, then did a little more work in the garden before taking our afternoon walk…..we took a route I’d not been on before so it was lovely to see some new places, and Cooper loves exploring new territory! There was lots of oil see rape planted across the fields we walked past, and I just adore the vivid yellows against the blue sky in the sun. We also saw several deer (little baby ones too!), lots of pheasants and rabbits of course. I found lots of pretty pheasant feathers for my collection, and Adam picked up an empty pheasant egg for me too! They will all sit safely inside my Victorian Bell Cloches in the dining room!

Adam cooked a scrummy Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner, and we slobbed about in front of the telly after that, before heading very sleepily to bed!

This morning began with a short walk for the hound, then a hearty breakfast of poached duck eggs. After that we preened ourselves a little before our dear friend Hannah arrived, and shortly after that the wonderful Sharon of Sharon Cooper Photography….Sharon very kindly offered to take our engagement photos and so after a chat over an iced tea, we headed out to have our piccies taken!

I always hate having my photograph taken, mainly because I hate photos of myself, but Sharon is great at putting you at ease, and it was so delicious to be outside in the sun that I didn’t mind all too much! We returned to the house and had some shots there, and I was very impressed with how well behaved Cooper was throughout…sitting quietly with his Auntie Hannah whilst waiting for us to have our photos taken, then posing beautifully whilst he joined in some of the shots! I can’t wait to see the shots and will be sure to share them with a more detailed post about the shoot, but in the mean time, Sharon has just sent me this little sneak preview (thank you Sharon!)…

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We did a little shopping after a lunch of tuna melts in the garden, then put in a few more hours gardening….I managed to finish digging up the bottom end of the flower bed, we put edging tiles around it (there are stacks of them in our garden as I think the beds used to go all the way down the length of the garden, where the trees are, and we can still see a sunken path edged in the same tiles!) and then attacked it with weed killer to ensure the Ground Elder doesn’t come back. I dislike using such things, but it was so bad at that end of the bed that it was the only way! We’ll get some meadowy flowers growing there soon hopefully, but it’s all starting to look much smarter already!

We walked at the common again after that, and returned home for an early dinner of butternut squash lasagne, which we also yummed up in the balmy garden. And then once we’d cleared up, Adam was up to his office to start an online course he’s signed up for….. so here I’ve sat since, mooching about the internets and blogging the evening away with the french windows open, a warm breeze coming in and all the birds singing just for me!

Such a blissful weekend!

I trust you’ve all had glorious Bank Holiday weekends too?!

Ems x

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It’s Film Photography Day!

I didn’t know until just now, but today is Film Photography Day! If you’ve been hanging round here for a while, you’ll know I LOVE my analogue cameras, but I’ve not done very much with them for a good while. In part that’s because of the weather (I don’t find film photos very easy unless the sun is shining!) and also because I’ve not yet found a local developer I trust (I used to be spoiled and go to the Lomography shop at Spitalfields which was walking distance from my London flat), but probably mostly it’s because I’ve been quite lazy about it. So, maybe this is the inspiration I need!

I’m hoping to get out and take a few snaps of my new ‘hood soon, and also take a film camera to Vienna next week, where I’m going for a wedding. But in the mean time, I thought I’d reminisce over some of my old snaps….

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Are you celebrating Film Photography Day? Are you going to go snap happy with your analogue camera?

Ems x

Tim Walker: Story Teller

Whilst working agency side in events, I remember gazing at a mood board picture that emblazoned a colleague’s office wall for inspiration. The photograph featured dresses hanging from a tree, lit up like fairy lights. I was hooked on the enchanting atmosphere of the image, as well as the lush colours and the ingenuity of it all. I have often thought of the photo, which was taken by Tim Walker, and if I ever get myself organised and put up the big inspiration board I’m planning in my head for my studio, it will most certainly feature.

And so as you’d expect, when I heard of an upcoming exhibition, entitled Tim Walker: Story Teller I was desperate to see it. Hosted by Mulberry in the East Wing Galleries at Somerset House, the show has been met with plenty of press coverage and favorable chatter. The opening party was filled with darlings of the arts and fashion industry, all delighted to be celebrating the work of one of the most exciting fashion photographers of our time. My Instagram and Twitter feeds were filled with beautiful people taking in the stunning collection of work, and had me aching to see it.

I was not disappointed when I finally got to see it this Tuesday, and despite the gallery being filled with noisy school children for most of my time there, I came away inspired, amused and in awe of the man. Any exhibition that features Tilda Swinton, Terry Gilliam and David Lynch was going to get plenty of interest from me, but it wasn’t just the case that photos of several of my heroes were featured…..it was rather more that part of their immense creativity and ingenuity filled the place. I can only assume that Walker adores them as much as I do (and they probably think the same of him!).

The labyrinthine rooms of the East Wing Galleries were not terribly easy to navigate, but inspired the appropriate feeling of adventure and discovery…..you can’t be sure what you’ll find as you turn each corner and enter every alcove….will it be a giant doll, a skeleton looming over you, or huge snails climbing the walls?! The overall impression is one of playfulness, fantasy and box-of-frogs-style-craziness…..models sit for photographs wearing orchids like hats, people ride tinfoil dragons, and famous actresses are dressed up as literary characters and china figurines.

And whilst one could argue that you could simply view these images online or in a book, what the exhibition really exposes is the wonderfully inspiring way that Walker works to create what are undoubtedly some of the best photos taken in recent years, and certainly in my top list of favourites. Walker is portrayed as a sort of film director, the eye of a storm of creativity.

Perhaps the most revealing part of the show are the six Super-8 films taken during some of his more famous shoots. They provide such an insight into his methods, and are truly inspiring. They could only work in this rickety, over saturated format, as Walker’s work would be ruined by high definition, crystal clear video. These films though portray some of the nostalgia of his photographs, and put me in mind of an essay I wrote in A-Level Art…..we were asked to argue the strengths and weaknesses of still photos compared with video, and I remember quite strongly arguing in favour of the still image because I feel its power lies in a single moment, never to be seen or lived again. And it’s that idea that Walker says give his photos momentum and power. Of course there’s a lot more than that, which goes into making his photos just as successful as they are, but I am at least pleased we agree on that score, even if I’ll never match this genius’ creativity or technical prowess.

The exhibition runs until 27th January, so you’ve not got long to get to see it! I would highly recommend that you catch it though, if you’re interested at all in fashion, art, photography or simply in creativity. It’s free to enter and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy!

Ems x

Living for the weekend….dealing with the post Christmas blues

That sky is grey again. And it’s all cold out there (and not in a Christmassy-winter-wonderland way). Still, the weekend is already here, and so I’ve been thinking of ways to fill it with fun stuff to take my mind off the fact it’s no longer Christmas. (Yes, I *am* still talking about Christmas, sorry)…..

Planning for the year

January is always full of the dulls. Everyone is shattered after the festivities, low on funds, and trying to catch up and get back to normal. But I find that there’s nothing like having something to look forward to to cheer me up, so I’ve been enjoying making lots of plans. I’ve bought tickets, made bookings, and started organising fun adventures to keep me busy and excited for the months to come. Get your diaries out!

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DIY Projects

With all the Christmas decorations gone, I know I’m looking forward to sprucing up the house a bit and starting work on some little DIY projects I’ve been planning. We have a Welsh dresser to sand and paint, and a few little tables and plant stands that I want to make-over. It’s a cheap and fun way to spend time, and you get the reward of something pretty to brighten your home at the end of it!

Bring in the Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I’m aching for the new season already! I’m bored of the cold and grey, and I want to see the Spring flowers come up. I’ve instigated this ahead of schedule by buying some lovely stocks to brighten up and scent the house…they look great in the Moomin Papa hat vase that I got for Christmas!

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Baking and Cooking

I know that every other person is on some kind of diet or detox, but I firmly believe that in order not to go cold turkey, you need to slowly wind down from the festive gluttony. I’m still not used to *not* having a pudding after every meal (yes, including breakfast) and being surrounded by naughty treats. And so to ween myself off, and hopefully shed a few of the holiday pounds, I think it’s only sensible to get doing some good home cooking and baking. You’re more in control when you make it yourself, so you can start to think more healthy and reduce portions, whilst still technically treating yourself and avoiding going into complete withdrawal! I have had some success with new recipes, including making French Onion soup for the first time in years….yum!

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Check on those resolutions!

It’s not too late to revise them, so have another look at whatever list you may have made and think about how realistic it all is. If you’re getting on well, well done you! If not so much, there’s no shame in re-working your list….you’ll do better for it in the end! I have done OK so far…..I have started getting myself sorted by way of a spider diagram (LOVE THEM), as well as playing around with the new pop-up studio Adam gave me for Christmas to help with my photography!

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Go for a walk

I’d much rather kick off the new year with a nice country walk than a fad diet or detox. It’s far more fun and much easier to stick with too! The weather has been pretty gruesome all told, but the rain seems to be staying away rather more at the minute so why not take a nice long stroll this weekend? Extra points for finding a pub lunch along your way!

Whatever you get up to, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Happy adventuring,

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….Stocking Fillers

To me, stocking fillers have always been things like satsumas and Ferrero Rocher. But I’m noticing lately that the shops are telling us that much bigger (and more expensive!) things will make the ideal thing to bulk out your over sized sock. But as much as I love tradition (and Ferrero Rocher), this post was never meant to be about the things I will possibly have….that would be so dull….it’s about the things I lust after, no matter how extravagant!

So with that in mind, here are a few ‘stocking fillers’ I’ve had my eye on…..

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Diana Baby 110 Gold Edition

I adore my Diana camera, which Adam bought me a few birthdays ago. I love its plasticy-ness and the crazy photos it comes out with….not to mention the way people look at me when I use the brilliantly huge paparazzi-style flash. It’s not *the* most easy thing to carry around though, especially with the umpteen lenses and accessories I was lucky enough to receive alongside mine….but this baby-sized one is! I’m crazy about its shameless glitzy-ness and bling-factor….it’s so different from the super-retro black and blue of the original one. It’ll cost you almost as much as that though, as this special edition is £59 from the Lomo shop. Still, a bit of bling is worth it!

Lee Broom Crystal Light Bulb

I really can’t think of something much more extravant to fill your stocking with than this. Inspired by the delicate craftsmanship of crystal cutting, this decorative light bulb-shaped crystal light fitting from Liberty has been individually hand blown before being cut with a classic crystal pattern and etched with the Lee Broom logo. Apparently it refracts the light beautifully as a play on the common light bulb versus a glitzy chandelier. Clearly for the person who has everything! Especially at £109!

And as a rather blingy theme has emerged….I give you…..

18k Christmas Bow Necklace

I am totally in love with this. It’s sooooo shiny and wonderfully fun and festive. I would like to think it would go with everything too. But then I’ve never been shy about wearing something a little OTT with a T-shirt and jeans. It’s made by hand by ilithe, and is available on Etsy for £625. And I bally love it!

Happy stocking stuffing!

Ems x

Living for the weekend….. Tempting me back to London

Although I’ve made it back into London several times since moving (it’s just SO quick and easy!), I have mainly enjoyed my weekends locally. There’s still lots I want to do around here, and I’ve been really enjoying discovering more about my new ‘hood. But with a stack of fun things to do in London coming up all of a sudden, I know I’ll be tempted back soon!

As usual, there’s a whole host of special events and limited exhibitions taking place in London….and as of this weekend there are a good half a dozen that I feel were specially designed to tempt me back!…..

Tim Walker: Story Teller

Somerset House, East Wing Galleries

Runs until 27th January 2012, Daily Entry 10am to 6pm

Free Admission

I am so incredibly excited to see this exhibition which showcases the work of the amazing contemporary fashion photographer, Tim Walker. Known for his extravagant style, fairytale theatrics and playful scale, Walker is a total hero of mine. Supported by Mulberry (who hosted a star studded opening party this week), the show will focus largely on the photos themselves, but also features some of his best known props and set pieces.

Twin Peaks UK Festival 2012

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith

20th October, 9:30 am til late

Tickets from £60

It is happening again……‘ The Twin Peaks UK Festival is back this weekend at the Riverside Studios. Debuting in Twin Peaks’ 20th anniversary year in 2010, with a follow up event last year, the festival includes screenings, performances, actor Q&A, cabaret, and of course ridiculous amounts of donuts and cherry pie! Twin Peaks is my all time favourite TV show in fact…..so if you’ve not seen it I suggest you do!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition 2012

Natural History Museum

19th October 2012 to 3rd March 2013, Daily 10am to 5:50pm

Adult tickets £10

This world-renowned exhibition has been an annual event for me for a good few years now. Hosting the 100 winning images from the competition on stunningly produced backlit screens, the exhibition is a must for all photography enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Hollywood Costume Exhibition

Victoria and Albert Museum

20th October 2012 to 27th January 2013

Adults £15.50 (advanced booking is advised with timed tickets)

This exciting exhibition includes over 100 of the most iconic and unforgettable costumes from a century of Hollywood filmmaking. Split into three galleries (‘Act 1: Deconstruction,’ ‘Act 2: Dialogue,’ and ‘Act 3:Finale’) the show promises to take us on a journey through the Golden Age of Hollywood, and is filled with treasures never before seen by the public, including the famous Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz!

Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition 2012

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich

Until 17th February 2013

Free Entry

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is again hosting the winning images of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. I’ve been going to this marvelous free exhibition for years, and wouldn’t miss it! The photography showcased here every year is just mind blowing, and this year features incredible new images of the sky, ranging from within our solar system to far into deep space, and including comets, nebulae, aurorae and the transit of Venus.

Crazee Golf

Tintype Gallery, Farringdon

Until 27th October 2012

Open Wednesday to Friday from 11am to 6pm, and Saturday from 11am to 4pm

Curators Oona Grimes & Teresa Grimes invite you to take part in a game of Crazee Golf…..and I can’t resist a game of crazy golf! Featuring 18 holes created by 18 artisits, the exhibition is an artistic representation of the ‘faux world’ of this wonderful British tradition.

Look out London! You’re not rid of me yet!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. Thames Festival and sun sun sun!

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I am again in need of a weekend to recover from the weekend. I was on a mission to make the most of this weekend, it being our last proper weekend in London….and by golly did we cram it in! I’ll be a bit of a packing zombie for the rest of the week, as I’m utterly shattered and just working on auto pilot now, but it was worth it!

Bright and early on Saturday morning, we were up and yumming up brioche ahead of our day out. After nipping into Waitrose to ask them to save some boxes for us (seriously, how many boxes am I going to need?!), we hopped over to St Katherine Docks to see the exhibition of classic and historical boats. Once we’d started to wander through the docks, we realised what a stunning day it was….and I started to wish I’d brought a hat and some sun screen!

We had a little picnic in the docks, whilst watching some sea cadets kayak around the central marina, as well as some performing keep-fit style displays and dance routines!

Adam has never been on a Thames river taxi, so it was very fortuitous that our last weekend of London adventuring fell on the Thames Festival and we could hop on the free river taxi from St Katherine Pier to Festival Pier. And we couldn’t have asked for a better day for it….so warm and such blue skies! We each took stacks of photos and enjoyed the talk from our guide who pointed out all the places of interest on the way.

We arrived to Festival Pier right on time to head up to the Riverside Terrace outside the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, where Graeae and Strange Fruit were to present their production of The Garden. I’ve been wanting to see them for nearly ten years, after I heard about them and their performance at the Greenwich and Docklands Festival. The story tellers stand atop of four metre high poles, on which they sway around and even start to flip and somersault! It was a very sweet story and just gorgeous to see them performing in the sun, backed by blue skies and the river.

After that, we happened across a wonderful choir performing inside the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Hall….. Set up in the foyer, the South Africa House for London 2012 included an exhibition and a stage on which Take Note were singing. A small, amateur choir from South Africa, they had everyone dancing and bouncing…the music is incredibly moving!

Once they’d left the stage we took a wander down to the world food market behind the Royal Festival Hall, although it was so packed that we opted to walk a little further down the Southbank to find something to refresh us….. and although it didn’t get any quieter, we found just the thing right in front of the National Theatre. I’m a massive Fro-Yo fan, but Adam has always been a bigger advocate of ice cream….so it’s praise indeed that he chose The Little Mixing Factory‘s frozen yoghurt over their ice cream! And we were not disappointed! They blend fresh fruit in with their yummy natural yoghurt and the results are amazing! It’s certainly some of the best Fro-Yo I’ve had and very good value to boot!

Sweet treats in hand (although not for long…they were scoffed pretty quick!), we meandered along the Southbank amongst the thousands of people there. There were lots of stalls as part of the Thames Festival, as well as a Helter Skelter! The little beach in front of Gabriel’s Wharf was packed too with mudlarkers and sandcastle builders, but I was quickly distracted by the We Make London craft fair next to the OXO Tower. As it happened, my old college friend Nevada had a stall there for her delightful illustrations, pepper pots and baby clothes…it was so nice to see her and to peruse her gorgeous stall!

We hovered in the area for a little while, as the Rio festival was taking part there too, although there was nothing on stage just then so we continued our walk down the river to some more stalls outside the Tate Modern. It was pretty hot by then, and getting busier and busier with people, so we took a little back street short cut to Borough Market to get some refreshing juices (fresh lemonade for me…there is nothing more refreshing on a hot day!).

Refreshed a little, we walked further down the river for a snoop about Hays Galleria, and then onto More London where there were yet more stalls to look at, as well as the Blue Ribbon festival. The place was packed with festival go-ers and paralympics viewers in front of the big screen….and there was a big crowd at The Scoop watching some acrobats!

We were pretty shattered by this point though, so we walked back to St Katherine Docks where we’d started, and opted for an early dinner at Ping Pong to avoid having to cook!….and before long it was time to head home for a freshen up before making our way to our little ‘leaving London’ party!

We’d reserved a little area in our new favourite place, the Oliver Conquest, and arranged for a couple of dozen of our friends to meet us there for a send off. The pub boasts a list of over 50 different types of gin, as well as a yummy menu and lovely staff (who also know their gin!). Adam and I have been making our way through the gin list for the last few weeks….they kindly keep a copy for you behind the bar which you can tick off as you try each one! We’ve tried some amazing drinks there so we were really pleased to share the place with our friends. In fact, we were made up by the number of people who made it to see us off…..it made me a little sad to be leaving them all, especially after such a wonderful day in London too!

Next morning, it was a fry up we needed for breakfast (despite yumming up some of the amazing Oliver Conquest nachos, there was still a lot of gin to soak up!), so popped to our other local for a veggie breakfast before making our way back to Waitrose to pick up the boxes we’d had saved. I couldn’t resist a bit more packing once back at home, just to test out the boxes you understand (I’ve gotten addicted to packing!), but it was so lovely outside we decided we should really go out again soon after.

The wheelchair marathon was passing very near to our flat, so we walked down to Tower Hill to watch a bit, before walking a little further to our favourite place in London….. I’ve written about St Dunstan’s before (I had my birthday party there in fact!) and I must have taken hundreds of photos of the place. It’s a little ‘secret’ garden inside an old church in the City. It’s one of the most tranquil and magical places I’ve ever been too, with its lush planting, incredible light and beautiful architecture. As it was the last chance we’ll get, we took the opportunity to sit there for a few hours, just reading, chatting and sun bathing. It felt like the perfect Sunday activity in fact, and I felt so very relaxed for it.

Having caught a bit of sun, we ambled home, where I took a nice nap before making supper. We scoffed another load of my summery sausage dish, then slobbed on the sofa to watch the Sixth Sense (which I will never tire of watching!). That ended in perfect time to watch the Paralympics Closing Ceremony, and so our evening finished watching the fireworks for the Thames Festival and the closing ceremony from the flat windows….and hearing them too! So loud!

As you can imagine, I was fast asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow after all that, and I awoke sleepy but very content with our wonderful last weekend of fun in London!

Ems x

Disposable Camera Swap with Camfire Chic

Aaaaaaages ago now, I signed up for a disposable camera swap on the brilliant Campfire Chic blog. I heard about it through the awesome Matin Lapin, and knew right away I had to get involved!

With the blog itself entering its third year, Campfire Kam wanted to celebrate with a disposable camera swap…..The idea is that you sign up to get matched to another signer-upper, you go out taking photos with a disposable camera, and then you send it off to your partner! AND…of course that means you get one from them too!

I loved the idea of not knowing how the photos I’d taken would come out, AND that I’d get to develop a film when I had no clue what it contained!

Anyway, after sending my camera off to the far away land of America, I got my partner’s camera in the post in return…and FINALLY I’ve had it developed!

I’m so pleased with the photos I was sent….they are so utterly different to the ones I sent! Living in Central London, I decided to take shots of the Thames, the Monument, Tower Bridge, London buses etc. And in return I got some incredible shots from the mountains in America! There are horses, and diners and all sorts of sunny scenes….the total opposite to the rather grey, built-up shots that must have been on my camera!

Anyway, I’ve just uploaded the shots to my Flickr, where you can see the ones I was sent…..here….. I’m also going to add them (when it lets me!) to the Campfire Chic Flickr Pool…..and you can see lots of the other participants’ photos there too!

I thought I’d share a few of my favourites here though (you know how I like a post to have lots of pictures!)….. Enjoy!

Ems x

 

Something from the weekend….. markets, photos and cocktails

WHAT an amazing weekend! I’m shattered after doing so much, but it was all so worth it. Adam and I had our dear friend Hannah to stay, and so we made sure we crammed as much in as possible. There are lots of things I’d like to share individually, so for now I’ll just give you the lowdown….as soon as I get chance I’ll be back to tell you more about the things in bold in detail!

After a lazy start and a bit of a lie-in, Adam and I trundled down the road on Saturday morning towards Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair at Old Spitalfields. On our way though, we decided to pop into the Adnams shop, which is actually one of the shops on the outer edge of the market…..I’d read about their new eau de vie de biere ‘Spirit of Broadside’ on Domestic Sluttery, and wanted to try for myself! I’d never been in before, because I’d foolishly presumed that it’s just a shop full of beers (although I do really rate their beers, that said) but inside it’s actually an incredibly well-stocked wine shop. As well as a great range of wines, home wares and other bits and bobs, there are actually several Adnams spirits for sale…I had no idea that they have their own distillery and make vodka, gin, limoncello and other treats! Anyway, suffice to say for now, we very much enjoyed trying out lots of things, and came out with a bottle of Spirit of Broadside!

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After getting a bit tipsy on samples, we headed inside to the indoor market, and set about snooping the many vintage stalls. There were a few that we recognised, and I was very, very tempted to buy several little Hornsea pottery deer, but it wasn’t quite as good as when we’ve been before. I did however pic up a very lovely floral dish for just a pound! But we couldn’t potter about all day…..we popped across to Brick Lane for some provisions, and on the way finally got around to trying Nude Esperesso next to the Truman Brewery, buying a couple of very good macchiatos and a bag of beans to take home.

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Back at home by mid afternoon, I set about making the flat ready for our visitor, and we prepared our breakfast for the next morning…. I’d been inspired by a post on The Cake Hunter earlier in the week, and decided to make us all cinnamon whirls for Sunday morning breakfast. I actually ended up adapting a couple of recipes to make banana and cinnamon whirls in the end….I made the dough and filling, and put them together in the tray ready to bake first thing in the morning. It all smelled wonderful as I prepared it, so I was most excited to bake them on Sunday!

Before long though it was time to pick Hannah up from the tube station, and for our first adventure we took her to our local, the Oliver Conquest. We only recently discovered that they serve over fifty different gins, so it has fast become a favourite of ours! We all dutifully sampled a gin each…. the Geranium gin (for Hannah), the Hayman’s (for me) and the Old Raj (for Adam). It was a great way to start our evening, sat on the big comfy sofa with drinks, chatting and catching up.

Next, we made our way to Brick Lane where we met up with friends Richard and Tara for a curry. Hannah had never been before, so we’d prepared her for the usual….lots of salesy people out on the street trying to lure you into their respective restaurants with various deals. We decided we wanted to make our way at least half way down the road before choosing somewhere, as we often get over excited and choose the first or second place we come across! And we made it a good way along before heading inside a restaurant where we’d been promised Lychee Lassis!

After the meal, we headed just around the corner to what is probably one of my top three places to drink….. I was told about Lounge Bohemia just after it opened a few years ago. A colleague had worked with the owner, so I was told a little about this fantastic bunker of a bar which served totally out of this world cocktails. Just as well really, as I’m not sure I’d ever have found out about it otherwise! There’s no flashy website to draw you in, and you HAVE to book (there’s a no suits policy too!), but this gives the place a feeling of accessible exclusivity….it’s really not just a bar, but (forgive me) a drinking experience. As usual, we were treated to exemplary service, and THE most incredible cocktails available to man. I won’t give away too much before writing the visit up properly though!

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After our fairly late night (and the copious amounts of booze we’d gotten through), we have another fairly lazy morning on Sunday. I was pretty smug that I’d prepared the cinnamon whirls already though, so they just got brushed with honey and baked for about 20 minutes before we scoffed them alongside the Nude Espresso coffee we’d bought the day before. Then, well fed, we began the walk to Columbia Road flower market. Unfortunately, only half way there, the skies opened and we had to take refuge in Old Spitalfields. Still, it’s not a bad place to while away an hour whilst waiting for the rain to desist, and it was good to show Hannah around. We had started to flag already though, before the rain had even stopped, so we took up a nice spot in the covered terrace of The Luxe. I felt rather better for one of their ‘Veggie’ juice blends, and so with the rain stopped and our energy levels boosted, we finally set off again towards the flower market.

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It was a leisurely, meandering walk there, just because there were so many eye-catching things to photograph, including lots of very cool street art. Nevertheless, we made it there in good time really, and immediately immersed ourselves in the street market. Columbia Road is taken up every Sunday for the famous flower market, and sellers line each side of the road with stalls bearing stacks of fresh cut flowers, herbs, gardening stuff and pot plants. In fact, it’s a mecca for the bargain botanical, and I found myself wishing I had a garden to plant lots of the treasures in. Even if you don’t though, you can pick up amazing steals such as a huge bunch of sunflowers for just a fiver.

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Behind the stalls, there are lots of lovely shops to root about in (handy when it started to rain again!), including Ryan Town, the Rob Ryan shop, which I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. There are also some gorgeous nick-nack shops (my favourite the pretty boutique shared by Buddug and Jessie Chorley) as well as some amazing antique and vintage shops (I was in my element at Vintage Heaven with piles and piles of lovely vintage china!). There is also a little vintage market one road over on Ezra Street, as well as several (very packed) places to eat.

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We opted to make our way back towards Brick Lane though, and stopped in at Benets Ice Cream Parlour for a much needed sugar fix. After being served a rather disappointing Tiramisu, I was given a rather better Rocky Road by the nice man who agreed that the former didn’t taste of anything much. We wandered along Brick Lane with our ice creams and had a snoop about some of the markets. I was very pleased that I Shoot Film were there again, as I’ve been seeing their incredible horse photo for ages and knew Hannah would love it….and in fact, she bought it! We were seriously weary by that time though, and so it was home for a cuppa, and shortly afterwards Hannah made her way home to Hitchin.

Supper was going to have to be pretty filling and very quick and easy, so I roasted up some pumpkin and made a very simple risotto. It was so yummy, despite its simplicity, so I’ll be sure to share the recipe here soon. After that, we were only fit to slob on the sofa watching a film, before we fell into bed for an early night.

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Amazing times!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Ems x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockrose Photography at Hannah and Jamie’s wedding

I wrote about my gorgeous weekend down in Devon for Hannah and Jamie’s wedding a couple of weeks ago… I’ve even dropped off the roll of Velvia film I took whilst there (all I need to do now is pick it up!). But whilst I wait to see if I got a couple of decent analogue shots or not, I thought I’d share the professional photos from the day.

Hannah and Jamie were lucky enough to find Rockrose Photography and secure a booking with them to take photos of the wedding. Local girls Becs and Jules came along to the tiny village of Knowstone to take photos throughout the day….at the intimate ceremony, the stunning church blessing and the village hall knees up….and Hannah has just put me onto their lovely blog post about the day….

I’m so impressed with all the photos….they so capture what a perfect day it was, with the incredible sun, the stunning couple, and lots of happy people! I even don’t mind the photos of me, which is rare! They got some great shots of the little cake topper I made too. It’s not often I’ll rave about wedding and event photographers….I’m so picky….but these guys are quite obviously brilliant at what they do.

The below picture is one of my favourites from their post and if you click on it you’ll get through to their post itself….

Ems x