(One year on) Our Wedding: Part One

We just celebrated our first wedding anniversary! As of Sunday, we’ve been married one whole year! We started celebrations on Friday with a gin tasting, then exchanged gifts, and had a few adventures over the rest of the bank holiday weekend….we’re celebrating for a few weeks still to come with some other things planned too!

I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast….it certainly doesn’t feel like a year ago that we were in Greenwich saying our vows (not least because it was warm enough to spend much of the day outside with bare arms and legs, and now it’s rather grey and chill outside!). It’s been the most fun year ever, and I’m loving being a Mrs.

This also means it’s almost a year since I blogged a few photos from the wedding and promised to share more later….so I thought I’d take the opportunity to finally do so! I always wanted to post some of what we did, as much as to remind us in future years as to share some of our ideas in the hope of encouraging others to be bold and not worry about bucking the trends and doing things differently. So, as we celebrate over the next few weeks (whilst we were actually married on the 3rd of May, we didn’t have our reception until the 24th, so technically we get two anniversaries!) I thought I’d write about some of the things we did. Apologies if wedding chat isn’t really your thing….I’m afraid I just can’t get enough of weddings myself and am always delighted to talk about them!

We opted to have a very small, personal ceremony in Greenwich on the first May bank holiday, with just our family present (and our photographer of course!). Neither Adam nor I much liked the idea of having lots of people watching us as we said our vows, and it felt really special to do so with a more intimate audience. Having the ceremony on a separate day to our reception was vital too, as we did so much for the latter ourselves and couldn’t have done so much if we had to worry about doing it all on the same day. We chose Greenwich because I’d lived around there for many years, and we would often go there when we first started seeing each other….we also have some of our most treasured memories from times there, and it is just a stunning place. Being at the home of time also fitted well with our theme of adventure, and it felt pretty special to tie the knot there.

My Mum drove us down from Hitchin on the Friday afternoon, and we checked into our hotel, Devenport House, before meeting up with my brother for a few drinks at the pub and a lovely Italian meal. Then it was an early night to get our beauty sleep! Adam and I bucked tradition and shared a room, which meant we saw each other on the morning of the wedding (it didn’t seem to bring us any bad luck!). I awoke early to begin primping and couldn’t believe our luck with the weather….it was blue skies as far as the eye could see!

We met my brother for a full English breakfast together (Mum was too busy doing her hair!) and then after getting our glad rags on, set off in a taxi together to the registry office in The Royal Borough of Greenwich Town Hall. Adam’s family met us there and we had some photos outside and in the lobby as we actually arrived before the bride to the wedding before ours! Then, after a few formalities Adam and I walked down the aisle together and said our vows (with a little giggling and just a little crying). The whole thing only took about twenty minutes, which gave us time to chat with everyone (it was the first time Adam and I met our niece, and the first time my brother had met Adam’s family) and then have some family photos around the Royal Naval College, the Queen’s House and Greenwich Park. The glorious weather, and our amazing photographer Sharon, (not to mention my wonderful new husband!) made all this just beautiful….a perfectly happy, relaxed and special day!

We had a great pub lunch together afterwards with our families, then wandered through sunny Greenwich with ice creams before Mum drove Adam and I back to Hitchin. She’d secretly decorated her car in cahoots with my Brother, with ribbons and a little sign, so we got lots of waves and beeps from cars we passed all the way home! In the evening, Adam’s Mum put on a yummy buffet for us all, then on Sunday we all went out for a delicious Sunday roast lunch.

It really was all we’d hoped for, and more….I’m so glad we did it this way!

And so….to the photos (all courtesy of Sharon Cooper)!…..

 

Our wedding: the rings, rose gold and rosewood (via Under a Glass Sky)

We couldn’t have agreed on matching rings if we’d tried, but we still co-ordinated….I’m crazy for rose gold, so went for a simple double court band, whilst Adam had a beautiful rosewood band made for him with a copper band running through it.

Our wedding: the rings inside one of our customised match boxes (via Under a Glass Sky)

We re-decorated lots of match boxes to have at the reception, and this one worked rather well to pop the rings in!

Our wedding: my hand made pink silk teardrop birdcage veil with vintage marcasite and pearl  Lily of the Valley brooch

I hand-made my own birdcage veil to match my dress (which I also made!), using offcuts of silk and a vintage marcasite and pearl brooch….Lily of the Valley are my favourite flower so I was delighted to find this to wear on my wedding day!

Our wedding: the Groom's hand made vintage map bow tie and rosewood ring

I made Adam’s bow tie from a wonderful vintage map print fabric we bought together in London to go with our adventure theme….

Our wedding: vintage map bow tie and button hole boutonniere

….and to match, I used old maps to make his button hole!

Hand made vintage map button holes / boutonnieres

In fact, everyone got a button hole…even our photographer and our baby niece!

Hand made DIY china flower brooch bouquet

I made my own bouquet using antique fine china floral brooches….I wanted to use it at both the ceremony and reception so it had to last, plus the brooches were a nod to my Potteries roots! It was great to collect them with my Mum’s help and slowly piece it together in the run up to the wedding….although LOTS of work!

Fine china floral hair decorations for the Bride

With the smaller brooches I made lots of little hair adornments to match my bouquet

Our wedding: the Bride's shoes by Christian Louboutin

Having made my own dress, I decided to indulge myself in a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes to go with it….and going with pink meant that I can wear them again!

Our wedding: Lulu Guinness 'Don't Forget Your Lipstick' handbag

I decided on a pink and red theme for my outfit, and used a large red vintage vanity case on the day as well as this little Lulu Guinness ‘Don’t Forget Your Lipstick’ handbag which I’ve had for ages….my Brother kindly carried the vanity for most of the day though!

Our wedding: the Bride in pink with a London Bus

My DIY veil in action, as well as the red and pink theme in full swing with a London bus!

Our wedding: Bride and Groom on the checkered floor of Greenwich Town Hall

I was just crazy about the black and white checkered floor in the Town Hall lobby

Our wedding: goofing around in the lobby at Greenwich Town Hall

Goofing around in the stunning lobby as we waited!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

He calls this the ‘hero’ pose!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Adam’s eldest brother, our sister-in-law, and our (then!) baby niece!

Exchanging rings

Exchanging rings

Checking out the rings afterwards

Checking out the rings afterwards

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

The lot of us!

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Me and him

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

My wonderful Mummy passing on her good luck trinkets from her own wedding

Our wedding: Greenwich Town Hall

Confetti!

Love Lane, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Love Lane, Royal Borough of Greenwich

We love this spot...the building features in lots of costume dramas we've seen together, especially lots of Dickens adaptations!

We love this spot…the building features in lots of costume dramas we’ve seen together, especially lots of Dickens adaptations!

My wonderful Mummy had her outfit made for her, based on one Kim Novak wore in 1957 film Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra

My wonderful Mummy had her outfit made for her, based on one Kim Novak wore in 1957 film Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra….it went so beautifully with all the colours on the day

A little cheeky shot of my red petticoats....who said you can't wear pink with red?!

A little cheeky shot of my red petticoats….who said you can’t wear pink with red?! I swapped into flats for a while too….a gorgeous pair of pink glimmer jazz flats from French Sole.

In the beautiful dappled sunlight

In the beautiful dappled sunlight

I still can't believe how lucky with the weather we were....it was so warm!

I still can’t believe how lucky with the weather we were….it was so warm!

One of our favourite shots...sitting in an anchor outside The National Maritime Museum (surrounded by tourists!)

One of our favourite shots…sitting in an anchor outside The National Maritime Museum (surrounded by tourists!)

Can you believe that blue sky?!

Can you believe that blue sky?!

Which way?! This vintage map is from where we took our first ever holiday together.

Which way?! This vintage map is from where we took our first ever holiday together…..far from the Royal Observatory as shown in the background!

A kiss.....

A kiss…..

That’s all for now!

Ems x

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Wednesday Wants: Shoe Embassy

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Shoe Embassy was established in 2011 and shortly afterwards, when I found them at a Brick Lane market, I bought my first pair. Two years on, and I can safely say they are the best pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. My camel coloured ‘Foxy Brown‘ boots (pictured above) have seen me through just about as much as you could ask of any shoe….they are fleecey lined and have kept my usually cold toes warm, kept smart and solid despite the hundreds of miles I’ve walked in them, and remained comfy even in hot weather and after hours of pavement pounding and dog walks.

I suppose what impressed me first about Shoe Embassy is the fact that all their shoes are leather inside and out, and that despite their amazing quality, they are incredibly well priced. I have paid through the nose in the past to try to get comfy shoes for my weird feet, but these bargainous boots are the only ones I’ve ever managed to break in right away and with no discomfort.

Now that I’ve moved out of London, I’ve been waiting and waiting for their website to launch, and finally I can now buy online! There is a great choice of boots, shoes, flats, flip flops and heels in all sorts of charming designs. All are leather and made in Europe. You can also buy them at Camden Market, Spitalfields and Greenwich Market, but with the online shopping temptation I fear I’ll be buying up several pairs before long!

Here though are my favourites…..so far!…..

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When I bought my Foxy Brown boots I had a tough choice between all the other lovely brown boots. The colour goes with EVERYTHING and because they’re not too bulky, I can wear them with dresses as well as skinny jeans. These ‘Al Capones’ are a great halfway house between boot and shoe though, with a thin and flexible sole, low top and fancy brogue-ish pixiness. They also come in two-tone versions of black and white, and charcoal and sepia!

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Not only did I struggle to choose a boot style, but I also had to pick a shade of brown! I love the amber richness of my boots, but there is something distinctly retro and classy about these ‘Doodle Dandy‘ boots, which have a beautiful taupe outer, with a flashy violet lining which can be exposed by folding down the tongue! Fun *and* wearable!

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Speaking of fun, how wonderful are these babies?! The Spectator shoes are so wonderfully nostalgic and bright. I adore the soft vanilla panels and dark blue toes and heels, and the cleverly included red trims really make them special.

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And for more red….I am crazy about these ‘Pixie-Oh‘ booties in Chilli. They are wonderfully pointy and buttery soft, and you can fold down the tops to make them even more versatile. And I really *should* have a pair of red boots.

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Back to being sensible though for a while, and these ‘Twirlie‘ shoes in Amber look like a seriously sound investment. Dainty and delicate, these angels have a feather-light sole and a super soft ankle, so your feet will be happy happy happy…. and not to mention beautifully adorned. I can see me wearing these non-stop through summer with girly dresses, frilly skirts and short trousers, as they really do go with anything.

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I am nearly always in need of a pair of sensible black shoes, perhaps because I don’t often find them exciting enough to buy. These ‘Quarter Oxfords‘ in black though are seriously cute and wearable….how lush would they look with brightly colours tights and a mini skirt?!

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I can’t be sensible forever though, and I therefore give you….blue suede shoes! Well, Indigo Nubuck to be accurate, but this Elvis lover thinks the King would approve. And at just £55 I think they are a snip, if only for the chance to dance around in them, singing like a lune.

I really can’t tell you just how comfy my Shoe Embassy boots are, and I constantly get complimented on them. It’s so wonderful to finally have found a company who sells such a great range of styles, exclusively in leather (for my feet will not last two minutes in anything else!) and at such a great price point. And if I could only ever buy shoes from one place ever, I wouldn’t be too upset knowing that Shoe Embassy have me covered!

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

Ideas for your weekend…..so many temptations!

Guess what? More rain this weekend! No surprises there then! Still, there’s so much going on in London this weekend, something is sure to lure you out!

London Coffee Festival

Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Adult tickets from £9.50, Friday to Sunday

The London Coffee Festival returns this weekend to the Old Truman Brewery,  hosting Street Food & Artisan Markets, coffee tastings and demonstrations, the UK Barista Championships and live music. The festival is divided into themed zones – Hyde Park, Shoreditch, Soho, The Lab, The Showroom and The Growing Community.

The Cutty Sark

Nearest station is Cutty Sark DLR, adult tickets £12.00

The stunning tea clipper, resident in Maritime Greenwich has received a huge re-vamp and has just been re-openend to the the public by the Queen this week. Once again, you can venture aboard and beneath one of the world’s most famous ships, the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of her time.

Taxidermy and Tea

Saturday, Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, £25 in advance

Bethnal Green Working Mens Club will this weekend play host to The Robin Collective and their Taxidermy and Tea event. For those who are curious about taxidermy, this is the perfect opportunity to learn everything you could ever have wished to, as a master of taxidermy shows you how it’s done. There are a bunch of traditional Spring offerings of chocolate eggs and cakes on offer too….. but also expect the usual Robin Collective twist with some more unconventional fare.

The Wonder Hill Market

The Miller, London Bridge, Free Entry, Saturday 11:30am to 5pm

I’m planning my second craft fair stall this weekend, which will be part of the Wonder Hill Market in Borough. Expect plenty of hand crafted goodies, vintage treasures and yummy Thai food to boot! Would be lovely to see you there!

Browns Pop-Up Sale

20th Century Theatre, Westbourne Grove, Today until 7pm

You’ll have to rush, but you can still make this epic sale after work! Browns is offering up to 80% off some amazing pieces by the likes of Acne, Chloé, Marc Jacobs, Lanvin and Alexander McQueen and lots more. Sounds too good to miss right?!

Cheese and Wine Festival
Southbank Centre Square, Until 6pm Sunday, Free Admission

The Cheese & Wine Festival takes place again this weekend at the Southbank Centre. A celebration of Britain’s best ethical and artisan produce, the organisers aim to bring delicious food and drink to everyone, with no snobbery or gobbledygook. With an amazing list of exhibitors, any wine or cheese lover would be silly to miss it.

 

Have you got exciting plans for the weekend? Hope you enjoy whatever you do!

Ems x

Celebrate National Frog Day…. and other ideas for the weekend

Just when you thought we were running out of interesting things to do at the weekend…. This Sunday is National Frog Day! I’m afraid that not all my suggestions are frog related, but here goes with my ideas for adventuring this weekend…..

Frog Day in Greenwich…..

This Sunday (18th March) the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is hosting a fun event celebrating this important time of year for frogs…. that is, when our frogs return to their breeding ponds and the mother frogs lay frogspawn! Rather aptly then, and as it’s Mothering Sunday, all mums get a free cup of tea and cake! There will be pond dipping, quizzes, nature trails, froggy arts and crafts, as well as a gift stall and raffle. It is free to get in too.

Frog making…..

Why not celebrate Frog Day by making froggie cupcakes, or pom pom frogs?!

Froggie Cupcakes

An Exhibition…..

Stroll through the gorgeous Shad Thames to The Design Museum, right on the river. They are currently showing the design equivalent of the Oscars, the Designs of the Year 2012 awards. Featuring seven categories (Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport) the awards showcase innovative and fresh designs from all over the world. Adult entry is £11 and you can see it until 4th July.

Cinema…..

From 16th March, Future Cinema is taking on the deliciously Deco Troxy to re-create Fat Sam’s Speakeasy and show the classic Bugsy Malone. So dust off your Splurge guns and head East!

Bugsy Malone and Future Cinema at The Troxy

Shopping…..

Head over to Battersea for this year’s Affordable Art Fair. Since 1999 Will Ramsay’s fair has proven that contemporary art can be accessible, and that you don’t need to be an art expert or super rich to enjoy it and buy it.

Eating out….

Something special is set to happen this weekend at acclaimed gelateria Gino Gelato, near Charing Cross. Celebrating the beginning of Japan’s cherry blossom season, Masterchef contestant Aki Matsushima and champion gelato maker Palmiro Bruschi will be creating ten Japanese-themed gelati and sorbetti, including miso caramel and green tea white chocolate! Free sample? Why, why ever not!

Gino Gelato

Eating in….

Fancy spending the afternoon simmering your supper? On Saturday I’ll be sharing my Made With Love Spaghetti Bolognese recipe, here on my blog.

My Spag Bol

Plan Ahead….

Summer really isn’t that far away you know…. and how better to celebrate it than at Chelsea Flower Show? Tickets are now on sale for the event which starts on 22nd May!

But it’s not even that long until the highly anticipated Christian Laboutin retrospective at the Design Museum! Starting on 1st May, tickets are now on sale, and I for one do not want to miss it!

Whatever you do this weekend, have a wonderful one!

Ems x

Planning for the weekend….. a weekend of Pie…..

Happy British Pie Week everyone! Yes, this weekend sees the end of a week of recipes, tastings, tips and generally yumming up pie. And I love pie.

So, here are my ideas for a pie-filled weekend…..

Pie, Chips and Peas at Apples and Pears

Eating out…..

Last night we visited Apples and Pears ….the East-End-meets-Shoreditch hidden drinking den. It’s just around the corner for us on Brick Lane and so off we tootled for some cocktails and supper. I began with the Columbia Martini, so called after the local flower market…..it has a hint of lavender in it and according to the menu is Mary Poppins’ favourite tipple, so I was bound to get on well with it! For food we opted for two of their yummy pies (of course)….Adam the steak and me the chicken. Both were delicious and came with beautifully crispy chunky chips and garden peas. The pies were drizzled with gravy but I’d have like a boat of my own (Northern lass that I am)! Whilst I’d rather go to Lounge Bohemia (just a little further around the corner) for the cocktails (Paul makes incredible mixes from around the same price), I can certainly recommend the pies.

Cocktail menu at Apples and Pears

Eating at home…..

In honour of Pie Week, tonight I’m making my legendary sweet potato pie. I used to make it all the time for parties and picnics, but have rather forgotten about it of late…..my friend Annie reminded me of it though when I saw her a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to make it since! I’ll post the recipe for it tomorrow so shop for sweet potatoes and almonds!

Planning ahead…..

In my opinion, there is no better pie-based experience than the traditional pie and mash shop of Goddard’s, founded in Deptford in 1890. As a student, I would go to their Greenwich shop for a treat lunch (although it was always incredible value for money) of pie, mash and gravy. Devastatingly though, the shop was closed a few years ago, but I have heard that it will be reopening at a new location on King William Walk in April! Taking over the Great British Fish and Chip Shop (which was the Cricketers pub when I first knew it, but has since been the Powder Monkey Bar and W Lounge) I can’t wait till they’re open again for business….. I’m planning a visit as soon as they are! In the mean time though, you can still visit their stand at the Fountain Food Court, next to Natwest in Greenwich.

Goddard's old pie shop in Greenwich

And whilst we’re on hearty winter food and planning ahead…. I can highly recommend the Dead Doll’s Club’s Stew House which is opening its doors at a new venue in Bethnal Green in a couple of weeks. We really enjoyed our visit to the transformed hall in Hackney a few weeks ago, and this is your last chance to get in before their menus change for a more summery theme. Tickets are still available here….it’s best enjoyed as a group, so why not get a gang together?!

The Stew House

Exhibitions…..

Brain Activity is David Shrigley’s first major exhibition in the UK and includes the full range of his work, including a number of new works created especially for the Hayward Gallery. Although Shrigley is best known for his wry and witty drawings, the exhibition will also feature animation, music, painting, photography, sculpture and taxidermy, all with his signature absurdity and humour.

Until 13th May at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre. Adults £10

David Shrigley at the Hayward Gallery

As I’m heading into town for a very important rendezvous at Liberty, I think I’ll pop to the Getty Images Gallery to see the Marilyn Exhibition. Commemorating 50 years since the actress’ death, the gallery have put together a collection of photographs and memorabilia, as well as original dresses and costumes worn by Monroe.

Until 23rd May at the Eastcastle Street Gallery. Entry is Free

Out and about…..

There are still a few events around the UK to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, including special menus at Dishoom (where the waiters will be covering themselves in powdered paint!).

Shopping…..

I see there are still a few pieces left online at H&M in their much anticipated collaboration with Marni. I hear it was carnage at the opening yesterday, and some naughty shoppers had items on Ebay by ten past nine! Still, perhaps still worth a look….I’m loving the amazing prints and gorgeous bright colours.

I’ll be heading back out East though after my appointment at Liberty (supper at Poppies with friends planned) so I think the weekend’s shopping is more likely to take place at Spitalfields Market, which is hosting the International Women’s Fair in celebration of International Women’s Day. The market will host a wonderful collection of creative women including artists, craftswomen, designers, performers, workshops, women’s groups and organisations. And you can even round off the day with another pie at Square Pie which is right in the market!

Hope you all have suitably pie-filled weekends!

Ems x

Splendid Snowy Sunday

It’s taken us ages to find a free day to meet up with our friends Siobhan and Matthew, but finally today we managed a whole Sunday together. As they live in South East London (near to my old stomping ground) we thought we’d take the opportunity to visit the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Observatory, as well as have a snoop around the market.

Having managed to get out of bed at a reasonable hour (considering it was Sunday), we decided to head off a little earlier than planned to take some photos on our walk through Greenwich to meet them. The snow slowed us down a little with signal failure at our DLR stop, but we managed the walk to the next one along thanks to my very snug sheepskin coat, Alpaca socks and my trusty Hunter boots. Once in Greenwich, we began our wander through the Old Royal Naval College, snapping the various scenes we’ve seen in so many of the Dickens series. On our way, we found a temporary structure on the King Charles Lawn, beside which was what looked to be a miniature jousting area, marked out by bunting and several yurts. It rather looked like we’d missed something, so we carried on to the gorgeous Painted Hall for some snaps.

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Outside, a team from the Council were busy shoveling the snow from the central pathway, which seemed an odd length to go to in such a place. But they provided a great subject for our snowy photos, with the Queen’s House and Observatory behind.

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Next we headed over the road to the National Maritime Museum and around the beautiful Queen’s House where we began to hear the happy noises of the park as couples made snow angels and children threw snow balls. It was when we got into the park proper though that I got really excited to see everyone dashing around, over-joyed to be out in the snow. The squeals as people got playfully thunk-ed with snow balls, and the barks of over-excited dogs tearing around brought such a grin to my face…. the place was the noisiest I’d ever seen it and the atmosphere was genuinely joyful. I found myself bounding around squeaking with delight!

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On the large hills running down from the Observatory, dozens of people were sledging on beautiful traditional sleighs, stream-lined plastic sleds and even bits of cardboard and in one case an old door! Despite the slightly treacherous walk up the steep path to the top, everyone was having such a lovely time and it was so gorgeous to see everyone whisking down the slope in the opposite direction that we didn’t mind the hard going at all. And waiting at the top were our dear friends, commentating on which of the snow crafts were most effective and who was ‘winning’.

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So, all assembled, we headed straight inside the Observatory to see the exhibition. It’s been running for three years now and Adam and I have been to every one. It’s a short but well curated exhibition, and free to get in. When we first went I had no idea of the possibilities of astro-photography and what was achievable with such little specialist equipment. The images are always eye opening and awe inspiring, so we wouldn’t dream of missing it.

Entrants are asked to submit photos in several different categories: ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Our Solar System’, ‘Deep Space’, ‘People and Space’ and ‘Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year’. There is also a prize for ‘Best Newcomer’ and this year they have added a new prize for photographs taken with a ‘Robotic Scope’. The Deep Space photographs always grab me, because of the surreal, seemingly computer generated quality in the colours and shapes captured. It’s incredible to think what is going on so far away from us, and how vividly someone can capture it. I especially loved Michael Sidonio’s Fighting Dragons of Ara, in which oily colours and patterns form a mind boggling amount of detail. This year, I also really enjoyed the People and Space photographs, and especially Jean-Baptiste Feldmann’s Hunting Moon in which the subject appears to be catching the moon in a net.

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Back out into the cold and we were ready for something to fill our tummys and warm us up, so Siobhan took us to Bianco right next to the Cutty Sark. Needing an instant warm-up, I ordered a Cappuccino which arrived quickly (thank goodness) and expertly made (in fact, one of the best I’ve had outside Italy and Monmouth). Adam and I decided to do our swapping trick, ordering the special pizza of the day and the baked gnocchi to share.The pizza was perfectly thin and crispy, very authentic, and well laden with its toppings of fresh tomato, mozzarella, Italian truffles and Parmesan. Even though it was pretty large, we demolished every tasty mouthful. The gnocchi too was delicious, baked in a tomato and basil sauce, and topped generously with toasted Parmesan.

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The cute cafe suffers somewhat from the noises of young families, and is a little over-cosy for my taste, but then its location and the quality of the food far outweighs these slight inconveniences.

Next, we were off into the wonderful covered market, where I’ve spent many, many hours but haven’t been for over a year. We used to go regularly when I only lived down the road, and things have changed a little bit now with new shops and stalls. The wonderful 360 Degrees Vintage clothing shop had us all rustling through busy rails of gorgeous treasures, and Adam picked up a stunning military coat with big pointy collar and shiny buttons. The food stalls are also far too tempting, even though we were stuffed from lunch, but we got away with only a small purchase of Maple Pecan flavoured coffee beans.

Just outside, we discovered an enchanting shop called Lush Designs, in which lamp shades, cushions, totes and cards are covered in delightful illustrations of animals, nature and architecture. The colours and lines feel almost 70s, whilst the application of the drawings feels very contemporary and we all quickly picked out our favourites and ‘wants’.

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It was soon time for another warm-me-up, so we hopped over to Bar du Musee for hot chocolates. After those and some more shopping (Siobhan picked up two beautiful dresses in Joy, where I also spied the gorgeous necklaces of Jenny and Jimbob) we began hearing rumours of a parade due to go through Greenwich at 5pm. Presuming this was a one-off thing to celebrate Greenwich being named a Royal Borough as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we decided to hang around to see it….with another hot drink, this time Chai Cafe Lattes and Spicy Mochas at The Organic Cafe.

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Before long though, it was time to try to find this rumored parade, and following the men in fluorescent vests and the cars at a stand-still, we marched back down to where we’d seen the temporary structure and bunting earlier (which also explained the snow shoveling), just in time to see the very front of the parade pass by. Just like in the park earlier, there was a proper party spirit as hundreds of people passed by with lanterns, some in Royal and historical themed costumes, but all loving the buzz of the parade. Several marching bands, troupes of cadets and a marvelously energetic band (who are you please?! the ones wearing all black with red sashes!) who had us all hopping about to the beat.

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The Royal Naval College had been lit up in bright pinks and purples, with a gobo of the Royal Borough’s Coat of Arms right at the top, and inside the tent adjacent, the brilliant Fat 45 warmed us all up dancing to their fabulous ’11 Piece Jump Jive Big Band’!

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By now though, we’d been out in the snowy chill for almost eight hours, and had become rather sleepy. So it was back to the DLR, farewells to our fellow adventurers, and home to snuggle on the sofa with a pot of Assam and a cosy Vetiver and Cardamon candle from White Company. What a splendid, snowy Sunday.

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We would all recommend the Astromony Photography exhibition, which runs for just one more week until the 12th February). The snow though, well who knows?!