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Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

October's Greatest Hits

serene brighton seaside

So welcome to November guys! I hope you all had a wonderfully Autumnal, slightly spooky, productive, healthy, happy October. My October has been pretty memorable, and very surreal in parts, and a lot has happened, so here's the low-down.

October's memorable moment

countryside sunday walk

The latter half of October has been a frenzy of work-related stress, last-minute tickets to shows and events, and of course, finally buying our flat, so I am finding myself drawn to mention some of the more serene moments from the beginning of October, such as walking along Brighton beach and watching the sun go down, filling our lungs with fresh air in the fields near Dan's parents' house, or reminiscing about all of the weird things I've collected over the years.

I was also lucky enough to attend an event to celebrate the UK launch of a fashion app called The Hunt, where I got to meet up with some of my blogging pals Angelica and Charlotte, as well as meeting the bloggers behind the fellow Owlishly named blog Two Little Owls, and ogling Rosie Fortescue from Made in Chelsea from afar. The venue was half aeroplane-themed and half 70s disco-themed. A bizarre yet winning combo in my opinion.

October's Instagram moments

countryside living cambridge skyline
kings cross commute twentysomething homeowners

This month, I indulged my rural side, admired the Cambridge skyline from the top of a multi-storey car park (some of the best views are from the top of car parks - pro-tip!), continued to commute to work on the ricketiest trains imaginable, and... bought a flat. Say whaaaaaaaa......?!

Songs on repeat in October

I have to say, I've definitely been on the Taylor Swift bandwagon this month. I made a decision some time ago, to stop being a snob about popular music, and to just enjoy it. Gone are the days when I tut and shake my head at a song just because it is popular rather than tapping my feet and nodding my head because I actually appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into creating it. Plus, in the case of Taylor Swift, you can see such personal progression and development when you listen to all of her albums back to back, which I really enjoy. I'm not going to write an essay about her here (although I totally could), but if you're one of the 0.5 people who hasn't already listened to Out of the Woods then you should get your act together and experience its dark synthy nostalgia now. I've also been listening to Starman by David Bowie because I was recently reminded of the time I begged my Dad to call up the local radio and request it, but they didn't have it so they played me Rebel Rebel instead. I was about eight years old, and I was so angry that they didn't have the entire Bowie back catalogue. HOW DARE.

Blogs I've loved this month

My friend Freya is a very eloquent and very beautiful young woman who writes with painfully sharp accuracy about how it feels to live with a mental illness. I've known Freya for a very long time and I thought I'd give her new blog a bit of exposure here because she has a lot to say and I think that it's really important to read first-hand accounts of things like depression and anxiety, whether you suffer from these things personally or not. It's good to know that someone feels the same way that you do, if you do feel that way, and it's vital that you begin to understand how people live with mental illness if you are a mentally well person. That said, if you are triggered by frank discussion of mental illness, it's probably best to give this a miss for the moment.

Another blog I've loved this month (and will love foreverrrrr) is A Certain Adventure by my new friend Tamsin. We were both at Cambridge but managed to miss one another until recently when we stumbled into one another through the internet. Tamsin writes about food and frolics and all of the fun that I absolutely love to read about, and she is just so friendly! So you should definitely give her blog a read!

What was your highlight, this October? And tell me if you did anything exciting for Hallowe'en, because I didn't even dress up in the end! Everything was so hectic!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Cooking for the in-laws

food for husband's parents

The first time I cooked for my husband's family was when we'd only been together for about six months. His extended family were coming over to his parents' house and I offered to make a tiramisu for everyone. I hadn't considered the fact that they were Italian and that there was no whipping cream in the house for the topping. I managed to substitute cream cheese, single cream and a lot of whipping to make it, and it seemed to go down well, but I'll never forget the panic and horror that overcame me when I realised that I was making tiramisu for the first time, for my Italian in-laws.

Since Dan's parents are allowing us to stay with them rent-free, we're taking on a lot of the cooking duties. I've probably made it pretty clear from my previous posts about this whole moving fandango, but we're actually really happy with this arrangement because Dan's parents have a beautiful kitchen! On Friday night, we drafted a meal plan for the week, focusing on things that we would have had trouble making in the tiny kitchen in our old flat, as well as some of our favourite recipes that we really wanted to make for the family.

Last night's dinner was planned to be a butternut squash and chilli soup with freshly baked bread, and a rhubarb crumble for pudding. Any of you who follow me on twitter will know that the bread ended up off the menu as the yeast I used was a sachet we'd brought from our flat, which was lonnnnng dead. Sad times. Aside from that, everything went to plan. Cutting up butternut squash is always a hassle, but the soup was shaping up to be silky and flavoursome. Then Dan's sister dropped the bombshell that she didn't actually really like butternut squash or rhubarb very much. I want to please everyone all the time, and I hated the idea that I'd be making food that she wouldn't like! It's always a struggle to cook for people whose palates you don't know fully, I think. Plus, there's the added pressure that I really want my husband's family to love me and to like the things that I make for them!

Soup with creme fraiche

In the end, Dan's sister really liked the soup, which made me almost cry with relief! Dan's mum said "mmmm" a lot, and his Dad was very impressed with the concept of a butternut squash. My personal goal for the next few months is to improve my food presentation skills (for eating and photographing!) and this was my first time garnishing a soup with olive oil, and everyone said it looked pretty! (PHEW!!!) The rhubarb crumble didn't look as beautiful but it tasted good, and apparently Dan's sister is now also a rhubarb convert too. I'm pleased with how that went. Now to continue this positive streak for another two months worth of evening meals!

Have you ever cooked a meal for someone else? Did you find it at all stressful? Was it a disaster or did it all go to plan?

vegetable love

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Behind the scenes on Owl Girl - The Blog Hop

blog secret behind the scenes

What do bloggers actually do all day? Blogging can't be that hard can it? Don't you guys just go to tonnes of parties and get given loads of free stuff?

Well, I can't speak for all bloggers, which is kind of the point. We're all different and we get up to a lot of different stuff, we've all got unique perspectives and outlooks on everything. (Funny that, what with us all being different and individual human beings...) Anyway, I was nominated by Hayley-Eszti, who is an absolutely fantastic blogger (are blog-crushes a thing? Because I think I might have one on her...), to do this little 'blog hop' challenge, which is where I get to give you guys a little insight into my creative process with this here blog! I hope you find it interesting! Oh and most of the pictures in this post are outtakes from other posts, because ~behind the scenes~...

Writing blog notes

1. What am I working on/writing right now?

At the moment, I am planning quite a few foodie posts, starting with a review of another amazing independent cafe in Camberwell, and a few recipes too. Food is a big part of my life - Dan and I love cooking together, and visiting lots of the amazing restaurants that London has to offer. I want to do more outfit posts because putting outfits together is such fun for me! I try really hard not to repeat outfits because I like the challenge. Once we've moved into our new flat, you will be able to expect a lot of home decor posts and a house tour as we about decorating our first proper home together. I mean, we've been living together for years and years now, but always in places that we've not been able to decorate! I can't wait to share that process with you!

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Like Hayley-Eszti, I don't really like to compare this blog to other people's! It makes me sad, and it doesn't do anyone justice. Some of the things I love about my blog is that it's packed with lots of pretty photos that I took myself (or that Dan took of me!) and it provides a great meeting point for some of my biggest interests: fashion, music, food, the city, craft, the countryside, travel... I feel like I can write with confidence about these things and do the topics justice. So that's what I love about my blog and my writing - I know I kind of cheated with my answer to that question, but it's my blog, so nyeugh...!

Cheeky Basil herbs

3. Why do I write what I do?

I blog because it is the apex of writing, photography and creativity. I am happiest when I'm making something, either physically, or on the internet. I can look at it and say, "I MADE that!" which is so satisfying. I've been making things and writing things for longer than I can remember (somewhere there's a cassette tape of me telling a long, long story about a princess who killed all of her prospective husbands by turning them into inanimate objects using magical powers. I don't remember making this story up but I LOVE that my parents thought to record me telling it!) and ultimately, I want my career to involve creativity. It would be a dream come true to be able to make things, create outfits, make music, write, and take beautiful photographs for a living. And hopefully with a lot of hard work from me, and a bit of help from all of you guys, that could become a reality some day!

4. How does my writing process work?

I start by making a big ol' list in my little notebook. There are so many lists of possible blog posts and fragments of ideas in there, and the lists are always growing. Sometimes something urgent will happen, like I go to an incredible cafe that I simply must blog about, or we go on a surprise holiday that means I HAVE to write a post about aeroplane fashion... But mostly I will blog about things that I think you guys would like to read. I block off some weekend time to take photos for a few posts, which usually involves a little trek to somewhere pretty, and then once I'm satisfied that there are enough photos to choose from (sometimes we take hundreds...) we come home. Dan makes me a cup of tea in my favourite mug, and I bury myself underneath a bunch of blankets to edit photos, write, and assemble my post. Once I'm satisfied, I check the previews and then publish it. Dan proof-reads it once it is live, which means I usually have to make a couple of tiny edits. When we're sure that it's okay, I promote it on social media and you guys come and read it! :)

Cat in shot! Ha!

I hope this was fun to read - I feel like I've been quite honest in this post, and I'd love to know what you guys think! Is there any kind of post that you'd like to see more of? After all, as much as blogging is for me, I want to create something that makes people happy!

I'd like to nominate Jessica, whose blog The Pyreflies is this incredible mix of gamer culture and twee fashion; Victoria from VVNightingale which is a blog packed with amazing fashion and lifestyle picks, and some honestly written posts; and Kerri, whose blog Crumbs in the Bed documents her adventures in academia and Belgium.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

I totally dig: analogue photography

Analogue photography fashion

Before you label me a pretentious hipster, let me make my case. I’m of the generation who grew up alongside the transition to digital photography; my first ever camera (a bright pink plastic point-and-shoot bought for me when I was about seven years old) was analogue and produced these incredible colour-saturated photos streaked with lurid orange light-leaks. At the time, I was so sad about how it ruined all of my carefully planned photographs, but now I look back on the low-angle snapshots of my back garden, the family cat, school day trips and family outings and love them even more for their weird orange imperfections.
I’m a perfectionist, and the idea of imperfection in a digital photograph makes me feel faintly ill. I spend hours taking hundreds of photos until I get the perfect one that I like. But with analogue photography, for some reason I really love the imperfections. I am completely besotted with the funny faces and between-moments that I have captured over the years with my various analogue cameras. I guess that’s what the ‘Lomography’ movement (is it a movement? I don’t even know…) is trying to capture with their ‘shoot from the hip’ motto. There’s something magical about the delay between taking a photograph and actually getting to see it. A couple of years ago, I was taking photographs of my little brother and sister, using a Miranda camera given to me by my stepdad. After I’d taken the picture, they both grabbed for the camera to look at the back of it, and were indignant that they couldn’t look at the photograph. I was astonished by how difficult I found it to explain the fact that the picure was inside the camera, but we wouldn’t get to see it for a long time, and I’d have to take it somewhere where someone would reveal the image in a dark room and I’d have to pay them to own it! It sounds kind of wrong once you’re used to seeing your photo immediately and being able to put it on allllll the social media if you so choose.

analog cat photography
Brittany Lake sunset
Robin Grey Folk
Tokyo fish market morning
analog food photography
Owl Girl husband
Bedroom window idea
Analogue wedding photography
Diana mini flash

Recently, I went to get some films developed from a range of different cameras at Snappy Snaps. Unfortunately, they managed to destroy some of the films instead of developing them, and those that they did manage to develop are misaligned and cut halfway through the photo, or are covered in scratches. They gave me the whole batch for free because it was their mistake, and whilst I am upset about losing so many photos, I’m embracing the imperfection of the remaining photographs as it really does add to the character somehow. These photographs are some of what remains, and were taken on a Diana Mini and a vintage Pentax SLR. Also, stay tuned for the disposable camera photos from our wedding (we’ve still not finished getting all of them developed yet)!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

London levelled up


summer london bus

Tourists in London have it rough, I think. In addition to the overwhelming number of overpriced ‘must see’ attractions of the city, they have to navigate a vast underground train system with no numbered routes, more different bus routes than seems necessary, and a sprawling network of streets populated by busy, disinterested commuters who find them a nuisance. Of course, it’s the same in most big cities – But tourists who come to London are also confronted with the stark disparity between the London presented by the worldwide media, and the London of reality.

look up in london

Personally, I like real live London a whole lot more than the London presented in Doctor Who, Sherlock and even EastEnders. Probably the most obvious thing about real live London is that Londoners aren’t this homogenous group of white, tea-drinking socialites and cockney fruit-salesmen. On any London bus, you’ll encounter a range of spoken languages and accents.
London isn’t Big Ben, London isn’t Trafalgar Square, London isn’t £6 pints of beer in a ‘traditional English pub’. Sure, all of those things are integral parts of London’s culture and history, but so is linguistic and cultural diversity! London has a rich (and troubling) history just like any other economic hub in the world. In my opinion, London does itself a disservice by marketing itself the way it does. London has some well-known, historical architecture, but it is only if you turn around, look down, or look up, that you’ll find London’s uniqueness.

glass buildings in london

I’m definitely guilty of seeking out the well-known monuments and landmarks of a place, only to take a disappointing photograph that didn’t look as good as the postcard I purchased to send home. It’s an attractive notion, to see something famous for yourself and to take your own photograph of it, but these days I’m much more interested in preserving the bits of a place that speak to me the most directly. I love photographing London because it’s stuffed full of little corners that someone crafted, or built, or where someone lives.

waterloo sunset

Now, I’m not saying you should abandon central London and head to the nearest council estate for some sick photo opportunities – what I’m saying is that the grey estates, the polished office blocks, the graffiti on the wall, the greasy kebab shop… these are just as much London as the Natural History Museum and Oxford Street. They have beauty and relevance, and shouldn’t be maligned. You don’t need to head to Peckham, or sample a Chicken Cottage dinner if you don’t want to – you can find London’s hidden treasures everywhere. The photo above is actually Waterloo station. I love how the sun shines through that weird frosted glass – what is behind the glass?
london estate at night

So I’ll leave you with my tips for visiting London:

- Set aside two full days to “see the sights”. Book your tickets to things in advance, and use a map to help you work out the order in which you’ll visit various attractions. Research how much time each thing will take. For example, the Globe Theatre is right next to the Tate Modern, and depending on how long it takes you to look at each piece of modern art, you could do both of those things in a morning.

- Get some kind of travelcard or Oystercard to cover your whole stay in London. It takes a lot of the stress off when you realise you can hop on and off of tubes and buses at your leisure, and if you get it wrong, you don’t have to pay to fix your mistake and end up back where you were.

- Most of central London is actually accessible on foot. It's not as big as people think! You can walk from Trafalgar Square to Covent Garden in about ten minutes, and you get to see a tonne of great cafes and little shops along the way. If walking is something you're able to do, definitely give it a chance in London.

- Take the bus. Yeah, the tube is faster, but you don’t get to see anything and you never get sense of where things are located in relation to one another. Get on a bus, go onto the top deck, and travel for a few stops or until you see something you like the look of – get off at the next stop and walk around a bit. Usually, you can find the bus stop that gets you back to where you came from just across the road! Oh, and another thing - the buses in London are a heck of a lot more accessible than the tube if you're disabled or need assistance with mobility.

- Central London has all of these great information boards planted on street corners, with big ‘You Are Here’ signs marked on the map. They are very useful and even born and bred Londoners use them all the time.

- Ask people questions! If you see someone waiting at a bus stop who looks approachable, ask them their favourite spot in London! Ask them whether they have a favourite cafĂ©, or what their favourite thing about the city is. People in London are often startled to have someone talking to them – we keep to ourselves on public transport and mostly avoid eye contact, but with a friendly manner and an open mind, you’ll definitely find someone with some pro tips, and you might make a friend!

south london at night
If you have any inside tips for London-novices, please leave them in the comments. Or if you’ve never visited London, feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer. Let’s start a conversation, guys!
You may also want to see some London attractions I've blogged about before. The Seoul Bakery Korean restaurant, The House Gallery Cafe in Camberwell, and The Electric Elephant Cafe in Elephant and Castle.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Feeling Blue in Wintery London

The weather in the UK has been unendingly miserable for the last few months, and London is no exception. My morning commute is dominated by a sea of unhappy faces, dead eyes focused grimly on the gum-flecked pavement ahead. Dan and I have both been working full time, and even though it's been getting slightly lighter in the mornings and evenings, it still feels like we spend all our daylight hours indoors. I guess that's the world of work, but I'm hoping that one day, I'll have a job where my hours are a bit more flexible and I can feel less like a cog in an unending... box? of cogs... Not sure where that simile was going, but you get the idea.
Still, there is beauty to be found in this gloomy, grey landscape. I've been snapping some photos on my iPhone on my way to and from work in the last few weeks and I think they give you a fairly good idea of the general mood in London at the moment!
Grim South London south london trees
 photo mistylondon_zps7548d702.jpg
I can't wait until it stops snowing and raining, and I can find daylight hours to take photos for this blog again. I spend a great deal of time fantasizing about the carefree summers of university, making particular usage of my keen ability to look back on things through the hazy glasses of nostalgia! It's going to be amazing when the sun comes back!! Until then, I have to make time and make an extra special effort. It's not all been doom and gloom anyway. I've met some lovely new people at work, and our wedding planning is coming along very well. Stay tuned for some wedding-related bloggage!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Winter in Brittany

I love the "country lifestyle".

Right now, I live in central London, but when I was growing up in Brighton I always had unlimited access to both the beach and the countryside. I also spent my summers in rural France, exploring everything on my own. I always relish going to stay with my Dad, so here's a little taster of what I got up to on my very relaxing trip to stay with him, this winter.

winter beach walk
winter sunset

festive table setting

winter prawn stew

analogue camera and woolen legs

twilight trees

magic lake brittany
It was the perfect way to convalesce after my operation. I'm on my way back to health, and looking forward to a productive, healthy, and happy new year. This year, I'm getting married, and lots of other exciting things are going to happen too! Keep your eyes peeled, friends!