Tag Archives: food

It’s a good life!: Gratitude Diary # 3

So this week I found someone else through twitter that keeps lists too.  Not only does she also have a list of places that she would like to travel to that she is ticking off but she keeps gratitude lists too.  Check out Brooke’s cute purple blog from down under, it warms my cockles as I lived in St Kilda, Melbourne for a while back in 2005.  

It is so good to take the time to look back at a week as you realise how much you pack in. My staycation feels like such a long time ago. So without further ado here are the things I am most grateful for this week: 

1) Have a go heroes

I have lived in the wonderful Peckham for 7 years.  It truly is wonderful and I will contest all those naysayers out there.  I used to live on the Goldsmith’s Estate near the library which is often seen as the wrong side of the tracks.  Chris and I moved into the more Bellenden Village area recently and have been really enjoying it.  

Images from the Peckham messages board following the London riots in 2011  courtesy of Pie and Biscuits blog

Images from the Peckham messages board following the London riots in 2011 courtesy of Pie and Biscuits blog

In the last 7 years, I have had my car broken into on 4 separate occasions but not once have I ever felt unsafe.  Until, Monday evening when someone snatched my phone out of my hand at the end of my road.  I can’t say much as the police are still investigating but I did get my phone back.  All thanks to some have-a-go heroes and the Southwark Police. Two complete strangers pursued the individual for 3 blocks with me desperately following while still in complete shock (at least a block behind).  It’s not every day in London that you speak to a complete stranger let alone help one out in their time of need but I am very grateful to those wonderful people for doing so and the police who were fantastic.  It’s inspired me to try to do more good deeds too.  

2) “Oh, go on then” moments

After my very wet photography course on Saturday, I was due to meet the wonderful Emily for a catch up in town somewhere.  We hadn’t made any firm plans and when Emily put the idea out there that we should treat ourselves to afternoon tea.. at The Wolseley.. I simply replied “Oh, go on then” and I am so pleased that I did.  Its beautifully grand marble interior makes you feel special the minute you walk through the door and that was before we treated ourselves to a glass of champagne at the bar.  

Emily and I are in a group of friends that are notoriously picky with our food but the staff were great on the day and we were able to “customise” our afternoon tea so that it was just perfect for us both.  Poor Emily waited patiently to eat while I snapped away and then I embarked on what was now expert scone eating following my practice in Norfolk.  If you are having a “go on then” moment you would do worse than piling cream on to warm scones at The Wolseley: 


I wish I could tell you that the moment stopped there as I was full to the brim even before I tackled the lemon meringue pie, but… I went on to meet Chris for the Lord Mayor’s Fireworks.  

We missed them.  Disappointed we decided to stay out for a few drinks but not dinner as I was so full and that would just be plain greedy.  After a bottle of Malbec at Gordon’s Wine Bar, Chris told me that he was really hungry and he suggested that we head to Joe Allen for a cocktail and some chips.  ”Oh, go on then!”

Champagne cocktails and chips... I really can't resist

Champagne cocktails and chips… I really can’t resist

Another cocktail and another “oh, go on then” and we were sat at the table ordering dinner. Chris grinning away like the Cheshire cat… until I got my camera out to snap everything before he could eat.  We love Joe Allen it’s a little hidden grotto in Soho.. a little piece of America in Central London and the service is brilliant.  If you get a chance pop in and say hello to Norbert!

The lovely Norbert at Joe Allen bar

The lovely Norbert at Joe Allen bar

Ready to pounce on the garlic bread

Ready to pounce on the garlic bread

Poached eggs my favourite at any time of day

Poached eggs my favourite at any time of day

3) Christmas is coming

Suddenly there is a really festive feeling in London this week.  I love the build up to Christmas.  On our walk home from Joe Allen I crept into Somerset House where you could be forgiven for thinking that it was the middle of December rather than the middle of November.  

Somerset House

Somerset House

I also took these blurry snaps on the bus home which reflected both sides of the river.  I am not sure if I love them or hate them but just an experiment in manual mode: 


4) Laughter

Ages ago I booked Fitzrovia Radio Hour at St James Theatre as a little treat for Chris and I. I am so pleased that I did.  It was a really brilliant comedy, lines of which are still popping into my head and the theatre was really intimate and relaxed.. more like a cabaret lounge bar. So if you get a chance to catch the gang on tour please do (usually comedy rules apply- don’t sit in the front row) and at the same time check out the theatre for what’s coming up as it really is a nice place for a relaxed evening.


Pic Courtesy of St James Theatre website

5) A new baby in the gang

A big shout out to Louis Albert who arrived safely this week and to Lizzie & Sam who will be wonderful parents.  All the luck, love and joy in the world to all 3 of them! 


London Life: Beginners Photography Course

How hard is it to get up in the morning on a Saturday? How hard is it to get up early on a Saturday (I mean, before 9)? How hard is it to get up at 7.30am on a cold wet Saturday morning?

I know, I know that’s not early but I am not known for being a morning person and I have the luxury of not having any kids at the moment.  Well, shall we say I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the idea of getting up but I had booked myself on a Paul Hames photography course through Living Social and needed to be at Trafalgar Square dressed and with at least one eye open by 10am. As you know I have been practicing away on aperture mode since I tried Emily’s Photography for Bloggers workshop and now I wanted to take myself all the way to manual… in 4 hours…in the rain… on a Saturday morning…early. Not happy.

Cameras and notepads at the ready

When I arrived under Nelson’s column I was relieved to see that, like me, most people had a camera in their hands that seemed pretty alien to them and were keen to understand not only why there were so many buttons but also what each of them did! Paul is fantastic at breaking down the theory of photography to make it snappy and stick.  He made sure we applied it straightaway and made time for everyone as each person had a different camera. By the end of our time together we were all able to take pictures with the correct exposure with only two buttons in manual mode.  Happy Days!

As it was pouring down (have I mentioned that it was raining? ;) ) we stood under a tree waiting for our subjects to come to us.  When, lo and behold, along came a goose that seemed to be more than happy to pose for 9 snap happy beginner photographers. The idea was to just try to make something simple a little more interesting.  As we all tried to stumble over each other to snap this one goose the phrase  ”never work with animals or children” came to mind.  The exercise was great though and here are a couple of my shots:

Goose Model

A-ha here he is my goose model and doesn’t he know it

A model strut down the catwalk

Goose preening in St James Park

Preening? Really? You poser!

We were then paired off to practice playing with over and under exposing photos as well as depth of field.  My human model, Ketan, was so enthusiastic it really helped as we explored the best spots to snap whilst trying to keep ourselves and the cameras dry.  I must look into installing a gallery on this blog in the meantime here are a few more snaps with human models this time:

Wet photographer London

My lovely wet photo buddy and the beginnings of his Movember

Soggy London Tourist

The time really did fly by but what I have learned is invaluable…  I am now more comfortable to fully take myself off automatic on a DSLR.  Enthused by the course. the people that I had met and desperate to dry off I decided to head to an exhibition that Paul had mentioned.  The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is an exhibition of “sixty new portraits by some of the most exciting contemporary photographers from around the world”, is on at the National Portrait Gallery and starts on the 14th November.  I was 5 days early ;)

Oh well, I was due to meet Em at The Wolseley for Afternoon Tea anyway (more about this later!) and the sun came out so I took the opportunity to put my new-found skills (ok that’s pushing it… a little… “the things Paul had just taught me”) into practice and really enjoyed taking a different look at monuments and parts of London that I see on a daily basis.  Take a look at these few, but there are more on my Silent Sunday post (I am especially pleased with this one), my flickr photostream and my pinterest boards:

Donald Duck- just hanging out…

Ready for London in October

Feed the birds, Trafalgar Square, LondonDid you know that there is now a large fine for feeding the birds in Trafalgar Square? I love a rebel!!

Me: Things I have learned this week

  • Jam and then cream on a scone tastes better than the other way around
  • Not to forget a camera charger when going on holiday
  • That pinterest can become really addictive- Check out my boards and follow me
  • That it is ok to start your Christmas list at the beginning of November
  • Taking a miniature train in the freezing cold is completely justifiable

Wells Harbour Railway

  •  Nap time is not to be messed with


  •   There is nothing like your own bed
  •   And that patience is certainly a virtue…Dog