Weekending in London

British flags were EVERYWHERE

It’s good to get away and travel for a few days every now and then when and if you can. It gives you perspective – you make new memories from new experiences –  you meet new people –  you jolt yourself out of your routine.
Sometimes, it’s planned months or more in advance, and sometimes it’s a spur-of-the-moment trip.

I managed to do one of each to London within a month of each other. The first, in middish-May, was booked on a Tuesday for that weekend, and the second trip – just over a week ago – was planned for a few months, to go for a few days with my sister and her friend.

Katie & Lisa, 35mm Fujifilm ISO400 on Pentax MeSuper
Katie & Lisa (35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 on Pentax MeSuper)

So while my credit card and all associated finance-y things hate me right now (aaaaaargh) it was really enjoyable.

During the first trip (I was only there for two days, one night) I stayed just by Primrose Hill – a beautiful part of London. I didn’t plan where to go or what I wanted to do, I just went with the flow and having brought a lovely Pentax film camera with me, decided to just grab shots as I went. It worked out pretty well. Solo travelling (while it’s not for everyone, or even for every destination) does have its upsides – your schedule is completely up to you; where you eat is completely up to you; if you want to stop off and have a coffee and do some people-watching for an hour – it’s all up to yourself.
Solo travelling also really reminded me of how much we are constantly checking our phones etc ALL THE TIME. I had turned my data off while away, so initially felt like a limb had been removed, but once you get used to connectivity not being so instantly available, it is actually quite liberating. You also have so much more free time, with far more opportunity to observe everything around you.

Here’s a few of the shots I grabbed on the Pentax MeSuper camera – 35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400.

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So the second trip with my sister and friend highlighted the upsides to travelling with friends – you get persuaded to go to places you wouldn’t normally choose to go – in my case, Madame Tussauds and to a musical – and you find that you really (unexpectedly) enjoy yourself.
Despite delayed flights and cancelled trains, we actually managed to fit in a morning in Madame Tussauds, a delicious lunch upstairs at Ottolenghi Nopi, a leisurely afternoon adventuring around Camden, a trip to Queen’s Theatre to see Les Miserables, and all amidst the fallout of the Brexit results (I won’t even go into it right now..) and the celebrations of Gay Pride!
So certainly a lot going on… 🙂

Again, I had brought along the film camera (I had a roll of film that I wanted to try out) as well as my Canon 70D. I really wanted to take a few more photos while I was there but as it turned out, didn’t take ONE photo on my Canon – after dragging it all over very humid London…. #facepalm ….

Didn’t take as many shots the second time around, but this time more of them turned out better – progress?

So again, these were taken on the Pentax MeSuper, this time with 35mm Kodak Colorplus 200.

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I think this post has probably dragged on longer than I wanted, but hope you saw something interesting ! If you’re already following me on Instagram or Twitter you may already have seen a few of these shots…

Either way, would love it if you let me know what you think 🙂

S

XO

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Trying out my new camera

Having recently acquired a new camera – a Canon 70D – one of my 2016 resolutions was to put it to as much use as possible, and improve my photography through practice, practice, practice, some more practice…! I have always felt that so much is learned through trial and error, and have found this to be particularly true for me – in all aspects of life! It’s all very well and good to get things right on the first go, but my experience is that my mistakes have spawned my best learned lessons.

So on that happy note(!), I vowed to do away with all the usual excuses – cold, sickness, laziness –  and take the camera out on a little walk-adventure as often as I can. Two weekends into the new year, and so far, two photo walks done.

I have chosen a few photos from the two days here, and hopefully some of these posts will show some progression….. ! Haha! I tend to be quite hard on myself and critical of the photos I take, so seeing any kind of improvement would be great 🙂

Here’s a little selection of photos over the two days – would love to hear what you think!

S

XO

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Street Art in Dublin

More and more pieces of street art are popping up all around Dublin at the moment. Particularly in the city centre, MURO Street Art‘s recent event left behind some wonderful works. While some on the corner of Greek Street have been sprayed over – *Boo!* – the bigger pieces are still available to see along the Luas lines near the Four Courts stop.

Street Art DublinStreet Art Dublin Street Art Dublin

I love to see that they have painted these wonderful pieces on buildings that were falling into disrepair and making the area look quite derelict. Literally blank canvases!

Street Art Dublin

What I don’t agree with it is the fact that these are being looked at as graffiti that needs to be painted over…

Street Art Dublin

There are plenty of other spots around town to spy other creations. Some buildings in Templebar are quite colourful, and there are lots of other finds around town as seen by Ekaterina Smirnova here.

Colours - TemplebarPavement Art  - Lord Edward StreetStreet Art Dublin - Kilmainham

Street art certainly seems to be more of a growing trend (not just in Ireland, Athenian street art here ) as more boomtime purchase buildings are being left untended, with increasing demand for art space, but not much of anything in the way of support for aspiring artists..

I personally like it;  I love to see all the various methods of expression. It also goes to show that you don’t need a massive budget to produce something special.

Great New Ideas

Great new ideas flowing this evening…

I’d like to thank.. the PortHouse, the wine they served, and… the wine.

How is it that the creative side of the brain seems to work that much better with alcohol? Why is that? It’s just giving everyone an excuse to drink in the hopes of being more.. em… artistic… yes, that’s what we’ll say.

Anyhow, ideas flowing this evening.

Every now and then, we all *try* to have that conversation of what are we doing, where are we headed to, etc., etc.

This evening, the wine spurred this on a little more than usual.

So plans are afoot!

The blog has been resurrected.

Eventually. So perhaps yes, the word resurrection is perfectly apt!

Watch. this. space! *

*I promise this time around, blogs will actually follow….

Shopping – the most dangerous addiction of all…

I love shopping.

I’ll be the first to admit it – I have a sinful amount of clothes sitting in my closet, in my drawers, on shelves, on the floor.

Yet for some reason, every time I’m in town, I still find myself shopping.

Sometimes browsing, sometimes just having a look – but always on the lookout for THAT elusive piece of clothing that will spin my whole wardrobe on its head, and change everything. I will then be that fashionista. I will finally feel like the glamourous persona I have always wanted to be.

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Quite the fashionista..ahem, or not. No amount of attitude was going to get me to pull this one off..!
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Me, ridiculously excited at Louis Vuitton store in Singapore.

This, of course, is absolute codswallop. Codswallop is not a word I use lightly, or at all for that matter, as it’s a word that seems absolutely ridiculous to me, much like the mindset that we con ourselves into every time we traipse around the high street.

That blazer is going to completely transform all my trousers/skirts/dresses/t-shirts/blouses

Doubtful, my dear – if it did, it would be a snip for €90, and sure, wouldn’t we all have one!

This all came to mind for me today, as I led my fashion-conscious-yet-challenged younger brother around the shops, trying to dress him up to make the most of himself, whilst still trying to stay within his student budget. A tough job, but a cinch for a seasoned fashpert such as myself. As we walked around, I told him the old chestnuts of “don’t just buy those shoes just because they’re a bargain, because if you never wear them then they’re not such a bargain after all” and the other one: “decide what you’re looking for before you hit the shops”. In the meantime, I ended up buying two tops, a dress and a pair of trousers for myself. Which I did not need.

Where do we get this constant compulsion? Is it a female thing? Do the likes of Penneys, Matalan, Forever 21 actually know us better than we know ourselves? Is it the physical act of buying that gives us the adrenaline rush, or is that slinky top really the thing that keeps us going back?

The fact that I am probably subscribed to at least thirty fashion websites that send me daily updates on all of the bargains that I am missing probably isn’t helping any compulsions that may otherwise be content to lay dormant.

I really enjoyed myself today. Not because I went on a spree – it was only a little one… – but because I was helping others buy for themselves.

Which reminds me – I should be on commission in Zara, for the amount of business I’ve accummulated for them at this stage.

Either way.

I will be starting a clearout this evening in my wardrobe.

Not a job that I relish – it’s one of my pet hates, and I feel so guilty every time for having let the state of it get so bad.

I will be rubbishing all that cannot be salvaged, donating what cannot be sold, and the small remainder shall go on eBay – one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure and all that.

I shall also, forthwith*, be under a self-imposed clothes^ shopping ban.

I shall check and report any withdrawal symptoms – fever, shakes, etc.

Wish me luck.

Til next time, sayonara.

Shar XO

*For future reference, fancy words such as forthwith, show that I am at this moment, very determined to do as I say.

^ When I say clothes, I do have to remind myself that included in this ban are bags, shoes, accessories. Any loopholes and I’ll be back to square one.