Santa’s Been on the Wine…

The Christmas Market has returned to Birmingham and The Bloke and I visited some of it when we were shopping for my outfit for the Birmingham Awards event this Saturday. It’s still too early for Christmas in my opinion, but I must admit that I particularly liked this Santa, looking like he had already been on the mulled wine already and was currently enjoying a little buzz from the booze! He’ll be a mess by the time the big day actually arrives…

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The Viking Picture Perfect Event: A Photography Masterclass with Elouisa Georgiou

Last week I was invited to a Digital Photography Masterclass with Viking, given by professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou.

I love taking photos – amassing thousands of images over the years in various folders on my computer and blog – but usually find it easier to use my phone for the ease of taking a quick picture without having to go through the hassle of carrying a heavy camera around and the option of immediately editing and sharing across my social media. However, this masterclass was a great opportunity to develop some of my skills using a DSLR – something that I rarely use – and I asked The Bloke to give me a crash course on the basics beforehand.

The event took place at Dirty Martini in Birmingham, and I was joined by other bloggers in a Christmas-themed setting as Elouisa introduced us to her work and some of the techniques she uses to create different effects on her images.

Continue reading

An Incredible Street Art Tour of Shoreditch, London

A Street Art Tour of Shoreditch

At the weekend I experienced a street art tour of Shoreditch with Tiffany, the creator of A Girl and Her Passport in London.

She was back in the UK for a little while, and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up as it’s been over a year since she was last here. I  still find it amazing that I get these sorts of opportunities – we connected via the blogging community a few years ago – and she is someone I would never have met otherwise as at the time she lived in Qatar and is from Texas.

She booked the tour through an Airbnb experience and it was something I had been really looking forward to – I’ve seen some of the street art in the Shoreditch area before when The Bloke and I had an inexpensive trip down to London – but I was really interested to find out a little more about the artists and see some of the things I had missed.  Continue reading

Giraffes, Lego and the Big Five-0 for The Bloke

The West Midland Safari Park Giraffe Experience

Last year The Bloke didn’t really have much of a birthday celebration – we were getting married a few days afterwards and still dealing with flowers and centrepieces and general wedding nonsense, so this year I made a promise to myself that I would make a huge effort. 

Today he turned 50. The big Five-0. He’s not a fan of birthdays and let’s just say that he is far from pleased about reaching this particular milestone, so I did what I usually do… I completely ignored his bah humbug birthday attitude and have spent several weeks planning an epic ‘The-Bloke-is-50-and-not-happy-about-it’ celebration with the help of my sister-in-law.  Continue reading

Props Under £20 for Creating Beautiful Blog & Instagram Images

Props under £20 for creating blog and Instagram images

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

I’m certainly not a photographer by any means (that is more of The Bloke’s passion than mine), but one of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is experimenting with props and different flat lay images that I can use for my blog and social media.

I’ve written about creating beautiful flat lay images before, but this was more about the process of how to set them up. Since then, I’ve received lots of questions asking about prop and budget ideas from others who want to create their own but don’t want to spend a fortune doing so.

There’s a million different advice posts and tutorials on the subject, but what I’ve discovered when trawling through a some of them is that many have splashed out on different lighting rigs and light boxes, backdrops and props and use an expensive SLR camera. Continue reading

Lunch for One…

I took the day off today and decided to actually get out of the house and go into the city. The initial plan was to go to the cinema first but I left a little too late, so instead decided to spend the money that I had budgeted for the film on things that I don’t need, but what makes me happy.

The weather was bright and sunny, which was fabulous considering we’ve just had what feels like an eternity of dark and gloom. I walked across most of Birmingham – I bought some highlighters from Cass Stationery, my favourite bath stuff from Lush, some of The Bloke’s favourite sweets from the awesome sweet shop in the Great Western Arcade, something from Forbidden Planet comic shop for The Bloke and then o took myself off for lunch. Continue reading

The Online Power of a Squirrel…

The Bloke is an avid photographer. He particularly likes wildlife, architectural and landscape photography and his pictures are utterly fantastic – we can be in the same place at the same time, photographing the same thing and he always manages to create something beautiful and artistic with seemingly very little effort. I’m so proud of him, and extremely jealous of his skills.

However, there’s one particular thing that he has an affinity for…

Squirrels.

Living in Birmingham, UK, we have an abundance of them and very little else. I’m enormously envious whenever I go on Instagram and see images of incredible wildlife in people’s back yards – I saw a racoon in Central Park a few months ago when we were on our honeymoon and that was honestly the first time I’ve ever seen one in real life… Perhaps I shouldn’t have stood there and yelled “oh my god it’s a raccoon!” at the top of my voice while pointing at the poor thing like a maniac, but it was a bigger deal to me than most. Continue reading

How to Spend 4 1/2 Days in New York City

The Bloke and I recently visited NYC on our honeymoon and had an absolutely incredible time. It’s a fast paced, exciting and vibrant city that has interesting things to see and do on every block, but it isn’t possible to do it all in just one visit, particularly on a limited budget.

It is, however, possible to experience an enormous amount of things in a short amount of time and without spending an enormous amount of money, and we’re proof of this as we’ve just done it ourselves.

It is worth noting at this point that we were staying at a fairly centralised hotel – Hotel @ Times Square on West 46th Street, near 6th Avenue, so it was possible to easily walk to a number of the locations we visited on the first few days, but the subway is efficient enough that it is easy and inexpensive to get from one side of Manhattan to another in a short space of time. Continue reading

A Winter Wonderland and Christmas Prep

For once, The Bloke and I timed things perfectly.

The plan for Friday evening last week was to drive up North to visit The Bloke’s Sister (my new sister-in-law!) as it was her birthday the following day. However, the snow heavens opened, The Bloke’s school closed early and so we decided to risk it and drive up at lunchtime instead. There wasn’t even a hint of snow there and so we spent the Friday afternoon and Saturday catching up, playing with Harvey and Charlie (my sis-in-law’s Goldendoodle and my mother-in-laws retriever), going through some social media (sis-in-law is a blogger and photographer) and eating the BEST fish and chips that I’ve ever had at the Garden Room Cafe in Braithwell. It was nice to kick-back and relax in a different surrounding. Continue reading

The Wedding!

My napkins on each place setting

After a lovely weekend it’s back down to earth – The Bloke is now back at work for a while before we go on the honeymoon and I have returned to the the online world. It’s been more strange than I expected in the fact that it hasn’t been strange at all – I was told by numerous people that I would feel different, but I don’t at all, apart from the fact that I greet him with ‘hello, husband!’ every time he walks through the door…

The wedding was lovely. I was told to expect something to go wrong, but absolutely nothing did – our duty manager for the day, Derek, kept things running like clockwork (he’s ex-military so that helped) and everyone seemed to have a great time. Continue reading