London - Seen & Done

Awesome Things I’ve Seen & Done in London That You Should Do To: January Recap

Here are some awesome and less awesome things I’ve seen and done in London during what was the LONGEST month ever.

LUMBERJACK
Camberwell//Peckham
I usually go to Lumberjack because their mocha is Just. The. Best. If you’re hungry, get a slice of banana bread, a simple avocado toast or one of the ever-changing cakes on offer … heck, just get everything, plus one of their cute tote bags to go.

WELLCOME COLLECTION
Bloomsbury
Ignoring the fact that this health/medical museum is located on one of London’s most polluted roads, this place is a nice breath of fresh air on the capital’s cultural scene. In addition to its permanent collection of medical history, this institution puts on some of the most thought-provoking exhibitions you’re likely to see.

SAN MARINO
Brixton
You could walk past a place a thousand times before you actually walk in. I know, because I did when I was looking for a place for an English Breakfast in Brixton. If you are looking for a no fuss and cheap Full English breakfast this is the place to be. They also do vegetarian, vegan and even halal. Keeper!

WALLACE COLLECTION
Marylebone
The Wallace Collection is a beautiful Instaworthy old mansion house filled to the brim with more 18th and 19th century paintings than you can imagine. But I won’t give away too much, as I’m putting together a proper post for my Museum Musings series.

DAUNT BOOKS
Marylebone
You have seen this bookshop on every self-respecting Instafeed or on one of their iconic tote bags. Enter at your own risk! Depending on your level of impulse control, you might want to ration yourself as it’s hard to leave this place without picking up everything for your bookshelf.

SKANDIUM
Marylebone
If I had money to burn it would be at Skandium, a Nordic design & furniture retailer, with everything from Moomin cups to sofas and chairs you’ll never want to leave.

But not everything can be awesome, so here’s a heads up on what to avoid.

MILDREDS
King’s Cross
With mock chicken burgers, soul bowls and smoked tofu, this vegetarian food paradise has got you sorted…or does it? I want to say I loved it, but it was too expensive for what you got. The Mac & Cheese was dry, the chips were inspirationless and the soul bowl was soo lemony that it ruined the other flavours. If I ever return it would be for the baclava type of dessert and their grilled anchovies.

HACKNEY FLEA MARKET
Hackney
The maps and decorations looked amazing. The clothes were overpriced and mainly 70s lycra fabric vintage dresses and overworn jumpers! To top it off it was rush hour tube levels of crowdedness.

How was YOUR first month of the year?

London

Capturing Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre

Elephant and Castle. Despite having neither of things mentioned in its name (at least I haven’t found them!), this little slice of London holds a special in my heart. 

My first entry into London’s Zone 1 was to this South London neighbourhood. I got on the 468 at Whitgift Shopping Centre in Croydon and got out at Elephant and Castle where family friends were awaiting. I still remember my fun-filled day, chowing down on Bosnian comfort food followed by a walk around the shopping centre and finishing up with bowling at the Palace Superbowl. And it was the first of many of my visits.

Opened in 1965, this shopping centre was first covered shopping centre in Europe. The area itself is steeped in history, getting shout outs in Shakespeare, and even being known as the Picadilly Circus of South London in the 1900s.

For better or worse, not too much has changed, at least as far as much of the shopping centre is concerned. Despite ever growing numbers of residential towers sprouting up all around, the shopping centre has retained its much of its retro charms, and is one of the few places you can truly step back in time in London, and experience a variety of different tastes and flavours.

But sadly, the shopping centre’s time is running out – as a prime central location, its no surprise that it will soon be replaced by a new development with fancier shops, apartments and a cinema. So enjoy while you can, give the vendors as much support as you can, and here’s some pictures to celebrate this tiny gem.

Uncategorised

Five Quick Travel Photography Tips From A Pro

 

While the photos I take on this blog aren’t always the best, I pride myself on at least trying a bit when I take them on my travels, especially when I bring my overpriced DSLR with me. But I wanted to get a real award-winning photographer’s opinion the best tips to get those “must-see shots” and give us an all a cheat sheet to maximize those likes…

Patience. Like A Lot of Patience
The key word for all photography is patience. If you have a preference for shots unblemished by bus loads of tourists, be ready to wait a long, long, long time for that tiny window of opportunity when everyone is suddenly gone and you can snap for 30 seconds if you’re lucky.

Timing Is Everything
One way to ensure a peaceful shoot is to set that alarm clock super early and get yourself there before everyone else. This can prove difficult when you can’t get your lazy ass out of bed or with places that only open at 09.00 or 10.00 am, but even then it’s better than waiting for the mid morning/afternoon rush.

Sun sun sun
If you’re shooting outside and want the best light I’d suggest the golden hour (after sunrise or before sunset) if you’re after those gorgeous filter-worthy hues or if not possible, then any day light hours avoiding midday when the sun will be at its highest and therefore harshest. If you are about in the midday rays then head for shaded places, the sun will still be there, but hopefully won’t blind you or make any people you’re shooting look too unflattering with heavy shadow overkill.

Take a lot of photos
Back in the olden days of analogue film you couldn’t afford to try lots of different approaches without having a hefty and expensive bag of film to hand. But today memory is cheap so take way more than you think you’ll need, it will ensure you can try different angles, zoom levels and most importantly, avoid any closed eyes from your subjects! Lots of shots does mean lots of processing so if you want to cut down on that, then scroll through and cut down the number of shots when you’re on the bus, train or plane.

Portraits
While taking lots of shots will help with portraits too, it’s also important to have a good rapport with your subject and make them feel at ease if they’re a bit unsure in front of the camera – try a joke or just chat to them while shooting they’ll feel a lot more relaxed and appear more natural in the shots. If you’ve got extra time, try practising with a friend in advance so you’re aware of which angles and zooms work best for you. And if you are shooting portraits of people always make sure to ask for permission.

London - Museums

Museum Musings: Imperial War Museum London

This year I’ll be doing another round of selected museums and seeing which one is truly worth your time to visit! To make it all scientific and as logical as possible, I’ve concocted a grading system so we can compare each place on its own merits and really find out what makes it tick.

The criteria I’ve been judging are: How easy is it to find your way around? Did they arrange all the exhibits in a way that make sense or leave you more confused than the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror? Is it far from the city centre? Can I combine it with something else in the area? To top it all off, there are extra points to be had for places with a wow factor, because let’s face it…that sometimes makes all the difference.

The Imperial War Museum showcases a comprehensive overview of the military conflicts and wars that UK had to deal with since the beginning of the WWI.

Location – 11/20
The Imperial War Museum is located about 5-15 minutes’ walking distance from the tube stations Waterloo (on the Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern lines), Lambeth North (Bakerloo) and Elephant & Castle (on the Bakerloo and Northern Lines).

You could combine it with a visit to Mercato Metropolitano.

Exhibits – 14/20
The ground floor covers the First World War, the next level up is on the Second World War, one higher and you’ll find a selection of the more modern wars (cold war and spies!), and then there is the Holocaust exhibit on the top floor. The First World War has been refurbished and brought up to date with super flashy and modern ways of story telling.

This does mean that it leaves the WWII and Modern War area feel a bit outdated, but I was told they will be working on that next.

The most relatable part in the WII section was following the family Allpress and their day-to-day life during the Blitz. As someone who grew up in a war I know a bit about having a bomb shelter in the backyard, food rations and my mom unpicking an old knit jumper of hers to make one for my and my baby brother.

Value For Money 20/20
Like most museums in London anyone can browse the permanent collection for free. So that’s a full 20.

Wow Factor – 14/20
For a museum focused on war, there’s not really a ‘wow’ factor so to speak, but it’s more an emotional impact, which this place definitely offers.

Layout – 12/20
You enter the main hall with its tanks and planes, then from there, you can walk into different floors, each highlighting a different War. The idea is that you follow a route on each floor and each section so in theory it should be easy to get though, but that only works for the WWI exhibition as it has a clear path. The other floors have too much open space and entrance points for it to be as smooth it could be.

Total: all in 71/100 points. Especially in this time and age this is a museum we all should go to. I believe it’s essential to remember what terrifying things humans are capable and museums like these are an important reminder of that.

Balkan - Croatia - London

October – December: Things I’ve Been Doing While Abandoning This Blog

I know it’s all about 2019, but let’s not be too hasty to shun it’s little brother 2018 (he still has a lot to offer!), and in that spirit – here’s what I got up to offline in the last three months of last year.

BEEN THERE
Croatia: Rastoke
Bosnia: Home

DONE THAT
Another Visit To The Motherland
Where I got to experience the autumn season for the first time in years! This meant I got to experience things like roasting chestnuts, eating young walnuts and waking through Wuthering Heights-level mist, ‘Oh Heathcliff!”.

A Stop In Rastoke
On my way to Bosnia I spent a few hours in Rastoke, a town that’s known for its waterfalls and mills. It’s one of those fairy tale type towns you won’t believe actually exist until you see it in one of those listicles. I get it! I mean look at it. Add it to your go-to list guys.

In London
No matter how many vitamin D pills I pop … S.A.D has kicked in, I did put in some effort to get out so most weekends didn’t go lost in the grey skies. I went to the cinema a lot, wandered around galleries and museums, gave ice-skating a go, had a ridiculous amount of cheese platters and mulled wine, went to one of the places Instagram recommended, tried Korean plum wine (I think it’s a keeper!) and crossed another Mexican place off my list.

BUCKET LIST
I set foot on Eel Pie Island and enjoyed some random art Eel Pie Island Art Studios has to offer. In the 1960s Eel Pie Island was a music venue based at the hotel on the island and artists like the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart were all famous and musicy. Now the island is a private community of artists who open their studios twice a year for the public to visit and purchase their work. But really you just want to look at the weird things like the ice-cream/sweets inspired house, the Aquaman/Barbie artwork and adorable cats parading around.

What were you up to in the last three months of 2019?