Tuesday, August 28, 2012

...and the street parties continue!

My work week has begun on a Tuesday, my legs are tired, and it's the last few days of August.  This can only mean one thing: Carnival!!!

Looking back, 2012 really has been London's year for street parties and celebration.  First we had the Queen's Jubilee, then the Olympics and now this bank holiday weekend saw hundreds of thousands of people descend onto London's streets for the 48th annual Notting Hill Carnival. 

This vibrant two-day Caribbean street party takes place every August bank holiday on the Sunday and Monday, and features colourful, exotic costumes, music, dancing and lots of delicious food.

This year, I went along with some friends on the Sunday, which is traditionally the family day, and features mostly children in the carnival procession.  It was loverboy's first Carnival, and thankfully the weather was on our side, so we basked in sunshine for most of the day.

We walked along the procession route for a while, looking at the costumes, taking photos and running into friends along the way.  We also stopped by some sound systems, including Gaz's Rockin' Blues, which had a Jungle Book theme this year, and Norman Jay's Good Times, which is one of my personal favourites.  We even managed to sneak in some cheeky salsa dancing!

One thing I can never resist is jerk chicken, rice and peas, and I made sure to fill my boots!  I was also lured by the sight of frou-frou pineapples being sold as 'piña colada' - but in reality, they were actually just filled with fresh pineapple juice.  Yummy, yes, but nevertheless lacking the essential additions of rum and coconut!  Luckily, I went well-prepared with a handy little flask-sized bottle of Malibu...

The Carnival route stretches three and a half miles, so you can imagine that after six straight hours of walking and dancing, our leggies were knackered, so we made our way through the crowds and headed home - and let me tell you that laying in bed after Carnival is one of the best feelings!

As ever, much fun was had, much booty-shaking was witnessed, and much jerk chicken was consumed - a success, I would say!

You can see more colourful photos and thoughts on previous Carnivals in my posts from Carnival 2010 and Carnival 2011.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A picture speaks a thousand words...

In my last post, I shared some photos of loverboy and I, taken by Jason Dodd on a fashion photography course that he was running at the Brooklands Museum.

Today I thought I would include a couple of shots taken by the students on the course.  Most of the photos were taken of us posing in and around various classic cars, however we did take a few that strayed off the beaten path....

Sarah Court Photography

This one was taken by Sarah Court, who told us that she loves photos that tell a story.  Ours portrays the tale of a couple in love in the 1940s, reunited after the war.  What other stories does this photo conjure up in your imagination?

The next photo of my handsome hubs is by Laura Knowles, who particularly enjoys taking portrait shots.  This is definitely one to keep in my wallet...

 Laura Photography

It's been really interesting to see the different perspectives, ideas and editing techniques of the photographers involved in Sunday's shoot.  Even the smallest difference in angle, colour or lighting can make such a huge difference to an image and the impression that it leaves you with.

Right, I'm off to go and print out that photo of my sweetheart...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Brooklands Fashion Photography Course

You might remember a post I wrote back in May, about the 1940s Relived event that loverboy and I attended at the Brooklands Museum?

Well, we returned there last weekend to model for a photography course that was being run by Jason Dodd, who took the iconic 'kiss' photos of us when we met him there last time.

Coincidentally, another photo with a kiss...can't keep my lips off him!

If you live in London, then you'll know that last weekend was absolutely scorchio!  We spent the whole of Saturday at Primrose Hill for a friend's birthday picnic, before heading to the Black Heart in Camden for a one-off club night, The Boom Boom Room, which retrospectively should have been called The Boiling Sweaty Room!  Super fun night, but dancing in that little room left me a hot sweaty mess.  Talk about melting...

 Photos by Peter Ayres

So we got up bright and early on Sunday morning, fully aware of how hot it was going to be...and still decided to take some fairly warm outfit choices to wear for our photo shoot in the sweltering heat!  Looking at the results though, I'm glad we did...

Aaron chose an army uniform for the first shoot, and a sharkskin suit for the second.  Doesn't he look handsome?  Last time we were at Brooklands he was dressed as a sailor, and I have to say, I do like my man in uniform...I wonder what kind he will wear next time...

I wore a vintage jacket that I bought at an antique mall in Seattle and a vintage pink skirt that I bought on Brick Lane last year.  I had wondered what I would pair the jacket with, and I think it matched the skirt well.  For the afternoon shoot, I put on a vintage dress that I found on my Portland antique mall adventures.

We had a great day, and really enjoyed working with such a creative group of people.  A big thank you to Jason for inviting us to take part!

To see more of Jason Dodd's work, or if you would like to attend one of his photography courses, visit jasondoddphotography.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Great Gatsby Garden Party - Birthday Edition!

It was my birthday last week, and as a treat, loverboy took me out to see the decadent and debaucherous show Cantina, which is currently playing at the London Wondergound on Southbank.  Photography is not permitted, so I don't have any pictures to share, but if you are a fan of vaudeville and acrobatics, then I would definitely recommend going to see this circus-style show!

As my birthday was mid-week, I decided to celebrate with friends on the weekend instead.  I stuck with the era of vaudeville following our trip to see Cantina, and threw a Great Gatsby birthday picnic on Sunday.

Based on the short novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was written in 1925 and set in the jazz age, I envisaged a garden full of deco dames and dandies:

"The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter..."

Luckily the weather turned out brilliantly, and my guests turned up in their Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan finest!

I prepared a picnic feast, and baked my speciality - red velvet cake.  This was soon relegated to 'extra cake' though, when my superstar friend, Jim, came over with a gorgeous gâteau that he made for me...

Clearly, this spectacular work of art was the birthday cake to end all birthday cakes, and I can tell you that although it was huge, it was all gone within ten minutes of me blowing out the candles!  Yummers!

After a few more glasses of bubbly and some dancing 'round the garden, we all worked up an appetite part deux and snaffled up the red velvet cake...

The picnic continued well into the evening, and so did the eating, drinking, dancing and being merry!  We did take it indoors though, to watch the Olympics closing ceremony, and had a Monty Python sing-a-long to 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'...

I had the most perfect day and must say a bit thank you to all my wonderful friends and family who helped me celebrate...you're the best!