Grantchester Meadows

And our walk through the woods behind the tea garden to the river.

Tea Time!

Today we had to go to a small town north of Cambridge to pick up a rear differential for a 4x4 car (don't ask!) so on the way we stopped off at The Orchard in Grantchester which has been a haven for English Tea and luncheons since 1897. It has held host to some of the most famous literary and scientific minds Cambridge has ever produced including such historical greats such as Betrand Russell, Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf and more recent great minds: Stephen Hawking, Crick & Watson and Prince Charles. And current celebrities such as John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and David Attenborough. (As well as infamous names such as Philby, McClean and Blunt.) In a beautiful fruit orchard backing onto the river Granta are set small tables  with deck chairs drawn up to each. The tea rooms have the biggest sumptuous scones you have ever seen, strong English Breakfast tea and delicious home made lunches. YUM!!! It was a rare British Summer day where the sun actually shone. We had a long luxurious lunch and then a walk down to the river. As Rupert Brooke said "If I should die, think only this of me, that there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England" The Orchard is certainly a preserved corner of traditional England, scones, cream and tea and all! As for the photos I still had the camera set on white balance for inside light conditions and shot most of the shots above before I realised.... doh! So the only way I could get them to look warm and sunlit instead of blue tinted was to apply the "1960's" effect (from Picasa - which you know by now I am a great fan of!) and it gave the necessary warm colouring along with that nostalgic muted colour palette and the rounded corners that I love!

New Tattoo

I have been thinking about getting another tattoo (my fourth) for a loooong time now, but it's not a decision you make without being really certain of twhat you want and where :) I am a fan of initials that mean something, so was set on an R (for the fiance) and a J (for me of course!) but didn't want it to be just two letters, so I designed this! An R and a J swirled together to make a heart and also creating a little heart inside as well! Over the moon with it, I have to say the outlines did hurt a bit much more than I remembered from my last tattoo about 4 years ago, but I got through it! So pleased with it, and will try not to think about the next one for a while!! :)

Simplicity: Relationships

For the first look into how I am leading a more simplified life these days (for the back story on this click here) I am going to concentrate on one of the most important areas in my life - relationships. I am a very emotional and intuitive person and I get a huge amount of goodness from, but also suffer alot from relationships in my life. I have a full time job where I work day in and day out with teams of people internally in my company, and hundreds of clients externally. I am the sort of person that absorbs atmospheres and emotions from others without even knowing I am doing it, and that often on first meeting someone I find them telling me their complete life story: hopes, fears, loves and everything in between! In the past I have suffered from this very open personality trait, I have "taken on" too much of what I see and hear. And because every working day I have hundreds of tiny interactions with all sorts of people it's easy for me to end up feeling too much of other peoples "stuff", leaving me feeling drained, tired or  with a migraine. Not to mention I am an extremely emotional person myself too, so I have all my own "stuff" to manage as well! I read a book once around coping with stress and feeling overwhelmed and overburdened, that asked "If you only had a week left to live, what would you do with those 7 days? The answer to this is what is really important to you in life, and although you can't focus just on that all the time, it will show you where you should be directing the majority of your energy." For me that was an easy question to answer: I would spend it all with the people above. From the top, my Dad, my Mum (and me!), my fiance and my best friend. They are the sunshine in my life, they make me happy, curious and excited every day. Through their kindness, love and intelligence they make me a better person. So for me these are my core relationships, and although every day I have to interact with a whole variety of people, some whom I love and some.... well less so.... *wink* I make sure that I reserve time and energy, patience and kindness for these guys here, above all else. It's all too easy to have a hard time at work / feel unwell / etc and then take it out on the people that you love the most. Why is it such a common human trait to do this? So I try (and often fail, but always try again) to give respect to these people, they mean the world to me, and the least I owe them is loyalty, kindness and love in return, and FUN times of course! So when I have a crappy day, instead of venting to or at these guys, I stop - I go for a run, I have a bath, I have an hour on my own, I go through it all and out the other side and then I am in a place where I can reasonably talk my problem through, get some good thoughts and advice and the love and support I need, rather than blasting out all my negativity. It's a work in progress, they will all tell you there are times I am a right b***h, but hopefully those times are fewer and far-er in between these days!! (I hope!!) Additionally I make sure I devote time and thought and creativity to nurturing these relationships, understanding that all relationships change, grow and develop, I am always thinking about what else I can do to further deepen and strengthen them. It's as simple for me as always being there for them, but also sometimes as complex as putting yourself in the other persons shoes, and understanding that what might mean "showing love" to you, might not to them, and what can you do or say to  support and show love that is the most meaningful to them. That old adage that all relationships require work, I guess is true, but its not really work as much as effort I think. You do so much get out what you put in and then more so, so it's always worth going the extra step for someone you love, as not only is it wonderful to give love but also increases the likliehood that you'll feel it coming back at you :)

Photo wise, these are all portraits I have taken (except for me and Mum of course!) I then edited them in the "1960's" effect in Picasa, I love the effect - it looks very nostalgic with the muted warm colours and rounded corners, and like those boxes of faded family photos we all have tucked away somewhere!

London views

The views from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich over the London skyline are just stunning and there was a crowd of around 100 people just sitting taking it all in and photographing it. It's rare to be able to see so much all in one panoramic view. Bless this smokey old town!

Royal Observatory at Greenwich

The Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line, is one of the most important historic scientific sites in the world. It was founded by Charles II in 1675 and is, by international decree, the official starting point for each new day, year and millennium. The Observatory is now part of the National Maritime Museum and is one of the most famous features of Maritime Greenwich – since 1997 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors to the Observatory can stand in both the eastern and western hemispheres simultaneously by placing their feet either side of the Prime Meridian – the centre of world time and space. Pretty cool huh! Also the walk up the steep hill to get there gives some AMAZING views over the whole of London from the City right over across to Canary Wharf. It’s also going to be the site of the Olympic Equestrian competitions, plus the combined running and shooting event of the Modern Pentathlon – so we got the chance to see all the building work going on to get ready for this. It made a nice juxtaposition (who doesn’t love using that word!!!??) to see the old National Maritime Museum sandwiched between the new Olympic stands and the new Canary Wharf buildings. And I just loved the architectural detail of the stand construction against the blue sky.

The National Maritime Musuem

As promised the next in my series from this weekends trip to Greenwich, The National Maritime Museum. This was my first visit and I was pleasantly surprised! Its light and airy and full of evocative displays and exhibitions that make you realise the foundation of this nation is our seafaring history, it's full of stuff I LOVE like complicated looking ships timepieces, astrolabes and compasses. Cutlasses, uniforms, medals and statues, and the level one floor is covered by a huge glass ceiling much like the reading room at the British Museum, with a cafe in, I could have sat there for hours looking at exhibits and of course people watching too!Highly recommended for a visit!


Yesterday I went to Greenwich in London for a photo day out with my photo partner TJ, the weather was kind to us and although windy, it was warm and dry all day, which believe me is a very rare occurrence this British Summer! We started at Greenwich Market and had a good old mooch around, taking a break for some delish handmade cookies and a nice pot of tea! Then on to the National Maritime Musuem, Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory and a nice walk up to a viewing point looking over the whole of London. EVERYONE was out as the rain has been so intense here these last few weeks, that I think one dry day brought out the whole of London, both tourists and locals alike, and there was a real holiday vibe in the air! I shot loads of photos, (more to come post wise over the next couple of days) and generally had a REALLY fun day!!!

And the last in the Processing series

And for the last in the series on photo effects (all in Picasa) We have the original at the top, followed by my old friend sepia and then "pencil sketch". I do like sepia, when I was a student, it was my favourite darkroom technique and I probably used it too much. It definitely gives a very recognisable effect, and only suits some subjects, but when it's right, its very warm and adds a real air of nostalgia to a shot. The pencil sketch I think is just awesome! Such detail! I can pretend to be an artist now! (My old photography college lecturer used to say ALL photographers are frustrated artists!!)