Monday Monthly Mentions – May 2023: My Return from Tenerife and What Next?

How it Started in Tenerife: A view of Santa Cruz from Palmetum, a lovely botanical garden

It has been a month since I returned back to London from Tenerife. The three months went quicker than I had expected, however it was a wonderful experience to live abroad, away from home and my usual surroundings.

  • My first week was in Santa Cruz, in the north of Tenerife. Sadly the weather wasn’t the best as it was raining on some days, which was unusual on probably the driest island in the world plus it is not too far from Africa.
I spent five days in Santa Cruz, where I stayed at a hotel very close to the port (nearby this sign)
  • My second week I stayed in Adeje until the very end, with the exception of going to Puerto de la Cruz for five days towards the end of February. While on my short break, I did fall ill with a possible stomach bug. I did make a full-ish recovery and was able to go to the famous Loro Parque zoo.
  • I was primarily based in Adeje, where I attended the local language school, SMS Spanish School. I stayed with a host called Ana, who is originally from Argentina but has lived in Tenerife for over twenty years. She also has two Siamese cats Lola and Sasha, who are mother and daughter, respectively.
Cats Chillin’: Lola (left) and Sasha (right). They are absolutely adorable!!
  • Communicating in Spanish did have its challenges, sometimes I would pronounce words wrong or not in order. I did a few refreshers in some classes, focusing on the preterite and imperfect verbs, also learning the past perfect and future tenses. Not going to lie, some classes were incredibly overwhelming and I walked out on one. I did feel embarrassed, however my teacher and classmates were very understanding. Fortunately in my last week at the school, I did have one-to-one lessons with my teacher, and went through certain verbs again.
  • During the weekend or sometimes after class, I would take the bus (aka ‘guagua’, as it is known locally) and explore around or in the surrounding areas of Adeje. I often went to Fañabé beach or Los Cristianos. I did go to other places along the coast like Costa del Silencio and Playa San Juan. It was quite relaxing to go out for afternoon wanders until the early evening, and it was an advantage since I had my cameras with me.
The Real Costa of Adeje: I found myself down Costa Adeje frequently, sometimes walking along by the beach towards Fañabé
JMW Turner come to life in Los Cristianos: Sunsets were beautifully in Tenerife, normally they would set from 7pm (or a few minutes before) and gradually get darker
  • Speaking of photography, I used the Fuji Xe1 more than film. Unfortunately, there were specs of dust and particles on the camera sensor and I did attempt to clean it myself. The good news is it has been professionally cleaned in London at the time of typing this. Yet I have the tedious task of getting rid of the unwanted sports on photos during the editing process.

Film was a walk in the park. I only took the Olympus XA2 and ten rolls of Kodak Trix 400 (expired). Yes, a Film Friday feature from last year. It probably took me a week to finish one roll, although towards the end, I completed two in a day as I went on a couple of day trips to La Gomera, a small nearby island on the weekend, then Mount Teide and a few other small towns on the following Monday.

Shooting film wasn’t so much as a task like before when I used to take 20 to 30 rolls for a week’s trip or less, with a mixture of different film brands and emulsions. For Tenerife, I decided to ‘cut down’ on the film for the ten-ish weeks I was there and thank goodness I made that decision; processing will be an easier task, as well as producing prints.

  • I flew back into London a month ago, just in time for Easter. My flight was slightly delayed, also a bit chaotic when boarding but overall the journey was smooth. When I arrived back, it was raining heavily unsurprisingly – typical British weather not compared to the very warm weather back in Tenerife.
Just landed: it was wet and rainy back in London, no surprise there

I did promise myself I shall return back to Tenerife in the near future, most likely next year and possibly for a shorter period. At the moment, I have to see how things go…

  • Post-Tenerife Blues and what am I doing?:

Nothing much. Kinda.

Since being back, I have been catching up with a few friends, as well as doing some job hunting so I can fill in some time until I go back to work in October.

I want to focus on photography, especially improving on digital photography and finally getting my way around Affinity, despite downloading it last year.

I didn’t manage to do any craft projects in Tenerife with the cards and watercolour paints. I will still use the materials in the future, maybe for something else.

Not forgetting, home developing. I have the Ilford developer, but not the processing equipment such as the tank, fix and wetting agent. It has been one of my main aims to do for a long while, hopefully I will get around to doing it very soon.

Outside of photography and creativity, I really, really want to take care of my mental health and wellbeing a bit more. I find myself casually neglecting it time and time again, even though I go to therapy, I still have to work on myself by getting the right tools and resources.

New hair, who’s this?: I managed to get my hair braided while in Tenerife (since has been taken out). Here’s a rare photo of me, taken by a German tourist on a boat trip to Masca

For now, I can do things at my own pace without feeling the pressure.

Take care and stay safe

(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – January 2023: Belated New Year, Blogging Plans and Other Interests

Happy Belated New Year everyone!! Over a week into 2023, it still feels strange as last year went by quickly.

Here is the lowdown:

  • I am currently on a career break from work (or a sabbatical), now until September. I return back to work in October. So in the meantime, I will be keeping myself busy during those nine months
  • Tenerife Times: Well the good news is that I am going to Tenerife next week, not for a holiday but three months to do a Spanish immersion course. I enrolled at a language school down South in the coastal area, however I start the following week.

I had been planning to do a Spanish immersion abroad since last summer, although I was already attending classes in London. I have been learning Spanish on-and-off for nearly a decade. My main goal for 2023 is to hopefully improve and be fluent in the language. This could enable me to learn other Romance languages, such as Italian, French and Portuguese as Spanish is similar to them.

Also I am planning to do a photography based project during my Tenerife stay. So keep your eyes out for updates…

  • Same Blog, Some Possible Changes: The blog will be going through a few ‘changes’ in this year. First one is Film Friday; my plan is to start the feature later than scheduled, most likely in March. The good news is that I had already written out the list of films for the fortnightly posts, with some I may have to purchase after I come back from Tenerife. Film Friday was dry in 2022, and I am considering retiring it when the year ends due to the cost of film. While it’s popular, sometimes film is not always widely available with them getting discontinued and stock shortages.

Tried and Tested Thursday will remain, I will still post entries as much as possible – so advanced apologies if there are a lack of them in the coming months. I would like to discuss other things apart from film and photography, maybe trying out something creative or experimenting with other art mediums, or talk about other topics not necessarily related to creativity.

Story Time Sundays? The rare occurrence. The only feature that doesn’t discuss really anything photography related, with the last post being in January 2022. My plan is to do at least six or seven posts this year, fortunately I have got one written longhand it just needs to get typed up. The story times unleash the true me of rambling, however I do plan on cutting the entry length down a tad bit.

Monday Monthly Mentions? Still here with the same format: exhibitions, photography, art, life, news and personal anecdotes. I will most likely have to cut down the length of each entry.

  • Other Interests Beyond Photography: The main advantage of taking time off from work is to pursue other interests or explore new ones. I would like to focus on writing, including blogging and maybe send some written pieces to competitions or submissions. I wrote story outlines, mind maps and plans in 2022, as well as revisiting a few previous planned ideas. Hopefully something will get materialised or published this year.

I want to concentrate on arts and crafts, mainly scrapbooking, plus getting back into painting again, but start off simple with watercolours or acrylics. I bought some arty bits from Hobby Craft and The Works, some I will take with me to Tenerife to do my photography project.

The Real Art Attack Mode: Prepping for my upcoming photography/crafts project

Also I really want to explore the great outdoors of the United Kingdom. I signed up for a few walks and hikes through Meetup groups. I planned to stay within the Southeastern region for now, mainly around the home counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Kent. There might be a chance that I will go beyond or towards the southwest like Sussex or Hampshire. It would be great to discover some hidden gems.

Before I end this post, I would like to share a couple of rare photos of myself, which were taken on the weekend by my dear friend Sally. The camera shy photographer in her habitat, clutching onto her Cath Kidston purse about to pay for the bill!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – December 2022: My Absence (again), Future Plans and Everything Else

Hello there, I hope everyone had a good Christmas!!

Obviously it has been a while since I last posted, as proven I have been notably absent on here. A LOT happened during my time away, so here is the ‘low down’:

  • September was my birthday. I turned 31 and this time I was at home, by that I mean not abroad on holiday like the previous couple years.
Bitscoff Birthday: Sri knew that I love Bitscoff biscuits. This was truly the icing on the cake – pun intended

It was a lovely birthday weekend celebrating with friends and family. Friday was my actual birthday, so I went to the local pub with three co-workers where we had drinks and food. One other co-worker’s birthday was a couple days after mine (can’t remember) – it was a double celebration!! My colleague Sri got me a custom made fresh cream Bitscoff cake from Paul’s Bakery in Ilford (note: my name is spelt wrong, very common. I am so used to it). That was very nice and kind of her, and the cake was very delicious and filling. I also ordered pizzas for the other co-workers, who were working the evening shift.

Saturday, I went to Cambridge with my good friend Sally, only for the day. I took my digital camera Fuji Xe1 for a test drive, which I will talk about a little later in this post.

We went around the town, exploring the universities, churches, streets and the river. The weather was lovely on that day, just chilling and taking it easy.

Sunday, I went to a steak restaurant with my parents, our ‘usual’ in Woodford Green, Miller & Carter. Highly recommended for steak lovers!! I love a good ole juicy steak and I had been yearning for it for a while. There aren’t many decent steak houses around where I live.

Sunday Steak Meal: To finish off the birthday weekend on a delicious high

Anyway, I did enjoy my birthday weekend. It felt lowkey, something I am comfortable with as I am getting older. The fanfare and fuss doesn’t bother me that much anymore.

  • Going digital: I am officially a very proud owner of a Fuji Xe1 camera. I bought the pancake lens first from eBay, then with a little help via Photofusion I got the camera body (another eBay purchase by ‘proxy’), which I got on my birthday!! Gave it a test drive the next day in Cambridge, as I was very eager.

It is a slow process going back to digital, I still try to use it as much as possible. Including fairly recently when I went to Bologna last month.

Fuji-tastic!! First time in years buying a digital camera, that happened to be second hand
  • Third is a charm: Yes, I went on my third and final holiday of this year, which was to Bologna in Italy. I stayed there for a week, however I travelled to other places in the Northern region such as Ferrara, Florence and Ravenna. During that week, on Saturday I went on a long walk to the famous church Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca (or simply ‘San Luca’), that is on top of a hill. I was very lucky to have seen it a distance away from my B&B room.
To San Luca and Beyond: The walk to there was worth it, only 5 miles approx. from my B&B

Of course, I ate quite a lot of Italian food, mostly the regional cuisine. Not only pizza, I also tried out various dishes such as cappellacci, lasagne alla bolognese and others I forgot the names of. Thankfully I met up with a friend, who is Italian, that had great knowledge of the regional food. Not forgetting, I had a refreshing glass of Aperol Spritz!!

  • Photography Plans? What’s going on with that?: You tell me!! Seriously, photography for me this year has been slightly lukewarm.

I haven’t bought much film this year, and I still got quite a lot stashed away, most of them in date. Plus I haven’t shot as much film like the previous year, only shooting whenever necessary, which is becoming rare. On average, I probably shot at least three to four films per month. If travelling, I would take ten rolls depending on the duration. Recently, I took four Rollei rolls when I went to Italy.

Film is getting expensive with the prices always hiking up, in particular Kodak – a brand I love, especially the colour films. Sadly buying Kodak will soon become an occasional thing.

Motivation and time has also been a contributing factor to a lukewarm year. I am probably going to use the same old excuse that work takes up my time, and it does, plus I get burnout easily. I have so many ideas in my head, yet they don’t always materialise.

So the only time I shoot film is on the available day(s) off. Sometimes I have to plan out what I would like to shoot, even if it is down the local area.

I’m hoping to do more photography in 2023, both film and digital. Not only that, work on my editing skills and practise. I would also like to develop my own film, slightly long overdue I must admit. It will definitely happen for sure, since I have the Ilford Developer although I need to get the full developing kit and accessories.

  • Back to Blogging?: I have two more entries to post before the end of 2022. Other than that, my aim is to blog more frequently again in 2023. Still the same-ish weekly features and content, although there might be a few small changes in the coming months.

So far, I made an outline of the blog, mainly the dates of posting. I did some post ideas for Tried and Tested Thursdays; I already wrote a list for Film Friday. All that’s left is to actually write out longhand drafts, then go over and then type them out. Oh, not forgetting to publish them here!!

Like photography, blogging has been ‘lukewarm’. I initially had post plans to write up, then my Macbook was on its last legs. Then the case of my Epson scanner: unfortunately it is not compatible with my Windows laptop unless I download VueScan. I really need to dedicate a time next year doing the whole set up, afterwards going through the negatives that need to be scanned. That will be a long process.

  • Future?: This year has its ups and downs, certainly it has opened my eyes wide to life, especially as I am getting older, which has put a perspective on many things.

Photography aside, I am glad 2022 was less stressful than both 2020 and 2021. Although we are still in a pandemic, things are slowly easing and gradually going back to ‘normal’. I am guessing it is far from over.

Thankfully, I was able to reconnect, discover, learn and explore this year. I am lucky that I had those chances and opportunities.

Let’s hope 2023 will bring us all happiness, positivity and health!!

Happy New Year

Take care and stay safe

(A Very Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – May 2022: Algarve in April, African Photography Showcase, Where are the Good Scanners? and Best Cameras for Travel

Advanced apologies for missing Monday Monthly Mentions from a couple weeks ago. I came back from my holiday a few days prior, I was still in ‘holiday mode’ and I didn’t have time to draft up an entry. Also there were a few technical difficulties, which now have been resolved.

Before I start today’s post, I wanted to share some sad news of Sharon Harris’ passing. Although she died in October, I only found out about this last month through my Facebook feed. I managed to get in contact with her family member, which did confirm the news. I hadn’t been on social media much, pretty much dipping in and out every once in a while.

I originally met Sharon in Zurich 2020. Weirdly enough we were on the same flight, only seats apart and stayed at the same hostel – even in the same room, opposite bunk beds.

Sharon was a journalist for the Glamorgan Star and lived in Cardiff. Like me, she was an avid traveller, except she travelled around the world many times, visiting many countries and continents. We spoke about places we had visited and experiences, even Eastenders at one point. We did keep in touch afterwards, although we would never see each other again in person.

As mentioned, I hadn’t been on social media much and finding out about Sharon’s death was an absolute shock.

May Sharon Harris Rest In Peace. My thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues

  • April Algarve: A few weeks after my trip to Malta, I went away to the Algarve in the south of Portugal. I began my journey from Faro and ending in Lagos (in Portugal), then flying out from Faro. I went away for over a week, exploring different towns and places each day. The weather was mostly nice, hot and warm despite it raining heavily probably twice.
Written in the sand: I wrote my name in the sand at the beach in Sagres

As usual, I took my film cameras with me. However a huge faux pas, I didn’t even realise until I went back to my hostel that there was no film loaded in the Olympus XA2. I spent the whole day in Sagres shooting without any film, but not all was lost. I took some photos on both my Olympus Mju 1 and phone. A sigh of relief, although I was initially devastated.

  • Analogue in Algarve: On the subject of film, I went to a small photography museum in Tavira, Casa Fotografia Andrade. A photographic studio run by the Andrade family for generations to the present day. Worth a visit, learning the early stages and history of photography in Portugal. Only a five Euro fee to enter and stay as long as you like. I did buy a photobook from the museum shop as a souvenir, with photographs that were seen on display.
A Photographic Souvenir from the museum
  • Wonderful Winehouse: I went to the ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ exhibition at the Design Museum at last!! It was closing the same week, and thankfully I did manage to buy a ticket right in time.  A lovely and moving tribute to Amy Winehouse, who was gone too soon. The exhibition was an eye opener; from a young talented girl from North London to a global superstar, who battled her demons in the public eye. It was great to see Amy’s legacy still living on through the exhibition, as well as a foundation set up in her name, supporting and helping young people from addictions and providing programmes.
  • Showcasing, Emerging and Growing: Doyle Wham is an art gallery in Shoreditch that displays and celebrates works by African photographers. Founded by a Royal College of Art graduate and a museums/heritage scholar, their aim was to showcase the African artistic scene and narrative. There’s an upcoming exhibition at the gallery from South African photographer Trevor Shuurman, ‘Life Through The Lens’, opens from 13th May to 2nd July
  • Food Photography for Thought: Karen Thomas is a London based food photographer, who has worked with a variety of well known brands such as McDonald’s, Costa and Marks & Spencers. She began learning photography from her father, also a photographer. Then experimented in the darkroom while at secondary school. After graduating from university, Thomas would be freelancing and photographing cars. Let’s say food was her passion and the rest is history…
  • Dude, where’s my film scanner? Or at least the good ones? An interesting question that is asked in Amateur Photographer. I want to know the answer too. I have an Epson V550, originally bought from Argos in 2017. I am yet to set it up on my new laptop, which will be a mission to do as I am uncertain it’ll be compatible with Windows 11 (originally installed on my Macbook Pro). The scanner is very good and reliable, still working and looks near enough in mint condition
  • Camera Can Travel: Lastly, going digital? Check. Travelling? Check. Digital Camera World has listed cameras perfect to pack for holidays, brands ranging from Olympus to Nikon

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – April 2022: Malta in March, Blog Absence, New Cinestill Film, Another Film Price Hike, Over 3000 Undeveloped Rolls and Home Printing

Malta Memories: Taking a photo of the Maltese flag and also flag of the Maltese Cross was a hard task, especially when it’s windy
  • Hello there, it has been a while since my last blog update. My absence/hiatus was longer than expected due to a few technical difficulties (with old Macbook) and time commitments – just to cut a long story short. It has been over two months since I bought my new laptop, so far I’m enjoying it although I have to install new editing software and the Epson scanner. I’m hoping to post regularly again here soon.
  • Malta in March: I finally did it! After two years of delays and cancellations, I made it to Malta last month. I spent just a week on the small island, where the weather started off nice, then it got windy and rainy days later. Sadly my trip to the neighbouring island of Gozo was disappointing due to the non-stop rain and wind. So my plans of exploring the island before flying home were doomed from the get-go. Thankfully prior to the bad weather, I did manage to go to Mdina, Rabat, Valletta and Sliema (where I was staying). I would definitely revisit in the near future, possibly next summer when it gets warmer.
  • Speaking of Malta: The country’s landscapes captured by Inigo Taylor are beautifully captured in monochrome, with the fine detail of the plants, fauna, clouds and surroundings. It gives it a timeless classic feel to each shot. He is based in Malta, as well as doing editorial work he is also a wedding photographer. I recommend checking out his website.
  • New Cinestill around the Corner: Cinestill is launching a new colour film in both 35mm and 120, called 400Dynamic. It is a daylight balanced film with a speed of 400, providing saturated colours added with ‘rich, warm skin tones’. The speed can be pushed from its box speed from 200 up to 3200, which is good news for all manual setting camera lovers. I will certainly be buying and trying.
  • Kodak Comeback: On the subject of new film, Kodak Gold in 120 made its comeback, with it now being widely available to buy at most photographic retailers. This five pack will not break the bank as it has been described as being ‘cheaper’ than Ektar and Portra at a quarter of the price. The medium format Gold still achieves the same results as the 35mm, which is all good news.
  • Not really news, as predicted – in my head: Fujifilm is increasing the film prices from this month up to 60%. Yes, another huge price hike, are we really surprised? Not really…
  • Printing at Home: ‘Is it worth it?’ That’s the question. Dave Kai Piper explains the benefits of digital home printing, giving a detailed lowdown on how this method can improve creativity and workflow. Plus providing useful information on printers and inks used to produce great quality prints.
  • Over 3000 undeveloped rolls of Rock and Roll Historic Moments: Photographer Charles Daniels had been shooting rock stars since the 1960s, famous names such as Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones – and that is only to name a few, trust me there is more!! Over the years, Daniels has amassed 3200 rolls of undeveloped film. Luckily, there are plans on having them processed all thanks to donations through GoFundme. The article is very interesting, explaining Daniels’ background and career, certainly worth a read!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – February 2022: Mum’s Birthday, Booster Jab, New Laptop and Expired Film

Time for Tulips: Full bloom for my Mum’s birthday
  • It was my mum’s birthday last week Monday, on the 31st January. I bought her a bouquet of tulips, also a nice birthday card. She did eventually get more flowers, cards plus some cake and a bottle of Prosecco. Sadly we didn’t go out to celebrate as I was working. Maybe soon, as I could make it up for my mum.
  • I got my third (and hopefully last) vaccine last month. I had the Booster, like the first one it was Pfizer. I would soon learn that my second dose was AstraZeneca, hence why I had a reaction to it shortly afterwards.
  • Melissa, my friend on WordPress – also Twitter and Instagram, mailed me some expired film from a few weeks back: Fuji C200 and Lomography Purple Monochrome in 120. It has been a loooong time since shooting with those films and it would be nice to experiment with them. Possibly they could be on the next Tried and Tested Thursday post?
Thanks Melissa for these!! Stocked and ready to go
  • I finally bought a new laptop for the first time in a decade. It is a HP Pavilion, pre-installed with Windows 11, Microsoft Office, Cloud and security. It’s lightweight to carry, in comparison to the other previous laptops I’ve had. My Macbook Pro had been playing up recently, as it was slowing down and an upgrade was necessary. At the moment, I am using both laptops. To cut a long story short: my Macbook has the scanner installed, printer and Photoshop CS5, so I am not letting it go just yet.
  • Select 21 was a wrap!! It ended last month on a high. A couple weeks ago, there was an artists’ talk through Zoom with the participating artists, minus one who had Covid. This gave us the chance to showcase our exhibiting work and talk in depth about it. I said my piece on the Petrol Station Series, which I am proud of til this day. Of course, I was all over the place with nerves. After going through delays and setbacks for over a year, Select 21 was a success met with many positive feedback and praise.
  • I went on a hiking trip on Saturday with a Meetup group called Outdooraholics. It was my second outing with them. We went to Lullingstone Castle and Country Park, although initially started from the town of Otford in Kent, soon making our way there – it was a ten mile walk (or 16 kilometres). We went across fields, hills and woods, even horses. I will be hiking with the group again this Saturday in Guildford, going through the North Downs and River Wey.

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – January 2022: Welcome to 2022, Kodak High Prices, Metro Moments and Plans For the Future

Way to Start into the New Year: Shot on Instax Monochrome (expired January 2020) with Fuji Instax Mini 8
  • Legendary actress and comedian Betty White has sadly passed away at 99, on New Year’s Eve. She was a few weeks short turning 100. She had a very long career in acting, well known for her role in Golden Girls, as well as being a supporter and activist of LGBT+ rights and animal welfare. May she rest in peace.
  • 2022 has started, already a Bank Holiday after a long weekend of celebrations into the new year. Many people, including myself, kept the ‘celebrating’ low key. In fact, I was in bed before midnight, then got up shortly afterwards. I had been working all week, and I was yearning for was a decent rest and some sleep.
New Year’s Day was a chance to take some snaps of the empty streets in the local area
  • Kodak Jumpin’ Up In Price Again: Old news-ish, as it was initially reported late last year; Kodak had announced another price rise in their film starting from January, so this month. Not to mention, it was very hard to buy certain Kodak films, such as Portra 400 in 35mm – which sold out on eBay, Analogue Wonderland and Parallax, perhaps a few other retailers. It’s no surprise that the panic buy started before the upcoming big price hike.
  • The Exhibitions Must Go On: There are a few shows and exhibitions I would like to see soon, including ‘Amy: Beyond the Stage’ at the Design Museum, an exhibition dedicated to the late singer Amy Winehouse. Also the Helen Levitt show at the Photographers’ Gallery, which I heard about via Twitter. I didn’t go to many art exhibitions or shows in 2021, hopefully this year I might be able to go to as many as possible.
  • My Plans for 2022 (Kinda, still in progress): Well most likely to be better than 2021. There are quite a lot of things I would like to accomplish by this year, both career and creativity wise. With Select/21 under my belt, I want to have my fingers in several pies by focusing on my photography again; finally developing my own film, creating zines and photo books, and also doing more projects/series. Plus I would like to do more writing, revisit a few storyline outlines and plans; maybe complete that short story from five years ago!! Maybe be super fluent in Spanish!!

It’s early days yet, but I am hoping 2022 will be the best year yet to come, once and for all…

Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – September 2021: Second Dose, Turning Thirty, Famous Photographers, Historical Images of Seasides and Loving Languages

Wanted to add a picture to accompany today’s post. It’s a piece titled ‘Still Life of Flowers’ (1614) painted by Ambrosius Bosschaert during the Dutch Golden Age (Image source: Wikipedia)
  • I had my second dose a couple weeks ago. I am all set and finally protected!! The good news is that I have overcome my long term fear of needles. At least that’s over and done with for now…
  • I faced another challenge: having my tooth extracted. This particular tooth had cavities and was cracked, so I made the decision to have it taken out after going back and forth to the dentist. The alternative was to have it filled in, but it would be very pricey.
  • Also I will be 30 next week. Yes, I will be hitting an important milestone in my life. To think that I was 19 over a decade ago, about to start university. For my birthday, I will be going away to celebrate in style. Posts are going to be in a queue this week and the next while away.
  • The Canal Zones: Britain’s Canals and Waterways, including the famous one going through Stratford’s Olympic Park behind Westfield Shopping Centre, which is semi-local to me by a bus ride.
  • Looks like the famous Hackney graffiti pub (aka the former Lord Napier Star) is ‘back’, but for how long?
  • Oh to be at the seaside… Feeling nostalgic? There’s a slideshow with historical snaps of various beaches across the world, from the US, to the UK, France and Italy. Most very well known, including Coney Island in New York and Blackpool in England.
  • A Romantic Language Comparison: French vs. Italian and their similarities. While they are part of the Romance language family, I often consider Italian being closer to Spanish than it is to French. The pronunciation is somewhat similar to each other, I do agree with the article published. I wanted to learn Italian initially, however as suggested by a native speaker it was better to do Spanish first and then eventually learn Italian afterwards as it would become easier for me to understand. I can confirm that has been the case after all these years!!

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – July 2021: Kent Coast, Journaling, A Hidden Gem, Art Fairs, Petrol Stations and Bjork

  • I had my first Covid vaccination last month!! I wanted to share that bit of news first. I did finally overcome my long time fear of needles, but at least I got it out of the way. I should have my second one in a month’s time, which I might need to book soon. Anyway, I had the Pfizer and thankfully I didn’t have many side effects, apart from a sore arm and a headache.
Welcome to Whitstable!! The main harbour close to the beach
  • June was a good month for visiting the Kent coast; I went to Whitstable for the first time on a warm Saturday, exploring the beach, town and trying out the local oysters!! Then two weeks later I headed back to Kent, this time to Folkestone. Just like Whitstable, it is a shingle beach, plus it’s a direct train ride from Stratford International. I spent most of my day walking along the beach, also seeing the lighthouse and harbour. Of course, when at the seaside one must have fish and chips, and I highly recommend Harbour Inn where I had the famous cuisine. It was so delicious that I left a Google review rating it five stars!!
  • Hidden Hills: My friend and I went to The Hill Garden and Pergola at the start of this month. After a few delays, we made our trip there. The small pergola is located near Hampstead Heath, North London. I had never known about this place until my friend sent me a link via Whatsapp. It’s free of charge and it’s worth a wander on a nice afternoon.
  • A Fair Result: after cancellation after cancellation with dates being moved, the Other Art Fair finally had the show on the road this year. I went this past Saturday with my friend Mark. It has been over a year since I last saw him and it was good to catch up. The art fair took place at West Handyside Canopy near King’s Cross station, which was a bigger venue space with more artists, as well many who have exhibited many times before.
  • Note that down!: I have been into journaling again recently. For the last decade, I have been buying so many journals and notebooks but hardly put them into use, only a few for random lists and notes. I have a couple that I started using as a ‘wellbeing’ journal and another for as a diary of my thoughts and feelings. I mainly get inspiration from a Reddit group called Journaling, and also I get a few ideas on making travel journals. Despite it being fun to do having a physical notebook, at times it can be difficult to finish them – something that has been a problem for me.
A few bits from Paperchase a couple weeks back; the Noto notebooks were on sale and I couldn’t resist
  • Fuji Finished: Fujifilm is set to close four photo equipment factories in the US, axing 400 jobs. All four factories are located in the state of South Carolina, that manufactures printing plates, inks, papers and disposable cameras. Petapixel added, this is mainly contributed to the ‘declining demand’ of products. This is sad, I feel sorry for the workers as this job might be their only main source of income. The upcoming axing will not come into effect until next year in 2022.
  • A possible end to an era: the decline of petrol stations has been a slow ride for a long time, with the increase and popularity of electric cars in recent years. I did a photographic series of petrol stations almost a couple years ago, and it was hard looking for a station to shoot. It was a mission to find any nearby, since some had shut around my local area – including one I had taken back in the first series (Texaco/Co Op). No surprise, it might most likely be turned into high rise flats soon.
  • Prom Princess of The Ukraine: Michal Chelbin’s ‘Best Photograph’ in the Guardian is of a young girl in the Ukraine in her prom dress. Chelbin had created a series of photographs of teenagers in their last year at school in the country. Interesting read on the concept of transitioning into young adulthood.
  • At home? Want some photography inspiration?: Amateur Photographer has listed ten photography projects and ideas to do at home, with some being easy and accessible to do.
  • There’s something about Bjork: all thanks to Spotify and Youtube!! I have been listening to the famous Icelandic singer Bjork recently, mainly to her older stuff such as Debut and Homogenic. I knew about her before, only from her cover song ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’. Then I listened to her song ‘Isobel’ on Youtube, from the 1995 album Post. Last week, I listened to Homogenic for the first time while I was at the gym. My favourite song from the album is ‘Bachlorette’, and I cannot stop listening to it!!

Take care and stay safe

(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – June 2021: Bognor Regis Break, Seaside Summer, Blast from The Past from East London and Exhibitions from this Month

This is the first time I had to post a very belated Monday Monthly Mentions two weeks later than scheduled. I have been so busy with work, and although I had written my draft already, it was finding time to type everything down…

  • First thing’s first: hello, how’s everyone doing? I haven’t been posting as much recently, mostly due to work, however I will be posting a few entries before the month closes and prepare some in advance for next month.
Bognor Rocks: Bognor Regis beach was literally a stone throw away from where we were staying
  • I went to Butlins last month for the first time. I went with my friend and her youngest son only for a few days. The resort is located in Bognor Regis, right next to the beach. We spent most of our time on the beach, as well as her son doing a lot of fun activities at Butlins which he did enjoy. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any shows or live entertainment while there, but it was nice to get out of London and go somewhere different.
Beach Huts that match the sky: Felpham is a quieter area close to Bognor Regis, not as busy
William Blake’s Cottage in Felpham, where he was arrested for sedition
  • The day after our arrival to Butlins, we went to Arundel Castle, quite nearby Bognor Regis by train. A few days prior to our visit, there was a robbery at the castle where thieves had stolen Mary Queen of Scots’ Rosary beads – a devastating loss of very important historical artifacts. The castle itself was amazing, both inside and out. Even bigger than we actually thought, when we saw it enroute via train the previous day.
  • To be by the seaside, as foreign travel is uncertain for the time being. It seems the good ole British seaside trip is making a ‘comeback’ since the increasing popularity of staycations this coming summer. Photographer Sophie Green captured the best of British beaches via Vice Magazine.

Take care and stay safe