Parisian fog and sunshine – Part 2

Our second full day in Paris was much sunnier, with none of the fog we’d had the day before. Although we tend to avoid the tourist traps, this visit we tried to embrace it a bit more, so headed up to Montmartre to see another view of Paris and visit the Sacre-Cœur.

I have to be honest, having visited the Arc the day before and the Eiffel tower on a previous visit, I was unprepared for just how touristy this place would be. There were people everywhere, the majority either taking selfies or trying to force something on the tourists. Going up the steps to the church at one point about 6  guys tried to funnel us into a literal tourist trap (not saying it was anything nefarious, they were likely just trying to flog us something). Luckily we managed to manoeuvre past them pretty sharpish and got to the top.

paris-2017-23

paris-2017-24

paris-2017-25

Were the views worth it? Maybe. But I wouldn’t even consider going back at anything like peak-season.

After that, we idled our way back down through the artists’ square and independent shops of Montmartre. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon – we even found a gallery selling Shepard Fairey, Pure Evil and some other artists, which was a nice surprise.

paris-2017-27

paris-2017-28

paris-2017-26

After the rather intense tourist hit, we decided to spend the last day in Neuilly-sur-Seine where things were reassuringly French and laid back. We sat in the sun drinking beer, wandered about the incredibly good looking streets, and ate good food.

That’s what Paris is really all about.

paris-2017-21

paris-2017-20

paris-2017-18

paris-2017-29

Parisian fog and sunshine – Part 1

A month ago we were in Paris for Jen’s 30th (and my 29th, though that was secondary).

As always, it was stunning.

We were staying in the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine; a picturesque and posh area that had lots of great restaurants, bars and patisseries and some impressive views of the skyscrapers of the financial district. As the main road in Neuilly is Avenue Charles de Gaulle, which is one big long straight road that eventually reaches the Arc de Triomphe, we decided that was a must visit.

It was a foggy day when we set out, but that’s ok, as it added atmosphere to the views we received when we got to the top.

paris-2017-10

paris-2017-11

paris-2017-12

paris-2017-7

paris-2017-5

paris-2017-8

paris-2017-6

The tunnel under the insanely busy Place Charles de Gaulle roundabout was one of my favourite features. Watching the cars from the top made me thankful I hadn’t decided to drive for the trip.

Whilst up the Arc, the sun slowly started to emerge, and after that first morning we were lucky with the weather – bright, crisp winter sunshine for the rest of the trip.

paris-2017-15

paris-2017-13

paris-2017-16

paris-2017-19

paris-2017-17

On the way back to the apartment that afternoon we stopped at a market which was buzzing with local activity.

paris-2017-4

paris-2017-3

paris-2017-2

paris-2017-1

After a day of walking we had a nap. I’m not ashamed to admit it. When we woke it was nighttime, which meant there was only one course of action – find a trendy little burger bar that brews its own beer and settle in. We found Frog Burger, and it was good.

paris-2017-29-2

Cherry Bombs – Eastbourne Roller Derby B team

In July last year I retired from playing Roller Derby – the sport that had been my obsession for well over 3 years. I still Benchcoach the girls’ A team (meaning I stand on the sideline and shout things) and on occasion I like to take photos too.

I find sports photography incredibly difficult…

cherry-bombs-3

cherry-bombs-9

cherry-bombs-8

cherry-bombs-7

cherry-bombs-5

cherry-bombs-4

cherry-bombs-2

cherry-bombs-11

cherry-bombs-10

cherry-bombs-1

cherry-bombs-6

Paris – Cereal City Guide

Later this month we’re off to Paris for thatbeastjen‘s 30th birthday.

I booked the long weekend away and originally planned to have it a surprise for her, right up until we got on the Eurostar. Then, as time went passed, I started thinking that you can’t really get excited about something that you don’t know about…

So instead I got her a guidebook to Paris as an early present and as a way of revealing her birthday trip’s identity. Now we get to be excited together and decide exactly what we want to do.

We went to Paris two years ago for her birthday and both loved it, so we’re not completely new to it, but the Cereal Paris City Guide features loads of places we would never have found out about on our own. Naturally, being a Cereal book it is gorgeously designed with a minimalistic feel. The photos are emotive and give you a sense of the place, and the descriptions are short but with enough information to make them useful.

I considered getting Quiet Paris by Siobhan Wall, having previously got Quiet London for my sister which was lovely, but decided on the Cereal guide as it is more recent, so hopefully less chance of places having moved or closed.

Can’t wait for Paris. I’ll be taking lots of photos and sharing them here when we’re back.

Cereal Paris City Guide and Eiffel Tower

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside 2

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside 3

cereal-paris-4

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside close up 1

Cereal Paris City Guide - inside close up 2

Save

Lewes with the Canon EFS 24mm

I work in Lewes, a very picturesque little town between Eastbourne and Brighton. At lunch I’ll often have a walk around (and up and down – it’s a hilly place), so when I got my new Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 prime lens a spate of amazing winter sun gave me the perfect opportunity to give it a test run.

I’m not going into detail about vignetting,  chromatic aberrations or technical stuff, this is just a chance for me to share my feelings on it.

My feelings are good. I like this lens a lot. It’s a pancake lens (very small) so is discreet and lightweight, making the Canon 500d I use feel more like a bridge camera than a DSLR. I should mention that as an EF-S lens, it is specifically designed for crop sensor Canons (eg 500d, 1000d, 70d) and won’t work on full-frame cameras (eg 5d).

f/2.8 is fairly fast for such a low-cost lens, so you can get some really nice bokeh when you want it, much more than a typical zoom lens in the same price bracket.

Like with the 50mm prime I got last year, I was immediately impressed by the clarity the lens offers, it’s a great piece of glass for the price (look to pay about £130). There’s something about prime lenses that I don’t think you get with a zoom, a sense that you’re seeing a unique perspective through your camera.

Here’s my perspective on Lewes…

Southover Grange Gardens, Leweslewes-jan-1

lewes-jan-7

lewes-jan-2

lewes-jan-8

lewes-jan-10

Lewes Flea Marketlewes-jan-3

lewes-jan-4

Friars Walk, Leweslewes-jan-6

Southover Road, Leweslewes-jan-5

lewes-jan-9

Harvey’s Brewerylewes-jan-11

Please note there are a couple of affiliate links in this post, but my thoughts on the lenses are genuine and this post has not been sponsored in any way.

Winter sun & ice cream…

Yesterday was how Sundays should be. 

We headed out into some incredible winter sunshine for a walk down Eastbourne seafront to the world-famous Fusciardi’s Ice Cream Parlour. I went for a single scoop of Ginger in a cone – a controversial choice, I realise, but I wasn’t disappointed. The rest of the squad went for Strawberry (x2), Honeycomb, and Rum & Raisin.

To those of you that suggest that January in England is the wrong time and place for ice cream, all I can do is shake my head slowly and pity your naivety.

I didn’t take my camera out, as we’d originally only been going for a fry-up, so was frustrated when we decided to go for a walk and I missed an opportunity. Instead I ended up taking snaps on my trusty old iPhone 5s and editing them with Enlight to give them a retro feel – perfect for an old fashioned day at the beach.

winter-sun-2

winter-sun-1

winter-sun-3

winter-sun-4

winter-sun-5

winter-sun-6

Save

New plants!

Oh how I love plants.

I used to be dreadful, killing most of them, but over time I’ve developed the useful ability of being able to keep them alive and even help them thrive. As such, I’ve gradually amassed quite a range of greenery.

This month I’ve got some new fellas, including a tiny little cactus in concrete pot by HiCacti which was a new-home present from friends, a rubber plant (Ficus Elastica Robust), and a lovely succulent (not sure what he is, exactly).

During the photo shoot for these fellas (using our new feature wall in the living room, which is Hicks Blue by Little Green and looks great for still-life photography) Ziggy (cat) decided she wanted some of the action but wouldn’t sit still long enough for a nice photo).

plants-jan17-3

plants-jan17-4

plants-jan17-6

plants-jan17-5

plants-jan17-1

plants-jan17-2