B362 – THE ANNUAL SPEAR FAMILY TRADITION

First off let me start by saying Happy Easter I hope everyone is doing exactly what they want this weekend, I plan on catching up with the family and eating chocolate, lots of chocolate. Right now though I have ended up waking up at like 5am and decided that this is probably the best time to sit down and write a half decent post, in about 30 minutes I’m expecting the kids to wake up and a massive game of hide and seek or tag to kick off and I want to be in the best possible position for what ever game we end up playing and not have worry about getting this post done.

Today is the day of the Spear family Easter egg hunt and for those of you that have been reading this post of the past year will know from last year’s egg hunt, its not something that can be done lightly. It’s a full blown Egg hunt by which everyone (the kids) has their own bag and run around the garden collecting eggs, there aren’t any winners or losers just the person with the most eggs is what the adults tell the young ones Flo (age 4) and Phoebe (age 10) but that’s not the way I see it, right now its war and when chocolates on the line it’s every man or toddler for themselves. Watch this space people.

One thing that does feel weird when I think about it, is the fact that I was doing this blogging malarkey and this is now my second Easter post, its crazy to think how much my writing and photography skills have improved. I’ve gone from being that drop out dyslexic kid who struggles with all things grammar and can’t really write, to someone who’s now confident in the content I put out there and actually enjoying the process of writing and getting my ideas from my head. Don’t get me wrong there are still many mistake that make it through but when you think about the first posts I wrote, they were literally 2 sentences long and full of mistakes, to now writing mini essays about topics that I find genuinely interesting. It’s a massive change. I’ve gone from having a writing age of about 7 years old to now probably a solid 16/17 years old and that’s something I’m pretty proud of and I have a whole website where I can show the improvement. I just know that its something I need to keep up and try to push to new levels and see just how far I can take this whole blog thing, I’ve got some really interesting plans / ideas for when this 3 a day is over and I hope that I can continue to interest you guys into reading my posts.

I was going to leave those “cringy” reflection posts for the last day but to be honest I couldn’t think of anything else to write so I just thought I would give you guys an insight into what I think of my writing. Moving on from that, its time for my second cup of coffee and to get prepped for the Easter Egg hunt, they maybe family but its time to get my head in the game and find those eggs, may the best person win, good luck Flo and Phoebe, you’re going to need it.

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– Stopping off on the way to Michelles for a quick beer –
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– And relax –
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– I cant believe ive been doing these post of a whole year and havent taken a picture of Kings Cross or maybe I have and just forgotten –

 

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B361 – THIS IS GIVING ME A MINI HEADACHE

you know how I said yesterday that I had a pretty cool place to go and check out, well, heres a kind of mini story the day. At the start Amy and me headed out for breakfast in Covent Garden, it had just started raining that really heavy and wet rain that gets through even the best gortex jacket. We had just finished our starter at brunch in this really cool little greek restaurant and the conversation came up about how we were going to get to the location and then we realised that trains weren’t stopping near by and the bus was just not really an option. I know what you are thinking, uber? but to be honest, it would just have been a pain getting one there and then getting one back would have been a nightmare. things really wern’t looking up for us and this plan, it was time to make an extreme decision, so…

After our meal we headed across the road to a coffee shop to think of a new game plan, we were both pretty clear that we didn’t want to head back to the flat and spend the rainy day inside watching movies and eating food, we wanted a mini adventure and to see something new. it has been the first time in like 6 weeks, where we literally have the whole day to spend together, one of us didn’t have to work in the morning or disappear in the evening, so we wanted to do something fun and make the most of it, but every idea we had didn’t work out, see a last minute west end musical? not one on at the right time. London Dungeness? Nope, just nope. Then, just as we were about to finish our coffee’s, Amy had the idea about going to the design museum in Kensington and boom we had a plan and somewhere to go!

For yesterdays mini adventure I decided to take the 28mm lens, its something that I think has real potential and one that I want to get to know better. I like to think that I know how to get a lens to focus and can take an OK picture with basically any lens you put on my camera. After all, I have been doing it literally every day for the past 361 days. but for some reason I just cant get the focal length right for really any picture, its so annoying. I cant seem to get it perfect, its giving me a headache. But Im not just going to put this lens on the side and not use it again. it must have been made for a reason, and I’m sure its portraits and street photography, maybe I just need to spend some more time with it and get to the bottom of what it can be used for.

Heres some of my shots from yesterday, I hope you like them and just so you know, I will be using this lens again today and will do my best to figure it out!

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– us sitting across the road trying to make this day work out –
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– we found a big puddle with some water fountains so I decided to jump in it –
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– see I just cant work out the focal length of this length, maybe I need to use the aperture to make these photos sharper, but this is a stair case inside the design museum –

B360 – AND SO IT BEGINS

Thursday and the start of a four day weekend, what more could you want? Yesterday was a filming day so I didn’t get any chance to run off on my lunch break and take some cool photos, it was more about chasing Amy around Tesco’s trying to get some cool photos with a 28mm lens I’ve got this weekend.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 28mm, it’s basically a wide lens that is really good to street photography and I would say nights out, it’s a f1.8 so that basically means it’s really good in low light.

But less about the lens I will probably dedicate a whole post too over the next few days. Yesterday I met Amy in Tesco’s for fish Tacos night, which was an experiment and something that definitely needs an improvement, not sure what happened but both of us weren’t happy with the result, luckily we had a big bag of Doritos and some cheese to make cheesy nachos while we watch a movie, only 10 minutes in and Amy’s fast sleep and that meant that was the end of movie night, time to hit the pillow. You know someone’s working hard when they fall asleep at 9:45 on the first night of a bank holiday weekend.

Today though we are up early before heading to a really really really cool place this afternoon, I’ve got all my camera batteries in charge so I can take some sick photos. I would say more but I quite like leaving it a surprise and trying my best to take some cool photos. but first I need a coffee and some breakfast. I’ve also just realised that this is my last weekend before I’ve finished this 3 a day blog challenge, so I really need to start thinking some of cool way of finishing! but dont worry, Ill have a little brainstorm and come up with something.

Here’s my photos from yesterday, enjoy.

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– sometime shop fronts give you really cool lighting, but shooting with red lights is never easy –
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– taking the lift down to meet amy for movie night food –
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– after this photograph the security guard came and told me off –

B359 – THE CANON MACRO LENS, WORTH IT?

So today I had more of a play with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L series Macro Lens, its basically a lens that can magnify objects close up and give you a view of something that the human eye might not necessarily be able to see. Now the lens RRP is around £900 which for a Canon L series Lens isn’t really too bad, its like of a mid price lens and something that I think every photographer should at least have access too, its a great lens to have a play with and is the perfect lens to just pull out the camera bag one day and mix your photography game up abit

For this review I decided to do it as fair as possible, so I set up some lights and created a kind of mini studio, with a black bounce board and a magic arm to hold up the object. My plan was then to tether my laptop to the camera and after each shot go through the image and work out if I was happy with the point of focus. I wanted an object that had different textures and something that no matter how close you could get you would always discover more and more detail, my object of choice was trimmings off the plants out the front of the office.

My idea was to shoot with both a high ISO and also bring the ISO right down and use the shutter speed to control the light, and because I was using a Tripod I could now minimise camera shake. for those that don’t know the ISO is basically something that you make higher for low light conditions and decrease for well lite shots, my idea was to use a high ISO and a fast shutter speed to see how that effected the shot, and I definitely lost detail when close up and in full Macro mode, it made the shots a lot more “grainy” but once I lowered both the ISO and shutter speed, I noticed that my photos were a lot smoother and the level of detail had gone up ten fold. I was now capturing light in even the darkest areas of each photo but because I was shooting with an amazing lens, I could pull focus on the areas I wanted too and blur completely out areas I didn’t think added anything to the photo.

I also have to agree with canon that an aperture of 2.8 is probably right and thing lower and the depth of field would become way to shallow. At the same time I wouldn’t mind seeing what a 100mm macro would look like with an aperture of f1.8, I know that would be very shallow but that mixed with something like a medium format camera would mean you could see even more than the human eye. Anyone out there heard of a f1.8 100mm macro?

All in all this is a great and lens and something that really mixes up not just my photography game but photography in general. Its a lens that I would love to add permanently to my lens collection and something that I think will help me to improve the overall look of my future photos.

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– this is a photo I wanted to take and show the whole head of the leaf and show how the focal length handles a wider shot –
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– close up, Im pretty happy with this but if I had a higher megapixel camera I would definitely would have cropped in further –
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– shooting something thats been out in the rain means I get to see how the macro lens handles reflections and contrast, I really think this lens is worth £900! –
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– This was my set up for this shot, probably the most effort Ive ever put into shooting a leaf –

B354 – SODO PIZZA, UP THERE WITH THE BEST.

So yesterday evening Amy and me were sitting in a pub in Bethnal Green thinking of something to get for dinner, the idea was simple, writing in google “pizza near me” and see what pops up, thats when we saw it. Sodo Pizza, its location was down a back street off of Cambridge Heath road, the location was set and we finished our drinks and headed over, to our surprise this was a new pizza place right near our flat that we had only just heard of, this evening just got interesting.

As we sat down in the corner of the restaurant, you cant help but acknowledge the amount of green plants they have dotted around and to be honest I had never really thought about plants in a restaurant before but it really works, they had used some big “green leaf” plants in a line to help break up the space and has worked perfectly. a solid 8/10 for vibes.

As with any time eating out, first you order your drinks, Amy went for a house white wine and said  it was pretty good. We arent too clued up on our wines but its always a good start when the house wine is good. My drink of choice was a Shoreditch Blonde, which is actually only brewed about 400 meters from where we are sitting, at the Redchurch Brewery up the road.

Once the drinks had arrived it was time to order some food, we decided to go half and half on the pizzas, Amy ordered the Feta and Butternut Squash Pizza, I went for the Meat Cured pizzas with pepperoni and Ham, which don’t get me wrong was amazing and had the perfect tomato puree to toppings ratio but the clear winner for us was the Feta and Butternut Squash. That pizza was perfect, not too greasy but at the same time not so dry that you need a litre of water with each mouth full. then you get these little spontaneous  hints of Rosemary, which have completely changed the game of pizza, I know its probably been done before but this is the first time Ive noticed it and now I think I want it on every pizza I have. The other thing that shocked us, was for the fact that after eating this pizza and then demolishing a Tiramisu, we didn’t feel like we need to either roll home or get an uber, we were like the perfect amount of full.

I would also say that it doesn’t fall into that hipster category for new pizza shops in London, you know the ones where they have naked pizza where its basically just a pizza but without tomato sauce, now that should be illegal. I cant recommend Sodo Pizza enough, they are the new kids on the block around Bethnal Green and fit in perfectly.

heres a link to their website: https://www.sodopizza.co.uk/

Oh and sorry for the first time in 354 days I went out without a memory card in my camera so had to use a mixture of Amy’s iphone and my iphone cameras.

Sodo pizza a solid 8.5/10!

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– hats off to this chef, he knew what he was doing –
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– me and both my Shoreditch blondes –
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– sourdough pizzas are possibly the way forward –
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– see! no memory card, I feel like an idiot –

 

 

 

B353 – A NEW VERSION OF FAST FOOD?

So yesterday night I decided that it could be a pretty fun thing if I just came home with a bunch of random vegetables and some chicken, then just see what Amy and I can come up with. The kind of veg that I had was like spring onion, leaks, ginger, aubergine, fennel, onion, Sweet potato. I did have other stuff but I cant really remember, i did have a few beers before so everything was a bit hazy. we ended up making something that was actually pretty good, we added some jerk chicken sauce, chucked everything in a pain and just gave it a good stir. We then decided to make some sweet potato fries and boom dinner is complete. Ive found that the trick with sweat potato fries is to add a little paprika to the mix and just give it that extra something, trust me it makes them so much better than if they are just plain. Give it a go. its like a new way version of fast food, I genuinely don’t think Deliveroo could of got the food to me quicker or made / found a healthier choice.

After all that I decided that instead of sitting on the sofa and writing this post, I would take the evening off and just chill out on the sofa instead, watch some tv and just not think about anything other than what to watch next. Some times its good to spend an evening off not taking photos, writing posts or going out and not getting home till like 10-11ish. so yesterday was the the perfect opportunity to get some good old sofa session time.

It then became an idea to wake up early today and head to the gym for an early morning work out, I know that a lot of people think that sounds crazy but I swear if you work out in the morning, then your instantly in a better mood for the day and as it is Friday, why wouldn’t you want to be in the best possible mood? So thats why my photos don’t really follow each other today, Ive got two photos from dinner last night and the other photo is of Amy hopping to the gym this morning.

Hope everyone has a good Friday and some good plans for the weekend!

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– Amy loves an early start and especially when its time for the gym… –
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– my choice of vegetables –
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– it was actually surprisingly good, maybe its good way to eat dinner from now on, it might not look amazing, but trust me we were both pleasantly surprised –

 

 

B349 – THIS IS PERFECT

When you stay in a hotel, the reason you stay there is for the bed, and nine out of ten times the bed is all wrong. You get given some rubbish pillows that feel like they’ve been folded in half one to many times and a duvet that is more of throw for your sofa than anything else. Well the Village Hotel in Dudley, Birmingham is not that kind of place, my room had at least a 14.5 tog duvet and the pillows to match, that is something that’s rare to find in a one nighter hotel.

If Premier Inn was a 4 star work trip hotel then this place is easy a 4.5 and its simple, this place has everything you need for a good nights sleep after a long day of work, from a gym and spa area that actually has a swimming pool deep enough to dive in (not that I went swimming), you could then head back to your rooms  and be pleasantly surprised that the showers they actually worked and for once didn’t give you third degree burns or worst frost bite, you are met with a constant supply of warm to hot water that actually does the job. One thing that has to be noted is the fact that they don’t have a luggage trolley, which makes my life 15 x harder. Most of the time when I stay in hotels its with a lot of camera equipment and instead of carrying 20 bags through receiption and into my room it’s nice to just put them on a trolley and push them around, even more so annoying in the morning. 

After some excersise and a great shower time to head down and get some food. That’s  when I found out about something that would put a smile on anyone’s face, I’m talking about game day chicken wings and beer all for something like £7. what more could you want, and what’s more suprising is the fact that this deal is in a hotel especially when they are showing all the football, so that being said I did enjoy the wings and also a few beers. So I will blame that on the bad grammer and poor spelling mistake into post.  but if you couldnt tell for the past 300 words, this hotel is really good and I would definitely recommend it if you need somewhere to stay in Dudley, Birmingham.

Heres my photos of the hotel, enjoy.

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– beer and wings all for £7 something, what could possibly go wrong with that –

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– look at that duvet, perfect. every one stop shop hotel around the country should take note –

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– I know its pretty stripy but I kind of like it. Amy can we do this with the bedroom –

B347 – FIRST TIME IVE EVER PHOTOGRAPHED THAT!

So after the bad Thursday I decided that Friday wouldn’t be the same and that the only thing I could do was to smash it pants off the last working day of the week and book in for an afternoon sports massage, my thinking behind that was I needed to sort my back and arm out after a busy 6 weeks of work and instead of me trying to sort it out, just give my body to a professional and get them to work on it and to be honest, it was the best decision, I came away from the massage feeling like I had given my body a full workout but without burning any energy and just laying face down on a bed, from now on im going to try and book at least one massage every month just to keep everything ticking over properly. the masseuses did say i needed one every two weeks but unless I take out a loan or start selling stuff on the black market I don’t think that is going to happen, but if you are in london and want to get you body fixed up and working to full capacity again or even just give your muscles some lovin then definitely check out Ten Health and Fitness, they are magicians. (they are the guys that also helped me with my leg) they are literally the perfect one stop shop.

Heres a link to their website: https://www.ten.co.uk/

After that my plan was to get off at Liverpool street and walk home taking photos on the way which turned out to be a great idea, because just after Brick Lane it started to rain quite heavily but at the same time the sun was shining so i managed to photograph my first every rainbow, and in such a cool place. It was literally right over an old Church inbetween the spire and the roof, making for some pretty cool photos. after all that it is safe to say that Ive properly managed to turn this week around. Now im spending my saturday doing fun things like bills and some DIY, what else are Saturdays for. I have to admit its just nice to be sat on my sofa not moving.

Heres my photos, hope you like them.

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– can you see the Rainbow? how cool is that?
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– I love it when the rain comes but its still sunny –
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– these guys are magicians –

B343 – THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT BIG CHALLENGE…

Ahh Monday, the one day of the week where those extra 5 minutes of snoozing the alarm make all the difference, especially when you have a 7:20am call time but the good thing about a call time that early is that you get to see London empty and not full of people. this morning I got to walk through the famous Brough market and it was completely empty, not even someone selling fruit or veg, it was just me. I wish I had more time to explore and that I could of pulled out my camera and spent 5 minutes just taking photos but as I said earlier, those extra 5 minutes of snoozing that alarm aren’t something that can be given up lightly.

For my photos today, I really wanted to show you some more snaps from the beach the yesterday but as im expecting a very busy week, so Ill drip feed you guys photos over the next 5 days, I hope thats ok.

After work today the plan was to go to the gym and spend an hour working out instead of an extra hour on the sofa watching tv, I know that might sound like some kind of terrible idea but my reason behind this is simple, if I want to carry on working 12 to 15 hour days (thats including my time writing these blog posts) then I really should start looking after my body by staying in shape. One thing that has made that decision the right one was the fact that in my second week of gym Ive just managed to run 5km without having a pain in my leg from ligament tear 9 months ago. That 5km run was something I had been thinking about in the back of my head for the past two days and then today I got on that running machine and made it happen, I couldn’t be happier and now Ive done the hardest part, which is basically me telling my brain that I can do this and that I just need to take it slowly. when you have an injury like that, you kind of get these weird thoughts that you shouldnt do it and that your injury has come back. All I can say is learn to actually listen to your body and not just that part of your head that is kind of scared something will happen again.

Straight after the run which by the way took me 34 minutes to run 5km, I was thinking about that goal of running an ultra marathon and I know this is something that probably maybe shouldn’t happen for a good two years, it is something I’m going to start thinking about again. my plan is to go on Saturday and get a sports massage and then speak to the running coach about how I might be able to reach the goal of a 100 mile race. I suppose if nothing else, its something for me to work towards.

Sorry in advance both Amy and my parents.

Heres some snaps, I hope you like them.

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– norfolk beach, it literally goes on for miles –
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– bank tube station this morning before rush hour had started –
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– borough market, the best place for food in london, also where they filmed bridget jones and lock stock and two smoking barrels –

 

B341 – NOTHING LIKE A ENGLISH SEA SIDE TOWN

Saturday in norfolk are mostly about chilling out and just sleeping whenever possible and thats kind of what I’ve done. Yesterday we did the usual dog walk in the morning and then sat around watching films / rugby before heading out with Amy’s friend’s for a meal and stuff. its been the first time in like 6 months since amy has seen some of her friends so its was kind of like a mini reunion.

What I love about coming to norfolk is the kind of sea side town vibes you get, when we took amys dog dexter on the walk we took this path that takes you through a proper english caravan site, with all those static caravans, which this time of year look completely abandoned expect for those few dedicated caravan people, you then head into the sea side town of Sheringham which has some how survived this fate of so many other sea side towns around the country and is still booming, with local butchers and of course the arcade’s with those amazing basketball games and 2p machines but most of all you have to love the local pubs which feel like they have been there since the beginning of time. my favourite is the Welly and now they even have WIFI. who would have thought it.

Its kind of amazing what when you think about what has happened to sea side towns around the country in the past 15 years, a lot of them I feel like are making a come back and a pretty fast one at that, when you look at places like cromer, it must have lived on a knifes edge for a few years while its locals made the decision to move on or stay put and fight it out and try to keep cromer alive and to say that while walking round Cromer briefly yesterday new cafes are opening and smart restaurants are starting to appear. If I had some cash I would quickly buy some old flats overlooking the sea and in a few years I guarantee that those places will be worth a small fortune, especially in the holiday season. So everyone come to Norfolk and have a mini break, you wont regret it and probably wont break the bank doing it either.

Anyway heres some photos from yesterday.

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– dexter on a dog walk, I think someone needs a drink of water? –
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walking through a caravan site –
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– at one of my favourite places in the world, The Welly pub / Cromer –