PHOTO DIARY | Amsterdam

Hi there, long time, no write (again!)
Life has been getting in the way as per usual, I’ve been undergoing my training to become a Secondary School English Teacher and that in itself has been a whole bag of mixed emotions, driving me away from my hobbies and of course, my blogging.
Now, with the whole Coronavirus pandemic – 2020 really shook things up here – there’s this eeriness present in the World where literally everything and everyone is coming to a halt, something that myself and I bet many of you thought we would never witness in this generation.
With this, of course jobs, careers, schools have all been effected in some way and therefore, has interrupted my life schedule too. I was supposed to be on a School placement for the rest of this academic year, that of course has come to a standstill and now, the whole of mankind is just sat here in this weird limbo of not being able to do much “until further notice.” Scary times. However, the purpose of this post was not to actually talk about the pandemic (we get enough of that on the news and social media) but this time off actually allowed me to catch up on blog posts that had been sitting in my drafts folder since last year that I thought to finish…and it’s nice to actually reflect back on times where Coronavirus was just a Black Mirror episode or movie blockbuster.
Hope you enjoy…

From July 2019:

Were our eyes deceiving us? For once in our drizzly, downpour of a country, England was finally able to enjoy a proper Summer!! Literally, from viewing people’s Instagram and Snapchat stories, I legit could not tell if they were abroad or just chilling in their back gardens with a barbie.

Throughout this blooming gorgeous chapter of sunshine, my siblings and I flew a little ways down south of the Globe for a little weekend getaway to Amsterdam! So, I thought I would share a little photo diary of what we got up to, along with a few little tips you may want to know if you’re planning a little visit over there yourself…

Day 1

We set off early from Manchester airport and as soon as we landed in the Netherlands, we stepped out of the airport and our priorities straight – checked in at the hotel and headed for FOOD!!

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PANCAKES AMSTERDAM
So, courgettes, smoked chicken, coriander all embedded into a sweet pancake batter and cooked like a crepe…also not forgetting a mango chutney dipping sauce – this was a combination of ingredients I wouldn’t have even dreamed about putting together, but oh my word, it was actually amazing!! The perfect balance where sweet meets savoury, my sister opted for the full sweet taste of Nutella and ice-cream (and I personally feel like she massively missed out!)

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And then we swiftly moved on to see some sites!!

Canal Boat Ride

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Day 2

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CAFE WINKEL 43
Best Apple Pie in all of ‘Dam…
…Oh Winkel, firstly, what a name! But my oh my, for a girl that is not a usual Apple Pie kinda lover, Cafe Winkel 43 managed to convert me. Shoutout to my girl May (AKA Doddsy, AKA Mad Dodds, AKA Legend) who was lucky enough to live in Amsterdam for a while and recommended this little gem to us.

Day 3

Happy Tosti
The cutest (and most healthiest) breakfast place I ever did dine at…

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MAMA KELLY AMSTERDAM

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Some Trip Tips

You need to Pay to Pee…
…in majority of places. Even the Mcdonalds we went to had a wee lil’ turnstile to get to the loo, so I would definitely advise to always carry some spare change around.

Check the Weather! And dress accordingly…
…or should I say, check the weather again! We had checked what the weather would be roughly a week before we had set out to leave and it was forecast rain and lots of clouds. It lied, the weather channel lied to us. Thus bringing me to my next point….

Don’t peddle boat in 30 degree weather (in a denim boilersuit!!)
…emphasis on the ‘boil’ because heavy perspiration was an un understatement. It worked off all the food we ate though!

Anne Frank…
…She is one VERY popular gal. Although viewing the Anne Frank Museum was one of the main activities we had set out to do, our little unorganised selves weren’t aware that tickets were only available online now! There is an extremely slim chance to book tickets on the morning you wish to visit as they keep a percentage of tickets available to buy but of course there’s an online queue and it’s basically impossible. So, learn from our mistakes and book 2 months in advance!

Bikes, bikes and more bikes
…Throw your green cross code out of the window here because you never know when or where one of these little buggers will pop out from and clip you out of nowhere. It made trying to get an insta photo hella hard I’ll tell you that!

Funky smells
…for obvious reasons you may or may not already know, as marijuana is legal here. If you would like to avoid getting high, do not visit any places labeled “coffee shops” for coffee, stick to cafes and restaurants ūüėČ

If you would like to watch a little video I put together of the trip, you can view it here…

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Keep safe,
I x

Photo Diary: Birthday in Barcelona

 

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First off, I hope everybody had a really lovely start to the new year, if you’ve¬†already seen my Instagram and Snapchat spams then you’ll all know that I blooming had the best start to the year!! My family only went and took me to Spain for my birthday! Like what?!?! Absolute crazinesssssss! It was the best birthday of my life, besides the fact of how old I was turning – but¬†let’s not dwell on that…
I can’t thank¬†my sisters and brother-in-law enough for taking me – also for being my personal photographers and videographers – had to keep up-to-date with OOTD’s guys! This post is kind of a lengthy one but only because it’s jam-packed with pictures and very little writing so for now I’ll shut up and let you enjoy my little(ish) gallery of all the places I visited and things I did in beautiful Barcelona.

Saturday 7th January (My Birthday!)

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We stayed at the beautiful Vincci Mae Barcelona Hotel ¬†which is situated towards the centre of the city and walking distance from a lot of attractions. The staff were so lovely, always greeted with an “HOLA” from the desk every time we were leaving or arriving and the rooms weren’t too shabby either!

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Sunday 8th January

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Barcelona Zoo

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Camp Nou (New Camp) Stadium

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So, I’ve never been much of a football fan apart from when something big his happening in the footy world like the World Cup or something, but oh my, I fell so in love with the Barcelona football team – and the stadium too! Now, I’ve always been a fan of Lionel Messi, he’s one of the few footballers I know (and that’s only because he’s the greatest footballer in the world, debatable I know but he’s the best in my eyes). Anyway, we were able to see all the many, many, many, MANY trophies and cups that the Barcelona team have won over the years, many photos of the footballers too¬†ūüėČ Then there was the chance to walk out onto the sidelines of the pitch, visit the press pit and even take a gander into¬†players’ locker room!

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ALSO, it’s not every day you get to have an Outfit of the Day photoshoot in an empty football stadium – apparently I had amused one of the tour guides by¬†taking pictures whilst sitting on the stairs rather than using the pitch as my backdrop… he clearly did not understand the ways of an OOTD shoot.

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Monday 9th January

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Sagrada Familia

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All I can say about this building is that it is so so sooooo beautiful, I cannot even express in words or do it any justice in pictures of how beautiful. My sister (Adeeba) and I¬†had already visited it the night before – only being able to see it from outside – but even then when we could just see it in the light of the street lamps, it ¬†quite literally took our breaths¬†away. You just don’t expect something so grand and gorgeous to be in the centre of all the hustle and bustle of the city. Just from looking at the pictures I remember how bad my neck hurt from having to crane it all the way up to take in all the beauty… so worth it though. Gaudi, you bloody genius.

Gothic Quarter

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Park Guell

To carry on with the Gaudi guide, we visited Park Guell. Just see for yourself how amazing it is…

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I still remember making my own little fantastic and strange building out of clay from studying Gaudi in Year 7 Art and from then on, I’ve always wanted to travel to Barcelona to see his work in real life. Also, when I was younger I was a huge fan of the Cheetah Girls – please, please tell me that people remember the Cheetah girls – ¬†and to this day I still remember the scene they filmed in this very park in their second movie – anyone else remember? It was basically my 10/11 year old self’s dream come true, so of course I geeked out – but I was totally here for the art and culture too, not just because Raven Symone had been dancing on these stairs,¬†okay?

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Tuesday 10th January

And this was the sad, sad day where we had to say our goodbyes to Barcelona and head home ūüė¶

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But oh my word, it was such an amazing trip, the perfect birthday and the best start to the year. I cannot thank my family enough for spoiling me and all I keep thinking about now is…

“Where are you guys taking me next year?” ūüėČ ūüėČ ūüėČ

 I .. x

*All photos taken with an Olympus PEN

Photo Diary: A Weekend in Whitby

From light breezes to blustering winds, drizzly¬†spells to torrential rainfall and times where you are just simply left breathless – and I’m not just talking about walking up and down those hundred and ninety-nine steps several times – but whether it be in the warmth of the golden sun or through blurred vision¬†because¬†the wind has struck you and you’re crying rivers,¬†Whitby is still without a doubt, breathtakingly beautiful.

You see, writing can get so overwhelming and stressful at times that a break is needed to avoid the risk of one becoming a sectioned patient. Luckily for us, our amazing creative writing tutors understood this and organised a weekend retreat to Whitby where we able to escape, to write, or to just take in the lovely sights that Whitby consisted of where inspiration was lurking on every cobbled corner. And it was definitely a wonderful break indeed! Minus those killer steps of course Рour hostel was situated on the cliff top and the easiest way to get into the town was to go down that bugger of a staircase Рbut no pain, no gain right?

We arrived at the hostel and I’m sure the first question asked was “what’s the WIFI password?” (I may or may not have wanted to know that myself.) So¬†once all that important stuff¬†was out the way we had¬†our chance to explore! Yes, we were at the seaside but let’s not forget it’s November (and this is Britain) so I¬†basically wanted to wrap up so much that if I fell and hit the floor, the goal was to bounce straight off the ground and get back up again! (Fortunately I didn’t fall but that meant I was never able to test that theory.) So, hats, scarves, boots were the basics, obviously gloves were out of the question because then I wouldn’t be able to use¬†my phone. #FirstWorldProbs

Whitby has always been a special place from a literary perspective as its mesmerising scenes has influenced many great writers – Lewis Carroll and of course, Bram Stoker are just a couple. Now, it was OUR time¬†to become inspired!¬†We¬†had the pleasure of walking through cemeteries where the gravestones¬†looked more like¬†props stolen from a movie set (except there were actual real people buried underneath these ones.) We took a gander round the little town, discovered tiny coffee shops that seemed only fit for hobbits – there was a lot of “Mind Your Head” signs about it – I met some overly friendly donkeys and I think I probably made friends with more dogs than I did with people ūüôā

We had a night dedicated to the students for their chance to read out what they had written over the course of the first day, I just have to say, I was surrounded by some crazy, mad talent in there! Being in the company of such a lovely group of people, bonding and meeting some amazing new friends has definitely been the highlight of the trip! Okay, soppy moment over.

And I think that’s it in a nutshell! So, here I have created a little photo diary of my time over the retreat. I switched into photographer mode quite often, okay, very often (I got a little excited at the Abbey ruins as you may be able to tell)¬†and of course, there’s plenty of selfie action!

Somehow all 199 of those steps seemed to have had some kind of inspirational powers because writer, Michael Farber has wrote a whole novel about them. I don’t know what he was on whilst he was walking up (and down) them, but I want some of it. The point being, I intend to read his novel that is, oh shocker, called¬†The Hundred and Ninety Nine Steps to¬†try and find some positivity from the devil that made me feel like I’d done three straight days of¬†leg-day at the gym! Okay, I’ve never been to a leg-day session in my life but if I did, I imagine it would feel like that.

Also, a massive, massive thank you to the Creative Writing Team at York St John! We had a blast!

Follow @YSJWriting on Twitter for more pictures of how the trip went down.

Relaxed Retreater out x

Nature Photography Shoot

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Hey!

So my photo-shoot from the Nature Trail my sister and I ventured upon last week is now uploaded! ¬†Here’s a little background information of the journey:

We went to Potteric Carr Nature Reserve right here in Doncaster! (From living here most of my life I had no idea something so beautiful was so local!) It consisted of a long walk Рapproximately 3 hours to walk round the whole reserve Рbut completely worth it. There were shorter routes available to explore but we were determined to view it all.

We began by crossing a few bridges, and stumbled upon a beautiful lake with a small pier. The whole place was crawling with wildlife, although majority of the time we just saw ducks and geese, the birds never stopped singing and chirping. There were fantastic natural structures; vines made into arches and stones carved into caterpillars, also, when you reach the woods they engulf you. I felt like Red Riding Hood on the quest to reach her sick her Grandma (fortunately there were no Big Bad Wolf) and the atmosphere creates this feeling that you are in something so deep and magical it is as though you have been transported into another world.

It is¬†inspirational as much as it is scenic and influenced me to write my own short story (see previous post ‘The Valley of Vines’). The pictures I took were a massive success, I tried my best to do the scenery justice through my digital eye so I hope you check it out¬†–¬†Just go to the Photography Page and click ‘Nature Shoot’ to¬†view the gallery!

Hope you like them!

Setting the Scene: Writer Vs. Photographer

Like all successful stories, the reader is unable to imagine the writer’s words without a form of scenery or setting taking place. One that oozes of fantastic atmosphere, rich with excitement and drama. Whether it’s an epic battle taking place in a far away galaxy. Or a romantic picnic by the riverside, scenes are key to be able to visualise the full effect, a place where you can see your characters play their part.

You are staging this story, how do you want your audience to see it?

A scene within photography follows a similar procedure. How would you want your viewer to see what you want them to see. A digital eye differs from the human eye, therefore it is the photographer’s job to structure the scene laid out in front of them into what they want the viewer to see. How a writer would have to consider the use of adjectives, similes, writing style in describing a scene whereas the photographer would substitute the use of words by working with lighting, angles and depth of field to produce the scene.

An experiment I conducted about the contrast and comparison of scenery between writer and photography is shown below:

DESCRIPTION:
They strode, swiftly and sweetly. With hair as black as a Raven’s feather, the two girls tiptoed and teetered along the concrete path without a glance backwards. Their white dresses billowed behind¬†them in the cool, Spring air. They proceeded with their assigned role, bringing¬†justice to the role of Bridesmaid in between the elegant architecture of¬†a wooden cross-hatched fence. Dim shoots of light entered through the diamond constructed patterns of the fence, creating barely visible shadows. It¬†enclosed¬†them in narrowly as they walked away, delving deeper into the caged tunnel.

Do you have an image in your mind? Hopefully it looks similar to this:

PHOTOGRAPH:

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Writing Exercise:
Create and describe your own scene, anything you want. Add characters if you wish. Use any form of writing method you feel comfortable with but remember to think about your audience, what do you want them to visualise? After this take on the task of capturing this scene with a camera, a from as professional as DSLR or as simple as a camera phone Рthe choice is yours! But try to capture the aspects of this scene of how you wrote it, turn the written word into a reality. However, is this proves to be difficult swap it around Рtake the photograph of desired scene and then write about it. Allow the visual imagery to be converted into words.