photography

Do - Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 @ The V&A, London

On Wednesday 30th April I was lucky enough (and, when I say lucky, I mean lucky) to attend the press viewing of the fabulous new exhibition at the V&A in London - Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 on behalf of Love My Dress.

As you'll probably gather from my feature on Love My Dress reviewing the exhibition, I thought it was simply brilliant. I'm a history geek so combining that with weddings sent me into raptures. However, I really think that there's something for everyone at the exhibition and it is, in my book, something to absolutely try and do over the coming months. I am actually going back for part of my birthday treat with My Mr in a few weeks time and I'm so excited to see all the gowns again. I have absolutely no doubt that different things will catch my eye next time.

Some of my earliest memories are related to weddings - I remember being a bridesmaid at my Aunt's wedding and loving my dress but reverting to tomboy ways during the reception and running up and down the riverbank in a most unseemly manner. I remember listening to a discussion prior to my cousin's wedding where they were decided if I could still be bridesmaid should the cast on my broken arm not be removed in time (it was and I was). I remember watching the wedding of Lady Diana and being amazed by her gown and I remember copying the sketches of royal wedding dresses from my childhood collection of Ladybird books. All of those memories and all of that childlike wonder came flooding back to me as I wandered around the V&A on Wednesday.

It still surprises me that the short-haired tomboy who liked to play rough with the boys has become the short-haired tomboy who works in a world of pretty. But, I guess, that's part of the joy of weddings. The prescriptive 'church, buffet, disco' pattern of the past has gone and now, whoever you are, whatever you like, you can have a wedding that works for you. That's borne out by the V&A exhibition - the full-on attention seeking gowns of the celebs, the restrained elegance of the royal outfits, the traditional gowns, the opulent gowns, the make-do-and-mend gowns all hold their own next to each other. One dress, one wedding or even one life is not automatically better than another. If it suits you, it's perfect.

The Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition opens on 3rd May and you can find out more information & book tickets on the V&A website.

 This gown, by Aida Woolf, is from 1914 and features a detachable train that would allow the wedding dress to be converted into a gown suitable for the newlywed bride to be presented at Court after her wedding. The silk brocade shoes are also beautiful and the outfit reflects the influence of evening dress fashions on the bridalwear of the time.

This gown, by Aida Woolf, is from 1914 and features a detachable train that would allow the wedding dress to be converted into a gown suitable for the newlywed bride to be presented at Court after her wedding. The silk brocade shoes are also beautiful and the outfit reflects the influence of evening dress fashions on the bridalwear of the time.

 This outfit was worn by a farmer's daughter at her wedding in 1775. What strikes me is the low-cut neckline of the gown! The shepherdess style silk covered hat was also very 'of the period' and the little silk shoes have survived amazingly well.

This outfit was worn by a farmer's daughter at her wedding in 1775. What strikes me is the low-cut neckline of the gown! The shepherdess style silk covered hat was also very 'of the period' and the little silk shoes have survived amazingly well.

 I remember watching the Duchess of Cornwall's wedding to Prince Charles and thinking 'well played Camilla'. I loved this outfit then and I still love it now. The dress and coat are beautiful - elegant, refined and totally in keeping with, what was, a very understated occasion. The Philip Treacy headdress is stunning and the LK Bennett shoes are a perfect finishing touch.

I remember watching the Duchess of Cornwall's wedding to Prince Charles and thinking 'well played Camilla'. I loved this outfit then and I still love it now. The dress and coat are beautiful - elegant, refined and totally in keeping with, what was, a very understated occasion. The Philip Treacy headdress is stunning and the LK Bennett shoes are a perfect finishing touch.

 This is some of the detail on the skirt from Ian Stuart's 'Flower Bomb' gown and it was certainly spectacular. It would take a bold bride to wear this I think but if you've got a big personality, why try to pretend that you're demure and quiet on your wedding day?

This is some of the detail on the skirt from Ian Stuart's 'Flower Bomb' gown and it was certainly spectacular. It would take a bold bride to wear this I think but if you've got a big personality, why try to pretend that you're demure and quiet on your wedding day?

 Kate Moss's Galliano gown was attracting a lot of attention and for all the right reasons. The 'phoenix feather' emblems on the skirt are just great and the sequins that cover the dress and veil look absolutely stunning.

Kate Moss's Galliano gown was attracting a lot of attention and for all the right reasons. The 'phoenix feather' emblems on the skirt are just great and the sequins that cover the dress and veil look absolutely stunning.

 As I was leaving I (naturally) had to have a look in the dedicated exhibition shop and what should I find there? Only Style Me Vintage: Weddings by Annabel Beeforth, the founder of  Love My Dress  who had sent me to cover the exhibition! Such an honour to be included as part of this iconic exhibition.

As I was leaving I (naturally) had to have a look in the dedicated exhibition shop and what should I find there? Only Style Me Vintage: Weddings by Annabel Beeforth, the founder of Love My Dress who had sent me to cover the exhibition! Such an honour to be included as part of this iconic exhibition.

The Little Things - Spring Blossom

One of the highlights of my days is taking my dog for a walk. I love getting away from my desk or just grabbing some fresh-air time to blow the cobwebs away and clear my head. Invariably, any problems or issues that are floating around in that packed cranium of mine and sorted, arranged and organised nicely by the time I get home.

Another reason I love walking my dog is that it makes me really aware of the seasons. In the winter, Jack Frost's fingers pinch my cheeks and nip my fingers. In the autumn, I kick my way through drifts of leaves and leave over puddles. In summer, I'm up walking by 6am in the cool, still freshness of the morning so my black Labrador doesn't overheat. And in the spring, watching the beautiful blossom burst from bare branches makes me smile. It makes me stop, stand under the boughs and stare upwards. I trail my hands across the petals, feeling their silky softness and I take photos in the hope of capturing these spring moments for bring brightness to grey days...


Wanderlust - Chesil Beach

So, on Friday 21st March, I found myself in the strange situation of being at a loose end. The loosest of loose ends in fact because I dropped My Mr to start his first marathon at 7.15am and then had hours to fill before either a) he finished or b) 3pm rolled around and I could check us into the little hideaway we'd booked for the weekend.

Happily, the weather took pity on me and my rather hopeless situation. The sun shone and as My Mr was walking along the coast path from Charmouth to Weymouth, I made up my mind to potter along the coast road, seeing him at checkpoints and indulging in a bit of beachside photography/reading/people watching.

And do you know what? It turns out being at a loose end along Chesil Beach is really rather stunning...

 Ok, so I should be honest and say my day cruising the coast road didn't start quite how I thought it might. I was driving  to Abbotsbury and saw a sign for 'The Hardy Monument'. Oh hurrah, I thought, Thomas Hardy, Dorset's famous writing son. So I pulled off and drove to  the monument. Impressive, I thought as I walked toward it in the sunshine. However, when I got to the little info board, it became clear I'd got my Hardys confused. This wasn't a monument to Thomas 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Hardy. No, this was a monument to Thomas 'Kiss Me Hardy' Hardy, the giver of Admiral Nelson's goodbye kiss at the Battle of Trafalgar. Quite a difference you'll agree but two Thomas Hardys from a little part of Dorset - who knew?

Ok, so I should be honest and say my day cruising the coast road didn't start quite how I thought it might. I was driving  to Abbotsbury and saw a sign for 'The Hardy Monument'. Oh hurrah, I thought, Thomas Hardy, Dorset's famous writing son. So I pulled off and drove to  the monument. Impressive, I thought as I walked toward it in the sunshine. However, when I got to the little info board, it became clear I'd got my Hardys confused. This wasn't a monument to Thomas 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Hardy. No, this was a monument to Thomas 'Kiss Me Hardy' Hardy, the giver of Admiral Nelson's goodbye kiss at the Battle of Trafalgar. Quite a difference you'll agree but two Thomas Hardys from a little part of Dorset - who knew?

 You'll be pleased to hear that I made my way to the beach quite safely. It was signposted as a beach and a seaside strand it turned out to be so the day got better. And with this view, it's safe to say that the day got much MUCH better...

You'll be pleased to hear that I made my way to the beach quite safely. It was signposted as a beach and a seaside strand it turned out to be so the day got better. And with this view, it's safe to say that the day got much MUCH better...

 I had forgotten how loud beaches were, even without people. The noise of the water and the movement of the shingle and the rush of the wind across my ears. It was all encompassing and utterly enlivening.

I had forgotten how loud beaches were, even without people. The noise of the water and the movement of the shingle and the rush of the wind across my ears. It was all encompassing and utterly enlivening.

 The coast path - My Mr's home for three days...

The coast path - My Mr's home for three days...

 I have absolutely no idea why this little obelisk was sat on the beach but it was great. Sun-bleached, spray-smoothed and clinging on to its little area of shingle like the most determined holidaymaker.

I have absolutely no idea why this little obelisk was sat on the beach but it was great. Sun-bleached, spray-smoothed and clinging on to its little area of shingle like the most determined holidaymaker.

 This image makes me realise what you miss by living in a town. Sky. You miss the huge and soaring skyscapes when you're surrounded by buildings. There was just so much blue above me and around me. Huge huge skies that went on forever until they touched the sea on the distant horizon. 

This image makes me realise what you miss by living in a town. Sky. You miss the huge and soaring skyscapes when you're surrounded by buildings. There was just so much blue above me and around me. Huge huge skies that went on forever until they touched the sea on the distant horizon. 

 And here he comes! My Mr toiling across the shingle and slip-sliding on the ever-shifting pebbles. It was great to see him looking perky.

And here he comes! My Mr toiling across the shingle and slip-sliding on the ever-shifting pebbles. It was great to see him looking perky.

 After seeing My Mr on Cogden Beach, I drove along to Abbotsbury (home of the swannery but with my irrational bird hatred, there was no way that was on my agenda)) and parked up at checkpoint two. I loved the boardwalk, disappearing up the bank of the beach.

After seeing My Mr on Cogden Beach, I drove along to Abbotsbury (home of the swannery but with my irrational bird hatred, there was no way that was on my agenda)) and parked up at checkpoint two. I loved the boardwalk, disappearing up the bank of the beach.

 Swannery? No thank you, I'll stick to my spot in the sun.

Swannery? No thank you, I'll stick to my spot in the sun.

 Yippeee! It was a great day (despite my monumental mistake early on) and My Mr finished marathon one of three safely, happily and sans blisters. 

Yippeee! It was a great day (despite my monumental mistake early on) and My Mr finished marathon one of three safely, happily and sans blisters. 


Wanderlust - Weymouth Harbour

I'll be completely honest and say that Weymouth has never really been on my list of places to go but as My Mr is taking on the Jurassic Coast Challenge this weekend, we needed a place to lay our heads the night before the race and Weymouth is right on the doorstep of Race HQ.

As usual, Sawday's Special Places did not let us down and we tipped up to Old Harbour View on Thursday afternoon...

 Squeezed onto the frontage, Old Harbour View is an absolute gem.

Squeezed onto the frontage, Old Harbour View is an absolute gem.

And it was really rather perfect. Welcoming hosts, ready with tea and homemade cake, a great little room, parking outside, the most amazing breakfast and a happy little dog to make it feel more like home.

On Thursday night, we headed out to The Crab House Cafe and had some super fresh fish and seafood in a really laid back restaurant, right on the beach. Perfect for the night before a race when you're getting a bit jittery and don't want to be somewhere too posh!

Friday morning was an early start for us both as I took My Mr down to the start for 7.30am. Whilst the alarm might have felt a little bit harsh, the early morning views over the harbour were absolutely worth the fleeting pain...

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It was a great night but with My Mr on the move along the coast, my time in Weymouth was up...

Do - Makelight Workshop

Last Saturday was one of those rather perfect days. You know, the ones that you dream about when you're stuck in some kind of work or family based nightmarish experience. Oh, you think, oh for a day of great company, creative joy, relaxed learning and freedom from the grind of obligation.

Well, if you're even the tiniest bit interested in photography, pretty things and blogging then may I just tell you that Emily Quinton's Makelight Workshops are just what you need. Emily (yes, Emily of the oh-so lovely Instagram feed) is a great teacher and a perfect host for these inspirational days. There was learning, laughter, chat and camaraderie aplenty as well as meeting up with friends from Makelight 1 which was back in September 2013 and getting to know new bloggers with different interests. I floated home on a cloud of happiness, exhausted but uplifted and full of new ideas.

Please Emily, can I have some more?

 Emily had bought along loads of props for us to play with - this was a real highlight! Having all of these beautiful pieces to style was such a inspiration.

Emily had bought along loads of props for us to play with - this was a real highlight! Having all of these beautiful pieces to style was such a inspiration.

 Love love love the delicate petals here.

Love love love the delicate petals here.

 We had a 'bring and share' lunch that was a real treat - it was full of the most delicious dishes. A great experience that made the day feel like a meeting with old friends.

We had a 'bring and share' lunch that was a real treat - it was full of the most delicious dishes. A great experience that made the day feel like a meeting with old friends.

 I'm really pleased with this photo - the colours seem to work and those mini eggs just look so tempting!

I'm really pleased with this photo - the colours seem to work and those mini eggs just look so tempting!

 I baked this! It's a gluten-free lemon loaf.

I baked this! It's a gluten-free lemon loaf.

 More of those beautifully coloured petals...

More of those beautifully coloured petals...

 Again, more lovely things to style and photograph. It was like an adults playground in the studio!

Again, more lovely things to style and photograph. It was like an adults playground in the studio!

 Another of my cakes. This time, we have a gluten-free banana, chocolate & walnut loaf.

Another of my cakes. This time, we have a gluten-free banana, chocolate & walnut loaf.

 So much to make me smile in one image - fabric backdrop, painted tins, flowers, stripy straws. This image sums up Makelight for me - lots of lovely elements coming together to make something special.

So much to make me smile in one image - fabric backdrop, painted tins, flowers, stripy straws. This image sums up Makelight for me - lots of lovely elements coming together to make something special.