With yet another Winter filled with grey skies, incessant wind and rain we went in search of crisp, cold adventure. Previously, we’ve always headed South. Thinking about it, the furthest north I’d ever been was probably Alton Towers.
So, it was with excitement (and a bit of apprehension) we headed around 4.5 hours North flying time to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland.
Rovaniemi is the official home of Father Christmas and the capital of Lapland. But it’s very easy to avoid the looping Christmas Carol soundtracks. Head out of the city and in around 20 minutes you can be the only person standing in a silent forest.
February looked like the ideal time to venture up there and we were proved right. The ground was covered in up to a metre of soft snow and lakes and rivers were (for the most part) completely frozen and safe to walk on.
We had 4 adventurous days exploring the landscape. We went in search of the Northern Lights (and found them!), donned snow shoes, made friends with Reindeer and went on a forest expedition with excitable huskies. Even a mundane trip out to stock up on biscuits and milk required wearing Merino base layers with temperatures averaging between -8 and -17°C.… Read Full Post
Thanks to a bit of a random pick from Google Flights we ended up in Malta for our Birthday and Wedding Anniversary trip. It’s a pretty nifty resource if you want to get away at a certain time, but you’re not too set on a destination.
Cheap flights secured, we opted to stay in Valletta after stumbling on the lovely Trabuxu Boutique Living. We were so glad we did. It really is a gem of a B&B and we loved the location, sitting out on our little balcony and watching the locals get groceries delivered using a basket and long rope.
We had a great time pottering around for a few days. Malta is so easy to get around thanks to great bus routes (though sadly the beautiful old Maltese buses are no more). It’s also packed full of history and we spent our days wandering around numerous Palazzi, museums, churches, caves and war bunkers.
We were really impressed with the choice of places to eat in Valletta and we also chanced upon Notte Bianca, a festival that takes places throughout the city where all the state palaces and museums open their doors late into the evening.
Everyone was so friendly in Malta and it was a very comfortable and enjoyable trip.… Read Full Post
Oh, Man… It’s sooo boring when people post up photos of their Christmas Trees on Facebook isn’t it?
Well, there’s absolutely no danger of that from us. Our flat is teeny tiny and we don’t have room for a tree, other than one of those little fake desktop ones. So, every year we have to get a little bit more inventive so our home doesn’t feel bare and depressing. Even then, I spend the time imagining everyone else is having great fun watching their kittens play with their baubles (despite numerous hints to Mr Davenport I don’t have one of THOSE either), or gathered round as a family excitedly collecting the needles that have dropped all over their new carpet. Yeah… Christmas Trees suck anyway!
I was just taking some photos of a super new Finao ONE album which arrived this morning. It’s going to be winging its way to Pippa and Andy before Christmas (it’s a beauty.. I’ll put pictures of it up on our Facebook page as soon as they’ve seen it) and for once, I didn’t get annoyed with our living room being a background. So I took some photos of our decorations at the same time, just to be one of “those” people.… Read Full Post
We were lucky enough to return home from our holiday in Ubud in Bali, Indonesia last week. We’ve been back a whole week and I’m still struggling to stick to UK time and regularly falling asleep at 7 or 8 o’clock and then up long before dawn.
A gruelling 36-hour journey home knocked us for six and it’s taken this long to even glance through the photos that were taken.
We decided to stay in Ubud as wanted something a little different from Bali than the beach resorts. A few years ago we headed over to Cambodia to stay in Siem Reap and although everyone said we were nuts for not exploring any further, we found ourselves filling each and every day with a trip.
I’m really glad we didn’t put together too exhausting an itinerary. I’m not sure if we’re just wusses or the weather was exceptionally humid. but even the most tame of activities left us absolutely exhausted. In fairness, many locals also said they were struggling and finding it hard to sleep. I also found it hard to get far on the crochet I took out with me as the fibres of the wool kept sticking together and tangling up (yarn nightmare!).… Read Full Post
Last month we took the opportunity to get away to Lanzarote for a couple of days before wedding season kicked off. Eavesdropping in the airport most people travelling to our destination were setting themselves up for a good fortnight. We had two full days in total in Lanzarote, everyone we spoke to thought we were a bit nuts, I’m sure- but we crammed in as much as we could into those days. We are not ones to be content sat around the pool, anyway.
We stayed in Playa Blanca, which is quite a sedate little resort with lots of interesting nooks and crannies. It’s a pretty short drive to the Natural Park of Volcanoes – (Fire Mountains) though for a complete change of tone.
On Day One we booked ourselves up with the very competent Blackstone Treks and Tours. José of Blackstone Treks took us both on a wonderful walk, teaching us about the landscape and leading us to some spectacular spots off the beaten track. Whilst the coach loads of people were bussed about Timanfaya, we headed off for a 3-4 hour walk and we didn’t see another soul. We sat and fed apples to lizards. He was a wonderful guide and it really made our trip.… Read Full Post
We spent this weekend in London, cramming lots of exciting things into a couple of days. As well as seeing friends our main focus of our trip was a visit to a concert at The Festival Hall. As big fans of Neil Hannon this show caught our attention a while ago and we managed to bag a couple of bargain tickets.
The Southbank Centre currently have an ongoing festival – “Pull Out All The Stops” celebrating the completion of a six-year restoration project of the Festival Hall’s huge organ (double entendre-tastic). Mr Hannon was commissioned to write a new composition making use of this spectacular wall of sound. The evening performance was broadcast live on Radio 3 accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Voicelab choir (if you’re quick enough, you can listen to the entire show on BBC iPlayer)
We were lucky enough to also be given a voucher to stay at a Mr and Mrs Smith listed hotel, so rather than a late night hellish journey home on an engineering works weekend, we opted to put this towards a stay at The Ampersand Hotel in Kensington – somewhere we’ve had our eye on for a while.… Read Full Post
We’re in complete denial we have to give something back we borrowed over the winter. Thinking about not having this space anymore makes us really sad.
Living in a garden-less flat over the winter months sucks. It’s too cold to sit outside in a park or on the beach for any length of time and there’s only so many times you can frequent a local cafe without having to take out a loan for tea and cake. I always get a bit self-conscious hanging around a cafe for too long, especially as most around here are quite tiny and rely on a frequent turnaround.
In December I had a brilliant brain wave to get in touch with Bournemouth Council to see how much it was to hire one of the beach pods at the Boscombe Overstrand. Initially, we fancied it just over the Christmas period, but as they’d all been snapped up for then we ended up signing up for one from the end of December through to the end of March. The price was very reasonable.. the whole term being the same as the price of the Pod for one week in the Summer months.
Admittedly, it has been a very cold winter.… Read Full Post
For a long time we’ve needed some inspiration for things to do on our days off that doesn’t involve us splashing too much cash, going to the same old haunts time and time again and doing the same things (brunch, cake and coffee come up way too often). We recently read this brilliant article from guest blogger, Martha on Florence Finds on the topic of “Alphabet Dating”. In a nutshell, as inspiration for day trips and nights out you and your partner work through from A-Z, using the letters as a guide. Personally, I’m not a fan of the term “Date Night”… I don’t live in an 80s John Hughes’ America (although I wish I did sometimes). We really just needed a helping hand in finding new and exciting things to do that would get us out of the house. So, we’ve simply dubbed our A-Z “Adventure Days”.
We’ve only just started this, so I’m afraid we don’t have a action-packed A-Z blog full of us fooling around on our days out. However, it’s such a blimin’ good idea (and an excellent article to boot) I had to do a premature share.
So far, we’ve only done two so are looking for ideas for our “C-Day”.… Read Full Post
I made Ian a Birthday Cake. Paul Hollywood would not be impressed by my icing thickness but I’m sure Mary Berry would be approving of my jam to butter icing ratio. It may not look completely perfect but it tastes like a Marks and Spencer’s cake. According to Ian anyway. He had some for breakfast.
… Read Full Post
White onions send my stomach curling into a ball, bread bloats me out to a balloon and if you give me a scallop or a prawn you may as well reserve a hospital bed at the same time. I love eating, I love reading up about food and looking at pictures of food, and if I know I can sit in my pyjamas afterwards I’ve not learnt to turn away a slice of delicious crusty bread. But my stomach doesn’t like this at all.
Having IBS and a full-on food allergy doesn’t mix well with being a wedding photographer. The erratic timings of the wedding breakfast alone is enough to send my stomach into a bit of a strop that can last for a couple of days. There was a time not long ago where I’d avoid having anything other than an energy-intensive chocolate bar for fear of setting me off. But I was ending up groggy, headachey and clock-watching for the time when I could take off my suit and boil up a hot water bottle.
We don’t request a vendor meal at weddings for various reasons but sometimes our couples are very happy to offer, and turning one away because we’ve “brought our own” seemed silly.… Read Full Post
At the start of the year we made a couple of resolutions. The first was to learn a skill that wasn’t anything to do with cameras, computers or anything with a touchscreen. This is something I think is so important for us to do and I’m going to pick something new every year.
Not only is it good for the mental state, I strongly believe different skills help each other out even if they’re not closely related. I chose “crochet” (much to my chiropracter’s dismay) – I’ve already made a car granny blanket and I’m now working on a rather ambitious afghan (I’ve made one ace square … only another gazillion to go).
Another thing was to give a little money to a charity we’ve never donated to before, and to use our business to promote a worthy cause. Ian and I have made the decision to make sure Big Bouquet supports a new charity every year. It’s the least we can do.. there’s absolutely no chance in hell of us running a marathon.
So, each summer we’re going to choose a campaign that needs a little help and offer up as much as we can to back them.
Maybe it was a mix of watching too much Springwatch, and the Chelsea Flower Show (and getting increasingly bitter we don’t have a garden) but I’ve really started to get peeved about the landscape around us, and how it’s affecting our local wildlife.… Read Full Post
After a weekend working away from home we pootled our way into town yesterday for a spot of shopping, an optician’s appointment and a coffee. The quickest way into Bournemouth for us is along the prom and if it’s not pouring with rain (and the Council have been kind enough to rid the path of sand dunes) we like to ride our bikes.
We got ourselves a Fujifilm x100 recently and have been playing around with some stills photos but had never explored the video option other than take a couple of shaky films of our hamsters. It was a lovely, sunny day yesterday so we made a little home movie as we carried about our business.
The video on the x100 is by no means perfect and we’re still getting the hang of how to get the best out of it. It’s a bit of a menace for focusing and does a weird, strobing effect when it’s scared by bright sunlight. But we’re quite fond of its little quirks and eccentricities.
Have you ever tried to film whilst riding a bike? It’s difficult!
Music: Gruff Rhys – ‘Shark Ridden Waters’ (Turnstile Music) | Buy it on Amazon or iTunes
Update: Sadly, both of our bikes were stolen today (3rd Dec, 2011).… Read Full Post