The Most Amazing Hotel in the WORLD

Dsc_7278

I finally did the fantastic two-hour tour of St Pancras Renaissance Marriot Hotel with the resident historian and tour guide Royden Stock.

I’ve been living in the building for almost a year and have been meaning to do the tour which was recommended even before the ink was dry on the lease…

I have seen the legendary ‘staircase’ a couple of times as I blagged my way into the hotel to show off to friends (you know the one where the Spice Girls filmed wannabe 16 years ago and came back this year to launch their new Musical, no, oh well…).

Everything is amazing, from the floors, to the bannisters, to the stencils on the walls (2,300 of them, apparently), the carpet, made in one piece, the asymetry, the artwork, the opulence…

So many amazing sights and all with the audio guidance from the leading light on the Hotel…

The Most Amazing Hotel in the WORLD

London’s all lit up and lovely!

Whether you like the crowds, the rain or Christmas you could not help but be impressed by the lights in central London this year. On Saturday 24th the main shopping streets were closed to traffic and it was packed. But look up and it was fabulous:

Oxford Street has a Marmite obsession:

Dsc_7382

I’ve taken a heap of pics of Regents Street lights, just not been able to edit them yet…was saddened to see a lonely balloon hanging in there:

Dsc_7349

And the key department stores are looking simply magnificent:

Selfridges (I still have last year’s decoration on my iPhone as wallpaper):

Dsc_7385

House of Fraser:

Dsc_7358

John Lewis (with sparkling lights not really showing in this pic):

Dsc_7355

Debenhams:

Dsc_7364

M&S Marble Arch:

Dsc_7392

And even the Boots store was magnificent:

Dsc_7369

I think they even had fake snow coming from the roof…

Made me feel all Christmas-ey it did ;0)

London’s all lit up and lovely!

Once a Waspie, always a Waspie…

It was great fun popping over to Twyford Avenue the other day to take headshot and team photos of the Wasps Ladies First and Second XV rugby teams.

They were relaxed and fun and 37 innocent ‘victims’ posed confidently in front of their fellow team mates, despite a lot of mickey taking.

Plus I did a First Team, Second Team and Full Squad team shot.

Great to see them being used on Facebook and uploaded to the official site.

Shame both teams lost to their arch rival Richmond. It was not my fault…

 

 

Once a Waspie, always a Waspie…

A Meeting with Michael Morpurgo

The phenomenon that is War Horse has been brought well and truly (kicking and screaming) into the 21st Century as the iPad App launches for the princely sum of £9.99.

To celebrate this news the author, Michael Morpurgo, was brought into the Regent Street Apple Shop in London on Saturday 24th November 2012 to read from the (iPad version of) the book as well as answer a few questions about his life and work.

Dsc_7316

I settled in a few minutes early and was surprised to see quite a few spare seats – given that this was late night shopping, the streets were closed to traffic to allow for a multide of pedestrians and the store itself was heaving…

MM was late arriving, we were not informed whether this was his fault or something else, but a few people were getting restless and the Apple guy just said “that’s show biz”. Whatever.

Anyway, MM arrived in his crumpled and unfashionable burgundy suit, looking a little like a disheveled school teacher. I remembered that I was not particularly keen about the book and I questioned what I was actually doing there. Then he started talking…

Dsc_7327Dsc_7326

He’s a humble guy. He’s entertaining and captivating. A great mix of humour and story-telling. He told of his passion for books inherited from his mother reading her favourite books to him. He told of his years as a Primary Scholl teacher (I wonder if he had that suit all these years).

He spoke about his technophobia – revealing he still writes in pen and his wife types. And he made no secret when he could not open the War Horse app up – inviting a boy up to the stage to do it in seconds! He is not afraid to belittle himself in public, in spite of his success as author of over 100 books.

Dsc_7330

He knows that the War Horse phenomenon escalated when Steven Spielberg made the film – since the publication in 1982 the book sold about 1000 copies a year and was translated into just two languages. After the success of the stage show and then ‘the call’ from SS te phenomenon exploded into a global success and is now translated into over 43 languages.=

I was interested to hear that Morpurgo never intended for the book to be a Children’s book – it was inspired by a conversation he had in his Devonshire village with a First World War veteran in the seventies – a guy called Will who was in the Yeomanry and revealed in some candid conversations that he spoke to his horse about his fears and “the horse listened”.

There were moments when I felt real emotion in his account of Will’s story, how he listened to the old man who as a young soldier went to a war where so few came back – men or horses.

We also had a special guest – a Private dressed from the era whose outfit and conditions were described by a chap from the Imperial War Museum. 

Dsc_7342

Apparently the app timelines the First World War, gives details of the uniforms, locations and decisions that took place. MM is genuinely delighted that the story he wrote touchs young and old alike whether it’s the book, the show or the film

I really liked the guy, bet he’d be excellent at a dinner party…

A Meeting with Michael Morpurgo

Another Protest

After the pleasures of London’s Oxford Street/Regent Street Christmas Lights and walking in the closed-to-traffic streets I wandered home only to be held up by loads of flashing blue lights and police motorcyclists…

A protest march – what fun!

I took a couple of crappy pics (low light you know) and was handed a leaflet to explain it all.

Dsc_7396Dsc_7397Dsc_7398

Apparently it was Reclaim the Night: A women’s march against rape and male violence. Yep…

An International Day to End Violence Against Women. OK…

The leaflet goes into some detail on horrendous stats about 40,000 rapes in Britain every year, low conviction rates, 2,000 forced marriages and 5000 prostitutes every night. It’s all sad stuff.

BUT, what is the protest supposed to ‘do’?

Surely there can only be a few people who would actually say, “actually I like raping women” or “I rather like being raped”. What can walking around in the dark streets of London actually do to make a difference?

I am troubled.

Find out more from www.reclaimthenight.org

Another Protest

Head shots here we come!

In the last few weeks I have taken the most head shots and portraits ever!

It kicked off with formal headshots of all the Head Office staff at Maidehead-based field marketing agency Channel Advantage Limited. Left and Right profile on pink and blue backgrounds for all those who were there on one afternoon – plus head shots of the MD and CEO in a variety of poses.

I also did 37 individuals in one ‘sitting’ of the amazingly fabulous Wasps Ladies Rugby Squad and they’ve added them to their official website already.

I’ve also had the priviledge of working with Lydia and Paul who together form the awesome Perfectly Attired UK team – a superbly talented bespke tailoring company with an exciting clientele from boxers and rugby players to gorgeous grooms on their wedding days. They were my ‘first’ official shoot in St Pancras and we had a great time ‘playing around’ to get the right poses. This was one of their favourites.

Check out their site here:

A corporate event with some really interesting people at St Pancras gave me the opportunity to meet yet more interesting and fun people.

And last but not least I spend a couple of hours with a lovely couple and their twin five year old boys – Formal headshots for mum and dad, plus family shots for Christmas and cheeky little shots of the boys when they were up for it…

All in all over 1500 shots I reckon – great fun taking them, tricky to cut down to the ‘best’ – but I reckon there is a 

 

 

Head shots here we come!