Monday, 28 July 2014

Light Trails and Long Exposures | Photography

One thing I love the most about summer is the opportunity to do more photography projects and really hone and develop my skills. 

I've been meaning to do some night time shooting and experiment more with long exposures and light trails. I absolutely adore the vibrant colours, patterns, squiggles and lines that light can produce when captured.    

Show and tell time! Me and my beau went for a casual stroll around Westminster on Sunday evening and captured some of these shots:

The night before, I shot a wedding by Royal Victoria, and to end the evening, I decided to muck about with the torch on my iPhone and use my camera remote to produce these:
As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Breakfast at Albion | Eating Out

When it comes to reviewing, be it a product, a service, an experience etc,  honesty is undoubtedly the best policy, and I'll make no reservations for Albion. 

Albion is a cafe, bakery and food store neatly nestled away in Shoreditch (east London), that prides itself on simple, long-established British recipes and ingredients. The store's shelves are stocked with everyday cupboard essentials, organic meats, British dairy, seasonal treats and patisserie favourites.

Don't get me wrong: the quality of food is absolutely fantastic. The concept, interior, layout and staff uniform are all wonderful. Albion, itself, is very charming with heaps of character....
Full English with black pudding!
Flat white
Left: Raspberry and strawberry smoothie | Right: Honey and vanilla smoothie
...But, I find the service to be extremely pretentious and rude at the best of times (surprisingly, I mainly get this vibe from the senior staff, who should be setting a good example. This attitude trickling down to serving staff). When I asked for a table for two, the senior waiter looked at me as though it was an absurd request. When ordering, the waiter asked how I liked my egg, and paused for my response. I was about to reply, "fried over-easy", when he abruptly responded, "Poached, fried, scrambled...". Erm, OK. If he wanted a scripted response, he should have given me those options as part of the question. If I wasn't hungry, I would have walked out. Thinking about it now, I should have asked them to take off the discretionary service charge from the bill, and I wouldn't call it a "cheap eat" as Time Out suggests.

A friend of mine dined there recently and overheard a customer asking for milk in his shot of espresso. The waitress responded, "That's odd; most men don't ask for milk". Erm, sorry, what?! Firstly, how rude of her to question his masculinity purely because he would prefer to add a dairy product in his coffee. Secondly (and most importantly), she's a waitress whose job is not to question the paying customer on how they'd like to consume their drink, but to attend to their dining needs. I'm disgusted. If I'm not mistaken, she picked that job. Don't be mad, don't be moody. Do it properly. You are employed to provide a service, and a good one at that.

During my meal, I managed to smile, but only because I was in great company.  
Atmosphere and vibe is extremely important to me, wherever I am. Bad service can completely overshadow any positive elements of an experience. I think Albion could learn a lesson or two about customer service skills from their neighbours, Dishoom (blog post here).  
I won't be dining at Albion again, though I will certainly pop in occasionally to purchase delightful treats from the store. 

Shame. 

Have you dined at Albion before? What was your experience there like?

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Monday, 5 May 2014

Natalie and Dean | Wedding Photography

On 1st March, I had the pleasure of photographing my very first wedding. As an amateur photographer, I was naturally very nervous, particularly as it was a winter wedding, but luckily the weather was on our side.

I arrived at the house of the mother of the bride at 9:30am. It would be a long day, but a memorable one. Oh how I loved the calm before the storm, but more so, I loved the buzz throughout the house as everyone began to get ready: kids running up and down, adults rehearsing speeches or having a few cigarettes to calm their nerves. There was definitely loads of emotion to capture.

The church ceremony took place at Waltham Abbey Church, and the reception was held at the beautiful Gilwell Park.
By the end of the day I had shot 1400 frames and for editing, narrowed it down to 450 of the best. I'd say the easiest part of my role was actually shooting on the day. The most time-consuming was the editing. I did basic editing such as colour balance, exposure correction etc. Nothing overly fancy; no airbrushing or layering. 

I learnt some invaluable lessons such as packing a minimum of three pre-charged batteries; having a backup camera (though I didn't need one, I dread to think what would have happened if something went wrong with the one I was using. Plus it eliminates the palava of having to switch lenses quickly); 
I still have loads to learn and many skills to develop, but in all, my first attempt at being a lone wedding photographer was successful. I enjoyed every moment of it. 

Here is a very very small selection of some of the wedding photographs I took.

A massive thank you to Natalie and Dean for allowing me to capture their big day.

As ever,
Rebecca-Monique













Sunday, 27 April 2014

Bowler Hat | My Ensemble (OOTD)

I woke up for work on Thursday morning with a really bad headache, and wasn't in the mood to give any thought to my outfit. I threw on my black jeans and turtle neck with a long, knitted vest. Feeling a little plain, I popped on my bowler hat, and the outfit instantly had a little bit of character, which improved my mood. Gotta love a quintessentially British bowler hat. 
KNITTED VEST: Forever 21 | HAT: eBay | BOOTS: Hunter | JEANS: New Look | BAG: ASOS
This has got to be one of my favourite bags: I'm a sucker for croc-effect accessories, and I like to call it my Mary Poppins because it fits everything but the kitchen sink inside.
I ended up taking a half sick day but managed to get some shots in this ensemble on Saturday just before I went to breakfast at Albion (post coming soon).
As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Breakfast at Dishoom, Shoreditch | Eating Out

If there's one thing I like the most about the weekends, it's easy Sunday mornings. No rushing about, catch-ups with family and friends, and hearty breakfasts. When it comes to the latter, I don't rate many restaurants, but Dishoom in Shoreditch is one of my top three spots. 

Dishoom has an incredible amount of character. As soon as you enter, you can't help but feel as though you've been transported to another world. A 1960s Bombay in London, to be precise: kitsch decor, family portraits hanging on the walls, classic books and board games, vintage record players, and burning incense.

If there's space on your arrival, I'd recommend you to ask to be seated in the verandah. It's well heated in the autumn/ winter so don't worry about chattering teeth and chills. On our visit, we were fortunate enough to get first dibs on where to sit, and were completely spoilt for choice: sofas, large round table, armchairs. Very homely.
The prices there are very reasonable, without compromising the quality of the food, which is always a good thing. 

I always start my day off with a cup of tea, and thankfully, Dishoom does a pretty mean cup of chai. The spiced, milky tea is a must, and the chocolate chai is a great alternative for cocoa lovers. 
Chocolate chai
Espresso
The light  wholegrain oats porridge cooked with milk, bananas and dates - with blueberries on top - is probably the best I've tasted.
House porridge
The sausage and egg naan wraps are delicious, but, hands down, the bacon naan wrap, trumps all. The chilli, tomato jam and cream cheese fillings make for an unusually heavenly combination. If you only go to Dishoom for one thing, go for a naan wrap.
Bacon naan wrap
The 'Full Bombay': Bacon, akuri, cumberland sausage, fire toast, grilled tomatoes . Nothing more to say. 
Full Bombay
If you have a little room left in your tummy (and yes, I ate and finished everything pictured in this blog post), the fresh fruit and yoghurt tops off breakfast brilliantly: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, melon and real Kerala vanilla yoghurt goes down a treat!
Fresh fruit and yoghurt
The relaxing, calm vibes, coupled with the cheerful and polite nature of the staff there make the the customer experience very pleasant indeed. No wonder I find myself going back again and again.

Have you been to Dishoom before? What are some of your favourite breakfast spots. 

As ever, 

Rebecca-Monique