Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Wedding Day for Maxine and Nick

Friday found me at Maxine and Nick's wedding at The Moat House in Acton Trussell, a beautiful venue set in the Staffordshire countryside, complete with picturesque canal :)

I was assisted by Paul on the day and we started off at Maxine's parents home in Yoxall, documenting the excitement, the details and Maxine's beautiful accessories ... oh, as well as discussing cameras ... did I mention Maxine is a photographer !! :)

Nick was nervously pacing when we arrived at the venue, excited and looking forward to seeing Maxine - we had told him she would be wearing a red dress so imagine his surprise when it turned out to be white, with beautiful red celtic embroidery :)

The ceremony was full of love and laughter, Maxine and Nick just looked like they enjoyed every single minute ... their little ring bearer, who is a mere 8 years old, gave a reading and did not appear to be nervous at all ... he got a round of applause and a mention in the speeches, which he looked chuffed about.

We managed to avoid the showers throughout the day, which is always helpful. Nick had set up his drums and managed to get a little practice in with his band ... he really is quite good on those drums haha :)

The evening entertainment set up also and the jamming session made me wish I could come back and party with everyone - they totally rocked !

So, enough waffle, you want to see some photos, right? :)

My heartfelt congratulations to you both, Maxine and Nick ... here's to a long, fun-filled and romantic life together :)

And a random shot of me working ... thanks, Paul ! Haha

Monday, 28 April 2008

Clarity, Friendship and a decent pint of Guinness

My diary today comes at you from sunny / windy / rainy / thundery / doesn't know what to do with itself Ireland ! I tell you, I do not miss this changeable weather at all LOL

Gratuitous shot of the sky above the clouds ... man, am I getting into this flying malarky :)

And of course, some wine and a good book helps make the flight seem shorter :)

As I mentioned already, I am visiting my friend Dawn in Ireland for a couple of days - there has been a lot happening with me lately and I just needed to be with a trusted friend, to mull things over and to have someone who has known me longer than most, for a bit of clarity ... we all need that at times, right?

Oh, for those who are at all interested, I have known Dawn a mighty 23 years !! Of course, that means we have known each other since we were, erm, 7 ! *ahem*

We had a fairly shaky start to our day, following a minor wallpaper disaster which had to be dealt with - Dawn and I went into Belfast to sort that out and while I was sitting in the car I happened to look across the street and noticed a large sign on the wall ... Venus Tattoos ... my uncle's tattoo parlour (ok, John Ferris is his actual name, Johnny Venus is his professional name :)) - he tattoo'd my hip (chinese symbol, meaning "heart" - yes, I wear my heart on my hip LOL - and my original armband, which of course has now been enhanced!)

We headed back over to Carrickfergus, down to the Marina, where we had a leisurely lunch at the Windrose and a good old girlie chat ...

The view from the restaurant out over the Marina ...

Lunch consisted of a beautiful liver pate followed by the special - Hake, Mussels and Crab Claws with Champ (for my american readers (and probably my English ones too haha) ... champ is mashed potatoes with spring onions all chopped up and mushed in :)) - washed down with a PROPER pint of Guinness - yuuuuuuuuum :)

Here's the proof that Champ is real :)

And my mouth is watering looking at this again ... yuuuuum :)

It has been good to get over to see you, Dawn, thanks for your friendship, your understanding and your insights ... we need to do this more often, girlfriend !

To finish ... a beautiful sunset as we came in to land at Liverpool ...

Gill :)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Airport Life

The more I travel, the realisation that it is un-glamorous truly sets in!

Here I sit in yet another airport, waiting to be herded around like cattle, before sitting in a tin can (thankfully for a short hop across the Irish Sea this time) andy I find myself wondering when someone will actually invent the teleport machine or a Stargate !!! Being temporarily demolecularised has GOT to be better than this :)

Still, my friend Dawn awaits me in Belfast, making up for it all bucketloads. We don't get to see each other often enough, in fact last October was the last time. We both are crazy busy and so this last minute get-together is very welcome :)

Of course I have my trusty Canon S5 with me, so I will make sure you get updated in pictures, although it really is a short break - I'm home again late tomorrow night !!

Ciao for now ... security calls :)

Gill x

Monday, 21 April 2008

Wedding Day for Hazel and Steve

After a few windy and rainy days it was with great relief that we wakened to an overcast, but dry, Saturday, a tad chilly, but DRY ! My assistant for the day was Delphine, always lots of fun to shoot with and good company, so we headed off together to Hazel and Steve's farmhouse in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside. There was the usual flurry of activity and excitement when we arrived, with Hazel's Mum and Dad and her 3 bridesmaids all carrying out last minute tasks and helping Hazel relax and get ready.

We knew it was our cue to leave when the cars arrived, so it was off to Sandon Hall for the ceremony, where we caught up with a very nervous Steve and all his guys ... there were a few ! We managed to get some shots in before the bridesmaids arrived and Steve was ushered inside so he couldn't see what was going on !

Hazel arrived with her father, looking radiant and happy, anticipating the ceremony quite calmly. The ceremony was beautiful, with readings from friends and family, lots of hand holding and a rather long first kiss ;)

We quickly gathered all the guests outside for the formal shots (sorry for keeping you all out in the cold, guys !) then everyone left for the main reception venue at Goldstone Hall, while Hazel, Steve and I held back for some romantic shots of them before we left.

The marquee setup at Goldstone was absolutely beautiful, I cant remember the last time I saw so many flowers in one place ! We mingled with the guests, shooting some candids, then I managed to get the wedding party outside for some more fun shots, finishing with a few more romantic shots of Hazel and Steve.

Congratulations to you both and wishing you a long and happy marriage :)

As always, here are a few of my favourites from the day, for your viewing pleasure :)

Portugal ... In Words and Pictures ... Part III

Fact: The name Portugal first appears in 868, during the Reconquista
over the Muslims. A country was formed around the city of Porto,
from which "Portugal" is derived

To finish off our trip, we decided to head off to Sagres (pronounced Sagresh), a village close to the most South Westerly point of Europe.

It doesn't make for an interesting place to visit if the Globetrotter book (author, Jane O'Callahan) is anything to go by ...

"The windswept Sagres peninsula, with it's arid, scrubby vegetation and dramatic cliffs is a complete contrast to the rest of the Algarve. It is not pretty enough for most mainstream tourists and, unlike the sheltered south coast, the weather can be windy for days on end."

And boy is she bang on ! Talk about windswept and interesting !

However, the Cabo de Sao Vincent, as the peninsula is known, is definitely worth a visit, the cliffs truly are amazing, the sun was shining while we were there, ensuring visibility for miles out to sea, truly dramatic. The textures of the rocks differed with every footfall, all so rugged and windswept for so many years, the waves crashing against the rocks hundreds of feet below, making for a truly humbling experience.

According to my guide book, this part of the coast has seen much action over time ... one of these facts is that Christopher Columbus was shipwrecked here in 1476 on his way from Genoa to England ... apparently his ship was attacked by pirates, he escaped and swam 6 miles to shore - wow !

The lighthouse at the very tip is one of the most powerful in Europe and is said to be visible from 55 miles out to sea.

Incredibly, there is a full blown market here with stalls selling anything from big sweaters (seriously, take my word for it, this place is windy and cold even on the sunniest of days, bring your own sweater !) to hotdogs and burgers ... go figure !

Here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure :)


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Portugal - In Words and Pictures ... Part II

Fact: in Modern Greek, the word for an orange is "portokali",
because oranges were originally imported from Portugal

(thank you Mr Mann)

Whilst in Portugal, I had the opportunity to head off in my hire car (you know, the one with the design fault with the location of the steering wheel !) and explore the surrounding villages and sights.

The nearest village to the villa is Salema, nestled into the beautiful coastline, with street cafes and restaurants, this is still very much a working fishing village, with fishermen mending their nets on the long sandy beach. It looks completely Mediterranean and authentic, although we were touted for time share by a man who must have been close on 103 !

I met some English holidaymakers who had braved the sea ... absolutely crazy ! It might have been hitting 22 degrees, but the water was FREEZING ! Haha

So, just a few photos to show this tiny little Portuguese fishing village ...