Bowery Mural

Help! I'd like a new camera

Monday, 26 May 2014

BandW boy (Dan Rubin), shot and edited in VSCOcam on iPhone 4S, by me. Glasgow Photowalk, Jan 2014.

I need your help?!

Ever since I went to the Glasgow Photowalk workshop back in January, I've been trying to decide which camera to buy that will become my new companion. Most people at the workshop had some sort of DSLR camera and if i'm honest i always wanted one of those but was never sure quite why. I suppose I thought it took better pictures. Reality is that it's not the equipment you use it's the picture you take. Sure, I mean if you're a pro or even a semi-pro then I'm sure a DSLR is very useful. But for me, a hobbyist with a keen interest, I just wasn't sure what I was after. By the way, I like the way the subject in the photo above is not dead centre.

A few weeks ago I went to Jessop's. I was annoyed because about 1 minute after entering the shop and before I had the chance of a proper look, a sales guy was all too keen and eager at asking if I needed any help. I mean that is fine and all but wait a few minutes at least so I can catch my breath, tut. However, after a few minutes having a look myself at what was on offer I asked a girl for some more information. I told her i wasn't sure i wanted a DSLR. What I did want was something that was good in all light conditions, especially night time. I wanted something small, perhaps with interchangeable lenses. What I really wanted to say was that all I wanted was something that could take good portraits and those fancy schmancy torchlight word pictures in the dark! But you can't say that in a photography shop without looking like a twat. I had an idea of the kind of thing I was after. Someone had mentioned the Fuji X100S to me. Small, but not too small though. No interchangeable lens. But oh man, it looks great. The price is a little steep mind.

The sales assistant didn't once suggest it to me. Instead she showed me a DSLR (!) and a Sony compact model. Great in low light, she said. I had a play with both and took a few pictures. The Sony did feel better in my hand. I has small hands. However, she really pushed the DSLR and was banging on about all these bells and whistles it had and that I should take this as my first one. I let her go on. I probably shouldn't have. She priced everything up and recommended their photography workshops, the insurance, a scabby bag, a spare battery and a memory card. £699. I didn't have the heart to tell her i was just in to see it and i'd probably buy it off the internet for much cheaper. I mean the memory card alone was double the price in the shop. Why would I buy it there.

I left there none the wiser and not hopeful that I was getting what i wanted so i wandered to John Lewis to see if their choice was any better. After 20 minutes of hanging about waiting on the one guy from the photography section finishing with a fussy and demanding customer, I told him what i wanted. That i didn't want anything too big, probably not a DSLR, and guess what he showed me? Almost the same DSLR and the same Sony camera. Would you even believe it? I mean would you...

a selection from John Lewis

I uhmed and aahed again and was really hoping that he would have good solid trustworthy advice for exactly what I wanted. I left there after another few goes with the cameras.

Ignoring my camera-buying urge for a few weeks I managed to get my hands on a smallish DSLR to try out for a week or so. I liked it. I liked the pictures I took with it but there was something not quite right. I didn't now what it was until I decided to take it along with me on a trip to Glasgow, and then I realised. There was nothing missing. There was too much of it. It was too big. Even this small model was still too big for what I really wanted.

I LOVE my iPhone because it suits the type of photographs I want to take. Random, ad-hoc, on the move photos. Photos that just appear in front of you. I'm not a professional photographer. I don't feel I need nor do I want to be carrying a bulky DSLR around with me. I do however want the ability to take great photos. To be able to whip my camera out of my bag and take a picture. I don't want to have to carry an extra camera bag about with me, or extra lenses. Do I really need a zoom lens? No. My feet are my zoom. I am inspired by pictures on the Instagram or VSCOcam apps and those are photos that are mostly taken by phones (I hope!). That's the kind of thing i'm after. Mobile photography that isn't on a phone but a bit more advanced than my normal point and shoot - a 'compact system camera'? That's all.

I'd be really grateful if you could help me. Reading lots of reviews online about different compact system cameras and they range in price from £400 - £1000. I like this review of a Fuji X100S...

It's all about the picture, not about bogus sales features. The X100S has no BS HDR modes, yet its Voodoo sensor and electronics let it render insane dynamic ranges naturally and instantly, and its built-in flash is always perfect — and never needing to pop up or wait to recycle or any of the other hogwash that other camera makers spray out to get between us and a good picture. All the other baloney helps sell cameras to non-pro photographers, while the X100S is as perfect as any digital camera this side of the iPhone 5 has ever gotten.

I think that says a lot. I want it to be about the picture, not the size of my zoom or how many lenses I have. Talking of lenses. Whilst i was at the workshop for the Glasgow Photowalk I was surprised and glad that Dan recommended that you use one lens to take pictures for the first few months, to get to know your camera and how it works. Dump the standard lenses it comes with he said (or something along those lines) at least for a while. Then the 'nifty 50' was mentioned. It's apparently really great as this post mentions and a photography enthusiast colleague told me. Low cost, lightweight, great for travelling, killer bokeh, what's not to love. And look what she says on zoom lenses - great for sports or weddings but you can always just walk that two feet to get a new composition with your prime lens.

Not bad for an iPhone. Shot and edited in VSCOcam on iPhone 4S.

Having said all of that I'm still at a loss as to what to buy. These aren't cheap models by any means but i want something of quality, relatively new to the market as I don't want to find out that 3 months down the line they're bringing out a 'newer' version with more features. Although I gather that new cameras are always coming out. I want to take low light pictures, night time, inside, outside, portraits, fun torchlight word pics, manual setting, not fussed about a zoom lens, wifi connectivity might be an advantage but it's not a deal breaker. Buying a camera is a personal thing. It has to feel good in your hands too. You have to want to take it out and shoot because otherwise you're not going to take those pictures and capture those moments with all of your heart. I keep going back to this but i really do love my iPhone for this but now I'm ready to up my game and get a grown up camera.



Birkenstock Love

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Birkenstocks really are a polariser. You either love them or you hate them. For me, it's a love thang! I got my first pair of white Madrid Birkentsocks a few years ago and they are a summer staple. Very comfy and that go to pair or white flip flop type shoe.

Until I got a pair of Red toe-post type Birks. The Gizeh. Also really comfortable and they stay on your feet without you having to grip on with your toes. I can even run a little in those.

This year the two strap Arizona made a splash in the fashion world and i'm so glad because i'd been wanting a pair of these for a while and it seems like it'll be the perfect opportunity to wear them this summer (let's ignore the completely grey and rainy day going on outside just now). I got these from ASOS when there was 15% off a few months back but i've never actually worn them outside yet.

I got these in black because I wanted to be able to wear them with anything and black goes with anything. Here I paired them with my Gap ripped boyfriend jeans for an easy summer (grey) Sunday.


Shockfit Banter

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

So, if you're visiting this here blog via some banter at tonight's Shockfit class, welcome. Hello RYAN! Don't go back and read my deepest darkest thoughts, and if you do then don't ever mention them to me. Okay? Good.

Right. I thought i'd do a little update on my fitness routine since it's been a few months and some things have changed. There's no more Grit classes. Boo. But there's a strength training programme of weights in the gym. Yay. I don't know why I say yay because i've only ever ran through it once. It's really good too but I'm not really comfortable being in the gym lifting weights on my own when there's a few bods around. What I need is a gym buddy 1) for moral support and 2) for when the weights fall on me and I need someone to lift them off! I'd hate to be awkwardly stuck horizontal on a weight bench unable to get up whilst the life drains from me under a 40kg weight bar. Dramatic!

Anyway, if you're free one day a week, come be my gym buddy?

Here's how my week is supposed to look, training wise...

Monday - was Metafit, now Insanity (cardio)
Tuesday - Shockfit circuit (strength)
Wednesday - Spin class (cardio)
Thursday - free day or could be weight session in the gym
Friday - Spin class (cardio)
Saturday - Insanity and weight session in the gym (if not done on a Thursday). (cardio/strength)
Sunday - NO TRAINING ON A SUNDAY! my rule.

Ideally I'd do this every week and perhaps mix it up a bit but i definitely need to get these weights sessions going. It's only a few months until summer and it would be good to feel like I've finally reached a target. HELP!

What's your weekly fitness routine like? Is cardio your favourite or do weights fit you better?

I'm off for some chocolate, ha.

Angela x

New Glasses by Celine

Friday, 9 May 2014

Celine CL 41335 glasses

Buying new glasses is always a stressful time I find. You can never properly try them on in the opticians because they have those giant security tags on them making the glasses sit wonky on your face. Well, they sit wonky on me!

It's been over 2 years since I got a new pair of glasses. My current ones are the Ray-Ban 5228's. Comfy, but starting to get loose and slip down my nose. I decided it was time to get a new pair. I wanted to go for a different colour but being so expensive I didn't want to risk it. And plus, buying online, you cant't try them on. Yes, I always buy my glasses online now, for the simple reason that they are cheaper online than from an optician and you get a better choice.

I typed a few names into Google that I'd seen and liked the look of and decided to get these Celine pair (above). They're bolder and larger frames so I wasn't sure how they'd suit me but I figured, go big or go home. Ha.

I ordered them on Friday night from and they arrived on Wednesday. I love them. They are bigger than normal so will take a bit of getting used to but i'm sure i'll be fine. Btw, there's still a 15% off offer on their website just now. I think it may run out soon!

How do you choose your new glasses? Do you find online a better option?

Angela x

The Non Edited Gym Routine

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The edited versions of our lives we show on social media and blogs and stuff really can play tricks on a person. All we see are the good parts, the glossy parts, the perfect outfits, the well made up faces, the celebrations and all that jazz. People don't tend to show their comfies, their unmade-up faces (except recently the no-makeup selfie has taken off...). You never see someone right after their gym workout or 5k run sweating like I seem to do. They just seem to glow. Instead you get the flat layout perfectly lit instagram picture of their Nike Free trainers and lycra outfit (or should that be their free Nike trainers!), with their Beats headphones off to the side, and usually a bunch of colour matched flowers or a burning candle in bokeh effect in the background. Edited.

I was coming out of spin class the other day and I decided to take a picture of my pure pink, red-marked face. Yes, red marked because despite what Beyonce tells us, we aren't all flawless. We all have our flaws and that's what makes us us. We're authentic and beautiful in our own sweet ways. But then I had a second thought. Should I post this? And for a split second I hated myself for even thinking that. Because I believe in being genuine. Pink faced post gym selfies are the new no make-up selfies. Let's shout that loud!

So as is my usual routine, I had a thought in the shower. Showering is when I get some real inspiration you know. Anyhow, here's what i thought...

This is the reality of my gym routine.

My hair is too long to leave down (and for health and safety reasons) it's best to tie it in a bobble. So I scrape my curls up, tie it and i'm set. Trouble is, when I start to sweat my hair inevitably gets wet and those little fine hairs around my face turn into tight baby curls and i end up looking like i'm 12 years old! Not that bad of a problem to have admittedly. 

Let's talk about sweat. We all do it. Some more so than others. (Deodorant, people!). I wear a pair of capri length tight trousers, a quick drying t-shirt and my trainers. Currently all Nike but that can change. Nike trousers seem to fit me best and the Miler t-shirts are comfortable. Anyway, you're there in your class. You've worn your new salmon pink coloured Nike Miler t-shirt, you start to sweat and the dreaded patches appear. You know the ones. Patches right on your breast bone, on your back, heck even on that little bit of belly paunch the t-shirt clings to! Dang, sweat patches. No no likes them, everyone gets them. And if you don't, you're definitely not working hard enough. 

Now let's talk about trouser sweat. Yes, I'm going there. Because I dunno about you but when i go to spin or metafit or weights or shock-fit I sweat and I get a sweaty bum. C'mon, don't dare recoil and say you don't, because if you don't...*then you're not working hard enough*. Heck since I got my new car i've had to take an extra towel with me to put on the seat because of SweatyB syndrome. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just a little bit icky.

There you have it. The unedited version of what really happens (to me) when I exercise.

Angela x

Dry Clean Only

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tee - Sincerely Jules, print - Ben The Illustrator

New in is this washed out red t-shirt I ordered a few weeks ago from Sincerely Jules' shop. I love her blog, her style and her pictures are always so colourful and amok me happy. When I saw the new lookbook she posted with new t-shirt designs of the summer I knew I had to order another one. My last one was the Dream Believe Achieve slogan white tee.

Red is one of my favourite colours and so I was drawn to this Dry Clean Only slogan tee. It's a slouchy fit and perfect for the summer. I wore it with some jeans, trainers and a new little wristlet purse. Casual.

Fumo large wristlet purse - Alexander Wang
The Dre Bradford Jeans - Rag and Bone
Tee - Sincerely Jules
Trainers - Nike x Riccardo Tisci (sold out)

In the summer I'll wear it with shorts, boyfriend jeans and heels or perhaps a skirt with some trainers. Can't wait.

Angela x