Vintage fashion here we come!

We knew it was going to be a long day, so decided to get to Vintage National at Brighton Racecourse late. What we didn’t bank on was the Kemptown Festival.

Arriving at around 4.30pm, we headed straight for tea and cakes which was served on vintage crockery (naturally) and admired all those who dress up for the occasion.

Time for tea

After our scoffing cream tea and sandwiches, we checked out the market. Dangerous for someone like me, and ended up buying another full skirted prom dress for a very reasonable £35. There were real fox furs (with its face still attached), gloves, prints, jewellery to hunt through. We headed for the entertainment and enjoyed listening to a fabulous soul singer and watched people rock’n’roll.

Dancing the day away

We took a trip down memory lane while walking though the homewares and interior market:

Life before computers

Women! Know your place…

The typical British weather reared its head, and although it was sunny, the cold coastal wind meant that we didn’t want to venture outside too long and didn’t make it to the beach area.

Back up in the rock’n’roll room, we watched a bit of burlesque courtesy of Proud Cabaret.

Shake your tail feathers…

Sadly empty (we’re putting it down to the Kemptown Festival) it didn’t have the buzz we thought it would have. Still, it meant not having to battle though hordes of people while shopping. Next time we’ll go earlier .

Later that evening we went down to the rather wonderful Brighton Ballroom and stepped back in time to the 1920’s Prohibition and watched naval offices, RAF pilots and flapper girls dance the night away.

What era am I in again?

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Give generously

Back in 2006, I received a phone call saying that my Dad was in hospital. I was in Australia at the time. He had suffered a heart attack in Oxford and was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital for a life saving operation. Little did I know at the time, my Dad could have died.

He’s fine now. Regular check-ups and three pills a day keep him alive. If my Dad was going to have a heart attack, he had it in the best place possible – Oxford. The John Radcliffe is known for being one of the best places in the world for its cardiothoracic services. We, as a family, are very grateful.

Our family friend wasn’t so lucky. While waiting for a heart transplant, he had contracted rheumatic fever after the values in his heart got infected. Even though it has been a number of years since he died, there is a hole in his family of where he should be. His talented footballer son has just learnt to drive, while his daughter achieved a First in her degree and now is doing her Masters.

I can’t imagine not having my Dad there to see those milestones. That’s why I’ve decided to cycle from London to Brighton at night in aid for the British Heart Foundation. It’s my small was of saying ‘thank you’ for the research into heart disease that is keeping my Dad here. I also want to spare many other families the pain of what our family friends have gone through.

You can sponsor me at my Virgin Money Giving page. Please dig deep, and give generously. Thank you in advance.

If you fancy cycling 60 odd miles in the dark, registrations close on the 11 May.

Scavenging in Brighton

You know it’s going to be a good day when the sun is shining and you’re on the coast. I was in Brighton to be exact, and was nervously waiting for everyone to turn up for our first annual photo scavenger hunt. I’d like to say it had been months in the planning – it certainly felt that way since an email from Photojojo dropped into my inbox. Excited, I decided to write a blog and called up my friend Kitz.

In reality, it was a lot of thinking and a bit of planning. Kitz went mad on cooking the food and playing the hostess with the mostess and I was bricking it. As judge, I had final say and would have to argue my case if necessary. Simon Cowell I am not. The rules stated that:

  • You must have fun.
And I wasn’t prepared to have any arguments. Especially with the judge.
In all, 15 people took part. Split into teams of four-five, each were given a list of 20 items to photograph and four riddles to solve. With three hours to complete the lists, each team scoured Brighton for celebs, celeb lookalikes and bad hair. The photos were genius.
All the teams got stuck in, which made for some really good photos. It was really interesting to see their take on the lists. Some were literal interpretations of the word while the some very much out of the box. It was their enthusiasm which made the day, with people getting really passionate about winning.
My favourite story was with Team 3 getting a picture with a best-selling author in Waterstones (see slide show). Unbeknown to them, the person who was taking their photo of ‘mockingly’ (which was four different cover versions of To Kill A Mockingbird, whilst mocking each other) was author Simon Toyne, who was promoting his book Sanctus. Without much convincing, they managed to complete one of the hardest tasks, which was to take a picture of a celebrity with the whole team. Apparently he was a jolly nice bloke.
Having never organised anything like this before, I thought it was a great success. And will I do it again? Yes, I definitely would.

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Here’s more photos from the day.

A Very Good Day

Saturday was A Very Good Day. Very Good Days don’t happen to me very often. It involves cupcakes.

It started with Lomography’s first stop on their LomoRoadshow around the UK. Starting the very hip and cool Hotel Pelicrocco in Brighton, littlemisslove and golfpunkgirl ran down the list of assorted Lomocameras and their accessories. I’ve only recently got into Lomography, and I’ve discovered a whole new (expensive) world waiting for me.

I acquired my Diana F+ at Christmas. It takes 120 film, meaning it takes a bigger film than the standard 35mm. It also means that developing is expensive. Thankfully, Lomo have produced a 35mm back. Out of my first roll of 36 exposures, only 11 came out. I was gutted. So, seeing a tweet about the LomoRoad show, I immediately signed up without thinking (Lomo rule 6).

After the talk, we grabbed our borrowed cameras, and went on a walkabout. I decided to try the LC-A+. Unlike my Diana, which is all plastic, this camera has a glass lens and can auto expose. I also tried a new type of film – the red scale, with the hope that they will have a vintage feel to them.

We went down to the carcass of the West Pier (which caught fire in 2003) and walked along the beach. The obligatory hen party rolled into town, complete with blow-up doll and t-shirts emblazoned with classy names such as Vibrator Vicky and Handjob Hannah. The hen, dressed in a gold number and heels, tried out her skateboarding and basketball skills with the local lads. Of course, this was perfect photo fodder and we trailed them like their own personal pack of paparazzo.

After about 20 mins, we drifted away from the hen party and finished up at the merry-go-round. I can’t wait to develop my photos and to see everyone else’s. Here’s a photo taken of the group by Adam Bronkhorst.

They day got even better when I popped in to see a couple of friends armed with some scrummy cupcakes. The chingwag soon turned into a Very Good Idea. Hopefully we can develop our Good Idea into something workable before I unveil our mission to take over the world. Muhahaha.

The final Good Thing to happen was at the train station. There I was standing idly on the platform, when a friend I made Mongolia stepped off the train. I hadn’t seen him since 2006. That was a nice surprise. I’m hoping we’ll be able to catch up for a drink over the summer.

Twas A Very Good Day indeed.

If you have a Lomo, find me at my Lomo home.

My photo scavenger party

I’m quite selective when it comes to subscribing to mailing lists. Even when an e-newsletter pops though on my emails, I’m not that interested. A quick scan to see if anything is relevant, then in one click it goes into the trash (or bin as we like to say it in the UK).

Then this dropped through my inbox from Photojojo: Plan the Photog Party of the Century in 5 Easy Steps. All my favourite words – photo, party and easy – were in one sentence. Intrigued, I read on.

‘Instead of tackling that giant list on your own, turn your ‘someday list’ into a group effort by having the most-fun-you-ever-had-with-a-group-of-photog-nerds: a photo scavenger hunt.’

Straight after reading this enewsletter, I got onto Facebook and rounded up some nerds friends. Not only that, I even Tweeted about it. I’m that ridiculously excited about this scavenger hunt.

I’m now hosting a photo scavenger hunt around Brighton this summer. Yikes!

Now, I need ideas on what I on what my friends (they’re not really nerds, but lovely, wonderful, intelligent and hilarious human beings who are mad as I am) to photograph.

The premise is this: in teams, they will have around three hours to take photos of the list I will provide them. Each photo will have a score depending on the level of difficulty. The team who has the highest score wins a prize (on which I have yet to decide on). Crazy ideas welcome, but they must be (partly) realistic.

Of course, a post on teacup and cake and links to photos will be written/uploaded in due course.