Out in London

Sunday We headed to central London for lunch. The plan was to eat at The Breakfast Club and have dessert next door at the new Portuguese café.

Even though Soho was pretty quiet and most restaurants were empty there was a one hour wait queue at The Breakfast Club! Oh well. Change of plans then. We tried the Bodeans in Soho instead. It didn’t disappoint.

Dessert was a “Pastel de Nata” and an espresso at I love Nata in Soho. The flavour was great but the filling was a little too runny. The service was so good I will definitely go back.

I had decided to take my old camera out as I didn’t think my new one was that much better and is a little heavier. Guess what? I was wrong. My old camera takes forever to focus and the battery doesn’t last as long either. Still got some decent shots. Please excuse the blurry ones.

We walked through Chinatown, Soho and went into Liberty (we were looking for toilets) before walking through Regent Street.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Let me know if you have any favourites.

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10 Weeks out of 52

This year I decided to keep working on my photography. To ensure I don’t neglect it I have challenged myself to make at least one picture a week. I am following a specific challenge so I have a new theme every week. No excuses!

WEEK 1 – Look Ahead

New year. New beginnings. New you. Look ahead. Interpret as you wish. 

It was more looking up than looking ahead but the plane going into the clouds on a sunny day felt right for the new beginnings theme.

WEEK 2 – Color Harmony

Get out your color wheel. Do opposites attract? Can there be harmony with opposite colors? Does the Hulk wear purple pants? Mix warm and cool colors.

This one isolated the cold and warm colors so well that I had to pick it for this week. I love how well the red goes with the turquoise window glass.

WEEK 3 – Full Manual

While the camera often determines shutter speed and aperture for the photographer, it doesn’t know your creative intent. This week, challenge your self to assume creative control over the camera by using full manual mode. Select a subject where varying the aperture and / or shutter speed helps enhance the composition and visual qualities of the image.

Selfie taken using the manual mode on my camera, edited in Lightroom with a gradient map applied in Photoshop.

WEEK 4 – Quiet Moment

Peace. Serenity. Tranquility. Convey a quiet moment.

This one is quite personal. At the time it represented a quiet moment spent at home.

Week 5 – Photographer’s Choice

Capture an image on your terms; who, what, where, when, why, how … it’s all up to you. Caveat: You must tell us your intent.

I find this shot so pleasing and such a good representation of London.

Week 6 – Alternating Rhythm

Alternate patterns of light to bring depth and rhythm to the photograph.

This one fits the theme like a glove.

Week 7 – Fill the Frame

Fill the frame with your subject, no background. You will need to get up close and personal, or use a good zoom lens.

Traffic light filling in the frame.

Week 8 – Zoom Burst

By changing the focal length during long exposure you can add movement to your frame, producing leading lines within your frame.

The first time I tried this effect and even though I am not very keen on the results it was fun to try something new.

Week 9 – Forsaken

Abandoned and Forgotten were favorites in the past. Let’s revisit the idea the idea this year with forsaken.

A close-up shot of the roof seemed fitting for this week’s theme.

Week 10 – Selective Color

I know, I know. Yuck. Selective color can be cringeworthy, however, when done right, it brings compelling focus to the subject.

It is not every day that you see a blue sky in London!

Super glad I have not missed a week of the challenge yet and I am enjoying trying new things when it comes to photography.

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mind the gap text on tube platform

10 Years in London

Exactly 10 years ago we had landed in London to start this crazy adventure! It is so scary that 10 years have already gone by. I still remember our first week’s daily “meetings” in Leicester’s Square Burger King like it wasn’t that long ago.

If you have moved to a different country then you will know it is not an easy feat. It has been quite an emotional journey.

On our first few days in London we would sit down in Burger King at the end of the day to go through the highs and lows of the day. That kept us grounded and helped overcome the fear of not succeeding. I would also call my grandmother to check in and to let her know that we had survived another day in London.

Those were difficult times but together we got through all the challenges. Soon we settled down and started exploring our new city and other UK cities. We also planned our first holidays to go back to Portugal.

Job and house hunting was very different from what we expected. I would say a lot more challenging. Thankfully it took us only about a month to get our first jobs which was not too bad. But they weren’t great ones. We moved into our first long-term room after about three weeks and shared the flat with a great guy.

We lived in Willesden Green. My first job was at Itsu in St. Johns Wood selling sushi and my boyfriend’s first job was at Nero in Regent Street. As you can see nothing too fancy.

The next jobs popped up soon enough which allowed us to have some peace of mind and a little more money in the bank. I was a temp in a sales team selling plane parts and my boyfriend started working for Cineworld.

Our first trip back home was in September 2008 and by then we already had so many experiences to talk about with friends and family.

After that we only moved house twice and in 2013 we finally moved on from all the house sharing madness. I changed jobs quite often and even had the guts to start over in a new industry about 5 years ago. My boyfriend changed jobs once and is now working close to home too.

London has offered us so much over the years. Yes, the weather is pretty crap but the opportunities in this city are something else. We have learned so much, met some incredible people and visited places we had never even heard of before.

We truly discovered our love for travelling and went on a few trips over these last 10 years.

2008 – Portugal twice
2009 – Portugal four times, one of those Madeira and Porto Santo
2010 – Portugal three times and Nice
2011 – Portugal twice, Sri Lanka and Menorca
2012 – Portugal three times and Menorca
2013 – Portugal three times and Greece (Athens, Milos, Santorini and Mykonos)
2014 – Portugal twice, Amsterdam, Ibiza and Belgium
2015 – Portugal twice, Switzerland, Villefranche-sur-mer, Paris and Menorca
2016 – Portugal three times and Crete (Greece)
2017 – Portugal twice, Menorca, Copenhagen, Lanzarote, Furteventura and Amsterdam
2018 – Currently in Portugal

Not sure if I have missed any trips but I could count 49 trips in our first 10 years in London which averages about 5 holidays a year. Not too bad!

Looking forward to the next 10 years!

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Table with coaster from apples and pears bar

Celebrating your Birthday

Last week we celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday. I left work early and we had planned to go for cocktails and seafood.

After having a little snack and coffee at home we headed out to East London for cocktails. The first stop was at one of our favourite places, Apples & Pears. The cocktails there are delicious, the decor super cool and the staff is really nice.

On my second cocktail I was already feeling the effects of the alcohol. Conversation was flowing and we were having a good time.

Not feeling like heading back to the tube to stick to our Soho seafood restaurant plan we decided to stay in East London.

Instead of seafood we went to Hotbox for the first time. The meat was delicious but we ordered way too much food. As we enjoyed our beers and the bbq meats we kept chatting about random things. We stayed there until late just enjoying the conversation before heading back home.

We had a great time. It feels great to just pamper ourselves with some quality time out of the house with good food and drinks.

I am looking forward to celebrating more birthdays!

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