The #RWC2015 is already rolling with a completely underwhelming Opening Ceremony in London. A bunch of dirty men taking a part a giant inflatable rugby ball, a dude that I’m pretty sure wasn’t saying much of relevance and this all only took place in a space of 20 minutes. What’s up with that?
No. Just kidding. It’s the English in drag. #RWC2015
It’s been a while, and I’m really sorry for being a shit blogger. I’ll be better in 2015 – at least that is what I keep telling myself every year.
It’s been a fast-paced year, the kind that hasn’t stopped or slowed down. Many things have happened in the year but I feel like this year has possibly been the most challenging, exhausting, and emotionally taxing, but with all those things it has been the most rewarding. I’ve met some great people, I’ve said goodbye to others, I’ve dealt with loss, and in the chaos of it all, I have also had the chance to get to know myself a little better. What I can deal with, that it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to not go, it’s okay to stay in and be a granny but it’s also okay to go out and remember that I’m only twenty-four and that I don’t need to be responsible ALL the time. Just majority of the time.
I thought it would be a great little tribute to Irish Heritage if I shared some of my favourite photographs from when I celebrated St.Paddy’s Day in London when I had immigrated there back in 2009. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was incredible. Nobody cared if you were Irish or not, just as long as you sported your green attire and had a Guinness in hand. I found a spot on Piccadilly in the middle of the road at the traffic light and waited in great anticipation for the floats to start rolling in. So here is a Black & White collection of what I think made the day so exciting to watch.
So I thought I’d share some insight behind my new tattoo.
It’s not the first time I’ve got ink and for the last four years I’ve been hopelessly thinking about the NEXT piece of permanent body art. I’m a visual person and so this was the obvious decision for me. Being a self-taught and confessed photographer I was looking for something that spoke volumes about me and without having to explain the obvious.
I’ve been wanting a camera tattoo for a while now. Mostly as a reminder to myself to keep working toward my goal of being a recognized tog, not just amongst my friends but around but to actually one day make an honest name for myself in the industry. I knew what my tattoo meant to me but to visualize it was another thing. I needed the perfect camera.
When I had first arrived to my mates place in Bermondsey, London- She gave me this little film spool which when I had opened it was actually a DianaF+ Lomography keychain. I nearly died right then!! So when she bought me a DianaF+ CMYK for Christmas I cried. Yes! Like a massive baby.
In short, I took this as a sign and designed the tattoo piece that would be immortalized on me forever. The metaphor goes like this:
Life is Like… A Camera
Focus on what’s important
Capture all the good times
Develop from the negatives.
If things don’t work out. Take another shot!
You can also follow me on Instagram now @Kbellsays
So it started on the 16th of December. Landed at Heathrow and massively excited to see home and most of all, ecstatic to see snow… Well that was a monumental shut down. After being told that snow is expected on an eleven hour flight from the blistering South African sun there was nothing more rewarding than knowing I could frolic around in snow and get some awesome winter shots. What a perfect photo opportunity, right?! WRONG! No snow. In fact, I was walking London with a t-shirt and jeans…
Besides feeling like I was back in Africa it wasn’t all bad news 😉 I hadn’t been back to London in two years and what was worse is that I hadn’t seen Angie in a year. First order of business was to catch up on my English-ness and hit the pub for lunch and of course a beer with my little matey. Although we speak almost everyday, seeing her and hearing her was a complete game changer. Right, so beer and food was sorted and the only rational thing to do next was take a walk down the Thames. London Bridge never gets old! Angie was more excited about The Shard which is apparently now the tallest building in Europe? Impressive for Britain to be fair…
So Monday arrived and Angie had decided to take the Monday off to spend with me around London. Shopping is like eating vegetables. It’s the first thing I do to get it out the way and then I can enjoy the rest of whats left. Once we had done the whole disastrous shopping thing we headed off to Hyde Park for the famous Annual Christmas Spectacle, Winter Wonderland!! With enough Gluhwein, Bratwurst and Beer to go around we had a pretty cool afternoon. Obviously more for the children than anything but nothing was stopping us from going to have a walk around.
Among some of the bazaar attractions, this tree was pretty epic. Based on the fact that it ACTUALLY spoke!! A talking tree! That’s pretty rad to be fair… If you weren’t impressed after seeing this then you’d be pretty blown away with the copious amounts of food and beverage!
Traditional Pasty and chips with some gravy to warm the body up before sunset in Hyde Park. Happened to be a beautiful day in London and the atmosphere was amazing as always. Definitely something you should do on your next trip to London over the festive season!
Less than 3 weeks to go and I’ll be headed to London Town baby! Christmas is bound to be deliciously unpredictable and even better than that? It promises to be uncontained magic! Spending Christmas and New Year’s with my best mate, @TheHeroEmporium. I know she’s stoked to see me but she won’t admit it. Almost like holding in a massive pee and denying that you don’t need the loo.
I realize I have not been the most consistent blogger the last few weeks but being in the advertising game, this time of year is less attractive than what the beginning usually is. Good news is that I finally got the balls to join that enigma they call Instagram. So find me on there and let’s connect on yet another social network.
In this series of posts I hope to show you a step by step photo journal through London. I take from my front door and hold your hand through the tubes/underground for a journey I will never forget. I hope to show you what I see through my lens and hope to show you the history behind London. There are some touristy aspects but my walk through London is a simple one. Basically a walk around the block. In Part 1 anyway. Here is a map of the tube- It looks flustered but once you understand the system it’s far easier than getting this right than the bus schedule (Trust me on this). So get your Oyster card ready and lets hit the road!
[Double Click on image to a full screen preview]
I have circled our start point- being Mill Hill East, North London.
I stayed in a house in 2 Lee Road, Mill Hill NW7 1LJ if you want to Google Map it and check it out.
At the end of the road in front of the image you’ll turn left. Walk a block and you’ll find yourself at a circle/ round-about.
Turn left and walk a few blocks up. You’ll see a bridge above you and the Mill Hill East Station is to your left. Swipe your Oyster card but remember to top it up. You won’t need more than 10 pounds for the day. The tube will cap your usage. To save more on your transport on tubes, leave after peak around 10am and check back in before 4pm (If you’re really scaly on your cash). But for the purpose of today we livin’ on the wild side and won’t be back till much later. I hope you’re not afraid of the dark. London, unlike that of South Africa, is safer in terms of using public transport and is far more efficient. Wear comfortable shoes because this is not about looking gorgeous. You’ll regret the fabulous heels later on and probably land up chucking them in the bin throughout the day. It’d be more advisable to go bare foot than wear uncomfortable shoes.
Off To Waterloo-
We venture off to the Waterloo station by tube on the Northern Line (Black Line). You can see on the very 1st image a map of the tube- I’ve very clearly marked out our route by tube. However, the tube map will not help you much on the roads of London. So here, below is a street map of Part 1 of our London trip. Have a glance and my detailed custom travel map especially for you!
So on the right hand side there is a red circle around Waterloo Tube. All the surrounding tubes are shown by the underground icon on the map. If you get tired of walking (Suck it up like a champ) then the tubes are available with easy access. We depart from the Waterloo tube and find our way to Waterloo Rail- which is directly above the Underground. You should expect it to look something like this at any given time.
Now that we’ve navigated our way through the Station, you’ll see a tunnel at the back of the shot on the left. Walk through the tunnel and over the bridge. There you will come to a flight of stairs on your left. Once on street level walk straight- on your right hand side. This is what you’ll be spectating.
The London Eye is a beautiful piece of human mechanics and ingenuity. It’s quite a costly ride though and the lines often queue for meters on end. You get amazing specials where you can by a rail ticket and and get entry to one or two attractions at half price etc. So keep a look at for these bargains especially when travelling from the country.
Right… Moving on- we don’t have all day!!
Walk straight toward those tree’s and the the London Eye will smack you straight between the blinkers. Admire the attraction but move on swiftly. We have so much to see still and we’ll come back here later. It’s all part of the adventure. Turn left at the pier and head toward the bridge. This is what to expect on this populated stretch. County Hall and the Aquarium as well as the film museum will be on your left. Head straight to the stairs.
There is ALWAYS time for Subway.
A fresh Italian loaf filled with chicken and crispy bacon on a bed of lettuce with a stream of creamy mayo that will blow your mind to pallet heaven. Next, the cheese. A couple slices of mozzie and cheddar melted to absolute perfection! If I could eat that mascot right now I proper would!
We find ourselves on Westminster bridge walking directly in Big Ben’s direction. It’s a busy bridge so don’t expect people to be all nice and fluffy when taking photographs of a giant clock. Stay the sides of the bridge walls when crossing over the Thames (The huge body of water you’re standing over currently). The elaborate ‘Palace’ looking structure attached to Big Ben are the Houses of Parliament.
Journey on over Westminster Bridge and you’ll find yourself at a busy T-Junction at Big Ben. Cross over to Big Ben’s side and take your next left. To your right you’ll see a luscious green mini park that is mainly filled with Monuments. One of which is Nelson Mandela (Only one I can remember to be honest). To the left of the park is Westminster Abbey. You’ll recognize the Abbey from the Royal wedding. It’s beautiful and elaborate and you can pay to navigate the interior. That’s if cold Gothic architecture is your fancy.
Time to stroll over the park—>
We head to to St.James park where find the history of London Westminster hidden under the foundations of these buildings. The very buildings that withstood the harsh force of war and anarchy. What makes London such a timeless city is the history, the people, the atmosphere, the weather, the parks BUT most of all… THE SHOPPING!!
We’ll hit the streets for expensive souvenirs later on- lets enjoy the scenes first.
Next up is the Churchill Museum.
For me this one of the most educational. With most of the London museums being free-of-charge this museum is not. You should expect to pay around 10-15 Pounds. However, it’s well worth it. Don’t waste your time if this is NOT your cuppa Tea, there are ample other attractions to check out that will be sure to interest you to the max.
Right across the road of the Churchill Museum you’ll spot the St.James Park. By spot I don’t insist of anyone using Binocs to see the park- it’s literally in the front of you and can not be missed. It’s a stunning park and great to have a Sunday stroll in. Keep walking past the Churchill Museum down to the Royal Horse Guards. This is one of my favourite pieces of Architecture in and around London.
The Royal Horse Guards-
We find ourselves more than half way around our ‘Round Trip’ so lets at this point walk through to the Royal Horse Guards and head back for sunset over at the Thames. Don’t expect these fella’s to be overly nice and charming.
In fact- don’t expect them to have a chit chat either. You’ll have more luck of being run down by a horse than a guard asking you how your trip is going. If they did ask however, I’m sure you’d say it was going fabulous.
‘The Woman Of WWII’ is one of MANY monuments in and around London put there to commemorate the fallen. Each the monuments are celebrated by public events by placing wreaths in honour of the veterans. This one in particular struck a chord with me due to the fact that there aren’t any faces. That’s a strong message to portray. To me it says that although woman were a vital part of the war they are remembered as a generalization. Not as individuals. Makes me wander… Anyways- times have changed and the fact of the matter is, they’re still remembered for their extraordinary service to their country.
As we heading back down to the Westminster Bridge take a look at the slideshow for the remainder of the trip. It’s an easy walk back- treat yourself at Tesco Express and take up a bench down by Victoria Embankment and soak up the people, the atmosphere, the dog walkers, the runners and the suits. The best is yet to come.
Hope you enjoyed my photo journal through London. Catch up with me later for Part 2…