And so, they all lived happily after

by Meral,

It has been while ... Summer is no more ... We had a lovely time in Cornwall filled with sunshine and high on oxygen. 

We are now in coldish autumn days snuggled up in wooly jumpers and coats. Thank god we get to wear boots ( a lot and yes even during most summer days right ) Cause I don't know what else could get me through the long cold days in London ;- ) 

So just a quick hello to say we are still alive. 

As the days get shorter and colder... as we search and cherish the bits of sunshine we can hold on our skin, I feel a bit nostalgic, romantic and dreamy so there you go two photos... One Cinderella dress yes even at this age I like to play dress up and one beautiful tote bag.

I will leave you with one song that I can listen over and over again.  Lighthouse by Weareiyes


From Bricklane to Columbia Flower Market

by Meral,

Bricklane, some hate that part of London and some just can't have enough of... Living around Richmond at the opposite side of London to Bricklane I find it almost liberating to be in the East End. When you look back at the history of Bricklane and the area, it goes back to the 15th century when brick and tiles were being manufactured then the Irish and the Ashkenazi Jews arrived in the 19th century. The early 20th century, it became predominantly a Bangladeshi community. As you hit The Vibe and The Old Truman Brewery the buzzing nightlife, vintage clothing , food stalls start to populate the streets. 

Last week I took my boys to Bricklane and Columbia Flower Market for a Sunday stroll. Our walk started all the way from Aldgate East Tube station where the Whitechapel Gallery is until the end of Columbia market where we finally headed over to Shoreditch High Street Tube station to go back home ... the leafy suburbs of Richmond  :-) 

Every time I visit the East End, I always find new street art. Sometimes you need to search for them. They are hidden and sometimes they greet you big and bold. While I was working at Shoreditch at lunch time I would wander the streets of Shoreditch to take some photos. I found this big bold street art at the middle of Hoxton ( Do you know where was this taken?)  "Never Sleep again" . So I waited at the corner for something to happen and days passed and nope nothing happened! Then Ann my colleague suggested she will pose for me I had no idea what she was going to do. She crossed the street, dropped her bag on the floor and lied on the street pretending to be asleep. There I had the photo :-) Now this street art is no longer there but lives on our cushions.

Do you remember where was this Street Art "Don't Sleep Again" about couple of years ago?

 Well, let's start our little photography tour of Bricklane and Columbia flower market.

As you approach Bricklane from Aldgate East station this alley way on the left hand side right after the mosque greets you with this sign. As you enter this empty space it feels like almost  a bomb hit it the night before. But then you see the street art one after another in every empty brick on each wall. Each looking surreal.

We were getting seriously hungry and entered the first covered market where they serve food from all over the world. Oh boy you are spoilt by choice!. My boys went for Chinese and I chose Venezuelan food... Arepas with pulled pork, cheese, avocado and tomatoes. Do I need to say it was yummy!

For desert, we chose a big glass of fruit.

If you need a hair cut you can get one in the garden of The Vibe. Probably the one and only open air hair dresser. Looks like fun :-) 

To get to Columbia Flower Market simply ask people with bouquets of flowers :-) I spotted this glamorous couple fashionably on their bikes coming from the Flower Market. Are they famous ? I can not tell but they did grab the attention of the passers by. Talking about famous people we did bump into Russell Brand.

Sunshine, flowers and more flowers ... and yes you can have oysters, have a delicious ice-cream, sip your beer and listen to one of the street musicians. Ohhh ! and mostly as I do, watch the people pass by.

So our walk ends here. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and full of bright colors! Oh Before I leave I wanted to share the music I am listening to Everything By Maya Jane Coles. The other day, a good friend was doing a little poll What influences the music you want to hear (most)?  For me it is a mix of things, activity, mood, weather and the time of the day... This morning I am a bit hyped up may be I am a bit drugged with all cold medicine and Vitamin C boosters :-) 



Come back to Camden

by Meral,

Drinking tea with the taste of the Thames, sullenly on a chair on the pavement; here you'll find my thoughts and I, and here is the very last plea from my heart. My heart. For evermore. as Morrissey sings in Come back to Camden

Songs do pop up in my head time to time. Anything really can trigger this... This time it was Camden which brought Morrissey in my mind and I sang the song as I was wandering the streets of Camden with my boys on the hottest day of summer. As you exit  Camden Town tube station, the crowd and the hot air mixed with the smell of the food stalls just hit you. As you approach the canal a more relaxed atmosphere of Camden town welcomes you spoiling you with variety of food choices from the endless food stalls. If you are after some shopping, you can definitely find something as you get lost in the maze of the covered market.  On this particular day, 1st of August Thursday, without really planning it we found ourselves in the Camden night market. The food stalls are open till late night along with some amazing live music and plenty of activities to get you going till the late hours.

Somehow the madness of the Camden market with it's covered bazaars and food stalls remind me a bit of Istanbul. 

My boys really loved the ping pong tables. They can play ping pong for hours and I just sat on these sun loungers without a bother.

Love the afternoon warm light of the blazing sun. If you are into photography then you know the golden hour.

As you can see it was the golden hour for some Watermelon punch. To be honest, every hour is the golden hour to have a watermelon punch right :-) 

and for some cake :-) After a full day filled with sunshine and great food and yes a bit of shopping we headed back home really tired. My vintage tote bag was part of the journey. I am very pleased with this tote bag as I realize it pretty much matches everything I wear. It became the "can-not-live-without" piece of my summer look. It must be the leather straps and the wonderful melange of colors it carries. Love it when random people stop me on the street and ask me where I got my bag from. Well you know where :-) Shop for tote bags here 



Passion at Lovebox 2013

by Meral,

Last Sunday, I have packed my passion totebag for a full day of sunshine, music and dance at Lovebox 2013. Sunday was not my first choice but still had loads of fun. If I have planned better, I would have loved to be there on the Friday. Overall Lovebox Sunday lineup was not really my cup of tea but then I know how to let go and have fun. We went from pure disco in cramped dust filled tents, to house and electronic music all day long. It is always wonderful to have a day full of raving right at the middle of London and the crowd makes it all worth it. 

Last year when I went to Lovebox on a Friday, we basically stayed right by the main stage and never moved until Hot Chip appeared and rocked the whole crowd. This year though we moved around smaller stages and it was great fun. Really enjoyed for an hour and half of DJ Solomun under the golden, hot, very hot London sunshine. Kelis was amazing fun, an artist whom I have never listened before and somehow recognised the music and we were dancing full on through out the whole performance. Great Vibe! 

The festival fashion is one thing but on this day people made real effort to emphasize their costumes. Everything was a bit dramatic and I like that. So much love and passion that were put into each outfit. I could just sit and watch people pass by with booming music in the background. 

I packed very little with me... I can not survive without a camera so there goes the Nokia Lumia925 into the bag along with sunscreen and boy we needed that ! picnic blanket which we have never used and some money. That is really all you need right. Also this year we were not covered in mud but dust ! Feet in sandals turned into black WOOT ! 

Every time I put this camera Nokia Lumia925 into action it blows my mind ! The vibrant colors, the resolution, and the quickness to snap photos are incredible. When I take photos with iPhone 4S I constantly need to boost the contrast by enhancing the photo and with Lumia925 there is no need for filter, and enhancement. The photos are ready to go straight out of camera. 

Low light results are wonderful. I love the effect I got covering the dust filled dark tents where we danced most after sneaking out for a boost of sunshine at times.

Who is crazy enough to do this ride ? Well I was not I preferred to take photos :-) as exciting and thrilling as it gets hah :-) 

Flowers and colors everywhere! Don't they just make you happy and smile <3

Dj. Solomun in action. If you haven't heard him then please listen to his soundcloud here  

I am not looking for love > Now DJ Solomun's tune is in my head singing over and over again ! Not looking for love but LOVE and it's beautiful colors were every where in LoveBox 2013

And finally my passion totebag which accompanied me all day long I made sure that it was not covered in dust :-) 



What does your bag hold this week ?

by Meral,

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing and sun filled weekend. Do I sound like I had one of those weekends ? Sure I do :-) We went camping to New Forrest for a short holiday. It felt like we have packed the whole house for just two nights. I must admit I am not a lover of camping. The first time I have camped was when I was 22 years old in Yosemite. That's just way too old to start camping and expect to like it. I am trying and I am learning to like it. I love camping when there is hardly anyone around you and you are lost in nature most preferably near a lake or a river with loads of repellents. What I don't like is tent right next to other tents, communal bathrooms, dust and all. Well we had a bit of both on this camping trip and I have survived. The main purpose of this short trip was to show the kids, 12 and 8 yrs old sons, what camping is. You know what, they just loved it ! The kids adopt so easily... I know from experience, they enjoy every bit of luxury and really appreciate that and at the same time they love the freedom of camping. One thing I must admit is that I couldn't get them take a bath during the two day camping trip, as they thought the bathrooms were a bit eeky. I am sure if we stayed longer they would learn to deal with that too.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Camping is a bit like this... There is no bad camping, only bad equipment :-) So I think if you have the right equipment you can be as comfortable and happy as home. As this was our first camping after almost ten years, we went around and checked out other experienced campers and took notes of how they were set up. So we came back with a list of things to buy and already planning our next trip and hoping the weather will be like this past weekend. 

Camping needs good equipment and yes also being super organized. Pack only the things you need no extras what so ever. You need to go back  to basics. I only brought a mascara :-) I can not live without one... so think basics... If you really need makeup choose one that you can not live without. Admit that you are all going be a bit dirty, things won't be like at home, sit back and relax the nature.

So now time to show you a bit what we have seen. Talking about packing light and being organized I carried my Nokia Lumia925 every where and the battery lasted without a charge for full three days. #winning

We went to the seaside at Barton-on-Sea and when the sun shines who really needs the med ... England coast is as beautiful... look at those photos and you decide.

The Avon river was filled with kids playing in the water. The picnic areas were populated with cows and horses. Such a nice melange of nature as everyone was in harmony and happy with each other.

On Sunday morning, we packed everything in our car and we were ready to leave for home. For a sec, I thought if only we could do a little family adventure like this... Pack everything only the minimum and leave for a year without a solid plan and see where one adventure leads to another. Packing and unpacking and getting ready for a new week ahead I thought I always clean up my bag and get it ready for the week ahead on Sundays.

So what is in my tote bag this week! Would love to see what your bag holds for this week and what adventures lie ahead ! 

All photos have been taken by the Nokia Lumia925 except the last one which was taken by my iphone 4S ( I sincerely do not like the quality of the iphone 4S photos anymore Do you see the quality difference )