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A family affair

Every year OH's family arrange a meet up between all the cousins and grandchildren and they take it in turns to organise the event. This year it was OH's turn to get the picnic, choose the venue and organise an activity. Finding a suitable venue is always a struggle (as there are nearly 20 people in total varying in age from 11-70!) so I suggested Butterfly World just outside St Albans which turned out to be perfect. After a mighty fine picnic (including cake!!) we went to have a look around the butterfly house and gardens and I was in seventh heaven!

This isn't the best shot in the world but is of a brand new butterfly who had literally just emerged from it's coccoon.
There were so many butterflies it was difficult to decide where to focus!
These spheres were part of the gardens which looked great but will be amazing once they had a few years to mature. If you look really carefully you can see my self portrait.
These must be my favourite butterflies in the world. I first saw them last year and featured them in my Time Flutters By post but I think these are slightly better pictures (thank you fab new camera lense). So they look like a leaf when they're closed....
But open up into this !
I don't think Wayne was too happy to have this love in take place on his jeans and OH was worried that I was getting even more wildlife porn to add to the collection but I love the heart shape these damsel flies make.
Lunch time whether it's nectar.....
or fruit...
Now I can't take credit of this photo of the leaf cutter ants which was taken by OH's nephew who loved my camera - he's certainly got an eye photography!
Finally the spheres from above in context - this was one of my favourite shots of the day! 

All in all everyone seemed to enjoy the day. We were very lucky and had glorious sunshine all day and I certainly look as if I've caught the sun! Still at least we don't have to worry about arranging this for another six year! 

BrixMix

Brixton Market held another fabulous market last weekend called 'BrixMix' which was to show the diversity of this up and coming market promoting local produced food and handmade items. First stop was Anna Smith Bake's stall. Not only are they great to photograph but I succumbed this time round and purchased both a Bakewell tart AND a brownie (don't tell OH) and I have to say that they were absolutely gorgeous - one of the nicest cakes I have ever eaten (and I've eaten a few in my time). No wonder she won the Brixton Bake Off a few weeks ago.


In addition to stalls there was live graffiti. I was lucky enough to be able to pop back and see David from Graffiti Life's progress throughout most of the day and what an amazing experience. I felt privileged to watch this work of art progressing throughout a thoroughly baking hot day!




And amazing cup cakes! Very tempting in the sunshine
Alongside cakes there were vintage stalls - this is from Vintage Perks 
As well as promotion of Local Greens, a local initiative with collection points of locally sourced veg in the area. The closest farm that supplies them is only 11 miles away - amazing given we live so close to central London.
And there was a stall from Khasma selling, in addition to their addictive cakes, their homemade jams. They can be found on Acre Lane and do great Algerian food which I can highly recommend if you're looking for something different. And do have the cakes after your meal with fresh mint tea - you will have died and gone to heaven and it may take you a while to roll yourself home! Or was that just me....

I'm still experimenting with bw photography when I remember! Was very happy with this street scene of the market
There was also handmade wares throughout the market. This was jewellery from Trigull
And locally grown lavender bags! 
And finally more delicious looking cakes from the Mixing Bowl. You will note the word 'looking', as I'd already pigged out at Anna Smith Bakes I had to be strong whilst photographing these beauties! Next week's market is a Jubilee High Tea and Flea Market to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Anna Smith Bakes will be there so definitely worth another visit, even if just for the cake!!

A birthday treat

Firstly I must apologise for not writing for a while. It has been a very busy few weeks of photo taking which I will tell you about over the next few weeks. The first photo outing of the week was a trip to my beloved Wetlands Centre in Barnes on my not quite 40th birthday. Now I warn you, there are a lot of photos - I took over a 1000 in one day so I've been edited a lot!

 Now this Barnacle Goose was chasing everyone away from the water and if you look closely definitely has a scowl.....
 Now this little minx was far from being coy
And soon he was down to business
 And how cute are these little balls of fluff - baby Little Grebes
 But it wasn't all the birds and the bees.....
 This guy was pretty ugly but a great model
 Normally I'm not happy with photos of the Red Pochard, however parenthood must have made a duck out of him....

 And signets are cute too
 And to finish a pair of tufted ducks out for a stroll

At one point I used to go to the WWT at least twice a month but that was until I met OH. Ducks aren't really his thing (and I think he worries about my fixation about photographing duck porn) so days like this are super special! Until next year....

Spitalfields Walk

This weekend was birthday celebrations for me not quite 40th and I wanted to go for a walk around Liverpool Street up to Columbia Rd to visit the fabulous Rob Ryan shop. To add to the excitement I was using a new lens for the first time and was in seventh heaven! Certainly the best lens I've bought since my huge wildlife lens so there are quite a few pictures - sorry. Actually it the first lens I've bought since I bought that one but I digress....

The thing I love about around this area is the diverse street art you can see:




On Cheshire Street....


You can't avoid Jack the Ripper in this part of town...


Smiley shark

The meaning of life on Brick Lane

Part of a huge mural homage to Star Wars


Another mural

Anyway finally reached Ryantown in Columbia Rd. Paper cutter (yes really - look at the website) extraordinaire. These were new in

And finally we stopped off at Hackney City Farm which is a hidden treasure for a chicken obsessive like myself:
One of the weirdest birds I've seen for a while

Someone was having a bad hair day!


And just to show that they don't just do chickens there....