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Happy Birthday Brother!

Brockham Village

Happy Birthday Brother!

It’s my brother’s birthday today and I have been wracking my brains over what to get him. Totally failed! The truth is that he’s far too special to me to get him some gimmicky knickknack or whatever. Material possessions become less important to us over the years, unless they’re outrageously expensive things (like camera gear!). Robin never likes us spending lots of money on him anyway! So I decided to dedicate this post to him. These views are more precious to him than just about anything money could buy! This is Viewpoint on Box Hill in Surrey. The view is looking across the village of Brockham where Robin was born, at home, and first met his two older sisters in the early hours of June 15th 1984. We adored him from the moment we met! I still remember the feelings of overwhelming joy we were feeling on our way into school, listening to Billy Joel on the cassette player. This beautiful countryside was our playground growing up. It’s so special to Robin that just over a year ago he took his then girlfriend, Morwenna, up to Viewpoint to propose to her! I’m very much looking forward to her becoming my sister 🙂

Viewpoint on Box Hill

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Flowers For Lou

Peony

Flowers For Lou

I usually keep Sundays silent but today would have been my dear friend, Lou’s forty fifth birthday. I like to celebrate her life and the time I had with her, as my friend and my housemate, with flowers! This year I have some beautiful peonies to share and a little quote about the etymology of their name:

The Etymological Meaning Of The Peony Flower

The Peony is best known by its scientific name, Paeonia. This is only the name of the genus – individual varieties of Peony feature different individual Latin names. The Peony takes its name from the mythological Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine known as Asclepius. Zeus had to transform the student into a beautiful flower when he showed more promise than his teacher and incurred his wrath.

Peonies originate from China, as do so many of our favourite blooms. The translation, from the Chinese names this flower “most beautiful”. It really is and so was Lou, especially when she laughed.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

Apples & Pear 1960's Window Display

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

It’s been a tough decade for independent retailers in the UK! The recession hit small, local businesses in villages and towns hard, forcing many closures. Even now that we are coming out of the recession and economic growth (GDP) is rising ahead of many other countries, our high-streets are still littered with empty shops and office buildings.

With that in mind it is my absolute pleasure to share with you all a story of success from my own village, West Byfleet! Apples & Pears (formerly Heather Forster) has not only endured the recession but are celebrating 50 years of trading with a 1960’s Party this coming Saturday the 27th September. With fancy dress, a bring-and-buy charity sale, 60’s DJ set and the original owner Heather Forster in attendance, it will be a great way for the community to show their support, not only for this family run gift shop, but also for all our local independent shops!

Christine and John Morrison took over the shop 10 years ago, around the time that I moved into West Byfleet. They’ve kindly allowed me to photograph many items in the shop, mainly to create abstract images for this blog. Last year during my 365 photography challenge I often turned to their eclectic shop for daily inspiration! I do, of course, buy many gifts and cards from them too, and maybe the odd little treat for myself 😉

They always have an interesting and well-crafted window display but I really have to congratulate them on their current 1960’s themed display that is a part of their celebrations! It’s so fascinating and fun that I decided to create some vintage-styled photos with my phone camera and the Google Photos editing app.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Faitrade at 20 in Woking

Woking Fairtrade team members, Becca Rowland, Margot Craig & Billie Anderson

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Last weekend the annual Food Festival was held in Woking Town Centre, providing the perfect backdrop to the local celebrations for Fairtrade at 20! One of my photos of the Fairtrade Big Banana Split taken during Fairtrade Fortnight this year was on display as a part of an exhibition held in WWF’s Living Planet Centre. It was also my pleasure to volunteer a small amount of my time to take some photographs for the Woking Team to use in the local press.

Do you know about the Fairtrade Foundation?

Who we are?

Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Fairtrade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers. The international Fairtrade system represents the world’s largest and most recognised fair trade system.

We are a global organisation working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.

Becca Rowland, Chair of Woking Fairtrade Action Network writes:

Woking Fairtrade celebrated 20 years of the Fairtrade MARK in the UK last Saturday with a photographic exhibition, food stalls and cake. The celebrations formed part of the Woking Food Festival which, for the first time, included a Fairtrade and Family Quarter centred on The Lightbox and WWF’s Living Planet Centre.

Called “Fairtrade at 20: The Power of You”, the exhibition consisted of images of farmers and producers, campaigners and consumers, and illustrated the history of the Fairtrade movement. The exhibition had been commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation to draw attention to what has been achieved in the UK so that over 20 years Fairtrade has become mainstream. Worldwide Fairtrade is now the world’s leading ethical label and Fairtrade International reported this month that sales of Fairtrade certified products reached US$7.3 billion worldwide in 2013.

People visiting the Food Festival enjoyed the stalls in The Lightbox as well as the photo exhibition at WWF. The support in Woking is an indicator of just how much support there is for Fairtrade nationally. Fairtrade is such an easy way for people to make the world a fairer place and we’ll keep promoting it until all farmers are able to get a fair price for their hard work.

I’m so used to the Fairtrade MARK and purchasing products with this official stamp of approval, that I could hardly believe it had only existed for twenty years! Our local Waitrose Supermarket has many such products that we buy on a regular basis. Have a look for items like these pictured below in your local shops.

Fairtrade Produce

The Food Festival was hugely popular again this year and another local group, The Phoenix Cultural Centre, that I volunteer my photographic skills for, when possible, was on hand to provide music for the masses. It was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of these fantastic community projects!

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Face The Future

Face The Future

1 year, 365 days, 1 new photo every day, a great experience!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

You bet I’m joyful tonight! Now that I’ve achieved my goal for 2013 what more lies ahead?

Well, first I shall give myself a few days off! I think deserve it 🙂

But before we all embark on whatever adventures await us in 2014 I thought I ought to turn the camera on myself and say “Hello and thank you”!

For every new follower, for each individual like, for the inspiration, for such great comments and encouragement, THIS is my happy face.

I’m really proud of myself for having completed my challenge and I’m looking forward to my second year of blogging, albeit with a slightly different look to my site!

Happy New Year to one and all! May 2014 be a joyful, creative journey for you too.

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One Year

One Year

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to my sister and brother-in-law!

Helen and Kevin tied the knot one year ago in beautiful Ashburton, Devon. This was my bridesmaid bouquet. Helen and I hand-made them for all the bridesmaids and the flower girl (who tried to dismantle hers during the ceremony) and it’s a lovely keepsake from the day.

I think they will have many more happy anniversaries to come 🙂

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Ruby

Ruby

Today the family gathered at local Italian restaurant, That’s Amore, to celebrate my parents Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations Mum and Dad!

It’s been a wonderful day with wonderful food and company too. There was also much laughter and spontaneous singing 🙂

The sun was low in the sky when we got home and created the perfect light to showcase this ruby-red rose.

The weekend is complete and so am I, with a very full belly and a full heart to match!