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#NoFilter Photos in Madrid

By on Jun 25, 2014 in Photography, Travel | 2 comments

Oh, the lure of the Instagram filter. In a single swipe, you can give a hastily-composed, badly-lit image a dreamy vintage feel, or make the colours of a rather insipid sunset pop out of the screen. It’s fair to say that easy filters and one-touch photo editing have revolutionised the way many of us take photos, but we also risk losing the art of true photography. Not every colour has to be ramped up to full saturation; not every background needs to be soft-focus. So when London City Airport invited me to share #NoFilter photos of one of my favourite cities, Madrid, in order to get back to the roots of photography, I said yes right away. Photos are being posted by several bloggers, and will be judged by Jade Conroy of MSN Travel UK, with a prize for the best image. It was with a feeling of dread that as I searched through my rather vast photo collection, I realised my last trip...

Seduced by Seville

By on Jun 11, 2014 in Europe, Travel | 3 comments

Like the iconic flamenco dancers of this city, Seville is a tantalising temptress made up to perfection. Deep red lipstick, hair tumbling in artful waves, dress swishing beguilingly, she is a flawless beauty. Every street sign here is made and displayed with care and artistry; the buildings are tiled with Moorish designs, much like Portuguese Azulejos. Church exteriors seem to be made up of paintings pinched from the Museo de Bellas Artes. The deep Andalusian sky provides the perfect backdrop for the elegantly-painted buildings – russet and ochre, white and blue, dusky pink. I was worried that Seville was one of those places I had spent too long dreaming about, and that it wouldn’t match up in reality. But in the five minutes it took for me to walk from the bus station to the cathedral, timed serendipitously with the first rays of dawn bathing La Giralda in a pale golden light, Seville...

Thoughts on Barcelona

By on Jan 28, 2014 in Europe, Travel | 0 comments

Review: Familia

By on Jan 24, 2014 in Features, Films | 2 comments

The Swedish filmmaker Mikael Wistrom first met the Barrientos family over 30 years ago whilst working on another film in Peru. He remained in contact with them and so heard about the hardships and tough decisions that they were facing. Knowing that their situation represented that of many Peruvian families, he returned to tell their story. Language: Spanish Country of production: Sweden Running time: 82 mins Directors: Mikael Wistrom and Alberto Herskovits Starring: Naty Barrientos Genre: Documentary Studio: Manharen film and tv – Ventana Film AB Rating: 4 stars   The Film Naty is the heart of her family. She is a mother, grandmother and devoted spouse. As the film opens, she makes the difficult decision to leave them all and travel across the Atlantic to Spain. She is at an age where she should be reaping the rewards of years spent working hard, but instead she has found a job as...

A ‘Mini-Trip to Spain’ on London’s South Bank

By on May 9, 2013 in Travel | 4 comments

Bank Holidays in the UK usually mean one thing: rain. But this May Day dawned bright and sunny, with temperatures high enough to make me put on my first summer outfit of the year. Flaunting bare feet in sandals, toenails newly painted, I wandered along to London’s South Bank. It is an area rammed with tourists, eager for that holiday snapshot of Big Ben, the Thames and the London Eye – and of course, with practically the first hot day of the year, the crowds were out in force. Call me crazy, but I love the busy, thronging atmosphere; admittedly in small doses. It is not just for tourists, however; the South Bank is also home to the wonderful Southbank Centre, one of my favourite places in the whole of London, because there is always something interesting and a little bit different going on. You can just wander in and see what is going on in the main hall – sometimes a...

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