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A Solo Traveller's Guide to Taking Selfies

Montane Mansions, Hong Kong

It's all well and good to have photos of the places you've visited, but sometimes it's nice to appear in them yourself. I like having photographic proof of my presence somewhere, especially when I've travelled half way across the world to see something spectacular. It's not just for Instagram (although I won't lie, I obviously want it for that too), but I want to send it to my mum and say, 'Look where I am!', or to have it put in a frame for memories. Travelling solo means you might not always get a great photo of yourself, but here's how I manage it:

A Photography Walk with Air BnB Experiences

Blogger changing camera lenses

I've lived in London for long enough now that I do that annoying, pretentious scoff when somebody suggest I haven't done something that everyone has done, ESPECIALLY if it's in my North London hood. Air BnB is such a good way of finding a 'hidden gem' in a new city, but an experience in my own hometown? What could they really be showing me that I didn't know already?

Six Awesome Photography Tricks I Learnt on a Photo Walk With Jessops

Two people taking photographs

I've owned my precious little Olympus Pen E-L7 for almost two years now. I did the ultimate blogger cliche of purchasing a 45mm lens last year, and as an early birthday treat for 2017, I've nabbed myself a 25mm lens too. I read up on photography tips online, quiz professionals (two of my best mates happen to be married to photographers), and just test and learn as I go, and I feel like my pictures really are improving.

Galleries, Bubbletea and The Breakfast Club

I'm wearing:
T-shirt - & Other Stories
Shorts: Kinki Gerlinki (Melbourne)
Plimsolls: Office

As much as I love being in the countryside or by the sea when the sun is out, there's something really special about London in Summer. It's like being on a city break; wandering around the landmarks, eating and drinking outdoors, lounging in the parks. Yes, it's hectic and busy and full of tourists who have no idea where they're going, but it's the time I feel most at home in London.

Two weekends ago I had one of these picture perfect days with one of my best friends. We had one intention for the day: go and get bubbletea, but aside from that, we completely played it by ear. We met in Covent Garden and decided to grab lunch on-the-go, and swung past the Jamaican Patty Company tucked down New Row. Being half Jamaican myself, I was pretty keen to give these a go and weigh them up against my mum's homemade ones! The shop is set out just like a Cornish Pasty shop you'd find in a train station and didn't really give off the friendly Caribbean vibe, but as we weren't staying in it was all about the food anyway. I had a curried goat patty and Claire went for jerk chicken, and they were pretty good, and perfect for eating whilst perched on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church overlooking Trafalgar Square.

On a total whim (like most of the day!), we headed into the David Bailey 'Stardust' exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which was on its last day of being open. I am always fascinated by portrait photography, regardless of whether it's a celebrity or not. Every person looks so honest and real, there's nothing to hide behind, it's just a snapshot of the here-and-now. Bailey has shot some of the most famous people in the world and there were photos there that I didn't even realise were his, including some iconic ones of The Beatles. There was also a whole room dedicated to the photos of his wife, who has been his most inspirational muse. The photos were intimate and so full of love and included the birth of their children - a side to his photography that is definitely less well known.

We eventually made to our original destination of Bubbleology on Rupert Street to try their bubbletea. The traditional Taiwanese drink is essentially iced tea (either juice or milk based) with small balls of tapioca in the bottom that shoot up through your straw and allow you to eat your drink. It's a pretty bizarre concept, even more so when you add 'boba', small balls of juice that explode in your mouth! I went for cocoa tea with strawberry boba; a pretty safe bet as I figured it would just taste like chocolate milk and I wouldn't risk not liking it! It was delicious and surprisingly filling, I couldn't actually finish my whole drink. I also tasted Claire's which was lychee and strawberry and it really was just like an iced tea, very refreshing for the hot day. 

Our day took us wandering deeper into Soho and we emerged by Beyond Retro for some vintage perusing and onwards to Carnaby Street where I introduced Claire to the joys of Monki. Needless to say she's a definite fan and picked up a good few items to take with her when she moves to Abu Dhabi (we don't mention this though as I'm not happy about her going!). It's then that we realised it was 5pm and that all the food shops would be closed by the time we got home, practically FORCING us to have dinner out and about. We grabbed a table at The Breakfast Club and settled down with proper mugs of tea and massive stacks of pancakes with maple syrup and bacon and a big side helping of gossip and catching up. 

I love those unplanned days; the ones where you discover new things and let the day take you on a different curse to the one you'd planned. It's only really possible when the sun is out though, but it really makes London seems shiny and new again, and reminds me why I love living here.

Tech: Flash and Snap

I'm always so envious of people who have the tech (and skill) to take great photos. I'm fed up of spending money of crappy digital cameras that don't focus properly, can't deal with poor light and break at the drop of a hat. I'm too scared (and poor) to get a proper SLR, but felt it was time to upgrade to something a bit fancier so that whoever is reading this blog (I'm sure you're out there somewhere!) can have some higher quality pics to look at when you visit my little site. 

This is a Canon Powershot SX150 IS and is down to half price at Argos at the moment. I'm really amazed at this bargain, and my photographer guru Ms O has said it is well worth the money, so I'm trusting her professional opinion. The obvious irony of taking a photo of my new camera is that I've had to use my iPhone camera! If anyone has any tips for taking great photos out and about I'd love to know.
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review