I went to France with Ladies K & L. It was like being back at school and learning about the village shops and their keepers; Mme Gateau le boulanger, M. moules du poissonnier,  Martin, le pâtissier and M. saucisses du boucher.


Other than the Isle of Wight, Vegas is my most favourite place In The World. I love Vegas, like proper proper love it, I don’t know why, it might be the ridiculousity of it all, the people watching, the erupting volcano watching, the sinking pirate ship watching, the fact that I’ve seen more of ‘Europe’ in Vegas than I have actually seen in Europe.

I reckon the thing I love the most is the lights … The brash flashing, clashing, racing, chasing lights of the casinos, the hotels, the wedding chapels, the public toilets (probably). The picture above is of a six inch high bit of tourist tat (Vegas does the best tourist tat) that whenever I’m feeling blue I switch it on and watch the frantic lights for a minute or two and I can’t help but smile.

Vegas by its nature is a fast paced place; people come, people go, hotels are always either being put up or torn down, the amazing neon displays left for scrap. Fortunately the wonderful people at the Neon Boneyard have been trying to save these signs from extinction. Situated in Downtown Vegas in two massive parking lots signs from the original casinos built in the ’40’s rub shoulders with signage from the iconic hotels of the ’60’s and beyond.

If you’re looking for a slightly different photo opportunity than standing in front of the Bellagio fountains or with Elvis at the Chapel of Love take a guided tour round this little slice of Vegas history.I took these images on my first visit to Vegas and on my return showed my friends and family all 346 photos (patient people my friends). One friend Lady K shares my passion for all things Vegas and got this giant canvas made up using one of my shots.

There’s loads of places online that do this sort of thing, just do a search for giant photo canvases. Having discussed it with Lady K we have established that she can’t remember who made hers but it cost about £160 about three years ago.

When I get a house big enough I am totally having one too.

Last December Master J and I went on a guided tour of Aldwych tube station. This station was built in 1907 and closed due to low passenger numbers in 1994. Much of the station is original, from the tiling in the ticket office to the archaic (but unique) lift system. The station and tour had lots of things I love; Victorian brick tiles, great examples of Johnston’s 1916 Underground font, vintage posters with comedy slogans and old men passionate about trains, timetables and ear hair.

Five ‘fascinating’ facts about Aldwych tube

1. The station tunnels are now used to test tile patterns for decorating new tube stations.
2. If you get to level 12 of Tomb Raider (which may or may not be easy, I have no idea) you will have to help Lara kill rats in the Aldwych tunnels.
3. Aldwych has been used in films such as Atonement and 28 days later and Doctor Who has had to escape robotic Yeti down there (Daleks could have totally used the lift, I dunno if they’d’ve fitted through the ticket barriers though).
4. The Elgin Marbles were stored there during the war.
5. 2,500 people used the tunnels for protection during the Blitz (something I can never comprehend).

lest we forget

If you want to know when the next guided tour is keep an eye on this website, an excellent resource full of things to do in London if you don’t want to go to Westfield or Madame Tussauds.

Finland does good graphics, great fabric and weird sweets (mostly liquorice or peppermint, often together, always in stylish packaging).

The town we visited was called Oulu. Friendly, quiet and famous for hosting The World Air Guitar Championships… AWESOME! If you don’t believe me look here.

The fabric in the top right of the picture is from marimekko and bottom left are some coasters I picked up for ‘my-new-house-that-doesn’t-actually-exist-yet’ from the Moomin Store in the uber-cool Helsinki Airport. For all things Moomin go here now!