So at the beginning of lockdown and as part of my love for film making, I started capturing footage to make a mini film of what it was like during the dark days in #london.
The story is far from complete as I want to also capture our wonderful city in all its glory with people back on the streets enjoying the city when it is all over.
With the recent news I am really hoping to be able to share the film in the next few months so keep an aye on our social media pages.
Click the link below for a sneak preview
So I thought as we can't currently travel I would do a little blog about my home town Higham Ferrers which is located in Northamptonshire.
We moved to this gorgeous market town in 2000 and its a place we will now always call home, its full of character and charm with a population of just over 7000, The town centre contains many historic buildings around the Market Square and College Street.
The first Charter of 1251 was due to the lord of the Lord of the Manor, William de Ferrers, who created the Borough in order to promote a prosperous community at the gates of his castle, where people begun to settle in numbers and to trade in the ancient market. Today the Market town still thrives with a monthly traditional farmers market .
At Christmas the town is turned into a Victorian Christmas market with the buildings giving the town a picture postcard backdrop, in years gone by the smell of roasting Chestnuts makes it one of the best markets around for those wishing to turn back time.
Higham also boosts a magnificent church The spire and part of the tower collapsed in 1630 but were reconstructed immediately with the original stone and a crocheted spire, and a tablet high up on the West side of the tower commemorates this. The spire was extensively renovated and restored again in 2006 and work is ongoing today in 2021 to keep this magnificent historical church in pristine condition.
The College founded by Henry Chichele in 1422 was for 8 chaplains, one of whom was to be the Master or Warden, 4 Clerks and 6 choristers. Today the restored parts of the college is used for public exhibitions and is open to the public to enjoy the grounds and continues to be a big part of the towns history.
If you ever get chance to visit the splendid market town be sure to bring you'r camera!
Below is a short film showing some of its glory.
So we did not have to travel far for this fun trip, we are very lucky to live right next to long country foot paths surrounded by stunning lakes and views. The paths lead you to the towns of Rushden, Irthlingborough or Stanwick depending on what path you take but each have there own unique charm.
Today for the first time for many years we got a bucket full of snow and although we are currently in lockdown it really gave many people an hour or so to get outside and enjoy the fluffy white stuff.
We are also the proud owners of a 9 month old Golden Retriever who has never seen snow, so what does a videographer who just happened to take delivery of a new camera do.. yup make a film of his first venture out in the snow.
Have a look below on how Sulley got on in this lovely wonderland of snow.
Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o'clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o'clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.
We love an afternoon tea and have experienced the occasion at some of the best venues in the world, none more so than on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which hands down was the best one we have ever tried. The views from here were unreal as you look out to the unbelievable landscape of Dubai.
There are two types of afternoon tea, the traditional scones, cakes and sandwiches or more heartier dishes which are more than just the tea and cakes, this is called a High Tea. Workers needed substance after a day of hard labor, so the after-work meal was more often hot and filling but still accompanied by a pot of good, strong tea to revive flagging spirits.
You can have an afternoon tea with or without Champagne but if you are like me and my wife then one glass is never enough, so be sure to budget accordingly, the average cost for a "normal" afternoon team is about £60 plus service charge in the finest establishments, then you can pay anything from £17.50 for a glass of the finest champagne on top of that.
If you ever get the chance to go to London be sure to try an afternoon tea at any of the following places, we have been to them all and can honestly say the experience is truly breathtaking.
-Fortum and Mason (my favourite London experience)
-The Savoy (we are booked to try here in 2021)
-The Shard (A view not to be missed)
We also visited the 5* Merchant Hotel in Belfast and they do a fantastic afternoon tea.
WOW what a place even if just a little crazy. We visited Vegas for a very special trip to see Robbie Williams preform at the Wynn Hotel, we have followed Robbie all over Europe so when he announced he was playing Vegas we just had to go.
My wife had also always said she wanted to see Barry Manilow in Vegas and I was like really, however we went to the hotel on the morning of the night he was playing at the famous Westgate Resort and Casino hotel and got some great seats, the audience started arriving and as I sat in my seat wondering what I had done, (I thought I was at a bingo hall in Doncaster) no offence Doncaster but picture the scene!! the age groups arriving were from 12 to 99! but then something happened I was not expecting. OMG what a performer, he has to be up there with one of the best artists I have ever seen, he had the audience in his hands and the voice was just perfection. A truly magical show.
The city is full of lights and madness but is 5 star luxury all the way, the hotels are incredible and do cover all budgets but as Robbie was playing one of the best hotels in town I booked in to stay there as well!!
Every hotel is set up with gambling in mind and is a very dangerous place even if you have never gambled before if you are not careful. I love playing roulette and at the start of the trip was not doing very well in-fact I truly believed Vegas was one big fix and the stories I had read about dodgy tables were true, however my wife who does not gamble at all was soon hooked on playing the fruit machines that line every inch of the hotels carpets, she soon become hooked and was winning for fun, her best win was over $200 on one spin, I was not impressed with her luck!
On the last evening and the night of the Robbie concert I was dressed in my DJ at hit the tables as with a big smile my wife gave me some of her dollars to play with! I cant lie the adrenaline was flowing as I finally learnt how to play roulette with a little help with my non gambling wife who had been watching others playing and told me what they were doing, I started winning big, the numbers were coming in and the combination of playing the board in different sections was working, however as much as the chips were piling up my bottled started to go and as it was by now getting a bit late I called it a night.. I was on such a roll and I think if I had carried on I would of paid for the holiday in that visit to that table. A magical feeling seeing those chips roll in dressed like James Bond...
The food is typical American but big and delicious, we were lucky to get a table at the famous Hells Kitchen and the food was unreal, there is so much to see when walking the streets, at night, it becomes a theater of activity and you will see sights you did not even know existed but it is really a fun place to be.
I would love to return again one day although perhaps when I am a bit richer, be prepared for utter madness if you do visit but you only live once so do it without hesitation!
The best City in the world?
So as much as we have traveled to many amazing places London still has a special place in our hearts, we visit the city as much as possible and very rarely use the public transport as walking around London is how you get to see so many places and capture so many amazing images. We often stay at the London bridge Hotel which is just by the Shard which is a favourite of ours for afternoon tea.
Recently we visited the Ivy for breakfast which is just by Tower Bridge, we highly recommend a visit, once we had finished we continued our walk and found an amazing back street just by the bridge, it led down to some five star apartments that overlook the Thames, what we then found out was the history connected to the street, it was once the main area where all the boats used to come into London with the cargo.
You can also still see the connecting bridges that take you from one set of apartments to another. A must visit. Shad Thames is a street of old warehouses that starts at the southern end of Tower Bridge, runs east and then makes a right-angled turn south. Many bridges connect the warehouses on the first stretch. Known as Butler's Wharf, dating from 1871-73, the buildings have been largely converted into apartment blocks, the bridges forming balconies
We also love the theatre district and try and get to see a show as often as possible, the West End is a bustling vibrant place at night with China town one of my favourite places to eat. Our next trip to the city is planned for June, we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary at the Savoy and we are taking in my wife's favourite show Marry Poppins at the Price Edward Theater as part of the trip.
A British holiday in paradise
As a family we have been going to Woolacombe and Mortehoe for many years, my late father in law used to visit Woolacombe in the late 60's (see picture below) he was a Captain in the Boys brigade and from then on the family have continued to travel to this paradise seaside town ever since.
The beach on a sunny day rivals that of any in the world, its golden sands and rock pools set the scene for a perfect holiday, for surfers the waves are magical and you will find many campervans on the road above waiting for them waves to appear. Woolacombe is a traditional English resort full of families enjoying the surroundings, however just up on the cliff tops lies a hidden Gem called Mortehoe.
A small village with a population of 1500 overlooks the stunning shore line of the beach below, with many small cottages and town houses this is the perfect location for your holiday on the beach with the family. With a traditional pub and a perfect fish and chip shop what more do you need for those summer days. Caravan parks lie in-between the hills and there are many places to camp along the way with views to die for. Oh and a must is a traditional Devon Cream tea, but is it the jam first or the cream, those that know, know.
You will see we have been to many amazing countries and stayed in some luxury accommodation but Woolacombe and Mortehoe will always be a place we visit for years to come, generations of my family have visited this tropical English resort in the summer months and we have even discussed living here one day, it really is such a special place on earth, we have also taken our two dogs here and the memories we have of them together will last a life time.
So I travelled for work to a place I could never have imagined going to, the stunning Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Town is regarded as a place that can be dangerous but I can honestly say I have never felt safer, the people are the most amazing warm souls I had ever come across. Yes I was on a business trip but I spent a lot of time alone and met so many lovely people that made the trip so memorable.
During my free time I made an effort to see the country and picked two places to visit, the first was Robin Island, the home for so long to Nelson Mandela. The boat trip across to the island made me think what a scary trip that must have been for so many people.
We arrived and took a short bus ride through those famous entry gates, for the prisoners it must have been a daunting sight knowing they may never return back out.
Hearing the stories from people who were captured there but now work on the island telling the story and seeing where they were held did send shivers down my spine, the one thing I remember thinking when there though was the amazing views from the island and the crystal clear water that surrounded the island, In different circumstances it would have been a dream place to be deserted on but how far from the truth was that for them people held there unjustly..
The second trip I made was to an African Safari, the place was called Aquila. I took a two hour minibus trip from my hotel and embarked on an experience of a lifetime, Aquila is more than just an unforgettable wildlife experience, it is an experience in luxurious African hospitality.
When we arrived I instantly was blown away with how stunning the place was, to stay there for a few days must be a very relaxing experience but I was there for a day, so I had some food chilled by the pool overlooking the mountains and then climbed aboard our truck that took us into the heart of the safari desert.
Aquila has all the big 5 the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo and to get to see them all right there in-front of me was a surreal moment, the only sad part was I was alone and would love to be able to share that moment again with my wife and kids. One day!
If you ever get a chance to travel to South Africa, try and visit these two places, there are so many attractions to see there but these were a big must for me, in terms of places to stay, take a look at the amazing Waterfront area, set below the famous table mountain the views are stunning. One night while sitting in my hotel I just laid on the bed listening to Ed Sheeran who was playing live at the famous Cape Town Stadium that I could see from my room. Priceless!
The images below are just some of the moments I captured while traveling.
The City that never sleeps
So as they saying goes, the City really never sleeps, we have visited New York twice, both during the holiday season as New York really know how to celebrate Christmas.
The 2nd visit has to be the most magical though as we took the family and as soon as we touched down in New York the snow starting to fall. Central park covered in snow is a real sight to see as well as all the streets with the amazing array of Christmas lights.
Some of the window displays are out of this world and are really worth the trip just to see them, there are so many hotels to choose from for every budget. We would highly recommend a visit to see the Statue of Liberty, until your up close its hard to describe how big she is, also a must is going up the Rockefeller centre for some amazing view of the city.
We created a mini film of the trip which you can see below.
A film set in heaven
Wow now this is one place you have to visit, from the moment we arrived I knew we were going to love this city, being a videographer my eyes lit up, its a film set surrounded by charm and character.
The hotels and restaurants line the canal with small alley ways weaving there way around the city full of boutique shops. You can sit for hours and just people watch as the boats float up and down the canal.
The main port is also worth seeing, some of the yachts that arrive in the city are worth millions, we were lucky to see the owner of Coca Cola pull in when we were there, his big red yacht was a sight to see.
Venice is not cheap but then you can grab a pizza and a beer for ten euro or you can pay £100 euro for a fine meal, hotels are also a plenty and cover every budget. if you do want to do it in style though take a look at Ca' Sagredo Hotel, we stayed here for 4 nights and it was spectacular. we loved the evening call for prayer echoing around the city as we sat in out hotel looking down on the canal.
A Disney / Universal Vacation
We have visited Florida numerous times and we just love Disney and Universal studios, its not a relaxing holiday though! there are so many attractions to see and when we first started going you could do it all in 14 days but now you need a month to see it all.
However, it is the most magical place to visit for children and adults alike. from the waterparks to the theme parks you live in a bubble that is hard to describe, we have done all types of holidays from having a villa or staying in a hotel, if you have a chance and the budget stay at a themed hotel for a real life time experience. Our favourite is the Beach Club Resort.
We were very lucky to be invited to open the Magic Kingdom park one morning, an adventure money just cant buy, to get up close and personal wit the characters will never be forgotten for my family.
Florida is fairly cheap to eat out so you do not need to do the full inclusive hotel package and it is also fun eating out at the many different restaurants in Orlando.
Few places in the world will ask for a piece of your heart and you will gladly leave it behind, a place to let go and free your spirt of adventure.
An Island that will always make promises that will always be kept.
When you hear the Island whisper its promises sweeping over the mountains from the sea choose to listen, hear its call to adventure, your heart is waiting"
If you have never been to Santorini then you are missing out on a piece of untouched beauty. with view's from the white top buildings into the deep blue sea it is a picture post card destination. I was very lucky to go there on business to film a wedding but managed to take in some of the island when I was there.
Greece is a stunning place wherever you go but this island really was special, we filmed at one of the top wedding locations on the island, a place called Santorini Gem. have a look at our trailer for the wedding below. It really is a holiday, honeymoon or wedding destination you will love.
Where I GO MY CAMERA GOES to.
We love to travel so I have captured the adventures I have made, I will try and tell the story of our trips through words, a few pictures and of course a video here and there. We have some amazing trips to Scotland, London, Dubai and Thailand planned for 2021/22 so if you like travel blogs I hope you enjoy mine.