Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Knicker Elastic Wedding Movie

Right folks, this is an oldie, but oh my is it a GOODIE!!! And since this month marks our two year wedding anniversary (say whaaat?!), what a better time to share it with you all.

This isn't something I can take ANY credit for I'm afraid. My gem of a brother takes all the creative credit and put in all the hard work - huddled over his computer for days on end working his magic to get this ship-shape and ready for your viewing pleasure. But I can safely say, it was worth every second of heartache and squinty eyes Trys! 

This film was a complete surprise to Ben and I. Trystan wielded his camera a few times on our wedding day but little did we know he was capturing motion pictures and not just static photos!! In fact a fair few folks didn't catch on to this either - you'll spot many of us 'posing' for the video - with some rather entertaining results!! 

It doesn't need much introduction (other than a caveat that it is a little long - so we won't be offended if you skip through the odd bit here and there. Not to much of it mind!). So, without any further ado, here is our wonderful, precious wedding video:

Marian and Ben's Wedding - July 2014 from Marian Needham on Vimeo.

The biggest biggest hugs and all the thanks in the world to my little (but not so little) brother Trystan for making this magic happen. It still gets our ma's waterworks going. Every. Single. Time. And while that's not exactly hard, it's usually a clear sign you've hit the nail on the head! :) 

This is a video we will treasure for the rest of our lives, I still haven't tired of watching it over and over again. I hope you enjoy it even just a smidgin as much as we do. Sending out happy thoughts and love to everyone. (The film's clearly making me feel mushy too!! Haha) xx

Please note, credit for some of the stills in the video go to our wonderful wedding photographer Anushe Low. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Burano Colour Loving

Burano, what a DREAM you are! An insta lover's dream. A colour lover's dream. A rainbow lover's dream. A photographer's dream. A paradise hunter's dream. A truly magical island decked out in all the colours of the rainbow. If you don't already know it, it's an incredibly peaceful, sleepy, tiny island (apart from the tourist influx on the ferry each day!) set out in the bay of Venice a little further beyond Murano.

We too a ferry from Venice over to the Island for the day, to wander, explore, photograph and have fun!

Our favourite parts of the island were those where we stayed away from the touristy main street and ducked into narrow, empty back streets, quiet green squares and the waterfront all the way round the island. Streets with little more than the washing hanging out or the locals going about their simple daily business of watering the plants, posting a letter or catching up with the neighbours.

As an aside, how much would you love to have a doorbell with you name on it like the one above?! Adorable!

It's crazy to think of this as a permanent home for the island's small population. Seeing evidence of 'normal' life in a place like this really gets you thinking. Washing hanging on the line, delivery trolleys, Mac packaging! All a little incongruous in such a quaint chocolate box village!! What, this isn't just a movie set?!? REAL people live here and go about their lives each day?!? That's just so wonderful. 

The whole of Venice was a Mecca for selfie sticks and Burano was no exception! In fact, the prevalence was so high I'm surprised there aren't more accidents on the island - folks shuffling backwards in search of that perfect angle while staring longingly into the reflections of their own faces....until they end up plummeting backwards into a canal!! :p Now THAT'd something worth catching a selfie of! ;)

But on a few of the liveliest backdrops we couldn't help snap a shot or two of us both, in the old fashioned way!!

As I took this picture, the home owner suddenly popped out from behind her gorgeous striped curtain to throw a bowl full of breadcrumbs to the pigeons. She didn't seem to mind the fact that I had just been snapping away at her front door! But guess it comes with the territory of having such a cute front entrance! :) 

Needless to say, I snapped away along with the best of them. So here are a few of my favourite shots for your perusal.

THE most amazing platter of fritto misto ever for our lunch stop. Plus a bowl of delicious fresh tiny artichokes that were super tender and full of flavour. Mmmmm....

If you love colour and have not yet visited Burano. GET YOURSELVES A PLANE TICKET!! It's a sweet ferry hop from Venice over to the island. It's more famous big sister Murano is a popular stopping point too, but trust me, you won't be disappointed if you stay on the vaporetto for the extra hop out to the cuter, smaller sister island! Why are baby sisters always infuriating cuter and sweeter eh?! (Yes, I mean you Izzy!!!) ;)

So after such a thoroughly fun day out on Burano, I'm now on a hunt for other magical places to visit that are filled with colour, if you have any brainwaves I'd love to know!  

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Venetian Dream

Venice was A-MAZing!! We had an absolutely dreamy few days wandering the streets, and wandering and wandering... In fact, we racked up almost 20 thousand steps each and every day, phew! That's a serious work out for the pins right there. But all the better for guilt free gelati consumption afterwards! ;)

I have to confess - we didn't do MUCH culture. We popped our heads into a couple of churches and the ospidale, but rather than trawl around museums for hours we simply soaked up the atmosphere in the streets and canals - they felt steeped in history like he museums pretty much anyway! We sauntered from bacaro to bacaro, nibbling on cichetti, aperol spritz, snapping away, posing on bridges....all the usual! ;)

One cultural thing we DID do was visit the Peggy Guggenheim museum, which was fascinating! Her collection of art is incredible, really varied and fantastic. We had a few favourites each, but what I almost loved more than the artwork itself was the photos of her living amongst them. She had art all over her house, it was just how she lived, which I found incredible. She even had one of the pieces now in the gallery as her headboard above her bed!

We didn't even take a ride in a gondola :o I KNOW!! what sort of tourists do we call ourselves?! But I wasn't really up for that sort of cringeworthy ride at an extortionate price. I'd rather save those pennies for more pizza and gelati! (Anyone else noticing a theme here..?!) 

However we did get ourselves a day pass for the vaporetti on our last day and spent a lush afternoon zipping up and down the Grande Canale. And yes, we may have gone up and down it at least a few times!

On the last run (and when Mr Fantastic thought we were all done) a sudden crack appeared in the clouds and the sun streamed through creating the most gorgeous evening 'magic hour' light. So I promptly dragged him back on the next water bus and started snapping away like mad! The glorious light only lasted a mere 10mins or so, but I swear I nearly filled up our memory card in that time! ;) 

Other than this flurry of excitement we mostly wandered and explored in a bit of a dreamy haze. The almost constant drizzle (I thought only good old Blighty did drizzle so well!) couldn't dampen our spirits and each day we armed ourselves with boots and brollies and braved whatever the Agean sea's weather system threw at us! 

The warm muted colours of Italy are my absolute favourite and went so beautifully with the turquoise of the canals. It's almost like someone planned it! It was magical to discover yet another beautiful vignette around each corner, even though we did find ourselves as a fair few (incredibly quaint) dead ends!!

Last but not least...

Yes, the gelati!! *swoon* It was all absolutely delicious! I think I pretty much had one a day and if it was getting close to the end of the day and I still hadn't got my daily fix, I'd start to get nervous!! That's normal right?! ;) 

A few more final shots of the sunshine on the canals, but I'll leave it there for now, this post is already getting sooo long!! Suffice to say, I fell in love with Venice all over again on this trip and I can't wait to go back again already!!! 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Pineapple art

What is it about pineapples?!! They look like nothing else on earth. For a fruit, they have such great architecture - that funky hair! And the diamond skin? Genius!! What's more, they are eternally associated with hot tropical climates, holidays, good times, parties and cocktails. It's no wonder I love them!

I've been experimenting with pineapples in different paints and mediums recently and wanted to share some of my results..

I've taken some liberties with colour and form. But this one is fairly graphic and in my signature ink and watercolour. I'd love to be a little free-er in my drawings and watercolours - to employ a little more artistic license! But it seems I am always drawn back to clean lines, precision and cleanliness! Drawing from small photos or out of focus images is my worst nightmare - you have to make stuff up!! I think my training as a kiddo and beyond has been so much about drawing exactly what you SEE, regardless of how strange or unexpected it is, that I now really struggle to let go of this and experiment with shapes and lines to create an illusion of reality. So maybe I just need to embrace this as 'my style' and get on with it!!! It certainly seems to be going that way!

This is a work in progress once the ink outlines were complete:

If stage one like this goes well then it's such a mental battle to continue with the plan...what if I screw it all up when adding colour?! (Urgh, self doubt!) I'm far too impatient to start over again from scratch, I get bored far too easily! I wish I had the time and patience for practice sketches, planning and dry-runs. Nope, straight into the final piece for me! Hence it's always a gamble and if it doesn't go well, I get frustrated. Why is that a suprise?! 

But this, enough soul searching! Luckily this time I pushed through to a finished piece and am super chuffed with the results! 

So, what do you think?! 

p.s. you can see more of my ink and watercolour creations such as my NYC map and watercolour sweet peas.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Trip planning: Venice Break

So, we are just a little bit super excited to have a little trip to Venice this weekend. I am mostly planning on eating this:


As well as pasta, pizza, cornetti, seafood, fritto misto, fresh fruit, chiccetti etc...etc...etc!!!

I have already done a little research into top spots in Venice, particularly for ice cream, hot chocolate and chiccetti (quintessentially Venetian and wonderfully delicious bar snacks!). So certainly got our priorities right there. But I still need help to plan out the rest of our trip! We have four days in the city, staying in a cute Air BnB spot we found in a quiet square away from the touristy centre. The flat overlooks a small canal on one side and on the other opens up to the square, with it's own local pizzeria, bakery and bar. Dreamy! 

We're hoping for a mix of meandering, culture, culinary adventures, living like a local and relaxing like an Italian! So, if you have any top tips, no matter how big or small please do share either here or on IG and I'll add it to do list! :) 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Birthday boy!

This weekend has been a very special someone's birthday! I don't go bragging about this fella on here all day every day, but I probably should do. So, I figured it was high time to embarrass him with his very own five minutes of blogging glory! 

He's the kindest, most thoughtful and patient person I have ever met. He brings out all the best in me, keeps me calm and on the straight and narrow!! He gives the best cuddles and kisses and oh and did I mention that he's super handsome?!?!

He laughs at my silly jokes, he's given up horror films for me, he loves everything Italy and Italian even more than I do! He pretends to enjoy going to the ballet with me, he let's me use him as a climbing frame and makes me lukewarm teas and milky coffees (yep, that's exactly how I like them!). 

He eats everything I cook, no matter how random/terrible (you know those fridge hoover dinners where you turn all the random leftover veggies into a stir fry!). He humours my seedlings in the house, he encourages my blogging and humours my incessant photo taking!

We've had a super busy weekend filled to the brim with celebrations and friends. It's been brilliant! But tonight, after all the birthday antics, it's just him and I, curled on the sofa, reflecting on the highlights of the weekend and planning our next one. This might seem like the most low key part of the weekend, the down time. But these are just as great in so many small ways as the big eventful hours. In fact, I think that these are some of the best bits of life, the daily routines, the quiet reflections, digesting the day and planning our future. And most importantly  I love sharing them all with you Ben! xxxxxx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

It's that time of the year again!! We've passed the shortest day of the year, the pile of presents under the tree is growing, the larders are fit to bursting and families are journeying across the country (and further!) to be with their nearest and dearest. No matter what your habits, faith or creed, this is something I think we can all get behind 100% - food, family, friends and fun! 

We are breaking with years of tradition and spending Christmas with my family! They are usually dotted all over the planet, so this is a rarity. In fact, my parents actively avoid Christmas usually. They use it as an excuse to flee the country for warmer climes!! So, you could almost say we have anti-Christmas traditions. A few years back our 'faux' Christmas dinner was actually as late as Easter! Christmas pudding and gift giving in Spring, with chocolate Easter eggs on the side was confusing!!

What's even more important is this will be our first Christmas with the next generation. Young Marlow, my first little nephew arrived in this world only a few weeks ago. I simply can't wait to meet him! I'm sure he'll be completely non-pluses by the whole Christmas shebang, but the rest of us will surely be beside ourselves with excitement that he's here to share the day. 

These illustrations I did for our Christmas  gifts - one for each member of the family, including new Marlow!

So here's to wishing you a wonderful few festive days, full bellies and happiness and health to you and yours.