Category Archives: Lifestyle

Getting to know Nick Pickles

In a Victor Meldrew voice ‘I just don’t believe it!’ we’re into the second month of 2012… this year is already flying…what’s that about? Are we busier or less susceptible to periods of boredom? As a child I remember how slow 20 minutes seemed when I were waiting it seemed like an age and now 20 minutes is nothing!

Anyway I thought I’d get back in touch with Nick Pickles  Director of Big Brother watch and the winner of PRSwooz multitasker of the year award 2011 to have a bit more a nosey into what he likes and here is what I found out:

How do you stay healthy what foods are you into and what goes into your favourite healthy meals or drink? Is there a preference on where you like to buy your ingredients?

I love sushi, although I have no idea if that counts as healthy or not. Generally I pay minimal attention to what I eat or drink, I just try balance it all out with the gym. We’re not exactly blessed with shopping choice in SW2, so I tend to rely on trips to Sainsbury’s when I’m heading home from work!

What’s your favourite cocktail to make and what’s your favourite cocktail to have made for you and where makes them best?

I tend not to make cocktails – unless a G&T counts – but if I’m out and about, a Tom Collins is probably my favourite. The best one I’ve ever had was a place called ‘Milano’ just off Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, so it’s not exactly a regular haunt…

Who is your favourite celebrity at the moment and if you could have a celebrity wardrobe whose would you want most and why? If you had to pick a celebrity body whose would you have?

I find the whole celebrity culture thing pretty insane to be honest, it’s become something to be famous for in itself rather than as a result of actually been successful at something. Joey Barton’s been pretty comical lately, but in terms of fashion I haven’t a clue! (either in actual terms or which celebs influence me.) As for celebrity bodies it’s not something I really think about so I’ll be obvious and say Daniel Craig simply as 007 still has an air of cool about him!

Where do you like to dine out most and are there different dinning’s for different occasions?

Absolutely, I love thai food but it’s not the kind of meal you want on a night out with mates – that tends to be a steak restaurant or a curry. I do really enjoy cooking though so I tend to do that more often than I eat out, if for no other reason it means I avoid paying London restaurant prices for a decent bottle of wine!


What are you reading at the moment? What’s your favourite TV show and why? Are there any bloggers that have recently caught your attention…other than myself of course…he he!!

I’m currently flipping between the Alan Partridge book and Tom Bingham’s ‘The Rule of Law.’ In terms of TV shows I’ve been watching loads of old Spitting Image and The Day Today recently, but also I’m hooked on The Walking Dead and still love The Simpsons.

Blogger wise I’ve not stumbled across many in a while, I recently came across the for a legal perspective and tend to read the FT’s Westminster blog much more than I used to. For music I’ve come to find The Quietus pretty indispensible, although they’d probably say it was some kind of online cultural collective rather than a blog, the pretentious swine.

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution, if so what was it and has it lasted?

I did, and so far it has stuck – I simply said I needed to do more of less, and say ‘No’ sometimes!

Have you got any travelling planned, if so what location/s are calling? What do you like to do most when you’re on holiday?

I really want to go back to Iceland when it isn’t the middle of winter, but I think this year if I get a holiday (I haven’t sunbathed on a beach since 2005…) I definitely want some sunshine.

If you could travel in time forward or backwards what year would you like to be a part of and why?

I’d probably say 1960, simply because I can’t imagine a better time to be either in politics or music photography. JFK’s campaign and election, the civil rights movement, Macmillan’s ‘Winds of Change’ speech in South Africa, and at the same time Elvis and the Beatles take the first steps in their careers. Having said that, I’d be tempted to say 1979 simply for the chance to see what Britain was like before Thatcher took power, and I would have got to see Joy Division.

To keep up to date with Nick Pickles follow him on Twitter, read his blog, keep an eye on the Big Brother Campaign and be blown away by his amazing photography. Recentlyhe got to shoot The Maccabees…not at all jealous!! anyway I can live it through the eye of the lens!!

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Forever Elly Mac, wedding photography

A recent train journey provided me with an amazing opportunity to meet ‘the’ Elly Mac a world known photographer who travels the world through demand of her exceptional skills. This inspirational lady works hard, she has given up the social events, the weekends and fully committed herself to a career in photography, and that’s why Elly gets nominated for prestigious awards. Getting to where she is today has meant spending much time in transit on trains, planes, buses, tubes, taxis and living out of a very small vintage travel bag. It’s not all glamour, fun and games!!

Elly specialises in wedding photography a career that began shooting at friends and family weddings ‘the turning point for me was when I was asked to do one of my sister’s weddings, she had booked a professional but when we compared albums she preferred mine over his’.

There wasn’t so much an inspiration behind Elly’s choice in career rather it was more of an inherent desire to be a photographer. Elly’s Father died whilst she was a baby and it was photographs that provided her with a chance to get to know who he was, his character, and his mannerisms ‘so for me, although he is no longer with us he is forever alive in these images’. Elly believes photography makes people immortal, not only those in the photographs but those who have created them ‘a photograph says just as much about the person behind the camera as it does about the person in front of it. Because of my father’s death, and how important those few images are to me documenting what I see and the world around me is such an integral part of my life (I am also a prolific diary keeper).  Words and images will last forever’.

Over the years Elly has collected and shared some amazing images, skills and information with the world around her. In particular Elly has grown to love and involve the vintage influences with hints of retro dreamy hues. Elly has been appreciating recent work coming out of the West coast of America ‘photographic work is all about soft colour palettes that evoke the innocence of old world love. The dreamy hues refer to the pastel soft colours of the treatments I sometimes apply to images to make them look like they are retro’.

‘I absolutely adore the simplicity of wedding photographs from the 20s through to the 60s, I have a collection of anonymous wedding photographs from this time period that are not posed traditional shots, just the couples being themselves, not following any of the rules of wedding photography because the rules were not established. These images are timeless and so simple they are striking in their effect.  One is of a Paris bride catching a bus from 1961’.  Wedding photography needs to be timeless and it should always look like it was just taken. When Elly says vintage romance she means stripping everything away from the images and just focusing on the intimacy between the couples ‘even the wedding albums I do are inspired by images from the 20s through to the 60s. Black pages with tissue paper, why? Because this is timeless and classic.

Elly’s first wedding photography experience was when she was 15 gaining work experiences with a leading wedding photographer in her town and after this she was self-taught, there was no slowly does it. Elly jumped straight into the deep end never second shot for anyone else or assisted anyone else and that’s the way she likes it, learning the hard way and making mistakes has played a great role in her success. ‘If you do not make mistakes and learn as you go then you are not really pushing your boundaries. If you do make a mistake, then take everything as a learning curve and move on’.

‘When I first started out I was learning how to be photographer, the next main phase was really learning how to run a photography business and this has now all been combined to this new phase I am in which is all about photographing the way I choose to photograph and building the Elly Mac Photos brand. It’ not just physical work that’s involved you need to be a stong person mentally, be driven, motivated and hold a positive can-do attitude. Self-belief has played a key role in Elly’s success ‘believing that I am a fabulous photographer and people will want to pay for my services and also recognising that wedding photography is not just about photographs is about who you are and this can be used to build your brand’. Elly has learnt to be herself with her camera hence having her own fabulous style ‘photograph the way that comes naturally to you and then find the clients who love your style’.

Elly has worked and is still working very hard on her career and shares some words of wisdom ‘anyone going into wedding photography firstly needs to understand that because the majority of your commissions are on weekends, you tend to miss out on a lot of social events and if you are going to travel for work, be mindful of the fact that you could be in a different place every week and you spend a lot of time on transport but you meet some wonderful people whilst out and about, but to be honest I would not have it another way’. Elly hasn’t had a holiday since Christmas 2007 let’s be honest… it’s not as though she hasn’t done her fair share of travelling, recently Elly was in Lake Camo for 4 days (poor Elly) followed by a trip to Paris to meet clients!!

Elly has taught me that being a professional photographer isn’t as glamorous as some may be led to believe, it has its perks as with any job. Professional photographers work very hard so it hurts slightly when Elly hears ill thought comments such as ‘so you’re a wedding photographer, what do you do for the other 6 days of the week?!!’’ I guess people assume that you only work one day a week and that it’s glamorous, that you’re over paid, it’s easy and anyone could do it. People assume that wedding photography is not an art and therefore without skill, I just received a text message from a client who said “You’re a genius, the photographs are amazing” you do not get that reaction from clients without having a talent’ go Elly!!!

Of course Elly has a soft spot piece of equipment a AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G  for when she is out and about.  ‘I tend to carry a camera in my handbag and this lens is just ideal for my style, especially when I do street photography.  When I am shooting weddings I use a combination of prime lens (fixed focus) and zoom lens. A prime lens gives better aperture settings but the zoom is ideal for not missing a moment.   It’s a personal choice really but I am also  Nikon girl all the way’. (Nikon should be all over that comment!!)

Standard…I always ask photographers In general, during a session, how many pictures would you say you take to find “the right one”? Elly responded with the most unique reply in my encounters so far ‘it’s not about finding the right photograph is more about producing a series of images in the allotted time that tell a narrative, whether that’s 2 hours or 12 hours.  I passionately believe that no one photo is more important than the other but together they must tell a story.   I once worked out that I take 3.3 photos per minute which works out to 198 per hour but I can’t stress enough it’s not about taking lots of images in the hope that one works it, it’s about using your time to capture the event without interrupting that event in anyway.  I am there to witness and document a moment in time not interfere and stage manage it’.

Of course I asked Elly if there were any names to look out for in the world of photography to my disappointment her lips are sealed though I’m enjoying the suspense! All I know is those second shooters and assistants of hers will no doubt be of a great standard and having an opportunity to learn form Elly will empower them with what they need to keep on achieving great things!

Thank you so much for your time Elly, it was a privilege meeting you… even though you had no choice in the matter, there was no escaping me that day hey!

To stay up to date with the Elly Mac brand you can follow the brand on Twitter, join the Facebook group or visit her website where booking information is available.

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Richard Emden, a creative soul

This season will be celebrating the 10th year of Bracher Emden luxury handbags and hasn’t it been an eventful and exciting 10 years for Richard Emden and everyoone who has been involved with developing such a fabulous brand.

Since the birth of this magical entity in Covent Garden 2002 Richard Emden and his team have quickly and successfully developed the brand into an internationally recognised name. Bracher Emden has taken to the catwalks of London Fashion Week, showcased in the windows of Selfridges, taken over the billboards of London, raised money for Breast Cancer, hung off the arms of the famous and collaborated with names that will never be forgotten.

Richard Emden came from a creative background and so he was always going to be a recipe for fabulous creations, his Mother was a hairdresser and his Father was an art printer. Growing up Emden knew he was in for a creative ride, when he left school he literally tried everything from graffiti, dance, hairdressing, to prop and window design. Emden finally found his true forte with womens handbags and yes Emden is straight incase you were wondering! He first started out customizing trainers for Nike to designing props and window displays for Moschino, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.   ‘These experiences in prop design has definitely carried through to my structural, 3-dimensional handbag designs’ says the dynamic designer.

Emden spends a lot of time in Thailand looking for inspiration and sourcing different materials at the many markets. When he has some time to relax which isn’t too often  his favourite bar to visit is Bar 23 in Bangkok, ‘it’s where a lot of photographers, designers and artists hangout and a great place to meet some very interesting, creative people’. It’s not just the bars of Bangkok making an impression, Richard has found some great places where he can enjoy authentic Thai food, a favourite of place to eat is The Face. Whilst he loves Thailand Richard Emden loves England too he reminds us ‘you can’t beat a homemade Sunday Roast’ this is so true…oh and a good old English cup of tea??!! Back in his hometown of London, he has a soft spot for Mishkin on  Catherine Street ‘a ‘kind of Jewish deli with cocktails’ check out their website I love it, what more does one need?!!

Fashion is a fast moving industry and so Emden doesn’t get to holiday very often but when he is done working in Bangkok he likes to escape to Koh Lanta which by the way consists of about 52 islands!! Emden has found the perfect location where he can relax and unwhind from the hustle and the bustle of cities and truly relax ‘in one of the most underdeveloped areas of Thailand’.

In 2004 Emden created the lace-up Parker a bag inspired by Peter Parkers mask in Spiderman an interesing angle on inspiration, I had to ask… have films always been a part of your inspiration? Who and what has influenced your collections most? ‘All my inspiration comes from comic books.  I am a massive fan of DC & Marvel comics.  HR Geiger was a huge inspiration for our iconic Breast bag and several clutches of past seasons.  This masculine element in my design is what gives my women’s handbags individuality’.

Richard Emden has been extremely successful and his creations have become must have items amongst the rich and the famous, I had to nosey on a little bit further…How did it feel when you started seeing your bags hanging off the arms of celebrities? Saw your marvellous creations in the shop windows of prestigious stores such as Oxford Streets Selfridges? Was there ever a moment you had to stop and pinch yourself?!! ‘At the time, it was all a bit of a whirlwind.  One minute, we were quietly making leather bags at our humble Covent Garden store, and the next we were getting orders from prestigious stores all around the world.  Then the whole celebrity thing began when Beyoncé was spotted wearing our Breast bag.  It was great to know that I was not only wanted by the luxury market but also by amazing artists’.

When Emden started the company in 2001 it wasn’t to show the world who he was, it was to enjoy life and do what made him happy and this hasn’t changed. Emden really values his team and seems very grateful to have such wonderful people in his life ‘as the company rapidly grew, I had to surround myself with a team of special people.  Without these people, that have remained loyal to this day, there would be no brand!  We all still work as one, developing Bracher Emden each season’.

I wondered what it was that made his brand and ranges different this is how he responded ‘ my style is certainly different, and sets me apart in many ways. It’s an explosion of ergonomic shapes that mostly derive from female curves, with layers of different exotic skins fused to make an item of beauty.  My favourite bag would have to be the Geo clutch. A sleek weapon like shape that elegantly moulds to a woman’s hand as soon as it is picked up’ perfect…words to my little ears!

Emden only knows too well that the industry isn’t as glamourous as preconceptions may have us all fooled into believing ‘the lows are the deadlines and  fashion is certainly not as glamorous as it portrays’. ‘It can be shallow and extremely cut-throat.  It’s also about who you know and not what you know most of the time’. On a more positive note the highs seem to make up for those more stressful lows ‘the highs have to be seeing and hearing people’s excitement when they receive their bags.  We also offer a bespoke service on our website, where I personally make and design the bags; each bag takes several days to finish, and receiving thank you emails when they finally reach the customer is great’.

I’m looking forward to what 2012 holds for us I asked Richard Emden what’s next for Bracher Emden? ‘Collaborations.  We will be working with several other designers to expand the brand, appearing on several catwalk shows as well as designing bags for cosmetic , sunglasses and clotheswear brands.

And what trends can we expect to see dominating the 2012/2013 catwalks? ‘I have always had a passion for anything futuristic, and SS12 has been the best time to let this lead my designs. Futuristic trends and geometric shapes are huge right now. This is certainly apparent throughout the whole collection.  Bracher Emden featured on the SS12 catwalk with Jean-Pierre Braganza, and will be collaborating for London Fashion Week again for AW12, with prestigious designer, Bora Aksu’.

Words of wisdom from Richard Emden are ‘know yourself, believe in yourself and grow a thick skin.  Believe in your design.  Take everything on board but don’t take everything to heart’.

His quote of the moment:  “Amalgamation” – (more of a ‘word of the season’) and he recommends Progressive Breakbeat

What a wonderful brand and what a wonderful creator, thank you Richard Emden it’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you!!

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