Hammond Chips

6 months later, I come up with Hammond Chips.  That should have been the hashtag in the first place!!!

Back in September 2015 I made the very short journey up the M1 to Newcastle Upon Tyne.  A mere 400 miles or whatever it was.  I wouldn’t do this for just anyone though; I was doing this as my friend Melissa had invited me to her wedding and asked me to be the photographer/guest for the day.  She knew that I had no experience of wedding photography (at the time of booking me) but for some bizarre reason Mel appeared to put her trust in me.

The dream was to have a Vegas wedding.  By that I mean she wanted to go Las Vegas in the USA of America, not have Johnny Vegas planning the day, although I could see how that could be fun too.  Next best thing?  BRING VEGAS TO THE TOON!  So that’s what Mel did, with a casino set up in the hotel next to my photobooth (more on that later).  The cover photo at the top here is of the groom, Jonathan, at the table hustling away with a handful of chips.  Hammond Chips.  I forgot to mention his surname is Hammond.  Now it makes sense, yeah?

The setting for the day was The Caledonian Hotel in Newcastle where Melissa and her family spent the morning getting ready in their lovely suite.  Melissa kicked out most of the party closer to midday and that was when I kick started the camera to capture the prep and some details.  When it comes to those first shots of the day, indoors, I find black and white is usually best but not always.


From here it was a short walk to the ceremony just down the hallway.  I could hear breaths being drawn in quickly as I opened the door and entered the room, before the guests and the groom promptly exhaled again when they realised it was just some bearded dude with a camera and not the star of the show – Melissa.  She wasn’t far behind me though!!

Melissa’s lovely bridesmaids for the day made their way in to the room along with her flower girl before Mel’s entrance.  This is always the best bit when the groom turns around and sees the love of his life dressed like a princess.

Fast forward a short time and that was it, MJ were leaving the room as a married couple!  All that was left to do was enjoy the rest of the big day once we had bagged a few of the more formal shots of the day.  We’d originally hoped to visit Jesmond Dene for some bride and groom portraits but time was against us so we made the most of the space in the hotel gardens

The day was absolutely flying by and soon enough the party were called in for dinner.  At this point the camera went away until it was time for the speeches and then later on it was party time so as ever I’m going to stop talking and leave you with more images.

Before the night was over we managed to get a few “photobooth” styles shots too.   The booth was made in the Premier Inn at about 7am on the Saturday but no one needs to know that….

Thank you immensely to Melissa and Jon who gave me the opportunity to capture their big day.  I loved every minute of it.

Oasis Park, Fuerteventura

To this day I am still not 100% sure whether I like zoos or not.  I can see the arguments on both sides, and I think I do favour zoos but only when it’s clearly beneficial, or at least on the face of it when it’s enjoyable, for the animal.  Having spent some time walking around a zoo in Spain on a previous adventure and seeing a bear doing small laps of a dusty circle, and lions and tigers sat on rocks looking like they’d rather be elsewhere, I was pretty sure that zoos were NOT a good thing.

Last year my little family took our first proper beach holiday together in Fuerteventura and we relied on trusty old Tripadvisor to let us know where we should and should not visit whilst on the Canariest of Islands.  Number 1 on the list was Oasis Park and there was plenty of advertising for it when we arrived in resort too.  It was very good value for money, or at least we were able to confirm that afterwards.  As it was on an island and not peak time (end of May) we had the best of both worlds.  The park was really quiet with just a few coachloads of tourists, but still really hot with glorious sunshine all day.  The heat wasn’t an issue though as there are a lot of places in the shade to duck in to if needed.

Before entering the main park we detoured off to one side where we experienced riding a camel up a hill which took just under an hour, and although wobbly at first it was great fun once everyone had relaxed.  The views from the top of the hill out over the ocean were incredible and on the descent we could see back inland across the other hills.

Once we’d jumped off and bought our novelty photo it was time to enter the park and see the animals.  The whole was park was very well thought out and spaced nicely so that the animals had a lot of room to roam around.  Of course it’s nicer to see them in their natural habitat but you got the impression that the people at Oasis Park really did care about their residents.

We managed to time it just right to see a fantastic Sea Lion show and I know there were other shows in the park but we were just enjoying wandering around so much.  We were even allowed to feed the elephants and gorillas with bags of fresh fruit and veg.

As ever I’m going to stop now and let the pictures do the talking.  These are only a small selection of course and I think the best way to appreciate the place is to go there if you’re ever in the area.

By the way, we didn’t see a single bloody canary the whole time we were there!