2nd – 15th June 2013

Belated journal update for 2nd-15th June which included: Photographing Queensdown Warren, visiting Curiosity: Art & the Pleasure of Knowing exhibition at Turner Contemporary, jam session, attending the Crouch End Arts Festival and the St James’ Concert… And having, what should have been a brilliant week, absolutely ruined due to a horrific insect bite!

Photographing the Kent countryside  (Monday 3rd – Tuesday 4th June)

I made the most of a sunny week back in Kent by taking my camera along with me, and capturing some of the beautiful views I saw during long walks with my Dad. On the Monday I visited Queensdown Warren. The landscape is not only picturesque but is also filled with rabbits at this time of year. Very cute – but be careful, or you could end up falling down the rabbit hole!


Speaking of rabbits, I was a happy bunny after ending a stroll down the riverbank at Sandling in Maidstone, with a visit to the Malta Inn. A camera in one hand, a glass of vino in the other, & the sun shining = good times!  The riverside views of locks & narrowboats, and the abundance of wildlife, makes this a perfect spot for an afternoon of photography. I’ll be updating my Beside the See Side photoblog with some of my pix from these trips soon.


Curiosity: Art & the Pleasure of Knowing exhibition, Turner Contemporary, Margate (Wednesday 5th June)

The bizarre, the thought provoking, the inventive & the puzzling are all on display at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, in an exhibition that looks at the links between the inquisitive mind and artistic vision.

Curator Brian Dillon described the exhibition as: ‘Like the cabinet of curiosities of the 17th century, which mixed science and art, ancient and modern, reality and fiction, this exhibition refuses to choose between knowledge and pleasure. It juxtaposes historical periods and categories of objects to produce an eccentric map of curiosity in its many senses’


A sense of wonder & intrigue is essential to allow the imagination to explore new artistic territories. This exhibition includes pieces by Turner and da Vinci – which offer interesting counterpoints to the work of contemporary artists such as Tacita Dean and Katie Paterson. In addition, books and objects that have inspired scientific curiosity are displayed, such as ivory anatomical models from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the ‘face’ of the exhibition – the over stuffed Horniman Museum walrus.


Jam session, Medway (Wednesday 5th June)

A trip back to Kent wouldn’t be complete without a jam session with both Steve Lelliott, guitarist for Medway based band Revenge Road, and my musical guru (aka my Mum) on guitar & vocals. We tried out some familiar and not so familiar songs and had a great evening.


Lunch time concert, St James, Muswell Hill (Saturday 8th June)

I’ve mentioned St James’ lunchtime concerts in this journal before and I’ll reiterate the same point – if you live in (or near) Muswell Hill definitely do pop along to one of the free monthly lunch time concerts in the beautiful setting of St James Church. It’s always fantastic – & free!

The caliber at June’s concert was as high as ever. Pianist Peter Fitzsimmons started the show with Debussy & Schubert pieces. The stage then became very crowded with the 11 members of the Chambery Ensemble, who performed a memorable rendition of Dvorak’s ‘Serenade in D Minor, Op.44.


Singer Emily Bleakley & guitarist Charlie Hulme provided a contrast to the classical music, with some rock music. I’ve seen them perform before and they are always really impressive. They dedicated Forever Young to Charlie’s baby daughter before launching into a strong version of the Dylan classic. The next lunchtime concert is Saturday 6th July at 12.


Crouch End Festival (Sunday 9th June)

Last year’s Crouch End Festival was so well received that they decided to do the whole thing again – only bigger. I missed the festivities last year but managed to catch some of the events this time around.


There were plenty of creative activities to be enjoyed over a few weeks – drama, painting, poetry, but I decided to check out the local music talent. It was a shame that there wasn’t a bit more sunshine, but I still enjoyed listening to some live music on the Town Hall Stage in the Centre of Crouch End. I also paid a visit to the Railway Tavern to hear the fantastic Stacey Cohen performing some melodic, folky tunes – ideal for a Sunday afternoon.


😦 10th -16th June

I had an amazing week planned for the 10th–16th May which should have included photographing the Breast Cancer Care Pink RibbonWalk, photographing The Damsels Most Daring’s live show at Bloomsbury, photographing artist Anna Masters in the studio as she worked on the Elephant Parade project, and a recording session.

However an incredibly nasty insect bite ruined ALL of that. 😦 I was bitten by an insect (possibly a horsefly) that was carrying something really nasty, the bite was infected and very painful, and I had an allergic reaction to the bite as well. So I returned back to Kent (after only 3 days in London) to be fussed over by my family instead.


I couldn’t walk on my leg as it was so painful and inflamed and kept swelling, and the allergic reaction meant that I hardly slept at night. Easily the worse week of the year! After a heavy dose of penicillin antibiotics, and antihistamines I am feeling a lot better now and I’m really keen to be creative again.


Thanks for checking out this journal. Please visit again in a few weeks, I’ll be aiming to make up for lost time, so the next installment should include (insect bites permitting) – attending west end musical & live TV filming, photographing actresses & comedians,  rehearsal sessions… & my all time favourite band the Wildhearts are touring to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their album Earth Vs Wildhearts!  Ahhh, can’t wait!

Samantha x





19th May – 1st June 2013

Creative journal update (19 May–1 June) which included: Photographing singer/songwriter Rachel Elliott, photographing actress Kate Steel; performing live set at Jimmy Mizen fundraising event; attending Tribes gig at Camden Roundhouse; music rehearsals.


Photographing singer/songwriter Rachel Elliott, Highgate Woods (Sunday 19th May)

Despite forecasts of torrential downpours, luckily the rain-clouds stayed away, the sun appeared and my planned photoshoot with talented musician Rachel Elliott was able to go ahead as plan. Rachel & I both share a love for music and photography so it was great to collaborate and combine mutual interests.


Although Rachel has a lot of previous musicial experience she is currently at the stage of branching out on her own as a singer/songwriter – exciting times ahead. I was pleased to capture this transitional phase, and to be behind the camera for her first photoshoot. Please check out this link to see the photos and to read the interview:



Photographing actress Kate Steel, Hampstead Heath (Wednesday 22nd May)

Anyone who know me well, knows that I do not enjoy walking up steep hills, so it is something of a miracle that I made it to Hampstead Heath for a photoshoot! (what no direct bus?!) 😉 Anyway it was definitely worth the trek. I had a brilliant time photographing actress Kate Steel at the Heath.


Kate was happy to try out anything for the photoshoot – she climbed trees whilst in her heels and prom dress, jumped over fences, and risked the anger of swans and geese! Wow! What a pro! All whilst carrying a string of multi coloured balloons and dressed in a backless dress on a freezing cold day (meanwhile, I was in jumper, winter coat and scarf most of the time! The perks of being on the ‘otherside’ of the camera!)


There will be a follow up photoshoot with Kate taking place in the next few months. Instead of balloons the ‘prop’ for next shoot will be a very cute dog! In the meantime please check out the recent photoshoot and interview here:   http://besidetheseeside.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/kate-steel.html

Performing live set at Smoke-A-Thon, Fundraising event for Jimmy Mizen Foundation, Cafe of Good Hope, Hither Green (Saturday 25th May)

It was an absolute honour to have the chance to perform at the 3 day fundraising event for the Jimmy Mizen Foundation. The Mizen family are an absolute inspiration, they have dealt with tragedy in such a dignified, positive way and are really making a difference in the local community. For details of their sterling work please check out the Jimmy Mizen Foundation website here: http://www.jimmymizen.org/

I performed a set of my own songs (sorry, no covers this time) and was joined on stage by Ed on percussion. There was a lovely atmosphere in the cafe, and a very supportive vibe. I think our biggest fans were two children (faces covered in brightly coloured face paint) who danced along enthusiastically during my set! Haha! 🙂 Fantastic place to play.


Once we’d finished our performance I had the chance to sit back and enjoy the rest of the event. BBQ, beer, cakes and loads of great music to listen to. I was particularly impressed by E.N.V (and friends) who were amazing! Absolutely loved their final song, Mila Falls’  Starlight it’s still spinning round in my head!

It was also great to see Tommy Mizen take to the stage. Tommy did the soundman duties for all the acts over the entire 3 days, but also played 4 songs whilst I was there on the Saturday – including Sparkle, a moving song which  he wrote about Jimmy. I had a brilliant day at a truly inspirational event. If you live near the Cafe of Good Hope, definitely pop in. This is their website: http://cafeofgoodhope.com/


Rehearsal, Hackney (Wednesday 28th May)

Nick and I had our second rehearsal on Wednesday, and this time we were joined by Ed on percussion. The songs are really starting to take shape. Hopefully with a couple more rehearsals we should be ready to perform live together. We are looking forward to be joined for future rehearsals/gigs by Enda on banjo – can’t wait to be part of a band again!


Tribes, Camden Roundhouse (Wednesday 29th May)

I have to admit that I only ‘very’ recently discovered Tribes. I heard their newest single Dancehall on XFM a few weeks ago, and I was utterly blown away by that tune, so turned to spotify to see what the rest of their material was like, and I really liked what I heard. It’s always a buzz to discover a new band – new tunes to hear, CDs to treasure – and perhaps most importantly of all – a new band to see live!

Tribes have only been formed since 2010, but already have a solid set of catchy songs and a loyal following. It was a  great homecoming gig (Tribes formed in Camden) and a lively performance from a band on the ascent.


Many thanks for visiting my journal. Please pop back in a fortnight for the next update.


Samantha x