November 2013


Last week, I heard that Olympus were doing an Autumnal Master Class in Glasgow which was free to attend. Since I’m always looking for tips of photography, I jumped at the chance to learn from the best.

Award Winning Photographer Neil Buchan-Grant was running two two-hour long classes for budding photographers, giving us tips and tricks of the trade along with getting to know what type of photography we like to take.

After a brief chat, he took us upstairs informing us that we’ll be doing a fashion shoot. Gulp. I rarely take photographs of people because they move too much. I don’t like things that move. I learnt the hard way when trying to take photographs of my little (almost) 2 year old nephew. Nightmare. Don’t get me started on shutter speed, ISO and exposure. I turn into a giant photographic dyslexic. I’m learning though, slowly but surely.

This is when Aidan Mayne from Olympus came in handy. We could use our own camera for the Master Class OR we could get our hands on some shiny Olympus cameras. Naturally, I couldn’t resist eyeing up all the shiny cameras. Aidan asked me what type of photography I take the majority of the time and after telling him I love food photography, he recommended the EP5 camera with a 45mm lens. Oh how right he was. I fell in love with the camera while playing around with it before the master class. It’s compact in size but comes with killer features. The 45mm lens is magical and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever had my hands on. I want it. Badly.

Back to the Master Class…

The models Abi Barr and Emily Shakarji were still getting ready when we arrived in what would be our studio in South Block. Gillian Galbraith was doing finishing touches to their makeup and Euan Plater was making sure the outfits were fitted perfectly.

Due to terrible weather conditions, lighting was pretty poor, however, for me it was perfect because I wanted to learn how to take really good photographs in bad lighting. How many restaurants actually have great lighting? But alas, no food around, just two rather stunning models.

We started our fashion shoot outside in the cold for around 15 minutes before doing back inside into the (semi) warmth. I managed to get some really good shots outside of Emily before it got too cold and we went inside.

As the theme was “FALL”, leaves were surrounding the set of two sofas and the models were posing for 20 people at a time making sure they got in direct eye contact with all the lenses a few times. Leaves were thrown, wardrobe malfunctions happened, wet leaves were sat on but the two models worked perfectly for us and we could ask them at any point to pose or look at us in a particular way.

Neil went around everyone in the class asking us if we needed any help, gave us positional tips to get the best shot due to lighting, gave us tips on camera settings to change to and took some shots himself along with us.

All in all a very good day. I’m really happy with the shots I took, especially since it was my first time shooting models. It was fun and I can’t wait to do it again sometime… hopefully with that very same camera (Oh Santa!!!) There is also a “Fall” competition going on over on Olympus Impressions for your pictures to be featured within the Olympus Magazine and you could win a camera.

Below is a sneak of some of the best shots I took on the day. I took over 200 in total but I wouldn’t want to bore you with them all!


What do you get when you bring a group of friends together, feed them nibbles & drown them in alcohol? A rare old time, that’s what!

I was recently contacted by Social & Cocktail who were launching SoCocktail Events where they help you host your own cocktail party in your home. For £25 per person, you get five cocktails each, your own dedicated fully trained cocktail bartenders, mobile bar, ingredients, glassware, ice and they even clean up after themselves! When asked if I wanted to host my own party, it took me less than a minute to say YES!

Before the event, you’re given the cocktail menu which you have to pre-order from so they have all the ingredients ready and you leave the rest to them. It was a tough choice, but I had to pick 5 cocktails from the list. I finally settled on: Toblerone Martini, Moscow Mule, Raspberry Mojito, Caipirinha and Old Fashioned.

I stole borrowed my friends apartment in Merchant City for the evening and invited 5 of my friends along with my friend inviting 5 of his (plus a few added extras that turned up on the night). Pre-party I made lots of finger food for everyone to counter attack the amount of alcohol we were about to have and cracked open some red wine (in hindsight, bad bad idea!) and beer (for the guys).

Chris & Emma

Our bartenders for the night; Chris and Emma were lovely. We all had a huge laugh with them and they worked really well as a duo. At times it didn’t even feel like they were bartenders, we were all chatting away like they were part of the party & in a way, they were! They were very accommodating when a couple of extra people came to the party and made them a couple of cocktails with spare ingredients and we even got Chris to whip up some Margarita’s for us with our own ingredients near the end of their allocated time with us (approx 3.5 hours).



After Chris and Emma left, we all continued drinking more alcohol and by this time, I’m surprised I could actually stand up with the amount of mixing I was doing. Mixing alcohol is bad idea. Very bad. I later found out that I fell over the sofa onto the floor and had to get picked up. Heh.


The night wasn’t to end quite yet and we decided to pop along to The Polo Lounge (a local gay bar in Glasgow for those not in the know) to drink & dance the night away until I realised that it was time to call it a night at 2am.


  • Having a blast with my friends
  • Being one of the first to check out SoCocktail Events (100% recommended!)
  • The novelty of having your very own bartenders for the night!
  • Looking at photographs on my iPhone the next day asking if that ACTUALLY happened?
  • Laughing at Charlene and Rachel fall and then roll around the floor with cake everywhere (photographic evidence lol)
  • Dancing with a transvestite in Polo (let’s ignore the part when she (he?) kissed my lips)
  • Waking up with next day fully clothed with a banging headache which didn’t go away until 10pm that night

I had a wonderful night and it was mainly thanks to Social & Cocktail. They are great for small parties in your house, hen or stag parties, birthdays or even a “just because” party.

Note: I received the cocktail party (£25 pp) free in return for a review. All opinions are my (rather drunken in the end) own.