I need to apologise.

I have a full, unreserved apology to make.

I wrote this blog post nearly four years ago, pretty much slating the fact that Star Wars was returning for another three films, when I thought it was best to leave things as they were.

But now I’ve seen The Force Awakens three times and I need to have a big piece of humble pie.

Personally, I really did not like the newer trilogy of films. The scripts were a major let down and The Phantom Menace is probably one of the worst films ever made, despite loving it as a 7 year-old. I far prefer the older films, so at the time, I didn’t think that a whole new Star Wars trilogy was the right thing.

But when I heard that JJ Abrams was to direct Episode 7, I begin to think alright, this may be not a bad idea. A first-class director in charge of the first film of the reboot, surely this will be alright?

By the time the trailers came out – particularly the moment Han Solo and Chewbacca was shown – I had some serious re-thinking to do. It looked pretty good, but the film can still be a mistake… right?

How wrong was I.

I became ridiculously excited with all the rave reviews so when the time came to watch it at last – two days after its release – I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.

I was completely blown away. It was a film I could have easily gone straight back into the cinema screen afterwards and watch all over again. For me, Abrams and co didn’t put a foot wrong. All of the references to the past films and the return of past characters made me squee with delight. I legit had goosebumps hearing the theme tune once again, with the start credits rolling down the screen.

The new aspects that have been brought in – Rey, Finn etc –  were very well done, and TFA marks an excellent return to the Star Wars universe. The only draw back I have is that maybe Kylo Ren could be a little more menacing, and not revealed as quickly into the trilogy. But I’m sure there is room for improvement in Episode 8, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this all pans out.

Maybe it was a bit too similar to A New Hope but I think it perhaps had to be, just to get the films started after after ten years away. And it’s not completely the same, isn’t it really?

I’m glad that Star Wars has come back, that a fandom has been awakened, because it’s a huge part of pop culture as we know it today. The Force Awakens is one of those films which will provide endless conversations with your pals who love Star Wars as much as you do. It’s one of those films which you’ll go around an entire city just to find a toy BB-8, because you think that a droid is adorable. It’ll provide constant questions about where the films will go next, and just who is Rey really?

So I’m sorry Disney, LucasFilm, JJ Abrams, the whole Star Wars universe… I’m sorry for ever doubting you. It was wrong of me and I’ll never do it again.

You know what, a fourth viewing of Episode VII may even be in order.

 

 

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Hvala, Dubrovnik.

I started writing this after I landed back at London Gatwick Airport back last summer and I keep meaning to post it up. I do apologise! So here is my review of a fantastic trip to Croatia, a country which I already had a lot of love for before we visited, back in August 2015.


I’d already had the pleasure of visiting Croatia a couple of years ago, after visiting the North coastal town of Porec, but I couldn’t wait to go back. In particular, I was excited to see Dubrovnik for the first time, and I’d only ever heard good things about it. Everyone who’d asked where I was going, would often say “Oh Dubrovnik! I’ve heard really good things about there, it’s meant to be really pretty.” So an instant bonus before I’d even boarded our flight.

The heat hit us instantly as we set one small step onto Croatian soil, the sun blaring down intensely, as we made our way to our hotel. The stunning Valamar Dubrovnik President was utterly perfect for our stay, immediately impressing as the bellboys handed us a glass of tasty fruity Prosecco, and a cool flannel to refresh our travel-worn faces. The reception is a vast area, decked out modern yet simply, with massive glass panes covering half a wall drawing your attention, looking out to a wonderful sea view. The infinity pool is refreshing and the facilities were fantastic – in fact, most of our trip was spent by the pool, making the most of the sunshine. Yes, we definitely were going to love it here.

Our hotel was a twenty minute bus ride from the Old Town, but for the peace around the pool, it was worth it. The hussle and bussle of tourists merging in the centre made it too busy at times, so our location was spot on. The Old Town itself – or Kings Landing to you Game of Thrones fans – is full of culture, history and sheer beauty. Many of the buildings, including some rustic and beautiful churches, bore the scars still of the Homeland War, over twenty years on. I highly recommend taking a walking tour around the city, as well as walking the city walls for rooftop views of Dubrovnik; full of absolutely stunning views of the city from the rooftops, with your eye line full of terracotta tiled roofs over the setting sun. If you wish for an even higher view, the cable car is well worth a visit, with fantastic views of the Old Town and the rest of Dubrovnik, looking out to sea and the islands nearby. I give one piece of advice though, if you wish to visit in the height of summer, to take the tours in the evenings when it’s much cooler. Then you shan’t be faltering and not particularly listening to the tour guide!

I’ve found on my two trips to Croatia that it is a beautiful country, an absolute gem of Europe. For a keen photographer like myself, Dubrovnik is perfect to photograph, and I found myself with my camera constantly in my hand. Even the small town of Cavtat is stunning, a nice peaceful town if you seek a bit of quiet away from the city. There’s plenty to offer with the refreshing and crystal clear Adriatic Sea on the coast, with lots of water sports available – I highly recommend paddle-boarding!

But it’s not just the physical beauty that makes Croatia such a wonderful place; it’s the people too. Many people, from the hotel staff to taxi drivers, are genuinely friendly and will help you out as best they can. After taking the bus back from Cavtat, we almost missed our stop, had it not been for the waitress we’d spoken to in our relatives’ hotel! We’d asked her earlier in the evening about the right bus and luckily, she tapped me on the shoulder and told us that this was the right stop. She’d done that out of her own kindness and however small it may be, it just shows how good natured and friendly the people of Croatia are.

My first time to this wonderful place resulted in beginning to fall in love Croatia and now I absolutely adore it. I wasn’t ready to leave the heat and the beauty; sure enough, it was absolutely miserable with rain the first two days of being home. Sigh…

LONDON.

I started my new job in London a few months ago and since then, I’ve been photographing any opportunity I can whilst exploring. This ranges from the quirky Shoreditch to the more generic but incredible Central London, to the stunning views of Greenwich Park. 

  

  Here’s a little selection! 

           

POMPEII.

On my trip last month to Italy, we were fortunate enough to visit the world-famous ruins of Pompeii, a Roman city destroyed over two thousands years ago by Mount Vesuvius. Here are some shots I took during our visit.

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Taken on a Canon 100D, and all edited in VSCO Cam.