Will you marry me?

As you know, Sugar Group occasionally lets the boys in! We thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to one who has caught our eye in our Man of the Month feature. First up is Dale Weeks; an alternative wedding photographer who takes photos of your special day with a twist.

His main focus is to capture the emotions and feelings of the day, not stopping the flow for guests to pose or say cheese! He sounds like our kind of photographer so much, we want to get married all over again. In fact Dale, what are you up to next Saturday afternoon?

I bought my first camera around my 4th birthday at a zoo – I used my birthday money, then spent the whole day taking photos of plastic dinosaurs.
I have a little collection at home of shots I’ve taken around that time – the photos have a real documentary feel to them!

I had no ambitions for photography until I was 24. I dropped out of college twice, played in a few bands – toured the country and then gave that up too at the grand old age of 21. I became a recluse for a few years and when I moved back home I got really serious about taking photographs.
I got a job in a call centre and instead of working, I spent most of my time on the internet learning everything about cameras – shutter speeds, exposure, apertures.
I found a cool website called stumbleupon.com – where you can select your interests and it brings up websites that it thinks you will like.

That’s when I started getting exposed to photographers from the states – Carl Zoch, Feather Love, Wreckless girl – especially wedding photographers for some reason.
I loved the way they used natural light, natural smiles and the colours popped.
Instantly I knew I wanted to shoot those kinds of photos.

There’s a really nice community online and in pockets of the world where everyone helps each other.
A photographer called Emma and her husband Pete run a workshop in Birmingham called Welcome Home – that for me was life changing and it put me in touch with friends and photographers that help me out whenever I need advice.

My favourite weddings are the ones where the couples just let go and have fun.
My couples have usually seen my work and that’s hopefully why they’ve booked me, they know what to expect and they trust me to do a good job – make them feel relaxed, get along with their friends and family and make them look awesome!

I would say my style is a mix of fine art and documentary. I love shooting candids of people having fun and laughing – I get right into the thick of what’s going on and can tell when the laughs are about to happen, a lot of the job is about being social and reading peoples minds.
I absolutely love the time I get to spend with my couples just after they’ve been married and I get them alone for half hour/ an hour.
We have some fun taking portraits – this is where I can get creative and they can spend some time together for the first time as husband and wife.

I actually carry a couple of items around with me to every wedding or shoot for good luck.
I have a dollar coin that was given to me when I went to California a few years ago- and a shell of a bullet from Spain that was used on the old western film sets for Serge Leoni and Clint Eastwood!

This year has been pretty cool so far, I’ve shot weddings in national trust houses, in fields in the woods, on beaches, in the mountains and at the Bell in Ticehurst – which is an awesome venue!!

I love to carry on shooting weddings, meeting awesome couples and taking photographs that not only I can be proud of, but my couples can pass on down the generations of their families.




Raising the Roof…….

As the sun shines down on London Town, there’s no place nicer to have a drink than on a roof top. From the top floor of Peckham multi-storey to high above Selfridges, the capital is awash with places to enjoy a sundowner as the sun goes down. We love Bar Chick; a fun guide to where to go for the best stirrers, mixers, shakers and drinkers! They review not just the 5 star hotel bar, but the cool places too, some off the beaten track, and others in the thick of it. It’s not all about £50 truffle Martinis or the local Wetherspoons curry night, Bar Chick looks for places with character, a bit of a story, but ultimately the perfect day/night/week.


Another part of London on the up, is Nine Elms. Sugar lady Julia; of Radical Dining Society fame is hosting a 5 day pop-up wine-ing and dining experience inside the new glam Embassy Gardens. The event called Walk on the Wild Side, will showcase food, drinks, art and stylish living accommodation plus roof top dining, drinking and tunes! Chef Toby Cartwright is a rising star, so come down and taste for yourself. Contact Julia@raddiso.com for info and bookings. See you at the bar!





One Sugar woman who certainly impresses us!

Ladies who Impress celebrates female role models and inspires women to be more confident, creative and make the most of their talents!
Their Leap of Faith event on June 17th will be well worth a visit, so for further info contact http://www.ladieswhoimpress.com

The founder; Jana Bakunina is a great supporter of Sugar Group and all we do, so we look forward to working with her in the future and getting even more great women under one big roof!


Football & Father’s Day so close for a reason?!

So, who planned that then? The World Cup starting on a Thursday and Dads all over the country celebrating their special day only 3 days later. It was planned that way for sure. Now nothing will get done for the next few days or month, DIY will cease, IKEA flat packs shall remain just that – flat – and eyes shall be glued to just one thing, the TV. That’s if they are staying home. They could of course be out for the next month, sitting in bars and pubs around the country until the early hours. They might even be heading to São Paulo or Manaus. So, if you are destined to become a bit of a footy widow for the next few weeks, find out where you can go to watch the games, where there’s some cool Brazilian tunes to keep you entertained and a mean Caipirinha being mixed up by a cute Luiz on the isle of Fernandos! Check out the great Joga Bola! at Rich Mix, Shoreditch http://www.richmix.org.uk for music, dance, food & all things carnival.



Father’s Day will soon be upon us and at this time of year, like many, I miss my Father terribly. I remember mine introducing me to the hilarious Kevin Turvey (Rik Mayall) all those moons ago. He told me he would be the next big funny thing. He was right. He did the same with Ali G. My Dad was right about many things, and now, when in doubt I often ask him what’s right or wrong or just start a conversation with him, hoping magic will happen, and he will appear in front of me with the right answer. I would do anything to hear his voice again. He was a brilliant man, strict but great fun, successful and generous, full of life with a wanderlust for exciting cities and faraway places, enjoying good wines, art house movies, Blue Grass and Italian tailoring along the way. One thing we disagreed upon (apart from my choice of boyfriends and lack of interest in squash, which he made me play) was his mistrust of alternative and complementary health. He thought it was gobbledygook and how could reflexology possibly do any good? “What if your feet hurt?” He often said “what then?!”. He then became ill. Very ill. For the first time in his 63 years he had a massage. He loved it. He then had another, followed by Reiki and acupuncture. He even tried reflexology to ease his sore feet! Nothing was going to cure him, but, it certainly made him smile.image


Sugar Babes in the Wood -Jane, her sister Polly & friend Sukey up a tree

ImageAs parents anxiously wait to hear what schools their children have been allocated, and the government is suggesting testing children as young as five, I feel a twinge of nostalgic fondness as I remember my primary school.
I went to a local primary school in North London in the late 1960’s! (apparently, the 60’s are now considered a history topic in secondary schools). My primary school was fantastic, of course there were the usual rights of passage, on my first day a boy put a slug down my top, and in the second year aged 7 I dropped the plaster of paris birthday cake, which was carried into assembly every Friday morning, and as a punishment I was given extra RE. A teacher broke his leg when he fell off the flat roof trying to retrieve a football, but all this was part of everyday school life.
We never had any homework, and even when we had to do our 11+ I don’t remember feeling any stress. We played Kisschase and Bulldog in the playground, were allowed to run and often fell over. Our teachers taught us in a strange haphazard way. Mr Harrison would play guitar and sing us Beatle songs, then reenact whole episodes of the Goon Show. Sports Day was held at the running track on the Heath and you either won or you didn’t. We put on great productions of gritty modern plays, and our scarf dance to Popcorn was a hit of the day.
But our favourite teacher by far was Mr Nicholson whose primary interests were India and cooking and preferably a combination of the two.. So we built an indian hut in the classroom, dragging wood back from the heath, we learnt to cook curries and amazing desserts using rose water. We all became vegetarians, we knew about the caste system, Indian gods and Hinduism. We would meet up at 7.30am to do an hour of Yoga before school started. It was an amazing time we were happy confident kids having fun, standing on our heads, meditating and generally enjoying life. We all had long hair, so teachers couldn’t tell the boys from the girls, we went to and from the school on London buses. As we headed off to secondary school I can remember thinking we hadn’t learnt as much as the other kids! They knew the order of kings and queens, the square root of 156 and the periodical table. But we were a fun bunch to hang out with, happy flexible kids who had learnt loads without even knowing it!