Autumn sunflowers

A summer field filled with bright yellow sunflowers is a glorious sight. But what is it like when the colour has faded and the season shifted? READ MORE BELOW


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I visited this Cheshire field beyond the fringes of Greater Manchester on our final summery September day. It belongs to Little Heath Farm who encouraged visitors to come and enjoy the sunflowers and take photographs in the uncertainty of a pandemic.

The field is now maturing and the carpet of yellow has faded. The flower heads are heavy with seeds and drying out. It’s a picture of natural progression and the cycle of life, full of textures and more muted colours.

The sunflowers may have aged but they remain a thing of beauty.

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Five breathtaking beaches worth visiting

We all love the seaside. We flock there in our droves to find relaxation, sunshine and good times. The world has an endless choice of beaches from palm-fringed idylls to wild inlets. Here’s my pick of beaches that left lasting memories. Please share your favourites too!


JOKULSARLON, ICELAND

This isn’t a beach to pop your towel down and sunbathe. Wrap up warm and marvel at the fragments of glacier scattered over black sands, giving it the popular name of Diamond Beach. Chunks of ice pepper the shoreline here on the southern Icelandic coast. A must-see on any trip to Iceland. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE ICELANDIC LANDSCAPES

Diamond Beach, Iceland


PRAIA DE CHAVES, CAPE VERDE

A dramatic stretch of sand on the island of Boa Vista in this Atlantic archipelago, with crashing waves on one side and dunes on the other. There’s plenty of warm weather and delicious sunsets. You can explore or simply crumple into a sun lounger. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Bathers in crashing waves at Boa Vista, Cape Verde


KHOR AL ADAID, QATAR

This is a corner of the Arabian Peninsula where the desert dunes meet the sea. The chances are you’ll arrive in a four-wheel drive buggy after some stomach-churning (but fun) ‘dune bashing’. The swathes of sand and bright blue sea will relax you, while picnics and paddling are also options. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Khor al Adaid, Qatar


NINETY MILE BEACH, NEW ZEALAND

As the name suggests, this is one heck of a stretch of sand in the far north of New Zealand. With its huge blue skies and wide horizons, this place is a tonic for the soul. You might zoom along the beach in a bus and end up dune boarding. The Kiwis like to relax and exhilarate you in equal measure. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE OF NORTH NEW ZEALAND

Visitors on Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand


PLAGE D’AGADIR, MOROCCO

This Moroccan seaside resort may not have the wow factor of some beaches, but has stuck in my mind as my most recent overseas destination. It’s an admirable stretch of Atlantic sand with plenty of life. It’s surprisingly photogenic and puts on marvellous sunsets. Paddling in the sea or ambling along the corniche make it a worthy destination. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE ON AGADIR

Parasols on Agadir beach, Morocco

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Manchester’s sexy car parks

Car parks are usually uninspiring, dull buildings. But Manchester has some that are totally hot… READ MORE BELOW


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Manchester’s New Bailey area is a new architectural development featuring housing, restaurants and other amenities.

And yes, multi-storey car parks. But they’re not the featureless lumps that usually pass off as car lots. One is encased in a compelling beehive structure, the other is a medley of candy-coloured stripes and lattice panelling.

They’re certainly sexy to photograph. And walking back from my shoot, I stumbled across another car park in the Spinningfields district, clad in a compelling metal of pink blush.

After this photo walk I needed to take a cold shower…

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Five enchanting small islands

I like islands and being surrounded by sea. The more compact, the more I like them. Here are five that I’ve visited and are definitely punching above their cute size. You might like to add them to your travel bucket list.


GOZO

Country: Malta  Size: 67km²  Population: 32,723

Gozo is a gem in the southern Mediterranean, the smaller partner in the Maltese archipelago. For a little island it has some grand architecture, including an impressive citadel and large churches, while its diminutive towns are charmingly sleepy. And don’t forget the dramatic coastline and a lot of very tasty food.

Top tips: Visit in the verdant Spring. Hire a bike. TAP/ CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Ta'Pinu sanctuary, Gozo

The impressive Ta’Pinu sanctuary dominates western Gozo


PIEL ISLAND

Country: United Kingdom  Size: 50 hectares  Population: 10

This Cumbrian speck of land is the smallest of my picks. It sits just off the Furness peninsula and packs in a ruined castle and a pub. You can only reach it by a small ferry which is an event in itself. It has a long, interesting history and some quirky traditions.

Top tips: Instead of heading to the Lake District, try out the coastline. And obviously have a tiny island pub lunch. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Ferry boat to Piel Island, Cumbria

You must take a little ferry boat to reach Piel Island


FAIAL

Country: Portugal  Size: 173km­²  Population: 14,875

This little island is part of the Azores archipelago, situated in the mid-Atlantic Ocean a long way from Portugal’s mainland. It has scenic drama, sitting in the shadow of Mount Pico, the country’s highest peak. Faial is also home to the volcanic landscape of Capelhinos and a partially buried lighthouse. You also have the charming harbour town of Horta to explore.

Top tips: Take the ferry to nearby Pico, a whole other island. For circular stairway photos, head to the lighthouse. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Fish artwork in the port of Horta, Azores

Colourful artwork adorning the port of Horta


MIYAJIMA

Country: Japan  Size: 30km²  Population: 2,018

This island is an hour away from Hiroshima and is popular with Japanese people and tourists alike. It’s the home of the world-famous floating Torii Gate (shrouded in scaffolding when I visited) and various other shrines and temples. There’s also a bustling market to find delicious street foods. You can walk up to a cable car ride which offers fantastic views of the Inland Sea.

Top tips: Try the seafood dumplings and green tea ice-cream. Be prepared for deer to steal them. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Pagoda on Miyajima Island

There’s no shortage of serene architecture on Miyajima


KORCULA

Country: Croatia  Size: 279km²  Population: 15,522

This island in the blue waters of the Adriatic is full of good things. Its main town is full of honey-coloured stone buildings and a miniature version of mighty Dubrovnik to the south. Explore, wander at a slow pace, find a café – it’s a place to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Top tips: Clamber to the top of St Mark’s Cathedral. Stay on Korcula for several days. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Sunset from the island of Korcula, Croatia

There’s something about a sunset witnessed from Korcula

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