Digital photographs, physical postcards

Like a lot of the digital generation while I like sending postcards and letters, I quite often forget one of: buying them, writing them or sending them. I also struggle to find a postcards that I like, that epitomise my holiday and that are, if at all possible, appropriate for the person I’m sending them to.

There is something nice about the delayed nature of a postcard. Yes, I can send a photograph instantly to someone via a myriad of photo-sharing apps, picture message or email but those methods lack the apparent thoughtfulness and extra effort that goes into sending a physical card. I’m still not very good at remembering to do all the steps though.

This is not aided by my dislike of shopping, particularly shopping in the kind of tourist tat shops that sell postcards (I don’t mind so much picking one up from the local post office, newsagent or campsite shop but that’s a different blog post).

Conveniently just before I went on holiday this year I happened to be sat near someone else’s television when an advert for Touchnote came on. I’d never really got the hang of moonpig.com but something about the way Touchnote presented themselves made me give it a try.

Touchnote have an app for your phone ( iPhone / android ) as well as a website, so, however you tend to take your photographs it should be easy enough to generate a postcard or greetings card from your pictures. On holiday of course the simplest way to do it is with your phone.

There were a couple of things about the experience that I found a little faffy, inputting the address the first time being one of them.  I struggled to get my phone to populate the app correctly so I had to do some copying and pasting. I sent two cards from my holiday (three if you count the one my 4 year old niece sent to her mum).

On all three occasions I received a pretty email from Touchnote showing me the postcard I had created and a subsequent email letting me know that the postcard had been dispatched.

Card 1:

Single image with text and address on the back.

I used this photograph of Weymouth Beach. In a nice touch, the cards have the location the photograph was taken on the back.  It was received two days later by my mother (if I’d been abroad clearly that would have been faster than regular mail but lacking the interestingly foreign stamps).

Card 2

This time I started fiddling with the settings and made a multi-photograph card with crops of some of the images I took of Beer Beach.

 There are a limited number of layouts you can use, and at the moment you can only remove the white bands round the edges on single image postcards (although I rather liked it so I left it in on mine). However you can tweak the photos and zoom in and out as much as you like to make the postcards look how you want them to.

The actual postcards

So here they are, the postcards that were printed using my photographs:

IMG_0433.JPGThe card stock is nice and solid and the image reproduction is pretty good – the photographs were taken on an iPhone 6 so I wasn’t expecting DSLR quality but they’re not bad. The printing style makes them look quite old school as well so you could imagine they’d been sat in a shop since before sending postcards went out of fashion.

Pros/Cons/&c

Pros:

  • the recipient doesn’t have to attempt to read my truly awful handwriting
  • I can pick a photograph that I took of my personal holiday experience and send it to a friend/family member knowing that they will be able to receive it in physical form
  • it’s quick and easy, I did the whole thing from my phone in about 5 minutes
  • I don’t have to remember to buy the physical postcard/stamp or post it
  • no wondering if your postcard will actually make it, and if it doesn’t you know who to complain to

Cons:

  • no funny foreign stamps
  • if you have awful weather or aren’t a particularly good photographer you might struggle to get a shot that you consider “postcard worthy”
  • it might not seem as personal as a hand written card to some older/more traditional members of your family/friendship group

Conclusion:

I will be using Touchnote again and would definitely recommend it

Refuge @northteapower

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When Almost Famous caught fire this afternoon I initially didn’t think much of it. It’s at the other end of the street to HacMan so it didn’t seem like it would affect me even though I was in the space at the time. The first I knew about it in fact was someone knocking on the door asking if there was any fire in the space as there was an alarm going off. There wasn’t and I could barely hear the alarm over the radio so I went back to work and ignored it.

Eventually however, not only did more pictures filter through from Skippy but the bloke who’d originally knocked on the door came to say the police were evacuating the street. Ah well said pretty much the whole of Edge Street, lets go to North Tea Power.

So we did, and it was packed. However, the staff gallantly did their best and seemed completely un-phased by the influx of displaced workers.

It is in the face of this hardship that I am reviewing them:

Coffee (caffè latte made with skimmed milk)

Their coffee may be small but it certainly packs a punch, strong and flavoursome without any hint of scorching either to the coffee or the milk. 10/10

Tea (milk no sugar)

At Skippy’s behest I also ordered “tea”, a request which completely failed to do justice to their long list of teas. As a result I also have no idea what the class as common or garden tea but what ever it was it was lovely, even I could have drunk it without sugar and I am not a fan of tea (black, green, white or any other variety). I will drink it if there’s nothing else, with milk and by preference two sugars but really I’d rather have water.

Food

We didn’t eat while we were at North Tea Power today but I was aware of food going out while I was there and boy did it smell good. I only hope it tasted as nice.

Overview

I would definitely recommend North Tea Power to anyone who is a fan of quality beverages. If you favour quantity however this is probably not the place for you.

The food smelled amazing and should I ever eat there I will happily give them a review of that as well. The staff were calm and friendly under pressure.

Oh and they’re dog friendly so they get a positive for that too.

Highly recommended

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The Art House Gallery Café

A few days ago Skippy and I went to Southampton to meet C. We were a little late arriving (no change there then) so C went looking for a good coffee shop to meet us in, my coffee addiction if not well documented is at least notorious. I’m a little unclear on the specifics of how she ended up with a recommendation for The Art House (I so often am when C is involved) however, to whoever it was who gave her the directions thank you.

At first their opening hours seemed a little odd (I had received a slightly garbled phone message from C telling me that she’d found a café but it didn’t open ’til 12 and she was going to wait in the park just off Commercial Road), however once we got there it made a lot more sense. The problem was that neither Skippy nor I know Southampton very well and as you can see from the map that’s one big park:

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Fortunately Shouty Lady and mobile phones are my friend, so we found her and subsequently the café without getting too lost. Whether we’d ever find the car again of course was an entirely different matter (a smart person might have “favourited” the position of the car before leaving it, I however, am not that smart). Even with our tardiness and C’s having checked the opening hours we still managed to arrive at the café early and therefore hovered outside for about 10 minutes while the staff (or as I realised later possibly volunteers) bustled within. I’m glad we waited, it’s a lovely café and a vast improvement on the clone town chains that are often the only option for a visitor due to their prominence and dominance over high footfall areas such as high streets and proximity to common tourist attractions.

We actually ended up going to this café twice, initially for a hot-chocolate and some lunch (they have a small vegetarian and vegan menu offering a selection of well presented and tasty dishes) and later for a cider and to kill some time before we headed off to meet a mutual friend for dinner. We were a little early, so we’re warned we may have to wait a little longer for our food to be prepared as they weren’t quite set up for the day but they were lovely about it and still remarkably quick.

I had a portion of “Naughty Nachos” which were billed as “Organic corn chips, topped with melted cheese and served with a mild salsa” the salsa was indeed mild, but flavoursome, and there was plenty of cheese scattered throughout the nachos.

Skippy and C had “Art House Sandwiches” with Cheddar Cheese and Hummus respectively. Slightly oddly these “sandwiches” only have one side and some filling, their paper menu (although not their web site one) state that this is because they’re too thick to put together – something which Skippy would dispute however semantics aside it was a very good sandwich.

We sat outside on our first visit enjoying a rare moment of sunshine, here their website is a little out of date as it claims they are still raising money for the chairs we were sat on to eat lunch:

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I can’t actually remember what their current campaign is however as a small mainly volunteer run café I think it’s probably not that surprising that it occasionally takes them a while to get their site updated.

At the back of the café is the Trash Cocktail Boutique selling young, funky pre-loved clothes and handcrafted one off accessories from small scale makers in the UK. While I was waiting for Skippy and C to use the toilet (there’s only one so if you all need to go at once you have to race for the back of the café) I had a quick peruse of the rails and actually managed to find a top that I liked and that fitted me (this is something of an achievement in any shop and, as I discovered when I lived in Bath, nigh on impossible in second hand shops in some areas of the country).

Overall it’s a lovely and very relaxed little café, I would encourage anyone visiting Southampton to wander off the beaten track a little and patronise this establishment. If only there were more like it. I leave you with a close up of one of the lampshades, the café is full of beautiful little details like this go and find some.

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