"I really think you're going to regret it if you get the chocolate one." Within minutes of arriving, I was already advising Charlotte on her choice of cake.
This is representative of our shooting style - come as you are and see what happens; Charlotte and I have been friends since shooting way back at the start of 2017 when we went for grit and ironwork in Castlefield. I'd forced her to put a moody face on and stand in front of towering iron facades that prop up the Met lines. This time though, we're shooting a vintage outfit and we're in the lesser-known Butcher's Quarter.
We sit down with our gins and update one another on life since we last done the same, before having a look at outfits and taking my first shot without any precursor - my version of a wildlife shot. Lifestyle blogger in her natural habitat.
We wander through the back streets of the Northern Quarter and find big graffitied buildings and tarmac streets before coming upon the adult stores like an liquid elixir at the end of a journey across a dry desert.
Charlotte is making jokes throughout and telling me stories of her week, attempting to convince me - without success - that it's ok for her to never seen Star Wars (the original, obviously, not Jar Jar).
I love shoots like this; relaxed, focused on the hanging out rather than the output, allowing you to explore more about someone through a sort of passive interview. Not known to me at the time was that evening would gift me some of my proudest work.
Here's to gin, to cake and relaxed shoots. But never to it being ok to have not seen Star Wars*.