Catching Up, Hello January!

It’s a brand new year! I’m so excited about all the possibilities that 2016 brings with it and I just don’t even know where to look first. The first few days of a New Year feel full of endless possibilities, so much can happen! 

But soon after I get to thinking about how nothing happens without hard work, you need to have plans and goals and you need to make it happen for yourself. That’s where I always get overwhelmed because were do I even start?

So this week I’m going to get to work on making some goals. This always shakes my nerves a little bit because goals mean decisions, and decisions mean commitment and to be honest that freaks the hell out of me. But no one ever moved forward for being too scared to commit, so maybe that is going to be my big challenge for the coming year – learn to commit, to have faith in myself and really invest my energy 100% in my goals.

2015 felt like a good year but a tough year. The end was great but the beginning and middle felt like a really awful battle between my head and my heart. I felt like I had a lot to deal with from both and neither could agree. It was like being in the middle of a custody battle for control over my life and it was a long summer of self-doubt and criticism, but I really think that coming out the other side of that I am a stronger, happier person. 

And it had some great highlights! They year ended in the best way possible when I found out some of my photos were featured on the Guardian! But all throughout I had some amazing travel experiences: Iceland, India (twice), Pakistan, Morocco (more on that to come), Hawaii, Italy, Canada and Paris. Adam and I had a pretty wonderful first year of being married. Friends had babies, got married, got engaged. I designed my own website and redesigned my blog. I became a photographer as my actual job! Lots of good memories made.

I have such a good feeling about 2016 though, and I just can't shake it. I don't know what's coming but I know that it's going to be amazing. On January first I didn't have any resolutions in mind, but I did have some ideas that I wanted to bring into the new year with me, so I just wrote down some words like simplicity, intuition and be present - these are just a few things that I want to work on in the coming year. But above anything, happiness is the ultimate goal and anything that serves that will always be a priority.

My other to-do list resolutions I'll probably keep to myself. They're business related, relationship related, blog related, that sort of thing. I'm a big believer in actions over words - do something first and tell the world about it through the change that you make. Sometimes I think the minute you say it out loud, the pressure of having to accomplish it becomes too much and the momentum goes. I've got some big goals though, so wish me luck!

What are your thoughts on the New Year, have you made any plans?

Oh and to kick off the New Year and maintain this awesome feeling of endless possibilities, I bought myself a pair of super comfy on sale yoga pants and started yoga camp yesterday, which is completely free! If you want to start yoga-ing, now is such a good time!





The Quiet Winter, Catch Up on Some Sleep

Yesterday I found out that my great aunt and I share the same bed time, except most nights I end up falling asleep about half an hour before she does - and she's 82. I have given myself the bed time of a child and I'm not in the least bit sorry about it because if there's one thing I absolutely can't do without, it's sleep.

I'm not fit to be around if I haven't slept well, I can't get anything done and I instantly become more accident prone and a complete liability.

Over these cold months I plan to spend A LOT of time in bed. If I could sleep for hours upon hours I would - but even if I'm not sleeping, bed is a pretty great place to spend time. Reading, having movie days, Skype calls with friends and family, knitting, or just daydreaming. 

But I'm sorry to say that I'm not the best at sleeping, or taking time out in general for that matter. I think most people fit into two camps when it comes to relaxing - some people love it and some people find it really difficult. I'm in the second camp. Even when I'm sick and stuck in bed I'm still convinced there are things that I could be ticking off my to-do list. It's a really bad habit.

This winter I'm planning to make it a priority to get better at doing nothing. Far too many weekends have been taken off to relax, only to be spent doing chores. I'm getting really good at cleaning, tidying, organising and generally ticking things off. But while it's great to spend time getting your life in order, sometimes it's better to learn how to just do nothing. 

This post was written in collaboration with Leesa. A few months ago I realized that our old spring mattress was causing us to lose sleep and I began the search for a new one. Leesa mattress arrive squashed in a box and expand in minutes to a full sized foam mattress that has been made to order. We've been sleeping on our new king mattress for the past two weeks and I can honestly say that it has improved our sleep so much - no more back aches, no more waking each other up in the night, and no more pokey springs. If you like a good mix between soft and hard, the Leesa is a great choice.





The Quiet Winter, Rein it in

The ultimate purpose of deciding to jump into the quiet winter is to rest, recoperate and invest in yourself and your life - taking the time to make it everything you dreamed it would be.

It's a beautiful thing, deciding to invest in yourself. It's an act of self love and self belief and it's proving to yourself that you think you are worth the investment. Just that decision alone can work wonders.

But it's not easy. It means cutting back on a lot of what sustains your present life, reigning it all in to take a look at it and examine it in detail and make sure it's really working for you. And this is where the other half of the investment comes in, because the more you reign yourself in, the less money you spend. The more you save and the more you get ready to put into place your big plans, goals, dreams, whatever your heart is telling you it needs.

Maybe that means you'll decide you want to save for a wedding, or for a house or for babies or whatever. A puppy? Maybe it means you want to save to travel the world, buy a big old truck, quit your office job and never look back. Both lives are equally worthwhile, if they're what your heart is telling you it wants.



Love your space.

The thing with to-do lists is they always feel like chores. And I have life-admin to do for sure! Passport applications, paperwork, etc... But I think all of that belongs on a different to-do list and the trick with the boring stuff is to knock one item off each week until it's done.

On my other to-do list are the things that make me feel like I'm combing the knots out of my life. One of those items is falling in love with the space I live in. I section off corners of my house, put Netflix on the laptop, or the Harry Potter audio books, or just some music, and get to sorting. I go through everything carefully and aim to get rid of as much as possible. I'm one of those people who feels better with less stuff, even though I am so sentimental and throwing things out is hard - it's also necessary.

I've come to learn that a relationship with your home is something to be maintained, and you will feel as much love in your living space as you pour into it. Giving it love until it's positively glowing with pride - doesn't that sound like an amazing environment to rest in? Also, spending time in your home with your things, cleaning them up or throwing things out, is such a good way of getting to grips with where you are and how you got there. It's analysing the physical accumulation of your life and realising what was important and what is no longer necessary.

I'm telling you, it's like therapy. And it makes your priorities seem a lot clearer. Also you can make it as time consuming as you want. Rush through it to move on to something that means more to you, or keep your own company while learning to enjoy it, and save your pennies for another day.





The Quiet Winter

Remember when I posted about how we afford to travel? And I mentioned something I called The Quiet Winter. Well this post is about what that means, and I think you’re really going to like the idea.

Traditionally my travel year ends in October and starts again in the spring, and if you've followed me on my various platforms for a while you’ll know that I find the winter really hard. The lack of light, central heating, no fresh air, too much boring routine – it can all add up to something that has the potential to send me to a really dark place.

Over the past few years it’s become harder and harder, and I realised that it was going to take a big effort on my part to shift my mind-set and turn it into a period of time I could really enjoy, one that I could really get something out of. 

So now I think of winter as my quiet time. Where I can rest, recover, plan and care for myself. Recuperate after some insane travel months, or a summer of just non-stop movement. During those months it’s easy to neglect your diet, exercise, overall health and wellbeing, and just get so caught up in doing that you forget to think about where you’re going. 

These days I think of winter as a restful time, time to take stock, check in with myself and build up some reserves. Mentally, physically and financially. I make less plans, I read more books, I do more yoga and I look ahead to the coming year and really try to think about where I want to end up at the end of it. 

From starting out as dreading winter and the cold, now I look forward to it as one long season where I can care for myself like it’s my job, and get ready for the active months ahead.

And so here we are with a new series! In writing The Quiet Winter I’m going to go through everything that I’m doing to care for myself, mentally and physically. Everything I’m doing to make myself stronger and fitter for my travels and the questions I’m asking and answering to make sure that I’m on track for the year ahead – I mean as much as I can be, I’ve learned by now that planning only takes you so far. 

I'm going to share the way I make sure that I take time out to do nothing, how I stick to a yoga practice, where I spend money on things that are good for me and where I save on the not so good things so I can go traveling. I'll also talk about the books I'm reading, the podcasts I'm listening to. How I manage my social life and not being out every night without getting fomo (which is a very real affliction). And I'm also going to share how I check in with myself, make sure I'm doing ok, make any adjustments in my life and really make sure I'm doing what I want and not just want I think I should be doing. 

I hope this series will be helpful to you if you are interested in having a quiet winter too. If you're saving for something big, looking to spend some time checking in with yourself, or just flat broke and need to spend some time not spending any money (hey, we've all been there). And if you have any specific questions, let me know and maybe I'll turn the answer into a blog post.



Just a Moment :: Thirty Two

This feature has always been one of my favourites to write on Nishaantishu. I think if ever I gave up blogging completely, and I don't see that ever happening, but if I did I think I would still find some way to post Just a Moment posts - somewhere on the internet. 

I don't get around to writing them as often as I used to, mostly because they mean having my camera on hand at just the right moment which doesn't happen as often as I would like, but I made an extra effort this weekend and here are the results (it's a little Molly focused, but they usually are):

1. The ultimate photo-bomb. But just try and sit on the floor and avoid being sat on by this girl.

2. A few years ago I knit myself this massive scarf and it was just way too big to wear, but too small to use as a blanket. So Molly adopted it and sleeps with it every night, along with her teddy, because she's basically a human. 

3. Burning sage to see in the new winter season and clean out the cobwebs of the old. And then being slightly perplexed/concerned that I didn't set off the fire alarm in the kitchen. I should probably check on that.

4. These two. Words just can't...

5. Mulled wine! We got the last two cups left after a chilly walk with the dog on Sunday. The wind was so strong it was blowing Molly's ball all over the park and she kept losing it. But maybe that's because she needs a hair cut, she can't see anything through all that fur.





How We Afford to Travel

If there’s one question I get asked more than most, it’s “how do you afford to travel so much?” There are a few answers to this, but the main one is that I travel for work as a photographer, so I get paid to do that and all of my tickets and hotels are paid for too. How I made this my full time job is a whole other post, but for now I want to talk about our savings and money related priorities.

Both Adam and I have decent paying jobs, he’s not a banker and I’m not a lawer so they’re not super well paying jobs – and while we would always wish for more money, we’re comfortable. He’s a planner and I’m a photographer, and we both love travel. We’ve travelled separately, we’ve travelled together (the best kind of travel), and it’s something both of us have created a lot of space for in our lives.

We’re our better selves when we’re on the road. We feel more free and it shows, we have our best conversations, we laugh harder, we sleep better, we are braver with our lives and our future plans. Travel is essential to us as a couple, without it we would get so stuck in the everyday and we would struggle to see our future with any perspective. Travel gives us that very necessary perspective.

But we have to work and save for it. Adam doesn’t often drop loads of cash on a night in the pub, I very rarely go shopping, and we often challenge ourselves to see how many days we can go without spending money. We cook at home more often than going out and we are very clear on our priorities.

Adam gets to spend his money on kayaking, I get to spend money on my photography. We both trust ourselves to be careful with our spending and we don’t judge each other when one of us comes home with a few purchases (side bar: I do judge Adam when he comes home with ugly sports clothes…)

We keep a spreadsheet of our expenses and we both pay money into a joint account for these joint expenses. I’ve been lucky enough to have been allowed to poke through the expenses of a few close friends, and one difference that I notice is how much disposable income they have compared to how much I have – I would say I have about half. That’s because each month I put a quarter of my pay check into savings and that all goes towards our travel/future fund.

But while all of this paints a pretty good picture of saving, responsible, forward planning adults, I just have to point out that we save a lot of our money for travel – and that’s mostly it. We aren’t saving for a house, but we are saving for a future and we are investing in our dreams and our life and ourselves. We don’t have kids yet, we can afford to be a bit selfish, and we are enjoying that while we can – because it won’t last forever.

There are some days where I panic about not being able to buy a house. And there are other days where I get really down on myself for having old clothes and not being stylish. But I look at my pictures from all the adventures we’ve had together and I remind myself that I’m making a choice, and I can change my mind about my priorities whenever I like.

And on a final note, my absolute favourite part about saving money is diving into a Quiet Winter – I’ll explain that in another post too but it’s a good one. You’re really going to love it.





Catching Up, Hello November

How has it been five months since I sat down and wrote a proper catch up post? Truthfully I thought it was just the other week, but when I looked back through my archives I realised it was actually June!

But thinking back, I’m not surprised. Time has been playing tricks on me lately and I’ve been running around trying to keep on top of things. Do you ever go through periods of time where you get so focused on working that you don’t take the time to sit up and notice what’s going on around you? I think those head-up moments really ground you, and when you forget to pause and breathe in you just don’t get the opportunity to be grounded. You don’t get to stick pins in the map of your life so when you look back you can remember the moments that count. Instead you’re swept along and suddenly it’s autumn and you don’t quite remember how you got there – sort of like falling asleep at the wheel. 

Usually this time of year will find me writing depressing thoughts on the end of summer and the cold months ahead, but this year I’m feeling completely the opposite. Thank GOODNESS it’s cold again, I can spend time indoors again, and running around is replaced with conserving heat and keeping cosy. 

This summer was a weird one, full of being really hard on myself and feeling like I just wasn’t doing enough. That combined with a hectic travel schedule and I feel like I’m skidding into November face first with a sense of confusion but also relief that I finally feel like I can relax.

Sometimes I suck at being grounded, living with my whole heart, doing yoga, wearing makeup and not eating pizza for every meal. But who doesn’t go through moments like that in their life? Sometimes we just have to let things fall apart so we can build them back up again in a way that we prefer. Sometimes old things stop working and they need to be replaced.

That’s why I’m so excited for this winter. I’ll be grounded, my travel is minimal, and I’ll have plenty of time to kick some nasty habits. I’ve already started and if only it was as easy as just deciding to give up looking at Instagram every five seconds, or deciding to give up pizza – and just like that you’re a grounded person who isn’t addicted to social media and junk food. Nope. It’s hard. It’s constant reminders, constantly tripping up, and constantly giving yourself room to keep going. 

Last night I decided to bring it back to basics and start my yoga practice from the beginning, I really feel the need to take it easy on myself and this felt so good. I started this 30 days of yoga program and I could feel how grateful my body was to just do some easy stretching.

On Monday I went to the shop and stocked my fridge with veggies and have been roasting and making vegetable stews ever since. 

I’ve been keeping away from scrolling social media and mindlessly watching tv, but sometimes it’s the only way my mind knows how to relax so it’s a slow transition. But now I have months of editing work ahead of me so it’s important that I not spend all of my time in front of a screen.

And I’m working on letting my heart decide what it wants. Or listening to my body and letting it decide how much yoga it wants to do. But part of me is still crossing my fingers for when my body decides it wants a pizza again…

Oh and p.s. I started a facebook page for my photography, here’s the link:




I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all your kind words on my last post. I feel like I start a lot of posts with those words, but really I don't think I could say 'thank you' enough to everyone who takes the time to read here. Whether you're a regular commenter or you prefer to keep quiet, you are very much appreciated. 

It might not seem like such a massive change overall, but trying to change my mindset about who I am as a blogger and what I think I have to bring to this space... it's felt a bit like trying to turn around the titanic. 

Especially when it comes to posting my work photos on Instagram, I can tell you that felt very weird and a little bit uncomfortable. But each time I hear from you with words of encouragement, I know I'm on the right track and every day I settle into it a bit more.

I guess I never realised how much I was holding back before.

At this moment I am on a plane to Hawaii to be a bridesmaid to one of my all time favourite people. And on the 11th we'll be attending a wedding and celebrating our one year anniversary at the same time - can you even believe it has been one year since Adam and I got married?!?!

Beach and turtle photos coming at you in a bit!





Making a change

Things have changed around here a bit, so I thought I should write a post to explain why.

I love my blog, I love blogging, and I love making connections with so many lovely people all across the world through comments, emails, and tweets. I look back on where I started and how I’ve grown and I’m really proud! My blog has taught me the meaning of truly working hard for something that I love. It has introduced me to new friends who are now more like family. It has turned me into a photographer which is now my career! It has made me more ambitious, accountable, and thoughtful about what I put out into the world. It truly has brought so much into my life and I couldn’t be more grateful.

But since I started blogging my life has changed so much. I started a lifestyle blog when I was new to London and working as a fundraising assistant. I had just moved in with Adam and we were living in a three bedroom flat with five people. I remember my flatmates making fun of me and I kept it such a secret from everyone I knew. Now it’s an everyday part of my life and has shaped who I am in so many ways.

I’ve always tried to be very genuine on Nishaantishu, but as my work as a photographer and contend editor started to become a bigger part of my life I made the decision to keep that separate from what I posted here. While I did mention a few things from my work trips, but I never posted about the real reason I was traveling or any of my work photos. And as travel started to take up more of my time and my work photography began to take over from my lifestyle photography, the gap between my blog and my real life started to widen. And it really didn’t feel right.

I was holding myself back so much and it did not make me very happy. 

But our strength as people lies so much in being ourselves and living in a way that feels right, even if it doesn't make sense at first.

That’s why I have brought my blog and portfolio together - check out the links in the navigation bar. It’s also why I have been posting more of my work photos on Instagram lately and why you will probably see a mix of that content on here in the future. I don’t want to give up blogging about weekends at home and out with friends, but I also want to blog more about what it’s like to travel to these rarely visited places and tell more stories from the road.

I’m excited for the future and adventures to come, and I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am!

As for the design, I built it myself and I think it looks a bit rough around the edges. It may change a bit in the next few months but one thing that will always stay the same is that Nishaantishu is now at home with 

I hope you like adventure, because it's on its way.





Hello Weekend

Last Friday I was sitting having coffee and working over my laptop when I got a shiver of excitement and exclaimed "this weekend is going to be SO MUCH FUN!!!!". Rosie and Tania, who were sitting close and by now are used to my occasional outbursts, both smiled and said "yup, it is."

And it was!



It all started on the Friday night when I took the girls to Pinch, my favourite wine bar in Hackney. I knew they would love how tiny and relaxed it is, just as much as I do. And just like me, I knew they would also be happy with one leisurely glass of wine before heading home to cook macaroni and cheese and spend the rest of the evening cuddling Molly on the sofa. 

Cheers to finding friends who can no more handle their booze than you can! Tea over wine any day.

Later in the evening Maja turned up to stay for the weekend. I had forgotten to tell her that Rosie and Tania would be over, so when she knocked on the window to be let in (one day we really should fix that doorbell), she must have been a little surprised to see Tania and Rosie staring back at her. But we all settled in to a long night of eating, tea and chatting while Molly went from person to person, making sure they all got their fare share of being flopped on.

Next morning we headed to Dishoom because it's always our brunch spot of choice. I love the ambiance, the food, and bottomless chai is what I live for - the best I've ever managed is five cups in one sitting, but this time I'm sorry to say I only managed four. 

The naan egg roll is the most delicious, followed closely by the porridge! Porridge isn't usually my first choice when going out for brunch, but this one was delicious and I would highly recommend it. 



The rest of the day was spent wandering home through brick lane, just Tania, Maja and I because Rosie had to head home. We stopped in a few shops, waded through a crowded Broadway Market and picked up a few things for dinner. We were still feeling a bit weighed down by a macaroni and cheese dinner plus a Dishoom brunch, so something a bit lighter was in order. 

We had some mussels with sourdough for dipping, a salad with grilled peaches, wild mushrooms and halloumi, a few figs chucked in for good measure along with some rocket. Pretty impressive for an off the cuff dinner, wouldn't you say? 

And have I mentioned that we don't have a table? But we do have a pull out sofa bed, so poor Maja's bed became our dinner table and we had a living room picnic. After which I broke out my three favourite movies which neither Tania or Maja had ever seen.

It's a tough choice, but after watching the trailers they opted for Dan in Real Life over Obvious Child and Away We Go and we all settled in on the sofa-bed/dining room table for nail painting, moving watching and more Molly cuddles (because frankly you can't avoid them, if you're sitting still, that dog will sit on you).



The final part of this perfect weekend was spent going for a walk, then getting in bed again, watching the last two movies, skyping with family, baking cookies and lighting candles. When I arrived home on Friday I was handed a package from my neighbor containing the most clean smelling candle I have ever sniffed - I smells like new house and cologne. Turns out this autumn is The White Company's 21st Birthday! And they made a candle to celebrate - what a wonderful idea. And lighting it on Sunday afternoon was the perfect end to the perfect weekend.





For those sunny autumn days.

Ok I guess I'm finally ready to give in to autumn. As if I have a choice, right? Lucky for autumn it is the most beautiful of all the seasons, bringing with it all those glorious things that go with colder weather like wrapping up in blankets and warming your hands around that second fancy coffee you just bought "to warm up", not because you're greedy. 

But there's something I love about September, where the odd sunny day (like today!) is mixed in with the chill and we can get away with wearing those warmer dresses without tights - you know the kind that master that casual autumnal feel without much effort?

That's why I love an outfit like this, it works better if you just chuck it on and walk out the door. There aren't many dresses out there that require zero buttoning, ties, belts or snaps to keep it in place and as far as I'm concerned, the less time I have to spend getting ready to leave the house, the better. I second guess myself so much when it comes to style that it's nice to have that option taken away from me in a dress that is best left to its own devices. 

Walking around Toronto, wearing it on the flight home, dressing it up for work or shoving it in your backpack when you're heading out on your travels - it kind of works however you want it to.

My friend Katie took these photos when we were wandering around the city in August and they are making me so nostalgic for my old neighborhoods and my oldest friends. Autumn in Canada is the best, it's so beautiful and just thinking of it is getting me in the mood for colder weather.

That's the thing about autumn, it has a certain romanticism to it that as reluctant as I am to leave summer behind, I can easily talk myself around to looking forward to fall in one blog post.





Traveling Light

I think I'm getting pretty good at packing lately! I used to work off a very detailed packing list, but these days I'm carrying less and less, and narrowing down my in-hand travel bag to the bare essentials.

When you love your job, it can mean you never stop working. It's easy for me to lose time in editing photos, writing posts, planning shoots, researching locations. And I think we're all guilty of knowing that we should get up and get moving, make healthier choices and spend less time in front of the computer, but it's so much easier said than done.

Thats why when I travel I make sure I pack enough to get my work done, but also pack those all important items for making sure I can make some healthy choices without having to think about it too much.

So I have figured out how to fit an entire work station, gym, some entertainment and some rehydration all in one bag.

Including but not limited to...

- 1tb hard drive

- camera and phone charger

- compact flash

- back up camera battery

- lipstick

- iphone (packed with audiobooks + music)

- notbeook (for awesome ideas)

- keys

- travel yoga mat

- camera

- mini Harrogate Spring Water bottles

- leather tote

- book and In Clover magazine

- perfume

- lip cream

hand cream

- perfume

- sunglasses 

- makeup bag

- macbook





This post was written in collaboration with Harrogate Spring Water

10 Ways to Let Someone Know You Love them

When it comes to relationships, it's easy to toss out a 'love you' every once in a while. But eventually, that starts to lose meaning unless you back up those words with actions that really show you are truly present, and care. Here are a few ideas for letting someone know you love them.

1. Go out and buy ingredients to make them their favourite breakfast.

2. Keep a list on your phone of things they mention that they really want, then make sure you pick up a few items from that list on a special occasion. Or just because.

3. Listen when they talk, don't try to solve all their problems unless you really have a solution, and don't try to turn the conversation back to you. 

4. Learn to care about the things that they care about.

5. Pick them up some flowers, or a beer, or their favourite pie - do this once a month.

6. Give them a good bite of your pizza when they ask, not just a bit that's mostly crust - just don't be tight with sharing.

7. Respect their desire to try new things, and if you think it's just a phase, keep that to yourself. Always be encouraging.

8. When it seems the most difficult, put yourself in their shoes.

9. Be bothered to fight with them, don't just say "I'm sorry" to put an end to it, only to keep making the same mistake. 

10. Don't tell them you care, show them.

Photo by Rory Wylie





Just a Moment :: Thirty One

Just a few moments from the past couple of weeks that have made me extra happy.

1. The first day of holidays face! A whole week off and I couldn't be happier.

2. Brand new trainers to kick me into shape. After doing a Nike running test I found out that I have seriously messed up feet - so these are the most orthopaedic trainers you can buy with extra supports.

3. Ramen and catch ups with friends passing through London. I have had so many visitors lately, and so have been eating out loads. Very delicious, but I'm definitely going to be putting those new trainers to use soon.

4. Aesop samples and dreaming over what products I'm going to buy when my birthday/Christmas rolls around.

5. Coffee dates with this beauty. Stacey and I have been orbiting around each other and our mutual interests for a while now, and we've only just started catching up over coffee and talking about everything from business ideas to how much we both love dogs.






Three tips for dealing with that mean voice in your head, and all the anxiety that comes with it.

Who out there hasn't felt crushed by the weight of their own expectations? Who hasn't dreamed up something for themselves, and then been flooded by a million reasons why it could never work, because there is so much wrong with you it's impossible to even make a list? Who else sometimes feels like they're drowning in self-doubt? 

When you can't celebrate any kind of a win, because even the biggest success isn't good enough? What about feeling paralysed by your own anxiety? Or silenced by the fear of not knowing what dumb-ass comment is going to come out next, and maybe you should just shut up.

Who experiences that morning after a night of drinking anxiety, but all the time. It's called The Fear.

Who sometimes feels like they're living with a bully, one that is with you night and day and never stops telling you how rubbish you are? 

I've recently learned that there is more than one version of ourselves living inside our head. Have you ever felt like a walking contradiction? I sometimes do. And when I listened to the Radiolab podcast called Help! it made a lot more sense to me that there is the creative, positive, cheerful side of myself - and then the miserable, snarky, defeatist, bullying side made up of every awful opinion of me (real or imagined), every mean comment, and everyone who ever made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I'm sure we all have multiple sides, and for some the cheerful voice is louder than the harsh one one. For others, we can move back and forth between the two, sometimes several times a day. 

These two sides, they can never be in the same place at the same time. It's impossible to feel rubbish and inspired, worthless and hopeful. They don't get along, and they will never sit at the same table. 

I suppose living with that bullying voice is what it truly means to be our own worst enemies. But we have a fundamental right to believe in ourselves, to be our own champions, and to have complete faith in our abilities. That awful voice really needs to go jump in the creek, so here's a few things I do to get rid of my own bully:

1. I know we are meant to be gentle with ourselves, but the way I see it, if someone started hurling at me all the abuse that I level at myself every day, I would tell them to f*ck off. Pardon me, but I would. And I would probably also cry. But first I would stand up for myself! With all the who-do-you-think-you-are's and sweary language necessary until they learned that I am not to be pushed around. Maybe we need to give that awful voice in our head a telling off sometimes. I think our bad opinions of ourselves can be a combination of things, sometimes things other people have told us, sometimes impressions we have interpreted from situations, sometimes that critical voice in your head is someone else entirely - an actual real life bully. And I think it's OK to tell them to do one. 

2. And to counteract all that aggro, its important to pay attention to that voice in our head that we so often disregard, the one that believes in us more than anyone. It does exist! But sometimes it can get so squashed by the negativity that it needs some nurturing to bring it to life. Do whatever inspires you, whatever fills your heart with joy, whatever makes you feel alive! For me that would be a road trip with the people I love, my camera and a feeling of great things to come. Or even a day at home or in a coffee shop just planning! Planning blog posts, photo shoots, future trips, weekends away, a list of books to read... any kind of plan that makes me feel like good things are coming my way and I am excited to be alive.

3. Laughter. There is no bigger threat to bad feelings that a real belly laugh. Sometimes it can be hard to talk to people about how awful you feel about yourself, especially if it's a reoccurring feeling. It's not nice to feel like that person who always seems to have something wrong, who is always a little bit down on themselves. And it's difficult to feel like other people are reassuring you all the time, because sometimes that reassurance falls short when that voice in your head is screaming "LIES". Give your mind a break from itself, go and sit in the sunshine with friends, talk about something ridiculous and try to encourage yourself to have a good laugh. It really does clear the head and brightens the heart.

Do you get the fear? What are your favourite ways of being kinder to yourself?





The Sunday

This summer has been so full of travel, but it makes coming home that much more exciting. After many long flights, trying to sleep sitting up and making do with airport food, I have dreamed about the perfect lazy Sunday at home so many times. Here's what it looks like...

My life lately seems to be revolving more and more around work, but I guess that's what happens when you do what you love - you never want to stop! But more work doesn't equal good work. 

My brain is 100 times more productive if I just give everything up once in a while and decide that, if I can't cuddle it in bed, it's not getting any attention, not this Sunday at least. The perfect Sunday means indulging in all my favourite things - yoga, reading, sleep, over-eating and Netflix.

Sometimes it's nice to have fun with friends, take a walk in the woods, go for a drink, catch a movie... but sometimes you just have to put the camera down, order a pizza, overdose on Lindt and ignore your phone. 

Sundays really are the best, aren't they?

Top, Spiritual Gangster : Leggings, lululemon : Yoga Mat, Manduka eKO superlite : Sheets, Muji






As much as I love coffee, tea is my real love. A good cup of tea can bring back so many memories of family breakfasts, far away travels, or iced tea on hot summer days. That's why I was so excited when Tiosk popped up amongst the coffee shops and bakeries of Broadway Market.  

It took me a while to get around to paying them a visit, but one hot summer day a few week ago we popped in to get some iced tea. 

It was so peaceful inside, compared to the chaos of a Saturday morning market. And the tea was everything you would hope a good iced tea would be. Not too sweet, full of flavour but not too bitter. And no artificial anything in sight.  

If you're ever in East London and in need of some refreshment - take a look at what Tiosk has to offer. You won't regret it.  

*photos by Tania.  





Just a Moment :: Thirty

Just a few moments I managed to record lately that make me smile.

1. This dog. Isn't she just a little bit silly? She is such a cuddle monster I sometimes can't believe how much she just wants to be in your lap at all times. She must think she's a lit smaller than she is beause when she sits on you she takes up an awful lot of space.

2. Grabbing lunch at Healthy Stuff, our favour Dalston cafe. We don't come here much anymore because there are other places a lot closer to our house, but it will always remind me of when we fist moved to Hackney. We didn't have loads of money, so going out for a coffee once a week felt like a real treat.

3. Walking around the streets of London with Adam can sometimes be a real hazard. He's obsessed with buildings, history and how neighbourhoods come together. You can't walk ten steps without him directing your gaze in every which direction, sometimes several at once, telling you to look at how amazing that building is or wondering what it was originally bilt for. We usually end up getting confused, walking into each other and tripping over Molly's lead.

4. We found poutine in Brick Lane! If you don't know what poutine is, book yourself a ticket to Canada, pronto!

5. I've probably done a just a moment photo for this one in the past, but E5 Bakehouse in the London Fields railway arches makes the best eclairs.





The Friday Edit

A place for those little things, and thoughts in between.

It's been such a great week around here! From Friday to Friday we've had a wedding, some amazing sunny weather, some pizza - basically everything that makes life great.

I just wanted to start off by saying a big thank you for your kind words on my last post. It's so great to have so many wonderful people to relate to, and to know that we're not alone in our funny personality traits and odd habits.

Also, did you catch our takeover of Rosie's instagram on her wedding day? Tania and I had so much fun - though having said that, instagramming from someone else's account is a very weird feeling!

We had a lot of Taylor Swift dance parties in the car this week. It was kind of awesome. 

I need to get packing tonight because I've got a long haul flight on Sunday to get ready for! Are you following me on Snapchat? I've been a bit quiet on there since India but I'm hoping to show you some more adventures next week - if I have wifi that is! Search Nishaantishu if you want to add me.

Also, an impromptu pizza and prosecco night last night was the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening. 

See what I mean about it being a good week? Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 





Have I ever told you.

As much as I spend all this time working on Nishaantishu, and you are wonderful enough to spend some time reading it, I wonder if I really give an accurate depiction of who I am. Me. Freya Dowson. As in, what it's like to really know me. So in the spirit of getting to know each other, I’ve put together a few things that you may not know about me. And since we're sharing, why don't you tell me a fun fact about yourself in the comment section below.

Here we go. Have I ever told you...



Laugh Lines or Frown Lines

I laugh a lot. I find the weirdest things to be absolutely hilarious, and am often that person who laughs when no one else does. I find humour everywhere and I have this really annoying habit (I'm sure it must be annoying sometimes) of pointing it out. All the time. I can't help myself! Sometimes I feel a bit like Chandler Bing, from Friends. Joke joke joke! 



Shy or Outgoing

I feel like I’m one of those people who talks non-stop, but I have lost count of the amount of times I have been called shy. I also think that I wear my heart of my sleeve, but I have been called a closed book on more than one occasion. I’ve always been at a loss as to how to interpret this contradiction and when I was younger it used to make me feel a bit invisible - I was speaking my mind and no one seemed to hear it, and when they did hear it they just didn’t get it. I’m pretty sure that just comes with the territory of being a bit creative and seeing the world in your own way.

I sometimes find it easier to have a genuine conversation with strangers than with people I already know. The pressure to be interesting with people I know can sometimes have a soporific effect on me - it quite literally puts me to sleep! But with strangers there is so little expectation and I find that quite exciting. 

I've been told my whole life that I'm too sensitive. I used to hate it, now I take pride in the fact that I can really feel every moment and every experience. It's not easy, but it makes me feel like I am really living. And as a result, my empathy game is strong. 



Tough or Weak

I'm really strong for my size. I think it comes from years of riding horses that were way too big and strong for me, I was so little growing up that I was determined to seem really tough by going for the biggest and flightiest horses. And strangely enough I've never had a broken bone. I had three horses when I was younger, not at the same time, and spent most of my life before London in a field trying to catch a wayward pony.

Life with a dog


Passionate About

I never feel so free as I do when I'm working overseas with my camera, telling people’s stories through my pictures and helping to give a voice to issues that sometimes go unheard. Whenever I catch 11:11 on my watch (which is surprisingly often) and I go to make a wish, I always wish to be happy in life. One time recently, when I was traveling and photographing for work, I went to make that wish and just... didn’t. In that moment, I was the happiest. I also feel happiest when I'm on a horse, but sadly that doesn't happen so often these days. 

I used to love the thought of journaling. I would buy so many blank books and get so excited about the idea of filling them with amazing thoughts and stories. But I would always write a few lines and just... abandon them. It drove my parents crazy, and I just couldn’t explain it! But the minute I would start writing, the whole process made me cringe and felt so wrong to me. I stopped buying journals and started Nishaantishu, and writing to you all never makes me cringe. I always felt like I had a need to create something, but it just took me a while to find the right outlet.



Switched Off

I love watching documentaries! I rarely go the the cinema and I find it really difficult to watch shows like Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black - they make me so anxious, Adam says it’s because I’m too sensitive. Like the ending of the last season of Game of Thrones? Just reading about it disturbed me. I physically couldn't watch that. But I love the plot and intrigue so if I can't find a spoiler online I make Adam explain the story to me in detail – just not the upsetting bits. I guess I just think life is disturbing enough without having to watch that stuff for entertainment. And shows like oitnb, I just want to yell "sort your life out!!" at the screen non stop. Why can't they just stop being jerks? It's so frustrating. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do binge watch TV like everyone else! I usually go for adventure documentaries and recently we have watched Departures and 180 Degrees South which were really good. Even more than adventure, I love photography documentaries! I’m really looking forward to watching Salt of the Earth, when I can find it online. But I definitely zone out in front of trashy shows too, and my guilty pleasure is the Big Bang Theory – I could watch it for hours along with anything David Attenborough and any cheerful Studio Ghibli film. My great trashy TV love is The Goldbergs though - have you seen it? Oh I love it so much.

Life with a dog


I Believe

I truly believe that the best things that have happened to me in life have come from putting myself in situations where I pretended to know what I was doing, but really I had no idea. I'm an expert at free-falling and making things up on the way down. I hated school growing up and I really didn’t like university all that much, I just wanted to get out into the world and start doing things. I believe in taking opportunities and taking chances – I get scared and I don’t want to do it, but I always make myself because all of the best things in life live on the other side of fear.




Some of my strengths (according to me): I’m fiercely loyal, I’m handy with a camera, I always show up, I’ll try anything once, I always try to put myself in others’ shoes, I keep my word, I'm a good listener.

Some of my weaknesses (according to me): I have a failure to commit when it comes to exercise and healthy eating, often my anxiety levels are off the charts, I can be pedantic, I have trouble letting go of a grudge, I project bad opinions of me onto other people, I doubt myself constantly.



Thanks everyone who asked me some questions for this post, on the blog and on Instagram – it was a lot harder to write than I thought it would be so having questions was super helpful. If I haven’t answered your question here, it's because there's a post dedicated to it coming up. Keep an eye out!