New Beginnings

See the warm glow and beautiful autumnal light in these photos? That was about the last time I thought about this poor blog of mine. Actually no that's not true, I've thought about it a lot, but that was the last time I had a chance to consider creating anything for it. I was in France with Tania and we were talking about content and cameras and being creative for ourselves, it was the best of times.

This past year, 2017, was a rough one for my blog. It was the year I went freelance and all of a sudden had to decide where I wanted to focus my priorities. I had become a full time freelancer to work on building myself up as a photographer and that's where I put all my attention, every little bit of it, and so this little space of mine took a back seat.

Now that the new year has started and 2018 is in full swing, I feel a bit more on top of things and quite excited to start sharing again. It's important as this is the space where I get to be creative for myself instead of for my clients. Being creative for yourself is important for growth I think, so I want to keep at it and not give up on this little blog of mine which has already been responsible for so much of my own personal growth - I count it as one of the top three driving factors that pushed me to become a photographer! If it weren't for the work I poured into this blog all those years ago, the feedback I got from so many of you on my photos and the encouragement, I may not have noticed that I was any good - or at least good enough to make a career out of it!

For the past few months I've been coming up with ideas on how and what to share here. Last year I tried YouTube which just didn't light me up in the way I hoped it would - it didn't stoke my creative fire so instead of carrying on with it for the sake of my pride, I let it go. I love filming and I love editing, but the content I wanted to share just didn't seem to fit the YouTube way of doing things. I don't love failing at new projects (and who knows maybe I'll pick it up again one day) but it just wasn't for me. Instead I've been daydreaming about some other ideas which I'm hoping to bring to light in the coming months.

I've got a long list of questions to answer in full blog posts on here, I've got a ton of stories and photos to share, and I've got a few new ideas that I'd like to try out as far as content creation goes - but if YOU have anything you'd like to see or hear from me, let me know in a comment below.

It feels so good to be back - it's going to be a good year and I can't wait to share it with you!

p.s. do you like my new blog design?

Be the Light

Some photos from a visit to France with the beautiful Tania and her family, as well as some thoughts on positive anticipation...

If there's one thing this year has taught me is that there is no sense in betting against yourself. It's so tempting to be humble, to say "I'd love to but I probably never will...", or to be down on yourself when someone asks you how you're doing.

If you never try then you'll never fail and there's safety in that. If you never go up against a difficult challenge, if you never put yourself out there to potentially fail and to try again, then you'll never know the heartache of feeling like a failure. But more and more I hear people limiting themselves with their language (me included, btw...) and wrapping all their positives in an ocean of negatives, just to temper expectations. 

Since going freelance I've noticed my tolerance for being defeatist has slowly ebbed away, and I'm the last person to be getting rid of it because I've probably been the worst culprit. It had to get worse before it got better, but I've learned that the words you speak and training your thoughts has such an impact. Saying "never" even if you're hoping for a someday... it means never. You're putting your "nevers" out there to dampen expectation and to be humble, but you're not doing yourself any favours because the more you speak it or think it... the more likely it is to come true.

You have to be your own light, your own biggest fan, and bet on yourself every day even if your only evidence that you may succeed is that you have a heartbeat. You have to be honest, and out loud honest, not just in your head honest. You have to intrust your fears to your closest friends and listen when they tell you why it's going to be ok - and then just let it go. Don't cling doubt like it's a life raft so in the event you go under you'll have that safety net of "I told you so...".

In my experience I've found it's about training my mind to think positive, being conscious of my thoughts and replacing every idea that makes me feel down or anxious with an idea that lifts me up. And the hardest part for me has been training my mouth to follow along on those thoughts - too often I give into sarcasm about myself and my abilities, even the way I'm feeling, and then I walk away feeling like I let myself down. 

I've been working hard every day to keep my mood up. Listening to podcasts, exercising, doing those things I know will keep me happy over being indifferent and tired. I've tried to keep myself in a constant state of "looking forward to" and even just typing that gave me a jolt of excitement for things to come - even if I'm not even aware of them yet, I know good things are coming.

Maybe this post should be the beginning of a new blog series about what I'm doing to slowly train myself to become an optimist... what do you think?

Paris for the Weekend :: TWO

Never in a million years would I ever have thought I would be sitting on a bed, in a hotel, in Guatemala at 7am blogging about a trip to Paris! But don't you just love how life is so strange that way?

On Sunday, after a trip to the Louvre to check out their Islamic wing, my mum and I made our way back up to the Sacré-Cœur to check out the views and have a small lunch before heading back to catch the Eurostar. We had a glass of wine and some escargots (which I'm trying really hard to teach myself to like, I really am) and some moules mariners which were delicious and I devoured in about five minutes flat. I ate so fast because they were so good, but also because I couldn't wait to have a crepe!

I always opt for the traditional lemon and sugar, and although I'm often tempted by the nutella and banana I just can't give up on an old favorite. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend spent with my mum, and we're already planning what to do the next time we visit.

Also, side note about Paris, they have the friendliest taxi drivers!! My mum has an injured foot so we took taxis pretty much everywhere and only once did we have a driver who wasn't chatty, the rest were only to happy to play tour guide. So there you have it, Paris by taxi is pretty fun.

I only just arrived in Guatemala last night and it was really late, so I can't tell you anything about my first impressions. We're in Antigua and I've heard it's beautiful so I'll share what I can as my work schedule allows. And I know it's a long shot, but I'm really crossing my fingers I get to see a sloth while I'm here!

Paris and sloths... I blame the jetlag.

Paris for the Weekend

Oh Paris, what am I going to do with you? Paris is one city that I just can't get my head around. Every time I go, and granted this is only my second visit, I feel like I'm not quite getting to grips with the place, like I'm just not doing it right.

I love it, I love the food and the character of the city, everything it has to offer from art to people watching - but I always leave feeling like I've just scratched the surface. Probably because I need to go and visit for longer than just a weekend. I'm not sure that's such a good idea though because I would probably end up eating all the cheese and all the bread, there would be nothing left for anyone else!

This time we didn't stay in an airbnb, we stayed in a hotel and it wasn't anything special so I won't link to it. Two places we did visit however, that I would absolutely reccommend, are the Place des Vosges, where we sat outside and had a lovely glass of wine and listened to a string quart playing in the background. We did a lot of shopping that day and frankly it was lovely just to put our feet up, have a drink and watch the world go by. The second place we visited for breakfast the next day was Les Deux Magots - a beautiful little cafe with delicious food and a wonderful history, some of its regulars included  Léger, Picasso, Hemmingway... you get the idea.

I have more to post on Paris, but I sure do hope you like travel posts because I have lots more in store over the next few months. This coming Tuesday I'm off again and I'm excited to share my adventures!