Have you ever just wanted to go away to a place that feels like the middle of nowhere? Stay in a cottage with a real fire and barely any phone signal, lots of nature all around you so you can really unwind? Pete, Scampi and I did and it was pretty sweet.
Dolydd Cottage where we stayed is a beautiful cottage in a great location, I easily could have stayed for longer/forever, and we were also we were welcomed with a plate of welsh cakes which were delicious!
The owners were so friendly, one morning they offered us carrots to feed the animals on the farm before we whizzed off for a day out. Totally unexpected but so enjoyable, I mean who doesn't want to do that?!
Last month I travelled up to London to this brand new event, armed with my Notebook, my oyster card, a lot of enthusiasm, a few nerves, and just my phone for photo taking.
The day for me was not about picture taking, and I wanted to be in the moment and soak up as much as possible, so the cameras did stay at home. Plus I am finally having fun again taking photos on my phone, using different apps and whatnot, and fun is important! Wooo!
'Speak Now '19' was an event organised by the brilliant Marianne Chua, so when I first heard about it I knew I had to go, and I was not dissapointed.
Thanks to a delayed train I along with a few other ladies rushed into Islington Metal Works, got signed in and went to find an available seat.
Laura Babb had already started her talk on 'Presenting like a Boss' but I have to say what I caught was great. I've heard of Babbs before and heard a lot of praise about the SNAP Photography Festival, so there was a sence for me honestly of "Oh cool! It's that really great person I follow online, in real life, like, right over there!... sweet..." which sounds so silly to admit but I think we've all done that a couple of times haven't we? I felt that a few times that day anyway...
Between the mad busy-ness of September and the mad busy-ness of October this year, I had a week away with my parents, my sister, her husband and their daughter, along with my Husband and our dog.
Firstly, I have to say that I've had such a busy year which has been ridiculously busy at times. It's been such a great year with my business but a week physically away from home was something I desperately needed.
Secondly, we stayed at the nicest possible place I could have hoped for in order for this well needed break. If you are looking for a staycation in Dartmoor or Devon in general, somewhere that's just out of the way enough to feel in the middle of no where, but somewhere were you're still able to go to the shops for essentials, have a trip to a nice local pub or two, or just somewhere for a great long walk, I could not recommend West Nymph Holiday Cottages highly enough.
The converted barn we stayed in "Holly Hock Cottage" (total coincidence with the matching name) could not have been more beautiful, cosy and clean. The main bathroom had a humungous shower that I enjoyed dancing like this in whenever I had a shower in it. Something that makes my heart happy as well is a curved free standing bath, so you better believe I was grinning like a fool when I was having a soak in that beast!
“The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
I always remember HATING having my photo taken as a kid, and apart from an awkward embarrassing selfie phase I’m sure most teenagers go through (..please tell me I’m not alone? Every MySpace profile needed about a dozen of them right?!) I’ve never been comfortable or confident in front of a camera.
About two years ago I finally decided enough was enough and I’ve been on a personal mission to get more comfortable with having the camera turned on me. It seemed silly to be so scared of being in front of it and so happy behind it, especially as I know how photo shoots with the right photographers are such great confidence boosters and important in documenting milestones.
When I turned twenty-five I had something of a mini mid-midlife crisis. Among many things I felt that it was such a shame that I let my very normal personal hang ups, depression and anxiety take the reigns and have so much influence over so many of my decisions. Not doing something out of choice is one thing, not doing something out of fear is different. I’ve never wanted to be centre of attention, I’m much happier floating around on the edges doing my own thing. I am quite chatty most of the time yes, but at my core I am a huge introvert, and if you meet me in person you’ll likely see me wearing my glasses and wearing no make up.
So recently I stepped out from behind the camera again for Amanda Herbert, I took off my specs and put on some make up. If you don’t know who Amanda is please go check out her work because it’s so good and she’s so lovely.
Every time I do a shoot like this I honestly do learn so much about what it might feel like for my clients and it definitely helps me keep developing as a photographer and change my approach. It's great to also model for a friend like I did with Amanda because you really can relax a lot more, bounce ideas off each other and not feel scared to try new things.
Two years ago I would NEVER have had the confidence to do something like this, yet alone post the results on the internet, and if I'm honest I don't think I will be doing it again for a long time, I'm happiest and feel more myself being the photo taker.
Am I perfect? No. Do I think I am in any way perfect? Oh hell no! But I think every single person on the planet should have as much fun as possible while they're still on it, try different things and not let those pesky personal hang ups or other issues hold you back too much. Photos really aren’t fatal, so what if you get a bad photo of yourself? And if you get a great one taken by someone as talented as Amanda you’ll definitely walk on with a bit more spring in your step.
Thank you so much Amanda, you rock! 📷
Love & stuff