217/365 Team Meeting

By the river in Runnymede in 30 degree sunshine in the last days of September! Thats got to be good all round! :) Runnymede is famous for being the site of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. There's not really much there in terms of that, but it IS some fabulous hills and meadows with the river Thames running through it, which on a day like today is a pretty perfect place to hang out! And an awesome choice for a team meeting :)

216/365 Contemplative or Meditative Photography

I found this great article in an online Photo blog I subscribe to about contemplative or meditative photography. Really interesting slant, and something I can so identify with. For me, I do "loose myself" when shooting, it's that wonderful state where you are concentrating on one thing only, and completely aware of that and nothing else. I think one of my favourite things about the 365 project is instead of "turning on" my photographic eyes now and then when I have a camera in hand, I now feel like I see always with photographic eyes. Which for me means I see the interesting and the beautiful in the everyday. Driving to work this morning and stuck in commuter traffic, I wasn't stressing about being late, I was looking in amazement at the spider webs covered in dew, glowing in the morning sunlight looking like exquisite jewellery, I was looking at the newly cut grass like a velvet ribbon, I was watching birds of prey circling above the hills (and wishing I could ditch work and spend time photographing it all of course!) It also makes you look at photos differently, I like this shot above because its not really about the grass and the water, but the colours and the patterns, and I made it deliberately abstract so that  it's more about the feeling of calm, than it is about "what it is" :)

215/365 Escape to the River!

The river Thames to be exact! at 1345 today, I had a last minute call cancel, and thought "I can either sit at my desk and hypnotise myself with e mails for an hour... or.... " And so escape it was! I just love this place, 2 minute drive from work, and I am in another place, another time, another head space *smile*

214/365 A to Z of me!

I found this cool A - Z meme on one of my favourite blogs and decided to do my own! .....

A. Age: 37
B. Bed size: Double, with King size, SUPER warm duvet ….. mmm SOFT!
C. Chore that you hate: Cutting grass! Always seems so much work, but then actually I really enjoy being out in the garden AND when it looks all neat afterwards!
D. Dogs: Not a fan, especially when running, I had one bite my bum as I ran past once! I really did!
E. Essential start to your day: TEA! I love it! And coffee too!
F. Favorite color: Pink
G. Gold or Silver: Both! I love silver, yellow gold but most especially rose gold, and wear them (against all etiquette rules) all mixed up together and at once.
H. Height: 5’4”
I. Instruments you play: None L But I do like to sing (not sure how well though!)
J. Job title: Account Manager (full time) Photographer (part time and in my dreams!)
K. Kids: None so far. Would love at least one one day :)
L. Live: Windsor
M. Mother’s name: Carol
N. Nicknames: Mum and Dad call me Sherpa Tinks! (Sherpa – because I always liked to “scout” ahead on our family walking holidays, and Tinksfrom Tinkerbell I think – famously feisty fairy from Peter Pan!) Dad and most men in my life always seem unprompted to call me Trouble (can’t think why!) And my BFF calls me PW (after my “burlesque stage name” Peaches Wiggles!)
O. Overnight hospital stays: None! Thank God! I hate hospitals!
P. Pet peeves: Messiness!
Q. Quote from a movie: “We want cakes and the finest wines known to humanity!” (Withnail &I)
R. Right or left handed: Right
S. Siblings: None!
U. Underwear: “Brazilian” knickers (apparently!)
V. Vegetable you hate: hmm none really, but fruit – nearly ALL – I am allergic to most fruits as well, which is a happy coincidence J
W. What makes you run late: Drinking another cup of tea or coffee, always!
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth and ankles, broken the same ankle about 3 times I think! Careless or what?
Y. Yummy food that you make: Flapjacks, Cookies, Peanut Butter, Lasagne…. Yep I like to cook!
Z. Zoo animal: Tigers, has to be :)

213/365 Sometimes it's the simplest things...

....that cause the most pleasure day after day :) This solid wood butchers block chopping block was only about £8 but I LOVE it! We use it every day, and to keep it looking gorgeous all you do is regularly oil it to keep it in great condition! Perfect :)

212/365 Photos everywhere!

I love all the different things you can do with photos these days, some of my favourite and the photo books (who doesn't like to feel they have had their own work published!) and these photo montages, a real cool way to mix up some images and present a modern display.

210/365 Land Ahoy!

We all know I am a sucker for any kind of "recognition" from my company, but this compass is not only a lovely award to get because it's beautifully made and something I genuinely love to look at and play with, but also because it came as a result of my peers voting for me as being someone they can come to for help and support and is engraved on the box "Peer Award  - Helping others on their journey" Cute!

209/365 Vintage vibe!

Loving having photos everywhere at home, and on my dressing table in particular, and thought the layout with the dark wood and china dishes was oh so very "Downton Abbey" (my new TV crush!)

208/365 How come my man's car washing kit is bigger than my make up kit?

206/365 Stack it!

Mashing up some gold, silver and antique platinum, why not?

205/365 Windowsill good vibes :)

Some Celestite crystal, Rose quartz and a cute wooden icon from Cyprus to spread some good "vibage" while we sleep :)

204/365 Autumn evenings

Skittering of leaves, crisp sunny days, burnt orange and reds, and candles in the fireplace in the evening with a nice glass of Merlot :)

203/365 200 days of 365 !!!!!

Sometimes easy, some days hard but either // or as they say I have got to day 200! woo hoooo!

202/365 Got to match your nails to your car right?

201/365 Every house should have its own service centre right?

I found this cool retro style sign on Amazon and just had to buy it for the man who loves Fords in my life!

200/365 Last shot before it goes "off road"

And I don't mean rallying! :) But just for some TLC. awwww!

198/365 I'm a big fan of water anyway

and cucumber too! So when I stumbled upon a recipe online for cucumber water, I thought I would give it a whirl! It's really refreshing and I am sure would be lovely with a hot of my current alcoholic favourite Zubrowka Polish Vodka made with bison grass you know! mmmm....

197/365 I'm actually glad its getting to Autumn!

Because I have become so fed up of the humid hot days which were "summer" this year (coldest // wettest summer in UK since 1993 apparently..) At least as we move into autumn we are getting some cool bright sunny days, and it's making me want to get out and start running again...

196/365 The joy of a man and a DIY project!

195/365 - 20 ways to boost your immune system!

  1. Eat loads of vegetables and fruit - As well as ensuring you get the right levels of vitamins and minerals, eating at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day has been linked to lower levels of cancer.
  2. Eat yoghurt or take a probiotic supplements - Studies have shown that people who do have fewer colds than people who don’t.
  3. Eat Vitamin C rich foods or take a vitamin C supplement
  4. Eat plenty of red foods - The red in foods like tomatoes comes from an antioxidant called lycopene, which keeps white cells in the blood (which help to fight infection) in peak condition. Processed tomatoes are a better source of lycopene than raw, so eat plenty of tomato sauces, juice and ketchup.
  5. Stop smoking (doh!) - Smokers suffer higher levels of respiratory infection than non-smokers as well as having higher risks of a whole raft of other diseases.
  6. Exercise moderately but don't overtrain - Working out for up to 45 minutes minutes, 3-5 times per week makes immune cells more active, with some studies showing that people who exercise had half the sick leave days of those who did not. However, extended exercise can do the opposite. Long sessions of high intensity exercise like 90 minutes of running raise levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol which can suppress immune-system activity for up to 3 days. So, if you do, make sure that you drink 1 litre of a glucose drink every hour of exercise as the sugar can cause the adrenal gland to release less cortisol.
  7. Get enough sleep - Sleeping less than 7 hours per night can double the chance of coming down with an infection as during deep sleep your body increases production of natural killer cells.
  8. Wash your hands - Studies have shown that people who wash their hands at least 5 times per day cut their risk of cold and other infections by half.
  9. Listen to music - Listening to your favourite music for half an hour per day raises levels of IgA, a protein that indicates how fast your immune system responds.
  10. Get a pet - Petting a dog or cat for 18 minutes raises IgA levels 12%
  11. Have sex (woo hoo!) - Having sex once or twice a week improves IgA levels too, and having an orgasm releases opioid peptides that enhance immune activity and kill bad bacteria.
  12. Eat garlic - Garlic contains at least 25 antibacterial and antifungal compounds so really does help beat infection.
  13. Eat more fibre - Fibre helps promote friendly bacteria in your gut, so helping to fight digestive infections.
  14. Drink cranberry and blueberry juice - They are full of antioxidants called flavonoids.
  15. Don't take antibiotics too often - Most viruses like colds and flu cannot be helped by antibiotics and taking them can kill the friendly bacteria in your body. So, take them sparingly, only when you really need them and they are appropriate and make sure you help replace the friendly bacteria with probiotic yoghurt.
  16. Drink lots of water - Making sure you are hydrated can help keep mucus membranes like those that line your respiratory tract moist and healthy, thus helping to prevent infection.
  17. Resist rubbing eyes and face - You carry many bacteria on your hands, by rubbing your face you can transfer them to your eyes and mouth, thus 'catching' the cold.
  18. Take a good nutritional supplement every day - It is always best to get the vitamins and minerals you need through your diet, but for that added bit of insurance take a good multivitamin and mineral tablet.
  19. Take Echinacea - Studies have shown that taking Echinacea helps reduce the chance of infection. However to get the best benefits, make sure you take it over limited periods of time with breaks in between.
  20. Reduce stress - Many studies have proven the link between stress and illness, making people 3 times more likely to catch colds. Reduce the stress in your life and if you are going through a period of stress you can't avoid, make sure you put time aside for yourself to relax. Also watch your favourite comedy films as a good laugh can counteract many of the effects of stress.
No more tonsillitis for me! Although i notice it doesn't mention the medicinal properties of alcohol..... damn!

194/365 Congratulations to my Darling Man!

Who is this mysterious man.... Walking the streets of Bloomsbury all gowned and hatted?

Yes it's my darling boyfriend! I was lucky enough to be invited to his graduation for his Masters Degree yesterday, and I got to go and clap and proudly watch him be recognised for his achievements :) Such a fun day! Although the weather would NOT play ball and we ran from the University to the venue and back again in torrential rain, but it did add a certain surreality to the days events, hundreds of gowned men and woman running through the rain with mortar boards on!

And here he is at the champagne reception with his proud Mum and Dad!

And with me, his super proud girlfriend! :)

Days like these, it makes me so so happy to be a photographer and to be able to capture these moments forever. And to have this blog, and share them all with you! 

193/365 The car and I went for a run!

We went trail running in the park :) Can you tell?

192/365 Hot baby yeah!

If you remember this post you will know we are now proud owners of our own chilli plant, which is just bursting with fruit (are chilli's fruit?) I did another "harvest" today and dried some more, and made a pretty cool and tasty bottle of chilli oil! YUM!

By the way it really IS true that cutting chillis and then rubbing your eyes with your hands without washing them well first is a very stupid thing to do... apparently... I mean I am just guessing here......

191/365 Chant with me "Om....."

I am SO FED UP of getting over this tonsillitis! Today am trying to calm myself with some reading and incense burning, of which this is my all time favourite. Wish me luck!

190/365 Mid Year Review! - I passed :)

Terrible how corporate work speak creeps into "normal life".... however, you may remember my 2011 goal board from the start of the year, well I decided that I had achieved most of what I wanted to on it, and the rest wasn't exciting me any more, so I thought I would give it a re fresh for the final few months of the year. As you can see the main concentration for me from now is the whole work / life balance. Freeing up time I have been spending working outside work hours, and concentrating more on creative projects. Keeping the emotional and physical "batteries" topped up, and not allowing myself to get so overwhelmed by work and work pressure that the rest of my life is just spent recovering from it. I have some exciting photography projects in the pipeline, and maybe even a second blog.. watch this space! :) 

PS I just found this super great article on how to create a "Vision Board" (as the author calls it) Check it out for some ideas if you are not sure where to start!

189/365 Timeout

It would be an understatement to say my job is full on and stressful....most days the stress levels seem to be those of an A&E department, yet no one has yet died of not having enough IT Research to my knowledge :) It's one of those jobs where the number of things that "absolutely have to be done NOW!!" far far exceeds the amount of hours in the day to do them. In fact they conducted a time and motion study of my group this time last year and worked out that on average we all work about another 2-3 hours a day than we are paid to.Despite my best intentions to do what I can and not worry about the rest, I find myself over and over again falling into the trap of logging on at 6am, working through lunch, and continuing when I get home. Then an evening or a weekend is spent sleeping and trying to recover from it, but the thinking and analysing never stops even then. The "net net" of this (as they say!) is that after 8 - 12 weeks of this I am literally crawling on hands and knees towards a holiday, and then often find my body just "gives up" and I get a migraine or tonsillitis etc etc. SO having conducted a "mid year review" (more to follow) of what's important to me and what I would still like to work on before the end of 2011, I have decided to stop the 6am working, and get OUT of the office for my lunch break everyday. I am lucky to be situated right next to about 3 beautiful riverside / park locations 5 min drive from the office. So yesterday I drove to one, taking a book, had a little lunch, a read, called me mum and chatted and generally allowed myself to breathe in and out calmly, and felt SO much better for it. I am always talking to my clients about the pressure we all face now to work 24/7, and it seems to be the same in most corporate environments. I guess its partly economically motivated, everyone wants to work hard, get bonuses, keep their job. Every company has reduced headcount, and increased individuals workload - mine has tripled since when I started 7 years ago. Also there is now a blurred line between what is "home life" and what is "work life". Employers are I think now more flexible about working from home if you need to, of taking time out in the day to go to the doctors etc. On the flip side, there is a subtle expectation that really you should always be contactable. ALWAYS. At weekends, evenings, on holiday, at Christmas etc. It can't really be good for people mentally and emotionally, let alone for the company motivation and productivity wise in the long run. So maybe I will start a one woman campaign, I always fancied myself as a Wolfie style character (Citizen Smith - does anyone remember that?) *wink*