Road trip "up north"!

We had a very exciting trip planned this Saturday to drive up to North Wales to pick up some rare car parts (clearly you can see the influence of my fiancé on trip planning here!) finishing off with a visit to some very dear friends and a huge curry! I decided to document the day, but kind of forgot after 6 hours of driving but here's 9am - 6pm for you :)

9am - Coffee time! Black for me and "white with one" for the fiancé.

10am - Loading up and setting off! Check out our funky retro transit van!

11am - On the road, the weather was typical British Summer (i.e sun, rain and everything in between!) Snacking on Pizza and posing at our services stop :)

1pm - Endless traffic jams on the Motorway (M6 for anyone interested / UK based!) Meant I had plenty of opportunities to take some out the window shots of the the northern countryside as we headed up to North Wales for our first stop.

4pm - And then the weather REALLY kicked in!

4:30pm - Some details on the huge truck next to me!

4:30pm - And then some cows on their own day out!

5pm - Finally we pulled off the motorway, past some urban art and a sculpture of one of our Gold Medal winning Olympian Velodrome riders made of hay!

5:15pm - And arrival at our car parts and loading into the van! 

After this it was all about time with friends and a big Northern Curry and then the trip home! We finally got in at 2am on Sunday after 500miles and about 9.5 hours of driving! It was an adventure!

Simplicity: Work // Life Balance

Ahh the old Work Life Balance, so easy to say, so hard to achieve (well if you are me anyway) Ever since I have started work I have been one of those people that give their ALL to whatever job they have with varying degrees of appreciation and payback over the years. In the sales and retail jobs I started out with, with limited connectivity and technology, this was ok, 9 – 5, with a “hard stop” after that and at weekends, and a natural balance to both. Since joining the "hard core corporate" world 8 years ago, there was a huge shift, both for good and bad. For good in that I work for a company that rewards hard work both financially and in terms of recognition. For bad in that in I could actually and almost have worked 24/7 at this job at times! Because the pay off is so good, the temptation for someone who is already a workaholic and a “high achiever” is HUGE! I have been number one in my role twice in 3 years, and have become quite adept at holding up glassware on stage to clapping (see photo!) I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. Technology and connectivity means that everyone is to some extent “always on” these days though, more and more we all send and respond to work e mails in evenings and weekends.  And over the last few years in line with my increased work hours have increased the following: Migraines, IBS, neck pain and tiredness. And I began to notice that the top 3 people in the photos above (the “At work Jules” ) had split farther and farther away from the “Non work Jules “ (the bottom 2 photos)

Part of the reason for me starting this blog a year plus ago was to force myself into doing something creative outside work, and it started me on a journey of re discovering my own loveliness (to reference this post) I realised that spending your evenings and weekends sleeping and taking pain medication to get over the working week, ready to face it again on Monday, however much I might love my job was not ideal AT ALL! So although I have to fight the tendency to be the first / best / top / hardest working employee ever, I have learned that that sometimes means I am the most irritable / tired / ill friend / fiancée and daughter. And that there IS a balance. It’s not something I hit every time, in fact its probably more of a see saw than a balance, but I put strategies in place these days to make sure that I notice when I flip too much one way, and I know what to do to flip it back again :) Crucial in this are my key relationships who usually snap me out of Work Jules and make me have FUN instead! And also pushing myself to be creative which for me is mostly photography as you know :)


Last weekend we had an AWESOME adventurous day out at Silverstone Race Track for the huge annual Ford Fair - thousands upon thousands of every type of Ford and Ford fan!. Even at 8am we had to queue to get in and some people even trailered their cars in for their track sessions. We took the XR 4x4 Sierra out on the track for two 20 minute sessions and it was amazing to drive the actual Grand Prix track! Not that I was driving, I was hanging on for dear life to the grab handle on the door!! Fun times :)

Ominous Skies

The weather  here in the UK continues to be "unstable" with either lovely warm and sunny days or cloudy grey skies and heavy rain. Sometimes only B&W will "suit" a scene, and for me these cloudy ominous skies before a storm were perfect for some contrasty / grainy / vignett-y (no that isn't a word!) photography!