We're here! This may sound obvious, as I've been saying we'd be coming for a few days now, but trust me, it is still impressive we're actually here! We went through bag-drop off and security with a couple of minutes to spare!! Why do you need more, really? It's wasted time.
I could tell you all about this story, but it still stresses me out so we'll move on to the fact we made it to the plane, all four of us. Then there was the view above and let's face it, how not to be soothed by this cotton-y spectacle?
Until you make it to the train with 10 secs to spare and one of you is left behind on the platform! Then you're a bit stressed again and papers are flying and you bash your head onto the little table in between the seats. And you can't open your eyes for the rest of the journey...! At least that puts an end to the stress - que sera, sera!
And then, after what seemed like a chaotically eventful journey, we made it to our destination and life was good again! We laughed about it all - yep, true! We had some food. We met with old friends and had a good catch up and all was well when it ends well!
Today? Relaxing and slow morning before we head for the BIG wedding! So happy for these two that I have butterflies in my belly! Let the day begin and with it the most beautiful time of our lives... lasting forever!
I could have written a few blog posts to go live when I'm away and ensure I'd keep to my blogging daily challenge that way. I could, but it wouldn't have been the same (to quote a very popular portuguese ad)!
I've read loads about editorial calendars for blogs and how planning your 'content' is good for you. And I'm sure it is for the people writing about it, or those that 'prepare content'. I'm not one of those people. It took me a while to get why I couldn't prepare - nor enjoyed having - an editorial calendar, but now I know - I don't like it. I just write. That is what works for me.
I had no clue what today's post was going to be about and that was fine. I could have written about my journey to London and how I laughed on the bus listening to my favourite podcast! Or how the conference I'm attending is interesting and relevant and makes me love my job even more. Or even still how I'm looking forward to this break and celebrating the happiness of friends as if it were my own, because it is my own!
And then I sat down to write and this came out instead. Isn't writing just wonderful?
Preparing posts in advance is not my thing because I don't feel I'm preparing content as such. I write ramblings and experiences and little snippets of life, and curate that with photos I like and if I'm lucky, photos I love. Is that content? Yes, by the definition of the word content, yes it is. This blog is made up of content! But to me there's a difference in form that makes me feel like I don't prepare content - it comes out and goes live.
Some bloggers out there, some of whom I read and admire, spend a lot of time preparing their content; they research the topic, consider angles, write ahead of time and edit on a different day, curate with photos, and tweak the post further; finally, they time it and make it go live when they're asleep (this seems to be a thing!). I do one and half of these!
So... I write and curate content, but I don't prepare content as such, in my humble view and new invented definition of prepare. And that is ok! There isn't a life changing message with this post, but if I had to pick one, it would be this:
It's ok not to go with the trend and do your own thing, even if that thing seems odd to others. Why wouldn't you plan your content if that makes life easier? Well, because it takes the fun out of sitting down to write! Next!
Enjoy the weekend and my non-messages and blue skies or whatever the weather gods give you!
I'm going to Holland for a few days, starting tomorrow evening. I can't wait! There will be a wedding of dear, dear friends, and there will be restful days and a lie in, please! There will be photography and reading and sightseeing and more chillin', because my head needs it more than my body.
Little Olivia has invited a couple of human friends over to look after her; clever girl, this one. They have stayed before, enjoyed it and weren't put off by her inconvenient wake up times - it's a win! Let's see how they cope with the constant branch gathering she does with her fur... watch this space!
The real writing every day challenge starts tomorrow. Up until now, this challenge has been a walk in the park, except it hasn't, but it's been fun and relatively easy. Much like when I did this challenge in November, it's all about just doing it. And once you accept you'll be doing it, you just do it and that's that; it really is that simple. But...
Being away changes everything! What if I don't have internet connection? It has happened before... I know... shocking, but true! What if I dance so much my feet tell my hands not to type? It's possible, they talk! We can't really predict what's going to happen when we remove our systems and safety nets. And yet there's always a phone, and wifi, and a LOT of determination to make it work... once again, watch this space!
Month five and - yep! - I still very much love this project and love even more that I'm doing it. I also love this month's mosaic, love love love! There seems to be a lot of love going on here... and there is!
I reached the lowest point in the project so far in May and realised a couple of useful things from it. Number 1: things improve when I write about them; the written reflection really helps me see through the mist, clear my head, gain perspective and focus on the important bits - it's great! Number 2: nothing lasts forever, which is fantastic when you're going through a low point; it too, shall pass, just hang in there!
May is a beautiful month in the UK and then there's Olivia, beautifying the world by existing, so we're good. There was Pimms, yarn, running, sewing, good food, good coffee, a photo walk, and as per usual, lots and lots of little Olivia.
I woke up. I ran 4K. I had breakfast. With a proper cappuccino, gotta love Nespresso. I got to work. I had another coffee, a cappuccino from Costa's this time, catch up with colleagues on the way to get it and back. That's good. Back to the desk. Work. Work. Work. Pause with homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Meeting. Lunch. Work. Work. Work. Meeting. Meeting. Work. Work. Work. Home. Cuddle Olivia. Cook dinner. Put the washing on. Eat. Sit down. See photos, oh so pretty, oh so amazing, oh wow! Write. Publish post. More photos? More laundry? Sleep? The evening is my oyster!
Today was the day to focus on the wants and let go of the shoulds, even if just a bit. The garden still got tendered to, the house still had a good clean, but above all - I chilled!
I read in the garden, soaking up the sun and not minding the time. So nourishing for the soul!!
And a little bit of Sunday wisdom, from... the Peanuts!
Olivia learned how to use the cat flap. She keeps coming in and out for the sake of it, making the most of her new found freedom and yet not quite sure what to do with it. The flap itself is currently more interesting than the outside world... wait, what am I saying? All those puddles to jump on and invisible bugs to chase and hidden corners to explore... yeah, all of it is her favourite right now. It's amazing to watch and even better to still have her come to the lap for some cuddle time at the end of the day... that is my favourite!
I flew home after work today - because I can be that fast on my bike if I so wish, yeah! (not) - to enjoy the sunshine in the garden. With Olivia. And a G&T. On my sun lounger. And it felt amazing!
Summer - I have missed you! You were so fabulous last year, so fabulous!, that I thought it fair to let you go when the time came, make others happy, and patiently wait my turn again. I was getting a bit on edge feeling that my turn was due and then today, there you were - everywhere!
Bright blue skies. My favourite!
Sunbathing. My favourite!
Chillin' in the garden. My favourite!
Thank you for coming back, my dearest friend; you have been missed and you will be cherished here!
There was a plan this morning - to leave early and photograph in town on this beautiful day. After all, it's been far too long since I photographed the Radcliffe Camera and mornings are my favourite.
Yes, that was the grand plan. But then the above (and below) happened and the plan had to change. I mean, it just had to. This week has been busy and I think little miss may be missing my attention. I sure miss our little moments of chillin' together as if nothing else needed doing. Ever.
Cats, and pets in general, are a great reminder to pause. Pause and absorb life whilst being still for a moment. After all the play and chaos and hair that needs constant hoovering, a pause to just be and enjoy it.
So, my camera won't be filled with images of the beautiful Oxford buildings on this sunny morning, but oh my do I feel calm and relaxed and prepared for the day after a cuddle with little Olivia!
I went to a fantastic talk today by Thomas L. Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer-prize winner and New York Times columnist who seems to win a prize for pretty much everything he writes. He's an amazing speaker and his talk was, above all, a lesson in communication! One thing in particular stayed with me - a column is meant to provoke.
The moment he said it, I felt like grabbing a pen (or my laptop, let's be practical) and writing away. I'm not controversial nor particularly thought-provoking with my writing, but that one sentence inspired me to get those thoughts out through my fingers and that's a feeling that must not be wasted! I thought back to my favourite columnists - all Portuguese, a clear gap in my British education which must be addressed asap! - trying to recall if they were, indeed, provoking. And they are. They're funny and inspiring and enlightening; sometimes they're trivial, other times they make me feel like we'll change the world together.
Outside the realm of this blog, I am a passionate person, that doesn't shy away from a good debate, on any topic, from politics to football to science. I tend to have strong opinions on the subjects I know, and I enjoy learning from people I respect on things I have no clue about. I'm open, a bit too honest and quite straightforward.
Here though, it's a different story. The thing is, I'm not sure I want it to be that different anymore! But...
There are reasons as to why the writing is tamer than real life. The main one is perhaps that I've been a nostalgic writer for most of my life; writing was a soul cleansing exercise for me up until quite recently. Secondly, there's always that thing at the back of my head going on and on about too much exposure to the whole wide world, because, really, you never know who's reading. And finally, what you out on the internet stays on the internet forever and that's bloody scary! I treasure growing and evolving and changing opinions and perspective on things; I feel that the public written word carries too much weight at times and you'll forever be pulled back to that one moment when you've written something you no longer defend.
So that's where I'm at right now. Just so you know! A pretty great and inspired Monday, with plenty of thought-provoking things for me to mull over. And to think I'm considering to blog everyday for May on top of it... will I?
I did it! I blogged every single day in November. Some posts are better than others, some posts I like more than others, but... I did it.
This challenge helped me in more ways than one and definitely in ways I couldn't have predicted when I decided to do it. November was a tough month for me; frequently I felt the ground beneath me being swept away as I just stood there, falling through it to nowhere. And then I would sit down to blog and life would go back to a relative normality and order. It was just what I needed!
From a blogging point of view, this challenge proved to me that I can do this and, much more importantly, that I really want to do this. I love blogging! I love how it makes me focus, photograph, write, gain perspective. It really is my thing and now I know it!
It was great to have a companion on this journey; Nicky blogged throughout November has well. He wrote a fantastic post on what he thought of the challenge and how he sees blogging now. I really relate to his views of blogging as a journal and accepting not being widely-read, or as he puts it, an exclusive blog! I particularly enjoyed the fact that he never seemed to use shortcuts, unlike yours truly; his posts always had a decent piece of writing in them, much to my delight.
Together with A Year of Mornings, the 30 day blogging challenge is also pushing me to take on a 365 photo project. Whether I do it or not remains to be decided, but the seed is most definitely there!
I've been humming and hawing about doing a 30-day blogging challenge. I've confered with my running and blogging buddy and he says I'm mad!
The context is this: I have a full time job, I'll be training for a sub-hour 10k (that's seven minutes to shave off my current time!) after the Oxford half-marathon in mid-October, I have lots of sewing to do, a business to launch, photographs to take, a life to live, and a boyfriend.
But... The question chases me. Can I write for 30 days straight? The answer is yes, actually, I know I can (part of my job is writing, so writing on demand is easy!). The true question is - can I blog for 30 days straight? To me, this means writing and editing and photographing and, finally, publish.
And the more I think about it, the more I really want to do it. It sounds like a lot of work and a lot bit challenging, but achievable; my absolute favourite! I reckon that with a bit of planning, I can do it and push my blogging further; I will be more creative, write more, photograph better, edit efficiently, and have fun! Famous last words.
That's it then - I'm doing it. Watch this space for details.
Blogging. Is it about the writing? Is it about the photography? Or is it about both?
It’s definitely both for me. As I think of the summer drawing to an end, the autumn fast approaching, and the projects I'd like to accomplish creatively, I discover that whilst writing is definitely my first creative love, I've since grown to embrace other arts with the same passion. And there's space for all of it in my heart, if not time.
What do I fancy writing about? I carry an A5 notebook with me ever since I can remember. They've changed in brand, and they've gone from lined to plain - my absolutely favourite to write on - but they haven't changed in size.
Until I was 27, I used to write thoughts in my notebooks all the time. Always in black ink. Mostly nostalgic and sad and raw. I found myself in my writing and I needed it to deal with whatever happened. That was how I made sense of the world, life, change, growing up. It was my way through everything and anything and it really worked for me. Until it didn't.
One day, writing made me sad. One day, my writing wasn't the way to deal with my nostalgia and sadness anymore, it was the cause of it. I realised that if I kept that pen off the paper, I could just enjoy things. The world, even my own, didn't need all that analysing and rawness; it needed life. Except that this realisation didn't happen in a day, it took over three years. Since I'd known myself, writing had been my coping mechanism and working out how that was changing for me wasn't easy. I had also forgotten the light side, the writing just for the sake of it rather than to explain myself to myself.
I started this blog and writing in English made me find just that. All of the sudden, I was silly and lighthearted. My nostalgia didn't translate easily and I let my cheerful side roam free; best thing I ever did!
All of that said and I still haven't answered the question. What do I fancy writing about? That's the one thing that hasn't become easier... I don't know. I enjoy opening Typepad's editor and seeing it blank and fill it with words, thoughts, things that go through my head, much like before but happy. I love the randomness and I love the blank canvas ready for me. My notebook is still my trustworthy companion, but it sees different action now; I write plans and ideas and dreams and to do lists, more than stories... I think that will change again...
Where does photography fit in? It makes me happy. And that's it, for now.
P.S. - Writing is actually incredibly good for you!
I write and photograph, and am a lover of natural light and colour. I also sew and make things, all sorts of things. I believe in simplicity and that smiles make the world spin faster!
Originally from Portugal, I now live in the magical city of Oxford, UK.Welcome to my online space, I'm thrilled to have you here.
I'd love to hear from you! Email me.
All words and photos are my own, unless otherwise stated.
Please do not reproduce without my permission. If you would like to use a photo, please link back to this site and give credit.
Profile photo by Vivacious Mel Photography.