The day started off glorious, absolutely glorious. As I sat at the table having breakfast, I saw it turn, slowly at first, until that familiar all-covering grey took over the skies. What ensued was depressing and wet and dark. From my desk at work, I saw it turn again into sunshine in all it's autumnal glory.
There's something magical about the autumn light in this country that makes me love it above any other time of the year. I'm a fan of seasons, more than I am of any particular season, but autumn in Britain? Well, autumn here really makes it hard not to pick a favourite!
So when I saw this workshop (Into the Woods: an intimate gathering, celebrating the things we love most of all – sewing, fiber arts, good healthy food, yoga, and the beauty and adventure that can be found out of doors in a New England winter), and the beautiful images, and the scenery, and the cosiness, and the possibility of dedicating a few days to crafts, and chats by the fire, and that sweet feeling of just relaxing, I wanted to jump at it and grab it. But it's far far away and I can't go. I wanted this in the UK, please, pretty please, pleasissimo (made up word, tells exactly what I mean!).
As the sun shines through the window and life feels somewhat wonderful, I realise I'm in need of a holiday. Unusual for me, I'm in need of a holiday where I do nothing, absolutely nothing, because knitting and reading don't count as doing something, everyone knows that. I'd been thinking about a warm sunny break this month, but as I drool over the workshop above (not literally, I'll have you know), I know that I'd much rather a knitting by the fire sort of break. With walks in scenic woods. And photography. And reading. And music in the background. How's that for a Friday dream?
As with most of my dreams, not all but most, I did a feasibility study - which basically means I took to the internet and asked a few questions here and there, or maybe just on Google, always Google, and found a few knitting retreats in the UK. More specific than I was hoping for, but so much better than nothing at all. And of course as luck would have it, dates for this year are not compatible with my availability. Ah... to be within reach of a dream and see it drift away... the pain!
With all else failing around me, I took it upon myself to provide me with a retreat experience, at home. You know, like a pilot for a future real retreat. Sadly one that includes laundry and doing the dishes and hoovering, but hey, I can only make omelettes with the eggs I have at hand. The most important thing is that my home retreat will also feature aforementioned knitting, aforementioned cosy fire warmth, good music, some photography, and - unlike any proper retreat - snuggling with the sleeping beauty below. Guess that makes it the best retreat ever!
And on this note, this daredevil of the home retreats is signing out for a weekend of housework and peace. As if the two could ever go together. Haha! Have a good one too!
Pastel de nata - a typical Portuguese pastry - is internationalising itself, much to the delight of this Portuguese emigrant *insert all sorts of happy faces here*.
Taylor's of Oxford now have it available at a counter near you or not, but it's certainly worth the trip! Admittedly, they need to tweak a thing or two in the recipe to make it just so, but hey, I'm not complaining, they're good enough and I'm happy; did I mention that?
Good as pasteis de nata are, they're not my only source of happiness these days. Last week, I delivered my first ever official training in (and on) communications... and I loved it!
Yes, I've been doing public talks for what feels like fo-re-ver. Yes, I've lost most of the stage freight that comes with it. Yes, I know it thrills me to deliver a message I believe in. Yes, I've been doing the exact same thing one-to-one for years, advising people on public speaking, crowd control, talking to the media, but... this was different; this was a session within a week-long course. Yep, that makes it official in my eyes.
I hope the participants found it useful and inspiring! I hope they took everything they had wanted to take from the session, and a bit more! Workshops are, first and foremost, about the participants and what they make of the experience.
But... if you're a speaker out there trying to dodge an event, don't! You will get so much out of it that you should consider yourself lucky for the opportunity. The funny thing is - what I feel right now is exactly what I tell people when I'm pushing inspiring them to do talks and engage with the world. It's good to be reminded every so often that it really does work like that. Every single word.
Have a lovely week everyone :)
I have to work today, you know, day job work. There's a lot on at the moment and I need a bit of extra time, the sort of time you find on a Sunday. Unlike working at work, it's hard to start when it's the weekend and you're home and there are so many inspiring stories out there competing for your attention. So I've succumbed to those stories for a little while, to get myself fired up and ready!
Humans of New York. I, along with 8 million others, am a fan of this amazing project created by Brandon Stanton. I follow it on Instagram and Facebook, read the blog, and marvel at the strong stories portrayed. I've always been intrigued by how Brandon gets people to open up to him, even more than I was curious about how he got them to accept to be photographed. With a keen interest in street photography - what seems to be a distant goal now for my photography - I wanted to know how he did it all. Turns out, he told a group of students at Dublin just how he does it - it's all down to simple human interaction; isn't it always? It's a brilliant video, do watch it if you can. I also read this post, because I had time (not!), of course...!
Soule Mama's blog. I've been resisting this blog since forever. I love the photography and I love the projects - rope baskets here I come - but I always felt there was no time to be this perfect in life AND maintain a blog about it, so this just added unnecessary pressure to my otherwise sheltered existence. Today, I succumbed. How could you not? And how have I resisted this long? I must have a greater self-control than previously thought... hum... make a mental note of that. I truly appreciate the flow of photographs and text, how the two are not necessarily linked but complement each other beautifully, how it all just flows.
I'm ready for lunch. And then onto a presentation that needs to be informative, inspiring and funny, so I've decided. With coffee, life just tastes better with coffee. Have a lovely Sunday, folks, preferably with plenty of sunshine and time to enjoy it.
I know I've used this image already (and this week, no less), but there's a good reason for it - I just got the book and I haven't yet talked about it.
To say I absolutely love this book is to put it quite mildly! It is SO.VERY.PRETTY! I love the textured cover and the beautifully laid out pages. I love the lack of words, the empty spaces, the colours and the light, and the sweet simplicity of each image. But more than everything, I love the project!
What is the project? A Year of Mornings began as a blog of daily photographs of - you guessed - mornings by Maria and Stephanie. They didn't know each other then and lived 3191 miles apart, but they had a thing or two in common; their incredible aesthetic sense comes to mind right about now!
Ever since getting A Year of Mornings, I've been thinking about daily photo projects. I like the focus of this project better than the usual 365 Photo Projects; but then again, I like the freedom of the 365 Project more... which is quite the contradiction! The point is though, I've been flirting with the idea of starting a 365 Project, with or without a focus... we all know what happened last time I flirted with an idea (oh hello, daily blogging in November!). Will it happen this time? I'm thinking about it.
If you want to read more about A Year of Mornings and how the project started, make sure you read their very inspirational blog.
I've been reading a lot about blogging recently. And I mean a lot. I've been reading about editorial calendars and keeping things interesting and fresh. I've been reading about how you should be yourself. I've been reading about how you should be passionate about your topics. And then I got fed up!
It's all good advice, well written advice that I seeked. I googled all these things I have been reading because I wanted to know more. This happens to me a lot - wanting to know more! When I love something, I'll find out as much as I can about it; it happened with photography, sewing, knitting, blogging... you get the gist. Yet, somewhere along my research journey I lost myself a bit. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing nor why I was reading all those things.
It seems to happen as much as my curiosity; the getting tired of the information, the feeling that I'm lost in it and no longer have a voice, leaving it all behind and going back to just doing it, my absolute favourite!
When I first started blogging, and sewing, and knitting, and photographing, and pretty much anything, I just did it. I wanted to do it and I did it. More often than not, things were good. I kept at it and improved. As I progressed, I became hungry for more knowledge and ways to become even better. This is a good thing, wanting to know more! What isn't a good thing is to get lost in an overwhelming sea of (not always relevant!) information to the point you're no longer doing the thing you're researching about, you're in fact just reading about how you can do it better... but not doing it... and losing your voice in the process.
What saves me, always, is getting fed up of it and taking a step back! It has happened with photography and only now am I finding my way again. With blogging, it was a bit quicker! I had backup; I went back to when it all began, not even this blog, but the one before that - my Portuguese blog. It was all there; my reasons to blog and how to do it.
I blog because I love writing AND love having that record of what my life was like back then (through a window, really, but still! I just discovered this second reason, literally, five minutes ago when I saw all those archives and cherished it so much!). And I can just do it. As I feel like, however I feel like, I can just come here and write to my heart's content. That is what makes me happy! And I should just take that and make it into a yellow balloon of happiness and use it as a reminder of why and how I do the things I love doing.
This hidden post was written in early May. It came after weeks of reading about blogging and wondering why I did it... yet again! I'm pleased to say - enough of that self-doubt. It's unedited; for publishing, I've added the image.
It’s Wednesday (not Monday) and I don’t feel inspired. To be honest, I feel quite boo. However, I don’t feel as boo as I could feel, really. The more I think about it, the more I realise that while it’s not great Michael is now in a hot country far far away, the core thing is we have each other and we’re working on changing that Summer/Winter minor difference we have going on (some people would just call it distance, but that’s boring). Once I let that sink in, I am open to realising another thing: I am one lucky girl! I’m made of pure people luck.
Yesterday was not my finest day. I was sad and quiet and trying really hard to get on with things. For that, I had a little help from my friends.
:: mini brownies. Home baked. In a cute wrapping with a ribbon. I cannot explain how this lovely gift and gesture touched my day. Not only did it make it happy inside, but I got to stuff myself with these little pieces of heaven every time I felt a bit more boo. Thank you!
:: hugs and sweetness all around the office. I needed it!
:: running. Faster than I normally run. Tiring me out for the evening!
:: dinner and lemon curd maccaroons. With wine. And good chats. Delaying going home for as long as possible!
Where do I start? I love the bed! It looks comfy and stylish and... inviting! The window is fabulous! The light is worthy of an essay! How not to want to live there?
Dear readers, do you remember Ilda, Hannah and Martha? We met them before Christmas.
LMJ readers meet Ilda, Hannah and Martha.
Ilda, Hannah, and Martha are entrepreneurs looking for investment in their business. I met them over at Kiva and have given them my support in the form of a loan. Perhaps you could do the same? Or just head over and find out more about it. One small loan at a time, we can really empower people.
So while I seat here going through a backlog of photos that could keep me busy until 2012, just in time for the Olympics (first mention!), also hoping to find something there worth posting, I leave the inspiration I'm relying on just now...
Right, it's back to photo sorting for me. And iTunes updating. And possibly chamomile tea to fuel it all!
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.