Sometimes I don't have the right words...

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"I wasn't prepared so now I'm growing a lot. I have growing pains in my heart."
Rachel Brathan

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But I have the photos... Whilst other people do have the right words and they make me cry because they're so perfect, so heartfelt, so beautiful and so true. Above is an example of words like that. Perfect.

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Fuji Superia 200
Location: Leeds

p.s. Yellow is my favourite.

No actually... how are you really?

It's been about a year since I took myself to the Doctors and waited for what seemed like forever to see someone who might be able to help me. I've been trying to write a post about that for a while. I tried various approaches - I tried positive and I tried helpful to others who are suffering from depression (which I'm still happy to do if people want to hear what I've been doing). But the words didn't come naturally.

I've been struggling with blogging this year - being constant, wanting to do it, wanting to read other blogs. And don't get me wrong, I read some great blogs - happy blogs, encouraging blogs, supportive blogs, yoga blogs, healthy eating blogs, creative blogs - all the blogs of people who I want to be like I guess.

But, even after 5 years of blogging - I fell into the allure of the 'happy blog' trap. The believe that I had to do more to feel better, be more like someone else, eat better, do more exercise and blog happy, to be happy.

I've always known that blogging was a choice of presentation rather than an accurate reflection but sometimes we forget and the unreal seems real for a little while.

Then this morning I came upon a blog called Edenland - and I read what I actually really needed to read rather than what I thought I needed, an honest blog. A brutally honest blog, with swearing, depression and general struggling with life with no distractions, no selective omissions, no pretty pictures - just words sharing how life was for that person, as it comes, swearing, depression, truly crappy situations and all.

And I felt relieved that there was someone else out there struggling with their own patch of the world yet sharing it so honestly and unapologetically - it could be done. And that was when the words started to come. The honest words of my own... and the fear of not seeming happy, creative, perfect, sunny (all the blog buzz words you know) ... fell away and was replaced by a desire to be real, to be honest, to stop hiding behind the photos, to stop not coming here because I didn't want to show the real me.

So how am I, really?

Well, after all that - I'm mostly pretty good right now compared to where I was a year ago. Which doesn't sound that bad does it? But its still pretty rough going over here. I'm mostly operating on 'one day at a time' (as my bestie always reminds me). I'm choosing to get out of bed every morning (something that hasn't really gotten easier, even with the pills and CBT, urgh), I'm following a pretty steady routine and I'm working hard on keeping my thoughts in check. But these to me are still all the hard options - the really hard options - you have to be vigilant, constantly aware and determined. And most mornings I don't wake up feeling any of those things - mostly I just feel tired.

I've been going to cognitive therapy for the last 3 months and that has helped me so much, more than anything else in fact. To look at my own thought cycles and realise how they were actually working and the impact they were having on my behaviour, emotions and physicality was a huge eye opener for me.

My CBT counsellor also shared a great resource with me - which I'll share here - a website called Get Self Help - all the sheets I used are here. They are available and free - all you need to do is open the website and start looking - and that isn't too hard or scary. If you've been struggling and you don't know where to turn or you're too scared to approach a real person (I was too scared. I got given a lot of phone numbers that I never rang...) then please have a look here and if you have no idea where to start still - I would recommend the problems page or the introduction page.

Even sharing that resource - It feels so hard to sit here and write about how I've been coping whilst trying to help others -  because I know that everyone's experience with depression or any other mental health problem is totally different, what works for me might work for you too - or it might not. The one thing I have learnt in the past year that I'll share though is that I don't need to do more to be happy, I need to do less

need to stop the negative reinforcing behaviour, need to stop eating foods that make me feel worse, I  need to stop giving the negative thoughts that niggle away validity, I  need to stop hiding away and distancing myself from people and definitely need to stop believing in the unreal - because that will always be unreal, even if I (and enough people) believe the opposite.

 

So, now is the time for me to ask... how are you really?  Leave a comment (or send me an email) and let's be honest for a bit  - I promise its not as scary as you might think...

(Though it is still pretty scary haha, all I actually need to do now is hit that publish button and I've reread this about a hundred times and stared at that button for at least ten minutes... if you're reading this then I actually did it. Eep)

p.s. If anyone has any other honest, gutsy, heart wrenching blogs that they'd love to share with me - I'd really appreciate it.

Brimham Rocks Part 1

Just when I'm starting to get fed up of the long winters, the rain and other miserable weather (Hello Spring?) - England throws me a curve ball and shows me something so stunning and unusual, I struggle to believe that it's real, let alone in the country that I live in.

Brimham Rocks is that curveball. I won't say much more - just look at the photos - this place is unreal and I often think that perhaps I went through a portal and ended up in Narnia rather than only being an hour away from Leeds.

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I'm a little bit sad looking through these photos as I also took my Zenit camera with me but unfortunately the film didn't roll on properly (5 years of practice at this is still not enough obviously haha, even with stringent checking) so I have none of the detail shots on film that I have in my memory.

However, I think really, that just means that I have to go back again, perhaps in the Summer next time :)

Location: Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire
Camera: Refurb LC-A
Film: Kodak BW400CN

Salts Mill Part 1

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One of my favourite places to visit (and only 20 or so minutes from our house) is Saltaire. I've shared photos of Saltaire before, but this time I took my Dad's Olympus OM-10 with me, which meant I could take photos of inside the mill, hurray!

Salts Mill is a gorgeous building with a fascinating past - it used to be the main mill which the village of Saltaire was purposely built around by Titus Salt and was operational for over 100 years. When the mill was eventually closed in 1986, it was then bought by a man called Jonathan Silver who immediately began renovating it. The mill now houses galleries including, most famously, works by David Hockney (which makes a very happy Rhianne) and also shops, cafes and offices.

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Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Fuji Superia 200
Location: Salts Mill, Saltaire

After the coffees gone...

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In terms of being a blogger I'm pretty rubbish at taking photos of my food and drinks... I usually just want to eat or drink whatever is in front of me. Also sometimes I think tables of food can look too pretty, too stylised, too seemingly perfect in photos. I rarely compose a scene, I just react and take photos of what I see (and like) and set tables of food or drink never last for long, especially around me (ha).

However, I've become quite taken with these photos of finished coffees and snacks (I had a scone in the top photo and a teacake in the bottom in case you are wondering, they were both tasty. Oh and decaf cappuccinos to drink.) from a couple of weekends ago. I always check we've never left anything behind leaving a table and for some reason that weekend I noticed that actually we leave behind quite a lot. But there's something so organic to the mess, the used cups and saucers - to how different people place their spoons, to how the chairs have been pushed into the table... and even though I looked a little odd, I snapped these two shots as quickly as I could.

I'm starting to sense another unplanned theme of photos to take in the future, hurray!

 

The evil squirrel...

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We have squirrels that visit our garden. They drive me mad as they eat all the bird food, destroy the bird feeders (the current destroyed total is 4, including one that was meant to be squirrel proof!) and get in fights with the birds brave enough to stand their ground (so far a robin and a blackbird, both are feisty so I'm not surprised).

I am definitely on the birds side - yet a couple of my Twitter friends, who don't have pest squirrels in their country (I believe, Yahoo answers did verify but that isn't exactly concrete evidence) let alone their back garden have sided with squirrels over the birds.

So we're agreeing to disagree and to keep my friends happy I took a couple of pictures of one of the evil/cute (depending on your point of view) squirrels for them to see.

I personally like that I have proof of them being thieving vandals haha.

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Fuji Superia
Location: Leeds

 

p.s. Sorry if you do love squirrels. I'll agree that they are cute looking - but then so are mice and foxes and I don't particularly want either of those in my garden either...

My little Projecteo

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I'm so excited to be sharing this post with you today (I know, everyone says that, but I am) because this is the first time I've been approached through my blog (in five years) to collaborate with a company and their product and I've actually thought 'hell yes!' when replying rather than replying with my usual 'unfortunately this isn't a product I am interested in...'.

Good things do come to those who wait it seems.

I first heard of Projecteo when I saw them on Diana's blog Our City Lights and I know that Diana loves working with them and their various other projects and products. And I must say that I can see why - all contact with the Projecteo team has been great and they are incredibly patient too.

As a film photographer who works (and studied) in a digital field, I am fascinated by this little device as it combines both the analogue and digital worlds so wonderfully. It is a mini projector for your Instagram photos that uses a single frame of 35mm slide film to create the wheel.  This works brilliantly well as film is so sensitive to light that the tiny images on the frame still have all the detail needed to create a projection of your image and as they use real slide film, the colours are beautifully vivid and exciting. It is also so fun to see your Instagram photos in a different format rather than just on your phone.

I made a little digital Instagram video of my photo choices (there are of course photos of Harry in there haha) as well as taking film photos of the projector and so far I've really enjoyed showing it to people and sharing my photos in a more accessible way and I'm starting to think that these little projectors would make a great gift for someone.

Thanks Projecteo for contacting me and wanting to share with me, it's been a delight.

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Fuji Superia 400
Product: Projecteo Mini Projector

 

p.s. As I mentioned before this is a collaborative post with Projecteo (my first ever and my first product photo shoot in our living room, so exciting!) however all words, photos and opinions are my own and it's been great fun to write, I hope you've enjoyed it.

Flowers, flowers, flowers

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I am enjoying this little spontaneous project so much. It's been so wonderful to have as many colourful flowers in our house this year and taking photos of them just makes the whole experience even better. And we're only in March. I can't wait to see how the rest of the year in flowers works out.

Hurray, hurray, hurray!

 

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Fuji Superia 400
Location: Leeds

A weekend in Scarborough Part 1

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I finally dropped off 6 films to be developed yesterday and when I picked them up I was delighted to see some lovely reminders from our weekend in Scarborough in February. We've been pretty busy so far this year and now I have the photos to prove it haha.

Considering it was only February, it was a surprisingly sunny and fresh during our little weekend away which was perfect for walking around, taking photos and enjoying the seaside atmosphere. I never get bored of Scarborough.

Camera: Refurb LC-A
Film: Kodak BW400CN
Location: Scarborough, England

Forgotten photos: Coldingham Bay

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Hello, I am back! This year I've been a bit sporadic with my posting, I don't really mind though - I'm enjoying my blog at a more leisurely pace and I think that's definitely a good thing. And the nice thing about a blog is that it doesn't demand 'where have you been?' or 'have you been writing other blogs?' when I get back (haha, imagine that).

I've slowly been trying to organise my back of house whilst I've been away - my Flickr, my blog archives, my USB stick and hard drive and I've been thoroughly enjoying going through my photos once more. I've also realised that there are still more photos from last year that I haven't shared, so this week will once more be photos from last year on here. Going through my photos I realised that in spite of all the struggles I had, 2013 was actually a pretty good year in my photographic journey - funny how these things work out isn't it.

These photos were taken at Coldingham Bay last Summer in the sunshine. I can almost feel the sunshine on my skin looking at them. I can't wait for Summer this year now.

In other news is that I do have 3 rolls of film in my bag waiting to be dropped off and developed so hopefully I will have newer photos to share soon.

Camera: Zenit B
Film: Agfa Vista 200
Location: Coldingham Bay

 

As it's Valentine's day...

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A couple of weeks ago my friend Clare - who loves cake and blogs about it here - invited me to the Wharfdale group Clandestine Cake Club and the theme for the day was 'Big Hearted Bakes'. Today seemed like the perfect day to share a couple of the heart themed photos :)

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Lomography 400
Location: Outside the Box (a lovely little cafe Clare and I would definitely recommend), Ilkley

Forgotten photos: A quick coffee in Split

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I didn't used to like coffee, I always thought that it was the rich flavour that made my chest feel tight when I was drinking it - I never thought it was the caffeine causing the tightness as I never have a reaction with tea, just coffee (and Diet Coke thinking about it). For some reason whilst we were in Croatia, I tried a decaf coffee and I've been thoroughly enjoying decaf coffees ever since.

Camera: Olympus OM-10
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
Location: Split, Croatia