Wednesday, 21 April 2010


I'm feeling delicate today.

I'm excited. I can feel possibilities and ideas welling up inside me. I can feel my little bubble of safety stretching and growing. My usual excuses are ringing dull in my ears, I don't believe them anymore. I believe in myself. I want to take steps forward while I feel able. Actually, forget steps. I want to jump into something, both feet together. I'm sick of playing safe.

Ideas and grandiose plans are rushing through my mind... but I'm observing them from a distance, hardly able to breathe in case I blow them away again. I want them to stay, I want them to be a part of me. I want to hold them close without being afraid of them vanishing like a dream.

And so I come back to steps. Baby steps that I can take towards my dreams without frightening them away. But where do I go from here? What's my first step?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Beating the Block

I'm very proud of myself right now.

I didn't want to write for my photography blog this morning. It's so hard to start again after a weekend of work and no thinking, but I knew that if I didn't write today I wouldn't write tomorrow either... and the next day? Who knows. This is what happens to every new project I start. As soon as it gets difficult, I find excuses to avoid it, until I forget about it altogether.

Well not this time. I'm determined to stick with this wherever it might take me, and no matter how hard it gets. It's my personal challenge to myself, and  anyway, I'm loving this project far too much to want to lose it. So I banned myself from checking my email, using the internet or my phone, anything except writing really, until I had written just one post.

To my delight I discovered that, once I got through the initial block, I didn't want to stop. Hours later I'm making myself take a break, having written and posted one short tutorial, written another post to publish tomorrow, and written part of next week's tutorial because it was writing itself along with today's. It feels so amazing to have written so much, so easily, with so much enjoyment, after being so set against it in the morning. I've proven to myself that I can break the old habits, and do what I set my mind to.

My portfolio website is also going through a make-over. The colour and style is much more me than before, and I spent yesterday updating the photo collections. I now have something I'm happy to show people, rather than hiding it away and mumbling about how I have to get around to fixing it.

Now I'm off to spend some time awaaay from the computer screen!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Wait, so the *cake* was filled with custard?!

I watched Muppet's Treasure Island today, again. Even though I haven't seen it in a while, I discovered that I still know almost every single line by heart. I've watched it *that* many times. It makes me happy. Ridiculously happy. And instead of growing out of it, I seem to be growing into it. Every time I watch it I love it even more than the time I watched it before.

I was a very piratey girl growing up (and am still, but shh...) and cannot think of a better start to any movie than this:

Anyway, today I learned something. When Miss Piggy, here Benjamina Gunn, is complaining to Kermit, AKA Captain Smollett, about him leaving her at the altar... I aaalways wondered why she told him that her "cape was filled with bloomin' CUSTARD!" (yelled emphasis hers). Today, a good 12 or 13 years after first seeing this film, it clicked, and I realised that it wasn't her cape that was full of custard, but her cake.

It makes a lot more sense, but the image I've always had in my head, of a dressed up Miss Piggy with a cape bulging with custard, is too good to lose, and I might have to pretend there's no cake involved.


This post was supposed to be about a lot more than the Muppets, but it's late and it's Mother's Day tomorrow, and by some miracle (in the form of unused holiday) I have the weekend off. I want to be fresh to make the most of it.

I'll post properly soon!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

My mini St Albans adventure

((Also posted at

Now that I finally have a bike, a whole world is opening in front of me. Last week I realised that there is a train station tucked away right near my house that connects to St Albans, my favourite place nearby, so yesterday I got on my bike and went out for a little adventure, just me, my camera and a book to read.

When I found the station I could understand how I’d never known of its existence before. It’s a single platform by the side of a road, with a couple benches and one train an hour.

I timed it perfectly, and just half an hour after leaving my house, I was already at St Albans Abbey with the bell chiming above me. (Hmm, is it still "chiming" when it's a very big heavy bell? I think it was probably "tolling", more than chiming...)

This abbey is one of my favourite places to sit and think. It has a beautiful homey atmosphere for somewhere so large. Over its hundreds of years of life, it has been rebuilt and repaired so many times with different materials (mainly materials sourced from the Roman ruins across the river) and in so many styles through the ages, that it now resembles a patchwork quilt made of brick, flint, tile, and plaster. It calls to me, telling me, “Don’t worry about being perfect. It's our imperfections that make us beautiful, and strong. They are what make us stand out from everyone else in this world, what make us shine. Perfect is dull...” And when I'm here, I believe it.

After my cathedral visit, I went for a walk through Verulamium Park. This place has always had a magical hold over me. Obviously every place has its history, but here... I can feel it. When I see the stone remains of gates where the road from London (or Londinium I suppose) met the Roman town of Verulamium, I can see the carts trundling through the narrow gaps, and I can see the Roman guards standing at their posts, both by the gates and along the top of the wall. I feel the hustle and bustle of the town that once stood where the park lies now.

Even though the day was overcast and grey, there were traces of spring wherever I looked. Right now there are huge clumps of snowdrops lining fences and walls, and the lake is full of cygnets; almost fully grown into swans, their beaks still warming into the same flaming orange as those of their parents, and the last of their tawny feathers being replaced by fresh, brilliant white ones. They kept swimming up, curious about me and my camera, but were soon disappointed when they realised I had no food with me.

And the coots! Before yesterday I'd never noticed how, without warning, they suddenly start running across the top of the water like sprinters heading for a finish line. I was determined to catch a good photo of them doing this, but it turned into a photographic cross between Space Invaders and Wack-a-Mole. They gave no indication when they were about to stop swimming sedately and run for it. The first I knew of it would be a splashing sound and by the time I had turned with my camera, it was too late, and they were just bobbing along innocently as if nothing had happened. After a while I was certain they were doing it on purpose.

Eventually, though, I managed to get this shot:

It’ll do for now, but I’m going back when the sun’s out and I can use a faster shutter speed. I’m not giving up until I capture the perfect photo!

Then I finished off by sitting in the cathedral café with my book, a cup of hot chocolate, and some ginger biscuits. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Not so Alone... and changes.

After being so bleh and down last night, I started my day today with the intention to be aware of every act of friendship that came my way, and I'm feeling a lot better for it. I have good friends. Wonderful, lovely people who care about me, and who I adore.

I came to a realisation yesterday and today... it's all very well complaining about Facebook-style socialising (and I've got a whoole lotta rants on that subject right now), but I have to actually do something about changing the way I relate with people. I'm changing things in every other part of my life, it's obvious that this area needs revamping as well.

From now on I'm going to begin phasing Facebook out of my modes of communication. I hate the casual "Meh, well, you'll be on Facebook if I ever feel like talking to you again," attitude it gives to a "friendship". It spawns the kind of friends that "poke" you every month or two; not say anything to you, just poke. It feels like someone's standing very far away with a long stick, prodding and going, "Hmm, still alive over there?" not like they really care... more like a kid poking at roadkill out of curiosity.

Hmm, wow, okay, I appear to be feeling rather vicious towards Facebook tonight! All I wanted to say, is that I plan to begin re-building (or building up in the first place) real communication with my friends. I will text instead of sending a facebook message, or writing on a wall. Or I will actually pick up a phone, like off of the olden days. Today I bought a book of stamps and plan to go through my ridiculously huge collection of unsent cards, and actually send some. And as for the friends I miss and have been losing touch with, I will be making an effort to re-connect.

I think this has been me hitting a speed-bump in this whole change malarky. The thing is, as much as I'm exhilarated by the feeling of making changes in my life (as opposed to having the changes made for me) and feeling like I'm actually making things happen for myself..... the fact still remains that I'm terrified by change. I hate it. It's scary! I want to hide under the bed until it's all over.

I agree with what Lilly said in her comment on my last post. I think I'm just having my life cleared of people who are no longer right for me. Instead of being upset by it, I can focus on the people who are still big in my life and important to me, and look out for the amazing new people who will fit perfectly into the new, bright and bold life I'm gradually creating for myself. It's all just an extension of last year's Release. I can do that.

*deep breath*

All fine.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


I had a good day today.
It was full of silliness, friends I haven't seen for too long, and people who are becoming friends.

There's a mass leaving-do tonight for the 7 people who've left our store in the last 3 weeks (see, what I mean by a lot leaving?!) but I'm not there. I could be, people asked and re-asked, and made flimsy bargains with me to go... I told them I'm not feeling sociable tonight.

Coming home now, I don't think that's quite true. I like to know who I'm spending my time with, and be with my friends properly, rather than turn up somewhere loud where people may or may not be arriving at some point during the night, where most will be drunk, and none can hear a word spoken. I don't want that.

But while it's all well and good being particular about how I socialise, I feel so alone right now. I don't want to be there tonight, I'm glad made the choice I did, I'm glad to be home, warm and quiet after a long day of work. This has just highlighted for me how many people who have played parts in my life for the last three years or so are evaporating, our paths were intertwined for a while, and now they're not. It's natural, it's the way things go... but do they all have to be getting on so well without me? Is it bad of me to be upset by that?

Maybe I'm from the wrong age of socialisation. In myyy day (read, "some time past/present/future/in my head"), to socialise, people would come over for tea, arrange to meet somewhere, whatever... There would be parties, yes, but there wasn't this whole "invite every person on facebook" mentality. I'm just sick of friends-by-default. The idea seems to be: you hang out with a crowd, eventually the crowd splits up, you find a new crowd, repeat ad nauseum. Obviously there are exceptions. But in general, why does it feel like everyone's scared to make an effort, or say, "Hey, I like you. Let's be friends.", but instead float around, then float away. Why can't people just have normal relationships? 

I guess I'm just around the wrong people. But then tell me please, where are the right people?

Bah. Humbug.

Okay, well, I've vented a little.

I'm going to go and bake up the last of my scone dough from last night. Scones, tea, and something good to watch should cheer me up. Thanks for listening, hehe. xxx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Spring!! And new ideas.

Spring has sprung! It's sunny out! And it's been getting warmer. I took a walk through the woods today. There are a couple baby crocuses popping their heads out, and the bluebells are showing green tips through the brown leaves. Spring is my favorite season of the year. It's so fresh and green after the cold winter, and everything is full of life and hope for the rest of the year.

This whole week (what, it's only Wednesday?!) has been full of exciting things for me. After months of moping around, wondering what I should be doing with my time, I finally have a project that is fun and challenging and I'm loving every second of.

While trying to redesign my website last Friday, I was reminded of things I've wanted to do for a long time, and haven't because... well.. what if it doesn't go right? I want to write, I want to take photos, I want to teach photoshop. Put them all together, and a blog seems to be the best way to get started. I've thought things similar to this before, but then put it out of my mind coz, I'm busy, and who am I to tell anyone anything anyway?

Well. That's the old me thinking. When the idea popped up again the other day, this old me had enough time to go, "Yea... not a chance..." before the new me went, "Waait a second, why not?" and started off on a brainstorm of what I could do and how I could do it, just a quick list of possible topics so I would know if it was feasible or not.

The result was scraps of paper completely covered in scribbles and bullet points and ideas, not only for the blog but, for the first time in years, ideas for my own photography, photos I want to take, experiments I want to try, and more ideas coming every other second.

I'm still petrified of putting myself out there as any kind of expert, coz I'm not, I'm just someone who knows some things and wants to know more. But... what's the worst that can happen? No one will read it? Well eeeven if that was the case, even if I had not one reader (and I know I have at least a handful of friends as readers guaranteed, so there goes the worst case scenario already), for every article I write, I would still be learning and finding inspiration in my research. So basically it's win/win.

I've spending this week writing as many articles and tutorials as I can so that I can settle into a style and know what I'm doing. I'm having so much fun. It's stretching my writing muscles, and making me think about what I'm doing in photoshop and behind the camera instead of running on automatic. Everything I read or hear, I'm thinking of in terms of how I could explain it to someone, instead of it being something I vaguely hear and then forget. Already on my journey to teach other people, I'm understanding more myself. As soon as I'm ready, very soon, I'll start posting on my brand new blog!

For anyone who's curious, it'll be here:
I'll remap the domain name to my own once I'm actually writing on it.

<<Update - later on today>>
My new blog has a couple introductory posts and can now be found here:

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The one left behind...

Yesterday was about good changes.
Today was sad for me, changes that I don't like.

Over the past few months so many people have left where I work, finding other jobs, new projects, moving away. Where once there were crowds of friends who'd known each other for years, joking and playing as they worked, there are now new people. Some of them are lovely, but I miss the family we had and things being how they were. I miss everyone so much. Today the last couple people from the "olden days" were off sick or on holiday, and it was my manager's last weekend day before he moves to another store. It feels so empty now.

At least I've been given a good kick out of the rut where I trundled along so comfortably. This year is my year to step into what I want to do with my life, this just takes away one more excuse to procrastinate. I'll continue to work, I'll miss my friends, I'll make new friends to fill some of the gaping holes... but in my own time there can be no more idling away doing nothing, otherwise where do I end up? Selling someone else's products for the rest of my life. No thank you.