Life Lately :: March Edition

Challenging :: myself to give up spending money for Lent. I haven't purchased anything that isn't food or the absolute necessities in nearly 40 days and guess what, I have saved NO money! Conclusion: London is expensive. Maybe it's time to move on?

Looking forward to :: traveling up to Lancashire to visit my mum for Easter. She's hardly ever there anymore so it'll feel nice to go up for a visit and see all the new born lambs and rabbits hopping all over the place.

Loving :: playing around with snapchat, I'm nishaantishu over there if you want to follow along. I like how you can't really polish what content you put on there, it's just crappy, real life, in the moment photos and videos. You don't get much more authentic than that! I'm a little scared for people to hear my actual voice, but I guess that's kind of what it's all about.

Planning :: some upcoming trips. India maybe? Probably. Trips for work are always a little touch and go. Also Pakistan if I can swing it. We'll see. Also Toronto, Hawaii, and who knows where else before the year is out.

Asking :: for the stuff that I want. Just putting some decisive requests out there to the world and seeing what I get back, and you know what? It works! I've been emailing this photographer I want to work with and I hadn't heard back in over a week, so I said (to myself, sat on the number 38 bus) "I really want to be able to work with so and so, I want him to email me back and I want it all to work out." Next day I had an email in my inbox. I guess if you don't ask you don't get, right? And guess what, I just found out I will actually in fact be working with him! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!

Thinking :: about some upcoming weddings this year. As the weather gets warmer it's reminding me I've got some pretty great weddings coming up and I can't wait to see a few of my really good friends get married. Although since I'm not allowed to shop, goodness knows where I'm going to get a dress from.

Reading :: two books, Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen, and It's What I Do: A Photographers Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario. Or, at least I will be when my mum brings them back from Canada for me! I have been after these books for so long now and I'm super excited about the first one because you all know my love for Rachel Brathen, but I'm SUPER excited for the second one because I can't wait to read about how Lynsey Addario balances a normal life with a family, with constant travel as a photojournalist.

Eating :: Love Taza's chocolate chip cookies. They're pretty good! I baked about a million of them out of boredom when I was sick last week and though Adam and I had planned to share, we ate them all ourselves. Then today I baked some for work and they're a hit!

Struggling :: with Molly who is still going through a naughty phase. I don't know what has caused her to start ignoring us, but going from a super obedient dog to one that may in fact run away in the park is so weird! And scary, since people steal dogs in our local park.

Listening :: to RadioLab podcasts on my commute, have you heard of them? They're so interesting and I'm absolutely hooked! I've also been listening to This American Life,  Stuff You Should Know, and a one off podcast in English from OPodden which is an interview with Rachel Brathen - just when I thought I couldn't love her more. Now I finally know what that podcast app on my iphone is for!

Recovering :: from the flu, a two pulled tendons, a bad back, a bad neck, and all kinds of other horrible stuff my body has decided to throw at me. What is going on?!

Experimenting :: with homemade chai tea, I'll share the recipe soon if I can perfect it.

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Portfolio :: Everle.com

Starting as a Fledgling Yogi

I’ve been doing yoga fairly regularly for about five months now and I’m absolutely hooked. I can feel how it’s changing me in so many ways from becoming more optimistic to having more confidence in my body, so I wanted to put in a post a few lessons I’ve learned so far, and a guide through my (almost) daily home practice.

Let me start by saying that I am not someone who exercises. I’ve always wanted to be, and have bought several pairs of trainers over the years in the “tomorrow I will become someone who runs!” wave of optimism we all get from time to time. But I’m not a runner. I used to ride horses very actively and my level of fitness was always pretty good due to the hours I spent in the saddle each day, but over the past five years living in London that level of fitness has flat lined.

Lessons

I have also spent about ten years saying “tomorrow I will become someone who does yoga!”, without it ever sticking – until I finally discovered a way to ease myself into becoming someone who does do yoga! And five months later, I’m still at it. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

1 :: Everyone develops at a different pace, there is no set path when it comes to yoga. I can kick up into a handstand (from hours of practice as a kid) and hold it for two seconds, but I can’t touch my toes. I can wrap my legs around my head, but my ankles don’t reach the floor in downward dog. What this all means is that I have strong arms and an underdeveloped sense of self-preservation combined with very flexible hips, but from my lower back to the bottom of my feet I have almost no give. For me this means that even the most basic of basic yoga postures is extremely challenging, but that’s just the path I have to travel down and I can’t compare it to anyone else.

2 :: Don’t try to skip steps on that path, it hurts a lot. As I can’t do downward dog, and I decided that this is the most basic of positions and my silly body should be able to do it, I pushed myself and ended up with a pulled achilles tendon and three trips to the osteopath for my lower back. There are no cheats in yoga, and trying to circumvent the proper way of doing things kind of defeats the purpose of teaching yourself and your body that good things take time. The goal is the development, not the end result.

3 :: Don’t trust the internet. I think we all know by now that nothing is exactly as it seems on blogs and Instagram, or at least you’re not getting the full story from just one post. For example, I follow this super inspirational yoga account of a girl who was amazing at yoga after just one year and I was using that as a standard of what I could accomplish with yoga if I just pushed myself. Well, one day I asked her what her level of fitness was before she started (as I had always assumed she started from scratch) – turns out she has been an athlete her entire life and has pretty much always rocked a six-pack! She did not develop her amazing fitness level in just a year, as I had previously assumed. Instagram is great for Yoga inspiration, just be careful about what you assume.

Home Practice

I initially decided to do yoga at home because I’ve had trouble finding a class I really enjoy that fits in with my schedule. But honestly the biggest reason I do it at home is because I can’t afford to go to a studio, yoga can get crazy expensive! I have a general practice I can do on my own, with some of my favourite poses and just generally moving in a way that feels good – but because I’m new to this and my knowledge of postures is limited, here are some online classes I use.

1 :: Kino MacGregor’s practice kit has been really great for me. It’s helping me to understand what muscles need to be activated in what poses, and it goes through the fundamentals of yoga that you can bring into your practice as a whole.

2 :: The Ultimate Home Yoga Practice with Erin Motz was my first introduction into home yoga practice and I still refer to it all the time when trying to remember how to do a certain flow.

3 :: Rachel Brathen’s home practice is new to me but I’m really enjoying it. It’s easy-going and relaxing, but super challenging on the muscles and includes a couple of classes that making doing yoga when you really don’t want to, super easy.

4 :: Faith Hunter’s 30 Day Meditation challenge is a fun extra to add on at the end of your practice too, and I think my next purchase will be her Yoga for Strength and Flexibility course.

None of these options are free and they do require an investment, but it’s one-off and totally worth it.

Do you do yoga? I would love to hear about your practice! What do you do, where do you do it? On your own? In class? Where? Tell me all about it :)

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Portfolio :: Everle.com

Just a Moment :: Twenty Five

This has been the most unexpected week. It's only Wednesday but it feels like Friday has come and gone so many times already. I've been sick and stuck in bed since Sunday and I can't remember the last time I was so ill, but the last time I remember having such a bad throat infection was when I was about twelve and I was off school for a week with my mum to take care of me. Now I've been off work for three days and have Adam take care of me in the evenings and Tania to bring me all the medicine and cheerful chats I could ever need.

I haven't touched my computer in four days, but luckily enough I have some extra photos to tide us over for a longer than usual Just a Moment post...

1:: The White Company sent over this delicious smelling candle and it has since been making our bedroom smell like spring. I've started lighting it first thing in the morning while I get ready for the day and it sets a very calm and relaxed mood. I've also been using their sent diffuser in my closet which I know not what you're meant to do with it, but it's giving all my clothes such a wonderful smell.

2:: I saw this woman exercising in the park and I really wanted to just clap and cheer her on. She didn't have any of the latest Nike gear, she wasn't in skin-tight anything, she was just power walking and stretching as she went because it was good for her (I assume) and the sun was shining.

3:: I met up with Adam and Molly on the lock near Cat and Mutton Bridge after their walk the other day, and found them both basking in the spring sunshine. 

4:: Me looking like I'm too cool for anything when in reality Adam caught me by surprise with the camera and I'm secretly wishing I had bothered to wash my hair before coming out. 

5, 6, 7, 8:: flowers flowers and more flowers. It gets to a point in the winter where we really don't want to voyage to Columbia Road Flower Market because it's just too cold, but now that it's warming up our little flat will be full of flowers once again.

9:: Molly striking a pose while walking through the market. She secretly hates going to the market because of the crowds, but I think she also kind of loves it because people are constantly stopping and telling her how beautiful she is.

10:: Siobhan stopped by unexpectedly the other day because she was shooting a wedding around the corner. When I realised I told her to come over for a cup of tea and she brought with her the brides bouquet. As it turns out the bride didn't want it and neither did Siobhan, so that's how I ended up with the bouquet of a bride I've never met in my living room. 

Just a few moments to hold on to while I lay curled up in bed wishing I could just be healthy again.

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Portfolio :: Everle.com

Saturday's Sunshine

Saturday in London was such a glorious day, wasn't it? I woke up early, had some breakfast and packed Molly into the car to drive to Siobhan's house for lunch and for a bit of a doggy play-date. I don't know what I was expecting, but I did not realise that Siobhan would make the most delicious lunch of all time!

She made her rosemary and red onion focaccia which disappeared in about a second, and also a butternut squash soup with coconut and lime. I'm going to see if I can make it as good as Siobhan does at home, but I think it may be up there in the list of my all time favourite soups. 

We chatted for hours, as we always do when we get together. We talk about the tough personal stuff, shared the good times, dreams for the future and we all give each other advice on various creative and personal projects. It's so wonderful to have such a group of supportive friends who just get what you're going through, and are always full of wisdom and encouragement.

Molly has been forgetting her training lately. She's kind of going through a difficult phase at the moment, maybe it's a rescue dog thing? Anyway, she got on with Elkie just fine and we just need to work on not jumping on other people's furniture the minute we walk into their house - something she would never do at home. Sorry for the muddy footprints, Siobhan...

And because it was such a beautiful day, we decided to head to the park to let the dogs run off some of their energy. Molly loved having a gallop around a new park in the sunshine, and thankfully she didn't start her whole not-coming-when-I-call-and-running-in-the-opposite-direction thing until two days later, otherwise she may have found herself very lost. Anyone have any advice on working with a dog who has always been perfectly behaved, and then suddenly... isn't? 

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Portfolio :: Everle.com

Thoughts on Confidence

I had an entirely different post planned for today, but I came across this short film and thought it could not be more appropriate for how I'm feeling these days - and probably appropriate for a lot of other people too who struggle to do something and sometimes feel like quitting.

I feel like I've been in the gap for at least three years, and I have been working so hard to bridge it. And with the publishing of my portfolio I feel like it has finally been bridged. 

I'm proud of myself. I'm satisfied with what I produce. I have confidence in my ability and that is something I haven't felt about many things in my life. I look back on my earlier photos, from Kenya and Nicaragua, and I knew they were bad at the time. But I look at what I've produced since then and I can see how I've grown.

Maybe I didn't care that they were bad because I never set out to produce a photography portfolio or to be a photographer, and maybe that's why I never gave up. I knew nothing about cameras, I copied other photographers, listened to them talk and secretly made notes about what they were saying to Google later. I only learned to shoot on manual a year and a half ago, but I photographed day after day, never really knowing where it was leading - and now I see what it was about I'm so glad I kept going.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still not sure where this path will lead and I have so much further to go, but my feet are finally on the ground and I've never felt so sure. 

I've just started an instagram account for my portfolio work, it's photos and stories from my work overseas and if you're interested you can follow along at freya.everle.

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Portfolio :: Everle.com