Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Relocating: Four Months On

After seeing the response from my post in April about moving back to the UK, it only felt right to update you on how things have been going so far. I left my full-time social media job in Sydney to put all my energy into Style Structure. I’m settled in my new apartment, styling and designing my space exactly how I want it. I signed the lease on my place for the high ceilings and natural light - both important when you work in the creative industry. Working from home has it’s highs and lows (I miss being the office chatterbox!) but one thing I have really gotten back into is cooking more. I live in the centre of Cardiff, and it’s all too easy to fall off the bandwagon eating out and opting for the quick and unhealthy option. If I’m not travelling or photographing, I spend the rest of my time in my office, my home. So chef Helen needed to up her game going from office lunches in Sydney to healthy quick and easy solutions back in Cardiff!

I have literally gone from a fridge shelf in a shared house in Sydney, to a nice big Samsung fridge Freezer here! It’s surprising how living alone and working in the same space fills the fridge more than I could imagine. I tend to do my weekly food shop with my mum, but get fresh produce in every few days. Go to meals include Spaghetti Bolognese and homemade Chilli Con Carne because these dishes last a bit longer and can be frozen. Also great if I have a last minute meeting in London I need to attend. Fresh salads like spinach with poached chicken is usually what I am preparing for lunches, but I also love putting together a super quick charcuterie board with olives, cous cous and peppers. I’m getting back into green smoothies, and trying to include more protein into my breakfasts to stay focused (eggs and fish). After all, food is the fuel to creativity so it’s important to take breaks throughout the day.

The one thing I tried to practice the moment I stepped off that plane is stick to a ROUTINE. I’m still without a coffee machine, so try and make an effort to go for a walk to get one each day. It also gives your mind the mentality you are ‘on your way to work’. I am making an effort to cook three meals a day, attending gym classes in the evenings and trying my hardest adhering to a 9-5 schedule. The latter is always difficult as social media doesn’t sleep, but I have found doing these 3 things help a lot. 

I can’t wait to share more about my move back to the UK, and photograph creative projects at home. I know it will be happening a lot more come winter! 

This post was brought to you in partnership with Samsung Home Appliances
Photography and creative direction by yours truly.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Royal Lancaster Photo Diary

Nestled outside the gates of Hyde Park, The Royal Lancaster Hotel doesn't disappoint. Walking distance to good coffee shops, great shoot locations and the tube just around the corner. It's my home from home when visiting London. Don't forget to order room service....


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The Paris Instagram Guide

If you’ve been following along over on Instagram, you would have noticed my Paris trip has come to a close! I’ve visited three times in the last year and each trip doesn’t disappoint. This trip was a little different to my previous 2 trips with my tripod. It was a girls trip with Hannah Crosskey from A Fashion Fix blog and we had an absolute blast! It’s one of my favourite cites to photograph, and due to popular demand I have put together a guide to the city for anyone that is gracing the streets in the near future. 

Where to stay? 

Each Paris getaway I have experienced a new area, and this trip we had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Bourg Tibourg which is located in Le Marais. The location is conveniently located a short 5 minute walk to the 1 line on the Metro (yellow train) which will connect you easily to major tourist attractions like The Louvre, Saint Michel and with a quick change to The Eiffel Tower. This is the best way to explore Paris and trains are frequent. I can confidently say Paris has one of the best subway set ups for any major city. Download the Paris Metro app to navigate around and buy the 10 book tickets as it will save you money buying each train ride individually. 

Le Marais is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Paris. Quaint coffee shops, cool boutiques and a handful of museums are all located in walking distance from the hotel. I visited The Pompidou years back, and to this day was still my favourite museum. It’s a lot more interactive than most and they always have cool contemporary exhibitions on. The view from the roof cafe is a hidden gem!

The ‘Instagram Spots’ 
After numerous trips, I have a handful of locations that are winners every time. To get the ‘it’ shot I believe a big factor is rising at sunrise to capture the image efficiently without the crowds. Hannah and I were waking up at around 5am, and were photographing until about 11am. This gave us the afternoons to go at a leisurely pace, kick back and people watch from our favourite cafes. If you are not a morning person you will struggle at this, but the more you get your ass out of bed to produce magical sunrise work it gets easier, and in turn motivates you more the next time.

The Eiffel Tower is accessible from numerous Metro stations, but I always jump off at Concorde. There are multiple locations to shoot around here, but start by walking down the steps towards the river. The locations in today’s post are on the bridge crossing The Seine, and a cobbled street across the river called Rue De L'Universite. (If you wanted to miss out the first part catch the train to Bir Hakeim to be on the correct side of the river). We were lucky to have a sunny morning so the light play was phenomenal but literally lasted about 10 minutes at around 7:15am. Perfect warm light I literally live for so, this made me so happy!

Tuileries Garden is perfect for something a little different to your usual cafe shots. It’s peaceful and super quiet in the mornings and is only a short walk from The Louvre. It’s also a great place to take a book and have some time out, or even take a journal and write down your thoughts. There's a Ferris Wheel nearby so take a second outfit in your handbag so you can change to get a completely different backdrop.

The Louvre opens at 7am (including the outside area) so we were the first in there to capture these shots. We were actually 30 minutes too early so decided to wander around for a little bit! Be mindful it’s closed on Tuesday’s. Make a booking at Cafe Marly. They do the best Club Sandwich and vanilla hot coffee.....it’s a must! You can book online and I have only ever requested outside seating when I arrive. Staff are super friendly and for such a busy cafe it never feels rushed. Avoid 2pm onwards, it's a lot quieter in the mornings.

Rue Saint-Honoré is located behind The Louvre and has great shopping and cafes. Just a warning, coffee is not cheap in Paris and cafes don’t open early like in some countries! You can pay up to 12 Euros a cup so you have been warned (but so worth it to use their bathroom as a changing room!) I photographed at La Rotonde Cafe on my trip last September which you can view here

The Peninsula Hotel. If you want to splash out, this is the place to dine for lunch! We chose Le Lobby, and sat on the terrace as the weather was glorious. I have to say it was the best meal I have ever had! I opted for duck and melon to start and lobster bisque tagliatelle for main. Hannah had Beef Carpaccio. If you’re a Pinterest girl like me you may have stumbled across the glass restaurant on the top floor - L’Oiseau Blanc. You have to book at least four weeks in advance to secure a table. They also have a beautiful rooftop with views of the city so make sure you head on up for drinks after lunch. 

Place Vendôme. I first shot this location all the way back in 2014! You can see the post here (cringe!) All the high end designer shops Carrie Bradshaw would die for are located here: Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef and Arpels to name a few, and if you are feeling super fancy head across the street to Hotel Costes for a cocktail.

Montmartre. Jump off the train at Anvers and take a right uphill towards The Sacre Coeur. The streets are cobbled and winding so make sure you have sensible footwear on! There are many locations on the walk up and I particularly like the cafes just to left of the carousel. I didn’t venture there with Hannah on this trip, but shot here back in March. See the post here. There are numerous art shops and painters towards the Sacre Coeur and none of the cafes or shop owners had any issues me taking my pictures outside. 

Pont Alexandre III. Again, we didn’t shoot at this bridge on this trip but photographed here with my tripod back in March which you can view here. This is the bridge with the gold ornate details and you’ll see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. 

Cafe Kitsune is located in the gardens of The Royal Palace, and what I love most about this place is the merchandise you can purchase - from coffee cups, to the coffee beans to tote bags. They are constantly collaborating with new artists, so each visit feels a little different.

There are so many more photogenic spots in the city but I have tried to condense all my favourite spots into one post. Feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions about visiting Paris. Like any major city, be aware of pick pockets and if you have a camera on you make sure it's inside a bag away from sight. I’ll be making these travel guides more frequently in the coming months. I have some fun trips planned so look out for them!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Why I Moved Back To The UK

After four fabulous years in Australia, I made the decision to move back to the UK this month. I’ve been asked lots of questions about my reasons why, and how I managed to transport my life from literally one side of the world to the other so this post is dedicated to the reasons behind the move. My next post will tackle how I packed my life into three suitcases without shipping anything back! 

X Revolve Monroe Sweater: House of Harlow 1960 via Revolve
Chunky Knit Jumper: Zara, similar here
Modern Cotton Bikini Bottom: Calvin Klein Underwear via Revolve
CK ID Cotton Bikini Bottom: Calvin Klein Underwear via Revolve

Back in December, I received my Australian Permanent Residency which is valid for 5 years with room for extension. If I decide to make the move back to Australia, I can also apply for my citizenship. This gave me a lot of flexibility in my decision for my move to the UK. I left my full-time job in social media management back in February to pursue Style Structure full-time which meant I didn’t have a job keeping me in Sydney anymore. I have a terrible habit of planning way too far in advance, but for once in my life I am going to see how this year pans out without having expectations or putting pressure on myself. So why the move back? I had been toying with the idea since my trip to Ibiza last September - in case you didn’t know, I used to live in Spain and being back there made me miss being close to this part of the world. I created some of my most meaningful content there, and then again in Paris in February. It made me realise I never really embraced the beauty of Australia enough in my imagery (well maybe the amazing cafes!), but the stunning beaches and coastlines were absent. I’m primarily a style blogger and love city life, so it makes sense to be closer to Northern Hemisphere trends. The climate in Sydney makes this part of my job a little difficult. 

Piper Moto Jacket (NOW ON SALE): Eaves via Revolve
Tweed Skirt: H&M, similar here
Chunky Knit Jumper: Zara, similar here
Buckley Mule: Raye via Revolve
Numero Un Trio Sable Bag: Polene Paris

As you already know, I shoot the majority of my content on a tripod. All images in this post are from my time at Paris Fashion Week and were all shot self-portrait. I love to shoot lots of outfits in one day on what I like to call ‘content trips’. When I arrive in a new city, I will have a day location scouting, then I set up my wardrobe to match each look to that location. I like to treat these outfits as a campaign, similar to how brands shoot; taking in the mood and having a concept. I am now much closer to Europe, so I am planning on taking these trips every 4-6 weeks, which also means I can show you guys new places you may have never been to before. There’s something so exciting immersing yourself into a new place, unsure of what the locations are like until stepping off the plane. It pushes your boundaries, and makes you focus solely on creating work you can be proud of. If you are a planner like me, this technique will also get you out of your comfort zone. I highly recommend the book ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F**k’ to help any of you creatives looking to start self-portrait photography. There are so many points in the book which I really relate to, especially the section dedicated to enjoying the climb instead of purely focusing on the end result. Self-portrait photography is a lot of trial and error, and the reason I choose to take the majority of my shots is because it’s unpredictable. Sometimes your concept isn’t what you hoped for, but persevering, changing certain factors will make you love that image even more because you had to adapt and learn from it. 

Button Up Knit: Cos, similar here

Rhea Blazer: Majorelle via Revolve
Button Up Ruffle Tank: LPA via Revolve
Tan Pants: H&M, similar here

Death Before Decaf Tee: August Street
Mih Jeans, similar here
Sandro Paris Blazer, similar here
Numero Un Trio Sable Bag: Polene Paris

And lastly, I finally have a place of my own! You know how much I appreciate design and interiors so it made sense to move back to my hometown Cardiff (which is only 2 hours from London) to make my creative space work for me. Sydney is one of the most expensive cities in the world to rent and buy, and for just a little more a month I can have a spacious one bedroom apartment all to myself in comparison to a room in a shared house. I love to shoot indoors, so slowly but surely I’ll be getting the place up and running so you can see more of my new place incorporated into my shoots. 

I hope that answers the majority of your questions, and I can’t wait to share my next post on how to pack for moving overseas!
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