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Onyi and Craig

Welcome to our second instalment of our weekly Instagram roundup. For those new on here, this is where we talk about the stories that inspired the shots we shared on our Instagram with the exception of those that already made it to the blog. Let’s get right into it.These shots were taken while in town when we stopped for a quick coffee break amidst a very busy day. We walked past through The Arcade, a place we tend to walk through every now and again but never seem to stop for anything except when admiring the cool barber’s shop filled with very eclectic characters. On this occasion, we were trying to avoid the cold as much as we could, hence my chunky turtle neck knit and coat. We spotted restaurant with an outdoor sitting (which also happened to be indoors as it was inside The Arcade) and grabbed a table. We ordered some coffee to keep warm before heading back out into the cold. By the way, I purchased this red beret earlier on that day to match my outfit.This shot was taken on Tuesday. Much like the previous day, there was much to accomplish on our list of things to do so our daily photoshoot was left till the very last minute. Before we lost daylight, I decided to pose in front the Zara store in town to get this shot. It was just after 5pm, which meant a lot of folks were leaving work, thereby making the streets very busy. All that kept running through my mind was not wanting to encounter a colleague from my previous workplace, lol. If you ask me why that is, I couldn’t tell you.Now its Wednesday. It rained all day long. Which made it easy for us to stay indoors. We did manage to leave apartment though as we had a key campaign deadline to meet. When we got back in, we were soaking wet and knackered. Rather than go back out again for another shoot, we decided we were better off having a cosy indoor shoot. It was another rainy day in Manchester but we weren’t going to let it intimidate us again, lol. Out we went, but it didn’t take long for us to find shelter as it kept pouring down. We managed to find an empty spot in town where we stopped for a drink and some self portraits. It was a really nice place to spend some time together.Craig had an even to attend the whole of Saturday. As we tend to post almost in real time, we had to plan this shoot ahead of time. So after we got in from the rain, we did this indoor shoot on our kitchen floor which we thought was appropriate for a chilled weekend look. The behind the scenes of this shot was captured for our Instagram stories which you can watch here.This shot was taken on Sunday when we found ourselves wandering the grounds of University of Manchester. Let’s just say we spent a lot of time, jumping, flying, running around, Craig carrying me and us laughing every now and again. I think I might have overdone it though as I am still recovering from the aftermath of this session with my shoulders and back aching for the most part. At least it does serve as a good reminder of the really good day we had.

***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 19, 2017
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In this weeks black and white series, I’ve decided to talk about the law of attraction and how it saved my life. The reason being because for the past couple of weeks I’ve been telling a lot of folks about it and I figured it’s about time I went in depth regarding my experience with it. For those of you not familiar with the law of attraction aka LOA, in simple terms, it means you attract what you think. To quote Wikipedia, “the law of attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life”. Lately, I’ve been drawing a lot of inspiration from my old posts. I used to talk a lot about positive thinking and LOA. It made me miss those days. I plan on adopting that style of writing again because that’s more of who I am than just babbling on about style. My close friend Mimi, recently recommended a blogger by the name of Susan (from le-jolie blog) who shared her experience about LOA, and I couldn’t agree more with what she had to say. Right, let’s get to my story.A little over 5 years ago I was in a very bad place. A lot of things had happened that put me in a very negative headspace. The key ones were ending a relationship, the Home Office taking nearly a year to issue my work visa which not only meant I couldn’t work at the time but also meant I couldn’t leave the country, which led to me missing my only sister’s wedding. You kinda get the gist of what I was going through. I was very bitter with life in general and could almost say I reached an all time low. My close friend was generous enough to ask me to move in with her and her family while I tried to get back up on my feet. It was a very kind gesture, one that I am eternally grateful for. So when my tenancy was over in Birmingham, I packed up everything that I owned and moved to Manchester. It was hard waking up every morning and watching everyone around me go to work while all I could do was play the waiting game. I found myself binge watching YouTube beauty videos all day long just to pass time. It was a bit therapeutic, lol. Also I thought I should give dating a go and so I joined an online dating site (oasis.com). I remember my first week on there, I got chatting to this lovely gentleman who happened to be a motivational speaker. I told him how I was feeling and everything I had experienced in those past months. He proceeded to ask me if I had ever heard of the book ” The Secret”. My response was a resounding no because I wasn’t one to read, only when I had to sit an exam of some sort. He recommended that I read it and put it into practice. So, while trying to find the book online, I came across the documentary on YouTube, and opted for that instead.The key message from “The Secret” was LOA coupled with stories of the success people had experienced with it. It also shared how to go about putting it into practice. First be grateful, then ask with specificity, all in writing. I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain if it worked. And so I began writing. For gratitude, I wrote down things like being grateful for life and the wellbeing of my family and friends, for having a roof over my head, for coming across “The Secret” documentary etc. For the things I wanted, I wrote down things like the exact job title I wanted and in what industry as well as the exact salary, the Home Office reaching a positive decision on my work visa in the coming weeks, and finding love again.A couple of weeks later, I got contacted by another guy on the dating site who seemed to know exactly what he wanted and immediately asked for my number to ring me. I remember thinking, this guy is pretty bold. He did use his full name on the dating site which made it pretty easy for me to stalk him on Facebook. After I did so, lol, I concluded he was kinda decent. And so, I gave him my number and we got texting and speaking for a couple of weeks before going on our first date. I found out he was also into LOA and positive thinking. Bearing that in mind, I decided to make some additional “ridiculous” (or so I thought at the time) request just to test the power of LOA. I updated my journal and wrote down that I wanted to be engaged to this guy whom I had only known a few weeks within 3 months of meeting and married within 6 months, lmfao. Yep! That was my exact request. We met every day for some coffee since our first date. We went to the cinema a few times too because he loved the movies. I remember him asking me to be his girlfriend two weeks later and I said no as I was still getting to know him. A few more weeks later, which turned out to be his birthday, we made it official. We were now “boyfriend and girlfriend”. A couple of months into our relationship, he asked me to move in with him and I said yes. It looked like LOA was definitely in action. In fact, I was very certain of it. Just after 2 months of living together, he proposed to me at the movies which was were we had our first kiss. It happened exactly 4 months into our relationship, not quite the 3 months as I had written in my journal, but still, very close. We tied the knot 2 months later and have been married ever since. And that’s the story of how I met Craig.Still waiting for the Home Office to reach a decision on my work visa application, I found myself passing time watching reality TV shows. I was up-to-date with all The Real Housewives, a show which in hindsight was filled with quite a lot of negativity. During the commercial break of one of  The Real Housewives, I came across an ad for a TV show called “Fashion Bloggers” and was very intrigued. The ladies featured in the show were photographers and bloggers too. It somehow struck a chord a with me and drove me to want to learn about photography. The good news is that I didn’t get stuck at home for very long. Some months down the line, I received my work visa in the post one very early morning. A few days later I went for a job interview and got the exact job I wanted, in the exact industry I wanted and my wage was very close to what I had written in my journal as the company offered me £400 more. How weird is that? I was floored at the results of my experience with LOA. My life had changed completely for the best within 6 months. What I did find though is that getting your request granted doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. But what can almost certainly lead to happiness is gratitude. I ended up not being happy in my job after a few years. I felt very uninspired. My blog and photography became a way for me to escape it all. As some of you already know, I quit that job in July this year to focus on my blog full time. It would seem that all the while when I thought I was sitting idol at home, encountering the TV show “Fashion Bloggers” was the main catalyst that led me to pursue the lifestyle I currently have. You could say I used LOA to also achieve this, as a blog post which I wrote back in May talked about the dream of doing the things I love someday in the not so distant future.They say “knowledge is power”, and I couldn’t agree more. Knowing and understanding the power of LOA has made me recondition my thinking in many circumstances to my benefit. Rather than focusing on the things I don’t want, I make a very conscious effort to focus on the things that I do want. Still, making sure to show gratitude along the way. So, if you ever find yourself at a point in time where absolutely nothing seems to be going well, I’d suggest you try out LOA. Just like me, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain if it does work. A lot can happen it 6 months, it did for me, for the better if I might add.***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 17, 2017
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This week’s coffee diaries was a bit of a lazy one for us. If you you’ve ever had a day when your bed feels too good for you to leave it, then you’ll know what we’ve experienced this week. Being self employed doesn’t particularly help cause its very easy to procrastinate and even get distracted sometimes. We know we’re losing a lot of daylight now as we’re in Autumn, which means we really need to make the most of what we have. On Friday, we decided to get out of the lazy mood and head out for our coffee session. And I’m glad we did. It was nothing exciting at first, until the coffee came out and then what needed to be done became clear. You see, the theme tune for the Netflix series Narcos, was stuck in my head all week and all I could think of when I saw Craig about to drink his coffee was creating an Instagram stories with the song. And so we got filming. The mood carried on to the following day and we created even more material to work with. If you’re curious to see the results, check out the short film here. We’re now looking to see how best we can manage our time to curate more short films for our Instagram stories as we do get a lot of positive feedback from them. I find that I’m better at showing than describing and it’s become a great way for me to express myself and creativity. It’s funny how when you finally get back into the groove of things, how much more inspired you feel to carry on with that same spirit. And what would have seemingly turned out to be a rather dry affair became more or less a very inspiring one.

ONYI / COAT – NEXT / TOP – NEXT / JEANS – & OTHER STORIES / SHOES – MARCO TOZZI

CRAIG / JACKET – ZARA / JUMPER – NEXT***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 14, 2017
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Oh hello new series! Sharing a roundup of our weekly Instagram posts will not only help us archive these images, but also give us the opportunity to share the behind the scenes moments with you lovely folks. This shot with the birds was taken on Monday. We left our daily shoot pretty late as we had a lot of key deliverables to work on. While in town scouting for a shoot location, I decided to pick up a beret after feeling inspired by all the images I was seeing from Paris Fashion Week. Upon passing through Piccadilly Gardens, we stumbled upon the most beautiful gathering of pigeons. Yes, they were gathering for food and we wanted in. We decided to grab some bread from a nearby grocery store but that didn’t last long. Two lovely girls who were surrounded by the pigeons told us we were better off going to Poundland to score a bag of bird food and they kindly accompanied us to get some. We returned armed and ready to stuff the pigeons. I remember being very scared but I didn’t let it stop me. I did it scared anyways and we managed to get this shot. Although, not without a few screams when they tried to eat from my hands. Hence, the bird food being tossed in the air, lol.We shot a campaign for Paul Smith a few weeks ago but we didn’t post the images until this week. I remember is was a veery rainy day which isn’t unusual for Manchester. Craig thought we should wait the rain out, but knowing Manchester, I said we were better off finding an indoor spot to shoot as it could be raining all day. He suggested the library. What a brilliant idea it was as it had the most magnificent tiles that blended in so well with our aesthetics. The campaign was done to draw attention to their socks collection as well as run a competition for a chance to win a free socks subscription. To enter to win, please check out the Instagram post hereThis self portrait was captured in the midst of us shooting our most exciting campaign (which at this point in time we can’t share more about until finalised). The day consisted of exploring the Town Hall mini stalls and some lovely lunch afterwards. As you can see, we tried our best to match.This shot was for a campaign by hush and Refuge. The proceeds from this lovely pyjama set will be going to Refuge (a Charity) to help provide a good night sleep to a mother and child. We did the shoot in our bedroom to give it that cosy feel. To find out more about the campaign, check out the Instagram post here.This one was a special self portrait to wish Craig a happy birthday. He had been suffering from a cold all day but we had to go out and celebrate in our own little way. We tried taking some shots in China Town but that wasn’t working so we went for wine and nibbles at a wine shop. We attempted another shoot there but that was a no and the lighting wasn’t flattering. On our way home, we decided to stop on this less busy street to see what we could capture and in less than 5 minutes we had the shot. It goes to show that you just have to keep moving about until you find the right spot because when you do, you’ll get better results. Happy Birthday Craig!Another campaign for a brand and charity. This time Fiorelli is donating £10 from the sale of one of their bag collections. We wanted to make it a lifestyle shot so we took a self portrait by one of Manchester’s many canals. The set up was pretty easy and we were done in less than 10 minutes. Although we initially forgot the tripod at home, so I had to race back to get it before it became too dark to shoot. To find out more about the campaign please check out the Instagram post here.Saturday was a very wet day and somewhat a lazy one for us too as we had been out the night before. We managed to leave the apartment to shoot around 5pm which meant we had a very short window to maximise the daylight. We went through the Town Hall stalls again and got distracted by the smell of food. Then it started raining so we had to take cover. Right after the rain subsided, we noticed this deserted outdoor restaurant sitting thanks to the rain. We figured we should make the most of it while we could. Let’s just say I danced about for a few minutes until Craig got the shot. Afterwards, we went to Paperchase to grab our free weekly coffee, yum yum.This shot seems to be a hit on Instagram. We took it on Sunday while out and about town. This was the first time we’ve seen folks care about our self portraits while shooting. A few people seemed intrigued at what we were trying to accomplish and would sometimes stare at us for a while which made posing a little awkward as you could tell someone was watching, lol. Being professionals, we had to get over it and stick with the task. There was quite a few going back and forth with the camera until we finally got it. This was actually the last shot we took.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as we have. Let us know in the comments which one is your favourite behind the scenes moment and story.

***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 9, 2017
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We’re back again with another week in black and white. We have been pretty swamped shooting campaigns and meeting deadlines which has seen us lag a little behind on our own personal projects. We didn’t manage to vlog this week. Hopefully we’ll get back to it next week. We’ve decided another weekly content for the blog which will be a roundup of our Instagram posts. One advice I’ve always gotten from fellow bloggers is to build up your blog as it is a platform you own unlike social media platforms which you only have an account on and are owned by other organisations. We thought it’ll be wise to start archiving our Instagram posts on the blog especially now we’re posting a lot more.

This week has turned out to be a success. We got the most exciting news to work with a well known brand (we’ll share more details in future posts as we’re currently working on the project) which is our biggest break yet. Looking forward to telling you all about it, hopefully soon. One thing that was apparent from this news is that we made the right call when we decided to go down the road of working as a couple. We should have known to be honest as we seemed to get more engagement on our couple content. But this was actual validation that we were taking a step in the right direction. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt is to carry on doing what we do cause we seem to do it well. It’s funny how fear nearly consumed us from both pursing the move to full time blogging due to uncertainties. This serves as a gentle reminder to do the things you want to do anyway, even in the face of fear. To put it not so delicately, do it scared!

Thanks to a very good friend of mine, Lola, we’re now wiser when it comes to branding. She shared a lot in her eBook “The Branding Blueprint” (which is free to download on her blog) about how to define your brand as a blogger. A must read for anyone looking to carve their niche. We have began implementing some of the things she talked about. The key takeaway for us was to remember to just be us in the process as we are the key players.***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 6, 2017
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Welcome to another coffee diaries. Not quite though. As much as this series’ name implies, I’m actually more of a tea lady than a coffee lady. Craig on the other hand is a coffee man all day long. This cosy Sunday hangout saw no coffee on the table. I opted for some breakfast tea while Craig decided to go with some cider. It was a rainy and cold day, but that didn’t stop us from heading out to celebrate our little wins. Some of you may already be aware that we launched our Lightroom preset which you can now purchase and use on your images. The truth is that when we first started out with photography, we had absolutely no clue what we were doing. Everything we know, we had to teach ourselves through endless hours of practice and heeding the advice of folks who shared their secrets. We knew that we would one day give back to the community that has given us so much which is why we’re happy to share what we’ve learnt on this journey.

This series has slowly become our avenue for creativity and relaxation. Something we’re both loving. And with many more cosy days ahead, it is safe to say we’ll continue with it as it’ll allow us to find some extra cosy spots to relax and unwind. I’m thinking we might need to make it a gratitude session too, lol. I find that gratitude makes you more aware of the little things that you sometimes don’t pay attention to. In fact, I’ll start it off now by saying I’m grateful for you stopping by and I hope to see you in the next coffee diaries.

ONYI / T-SHIRT – ASOS / JEANS – & OTHER STORIES / CARDIGAN – TKMAXX / SHOES – MARCO TOZZI

CRAIG / T-SHIRT – ASOS / JEANS – PRIMARK / JACKET – TKMAXX / SHOES – ALDO ***If you want to edit like me, you can! Get my Lightroom preset or grab a copy of my eBook here.***

October 3, 2017
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This week’s black and white series marks the beginning of our week in black and white. ‘See what I did there? “Our”, not “my”, lol. We can’t say enough thank you for all the support we’ve gotten on here and on our social media channels since announcing Craig becoming full time on the blog. One of the highlights of our week! As we’re now a duo, we had to come up with a routine (something we’re still trying to figure out). We’ve managed to set a goal of daily shoots and at least two posts on Instagram. One thing we’re keen on trying to incorporate into our routine is having an early start to our day. I find that we’re most productive when we start our day super early. Since winter is coming, this is something we’ll need to do sooner rather than later so we can maximise the little daylight we have. So if anyone has any tips on getting out of bed early, please let us know in the comments.

We managed to hit all our campaign deadlines and looking forward to creating more unique content for the brands we work with. One of the many questions we kept getting asked this past week was what equipments and softwares we use for our photography so we thought we should answer it here. We currently shoot using the Canon 5D MK III together with the Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens and edit with Adobe Photoshop. If you’d like to find out about our detailed editing process, then grab a copy of my eBook here. I’ve also set up a Facebook page called The Blogger Photographer, which you can request to join and ask photography related questions and hopefully I should be able to assist. This has left me feeling like I need to create my own Lightroom and Photoshop presets and make it available for purchase on the blog.

This week saw us catch a train to Knutsford, Cheshire where we found some inspiration. While there, we visited Tatton Park and walked the grounds for over two hours enjoying the beautiful scenery, one of which included watching the deers live so freely. Sometimes stepping out of the norm can be so refreshing and inspiring which is was seemed to happen here. To see the full recap of our week, catch up on our latest vlog here (PS- don’t be in a hurry to comment, we’re not pregnant, lol).

***If you want to edit like me, you can! Grab a copy of my eBook here.***

September 27, 2017
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