Welcome back to another round of the stories behind our daily Instagram uploads. I can’t believe we’re on the fourth one. And I’m totally enjoying doing it. Right, let’s get into the stories.This shoot was a bit of a funny one. While strolling through town, we came across this bike by the sidewalk on a busy street and thought it would be the perfect prop for a street style self portrait. To my right were office folks gathering and peaking through the window, trying to figure out what the hell we were doing. To our front was another very curious audience who couldn’t stop staring even as they crossed the street. There was one man in particular pretending to have gone past but kept sticking his head out from the corner of the building and peaking, to make sure he understood what was really going on. Now that cracked me up big time, lol. Although uncomfortable, we weren’t giving up. Looks like our desire to succeed was greater than our fear of failure.It was a very busy day. We had a key campaign deadline to meet which saw us spend all day in front of our computer, editing and writing. I remember going back and forth between the kitchen and my office desk for tea and toast. To keep up with our daily Instagram upload, I had decided that I’d post a photo from a previous shoot. But later that evening, I received a blogger mail with this cute denim short as part of it and I couldn’t resist trying it on. I loved it so much so that I asked Craig to take a picture of me wearing it while I went about my tea and toast routine. I didn’t think much of the picture at the time but somehow it managed to become a hit on Instagram as it got a lot of engagement. These shots were taken while we were roaming The Northern Quarter in town on what would appear to be a sunny autumn day. To get the self portrait, we had to put or camera on the road. Which was quite the risky thing to do as a car could have easy swung by and knocked it over. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite a busy road. We did get a lot of folks look at us like we were crazy, lol. Being a self proclaimed plant lady, I thought this plant shop where I usually frequent for house plants was a lovely backdrop for a shoot and so I asked Craig to get a shot of me stood outside of it. This shot was taken as part of the new Bio Oil packaging campaign. While out shooting with my close friend Mimi, I thought it would be a good idea to make use of the flowers (which formed part of the shoot) and they seemed to fit in pretty well. To get the full story check out my recent blog post titled “There’s Something About Mimi”.Still exploring more of Manchester, we went out on this day and found ourselves at the arts and crafts centre in The Northern Quarter. It had beautiful shops full of hand made unique pieces. Craig fell in love with a quaint little coffee shop where we ordered a latte and tea to drink. While enjoying his latte, I thought it’d be nice to grab a candid shot of him and so I did.
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Welcome to another week in black and white series. Like I did with the last post, I’ll be focusing on the key message from our week. Going about our daily affairs (which usually consists of shoots and catching up on blog work), it kind of hit us that we were living out our dreams. It got me thinking, how did we get here? Arriving at the answer was fairly straightforward. It was very obvious to see how we got here. How did we get to the point of quitting our jobs to focus on our blog? It turns out that we found the time to do a lot of blog related work when we both had full time jobs. I remember my routine quite well. I’d be at my desk, day dreaming about blog content and looking forward to learning new editing techniques on YouTube. When I actually got back in from work, I would practice editing until I was exhausted. During the summer months, we would shoot almost everyday after work. Our weekends were classed work days too. Slowly but surely, every minute spent learning and growing started to add up. Before we knew it, friends and strangers would approach us, asking photography related questions. We had somehow become experts on the subject matter.
The more we did, the more we got seen. This translated into brands finding us and wanting to work with us. Our success thus far hasn’t been built overnight. We knew absolutely nothing about blogging when we first started out but we were hungry to learn all we could. We found the time amidst our busy schedule because it mattered enough for us to do so. It turns out that finding time to do the things you’re really passionate about is the start to living the life you want and dream of. If you can see it in your mind, you can definitely achieve it. The beauty of life is that it’s never too late to start. I’ll be the first to admit that it might not seem easy in the beginning, but you at least have to try to give yourself a fighting chance by trying and doing.
I read somewhere that “the best friendships are those that have survived the test of time, conflict and change”. For the past month I’ve been thinking of ways to collaborate with other bloggers in my niche and what better way to start this than with a friend who I can certainly say has become a sister (fact; we’ve been told we look alike on many occasions). There’s something about Mimi that makes everyone she spends time with see her as their best friend. I can’t count the amount of people who have claimed her as their bestie but between us, I’m the number one bestie, lol. Mimi is the kind of girl when you continuously tell her about someone will immediately act like she’s known the person a lifetime upon meeting them. She just knows how to make you feel welcome. I’ve actually known Mimi for over twenty years now. We both went to the same boarding school back home in Nigeria. She was the social prefect which shouldn’t come as a surprise given her personality, and I was a house captain. The funny thing is that we weren’t all that close back then but we were very cordial and social towards each other whenever we found ourselves in the same space.Mimi moved to the UK right after we graduated from secondary school. I remember seeing her pictures on Facebook and thinking she was having a fabulous time over there which made me dream even more of visiting. Once I was done with university, I moved to the UK to further my career as a chartered accountant. I was residing in Birmingham at the time and Mimi in Manchester. We kept in touch and met up a few times. Then that turned into calling each other everyday and now we can’t stop being in each other’s lives. I have very fond memories of Mimi coming to visit me in Birmingham and helping me with my paper rounds (yes, being a paper girl was my part time job). A couple of weeks ago I wrote (in the post titled “how the law of attraction saved my life”) about how a close friend let me move in with her and her family when I was going through a rough patch. Well, you guessed right. That friend was Mimi. She was the reason why I packed up and moved down to Manchester. We had the most amazing times. One time we went to a popular roof top bar as spinsters in a bid to treat ourselves to a girls night out. We got all dressed and took pictures to share on Facebook (that was before Instagram was well known). We were quite the broke spinsters as we opted for the 2 for 1 cocktail deal. Once we were done with our drinks (which by the way took less than 15 minutes), we couldn’t wait to leave as we were bored out of our minds. We ended up ordering some Chinese to the bar then took a taxi home, lol. Thanks to Mimi, I’ve had the experience of being kicked out of the cinema as she’s one to converse and laugh out loud during a movie screening. She’s always quick to cry even at the most silly things. One example of this was when we were both catching up on Glee over dinner, in the episode, one of the students was turned down for a job they really wanted and happened to take the rejection quite well considering how badly they wanted it. The next thing I heard was Mimi nearly choking on her food from crying as she was upset about him not getting the job. Knowing Mimi, I can’t promise that she won’t cry when she reads this post cause that’s just the kind go girl she is. I guess that’s why I feel like I can open up to her as she’s not afraid to show her emotions.When we planned this shoot, little did we know that our faith would be tested. Mimi just acquired a bike and it was the obvious prop to use for the shoot. We chose our outfits carefully to compliment the bike. We made flower arrangements with the flower shop next to my Church. We were in very high spirit, and so was Craig who was excited to shoot us. Come the day of the shoot, it was pouring it down. All of Manchester was wet. It turned out we had planned our day without taking into account the weather. We ended up leaving my apartment around 2pm for a shoot that was scheduled to take place before noon (shows our concept of timing). Once we arrived at our shoot location, it turned out to be closed due to a private event taking place. We found a nearby pub where we stayed and ordered lunch while we gathered our thoughts. Craig feeling quite sorry for us said “I’ve just looked at the weather and tomorrow seems to be a better day, can I suggest you ladies move your shoot till then?”. I was feeling nearly defeated at the time but something in me kept saying this is just a test, you can make this work. So I said, let’s look at the weather by the hour. Upon checking, we could see that the rain would stop within half an hour with the rest of the day being just cloudy. You could see the excitement on my face once we discovered this. We enjoyed our meal and set out with the intention to go to a new location. On our way there, Mimi spotted this beautiful road with trees on both sides which looked quite magical. She said “What is this place?”, and I screamed “This is exactly what I pictured in my head when we thought of this shoot. Stop the car!” By then then rain had completely stopped and we still had time to shoot before it got dark. We wasted no time playing around and shooting. We even had time to get some footage for a short film which you can watch here. Seeing how everything came together in the end was so rewarding. It felt like we had yet again conquered another challenging day, making it even more memorable.
This week was a very pleasant one. We got blessed with a few sunny days in Manchester given the very stormy weather we experienced last week. On this particular day, we were more prepared than usual. We knew it was going to be a beautiful day with lots of sunshine so we started our day pretty early. We knew exactly where we were going to as we had been there before. A pub with a back garden that reminded us very much of Mykonos thanks to the white and blue theme, not the mention the seaside aesthetics adopted. You could say we were in holiday mode as we dressed to match the mood of the day. Stepping out in denim and knit, we were ready to catch our train to in East Didsbury to enjoy some tea and coffee in Ye Old Cock Inn.
As it was early afternoon on a weekday, the outdoor space was empty which meant we could roam free. And roam free we did! I had some tea while Craig enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. We were feeling so at home that we forgot to take pictures of our beverages until we were done drinking, lol. Afterwards, we wandered round taking pictures and even got some footage of our day which we pulled together for an Instagram story. We headed back to the train station where we soaked in some more sunshine. I could see our train fast approaching and it looked like it would make for a great shot. Craig wasted no time making sure we captured it. It was really lovely going out on what felt like a city exploration made even more memorable thanks to the glorious weather.
Welcome to another week in black and white. Rather than talk about the events that transpired during the course of our week, I think it’s best to focus on the underlying lesson learnt. Those who know me well, know that I’m one to always draw a life lesson from any circumstance if I can help it. I really do appreciate that side of me as it gives at least one constant perspective to always view things amongst others. The key message I got from our week was “always embrace life”. Now, how did this come about? Well, it all started when I watched a live Facebook video by a photographer who said the best way to capture a moment was to actually be in the moment. Those words really stuck with me. Somehow it translated into embracing life and it got me really being extra conscious of each moment and making the most of it. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt (speaking from personal experience), its that what you focus on is what you’ll succeed at. Bearing that in mind, coupled with my new level of awareness, I made sure to embrace each moment. Rather than say to Craig, “should we go out and get some shots?”, I found myself saying “let’s go out and see if we can find a place we’ve never been before for some nice coffee”. Making it less about shooting and more about just living life with getting some shots being an added bonus.
It gave a very different feeling, one of being a lot more open to unexpected moments the day might bring with it. And it felt great! I could see beautiful stories unfold. In retrospect, it was obvious that there’s always something romantic about embracing life. After all, that romance triggered my journey to getting here. So I ask myself, how can I not live in the moment? Granted, life has it’s ups and downs. But the best way to push through is to keep hope alive. And with each passing day, we must learn to live a little more – romancing life.
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.***
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).