Positivity Inspires


"Start each day with a positive thought"

So recently I have been watching a reading a whole bunch of things, learning more and more about positivity, being creative, being inspired and where spirituality comes in all of that. Well here are some of my thoughts so far, along with some of the people, books, and other stuff that have inspired me over the past few months on my journey to a more positive life.

It all started off with Essena O'Neill leaving social media, as I wrote about in this post, I began to think more about what being creative can be, and I want my creative efforts to be primarily for me but when I share them I want them to inspire. So I watched video after video, read blog post after blog post, on social media and its effect on creativity. And this is my conclusion, you must allow yourself to be creative, everyday if possible. You should never to aspire to be someone else, that is how you stop being creative and negative thoughts come in abundance with that kind of thinking.

There is a certain mindset to being a positive person, and it is something I am yet to master but I am somewhere on the way to understanding how to create my own happiness. So here are a few habits I have picked up over the last few months:

  • Meditation, i don't do this everyday as much as the intention is there, I tend to use use this guided sleep meditation 2-3 times a week, and I meditate at the end of yoga class as a part of the session.
  • Journalling, this is something I have done for years on and off, sometimes it was a creative, expressive experience, but sometimes it was a purge of emotions. I am currently in what I would call journalling slump, but I definitely want to get back into it again and use it for positive ideas and thoughts. 
  • Making time to read, read for pleasure that is, I read a novel every week as a part of English Literature modules, but I really need to make more time to read for pleasure and out of my own interest. 
I'm currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I will write a post on my thoughts when I finish it, because it has definitely inspired me. 

XO, Miriam 

Imagine Dragons

As you may know I have been trying to capture the wonder and healing that concerts bring when I attend them. I am yet to succeed, but that doesn't mean I won't keep trying. And the Smoke & Mirrors Imagine Dragons concert was nothing short of incredible, I have seen these guys before a few years back,  I might have written a post on it but I can't remember. I could have posted this so much earlier this week but something kept stopping me, like the words couldn't flow right nothing could put the emotions and release that a concert like this brings. Because music must always be looked at as both separate parts, but also as a whole. Lyrics are poetry and there is always some deeper meaning to what the music behind them can bring, thats not to say instrumental music has no merit, but I find I am most connected to music when the lyrics mean something. Basically the lyrics have to bring something to the party or there is no point. For me at least Imagine Dragons have always been able to capture my emotions and make me think more openly, I don't know what it is but there is something profound about their performances, and their music in general that just connects to me.

And as I have run out of words,

XO, Miriam

P.S. Photo credit to my sister.

Top 3 Tips from the HBloggers Food Photography Workshop

Food Styling by I was promised donuts

The other weekend I attended a Health Blogger's Community photography workshop, something I only found out about the day before through Eleanor from Green + Aquamarine who is a part of the community. The afternoon was hosted by Wellicious in their wonderful HQ, taught by Anastaija of Grandmother's Figs, and run by Fab. 

As a blogger photography a huge part of what I do on this space, and as I have branched out from outfits, to food and books this workshop was much needed to hone my skills for more close up photography. As I very rarely feel like I have perfected my shots, I was grateful for the chance to attend the workshop. 

So here are my top three tips I learnt from the 3hrs workshop:

Natural Lighting: 
We all know lighting is important, but the most important type of light is by far natural light. But as the days get shorter and we have less and less time to get those perfect shots, there are a few ways to maximise the amount of light, Anastaija recommended to use a type of reflective sheet, e.g. white fabric or a white board to increase the amount of light on the objects you're taking photos of. As well as this she suggested that 10am and late afternoon are the optimum times to takes photos as the light is not to harsh or to dim thus avoiding those weird shadows you get at certain times of day. But that is not to say to avoid shadows completely, use them to your advantage to create more depth in your photos.

Using Manual:
The second thing I picked up on was that you should 100% switch from Auto to Manual on your camera, and really get to know what your camera can do. Get to know every setting possible, but the keys ones are ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. I am still getting to grips with these settings so I am in no position to give advice here however, Eleanor who I mentioned earlier has written more about the final details in her post (here) about the workshop so head over there for more info on these settings. 

This is the fun part, you can do anything you want here. I loved playing around with all the props available, you can change so much about an image just by altering what surface it is on, and its surroundings. I personally prefer more clean cut simple images, so I tend towards white surfaces, with more modern and simple props. But some people prefer a more rustic look so tend toward more wooden surfaces and a more crowded images making use of ingredients and props as well.  

I hope you enjoyed this somewhat different post from me.

XO, Miriam

Oxford Fashion Week SS16

So as I mentioned a week or so ago, I got the chance to work with Oxford Fashion Studios for the last ever Oxford Fashion Week as an ambassador. So basically I had a whole variety of jobs and things to do along with taking photos for my blog. It was the most hectic day of my life and just a little stressful but I loved it. The day of running around finding dresses, picking up coffee, and dry-cleaned shirts confirmed what I want to do after university. I would love to work in fashion, but if that isn't the case then I want something that requires the same amount of creativity, passion and drive that the fashion industries require.

But back to the shows, of which there were two, a ready-to-wear show and a couture show, they were really well put together, and here are my highlights:

If you want to see more looks from the shows head over to the Oxford Fashion Week Website.

XO, Miriam

The Book Club| Very Good Lives and Shaking Hands with Death

Finally I am back writing about books, its been a while hasn't it... But oh well I am back at it and this time with two short speeches in book form, from two of my favourite authors.

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling - 4/5 

Very Goof Lives, is the speech Rowling gave to the Harvard Class of 2008, I have listened to this speech before but when I wasn't at uni or on the verge of 'adulthood'. This speech if something I will be coming back to again and again for the same advice. No you don't have to buy the book you can listen to the speech online, but I like having something tangible, something I can add to with a speech like this. I have already added several post-it notes of more positive and inspirational quotes and ideas that the words made me think of. The other thing I loved about this book is the illustrations and the typography, it is a well crafted book, it looks good both with and with out the dust jacket. If I learnt one thing from this book it was that in order to succeed you need to have failed first, and that applies to all areas of life not just academically. This book will definitely be in my top books of 2015, for how it impacted me and my outlook.

Shaking Hands with Death by Terry Pratchett - 3/5

I haven't actually read all that much by Terry Pratchett, but I know a lot about him, seen multiple book to screen adaptations of some of the Discworld novels, and heard Neil Gaiman talk about writing with him during the last few years of his career while he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Which is what this speech is about, it was written by him for the BBC, but it wasn't all read by him, someone else stood in partway through to finish the speech. For me this book was eye opening, there is so much we don't know about Alzeimer's, especially about how it effects the individual. But Pratchett didn't avoid those topics, he addressed them, and brought the disease into the public eye and discussion. The only problem I would say with the book for me is that, this disease has never affected me in my family, so in some places i found it hard to engage. However given how small the book was I don't see that as too much of a problem.

XO, Miriam

Social Media, Essena O'Neill, and Real Life

This wasn't the post I wanted to write today, but I have so many thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is going on with local media right now, about Essena O'Neill (someone I have followed for a while now) 'quitting social media', about what real life is, about finding a balance. I don't even know what to do with my thoughts right now, I have pages and pages worth of thoughts running through my head enough to fill my entire journal. I am going back to a piece I wrote a while back in pen on paper about how the internet and social media is killing our creativity, how we can only be creative in one way.

I'm a blogger of sorts, I love creating the stuff I do on this blog, I enjoy editing, I don't really mind about how many page views it gets, I do it for enjoyment, to document what I am doing at the time, my travels, what I wear, what I have read, what I think. yes there are times when I can be consumed by the numbers, but then I just take a break I read a book, turn off my phone, hang out with my friend, drink some tea, workout, meditate, go on a walk, make some food, just stay away from social media and the numbers for a while. That is what I would call balance, there are times when social media can get too much, but there are also times when it does what is says it will can connects me with likeminded people. 

Yes Essena's reaction is extreme but it is what is right for her, if something makes you unhappy then remove it from your life and for her that was social media and the pressure she was under. i also think that she has gone a little far in that she seems to be tarnishing a lot of people of social media with the same brush. I doubt she means to but it is unfair on those she made connections with outside of social media, as well as everyone else who uses it for inspirational, creative and communicative purposes. But like i said earlier she need do what suit her, I know that sometimes I need a break, hers just happens to be public and incomplete. What she is doing has started a global conversation about the importance of social media and the damaging effects it can have on peoples mental health and wellbeing, and for that I am grateful.

The way I see it as you either see that social media is used as an advertising tool as well as being somewhere to create, or you don't realise how 'fake' it all is. Of course social media isn't real life and sometimes it can feel like that, but it isn't there is some much more to life that social media. If you spend most of your time on social media then you might want to question how you are living your life, but for some people it can be a way to connect with people who they would never have had the chance to engage with. I have made friends, found a better way of living, joined communities and created something I am proud of through social media.

I definitely will be writing more on this topic, once have done some more reading and looked at some the resources Essena has put up on her new site (here) about creativity and what really goes into that insta-worthy life. 

As with everything, too much of it can be bad for you. It is all about balance. 

XO, Miriam 

P.S. I hope this made some sense.