packing light – part ii

packing light

I shared my experience of packing with just hand luggage at the beginning of the year but since then I have travelled with just hand luggage to Japan (2 weeks), Crete (10 days), Switzerland (5 days) and a few one or two night trips. I feel like one of my magical skills is now packing a cabin bag for a trip. I even do it in a very short period of time now rather than spending a week putting things aside! I did do one trip to London with a bigger bag so I could bring stuff back and regretted it the whole time I was there!

So, I still do the Konmari packing method (doesn’t it look beautiful!). If I am taking some shirts I would normally hang, I fold and lay them flat on top. On top there is then also space for toiletries, plugs etc.

Having minimised my wardrobe has made packing easier too. I have a limited colour palette (although my summer wardrobe has some extra colour and pattern pieces) which means that mostly everything goes together. I would say you never need more than two pairs of shoes (okay three at a push) and once you have decided what you are taking, get rid of 2-3 pieces. I promise you won’t end up wearing it all! After Japan I realised that I still didn’t wear everything I packed and reduced even more for our next trip (although sitting on a beach for 10 days doesn’t require that much clothing anyway). I suppose the lesson is that you just need to be aware what you are doing. If you are staying with family for five days you don’t need to take an evening dress but probably packing some good pjs which you are happy to walk around the house in is a good idea.

My breakthrough toiletry piece that I discovered (particularly for flying) is shampoo bars. I picked up a honey shampoo bar from lush which has lasted really well. Along with that is using a normal soap bar for washing too. I don’t know about you but I am so used to using a shower gel that the idea of taking soap on holiday didn’t occur to me for a while!

Also, I did cave and bought a small camera (the FujiFilm x100t) before heading to Japan. I absolutely love it and all the photos since the summer that I have shared on here are I have used that. Carrying a lighter camera around makes such a difference! I used to get so grumpy lugging my big camera around by the end of day and would leave my camera at home some days because of the weight. There are limitations on capturing things (some bits are just too far away with a 35 mm lens) but it is great for city travels especially. If you aren’t big on photography just take your phone. They are so good these days and unless you planning on blowing up a massive picture for your wall they will do just fine for sharing on Instagram and Facebook.

Let me know if you have any other tips, there is always room for improvement!

japan | a few more things in kyoto

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Just a few more things you should do while in Kyoto (although I certainly didn’t get to do it al):

  • Sit on the river for a while. It is a bit different to other big city rivers in that (at least the bit we were sitting on) wasn’t really made a big thing of. There are some old, stilted restaurants along one bit but we just sat outside and enjoyed the peace.
  • If it is raining head to the National Museum of Modern Art. It was interesting to see some Modern Japanese art particularly in its home country.
  • If you head to the Museum there is a great little coffee shop called Noma across the canal (last two photos). They make delicious scones with a Japanese twist and some gorgeous iced-tea. There is also a little shop next door which has a collection of vintage and designer items. We couldn’t help but buy a little glass house when we went back for a second visit (because the shop was closed the first time around).
  • We didn’t eat out too much when in Kyoto but there was a vegetarian macrobiotic restaurant, called Choice, basically opposite the Airbnb we stayed in. It was a little pricey but the food was really good.

japan | the bamboo forest

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I loved the bamboo forest. It was about 40 minutes on a bus from where we were staying. I loved traveling on the bus. I saw school kids get on and off, an elderly lawn bowling group get on and off and a buddhist monk with rope shoes get on and off. Tim napped.

We got a little lost finding the bamboo forest but eventually a monk showed us the way! We were there early so the tourists hadn’t arrived. Just a few school groups (who seemed to be going on tours with taxi drivers).

Just so you know:

  • You can’t walk amongst the bamboo. I thought you would be able to but you can’t. I suppose if thousands of people were wondering through it would get rather damaged.
  • Growing bamboo has the most beautiful green tone. It is so calming. And it grows super tall.
  • Lotus flowers are pretty awesome.
  • The gardeners in these beautiful old gardeners have shoes that are made from some sort neoprene fabric and have individual toes.
  • Sometimes buddhist nuns take pictures with phone cameras (I kind of imagine she was taking a selfie).
  • Staring at a pond for a while can make you feel very zen (the garden is in a temple that is next to the bamboo forest).
  • The little town that the bamboo forest is in is pretty cute but you might want to get the bus back before all the tourists really arrive.

where i’m at


I just wanted to put down my thoughts of where I am with my photography. More for myself really but perhaps it will help you to understand what posts are coming up.

Moving from London to Trieste has lead to a change in many things but also in the way I view photography. For years I was stuck in the thinking that I had to find a way to make money from my photography. I had to justify spending money on equipment by finding a way to make a good return on invest. And this I think has really held me back. I was stuck concentrating on the types of photography that would make me an income. Looking at what others were doing and whether there was space for me in the market.

With a language barrier and no hints of contacts I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Which has given a rise to a sort of freedom. If I don’t have to make money from my photography I don’t have to be limited by what will make me money. And here is the shift: I want to create “art”. What art is exactly is still something I an considering. I am not saying I won’t be taking some snapshots of my life (see those on Instagram). Don’t worry I am not going to get all pompous. And I certainly don’t see myself suddenly making something worthy of a museum. But I do want to create something that has an intentional message in it, that makes people pause and look a bit longer. I think Robert Frank said it best

When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice – Robert Frank

Okay I will stop being so abstract now!

read ’em and eat

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Read ’em

I love this poster. I really wish I had eaten more watermelon this summer. Something to work on for next year.

These little podcasts from Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love and a new book which I want to read) are interesting and inspiring. The latests one with Brene Brown (who is amazing) is a really great talk on creativity!

Why we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about bettering ourselves.

I love this advertising campaign from Kate Spade. Anna Kendrik is one of my favourites.


I made this vegan creamy red pepper pasta sauce with a few tweaks for dinner this week. I was too lazy to do anything besides throw the peppers and a whole garlic bulb in the oven. Once they were baked I threw the peppers in the blender with the garlic and some cashew nuts I had soaked for about 30 minutes. Added water, harissa spices (currently my favourite thing) and two table spoons of nutritional yeast (they really should have come up with a better name for that one).

It is a great Sunday evening dinner when you don’t feel like cooking. Roasting some vegetables and throwing in a blender is as easy as you can get for a cooked healthy meal.

My latest trick is to also roast a couple peppers at the beginning of the week for use in a variety of dishes during the week, an easy tomato soup, as a sandwich topping or addition to a veggie bowl.

upping my photography game … or at least trying


So in case I haven’t mentioned it somewhere, I started teaching a photography class. My motivations were primarily selfish. I wanted to get back to thinking about photography. And I have to say I am enjoying really diving into things I haven’t thought about before. More deeply exploring concepts and ideas is something I love doing and I love that I have an excuse and motivation to actually do it.

In my explorations I came across this quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson:

If a photograph is to communicate its subject in all its intensity, the relationship of forms must be rigorously established. Photography implies the recognition of a rhythm in the world of real things. What the eye does is to find and focus on the particular subject within the mass of reality; what the camera does is simply to register upon film the decision made by the eye. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

It highlights several things to me:

  • The purpose of taking a photograph is to tell a story of a subject and you need to do everything you can to make that story happen.
  • Don’t just ‘take a snap shot’, make a picture. Be conscious and intentional when taking a photograph.
  • Photographs are created.
  • Understanding of art principles is really useful in creating these more considered images. I am currently learning more about compositional elements that I am looking forward to playing around with and sharing with you.
  • The camera is a simply a tool. The best camera you have is the one you have on you!

I suppose what I am saying in a nutshell is that I want to become more conscious when I am behind the camera. What do you think? How conscious are you when you are behind a camera?

On a second note, I am thinking of sharing some of my learning. I kind of see it as giving myself a diploma in photography and why not share that. So I thought I would share some great things I come across, photographers that inspre me and some of my experimentation. Yes? No? Let me know