Is It Too Soon To Talk About Summer?

My answer is: no, it’s never too soon to talk about Summer. I love Summer, I think I would be safe in saying that it’s my favourite season. The long evenings, BBQ’s, beer gardens, friends, family, the sunshine, and generally everyone being in a better mood. I suppose I like the optimism that Summer brings.

Over the weekend I booked a beach holiday with my sister! We are going away right at the beginning of June and it will be amazing. I cannot wait! I’ve been online looking at summer clothes, bikini’s, and thinking about what books I’m going to read whilst lounging next to the pool. I haven’t ever been on a holiday where it’s just me and my sister and although I went to the beach last year for a couple of days, I am more excited than I thought. I quite like city breaks; New York and San Diego last year were lovely. But a holiday? A relaxing, do nothing but chill out and enjoy the sunshine holiday? It’s going to be marvelous.

As you can see I have been pinning away outfit inspiration like no tomorrow on Pinterest: my favourite dream world. If you are on Pinterest please send me links to your boards, especially your summer ones!

Are you going away this year?

– Ellie x

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30 Day Challenge Update: Hydration

hydration

I thought I would do a little 30 Day Challenge check in. 10 days ago I watched a Ted Talk video by Matt Cutts where he mentions that 30 days is just about the right length of time to pick up a new habit. I really liked the idea and decided to implement drinking more water into my lifestyle as I really wasn’t drinking enough and often getting headaches from not doing so. Also for me, 30 days felt like a short-term doable goal. So far I’m really pleased to say my challenge is going really well, on average I’m drinking a lot more water than I ever used to, however there are some days when I drink more than others and when I’m at work I really have to make a conscious effort to continually drink. But, I’m definitely starting to see the effects that drinking more water is having on my skin. It looks a bit more alive as well as being generally clearer which makes me very happy!

Have you taken the 30 Day Challenge? Are you doing one right now? If, like me, you are trying to drink more water but perhaps finding it a bit difficult here are a few hacks I’ve discovered!

Firstly – Add fruit to your water! Strawberries, cucumber, lemon, watermelon and mint add natural flavour to your water. There are two ways you can do this: 1) Slice your chosen fruit and add it to a large jug of water, then put the jug in the fridge for a couple of hours so it is lovely and fresh when you drink it. Do this first thing in the morning so you can have it throughout the day. 2) Freeze your fruit into ice-cubes by chopping your chosen fruit up small enough to fit in the ice-tray, then add water over each piece of fruit and pop in the freezer. Once frozen you can add the fruit ice-cubes to your water to enjoy.

Secondly – I thought I would need to remind myself a lot to be drinking water, but this hasn’t happened nearly as much as I thought. However if you want a helping hand in remembering then you can set little alarms throughout the day to help remind you or download waterlogged: a handy app that tracks your daily intake.

As I mentioned before I’m starting to see some changes in the appearance of my skin thanks to drinking more water. But drinking water is also really important for fluid balance which helps regulate body temperature and transport nutrients around our bodies. And drinking more water is also a really good productivity booster!

I’m really enjoying this 30 Day Challenge so far and I’m thinking of trying something new next month!

I hope you’ve had a great weekend!

Ellie x

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Saturday Links

weekend

Towards the end of last year I started a series called Saturday links where I shared some of my favourite links I’d discovered during the week. Well I missed it and thought I would bring it back with gusto! So, grab a mug of coffee or a cup of tea and sit down and enjoy.

1. I’m currently having a love affair with flapjack. It’s one that needs to end right now because it’s not healthy or good because I don’t just have one piece, I’ll get through half the box in minutes. Thankfully, just in time, Harper’s Bazaar has come out with a healthy snack list – apple and peanut butter sounds tasty – for some inspiration if you are in a similar position to me!

2. I always love the articles on creative live, they somehow follow the pattern of my thinking. This article: 8 Pieces Of Advice That Will Motivate You To Get Shit Done is a series of quotes and words of wisdom I really like.

3. This lady’s blog is one of my faves, I stumbled across Ally in Blunderland a couple of months ago and really enjoy sitting down and catching up with her posts. She recently did one about Body & Mind and I thought it was ace.

4. I love watching Vlogs, and I’ve spoken about him before but Casey Neistat’s daily vlogs are quickly becoming my favourite. This one especially.

I hope you’ve liked this little list, if you have any links you want to share please leave them in the comments!

Have a good weekend folks,

Ellie x

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Living Your Life Unapologetically

Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and live a life you are proud to live

I hope you had a good weekend? The topic I really want to discuss today is: living your life unapologetically. I think the most confident people are the ones who live for themselves and not letting what others think, believe or say get in the way of what they want to do or how they want to live. I want to be one of these confident people. I’m really going to make a conceited effort to try. Because I definitely let other people’s opinions get to me more than they should. Dr Seuss has this wonderful quote “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.

I believe we should be able to live our lives however, wherever and doing whatever we want. Life is short and amazing and full of opportunity and possibility and I feel it a shame when there are people who bring you down by making you feel bad for the way you decide to live your life or the decisions you make in living it the best way for you.

ME

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the type of person I want to be and how I want to live and it’s not someone who is so affected by the opinions of others. But more often than not recently I have been concerned by other people’s opinions. I think because I can be so confident about a life choice or career decision that when it changes, generally through experience, however quickly, I feel people are then also quick to jump the gun saying that I’ve haven’t given it enough time, or ‘but I thought you were going to do this’ or ‘why are you giving up’. The thing I need to practice telling myself is firstly, it’s my decision and secondly it doesn’t matter. I need to learn to ignore these voices in my head!

dahl quote

More than ever before we have possibility and opportunity to try different careers, live in different countries and drop everything to pursue a dream. Enjoy them, embrace them, and don’t apologise for wanting something different to what you wanted a year ago, a month ago or even yesterday. Life is for the living, friends. Live yours however you want.

– Ellie x

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Life Update: Flathunting

flathunting

One of the things I mentioned when I first started writing again on PPT (picturesandpennythoughts) was that I wanted to take you along on my journey, whatever that entailed; life, photography etc. At this point in my journey there is a strong focus on flat-hunting; most of my free time since moving to London I have been flat-hunting. I know, a lot of people have flats before they move somewhere. I was offered a job and jumped at the chance as it was down in London. Luckily and thankfully I have extended family who live on the outskirts who were happy to let me stay with them for however long I needed until I found a place of my own.

I’m an optimist and a bit of a dreamer. In my head flat-hunting was a joyous and interesting activity where I got excited about interior and exterior design. That part of me thought that I would move down to London, flat hunt for a few days and would find something akin to my dream home within that time. Well, I didn’t. And it’s now the middle of April and I’ve been looking since the beginning of February. It’s been draining, a bit soul destroying and difficult. Because I’ve been looking for a room in a flat and not just a flat out-right to rent, I became a member of various websites looking for flatmates. Looking for a room in London is like trying to find a needle in a haystack or better put that tiny piece of gold amongst a huge dirt-stream. I’ve been really close on two occasions to getting somewhere and then had the room taken from beneath my feet. As EVERYONE wants to live in London, landlords basically have their pick of tenants. If you can’t make a specific time, they’ll be 17 other people who can. If you’re on the fence and unsure about a room, by the time you’ve made your mind up a couple hours later it’s already gone. I’ve also had some really misfortunate things happen such as last week when I was asked if I could come to view a room and upon arriving on the street the flat was on I received a message saying the room had gone already. Seriously? I was early. SERIOUSLY? Or another time when I had arranged a specific viewing time and the tenants were out. I waited for 20 minutes before giving up. And then there’s times when the photos look nothing like the flat.

In all fairness I really need to pay attention to my intuition a bit more, because it’s usually spot on if something doesn’t feel right. But I’m an optimist, remember? My head and heart are egging me on to not notice and ignore anything that feels off because this could be the one. It’s never been the one. Yet. I have considered finding a studio/one bed flat (ha…in London, on my budget?!) but I like living with other people. This could all change though.

I honestly am SO incredibly grateful to my family for letting me stay with them during my hunt. And if I’m being completely honest, maybe I have been a little picky. I’m not going to go after the first thing I can afford. I’m over that. I do want something where the people I live with are nice, not hermits and I’m not paying £500+ a month for mould on the walls and damp. It has created a lot of stress, and I do feel a little bad every time I get my family excited about a viewing and it turns sour. But they have all been the biggest supporters and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

So to bring you up-to-date I have a viewing today! Or rather I’m meeting two potential new flatmates. We’re going for a drink to meet one another and see if we like each other I suppose. I will jump through hoops if it means I get a nice flat or house and this one, that I’m looking at, is nice. And in my budget. So let’s all cross our fingers and toes. I think the official viewing is on Monday if all goes well.

It can be hard when things don’t go how we see or have planned for, but persevere, don’t lose hope and never ever give up.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Ellie x

P.S. I thought I would leave some helpful links below in case you are flat-hunting yourself.

Spareroom is one I use ALL the time. It’s great and if you want to upgrade to get premium service of getting in touch with flats that are brand new to the website. I suggest you do this if you are serious because it is worth it in the long run and these are usually the places I get viewings for as usually there are so many people who get in touch.

Easyroommate is another good website although I don’t use it as regularly, and you’ll notice that a lot of people who put up rooms put them on various sites.

Gumtree. You can’t go wrong with gumtree, it’s one of the first places I started looking and a lot of my friends have found places this way.

Pinterest. Okay, so I know you can’t find flats on Pinterest but I have an AMAZING collection of interior and exterior designs for my future own home when the time comes.

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30 Day Challenge: Hydration

30 day challenge

To be honest, I was struggling a bit with what to write today. I went for a run this morning, which I was hoping would surge my inspiration, but it ended up being quite hard. I’ve not been sleeping – or eating – very well lately and that definitely has a big effect on how well I can exercise. I’ll definitely write soon about balanced diets and exercise.

I also spent most of today editing and organizing photos for my portfolio and that takes forever. I don’t do an awful lot of editing, it’s mainly colour corrections and minor fixes. But it does take a long time and after a while you realise you’ve been editing for hours and step away from the computer feeling a little less than awesome and probably looking it too. Note to self: take more editing breaks!

After lying down for five minutes I realised there was a video I wanted to share that I found quite inspiring. Have you heard of Ted Talks? I love them. I have the app too. It’s where I first discovered Simon Sinek amongst many other great and inspiring people and talks. I stumbled across this talk by Matt Cutts. He talks about 30 days being just about the right amount of time to form a new habit. Interesting. On one hand it sounds like a lot of commitment and also not and as he states: the 30 days are going to pass anyway. If you really want to change something about your lifestyle or if there is something you want to try then I propose you try a 30 day challenge. . I’ll go days with only drinking tea and coffee and no water leading to headaches. Foolish. So I am going to give Matt Cutts theory a go starting today. I think I might have to set little alarms to remind myself every couple of hours for the first few days but let’s do this.

Is there anything you really want to incorporate into your life? Challenge yourself to a 30 day trial and see what happens!

– Ellie x

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The Importance Of Taking Time Off

me time

I don’t have a 9-5 job, which I love. I’ve tried it; working as a PA a few years ago but spent most of my time living for the weekends and clock watching. Since then I haven’t worked a 9-5 and it suits me very well, I love the flexibility and freedom of being able to work when and how I work best. I currently have a part-time job that falls on different days every week and when I’m not there I’m building my business, out networking or on photo-shoots. But, this usually equates to me feeling burnt out as I forget to give myself time off.

After two months of feeling pretty exhausted I decided to go back and visit home, which was hugely rejuvenating – what is it about the country and seeing family?! This trip made me realise that I really need to put more effort into my work-life balance as it was incredibly off. Me time is very important! When was the last time you had some proper self-indulgent me time?

I decided that yesterday was my day. I had been working every day with long hours and no time off, so I decided to take the day. I had a lie in, did the insanity workout (…still very hard), and enjoyed the sun by walking into town and getting a couple of things and of course a coffee. It was just a lovely relaxing day and the sun was out and warm and I felt really happy getting into bed at the end of it all.

As nice as it is to be able to take a whole day resting and rejuvenating, I realise it’s not always possible. Perhaps you can only do an evening, or a couple of hours, but hey take a relaxing bath, go on a walk, spend time with your other half or friends; switch off and enjoy the moment! Make plans right now for when you are going to take some time off or organise some me time. YOU deserve it.

– Ellie x

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Mindset

EllieMoragPhotography

I want to talk about Vlogs for a minute. I watch quite a few and have done for a couple of years. They are my guilty pleasure, but without the guilt because I genuinely really like them. Someone I wanted to talk about today is Casey Neistat. I don’t know what it is about Casey’s vlogs but I really enjoy watching them; I’m engrossed and before I know it the short film/video/blog/vlog – whatever you would like to call it – is over. I find him and his videos really inspiring.

Generally I enjoy chatty vlogs, where the vlogger often keeps a commentary of what they are doing, thinking etc. I have to admit that vlogs which are just video montages, unless broken up with speech, get a bit boring for me. In his latest vlog called Intensity, Casey talks about running. He is crazy amazing at running great distances and has done a few Marathons, Triathlons and a few Ironman’s. I have yet to enter my first race. It’ll happen. The most important thing, I think, that Casey mentions in today’s vlog is that running, and exercise in general, is all down to your mind-set. Very true. It takes practice and motivation, but you will get better and it does get easier if you stick with it. As you get physically fitter you mind will get mentally fitter.

Here is the link to Casey’s vlog. Enjoy!

– Ellie x

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Insanity Workout

insanityOkay, hands up who has done the Insanity Workout? In case you haven’t heard of it before the Insanity Workout is a high intensity interval training Programme. Generally you perform 3 minutes of high intensity activity followed by 30 seconds of rest for about 45 minutes.  I’ve heard it mentioned by a few people and chatted very loosely about wanting to try it but had never have. On Friday I decided to take the plunge. I did a quick YouTube search and found this taster video that only lasted 15ish minutes. As I haven’t been exercising very regularly recently and wasn’t sure of the level I thought this video would be a good place to start. Currently, I get my exercise from running up the stairs and escalators at London Bridge, taking two stairs at a time and feeling the burn of pushing my way up to the top. It’s definitely, definitely some sort of a workout. I also go out running when I can. Running used to be my main form of exercise, I find it a great way to release and really enjoying running outside. I started a few years ago by doing a beginners programme: 5k in 10 weeks. It was really good as I wasn’t great with my pace and it really helped me with running distance which I wasn’t previously very good at. After a couple of months I was quite fit and in a good regular running pattern. However, after moving to the USA last year I lost any and all workout routine due to my work schedule and I just haven’t been able to pick it back up again to the same level, which is a little disappointing, so I’m really hoping I can sort it out this year. I love feeling fit and healthy and eating well and having a good lifestyle. Healthy body equals a healthy mind.

So, back to Insanity. I decided to try it instead of going on a run because I want to mix up my workouts. I think part of the reason I’m finding it difficult to get back into a routine and giving myself that attention is because I’m just doing the same thing all the time which isn’t very motivating and can be a bit monotonous; I need to mix it up to keep it fun. There are various other types of exercise I would also really like to try; Pure Barre, Hot Yoga and Spinning to name a few. I know, it’s quite ambitious. But the classes sound really interesting and like I mentioned previously I enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.

Insanity hugely surpassed my expectations. Whilst I couldn’t really keep up and I could certainly feel the burn, I was really proud of myself for doing it until the end! It is certainly a workout-and-a-half and I really want to keep up with doing it on a regular basis. I liked how motivating Shawn T – the instructor and creator – came across. He has an entire 60-day workout plan, including nutrition guidance, that you can purchase if it’s something that you really enjoy and want to continue with. It’s something I’m seriously going to consider but I would suggest definitely trying the taster session first to see whether you like it. You can also find out some more information here if you would like to read further.

Remember to not be hard on yourself if you find the workout difficult, you will improve if you keep trying. Also drink small amounts of water, get lots of sleep and eat well when exercising but don’t workout on a full stomach!

Have you done the Insanity Workout before? What did you think? Have you completed the 60-day plan? What other forms of exercise do you enjoy?

– Ellie

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The Journey

For the majority of last year I was living in Atlanta and working with a Wedding Photographer, we shot over 30 Weddings in 6 months. It was crazy, amazing, mental, challenging, fantastic, different, exhausting, and all the other words you could possibly think to describe living in another country and working on pursuing your dream. This year I’m back in London, living; working; breathing and experiencing everything my life has to offer. I believe life is a journey and it’s constantly changing, evolving, progressing and some days are harder than others. I wanted to start writing again to document everything that is happening with me. I have big dreams and big plans and I’m hugely ambitious. I learnt so much last year and I’m still learning even more – is that even possible? – and it’s only April.

Dreams

My big dreams and plans revolve mainly around owning my own business and working as a photographer, which I currently do to a certain extent, but they are still evolving. And changing. My plans, like me, change and develop with every new experience. I’ll be talking about them on here as well as my website elliemorag.com where you can see recent work and portfolios. PicturesandPennythoughts is more like a journal where I will be documenting things that I like and enjoy and general life.

Ellie

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 Going through my portfolio is taking time. But then I find beautiful gems like this. Beautiful wedding, beautiful @karamood #photographer #Weddings #portfolio #bride #UKphotographer  Tea break
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