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One day in Seven Dials

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Discovering new parts of London is one of the best ways to spend a morning. I recently had the chance to explore more of Seven Dials, a gem of central London boasting over 120 different brands to get lost in. From bespoke watch-making at Nixon to Hygge-inspired breakfasts at 26 Grains, there is something for everyone. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner and Mother’s Day coming up fast behind, taking your loved one on a fun day out together is the best type of gift. I hope this little guide inspires you to get out and start exploring more of London town!

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Store links:
26 Grains
Club Monaco
Nixon
Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels
Fresh
Laura Lee
Covent Garden Hotel
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Northcote

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They always say you should start your new year as you mean to go on (usually with a health-kick)…in my case though, I decided to begin my year at a Michelin-star restaurant and luxury hotel in Lancashire, Northcote. Now what better way to start 2017 than with a 5* escape? I can’t think of one! I suppose the only problem now is I’ve set my standards quite high and it’s going to have to be pretty great year to beat this….!!

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www.northcote.com // 01254 240 555
 Northcote
Northcote Road,
Langho Blackburn,
Lancashire, BB6 8BE

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WHEN IN ROME: PART II

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For the second part of our stay in Rome, it was time to change hotels and move to a more central part of the city. With a desire to be close to some of the most important monuments in the city, we opted for a stay at Hotel 47. This 4* design hotel was just the spot we were looking for. Set only a stone’s throw from Piazza Venezia (a square that I actually think might rival the Spanish steps!) and of course, the Colosseum, Hotel 47 was the exact base we were looking for to carry on our Roman adventure.

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Thank you Hotel 47 for hosting us for this stay and giving us a wonderful experience!

Via Luigi Petroselli 47,
00186 – Roma

T +39.06.6787816
F +39.06.69190726
reservations@fortysevenhotel.com

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2017 Resolutions

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It’s 2017. We’ve started a new year, turned over a new leaf and shed our 2016 skin. As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, it’s a wonderful time for us all to sit down and take a moment to look at the great things we’ve achieved during those 12 months. For a lot of people and places, 2016 wasn’t the best year, but rather than dwell on the tragedy and sadness we’ve endured, best just keep your chin up and keep smiling…well that’s my idea anyway. Scrolling though my favourite blogs and catching up with posts, I’ve seen quite a few New Year’s resolutions entries of late and thought to myself what a wonderful thing it was to share. I usually just jot them down in my journal, but decided that writing and sharing a post would give me something lovely to look back on next December.

As we all know, life is a series of choices and events. Sometimes you make the right choices and sometimes events take place at exactly the right time…but sometimes they don’t. I’m personally a great believer in trying to learn something from every obstacle placed in your way. Rather than thinking about what you did wrong or why things didn’t go as planned, I try to think about what I learned from the situation, in order to become a bigger and better person. As I have grown as a photographer, I’ve worked on turning challenging situations around into something positive, something I can learn from. And so, without further ado, and following on from what I’ve learnt this year, here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017:

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Plan

I always have these grand ideas in my mind, but sometimes forget how important and vital planning is. I am certain I could achieve more if I focused on some organisation beforehand, which would make my shoots and concepts more streamlined. Sourcing props, scouting locations and many other elements are things that are easily ignored when you look at a photograph. The planning and effort that goes in before the final shot can make all the difference and is something I want to keep in mind for my projects this year.

Learn to say “No”

This one will be a tough one for me. I’m a people pleaser and wish I could help everyone, whether personally or professionally, all the time. Sometimes, however, I find myself in sticky situations where I have bitten off far more than I can chew, running around like a headless chicken. To manage my time better, I need to simply assess opportunities before jumping in and agreeing, from small things like a dinner out, or to bigger elements such as a new project you’ve been asked to undertake. You cannot do everything, and instead of spreading yourself thin, I want to focus on fewer things and do them well.

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Be on time

Sadly, being on time has never been my forté. I don’t know, I just always assume things will take less time than they do (particularly public transport in London). I was so mad at myself a few times last year  for being late and am making it a big priority for this year. Getting places early means less stress and more fun. I do have to say that in London, where time is precious, we all try to cram in as much as we can into our day, but regardless of my hectic city life, this is an area I can definitely improve on.

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Read more

The last thing I was doing at night for most of 2016 was looking at my phone. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is also a culprit, but it’s something I want to stop. The final thing I would like to be doing before I go to sleep is reading a book or article. I’m a little impatient with picking reading books and often get so overwhelmed in bookshops with all the choice, so often prefer someone would just recommend me a title (or shove a good book in my hands!). I suppose I should ask around friends and family for good recommendations – or even put it out on social media, I’m sure I’ll get some fabulous suggestions!

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Wake up earlier

I’m a night owl. I’m always in trouble for going to bed late, as it means I wake up in the morning with the most limited time to get ready before I start my day (hence why I end up being late etc etc!) So, I’m going to do my best to get to bed earlier and in turn, wake up with enough time to start my day right….which brings me onto my next point:

Start the day with a healthy breakfast

Due to the fact that I usually don’t leave myself enough time in the morning to get ready, I end up rushing out the house without a proper breakfast. What happens then is, well you guessed it, a coffee and a croissant to go. Not only is this unkind to my waistline, it also gives me an unhealthy and flustered start to my day. I just never know what to eat in the morning, and for some reason am really picky when it’s 7:30am… I’m sure a lot of people are to be honest! If I could I would eat just a croissant every morning, which isn’t the biggest tragedy in the world, but I think I can do better…. suggestions welcome!

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Be tidy

Yes, another part of my hectic self is my tidiness. I am putting it all down to the fact that I have a crazy, creative mind.. haha no excuses!! I moved into a new apartment this year and have worked really hard to decorate it and make it feel homely, so now it’s time to be stricter on my organising skills. Tidy house, tidy mind. Let’s do this!

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Work vs Relax

This is an obvious one. I need to leave my phone and computer tucked away when it’s time to shut off for the evening. When your home is your office, it’s easy to keep working until you need toothpicks to hold your eyelids open, LOL! Instead, I need to set myself clear boundaries to be able to switch off properly. One thing I do which really annoys me is watching a movie with my laptop on my knee. This new level of multi-tasking means we can’t enjoy just doing one thing at a time. Dividing your work space and relax space is so important, so when I’m done for the day, I’m locking my laptop away!

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Thank you again for reading my post, I’m sure you all have your own little resolutions you would like to work on this year. Wishing you all the very best for 2017 and hope all your goals and dreams come true!!
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Photography of me: Nathan Rollinson

2016: A Year in Review

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I say this every time I put together a New Year’s post, but taking a moment to look back on all the things you’ve achieved throughout the year is honestly one of my favourite features to write. It’s incredible how easy it is to forget the things you’ve done, the places you’ve gone and the people you’ve met in just 12 months. Each time I look back on my previous year’s post, I can see just how much I’ve grown professionally and as a person – I’m sure you can all say the same for yourselves. And so, after successfully completing my first year as a full-time photographer (I wasn’t sure if I could make it through six months when I first started!!) I wanted to share my favourite fashion and travel moments of 2016.

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2016 was a really special year for me as a fashion and lifestyle photographer. It marked my growth in the industry, where I had chance to work with some fashion brands I really respect and look up to. Along with the photography work I offer fashion bloggers in London, I also shoot for a number of different fashion houses to create imagery for their websites, look-books and social media platforms. From online fashion campaigns with Dorothy Perkins, to social media imagery for Farfetch, my work is always so varied which keeps me on my creative toes. I shot website images for Lavender HillMatthew Williamson, Peggy Porschen and Lebanese couture house Azzi & Osta. I also created blog features for the White Company, Lily & Rose and Jewel Street.

Every shoot I work on has a story, and sometimes the fashion stories I’m commissioned by brands to create for my blog are the most enjoyable – where I have total creative freedom to shoot exactly how I wish. I hope that in 2017 I’ll have chance to let my photography style mature and shoot for more brands that I love.

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2016 was a busy and amazing year of travel for me. It saw me flying abroad almost every single month of the year (except January and October), allowing me to visit and experience some new and truly beautiful parts in the world. Throughout the year I learnt just how much I enjoy travelling little and often – I feel that with a sweet 3-4 day or even a week’s holiday somewhere, you really get chance to absorb and take in the place you’re visiting, enjoy a taste of the architecture, food and culture. I love this much more than mammoth journeys packed with a million different places, but hey, that’s just me!

One of my travel highlights of the year was experiencing Goa, India not once, but twice this year – both for weddings and yet both such different journeys. India is definitely a shock to the senses in every form but is somewhere you have to visit at least once in your life. Following my first trip to India, it was already summertime and that meant heading to Greece. I can’t go a year without visiting my family in Athens, however each time I try to make a trip to a new Greek island – this year crossing Corfu and Paros off my list. I also made a trip to the Spanish islands, visiting Mallorca for the first time ever where I was pleasantly surprised by its beauty. Having never previously been to any of the Balearic islands I did not know how the experience would compare to Greece, but I learnt that they too have the most stunning blue waters  – and that Palma is a place you must get high on your list. 

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2016 was also a year of travel features on my blog, an area I wanted to develop more on my website, Aurora-Stories.com. I spent three fabulous days in Geneva with Swiss Air and the tourism board where we were offered a fun-filled tour of the city. I also visited Paris with a group of lovely bloggers, Nathan and Belle & Bunty where we collaborated with the furnished apartments group, the Sweet Inn. Finally, as you read this I’m finishing off the year in a beautiful boutique Michelin star hotel in Lancashire, Northcote – a little New Year’s break we decided to take before going back to work. Discovering the UK on mini road-trips is just what I hope to do more of in the year to come…

Last but not least, I made a few trips to Italy, one of my favourite countries. Each time I return with my boyfriend to visit his family, we make sure to visit a new city, so I can learn more and more about the amazing country. This year we spent time in Bologna and Rome – I can safely say I had some of the best food I’ve ever tasted and the Roman light captured my heart….So 2016 wasn’t too bad on my travel-miles, I guess it will always be a huge part of my life. Once you get a taste of it, that thrill of stepping onto new soil, and being in a place where you can’t even say hello, gets more and more exciting. Who knows what next year will bring… but let’s hope in includes lots more pretty backdrops to get me clicking away!

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Before I sign off, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the wonderful bloggers that I have had chance to work with throughout the year. It is such a pleasure and inspiration to work with people who constantly push themselves creatively and professionally. A big thank you to the brands who have reached out to me and given me the opportunity to use my photography skills in ways I didn’t have chance to before. It is an honour to be chosen for my recognised photography style and know that people appreciate the work that I do.

And last but not least thank to all of YOU, my readers, social media followers and supporters. I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do, if it wasn’t for you – I’m truly grateful for all your support and kind words, and want to wish you all the best, most beautiful and most prosperous 2017! May it be your best year yet!