Reo on a dragon graffiti

First Photo Shoot

So, out of the blue I was contacted on Instagram and asked if I could do a photo shoot and how much that would be. Honestly, I had never really thought about doing that before so I had no clue about prices or how this things work.

Again I decided to get out of my comfort zone, did my research and said yes.

Because of my lack of experience a lot of research went into this.

  • I researched prices first so I could get that out of the way.
  • After that I looked for any poses that would suit the type of photo shoot I was going to do and created a board for these on Pinterest.
  • Coincidentally I also got invited to a photography meet up the week before so that was the perfect opportunity to practice.
  • To pick the location I used street view on Google Maps a lot and once we decided the final location I went there to look for the best spots (before the day) and marked them on Google maps.
This meant we only needed less than a couple of hours to get about 400 shots in a few different locations around the same area.

On the day I was super nervous as it was my first time and I was scared I would not be able to do a good job. It was the model’s first real photo shoot too but she was amazing at it which made my job much easier.

We walked through the spots I had picked getting all the shots and we had fun in the process too. Once we were done I could not wait to look at the results and start the editing work.

It is still a work in progress as I edit the best shots of the day and send them to her but I am super happy she is pleased with the ones I have sent so far.

This experience made me want to do a lot more of these. Hopefully more opportunities will come in the near future.

A big THANK YOU to my first customer. She was truly amazing and made this experience very enjoyable. You can follow her on Instagram here.

If you wish to know more about booking a photo shoot with me you can contact me via Instagram or via the Facebook page. I will build a portfolio gallery at some point so you have an idea of the type of pictures you can expect from me. If you want something different I am open to discuss any new ideas too.

For my Portuguese readers photo shoots in Portugal will be possible too if arranged for the dates I am there. I will be in Lisbon and Milfontes this month so just ask for dates if interested.

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Sri Lanka home street

Getting to Sri Lanka

We had a couple of big suitcases and a small one with my work stuff in it. Flyers, training material and a laptop.

It was our first long haul flight. 9 hours in a confined space. To be honest it was easier than I expected. The time flew between naps, meals and movies.

Passing immigration was a breeze. I had my visa sorted so no issues there and anyone can get a 30 day visit visa without many questions asked.

The airport is pretty small and walking outside you go through this corridor of shops. Mostly appliances like washing machines and refrigerators. Not your typical airport shops.

Due to the high humidity levels breathing outside was not easy . The weather was hot and sticky.

Once our cab driver found us, or we found him, can’t remember. We got into the car. The drive down to Colombo was long. The traffic was crazy.

We sat mostly speechless just watching the unfamiliar surroundings. Men on bikes with no helmets carrying large objects, the rickshaws zooming past us, army men with automatic guns on the streets, poor housing conditions and so many people.

It was such a culture shock and we hadn’t even step outside for more than a few minutes.

Finding our accommodation was not easy but we got there in the end. My manager’s brother was there waiting for us. We met him and the landlady at the flat. We were staying in a two bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Colombo (the capital).

The payment had to be made in cash. Including the one month deposit required. Over 600 pounds in total. Bills were not included and we had to pay for the bed linen. My manager’s brother bought that for us and we found out later he ripped us off by overcharging for those.

To start things well there was no electricity (quite common in Sri Lanka) and we had no bottled water yet. Because of all the things we had to pay in cash we ended up with barely any money left.

We were tired and hungry. Had no electricity, no water, no food and were in an unknown place so far from home.

I regretted saying yes to working in Sri Lanka immediately! I cried my eyes out.

Afterwards I realised that that was not going to help sort out our problems so we went out to look for food, water and a cash machine.

We struggled to cross the road as no one really stops to let you cross. So we dodged the cars and made it to the shops’ side of the road. We bought some biscuits and bottled water. That was our dinner! We failed to get cash as we didn’t know how to use the cash machine.

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Sri Lanka Train

Saying “YES” to Sri Lanka

There are opportunities that only London would have given me. Going to Sri Lanka was one of those.

I had been living in London for a little while and had started a new job recently. With my old manager but still, a new job.

Travelling was not on the cards when I accepted the job.

At the time I was still very fresh to this thing that is stepping out of my comfort zone. So when I was asked, out of the blue, if I was happy to go to Sri Lanka for work I was a little surprised to say the least.

When I said yes to it, even I was shocked with myself. Not sure what possessed me at the time to say yes. But I did!

It was all very short notice. Next thing I knew I was at the Sri Lankan embassy to get a business visa. I had a special contact to get it done quicker and in no time I had the stamp on my passport. My first one.

I also managed to drag my boyfriend with me as I was too scared to do this by myself. He had no choice really as the flights were my birthday present to him and he was going to celebrate it out there.

The company organised and paid for my flights. My manager sorted out the accommodation which was a bit sketchy (I will cover that in another post) and an airport pickup cab was sorted too.

Before I flew to Sri Lanka I had to plan all the work I had to do there. Which included training and recruiting people to setup a new call centre!

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slowing down canal sunset

Slowing Down

I can’t believe it has already been almost a couple of months since I launched the blog. Got everything set up in a weekend with the precious help of my boyfriend and have kept it going with regular posts since then.

The new Facebook page has been kept pretty much up to date to make it easier for you guys not to miss anything. And posts are out on Twitter as soon as I publish them.

My Instagram has been a priority lately and I am trying to post quality content on a regular basis. The old Snapchat is getting a bit dusty as I mostly use Instagram stories now.

More recently my photography has come into the spotlight. Out of the blue I got a proposal for my first photography paid job! This is a big deal for me and I am super excited about it.

After that I was invited to attend a photography meet up. My first one. You guys already know all about it.

I have been working hard to ensure I deliver the best possible service when I do that photo shoot. And who knows, maybe do some more after this one.

On my blog my posting schedule is at three times per week. Might not sound like much but when you do it properly and pay attention to the SEO, readability and finding the right pictures for each post it is not a quick process. Even though I love every bit of it I still have to manage my time and energy to do all that plus going to work five days a week.

From September I am changing my schedule on the blog to two posts a week. I will be posting on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Please bear with me while I try to find a balance between the blogger life and the day job life.

If you want to keep up with what I am doing on a daily basis you can follow me on Instagram.

To everyone at work that has come to me to tell me that they read the blog, a massive thank you! Your support is much appreciated.

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London Friendships

London has surprised me with the most unique friendships and I am so grateful for this.

For some reason that I cannot pinpoint relationships happen differently here. Maybe it is the fact that you can find people from so many different backgrounds in London. From all over the World really.

It takes time to adjust when you come from Portugal. Where the way people think and act is way more uniform than here in London.

Some relationships are short-lived but others do last longer. Everything is fast paced here. And some will become long distance as not everyone stays in London forever. Actually not many people stay long at all.

Friendships didn’t happen until I started my first job in telecoms here. Back in September 2008. That job gave me three long-lasting friends.

One of them actually got me that job. And I only met him because of my blog (back when I wrote in Portuguese). Crazy to think how my life would have been so different if I hadn’t started a blog. Even though we don’t keep in touch that regularly we know we are available for each other anytime regardless of how long it has been since we last spoke. We have visited him in Madeira and more recently in Amsterdam and he has also come to visit us in London more than once. He has always been so honest with me and so supportive of everything I do and I love him for that. We had the craziest and funniest conversations ever back in the London days. I miss having him around.

Another one is a Sri Lankan born in Germany and raised in London. Super smart guy. We did a few Sunday cinema sessions at work. Had some crazy nights out. And even learned Portuguese history with him. He went to live in Australia for a while and we lost contact then. Last year we met to catch up on the last 3 years or so. And maybe it will be another 2 or 3 years until we meet again. But I am sure it will feel just right.

The last one is this so special and so stubborn Polish girl. She is like my external conscience. She is the best at listening and I think that is why she knows me so well. We had our fights back when we were working together. It was hard at times. Maybe because we were so close and because she is so stubborn too. We now have a less stormy relationship as we no longer work together. As she is living in Southampton we don’t get to see each other that often anymore. I miss having her around but I know she is only a train journey away from me and I can always count on her. She was also the first person I took back to Portugal.

I didn’t build any significant relationships on the following couple of jobs. Just got a few extra Facebook contacts and met some cool people in Sri Lanka. Guess the jobs were too stressful and I didn’t get the chance (or the time) to make new friends.

Now that I have been in the same company for a while I made new friends. Still, it took me about two years. I pretty much kept myself to myself at work until I met one of my best friends in 2014.

We bonded pretty quickly and I don’t even know exactly how it happened. We had some crazy nights out (mostly at the pub). Shared everything about ourselves with each other. Had great times together. Had our fights. Our relationship has been a bit like a roller-coaster. More drama in it than what I would like (she knows this) and we might not be as close these days but we still know we have each other anytime we need.

It was mid 2014 when a newbie decided to start talking to me out of the blue. He asked if I spoke Portuguese. I said no. He got confused and then I said I was joking. He knew a few words in Portuguese and has a holiday home in Portugal (in the middle of nowhere). We bonded over that I guess. Must have been as we haven’t got much else in common. We worked together for less than 6 months and even though he is not great at keeping in touch we do see each other every now and then. It is good to have a male friend as it gives me a good insight on how guys think. It is quite entertaining sometimes. Also it is refreshing to spend time with someone who I can just be myself with. No filters. He can always handle my honesty and I love that.

More recently I became really close to another girl. She is also a Gemini and pretty much like me she hates drama. Even though I was not always nice to her she was always nice to me and was there for me when I really needed a friend. She is one of those people anyone would be lucky to have in their lives. As soon as I realised that, I didn’t let her go! She was the first friend I went on holidays with (without my boyfriend) and we had the best time together.

There are more people who I value in my life since I moved to London but these ones I mentioned are the most relevant ones.

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pink smoke grenades portrait

My First Photography Meet Up

Meeting new people, being around strangers and taking pictures around more experienced photographers with real models was definitely out of my comfort zone.

Still, I went out by myself and headed to central London this past Sunday for my first photography meet up. Someone I used to work with told me about it so at least I knew one person that was attending.

When I reached Kings Cross there was already a crowd around the swing cage. I was super shy so I just waited for the only person I knew before we started talking to more people.

Everyone was super friendly and excited to be shooting models around London and also to meet new people.

We got asked to leave the meeting point by security and moved on to the next location. In central London any gatherings with a large number of people seem to be closely monitored.

The models spread around the place and started posing for the photographers. I walked around trying to get some shots of different models. They were all super friendly and great at posing.

I had never shot real models before and really enjoyed it. Even though it was a struggle sometimes to get a good angle due to having so many photographers around them.

There were colorful smoke grenades and fire flares so we could get some cool pictures of the models. Those were very popular so it was even more difficult to get good shots.

It was really nice to meet new people. Being out shooting all day was very tiring but I loved the experience and cannot wait for the next one. For now I have loads of pictures to go through and edit.

Big thank you to @uk.shooters for organizing it.

For more pictures taken at the photography meetup just keep an eye on my Instagram and check out the hashtag #ukp_summertime. Follow the model in this picture here.

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my street

Where is “Home”?

The romantic version will tell you “home is where the heart is”.

It is common for emigrants to say they are going back home when they visit the country where they were born. But is that really their home? Well, I can only speak for myself here.

The truth is, I am not entirely sure where home is anymore.

After almost 10 years living in a different country it would be bad if it didn’t feel like home at all.

London does feels like home. It is the home I chose because Portugal could not offer me what I needed at the time.

When I go back to Portugal I feel comfortable. It is a familiar place with familiar faces. I usually get back to the house where I used to live in. It feels nostalgic. I see family and friends, eat good food and breathe in fresh air.

But after a few days I do miss London. I guess I miss home.

Yes, after a while I will go back to missing the Portuguese blue sky, the Sun on my skin and the sand on my feet. But who wouldn’t?

Thinking further on the “home” concept I guess that home is where you are happy to be when you feel vulnerable.

I was given the choice between London and Portugal to go through a rough time (health wise) and I chose London.

Looks like London is my “home”. At least for now.