lock-down flowers

Diaries of a Pandemic – Part II

The UK is now officially on lock-down. Last week the guidelines to stay at home became rules but not much changed here as we were already staying at home anyway.

We have only left the house once for food shopping midweek. It was a pleasant experience as one of our local supermarkets was stocked up, there was even toilet paper on the shelves. It was also not busy in there and most people were respecting the safety distance.

I am hoping this week will be as good. We are planning to only go food shopping once a week to minimise the risk. Considering we don’t drive this is a pretty big thing as we have to carry a week’s worth of food and other essentials home on foot.

To get some fresh air we spend time in the front “garden” tidying up things and cleaning.

Last week was my first week working from home and I have no complaints.

I am not missing taking the bus to and from work but I do miss seeing everyone and our daily chats. To make up for that I do make the occasional call so it’s all good for now. Just need to remember to stretch more often as my body starts aching if I don’t do that.

At home I have been keeping busy without even trying that hard so I am yet to experience any boredom. Even though Netflix is releasing all the good stuff I am not even managing to keep up with it.

Hope everyone is staying safe! I will probably come back here next week for another update.

Thank you for reading and please come back soon for another post!

diaries of a pandemic lake como varenna italy

Diaries of a Pandemic – Part I

The World is a crazy place right now. Never in my wildest worries did I imagine we would ever go through something like this. Still feels a little surreal.

I was in Italy just before they were hit really hard by the Coronavirus. Even though our body temperature was checked on arrival in Milan the seriousness of what was happening hadn’t really hit me yet.

In the following days we visited Lake Como oblivious to the fact that we were about to go through a pandemic.

Once back in London things were still calm but news on travel restrictions were popping up and more and more cases were being recorded around the World. As things were rapidly changing I checked my travel insurance and found out that we were not covered. Soon after that I added the travel disruption add-on which would still cover all the flights we have booked for 2020 as there were no travel restrictions for any of our destinations yet.

This was on the 4th of March. Not even a week after that the FCO was advising against all but essential travel to Italy. Having a flight and accommodation booked for Sardinia in May this is very likely to affect us.

My last time going to a pub was on the 6th of March and even though I was washing my hands thoroughly I wasn’t super concerned about the Coronavirus.

Later in the following week was when reality hit me and I started to really worry about this virus. I could not wait to be able to not leave the house. We did start buying a little more food than usual to avoid making several trips to the supermarket.

By then toilet paper, hand soap, paracetamol and hand sanitisers were nowhere to be found in the supermarkets. Pasta and rice also became favourites of anyone buying way more than what they will ever need.

Luckily we did buy some toilet paper before everyone went mad about it (just in case you were wondering).

Last week the government started taking the situation seriously and I was eager to not having to leave the house. As the possibility of working from home was a little delayed/uncertain I took three days off.

The whole thing was making me so anxious, I wasn’t even sleeping properly. Taking the time off was the only way of keeping myself sane.

Thankfully that was enough time to get a work laptop sorted. Starting from Monday I will be safely working from home.

Being “stuck” at home has been better than I anticipated. Had never really taken time off to just stay at home so did not know what to expect. There is always something to do and I have not found myself being bored yet. Honestly don’t even have the time to keep up with all that is going on on social media.

Even though we are going through the maddest of times I am super grateful for having a nice place to be in and the best company I could wish for!

Hope everyone is staying safe and doing their bit to contain the spread of the virus.

Featured photo: Varenna on Valentine’s day 2020

Thank you for reading and please come back soon for another post! 

am i broke now switzerland mountain

Am I broke now?

Am I broke now? The fact is, I took a decent pay cut changing my hours at work from 8 to 5 a day. Is that killing my finances and making me struggle or am I coping just fine?

While I write this post I am going to be looking into the last couple of years of my expenses and income and we will find out together how things are really going now that I am only working part-time.

It has been just over a year of changing my hours so it is about time I have a look into this.

You are probably wondering what does that pay cut actually look like, in numbers. Well I can tell you it is just under £500 less a month. Almost £500 every single month not going into my bank account anymore!

Now you might be thinking if I am just crazy by doing this out of my own will.

The easy way would have been to keep on working full-time and not have to worry about money that much. But working full-time was taking a hit on my health. I had never been as sick as in the last few years of working full-time. My body was crying for a little break and I just listened to it. In the last year or so I only had a couple of colds.

Back to the money talk. So how am I still travelling when I am not really making that much money? Am I living on credit cards and loans?

The fixed expenses haven’t really changed much so I can’t save there. And I wasn’t ready to compromise much on the holidays either. Where I am really saving is on going out and on buying stuff that I don’t need. From 2018 to 2019 I have halved my going out expenses. Means I am not as social as I used to or eating out as much but I don’t really mind that.

I do own a credit card now but I pay it off every month. Also I never requested a loan. Hopefully I won’t need one anytime soon.

On top of trying to cut on non-essential expenses I have also earned some interest from my savings. Not a lot but every little helps. With more free time it also meant I could do more photography jobs. It didn’t cover for my pay cut but it did help.

In summary, I am not broke yet! Saying that it also does not look like I am saving money either.

On the positive side I feel happier and healthier. In my opinion that alone makes it totally worth not being able to spend as much money as I used to.

As a side note I am hoping I am not forced on cutting down on holidays because of the Coronavirus. With three holidays booked between now and September the current state of things is a bit worrying. I will probably keep you in the loop if it turns out I need to change my travel plans.

In the featured photo my best selling image on Shutterstock, a mountain in Switzerland

Thank you for reading and please come back next time for another post! 
New blog post coming whenever I feel like it.

Chelcie Hunt in Soho London

How’s 2020 going?

How’s 2020 going? I hear you asking. Just like that it’s already February.

Feels like I took January off. Needed time to recover from the festive period and get ready to start a new year. It seems many people were doing the same as not much was going on around me. Or at least I didn’t notice it.

Started the year by being published for the first time. It felt incredible. Funny thing is I didn’t even want to submit to magazines. It wasn’t something I really cared about. But Shio pushed me a little in that direction and before I knew it my work had been published!

Not once, but four times! And there is another set being published soon.

I am quite proud of myself for putting my work out there like this. It is amazing what new relationships can do to you once you allow them to pull you a little out of your comfort zone.

In the office things are actually OK and most days I really don’t mind the few hours I spend there Monday to Friday. I am grateful for it as it gives me the privilege of being able to “pick” my photography clients.

Even though it is only early February I have already booked a couple of holidays. Don’t even know if I am making enough money to cover the cost of all the holidays but they make me happy. That is all that matters, right?

Some big holidays are coming up in June and I have not booked anything yet for those 2 weeks. Not going to lie, that is stressing me out a little bit. Flights are a little more expensive than usual which is making it harder. Guess all this Brexit bullshit isn’t helping. Good thing I have a Portuguese passport so not needing a visa to go to Spain or Greece anytime soon.

If you have any suggestions for a fairly cheap beach destination in June please feel free to tell me. Most likely I have already checked it out but there’s always a slight chance you might surprise me.

Currently I have no Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions. Maybe to save some money and to stop wasting so much time binge watching series. Some of you already know that I don’t watch TV so I have been watching a little more YouTube than usual. It does get a bit boring after a while so now I am here writing this post.

Since  I am also done with all the editing I thought I would make the most of the free time and show some love to my neglected blog.

How’s 2020 going for you? Leave a comment below or come chat on Instagram.

In the featured photo, Chelcíe Hunt in Soho

Thank you for reading and please come back next time for another post! 
New blog post will be out whenever I feel like writing again. Sorry for the lack of consistency.

Teide, Tenerife

Maybe Things are not Changing

I know I told you in October things were changing but it turns out that maybe things are not changing that much around here.

Back then I did spend countless hours trying to figure out how to build my photography portfolio with WordPress. It was a bit of a nightmare. All of that just to end up with a photography dedicated blog and still using the Adobe sites for my portfolio.

That setup with two different website addresses was a little unprofessional and I was not loving it. Didn’t even like the blog theme I picked. It was a mess.

Roughly three months in I have now setup MY OWN DOMAIN FOR MY PORTFOLIO and scrapped the photography blog!

Guess this blog is going back to being a mix of whatever is going on in my life, in my head and in my photography.

Not sure about going back to weekly posts as for now I am enjoying coming here to talk to you whenever I feel like instead of trying to milk my brain for new post ideas.

Hope you don’t mind it too much. You can always have these posts delivered to your email address by subscribing. Or by following on Bloglovin’.

Since this is my first 2020 post, Wish you all a Happy New Year!

Unfortunately I started the year with the sad news of Aliesha James’s tragic death. I had worked with Aliesha on a test shoot for BAME models’ agency last August and we had the loveliest of times working together. Gone too soon 🙁

Remember to enjoy your life and cherish the ones you love.

In the featured photo, Teide in Tenerife

Thank you for reading!
New blog post whenever I feel like it.

2019 Rewind shio at the tram stop in praia das macas

2019 Rewind

This year was a good one! Yes, it was exhausting at times but I did some cool stuff. Also finally started working part-time and have been loving that life.

Didn’t travel as much as in 2017 or attended as many photography meetups as in 2018 but I shot a lot more in 2019.

Started the year in pain which wasn’t great but with that came the change to working part-time hours so I’m not complaining. Guess it was the only way my body found to force me to slow down.

January had a slow start but soon picked up some speed. Managed to sort out my portfolio, attended a meetup and got accepted into the Divurgent workshops.

By February I was overwhelmed with all the photos I had to edit from previous shoots and the workshop but still managed to attend another meetup and visit Barcelona for the first time. Loved my time in Barcelona.

In March I attended two meetups, one of them in a studio. Had a great time there. Also had a couple of one to one shoots and loved them.

By March I did have some shoots I didn’t love but I am not going to bother mentioning those. Just stating that so you all know that not every shoot is a dream. Keeping it real ahah.

April saw another couple of meetups but I ended up not blogging about it. Guess by then I got bored of documenting meetups. That month I did my first one to one studio shoot with the amazing Zoey Lily. We had such a good time together!

May was wedding time, my brother got married and we flew to Portugal for it. There was no way I would miss that! Super happy for him. It was a week that did not feel much like holidays but we enjoyed ourselves. Before we headed back I did a short shoot for a friend’s brand at the beach which was super cool.

The day after I landed I went straight back to shooting with Zoey at the studio again. This time we had a team there and it was a great experience.

June had a bumpy start having met a customer from hell. Fortunately that was the only bad thing that month.

My birthday weekend was spent in Eastbourne and I had a lovely time there. That month I attended four meetups in two weekends, done another studio shoot with Zoey and on the 20th of that month had my first photo on Spotify.

July was a super hot month in the UK. Almost melted! Luckily on the hottest day we managed to escape to the beach to survive.

August was a crazy month when it comes to photography. Had a few customers and even booked an engagement shoot! Started testing for a model agency and had my first one to one shoot with Shio.

In September I was ready to leave everything behind (especially my camera) and enjoy three blissful weeks in Greece. That’s what we did. Had the best time between Zakynthos and Kefalonia.

At the end of the month I shot with Shio again. This time we were a bit more ambitious and got a beautiful bike to shoot with. After the shoot we went for some beers and pizza.

October was the month I decided to create a separate blog for photography. Which basically resulted in me abandoning this blog for a little while. Guess I needed the break.

That month I had a couple new customers and my first e-commerce gig (which I didn’t love).

November was kind of slow, from what I remember (since I wasn’t blogging). Bought a new camera and returned it as it turned out to be faulty. Not a very eventful month.

December was a bit more hectic with my first shoot with dogs. Loved that. Also spent a week in Portugal, another one that did not feel like a holiday.

It was also the month I got Shio to come to Portugal for three days to shoot with me. We created some of my all time favourite shots and had so much fun in the process.

Sorry I cannot share those shots yet as we are submitting most of them to magazines.

2019 was intense but I really enjoyed it.

Healthwise it felt like a recovery year. I feel so much better working just part-time in the office and doing what I really love the rest of the time. As a result I was barely sick this year.

Big thanks to my boyfriend for putting up with my long hours of editing, my mood swings and for even assisting me in shoots. Super grateful for all the love, patience and help in 2019!

To all the models and photographers I have worked with in 2019, thank you! A special thanks to Shio for being such an inspiration, for being so supportive this year and for constantly pushing me to do better.

Not doing 2020 resolutions, I will just keep working hard and see what comes along with that!

Hope you stick around for another year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
LOTS OF LOVE,
ANA

In the featured photo, Shio shot in December at Praia das Maçãs

Thank you for reading and please come back whenever I write another post!
New blog posts used to be out every Wednesday at 6pm but these days you never know.

Flowers in Rye

Wow, it’s been a while!

Wrote my last post in October! Considering I used to write every week this little break feels more like an eternity. Life just got in the way of me coming here to write whatever comes to my mind.

Haven’t even been writing on my new photography blog.

Even though I am still working part-time, photography has been keeping me pretty busy. Loving some of the work I have been creating and working with lovely people. No more customer’s from hell this year.

After spending 3 weeks in Greece and having an amazing time I managed to delete most of the photos taken there. In the process of changing phones I must have done something really wrong and it’s all gone now. That hurt a bit. Now I have my new phone backing up to Dropbox to avoid repeating the same mistake.

Earlier this month I went to Portugal to spend a week at home. We swapped our usual Canary Island Winter escape for a cold Portugal. This was our way of being sensible and not spend loads of money on another holiday. Also of surprising family with an unplanned visit.

I spent some quality time with family and had three amazing days of shooting with Shio. Also went to check out my brother’s new home, super happy for him!

As I often say family time is amazing in small amounts. And this week felt a bit longer than usual. Thankfully time back in London has allowed me to relax and recover from what was an intense week.

Happy to be back home. Just in time for a chilled Christmas at home with my boyfriend. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Thank you for reading and please come back whenever I write another post!
New blog posts used to be out every Wednesday at 6pm but these days you never know.