The best advice I've had in 2016

What an incredible year it's been for me so far. Makelight has grown in ways I couldn't even have dreamt of this time last year. It's been a year where I've also had the most amazing support from some really wonderful, smart people and a whole heap of super valuable advice. 

But there is one piece of advice that I think of at least once a day....sometimes I am literally clinging to this phrase for dear life! And the thing that I love about this advice is that I can apply it to all areas of my life as a business woman, a teacher, a mother, a wife and even when I'm out for a tough run. 

I seriously cannot thank Marie Forleo enough for sharing that "everything is figureoutable" in her brilliant Oprah SuperSoul Session. If you haven't watched it, you should make time to do so this week. 

Life can be so complicated. Sometimes I feel like my head is quite literally going to explode...and that's even before we've left the house to get to school in the morning. The logistics of a family of six are really tricky. I'm sure that running a big family is really helping me to run a growing business....or maybe vice versa! 

Marie's phrase helps me out with big stuff and little stuff, and that's why I love it. It regularly helps me stop little stuff from causing big, distracting stress. A few deep breaths, saying the phrase a couple of times, and I am ready to face the challenge calmly and with a smile. 

There have been times where the big stuff has got kind of huge and convincing myself that it really is 'figureoutable' can take longer than a few deep breaths. It can sometimes take a few days but I keep repeating it to myself when I go for my run or I'm in the shower until I believe it. 

We had the craziest week last week. This one is set to be kind of crazy too but it's the good kind of crazy. I basically need Marie on repeat 24/7 and I'm needing to dig pretty deep into my start-up life survival kit. But it sure is 'figureoutable' and it's going to be pretty awesome when is it all worked out. That's all a bit mysterious for now but when the time is right I will definitely be back to share it with you! 

For now, I hope that passing on this nugget of wisdom helps you this week with whatever challenges, big or small you are facing. 

Big hugs everyone. And thank you Marie Forleo for this and so much more. xo

Makelight September Bingo Winner

Each month we give our Makelight Members a photo challenge. September's was a little more challenging and it pushed people to try things they don't normally do. This is always a great way to grow your skills as a photographer. So many people tell me they don't need to bother with flat lays or outdoor images or landscapes or portraits...whatever it is that they don't feel is anything to do with the photography that they need or want to achieve right now. It can be really hard to convince people to give things a go, especially when they might feel really challenged by them or when they feel like it could be a waste of time. 

But that's what I love about these monthly challenges. People can dip in and out of them. When they start sharing them in our private Facebook Group it often encourages other members to have a go too. And I always see their photography grow as a result. 

The number of entries we received and the standard was just so wonderful. They were submitted on our new Makelight Review tool as well, which was exciting for us. It's a tool that we've wanted to make all year, so this was a wonderful way for us to test it out. Thank you to everyone who joined in. As you know it's taken us nearly a month to decide on a winner! 

But finally, today I'm sharing my two favourite Bingo entries. The first is the runner-up and wins a Skype session with Stef and me. And the second set is the winner who wins a Skype session and £300 to spend on Photography gear! 

Congratulations on being our Runner-Up Fay Loewy. We really love you set of images and the tones and cosy feelings they convey. Just perfect for this time of year. 

Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo

And big congratulations to our Winner, Melanie! 

We love your selection of images. The colours, textures, styling and compositions are super. And I love that you've tried something different with your fourth image. It demonstrates that you are really seeing details and images when you are out and about, as well as when you are focused on creating images for your work. 

Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo
Makelight Bingo

In November the Makelight Membership includes our Photography for Beginners Online Course as well as a brand new mini course, and so much more. We'd love you to join us! xo

In love with my Bellabeat Leaf

On Valentine's Day Stef completely surprised me with a Bellabeat Leaf. My first piece of wearable tech and oh so pretty. 

I wore it every day from day one, attracted to both its prettiness and its stats. I really liked how it tracked my exercise and sleep patterns. I was also intrigued about using the breathing tracking - taking time out for some deep breathing. This has now been replaced by meditation which is wonderful. The Bellabeat is designed for women, so it also tracks your cycles. 

And then one day over the Summer I lost my Bellabeat. I suspect when a certain little lady was on my hip! I had no idea how lost I would feel without it. At first I thought I was just missing the stats. I really love stats! But I quickly realised it wasn't just about the stats, it was about looking after myself and feeling like a cute piece of technology was really making a difference to my every day.

This beautiful Leaf was really helping me to think about my exercise, sleep and meditation on a daily basis. I'm the co-founder of a start-up and a mother of four regularly gets quite crazy and these things are so easy to let slip but are so important to prioritise. I am so busy taking care of four children as well as Stef. He's an amazing guy to do work, life and family with but I know he wouldn't argue about the fact that I keep home life together. It's a lot to organise and a lot of people to think about. Not just making sure their clothes are clean or they've got the right sports kit for the next day but also keeping a track of how they are all doing too. Is everyone happy? Have they all had enough sleep? Are they healthy? Do they need time with me 1-2-1 this week? And so many more things that I'm always thinking about. 

Bella Beat Leaf : Makelight

Sometimes in all of this it can feel like no-one is really making sure I'm okay. Of course they are but on a day to day basis I really love how the Leaf keeps tabs on how I'm doing. It now also monitors your stress levels or how well you can manage stress should it be just around the corner. If you're sleep deprived, not exercising and not taking a few minutes each day for meditation, mindfulness or deep breathing, then you are not going to be very good at dealing with stress. That's pretty obvious but by tracking how you're doing with all this on a regular basis I think you can keep this in check and get a lot better at taking care of yourself.

Having lost my original Leaf and then very excitedly getting a replacement, I have realised just how much I adore smart jewellery and wearing the future every day. 

Have you tried using wearable tech? Do you find it helpful? I'd love to hear from you. This stuff is all still so new in terms of what we're going to be using in a few years time. It's exciting and beautiful! xo