Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate Photo Story

I recently spent the afternoon at The Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate in north London helping out and taking behind the scenes photos for a music video Nikolai has been working on for my dear friend Tawiah (I'll share it when it's ready, it's pretty amazing). 

I took the opportunity to have a little walk around the estate. Have you heard of it before? It's a pretty iconic piece of architecture and you probably know it from music videos and iconic photographs. 

Like the Barbican Conservatory I had always seen pictures of it but never really known where it was or how to get there.

alexandra & ainsworth estate

The Architecture lives up to the hype. It is the perfect representation of the ugly beautiful modernist architecture that was so popular in the 60s & 70s.

The structures are a little crazy and you wouldn't expect them to feel so beautiful but somehow they are whilst also being really imposing. I can't imagine how it feels to live there. Wouldn't you love to see inside some of the flats?

I feel like the community must be really interesting too. Most of the flats are still council housing but the privately owned ones are highly sought after by people who want to live in these iconic buildings.  I'm sure it makes for a mix typical of London's diverse population. 

All the way along the Rowley Way blocks there are these planters featuring brilliantly curated flowers. Slightly wild, and fantastically juxtaposed against the harsh reinforced concrete. The evening I was there the light was great, the overcast sky created a soft box of dappled even lighting. A photographer's dream lighting basically.

A lot of the time I find living in London pretty difficult. The fast pace, the pressure, the financial strain but finding spots like this and taking the time to walk around and appreciate some of London's unique beauty makes it a little easier to handle.

I'm also really grateful that I now work part-time so I can afford to use my free days to focus on some of my creative pursuits, like my photography, without feeling pressured to be "productive". That is a privilege I don't take for granted. 

Do you know any other hidden spots in London that are perfect for this kind of exploring? I know of a few spots out of London I'd like to visit, one that I've been meaning to go to for a while is Dungeness beach in Kent. Have you been?

Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments or share them on Instagram with me.

Go Wildly & Slow: June Winner

Go Wildly & Slow: June Winner

I had the loveliest time looking through the Go Wildly & Slow feed all through June and seeing all the lovely posts people have been sharing (take a scroll through yourself). There have been so many days out in the sun and trips to the seaside. So many seaside trips! I've been watching mostly from my flat in South East London both delighted and a little jealous.

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Go Wildly & Slow: June Giveaway

go wildly and slow giveaway
refined bohemia giveaway
refined bohemia giveaway

I started the #GoWildlyAndSlow tag a few months ago as a way to document my adventures, travels and walks in the outdoors. I've loved having this theme to help give me a focus for my photography and make space for documenting the time I spend outdoors. It started as a small personal project that came from a desire to explore the idea of slower, thoughtful adventures.

Then much to my excitement the # got picked up by Sara Tasker and she featured it in her monthly hashtag newsletter. It has since become a really beautiful and inspiring pocket of the Instagram community. It's so wonderful to see people pick up the idea of capturing their slow adventures. Its so lovely to see that other people got joy from capturing and exploring the slower side of wild adventures.

If you spend time looking through Instagram # feeds you'll see that most outdoor photography on Instagram is all about the extreme and magnificent. It's always beautiful but also pretty unachievable in your everyday life. I felt like there wasn't much space for the slower paced, smaller more achievable outdoor adventures. The everyday walks in the park, the slow wanders in the forest. I wanted to capture those moments and I feel like #gowildlyandslow has become a place for people to showcase their slow wilderness adventures. Now I spend time scrolling through the #gowildlyandslow feed looking at the beautiful things people have encountered along their walks and in their everyday and I love it. All the beautiful moments people share with their little ones, amazing scenery from all over the world, and of course so many flowers. It's such a joy to see people exploring and adventuring in a very mindful, simple, everyday way. 

(Details on how to get involved at the end of the post)
go wildly and slow giveaway

As the tag has been growing I've been thinking it would be lovely to create a way to celebrate this little corner of community that has emerged. So, I thought it would be really lovely to collaborate with people making products and brands that fit together with the story behind Go Wildly & Slow. 

A few weeks ago over on Instagram, I announced the first of what will hopefully be a fairly regular giveaway project. Together with Jessi from Refined Bohemia I am giving away a beautiful Afternoon Light necklace to my favourite Go Wildly & Slow photographer from June.

I'm sure it will be super hard to find a winner but I'll definitely enjoy going through all the photos and getting a peek into people's slow adventures 

go wildly and slow giveaway
go wildly and slow giveaway

Refined Bohemia

Based in Germany, Jessi hand makes a delightful range of jewellery for Refined Bohemia. Her pieces are all inspired by her love of the outdoors and the world around her. Past collections have been inspired by the seaside, the journey of the lone wanderer or the places we call home. She takes her lead from nature and the wilderness to make beautiful delicate pieces of jewellery.

It is such a joy to scroll through her website. It is also so very perfect for Go Wildly & Slow. 

Each piece comes thoughtfully packaged with hand stamped tags and postcards of Jessi's own photography. Each item, made with love, feels like a gift to receive and makes wearing it even more special. 

Personally, I don't wear loads of jewellery so I appreciate how simple and understated a lot of her work is. I've been wearing my Afternoon Light necklace pretty much nonstop since I got it and I'm now seriously considering getting some for my wedding jewellery as she has a great bridal range too.

Collaborating with Jessi for the first #gowildlandslow giveaway felt like a lovely match and I'm so exciting to share her work with you and send the lovely Afternoon Light necklace to my favourite post from June.

refined bohemia giveaway

Giveaway Details

If you'd like to get involved in the giveaway you still have 2 weeks. All you need to do is tag your slow outdoor adventure posts on Instagram with #gowildlyandslow and make sure you're following me and @refinedbohemia.

If you need some inspiration check out the Go Wildly & Slow page here or on Instagram

I'm really looking forward to seeing all your posts, Good luck! 

Escape the city: Bewl Water day trip

Looking for a little wild travelling this winter? 

We've got no solid plans for any big far away adventures this winter so I'm staving off the travel urges with small adventures right here in the U.K. If you're looking for ideas for perfect weekend day trips that take very little planning and will still feed your desire for a touch of adventure stick around. 

First up head to Bewl Water in Kent for a short walk or a spot of water sports!

For the last few years on Boxing day I’ve dragged myself out of the food induced coma to get up and go for a short walk somewhere lovely. It lifts my spirits so much to get outside with friends or family and take in the quiet and stillness.

This year we went for a short drive to Bewl Water in Kent and it proved to be the perfect place for a winter walk. If you live in London its definitely worth making your way out there for an afternoon of walking.

The only set back is you have to drive there as it's pretty far from the nearest train station (You could probably bike there from Tunbridge Wells station though).

It was also the first proper outing for my new Fujifilm x100t (which I’m loving) and the weather was perfect for photos, I even got in front of the camera!

We got to the reservoir at about 2pm far too late to try and walk the whole 13 miles round the water! But plenty of time to have a nice walk through the surrounding forest and back along the water’s edge. 

As we headed back the sun was setting over the water, so we stopped to watch from the reservoir wall before we headed back to the car and then home for some dinner and a hot cup of tea. 

If you’re looking for somewhere to head to for a winter day out this is a great spot. Easy to get to (if you have a car) and easy going walking, (lovely for kids). 

There are toilet facilities at the car park (which costs £2) and there is a small cafe if you need to warm up after.

They also offer water sports facilities and a boat that runs in the summer which sounds like a lovely idea so I’m thinking its worth heading back in the summer too. 

Check their website for more details and driving directions. 

Happy walking 

Go wildly & slow: January

December came and went incredibly fast. I feel like I blinked and Christmas was here and now it's gone. I took down my Christmas tree this morning and cleared away the cobwebs (metaphorical and real). 

My head got a little bit clouded over the Christmas period. I love being at home and getting cosy, I'm the first to jump at a lazy pyjama day. But sometimes, without a routine, I can find myself slipping into a haze of nothingness boarding on depression. If I don't kick myself into action I eventually realise I haven't really done anything for days on end and I haven't seen the world outside. 

I don't know about you, but for my mental health this doesn't sit well. 

Last month I started this 'Go Wildly and Slow' monthly instalment as much to encourage myself as anyone reading my posts. And it went quite well, I lit my candles most evenings and loved the atmosphere it created. It makes such a big difference and is so worth it. I failed at getting outside every day but I did get out more than usual. I had baths, I love baths. And I wrote some letters/cards but have yet to send them (who has time to go to the post office!!) I'll send them soon!

With January being very much here and sure to fly by just as fast I'm keeping my promises for this month simple. Just a couple of ideas of how we can all go wildly & slow this month to start the new year as we intend to go on.

Forest walk at Bewl Water, Kent, England

Forest walk at Bewl Water, Kent, England

Go Slow

Set aside time to focus on the year ahead and the areas you want to see growth in your life.

It's not as snappy as 'new year's resolutions' but I think it's more true to what I find helpful. The last few years I have spent time at the beginning of the year thinking of a few things I'm hoping to leave behind and a few things I'm hoping to bring with me from the year before and the main areas of my life I want to focus on and see growth in as the year progresses. So far for me that looks like this:

  • I want to hold onto the space I've found for being creative, partly inspired by the Instagram community and my burning need for more of it in my life!
  • I want to leave behind procrastination and self-doubt (just little things really).
  • There are lots of areas I want to see growth but especially I'd like to see it in this blog and my social media platforms.

Now I need to spend some more time breaking down these HUGE goals and making them a reality.

go wildly

Have an adventure

That's it. It's really simple but that's the beauty of it. Whatever that looks like for you, start the year with an adventure. I want/need adventure in my life otherwise I start to feel a little bit crazy and the monotony of life feels like it's taking root. 

Join me in sharing your Go Wildly & Slow moments this month with #gowildlyandslow on Instagram. 

N x