The Course of Love | nathalie.ie
cool stuff

The course of love: A novel to help your love life

In the rush of giddiness that followed getting engaged, and the excitement of pinning ideas to wedding boards on Pinterest, it’s easy to forget that what all this is gearing Ben and I up for is a marriage

It’s one of those things you can’t really know and understand until you’re in it, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying 😆

I’m diving into the theme in many nerdy ways, but one of my favourites has been Alain de Botton’s latest book, The Course of Love. In it, the mind behind The School of Life explores what happens after the happy ever after. As de Botton puts it in the book:

Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive and have carefully omitted to investigate.” 

So yes, not exactly sonnets at sunset, but I loved it. A story “about modern relationships and how to survive them” the book explores the day-to-day, warts and all reality of sharing a life together. (The Valentines card PDF download they released to accompany the book made me laugh.)

You can watch an illustrated trailer for the book above.

It’s insightful, heartfelt, funny and beautifully written. I found myself regularly elbowing Ben in bed and interrupting his reading to share passages with him.

Other explorations on this theme:

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Personal

Life, lately

“Use this platform as a catalyst to create a more beautiful, inspiring life”

The above words are at the top of a list I have called ‘Blog’ that I fill with blog post ideas. Ideas that, for the last few months, have been left untouched. The advice, which was no doubt jotted down at a talk or while listening to a podcast some years ago, seems almost quaint now, as the blogging and social media landscapes have changed so much since it was first written.

Though I find that Instagram stories increasingly scratches the itch that blogging once did, I miss this blog. The things I like about platforms like Stories and Snapchat – the transient, more candid, less polished nature of things – can also be drawbacks. I don’t sit and process events, documenting life’s highlights and lowlights here to look back on later (one of my favourite things to do with the blog, seeing as I’ve been blogging here since 2009). 

As a kid, I loved looking through my mum’s thick photo albums, poring over her adventures around the world and enjoying getting a glimpse into the life she led before my sis and I came along. It’s how I’ve viewed the blog in a way – a digital collection of what life has been like, what I’m loving, what I’m learning. 

From top left: Desk with a (serious) view as I file copy from Andalucia; the gorgeous new roof garden at Tara Building; Ben in Ticknock Woods; shooting on location in Arran Street East; coffee and scheming with Marta in Cake Cafe; love how my workspace brightens up Tara Street; blowing out birthday candles in Kerala; dancing beneath confetti canons at Sing Along Social; Pokemon themed afternoon out with Ethan, celebrating his birthday.

So, in the spirit of documenting, as much for myself as anyone else, here’s what’s been happening:

  • Freelance life has been good, albeit a bit hectic as I get used to the ebb and flow of deadlines and pitches. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to pitch stories that let me meet, work with or photograph people I deeply admire and am curious about (Ann O’Dea, Kathryn Davey and Imen McDonnell are just some recent highlights). 
  • I spoke on the Wonderlust stage at Body & Soul about slowness at work, procrastination and The Imposter Project, a new creative venture I’m kicking off with some very talented gals. Huge thank you to Aoife McElwain for asking me along, and for helping me get over my own imposter syndrome.
  • I recently returned from 4 wonderful days in Andalucia, shooting at a horse-riding retreat with Cara Magazine editor Lucy. Photographing horses at sunrise, afternoon naps by the pool, shooting delicious plates of tapas as the sun went down – it was a dream gig. 
  • I also recently turned 34 in June (aka my scary age). I celebrated first with family, blowing out candles on a tray of donuts (which the kids very much enjoyed), then with dinner in Kerala with a few friends followed by drinks by the canal, as it was one of those gloriously warm and long summer evenings (followed by a painful 4am wake up call for my flight to Spain 😂)
  • My nephews and nieces are all summer babies, so we’ve been busy celebrating their birthdays. Ethan turned nine – nine – yesterday and I can’t get over it. 

Ideas I’m exploring:

  • Designing your life. This interview between Tim Ferriss and Debbie Millman was inspiring and left me curious about not just people’s creative process, but how they approach their life as a whole. I’m particularly interested in the 10 year plan writing exercise
  • Marriage. Not weddings and cute DIY ceremony backdrops, but the marriage itself. Post coming up on that soon. 
  • Where to next with photography? I’m shooting a lot right now, and with that comes figuring out how to push myself, how to improve, where to learn more, and yes, lots of nerdy gear lust. 
  • Moving away – even more so than I have already – from the idea of just one career and thinking more openly about having a few

Things on my wishlist:

I hope you’re having a great summer!

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Dublin, living local, Personal

Where I work: The Tara Building

I’m excited to share a tour of my new workspace, The Tara Building. If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you’ll have seen pics of this gorgeous, colourful space. 

Based on Tara Street, just across the road from The Irish Times offices, The Tara Building is completely covered in a multi-coloured mural created by Maser. It opened up a few months ago, and coincided nicely with my starting freelance life. I jumped on a hot desk membership spot, and I’m so glad I did. Even though I love my desk set up at home – which is where I still do the bulk of my photo processing and any interviews – it’s great having a base in town, somewhere to come and put the head down, to have meetings, and to get up and go to. 

Ready for a photo tour?

The ground floor houses reception, managed by the awesome Anna, above, a bright, airy meeting room and an open gallery space that’s just finished hosting Clear of People, a photo exhibition part of the Photo Ireland Festival and before that housed a great exhibition in collaboration with Iverna.

The second floor is the co-working floor, where I spend most of my days. There are different types of desks (including cool foldout ones), little booths at the end for calls, lockers (so handy – no need to drag laptop chargers, water bottles etc in and out), and a lovely meeting room. Those awesome tent illustrations are by Fiona.

I really enjoy the morning ritual of coming in and setting up my desk for the day.

The next floor up houses the kitchen area, with a great coffee machine (though I nip out to Shoe Lane at least once a day), and serviced office, studios, and Apollo Print. There’s also a roof garden in the works. 

It’s great to see something like this up and running in Dublin, and I’ve so much admiration for all the people running it, constantly working to tweak and improve what’s already a great space. 

One of the nicest bonuses of working at The Tara Building has been the great people I’ve gotten to meet. Seeing so many peeps, from so many different backgrounds, heads down, working away is infinitely motivating, and being able to have bants in the kitchen over a cup of coffee, chat in the Facebook group or on Slack, or hang out and do yoga after work has been really lovely.

Safe to say I’m very happy out here! (Thanks to Ben for taking the portrait.)

Dublin, living local

A tour of Dublin’s Eatyard food truck market

It took me far too long to check Eatyard out, but I’m glad I finally did. A few weeks ago, after a short Saturday shoot, Ben and I popped in for lunch and a look. 

Located next door to the Bernard Shaw, it’s also across the road from the ever lovely Picado, where we get most of our Mexican ingredients. It’s a lovely space, bringing together food trucks and chilled dining spots. 

We tucked into a delish bao from Pow Bao and extremely tasty chicken tikka naan roll from Kerala. We got a bubble waffle for the road and while it wasn’t really our bag, it was a busy stall so definitely has some fans. No Bones Chicken Cones is next on our list. 

Looking forward to popping in again – on a sunny evening I reckon it would be lovely to grab some grub there and head to the banks of the canal for an quick city picnic. 

cool stuff

Beautiful stills from Master of None Season 2

Hands up if you’ve fallen head over heels for the second season of Master of None? Aziz Ansari’s funny, charming and offbeat exploration of life and love is back, and it’s also beautifully cinematic. I could go on and on about the framing, the palette, that gorgeous Italian light and NYC bokeh, but I’ll let the shots speak for themselves. 

Master of None Season 2 | nathalie.ie

Master of None Season 2 | nathalie.ie

 

A couple of interesting reads, for fellow fangirls and boys:

And finally, a few gifs of the gorgeousness. 

If you haven’t binged on it yet, enjoy!

Personal

If you’re not all-in, you’re out

It’s hard to admit when things aren’t working out. When they don’t go the way you had planned and hoped. 

You set sail on your new adventure. Friends and family waved you off and wished you well. You were excited and full of optimism, heading off into the sunset. And then. 

After five months at Intercom, a company I have long admired and still do, I made the hard decision to leave. I wish I could put all my reasons in a box and present them tied with a bow, but life is infinitely messier than that. 

It’s been a humbling, exciting, draining experience. The truth is, things didn’t go how I had hoped they would; or perhaps my hopes changed along the way. So much of the tech and the startup scene relies on people being all in. On dedicating some of your best working years and talents to a company’s vision and mission. I realised I wasn’t ready to go all in on someone else’s dream, I had too many of my own. 

I considered writing an ‘exciting new adventure’ post. But, while I am excited for what’s coming next (more on that below), sometimes it’s important to cut through the rose tint we are tempted to put on things. I’m all for positive spins and a happy mental attitude. For celebrating joyful moments and proudly sharing hard-won accomplishments. But it’s also okay to peek above the parapet and say: this hurt. This was a tough decision. This was far, far from perfect. This wasn’t glossy and glamorous. It’s not as fun to hear, or as easy to celebrate, but anything that brings you closer to becoming who you are is worth celebrating, even if the road there was a bumpy one. 

Over the past few months I have made incredible friends, worked on funinteresting projects, and learned so much. It’s impossible to imagine doing what I’m about to do next without these lessons, so I will forever be grateful for them. 

What I’ve decided to do is start up my own thing. A true circus girl, I have many interests and passions and I’ve realised that no one job can tick all those boxes, no matter how awesome it is; a beautiful suit is no good if it doesn’t fit you right. 

So, I’m designing my own. Hopefully it will blend meeting and photographing creative people and new places, exploring technology and where it’s taking us, and working with makers, be they in the worlds of startups, design, food, craft or interiors.

I’m excited about crafting a career filled with quirks and odd corners that fit my personality, strengths and values. I hope to be able to document what I learn about freelance life here – the nerdy apps I’m using, interesting reads and links I come across, and a surprise project or two ;).

Navigating the challenging waters of owning my own business won’t be easy. Lack of security, mad hours, having seven or eight bosses instead of just one, and no mentor to learn from or colleagues to banter with are just some of the hurdles to overcome. 

So yes, it won’t be the fanciest suit out there. But it will be custom-made.

cool stuff

Historic Gifs

How fun are these? Adam Koszary, who worked at Bodleian Libraries, the University of Oxford’s research libraries, spent a year turning beautiful images painstakingly made by monks and illustrators hundreds of years ago into fun, tongue-in-cheek GIFs to brighten up our feeds. Explore more and read about his process in this Medium post.


Discovering these also led me to the #MusGif, which brought up all kinds of gems (check some out here).

P.S. If you’re into these, hit up @MedievalReacts which regularly brings several LOLs. 

These messers | nathalie.ie
Aunty Life, Ethan, Isabel, Noah

These messers

Three little faces that never fail to make me happy: Ethan, Noah and Isabel. 

These messers | nathalie.ie

Ethan and Noah are currently obsessed with Pokemon, dabbing and Minecraft.

Isabel meanwhile has a passing interest in Pokemon but is far more obsessed with a Russian nesting doll I had in my study. We came across a Russian craft shop in Amsterdam and brought her one back, and she’s been eating and sleeping with it ever since. 

These messers | nathalie.ie

 

PS I’ve just gotten Ethan Wonder by RJ Palacio, a book about kindness and compassion, aimed at 8-12 year olds. There’s also We’re All Wonders, a younger-kid version that’s beautifully illustrated, which I picked up for Noah and Isabel.

Photography, Recent Work

Brookfield Farm for Image Interiors & Living

Late in November, Ben and I packed up the Mini and drove to Tipperary to spend a day photographing and filming Brookfield Farm for the January-February issue of Image Interiors & Living.

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie Run by Ailbhe Gerrard, Brookfield consists of 72 acres of meadows, crops and native trees. 

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

It produces delicious wild flower honey and beautiful beeswax candles.

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

We started shooting on a cold and misty morning. Ailbhe has acres of wildflower fields, and though they had long since withered, you could still glimpse a whisper of them, and imagine the colour explosion that will arrive in spring and summer.

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

We went out on Lough Derg, wandered among sheep, photographed the lovely artisan produce and walked through beautiful ancient forestry, filled with elegant oak, beech and sycamore trees. Ailbhe let us meet some of her bees – native Irish black bees – and try some wonderful beeswax lip balm.

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie

Brookfield Farm - lifestyle photography | nathalie.ie  It’s always a total treat to work with Ben, who shot a gorgeous video of the day that you can watch below. 

It was a dream gig really – shooting flower fields at dawn, a lake at dusk, and an inspiring, entrepreneurial powerhouse of a woman at the heart of it all. 

Killiney beach | nathalie.ie
Dublin, living local

Brighter Days

It was a weekend of small, memorable pleasures. Home-made tacos and a Colin the Caterpillar cake for my sister’s birthday. A trip to the park with my niece. A walk on Killiney beach, where these pics (and gif) were taken. 

It was bright and beautiful and you could almost taste spring in the air. It made me want to go out and buy bunches and bunches of daffodils.  Killiney beach | nathalie.ie

Killiney beach | nathalie.ie

Killiney beach | nathalie.ie

Killiney beach | nathalie.ie

Killiney beach | nathalie.ie

And then Monday’s grey driving rain happened 😂, reminding us that winter’s cold grasp isn’t quite done with us yet.

Still, I have these pictures…