Personal

Heart before hustle

My first post of the year is about slowing down, and comes 13 days into January. The irony isn’t lost on me 😉 Hustle before heart | nathalie.ie
I’d love to say I’m refreshed, that my intentions are set, that my word is ready. But it wouldn’t be true. 2016 knocked the wind out of my sails and it feels like it took the earth finishing its trip around the sun for me to take a breath and absorb it all. 

2016 was tough for so many, and I had it luckier than most.

I got to spend it learning and transforming and exploring a whole new industry and career. And at every turn, I felt all I could say was that things were busy. I’m the first to admit that I bought into the hustle.

I changed jobs three times in one year, which included going for a dream gig, and getting it. Deputy edited a magazine that got circulated with our national paper. Won a blog award. Photographed the cover of CARA. Traveled to Gaza on a photo project. Did food shoots, interiors shoots, people shoots, commercial shoots, editorial shoots. 
I’m immensely proud of this work and grateful to the people who gave me the opportunities to do it. But it blinded me to the things I didn’t do while chasing it.
I didn’t sleep enough, move enough, take in fresh air enough.
I didn’t spend enough time with my friends or my family.
I didn’t spend enough time blogging, something that keeps me anchored and makes me happy.
I didn’t laugh enough, spend enough time just being, creating for the sake of it. Reading for the fun of it.

I chased and chased and ended the year dizzy.

Hustle before heart | nathalie.ie

_MG_1114

_MG_1199

So for 2017 there are, as yet, no goals or resolutions. It’s silly to pretend it’ll all simply change – as a natural dreamer, planner and schemer, I can’t help it. But I want to sit with things a little longer, let the last few months soak in and take a deep breath before diving back in (perhaps after reading Erin’s new book). 

So if you too are feeling more frazzled than fresh, you’re not alone. 

Pics above from a New Year’s Day stomp through some beautiful Wicklow woods with friends. Start as you mean to continue, eh?

Arran Street East | nathalie.ie
cool stuff, living local

Cool and contemporary Irish craft gifts (plus my favourite independent Dublin shops)

I’m the worst for going into present overdrive. I love buying people gifts, and this year I’m trying hard to be more mindful about what I buy. A big part of that is making an effort to support Irish makers and buy less, but better.

There is something so wonderful about giving someone something made by hand, often just a few miles away, or buying from an independent store owner, who puts so much love and care into curating their favourite finds.

 I had the pleasure of photographing some of the below at some point this year, so I am completely biased 🙂

And if you’re hitting the shops this weekend, scroll down for a round up of my favourite independent retailers in Dublin. 

Handmade candles and soaps from Clean Slate

Handmade candles and soaps by Clean Slate | nathalie.ie

Nicole Connolly couldn’t find a scented candle that she loved, so she started making her own. She uses soy wax and natural, high-quality ingredients as well as gorgeous reusable packaging. I adore both the Espresso + Coconut and Sweet Tobacco + Black Pepper. She’s stocked all over the country too, including, in Dublin, Article, Appassionata and Scout.

Ceramics from Arran Street East

Arran Street East | nathalie.ie

Photographing the Arran Street East studio and products was one of my favourite projects of the year. I’ve popped back a few times since and am rarely able to leave empty handed. The simple, functional pieces work in so many different types of spaces and and are beautifully glazed in colours inspired by the nearby fruit and veg market – these adorable succulent pots have a special place in my heart. Pop in to the Dublin studio or order online by the 19th for Christmas delivery. 

Blankets and totes from The Tweed Project
The Tweed Project | nathalie.ie

Oh to be as fierce and as creative as Aoibheann McNamara, proprietor of Galway’s Ard Bia restaurant and co-founder of The Tweed Project. Wonderfully fusing contemporary designs with traditional methods and fabrics, the pieces are hand made using premuim Donegal Tweed and Irish linen. Available online, in Coffeewerk and Press in Galway and Dublin’s Indigo & Cloth as well as at Makers & Brothers

If you’re in and around Dublin city over the next couple of days, I can’t recommend the below independent stores enough. They’re filled with expertly curated finds, and, as Jette says:

 

A photo posted by Jette (@jettevirdi) on

On Dawson Street:

On Drury Street

  • Irish Design Shop: Some of the very best contemporary Irish craft and design. The new 2017 calendar – an annual project – is a thing of beauty. 
  • Industry: As well stocking some of coolest industrial pieces and great Nordic design brands, you can also find Irish ceramics, woollens and cards (by Dusty Boy!)
  • Appassionata: So much more than just a (beautiful) flower shop, Ruth stocks great plant gifts and sweet homewares too.  

In Powerscourt Shopping Centre

  • Article: You’ll find things here that you won’t get anywhere else. I could possibly do all my Christmas shopping at Article – from homewares to notebooks to candles, store owner John’s taste is second to none. 
  • The Garden: Another spot that’s so much more than a flower shop, you’ll find possibly the best collection of succulents in the entire city here, as well as gorgeous pots, seasonal wreaths (or the ingredients to make your own), candles and more. 
  • Chupi: Special, delicate things inspired by the Irish landscape. I receive a compliment almost every time I wear my raspberry leaf necklace. Each piece has a story, and the packaging is beautifully luxe too. 

In Temple Bar

  • Scout: Irish and international clothing labels curated by Wendy, one of the most effortlessly cool people I’ve ever met. The perfect place for chunky knitted socks, great totes and timeless, stylish pieces that are made to last. 

Happy shopping! 

cool stuff

On Hold

I’m a bit worried Ben might kick me out of the house if I stick this on repeat again… But it’s so good to have The xx back.

The XX On Hold | nathalie.ie

PS If you haven’t gotten stuck into already, their In The Studio playlist is pretty great too. 

 

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie
Personal

Life Unstyled

There are areas that I don’t love. Walls that need painting. Orange floor tiles that need covering. Scuffed door frames and worn carpets. Things that I, as someone who gets to photograph expertly styled homes, know don’t shoot well. Dark corners and odd light casts. 

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

It’s lived in, rough around the edges. And yet. It makes me so happy. Curled up on the couch, cat by my side, the Sunday papers fanned out around me, cup of tea in hand.

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

I love being surrounded by our favourite things. Dipping into the box of polaroids – Ben’s birthday, New Year’s Eve, sleepovers with Ethan, Isabel’s first birthday party. All in this house. As a renter, you try not to get too attached, but happy memories make that impossible.

I always mean to photograph my own home, but it’s never quite tidy enough, never quite camera ready. But I came home from a shoot a few weeks ago, and the combination of the light and the cosy contentedness that you get from walking into a warm house on a crisp, cold day took over and I couldn’t help firing off a few frames.

It helped that the cat was looking pretty photogenic too.  Life Unstyled | nathalie.ie

 

Joining Intercom | nathalie.ie
Personal

Joining The Intercom Team

New Muji pens have been bought. A walking route has been mapped out. There’s a fresh Moleskine ready to go. Today, I join the Intercom team, and typing that alone makes me grin with excitement. 

Intercom is a company I have long admired. When a role on their content team came up, I texted a friend of mine, lamenting the bad timing as I was just months into my current job. “But Intercom is the dream, isn’t is?” she replied. That said it all, really.

I’ve watched and admired the company from afar, as they grew and grew, hiring their heroes and building an incredible team as they went.

When I made the switch into the tech scene a little under a year ago, the Intercom blog (and newsletter and podcast) was a lifeboat that I jumped on. I read and re-read blog posts, not just for practical advice and best practice tips, but to be inspired by the enthusiasm and drive of so many smart people doing interesting things with technology.

To be joining John, Geoffrey and Adam on the content team today is a thrill and honour, and I couldn’t be more excited. Wish me luck! 

cool stuff

Link Love: October

Oddly intrigued by these mermaid crowns

Above: What a gorgeous collaboration: The wonderful Paper Fashion worked with photographer Walid Azami to bring shots of dancers to life using brushstrokes of gold and the results are stunning

Have been working my way through the excellent West Wing Weekly podcast, which is co-hosted by one of the show’s stars, Joshua Malina, along with Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder (another favourite). I am also very tempted by the nerd-tasticc merch

Design agency Huge Inc has launched Magenta, a pretty cool looking digital publication focused on stories about design. I particularly like the Envy section, which features I-wish-I-had-done-that odes to great apps and ideas. 

Speaking of design envy: Have you seen Squarespace’s New York offices?

I need this: A shirt that corrects your posture

Popped into Network last week, a new(-ish) new coffee spot on Aungier St, with some very instagrammable takeaway cups, great interior design and ridiculously luscious looking torched salted caramel meringue brownies

Have a great weekend!

Gaza Port | nathalie.ie
Personal

Photographing Gaza

I’m just back from a whirlwind trip around Palestine, thanks to an incredible photo project that took me to Gaza for a few days.

It’s a huge privilege to get to visit the area. As Lonely Planet puts it:

Israel has blockaded the tiny strip from land, air and sea since just after Islamist party Hamas took control in 2006, keeping Gaza’s 1.8 million residents in and, with the exception of a handful of journalists, politicians and aid workers, the world out. 

Erez Crossing, Gaza

Above: The tunnel leading into Gaza at Erez, the border crossing on the Israel–Gaza barrier. 

I had been advised not to post too much about the trip in advance, for fear it might lead to additional questioning at the various border checks, but I’m looking forward to sharing more now. 

I was in Gaza with the most wonderful project, dreamed up by Jenny Higgins. After visiting Gaza with Trocaire earlier this year, she discovered that someone had just set up a circus school there. She secured funding from Culture Ireland to go to Gaza, and spent a week training with the teachers and students and put on a show. 

Gaza Circus School | nathalie.ie

Above left: Juggling balls, and, right, Henrik preparing to put them to good use.

Gaza Circus School | nathalie.ie

Mohie, one of the students at the Gaza circus school.

Gaza Circus School | nathalie.ie

Above: Henrik and Jenny training at the Gaza circus school.

The Irish community really rallied around the project, called Taking Flight in Gaza, donating to a GoFundMe, hosting a fundraising event on Culture Night and even donating circus equipment (I carried a trapeze and clown props over in my suitcase, I kid you not), which is, as you can imagine, difficult to get in Gaza.

Jenny and Henrik Gard, a wonderful acrobat with a very cool back story, brought tons more gear and were there to teach the students of the school some new skills and put on a show at the end of the trip. I was there to document it all.

Beach camp, Gaza

Above: Pics from around Beach camp, the third largest and one of the most crowded refugee camps, on the Mediterranean coast in Gaza City.

It’s difficult to put into words just how tough the situation is in Gaza. The UN estimates that by 2020, Gaza could be completely uninhabitable. Children as young as ten have lived through three wars. The unrelenting unfairness of the situation is quite overwhelming. Electricity, for those who have it, is limited to a few hours per day. The taps and showers run with salt water. Seemingly simple everyday things are near impossible to get.

Despite this, we spent our days with a group of young Gazans determined to smile, laugh, and find fun. Everyone we met was incredibly warm and generous, intent on making our stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

Gaza | nathalie.ie

Gaza | nathalie.ie

Above: Our brilliant translator Hind, photographed with a home-cooked lamb dish in her garden. Check out the beautiful tray, which features traditional Palestinian embroidery.

We were regularly welcomed into people’s homes, and the number of cups of tea offered (which is drunk sweetened and stewed with sage and sometimes mint) would make any Irish mammy proud. This is what I tried to focus on, both in camera and out of it. My hope was to show a different look at life during conflict, to try and capture moments of happiness, comedy, beauty and fun. To show the city as being more than rubble and destruction.   

Gaza beach cafe | nathalie.ie

A waiter prepares shisha at a Gaza beach cafe. 

After the trip, we traveled around the West Bank, visiting East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and even Hebron.

Gaza | nathalie.ie

Above: Phone snaps from around Jerusalem.

 All in all, an incredible, eye-opening trip. Looking forward to sharing more!

Finalist! Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards
Personal

Finalist! Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016

I’m delighted to share that this space is a finalist in the Photo Blog category of this year’s Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. I’ve been sharing photos here since 2009 (had to double check that before typing!) so I’m really thrilled to be on the list. 

The awards are taking place in Duffy’s Circus tonight, which is a nice bit of serendipity, given my circusy roots. Looking forward to going along with my themed accessories, above (the ring was a present from Ben, the vintage trapeze cigarette holder – which I use for business cards – was an Etsy find). I’ll be snapping and sharing pics from the night.

A huge thank you to any one who voted, and big congrats to my fellow nominees!

Update:

Irish blog awards

It happened amid a whirlwind of lots of stuff so somehow I didn’t get a chance to post about it: But, I’m delighted to share that I won! It was such a fun night. I was genuinely very surprised (as evident for the highly unglamourous clamber down from our awkward corner seat) and thoroughly chuffed. You can watch a video and scroll through some pics from the night over on the official site. Thanks again to anyone who voted, and to the organisers for a brilliant evening.

Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards

 

Learning Lettering: Tips and resources | nathalie.ie
cool stuff

Learning Lettering

“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Do you know what’s great? Sucking at something. Being a total beginner and slowly and steadily seeing yourself improve. It’s massively rewarding. 

If you have come across any of my Insta stories, you’ll know that I’ve been playing around with a couple of new creative outlets, mainly watercolour and calligraphy. I got lots of messages asking about what I was using, so thought I would share some of the great buys and online resources that might help other beginners looking to get started. Click through for more!  Continue Reading