Blogging, Life

Photo shoot with Michelle and Ceri

Michelle Reeves and Ceri Gillet photographer Tinuke Bernard

I love photography. Most of my subjects are inanimate buildings, unknowing strangers in street photo shoots or are likely than not, my daughter because it’s in our contract that she humour me whilst I work out ISO, depth of field or bokeh. Recently, I mentioned to a good friend that I’d love to take my photography further, even go to university to study photojournalism one day if I ever managed to save enough. The first step though, would be to pop my photo shoot cherry to gain more confidence and make some money. I said it in passing. Something about my friend Michelle makes me spill my latest hopes and dreams whenever I meet up with her. She’s got a real gift, she’s also a life coach now so she’s in the right field.

Never one to let my goals go unaccountable, Michelle rang me up earlier this year and asked me to host a photo shoot for herself and her good friend Ceri Gillett, founder of This Welsh Mother  an all around busy mama, business woman and blogger queen. I agreed, because that’s the only thing you can do when Michelle asks something of you. She’s got a magnetic personality that instantly draws you to her. Even over email!

Ceri smiling this welsh mother photographer Tinuke Bernard of beingtinuke

We shot in her home on one of the first Spring- like mornings of the year. I think all three of us were slightly nervous, none more so than me. I spent the night both excited and slightly pooping my knickers fretting about how I’d take it if they honestly didn’t like any of the photos.

this welsh mother photographer tinuke bernard bloggerTurns out, they both had some they were happy with. Michelle has even started using some of hers across her website and social media which gave me the confidence to write this and show you guys some of my work! I hope you like them. I’ve got another shoot with another good friend and amazingly talented fashion blogger coming up over the weekend so I’ll be sure to share a few of those too!

photo shoot with Ceri this welsh mothermichelle reeves photographer tinuke bernard 2017

Something I’ve learned over this past year is the importance of following your creativity and having side avenues for them. I’m so glad people like Michelle have reminded me to do just that!

Michelle reeves on her coaching site photographed by Tinuke Bernard beingtinuke blog

Blogging, Life

Blogging: It’s not about the money money money

being tinuke blog

It’s not about the money. Seriously. I’ve been writing online for the past 6 years or so, on and off. Sometimes I’m totally in love with the blogging world and others it seems so jaded, so full of self promotion and no self love that I step back and take a break. It’s usually at this time, when I’m disillusioned that I ask myself what it is I do this for. Pour my thoughts and feelings out, my randomness, photography etc onto the web. Is it or the fame? The money? Ha! Nope, because although there are ways people make full time incomes out of blogging, for each person who quits their job, gets a book deal or full time speaking gigg from their blogging, there are hundreds of others who will simply never get there.

 

No matter how talented their writing style, how much your heart skips a beat when you read their words, there just isn’t enough room for us all. Just picture an iceberg, with that one success being the part you see breaking free of the water and hundreds of others beneath the sea’s surface. If I were to blog with the intention of being that one person who makes it big, the pressure would be unbearable.

 

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t want it. Who am I kidding?! The opportunity to pay all of my bills from my writing and photography? Yes please. I would grab it with both hands and put all the energy I had into this. My point is, that I’m putting the enjoyment of the writing first and then if more comes, it’s a beautiful, poetic bonus, rather than the end game keeping me up at night, tormenting me with how fickle it can be.

 

You see, I think it’s part luck as well as a load of hard graft. With thousands of blogs to choose from, what makes mine, or yours stand out from the crowd and rise to the top? Sometimes it’s as simple as your post being retweeted by the right person at the right time and being picked up by a larger syndication. Suddenly you’re viral and people who’d never have read your words or seen your work are flooding to your site in droves. You can SEO the hell out of your work and have it all come down to one tweet, one reddit thread or one Facebook share.

 

One of my most popular blog posts over on circusmums.com went viral for a short time purely because it was shared on a forum where a person was being a dick and called it the most depressing thing they’d read. A bit of click baiting on their behalf as it really wasn’t that depressing. It was a post on how expensive an outdoor cinema was and why I wouldn’t go even though it seemed like a nice concept. It took ages to figure out why my stats were going through the roof and when I did, I was pretty upset for a bit until a fellow blogger pointed out that whatever the reason for the influx of readership, it was great as I’d gotten free exposure and maybe even gained some readers out of it. I didn’t. But it was still sweet that she suggested I might.

 

As with any hobby or passion, the age old advice is to do it because you love it and hope that the riches and recognition follows. Because that way, even if it doesn’t you won’t have been wasting your time, rather you’d have honed your skills and enjoyed your time. That’s pretty much how I see this. Blogging is amazing. I meet lovely people both virtually and in real life through it. The community is supportive and bad ass. If I never earned a penny from it, it wouldn’t stop me from taking part, the same way a Sunday league football player wouldn’t mind never stepping onto the Arsenal pitch based on his or her efforts there. Or so I think, I’m rubbish at football and have no idea what goes through their minds!

 

Do you have a blog? What’s it about? Leave a link and let’s connect. I’m all about growing this online community. Let me know what your thoughts are on what I wrote too.

 

Xx

Tin

Life

Tinuke’s back! (again)

tinuke blogger and writer

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on Being Tinuke and there’s so much to catch you up on. I’m not sure how nearly a year has gone by without me popping up on here and I’m sorry. If you follow my other blog, circusmums.com then you’ll already know some of the reasons why I’ve been AWOL. But for the rest of you, let me bring you up to speed a little bit.

 

There’s a new Job

I left the world of medical publishing last May for a bit of a change. It’s a fun, challenging job in a really forward thinking organisation. I can’t begin to explain how different it is from my old role and how steep a learning curve it’s been not only for me professionally, but also for us as a family. My days are much longer, although the role is supposed to be flexible and my daughter sees a whole lot less of me. Something she’s begrudged me for and that I totally understand. I miss her too!

 

Tinuke is in a new relationship

Well, a new, old relationship. In that me and the other half made up after spending the best part of a year or so in a kind of limbo. We’re living under one roof as a proper family unit and have settled into a rhythm that feels natural again. We are more supportive of each other and I guess, just more grown up in general.

 

Hello new baby

There’s a baby on the way! Like woah! Didn’t see that coming did you?? The news surprised us all, trust me! Talk about a shake up to the status quo. We’re less than 2 months away from a new baby joining our clan and I’m excited, nervous and terrified, depending on the hour of the day. This happened all of months after starting my new job and I was terrified of what work’s reaction would be, what it would mean for our family financially and how we’d cope psychologically. It’s not been as scary as I’d thought. I wasn’t fired. We’ve adapted to the upcoming change and everyone is looking forward to meeting our new ray of light.

 

It’s been a year of reflection and growth. A lot of thinking about what I want to do ‘when I grow up’ and what makes me happy. I’m trying to fit more happiness into everyday life and encourage my daughter to follow her heart as well as her brain. Writing and photography makes me happy and I intend to do much more of both this coming year. I think both of them hit the back burner these past ten months or so as I was frantically trying to tread water and stop feeling like I’d taken too much on, that I wasn’t in control, when what I should have been doing was exploring and enjoying the journey. Fear is a powerful emotion and can overpower everything else. My fear that I’d taken too much on, that I was veering from my goals put me into a bit of a panic, sending me AWOL from living in the present.

Anyway, as the title suggests, I’m back! Expect some catch up posts and much more regular content moving forward!

 

Life

How an Instagrammer reminded me to love yourself

self care love yousrelf being tinuke

What are you going to do for you today?

 

Really, what are you going to do to love yourself today?

For your well-being, your mental health, your sanity. To remind yourself that you love yourself. That You, yes capital letters are needed here, that You are important and deserve some care and attention.

Because it starts with you, you know that right? We want to look after the world and in doing so we often forget about number one. Do you find time in your day to do more than exist? Let me tell you a little story.

Admittedly this is a bad habit, but one of the first things I do after turning off my alarm in the mornings is check emails and social media. In my defence, the alarm is on my phone so it’s pretty easy to get sucked in to the little notifications. This morning, I ended up on Instagram scrolling through gorgeous photos of perfectly plated food, perfectly happy families and then a tired looking lady who reminded me of me, which made me stop a second to read what was underneath her pic.

This epic girl boss spoke of being drained and needing time to practice some self love. For her, it meant taking a long shower then listening to her favourite music for a little while. Just taking some time out to be in the moment and to regroup.

This entrepreneurial warrior spoke of the importance of looking after your mental health and acknowledging when it’s time to take five and break from your busy work schedule. She reminded me of the importance of just stopping and being able to simply be for a minute.

Because maybe a minute is all you have.

I know between work and home life it may seem like there’s not any time in your day to regroup and look after yourself but you may not need more than a minute. If it means sitting on the edge of the bath after you finish brushing your teeth, closing your eyes and playing your favourite song on your phone for three minutes, then do it.

Three minutes!

Three. Whole. Minutes. To yourself. I know when my daughter was a toddler that would have been more attractive to me than The Rock sitting in my living room naked, dripping in maple syrup, reading an Eric Jerome Dickey book. Don’t judge me.

I’m probably going to say this a lot on beingTinuke but it’s so important that I share what little wisdom this big head here holds. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that there is only one you and you are the best at being you. Granted, that does mean that even if you’re feeling crappy and run down, you’re technically still the best at being yourself but you won’t be the best you or in the best position to be there for those you love and care about.

So find that break in your day that’s especially carved out for you. It could be a walk to the shops at lunchtime for an ice cream that you sit and relish slowly before returning to wherever it is you came from, or using your train commute to get some words out on paper, something that for many can be so therapeutic it’s unreal, trust me, that’s when I get most of my writing done. This post on embracing your side hustle? Written on a train. Word.

Whatever your weapon of choice, please take time to do something just for you. Because although I might not have met you, I care about you, soppy and clichéd as it sounds. So go ahead and love yourself.

Blogging

Finding your authentic blogging voice

authentic blogger voice

It’s time to find your voice! Finding your writing voice comes naturally to some but I think there are definitely more of us out there who find it a struggle. Take my first blog circusmums.com for example, you’d have been forgiven for assuming the person writing the posts in the first year was a different person from the person writing it a couple of years in. That’s normal though, the tone changed as my ability to write confidently in my authentic voice grew.

 

Mirroring

Do you ever find yourself mirroring people? I’m most definitely a mirrorer, is that a word? It should be. I slowly start to copy the intonation and sometimes subconsciously even the accent of the person I’m talking to in order to be fully understood and also as a way of connecting. For example, if I’m in the States, my words lose their t’s at the ends and I find myself asking for the garbage can even though I’d really like to ask where the bin is.

I’m totally guilty of mirroring the environment I’m in so that I don’t seem difficult, so that I fit in. The same can happen in blogging, you read loads of blog posts, realise you like a certain tone and then before you know it, you’re writing and using the same phrases and flows as the bloggers you admire. I get it.  Imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery, but it also means you’re spending time trying to be like someone else, when you should be working on being the best and most authentic version of you.

Nobody will have your thoughts, ideas or voice. Exploit the hell out of that.

I love Awesome Luvvy, I think her blog posts are some of the funniest shit out there, but there will ever only be one of her. Who will ever do Luvvy better than Luvvy? Nobody? That’s why after trying and failing to unleash my inner Luvvy in a blog post or two a couple of years ago, I realised that I had to go back to writing in my voice, even if it meant people wouldn’t howl with laughter in the same way they did when reading her words. So, I’ll say it once again, nobody will do you better than you, your thoughts, ideas and voice are unique to you, so go on, be epically, unapologetically you, in your voice.

 

I’m not using my authentic voice, what can I do?

Click the image to download a FREE workbook!

authentic blogger voice
Don’t stress. I’ve got you covered. Because #blogsquadgoals.

We should so learn, share and grow, I’ve already learnt how to write in my authentic voice, I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that we can all grow from strength to strength. That’s what this is all about after all right?

I’ve prepared this super useful worksheet to help you figure out what it is you stand for and get you to a point where you’re comfortable enough to show that through your writing. I told you, I’ve got your back! Once you’ve used it, let me know what you think, feel free to share it and spread the love.

To download your free worksheet on writing in your authentic voice, click on the image above!

Life

Embracing the side hustle

leaf

We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get what we want done. What you choose to do with that time is completely up to you, but if you’re short on money and don’t necessarily want to get a completely new job, maybe it’s time to embrace the side hustle. You know, make money in addition to your main source of income.

I’ve toyed with the idea of side hustles for a long time and now I’m beating myself up for not doing it sooner. Whether it’s a way to exercise your creativity, meet new people, try out a new career without fully stepping out of your current one, there are so many reasons why it might be a great idea to start planning what your side hustle could be. Using the skills you already have there’s probably loads of micro businesses you could start with very little start up costs. Yes, that’s right, many of the ways you could add extra money to your bank account needn’t take years of saving up first, so there’s one potential excuse thrown out of the way!

Is blogging a side hustle?

Totally!

For me, no because I don’t currently make money from my blog, it’s my creative outlet, though for many people it is a totally viable way to make money. Perhaps I should make it my side hustle.

Even if you don’t make money directly from your blog, it could provide you with the skills and expertise to venture into a different hustle. You’ve learned how to code in css and html? Why not help others? You could offer your services to other bloggers or create courses on sites such as udemy instead.

Find something you enjoy doing, something you are good at and that other people would be willing to pay for. As you can tell by my diagram, my expertise wouldn’t be graphic design, but hey, I thought this was a nice way to illustrate my point.choose a side hustle

So give me some examples of potential side hustles

Oh ok, I’d have liked it if you said please but what the heck. I don’t know what your individual strengths and weaknesses are or how much time you have to invest towards making extra money, but here are some things you could consider. Whether you’re saving up for some once in a lifetime travel experiences or have a particularly large phone bill to pay off, I hope this helps!

 

+ Create an e-book
+ Tutor
+ Open an Etsy shop
+ Music tuition
+ Create blog templates and sell online
+ Social media management
+ Virtual assistant
+ Amazon black label seller
+ Sell your photography
+ Sell your illustrations
+ Create blog / website headers
+ Set up a YouTube channel
+ Teach small businesses how to blog and use social media
+ Sell home made goods at local fairs / markets
+ Create personalised stationery

That’s just a small handful of things you can do. If none of them are right for you, that’s fine, don’t give up! There’s something out there for every single body. Embrace the side hustle. You can find something that fulfils you and can help make you some money!

Good luck!

Life

On being different and not giving a rat’s arse

guy on stilts

Sometimes you meet people who are so different, so comfortable in their own skin and so in tune with their own eccentricities that you want to emulate them. But in doing so they would no longer be different, which would ultimately take away from the very thing that attracted you to that individual in the first place and would also make you nothing but a sheep. Why be a sheep? Where’s the fun in that?

I was reminded about the power and significance of being different this week and wanted to give my two cents as to why it is such a brilliant feeling to be comfortable with your quirks and foibles and why you shouldn’t give a rat’s arse about what anyone has to say about them. After all, we all know they’re just jealous anyway.

On Sunday afternoon I found myself in London’s West End, walking past the National Portrait Gallery towards the underground when I saw a 9 foot tall man. Maybe even 10. I didn’t measure him and it seemed inappropriate to shout out at him from the other side of the road “hey Mr, do you mind telling me how tall you are, I’m thinking of including you on my blog and I want to get my facts right”. That ish might play in some parts of the world, but this is London, we don’t make eye contact with those we know let alone actually speak to strangers. Most abide by this unwritten rule but of course for every tube journey or sandwich eaten on a park bench, there’s always the one person, possibly from somewhere out of the city and more sociable, like Aberystwyth or Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr – I’ve heard people are very friendly there – who has no qualms with looking you head on and engaging in pleasant conversation.

“It’s hot in this really tiny, claustrophobic train, isn’t it pet?”

You try to nod politely but in a way which discourages all further means of communication but nope, suddenly that minute movement of the chin opens the floodgates and a tube full of passengers are staring at you in shock as your new best pal breaks the rush hour silence, ignores the METRO in her hands and delves straight into your personal life, asking such intrusive questions as “Are you on your way to work pet?” and I don’t know how you cope with being trapped on the underground like a sardine every day”. I mean really, the injustice the rudeness of it all! Making conversation?!

But no really, fair play to the strangers on the train who aren’t afraid to be different. To break the silence and strike up a conversation, maybe I should have taken a leaf out of their books, crossed the road and asked the 9 foot tall man why he was walking around on stilts. He’d probably have had a really interesting story to tell. He may have wanted to know what it would feel like to be 9 foot tall. He may enjoy looking at unsuspecting balding men’s heads or thought it would make an ingenious mode of transport to get to the Tesco Express round the corner.

 

I’ll never know why he felt the need to be so different and so tall because I didn’t dare ask. I greatly admire his difference though.

lady creating sand art in London

We all have things that make us different. It could be loving a band that none of your friends have even heard of let alone appreciate, it could be a love for creating sand art outside of tube stations like this lady at Camden station or it could be a great appreciation for neon lycra leggings even though they have never been fully appreciated by any fashion house or pop culture during our reign on this earth. Needless to say you don’t mind because you’ve learned to appreciate your differences and don’t give a rat’s arse about what anyone else thinks about it.

If you’re not at that stage of not caring quite yet, I hope you get there soon because there is nothing more fantastic than feeling comfortable in your own skin and being able to be you, letting those around you see what makes you unique. Because we are all unique and that is what people with warm to, why they will buy your books, attend your workshops or choose to be your friends, because they appreciate, admire or are intrigued by what makes you tick and what makes you different. Because nobody wants to be with a bunch of sheep.

 

Travel

Should your ethnicity impact travel destinations?

kinkdred spirit travel ethnic

People don’t like to talk about race, it’s like the elephant in the room, at least it is when you’re in a multicultural space as everyone is trying to be politically correct and not step on any racial toes. If I were in a room filled with only my black or ethnic minority friends, then maybe they would tease me for saying I enjoy skiing, ‘because black people don’t like the cold’, or if we talked about going on a diving holiday I know more than a few friends whose noses would wrinkle up at the idea of purposefully getting their hair wet. Stereotypical? Yes. But true? In my experience, yeah.

There are some places in the world that, due to stereotypes, either of how I imagine I would be seen or how I believe the people in the country will act, I have reservations about exploring. This is a shame, it’s the 21st Century but there are places in this world that I feel unsafe or wary of due to my colour. I’m not alone in this though. For me it may be my ethnic make up but for others it might be their religion or sexual identity which will deem a nation an unattractive destination for their wanderlusting needs. Continue Reading…

Travel

Fairmont Hotel Chicago

Hotel room fairmont hotel chicago

Situated just minutes away from Chicago’s infamous Golden Mile, The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park is ideally situated for both leisure and business travellers wishing to stay in the windy city. When I visited this brilliant four star hotel, it was not only windy, but covered in a thick, unforgiving blanket of snow for much of my stay. Thankfully, the reception I received from the staff was anything but frosty.

View from Fairmont Hotel room Chicago

View from my room – can you see the snow?!

I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels in my lifetime and it’s the doormen at The Fairmont who have left the best impression on me to date. Remembering my name may be par for the course but remembering my more random idiosyncrasies are what set them apart from the rest. The staff within the rest of the hotel were just as keen to show off their impressive eye for detail throughout my stay.

Hotel room fairmont hotel chicago

My room. It stayed spotless for at least 2 minutes

I’m gushing a bit, I know, but this was such an amazing hotel stay. My room was comfortable, with a lovely view of Downtown Chicago. Spacious, with two double beds, a seating area, separate workspace and beautiful bathroom, it would have been easy to skip on the sights of ‘the Bean’ and Willis Tower in order to spend a day chilling out in my hotel room, only leaving in order to make use of the complimentary fitness suite (sign up to Fairmont President’s Club) and to eat dragon roll sushi in the hotel’s Aria restaurant.

Desk space fast wifi Chcago four star hotel Fairmont

Desk space and fast wi-fi = result!

I admit to not even making it down to the restaurant on a few occasions and binge eating sushi and sashimi rolls in nothing but a t-shirt whilst watching soap operas on the 42 inch flat screen televisions. But that’s what hotels are for, aren’t they?

Chicago at night

Beautiful Chicago view, moments from the hotel

Tip: As I mentioned earlier, it’s a great idea to join the Fairmont President’s Club before or during your stay. You get complimentary wi-fi and a host of other benefits including free use of fitness suites within the hotel and Fairmont Fit, a brilliant service where everything from Reebok trainers, yoga mats and fitness wear is delivered to your room so you can work out for the duration of your stay without the hassle of bringing your fitness gear with you. Extra room for the Garretts popcorn you’re certain to pick up during your stay!
For a full list of Fairmont President’s Club benefits click here 

featured, Life, Travel

In Pictures: A ride through Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

wimpole hall main house

I love the Wimpole Estate. We’ve visited the grounds on many occasions but this was the first time we went out with the bikes. Well, with a bike. I don’t have a bike rack and we could only fit one small bike in the back of my super mini. It was quite nice watching my daughter ride through the estate whilst I lagged behind her taking snaps and enjoying the summer sunshine against my skin.

We rode along the shortest path as we weren’t sure how long the warm weather would last. The pathway took us through open pastures filled with razing cattle, as well as past the main house itself. Part of the National Trust, Wimpole Estate is a brilliant place to spend the day with or without bikes!

stag and gate Continue Reading…