Lizzie Churchill | Fashion & Wedding phototgrapher

Yoga & wild swim retreat

As a fan of yoga, swimming and the beach it didn’t take me long to make a decision about joining Lauren on her Yoga & Wild Swim retreat (in partnership with MYMARINI) in September as a guest and photographer but I honestly wasn’t prepared for just how in love with all three I was. With an itinerary that would have us in the sea for 8am, morning and evening yoga practice, insane meals cooked for us three times a day and a group of the most wonderful ladies, it was a slight shock re-adjusting myself to my ‘normal’ routine after a few days and I only live 10 minutes from the retreat house! However, it wasn’t just the secluded location that took me away from the norm, it was the people I was around, the conversations we had, private shoreline to swim from, the quaint beaches we visited, the calm of our routine and above all our decision to be mindful. During our daily practice Lauren asked us to focus our energy and thoughts towards ‘looking after ourselves’, ‘balance’ and being ‘brave’. Not only did these three elements resonate with me on the retreat as we threw ourselves into the water each day,  nurturing our minds and bodies but they’ve become practices that have well and truly stuck with me since leaving. I often now remind myself these focus points and believe if we all consciously weave these thoughts into our daily routines we can only benefit from them.

So why a Yoga & Swim retreat? Well, I cannot think of a better way to promote and demonstrate improved wellbeing than to surround yourself with good company, wild swimming, a healthy diet and mindful yoga. I often speak about my love of the sea and how being in, on, or by the sea is like an escape and I’d never really thought about why that was. I guess I didn’t really think I needed a reason, it just always had been and always will be how I feel but during our retreat Lauren recommended a book that has well and truly amazed me; Blue Mind is an incredible body of scientific research that proves our mental and physical health is directly effected by the water.

“Water can give us energy, whether it’s hydraulic, hydration, the tonic effect of cold water splashed on the face, or the mental refreshment that comes from the gentle rhythmic sensation of hearing waves lapping a shore. We know instinctively that being by the water makes us healthier, happier, reduces stress and brings us peace.” - Wallace J. Nichols

Submerging myself into the sea at any given opportunity during this retreat, absorbing as much water therapy that I could I can genuinely say it was easier than I thought to jump in and embrace the cold - and my goodness it really does leave you feeling incredible after. On my first day with the retreat team we sat with chai tea and bliss ball post-afternoon swim and took the time to reflect on how it made us feel. ‘Invigorating’ was an immediate thought as well as ‘clear’ and ‘refreshed’.

However it isn’t just the water that can have a positive and healing effect on us which is why this retreat makes so much sense; yoga tied into our daily routine effortlessly too as we focused on ‘self-care’ and ‘balance’. It had been literally months since I’d last done a yoga class so I was really looking forward to checking in with my body and really stretching out (having had problems with my right elbow and wrist due to work (yup!)). This is where yoga became another saving grace for me as we balanced out our bodies working evenly through both sides. Lauren described the left side of our body as Ida nadi - the feminine, calm and lunar side with our right side being Pingala nadi - the masculine energy symbolised with the sun. During our class we attempted to bridge the gap between the two, encouraging both to work  together in harmony; and for myself in particular to give my masculine side a rest as the control, work and stress had cleary been too much. (arm issues on my right side!)

On my last evening I participated in Yoga Nidra, a form of yogic sleep which leaves you drifting just between being awake and well…asleep. A state in which the body is so completely relaxed you almost ‘drop out’ of consciousness as your body becomes so heavy and free you simply slip into the deepest know form of mediation and WHAT a strange sensation it was. I can’t really describe it other than ‘hovering’ above sleep but feeling so utterly relaxed I may as well have been - it’s a complete cleanse of any tension and worry!

With our minds clear and our bodies revitalised it was only fair that our guts were looked after too as our fuel and energy for the week - and boy, it did not disappoint! Joining us we had two top female chefs Jo & Tess who’s nutrition and flavour knowledge is outstanding. Everything was completely handmade from locally sourced, fresh fruit and veg which meant there was a constant mouth watering aroma from the kitchen as they worked throughout the day to provide us with breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as tea for our day trips and coffee on tap. We had soup, kitchari,  porridge, salads, polenta, fruits, fresh bread each morning….I could go on…but luckily I have photos too.

I cannot reccomend a week away like this enough and I genuinely believe everyone neeeeeeds this in their life. Since leaving our bubble (this is now what it’s known as) in the East Wing, I’ve realised how effective just a few days away from ‘life’ was for me. I’ve never felt as detached from everything as I did then which as crazy as that sounds, is true. We stayed in a house tucked away on the Helford, lived in a small group for a week, sat around the table together each day to eat, discuss and plan, travelled to quiet, isolated spots where we barely saw anyone and emerged ourselves in self-care. What’s not to love.

Thanks again SO much to Lauren, Tess, Jo and all of the incredible retreat-ers, I miss you all. x


Venture Sail

With a fleet of 8 ships, covering 11 destinations from Scotland to the Caribbean, incredible crew and the opportunity to book an entire ship, Venture Sail is the number one option for your next Voyage whether it’s on-board a Tall ship or a more modern yacht. A unique sailing holiday I was definitely keen to get involved in! As long as I’m in the water, on the water or can see it, it’s always a yes from me, so I was super excited to be invited to join the team; becoming a member of the crew on a trip around the Isles of Scilly

Tilly and I had an early start, boarding the Scillonian at 8am from Penzance to St Mary’s where we could then join Johanna Lucretia to test our sea legs and pirate skills, and I have to say, it was the most incredible way to tour the islands! Built in Belgium in 1945, this two masted, topsail schooner and has since had two refits and now has the facilities and technology (wifi) to cope with ‘modern life’ and the standards that come with it. Tilly and I experienced boat-life at the highest level (almost) and bunked up with the guys in crew quarters! Now, I’m small so this actually wasn’t too much of  problem and I was ready to embrace pirate life to the full but I have to say it was SMALL. Our shipmates Tay and Josh had top bunks which had actual head room, but on the bottom you could just about lay sideways in the foetal position. Definitely no option to starfish. The other guests had rooms that varied from much bigger bunks to a double room and between us all we shared two toilets/shower rooms on board as well as kitchen and dining table, so all in, we were set!

So what can you expect from a trip to the Islands? Well, once we’d arrived from the mainland, Tilly and I hopped on-board a small ferry to St Agnes for a brief lunch and little explore of the Island before Tay came to collect us on the tender. With life-jackets handed out, bags stowed away and a safety briefing from the captain, we set sail and headed around the Island. I then took the helm and guided us all away from the Island for the full sailing experience then handed back to the much more capable hands of the guys so we could safely moor up off Tresco for the night. Participation is fully encouraged on board so we all took turns in putting the sails up, tying the ropes, reading the charts and checking we were on course. We also enjoyed a few glasses of wine, sat back and enjoyed the view whilst sharing stories on the top deck before we headed below for our freshly prepared dinner and a beautiful guitar solo from Tay.

If anyone’s seen 50 first dates, then you’ll know about that end scene on the yacht? That’s exactly how I felt climbing up out of our crew hatch first thing in the morning to the most amazing calm and quiet waters after an…interesting nights sleep. I say interesting, I slept fine, eventually. It’s just the most strange experience hearing water constantly! Ahaha Having asked if it was possible to climb the mast and being told I absolutely could, it was only fair that I followed up on my request in the morning, so got all kitted up in my harness with camera in tow and jumped onto the rigging with Josh just ahead of me. I do actually really love heights but the last time I was up a mast (on the M5) I just sat there, being winched up; this time it required a bit more effort, co-ordination and a lot of attaching and detaching but was worth it for the view! 

Tilly and I then said our goodbyes and thank you’s before departing to Tresco Island then eventually back to Penzance! Our first stop on the island was Tresco Abbey Garden which has the most incredible collection of plants I’ve ever seen. It was just a never ending collection of colour, rare plants, pathways, walled gardens, palms, and stairways which once climbed had breathtaking views back over the gardens and Bay which framed our Tall ship perfectly! Having petted the local cat we found and gazed lovingly at the wild red squirrels that darted about and fed on little platforms we left the gardens and took a long walk round to The Flying Boat Bar & Bistro for some lunch before catching the ferry back to St Mary’s which after only a day of wandering the smaller Islands felt like a bustling city! I think the beauty of these Island and what made me well and truly fall in love was how quiet they were; utterly untouched and tranquil beaches, adorable cottages, palms and agapanthus everywhere and single tracks to guide you around with no cars - just bikes and golf buggies!

I honestly had the best time on the Islands that was only heightened by my experience on board an actual Tall Ship - just and incredible opportunity that I’m so grateful for and would 100% do again. In fact, I’m already looking to book my next trip to the Scilly’s and would jump at the chance to sail again!

Thank you Venture Sail, I hope to see you again soon!

Lizzie

x



Rebecca & Josh

This wedding was the first of a few this year where I get to capture the friends I grew up with and went to school with! Josh however, was not only in my primary school class but went to school camp and was in my secondary school tutor group with the usual suspects who I’ve seen many a times since too! A few years have obviously passed since then but it’s funny how the people you’ve known this long will forever remain as the ones that you always get on with, no matter how much time has passed between. I’ve known Rebecca just as long too - again, same schools and we both took Art together (although Bec’s being slightly younger). We also have the bond of both being twins; there was only three sets of us unique-beings at school and she was one of the others, the remaining pair have also had their weddings captured by me (Kate’s being tomorrow!) so it’s just Adam left now! ;)

As for the Wedding, I’m pretty sure it fell on one of the hottest days we’ve seen this year AND the same day England played the semi-final of the World Cup, so between the heat and the football there was a lot of people taking shade from the sun…..or just to sit and catch the game. We had a super calm morning with the girls before heading to Penryn Town Hall which was the most bright and ‘clean’ space for their ceremony. The incredible vintage busses brought the Bride, her Bridesmaids and Father to the church then took the majority of the Wedding guests to their reception which was held at Chycara. It’s only the second time I’ve shot a wedding here after the gorgeous Cathy and Anthony’s but was surprised to see how much it had changed and developed over the last few years with a bigger venue space, new decking area and a few additions to the garden and pond. With so much space available, Rebecca and Josh really utilised this so their guests could take welcome drinks outside to listen to the gorgeous Billie Alderman who was singing on the decking, as well as setting up multiple garden games in the grounds with ample seating too for those wanting to enjoy the views.

Inside, the Pimms bar and biscuits provided to be popular and can you believe that ALL the flowers were hand grown, picked and arranged by Josh’s super talented Mum! The planters at each end of the top table looked incredible and could at least be kept and continue to grow in the garden. With a colour pallet of white, pastel greens and blue, an amazing copper frame for guests to take album snaps and the most insane cake with macaroons, popcorn and salted caramel, the decorations and styling were definitely a well considered and thought out element of the day.

Post formal and group shots, the garden party style wedding continued as guests were able to line up for Posh Kebabs and personalised ice-cream from the trucks outside before sitting back inside for the speeches. With the sun slowly starting to set, the garden once again filled with everyone playing games, meandering, discussing the England win and participating in the occasional giant jenga session as I took the coupe aside for a few last images. I always think if the time allows for it (and the weather), that sunsets shots are a must-have to add to your wedding album - the light is incredible and it allows you to have more relaxed, informal images AND some time to yourselves again…just for a little while.

I honestly had the best day capturing this beautiful wedding and can’t thank Rebecca & Josh enough for having me; the bridesmaids were so so lovely and helpful, as were the rest of their friends and family and it really did feel like I was part of the entire day with them. I hope you enjoy reminiscing through your special day again and wish you both all the best for your future!

Lizzie

x


An engagement with: Emma & Sam

This was a special one. For a few reasons. But mostly because this beach is the exact spot that both Emma & Sam have been visiting together for just one night a year for the last … years. It’s also where they had one of their first dates, and where Sam almooooost proposed! Luckily he proposed earlier in the year, so that when they returned, I would be ready to meet them, camera in had to capture their beautiful engagement photos.

I’d actually met Emma & Sam earlier in the year to discuss their super exciting Wedding plans for next year, so it was great to see them again, with some sun, clear skies, bbq, prosecco and a gorgeous sunset! We only had the one day to play with so Emma knew that we needed to plan everything before they headed down, timing’s, outfit and the dog. We had actually planned to meet in the day but I’m so glad we postponed until sunset to really capture the magic of this beach and their romantic setting. Emma knew exactly what she was after and having seen examples of my previous shoots at Kynance Cove and Bedruthen steps, we merged the two to form a beach sunset engagement shoot with a gorgeous floaty dress - perfect practice for their big day next year!

This is exactly what’s so great about engagement shoots when booked pre-wedding; they’re like a little mini rehearsal and practice for what kind of style and posing is best suited to them as a couple. Emma had mentioned they’d like the more informal shots where they felt less ‘staged’ and posed in front of the camera so we took it real easy and chatted the whole time between ourselves, almost as if I wasn’t there! Some of the things I suggested were to walk along the beach (nice and easy one), to stand hand in hand, sit up on the rocks to watch the sunset, and for Sam to stand behind Emma and wrap his arms around her - in a nice way! We then chilled around the bbq, poured a few glasses of prosecco and waited for the sun to drop that last little bit towards the horizon. This is when we could finish the session with some prosecco in hand to really highlight that beach side engagement AND capture a winning family shot with Calli by their side! Emma & Sam, you were absolute naturals the whole time and I CANNOT wait for us to do this all over again on your Wedding day, although I’m sure I’ll be seeing you before! This shoot was so much fun and I can’t believe it was only our second meeting - we always knew we’d meet but who knew it would be beachside (again) for engagement photos. We clearly have a theme going so enjoy your summer, and I’ll see you by the sea! ;)

If you’re thinking of booking your own engagement session, a few tips I can suggest to you are to think about location and light as it can really change the atmosphere of the shoot, dependant on what you’re after; and you’re outfits, this can also completely change the style of the shoot so have a look at some images and think about what it is you like - is it the movement of a dress? Is it neutral tones and colours? What about a countryside shoot overlooking hills and valleys in the distance? Will the shoot be romanic and soft or more laid back and playful.

If you have any questions do get in touch and we can discuss your plans if you’d like to head out for photos too!


Life Unexpected

I’d like to introduce to you all the lovely Chloe, from Life Unexpected blog, who I had the pleasure of finally meeting and catching up with while we captured some new headshots for her blog and new business venture. Chloe and I have known each other for easily over a year now but having only ever spoken in a mutual creatives group we’re both members of, we’d not yet met in person! This is actually a prime example of why networking, social media groups and a shared interest between a circle of creatives is so important - you can collaborate with so many like minded people, help each other out, learn new skills, become introduced to new people and generally grow as a business, whatever field you’re in, and this is exactly what happened. Chloe’s blog is a mixed lifestyle blog that documents her travels, family life, her beautiful daughter, fashion and all in between so as you can imagine, content and imagery is crucial to telling these stories and putting out her message in a much more inspiring and visual way.

With this in mind, Chloe contacted me about gathering some head-shots to use on her blog as well as to help promote her new business.  Chloe aims to release a variety of courses and content that’s designed to help other small businesses build their profile; helping them flourish on social media in exactly the same way she has done herself, especially encouraging those Mums who want to start they own ventures, and small businesses working flexibly around their busy family lifestyles.

So why are headshots so important? There’s actually a few reason why it’s good to hop in front of the camera and the first, I’d like to say, is because quite honestly, people need to know who it is they’re talking to. No, it’s not the most vital thing in the world, but I don’t know about you…I like to know a little about someone before I invest in their services, product or business. It’s also a much more personal aspect which I think is pretty important and if someone visits your website or profile and feels like they can connect and relate better because they know what you’re like, maybe your interests/hobbies, location and your ‘vibe’ then chances are, they’re more likely to book you. They’ll feel like they know you and therefore will engage on a different level, like you would face-to-face. Another reason is that it looks much more professional. I’m not talking ‘selfies’ with puppy ears and numerous filters, I’m talking about taking the time and investing in a photographer to take some professional headshots that will in turn, keep your business looking more professional.

Should you all be thinking about getting headshots? Well…yes! Even I have recently been posting images of myself a little more on social media (Instagram!) because I feel like people can then really engage with who I am and what I’m about. Usually these are of me on a paddle-board or out on the coast but in the same week that Chloe and I met, I too had some new headshots taken by my photographer friend Olivia Bossert - we both did! The perks of a photographer friend eh?!

Head-shots can be taken pretty much anywhere you fancy..? Olivia had hers taken at her own home office so that she can share her working environment, mine were taken in my local coffee shop and Chloe’s were taken at Gwithian where we took advantage of the beautiful Cornish sun and sand! Picking two outfits so that we could change half way through, we walked, talked, stopped and with gentle direction from me, we kept it very calm and natural for the shoot playing with distance, texture, pose and feel of each image so that Chloe has a variety of mages to work with. Wearing a bag meant that Chloe didn’t feel awkward with hand placement so ‘props’ or pockets are always a good idea and instead of being stood still, we kept moving which also add’s movement to the image.

Do contact me if you’re thinking this is something you may be interested in and you too could have a selction of images like Chloe’s below. :)

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