Up a mountain on a horse.

I seem to go on about it all the time, but horses and horse riding were a huge part of my childhood and being around them is something I love the most in the world. I find riding so thrilling yet relaxing and weirdly, I love the smell of horses.

While Ty and I were in LA, we went riding with Parker and Mandela up in the mountains of Topanga Canyon. I've grown up riding what the American's call 'English Style', so this was my first time riding Western. It wasn't much different except the reins are rope instead of leather and you hold them in one hand rather than two. I definitely prefer the technique of 'English Style' and the look of the tack (saddles and bridles etc) we use look so much nicer.

Mandela and I were a bit disappointed that we couldn't gallop around as the trail was very steep and mostly up or downhill, meaning it would be dangerous for us to do more than a mild trot at the flat points. I think Parker and Ty were a bit relieved about that though!

I took Ty horse riding for the first time last year, when we were both living in England. He did really well for his first time on a horse and he proved to be just as good the second time around. I was proud :)

The views of Malibu from the top of the mountains was breathtaking. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera up there, so we only got photos of us back at the yard.

This was my first 'trail ride' and while it was fun, I don't think I'll be going on one again. I definitely prefer beach riding where you can go at your own pace or a traditional lesson where you can jump and canter around the school. 

What it has done though, is to inspire me to make sure I involve horses in my life a lot more from now on. I spent most weekends riding and helping out at a horse yard for over 10 years and it's something I really miss these days. When I get back to England I'm going to be investigating joining a stable so I can ride more often and help with mucking out and feeding etc.  

Horse riding is one of the biggest skills I have and it took years of practice to gain, so I shouldn't let it go to waste by not nurturing it.

That's a lesson that applies to all of the skills I've worked hard to master actually. #Message!


Culture Club photography workshop.


It's March! How quickly did that come?! 

I started the month off by learning some new skills at a photography workshop.

Ty bought me a DSLR camera for Christmas and although I have a background in film, I'm quite new to the photography game. I knew how I wanted my photos to look, but my technical knowledge was failing me. In short, I was stuck on Auto mode.


In the spirit of putting action behind my "I wish's", I signed up for a beginners photography workshop. I chose one by the Culture Club as it's had some great reviews and I also knew the instructor, Matilda, from my 'back in the day' blogging life.

During the 4 hour session held on London's South Bank, Matilda covered all of the photography basics. She taught us how to get our head around all of the different camera settings and what they should be used for. We were coached in how to set the ISO, shutter speed and aperture, as well as what all of these things meant and how they would help us take great photos.


With the class being so practice based, I was able to use everything I was learning to take a bunch of lovely photos that I even surprised myself with. I feel much more in control of my camera now, and have more confidence in knowing that I'll be able to take a photograph the way I see it in my head.


As you can see from some of my photos here, they're a lot better than the bunch you saw in my last post. Hopefully they'll continue to get better and I'm most definitely going to buy a 50mm lens as a starter. I've always been a fiend for shallow Depth of Field in both film and photography, especially because I love to capture people and detail, so it'll be much more fun with a better lens.


If you're thinking about going to a photography class, I'd highly recommend the Culture Club's one. It's well worth the cost, especially as the classes are small and intimate, and Matilda is a great teacher. Have a look at the different types of workshops they offer on their site: cultureclubphotographyworkshops.co.uk


You can expect much prettier pictures on the blog from now on. I might even do a March photo challenge as practice. One a day. Let's see how that goes...

No more Auto mode for me!

- Amber