Julia Barnickle: Taking Life As It Comes

photographer, blogger and coach, helping Introverts, Scanners and recovering creatives to connect with their creative passion, get clarity about their values and find flow

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London Bridge to Tower Bridge – Project 52 – 29/52

Old London Bridge mosaic with the "Walkie Talkie",  "Cheesegrater" and "Gherkin" buildings of the City of London in the background
Old London Bridge mosaic with the “Walkie Talkie”, “Cheesegrater” and “Gherkin” buildings of the City of London in the background

This has been an expensive week – I had to get the brakes fixed on my car and pay some money to the tax man. On the up-side, it’s also been a week when I finished off two paintings and went out filming and taking photographs along the river Thames from London Bridge to Tower Bridge.

Revolving doors at City Hall, London (the
Revolving doors at City Hall, London (the “Beehive”)

I love photographing and filming reflections – especially when people are walking by. I’ve always felt self-conscious about filming or photographing people who just happen to be in the vicinity of something I want to photograph – in fact, I always used to wait until there was nobody about! That can be difficult in London in mid-summer, though, so by filming and photographing reflections, I feel that I’m being slightly less invasive of people’s privacy. Maybe it’s an introvert thing… I know most people don’t think twice about including a total stranger in their photograph!

Caught on camera, photographing a reflection of Tower Bridge, London
Caught on camera, photographing a reflection of Tower Bridge, London

I don’t usually take “selfies” either, but I do enjoy capturing an image of myself in a reflection, hidden behind my camera. Since I joined Instagram this year, I’ve noticed several people who only ever seem to post pictures of themselves – which I find rather strange. Surely there must be something in the world around them that captures their imagination more than their own image?

Reflection of the Shard, London, in an office building
Reflection of the Shard, London, in an office building

The video below is of my walk from London Bridge to Tower Bridge, and is mostly shot on iPhone 6 (apart from the section where Tower Bridge opens to let a sailing boat through – my hands weren’t steady enough to hold the pose for over 3 minutes, and I forgot to bring a mini tripod).

The first London Bridge was built by the Romans and was the only bridge across the river until 1750. The current bridge was rebuilt in 1973. Part of the previous Victorian bridge still remains in situ – the rest is now at Lake Havasu, USA.

Tower Bridge is probably the most famous of the London bridges – a combined bascule and suspension bridge, it was built between 1886 and 1894. In between these two bridges, on the South bank, is City Hall (the “Beehive”), designed by Norman Foster and opened in July 2002. Behind London Bridge station is The Shard, which was completed in 2012.

On the North bank, the “Gherkin” (Swiss Re building), the “Cheesegrater” (Leadenhall building) and the “Walkie Talkie” now define the skyline of the City of London.



Face Painting and Resistance – Project 52 – 28/52

A Year Of Painting - faces collage

Lately I’ve been trying to catch up with the lessons in Alena Hennessy’s “A Year Of Painting” e-course. For some reason, over the past few weeks, I had been ignoring the lessons and simply doing my own thing, painting-wise – and not getting very far.

A Year Of Painting - face painting

I was so far behind that I decided to skip a couple of lessons because they didn’t appeal to me (which is quite telling in itself!). The next lesson after those was about painting faces – which I also didn’t fancy. But I realised this was probably just resistance, so I watched the video for the face painting lesson and had a go – and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the process!

A Year Of Painting - face painting

In the first painting, I was able to use part of the background for the face colour, and the whole process was quite easy and enjoyable. I then convinced myself the second painting would be more difficult – and it was! This time I didn’t have the background colour to help me, and I had to re-do the features several times because they didn’t look right.

A Year Of Painting - face painting

For the third painting, once again the background lent a hand – the face itself leaped out of the background, so all I had to do was follow the contours that were being presented to me. Now, I’m the first to admit that the features in these paintings are not 100% anatomically correct – but at least they are recognisable as faces. I feel proud of myself for having painted them, and I’ll be doing more!

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how the things we resist most often turn out to be the things we enjoy most…?



Kensington Roof Gardens – Project 52 – 27/52

Spanish garden - Kensington Roof Gardens, London

I heard about Kensington Roof Gardens on Instagram earlier this year, and I’ve been wanting to visit ever since. This week I finally got the opportunity to go – and it’s amazing!

Spanish garden - Kensington Roof Gardens, London

The garden was created in 1936 on the sixth floor of a building in the centre of Kensington, London. It’s currently owned by the Virgin company and can be hired out for private functions – but on some days it’s open to the public.

Spanish garden - Kensington Roof Gardens, London

There are four garden areas: the Spanish garden, Tudor garden, English Woodland garden and Wildlife garden. Together, they create a beautiful and tranquil oasis, only a short hop from central London.

Flamingo in the Wildlife garden - Kensington Roof Gardens, London

To find out more, visit the Kensington Roof Gardens website.

Kensington Roof Gardens, London

Photos and video shot on iPhone6.



Guildford, Somerset House and Kingston-upon-Thames – Project 52 – 26/52

Canal boats on the River Wey in Guildford, Surrey

This has been a week of meeting old friends and new friends. On Monday I went to Guildford in the pouring rain to meet up with a friend who I haven’t seen in around three years. When we started chatting, it was like we were picking up where we left off just the day before. I love it when that happens.

Nelson staircase Somerset House, London

On a hot and sunny Thursday, I went to Somerset House to meet up with two friends who I’ve met quite recently through Instagram. It was fun chatting in the courtyard and wandering round together, taking photos of Nelson’s staircase and a couple of the exhibitions.

Neon lights at Somerset House, London

I’m really glad I joined Instagram this year, and that I’ve been along to a few Instameets with the London Brunch Club. I’ve met some really lovely people, and I look forward to developing those friendships.

Robot exhibition at Somerset House, London

On Friday, I met up with a friend of a friend. When I was in Bratislava last year, I made friends with the journalist who interviewed me for a business magazine – so when she contacted me to ask if I’d like to meet up with a friend of hers who is visiting Kingston at the moment, I thought: “why not?”

Market House, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey

I’m not sure whether I’m an a-typical introvert in that respect. I find it quite easy to start a conversation with a total stranger, especially when I already know there’s some common ground – whether that be a mutual friend or a mutual interest.

House boat and bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey

The fact is that I’m fascinated by people and their lives – although I used to feel shy asking people about themselves, in case they didn’t want to tell me! I love having conversations with new people and learning about what makes them come alive – and I often find I’m automatically drawn to people whose interests cross over with what makes ME come alive. :-)




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