featured, It's a dog's life

Changes…


For a number of years my blog was called Quite Simply, but I came to the realisation that just as I had grown and changed over the years, my blog needed to also.

I knew the new name needed to reflect the true loves of my life, and it also needed to be flexible and not limit ways in which I could document and share those loves: animals, photography & plant-based eating.stanleybear (1 of 1)-21

So just who are Stanley & Bear? They’re dachshunds, and incredibly special ones at that.

Stanley is the 2nd of my four dachshunds that have come into my life, following the passing of my beautiful Kiri. He is loyal, loveable and the silent leader of our sausage pack.  Oscar aka Bear, arrived into our home not long after Stanley, and like Stanley he is a wire-haired dachshund with a gentle nature and loving soul.

Simon & Eddie complete our foursome, yet unlike S & B, they are of the smooth-haired variety and came to us as fosters with sad backgrounds. We chose not to re-home them with strangers and instead adopted them to complete our Sausage family.

stanleybear (1 of 1)-12

When it came to re-naming my blog, using Stanley & Bear seemed to fit as the name enables me to encapsulate what I love most in life. Animals, photography and plant-based eating.

You may ask how photography and plant-based eating falls under the Stanley & Bear umbrella. Firstly, S & B are simply incredible ‘models’ from a photographic perspective and they are always willing to help if I’m setting up a photo shoot. That’s Bear on the left doing a spot of quality assurance checks on a batch of freshly made vegan mayonnaise: recipe in a post soon.

IMG_3605

Secondly, they are sentient beings whose right to live a life free from harm is of the utmost importance. Just as it is of the utmost importance for me to eat a healthy, wholesome plant-based diet.

And lastly, it would’ve been a mouthful to have included all the boy’s names in the title, so hence, Stanley & Bear was born.

I hope to take my blog to a new place: sharing images, plant-based recipes and the antics of my beloved Sausage boys.

Enjoy…

sausages1#
Simon, Oscar (aka Bear), Stanley & Eddie

 

 

 

featured, travel

The kindness of strangers…


Travel affords wonderful experiences and at times, unfortunate ones.  And it is the latter that often allows the true spirit of human kindness to shine.

In the last few days I have bathed in that kindness and I’m so very thankful.

Last week I started to feel those tell tale signs of a cold and sure enough within a day, I was reaching for the tissues and beginning to look like Rudolph’s long lost sister.

cambodia (1 of 1)-20
Cambodian workers opposite my hotel who wave and smile as I walk by

Even though I felt a little more lethargic than usual, I simply put it down to environment and whilst I did feel lousy, I pushed through. But as the days progressed, my lethargy and fatigue levels increased to the point where I could barely stand.

Alone in a hotel in Siem Reap with a raging fever, I realised I was very ill and needed to see someone.  I went to the reception desk and instantly Paulo the manager was at my side.  Without hesitation he called his tuk tuk driver and took me to hospital.

My simple cold has manifested into pneumonia, which although debilitating at least it’s now clear as to why I am feeling so ill.

So even though I am still alone in my hotel, I’m actually not for the wonderful Cambodian staff are continually checking on my welfare.

It is not in their job description to do so and I’m overwhelmed by their kindness.  It is so comforting to know that people, albeit strangers, have taken the time to care.

Yes, the kindness of strangers is truly humbling…

cambodia (1 of 1)-32
Suspended umbrella’s on Pub Street…
featured, travel

In the central highlands of Bali…


A few years ago I came across a site called Workaway: a concept where travellers are offered free accommodation in exchange for hours worked.

I was a host for some time and now as I’m travelling without any destination in mind, this concept has offered alternatives to regular accommodation.

I recently stayed in a beautiful 5-star eco-lodge in the central highlands of Bali: all the owners asked for in return was images they could use on social media & websites.

As a photographer & journalist, it offered a great opportunity to capture this beautiful place nestled high in the hills, surrounded by crystal clear waterfalls.

Serene, elegant & peaceful…

 

 

featured, india, travel

‘You can stand on the cliff of life and play it safe. Or you can jump…”


Since making the decision to move to India, the comments and opinions I’ve heard have been polarised.  From the negative: “India, are you mad…”,  to the positive: “you are an inspiration, I admire your courage…’.

So with the date of my departure now clearly visible on the horizon and the fundamentals of my move sorted (except for my visa but that’s another post), I’ve had time to reflect on this so-called courageous leap off my life’s cliff.

 


And how do I feel?

I know I’m not scared for I thrive on adventure, and I’m definitely ready to dip my toes into unclear waters, despite not knowing what lurks beneath the surface.

However from an emotional perspective, I know I’m in for a wild ride. My emotions will make me feel like I’m riding the X2 rollercoaster at Magic Mountain:  propelling to great heights one day, before plunging to the lowest of lows the next.  But I’m expecting that as it’s one of the side effects of travelling and choosing to live outside your comfort zone. I remember clearly experiencing the lows when I lived in Penghu, Taiwan a few years ago.  You can read about my little Penghu breakdown here

Of course it would be ‘safer’ for me to remain where I am doing the same job, seeing the same people on a daily basis, yet lately I have been feeling like an extra in the movie, Groundhog Day.  And for me, that’s not living, that’s simply existing.

So despite knowing I’m about to ride an emotional rollercoaster, I’m going to jump, jump off my cliff.  I don’t know if I shall soar or crash, but I do know that jumping will allow growth, knowledge and most importantly, living life without regret.

 

street14©jenhammer copy