A photo a day, of all lovely things

Roughly a year ago, after completing the 100 happy days challenge, I decided to take it a little further by embarking on a lifelong photo-a-day project. I don’t claim to be any sort of photography expert—and am an apprentice amateur at best—but I loved the challenge of finding something special everyday, something about which to be grateful. We all live in such a cluttered, fast-paced, and “busy” world—and I know I certainly take on way more than I should—that it was such a comfort for me to pause for a few minutes everyday, and see the beautiful things in my life. It’s now become quite the habit, and many of my friends know exactly what I mean when I pull out my phone and say, “Excuse me, I have to take this for my photo-a-day project.” And on some days, there are so many wonderful things going on that I have to decide on just the one photo (which is when I sometimes “cheat” and use multiple frames to feature them all).

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Granted, doing this for the past year has had its challenges. The first few weeks were particularly difficult due to a few unpleasant events in my life, which is why there are a few missing days at the beginning. There have also been days when, weighed down by the endless reading that comes with researching Shakespeare in an interdisciplinary capacity, and by the work commitment I made to write (single-handedly) the massive interactive novel that is Regency Love, I barely had the energy to eat and sleep properly, so concerned I was with getting the work done. Add to that a variety of health issues and some financial difficulties, and the daily photo sometimes seemed like a chore, an unnecessary burden.

I think I benefited the most from the project on those days, because no matter how hectic and awful things may have seemed, there was always something about which to be grateful. I don’t doubt there will be many more such days in the future, but I know I will find it less difficult to face them if I am determined to find something good, something worthwhile, something lovely.

And of course, it’s always a pleasure to look through my Instagram and see all the wonderful things that continue to make my life wonderful. To that end, I want to share with you some of my favourite moments over the past year-ish, along with their original captions and the dates/locations in parentheses. I tried to limit these to 20—and golly, was it tough!

(20 April 2014) Day 1: Playing cards with my family, and eating chips with chopsticks! #family #noms #happiness

(13 June 2014) Day 43: Aburi sushi heaven! #noms #dining #japanese #sushi #happiness #weekend (At Izakaya Goma, Sydney.)

(2 August 2014) Day 93: A late afternoon walk. #sydney #winter #sunset #beaches #nature #weekends #happiness (At La Perouse Beach, Sydney.)

(9 August 2014) Day 100: More Vienna Teng, this time in Canberra. Absolutely loved the show—we even had a post-concert gather-around-the-piano-and-sing-awesome-songs session! #viennateng #concerts #contemporary #music #happiness #weekends #canberra (At Southern Cross Club Woden, Canberra.)

(26 August 2014) Day 117: Tonight, it’s @OperaAustralia Don Giovanni. #opera #classical #mozart #sydney #sydneyoperahouse #sublime #dongiovanni

(7 September 2014) Day 128: A super sweet (and massive!) card from my Year 11 class–even though I only had them for four weeks! #cards #poetry #literature #teaching #thenextgeneration #doingsomethingright #warmandfuzzies

(18 September 2014) Day 140: Straight back into Evensong–it’s like I never left! #choir #singing #cathedrals #belfast #evensong (At St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.)

(24 September 2014) Day 146: Have the piano set up–I think I’m halfway through this moving/unpacking thing! #piano #music #moving #books #home #belfast

(29 October 2014) Day 180: So I dropped and broke the lid of one of my (two) saucepans, which was a little sad, but then I saw the way the glass had cracked, and oh, how beautiful! #glass #broken #beauty #samanthaisclumsy #unexpecteddelights

(15 November 2014) Day 198: This Thai red curry with butternut squash and cauliflower over quinoa was just…wow. #noms #foodporn #cooking #culinary #curry #butternutsquash #cauliflower #quinoa #coconut #vegan #weekends

(24 November 2014) Day 207: First chocolate waffle this time round, but certainly not the last. #belgium #antwerp #chocolate #waffles #holiday #europebigland #epicwin

(26 December 2014) Day 239: I could get used to this Northern Hemisphere (post-)Christmas. #fireplace #winter #christmas #holiday #books #lights #mmm

(18 January 2015) Day 262: Castle (King John’s), mountains, and water. Positively picturesque. #castles #mountains #nature #ireland #carlingford #weekends

(26 January 2015) Day 270: I’ve learnt how to join new yarn, and can now make a striped scarf. #hobbies #knitting #yarn

(14 February 2015) Day 288: Origami heart bookmarks for folks in the office, and anyone else I encountered today. (And I may have handed out chocolatey Valentine’s Day cookies, too…) #books #bookmarks #hearts #origami #literature #valentines

(21 March 2015) Day 324: Back at the Grand Opera House for Mozart’s delightful Figaro by Opera North. Had a fantastic (and decadent) evening, for which Herr Mozart deserves all the credit (and blame)! #opera #music #classicalmusic #mozart #figaro #grandoperahouse #belfast #weekends (At Grand Opera House, Belfast.)

(25 March 2015) Day 328: I am now citable. #shakespeare #renaissance #literature #phd #soundtrack #zeffirelli #academia #journal #peerreviewed #queensuniversity #citeme #geekery

(1 May 2015) Day 365: #Running on two hours—literally. I may fail at sleeping, but at least I win against the sun! Also a lovely way to wrap up the first year of my lifelong photo-a-day project. #jogging #exercise #sunrise #belfast #river #nature #northernireland #nofilter

If you have a smartphone and enjoy taking photos, I’d highly recommend taking on a project such as this. Yours doesn’t have to be a lifelong mission, nor a daily one—perhaps you could try the 100 days to start, or take a photo every week. Choose something that suits you, and take photos of what you find lovely and wonderful.


I have a dedicated Instagram account @lovelies8 for the project—please do follow me if you’re interested in my random shinies, and let me know your account so I can oooh and aaah over yours. My account is so named because I want to capture all the lovelies, and the 8 is supposed to be an infinity sign on its side—I do try! ;)

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