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It was not many moons ago after college that I followed a desire to work in hotels around the world in guest relations management.   I adored it and after two years working in London I flew the nest and discovered the joys of working abroad:  I was lucky in this profession to be based in Canada, Ibiza, Israel and enjoyed many years working in guest relations resolving the most complext of problems for guests and creating an atmosphere to make them want to stay in our hotels forever. It was many years later back in London that I met my husband which was quickly followed by the world of pregnancy and babies .  I had left it late and so was lucky to be gifted with two daughters.  Life was busy and along with two stepchildren we settled in south west London.   I left the corporate world behind and stayed home  to look after my daughters

After five years of home I started to search for a new direction.   Like looking at a blank sheet of paper with no words and a realisation that you need to start writing a new chapter.   I had long dreamt of a move to France.  It was sitting in the back of my mind but I had no idea how to make it happen.  A chance article in a magazine about a beautiful little village near the sea and mountains sent us to visit and there in the local cafe a seed was planted.  A year later and we were back in Aix en Provence visiting in a tiny international school.   Three months later we moved there for a year at least….. to explore and fulfil a dream.   It was a wonderful year in so many ways; it wasn’t easy and the children took time to adjust but like any rollercoaster ride there are the highs and the lows..  I started to write a blog www.mydreamyprovence.com which was so fulfilling.   I even started to get lots of followers and calls from people wanting to move to Provence.  My husband had bought me a camera so I dropped the kids at school and spent those free hours photographing French life.   At the very least I would document their time there.  It led to a passion for photography that I didn’t expect and on our return to London I signed up to study it.    Was it a great idea to go?   Absolutely!   I think about the ups and downs at first with the girls and sometimes I think I messed up their education for stepping off the wheel even for a short time but the other day my eldest said to me… Mum Provence was the best year of my life. Boy there was a little tear in my eye!

As I look at this image I’m amazed how I arrived so quickly at being a mum of two teenage daughters.   Do I feel older or does this make me feel younger?  Probably both but I certainly prefer wiser instead of older.  I call my girls ‘the whirls’ as they are constantly whirling around and my brain is doing the same.  My favourite fairground ride as a child was the Waltser and funnily enough I site motherhood as that ride.  Always spinning fairly fast and sometimes out of control until you feel sick and have to stop. This is one of my favourite images of my whirls; two teenagers defiant in different ways and not impressed with me taking the shot.  I’m not entirely sure how they felt about me blogging or studying photography and building a new business so in the end I hope they see that following a passion and being brave to try is a big life lesson.  After all I’m just another Mum answering questions like “Can you make me a hot chocolate! and The WIFI is off and Leave me alone but that’s OK as I know that I’m not alone.

Apart from photography and flowers and beautiful light and of course food I adore travel.  I don’t like flying but I’m still determined to go and have been most places.  My greatest joy is finding the secret and imaginative places to stay and I’ve certainly spent a great deal of time sourcing the best little places around the world……and telling people about them.  I have been to a few but I have so many more to explore.  My favourite magazine is Conde Naste Traveller and my dream would be to work for them… My favourite city is Paris; best beach is Pink Sands, Bahamas and the place I want to go most at the moment is Finland.  My favourite intimate family resort is Ekies, Halkidiki and I love the pretty Ile de Re in France.

I NEVER PLANNED TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER AND IT NEVER STOPS AMAZING ME THAT EVENTUALLY LIFE LEADS YOU TO WHO YOU ARE MEANT TO BE AND WHERE YOU ARE MEANT TO FOCUS YOUR TIME

JILLY COWDRY

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