Welcome to the HR blog. I'm a Sydney photographer, podcaster and brand strategist from the Northern Beaches and I'm so glad you're here! Feel free to grab yourself a peppermint tea - my drink of choice! - and enjoy viewing my latest work, browsing our brand and portrait resources, and getting a little peek into my life!

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March 28, 2018

Life after London update

Well, I want to share a little personal update since so much has been going on lately!

In January, I moved home to Australia. Originally I was only booked for a 6-week holiday as I hadn’t been home in nearly 3 years, however, a few things changed that sparked my decision to move home for good instead.

It was mostly the result of the end of my relationship with Will. We ended amicably, however we were simply moving in different directions with our lives and had become more like friends. I was starting to feel homesick and am at a stage where I want to start settling down in life, and Will’s plans don’t match up with that. Out of respect to Will – who doesn’t need details of his private life discussed on the internet – I’ll leave it at that.

As you can imagine, I’ve been through an array of emotions throughout the process, however, I do feel that it was the right decision for us both. While I still feel sad thinking of Will’s family and all the amazing people in their lives who were also like family to me, overall I feel a sense of optimism and excitement about the future and what it might hold. I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason, so even though we didn’t turn out to be each other’s ‘forever’, we had so much fun and experienced so much in our seven years together. I know we served a purpose in each other’s life and I hope he feels the same way.

 


 

People have often asked me if I miss London, and was I ready to come home? The answer is yes and no – to both. I had to leave the UK because I was on a spousal visa. However, I was very much okay with it and felt ready to move home. I definitely miss my friends; I made some amazing friends over there and there were a few new friendships developing recently that I’m very sad to have moved away from.

I also had to leave an amazing opportunity with a very talented, generous and kind photographer named Giacomo. I was a few months into working with him and saw him as a trusted mentor. Continuing to work with him would have been an incredible career opportunity and I was very sad to have to leave that. Luckily many friends in the UK are Australian and will be home eventually, however, I made friends who are Italian, Greek, Swiss, French, English and Mexican who all won’t be moving to Australia any time soon, so I have lots of overseas trips to look forward to when catching up with them in the future!

I don’t miss where I was living (Dalston) in London. It was fun for the first little while, but it was so concrete-y and busy that I often felt wired 24/7. It just wasn’t ‘me’. If I’d stayed longer I would have like to move to a quieter, leafier area or outside of London altogether. It’s nice to be back home with the beach at the doorstep and lots of bushland around!

 


 

London is a city full of life and character. I like to think of the city as a ‘him’ – specifically, a happy, batt’ling geezer. Londoners have an odd sense of pride for their city like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I love it. It’s crazy. It’s the epicentre of the world. You couldn’t get a more incredibly diverse group of people together if you tried and the result is a human-powered electric energy that illuminates the entire city.

On a day-to-day level, everyone avoids eye-contact with each other, rushes past and bumps into bulldozes each other and, frankly, can be so rude to each other if you catch them in a bad moment! But that’s just surface level, and when you dig a little deeper you discover that Londoners are some of the kindest, most fascinating and fun people in the world. And weirdly, that sense of busyness and love for the crazy lifestyle and sociability is a common uniting, pride-wielding thread that brings everyone together as ‘Londoners’. I miss that feeling of being in the midst of something chaotic, unique and special.

My friend Alex called London ‘Neverland’ the other day – where you go to live an extended youth – and I agree that that’s what my experience was like. It’s not a bad thing in any way, however, in the back of my mind was always the fact that I have a business and was always going to have to start over whenever I moved home, so I was living a bit of a limbo life in what felt like my Neverland. While I probably could have lived up to another year or so in London and still loved it, it does feel like a sigh of relief to be home in the sense that I can truly focus on my business with the support of my family around me!

 


 

A few weeks after I moved home, mum and I went to see the film ‘Finding Your Feet’ at the cinema, which is set in London. I felt a swell of nostalgia whilst watching it, recognising so much more about the places, the people and the culture than I would have done before I moved there. I especially felt strange watching the final scene where the main character is running along Regent’s Canal at Angel, which is right near where we lived during our first year in London. I’ll always think happy thoughts when I look back at my time in London and all the incredible experiences I had and the friends I met: Lots of fellow Australians (who I’ll thankfully be able to reconnect with closer to home when they all eventually move back!), my Italian flatmates and all their friends who also became my friends, friends from Switzerland, Mexico, Paris, Scotland, the South of France and of course England. There are memories from this time that will last a lifetime, and I look forward to all my International friends visiting at different points over the years, as well as being able to visit them when I eventually go back to Europe for holidays in the future.

 


 

Being home has given me a new appreciation for the Australian lifestyle that I took for granted before. I love how relaxed and laid-back it is here. I love that Sydney is a harbour city and that I live near the beach. I love going for my morning beach walks – and I now realise how much I rely on them for my happiness! I love that it’s sunny 95% of the time and I’ve even come to love Summer (crazy, I know!). I love that I have so many family and friends nearby who all have my back, and who through their support have reminded me how precious and special that is. And I love being able to spend time with my parents and my sister (and my brother, when he comes to Sydney to visit!)

The business has taken me by surprise since I arrived home in terms of the number of amazing clients who’ve booked portraits, other photoshoots (weddings, engagements, parties etc) and brand consulting. I wasn’t expecting to have as much work as I have so soon and I’m so grateful to my clients for enabling me to keep doing what I love! I’m very open to getting a part-time job if need be at any point – I’ll be particularly interested to see what it’s like over Winter here and I’ll just see where it takes me as the weather starts to cool down.

Photography jobs have been referred to me by people I know, and I’m so grateful to them. If you’re reading this and know of anyone looking for a personal branding photographer (or weddings, family, maternity and events!), please keep me in mind! The support means everything. In all honesty, I’m a little nervous that it WILL dry up in Winter because I just love what I do so much and want to be out with my camera at least once a week if not more. However, while Winter is still a great time for portraits (esp. in Australia with our ample sun!), from my experience in London I know it’s not always the most POPULAR time to book a portrait session! I’m curious to see if it will be the same – it’s definitely not as dark and gloomy here. I’ve been working my bum off to make it work, so at least I know I’m giving it my all and regardless, photography and my camera aren’t going anywhere 🙂

So really, it’s the end of one big chapter and the beginning of another. I’m scared, excited and everything in between but overall I just feel an overwhelming sense of optimism and possibility about a very bright future!

Hayley xx

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  1. Alessia

    March 28th, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Wow so nice to read your update and see all the beautiful things you’re doing and the sun and sea as well ! Europe will always be here for you when it’s time 🙂 xx

  2. Hayley Richardson

    March 29th, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks Alessia, yes I have no doubt I’ll be back in Europe one day! In the meantime looking forward to seeing you when you get the chance to visit us in Aus! 😉

  3. Lauren Armes

    May 2nd, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    We miss you Hayley. Such a nice reflection on your time here though. x

  4. Hayley Richardson

    May 3rd, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Miss you too Lauren! Happy 5-year London-versary! I’m so glad London brought us together 🙂 Hopefully see you next time you’re in Aus if you come visit Sydney! xxx

  5. Kristina

    May 4th, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Hayley! Congrats on your evolution. Change is hard, but you are handling with grace. Your Instagram guidance is still paying off 🙂 Much love to you.

  6. Hayley Richardson

    May 7th, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Aww thanks Kristina! How are you? You’re right, change is hard, but only good things have come from it so it’s also for the best! So glad the Instagram course is still helping!!! Lots of love 🙂 xx

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