Who are you?
I’m Jen Chillingsworth, a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. I’m 42 years old, married with one son who will be thirteen in a few weeks time. Eek, where has the time gone?
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Glasgow, but met and married a Yorkshireman, so I relocated to Leeds in 1996. I used to holiday in Yorkshire as a child and once declared to my Granny that I would move to the county when I grew up. I guess I knew even then that I loved it here!
What do we need to know about you?
I started blogging six years ago when my son was in primary school and my husband and I were juggling childcare with work. We didn’t go out much and weekends became about housework, grocery shopping and getting ready for the week ahead. The blog was my creative outlet, I mostly did posts about interiors – writing about beautiful homes was my escape from the daily grind. But after a while I found myself starting to tire of writing these, other bloggers were posting the same homes and finds and doing it much better than I ever could. I simply wasn’t inspired anymore.
I purchased a second hand DSLR camera from Ebay and I became focused on learning how to use it. I didn’t have a clue at first and I messed up shots all the time, but it made me look at things in a very different way. It encouraged me to get outside more, to see my own neighbourhood with fresh eyes and motivated me to get better at taking pictures. It also lead me to exploring this county more, from its stunning coastline, the wilds of the moors to the sheer beauty of the Dales. I truthfully don’t think this would have happened if I hadn’t started blogging. Now I’m always planning my next Yorkshire adventure and thinking about what I’m going to be taking pictures of. I share my favourite places on the blog and I also write for This is Your Kingdom.
Blogging has given me great opportunities to meet and connect with other like-minded souls. This has led to some exciting future collaborations and together several of us in Yorkshire and the North have formed Gather. Harvest. Feast. – a project that celebrates the seasons through nature, food and flowers. We’re organising workshops in foraging, natural skincare and floristry as well as a flower pot luck gathering in the summer at a North East flower farm. It’s brought together bloggers and small, independent businesses who want to positively support one another and showcase the beauty of our part of the country.
Where can we find you?
What is your favourite thing to do as a family?
We love camping trips. There is nothing better than going to sleep at night under the stars and waking up to birdsong in the morning. And if it’s at the coast, well that makes it perfect. We all seem to relax and enjoy our time together more when we are away from the pressures of daily life.
Top Mama tip?
As I love being behind the camera I thought I’d share a Mama photography tip. My son never liked having his photograph taken, so it’s all about snapping images of him when he wasn’t watching. Many of my favourite photographs are moments where he’s so enjoying something and I’ve managed to capture that through the lens. The look on his face transports me instantly back to that time. If he’d been asked to pose, those images would be totally different. If you want a natural image of your child, the key is a sneaky shot!
Your Mama confession?
I was always the Mama who was never prepared. I didn’t ever have wet wipes or tissues in my bag or a change of clothing in the back of the car in case of getting muddy or wet. It was always a dash to a shop to buy something in an emergency situation or borrow something off a friend. Shameful, I know!
Jen will be coming in to speak at Mama Social on Friday 29th April 10:30 at The Showroom, she has also written a blog post about being ask to join us which you can read here