would you like to join me in vancouver in september?
Posted in behind the scenes, canada, pia's photos, stylists May 26th, 2011 by pia

Oh I’ve been dying to tell you this news for so long, and the moment has finally arrived. To say I’m excited, or ecstatic, or even ‘over the moon’ would all be understatements.

As most of you already know, I love Canada – I love the land, I adore the people, culture and history. So when Angela from Ace Camps asked if I’d like to lead a workshop and if so, where in the world would I like to be while leading this workshop, I said Vancouver…

This workshop will be about finding inspiration in the everyday through styling and photography, and I’ll be sharing with you how I go about my work and life, doing just that:

“The core of the workshop will be about enhancing your everyday; finding beauty in the ordinary; learning to see your surroundings in a new light and being uplifted by the simple things in life.”

You will not need the best or latest camera gear, instead I will teach you how to get the best out of what you have. We’ll be doing some mini photo shoots around the city at some amazing locations (including some of the local boutiques of course), and we’ll learn how to create beautiful images as well as get more out of our everyday. Ace Camps are workshop-holidays, so during the days together we will get a chance to roam the surrounding land on our own, perhaps head to Whistler for the day and get some mountain air…

…Then we’ll head to Granville Island, and check out the incredible farmers markets, artisan studios and Emily Carr Institute

We’ll wander, we’ll chat, and we’ll gather some of our found treasures and learn how to create some magical images…

Oh, this is going to be so. much. fun. I do hope you can join me! The workshop will be from September 22 – 27, and all the details including itinerary and travel information are right here. These are intimate workshops and places are limited, so please make sure you follow the steps and register as soon as possible if you would like to secure your place. Boy oh boy oh boy, I can’t believe I’ll be in Vancouver in less that 4 months time…

wandering around Yaletown, care to join me?

I took these photos on my old canon AE-1 film camera about 7 years ago while wandering around granville island, I love the softness of the light and that beautiful tree

Thank you Angela from Ace Camps for asking me to be one of your workshop instructors, it’s such a privilege to be part of an incredible bunch of creative people, all of whom I admire.


Workshop details:

+click here for trip details
+click here for itinerary
+click here for travel info + payment
+click here to register

+and click here to learn more about Ace Camps.

interior inspiration: canadian house & home…
Posted in canada, interiors September 6th, 2010 by pia

Canadian House & Home just published a gallery of my interior favourites on their lovely website. The gallery includes some of my favourite interior spaces, along with decorating tips for creating simple and sophisticated living rooms, bedrooms and more. There are lots of links to some of my favourite designers + photographers too. So if you’re in the mood for a hit of interior inspiration, be sure to check it out! And then be sure to peruse the other galleries and their online tv channel while you’re visiting, there’s a bundle of inspiration to be found with every click.

Thank you, Canadian House & Home.


little drifters…
Posted in canada, handmade, hunter gatherer, nature July 27th, 2010 by pia

So there is this guy, his name is Lenny, and amongst other things he loves to comb beaches. With his findings he makes the sweetest little boats…

…are they not the most fabulous things you’ve ever seen? Anyway, he inspired Jeff from booooooom to host a community event in Vancouver this past Saturday where anyone and everyone could come along with their box of found beach/forest treasures to  make little drifters and set them sail on Trout Lake Beach. The event was then featured in The Vancouver Sun

The little drifters featured here are all Lenny’s, but check out booooooom and The Vancouver Sun to see what everyone made on Saturday, they are all awesome.

I also thought this could be lovely inspiration for those of you participating in poppytalk’s collecting nature flickr pool. Wouldn’t this make a great project? I think I don’t even have to ask, or answer,  that question.

I have to do a summer clean up inside my houseboat this week because it’s just getting too cluttered, perhaps with my dried up flowers and collected bits of wood I can make some little drifters and send them off on the canal. If I do, I’ll take some photos to post here in the (blog)house – that idea is pretty much the only thing inspiring me to tidy and clean.


PS I had a really great weekend, I hope you did too. I’ll tell you about mine a little later, for now I’d just like to daydream some more about these little drifters.

PPS I found out all of the above from dear Erin at Design for Mankind. She always knows about the good stuff.

Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness: the last episode was awesome…
Posted in canada, nature, pia's photos November 30th, 2009 by pia


Last night was the final episode of Ray Mear’s Northern Wilderness. It was set on the west coast, around vancouver island and on the mainland. The scenery, as always, was breathtaking. Among other things Ray went berry picking, hand carved a lid for a cedar box, was taken to a sacred island to view an ancient totem pole, made a beautiful basket from the bark of a cedar tree,  stood underneath a cedar estimated to be around 2000 years old, and cooked halibut in little leaf parcels, in the sand, on the beach.

PJB_canada_mixA medley of photos from my times spent on the west coast of Canada. And yes, that’s me in the kayak, with short hair,  about 4 years ago. The sunset is on Chesterman’s beach, Tofino, and the sea lions and bald eagles (two bottom shots) are around nanoose bay.


In honor of Ray’s awesome series, I thought it would be nice to show some photos from my personal album from various trips to Canada. Although I lived on the east coast for a few years when I was younger, these shots above and below are from my west coast travels in more recent years.

PJB_whistler_1a peek through the mountain tops of whistler, on my way ziptrekking – an amazing experience.


There were no black bears on Ray’s series, but here is one I ‘met’ in the wild a few years back. He was on the search for salmon, and I was in a canoe, very calmly paddling first in his direction, until we spotted him, then casually out of the bay. We ended up about 10 meters from him, in water. And then later we crossed his path again on land, only 10 meters too. The land sighting was a little worrying, but he seemed quite nonchalant about the whole thing.


This is one of my favourite photos  – and favourite moments – ever. The water, as you can see was glistening, reflecting the light and creating a spectacular mirage-like effect over the ocean. We were out in a little dinghy when we came across this special place, aptly named “mistaken island”. I wanted to stay there forever.


And above is a little view while coming down from whistler and back into vancouver. It’s a magical place, don’t you think? If you haven’t been, I highly recommend you go sometime, and if you haven’t seen Ray’s show, you can watch the full series here if you live in the UK, or you can buy it here.

Thanks Ray! Can’t wait to see where you go, what you create, and what you cook up next.

inspiration: Ray Mears’ Northern Wilderness…
Posted in canada, nature, pia's photos October 30th, 2009 by pia


You all know how I feel about Canada, right?


You can imagine then, that I was a little bit giddy when I discovered that a new Ray Mears series called Northern Wilderness was starting last Sunday on the BBC, and it’s all about the vast Canadian wilderness. The first episode rocked – among other things Ray showed how to make a shelter from fallen branches, how the beavers make their incredible homes and why they are so integral, and the footage was just spectacular.

Coming episodes will be looking at the ways of the Inuit, and further exploring the forests by canoe and snowshoe. I can’t wait!

If you don’t know about Ray Mears, click here to find out more about him, he’s a pretty amazing guy whose life work is all about bushcraft and bush survival. One of his previous series which I now have on DVD is called Wild Food , taking viewers into various wilderness regions and teaching about various indigenous food and cooking techniques. It’s inspiring to say the very least, although it’s a sad reminder of how much knowledge we have lost.


The photos above are gathered from my personal album,  taken during my trips to the West Coast of Canada over the past few years. I hope to go back one day soon. For now, I will be content watching Ray’s journey through the northern wilderness every Sunday night. I hope you get to see it too.