By - December 5, 2007 (Updated: November 28, 2014)


It’s been rather crazy here at Casa Cornford-Matheson since we returned form Pau. Since our guests left I’ve been trying to regain control of my time. I remember when we first moved here, I wondered how I was going to fill my days, since I’m not allowed to have a Belgian job. Now, three years later, I feel like I can’t stay on top of everything I have to do.

There are websites to maintain; articles to write for other peoples’ websites; photos to shoot, edit and upload; photography products to sell; not to mention the occasional cleaning of the house and feeding of my husband. The truth is I work harder and longer, working for myself, than I ever did outside the home.

I love what I do now (but ok, let’s face it, the pay stinks at the moment) but I’m starting to feel spread a bit too thin. There are so many things I want to do to promote my photography that I feel I can’t focus on any one thing without the others falling to the wayside.

Given my perfectionist tendencies (see the post below) editing over 600 images from our week in Pau at my current rate would have me finished sometime in February… that’s if I ignored everything else I should be doing.


This would be particularly bad given the interesting turn of events from our visit. (Yes, writing the blog about Pau is one of those things that fell by the wayside… so I’ll give you the highlights) One of the reasons I wanted to go back to Pau in the autumn, was to photograph the grape harvest. It was a project I’ve been interested in for a while now and I felt I could make some great stock images from it. So Cedric set me up with his neighbour who gave me free rein to wander through his vines and harass his staff as they picked (honestly I think they hardly noticed I was there, after the first few minutes). It was a great shoot (and I promise I’ll write more about it and show you some photos) and the vineyard owner asked if he could have a few photos for his website. I found this more than fair since I will (hopefully anyway) be making money from the photos of his vines.

The second interesting photography opportunity was right at La Bejamine itself. Dawn has an adorable little shop in one room of the house where she sells new and antique home décor, all chosen in her own lovely style. Seeing more stock photo potential, I asked if I could photograph her shop in return for some prints to which she wholeheartedly agreed.

So although there was no date set for when I would be getting the photos back to Pau, I now have a deadline of Christmastime for another job related reason. We’re going back to Pau for a gastronomic week, New Years celebration, which I have been asked to photograph. Woo! It wasn’t exactly a job I could turn down.


So, with the holidays quickly arriving and our party planned for this weekend, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Last weekend I decided I needed a manager. Luckily for me, I happen to live with one.

Andrew decided (and I agreed) that my former photo editing workflow wasn’t allowing me to keep up with all of my new digital images. So he’s set me to a new schedule. It looks good on paper, but I’m still a bit worried. Tomorrow I loose a day because I have to go to the city for party supplies and to visit the Christmas market with Kara (definitely not a bad way to loose a day of work). Friday I’ll be getting groceries and cleaning for the party, so I expect most of that day to be lost as well. Next week it will be nose to the grindstone time, or my manager will be cracking the whip.

I still go through bad days where I feel like I will never get ahead; when it seems like only those with connections make it in this industry. But I try not to let those days become to frequent. Mostly, I am excited about the prospects on the horizon. There are a few things in the works that I will tell you about as soon as they are official.

Meanwhile I ask for a bit of patience with CheeseWeb. Now that it’s mostly updated (I still have a long way to go in the Photography section) I’ll probably be a bit quiet here for the next little while. Hang in there, and hopefully I’ll be on track with my new schedule in the New Year.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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