"Taken in my kitchen, the room I'm always drawn to the most. There are old whitewashed beams, windows looking onto open green hills, and an AGA - an old-fashioned cast-iron range cooker - that's like the warm beating heart of our whole home. I have a desk upstairs, but most often I find myself working at the kitchen table, for the light, the warmth, and the way the ideas seem to flow. Plus also, I'm nearer to any cake."
Sara Tasker grew up in Manchester, England and had only ever lived a city life until she moved to the countryside last northern hemisphere summer. “It was a change driven by a lot of things, but mostly the need for space, physically and mentally,” she says. “All three of us needed to escape.” She chronicles her family life in the blog Me and Orla, and the Instagram account of the same name. “Photography has always been a hobby, something like a tangible form of daydreaming for me, and I never considered that it could be anything else,” Sara says. “Then I discovered Instagram, and everything grew - now suddenly it's a viable option, and I’m feeling unsure about how to bring it all together.”
Words were her first real love and she studied linguistics at university and worked in the field of speech and language therapy for a decade. “I’m passionate about people with learning disabilities and special needs - I've met so many amazing young people, and learned so much from them.” Since motherhood life has changed, though. “I feel like a line was drawn the day she came; before then, I saw the world in black and white. She came along and now it's in glorious, dazzling technicolour.” Now Sara says she is at a cross-roads of deciding between her work with children with special needs and taking a leap to follow different, older dreams.
1 As a child I used to wear... whatever my mother told me to wear. It was totally non-negotiable - one time I pleaded to wear a favourite dress, and she tore it to shreds. It continued right into my early teens, and I found it suffocating.
2 My bedroom was... inhabited by little people who would come out of the skirting boards at night in their cars. I didn’t make it up; I definitely remember seeing him!
3 When I was a teenager I used to... spend all of my available time overthinking and analysing. It’s a brilliant skill, but also paralsying - if we could read minds, I think we’d probably never leave the house.
4 After high school I wanted to be... a writer. I just assumed this would happen; I'd raised myself on Enid Blyton books where every girl has a talent that turns into a career. I never really thought about the “how”.
5 A seminal moment was... meeting my other half, Rory. I don’t believe that anyone requires a partner to complete them, but when we sat down together on our first date, I felt so many things fall into place. I picture him as the stake supporting little sapling-tree-me - the roots are still mine, and they’re growing stronger, but he helps me stay upright when the strong winds blow.
6 I never thought I would... be breastfeeding and co-sleeping with a toddler! She’s decided how she wants to be parented, and I’m just following her lead and learning as I go.
7 I’ve learnt to... sit on the fence a bit more and not see the world so black and white. Or I’m trying, at least.
8 I know... all the words to every Tori Amos song ever written. Why aren’t we best friends already?
9 I share because... I love feeling connected. It has been so healing and inspiring to discover other people all over the world with the same values and ideals, seeing things the same way. I spent such a long time feeling strange and isolated when I was younger; through sharing online, I’ve found my “tribe”.
10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would... As much as I’d love to give a glamourous answer like “read in the bath with a margarita”, in truth, I’d probably just sleep. Go back to bed, let the sun stream in, listen to the birdsong and dream. What could be better?
image courtesy of sara tasker