A little kindness at Christmas

How on earth is Christmas only 4 weeks away!

Every year I say this!

“It feels like Christmas was only a few weeks ago, now it’s here again!”

I suppose it doesn’t help that in the UK Christmas cards and decorations come out in shops in September!!

Now I’m actually breaking a little rule here talking about Christmas. In my family we don’t start Christmas themes, events or decorating till the 5th of December. Our son’s birthday is the 1st of December. So he will always feel like his birthday will be celebrated without Christmas being splashed around it we put up decorations on the 5th (6th this year as his birthday party is on the 5th). Like any normal birthday we celebrate for a good week, right? Cards stay up for at least 2 – 3 weeks, that’s normal for everyone!

But back to a bit of sneaky Christmas talk as not everyone starts a bit later like us.

Obviously I am thinking about gifts.

I have always believed photographs are a gift.

I have worked in the photography industry for about 8 years now, first in studios.
I will always be thankful for that experience, I gained so much confidence and I learnt a lot.

The main thing I learnt and discovered was I was not happy being a studio photographer.

Photographs are precious. They are timeless.

Seeing couples sit and struggle over choosing one photo or having to discard so many milestone images of their precious children really tore my heart.

I couldn’t bear it.

As some of the studios were not completely up to date with technology, the purchase of every image on disc or USB was nearly impossible financially.

So many broken-hearted families left those studios and I felt helpless and like a thief.

Now I don’t want to give any wrong impressions about studio photographers. The image quality is always outstanding, the shots taken were beautiful and fun, the printing options were almost endless. The prices were high but that was expected, that is how they keep running and keep upgrading. They are in business after all.

For me, it was personal choice and feelings.

I didn’t feel right charging those prices, I felt so helpless sitting and telling a mother in love with the images I just took of her precious baby that they were going to cost hundreds.
And she could only realistically afford to buy one or two.
Then the struggle and fighting of tears to choose.

It was then I chose to start my own business. To choose prices I thought were realistic. Packages to include a multiple of options.
While still having a fun, beautiful and happy photo shoot of their baby, family, dog, fiance, grandparents and so on.

To me the images I give are gifts. They are my art. Not something to be used or held hostage.

I like to spoil my clients.

I don’t feel Christmas is a time to make you feel like you have to spend everything to have some memories to share with loved ones.

I don’t feel there is any time to do that really.

I believe in kindness. One kind thing I can do is make a christmas wish of being able to have a beautiful shoot of your loved one or loved ones.

I can spend the right amount of time with you to capture a truly natural and happy experience. Without telling you your session will be costing hundreds and hundreds.

How about an online gallery to go with it? Do you like being on social media and sharing photos on there? Easy! View and download the images from the gallery app right onto your phone and you can upload onto everything – just do me a favour and don’t edit with really out there filters, I spend hours editing each image so it looks perfect for you!

Do you want to give family some prints for Christmas? Easy too, you can click and order right from the app!

Your photos are exactly that, yours!

Christmas is about kindness and giving. Making sure people know they are loved.

I can tell you from my personal experience that nothing feels more special than having a family session. I look at our photos over and over again. So stress free, just having fun together! We barely noticed the camera. Now we have those memories of us all together to cherish (without it being a selfie). Also all the grandparents just love them!
You can view my family session here, by Dinky Heart Photography.

To talk to me about a family shoot or to organise a voucher for someone you know who would love their own photography session, head over here to my contacts page!
Only 4 weeks till christmas!!!

Happy Holidays!

Suzy xx

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Phoebe, from Birth to Birthday!

Photographing babies and children has been a big love of mine for many years, almost an obsession. I am so engrossed in those big curious eyes observing the world around them, tiny hands exploring new textures, that first coo, babble or word! My hands immediately twitch for my camera.

Capturing them as they are.

Documenting life with your new love. Letting them show off new things they have learnt and shine through their personality.

So the past year it has been my honour to document this gorgeous little lady’s milestones.

Meet Phoebe!

I have photographed her since she was a few weeks old, a tiny bundle of beauty. Those gorgeous tiny fingers and toes! Her Mum and Dad completely captivated by her.

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When Phoebe was 6 months old it was Christmas!  So we thought including some of her first Christmas surroundings would go perfectly with her next shoot. There really is nothing like beautiful twinkling christmas lights and cuddles with Mum and Dad.

How quickly time goes! Phoebe was now fast moving, observant of everything and so funny!

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All of a sudden Phoebe was turning one!
Her mother Lucy, wanted Phoebes birthday to be caprtured in some way. Not the usual cake smash or party. So we had a brain storm and came up with a garden shoot (In Nanas garden) with bunting and birthday paper. Phoebe could explore, show off everything she’s learnt and just be herself.

Phoebe was perfect on the day of the shoot. So happy and a complete ray of sunshine.  All smiles and gorgeous laughter. The images of Lucy and Phoebe together were so natural in the story of mother and daughter.

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My time photographing Phoebe was an absolute delight. She was so relaxed around the me and my camera. By the time we got to her birthday she was so used to me she barely noticed I was there.

Lucy and Gareth were thrilled with Phoebes first year being captured,
“I want to cry! They are so amazing Suzy. I can’t thank you enough!! I love them xx” – Lucy.
To book your first year progression package, capturing your little one from birth to birthday            click here.
 
 Suzy xx

Mothers – How to get everyone, and yourself ready for a family shoot.

Yesterday I did not use my camera!! I have to say I had itchy fingers all day! Why? Because I practised what I preach and had a family photo session with my nearly husband and son Max.

The shoot was so much fun with the lovely Lianne from Dinky Heart Photography.
When speaking to Lianne about the shoot we wanted a location that was different but fun for all of us, so we chose Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The park has so much to offer for a family day out but also a photo session. We hardly noticed we were having photos taken. Alan was running round like a kid at christmas…. so was Max.

Over all our time at the park was amazing!

The morning however…….

As any Mother will know, getting ready is a pain in the bum!

For any normal day it is difficult enough, even just to go to the shop is a mission. Michael McIntyre’s skit about people who don’t and do have children springs to mind every time,

People who don’t have children “Shall we leave the house?”
“Yes”, opens door and leaves house.

People who do have children “Shall we leave the house?”
“where are your shoes? Why don’t you have pants on? That is your lunch for later! Come on we’re leaving, bye bye bye!”
Leaves house an hour later.

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So my morning yesterday was a bit like the later.

Thinking I had everything planned out; shower, packing food, outfits, shoes, hair etc

But nope nothing works out according to plan.

Nearly husband and I got a sleep in, this started out ok as the shoot wasn’t till the afternoon.
The trouble was trying to organise tidying my eyebrows, a shower for myself, drying my hair and Max’s nap time at the same time!

This does not work.

I got out of the shower late (5 minutes to yourself turns into 10), my hair took longer than normal to dry (as always when you need to be quick). Max refused to sleep on time but then woke up after half an hour while I was attempting my makeup. He refused to go back to sleep so I had a sleepy koala bear baby hugging into me while doing the rest of my makeup one handed. Thankfully I decided to put my nice clean dress on while he was sleeping.

The rest of the getting ready events were pretty much the same.

Max was grumpy after not napping for long enough and wanting to be carried round with me. Finding colour coordinating outfits that are clean and not completely crinkled. Packing lunch and snacks for Max then realising some had run out. Trying to make up an emergency bottle without Max seeing it (stuffing it under my dress then shoving it in the baby bag). Max has now emptied my wallet twice and I’m trying to find my bank card and receipts. Keeping grubby fingers off my nice clean (for once) clothes and packing Max’s clean clothes into the bag for later, this worked!

Looking in the mirror on the way out and thinking ‘this will have to do’.

We were actually on time stepping out of the door, but still hadn’t packed up the car…..

And still had to rush to the shop.

So I’m on my way to a lovely family session feeling quite stressed out. I also forgot my second outfit.

It doesn’t seem like a lot to organise but as any Mum will know trying to juggle so many things at once while keeping your child happy while trying to stick to a time frame gets you quite flustered.

While chatting to Lianne in the car about writing this post I thought I could have made this so much easier on myself!

Lets face it, when your a Mum things never go to plan.

You just have to roll with it.

A lot of the time I walk out of the house with scruffy denim cut off shorts on, a top with baby finger marks all over it and am rocking a mummy bun (a twisted bun that sits on the top of your head because you haven’t washed your hair in 2 or 3 days).

But sometimes you do want to be clean and look nice. Have some gorgeous family photos to treasure. As a photographer I am hardly ever in front of the camera. I love my job and being able to capture life happening around me. But it is nice to have someone capture me to prove my existence.

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So my tips for being able to get yourself and the rest of the family ready and be out the door and in the car on time!

1. Have a shower and wash and dry your hair the night before.

2. Have outfits selected, clean, ironed and hug up the day before. Look on Pinterest for outfit ideas!

3. Pack lunch/snacks while making breakfast.
extra tip – pack lots of treats that will instantly make your child as happy as a Mum who’s baby naps for 2 hours.

4. Pick up any extra snacks or treats from the shop the day before.

5. Put baby/child down for a nap 20 minutes early so if they refuse to drift off  for 20 minutes at least they are going to sleep on time (or they might surprise you and doze off early).

6. Do hair and make up as soon as your child is asleep.

7. If Dad is home get him to pack the car some time during the morning or nap time.

8. Have the post code/ directions ready the night before.

9. Put an ‘allowed to get dirty’ outfit on your child on the way to the shoot and get them changed into their nice clothes when you arrive.

10. Pack your second outfit in the baby bag the night before.

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These tips may seem so simple and obvious but they will surely save me some unnecessary stress and give me and hopefully you more time to properly get yourself ready for your family photo session. Not to show up feeling half dressed with one leg shaved and food in your hair 😉

As Mums we are all special and you deserve to feel that way in your family photos. If not for your memories then for your children’s.

To book your family session with me click here.

Suzy

xxx

Celebration Carrot Cake!

Horray it’s launch day!

What better way to celebrate than to make a cake! 

I made this carrot cake for my baby gender reveal (a boy), for my youngest nieces 2nd birthday and my sister made carrot cupcakes for my baby shower.

Safe to say it is a very popular cake!!

What you will need;

An oven (obviously) pre heated to 170C
A whisk
Wooden spoon
Electric mixer – or if your old school like me a really good mixing bowl!
Teaspoon
Scales (or a measurement converter – google)
Grater
2 or 3 round cake tins

Ingredients:

3 eggs
300ml oil (sunflower, vegetable)

280g soft brown sugar (I use light)
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of cinnamon
300g carrots (grated up) 

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So how do we get this started?

Get your big bowl (I prefer Jamie Olivers big blue mixing bowl with the flat side, great for a good whisk up! get one here) or get your electric mixer.
If your doing it old school whisk up the brown sugar before putting it in the bowl so it breaks down any lumps. Add the eggs (no egg shell – go on pick them out!) and oil and give it a good mix until smooth.
Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and vanilla essence then mix. Put in the flour slowly till smooth.
Finally put in the grated carrot and fold (fold mixture over and over) till all the carrot is mixed in.
Grease the cake tins and then pour in the sticky mixture!

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If you’re like my sister then lick the bowl, saves on dishes?

Pop in the oven for about 25 minutes (check after 20 minutes). Once it is all spongey in the middle and not gooey it’s ready!

Use a butter knife and run it round the edges of the cake to separate from the cake tin. Turn the tin upside down on a plate or cake board (chopping board with glad wrap/cling film). Leave to cool and then ice with yummy cream cheese icing!!

 

 

Icing

300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter (soft, so leave it out of the fridge)
120g cream cheese

If you have a blender or electric mixer put the butter and icing sugar in and mix till smooth then add the cream cheese.

If your blender has broken – like mine, then mix the butter the cream cheese until thick. Then add little bits of icing sugar at a time till all smooth and sticky.

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Decorate how ever you want! Flags are fun! Icing kit is fun (mine is broken……….I really need to upgrade my kitchen wear!)

Enjoy for launch day!!!!

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The Wedding of Victoria and Martin – Bampton , UK

Victoria and Martins wedding was bursting of family love. I cannot begin to describe how much fun it was to capture this day! Everything unfolded so perfectly!
Starting at the salon with Victoria, her one bridesmaid and sister Julia-Rose (and side-kick bump), their gorgeous mother and both grandmothers!

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When I went out to photograph the boys getting ready…we ended up down at the pub!

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The tables centrepieces were a collection of mismatched vintage tea cups, vases and jugs with bursts of bright fabulous flowers.

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The rest of the morning was so lovely and relaxed

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Cotswold Plough Hotel was such a pretty setting for such a gorgeous laid back wedding.

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Their adorable son Charlie really stole the show with his cheeky smile!

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Everything about this wedding was just so happy and vibrant.

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I was so happy to be part of such a magical day. Everyone was such a joy to work with.