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March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.
It's hard to believe that we photographed in the exact spot in the Surrey North Downs only a few weeks ago in the snow. And look at it now. Instead of white snow, it is raining the most beautiful spring petals. So grateful that spring has finally arrived and we can venture outdoors again to create beautiful family portraits that are totally unposed.
If you are looking for a Surrey family photographer to document your days just as they are, I would love to hear from you. I love nothing better than creating beautiful, timeless family portraits. I service most areas in London, Surrey and surrounding counties. Spring sessions are fully booked and Summer 2018 is filling up quickly. xx
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~ Charles M. Schulz
Our puppy is growing fast. Every day she is bigger, calmer, and more house trained. Just like a newborn, she was little for such a short period of time, that I can hardly remember it. Good thing that despite all the chaos of those early days that I managed to squeeze in a few photos to remember it!
The light on this particular afternoon was flat, overcast and grey which is not my favourite light to work with. However this light can be used to create moody, interesting images, and I think they tell a story that is worth telling, and remembering: the afternoons of slow ramblings on the Surrey Hills with my small people.
If you would like some relaxed, natural, unposed family portraits in time for Christmas, do get in touch soon. Bookings for 2017 are almost fully booked with just a few spaces left.
I love making memories for people. I’ve said it before, and I feel strongly that we need to record our time together. Not just the big events, but the little quiet everyday moments too. So when someone makes something unique for me that made of memories, I get a little emotional.
For a long, long time I have been looking for someone to make a quilt out of all my daughters beautiful baby clothes. (Let's just say I can’t sew to save my life) Finally I found a lovely local dressmaker from Cuddles Botique who was brave enough and willing to take on the challenge. And a few weeks later this beautiful quilt arrived just in time for my daughters 8th birthday. It was everything I wished for. Each item of clothing used in the quilt has a distinct memory for me. T-shirts remind me of chubby little arms, tiny hands and her delicious baby scent. It also brings back the frustrations, and the intense tiredness of those early days, but overwhelmingly each item was chosen with love and is filled with memories.
My first pregnancy was tinged with a little sadness as my mother was not well enough to be with me as she is in the later stages of Alzheimers. I missed sharing this new journey into motherhood with her. One thing my mother and I did together when I grew up was shop. It may sound frivolous, but shopping was our means of communicating, our little ritual. She was the perfect shopping partner: patient, kind, quiet and with the most amazing, cultivated and interesting taste in just about everything.
Thanks to the baby’s position I did not know the sex of my first baby until just before my due date. This baby pushed, wriggled and kicked so hard throughout those 42 weeks (yes a whole, long 42 weeks, but that's another story), that I was certain it was a boy. Secretly, oh so secretly, I wished quietly for a little girl, but mentally I prepared myself for the arrival of a boisterous, bouncy baby boy. During one of my very last scans in the final weeks I found out that the little football kicker in my womb was in fact, a girl. I was so excited I went straight from Kingston Hospital to John Lewis and bought an armful of beautiful dresses.
While I was shopping for those dresses, it was more than just shopping. It was my way of connecting to my mother who could not be with me. I’m so glad that I can preserve the fabric to remind me of that day. Hopefully the quilt will last long enough for my daughter to pass it on to her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter. It is a love song as much to my mother as it is to my daughter. I know she would be so proud of my amazing little girl. It is a memory that connects and binds us three together.
I like to document ordinary everyday things. The little things I want to remember. Like the way the light falls just before bed time. The ritual of brushing and drying my daughters hair, listening to her as she chats away. I may not like my house, with it’s pokey, nasty English windows, I resent the lack of a proper golden hour thanks to high trees blocking the light. It's no secret that I loath my curtains and decor, and my hair is a mess. But you know what, none of that matters. None of it is important for what I will remember is this moment. This time that we shared. The stillness at the end of the day.
If you would like to document similar moments in your everyday life, I’d love to hear from you.
"I'll wait for you under the bluebells. I'll be there always." Kim Harrison
It's hard not to be happy when you are surrounded by this intense beauty. All on my doorstep too. I may moan about the English weather being an antipodean, but then there is nothing quite like the ancient magic of an English spring.
It's taken a little while but I'm so pleased to finally put together some images from this photo shoot where I met with my most favourite teacher for the first time in well over 30 years. We met her wonderful family on a cool autumn morning in the woods, while my children and her grandchildren played and foraged in the forest. It was so good to catchup with this special teacher from my childhood that I was very lucky to have. She has the rare ability to make everyone in her class feel special and valued. For me the year spent in her class was a refuge from what was a dreary, dull and mostly unhappy school career. It is no surprise that she has kept in contact with so many of her past students. Meeting her now as a mother I am amazed at how she appeared to effortlessly raise 3 boys and teach us all at the same time. It's funny how your perspective on life changes through your experience of it.
My children came along that morning. As one of her grandchildren is very camera shy, the plan was to distract them and it worked. They didn't bat an eyelid at the crazy lady with the big camera. I was secretly very proud of my daughter, as she played with the two younger children. Almost without asking she knew where the best patches of light were and directed their games towards them. It was a wonderful feeling to have my firstborn with me on a shoot as a secret ally. I couldn't help but feel immensely proud of my little photographer’s daughter. I should bring her along to my shoots more often. The only difficulty came later when I needed to edit my two children out of the family portraits!
If you are a new Mum, or have just moved to Surrey then this might come in handy. If you have been here a few years like me then you’ll know these places like the back of your hand. It’s priceless information I wish I knew when I first moved here from London 6 years ago, and I didn't know a soul. I also didn't know where a single playgroup or playground was. It was hard, but 6 years and 2 children later I think I have learnt a thing or two about where to take the kids during the long, long summer holidays. Sometimes days at home are good, but often you need to get out to keep everybody sane. Here’s a little guide of my favourite places to take the kids in the Summer holidays. If you can find just one new place from this list below that you didn't know about, then I’ll be thrilled.
1. Garsons Farm, Esher. Flower, fruit and vegetable picking. This is a special day out with a difference. You can pick flowers, fruit and vegetables in season. It’s quite a unique experience to come home with bags of delicious vegetables and fruit that you picked yourself! Really great fun and you can pretend to be a real farmer for the day. There is also a farm shop and a wonderful sun filled cafe sitting on the edge of the fields. Heaven!
2. Priory Farm Discovery Walk. Really inexpensive day out, with a toddlers trail though Priory Farm. A beautiful walk thought the farm and forests with activities for kids all along the way. You can buy fish food at the ticket stall and feed the fish in the lake. In August the amazing Sunflower Maze is spectacular. You can take your own picnic to the Discovery Walk. There is an small coffee shop by the Discovery Walk, as well as a restaurant within Priory Nursery which has great play equipment in an enclosed area to keep the kids happy and busy.
2. RHS Garden Wisley. Fantastic activities for kids though out the summer in the educations centre. Wisley has a wonderful natural playground area called “Wild at Wisley”. My kids love the greenhouse too, and I have to drag them out of the underground root display every time. We have a annual pass as it is very inexpensive and absolutely worth it.
4. Guilford Lido Swimming Pool - Save for sunny summer days. I’ve yet to try this myself but it looks great, with an outdoor pool and slides. I think I go there next week if this great weather continues.
5. Tandridge Leisure Centre Swimming Pool - Good for rainy days as it’s indoors. Cafe, wave pool, small indoor slide, a few ride on boats to play with. Keeps my toddler busy for ages.
6. Rollerskating at Reigate College: Sundays at 11.30 to 12.30. Perfect for when it is raining on a weekend and you really need to let the kids burn off some steam. It's very inexpensive, and they also offer lessons at a very reasonable rates.
7. Hobbledown. Not the cheapest day out but they have loads of summer activities on. Facepainting, puppet shows, falconry displays, bouncy tube things, and a zip wire for older kids etc. I get the annual pass which makes it a bit more affordable. We use the indoor play barn a lot when it’s raining, which is a life saver in the winter months too.
8. Mayfield Lavender Farm. A totally unique experience. There is something quite special about running down the aisles of lavender. Feeling waves of hot summer air mixed with lavender scent brushing past your face. It is quite exhilarating. I’m usually sprinting after my toddler, but it’s loads of fun and makes for really special photos, so take your camera! On site at the farm there is a small shop selling lavender and a cafe with and much needed ice cream and snacks. The fields are at their best from June to mid August. I was there last week and they were harvesting the crop. I will miss it!
9. Priory Park, Reigate. In summer this park gets busy. Really busy. Best to go very early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. In the summer months they turn on the water fountains and if you close your eyes a little it’s a bit like a day on holiday at the beach. Without the cost of a plane ticket and hotel accommodation which is great as the park is free! The adjacent cafe is good for ice creams and much needed coffee for those who got no sleep the night before with little ones. That sleep deprived coffee needing person is usually me!
10. South Bank, London: OK so it’s not Surrey but it’s a short train ride away. It’s my favourite place in London in the summer and offers a little reminder of my life in the city before children. Gigantic bubble displays and street performers on South Bank keep my two enthralled. South Bank offers great art, great food, beautiful vistas of London, access to the London Eye, London Aquarium and more. You can do as much or as little as you want here, and the possibilities are endless. It’s useful to note that there is a lovely little playground behind the London Eye which is really handy for small children to run around before the train ride home.
Gosh I am amazed you have made it this far! I hope this list has given you some fresh ideas for the final week or two of summer.
I have just joined a photographers blog circle to keep me inspired and motivated to post at least once a month. It’s hard to keep the momentum going with small children and these months just fly by. When you have finished here be sure to have a look at the contribution by Molly VanDamme, of Madison Documentary and Lifestyle Photography.
is a little bit of childhood
that can never be lost.
- Marion C. Garret
It was a privilege to photograph these two beautiful sisters in the Lavender fields early in July. There is something quite special about running down the aisles of lavender. Your face feels waves of hot summer air mixed with pockets of lavender scent that brushes past your cheeks as you run. It is quite is exhilarating. Usually I am running after my toddler here, but in this case I was lucky enough to be photographing these delightful girls.