Beautiful Springtime {a stylised child session}

Ah! Beautiful Springtime!

Suddenly, there is a day when the sun shines warm,

When the first flower pops up in garden, brave and bright,

When we wake and realise that it is already light.

The earth smells softly sweet underneath the sometimes grey and rainy skies.

But our gardens beckon and slowly we start to think of colour.

And think of colour we did, for the Springtime issue of The Little Book Windsor. Wellies, umbrellas, watering cans and flowers.  Races, baskets, bunting and Harry, the garden dog…The three children spent a glorious morning at the Dorney Court Kitchen Garden - one of the most beautiful and whimsical garden centres that I have ever seen.  Come see for yourself….

(and ps. in addition to all the lovely plants, there are frequent fun activities for children, killer cappuccinos for tired mums and dads and unique goodies in the gift shop!)

The story concept for this magical session was created together with Jemma Slevin, Editor of The Little Book – Windsor.  Styling by Jemma.  Photography by me. Fun and magic courtesy of the children.  The magazine is out now and available in stores throughout Windsor. Or you can stop by The Little Book website for oodles of articles and interesting child-related information.   

More Jewellery Fun at Covet in Windsor!

Jewellery, jewellery and more jewellery! I simply can’t get enough of it.  Thus my slight addiction for making it.

If you are like me, come on by The Covet Pop-Up in Windsor this Friday.  This super-fun event is the brain-child of Angela Toy and Jayne Howard.  They combine vintage & designer clothes with jewellery, a psychic and a masseuse with coffee, cakes (daytime) and a martini bar (evening) in a one day sale.  This time, Covet is featuring my jewellery.  So exciting!

Friday, 24 January @ The Firestation.  12-19:30. I hope to see you there…….and psst! spread the word! :)

 

So Many Winners…

Oh how exciting this giveaway has been! Thank you SO much to everyone participated. I always love hearing from you and it is wonderful to send something back your way.

I must say, I had fun planning this Valentine’s surprise…from designing the actual bracelet to drawing your names from a hat.  What?!? Names from a hat? Yep…we ran this contest the old fashioned way.

Little Miss Phoebe was our impartial name-picker.  She dressed for the occasion in her pink tutu. (And yes, she chose her outfit!)

Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan. I know you might not believe me, but the first name Phoebe drew was ‘Baba.’  Who’s that, you ask? Hmm…well…Baba is my mother! :)  Seriously!

I didn’t want any cries of ‘Nepotism!’ so we decided to draw again.  Sit down for this one…Phoebe draws ‘Renee.’ Oh my God! I nearly dropped my camera. Who is Renee? Hmm…well…Renee is my…sister!

I had no more female relatives in the drawing, so we drew again and we have our official winner!

Before I announce her name, let me tell you about a teensy idea I had…So many of you commented on how much you loved the bracelet.  What do you think of a regular UK Mama giveaway?  Somehow or other, my jewelry and my photography will be involved.  Are you interested? I’ll announce the theme of our March giveaway in a week or so.

Ok..ok…back to the business at hand.  The winner of the Valentine bracelet is….drumroll….

Lisa Macintosh :)

Lisa, congratulations!  In know you said that peridot is your birthstone, so I hope you enjoy the bracelet.  Please email me so we can swap address information.

Baba and Renee, I have a little something for you as well.  Watch your mailboxes.

Until next time…have a wonderful day!

 

 

A Valentine’s Giveaway: Love Just Is…

Happy Valentine’s day! The UK Mama is now six months old. Can you believe it? I can’t!

In thanks for all the love and support you have sent my way over the last several months, I thought we should celebrate with a little giveaway.

To one lucky reader, I’m going to be sending out a gorgeous freshwater pearl and peridot bracelet, designed to the theme of love.  The bracelet has a sterling silver clasp and chain and also features quartz, crystals and shell.  It is limited edition, made by me and not found anywhere else. I promise. :)

I’m also throwing in two ready-to-frame 4×6 art prints…just perfect for your desk or inspiration board.

How do you enter?  First, like The UK Mama Facebook page and/or sign up for The UK Mama list.  Then leave a comment on this post, or on the original giveaway blog post, letting me know what you did. (Do both and leave two comments for double the chances to win!)  I’ll be randomly selecting a winner tomorrow once Valentine’s Day is done.

Best of luck.  I hope you have a very special day!

 

 

Week 4, a Tip and a Giveaway

Can you believe, I’m now nearly 10% through my 366 project?  Some of you may be laughing at me, but I’m celebrating my milestone!

What a week this was:  We made pizza; we had snow; we were a bit under the weather…But when I look back, it all makes me smile.

The images from week 4 are a real mix of reportage and posed shots. In the posed shots, I engaged with my subject. I made them (by hook, by witty commentary and by lots of funny noises!) look into my camera. The success of these shots depends on the emotion carried in the eyes.

In the reportage shots, I quietly stood by as an observer, who happened to have a camera. I did not engage my subject but merely captured something that moved me, or something that I wanted to remember.  When I saw Phoebe reading in her room with the morning light softly backlighting her body, I ran for the camera. The window light was gorgeous and I knew it would make for a lovely portrait. When she wanted to roll pizza dough, the light wasn’t great (our short winter days!) but I wanted to document her kitchen adventure.

Some of the shots were created through a mixture of styles.  When we woke up with the world covered in wet, packable snow, I took Phoebe outside with a cookie cutter to make snow hearts.  I set up the shot by guiding her to hold the heart.  But then I stepped back to let her do what she wanted.  (Of course, Phoebe wanted to eat the snow!)

How do I know when to shoot in what style? How do I know when to engage and when to step back? The answer is simple but not easy:  A dose of forethought and lots of practice. When I shoot, I often set out with an intention to capture something specific.  I practice and play with that intention and sometimes I fulfill it.  Sometimes it grows into something else wonderful.

Try it with your work…I’d love to know how you get on. Smile…

Before I leave you, have you entered the Valentine’s giveaway? I’d love for you to win the gorgeous freshwater pearl and peridot bracelet designed and made by me!  To enter, like me on Facebook or sign up for The UK Mama list, then leave a comment on this post.  Only two more days left to enter!! Good luck!

 

 

Finding Happiness: Where is it?

What makes us happy? What makes YOU happy?

Is it good health? A large bank account? A sunny day? A new car? A really great image? (Yeah, these make me happy!) Time with your loved ones? A child that laughs instead of talking back? (Oh some days, how I wish for this!) Chocolate…lots of it? (And everyday, I wish for THIS!)

There are tons of quotations on happiness. Some of them say that happiness is family or that happiness is ignorance. Some say that happiness is low expectations. (Actually, that one offends me. I never have low expectations! Never! Especially when it comes to myself…lol…thus yesterday’s post!)

But yesterday, I stumbled across a Ted Talks video. Shawn Achor talks about happiness and how we find it in our lives. His theory is not what most of us would expect.  The video is 12 minutes long.  Stick with it. In the last few minutes, Shawn shares the 5 things we can do to help us find happiness in our daily lives.  Some of them are not what you might think.

Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage

I found this talk so inspirational that I’ve started a daily gratitude list.  Funny but even on day 1, I found my brain focusing on my three blessings instead of my worries.  I can’t wait to get to day 21.

And…speaking of random acts of kindness…have you heard about the UK Mama Giveaway?  Yes, I’m giving away one of my handmade pearl and peridot bracelets.  To enter, like me on Facebook and/or join The UK Mama List. Once you’ve done that, leave a comment on yesterday’s post HERE.  I’ll be selecting the winner from the comments on Valentines Day. Good luck. :)

I Can Do Everything…Or Maybe Not!

I can do everything!‘ Do you ever find yourself thinking this?

I do. Especially with my Type-A, take-it-all-on personality. I can do everything, make everything, design everything and deliver everything…and be great doing it! Toss a little Gemini into the Type A mix, and not only do I try to take on everything, but I try to do it for all of my different passions as well.

Trust me. This is not a recipe for success. Or at least, this is not a recipe for a zen kind of life.

You may have noticed that The UK Mama is a bit pared down these days. Slowly, I am learning that it is better to focus. I am learning that to do one or two things really well is just awesome…and that it is enough.

So…moving forward, I’ll be sharing LOTS about photography….and my everyday life here in the UK. There will be updates from recent sessions and tips on how to shoot great images. There will be photographic inspiration and inspiration of the sort that only comes from living with a small person. From time to time, there will be a feature on what it is like to live, travel, eat, grow and run a business in the UK. Simple. Focused. Enough. (At least, I hope so.)

What else would you want to see? (Seriously, I do want to know!)

And because I love frivolity, giving back and breaking all the rules, how about a little giveaway that ties into one of my other passions? I love making jewelry. For years, I’ve been working with pearls and natural gemstones.  Lately, I’ve started designing to a theme.  So yes…it’s February.  And yes, this month’s theme is love.  Cheesy? Maybe…But do you like the bracelet??

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m giving one away…and shipping it anywhere in the world.  To enter, like me on Facebook or sign up for The UK Mama List, then leave me a comment on this post saying you did so.  If you do both, leave a second comment for a second chance to enter.  Good luck!


 

 

 

 

Week 3 and a Brand New Look…


What do you think of the new look? Isn’t it amazing how sometimes just a little change freshens things up and makes room for new possibilities?

For so long, I’ve been a ‘keeper.’ My closets are full of ‘just in case’ things that I haven’t used in years. Though space is at a premium in my house, I try to store it all. Finally, I’ve realised how tired I am of the clutter. Though it might not be easy for me, this year I want to get rid of the STUFF.

With this goal in mind, I’ve already started spring cleaning in the house.  Somehow my enthusiasm has spread to my online home as well.  I can’t wait to see what the changes will bring. Smile… (By the way, if you are looking for inspiration in de-cluttering, check out Warren and Betsy’s guide to decluttering your life.  Their minimalist story is quite inspiring!)

Now for week 3 of the 366….

This is hands-down my favourite of the week…and perhaps even my favourite of the year.  Phoebe and I were dropping a friend off at Heathrow and I purposely took my camera to shoot in the windowed walkway that joins the car park with the terminal.  I’ve shot there before (here and here) but never before at night.  There were some cute shots from our session, but nothing as emotional as this.  In fact, just before this happened, she being quite cheeky and challenging (as only three-year olds can be).  I very nearly stopped shooting.  When suddenly, magic….That is what I love about photography.

Thanks for following along. Have wonderful weekend.  We’ve got snow forecasted.  If it falls, I’ll be back with a wintry update!