And now we are seven…

Seven. Big-girl seven. One third of the way to adulthood. One foot still firmly in childhood. Fairies exist. Teeth fall out. Reading is magical. The movie Frozen is THE BEST. As is One Direction (really, I ask myself…how does she know them??). French plaits are awesome. Coloring is too. Swinging. Yes! Jokes make no sense…at least to me. The bike needs still to be learned. She hugs and kisses me less. But if she does, I appreciate it more. She is charming and smiley and heartfelt and strong and vulnerable and determined and creative. When she grows up, she wants to be an artist. And a teacher. Her favourite dinner is anything chicken. Her favourite time is morning. And she still goes to bed at 6. She calls Harry her little brother. Oh and yes…the night before her birthday, her 8th tooth came out. (check out that smile!)

Reading her own cards:

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DJB_9168Decorating her own cake (she wanted to…)

DJB_9170Make a wish…and BLOW!

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Happy birthday to my very special girl…x

3 Breath Techniques That Can Help Parents Stay Calm

yoga-teacher-WindsorMost parents will agree…Our children teach us. They show us our stuff. You know, all those foibles we like to hide from ourselves? Yes…those.

Lately my daughter has been teaching me a lot about patience…and my lack thereof. As a family photographer, I have infinite patience with other people’s kids. It’s my own child that pushes my buttons.

I’ve turned to my yoga practice for ways to help keep my cool. These 3 breath techniques are working for me. They take seconds to do and they give me space and time to pause. They help me modulate my response or at least make it an appropriate one. Whether you are a yogi or not, the next time you feel your temperature rising, try this:

1. 3 Deep Breaths: I do this at the start of my practice and at the beginning of every class. Pause. Take 3 deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose…or sigh the breath out through your mouth. (whichever feels right for you.) These 3 breaths are often enough to cool things down.

2. Ground Yourself:  Take a deep breath. Breathe out and imagine that your breath goes down into the earth through your feet. Imagine sending roots down into the earth with your breath. Repeat as many times as you need, then respond to your child.

3. 3-Count Breath: Take a deep breath in, counting slowly to 3. Exhale to 3, trying to make your exhale just as long as your inhale. Repeat two or three times. Then respond.

I hope these breath techniques help you as much as they have me. Do you have any other helpful ideas? Please share in the comments below.

If you are interested in learning more about yoga and/or breath & meditation, I’m now booking for the next term beginning 20 April. All classes are small group of less than 5 students and taught in a private studio in Windsor. The schedule includes Hatha yoga classes for different abilities (some very athletic, some more restorative) and also Mindfulness classes that combine yoga stretching, breath and relaxation/meditation. Perfect for reducing stress and becoming more present.  Please email me on: dbalyoz[at]mac[dot]com or find me on Facebook: Denise Balyoz Yoga.

A Walk in the Park

Three little girls. The Windsor Great Park. A winter’s day. Lots of mud. A discussion. windsor-portrait-photographer

Portraits from Winter

Two quick portraits from our winter walks this week. Each day, she feels a little bit better. child-portrait-photographer windsor-photographer

Phoebe’s Story

From the bottom of my heart…thank you to EVERYONE who supported us during the last several weeks. Our journey was easier for all of the cards, gifts, texts, FB messages, calls, flowers and love. I have been amazed by the support and feel so very grateful…and blessed. Thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of our adventure…

lifestyle-photographerLast Thursday we checked into Moorfields Hospital to stay in the Ronald McDonald House. What a wonderful charity…I am forever thankful. berkshire-photographerUnfortunately, during the night Phoebe developed a bad tummy. So though, we were there with Monkey and in our PJs, they wouldn’t admit us into theatre. Time for Phoebe, Monkey and Laura (the Meerkat) to go back home.

child-photographerOn Monday morning, I drove back into London…2nd time lucky. They let her in. photographer-egham But because she wasn’t on the regular roster, we had to wait all morning for a slot. Lots and lots of time for art….family-photographerAnd Dora watching….trying to forget the hunger pains…photographer-sunningdaleStrangely enough, getting the ‘Magic Cream’ was pretty traumatic. Phoebe didn’t want to have the plastic bandage on her hands. However, she was reassured to know that Monkey had the Magic Cream when he once had an operation.  portrait-photographer

If being snuggle-toothed isn’t enough….photographer-etonX marks the eye….

And post operation….with a patch….photographer-winkfieldStrangely enough, it helped for Phoebe to know exactly what was going on. I explained it al to her. She watched the cannula (IV) go in to her hand. And…she wanted to remove her bandage herself. The nurses were impressed.  photographer-virginia-water photographer-ascot

We were released the same day…and on Tuesday we went out for a short walk.

photographer-windsorEvery day gets a little bit better and a little less painful. Though, bless…Phoebe is being very, very brave.

Thank you again….love from us both….

 

 

Our 365: Week 3

2 Jan 2015 – A trip into town…as Elsa. 15_DJB189815_DJB1907 Day 16 – Learning to sew.16-DJB_6591 Day 17 – Fog on the Long Walk17-DJB_6608 17-DJB_6624 Day 18 – On the way to Great Ormond Street Hospital, we stopped in Hamleys on Oxford Street.18-P1040350 Day 19 – Homeopathic Remedies…a big part of Phoebe’s healing journey.19_DJB1912 Day 20 – Jumping on the bed before school20-DJB_6683-(1) Day 21 – It’s a dog’s life…21_DJB1922

Hilarious…Trying to use the Self-Timer

.Ever tried to take a group portrait using your camera’s self-timer? Ever tried to make a run for it in heels? Ever tried this at midnight after a glass or two of wine?

Yes…well, I did. Here’s what happened. Gosh did we laugh!

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Thanks for a WONDERFUL evening girls…x

Our 365: Week 2

Day 8 – A wintery walk with a new friend called, Neptune.day-8

Day 9: Sometimes she does things that melt my heart.day-9 Day 10 – a walk with a friend. day-10 Day 11. Elsa makes art. day-11-(2) day-11 Day 12…it was a week of walks. This time with another friend. And the dog! day-12 Day 13…ahh a frosty, foggy morning. We dashed out to be in it. day-13-(2) day-13 Day 14 – Learning to play Othello…a childhood favourite of mine. day-14

a new year…a new project…

A new year. A new start. Or rather, a re-start…For a few years now, I have wanted to complete a 365 project. One photo every day for one year. This sounds easy: Have camera. Pick it up. Click.

But any photographer who has tried this knows that LIFE just GETS IN THE WAY. I’ve tried a 365 before. I’ve also tried a 52 week project. And both times, I had to stop to deal with the demands of my business and motherhood.

This year, I’m trying again. But on my terms. Firstly (and most importantly) my daughter has signed up with me. SHE wants to do it with me. She wants to help me remember to take our photo before the daylight gives way to darkness. And sometimes, she will dictate the subject (watch for photos of stuffed animals…I know they will be coming!) Secondly, I will not be posting every day. It was the download-and-post process that killed this project the first time. Instead, I’ll post here weekly with a set photos from that week.

Without much further ado….here we go. Our 365. Beginning 19 December 2014.

Day 1

day-1Day 2day-2Day 3day-3Day 4day-4
Day 5day-5Day 6day-6Day 7 (Yes, this was Christmas Day)day-7-(2) dau-7

Looking for softness and ease…an intention for the New Year.

denise balyoz yoga windsorHappy 2015! This year has a wonderful ring to it, doesn’t it? And…I have a such a good feeling about this year! I can’t wait to see what comes.

In the meantime, as the days being their tumble into January, I will be approaching my yoga practice (and my life) with the intention of ease.

Working hard, for me, is not a problem. Profound effort does not scare me. But as Patanjali says, the physical practice of yoga should be a combination of effort or steadiness (sthira) and ease or joy (sukham).

When the postures are difficult, can we remain soft? Can we remain connected to our breath? Can we pull back….just a little…and listen, really listen to what it is our body is saying to us?

And in life, when things get hard…when we are tired, or challenged…can we stay connected to ourselves? When we meet resistance, can we stay grounded? And even in the midst of sadness, can we find moments of joy?

In 2015, this is my practice. At least, part of it….

What is yours?

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