Make Films - Scenes from my Weekend

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Last week I signed up to Xanthe Berkley's Make Films course, a ten week online class that teaches you the ins and outs of making short movies using your DSLR and/or iPhone. I've been wanting to have a go at film making for a while, but recently it's been something that photography clients have started asking if I can do. So I figured it was about time I learn. 


Because having a six month old baby while our attic is being converted and I'm taking on photography clients isn't quite enough for me. What can I say, I like my plate full. But what I wouldn't give for another three hours in the day. Actually, make that five. And another two days spare per week.


I want to write more this week about being a beginner at something again, but for now I will leave you with my first film. The prompt for week one is 'scenes from my weekend' so I shot some footage at the Lambeth Country Show where I spent my whole weekend with family. It's not easy to carry a baby and a heavy camera around, but Xanthe really encourages you to take your camera with you because the rewards of the footage you capture can be so great.


I hardly ever take my DSLR out with me these days, it's just too heavy. I'd never have taken any of these photos if I hadn't been doing this film course, and for that I am so grateful.

My finished film is far from perfect, but I really wanted to complete a film over the weekend and not overthink it too much. The perfect angle and the perfect light can wait, because for now, done is better than perfect.

I do hope you enjoy it, and I hope you had a lovely weekend in the sunshine too. Sunshine, at last.

half a year

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My little Rory turned six months old yesterday. A whole half a year with this sweet, smiley baby who is so full of energy all the time. I feel pretty emotional thinking about the day that she was born, and the precious weeks that followed us getting her home. Since then the days have never gone faster and the nights have never gone slower. There's been tears and laughter (both hers and mine) ups, downs and everything in between. All the cliches about how I never knew you could love another thing so much. Life has changed forever, and I think back to how naive I was in saying that my life would be the same but just with a baby in it. It's different, I'm different and neither of those things will ever be the same.


Each month since she was born has been full of change, and I so wish I had written updates during each one so I could remember even half the things that happened. So much of it has faded, because I'm so consumed every day with right where we are that it's hard to take everything in and store it for safe keeping. The first few months were full of adjusting, adapting and learning. Emotions were all over the place while we figured each other out. Over the next few months things started to get easier. We got into a bit of a rhythm, a routine started to emerge and things became a little more predictable. A little more normal. Then the four month sleep regression came and stuck around for a while. My energy disappeared along with any hope for more than two hours sleep at a time, it was frustrating and exhausting. But slowly, slowly we got back on track.

Everything is fleeting with a baby. Everything is a phase, both the good and the bad. I try to hold on to all the things she does, to how she looks, feels and smells but almost every time I blink something disappears, replaced by something new and unknown. There are so many things I've already experienced with her for the last time, things I didn't even realise would pass so quickly. I find myself hugging her just a little bit tighter with every night feed, because I know one day she'll just not need them any more.


I'll miss how she comes everywhere with me, how she smiles when I go into her room after her nap, how she giggles when I bite her thighs or blow air on her face. I'll miss how she lunges for everything I eat or drink, the faces she makes when she tries new foods sat in her bumbo on our kitchen floor, the way she sucks my chin and blows raspberries on my neck. I'll miss the way she burrows her face into my chest when she's tired, the way she beams when I call her name, how we take naps together sometimes and how she holds on to my fingers when I carry her in her sling. I'll miss a thousand more things that I probably won't even realise she does until they're replaced with something else. A growing baby is so bittersweet, constantly wishing they would never grow up but at the same time so excited for the next thing they are about to do.


Motherhood is a pretty crazy ride, and I'm only just at the very beginning. It's wonderful, rewarding, difficult and exhausting. Some days I get so tired that I long for Rory's bedtime so I can get some rest, but just ten minutes after she's asleep I miss her. I already feel sad about the day she no longer needs me, even though it's my job to make her strong and independent and send her out into the world. One day. For now, we're in a little bubble. Just Rory and me, going about our days together. 

Happy six months Rory Bear, you're my best gal.

our attic renovation: the plan

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After about eighteen months of waiting and submitting endless planning applications, our attic conversion is finally underway. We're actually about five and a half weeks in so far, with all the major work already done. With any luck we only have another few weeks left of the build, then just the painting left to do. It's exciting, but it has all been pretty stressful so far. It's not the best fun living in a building site with a small baby, our home is a chaotic mess right now. But we're almost there, so we just have to grin and bear it a little longer before we get our much needed extra space. We know how lucky we are to have our biggest problem right now be our building work.

With the attic conversion, we're adding a third bedroom and a small shower room to our flat. The plan is that Gav and I will move our bedroom upstairs so we can have the nice new attic room, and our current bedroom will become a guest room and office. I thought I'd share some of my ideas for how I'm going to decorate the new rooms once they're all finished, because spending hours each evening dreaming of the finishing touches is really helping keep me calm amidst all the chaos right now.

THE BEDROOM
image sources, clockwise from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The aim for the bedroom is a calm and relaxing clutter free space. White walls, white wooden floors and muted, earthy tones on the bedding and cushions. I plan to have a go at making some macrame plant hangers and some fibre art for the walls, because my favourite way to add texture to my home is with plants and yarn. I'll add the furniture slowly, but I think I'm looking out for a wooden bench and possibly a small chest of drawers. See more inspiration on my bedroom Pinterest board.


THE BATHROOM
image sources, clockwise from left to right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

For the bathroom, I'm going for a patterned tile on the floor - although I haven't picked one out yet. Not sure if I'll choose monochrome tiles or something with a bit of colour. Much the same as the bedroom, I'd like the space to be fairly uncluttered and relaxing, but with some colour and texture brought in from plants, baskets and some nice towels. I'll also add candles, delicious smelling shower gel and a few other bits to make the room feel a bit more spa like. See more inspiration on my bathroom Pinterest board.

In both rooms, our major issue is storage. I've chosen a bed and a sink unit with built in storage, because although they aren't my first choices they will go a long way to reducing clutter in both rooms. I've also learnt from past mistakes, and have solemnly sworn to decorate these rooms slowly. I'll buy the essentials first: the bathroom suite, the tiles and a bed - but everything else can wait. I have a rough idea of some other things I want to add: plants, baskets, rugs, prints, shelves, small pieces of furniture but I'm in no rush. We are going to live in the rooms for a while first, and collect things slowly based on what we absolutely need and what fits each room perfectly. I've made so many mistakes in the past where I've bought things just to fill space, and ended up wasting a lot of money. Lesson learnt. Slowly does it.

I'm so excited to have our attic all finished. We desperately need the extra space, and I can't wait to have our flat back all tidy, organised and empty of builders. I'm itching to do the fun stuff, like buying plants, furniture and prints instead of hiding out in my bedroom from all the noise and dust. If you'd like to see a little progress tour this week, follow me on snapchat (blesstheweather) and I'll show you around.

nice stuff / 057

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Hello again! Its been a little while, so I thought I'd ease in gently with some Nice Stuff for you this Friday. Get my brain and fingers working again after a bit of time away.

1. Everything at The Future Kept is wonderful, but their Forest Goddess prints are some of my favourite things in the store. They are seasonal, and the newest one is the Summer Goddess.
2. I've been cooking and baking loads recently, as I can just put Rory in her sling, stick on some nice tunes and dance around the kitchen while I cook. She loves it. This carrot, walnut and red lentil hummus would go perfectly with the middle eastern focaccia I can't stop making (and eating).
3. Oh summer, I want you here please. A good long hike followed by a dip in a lake or river is my idea of heaven.
4. My brain is taken up with our attic renovation at the moment, and this week is crunch time for me to order the stuff for our shower room. I'm currently choosing tiles for the floor, and I think I'm going to go with something patterned. More bathroom inspiration on my Pinterest board.
5. Dreaming of getting my flat back from the builders so I can have peaceful Sunday mornings baking in my kitchen again.
6. I've been making this fibre art wall hanging from A Beautiful Mess for well over a month now. It's pretty epic and time consuming, but will look amazing when it's done. I'm going to hang it in our guest room once our attic is done.

Things have been pretty chaotic around here this past month. Rory's sleep regressed a lot so I've been like the walking dead for most of it, and we're now halfway through our attic renovation. My flat is a building site, and it's hard to get much of a routine or anything resembling normal life at the moment. But, I'm happy to say we're on the up with Rory's sleep and I've got her into a much better routine, plus we're almost over the worst of the building work. Another 3-4 weeks to go and things will start to get a little easier. I know it's all for a good reason and that it will be over soon, but the last month or so has felt like a bit of a slog. Almost there.

So, how are you all? I always miss this space when I go away for too long. I have so many things I want to share on here, but sometimes the energy and enthusiasm escapes me. Especially after waking every one or two hours during the night! Gav is being so helpful and trying to carve out a few hours here and there for me to have my own time to write, so I hope to get myself on more of a schedule for all that kinda stuff now too.

Now all we need is a bit of the summer back here please. Please?

slow mornings

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Our mornings are slow these days.

A combination of restless nights and nowhere urgent to be most of the time means we're rarely in a rush to start our day. Such a change from my pre-baby life where I'd leap out of bed at 6am for a run. I've always got the best of intentions to slow down, but I think I often need to have external forces at work to make it happen. Well, a baby will certainly do that for you. They have a way of making you live life on their terms.


Slow mornings are my new favourite thing. We take our time and stay in our pyjamas to savour the cuddles, the coffee and the songs on the radio.

Rory wakes up hungry around 6am. I go and get her from her cot and sneak her back into bed with me. I feed her lying down, and if I'm lucky one or both of us will nod off for another half an hour or so. I think how much I'll miss these sleepy feeds when she no longer needs them. She gurgles and suckles and grabs at my clothes and hair with her fingers. We stay in bed for a while, chatting and playing before we get up. It's an effort, after my broken sleep. 


I take Rory into her room and change her nappy. I make her smile when I tickle her nostrils and drum my hands on her belly. Belly bongos. I kiss her face more times than she probably cares for, because it's warm and soft and squishy and part of me. 


Finally we make it into the kitchen. I put Rory in her bouncy chair, give her a teething toy and turn on the kettle. Ah, the kettle. I butter my toast, make my coffee and sit down to a few episodes of Frasier on the telly. I play with Rory and enjoy some more cuddles before it's time to get her down for her first nap.

All of our days start like this, and it's heaven.


I was sent these pyjamas by Yawn, which I was pretty excited about because new pyjamas are something I rarely ever treat myself to. We spend so much of our lives asleep, I think we owe it to ourselves to do it in comfort. It's a pretty good incentive to slow down too, having something special and cosy to do it in. These pyjamas are just as soft and comfortable as I hoped they would be, and I love them a lot. Thanks Yawn for sending them to me, and for making my mornings extra special. 

motherhood sessions | lucy & river

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Motherhood Sessions is my new project, both a personal one and something I will be including as part of my offerings as a photographer. New motherhood is such a special time that is so full of ups and downs, extreme highs and lows and an overwhelming sense of love for this new tiny person in your life. I want to capture it for people, in as real and unforced a way as possible. I really believe these are the images people treasure for a lifetime. No fancy props, no silly outfits or headbands, just real life. The bond between mother and baby.

Lucy is one of the wonderful women that have become a part of my life since having a baby. Although I didn't do NCT classes, Rory and I have been lucky enough to have been adopted by a group of smart, funny, supportive and incredibly kind women who all met through their NCT group. Before I became a mother, I didn't quite understand the importance of being surrounded by a support network during the tough first few months. And not just a network of family and friends, but of women who are going through the exact same things as you at the exact same time. I was lucky enough to stumble across mine, and boy did I hit the jackpot. It feels like we're all striving for the same things: to keep as much of ourselves as we can while caring for our babies, to be relaxed and intuitive, make jokes about the funny things we do to get by, and to look after each other because we know it's not always easy.

These two were a real joy to shoot. River is a such a sweet little boy, so chilled out but with a real determination behind his eyes. I'm sure his zen like nature is down to the fact that Lucy, a qualified pre-natal yoga teacher, has been including him in her daily yoga practice ever since he was born. She recently wrote River's birth story on her blog too, it's a pretty emotional read.

If you're interested in having a motherhood session of your own, please do drop me an email: siobhan.e.watts@gmail.com I have two options: a mini session of 30 minutes for £80 or a full session of 60 minutes for £150. You'll receive a gallery of fully edited high-res images to download, 25 for the mini session and 50 for the full session. Sessions can be in your home, garden or another favourite location. London based shoots only at this time.

nice stuff / 056

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This time of year is so great, don't you think? The sun starts to come out, but it's not too hot. We still have enough rainy days to cool things down, and we're all cleaning and freshening up our spaces ready for the summer. May days.

1. Indigo is really doing it for me right now. I'm going to have a go at doing some shibori dyeing when I go to Devon in a few weeks. I need a garden to make a mess in!
2. I love this brass wall hanging by Susan Connor. I'm planning to DIY some things for my walls over the summer as they are still pretty bare. Brass, yarn, wood...get on my walls.
3. Great post on how to manage stressful times, from Hanna's Places.
4. These colours and patterns are so perfect to me. Boho, but still clean and modern. I followed the internet cookie crumbs to find the image is originally from Experimental Vintage, where there's plenty candy for my boho and plant loving eyes.
5. Have you seen Eva's post about our project 'my month of self care'? We're using May to focus on looking after ourselves, and I just love the way she writes. Thanks Insta for bringing us together.
6. Studio Bloesem are launching KOEL magazine, all about styling your home with yarns. Say what? Dream magazine right there. Check out their kickstarter.

I haven't done a Nice Stuff post in a while, because man I've been busy. And sleepy. I think we're getting there though, and I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel with getting regular time to myself and having a little energy to actually put it to use. I'm really having a great time though, I don't ever want my maternity leave to end.

We are less than a week away from getting the scaffolding put up to start our attic conversion. Finally. It's been a whole lot of headaches trying to get planning permission, but we're there at last. We should have all the main building work done within the next 7-9 weeks, then there's a bunch of decorating to do. I'm thinking even if the project over runs (which it is sure to do) if we're finished everything by mid August then I'll be a happy bunny. A bunny with a whole other room and shower room.


A few other links for your weekend...

- 15 things nobody tells you about childbirth on Mother. I can attest to all of these. And that everybody lies to you about birth until you have actually done it. Then all the real stories come out.
-  Stork & the Beanstalk family photography. I've started shooting family sessions again, and I am aching to get anywhere near as good as Ashley.
- Just started Sara Pascoe's new book 'Animal' and am really enjoying it. It's a funny and insightful look at the female body and female sexuality.
- 5 amazing skillshare classes for bloggers and creatives.

Have a great weekend, friends. Let's hope for some more sunshine, wherever you are.


 

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