golden hour portraits / Lucy

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"When the light is this good, you make your friend go twirl around in it so you can take photos. Because to not do that feels like far too big of a waste. I want to say a million things about this picture, but all I'm going to say is this...sometimes, just sometimes, everything comes together between you and a subject - the light, the energy, the inspiration - and it feels like magic."

I posted one of these photos on my Instagram a few days ago with the caption above. It's taken me some time to let my feelings about this shoot and these images settle, and really get the words together to share a little bit of how I feel about them.

Both Lucy and I have been on a very similar journey this year. Our babies were born within a few months of each other, and we've both spent this year trying to figure out what life and work looks like for us now that we have children. How we can pursue our dreams, create work that we love and that fulfils us while also having enough time to nurture our families. We've become sounding boards for each other, cheerleaders, babysitters and business coaches. That perfect mix between dreaming big and getting shit done. Lucy is a pregnancy yoga teacher and is also training to be a doula (find her on instagram: @lu_ledoula, or check out her website). Although our work is different, there is a crossover with the kind of clients we are trying to attract, the way we are trying to build our businesses and the stage that we are both at in our lives and careers.

I shot these images with Rory on my back, while Lucy's little boy River played in the grass next to us. It's not always easy to work with your baby by your side - it's the dream but sometimes, much of the time it's a real disaster. But I love that it doesn't stop us trying. We work when the babies nap, we go to coffeeshops and hope they'll snooze in the pram and give us an hour to answer emails or write a blog post. I take Rory to shoots, and Lucy takes River to classes. Sometimes they play up and we have to admit defeat, and sometimes they're little angels and we get so much done we think we'll have six more babies.

When I look at these images, I feel proud. I'm proud of the work that I've put in this year, of how I keep going, keep getting up and out with my camera even when I've had no sleep and am tired and don't feel like it. To me, they represent what is out there if you just keep going and going and going. Ask for more of yourself, work harder, get better and keep trying. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic (which if you haven't read it you absolutely must). - "if you show up for your work day after day, you might just get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom".

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that these images feel like they are my bursting right into bloom. Shooting pictures of my friend, twirling around in the fading autumn sun, our babies by our sides while we laughed our asses off. I think we kind of nailed it, and that's a feeling worth holding on to.

I'm trying to gauge interest in offering Golden Hour portrait sessions - just one hour around 4pm, and you'd get about 20 high res images. I'm still figuring out pricing, but email me and we'll chat. If you'd like a sunset shoot like this for yourself, please do get in touch and we'll go make some magic in the evening sun. Send me an email:

52 project - september

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36/52 - we had a picnic by ourselves in the park on the last heat wave of the summer. Totally unplanned, and totally brilliant.

37/52 - I'm going to have to lower the cot base pretty soon, now that she can pull herself up to standing. Thankfully she's in a sleeping bag at night so she can't do this when she wakes up, but it's only a matter of time.

38/52 - bath time is her favourite. She splashes me and makes herself laugh, tips her head into the water to take a mouthful of bubbles and if you put her on her back she kicks like crazy because she's so happy.

39/52 - all of a sudden I have an almost nine month old baby that can stand up and is trying to walk. There's something amazing around every corner, and I can't wait to see what she has to show me next.

the last day of summer

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We had a heatwave in London last week, up to 30 degrees on one of the days and it was so hot. I love the Summer, but in the city things can get too humid and claustrophobic to bear it. I crave space on sunny days, anywhere you might catch a breeze and some leafy shade. I avoid buses, tubes and main roads at all costs because they are the absolute worst places to be in an inner city heatwave.

I called a few friends to see if they were free for a picnic in the park, but all my daytime buddies were busy. I almost had lunch in the house as normal, I almost wasted that very last day of summer by staying indoors. Instead I took Rory to the corner shop, bought everything I thought we should have for a picnic, filled a big basket of food and headed to the park. Just Rory, Elkie and I. Determined to have a mini adventure of our own, on that last day of summer.

I lay on my back under the tree with Rory on my belly. I told her all about the trees and how one day she would walk in that park with me asking questions about everything, and that I would tell her that eating your lunch outdoors is where it's at. I told her that although it's great to plan and to cook all your own food, invite your friends and make your meal look beautiful...that sometimes the best kind of lunch comes from the corner shop, eaten with your dog on a blanket in the park. When you haven't planned any of it at all.

take me to the mountains - ten days in puivert

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We're not long back from a ten day long trip to Puivert in the South of France, where we stayed with my parents in a house they bought last November with their retirement savings. They are only a few years away from finishing work, and wanted somewhere they could spend time with family and possibly consider moving to in a few years. I was heavily pregnant when they bought the house, and then deep in the trenches of life with a newborn baby when they went for a holiday earlier in the year so I hadn't been able to visit before now.

I hadn't had this much build up to a trip away in quite a while. From the time my parents bought their house last November, we started planning a visit with Rory. We talked about going over at the end of March for my Mum's birthday, but when the time came it didn't feel right for us. She seemed too small, her sleep too erratic and my energy...well, nonexistent. After a tearful phone call to my parents we decided it was best for all of us if we waited until later in the year when we felt ready. 

The months leading up to our holiday were tiring and stressful. Our attic renovation had taken twice as long as we'd hoped, and cost us a lot of extra money. Thankfully we had already booked our flights to France, because we were feeling the pinch and most likely would have decided against going on holiday for financial reasons. As the time to leave got closer, my to-do list got longer and I was feeling stressed and worried about a whole heap of things. Looking back on it now, it seems so silly to have been worried about it all but when you're tired and stressed everything seems like a much bigger problem. Travelling with an eight month old, getting to the airport on time, surviving the heat, sharing a space with my family and their friends, forgetting our name it and I worried about it. I'm not at all a worrier by nature, but since having a baby I have started to worry a lot more and get quite bad travel anxiety too. I'm sure the more I do it the more relaxed I will get, but there's so much more to think about than when you only have to worry about yourself!

Anyway, I'm telling you the back story to our trip because it sets the scene for quite how much I needed a holiday. I needed time with Gav and Rory away from the chaos of our flat and the city. I needed sleep, time to do nothing much at all and time to walk by myself amongst the mountains. Oh the mountains. And the light...! Give me some golden dusky light, some sun on my skin, fields of corn and the sound of cicadas and I'll be in heaven.

Do you ever take a trip that you feel changes you in some way? I feel quite emotional looking at these photos, because I really feel different now that we've come home. This year has been a rollercoaster, of the best kind but a rollercoaster nonetheless. The summer is over, our attic is almost finished and Rory is hurtling towards the end of her babyhood. Our trip seemed a celebration of all that we've come through to get to this point, a celebration of the end of so many things but also the beginning of some exciting new ones.

My parents' house is in the village of Puivert, in the South East of France about an hour from Carcassonne. Right in the middle of the mountains. It's exactly what you need from a village when you're on holiday; a small shop, a swimming lake, a few restaurants, a cafe and a craft brewery with live music every Sunday. For supermarkets, markets and shops there are the nearby towns of Quillon and Mirepoix which are well worth a visit. Mirepoix being my favourite, a very picturesque medieval town with bakeries, coffee shops, junk shops and even a vegetarian restaurant.  All the local towns have markets on different days, although often it's the same market in each town. One thing I wished I had done before we went is to research when the local 'Vide Grenier's' were on, as I imagine these attic clearances are the perfect places to score some french treasures. Something to save for next time...

Our holiday was a perfect balance of activity and relaxation. Ten days is a good amount of time to go away for, especially when you have a baby that takes a day or two each side of your travel days to adjust. We spent so much quality time with Rory, and it was wonderful to see how much Gav has bonded with her after being with her every day. We swam in the lake, visited the local food markets, hiked up to Puivert Castle, read our books in sun with a glass of wine, walked through the mountains in the early evening sun. What more could you ask for?

Travelling with an eight month old baby can be challenging at times, adjusting to different time zones, climates, people, temperatures, beds and so on. It's so much easier to stay at home and stick to what you know and what you're all comfortable with, but of course that's not where the greatest rewards are to be found. Rory did so well, despite our reservations. I had prepared myself for a baby that wouldn't sleep, couldn't deal with the heat and screamed at all the other passengers on the plane...but she turned out to be pretty much the perfect baby for the whole holiday. The heat tired her out a little towards the end of the day so we had a few grumpy bedtimes, but apart from that it was plain sailing in baby land. I feel so much more confidant to travel with her now, she is clearly an adventure gal who loves the mountains. Just like her mama. I do have some tips for travelling with a baby to share with you, but I'll do that in another post.

We're planning on returning to Puivert at least once a year, and I'm so looking forward to making new memories there each year as our family grows. I feel very lucky we have a new place to call our own, that we can put down some roots in France and spend a good chunk of the summer there with the people we love. So much to look forward to.

* My parents have a two bedroom holiday let attached to their house in Puivert which is available to rent. I don't have a link to share with you yet, but I will have one soon. If you think you might like a holiday there next year do drop me an email and I will put you in touch.


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