I've now done a fair few trips with my two girls, both in the UK and abroad and I have to admit there are pro's and con's to all of the different types we have tried! From all inclusive hotels, a Mark Warner (child care provided!) holiday, through to self catering apartments in the UK and abroad and also villa's - they all have their equal share of advantages and disadvantages. I think what I'm trying to say is that travelling with babies/kids is never going to be completely stress free and there will always be things that could make a holiday more relaxing and easier!
In terms of what to take, I have googled countless times to give me ideas and now have excel spreadsheets for all the different holidays, but each time I go back to them the kids have grown up a bit more and so the list has changed (again!). But there are some things which I've listed below which I think are useful to have, some more age specific than others, but food for thought for you anyway. And for those of you who can travel outside of the school holidays, I'd say do it now before you get tied into half terms and summer holidays, where the prices jump up dramatically!!!
I think the key here is to keep it simple and take toys that could have multi uses, some ideas:
Stacking cups - great in the pools, bath and on the beach to make sandcastles
Folkmanis Squigz - these are brilliant rubber toys that stick together and are so much fun, can be used as entertainment on the plane or in the bath/pool.
Lottie Dolls - plastic dolls that can be used in the pools and on the beach. If you're not a Barbie fan these dolls are just gorgeous as they are just little girls (in terms of their features) but with big ideas, so you can get fossil hunter Lottie, astro adventurer Lottie, boarder Lottie, brownie Lottie and the list goes on.
Pass the Pig - Probably more suitable for thoses age 3-4+ but we played this all week on holiday this summer!! Small to travel with and very simple.
Stickers - for little one's these are a must - my daughter covered all her arms and legs in stickers on one flight but she was so happy and kept amused I let her be! There are loads of great sticker and activity books on the market.
Some other ideas that you have recommended to me:
1. Babyzen Yoyo Pushchair - this pushchair collapses small enough to be taken on the flight as hand luggage - amazing!!
2. Travel wash and Vanish bar of soap
3. Mosquito repellent and antihistamines
I hope you have found this useful - feel free to add any more ideas into the comments box below, as I'm sure we can all help each other with good ideas to help our trips go as smoothly as possible! Happy Holidays!
1. Beaconscot, Beaconsfield
Today (Thursday), I visited Beaconscot with my daughter and my friend with her 4 year old and 4 month old, picnic in hand and ready to enjoy the day! I have to say that it did not disappoint! We were able to park (for free) opposite the entrance, arriving at 11.30am there were no queues and we were able to go straight in. The size of Beaconscot is ideal for toddlers, it's flat and has a little path to follow in order that you can see all the areas. They have recently added to the buildings and there is now the Hoover building, a Butcher, Baker and Candle Stick Maker, a church with a little Christening service taking place and other miniature shops. There's a lovely simple play area and picnic area, which is all beautifully maintained and the detail of care is really noticeable, a great day out!
2. Greys Court, Henley
We also visited Greys Court this week, which as a National Trust member was free, and although my Satnav took me to completely the wrong place, once we got our bearings it was a lovely trip out. We took a picnic once again and headed straight to the play area, which is near the track and next to the house. My daughter played with her friends in this woodland play area, climbing on the large climbing frame and slide, and spending ages making camps out of twigs and branches! After the picnic we had a look around the little shop, which has some beautiful pieces, along with a great book which I'm planning on buying called '101 Things For Kids To Do Outside' by Dawn Isaac
3. Baking cakes and selling them to neighbours
Baking can be one of those things which you start with all good intentions and then then flour puffs in the air, the egg falls on the floor and you're missing an ingredient - but maybe that's just me! I think that family baking time can be so much fun, it just takes some organising, sometimes just weighing out the ingredients beforehand and then kids the add it to the bowl and mix can make it all a bit less stressful - at the end of the day, all they want to do is lick the bowl!! A friend of mine recently did this with her daughters and then set up a mini cake sale in their front garden, which looked like so much fun and is on our list of things to do!
4. Odds Farm
Of course! We used to have an annual pass to Odds Farm when my eldest daughter was under 2 and it was just brilliant! We would go up to the Farm every week sometimes just for an hour in the afternoon, or take a picnic and spend the whole day up there, we definitely got our moneys worth!! The lovely thing with Odds Farm is that it is constantly improving and the profits are obviously being reinvested in the Farm and it just gets better every year. Although it does get busy in the holidays it is worth a visit.
5. Fruit picking at Copas Farm, Cookham
A few weeks ago I helped at my daughters Rainbow's group and we went to Copas Farm in Cookham to pick some seasonal fruit. We were all given a plastic container and shown to the enormous strawberry field and told to help ourselves! It was so enjoyable just walking up and down the rows and rows of strawberries - and eating a really ripe strawberry warmed in the hot sun was just amazing! We also went to the cherry trees and also saw the huge rhubarb as well. This would be such a fun trip out for kids (and adults) any age! There is a big barn by the farm shop where you can get out of the sun and have a cool drink and enjoy the views, it really is fabulous!
6. Marlow Library
We are very lucky in Marlow to have such an active library - there are always things going on there from a story time, to bounce and rhyme through to knitting clubs and more! This summer, as with every summer, they put on a reading challenge - this is for children age 4 upwards, but obviously it's always encouraged for parents to read with their children from when they are babies. Click on the Marlow Library link above which will direct you to the details, but it's a fun one to do and will encourage all the little readers.
8. A boat trip from Marlow to Henley
We haven't done the boat trip yet, although I've lived in Marlow for more than 25 years (woops!) but this looks like lots of fun! Once you get to Henley there is the River and Rowing Museum which has a really sweet Wind in the Willows exhibition, and upstairs there is a little home area for the kids to play in. We've been a few times and the kids have always enjoyed it and they usually have different themed events going on throughout the year.
10. Theatre trip - 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt', Lyric Theatre
Theatre trips can be such a lot of fun and we have some great local venues such as the Wycombe Swan and Norden Farm in Maidenhead. If you're brave enough to go further afield there is a new show happening at the Lyric Theatre called 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' which looks ideal for a first taste of the theatre experience and is only 55 minutes long.
I hope this list gives you some ideas and inspiration - at the end of the day I would say to keep it simple - picnics and parks are always a winner, and my girls are always so happy with a bowl of water and cups and bowls - or a large box they can colour and create into whatever invention they wish! I hope you all have a great time, whatever you end up doing!
This past week I have had the privilege of attending a week long residential in Uppermore Barn in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. As a newborn photographer I feel it is my duty to ensure that I am up to date in my training and so this was a great opportunity to refresh my skills in many areas including lighting, editing, business & marketing, posing, wrapping and safety. We had a number of photo shoots with both newborns and some young children, all of which were amazingly well behaved, even with 13 photographers all snapping around them!
As part of the course we also did 5 hours of Continued Professional Development in First Aid and was tailored to photographers. First Aid is such an important thing for us all to do, and I can recommend two great training providers in Marlow - Child Matters and Mini First Aid.
Overall this was a great week away and I have learnt a lot and can't wait to put these new skills into practice!
Outdoor photo shoots are fun! They are very relaxed and last around an hour, but sometimes up to two if we need to feed the troops and have some pit stops along the way! I’ve scouted out some locations in Marlow, but I’m always open to suggestions and interested to know about new places in the local area that I haven’t come across before.
What to wear – it’s always nice for the children to feel relaxed at the session and I encourage them to run around, hide in and on trees and bushes and climb logs, so do bear this in mind when dressing them! It’s a good idea to bring a spare outfit for those ‘just in case’ moments – for you, along with the children.
The rule of thumb is the magic three colours, if all of the party can wear one or two out of three colours then it makes the images easy on the eye when there is some coordination.
Which colours to go for?
Spring/Summer sessions when the colours around are generally bright green, go for colours either side of this on the colour wheel (see below), so blues/greys, green and yellows (and even some pink can look amazing!).
Autumn - As the summer fades and the natural landscape colours progress to shades of brown, opt for 2 or 3 of the vibrant colours of mustard yellow, forest green, maroon purple, navy blue, and grey. The deep tones on the outer part of the colour wheel really work in autumn.
Think about the colour schemes in your home - you want to make sure your clothes go with the theme of the room where the picture will be hanging. You don't need to spend a fortune on outfits either, H&M have some lovely thick mustard yellow knits plus some maroon thick cardi's, match these with some navy tights and skirt and that's one outfit sorted! A yellow mac and wellies always looks lovely too!
Finally, think 'classic' - no doubt these images will hang on your wall or be presented proudly on your mantle piece for a long time, so try to keep away from clothing that may be deemed as a fad/trend and stick to more classic pieces, and clothing that you feel comfortable in!
If you're stuck for ideas Pinterest can be a great help, along with large clothing outlets which generally match outfits online or in-store. If you're unsure about anything then don't panic, just give me a call and we can chat your ideas through.
Outdoor photo shoots can be booked from April through to around November (weather dependant) and ideally I will do the session either two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset - it's not essential but this is generally deemed to be the best light of the day, plus the kids think it's very exciting to be going back out again after dinner again for the summer sessions!
Following the session, I will edit the images in line with my style and will then send you a password protected online gallery for you to view your images and make your selection.
I look forward to seeing you on your outdoor photo shoot and capturing memories that last a life time!
There are so many newborn photographers, and anyone and everyone can now become one...or so it seems! Google search is full to the brim of photographers, claiming to be the 'regions leading specialists' and other such statements. So, as a parent, what should you be looking for and what should you be avoiding? - it all seems to be a bit confusing!
As a mum of two precious girls my very first thought when I decided to specialise in newborn photography was how I would feel as a customer looking for someone to take pictures and handle my own precious babies - and for me personally, safety was high on the priority list. So, in order to become trained and qualified in my field of expertise I researched where I could get the best training from in order that I could give my clients the peace of mind that I wasn't just learning on the job or that their baby was being used as a guinea pig! It might surprise you to know that newborn photography is not currently regulated, literally anyone can pick up a camera and profess to be a newborn photographer - so photographers like me, who take safety seriously, have to take it upon ourselves to be trained and educated on how to ensure the beautiful images we create, are done safely.
So, in 2016 I enrolled on the first Newborn Photography School set up by the Guild of Photographers and successfully finished this and then went on to gain the Guild's Qualified status in Newborn and Baby Photography. This was a huge achievement for me, as this meant that I could give my clients some verification that I am trained and qualified to a high standard in this field of photography.
We covered many aspects on the course, from wrapping a baby, posing, lighting, using props, shushing (yes, we were taught how to make the babies nice and sleepy!), along with all the safety aspects from handling through to creating a composite image (two images 'sewn' together in Photoshop, so as to ensure the baby is kept safe at all times). But once the course was over, the leader of the course, Claire Elliott (who is a leading, award winning newborn photographer) became my mentor - critiquing my work and advising on ways to improve. This still goes on today and she is my go-to person in all areas of my photography, from advice to critiquing - she calls herself my Fairy 'Tog' Mother and she really is!
Being a newborn and baby photographer requires a unique set of skills and there is a worldwide organisation that exists to support photographers like me, who want to have access to safety training and resources that we can use to provide clients like you with a better service. I’m delighted to have joined BANPAS (Baby &Newborn Photography Association) and you will be able to find me on their directory of photographers. They also have a fabulous facebook page for pregnant and new parents here. I’d be delighted to chat to you about how I can create a beautiful gallery of images for your newborn and very happy to chat to you about how I do that safely. Please contact me for booking and availability information.
I also photographed the ballet school where both of my daughters attend - Marlow School of Dance - and it was so lovely to watch the pre-school and primary girls dancing so elegantly and gracefully. My girls have loved this ballet school and started as soon as they were old enough - age 2.5 - and both have continued doing this every week for the past few years. I've had so many comments about my daughters posture and people telling me they can tell that they do ballet just by the way they sit/stand. I hope they continue with it as it is such a wonderful talent to be able to dance! I believe Miss Carrie who heads up the dance school will be updating the website shortly (and you'll be able to see all the pictures I took), but do join the Facebook page as well! (https://www.facebook.com/marlowschoolofdancelimited)
So, looking forward to 2018 this will be another year of doing more professional training, for both outdoor children's photography and newborn/baby photography. Even though I have gone through the Guild of Photographer's Newborn Photography School in 2016 I always look to improve and develop the art of my photography - one of my residential's is for a week so that will be a big step for me leaving my little brood! I'm taking bookings now for outdoor sessions from April onwards so please do not hesitate to get in contact if this is something you're interested in!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2018!
I’m so excited to launch this new product in 2018!! This session is short and sweet - literally! It’s 30 minutes and during that time I try and capture as many different expressions as possible in order to show your little ones personality. This is such a lovely set up for a birthday or a big milestone/occasion and after the session you get a fabulous 24”x24” white bevelled frame with 16 mounted images - all for just £250!
As you can see from Eva’s session below (which marked her first birthday), she had a wonderful time as we sang songs, played peekaboo and got some bubbles out - much to her delight!
My top tips to help a session like this to go as smoothly as possible and to be as fun as possible are as follows:
I hope that you find this blog helpful and gives you all the information you need, but if you do have any questions or queries then please do not hesitate to contact me. If you would like to book in for this session then please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
Today is the perfect day to start my blog! Today (has been amazing because it has been snowing!) is the 10th December and is my little family's Thanksgiving Day for my daughter and what was, four years ago, the trigger to start my newborn photography. The 10th December is three days after my youngest daughters birthday, so this may seem an odd day to draw a line in the sand and start a business, but four years ago today was the hardest, darkest day of my life.
So, let me explain the background as to WHY I specialise in newborn photography. Four years ago today, I carried my 3 day old daughter down the corridors of John Radcliffe Hospital, with tears streaming down my face into the anaesthetics room. She was so tiny and we kissed her and walked away. We left her in that room, having to trust the doctors with our precious baby, which was incredibly hard. As we walked away the crushing in my chest was almost unbearable and I could hardly take a breath. I was weak from birth and tired to the core of not sleeping for three nights, but my focus was on my little one undergoing surgery on her twisted duodenum and intestines (called malrotation). The days that followed were hard. She had cannula's in both hands and feet, an epidural in her spine and tubes everywhere. My husband and I took turns to sleep at the hospital, always at her side. The third day after surgery I was able to hold her, which felt amazing but also petrifying at the same time, so worried I might hurt her. In the days that followed we were in a bubble in hospital, but she healed amazingly and after two weeks were able to come home, just in time for Christmas!
So in all of this I wasn't able to have any 'normal' photographs of my newborn without some tubes or something unnatural coming out of her. This triggered something deep inside of me, where I felt I had missed out on something that I so wanted to have, something that was deemed normal, to take photos of my little bundle in her first couple of weeks. So it was from there that I decided to give others parents something that I don't have and to have something tangible that they can cherish forever.
I want to capture these memories of your little one for you, that will last a lifetime and will be of a time in your life that is so incredibly precious.