Monday, 28 December 2015

Lessons Learnt

I bloody love a new year. I'm aaall about the planning, the goals, the resolutions and most of all - the new. I literally strive for a goal and a plan. I also love this time of year for reflection too. Looking back on our photos of 2015 made me realise not only that the children have blossomed and grown so much this year, but that I have learnt so much over the months as well.

- I have learnt that by putting on a face of make up and enjoying what I wear does make me feel good. And no, I am not ashamed. Yes, I do think we should unite as women and not have to do these things but if it makes you feel good, then why not? I am all for going for whatever makes you happy.

- I have learnt that social media is the route of all evil. I don't think I need to elaborate on this! It has so many pros, but the cons far out way it for me and I am a happier person for not being on it so much. I dare you to try it too!

- I have learnt to accept the difference in people. I will wholeheartedly admit that I really used to struggle with other peoples opinions that were completely different to mine. I guess this is an age thing too, lets face it I am still 12 (so many of my friends like to tell me.) but it really has dawned on me this year how much I am just letting go when a year or so ago it would bother me a lot.

- I have learnt that you can't false creativity. This year has been an odd one for me in terms of creativeness. Especially when it comes to my photography. When looking back at my photos of this year it really stood out to me how uncreative they were. There was nothing I had gone out of my way to create and that really does reflect my mood of the year, I wasn't in a great place for the most part of 2015 and as much as I said to myself I would get some real crackers, I just didn't. You can't pretend to be creative, it has to be from within and I know that is massively cliché but it is so true. 2016 i'm going to vomit creative all over you.

The consensus is that I think I have grown the fuck up. Thank you 2015.

Char x

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Favourites of 2015

As we near the end of the year one of my favourite things to do is reflect. I can't lie and tell you this year has been amazing, because it really hasn't. I'd go as far as to say it has been one of our shittest years to date since having children. Yet when I flick through our photo albums the pictures don't portray that. Its funny how in a single millisecond you can capture a smile but behind the scenes there is heart ache, stress, anger and grief over things that haven't even left our lives. And that is the beauty of photography. Those seconds, minutes, hours, that we are going through so much anger, the children are still nose-scrunchy-smiling and carrying on their care free lives and we have that all recorded. And when I think about it that way, I pat myself on the back and give myself 10 parenting points this year for not letting it all get to them as much as I have let it all bother myself.

So lets turn this around and look at all of those smiles and how much they have made this year soo much happier than it would've been had we not had the absolute pleasure of having them in our lives.

Scrunchy noses, sun kissed cheeks and eye squinting smiles are all part of our year this year and here are my favourite photos to round things up. They are not fancy, massively photoshopped or arty. Just a little bit of us in a lot of photos.

2016, we are ready for you now. With open arms and open hearts. Please don't let us down!

(Warning - Grab a cuppa before you scroll, it's a long one!!)

Char x

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas Activity List

In previous years me and the children have written a mini bucket list over the holidays. We did one for Easter last year and they absolutely loved crossing things off and deciding what to do the next day. So after seeing my sister in law's Christmas bucket list we decided to do our own too!

We adore this time of year and I'm adamant that the lead up will be as stress free as possible. So here is our do-able bucket list for the festive period.

- Bake gingerbread biscuits
- Visit Father Christmas at the garden centre
- Go to the farm
- Have a movie night with popcorn (duvets downstairs included!!)
- Make some treats to give to neighbours and friends
- Make Christmas cards for family
- Go to Panto!
- Make a dried orange garland
- Make toffee apples
- Take some family Christmas pictures
- Video the Christmas week(s)
Oliver also wants to add on go to the Zoo but that is highly unlikely!!

The baking side of things is the main thing I struggle with. I don't 'do' baking with all 3 kids at the same time because I find it unbearably stressful! Joe is the complete opposite and loves it so I am determined to banish all the fears and get baking with them this holidays!

We will no doubt add to it as we go along too!

Be sure to check back on my youtube channel in a few weeks for our videos.

Char x

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Exist in photographs

I C A N N O T stress enough how important I think this subject is. I am going to start this post by saying I will try my upmost to not preach but when I feel so passionately about something it usually comes across as either patronising or rude. So apologies in advance ;) It has a heartfelt meaning behind it!!

When I look at (the very few!!) pictures of myself and siblings as children one thing for sure is I am ALWAYS drawn to pictures that my parents are in. And I bet its the same with you reading this too! There is nothing better than having a giggle at those 90's perms, the patterned trousers and full fringes! I have written about this before but I am going to write about it again because I think it needs focus on it more than ever right now.

I see so so many friends, acquaintances, strangers, saying how much they need to lose a bit of weight or need to get their hair done etc etc etc. I photograph so many families with at least 85% saying 'can you get mainly the children and just one with us both in?' or I approach the subject and it is instantly met with 'Oh gosh, no!! Just take some of the children!'. or even 'Please can you make me 3 sizes smaller!!'.

Let me ask you this, when you look at photos of you as a child do you instantly think 'Wow my mum looks a bit chubby around the waist?' 'Oh gosh, she didn't even get her roots done before this picture was taken!!' No. No you do not!! You see the smiles, the holidays, the memories and your childhood. And that is exactly how your children feel about you and exactly how they will see it in 10, 20 years to come. They will be so grateful for the pictures and so thrilled you captured them growing into little adults.

I know now that the reason behind me feeling so strongly about this is because I don't have many photographs of me as a child to which I have been recently told by mum is because they 'forgot'! I don't have many pictures to analyse and compare to my own children and I do not want that for my brood and I don't want that for you either! So lets get prepared to exist in photographs. If you don't feel comfortable, do something about it! But don't fret, because rest assured you don't have to show anyone if you don't want to but your children will be eternally grateful and actually, I am quite sure you will love them once you see them!

So whether its a cheeky selfie or a full blown family photo shoot, be in your photos! Get a cheap tripod and whack the self timer on, grab a stranger and get them to photograph you! Out with friends, even better! Take 5 minutes out of your Christmas Day to snap a few photos and you will not regret it.

So I have to practice what I preach. And my gosh am I pleased I did. Back in the summer I asked Georgina Piper Photography to photograph us at the ever beautiful Camber Sands. I was petrified. Completely and utterly dreading what the children would say or do, wondering if they would be complete pains and play up for poor Georgie but all expectations were smashed and we had the most brilliant time. It was freezing, windy and about to drizzle on us but that didn't put us off! Georgie is calming, made us feel so relaxed and it felt more like a good natter with a friend rather than formal portrait session. She totally got us as a family and we are all completely obsessed with the outcome. And it just so happens that the colours that seep through match our lounge perfectly, it will soon look like a shrine to ourselves in our house!!

Thank you so much, Georgina, you're fabulous. And we so can't wait to book in next year!

Char x

Sunday, 22 November 2015


I feel like sometimes I lean way too far towards the more 'proper' photographs of my children and forget to capture all the small details that in 20 years time is the one thing I will want to look back on. 

Thick eyelashes, freckled cheeks and little, still podgy, fingers.

The posed 'everyone stand and smile' photographs are great every so often but my mission to finish off the year is to capture the imperfect details too. For anyone wanting to capture their little beauties in a more unposed and relaxed approach, just focus on the little things and big things will happen! (cringe.)

Not only will it bring out your creative side, you will get some beautiful snaps too! Now I am off to start lens shopping, it has been a good 6 months or more since my last lens purchase I feel a new one is imminent.

Char x

*Disclaimer : No fingers were harmed by goats. Promise. ;) 


Friday, 20 November 2015

What I have learnt since quitting Facebook.

I will admit it, I was obsessed with social media. Completely and utterly hooked. I had made attempts to 'cut back' before but it never really worked. I said to myself so many times that I would limit the amount of time spent on it but I'm just not strong willed enough.

Not that long ago I realised that not only was Facebook (and instagram) pissing me off, it was also bringing me far more sadness than happiness. Yes it was great to connect with friends and family but I can do that via email, texting, PHONE CALLS, or whatsapp!

So here is what I have learnt in just 2 weeks.

1. I am way more productive.
This is the biggest thing for me. I used to think I wasn't that bad. But I really was. The mornings seem less stressful, the evenings I spend working I am getting things done far quicker and during the day I am getting. shit. done.

2. Going completely cold turkey was the way to go.
Deleting the app off my phone means I can't just have a little peek. I have to log on for work but only on my laptop, and I have found myself getting frustrated when I log in and see my top news feed topic and it makes me even more sure I have done the right thing. I go straight to my work page or school page and stay on that until I am finished, and come straight off. I have kept messenger on my phone as it means I can still stay in contact with important group chats.

3. It is purely an ego boosting platform.
I would say 90% of what people share and yes,what I used to share too, was purely to show off. I didn't think about it that much whilst I was on Facebook but now I am not on it, and I think about something that has happened that I would have normally shared I realise it has little interest for anyone else and actually it is purely for boasting about. 

4. The pressure of life has gone.
That sounds massively extreme. But no more feeling guilty that I haven't donated to Joe Blogg's half marathon charity or that I haven't sent a birthday message to someone I barely know or I haven't responded to an event that is happening in 2 weeks time that has little interest to me. No slapping me in the face with petition after petition. And breathe a sigh of relief. 

5.  No one is reading this blog.
This is quite an amusing one. I wasn't surprised that since quitting Facebook my blog stats went hugely down. Before, whenever I blogged, I shared the link with everyone. Now that isn't happening, I have lost the ability to shamelessly self promote but thats okay. I am fine with that.

I guess the big lesson for me is that it is totally okay to lead a private life and it is okay to not share every little detail with the world. You can make decisions without consulting 300 'friends' and you can lead a life that not everyone has to know about. And I really quite like it. Although I do REALLY miss instagram.

No pictures from me this week as I have been so busy with work I haven't had a chance to grab the camera at home. Promise I will bombard you next week to make up for it.

Char x

Monday, 16 November 2015

Fashion Christmas Wishlist

I absolutely LOVE reading about what people are after at Christmas time, especially cute ideas for the children. So I thought I would do a series of my own, starting with my fashion wants this Christmas!

First up is me. Of course. I literally have a list as long as my arm each year of things I quite fancy. It's terrible. I am terrible. But hey, if you can't have a good wish list at Christmas when can you!?

I really feel like i'm getting into my groove with fashion lately. I never used to like it that much and I think it was because I was never very good at finding things that suit me. I definitely know my body shape now and know what suits me and the colours too. I tend to sway towards block colours rather than patterned clothing and all the autumn winter colours are what suit me best (wahoo!).
Black/grey/cranberry/navy. Yum.

I decided to use Next for my day time outfit choice as their new winter catalogue came through and I loved everything in it!!

Orange & Navy Check dress / Next / £32
Cable tights / Next / £8
Grey pom pom hat / Next / £10
Grey scarf / Next / £14
Tan chelsea boots / Next / £55

I am totally digging cheque at the minute and this long shirt is right up my street. I adore burnt orange and navy together, I think the colour combo goes so well! I have been after some tan chelsea boots since the cooler weather kicked in, I may have to treat myself early with these!!

For evening wear I went with a mixture of different high street stores. With such a gorgeous dress you can really dull down your accessories. I couldn't actually find a clutch that i thought went perfectly with it but i thought this one would do, and it IS christmas time so you can't go wrong with a bit of gold!

Myleene Klass sequin dress / Little woods / £87
Close toe pointed ghillie heels / Boohoo / £30
Navy pearl drop earrings / Debenhams / £6
Gold clutch / Boohoo / £10

Kids Fashion

I dress my boys in very similar clothing although Harvey (my eldest) suits the darker colours whilst Oliver (middle) suits brighter colours.

Navy blue turtle neck / Zara / £3.99
Red Chinos / Zara / £17.99
Knit sweater / Zara / £19.99
Brown Chelsea boots / Next / £28
Grey scarf / Zara / £8.99
Bobble hat / Matalan / £4.00

I absolutely LOVE Zara for kids clothes. Especially for little boys. They are such amazing quality for a really reasonable price and they also fit my kiddies perfectly due to their very slim waistlines!

I absolutely love kids in scarves, I think it looks so adorable. I am a scarf fanatic so I guess that has rubbed off on the kids too! I was told about these hats by a client, she bought them for her kiddies and matching for them too for their Christmas photoshoot and they looked adorable. Matalan are selling these hats and 100% of the profits are going to Alder Hey Children's Hospital Charity. The campaign is called Beanie Vs Bobble and they are all gorgeous. For £4 each you really can't complain, feel warm and look cute this winter knowing you have donated to an excellent charity.

I am quite fussy when it comes to girls clothing. I am not a fan of character clothing or anything with motifs (mainly cats and rabbits!!) so I do find I look around so many shops for Elsie more so than the boys that quite often I find things in the first shop I look.

Red chord dungaree dress / Zara / £10.99
Ecru ribbed roll neck / La Redoute / £7
Knitted pocket cardigan / Zara / £15.99
Mustard tights / Zara / £5.99
Patent Lace up Boots / Zara / £17.99

I am completely obsessed with cranberry and mustard together, I know it may look a bit full on but I just can't help it!! The boots are just hilariously adorable too, I am not normally a fan of glitzy or shiny but I really love these for the winter. Elsie isn't a pink sort of girl so this outfit suits her down to the ground!

And thats that! I hope you enjoyed reading. I was going to do a mens fashion wish list too but Joe has no care for fashion at all and it would be all me wishing he would wear it... Pointless!!

Next week will be my make up and skin care wish list!

Have a great week,

Char x

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

October Favourites

October literally whizzed by, I can't believe we are in November now and the countdown to Christmas is officially ON! I am usually quite hyped about Christmas but last year I just wasn't feeling it, and this year I am pretty much the same so far. I actually find it a huge effort! We are really calming down this year on presents for the kids. We spend so much money to then spend the rest of the year moaning about the extent of toys in the house that never get played with and end up de cluttering on a 6 monthly basis.

Anyway, October is always a difficult one skin wise for me. It is right in the changing weather period and my skin really doesn't cope well with change. I have to take extra care through October and November and really treat my skin, especially on my face.

Which brings me to my first favourite this month.

Skin care

Body shop Drops of Youth Bouncy sleeping mask

I have had this since the summer but I haven't truly appreciated it until recently. This stuff is literally amazing. It says its a mask but as my skin is so so dry I use it like a moisturiser, sometimes twice a day! It has a real clingy bouncy feel which I think some people probably wouldn't like, but I love it and it sinks into my skin so nicely giving me a great base for my make up or a real nourishing feel through the night. If you suffer with dry skin at this time of year it is a MUST HAVE!!

Body shop / £22

I have also been loving the dead sea spa magik range. I discovered this range in Tesco as our local store expanded their beauty and skin care section to mammoth size and now have a real good selection of all things beauty. I was dubious as I have tried sooo many day to day moisturisers but this one really does beat all. I use the rich moisturiser which is £8.20 on feelunique and it is so soft and lasts most of the day!

I haven't been loving anything particularly different in the way of make up in October so I am skipping straight to clothing!


I have got into a real rut recently with outfits so after a trip to Primark to spruce up my autumn wardrobe I was quite excited and really loving the autumn colours and layers.

I got a couple of ribbed turtle neck tops, one in burgundy and one in black and I have been pairing them with either black skinnies or denim jeans and an oversized poncho or cardi.

I also got a couple of baggy v-neck tops, long sleeved and super soft. One in khaki and I went back again and got another one in a burnt orangy/cranberry colour as I loved them so much. They have an ever so slight bat wing and a seam down the front, perfect for hiding those extra few lbs I have put on recently!!!

Another piece I have been loving, also from Primark, is my tartan scarf. I have pretty much worn it every day and it goes with so much of my A/W wardrobe! At just £5 you really can't go wrong and it turns a boring outfit into something a bit more colourful! It is really soft and more of a blanket scarf so its really wide, and snuggly!


I have been loving stocking up on little Christmas bits this month too and I recently got these copper ball fairy lights from Sainsbury's. I am a sucker for fairy lights and I do love them around the house all year round, so I have put them around the fireplace already! They look so pretty in the evening and the kids think its super cosy to have them on. They especially love the patterns it makes on the walls!

You can pick them up for £12 in their Christmas section

And I am going to end on a bit of a random favourite.


Okay, so I haven't actually been in a store yet but we decided to make the change a month or two ago and Joe does the weekly food shop (reason 7357 why I love him.) and we both can't get over how much of a saving we are making. What usually would be a good food shop in Sainsburys for about £70-£100 is now nearer £60-£80, or less, which really isn't bad for a household of 5! The only thing we don't like so far is the sausages, and the onions have been going off quicker than usual too. But other than that, I am total Aldi convert! Wahoo!

Char x

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Autumn groove

I wrote a post a while ago about why I wasn't quite ready for Autumn, but I will now admit defeat and announce that I am LOVING IT. Probably due to the fact it has been super mild in Sussex and we haven't had many, if any, cold COLD days yet. Although the scarves are out and I even wore my wooly hat to bonfire night last week. I am officially in Winter mode and I am just about getting my head around the fact Christmas is just under 7 weeks away.

This year we are buying fewer good quality presents, and stuff we actually know they will play with and enjoy rather than loads of tat. And my pal Charlie over at Farlie Photography told me a good phrase to go by 'Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read'. That way everyone is a winner!! So that is what we are going to do. Thanks Charlie!

We have been really enjoying walking lately, we lost our way a bit in September and I will admit to not walking the pooch as often as I should. The past few weeks have been dog walk after dog walk and I enjoy it so so much. Especially in this beautiful mild autumn temperatures! The kids will always find something to play with, look for or climb and there is nothing better than walking off last weeks cakes whilst the kids are enjoying each others company so much. So a lot more walking will be happening whilst the colder weather sets in!

Here are a few recent snaps of our woodland walks.

Char x