Teaching my daughter all about PRIDE and identity this month, it’s so important that she feels safe when it comes to talking about sexuality and that she is comfortable in herself despite the different environments she will be in. It got me thinking about my own experiences growing up, I have always been fairly open about my sexuality but only to those I’m most comfortable with. Most people don’t know the first person I ever fancied was actually a girl…but the environments I was brought up in was that you went off and got married to a man and anything else was weird. I went to an all girls school, I never knew of a single lesbian in that school in the time I was there….well that felt safe to come out. I feel like I had the privilege and option of boys to distract me from my feelings towards girls so that’s the way I went. I can’t even imagine what my lesbian peers were going through at the time and each time I see another girl from my school being open with her female partner on social media, it makes me smile. I still feel like my sexuality is nobody else’s business, but it’s important to share the fluidity of sexuality and the importance of this platform and having a voice so that our children will never have to grow up feeling like they’re weird because of feelings. I sure as hell will not let my daughters suppress theirs 🏳️🌈
I’ve not slept longer than three hours since the day you were born, and my house is always a mess. Don’t even get my started on what I’m wearing today, let’s just call my old nightie a dress…
You whinge when you want something, you whinge when you don’t, you whinge all hours day and the night. You follow me around like you haven’t seen me all day, but I’m pretty sure I’ve not left your sight.
Now you’re tugging my pants while I’m trying to go for a wee, please could you just leave me alone for a minute? I’m trying to do my teeth, attempting a shower or bath, the next thing you’ve helped yourself in it.
Finally nap time comes along, time to fit the chores in and dare I wish for a well deserved cuppa? And as I sit down for a minute, with some cake and a book, a little voice from upstairs cries out ‘Mamma!’.
Most of the days are the same, eat, poop, sleep, repeat, and you don’t know which one to do when. I spend the day cleaning up something I’ve cleaned a thousand times before, singing the same nursery rhymes again and again.
Tea times a laugh, I thought baby led weaning is great, I now realise I forgot what this means. It’s meant to help you eat, instead you use your feet, painting all over my kitchen with beans.
Now it’s time for your bath, I won’t lie it gets wet but still a second to rest, so I think. But that sweet girl in bubbles, did a big messy poop, surely by now it’s time for a drink?!
It’s time to wind down, it’s going a little too well, until your sister starts sofa jumping for fun. Have children they said, it will be fun they all said, as you dream of that spa day for one.
Bedtime comes, getting you to sleep can be good, you’ll drift off holding your blanket so tight. But then sometimes you’ll cry, I try to leave you just scream, I guess that’s me by your side for the night.
Motherhood is a mission, it’s exhausting and messy, it’s something they didn’t teach me at school. But when you’re finally asleep, my heart fills up with love, and I think ‘I’d do it all again’ mum bun and all.
After sharing my photographs recently and my feelings on how I feel taking my photograph now compared to before having children, I started the #mumsgetinthephotograph project. Since then I have been interviewed on BBC Radio Devon with Caroline Cook (listen at 2 hours 10 minutes), had a lot of interest nationally and most importantly so many mums joining the Facebook Group and Instagram sharing their wonderful photographs with them being brave getting in the frame! I have noticed so many mums saying the same thing….’I wish I had taken more photographs when I had the chance’ and ‘I wish had a different mindset about my body’. Now I don’t have a quick fix on how to make you feel better about your body or how you feel about having a photograph taken, but I do know photography and maybe I can share some of my skills to help ease you into getting in the photographs more.
Here are just a few ways to just get you in the photograph, now remember nobody actually has to see them so why be scared? The best thing I ever did was just start getting in the photographs (and not just selfies) I started to look at myself more, understand how to pose to make myself feel better and once I started sharing my honest photographs, I have received nothing but positivity and I really feel by doing so I am helping others change their mindset over having their photograph too.
Here are just 6 simple ways to take a portrait with your loved ones!
1. Self – Timer
Most of us have smart phones or cameras which have a self timer mode, usually this can be set to about 3 or 10 seconds which is enough time to place the camera somewhere steady and get in place. Go for the 10 second timer until you have got the hang of it, you’ll need more time than you think!
Pros – These can be done without asking anybody else, perfect for those who want to be a bit more discrete.
Cons – It can take a few attempts to get it right, and depending on distance you may have to run to your spot!
TOP TIP – Look through your camera settings before doing the shoot as sometimes the self timer can be hidden or can reset after shooting.
2. Ask your partner/family member/friend to take a photograph
Now this isn’t everyones first choice especially if you are not particurly comfortable in front of the camera. The action of having a viewer can sometimes create an effect that automatically makes you tense up (remember the good old days of saying ‘cheese’ for the awkward school photographs). By using a loved one can help you feel more comfortable.
Pros – The person taking the photograph will be able to get the compostion right and tailor the image to suit you.
Cons – You can’t see the photograph straight away so may revert to old photography habits tensing up etc.
TOP TIP – Get whoever is taking the photograph to make you laugh, talk about what you’re going to have for dinner or even just play a word game to put you at ease.
Tripod’s don’t have to cost much, you can get them for both cameraphones and cameras and they can just be set up where the photographer would stand. These can be used both indoors and outdoors!
Pros – These again are great for those who want to be more discrete, but people who have little more confidence in carrying a tripod around!
Cons – They can cost a bit depending on what you want and they can be quite heavy to get to your destination. Also depending if you have a lightweight one, if there are fairly strong winds you may need some weights to put at the bottom.
TOP TIP – I find this easier to take a practice shot with the rest of the subjects in the photograph first to see if the composition looks good and then I can slot into place once the timer is set.
4. Remote Trigger
Remote triggers are really useful because they allow you to photograph straight away without having to wait around, you can buy them on Amazon for your camera or even an find app from your phone.
Pros – Gives you control of when you release the shutter, and means you can take the photographs without anybody else.
Cons – Getting focus can be tricky sometimes but this can again come with practicing.
TOP TIP – Practice, practice, practice and stock up on batteries!
We all take selfies with the kids, they are still photographs of moments at the end of the day!
Pros – They are super quick and ready to hand.
Cons – This can be pretty limited, and not always get the backdrop as well as your faces in.
TOP TIP – Invest in a selfie stick to give your photographs a bit more atmosphere.
6. Hire a professional
Now again you may be thinking gosh I don’t want anybody to photograph me, but this is what professionals are meant for. It’s not all just about the editing, it’s about the photographer’s people skills too. I spend my life photographing couples and families who tell me they are a little bit uncomfortable with the camera and it’s your photographer’s job to put you at ease! Just talk to them and explain your concerns, perhaps more candid, natural photographs are your thing which a good photographer will be able to capture no problem! Search around but if you are local to me either in Devon/Cornwall/Scotland, send me a message and we’ll get you in those photographs!
Pros – This takes the pressure off, you don’t have to think and you can pick up tips for posing in future. By investing that little bit extra you’ll get amazing professional photographs.
Cons – You have to set aside a time to do this, some photographs can be quite booked up so book early in advance!
TOP TIP – Think about styling and flattering clothes for your images, if you feel good then this will come across in your images.
Now hopefully you like one of these ideas, and if you try one of the ideas above, please share your photographs on our Facebook or Instagram if you are feeling brave and use the hashtag #mumsgetinthephotograph
I really love finding new ways of making the things we love to make, like cupcakes for instance. I told April we would make some more cupcakes during the holidays together so thought this would be a good way to combine some foraging as well as baking…..I first discovered Gorse in the South West of England although they grow well up here in Scotland just a little bit later. I have read about foragers using gorse flowers for wine and beer and I decided to see what else I could make out of these and if possible to store for the future. Researching, the most common theme in recipes seemed to be making a gorse syrup to add to things such as cakes, pancakes, cordials etc so I thought this would be a good start and we set out for some gorse bushes that we have spotted on our daily walk.
Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a very common shrub that can be found in heaths and cliffs and is noticeable by it’s beautiful yellow flowers with very green prickly leaves. If you have not come upon a gorse bush, you will be pleasantly surprised by not only their vivid yellow beauty but when you get up close or crush the petals in your fingers it smells just like coconut. If you eat them raw also they have the slight taste of grassy almonds.
TOP TIPS FOR GORSE PICKING
Pick Gorse flowers in Spring time and only where there are many to pick, leave the rest for the wildlife!
Be prepared to walk, gorse bushes tend to grow in places that are hard to get to.
Be patient, Gorse bushes are very prickly and you cannot quickly pick them…you can try to wear gloves but you may struggle to get at them.
Try pick the whole flower and not squash them too much.
Take a good basket or tub to catch them to make quicker work.
Once collected make sure you rinse the flowers thoroughly to get rid of any little creatures!
WILD GORSE SYRUP
100g Gorse Flowers
300g Caster Sugar
Put the sugar and water into a medium pan and bring to the boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place the clean gorse flowers into the pan and boil for a couple minutes more, take off the heat and set aside overnight or for 6 hours at least.
Bring the mixture to boil once more for 10 minutes for a stronger flavour and then set aside to cool.
Use a muslin or fine sieve to drain the syrup into a sealed container, this can be used straight away or stored in the fridge for up to a month.
WILD GORSE AND COCONUT CUPCAKES
2 x Eggs
110g Golden Caster Sugar
110g Self Raising Flour
2 tbsp Gorse Syrup
25g Desiccated Coconut
Pinch of Salt
200g Icing Sugar
2 tsp Gorse Syrup
Gorse Flowers for topping
Heat the oven to 180 degrees and fill a cupcake tray with 12 cases (this recipe may make more!)
Beat the butter and sugar together, you can do this by hand but it’s easier with an electric whisk.
Add the eggs in slowly so not to curdle until the mixture is even and soft.
Sieve the flour and bit of salt to the mixture stirring it constantly.
Add the gorse syrup (I added 2 tbsp but you can add more or less!) and the dessicated coconut until even.
Using two spoons, spoon the mixture evenly into the cases probably around half way giving them space to rise in the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven until golden brown and use a tooth pick/skewer to check they’re cooked evenly (it should come out clean!)
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing sugar, pour the icing into a bowl and gradually introduce some water, the consistency is key for topping. If you add too much water in you will flood the cupcakes, you need the consistency to be thick that gradually moulds over the top. Add some more Gorse syrup for flavouring if desired.
Once the cupcakes have cooled down, place a small amount of icing onto the top of the cupcake and circle it around in your hand to let the icing drip evenly, place a small gorse flower in the middle and set them set.
WILD GORSE GIN COCKTAIL
Indian Tonic Water/Lemonade
Fill an ice tray with some gorse petals and add water only half way, let this freeze. Once fully frozen, repeat and fill to the top with more petals and water so the flower petals are even throughout the cube.
Fill up your glass with petal ice cubes, your favourite gin and around 5 tbsp of gorse syrup (or as much as you like!)
Add either Indian tonic water or lemonade if you prefer something sweeter…
We love Cornwall and there are just so many great beautiful places to visit, and even though we have been down this area for years there are still so many places left for me and April to go. A regular place for us to visit is the Eden Project as it’s only an hour away, we pay for a local’s pass which means buying just the one ticket and going back for free within the next 12 months and we definately make the most of it. Eden is the perfect getaway to be around nature and learn more about plants, fruits and much much more.
The main attractions are the two biomes, a Mediterranean Biome and a Rainforest Biome both with different characteristics and beautiful things to see. The Mediterranean Biome is the cooler of the two and we always find new things depending on the season particularly the fruits and vegetables, this time round they had different types of tomatoes growing on the vines and we watched one of the team clean the budding Citron trees by hand. Last christmas there was an amazing lightshow in here at night with beautiful music, check out here for upcoming shows and events.
The Rainforest Biome is the warmer one, we recommend wearing clothes that are loose fitting, no jeans and to take some water with you. The higher you walk, the warmer you get but there are cooling points and various water fountains dotted about. Don’t miss the canopy walk or the cloud bridge as this is where April spends most of her time having fun with the other children and occasional adult! As well as seeing amazing plants such as the Cacao trees, bananas, learning about palm oil and how rubber is made, these biomes feel like stepping into completely different worlds and particularly for those who don’t go abroad this makes you feel one step closer.
Moving onto the food it is simply amazing, I always reserve some extra pennies just to have a meal here as I am never disappointed, their own grown veggies are fantastic! We also recommend having their ice cream too which is just delicious, check out April’s picture for once without it around her face!
We will be visiting again very soon for Chrismas time as their grotto is the most magical experience around by far and would highly recommend anybody looking for an authentic and unique experience for their family this year. They also have an ice rink to slip over together with all the family, hehe!
Another lovely time with my girl and nature, we even bought another foliage plant to add the collection. Please go visit if you haven’t already or visit again soon and we shall see you amongst the plants!
Golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset and is a photographer’s dream, the light is so beautiful and flattering and has a dreamlike quality…just perfect! I spend most Saturday’s after photographing weddings chasing sunset’s for beautiful photographs and today on a rare day off I managed to spend the evening chasing the sunset with April in beautiful Devonport Park, my favourite park in Plymouth.