{The Ordinary Moments 15} #31 'My Camera and I'

on Sunday, 02 August 2015.

I was sat in the garden of my Dads house yesterday, we had gone over there for the morning to see my Grandparents who were visiting from Wales. The girls were running around in the sunshine, we were all just chatting and relaxing at the table, and my 93 year old Grandpa turned to me and said 'The only thing is there is something missing today- where's your big camera Katie?'

It made me smile, firstly because he called it my big camera which is actually what I call it too, and secondly he noticed that I wasn't snapping away- usually if the weather is nice and we are outside, the camera will be there too. The funny thing was it actually was in the car I just hadn't bought it in yet, every time my Grandparents are here we take a few photos of them and the girls as I absolutely love capturing those memories. In a slightly morbid way, they are 93 and 90 and I just want to capture every single memory I can.

nanagrandpa july15a

I ended up taking this photo, but it got me thinking about my camera and my love of photography. It's a running joke on both sides of my family now that if we are having any sort of special occasion, or sometimes even just utterly normal days too, then my big camera will be there. And if I haven't bothered to bring that then no doubt I will take at least a couple of photos on my iPhone instead. It's just become completely normal to me to take photos every single day, mainly on my phone more than anything else, but I guess that's our generation- we snap, share, take and preserve memories more than ever before.

I have always been 'the one' who likes to take photos. At school and then at uni, I was the one snapping every single moment of our nights out, so much so that my friends wouldn't ever bother taking their cameras out as they knew I would have mine and would capture the memories for us. Every time we went out at uni, bearing in mind that would be a few times a week, I would buy a disposable camera to take out with me. Even though I had a digital camera, I loved that feeling of going into Boots and getting them developed- we would spend ages laughing over our drunken antics and things from the night that we had forgotten.

In my final year of uni I met Mr E and we became great friends. He was quite interested in photography and on one holiday to Dubai with my Mum I decided to invest in my first DSLR while we were in duty free at the airport. I still remember being so excited about having this big camera and while we were on holiday I artistically shot photographs of cocktails and the beautiful surroundings of our hotel. When I got back to Leeds I got it into my head that I wanted to go back to university and study photography as I was at a little bit of a crossroads over what I wanted to do with my life. Luckily my parents said that was just not going to happen, at least not with them funding it, so that crazy idea never got put in place.

For a while I took lots of photos with my DSLR, but I didn't really know what to take them of. I had this lovely big camera but didn't really know how to use it, just using it on auto with the flash, and I didn't really like the results I was getting with it. I wasn't interested in taking photos of buildings, or nature, and so while I still took them of friends, eventually I got a little bored and so my DSLR went under the bed.

Fast forward a few years and Mads was born. For a while I still used my regular old compact digital camera as I was still in that period of time where you would go somewhere and then upload 112 photos to Facebook of your day out. (Does anyone else remember those days?!) But after a while I dusted off the thick layer of dust from my DSLR and got snapping. 

For ages I snapped away on auto and then I started to get more into blogging and sharing photos, so I wanted to learn how to use my camera more. I started trying to teach myself how to shoot in manual and I think that's when my love of photography really exploded. I loved sharing my photos on my blog, loved taking photos of the girls and loved the buzz of when I took a lovely photo. I was suppose it was a little bit of everything that made me love taking photos- the fact I had my blog, the fact that I genuinely love photography and the fact that of course I was recording so many moments of my childrens lives. It genuinely has become one of my biggest passions.

I dread to think how many photos I have taken over the years. I go through 'phases' with my big camera, sometimes I won't get it out for a couple of weeks, preferring to use my iPhone, but on a holiday I may take up to 600 photos. Most of those I delete after we get home, I am quite ruthless with deleting them as you don't need 20 photos of the same scene, but I just love that I am capturing so much of our family life. Of course, my camera isn't out constantly, that wouldn't be much fun at all, but usually I take a couple of photos at the start of whatever we are doing, a couple in the middle and a couple at the end, and that generally works for me. Every year I make huge photo books of our year as a keep sake, although I still haven't made 2014- it's a mammoth job and I just don't have time at the moment, I really need to start making it. 

I hope that when the girls are older, they will really appreciate having these moments recorded and I know when I am old and grey, I will love looking back at them all as well. I am so thankful to blogging for in part helping me capture these memories, of course I would have taken them anyway if I didn't have my blog, but perhaps I wouldn't have learnt to use my camera properly, or gone off to do certain things as a result, or perhaps take quite as many photos as I do now- and I am sure lots of other bloggers would agree with me.

I couldn't possibly pick a favourite photo out of all I have taken, in fact I couldn't probably even narrow it down to even twenty, but I thought I would set myself a little challenge to find fifteen photos that I really love- I wouldn't say they are my favourites of all time, but they are pretty high up in the ones I love. I have a photography page on my blog where I put photos I love on that has more, but here are fifteen of my favourites from over the years...






hiring bikes4


a trip to scarborough8





stockholm 2015j



I love that my love of photography and of blogging has helped capture our most ordinary moments.

Me and Mine: A Family Portrait Project 2015- July.

on Friday, 31 July 2015.

It's the last day of the month so time for the usual exclamation of the fact that the month has gone so quickly. But it really has. July, like the rest of the year, seems to have passed us by in a blur. I cann't believe that tomorrow brings us the beginning of August and therefore ever nearer to September and Mads starting school. In fact, this time next month we will only be a few days off her beginning the next chapter of her life. Of all our lives.

We made a little pact at the start of the Summer that we would enjoy a lovely Summer with our girl, free from structure, before we settle into a life of school runs and a more rigid routine. We have certainly done that in July, enjoying a long weekend in Stockholm, some quiet family weekends and some impromptu days out. Indeed, I filmed a week in our lives last week, which I am now doing once a month- I think it will be lovely to watch them back when the girls are a little bigger.

I was originally going to use a photo that we took in Stockholm for my 'Me and Mine' photos this month, we climbed up to a viewing point and while we were there a kind tourist asked if we would like a photo taken. The problem was LL had literally minutes before fallen asleep in the buggy, we actually didn't want her to sleep as it was getting near bedtime so we woke her up and got her out for a photo. Cue a rather grumpy little lady who didn't particularly want to look at the camera!

The beauty of Mr E working from home, well indeed both of us working from home, is that we can have impromptu afternoons out as long as we both catch up in the evening. So yesterday I decided that we were due a trip to the lavender farm, where we took our family photos for this month. We have visited Hitchin Lavender the last couple of years, yesterday being our third year, and I love that it has become a little yearly tradition of ours.

However this is the first time we have managed to capture some family photos while we have been there, someone kindly took one for us last year, but this year we were organised and took the tripod with us. I took SO many photos which no doubt I will share next week, but here is my little family in July...

meandminejuly 15 1

This is my favourite one. I just absolutely love it, I just love the happy giggles and the smiles on the girls faces. 

meandminejuly 15 4

Even though I have a remote I still don't use it for some bizarre reason, so I kept setting the self timer and running down the narrow lavender path, jumping over Mr E to get in place in time. I can't believe I didn't get stung by one of the many bees buzzing around going about their business.

meandminejuly 15 2

We were really lucky that the lavender field was so quiet, with only a couple of people taking photos right next to us, they then left and we were the only ones there bar the odd member of staff.

meandminejuly 15 3

I really am so pleased with these photos, obviously with two small children you never know how they are going to react to going somewhere specifically to take photos, but they were both having so much fun and really enjoyed running up and down the lavender, and at the end we didn't want to go home so sat and had an ice cream and a drink in the little coffee shop. It's such a beautiful place and has become such a lovely little tradition for us, so I am pleased I have finally got some family photos of us there too.

This month I am sending you to go and have a look at Alex's beautiful blog. She has just had her new little boy Logan a couple of weeks ago and so her Me and Mine photos for this month are no doubt going to be beautiful.

A Week in our Lives- July 2015

on Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

A couple of months ago I started filming one week out of our month. I absolutely love doing them, in fact I wish I could do them more, but they take so long to film and edit that I think it would end up being a chore for us all. However once a month is absolutely fine and I love that I capture snippets of our day to day life through video.

Last week was the week I decided to film and to be fair it wasn't a normal week for us at all. We are involved in a new campaign for Cath Kidston and on Wednesday a team of seven people filmed us at our home all day. Cath Kidston is a dream brand for me to work with, so it was such a surreal and exciting day, and I am really excited to see the footage when the campaign comes out. I was really nervous before hand as obviously normally you don't have a team of people filming you in your home but the team were all so nice and friendly, and we all loved having them there for the day.

Then I also went on a spa day with my good friend Alison and fellow Space In Your Case colleague after she was invited to test out a Clarins facial. We went to Ragdale Hall, which I have been lucky enough to visit a few times now, although it was Alison's first visit, and I had a really relaxing and lovely break with her.

Other than that it was business as usual, just day to day life, apart from Sunday I got to go on a Mummy/Daughter date with my number one girl. It is exceptionally rare for me to get to spend any one on one time with either of the girls, especially Mads, and I had the most wonderful afternoon with her. We went to the cinema to see Inside Out, the new Disney Pixar film and it was fantastic- I definitely recommend it if anyone is looking for something to do on a rainy day. It was one of the best films I have seen in ages and I actually am embarrassed to admit I cried- at a cartoon!

I really do love filming and editing these weekly videos, they are definitely my favourite to do, although they take so long to edit. I love it though, I find editing them and finding music to fit so much fun and actually quite therapeutic. I was getting really into making it the other night and then realised it was 1am- oops. Still I love that we will be able to look back on them all when the girls are grown up- I wish I had started them sooner. I still can't get used to speaking on camera, especially when I am out in public (we tried doing it in the cinema and the couple behind us gave me the strangest look) but hopefully that will get easier!

This is the longest one I have made, I wanted it to be shorter but I didn't realise how much I had filmed. Hopefully you will get to the end and if anyone has any constructive feedback, I would really appreciate it. It's all still quite new to me!

Here is a week in our lives for July 2015....




My previous Week in our Lives videos-

June 2015

May 2015

February 2015




{The Ordinary Moments 15} #30 'Can I Wear My Boy Jeans?'

on Sunday, 26 July 2015.

Whenever anyone meets Mads for the first time there are a a list of phrases that I can almost guarantee that they will say, that generic ice breaker list that you generally say when you meet a young child, more specifically a girl for the first time. 

'Wow don't you have the most beautiful long curls?'

'What's your favourite film- is it Frozen?'

'Don't you look beautiful in your outfit today?'

'Whose your favourite Princess- is it Elsa?'

'What's your name? Oh it's Mads- that's a beautiful name?'

I love people taking the time to talk to my daughter, strangers taking a moment to talk to her when we are paying for our groceries in the supermarket, or old ladies talking to her when we going about our day to day errands in the post office. It's well meaning, kind and a nice thing to do, and it's a shame it doesn't happen more nowadays. But unfortunately any one of those phrases doesn't guarantee the most welcoming response with my slightly shy four year old- you see she doesn't do the whole 'girly' thing. She doesn't want to be beautiful, she wants to be cool. She doesn't like princesses, she loves superheros. She doesn't really want to confirm to the typical stereotype that's been placed on her, she wants to find her own way. 

For more than a year or so, Mads has shunned the traditional 'girly' things little people aged four are 'supposed' to like. It started with clothes- her declared hatred for pink which is still strong even now. 'Pink? Yuuuuuuck' she used to say when I pointed out clothes that were any shade of pink, instead she went for bright, bold primary colours and blues. Skirts and dresses that were laid out for her in the morning were often greeted with tears in the eyes and a wobbling lip 'I don't want to wear a skirt Mummy, I want to wear my 'boy jeans'- which quite simply weren't 'boy' jeans at all, but just a pair of bog standard blue denim skinny jeans.

I remember a while ago one of my closest friends got married and I was bridesmaid. I needed to be with the bride on her special day, but at one point Mr E rang me to say that Mads was absolutely hysterical about putting on her pink frilly dress and white pumps. Literally hysterical. We got cross with her for it, she was playing up on a day when we needed her to behave. But the reality is I wouldn't feel comfortable in something that wasn't 'me' so why should we have expected her to? Since then we have started letting her choose her outfits- slogan tee's were in, as were the odd outfit from the boys department, bright bold colours, and caps and hats, and all the pretty frilly stuff was out. Nowadays she will wear a skirt or a dress, sometimes even asking to wear one, but it really depends on what she deems suitable. Skirts and dresses are ok on her terms. And I am ok with that, I love her quirky sense of style, how she expresses herself through what she wears, and how she is learning to shine just by being herself.

After the clothes came the expressions. Beautiful was not a word that she wanted associated with her. 'I don't want to be beautiful Mummy, I am cool.' Or even sometimes 'My sister is beautiful, I am cool.' She turned her nose down at being called 'cute' and 'pretty'. Again as she has got a bit older she has started to understand a bit more. Sometimes I forget and I say 'Oh you look beautiful Mads'. Because she is. She's my beautiful daughter. I want her to grow up feeling secure and confident, just as my Mum and Dad did with me. I want to compliment her, make her believe that she is able to do anything. I want to make her feel confident about her appearance, her abilities, her skills and her achievements. But she will still turn to me and say 'I am beautiful AND cool.' And that's good enough for me. 

She has boy friends and she has girl friends. Granted her friends are mainly boys, but that's more to circumstance than her choosing. She has a best friend at nursery who is a girl and I often hear of stories they have created in the play ground. She was most excited about her new school because she learnt the uniform was blue, and once she cried because she received a princess party invitation and didn't want to go to a princess party, she wanted to go to a superhero one. I used to think of this as perhaps 'just a phase' she was going through. But now we are learning to except that if that is the way our little girl wants to be, then that's just our Mads.

And now Mads oblivious fighting back of gender bias has spread through to almost every aspect of her young life. Princess toys, pink plastic rubbish and pretty, sparkly necklaces that have been bought for her by well meaning family or friends in the past have been tossed aside for Toy Story characters, Spiderman, cars and aliens. And we are just embracing it. My Mum will buy her slime, or Trash Packs or any other strange looking things in the supermarket when she buys her a little treat every now and again. Mads isn't hugely aware they are for boys and not girls, bar the advertising she sees on TV.

She just likes what she likes. 

And I like that she is passionate. I like that she knows her own mind. She is my beautiful little girl, with her long unruly curls and her long eyelashes framing her big blue eyes. But she is my beautiful little girl who is unique, feisty and who is happier not conforming to the typical things that some aspects of society tell her to like at this point in time. And I LOVE her for that. One minute she's running around pretending to be Spiderman while telling her little sister she is Spiderbaby, and the next minute she's playing with my ear and telling me that she 'loves me so much and that I am her best friend forever.' She's truly one of the most affectionate little people I know, always wanting to be close to us, and always giving kisses and cuddles and sitting on our laps non stop. 

I never went into parenting or motherhood thinking I needed to follow rules. If my daughter is happier being this way, then so be it. I never want her to grow up feeling like she can't be who she wants to be, that she has to conform. To me she's a perfect mix. That perfect mix that makes her who she is. So while she wants to be dress up as Woody instead of Elsa, I'll be right beside her being Buzz. I'll always respect, support and be proud of her choices.

And if you happen to see my little girl and say 'What's your favourite Princess?' and she pulls a funny face at you, she's not being rude. 

She's just being her.

My beautiful AND cool daughter who just happens to really, really dislike pink.

raising a tom boy

I took this photo of her yesterday and I just adore it. I love that you can see the freckles starting to appear on her nose. 

raising a tomboy1



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