The Little Bookshop bringing businesses together

Help for Kids is a local charity providing support to disadvantaged children in the Dundee and Perth area. Fundraising takes place throughout the year and Christmas is no exception. Each year they hold a toy appeal with donation drop of points throughout the local area.


Fiona, of Fiona’s Little Bookshop donated a whopping £1300 worth of books this year with the support of local businesses. By working with Warddykes Primary School in Arbroath Fiona has been able to make each donation go further with 60% extra in free books to Help for Kids.

My kids LOVE books, the escapism, the knowledge and the adventures. I adore this quote from author Matt Haig-

“Aren’t bookshops strange, sitting there with quiet menace as if they were just a shop and not an entry point of 30,000 different universes?”

My two children are 9 and 4 years old and every night there is a bedtime story (or three!). It’s part of our bedtime routine and has helped create a culture of reading and love of books. Not all children are as fortunate to own books of their own, is this is gift you would like to give?

This is the first year I became aware of Fiona’s book donation and I’m now down to be a donor next year. It’s never to early to get your name down. Life can get in the way and intentions slip, get in touch with Fiona below if you are interesting in contributing to her next book donation for Help for Kids.

Fiona Sivewright, owner of Fiona’s Little Bookshop

Fiona Sivewright, owner of Fiona’s Little Bookshop

Tell us a bit about you-

I'm Fiona and I live in Monifieth with my husband and 2 children. I have been running my own Usborne business for 6 years now.

Tell us about your business-

Independent Usborne Organiser and team leader

What inspired you to start your business?

The opportunity to work from home running my own business to fit in around family life and allow me to work part time after having my children

What products/services do you offer?

Usborne books are suitable from birth to young adult. I am basically a mobile book shop. I travel around schools offering book fairs, I also do personal shopping parties and various events such as the Dundee flower and food festival, plus local school and charity events etc

How did you become involved with the Help for Kids?

I have always been aware that there are so many children that live on our doorstep that go without. I have always supported local toy appeals but when I started with Usborne I realised that I could help by running a book appeal, it's gradually built up over the years and I hope to keep it growing in the future to allow a lot of local children to be able to receive a book for Christmas. I know the ladies that run the help for kids charity and knew that we could work together to do something.

Why is it important to you?

Having children of my own that love books, I can't imagine a childhood without the magic of books and the fact this can be done at Christmas is even more important. These children will see friends receive gifts and they should be able to enjoy the same experience of Christmas. No children should ever have to grow up without gifts at Christmas time.

Email- fivalencia@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/fionaslittlebookshop/

£1300 worth of books delivered, Fiona hopes to increase this amount each year.

£1300 worth of books delivered, Fiona hopes to increase this amount each year.

Fiona & Stacey, the Charity Manager for Help for Kids

Fiona & Stacey, the Charity Manager for Help for Kids

Here are all the amazing people behind this years £1300 book donation.


Park View Nursery, Dundee & Lily Pond Nursery, Arbroath

Steph and Cheryl run Lily Pond Nursery in Arbroath with their new nursery, Park View Nursery, to open in Dundee at the start of the year.

Cheryl

Cheryl

We feel it’s important to promote Literacy with Early Years. This helps enhance children’s vocabulary, concentration, and helps them understand different topics about the world and everyday life.
— Lily Pond Nursery, Arbroath

Make Do Kangaroo

Lynsey runs fun art and craft pre-school classes in both Broughty Ferry and Monifeith

Lynsey

Lynsey

I feel a Painting and a Book are so similar. Both tell a story, both can spark your imagination. Children can get lost in both and find another world.
— Lynsey

MMG Archbold Chartered Accountants

MMG Archbold Chartered Accounts have offices in Dundee, Montrose and Forfar. Help for Kids is their nominated charity and as such fundraising and collections have been ongoing throughout the year. You can find a run down of all the amazing support they provide over on Aileen’s blog post, Why we support Help for Kids.

Aileen

Aileen

We support Fiona’s Little Bookshop through our connection with Help For Kids and we do this in the hope that some disadvantaged children in our local area might find joy in the magical world of stories.
— MMG Archbold Chartered Accountants

The Hair Lounge

The Hair Lounge are a unisex hairdressing salon based in Murraygate, Dundee.

Martin

Martin

I like to support local kids charity since becoming parents we don’t like to see kids go without.
— Martin

Family Photo Room

Dominika is a newborn and family photographer based in Dundee.

Dominika

Dominika

I decided to support Fiona’s book appeal as I remember being a child and getting a book for Christmas and it being one of the best presents ever.
Both of my boys love to read and I love to see the excitement on their faces when they get a new book. It’s fantastic when they want to tell me all about the book they have just read.
Every single child deserves a present under the tree for Christmas and I’m happy that my donation could be a reason why they would smile on Christmas Day.
— Dominika

Govan Optometrists

Goven Optometrists are a family run opticians with offices in Dundee, St Andrews and Anstruther.

Photo credit Goven Optometrists

Photo credit Goven Optometrists

Reading is so important for kids, so anything that promotes it is worthy of support. Free NHS funded eye exams make sure your wee ones are seeing well so they can enjoy their books.
— Iain

South Powrie Farm

Based in Dundee, Thomas and Susannah rear free range KellyBronze turkeys for Christmas. Their website is full of great information including cooking and carving instructions alongside some yummy recipies!

Thomas and Susannah

Thomas and Susannah

Reading is such a simple and rewarding pleasure whatever age you are. It can take you into a world of facts, fantasy or other lives. We would always choose to give books as when you are young books can be shared and bonded over with family, teachers and friends. If you have that love of books, as you get older they are a place to escape to any time, anywhere and to discover more about the world beyond our doorstep. This is an excellent appeal driven with brilliance by Fiona, and we love to support it.
— Thomas and Susannah

CSC Interiors

CSC Interiors supply and install feature walls and ceilings, shop fitting and office and home renovations.

Craig

Craig

It’s great to be able to play a part in bringing the joy of reading to some kids in the community.
— Craig

Ballooning Marvellous, Dundee

Gillian over at Ballooning Marvellous supplies balloons for all occasions, from a thank you balloon to corporate events.

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I decided to make a donation to Fionas book appeal as I feel it’s a great cause and every child deserves a present and I think a book makes a wonderful gift for a child, as it’s opens up their imagination, and helps with their development.
— Gillian

Lumilo Casting Studio, Dundee

Lumilo Casting Studio specialises in creating beautiful life castings.

Photo credit www.lumilocastingstudio.com

Photo credit www.lumilocastingstudio.com

I have young children of my own and believe in the importance of reading from a young age so I was honoured to be part of the book appeal. There’s nothing better than helping others at Christmas, and when it’s local children it’s even better.
— Lucy

This is my last blog post of 2018 and with it I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🎉 Here’s to an amazing 2019!

Is professional family photography on its way out?

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Mobile phones can take amazing photos on auto, why bother paying a professional photographer?

The camera you have on you is the best camera to have. Yes, I'm a professional photographer and yes, I encourage parents to take photos of their kids.

I feel documenting your life and your kids life through photographs is an amazing thing to do. I also help parents with the "technical" side of things to improve the photos they take whether that is with their own camera or a mobile phone. If you can get great looking photos yourself, the question that remains, does that mean professional family photography is on its way out?

Why should you take photos yourself?

Life is busy and the older I get the faster the years seem to speed by. We're juggling so much that when we stop to look back and scroll through the photos we've taken over the years we smile at the memories but also feel that pang, how the kids were, how they've changed, how much they have grown. You remember days you might have otherwise forgotten.


Take the photo, take the photo, take the photo.

Yes I totally took a picture of a toy T-Rex and Finlay asked me to take photos of his socks!

Yes I totally took a picture of a toy T-Rex and Finlay asked me to take photos of his socks!

It is amazing that technology gives us this gift. I remember being a kid and getting disposable cameras and sending them away in a green packet for a pound to get them developed not knowing if any would come out. Now we can take a photo at no extra cost with a device we normally have close to hand. We can see if it’s a blur and take it again, we can take 4k video, take slow mo videos of jumping in puddles or the faces of pure joy when our littles ones are pushed high on the swing. We can share all of this via our phone to family and friends, we can even share it all with the world via social media. We have the ability to document our lives in a way we never did before and that is an amazing thing.

Back them up!

Google drive or iCloud may cost a few pounds a month and I know it's unlikely something happens to your phone but what if it does?

Phone contracts are one, two, even three years long. Imagine you have a year of your kids life documented and you lose your phone or it just gives up one day-how do you feel? Helpless, regretful, why? Because our memories fade and photos are a real and tangible. Live your life, take the  photo and make sure those photos are safe, they are not something you can put a price on until they aren’t there anymore.


Why hire a professional photographer?

With high pixels and instant results you are pleased with, why should you consider a professional photographer? If you have a look through your phone you see photos of your kids, selfies with them, photos that make you smile (photos worth backing up and keeping safe!). So really the question is, what’s missing? What can I bring to your family photography? Yes as a professional I understand light to make beautiful images, I invest in my equipment to produce high quality images but there is more to what I do than the technical aspect.

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What I really bring to the table to the ability to capture the laughter and connection for your whole family and yes, that means you too! You know those moments when you hold your little one close and they just sink into you, when all feels well with the world and you are holding in your arms your absolute everything. That is an example of a moment that you can’t take a selfie of. Photos that not only you and your kids will look back, but your grandkids too.

My family sessions are directed, I don’t put you in front of the camera and expect anyone to “act natural”. There are cuddles and silly faces, there are tickles and holding hands. There is interaction between you and your family, there is connection, and that is when the smiles are real and memories that go alongside of that are priceless.

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Professional photography is an investment and it’s not something everyone wants to invest in. People see value in different things, photographers all have different styles and different perspectives. My style is not right for everyone but for some people it’s the perfect fit.

If you see the value in professional photography find the photographer who is your perfect fit. It may not be me but there is someone out there who can photograph your world in a way you want to remember.


Would you like to give the gift of photography to someone you love?

You can buy gift vouchers here!

All vouchers purchased before Christmas will be valid until the end of June 2019.

Halloween events this weekend in your local area

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There is no doubt about it, it’s Autumn, it’s dark (remember the clocks are changing this Sunday!) and it’s cold but before we get anywhere near Christmas it’s Halloween!

There are lots of events on this coming weekend and at the time of writing this it looks like it will be a dry weekend too (fingers crossed!). No plans yet? Let me run through some of the local events and you can see if any take your fancy!

  1. Wand Workshop, Crombie

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On both Saturday and Sunday this weekend you can attend an hourly session to make your own wand!

“Explore your inner wizardry by designing and decorating your own wand in time for Halloween. All materials are supplied but you maust cast your own spells! 

Hourly sessions from 10am till 3pm

£5.90 Adult
£4.30 Concession

Book your tickets online or contact the Park for more details on 01241 860360 or crombiecountrypark@angusalive.scot”

Also, between now and the end of the month you can take a walk round Crombie and look out for the hidden spooky characters on their Ghost and Pumpkin Trails! Don't worry, I was up last week and people weren’t hiding behind trees waiting to give you a fright (that’s when I’d find out how fast I could really run!) so definitely family friendly and fun for the kids to explore and keep a look out for ghosts and other spooky characters.

You can buy a trail form from reception for £1, the event is free.

2. The Brownie of Ferne Den & The Den Fiend, Monikie

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These are two separate events in association with Monifieth Amateur Dramatics being held this weekend at Monikie.

“In a time, once, long ago, when fairies and bogles lived among us, there was one magical creature who used his powers for mischief. But Farmer Angus and his wife Jeannie have a kindness that is catching, and perhaps the mischief maker can use any powers to make that world of old a better place.

Has your sock gone astray? Did that door slam with no one there? And who was that tapping on the window?! It could have been...The Brownie of Ferne Den!”

This is an open air theatre event lasting 45 minutes, make sure you wrap up warm as it kicks off when the sun is down at 6:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Click here for full information and links to buy tickets. We might see you there!

The Den Fiend is on at 8pm-9pm on both Saturday and Sunday from ages 14+. You can find out more information on the event here.

3. Halloween at Glamis Castle

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From having a read about this weekend at Glamis Castle it looks pretty spooky! If you have been in previous years it would be great to hear from you, I found The Sixth Sense film scary so it doesn’t take much to give me a fright!

“Please be aware that the Haunted Tour, the Bewitched Wood and the Adults Only Halloween Tour feature dark surroundings, frightening ghosts and spooky stories. Parental discretion is advised.”

You can find more information and book tickets via their website here.

4. Craigtoun Halloween Event

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“Numbers are strictly limited so don’t miss out –
call our Ticket Office on 01334 472013 to book yours now!

Tickets cost £7.50 per person (adults need a ticket too but under 3s are free)
and include a hot or cold drink, a Halloween sweet treat and a ghostly tractor ride,
as well as a kids disco, party games, spooky story telling, letter trail,
lantern competition and fancy dress parade.”

You can find some photos from previous years events on the Craigtoun website here.

5. Halloween Storytelling, Barry Mill

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I love walking up by Barry Mill, they have different events on all year round so it’s worth keeping an eye on their facebook page. This event is on Sunday at both 5pm and 6pm (45 minutes long).

“Come & listen - if you dare! Halloween was a time for storytelling around the fire like no other! We want you to come along and experience spooky, funny and occasionally gruesome tales in that tradition.Our corn drying kiln is perfect for this as you'll be sitting above a giant 'cauldron of fire'!

Tickets;
Child £4
Adult £5
Family (1 adult and up to 3 children) £10

Available online and on the eve itself subject to availability

For reasons of limited space, only one adult can accompany the children into the storytelling area - but we do expect that all children must be supervised inside or outside of the haunted tower. Recommended ages 6+”

You can find more information here.

Do you know of any other Halloween events this weekend you would like added to the list? Let me know!

A beautiful sunny morning at Tentsmuir Forest, Fife

If you love to be by the sea and love to walk through the trees (two of my favourite things!) you can get the best of both worlds at Tentsmuir.

The plan of the morning was to go for a walk and capture these two adorable brothers exploring and playing. We made room for some cuddles and giggles too! Here are a few of my favourite images from their session-

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At 10am the late September sun was filtering through the trees and creating beautiful light in this perfect little spot so this is where we started before we went walkabouts!

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Off at breakneck speed we went to explore and found…

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We also went for a quick play the park where there were some serious climbing skills on display!

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Interested in buying a photoshoot as a gift for family or friends? Check out my gift voucher page here!

The local business helping you make a big difference, Sea No Waste, Arbroath

The local business helping you make a big difference, Sea No Waste, Arbroath

Our store is completely plastic free for the customer. Any Product that is in packaging is fully biodegradable or can be composted, even our till stickers are eco friendly.

We hope that our store can be a catalyst for change in our county and highlight the need for more business to be more aware of recycling and if their are alternatives out there.

An at home baby photo shoot, Angus, Scotland

Families often prefer to be photographed outdoors but when it comes to little babies photo shoots they are held at home in the cool shade of a summers day or cosied indoors on the colder months.

At home you’re in your own environment, with your photographs personalised to your life as it is in that moment. You’re not having to travel and pack up nappies, a change (or three!) of clothes and everything else that goes with venturing out with your little one (whether they be a newborn or 6 months old!).

I love at home sessions for both babies and families. Not only are the photographs a snapshot of the people and their connection at that time of their lives but also their surroundings, of home. A big benefit is also that you can have a photo shoot at home rain or shine and during any month of the year!

I was contacted by Laser Vision Scotland recently who had run a competition giving away a baby photo shoot as a prize with the winner living a short drive from Carnoustie. From there I got in touch with the winner, Emma and arranged to visit her at home with her baby girl who was 6 weeks old at the time.

Emma and I had a chat on the phone before we met and I walked through what the session would look like, that feeding and changing while I was there were likely as baby sessions are baby led, that we could have a cuppa and a natter, take our time and capture some beautiful photos of them both at home.

Emma suggested we use her rocking chair towards the end of our time together and I am so glad she did as those are some of my favourite images from her session!

Thank you Laser Vision Scotland for entrusting me to be your photographer and to Emma for welcoming me into her home and allowing me to share her session images with you all.

Big yawns!

This is Zeus, he was very sweet!

Nearly asleep….

Sweet dreams little one ❤️

Are you interested in a newborn, baby or family photo shoot? For instant access to photo shoot information and FAQS click below!

A relaxed at home Newborn Lifestyle Session on a sunny June afternoon

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing this little baby boy, his big brother and his mummy at their home.

I absolutely love lifestyle newborn sessions and I have been looking forward to sharing some of my favourites from this session with you!

For more information on newborn lifestyle sessions you can download my newborn session guide in the freebies section (link at the bottom of this blog post).

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You can download your copy of my newborn session guide here!

Balmerino in the Autumn, a Mummy & Me photo shoot

Autumn seems so far away now Summer it's way but before we know it the leaves will start changing, the days will be getting darker and the magic of October sessions will be back!

I hadn't been to Balmerino in many years and I didn't know about this path going from the beach and through the trees by the river. This was a place Claire and the kids loved to visit so it was a natural choice for their photo shoot. The kids were happy and relaxed showing me the way through the trees and over the little bridges. There was plenty swinging on a rope swing, lots of giggles and a fair bit of fun in the Autumn leaves as you can see below!

The sun started to set towards the end of the photo shoot giving a gorgeous warm light over the final images-If you hadn't realised by now, I LOVE sunset!

Here are some of my favourite images from this session-

Interested in giving the gift of photography to friends and family? Check out my gift vouchers here!

We think we're not enough, do our kids agree?

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I have an exciting video project in the pipeline and I am looking for volunteers, let me explain-

Your day has been manic and it’s not even lunch time. Your youngest managed to get yoghurt all over the carpet while you were frantically looking for your house keys you “put in a safe place” to be able to get out to nursery on time. You feel frazzled, unorganised, you’re running late and feel like you’re not managing adulting very well let alone parenting. Ok, that was me last week....

Sometimes you feel like you’re on top of everything and it’s great. You feel like it’s manageable and wonder why it was ever a struggle. Then it all goes a little bit mental and you wonder how you ever managed to keep on top of everything. 

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We all have self doubt when it comes to parenting. We worry because we care, because we love our children more than anything else in the world and we want the best for them. Unfortunately we can feel our best isn’t good enough. Let me tell you this, you are enough, even if you don't feel like it.

Think of your kids. What do they think about you? What do they love doing with you? Do you know? 

You fiercely love your kids no matter what (now is a good time to link to this book, my voice always goes when I read this to my kids!) and they love you back unconditionally. 

They love that you make them laugh. They love when you chat to them walking along the road. They love when you build that awesome looking tower out of duplo even if they do take quite a bit of joy in pushing it over. They love it when they get to play on their own or with their friends and they love that you are there when they need you.

 

You are their everything and you’re doing good.  

 

Yes we all learn every day on how we could have handled things differently. We talk to other parents, read books and articles online about having more patience, about how to raise our kids to be confident and a whole manner of other things to help us do the best we can for our kids. I'm not saying our learning as parents stops or we're all perfect. I am saying you are doing your best, you love your children and you are doing a good job.

My video project involves short interviews with mums and their kids. It involves asking kids ahed 4-6 to describe their mum and what they love about them. Successful participants will receive the final footage of these mini interviews as a thank you. If you are interested in taking part please fill out this application form and I will be back in touch!

 

 


 

 

Playing in the mud at Crombie Country Park, Angus

Crombie Country Park, Part 1

The weather this Easter holiday hasn't always been on our side for getting out and about. Sunday was a beautiful sunny day so we headed off to Crombie Country Park with the kids for a walk around the Loch then a play at the playpark there.

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There were lots of opportunities to run, hide behind trees and balance on the ones that had been cut down (that was a firm favourite!).

It had been raining the day before so there were also a few muddy patches. I hadn't foreseen the impact that would have...

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Quite quickly Finlay discovered some muddy sections and was not keen to move on. We moved on from mud patch to mud patch until he found a really good bit with thick squelchy mud, fell on his bottom, got back up and stomped and splashed about some more and refused to leave his little patch of heaven. 

We were still near the beginning of our walk and it had taken quite a lot of negotiation to get that far so we decided to head back the way we came and head to the play park. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses!

I'm working on incorporating video clips into my personal work. For a super quick slideshow and some muddy footage check out the video below-

We will be visiting Crombie again soon as I love the walk there and the kids really love looking out for wildlife (there are swans!) and playing at the park. Fingers crossed we get a little bit further along next time and I can photograph and film more of it to show you.

From April through to the end of September car parking charges apply (£2.80) so remember to bring some change!