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-

Check out this short quiz to find out which photo shoot would suit you!

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!

 

Why you should consider a sunset session

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As a photographer it is my mission to find good light so I can create gorgeous images for my clients.

When the sun is high in the sky you get harsh shadows and the bright sun can cause people to squint their eyes so finding some shade is a must.

Here is an excerpt from the free download 5 Top Tips to improve your phone photos of your kids-

You can see above the difference it makes finding some shade. In the top photo Jaime is squinting and you can see harsh shadows on her face. On the bottom photo Jaime has nice even light over her face and she can open her eyes, makes for a much better image!

Sunset is a popular time of day for photographers to shoot because the sun is low in the sky and can give a beautiful golden backlight to your images. You can backlight your images at any time of the day but you keep more detail in the photograph at sunrise and sunset and the light has an extra special quality that I absolutely love.  

Open shade on an overcast day Tentsmuir, Fife

I love the light in the photograph above but do you see the difference between this image and the ones below?

morning sun, backlit, Backmuir Wood, Dundee, Angus

 

 

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The thing about living in Scotland is we can't guarantee a sunny sunset! Although there is always the possibility it may be overcast if you love this light like I do it is certainly worth thinking about when you schedule the time of your session.

We might not all love the shorter days but it does mean that as the sun sets earlier in the day families with  young children can take advantage of this amazing light before it gets too late past bedtime. 

 

Family photo shoot in Wormit, Fife

I grew up in Wormit and was excited to go back for this family photo shoot, I remember lots of beautiful sunsets by the Tay!

It was a little chilly and quite windy down by the shore when we arrived. The sun was due to set in a few hours and it was still pretty bright down by the bay so we went for a little walk while the sun was going down in the sky.

We walked up to the play park then followed the "back road" to the railway tunnel that had some gorgeous light which is where we captured these photos of the boys.

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I do take "looking at the camera" photos but I love when mum or dad can get the laughter started just off camera!

We walked through the field back towards the bay with the sun just going down behind the hills. I love how the light from the sun just peeks over the hills and backlights everyone walking through the long grass. Sunset is my all time favourite time to shoot, we were a bit early for it here but the hills stopped it from being too bright and gives that sunset feel.

Wormit family photo shoot field sunset
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When we got down to the shore we were quickly reminded of how windy it was, this frame caught Laura's hair at the perfect time!

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 When you give your mum the BIGGEST squeeze!

When you give your mum the BIGGEST squeeze!

This final images is one of my all time favourites, there is a lot of love in that hug! 


I am now open for sessions this year and I have 2 sessions left for over the Easter holidays. download your free session guide here.

 

An impromptu beach clean and a personal plea

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Monday was a beautiful day here in Carnoustie so Andy and I decided to go out for a walk while both kiddos were at school in the afternoon. We were going to have a walk around Crombie but after driving near the beach and seeing how gorgeous it was we headed along the cycle path from Carnoustie towards Arbroath. I had no plans on taking any photos but as always I had my phone in my pocket, I'm glad I did.

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We have lived in Carnoustie for 8 years and in that time I have never walked from Carnoustie along towards Westhaven and Easthaven. We have walked to Easthaven to Arbroath but that's another story!

The beaches here are beautiful, a mixture of sand, stones and rock pools. I love living by the coast and being so close to the beach. The walk along the cycle path was lovely and one I will be doing more often, I love walking by the sea!

Maybe it was because we didn't just find one spot to stay in as we usually do in the summer, or maybe because we didn't have the kids with us so our eyes and attention could be elsewhere but I started noticing litter on the beach. Once I noticed a bit of plastic or general rubbish to pick up I couldn't seem to stop noticing it.

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Within a few minutes my hands were full and I couldn't carry anymore. We hadn't intended on going to the beach, if we had I may have had the forethought to bring a bag for a beach clean as it was something I had wanted to do for a few months. I felt disappointed at not being able to pick up more. You could say I was fortunate to find a huge, thick plastic bag lying on the beach and I turned it into my rubbish bag.

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In addition to plastic bottles and beer cans I found plastic lighters, aerosol cans, tupperware, a golf ball, plastic gloves, plastic bags and a toilet brush to name a few. This was all collected in about half an hour on a small stretch of beach. 

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The reason I am sharing this with you is to raise awareness. I had intended on taking the kids for a beach clean later in the year but I have to admit I didn't know our local beaches could be so full of plastic. We all want a better world for our kids, be the change you want to see in the world. If we all do a little it can end up being a lot. So I ask if you can pick it up, please do.

As a family we will make a walk on the beach a more regular occurrence, enjoy the fresh air, run from the waves, build sandcastles, look in the rock pools and while we are keeping our eyes peeled for shells we will also be on the lookout for litter and we won't be leaving it behind.

Carnoustie Beach Park photo shoot on a sunny March afternoon

Carnoustie beach park photo shoot

It's still a little chilly out at the moment and the weekend is set to bring a bit more cold and maybe a little snow but fear not, Spring is on the horizon!

I do love snow and cosy Winter days at home but I have to admit I really love when we start to get more light and the seasons start to change. Clocks go forward soon (Sunday 25th of March) and sunset will jump forward to just after 7:30pm and will be nearly 8pm when we get to the Easter holidays!

If you haven't already been to Carnoustie Beach Park-it's awesome! It is right next to the beach, close to Carnoustie Golf Hotel and is a big hit with the kids.

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The great thing about having a photo shoot in a park is that while the kids are busy climbing and playing it gives me the opportunity to photograph them being themselves. The key to natural looking photos is to get the kids involved in an activity or conversation and parks are full of things to do!

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5 Birthday party ideas in Dundee for older kids

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You want to hold a birthday party for your child, you don't fancy holding it at home this year and you're thinking Dundee is nice and central. What options do you have? The kids always love soft play but you're looking for something different now they are getting a bit older. Have a look at these 5 ideas for your kids birthday party in the Dundee area.

1. Ancrum outdoor centre

Fancy an outdoor party? Ancrum outdoor centre have six different birthday party packages and includes an option for dry slope skiing starting from age 5+, indoor target archery from ages 8+ and dry slope snowboarding and introduction to climbing from from ages 12+.

You don't need a birthday as an excuse to take advantage of their facilities, check out their course calendar to see what's coming up or pop over to their facebook page to follow their goings on.

 

2. Dundee Science Centre

My kids love the Science Centre and I am considering this option for Jaime's birthday this year as I know she will love it! You follow the Science Centre over on facebook here.

They currently have the gross lab recommended for ages 4+ and a CSI mystery party recommend for ages 6+. Head on over to their party page for more information and free invitation downloads.

 

3. Ice Skating at Dundee Ice Arena

Ice skating is something I think I did a couple of times as a kid and never mastered but I remember it being a lot of fun! Dundee Ice Arena offer kids birthday parties at the weekend during the public skating session times. These parties are suitable for ages 7+ and are for 7-20 children. You can find out more information and contact details here and you can follow them on facebook here.

 

4. Go Karting at Scotkart

Scotkart have locations in Cambuslang, Clydebank and Dundee and offer kids birthday parties suitable from age 8+. Ages 8-13 use the Junior Track layout with ages 14+ racing on the full adult track. For more information head over to their website here, their Dundee facebook page is here.

 

5. Cinema party at the Odeon

Can you image being a kid and having a private cinema showing?! Yes the Odeon offer this but if that sounds a little crazy they also have packages for the kids weekend screenings (family films not currently on release) and blockbuster birthdays (current releases). You will need to contact them for pricing information, you can check out some FAQs and details here.

 

There are lots more options in and around Dundee, is there somewhere in particular you would recommend? If so I would love to hear from you!

P.s When researching this blog I also noticed there are two trampoline parks due to open in Dundee this year. Looking at their websites they will also be available for kids birthday parties. I'm looking forward to checking them out when they open!

Family photos at Backmuir Wood, Angus

Backmuir Wood Dundee family photo shoot
I cannot recommend Catriona enough. She took the most beautiful photos of our family which included 3 year old twins and 2 dogs! If she can cope with all of that she can cope with anything! Beautiful natural photos in our favourite setting. Thank you Catriona!
— Heather

Backmuir wood is found between Muirhead and Liff, just outside of Dundee and was the setting for this lovely family photo shoot back in October. 

We meet up in the morning, the sun shining down through the trees on an unusually warm October day and went for a walk through the woods.

The twins climbed onto rocks in the clearing, hid behind trees playing hide and seek, hugged while going round and round in circles, held hands with mummy and daddy and looked at the different leaves on the trees. A great walk with lots of opportunities to photograph them both playing and being themselves.

I love the smiles and the laughter. I love how the light filters through the trees and the colours of the Autumn leaves on the ground. It was hard to choose which ones to show you on the blog but here I have picked out some of my very favourite images from their session to share with you.

Do you have a favourite place where you would love to have your family photographed?

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