“It’s the most..wonderful time...of the year!” I always love that Staples commercial, even if I don’t agree with the sentiment! (I wish summer holidays would never end!) However they are going back and for us in Wokingham tomorrow is the day!
Same Time, Same Place
If you can, take a photo in the same place each year. This could be by your front door (very popular), under a favourite tree, or the end of the driveway. When you look back you can really see how much your child has grown and changed each year!
Try a Shot from a Different Angle
Most portraits are taken at eye level, but another flattering angle to try is from above. This emphasizes their smallness and (we should be so lucky!) if the sun is out you’ll capture some lovely catch lights in their eyes.
Talk to Them
If your kids are anything like mine, they are not exactly co-operative when it comes to natural smiles for photos. So try to make them laugh! Pretend you’re an OTT fashion photographer, think Austin Powers - “Yeah baby!” Or come up with your own silly ideas! Also if they are at all nervous about going to school this may help them relax.
Take a Close Up
Focus on their eyes, you’ll see how much their features change as they get older each year.
That’s it! Good luck to all the kidlets, hope you have a fantastic year!
It’s the summer! The kids are now off school, and whether you are going away or having water fights in your back garden you may want to take a few snaps to remember it all! Here’s a few tips (and a few rather old snaps of mine! Good thing my kids don't read this or they might be slightly miffed with me!).
2. Take More Than One Photo
The beauty of digital photography is that you can take several similar photos and select the one you like best to keep. Burst mode is great for action shots too. Just remember to delete the extra ones, they do eat up the memory!
3. Take Photos of Your Everyday
Baking cookies. Playing games. Chasing each other. All of the things that make your family unique are the most important things to look back on, not the fact that you visited a famous landmark and took a selfie there.
4. Shoot from Their Eye Level
My eldest is now about 6” taller than me but while they are still shorter than you, get down to your child’s eye level to take their photo.
5. Get In Some Photos Too
Don’t be the ghost. I’m very guilty of this one myself but get in some photos too, whether you use a tripod, a dreaded selfie-stick or get someone else to take the photo. It’s important.
Do you ever wonder if all the hassle of organizing a vacation is worth it, or is it just me? From checking passport dates and renewing them, trolling the internet for the perfect location, then there’s packing for everyone...UGHHH!! Plus this world we now live in safety is also a big consideration. There are several places we’ve taken the kids that I’d think twice about now (Egypt and Turkey for example).
In some ways it is getting easier as the kids are a bit older. (They are now almost 14, just turned 12, and almost 10.) They don’t need car seats and other toddler paraphernalia anymore, and they would be perfectly happy to wear the same clothes over and over all week! In other ways it is more difficult. They all want to do different things and us parents are just embarrassing.
Either way, a change of scenery is always good and travel broadens our horizons, so off we go. The best thing though - doing absolutely nothing productive. Sitting reading a book all afternoon (in between siestas), eating food bought and prepared by someone else. When you’re at home there’s always so many things that need doing that you never really relax and unwind. Plus the memories of adventures last a lifetime.
Actually, it is worth the hassle. You come back well rested and ready to take on life...and the unpacking!
Every year by the end of June I’m ready for everything to stop. School and all the other activities that consume our lives stretch that bit too long. The helping with homework. Constant taxiing to clarinet, rugby, football and swimming. We still have 4 weeks of school! Imagine how the kids feel!
Another year of milestones reached, time slipping by. People say all the time about how fast time goes, and definitely certain things I look back on fondly but I honestly wouldn’t want to go back to broken sleep, constant diaper changing and all the demands of having babies for anything in the world. We’ve certainly moved on from little people issues and on to much bigger, scarier issues. (Am I the only one that didn’t know that laughing gas is a thing? And let’s not talk about those fruity, child-attracting e-cigarette flavours!)
I consider my kids to be tweens now. My middle one just turned 12 last week, eldest and youngest turn 14 and 10 in about 3 weeks. We’ve all survived another year and more than that they’ve all made real progress with their various pursuits. I am very proud of them all, and I can’t wait for the school year to finish to celebrate!
I’ve got family visiting from Canada at the moment - my mom’s annual visit and my second cousin’s first European tour. A couple of days ago I took them both to Windsor Castle. While we were there I couldn’t help but notice that so many people were going through the motions of what they thought they should be seeing, without actually experiencing it. Several (rather rude) tourists pushed to the front to get a photo of the changing of the guard without listening to the band, or really understanding what was happening. Even more people brushed past Queen Mary’s Doll House without more than a tertiary glance. They had no appreciation for the details and work put into it by the many designers and craftsmen of their day.
Why do people feel the need to tick the box to say they’ve been somewhere without actually taking any of it in? What is more important - ticking a box or living an experience? We all need to embrace life while we can, because who knows what’s around the corner.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Viktor E Frankl
Today in the UK we are facing change. Sometimes change brings about great things that we never thought would be possible. Conversely when change is not for the better, just enduring the challenges makes us stronger in the end. Whichever side you fall on from today’s outcome we can all agree we are facing some turbulence in the coming months (or longer) before a firm plan replaces today’s uncertainty. I’m reminded of another quote that I think is very apt (not sure where I first heard it): “Things always work out in the end. If they haven’t worked out, you’re not at the end yet.”
I attended the Digital Imaging Show recently and discovered some new photo products that I was really impressed with! I think you'll like them too!
Next week is ½ Term here in the UK, which means all the kids have the week off school! Unless you are lucky enough to be jetting off to sunnier climes, you are probably thinking about how you can keep your darlings off of their electronics all day! I’ve been having a think myself, here are a few local ideas that you may or may not have already considered.
Saturday May 28 - This Girl Can - Loddon Valley
Sorry boys, all activities are FREE and open to women and girls of all ages.
FREE taster sessions in boxercise & kettlecise & legs, bums and tums & zumba & yoga (programme subject to change).
Massages and beauty treatments
No booking required - just turn up.
10am - 1pm.
Saturday & Sunday May 28 & 29 - Truck Fest South, Newbury
While the girls are getting fit at Lodden Valley, the boys can go look at trucks! (I know, it’s a stereotype! Sorry!)
SATURDAY: 9am - 5.30pm
SUNDAY: 9am - 5.30pm
ICE ROAD TRUCKERS LISA KELLY & TODD DEWEY JOIN US AT TRUCKFEST SOUTH, AS WELL AS TELEVISION STARS RONNIE & AMY SHIRLEY FROM THE HIT SHOW LIZARD LICK TOWING WILL BE JOINING US IN 2016
Saturday May 28 - South Hill Park Theatre - Don’t Dribble on the Dragon
A children’s musical, with magic!
Monday May 30 - Carnival in the Park, Prospect Park
The Caribbean comes to Reading!
Reggae Soca Soul DJ Music
Live music acts and dance workshops
11am - 7pm.
Tuesday May 31 - South Hill Park Play with Clay (8-12 year olds)
South Hill Park in Bracknell is an excellent facility that I don’t always remember to check out. They’ve got several child-friendly activities on over ½ term. This is one for the creatives out there! When the kids have had enough, there’s beautiful grounds and a playground outside!
Wednesday June 1 - UK Wolf Conservation Trust
Wolves aren’t exactly a common sight in the UK (there aren’t any in the wild) so if you’d like to learn a bit about them, Wednesdays are visit days! There are regular guided tours through the day. Also the raised platform overlooking the lower enclosure affords great photo opportunities and at 2 PM it's feeding time for the wolves (the local red kites will usually be seen soaring overhead too!) We have never been there, this is completely copied from their website. Maybe see you there, I’ll be the one taking loads of pictures!
Thursday June 2 (or any day!) - Visit the Chocolate Factory, Wargrave
Did you know there is a chocolate factory in Wargrave? Neither did I!! It’s at Sheeplands Farm. They do parties, team building, guides/brownies (hmm...Beavers?)
Saturday & Sunday 4-5 June - Dinton family fun weekend - Running all day from 10am to 4pm, this is a fantastic chance to have a go at many watersports and land activities. We went last year and it was so much fun! Every activity lasts 15 minutes and costs £2 per person! The weather wasn’t the greatest last year (rain of course) and there weren’t a lot of people there. Sad for them, but great for us! Many of the activities went much longer than 15 minutes!
Saturday & Sunday 4-5 June - South Hill Park Food Festival
Hopefully this has you considering some new ideas! Before you know it ½ Term will be a memory, and for many it will be into exams! Good luck to all!
As parents, we all want the absolute best foundation for our children so that they grow into happy, functional adults who can contribute positively to their community and society as a whole. A big part of this foundation is school.
Lately, I’ve felt very frustrated with the state of the education system that my children are stuck with. Don’t worry, this post is not going to be a rant about all the issues I’m concerned with. I know many of parents local to me already share my views, so why preach to the choir! Instead, when one of my children comes home feeling frustrated and helpless, I want to be armed with some inspirational quotes to help them see past their current problem and focus on the big picture. So without further adieu, here’s the quotes.
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
– C.S. Lewis
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
– Dr. Seuss
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh
We all must make the choice between what is right, and what is easy.
I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.
– Art Williams
When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “PLOT TWIST,” and move on.
You are allowed to scream. You are allowed to cry. But, you are not allowed to give up.
Make yourself proud.
– Peter W. Smith
Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.
– Dr. Seuss
If plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
– Marilyn Monroe
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
– Nelson Mandela
Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more: believing in yourself.
– Harry Potter
Raising a confident, self-assured child is incredibly difficult today. As parents we should be doing everything in our power to make sure our children know that they matter.
One often overlooked and yet obvious way of giving our children a sense of importance and pride in the family is to display family photos. If a picture really is worth a thousand words, imagine how wonderful your child feels when they see their own portraits displayed around the home! If all your family pictures are on your cellphone, or a USB drive stashed in a drawer somewhere, what message do you suppose that gives your child about their importance and role in the family? Our little ones are precious little people who need reinforcement when it comes to self-confidence.
Some Psychologists and experts also recommend displaying photos next to your child’s bed, so it can be the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they see to start their day.
If this isn't motivation enough to print your photos, I don't know what is.