How did this happen?

My baby is 2 years old!

What!?

“Hi – I’m 2!”

How did this happen?

How old? 2 I tell you!

How old? 2 I tell you!

When did she grow up?

Seriously!

Seriously!

And what is it about birthdays that makes us feel all nostalgic and in awe of our children? I feel like I’ve spent the month looking at her and thinking ‘wow!’

I can’t believe how clever she is, even if when she counts she misses out the number 2. Junebug knows all her colours and some shapes (hearts and stars of course). Her memory impresses me, often referring to something which happened weeks ago. She knows loads about her little world and is always telling me about what we’re doing or what she wants to do next.  Singing is one of her favourite things to do, she frequently requests the wheels on the bus or incy wincy spider and sings along so sweetly doing the actions. Frozen songs are very high up on the list of songs she likes to sing along to. All. The. Time.

Junebug amazes me with her care and affection too. She pats me on the back or smooths my hair when we have a cuddle and loves to give Daddy a kiss goodbye in the mornings. She looks after her dolly so kindly and even puts a blanket over her little pushchair at ‘naptime’ saying “shhhh baby, sleep”. She has grown in her understanding of the cat too, she knows cuddles are nice but when Bear walks away it’s a good idea to let her go. Each night as we pray together we ask who she would like to pray to Jesus for; she always mentions her best little friend and recently her auntie who is about to have a baby as well as cake, obviously.

Sweet girl.

Sweet girl.

Her love of outside is one of her daddy’s favourite things about her. Always wanting to play on her swing or slide, or just run up and down the slope in our back garden pretending to be planes. She loves checking up on the flowers she has planted or sitting in her tent reading stories to her ‘friends’.

I love her confident and friendly nature. Junebug loves going out to see friends whether a playdate or at a toddler group. We met some lovely friends at our singing group due to my funny girl running over and plonking herself down on a lady’s knee to play with her and her granddaughter. We’d not spoken before, but now we are all good friends. I hope she keeps this characteristic, it’s one I’m jealous of.

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Junebug can be a reall girly girl. She loves wearing ribbons or clips in her hair and she likes it when she can wear a pretty dress, especially if it has pockets. Pink is her favourite colour and she loves playing with her dollies and cuddly toys. Drawing, other arts and crafts, baking and reading are all very high on her list of ‘best things’.

However, she loves planes, bikes, trains, helicopters and cars hugely! I have become an expert at deciphering between engine noises due to her interest. And she loves to rough and tumble and throw balls; so she can be a bit of a tomboy too which we love.

I feel like I’ve blinked and my little pudding has grown up! I love this stage though and am trying to savor it as I figure it will disappear as fast as the baby stage. I can’t wait to look back at this when she is a big kid and remember, and probably sob as much as do now when I look back at her tiny baby photos and memories.

So. Much. Love.

So. Much. Love.

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Pastel

Another month, another fun topic for the I Heart Faces challenge. I took this photo of Junebug last month and just love it, definitely one to print! I was doing some work on the computer and she brought her teddy in to look out of the window, it was such a sweet moment I just picked the camera up and snapped, this is just as she noticed me. I love the natural light through the window, matched with the colours it gives a beautiful airy feel.
Little Junebug has such a cute way with her dollies and soft toys, or ‘friends’ as she called them. She is always sitting with them reading or carrying them around to look at things. It makes me think she’ll enjoy being a big sister one day.

Darling girl and her teddy - both in pastels.

Darling girl and her teddy – both in pastels.

So this is my submission to the challenge this month, see other fantastic images at http://www.iheartfaces.com/2015/04/i-heart-faces-photo-challenge-pastel/.

Thanks for looking xx

Everyday life.

Hi all. I am working on a blog post of all the fun activities Junebug and I have been doing recently. I promise it will be up soon.

But for now this is another entry to the I heart faces photo challenge competition for March. The theme is ‘everyday life’ so I have gone for more of the feel of it rather than a great quality photo. This is Junebug pinching her Grandad’s toast at breakfast one day while we were staying with them. Junebug loves spending time with all her Grandparents, partly, I’m sure, because she enjoys being centre of attention and there’s always plenty of cake and biscuits around. We don’t live near by so unfortunately it isn’t possible to see them a lot but recently I showed her a photo of Grandad (my Dad) and she said “Papa” – my heart melted! So this photo is maybe an ideal of what I wish everyday life was like, more sweet moments with Grandparents.

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Everyday life with Papa.

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com
Read more at http://www.iheartfaces.com/how-it-works/grab-a-button/#eO8Ux6oEc5lzhUwc.99

Thanks for looking – Hxx

Branching out.

Life is busy and exciting at the moment. Not only is Junebug becoming more delightful and more trying as each new day comes, the weather changing and reminding us that Christmas is coming and usual family life stretching me in a million different directions. But I have been taking official bookings for ‘Photography by Helen’. I’ve decided to give it a go and share what I love doing with others. Starting up is fun; you get to design CDs, you get to offer bargain prices and you get to practise every shoot with your own child first so you get it right. It’s also scary; you have to big yourself up, you have to decide how much to charge people and you have to not act like a nervous wreck when it comes to shoot day. I’m struggling a lot with that last one.

We’re taking it slow, me and my new venture. I don’t want to race too fast and end up in a heap with unhappy customers and a neglected family. It amazes me how time consuming it can be researching locations and planning set up, getting together props and equipment and don’t even ask me about the editing! But I really love being creative in this way and hope the lovely families I work with will love it too.

Here are a few of the practise photos of Junebug before a fun family shoot in a nearby park. I think autumnal outdoor settings are my favourite, I could do some everyday. Junebug does not agree and got quite grumpy when she couldn’t just play with the bricks.

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I am looking forward to some winter snow too – imagine the possibilities! Watch this space.

Orange Leaves and Graffiti.

I’ve been quiet recently… I knew I had this post to come and was saving my time for it. This weekend I was lucky enough to be able to invite myself along to a photo shoot with some other photographers from my city. It’s the first time I’d ever done something like this so I was quite nervous but once I found my feet I really enjoyed myself. Arranged by Andy of Andy Douglas Photography there were 5 models, some vintage bikes and plenty of scenery to get my teeth into. And even more valuable… lots of other photographers to chat to, watch and get tips from.

All the photos were taken with my Sony A35; ISO 100, f/2.4-1.8 and varying shutter speeds due to the changing light and clouds, I set my wb to cloudy.

Urban feeling.

As soon as we arrived we were faced with a mega wall crammed with graffiti. Though colourful I like the extra urban feel from the black and white, especially with Jasmine and Lucy’s pale skin and dark hair. I also liked the juxtaposition of the trees and the wall.

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The wheels.

These electric bikes and scooters were a unique surprise very much appreciated, especially when I got to take one for a spin around the park.

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Embracing Autumn.

The shots I came for! I was so eager to do some photos with the fallen leaves and colour-changing trees. I love the results, Saffron’s auburn hair and striking dress added to the natural beauty of the trees.

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Hair of red.

More autumnal shots this time Amelia’s hair really stands out against the trees (I love the sweeping on either side of her face in the first picture).

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Praha

I love photographing people, especially children and families, but sometimes places can be fun to capture too. I’m way more inspired to take photos of places when I’m travelling. Maybe because that’s quite a rare thing! A couple of years ago, just after we found out we were expecting, we took an autumn getaway to Prague. What a brilliant place and amazing holiday we had, with lots of sightseeing, good hearty food, photo taking for me and beer for Luke. The days usually consisted of getting up and heading into the city to do some touristy activities and grabbing some lunch, going back to the hotel for an afternoon nap (indulging first trimester needs) and then going back into town for a meal and evening festivities. I had not long had my DSLT, shot in jpeg and edited with GIMP so please forgive the amatuerish results, I wanted to share something a little different.

Lovelocks - the bridges all over Europe are often covered in padlocks which couples write their name on.

Lovelocks – the bridges all over Europe are often covered in padlocks which couples write their name on.

A beautiful hidden bridge.

A beautiful hidden bridge.

Charles Bridge #1

Charles Bridge #1

Charles Bridge #2 I made poor Luke stay out till 1am so I could get the bridge with as few people as possible.

Charles Bridge #2
I made poor Luke stay out till 1am so I could get the bridge with as few people as possible.

A memorial for the end of communism.

A memorial for the end of communism.

Inside the astronomical clock tower. The most interesting lift shaft I have ever seen.

Inside the astronomical clock tower. The most interesting lift shaft I have ever seen.

From the top of the astronomical clock tower.

From the top of the astronomical clock tower.

Charles Bridge #3

Charles Bridge #3

The John Lennon Wall

The John Lennon Wall

I couldn't resist including this one - one of my favourite photos of me and Luke!

I couldn’t resist including this one – one of my favourite photos of me and Luke!

Buckets and Spades

We had the joy of discovering the brilliant End of Pier Delights yesterday at the Leicester City Festival. A fabulous, free, fun, family orientated event set up with a pop-up beach (!),actors and activities right in the middle of town. We popped along in the morning so Junebug could enjoy the sand and I could practise a bit of street/event photography. I’m pleased with the results so I hope you enjoy them too.

This lady was a joy to watch – she tried everything to get the children joining in and make them laugh. I especially liked how she got down onto their level to interact.

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These guys told stories from inside a big metal whale…

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Children could make a junk-model house to add to the Spark Village.

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The Revenge of Mr Trout was an interactive play with hilarious moments.

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Junebug playing in the sand.

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We were lucky enough to miss the rain and Junebug fell asleep on the way home – signs of a great time. Thank you Spark Arts for Children.