Five minutes of fun in the park! #countrykids

Our weekends are getting more and more jam packed with stuff. Two of our girls have ‘activities’ on the weekend and they are rather incoveniently on the same day but one in the morning and one the afternoon. It doesn’t give us a lot of opportunity for spontaneity on a saturday! I also often work Friday night so it is always a bit of a challenge to try and catch up on my missed sleep.

Any time we can take to get everyone together and out for a bit of family time we try to take. Its often hindered by the weather though and recently the weather has been a bit undecided. We go from blazing sunshine to winds and rain all in the space of a few hours. It is hard to plan to do anything. So recently we grabbed the opportunity, when we had about 40 minutes in between commitments, the sun came out and so we darted out to the park. Its a local one that we have been to so many times but it us usually quite quiet which we like. The kids got on with some hide and seek games, they played with the dog, ran around and did back flips!

One of those occasions when having a big bunch of kids pays off because they all play together and reasonably well! Miracles do happen.

The OH and i got to sit and soak up a bit of sunshine for a few minutes before resuming the craziness of the day.

Doesn’t happen very often eh..

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Tree huggers!! #countrykids #Bibs2014

The trees are starting to look amazing aren’t they? Its that time of year when they really start to break out of those winter duds. With the lighter evenings as well it feels like there is a slow shift in the pace of our evenings. In the winter it can feel like tea comes soon after the end of school. But with the lighter, sometimes sunnier evenings it feels like there is loads of time before we need to start to thinking about evening routines and bedtimes. It feels nice to let those things go now. More like they way the spanish do it, although sadly without the siesta!!

One of the kids favourite things to do is to climb. Having a hardened outdoor, cliff climber as a Dad was probably always going to effect that! If there is a tree around then there will be one or all of my kids and my husband will be up it with me left holding the coats and the dog at the bottom!

A great place to climb trees is a local park, which has some grand, old trees with low, swinging branches that have probably had centuries of kids hauling themselves up onto them, scraping their knees and getting grubby. 🙂

Its lovely when the sun puts in an appearance through the leaves as well. This was one of those times when i didn’t have my DSLR with me, I have used this park many times for portrait sessions, it lends itself beautifully to family shots as there are so many places for a family to interact and play together. So it was out with the iphone and whilst the images might not have the pin tight sharpness of my DSLR they are still as valuable.  “the best camera is the one you have with you” (chase Jarvis 2010)

Good times.

I am chuffed to have been nominated for a BIBS aware again this year. Thats Brilliance in Blogging. I have been nominated in the ‘photography’ category and if you would like to go and vote for me to get into the finals then please follow this link. I am just incredibly honoured that there are folk that took the time to nominate me. thank you xx






Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


in the swim #countrykids

During the half term we went to North Yorkshire for a family get away. We had been wondering what to plan for my dad’s birthday. It was a big decade one and we knew he wouldnt be keen on having a big ‘do’ so we started hatching a plan on what to do. I did a couple of evenings surfing t’internet looking for ideas about location, what to do, where to stay..i went from city breaks (but hey…we have small kids so discarded pretty quickly) to big barn conversations all in one with a huge swimming pool in the middle (booked) or large beautifully converted farm houses for large numbers of people. I had fun looking at different places and it seemed that the main issue we were going to come up against was the fact that in the february half term everyone else seemed to be thinking the same thing!!

We eventually found somewhere and whilst it had beautiful cottages the biggest thing for my kids was the pool. It had a small, private pool and the kids adored it and where able to swim two or three times a day. For them it was total bliss. It was a real eye-opener for me as well as for a long time i haven’t enjoyed swimming at all. I have pretty much avoided getting anywhere near water unless i was needed in the adult to kid ratio!  I know, not great..but ten years of paddling in the shallowest of swimming pools, with the wind howling round me hasn’t really lent itself to a joyful relationship…

But with my youngest being looked after, as she came down with a bit of a cold whilst we were there, meant that i could go into the pool with my older kids who can all swim reasonably well. In this lovely environment without having to worry about a toddler running across a slippery pool side and giving themselves a head injury..i had a bit of an epipheny.

Its not that i dont like swimming…im just not massively keen on swimming with toddlers, I find the stress of it and having to be in a constant state of ‘ready to jump as they might fall in and drown!” was draining and i had convinced myself that i actually didnt like swimming itself!

The kids and I had a blast, so cool seeing how great they can all swim and trying to get the furthest underwater. Even managed a few lengths of front crawl..its been such a long time. I was actually sad that i didnt get to go in on the last morning before we left as i was packing!

Maybe my view is changing with the times eh?



Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Daddy went to climb a mountain #countrykids

Last weekend the OH and a few crazy friends of his set out for a weekend in Scotland to climb a couple of mountains if they could. It was forecast to be an awful weekend with hail, rain and high winds. Just the sort of weather you want to go climbing a mountain in…not.

Well not in my case but he cam back buzzing and full of how amazing it all was. The pictures they were sending back just made me feel cold to look at them! But i knew the OH was prepared. A large portion of his degree was outdoor education and i sometimes forget until he goes away like this and the crampons, ice-axes, and ropes appear from the loft. He was also travelling to Scotland on Burns night and although i think they might have thought it was fun to go and have a dance at the hotel cedilah. It ended up with them getting a take-away and falling asleep from the tiredness from all that activity!

Here are some of the pics from the weekend..these are obviously not mine and are the work of our friend Will. Who had the quick mindedness to snap some shots as it seems that my OH didn’t take a single one. tsk tsk 🙂

Those of us left back at the ranch so to speak were also being blessed with a weekend of crazy weather and we spent a lot of saturday and sunday dodging the hail and the rain. On Sunday afternoon in a bid for some outdoor time, myself and the other ‘scottish widow’ decided to head out to a park and play a quick game of rounders. Which was going well until as we arrived the biggest black cloud showed up and we got pelted with hail for 30 seconds or more.

I think the kids thought we were crazy when we just told them to hide under a tree! My youngest was pleading with me ‘i want to go home!’

But we chivvied them along and found a large fallen tree to play on, which of course was now very slippery!

But we did eventually get our game of rounders and the kids could burn off some steam. Once the game had started thoughts of going home seemed to leave their minds and they got stuck into the game. It wasn’t a long game but we had achieved a little outdoors and whilst it wasnt the trek up the side of a scottish mountain in the snow that their Dad’s were doing. It felt like a lot of a victory to us two mums and our, between us, eight kids!!



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

mummy mishaps

Reflection part 3: how do they do that? #whatsthestory #magicmoments #mamarrazi

Continuing my series of looking at some of my favourite images from last year. You can see my last two posts here and here. 

I do a lot of newborn baby sessions. They are one of my favourites. I always say ‘babies are my business!’ 🙂

Having worked with newborn and premature babies for all of my professional nursing career it seemed like a natural extension when it came to photography! 2013 was a good year for newborns for me, I got some really well behaved, good sleepers and settled little clients and managed to get some lovely shots that i am really proud of and that i hope the parents love to! 🙂 I have written some another post about newborns here

One shot I did last year that I was really keen to try. I had seen another photographer talk about it and had waited until i had a really good sleepy baby and a game Dad to give it a try.

I have had lots of people ask me how i did it and of course with images now there can be a lot of ‘magic’ behind them whether thats just a little smoothing of the skin or large photoshopped edits. A lot of photographers will keep their cards pretty close to their chests! But I was keen to say how i actually did this shot because i want to emphasise how i did it from the point of view of baby safety.

Which is the most important thing for any photographer to consider…

Firstly i got Dad to have a go at his part of the shot. He is in front of a black backdrop and is leaning over a large beanbag which is covered in a large black blanket. Dad is actually kneeling on a bunch of towelling nappies that i use for mop ups! So that his knees didn’t ache too much. I shot a couple of images of this pose making sure his arms (he had very long arms!) were entirely on the background.


Then we got dad to strip!! and put their wee little girl who was completely asleep (they really need to be totally asleep) onto dad’s back. She was on a little rolled up towel but on reflection she was fine on her dad’s back and i was a little concerned about her being cold or uncomfortable but skin to skin is the warmest place for a baby to be….tsk tsk SCBU nurse! 😉

Then and this is the really important bit. Mum was right next to baby. You can see where mum was standing and how she had her hands on the baby’s back. Baby was in no way at any danger of falling. It’s really important to remember that babies can move their limbs very suddenly when they are asleep. We have all seen those moro reflex moves. ‘Monkey falling of a branch’ we used to call them and those sort of movements are totally involuntary and a newborn baby can do them anytime. So having a ‘spotter’ is not only important it is essential and it gives me chills the idea of working without one. You don’t need an assistant you just need mum or dad close by.

I asked mum to take her hand away from the baby’s back by a matter of inches for the seconds in which i fired the shot. That gives me distance between the two..which as anyone who has worked in photoshop knows,  makes editing SO much easier. Taking of the shot was seconds…setting it up took a LOT longer 😉

After the shoot, what i then did in photoshop (and i won’t go into photoshop speak, thats probably a whole other post) but remember the image at the start with dad without the baby on his back and just his arms out stretched?

Well this is what i did, i took that images and copied the part of his arm that i have circled in white. Which is the part in the shot with the baby that the mum is standing in front of.

Then i put that onto the image with the baby using layers in photoshop. That then essentially covers where mum was standing and completes Dad’s arm. Its a little more in depth than that but hopefully you get the idea. 🙂

and this was the finished shot.

The refection is put in post processing in photoshop. I had someone ask me if i had him kneeling over a mirror!! *insert scary face* and i have edited out mums hand, arms etc from just above the baby’s back…and generally prettied it up a little bit with some lovely black and white highlights here and there.

It is a lovely image and i know that the family loved it. When i put this image on facebook for their sneak peek the thing i loved most about it was that people didn’t initially see the baby or weren’t too sure what it was and had to do a double take and really study it. I love that it got that reaction and that people had to look deeper into it.

From a more mushy mummy level i love that demonstrates a little that bond that a Daddy has for his baby.

Almost like he cannot move until she wakes…




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