Sunday November 20th 2016
Another wonderfully lazy Sunday. We had a roast dinner round at our friends’ house then came home to collapse. Here’s Huey trying to dodge his bath by escaping upstairs… this was the only way he would allow Adam to bring him back down.
Saturday November 19th 2016
Today we took Huey to our friend Caroline’s daughter Orla’s 5th birthday party, where Huey wanted his face painted with a big bat, which looked very much to me like an extremely amusing monobrow. I should have got a picture of him dressed, at the party, with the bat unsmudged… but seeing as I either had him on my knee or was chasing/swinging him around the dancefloor I didn’t manage it. So instead I had to grab a picture of him sitting on the toilet during the bat’s last few seconds on this earth before being wiped off in the bath.
Friday November 18th 2016
Today’s photo… taken from inside the car as I lay down on the back seat trying not to throw up as we made our way back to Manchester from London. One of the best things about NineDots Gathering is that after two days chock full of inspirational photography presentations, there is an afterparty of legendary proportions. Needless to say, this morning I was DELICATE. As we made our way back up the M1 through horrendous traffic this beautiful rainbow popped out and I thought it was a very apt end to what was easily the most amazing few days I’ve had for a long time. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, speaking at this was WAY out of my comfort zone but I couldn’t be happier that I did it. I might be nauseous and look like something off the Walking Dead, but I’m travelling home so proud of myself, hugely inspired by what I saw and heard there, with cheeks aching from laughing so much, legs aching from dancing so much, arms aching from hugging so much, with existing friendships cemented, new friendships formed, fire in my belly, my head whizzing full of ideas and excitement and I absolutely can’t wait to get home to pick up my camera again. Mick, Adam, Andy and Rahul, thank you SO much for having me along this year, it meant more to me than you realise. But now I need to sleep. And try not to be sick in the footwell.
Thursday November 17th 2016
Today was the second day of the NineDots Gathering, and with my presentation out of the way yesterday I was able to just relax and enjoy the day. My good friends Emma and Pete opened today’s presentations so I looked after their beautiful son Frank while they were doing their (very impressive!) thing – any excuse for a cuddle of this little dude. He’s a total superstar, no trouble at all, so chilled and happy, so I was even able to listen to Emma and Pete from the sidelines while playing with Frank who happily crawled around inspecting ping pong balls (the Gathering is held at Bounce). LOOK AT THAT FACE – CHEEKS!!! Here he is, having worn himself out cranking out Level 10 cuteness all morning.
Wednesday November 16th 2016
Today is the day I have been both dreading and looking forward to in equal measure for several months. A few months ago I was asked to speak about family photography at the amazing NineDots Gathering. To say I was chuffed and honoured would be an understatement – the Gathering is an absolutely amazing event – full of incredible, world-class photographers, drawing speakers and attendees from all over the globe – and many of the other photographers speaking are people I’ve looked up to and admired for years. To be on the same bill as them was so wonderful but so incredibly nerve-wracking at the same time. I’d prepared really well but barely slept last night and was totally unable to eat any breakfast or lunch today. Thankfully it went really well and as with anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone, I felt absolutely amazing afterwards. This is actually a total cheat photo as Adam took it, not me – I was so overwhelmed for the entire day that I totally forgot to take any photos at all. This is the title screen of my presentation – I’m hidden away in the darkness absolutely crapping myself!
Tuesday November 15th 2016
Naked boot wearing
Saying goodbye to the boys this morning was emotional – we won’t see them for three days as Adam and I are travelling down to London for the NineDots Gathering – I’m speaking at it and Adam’s business Grizzly Bear Design is sponsoring it. My wonderful Mum has come to the rescue and travelled down from Scotland to stay in our house for 3 days to look after the boys while we’re away. It’ll be great to have a little child-free break away together but I’ll miss them heaps. Huey delivered the goods by giving me an early morning treat of a bare bottom waddling away in my biker boots as I was getting him ready this morning.
Monday November 14th 2016
I’m not remotely a girly girl and I have a beauty treatment once in a blue moon. But as I was heading down to London to speak at NineDots I decided to treat myself and have my nails painted with Shellac – this is pretty much the only thing I ever have done from time to time and I absolutely love it. I’m beyond crap at painting my own nails and always make a right pig’s ear of it. Even if I manage to do a half decent job it’s always chipped off after about 2 days and I then spend the next fortnight wandering around with terrible patchy nails cos I can’t be bothered taking it off. Shellac is ace for me as once it’s on there, it’s going nowhere! In true tomboy fashion the only colour I ever really have done is black, or a purple that’s so dark it may as well be black.
Sunday November 13th 2016
Hide + seek
A wonderfully lazy Sunday at home today, recuperating after yesterday’s wedding and recharging ready for our trip down to London for the NineDots Gathering next week. This was pretty much the most energetic thing I did all day – hiding in the dark playing Hide & Seek with Huey (i.e. having a sly little bit more shut-eye whilst ‘hiding’/’counting’.)
Saturday November 12th 2016
Camp + Furnace
Today I shot Anton and Scarlett’s beautiful wedding. It was held at two immense venues – the beautiful Crypt underneath Liverpool Cathedral, with the reception at the awesome Camp + Furnace – wow what a place! It was so atmospheric – with it being a winter wedding the light was low so early but these ace fairy lights warmed everything up a treat. Got me in a proper Christmassy mood!
Friday November 11th 2016
Tomato + olive bites
It was Huey’s second cookery lesson today and he produced these rather delicious tomato and olive bites. As it’s Remembrance Day they were poppy-inspired and as such were supposed to have just one olive in the middle. But as we all know only too well, Huey likes to do things his own way.
Thursday November 10th 2016
We’ve been pretty lucky weather-wise this year I reckon – it’s stayed remarkably warm and sunny well into Autumn… but this week it has suddenly felt totally like winter – first with the crazy sudden temperature drop and then today with the arrival of a full on hail storm here in sunny Manchester. My office is in the attic so it’s been really noisy working here today with all this nonsense drumming away on the roof.
Wednesday November 9th 2016
My phone was finally due an upgrade – much needed since the smashed screen decided to completely give up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. Since then I’ve been having to make do lugging 3 different phones around with me (“you look like a drug dealer” says Adam), as each one had stuff on it that the other two could not, for various complicated reasons too boring to go into here. It was with great joy therefore, that today my number was finally transferred over and I could start carrying around one phone like a normal person. I ordered a brand new case for it, and was delighted to find this beauty on Etsy from ace artist Anita Ivancenko. It arrived literally the day after I ordered it, and it’s ace. She’s got loads of gorgeous phone cases as well as lots of other great bits and bobs, check her out!
Tuesday November 8th 2016
I do love a bit of nice rust. I’ve got about a million old photos of rust – rusty gates, rusty walls, rusty doors – from when I first picked up a camera. Although they’re not the most exciting photos I’ve ever taken, I guess they were the first formative signs that I was drawn to photographing bold colour, compositions, lines and patterns, something that’s definitely become a key element of my photography work over the years. Anyway, irrespective of all that… I just thought this was the coolest rust I’d seen for a while.
Monday November 7th 2016
I used to crochet all the time but haven’t picked up any in months. With the weather suddenly turning Baltic it’s made me determined to complete this half-finished blanket I started making about 3 years ago. I’m not totally convinced I love it any more but I can’t bear to just leave it after all the time and effort I’ve put in so far. It might just have to be a fair bit smaller than it was originally intended!
Sunday November 6th 2016
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Today’s picture is to say how grateful I am for our beautiful tribe of friends here in Manchester and the huge amount of love between us. I am so proud of how fiercely we try to support and protect each other when times are hard and today really brought this home to me. Sometimes I think we can take it for granted how close we are and how lucky we are to have each other. You are family, and I love you all so much.
Saturday November 5th 2016
This was the first time that Huey’s been old enough to really take in the fireworks and bonfire, and he was absolutely spellbound. I wasn’t sure how he’d take it as Joe used to be terrified of them until he was at least around 5 years old (for a few years we used to have to either bypass them completely or watch them from indoors through the window!) but Huey was pretty much hypnotised.
Friday November 4th 2016
Today I took Huey to his first kids’ cookery class. He made pumpkin scones, which he was very proud of, so here he is enjoying one. When I told my friend Joanna what he’d been up to she said that was the most middle class thing she’d been told all day. I do see this and am slightly cringing as I’m telling you all this but he had an absolute blast and looked super cute with his wonky little scone so I will smugly share it anyway.
Thursday November 3rd 2016
I spent today mentoring another photographer, Paul. It was a fantastic day and so rewarding. I’m really passionate about supporting other photographers on a one-to-one basis… Running your own business, although wonderful in many ways, can also be tough, confusing and overwhelming, especially when it’s a creative one and when you work alone… so I love connecting with other likeminded photographers and hopefully helping to make the road more easily navigable. As full days mentoring are so intensive, I’m always completely spent by the end of them, I feel great but like I’ve run a marathon. So the perfect thing this evening was to collapse in bed for some light relief with my new favourite Netflix discovery, Maron. Watch it if you haven’t already, it’s bloody brilliant.
Wednesday November 2nd 2016
I popped to Sainsbury’s today to stock up on tasty food for the nice gentleman I’m mentoring tomorrow. As usual I struggle with gauging quantities and seem to have bought enough food to feed him, his family and most of our street, so I’m hoping he’s hungry. Some lovely light and lines on the wall in Sainsbury’s car park.
Tuesday November 1st 2016
I’ve had a hectic but lovely day today doing two shoots – one this morning in Preston for the lovely Charlotte and Kate for their 16th birthday, and this afternoon near Stockport at Bramhall Hall for Sarah, Rob and Olivia. It’s been an absolutely glorious Autumn day with incredible sunlight, rusty colours and that amazing hazy glow… so I was really confident that today I could get an amazing picture later on once the sun came down low… however, my phone had other ideas and completely broke before that time came, with a totally frozen screen with all sorts of weird squiggles all over it. An iPhone is a pretty staple ingredient of an iPhone 365 project so I came unstuck a little bit and had to make do with a picture I’d snapped earlier today of the roof of Bramhall Hall… not massively exciting but in the wake of a technological meltdown it’s all I could come up with today I’m afraid. Thankfully my phone contract is up for renewal tomorrow (weird timing – as if my phone knew it, couldn’t be arsed with its last day of service and went out with a bang sticking its fingers very firmly up at me on the way) so the project can continue with an new shiny handset at the helm.
Monday October 31st 2016
Some parents really seem to nail Hallowe’en… amazing costumes, intricate makeup, creative décor, creepy cookery… my Facebook feed today has been full of them. I am not one of them. I always leave it far too late to sort out decent costumes and every Hallowe’en sees me panic-buying some kind of godawful front door decoration and sweets at 4pm, terrified that I will have missed the earliest Trick Or Treaters and will already be subject of some kind of awful ‘trick’. Today was no exception. My catalogue of today’s Hallowe’en errors was… for some reason absent-mindedly and stupidly agreeing that my 11 year old Joe could be ‘Jason’ from Friday 13th when a) I found it totally unsuitable for a kid his age and b) he has never seen the film anyway (and definitely won’t do for years to come, he’d just heard about it from friends)…. Discovering that as well as being an inappropriate costume choice, a bloody boiler suit for a child is a really difficult item to source… unsuccessfully searching 3 different supermarkets for one… spending 20 minutes on the phone to Screwfix to see if they had any boiler suits in size ‘small’ (they hadn’t)… traipsing round B&Q for 45 minutes trying to find the elusive ‘small’ boiler suit (unsuccessfully – they only had LARGE and EXTRA LARGE)… finally purchasing a disposable white boiler suit because I was losing the will to live, it was really cheap, looked like it might fit a medium to large sized man rather than a giant man like the rest of them… traipsing round ASDA to buy fake blood… splattering the white boiler suit with said fake blood and discovering that the fake blood had stained my hands red and it wouldn’t wash off even after about 10 soapings (it still hasn’t)… accidentally splattering fake blood on the bathroom rug and ruining it… realising that my initial misgivings were totally correct and this was in fact a really horrible and totally distasteful costume for a child…. ditching the vile boiler suit and making an 11th hour emergency trip to Quality Save to purchase one of the ‘scraping the barrel’ costumes they still had left 20 minutes before store closing…. Desperately hoping that Joe liked his new replacement costume (thankfully he did or I might have thrown myself out of a window)… Realising that although less distasteful, his new costume (of some type of unspecified hairy demon) was actually really bloody creepy and not the kind of thing you want lurking on your staircase. I feel exhausted and a very poor quality parent today. Happy Hallowe’en you bunch of cheery, creative, organised gits.
Sunday October 30th 2016
On the way back home from Anglesey today we stopped off for a few hours at the lovely Menai Bridge, had a stroll around and some really tasty lunch at Dylan’s. Joe is Hallowe’en obsessed at the moment, as are most kids, so was delighted when we found this ‘creepy’ deserted boat shed. He wasn’t quite so delighted when we told him a strange old man was watching us from out of a window… He’s promised me he’s going to ‘get me back’ for fibbing about the old man to spook him… I jump SO easily and am genuinely a little unnerved by this. 11 year olds can hide in smaller spaces and are much more creative at ‘jump scares’ (as Joe calls them) than old ladies like me. I’m bracing myself.
Saturday October 29th 2016
A blissful autumn day in Anglesey with family, chasing the kids around through fields, on the beach, in the sea, in the woods… at Silver Bay, where Adam asked me to marry him. I’d write more but a) I’m knackered and b) I have a 30 second window of 4G before we disappear again into the Welsh mobile reception void.
Friday October 28th 2016
Joe needed his hair cutting so today I decided to take it upon myself to tackle it with Adam’s clippers. I don’t think I’ve done a bad job! (You can’t see the back). I wanted to take a picture of Joe on his own with his fancy new barnet but Commander Huey was very insistent that he had to be in the picture too. As you can tell from that ridiculous face, he knew full well he wasn’t supposed to be there and thought that was just splendid.
Thursday October 27th 2016
Very little of any interest happened to me today so apologies for the boring post. Sandwiched between a busy start to the week (racing up and down the country for a visit to my grandma, the workshop and a shoot) and a busy end to the week (I’m heading off to Anglesey for the weekend tomorrow), today I had a precious day at home doing very little and cracking on with some work. I only left the house once to take Huey to the childminder, so in terms of today’s picture I just had to rely on anything that caught my eye as I pottered around the house. The first thing that caught my attention, as it does EVERY BLOODY DAY, is this arrangement of embroidery hoops on my bedroom wall. I saw this idea on Pinterest nearly two years ago and thought it was a belter – you just buy cheap embroidery hoops and fill them with material of your choice. I duly popped off to the shops to purchase said hoops, choose some material and skipped back home to tart up my bedroom. As soon as I’d hung them and packed away the hammer, I noticed that the small hoop at the top was too far over to the right and needed moving over. Could I be arsed to do this there and then? No. I promised myself I’d do it tomorrow. Which is what I’ve been promising myself every day over the last two years every time it irks me as I walk past. It’s not a big thing but to my obsessive compulsive tendencies IT IS INCREDIBLY UNSETTLING. It would literally take all of 30 seconds to fix but somehow this is just too much trouble for my poor little mind to cope with. So for two years I have just winced every time I walk past it instead. It seems that for me, laziness wins over obsessive compulsion every time.
Wednesday October 26th 2016
ISABELLE + CAMILLA
As I was already in the midlands yesterday running the Roost workshop, my friend Louise asked me if I could stick around in the area a few hours longer today and take some pictures of her family in Leamington Spa. I jumped at the chance as we don’t get to see each other very often and her gorgeous girls Isabelle and Camilla change so much every time I see them! I’ve taken pictures of them before, but never outdoors and not in their lovely new house. We spent a brilliant morning rampaging around in the autumn leaves then chilling out playing in their home, chinwagging and catching up all the way. I really wish we lived nearer. I just about remembered to grab an iPhone shot of them before I left to come back home to Manchester – both of them exhausted and totally photo-ed out by the end! They were total troopers all day but I am defo getting, “DO ONE, PHOTO LADY!” vibes from Isabelle at this point.
Tuesday October 25th 2016
Today was a big day for me. It was the second of my Roost family photography workshops, and I was so nervous! The first one was in Manchester three weeks ago and went really well, and today’s was in Birmingham. It’s been such a long day – I was up in the dark at 6am getting everything ready and raiding the nearest M&S food for everyone’s lunch, got stuck in to the workshop solidly from then until teatime, and I’ve ended the day near Warwick staying over at my lovely friend Lizz’s and us having a much-needed glass (or three) of wine to decompress. I feel like I’ve been run over! But the gang who came today were absolutely amazing and made the day so special and so memorable – I feel so lucky to have had such incredible people come along – interesting, friendly, warm, talented, helpful, fun, inspiring – they really made the day exactly what I’d hoped it would be and more. Family photography has for a long time been my biggest passion and it feels great to finally be throwing myself into it like this and hopefully helping other like-minded people to do the same. I’ve got the next one coming up in London in a month’s time, and another Manchester one early next year. Please do get in touch if you think you’d like to come along! In all the chaos of today I have been the ultimate dimwit and completely forgot to take any kind of picture at the workshop itself… well done Anna… so this one will have to do, that I took this morning before setting out – one of the notebooks I had made for the attendees. I do love a nice notebook.
Monday October 24th 2016
Today we all travelled down to Birmingham to visit my grandma. She’s 92 years old and is still sharp as a tack. She absolutely adores her two great grandsons and I love seeing them all together. That copper kettle has been in the family for decades, and my brother Chris used to play with it for hours on end. It’s always been full of circular wooden coasters for some weird reason, and Chris would spend hours repeatedly taking them all out and dropping them back in again. It’s so heart-warming to me to see Huey doing it too, just as his uncle Chris did over 30 years ago and just as Joe also did 10 years ago. So funny how just an old kettle makes me feel and remember so much.
Sunday October 23rd 2016
Today was an archetypal ‘Lazy Sunday’. Adam got back from surfing late last night so it was lovely to have him back in the fold and great to chill out at home today. I’ve got a really busy week next week so I really needed to take today to grab a breath before it all goes nuts again. Daddy’s been on fire today, doing all sorts of cool crap with Huey… cookie baking, Sunday dinner cooking and painting… I’ve not been quite so useful – I’m still in my PJs as I’m writing this at 8pm, I haven’t even got dressed yet, and the sum total of my achievements today has been throwing out some Christmas cards from two Christmases ago and showing Huey how to make a ‘traffic jam’.
Saturday October 22nd 2016
I’m on my own this weekend, my eldest son Joe is with his dad and Adam is away surfing in Wales. So it’s just me and the little guy. It didn’t get off to a particularly good start as pretty much the second his dad stepped out of the door, Huey began a 9 hour overnight vomit-a-thon. Since then, we’ve been hunkering down and recuperating. Thankfully this morning he woke up at a reasonable hour, puke-free, making his usual waking demand for ‘BIG TOAST’. We’re not sure exactly what differentiates ‘big’ toast from a standard slice of toast – as this is what is invariably given and eaten – but he’s very specific that it has to be ‘BIG’. Mercifully this morning’s round of Big Toast stayed down. I think we’re in the clear.
Some of the most rewarding photography I’ve ever undertaken was a personal 365 project in 2011 – a photo a day, every day, for a year. What was initially intended to be just a series of daily snapshots ended up becoming a deeply personal photo-journal, a diary, a place for me to write and reflect on my life as well as take photographs. I loved doing it. It helped me personally, emotionally, and it helped me professionally – I very much feel that it was through that project that I finally discovered my own photographic style, identity and motivation after years of feeling a bit lost with it.
It’s always been on my list to start another personal project, and more recently quite a few people have asked me to post more personal work… and so now, over 5 years later, I’ve finally got round to it! This time, I’ve decided to use solely my iPhone instead of my SLR. In the 5 years since my last 365 project, I’ve had another child (Huey, the little imp in the picture below), and also launched a family blog, The Curve. Time and energy is more scarce than ever, and I want this project to be pleasurable and achievable, not a burden or a drain. Being able to complete the project using just my phone will hopefully make this possible… and I’ll also really enjoy the new challenge of trying to make beautiful pictures without using expensive camera kit.
So here it is, entry number 1!