Posts in Photography
Most Colourful London Streets #AColourful25Years with Boden

It would be easy to think that autumn is full of oranges, reds and browns but when it comes to my welcome to autumn this year it was anything but seasonal. Think rainbow brights, pops of pastels and a brilliant summer blue sky to boot.

London is spoilt for choice with skyline high murals, pick and mix candy pop painted doors and row upon row of pretty houses. Dressed in our Boden best I joined a giggling gang of colour lovers to celebrate a colourful 25 years for a morning of colour hunting in West London.

If you are looking for a fabulous photo walk then this is the tour for you!

Start at Pedlars General Store on Talbot Road and treat yourself to a cup of tea and Instagram the bistro tables outside or ALL the pretty things inside. Then get your walking feet on and march!

There's nothing quite like twirling and whirling in front of walls that you need to wear sunglasses to admire! The thing I have always loved about Boden is their ability to make you feel more confident by wearing colour. Mixing hues, prints and pattern that make you smile on the inside as well as out. 

Powis Gardens

We headed off on a tour of Notting Hill's most glorious spots and found ourselves shimmying in front of the Circles Wall Mural on the corner of Powis Gardens. We made Boomerang videos, lined up in colour order and I watched as this incredible group of women showed the world what pure happiness is. When you don't care what drivers blasting down the road think when they spy you out of their windows. You are there just in a fabulously fun moment!

St Luke's Mews

From there we headed straight to the little hidden gem of St Luke's Mews. It feels like a film set, even on bin day. Gentle pastels, perfectly placed benches and a cobbled street that makes you feel like you have just ran out of the scene in Love Actually when Keira kisses the 'carol singer'. 

This street is actually a film set though, Boden have shot several of their catalogues in this very street, in rain and sunshine, under tents and with many hands keeping the heavens from soaking the models! There's a house for everyone, picture ready bicycles and every window gives you a slight peek into the worlds of the people who are lucky enough to live here.  

We found greenery for those who love nature, painted brickwork for the colour hunters and might have borrowed a bench or two to pose on. 

Lancaster Road

If you are looking for vivid paintwork and bay windows that make you green (as in lime green) with envy then Lancaster Road is the place to be!

We stopped and found a door to match almost every outfit and did our best to pretend like we called each and every one of them home.

Codrington Mews

Oh the wall, the wall with the hypnotic monochrome mural, the man in a boat and just around the corner another hidden gem where X marks the spot. Well unless a transit van is blocking your Insta moment. You'll have to take a trip down the cobbled street to see what we missed.

Westbourne Grove

You can't help but gravitate towards the turquoise island on Westbourne Grove that is home to the most delightful florist and firm friend of Boden's Wild at Heart. There was a flurry of gasps and comedy hand claps as a gift bag bursting with the most beautiful bouquet was handed out to each of us and we quickly whipped them free and did our best bridesmaid impressions against the stunning tiled wall.

Denbigh Terrace

Just a stone's throw from the bright lights and render of Portobello Road is Denbigh Terrace and I finally found a burgundy doorstep that had my name written all over it. We gathered the pink ladies and posed for a few snaps laughing at how awkward we felt and yet at the same time felt absolutely no shame taking over the street!

I felt a little silly on the way home because I hadn't been sure of the colour of my new dress on the train ride up. For me I 'hide' in the boldest print possible rather than the safety of black or darker colours. Berry reds and wine hues have never seemed to suit me but among the beautiful candy floss pink girls I felt a million dollars. These women have an ability to make you feel elegant and radiant with one click of a button. 

It's what everyone needs once in a while, to shower each other with compliments, cuddles and kisses as you say goodbye. 

Portobello Road

Everywhere you look you are spoilt for photo opportunities. There's independent shops, antique emporiums, painted door frames and trinket stores galore. Walk left or right and you will find endless inspiration, market day or not. 

If you are a fan of brights there's a street for you and if pastel is your thing then you won't be disappointed. It's a visual treat. 

Farm Girl Cafe

One of the sweetest spots and I mean that in the literal sense (have you ever seen something so splendid as a rose petal latte?!) is the Farm Girl Cafe on Portobello. You HAVE to try the ginormous salad, and every single cake your body will let you eat. 

It was quite simple the nicest way to end a very happy morning. We sat, moved seats, put the social media world to rights over freshly squeezed orange juice and bottomless tea.  We talked about life, loves, small people, homes, inspiration and aspirations and I ran for my train at Waterloo feeling bursting with ideas, my face aching from smiling and with a whole new set of Instagram pals.

A big thank you to Boden for a glorious morning and Xanthe Berkeley for the guided tour! 

Colour Run 2016 • Me & Mine Project • May

The end of May is one of my favourite times of the year for our family. Birthday fun for Sammy, a party weekend and lots of family and friends at the house. I love it when all I can see through the windows as I walk through the house, is people in the garden, some on the patio chatting over a drink, some chasing the kids through the long grass that has suddenly sprung up from nowhere and the haze of colours with all the flowers coming back to life after a long winter.

I love the noise, the balloons, the build up and ironically most of all the after party, as I like to think of it. Where we all sit around with left over party food, plastic boxes filled with drinks that have been lugged from boot to boot, no picture perfect set ups just happy faces surrounded by post party chaos. 

Sammy starts getting excited for his birthday almost 364 days in advance. Our boy who has the most enthusiasm for a party theme in the world lives and breathes it for weeks beforehand, like the absolute highlight of his young year. For the first time since starting school his birthday fell on a weekday and not in half term, and begrudgingly he went to school in a birthday badge, willing the day to end until his best pals came back for a party tea and it was finally the weekend. His teacher actually commented that it was like his head was spinning off with excitement and as we’ve only been at this school since last September I had to warn her that this was classic Sammy and worryingly we have 2 more years until we get to wake up and say happy birthday on a Saturday!

I have so much I want to share about his party celebrations but today I want to share our Sunday. The most colourful Sunday we’ve ever had.

Colour Runs are quite frankly amazing. It brings an enormous amount of people together, people who are there because they’ve lost or are losing someone they love and people who want to do something extraordinary on an ordinary Sunday, raising lots of money for an incredible local charity.

We took part in the Somerset Colour Run for St Margaret's Hospice last year and loved it, the atmosphere, the energy and the positive force that carried you over the finish line and into a rainbow cloud of powder paint. And this year the boys were old enough to take part. We left Yasmin and Logan in the arms of their very capable Granny and headed off in our tutus and neon glasses to join 1200 other runners in the 5k Colour Run 2016.

We laughed, we carried boys on shoulders and we walked/jogged and ran around the course in the hot bank holiday weekend heat along with lots of others who took the chance to take in the incredible views of the Somerset countryside. 

I was so proud cheering on Ollie as he sprinted under the inflatable arch at the end of the course, his little legs so determined to finish the race. 

The trouble is when you have a sweet 3 year old cousin at home, waiting with ice lollies, you want to share the experience with and she's too little to run, you have to find a way to bring the colour run to her. 

So we did. Warm up and all. 

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I wish we had bought enough paints to have made their mini run through the buttercups and cow parsley have lasted an hour. They couldn't have loved it more, racing through the paths Rich has mown up and down through the fruit trees. 

And the best thing of all is that every penny we spent at the colour run, at the powder paint stand all went to St Margaret's Hospice. If you get the chance to take part in one near you sign up as quick as you can. 

Come and join in with us and share your family photo. It doesn't have to be a perfect capture, it just needs to be you and yours.

We love seeing your family photos, seeing your babies grow and change. Pop over and see what Lucy, Fritha, Alex, Katie and Jenny have been up to with their broods this month. And if you join in on Instagram remember to tag your photos with #meandmineproject.

I've got this cheeky chops staying for a couple of extra nights, I can't tell you how much I adore that my sister and brother in law trust us to have her but also that she feels completely at home with us.

She totally feels like one of mine.

A field of wishes

Everything changes in this village in May. It's like fairies fly over the rooftops in the night and blast the gardens and hedgerows with bursts of colour and poof, you wake up to carpets of Forget-me-nots and Wisteria that seems to have blossomed without a whisper, but in spectacular style.

All the lanes have started to feel like a maze, green walls that let just a peek of sunshine through them, leaving dappled sunlight all over the pot holed roads. It's quiet but alive all at the same time. You can hear the boys on the trampoline, the neighbour's boys doing exactly the same on the opposite side of the road, you can hear dogs calling each other every now and again the rumble of a tractor hurtles by. 

We've been so caught up in the house, the inch thick dust, the midnight staring competitions at the laptop trying to decide on window handles and taps for the bathroom sink, that we've almost missed what's been blooming around us. It's felt like there hasn't been a moment to stop, there's a room to pack up, un pack and repack, as we make progress with filling, sanding and painting the tired walls so battered and bruised by the new pipework. I think we are only just starting to appreciate that when you take on an old house, there is always something on the list left to do. Some things can wait until your children leave home and some need your immediate attention. But the ones that are most fun are the ones in between! Not the vital foundations of the house, the things that are pretty, but they have to wait for a little longer.

But we decided on Saturday that everything in the house could wait, packed up a picnic and dragged the bikes out of the garage. Ollie has an obsession with dandelions at the moment and every time he spies one he clutches it so tight, you can see he's wishing with all his might. Of course we never get to find out what he wished for because "Mama, then it won't come true" but you can just about make out his hushed little voice and the murmur of something Minecraft related.

So off we tootled in search of a field full of wishes. 

We stopped to say hello to the horses at the bottom of the hill who I suspect are quite spoilt with small people passing by. They trotted over with glee at the sight of our two with hands full of lush green grass, normally out of their reach. They are so magnificent and overwhelming all at the time but the boys didn't flinch. They spoke to the three beautiful creatures in front of us like they were old friends.

Their fuzzy soft noses tickled the palms of their hands, and the boys roared with laughter at their loud huffs into the air. I love their whiskers, so wiry but delicate and their eyes feel like so soulful, like they can understand you.

We found the perfect spot to stop and my muddy boys hopped the gate and scampered off into the distance while we set up the makeshift blanket (who needs a blanket when you have a tablecloth) and watched them literally skip through the buttercups and dandelions. It was completely and utterly idyllic. 

Until they discovered the next door field of cows and darted over to say hello to be greeted with a full on mating show by a very rampant bull!

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I wish that there were more days like this. We panted back up the hill and decided to abandon the jobs left over from the morning's to do list and race down to Lyme Regis for the afternoon. In one day we had more family time together than we've had in months. Everything has been off balance lately and we needed sea air, a cycle and chicken sandwiches to set ourselves right.

I love these photos because they capture the boys just as they are. Sammy and his impossible to contain and quite frankly control, exuberant personality, a smile as bright as his neon glasses and Ollie's competitive streak fighting against an overwhelming desire to be adored by his big brother. The grazed knees from running through life at 100 miles an hour, the little fingers who see a wilting flower and pick it for their mama. The pursed lips that have got blowing for a wish down to a fine art but can't quite master a whistle.

Our boys are the very best of friends. They eat together, sleep together, fight and wrestle together, but they are very rarely apart. And when they proclaim their frustration for each other in a barrage of poo related put downs I tell them really calmly how lucky they are to have each other.  We can see they can sense the unsettledness that has swept over the house as quickly as the dust sheets covered the furniture. It's remarkable we are all still speaking to each other at the end of a day sometimes. There have been tears and tantrums but we are in it for the long haul. The house is testing us, almost like testing our love for it. 

I had my camera but I sat back and watched more. Snapping life as it happens, rather than corralling my brood to face the tripod. I still want those photos, every time we drive pass a beautiful field of yellow rape seed Rich knows I would love to stop but I must remember that these everyday snaps are just as precious. These are the photographs that fill our digital album. I look at our big traditional albums and scrapbooks and they are filled with happy moments. Firsts, family and friends, sun kissed skin in holiday outfits and cocktails in one hand, but life is what you live in between those special anniversaries, birthdays and milestones. And that's what a blog is, an evolving album for the movement of millennial parents writing about life as a family. 

I need to remind myself that perhaps the everyday moments might be just a nice to read about, in between the bigger adventures. That these simple pleasures tell our story as much as the parties and the plane rides. Perhaps even a little better.

Linking up with The Ordinary Moments 

If you haven't already voted there's just a little time left to vote for your favourite bloggers in this year's national parenting blog awards. I owe so much to these awards and the people who nominated me. 

You can find me in the Photo Shortlist for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards which closes at midnight 17th May and I am thrilled to be a Finalist in the Photography category of the MADs.

It would be an honour to be at those award ceremonies amongst some incredible photographers.