A family man and his camera

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365 project: days 309 – 316

We’re now up to day 316 at the end of this post, which means less than 50 days before the end of this 365 project. I think it will be an interesting one in terms of seeing how Chloe has changed so much, from being born to sitting up, standing and crawling, and who knows… maybe even walking before we finish? There will be obviously much less of the trick photography and clever shots that there was in my first year doing a 365, but it has been good to document the year and keep my finger on the shutter button so my skills stay fresh between weddings etc.

The worst bit is that I just realised I had created a draft of this post and never actually posted it! D’oh!

309: With the christening just 10 days away, its time to finalise the list of who is coming. We’re quite relaxed about this one, as we’ve done it once before and waited a little longer to do this because of the harness that Chloe had to wear when she was a few months old, the same age Olivia was when she was christened.

Day 309 - Nov 10th

Day 309 – Nov 10th

310: One thing we have seen a lot of during November has been some amazing sunsets, and its always hard to let one pass without picking the camera up. Its just a little annoying that we have telegraph poles with cables stretching across the street, so I decided to take to photoshop to get rid of them and tidy this image up.

Day 310 - Nov 11th

Day 310 – Nov 11th

311: Cuteness. A gorgeous smile and the fact that this little lady is standing at every opportunity she can find. She loves being on her feet.

Day 311 - Nov 12th

Day 311 – Nov 12th

312: A quiet Saturday where we don’t do much more than head out to the local Tesco Extra store, and find their impressive christmas aisle, and almost decide to head home and get the tree out of the loft. Thankfully we manage to resist the urge. Once home, we find the girls both asleep in the car, and decide to leave them there for a little while as they were both wrapped up and warm, and we could see them easily from the living room window.

Day 312 - Nov 13th

Day 312 – Nov 13th

313: The supermoon! Well, thats what everyone was saying anyway. Truth be told, I couldn’t see a massive difference by the time I got outside with my camera. I think the most obvious difference was when it was rising, but it was hidden in cloud at that point from where I was. Managed to get a half decent shot of it though. Gave up hand holding the camera for this kind of shot, and got the camera mounted on a tripod.

Day 313 - Nov 14th

Day 313 – Nov 14th

314: With my 70-200mm lens still attached to the camera, I decide to sneak a pic of the wife, as she is doesn’t often want her photo taken these days. Its a great lens for portraits, but doesn’t fair so well in really low light, mostly due to its sheer weight!

Day 314 - Nov 14th

Day 314 – Nov 15th

315: Sending Olivia to nursery was one of the best things we did, she has got so much from it. Today she came home absolutely exhausted and passed out on the sofa watching childrens programmes on the tv, and even gave up on her biscuit!

Day 315 - Nov 16th

Day 315 – Nov 16th

316: Bath night, and this little lady looked so grown up after we finished in the bath, as she was sat there with her hot chocolate and her legs crossed!

Day 316 - Nov 17th

Day 316 – Nov 17th

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The 365 project, just weeks left to go: Days 299 – 308

In the closing stages of the 365 project now, and this has been a tough one, particularly in the later stages. Mostly on the basis of having two children, a full time job, a part time photography business and not enough hours in the day! When trying to finish this, for example, I should have been happily typing away here, looking at my watch about and considering heading up to bed at a sensible time for a change. Instead I have been dealing with the joys of parenting, and trying to stop our little one from crying, whilst working out what are the most likely reasons she has given up sleeping through the night and taken to crying instead. When you’re feeling a tired and a bit cranky yourself, you can easily forget to be grateful for all that you have, and a crying baby can feel and sound like the neighbours have started drilling the wall! I remind myself that Olivia still sleeps through for us, and is rarely woken by any of the crying, and to top it off has even started staying dry through the night. Plus, Chloe is normally a happy, healthy little baby, and has slept well through the night before the teething started, and will do again. Having recently watched a programme about Great Ormond St childrens hospital, and thinking of a friend there at this moment, a bit of perspective is called for, and crying through the night may feel pretty torturous, but in the grand scheme of things is nothing, absolutely nothing. There are a lot of parents out there who have really sick children, who would give anything for a health baby who just cries through the night.

So before whining about staying up late and not getting any of this typed up, I want to say how thankful I am for my two healthy little girls and the delight it gives me to see their smiles when I come home from work, and not forgetting how grateful I am to my amazing wife for all that she does without complaining, and for the times she gets up during the night to try and prevent me being woken up when I have work the next day! I still do get woken up however, Chloe can steer ships away from rocks on a foggy night with that cry of hers, and the walls are thin enough already, it sometimes sounds like she’s in the same room! This is team work though, and neither of us can do this alone! The nocturnal crying won’t last forever, and we can get our own back when they are teenagers and want to have a quiet lie in on a saturday morning!

And on with the photos…

299: Its halloween, and the pumpkin carving had been well and truly left until the last minute unfortunately. This may explain why we had so few trick or treaters calling, as I like to leave a carved pumpkin in the porch with a candle inside to let the parents and kids know that we’re on board with the whole halloween thing, and they can happily knock on our door. The pumpkin didn’t turn out too bad, and I did get Olivia to help where she could, including choosing the design!

Day 299 - Oct 31st

Day 299 – Oct 31st

300: With halloween out of the way, it means that November is here, and the weather seems to have adjusted itself accordingly. So with the choice of two bikes in the garage, one pedal powered, the other petrol powered, its a tough choice as to which to take to work. I can’t lie, the novelty of taking a motorbike has not worn off, and the joy of not having to cycle when you start the day exhausted because of another nights broken sleep… well, it speaks for itself!

Day 300 - Nov 1st

Day 300 – Nov 1st

301: Ah yes, the sight of the stairs when you hear that cry from the small bedroom again. I don’t know if its just because Chloe has a good set of lungs on her, or if its because it just really echoes in such a small room. One of the best things we did was put that night light on the landing though. I’d originally put one in Olivias room, and it was so good that I got one for the landing. A faint glow until the sensor detects movement, then a second brighter light comes on so you can see what you’re doing. Just brilliant! Not the cheapest night light, but worth every penny!

Day 301 - Nov 2nd

Day 301 – Nov 2nd

302: Coming home from work takes on a new meaning when you have children. Its not that I am especially eager about my work day being over because I dont like my job or soemthing, I just really want to get home to be with my two girls! Olivia is at a great age now, and is loving being a big sister.

Day 302 - Nov 3rd

Day 302 – Nov 3rd

303: Friday night, and when you’re weekend isn’t all about going out and painting the town red, its more likely being spent at home with the family… that is until they all bugger off to bed early and leave you to it!

Day 303 - Nov 4th

Day 303 – Nov 4th

304: Bonfire night, and we had some friends over with their kids for hotdogs, beer and fireworks. A lovely evening, but I sadly didn’t get to photograph any fireworks, as I was the one lighting them. I did get this lovely shot of Olivia using sparklers for the first time, even though she didn’t look very happy in this photo.

Day 305 - Nov 5th

Day 305 – Nov 5th

305: Sunday, a quiet day in. In fact the second day I hadn’t actually left the house at all, not even to go to the shops, a real rarity for me! When you have this cute face to look at, you don’t need to go anywhere. She’s a great eater and loves having a go at doing it herself, even if it does get a bit messy!

Day 305 - Nov 6th

Day 305 – Nov 6th

306: Oops! The day I forgot to take a photo, so this is from the day after as the weather begins to turn. The temperature has dropped, the rain has arrived, and Autumn is definitely here!

Day 306 - Nov 7th

Day 306 – Nov 7th

307: My poor bicycle has been neglected a bit lately, and I need to get back out on it again. The motorbike has been great fun to ride, and its made a real difference at the end of the day when you are exhausted and couldn’t bear the thought of cycling home. The big problem recently has been frost on the roads, making the motorbike a less favourable option as the back wheel seems to like to slip out a bit!
Day 307 - Nov 8th

Day 307 – Nov 8th

308: After numerous nights of broken sleep, you have to remind yourself how cute this one is when she is happy and smiling during the day. With reduced daylight hours at this time of year, its getting hard to photograph stuff after work, so I figured I’d add a bit of flash to enhance the shot!

Day 308 - Nov 9th

Day 308 – Nov 9th

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Approaching day 300 on the 365 project: Days 285 – 297

As we plough through October, the weather is changing rapidly, and the days are starting to feel cooler and much more like Autumn, but we are seeing the biggest change in the time it starts to get dark. We seem to forget each year just how quickly it begins to get dark each night, or at least I do, and so does the wife. Its becoming a little darker each evening when I leave work, which is less desirable now I am on a motorbike too. Still vulnerable, like cycling, but now moving at a slightly faster speed!

Lets get to the photos anyway…

285: Well, with the wife out for dinner with friends, its down to me to put the girls to bed and then entertain myself for a while… and what better way to spend the evening than to upgrade the operating system on my laptop. Man, I know how to have a good time!

Day 285 - Oct 17th

Day 285 – Oct 17th

286: Meeting up with an old school friend of mine again to cover some basic photography training, and this time talking about focusing on specific parts of an image and how much of the photo was in focus! She seemed keen and enthusiastic, and even said that she felt like she’d learned something, which was nice to hear as it wasn’t just me talking to myself and her blindly nodding and grunting in the right places!

Day 286 - Oct 18th

Day 286 – Oct 18th

287: As we’re having a bit of a sort out and tidy up lately, the wife has been urging me to get up in the loft and put away a few bits that have been lying around and waiting a few days to go up there. Whilst up in the loft I find my foil blanket from an old half marathon run, a perfect sensory toy to Chloe to play with, and she loved it! Sometimes its the simple things.

Day 287 - Oct 19th

Day 287 – Oct 19th

288: Right, I have been waiting long enough, the wine I have been making has been sitting in the garage for ages, even though it should only have taken a couple of weeks. Tonight I finally poured it into bottles, ready for drinking. It was a thoughtful birthday present from my sister, and is actually quite surprisingly tasty for home made wine, so I am hoping there is still a bottle left to share with her when she next comes for dinner, although I am making no promises!

Day 288 - Oct 20th

Day 288 – Oct 20th

289: Finally, its Friday, and the last day of the half term too, meaning a whole week off work with the family. A chance to finish work and hour early and spend a bit more time with my girls before they go to bed. Not much time for a photo today, but I did like the way the light fell across these flowers before it went dark and we took the girls up to bed.

Day 289 - Oct 21st

Day 289 – Oct 21st

290: Amongst all the chores we had planned out for half term, I had made the unpopular choice (with the wife) to help my friend to chop firewood, which he wasn’t able to do by himself. When I got home I was able to grab this quick shot of Chloe making silly faces at the camera, with a bit of off-camera flash to brighten it up. I often shoot the girls inside with just window light, which is fine most of the time, but having a bit more light really makes a big difference. Sometimes I just like to play around with the light and create some clearly different photos that will be nice to look back on.

Day 290 - Oct 22nd

Day 290 – Oct 22nd

291:A day out with the family to see friends, off to an adventure farm for the day, plenty for the kids to see and do, plus they even got to go pumpkin picking at the end of it. When we got home Olivia decided that she wanted to take her hand to computing and show off her IT skills.

Day 291 - Oct 23rd

Day 291 – Oct 23rd

292: Monday and we’d got the morning booked out, as we were off to have the second of Olivia’s meningitis jabs. We decided to turn it in to a bit of an adventure (well, its an adventure when you’re 3 years old!), and so caught the bus into and out of town, which Olivia really enjoyed, especially as she got to go upstairs and watch the world sailing by from the top deck.

Day 292 - Oct 24th

Day 292 – Oct 24th

293: I managed to catch up with a couple of old friends today for a little walk around the Wyre forest. I always love catching up with old friends, one of the big bonuses of the internet and social media, where you simply wouldnt have had the opportunity only a handful of years ago. On our walk around the Wyre forest, I discovered there was a Gruffalo trail I was previously unaware of, and knew I had to bring Olivia here, she’d love it!

Day 293 - Oct 25th

Day 293 – Oct 25th

294: Today we’d agreed to meet a friend at Sheldon Country Park, a lovely place we like to go to where there is a park, some farm animals, a lovely little cafe and a nice walk up to the bottom of the runway at Birmingham airport. I do always feel a little guilty tucking into a delicious sausage sandwich, then having to walk past the pigs on the way out of the cafe!

Day 294 - Oct 26th

Day 294 – Oct 26th

295: Nursery day for Olivia, and with halloween around the corner its a dressing up day. Naturally our little lady couldn’t wait to turn up in her witch outfit.

Day 295 - Oct 27th

Day 295 – Oct 27th

296: Today should have been a free day out, although it still ended up costing us! We decided to take advantage of our free return ticket to West Midlands Safari Park, that we’d got from going earlier in the year. We didn’t even end up driving round the animal enclosures, but we did take advantage of the rest of the park and had a lovely day out.

Day 296 - Oct 28th

Day 296 – Oct 28th

297: Olivia is a wonderful big sister and very mindful of her little sister and interacts with her so gently, and is learning to have a little patience when Chloe won’t leave her alone. After a slow morning of being harrassed by her sister, we got them both dressed and headed off to see Nanny Rose and Grandad Al.

Day 297 - Oct 29th

Day 297 – Oct 29th

298: Sunday, and the last day before heading back to work after a week off. Today we’re off to visit the other Nanny and Grandad, and I grabbed this shot of the colourful leaves hanging down, as I am a real sucker for the autumn colours.

Day 298 - Oct 30th

Day 298 – Oct 30th

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More 365 goodness: days 275 – 284

Another week and a half has flown by, and much has happened. October is whizzing past, and we have half term fast approaching. Then we have Halloween and Bonfire Night to look forward to! I was a little anxious about this term at work with some of the kids I knew we’d have to deal with, but so far it has gone fairly smoothly, and the first half term is almost over. We’ve seen a noticeable change in daylight hours as it gets dark earlier and earlier every day, and I know that riding home in the dark isn’t far away!

So what has been happening then?

275: The day before I take my CBT, or Compulsory Basic Training to ride a motorbike. The training centre privide you with enough kit for the day, but as I was hoping to pick up my new bike the day after, I had ensured I’d got all the kit I needed to ride it home, including the most important part, a new helmet. All motorbike riders I know say the same thing, always buy it new, try it to make sure it fits, and buy the best one you can afford. Wish me luck!

Day 275 - Oct 7th

Day 275 – Oct 7th

276: The day of the CBT, a full days theory and practical training, where we go over road safety and then get to go out on the bikes to practise our skills and be assessed. Thankfully the weather was kind, it was dry and sunny, but not too warm as all that protective gear can really keep you toasty! It was very different to cycling, and it took some getting used to, the bike is a lot heavier, but I managed to get to grips with it and managed to leave with my CBT certificate. I had passed it, and was now entitled to ride a motorbike! So I treated myself to a few drinks in the evening to celebrate!

Day 276 - Oct 8th

Day 276 – Oct 8th

277: The day had come where I get to pick up my shiny new bike. I was nervous and excited. The fact was, I had no other way to get it home than to ride it, and I was 20 miles from home, not knowing where I was going. Thankfully once my satnav was fitted I was able to make it home alive without too much drama, trying to remember every single detail I’d been told the previous day, and trying not to panic if I did something wrong. It was another dry and sunny day, which made the journey a lot easier to contend with.

Day 277 - Oct 9th

Day 277 – Oct 9th

278: The first day commuting to work on the new wheels. It was strange having an engine underneath me, and yet still being able to dodge through some of the traffic, although still making sure I don’t get too cocky about it, as I still have a long way to go with learning how to ride! It felt good though, I was beginning to get a little bit of confidence, and tomorrow was going to be slightly easier.

Day 278 - Oct 10th

Day 278 – Oct 10th

279: “Can we play outside now Daddy?” are frequently the first words I usually hear when I get home. I always try to say yes where I can, as any good father would, as I hate turning down an opportunity to play outside with the girls, even after a long day at work. The usual scenario is that I’d finish my day at work, cycle home, which is mostly uphill, and arrive home hot, sweaty and feeling exhausted before being asked the question I nearly always answer with “Yes darling!”, but at least this week I have been able to jump off the motorbike as fresh as when I got on! I was glad to be saving my energy today as we had got the in-laws baby sitting so that we could go out to see Jimmy Carr live at Dudley Town Hall.

Day 279 - Oct 11th

Day 279 – Oct 11th

280: My attempts at getting to bed early are starting to falter again. On Wednesday evening I went out to see a couple of friends on my motorbike as they have owned bikes for years, and now maybe I can look at heading out for rides with them. I wasn’t home particularly late, but it clearly didn’t help.

Day 280 - Oct 12th

Day 280 – Oct 12th

281: Thursday, a nursery day, and this little madam is still battling with the lost afternoon naps. No-one has made her stop, and we have even encouraged her to go for a nap when she looks like she needs it, but often she refuses. Sometimes she’ll push through until bedtime, other times she’ll just crash like a stolen car hitting a tree! What was extra funny here, was how she fell asleep almost upside down!

Day 281 - Oct 13th

Day 281 – Oct 13th

282: Friday is upon us again, the superhero of the work week that arrives just in time to save me from brutally beating to death one of my co-workers! Its extra nice to finish an hour earlier than the rest of the week and see the girls for an hour longer before they go to bed… except not this Friday, as we get caught up at worj and a particularly challenging pupil at the end of the day means we can’t get into our classroom to collect our belongings. Finally, when the fuss blows over, I get home and get greeted by this gorgeous face. Its nice to see at least one person happy to see me get home as the other little one doesn’t seem quite so bothered as she used to be!

Day 282 - Oct 14th

Day 282 – Oct 14th

283: Saturday night, and its fight night! Like a few of my work colleagues had previously, a friend of mine had signed up for the charity white collar boxing matches. I’d never been to anything like this before, and so was not sure quite what to expect. I managed to bag a lift off a friend so that I could at least grab a couple of beers while I was there, and a good night was had. It was an odd looking crowd, but then I guess a night like this can attract allsorts. Our friend was one of the last to fight, and even though we didn’t get the result we’d hoped for, it was still worth waiting for!

Day 283 - Oct 15th

Day 283 – Oct 15th

284: Friday seems to take so long to get here, but Sunday arrives in a flash, and is gone in a heartbeat! After a bit of a lazy morning, I took my friends boy out for a walk on the afternoon, as I sometimes do a couple of times a month, and by the time I was home the day was mostly gone. How does that happen on a sunday? Is there some kind of space/time vortex where hours and minutes disappear? I always try to make the most of the weekend, and sometimes that can be a good thing in that you seem to get the most out of it, but on the flip side, because you’re so busy, you don’t notice the time going by! Either way, that Sunday night feeling isn’t a pleasant one! While I was out walking along the canal this afternoon, I managed to capture this shot on my iphone and was really pleased with it, as to me it didn’t look much like an iphone shot, which is a good thing!

Day 284 - Oct 16th

Day 284 – Oct 16th

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That 365 project keeps comin’: days 264 – 274

264: Monday again and its back to work, the weeks go whooshing by, and its a fairly uneventful day to be honest. One thing that makes me chuckle is the in-laws bringing us some beers, the Vokes or volks beer, and the lazy cow beer. I’ll enjoy downing these two at some point!

265: Who doesn’t love a good sunset?! Now and again you see one that looks pretty, then once in a while one comes along that kinda blows you away. Today, the latter happened!

Day 265 - Sep 27th

Day 265 – Sep 27th

266: So with the CBT drawing closer and a deposit put down on my motorbike, its time to start making sure I have all the right clothing for riding it home when I can finally pick it up. Tonight I headed over to see a friend who was selling on some second hand jackets and gloves, still with plenty of life in them. I picked up quite a bargain and feel ready to hit the road now!

Day 266 - Sep 28th

Day 266 – Sep 28th

267: Pah! I missed out on todays photo, and so, a day late, I am showing off my new Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt all ready for the concert in December. Having been a fan for over 20 years and never seen them live, I feel like its now or never! What if they were to split up next year or something?! Then I’d never see them! No, got to do it now, and with the appropriate attire too!

Day 267 - Sep 29th

Day 267 – Sep 29th

268: Sometimes photos present themselves for the 365 many times a day, sometimes the day passes and you get tired of looking, especially when you’re ready for bed. Today was one of those days!

Day 268 - Sep 30th

Day 268 – Sep 30th

269: Saturday morning, the alarm clock doesn’t go off, and the agenda for the morning is blank. Its a fairly good start to the day… at least until the wife offers to cook me a proper breakfast. Could my weekend get any better?

Day 269 - Oct 1st

Day 269 – Oct 1st

270: Another lazy start to the day before we head out to a birthday party, Olivias best friend is celebrating at a local swimming pool, a private heated pool, followed by party food and games. When we head home I see a tree near the house turning red, and decide to go for a walk after we get home and get out of the car. Olivia comes with me, poses for a split second and just makes the photo.

Day 270 - Oct 2nd

Day 270 – Oct 2nd

271: I decide to do something a little different with this Monday night and meet up with an old school friend I probably havent seen in 30 years. I am offering some basic photography training, and need someone to practise on. She wants to learn and is willing to be a guinea pig. It was a lovely night, and this simple shot was the inside of the pub we met in while I was demonstrating features on the camera.

Day 271 - Oct 3rd

Day 271 – Oct 3rd

272: I have tattoos, yes its true. This particular one was for my 40th birthday, the girls names. I originally wanted Olivia’s name shortly after she was born, and I am glad I waited until Chloe was born before having this done. I thought I would throw this in there as it was a day for not finding many photos.

Day 272 - Oct 4th

Day 272 – Oct 4th

273: I’d started to get into a bit of a better habit with getting to bed at a sensible time, but I do find things to do in the evening that constantly seem to challenge this. The will is there, but I just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day sometimes, just like tonight and typing up this 365 blog, knowing I have to plan next weeks photography training for Monday night, on top of the wedding photos I have to edit!

Day 273 - Oct 5th

Day 273 – Oct 5th

274: I’d taken some lovely photos of Chloe with her new haircut, as her hair was finally out of her eyes, but then we see this face again! I can’t lie, we’ll remember Chloe’s baby days as being a bit of a whinger. To be fair, it was bed time and someone was getting tired. There were more smiles before and after this shot, by the way, I didn’t just leave her moaning and take photos!

Day 274 - Oct 6th

Day 274 – Oct 6th

So that’s it for this week, now to finish off a few more chores before I can hit the hay! Only one more day before the weekend!

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365 project comin’ at ya: days 256 – 263

Feel like I am finally getting into a little bit of a routine with the 365 now, although it does still feel like a bit of an effort to keep getting these posts up! We’re flying through September, and it has been a busy month along the way, its good to take some slower days sometimes, just to relax, spend time with the family and appreciate what you have around you.

The last couple of weeks have also been quite exhausting as we have a little one who is waking up every night at the moment, maybe teething related again, who knows?! We can’t seem to find a reason for it, and the first night we tried using some teething gel that had been recommended by a number of people, Chloe was back off to sleep in 10 minutes!

256: The growing adventure continues, and the little landmark achievements still continue to amaze us, even though we’ve already been through this all once before with Olivia. On top of happily sitting up by herself now, Chloe has also taken to drinking from a beaker as well, and clearly loves to guzzle some water back in between bottles. Olivia has always been a good drinker, and I’m hoping Chloe is too!

Day 256 - Sep 18th

Day 256 – Sep 18th

257: Ah y’know, some days you just don’t have much going on and you forget all about the photos, today was one of those days. Suddenly its late, you’re tired, and you know that even though you’re fresh out of inspiration, ya gotta take that photo!

Day 257 - Sep 19th

Day 257 – Sep 19th

258: So in keeping with the recent post about achievements, our little lady has a new favourite past time… standing up! She loves it! Its very early days, she is very wobbly on her feet, even with support, but she just loves being on her feet and seeing the world from a different angle. Some days its the only way we can get her to stop being grumpy!

Day 258 - Sep 20th

Day 258 – Sep 20th

259: Some days your only photo is unintentional. This pen was something we brought home from a hotel that we stayed in whilst out in California on our honeymoon four years ago. It has been a pleasant reminder of our wonderful stay in the golden state, but sadly this pen has reached the end of its life. I took a photo to stick on the hotels facebook page, to thank them, and the following morning I realised its the only photo I’d taken all day! Thank goodness for Hipstamatic on the iPhone!

Day 259 - Sep 21st

Day 259 – Sep 21st

260: Not learning my lesson of making the effort to take a photo, this was another last-minute-just-before-I-went-to-bed type shot. I was feeling very tired due to the afore mentioned disrupted sleep due to the little one waking up crying and not wanting to go back to sleep. It feels like these two things, the dummy and the bottle are the only things stopping her from being grumpy sometimes. She’s a lovely baby really, full of smiles, but when she’s grumpy, you know about it, and the bottle and the dummy can be your best friends!

Day 260 - Sep 22nd

Day 260 – Sep 22nd

261: I love Fridays for so many reasons, but one of them being that I get to finish work an hour earlier and spend longer at home with my girls before they go to bed. This Friday was a little different as they wife was going straight out to meet friends in town, and so the survival of the children depended entirely on me! Pressure!! Its times like this that you really respect the single parents and all that goes into bringing up little ones with no-one else to rely on, just doing it for a few hours is enough! My wife does so much, and goes through this every day when I am at work, but I am less used to it, as she is always around. I managed to get them fed and in bed without breaking them, but captured this quick shot of Olivia as she watched tv and just thought how old she was starting to look. You have to enjoy it while they are little, as it doesn’t seem to last five minutes!

Day 261 - Sep 23rd

Day 261 – Sep 23rd

262: After a 1st birthday party for a friends little girl, we headed home to relax for a bit, but I had other things on my mind. Me and Olivia headed out in the car to StreetBike, as I wanted to look at helmets. Yes, I have put in for my CBT and will be buying a motorbike in the next few weeks. No, not a midlife crisis, just something I have wanted to do for a long time that I never thought I would get the chance to do. Going from having a car each to becoming a one car family has not presented too many difficulties, especially as I have been commuting to work by bicycle for four and a half years, but there are times when I am feeling tired or run down and just dont want to cycle, but then don’t want to deprive the wife of a car, while I leave it sat in the car park at work. Plus I have a number of friends with motorbikes and would love to go on a few rides out with them!

Day 262 - Sep 24th

Day 262 – Sep 24th

263: Looking after my friends boy again for the morning, and another walk over Lickey Hills. Its easy to get nice wide angle landscape shots, but I had my camera with its 50mm lens on today, which is not a wide angle lens, and it often best suited for portraits and head shots, so it forced me to think a little differently. I took this shot as I like it all the lines of the trees and as soon as I saw it on the back of the camera, I knew it was going to be black and white!

Day 263 - Sep 25th

Day 263 – Sep 15th

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The 365 moves towards Autumn: days 243 – 255

Back to the blog, and back to the 365 project, it has been a couple of weeks and I wanted to make Sunday night my regular blog night, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way, although there is still time to work on that for remainder of the 365 project. Its never too late to give up! We’re back into regular routines now that I’m back to work from the summer break. Accepting that it was time to go back was a little hard, I’ve had such a lovely time off with the wife and my two daughters. It has been fun, relaxing and a bit of a lazy summer break in some aspects, we didn’t go very far, or do very much, and my to-do list isn’t much smaller than it was when I started the summer break back in July! One thing I was keen to get back on top of was the running, and I’d even thought hard about hitting the training a bit harder and signing up for the Birmingham Half Marathon again this year, that was until an injury forced me to abandon the idea completely. A blister halfway round because of my worn out trainers should have been no big issue, but it meant I had to run the last 2.5 miles awkwardly to compensate for the painful blister instead of running with a more natural stride, doing unnoticed damage to my knee until I’d finished running. Harumph, that was my one chance to run the Birmingham Half Marathon gone!

So the summer break is over now, regular service is resumed, and its pretty much a countdown to autumn when the weather begins to change and the evenings get dark much earlier. Those evening runs with my friend are going to have to be done in the dark until closer to easter next year. We have half term to look forward to, plus bonfire night which is one of my favourite nights of the year, and then christmas which is now less than 100 days away.

243: Catching up from where we left off last time, and we’re up to September 5th now, which is Olivia’s birthday. After a weekend of celebrating, her actual birthday happened to be a Monday, the first day back to work for me sadly. We still had a lovely evening, which happened to be bath night for this cheeky lady.

Day 243 - Sep 5th

Day 243 – Sep 5th

244: A second day of intensive training at work, and so was looking forward to a drink at home that evening, which was made easy as one of my sisters was coming round for dinner with her other half to drop off Olivias card and present.

Day 244 - Sep 6th

Day 244 – Sep 6th

245: A hot day, of which there have been many lately, and along with the joys of the summer sunshine and rare warmth that allows us to leave the doors and windows open, one problem we seem to have is flies in the house, doing laps of the ceiling lights for some unknown reason. Fly spray isn’t very nice for everyone around, especially children, on top of the fact that it can be tricky to catch them all unless you treat the entire room and leave the house for at least an hour, so we went for a more old school method and hung up some fly paper, and it worked a treat. That’ll teach the little buggers!

Day 245 - Sep 7th

Day 245 – Sep 7th

246: The first day of the kids being back in school didn’t go so badly, but it soon became obvious that we were starting to lose the daylight a lot sooner than we we’ve been recently used to. I love the light evenings and mornings in the Summer, but we have to face that Autumn is knocking on the door, and temperatures are going to be dropping soon. Its a disappointing time of year for someone who cycles to work, as you begin to spend longer on the road in the dark. I have spent a some good money on bike lights and over winter they get used heavily!

Day 246 - Sep 8th

Day 246 – Sep 8th

247: Thankfully the end of the week, and as I was home early from work it gave us some options for what to do with our evening. After talking a lot lately about how to best deal with her redundancy payout, we’d agreed that it was about time for clare to upgrade her phone any buy a new handeset… the flashy iPhone 6 plus, and so after deciding not to wait in for delivery, it was into the car and off to the Apple Store for a family trip out! We even stopped off at the Build-A-Bear shop to treat the girls.

Day 247 - Sep 9th

Day 247 – Sep 9th

248: Saturday and Clare is out for lunch with friends, and I can’t pretend I don’t feel a little bit more under pressure. I am used to the support of having the wife around to make sure I don’t break one of children or something stupid. I know she’s perfectly used to having them on her own by now, she’s a pro at it having been off work for so long with each of them, but its unfamiliar territory for me. She knows all their routines, where their spare clothes are, all the little details I miss out on when I am at work, and consequently I am not used to this level of responsibility very often! I soon get over it and decide to distract myself by setting up a flash and get some nice portraits taken of the girls while I have the chancel

Day 248 - Day 10th

Day 248 – Day 10th

249: Sunday and a visit to the mothers house, where I find an opportunity to capture a still life. I like getting over to see my mom with the girls when I get chance, as they no longer have a car anymore, and public transport to ours is limited. There are always fresh flowers there, but it takes a bit of effort to try and find a different way to shoot them.

Day 249 - Sep 11th

Day 249 – Sep 11th

250:The weaning process is in full swing and going very well with Chloe now, we seem to have the feeding routine fairly well established. She’s still has her off days when she just doesn’t seem hungry, and there is no getting any food past those pursed lips! It was even worth trying to fool her by giving her a spoon of her own, and trying to get the food in while her mouth was open. This had limited success. Sometimes they’re just not hungry and there’s nothing you can do about it!

Day 250 - Sep 12th

Day 250 – Sep 12th

251: One of those days where the camera is a bit of an after thought, and doesn’t get brought out until I am off to bed and realise that I had totally forgot. This shot at least reminded me that it is time to swap the tinted lens on my cycling glasses, which are a very useful addition to the commuting cyclist. Far from being just a fashion accessory and nothing else, they keep wind, rain, bugs and flying stones out of my eyes while I am moving at speed.

Day 251 - Sep 13th

Day 251 – Sep 13th

252: After recently purchasing my ticket to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in December, which I am very excited about as its my first time seeing them in over 20 years of being a fan, I have been annoying the wife by playing this album on repeat, which is one of my favourite albums. I caught up with my friend at the pub on Saturday, who is also a big fan, and to my horror doesn’t have this album, and so through the magic of the mobile phone and amazon, sat in the pub with my beer I ordered him a copy which arrived today!

Day 252 - Sep 14th

Day 252 – Sep 14th

253: Today I woke up to a rather foggy start to the day, very beautiful but the kind of scene that makes a commuting cyclist a bit nervous. Thankfully I was fairly confident that my lights would be up for the job of keeping me visible. They are one area that I didn’t want to skimp on, as they are one of the most important parts of my bike. I’d sooner have good lights than any hi-viz clothing or even a helmet!

Day 253 - Sep 15th

Day 253 – Sep 15th

254: Home alone with my girls again as the wife heads out with friends to see the new Bridget Jones film at the cinema with her friends. I treated myself to a pizza and a few beers in front of a more manly film, and then remembered the home made wine kit in the garage that should be ready by now… although sadly it wasn’t quite, but I did get to taste some and it tasted good. I just need to leave it another week or so to settle before I bottle it.

Day 254 - Sep 16th

Day 254 – Sep 16th

255: Saturday is finally here and I’m off to shoot another wedding today. The couple are two lovely people who are both widowed and remarrying, but still wanted a classic wedding day. The weather was on our side, an overcast but not cold day, making some great light for photos. Even though I was driving all the way from Birmingham to Coventry I realised that the reception venue was a hotel I’d already been to twice before! It was a very relaxed and easy day, but I was still glad to be home at the end of it.

Day 255 - Sep 17th

Day 255 – Sep 17th