365 project, Babies, Journal, Parenting, Personal, Photography, Portrait

365 update: days 76 – 83

Blimey! How quickly do the days fly by when you get a little bit distracted? I have fallen way behind with these updates now, as it has been a busy few days, and I need to get caught up. At home there are many distractions, a toddler and a baby can easily keep your hands full, and by the time we have a couple of hours to ourselves in the evening, I am usually too tired to type anything coherent! At work the term has finally ended and Easter has now been and gone, leaving a trail of chocolate behind, and the temptation to be a terrible parent and eat all the kids chocolate, making promises to replace it at a later date, or justifying it by saying that “they really don’t need that much chocolate” is tough. Well it is if you’re a chocoholic like me!

76: With just a couple of days left of the term, its still hectic at work and not much quieter at home. There are days when getting a photo every single day can be tricky and completing a 365 project can seem like a mission impossible, but this is the work horse I have already completed two of them on. I just need to get a bit more creative over the remaining 9 months.

Day 76 - Mar 22nd
Day 76 – Mar 22nd

77: I came home from work feeling relieved, the last day with the kids, as the following day was a staff training day. The wife was at home with the girls, and I was looking forward to seeing them all. I was soon aware that the wife was ushering Olivia into the living room to show off the easter bonnet that her nanny had made for her, and when I picked up the camera to take a quick photo, as I so often do, I didn’t expect what happened next. As I raised the camera and asked her to look at it, she suddenly, out of nowhere and without prompting gave us jazz hands and said “ta-daaaah!!”. Where on earth has she got ta-dah from?? It kept us laughing for a while!

Day 77 - Mar 23rd
Day 77 – Mar 23rd

78: Time to do something a little different, I’m feeling inspired! I had picked one of the chillies I’d grown last year, and after being sat on the window sill, it had begun to turn see through. I wanted to shoot it against a plain white background, with the flash behind it to emphasize this, and I think the effect worked. Which reminds me, I need to get this years chilli seeds planted pronto!!

Day 78 - Mar 24th
Day 78 – Mar 24th

79: The milk feeding process seems to have fallen into a bit of a routine now, and its making the day easier to plan and it means we can work out a system for bedtime. Although Chloe is still being sick a lot. How much is too much, and when do they stop being sick all the time? I didn’t get involved in the feeds much today as I’d been given a pass out for the release date of Batman vs Superman at the cinema where I was joining some friends to see the film following a five guys burger. A whole day of not cooking as we’d also been out for lunch with friends and tried Wagamamas for the first time too. How have we not been there before?

Day 79 - Mar 25th
Day 79 – Mar 25th

80: Saturday, and again we weren’t cooking as we were heading over to a friends for lunch. A very pleasant couple of hours, but we had to rush home as the wife had a friend heading over to spend couple of hours at our house. She’d brought with her some eggs for the girls, and Olivia had her own personalised chocolate egg.

Day 80 - Mar 26th
Day 80 – Mar 26th

81: Easter Sunday, and the only plan for the day is heading over to the in-laws for lunch to join with the brother in law and his family joining us too. Olivia loves playing with her cousins and needed no entertaining from us at all. She’d dressed up lovely for the day, and I was betting on her not looking like that when we got home! It wasn’t psrticularly easy getting a photo today as it was surprisingly windy when we stepped outside, but I persevered.

Day 81 - Mar 27th
Day 81 – Mar 27th

82: Bank holiday monday, and its off to the swimming baths with Olivia for a quick splash with some friends and their daughter. One thing I am conscious of, is making sure that after getting trigger happy on the camera with the first born, there wasn’t just 5 photos of baby number 2 because of the age old concept that you don’t put quite as much effort in for the second one. I want to make sure I capture all of Chloe growing up, just like I did with Olivia. She doesn’t seem very excited about the fact though.

Day 82 - Mar 28th
Day 82 – Mar 28th

83: Trainers, shorts, running top and gps… check! All set to join my friend for a run around the reservoir. We used to go almost every weekend, but haven’t run for a few months. I have been keen to get back into it, but keep putting it off, as it never seems like the right time. The weather was glorious, sunshine and blue sky, and we did 6.1 miles before heading back to the car. Not long after getting home and enjoying a nice soak in a hot bath to relax my leg muscles, I watched the grey clouds head over and the downpour started. It suddenly wasn’t a day for a picnic blanket in the park any more!

Day 83 - Mar 29th
Day 83 – Mar 29th


The 365 Project And The Next Stage Of Growing Up

if there is one thing that never changes, its that everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Life, priorities, friends, taste and sometimes we notice it, sometimes we don’t.

Life has been on a massive upward spiral, constantly evolving, ever since I met my wife, from moving in together, marriage, having a baby, baby starts to walk and talk, then along comes the second baby. You have to learn to be flexible and put a lot of things on hold.  When we had our first, we were somewhat prepared for some of the changes because of our antenatal classes, although they don’t tell you everything. When our second came along we were almost a little complacent about it, thinking we knew it all, but we really didn’t appreciate what a juggling act having two was going to be. 

At two and a half years old, our eldest is no longer a baby, or even a toddler, but a proper little girl. One of the biggest changes was when she learnt to walk, then along came talking, now she is toilet trained and to top it off we have just disassembled her cot and put her in a bed. Apart from working on her language, there aren’t many steps to her becoming a fully fledged little person now! 

70: And this is where we continue with the 365 project, on day 70, Olivia gets her new “big girl” bed and is very excited to try it out. We have a new stair gate in place at the top of the stairs in case she gets out of bed in the middle of the night, now there is nothing to stop her, but she doesn’t, and sleeps straight through as usual.

Day 70 - Mar 16th
Day 70 – Mar 16th

71: A rare trip out to the Lickey hills with work, and although not the warmest of days, at least mild and dry. Just a shame we couldn’t stay out there a little longer, although after the visit was a success, it looks like we may be able to repeat it. I certainly need to bring the family up here soon!

Day 71 - Mar 17th
Day 71 – Mar 17th

72: Friday nights aren’t the same any more, instead of feet up, snack, movie and a beer… I am usually fighting sleep and heading to bed early, except for tonight, where I am watching the clock trying to settle the little one so that the wife can at least get a few uninterrupted hours in bed, before I cave in, join her, and see how long the little one will stay asleep for.

Day 72 - Mar 18th
Day 72 – Mar 18th

73: Saturday morning and sometimes there is nothing better than having a slow tea and toast type start to the day with your family around you. Olivia makes us chuckle by putting lip balm on mommy, but is unable to do it without pouting herself! 

Day 73 - Mar 19th
Day 73 – Mar 19th

74: Running on empty is how I started my Sunday. After getting up at 4am for the first F1 race of the season (after a few beers on Saturday night!) we are off to a birthday party for our two year old niece in the morning, followed immediately by a christening at midday where we spend most of the afternoon. My brain is literally fried by the end of the day.

Day 74 - Mar 20th
Day 74 – Mar 20th

75: After an exhausting Sunday, Chloe decides that tonight is the night she isn’t going to sleep or settle properly, consequently we’re all shatterd on Monday… apart from Chloe who has the luxury of sleeping it all off.

Day 75 - Mar 21st
Day 75 – Mar 21st

So, 75 days out of 365 already. I’m hoping to get out and get a few more exciting shots than I’ve taken recently, as the spring and summer roll on. Time is the evil monster that seems to be against me all the time lately, and the luxury of having free time, or being able to make the same free choices we could before we had children have all but disappeared. Things will get easier over the coming months as Chloe gets into better sleep patterns and can spend a bit longer awake, the days get warmer and we can get out more. 

365 project, Babies, Journal, Parenting, Personal, Photography

The 365 project: days 64 – 69

The project continues, and as recent parenting would dictate, I am behind by a few days yet again. So now I am trying to catch up before bed whilst watching the very funny Celebrity Juice Live Special on tv after just watching Speed with Guy Martin: F1 Special in the run up to the start of the Formula 1 season, which starts with Free Practice on Friday ahead of the first race in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday morning. Its fair to say that I am more than just a little excited, although setting the alarm for 4am doesn’t appeal great, but the bacon sandwiches and cups of tea will make up for it!

Its not often I actually sit down and watch much tv, in fact most evenings I’d be just as happy to turn the tv off altogether. The evenings viewing is usually dictated by the wife, and we clearly have very different ideas about what makes good tv, but tonight has proved to be entertaining viewing for a change. The only frustrating aspect is that this has all been on terrestrial tv and the small fortune that I am paying Sky each month really doesn’t seem to have been great value for money this evening! Alas, such is life!

So where did we get to with the 365 project, well its hardly been ground breaking photography, but it is a documentary of recent events. Many people undertake 365 projects all the time, but there are no rules apart from taking a photo every day. Your project is your own and any rules around it are those you impose yourself. I want my project to be a mix of documentary photos, to be able to look back on the whole year and see my girls growing up, mixed in with some more tricky photos that will take a bit more thought and effort where I have to push myself a bit and try something new.

64: A day where not many photos end up getting taken, but it is bin night, so while I am out there I grab my camera and wide angle lens and grab this. I like the way the lens distortion creates the converging lines, and the black and white aspect removes the distracting orange glow from the street lights allowing your eyes to follow the road.

Day 64 - March 10th
Day 64 – March 10th

65: As our newest little lady turns five weeks old, she is becoming more alert and aware of what and who is around her. I think there is something really lovely about a photo with a real small depth of focus to bring attention to the eyes, and even more so when you remove the colour and therefore remove any distractions. Black and white really allows you to see what is going on in a photo, colour can take some of the focus away from a scene.

Day 65 - March 11th
Day 65 – March 11th

66: Saturday we were meeting our antenatal friends so that the little ones could enjoy a morning of soft play. It was nice to see them playing together and burning off a bit of energy, although it was a little dark and rather chaotic in there, so I didn’t take many photos. The session was over before we knew it so I suggested we head out for a walk in the park. Whilst most of the couples were busy afterwards, one of them came with us so our girls could play together and a lovely afternoon in the sunshine was had by all!

Day 66 - March 12th
Day 66 – March 12th

67: Another fine day, the weather was mild and pleasant. After taking Olivia swimming in the morning I had arranged to meet some friends at the local park with their little ones in the afternoon. I hate to waste good weather by staying indoors, especially when we haven’t been getting out enough lately. At the park it was a chance to take advantage of some natural light and get a nice shot of Olivia. In her first year I tried to get a photo most days, as they change so much in the first 12 months, but now I am trying to take less “snaps”, and more portraits that are worth framing.

Day 67 - March 13th
Day 67 – March 13th

68: The new bouncer chair that we bought for Chloe turned out to a bit of a disappointment, as she always looked uncomfortable in it and it never seemed to relax her. So I went into the loft and dug out Olivia’s old bouncer chair, and after dusting it down and putting the cover through the wash, it was as good as new. Chloe was instantly much happier in it!

Day 68 - March 14th
Day 68 – March 14th

69: A similar image to yesterday, but less of a snapshot. With my 85mm portrait lens still fixed on my camera, I want to get a nice portrait shot of Chloe while she is sat in the bouncer again and happy. The screaming, although still regular, is becoming less frequent, and we are starting to see the beginning of some smiles here and there. This makes it far easier to take nice photos of her, as I don’t really want to capture all the screaming red faces. We had so many early photos of Olivia, particularly in the first three months, she was a placid baby which made it easy, but with Chloe being upset so frequently . 

Day 69 - March 15th
Day 69 – March 15th

So thats the project up to day 69, more to follow soon. What have you been photographing recently?

365 project, Parenting, Personal, Photography

The 365 project: days 62 & 63

Onwards into the 60s with days 62 & 63 from the 365, and on a positive start to the blog, I am feeling much better than this time than I was last week. Its amazing how something so small that you can’t even see it can make you feel so rough and take you out of action for several days. Not a pleasant experience, and made me wonder if there was anything I could have done to avoid it, such washing my hands more considering the environment I work in? Autistic teenagers can have some rather bizarre habits and can often seem a little less concerned with hygiene, you never know what to expect sometimes!

The one benefit of the job is that the easter holidays are just a couple of weeks away, and with the wife on maternity leave, that means two weeks of full-on family time. The only question now is what will the weather do for us? Wet walks in wellies, or the possibility of a picnic with friends?

I have another reason to look forward to the easter holidays now too, as I have just booked my ticket for the opening night of Batman Vs Superman in IMAX 3D at the cinema with some work friends, a similar group that I went with to see the opening of Star Wars, only this time at a more sensible time during the day, also taking in what has now come to be known as a “cheeky Nando’s” before the showing, although I am yet to discover what specifically is cheeky about it. Still, can’t beat some spicy grilled chicken with friends!

62: Flat pack fun after the wife ordered a new cupboard for the bottom of the stairs to keep shoes and stuff in. Its certainly tidied the corner up, but I’d started putting it together expecting it to take me just an hour… although over two hours later and I am still on my hands and knees looking for a missing screw that I’m pretty sure was there when I started, which has the significance to either allow me to finish it, or deny me the satisfaction of calling it complete. Just one single screw can be that important. It was already late, my patience was short, but thankfully I remembered all the brackets and things I’d kept from the kitchen going in. Low and behold, I find the perfect screw to allow me to put the doors on and finish the job.

Day 62 - March 8th
Day 62 – March 8th

63: Mid week, edging closer to the weekend. Miserable weather today, plenty of wind and rain, but thankfully I am still going to work in the car today, although it is probably the last day as I want to get back on the bike tomorrow. I miss the cycling, I miss the exercise, and I hate the rush hour traffic. I frequently sit in it when I have to take the car, not moving and watching the other cyclists go tearing past me. I am hoping to cycle again tomorrow, but have spent today feeling like I haven’t had much energy, which I am putting down to the bug from last week taking its time to release its grasp on me. We’re just grateful that we’re not losing much sleep at night with our new little lady sleeping well between feeds.

Day 63 - March 9th
Day 63 – March 9th

Right, time for bed, one way or another I need to start getting earlier starts in the morning.

365 project, Journal, Parenting, Personal, Photography

The 365 project: days 54 – 61

Time to catch up with some photos that are well outstanding by now! Although trying to get things done in the last few days has been almost impossible for me as a nasty bug managed to invade Casa Vokes giving me a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, although thankfully it was only me that was infected by it.

On a plus note though… slimmer of the week! I managed to drop seven pounds in three days! Not exactly the way I’d like to drop weight, but it certainly gave the weight loss a boost, making it a total of 10lb in two weeks!

Monday, and the first day back to work after the arrival of Chloe. It sucks, as you’d guess, but it was soon over and I was on my way home to my ladies. It was good to be back on the bike and getting the heart pumping a bit. As soon as I was home, I was on painting duty, but I don’t mind, I’m not one to stem the flow of creativity!

Day 54 - Feb 29th
Day 54 – Feb 29th

This little lady is turning into a milk monster, and as such is becoming a lot less “little” than she used to be! That face is starting to fill out and she has rapidly become noticeably heavier. Cant wait for her to start smiling, cant be far away!

Day 55 - March 1st
Day 55 – March 1st

Rough day, ended even rougher! The bug took a grip today and the stomach pains started. I left the bike at work and got a lift home. No chance of putting my feet up at home, someone wanted to “wash her hands” ie spend 30 minutes splashing and pouring in the kitchen sink. Who am I to say no?

Day 56 - March 2nd
Day 56 – March 2nd

World book day and facebook is adorned with nursery and school children all dressed up as characters from their favourite books. It proved difficult to get a last minute gruffalo suit, so we went with the witch from the Room On The Broom story that she loves to read.

Day 57 - March 3rd
Day 57 – March 3rd

Bug has taken full grip by now, full scale gastroenteritis has kicked in and I’m feeling pretty awful. I manage to grab just one photo today as I go into the garage and notice the rain/sleet outside land on the garage roof. In my muddled, slightly dehydrated state I thought I could pull off something a little abstract… did I manage? you decide!

Day 58 - March 4th
Day 58 – March 4th

Bug subsiding slightly, feeling a little less like death. Olivia had yet again come into our room and made a beeline for her mothers make up, only for Clare to give in and put it on. It didn’t stay on long, but it did make us laugh!

Day 59 - March  5th
Day 59 – March 5th

Mothers Day in the UK and I am feeling a bit more human. A good job as we have the parents coming over, although I have to pick my mom and stepdad up. When I get to theirs I notice a pretty looking flower that I haven’t seen before. With driving, lunch, tidying up, bedtime etc there isn’t much of a chance to pick the camera up again.

Day 60 = March 6th
Day 60 = March 6th

Back to work after the bug, only running on 95% as the stomach cramps haven’t completely disappeared. This thing is taking a little longer to get over than I’d first thought. A cold day, but a lovely clear sky. As I sat in traffic at lights on the way home from work,  I looked up and spotted this single line of white high up in the sky, following a little silver dot taking a lucky bunch of people somewhere far warmer and sunnier than here. Oh how I miss holidays abroad! It’ll be a while before we can do it again, but I can’t wait to take the girls on a plane for the first time!

Day 61 - March 7th
Day 61 – March 7th

So thats it up to day 61 of the 365, glad I’ve managed to keep it up until now, even if some of the shots didn’t inspire much creativity. There are some days when you just cant do much about it!

What has been inspiring you to take photos lately?

Until next time…