365 project

Day 067 – What makes a person want to hurt somebody?

Day 67 – May 23rd

What is wrong with people?!? I was up late last night checking twitter and began to read reports on an “incident” in Manchester, reports of an explosion and bodies at the Manchester Arena, swiftly followed up by people declaring it to be a fake!

It wasn’t!

It was a concert, full of children and young people. Ariana Grande had given 20,000 people, including teenagers and children, the night of their life. Now 22 of them lay dead. They will never go home, be comforted by their parents, cuddle their toy bear. It is truly heartbreaking.

A suicide bomber, reported to have walked into the foyer and set himself off has been named, but I won’t even do him the service of having his name on here so it may be remembered. He is a nobody. A sick, dead nobody. He walked into the entrance of that arena, looked around at the children and young people everywhere and essentially shrugged his shoulders and thought “fuck ’em!”.

I am not going to start bringing religion into this, as much as I think religion is a bad idea. This pathetic excuse for a human being may have had a religion, but clearly mental issues caused this, not the writings of a scripture. Sure, ISIS may have claimed responsibility for this terror attack, but they could have claimed responsibility for a wet fart if they thought it would further their cause. Claiming responsibility is easy, even if it originally had nothing to do with you, and what is to stop them saying “yeah, sure… we’ll take that one!”? It doesn’t mean they did it!

Will we ever truly know why it was done? What was going through that selfish bombers mind? Truth be told, I’m just glad the scumbag was blown to bits rather than getting shot and living out the rest of his life with his feet up in a prison cell at our expense!

Manchester did themselves proud by pulling together and supporting each other, taxi drivers, hotels, even people sleeping rough on the street without a home got involved and did their bit. They showed us just how much humanity is left in the rest of us.

But it has still left us wondering, what kind of a world have we brought our daughters into??


Day 58 – The day the rain never came

Day 58 – May 14th

I’m not sure a Sunday comes much better than a Formula 1 Grand Prix at lunchtime, followed by eating out at a carvery in the afternoon.

We bathed the girls in the morning after failing to get it done on Saturday night, and with it being a surprisingly sunny and warm morning, headed out into the garden to play. Any opportunity to turn the tv off and burn a little energy is always welcomed. The frustrating thing is that the weather forecast had made us certain we were expecting showers, and consequently this meant we had planned very little. It would have been the perfect day for a BBQ if we’d had any idea of how nice and sunny it was going to be.

Of course, we could only assume that the promised rain was going to make an appearance at some point and so opted to head out for a carvery once the race was over, rather than chancing a BBQ or even cooking. We even gambled on the blue sky and sunshine, and walked down to the carvery and back to stretch out legs, as any rain was clearly not going to be here any time soon.

Its a bonus having a carvery on the doorstep, but Sunday afternoon seems to be when everyone wants to go, the place was very busy, even though we hadn’t gone at lunchtime, and the experience wasn’t quite as much fun as it could have been. I like my food hot, not the room I’m sitting in! The food was good though, and the staff were helpful, so you have to give them points for that. Our favourite carvery is a bit of a drive away, but its definitely worth the effort, we must book at table there soon, and with my birthday coming up, it looks like we have an excuse!

As the day drew to a close the sunset was giving us some hope that the day was going to stay dry and I wanted to take a slightly different spin on my usual type of sunset shot. I liked the way the rooftop aerials were lined up and disappearing into the distance, and thought a black and white twist would be interesting. Does it work? You decide…

365 project

Day 042 – Just put one foot in front of the other

Day 42 – Apr 28th

Friday is here at last and I waste no time in leaving work and heading home. It always feels nice being home just after 4pm, still plenty of time to play with the girls before they go to bed, or even need their bath!

One thing that has become quickly apparent this week, especially today, is how much Chloe is walking everywhere now. She still has a bit of a wobble, and hasn’t given up on dropping to the floor to crawl somewhere if she wants to get somewhere quickly, but its nice to see the walking actually becoming something of a preference! It means a lot for so many things, like going out for walks as a family, sure it may slow us down a little to have Chloe attempting to do part of it on foot, but at least we can now wear Chloe out a bit too, rather than just carry her everywhere. Not having to put the buggy or carrier in the car means we’ll have so much more space for other things!

Friday is bath night for the girls, and its our goal to get them in and out of the bath, and into bed nice and early so we can settle down and put a film on. We can’t start films too late these days, or I end up watching them on my own. We’d agreed on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for tonight, I’d bought the Blu-Ray a while back and as I hadn’t had time to watch until now, it was only this evening that I realised I’d bought the original version ie in swedish with english subtitles! Just my luck! Thankfully the english version happened to be on Netflix, so all was not lost! Now to kick back and enjoy the start of a long bank holiday weekend!

365 project

Day 016 – Family is everything

Day 16 – Apr 2nd

Families, you can’t pick or choose them, and everyone has one, whether they like it or not! They’re funny things, some are big, some are small, some are close, some can’t stand talking to each other, and some are just plain odd!

I have a reasonable sized family, and like everyones, its a dynamic thing. It never stays the same, often they grow when new people join through marriage or babies are born, and then they shrink when people pass away or couples split up. When I was you family was a very big thing for me, I often spent weekend and school holidays in the company of grandparents and cousins, we spent days playing together, and frequently got together for things like bonfire night, birthdays, engagements, new years eve. As the years went on the family began to see less of each other for various reasons that I won’t go into here, but the belief that family was very important stayed with me. Now I have my own, my wife and two daughters, plus my sisters, mother and in-laws, and I want my girls to grow up spending time with their family, the grandparents, the cousins, making memories with them like I did.

Today happened to be a big day for the family, the 18th birthday of my gorgeous niece Niamh. The celebrations were a bit last minute, but thankfully my sister got everyone together for a lovely meal and the Loco Lounge in Kings Heath. It was our first time there, and we were very impressed. Very cool place, super friendly staff and very family orientated, they even had games and books out for the kids to play with! Both my sisters were there, my mom and her partner, even one of my cousins turned up. It was a lovely afternoon, and everyone had a great time. Niamh wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there, and looked like she was thoroughly enjoying herself.

I took my camera, but was conscious that I didn’t want to be observing the evening through a 3″ screen, as can often be the case, so I left it alone for most of the night. I grabbed a few snaps through the afternoon and then put the camera down again. Its important to embrace what is in front of you, and who you are with, rather than getting lost with the task of trying to capture every single detail. I did grab a wonderful photo of Niamh embracing her mom, and although it wasn’t a shot I was looking for, it was very much right place, right time, I knew I’d got something special. There was only one thing left for it… black and white!

Sadly all good things must come to and end, and while the timing was perfect for my two little girls, their bedtime was calling and we had to be the first to leave. I hope we can do something like that again soon!

365 project, Photography

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

365 project, Photography

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!

365 project, Personal, Photography

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