365 project, Photography

Day 070 – Only mad dogs and Englishman go out in the midday sun 

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Day 70 – May 26th

The warm weather continues and I get home after work to find my three ladies at home, sat around looking fed up as they were just too hot to do anything. The paddling pool was still out and so we decided to put some clean water in it and throw the girls in. The wife was heading out to the hospital to visit her mom again that evening, so it was down to me to get the girls ready for bed. Both of them were feeling tired, so it was a fairly simple process. Chloe had her milk and was almost instantly read for bed, almost as if the milk was telling her body “time for sleep”. Olivia is allowed to watch the iPad in bad on a Friday and a Saturday night, so she was up early to watch a few episodes of Paw Patrol, the new favourite watch. We have had to put restrictions on the use of the iPad as Olivia is becoming quite obsessed with it, and I don’t think it is healthy to let little brains become absorbed in this virtual world. A report I read recently, which can be found here, suggested that even very young children can become addicted to them, and excessive screen time can lead to obesity, aggression and depression. We like to make sure that the girls get a balance of everything, painting, writing, outdoor play, as well as time in front of the tv to relax, and some iPad time, which I try to strictly regulate, as Olivia, although not even 4 yet, would live on the thing if she could! I don’t mind 30 minutes in bed on a Friday and Saturday night though, everything in moderation!

With the girls asleep, its time to put my feet up and relax, Friday night, the start of the weekend, and more importantly the start of half term and a whole week off work.

365 project, Photography

Day 65 – Summer arrives and we find we’re allergic to it

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Day 65 – May 21st

Sunday really started to feel like summer was finally here, temperatures on the rise and the ground drying out from all the rain we’ve had. Likewise, the pollen count starts to rise and almost as if to punish us for enjoying the sunshine, it brings with it misery for hayfever sufferers like myself. Each year is different, and thankfully this year hasn’t been too bad so far, I am sure there is worse to come!

We’ve had a childrens party on the calendar for quite a while for today, from one well prepared parent at Olivia’s nursery. It seems that the popular choice for children around this age is to have it at a soft play centre of some description, and thankfully this one wasn’t far away from us. It was one we were unfamiliar with, and one we may well consider using again, as it was especially suitable for smaller kids. Half the problem with a lot of soft play centres is that they are geared up for older kids who are bigger and a bit sturdier, not only are some of the areas difficult for smaller kids to climb up, but the bigger kids tend to be much more reckless… and the parents rarely watch what they’re doing! The real bonus at todays party was that the entire place was hired out to just the one party, so it was closed off to the public. We still didn’t know a lot of the parents in there, but it was a little more reassuring that everyone was somehow connected and all the kids were a little safer. Soft play centres can be a little chaotic at the best of times, and you always have to watch your children like a hawk, being able to relax a little is a welcome relief.

Back at home the sun was out and it was time to get a little gardening done, pulling up a few weeds and tidying things up a little, with some help from Olivia. I happened to notice how the clematis that my sister had bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago had flowered again, and how pretty it looked. It was worthy of a photo for today. I’m still waiting for the rest of the flowers in the garden to blossom. Growing them from seed is a lovely way to do things, but they always seem to take a little longer.

Photography

Day 58 – The day the rain never came

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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…

Babies, Photography

Day 049 – So much to do, so little weekend!

Day 49 – May 5th
Ah, the sweet smell of Friday! Nothing like being home nice and early with my girls. The sun is shining, and even though there is a bit of a breeze, its a lovely ride home on the motorbike… well, apart from the usual idiots and BMW drivers on the road that present the usual challenges!

If there is one part of my day that is better than the rest, its the bit when I pull up at home and stick my head in the window to surprise everyone. It used to be that Olivia was excited to see me when I got home, although now she can barely tear herself away from Paw Patrol enough to get out of her seat, I sometimes wonder if shes already 13! Today I got home and found Clare holding Chloe up to the window, she was so excited to see me that I thought she was going to burst! What a lovely welcome home, I’ll take that! 

We spent a bit of time in the garden shortly after I got in, its lovely to see the girls play together and watching Chloe’s walking develop. 

365 project

Day 023 – What more could you ask for

Day 23 – Apr 9th

One of the things I did in preparation for the wife and I having our first baby was to enrol in some NCT antenatal classes. They weren’t free, but they were worth it, and we came away feel empowered with enough knowledge to prepare us for the minefield ahead, and more importantly we also came away with a whole new friendship group that we have managed to stay in touch with for almost four years now. A really cool bunch of people, along the way we’ve met up for lunches and birthdays, dads nights out, moms coffee mornings, and have been able to not only support each other, but also watch all the children grow up and be able to welcome their new siblings to the group.

It was one such sibling who was celebrating the 2nd birthday today, and the party was a fantastic afternoon out in the sunshine, on what felt like the warmest day of the year so far. The kids had plenty to do, including paddling pools, trampolines, play houses and with plenty of party food and drinks available, it was very enjoyable for the adults too.

It felt like the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, as a family, in the company of good friends, with the sun warming our skin. With Clare agreeing to drive home, I even took advantage of the warm weather and tucked into a few ciders. Not something I drink very often, but on a hot, sunny afternoon they are unbeatable!

How did everyone else spend their Sunday in the sun?

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

Day 007 – Anyone can make good things happen

Day 7 – Mar 24th

The working week is over, and my first week of 365 photos is complete, which is always a relief as its the early days that inevitably prove to be the toughest on a year long challenge like this. Its Friday night and time to put final preparations in place for our charity cake & coffee morning on Saturday. I say “our” cake & coffee morning, but this has been totally engineered and pushed forward by Clare, I’ve just been around to support her and help with some details, but can’t take any credit for it. The least I can do is make sure everything is where it needs to be and where she wants it. So once the girls are in bed on Friday night, its time to tidy and move things, and get the table set up and ready for all the sweet sugary goodness that is going to be on it in the morning. Its going to be lovely seeing our friends and family turn up to support us in raising money for charity, and the wife is putting all her effort into Target Ovarian Cancer to help raise awareness since the shock diagnosis of her mom before Christmas. Lets keep our fingers crossed for a good day.