A love of London Bridge

In my head I was going to stay in a different hotel for every work visit, to explore new places. I only seem to be managing this on an occasional basis. As my eye searches available hotels I keep returning to the same one. And whilst I try for a little variety, I keep returning. To London Bridge. And all that surrounds it.

I love London Bridge. I love exploring the contrast of old and new. The wonder of the science which underpins the beauty of the surroundings. The wonder of how much life evolves from water to road, from brick to steel and glass.

I love the hotel I stay in – the views of the Tower, the Harbour, the River, or the Bridge. How on earth do you choose a view when given the option?

My to-do list is telling me to sort my hotel bookings for the next few weeks. I’m putting it off. I think I’d like to explore the South Bank with my new camera a bit more, but my eyes are distracted by London Bridge.London Bridge Around London Bridge Over London Bridge London Bridge From London Bridge Under London Bridge London Bridge Views around London Bridge

Living Arrows 23/52

This week was an odd one.
At the beginning of the year hubby and I decided that he would take each child away for a week solo.
It’s a really odd thing.
Spending time with a child is a rarity once you have more than one.

And it seems even more so when you have twins.
It would appear there is an inbuilt human response that twins should never be separated.
And yet, I remain absolute that children are individuals. 
Regardless of ‘twin’ status. Siblings will need to be considered in a family environment.

And me and him fortunately agreed, it would (and will) do our children the world of good to have some one-to-one time with a parent.
It helps with trying to figure out half-terms, when my parents can help and I don’t need to use up my scarce annual leave. (That’s not requesting the sympathy vote, I work compressed hours so do get a day with them).

In February, Mr J and CM went to home to Todmorden.
Over Easter we all went back.
And this half term, with our Tod friends also away, Mr J and E treated themselves to a holiday (more of that to follow).

So, this week, Tuesday was our ‘Yes’ day. With CM & B.
CM & B were besties up until B started Reception, so much so that I worried about E. It now seems that B’s confidence (no doubt gained from his bestie) is his downfall.
But fortunately this week has offered some restoration of this relationship. A friendship remains in tact.
Phew.Living Arrows And so,we arrived home after our ‘yes’ day. Fortunately, our ‘yes’ day included acceptance that chores needed to be fulfilled. And so walking the dogs was a compromise.

As long at they got to spend time on the beach.

It wasn’t much of a compromise.Rhoose Point Living Arrows Siblings Rhoose Point Living Arrows
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Living Arrows 21/52

This week’s Living Arrows post is one of the random places you decide to pull out your camera. But Saturday was a first for me, I took my children to the cinema.

They’re not deprived! They’ve been to the cinema lots, as treats- with grandma and grampy, with friends, and for parties. But never with me.

I’ll be honest, once someone took them and the ‘first’ had happened, I didn’t feel the motivation. The attention span of my 5 year old’s doesn’t fill me with confidence.

And I sort out don’t mind that, I’d rather they loved to play rather than sit still for long(ish) periods of time. But still, the cinema holds so many wonderful memories for me, there is still the pull of the big screen.

And life plays its course, thanks to the lovely Sarah from Boo, Roo & Tigger Too I was able to take the three of them.

And it was wonderful. I needed this time out with my children.

And their smiles.

The lovely face of CM Living Arrows

The cheeky face of B Living Arrows

The naughty face of E Living Arrows
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Siblings – May 2016

I’m sharing my Siblings post with a hint of pride in them, especially, but also this time in my improving skills behind the camera.

My new camera arrived last week, my 30th birthday present from hubby.
All of the photography skills I learned from Sara-Jayne were brought to the fore, as I took the photographs I had wanted to take for years.
After so long seeing siblings in fields of yellow.

It will be a long time before I am happy with my photographs, the same problem I had with my Theatre Studies A-Level, the more you learn the more you critique.

But, oh, the fields of yellow.
And these three.

I am learning.

There’s no point in asking these three to look at a camera- no amount of requests for chants of rude words will achieve that.

Ask them to show affection.

That’s what mine were made for.Siblings May 2016 Siblings May 2016 Siblings May 2016

The Me and Mine Project

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My Living Arrows for this week really does go back to when our little people were just a dream in our eyes.
My 30th birthday, when I was less than 12 weeks pregnant, and we were on a cruise down the Nile.
It seems such a great way to celebrate turning 30 when we booked it, but getting to the 12 week figure was so important to us, and the sweltering temperatures of August in Egypt were too much even for me.
And with all of this, we were on a tight budget. For my 30th Mr J gave me a scarab charm, and as it seems to this day, it was not what he had imagined.

This week an email landed in my inbox ’30th birthday present’.
And the next day it arrived.
And this is what is does:

Living Arrows Ernie

Living Arrows CM

Living Arrows Burt

I had forgotten what wasn’t.

I had held onto what was.

My favourite photos of our trip.

The times of smiles and not hauled up in our cabin rehydrating and napping.

Of my scarab.

Thank you Mr J. xxx
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Photography Weekend with Sara-Jayne Jones

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a Photography Weekend hosted and run by Sara-Jayne Jones from Keep Up With The Jones Family blog.

I truly believe life places people in your path. I met Sara-Jayne some years ago at a blog conference, Cybher. I don’t really know how we came to be chatting beforehand. For some reason I thought she was Welsh, she’s not- although she studies in Wales and I believe her when she tells me she’s an awesome rugby player.

In similar circumstances, I met Ali from We Made This Life, I think at Blog Camp in Birmingham, Ali isn’t Welsh either, but she’s lucky enough to live here.

And along with two others, we all came together in Herefordshire in a beautiful home, to learn about how to use a camera in manual.

I went with low expectations, over the years many have tried and failed, I have accepted my brain copes with two considerations, but with three, it’s lost.Keep Up With The Jones Family Photography WorkshopBut alongside a complete love of Sara-Jayne’s photography, I was willing to take the risk in her confidence in me. In her previous life Sara-Jayne was a primary school teacher, and she studied law- so making false promises is not in her nature, along with having her feet heavily in the reality of learning.

And so, this post is of course me eating humble pie (along with some deliciously edible Nila Holden cookies which were so photogenic!). It’s true that after less than 48 hours in Sara-Jayne’s company I haven’t turned my camera back to ‘Auto’.Keep Up With The Jones Family Photography WorkshopSara-Jayne has an unassuming way, an ability to handle any learner (especially me, who uses all kinds of tactics to detract from taking things seriously), and a way of bringing us together, keeping a pace of learning without anyone getting behind or bored by the pace. She also carefully challenges you, making sure you understand, making you aware of how to create a good photo (think scuffed shoes, dirty knees and elbows!).

Over the two days on the course there was a pace which allowed learning to be understood, practised,  and somehow absorbed into a norm. Bringing each element to life, I wasn’t aware of having to consider the three factors, more to focus on the photo I wanted to create.Keep Up With The Jones Family Photography WorkshopAnd I’m not there yet, by any stretch of the imagination- I know I’m not considering the direction of the light enough in my photos, but I am loving the photos I have taken- I never imagined I would be able to take them and feeling a sense of pride in the photo.Keep Up With The Jones Family Photography WorkshopWe were also placed under no illusion about the benefit of a good edit to any photo, and fortunately with a little pleading from Ali and me, we’re all set to return in the Autumn for a bit more of Sara-Jayne’s tutelage, as we get to grips with Photoshop (in my head my use of PicMonkey is probably the equivalent of using a DSLR on Automatic!).

I’m writing this post because I’ve been out again today with my camera, and as much as I’d like to take all the credit for the photographs I’ve produced, well, my conscience has the better of me… but you’ll have to wait until the 15th for my Siblings post to understand my warm glow!

Living Arrows 18/52

So, it’s week 2 of using my new-found photography skills out on my children. The downside is I’m now spotting the flaws in my photos… but fortunately with subjects which I love so much, I’ll overlook my flaws.

And so, week 18 is another from the beach. I think I might have started over thinking things. But even so, I love the little nuances of my children which I love so much, that are there, in spite of my photography skills.

Onwards and upwards.Living Arrows B Living Arrows CM Living Arrows E Living Arrows

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Living Arrows 17/52

Last weekend I finally managed to attend a photography workshop. Hosted by the wonderful Sara-Jayne from Keep Up With The Jones Family, this was a long time in the waiting for me.

Every now and again I’ll feel confident enough to try different aspects of operating on manual on my DSLR but I always revert back to automatic.

At the workshop everything came together, even so, I thought it was going to take me some time to use my camera on manual for photographs of the little people. Moving targets felt so much more challenging than beautiful flowers and food. But with everything Sara-Jayne has instilled we popped to the beach after school on Monday, and I now have some favourite photos, taken in manual- Go Me (thank you Sara-Jayne!!).

Photography Aberthaw Beach with children

Photography Aberthaw Beach with children Photography Aberthaw Beach with children

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