Friday, October 23, 2009
100th blog post - France in August
Today is a momentous day, for this is my 100th blog post, so I decided to make it personal so as not to favour any one client, not to mention my kids are so cute I simply can't resist plastering them all over my professional blog!
I started this blog in February of this year and now I cannot believe I ever didn't have one and have even added a couple back dated shoots to show what an amazing record of time this blog is. I adore looking back and seeing how my own work has changed, and in the future, I will enjoy looking back to see how my own repeat clients have changed. It is a journal not only of the lives of fabulous people, but also of the progress of my work and style. I love how it keeps me on top of my game, and allows me and my clients to share the love with friends and family. I am always happy to see a comment as it reassures me that people actually do look, do read, and do appreciate the work that goes into a blog. It is not only a showcase of my work, but also offers a glimpse into who I am, and hopefully this is helpful to people who are deciding whether or not they wish to become future clients. It is also fun to share my own personal family images every once in a while, so in honour of my family, I will dedicate my 100th blog post to Ben, Oslo and Indigo, and to taking time off!
We spent the first part of our holiday visiting family. First in the UK with Ben's granny so the kids had an amazing time getting to know their great grandmother again, not to mention donkey rides on the beach and a fun fair passing through the seaside town. Then on to the Dordogne, in France, where Ben's parents, brother and his family live. It is an idyllic spot where they all live - almost like a commune on 25 acres with a river wrapping in a right angle around the two homes and surrounded by splendid woodlands. Ben's parents converted one of the old barns on the property into the most amazing house - it is as if it has been a home forever and is so well designed - an amazing feat. Ben's brother and his wife live in the mini chateau, complete with it's own tower which adds such a flair of romance, and a dreamy bamboo forest at the bottom of the garden over hanging the river which gives the feeling of total serenity.
Most days, we would walk along the river from Ben's brother's house back to his parents' place, searching for crabs and blackberries along the way. Ben often tells me that I spend so much time trying to capture life, that I am not actually living it enough. He is right a lot of the time, though of course he always wants the pics I take in those moments nonetheless. So for the first time ever, I decided not to take my SLR cameras and fave lenses with me on this holiday but I am sad to say, it was a great mistake. I had finally caved and purchased a point and shoot camera for ease of portability in the hopes I would take pictures elsewhere than our own home. I chose the Canon G10 as it was the only one I could find that actually had manual settings, but it is not really small enough to slip in your pocket and take everywhere, yet the quality of the images really doesn't do it for me. I wish I had just gone really teeny and totally automatic and then I would expect simple snaps and not pine for the lens quality I am used to, yet it would fit in my pocket. Never mind - live and learn!
It may seem that they were not very successful in their blackberry picking, but the truth is, I should have shot their rounded bellies rather than the almost empty bucket - that is where the proof of their success lay! I suppose a smidgen of evidence is smeared around Indigo's mouth, but Oslo is clearly the stealth snacker for his lips were clean!
Ben's brother and his wife have converted the old Guardian's cottage into a sweet little gite (link to follow for the holiday rental when they get a website). This was ideal so we had old friends come to stay the whole time we were there which was amazing.
This is the tub in the children's room at the Guardian's cottage which has been renovated with charm and simple country elegance. The middle two are Erica and Jonah. Their parents, Tom and Anna, were our neighbours when we lived in London. We have had parallel lives, from getting engaged at the same time, weddings within weeks of each other, and then both our sons were born within a month of each other, followed by daughters the same age too. They even moved to France when we moved to Bermuda. But there the similarities stop. They have just had a third child, Ludo, and are living the most amazing back to nature self sufficient life growing their own food and renovating an old house themselves. It was amazing to catch up with them and the children all played so wonderfully together that it made my heart hurt we could not see them more often.
These little angels are the offspring of Ben's closest friends from university. Matthew and Anne came to Bermuda for our wedding, with Evie and Thea, who was only 8 months at the time. Little Isaac was not around yet. Matthew was the best man and gave the best speech in history. They are one of those couples where each of us like and are close to each of them equally. The four of us can be all together or break into any pairing and it is all just so lovely, easy and fulfilling. They have the most lovely kids and Oslo and Indigo were in heaven with them. Again, I am so gutted we do not all live in the same country as the kids just bonded and it would be so lovely for it to be like that all the time. They also live in France and their children are so fortunate to have the best of the English and French worlds.
At the end of our stay with Ben's family, we decided to rent a car and go on the road for a few days. It was so liberating just packing our bags each morning and piling into the car with a map and a guide book. We would spend our days driving through sleepy little villages spilling over with so much charm that I prayed it would fill my suitcase and come home with me. The markets, the country side, the architecture, the antiques, the language - I love it all. Having spent a year living in Paris during my third year of university, I really got the Franco bug under my skin and can't get enough. Each evening, we would have a picnic dinner somewhere serene after a busy day of touring, and then change the kids into their pjs and set off in the car at sunset. The kids would watch the colours and when the light show outside had played its last hand, they would go to sleep. We would find our way in the darkness to the next b&b, always taking Alistair Sawday's advice (I love love love his taste!) from his book, and wake up the next morning to a new world of surprises. I never thought the gypsy lifestyle of constantly on the move would suit me, and I am sure it wouldn't forever, but it was the most amazing holiday and the kids just thrived.
Love this last one - in case you do not know, I collect hearts in nature. I did a whole series of photographs and one year surprised Ben on Valentine's Day by framing about a dozen of them and making a wall of hearts in our bedroom. Here, the shadow of the moth in the water has made a heart shape on the bottom of the pool. Imagine how amazing the shot would have been with my fave lenses!