Expert Tips: Capturing Those “Perfect” Moments

We recently met local photographer Claudine Yap. As a new mum to a two-month old son, she’s making a transition in her photography career from event photography to children and family portrait photography, offering on-location shots or studio shots.

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Based in Buckhurst Hill, she shoots in her bespoke studio or on location for your family.

She specialises in recording the feelings of family life: joy, wonder, happiness, quiet contemplation, and great good humour. Shooting newborns, babies, children and family, she aspires to create a fun and relaxed environment during her photo shoots to bring out the very best in people.

We asked her to give her suggestions for taking our own family photos. We thought this might come in handy as the Christmas season approaches.

  1. I always advise my clients to put plain, bright-coloured clothes on their children, especially if the pictures are taken outdoors, because patterned clothing can sometimes add distraction to the picture on an already busy background. Of course we think you should still go for the shot of the whole gang in Christmas jumpers in front of the tree, but for those special moments, less really might be more.
  2. If possible, always use natural light – near windows if you’re indoors and indirect natural light like under a tree if you are outdoors on a sunny day to avoid harsh light on your subject. Cloudy days usually offer the perfect lighting. Lucky us–we’ve got plenty of those. The light should always be in front of the subject unless aiming for a ‘silhouette’ look. Try to avoid using flash as this can cause red-eye and harsh-looking light on your subject.
  3. It helps to have another parent or “favourite” around to help with getting them to smile. Usually by talking and playing with the children helps. And try to schedule around nap and meal times to avoid erm unpleasant moments.
  4. Take multiple shots at a time to avoid missing out on capturing what could be your child’s best expression and best moments!
  5. Get down to their eye level and see the world from their perspective.
Good luck and remember to have fun! Patience is required to get the perfect shot. You know what we mean.
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If you’re still not convinced that you can swing it, why not give Claudine a call. She’s running a special offer on Mumsnet Local, which you can find on our Offers page. The price in the Offer is based on photography in London and Essex. She is happy to travel further afield, and will give a quotation for that expense.
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The Christmas Fairy Alights on Valentines Mansion

xmas fairyIt’s very nearly Christmas but there’s a problem! The Christmas Fairy needs some very special people to help her on her mission, so bring along your magic wand and best singing voice and join in the Countdown to Christmas!

When: Saturday, December 14th

Where: Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford

Who: This event is for children aged 2-8 and their families.

Pre-booking is essential. Maximum of two adults per child for bookings. Ticket cost is £5. Please phone the Mansion on 020 8708 8100.

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Consumer Rights – #ChristmasShopping

kateemo:

Valuable advice to keep your pocketbook merry this Christmas.

Originally posted on Mumsnet Portsmouth:

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With Christmas just around the corner, here is everything you need to know about your rights when making those special purchases.

We’ve all been there. You purchase that dress you love but when you get it home it (a) doesn’t fit; (b) looks awful; or (c) for no reason at all you decide that you hate it completely.  You therefore take the item back to the shop to ask for a refund only to be told that you cannot have one.

Your rights as a consumer are governed by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 where you purchase ‘goods’ (for example a dress or T-shirt) or the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, where you are provided with a ‘service’ (e.g. eating out at a restaurant or a mobile phone contract).  Many people know little about their rights arising from these Acts.

It is worth bearing in mind…

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Double 10 Delights

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In the Caribbean, we celebrate something called Double 10, so named for the 10th of October. As with many Caribbean cultural inheritances, it corresponds sometimes to its ancestor, in this case the Chinese Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn festival. The common denominator is lots of good food, family and friends.

It looks like the universe is conspiring to get us down to London Chinatown this weekend as six of Chinatown’s restaurants are participating in London’s Restaurant Festival this month. Y.U.M.

Georgia Lindsay’s Family Garden and ‘Bub Tub’ Competition

Calm and reassuring, the figure of a circle makes us think of a great big hug, and Georgia Lindsay, a finalist in  the 2014 Grand Designs Garden Design competition, created a garden full of them. We met the London-based designer during a family day out to the Grand Designs show last Spring and instantly knew we had to help her show it off!

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A gorgeous metal swing seat designed by Steve Myburgh (Myburgh Designs) provides comfortable and playful respite from all the action in the garden. Artificial turf is used throughout. This can be cut in shapes to help form the lids for the tugs and circular play spaces.

The colours and shapes of this wonderfully child friendly space made my children beam, a response Georgia was clearly aiming for:

“The circles were very deliberate. Soft curves seem much friendlier and child orientated than angular lines.” I also was taken with the boldness of simple colours and shapes that were. . .well, appealing.

Georgia-Lindsay A penchant for clean lines were traded in for a family garden resplendent with circles in order to create a family friendly and appropriate design.

“I am actually known for doing very clean lined contemporary gardens but for this Family Garden I made a deliberate decision to smooth out all the edges.”

The garden upholds the circular theme, from the choice of a single proliferating bloom–a daisy–to the circular-seats of the beautiful steel swing and Georgia’s signature ‘Bub Tub’ kiddie seats to the holes dug as an interchangeable sandpit or paddling pool or trampline recess, or even a fire pit for some grown-up fun!

The seating area is inviting, comfortable, and purposeful. The softly circular theme is maintained whilst remembering that children DO go to bed (after helping to put the toys away, of course) and then the adults do not want to be sat in the middle of a landscaped toy shop. To that end, she has oh-so-cleverly devised turfed fitting lids for the play pits.

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Georgia’s “Bub Tubs”: One of the attractions of the chairs is that they can easily transform back into a storage bucket once the kids have grown out of them. They also stack easily when the cushion is taken out and look fabulous in all the beautiful rainbow colours they come in. People also love that they can store toys in the little compartment under the cushion, a little bit less clutter is always a bonus with kids!

So how did she dream up this amazing landscape? “The brief of the competition this year was introducing colour to your garden,” she tells us. “It would have been too predictable using colourful plants to fulfil this brief so I purposely didn’t use any flowers with colour and chose the white daisies and green grass as a neutral palette.”

Atop this neutral palette are the play spaces and sitting spaces: a beautiful wrought metal swing seat hovers over a dug-out circle, giving the feeling of depth. The gentle steps up and down were designed to make the terrain easily navigable for little ones.  She is a mum of two toddlers, ages 2 years and 9 months and 11months, so the well-imagined and safely realised space is a true labour of love: “The garden was really a tribute to them,” she says, and “completely designed for that age group, hence the curved lines and easy heights to navigate.”

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Kevin McCloud, of the Grand Designs Show, called the garden “innovative and practical.”

Since the show this Spring, Georgia has been overwhelmed with interest in her design and for the “Bub Tub” she designed for the garden. “The reusable quality of them really has appealed to people. As we parents all know we go through kids’ paraphernalia so quickly as they grow out of things so fast.”

Innovative yet practical. And we really like that.

Creating Your Own Garden

daisiesGeorgia’s design was purpose-built as a small show space, but you can use some of her great ideas in your own garden, large or small.

Do consider the shapes of the things in your garden–choose furniture, flower beds, and blooms with rounded edges instead of sharp, angular ones. Georgia recommends sunflowers for rapid and impressive growth.

And back to the theme of purposeful–why not incorporate edible, weed-controlling blooms? “Strawberries are another great one, not only do you get the thrill of picking the juicy fruit but also the added pleasure of putting them to bed in a little nest of straw. All veggies give great satisfaction, I don’t think anyone could ever tire of the thrill of pulling a carrot from the ground and the condensed carroty smell which fills the air.”

 

Play Along and Win a Pair of Bub Tubs

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These amazing little chairs are soft, stackable, and have toy storage underneath! Perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers, for indoor or outdoor use.

This garden is so chock full of playfulness, irresistibly so. Mumsnet Local and Wanstead’s neighbourhood pub, The Duke, would love for you to play along, so here’s your big chance.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for simple, affordable child-friendly home gardens. The winner will receive a pair of Georgia’s signature Bub Tubs, pictured here. These are valued at £45 each. If you’d like to get up close and personal with the Bub Tubs, they’ll be at The Duke in Wanstead from Friday, July 25th until the competition closes.

Entries will be accepted from Friday, July 25th until Midnight on Sunday August 3rd. The winner will be chosen by Georgia Lindsay herself.

If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas, our friend at Mumsnet Suffolk and Norfolk has some great ones on her blog.

When you’re ready, post your idea to the Talk thread on Mumsnet Local – Redbridge. You must post your entry by midnight on Sunday August 3rd, 2014.

Good luck and have a wonderful, playful summer!

  • Find your Mumsnet Local web site here–register by updating your Mumsnet account and receive a customised monthly newsletter with all the latest happenings in your area.

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Head over to The Duke on Thursday 31st July & Friday 1st August at 10am when they will be hosting their Little Duke’s kids club.

lechyd Da! to Mumsnet Gwent and Kate Humble

This week, our South Wales Editor spent the day with Kate Humble at her working farm, Humble by Nature. After retiring from the head post at the RSPB in 2013, she’s thrown herself into life on the farm, and with her husband Ludo Graham, she’s created a truly special offering. Visitors are welcome to drop in for the day or to stay and learn about farm life. Even sleep over!

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Kate Humble Supports Local: Read it here

It’s another great feature, brought to you by Mumsnet Local.

Mumsnet Local serves 180 individual communities in the United Kingdom, bringing you the best local advice “for parents, by parents.” So check in with us for life at home or if you’re planning a trip. Our Local Editors are friendly and knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions.