Last year was a touch crazy. We moved house (we were not planning on this!), I was running my business alongside working part time as a solicitor as well as having 2 small children to look after. It’s no surprise that there was a huge shortage of family time, which totally defeated the point of me working part time and being self employed. In hindsight, by doing both it really wasn’t a surprise family life suffered! Something had to give and it was a no brainer for me. After 14 great years I had fallen out of love with the law and and my values were no longer the same as the firm I worked for so my notice was handed in and a huge weight was instantaneously lifted off of my shoulders.
Matt only had 2 days of annual leave left that weren’t used for the house move, childcare or Christmas leave so we decided that in October, after I left life as a lawyer, to have a long weekend away in Anglesey. We love Wales so much. Whenever we visit we just feel ourselves relax as soon as we cross the border. We stayed in a cute little cottage that was a minutes walk from Rhosneigr beach. It couldn’t have been more perfect for our beach loving children. We went each evening to play (and run into the sea fully clothed!) and watch the most incredible sunsets i’ve ever seen. We fully utilised our National Trust membership and visited Penrhyn Castle for halloween (we were not warned that there was a terrifying woman hiding in the curtains!) and Plas Newydd House. We spent our last day at Greenwood Forest Park. If you are ever in North Wales and have children you must go, it was brilliant! We spent the entire day there and did everything from archery to bare foot walks to bouncing on the biggest trampoline dome ever!
Evie had her first donkey ride on a very placid donkey called Bradley. It was not the magical experience I had hoped for. She sulked the whole time because she had to wear a helmet that was ruining her 2 year old hair!! Charlie’s first tooth fell out and he conscientiously wrote his letter to the tooth fairy who found her way to “our home in Wales!”
I had a few lightbulb moments on this wonderful little break. Firstly, and most importantly, that life is about making memories with your loved ones. Without this I had to wonder what we were working so hard for. I felt absolutely confident that self employment meant that we would be able to have loads more family time and make more memories with our children. Secondly, I changed how I photograph my children. As the sun was setting on evening instead of just enjoying it I was shouting to Matt “pick Evie up, this will be a brilliant silhouette shot” I was calling to Charlie “stand in that exact spot so I can get your reflection”. It dawned on me that, whilst they were very pretty shots, they were not honest. My then 2 year old had the legs of a 5 year old and it was back breaking lifting her above your head! I stopped and just let them do as they wanted, which was to just run into the sea and splash! When I sat down to look at the pictures the ones that made my heart melt were ones of them just being them. Belly laughing, having strops, playing together, play fighting, real fighting, escaping, throwing themselves into the sea and pelting me with sand and loving every minute of it. I decided that I would be documenting as they were rather than how I wanted a photo to look. I have kept it up and incorporated this into how I do my family shoots and how I shoot weddings. A genuine, honest moment that means something and evokes a memory is just everything.
Beautiful Wales, we will be back!