The Big Adventures of a Little Red Bucket

A bucket and spade - such a timeless thing isn’t it?  Growing up, I was so lucky that we lived within walking distance of the beach and so – as I remember it at least – all our summer holidays were spent either swimming or heads down, digging in the sand.  I’m sure it probably did rain sometimes but as far as I can recall those long summers were wall-to-wall sun, sea and sand.

Buying our son a bucket and spade therefore felt like a rite of passage that I was really looking forward to.  The ‘big’ purchase was a £1.20 little red bucket with yellow handle and little blue spade.  None of the fancy sets you can get these days which include a sieve, some shapes and all kinds of other things.  Just a bog-standard bucket and spade from a beach shop in Lyme Regis.  

In all honesty, I think it was probably more of a purchase for me than it was for our then 18 month old! However, I had no idea then quite how integral those little bits of plastic would become to his early milestones.   They obviously accompany us on every summer beach expedition and every holiday but it was only when I was looking back at some of last year’s photos that I realised quite what value for money we’ve got from them.  They have accompanied us on every holiday we’ve been on – made sandcastles in France, and moved the sea one bucket at a time from water’s edge to rockpool in Cornwall.  They got to have some winter sun in Lanzarote and then helped make snowmen in the park in March.  They’ve carried sand and salt water and fresh water; the bucket has been a hat and a mini, mobile fridge and the spade an ambulance for injured insects.   

There was nearly a diplomatic incident in France recently when another family rounded up the bucket with all their kit as they set off home.  Fortunately frantic sign language and schoolboy French on my husband’s part managed to avert disaster.  That little bucket and spade has put up with a lot & I will be heartbroken the day it finally gives up the ghost.  At least we’ve got a load of pictures to provide some happy memories.

Do you have a toy or maybe an item of clothing that has delivered way more than it promised to the lives of your family?  I’d love to hear about them over on the Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

10 Family Friendly Walks in Devon - a Devon Photographer’s Favourites 

These days for us, a family walk tends to result in a big game of trains regardless of the location but a recent such walk got me thinking about how lucky we are in Devon to have so many wonderful & varied walks within easy reach.  I’ve therefore put together the following list of some of our favourites.  I’d love to hear about any others you know of though…..trains are optional!

Read More

Easing the Pain of Dressing for your Family Photoshoot

Does the idea of dressing your family for your family photoshoot fill you with dread?  Hopefully this article can help give you some pointers that make the planning experience far less challenging.

Read More

Mission, Accomplished!

 My favourite image from the year because it captured a really happy day on the beach in Cornwall.  It was also the best received within the Challenge's Facebook group

My favourite image from the year because it captured a really happy day on the beach in Cornwall.  It was also the best received within the Challenge's Facebook group

In all honestly, I didn’t really think I’d complete the challenge when I set myself a New Year’s Resolution back at the start of 2017.  Having failed on so many previous occasions (usually because I can’t resist chocolate!) I haven’t really made many New Year’s resolutions in recent years.  'Getting more sleep' has been the most appealing idea but having a small child was usually the stumbling block to that one!  However, at the tail end of December 2016 I heard of a challenge that I couldn’t resist.  It’s called the Dogwood 52 Challenge and involved taking a photo every week of the year based on a set theme.  The full list for the year was already published and whilst some looked achievable others seemed really daunting, but i thought it would be a good opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone.    I have therefore tackled all manner of subjects from ones that I’m familiar with - a child’s portrait; a traditional landscape, to much more challenging ones such as high key, movement and most terrifyingly two (!) self portraits.  Some have been pleasantly surprising- the silhouette week is a picture taken on a family holiday that I will always treasure - and others have been harder than I expected; backlit was exceptionally challenging and i was disappointed with the results. (I also felt rather self conscious using a flash on an incredibly sunny day on a beach!)  

 The challenge made me look at things differently.  I just had to grab this one quickly with my phone but it was perfect for 'dancing' week which had stood out as particularly difficult on the list

The challenge made me look at things differently.  I just had to grab this one quickly with my phone but it was perfect for 'dancing' week which had stood out as particularly difficult on the list

Why am I telling you all this? Whilst I have learned a lot technically and (I hope) have become a better photographer for the process, I think the main things I’ve learned are how satisfying it is to challenge yourself and do something a little bit different.  It would have been very easy to look at the daunting list and find excuses about why i shouldn’t do it - too difficult; not enough time; other priorities, but  regardless of what it is, the harder the challenge the better the feeling when you actually complete it.  I posted my final picture yesterday and although it wasn’t one of my favourites (could a selfie ever be?) I was really chuffed with myself to think that I had completed the challenge I set myself a year ago.  

There was a discussion on the radio the other day about new year’s resolutions and one of the key things to come out of it was to break the goal down into manageable chunks and set yourself little rewards when you reach milestones.  It doesn’t matter what it is, if there is something niggling in the back of your mind that you want to achieve, take this opportunity to try it.  What’s the worst that can happen?  And tell us about in the comments - the more people you tell, the harder it is to back down!;)

So what’s my resolution going to be for 2018 then?  There is a follow-on challenge in the series that looks really hard.  I have already provided myself with some excuses (see above about not enough time, too difficult etc!) but maybe I need to follow my own advice and challenge myself……

 I guess I probably have to include my last entry- the dreaded selfie! 

I guess I probably have to include my last entry- the dreaded selfie! 

(Part of my challenge wasn’t just to take the images but to put them out there for the world to see so that they can be critiqued.  There’s a brilliant Facebook group that provides constructive criticism on each image and I’ve learned a lot but I also thought that the biggest incentive to try my best was to put them on my website.  You can therefore see the full 52 weeks at in the dedicated gallery)

For anyone interested in trying out this challenge, have a look at Dogwood Photography