Give a child the gift of Christmas

I have the pleasure to photograph many loved and well cared for children, but as Christmas draws nearer I’m reminded that not all children are as cherished. So this year I’ve donated to Kids Company who are putting on a Christmas meal for 4000 under nourished children this year in London – a huge commitment and one that brings tears to my eyes. When I pledged they were 70% towards their crowdfunder target.

Every little helps.

http://www.kidsco.org.uk

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December from cover, Time & Leisure magazine

Scandi Seasonal Table

I loved shooting this beautiful Scandinavian inspired table setting for the December edition. The team were brilliant, organised by our editor Kate, table setting created by our interiors writer Debbie Blott, products supplied by local advertisers and shops and all shot in one of our readers beautiful home in Wimbledon. 100% Christmas in Wimbledon!
December from cover, Time & Leisure magazine Scandinavian Style Christmas Time & Leisure magazine, December 2014, front c

September magazine front cover photograph

September Cover Shoot

untitledCelebrating our 10 year anniversary of the Clapham, Battersea & Fulham edition of Time & Leisure magazine, the team asked for a special cover featuring some of our customers products. I spent ages wondering how to make a cover image from the candles and candlesticks, but I had the good fortune to be staying at my brother’s house in Balham which provided the inspirational setting. With a choice of beautiful vintage fireplaces and my sister in laws’ impeccable interior design taste, the setting came together with ease on the day with the simple addition of some divine cupcakes. After all, what more do we really ever want than cake and candles on our birthday!

London to Brighton veteran car rally

Arriving before dawn, I was struck by the enormous friendships and warmth of the greetings from car owners and enthusiasts as they embraced and caught up from the last event. I discovered a fascinating window on a world of people brought together by their passion, and so often ready to share their extraordinary stories with passersby.

Immersed in the dawn shadows, I tried to capture the passion, charm, excitement and apprehension as they set off on their exhilarating but long, cold and wet journey. Many will have been sitting in puddles of water for several hours by the time they arrive in Brighton but nothing was going to dampen these veterans’ spirit.

The Wedding

Lottie and Chris’s wedding on the Isle of Anglesey was up there with totally cool weddings. Whilst they put on an amazing day for their guests, it was so much fun to watch them live their dream day.

There were quite a few tense moments as Chris waited, and waited, and…. waited for his beautiful bride to arrive. As I captured a few candid shots outside the church, the priest displayed his wild side telling us he’d like to blow up the church and re-enacted a shooting. His story telling worked a treat, taking the grooms mind off his pre-wedding nerves. The bride took a moment or two to compose herself before entering the church – not so sure Dad was keen to hold up proceedings any longer! The ceremony went off without a hitch and the guests had a few moments to congratulate the happy couple as celebratory bubbles blew across the churchyard. We were treated to the most beautiful bus ride on a double decker route master across the island, taking us to Harry’s cafe for drinks, food, speeches and a wonderful evening of dancing and catching up with old friends. Lush.

 

 

John Bird

Bursary wining photography

It’s not always an easy decision to follow your passions and start a new career, but the bursary I was recently awarded by top law firm Slaughter and May has been a massive boost for my new business. It’s such a great community initiative, they invited businesses facing start up challenges to apply, they offered fantastic support throughout the process and even if I hadn’t won, I would have still benefited hugely from the process. However with my assigned mentor Tom cheerleading and graciously guiding me through the process we had a great time preparing for the dragons den style pitch. The S&M dragons didn’t hold back – lawyers aren’t known for their easy questioning on the stand, but getting through some sweaty moments my photos impressed the judges and I was one of five businesses they chose to award a generous bursary to.

Thanks to everyone at Slaughter & May for this confidence and technology purchasing boost to my photography business. 2014 looks bright.

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Gails, Exmouth Market

A parents guide to Top Ten coffee shops, EC1

Top Ten Coffee shops for mums and babies in EC1, Islington, London

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A guide to the best coffee shops in EC1, we’ve checked out all the important things that help make meeting friends and babies so much easier and fun; baby change facilities, highchairs, decaf coffee, cakes, and babycinos, of which my 2 1/2 year old daughter is a mean critic.

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Ground Control, Amwell Street

Some of the best coffee in the neighbourhood, they take their coffee very, very seriously. Small inside so no room for buggies but the outside area has a couple of tables, space for prams, and railings to contain little ones in the summer.  Some very delicious home made cakes and croissants are hard to resist on the counter. If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant and off caffeine, this is one of the best decaf coffees in town. Water served with coffee.
Toilet but no baby changing, no highchairs.
Free babycinos, thoughtfully served at a lower temperature.

Gails, Exmouth Market

TGails, Exmouth Markethis place is almost the perfect place for mums and children. The coffee is always great here and there is a delicious variety of cakes, bread, sandwiches and croissants. Their cherry chocolate scones are possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Help yourself to water. There is a little bit of space for prams, a fabulous long bench, some low chairs (although on wheels which is difficult for little ones) but once you’ve made camp, it can be a great place to spend some time and have a good natter. The downsides are, it can get crowded (especially after Harriettes sing-along kick out) and the surrounding cool customers don’t always appreciate little ones being… little ones. Great decaf coffee.
Babycinos 50p
Excellent baby changing facilities

Cafe Nero, Exmouth Market

Cafe Nero, Exmouth MarketYou can always get a table here but if you can get the sofas here then you’re in a good place. I’m not a fan of the coffee here but good herbal teas, soft drinks, frappacinos, sandwiches, cakes and most importantly the babycinos are free. Space for a few buggies and help yourself to water. The door is quite often left open so not great if you’ve got a young toddler who loves exploring.
Good baby changing facilities
Babycinos FREE

Eshk, Goswell Street

Lots of fabulous sofas in this very cool, independent Clerkenwell coffee house. But as such it is always busy so good luck getting a sofa seat as they are in great demand by the laptop coffee guzzlers. I like this place because its buzzy, good music so you don’t feel like you’re disturbing the peace. Great sandwiches and cakes on offer too. Help yourself to water.
No baby changing. Babycinos 50p

Look Mum No Hands, City Road

I can always find an excuse to pop in here this cool London establishment for a coffee. I don’t know why I love this place but it grabbed my attention from the day it opened. The service is always slow, there is no space for buggies, it’s always busy. But there is a delicious, healthy menu, great coffee, free magazines, water available. Designed for bike couriers I don’t think i’ve ever seen a courier in the place but its got some great cycle paraphernalia around and a cool hip crowd, inevitably tapping away on their laptops. Oh to have nothing to do all day!
Quirky baby changing facilities but incredibly they do have them

Emporium Cafe, Upper street, Highbury and Islington end

Emporium, Upper StreetOk, so strictly speaking this one is in N1, but it is a brilliant place to meet up with other mums. Spacious, so room for buggies, lots of tables and chairs. Whilst the coffee isn’t memorable they offer hot food, served quickly and easy to eat which is a bonus when you have to grab mouthfuls between breastfeeding, changing nappies, or chasing down a toddler.
Baby changing facilities, slightly on the small side
Highchairs available

Pret, St John Street

Pret, St John StreetThere are so many Prets that you probably know their menu already. The one near Angel is relatively less busy than the others so there are often good booth seats and plenty of space for buggies. And you can’t go wrong with their chocolate covered rice cakes and popcorn for lower calorie snacks. Service is really friendly for a chain and babycino refills served with a smile.
Babycinos: FREE
Highchairs
Great baby changing facilities in large disabled toilet.

Fix, Whitecross Street

Very cool, fabulous sofas, but it’s hard work competing with the laptop loungers to get a seat in this place. A nice independent serving good coffee so worth going if you can go when it’s not so busy.
No baby changing

Costa, Barbican

The counter is in the barbican foyer so this one is a great place for big groups to meet, with buggies as there is masses of space, lots of seats, and a child friendly crowd who don’t seem too bothered by littles ones making noise. Lots of space for toddlers to run and roam inside on rainy days, nice outside area, although a little scary with the water having no railings if you have a todder. There are two disabled toilets on the ground floor and one in the Barbican cafe has baby changing facilities.

Sweet, Exmouth Market

The most amazing hot and cold food, great coffee and free babycinos makes this place a winner. The downside is the seating inside isn’t family friendly with high tables and tall stools. Also, cakes in the window are displayed with easy acess for little people and at little people height. So my tip is not to order anything from the bottom shelf that might have had sticky toddler fingers on! Great if you can get a table outside in the summer or don’t mind a bit of fresh air and keeping a close eye on little ones near the road.
Babycinos: FREE

Save it for date night!
Caravan

This is on the list in case you’re tempted to try it. I have done, a couple of times but all it really does is make me yearn for the child free responsibility free days of my 20s. A mecca for all things cool but probably the most un-friendly place for kids in town. No space for buggies. My advice – save it for date night or go to the Kings Cross one!
No baby changing
Babycinos a whopping £1.50