A few weeks ago, during that gloriously sunny stint of weather, we arranged a family photoshoot with the lovely Rosie, who I’ve worked with previously on some of my website photos and work projects (she’s a gem and such a talent too). We packed up ourselves and a little picnic and set off for a local farm (Kenyon Hall Farm, which is actually the same place we went pumpkin picking previously) which offered fruit picking amongst a very picturesque location of endless fields of green and flowers (check out my previous recipe post too to see what I did with our strawberry haul from the day).
We’d actually had to rearrange our shoot a couple of weeks prior to this because of heavy rain but in doing so (and realising the change in weather which was due) had switched up our original location idea (a local park and gardens) in favour of the strawberry fields. And boy am I GLAD we did as I couldn’t have wished for a better day, better location or better result from these photos. We’re so beyond happy with them, they capture Evie’s personality at this age so well and contrary to normal, the Husband and I were fairly pleased with how we looked too! I’ve got a few favourites which I can’t wait to print out and frame, but I’ll definitely include all of them in a family album too (does anyone still do those? I love looking through photo albums). We still aim to be mindful of how much of Evie we share online and tend to keep most of our photos of her away from social media in particular. But in certain cases like this I can’t help but want these moments documented on my blog. We’ve kept a few of our absolute favourites from this shoot just for ourselves, but as I’m aiming to bring my blog back to more of an online diary/journal, this felt like such a lovely day of memories to document.
Farms, flower fields, fruit picking activities – they’re all becoming more commonplace nowadays aren’t they? A great way to have a family day out and a yearly tradition in the making. We’ve taken Evie pumpkin picking the last couple of years and now I don’t ever want to let a year pass without doing it! This was our first time strawberry picking (I think this time last year was just too busy and unsettled, having just moved to Manchester and with my Husband working away so much) but seeing how much Evie got out of it (she took the whole activity VERY seriously and was very particular about which strawberries got placed in which basket!) and how much she loved the day, I’d say we’ll definitely be returning again next year too, maybe even venturing to some of the other fruit sections (I was a bit worried about the prickly branches of the raspberries and tayberries).
Previous to this, I only have one memory of strawberry picking. As a teenager, I ventured out one weekend with some friends as a way of making a few pennies ahead of the disco we were heading to that evening (I know!). Of course, as it happened we literally only made pennies as we spent most of the day eating strawberries and carrying on that our earnings hardly made it worth it. It was also an incredibly hot day and as I’d spent the majority of it in one position – sitting down with my legs out in front of me, grabbing the strawberries on either side of me – I ended up going to that disco with two rather fetching bright red rectangles running down the front of each leg. Not exactly the look I was going for. I’d love to say that times have changed but alas there’s something about the sun in those fields and both myself and the husband came back suffering with sunburn from this trip too – him a classic T-shirt tan, me an odd square shape on my back where my dress had been. Thankfully we’d absolutely slathered Evie in factor 50 before we left the house (why we didn’t think to do ourselves too I don’t know) and her beautiful porcelain skin remained perfectly pale (whew!).
Anyway luckily these photos were taken in the morning and no signs of impending sunburn showed up (either that or Rosie is just great at editing ha!).
I had an idea in my head of the type of photos I’d love of us all – they were whimsical and a little magical, sunny and warm, happy faces and idyllic grassy scenes, blue skies and hazy backgrounds – and I must say that I think Rosie captured all of that beautifully. From the moments in the strawberry patches, to the posed shots amongst the tall flowers and the candid ones of Evie running around after a little picnic lunch in the sun. The ones I adore are the ones of Evie in amongst the corn fields, in reality she really did not want to wear that hat but the process of us throwing it on her and her removing it again has actually made for the sweetest of moments on camera. I just love them!
Evie is 2 years and 5 months here, and her personality is developing so fast. These photos will forever be a reminder of the bossy, sassy little person who she is right now. Rosie, who hadn’t seen her since she last photographed us all when Evie was only 18 months old, couldn’t believe how grown up she’d got, how much she was chatting, and of course she had a good giggle at her levels of sass already (if she didn’t want to smile for a photo no amount of goofing around would change that).
At almost 2 and a half, our girl has so much determination, knows her own mind and won’t do anything she doesn’t want to (as some of these photos show!). She’s cheeky, and funny, but can switch from a smile to a frown and a giggle to a tantrum in seconds (she gets super hangry, and we’d reached a point mid morning where she’d just had too much and we knew no more photos could happen until we’d stopped for a snack break, at which point she became a new kid, full of energy, posing for the camera and with non stop toothy grins – I think she gets that from me to be honest, always overly emotional if I haven’t been fed at regular intervals lol!).
Her imagination astounds us, and she comes up with new games daily, directing us all with which parts to play. She’s always been a chatterbox, and her language skills seemed to develop almost overnight. Now she talks non stop all day, has full conversations with us and there’s nothing really that she can’t say (which makes reasoning with her all the more difficult sometimes).
Although strong willed and head strong, she’s also fiercely loyal and so so loving. I always tell people that it took until about the age of 15 months before I was ever allowed to kiss or cuddle Evie, but now she gives them out so willingly and will come running up to me for a big cuddle (rubbing her little hand on my back mimicking what I do with her), she orders me to ‘give Daddy a kiss and say bye bye’ before the Husband goes to work each morning, and sometimes out of the blue she’ll just suddenly turn to me during the day and say ‘oh, sorry Mummy I haven’t given you a kiss yet’ and come running over to plant a slobbery ‘mwah’ on my face. She’s the best!
She absolutely loves the outdoors at the moment and would happily spend all day outside if she could, rain or shine, so this was the perfect activity to keep her occupied with while taking photos. I must have looked everywhere for little mini baskets to take with us but couldn’t find any anywhere (I swear at Easter the shops were inundated with miniature baskets) so I bought her this little wicker bag (it was reduced as some of the pom poms had fallen off – I was originally going to remove them all and just keep it plain but in the end she loved it as it was) so she’d have her own little place to collect strawberries and then I found this larger basket, which we’d used for our wedding, for us. It meant we ended up with quite the strawberry collection as Evie was very diligent at picking ‘small Evie ones, medium Mummy ones and big Daddy ones’ and placing them in the corresponding baskets. It was only after around half an hour or so that she realised she could eat one, after I’d tucked into one myself, and then she carried her favourite one up and down those lanes licking it and getting covered in strawberry juice as she went.
After a few photos amongst the tall flowers, and a couple of cheeky ones by the edge of the corn fields (we were careful to only enter in ever so slightly and stick to the set path, clever photography makes it look otherwise), we then paid for our strawberry pickings and took it down to the grassy patch for a picnic pit stop. Evie perked right up after a snack and most of the photos of her perched up on the picnic basket or lying down looking at the camera weren’t staged at all, she just seemed to love being the star of the show all of a sudden. Then came the wild episode where she just ran around, wanting to be chased and thrown in the air (which is Daddy’s domain, you can probably see by the look in my face that the throwing always gets me a bit), before finally around 1pm she signalled an end to proceedings when it all just got too much and she refused any more photos. But to be honest, she was bang on schedule anyway as we were due to wrap up about that time. The sun was getting stronger and the heat getting to all of us, so it was time for a cold drink in the cafe before a little play in the brilliant park area they have at this farm, and then home for a chilled afternoon.
You never know how things will go when attempting photos with a kid, but Evie did so well to entertain it for a whole morning and I think the photos show what a lovely day we all had, I’m so pleased with them.
We’re already planning to book Rosie again in time for Pumpkin picking!