Mandy Charlton - Photographer,Writer,Blogger

Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Year of Extraordinary Adventure


Cannes, on the South Coast of France, Mandy Charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, the year of extraordinary adventure, travel, europe, france, single parent holidays with a teenager


When I was 20 years old and very brave I booked my first ever holiday on my own to San Antonio in Ibiza, it was a Club 18-30 holiday and cost me just over £250 for 2 weeks, whilst the holiday wasn't exactly what you would call a luxury vacation (I can't even...) I did get my first taste of taking off on an aeroplane, that moment where you lift off the ground and your head is pressed into the seat, like making the ascent on a roller coaster for the very first time only you know on an aeroplane you are on your way to experience new adventures, gloriously different cultures and you know (mostly) when that plane touches down and the cabin door is opened you'll feel the heat on your face that says "You're not in rainy old England anymore"

For a lot of my life I holidayed in the UK and I still love to do that, next week, for instance, Looby, Harriet and I (plus The Holly Bobbins) are having a caravan break at Sundrum Castle on the Southwest Coast of Scotland, it's very much a bargain break at just over £250 for the 4 nights from Monday to Friday including Holly who was £40 on her own (celebrity beagle, eh?).  It will be so lovely though so be in rural Scotland exploring some of the 17 or so castles they have in the area, I love a good castle with a lovely garden.  Looby chose the holiday, She's going to Tenerife at the end of August with dad and so she wanted to holiday in the UK with me and that's fair enough, Abigail, however, is slightly more aspirational, we, of course, visited Mallorca and toured practically the entire Island in less than a week and so when she told me that she wanted to go the Cote d'Azure for her summer holidays I wasn't exactly surprised, she's passionate about speaking French fluently and so there's no better place to do that.

Now it could be that we paid more than I wanted but at £999.11 for both of us including flights and luggage for 7 nights including breakfast, in the first week of the school summer holidays, I think I did quite well.  Although it has to be said that Harriet and I are going to Madrid for 4 nights at the end of June and we paid £263 each including flights, luggage and transfers.

So this year is all about travel, I've never been to Madrid and I've never been to Nice so I'm very excited about both and Looby still has one summer experience left to choose although she's already indicated that she'd like to go to the Berwick holiday park where we went for a bargain break a couple of years ago.  I think for Looby, she's been so excited for over a year about Tenerife that she doesn't want to ruin it by going somewhere more exciting with me, plus she knows I won't tolerate a solid week of just sitting next to a pool!

I'd hate to put a finger on which experience will fulfil me the most because each one in it's own way is special, I love being able to take Holly on holiday even though I know she's always quite happy with "Brother Iain" or "Auntie Harriet" but I still love landing somewhere you have never been before.  I'm currently trying to learn Spanish and French, they seem to be the two countries I spend the most time visiting and as my business becomes more autonomous during the weekdays it really does lead me to be able to experience a life of travel and adventure.  During the weeks I mainly do an hour of work here and there and as long as I fill my calendar with 10-20 photo shoots every weekend it releases me from the need to look desperately for other work.

So onwards to my next adventure and more than anything, I hope that you'll join me for the ride!
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Win an all inclusive photo shoot with Newcastle Photographer, Mandy Charlton

June 22nd, 2007 was the official date of the launch of my business Mandy Charlton Photography and what a decade it's been, 10 years of being a Newcastle photographer and photographing kids, families and couples all over the North East of England.  I've so much to be thankful for and so I'm planning some things to mark the occasion, firstly I'm going to refund the cost of a photo shoot to one family who purchases one before the end of May.  It's so easy to enter, all you have to do is book yourself a photo shoot and then at the start of June I'll make the official announcement and refund the session fee to one lucky family!

If that's not enough of a reason to book, I'd like to share some of my favourite images from sessions I've shot over the last few weeks, oh and here's a Holly Bobbins portrait I shot in between sessions at Jesmond Dene!



































Hopefully, that's convinced you to book a session with me, it's only £100 and you get all of the edited digital images.  Currently, I have limited availability at Jesmond Dene, Saltwell Park, Tynemouth Longsands, Carlisle Park, Wharton Park, Barnes Park and Chopwell Wood, please enquire for dates and times and you can book yourself more memories this spring and summer with the people you love most in the world.

For a list of frequently asked questions about mini sessions please click here

Book Your Session Now mandy@mandycharltonphotography.com

Oh and if you want to gift a session I have gift certificates I can send for you  to print and gift!
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why I still cry over my lost love...



when the sun sets on a relationship, what to do after divorce, why I still cry over my lost love, Mandy Charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

What the hell just happened?  I was sitting at my desk quite happily, talking online with another fabulous lady about how happy I am in my life, how great being single is and how I wouldn't change it for the world when "I won't last a day without you" by The Carpenters plays and it makes me cry because it reminds me of my lost love, my soulmate who completed me.  I don't even know what it was about that song, I mean I love the song, I love The Carpenters but it doesn't really have any relevance to my former marriage/relationship.

It's been so long since I cried over Paul, I mean I'm in such a good place ordinarily, I've come full circle to being able to talk to people about how much I loved him, how much he truly was my soulmate and how at times we had movie love and that is one of the reasons I don't mind living a single life.  I genuinely don't believe that you find that in your life multiple times. 

Maybe I'm just cross and sad because I've had my turn at true love so early in my life and yet I'm still so young, the next 60 years probably are too long to spend on my own.

Life is funny like that isn't it, you think you are doing fine and then something, a sound, a fragrance, a memory has you transported back in time and suddenly you find you have salty tears running down your cheeks.

I guess the sad thing about Paul and I is that as far as I'm aware he still hates me so we don't speak at all and that's sad because we lost that friendship and we have children together, it's an easy existence I suppose because we have teenagers, so we have no need to see each other or even communicate but I do wish that sometimes we could at least chat!

I wonder if things will always be this way, with me embracing my singledom and merrily going along with sudden moments of abject loneliness?  Even the temporary ones which last from seconds literally seem to break my heart into pieces and it's often that they take me by complete surprise.  The heart it seems is such a curious thing, it's not that I ever want to forget some of the memories we made together and it's not like we should still be together because at the end we were hurting and killing each other, our children have flourished since we parted and that for me is everything, sometimes the happiness of your children is even more important than hanging on to a love which is for all intents and purposes no longer there.

My life now is better and better with every day that passes, it's been a long time coming but I've never been quite so organised in life and business as I am now, I feel for the first time that I have my shit together which is a little scary in itself, does this mean I am a grown up?  Do you know I actually bought a table and chairs on Friday?  I'd been admiring it in the window of Fenwick's for weeks and then I saw they were having a furniture clearance and there were my table and chairs I'd lusted after, half price too so I made the man take my money and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival on Friday.  Now I should tell you that this is such a big thing, this is the first brand new table and chairs I've ever bought, it's white, scandi style and has the most fabulous chairs!  yep, I did it again, I got excited about a table!  Heaven help me, I think I might be a grown up!

And on that bombshell (Thanks, Jeremy) I'll slope off and think more about new furniture and less about old relationships.  Have a great week everyone!
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Friday, May 19, 2017

What happened when I fell off the planet...

Cat, Cath Kidston Bedding, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, the week I fell off the planet
Can you believe it's been 9 days since I last updated?  It's been such a busy time, my business continues to grow at a pace which isn't bad when you consider I've been a professional photographer for 10 years next month.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was at the Thinking Digital conference enjoying brain food and that resulted in being exhausted, there were so many highlights I don't even know where to begin but I am sitting with a new book on my desk called 59 seconds by Richard Wiseman who I saw speak, it's a book which has lots of tools to help you change your life in just 59 seconds and I can't wait to delve in.  other standout speakers were Simon Singh who gave us "The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets". I can't even explain that one because I didn't understand most of it, another book I need someone more clever and math based to read it for me.  There was just so much inspiring stuff in one day, everything from rocket science to being happier, from freestyle rap to Imogen Heap (she plays extraordinary music with her insanely brilliant gloves).  It's no wonder that I was in a bit of a mind coma yesterday and actually sitting at my desk editing 11 photo shoots was just what I needed.

The lovely people at Three have given me a Samsung S8+ to review for a month, it's kind of a point of terror as an Apple evangelist but it wasn't too hard to set up and I'm looking forward to pushing it's boundaries, at least in the photography sense of the word.

I also picked up some new photography kit this week a  very lightly used Fuji X-T1, Battery Grip and a 56mm f1.2 which is a joyous thing of yumminess, it means I'm pretty much going to go between my Canon 6D with the 50mm f1.4 and the X-T1 with 56mm f1.2 for all of my portrait work and then I have my nifty 18mm pancake lens to stick on it when I'm travelling although I do love my Fuji X70 for travel as it's so teeny tiny whilst packing a huge punch, I'm also about to invest in either an XPro2 or a 24-70L f2.8 lens for my 6D but I'm buying neither until I can make a decision which isn't based on me saying "eeny, meany, miny mo".  To be fair, I mostly buy my kit on a whim.

The week I fell off the planet, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, writer, blogger, newcastle upon tyne, gateshead,work, life travel

Anyway, enough geekery, I'm sure you don't come here for that!  On the dating front, someone asked me to go on a date and so I retreated and decided that I couldn't possibly do that.  Jeez I hope I meet someone I fancy in real life one day because I think it's the only way it's ever likely to work, it's not that I'm a nut but I am definitely crunchy!!

Ooh, ooh and (just brushing over my dating ineptitude) last night I booked my June travel moment, I'm going for one big trip a month at the moment so April was of course Mallorca, May is the South West coast of Scotland and at the end of June I am going to Madrid with Harriet, whoop!  I'm incredibly excited, I love Spain so much and exploring another city will be an amazing adventure, oh and we bagged ourselves 4 nights in a 4-star hotel including luggage and transfers for £231 each, I truly am the queen of finding great travel deals.  I must tell you that at the end of July, I'm taking Abigail to Italy, the Amalfi coast beckons but what I haven't found yet is a brilliant deal, you can be sure when I do that you will be the first to know about it.

This weekend I have a very light work weekend, just 3 photo shoots tomorrow and four on Sunday and I'm happy with that and not taking any more on now because next weekend I have 2 weddings!

Whatever you get up to this weekend, make it a wonderful one!

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mini Sessions with Mandy Charlton Photography - Top 25 Frequently Asked Questions

It's been around 3 months now since I transformed my business with low-cost, high-value mini sessions with Mandy Charlton Photography in and around the North East of England, the funny thing is that I get asked the same questions over and over, in fact they're the same questions I've been asked for the last ten years and yet still I've never come up with a frequently asked questions so today, I am going to put that to rights and give you some of my most asked questions and the helpful answers! Once you've had a read through you can Book Now, just email me and I'll send an invoice and as soon as that's paid you are booked!

Newcastle Photographer, Mandy Charlton, All inclusive mini sessions, kids photography, families, couples


  1. How much are mini sessions?  Mini sessions are £100 per session 
  2. What do I get for my £100?  You get a 30-minute session at a beautiful location and a Dropbox of all of the edited digital images.
  3. Are there any hidden costs?  No, it's simple, convenient and it means you can make more memories with your family.
  4. Are the digital images full size?  Yes, you could print wallpaper if you wanted to.
  5. What if I want to get some prints?  I always send a link to my favourite consumer printer Photobox with every download invitation.
  6. Can I do anything I want with the images?  Yes, as long as you don't sell them it's all good with me!
  7. Do I own the copyright?  I maintain copyright on all of my images as the creator but you have a license to print which means you can do whatever you want with them as long as you don't sell them.
  8. Can I use the images on social media?   Of course, you can, all I ask is that you tag my business or me in the images so that it helps friends and family discover my business, they deserve lovely photos too!
  9. What ages are mini sessions suitable for?  Mini sessions are usually suitable from around 6 months upwards or as soon as baby can sit up unaided.
  10. I have a large family of 10, can I book a mini session?  I'm afraid anything over 5 plus the family dog and you really will need more time but you can book a double session for only £200, do make sure you book well in advance though as it's much trickier to find 2 slots together.
  11. Can I cancel and get a refund?  Mini sessions are non-refundable, transferable as a gift certificate and if anything happens with sickness or the weather we'll reschedule.
  12. What happens if it rains?  I always reschedule in the case of rain or high winds if it's a beach day, both are exceedingly damaging to my delicate camera and pretty much, it's not fun and soggy portraits are not what I would want to put on my walls.
  13. What should I wear?  Dress for the weather and as long as you all don't wear clashing colours or patterns you should be absolutely fine!  My clients and I seem to love Joules and it really does go with the style of photographs I produce!
  14. Which locations can I choose from?  I regularly hold sessions in Jesmond Dene, Saltwell Park and the beaches of Tynemouth and occasionally I trial other beautiful spaces such as Wharton Park in Durham, Seven Oaks Park in Cramlington and Carlisle Park in Morpeth as well as my favourite Chopwell Wood, somewhere I don't get to enough but there are only so many hours in the weekend.
  15. I'd like to buy a session as a gift can I do that?  Yes, you can, I sell gift certificates which are E-Vouchers so all you have to do is click, print and gift!
  16. How long are the vouchers valid for?  Currently, all vouchers expire in December 2017!
  17. I have an old £35 voucher, can I use that to pay towards it?  No, but I have arranged a special deal where you can book a double session for just £100 and get all of the edited digital images.
  18. How can I see when you'll be next at my chosen location?  I try to update Facebook frequently and my website at least once a week but please do email
  19. Why do I have to pay for my session to book it?  Because quite simply I am so busy and these sessions are so popular that I can only hold sessions open for up to 24 hours without payment, my calendar is a seriously crazy place and I'm currently booking around 6 weeks - 3 months in advance, I actually have people booked in for Autumn already so they get their chosen slot!
  20. How long after the photo shoot will I receive my images?  I try to work as quickly as possible but you can expect that you might have to wait around 5-7 days especially at busy times in the year.
  21. How many digital images will I receive?  There's no absolute on this one, it really depends on what happens on the day but people rarely go away with less than 15-20
  22. Who are mini sessions suitable for, families, couples, babies from 6 months old, kids
  23. Can I bring my dog?  Your dog is also a member of your family and so you should have them in the photographs, my beagle Holly Bobbins often comes along to Jesmond Dene mini session days, she's a celebrity beagle you know ;)
  24. I am phobic of dogs, will Holly Bobbins be there?  If you are frightened of dogs or your kids are please do advise when you book, Holly sometimes comes to Jesmond Dene and Wharton Park because she likes the train, she comes to dog-friendly beach sessions but she never comes to Saltwell Park because it's not an off-lead park, she wanders around, she's exceedingly calm and loves kids, particularly the wee ones and she does occasionally try to photobomb!
  25. Should we bring anything with us?  I usually have chocolate for the kids and sometimes dog treats for the pooches, bubbles always work well or on the beach buckets and spades can be useful, maybe a favourite toy, it's up to you but you don't have to bring anything and I'll try to make the session as fun as I can.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Take That, Wonderland Live 2017 - A Review

Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group


Some of you may know that I freelance for a site reviewing gigs, concerts and fabulous nights out and I've never loved live music quite as much as I do right now. I'd also like to admit to being a huge Take That fan, so much so that I've cannily brainwashed my children into liking them too so when the opportunity came to buy the last 3 tickets for their tour yesterday, Harriet and I jumped at the chance and willingly handed over £95 a ticket  from See Tickets, crossing our fingers that it would be worth it.  The best thing? I got to take Abigail to her very first concert!

Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group

I have to admit that I've not listened to Wonderland a great deal but certainly, the songs they performed from it last night were pretty fabulous, I particularly love "We Are Giants" and "Cry".

The best thing about Take That for me is the fact that when you go to one of their concerts, it's not just a concert, it's a huge production, a musical experience for every sense, the lighting alone was something quite special last night and by the time they played Greatest Day as their second song I was jumping up and down!  Abigail was completely wowed, she commented that she'd never experienced that mutual experience of 15000 people all waving their arms at the same time and I have to admit, that's one of my favourite parts, it's so immersive and you know that you are sharing an intimate moment with thousands of your new friends.
Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group


For all each and every concert with Take That is completely different you are also safe in the knowledge that you'll get performances of some of their biggest hits and last night we had it all, from Satisfaction to Pray, Back for Good, How Deep is Your Love, it really didn't matter whether you were 15 or 53, it was a great night.
Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group

Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group

Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group

Take That, Wonderland Tour 2017, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger, review, newcastle arena, pop group



It really is a skill that Take That have where they appeal to all of the age groups, I saw old ladies sitting next to teenagers and everyone enjoyed themselves just as much as the next person.  It's probable that Take That will still be touring in 10 years time and you can bet I'll be there as close as I can get in a seat (I do dance but I like my own space) and hopefully my daughters will still want to go with their old mum to see Gary Barlow and Co!

Al the videos and photographs in this post were taken with the iPhone 7plus, a wonderful thing it is too!

Take That are on tour with Wonderland until the end of June and if you are even a little bit of a fan, you really must go, I promise, even the £95 tickets are worth every single penny!!
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Monday, May 08, 2017

Must Love Garden Centres...



Must love garden centres, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger, realtionships and dating in your forties


Last night I accidentally strayed onto Tinder after weeks of resting my swipe right hand, I'm not sure what had happened but I definitely had some pangs of loneliness despite only hours early saying I was relationship phobic now and wouldn't even think about trying again because rejection is too painful.

It seems there's a disconnect and a quandary when it comes to me and my pursuit of the opposite sex and it's no wonder I'm still single when others seemingly come out of one relationship and are happy with someone else just months later.

I still have times where I miss Paul terribly and I wonder if this is the way it's always going to be, I think we were together for so long that it's almost inevitable even though I've been over him for quite some time, like for instance is it odd that I miss our mutual trips to the garden centre?

I realise that might be terribly middle-aged but I love an amble around the garden centre to buy pretty plants, this does not bode well for me as it's yet another requirement I'm going to have to put on the list...

Must like garden centres, in saying that most of them do serve very good cake, and quiche, our local garden centre you have to get there early or there's a rush on quiche and you miss out like me last week, I was bereft with sadness I tell you!

This week I've spoken to 2 men, one on Eharmony and one on Tinder, both of whom I quickly got bored of because of a total lack of (for want of a better term) banter, one of them managed a half hour conversation without even asking one single question about me and that to me is hard work unless you're Stephen Hawking in which case, carry on, I'm all ears!  Chances of finding a genius on Tinder?

Eharmony is so frustrating, there are zero men in the north and the ones it matches me with, well I'm sure if you live in the south it must work so much better as there's a much bigger pool of people but it's clearly not the answer for me.

So to recap, great hair, quick witted, intelligent, loves superheroes, cake, musicals and garden centres, or plants at least, oh and must obviously love animals considering I live in a menagerie.

It's almost like there's not a dating site which is specialist enough for me, I am actually willing to compromise on some things but I definitely cannot deal with self-obsessed or a complete lack of banter, or indeed a man who lives in the northeast who's never been to Scotland, I mean how is that even possible?  We're about an hour away from the border, often you can just take a wrong turn on the A697 and you'll end up in Scotland!!

I'm slinking off now, it's my second day off of the week before I return to be tied to my desk for the foreseeable future, you know where I'm going?  The garden centre with Bobbins and Harriet, at least I know where I am with my dog and my best friend!!
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