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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Ellie Wiseman Trust

Ellie is the daughter of one of the best scrappers in this country (IMHO), she's an adorable girl who has a problem with her muscles, she can't walk more than 100 metres without being exhausted and relies on a wheelchair to get around any great distances. Her mum Kirsty has been seeking answers for years but not getting any and now Ellie has the chance to be seen by some great doctors in Nevada, the thing is though that she needs £5000 to get there. So she's going to raise it by walking a sponsered mile, thats the equivalent of you and me trying to climb Everest in our swimming cossies (I.E. Not Easy) please click this link to go and visit her mums blog and see Ellies video message to the world and then if you can spare it go and sponser her just a little.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's Tuesday bits and bobs!

Not enough to justify one whole post so as per usual I'll resort to bullet points!

  • We went to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art yesterday morning, sadly there were hardly any exhibitions on but the ones we did see were as usual interesting and though provoking!
  • While we were there we went for our usual mooch around the gallery shop which I think is one of my favourite shops in the whole of the North.
  • After a little mooching my wonderful hubby bought me a Holga, a japanese toy camera which uses medium format film and gives strange and interesting photography, if you're interested in learning more about Lomography check out the International society of Lomography at www.lomography.com
  • Super excited that I'm going to be able to take my Holga along to weddings and shoot something completely different from the norm.
  • I have a feeling I might fall in love with the whole world of funky 60's film photography, do a google search for a Seagull, I think thats quite awesome, maybe digital photography isn't the end of film photography, maybe it's just the beginning of an adventure.
  • Anyone got any out of date film hanging around, if you have can you email me at mandyc855@msn.com I'm quite happy to pay.
  • Anyone who's emailed me about wedding photography over the last couple of days, I'm sorry but I've had horrid email problems. If you don't get a reply can you email me again at mandyc855@msn.com for the time being!
  • Still some dates left for wedding photography packages this year and if you only need a couple of hours then check out my website because I have a few new smaller packages for the budget concious bride, after all doesn't everyone deserve great wedding photos, we can't all be rich and famous now can we ;)
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Monday, January 28, 2008

More Photography from Saturdays Wedding

Well now, I did say that I would share more today so here as promised....

If you click here you'll be able to see them on the Facebook page for Mandy Charlton Designs

Sorry I couldn't add them to this post but my media bar is playing up!!
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Christine and Darren are Married!, St Johns Church Hebburn and George Washington Hotel, Country Club and Golf Club

Where shall I start with Christine and Darrens story, hmmm,

Well they've been together for 12 years and are one of those couples who you would be delighted to spend time with, they're gorgeous and friendly and they really welcomed me into their special day, so.... On with the photos (of which there are so many I want to share it's going to take 2 or 3 posts so please bear with me!!



Darren with his dependable groomsmen.


Looking Handsome and Dashing though you should have seen them trying to attach the cravats!


The gorgeous bridesmaid, Sister Lorna who was just so friendly.


Lornas daughter who was flower girl and all round friendly poppet, she was the most delightful little girl and so well behaved for two and a half, I hope mum brings her in for a session with her sister because they are just adorable and you only have to say "Smile for Santa" and you get a great big grin!


Christine, the most beautiful glowing bride you ever saw.


With Dad just after the arrival at the church, check out that Bentley, what a dream of a classic car!


The Church, I have to say that I encountered the most wonderful clergyman yesterday, he was so photo friendly and I got the most amazing shots, thank you so much!


Lorna and her daughter, delighfully vintage and completely beautiful.


Just waiting to be welcomed into the church for the processional.


Married and going back into the world as husband and wife.

Ok, thats your lot for today, if you want to see more you'll have to wait till tommorrow, I really did have such a wonderful time and even the editing has been a joy! Congratulations Christine and Darren may you have a wonderful honeymoon and an amazing life together!
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Studley and Darling




This is Darling!



YThis is Studley!

Studley and Darling are brother and sister, their mum is Elphaba our 3 year old cat, Elphie had her kittens about 2 or 3 weeks after Poppy had her brood. We're keeping Studley and Darling is off to live with my very good friend Mandi in about a months time, we'll really miss her when she goes as she's so cute, they're both lapcats and love nothing better than lazing about and having cuddles!!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Midweek round up

It's the calm before the storm in the Charlton household at the moment, just taking it easy before a busy wedding photography period. Really excited about my upcoming weddings actually, it seems a long time since my last wedding on the 4th of January. I'm super excited about Saturdays wedding because they're having a piper outside the church. I love the bagpipes, I think it goes back to my scottish heritage but everytime I hear them I want to do the highland fling! I tried Scottish dancing for a time when I was younger but I was pretty awful so I didn't continue. Today I still love to watch scottish dancers and I've taught the girls "Out behind, Front behind" which is about all I could remember.

Paul did his first full day of gardening today, Hurray for his business picking up again, I shouldn't say it so quickly or it will probably snow! LOL

Google stats have gone mad with searches relating to weddings, brides, grooms and all that jazz this week. I've already had to turn down 2 wedding photography bookings today, super sad about that but hopefully I've recommended other fabulous photographers who are available on those dates.

I still have a few dates left this year but all my Saturdays in July are now gone and I think I only have 1 Saturday left in August!

Did ya all notice that I've moved the link to Mandy Charlton Designs up to the readers eyeline? It's been bothering me for ages, I just hadn't thought it would be so easy to move in into the about me section!!
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cool Places to get married in the North East of England

So we've talked about all the really cool places to get married around the country but today I thought I would suggest some more local places, some of which I have shot at already, some I'm shooting at this year and some, well I would really like to shoot their, hint hint.... Mwahahahaha!

So in no particular order:-

  1. Bamburgh Castle
  2. Durham Cathedral
  3. St Nicholas Cathedral
  4. Hexham Abbey
  5. Linden Hall
  6. Embleton Hall
  7. Beamish Hall
  8. Matfen Hall
  9. Kirkley Hall
  10. Headlam Hall
Ooh, lots of halls there then!!

Ok so what about something completely different for those brides and grooms who want something out of the ordinary? I don't have any suggestions other than the countrywide ones I posted a couple of days ago.

Perhaps if you're a bride planning her wedding day at somewhere completely different you could let me know and then I in turn will be able to tell other brides wanting something out of the ordinary.

Now come on, don't keep it to yourself!

If you are getting married at one of the above places then why not give me a call or click through to Mandy Charlton Designs and we'll have a chat about all of your wedding photography needs or you can email me direct at mandycharltondesigns@gmx.com
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Mixing it up for the 2008 wedding season

Saturday will see me at my second wedding of the year followed by my third wedding of the year a week later...

It's going to be a busy year but over the quiet season I've had time to make sure I have some fabulous new ways to present great photos to the brides and grooms of the north, so whether you're getting married in St Andrews like these photos


Or you're having some gorgeous family photos like this photo

I'm pretty sure I've brushed up on my knowledge to make them look their absolute best. Now I'm not a huge fan of photoshop and I don't like to see people looking plastic, I reserve pretty much all of my processing for Lightroom which helps me achieve these looks but doesn't actually alter the appearance of anything or anyone. I think one more characteristic of my photography that clients will see this year is that of atmosphere so add that to my already famous emotion and happiness and we're looking at a pretty great year for all the clients of Mandy Charlton Designs

Ok, time for a small list, if you're getting married at any of the following places then please consider me for your wedding photography -

  1. Edinburgh Zoo (if I say it enough it's bound to happen, right?!)
  2. Longleat Safari Park (not sure if you can get married there but it would be cool)
  3. Somewhere completely different to the norm - The London Aquarium maybe???
  4. An Ancient castle, think somewhere like Urquart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness and Wow.
  5. York Minster, yes I'm aiming big but it pays to be ambitious!!
So if you're getting married anywhere unusual then do give me a call and see if I can provide you with all your wedding photography needs and if you book the top 2 packages travel is inclusive.

Ooh and i must just mention, if you're having a small midweek wedding then do enquire about a midweek discount, this is available on all packages upwards from the "Do it your own way package" and you could save yourself up to 20% depending on the day of the week and how much wedding photography you need.
When I checked my google page rank it had dropped from 3 to 2 and I don't know why?????
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

This and That...

Yep, it's one of those posts where I have nothing substantial to say so I'll just make it bullet points which are hopefully a little easier to digest!!
  1. Had a wonderful lunch today at The Badger in Ponteland, Scrumalicious, the duck was superb! The children all had salmon fishcakes, definetly one of the better pubs you can go to with children.
  2. Booked an amazing wedding this week at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, Very very excited about that one, wonderful couple, amazing location, enough said ;)
  3. It's mid January and the wedding booking season has commenced, brides don't forget to book your free consultation by clicking through to Mandy Charlton Designs or calling me on the numbers on the header!! Packages go from £495 up to £1995 so something for everyones pockets.
  4. Still haven't heard from any brides getting married at Edinburgh Zoo, please if you're a bride planning a wedding at Edinburgh Zoo give me a call, I happen to think it's one of the coolest places on earth to get married and did you know you can even get married right next to your favourite animals, penguin ring bearers would be so cool!! Don't worry about travel costs, they're all inclusive with the price of the top 2 packages.
  5. I finally painted a set of canvases for the livingroom and they look marvellous, it's great to have some more of my own art on the walls.
  6. Still haven't made in roads on the redecoration of the hall and stairs, I swear this job is longer than the painting of the Forth Road Bridge!!
  7. Spent a couple of hours this afternoon chilling out watching Oceans Thirteen, great movie, definetly as good as the first and thankfully a whole lot better than the second, can't decide who's better looking, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt or George Clooney, who's your favourite?
  8. This week we made the choice that we'll do all future grocery shopping at Waitrose even though it's a 40 mile round trip, we'll still go to the local Sainsburys in an emergency. I just can't do Tesco or Asda anymore, we made the choice to eat organic several years ago but with all the recent campaigning by Hugh, Jamie and Gordon Paul and I feel a whole lot better shopping at a supermarket which provides ethical foods all of the time and not just when it suits them. Please also do me a favour and go and sign the Chicken Out petition so that we get better living conditions for the animals who provide our food. I eat meat and I wouldn't go without it but I beleive in respecting the creatures who provide it. Rant over...
  9. We're having Pheasant tommorrow, I love pheasant and in fact all game birds, i'm planning on introducing the children to them all this year, we've already had guinea fowl, tommorrow its pheasant and then maybe we'll do Quail next week!!
  10. Sunday will be spent chilling and not doing a whole lot really :)
  11. Last free weekend before the wedding season starts.....
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Thursday, January 17, 2008

What A Delightful Surprise..

Elizabeth and I arranged that we would have lunch today so this morning when she dropped me a text she said she had a surprise and imagine indeed my surprise when she turned up with her husband David!! David has 2 weeks R&R from his posting in Iraq and of course I was delighted to spend time with one of the most delightful families I know. I'm sure you all know by now but just in case you don't, I shot David and Elizabeths wedding in October last year and we've become really good friends.

Finlay was just gorgeous as ever, he really does have the biggest eyes of anyone I know.

You can't help falling head over heels with him.

I think we all know just how much he loves his daddy and he seemed so happy and content to have some precious time with him

We all had a lovely lunch at the local italian restaurant and then before we knew it it was home time for the girls who were delighted to atlast meet Finlay and give him some attention as only they can.

Thanks you David, Elizabeth and Finlay for a really lovely afternoon!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Would you like to win some free wedding photography

Ok, this year as my way of giving back I am going to shoot 1 wedding completely free of charge, the lucky couple will get 6 hours of wedding photography, an online gallery for 3 months, a DVD slideshow of all their images and CD's of all the Hi-resolution files. This package is worth £995.

The rules are you must nominate yourself or someone else who you think deserves their wedding photography for free.

You must send your story and a photograph of atleast 640 px and not more than 800px on the long side and you must put the date on which you're getting married.

You must be getting married between now and the end of 2009 and unfortunatley if I'm already booked for your date I'm sorry but I can't do anything about that.

This booking must be a new booking and so unfortunately current brides and clients cannot enter.

The winners will be picked by myself, and a few other people who know a deserving story when they hear one.

Tell everyone you know about this and hopefully we'll find a fantastic couple

Email your stories to mandycharlton@aol.com

Entries must be received by February 15th 2008
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Monday, January 14, 2008

The 2008 Wedding Photography Booking Season....

Has commenced!

Yes things have really been getting busy and it's looking like it's going to be a bumper week of consultations meeting with new and interesting brides for both the 2008 season and now of course the 2009 season. My 2008 is starting to look like a busy one and it's kind of weird knowing what I'll be doing on certain dates in 2009, especially when I think I never used to know what I would be doing from one day to the next!

Anyway in preparation for a busy year I have recently bought myself (or the house) a Coffee machine, a Slow Cooker and now I've gotten myself a really nice personal organiser! Am I all set, well I think I am!!

Brides if you're looking for my contact details and to see more of my portfolio for all your wedding photography needs then click through to Mandy Charlton Designs
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Photoshoot with Joe

You may remember back in November when I had the delightful pleasure to do a photoshoot for the most gorgeous little boy Joe, well today I was back at Joes pinching cuddles and photographing him with his brother, sister and cousin.

Joe got his own little chair and footstool for Christmas, I think you can see how much he likes it, infact I would go so far as to say that Joe was happiest today when he was in his chair.

I think Joes grandma is going to love this one of all the children together, aren't they such a gorgeous bunch of children?

With big brother and big sister, Joe truly is adored by all his family and siblings and it's not hard to see why, he has the biggest eyes in the north!!
I also got the chance to see all the photos on the walls from the last photoshoot, I did say to mum Kerry that maybe she should consider wall to wall photographs!!

Thanks to Joes Mum Kerry for some lovely coffee and another wonderful photoshoot, I can't wait till I see them again later this year!
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Just some Random goings on.....

Yes it's Friday and being that it's the first week in January my life isn't exactly over full right now so it's just a post of small random things which otherwise might not get mentioned.

  1. I booked my 20th wedding for this year yesterday, only 15 more to go and I'll have reached my target of 35 and be full!!
  2. We bought a Russell Hobbs Filter Coffee machine yesterday, we've not had one since Paul smashed that last ones jug 5 years ago! Happiness, I love coffee.
  3. Had a Yo Sushi tea last night which I have to say is my favourite place to eat.
  4. Hubbykins just got himself a new mobile phone with a 5mp camera, I have phone envy!
  5. I bought some canvases to paint and make wall art with, I think I'll leave that one for next week.
  6. Looby had such awful nightmares last night, she kept me awake for most of the night so she's staying home today.
  7. Manicure today and boy do my nails need it!
  8. Got my new line of albums for this years brides, Wowee Kazowee, they're edible and by Spicer Hallfield, they're a great alternative for those who don't like the Graphistudio albums.
  9. Paul has gone gardening this morning, his first job of the year, lets hope it's a mild winter and he keeps working!
  10. anyone getting married at Edinburgh Zoo, of all the places I listed where I would like to shoot weddings that is number 1, any brides and grooms planning their wedding at Edinburgh Zoo please click through to Mandy Charlton Designs and give me a call!
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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A couple of kitten photographs



I thought since they're ll set to depart for their new families over the next week or so that I would share a couple more photos, so this is the kitten we call pumpkin
and this is the kitten we call Casserole, one of them is due to stay and one of them is due to go, we don't mind at all though, we've given them love and care and cuddles and playtime for the last 9 weeks and now it's that time, yes we'll be sad but for the next month atleast we'll still have 3 kittens and then by the middle of next month we'll be left with one kitten from Poppys litter and one from Elphabas and we'll all live in Cat heaven!! :D
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Really Cool Places to get Married...

Brides, where are they? What are your opinions? I would really like to travel a little further this year and I'm certainly available for wedding photography all over mainland UK but I'm wondering which places you brides are thinking about. I was just talking with my hubby about cool places I would choose if we weren't already married. I came up with the following list and feel free to add to, argue with or point out some new and interesting ones I haven't thought of yet and then if you're getting married there why not call me for a consultation, full contact details as always are on www.mandycharltondesigns.com

So here's my cool top 20 places in main land great Britain (if money were no object) of places I would love have my wedding at:-

1. York Minster
2. Hexham Abbey
3. Edinburgh Zoo
4. Chatsworth House
5. The London Eye
6. The London Aquarium
7. Edinburgh Castle
8. Blackpool Tower
9. Westminster Abbey
10. St Pauls Cathedral
11. Fountains Abbey
12. Longleat Safari Park
13. The London Dungeon
14. Blenheim Palace
15. Holyrood House
16. St Andrews
17. Wembley Stadium
18. Wallington Hall
19. Anywhere in the Highlands of Scotland, it's all beautiful, (summit of Ben Nevis Maybe?)
20.Matfen Hall

Yes I know some of them it's not possible, some are clearly a little on the Kooky side and some of them are unlikely to happen unless I start mingling with the Royals (maybe they read?!), a couple of them I have actually shot there though and I LOVED them!

So tell me your really cool suggestions and of course destinations and venues if you're actually getting married there.

Happy Tuesday everyone - How long is it until the summer?
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Journey home from Scotland...

After the wedding in St Andrews we jumped straight in the car to head home not knowing at all what the condition of the roads would be, the day before when we had driven up some parts had heavier snow than others. Anyway we stopped at the Forth Road Bridge, near Edinburgh where I took some shots, it's my favourite Bridge.This is the rail bridge which is currently being renovated.

and this is the road bridge which I love driving accross.
Further on things started to look snowy

But being that it was the Christmas break most of the roads were very quiet.

You can see a couple more photos of the Forth Road Bridges if you click through to my Flickr page.

We made it home in 3 and a half hours and I've spent the rest of the weekend catching up on various tasks ready for the start of the week.

This week sees me with a couple of consultations and January is already looking busy in that way so if you want to book consultation for all your wedding photography requirements then do click through to Mandy Charlton Designs unless of course you're not with in driving distance and then we'll just have a telephone consultation!
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Friday, January 04, 2008

Sandra and Mark are Married! - St Andrews Scotland 04/01/08



Sandra and Mark married at the town hall in St Andrews Scotland in a delightfully intimate ceremony, Sandra is from South Africa and came all the way to St Andrews for her wedding, she and new husband Mark love their golf and with Mark originating from Scotland there couldn't be a better place.
I was honoured to not only photograph the wedding but also to have been Sandra's other witness, along with her sister Paula. This is a wedding I'll remember for a long time to come. After the short ceremony Sandra and Marks wish was to have as many photographs as they could at the historic sites in St Andrews so pretty much thats what we got up to over the next couple of hours.

Running to keep warm at St Andrews Cathedral!

Down by a rather stormy chilly sea front.

With Sister Paula.

In the Quadrangle of St Andrews University.

Delightfully Vintage

One of my favourites which really deserves to be seen to it's full effect on a huge canvas, it's the home of golf, on the old course.

I just want to take this opportunity to wish Sandra and Mark a long and very happy marraige.

So if you're planning on getting married somewhere gorgeous, I love to travel, I'm now available in Scotland, England and Wales so don't hesitate to call whether you're in Fife or Buckinghamshire, Yorkshire or Gwynedd. To book your consultation click through to Mandy Charlton Designs
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

St Andrews, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

This is Pauls "I'm Chilled to the bone" portrait taken today in St Andrews, teehee he thinks he was cold but I couldn't feel the ends of my fingers!!

So Brides, Ask your wedding photographer if they do a reckie before the day of the wedding to scope out cool and interesting places for your bridal portraits, couple portraits and formal groups. I'm renowned for my reckies and we arrived in Scotland, and zipped straight to St Andrews to check out photographic vistas for Sandra and Marks wedding tommorrow. There is no shortage of beautiful places to take photographs in St Andrews and even on a freezing cold snowy Thursday there's plenty of eye candy!
This is called the quadrangle and forms part of St Andrews University, (thats the one Prince William attended) The front of the building is also pretty gorgeous.


The sea looked so stormy and I'm not sure I would have wanted to be in a boat today


Just around the corner is the Cathedral -


Wowza, it's stunning even when it's stormy!


To see more of todays photos you can click on any one of the above and be taken to the full collection on Flickr.

More tommorrow from my first wedding of 2008!
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Hands up, who just got engaged?

Go on, I need to hear about it...

You lucky lucky ladies and gents, all showing off your spangly new jewels and hopefully planning your weddings.

Well you'll be delighted to know that I now travel to weddings all over mainland UK, so if you're in England, Wales or Scotland (though not Ireland because ferries and airplanes are too scary) then you can give me a call, Travel is inclusive with the Gold and Platinum packages and with the bronze, silver etc Travel will be added on at the exact costs, nothing extortionate, I promise!! :D

2008 and 2009 are going to be great years to get married, trust me, I know these things! So Brides of the North, Brides of the East, south and West if you want a photographer who thinks that wedding photography is the most exciting thing on the planet, if you want a girly lady who loves all things wedding planning, if you want a woman who knows what a woman wants to look like on their wedding day then you can click through to my website Mandy Charlton Designs and book yourself a consultation, only 1 small spot, 2008 prime dates are just about all gone and 2009 prime dates are already filling fast so be quick, I really would hate you to miss out!!

Oh and for anyone into social networking I'm now on Facebook and Myspace, both are accessible from the side column.
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What are your Buzzwords?

I like to read blogs and I'm often inspired by what I read on other artists/photographers blogs. Today I found Ali Edwards talking about her word for 2008, I couldn't put my hopes for 2008 into just one word (those of you who know me will know I'm forever a rambler) I did however come up with a list of my hoped for buzzwords of this year, these aren't resolutions just pointers to the things I want (and need in some cases) to happen both personally and also in a business sense too.

What are your 2008 Buzzwords?

Heres mine :-

Patience
Success
Financial Independence
Freedom
Understanding
Growth
Learning
Friendships
Connections
Strength

Here's hoping that in 12 months from now I can look back and smile knowing that I've atleast made progress with some of them.
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