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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Carlisle, a bank holiday getaway

So if you saw yesterdays post you'll have realised that our roving reporters Looby and Abigail recorded video at Carlisle Castle yesterday, we really did have a good day out although I kind of liked the Cathedral best of all if I'm honest, I really recommend that you see it if you have a couple of hours to kill in Carlisle.

I actually had my camera with me yesterday, I took it purposely, shocker!

here's a few highlights of the day -


we were fully eco and carbon friendly and got the train, because of our family railcard it was £26 for the 4 of us, I'm pretty sure that cost less than it would have for petrol and parking.





Looby snapped a photo of moi, she's getting good, I just wish I'd have worn makeup!





The edges of the walls of the city just next to the station


we're off to explore the Cathedral



They both lit candles, Looby prayed for people to stop fighting, Abigail said she prayed that she could stop back chatting and be a nicer person.


A very impressive ceiling


In the underpass as we went across to the Castle we found our surname, photo opp!


we're off to see more history at the Castle, we got in free with our English Heritage membership, if you don't have one expect to pay around £20 for a family of 4


Looking out of the castle keep


Looby and Abigail playing war games


a view of Carlisle from the top of the castle


A view of the military barracks


My lovely girls.

We did enjoy a thoroughly good day out in Carlisle and I'd go again, probably at Christmas for the shopping!!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Looby and Abigails video diaries from Carlisle Castle

So today we went on the train to Carlisle for the day visiting the Cathedral and Castle, I took a few photos and I'll share our day tomorrow, while we were there Looby asked if we could take some video clips because she likes to remember herself in videos so with my handy iPhone we did 3 videos...


This one was in the castle keep so it's fully dark and atmospheric



Looby asked Abigail to give a quick video report for the Laura news



and finally Looby finished off with part 2 of her guide to Carlisle castle.  I'm loving how they want to get involved with my blog and it's great to have new moving memories of them that we can all look back on in future years.

Whatever you got up to this bank holiday weekend I hope you got to create some fabulous memories

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maize Mazes, Fruit Picking and a lovely morning at Brockbushes


It's a bank holiday weekend and so we decided that we needed to atleast attempt a day out with the whole family, we sort of fell at the first hurdle because Iain wasn't even out of bed but thats teenagers for you, excuse the mix of iPhone and Instagrams in this post, I do actually like the iphone HDR photos though and don't always want everything to be square!

We'd heard about the Maze Maize at Brockbushes, just outside of Corbridge in Northumberland and so we set off for the maze after a hearty breakfast in their tea rooms, you can't complain at a full english breakfast plus toast and coffee for under a fiver!


The maze is huge, it's designed in the shape of an owl, well it would be if you could see it with a helicopter!



here's me and Looby pretending we're in the jungle!

It has pretty sunflowers at the edge of it, it's funny but when I'm in these Mazes I always feel like im in that classic movie "Field of Dreams"


Looby found a corn cob proving that yes the Maize was err actually Maize


Onwards we marched towards the middle, I have to say that there were points where I felt like I'd just paid £10 to have arguements about which direction we should go in

Finally we made it to the middle and let me tell you that it wasn't quite so hard to get back out thankfully!  After the maze we decided to go and pick our own fruit as demonstrated here by Looby


at one point she turned to me and said "I love plums mammy but not as much as I love you"


we were careful not to pick too many because you know you can get carried away in these situations but we got some plums, raspberries and broad beans for the princely sum of £5.91



Meandering Paul was in a sunny mood so we all had a lovely time, after the fruit picking we went to the farm shop and picked up ingredients for tonights dinner, gammon with a honey and mustard glaze followed by Eton Mess using raspberries instead of strawberries.

While we were roaming the fields we noticed they were growing pumpkins so you can be sure we'll be back in a few weeks for some pumpkin patch photos.  I also noticed that at Halloween their maize maze becomes a field of screams, will I be brave enough to enter I'm not sure but I think Meandering Paul will be back there, he likes to be scared, he'd probably tell you thats why he married me ;)

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crafty Goings On

I decided in light of the fact that I've been fighting an ear infection for nearly 3 weeks that I'd take the whole weekend off and concentrate on scrapbooking in the kitchen and so I thought I'd share what I've been up to so far.


I've been working in 8.5x11 a lot this weekend, I find it's quicker and I tend to make simpler layouts and with 500 photos to catch up on from the wilderness years where I didn't scrap (june 2007-nov 2010) I think speediness has to come into it.  This first layout is a tribute to the fact that whenever we have photos together Meandering Paul always pulls silly faces, together we're not quite picture perfect!


I'm not one of those scrappers who only scraps the perfect parts of life, I think it's important to let our ancestors see that, well not everything always goes to plan and so this next layout is of the Christmas where Meandering Paul couldn't remove himself from the sofa and was a bit crabby due to over indulgence on Christmas Eve when I was ill and couldn't stop him.


another 2009 photo, we went to Hartlepool historic Marina, thats not really the point, the point is I think it was the last time both of the girls wore anything matching and pink, Abigail definitely isn't a girly girl and Looby, although she's girly she says of pink "it's my worst favourite colour mammy"


Yesterday I got a lovely box of Amy Tangerine stash and OMG it's blimmin lovely, straight to the pile of photos I went and scrapped this photo from 2010 at Alton Towers, spiritual home of the Charltons.




Finally something scrapped with my August 2011 Sarahs Card Kit

my first month as a subscriber and I loved this box full of goodies, I scrapped photos from the summer holidays 2010, a year when we had so many adventures, I did remark to the girls that summer 2010 was the summer of fun, sadly summer 2011 has been the summer of ill for lots of different reasons.

I most definitely have my scrappy happy head on at the moment so I'm off to the kitchen table again to create more works of art to leave a legacy to my ancestors.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

A little light reflection

So last night, Looby was on the computer googling, let me tell you a 7 year old with the power of Google is a scary thing.  It was quite sweet though when she found me through a google search, she hadn't faired so well with her daddy so it was a bit like magical surprise when she found me!

She found my blog, I always knew that one day my kids would find it and I'm so glad they did because they spent the next hour looking at old photos of themselves (my blog began in 2006 when Looby was only 2) and watching old home video clips that I put up there, I'm so glad I had the chance to capture her cuteness and bottle it forever.

I looked at my blog stats and realised I rarely blog anymore, well not in comparison to how often I used to, in 2006 I blogged an astonishing 400+ times, this steadily declined and after I started my business it's down to about 60 posts a year.

Looby also noted that my blog was full of strangers and not enough photos of them, I did explain that I blog everything including favourite shots of clients and she's fine with that as long as I blog more photos of them and so dear reader that is the task I am setting myself, I have taken back my blog, given it a fresh look and now it's time to try and use it more often to blog our daily lives and our memories so that when they sit reading with their kids on their laps their kids will also marvel at a 2 year old Looby saying "Bye Bye Everybody".

My quest to document more of our lives has begun....
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A little Thursday Update

You may have noticed some not so subtle improvements to my blog, I thought it deserved a makeover after it's looked the same since at least 2008!  So it's meant to be a little less serious and a bit more fun, I also realise that sometimes I post about personal things and sometimes I post about business things, well it's my blog and thats my life so if you're here to learn all about me try the personal tag and if you are here for instance because you're thinking of hiring me as your photographer for your wedding click on the weddings tag!  Simples!


There's been a lot of kitten fun going on in our house with our foster kittens who are now getting towards 5 weeks old, they're so cute!


Poor Looby fell from a cartwheeling twirl and we had to go to casualty, they plastered her up saying it was a broken elbow but when we went to the fracture clinic the next day they decided they didn't know if it was a fracture or tendon damage so they've taken the plaster off again and will xray in 2 weeks and until then she's supposed to wear a sling which she hates!


Can someone tell me whats happened to my tomato plants this year, they're monsters and have overtaken the back of the garden


Sunday, my girls finally got to see the grafitti wall


 You just can't beat a cute kitten



So this week has been another summer holidays week and thats bad for productivity but it's great for having fun with the kids, another couple of weeks though and I'll be devastated when they go back to school, I really love having them all at home with me.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Lets Go Retro Challenge

Oh boy, I can't even believe I'm about to share this one, photo is so embarrasing!  Shimelle challenged us to go retro and scrapbook an old photo.


The photo is of me and my brother in 1981!!

The journalling reads "1981, I was 7 and my brother was 4, our first school photo together, I think my fringe and my brothers jumper says it all really, welcome to the 80's"

Pretty much everything I've used was from the October Afternoon Rocket Age range as it's perfect for retro photos and the robot stamp I've had for yonks and used it for the very first time here.

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A Colour Story Challenge

Shimelle challenged us to create a layout using red white and aqua, a huge challenge for me as they're not colours I usually use but I found a photo from Christmas which needed to be scrapped and this is what I came up with -


The journalling reads "This year santa brought you chipboard letters, for other kids this might have seemed quite random but not for my mini crafting divas"

This is the first Christmas layout I have scrapped for years so I'm pleased as punch that the challenge was set.

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The From The Heart Challenge

Shimelle challenged us to make a layout which had the title of I heart or I love and so of course I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than to scrap a photograph of me and hubby from our vow renewal last year, I can't remember who took it but it was either Jamie Emerson or Matt Wagster, a simply gorgeous photo!  I've given the layout a vintage feel and I love the muted pinks, the journalling reads "We've been married for over 11 years and it's still one big adventure, we have so few photos together that I cherish all the ones from our vow renewal last April"
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Holy 4th Layout Batman, it's the Grid It Up Scrapbook Challenge

4 layouts in a day and I think possibly my last of the day because phew, creativity is tiring, I wonder if thats why the man of the house has been asleep for the last 3 hours on the settee, no wait, thats Footy, beer and footy on TV!

So Shimelle challenged us to create a scrapbook layout which had a grid of some description -


and so several Instagrams and 1 scrapbook page later I give you Snippets, the journalling reads "I take photos with my iPhone every single day, I have a constant thirst to document our daily lives and even though most of these photos aren't the best quality and it's unlikely they'll ever win any awards they are snippets of my life"

I kept this page quite simple because of the hugerific photo, so just a bit of Kaiser Craft Peechy Keen, some Cosmo Cricket letters, a bit of bling and ribbon and finally a pink plastic rose, who knows where that came from but it just kind of works.

If you are catching up, just starting or planning to scrapbook on through the night have fun!

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The Chop Your Paper Challenge

This time Shimelle challenged us to simply use patterened paper to embellish the whole page, now I love embellishments so only using 2 pieces of paper for the whole layout was a bit of a challenge -


I used  2 sheets from Cosmo Crickets Material Girl stack to create Craft Material Girl, a tribute to myself and my love of craft, the journalling reads "In 2004 I discovered Scrapbooking and it literally changed my life, I love my life now and I'm proud to be a scrapbooker"

I've handcut some of the flowers and the other ones along with the owls were Martha Stewart punches, I've raised mostly all of the things from the page and for the middles I've used Ranger Perfect Pearls, this page really was a challenge but I'm happy with it and I got to scrapbook a photo of me which I took with my iPhone one night as I was on my way out for a glam night out!

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Starting Point Challenge

The first challenge I decided to try for Shimelles Proud to be a scrapbooker weekend was the Starting Point Challenge, it seemed to be the simplest way to get myself going as she gave a starting point and all you had to do was follow along and then after you had the same basic elements make it your own.

I chose to scrap another one of my iPhone photos, now it's not usually like me to scrapbook random things instead of the kids but this photo represents a dream that both me and hubby have - the Journalling reads "This old house may not look like much but it's our dream house in Tynemouth, all thats stands between us and a fully renovated dream house is half a million pounds"

I've used the Stella Rose range of papers from My Minds Eye and added some bling, well rather a lot of it actually, Prima and Kars are the companies responsible for all of the page elements.  The title stickers are Making Memories, the only thing I have no idea where they came from are those flower pins.

If you haven't guessed it by now I love bling!

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A Stickery Challenge

Let me preface this by saying that over on Shimelle.com she's having a proud to be a scrapbooker weekend with challenges and prizes aplenty and so having a rare Saturday with no weddings or portraits I thought it was a good chance to spend the day in the kitchen getting dirty with ink and paper.

So this challenge was about using Stickers from different ranges and using them together, I've used Queen and Co and Sassafrass felt stickers to compile this layout of my two gorgeous girls.

for me this weekend was about getting some photos used up which I won't put in frames, they're just from my iPhone so not the best quality but with a few added embellishments on a scrapbook page it turns them into their very own pieces of scrapbooking art.

The queen and co felt flowers and vines came as a huge wide strip so they've been hacked to make something a little gentler and then I've added the felties from Sassafrass along with a bit of Bling, the paper and statement is from the Be Loved range by My Minds Eye.

Stay tuned, my next blog is coming up in just a few minutes with another challenge completed.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

The Twitter Round Up, First Edition

@MeanderingPaul and I were talking today about twitter and the fact that he never gets into my daily news, well thats because it's automated I replied and he commented that surely it would be much better for me to manually do it and report on things I'd personally chosen and so here's what's going to happen - I think this deserves a blog of it's own but given that 1, I don't know if it's going to work and 2, setting up a new blog is going to take time, I'll just do it here until such a time as I decide.

So a couple of times a week I'm going to give a quick round up from my twitter feed, so if you have something you want to tell the world then all you have to do is tell me via my Twitter account.  And so lets get down to whats been going on in the twitter world -

1. The first thing I have to mention is the BOB books seminar on the 6th of September taking place at The Living Room in Newcastle, I'll be speaking about the Dressing Up project, photobooks and many other fabulous things, the link for more information is http://photobookmonthnewcastle.eventbrite.com/

2. Yesterday I commented I was baking to combat the horrible weather, gilltaylorphoto replied to say she was making a warming stroganoff whilst cakepopboutique pondered what if we all baked at the same time? the power of cake!

3. Chris from Specularworld tweeted to say he's been shortlisted for black and white photographer of the year, congrats Chris, I really hope you win.

4 Meandering Paul was poorly this week and tweeted to say that he must be poorly because he was craving ice-cream and lime Jelly, Phil Sherry said he was obviously pregnant to which I replied that he also had a rash and I didn't know that was a symptom of pregnancy at which point Meandering Paul replied saying he was only allergic to penicillin and dogs so clearly he was going to deliver a dachshund.

5.


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It's My Friday roundup

It's that day of the week again, the hallowed day of Friday, even though I mostly work weekends I still get that Friday feeling!  Here's my round up of everything that's been going down in my world this past week.


On Sunday it was Hayley and Andrews wedding at The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle, it rained quite a lot but what a day we had with them, hubby assisted and i have to say he did a brilliant job, I'm still editing all of the photos so this is just a teaser of what is to come.


It wasn't all work and no play, in a quiet moment and while I was testing my flash for the first dance hubby decided he would become mild mannered asst pinching my glasses, seriously I think he looks hot!!  Shame he's got perfect vision eh?!


My other highlight of the week was taking Abigail up to Alnwick, she loves Alnwick Castle because she's a huge Harry Potter fan, I would love to photograph a wedding at Alnwick Castle so if you are a bride planning your wedding there please do get in touch :)


We had a fabulous day and my favourite part was broomstick training!


See, she can fly ;)


Levitating the broomstick, now that truly is cool.

This week has been another lovely summer holiday week, I realise that our country hasn't had the best of weeks with looting and rioting and whilst I have quite strong views on these subjects, I don't think that blogging them is appropriate, what I will say is that Twitter and Facebook have been the things that helped me launch my business and help to keep it going every day, I've made so many wonderful friends and received so much support through the wonder of social media that I just want to remind people, it's only a tiny minority who are using social media for negative reasons.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Christine and Michael are married



My beautiful friend Christine got married to her true love Michael last Friday at St Marys Heworth followed by Eslington Villas, which by the way if you are a north east bride planning a smaller wedding you couldn't fault Eslington Villa, it really is a special kind of place and  it was a really special day and I'm so utterly delighted that I got to record it
here's just a few previews from the day, we started the day with Mike at the Barbers

and then we popped to Christines mums where we were greeted by this happy chap!



It's that getting into the dress moment!


because Christine and Michael are such good friends I also got to share the day with my gorgeous family and yes thanks to the talents of Jamie Emerson we got a new family portrait

 and yes there's me with my camera, that doesn't happen very often ;)

Married!


Their gorgeous little family is complete!







Christine and Michael, thank you so much for sharing your day with me, I love you so much and I hope that you have a long and happy marriage together.


For a very limited period of time (20/08/11) I'm including my brand new 12x12 photobooks in all packages, prices start from £749 for 4 hours, if you want to meet with me to talk about your 2011 or 2012 wedding please either visit http://mandycharlton.com and fill out the contact form or call me on 07918 121838 or as ever you can email mandy@mandycharlton.com
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