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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Philomenas Boutique, Portraits and Personal things, what we got up to this week...

It's Monday again dear reader, how in the heck did that happen, it only seems a few days since it was last Monday... those little time pixies have been on the march again, I have a feeling I've lost at least an hour somewhere ;)

So, anyway work has continued at Philomena's Boutique I've been adding all manner of delectable fine art photographic prints to the store and from today you can even choose your size so if you want 7x5, 8x10 or 12x8 they're in there for your delight.  The great thing about photographic flowers is that I get to surround myself with vases and jugs of them.


Here's just a couple of the prints available for purchase -



and here's a quick Instagram of some of them in my lovely Cath Kidston Jug


I think it's probably a good thing I have surrounded myself with them because the weather is grim, while part of the country basks in 20c we're stuck in a perpetual fog or as I like to call it a vintage mist!

I'm quite lucky though because actually the flat light of the mist is perfect for my style of photography and I was down at Tynemouth Longsands on Saturday where I got to create these gorgeous portraits



If you would like to book a photo shoot I should probably warn you that it's very busy right now, my weekend is just about full for next weekend, I can fit in 1 photo shoot on Sunday at Jesmond Dene at 11am, if you think you might like the slot it's £40 for the hours photo shoot and I can photograph your family, your kids, the love of your life, pretty much anything (within reason, haha).  To book you can contact me through my website or email

Yesterday of course was mothers day and all of those gorgeous scenic days out were pretty much fruitless because of the mist but we had a very misty walk around the lake at Druridge Bay, did I mention it's been mainly a pea soup in Newcastle this weekend?



To contact me about anything you can find me on the web in these lovely places










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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Mothers Day

It's Mothers Day today dear reader and so I am having the day off and going out for a fun celebration with my lovely kids, not sure where yet but it'll no doubt be a riot.. (not literally, riots are not good, people).

Here's my tribute to mums, you're incredible, you know that right?


Happy Mothers Day to amazing mums everywhere!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Philomena's Boutique, home of gorgeous fine art prints and papery gifts by photographer and artist Mandy Charlton

I'm delighted to reveal dear reader that I have at last opened my own Etsy store, Philomena's Boutique is a gift emporium catering for those with a discerning taste, within the boutique you will find gorgeous high quality fine art prints, postcards, greetings cards and note cards all featuring art produced by me.  It's brand new and at the moment you can purchase fine art prints, by the end of next week the delightful and delectable gifts will arrive back with me and will be in stock and in the future you will be able to buy beautiful fine art prints in one off vintage frames, only 1 of each will be purchasable so you'll have to act fast if you see something you love.

So come with me to Philomena's Boutique

Here's some of the Botanique collection I've been working on this afternoon, how gorgeous would these look in quirky vintage frames in your hall, the perfect wedding present.





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Monday, March 24, 2014

What we got up to this week...

It's Monday dear reader, good time to tell you about what's been going on in the last few days.  It's actually been pretty good weather, bit chilly but you can't have everything, as long as I get my daily dose of Vitamin D it's all fine with me.

I was talking about my favourite time of day and it's this, after bathtime but before bedtime, the time we really get to chat about the day.




This is another image I've collected for my Landscape project, I love the juxtaposition of the three men


Gosh I love my daughter Abigail here, I think she's getting more beautiful and grown up by the day, she had her hair cut yesterday and now looks even more grown up!


This happens to be a favourite view of mine, again for the landscape project, it's coming along amazingly well really considering the timescales, I think it's going to make a rather nice book as well as prints, notecards and other lovely things, an Esty shop is coming soon.

All of these images (in case you're interested) were taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and a 35mm f1.4 lens

Back tomorrow with some wonderful mini session images from this weekend in Saltwell Park and on the beach at Tynemouth Longsands.

Happy Monday everyone, it's funny how Monday never seems quite so bad now that I take a Tuesday/Wednesday off.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Landscape Photography in Northumberland with the Fuji X-Pro1, a new project.

I'll tell you what dear reader, this Fuji X-Pro1 has really taken over my life, I'm seriously considering getting another one or an X-T1 as soon as it's compatible with Lightroom and ditching the Canon stuff.

I'm sort of starting a new project at the moment, you see my style has always been a bit painterly and so now I want to transfer the skills and create landscape photographs which have a painterly look to them. I'm lucky to live in the North East of England which is surrounded by beautiful locations and so i'm embarking on a big project and for me it's something I've never done before, now I don't profess to be able to produce traditional landscape photography, well I probably could but I sort of think  for the most part it's a bit samey and it's all been done before (which doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good landscape) and I'm sure any traditional landscape artists who may have stumbled upon this post are screaming inwardly right now but I've never been afraid to do things my own way and that's why I'm still in business after 7 years.  Oh and don't worry, for actual work I'll still be shooting weddings and portraits, this is purely a personal project although i'm lucky that I've already had an offer from someone who wants to sell my landscape prints which took me by absolute surprise.

Exciting though isn't it?!

Here's just a few from this week -

I went to Berwick today, I love Berwick, it's just a shame that Berwick didn't get the memo, it was freezing, the light was good though







 I shot this of course on the Newcastle Quayside, I love walking down to the quayside, it's only a 10 minute walk and hey it was worth it to get this.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

A weekend of portraits, wanders and wonderful things

There's been a heatwave dear reader, did you notice it?  Did you get the BBQ out?  If you're reading this thinking I'm deluded it's probably because you live in the North of England just like me where it was not even vaguely heatwavey and mostly it was cloudy, windy and well a bit chilly!

Saturday dawned and I was in Jesmond Dene for a couple of mini sessions, my first was with 5 year old Chester who was a rescue Spaniel and beautiful boy, Looby was helping as usual and she took quite a shine to Chester.


After Chester, I met this little pumpkin, totally gorgeous and we had a lovely time together.


I then met a lovely grown up sister and her brothers who were having a photo shoot to get some photos for a Mothers Day Present, I can't share those though as I don't want to spoil mums surprise.


On Sunday it was sunny and lovely for a while and I had a photo shoot down in Whitley Bay so I got a lovely sunny wander afterwards enjoying the sea air.  I do love a coastal wander.


I met this little lady at her home in Whitley Bay, she's nearly 3 and when she's big she's going to be strong, independent and a definite future leader of the known world, forthright 3 year olds are always a pleasure to photograph, you never quite know what they're going to do next!

Meanwhile back at home and Poppy cat was giving me that look ;)

and then Looby, Dorito the dog and I took a walk down through the Ouseburn Valley and along the quayside, I love that it's getting lighter in the evenings and we can go out for daily walks again.


I have to say that I am loving the Fuji X-Pro1 for portraits of children coupled with the 35mm f1.4, it's like no other camera I've ever owned and after using it for portraits this weekend I'm sure it's earned it's place in my kitbag.


looking forward to what's on the schedule for this week, well I'm off to a new networking thing, I'm speaking at the Inspire Network Sunderland meeting on Friday on marketing with Facebook and then on Saturday afternoon I have availability for photo shoots at Tynemouth Longsands and on Sunday morning I have a couple of slots available for mini sessions at Saltwell Park, and I'm also hoping to get another couple of weddings booked into my schedule too.  If you would like to speak to me about shooting your portraits or your wedding you can contact me through my facebook page, my website or even by email.


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Friday, March 14, 2014

It's Finally Friday....

Well congratulations if you made it this far, it's been quite a week, we've had flu, followed by fabulous camera adventures, followed by a funeral and celebration of an old friends awesome life (and you truly were awesome Ian, we had some adventures and got up to mischief back in the day) which ended too soon followed by an ambulance and trip to casualty when Abigail fell off her rollerboot whilst trying to put the other boot on, I'm not entirely sure why she thought that was a great idea but hey ho, she's elevated today, she did tell me she was going to have to keep it levitated which made me chuckle!

I think that's about enough stuff to fit into one week, this weekend I have some mini sessions in Jesmond Dene, all filled but if you're crazing a fabulous mini session for your kids or family I have some availability next weekend, Tynemouth on Saturday and Saltwell Park on Sunday.  I'm also off to meet a squishy new baby at home on Sunday, looking forward to that one a lot, I love teeny weeny people!

So in honour of Friday I want to post this video which I was made aware of thanks to the ever awesome Darren, don't forget to sing-along now.

Frozen is out on DVD and Blu Ray on 31st of March, you can pre-order it here (yes I obviously already have)



Have a wonderful spring weekend everyone!
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fancy a family mini photo shoot in the Newcastle area this weekend?

So it's Thursday and I have a late availability slot for this weekend, it's in Jesmond Dene and it's at 10.30am on Saturday, it's a mini session so it's only £20 including a 7x5, web gallery for 30 days and 15% off for the first week your gallery is live, if you would like to take advantage just drop me a quick email and i'll see you on this upcoming sunny spring Saturday.

Whilst we're on the subject of sunshine I was out having a glorious walk this morning in Saltwell Park before a meeting, I love Saltwell Park so much, you might have heard me mention this once or twice before.

I had my X-Pro1 with me as it's so light and small I can take it everywhere, I'm not sure why I didn't switch ages ago but I think after a week of using it if it all goes well at my next photo shoots and my next wedding I may be signalling to Canon that my cameras days are numbered and just switching to the Fuji X Series system completely, I've never been quite so excited about a new camera and it just produces the most amazing results even in not so great conditions.




When I took these in my bedroom on Tuesday evening it was about 10 in the evening and the light in my bedroom is shocking so these were both shot at f1.6 iso 6400




Saltwell Towers was looking beautiful in the spring sunshine this morning





after my meeting I went back into town to meet my son for lunch and while I was waiting for him grabbed a couple of quick shots in the city centre, it's amazing having a professional camera so light you can take it everywhere without any effort whatsoever!






and now I am off to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine, I think a nice walk down to the quayside with my children sounds like a plan.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dear Fuji, I love you, That is all

It's been another heavenly gorgeous spring day and my flu is just about gone so I got to go out with my Fuji X-Pro1 coupled with the 35mm f1.4 to do some testing, shall we call it Testography dear reader...maybe not!

I'm lucky in that I had Abigail with me today who's also now thoroughly recuperated and she yayed (or rather she didn't) at the news that she would be going back to school tomorrow.

I should say before I go any further that if you have stumbled upon my blog looking for a very geeky blogpost about the technical workings of the X-Pro 1 then you should probably click away now, there are far better more qualified people out there to do such illuminating blogging, what I will say though is that it's a system which is so removed from anything you already know if you usually shoot Canon that you might just fall in love with photography all over again, I can't wait to take it in my kit bag and use it to shoot kids portraiture, I'm excited about shooting portraits with it at my next wedding, it's a whole new adventure, I'm not ready to ditch my Canon just yet, I still love the yumminess of my 50mm f1.4, my favourite lens for the last 7 years, I'm onto my second one because of that pesky place I like to shoot called the beach!

So here's just a few of my photos from today -


oh and if you're wondering, I'm usually Ms Flash the hell out of everything, well in your face EX600, I didn't buy a Fuji flash, luckily I've spent the last 8 or so years of my life watching the light, learning how to use light with or without a flash, my old assistant used to call me the human light meter which is suppose is a little geeky but hey I'm a little geeky too!



My daughters are such great people to photograph though to be honest it does usually take a whole lot of bribery, I remember the Christmas Card shoot, my daughter said "you've had 10 minutes mum, work with what you've got"


Spring is always signified for me by the arrival of the humble Crocus and the not so humble tulip



Heaton Park in spring, well yes, I know it's not technically spring unless you're a meteorologist which I'm not but I'm calling spring!








Jesmond Dene was also sparkling in the sunshine today, we had a lovely walk



and oh this evenings light, well it was just splendid, Looby was wearing her riding helmet even though she wasn't riding, she was actually roller booting and using it as protective headgear, it works for me!

and so my splendid photography day was indeed splendid, next on my list to add to the 35mm f1.4 are the 27mm f2.8 and the 18mm f2.0, I'm surely going to take over my own world of fabulousness this year, I might even start shooting in Jpeg...

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Family things, Future plans and Flu

Sunshine outside my window dear reader, excuse me if I get just a little excited about that, I've heard the temperatures might get close to dizzingly high (for March) today so I'm going to celebrate that, I've also just been informed that it's the International Day of Awesomeness today so go forth and be that my lovelies!

We haven't been feeling so awesome in the Charlton house unfortunately, I came down with flu for the first time since 2008, I am never ever ill so it was a bit of a shock to spend the entire weekend in bed and now Abigail has fully fledged flu, we are not amused, I am hopefully on the mend though.

So here's my weekly recap of what I've been up to personally and professionally.

On Monday I was just happy that it was springlike and sunny in the garden and everything seems to be green again which makes me happy.


I also noticed that it's my favourite time of year for really noticing the golden hour, it's around this time of year when although it happens all year round you really seem to notice it after bland winter days with no sunshine.  Obviously it's a great time to take a selfie ;)


On Tuesday I got very excited because of the arrival of this, sadly the arrival of the lens I ordered has been delayed until the 25th of March so currently I have my pile of new memory cards, batteries, a new double rapid strap, a whole new camera set up and no blooming lens, there are a couple of other lenses I want to add to the Fuji X-Pro1 collection anyway though so I'm hoping to pick up another this week, eventually it's my goal to have the 18mm, 27mm and 35mm which will sit nicely alongside my Canon selection of 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, I shoot all primes because they're light and they're fast glass, I rarely use f3.5 or above and most of the lenses I own will happily go to f1.4, I actually think if you're just starting out in photography the glass you buy is a lot more important than the camera body, you'll replace that many times anyway but your lenses will stay with you forever.


On Wednesday I met up with one of my best photography friends in the whole world Jamie and we had a mooch around the Baltic (there was nothing on at all) but we did go over to the Side Gallery and saw a wonderful exhibition about the fall of the Berlin Wall (sort of) anyway, I loved the images, I loved the black and whites and the juxtaposition of some of the images was beautiful, go see All That Falls while it's still on.


I also received a delivery from Amazon which was full of inspirational books, if you want to know more about the laws of attraction or if you practice them and want continued inspiration these are the titles to read.


Clearly there were a lot of hours in Wednesday as I also managed to go to see Looby horse riding in the evening, she's really confident now and loves those horses so much, apparently all we have to do is find some land to stable a horse and her granddad is going to buy her one, she's a lucky little girl, no one ever offered to buy me a horse!!



Thursday I went off to Saltwell Park to meet with my favourite Welsh clients, sadly I can't share images of their beautiful little girl because they want to minimise her digital footprint which is fine by me, my clients privacy is of the utmost importance!

So you'll just have to settle for my instagram, perfect photography day it was.


I also met with a couple planning their 2015 wedding and had a great meeting with a lovely friend who I hadn't seen for ages and there's a little wedding photography prospect in there too so Thursday was definitely a good day.

Friday I was feeling snuffly, little did I know that by Friday night I would be ill with a capital I!

I went to Tynemouth on Friday for a 1-2-1 workshop with aspiring kids photographer Stacey, I offer 1-2-1 workshops to help other photographers with the fundamentals of running a successful photography business, over the last 8 years I've dealt with most situations and I've also gone from a teeny tiny business to the behemoth it is today, I've experience in all areas and have coached other businesses on all kinds of things, my speciality is Facebook marketing and social media, if you would like to have a 1-2-1 session it's only £150 and I promise I'll add value to your business.

Here's one of the little models I arranged for Stacey on Friday afternoon



and finally here's what's happening next weekend and a few photos from last weekends sessions, if you would like to book a photo shoot with me or a 1-2-1 or perhaps meet me about shooting your wedding you can contact me through my website, email or my Facebook page








Whatever you get up to this week make sure it's a good one!









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