August, 2013


21
Aug 13

Family snaps: Prince George looks picture perfect

The photos released this week of William, Kate and Prince George are AMAZING! The sun is shining, the smiles are broad, baby George is peacefully asleep and even the dog is sitting nicely!

William and Kate with Prince George and Lupo

William and Kate with Prince George and Lupo

These pictures have truly captured a moment. They show a young couple happily enjoying the sunshine in the garden with their new son. The look of love and joy is obvious. It isn’t heavily posed, there is no airbrushing and yes, shock horror, Michael Middleton took the photo into the sun. Oh no! Actually who cares? Spending hundreds of pounds on photographs when your baby is a few weeks old is a big old waste of money. I think that candid family snaps are so much more genuine!

Capturing a special moment in time

Capturing a special moment in time

Professional photoshoots can be expensive – upwards of several hundred pounds! Whilst it is lovely to have photos of your newborn baby, you might not be feeling camera ready post-birth (I know I wasn’t – still the size of a small country six months later!) and after a few weeks of sleepless nights having a big photo session can feel like a big nightmare. They said that they didn’t want to interrupt their special family time by getting a photographer and these gorgeous snaps are just perfect – natural, happy, quick and they didn’t cost a thing!

Walking in the sand pic to be captioned – the precious first of sand between the toes

Walking in the sand pic to be captioned – the precious first of sand between the toes

When I had each of my babies, my favourite newborn photo was always the one of the baby sleeping soundly all scrunched up face and a bit pink that The Dane took shortly after birth. To some the images might not be taken in the best light or the babies might be a bit crinkly but to me they are perfect!

Snapshot of the freshly delivered newborn!

Snapshot of the freshly delivered newborn!

TOP TIPS FOR TAKING THE BEST PHOTOS

• Take LOADS and delete! You can never have too many ‘perfect’ shots
• Keep the background clutter free
• Use the ‘edit’ button to ‘warm’, crop, zoom in and out and reduce red eye as often as you please
• Keep your camera phone with you at all times to capture the precious moments and download an app like Instagram and let it work its magic
• Remember, it’s not just about the newborn baby it is also about your family. We are 6 and it is not easy to get us together but everytime there’s a chance we get a friend to snap away
• Most importantly, PRINT YOUR PICTURES! Photo books of each year are AMAZING and cheap to create. Calendars, collages and even mouse mats make great presents so look for offers at places like Snapfish, Photobox and Printerpix


7
Aug 13

Celebrity holiday on a family budget

We have just had 3 weeks in Barbados living life like a celebrity – sun, sea, sand, watersports, amazing food and drinking cocktails from a coconut!  Although it sounds like it cost a fortune, especially with four kids and The Dane (my husband) in tow, it actually cost no more than a fortnight Eurocamping in France!

How?  We home swap!

The view from our house swap - a beautiful Barbados rainbow!

The view from our house swap – a beautiful Barbados rainbow!

Basically, we go and live in someone else’s house whilst they come and stay in yours.  We use a website run by my friend Debbie called lovehomeswap.com and also homeexchangecom (the biggest site in the world) and we have total faith in how it all works. Once you swap, you just won’t stop – ha ha!

We cashed in some of the airmiles we’ve saved from spending on a credit card and shaved several hundred pounds off each ticket! And we even swapped cars this time at no extra cost AND they looked after our bunnies.

Beach life on Barbados

Beach life on Barbados

Loads of people ask me about letting strangers live in their home, people sleeping in your bed etc. Don’t forget you’re in their home too – usually at the same time!  We let our insurance company know, lock away any personal papers, sentimental stuff and valuables and away we go!

With 4 kids we need SO much ‘stuff’, but the beauty of home swapping is that we swap with other families.  There’s a ready made princess room, pirate room, trampoline in the garden and loads of toys.  And most important is that it’s CHILD FRIENDLY so I’m not stressing.

The kids!

The kids!

We always do our research;  looking at Google Maps and checking out the property, the area and the owners and we use Skype to chat with the family we are swapping with. Your instincts can tell you a lot.  Of course there’s an element of trust but 5 swaps later and we’re still going, we’ve made some great friends and met some wonderful people.

I’ve managed to persuade lots of friends to do it with great success with all types of houses all over the country.    What do you think? Would you consider a homeswap as your next holiday option?

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