Capturing Normal With The AMP Photo Co

Being the one usually behind the camera, you’re never that comfortable being photographed. It’s nonsense really as I know that when I’m staring through a lens, I’m not thinking how that person looks, I’m working out the settings, the composition and the focus. So why I feel a certain sense of unease having someone taking my photo is bonkers. But I do. It’s for that very reason why I detest staged and posed photos, to me, they lack personality and not a true capture of that moment in time. 

Nope, give me lifestyle, reportage style photos any day and this was reinforced recently when the boys and I were the muse for The AMP Photo Co, based here in Devon.

Curious? Well the session looked a little like this……

After several emails back and forth, one half of the award-winning husband and wife duo, Mike gave me a little background on how the location photo shoot would work. His wife Anna is credited with being one of the top wedding photographers in the country so I knew we’d be in good hands.

We were to choose a setting in which we’d be photographed just going about our day and Mike would be in the back round capturing every little moment. I was keen on a snap shot of raw family life; Our ‘normal’ is a different ‘normal’ to this time last year. The boys are teenagers, doing normal teenage things. My pre schooler is our happy little distraction, always keeping us grounded. Ditto for the dog.

And how best to preserve these days than in a picture diary which we can look back on one day and really feel that moment. Good or bad, it’s a memory and not the social media perfect we try to put out there.

Instead of the staged studio photos a typical shoot depicts, I look at these photos and I see a 17-year-old who is tired after a night out with his friends.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

I see a 13 year old, who I worry isn’t happy, smiling.

When you’re so focused on one little negative it’s so easy to miss the positives.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

I see a 3-year-old who is fascinated with the world around him.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

Who might be the smallest in our family but has the biggest personality.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

And I see a mum who’s often a little pre occupied with her thoughts……..
Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

but is easily distracted by the slightest thing her kids do to make her smile.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

Then there’s our spaniel, the one who gets over looked most of the time, but our go-to for cuddles.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

And that’s what The AMP Co photo shoot showed me, what is going on in our family right now.

Our normal.

Capturing the moments we sometimes miss with The Amp Photo Co location photoshoot

 

Many thanks to The Amp Photo Co for let us experience a photo session on our local beach in Devon 

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A Review Of The Cosatto Hug Isofix

The new car seat laws have completed confused me and I know I’m not the only one, since February 2017, manufacturers aren’t allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.(existing booster seats and cushions are not affected by new rules.) The states that children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first, so all is worth taking into consideration when buying one so you don’t find your having to keep replacing them, which is my main reason for the Cosatto Hug Isofix  being top of our choice.

Having a car seat which will see my son through to the next 6 years means I can relax and not worry about having to start my research once again in a few years. Next on my must have list were isofix fittings. To me, it’s a much more safer way to travel and so much easier when moving between vehicles as you don’t have to faff around removing seat belts. The Cosatto Hug Isofix also has a top tether for extra stability, and it certainly feels a lot more locked in with that top tether in place.

And then there’s finding something which my son will like. I’m very lucky t have quite an articulate toddler, but I’m also rather unlucky to have such an article toddler sometimes, as he will quite happily tell you if he doesn’t like it. And when you have a child with an opinion, then Cosatto designs are a blessing. I’ve been drawn to their fun and funky patterns for years. You can spot them a mile off! After a process of elimination we settled on the cutely named Cuddle Monster, with extra-cushioned Side Impact Protection and 5 point safety harness it looks the business too.
When being used as a stage 2 and 3 carseat (usually around age 3 or above 15kg) you can use the adult car seat which saves even more time getting in and out the car. Although my son is only just 3 and has a habit of moving his arms out the straps or an adult seat belt so I’ll be sticking with the 5 points harness for as long as is comfortable. Plus the unit wriggle system helps stop that happening even more.

5 point harness & anto escape set up (under the arms)
There’s 5 recline positions and an adjustable head rest as well as super squigy, padded seat (our old booster seat was rock hard and the kids hated it so shouldn’t have any problems this time.) And the removable seat liner is a great potty training protector, not that I imagine that’s what it’s for, but pop a plastic bag underneath and hey presto, you’ve don’t have to worry about an accidents.

A review of the Cosatto Hug isofix

padded seat and arm rests

Proof in the pudding is what my mini precious cargo thinks of it…….the smile says it all really!

The Cosatto Hug Isofix is currently on special offer at selected retailers check their stockists page to find out more

Disclaimer

I have been sent this car seat in return for my honest thoughts, all photos and words, unless otherwise stated are my own 

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Our Mark Warner Holiday at Perdepera Beach Resort, Sardinia part 1

It’s been quite a while since I last ventured out of the country, with one thing and another family holidays have been taken on uk turf, but this year was going to be different, this year was going to be the year of the foreign holiday! There was just one problem. After an awful experience on a package holiday many moons ago, I’d been put off big time. I needed a break which guaranteed quality, offered activities for everyone and wasn’t too far to travel with a toddler. And the Mark Warner Perdepera Beach Resort  in Sardinia seemed to tick all those boxes.

With its mountain back drop and sandy shores, Perdepera Beach resort is compact and on a slightly smaller scale than other Mark Warner sites (so my fellow guests who have stayed at other resorts informed me.) Travelling from Heathrow, it’s only a 2 hour flight followed by a 2 hour transfer (with comfort stop luckily!)
Set with direct access to the beach, ‘friendly’ and ‘relaxed’ were some of the hit words which myself and fellow guests used to describe it. Full board dining was included in our package which included a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner all taken in the restaurant overlooking the pool.

The main pool, restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

The small nature of the site meant you quickly got to know the fellow guests which was a huge bonus, I’ve never been on such a friendly holiday! There were a few families who kept themselves to themselves, so you’re not on each other toes, but I loved the fact that you could chat and just generally have a giggle. We may have been lucky holidaying with such a friendly, like minded bunch of people. It tends to attract families looking to take advantage of the excellent sailing conditions, mountain biking and hassle free family breaks.


All meals are taken in the restaurant on a full board basis.  Breakfast consisted of fruit juice croissants, toast, fruit, cheese, cakes, cereals as well as your usual cooked breakfast. Worth noting that tea and coffee are only served in the morning although you can buy it at the bar when the restaurant is closed and there’s no facilities in the rooms. Caraffs of red, white and rose wine, sparkling and still water were also available.

The restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort
We got to sample many Sardinian recipes during lunch and dinner, with salads, hot & cold meats, cheeses, cakes, desserts, fruit, pasta, bread and chips on the offering. While it wasn’t al la carte, it was fine. My own personal fave had to be the huge chargrilled prawns which I along with the table of new friends we dined with on our last night couldn’t get enough of, I’m talking platefulls!

As for the toddler and teenager, I don’t think I have honestly seen them eat so much. This is where buffet dining comes into it’s own! While they tended to avoid the more local dishes, pasta, fruit and salad were reloaded many times with ice-cream top ups coming from the bar, the prices were comparative to back here in England which was nice to see they weren’t taking advantage of a captive audience!

The main pool, restaurant area at Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

A big pat on the back went to the early dining option for kids in the resort with the restaurant opening at 5.30 until 6.15 and serving much more child friendly meals of pasta, hot dogs, chips, salad, desserts and juice. This meant we had time to go back, shower and get ready and back out again to book the younger guests into evening childcare at 7.30pm allowing the adults relaxed dining while they watched a movie before being settled into sleep pods and sleeping bags by the British qualified nannies until they were collected at 9.30pm (Mark Warner info sheets stated the evening childcare ending at 10.30pm but most were picked up before then.)

Which leads me seamlessly on to my highlight of our Mark Warner holiday to Perdepera Beach Resort , the kids clubs. I’ve never used childcare or kids clubs on holiday before but with so many activities on the offering, it gave us the perfect chance to try some out. I’ll share the kids club and activities in a separate post, there’s waaaaaaaay too much to write in one sitting!

the beach at Mark Warner Perdepera Beach resort, Sardinia

Complex wise, the accommodation is set in singular blocks of apartments looking more like a quaint Sardinian village than a holiday complex. Painted in blues and terracotta, even a stroll around is a treat for the eyes. And with it being on the smaller side, you’re only minutes from the pool, reception and beach. Each one has it’s own covered patio with seating, table and clothes drier and designed so they aren’t overlooked.

I’d describe the rooms as more traditional than modern, with dark wood furniture, a small kitchen and bathroom with shower, large sink and (well lit) mirror and bidet. I’m fussy about my showers and ours was perfect with a good, clean and maintained shower cubicle ample enough for any sized person (or an adult with a toddler sitting on the floor as my son liked to do!) I did meet another guest who had a more modern shower and TV so I guess some rooms had been upgraded recently?

We had a mezzanine style house style. The front door opened in a small kitchenette area with a stocked mini fridge, sink, small hob and cupboards which you walked through to an area with 2 single beds, which could be used as sofas due to the padded back rests, chest of drawers and TV. As well as patio doors onto the private, outside seating area.

You accessed the other room up a flight of stairs within the downstairs room up to an open area with a double bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers. With it being open plan you can hear everything downstairs so there’s no worry about not hearing younger kids waking in the night.
To be honest, we only used our room as a base and the TV was switched on once for 10 minutes. With so much to do, other than sitting out on the patio after our evening meal chatting about our day, it was purely a case of, sleep, wash, get ready and out!

As mentioned earlier, this is only part 1 of our amazing holiday with Mark Warner to the Perdepera Beach Resort in Sardinia. Part 2 is all about the facilities and kids clubs available there.

Disclaimer

We received a discount on our Mark Warner holiday in return for sharing our honest thoughts on our stay. As always all photos and words are entirely my own unless otherwise stated. 

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Clean Eating Made Easy With Everdine

I first dabbled with clean eating last year, inspired by the Ella’s Kitchen cookbook recommended by a friend who had overcome some health problems thanks to a change in diet, it was a welcome lifestyle adjustment. I’d already given up meat (not fish) and felt better, I had more energy for starters. My sugar intake was through the roof though and I was rubbish at getting my recommended 5 a day.

So clean eating was the way forward. Everything cooked from fresh with oodles of fresh veg and introducing ingredients I’d never heard of, chia seeds were thrown in and on everything and breakfast began with overnight oats and granola. The only problem was time. I was a busy mum running 2 businesses and trying to prepare and find recipes which I knew the whole family would eat.

Luckily the older boys are quite good at trying new foods, getting them to always finish was a chore though. Clean eating soon became a chore and while I remained vegetarian and endeavoured to cook healthy meals from scratch, it was still too easy to pop a frozen pizza in the oven on days when I wasn’t in the mood for cooking.

My eldest son is now a keen health foodie though and when asked to try out a clean eating delivery  service called Everyone where clean eating is made simple we both agreed. No more mum guilt, except the whole frozen meals thing concerned me a little, surely it was cheating a little?

None the less, I picked out my favourites from the 8 meal section, that’d be 2 family meals of our choosing where everyone gets what they want. I could see this working out quite well for the boys and I! It meant I could stick to my meat free diet but the boys got their fill.

It arrived in an insulated cardboard box with icepacks (really useful to keep in the freezer and reuse for picnics as you can throw them away afterwards) I then stored them away in the freezer ready for the next day when time was of the essence.

everdine clea eating delivery service reviewed

The meals are microwaved and ready to eat in under 10 minutes and smelt as good as they tasted. The portions are a good size, enough for my older teenager and I managed to share some of mine with my toddler without feeling I’d sacrificed a meal. There’s a really great range to make your choices from on the website too, I went for a mixture of fish, lamb and vegetarian so we were all happy.

clean eating made simple with a delivery service my whole family loved. This exceeded my expectations in ready meals
The lamb chops with feta cous cous and beetroot was a huge hit with the boys, theres no expense spared on taste and seeing them try foods they’d never had before was awesome. My favourite was the harissa & king prawn tabbouleh, a nicely spiced dish with a just right balance of vegetables.

The convenience of having healthy meals ready in the freezer was priceless and while I don’t think I’d use it solely for regular family meals, I can see this being perfect for working couples and singletons. (and for my child free days when I tend to just have a sandwich rather than cook a whole meal.) The only downside was not being able to serve the meals in one go, although some you could cook in the oven.

If you’d like to try them out for yourself, Click here for your Everdine offer giving you £25 off your first box

 

clean eating made simple with a delivery service my whole family loved. This exceeded my expectations in ready meals

Disclaimer 

I have been invited to test Everdine‘s service thanks to a company called Tornado.

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