The first birthday milestone.

That first birthday milestone is so momentous and worthy of celebrating. And not so much for the toddler - they won't remember it! Although the photos will be a lovely keepsake. But the parents - well, you deserve a huge hug and a bottle of something you love, because you survived the first year. And that is a massive achievement. Truly it is. And I know because I've done it. Twice. 

So when my friend Lucie hired me as the photographer for her son's first birthday, I felt excited and honoured. And I wanted to capture some of those precious, special moments of a first birthday, as well as the everyday (not always) special ones too. 

Every mother deserves a medal. And Lucie is no exception. Her family live far away, and she and Mikey have been doing this alone. And that's inspiring and brave and strong. Well done, Lucie and Mikey on raising a fine, healthy, confident lad. And thank you for asking me along to share Alexei's first birthday. 

Young Love, We Are.

It was really pure joy doing this family photography session. Lauren, Fred and their beautiful Kitty Rose were so much fun. 

I hung around at their home for the first part, just letting them do their thing pretty much. Home sessions are quite often led by the family - or children if they're old enough! And that makes for really natural photos. 

Fred had his guitar out and was playing and singing to Kitty as she was being fed... and their cat, Pippa even joined in. Well, not with the singing, but in with the family photo. 

I also love to shoot outdoors in a surrounding like this - I always use natural light, and there was plenty of space for variety and prettiness in this little garden in Brighton. 

My man and my boy

I think I always imagined myself having a girl. I'm not sure why, because actually, I've always had a bit of a connection with boys. Through school they were always so much less complicated. And I just really liked that. 

I've always been a relationship kind of girl too. Pretty much since I was 11 or 12, I've gone straight from one to the next - and mostly they all lasted at least a year! In fact, when I was 15 I got together with a guy I'd dreamt of going out with for ages! And we stayed together for six years! A little too long in hindsight, but I've learnt so much from all my Mr Wrongs'.  And I'm a big believer that the ones that weren't right, lead you to the one who is right. 

So when I finally met my now husband - I just knew. I really, really knew. Pretty much from day one. And he says the same about me. Even though we are from opposite ends of the world, I still feel we were just meant to find each other. 

Then we had Wilfie - our beautiful boy. And sometimes I look at my man and my boy and think that surely I must be the luckiest girl in the world. 

Being imperfect

As a photographer, I think it's important to believe in yourself and what you see in front of you. I'm a complete romantic at heart, and the images I am drawn to the most have a sense of romance, mystery even... they tell a story that can be interpreted in different ways. They're not obviously brilliant or perfect. They're subtle yet strong. 

I've just had my business cards designed, and I was trying to decide whether to call myself a family photographer or a lifestyle photographer. And in the end I went for lifestyle, the definition of which makes total sense to me.

"Lifestyle photography is a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people on situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday. The primary goal is to tell stories about people's life or to inspire people in different times."

This photo is of my son, Wilfred. Crawling and playing amongst the beautiful, autumn leaves, beneath a great oak tree. I took a few of him here, but this is the image that most appeals to me. It's not perfect. It's not straightforward. And that's why I love it.