Daughter Days

Here is my gorgeous and wonderful daughter, Arabella. She’s funny and cheeky and fierce and sometimes shouty and other times sweet and smart and talkative and lovely.

She starts school next year - I can’t believe it. She’ll only be four! And we get two days a week where we can hang out. So those days, I make sure I am spending quality one on one time with her. Because in only a short a year, that will be gone. It’s already gone with my son, who started school in September. And part of that makes me feel a bit sad. Because it’s out of my control, and I can’t change it. And because it makes me realise how fast this time has gone, and yes, everyone says it, and sometimes it’s annoying to hear, but… the time really does fly by, and will be gone before you know it. And school and friends will take over.

As a family, we stay at home a lot. Weekends are mostly spent in the house or garden, possibly out for a walk, or to extended family’s houses. But both my husband and I, (mostly) cherish this time together. And love to take it slowly, to live slowly, to just do nothing sometimes, but talk and hang out and listen to music and play with our children.

Here are a collection of photos of my daughter at one of our favourite National Trust hang outs - Tyntesfiled.

Waiting for Spring

I had the loveliest day last week with my children. It felt like Spring had finally arrived, after what has been a rather long and dreary winter.

We went to Tyntesfield and took our time wandering and exploring. We ate ice cream. We had a picnic. We walked around the gardens, and visited the greenhouses, which were alive with colour, summery scent and beautiful bumble bees! We relished in the sunshine all day. 

And then over the weekend it snowed again. And it was not welcome! Yet it still sits firmly in my garden, keeping Spring at bay. 

And so, we are waiting for Spring once more. 

You Are My Star

It is OK to cry and spread your arms wide
To weep at my side, these are not things to hide.
It is OK to say how much you love me
To ask me to hold you and squeeze you tightly.
It is OK to paint and to play with soft toys
To sing and to dance, to be not like other boys.
It's OK to tell me how you're feeling,
I will never tell you that you are a weakling,
I'll never say, man up and be different,
I just want you to be you, whoever you are.
And I want you to know that you are my star. 
I just want you to know that you are my star. 

Swinging through Autumn

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, and my Dad's 64th birthday, swinging through the Autumn trees. I really do relish these family moments - moments that matter, to me, more than anything else in my life.

I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be famous. And we can make excuses for everything, but when I say that I would prefer this life, a life with my wonderful, loving family, over another life I could have had, I mean it.

I can dream of that other life, about touring on the road, living in the studio, spending my days and nights writing music. But what would I have to forfeit to have that life? 

When I imagine the end of my days. I imagine feeling content because I made time to be a mother and a wife and a daughter and a sister, an auntie and a cousin and a granddaughter and grandmother. If I didn't have those things, I would regret it more than anything. I would wish I had chosen a family over a career in the music industry. How could it possibly compare? 

I do ask myself if I could have had both? And maybe I could have. But not in the way that I have it now. There would have been days and weeks and months I would have missed of my children growing up. And that is not the mother I wanted to be. No. Being a mother - the mother I am, is something I could never, ever regret. 

Monday Musings

It is my daughters nap time. Cup of tea. Biscuit. And time to catch up on stuff in peace and quiet. BLISS. 

So, the first news is that we are moving! We decided to bite the bullet and move to the countryside. We wanted to do it now, (slightly last minute) so that we can apply for schools for our son, who will start next September. 

The village we are moving to is about 40 minutes commute from Bristol. It has a pub, a bakery, dentist, doctors, charity shop, wine shop, and a little library, too! And, we will be closer to my family. 

We may well be in by Christmas, which is, unbelievably, only six weeks away! So, we are making the most of the lovely woods behind our house, with its falling orange and yellow leaves. We will miss these woods a lot, and have so enjoyed walking in them almost every day for three years. But, it really is time to escape the city. It just feels right for our family. 

With all the stress and chaos of the move preparation, I've lost my mojo a little bit. And I haven't picked up my guitar since our last gig in September. I've been going to bed as early as 8pm! But I have managed to finish my book (This Must Be The Place, by Maggie O'Farrel - a gripping read). And I WILL get back to my guitar and our plans to record an EP. 

Photography wise, I have my first wedding booked for next May. So that's really encouraging! I am also investing in a new camera - I borrowed my friends Canon 5d iii and fell in love with it. My 60d just doesn't cut the mustard any more. So, I'm really excited about getting that. 

I'll leave you with a few photos from my adventure in the woods with the children last week... using trusty Canon 60d. 

Let the Forest Grow

I always wanted to be a singer or an actress. I did Performing Arts in College, and Commercial Music at University. I started songwriting at 14. I played in bands. I acted in plays. And I had boyfriends. I always wanted to be a wife. And then later, a mother. Oh, the desire to be a mother. It hit me hard when I met my husband. And it took over everything else.

All my existent desires were put out, like a forest on fire. Every tree alight was extinguished. But an aftermath of burnt earth lingered. And one day, what life remained would find a way to grow and prosper, and once more stand tall and bright with life and dreams. 

And that is where I find myself. Sitting in a cosy corner of a city cafe, with desire bubbling away in my blood. Stubborn and firm in my bones. Wanting to find a way out into the world. To do something special. To make a mark. But there's one thing that imprisons it in my body. 

FEAR.

I am afraid. Afraid to do what my heart yearns for. To hike in the hills alone, to swim in the deep sea, to run in the dark, to make a record, to write a book, to cut my hair, to be a photographer. I am afraid that I cannot do it. I am afraid that I won't be good enough. I am afraid that I'll have to sacrifice my life as a wife and a mother.  Because I cannot do that. I need to be the best mother. And I want to be. I am. I know that motherhood is actually something that I am not afraid of. 

But it's time I took a leap of faith. It's time I start to extinguish the fear. Every time I say no to fear, I let myself grow. I let life grow. I let the forest grow. 

Below image from Women Wild and Free, (c) Fur and Gold Photography. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amongst the Trees - Moments that Matter

What a lovely family. So genuine and natural and so many smiles. We went on a little woodland adventure for a couple of hours, and I just sort of blended in with the trees and leaves, letting this gorgeous little family lead my photography. This is what I do best. And it is what makes for the most honest, raw and natural family photos you could hope for. 

Moments That Matter

As a photographer, one of my favourite things to do, is to hang out amongst a family, and document their time together.

For me, it is these every day moments that really matter. These moments that can be taken for granted, and are soon gone in the blur of growing up, going to school, and work, and what many people call, 'the grind'. 

But sometimes, if we just stood back and slowed down. We would see how beautiful these moments are. The gorgeous smiles. The laughter. The noise. The tears and tantrums, which may not be exactly gorgeous, but they are all part of the journey. The every-day rituals of brushing teeth, breakfast, bathing, sleeping. And all the quiet and chaotic moments in between. 

I had the pleasure of spending time with a lovely family last weekend. The photographs below tell their every-day story, and the magic and beauty of the moments that matter. 

Doing it my way.

I've been pondering lately... what do I really want to do? Why am I still pursuing my music? Why am I a photographer? Who am I doing it for?

Because it's bloody hard work. Both music and photography consume plenty of my energy and time, and I don't have an awful lot of that to spare, in between being a mum and a wife, (and a cat and hedgehog and bird feeder). And all of those things I want to do really well. 

And then the answer floated into my mind like a falling leaf from a tree. I am doing this for me. And I don't have to pretend otherwise. And I don't have to perform to expectations. I don't have to do it the way other people do it. I just have to do it my way. 

I say all of this like I live by these words. But there are days when I really don't. And my confidence gets sapped. And I am fragile and lost. On those days I ask myself why am I doing this? All over again. 

Art is a tough career. Whether you paint, make music, take photos, dance... you have to put your heart into it, or else it isn't genuine. And a big part of me is that I am incredibly genuine. And I want that to show in the stuff that I do. But sometimes it's hard to put it out there when so much of you has been invested. And not everyone is going to understand it the way you do. And not everyone is going to love it, either. 

Perhaps the answer, that I'm doing this for me, will help me to get go forwards, and help me to find and hold onto that wavering self belief, so I can carry on doing it my way.  

 

 

 

Women Wild and Free

Women Wild and Free will be a session I run each Spring. For my first one this year, it is for mothers exclusively. 

Since becoming a mother myself, I have an infinite respect for the strength we have and the love we give to our children. It’s been so hard at times, and no matter how much I felt prepared for motherhood, nothing could truly prepare me for how much my life was going to change. 

I want my sessions to help give identity to mothers. Because it’s so easy to let our identity recede into the nappies, sleepless nights, washing, cleaning, the school run… and perhaps it takes a long time to return. Or for some, maybe it never does.

Are you a mum? Do you have hobby that makes you feel happy and confident? Your hobby could be anything from swimming, running, yoga or riding to painting, jewellery making or playing a musical instrument.

For me, I feel wild and free when I am behind the lens, and when I am singing and writing music. I also feel alive and myself when I am walking in the hills, the woods, or lying under a marbled sky listening to the rambling stream and beautiful bird song. There, I feel at peace. I feel free to be me. Away from the demands of motherhood. 

For my sister, (featured below), her place is the open water. It’s where she reunited with her mojo after 10 years of being a stay at home mother. It’s where she feels confident and strong. It’s like swimming in the wild water made her remember that her purpose was more than just raising children. 

I will be looking for mothers who would be interested in being featured in Women Wild and Free. Wild and free doesn't have to mean being surrounded by nature - your place could be the city, your home, your yoga studio, your grandmothers house... the stables... we are all different.

If this is you, please get in touch. Free session, option to buy photographs afterwards.

As with my photographic style and nature, these sessions will be relaxed, candid, beautiful and fun. And if I can help it, they'll be therapeutic, too. 

Jemima. X

Women Wild and Free is a project owned by Jemima Rose Brash of Fur and Gold Photography. Images and any relating material cannot be published or replicated anywhere else online, or in print, without the authors consent. 

Rufus

How have you become such a lovely, grownup boy, Rufus? I have watched you grow from a bald baby, to a top trump playing toddler, to an awkward eight year old, to a kind, confident and clever 11 year old. You seem so close to being a young man, yet surely, so far away...

And as you finish up the last months of junior school, I feel you are ready for your next adventure. And before we know it, you will be more independent. Growing taller and further away from the boy you are now. I hope you will keep some of him right here with you. I know you will.

Learning from the unexpected.

When I was pregnant and dreaming about my life as a mother, I always thought about how much I could teach my children. But I didn't consider for a moment that my children would teach me - that I might learn from them. 

Three years on, with two children under three - I have happily realised that my children are teaching me, too. They are teaching me about themselves, and about myself, and about joy and magic and laughter and instinct. 

My son experienced his first giant bouncy castle and giant slide at a local fete last weekend. The first thing he did the moment his shoes were off, was to plough himself onto the slide, climbing up the steps and throwing himself down, without a moment's hesitation or worry. Then he buzzed around the bouncy castle. And oh, the happiness! Which was well matched with sorrow when it was time to leave. Although his misery was abruptly ended with an offering of a biscuit.

I am realising more than ever about about the power of simplicity. And the days go by, my desire to live a simple life is growing stronger. I am turning off my phone more. I'm restricting and lessening the amount of mindless and not-so-mindless stuff that I let seep into my skin and my bones and my heart, that pulls at me until I burn out and feel doom and gloom. I just cannot take on that amount of information! I don't have the space or the time or the energy. It's what social media and the internet have brought upon me. And I'm getting tired of it. I'm looking elsewhere. I'm seeking something else, something more, something deeper, something meaningful, something personal.

But more than anything, I am learning what it means to truly live in the moment, as children do. Without anticipation or fear or worry of what lies ahead. Not yet. Thanks goodness, not yet. 

When I went in to check my sleeping children last night, I passed and I breathed them in, and savoured their beautiful smell. their unique little beings, their innocence. Their capacity for happiness and joy and wonder. And well, my heart just about burst. 

This is us.

We took the children swimming today, and it was one of those times when you think, why did we bother? Why didn't we just stay home instead? So, in the afternoon, we did what we always do, and go off into the woods. There are two ponies and three goats up the path, who we fed apples to, then down the path and into the woods, there are conkers! I do love Autumn.  

 

 

My grandmother.

Do you know, if I could choose the face I'd most like to photograph, it would be my grandmothers. I need to do a portrait session with her. She's wonderful and strong, and her soft face tells stories of love and heartache and everything there is to feel and know and see in a lifetime.

She was an evacuee, and lived apart from her mother from the age of nine to 13. Which is actually inconceivable, right? When she was 16 she met my late grandfather. They married and she had four children. And there are 13 grandchildren, and so far, nine great grandchildren. My son adores her - we all do. Big Love to you, Larls. xxx

boy and box

Today we had a blast in the sunshine and a box! These moments are simple. And there's something about that simplicity that I absolutely love. 

I read something recently by a photographer called Zalmy Berkowitz, and he said something along the lines of documenting moments as they are, aka - showing it like it is. And I wholeheartedly agree - in fact, it's become my moto. I want to show life as it happens. Life as it is. Life like today. 

Loose tea and lost loves.

Finally the warmth has decided to surround. Although it comes and goes, (like the sweet little hedgehogs we've discovered in our garden - I'm about to pop out to see if I can see one. Yes, I know, I am so utterly rock and roll. Nothing changes.). 

Talking of change... I'm starting to get a bit of a longing for lost loves. Music. This started with me spontaneously booking tickets to see Massive Attack at The Downs in September. And then tonight I actually started to write a song... and I've stayed up ridiculously late in doing so! 

Then there's tea - LOOSE tea - I might actually be able to muster up the energy to invest in some. And films. Perhaps we could stay up past 9pm to watch a film...

And books. I've got a stack of them by my bed waiting to be absorbed.

Anyone would think I've had my head stuck in the clouds... drifting, dreaming, without a worry in the world... 

But below you'll see that I've just been hanging with my family, soaking up a little bit of sunshine along the way. 

The One

Sometimes there's one image that jumps out at me. And it's not because of the composition, or the colours. Or even the light - and that's often a key part of a powerful image.

The real hook is the story the image tells... the emotion right there and then, in the moment I pressed the button. That is what fires my heart when I'm editing my photos.

It's almost perfect because it's so imperfect. And I'll only tweak it a tiny bit, because it needs to be imperfect. It thrives on it. That is what makes it sing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Glorious Kitty

Here she is... Kitty, my niece. She's bloomin' gorgeous and sweet and happy and beautiful. And her baby wrist bracelets are some of the best I've seen. And when she sees you, she will wave with two hands, clap and smile.

This first birthday cake smash was such a joy. Just to sit quietly with my camera and let Kitty lead the way. It's how child photoshoots' should be. Natural, innocent, unexpected...

She approached her cake, and gave it a delicate little prod. She tasted it - we think she liked it - but she preferred her apple! And Ba Ba Bee. (Baby, her Bunny).

Happy first year, gorgeous girl. xxx