This year I’m going to be joining two photography projects organised by Lucy at Dear Beautiful. As luck would have it and entirely independent of my decision to join her projects, Lucy has also decided to join in with the Home Life Project which I run at the start of each month, so between us we’ll hopefully both be capturing some great photos this year of moments we might otherwsie not have recorded.

The link up for the Siblings Project opens in the middle of the month, so I am a little late joining, but fortunately it stays open for a couple of weeks so there’s plenty of time for late comers!

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January is a hard month to get pictures outdoors as the best of the light is often gone by the time little ones are home from school or clubs, but the sunshine was lovely this afternoon and I finally managed to get a photo of the two of them together.

In the last month Alice has become a very confident walker and now wants to walk everywhere, all the time, she literally never stays still. Theo was having to chase her round the garden to get in a photo with her. When Alice took her first steps I did the responsible thing and bought her properly measured little shoes from Russell & Bromley and when we got her home, she screwed her toes up every time we tried to put them on, so they have never been worn! Salvation has come in the form of a pair of BOGS boots which slip on to her stubborn feet and are perfect for jumping in puddles in the school playground. I think she’s clearly a wellies kind of girl.

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Her strong character means she is already holding her own with Theo and the dogs. One night when we were queuing up to give her a goodnight kiss in her cot, Theo who was third in line, got a slap round the face instead of a kiss, fortunately he took it with good humour!

Both of them are having swimming lessons at the moment and I’m convinced Alice will be swimming independently before Theo. She is absolutely fearless in the pool and wants to be off and swimming on her own. Bath time is also both of their favourite playtime. After being separated all day (during the week at least) they have an absolute riot in the water and it can go on for ages before they get bored.

Theo says the best thing about having a sister is “when I get up in the morning there is always someone to play with.”

 

 

The Me and Mine Project
  • January 21, 2017 - 8:56 am

    Donna - That trampoline photo is amazing. I love that they can play together now – he looks like an awesome big brother xReplyCancel

Over the last year or so I’ve found myself starting to reassess the way we live, by making small but significant changes in our home life. Last summer I cleared out a load of my clothes and introduced a capsule wardrobe, we attempted zero waste party bags at Theo’s birthday, I stopped colouring my hair (18 months ago!) and we cut back on what we bought at Christmas. I also discovered the Minimalists and the great Make Do & Mend Life group on Facebook.

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As we started 2017 I wanted to document these changes, but I struggled to label exactly what I was doing. In the end I settled on a year of simplicity and so for the next 12 months I’m going to do a blog update and a vlog every month talking about how we are reducing waste, adopting some minimalist principals and finding ways of living more simply.

My aims for the year are to…

  • Reduce our household waste
  • Continue to declutter our home (rehoming, rather than throwing away)
  • Use what we have, mending and making do
  • Borrowing or buying second hand if we can
  • Cut spending on “stuff” and save money
  • Continue with my capsule wardrobe but add to it thoughtfully and sustainably
  • Get back to basics

In the first few weeks of the year we’ve started composting, are trying out a vegetable box scheme and have swapped some packaging heavy products for cheaper less wasteful ones. I’ve also set myself a crafting challenge to creatively use up what I already have. My first vlog update starts with some of those small changes and I’ll continue to update you on those as the year goes on…

I’ve also changed my approach to blogging a little by making some changes I felt were right for me. I’ve removed all my affiliate ads (they never made much money anyway) and several badges, I’ve opted out of a couple of charts, turned off those emails that send you weekly stat updates, left many of the blogging facebook groups I was in and I’ve started saying no a lot. I really don’t want to accept any more “free” things into my home that aren’t absolutely required, or to give up my time writing about them and importantly I want to be more mindful about what I’m promoting and how that may encourage others to spend their money.

For a long time I felt I needed to earn more and more from blogging, but all that happened was every new collaboration fed my consumerism. You can’t escape buying stuff entirely, but you can slow down and check what value new things bring to your life and if you really need them.

This is not a perfect plan and I may still need to adjust it. I also want to make it clear that I’m not trying to convert anyone or criticise those who are doing things another way, this is just what’s right for me, right now.

Linking up with Stephanie…

“#HopesandDreamsfor2017"

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  • January 12, 2017 - 3:32 am

    Claire - Love the sound of these plans. I am trying similar things, also slowly due to having a 7 month old. Will be checking the sites you mentioned. Can I ask where you got the yeast and what it is called? I currently use one with very little packaging already but it can only be stored open for two months.ReplyCancel

  • January 14, 2017 - 10:59 am

    Helena - Simplicity sounds great I’ve got visions of tote bags instead of party bags and we are constantly de-cluttering here too. #HopesandDreamsfor2017ReplyCancel

    • January 14, 2017 - 1:25 pm

      claremansell@mac.com - Little fabric tote bags were part of our almost zero waste pary bags last summer. I keep meaning to do a tutorial for them. I will do now!ReplyCancel

To start this post I’d like to welcome anyone who is new to this project this year, you are all welcome and I really hope you enjoyed stretching your creativity over the weekend and captured some moments that you might otherwise have missed.

I took my photos yesterday and we had typical January weather, we got out of bed in near darkness, walked the dogs in drizzle and fog and watched the night close in while we had our afternoon cup of tea. Not very cheerful weather, but an honest and accurate image of what an average day is like at this time of year.

Activity wise, Theo had his weekly iPad time, then he and the dogs burned off their energy on a near empty beach and we all ate a great brunch at a local cafe. At 14 months Alice is very much becoming her own person and enjoys ‘playing’ Connect 4 with Theo, meanwhile her brother’s big news this month, is that gap in his front teeth, he had his first visit from the tooth fairy last week!

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Looking forward to seeing your posts and don’t forget to share your images on social media too with the hashtag #homelifeproject

Home Life Photography Project


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  • January 9, 2017 - 7:07 am

    My Two Mums - I love the capture of your little man watching the iPad with fists full of dinosaurs. I’m looking forward to capturing a full year this year.ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2017 - 8:45 am

    Pamela | Life With Munchers - Lovely post and some amazing images! Can’t believe how big the kids are getting and can’t believe a year has past already!! xxReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2017 - 9:44 am

    Claire - Beautiful photos. I’ve followedited your posts for a while and love how they document family life. I’m joining in this year to pick my DSLR up more. I hope you don’t mind that I don’t share photos of my children’s faces. Love your home too.ReplyCancel

    • January 9, 2017 - 2:09 pm

      claremansell@mac.com - Not at all Claire, everyone has different boundaries. Some have husband’s who don’t like to be photographed, others have certain rooms that are off limits. I think it makes you be more creative!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2017 - 2:13 pm

    claremansell@mac.com - Not at all Claire, everyone has different boundaries. Some have husband’s who don’t like to be photographed, others have certain rooms that are off limits. I think it makes you be more creative!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2017 - 8:11 pm

    Karen@wouldliketobe - All gorgeous photos clare. Loving all the beach shots, we love an empty beach too. How grown up is Alice now? Rosie got her first wobbly tooth on Christmas Eve, its still in for now but is very wobbly! Love the creative challenge but totally missed it as was chaos in this house. Managed to take photos though xReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2017 - 11:04 pm

    Topfivemum - I’m gutted I’ve only just discovered this project and would love to take part next month. As a newbie, is it ok if I complete the January project even if it means I’ll have to wait to do my first monthly one from next month?

    Thanks so much and what a fab creative community you’re creating. I love a good challenge!ReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2017 - 1:52 pm

    Donna - Clare, your photos are stunning. I love the indoor and outdoor variety and your home is beautiful too. I am so glad I can join in this year and if nothing more it will be a lovely record of our life – although I aspire to improve my photography too! xReplyCancel

  • January 10, 2017 - 9:44 pm

    Kara - That brunch looks delish.
    How cute playing board games together xxReplyCancel

  • January 15, 2017 - 9:05 pm

    Jenna - Ah Claire, stunning photos as always. The Connect 4 photo made my heart swell – super cute. :) This is such a lovely project and I can’t wait to see everyone’s photos over the next year.ReplyCancel

This weekend is the first Home Life Project of 2017 and in order to give everyone a little reminder I am bringing back the Friday blog posts that precede the project weekend, but instead of doing a tutorial, each month I’ll be giving you a creative challenge which you can choose to incorporate into the images you take.

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January’s prompt is “night-time windows” and uses the limited daylight we have at this time of year to create a photographic opportunity. The idea is to step outside your home and capture a peek into your families lives by photographing an illuminated window scene. This kind of shot emphasises the cosiness of the home and appeals to something in all of us, that is intrigued by a captured fragment of someone’s life.

While I was writing this post and searching for photos to inspire you I discovered by chance that the artist Edward Hopper painted several images along this theme, of which my favourite is Night Windows.

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For your own photo the window can be a small part of the image, or it can fill the frame, but you should aim to reveal something about the people who live in the house.

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A few words of advice…

  • Open the curtains!
  • Make sure you turn your flash off
  • Turn off outside floodlights
  • Consider using a tripod to ensure you don’t get camera shake
  • Watch out for unwanted or distracting reflections in the glass
  • Use things outside the house (plants, window frames) to frame the photo
  • Experiment with taking photos in manual mode
  • Add a vignette in Lightroom to darken down the images around the edges and draw the eye to the light

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You could also experiment with flipping the idea on its head a bit and shooting a night-time window from within the home…

And finally, if you are new to the Home Life Project, welcome along! To join in, simply take approximately twelve images on either Saturday or Sunday this weekend that capture your family in a documentary style (full details here).

Try to push yourself to experiment with your camera settings or try new ways of shooting, you can bin those that don’t work before you publish, but you may be pleasantly surprised by what you capture.

The link up opens at 7am on Monday. I look forward to seeing everyone’s photos!

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  • January 6, 2017 - 6:38 pm

    Robyn - Oooh how exciting! And such a good theme! I cant wait to see what everyone comes up with – myself included because i’ve no idea right now. Ha haReplyCancel

At the start of this year I turned a casual and occasional photography post into a regular monthly photography project and I invited those who were curious to join in to. The Home Life Project not only provides a photographic record of my growing and changing family but it also means that whatever the weather, whatever the obstacles I get my camera out at the start of every month and spend a day concentrating on taking photos.

Often when I sit down to edit my photos at the end of the HLP weekend I can be a terrible critic and convince myself I took nothing of value that month, but what I’ve learned is that the images I capture grow in value over time. Looking back over the last 12 months there are so many brief wonderful moments that I photographed solely because of this project. Tiny baby moments that have gone forever or summer days that seem a lifetime away, but I have them recorded!

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So today I want to share with you some of my favourite photos and to invite you to join me next year. You don’t need an expensive camera, but a desire to push yourself to capture the best photos within the limitations of your equipment is a great help. The Home Life Project happens on the first full weekend of every month (ie where both Saturday and Sunday are in the month) and the link up opens at 7am on the Monday.

New for 2017 I’ll be publishing a post on the Friday preceding the Home Life Project (starting next Friday) introducing a theme or challenge for the month. I hope you can join us, I promise you won’t regret it.

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So what are you waiting for! All the information about the project and the badges for the blog post are kept on this page (bookmark it for future reference) and the first Home Life Project weekend is next weekend, 6th & 7th January! You don’t have to have a blog, you can simply join in by sharing your photos on social media with the hashtag #homelifeproject

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  • December 30, 2016 - 2:42 pm

    Candace - I just love these photos! Something about unposed pictures that just grab my heartReplyCancel

  • December 31, 2016 - 10:11 am

    Karen - I love all these photos and have enjoyed joining in. Will definitely be back next year. Happy new year xxReplyCancel