Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Thursday, February 16th, 2012

It seemed like a good idea while I was lying in bed one night. I was hosting Christmas and I would make a gingerbread village – a house for each of my family members. My bad luck that I’m the oldest of seven kids. I decided that my parents could share, so that was 8 houses, plus a mini one for Isabella. My projects can get a little ambitious just before I fall asleep. One more thing – I would make Mum and Dad a gingerbread version of their house, our childhood home.

I set about finding a few templates online, there is one on Good Food – the link to the template is at the bottom of the recipe, and there are also several here including a template for a church. I made up a few of them, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Mum and Dad’s was a bit more complicated, it took me a few days to draw out the template (definitely not to scale!).  I began to wonder about the wisdom of so much gingerbread.

I made a big batch of gingerbread. I cut out all the shapes for two houses, complete with windows. To make windows, put a clear boiled sweet (foxes glacier fruits are perfect) into the hole that you’ve made for the window before you put the shape in the oven. It will melt during cooking a make a lovely sweetie window. I was already sick of gingerbread. I soldiered on, and after about a week (and at least 6 double batches of gingerbread) had all the shapes.

You need real royal icing which sets hard to glue the pieces together – the type with egg whites (150 ml egg white, 1 kg icing sugar, tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix until smooth, and add water/more lemon juice if it’s too thick).

Enough waffling.  Here are the houses…

This is Mum and Dad’s.  I put little battery operated tealights inside all the houses so the windows glowed and flickered in the dark.

The tiny one with the path and log pile was Isaballa’s.  The other tiny one was Colin’s.  Can you tell I’d got fed up by then ;-)  The Christmas trees are cake pops!

The whole Honeywell village

This one was Lucy’s – she’s a student so the tiles are falling off the roof and it’s a bit of a mess. Very Lucy. Pretty but messy!

Lastly a santa hat cake pop. I started making cake pops last year after seeing Bakerella’s website and got slightly obsessed.

The last of the gingerbread has just been eaten. I think this year I might just make one house.


Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  All of my family are descending on Friday so it will be chaotic, busy and lovely, just how it should be!  I’m looking forward to Isabella’s first Christmas, my little Santa baby looks gorgeous in her Christmas dressing gown!


Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Now those who know me will know that I’m a bit of a baking fanatic, and that I like things to look nice, and I don’t mind that it might take ages to get things right – but it must be right. I stumbled upon Pinterest when I was researching things for Isabella’s christening, and was immediately hooked (all my sisters are now hooked too, and quite a few of my friends, which is a bit annoying as they no longer think I’m a creative genius as they know I’ve just copied from Pinterest). It was here that I think I first found inspiration for the colour scheme for Isabella’s christening, and found lots of ideas for the dessert table.  I have to confess all these treats took up the best part of a week to make, with lots of help from Isabella’s (fairy) Godmother who is also my sister Rosie.

My Pinterest board for the christening:

I made a rainbow cake for my Auntie’s 50th, and decided  to make one on theme for the table.  I used Americolour gel food colours in everything, it’s the first time I’d used them but they are great, really bright colours that don’t run.  I made the bunting for the cake by printing out stripes and polka dot designs onto plain paper, cutting it out into diamonds and sticking them (folded in half) onto divine twine.  The icing is buttercream (butter, icing sugar and lemon juice), piped on in swirls.

The tablecloth came from Waitrose and the streamers from ebay.

Rosie spent a small fortune on Washi tape (coloured and patterned masking tape) in Canada, and I made the food label flags by sticking it onto food picks and sticking them into marshmallows so they’d stand up.  I wrote on the names of the cakes with a sharpie pen.

The cupcakes cases are Paper Eskimo ones from The Cake Decorating Company.  I made the chocolate buttons by using Wilton candy melts and a silicone button mould that was about £3 on eBay.  The key is to put the melts into a piping bag, melt carefully in the microwave (don’t over heat), and then pipe into the mould being careful not to overfill.  Then bang the mould on the worktop several times to get rid of air bubbles.

The biscuit lollipops were pretty easy.  The recipe is from Peggy Porschen’s book – both the books have the same recipe.  It’s great because the biscuits don’t really spread at all during baking, but the key is to make the dough the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight, or even for a few days.  I got paper sticks so that they could go in the oven (the plastic ones can’t).  Roll out the mixture quite thickly (I use two bits of dowling and keep the rolling pin on those either side of the dough, so that when you roll it out it’s all perfectly even), cut out your shape and remove the excess, and then with one hand on top of the cut out biscuit, carefully push the stick in about an inch.  It’s a bit of a knack, but if you go wrong just roll it out again and have another go.

Then ice them with royal icing (150ml egg whites, 1 kg icing sugar, splash of lemon juice plus more to get to the consistency you need).  Morrisons sells piping bags that are perfect, they are plastic which are better than paper as the icing stays moist, so if you get bored or need a break you can have one without the icing going hard and getting ruined.

I found this recipe for the pink smartie cookies a while ago when I was looking for a white chocolate and raspberry recipe.  It’s on the carnation milk recipe and these cookies are so yummy, you will want to eat them all.  They freeze well, so make up a load and put some in the freezer (a tin of condensed milk makes double the recipe shown), and then you can just get them out and in 10 mins have fresh cookies.  A guaranteed way to look like a domestic goddess ;-)  The recipe is easily adapted, add cocoa for double chocolate cookies, etc.  As I wanted these to fit with the theme I bought a couple of tubes of pink smarties and used those instead of white chocolate, and omitted the raspberries.  By the way, the raspberry ones are lovely, but they keep much longer without them.

The white cake was our wedding cake, from July 2007!  I had it prefessionaly re-iced, my skills don’t stretch to that!

I’m trying out the new Blogstomp app, which is why there is a watermark on the images.  It let’s you put montages like this together easily and quickly.


I have more photos to share of the rest of the christening, but first things first ;-)


Thursday, October 6th, 2011

All those of you that came to my Newby Hall office will know what an amazing place Newby Hall is, and what a wonderful place it is to work. I LOVED being based there, but after having Isabella I came to realise that a baby and a 20 minute drive to work wasn’t going to be easy. We moved house when she was 4 weeks old (talk about everything coming at once!), and so now have space for an office at home. Reluctantly I decided to move from Newby Hall and work from an office at home, at least for now. My plan is to have my babies (!) and then, in several years time, once again work from Newby Hall.

Not much has changed from a client point of view, I will still be holding portrait days at Newby Hall, and weddings of course are always on location. Engagement sessions will also be on location now as well. I will be holding wedding consultations, portrait viewings, and pre-wedding meetings at my home office.

That’s to my lovely husband, it’s a lovely office – with (almost) straight wallpaper, fresh paint, and even an open fireplace. I’m thinking about installing a wood burning stove to keep nice and cosy in winter. I will look forward to welcoming you here, and of course having a cuppa and a biscuit!

The new address is:
Holly Cottage,
YO61 1SF

Now I’ve been terrible at blogging recently, and have been on maternity leave so only working on a few ‘keeping in touch days’, but here is one of my favourite images from a wedding last month. Maternity leave officially ends now, so I’ll be back working with no excuses not to blog!


Monday, July 18th, 2011

I know, I know. I’ve been awful at blogging since Isabella was born. OK, so I do kinda have an excuse – babies take up more time than you knew you had. She is sat on my lap right now just about to demand something or other. However I do have to admit to being darn lazy in this department. I have the photos but just haven’t posted them yet, there is always something else to do. And she grows so quickly that as soon as I have taken and edited a set of photos, it’s time to start again.

I won’t bore you with hundreds of photos, but here are a just a few of my favourites so far. Already looking back I can’t believe how much she’s changed. Photos are so important. My Mum said that you look at your baby every day, and they always look the same. Then, one day you wake up and they’re 18. It’s so true.

Some are snapshots taken on a phone, others are taken on my professional camera. All are very precious memories (WARNING: becoming a Mum makes you soppy).

I will blog again soon, honest! I have weddings, engagements and portraits to share. Watch this space!


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I’m very proud to announce the arrival of my daughter! Isabella Dora was born on Thursday 17th March at 6.52am weighing 8lb 5oz.

She is a little sweetie! She’s keeping us on our toes and can be quite demanding but she is totally worth it. She’s asleep beside me now.

More photos to follow when I get a chance – it might be some time!


Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A massive thank you to the fabulous Susie Lawrence for taking some bump photos for me! Although I feel a bit fat (and have a double chin!) I’m really glad I had some maternity photos taken. I’m sure in no time I’ll forget what I looked like with a bump, they will be a lovely keepsake and I’ll be able to show my baby how I looked too!

Most of these were taken on Monday, when I was 39 weeks and 5 days, at Newby Hall. My baby was due yesterday so could arrive at any time!

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I wasn’t sure whether to post this one, but Mums I’ve photographed in the past have let me post photos of them, so I don’t want to by hypocritical and decided to be brave!

Please bear with me if I’m a little slow to answer your calls and emails over the next few months. I’ll post some baby photos as soon as I can!


Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

OK so I’m a little late posting this ;-)

As photographers usually work alone, we don’t usually get to have a staff Christmas party (boo!), so last year a group of us decided it was time to make amends. Susie Lawrence organised the cheesiest of Christmas do’s (just what we wanted) in Leeds, but this year cheese was swapped for something a little classier – a PapaKata Christmas party!

There were several PapaKata tipis set up in Escrick Park in York, complete with lovely log fires and lots of reindeer hides, and we were treated to a three course scrummy meal before chilling out by the fire accompanied by peach scnapps (or coffee for the pregnant one!).

The lovely Pete Lawson sporting his Christmas jumper:

And his even lovelier wife Laura

Rob Booker looking rather fetching:

Barnaby on the right while Pete stares pensively at the fire…..

I love this pic of Susie

Mike looks rather surprised he’s being photographed!

That’s Suzy Mitchell on the left, and I’m in the middle looking rather weird!

Cris Matthews laughing at one of my hilarious jokes ;-)

Cris braved the ffff freezing cold to take these amazing long exposures from the outside of the tipis – the sensible ones among us stayed by the fire!


Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Seeing as I’m soon to be a Mum, I thought it was time I brushed up on my baking skills. I’ve always loved baking (and eating), at my Mum’s house there were always tins of homemade cakes and biscuits we could dive into when we got home from school. It’s a very homely, Mummy thing to do, but can seem a bit pointless when there are only two of you and you know you’ll end up eating it all (although maybe that’s the point….!)

I decided to attempt to make a gingerbread house for my sister for Christmas. It turned out to be so easy, I made two more, one for my friends little boy and another, grown up version for my brother. His was a gingerbread pub, complete with jelly babies getting up to all kinds of mischief. In the chaos of Christmas I didn’t get any photos of it which was a silly mistake. Oh well, I’ll just have to make another!

I used the recipe from Peggy Porschen‘s book (I have Romantic Cakes and Pretty Party Cakes and the recipes are the same). It’s a great gingerbread recipe and it doesn’t spread much so the shapes stay the same when baking. It really helps if you make the mixture the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight (or longer, I’ve left it for several days before and it’s fine).

I cut out the windows and put boiled sweets (foxes glacier fruits) in the holes whist baking, they melt and then set to make yummy edible windows.

For the first house I made my own template, then I discovered the template on which was even better. You can get the template here.

The key to making the house stay together is to use proper royal icing made with egg white, it’s much stiffer and sets quickly.

Lots of sweets and glitter, I’m a child at heart!

Please excuse the quality of this iphone photo. This house was made with the delicious magazine template which has a cute chimney and door – they are getting more sophisticated!

Next year I’ll be making one for my daughter!


Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I hope you’re all feeling festive with all this cold weather and snow – I certainly am! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks baking Christmas biscuits, cakes, gingerbread etc in my spare time and am now ready to put my feet up and enjoy Christmas at my parents house in Northamptonshire. We’re heading down there tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see everyone!

Also I hope you all have a fantastic New Year and a great 2011, I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown. It will be a very exciting and life changing year for us next year with our little girl due at the beginning of March! I’ll be taking a bit of time off before getting back in full swing by June, there are lots of weddings and portraits to look forward to next year.

A photography blog post is just not right without some photographs, so here are some photos I took in the snow we’ve just had. I love the snow!

My little miniature shetland, Archie, in the snow with Colin. You can see how tiny he is! Nest year he’ll be getting a little saddle and bridle ready for my little girl!

Finally a couple of snowy portraits. You can beat snow for giving lovely even lighting.

Have a wonderful holiday!