Best Trampoline Under £100 for Kids #AsdaOutdoors

Rich and I always joke that you can spot a family house on Google maps by all the black circle shapes in the back gardens. House after house features a trampoline, 360 degree netting and discarded shoes that stay out all night getting soaked in the early morning dew. Please tell me we aren't the only ones who have had to use emergency school shoes because they've been left at the bottom of the ladder?!

They feature on birthdays and Christmas lists and every Summer since we bought our first one, our boys have whiled away sunny and rainy days bouncing around! We searched and searched for the perfect trampoline under £100, we wanted something they could share for a birthday present, one that would withstand being outside all year and with high quality netting that doesn't tear immediately!

I have never met a child who doesn't love a bounce on a trampoline and our boys were mortified when theirs blew over the hedge a couple of months ago! I dragged it back to the garden in a sorry state and it's sat destined for the rubbish dump ever since. So can you imagine their delight when Asda kindly offered to send them their £99 Sportspower 10ft trampoline from their Outdoor Toy range?!

They scrambled all over the box as soon as they got home from school and passed Rich each spring individually like a mini production line. After a couple of hours they were hauling me on it (Goodness me, 2 babies, 2 labours and a trampoline is not a good combination!) and rolling around laughing making me tumble about like a fool!

But trampoline's aren't just for bouncing! Sammy and I tried out some chalk painting and it worked a treat! The boys often get the jar full of sticks of chalk out and draw all over the patio but the black, smooth surface of the trampoline is a much more fun idea. One spell of rain or a soaking with the garden hose and it all washed away.

We tried out a few designs and with a wee bit of editing, hoorah, we have a set of photos to print out for the gallery wall in their bedroom! 

We have been so impressed with their £99 trampoline and couldn't recommend it more. Easy to assemble, good quality netting, water proof protector matting around the outside of the net and high quality dense foam around the assembly poles. It's even big enough for them to bounce on with a couple of friends. 

Ollie thought for a while that our local Asda had stolen ours, as they have a display model in the car park! Check with your local store to see if they keep them in stock or Asda Direct offers free standard delivery.

This 10ft version is ideal for our boys ages. It will see them through primary school if they look after it and we have moved it into a more sheltered position in the garden so we don't lose it to the hedge again! Even my sister, who has a 2 year old little girl thought it was a great option, because it will last, like a big school uniform on the first day of Reception! Although it's designed for a minimum of 6 years, I think with adequate supervision this is an ideal option for anyone with preschoolers too. It was a huge hit at Sammy's birthday party, with 4 at a time bouncing around. 

We are now trying to think what we can mock up next, Yazzy is coming to visit soon so we are thinking butterfly wings, a crown and magic wand and flying amongst the clouds above the rooftops!

Have a go at chalk painting your trampoline, I'd love to see what designs your kids come up with. The perfect Summer holiday activity!

Thank you to Asda for sending the boys the 10ft £99 trampoline and a sandpit, which we have kept as a surprise! I'll share some photos too, I have an idea to help get Ollie writing before he starts school in September. They have been incredible this week, whilst I have been working on an intense 5 day book shoot. They have stayed at Granny's, blasted home for a couple of nights then have headed to their Grandparent's in Poole for another 2 night sleepover after school holiday club this afternoon. So this weekend is all about fun in the garden. We just need some sunshine now! 

#capturingcolour • Pairs

Hello! I've spent the last week being surrounded by the beautiful whites and blue hues of Kos in Greece at the Lakitira Resort and taken a little rest from blogging to spend some lovely time with my boys. When I am away and have a little time away from the blog to recharge and refresh I love to share our adventures over on Instagram. It feels so easy to capture a moment and post it on holiday, no need for a laptop and reliable wifi! My Instagram feed has evolved into a mini blog, a snapshot of my day and I am so thankful for all the people who follow, like and comment. 

Last week I took over the Mark Warner Holidays IG account so if you missed our trip have a catch up on my photos and videos here.

I adored all the photos joining in with #capturingcolour, pretty pairs of flowers, groups of twos and the way everyone found some different to share. It was a frantic week for us before we left for my mum's the night before we flew. I raced around trying to finish photo shoots, leave the house vaguely tidy for our return, end of term antics and post Paris washing. My mum works at Terminal 5 for BA and offers the most excellent airport parking and drop off/dog sitting service! We arrived at her house at almost midnight, lifted two snoozing boys into their beds and set our alarms for 4am. Yes 4am! The Heaths are not great super early morning people so it was unbelievable that the excitement of the holiday got us all up and out on time!

capturebylucy.jpg

I was drawn to all the hues of red last week making the #capturingcolour gallery so vibrant.

I love the feeling of summertime in all the images. Hazy days, rainy days, days with family and friends. 

You can find all these wonderful accounts to follow here.

And when I saw this beautifully styled shot from Lillian I knew it had to be my ultimate favourite from the week of pairs.

Simple, romantic, elegant, but glamorous. I've had the pleasure of meeting Lillian and this sums up her infectious personality perfectly!

You can follow her stunning feed here

lingyeungb.jpg

For the next 4 weeks I thought we would have a rest from a weekly theme and just enjoy capturing every colour of the season that inspires you. It's holiday season, the children have broken up from school and people are heading away or staying at home for a stay cation. I love that idea, of a holiday at home, discovering places right on your doorstep. 

It's summer here in the UK which one minute can mean skies full of blue and the next dark grey clouds full of rain! So wherever you are, if it's summer or winter show me the colours you love!

I also have a little treat in store at the end of the 4 weeks for all you colour lovers. More on that soon. 

I have an extraordinary amount of photos and video to go through from our first visit to Greece and will share some favourites this week, but tonight I am forcing myself to have an early night in preparation for the biggest challenge of my photography career to date. I am starting a recipe book shoot first thing in the morning with a superb food stylist, prop stylist and the talented team at Honeybuns. It is going to be a week to remember. I am terribly nervous and extremely excited but I know we are going to create something extra special this week. And I only have you all to thank. It's because of this blog that I've been fortunate enough to work for these lovely people. I will take a few behind the scenes shots to share later in the week! I will also be sharing the best £99 you can spend this summer to keep your little ones entertained, some photos of our family celebrations in Paris and some photos of what I've been photographing lately that has kept this blog quieter than usual.

This book shoot has been over a year in the making, the preparation, dedication and focus that has gone into tomorrow is remarkable. I hope I can do all their gorgeous food justice. 

It will be one of my proudest moments to hold that book in my hands when it's printed. 

Bring it on!

Food Photography Workshop London • Makelight Workshops

This is the Summer of adventure. Holidays, end of eras, new beginnings and firsts. We are setting off for Heathrow this afternoon, ready for our early morning flight to Lakitira with Mark Warner Holidays and when we get back I am straight into my first book shoot. An actual real life book. 

I have worked for Honeybuns for the last couple of years and it is a great honour for them to put their faith in me and my camera for their second recipe book. I am nervous and excited in equal measure and I know I may shed a few tears when I hold the first copy in my hands next year. In preparation for the book shoot I wanted a refresher on my food photography skills. A hectic life with busy boys has meant the recipe posts have been few and far between on this blog over the last 6 months, all my new cocktail ideas are in a notebook, my new yellow casserole dish is still sat on the side waiting for the citrus chicken connection I dreamt up one night at 3am. 

So when I saw that two of my favourite photographers and bloggers were hosting a workshop in London this month I booked it without hesitation. I have watched Emily's blog grow and mature, move in a different, more focussed direction over the last 18 months and I respect the advice she gives me over messages and emails greatly. Catherine is a food photographer extraordinare. Effortless, timeless and humble. Her photographs are instantly recognisable, the gentle, understated natural hues and intricate styling that appears almost accidental. The set of forks here, the spattering of crumbs there. Accidents on purpose. There's an ease, a calmness about her signature style that oozes talent. Catherine doesn't saturate her colours, she lets them breathe, an art that I am still trying to master! To pair things back, not just in terms of styling but let your focus of the photo shine.

I wanted a chance to pick their brains, to talk amongst other enthusiasts and to see in the flesh if Emily's heavenly studio really was a real place! It looks too good to be true!

But it is true. Walking in was like a wave of calm hitting you. A clean white space, interspersed with vintage folding chairs, a contemporary white trestle table and an abundance of props. Every surface is blessed with prettiness. Every window ledge is decorated with petals and postcards like keys on a piano. Everyone couldn't help themselves but to widely run their fingers over all the treats and trinkets we've admired in Emily's photos, spotting plates and treasured pieces that feature in her Instagram feed. 

To be quite honest, we could have spent a day just playing. Wandering from corner to corner, capturing something different every time. It's a space that demands creativity, I felt totally at ease amongst the other students, all giddy with the same sense of anticipation and excitement.

Emily's workshops are gentle but informative, inspiring and encouraging. There was no formal presentation, just a natural flow through the course sections. We all gathered around the central trestle table, we listened to Emily and Catherine talk through the outline for day and we shared our own personal aims for what we hoped we would take away from the workshop. 

Catherine is a font of knowledge when it comes to the journey of a food photographer. I was fascinated when she talked through how she found her passion, how she created a portfolio with her business partner and husband and how they manage work and home life with two small children. Catherine speaks with authority on the subject but with a sense of humility that makes you want to lean closer and closer, in case you miss a second. She shared an abundance of hints and tips and watching her create vignettes was an absolute treat. Witnessing her thought process, her methodical way of working from the conception of the idea, to sourcing props, to setting up the shot and then finally to the capture. 

The day for me felt like a complete indulgence, but one that challenged some of my pre conceived notions about food photography and gave me a chance to talk through my nerves around the book shoot in 2 weeks. The workshop encourages you to develop your own signature style, and as I walked around the room it was a pleasure to see how everyone approached a shot slightly differently, even though we were all using the same props. Everyone's natural style shone through, with some preferring a clean and minimalist feel and some, more like me who for them, more is always more!

It felt like I had come to a retreat for the day, with no rushing, no pressure. There was lots of opportunities for individual time with both Emily and Catherine which meant that more experienced photographers had the chance to discuss their issues and those who had come to develop their styling skills more for their social media also got the same level of attention, without being bombarded with technical information.

makelight workshops 21.jpg

I wanted to try and practise my style in both a more atmospheric, moody feel as well as my more natural brighter, colourful way. I scoured the room and looked through the terrific array of props laid out meticulously on the window ledges and tables.

I borrowed a fellow student and loved how everyone worked together, sharing ideas and inspiration. The thing about Emily's workshops is, if you like creating beautiful images you are bound to like all the other students and have lots in common! There were students who have booked every single one of her workshops, bloggers, non bloggers and bakers. Emily is a force. She is determined, focussed but a force like a sweeping tide on a Caribbean beach. Calm, encouraging, supportive. 

It was so interesting to sit down together at the end of the day, all of us more worn out than we probably had realised whilst buzzing around the studio, and hear her goals for the next year. There's no sense of embarrassment for her commercial drive and ambition and nor should there be. She wants to grow her portfolio of workshops and help and inspire others to improve their skills. Her refreshing honesty is powerful to listen to. Understated ambition and utterly charming. 

I felt spoilt with talent, company and encouragement at the Makelight Food Photography & Styling Workshop. I got to say hello to some of my favourite friends on Instagram and spend a day doing exactly what I love.

If you are looking to develop your own food photography skills, whatever your level of knowledge, I would absolutely recommend this course. Go and be inspired, I guarantee you will leave the day feeling exhausted but in the best way possible! Full of ideas, wanting to scour car boot sales for preloved props and try out your new found skills. 

Catherine and Emily are running the workshop again in September, you can find all the details here

And a massive thank you to Anges de Sucre for providing us all with the most incredible selection of cakes, macarons and marshmallows. Delicious! 

#capturingcolour • colours of my week

Goodness me! I've had a real blog break being away in Paris. I promised the boys it was a laptop free holiday and I kept my promise.

I have lots of photos and some video to share of our time in Paris as well as a back log of posts in draft from the Makelight Food Photography course in London and lots of other things we have been up to!

It's going to be a busy week before we head off to Greece on Saturday. Packing is currently way down on the to do list, getting one boy well (Sammy has had a horrid sick bug since Wednesday night - he's been amazing and the magic of Disney perked him up no end!) is top of our priorities and I am losing hours on Google to images of the Mark Warner Lakitira Resort... oh my... we are in for a treat! My Instagram feed will be turning white and blue next week!

Paris was a whirlwind of fun, excitement, drama and stories that will be retold forever! Memories the boys will never forget and precious photos that will hang on our walls for the next decade or two. A city break is exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure and my tired eyes are now counting down the days until we hit that sandy beach on our first real family holiday

I have never been to Greece. I have never been on holiday just with Rich and the boys, ever. It sounds mad doesn't it, that in 6 years we've never had that first family holiday but this will be it. We've travelled with family and friends but this will be a chance to really enjoy each other's company, to see the boys make special first memories and for us to have some of that elusive quality family time I read about on other people's blogs. 

I want to soak up that butterfly feeling in your tummy when you head down the gangway to the aeroplane trying to contain two excitable children, the ache in your cheeks because you've smiled so long and hard watching them achieve a milestone (they are determined they are going to sail a boat by the end of the holiday) and the wide eyed, cheesy grin photos that show you captured a moment.

I think next week will be as colourful as last week. 

And the capturing colour gallery exploded with colour, fun and beautiful styling. Every week the stunning captures blow me away. I love seeing how everyone views colour differently. How some people's week was dominated by pinks, others far more muted.

And when I saw this image i knew it had to be my favourite of the week.

I couldn't imagine a world without vivid colour. As hard as I try to embrace a calmer palette it just doesn't suit me. My sister and I joke that her wardrobe is full of grey, navy and black and mine is bursting with every colour of the rainbow! In fact, I actually feel more confident in a bright print, almost the opposite to everyone else! 

Go find and follow Alex for more inspiration. 

lexipeepsinstagram.jpg

This week is all about PAIRS! 2 is most definitely a magic number. So come and join in on Instagram and share your matching pairs, your two of a kind, your two peas in a pod.

#capturingcolour is a weekly theme on Instagram. Tag your photos and post your PAIRS images this week. Show us what colours are inspiring you this week. I will share a round up next Monday :)

#capturingcolour • Crockery

Last week the #capturingcolour gallery was filled with pretty china, patterned plates, ceramics bursting with florals and everything in between. I love having a new theme each week and I also love that people join in from all over the world sharing their colourful images.

I have still got boxes and boxes of my lovely crockery wrapped up in tissue and newspaper from when we moved house. Some boxes go back to Christmas 2013 which were frantically stored away when we sold out house and moved to a temporary home 10 minutes down the road. I look back on that week and still feel exhausted just thinking about it!

No Christmas tree, no furniture, just endless half packed boxes, being carted down the country lane, Rich and I sweating cleaning the house, filling holes and sanding for the new owners to move in just after new year. I think if you can get through a house move you can get through anything, and we did 3 in 18 months! Never ever again!!!

I have started fishing around with a torch for my beloved things, plates I have collected from car boot sales and charity shops, our wedding dinner service that I am determined not to just save for the most important of occasions and actually use and enjoy it. Crockery makes the perfect props and styling those little vignettes last week, helped calm me down, plus I got to share some old favourite images.

And the gallery was just divine. Heavenly styled stories, people sharing their treasured things. A visual treat.

Visit my Instagram post to find the accounts.

But oh my, when I saw this image it just made me want to jump right in! The atmosphere, the celebration, the impeccable styling. I wish I could go on their course!

Go find and follow Party Prep Workshop - there is colourful inspiration by the confetti filled bucket load!

Every week I find new accounts to follow and love that so many join in week on week. I love being part of different Instagram communities so make sure you join in with @its_my_week and their weekly challenge and the other hashtags I adore:

  • #natureinthehome 
  • #stylingtheseasons 
  • #mybelovedhomestyle
  • #styleatmine
  • #our_nest
  • #12monthsofhappystills
  • #mymondaymoodboard
  • #gatheredstyle
  • #itsamoodywednesday
  • #byarrangement #mythursdaybreaktime
  • #floralfridaycompetition #fridayfaffingcompetition
  • #collectedsaturday #frommykitchencompetition
  • #mymonthofsundays

This is by no means a full list but they are a few positive and supportive communities which will inspire you (And make you lose even more time on Instagram!).

What are your favourite hashtags? Do you join in with any weekly challenges or monthly prompts? I'd love to hear about them.

Tonight we have been busy packing for the big birthday trip to Paris! Granny is turning 60 and Ollie is turning 4 on Thursday and we shall be heading to London tomorrow evening to meet up with my mum, sister and her family, ready to board the Eurostar Wednesday morning. My brother and sister in law flew in from America to Paris today and are having a few days child free to enjoy wandering around. I cannot wait to join them! 

Have a great week, wherever you are in the world and come and share the colours of your week with the #capturingcolour gallery. Mine started with pastels and I can see red, white and blue for the rest of the week!

#capturingcolour is a weekly theme on Instagram. Tag your photos and post your COLOURS OF MY WEEK images this week. Show us what colours are inspiring you this week. I will share a round up next Monday :)