As well as a fabulous trophy, I was also awarded the generous prize of a photo shoot with Cheltenham based photographer Chui King Li. I was familiar with Chui's work as she has previously done shoots for some friends of ours and the results were beautiful, candid portraits of family life.
I chose the Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve as the destination for our shoot, as I felt that we would all feel more comfortable having our photo taken by a someone new, if we were outdoors, doing what normally we do on a family adventure.
Ace and I had done a recce the weekend before the shoot, Ace always enjoys things more if he knows what to expect and has an idea of where he can go and what he can do there, so he lead the way when we arrived on the day of the shoot. Walking through the reserve, we naturally stopped to watch butterflies and pick up sticks, just as we would at any other time. Honey and Ace found steps and paths they wanted to explore and we spent some time making a den of sticks more homely (adding a camp fire, cooker and a set of 'stairs'). All in all, we tried our best to 'act normal'.
We chatted to Chui as if she were an old friend and quickly forgot that this was someone Honey and Ace had never met before and that my husband and I had only met once, on the evening of The Cotswold Blogger Awards (I was ever so slightly tipsy after a few 'Blogger' cocktails at Babel). Before the shoot, Chui emailed me a questionnaire so she could find out more about us as individuals and as a family and on the day, we spent time singing the 'Waffle the Wonder Dog' theme tune (Ace's current favourite song) and chatting about Scouts (where my husband and I met each other for the first time as kids). This helped us to feel relaxed and meant that we weren't under pressure to pose unnaturally as we were just hanging out and having a chat!
Chui encouraged the children to do more of what they were enjoying, which meant that the expressions she captured were those of pure job and she even followed Honey and Ace into a muddy clearing (they were wearing wellies, she wasn't) and captured their excited faces and they got themselves (and her) covered in mud.
Without further ado, I'll share some of the amazing photos from the day, we are so pleased with them and can't wait to make our final image choices and get them up on the wall alongside our cherished family bump and newborn pictures!