On Saturday night I sat on a train chuntling home through the dark countryside, utterly and completely exhausted and yet brimming with excitement and happiness and the joy that just bubbles up when you’ve spent a day in the very best company, catching up with friends, talking about blogging and inspiration and all the little things we love that go hand in hand with it to other people who are just as fired up about it as I am. I listened to some truly inspirational people, painted a wall, made a pitch, discovered that Jennie Mazels is bringing out a clothes plaster that is the very spitting image of Elma, and for the first time in at least nine months, spent a whole day focussing entirely on the things that I love that are Carie rather than just Mummy. In short Blogtacular was awesome.
For the long version you’ll have to come back tomorrow because I’m still putting my thoughts into some sort of order but for today I wanted to try to capture and share with you just why it can sometimes be worth getting up at 5.50 in the morning, why it would be worth all sorts of logistical complications that saw Pip and me stay Friday night in London and H drive the girls down first thing Saturday morning to pick him up and take him home, in short, what makes the Blogtacular Photowalk so much fun.
And the answer is the people. It wasn’t really about learning how to take better pictures or any of the technical part of photography, though there were plenty of people with knowledge to share if you needed, and for the most part I found managing the settings on my big camera, keeping up with people and stopping Pip from smearing the lens cap with smudgy fingers from his vantage point in the sling a bit of a faff and as the skies were grey and the light wasn’t brilliant I ended up using the camera on my phone more often than not. It’s a pretty good camera too so it wasn’t exactly a hardship.
For me, the really fun part was being with other people who don’t mind if you want to stop to take a couple of pictures through a gap in a sculpture, mostly because they’ve stopped to take a picture of a fish coiled around a lamppost. It’s the security in numbers, that gives you the confidence to set up wonderful shots that you wouldn’t dare to do otherwise, and the happy feeling of a wave of collective enthusiasm to be up and out on the South Bank at 7am in the morning. And it adds a level of challenge too; it would be all too easy to traipse round all taking exactly the same picture, and it’s true that there will always be a degree of overlap but I try to set myself the challenge of taking a picture that no one else has (yet) and it’s fun forcing your mind to be creative with the material you’ve got.
I know that I take a lot of photos (a LOT of photos) but my photography is mostly done in snatched moments, grabbing the camera to snap a shot of the girls at play, or popping it in the bag when we’re out and about just in case I see something lovely. To spend two whole hours just immersed in taking pictures, and pictures outside of my comfort zone of children/garden/makes and bakes too felt like sheer indulgence. To do it in the company of friends was the icing on the cake. Oh and then we had balloons.
We meandered in a loop down and around all the wonderful bits of installation art at the Royal Festival Hall, including the most fabulous coloured plastic curtains, complete with peep holes, played with yellow walls, neon signs, brick tunnels and just occasionally the backdrop of the London Eye and the Palace of Westminster beyond.
Strolling across Westminster bridge, giant balloons battling against the breeze and surrounded by the bemused expressions of serried ranks of scout leaders escorting their charges to the Trooping of the Colour, I don’t think I could stop smiling.
And that was before we took three giant balloons and an even bigger bunch of ordinary balloons on the tube!
Thanks to Mollie Makes for sponsoring the Blogtacular photos again (the ones that I’m in at the top of this post!) – I think that photo of Pip reaching for the camera might be one of my favourites of the two of us together!
Space for the Butterflies is a finalist in the Baby category at this year’s MADs Awards for which I am truly thankful. If you haven’t voted yet, I would be over the moon if you would vote for me? It literally takes seconds, you don’t need to be in the UK or a blogger – parenting or otherwise – and it might just make my year! Voting is open until 26th June.