Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Celebrate VE Day at home 2020

When there was the announcement that the May Bank Holiday was moved from Monday 4th to Friday 8th to celebrate 75 Years of VE Day none of us ever expected a lockdown VE Day celebration.

But throw in a global pandemic and that is what we have. All those well planned big events have gone out of the window, and we are wondering how we can plan for it ourselves.

So VE Day 2020 is something now to do at home - but not only that we can use it as lessons and activities for homeschooling too.

Teaching Resources

The BBC have online videos for teaching about WW2 this short 5 minute video explains to children what VE & VJ day are but there are other videos also available in a 10-video schedule all about WW2.

You can also find teaching resources from the British Legion too! I've also found a couple of comprehension activities for children too which you can access here and here

Celebrating at Home

You may have seen this poster circulating around social media on how we can celebrate the entire day with a full breakdown of activities. Whether you do them as a house, or your entire street gets involved! :) You could even knock up some War-time Recipies too!

Activities & Decorations
At the minute we cannot run around purchasing things to decorate our streets with, but we can turn resourceful!

Colouring Hero's have some great VE Day templates on their Facebook page. Or you could download your own bunting template to either colour in, or use to make a material bunting!

You can sit and chill with a cup of tea and a VE Day wordsearch too! Theres plenty on this link including different age ranges!

Baker Ross have some amazing free downloads, with posters, Thank Yous, and colour in bunting! Will definitely keep you all busy for an hour or two!

And last but not least head over to the RBLI VEDAY75 Web Section where there are sing along lyrics, things for kids & adult activity packs, dance steps and lots more!

We may be safe at home, but we can still celebrate!

The Royal British Legion has created a colour-in poster to display in the window.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

DIY Newborn Photographs durin COVID-19

So as we head into uncertain times with COVID-19 and many business, and small business closing their doors to people to help practice social distancing I know that there are a lot of parents who were excited for their newborn's first photographs – who will be unable to go out and get them.

Here is a small guide, to help you get some nice, basic ones at home.

My first tip is shoot as close to a window as possible – all these photographs have been taken on my phone and edited on it too – I couldn’t give you a guide whilst using photographs taken and edited from my camera & photoshop, it didn’t seem fair.

I have a beanbag (all beanbags will do), but you can use a cushion off the sofa, or the bed, if that’s, is easier - and something to cover it, whether its a blanket or something fluffy!

I also gathered together some hats, scarves, and headbands, you will probably have some of these things in your home already. Right now, it is about capturing SOME images rather than having nothing that you'd like. I know it won't be the same.

Start with the basics.

Baby laid on their back, even in a nappy is fine rather than fully naked. And then move around baby, and add head/headband too to mix and match some photographs. Baby is laid with the light at the side of them - so you gt some share on one side of their face.

Next up, before anything else - add in a toy. This can be something that was bought as a gift, something that belongs to you - or even something you bought when you had just found out you were pregnant. This allows you also to see how little your baby was - as the toy will NEVER change size, but your baby will continue to grow!

Next up - wrapping!
Some babies love being swaddled, and some HATE it.

So, when wrapping, just make sure that the baby is happy and safe, you may wish to skip this one altogether and that is fine.I just used a standard scarf to wrap this doll - the shorter edge was tucked in across the body, holding the arms in, and then the rest was tucked/wrapped around. The edge can be left out to be "wavy" or it can be tucked in to create a smooth outer. And then you can go ahead and add hats or headbands to mix it up.

Before we get rid of the wrap, use it to wrap around baby's foot - and then take a close up of all those beautiful tiny toes!

Next up: Side Laying

When you lay your baby on their side, make sure that their hands are comfortable at all time, sometimes they will automatically move them up to the side of their face. Please don't leave them on their side for too long and keep an eye on their hands/fingers "changing colour" as this can happen quite quickly with babies - it just means they are laid on them awkwardly.

Using a scarf to drape can mix these photographs up too. But remember that the baby is better to either looking to the window, (big picture) or their head is at the window (top picture) so the light from the window goes down the baby, rather than up from their toes.

Top Tip, don't shoot up your little ones nose, shoot "down" their nose instead. (side by side examples)

These following images are before and after images edited on my phone with an app called Pixlr which is a free app. You can adjust brightness, change to black and white, and crop images.  Here are a few just to give you an idea :)

I hope to see you all sometime soon at Blue Lights Photography.

If you have had to miss your Newborn Photographs due to COVID-19 the I would advise you looking for photographs around 14-16 weeks when your little one is smiling more and is happy to spend time on their tummy too.

Alternatively waiting until sitting unaided will give you another big important milestone to capture.

I hope to see you soon xXx

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

[What's On] Over 50 Summer Fun Activities in Yorkshire!

 Looking or things to do when you have children to entertain during the school holidays can be a little bit of a nightmare – especially if its something that you wish to do that is free, or low cost also. 

Here we have compiled a list of events, week by week during the 6 week holidays for you and your kids to enjoy!

  • 22nd Head to Thornton Hall Farm for an alternative day out for their Thornton Woodland Explorers open day from bug finding to exploration, bushcraft and den building sounds a fab day out! This is a ticketed event. 10am-4:30pm 
  • 23rd & 24th Head to the Rainbow Factory for The Big Gruffalo Hunt. A 2 Hour event which includes a picnic style lunch. Great for children aged 1+ who love the Gruffalo! Two sessions per day over the two days at 10am & 1pm. This is a ticketed event.
  • 25th Why not stay a little bit more local and visit Wombwell Picnic in the Park with picnics available, donkey rides and lots more! 11-3pm
  • 25th, 26th, 27th Head back to the Rainbow Factory for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Adventure. Where we will search for Wonka bars, make your own chocolate lollies and lots more over 2 hours! Activities aimed at 2-10 Years old. 3 Sessions per day at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, This is a ticketed event.
  • 26th Want to learn more about the Vikings and Anglo Saxons then head over to Doncaster Museum to learn about their Traders and Raiders event where you can handle artefacts and make paper themed crafts. Pay on the door event.
  • 27th Who doesn’t love Peter Pan? Well, now you can join the Outdoor Theatre at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, for a magical open-air musical! Doors open at 5pm. This is a ticketed event.
  • 28th Let’s go fly a kite over at Castle Howard for their Kite festival. Whether you have your own, want to see the displays or even make one whilst you are there! Have a lovely day out whilst this event is on! All activities during the kite festival are included in a standard Gardens admission ticket
  • 28th Stay close to home for this event in Barnsley. To launch the Barnsley Brick Project Exhibition you can join in this 2-hour lego fun. Help build Barnsley landmark in lego! Sessions 10:30am and 1:30pm. This is a ticketed event.
  • 28th Fancy something a bit more adventurous then what about the Big Wild Sleepout at Fairburn Ings. It's an exciting chance to camp out on the reserve with your whole family and join in a nocturnal adventure. Booking essential.

  • 29th Celebrate Minden Day and explore the military history of Doncaster and the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry at Doncaster Museum.
  • 30th Head down to Hardcastle Crags for Den Building 12-3pm. This is a drop-in event.
  • 30th Fancy running away to the circus? Well, you might be one step closer to doing so after learning some circus skills at this event at Weston Park Musem. This is on 1pm-4pm and is a ticketed event.
  • 30th-3rd Head to the Rainbow Factory for the Factory of Magic. 10am-3pm every day this event is on. Suitable for ages 2-10 with lots of wonderful magical activities. This is a ticketed event.
  • 31st Children's Summer Cookery Club starts at Cannon Hall today. Where kids can learn a new skill every week 1pm-3pm. Suitable for ages 7-11. This is a ticketed event.
  • 1st Stay a little closer to home with Darfield Summer Gala, Darfield Park 11-2pm
  • 1st Head to RHS Garden Harlow Carr between 10am-3pm for Yorkshire Day where you’ll find lots of fun activities from 1pm including flat cap throwing! Bring a picnic and have lots of fun! Normal Garden fee charges apply.
  • 1st Who doesn’t love Eureka! You can join Eureka and Calderdale Play development Service for National Playday 2018! This includes FREE playday activities outside for you to enjoy with your families. These activities will take place in the Eureka Park but if you wish to go into Eureka normal admission applies.
  • 1st Fancy go at printmaking then you’ll love this workshop held in Barnsley. Explore textures and make your own printing blocks. 1pm-3pm. Booking essential.
  • 3rd Head to Morley Town Hall for their 1st Mini Fairy & Unicorn Festival raising money for Charity. 10am-2pm there will be crafts, stalls and a face painter. Each ticket includes the craft activities and has 1hour slots so they can fulfil them all.

  • 5th Enjoy an interactive exploration of Hope Pit at the National Coal Mining Museum. 40 Minute duration. £2 per person. At 12:30 and 2pm. Also available on 12th, 19th and 26th August.
  • 6th & 7th Do your kids love Disney? Then they’ll love the Rainbow Factory’s Disney Summer Party. 3 Sessions at 10am, 12pm and 2pm each day this2-hour event is great for kids aged 2+. Ticketed event, including picnic style lunch.
  • 6th-10th You’ll find lots of indoor inflatable fun at the Magna Summer Mayhem adventure zone. Let the kids bounce, jump, slide and boogie for 75 minutes of high adrenaline fun. Standard sessions are open for all ages 0-15. Toddler sessions are available. 
  • 7th Head down to Hardcastle Crags for Den Building 12-3pm. This is a drop-in event and is also held on 7th & 21st August. 
  • 7th The Pirates and Princess’ family picnic event heads back to Cusworth Hall this year. Dust off the eye patches and tiaras and head over to celebrate summer. 
  • 8th-12th 
    Head to Lightwater Valley between these dates and also see the National Festival Circus Event! Funny clowns, juggling, magic and lots of fun. Limited slots so pre-book in advance when purchasing tickets online. Shows run at 11:30am, 1pm and 2:30pm and last approximately 30 minutes.
  • 11th Head to Tapton Hall for a fabulous Superhero Party to raise money for Bluebwell Wood. Make sure you go as your favourite superhero. 1pm-3pm. This is a ticketed event.

  • 12th Enjoy an interactive exploration of Hope Pit at the National Coal Mining Museum. 40 Minute duration. £2 per person. At 12:30 and 2pm. Also available on 19th and 26th August.
  • 13th, 14th, 15th Everyone is crazy for Slime so your kids will love the Rainbow Factors Mad Scientists Slime School. Aimed for children aged 3+ with sessions at 10am, 12pm and 2pm each day. This is going to be up a slime lovers street. This is a ticketed event. 
  • 13th-17th You’ll find lots of indoor inflatable fun at the Magna Summer Mayhem adventure zone. Let the kids bounce, jump, slide and boogie for 75 minutes of high adrenaline fun. Standard sessions are open for all ages 0-15. Toddler sessions are available. 
  • 14th Join the cook at Cannon Hall where you will learn how to decorate some delicious biscuits to take home. Suitable for ages 5-11. Booking is essential. 1pm-2pm
  • 15th Head to Audrey’s Coffee House for their MadHatters Tea Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter. Ticket prices include afternoon tea, disco and party games. 12-2pm. Don’t miss out!
  • 16th & 17th Do you love the Tiger who came to Tea? Well, come and meet the Tiger who came to the Tea Party at Rainbow Factory! Your little ones will also help create some of the dishes on the menu. Fun, games, baking and storytelling! 10am, 12pm and 2pm Each day. This is a ticketed event and includes tea party lunch.
  • 18th Head to Kirklees Light Railway for a Day out with Thomas. Only the first train of the day is pulled by Thomas but you’ll be able to meet lots of other stars of Thomas too. Only the booked time is permitted with your ticket.
  • 18th Want a trip to the seaside? Well, you don’t have to go far as it’s coming to Castleford. The fun of the seaside for everyone to enjoy.
  • 18th Do you have a spare pair of wellies? Well bring them along to the Cooper Gallery and pop in a plant. “Pot a Wellie for Paddington” will make sure of those wellies that you’ve outgrown. Morning session 10:30-11:30 and afternoon session 1pm-2pm. Booking essential.

  • 19th Enjoy an interactive exploration of Hope Pit at the National Coal Mining Museum. 40 Minute duration. £2 per person. At 12:30 and 2pm. Also available on 26th August.
  • 19th Head to Kirklees Light Railway for a Day out with Thomas. Only the first train of the day is pulled by Thomas but you’ll be able to meet lots of other stars of Thomas too. Only the booked time is permitted with your ticket.
  • 20th & 21st Moana is holding a beach party at the Rainbow Factory! A 2-Hour event including lots of craft and fun and singing with Moana herself! The event is held at 10am and 1pm and includes a picnic style lunch. This is a ticketed event.
  • 21st Head down to Hardcastle Crags for Den Building 12-3pm. This is a drop-in event.
  • 22nd Head over to the Coal Mining Museum for their Wacky Wednesday Seaside Special. Enjoy a train ride with a morning of songs, stories and crafts to take home. 10:15-11:30am.This is a ticketed event.
  • 23rd, 24th & 25th Batman needs you! The Rainbow Factory is holding Hero & Villian Training with Batman and his friends. Which one will you be? This is a ticketed 1.5-hour Event held on the days at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. 
  • 24th-27th Head to Cannon Hall Farm’s Food Festival for an event packed with cookery demo’s, live music, plus a selection of traders. Funfair rides and a pop up beach will make it a fabulous summer event.
  • 26th Enjoy an interactive exploration of Hope Pit at the National Coal Mining Museum. 40 Minute duration. £2 per person. At 12:30 and 2pm.
  • 26th Head to Harewood House for a fabulous outdoor theatre event of Princess and the Giant. Doors open at 4pm with the performance starting from 5pm. This is a ticketed event.
  • 30th & 31st Does your little one love, Ben and Holly? Then head over to the Rainbow Factory for this 2-Hour event including picnic style lunch for your little one. 10am and 1pm each day. This is a ticketed event.
  • 31st-2nd None does a fair quite like Chatsworth Country Fair. With so much to see and do, make sure it's on your to-do list this summer. Gates open 9am. This is a ticketed event.
  • 1st & 2nd Stay close to home on the weekend before the kids go back to school by visiting Elsecar Heritage Centre for their Elsecar by the Sea. 10am-4pm with lots of fun for all the family.

  • Seaside @ Pit at National Coal Mining Museum is on every day from Saturday 21st July to Sunday 2nd September. With loads more events happening during the time the seaside is there I’m sure you can find something for you and your family there.
  • Robin Hood is at Mother Shipton's Cave from July 21s to August 31st
  • Enjoy summer fun at Harewood House with a range of lawn games in the Walled Garden. 10am-5pm 30th June to 2nd September. Weather Permitting. There is no additional charge to use these games.
  • Jurassic Discovery at RHS Garden Harlow Carr from 21st July to 2nd September. Take a step back in time and embark on a Jurassic journey. 10am-4pm. Normal garden admission applies.
  • Every Tuesday during the school holidays you can take part in Outdoor Sculpture Building at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This is a ticketed event.
  • Eureka is holding their Big Summer Festival from 21st July to 2nd September. With extra activities throughout summer.
  • Head to Tree Top Nets for 2 Hours of fun along the trees. Suitable aged 3 upwards. Booking is essential. 
  • Drop into the Garden Studio at Yorkshire Sculpture Park between 11am and 3:30pm to explore ideas and be your own artist. Sun-Tuesday from 29th July to 4th September. No booking required.
  • Head to Experience Barnsley on Monday to Wednesdays during the School Holidays (not Bank Holidays) for their Lego Challenge. This is a free drop-in event.
  • Leeds City beach is back. Saturday 12th until Sunday 3rd September. Around the beach will be payable on admission rides and activities plus traditional sweet and refreshment stalls. Entry onto the beach is free and seating and deck chairs on a first come first served basis.
  • Hidden Forest at Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a free event on Saturdays between 28th July to 25th August. This event is free and is suitable for families under 5. At this event they can jump, make, laugh, sign and explore.

I hope you manage to find something to do this summer and have a wonderful time creating memories. Please let us know if you attend any of the activities suggested.

Friday, 6 July 2018

[Wedding] A Beautiful Outdoor Ceremony so full of love, Jason & Laura at Kings Croft Hotel

On Sunday I had the pleasure of photographing Jason and Laura's Wedding at Kings Croft Hotel. I started with Laura and her bridesmaids in one of the rooms at Kings Croft. Lots of Hair and Make-up was happening and excitement building for the day.

Down in the pavillion, Jason was eagerly awaiting the arrival of his beautiful bride with their guests on what was a very hot 1st July.

The couple claimed they picked the quickest ceremony they could have so they could spend time with the family and friends all together celebrating their love for each other.

After the ceremony was over we headed for drinks on the lawn, confetti and family photographs.

After group photographs, we started with some portraits of the new Mr and Mrs. So in love! 

Back inside to speeches, dinner and lots of partying and dancing.
Thank you Mr & Mrs for allowing me to share your special day.

[Wedding] Happy and in Love, James & Rebecca at Waterton Park Hotel

When I pulled up outside Rebecca & James' house I knew exactly which one it was with the MUA's Car outside, makes my guessing game a little bit easier.

Inside was a hive or hair and make-up with Lauren doing Rebecca's makeup and the MUA doing everyone else. Everyone was being super good for their hair done too!

As with every Wedding Day, everything seems to be running smoothly and having lots of time and them boom, all of a sudden panic stations are reached and it's almost time! Dresses on and let's go! 

When we arrived to Waterton Park for the Ceremony, everyone was outside busy chatting before heading inside to make sure they didn't see the Bride arriving.

I'll be the first to admit that I love seeing a man get emotional during his Wedding. Look at James' reaction when he saw his beautiful Bride walk down the aisle.

The ceremony was lovely as always with laughs, tears and more importantly the announcement of Mr and Mrs!

After the Ceremony, we headed outside for some photographs before we took the trip over the bridge to start with family and group photographs that the couple had requested.

When the group photographs were finished it was time to get the Bride and Groom alone for some photographs of the new Mr and Mrs Watson. It was such a beautiful day!

We headed inside after this for singing and speeches, dancing and sparklers!
A lovely Wedding to boot! My job really is the best - thank you for choosing me!

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