I feel that i have wrote little bits here and there about how i feel i have wrote myself out of the girls story of their childhood because i am the one always taking the photographs. I was never brave enough to speak up and ask others to take photographs of me with them. And the times i did, i then picked out everything i hated about the photograph and just decided that the pictures would always look better without me in them.
A few months ago, Elle asked to take a photograph of me and Mia in the forest. I was surprised and asked her why and she said "because you are so beautiful mama". Every single emotion i could feel came flooding over me. I felt so silly for just hiding away and i felt so much love for this little girl who, in those few seconds, made me see that a photograph could be beautiful with me in it. So this summer, i stepped in front of the camera. I let her and Mia have control and i let them make their own beautiful stories through the lens and i will always be forever grateful for these photographs. They are some of my very favourite ones and i am so impressed with how my girls see through the lens. I know have these moments and memories forever.
Photography for me is not just snapping a picture. It is a way of storytelling. A way to create moments and to capture memories that will otherwise get lost and forgotten. It is a way to create something beautiful that can touch so many people. It is such a big big part of my life and soul. To create, to capture and to tell a story. That is how it will always be.
I am a storyteller and a dreamer.
A few months ago, i got a very exciting email from CEWE and Sister mag asking if i would like to attend an event in Germany. An event all about photography and being creative. An event that would help me tell my photography story. I was too excited and quickly said yes and this past weekend, i nervously stepped on a plane for the first time in 9 years and watched the twinkling lights of the cities down below as we flew in the clouds. My heart was just so giddy and beating so fast. I had no idea what to expect but i knew that what ever the next two days would bring, i would love and embrace it.
The next morning, we arrived at the most beautiful studio in the centre of cologne. As soon as i saw the room through the glass windows, i was so enchanted. The whole room was filled with pastel balloons, flowers, vintage treasures and wonderful people. I do not believe i have ever seen a room set up so beautifully and for so much love and care to have gone into everything. I was so blown away and so honoured to even be there! Sister mag had done the most amazing job and i heard so many people saying the same thing. There wasn't a single thing they hadn't thought of.
The day started with the most inspiring talk from Brittany from The house that lars built. The talk inspired me to write a post about finding your creative language. She made me feel like i was doing something right. That all those tiny doubts i sometimes have about my blog and photography is just silliness and that i write and photograph in my own language. In my own unique style and in the way that i love. I think i could talk about what her words meant to me all day but i want to savour that feeling of being inspired and put it into my own work and hope to grow from it.
One of my favourite parts of the day was a beautiful styling workshop by the wonderful Anatasia Benko. We had a studio set out full of props and flowers and i couldn't contain myself when i saw that she had botanical books and hydrangeas. I gathered some things and found myself a corner but after a while, i knew a white space wasn't what i would like for my picture so i went outside on the hunt for nature. I found a beautiful plant pot full of tiny flowers and set up my shot. A botanical book (of course) and some petals from the hydrangea. I then printed my photograph at the Cewe printing station and now i have a beautiful picture of that workshop to remember.
After that workshop, a little bit of food and inspiring story swapping with other lovely bloggers and photographers, I headed into a craft workshop with Brittany and also Nicole from Luzia Pimpinella where i made both girls a little beaded photo hanger for their bedrooms. When i showed them to the girls, they were so happy and Mia even took hers into school for her show and tell!
The third part of the day was a lovely photography tour of the centre of Cologne. We saw the Cathedral which, i thought, was beautiful. It had a gothic feel and each side of it just got more and more beautiful. We walked along the river and we saw the trains (which i took a video off to show Mia as she LOVES trains) and some beautiful pastel houses! Cologne reminds me a lot of London and it felt so homely and cosy.
After the tour, we were treated to an amazing candlelit dinner back at the studio and i got to talk to so many lovely creative people. I talked about my passion for photography and i talked about how i love story telling. I dreamt in my head about all the things i wanted to take away from that day. I made notes in my notepad. I talked ideas through with others. Everyone was so passionate as well. They were all there because they loved being creative and being surrounded by so many creative people was an honour. I have also made three lifelong friends from this trip also which i will always be thankful for.
The final day, we were taken to Photokina. My goodness! I never thought i would ever be able to go there. CEWE had their own huge stand with all of their products set out and displayed. I was so mesmerised by all of the room set ups and their products. CEWE is an online store that you can use your own photographs to make photobooks, prints or different personalised products such as cushions, calendars and gifts. I really did not think there were so many ways to use photographs and it really blew me away with the amount of items you can buy with your own photographs on or in. My favourite product was the christmas calendar. There are two options, either an option that has a large photograph on the front and then chocolate in each day or one that you can personalise with your own photographs behind each day. Instantly, i started to think of ways in which i could use this in the family. I have never seen this before and it is such a magical thing to have for the lead up to Christmas. Being able to open each door and see a new photograph or memory. I think this would also be amazing as an activity calendar where you can add an activity behind each door to do as a family throughout December. I think i could rave and talk about these calendars all day (and starting at £6.99. i think they are a must for every household!).
I think the Christmas products were my favourite out of the whole collection. Christmas means so much to me and i put so much into making it magical and wonderful for the girls. It is filled with so many memories of past activities such as going to Christmas tree farms to pick our tree (and then being that family that has a huge Christmas tree of their car roof), making gingerbread houses, hanging baubles on tree's in forests and putting on shadow puppet shows in the evening. Seeing my girls laugh and smile and for them to have that enchanted feeling about December makes me so happy. I have so many photographs from our past Christmases and i would love to make a photo book for them to look back on. For them to see the activities they did and to watch themselves grow over the years. To see their excited faces on Christmas morning and to see the love that we all had as a family.
I think i have run out of the number of ways this weekend has inspired me. It has inspired me to carry being apart of the girls story. To be in front of the camera to have those memories to always treasure. To always be true to myself and my creative language. To make many, many books of our adventures. Our summer days in the flower meadows and forests. To always be kindest me that i can be. To inspire other people. To keep on inspiring my girls. To let them grow up in this magical world that i am trying to create for them. To keep them protected and to let them embrace their own creativeness. To encourage them to always be themselves and to not be afraid of that. As they grow, i will make sure that i capture their story still. I will make sure that i make photography prints and books of their childhood and i will make sure that they will always know how much i love them.
For lots of creative inspiration and to create your own unique photo products, visit CEWE photoworld.
(This is a sponsored post in association with CEWE. All words and opinions are my own)