Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The South of England Show, Ardingly

I forget just how massive the South of England Show is!  Nik and I went along on the Friday in June to explore the stands, displays and shows and found so much to see, eat and drink, it was epic!  There is so much going on with plenty to entertain little ones and grown ups alike. We happened to be there "on duty" without the kids in order to take photos and make notes but we kept seeing things the twins would love and had we not already had plans to be at Woodlands family festival that weekend, we would have gone back on the Saturday with them.

My personal favourites were the blacksmith competitions, the wine walk, the motocross stunt bikers, the WI displays and of course, the shopping!  I bagged myself a bargain waterproof coat in a gorgeous bright yellow with polka dot lining, it's come in handy already with our somewhat wet June so far.

The Young Artisans tent was so inspiring with some truly gorgeous designs by such talented young people, we spotted a few from Uckfield College!  The three crowned winners ranged in age from 17 to 21.

The blacksmiths made for some awesome photo opportunities with the sparks, fire and steam against the dark backgrounds, it looks like such hard work (and it really is, I tried it once helping make a spike for St. Marks' Church gate back in 2017, see my sparky photo I took back then).

There were some beautiful flowers and brightly coloured WI made crafts in the WI/flower tent, there were lots of categories with some amazing interpretations in each craft competition, of course I was drawn to the rainbow ones ;)

The Wine Walk was informative and fun, we really enjoyed learning more about some of our local vineyards, I never knew there were so many and we've now been inspired to plan a tour of some East Sussex vineyards this summer which will make a great feature so watch this space come Autumn time!  Of course, having a few tasters of the various offerings was fun too, the English sparkling wines we have locally are truly wonderful!

Of course, there's a lot more going on with lots of agricultural areas, various farm animal competitions and displays with sheep-shearing demos and the like.  There are lots of food stands with food to eat as well as plenty to take home such as local cheeses, meats, booze and sweet treats. We bought some Sussex Charmer to take home which is a mix of mature cheddar and Parmesan so has a lovely deep, tangy flavour and is almost gone already!

Despite the rather dingy weather with a few downpours, we had a brilliant day out!

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Acrylic Pouring with CriSam

There's a lovely new local business I recently had the joy of experiencing - CriSam Acrylic Pouring.  Founded by Chris and Sam (hence the name), these ladies have a real passion for teaching this fun way of creating art as well as making some awesome pieces themselves.

I took part in a taster session as part of the Uckfield WI craft group of which Chris is a member, her and Sam offered it to us at a great price as we were their guinea pigs prior to them starting to offer courses.  I think it's a great idea and they're both excellent at teaching, you can really feel their passion!

Buxted Fun Day & Oast Farm Cafe

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Sunday roast at The White Hart - review

We've been to The White Hart in Buxted a few times yet I've never written a proper review about it.  In all honesty, I've had mixed experiences but the last time we went for a roast, it was amazing!

The White Hart recently won Best Place To Eat in the Uckfield Business Awards and I know it is a popular local place.  They have such a nice menu with interesting dishes for varied tastes, it can be expensive but I know their meat especially is top quality, the steaks are certainly worth the extra plus the staff are so friendly, it's a nice place to be and hang out.  The building is fantastic with a proper, traditional bar with real fire at the front with cosy sofas and solid wood tables and chairs.  The conservatory out the back is more modern and tastefully decorated, light and spacious, it would be ideal for a private party.

We went for Sunday roasts with Nik having the beef and I chose the pork belly.  The kids had chicken and chips this time.

The sides were lovely, well cooked veg and amazing cauliflower cheese.  Nik was very impressed with his beef and the Yorkshires were lovely and HUGE!  The roast potatoes were good too.

My pork was SO good!  It came with perfect crackling and was a really good chunk of meat, not fatty like pork belly can be, it was tasty, moist and tender, I loved it.

Overall, we had a brilliant experience.

They have a lovely, enclosed beer garden with picnic tables, a grassy area and patio.  It's sheltered but gets the sun all day.  It's ideal for families or people with dogs to enjoy in the summer.

They have a good range of wine and cocktails and will mix anything you like.  It's a fun pub for a girls' night with nibbles and drinks for an evening off mum duty.  Oh and my Dad loves the Harvey's on tap of course.

I've also found some of my old photos from our evening enjoying their steak night way back in August 2016 when we had an amazing meal there.  We sat in the conservatory where it was quiet and out of the way, we had a lovely evening and you can see the twins loved it (aged 21 months).

Itty bitty Kalyan doing cheers in 2016!

We were invited for our latest Sunday roast in return for this review.  All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Best Photographer in Sussex - Finalist!

Well how exciting is this!?  Even if I don't win, being one of the top five photographers in Sussex is such a massive achievement!  I've spent the last year working so hard to get my photography business off the ground.  While I do love saving teeth (I'm also a dentist in case you didn't already know), photography is my real passion and to win this award would be simply amazing!

It's a numbers game at this point so I'm asking everyone for their vote, we only have a week and the results are announced next Thursday.  I thought I should try to write a post showing my best work and listing all of the reasons why I think I deserve to win (this is hard to do, singing my own praises doesn't come naturally but, well, I'd like to win so here goes...)  If you think I deserve to win, please vote for Bexphoto here: 

P.S. This also goes for why you should book me to be your photographer too!  ;) 

I LOVE my job.  Photographing families is such a privilege and providing them with meaningful, heartfelt photos of their lives, seeing the emotions that evokes when they see their galleries, it's why I do this.  Photos mean so much to me and I love being able to give people that gift of the fleeting moment which lasts forever.

I'm a Mum, I understand the important little things, I like to document everything, details in particular.  I work around my twins, part time in my "day job" and then fitting in Bexphoto work when I can.  It's a difficult juggle but so worth it and my own kids will have the most amazing photo books of these young years to look back on as we have plenty of fun while I practice my skills on them!

I'm constantly trying new techniques and taking part in projects to keep improving my skills.  I love playing with slow shutter, prisms and other ideas to get different, creative effects on my images and my projects are so much fun and often get me some industry recognition which is a fantastic confidence boost!

I'm a sucker for sun flare!  I've worked hard to master light and was rewarded with excellent comments about my use of light and got top marks for that category when I applied to  the internationally recognised Click Pro.

I've now had three images accepted for publication on the Vogue Italia website, not an easy feat!  It's such a badge of honour having their logo on my work.

I've been published in two international photography magazines as well as Elle Decoraton and Grazia magazines.

I've been featured in various international blogs with interviews and "Best of" features.
I am always looking for ways to help my local community, I'm currently running a project donating my time and talent to give local businesses a professional image to use for their online social media and/or websites while also raising funds and awareness for Young Minds charity.

I've also collaborated and worked with businesses who needed fresh new images for their websites and social media.

I donate a family session worth £349 each year to a fellow sufferer of post-natal depression.  I've also talked openly about my own experiences and want to help share stories to break down the taboos and to support people who are going through some terrible times.  Even (or especially) in these sessions, I capture the real raw moments as well as the joy and find people really resonate with these galleries.

I'm starting to teach other photographers, from beginner up to professional with mentoring and courses.  I'm also going to be teaching at a big new conference for women photographers in Manchester in 2020, Phlock Live.  I was thrilled when they approached me among just five talented UK photographers to be their first speakers as they set up the new event.

You can read other client testimonials here.

I'm all about the colour!  It's not just my brand and my love in photography but I live it.  It's all over my home and my wardrobe, I am an authentic colour lover, rainbows especially!

I also enjoy other types of photography for fun, getting out exploring in nature or even underwater!

As part of my local community, I work as a volunteer writing for both Uckfield Matters Magazine and Uckfield FM where I'm also on air once a month championing all things local and family related.  I'm a member of a local WI where I've also helped raise funds for charity as part of the committee and ran a baking club for a while before I needed more time to focus on my photography business. 

I'm also on a waiting list to train to fix tongue ties in newborns as part of my work in dentistry, having experienced this problem myself when feeding my twins and finding there's a real difficulty in getting access to treatment swiftly.

I teach at a local autistic school, Step by Step, working with the children using my skills and knowledge as a dentist to help de-sensitise them so they find it easier to visit their own dentists.  This experience is so rewarding as well as teaching me more about the challenges of working with children with special needs which in turn is helping me learn skills I can apply with my photography business and I welcome clients who may wish to have family photos taken but worry about potential issues.

It's not easy doing all this with twins in tow, a part-time job and my volunteer positions and everything that has to go on behind the scenes but I love it all!

So, if you made it this far through my list of achievements detailing my passion and talent, I'd be ever so grateful if you can now go that one step further and vote for Bexphoto  to win Best Photographer.  It would make my day!  Thank you :D

And if you're still not sure, Stanley thinks you should vote for me too!...

(I didn't take this image, Stanley's mummy Hannah sent it to me, she's a lovely colleague and friend!)
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