Kirstin and Felix - Aberdeen Family Photography

Kirstin is a wonderful mama to 3 beautiful boys, and I was so happy when she booked a session with me for her and her youngest son, Felix. The weather agreed with me and the sun came out, meaning we could unleash all of Felix's gorgeously nommable rolls of baby pudge - how Kirstin doesn't nibble him all day long I don't know! 

Here's just a few images from their session - I'll be running another day of mama sessions in the summer. Email me to be put on the mailing list for more information 

Sam - Aberdeen Newborn Photography

I've been so excited to share this newborn session with you all! I met Sam when she asked me to capture a special birthday celebration for her mother in law, back in January at Norwood Hall, where she was rocking a gorgeous baby bump. I was absolutely delighted to hear of baby Sam's safe arrival in to the world, and to be asked to come and spend a morning with them to capture his newborn photographs. 

Here's just a little selection of images from their gallery - how stunning does (mama) Sam look? She's definitely the Queen in a household of boys! My heart couldn't cope with the cuteness of big brother Max loving on his new sibling - I mean, just look at this face! 

Newborn Photography in Aberdeen - Baby Willow

I had the loveliest time a few weeks ago meeting baby Willow, her parents and her gorgeous big sister. Fern was a fantastic help throughout the session, and even got behind her own camera, to make sure I got all the shots! 

Here's just a few images from their session - how beautiful is Willow's mum? 

I have very limited space over the summer months for newborn sessions - if you'd like natural, relaxed newborn portraits, capturing your families special moments, I'd love to hear from you! 

Woman Behind The Business - Banchory Chiropractic Clinic

I have the great pleasure of calling Felicity, aka 'Magic Hands' a friend, and I was very happy when I managed to sufficiently twist her arm enough to take part in this series. Despite having a new baby and an active toddler, she has recently expanded her business, Banchory Chiropractic Clinic, in to new premises and is working hard to create a one stop wellbeing hub with massage practitioners, chiropractors and yoga classes all on site. I'll let Felicity tell you more!

Congratulations on the opening of your new clinic! What services are available at Banchory Chiropractic Clinic?

Thank you! We now offer a much wider range of services now we have our brand spanking new clinic. We still offer first class chiropractic treatment from our 3 superstar chiropractors, but in addition we now have 2 massage therapists and a kinetic chain release therapist. We also have a studio room where we host yoga, Pilates and a pelvic floor class, and these are classes that are available to anyone. We also have our very own Lower Back Repair class; a new concept which is exclusively available for our patients.

You do a lot of work with infants - how can chiropractic benefit them?

I do! Most of my patients these days are babies! I see babies for lots of different reasons, but the most common reasons are that parents might notice that their baby favours holding their head or body in a particular way, or they have a flattened or misshapen head, or they might be exhibiting some strange behaviours like excessive crying and showing general discomfort. I am also a breastfeeding counsellor so I see many mothers and babies who have problems feeding as well. Chiropractic care for infants can help to ease tension patterns that may have been created whilst baby was on the inside, during birth or from everyday habits in the babies early weeks. This release of tension generally results in a more contented baby!

And chiropractic treatment can be useful in pregnancy too?

Very much so. I often wonder how pregnant mummies get though it without chiropractic care. Pregnancy can cause some pretty significant postural and structural changes and some mothers find this painful and difficult to deal with. These changes may also affect the baby's positioning inside the mother as the walls of the uterus become strained and suffer torsion. We are trained to correct the mother's posture and pelvic positioning in the hope that will allow baby to organise itself into an optimal position. There are some small studies showing that chiropractic care during pregnancy can lead to a quicker and more "straightforward" labour. This is definitely the case in my clinic on an anecdotal basis - my associate Laura holds the record - one of her patients had a baby in 15 mins start to finish!

Tell me a bit more about your new infant drop in clinic?

The infant drop in clinic was a bit of a leap of faith for me. It has never been done before to my knowledge, and I had no idea whether it would be successful or not. As a mother myself I knew the feelings of dread at the thought of getting yourself and your baby out of the house on time so I thought I would try a format that was much more laid back. It has also allowed my clinic to participate in some important chiropractic research and helped me to teach my associate in a safe, structured way where I can oversee everything. Plus there's nothing worse than feeling as though you are alone when you are having difficulty with your baby. The drop in clinic is sort of like a baby group so there is a social aspect too! We have been going just over a month now and although it is somewhat shambolic it seems to be working! 

How do you manage juggling 2 young children and a successful business?

I will never say it's easy; there have been extremely difficult times. Being a working mother is definitely the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I find it manageable because I am very committed to my work. My clinic was my first baby! Having actual babies has also really given me extra focus to my work, I have learned so much from being a mother myself, which helps me to support other mums and babies. It is hard, but I am also very lucky to be my own boss, and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. The short answer is I drink a lot of coffee and have a lot of help. There are also those days that I don't manage at all!

What do you do to relax? (If you find a spare moment!)

That is something that I struggle with nowadays. I enjoy a quiet coffee when I can and also love to keep fit, so like to go walking if possible. I recently completed a 5k obstacle course with friends which although not relaxing at all, really boosted my mood. I also love a bath in the evening if kiddies allow it!

Who is your greatest source of support?

It has to be my husband Neill. I would not have achieved anything without his practical and emotional support. We were friends long before we were a couple so we have a very strong foundation. He also makes me laugh out loud every day. I have a lot of practical help from my family; my son prefers being at my sisters house than at home! My tribe of mummy friends are also very special to me and I would not have made it this far through parenthood without them.  

What would your top tip be for new mums or mums to be?

Find your mummy friends! The loneliness of having a baby is real; things dramatically improve once you realise everyone else is struggling as much as you!

You can find out more about Banchory Chiropractic Clinic over on their Facebook page

Michelle + Keith - Logie Country House

April 1st saw Michelle and Keith get married at the gorgeous Logie Country House 

After 21 years together, they decided to tie the knot, and I was delighted to be there to document it all. Their close family and friends were staying the weekend with them at Logie, and when I arrived in the morning, the air was full of excitement, with kids running around the grounds,  and some serious gin bar preparations taking place in the kitchen! Their wedding was full of fun and laughter (and a few happy tears!) from start to finish. 

Here's just a little sneak peek from their day - thanks to Melissa from Apini Photography for coming along to second shoot with me!

I think Keith was pretty chuffed that they'd finally said their 'I Do's'! 

5 Things to Do in the Easter Holidays around Aberdeen

The first week of the Easter holidays is drawing to a close, and the second week looms ahead. If you have kids off school or nursery, you will be very likely looking for something to fill the days to get you all out of the house! If you haven't already made plans, here are 5 suggestions of family activities in and around Aberdeen

Go on an Egg Hunt

If you don't have the time nor energy to organise your own, why not pop along to one of the many egg hunts on over the next week? Between Friday 14th and Sunday 16th, you will find the Easter Bunny at numerous National Trust properties across Aberdeenshire, including Castle Fraser and Crathes Castle. You can find your closest egg hunt here  

Take a trip to a farm

With lots of spring babies arriving, now is a great time to take a trip to one of the local farms to see the animals and get some fresh air. Doonies Farm is now open for visitors, and you can read a little bit more about visiting over on the local Tots2travel blog 

Newton Dee Farm is just off North Deeside Road in Bieldside, and is a quiet haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With lambs, pigs and calves to see, a small play park, shop, cafe with  yummy cakes, bakes + lunches, and a bakery all on site, it's a great way to spend an hour or two with the little ones (open Tuesday - Saturday)

A little further along the road, just outside Peterculter, is Easter Anguston Farm, where you can meet an array of animals, grab a snack from the cafe and enjoy a wander round the grounds. 

Horsing around

Near Aboyne, Belwade Farm is a horse sanctuary/rescue centre that is open to visitors all year round (Wednesday-Sunday, check website for times). As well as seeing the horses, there is a cafe (can you see there is a theme to my suggestions, the chance for a cup of tea is a must!), visitor centre, nature trails, stone circle and from May onwards, a very special Fairy Trail. Well worth the drive out, and you can stop off for ice cream in Banchory on the way home! 

Have fun with fossils! 

Down at Aberdeen Science Centre, you can pop in for some fossil fun on Friday 14th April. With Dino dig pits, make your own fossil workshops, storytelling sessions and more, there is an activity to suit all age ranges. See website for full details

Cinema Date 

Ok, so it's possibly the lazy option!  But there's lots on at the cinema this coming week for little ones including Smurfs 3, The Boss Baby, or Peppa Pig - My First Cinema Experience. There's still a  bit of disagreement between my 2 and 4 year old as to which we will see, so I may have to make the executive decision....wish me luck!

Let me know if you have any other suggestions of things to do with kids in Aberdeen over on the Facebook page - what's your favourite day out? 

Aberdeen Hypnobirthing - Woman Behind the Business

If you're expecting a baby, then Jade is a lady you want to know. With a passion for birth, she not only runs Aberdeen Hypnobirthing and an online shop for mums and mums to be (check out SONA Mum here), but the Positive Birth Aberdeen group on Facebook too, which means you can access support from local birth professionals and other mums at the touch of button! Jade kindly answered some questions for me so you can find out a little bit more about hypnobirthing, positive birth and how she juggles two businesses and two children!

 

Tell me what inspired you to train as a HypnoBirthing teacher?

I’m a HypnoBirthing mum; the births of my own babies inspired me!

Taking the classes was like a breath of fresh air, I had heard so many negative things and I kept thinking, there has to be another way – I’m so fortunate that I found it!

I kept telling all my friends (and perhaps even some random pregnant ladies too) how wonderful it was, one of them said why don’t you teach it, you’re so passionate about it – and now I do!

 

How can hypnobirthing contribute to a positive birth?

As part of my work I help women with past birth trauma, the common themes I hear time and time again are loss of control, loss of understanding and feeling like they had no choices.

It really makes me appreciate the importance of antenatal education, I never promise women will have the perfect birth, but from my experience over the past few years, I can really see what a difference HypnoBirthing can make. Women who understand how their body works and have spent a lot of time researching and understanding their options and have the confidence to ask their care provider questions do tend to have a more positive birth experience.

One of the most important parts of HypnoBirthing is building confidence and eliminating fear, it’s amazing to hear women go from feeling frightened, stressed and unsure to looking forward to their births with excitement and confidence.

hypnobirthingclassesinaberdeen

What does a hypnobirthing course entail?

HypnoBirthing has 6 main elements which we cover thoroughly during the course:

1.     Breathing – most people are aware that breathing is a great tool to use in birth

2.     Relaxation Techniques – relaxation is a skill most of us have to learn! We’re so busy these days that most of us don’t take the time to relax and connect with our own bodies. I really believe that learning to relax deeply is the key to having a calm, comfortable birth

3.     Visualisation – like athletes preparing for an event mentally to increase their chance of winning, mental preparation and visualisation is important in birth too, it’s rare that we see normal birth now unlike a few generations back when home birth was the norm, we have a visual of birth built up from films and tv shows which is often over dramatised!

4.     Affirmations – these go along with visualisation to help you affirm your belief in your body and feel confident, there’s lots of fun things you can do with these lovely positive statements but simply listening to them and repeating your favourites helps

5.     Education – this is such an import aspect of the course, generally our knowledge of our bodies is very limited, learning how our body works in labour can help you feel more confident during labour

6.     Self-Hypnosis – This is where the ‘hypno’ in hypnobirthing comes from! Hypnosis is deep relaxation and you learn the skills to enable you to relax and remain calm and in control throughout labour and birth.

 

You also run the popular Facebook group, Positive Birth Group Aberdeen - it seems to be a really supportive space for women to talk

It’s fantastic; I’m so amazed by the women in the group and the support they give each other.

I started the group a few years ago, at the time there was nowhere like it locally, when I had my kids a couple of years ago there were lots of groups for new mums, breastfeeding, babywearing etc. but nowhere focusing on pregnancy locally.

We have almost 900 members in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; mums to be, experienced mums, midwives and other health professionals so you can always find someone to answer any question you have.

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How do you juggle the needs of two small children with running your own business?

For any other mums with little ones trying to make it work and reading this in hope of some wonderful secret formula – I’m sorry I don’t have one for you. It involves constant shifting boundaries as my kids grow and need different care, as nap times decrease and independence grows.

I know one thing for sure it’s not easy to be a stay at home mum and run a business but having the company of others in the same position really does help. If you’re struggling to juggle everything, know that you’re not alone and if you’re having a bad day and need a cup of tea then please just send me a message or email me. I love chatting with other mums in a similar position; we need to work together, to say yes when another mum reaches out and support each other. I’m always happy to chat over a cup of tea, as long as you can cope with chaos around you, you’re very welcome!

And if anyone knows the secret – please do share it with me!

 

What would your top tip be to pregnant women for their birth?

I used to say to my friends – take a HypnoBirthing class, it was definitely my top tip, however, these days it sounds rather biased!

I think the most important thing is to learn about your body, how it works in labour and birth. We tend to know so little about our bodies that going into labour can be an unknown and frightening activity. Understanding will give you more confidence that your body is doing what it should do and understanding all the wonderful ways your body and baby work together to make birthing easier for you will help you feel empowered and capable.

 

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Where can we find out more about Aberdeen HypnoBirthing?

Through the website, there are lots of lovely local birth stories there which I recommend are a great place to start for mums to be looking for inspiration! http://aberdeenhypnobirthing.com/

If you’re on Facebook you can keep up to date through our page: https://www.facebook.com/AberdeenHypnoBirthing/

There’s also the Positive Birth Group Aberdeen: https://www.facebook.com/groups/positivebirthaberdeen/

hypnobirthingclassesaberdeen

Thanks Jade! Jade is running a Hypnobirthing Taster Session this month to give you an insight to hypnobirthing before booking a full course - you can find out more information by clicking here

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Family Photography in Aberdeen - Luke

Luke and his baby sister were meant to come and see me at the NCT Aberdeen photo fundraiser sessions, but unfortunately the weather got the better of us. Thankfully our second attempt along the railway line in Peterculter was far more successful, and I thought I'd share a wee snippet from their session with you all! (check who has gotten so big since I did her newborn session!)

Molly Is 2

It's the middle of March, and 2 years ago, I was either snuggling a teeny, tiny 2 week old baby girl, or wrapping her close to me while I chased after her then 2 year old brother. This baby girl is now a fierce, determined and fearless 2 year old herself, who can assert her thoughts and desires loudly and with confidence. She strikes equal amounts of joy and terror in our hearts every day    (this means I will get a mellow teenager....right?) and I just don't know where the time has gone - it doesn't feel like 2 year since she came in to the world. Even then she was making her mark, arriving early, with my waters breaking the day after I did my last newborn session before maternity leave. She's been blazing down her own path right from the start, and I can't wait to see where it takes her. I'm hoping she'll inherit my love of books, photography and the signs are already there that we are destined to spend a lot of time at riding schools - our poor rocking horse is suffering from exhaustion!

We couldn't love her more, and when she's not in trouble for interfering with his Lego, she is utterly adored by her big brother. I'm going to be in trouble as their friendship grows - they already do a good job of ganging up on me to get what they want! 

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

NCT Aberdeen Photo Fundraiser - Jack

We just about managed to avoid the rain for our NCT Aberdeen Photo Fundraiser Mini Session day at the end of February, but it did catch up with me in the end! But it was lovely to meet and photograph 11 amazing families, and Jack's mum has given me permission to share these images with you ahead of Mothers Day! Jack was just the absolute cutest - I mean look at that smile! How could you resist such a gorgeous face? No matter what the Aberdeen weather was up too, this little man had smiles aplenty. 

Aberdeen Newborn Photographer - relaxed newborn session at home

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, so the relaxed and gentle pace of my lifestyle newborn sessions is always welcome. This little one was an absolute star for her session - cuddling up close to her mum and dad for the duration. Spring has definitely sprung now and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new babies in the coming weeks. I have limited availability for sessions in late April, May and June, so if you'd like to discuss bespoke newborn photography for your beautiful family, then please do get in touch soon to avoid disappointment. Newborn sessions can be done up till around 6 weeks of age, so don't hesitate to contact me if you are already past the two week window - I might be able to help

The Woman Behind the Business - AB FiftyOne

I've known Pamela online for a long time, and my Woman Behind the Business series was the perfect excuse to get her in front of my camera so we could have a chat in person!

As well as being a successful lifestyle blogger, and mum to 2 beautiful girls, Pamela is the director and owner of a fabulous local marketing company, AB FiftyOne. I asked her a few questions about how she keeps everything ticking over smoothly, both at work and at home! 

 

Pamela Life With Munchers

What inspired you to set up your own marketing company? 

Marketing is a business area I have always studied and worked in. I'm very passionate about current marketing trends and developing strategies that will achieve business goals and objectives and deliver. There's nothing better than seeing a plan come together. So it was a natural progression when the oil crisis hit that I should set up AB Fiftyone and continue to work with a number of clients to achieve their aims.

How do you find juggling motherhood with running your own business? 

It can be stressful at times, but it works very well. I can fit my work around family life and get the best of both worlds. 

What tips or tricks do you have to finding the perfect life/work balance? 

First tip would have to be 'go with it'. I try to do things as soon  as they hit my to do list. Nine times out of ten, they are quick tasks. I guess we are all constantly 'on the go' spinning numerous plates. But I tend to find if I stay in the zone during sociable work hours, then I can benefit from the evenings and weekends better.

It's a constant battle of tweaking and what works best for you and your family routine. So if you find your groove...stick with it!

Who has been your greatest source of support? 

Without a doubt... my husband. Some of the projects I've had require very publicly unusual photo taking. I've had to run out in between passing cars to get the right shot for a blog post and even stood on the verge of 60 mth to get the right footage for videos. He now thinks nothing is too strange.

When you're not working hard, how do you like to unwind? 

I like to just switch off entirely. Because a lot of my job means I consume a huge amount of online content and spend so much time 'in the zone' without even intending too, I just need to put on a film and zone out. Even better if it's a family film and we can all snuggle together.

Do you have any advice to other women who may be considering taking the plunge in to starting up their own businesses? 

Try it! You never know if you are going to like it until to try. It might be for you, it might not. Always remember to walk before you can run.

Where can we find out a little bit more about you? 

http://www.facebook.com/abfiftyone

Http://www.abfiftyone.com 

Http://www.twitter.com/abfiftyone 

Http://www.instagram.com/abfiftyone

I just wanted to add in this cheeky little robin who made themselves quite at home on Pamela's handbag! 

Alexandra - Aberdeen Newborn Photography

I thought it quite fitting that I would blog beautiful baby Alexandra's session on International Women's Day. Her mum Ruth is one of my most intelligent, witty and funny friends, who is completely owning this being a mum of 3 malarkey!

Alexandra is super lucky to have two gorgeous big brothers and I can already tell she is going to have them working for her, ganging up against Mummy soon enough! 

I was delighted to spend a quiet morning just us girls, photographing R+A as they enjoyed some cuddles and milk, more cuddles, a bit more milk, another cuddle or two, with a cup of tea thrown in as well. I always go at the babies pace, meaning both mum and baby stay as relaxed as possible - Alexandra gave us some amazing awake expressions but soon nodded off snuggled up close to her mum

Here's just a small selection of images from their session -