The last 6 months

Hi there!

How’s things? Mark has taken Summer swimming, i’ve cleaned the kitchen and now have Mcfly playing (very) loudly and really felt like writing. So here we are – I have even made myself a tea so I must be getting serious… so here’s an update on what’s happened since we have moved back to UK – 6 months ago! Who knew that time goes even faster this side of the world than in LA.
I Got Pregnant 
That’s a big one. It was half planned/half not – you know, we had just done this big move and we wanted to settle in, but also knew we didn’t want a big age gap between Summer and her siblings but it just felt like we were just finding our path and then BOOM morning sickness, tiredness mixed with not being able to nap and all round irritable came into the mix of it! I did a test early in the morning and saw the positive sign but for some reason I did not feel as positive about it… has this happened to anyone else? we did another test a couple of days after and felt a bit better about it all.  I think it was more the thought of timing and everything what had just happened it just felt so overwhelmed how we were going to cope – I mean we were still living at my parents house!

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My Best Friends Wedding 
My sissy – the one who looks like me but doesn’t, the one everyone thinks is my older sister, the one who I gave my fake ID to before I was even legal age and she was able to use it, the one who I text everyday even when I was million miles away, the one who I can laugh with literally about the smallest thing but then can’t stop- My Melody. She got married!
I had the privilege of being the matron of honour and oh my goodness it was such a special day. As her Prince Ray is Chinese they honoured that with a traditional tea ceremony in the morning and then a western wedding in the afternoon at the beautiful Buxted Hotel. Such a romantic setting and they had both gone above and beyond when thinking of the decorations, the food, the layouts, the outfits – everything was perfect – the string quartet definitely added that extra layer of finesse.
It’s a day they will treasure forever and us too. Also Summer was the flower girl and Mark was a groomsman so we were very involved.

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Summer Started Nursery
Well this one felt huge to me. I used to be the only one who looked after Summer while Mark was at work – it’s long hours with sometimes only Peppa Pig to keep you company. It had amazing days and days where you’re literally counting every minute until you can talk to someone who could actually communicate back. So the thought of her learning or being away from me for more than a few hours is actually so daunting.
One of the big things about coming back to UK was that it was time she started some kind of nursery – we thought maybe just three days a week in the morning and can go from there. After viewing a few around Brighton we settled on one that focuses a lot on play, time outdoors and good food. When we first walked in it has that sense of little bit crazy, a mixed array of smells from guinea pigs, play dough and wee – and we thought what a great place for you kids to play and be encouraged to be themselves!
It was me who was the one left crying as I watched her “initiation” (putting her coat on her peg she got to pick) and being shown which room she will be in. The staff were all amazing and it overall it was a great experience. Even more so Summer looks forward to the days she gets to play with her aunties all day and I know she’s being fed better than I probably feed her at home!

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First Christmas in UK 
Christmas suddenly got all the magic back this year – even though everyone moans about the cold its actually quite an essential part to the festive season! This year was great – it was cold enough to be bundled up but not cold enough to ruin the spirit. Summer totally got it this year she was all about the lights outside the house, the songs that come with it and learning about Santa. She possibly was a bit too smart when she realised we don’t have a chimney for him to come down, so out came a special key so he can definitely come to our place. She asked Santa for Pink Presents so that’s what she got as she had been a good girl (Although I overheard her telling her grandma she wanted blue presents and didn’t get any…why do they change their mind last minute??)
Her face on Christmas morning was priceless – she actually gasped when she realised the reindeers had eaten the carrots and Santa had got to the cookies we laid out for him with the milk.

JAN 19-7

 

Moved House
3 months back at my parents house and 3 months out in our own space. This had been the longest we had spent trying to find somewhere. After realising it’s going to take a bit longer than we wanted to buy our own place we thought we should rent. I think we viewed around 10 places, some were so small i’m not sure how we would have fit just Mark and me in there let alone a toddler and baby with the amount of things they accumulate, and some were amazing but were flats and so high up in grand town houses, with no lifts and buggies involved it just wasn’t really a good idea.
But now we have a place! and we are happy – it’s right by a huge park and hello Nando’s I see you from our bedroom!
I am very lucky to have friends who live nearby and also my parents who live on the other side of the park, it felt like it was just the right choice.
It was one of those moments that when we first viewed it I could imagine Summer running through it and it just felt right.
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So this is where we are now – slowly finding our pace. We are fully in the nursery school runs via cars and buses and have found the good softplays (the one with the good selection of cakes and coffees) and we are slowly coming to the realisation that we’re going to be having another baby joining us in the next 3 months

Bring it on.

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Palm Springs and Joshua Tree

We are slowly making our way through the USA bucket list and Palm Springs had been on there for quite a while. So on Memorial weekend I managed to book a last minute hotel and we set off for a mini “banchaaaaa” (adventure) as Summer kept repeating in an excited voice.

A couple of things first though, I thought Palm Springs was a LOT further than it actually is so was expecting long drives with nothing but sand around – it’s not it took us just under 2 hours, and second, everyone kept saying “be careful, it’s hot there” and I was like, okay…but really….but it is actually scorching there!! If I lived there I think I would just have to live in a swimming pool. We welcomed that sunshine with open arms.

 

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So the first day we went look around Palm Canyon Drive and was loving the small boutiques and hat shops. Made me want to buy a hat of course (I didn’t) and fell in love with all the art deco books and postcard and art work they had to offer. I already love the style and look of The Incredibles so it was kind of looking into real life version on this.

We were recommended to go eat at Tylers restaurant for lunch and it was so so good! Food felt really fresh and good size portion and catered for kids well. Then after food it was more walking around. FYI they have the most swankiest Starbucks I have ever seen on that street.

Then a check in to the hotel . To be honest our hotel was nothing special as we literally just needed a place to stay for one night but it was super great it did have a pool and Summer got to splash around and let out all the energy.  She also loved the huge bed and the fact I let her jump around as much as she wanted on it. Mark had it in his head that it would be super fun for us to all stay in one big bed, and yes it was fun- except he forgot that his daughter is one of the most wriggliest sleepers in the world and he ended up waking up with her foot around his neck!

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The next day we went to explore the Indian Canyons and did a bit of research and found the Andreas loop was best suited for us. It’s a one mile round loop around a really awesome oasis in the middle of the canyons. We did the hike pretty early in the morning as we were worried we were going to get frazzled. It’s honestly one of the best hikes i’ve ever done. Even Summer loved it, pointing out all the lizards and Chips and Dales (chipmunks) she could find. It’s a good one with toddler as she could walk most of it. There are a few rocks here and there you have to step up which Mark just carried her.

edited palm springs-8edited palm springs-3edited palm springs-4It honestly felt like we were on a movie set.

Next was to a little town that we had been told about called Pioneer Town. Now, this is no normal town, this was a western movie set made in 1940’s that soon became an actual place to live! It’s pretty cool, like you’ve just walked onto the set of Westworld or you expect a piece of Tumbleweed to just roll on past you.

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Our final destination was the infamous Joshua Tree National Park. I could look at those strange shaped trees all day and would love to camp by them in the near future, but that weekend we just did a quick drive around to the Hidden Valley Trail. 

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The trail was a perfect mix of HUGE rocks, crazy trees, landscapes for days and easy walking marked paths that Summer could enjoy on her own. I know she had a good time because the whole way around (about an hour) she did not stop talking and pointing at every single thing she could see.

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It was a super nice break and felt way longer than 2 days, I guess its because its the memories you get from it makes it feel like so much happened.  Our journey back was interesting. We decided (well, the sat nav decided for us) to kind of go the back route back to LA and it literally felt like we were in the middle of nowhere for a good hour or so. No other cars on the road, the roads had potholes and just vast land as far as we could see.. it was the kind of scene that you imagine on a proper across America road trip with your arm out the window blasting songs, it was kind of like that apart from we had Peppa Pig blasting out the Ipad.

And to end this post, here’s a pic of me and Summer on a rock 😀

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Reflecting

And now it’s 2018. It’s always nice to write reflection posts as it makes you realize what you have achieved from the last year. Usually I find I have accomplished more than it ever feels like,  so these type of posts make me feel good and actually like I have been living my life and not stuck in some auto pilot timeless circle.

Here are a few highlights from 2017

Making new friends

This was a big one for me. I like to think I’m an outgoing person and easy to talk to, but realistically I’m an awkward mumbling mess who is never really sure I’m making enough eye contact and smiling at the right moments. On top of this i’m now the one with the accent so trying super hard to make sure people actually understand me.
So for me to make new friends was a terrifying thing but also a little bit exciting. I knew I just had to throw myself into it and with Summer being my passport to many clubs/events/classes I thought there must be likeminded people out there. In the first month of 2017 I went and joined a mommy and me class, a fitness class and a local moms group on Facebook.
But actually the two closest friends I have made have both been by pure accident. The best type of accidents that could happen. Now I consider these guys almost family, they’re the ones I turn to when I have a million questions about places to go, food recommendations, help with Summer, questions about living in US and many other random questions.  But the biggest part is we are all there for each other and making each other laugh and smile.
I am fortunate that I actually have family here already and also some friends from UK are here too, so have a great support group around me, but making new friends was a big thing for me and I’ve found some for life, and Summer has too!

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All the visitors

When you tell people you’re moving to LA of course you’re gonna have friends visit. And I am all about this! Also with a lot of friends working in the film industry we were bound to have people passing through who want to stop by and say hi. We have been super blessed to see so many familiar faces over the year and show them all the great things this beautiful place has to offer.

Some of the best bits have been:
– my parents coming and showing them the life we have out here.
– finding some great restaurants and reasons to eat at them (it’s easier with a child to not go to these places so it’s a great excuse to get dolled up and make effort!)
– knowing you can have 3 kids and 4 adults all living pretty well under a 2 bedroom apartment for a week – and nobody wanted to kill each other!
– the many beach days we could take them to around the coast.
– the amazing funny memories that i’ll have forever from great people coming to stay with us.

 

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Trip back to UK 

As mentioned in a previous blog post  our trip back to UK was a special 3 weeks. Not only was it obviously nice to see everyone and attend my brother in laws wedding, but it was great for everyone to see how much Summer had grown and see her personality shine through. Every time I think of the moments she was bonding with her grandparents it makes my heart burst, and seeing how well she got on with her cousins and my friends is something I had longed for to happen. Everyone commented on how happy a child she is and its actually something i’m super proud of. It can get very tough for me sometimes being so far away from everyone and Summer is a handful at times, so to know people who I care about really think i’m doing a good job it makes it a bit less painful for me to be so far away.

Starting Photography 

Also another one I have written about recently, but since then I have squeezed in 8 photoshoots! I can’t actually believe it when I think about it, how something I’ve always thought about doing just actually went and happened. We even went to the City Hall and I got all the right documents in order to make it all legit! I’m loving the idea of capturing peoples memories and the look of their faces when I show them the back of my camera at what I can see makes it all worth it. The plan is to make the money from this and buy myself better equipment so then I can keep taking even better photos and possibly take up some courses too. For weeks I was watching live Webinars on the internet for information and knowing what to expect on shoots. These have been like gold dust to me and the knowledge I took home from them are invaluable.
I have an Instagram account too for the Studio Sunny Side Up if you want to have a looksy.

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And there you have it, 2017 all wrapped up into a few neatly preserved paragraphs. The year of course went a lot deeper than this and had some crusty moments where I wondered if we had made the right decision moving to the other side of the world. It’s been challenging and testing but the good moments have certainly outweighed these, and that’s what life is about, right? it’s about experiences. They help you grow as a person whether they’re good or bad and you learn from them.

So here’s to 2018 and more experiences and everything it has to offer.
Bring. It. On

 

 

Let’s do this!

I’m sure this has happened to a few people, you take photos of day to day experiences, get hooked on the idea of catching a glimpse of life and being able to treasure it forever and before you know it people are asking you to take pictures for them too.

It’s such a privilege to have people let you take their picture and I absolutely love the look on their faces when I’ve captured something that they like. So one day, after many talks with friends and family, a little lightbulb started flashing in my head whilst Summer sleeps literally on top of me. I decided now was the time to launch Studio: Sunny Side up!
This will be a little project where I will be mainly using natural light to take photos of families and couple and even their pets if they do so let me.
And with anything, practice means perfect and I mean I have the perfect little model with me 24 hours, might as well take advantage of her cheeky face!
So these are the pics from our first shoot we did. I had this idea in my head where Summer would wear her Halloween dragon cape and be running through a big grassy field full of autumn colors, lots of wide shots and big trees everywhere. Perfect! And I knew just the spot nearby at Kenneth Hahn. So the weekend came and we head there and little did we know they didn’t take card and needed cash. So out of the car park we went and to Target to buy something so we can get cash back, but no. We had to use our credit card due to another long story which also means no cash back. So no Kenneth Hahn for us today. Next was a long drive around Rancho Park, surely there’s somewhere in there that we can get out and not get hit by a golf ball?? If there is then please can you tell me where!

So we tried going up in the high tops of Franklin Canyon Park just up from Beverly Hills. Now this place is beautiful and so quiet and for a few minutes I thought I had bumped into Scarlett Johansson (but after some “proper”checking Mark assured me it wasn’t her) it just didn’t have the flat and scenic overlook I had in my head. So off we went again.

and then it hit me, let’s just stay local and go to a place I’ve been to many a times, the wonderful wooden walkway of Baldwin Hills in Culver City. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend visiting for a little walk and take in some fresh air and scenic views. It’s located above Bill Botts playground and goes up to the baseball fields Which is where we took the photos.

with all these changes of places we actually ended up getting here at the perfect sun setting time, we got the autumnal feels and Summer loved running around being a dragon while I got to play around with all the settings on the camera.

Let me know what you think!