Tell us about you:

I’m a mummy to four-year-old twins, Poppy & Caspar. I’m a professional photographer and I’m an imminent home renovator, in addition, I’m a full-time HR Business Partner, as well as wife and friend.

Tell us about your business baby:

About 8 years ago I began photographing weddings and for a long time this was my real passion, however I found once our children were born that my Saturday’s really became such a precious family day (as I was also working full-time in Human Resources throughout this) and this, combined with the influx of people coming in to the wedding photography industry, saw me wind down the number of weddings I was shooting.  I still shoot often but more for pleasure, although there is nothing like photographing someone’s wedding and producing images they treasure.  So that was then…….

And now…….     Well, in December 2017 we purchased a large 1960s property, primarily as it was the only house available in the school catchment area we wanted to live in.  There was a lot of competition for the property as it sits on .5 acre and overlooks fields.  Despite 10 offers on it we were delighted to find out the property was ours, the vendors were insistent the property went to a family and not developers.

The home had a nice feel to it despite the fact it hadn’t been updated or modernised in that time, so I’m now the proud owner of some of the most patterned and lurid carpets that existed (which would look at home in the Queen Vic!).

Since moving in we’ve begun the process of working with an Architect to design the house we want, this process takes a long time, applying for planning permission is a minimum of 4 weeks (if you are lucky) so  we’re only just at the stage where we’re about to go out to builders to tender for the work.  So my baby is now www.thedreamhomewebuilt.com , a blog that tracks the progress of the build and records the ever-changing look of the house as it’s transformed from a tired old house, to a contemporary, modern home.   It really is my baby as it’s in its infancy and my Instagram following is fairly small but its growing daily and I’m loving it.   Instastories are such fun!

My passion for photography has also helped here and whilst I’ve not been able to post much about the house transformation as yet (given we are waiting for the builders to start), its seen the blog to evolve into more of a lifestyle site, with features about Bristol (where we live), interiors and travel.

What’s your WHY?

With a love of photography and a good eye for style, I’m planning the interior of our home (and garden) to make it a real show stopper (but still a family home).  Ultimately I want to work with interior and lifestyle brands and longer term this would enable me to reduce the hours spent in my HR career, so the pendulum would swing and I’d have more of a work / home life balance of time spent writing / instagramming and being with my family.  My why? I guess I’m a home bird who wants to make a beautiful home for my family, feel less like I’m on a fast-moving hamster wheel and instead reposition the focus of my day to doing stuff I love and not just doing stuff that pays the bills.

What do you find the hardest bit of doing the juggle?

I have very little quality time with my husband. I’m thankful we’ve got a great relationship as the past four years have been really tough and we’ve only got through it by being honest when we were finding the juggle tough.    To do anything pleasurable for me takes a lot of effort and organisation so I often don’t bother to attempt it, which is daft as it’s the little moments that make me feel more like me!     I’ve set myself a goal of trying to book a few classes and networking events as I really do enjoy them once I’m there.

Who’s your support network?

This is probably my weak point.  I don’t have masses of support and find the juggle and not having anyone to really talk to really tough.   I think I’ve probably retreated in to myself a bit as I don’t have a huge circle of people around and at 9pm at night after a day at work, putting the children to bed and then making dinner, there’s little gas in the tank to want to talk.   I’ve found reading, listening to podcasts and getting as much sleep as possible is my key to staying sane!  Probably my greatest support is some of my photography buddies, a group of girls I met via a Facebook group called the Shooting Sisters.  Geographically we’re nowhere near each other but when we do meet up, its brilliant!

If only I knew then what I know now…

A friend and amazing mother told me this when my twins were about 12 weeks old ‘Two children make having one feel like none’.   Having never had just one I can’t confirm this but it feels like it’s true.  Two children at the same time is nuts with everything else to juggle.  So what I know now, the tumble dryer is your new best friend, its fine to warm a cup of tea in the microwave 3 times before you drink it, that every now and then paying someone to come and do your ironing when your ironing towers over you is worth every penny.

I also wish I’d had some foresight into how much I would change as a person and what this would mean for me and also for some of the friendships I had at the time.  I didn’t do NCT as someone had told me not to bother, that was a big regret and I do think if you can afford to to do it, purely for the network of fellow parents you get to meet.  By not doing it I found the first 8 months a fairly lonely experience, most of my friends were in work and there were very few people in my life having children so I felt isolated and trapped in the house a bit.  I therefore got up every day before my husband left for work to have a shower and was out at baby groups by 9:00am, it took until month 8 when I joined the local twins group and met some baby friends but I think I’d have found it hugely helpful to establish a network of fellow Mums earlier on.

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