26 June 2012

Office Closed - UPDATE

We move house on Friday and so the office is now closed Wednesday 27th June to Tuesday 3rd July. We will have no internet for a few days and so please don't worry if you don't get an immediate answer to your email. If you have an urgent need to contact me, please ring me on my mobile 07792 650 742.

BT have left us with no internet, even though it was booked in for being activated Monday (2nd July) and they have informed us it will take until end of Friday 6th July to put it right. Please call me if you need me urgently (07792 650 742) or email me and I will get back to you when I can grab internet off friends, family and internet cafes!

25 June 2012

Photographs of Lisa and Ben's Fun Chester Wedding

Lisa and Ben got married on Saturday in Chester's original cathedral, a beautiful church which is now St John the Baptist Church, Chester. I had such fun from the moment I arrived, all the way through to the end of the speeches - and I have to admit that I shed a couple of tears too. Oh dear, will I never get used to the emotions of weddings! Some of the tears, to be fair, were brought on by the amazing singing of Hannah, a 9 year old niece of Lisa's who sang Candle in the Wind - I don't think there was a dry eye in the church when she sang!

It was really lovely to be given such a warm welcome by David Chesters, Vicar of the church, and his colleagues, and having such a large porch-way helped when the rains came! And what about this for a wedding present? Ben bought Lisa a VW camper van! And so when we came out of the church, after a little skulduggery, Ben's brother Jake brought the little beauty around to surprise Lisa!

After the ceremony we were all able to enjoy ice creams before making our way over to Chester Racecourse for the reception - and Ben's turn for a surprise as the car driver let off a confetti canon that made us all jump ... but it meant I delivered on a promise to Lisa as she'd asked me to make sure I photographed Ben's 'stupid face'!

I had a lot of fun photographing Lisa and Ben's wedding, and I laughed and I cried - and I have to say as well, Lisa was such a beautiful bride in a spectacular dress that was perfect for her, with the most beautiful flowers, and Ben scrubbed up well too! Here's a sneak peak of their day.

Now, it's not often that I highlight a truly favourite image from a wedding (maybe I should do it more often because I always have a favourite!) but I have to share this one from Lisa and Ben's day - the moment where Lisa and her dad hugged when he saw her dressed in her gown for the first time. I feel the emotion welling up in me every time I look at it! And then a second one which is when Lisa went to hug Hannah, her bridesmaid who sang for her. Two truly beautiful moments.

23 June 2012

24 Years On

This evening listening to the bride, Lisa, do a short speech, I found myself reflecting on our own wedding, our marriage of 24 years. And I decided it's time to write my husband an open letter. I would do a private letter, but the last one like that I did, when it arrived in the post for him he thought it was a 'Dear John' letter and refused to open it! So here is my open letter to my husband of 24 years.

Dear Rob,
Monday is our anniversary - 24 years ago my parents were late to our wedding and we nearly got married without them, you stumbled over my name and I couldn't say 'impediment', the sun shone brightly, and we had photographs taken in Victoria Park in Ormskirk. We saw each other before the ceremony, we spent more of our budget on the photographs than anything else, and we had our reception in our own home on a brilliant summer's day with dear friends and close family alongside us.

You know I love you, but I believe even now, after 24 years of marriage, you still don't know how much I love you, even though it was me who proposed to you. People talk of marrying their best friend - on the day of our wedding I don't know if I did marry my best friend, I don't know if I knew what a true best friend was at that stage in my life. Sure, I loved you, I was in love with you, and I felt so very lucky to be your wife - not least because it was great to leave behind my maiden name and become a Richards! And through the years we have disagreed on so many things - parenting, money, how we've lived our lives, where we'll live, and much more. And it's been worth it.

But now, after 24 years, everything is really crystal clear. I am proud of you. I'm proud that even though you have MS you don't let a chronic illness control your life, you fight through it, you force yourself to keep going, and for what? To give me your love in the way you enjoy most to give me your love, through cooking me tea, looking after me, caring for me. You put your own fatigue aside to make sure I am ok, you work on 'Bobby Power' and you selflessly put me first. Now that's love!

And more than that, I'm proud of you as a father to our daughter - you have given her such joy, laughing with her, giving your time to her, letting her know love and security, being there for her. That too is love.

It isn't hard for me to say that you are a great man. You may not have achieved great things in the world, you may not have made a huge difference in the world, but you have achieved great things in our lives, you have made a huge difference to me. And it is true to say that you are a gentle man, in the true sense of the word - a man who is caring, thoughtful and puts others' needs ahead of his own. A gentleman indeed.

So, Rob, thank you. Thank you for 24 years of your unending support, caring and thoughtfulness, so many years of your love.

Now, I may not be as caring, as thoughtful, as supportive as you are to me. But I love you. You are my rock, my cornerstone, my right arm (ok, in your terms, my left arm!). Without you I would not have grown and developed into the woman I am today. I doubt anyone else would have travelled the journey with me!  And I love that we have enjoyed and endured that journey together, grown and developed together. 

I love that you make me laugh ... and possibly moreso, I love that you laugh at my funnies too. I love your expectation that when I say to turn right you think I mean we need to turn left, when I had worked it out already and really meant right after all! I love the way we have managed to parent so very differently, and that difference has been so important in creating the beautiful, clever and independent young woman who is our daughter, 20 in 2 weeks time, and engaged for just under 2 weeks now herself.

I love how you have conversations in your head and then think you've talked something through with me, and I love how you are so determined you are right - and can win an argument on logic even when you are, in fact, wrong! I love how clever you are, and how easily you can outsmart people with a million more qualifications than you have, and I love how your dyslexia and your MS are a challenge for you to push through rather than give in to. I love you more than you will ever know, and I love that I can still, to this day, surprise you with my love for you.

And I thank you for putting up with me - and for being someone I can live with in such a way that there is little more than the way you squeeze the toothpaste for me to have to put up with! May we have 24 more years together, most of them happy, and 24 more after that, and who knows, maybe even more. I may not have known on our wedding day if I was marrying my best friend, but today I do know, I definitely married my best friend. I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm lucky to be with you. You're the best. Thank you.
Your lucky wife

22 June 2012

Emma and Aron's Wedding Album

Ever imagined having the wedding of your dreams without having to spend much? Well, Emma and Aron were able to do just that with a very lucky competition win because Emma won the Liverpool Echo Bride of the Year competition. And the prize was full of lucky prizes.  The day included:
I shared a sneak peak of their wedding day a few weeks back, but thought you'd enjoy a slideshow of their wedding album.  Congratulations, Emma and Aron, and well done on being prize winners too!

Wedding Photographs for Gill and Richard who Marry at The Vincent, Southport

Some weddings you find you cry, some weddings you laugh .... Saturday's wedding was definitely one for laughing! Even when Gill was crying - hang on, that sounds mean! She was laughing whilst crying too, honestly!

I first met Gill at a school Ladies Night for Farnborough Road Junior School in Birkdale, Southport - that must have been going on for about 5 years ago. Then I photographed Gill's sister's children shortly after Thomas was born. More recently I photographed the baby of one of Gill's closest friend's cousin (confused yet?), and so it seemed inevitable that I would photograph Gill's wedding when it came along.

But this was no ordinary wedding for me, what with the connections to the couple over the last few years, and with Richard being kind enough to organise a special treat for me last Autumn, which meant we spent a fair bit of time all getting to know each other. You see, Richard is responsible for the Blackpool Illuminations, and so Rob and I had the excitement of the behind-the-scenes tour of last season's lights! And I got to pull the original switch that used to put the lights on. Believe me, that's a truly exciting thing to do!

So last weekend we reached the middle of summer, and you'd expect the sun to be shining - but oh no, this summer we seem to be having autumn! So in the wind and the rain Gill and Richard got married at Southport's boutique hotel, The Vincent. It was a wedding with a lot going on, from the Routemaster bus that brought everyone from Blackpool to Southport, and that collected Gill and her family too, to a visit from Laurel and Hardy - and Stan gave up his 122nd birthday to be there with a few magic tricks up his and Olly's sleeves!

18 June 2012

BBC Good Food Show

We had a rare day out yesterday as part of Eleanor's birthday treats (though it's not her birthday until 8th July) and went to the Good Food Show. I've written about it on my Journal For Living blog if you want to take a read about the treats we found.

16 June 2012

We're On The Move

After a rather protracted process we eventually exchanged contracts on the sale of our current home, and the purchase of our new one. We decided to move because of Rob, my husband, having MS. Most of the time he's absolutely fine, but we are concerned about what the future might hold for him and thought it best to move into single level dwelling whilst he could be fully involved in the move.

The flat we are buying is in Ormskirk, so I'm going back to my roots as I was born and brought up there. As it's a new build at the moment it's pretty much a blank canvas, as you can see in the photographs below. But I shall enjoy working on the interior design!  

Here is the living room and our bedrooms.

And this is the kitchen, the hallway and the views from our balcony - how on earth did I manage to sneak a bit of blue sky into that one picture!

We move in 2 weeks, so the packing has begun in earnest! But I'm not sure I dare show you the photographs of the piles of boxes!

12 June 2012

West Tower Country House Hotel near Ormskirk - Open Evening

I've just noticed that West Tower near Ormskirk is having an open evening tomorrow, Wednesday 13th June for future brides and grooms who are looking for a wedding venue in Lancashire and close to Liverpool. This is one of my favourite wedding venues to photograph at, situated in beautiful grounds with views across to Liverpool, you really couldn't choose a better intimate Lancashire wedding venue for a countryside wedding that is close to Liverpool.

From the staff to the peaceful location, West Tower has such a lovely feel, look and way to it. It's definitely a venue where contemporary meets traditional, with a lovely mix of the old and new. I seldom find myself taking the same photograph from one wedding to the next as there are so many places where you can create beautiful pictures for the bride and groom.

So if you're planning your wedding, it's worth going along for a visit tomorrow evening. I'm not sure the weather is going to hold out, but it will still be worth the trip.

Here is a small selection of photographs I've taken at weddings at West Tower over the last year.

Sarah and Rich (and Charlie too) Get Married on Penny Lane with Reception at Hope Street Hotel, Liverpool

Saturday was June, wasn't it? It didn't feel like it - and the car was showing that it was only 10.5 degrees! In June! But that didn't stop Sarah and Rich having a fabulous wedding with their gorgeous son, Charlie, along with their family and friends. We were made to feel so welcome, thank you all for that. Sarah looked so elegant in a gorgeous Hollywood Glamour style of dress, and I think Charlie was competing with Rich for being the best dressed man in the room!

At Hope Street Hotel, guests were treated to a caricaturist whose work was great! And his pictures created a fare bit of merriment.  Even though the wind blew, Sarah and Rich were up for going up to their 5th floor penthouse suite and having photographs with the Liverpool skyline, which I really love. There was a little excitement during the meal when Sarah's nan took ill, and I hope she is ok now. She looks great in the picture of her below looking at the picture the caricaturist did of her.

Here is a little sneak peak of Sarah and Rich's photographs - there are so many great ones to choose from I don't feel like this does them justice!

04 June 2012

Wedding in Liverpool and Reception at West Tower in Aughton for Gemma and Stephen

Last Friday was difficult for me because I tore my calf muscle, but a bit of limping and hopping and the support of Lynsey and I was able to get the photographs that I needed to showcase a truly beautiful wedding. Gemma and Stephen landed lucky with the weather we've had the past week, and had sunshine and a perfect blue sky. From the moment I arrived at Gemma's mum's house the bridesmaids, Annie and Kelly had me laughing, and I don't think I stopped until I was driving home at the end of the day! This was definitely a wedding full of love and laughter.

But there are two things worth a mention - the first is that Gemma and Stephen could have chose a better day! We all missed the torch relay for them ...  but they're forgiven. More noteworthy though was the mistake made on their wedding certificate as the registrar decided to step back in time and record their wedding as being on the 1st April. Ooops! Thankfully Ste, the groom's dad, spotted the mistake.

Here's a sneak peak of their wedding, and a big thanks to Annie, Kelly, Francis, Gemma and Ste for giving me such an enjoyable day, and for caring about me with my calf. Oh, and thanks to Lynsey too for being a big help as an assistant!