Eight photos of happiness

I was tagged an age ago to do this ‘Eight photos of happiness’ post by my lovely friend Donna at What the Redhead said and as with most things these days it’s taken forever for me to get around to doing it. It is exactly as it sounds; eight photos that make me happy. It was tricky trying to choose just eight, and I think there should be a bit of a caveat in that really this is ‘eight photos taken since 2006 that make me happy’ because I don’t have any photos from before that on my computer. I have a big box of photos from before that which I’ve never got round to putting into albums but that’s in the loft at the moment, and all the photos from my childhood are at my parents’ house. So anyway, here we go…

me and our kid

OK, so this picture is clearly from pre-2006 but I happened to have a scan of it on my computer. This is me and my brother Mark; I think I was about six months old so he would have been two and a half. There is exactly two years between us (our birthdays are the next day to each other) and we have always got on really well. We still do although we don’t see each other as often as we’d like seeing as he lives with his wife in Essex and we’re up here in Scotland. This photo just makes me smile and I hope my boys get on as well as we do.

Take That 2006

I took this photo of Take That in Dublin on their first reunion tour in 2006. I was a big (although slightly closet) Take That fan when I was a teenager but I never saw them live so when they got back together I couldn’t miss it. Due to a random set of circumstances I ended up seeing them in Dublin with my brother and my friend Claire. We got a really good spot near the front of the arena for the concert and had a brilliant time. This photo just reminds me of a very fun weekend. And Claire and I have been to every Take That tour together since.

Minchin & Me

This picture of me and Tim Minchin was taken in Birmingham in 2009. I was a big Minchin fan before he was a global-mega-superstar and I made a lot of friends through his fan forum. We would all travel around the country and meet up at different gigs and some of them knew Tim really well so I got to meet him quite a few times and even got to hang out backstage with him after one gig. He’s such a lovely bloke, and I love our big cheesy grins in this photo.

Grand Canyon

In 2010 I went on a three week road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas via Los Angeles, Palm Springs, a chunk of Route 66 and the Grand Canyon. Not only was it an amazing trip in its own right, I had also met Barry just before I went and we spent the whole time I was there emailing each other every day and that was really the start of our relationship. It was hard to just choose one photo from the trip – in the end I’ve gone for this one taken at the Grand Canyon, unless you’ve been there it’s impossible to imagine the sheer scale of the place. I think I look like I’m stood in front of a painted backdrop in this photo, it’s just so unreal looking.


This photo was taken by my very talented sister-in-law Becca not long after we got engaged. She owns a Venture studio and was kind enough to do a photo shoot for us. I love all the photos from that day but we just look so happy in this one with us both playing our ukuleles (which actually neither of us has done for ages). And I was really skinny then too, so that’s something to aspire to!

Wedding shoes

I could have included any number of pictures from our wedding but I love this one of us dancing in our wedding shoes. I had custom Converse with the wedding date on the side because I knew I would never last all day in heels. And so Barry decided that he would get wedding trainers too, and they even matched.

No cider

This grumpy looking picture might seem like slightly odd choice but it reminds me of a funny moment on our honeymoon. We went on another American road trip for our honeymoon from Boston to Vermont, up state New York, Philadelphia, down the coast to Maryland and finally to Washington. A lot of our destinations were chosen because they had appeared on the TV show Man v. Food and food and drink played a big part in our whole trip. This picture was taken outside a cider mill in Vermont. The sad faces were because we didn’t realise until we got there that in America cider is simply pressed apple juice – if you want the boozy kind then you need to look for hard cider. We soon cheered up though because they were selling fresh doughnuts and we got some amazing maple syrup there too.

Toby tunnel

I had to include a picture of Toby in these photos that make me happy and it was almost impossible to choose just one. In the end I decided to go for a recent one showing off his fantastic cheeky grin, and lovely dimples.

Brand new Gabe

Lastly then is a picture of the newest addition to our family. This photograph of Gabe and me was taken literally seconds after he was born. At this point we were still connected by the umbilical cord and I couldn’t believe he was actually there. I don’t have any photos of Toby until after we were both dressed and cleaned up but because we were at home when Gabe was born I made sure Barry was ready with the camera as soon as he was born.

OK, so the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that there are actually nine photographs and not eight but I just couldn’t decide which one to leave out! If you’d like to share your eight (or nine!) photos of happiness then consider yourself tagged!

Let's Talk Mommy

A baby in a digital age

A baby of a digital age
Tiny Toby

I first published this post on my other blog We Must Be Bold on 5th September. I know copying it over here is cheating a bit but it seemed relevant to what I’m starting with Toby Goes Bananas so I decided it was allowed! I haven’t edited the post at all, so here it is… 

…So, since last time I wrote our baby boy arrived in the world and unbelievably he is already 8 weeks old! In a way it’s flown by but equally it’s hard to remember what life was like before he turned up. He’s amazing and he makes me smile every day but they weren’t kidding when they said being a parent is hard. Looking after a newborn baby is singularly the hardest, most frustrating and stressful thing I have ever done. I think I have probably cried more in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 8 years. I might have read a dozen parenting books, gone to all the antenatal classes and listened to advice from everyone who gave it but nothing prepared me for the sleep deprivation, the worry (What’s wrong with him? Am I doing it right? Why is breastfeeding so bloody painful?) and sheer amount of effort that a newborn baby needs. The health visitor said to me the other day ‘everyone loves their baby but it can take a while before you actually like them’ and I reckon she’s right. Apart from looking at his beautiful face and wondering how we managed to create this tiny, perfect human there is very little reward in looking after a new baby. You feed them, change them, hold them, sing to them, rock them, feed them and change them some more, and in the beginning the best you can hope for is a baby that isn’t crying! But already our little one is starting to smile, starting to really look at you when you’re talking to him or feeding him and it’s starting to feel like a real relationship. I can’t wait to see him continue to grow and develop and turn into a wonderful, walking, talking little boy.

Which sort of brings me to the point of this blog. Watching a baby grow and develop is amazing – I’m so proud of my little boy when he does something new, or just looks particularly cute, and I want a record of that. So I take pictures and I post them online with little updates about today’s progress. I do this for me and for my husband but also for our baby’s grandparents who all live over 300 miles away and don’t get to see him that often. And I admit it’s also just to show off a bit to all my friends – ‘look at this tiny human that we made, isn’t he amazing!’. But I’ve seen a few different people mention recently that there is perhaps something wrong with filling the Internet with photos and information about our children – are we robbing them of the option of privacy in the future? I do think a bit about what I’m doing when I post yet another photo online…but while our little one is still a baby I don’t think I’m really doing any harm. I don’t think I would be bothered if there were baby photos of me online – photos of my dodgy perm and massive glasses when I was 13 might be a different matter and by the time my son gets to that I’d age I’d like to think I’ll give him the final say about what, if anything, I post about him on the Internet. There’s no question that this issue is something we should consider in this new digital age – it certainly isn’t something our parents had to think about. But are we creating a massive problem for the future privacy of our children? I’m not sure…