Use express service to make a personal art gallery

The advent of digital photography has meant many of us are more than snap happy with thousands of pictures taking up storage space on our smartphones but often very few of those make it past their virtual existence anymore.

We’re certainly guilty of this, frequently talking about doing something more with the lovely photos we’re lucky to have taken of our three minis that are stored somewhere on a device, backed up on an external hard drive box or floating in the cloud.

We’ve become better at ordering prints in recent months and the minis love going through them and talking about who is in them and what we were getting up to but, whilst these are suitable for photo albums or scrapbooks, our walls are in sore need of updating as our children age much quicker than the artwork representing them is updated.

So when Tesco got in touch asking us to try out their Same Day Canvas Express Service I jumped at the chance – “Order your gifts in the morning and collect after 3pm the same day!”

021

We chose one of the pictures Merika Green took of all three minis back in April in Moot Hall near Market Rasen (photos taken on a modern smartphone will be fine too) and did a quick bit of measuring to see what sort of size would fit one of our walls.

“Our gallery canvas prints are printed on Poly-Mix canvas material. To ensure you get the best quality, we use non- fading inks and hand stretch every canvas over a handcrafted wooden frame.”

The online ordering system is very easy to use and offers a range of sizes and shapes from 10×8″ (£28) up to 60×40″ (from £115).

After you choose your size you click on the Personalise button and upload your photograph.   You can then zoom in or out, rotate the image and move it about to sit exactly how you’d like it in the frame.  You can change the orientation of the canvas and choose from four different styles for the edging.  You can even add text in different fonts and colours before clicking on the Add to basket button to order your finalised artwork.

“When you order by noon, canvases including 12×10″, 16×12″, 20×10″, 20×16″, 20×20” and 30×20″ can be collected from store after 3pm! Larger canvas prints or orders shipped to home take approximately 8 days.”

The longest part of the process for us was choosing the photo and size but if you are more decisive than us (which wouldn’t be particularly difficult) then it will be even quicker for you.  But if you absolutely can’t decide on just one photo, then you could always make a collage or use the heart shape template designs instead.  And I love the store’s suggestion of scanning in your child’s own artwork to display in proper art gallery style.

IMG_2354

To find out if there’s a photo store near you pop your postcode in here:  Photo store locator

Sadly there isn’t one in Lincoln so we opted for delivery instead which is also quite speedy – an estimated two to three days, longer over weekends and Bank Holidays, I ordered over a weekend and received our 20×16″ in four days.

If you are as pleased with the quality of your final product as we are then you might want to consider not trying to get your little ones to pose with it for the sake of another photo.  Fortunately the canvas is quite sturdy and survived the experience but you’re probably all more sensible than that anyway…

Now the only thing stopping the photo taking “pride of place” in our home is Daddy Malpi getting his tool box out!

Click here to find out more about Tesco’s canvas printing.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

069A0820With the arrival of December the 1st hundreds of children will have been eagerly tearing open little cardboard doors anticipating the treat behind them whether sweet or otherwise.

Not so our mini ones however as they’re having to wait until Daddy Malpi comes back from watching the snooker in York with their Advent calendars in hand as a surprise gift on his return.

069A0834Our countdown to Christmas actually started very early this year however as the minis had the honour of being models for England’s Finest Photography and being the first to try out their seasonal set for 2018.

It was our first visit to the Grantham studio but I have a feeling it won’t be our last.

Chris and Michelle were lovely and patient with all three of our minis – and quick thinking when the need arose! – making sure the experience was enjoyable for them.

Based in The Old Malthouse, the photographers benefit from a number of rooms meaning that not only is there a seasonal studio, there’s also a permanent magical fairyland scene (which is given a layer of frost for fairies visiting during the winter) and a permanent newborn studio that even has a playroom nearby to keep older siblings entertained.

069A0816On December 7th and 8th, children visiting the Lincolnshire Santa set will not only have the opportunity to have their photos taken but they’ll also have the chance to meet the man in red himself at the same time.  If you can’t make those two days or your minis are already handing over their wish lists to Father Christmas elsewhere, then Christmas mini sessions are also available on other dates.  Winter fairy shoots are available to book until February.

For further information visit www.efpics.co.uk, call 01476 577798 or email studio@efpics.co.uk

069A0871

How do you celebrate Advent?  Is your calendar full of chocolates or toys?  Do you treat your minis to 24 new books?  Or are you taking part in a reverse Advent calendar?  Let us know in the comments below.

Me Becoming Mum

 

Omne trium perfectum

#Blogtober18: Loving these right now

How could today’s #Blogtober18 prompt lead me to anything but the faces of these three?

Loving these three from way before they were born, right now and forever more.

010

And I’m also still loving these photos taken by the fabulous Merika Green back in April at Moot Hall near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire as part of a portfolio update for Faith’s agency Zebedee Management.

003

Undoubtedly skilled with a camera, she also managed to keep the three of them sat together happily – magic powers indeed!

022

#Blogtober18

 

Making the opportunity to be represented

Our gorgeous Faith is privileged to be represented by specialist talent agents Zebedee Management.  The amazing stories of Faith’s fellow models are usually the focus of the agency’s promotions but this weekend, as they celebrate 18 months of success, the spotlight is being shone behind the scenes on Zebedee’s inspirational directors, Zoe Proctor and Laura Johnson.  Here Zoe gives us an insight into their story so far…

ZM1Both Laura and I have a background in working with young people and adults with disabilities and additional needs and the media industry too.

Laura is a qualified social worker and mummy of a child model and I’m a qualified FE lecturer, specialising in teaching performing arts to people with disabilities, I have also worked as a model myself for over 20 years.

Laura and I came up with the idea for ZM on a winter walk on the beach. I remember being so frustrated at the lack of opportunities my very talented performers have.

It really was a lightbulb moment… we realised that if no one else is going to look to champion disability diversity in fashion and the media, and create opportunities for people with disabilities in this industry, then we will!

As directors we oversee the whole of the agency, from working with clients, booking artists and scouting for new talent, and working hard to get our name out there and ensuring the bookings are coming in for our talent.

We are a social enterprise, so another important part of our work is developing a community for our members, providing training and development opportunities and developing awareness campaigns.

Working with those who have disabilities means we have a responsibility to them beyond their bookings. We take extra time to work closely with clients, artists, parents, carers and service providers to build a transparent, trusting relationship and to manage the expectations of everyone involved. We put in a huge amount of time and energy into ensuring their talent is supported and protected throughout the casting and creative process. We attend shoots to alleviate anxiety, hold workshops to better understand vulnerabilities and strengths, build confidence and support the families with community social media groups.

ZM2We have a long way to go but our passion and drive has only grown and grown and to think we have helped some incredible people realise their dreams makes us so proud.

The support we have been receiving recently is wonderful too – Emma Gardner from ELVIS ad agency says: “ I want to talk about the unsung heroes, the two women that helped cast the recent models you have been seeing in some huge campaigns, two women that are doing brilliant work in driving real change behind the scenes.
Zoe and Laura founders of Zebedee Management, a specialist model and talent agency working with, and for, people with disabilities and difficulties in this brutal industry. With a unique and incredibly important USP, their clear company ethos is both impressive and humbling.”

Our models say:

“The experiences I’ve had from being a part of Zebedee have been life changing. They have given me not only a sense of belonging but also body empowerment and a better positive outlook on not only my looks but my opportunities in the future. I use a wheelchair and they do not see it as a problem but a part of who I am and they embrace it. Which has helped me embrace it too. It has completely changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us all. Thank you.”

“Gabriel has gained confidence in front of others. His concentration and listening skills have increased. He enjoys being in front of the cameras, but doesn’t just do his own thing now. He can follow direction with increased understanding and he is less dependent on us (parents).  As a family we are proud to be part of team Zebedee, we feel valued and very much that the team know us as a family.”

“Zebedee has given me purpose and self confidence to be who I am! I feel comfortable with myself and my disability which I saw as something that held me back, but not anymore, I can see a future for myself. I LOVE TEAM ZEBEDEE!! It couldn’t be run by two better people!”

 

We are now 18 months old and the company is still in its infancy but momentum is truly gathering, we have now had models booked for nearly all of the major high street brands, including the groundbreaking River Island campaign, Marks and Spencer’s, Mothercare and Matalan. We have had models featured in Hunger magazine by Rankin, walking in London Fashion Week, starring in several of the big soap dramas and loads more bookings by forward thinking companies.

We work tirelessly to make a positive change not just for our models lives but to a world wide audience in the hope we can breakdown barriers and see a more inclusive representation of differently abled people in the media and fashion worlds, to normalise what is possibly the last taboo.

Find out more at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk
Follow #teamzebedee on Instagram

Behind the Scars

A photographic project by Sophie Mayanne

Scars are very rarely made the focus of a camera lens, let alone in a positive light.

But one photographer aiming to adjust our gaze to these natural signs of healing is Sophie Mayanne.

Her Behind the Scars project aims to celebrate the beauty of these apparent flaws – “a badge of victory in a fight, recovery from an accident or illness, a long awaited ‘fix’ Behind the Scars is a celebration of beauty, of flaws, of battles won and obstacles overcome.  It is about survival, living beyond that and capturing the memories” – and to provide a platform for the stories that accompany them and the people they adorn.

And what stories she has uncovered!  A quick glance at her Instagram account and you are welcomed into worlds of treatment of congenital conditions, fighting life-threatening illnesses, suffering severe burns, overcoming issues with self-harm, recovering from traffic accidents, the results of acts of violence and even survival from a gas explosion.  Along with all their individual roads to self acceptance.

FaithSophieMayanne
Photo: Sophie Mayanne #BehindTheScars

We are honoured that, through her involvement with Zebedee Management, Faith has had the opportunity to take part in #behindthescars and her photograph and experiences featured alongside all these stunning stories.

The youngest person so far to take part in #behindthescars, this is what we wrote for her.

“Faith had open heart surgery when she was nine months old.  That part of her life story will be forever written on her skin by the keloid zipper scar that is still healing, even though she is now already one year old.

“When she was recovering in Glenfield Hospital, Mummy was speaking to one of the cardiac nurses about Faith being signed up by Zebedee Management, who asked if they would show her scar.

“#BehindTheScars means we can now tell her that they’re not just showing it, but celebrating it.  Celebrating it as a testament to that nurse’s loving care, and the immense skills of her colleagues, and Faith’s strength and determination.

“It represents all of the extra love and joy her brother, sister, Mummy and Daddy will experience by having her in their lives for longer.

“It is beautiful, because she is beautiful.

“Currently we’d like it to just finish healing so she can get back to splashing in the bath, and on with the next stage of her development.  In time it might help her connect with people who have had similar experiences to her – in the same way her Down’s Syndrome has led us to discover a fabulous community offering a very warm, friendly welcome.

“But right now, Faith just thinks it’s a bit itchy.”

Visit Sophie’s website at http://sophie-mayanne.com/ and her Instagram account at www.instagram.com/sophiemayanne/ 

Daddy Malpi has a scar on his hand from a knife cut that happened when he was working as a butcher whilst studying at university.  Mummy has a scar under her chin when she slipped and fell in one of her primary school classrooms, one on the back of one hand where some medication burnt her skin and a c-section scar from the emergency procedure that welcomed our eldest mini into the world.

What part of your story is written on your skin?

Stepping into the spotlight

In the spring of 2017, at just a few months old, Faith was signed by new talent agency Zebedee Management.

As well as obviously having impeccable taste, the two driving forces behind the company – Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor – are truly inspirational.  Building a business from scratch in a notoriously difficult industry, with the aim to increase the representation of people with disabilities in fashion and the media, in just their first year they have already helped their talent work with such household names as Disney, the BBC, River Island, Matalan and Mothercare.

DSC_6805
Photos by Chris Waud, Go!Photo

Being such a mini model, Faith requires regular updates to her portfolio to capture how quickly she’s growing and changing.  She missed the last regional group photoshoot when her heart operation was suddenly brought forward so we were really grateful when Lincolnshire photographer Chris Waud offered Zebedee models the chance for a portfolio update in his Market Rasen studio.

As you can see, she had a great time and Chris managed to capture a cheeky glint in her eye too.

He also won over Faith’s big brother and sister who never need much encouragement to perform for the lens and wanted to get in on the act too.

I know I’m slightly biased but I think they all scrub up rather nicely!

DSC_6977

To book a Zebedee model or find out more about who they represent, visit the agency’s website at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk and follow #teamzebedee on Instagram.  

Florals, nauticals and frayed threads – it’s Lincoln Fashion Week 2017

SW_IMG_5101
Photo: Stuart Wilde Photography Ltd on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week

If you’ve spotted live mannequins in the city’s shop windows, had an exclusive event tote bag thrust into your hands in the High Street or seen demonstrations of the latest hairstyles all the cool kids are choosing to display then you’ll know this week is Lincoln Fashion Week 2017 (April 28 – May 5).

Lincoln’s fashionistas were encouraged to sign up to sashay down the various catwalks showing off the best of what the city has to offer in this season’s styles and the mini ones were very keen to answer the call.

I’m sure I’m not the only mummy who’s never quite sure how their children are going to behave in certain situations but both Luke and Willow enjoyed taking part last year (Model behaviour) so much that I thought it was definitely worth giving it a go.

This year the venue for the Children’s Fashion Event was Debenhams in the St Mark’s Shopping Centre, the minis took part in the Mothercare section of the show and both Faith and mummy made our catwalk debuts.  Photographer Stuart Wilde was on hand on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week to capture all the models strutting their stuff and took a particularly stunning one of Willow clearly enjoying being the centre of attention.

The Lincoln Mothercare staff didn’t get to meet the minis beforehand but made excellent selections for them.  Willow is a fan of bunny rabbits and liked spotting the ones peeking out from behind the flowers of the yellow floral prom dress and, with its full skirt and one of the neck bows peeping out of the side of the cute cardigan it was paired with, her outfit’s 1950s’ vibe pleased this mummy.

Luke is very slim and last year paperclips were deployed to prevent the trousers he was modelling falling around his ankles and disrupting his enthusiastic posing.  This year I’d remembered to bring safety pins with me but they were made redundant by the bibshorts that meant his shoulders took the strain.  Part of a set that included a stripy t-shirt (children always seem to look good in stripes, don’t they?), the outfit is part of the retailer’s Beside the Sea range and very redolent of summer.

Faith’s floral dress with yellow highlights matched her siblings outfits tonally and, quite used to the adoration a newborn attracts, took the whole proceedings in her stride (or in mummy’s stride anyway as she was obviously being carried).  What a good looking family we’d be if I could match their clothes so well each day?!  It would never work of course seeing  as Willow’s “age-appropriate behaviour” currently leaves her diametrically opposed to almost everything I suggest and we don’t usually make it through a day without at least one person needing a change of clothes at some point.

Mummy had a little wobble when first trying on the jeans she was allocated.  Clearly three months hasn’t been long enough to loose any baby weight (or four years to be more accurate seeing as she never lost it after having Luke let alone Willow or Faith) and she probably shouldn’t have had three slices of cake for lunch before heading to the show (in her defence it was very nice cake and oh my goodness doesn’t breastfeeding make you hungry?).

Fortunately I finally realised that the denim part was meant to stay below the waist and there was a stretchy bit that went over the “bump” (I mainly wore leggings during pregnancy so lacked jeans experience) and felt very hip and trendy at least temporarily due to their fashionable frayed knees.  The jeans were teamed with a striped blue nursing top (hopefully adults look good in stripes too) which was very comfortable and flattering and seemed to provide easy access (although I didn’t try it out in the middle of the catwalk!) and I’m quite tempted to treat myself to one if only the weather would stay consistently nice enough to prompt me to.

We only had the one outfit this year which was quite enough for daddy and mummy Malpi who were doing most of the undressing and dressing but as Luke left the catwalk saying “I want to do it again” we better make sure we sign up to Lincoln Fashion Week 2018 as soon as we can.  And, who knows, the minis might even get to play at hiding in the lockers in the changing room again because that seemed to be great fun too!

What we wore:
Luke – Bibshorts and T-Shirt Set
Willow – Yellow Floral Prom Dress and White Cardigan
Faith – Floral Dress and Knickers Set and White Purl Knit Cardigan
Mummy – Frayed Ribbed Knee Over the Bump Skinny Maternity Jeans and Striped Space Dye Wrap Front Nursing Top

Find more outfits at www.mothercare.com

Find out more about Lincoln Fashion Week via its Facebook page.