Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thanks for that, Google...


So from time to time I will look at my keywords - words that are used in Google search engines to drag people here. And sometimes I am surprised by the keywords people use and sometimes it seems obvious.

And then there was today. 

When I saw "fat mother and baby" as a keyword. Um, yeah, thanks Google! I'm pleased that you saw fit to direct someone here who used that as their keyword. I didn't realise the Internet could be so un-subtle. 

Looks like it's time for the Special K diet* then, eh? 

*Um, please...not in a million years or if you paid me a million pounds.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Fine Vintage...


A conversation with B as I was looking up dolls houses (homes?) from the 60s and 70s:

Me: "I love vintage toys."
B: "What do you mean by vintage toys?"
Me: "Dolls houses from the 60s and 70s."
B: "But modern toys are newer."
Me: "Um yeah, but they break so easily. Nothing is designed for quality any more and everything's made out of plastic, I hate plastic."

Do you agree with me or B? And why am I such an old soul? I crave those days where children dressed as children, where toys were small collections, where things were truly made with love and attention to detail.

These days everything is pumped out a factory, carelessly, and to make a profit. I am not against making a profit nor am I against toy franchises but I miss the old ways. I miss old fashioned values of entertainment being something totally different than it is today.

Don't get me wrong; whip eBay away from me and I'd feel like a limb was missing - although it's likely I would track down various vintage toy shops and shop there. When we were young things me and my sister used to love playing 'dress up' at Rusty Zip in Edinburgh - an awesome vintage shop with gear from every decade you can imagine.

And I don't want these things to be pretentious or arty farty - I just love the look and feel of bygone toys. Maybe it's the little white crib I used to play with at my Grans, or the various boot sales we'd trek too and pick up little wonders at; a small blue radio from the 70s, a ceramic elephant as a gift for my Mum from goodness knows what era and various baby dolls with scary make-up.

I've never wanted to follow what others do, I've always wanted something different that represents more than a fad or TV show as a toy for Roman and I love the idea of memories and love stored inside some sweet little toys from various dreamy eras.

I just hope they're not lead painted dreamy eras ;).

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Everything is overwhelming me right now.

I open up web-pages of other photographers and panic washes over me. You'll never be where they're at. You'll never get close.

I never pretend to be anything more than a keen amateur, but I do want to be more than this. One day. I'm still learning right now and would prefer to give myself at my happiest - and right now I couldn't produce photographs that make me feel like a professional. I wouldn't be happy going to bed at night knowing that.

I need to be professional, but not perfect and it's drawing a line to separate the two. That's the hardest bit. I always think perfect is professional and that professional is perfect. How wrong I am for thinking that way.

And yes, I'm right. I will never be where these other people are at because they are at different stages to me - I can never experience their learning curves and I can never have their lessons learned. I can only have my own. And I will get close. I'm already where I wanted to be; taking pictures of my son and enjoying doing that. 

I suppose I lack the confidence from time to time because I don't know anyone who can give me feedback so I have to decide if it's the photograph I was going for, if I'm happy with it. And 8 times out of 10 I always think to myself; I could have done so much better.

It's always the case. 

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Monday, 26 September 2011

Pre-Menstrual or Pre-Menopausal?

I know that's a weird title and I'm also aware it's a little personal but quite frankly my dears, I don't give a damn.

When I was 21 I was greeted with some pre-menopausal symptoms; night sweats, annoyed at everything, emotional at everything (the way you are when in the first trimester) and some other unwanted symptoms I won't get into but let's just say I invested in wax for my upper lip and chin (dee-gust-ing!). 

After a year of no menstruating and a barrel load of these symptoms I figured I'd given my body long enough to 'kick back' into action so off to the doctors I went - yes, I regularly do this, just to make sure my body won't betray me and start behaving itself. 

My doctor pretty much instructed me that I was presenting with pre-menopausal symptoms. Either that or I had Poly-cystic ovaries (PCOS) which, to be honest, didn't sound any more appealing than a menopause. 

Several blood tests and two ultrasounds later I was given a clean bill of health, my cycle kicked back in and everything was tickety-boo again. Blood tests didn't reveal anything sinister and the scan had promised me a most healthy uterus. And it must be true because by the next year I was pregnant and gave birth.

Yet, nearly three years later, I am back to where I started with all the same symptoms. Except they're more severe. More intense. More of a slap in the face because now I realise what this could mean.

I have health problems by the barrel load right now so this isn't really a surprise, I saw it coming and could have predicted it when I was 15. But still, it does scare me.

So am I pre-menopausal? Or am I perfectly (beautifully) average?

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Photo Geek Edition: A new lens.


LensEF 75-300 f/4-5.6 III (telephoto zoom)

Good points: Metal ring at the front which allows you to focus in sharply. It also has an Auto Focus (AF) option and Manual Focus (MF). Currently I'm using AF as I find MF is leaving the pics a little blurred. I love this lens for long distance and action shots. Beautiful results!

Bad points: MF is a little difficult for me right now - I just need more practice and once mastered I'm sure everything will be hunky dory. Not good for close-ups as it will only come up super magnified ;) - but this isn't a lens intended for close-ups.

Why you should buy it: If you're looking to get a basic telephoto lens, this is a great starter option. I have no need to get anything more than this right now so I'll stick with it until I want to upgrade. You will get beautiful results with this lens on long distance shots. Oh yes and remember you're probably about a million miles away from your subject - you won't bump them with the lens ;).

For: Any Canon camera that will fit an EF lens. Or any other camera that has the right adapter to fit an EF lens.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dear Mothers/Fathers/Parents/Carers et al,

Try not to worry if your baby spends the day dressed in a babygro (onesie.) I used to fret about this, that my son didn't look "properly dressed." But who cares? Several months down the line I don't. And I wish I'd done it more often. 

Don't be too quick to wish their babyhood away - savour each phase before they hit the next. Smile when they learn to crawl, laugh and cheer with them when they begin to pull themselves up onto the furniture and do you know what? It's okay to shed a little tear when they begin to walk, not least because they will drive you crazy with how much more they can do!

Let them feed themselves - at least once in their babyhood. It will be very, very messy (and your OCD-meter might go off the charts with the  mess) but it is also very, very good for them.

Bath time is a baby's playground. It will cause you to go into complete melt down mode as they go after everything at their eye level...just baby proof the bath and enjoy bath time.

Have at least one 'run and grab camera' moments before you help them out of a tricky position they've got themselves into ;).

Enjoy the babyhood. The chubby cheeks. The blue eyes. The soul-searching looks they will give you. Even those late night snuggles.

Play with hats often. They might begin to hate wearing hats.

Let Granny get a look-in. Even if you have to squash any paranoid thoughts. Unless she's a reckless child carer she will bring a calm to your new motherhood that you can't culture until you've been there and done the whole hog of motherhood. 

Indulge their cheeky tendencies every now and then. And try to find new ways of saying 'no' without actually saying no ;).

Also, buy the best camera your budget will stretch too. These memories and moments are precious and are worth capturing so you can have them in your family for generations to come.

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Monday, 19 September 2011

Becoming a Boy.


My little teddy bear is becoming his own person.

Growing, changing and doing something new at least every day. Of course becoming quite cheeky in the process, but I am loving it. I know babies are born each minute of every day but somehow I feel like a miracle happened to my family. 

Update for my Mum and any other family members:

Words he can say

Ro Ro
Nana (banana)
Yo-yo (yoghurt)
Cous cous
What? (sounds like Whaaat?)
Pooh (for Winnie the Pooh toy)
Baby (whilst pointing to my stomach area...this is freaky as I'm not preggers and I hope he's not psychic!)
Whee (when being pushed down slopes in his buggy.)

...loads of others but I can't recall them right now!


Quack quack
There you go
Thank you
Yes please
Awww, baby (while patting a soft toy on the bum like I do with him.)

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Onto the Weekend.


What plans do you have for the weekend?

I think I will buy myself a nice big bag of prawn cocktail crisps (fake Skips) and grudgingly share them with my family, watch this little man head butt everything in sight and spend time watching the rain streak my window.

Our two days of September Summer faded in Scotland and now it's back to cosy jumpers, dreaming of hot chocolate (I have been 'off' chocolate for months now, can you believe?) and dreaming of sweet little newborns as my 19 month old drives me crazy all weekend! 

Um, well, okay...looks like he can stay for being so damn cute.

(Sorry, Americans, but 'damn' isn't a bad word at all in the UK so I'm going to keep using it.)

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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Baby Proofing.

Before I begin let me just post this picture and draw on it's comparisons:

TWINS! 25 years apart. And well, not really twins as I'm his mother and he's my son...but you get the jist of it ;).

So... the other day B  'baby proofed' the living room. I was asleep at the time this happened because I was still recovering from the time he was sick - when he gets sick, I follow suit, but not because I contract whatever he body can't cope with the sheer amount of energy that is required in looking after a toddler and a home full time. Yes, I'm aware many people do this parenting gig on their own and full time but I am also full time sick. And as such, that's my life and my set up. My body is like an elastic band - push it too far and it will break. 

Back to this baby proofing deal. Now, usually I'm sure a lot of people would be over joyed their spouse had been so ingenious as to baby proof their home. In fact they'd probably be downright shocked and/or impressed. 

Me? I'm a little startled by Bryan's methods.

Our problem is that Roman has a little problem with ownership - he thinks everything is his to destroy or throw to the floor to watch what happens to it. This really bugs me, even though I never let it show (first rule of parenting: don't show your kids your weak spots as they'll only exploit them at a later date.) So baby/toddler proofing was the next sensible and ultimately inevitable step...

For me I prepared by buying corner protectors and imaging things being in little neat boxes; tidy and organised, the opposite of my husband who works in a more haphazard fashion. I also have to tell you that this is the man who at 22 said we could "just keep the baby in the bath and throw a towel over them and then scoot them down when they pee or poo." This was his solution to not buying nappies - even though he is a disposable nappy advocate these days and I am very much a cloth advocate. 

So imagine, if you will, what his baby proofing might consist of and try to picture this scene:

I come into the living room and the insides of the book shelf have disappeared. 

No books, no blooming shelves. Nothing. 

Our bookshelf has been gutted. 

Okay, let's move on...this might get better. I also notice that everything that was under the coffee table is no longer there. I begin to panic. What's he done with it all? I notice that a suit case is blocking the entrance to one side of our corner unit sofa - Roman loves to go behind there and cause mischief. I look behind the suitcase and what do I see?

The contents of the bookshelf and coffee table. All lumped into one pile, looks like it's just been thrown into a heap. 

On the other end of the corner unit is a punch bag blocking that entrance. Roman runs up to, huffing and puffing and proceeds to smash his tiny fists on it as though he's attacking someone.

Bryan, what have you been teaching him while I sleep?

The 'guts' of the bookshelf have never been returned, they just lie dormant  in that same heap. And the shelves? They were completely out of view, tucked away nicely in Bryan's gym equipment cupboard.

Oh least if they're out of sight, they're out of mind - right?

So I ask you, Ms/Mrs/Mr Reader: Do I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or am I completely justified to feel trapped under the chaos?

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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A new name. No new photographs. And an old/new blog.

Sorry peeps, no photo's to go with this post...

Okay...unless you like praying babies. I promise he just started doing that all of his own accord and we didn't make him drink any special Kool Aid or use one of our many brainwashing techniques from our arsenal of trickery.

Anyway...blogging. It's a bit of an art form this writing gig, isn't it? I mean sure, any one can have a blog but it takes someone special to enthral an audience, understand who they're speaking too (for me it's going to be Mamas who're anywhere between 20-35 and Grannies who have Grandson's called Roman) and to have fun while they're writing.

A few days ago I decided to delete this blog. But then I realised* (after reading a few crap blogs); "What am I doing?" and retrieved it out of the Blogger recycle bin. Not that they have a recycle bin, but I'm sure you're still with me on this...

My purpose still remains the same. Be as sarcastic as ever, report back on the goings on of my life in the least dull manner I can muster and take plenty of photographs in the process. Oh and also remain weird and fail miserably at being a Molly Mormon. Which suits me just fine as it suits you, my lovely captive audience because you're all a little different in a very good way. In fact I'm sure if we lived closer and I wasn't such a rubbish friend that we'd be the best of friends.

And if you're not the above audience then I can only assume you're reading this because you're nosey and you followed a link or an image from somewhere. That's okay. I'd probably admire your candour in real life and you're welcome to the party, too.

Oh and if you were here previously you'd also realise that the outdated name of "Three Five Six" is gone. To be honest I'm not sure why I had it set as that in the first place... I mean I know this was supposed to be a behind-the-scenes blog following on from my 365 Project but the name just sucks. But it's okay, we live and learn after all. 

I have kept the URL to keep things simple - after all I'd lose my fan club if I wiped this blog, who wants that?  

I've now re-branded and we're now going to be called "Chasing Roman." It's a name that will never go out of date. I will forever be Chasing Roman from his toddler days right through to his teens (and beyond?).

Anyway, enjoy the changes! Enjoy my posts! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

*There also may have been an uprising on Facebook for the return of the blog. Rather than face the wrath of the potential fall out that would be deletion of this blog, I brought it back to life. 

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Growing and growing. And growing.


Parenting: going by in a blur. 

I don't know where 18, nearly 19, months have gone. I would have 10 children if they could all be like this. But that's not reality. The reality is that everything is a gamble and that having babies is a gamble. 

For me that gamble is knowing I could make myself more sick, perhaps totally crippled and totally confined to bed/my house forever more. That's a daunting and scary thought. As it stands I will never be that mother who pushes her child in a swing at the park. Meanwhile life moves on for others and Roman gets bigger - and smarter - by the minute.

He is figuring out this World around him without my help, aided completely by his curiosity and helped by my inability to move fast and keep up with every leap, bound and stride he takes.

The mimicking has reached a new height. He copes e v e r y t h i n g I do. He wants to be in my business constantly. And has no regard for doing it to my standards - he just wants to learn, he just wants to be part of all the excitement and be wherever there is something going on.

When my Mum told me that I shouldn't be so quick to have him walking, she was spot on. But of course, as children do, I didn't take it seriously. I was in a flap about him not walking so much that I got over excited when he did start walking...and now...well now I find myself trying to claw back the babyhood a little. Stay a little bit tiny, for now, stay in my arms and on my lap. But he is too quick, too fast and already has me beat on physical strength. 

On top of this, he is asserting his independence on a daily basis by running behind the couch, his new trick of opening the door, brushing his hair and teeth, dressing and undressing himself and sitting on the toilet seat - where did my baby go? And when did the big boy move in?

He doesn't particularly like TV - and, well, we don't own a TV, but he does get to watch some Arthur or Mr Bloom when I'm struggling during the day -, but worships his book collection. He loves to take baths, loves his ducks in the bath and is growing tired of water being dumped on his head and falling into his eyes.

We never did follow Baby Lead Weaning (smack on the wrist because we started him on food at 4 months when I felt under pressure for him to put on weight and didn't want to move him onto formula) so on Sunday I handed him the spoon and let him get to work on a yoghurt that he made short work of...

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I wasn't going to mention this at all but I am getting a new camera. And I am excited. 

I had a plan which involved not mentioning it to anyone and dazzling everyone with the amazing photo's I'm going to take...but the truth is simple and it's this; no matter how great my camera, my lenses, lighting and any other equipment - I need to stay true to that original fire in my belly feeling. I need to keep my passion going and not be trampled down by all these 'rules' that photographers seem to follow. After all a majority of my 365 photos were taken on a mobile phone and I didn't let it stop me back then. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

"That's Life" Magazine - How to upset a huge community of people in one swoop.

When I saw a link posted on the Analytical Armadillo's Facebook page I felt instantly sick. 

That's Life! magazine had published a headline on their front page entitled; Breastfeeding left me infertile.

It's not often - if at all - I dabble in taking sides, but when it comes to breastfeeding my stance is pretty obvious; I have been feeding for 18 months, nearly 19, and because it's so very normal to me and my family I take offence when magazines publish inaccurate, irresponsible and misleading headlines.

People struggle enough as it is with breastfeeding, so they don't need more strife heaped on top of them from a great height. Not only that but there are plenty of future breast feeders and their support groups potentially eyeing up these headlines in the supermarket - and hell, even people who have breast fed and their support groups who might read it, panic and start lecturing everyone on how breast feeding leads to infertility. 

This is the magazine in question. I mean, seriously? And have you seen the other headlines on there - it reads like The National Enquirer. 

I have also heard reports that the Mum who gave the story (Nina, as named in the article) isn't best pleased about how the editors of That's Life! have twisted everything she said. To me, upon reading the story, it just doesn't add up at all.

I have sent my comments to That's Life! and they have assured me that I can vet their edited version of my comments - personally I'd like to see the article in full before it goes to print but I haven't heard anything back on that. Fingers crossed that they don't post a full scale "Breast V Bottle" debate as that wasn't the issue in the first place - and I haven't taken on that angle, either. 

Let's address the fact of a British publication putting blatant lies on their front cover - let them do a full retraction of the story (which they're still pimping on their Facebook page) and dedicate several pages to apologising for putting so many people down, creating panic and mass scaremongering.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Evolution of Camera and Photography


Loved this. It's a bit of a scroll task, but it's so worth it. <3

Infographic: Evolution of Camera and Photography by  Designzzz
Evolution of Camera and Photography

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Greatest Speech Ever Made

This video (below) was posted on my Facebook wall last night, sent by a friend who knows me - and in turn knew I would appreciate this.

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Maybe I'm an old hippy at heart, after all, but I really believe all of the above. I'm going to work harder at being a better human - because no matter how small or unimportant you feel, it really is true that one person and one voice can make all the difference in the World.