I know I’m very lucky that my photography has brought me some exciting work and travel opportunities. Honestly though, I’m just a big slipper wearing, tea sipping, under blanket snuggling home body. I’m really trying to go with the flow, as I can as I feel the opportunities won’t wait around forever, however finding the right balance between work and motherhood is not easy. During September I was away from home quite a bit and I also accepted some jobs that took me so far out of my comfort zone that I felt, well, uncomfortable.
This has knocked my confidence a little and left me doubting whether I’m doing the right thing, or pushing myself too hard. Although I truly believe that we have to leave the comfort zone in order to learn and to grow, I guess I’m struggling to find the right balance. Photography was a hobby, which became a passion, which in turn became a career, and where it’ll take me next I never seem to know! I’m constantly surprised by the things I find myself photographing, and as much as I am relishing the opportunities, I’m fearful of losing my confidence and therefore my passion.
I guess it’s a fact of life for most of us. It always a juggling act and getting comfortable in any sphere whether it be work or relationships can inevitably lead to stagnation. I do want to grow, and to learn as a photographer (and without a doubt whenever I take on a job that I find hard I learn so much) but this isn’t just about me. I have two small children, and I don’t want to miss too much of these precious years.
So the balancing act goes on for us all… sometimes we nail it, and other times the scales tip and we are left clinging on by our finger nails. Having said this after a quiet weekend I feel much more invigorated and inspired. I also feel quite a sense of achievement, I survived!
Despite a little too much at once, September was a month of opportunities and I was involved in some very exciting things. First was the Notting Hill Workshop. Organised by Jessica Bride, along with Mendy Waites, Siobhan Fergusan and Joy the Baker (because that’s how she’s always known!) we held a weekend of photowalks, food styling and photography classes in the heart of pretty city London. Attendees flew in from as far afield as New York, Seattle, Ireland, and Italy and it was a really fabulous weekend that I was very honoured to be involved with.
I was also very lucky to visit Amsterdam in September, with my good friend and previous travelling companion Julia Smith. Last time we travelled together (here) we had three little ones between us, so it was a huge treat to have grown up company, and be able to focus on photography and exploring this wonderful city.
The Hoxton hotel located in the heart of the city’s beautiful canal district very kindly hosted our stay. The hotel is a perfect example mid century chic, full of enviable furniture and quirky nick-nacks. The bar and dining area has a lovely relaxed vibe, the menu is great and the hotel staff are super friendly and helpful. It was the perfect base from which to stroll these beautiful streets, where Summer still seemed to be in full swing the weekend we were there!
Unfortunately for me I had camera troubles whilst away. My shutter froze and although it was an easy fix once I got home I didn’t know how to sort it whilst we were away. I snapped away pretty happily on my iPhone but I must say I really missed my camera, especially in the bright sunshine. At least I was safe in the knowledge that my camera hadn’t been damaged due to a knock, and had been well protected in my Grafea camera bag. It was the first time I’d used this bag and I was really pleased with it, it’s a great size and has handy pockets for other bits and bobs.
Here’s just a few more images I took on the first afternoon before my camera stopped working!
Being away from home makes me appreciate the return all the more, and there is nothing better than getting back to my home and to the boys. We have a short trip away as a family planned this month, and other than than I’m looking forward to a slightly slower paced, cosy month (pass the blanket and slippers :))
I just wanted to mention these gorgeous super-soft pyjamas which Snork Copenhagen very kindly sent to the boys. If you’re anything like me and love to feel the kids all soft and cuddly, and freshly washed in their pjs, then these are just perfect. You may have seen my youngest pop up in his minty green pair before here and on Instagram, and all the colours are beautiful. And fabulously photogenic, which is never a bad thing 🙂
Another favourite from September are these ethically produced dolls from Cuddle and Kind. They are hand knitted to heir loom quality by artisans in Peru, and for each purchase 10 meals are donated to hungry children. There are lots of characters to choose from and my kids absolutely love them. They have played with them loads and take them to bed each night as they are really soft and cuddly. I often struggle to know what to give young children for birthdays and Christmas gifts, as we all seem to have so much of everything, so I really like the idea of finding an ethical gift that is probably a bit different to anything else they will have.
I wish you all a wonderful new month!
Beautiful blog! I’m curious about the Notting Hill workshop you mentioned. Will there be more in the future? Is there a way I could be put on an info list for them? Any further info on that would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much Lauren! There may well be other ones but nothing is planned as yet. The best way to keep informed off future dates is to pop your email address in my sidebar to subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll make sure I let you know of anything coming up! xx
Sounds like a great september Hannah , & its all about balance I agree ! Still struggling myself but it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and give that confidence a bust ! You are doing great mama !
Thank you lovely, sometimes the balance seems all wrong doesn’t it? I guess it can always be readjusted though 🙂 xx
Hello dear, I love your beautiful Inspiration of Amsterdam..such a pretty town. And your two boys are the sweetest 💙. Many greetings Daniela 😚
Thank you so much Daniela! Have a lovely weekend too with your girls xx
Always enjoy reading your posts Hannah… I can feel you about comfort zone, I have the same…but is important to go out and try new possibilites. And your boys are just adorable 😍
Thank you my dear Ania, so kind of you to read. You’re right, better to try and fail I guess! Have a lovely weekend xx
So nice to see your pictures from Amsterdam and of the boys they have the loveliest of smiles. A cosy October sounds lovely wishing you a great month Elizabeth x
Thank you Elizabeth, wishing you a very lovely month too! xx
Gorgeous pictures from Amsterdam, makes me want to rush off there straight away! Really interesting reading too, don’t think you will lose your mojo just yet xx
Thank you, it was so lovely to be back there. I’d honestly forgotten how completely beautiful it is! Fingers crossed the mojo hangs in there 🙂 xxx
Gorgeous pictures from your stay in Amsterdam Hannah ! It’s really so hard, to find the balance, how much should a mother of young children work ? I had great difficulty to be away from my two when they were younger, I felt it was a terrible mistake for me , working full time. Looking back at those years now, I will never ever regret spending more time being a mum than a working girl . I’m sure you already have a fine balance Hannah, and your inner voice will tell you , when it is too much ….
Thank you so much for your lovely comment Britt. It’s such a hard thing to know isn’t it, and so personal to each mother and situation. I love that my kids see me working and being passionate about what I do, but at times recently I do feel like the balance has been wrong. I guess all we can do is keep trying! Have a lovely weekend my dear xx
I love these pictures of your two gorgeous boys Hannah – such natural, happy smiles! September was busy for you & I admire the juggling act you & all young mums seem to manage these days – it’s not easy but as I always tell my daughter when she’s struggling with that balance – happy, well adjusted children are the perfect indication that you’re doing something right! Love Kim xxx
Thank you so much Kim, that’s a great reminder. The kids are certainly doing just fine so I guess I should take heart from that 🙂 I hope you and your family are all ok and your daughter is well now. Lots of love xx
I’m always thankful when a mum I admire is brave and talks about the juggling act. We are so hard on ourselves and everyone else seems to have it all under control, we can end up feeling spent and the only one. I’ve found building a business around a family is hard work and I think last year has taught me that anything worth doing costs me somehow. Sometimes it’s not doing my business as well as I’d like, saying no to great opportunities or leaving my boys for a few days. I feel like as long as my home and family weigh heavier in my heart then I’ll not go too far the other way, and a little bit of time away now and then is good. I hope the family time brings a little normality and steadiness and then you’ll be ready for the next busy spell when it comes xx Thank you for sharing and being such a genuinely lovely person xx
I can’t thank you enough for this lovely thoughtful comment, honestly it made my day. Such good advise, and it is always lovely to know others are in the same boat. You are doing amazing things and looking after your four boys, i admire that so much! Thank you Rhoda, have a great weekend xx
Oh Hannah! This hit a nerve! I’m so there right now, finding the balance not balanced at all. I miss my little boy so much and pregnancy has me lusting after ‘home’. We all feel like this for sure. So pleased you have a nice quiet October ahead of you xxx
Aw Lauren it’s so hard when you are pregnant too and the nesting instinct is so strong. I honestly don’t know how you keep yup with everything. I’m very lucky to at least be working from home, how you manage your blog and instagram as well as work and motherhood I have no idea! Super woman! I hope you can hang in there and maternity leave will be upon you before you know it xxx
Ahh good for you on stepping out of your comfort zone. By doing so look at the amazing places it’s taking you. Regardless I think family life is always a balancing act, so don’t let this knock your confidence. Keep pushing forward, I can’t wait to see where it takes you xx
Thanks Claire, I think you’re right it’s a balancing act for everyone, and I’m sure parents have guilt whether they work or don’t! Thanks lovely, I’m really trying to go with the flow xx
What a month!! Hope things calm down soon enough, love the knitted dolls and Amsterdam. Well, obviously xx
Thanks Julia, it was definitely a highlight in a busy month! Loved it! xx
Ah Hannah. I so admire you stepping out of your comfort zone, though what you said about it being a balancing act and not wanting to miss out on precious times with your boys struck a chord with me. I feel the same with Oscar as you know, and struggle every day with being away from him at work. You’re doing brilliantly though and do not be so hard on yourself- be proud! Everything you do is for your family and remember that – it’s all for them and their present and future.
What a gorgeous month! Amsterdam looked so dreamy. Hope we get to catch up again soon lady xx
Thank you lovely lady, you’re very sweet. I don’t know how you do everything you do, you’re amazing and you always seem to be doing lovely things as a family as well. You seem to have a great balance, but I do know it’s something everyone struggles with. I think we will always feel guilty whatever we do! xx
So glad your camera was an easy fix in the end! It looked like such a lovely trip and yay to grown up conversation. I feel like you’ve said everything that has been on my mind recently, knocking my confidence but keeping yourself motivated! I’m also definitely looking forward to a slightly quieter month this month 🙂 xxx
Aw thanks Sally, it can be hard to keep going can’t it? Fingers crossed for some confidence boosting jobs this month all round xx
I’ve just properly taken the time to find and read your blog posts. I love your Instagram account already and have been meaning to read your posts for a while. Just wanted to say how much I admire your honesty and generosity in your writing. Sharing your tips for photography, as well as your struggles and triumphs is so refreshing and enjoyable to read. With two boys, older than yours now, and a career as an artist and actress, I know that the struggle of travel, personal development and adventure alongside properly being there for the boys as a nurturing mother is real. And I know that when I’m not working as I’d like to I’m frustrated, and when I am, I’m desperately missing home and my husband and boys (and Nancy and Ushi, my dog and cat – like you I’ve rebalanced the male/female ratio!). I could go on, but here’s perhaps not the place! Happy New Year and good luck with all the adventures to come. x
Hi Molly, thank you so much for your lovely comment! It really made me smile, and sounds like there is a lot of parallels in our lives. It is reassuring to know other people feel similar things. I found you on Instagram and I absolutely adore your work, your gallery is amazing! It seems Instagram has been suggesting you to me for a while on my explore page as many of your pictures are familiar. Very glad to have connected with you and I look forward to seeing more 🙂 I wish you all the best for this year xx
Thanks so much Hannah, such lovely and encouraging words. Nice to know social media has our best interests at heart sometimes! x