Nikon D3200

I’m currently in the process of uploading an entire archive of photos (2003 – today) to my SmugMug account It’s boring, a long job but an absolutely necessary one if I want to keep a copy of all my digital images. I read on Facebook recently of a friend who lost all of her photos and was unable to get them back. Hard drives break and the rule of thumb is to have three copies of each image in three separate places. Now I have two copies I feel a little more secure.

I am also about to invest in a new camera which is very exciting and also very daunting, which one do I go for? Do I save a little bit longer and get a better one or opt for the one within my budget now?

I’ve been taking photographs since I was a teenager, my first were developed from film which was sent off in the post and returned with a new reel of film. In those days you took photos sparingly as many didn’t develop well consequently I’m left with a handful of rubbish to remind me of those times.

I’ve always had a camera of some sort but never had the confidence to try something more professional, let’s face it I thought it was above me and so ruled the option out. It was only when I started blogging that photography became important. Reading other blogs and watching how they documented their lives using photography made me want to improve.

I’ve been blogging for five years now and would like to think I have made some progress but I’m very critical and know I have a long way to go still. So I asked for vouchers and cash this Christmas as I wanted to invest in a DSLR, the very thought alone scares me. Aperture, ISO and ƒ don’t come easy to me so I am following Emma Davies’s 2015 bootcamp photography course where I will pick up some tips and ideas as I go through the year.

Which DSLR camera?

Speaking with Emma about this the one comment (amongst many) she gave was invest in the best you can. With DSLR prices starting at £280 and going up into the thousands that’s quite mind boggling but I’ve narrowed it down and I have been looking at the Nikon D3200, however I may be tempted to go for the D5300. It’s so difficult to decide.

This will be my proper camera, to take good shots with and learn more about light, composition and capturing the moment.

Handbag camera?

Canon Powershot N2

On the other hand I do like to keep a trusty handbag size camera with me. If I’m off on a day trip, I want something light that I’m not afraid of breaking but that is better than my iPhone. I have heard from Jessops that they are launching the perfect product, the Canon Powershot N2 Digital Camera

Here’s what the site says about it

Shoot, create and share life from every angle with the unique PowerShot N2. Enjoy effortless creativity, ‘any way up’ shooting, stunning images and easy Wi-Fi connectivity – all in one minimalist camera.

  • Add artistic twists to shots and movies with Creative Shot
  • Take the perfect ‘selfie’ with Self Portrait Mode and a tilt-up touchscreen
  • Impress with a unique stylish symmetrical design you can carry everywhere
  • Enjoy ‘any way up’ control with all-round release shoot and zoom lens rings
  • Unleash stunning images in any light with Intelligent IS and HS System
  • Get closer to the detail using 8x optical zoom
  • Create brilliant photos with ultimate ease using Hybrid Auto and enjoy a fun movie summary of your day
  • Connect and share easily using Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Enjoy remote shooting via smartphone
  • Experience great Full HD movies in MP4 format with stereo sound

I really like the sound of the Canon Powershot N2, let’s hope it launches soon. A quick check reveals that it will cost £289.

Photobox got in touch and asked me to review their services and products and I’m really pleased I said yes because I know the people I am going to give these products to as gifts this Christmas will be over the moon, in fact I wish I’d ordered more now as once I had seen them I immediately thought of many others who would have liked them too.

2014 Calendar

A3 calendar photobox

This is one of a selection of calendars that are available to choose from, I choose the A3 Double page calendar because it will be hung in the kitchen and will keep track of everything throughout the year for all 4 of us, kids appointments and parties, Dad’s night’s out and Mum’s stuff too. Everything gets written on the page and everyone can refer to it as and when. I chose to add an extra to mine for a couple of pounds more – to add in a small photo on the girls birthday and a cheeky reminder on our anniversary day :) Prices go from £14.99 but there is a 50% discount on until midnight tonight.

I am REALLY pleased with ours and think it will make a lovely present for grandparents too. Husband was very impressed and asked if he could take it into work and keep it there.

Photo Mug

mug photobox

There was one special photo I took in the summer of dad and his girls and I know he loves it so I had it placed on a mug for him along with another gorgeous snap of the girls and a tag saying ‘To the best daddy in the world love Alice and Bessie xxx’ This will be a gift from them to him which I know he will treasure even more than his Arsenal mug which was stolen when we were on holiday in France.

Prices go from £8.50 but head over today and take advantage of their 50% discount.

T Shirts

child's t shirt photobox

This is a gift I’ve been wanting to do for some time as the girls have a treasured teddy bear each which fortunately I took photos of in their better days when they still had a look of newness about them. I have had them a t shirt printed each with their teddy on which I think they are going to love as much as they love those cuddly toys. Do you have an action shot of your son which he’s really proud of? Or a snap of your daughter looking or doing something they love? This could be the perfect way for them to treasure that moment and when the t shirt is too small, pop it in a memory box for them.

The children’s t shirts are priced at £8.25

A4 personalised Photobook

personalised photobook photobox

This I think is my favourite of all the products and one I shall continue to make now I have discovered it. I took a lot of photos on our annual holiday in France this year and of course they are all on my hard drive and I rarely get to look at them anymore. Now I have added them all in chronological order to a personalised photobook and can look at them whenever I wish.

You upload your photos onto the website and then start to choose to fill in the book, you can edit the photos as you go, cropping, enlarging and moving about until you are happy and you can add text to the pages too with lots of different fonts to choose from.

There are many different themes to choose from too, I went with vibrant and I am really happy with it. I think it’s an excellent way to have your photos to hand for everyone to look at.

Perfect for new baby, wedding, holidays, ‘life books’ and many many more ideas.

Husband was really impressed with it and said it was ‘possibly the best thing you’ve ever reviewed.’ coming from him that says a lot.

The book starts from £29.99 and includes 26 pages. You can add on pages as you go should you need more. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
Saturday 15th June

Lewis is 18 and we put on our party frocks to celebrate him in style. I think I was very lucky to find these pretty girls dresses in Asda, part of a range by fashion graduates – aren’t they fabulous? £8.00 each

girls dresses

Sunday 16th

Father’s day, here’s a beautiful card Alice made at school for her dad which has a xylophone type message inside where she has written ‘This much’

homemade father's day card idea

Monday 17th

How cute, a snail or other garden bug has cut hearts in the flowers

flowers hearts

Tuesday 18th

We host a new fella, number puppy 9 this week, her tries out daddy’s new fire pit

number puppy 9

Wednesday 19th

I am ready for BritMums Live 2013 and M&S have kindly given me a pair of their fabulous Insolia Shoes to try out

M&S Insolia shoes

Thursday 20th

A daily ritual is crossing out a day on the birthday countdown calendar – they love it and it has stopped the incessant – ‘How many days till…?’ question

countdown calendar

Friday 21st BritMums Live

I arrive early and get my photo taken before the masses arrive with the great word cards made to use over the weekend. Epic!

britmums 2013

Saturday 22nd 

An enormous honour to meet and chat with the very brave Katie Piper, such an inspirational woman

katie piper

Sunday 23rd

Bessie starts to use her gifts out of the BritMums Live 2013 goody bag

britmums live goody bag

Monday 24th

Chilling after school with a Scooby Doo ice lolly

scooby doo ice pops

Tuesday 25th

The girls make a treasure trail using every soft toy we have running from their bedroom upstairs all the way down and through the house to the kitchen = tea time ;)

treasure trail

Wednesday 26th

After school we get out some felt pens and draw what comes to mind. I ask Alice if her picture is an aeroplane ‘No mummy! It’s a train.’ Ooops

childs drawing

Thursday 27th

I’m having a go at photography today and then trying out graphics on top, I like this photo but my brother tidied up the graphics for me

strawberries and cream

Friday 28th

I made a quiche with four different cheeses and some sliced chorizo, it was so delicious there was none left by Saturday noon. Here you can see Bro’s version against mine. His is visually more pleasing. With mine I was more concerned about people using my images as there own and so tried to make it difficult for them to crop the image. Still work to be done I guess but I have plenty of time before I am a famous photographer ;)

quattro formaggi and chorizo quicjhe quattro formaggi and chorizo quiche

 

bags of love

There, what do you think? This happens to be the favourite of all my favourite Jay Mountford photographs taken back on 9th March at the Little Hermitage in Kent.

I was contacted back in April asking if I’d like to review a canvas and service of Bags of Love, the personalised gift company and this is it.

I am over the moon with the finished product and have displayed it in the hallway so every time I enter the door it reminds me of how happy I was that day surrounded by all our family and friends.

Sometimes life can get tricky, work can overtake and we tend to forget those moments where we truly were over the moon; hanging a treasured photo can do the trick of jolting your memory and finding the positive in life, remembering why you go to all the troubles you do. It works for me.

I’d say I was clearly out of the honeymoon phase now but when I look at this I smile and I’m back in that place, that day.

It was incredibly easy to order, a case of uploading your photo, choosing your canvas size; I chose an extra wrap around so as not to lose any of the picture and I also had Little Hermitage 9th March written on the back which I think is an excellent touch.

Once in the basket, the time to make my order up and deliver it was next to nothing, I wish I could say the same for me getting around to writing my review!

So if there is a photo you’ve taken that you’d like to treasure I would definitely get it made up into a canvas and display it proudly on the wall.

For more information see for your self on Photo Canvas

Disclosure: I was offered a canvas of one of my photos in return for this article all thoughts on the product are mine