Once upon a time I was a full-on gym junkie. Before kids, I was at the gym doorstep every weekday morning at 5.30am without fail. Weights, cycle & step classes were my therapy. Then kids came along and exercise became more sporadic, I lost my mojo for it, and yes often it fell to the back of the priority queue as the demands of mum-life took over.
But something has happened in the last few months - I've become a runner. I started jogging with a few friends once a week - we started with the 5km Park run course on Tamborine Mountain and I just about died doing those early runs! I switched to running on the road/pathways not long after that (my ankles dont cope with trail runs) and I was hooked! And now I spend lots of time thinking about my next run, reading up on improving my endurance and speed, and any spare cash I have is being forked out on running gear.
Earlier this year I was talked into doing a 10km event (on Sunday the 3rd March) and now I'm even thinking about signing up for a half marathon later in the year!
I've been bitten by the running bug - and I'm loving it, its so nice to have a sporty hobby again and something to train towards!
How much fun are beach photo shoots?? Its been a little while since my last beach session but it was well worth the wait :) Toni organised this photo shoot from her home base in Sydney to coincide with an extended family holiday on the Gold Coast. And even though the sun was playing hide and seek that afternoon, we all had an absolute blast running around on the beach and chasing the kids around.
"We booked Hilary for a family photo shoot (13 people including 8 adults & 5 kids under 7).
We are from interstate & Hilary was very easy (& punctual) to deal with through the whole process from booking to receiving our images.
The family had been a bit apprehensive about getting any good photos with all of the young children, but everybody felt at ease with Hilary & she got some fantastic shots for us.
Thank you Hilary for capturing some beautiful shots that our family can treasure for years to come."
Thank you guys for sharing a fun afternoon with me!
So its now the start of a new school term, and to be honest, its left me feeling like - "Where has the year gone?" We filled our school holidays with fun and love... catching up with friends, play dates, theme parks, play centres, playgrounds, late nights, sleep-ins, mornings in our PJ's until 9am (gotta love that!) and laughter. Busy days, where their eyes were pretty much closed before their little heads hit the pillow. Late mornings where I could let them sleep until their bodies decided it was time to wake up.
I try to savour days like these, as I am lucky enough to be able to work from home and enjoy these precious moments with them. This is such a magical time for us, and it is simply going too fast. It feels like only yesterday that we moved to this beautiful spot, hard to believe its actually been 8 months!
Its a big countdown now to the end of the year, and no doubt that will go just as fast. Next year we have miss 6 excitedly heading to year 2, and the scary (and exciting) prospect of Mr 4 starting prep (eeek!) I'm not sure how I will feel about losing my little shadow - thrilled that he is gaining his independence, becoming his own person and heading out into the big brave world of school... but also sad that the years of having a little one at home with me are done.
Its bittersweet, and they're growing up way too fast!
Recently I met with Rob and Cindy for a super fun family shoot at Currumbin beach! Every time I do a beach shoot, I come away feeling so energised - perhaps its all the running on the sand, or the sound of the waves crashing - or maybe even just the infectious joy from two brothers having a ball near the water! Whatever it is, its always a great time for all! And what a lovely family to share it with!
Thanks guys for such a fun afternoon!
Being a bit of a tomboy myself, I was surprised (and secretly thrilled) to have a daughter who is one of the girliest girls that I have ever met. Everything has to be pink and sparkly. She went through a stage where she refused to wear shorts, because they are 'boys clothes'. She is obsessed about make-up, and wants to watch me put on eyeliner and blow-dry my hair whenever she has the chance. I bought her some kiddie-makeup, and at any opportunity she lines up visitors to give them a "make-over"... even daddy hasn't escaped that one!
This is all a stark contrast to me, since I don't particularly enjoy wearing anything pink, live in pants and have a particular fondness for dressing in black and having black fingernails. Six years in, and I still find her girliness a bit of a novelty :) How long will it last?
She is not only girly, she is fearless and self-confident, and started making her own choices. At her last school she came home one day and out of the blue, announced that she'd joined the choir! Then, after a week at the new school, she came home and told us that she'd signed herself up at the school's tap dance group, and she needs tap shoes!
I'm loving watching her little personality grow every day, pink sparkles and all :)
I spent a glorious afternoon on the beach recently for Jo and Shane's family shoot! It was a beautiful day, just perfect for running around on the warm soft sand! This gorgeous family just love spending time on the beach and its a really big part of their lives, so it was lovely to be able to capture that for them. And an added bonus for me, I got a fantastic workout, running up and down in the sand!
Thank you Jo and Shane for joining me for a wonderful afternoon of memories!
Who doesn't love a beautiful love story? I know I do! I quite often stop and think to myself "I have the best job in the world!" - but sometimes, it just gets even better.
I was contacted by Sarah a few months ago and we booked in her family shoot on the beach. I knew the shoot would include extended family who would be visiting from Brazil, which was quite exciting in itself, with the challenge of working around the language barrier!
A few weeks later I heard from Sarah letting me know that her sister-in-law's boyfriend Leo was going to propose during the shoot! I knew right then and there that this was going to be awesome. We organized some extra time for the end of the shoot to capture this beautiful moment in their lives. Instructions and discussions had to be translated!
We started by capturing some images of the Martelli family together, and can I just say, what a gorgeous bunch of photogenic people!
So after capturing so many beautiful moments of the family, it was time for the surprise proposal! I'm not sure who was more excited and nervous, Leo, the family, or me!
Leo took his beloved Leticia by the hand and led her along the beach, walking and talking and looking so in love... they stopped and shared a spontaneous kiss as Leo reached into his pocket...
Of course, she said YES! A crowd had gathered behind us and they all clapped and cheered!
The happy couple!
Thank you so much Martelli family for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful family occasion!
Behind the scenes from this photoshoot - I spend a lot of time running back and forth, finding the right angles and the best light... and yes I do beach photshoots in bare feet! Its a great workout for everyone, and lots of fun too! :)
Capturing that all-important shot of the ring...
A very big thank you to Sarah for capturing these behind-the-scenes photos for me!
Every now and then, you get a bit of a wake up call, and are shaken into the realization of just how precious life really is. We have recently returned from a 3000 km road trip to Canberra and back, and on our last day on the road, New Years Eve, we very nearly had a head-on collision with another car.
We were on our last day of driving and had just switched drivers about 45 minutes earlier, so I was at the wheel. In a 100 km zone, single lane, the road headed into a gully. There were double white lines, so no overtaking. I saw a big B-double truck coming towards me in the other lane. Then suddenly a black Peugeot pulled out from behind the truck into MY lane, to overtake the truck.
My husband and I both uttered a few expletives but fully expected the Peugeot to pull back behind the truck when he saw us. He didn't. He just... kept... coming... It was one of those surreal moments when you knew you had nowhere to go but had to do something anyway. There was a thin stretch of gravel on my side of the road but not much else (since it was a gully) so I had to squeeze into that space without crashing off the side. Somehow, some way, I aimed for the gravel and we snuck past without a scratch. I dont know how we didn't scrape mirrors or shave off paint.
My husband was freaking out beside me saying "Are you alright? Are you ok? I cant believe that just happened! Pull over, pull over!" I kept saying "I'm fine, I'm ok!!" but I pulled over a few hundred metres up the road and the reality of the situation set in, and I instantly burst into tears! Then a massive rush of adrenaline hit me and I started freaking out and shaking uncontrollably.
We made it - our lucky escape. And I tell you what - that was just the wake up call I needed. I dont generally do resolutions, but this year I do. My New Years Resolution is to stop stressing about every little thing. To enjoy the moment. Relish the "now". Stop worrying about things that might never happen. Because you just never know when your last moment is going to be.
Catching up on some of my final sessions from last year:
I met Tamika, Shane and their two gorgeous boys on a glorious day at the beach! Baylee and Levi were awesome to work with, super helpful and super smiley too! Running around on the beach, enjoying an afternoon with an beautiful family makes my job so easy :)
Cuddles with dad :)
... and kisses for mum!
Thank you Tamika, Shane, Baylee and Levi for sharing your afternoon with me!
Ok, I'll admit it. A few years ago I succumbed to the great Elf on the Shelf craze. I am torn between loving this little guy beyond words, to feeling very bah-humbug at the very sight of him by mid-December.
For the uninitiated, the Elf on the Shelf is one of Santa's little 'scout elves'. Once you have adopted one (and his accompanying storybook) - he arrives in your home at the beginning of December and hides somewhere in your house to spy on the kids, to help Santa with his 'naughty or nice' list. The kids love trying to find him every morning! Every night the Elf flies back to Santa to report on the day. Each morning when he comes back, he finds a different spot to hide.
So from December 1 to 24, dedicated grown-ups everywhere help their little Elf find a new hiding spot each night. In my own stupidity, I've added a secondary tradition whereby our Elf "Dash" also fills the wooden Advent calendar each night, for a new treat for them to find in the morning.
For the most part, I LOVE Dash because he helps keep the kids in line during these CRAZY days before Christmas. I mean seriously, kids start acting up or fighting, and all it takes is a casual mention of "Don't forget who's watching!" - and their eyes bug out of their head in panic as they throw a quick glance Dash's way. Quietness ensues, well, for the next 5 minutes anyway. Also, I know that this magical little period of time where they believe EVERYTHING is so so short. I will truly miss it when they're too old for this kind of carry-on, so I must savour it while I can.
But I must admit, after the initial first week of enthusiasm, I begin to tire of the chore, and also, run out of interesting places to hide him! Just about every damn night I almost forget to move him, or forget to add a new treat to the advent calendar, or I bolt awake at 5am and do the mad sprint out to the lounge room to change it all over before the kids wake up and discover the fraud!
Do you do Elf on the Shelf? Do you feel the same way?
(I got my Elf on the Shelf from www.bookdepository.com a few years ago)
A few weeks ago I met up with the Campbell family for a Mini Family Shoot on the beach. The weather had been threatening storms all day but we ended up with a beautiful afternoon!
Jodie and I were good friends at school, and when I last saw her, her little ones were much smaller! It was lovely to see them all again, to marvel at how much they have all grown, and to meet the newest additions to the family, the lovely twin-baby bump! These guys had so much fun in front of the camera, and it shows in how relaxed they are in their images.
Here's just a small selection of some of my favourites from the day - the natural beauty of the surrounds, the feel of sand in your toes (I do all my beach photoshoots barefoot!) and a wonderful family to share a fun afternoon with - awesome day!
Currently I have about a zillion things to think about. Sleep - who needs sleep? Does anybody actually get enough?
I've struggled with bouts of insomnia in my time, terrible endless months where sleep just evades me and turns me into a walking, talking zombie. It can take a while to break the cycle.
Do you have one of those brains that just wont quit? I can be perfectly relaxed and calm before bed, and then the second my head hits that pillow - BOOM - I think of a million things I should have done today, or need to do tomorrow. I remember I was supposed to get the steak out of the freezer for dinner tomorrow and forgot. I remember that I meant to call my brother back. I remind myself to remember to do something. I dont just leave it at remembering, I venture into the deep dark depths of WORRYING about everything too. Goes with the mummy-territory I guess.
So sometimes, it can take forever to get to sleep. I need to step away from my computer and editing by about 9.30pm, otherwise I'll still be mentally hyped at 11pm. At the moment, that's just not happening. Too much going on!! And lately, if I wake up in the middle of the night, it can take me hours to get back to sleep too.
And maddeningly, I have a husband who can fall asleep within 20 seconds of climbing into bed!
With all the stressing about sleep lately, its always a beautiful thing to see a new little bundle of joy, sleeping, calm and happy in their parents arms, and thats exactly what little Benji did for almost the entire hour of his family's photoshoot on the beach. This little man is a super trooper! When he did finally wake up, he was super relaxed and happy - such a joy!
Awww, nothing better than a peaceful, sleeping baby!
So much love...
And then he woke up and just chilled out with dad...
So much beautiful light during late afternoon beach shoots, I love sharing them with beautiful families. Thank you Brian, Anita and Benji for allowing me to capture these memories for you!
Hilary Hudson Photography. Natural Light Newborn and Families Photographer based in Tamborine, QLD. Australia.