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Okay so here’s the short version:  I am doing a Christmas advent calendar blogging project to raise money for Syrian refugees. The money that I raise will be donated to Oxfam, and you can check out what they are doing to help Syrian refugees here. There are prizes involved, including the chance to win a 2 hour photo shoot of your choice. I’m pretty excited about it.

Long Version: (scroll down to the very bottom if you’re just looking for the details on the prizes)

From December 1st until December 25th I will update my blog every day with a new post containing some kind of Christmas related awesomeness. I have rummaged through the internet to unearth some really wonderful treats, my beautiful and talented friend Sophie of I Heart Flowers came through to Edinburgh every week of November so we could put together some fabulous up cycled Christmas DIY projects, there are guests posts from a few of my most beloved blogging ladies, and more.

What’s that about Syria you ask? Well, you may have noticed that Syria has been much in the news of late. Very bad things have been happening there, and there are millions of refugees. Aid organizations everywhere have banners with urgent appeals for donations to meet the needs of the ever growing population of refugees. After seeing a particularly distressing video, I found myself typing the search “how can I help Syrian refugees?” into google and one of the suggestions was to hold a fundraiser. I was dubious. The word fundraiser invoked visions of me huffing and puffing around Holyrood park a la A Safe Mooring, or worse lying passed out on the pavement in Holyrood park while other people huffed and puffed around me. I care, I really do, but why should caring require ritualized humiliation?

Meanwhile I was considering Christmas. British people seem to be really into Christmas, just for like Christmas’s sake or something. I confess that as I’ve gotten older my enthusiasm for Christmas has waned with every passing year. When I was a kid Christmas meant LOTS of presents, and when I went off to college Christmas meant going home and meeting up with my best friends from high school. It meant going to my friend Kate’s Christmas Eve party, and running into old school acquaintances at local bars. It meant amazing food with my mother’s family, and long games of Monopoly in front of the fire at my grandparents’ house. Now everyone on my mother’s side of the family, and both of my father’s parents are gone. Like me, my best and oldest friends have moved away. Scotland is pretty dark this time of year, and British Christmas desserts fill me with despair. People say that the holidays can be a rather depressing time for some people if they feel at odds with all of the good cheer happening around them, and I suppose what I’m trying to say is I get that. Of course Aidan’s family is lovely and they have an amazing week long feast which is truly wonderful, so it’s not that I’m lonely or underfed. But I do miss my family and the traditions that I grew up with.

Now that I have a kid I feel obliged to work up a bit more enthusiasm. So I started thinking of ways to get back into the spirit of it all and my blogging project was born. I want to embrace all of the lovely bits of Christmas, but in a way that is kind to the environment and not super cheesy. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any personal blogging on here (see having baby/wedding season) and as I started putting all of this together I realized that the way that people approach the holidays is very personal. So I look forward to sharing my rendition of Christmas 2013 with you, and hopefully raising a bit of money for a cause that I care about while doing so. Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all, and so forth. It’s not a marathon per se, but I hope it will be rewarding none the less.

Which brings me to the prizes! I almost forgot the prizes. Every Monday, starting  on the 2nd of December, I will announce a fabulous Christmas themed prize. To enter to win either donate to my fundraiser for Syrian refugees or if you’re not able to make a donation share my Just Giving page on some kind of social media, and let me know in the comments of that week’s prize post that you’ve done so. There is no minimum donation. Every week I will choose a winner at random, and then announce the winner at the same time as I announce the next weekly prize. The weekly prizes are shippable and I am happy to ship to America, or anywhere else. Then on Christmas Eve I will randomly draw a winner from everyone who has either donated or shared and that person will win a 2 hour photo shoot of their choice. If I reach my fundraising goal of £1000 I will draw two winners. I will announce the winner/s of the photo shoot on Christmas day.

So I hope you will join me here on starting Sunday, December 1st, but until then feel free to get a head start by visiting my Just Giving page.

I’m not sure I can contain my excitement for Julieane & Sam’s wedding next year. They came all the way from Brighton for their engagement shoot, and I’m so glad that they did! Every time I have been on a train over the Forth Rail Bridge I have been tempted to hop off at North Queensferry and go for a wander. So I was thrilled when these two consented to have their engagement shoot there. The weather was kind to us, and I’m so pleased with the pictures. Congratulations to Juliane and Sam! So excited for your wedding! (more…)

Everything about Morag & Ranald’s wedding was gorgeous. Morag in her stunning dress, the seaside, the light, the food (the food!), their little boy Logan. There was a double rainbow, and I even got pictures of it but you’ll have to wait until their proper post. Just wanted to get this up before the weekend, as I have so many beautiful previews to share with you! Congratulations to Morag & Ranald! (more…)

I still need to write the follow up to my last toy camera post, and maybe say a few more things about motherhood and the cakervention.There are so many posts I’d like to write, but Arthur is a little on the high-maintenance side at the moment (as in he is still not keen on napping solo) and there is only so much I can type one handed. Thankfully, editing weddings one handed is perfectly doable, but long expository blog posts not so much. So I’m skipping ahead to these pictures of my friend Rowena because I love them. Rowena is a friend from my former life in Austin, and it was so good to see her and talk to her that when she left I had a wee ache in my chest. I can talk a lot of smack about America sometimes. Watching the political situation unfold over there is sometimes tragic, often terrifying, and always frustrating beyond beliefe, but the truth is that I miss America like crazy. More than I ever thought I could. I miss Americans too. Catching up with Rowena was like a wee taste of home. She’s been living and working in Germany for as long as I’ve been in Scotland, and we marveled over how much we had changed. The roll of film that I shot went a bit funny at the end, but I like the pictures all the same. They feel appropriate to the nostalgia that I felt taking them, and the way that time can erode and shift your memory of things. Know what I mean?  (more…)

I never would have thought I was a styled shoot kind of a girl, but I did an Edinburgh themed styled shoot last weekend and it was AWESOME. I got to work with Edinburgh’s most talented wedding people, and we all poured a little bit of ourselves into this project. I think the results are fantastic, and I was blown away by all of the talent that went into this. Here is one of the money shots, but there are so many more. So much, much more Edinburgh wedding related pretty to come. You can catch another glimpse over on Kirsty’s blog, and be sure to stay tuned because when the whole thing unfolds I believe it will be different and wonderful and special. We’ll be sure let you know.

Styleing: A Safe Mooring  Flowers: I Heart Flowers

Dresses: Rowan Joy  Jewelry: Black Box

Makeup: Amy Irving  Hair: Milk

Modeling: Kiara (& John) King

Venue: Timberyard 

I used to have a thing for disposable cameras. I love them because you can take them anywhere and it doesn’t matter really what happens to them. There are a lot of limitations that go along with them, but that can be interesting in itself and the pictures have a dreamy lo-fi quality that’s a bit more subtle than what you get with a Diana or a Holga. There are a number of pictures in my personal work portfolio that were taken with disposable cameras and I don’t think you can tell the difference unless you look closely. (more…)

This little portrait shoot began with a hedgehog. It’s true. I fell in love with Emily Hogarth’s ‘Hedgehog’ print and I HAD to have it for my baby’s room. Call it nesting if you like, but I kept looking at it and looking at it and I just couldn’t put it out of my mind. For those few of you who don’t already know, Emily Hogarth is an enormously talented and successful Edinburgh illustrator and designer and her work is jaw-droppingly good. After I found out that she had recently welcomed her wee girl Maggie five weeks early I devised a plan: perhaps she would be willing to trade me one hedgehog print for one baby portrait session? I held my breath waiting for her response, and I count myself doubly blessed that she said yes. Not only did I get my hedgehog but I also got to hang out with the cutest little baby in Edinburgh, and make my first local mum friend. That my friends is what I believe they call a win win scenario. So check out the pictures of this seriously cute baby, and also be sure to visit Emily’s shop so you can drool over all of her amazing prints. Christmas is coming after all, and I don’t know about you but I’d wouldn’t mind another one of her prints to hang on my wall (cough, cough). (more…)