Disneyland Paris

We spent four days at Disneyland Paris a couple of weeks ago. We went when Hamish was 1, back in 2007, and Freya enjoyed it a lot. They’re both now at the age where they’d get more out of it.


It was a really relaxing holiday, which is quite surprising. Four days was a bit too long, but it meant that we could see what we liked and then revisit those things. Winners were the Dumbo ride and the Mad Hatter Teacups. My favourite ride was the Buzz Lightyear Laser Shootout. Hamish liked it too, but Freya was frightened of Zurg.

For Place Mats

Here is our selection of photos taken by local photographer, Alex. These are going to be turned into Arran place mats and hopefully sold in their thousands!

Taken by my pal Alex [Alex @ RedBubble]


Placemat contender

Here is a photo I picked out of my own library that I thought would be a contender for Arran placemats.

Placemats with Arran images

I have been planning on getting placemats made with images of Arran on them for a good few months now. The original plan was to take photos and use a selection of the best ones, put them on place mats and sell them. I do have maybe three or four shots that would potentially make nice images for place mats, but my friend Alex-U is a far more accomplished photographer than I and just happens to have a great selection of Arran shots on flickr [Alex’s Arran set on flickr]

I spoke to Alex today about licensing a selection of his shots and he’s open to it. It will cost me money to do it and neither of us have any experience of this sort of thing, so he’s considering it just now and we’ll see if we can come to some sort of arrangement. His work is good and he ought to be paid what it’s worth. Only thing is that I suspect the true value will be more than I can afford, which is why I’m hoping we can come to an arrangement. It would be nice, of course, if I could use my own images, but having given it some thought, I tend to think that Alex’s shots would make the product more eye-catching and, ultimately, more saleable, and that’s the bottom line.

On the flip side, the pre-made Arran placemats I had last year from Strathmore Melamine sold and they were horrible. So I could in theory use my own images and they would still sell. Or, how about this: of the two possible manufacturers, I go with one for Alex’s shots and one for my own, using the higher-quality product (Strathmore Melamine) for Alex’s and make it a premium product, and my own from Doricmor to be of less quality and more a more affordable alternative?

I’ll call both parties tomorrow to get costs, turnover time and minimum order numbers and see where we go from there.

At the shows

The shows are in town so I took Freya along last Sunday while Hamish was having his nap and Lorraine was busy trying to meet her deadline. It was a lot of fun but very expensive. Here’s a nice shot I got of Freya coming out of the bouncy place.




Couple of Hamish shots

Lorraine was doing some gardening tonight and the kids were sitting on the grass. The light looked right for trying out some fill flash so I got my SB800 and tried taking a few shots but none really worked out; they were all over cooked. Guess I need to learn how to dial down the flash, although I thought the TTL (through-the-lens) was supposed to adjust the flash automatically to give the right exposure?

Whatever. Here is a couple of shots anyway.

Trip to Holy Island

I went to Holy Island for the first time today with Freya and Lorraine’s mum (Lorraine had to stay home and carry on with her translation work 🙁

It was a great trip and a wonderful place to visit. It would be nice to do a retreat there one day. The peace and tranquillity there makes the Isle of Arran seem like a city centre and it was weird getting off the boat on our return and stepping on to the “mainland” of Arran!

We didn’t manage to get there in time for the Lama’s talk at 2.30, which was a shame, but it was still worth making the 10-minute crossing. Next time we’ll go with Lorraine and Hamish too, maybe take a picnic and do some walking.


Down the shore with Hamish

This is Hamish all dressed up to go down the shore on Saturday. I just love the quizzical look on his face (first time I’ve ever written ‘quizzical’ I think and I had to look up the spelling. Two zeds – who knew?). He loves going out and often brings his shoes through or puts them on himself when he wants to go out. Check out how dirty his knees got and how happy he seems to be about it. It’s getting easier to interact with him now and this is where it starts to get fun. He’s talking quite a bit and even said ‘how are you’ when I got home tonight. He’s taking to the talking more quickly than Freya did. His French is apparently not too bad so I’m told (we have a French au pair).

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and …

I finally got a home from work on a Saturday afternoon before 4pm and it wasn’t raining! Lorraine is busy working to a deadline and so I got the kids dressed up and off to the beach we went so that Lorraine could have an hour-and-a-half of peace to get on. It’s just so cool to be a mere minute from the beach and have such great views. Living the dream my friends.

Freya decided that she wanted to play the Three Little Pigs so we took turns to be the Big Bad Wolf. Each picnic or bench seat along the front was a house, but not only did we have straw, stick and brick, we also had sand and mud houses too. She’s an imaginative wee thing is M’Lady. Anyway, this is a shot of her huffing and puffing and trying to blow my house down because I wouldn’t let her in, no sir, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin. In her version though, she managed to blow the brick house down as well because the Big Bad Wolf had super strong huff and super strong puff. I didn’t stand a chance.

I was thinking of putting this photo in for the TWiP (This Week in Photography) contest. The theme for the current contest is red and the prize is a copy of Aperture AND Lightroom as well as three books (they went a bit nuts on the most recent TWiP episode [#22]).

I used Scott Bourne’s Velvea action to give the photo some pop and, as Scott puts it, visual acuity, and it really worked quite well.

Holy Isle

This is a photo of Holy Isle taken from Lamlash beach, which is about 2 minutes’ walk from our house. The building is the monastery where the monks live. I’ve never visited the island but am sure to do so one day.