Bex Maini, Family Blogger – May

Bex Maini & Twins (Olive Dragonfly Blog)

May has been pretty epic!  We’ve enjoyed some lovely local activities and food, an amazing holiday to Portugal and I’ve had some more awesome photography news and publications as well as a living room makeover and a new dress…

 

Sunday Roast at The White Hart

We had a really lovely roast here recently, the pork belly was amazing and I love their cauliflower cheese!

 

Acrylic Pouring with CriSam 

I took part in this workshop through Uckfield WI craft group.  It was SO much fun and quite addictive!  We learned two acrylic pouring techniques and of course I went for rainbow designs which came out pretty well – you never quite know what you’ll end up with which is part of the fun and it can be pretty messy too!  I had a lovely evening and ended up with these two little canvases of new art to add to my office decor 🙂

 

Sunday Carvery at The Pig & Butcher

We hadn’t been to the Pig & Butcher for a while but when we went for the carvery recently it was the best one I’ve ever had there!

 

Rainbow Wings

The twins were sent these gorgeous bird wings made of felt for me to take photos of for a small business owner.  Chiriboo Magic makes these beautiful costumes which are not only stunning but such good quality, we love them!  The beautiful bluebells made the perfect setting, I’m glad I managed to fit in a quick shoot before our holiday after which the bluebells had almost disappeared.

 

Pine Cliffs, Portugal Holiday

What an amazing holiday!  We were incredibly lucky with the weather as it had rained the week prior but we had sunshine every day.  It was lovely spending so much time with all the family, the twins especially loved it and asked for their cousins as soon as they woke up every day!  The hotel was gorgeous, spacious and had a beautiful beach below the cliffs as well as amazing restaurants.  I highly recommend it!

 

Finalist in Muddy Stilettos Best Photographer Category

I was so excited to be nominated for this local award and even more thrilled when I made the finals!  I was one of five photographers up for Best Photographer in Sussex and even though I didn’t win, being a finalist is an amazing achievement!

 

Published on National Geographic website!

I submitted an image to the “My Home” assignment on National Geographic’s Your Shot and it was chosen as one of 34 from 7380 images submitted!  The Associate Photo Editor, Kristen McNicholas, commented “The moment paired with the interaction of your twins and the light is gorgeous. I love that you akin the womb to your twins first home because it’s absolutely true! Home is about where we feel safe, cared for, loved, not just a physical shelter to protect us from the elements. Beautiful work, Bex.

I wrote a post with some goals at the start of this year and although I wasn’t specific about some of the places I wanted to be published, Vogue and National Geographic were the two main ones I was aiming for!  I’ve now achieved both (three times for Vogue – see below) and another one is in the process of coming true, publication in another international photography magazine I subscribe to which is out in a couple of months, I’ve been sent the proof of my little section, it’s so exciting!  I’ve also just submitted my entries to the big international Voice Collection competition which I’ve entered the previous two years.  Maybe this will be my year to be a finalist!  I think we find out in October so I’ll let you know and share the results either way as the collection is always stunning with some great categories!

 

Another Vogue publication!

It’s such an achievement to have my work accepted at PhotoVogue and this is now my third publication on their website!  It’s still such a thrill to see their logo added to my work and featured in my Vogue portfolio!  This latest one is of my nephew taken on our holiday in Portugal (as detailed above).

 

Some amazing Brighton Artists and a colourful shop join in my Hello Yellow project

I took a day trip to Brighton recently to meet Sophie Abbott, an artist whose colourful work I adore (and hope to own a piece of one day), and take photos of her for my charity project.  She was so lovely and we had a lovely time chatting and taking a few snaps in her studio with it’s famous paint-splattered floor (and we happened to both be wearing saltwater sandals)!  She also introduced me to another artist in the Phoenix building, Antonia Thom, who just happened to have a yellow cardi on that day and immediately signed up to take part too!  We had a great time as she started leaping around her studio.

On my way back to the train station, I had a brief wander in the laines and found Blackout, a shop Sophie recommended to me.  She clearly knows me well already, it was a treasure trove of colour and awesome jewellery, shoes, home-wares and all sorts of other bits & bobs.  I bought some amazing colourful Moroccan shoes and fab yellow tassel earrings.  I also got chatting to the owner and figured I had nothing to lose by asking, told her about my project and she signed up too!  Such lovely local business people all taking part in my project and giving me great colourful subjects to photograph!

 

Step-by-Step School

I’ve started working at a local school for autistic children which is already so rewarding!  My role there is to help desensitise the pupils to the dentist in order to make it easier for them and their parents when they visit their own dentists.  I’ve only had one morning there so far but they’ve already had lots of success doing something similar with a hair-dresser and have now recruited myself and a GP to help with other every day challenges which can be difficult for the children to cope with.  I started off basic by introducing them to some items they might see at the dentist, letting them try on the dentist’s mask and gloves, the patient bib and goggles and holding the dental mirror.  Being able to take the lead in certain classes was fantastic and gave me a great opportunity to interact with the pupils and feel (almost) like a proper teacher (although I know I’m far from it)!  Observing the tutors and other staff at the school gave me a bit of insight into their everyday and I’ve already learned so much about some of the more extreme ends of the autistic spectrum and how I can help communicate with those affected by it.  It will not only help the pupils attend their dentist appointments but will hopefully help me to help my own patients and clients who are on the spectrum to feel more comfortable in my presence.

 

Peacehaven Park

It as actually my nurse who suggested we go here with the twins, she knew it was a good park and I was a bit doubtful about taking them after I collected them from pre-school as it’s close to bed-time but she convinced me and despite it being further away than I thought, she was right, it’s an epic play-park!

 

Brunch at The Ivy, Tunbridge Wells (again!)

My husband knows how to cheer me up!  I’d had a particularly emotional week with some major highs and lows but the lows hit me hard and I spent most of Saturday upset so he booked us brunch at The Ivy as a surprise the next day!  It was lovely to get up and out with somewhere exciting to go, I love their breakfast menu and this time opted for the crushed avocado toast – from the light and healthy section but made decidedly less light and healthy as I also added bacon and eggs!  It was amazing!  The kids were delighted with their shared portion of pancakes with fruit and yoghurt again and Nik also chose the same as last time with the veggie breakfast.

K likes to break the yolks!

Service was excellent as before and they had a lovely new display outside the front door which Priya loved posing in front of!

 

Wakehurst Science Festival

We last went to this festival two years ago and I can say it’s now even better!  The activity stands were more spread out this year with many more options food-wise which was very welcome (I was unimpressed with the food offerings last time).  It was always well organised but this time even more so with so many friendly staff in their yellow T-shirts milling about helping.  They’re all great with the kids and I love the sticker chart which you add to after completing each activity.

Priya and Kalyan had a blast making a plant stamp out of clay and then using it with plant-based paints to make a pretty picture.  They especially loved watching and then tasting the mystical-looking ice-cream which was made with liquid nitrogen, the effect looked pretty spectacular as it was mixed!  I was rather impressed with Priya’s drawing of a beautiful yellow plant too!  Wakehurst is already such a great place to explore with little (and bigger) ones and they put on loads of events but the fantastic educational science festival is definitely one to visit each year in my opinion!

 

Lunch at The Hurstwood

I’m delighted to announce I’m now the official photographer for The Hurstwood gastropub!  I took a few shots for them when we went for lunch on the end of May bank holiday but I’ll be doing a proper shoot there soon showing off the beautiful pub, garden and food as well as some action shots in the kitchen.  I can’t wait to see my work on their new website and we’ll be keeping it updated with new photos every 3 months, I’m going to love this as their food is utterly gorgeous, I drool just thinking about it!

It’s such a lovely place to hang out with plenty of space for the kids and it’s very dog friendly, we saw a huge number from three tiny Dachshunds all the way up to two Great Danes!  They have a chest full of garden games and their own fruit & veg patches as well as a comfy hammock in the garden, it’s perfect for summer.   They run a market for local producers there twice a year too so I’ll be telling you all about the next one in September.

 

Sheffield Park

Another regular favourite of ours, we went here during half term with friends and had a lovely walk and climbed the epic redwood, all followed by a good old National Trust scone with clotted cream 🙂

 

 

Oast Farm Cafe & Buxted Fun Day

 

 

Cheese Lover’s Afternoon Tea & Aladdin

I had a fab day out in Brighton with my friend Hemina last weekend.  She booked us a cheese afternoon tea!  I never knew such a thing existed but it is genius!  We got it on Groupon so it was only £15 each and we got a glass of wine, cheese selection with figs, baked Camembert and croque monsieur followed by coffee.  Such great value and it was all  really tasty!

After that we went to see Aladdin at the cinema and we loved it!  So colourful and fun, I want ALL of Jasmine’s outfits – stunning!

 

Next month:

We’re off to Woodlands Festival this weekend.  I’m taking photos for them again, it’s such a fun weekend in the Kent countryside with loads of activities for the kids and great music.  Our local faves Bignose & Beardy are going again too with their amazing cider tent, I first met them at Woodlands last year so it’ll be lovely to hang out with them again!  🙂