Out & About with Bex & The Twins – August

Bex Maini & Twins (Olive Dragonfly Blog)

This photo pretty much sums up how I feel after our epic summer!

And I feel I should warn you now, you may feel this way too if you make it to the bottom of this blog post!  We have been BUSY!  There have been a lot of exciting things happening as well as lots of fun adventures so grab a cuppa, get comfy and read on to find out all about my adventures with (and without) the twins in August and don’t forget to listen in when I chat all about it with Jacqui Rushton on air Thursday 12th Sept at 10:30am..


Underwater Photo Sessions

I’m so excited to now be able to offer pool sessions as one of my family photography services at Bexphoto!  Whether you own a pool or we need to hire one, I can now take photos of you all enjoying splashing around in and under the water!  I still follow my usual natural style but will give suggestions like jumping in facing me and swimming towards me, etc to get shots like those below but we mostly just want to document you all having fun!  Get something different in your albums and on your wall with a pool session 😉  See www.bexphoto.com/underwater for more details.  As this is a new option and I still have lots to learn despite the practice I’ve had so far, they are at a very low introductory price!


Brighton Pride Parade

SO.  MUCH.  FUN!!!  Of course I enjoyed Brighton Pride, the colours, the atmosphere and the people – it’s just amazing.  I have shared my favourite photos over on the blog and there are many!!!


Wilderness Wood

Ah, Wilderness Wood, one of our all time favourites – we really should become members!  I’ve mentioned it many a time here before but we keep returning for more adventures and epic cakes and lovely food in the cafe.  The place is so big, I’m still discovering new areas on our walks and we had fun picking some brambles this time too.  Oh!  And the huge dragonfly Kalyan spotted stayed for ages for the kids to see and me to photograph 🙂


Another Vogue AND National Geographic Publication!

I feel like I’m on such a roll lately!  I’ve now had 6 Vogue publications and 3 Nat Geo.  This photo of artist Sophie Abbott’s studio floor was accepted on Vogue Italia and the one below of Kalyan in A&E (that I shared here last month) was published in Nat Geo’s Daily Dozen on 5th August and that day was the 13th most popular photo out of over 10 MILLION on Your Shot!

As an aside, Sophie Abbott’s work is STUNNING – abstract and colourful, we’ve actually bought one of her paintings – see further down.


Blackberry Picking

Confession time, I am not a fan of blackberries.  I much prefer cherries but I do love to forage for blackberries, or brambles as I call them, especially with Kalyan & Priya!  They get so excited hunting down these precious juicy jewels, it’s so much fun!  We’ve found a few ripe ones already but there are lots getting ready to ripen right outside our house so it’ll be crumbles galore soon enough…


Firle Vintage Fair

Firle Vintage Fair is so much more than just antique shopping.  They have all manner of things for sale (I got some groovy colourful “vintage” sunglasses – they might actually be “real” vintage but I suppose it depends on your definition) and the gorgeous old funfair as well as plenty of other entertainment with dancers and the like.  Oh and LOTS of yummy food and drinks!  We enjoyed some beef brisket and cocktails while we were there and the kids had a great time exploring.


Wakehurst Botanic Gardens

I love Wakehurst but I realised we’d only ever been when they had their Science Festival on so we visited with friends as one of our summer holiday adventures.  There is so much more there than I ever thought!  We had a great day out exploring beautiful lawns, woodlands with a tree trunk trail and climbing area in a little glade with the most epic light!  My friend had more trouble dragging me away for lunch than the kids!!


Scotney Castle

I’d been to Scotney Castle for the first time in January this year so it was nice to see it in the summer with a bit more colour around (other than my two in their bright outfits last time when it was rather cold and grey).  This time we took a walk around the moat as well as going into the castle ruins to play and of course the brilliant play area complete with log cabin and ball run.  It’s a stunning location and we love the cafe too!


Phlock Live 2020 – tickets released!

I’m so excited about my first speaking job at such an amazing new photography conference!  Tickets are now on sale and going really well which is fab, this event is going to be so much fun and such a great way for female photographers to get noticed as well as support each other via both the teaching and socialising!  You can learn more about Phlock here and book tickets should you wish to join us in Manchester in March 2020!  There is SO much talent in the line up!!


Ashdown Forest

Another summer day, another play date.  We met friends at “Old Lodge” on Ashdown Forest for a walk before heading to Duddleswell Tearooms (see below).  The kids were instantly off running through the heather, finding tree stumps to play on and hunting for toadstools.


Duddleswell Tearooms

Duddleswell Tearooms bake the most wonderful cakes!  I’ve only been once before but when we met friends on the forest for a walk I requested a return visit here after even though we were in a different area this time, that’s how good it is and it was so pretty with the flowers in full bloom this time too!  I even found a very groovy bright yellow spider sitting on a purple flower – so colourful!


Medieval Festival

Sadly I had to miss out this year, I was gutted as it’s one of my favourite family festivals.  The kids always LOVE it and still had a great time with Daddy but I was stuck at home in bed all bank holiday weekend with a particularly horrible bout of tonsillitis and a fever.  Such rubbish timing with the beautiful weather and our plans to camp were cancelled, while I rested at home, the others had some lovely day trips there instead and regaled me with tales of The Big Lady, horses, knights, princesses and puppets.  Below is a selection of photos from 2017 and you can read my previous reviews here and here.


Pony rides at Ashdown Riding

I was just about back to normal in time to take the kids on their first proper pony ride at Ashdown Riding.  The 1/2 hour walk nearly had me floored but they had SO much fun!  Jenny was great with them, especially Kalyan when he had a little wobble, assuring him he could do it (when he had to lean back going downhill) and he soon settled down and started enjoying it again.  Priya seems to think she’s an old pro now since she had a 5 minute ride around at Nutley Fete, lol.


Hello Yellow update – DWD Freelance

I took some more photos for my Young Minds fundraising project, this time for the lovely Donna Weller who runs DWD Freelance Marketing and STAG Social Media.  She first got in touch after hearing me talk about the project right here and we had so much fun doing her mini session at her Uckfield office, we’ve actually planned a proper session again soon to provide her with some more branding photos to use.


Honourable Mention

I submitted to the Dear Photographer Showcase Gallery and was selected for an honourable mention for my image of Simon March of Marchand Son paint shop in Lewes.


Park Fun experimenting with rainbow straws!

I saw an idea I loved recently in a photographers’ group on Facebook and asked how it was done, the photographer informed me she’d tied some coloured straws together and held them in front of the lens to get the rainbow blur effect, similar to what I do with my prisms to get different effects.  Of course I had to try it!  I ordered some straws online and when they arrived I took them and my camera gear to pick up the kids after the childminder and surprised them with a trip to the park.

It worked just how I hoped although wasn’t the lighting I was hoping for as the park was already in shade when we arrived.  No rainbow sun flare for me, or so I thought – I managed to catch a couple of glints through the trees but I will definitely be trying this again with more golden sunlight to enhance the ethereal effect!  You can see exactly how I did it on my Bexphoto blog post.


Sophie Abbott – Hello Yellow & Painting!

Sophie is an amazing artist who uses colours I just adore to create her colourful abstract paintings which are mostly inspired by the seaside in Brighton.  I’m so excited we finally bought one of her pieces which looks amazing on the new dark green walls in our living room!  She also took part in my Hello Yellow project (above) back in June and has let me take many photos of her famously paint-splattered floors (as seen above with my latest Vogue publication)!


Sea Life Brighton

We planned a family day out one Friday in the holidays doing all things touristy in Brighton.  I’d wanted to take the kids back to the aquarium for a while, the last visit being their 1st birthday!  We had a lovely time but being the summer holidays it was very busy, hot and loud so not the best experience, it was much nicer to explore when we went back after 4pm when the crowds had gone.  Read more about our full experience on the Bexphoto blog.


Brighton Palace Pier

We hadn’t planned to visit the pier but it turned out to be such a lovely day and the aquarium was so hot, dark and busy, we decided to explore the pier for a bit after lunch before heading back when the aquarium was (a lot) quieter.

Never before have I seen Kalyan SO excited, even at Christmas.  I don’t know how he knows about Helter Skelters but as soon as he glimpsed it he was bouncing, shrieking and running with sheer joy and excitement begging to go on.  At £1.50 we weren’t going to refuse such a polite and exuberant request and his happy dance was so worth it when we said yes!  He had to be accompanied so Daddy went with him while I poised waiting to hopefully catch the perfect shot as they came around the final corner of the slide…

Priya preferred the more sedate carousel and loved riding with Daddy while I practiced my panning shots again, I am THRILLED with this one, so glad I got them in focus as they spun past me with the best expressions on their faces!

We then got them each a pot of 2p coins to have some fun in the arcades, it made Kalyan’s day, he loves the lights and buttons in there so getting to go in and play some of the games and slots just finished off our fun day perfectly.


The Hurstwood Gastropub – Branding Session

I finished collating all of the various areas we covered when I photographed The Hurstwood for their new website.  We got some great shots, including the food, people and surroundings, the kitchen in action being my favourite!  I can’t rate this place highly enough, especially having now seen their immaculate organisation behind the scenes and tasted even more of their delicious dishes which include some homemade and homegrown ingredients!!



We had something pretty major to celebrate last week!  Nik has finally, after 20 years of training, been appointed as a consultant maxillo-facial surgeon!  Such a relief for all of us and a massive achievement for him after so many years of hard work, especially the last 5 juggling it all with our family life.  Anyway, we went out for dinner to celebrate in Tunbridge Wells at The Ivy and had a wonderful meal and celebratory drinks.  Read my full review over on the blog


The Hurstwood Autumn Market

As you know I love The Hurstwood, especially now they’re my regular clients too!  We went along to their autumn market featuring various local businesses selling their wares and enjoyed lunch in the pub too.  Again, read more over on the Bexphoto blog!


Starting School!

Well, we’ve finally reached this milestone!  The twins have gone off to primary school and absolutely LOVE it!  So far they’ve just been doing 3 hour days but they’re used to long 8-6 days at pre-school part of the week so once it’s 9-3 every weekday with the occasional breakfast and after-school club I think they’ll absolutely flourish!  I just can’t quite get my head around how grown up they look!


Next Month:

I haven’t had much luck attending festivals this year with the weather meaning we spent just one day at Woodlands Festival, Kalyan’s head injury meaning we missed Chilled in a Field altogether and my tonsillitis had me bedridden for the whole three days of the Medieval Festival we’d planned to camp at.  Hopefully we’ll all make it to Into The Trees Festival at Pippingford Park in September.  We missed out on Elderflower Fields this May as we were too busy so didn’t book this time so Into the Trees will be a nice way to round off our festival fun this year.

My Dad arrives this evening to help look after the twins during their second settling in week (their school spreads it A LOT and I can’t afford 3 weeks off work so thankfully he’s flying over from Malaysia to babysit!!)  We’re hoping to go rock-pooling at Rottingdean tomorrow and enjoy fish & chips by the coast, if anyone has a recommendation of a good chippy in Rottingdean, please let me know by tomorrow!