Out & About in Sussex with Bex Maini & the twins – October 19

Bex Maini & Twins (Olive Dragonfly Blog)

Despite the dark days, I do love October!  I’m a huge fan of Halloween and I love the autumn colours, putting on candles and getting cosy under a blanket in the evening, big cuddly jumpers and listening to the rain on the windows.  Bliss.

We’ve had another busy month of course with plenty of meals out, I’m catching up on some Sept reviews with Framptons and Giggling Squid and also enjoyed a wonderful 7 course meal at The Hurstwood when they had a guest chef create an exciting menu with matching wines!  I’ve also had a fab brunch at Hartfields (love their bubble & squeak special with black pudding, egg, Hollandaise and bacon!) and I’m off there for lunch again today with a new friend.

Read on for more of our exciting adventures this month, including apple picking, trick or treating, playing rugby, my new tongue-tie business and the story behind it and I have some new photos to share including exploring Sheffield Park’s gorgeous autumn colours, an in-home maternity session and my latest (VERY exciting) photo achievements!…

Framptons – brunch review

I do love the brunch menu at Framptons so when I was passing through at breakfast time en route to a photography job in Kent, a Framptons brunch was necessary 😉  Their coffee is lovely, I like the decor and staff and the food is top notch!  I had steak with salsa verde and eggs and Gabby had the low & slow crumpets which has short rib of beef on top and is my favourite, I regretted trying something new – major food jealousy!


Giggling Squid – lunch review

I’d never been to Giggling Squid but had heard good things and I do love Thai food, it didn’t disappoint.  My friend and I selected a few of the “tapas” dishes to try including duck, pork belly, massaman beef, squid and pork skewers.  Everything was delicious!  I especially enjoyed the refreshing mocktail with coconut water, mint and lime.


Maternity Photography by Bex

I was so excited to take some photos for a pregnant friend of mine recently, I would love to book more maternity in-home sessions so I’ve recently put out a call for a pregnant model who must be enthusiastic about my non-traditional style with a colourful but dark and moody feel.  I hope by building my maternity (and newborn) portfolios, I can attract more of these clients, it’s SUCH a special time, one that I adored when I was pregnant with my twins.  I hope I can convince mums to be to record these memories in their homes to look back on and pass down to their children.  I’ve heard too often people saying they wished they’d had photos done at the time.  It doesn’t need to be stressful nor do you have to tidy!!!  I make sure to capture the beauty of this time while making sure you’re relaxed and enjoy the session at home.


Uckfield Rugby Football Club has two new players

And possibly more but the twins have just joined the Under 6 team and Kalyan is LOVING it!  Priya is sometimes but is not quite fully on board with the idea yet, when she joins in and gets over her “I don’t like running” attitude she actually really enjoys the running and passing.  We’re hoping she sticks at it, it would certainly make life easier if they both went since we’ll be going with Kalyan every week anyway.  The coaches are amazing and make it so much fun for the little ones as well as incorporating rugby skills into the Sunday morning training.


The power of a photo

Why I do what I do, stories like this and the gift that photography gives to families.  It really is an investment in the now and the future, the absolute best thing you can leave behind for your kids and grandkids!

This photo isn’t one of my best, really it’s just a snap I took at the twins’ first session at URFC, of a friend’s son and husband so I could send it to her.  When I did, her response brought a tear to my eye and they allowed me to share the story on my blog, it’s so special, I urge you to go and read why this photo means so much to them on the Bexphoto blog.


Tongue-tie Division – my story and why I’m starting up a new local service

When my twins were born, I was determined to breastfeed them.  It was tricky to get started and I found it very painful – so much so I broke down on day 4 (not helped by hormones) and was lucky to find myself surrounded with support.  I had to start expressing and give my poor boobs a break!  The midwives all mentioned that both twins seemed to have a good latch but that my son might have a tongue-tie but nothing else was said about it, it was only when I ended up in the fantastic Crowborough Birthing Centre that they arranged for his tongue-tie to be divided.

On day 7, his tongue-tie was snipped, he slept through it and when I fed him straight after it was instant relief!  I was lucky and then managed to continue breast-feeding both of them for 15 months.  I have so many happy and adorable photos of them feeding throughout that first year and a bit, including tandem feeds when they sometimes held hands!  You can read more about it all and see some of said adorable photos on my Bexphoto blog and I’ve started collecting stories from some local friends I know who weren’t as lucky and had to wait weeks or even months to have their babies’ tongue-tie treated.  These stories and my own experience is why I’ll be opening my own tongue-tie service in the new year, now that I’ve reached the top of the 2 year waiting list to train with a midwife.  I will be registering with the Association of Tongue-tie practitioners and working closely with a local breastfeeding consultant to ensure women have the support they need and treatment asap when it’s required.


Hello Yellow – the culmination of my charity project with local businesses

I came up with the idea in February this year so it’s been an ongoing project for me to raise awareness and cash for a cause I believe in whole-heartedly, Mental Health – specifically Young Minds UK for the purposes of this project.  Over 8 months I worked with 13 wonderful local businesses, providing them with a portrait to use for their website/social media and in lieu of payment, they’ve each donated to the charity.  Thank you to everyone who supported this project and Young Minds!  It was fun and it worked!  We raised over £600 in total, busting through my target of £500!


Guest Chef – Jirka Horak’s Tasting Menu at The Hurstwood 

What a meal!  6 courses, 7 wines, wonderful company and a gorgeous venue, The Hurstwood’s guest chef evening was amazing!  The menu included so many things I’d never usually order but I loved every course, it was seasonal, imaginative and so, so tasty!  Head over to the Bexphoto blog for more info on what we ate and loads more pictures!  😉


Apple picking with Bignose & Beardy Cider

Bignose & Beardy, aka Phil & Steve from Framfield, are just the loveliest people and are super passionate about their cider.  They’ve built an amazing community of fans and friends who all help out when it comes to apple picking (and tasting) time!  They know a few orchard owners who volunteer their otherwise wasted excess apples for the guys to make into their award-winning cider and everyone gathers for a day (or days) of picking in return for lunch and cider.  One such day was just around the corner from us but we had a busy day with rugby and a birthday party so by the time we rocked up at 3:30 they were pretty much done for the day.

Of course, I still found some photo opportunities and it was great catching up with Phil & Steve who told us all about the orchard we were in – a full 10 acres!


Vogue again!

One of my photos of Gabby in the River Uck was accepted by Vogue this month!  It’s been a couple of months of rejections so was nice to have one accepted again!

Since I wrote this (I’m trying to keep up throughout the month or I end up staying up until 3am writing it all!)I had no less than FOUR accepted the following week of an in-home newborn session I did (see below).  I now have eleven images in my PHOTOVOGUE portfolio on Vogue Italia, SUCH an achievement as it’s not easy getting accepted!

Edit: OK one more!!!


The VOICE Collection contest!

I am SO excited and honoured to have one of my images place in the Voice Collection alongside so many other talented winning artists!  The Voice Collection is an international contest run by Click Magazine featuring work by female photographers.  They had 40,000 entries this year and selected 210 winners to feature in the magazine, website and exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia in March next year.  I’m impatiently waiting for my copy of the magazine to arrive from America as I write this 😉


Halloween – Trick or Treat!?

I love Halloween but have to admit the twins costumes were very last minute Lidl bargains this year!  £2.50 though – amazing deal for a witch and a vampire.  We went trick or treating in our village and found lots of people who really got into the spirit (pun intended) of Halloween with scary doorbells, lots of pumpkins and spooky homes to welcome trick or treaters.  It’s the first time we’ve done it with the twins and they loved it!  Not least because sweets are usually highly rationed in our house with us being dentists!!


Autumn at Sheffield Park

I’m sure everyone local knows about the amazing colours at Sheffield Park come autumn and I keep missing the best time to go before all the leaves are blown off, as again this year but there was still plenty of colour to be found around the ponds.  I dusted off my old tripod and filters and went in search of some pretty landscapes and little mushrooms for some macro fun too!


Next month:

The twins turn FIVE on Monday!  I can’t quite believe it!  We’ve booked them a fun party on Sunday so I’ll share some photos and review the party place as I just couldn’t face organising it all myself again this year.  (See last year’s rainbow afternoon tea here and the amazingly fun balloon entertainment here.)  We’ll also be having our own annual family photo session although haven’t decided where to do it yet this year, we’ve had in-home documentary sessions a couple of times and some out and about so I need to have a think!