Christmas is the most expensive time of the year. Whilst I have never been one to spend what I haven't got but I still need to save up to pay for it. Which is why I am helping you out again by sharing lots of FREE events and activities you can do with your Children over the festive season. I have done all the hard work for you by compiling a list in date order of what is going on for FREE across the area. Enjoy!
The Christmas tree wonderland in Bournemouth is now in full swing. There has been so much amazing feedback from this already, people are saying it is the best Bournemouth have done for many many years! I can't wait to take my children down really soon, but we try to hold of with Christmas until December. I am not sure how much longer I can wait though, it looks absolutely fantastic! The event is so big they even have their own website, and best of all its FREE! It takes place between the 16th November 2018 and January 2019. See over 100 magical trees all decorated to resemble Christmas all around the world.
The Annual Christmas Time at Brewery Square event is back for 2018
There is a host of events lined up this Christmas, including live music, performances, lights illumination and more. We will also be raising money for local charity Julia's House Children's Hospice.
Saturday 24 November 2018 from 4pm
4:00pm - Brass band
5:00pm - Performance in the Square - Not to be missed!!
5:30pm - Lights illumination
5:35pm - Olly Murs tribute act
6:30pm - London Gospel Choir
7:15pm - Santa Disco with Jack Daniels Events Management
Celebrate Christmas in Wimborne on 24th November. Live entertainment from 10am. Lights switch on at 430pm.
Escape the Christmas crazyness for a few hours at this unique event at Lodmoor County Park in Weymouth, Dorset. You can find out more here.
Once again the Dolphin Centre are putting on a FREE Christmas event for children where you can take part in activities and meet Santa at the end of the Nordic Trail! The event is different each year, but they usually have free craft activities and a free visit to Santa. Again, not one to be missed! This takes place on certain dates through out December. I am yet to see this event publicised online so I haven't provided a link, but I saw this up when I went into the shopping centre this week.
The iconic Coca-Cola truck is coming to town again this year! on 1st and 2nd December 2018, you can see the stunning truck in Bournemouth. This year the truck will be coming to Pier Approach, and you can see it on either day between 10am - 10pm. This is definitely something not to be missed!
On Saturday 1st December you can celebrate Christmas in Southbourne from 10am. Meet Santa and watch the lights switch on. You can find out more on the Christmas Wonderland website.
On 1st December the Sovereign shopping centre in Boscombe are welcoming Santa with a grand parade, free arts &crafts, face painting, singers, dancers are more! This event is completely FREE! You can find out more by visiting their facebook page.
On Sunday 2nd December, step back in time at Scaplens Court museum in Poole. Soak up the festive atmosphere of days gone by, explore the building and take part in some Christmas crafts. You can find out more and join their facebook event here.
Also on 2nd December in Poole you can see the Santa parade! At 11am Santa arrives on Poole Quay then travels through town to Falkland Square. Their is a full programme of entertainment in Falkland Square from 12pm. You can take a photo in their giant Christmas snow globe too and take part in a fancy dress competition! You can find out more and join their facebook event here.
Starting on the 6th December, you can watch Christmas movies for FREE in Poole at their outdoor cinema! They have a great line up this year, we are really looking forward to going to some of these.
On 13th December 2018 you can join in the Poole lantern parade, starting from Falkland Square at 6pm then walking through the town to the guildhall to end with carols and mince pies. You can keep up to date and join their facebook event here.
As you can see , there is so much going on that need not cost you a penny over the Christmas season. I am sure I will find more to add to here as time goes on, and please do let me know if you know of any FREE events in Dorset that I could add to my list.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and have found things you can do.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and new year, and remember its not about how much you spend over Christmas its just about those wonderful memories that you will create and remember for many years to come.
It is a true privilege being invited into clients homes to capture their new arrivals in their own surroundings and to be able to give them such beautiful photographs that they will treasure forever.
The majority of newborn photography sessions I do are at mine, but I wanted to share this session to let everyone know that they have this option aswell, should they prefer this. So with the kind permission of this lovely family, I have compiled this beautiful collection of just a few of the photographs from their session to share their story with you.
I visited this lovely family when their new arrival was 4 weeks old. We had "planned" for me to come sooner, but it can often take a while to adjust to life with a new baby and unfortunately Mum was a bit poorly too, so baby was 4 weeks by the time I got to them. With a lifestyle session, there is no "posing" so it really does not matter how old your baby is. I can come over and photograph absolutely any age, and I have done this in the past varying from 3 days up to 8 months and beyond. At 4 weeks though, he was still very new and it was lovely to be able to come and capture some of their story with their new baby and their gorgeous toddler too!
The beauty of me coming to you for your photography session, is that you do not need to prepare at all, you don't need to tidy up, and you don't even need to get out of your house in the morning to come to me. When I arrived they were just finishing up their breakfast and baby was in the living room so I went through and took some photos of him to start with. When I come to you I like to have a little look around to find the best place to take photographs, they had an amazing huge window with a lovely bench seat which was absolutely perfect! I loved the cards in the background too, it is so nice to be able to capture things how they were in that moment in time. The new baby cards won't stay up forever, but hopefully some of these photographs will.
Once I had taken some photographs of baby on his own, I popped in to see if big brother wanted to join us. He was only to happy to come over, I was very impressed! He was absolutely amazing, and I could really see the love between them, I was so happy to have been able to capture this, what a fantastic start to our session!
During my time with them we took lots of lovely family photos of them all snuggled up together both on their bed and on the sofa. I love being able to capture these precious natural moments, especially feeding time, and even nappy change time which I think is even a beautiful memory. These every day moments will become wonderful memories when you look back on them in years to come.
We then tried a few set up photos of the boys together , I managed to get a few but big brother was starting to get a little bit fed up at this point, so I took some time to do some more photos of baby on his own.
At the end of their session, we popped outside to the lovely woodland walk that they are lucky enough to have on their doorstep and took a few natural family photographs outdoors too!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about this beautiful photography session, if you would like to find out more about me coming to you to photograph your own family you might like to visit the newborn photography section of my website.
Following the success of my previous canvas product review, I was approached by Tesco and asked if I would like to test and review some photo calendars for them. Naturally I jumped at the chance as I love being able to show clients affordable and easy ways to use their beautiful photographs.
I got asked to choose two calendar styles so I picked a desktop one as I thought this makes the ideal gift for Dads (or Mums!) who work at a desk all day, and an A3 one which has plenty of space to write those important dates on. They also offer A4 and slimline calendars.
There are lots of different styles to choose from when you pick which size calendar you would like. You can opt for a full page photo with small dates printed on top of the photo, or something more traditional like the one I picked above, or you can even choose to have multiple photos on one page! I was very impressed by the options available, and the ease of creating the calendar. If anything it was a little to automated (and being a creative person I prefer a little more control myself!) but these are most definitely a fantastic idea for a beautiful quick and simple gift idea.
I opted for home delivery again as I was not in an immediate rush for these, but I was very impressed when then arrived the very next day!! and in lovely packaging too, which I now want to use for my own photographs! Tesco have told me its unusual for the calendars to arrive the day after as there delivery time is usually 8 days, but they are told that calendars usually arrive to clients within a few days of ordering which I think is very fast. If you need you calendar even quicker, you can also choose to collect it from you local Tesco store, this way you save on postage costs too!
If you would like to find out more about Tesco Photo Calendars and the options available, you can visit their photo website.
The school holidays can be an expensive time for us all. Especially when the weather is not so good and you can't spend the day at the park or beach. There are LOTS of fantastic events going on across Dorset for the October half term holidays, and I expect you have already booked some Halloween events into your calendars. However, I am sure that you still have days you need to fill, so I have compiled this awesome list of completely FREE things you can do in Dorset during this October half term holidays, enjoy!
On 25th October between 1-4pm, Scaplen's Court have their annual free Halloween event on for children. Meet their resident witch and explore some spooky museum objects. They usually have crafts and other activities for the children to take part in during this event too. It's worth popping next door to the Poole Museum too as they usually have a spider trail on during half term too.
Learn all about small animals at the Pets at home free pet workshops. Spaces are free but need to be booked by visiting their website.
Hobbycraft have FREE slime making workshops on again during the school holidays. We did this in the summer and the slime has kept really well all this time so its really worth going if you children are into messy play. We have kept ours in a pot in the fridge and its still as good as the day we made it.
Poole Zombie Fest is a free, family-friendly day of spook-tacular activities taking place within Falkland Square, in the Dolphin Shopping Centre. All visitors are encouraged to wear zombie fancy dress. This event takes place on Saturday 27th October from 12pm, with the zombie parade starting at 4pm.
On Saturday 27th October, Southbourne is holding its very own Halloween Event- lots of events and activities for little ghouls and ghosties during the day and a chance for the grown ups to come out for their very own Halloween spooktacular 7pm onwards until 10pm. For more information please check out their website.
There are lots of free events at your local library over the half term holidays. You can find out what is going on on different dates by visiting their website.
Other FREE things to do:Some of the best things to do for free when you are stuck for ideas
1. Go for a lovely Autumn walk and collect some leaves and conkers. You could extend this activity by bringing leaves home to make some arty pictures.
3. Paint some rocks and hide them for others to find. There are lots of local facebook groups for this, some local ones are "Poole Rocks" and "BH Rocks"
4. Get baking! Its the perfect time of the year to stay indoors and do some baking together. Why not try some Halloween themed cookies or cakes?
If you have heard about any other FREE events in Dorset over the October holidays please do let me know I would love to add them to my list.
I hope you all have a fantastic half term with your little ones.
If you follow me or any other newborn photographers on social media, you will notice we are often going about "booking" in whilst you are pregnant, not waiting until your baby arrives to get in touch. But how do we "book" you in when we don't know when your baby is going to arrive? Unlike some other photographers, I do not give you provisional dates (which will undoubtedly need to be re arranged) I simply make sure I have some times around your due date kept available for you, then once you get in touch to let me know your baby has arrived, we arrange a mutually convenient time for your newborn photography session. As you can understand I need to be quite flexible with my time, hence I can only book in a certain amount of babies per month. Babies are often early or late, which sometimes leads to me having a few last minute spaces available, so I sometimes can accommodate clients who get in touch after their baby arrives. But I can not guarantee space, and I often have to say that I am unfortunately fulled booked. If this does happen, I will never turn you away but simply say we might need to wait a few weeks. I photograph all ages up to 5 months in a "newborn style" but as you can imagine they grow really quickly and a 4/5 week old baby will not be as curled up as a 7 day old. You can read more about my "older newborn" photography sessions in another blog post that I have written.
There are other reasons and benefits to booking in before your due month. It is easier for you to find and book a photographer when you are expecting as you will have more time, and once you have "booked in" you don't need to do anything else until your session apart from a simple message to let me know your little one has arrived. We can spend time talking about your session and what you would like, and it gives me chance to post out your lovely booking form and if you are local get a Little Pack of Love goody bag over to you, which contains lots of fantastic freebies and vouchers.
Also by booking in early you get the chance to get a free beautiful wooden photo block as a thank you from me for being super organised (as it helps me to be more organised too!) and if you are booking a maternity photography session too, you can get a £25 discount (terms and condition apply, please message me for more information) and a further £25 discount off any future family photography sessions.
Last week I came across something very special at exactly the right time.
If you have been to mine for your photography session you will have noticed all the photographs I have up of my children, but I often say that a family photograph is well overdue. So this summer I made it my mission to do this, and I was very pleased with the result, it was exactly what I wanted and exactly how I wanted my family to be captured. Anyway, now came the hard part, getting that image on the wall! Of course, being a professional photographer I have a list of suppliers. If you know how my business works, I mainly sell digital images as these are part of the package you choose. I like to remain affordable by allowing clients to get their own products printed elsewhere. Whilst I always recommend getting products through me so I can ensure the best quality and colours, I understand not everyone can afford professional quality products so I thought I should test some high street brands to see which were good enough to "recommend" to my clients.
This is when this fantastic opportunity came up for me to review a Tesco canvas! The timing couldn't have been better. I already had my favourite image picked ready to order and the process was super easy.
What amazed me the most was that if you order your Tesco canvas before 12pm you can collect after 3pm the SAME day! I was in no immediate rush for mine so I opted for the home delivery option, but it still arrived in less than a week, which is also an amazing turnaround time. Now I have done something similar before, you have probably seen those little places in shopping centers that do you a canvas in an hour, we have had these done in the past and the colours have been awful. As a professional photographer I am extra picky about colour balance, but Tesco came out very close to the colours I see on my screen so I was very impressed with this also!
It was very easy to order my canvas online. I simply selected the size required, then chose the type of side style. I was very impressed that ALL options were available and done automatically for you; mirror, image stretch, block colour, or image wrap. It also showed you which part of the photo would be wrapped around the outside so you could choose the best option. I personally like the image wrap, but for this and the mirror option you need to ensure you have plenty of background otherwise you will end up cutting bits of your photo off or having a shoe or someone's foot or whatever is on the outside of the image mirrored, which looks terrible! But fear not as you can clearly see what your image will look like before you order.
The only thing I would do differently if I ordered again, is order a bigger one! Canvas definitely look better the bigger you get!
Thank you Tesco, I will definitely be recommending your canvas' to my clients!
During the summer holidays we were given the fantastic opportunity for my children to attend some biscuit decorating and craft classes at Lollipops play cafe in Bournemouth whilst I took some promotional photographs for the lovely Sarah from Biscuits by Sarah B and Lexy from Made by Me Craft Parties.
I decided to bring my husband along to look after the children at the class, so I could concentrate on my purpose for being there; to take photographs. But he was not needed at all! Sarah and Lexy were amazing with all of the children and each class provided a full hours entertainment for the children whilst the adults could enjoy a hot drink in the cafe and a much needed break during the summer holidays.
During these classes the children got to make a spell book with invisible ink and secret pockets and tabs ( I wanted to make one myself!) and decorate five yummy Harry Potter themed biscuits. I have even booked myself onto an adult biscuit decorating class because it looked so fun.
Needless to say, I got some great photographs which show how involved the children were with what they were doing, they all had a great time and as well as being entertained for a hour or two they got to take some fantastic creations home with them!
Over the past 2 years, I have had the absolute pleasure of watching this gorgeous little boy growing from a tiny helpless dependant little newborn baby into an independent adventurous 2 year old throughout our 6 photography sessions together.
I first met this gorgeous little one back in July 2016 when he was just 14 days old. He came here to Samantha Prewett Photography for his newborn photography session and we have continued to have regular photo sessions ever since.
For his 6 month photography session, I visited their home to capture the next stage in his development. When your baby starts to sit up on their own, its the perfect time for their next photo session. It was so lovely to see how he had changed, and we even took a photo on the same star blanket that they brought to his newborn photography session here with me in Poole.
I returned to their family home for his one year birthday celebration photography session. What better way to celebrate than with a birthday cake! This little man is lucky to have a summer birthday so we could do some indoor and outdoor photos during his session. As you can see he loved getting stuck into his cake, and we also managed to get some lovely natural family photographs during this photo session too.
Two years isn't always the "easiest" age to photograph, we are long past the stages of being able to gently pose them or get them to sit nicely for their photograph to be taken. So we decided to capture an adventure, one of their favourite places to go as a family, . Sessions like this bring a whole new meaning to professional photography, a snipet of time captured forever. All those lovely memories of what you love to do together professionally captured to look back on for years to come. This is why I thoroughly enjoy photographing your children of all ages, and getting to capture them as they grow is even more rewarding for me, and you.
It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know this lovely family over the past two years, who I can now proudly call friends and not just clients, and I can't wait for our next adventure together.
If you are ready for me to capture the next stage of your family journey, you can check out my family photography page or you can get in touch here. Don't forget you can use your £25 voucher that came with your photographs AND if you have only recently had your newborn session and are not ready for the next stage yet you can even book a session for next year at this years price.
The summer holidays are almost upon us, this can be an expensive time for us all, most of us work less and spend more! (I do anyway!) I spend a lot of time planning my summer holidays so I thought I would save you all some time and share lots of the free events and activities I have found with you all.
If you children love getting messy, making their own wildflower seed bombs could be the perfect activity for them. This free event takes place on 1st August from 1-3pm at the Joy cafe in Churchill Gardens.
There are lots of free events going on in Saxon Square in Christchurch over the summer holidays. Including a teddy bears picnic, a sports day and a circus skills workshop. You can find out more by visiting their website.
Have you ever taken your children fishing? This is the perfect opportunity to give it a go. All the equipment you will need is provided free of charge along with advice to help you get started. Contact details are on the poster above.
How about free Tennis coaching? Every Saturday between 10-11am free lessons are available at Knyveton Gardens or open play for all between 11-1130am. Other locations are available also, check out the website for more information:
Hobbycraft are running free craft activites throuout the summer holidays, for more information and to book visit their website.
Do you fancy getting back to nature with your children? A new group is taking place every Thursday from 1pm at Poole Park. They have lots of other free events too, check out their website for more information.
Have you signed up for the summer reading challenge yet? Suitable for ages 4 plus, simply ready 6 books over the summer holidays to complete the challenge and get your medal and certificate. The library also has LOTS of free events for children over the summer holiday period. Find out more here.
Learn all about small animals at the Pets at home free pet workshops. Spaces are free but need to be booked by visiting their website.
Dorchester's completely free youth music and culture event is happening again on 25th August 2018. Not only is it FREE entry, all the activities (apart from street art) are FREE too! This is one not to be missed, visit their website to find out more information.
Every Wednesday throughout the summer holidays enjoy a date with nature at the New Forest Reptile Centre, with fun activities for the whole family.There will be a quiz trail and making activities for children. Come and see the “live” video of birds on their nests as well as the reptiles and amphibians. Visit their website for more information.
Step back in time every Monday and Tuesday throughout August at Poole Museum with our free historically themed activities. An experienced team of activity leaders and re-enactors will be demonstrating crafts from the past and encouraging families to have a go at historical games. Poole museam and Scaplens Court are both free to enter, you can find out about this and other events they have going on by visiting their website.
On the 2nd August there is a free family fun day in Poole Park, unlike most family fun days most of the activities are free also!
Other FREE things to do:
Some of the best things to do for free when you are stuck for ideas:
1. Blackberry picking
2. Go to the beach / park for a picnic
4. Crabbing at Poole or Mudeford Quay
5. Visit an outdoor paddling pool, you can find a list here.
6. Free fireworks displays at 10pm on Thursdays at Poole Quay and Friday's at Bournemouth Pier
7. Paint some rocks and hide them for others to find. There are lots of local facebook groups for this, some local ones are "Poole Rocks" and "BH Rocks"
If you need somewhere to add all these great free activities and to help you organise your summer, check out this pretty FREE downloable summer wall planner from Joanne Dewberry.
I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. Please do add any more that you know about, or let us know what you love to do for free in the school holidays. I look forward to reading all of your suggestions.
Have a fabulous summer, we all intend to!
It's not often that I photograph babies at this age, but I occasionally get people who have "missed" the newborn photography stage. Babies tend to be more awake, active and less curled up at this age so photographs are slightly different to a newborn session. Every baby is so different though, and at 6 weeks we try to get as many "newborn" style photographs as possible.
This beautiful little girl came to see me very recently, her Mum had just missed the "newborn" photography stage, but was keen to get some sleepy photos. Which we managed to, along with some gorgeous awake ones too. She was small for her age so still fit into my newborn outfits and some of my newborn sized baskets. I do also have props and outfits for babies up to 5 months so we would have worked with these if she didn't fit into the smaller ones.
In fact her session was rather like most of my newborn photography sessions, she had lots of cuddles, feeds and a couple of naps. I tend to take "newborns" between 1-2 weeks, but I will never refuse anyone and say their baby is too old for a photography session. Every stage of a baby is equally beautiful to capture, even if your baby is older than 6 weeks, we can still get similar photos, maybe not the sleepy ones, but I work with your baby to create the perfect selection of images for you. I have had babies at 5 months sleep during their sessions, so it all depends how they are on the day.
Baby photography sessions are suitable if your baby is between 6 weeks and 5 months (pre sitting) and packages start from £85. They last around an hour, as babies tend to be a little more settled at this age, but we sometimes go a little over this time, which is completely fine too. A photography session for a 4/5 month old baby is very different to a 6 week old, they will more than likely be pushing themselves up by this age so that makes for very different but equally beautiful photographs. If your baby is between these ages please get in touch to discuss whether a newborn or baby session would suit you better. To see some examples of my photos of babies between 6 weeks and 5 months you can visit my baby gallery.
Please get in touch if you are interested in a baby photography session by sending me a message via my contact me page.
About my blog
Welcome to my blog. This is much more than a way of just sharing photography sessions. It is best way to really find out what you are going to get from your experience with me, through behind the scenes, articles on what I do and why I do it. And to find photography tips and advice aswell as entering some great competitions.