Tag Archives: family albums

My COVID-19 lockdown survival guide

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

First I was really shocked about everything that was happening in China and then Italy…and then well you know…what the situation is…

The ones of you who know me probably know me as a positive person, and I genuinely believe lots of good things will emerge from this crisis but right now the most important thing is for us to stay home, staying home is saving lives. We are all in this together but we are the lucky ones. Lucky because I am at home with my family, we are healthy (so far so good), we have food, we have a safe place we call home, we have books and entertainment, and we have the time. The time to be with each other, the time to learn and the time to rest.

So in that line of thought, I would like to thank all the health workers, nurses, doctors and front line workers in the world fighting this unprecedented war. Also a big thank you to pharmacists and food supply and delivery workers, rubbish collectors and cleaners, all helping to save the world. 

I did this little guide for those of you who are in isolation with their children. I hope it helps you with some inspiration and ideas that so far are working for me and in the end, I left an activity for your children to do during the holidays so they document your days too.

I know it can be difficult and frustrating and you feel like you have to entertain them ALL THE TIME, while you have better things to do, especially if you’re also trying to work from home. 

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

1. Manage your expectations

We have been inundated with home learning activities and schedules and lots of lots of to-dos, but it’s quite overwhelming trying to do all those things while you work or taking caring of your family. Please lower your expectations; unfortunately, it’s impossible to have the same productivity while you take care of young children. Kids are kids, and they will act like kids, and while it’s okay for them to get bored, we should not expect them to go without interacting with us for hours on end. 

Work in short chunks of time and forget multi-tasking – concentrating just on one thing at a time for 15-20 minutes will give you better results than trying to do it all in an hour. If you are working as part of a team, keep them updated on your availability and progress – that’s pretty much all of us can do right now.

It won’t be forever.

2. Online learning resources 

At this point, you have seen tons of list with educational programs and online learning activities, so I will share the ones we like the most that are more entertaining.

Ted-Ed – TED-Ed provides everything you need to spark and celebrate your child’s ideas.

National Geographic Kids – Lots of resources for children from quiz, puzzles and fact packed articles.

Audibles – Kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids. 

Elevenses with The World of David Walliams – Every day David Walliams reads a story at 11am.

Draw with Rob – Rob Biddulph posts a draw-along video every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am BST that parents could watch with their kids and, hopefully, make some nice pictures.

WhiteRose Maths – For those kids who like maths this website has lots of free resources. My kids like to do the problem of the day.

Keep Cooking and Carry On – Jamie Oliver is releasing new episodes every day of this series on Channel 4 – my kids love to watch cooking programs. Plus, his 9 year old son has an entire playlist on YouTube dedicated to kids-friendly cooking.

PE with Joe Wicks – The Body Coach star creates a kids workout from Monday to Friday at 9 am. My daughters love it and everyone joins in!

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

3. Cooking and baking

While at home it’s been non-stop in the kitchen. I have been quite busy with the girls, and I try to teach them about food/nutrition and include them in the making of cakes and some savoury dishes. We follow a plant-based diet, so my to go books for inspiration are Bosh, Happy Pear, Delicious Ella, and the fantastic website/app BBC GoodFood where I just search for an ingredient and loads of recipes appear with reviews and tips, it’s amazing!

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

4. Embrace your home. 

You know all of those little projects you have been pushing because you didn’t have the time. Well, now it’s the time. I have been trying to organise a cupboard every day or every other day. My children’s closets, the pantry, etc. Try to include your children as much as possible; they love to help! Get some inspiration from theHomeEdit; I am sure the kids will love to organise shelves by colour. =)

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, at this time of the year there are lots of things that need to be done, from planting, clearing and pruning. Check SarahRaven for inspiration. If you don’t, you can adventure yourself by planting some seeds or buy some indoor plants to brighten your space. Check Patch Plants for some gorgeous plants delivered to your home and Freddie’s Flower for magnificent blooms weekly deliveries.  

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

5. Finish those family photo albums.

I started last week my family photo books. It’s something I do all the time but in little chunks. Check this post for some tips on how to organise your pictures. You don’t need to send them to print right now, but at least they are ready and updated. Your children will thank you!

Ana Ruivo usb box prints London Family Photography

6. Read everyday 

Not only it’s a great family activity, but it is also very educational. Read to your kids and with your kids. Read all sorts of books, any books that they love. It’s a beautiful and intimate routine that is good for your and for them.

Our current ones are Five Children and It, The Goldfish boy, Harry Potter book series, David Walliams book series and Ronal Dahl stories. (8 and 6-year-old girls here) 

7. Art ans Science are important too

Learning doesn’t involve only English and Maths. Embrace your inner artist with these fantastic art boxes or cards for kids LOLA. I know they might need a bit of guidance, but these art boxes are amazingly well done and are very inspiring for children. 

For Science because it’s Spring I would recommend starting to plant some seeds and make a diary of them growing. Study flowers and his components etc, gardening tips are important lessons too.

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

8. Enjoy the slow life

Trust me; they won’t fall behind or unlearn anything. So enjoy slower mornings and more time together. It’s so easy to get frustrated and resent this forced exclusion but try to find joy in this unhurried pace and see this an opportunity to foster a deeper connection with your kids. Lazy mornings in your PJs and cooking breakfast from scratch together, solving a puzzle or having a cuddle while watching a favourite TV show could just end up some of your favourite moments of this whole COVID-19 nightmare.

I am getting back to meditation, something I used to do before having children and really helps me a lot. Balance app is offering one-year membership, so it’s good to incorporate this healthy habit back in our lives. I also use the app Calm for the kids and me. They love the night stories and wind down with the sound of waves. 

Children Family London Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

And for last try my photo hunt!

Let’s not stop making visual memories. Capture these times at home with the kids through their eyes. I hope they enjoy this activity. I would love you to share the results with me!

Stay Home – Save Lives!

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    Kid’s birthday party at Hogwarts London – Harry Potter theme

     

    HarryPotter-Party-HomeHouse-London-kids-AnaRuivoPhotography

     

    We are approaching World Book Day with much enthusiasm in our house, and this Harry Potter theme party just sparkled the child in me! I remember diving into J. K. Rowling books for hours in a row until late at night when I was a teenager, and it’s a joy to see even today these storybooks are still much loved. Notorious kids did a fantastic job transforming the Home House club in the most magical place. Nothing more than Hogwarts wizard school for a 9-year-old fan of Harry Potter books. Every detail was outstanding!

     


    If you are having a party soon and you would like to have it documented, or if you have any questions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.
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      London Maternity Documentary Photoshoot – what it’s all about

      Nine months are flying by at an incredible rate.
      Even though you can only sleep with a minimum of 5 pillows and bread is your main food group, something about the work inside your body right now makes you feel like a rockstar. And you want to remember it.
      Maternity photos used to be so unusual, now they are trendy, and because of that, there’s this huge misconception surrounding maternity sessions – what they’re supposed to look like, how you’re supposed to dress, blah blah.

      We’ve been conditioned, slowly but surely, to believe that a maternity session is a right of passage when you get pregnant. We follow this cookie cutter model and curl our hair and buy a new dress and imagine the romantic, backlit glow.
      These photos are lovely, and yes, it feels darn good to get dressed up and honour the beauty in pregnancy. You and your baby will never be one like this again, and it’s honestly an awesome thing to celebrate that by getting in front of the camera in general, no matter how you choose.

      But I want to challenge you to take it a step further and think about what is it you truly want to “capture?”

      London-Maternity-Photoshoot-AnaRuivoPhotography

       

      If you think about, I mean what’s unique and why you want to do a maternity session, I think you’ll realise that –
      This photo session is not about the baby growing inside your belly…

      …It’s about capturing the world and the people he or she is about to meet on the outside.

      It’s not about staring at your belly button.
      It’s not about a perfect flowing gown.
      It’s not about the stunning, scenic location.
      It’s not about the wooden blocks spelling his name.

      BECAUSE YOU, BEAUTIFUL MUM, ARE MORE THAN HOW YOU LOOK.

      Those things are beautiful, they’re fun, but they don’t capture anything you can’t flip through Pinterest and see a million other examples. And isn’t capturing truth and memories kind of the point?

      If you want to “capture this season,” we’ll need more than cheeky props and perfect light.
      You need the patience, the preparation, the hugs, the simplicity, the habits. Your STORY is what will make your maternity session special.

      Take a look at this one. There are no words to describe the connection between this family has already forged, and I know for sure that it will grow so beautifully.

       

       

      If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

       

       

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        Pink Dream 1st Birthday Party

        It’s fascinating and an honour to see so many beautiful parties put together with so much care and love from talented people.

        Notorious Kids beautifully prepared this party; a fantastic team specialised in bespoke luxury events. The party was set in the fabulous The Lanesborough perfect for a princess! See for yourself!

         

         

         

        If you are having a party soon and you would like to have it documented, or if you have any questions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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          Snapshots of our month – Winter Sun

          Wow, I can’t believe we are almost at the end of January, and I just finished to edit my Christmas pics =) As soon as I got back, it’s been non-stop with newborn photo shoots and birthday parties.

          We had a lovely break in Portugal to spend time with our family, a little bit of sunshine and a much-needed pause from social media.

          These are just some snap-shots of our holiday between the crispy sunny days by the sea and lovely warm winter days in Alentejo. If you pass in Evora city in Portugal, make a visit to Convento do Espinheiro hotel, visit the beautiful University of Evora and the Herdade do Esporao wine caves.

           


          And if it’s not too late…Happy New Year!

          =)

           

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            7 tips for taking pictures at the fun fair

            Deep-fried anything, scream-inducing rides, cotton candy and prizes larger than your head… the fun fair is here!

            London has multiple beautiful Christmas markets and fairs that you can choose for your children’s delight.

            I thought it would be fun to give some tips for those of you who will be braving the trip with your camera or even your mobile.

            1. Capture the anticipation.

            Funfairs may be a drain on most parents’ wallets, but it’s sure a lot of fun for kids! They are all very excited but when it comes the time sometimes they are doubtful… Make sure to capture that.

             

             

            2. Shoot in the daytime and at night, embrace all kind of light.

            Whenever I plan a trip to the fair, I get giddy for those nighttime shots with the Ferris wheel glowing and the dark sky contrasting against it. But don’t forget to bring your camera out during the day, too! The fun combination of the funky ride colours will look awesome next to the bright, blue sky.

             

            3. Play with your settings.

            Get brave and slow down your shutter speed for a fun effect with the fast-moving rides. Capturing movement at the fun fair, with rides moving in a number of different directions at the same time isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Use slow shutter speed and move your camera alongside with the movement to focus on one element in the frame but blur the rest out. It will most likely take you several attempts to get it right, so don’t despair!

             

            Fun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photographyFun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photography

            4. Show the setting and shoot wide.

            It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wide angle lenses (35 mm and less), and I adore getting the entire scene in the frame. Get a shot of your kids up high on a ride. The wide angle perspective will enhance how small your kids are next to the big, open sky.

             

            5. Capture the details.

            This is my norm with any session and any subject. But the fair has such a good story to tell, and not including the details is like leaving out half the book. Use the features to enhance your portraits. Get a shot of the sign with a picture of cotton candy, and then a frame with your kids stuffing this faces with pink fluff. It is so fun to see these shots side by side.

             

             

            6. Using interesting angles and perspectives.

            When I first got the fair this year, I became nervous because the rides were packed into such a small space, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting the shot of just the Ferris wheel on its own. I got creative, and wound up with shots that I love!

             

            7. Capture the emotions.

            Skip the posed “cheesy” shot and instead capture real emotions – and be sure to include the quieter moments too!

            Don’t forget to have fun!

            Fun-fair-winter-wonderland-London-family-photography

             

            If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

             

             

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              Eco-friendly gifts for this Christmas in London

              Let’s face it: your wife or husband doesn’t want another pair of socks or a bottle of perfume, or a new pair of slippers.
              What you really want is a “magical way to chill out and appreciate the little things” gift certificate. Maybe a “get out of a stressful situation for free” gift certificate. Or perhaps a “slow down and savour your children better” gift card.
              But last I saw, these were not available at the checkout of Waitrose (or anywhere else).

              No problem!

              London Christmas Family Photoshoot Ana Ruivo Photography

              In this day of ultra-consumerism and pressure to buy something – anything for the special people in our lives, the holidays leave us all daunted and exhausted by the expectations.
              And if you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling guilty about buying new stuff that your loved ones may not want, and may end up in the local charity shop by January.
              So while I can’t grant wishes, I can offer this gentle nudge to think beyond physical goods mass-produced in China and buy your loved one an experience that she/he likely wouldn’t make time for it. In the high-pressure world of parenting+work, it’s hard to give ourselves permission to take an afternoon off to do something whimsical, decadent, or just plain fun. Unless that priceless gift is bestowed upon us.

              Many of us chose to #optoutside on Black Friday, acknowledging that there are more important things in life than getting the best deal on a new iphone or Barbie dreamhouse. Why not keep riding that wave, ditch some of the Amazon-driven pressures this holiday season, and seize the opportunity to gift a memory instead?

              Here are some ideas to get you started:

              A MEMBERSHIP TO ANY OF THE AMAZING LONDON MUSEUMS.

              BECOME A FRIEND OF KEW GARDENS.

              as a family or gift to someone who loves nature.

              Holland-Park-London Family Photographer-anaruivophotography

              A FUN, ONE-ON-ONE DATE WITH THAT TODDLER who’s a dream when not competing with older siblings.

              Let’s say Legoland or Natural History Museum, yes all those dinosaurs…

              LEARN A NEW CRAFT.

              Research shows that people who work creatively with their hands are happier and healthily endure stress than people who don’t. London has an immense and impressive artist community, with all manner of classes open to the public, from pottery to painting, ironwork to woodwork. You can give an art workshop for your loved one and for both of you to do together. Next year I am going to find a pottery class near me, and I am going back to my love for painting.

              SAVOUR YOUR CHILDREN.

              The kids are amazing, delightful, adorable, and changing so quickly. But 90% of the day is spent trying to get them to go play somewhere else; rushing them out the door, or explaining to them why drumming on the antique table with hammers is not acceptable.
              But on those rare occasions that you’re able to detach from the daily slog and really be with them, the balance shifts to that other 10% – when they’re sweet, connected, curious, and a joy.

              Granted I’m biased, but personally, I can’t think of a better way to show a mother or father that they are appreciated than through a gorgeous photo – or better yet a photo session – depicting their special, intimate relationship with the children.

              A day in the life - London Documentary Family - Ana Ruivo Photography

              A GORGEOUS FINE-ART PHOTO PRINT FOR THE WALL.

              It’s been my 2018 mission to replace the non-sentimental art pieces in our home with photographs of real scenes from our life. And you know what? Every time I walk by the photo of my daughters running and jumping through the waves in our favourite beach holiday I’m flooded with warmth and nostalgia. They say life is art, and who’s to say that shouldn’t include our personal, everyday stories? Every third website these days seems to be devoted to making wall art from photos, but beware: not all are created equal. Contact me for info on my own favourite masterful fine art prints.

              Our life Summer 2018-London Family Photographer-anaruivophotography

              A SHORT PHOTO SESSION.

              Capturing how beautifully you love your children and keep the family together. One of my favourite session types to photograph is a three-hour storytelling session, which captures the connection between parents and their little one(s). These sessions commonly span two hours, spent on daily tasks at home – laundry, homework, cooking, art, reading books – and are a beautiful way to bottle up the feeling and intensity of parenting through this specific chapter of childhood – whichever one you’re at.

              A day in the life-London Family Photographer-2018-AnaRuivoPhotography

              A DAY IN THE LIFE PHOTO SESSION – I only do 12 days in the life sessions in 2019, and until the end of the year, I am offering 50% off on these sessions if you book by the end of the year. Slots limited to this offer. Contact me for details.

               

              London Family Photographer -Ana Ruivo -offer

               

               

              In the case, you really need to buy something physical take a look at these colourful and eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes from My Green Vibes. A fantastic project that I photographed this year. Laeticia, a mum and entrepreneur is set on the purpose to live with less plastic and she taught me that every little helps to reduce our plastic consumption and save our planet!

              Top of mind, this is my list. What would you add to yours?

               

               

               

               

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                A Morning in the Life

                Do you remember the morning kisses and snuggles?

                For kids, there is nothing like the parents’ bed, a sanctuary of comfort, safety and love. I would sneak out of my room and enter my parents’ bed without them notice…well I thought that at the time, of course, my parents noticed! =)

                My daughters are still in that phase. I usually wake up very early with little kisses on my hair, soft voices and a small body wrapping my head. Sometimes I am honoured to have a little foot on my face and angel hair in my mouth, but apart from that, it is usually a lovely moment to stop the clock and be there with my girls. It is just the best feeling of the world.

                If you have little children and if they passed the phase they scream for you during the night, I can guarantee you this will be next, and it is so much worth it.

                So happy for this family as they wanted to capture these first moments of their day. From the soft, sweet moment until the children are full speed. Say games, crafts, lunch and everything in between. This is the real life.

                 

                 

                 

                If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

                 

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                  7 family photo shoot ideas for rainy days

                  While I love being outside and capturing the family fun in the great outdoors, what I don’t like is waiting until later to capture precious memories of your children growing up. We all know sometimes you expect to do something until a better time, and then we realise the time is just gone!
                  There are no excuses.
                  Here is a list of my favourite ideas to do on a rainy day indoors. The time is now!

                  1. Visit a Museum

                   

                   

                  If you are one of those families that can’t stay still at home, yes, a Museum it’s a perfect example of a day out but indoors. London is impressive because it has an array of fantastic museums, fun for the kids too. We love the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Museum. These museums have beautiful architecture and lots of fascinating objects that will create great pictures.

                  2. Bake together

                   

                   

                  Baking is another excellent family activity that many parents and children enjoy doing together. All families have their favourite baking recipes. From chocolate chip cookies, lovely madeleines, gingerbread cookies to banana bread, everything is good!
                  Children will be children and yes just let them me. There will be flour on the floor, bowl and spoon licking, it’s all fine! These moments make beautiful and memorable photographs that I can promise you, you will cherish for years and years to come.

                  3. Play games

                   

                  Family games are great to involve everyone, whether it’s a round of Pictionary or Monopoly, dress up or make-believe, just-dance in your living room, it’s all good.

                  4. Read

                   

                   

                   

                  I love the connection I have with my daughters when we read together.
                  For many is a bed-time routine but it’s also an excellent activity for quieter moments during the day, reading is the one thing that pretty much everyone does at one point or another, whether it’s a short photo shoot or a day in the life session.
                  It’s also a way to get the whole family to slow down and in one place for longer than one minute so I can capture a picture of all of you.

                  5. Get Crafty

                   

                   

                   

                  If you enjoy making things, please do! Crafts is a great way to involve everyone and the messier, the better! Glue, knit, build, draw, paint, it’s delightful to see the joy on your children’s faces and look of pride with their newest creations. It’s so worth it!

                  6. Bath time!

                  Bath time is an always an excellent way to finish a day in the life photo shoot. Especially for babies as they feel a little sleepy afterwards. It’s still such a particular time for any family and perfect for when you have a baby or a toddler. Bubbles, soap and water are good ingredients for great pictures.

                  7. Don’t Do Anything Special

                  There’s no need to do any activity just for our session. Just get on with your day, and I’ll be able to see and capture the beauty of the everyday for you.
                  During my short 2-3 hour sessions I ask the parents to put away their devices and really concentrate on this precious family time together. Of course, during the Day in the Life experience, there’s no such expectation. No one can be 100% engaged and switched on all day long. And you don’t need to; we are documenting your typical day to drop all pretences and the ideas of what at “perfect” day should look like, and just be.

                  If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

                   

                   

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                    A Day in the Life with a baby

                    A day in the life with a four-month-old baby can be very unpredictable! You have a routine, but sometimes the baby has other plans. Every day he shows you new tricks, more smiles, more strength and more personality. It’s a delight for me to capture that!

                    A Day in the Life-London Baby Family Photography-2018-Ana Ruivo Photography

                     

                    Sometimes we forget the first months with a baby, the endless nights and the sleep-deprived mind, the constant feeding and the insane satisfaction when your baby poos. The overwhelming emotions, the discovery of a love you never experienced.

                     

                    I spent a Saturday with these gorgeous new family and included a brunch at the famous Regency Cafe, a walk in the park, lots of feedings, lots of nappy changes, lots of cuddles and finally a nice warm bath. It was beautiful to see how much in love they are with their baby.

                     

                     

                    You can have a look at another beautiful Day in the Life session here,  and another here.

                    If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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