18 months in 18 minutes

So, it's been 18 months since I last shared any news with you.
I'd love to say it's because I have been too busy building websites and photographing yummy food. And while I have been doing lots of that I've also been grieving. 

Last May I sadly lost my eldest sister to cancer. I took some time out to be with my family but I also got active and trained for a charity cycle ride in Northern Germany. We came up with the idea as a family and so far have raised over £41k for the wonderful St Elizabeth Hospice, who looked after my sister in her last weeks. More information about the ride is available on the Ride for Toni website.

Just days before Christmas I then lost a close friend to the disease. He leaves behind my dear friend Helen, and their 2 young children. I've had a lot to learn in the last 18 months. Mostly not to worry about things, but also to talk about life and death more.

Towards the end of last year I was invited to be part of a well established exhibition with a group of photographers in London. More details can be found here 24 Photography.
With everything I had experienced last year I wanted to include some of that personal story to my image. But I wanted it to be uplifting at the same time. I thought for months about what I was going to do, I wanted it to be a story about family. I knew we'd be spending time with my friends over the new year period so I wanted to involve them somehow. Unfortunately Mark didn't make it to New Years's day so I couldn't include him directly into the photo. I did get to spend time with his amazing wife and children though, and with all the planning I had been doing in my head the end shot was very natural and poignant and included all the elements I had wanted it to without any input from me.

Here is the image with my description:

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Allocated time slot - 18:00
Title - It’ll be OK, Google
Caption -

Three days before Christmas, my closest friend lost her husband to cancer. Two of these beautiful children lost their dad. We spent new year’s day together; a walk along the beach, some chips, scooters, then back to mine for tea. While we prepared dinner in the kitchen, discussing the forthcoming funeral plans, the children found pure magic and momentary distraction in asking Google what a baby giraffe is called.

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Here I am visiting the exhibition, in Soho Square,  with my children, and Helen with hers.
Wooly hats were compulsory for viewing!