Ava and Bella

These beautiful girls are my nieces :) Spending the last week with them was amazing and I just love being Auntie Jacqueline again!

Last time I was home Ava could barely string two words together and now she can easily tell me “You’re not my best friend anymore!” if ever she’s told ‘no’ :) She loves all things pink, rainbows and sparkly and if I could have bought her the entire Disney store I would have.

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When I left Bella was old enough to know exactly who I was – so coming back is the best. I got a huge running huge and an “Auntie Jacqueline!!!!” when I walked through the door to pick her up from the babysitters. She joins in with our conversations now and is so thoughtful of other people – like choosing the milk chocolate easter egg instead of the white chocolate so we can all share :)
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I miss these two so much – I can’t wait to go back again later this year and see how much more they will have grown!

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The perfect Sunday morning – right here :) Sometimes I can get so caught up in my own thoughts and worries and they are never really anything to even worry about anyway! Well, nothing cures that than seeing the world through the eyes of a 3 year old. Take a look at a perfect family and pure joy :)

Thank you to Bubbles Academy for their seriously awesome set up!!
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Brooke

Brooke in the California sunset :)

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Home is just amazing at the moment :) I am doing my best to reply to emails on US time but forgive me if I am slower than usual!

I have photos coming soon I promise! I now have to go and spend an evening with my most amazing friends of 14 years :) happy happy happy

xxx

Jessica

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life”

– Pythagoras (570BC)

Wow does this philosopher hit the nail on the head?! All those centuries ago and they had already figured it out. I especially like how the word “persevere” was purposefully slotted in. True happiness doesn’t come easily, it takes hard work and sacrifice. There is a lot of risk involved if you truly want to lead a happier life but the journey is made ten times easier with friends by your side :)

Meet one of mine – Jessica. I’m so very lucky to have this wonderful lady in my life!! Thank you so much for helping me along this journey :) xxxxx

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Castle Shoot: Santa Barbara

Writing this post makes me ache for Santa Barbara. Christianne Taylor‘s Knapp Castle shoot was amazing – I’m so lucky to have been a part of it :)

Meet Kalyn Hemphill from Season 6 of Project Runway…
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Now Emilia and Brian :) How amazing does she look?! And she’s my friend!! ;)2013-03-10_0182013-03-10_0332013-03-10_0172013-03-10_020

Lila Turns 3 : Sneak Peak

A little glimpse into my Sunday morning :)

Moments that are only there for a second, and if you blink you will miss it. There were countless this morning :) And i’m thrilled to have been able to catch them.

// Many many more to come! //

Happy Sunday! xxx

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Palm Springs

While I had the time of my life in Santa Barbara for United 2013, it was a complete whirlwind of learning, meeting, parties, socializing that I think left all of us in NEED of an extra vacation. Some time to just breath and take in everything that we had learnt. It just so happened that one of my goals for 2013 was to make the effort and go and see Billy more when he travels for work…so when he ended up being able to make it out to Palm Springs early, it seemed that life had dealt us a good set of cards :)

Taking my treacherous driving through the mountains out of the equation – we had the most amazing 4 days! We managed to hike up a mountain (harder that it looks by the way!). With a couple of wrong turns that left us literally climbing and holding onto rocks, we got to the top together. We spent an evening strolling downtown – and made sure we watched the blackhawks WIN! No less than twice in 1 day did we set the alarm off when we got back to the house, which resulted in the police shouting to “make your presence known!”…oops. I’ve decided that when we grown up and buy our first home – a hottub will be a necessity ;) Then, when Tim arrived I got a cooking (and drinking…) partner! Cooking dinner on the bbq was amazing but all diving into the pool at midnight – so much fun!

This just makes me so excited for summer, the wedding season, wearing shorts, taking the pup to the beach, sleeping with the windows open and cooking outside :)

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For my amazing 2013 brides – this book is awesome! It’s not the psycho-analytic nonsense your thinking…once I get it back from being leant I’ll write a post about it! 2013-03-07_0012013-03-07_0132013-03-07_0142013-03-07_0062013-03-07_0092013-03-07_0242013-03-07_012 2013-03-07_0252013-03-07_011 2013-03-07_0262013-03-07_0102013-03-07_0082013-03-07_0052013-03-07_0232013-03-07_0172013-03-07_0182013-03-07_0192013-03-07_0152013-03-07_0072013-03-07_0212013-03-07_0222013-03-07_0202013-03-07_004

United 2013

Going to grab a coffee with Lauren last month, I had no idea it would literally change my little world. She casually asks me if I’m going to United this year. I shrugged off the question and said no – I figured one major conference was enough for the year. I can’t thank Lauren enough for not letting it drop, finding me a (side of a) bed in her room and whisking me to Santa Barbara for what was definitely an unbelievable week :)

I suppose I thought there are some awesome speakers so I would probably learn a few business tricks, marketing ploys or photography secrets. I mean, that’s what usually happens right? But we rarely put those different ideas and opinions to use – because, well, they just don’t fit into our life. United was completely opposite. It took everything back to your roots. Instead of preaching their philosophies, each speaker made you look at your own individual business, your own life and how you could help yourself.

Above everything, we kept coming back to WHY. Why did you pursue photography and why do you still do it? Before your business even existed….I’m a profound worrier. I think it’s genetic ;) it definitely runs in our family at least! Last week made me take a step back and realise that worrying is selfish. It accomplishes nothing other than getting more and more tangled in your own selfish thoughts. If I take myself back to when I just had a camera in my hand and it made Billy and me happy to be able to do what we love, everything else gains perspective.

Here is a little glimpse into the wonderful information shared;

“You can’t help others be happy if you don’t have it yourself”

“Time is what we want most, but use the worst”

“Without vision in life we perish”

“You can’t live unless you are ready to die”

“How can you be depressed if you know there is just one person in the world who needs your gift”

The friendships made and strengthened that week were by far the best thing :) There were so soooo many to try and name… the amazing Trevor, Timothy, Chad and Keith for rescuing me at LAX :) THANK YOU! The wonderful girls of room 505, Lauren, Jackie and Jessica – LOVE YOU! The midnight games of cards against humanity with some besties, hotseat laughs, roadtriping with Evan, hand-delivered coffee from Montana, midnight stroll with Meg, lunch conversations, balcony talks at freedom house….literally the list could go on and on and on. You guys are all the best and we will all grow so much more while we are on this journey together :) So grateful for each and every one of you! xx

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Lucky Girl

I’m a lucky girl – for many reasons – but especially because of the amazing friends I have :) I might live on another continent from everyone I grew up with, and we may not necessarily talk as much as if I were to live in the same town (or even country), we may live in different time zones and lead different lives – but as soon as you see one of your best friends standing in front of you it’s like you jumped back to when you were 15 again :)

Except this time Helen was standing in front of me in the lobby of a 5* hotel in downtown Chicago on a business trip! So maybe things have changed just a little since we were kids, but no matter where this crazy world takes us and however much changes in our lives, you know the friendship will remain exactly the same.

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Pickles.

I remember that day, 17 years ago, Mum and Dad told me we were going to go for a little drive to the countryside. Well, for me an hour in the car felt like an eternity! “Are we nearly there yet???” I can just picture pulling up to that little cottage – walking in and seeing a teeny little fluff ball sitting on top of an ironing board. Dad turned to me and said, “Well, there you have it – you got what you asked for!”…. my own puppy!!! My very own little puppy :) You were perfect, and slept all the way home on my lap.

Whether it was a smart decision or not – Dad let me (the 7 year old) choose your name! He kept calling you a little pickle – so how could they say no when I decided you would be named pickles! :)

You had endless patience, letting me paint your nails all the colours under the sun, using mums Chanel pink lipstick on you and thinking you were just one of the 15 children Mum babysat – pulling at your tail and jumping on the trampoline with them.

You had to learn everything the hard way – like running into the glass conservatory door at full pelt, or getting locked in the shed and not being able to find you for hours!!

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It never got old, every year when April fools day came around, telling Dad you had escaped and watching him run around town shouting “Pickles!!!!” at the top of his lungs :) One would think he was a gullible man – that is, if this didn’t happen on a very regular occurrence :)

You were truly part of our family. Our camping holidays to France, Spain or some rainy place in England were not complete without our pup snuggled in the back of the car – keeping watch out the back window.

Always the butt of jokes, ridiculed for your goofy face and tendency to bark at anything and everything – but we didn’t care. As the years passed and I took off to college you became more than just my pet. When Dad got ill, you would let him pet you for hours through his endless chemo. You knew something wasn’t quite right, and Mum and I could see you sticking by his side.576612543678

When  Dad passed, you helped Mum more than we have ever acknowledged. The doctor told her to use you to help her through her depression. Mum would take you on walks for hours every day – your little legs must have been ready to drop off! With Mum’s household filtering down from 6 of us to just her – you kept her company for over 4 years.276_604798309178_729_n

You were a tough little pup, putting up with slowly going blind and deaf. Although – whenever “chewy” was called it appeared you suddenly regained your hearing! That was one thing, but Mum couldn’t watch you in pain. It wasn’t fair. So the day had come we all had to say goodbye to our little Pickles. Of course I am over here and the rest of the family are scattered all over the country but know you meant something to all of us.

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Now there is no puppy to bark us to sleep at night

To accidentally step on when cooking dinner

To greet us with a wagging tail when we step through the door at home

No ‘doggy bag’ to ask for at restaurants

No need to plan our days around you

I can’t imagine coming back home to England without you – you were just always there for so long. To this day everyone at home still asks “how’s Pickles doing?” :)LD5A2913

To some it may seem silly. But with anyone who has a lovable ball of fur, no matter how big or small they may be, you know they are so much more than a pet – and often better than most of the humans in our lives. They don’t answer back, they are never sarcastic, they forgive in under a second, never hold a grudge, always happy to see you and never jealous. The list is endless. Tonight i’m going to give my giant pup an extra big hug and appreciate all the joy she brings to us and look forward to the years of memories we will make with her – just like Pickles did.