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Welcome to Say Monkey Photography

So glad that you’ve taken the time to visit. Here at Say Monkey Photography we love making Family Portraits that will grace your walls for years to come.

Our experience takes place at your choice of park, home or place of fun. We carefully plan our sessions to reflect the people in your family and cater to even the shyest of people. Afterwards we present your Portraits in person and help create an arrangement that is perfect for your home.

Ask yourself when was your last Family Portrait? Is it time for a New one….

Book a your Family a Session! Call today 0410 771 931

Nicole Murray - September 29, 2013 - 3:56 am

i <3 say monkey

Justine Lambert - September 29, 2013 - 7:42 am

I would love to get some photo’s done of my boys before they get to much older ones 14 and the other is 8. I love your work as a few friends have had theirs done and they look great.

Becca Watkins - September 29, 2013 - 9:48 am

Some Fantastic Prizes up for Grabs, great opportunity to get involved and have some fun with you guys, thankyou…fingers crossed :)

emma - July 2, 2014 - 5:44 pm

Hi I am enquiring about newborn photography packages/pricing and where are you situated

thanks

Teowai - July 14, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Hi Emma,

I have a standard rate for all my sessions at the moment. This is a link to my pricing page. You will be able to find what products I have available from there as well
http://saymonkeyphotography.com/pricing/
:) t

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Hayley & Noah – Our First Session

This year I celebrate 5 years with Say Monkey Photography. Over the next month I will be sharing photos from the past and some of the newer ones too.

I took these photos of Hayley and Noah back in 2012. Noah was super shy and hardly spoke a word to me the whole time, Hayley as you can tell was outgoing and smiley.

I have photographed them several times between then and now, they came for a Christmas session, Fathers Day Mini and I photographed Hayley’s birthday celebration.

I think of these kids as family now. They live around the corner from me and Ive watched them grow so much over the past few years. I can’t wait to see them for another session:)

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My Cancer Awareness #IceChallenge

I did the Cancer Awareness #IceChallenge on saturday. It was awesome! 4 Buckets of ice water over the head in the middle of winter.

I was nominated by my cousin Roimata who lives in Melbourne. She completed the challenge and was kind enough to pick me as one of her nominees. She has picked 5 people and 4 of them have already completed the challenge as we speak. I knew it was a matter of time before I received a nomination. My husband Gareth was nominated earlier in the week by his cousin Thomas in Ireland.  Its a phenomenon spreading throughout the world, spearheaded by crazy kiwis who are nominating friends and family everywhere.

Big ups to all who have completed the challenge and those who have made the $100 donation.

I did my challenge with friends & family in mind. My Grandmother, Aunty, Uncle and lil Cuz were all taken by this disease. Thankfully there are many who have beaten it in the whanau as well.

My heart goes out to my friends Darlene and Noah who are fighting the battle now. I pray that it all goes well for them and that they come out on top!

My Charity is the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. This year mum & I have a goal of $5,000 for the Lifehouse which is a Cancer Care Centre in Sydney.

I nominated Ema Williams, Cilla Numanga, Laura Hancy & Brent Reihana to complete the challenge! Cilla has accepted a bigger challenge instead, The Quit Smoking challenge. I am sure her challenge will be a lot harder than mine but i wish her every success.

If you are wondering about the challenge here is the lowdown.

The Challenge:

1. Participant endures an iced water ‘shower’ while feet are also submerged in iced water

2. Donate $10-$20 (more if you can) towards Cancer charities or directly to patients if you know of any

* Participants have 48hrs to complete the challenge
**If the challenge isn’t met the donation increases to $100

The Purpose of the Challenge:
The dumping of ‘Ice Water’ while feet are submerged is to mimic the effects of chemotherapy treatments.

The shock you feel when the water and ice is being drenched on you – the ‘shivering cold of it all’ is the same feeling Cancer patients experience during chemotherapy treatment.

It’s like ‘every Ice Challenge participant feels what every chemotherapy patient feels’..
Donating toward the search for a ‘cure’ is encouraged (or contributing directly towards the care of patients/families currently battling Cancer) and enduring the challenge is empowering.

If you would like to help me achieve my goal while supporting the Chris Obrien Lifehouse the please

Click here to donate to the Chris Obrien Lifehouse via the Weekend to End Womens Cancer

you will be taken to another site.

 

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Happy Birthday Lachlan – First Birthday & Naming Day Celebration – Erskine Park

He was surrounded by friends and family celebrating his 1st birthday. Fortunate enough to be blessed with the clearest blue eyes and a smile to melt hearts. He has several grandparents to dote on him and is completely unfazed by the attention.

 

Meet Lachlan, bright little button of a boy.

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Lest we Forget – ANZAC Day 2014

Today I attended my first ANZAC Day service since moving to Australia 11 years ago. I have family who serve in the Navy back in NZ and used to be close to a number of veterans at the Pukekohe RSL. However when I moved here I lost the sense of connection to the service that goes with attending for friends or with family. I was often rostered to work and didn’t feel moved to change it so I could attend instead enjoying the public holiday rates.

That attitude changed this year. I met a man who is passionate about caring for Veterans, especially the few WWII veterans that we have left. I was privileged to be introduced to Frank Harlow a 100 yo veteran and realised that the men and women we often think of as people in the pages of history are still alive. They are very much in the present and deserve to be cherished for their sacrifice.

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A small way that we can do this is to attend the parades and services around the countryside here in Australia and New Zealand. Take the time to engage with the veterans you know and let them know you care.

I was privileged to attend Dawn Service today and stayed in town for the Parade. Despite the downpour it was really heartwarming to see the number of people supporting the parade. Next year I hope to see that number increase dramatically especially since it marks the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipolli landing (i learnt that today at the Dawn Service). While there are no Veterans left from the War I like to believe that they know that we remember them. I know that the number of people from my household will double as my kids will be joining us.

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Happy Birthday Ingrid

Last month I captured Ingrids 18th Birthday Party. She was surrounded by friends and family. Her cousin Alex did a wonderful job of decorating and arranging the table centrepieces.

The food was plentiful and tasty and the atmosphere warm. Everyone enjoyed a dance and they were still at it when I left.

Here is her slideshow of photos. Happy Birthday Ingrid!

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Teen Formal Portrait Session – Commencement Ball – Penrith Panthers

Today was a big day in our household. The school my daughter attends holds a Year 10 Commencement Ball. This is the year that all the study and academic pressure starts. I guess they give them a good time before the hard time starts.

She was undecided as to wether she would go or not so i didn’t push. I asked if she wanted to go together as the event is open to parents too. You can imagine how enthusiastic about the idea when i suggested that:P

A week later she told me she had bought herself a ticket and wanted to go  shopping for a dress. My mum offered to take her and she ended up with a gorgeous lacey blue dress from Valley Girl. I was proud that she used the money from her job to buy everything on her own.

Tikanga’s hair & make up was done by the team at La Rells Hair & Beauty. They did a wonderful job and she felt like a princess when she came out of their salon on Kildare rd in Blacktown. I chose them after I saw the beautiful job they did for a bride back in January.  The ladies are very friendly and you can tell by how busy they are that they do awesome work.

Here are the photos from before i dropped her off. Some were at the salon, others at home and a few were over at the Wedding Gazebo at Panthers.  I am so proud of my beautiful daughter. She found a dress that was gorgeous without being skimpy, and chose accessories that matched. I hope she has a fantastic time tonight.

 

girl sitting on ottoman in front of red striped wallpaper

Waiting for her turn

Two images of a girls long brown hair

Before & After

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Kelly Ratahi - March 7, 2014 - 7:11 pm

Wow! You look absolutely stunning.
LOVE the dress, the shoes, the hair ….EVERYTHING!
Have an amazing night

Katie Richards - March 8, 2014 - 8:30 am

gorgeous!!! I love the last photo in front of the car! don’t they grow up fast.

LeAh Hiku - March 28, 2014 - 7:58 pm

I love you tikanga – like the sun loves the day

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Chip and Bella – Fur Baby Wall Art- Small Canvas

I love it when packages arrive in the mail. Its like Christmas except you have to pay for your own presents.

These arrived today. Two small 8×12 canvas prints of Chip and Bella. I took their photos over on the Northern Beaches during a visit. I was over their visiting my friend Sarah. Ive known her for 10 years now. The years have flown.

Chip and Bella are her fur babies and much cherished members of the family. I cant wait for her to pick them up.

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Yay for me! Im an Accredited Professional Photographer

Want to know why you should go with a Pro? Click on the image

Want to know why you should go with a Pro? 

I’ve been doing photography for 5 years now. Its been a slow journey, building the confidence to start putting myself out there as a photographer. Ive invested thousands of dollars in training, workshops and equipment.

Ive practised and I’m still practising. I don’t think you ever stop practising when your a photographer. Something new comes along to blow your mind and make you try a new approach.

Today was Valentines Day. I had a great start. My hubby had wine, chocolates and a card waiting for me on the table first thing in the morning. My mood was high the whole day. Then the afternoon peaked with an email from the AIPP. My portfolio had passed assessment and I was now an Accredited Professional Photographer. Words cannot express the pride i felt getting that email. It feels like such an accomplishment to be accepted as a member.

I was afraid to try and join for a long time. I worried that my work wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t good enough. That I hadn’t been doing it long enough and that I didn’t know enough. All those self depreciating thoughts that run through your head expanding on your fears and self esteem issues. My husband Gareth was awesomely supportive of the idea but he loves me so I felt he had a little bias about the likelihood of my success.

I want to credit Anni & Matthew from Milk & Honey Photography for the courage to submit a portfolio and make the leap for accreditation. I took part in the AIPP Mentoring Program which they delivered and it gave me such a confidence boost. Sometimes when you are a solo business person you feel a little isolated and unsure if you are heading in the right direction. The connection to other photographers I got doing the program was well worth the investment. The insights and mentoring that Anni & Matthew provided were a huge bonus.

So today I finish the day an Accredited Professional Photographer. Happy Valentines Day!

Here are a few of the images I submitted as part of my portfolio.

little girl wearing an indian headress

Gareth Ratahi - February 14, 2014 - 10:41 pm

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

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Jemma – The Light Within – Teen Portrait Session – St Clair, Western Sydney

This year I want to start a new project. One where I photograph a young person and show them how amazing they are. Hopefully I can help change their perception of themselves. Every month I will be picking a young person to be blessed with a portrait session. Their friends or family will need to nominate them. They can be someone who needs a pick me up, does a lot for others or going through a hard time with self esteem. Sometimes being on the receiving end of some pampering and attention is all we need to power through it. These are going to be called “the light within” sessions.

This is the first “The Light Within”  -  Portrait Session.

This is Jemma. She is 17 and is struggling to rebuild her self esteem. She has her good days and her bad days. Today was a good day, for both of us.

She was 15 when we first met. Tall for her age, pretty and outgoing. She had a ready smile for us every time we saw her. Her family often came to us for their portraits. Things got busy as they do and we didn’t see her for a little while.

When I saw her again she had lost a lot of weight. I was concerned and asked if she was ok. She just shrugged off the concern. I had no idea at the time that she was being bullied mercilessly and struggling with body image. Shortly after her aunty mentioned that she had left school. She was struggling to cope with being harassed and bullied and the school she went to wasn’t helping.  It wasn’t long after that we found out about her struggles.

There are a lot of things that can cause low self esteem in a young person, trauma, perfectionism and bullying. Bullying played a big part of Jemma’s struggle.  No person should have to deal with being ridiculed, threatened with violence and ostracised from their friends.  There are a lot of terrible things that can come out of persons mouth, especially when they don’t engage their brains before they speak. For Jemma, receiving this kind of treatment at the hands of her peers resulted in her being left a shadow of her former self. For other young people it has ended far more horribly.

Today Jemma is on the path to recovery and things are looking up for her.. She will be finishing year 11, regaining control of her life and supporting her young cousin Noah as he fights a battle with Leukaemia. She is a strong young woman and will learn from this experience. Lucky for us she has the chance to as grow up and be a gorgeous spirit.

Bullying isn’t acceptable a character building any more.  Its something that we have stopped accepting as a part of growing up. If you see it happening step up, stick up for that person. Laughing on the sidelines is just as bad as doing the bullying. Edmund Bourke an English philosopher once said ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’

If you want to learn more on bullying check out the government run website http://bullyingnoway.gov.au. There is info on how to deal with bullying and what to do if your child is one.

If you want help or you are a young person wanting someone to talk to check out http://www.kidshelp.com.au or call 1800 55 1800.

Dark Gothic Style dress on a girl standing in a burnt forrest holding a parasolCollage of images showing a Dark Gothic Style dress on a girl standing in a burnt forrest

If you want to learn more about eating disorders check out the website for the Butterfly Foundation.

If you are wondering what you should say to someone with an eating disorder? Here is a pdf with pointers about what not to say. http://www.anad.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/What-Not-To-Say.pdf

Alex - February 12, 2014 - 1:23 am

Still the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid my eyes upon :), just wanted to thank you for all the opportunities that you’ve provided Jemma with, Te :).
Alex recently posted..Jemma – The Light Within – Teen Portrait Session – St Clair, Western SydneyMy Profile

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Premium Prints – Invest in a finished product

Do you have all the time in the world? Can you shop around, look for the best or cheapest framer in the area and have your Classic Prints finished off? Then stop reading, unless you love canvas or mounted prints. For those of you who are time poor and want to get a finished product ready to hang on the wall then keep reading.

Your canvas prints are pre stretched and framed. They are ready to hang as soon as they arrive on your doorstep. Yip I deliver to your doorstep if you live local. Did I mention that they have terrific colour rendition( this means they look awesome) and are sprayed with a UV treatment. The UV treatment keeps it from fading so you can enjoy your bright fresh wall art for years to come. All you need to do it put the hook on your wall and up it goes (there will be a packet of 3M Command Hooks in with your canvas so you don’t have to worry about the landlord or paintwork).

My girls holding different sized Canvas. Tikanga -12x18" Summer - 16x20" Stephanie - 12x8"

My girls holding different sized Canvas. Tikanga -12×18″      Summer – 16×20″    Stephanie – 12×8″

Your framed portraits are printed on high quality 260gsm paper. Thats some sturdy stuff. You can choose from a range of frame options to choose from and they are custom made locally in Penrith. Same deal as the Canvas when it comes to delivery and hanging.

Frame Mounted Prints - One in a frame the other on an easel

Frame Mounted Prints – One in a frame the other on an easel

Mounted Prints are a light weight option for those of you who prefer to have a slim profile on your wall art. Its slimline and can be easily hung on a single hook. Your beautiful print will be the main feature with option as there will be no frame or canvas texture,

Foam Mounted Print Ready to Hang

Foam Mounted Print Ready to Hang

If you purchase a collection of Canvas or Framed prints to the value of $2000+ you will receive a free Wall Art hanging service. Someone will come to your home, hang your collection the way it should be displayed and ensure that every frame is straight. Everyone will be able to enjoy your polished collection proudly displayed in your home.

If you would like to know more about our products and services get in “Contact”. Do you love my work and want to be first to know about upcoming events subscribe to our monthly shout They get first dibs on any mini sessions or special limited offers.

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Pictures of me – Courtesy of Mr Ratahi

What do photographers do for fun? We try to get our spouses to take photos of us. I thought it would be a great idea to update my profile photos. I was on that whole new year, new pictures buzz. I put up a back drop, helped him with the settings and tried to pose.

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I did learn a valuable lesson from the experience. Its hard to make yourself look less plump if someone doesnt help by directing you and you dont have a mirror to check your posture. There was a lot of laughter and as you can see a bit of fooling around. There were a few photos that didnt make it here as I had more rolls than a bakery. I know those rolls are there i just prefer not to see them online lol.

My favourite photograph is the one Gareth took of my hands and camera. While you cant see my face anyone who knows me will recognise me from that photo.

I had to take photos of him photographing me as well. My usual choice of attire for photography is a shirt & stretchy pants. Gareth prefers shorts and body builder singlets. He has the shoulders for them.

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5 Reasons why you want a Lifestyle Newborn Session

There are a lot of choices when it comes to newborn photography. There is the hospital photographer who comes into the ward, swaddles the baby and takes a quick snap (i had those for my first two). There are others who will invite you into their studio to get beautiful posed portraits. I am in the third category. I will come to you and create heirloom art in the comfort of your home or at a place special to you. I offer 2 types of sessions, Posed and Lifestyle. Here are 5 reasons why you may want a lifestyle session.

1 – You want to capture your baby’s early life, eg their routine, toys, bed etc

baby lying on a change table getting his nappy changed
Nappy Change time. This little man didnt like his pants being off

2 – You want to show where you brought your baby when they first came home with you.

Pirate Pillow & cute Teddy in a baby cot
Baby’s Cot with the Teddy daddy had when he was little

3 – You love candid portraits.

Baby being pacified with dads finger
Teddy having a munch on dads finger while his milk heats up

4 – Your baby loves to be wide awake and wants to know whats going on.

Sometimes baby just wants to see whats going on and doesn’t want to close their eyes

5 – You want to include the extended family in your portraits. Grandma, Pops and the family cat

white & tabby cat hiding under the cot
This kitty wanted to hide under the cot instead of joining us for a photo

Does this sound like you? Want to know more about our packages? Contact us via the “Contact” link above.

 

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Jaxson – St Clair Home Studio Newborn Session

This little man is 1 now. He was only six days old when he came in for his session. He was wide awake and ready to play. Chilled out and relaxed, he kicked back in my props like a seasoned model. I was hoping for a sleepy model but he was at that stage where he wanted to check everything out. It wasn’t til close to the end that we got some eyes closed time.

He got hungry towards then end and his full tummy relaxed him to the point where he was ready for a sleep. Some babies are catnappers so those curled up poses you get with deep sleepers just aren’t possible.

He was a chubby little boy with plumpy cheeks and a cheeky little smile. They say at this age they just have wind. I don’t believe it. This little boy loved the sound of Dad’s voice and cracked a smile a few times when he was speaking.

Enjoy Jaxson’s slideshow. To see some of his photos check out his blog post - Jaxson -Newborn Session {St Clair, NSW}

 

 

 

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Giving Back – Helping out the Kiwiwlocals Kommunity

At this time of year i like to reflect on my blessing, lessons and unachieved goals. I look back on the goals i set, what needs to be carried over to the next year and lay down my plans for the future.

I feel blessed. I have a healthy family, a warm home and a business that lets me enjoy doing what i love and getting paid for it. I am happy and I have enough. I guess compared to many i an very blessed.

So in light of my good fortune i feel driven to give back. To support those less lucky and to help where I can. I’ve been following the Kiwi Kommunity for a while now. I admire the effort they put in providing a feed for the disadvantaged and homeless every Sunday. I decided yesterday that my kids would benefit from helping as well and we went in. We took sausages, potato salad and my husbands special sweet potato salad.

I feel like we got more out of helping out than what we put in. Yes we helped people sleep with a full belly but we got to meet some lovely people. The company of such positive unselfish men and women was so uplifting. The people we fed were so grateful i felt humbled by the experience. We served simple fare but they were grateful for what we brought for them. There was a moment where i thought of all the time i had complained about food or wasted it. Next time I hope that i can install a bit more gratitude and be happy that i can afford it or that someone has made it for me.

While we were down there the kids, hubby & I took photos. I made this slideshow. If you are free on a Sunday and can prepare a salad or have meat to cook on the bbq get in touch with Kiri through the Kiwi Kommunity. She is the driving force behind the initiative. They don’t get any funding its all off their own back and the businesses they’ve had support them.

 

 

 

 

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Are you ready for the new year?

To be honest I am really ready for the new year to begin. Its almost like starting with a clean slate.
I have had such a massive year with 2013 that im hoping I can cruise through 2014.
After the bombshell end to this year I’ve changed my goals and hopes for the future. Priorities have realigned themselves more towards spending time with my kids and less time with the business tasks for the biz. 
Say Monkey Photography will be heading into the new year with new prices, fewer available session dates and better more streamlined business systems. Ive moved to an online studio management system. There is a learning curve and I may have a few bumps to iron out but it means you will be able to layby, check your order progress and know exactly how things are going along.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Lets bring in the New Year with some hope and cheer.:)Te
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Where have I been? Dealing with depression

depressed people think they know themselves but maybe they only know depressionFor those who follow me my absence for the last few weeks has been noticeable. normally I am on facebook everyday, posting about my people or my family. I like to keep in touch and be present in your news feeds. The last few weeks i disappeared practically.
My world was rocked. Literally I was spinning out and unsure what I should do. Like many women I juggle a full-time job(it pays the bills) a family and a passion. For me the passion is photography.
So my little universe was sent spinning out of alignment by my daughter. She was diagnosed with major depression and I felt like a failure as a parent. I woke up one morning to a two page letter that outlined her every concern, her gripes and the things that caused her angst. I realised that there were things that she should have been proud of but were causing misery instead. I sought help but felt like I should have done something to prevent her being there in the first place.
I felt the guilt that strikes every working mum of  “maybe if I had been home I could have prevented it”. My daughter has suffered through bullying at school. Being teased about her name, the fact that she is a migrant and Australia isn’t “her country”. The upheaval of moving in the middle of the school year to a new school when everyone else has already established their little clicks all got to her. She struggled to cope and I thought it was puberty and all the hormones that go with it. She is only young, under 15.. We had a big blue, she clammed up and refused to talk. She ended up writing me a letter, telling me how she felt and what she had been going through. I couldn’t really appreciate the depth of her despair but I knew something was wrong so i took her to the GP. He has referred her to a psychologist and we are getting help.
I have to admit i felt like a failure as a parent. My daughter wasn’t in healthy state of mind, i’d failed to give her enough self esteem to protect her from the verbal barbs of these vicious twits at her school and I didn’t notice early enough that there was a problem to help her before she ended up in this dark place.
I eventually came to the conclusion that sometimes as parents we try to wrap our kids up in cotton wool. We want them to be safe but eventually they will have to deal with things on their own. My daughter tried to, she didn’t want to burden us and thought it was something she could handle. Unfortunately it wasn’t and we all have to deal with that. She has someone to talk to that isn’t family and we have made changes to prevent her having to deal with those people.

I made the decision to cut back on the work I do and to limit the amount of time I spend doing what I love so I can spend more time with the People I love. Next year things will be different, I will be posting about the up coming changes soon. I will be available fewer hours, my focus will be changed and i will be requiring a higher upfront investment from those who want be to create their wall art.
If you want to stay up to date or know about upcoming mini sessions first subscribe to our tribe. Just enter you name and email, it will take a few seconds and you will receive a $50 credit with your next session.

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One from the Archives – Bailey

The heat was like a wet blanket smothering us. It was way too hot for a session indoors. His downy hair was plastered to his head and swaddling was out of the question.

Everything was ready, we laid him in the bowl but he wasn’t in the mood to be curled up. His little legs pumped the air as if to say try and contain me. After a few shots we changed things up.

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Chilling in the bowl

He was wide awake and wanted to play. He had a wriggle in mums arms and produced a gorgeous little smile.

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We took a break and Bailey had a snack break. We were hoping it would calm him down. He soon crashed out. He was oblivious by then tired out by the heat and the full tummy.

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Completely knackered from all the excitement he let us move him around without exploding into waving arms and legs. His little eyes drooped in this position and he soon drifted off.

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he’s holding mummy’s heart ring but I’m sure he has her heartstrings tied up too.

This little boy is 2 now. Time has flown by. He is walking, talking wreaking havoc most likely. His mum can look back on the photos and remember the time when she could put him down on the floor walk away and he would still be there 5 mins later.

Want to capture gorgeous photos of your cherub before they grow out of this stage? Contact me via the “Get in Touch” menu option of give me a call to book your session. You want to get in early as session fill up fast. Don’t miss out call today!

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Family Fun Stuff – Toilet Training Chart

I made a Reward Chart for Stephanie today. We are trying to toilet train and those of you with toddlers know how fun that can be.

I asked for advise on how to get her to sleep in her own bed and someone suggested a rewards chart. I think it would be perfect for going to the toilet and decided to make one for that instead.

Im trying to implement a routine for the bed thing so far its not too bad. We get about 4hrs alone before the pitter patter of little feet come into our room.

I’ll let you know how the toilet training goes. I’ve got a copy here for you to download if you want to try it as well.

 

Here is Stephanie

Here is Stephanie’s chart taped to our handbasin. Fingers crossed it works :)

Teowai Ratahi - November 5, 2013 - 10:02 am

We got one sticker today. Yay!

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Happy Halloween – Stephanie’s First Halloween Dress Up – Say Monkey Photography

Happy Halloween People!

Today isn’t really a holiday that I get. I know that kids like to dress up and go ask for lollies but I don’t know how these things have turned into a national holiday.

Its an American tradition and one that is becoming increasingly popular here. I remember taking my little cousins trick or treating as a teenager. They never tricked anyone and we had a little bag of lollies to give people who said they had none. Now I am happy to give out the lollies and I usually put up a decoration to show that we are Halloween friendly. We are happy for the little kids(big ones too) to knock on our door.

Today Stephanie dressed up for a fun day at Kindana and came home in her costume. Its a little small for her but we went with it anyway.

There is a house at the end of our street that always really gets into Halloween. I thought I’d take her there for a walk and check out the decorations.

On our way we passed Trick-or-Treaters who shared their lollies with her. I didn’t think she was old enough to be knocking on does so we just walked. Nice people gave her lollies as she went by and she was in her element smiling at everyone who stopped to tell her how cute she is.

She had a ball which is what I think Halloween is all about- Having FUN!

Our Halloween Decorations – We put up 2

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Teowai Ratahi - October 31, 2013 - 9:53 am

Stephanie is such a dynamo. She fell over grazed her knee then got back up and trooped on.

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Teen Session – St Clair, Western Sydney – Say Monkey Photography

He was reluctant at first. his shoulders were hunched up like he didn’t really want to be there.  He wasn’t the type to play up to my camera. He’d had a massive growth spurt since I saw him last. It had been a few years and he was still a little awkward with me. He grown from a chubby boy into a young man while I had been away. The boy was still there breaking out in his smile but the set of his shoulders and stature were that of a man.

He wanted to surprise his mum and give her something special. The last time he’d had proper photos taken he was still in nappies. The experience wasn’t something he was familiar with. It didn’t take him long to relax. I was a familiar face and there was no awkward posing.

The alley way was secluded. There were no extra people looking on as I took his photos. He enjoyed the privacy and rewarded me with smiles and loose limbed grace. We stopped on the front doorstep of my house and when he kicked back I captured a few more. His mum loved them and let me share them with you!

 

young skater boy in an alleyboy in a hoody sitting on front doorstepyoung skater boy in an alleyyoung skater boy in an alley

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Gorgeous Family Photos – Nurragingy Reserve, Western Sydney

Meet the Jones family. They joined me at Nurragingy Reserve for their family portraits way back in June. It was still winter then and they braved the cold in their winter woolies and we made some gorgeous family portraits.

The kids jumped all over Dad, ran around the trees and photobombed each other a few times. It was definitely a fun family session.

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Country Catholic Baptism – Dalby Queensland

I was blessed with the privilege of becoming a godmother today. My eldest niece Claudia became my god daughter . Its the first time Ive been asked to be a godmother and to be honest I haven’t really paid attention to what usually goes on but as I had a role to play I tried to take a bit of an interest.
The girls were well behaved for most of the Ceremony and little Vincent was all smiles for most of it. I handed my camera over to the girls uncle Timmy for the important part of the ceremony. I was involved in that part so I had to part with the camera.

The weather was really hot but the sky was a beautiful blue and the day turned out lovely.

st Josephs Catholic Church – Dalby, Queensland

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10 Kids & a Bride & Groom – North Ryde Wedding – Rose & Paul

I have a Wedding Biz called Mon Quay Wedding Photography. I decided that the name was better spelled that way as I wanted to attract brides who were outside my social and fan circle. I didn’t think “Say Monkey Photography” was going to appeal to someone looking for a wedding photographer.

I am great with kids so it was understandable that Rose & Paul wanted someone who could deal with them well. They had 10 children in their bridal party. Ranging in ages from 2 -12 (i think).

I had to wait til they got back from their honeymoon and saw their photos before I could share any. I really want my couples to see their photos first so I like to wait.

What do you think aren’t these gorgeous kids? You can check out more over at www.MonQuay.com

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Maternity Mini Session – Emma – 28 weeks – Say Monkey Photography

It seems like only yesterday she had a tiny bump. It was like a burger belly. The one you get when you’ve eaten too many burgers.
Emma has a little ball now, tight as a drum with that cute line down the middle. You can see his limbs pushing when he moves around. There doesn’t seem to be much room for him in there, where he’s all curled up into that space under her heart. He’s safe there looked after by his mummy
You can see the sparkle in her eyes when she talks about him. Her hands cradle him when she laughs and tells me of his future as a Roosters fan.  Gerard will be getting him into league early. He will be born the same year that his daddy’s team won the Grand Final. Its going to be a great year for Gerard. He can’t wait to get his son into a supporters outfit. They’ve bought merchandise already!
She’s nearly there at 28 weeks. He will be here in only a few months. It will be Christmas time when he comes and Yes they know its a him. They found out early and kept it a secret for a little while. But then they started buying boy stuff and I think that might have given it away.

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Baby Shower Fun & Games – Kings Langley

A baby is such a wonderful thing. There is something about a newsperson joining the family that is something wonderful.

A baby shower is a wonderful way to celebrate this and today I wanted to share photos from a recent shower that I attended.

Emma’s mum went to great efforts to put on an awesome spread. How cute is the cake! Emma’s wonderful fiancee Gerard made the watermelon baby carriage.

There was a lot of laughter with nappy sniffing and mystery food tasting. Guessing the expectant mama’s waist with a piece of string was a fun game.  Here are a few photos from the day

Gerard’s amazing watermelon

Cute cupcakes to go with the Winnie the Pooh theme

THe cute cake made by Emma’s Mama

mmm these oreo cake pops were yummy

those word scrambles were hard but I got them eventually

Cut your string as long as you think Emma is round. Mine was way off

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30 Days of Photography – Day 23 – Panning

Today’s Challenge image is one where I tried a technique called panning. No its not getting dirt from the creek and swirling it around tip the gold is left. This is one where you try and follow a moving object with your camera to capture the sense of movement but keep your main focus sharp.

Now honestly I think I suck at this technique. its one that I really need to work on. I guess its not one that a Portraitist like my self is really going to need. But as a photographer who wants to be well rounded and master her craft its one that I am working on.

Here is my image. This is my niece on the teacups at the Woodcroft Lake Festival 2013. I will be posting more photos from that later this week. What do you think? Do you get the sense that their cup is spinning and the whole things is spinning as well? No editing done its straight out the camera.

little girls on the teacups ride

 

If you want to see the post with links to the other completed tasks here at 30 Days of Photography Challenge. I started this on the 1 July 2012. Ive given up on doing them in order. No Im just doing them as I am inspired.

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Camden Expo Special Offer – Check Out Mon Quay Wedding Photography

As a few of you know I have a separate Brand & website for my Wedding Photography. This is because as much as I love Say Monkey Photography and the fun vibe behind our name I was told that Brides wouldnt like it. So Im really attached to the way saying the word “Monkey” makes people smile so I changed it to Mon Quay (pronounced Mon – Key). Head over there to check it out if you like the address is www.monquay.com.  I run the biz with my hubby Gareth. He plays a more active role in Mon Quay, second shooting for me & attending the Expo’s.

I will  be at the Camden Lakeside Wedding Expo displaying my work and generally putting myself out there. If you live in the area come along even if you arent planning a wedding. There are some amazing Candy Buffet people there, you can check out a photobooth for your next event or even a Cake Artist.

The Event will be held on the 17th of November 2013 from 1030am – 4pm

Camden Lakeside Country Club

50 Raby Rd? Catherine Field, NSW 2557

http://www.camdenlakeside.com.au

 

Camden Lakeside Wedding Expo

Special Offer for Expo Attendees

As a bonus for those who visit my stand on the day &  I have a special gift.

If you come speak to me on the day and book your wedding with me you will receive a free Lolly Tree from Sweet Styled Candy Buffets. You decide wether you want to put it on your Guest Register table or have it early for an Engagement Party.

If you book a Family Session on the day I will bring your Lolly Tree to the Portrait Session.

Lolly Tree

Sweet Styled Candy Buffets

If you are looking for a fantastic Lolly Buffet for your next event check out Donna at Sweet Styled Candy Buffets. She specialises in gorgeously styled Buffets for all occasions. Click on her logo to be taken to her Facebook page

 

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Outdoor Fathers Day Mini Session – Mr H – {St Clair NSW}

Meet Mr H. He is 2 and he wasn’t to keen on getting his pictures taken. This little man knew what he wanted to do and that was play on the playground. I like to take photographs at Dorothy Radford Reserve. It has some great trees, there are a few different shrubby types and for such a small area I get a variety of looks.

Mr H came along to our Fathers Day Mini Session day. His mum wanted to surprise his dad with something special. We got a few photographs in the space that I had chosen before he decided that a change of location was in order. As you can see we ended up at the playground.

I dont know what it is about a frowny photo that I like, but I think Mr H is the cutest looking at me like that.

Fathers Day Mini Session

little boy in stripe toplittle boy poking finger in mouthblack & white picture of a little boy in playground tunnellittle boy on swing frowning at the cameraOutdoor

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How not to approach me and the right way to ask me for something.

I got an email yesterday from an aspiring photographer looking for work. They are currently studying and were after an assisting job.I would have been flattered except that I was sure that it was a copy & paste job and it wasnt addressed to me it was sent to Say Monkey Photography.  I’ve hidden the persons info as I dont think everyone needs to know who they are. I was tempted to ignore it and just delete it as more spam. I decided to reply as I know how hard it is to get work as a Photographer when you are starting out.

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Carla Matthews - October 17, 2013 - 10:04 am

Wow. I believe that your response was just what he/she needed to hear. Hopefully they will find someone to help them the way they need and no more trolls for you

Jessica Elizabeth Allsop - October 17, 2013 - 10:26 am

I can imagine it will be difficult for her as a photographer if she can’t take criticism. Everything you said, you said well.

L.O.A - April 16, 2014 - 9:24 pm

Who do you think you are? This poor student has put themselves out there for your advice/leadership and you have let your own egotistical needs get in the way of helping another person – one who has thought enough of you to want to work with you.
Your website boasts ‘down to earth’ which you are not, in that regard you are a fraud. You are the troll. You should remember that you also started somewhere – but then again anyone can take a few photos like yours, set up a website and a FB page and voila they’re a ‘professional’ business.
This student should now be thankful they didn’t end up carrying your bags or being your slave, because evidently you would’ve treated them horridly. I can almost guarantee another photographer has taken her up on the request and she is learning fantastic things, of which you would have taught her none.
In writing this I almost think people need to thank you for doing this student a favour by spitting on them and being condescending towards their polite attempt to reach out. I ALSO notice you didn’t address them by name in your responses – is that because they’re beneath you? Because I’m telling you they’re not.

You are not a nice person Teowai Ratahi, I bet this reflects in the world around you if you look hard enough.

Good luck with that.

Teowai - April 16, 2014 - 11:25 pm

Down to earth to me is you get what you see. I’m a practical plain spoken person. I don’t pretend to be anything other than me.
Who do I think I am? I’m the photographer who built their business on their own without any handouts. The one who started from scratch in a foreign country as a single mum with 2 kids under 5.
I am also the one who got an email from a person asking for my money and offering very little in return. Money that sends my kids to camp and pays for their karate lessons. The student didn’t ask for help they asked for a position, a job pretty much to be paid for an entry level position in my business so they could take everything they learn and use it to start their own and didn’t even have the respect to use my name when they asked me for it.
Who am I? I’m the photographer who practised for years doing it for free, PAID to attend workshops by photographers I admired and has never asked anyone to pay me for something I couldn’t do. It’s one thing to ask for work experience. It’s totally different to ask for employment. One just costs me time, the other will cost me time and money.
Are you aware that a lot of photographers won’t allow other local photographers to attend their workshops as they don’t want to train their competition?
Unlike many other photographers I allow my second shooters to use their images when I photograph weddings and I am completely open in how I run my business. I don’t charge them for the opportunity.
I don’t think I ever claimed to be nice. But when I look around me I see the home that my hardworking husband and I bought, I’m surrounded by my family who I love and a group of amazing people who inspire me. Friends who helped me raise $1500 for the Kids with Cancer Foundation.
The only troll here is hiding behind a pseudonym. The name has been edited out I put that info right at the beginning of the post. Did you actually read the whole post? I thought about just deleting your comment but then I thought what the hell You took the time to comment I will approve it and reply.
Good luck with the trolling whoever you are.

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If You Can DREAM it You can DO it

Last month Say Monkey Photography turned 4 years old. I remember when we started. My cousin Leah & I had both been into photography for a long time. Leah was looking for work and i was looking for a creative outlet. I had just finished Tony Robbins 30 day Personal Power program and was all fired up to meet my goals and plan my future.

I wrote down a number of things I wanted to achieve in my life. One of them was start a business, another was take my daughters around the world. View full post »

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My Baby Belly – Encouragement for Mums {Woodcroft NSW}

Today I thought I would share photographs of me. They arent recent in fact they are over 2 years old. They were taken by my husband not long before I was induced to have Stephanie. I was 41 weeks along and very tired of being pregnant. Aside from feeling enormous I was suffering sciatica, carpal tunnel and had feet like swollen clubs. But when I look at these pictures I dont think of any of those things. Not at first anyway.

I feel moved to share these photos in the hopes that other mummies who arent feeling slim or in anyway shapely will have the confidence to get maternity portraits done.

This is me with my beautiful baby, curled up waiting to be born, safe under my heart. Me, all 102 kgs of me. There in my underwear letting my husband photograph this moment in my life. I chose not to worry about the fact that I felt huge, or that my hands and feet were swollen. I focused on my baby and feeling her move. I wanted my older daughters to come and feel their sister kicking away. I think they thought it was weird feeling the little being inside me kicking at their hands.

I love these photographs. They remind me of how amazing our bodies can be and of a time when my baby was as safe as she could be. I watch her running around and being such a huge personality in her tiny body. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that this bundle of energy was once my tiny bundle of sweetness. Looking at these pictures remind me that our babies change so quickly and grow up way to fast. I remember having these pictures taken like it was yesterday.I look at my big girls sometimes and wonder where the days went.

I think by the time my third baby came along I had made peace with my body, the tiger stripes and wobbly bits. When I was blessed with Stephanie I was much more confident and assured of my place in the world. I dont have many photographs from when I was pregnant the first two times. I think I was too worried about my size.

I hope that those mummies out there who see these photographs are encouraged to take the step themselves. Capture this beautiful moment in your life. Wether it be with your husband or a trusted professional please love yourself enough to record the miracle that is your body! Having a baby is a blessing and a miracle!

Feeling Stephanie Kick

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Emma Caukill - October 18, 2013 - 7:19 pm

Thank you for this blog. It is truly amazing and I hope it gives women out there the confidence they need. :-)

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30 Days of Photography Challenge……attempt to finish #3

30 days of PhotographyWhat is this 30 Day Photography challenge you ask? Well i must confess that its actually a really old one that I am finally getting around to finishing, well……Im trying to finish it now. I started it way back in January 2012. Yip its a 30 day challenge that is taking me nearly 2 years. I don’t know what it says about me that I haven’t finished it yet or that I am persisting in trying to finish but here i go again.

Those of you who craft with kids around will know that sometimes projects get put away before the munchkins can go on rampage. By the time you’ve seen to their needs and cleaned up after them the mood has passed and you arent in the mood to do it. Well for me the mood passed and its taken ages to come back. I tried doing it again back in October last year. I think i did a few projects and then life got in the way.

This 30 Days of Photography Challenge is just one of those things for me. I have always had it in the back of my mind as I have been shooting over the last few months but I never made time to blog the images or do some of the projects as they require a little bit of set up..

Here is the link to my original post. There are links to each project I did. I will be updating it with links as I go along. I’ll be honest im not going to do it in order but I am going to do it!

http://saymonkeyphotography.com/30-days-of-photography-challenge/

I’d love to hear about projects that you are yet to finish. Tell me about them in the comment section

slow progress is still progress

After doing City 2 Surf I learned that slow progress is still progress. Even if you think you are so slow that you are going backwards you do get there eventually

 

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5 fun games for your next party – Keep the kids happy

One of the things most children look forward to when they go to a party is the fun and games. Running around and playing with their friends is what makes a party especially fun and memorable.

Of course, you don’t want kids to just be running around in circles. You want something fun planned, even surprising and a little competitive and silly. No matter what the age group, you’ll find resources for free or low cost games to enjoy. I think if you have a fun crowd these games could be played with adults too!fun with water balloons

1 Balloon Fun

Oftentimes, the most fun games are also the most simple. For instance, a summer party favorite is a big bag of water balloons filled with water to throw at each other. Other games you can play with balloons are Balloon Pop Up where you stick little prizes inside of balloons and each child picks one to pop to see what they get. Kind of like the dart game in sideshow alley.

Children really have a lot of fun with balloons no matter what the game. Plan a game trying to have a race from one end of the yard to the other while patting their balloon up in the air and trying not to let it fall. Just use your imagination and think of more fun ways to use balloons.

2 Pin-the-Tail Games

One of the oldest and best known games is Pin the Tail on the Donkey or any variation of it. This very affordable game suits children ages six through ten. You can get more mileage out of this game by having the children draw the donkey and create the tails themselves. Of course, you can find printable Donkeys online or find one at a party store if your budget allows. You can change the game from a donkey to a bunny and use cotton balls for the tail, or play ìPin the Antenna on the Alienî or whatever your child likes

I made a variation of this game for a Christmas Party one year. I made a Christmas Tree and had the kids put stars on the tree. The closest to the top of the tree won.

3 Pick a Duck

Preschoolers and other very young children need games that are easy to play and will hold their attention. A game that requires only luck and a few motor skills is ideal, like Pick-a-Duck. Check your local dollar stores for floating toy or bathtub ducks. Using a permanent marker, write numbers or shapes on the bottom of each duck and place them in a big bucket or kiddie pool full of water.

To play the game, simply let each child pick a duck. The number or shape on the bottom of the duck will correspond to a prize you’ve wrapped and put in another tub. The child gets to choose a prize from the tub and keep the duck. Perfect fun for very young children and it costs very little.

musical dress ups4 Musical Dress Up

This is a variation on musical chairs. Put a big table in the middle of the room and pile it high with old clothes, hats, and jewelry, the funnier the better. Gather the kids around the table, and start the music. The object is for the kids to grab stuff to put on as fast and funny as they can. When you stop the music, everyone has to stop getting dressed.

Have prizes for different things like Most Colourful, Most Hats, Most Covered, or whatever you like. Hand out prizes to the winners and give everyone a participation prize. If you don’t have a lot of old clothes around, a quick trip to your local thrift shop or even a yard sale will lead you to necklaces, ties, hats, shoes, scarfs, and all sorts of fun stuff for very little money.

piñata  5. Bash the Piñata

Kids love Piñata and they are a great way to finish off a party. You can buy them cheap from party supply stores or places like spotlight at certain times of year. I tend to keep an eye out on specials when I know a birthday is coming up and buy them really early. Of course you could make an awesome piñata yourself.  Check out this tutorial to make a Brobee one http://www.gabbafriends.com/aztecmonkey.

Remember, you don’t have to get stressed about the games. After all, any time spent with friends is a good time for kids. Just focus on helping them enjoy their time together and you’ll do just fine. Relax and have fun, and your kids will too!

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What to Wear – Red Inspiration

Red is one of, if not the, strongest of colors in the rainbow. A symbol of power, passion, blood, and love, red is a bold and striking colour for your session.

Since red is truly a brilliant, attention-grabbing colour, we recommend peppering your outfit with red accents instead of making red the main colour for all garments. Pairing red with denim or darker neutral tones makes for striking engagement images that create lasting impressions on your wall.

Red is a great accent colour to bring attention to certain parts of your body. If you think you have gorgeous lips go for a bold scarlett, love your hair? why not place a red rose amongst those locks of yours. For guys a red tie or hat can draw attention to the face.

If your looking for some inspiration check out my Pinterest board What to Wear – Red Inspiration

Red

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Free Printable Party Invite – Circus Themed

I asked my facebook fans last night what I should write todays post about. I got three suggestions. The first was a request for a Circus Themed Invite.

Im not a guru on creating this stuff but thought I would give it a go. I usually repurpose other things for the kids parties and am often printing things on Avery Labels to create stickers. There are also great places like Etsy.com or www.andersruff.com where you can purchase complete packages to print at home for under $50.

Today I created this Circus Themed Invite. I may try and design matching buffet tags, lolly bag tops & a Happy Birthday Bunting. It depends on how many people ask for it in the comments section. If 20 people comment saying they would like me to make the rest of the set I will give it a go and make it available as a free download

Circus Invite

 

 

Liking is lovely, & sharing is caring but a comment would really show your there

Rosie - October 11, 2013 - 3:03 pm

Looks great would love to see the rest of the set

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The Little Ladies High Tea – 6 Girls in our Backyard {St Clair, Western Sydney, NSW}

I am so happy the school holidays are over. I like to think I am a creative type of person who could entertain the rowdiest of kids for the day. But i think as I get older my energy levels are not where they used to be. When I was younger I used to babysit for families with 6 kids and not break a sweat.

Over the holidays my 3 nieces were staying over and while we had some fun doing scrapbooking, plaster painting & playing in the pool i figured we should do something special as well. Now I dont know how families this big do it all the time but it seems to be really expensive to take this many kids anywhere. 1 ride pass might be $5 but when you times if by 6 and then they all want a couple of turns, bam there goes $100 before you know it!

After trolling pinterest and google for fun things to do with girls I came up with the idea to have a little high tea. We didn’t have any tea cups and saucers so substituted plastic champagne flutes. The girls were in heaven.
It didnt take long to set up their little buffet. I have a little collection of lace table cloths and our vases are milkshake glasses. I made their little flower centrepieces from fake ones i bought at our local dollar shop. They were in single colour bunches but I just chopped them up and mixed the colours. They are the same flowers I made the flower crowns with from the girls shoot. Check the photos out here on the post 3 Pretty Girls

A selection of the goodies were baked by myself & the lovely people at Woolworths. Im no Betty Crocker so everything that could be done with a short cut was. The cupcakes were made with a packet mix & iced with frosting from a can, unfortunately for the girls Stephanie took it upon herself to lick one plateful. Our cookies, which were delicious, came from Billy G’s Cookie Dough & the cake was fresh from the Woolworths bakery section. Mum prepared the chippolatas and Nutella Fairy bread. Most of the plates and dishes were left overs from other parties. I think we ended up spending about $15 all up on the food & drinks.

I think were i to do it again I would have the kids make their own food and decorations before hand. This time the fun lasted as long as the food. But if they had taken part in more of the assembly and prep I think we could have kept them amused for hours.

Nutella Fairy Bread- A hit with our girls

Martha inspecting her chippolata

Our little Tea Party Buffet

Stephanie practising with the tongs (mangling the fairy bread)

two girls at a buffet

Perusing the selection on the buffet

Claudia, smiling before she digs into her cake

Jelena- pleased with her cake

Our homemade centrepieces

little girl in a blue top

Jelena, eying up her sister’s plate

pink cupcakes on a plate

the Cupcakes before Stephanie licked them all

pouring lemonade into a champagne glass

Topping up her sisters glass

Stephanie with her bubbles

Claudia showing us how to hold it like a lady

Another view of our table set up.

Fresh Cream Filled Sponge Cake – thank you Woolworths

 

Nicole Murray - October 9, 2013 - 10:43 pm

this is a beautiful idea!! I love it, it’s different and cheap, I think I might try this for my daughters birthday

Kylie D - October 10, 2013 - 10:42 am

What a fun thing to do!!! Love the vases!!! Kx

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Christening & 1st Birthday Party {Western Sydney, NSW}

I am terrible at choosing presents. There is an evil little elf on my shoulder that always suggests buying noisy things like instruments or karaoke machines for other peoples kids. These are gifts that are terrible for the other parents. If you’ve ever had to listen to a 10 year old belting out Spice Girls songs on Singstar then you know the horror of which I speak.

I like Tony & Kylie so those types of gifts were out. Poppy has three older siblings so I didnt think they were needing toys either. I figured our gift would be some photos from the day & an album. Kylie is usually the photographer in their family so as a big participant I hoped she would prefer something like this.

The Christening was in a Church in Harris Park and the Party afterwards was held in Merrylands. Kylie and the family had gone to a big effort. The food was awesome, the cake was a fantastic 3 tier confection that tasted delicious and the cute little party favours were a hit with my girls.

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Mother & Daughter Glam Session – Nicole & Lyn – {St Clair Western Sydney}

Nicole & Lyn came in for a Mother & Daughter Glam session way back in May. They’ve been up on my homepage slideshow for ages but I have been slow in writing their blog post. Say Monkey Photography turned 4 last months and one of my resolutions for our 5th year in business was that I would post up all my sessions.

Nicole won her Glam session during our 800 Liker Giveaway. To celebrate 800 fans I decided to give away a number of session. We gave away a Family session, Cake Smash & a Glam Session. The Matsen Family were blogged a few weeks ago & Hunter our gorgeous Cake Smasher was on the blog in June.

Nicole & Lyn were amongst my first Glam Sessions & I have come a long way since. The ladies were wonderful and patient with me as I tried to demonstrate posing. Im much more confident about it now. Thank you for your patience ladies.

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Studio Styled Cake Smash – Avah’s First Birthday {St Clair, NSW}

This little girl loves balloons. I thought i was being neat styling this session with handmade paper flowers and balloons that matched our colour scheme. I didn’t know that the attraction of the balloons would out weigh that of the cake. As long as these funny things were close by to bash she didnt even want to know about the cake.
Avah is such a cutie. She was shy at first not really sure about this strange lady. But she soon warmed up and the smiles came out. Her mummy brought along the cute outfit she was wearing. We styled the shoot to match it.cute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthdaycute little girl smashing a cake for her 1st birthday

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Outdoor Family Mini Portrait Session {Chalmers St Park, Haymarket NSW}

This was the mini-est of Mini Sessions only 15minutes. This is my stepbrother Quinton, his sister & mum. He stayed with us for the school holidays and was heading home when we took these photos.

His sister was really shy and unfortunately with Mini sessions sometimes i just cant get the shy ones to loosen up. We took these photographs in the park near Central station just before the sun went down. It was back in April and the light was rapidly dying. But i wanted to get some portraits of them together before they flew home.

I took portraits of Quinton while he stayed with us. Would you believe he is only 15? The kid towers over me and when he fills out will be a big man. I got to talking to him about his mum & sister during our shoot and asked when was the last time they had a photo together. I was shocked when he said he couldnt remember. I thought it was one of those im a boy its not important moment but when i got to talking to his mum she told me they hadnt really had one all together. Of course I couldnt leave it at that and organised to catch them in the city before they left. I think every family should have one portrait.

Penny was very happy to get some smiling photos with her kids and I was happy to have created something for them all to cherish in the years to come.mother with her son & daughtermother with her daughtermother with her son & daughtermother with her son

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Spring Cleaning in the Ratahi household – Using the Britex Carpet Cleaner

Today was a big day for me. I’m not one of those people who scrub walls and windows every week. Nor do I obsess over the occasional cobweb or dust bunny. But even I have my trigger point and today I turned my house upside down and cleaned it.

My house has been Girl Central for the last two weeks and between having kids running in and out of my house with wet feet from the pool & dirt from the garden my carpet was looking pretty grotty. My lounge has acquired several stains since Stephanie has become mobile and now that we are toilet training there have been a few accidents.

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So today I hired a Britex Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner from Woolworths. I picked it up at 8am brought it home and got into it. I stripped all the beds & did the mattresses, our couches, rugs and the carpet in the lounge rooms(yip I have 2). Over all I think it did a great job. Everything in my house certainly smells and looks fresher. I bought the big bottle of carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, the defoamer & hired it for 48hrs. All up it cost about $90. I’d been quoted that to clean one couch so I was happy to give it a go at that price.
I found the cleaner easy to assemble and was able to lift it into the back of my pajero without any help. When I do it again I will pretreat all the stains because while it did a great job on the fresh stuff there were a few marks that didn’t wash out. I have to say the level of dirt in the water that came out was gross but I’m happier knowing that it’s no longer in my furniture.
Would I recommend it? Yes for sure! if your not opposed to doing the hardwork and want to save money it’s the way to go.

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4 Tips for Travelling with Kids

The school holidays are almost over and many of you are heading home. Some never left hame and for many the thought of taking their tribe anywhere is a very scary one. If you were like my mum you travelled 14hrs from Brisbane to Sydney or vice versa and are praying you never do it again.

For most people, the only time when the thought of traveling with kids wasn’t frightening was before they actually had kids of their own! Those with children often cringe at the thought of traveling (in any fashion) with their kids in tow. If you are preparing for a trip and have kids, then you are probably experiencing a little anxiety about how you are actually going to manage the logistics of traveling with the kids…without killing anyone!

Don’t worry. It is possible to have an enjoyable trip while traveling with kids. While there’s no guarantee that your children will act like the angels they are for the entire trip, following a few basic rules can help everyone be on their best behaviour.

XPT train on Pl 1 at Central RWS about to depart for Brisbane

I love catching trains. Travel without the stress of driving or flying

1. Take Advantage of “Sleep” Hours. When traveling with young children, you will find it very beneficial to plan the bulk of your traveling during the hours your children normally sleep. For example, if you are traveling by car and your destination is 12 hours away, consider leaving at night, around your kids’ bedtime. You and your spouse/partner can drive in shifts to ensure traveling all night is possible. Then, when the kids wake up in the morning, most of your traveling will have already been done. For plane trips, look for early flights so the kids will rest on the plane ride. My mum took the overnight train. The kids slept most of the night as its lights out for a big chunk of the trip.

2. Pack More Than You Think You Need. This is a very important rule to remember when traveling with children. Always pack more than you think you will need. This goes for all things, but especially toys. A toy that you think will keep your child entertained for 15-20 minutes, will probably only hold their attention for 5-10 minutes. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of things to keep your child busy. Many parents actually go and purchase a few new toys before a big trip and wait until they’re in the midst of traveling before pulling them out. Look for multi use things eg whiteboard= noughts & crosses, pictionary, maths quizzes(yeah they love that one) or drawing.

Baby eating a sandwich while sitting in a pram

Pack food that your kids like to eat. its easier than having to search for something

3. Allow Time for “Pit” Stops. There is no such thing as a non-stop trip with kids. It doesn’t matter how short of a trip you’re going on…kids aren’t able to sit for hours on end without stopping. It’s important that you give your kids a chance to get out, use the toilet and stretch their legs a little when traveling. An easy way to schedule stops in your travel plans is to stop at normal meal times. Stopping to eat usually gives kids at least 30 minutes outside of the vehicle, which will do wonders for them! When you are ready for a break get the kids to keep a look out for a stop with a playground that way you can let them go and enjoy a quick cuppa with a little bit of peace.

4. Plan a Few “Fun” Things. To ensure everyone in the family has a good time, make sure you plan a few activities that your kids will find fun. Having fun activities planned specifically for the kids will not only give them something to look forward to while traveling, but it also gives you some bargaining power as well. “Fun” things can be as simple as stopping for ice-cream or as time-consuming as visiting a popular amusement park. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something the kids will enjoy! On the drive to Melbourne in Holbrook there is a Submarine parked up that kids can play on. A playground is also near by as well as toilets and a cafe. It makes a fun stop on the trip and even thought we’ve been there a few time the novelty doesn’t wear off.

I know it’s hard to imagine any parent getting excited about traveling with their kids (the actual traveling part, anyways), but if you follow theses tips, the thought and act of traveling with your kids shouldn’t be as stressful. Just remember: kids are kids. They don’t have the patience or attention span of adults; therefore, traveling with them will require a little more thought and patience on your part. Maybe next school holidays you can start off with a short trip to a place nearby.

If you have any tips for travelling with kids be sure to leave them in the comments section. Remember this month you could win a family session & $100 print credit if you comment.

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Fun with Paint – Miss Stephanie gets to Paint Dora

I bought a little plaster paint set for Stephanie to enjoy. She is a creative little button and loves to draw, paint & sing. I know thats pretty much any 2 year old. But I love watching her face light up at the opportunity to paint and she really concentrates on it when she’s doing it.

I got this Dora set from Colour Me Fun Plaster Painting. They are regulars at the Glenmore Park Markets and can be found on Facebook. Check out there page here. THey will have a website soon that you will be able to order from. Their packs are really affordable. I bought a mixed pack and it kept 5 little girls amused for a whole afternoon.

Head on over to their page and say hi. If you do grab a treat for your little ones be sure to let them know you found them through Say Monkey Photography.

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Fun Boys Portrait Session – {St Clair Western Sydney}

I’ve featured both these boys in the last few weeks. Rather than bombard you with all the photos in one post I thought I would show you a few at a time. Flynn & Tristan are mates and when they both turned up to my shout out they had a good time hanging out and playing together.
There was lots of laughter and smiles with these two and they were way too cute with their superhero capes and smiles.
What do you think of the action? I love capturing kids while they are running around and having fun. They really enjoy themselves and live in the moment.
Making portraits where kids are connecting with me and letting me show their personalities is one of the things that keep me going as a photographer.
These boys were full of life and they burned some of that energy running around. Do you think I captured that? Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts with me.

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30 Days of Blogtober – A post for each day

blogtober 30 days of blogging

I have taken part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge a few times now and tried posting every day for a month to increase the content on my blog, try and provide my people with something of interest to look at and a few things of interest to learn.

I’ve decided this month to up the ante a little bit and ofer a prize for those of my people who read and comment on my blog posts. They will be short and image heavy(im a photographer of course there will be photos). Occasionally there will be a fun craft activity, free download or review on a local business.

I really want it to be something you are interested in so if you want me to write about something in particular, have a question or to see me photograph something local be sure to send me a message or comment on this post with your ideas.
I am not a grammar nazi but feel free to let me know of any typos I may have in the posts. Im sure there will be some :).
I hope you guys enjoy the next 28 posts on the blog.

Remember Comment on the blog posts to go into the draw to win a Family Portrait Session & $100 Print Credit. Winner will be drawn on the 1st of November 2013. The person with the comment that i like the most will win.

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Outdoor Fathers Day Session – The Leonards {St Clair NSW}

Every year I do Fathers Day Mini Sessions. This is the first of them to make it to the blog. There will be more sessions to check out in the weeks to come as I catch up on blogging. There will be a mixture of recent sessions and blasts from the past so be sure to check back and see who is up on the blog. I’ll be posting every day during the month of October and I would love to see comments on the posts.

This is the Leonard Family. At 3 Madeleine is definitely Daddy’s girl and little Jackson who is just learning to walk is ready to run. Matt will have his hands full once Jackson masters the art of balancing cause he’s already fast at crawling!

little baby trying to crawl awayView full post »

Sarah Fookes - September 30, 2013 - 8:37 pm

How cute keep me updated for next year :)

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Say Monkey 4th Birthday Celebration Winners

giveaway winnersView full post »

Caz Freeman - September 29, 2013 - 10:30 am

Congratulations to you all :)

Nicole Murray - September 29, 2013 - 9:01 pm

omg I can’t beleive I won, I entered to try and win for a beautiful teacher at my daughters school who after years is finall pregnant and due in dec this is so awesome xx

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Home Outdoor Portrait Session – 3 Pretty Girls

Today I made portraits with my nieces. They are very outgoing little girls and they talk nonstop. I guess that would describe most little girls. They are 7, 6 & 4. Their mummy has her hands full keeping them occupied.

They are here for the school holidays and will head back to Queensland next week.:(Its been lovely having them and Stephanie has had a ball with her cousins.

I whipped up the flower crowns and took them outside as the sun was setting. Dont they look gorgeous!

Sarah Hohaia - September 29, 2013 - 9:14 am

Beautiful…

Nat Ford-Lillie - September 29, 2013 - 9:20 am

Cute

Annette Ward - September 29, 2013 - 9:25 am

<3 your work what beautiful models!!!

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Say Monkey Photography turns 4 – Random Giveaway

We turned 4 on the 25th of September. That was the date we officially registered the business name. We’ve stuck around for a little while now and we plan to be around for a long while to come. We’ve been celebrating over on our Facebook Page by running Random Giveaways.

Click on the links below to get in. Winners announced at 8pm on Sunday 29th of September 2013

 

Random Giveaway #1 Size 7 Canvas Shoes in pink & blue. 
canvas shoes View full post »

Teowai Ratahi - September 28, 2013 - 11:56 am

This is a great post to comment on if you want the accordion album :)

Ang Batty - September 29, 2013 - 5:14 am

I <3 Say Monkey Photography

Nicole Murray - September 29, 2013 - 6:34 am

I ? @say monkey photography

Lynette Bourne - September 29, 2013 - 7:01 am

I ? say monkey

Carla Matthews - September 29, 2013 - 7:58 am

I <3 Say Monkey Photography!!

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