It Takes a Village…

If you hadn’t already noticed, blogging doesn’t come too easily to me. I’m no good at talking about myself or my work and not great at talking about others either. But apparently, all my blogging inspiration comes to me when I shouldn’t be doing any work at all!

Tonight, I decided to have ‘me time’ as Stu is on the late shift. I ran a bath (with the kids bubblebath- because this is a very very very rare occurrence and I had none of my own!) with the aim of completely shutting off to the world- I left social media downstairs, I didn’t even want to read a book- something that I have been desperate to do! I just lay there in the bath listening to all the bubbles pop, attempting to relax.

And I realised just how exhausted I felt! Emily has been waking up at the crack of dawn, is absolutely shattered before she’s even got out of bed and doesn’t quite know what to do with herself before or after school because she is finding it very tiring! Edward is a typical 2 year old boy who is into everything, climbing on everything and trying to throw/push/eat/hide everything! Standard- but it’s pretty hard going, right?! And that’s all part of being a stay at home/ work from home/ working mummy or daddy and I accept that (though slightly less at 6am when I have been woken up to go and fetch a forky cuddly toy from downstairs that is absolutely, desperately 100% needed upstairs immediately!!).

But, in that moment, it hit me just how much I miss having family down the road who I can call to come round, just simply because its been a hard day! Everyone has heard the saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and I completely understand why that became a saying in the first place. Don’t get me wrong- I have a wonderful, supportive husband and we have a village- an incredibly supportive, helpful, would drop everything to be here village. Just none of them are local to us. My parents have been amazing- when both our children were born my parents were here all the time to help with anything they could. My mum came down every week and then every other for 3 years to help with childcare while I was still teaching- and although I definitely don’t tell her enough- she’s been amazing! And we see them a lot, considering.

But sometimes, when the day has been particularly chaotic/ busy/ stressful and Stu is in work, I’d love to call them up and get them round for a cup of tea, for a chat or even go really crazy and have a shower without Edward trying to smash the glass screen with a toy tractor!

I wanted to write this down, not only because I had a million things in my head that I wanted to dump, but also because I realised there are probably hundreds of new mummies and daddies out there, or mummies and daddies of toddlers/ pre-schoolers/ school children who may be feeling a little lonely because their village isn’t as near as they may like.

I can’t offer huge amounts of amazing advice, but I can offer a pat on the back, a well done, because it’s not easy bringing up a tiny human! And let you know what I did and how I’ve made things a little easier. I’ve listed the 5 things that made it so much easier not being near my family. It’s not rocket science but sometimes you need a little push to do something, the world becomes a lot more hectic once your little person enters it!


  1. Baby groups.

I am lucky to have made some amazing friends at these groups. There are so many out there to choose from and I’ve only had good experiences with them. Yes, its pretty daunting walking in for the first time but its nice just to have a chat with another adult sometimes, and do something a little different to the usual routine. Personally I can vouch for baby sensory (both of mine loved it! Shrewsbury and Telford classes are brilliant!), puddleducks swimming (which I would have continued but taking 2 children to 2 different swimming classes on your own is rather hard!), ready, steady, lets get messy (SO much fun!) and bumps and babies NCT Shrewsbury (lovely little group for mummies to be all  the way through to mummies of toddlers!).

There are plenty of free meet ups too! NCT groups ask for a small donation and there are stay and play centres all around.

I will shortly be releasing a blog with baby groups in Shrewsbury and surrounding areas so check back here soon if you are looking for some.


  1. Mummy apps.

I’ll be honest, I’ve had mixed experiences of these! But the good ones were worth going to! Mush and mummy social are apps that I have used personally. They allow you to chat to other mummies in your area as well as arrange and attend organised meet ups in the area. They are free to use, and now also have lots of good info and advise in the way of blogs and newsletters etc.


  1. Get out!

The first few months with a new baby are crazy hard! Honestly, I spent most of the first 3 months with Emily sat on the sofa with her asleep on my chest watching Netflix. But there was only so much of that I could do before I felt a little stir crazy! I would try and get out everyday, even if it was just a walk around the village, feeding the ducks, popping the shops of going to a coffee shop. I always felt so much better after making myself get out of the house.


  1. Photographs

It can be hard not having family just down the road but I find having photos around really helps. Emily and Edward also love to stand and look at the photo wall in the hallway and point everyone out.


  1. Pick up the phone

I talk to my mum on the phone all the time. Sometimes just because I need adult conversation, sometimes to have a rant, sometimes just to chat. It certainly makes the distance easier. If you’re having a crazy day- you’re little one is on their 3rd outfit, they’re overtired and refused to go to sleep for hours- pick up the phone! I’ve been there, it definitely helps!



Vicki is a newborn, baby and family photographer based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Find out more about a photography session here.

1st Birthday Photoshoots with Victoria J Photography, Shrewsbury Cake Smash Photographer

1st Birthday Photoshoots with Victoria J Photography, Shrewsbury Cake Smash Photographer

What better way to celebrate your little one’s first birthday than with a photoshoot?! Huge amounts of fun and lovely images that will be treasured for a lifetime. But what would you choose?










My most popular 1st birthday photoshoots are my cake smashes. These are loads of fun and can be customised to any theme or colour. All you need to do is decide on the theme or colour that your baby will love and leave the rest to me! I put together the set up, source the perfect outfit, the props and the cake that will compliment your theme. All you need is an outfit for the mini portrait shoot at the beginning of the session (and maybe a change of clothes, as it can get very messy once your little one starts smashing their cake!).

These sessions are in 3 parts. To begin, we get some timeless portraits of your little one. We will use some cute props, and maybe some balloons but most of the images from this section will be 100% focussed on the birthday baby! Once we have some beautiful images, we will get your little one dressed into their cake smash outfit and introduce the cake. This is loads of fun and things can get messy very quickly! I give baby a little time to get started here. Unless babies are very used to messy play, they can occasionally be a little cautious and take their time getting started. None of my sessions are rushed so this is no problem what-so-ever. We will give them lots of encouragement and help to get them smashing that cake. Mum and Dad, be warned that is may not be a very relaxing session for you – you may be required to encourage smiles and giggles, or even catch your little one and return them to the cake if they are confidently crawling, walking or running around! Rest assured though that it’s all good fun and you’ll have some lovely images at the end!

Finally, once your little one is all messy and has enjoyed their cake, we will get them all cleaned off in the bath tub ready for you to take them home! Often this is the baby’s favourite part! Its very rare that I get little clients who don’t love splashing in the bath. The images from this final section of the session are usually full of smiles, splashes and giggles!

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However, a cake smash may not be for you or your little one and you may prefer a birthday photoshoot without the mess! More recently, I’ve had a number of requests for birthday photoshoots without the cake, but still with all the birthday props- whether it be balloons, bubbles, decorations! For these sessions, we tend to do a couple of outfit changes and a slight set change in order to get a beautifully varied gallery for you. If you want to bring along a fairy cake or two, this can work really nicely with these shoots, without the mess of the giant birthday cakes.

Just like the cake smash sessions, you just need to decide on a theme or colour and leave me to put together a set for you. For these sessions, we will use more props- the white chair is usually a big hit! The O, N, E letters, bubbles and balloons always go down well too. We want your little one to have loads of fun, loads of smiles and as a result, beautiful images.







Like all of my photoshoots, your session will take place at my cosy home studio, in Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury. 1-2 weeks after your photoshoot you will be invited back to view your gallery of 15+ beautifully edited images as a slideshow. It is then that you decide which package and which images you would like. Due to the bespoke nature of these sessions, I ask for a non refundable booking fee of £49. This will then be redeemable against your chosen package.


I’d love to create some beautiful images for you and your little one to celebrate their first birthday! Find my session information, FAQ’s and packages here- Cake Smashes.


All you need to decide is which colour or theme you would like? So what will it be?….


Need help picking a theme? Here are some ideas ….