It's been a long time since my last blog because I haven't had time to think let alone put pen to paper (or in this case type and upload)
Heading in to 2023 I never expected things to be quite as bad as they have been. After losing my mum in November 2022 I knew life would be different and we would face new challenges but unfortunately I haven't had time to process that at all.
My partner who I've been with for 20 years has never had the best of health. He's got a long term health condition which means he's never at 100%.
However, at the beginning of the year he was really struggling, way more than usual.
At the end of February he was complaining more and more of ongoing headaches which were making him bed bound. He's very stubborn so this was unlike him.
We also, alongside my photography business run a prop business, where we make wooden photography props, and this abruptly came to halt. He was unable to work.
It was around the first week of March when he then experienced double vision alongside these excruciating headaches so we booked him in with the opticians. Worrying he had a stroke or a bleed they sent him straight down to Hereford eye hospital for an urgent appointment. Unfortunately due to his past medical issues they didn't want to know.
At this point we had noticed his one eye had completely turned inwards and the optician was concerned he had a bleed on the brain so we immediately booked him in with his GP who sent him straight to hospital.
This is where it all began.
Within 24 hours he had undergone MRI scans, CT scans, lumber punctures, blood tests you name it he had it.
He was now under the royal Gwent and Cardiff neurological team.
They found he had 5mm of swelling around his brain lining and in the pituitary gland, and they had no idea why.
We had weekly appointments at the Royal Gwent, weekly appointments for blood tests.
They started him on 100mg of steroids, the highest dose our pharmacy had ever prescribed.
It didn't work.
In June he started chemotherapy. Those of you who've ever looked after or been around anyone on chemotherapy will know just how awful this is.
Alongside an illness, the side effects of chemotherapy are just awful. He's had multiple visits into hospital because he's picked up infection after infection. Getting weaker each time.
He recently went back for another mri to check if the chemotherapy is working. Unfortunately it has made no difference so we are now waiting for another team meeting to discuss the next steps and treatment options available.
The reason for this blog post I guess are to let you all know that I am still here even though I've been a little quieter than usual, this is my reason why.
Juggling my business, 3 children and my partner who is very poorly is absolutely draining physically and mentally.
I've had to cut my working hours because he is not able to drive, or look after them like he could before. Life is just really tough right now.
I am by no means posting for sympathy, everyone is going through things that are Incredibly hard however I feel I need to be transparent with my clients who've certainly become friends over the years and support me in more ways than they could imagine.
We aren't sure how long this battle will be, or the outcome, but as always we as a family will continue to fight.
As always my moto - be kind to each other because you never know what people are going through x
On the 9th November 2022 - I lost my best friend, my mum. She was just 64. It was totally unexpected and a huge shock to everyone. She had sepsis. I don't think we will ever come to terms with the fact that we lost her so suddenly, and that life can be so cruel.
She was taken into hospital at 8pm on the Monday evening and at 3am on the Wednesday morning I had that call to come and say my goodbyes because she wasn't going to make it through the night. I had sat with her on the Tuesday and I had no idea that she wouldn't be coming home.
Waking my children and driving to the hospital with them felt like it took an eternity. My body overcome with anxiety and sickness - trying to be a mother and a daughter at the same time was the most difficult moment of my life. Watching my babies, one by one, say their goodbyes to their nanny, who was their 2nd mum was soul destroying. My heart was shattered into a million pieces.
I never actually said "goodbye" - my mum was a white witch you see - she passed her beliefs in the afterlife down to me, her love for crystals, healing and the ability to see and feel things that aren't here any more. She held my hand. I begged her to fight a little harder now that she had heard our voices.
It was 6.30am - my babies were exhausted and I had to make the decision to take them home and leave my mum with her husband. I gave her one last kiss and told her I would see her again soon. My tear meeting her cheek.
On the drive home we had never seen a moon so big, so bright and so full. Mum loved a full moon. It was her calling, it made her feel at peace. It was in that moment that I knew she was going with the angels.
9.45am my beautiful mum took her last breath. 9.45am my heart changed forever.
16th December - 5 weeks and 2 days after mum passed, we had to face reality and have her cremation. The last few weeks have been filled with so many emotions that it's hard to comprehend how you actually feel. How the little things can trigger you. The phone will ring and it will say "mum calling", something will happen and I want to tell her. You go to make a cuppa and you get "her" cup out. The kids ask if "nanny & Bampie" are coming over on the weekend.
Arranging her funeral. Remembering her and everything about her that so many people loved. The happy times that you'll never get any more of. The lack of photos because she hated being in them is probably the hardest part for me. Of course I have 37 years of her imprinted in my mind but my children are 14, 11 and 8 and I never want them to forget what she looked like and it breaks my heart that we don't have many photos of her during their lives. Memories will live on forever in their minds and hearts but physically seeing someone just feels totally different.
I decided I wanted to write a poem, and some words for her. I'm not one for poetry by any means but something in me told me it's what she wanted. I also decided to read it myself at her funeral - It didn't feel right someone else reading my last words to my mum. How I found the strength to stand up and do that I do not know but I'm proud of myself for doing it:
When the night Is still, and the moon is bright
We shall look for you and your guiding light
Your arms no longer wrap around us
Your laughter and your smile has gone
When the rain falls down, and the sun still shines
When the days go on and on
You’ll always be remembered
You are, our only one
Send us little signs from heaven
A butterfly or a feather
Wipe the tear drops from our cheek, pick us up when we are weak
Be our strength to get us through
Make your love known by you
Stay by our side, until our time
Forever and always, for all of time.
Our mum, our nanny x
How do you say goodbye to someone you’re not ready to let go of.
Where do I even begin. Never did I imagine having to write anything like this so
early in your life, and so young in mine. You were taken from us too soon and our hearts would never have been ready no matter when that would have been.
There are no words to even describe what you meant to each of us.
You were the person we all turned to for everything we needed, big or small.
You listened to us for hours on end without judgement, and always knew what to say
to make things seem better. You could light up a room and make everyone
in it feel comfortable – you were home.
You were my best friend, not just my mum.
My heart is shattered into a million pieces and no amount of time will ever fix that.
I literally don’t know how to be strong without your guidance, without you pushing me forward, and without your voice at the end of the phone, or your hug at the end of the week.
My babies have lost their nanny. Their 2nd mum.
I cannot believe you won’t see them grow up. A life without you just doesn’t feel like a life filled with as many happy memories.
You will never get to meet your great grandchildren and they'll never be able to see how much love you gave everyone around you
I promise to keep Kev in line, to tell him off when he’s winding the kids up or telling silly jokes and look after him like you did.
I promise to look out for the signs you send to show us that you’re watching over us.
I promise to put that smile back on my face, but I cannot promise that I won’t cry every night when I can’t phone you and tell you about my day.
Every time we see that full moon, we will think of you mum.
I’ll love you forever and always.
“When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay.
If you want me, but no longer need me then I must go.”
I am so proud of my children, today was the hardest day they have ever experienced and one I hope they don't have to go through for many years. Our lives will never be the same again. Hold your loved ones closer. Make amends with anyone you've fallen out with. Don't hold grudges. Life is precious. Time is short.
Adele - All I ask was played as we entered
Israel kamakawiwo- Somewhere over the rainbow was played mid service
Ed Sheeran - Supermarket flowers was played during her photo slideshow
David Bowie - Starman was played as we left
Right at this moment in time, I've lost my spark. I'm sure it won't be long and mum will make damn sure it comes back brighter than ever before, after all I'm her daughter and I'm just as strong as she is. Mourning is hard. There's no time limit. Trying to be strong for other people whilst breaking inside is also something I should be good at but only when I have my mum's arms wrapping around me.
We all have to face new challenges in life - and this right now, is mine. x
A canvas of mums most precious people x
As you all may know by now, I have 3 lovely children, two of which are autistic and have adhd.
So, trust me when I say I understand the thought of having a photo session can really fill you with pure dread and completely put you off the idea.
Trying to get them ready, having them kick off because it's the last thing they want to be doing (whether they have ND issues or not) just gets your blood pressure rising before you've even managed to get them into the car.
Let's stop. Let's breathe. We are in this together.
The only people who really like and appreciate photos in these moments are the mums. Very very occasionally some dad's will too but come on its normally us mums isn't it. So how do we get around that stress which evidently will help to ensure a smoother session? Bribery. I'm all for bribery. New magazine. You got it. New toy. You got it. You want sweets. You can have them.
Children are clever and if they know you want something they'll expect something in return. Don't show them that you're stressed. They'll know they're winning. They have this kind of superpower, once they see that first crack appearing they can slither in, and you've lost it. I have a calming nature, once you're with me I'm pretty good at reading children. The shy ones warm up quite quickly with me. The cheeky ones love the fact that I let them be them. The loud and boisterous ones make me laugh. Please don't stop your child being them. I want your child to feel comfortable with me so let them act like they would at home, I really don't mind. Trust me they cannot be any worse than my 3! This also builds trust between us. If they see you as a parent letting them be themselves around me, a stranger, they will automatically feel safe and comfortable with me.
I also love portraits of children not smiling. This may sound weird, but I love seeing their soul in their eyes. I really dislike cheesy grins. It just doesn't represent my style, and do you know what - I actually get genuine smiles when I ask them NOT to smile. So, you get mixture of classic fine art portraits and genuine smiles. The number of times children leave the studio saying they had fun, and it wasn't as bad as they thought it was going to be is amazing.
Of course, some sessions are chaotic I won't lie, but I'll still manage to give you a beautiful gallery of images to be proud of, and yes, you'll need to stick to your end of the bargain and give your kids what you promised.
If a studio session still fills you with dread, then a location session on Talgarth commons will be absolutely stunning for you. Your little rugrats can run around until their little legs cannot run anymore, mixed with fresh air, they'll be absolutely shattered for the rest of the evening for you. Sounds amazing right?!
Whatever age your children are, you should be capturing them - and I would love to be the one to do that for you x
When you’re asking for photographer recommendations, plumbers, hairdressers, makeup artists, bakers, designers... any and all trades that provide services, please remove “reasonable” and “that don’t cost an arm and a leg” from your vocabulary.
I can’t pay my mortgage or bills with arms and legs, so I’ve never accepted them as payment.
By “reasonable”, you actually mean “within your budget” so say what your budget is instead.
Someone’s rate isn’t unreasonable because you aren’t willing or able to pay it, and quality and experience costs money.
Consider their ability and experience of those who costs are higher.
You'd want to assume they're insured and that they pay taxes.
Cheap photographers aren't always quality photographers.
Whilst some who charge less than others may be very good the likelihood is there is a reason why they are much less than others in their area.
Someone who's been in the industry 10 plus years is going to charge more than someone who's been in the industry 6 months.
As a photographer grows so does their knowledge and their skill and this is one of the things you are paying for.
I have personally paid thousands of pounds, not only for my equipment but on yearly training - to ensure that my knowledge is always kept up to date and that your newborn (especially your newborn!) is safe in my hands.
Most of my sessions are between 1 to 3 hours long, with galleries of 80 plus images! I fully edit all of my galleries so when you view your images it's the finished product, so after your session I have spent 5-7 hours editing tirelessly to perfect each image, by hand. When you break down the cost of all my images it equates to just over £4 per image! So, whilst it may seem like a big investment, you can never really put a price on memories.
You should pick your photographer because you love their style and you click with them as a person -photography is a luxury and a memorable keepsake, you should never pick based on price.
The market is saturated with photographers, and unfortunately many of those (mainly regarding newborns here) have never had hands on training. That's a really scary thought if you ask me. The industry isn't regulated so anyone can say they're a newborn photographer and take risks with your precious baby and really hurt them. If someone is charging £50 for a full newborn shoot with images, you really need to be questioning why.
I see it over and over again, new photographers burning out very quickly because they're inundated with clients because they're very cheap, and they simply cannot sustain it - they don't have any idea what it entails to run a business. Let's be honest, its 50% photography and 50% business skills.
We all start somewhere - so I'm not being mean, if you're just starting and you are building yourself up - I've been there too, but when I get asked why I'm "more expensive" than so and so down the road please bare in mind I have been doing this for 14 years - I am extremely experienced - I am an award-winning photographer - and I have a family to support.
I promise my next blog won't be a moaning one ;) x
I've been hesitant for a while whether or not to write this blog, once something is out there it's out there isn't it.
However, I'm trying to raise my neurodivergent children to be proud of who they are and not hide anything about themselves, so I guess I'd be a hypocritical mother if I didn't share my story too.
I'm 37 years old and I think if you asked most people who thought they knew me they'd say I'm confident, outgoing and strong and whilst on the forefront that may be apparent if you really know me, and I mean REALLY know me you'd know that couldn't be further from the truth.
From my early teens I have struggled with my mental health and that's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and I wouldn't change that knowing what I know now. It's made me who I am.
I have self-harmed (you'll notice I have a full sleeve tattoo and plenty more tattoos on my legs) and whilst I didn't necessarily have them to hide my scars from myself, it avoided the questions or judgment from other people. We live in a world where people are still judged for how they look no matter what.
I also struggled with bulimia, and it wasn't until recently I realised, I still have an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) which goes hand in hand with previous eating disorders. It's not because I think I'm fat or because I'm obsessed with my appearance (before some judgemental person jumps on me) it's something I literally cannot control.
As we get older, I think we learn more about ourselves and understand that we don't all have to fit into this "normal" that society expects of us, and I've met so many people who actually understand me. That's come from being in a creative industry and learning about autism and adhd. Being around people like me who don't judge and are similar to myself.
My mind is never quiet. I don't mean just normal noises I mean it's constantly noisy - every single moment to the point I can't even get to sleep. The minute I wake up it starts. It makes me cry sometimes because it's overwhelming and I just want a few minutes to hear silence. Welcome to the adhd.
I can't sit still. I can't be bored. I have to be doing something. That in itself is draining (never mind the lack of sleep and 3 children) and because my mind is full of clutter, I have to have my surroundings tidy - welcome to the OCD.
I have anxiety - I won't go anywhere new on my own and this has got worse as I've got older. I don't like busy places and the thought of meeting new people literally makes me feel sick to my stomach. I over think every single scenario.
Someone said to me not long ago, if you're not confident and you have anxiety how do you do your job? That's the thing, my job Is the only thing I actually think I'm good at and I can do without really thinking about, it's second nature to me. I'm also not me. I'm Kath Evans photography. I do it day in day out and it's a replay every day. What you don't see is before the session I arrive 1 hour before to make sure everything is ready, of course everything's ready I have a studio it's all there! I go for a wee about 15 times haha! I message my other photography friend and she tells me I'll nail it (she's a gem).
I've been pregnant 10 times, but I only have 3 children. Miscarriages are brutal. It's not something I talk about to many people and probably many will be shocked if they read this but it's a part of my journey. My first born was an easy pregnancy with no problems apart from awful sickness all the way through (she was born at 42 weeks)
My 2nd pregnancy wasn't as plain sailing. At 28 weeks I was told I had Polyhydramnios (where there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby during pregnancy) and Obstetric cholestasis (a disorder that affects your liver during pregnancy).
He had to be delivered at 32 weeks and I was induced, thankfully the induction was fast (16 mins), but he spent 2 weeks in NICU which was incredibly hard as I had to leave him there as I had my daughter at home.
I would visit him a few times a day, but this took a toll on my mental health, and I suffered with post-natal depression.
My 3rd pregnancy I was warned that the same problems would likely re occur and at 26 weeks, they did.
I made it to 36 weeks this time and after another fast induction (22 mins) he arrived safely and needed no support from the NICU.
I breastfed all of my children, the longest until 2.5 years old. I was faced with judgment from those who didn't breastfeed. It was tough from someone who was already emotionally, mentally and physically on edge.
I'm filled with self-doubt. I guess that may be hard to believe for some. I've done well for myself don't get me wrong. I've built a successful business up on my own whilst having 3 children and a home to look after. I've won numerous awards and I'm super proud of them, but I always get that imposter syndrome. I never feel like I deserve them.
I'm not sure if that feeling will ever go away, it's horrible I wish I could just enjoy what I've got but I just can't.
I guess the point of this blog is in the title - you never really know someone. You should always be kind because people are facing battles that you may not realise.
For all the people young or older who may look up to me, I'm posting this for you, if I can do it believe me you can to.
Push yourself because no one else will, cry if you need to and then wipe those tears and start again.
Most importantly - be you, your own you whatever that looks like - it's amazing x
So, holidays are supposed to be a relaxing break away from the fast-paced race of life, the stress of bills, the early morning wake up calls and the endless bickering and squabbles of the kids complaining that they're bored. If you've got kids, you'll probably be laughing along with me as I wrote that knowing full well it all comes along with you times by ten. Not only are they filled with excitement and sugar, but I swear the little minions spawn into these crazy little demons determined to make you never want another holiday EVER AGAIN. Add into that a yappy dog who hates people, hates other dogs just generally hates life, and a husband who wakes up stressed and moans about everything.
Let's start at the beginning. I pack the week before we go. My stuff and the kids' stuff because I have to be prepared. The husband packs the night before, which infuriates me because how can one live life on the edge like that, you can tell opposites attract here can't you! The day before we leave, I have to clean the house and empty the fridges and clean those too, all the while everyone wondering why on earth I'm doing this - we won't be here what does it matter? Surely, I'm not the only one who does this? Everyone cleans before they leave for a week right?
Within 10 minutes of being in the car the kids are moaning, one of their siblings is breathing on them, touching them, annoying them, generally in their space. How long till we get there, I need a wee, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I NEED A GIN!
We arrive at the caravan and already the kids are arguing over who's sleeping where. I'm tempted to sleep in the car. They're hungry and we didn't bring food, schoolboy error 101.
We head to the beach, one thing that really gets on my nerves is people who don't keep their dogs on leads. I don't care how well behaved your dog is I just don't care. It's irresponsible on a beach full of young children and other dogs, I don't even care If the signs say you can let your dog off a lead. People cannot control their dogs, and this was blatantly obvious within 2 mins of being there with the number of dogs who came up to see my dog who was of course ON A LEAD! I'm a dog lover, however you've no idea how unpredictable they're behaviour will be when faced with screaming children and other dogs who may or may not take kindly to having their buts sniffed. My dog is a little dog who thinks she's rocky balboa and she's feisty so needless to say she doesn't appreciate a dog 6 times the size of her checking her out.
2 of my kids have Sensory issues (along with myself) so having sand in their shoes made for an unpleasant and rather funny moment of them laughing and fretting. Cue us making a plan to buy beach shoes. We decided to make a bet of who was going to actually go into the sea up to their knees and because money was involved the kids decided they would go in right up to their shoulders, crazy things - it was freezing. Cue the moaning afterwards when they realised the walk back to the caravan meant they'd have to wear Said clothes which were now soaking and freezing and covered in wet sand.
Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday in Wales without rain would it. Have you even been stuck in a caravan with 3 kids, a dog and your husband? Give. Me. Strength.
Doesn't someone always get hurt on holiday? My youngest decided he wasn't going to look where he was walking and as it had been raining the decking steps were super slippy he went flying down them resulting in him scrapping his back down the bottom two and hitting his bum on the bottom one. Oh. My. God.
Can anyone else not sleep in strange or new places? We are all exhausted. Between the new noises, uncomfortable beds, uncontrollable temperature of the caravan none of us have managed to get any decent sleep so far. My dog isn't keen and she's sulking around wondering what the hell is going on with life.
Finally, some sunshine, thankfully the beach is only a few minutes' walk away so it's easy to do a few trips a day down to the sea. It feels like it's minus 50 degrees in there, but the kids just pile straight in, even though they come out looking like they have hypothermia they have fun at least.
We go into the town and feel like proper tourist with our little rucksacks in tow.
Anyone else find their kids eat SO much food when they're away. They've not stopped, like seriously how are they still hungry! Mind if they're eating, I suppose they're not arguing!
Overall - although I find holidays stressful it's nice to have a break from work and take the kids away from technology.
Of course, I took my camera because I can't resist getting some nice shots on the beach! I'm looking forward to getting back into work mode because I'm re charged and ready to go x
So, I've been told blogging is the in thing now - there's so much to keep up with these days!
When you first become self-employed you dive into this self-delusional world thinking you can pick and choose your hours, take as many holidays as you'd like, and basically have a great work life balance. Man, if only I could roll back 14 years and laugh at myself when I first started this rollercoaster of a journey!
It seems admin, website, Facebook, Instagram, emails, TikTok and now blogging has become a forefront of the business even though I'm a photographer, go figure? Not sure that's what I had signed up for but OK, some of it I don't mind but the rest, urgh it's mentally draining.
This is my first blog, and already I'm off on a tangent because if you've not already guessed I've got adhd so staying focused on one task is kind of challenging especially if I don't find it particularly thrilling. I do however enjoy writing so perhaps blogging should be an easy one for me.
A little about me. I'm 37, I have three children aged 14, 11 and 8.... 2 of whom have autism and adhd and the youngest is just plain crazy (clearly take after their mother) and one crazy little cockapoo who may as well be my 4th child.
I've always been into my creative arts be it painting, photography, drama, and music and I'm happiest when I've got my camera in my hand. My mind is always busy, and I don't like to be bored.
I'm known as the baby whisperer; I can read newborns better than most adults. I have a calming nature and I find this quite funny seeing as I'm normally quite hyperactive due to the adhd, but newborns seem to calm me, and I seem to calm them.
Work is my life; I'd like to say I have a good work life balance but I'm an all or nothing kind of person. I put everything into my little business, and it's just me behind the brand. After all, no one can quite do it as perfect as yourself can they x