FROM the minute the plane touched down at Nice Airport I became obsessed with the light in the Provence Alps Cote D’Azur region. The sun cast the most beautiful glow, especially during the early morning and late afternoon, so landing at 5pm was perfect timing. I think I drove Stew a bit mad as he tried to navigate his way through the French countryside to our Eurocamp site and I kept harping on about the light coming through the trees and how pretty it was. But honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it – it was stunning – and my rambling about it lasted the whole week of our Eurocamp holiday.
A bit of Googling taught me that the golden hour – when the sun is low in the sky just after sunrise and before sunset – is an actual thing that photographers swear by for beautiful photos, so not something I was imagining. I’d bought a new camera (an Olympus Pen) just before we went away, as I was getting frustrated with how difficult my old one was to use and not getting the quality of photos I wanted from my iPhone, and was determined to get some photos we would treasure from our first holiday as a family of four. So, my quest for a golden hour photoshoot began.
Our Eurocamp site – Domaine des Naiades in Port Grimaud – was surrounded by vineyards and little rustic towns, the perfect backdrop for beautiful photos. We spent most of the week exploring, and somehow seemed to always be in the car when the light was right (both boys tend to fall asleep while we’re driving, and there was no point in waking them and having grumpy photos).
But on the last day – after a particularly stressful Sunday spent hunting down a Western Union to pick up money after losing our last few Euros in a wallet that vanished – there was no way I was missing out. We’d spent an entire day sitting outside a shop near Cannes waiting for our money transfer, and I really didn’t want that to be the lasting memory of our week away. So, as we whiled away the last few hours before our flight, I insisted that Stew pulled over alongside a random little vineyard, and we snuck in to take some photos. Typically, the sun disappeared behind some clouds, and the angle of quite a few of our shots weren’t quite right, but we managed to get some lovely photos that I will definitely treasure…
Our biggest boy came on leaps and bounds while we were away – I think he thrives having both me and Stew around. Not only did he develop a love of petanque, but he picked up some French and happily said bonjour and merci beaucoup (or his version – messy cuckoo) to everyone we met. He loved running around all the little towns, and we were lucky that it was rural enough not to have to worry about busy streets and could leave him to wander quite freely.
We also had a massive achievement in managing to get rid of the dummy and nighttime bottle while we were away … woohoo! I can’t tell you how pleased I am that the dummy has gone as I felt we’d left it way too long.
The littlest, of course, had no idea where we were, but the change of surroundings didn’t faze him at all. He’s such a chilled out little thing and he was content being carried in our BabyBJÖRN (a saviour when you’re travelling) and nosing around. It was funny as we got the impression people didn’t come across many young families in the towns we visited as so many locals came over to make a fuss. We had lots of comments like “oh you have two boys, how lovely” and people saying how cute they were (me being able speak and understand French fairly well came in handy to thank them for their compliments).
He also slept better while we were away than he does at home … I tried to convince Stew that moving to France was a good idea so we could be more rested, but he was having none of it. Quel dommage.
Having said that, I think Stew was sold on the region during the week (for a holiday, not for life), and he really hadn’t been keen on going to France when I suggested it. I don’t think people – us included – realise what a beautiful country it is, and I definitely want to see more of it now.
I’m not usually a fan of candid photos as I tend to have my eyes half shut or a daft expression, but I really like these two of me. I actually told Stew off for taking the second one as I was crouching down to help Santi up and thought it would be horrendous, but it’s not too bad!
While we were away I realised that a really nice thing about having two children fairly close together is that your first is still young while you’re on maternity leave with the second. Of course it can be hard work having two so small, but when you work full time you feel like you’re missing out on your little one growing up, so it’s been lovely to have bonus time off with Santi too.
I love how he’s looking at his little brother here – in every photo one of them is looking at the other … they’re going to be trouble in a few years!
I’ve still got quite a way to go before my photography skills are where I’d like them to be (and before I brave any manual settings), but I really do like this little set of pics … not too bad for a random stop-off at the side of the road!
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