Lockdown Birthdays – Top 10 ideas to make sure their special day is a day to remember!

Since March 23rd 2020, we have experienced restrictions of one sort or another due to the pandemic. It’s been 10 months of confusion, fear, anxiety and frustration but the world keeps turning and the way families have found ways to survive and have fun during this time has been so uplifting and inspirational!

When it comes to children’s birthdays, I’ve seen so many parents finding ways to make the say special while still adhering to the restrictions. Children are so resilient and can often find joy in the simplest things…they dont need lavish parties or a giant pile of presents. I think if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how important our loved ones are and how we can still enjoy birthdays without all the hoo-harr!

Over the years the cost of children’s parties has risen and some families find themselves paying out hundreds of pounds for a simple party. Want to invite the whole class….fine! But you will need to dig deep for that. And picking and choosing who to invite can also lead to ill-feeling. Parents are feeling under pressure to throw ever-more-fancy parties for kids but do kids really benefit from this “keeping up with the Jones'” way of thinking?

So we’ve had an opportunity now to stop and downscale the parties and create celebrations that are more intimate and really focus on the birthday boy or girl.

We are now looking at children having not one but TWO birthdays in lockdown and so many families have come up with some amazing ways to make the day special. So I asked on social media and here are some great ideas for you! All of these ideas can be adapted to incorporate whatever tier we are in so lots of flexibility.

1. A Zoom Birthday Party

Vick said “I planned a zoom Birthday party with a few of Scarlett’s school friends. I made t-shirts for everyone to wear saying Scarlett’s 5th Birthday in lockdown. The night before the party I went and dropped the t-shirts and a party bag off. We played music and everyone danced and all the children emptied their party bags at the same time! 

Sarah wrote “I made bags that were either dropped off or collected from ours (socially distanced and any travel was either exercise or combined with an essential journey). In the bags there were supplies for a crown or Mario hat to decorate. There was a cupcake, Mario coins, hot chocolate, balloons, bubbles, colouring in sheet and a little paper craft. I wrote an instruction sheet for parents because I did need them to have supplies. I made the bags 72 hours before the party so they were safer to help prevent transmission. We sang happy birthday, the kids all ate their cupcakes together, then we started on the craft. After everyone finished with the craft we did a memory game that was Mario themed. We’ve now reused the decorations to redecorate Ella’s room.

Claire told me “I’m going to deliver a box of crafts and party snacks to her friends houses and invite them to a zoom craft party”

2. A Pottery Painting Party

Canny Crafty offer some great kits to keep little hands (and big ones) occupied.

The items you can choose to paint range from £8-£30 each with popular items such as mugs, plates and bowls being £10-£16 each. The cost includes the price of the paint, glazing and firing process.

10% off for NHS staff too!

3. A Pizza Party

Kids love cooking and who doesn’t love pizza!

You can get pizza kits delivered to your door from Box Pizza and Truly Madly Pizza

4. Hire a bouncy castle

Amy wrote “We hired a bouncy castle for the garden! A very surprised 8 year old”

This might be one of my favourite ideas….who doesn’t love a bouncy castle?

5. A Treasure Hunt

This can be done indoors or outdoors on your daily walk. Depending on the restrictions, you could meet a few others outdoors for a challenge! You could hide presents at each stage. Here are some ideas for clues….

Treasure Hunt Riddles

Treasure Hunt for Children

6. Build a Bear Party

Claire wrote “I bought Sam and three friends these no sew teddy kits and they all sat on zoom together. The teddies are lovely quality”

Claire used Splodge Teddy Parties

7. Indoor sleep-over Tent Parties.

I love this idea and they are great for including siblings too (or anyone in your bubble) and also good for winter birthdays too…maybe team it up with a cinema night and hot choc?

Check out The Event Boutique on Facebook.

8. Outdoor cinema

Definitely one for summer birthdays but this would be so special for any child! We may even be allowed people in the garden when the weather starts improving.

For outdoor cinema hire check out Undefined Group

9. A Garden Festival

Nicola told me “we bought bunting flags for the garden, we set up games like hook a duck, bean bag toss, plate spinning and giant Jenga. I bought face paints, flower garlands, face gems and we made our own tie dye t-shirts to wear. We got some wrist bands made too. We had festival/carnival food like candy floss, chocolate apples, hot dogs and fries etc. It was fab”

10. Involve the neighbours!

I loved this idea from Jennifer “For my daughters 1st birthday, I posted on our village page inviting people to fill our windows up with rainbows, notes etc. It was lovely some people we didn’t know, some kids made birthday cards for her and it just made us feel a bit less isolated”

I also LOVED this photo!

AND FINALLY!

A Cake Smash with Tiny Baby Studio! Celebrate the most special birthday of them all..their FIRST birthay. We can create some fun portraits using your favourite colours or theme. Let them have fun and big brother or sister can join in too. And if everything just gets too messy we can end with a splash. (Photography studios are not able to open in Tier 4 or National Lockdown)

Lockdown, running a business in a pandemic and keeping customers safe!

So here we are 8 months later and in Lockdown 2. I never imagined for a moment we would still be in this situation and my beloved business would be closed once again. It’s heartbreaking and I feel for all small businesses who are in the same position.

March 2020 was by far the worst month of my life. I lost my Dad on 23rd March after a 6 year battle with Dementia. And then a few days later the whole country was plunged into Lockdown. I was grieving, I was scared and on top of this I was forced to close Tiny Baby Studio live apart from my husband. I moved in with my Mam for lockdown to keep her company and my husband stayed at home and continued to help run Recyke Y’Bike which was super busy over lockdown! March turned to April and I got more of a grip and began to feel better and started baking, walking, facetiming friends and family and doing some marketing for my business (I didn’t want anyone to forget me!!) and I also set up Lockdown Babies. This facebook group was a bit of a saviour for me as it helped me keep in touch with Mums with new babies and I was able to understand the issues they had and Mums giving birth were sharing their stories and putting minds at rest on how it was working during lockdown. I found these stories highly inspirational!

When it was allowed to meet others outside, I ventured to the field and did some socially distanced outdoor family sessions. I had really missed my camera and I’d also been craving some normality and it was brilliant to see other people!!

Tiny Baby Studio outdoor sessions
Tiny Baby Studio outdoor sessions

Then in July we finally got some news that I could reopen YIPPEE!!! The end is in sight (or so I thought back then…).

So I spent a few days deep cleaning the studio and I was so excited when clients started coming back (I might have shed a tear). Because I was closed for 3 months, the newborns were no longer newborns and had become beautiful wide awake 3 monthers. They didn’t want to curl up and snooze…they wanted to be alert and smiley!

Tiny Baby Studio 3 month baby
Tiny Baby Studio 3 month old baby girl
Tiny Baby studio Black and White 3 month old baby
Tiny Baby Studio 3 month old twins

I was so happy that my awesome customers were confident to come back to the studio! I decided to have just one family per day and I clean before and after every client. I wash all fabrics baby comes into touch with. I moved the studio around a little bit so I can keep my shooting areas 2m from where parents sit and we all did a good job of keeping our distance. I bought COPIOUS amounts of hand gel and cleaning products and loads of types of masks. Not ideal but we made it work together.

And through the summer it was business as usual (almost!) with many newborns, older babies, Cake smashes, maternity and family sessions. I did notice the older babies (4-12 months) were a little more nervous of me as a stranger and they were a little more clingy but it’s to be expected I guess. Also I HATE wearing a mask as it fogs my glasses up but I just get on with it (actually I do complain a lot heh!).

Tiny Baby Studio Newborn autumnal colours
Tiny Baby Studio maternity
Tiny Baby Studio Cake smash
Tiny Baby Studio first birthday photoshoots
Tiny Baby Studio rainbow baby lockdown baby

I even managed to get through my Christmas Mini Sessions!

Tiny Baby Studio Christmas Mini Sessions
Tiny Baby Studio Christmas Mini Session
Tiny Baby Studio Christmas Mini Sessions

But then…the news came that I was dreading. England was to go into lockdown again and my studio had to close for the 2nd time. Boris said this lockdown will last until 2nd December and I am clinging onto hope that we can reopen as I’ve got a full diary in December.

Once again I am plunged into anxiety of lost earnings and how to pay by business costs and with Christmas looming and I am trying not to think of my tax bill that is due at the end of Jan 2021 EEK! However, I speak to other photographers in the same position daily and it’s a support network I am forever grateful for. The government have given funding to the councils for some grants and although it wont cover loss of earnings it will mean I can pay my studio rent and stay afloat.

If you’ve read this far then THANK YOU!!! I could have hugged every single client as they walked into my studio as I appreciate your custom more than ever. 2020 has been the most crazy year and I know it’s been hard for all of us in one way or another and for you to choose to come to my studio for photos, this means a lot to me.

So if you would like to support my business and book a shoot or buy a voucher for a Christmas gift then drop me a line! I promise not to hug you hehe!

www.tinybabystudio.com

VE Day 75 – Let’s Celebrate at Home!

A few years ago, plans were put in place for this important occasion and even the Bank Holiday was moved from the Monday to the Friday causing havoc for diary suppliers hehe! While celebrations for VE Day will be different to planned this year, there are still plenty of ways to mark the occasion with you family at home. I hope this blog post will give you some ideas on how to mark the occasion at home. Continue reading “VE Day 75 – Let’s Celebrate at Home!”

Teenagers….rare as hen’s teeth in my studio!

Earlier this year my niece turned 14.  We were chatting one day and I was asking her what she’d like for her birthday…..I suggested a photoshoot in my studio and she asked if she could being some friends. I then thought it would be lovely to get their hair and make up done as an extra treat. It was a really fabulous day!

Teenagers seem to be the least photographed in my studio. I am always busy with newborn, babies, 1 years olds and their cake smashes and then I am also used to having older siblings but they are generally under 10. It’s rare to have older children and that’s a shame as I absolutely love teenagers and older children.  They must the the most photographed generation in history through things like Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok and god knows what else I’ve never heard of, but when was the last time you had a professional photo of your teen? It’s an important part of their life and we always say babies change so much but teenagers seem to change even more…and faster! Many are on the cusp of adulthood and about to make their own strides in life, for some this might be still far in the distance but I’ll bet their individuality is showing and I’ll also bet they are pushing the boundaries.

In the US, ‘Senior Photoshoots” are very popular. They are taken in their last year of High School and are about celebrating a life stage – for many teens, their entire senior year is filled with milestones, and it is definitely one worth noting and celebrating in many ways.

Our social circle is very important. I think back to my school days and how my close friends would influence my life…my clothing choices or the music I listened to. I do have a few grainy photos from school but I mainly only have memories of those people and they are fading fast with age! Many teens are involved in sporting clubs, dance classes or are part of other organisations. Those friends groups are key to their well being and their growth into adulthood.

So when my niece, Lola, invited her swimming friends along…I was over the moon! They are all super talented swimmers from Gateshead and Whickham Amateur Swimming Club. I was also so happy to have assistance from Claire from Claire Alexander Make Up Artist  and Sophie from Hair and Make up from Sophie  who did a beautiful job of the hair and make up. I asked them to keep the styling very low key as I wanted the girls to look as natural as possible.

I researched some poses beforehand a I wanted to be as natural a possible and gave the girls an idea of what to wear…again very simple. So let’s see a before shot!

Teenager photography

Teenager senior

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a different aspect to the work in my studio and if you would like to arrange a photoshoot for your teen and their friends, just drop me a line!

Karen x

Tiny Baby Studio

Surviving a Pandemic Safely with a Bump – Online Classes for Pregnant Ladies During Lockdown!

One of the things that has been hugely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic are the antenatal classes that are so essential to a Mum-2-be’s health and well being. Social Distancing is important, so we need to work with it, and find ways of connecting with others, while staying safe.

Continue reading “Surviving a Pandemic Safely with a Bump – Online Classes for Pregnant Ladies During Lockdown!”

Reducing Anxiety : Tips to help with promoting calm and well being during lockdown

As you know my studio is closed and I find myself in a position where I am really missing lots of things about my job. The main thing I am missing is the people who walk through my door! The smiles, the adoration of their new baby, their pregnancy and birth stories and in 6 years I’ve NEVER tired of this, it gives me a real buzz! I was also acutely aware that being pregnant, giving birth and living with a new baby at home, during lockdown, is extremely scary. So I decided I wanted to help.

Continue reading “Reducing Anxiety : Tips to help with promoting calm and well being during lockdown”

Missing your Baby Shower? How about a Sip and See Party?

A little while ago I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw that a friend had held a “Sip and See” party following the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Avaya. My first thought was “What’s a Sip and see Party”? You might be having similar thoughts! It’s definitely not something I’ve heard of before!

Continue reading “Missing your Baby Shower? How about a Sip and See Party?”

16 Free online activities for children during lockdown

This blog post came about after a chat with a friend of mine who is currently in a similar situation to many, stuck at home with two small children. Social media has been a lifeline for many of us, allowing us to keep in touch easily, giving us access to some amazing resources and information being shared by friends and family. But there are some, like my friend, who choose not to use social media or avoid it for personal reasons and it made the think about the amazing resources she might be missing out on!

Continue reading “16 Free online activities for children during lockdown”

Tough Times. Self Isolating and Soup.

The last 7 days have been the toughest in my life. On Wednesday 18th March my Dad finally gave up his fight against Dementia and peacefully passed away, at home, with all his family and friends around him. He was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2014 and after a slow decline over the years he seemed to fall off a cliff in 2019. I was lucky enough to be able to join forces with my Mam and care for him at home 24/7 for the last 6 months of his life and I was holding his hand as he slipped away. I have a whole mix of emotions of course and have a sense of relief that his struggle is over and I would like to thank his GP and all the amazing District Nurses who helped us and Dad in the final days. That will never be forgotten. We’ll also never forget the kindness of friends and family who stayed by our side and kept us going with food and cakes and made us laugh.

Continue reading “Tough Times. Self Isolating and Soup.”

Be in the shot! Parents need to be included with newborn photos!

Taking photos of babies is more than just pressing a button for me. The joy I get from seeing the start of a new family is real and gives me a great feeling! I love seeing baby being gently carried into the studio by very proud parents who are dying to show off this cute new arrival.

Continue reading “Be in the shot! Parents need to be included with newborn photos!”

Tips for a Good Newborn Session at Tiny Baby Studio

I love setting up the studio for a session, making the room toasty warm and choosing the props and colour scheme while waiting with anticipation to meet this incredible new little person! But I am aware that from a parents point of view it can seem a little daunting and you might feel a little apprehensive especially as it might be the first time you’ve left the house with your baby. So I thought I would try and put your mind at rest and let you know what to expect and how best to plan for the session. Continue reading “Tips for a Good Newborn Session at Tiny Baby Studio”