F orgive me for jumping on the Halloween bandwagon a day too late, but I didn’t get chance to do anything halloweeny with Ettie on the run up to the big day as I was working, so yesterday I took the morning off and we went on a spooky little adventure around Sheffield Park in Sussex.
Sheffield Park is one of three National Trust properties in our area so its a regular haunt of ours on days off. With over 250 acres of open parkland and a huge pond with ducks and birds, there is so much to do and see. Autumn is a particularly amazing time to visit as all of the colours from the trees reflect in the still water of the pond, it really beautiful and oh so peaceful.
I think one of the most captivating things about Sheffield Park and probably the main reason we keep going back, is the vast woodland area and large variety of bewitching and magical trees. From great old oaks, some of which you can actually climb inside, to gigantic giant redwoods, the woodland is spellbinding and the perfect place to capture a little persons imagination (and even a big person like me!)
So with all that in mind, what better place for an impromptu Halloween photo shoot! I’d been a little slow getting anything organised for Halloween this year and as the weeks passed by, I seen more and more visits to local pumpkin patches popping up on Instagram and I felt increasingly guilty that I hadn’t planned anything for Ettie! Other than Christmas, Halloween is absolutely my favourite time of year and I didn’t want her to miss out on the fun just because I was at work, so to make sure we had some happy memories I took Halloween off work, bought her a little Witches outfit and some pumpkins (which she keeps calling apples!) and we set off on our adventure.
Ettie’s such a funny character. She doesn’t really have any black clothes and so I don’t think she likes black. When I showed her her little outfit, she screwed up her face and said ‘No Mummy!!!’ then wriggled away while I tried to put it on her! As soon as it was on and I took her to show her in the mirror, she done a little swirl, bent backwards on her leg to show it off and then started darting around the house so the cape would flap. She does make us giggle.
When we arrived at Sheffield Park, the first place we came to was a large tree with lots of winding branches growing out of the ground. Of course Ettie wanted to climb them all and I thought she looked a little bit like a witch on a broom so it was perfect for the day.
A little further on, we found a huge oak tree which was just like what I imagine the Faraway Tree to look like in the Enid Blyton book, The Enchanted Forest. Ettie was amazed by all of the little treasures on the forest floor and kept bending down to pick handfuls up to give them to me. I thought it looked a little bit like she was casting spells.
After the Oak, we found the Giant Redwoods. Maybe its because they’re from California or simply because they’re so huge, but I find these trees fascinating. I love their colour and distinctive bark. There’s one redwood in particular which we always go to see and I have photos of Ettie standing in front of it in both summer and winter. As this was a special trip, we decided to get one of her in her Halloween costume too.
Then we took it one step further and actually sat her in the tree, which she thought was hilarious shouting orders from her perch, but my Mam who accompanied us on our trip nearly had a heart attack.
Autumn is absolutely the best time of year to take photos, there’s something really magical about the leaves falling from the trees and the colours are amazing. Our final stop was deep into the woods. We’d been here before and I know she likes looking up at the trees. I got the pumpkins out of the pram and we took some lovely photos of her running around, little cape flapping in the wind. So cheeky and care free.
I just love this photo because of the expression on her face and that little outpointed finger that looks like she’s casting a spell.
I absolutely love these photos. I love the magic of the forest and the cheeky look on her face, but most of all I love them because they will always remind me of the fun we had together at a time when I’m struggling with adjusting being back at work. I know all Mums feel the same way, but I can’t put into words how much I love looking at this little face, tickling her tiny fingers and smelling her little hair. I think that’s why I love photography so much, often it isn’t just the images on a film which makes a photograph so important its the emotion of the moment too and sometimes that’s even more powerful .