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It’s always a joy to be photographing a family year after year, see the little newborn baby grow and turn into a toddler, and then pre-schooler, and then – OMG – someone who’s about to start school! Bearing witness to, and documenting, the family’s journey, through the thick and thin and the highs and lows (let’s be real here for a moment, okay? :)) of parenting, is a privilege and the part of my job I really enjoy.

For this photography session I headed to Fulham once again to photograph baby cheeky little walking, talking and mess-making munching Nino who I first photographed as a newborn baby, and then captured his first Christmas. His mum Kate is loves baking (in fact, she even wrote a book about it – go buy her awesome book, Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats With A Twist) and naturally part of our photoshoot was making gingerbread men from scratch using Kate’s very own recipe. Cue chaos and flour everywhere, but we had a lot of fun!

 

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I’ve asked Kate to write a little bit about what Christmas means to her. She has a great way with words, and can tell her family’s story so much more eloquently than I ever could. Over to Kate:

Every year, once Bonfire Night is over, the celebratory smoke from fireworks hanging in the autumn air as a promise of things to come, I start to get excited about Christmas.  There’s something about these long, dark evenings and cold, cold weather which demands a touch of comfort and sparkle, in equal measures.

I’ve always been a big planner, and for me there’s as much joy in the build up to Christmas as the day itself. Maybe I’m a terrible sucker (or a marketer’s dream), but I love the steady build of Christmas stuff: strings of lights on neighbours’ trees, the appearance of chocolate coins at the counter of our local deli and even the cheesy ads on TV. I start making little lists of things I’d like to buy, recipes to try and when to get our tree.

This year is our second as a family of three and for me, that’s what Christmas is all about. Yes I’m a sucker for the presents and sparkles, but what it all comes down to in the end is making time to be together. We’re not a religious lot, but this season still has its precious rituals and I love the fact that our son Nino is adopting them in turn to pass through generations.

The importance of family at Christmas has really hit home over the last few years.

Three years ago we spent the week in Italy with both my and my husband’s families. I’d just lost what we’d hoped would be our very first child and it’s impossible to put a value on the love and distraction I received during those difficult weeks. The following year we were one month away from Nino’s arrival, the excitement and anticipation at this first addition to our family tempered by the fact that he had been diagnosed with a serious heart condition in utero and would need an operation shortly after he was born. Without friends and family to surround us and dilute our fears for the future, that Christmas could have been very bleak.

This year we’re celebrating with a rambunctious almost two year old who hasn’t a clue what he went through as a baby. Almost every day we discuss Christmas trees and Jingle Bells has become a favourite naptime serenade. The sparkling tree lights and decorations in shops take on a whole new level of magic seen through the eyes of a toddler and I cannot wait for the early morning stocking opening and socialising, even if this year it does begin at 5am.

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I’m Antonina Mamzenko – a natural light newborn, baby and family photographer based between London and Surrey. I specialize in creating candid, natural family photographs with zero cheese and no posing. I work all over London and Surrey, including Cobham, Esher, Thames Ditton, Richmond upon Thames, St Margarets, Twickenham, Teddington, Hampton, Kingston upon Thames, Surbiton, Kew, Chiswick, Putney, Fulham, Wimbledon, Holland Park, Kensington, St John’s Wood and Hampstead. Find more information about my photography sessions or get in touch to check availability and book your family photoshoot.