The year the world stood still


Wow. What a year this has been, who could have guessed what 2020 had up it's sleeves for everyone. There have been so many ups and so many downs throughout the last 12 months, that I thought I would document my version of events. From a year that started off like any other to ending it with social distancing, zoom calls, masks and tiers! (Excuse the pun)


January started off like most others, a couple of family woodland sessions, enjoying the chill in the air, the prospect of how this year would plan out, and the thought that my youngest was soon to turn 1. The comedown from Christmas, the start of a second term of my eldest's first year of school and filling in my calendar with all the magical events we had planned ahead of us, from weddings to big family parties, nights away to family holidays, theatre trips to concerts. So much was planned and little did we know so much was about to change.


February brought with it my youngest's first birthday celebrations, including braving a cake smash in my living room, a tea party with a selection of her friends and days out with our family. We have a tradition where for each child's birthday we have a day trip out on their birthday or as close too, this year we took E to the oceanarium. February is also my birthday month too, although this is largely overshadowed by the fact that E came 2 days after my birthday, it could be worse though I could of seen a twinning birthday with my daughter instead! So a couple days of birthday celebrations and then life returned to normal.


March the month the world stood still, the month where so much change happened, there was so much uncertainty in the air and no one dared to think what was about to happen to our lives and to those of us we loved around us. The 20th March was my son's last day at school till who knew when, he had managed a term and a half of his Reception year. By the 23rd March lockdown had come into full force, the words furlough and working from home, hung over everyone's head like a bad dream. At this point all sessions where off, bluebell sessions where put on hold and being at home with my two children plus a husband trying to work from home in our living room became a new normal.


April saw an extension on lockdown, it saw Easter hunts cancelled, family lunches postponed, clapping for our amazing key workers and decorating windows with rainbow pictures. It saw a start in daily walks with just your household, my bluebell shoots where officially cancelled. April however was when the wheels of motion started in regards to the popular doorstep photos, especially after realising that I couldn't carry on just taking photos of my poor children and their noticeable photographer smiles.


May was much the same as April, no real let up in lockdown rulings, still no idea on when we could see family, friends and return to normality with work and school. Doorstep photos emerged onto the scene, with an amazing amount of local residents taking up the offer of having their families photographed, quite simply, on their doorsteps. A photo that would remind them of our lives spent 24/7 at home. Whilst doing the doorstep photos, I along with everyone that took part raised an amazing £375 towards the Stars Appeal at Salisbury hospital.


June was when normality began to look hopeful. When the rule of 6 came into play, when school's reopened to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and when nurseries opened to all. There where still plenty of rules in place, social distancing when out, booking to do activities that we wouldn't normally have to think about booking for. Some sessions returned during this period although only a few due to the new ruling of 6 meant unless your family conformed to this it just wasn't possible.


July came and went with no real issues, everyone within out household was back at school, nursery and work and peace had somewhat been restored. July also saw my eldest turn 5, he so wanted a party but this just wasn't possible with the guidelines in place. Instead we had an outdoor tea party at Grandmas and then took a trip up North to spend time at Alton Towers. Plans where still very much in the air at this time and even Alton Towers we held our breath and to whether it would become a reality.


The summer came and went by in a flash as it always does, with a few adjustments that the weddings we where supposed to attend and I had booked to shoot at, had to be postponed to next year. I truly felt heartbroken for all of those couples, our friends and our families who had to postpone not even knowing whether the new date would be adhered to. I also spent some during the summer holidays doing some sunflower photos, at a local sunflower picking patch. Those oranges, yellows and red where such a beautiful backdrop and it's definitely one I want to keep as a mini session in the future.


Along came September with the news that all children where to now return to school normally, although most parents still held their breaths for how long this will go on for. There's a rise in new cases and our mate Boris tells everyone a second wave is on it's way. September saw a couple more family photo sessions take place, but most where postponed due to having to keep getting my daughter tested.


October came and went without much of an issue. Local lockdowns where enforced but most of these where up North, and these then turned into the initial 3 tier system. October saw one of my newborns finally have their session, she just so happened to be born just as the first lockdown was about to hit and with all the uncertainty in the air then we chose to wait, it just so happened that with all the waiting her session couldn't take place safely until October.


November became more complicated that before, with talks of another lockdown being passed around, it finally happened a 4 week circuit break, pubs and non-essential business where to close but everything else could stay open. Typically just in time for the Christmas shopping and Black Friday rush. In November came the announcement everyone had been waiting for, they had finally found a vaccine and the programme would roll out as soon as December with the hope that everyone would be vaccinated by Spring 2021. November also saw the start in Christmas nursery photos, I completed 68 children's nursery photos within a 3 week period, each child having a number of outfit changes, faces cleaned and hair tied back. It was a mission but I managed it. These where then turned into the most precious gifts for their parents as a thank you for supporting the nursery during a tough year.


December has flown by it seems, with the rush and excitement of Christmas it can sometimes cause you to forget what is still happening. December introduced a Christmas doorstep idea, encouraging everyone to stand outside their Christmas decorated doors and spread some cheer. We can't forget that December also brought with it another tier system, this time with 4 tiers in play. Every 2 weeks they where reviewed with everyone on tender hooks as to whether you would go down or up a tier or even if you missed a few tiers and ended up in the 4th tier. By now most people had it in their minds that the pandemic would be over, loosening or even like some hope was in sight. We head into 2021, still none the wiser, still living in hope of another normal from the one we live in, a normal where weddings can go ahead like before, where masks and social distancing is a thing of the past and where we can hug our family again.


I wish for everyone to find happiness and love in 2021 and of course I also wish everyone a whole lot of good health. Surely if we can get through this year, next year should be so much easier.


Helen