Lucy Heath is a woman trying to master the art of multitasking. A working mother to 2 small boys, Lucy juggles a consultancy job in the housing development industry and a multi award nominated parenting and lifestyle blog capturebylucy.com. Lucy is also a product photographer and wannabe party planner!
Lucy lives with her husband and school sweetheart, their 2 boys and 2 westies, in the countryside in Weston super Mare.
Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day starts around 7am when I hear the small voice of our 4 year old Sammy, who regularly sleeps in our bed. My husband and I both work from home so the morning routine is more relaxed. I make packed lunches and head to our local village pre school.
It has been almost impossible to juggle them both at home and work over the summer holidays. We have a late breakfast, them at their little wooden table I found in a charity shop and repainted, and me at the island. A laptop is always open and I check my work and home emails and social media feeds and usually take at least half an hour, to catch up for the day ahead meeting a friend for a play date, whizz to the supermarket or run errands.
While Ollie naps, Sammy often becomes my blog assistant. During this period of calm, (they are very boisterous together) I will craft a project or bake a recipe to photograph. I set up any other photo shoots I have to do for my commercial work and snap away in natural light, normally on the garden table. I have a “prop cupboard” outside bursting with all sorts of bits, that I use in my styled photography.
We play in the garden and whilst they are content, I check on emails and make any calls I need to. When the boys are in bed around 7.30pm, we Skype my sister and her husband whilst we cook, watch an episode of one of the American series we adore and at around 10pm my brother, who lives in the US, will often FaceTime us on his way home from work.
Bedtime is midnight and then we wait for a little voice around 3am!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Career wise my biggest achievement was being part of a team of land buyers that won a historical purchase for a National Developer. I was a junior land buyer at the time and to be involved in a momentous £50m purchase felt extraordinary. I have also been amazed at how quickly I have established my personal blog, to a point at which I might just be able to think about resigning my consultancy work in the future. I have been blessed with so many opportunities popping up from my blog including a steady stream of product photography work, which is my first love.
After a difficult 24 hour labour with my first son, my 3 hour, almost silent labour with Ollie felt like an incredible achievement. My husband videoed the entire birth and I still love to watch it as I was so focussed and controlled. Something to be proud of and inspired by!
What advice would you give your pre baby self that you now know having had children?
You have to be patient and willing to sacrifice so much. I feel I have sacrificed my body, (I don’t think I will ever learn to love my stretch marks. I accept they are a mark of creating two miracles but I will never have the confidence to wear a bikini again) and realise that a little patience can change a situation. But it’s not for long. I am often frustrated that the second I put a phone to my ear the boys start shooting at me, or that a huge gesture or treat is forgotten by the next day.
But as they get older (they are 4 and 2) they are becoming more appreciative and the tantrums are fewer. Remember everyone will experience their baby rolling off the bed or a supermarket meltdown. It is not just you! Be kind to other mothers because that costs nothing.
I once saw a mother almost in tears in the parent and child parking bay, trying to corral her toddler who was refusing to be strapped into the car seat. I ran over, offered to help and plonked him down and buckled him in. He was so shocked he was immediately quiet. She hugged me and said thank you. Do good deeds every day if you can.
What’s in your handbag?
Less than you would think! I am at the stage now where one nappy and a crinkled pack of wet wipes is a complete changing bag so my handbag is a small bright coral leather, shoulder bag. I manage to squeeze in a purse that is bursting with receipts, a lip gloss, an eyeliner, my iPhone, work iPhone and an old squished emergency snack for the boys! I always have a hairband and a few hair slides floating around and a small notebook and pen. I am always scribbling down lists and ideas, to save for another day.
What are your ambitions in life?
To work hard and manage a successful work life and happy home. That balance is extremely tricky and some days you feel as though you are being pulled in one direction or the other and something has to suffer. I want to grow my blog into a creative commercial business that could support both myself and my sister.
She is like my twin and together we would make an unstoppable team! Well, in my mind anyway! But she has a home, a husband and a darling daughter to support so my dream of working together is a little way off…for now!
I want to raise my boys in the countryside and be the mother who ferries them to cricket matches with their team mates and friends, just like my parents did.
I want to be married until I am a very old lady surrounded by grandchildren and have received my letter from The Queen or King by then!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I hope we will be living closer to my family (a move is on the horizon) in a rambling country house. Richard is starting a new business venture this month, so I want to be helping him in a little out building, creating our family mini empire, and have a studio in a converted shed or garage for my blog and photography work, surrounded by open shelves full of charity shop prop finds. I’d love to have published an ebook of my Bento Babies creations, to inspire other parents to get their children eating more healthily through the principle of Bento.
I would love to be running my own little workshops from home, for other bloggers on photography and styling, especially with food photography. I hope to have grown my own flowers, watched my sons learn to swim and taken my niece to a ballet class. I also want to have a magical photo on our stairs of the boys with the real Father Christmas in Lapland. That has always been a dream to take them before they are too old!
What advice would you give to a budding photo blogger?
Practise, practise, practise! Be bold and be creative. I feel I have developed my own style, take inspiration from others, but honed my own distinctive way of photographing something creatively. Try not to recreate something you’ve seen another photographer take, but put your own twist on it. Ask for help! I am so flattered when someone asks for my advice and I in turn look to my peers to improve my skills.
For me, it is all about the detail. Try and capture all the little details other people might overlook. And take your camera everywhere! I always have my DSLR with me. I don’t find it clumpy or a pain around my neck. If we are off to a beach or a play park I just switch lenses to a small 40mm pancake lens and away we go! I always say “you can’t get these times back” and on the very few occasions where I have left the camera at home, I have always regretted it. We are so lucky to live in the age of digital cameras, which allows us to take hundreds of photos every day if we wanted!
Always back up your photo libraries too. Imagine if you lost them, I know I would be devastated.
Happiness is… sitting at our beach hut with Rich, with the sun on my face and the dogs lying across our feet, with a glass of rosé, watching the boys giggling and playing in the sand. My grandparents bought a flat on the sea road and a beach hut in Southbourne, near Bournemouth, before I was born and we will never sell it. It is my favourite place in the world.
If you are interested in seeing how Lucy styles her photographs then join in with #SundayPropShop which starts next week!