Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger Review

Following on from last month’s Vintage Travel Guides Puzzle Review, I was kindly sent a Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger which contains no less than 1000 pieces to review. As you know by now, I’ve been really enjoying revisiting my youth and doing puzzles at the kitchen table of an evening so to get one which I would class as the next step up was lovely.

A tantalising, tricky treat for puzzle fans

Ravensburger claim this puzzle is challenging … but not impossible. Well it was time for me to see if this was true.glittering gemstones puzzleI can tell you they did not disappoint! I thought this puzzle was going to break me. As always I started by gathering the edges and putting them together before attempting any section within the main body of the puzzle. And this is where I first stumbled.

I thought I had gotten all the edge pieces out but as I put them together I soon found I was short by about 5 or 6. Cue another round of sorting through nearly 1000 pieces to find the elusive edge pieces I’d missed the first time round.

And you’ll never guess, I needed a third round before I completed the edges! With the border finally done I could start attempting the main body of the puzzle.glittering gemstones puzzle

Firstly, I thought it would be easy enough to get all the pearl-containing pieces and put them together but as there are so many different sized ones within various sections of the puzzle, this proved a lot harder than I first imagined. In fact, some of the pearl sections were not completed until the very end of making this puzzle.

I next gathered coloured pieces and started putting them together. I did have some confusion with the various pink gemstones but soon deciphered which went with which. There was no real order to how I put this puzzle together. Some sections came together quite quickly while others proved more difficult and took a lot longer to put together.glittering gemstones puzzle

Along with some of the pearls proving troublesome, the various diamond pieces were tricky to put together. Some could have fitted in more than one section so I had to take my time over them and spent quite a long time twisting and turning the diamonds to see if they fit where I thought they would.

glittering gemstones puzzle
Adding the 1000th piece to my Glittering Gemstones Puzzle!

But when all is said and done, I completed the puzzle and what a sense of achievement that gave me. It took me well over 10 hours to complete, spread from Sunday afternoon to a Thursday evening in one week. While there were times I felt like quitting, I did it. BattleDad even commented a few times with “why are you torturing yourself? Just roll it in a ball and throw it back in the box”.

But I didn’t give in. The more I completed, the more the puzzle started coming together, the more determination it gave me. And I’m now quite proud of myself for having completed this 1000 piece Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger.

What I loved about the Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • High quality puzzle.
  • Quite tricky to do and challenging.
  • 1000 pieces is definitely for someone who is used to doing puzzles.
  • The softclick technology that produces a smooth puzzle.
  • The puzzle does feel like a premium puzzle.
  • Very easy to lose a few hours to this puzzle without realising.
  • Gives an unbelievable sense of achievement once completed.

What I didn’t like about the Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • Nothing! Although unlike the previous two puzzles I have reviewed this wasn’t the most relaxing until towards the end.

Although it nearly broke me, and at times I felt like giving in, overall I quite enjoyed completing this Glittering Gemstones puzzle from Ravensburger. It was quite challenging and tricky in parts but if you are used to doing puzzles and are looking for something challenging, to stretch your mind, then this is the puzzle for you!glittering gemstones puzzle glittering gemstones puzzle

BattleKid joined me at the kitchen table on the Sunday afternoon when I started this Puzzle to try out his own new puzzles from Ravensburger. Once I had completed it, on the Friday morning when he spied the completed article on said kitchen table, I got a “oh good girl mama, you do your puzzle” from him. Praise from your boy for completing a tricky puzzle made it all worth it, all 10+ hours and 1000 pieces of it.

So if you are looking for a puzzle to take you to the next level with puzzles, then this Glittering Gemstones puzzle from Ravensburger might just be what you are looking for. It retails at around £11.99 and is available from Amazon and other major retailers. Why not check out the full range of puzzles available at Ravensburger.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*I received this Glittering Gemstones Puzzle from Ravensburger for the purpose of this review. However, as always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions of the products

glittering gemstones puzzle

Perfect Mother’s Day Gift Guide with Something for Everyone

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and this year it falls on Sunday March 26th, so there is plenty of time to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift. If you are as old as me, you’ll most likely find it hard to choose a present for your mum, mother-in-law or a special friend who is a mum who deserves a present on Mother’s Day. I’ve searched high and low for the perfect Mother’s Day gift and have come across some lovely and also novel ideas for you.

perfect Mother's Day Gift

Personalised Mug and Tea Chest from Mr. Nutcase.

Mr. Nutcase is a website I’ve only just discovered and has personalised gifts for any occasions, including Mother’s Day. From candles to photo mugs, from cushions to teabag tins, they have a huge range of items to choose from and to personalise, meaning you are bound to find something for your Mum or Wife for Mother’s Day. I ordered a personalised mug (for myself I might add) which has a picture of myself, BattleKid and BattleDog on it. The process of uploading my picture and creating my mug was extremely easy and before I knew it my new mug was in my basket, ready to checkout. I also ordered a teabag tin for my Mum from BattleKid. We are a big tea drinking family, show me an Irish family who isn’t, and with my parents soon retiring to Portugal I thought this teabag tin was lovely and bright for their new adventures abroad. I personalised it from BattleKid and think his grandmother will love it. As mentioned there is a huge range of items on Mr. Nutcase that would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift and prices start from as little as £4.99.perfect Mother's Day Gift

 

Morning Sidekick Journal.

This is a new science based journal designed to help you start your day earlier (and easier) in order to help your productivity and personal happiness in just 3 minutes every morning. The Morning Sidekick Journal helps you set goals, track your progress and start new habits with laser focus. We mums could all do with an extra few minutes in the day and to have something to help us get up an extra few minutes earlier to get stuff done would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift. At the time of writing this post I haven’t received my hardcopy of the Morning Sidekick Journal so I cannot comment on the journal nor its effectiveness but I did read a good review of it by an American blogger, Bernadette. Anything that could get me out of bed quicker, and up and at it is worth a try. The Morning Sidekick Journal costs $29.70 (or around £24.00, depending on the exchange rate) and is available as a hardcopy or printable PDF. This does ship from the USA so please allow extra time for it to arrive.

perfect Mother's Day Gift
Morning Sidekick Journal. (Picture provided)

 

Maisie-Jane Necklace Lanyard.

If you have a sister or friend who you’d like to give a Mother’s Day gift to, and they possibly work in an office, then this Maisie-Jane Silver double star necklace lanyard is the ideal gift for them. A modern take on the office lanyard, this necklace will jazz up any office outfit. It has a removable hook to use with a work pass or name badge and can also be worn as a standalone necklace. There are loads of necklace lanyards to choose from with simple chains or chains with charms and there is definitely something for everyone on their website. The necklace lanyards are very reasonably priced at £12.50 and it also comes with a badge/pass holder. And for those of us who are bloggers, this would be perfect for those conferences we all attend. Definitely more snazzy than the fabric necklaces other lanyards come with. Perhaps leave the Maisie-Jane website strategically open on your laptop as a hint to your hubby and maybe you’ll receive one for Mother’s Day!perfect Mother's Day Gift

 

Beespoke of Devon Aromatherapy Gift Set.

This Aromatherapy Gift Set from Beespoke of Devon would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for that someone special this year. The beeswax candle, soy wax and essential oil tin candle and skin care aromatherapy cream come packaged in the most beautiful white Beespoke of Devon lidded box which is tied with navy blue ribbon. It is a beautiful gift and one I’m sure any mum would be delighted to receive this Mother’s Day. The candles are made from natural waxes. The tin candle contains pure essential oils and you can choose from Geranium and Lemongrass, Lavender and Orange, Cinnamon and Orange, Grapefruit and Lemongrass, Patchouli and Cedarwood and Peppermint and Lime. I received the Geranium and Lemongrass and it has a lovely fresh scent to it. The skin care cream is free from SLS and parabens with a glycerine base and natural essential oils. I received the Nourishing cream which contains Neroli, Mandarin and Lavender and it is a light, easily absorbed cream with a very subtle but beautiful scent to it. The Beespoke of Devon Aromatherapy Gift Set costs £20 and really is a lovely gift set to give as the perfect Mother’s Day gift.perfect Mother's Day Gift

 

Welsh Lavender Calm Balm and Hand Cream.

Inspired by the labours of Welsh hill farmers, Farmers’ Welsh Lavender Ltd products are made with lavender grown on the farm just outside Builth Wells. All the Farmers’ creams and balms are made by hand with care. Using naturally derived ingredients, they are not tested on animals nor do they contain any artificial colours or perfumes. The Farmers’ Calm Balm contains lavender, camomile and sandalwood and is designed to help heal and comfort. A perfect size to keep in your handbag, this soothing scented balm can be used anywhere on your body including your lips, temples and under your nose whenever you need a moment of calm. You can even leave it beside your bed to help you drift off to sleep at night, aided by the soothing smell of lavender. The Farmers’ Hand Cream has been developed to help nourish hard working hands and is light, non-greasy and easily absorbed. With a lovely lavender scent the 30ml size tub is perfect for popping into your purse or pocket so it is close to hand (every pun intended). The Farmers’ Calm Balm costs £12.00 (30ml) and the Farmers’ Hand Cream costs £4.00 and £12.00 for a 30ml and 100ml tub, respectively. These two little gems would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift, particularly for someone like me who loves lavender.perfect Mother's Day Gift

 

The Pretty Little Treat Company Exquisite Choices Gift Set.

If you are trying to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift for someone who adores vintage and handmade things, then The Pretty Little Treat Company is the place for you. They believe that life’s little luxuries should not just serve a purpose but should be beautiful as well, and their entire range of handmade products are just that, beautiful. The Pretty Little Treat Company’s Exquisite Choices Gift Set is a beautifully handcrafted gift of pampering treats guaranteed to bring a smile. Packaged in a beautiful 2-piece presentation box, tied with luxury white ribbon, it contains a Pretty Little Bath Treat, Pretty Little Lip Balm, Hand Cream and a Matchbox Solid Perfume Bar. Costing just £12.95, this beautiful handmade gift set will delight lovers of all things handcrafted and vintage and would be a lovely Mother’s Day gift for someone.

perfect Mother's Day Gift
PRETTY LITTLE TREATS CO (Picture Provided)

So if you are wondering what to get your Mum, wife or just that someone special, why not check out these gorgeous items as they might just make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for her.

Cath x

*All the items included in this post were all gifted by the companies as part of this perfect Mother’s Day gift guide.perfect Mother's Day Gift

 

Vintage Travel Guides Puzzle by Ravensburger Review

Last week I told you how I received a jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger to review at the start of the month and how much I enjoyed it. It’s not often I get something to review that is just for me, so imagine my delight when I was offered another Ravensburger puzzle to review, all for me! I received the Vintage Travel Guides Puzzle, and once it arrived I couldn’t wait to dive right in.

vintage travel guides puzzle

Ravensburger have been creating puzzles for over 100 years and I’m sure most households have at least one Ravensburger puzzle. Their jigsaw puzzles now come with softclicks technology which guarantees 100% interlocking mechanism for an optimal fit of individualy formed puzzle pieces. This results in an absolutely smooth puzzle once complete.

The Vintage Travel Guides puzzle is a brilliantly colourful puzzle which depicts bookshelves filled with vintage travel guides. It was created by American artist Aimee Stewart. Self-taught, she specialises in digital painting and photo manipulation.

The book shelf in this puzzle is filled with vintage travel guides, as the name suggests, and is wonderfully colourful with some postcards hidden behind the books with really inspiring travel quotes on them such as this by Saint Augustine:

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Just looking at the book covers in the vintage travel guides puzzle and the places they refer to fills you with wanderlust. It’s just as well we already have some holidays planned for this year. If we didn’t I would be taking inspiration from this!

The puzzle itself is made from strong premium grade cardboard with a linen finish print to minimise glare. It has 500 pieces, measures 49 x 36cm when complete and is aimed for those age 10+.

vintage travel guides puzzle

As before with the Garden Vistas puzzle I reviewed already, I started with the border and worked my way inwards. This time around the border was slightly more difficult to put together and certain areas seemed to take longer than others. However, unlike the Garden Vistas puzzle, I didn’t seem to concentrate in one corner and complete it before moving onto the next. It seemed easier to complete small sections across the entire puzzle before final pieces brought it together.

vintage travel guides puzzle vintage travel guides puzzle

It took me just over 4 hours to complete it in total, spread across two evenings, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing this Vintage Travel Guides puzzle. Dare I say it, I enjoyed it more than the Garden Vistas, but this was probably only due to the fact that the Garden Vistas puzzle was the first one I had completed in many, many years.

What I loved about the Vintage Travel Guides puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • Quality puzzle.
  • Extremely colourful and vibrant.
  • 500 pieces which is a good amount for a novice or someone looking to get back into doing puzzles.
  • The softclick technology that produces a smooth puzzle.
  • The puzzle does feel like a premium puzzle.
  • So easy to lose several hours over and is a great way to relax and unwind of an evening.
  • The finished book shelves invokes feelings of wanderlust looking at the different places from around the world.

What I didn’t like about the Vintage TRavel Guides puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • Nothing!

I really enjoyed completing this Vintage Travel Guides puzzle from Ravensburger. It wasn’t too difficult and I found this more enjoyable than my first one, particularly looking at all the names of places around the world and thinking how wonderful it would be to visit all of them. I found it an extremely relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a few hours in the evening to help me unwind after BattleKid had gone to bed. This time around he didn’t join me on the kitchen table but did gaze in wonder the morning after I had finished it. I even got another “good girl mama” for completing my puzzle.

vintage travel guides puzzle

So if you are looking for something to while away a few hours, why not check out the full range of puzzles available at Ravensburger. This particular one retails at £7.99 and is available from Amazon.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*I received the Vintage Travel Guides Jigsaw Puzzle from Ravensburger for review. As Always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are wholly my own.

Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes Ravensburger Puzzle Review

It’s not often I get something to review that is just for me, so when Ravensburger, the puzzle giants, were looking for people to review one of their new adult puzzles, I jumped at the chance. I applied, was lucky enough to be picked and I eagerly awaited my puzzle. I was very happy to receive the Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes puzzle.garden vistas number two

As a young girl and early teenager I absolutely adored doing puzzles. I’d get a new one every Christmas and often for my birthday too and there was many a weekend afternoon I would commandeer the kitchen table to do my puzzles. My all-time favourite was a map of Ireland and I would do it over and over again.

Ravensburger are Europe’s leading manufacturer of puzzles, games and activity products and were founded in Germany in 1883. And I bet there are very few households that don’t have at least one Ravensburger puzzle. We have several kids ones including the Gruffalo, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hungry Caterpillar.

I received the 500 piece premium puzzle Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes, which is a lovely summer garden scene. Ravensburger puzzles now come with softclicks technology which guarantees 100% interlocking mechanism for an optimal fit of individualy formed puzzle pieces. This results in an absolutely smooth puzzle once complete.

So how did I get on with putting the puzzle together? I really enjoyed it. I had forgotten how enjoyable I found puzzles and doing this one, the first I’d done in over 20 years, brought back a lot of happy memories. As usual I started by putting the border together. I’ve always done my puzzles this way and upon speaking to colleagues, it is how they do it themselves. Have you ever done puzzles a different way?

garden vistas number two

The evening after I had done the border, BattleKid joined me on the kitchen table with his puzzles and we both had fun doing our puzzles, although I think he got the easy job!

Once the border was done I started collecting the pieces I believed made up the lavender grass in the bottom left-hand corner and worked my way out from there. The top left hand corner came together quite quickly after that before I moved to the right-hand side of the puzzle. Overall it took me approximately 4 hours spread between two evenings after BattleKid’s bedtime and one evening after dinner to complete the puzzle and boy did I get a huge amount of satisfaction once it was complete.garden vistas number two

The morning after I had completed the Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes puzzle BattleKid remarked upon seeing it “oh good girl mammy, you finished your puzzle”. Yes, yes I did.

Puzzles are a great way to get some ‘me time’, are a brilliant way to relax and once you get caught up in piecing it together, it is easy to lose track of time, as I did the first evening when I looked at the clock thinking it was 9pm and found it was after 10pm!

 

What I loved about the Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • Quality puzzle.
  • 500 pieces was a good amount to get me back into the swing of doing puzzles.
  • The softclick technology really DOES produce a smooth puzzle.
  • The puzzle does feel like a premium puzzle.
  • The scene was lovely and not overly difficult to put together.
  • So easy to lose several hours over.
  • A great way to relax and unwind of an evening.

What I didn’t like about the Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes puzzle from Ravensburger:

  • Nothing, except how easy it is to lose track of time and running out of evening when all I wanted to do was finish it!

I thoroughly enjoyed this Garden Vistas Number Two Summer Breezes puzzle from Ravensburger. It brought me back to my childhood and teenage years and was a lovely way to spend an evening away from the TV or pc. It’s a great way to unwind and relax and lose a few hours doing something enjoyable all to yourself. That said I had company one evening which was great.

garden vistas number two

So if you enjoyed, or still enjoy puzzles, and are looking for something to while away a few hours, why not check out the full range of adult puzzles available at Ravensburger.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

Christmas Gifts from Snapfish for Everyone

As you know I have worked with Snapfish before and was really pleased with the photo gifts I received, so when they got in touch to see if we’d like to create some Christmas-themed items I wasn’t going to say no. There are endless ideas for Christmas gifts from Snapfish and it was going to be a hard choice.Christmas gifts from Snapfish

Creating Christmas gifts from Snapfish is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Upload your photos to your account.
  2. Get creative in your ‘project’ arranging them until you are happy.
  3. Order your final project creation and wait for them to come through the door.

First on the agenda of my Christmas gifts from Snapfish was some personalised Christmas cards. I have never thought of personalised Christmas cards until this year and the timing of this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time as we were off to see Father Christmas at Bluestone and I knew it would be a great opportunity to get some Christmassy photos to use for this project.

Once we got back from our trip to Bluestone, I got to work creating two different types of personalised Christmas cards. I also created a Christmas tree decoration and a phone cover.Christmas gifts from Snapfish

Firstly, I upload some of our pictures from Bluestone and took my time deciding from the huge range of designs. Many come with a range of background colours and layouts to choose from and you can personalise many of them too.Christmas gifts from Snapfish Christmas gifts from Snapfish

The first design I chose was the Rustic Pine Snapshots design. This uses 3 photos and has 3 backgrounds and can be personalised. I really like this design but only ordered 3 of these as I was about to order a set of 20. These cards are individually priced at £1.99 each. The outside is glossy and the inside matt and they come with a white envelope.

Our card features 3 of our Bluestone photos and I chose the white background as it is quite classic and showcases our pictures really well. I’m really pleased with these and will be sending these home to family. These alone will make me think about personalised Christmas cards for everyone next year!

The second design I chose was the Christmas Foliage design. This card has 3 layouts to choose from as well as 3 background colours and can be personalised. You also have a choice of glossy or matt finishes on your cards. These cards come as a set of 20 and cost as little as 40p each, which is great value for money. Our card features the same 3 photos as used in the Rustic Pine snapshots design and this time I chose a red background.Christmas gifts from Snapfish Christmas gifts from Snapfish

Although they do say “Flat” on the Snapfish website I was still surprised to find they are indeed flat. They don’t fold and are more like a postcard than a traditional card. However, that said the design on the back was lovely and these would be ideal for friends and relations but maybe not quite close family. The only thing I didn’t like about these was the matt finish I chose as the photos seemed a bit faded. In hindsight I should have gone for a glossy finish but I know for next year. All in all they are a lovely Christmas cards, particularly for friends and not-so-close family. These cards also come with a white envelope and both types of cards I ordered come as 7 x 5” in size.

The next of my Christmas gifts from Snapfish I wanted to order was the Round Acrylic Ornament as a Christmas decoration. I wanted this to include in BattleKid’s Christmas Eve Box as I always get him a new Christmas decoration for his box. This was so easy to make and you can chose from a whole range of embellishments for it too. I went for a Seasonal Winter one saying “Let it Snow” although I was dubious about how obvious it would be on the real thing as it appeared quite faint on the project picture online.Christmas gifts from Snapfish

You can have different backgrounds, different designs and can use a photo or not. I used one of BattleKid from after our visit to the Kingdom of the Elves as it was the perfect photo to use for a Christmas decoration. Your ornament comes ‘glossy’ on the right side and matt on the reverse and measures 2.95” x 2.95” and includes a cord for hanging. These would make a perfect gift for grandparents.

Overall I am very pleased with the ornament and the picture turned out well on it, although as I suspected the “Let it Snow” looks quite faint in the picture. This may simply be due to the background colours in the picture I chose but I would have liked the option to change the writing colour or to at least bold it. So bear this in mind if you are adding writing to your acrylic ornament. The round acrylic ornament costs just £8.99, great value for money as a small gift or stocking filler.

Last but not least I made a phone cover for my Galaxy S6. I’d been thinking about making a personalised one for a while and decided to bite the bullet. The options for personalised phone covers are endless on Snapfish. You can create your own from a huge range of background colours and embellishments or you can simply use your own photos as I did. I uploaded a recent picture of BattleKid and left it at that. Simple but effective.Christmas gifts from Snapfish

The cover itself is made from hard plastic and feels quite sturdy. Not flimsy at all. The quality of the picture on the back is excellent and I am over the moon with my new phone cover. The cover goes on without any hassle, fits my phone perfectly and is lightweight too. I am very happy to know I’ve got a lovely picture of BattleKid to perk me up at any time of the day by simply turning over my phone. And with the cover only costing £12.99 you can afford to update your phone case with a new photo every few months if you want to!

My Christmas cards were first to arrive and did so 3 days after placing the order which was really fast. Next to arrive was the phone case and acrylic ornament which arrived a day before the estimated arrival date. At each stage of ordering and dispatch Snapfish send you email updates which are great. No wondering when your order will arrive. And should there be any hassle with your order, their online help team are quick to answer. Great communication lines.

What I love about Christmas gifts from Snapfish:

  • Easy to create.
  • Great value-for-money.
  • Endless ideas for all the family.
  • Cards and gifts of high quality.
  • Many options for personalising your cards and gifts.
  • Christmas cards arrived within 3 days.
  • Great communication from Snapfish regarding dispatch of orders.

What I don’t like about Christmas gifts from Snapfish:

  • Nothing!

So if you are stuck for ideas why not consider creating some Christmas gifts from Snapfish. From personalised Christmas cards to acrylic ornaments to 2017 photo calendars, they have something for everyone.

If you are worried about getting a good picture for those all-important Christmas gifts from Snapfish, they have a great list of hints and tips for shooting the perfect Christmas Family Photo which are included below.

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*We received a voucher towards our gifts from Snapfish for the purpose of this review. However, as always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions of the products.

8 Creative Tips to Shoot the Perfect Christmas Family Photo

1) Get an extra pair of hands. Rounding up the troops for a family shoot is tricky enough without the added stress of positioning the camera, setting the timer and then sprinting back into position. Grab a friend or neighbour to play director, you can always return the favour to spread some Christmas cheer!

2) Lighting, crucial to any photoshoot, it’s the trickiest of elements to get right. Natural light is your best friend, so if you’re indoor, set up near a window to take full advantage of the winter sunshine.

3) Look the part! Matching accessories will add a touch of festive fun and help take your shots to the next level; think Santa hats, woolly reindeer jumpers, or even matching Christmas mugs! Product: Colourful Mugs, only £8.99, Snapfish.co.uk

4) Prop it up. Christmas is all about fun, so why not jazz things up with a few Christmassy props? Your family photoshoot doesn’t need to rely on the house being transformed into Santa’s Grotto or a Winter Wonderland – a few tinsel touches or the odd sprig of mistletoe will do the trick.

5) Pets complete your family! So whilst your puppy may be hell bent on getting his teeth around the fairy lights, including them in will be well worth the hassle when you see the finished result. (See Tip 6 for how to do this!)

6) Rewards (also known as bribery!) are the easiest way to keep pets and children interested! Guarantee their full attention throughout the photo shoot by keeping a suitable stash of treats to hand. (But keep them in separate bags… Health and Safety!) Product: Photo Cushions, from £19.99, Snapfish.co.uk

7) Tell a Story. Snapping people when they least expect it often results in the best photographs. So tell a funny joke or encourage them to, and be ready to capture candid, relaxed moments instead of saying ‘cheese’ and hoping for a few stiff grins.

8) Keep it fun! Your family shoot doesn’t have to be a solemn occasion. Get everyone involved in the planning process and encourage them to contribute their ideas to make for a happy, relaxed atmosphere and a truly memorable shot.