Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Away With The Fairies

It was a big fat lie. 'We're going to the library,' I announced. My eight-year-old son's face crashed to the floor. 'You said we were having a surprise,' he sulked. 'That's not fun.'

Bundling him and his three-year-old sister into the car, I hid a smirk. I'd learnt my lesson about telling my kids what we were up to. They pestered the fun out of any treats I planned, so now I operated on a 'Need to Know' basis.

And most times they didn't need to know. Like today. If I'd told them we were going for a photo session, my son would have rolled his eyes, and my little girl wouldn't have slept for the week before.

Better to make them believe they were doing something boring so it was a double whammy of excitement. 'We don't have to actually read a book, do we?' my son moaned. I nodded.
'And is Mickey Mouse there?' my daughter asked. I smiled. 'Something even better,' I said.

Half an hour later, I parked up and led them down a cobbled mews. My son looked as if he was going to the gallows. My little girl skipped along, happy just to be outside.

Just then we came across a shop that looked like it was from the pages of a Harry Potter book. 'Wow, look at this,' my son said, stopping next to a shield and sword.

My daughter was already jumping up and down on the spot. 'Look,' she squealed, excited. 'Wings.' I nodded towards the door. 'Shall we go inside?' I asked, ready to burst.

This was where we were meant to be coming all the time, but much better to let the children think it was their idea. Inside was every child's dream – an Aladdin's cave of fairy costumes, knight's armour, dragon's skulls and pixie dust.

We'd come to see Oliver McNeil at Legend Photography – where he takes kids' pictures, but with a massive difference. In his portraits, little ones get to hold fairies, or be surrounded by swirling mists and lightening strikes.

My two couldn't wait to get dressed up, and pose. My daughter looked magical as she wore a garland of flowers on her blonde curls and 'real wings.' I've always thought she was away with the fairies, and here, she was in the right place.

My son was unrecognisable as he stepped in front of the camera dressed in chain mail and swinging a sword. 'Let's hear your battle cry,' Oliver said, and we had to cover our ears as he hollered the place down.

My kids were in good company – Oliver's snapped everyone from Dr Who, Tom Baker, to Dirty Den.

'That was amazing,' my son said as we left, clutching their spectacular shots. 'Much better than a library any day.' I knew having their picture taken was a novel idea. My little girl loved every minute but I think my boy enjoyed it even more. And with his battle picture already on my wall, I now always have that day – and Knight – to remember!  

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