La, la, la, eh hem, ok all warmed up again. 🙂 Today I write another love letter, this time to an art nouveau master piece that, as with many beautiful places in Brussels, brings you back to another time. Walking in Parc Tournay-Solvay feels like a magical portal straight to the 20’s. I love it in every possible way.
Originally a property of the other Solvay brother, playboy Alfred, the property was developed in 1878. It is located in Watermeal-Boitfort, just steps from the local train station. Over the years it grew to include not only the now ruined castle-like residence but a breathtaking rose and flower garden, dreamy art nouveau-inspired lake and bridges and an abundant apple orchard and potager. Today the property is maintained as part of the “Promonade Vert” system.
This is hands-down one of my favorite photo locations in the Brussels area. Each family that has joined me there has been wowed by this somewhat hidden gem. Usually quiet even on the sunniest summer weekend. I can’t recommend it enough to you not only as a place for our next meeting but as a beautiful treasure to explore the next time you want to get slightly out of town and enjoy a picnic or walk in a a time gone by. Enjoy!
You might be surprised to find, tucked just off a small lane in Anderlecht, a Field of Dreams. In the shadow of Brussels and just out of reach of the busy buzzing of city life, this five acres of paradise is teeming with color, texture, and beauty. An effort on the part of the “for us, by us”, buy local and home grown movement, the fields of Les Genereuses grow flowers (and dreams) right here for Brusseloirs to deck their halls and bring light and love to their homes. If you have an event coming or just love beautiful and lovingly grown flowers like me, contact Caroline through her website here.
I am proud to offer this wonderful space for a brand new summer adventure session. Join me on August 15 for this very special event, Field of Dreams.
I simply love working with new babies and new families. Whether you are welcoming your first or fourth baby, there is something so lovely about these first days as your heart grows and you learn to love each other and each other’s presence.
Although they are often called newborn sessions, I prefer to call them new family sessions because there is so much richness and beauty beyond just the sweet babe. We always involve the whole family. Mother, father, siblings, grandparents. I have even hosted dogs and cats in the studio. 🙂
When you arrive for your newborn session, we take time to pick from the many lovely knits and fabrics, simple but elegant props I have on hand on the studio. I love it when parents bring in a meaningful blanket or soft toy that we can incorporate. We follow the mood of the baby, stopping when feeding or cuddles are needed.
Over the course of a newborn session we usually work in 5 – 6 settings for the baby and then move into family pictures. I hope to capture the sweetness of your family and the sense of coming adventure together.
Continuing my “these days” series, I am happy to share Newborns these days with the lovely Emma who joined her mom, dad, grand mother and big brother for this relaxed and joyful session.
New favorite location alert! I do love summer, ripe peaches, warm days, lazy afternoons and bright evenings. But photographically speaking, in Belgium, it can be a bit…green. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice green forest but if you really want some color, it is necessary to go far afield to find some.
That is until the Coloma Rose Garden in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw popped up on my radar. Located just south of Brussels, this sprawling park has all the Brussels classics; long waterways, a beautiful 16th century manor home, extensive gardens and quirky features like a straight out of a fairytale wishing well. Home to more than 3,000 rose varieties from 26 countries. We spent the whole morning discovering one garden after the next.
You can cruise around, explore, and play. There is an interactive museum which was closed when we were there but I have read is very intereting. If you get tired or hungry there is a sweet looking Bistro called de Koetsier in the middle of the grounds. If you prefer something sweet then check out the Cremerie at Gaasbeek. Only 10 minutes further and hands down best ice cream in the greater Brussels region. Yum!
But I digress (sugar distracted much?)…this is a gorgeous photo location if you crave some summer colors, classic landscapes and romantic nooks to play and cuddle in. Perfect for engagement, maternity and family sessions.
I have fallen in love with the Botanical Gardens in Meise. Located just northwest of Brussels, the garden rolls out before you on this huge property. There is a castle (obviously!), walking paths lines with flowers and a huge range of plant life, a small cafe and of course the highlight, the green house. The greenhouse was built in 1853 and contains a huge variety of plant species. Over 18,000 which represents 6% of the world’s know plant species. The collection is one of the biggest in the world and is organized by geography and environments including the African Savana, the jungle, the desert and on and one. If you think you are just going to show up and look at plants then you are in for a pleasant surprise. It really is a joy to explore.
Being in this gorgeous surrounding I could not help but be inspired. With luck, I am now in the process of organizing a very special Adventure session inside the green house. Dates to come. 🙂 I am happy to share some of our images from out last little adventure there. Looking at these pictures nearly gave me a heart attack. My god how these children have grown!
The air is getting crisper, days shorter and the fall harvest in coming in. Welcome to Autumn! Autumn is my favorite season and Brussels knows how to put on a show. This fall I am proud to offer two special Adventures that show off the height of fall colors:
A Walk through Time – October 21
My most recent favorite outdoor location for family sessions is the Rouge Cloitre which is a beautiful abbey located in the Sonian Forest just 10 minutes from the center of Brussels. Founded in 1367, it makes a very special backdrop for a fall session. Brilliant colors, large reflecting ponds and of course the abbey.
A Walk Through Time
9:00 – 9:30
9:45 – 10:15
13:00 – 13:30
13:45 – 14:15
14:30 – 15:00
15:15 – 15:45
16:45 – 17:15
The Sea of Leaves – November 4
It doesn’t get more lush, lovely and fallish than rolling around in
the enormous sea of leaves that carpets the iconic Parc du Cinquantinaire in early November. This setting is perfect to capture the changing season as well as showcasing one of the most beautiful parks in Brussels.
Sea of Leaves
9:00 – 9:30
13:45 – 14:15
14:30 – 15:00
15:15 – 15:45
We always hope for good weather but in case of rain, will reschedule for the adjacent weekend day or the following weekend. Space is limited and we tend to go to a waiting list quickly so please let me know very soon if you wish to reserve a place.
I used to not like the wind. Restless making and loud. It was a strong cue to make tea, hop in bed and wait it out. Now, wind means more. It means movement and freshening. A whipping sea of summer stems, raw and elemental. Inspiration. And I let this inspiration take me to the swaying fields just a few minutes away for a little fun with my crew of adventureers.
Just this week, my long awaited new camera arrived! I have already been blown away by the power of the the newest member of the canon family, the 5D Mark IV. I can’t wait for this weekend’s sessions to keep on playing!
Do you love this location? Looking for something a little out of the ordinary, a little wild and free? I am looking forward to holding some sessions here this summer. Gorgeous setting for family, maternity or a love session. Especially to catch the lovely evening light. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your Wild and Free session.
Sitting now and reflecting back on the year feels a little surreal. 2016 marked a time of love, adventure and busyness. The biggest event of all, the welcoming of our sweet Jasper. Impossible to think that at this time last year we did not know he existed and now here he is in all his cuddley babyness.
2016 marked a move to the suburbs. A truly grown up endeavour as we settled into a house with a proper garden so close and yet so far from our buzzing city life. Quieter, wholesome and an opening to new friends and routines.
2016 also marked the busiest time yet for Bear & Dragon. The first half of the year was absolutely packed with wonderful families. Friends, old and new alike, amazing events (Royals, Bluebells, Apple Blossoms) and lots of new ideas to come.
This morning I looked back through some photos from the year and was inspired all over again. Though I am savoring every moment of leave with my littlest man, I am excited to jump back in for 2017. Spring will find me dabbling and by fall, a new dedicated studio space. I am so excited!
Now a wish for you. May 2017 hold wonderful days for you. Dance, play and love. Say yes more and live everyday to its fullest!
For us Americans, the day after Thanksgiving signals the official start of the holiday season. One month of Christmas and I can’t wait to get started! To get you in the mood, I am glad to share our perfectly imperfect Christmas session that took us for quite a ride last week. Here is what happened…
Pretty much forever, I have wanted to hold a holiday session at a Christmas tree farm (check your mail for a Christmas mini session next October!). Like many dreams that grow in importance and magnitude over time, this day was a little doomed from the start. Spending way too much time gathering the perfect props, researching Belgian Christmas tree farms and picking out lovely matched outfits, the expectations were high. Too high.
The morning of, our many materials gathered into bags. Snacks, jackets, hats, hot chocolate in a thermos, three kids, lights. It was a seriously pile. As we loaded up and headed out, I just hoped it would all go smoothly and the lovely late fall light would hold.
The first hint of a coming disaster hit on the way to the farm.
Me: “Honey, can you give the kids a banana? They are in the snack bag.”
Honey: “Um, there is no snack bag here. I looked everywhere.”
Next we arrived at the address. No Christmas trees! It seems this was the administrative office of the farm. They can’t be too far I thought so thus we drove in ever widening circles…with fussy, increasingly hungry and tired kids and now an awake and screaming two month old. Until finally, there they were! Gorgeous, green Christmas trees in sweet rows. The trees of my dreams!
So we parked and hopped out. Time to set up. A quick scan revealed that not only was the snack bag missing but also the one with all the props. A lone bag of fake snow luckily stashed in my purse was the only merry-making article to be found. Geez louise.
I will say we gave it our best but after a short time decided it just wasn’t meant to be. Sigh…
Finally home and fed, I reflected on the day. My perfect scene slipped away and here we were without the beautiful pictures I had in mind. Suddenly it dawned on me. We are not perfect. We don’t need a perfect setting, perfect clothes and perfect weather. We are perfectly imperfect. And we have a backyard…. and now all the fun Christmasy things we has left behind.
Thus I present our perfectly imperfect Christmas photos. Taken in our garden. Full of fun and love. Happy holidays!