Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

Seven years, Seven tips & Seven offers. Its lucky number 7.

This month my Norwich based, baby and child photography business turns seven years old. I consider it my other child, my life passion and a source of great joy and pride.

To celebrate, I wanted to share how I got here; my seven tips for making what you love work and a very special lucky number 7 offer!

Something I am frequently asked; how did you start your business?

College was the catalyst for taking photography up as a hobby; where many an hour was spent working away in the dark room (the smell!!! If you know, you know! I LOVED it!)

Fast forward a few years and whilst enjoying an adult education course in photography, I found out I was pregnant! As for so many, evening sickness took its toll so badly, I had to give up the classes, but if anything, it spurred me to follow my dreams another way. I had a bump shoot and the wonderful photographer, who made me feel so at ease, inspired me when the arrival of my own baby provided the perfect model. Cass, my photographer came back and mentored me… so I took the plunge that so many of us mamas do when we want to work around having a baby – I stated my own business.

I have never stopped pursuing my dream and pushing myself. I never assumed I was at the zenith of my learning or knowledge and have over the years continued with 1-2-1 training with other new-born photographers. I have always learnt by absorbing and asking questions and it was no different with my own business. 20 months after the arrival of Lucas and the birth of my business, our little dream boat - Lilah burst into our world. I won’t lie, keeping everything afloat with 2 under 2 was hard and without the support and love of my hubby I wouldn’t have come out of the other side with everyone and the business intact!

Any business goes on a journey, working out what’s best, what’s popular, what makes you happy and some years into baby and child photography I made my own mark… I decided that what I loved best was the simple, neutral images. Showcasing the little ones for all that they are so I stripped it back, limited colour, limited props and it’s the same ethos I carry through into 2019 and beyond.

So, this blog is also a dedication; seven years of thanks and gratitude. To my husband, my children, my fur baby, my family ad friends. The support from everyone is never ending and to this day it amazes me that I continue to make friends on this journey. Most of all thank you to my clients and their beautiful models that made this business possible. Not only are you my bread and butter but you have created a support system I could never have dreamed of through the light and the recent heartbreak of losing my dad. You have made it easier - so thank you all!!!

My 7 lessons so far

1. Start as you mean to go on. In hindsight I think I started too soon. I was so eager (which isn’t a bad thing) I should have built up my portfolio and trained some more. Then marketed myself when I was more experienced and confident.  I started off too cheap and had to market myself to a new clientele. 

2. You do not need the most expensive equipment, most of my stuff is second-hand or not the top brand. You simply need to learn how to use it!

3. Trust your way. I ignored a lot of advice: I was told to use props, use lots of colour, to sell via in person sales and so on, the more I followed my heart and did things my way, the more it worked. 

4. Ignore what your competitors do and say, I know people say to keep an eye on them but I’ve found the more I stay focused on my work the less I worry or stress. (Also, it’s fine to be angry if you get someone copying your style or ideas. I have ranted to close friends, but every area of business gets it and it is wasted energy. Unless someone directly steals your clients, in the words of Elsa, LET IT GO) 

5. This is a hugely saturated market and some people will not value your work/your prices, it is not personal, it is business. The lesson? - not everyone is the right client for you. 

6. People will assume all you do is take photos! Family and friends will not always understand the full process behind photography and the final presented images, that’s ok because again its best to let it go (or educate them, whatever works for you!)

7. It’s a wonderful job but a hugely competitive field and can often lonely on your own – I have found networking with other freelancers and parent businesses to be a really positive experience. Find like-minded people in different fields so you can support and lift one another up. I’m very lucky that there are a lot of these events and individuals in Norwich!

So, there you have it, how I got here and seven years of tips. So now for a seven-year offer for seven lucky mummies to be!


Are you pregnant? If so then I am offering the first 7 mums a maternity shoot!

The package:

  • A 25 minute shoot with 7 images via an email link for £75
  • Email to book in, and be quick! Once the 7 slots have gone, they are gone! 

Balloo by the awesome Claire Carny


Be a self-care goddess this winter - GUEST BLOG

Be a self-care goddess this winter - Guest blog from Sophie aka Muffin and Puffin 

As the season draws in; showcasing autumnal hues, big knitwear, pumpkins, quality street on the shelves and the Harry Potter movies every Saturday night - it seems that hunkering down and enjoying life indoors is here for the foreseeable. Truly, it’s my favourite season but also a season where I find I sit on a delicate balance of the blues and the joys. So, I thought I would write myself a list of things to ensure I look after my self and those around me to keep it on the side of joy as much as possible.


Ever look in the shops at this time of year and wonder who is going to all these Christmas parties and where are those Christmas parties that warrant so many sequins and dresses? Well I’m not being invited to them, so I’ll make my own plans. Christmas outings, mince pies and hot chocolates with friends, woodland walks (forest bathing is IN this season) baking, movie and duvet days. I always find having small things to look forward to improves my mood greatly.


I’ve really started to enjoy podcasts… loud music makes me happy, nothing can beat insomnia-faithless while cleaning the bathroom (how rock n roll) but I’ve actually discovered some wonderful podcasts that lift my mood. Right now, I’m listening to ‘Couples Therapy’ with Casey and Candice Neistat and Dolly Alderton’s ‘Love Stories’ also an oldie but a goodie for comedy is the ‘Adam and Joe show’ for BBC6 music. Go forth and listen!


Winter can be a season of excess and with that comes guilt but eat the naughty stuff just in moderation! For me it’s not just mince pies but online shopping. There’s no greater thrill than a package in the post!


I love being in the kitchen, but a sleepless toddler makes those meals from scratch hard to make in the evening… so instead I’m planning on making chutney and sugars and various baking items and involving her in the process. Time in the kitchen in therapeutic for me… the process of selecting ingredients, chopping and then enjoying the final result… me time and a delicious meal or treat at the end.


I am a total one for trying new things, but I’ll admit I don’t always see them through. I desperately want to be able to crochet… I bought all the gear and worked for 6 hours trying to crochet a basic square. I gave up…. So, this year I’m working on my photography and trying to read as much as I can… hobbies don’t have to be all about craft!



This is becoming more apparent that it is something I don’t just need but is a necessity. I am an all-round better person if I have managed to have a few hours in the week where it is just me and my head space. Now go away, it’s Netflix time.


I have been told this is a good idea… I am yet to set the rules as my job is social media and that relies on phones and screens, but I need to set boundaries with my phone and create some ‘no phone zones’! So, I’ll be making a conscious effort this winter to unplug from technology and be fully present.


I won’t lie I fall in and out of love with exercise daily, I’ve never regretted a work out, but I struggle with the motivation to get there. So, I’m going to embrace the movement I do enjoy – walking. I love being outside on a cold crisp day and so does my little one. Exercise and valuable time together… the perfect combination of self-care.

So that’s my list, there’s plenty more I’m sure and if you have any other suggestions then let me know!




Sophie Lynn

Owner @ Muffin&Puffin

‘A mini marketing company’

07738533889 -> please note website not currently live

Instagram - @muffinandpuffinmarketing

Facebook – Muffin&Puffin


check out more guest blogs here 

wish to guest blog?  lets chat!!



5 things I have learnt as a parent business - guest blog

5 things I have learnt as a parent business

I went on maternity, I got made redundant, I found a wonderful part time job but then my little one got poorly, and I found myself chucking it all in to give myself some breathing space because it got far too overwhelming … and @muffinandpuffinmarketing just sort of ‘happened’

It’s wonderful being able to flex my time and it’s awful trying to keep my spirits afloat as projects and clients chop and change and I’m never entirely sure what the following month will bring.

It has been a fruitful and eye opening nine months and I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt


  1. Money makes the world go around, but kinship makes it kinder. Don’t always consider money as payment, sometimes collaboration with fellow businesses can get you just as far. Organising a photoshoot with a group of you who can all bring something to the table and then share that content. If you have a friend who is good at writing – ask them for content and bake them a cake. It doesn’t ever hurt to ask and more often than not you’ll lift one another up. Not drag each other


  1. Look at what you are doing, the energy you can waste in comparison can stop you going forward. We all know that social media shows only a certain truth, the best part of ourselves so celebrate it and know that there is always a #bts (behind the scenes)



  1. Always be inspired – remember who you are and create your own CPD – when I worked ‘before’ (as I like to call it) I had regular training and development goal settings with my team and directors. As a freelancer or mum worker it’s easy to get tied up in the cogs of admin, work, child, repeat … take time to be who you were and who you are and always improve. Go to a gallery if you are a creative, go for a walk if you are of the outdoors, see an exhibition, travel if you can, subscribe to a journal, be part of a Facebook group – there are endless opportunities. Don’t stop developing who you are because your business will only bloom as you continue too.


  1. It can be lonely working from home, don’t mistake me – I love working in PJs on the sofa, but I was someone who thrived in an office of like-minded and similar aged people. While I like my own headspace more than ever before, it’s important I touch base with people…. In Norwich we have an amazing mama movement on Instagram and I regularly have laughs and chats over DMs…it’s the closest thing and when we meet in ‘real’ life more often than not we become friends.



  1. I do not have a head for numbers, so it was important to me to be organised, have a great online bookkeeping system and engage with a local accountant. She has put my mind at ease and allowed me to make sure I am completely transparent as my little business grows its legs! I can’t imagine having to do a tax return after a year of ignoring your admin, so take a few hours every month. It will be worth it when HMRC letters pop through your door!

Sophie Lynn

Owner @ Muffin&Puffin

‘A mini marketing company’

07738533889 -> please note website not currently live

Instagram – @muffinandpuffinmarketing

Facebook – Muffin&Puffin

parent instagram

10 Norfolk Parenting Instagram Accounts to Follow

10 Norfolk Parenting Instagram Accounts to Follow

We parents love a bit of time scrolling through the ‘Gram don’t we? Vicki is back blogging the accounts to follow...

If you have a bad day you are a few taps away from receiving a virtual gin from someone else going through the same thing, and to see a photo someone else’s child planking face down in Morrison’s, makes us all feel like we aren’t going though this parent malarkey alone.

We all know about the big parent bloggers and Instagram powerhouses but did you know there were some amazing local Instagram accounts too?

Read on for 10 of Norfolk's parenting Instagram accounts to follow! By Vicki aka NICU Mum 


First on our Instagram accounts list is of course Jess's! Think sleepy newborns that will make you broody, beautiful maternity shoots, smiley toddlers, and the perfect way to keep up to date with all the latest projects and packages on offer! It really is a beautifully visual account.


This Instagram account will have you laughing into your fish fingers. Sally White really does know how to put a spoof spin on many a parental situation that will have you laughing out loud on the bus home. She also brings you relatable posts about politics and feminism that will leave you wanting more. Check out her Gruffalo parody it is one not to be missed!


You know those flat lays you’ve always wanted to master? Or how to nail the hands around the coffee cup?  Our next Norfolk parent Instagram account has it effortlessly in abundance comes from the fabulous Sophie who can somehow make a bin bag look like professional shoot. This account tracks the highs and lows of running a small business and balance bringing up a small human as well.


This account is run by Harper’s mum and it documents Harper who has cerebral palsy and is trying to raise £80,000 to get to America for life changing surgery. This Norfolking parent account will leave you in awe at the bravery and determination of Harper and her family.


If you need some inspiration for a child free night out, some morning motivational quotes or the chance to see some of your gram’ heroes then this parenting Instagram account is for you. Run by Emma, this account sees local parents being brought together and empowered by the power of social media.

@astoryfromdad @astroyfrommum

These two Norfolk parenting accounts come as a buy one get one free! Husband and wife duo depicting parent life with their first child Willow. From the ups and downs of sleep training to nursery settling in sessions Jodie and American Tim are sharing the realities of parenthood via the squares.


This is an Instagram account with a difference. It sees Katie travelling around our fair region and giving us inspiration on where to go with the fam, and the secret hidden gems of Norfolk. Her beautiful blog and photos make you want to jump in the car and head out straight away!


This account is a must follow for anyone who loves beautiful flowers, interiors and outfit inspiration. Mum of 2 boys and (8 hens!) this is a stunning account to follow and one that will certainly brighten up your feed!


First time mum this is one Norfolk parenting Instagram account to follow if you want to learn more about breastfeeding with cmpa, cloth nappies and coconscious parenting as well as the usual hilarities of weaning and day to day parenting!


The last entry on our  Instagram accounts is one dad documenting life with his triplet girls, and 2 year old son. He regularly confesses he cant quite tell them apart and it features some adorable photos of the new born triplets and the chaos of parenting them!


So, that was our 10 Norfolk parenting Instagram accounts to follow, but we don’t want this to be an exclusive list.

We would love to hear your favourite local parent accounts to follow too!


Baby event Norwich

Guest blogger Alex from The Parent and Baby Show tell us 'How to prepare for an event '

How to prepare for an event - Hi I’m Alex and I run The Parent and Baby Show. I live with my hubby, Tom, little 13 month old daughter, Elkie, and doggy, Frankel, in North Norfolk! I set up The Parent and Baby Show in 2017 whilst on maternity leave. The show was in response to a real need for top quality, aesthetically led and hugely interactive events in the area. Norfolk and East Anglia have some super pregnancy, baby and child businesses, and it was about time there was an event to truly showcase them in the best light.


baby show











My experience is wholly in events and marketing. I love creating everything from a social gathering to large festivals and BABY SHOWS!  The biggest misconception in the event World is that events are easy to run. Even small events take a lot of time to create, and if the organiser knows what they are doing they will end up spending far more time marketing than they do on the actual event!


baby event






photo credit: Pennycress Photograpy 


Booking into events can be daunting, So here are my top tips on how to design your stand, engage with customers and choose the right event for you:


  • Research the event and ask the organiser the following: How do they market the event, how many businesses will be attending, if they’ve run the show in the past what was their footfall, do they have any business testimonials *Notes: Some organisers will do anything to sell a stand so if you’re a little unsure perhaps find other businesses who have attended and ask them to verify the footfall and marketing.


  • So you’re booked into an event and you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to help yourself … YES! You can promote the show to your followers and customers – send out a database email, create a facebook event for the day on your page, share the posts from the organiser!


  • Stand design. It obviously depends on what you’re selling, however a rule of thumb is to not create a barrier between you and your customer. Keep your stand OPEN and inviting! Create height, as customers naturally will look at anything in their eye-line first. If you’re selling services rather than products then why not do away with a trestle table, and instead create a comfy seating area with a few tub chairs and a coffee table, surrounded by a few pull up banners so customers can see what you do instantly!


  • Create a ‘floor’ … people enjoy feeling homely and comfortable. Think about your lounge – you have a nice fluffy rug which makes the room feel more inviting and cosy … apply that same theory to your stand! Lay down a small rug (something a bit more industrial than a fluffy rug so you aren’t constantly cleaning it) or even some fake grass which you can buy from B&Q.


  • Don’t hide! PLEASE don’t hide! By sitting behind your stand you are instantly making it hard for potential customers who want to invest in your creations. People buy into people, if you’re standing at the front of your stand and welcoming everyone into your little ‘shop’, encouraging customers to look at certain pieces or letting them know about your ‘show deal’ then you are instantly going to stand out and encourage them to ask questions and engage with you!
  • Lets talk show offers … these are a great way to entice on the day bookings or purchases! Lets not forget, a new customer can be turned into a loyal customer if you give great customer service and sell great products/services. So although you may be reducing your profit margins slightly on the day, the long-term benefits will significantly outweigh this (providing you can create a loyal customer!)


  • Competitions! These are a brilliant way to get data from potential clients. You may be looking for feedback on a certain product, so you could do a competition based on asking for feedback, or it may be that you simply want to increase your potential customer database. Make sure it is very clear to customers that their details will be used by yourself to contact them about future deals and events. They must be fully aware. Also inform them that their details wont be shared! Then keep each signup sheet in a folder so if you were ever questioned you can show proof of signup.
  • This leads me onto follow ups. If you have spoken to potential clients and said you would be in touch, then make this a priority. Customers like to know they are valued and prompt emails/phone calls tick this box! You never know, your potential customers may have also found another business they liked at the event. Getting in touch first will help make you stand out above your competition!


  • NETWORK! It’s always a great idea to chat and get to know other businesses at the event. They may know other popular events or have contacts and ideas for you. Just make sure you offer what you can back – networking is all about creating mutual respect and being able to offer others tips and tricks, just like they offer ideas to you!


  • Lastly…say thank you! Now I know you’ve paid to be at the event and the organisers have simply done their job. However, the very few people who do say thank you after events always stick in my mind. Organisers are only human and if there are particular businesses who actively appreciate your hard work you are naturally going to create a loyalty to these businesses. Be that businesses who creates loyalty with organisers you enjoy working with – you never know how it may help you in the future!



baby show Norfolk






Photocredit:  Pennycress Photography

Quite a few golden nuggets of advice and ideas in there! Most of which can be applied to any type of event and business! I really hope that helps you! Events are my passion and I truly believe face-to-face marketing and showcasing the person behind the business are great ways to build your business and customer database! I wish you all the luck at your upcoming events!


Alex’s next baby show – The Parent and Baby Show is on Saturday 14th April at the UEA Sportspark 10:30-3pm. The show is unlike any other baby show, with a focus on aesthetics and activities!

Think indoor tipis, rustic zones, vintage tearooms with hay bales and bean bags, amongst lots of fab features such as a photo-studio, baby sensory, massages galore, 16 talks and workshops – all complimentary, soft play, women’s health checks … the list goes on!

With tickets just £5 you’ve got yourself a real bargain! Suitable for bump – 5yrs old! For more info click here.


Alex :)


I have regular guest blogs so why not scroll back and find lots of useful blogs here, or if you wish to chat to me about booking a shoot then get in touch!



yoga retreat norfolk

Putting the Treat in Retreat : My Yoga Retreat with the Orange Grove Clinic

Putting the Treat in Retreat My Yoga Retreat with the Orange Grove Clinic

I can’t believe it's been nearly a month since I attended my first ever yoga retreat and I can’t believe I waited this long to go on one in the first place!

In return for documenting the weekend retreat for the Orange Grove Clinic, producing photos they plan to use in their marketing going forward, I spend two nights at the stunning Ringsfield Hall Eco Centre in Beccles, Suffolk.

yoga retreat norfolk


en’t practiced yoga as much as I would like and I have to admit I was a bit nervous, as I was when I attended a mini day retreat back in December. But like last time, there was no need to be nervous. Yoga expert Jackie Heffer-Cooke made me feel at ease as she has this relaxing and calming aura about her, and from the second I stepped through the door of Ringsfield Hall I felt instantly chilled and so excited for 2 days and 2 nights of child-free chilling out.


Please don't get me wrong, I love my kiddies, but this Mummy needed some time off to recharge her batteries and immerse herself in the benefits of yoga. The sun was shining and there’s no pressure to stick to a strict itinerary. The weekend included 8 hours of yoga, including some guided meditation, but you could dip in and out if you fancied doing something different. You could sit back and soak up the sun, read your book in the beautiful grounds – whatever you wanted to help you relax. The classes were great, as a fairly newbie yogi I loved every lesson and although you could sit out a session if you wanted I didn’t want to miss a single second!

At some points during the free time we had, you could go a whole hour without seeing anyone else if you wanted.

The yoga was a blend of hatha (all asana), vinyasa, yin and bhava. We also explored a bit about the history of yoga and the philosophy behind it which I found really interesting. Jackie focussed on how we can use yoga to help us in our everyday lives as well as helping us unwind for the weekend.

The shared accommodation was in a beautiful building packed with character and it really felt like a home away from home. The food was all prepared by Catherine Jeans the Family Nutritionist and it was very tasty and nutritious – just what my body needed.



The retreat was great for beginners as well as the more advanced and I never once felt self-conscious performing poses in front of people much more experience than me. Jackie explains the how and why of yoga in a way that makes sense and just clicks.

As a self-employed mum of 2 children I felt a tad guilty at first, leaving my two all weekend. But I knew all along they wouldn’t mind and would revel in spending some time with their Daddy. I really felt the benefit of attending my first ever yoga retreat both during the weekend and after – I felt free of my busy mind, I forgot about chores and enjoyed the yoga, the awesome sunshine and the lovely company of the other yogis I met.

I would hand on heart recommend this retreat and will be booking up for next year, check back on their website for booking details. webiste for booking details.


Jess x


Yoga mini retreat Norfolk

Yoga Mini Retreat Norfolk -for beginners?

Yoga Mini Retreat Norfolk -a beginners guide!


I started this blog on the evening before my very first Yoga Mini Retreat with Jackie from Yogabuds or also know for her wonderful co-owned business The Orange Grove clinic.  I am feeling a little nervous because despite it being on my list of things to do this year I haven't been to many yoga classes.

I am feeling a little nervous because despite it being on my list of things to do this year,  I haven't been to many yoga classes. I think I can count on one hand how many yoga classes at my local gym i actually went too. I wanted too, but something came up or it was fully booked by the time i knew i could go.

So why did i book onto the Yoga Mini Retreat ? Well firstly Jackie! I had attended Pregnancy Yoga with her about 4 years ago now (yikes time flies as a mum of 2) and i loved her approach and attitude .  I know it will be relaxing it is set at stunning Caistor Hall in Caistor St Edmunds Norfolk . I have been before to chat to some of Jackie's ladies, and loved the tranquil setting.

Yoga mini retreat Norfolk

 Photo by Jess Wilkins Photography (me)


Jackie knows her stuff,  I wanted this retreat to kick start my yoga and know i will find it informative, challenging (well for me) but also fun! And she promised me it is suitable for total beginners. It means I can see what I am signing up for when I start her weekly YogaBuds class in the new year. She teaches at various locations across Norwich and Norfolk.

I need the break! November and early December is my busiest time,  and with the holidays approaching i wanted some 'me' time . A Yoga Mini Retreat including lunch made by someone else really really appealed to me!


I went along and had an amazing time! I met lots of lovely ladies of all ages . A real genuine mixture of lovely warm people.

Some like me had not really tried yoga before and some ladies were more experienced. It was not intimidating as everyone could go at their own pace, no one was looking at you.  And I didn't feel being a beginner, that I was lagging behind. As everyone quite rightly, is focusing on themselves and enjoying the day.

Jackie was very good at explaining what moves to do, why we were doing them and the benefit too. For me, this was great to make sense of it and helped me coordinate my body better. she also reminded you to 'breathe' which may sound silly to some but I need to be reminded.

We had a yummy lunch and everyone was chatty and friendly. The afternoon focused on more gentle yoga with some fab relaxation, which again is all new to me. It was sooooo good for me to quieten my busy mind and chill/ breathe.


I came away totally calm, relaxed and recharged. I loved it and really believe anyone wanting to try yoga should attend a class with Jackie or get on the next retreat. It is great for total beginners and for any ablity . As Jackie said on the day , having some 'me' time is not selfish. It was very much needed , and I cannot wait for the weekend retreat - yes 2 whole days child-free&  full of yoga eeeek!


Jess x





Newborn baby photographer Norfolk

9 life lessons from a year of professional photography

2016 has been a really exciting year of professional photography for me. I expanded my newborn photography packages, built relationships with lots of wonderful business women across Norfolk, had a shiny new logo designed and even gave my website a tweak or two!

Now that the year is coming to a close, lots of people are talking about goals for 2017. And although I’ve got BIG plans for my Norwich photography studio next year, I like to take some time to reflect on the year gone by.

There have been highs and lows and plenty of life lessons learnt along the way!

Here are my 9 life lessons from a year of professional photography


1.  You can never start planning Christmas photoshoots too early!

My special Christmas photography sessions sold out really fast this year. I was thrilled, but in retrospect, had I started marketing the shoots just a little earlier I might have been able to squeeze a third shoot day in and welcome even more gorgeously festive families to my studio.

Good planning meant that I was fully prepared for my little cherubs with lots of Christmas themed props and accessories for them to play with. I actually started shopping in July! Alongside super cute Christmas rompers, cards and the obligatory reindeer horns, were some fab-yule-ous decorative blocks from Missy Dunning of Sweet Dreams Art.

Norfolk Photographer Jess Wilkins


2. Cake smashes bring out the stereotypes in parents!

Almost every mum asked me if I needed them to help clean up the mess after a cake smash shoot, whilst pretty much every dad was eyeing up that giant cupcake and looking for a way to get involved with the chaos! It’s lovely seeing parents have fun with their children and it makes for great photos too!

P.S. Don’t worry mums; I do all the cleaning up! Your job is to enjoy yourself!


3.  But it takes less time to clean up after a cake smash photoshoot than you might imagine!

I have to admit, at the start of this year cake smash shoots made feel a little nervous. I’d heard horror stories from other photographers about babies having a meltdown in front of their cake, screaming at it in angst and terror! I was wondering if my luck would run out and babies would not find it fun anymore!

Norfolk babies must be a little more hardy than the rest of the UK because each and every one of them was a little photo star! They tend to fall into one of two categories, they either demolish the cake face-first (literally), or poke gently at it until curiosity finally gets the better of them and they grab themselves a big spongey chunk!

And of course for afterwards I’ve got my totally cute miniature bathtub for them to wash off in , if they so wish. My yummy cakes are made by local mum and bakery Vanilla Cloud Bakery.



4. Networking makes a real difference

Being self-employed can be a lonely experience, especially when you need advice or want to share your successes with like-minded people. So with a bit of trepidation I dipped my toe into the networking pond, making time to attend the monthly meeting of Her Business Brew in Norwich. I’d heard mixed views about networking and although I was keen to give it a try I was a little nervous too, as a photographer, I’m so not a suited and booted type!

I’m really glad I gave it a try as I’ve meet some exceptionally nice and very talented women, made new friends and met some great contacts for my business too! The highlight though, had to be having cuddles with organiser Serena’s newborn little boy, Alfie whilst I learnt about Search Engine Optimisation… now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say!

I’m really keen to support other local businesses and thanks to the networking community I am now able to source many of my props and accessories locally. Hurray! The giant cupcakes for my cake smash photoshoots come from Rachel at Vanilla Clouds Bakery, whilst many of my oh-so-adorable hairbands come from Sonia at Purple Stars Baby Hair Clips.


5. Clients come from the most unexpected places

When I agreed to do a photoshoot for Jackie of YogaBumps pregnancy yoga and YogaBubs baby yoga in Norwich I thought it would be a great opportunity to refine my on-location skills. In fact it’s been a great way to meet new clients and Jackie and her team at the Orange Grove Clinic have been really supportive, sharing my posts on social media and telling their clients about my maternity, newborn and family photoshoot offerings. I attended her pregnancy yoga way back when I was pregnant with my first born. I love her energy and commitment to all things bump and mum related.

I was really thrilled when the organiser of Her Business Brew, Serena Fordham booked me to do a photo session of her beautiful son Alfie and her family. We had a great shoot and the photos looked amazing. Funnily enough, Serena and Alfie are now doing regular YogaBubs Baby Yoga classes together! It just goes to show that recommendations are pretty powerful.

Lifestyle photographer Norfolk Norwich Jess Wilkins


6. I discovered I love toddlers too!

I’m a total sucker for newborn babies. I love everything about them, from their curled up little hands to their little button noses. I adore older baby and toddler photoshoots too. I thought I would ensure people knew I photographed babies of all ages and toddlers by offering ‘baby studio sessions’ and I also relaunched my baby plan to An awesome ‘Watch me Grow’ package.

And I have loved these sessions! Babies are just as super cute at four months, six months and eight  months too! I’ve loved doing my Watch Me Grow package this year and will continue to offer it next year alongside some new family photoshoot packages. This will be perfect for families with toddlers who are on the move,  and families with older children.


7. Parents-to-be will always be slightly superstitious

Throughout 2016 my newborn shoots continued to be my most popular package. To secure your spot I advise mums-to-be to book in after their 20-week scan. Babies can come early or late and booking your date in advance means that you’re much more likely to capture those gorgeous first few days before your baby starts to ‘uncurl’. For some pregnant mummies though, this can feel like they are ‘jinxing’ their pregnancy… almost assuming that everything will be just fine, from bump to baby! And of course, most of the time it is, but as a mother of two children, I get it… and whilst I still advise parents to get booked in as early as possible, I’ll always try my best to accommodate last-minute requests.

newborn photography in norwich


8. Sometimes you just need to pay a professional

I’ve always been quite proud of running the majority of my business myself, but I found that during my busy times I was neglecting my marketing, which potentially meant periods of quiet too. I really wanted refine my brand, update my website and get a grip on my content marketing so that I could rely on a steady stream of leads. It was time to bring in the professionals!

I hired Kerry at Write to Win Business to review my website, my SEO and all my social media channels and report back to me with her recommendations. It was a super enlightening experience and revealed lots of areas on my website where I needed to be clearer and stronger with my messaging. I was pretty pleased with the initial SEO report; I was already on page one for most of my keywords, but Kerry said there was room for improvement so I let her loose on my website copy! Just a few months later I’ve got a shiny online shop and I’m ranking at position one on page one of Google for all but one of my keywords (we’ll get that one next year!) my site is being ranked for double the amount of keywords it was back in the summer and my traffic is on the up. hurray!

I also hired the lovely Laura at Pen and Mouse Design to create a new logo for me, which I love! It’s much more representative of my brand and takes pride of place on my website. Now I just need to update the logo on all my images… oh dear!

The big lesson for me here was that getting outside help is one of the most important things you can do when growing your business. As much as we may want to, we simply can’t do everything alone and if it’s not your area of expertise, it’s usually quicker and cheaper in the long run to pay someone else to do it for you.


9. And finally… competition doesn’t exist!

Like most people when I started out, I spent many an hour stalking other people in my industry and the surrounding area; comparing my website, social media and images to theirs and worrying about how I could compete. It’s exhausting isn’t it?

This year I finally shook off my comparisonitis. I’ve come to realise that people choose to work with you because of you and that by simply being yourself; you set yourself apart from everyone else. My style is very clean and classic so my work probably doesn’t appeal to those parents who want more of a staged shoot. That used to worry me but now I’m feeling more confident than I ever have about my business and the services I offer, I can’t wait to get stuck into 2017!

Look out for my new Outdoor photoshoot Package, launching early spring and running from April to October.

family photography in norwich

I’d love to hear what life lessons you’ve learned in your business over the last year, did any of mine sound familiar? Leave a comment and let me know!

Want to book a photoshoot with Jess Wilkins Photography? Get in contact with me today:

Juggling Motherhood & Self-Employment

Guest Blog: Top Tips for Juggling Motherhood & Self-Employment By Serena Fordham


Being a self-employed mum of a toddler and a newborn can be very challenging at times, especially if you're juggling motherhood & self-employment 

If you are a mum who works for yourself, then I am sure you can relate to the conflict your brain has between spending time with your children and working on your business. I know I constantly feel guilty that one of these is suffering, as I haven't got enough time in the day to do everything...

...and as for household chores, sometimes I just give up!

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Serena and family photo by me / Jess Wilkins Photography

Here are my top 10 tips for juggling motherhood and self-employment

1. Make lists and prioritise. I like to have one list for both business and mum stuff as to not confuse myself by using separate ones. I also put everything in my diary so nothing is missed!

2. Find amazing childcare. I am lucky to have my parents and in-laws to look after the children whenever I need to. Although I still feel guilty when leaving them for a business related appointment!

3. Prepare bags, clothes, lunches, etc the evening before. The mornings are most crazy!

4. Schedule in work time when the kids are in bed. A few hours every evening can clear my work to-do list as well as a full working day will!

5. Outsource work and ask for help when needed. I have 3 amazing ladies who help in my business, and they make me feel like all is not just on my shoulders. Plus, self-employment can be pretty lonely at times, so having a team to support me is lovely!

6. Network with other self-employed mum's who are in the same boat as you! Her business brew is a great group to do this – details can be found here.

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7. Have a box of crafts or games that the kids can do themselves. This will keep them entertained if you have to make a business call or complete work when they are around! Even short bursts on a tablet, or half an hour in front of CBeebies, isn't going to do any harm either!

8. Schedule quality time with the family. Time with your family is very important as your kids grow up so fast. Even a quick trip to the park, or reading them a story makes all the difference!

9. Don't beat yourself up if everything isn't done. No woman is superwoman (even though we like to think we are!) just move stuff to next weeks to do list!! (It’s not the end of the world!)

10. Make time for yourself. All this juggling can leave you shattered, so make time for yourself. I like to get my nails/hair done, visit the spa, or have the occasional afternoon tea! Although a long soak in the bath (with no kids) is even a nice treat!

I hope these tips will help you when trying to juggle motherhood and self-employment!


Serena Forguest blogger norwichdham is known as “Norfolk's Admin Super Woman” and assists her clients across Norfolk and the surrounding areas with administration, bookkeeping, event management, project management, and writing tasks. To read more of her blogs check out:

Serena is also a published children’s author of ‘Imaginary Deedee goes to the park’, and organises and hosts a monthly women’s networking event called ‘Her Business Brew’. She is also a Director of Buy Local Norfolk and an ambassador for 3 charities. Find her