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Over the next few weeks we are going to be featuring a regular profile with a local parent who is juggling family life with running a successful business.   We’ll be finding out how they spend their days in and around the city and their top recommendations for things to do with their children.   To kick off the series, we meet Charlotte from the fabulous Emily Gray Photography, who has recently moved to Norwich from London.

I am Charlotte and my husband and I have 3 kids – two daughters aged 5 and 3 and a son, born in December. We only moved to Norwich at the end of September and before that we were living in Hackney, London.  I run Emily Gray Photography (Emily is my middle name!). Half of my business is made up of private commissions – photographing weddings and families – and the other half is working with small businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers etc on a wide range of shoots, encompassing head shots, interior shoots, kids fashion, events and content for blogs. It’s very varied and interesting.

I get up as late as possible. I am not a morning person at all. At the moment as the baby is still so little and is up a lot in the night I get up about 5 minutes before my husband leaves for work. He gets the girls their breakfast and sometimes gets them dressed.

My mornings are spent trying to get us all dressed and ready and out of the house. It’s a miracle if I manage to wash their faces, brush their teeth and their hair. Usually one of these things gets missed off the list! I’ll have a sneaky look at my emails and quickly try to respond to anything that looks urgent. Occasionally I get asked for a photograph to be emailed over quickly if it’s going to press so I try to keep on top of things like that. The girls don’t go to school or nursery at the moment so we then head out to meet friends, go for a walk or we head into town.

One of our favourite places to go is the Forum. The kids loved the Animotion exhibition there recently and they adore the library. We also love the Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts and the park around that is brilliant. They love the Henry Moore sculptures there. On sunnier days we head to Whitlingham Broads for a walk. It reminds me of Hackney and having Hackney Marshes right on our doorstep. It’s great that you can be in the city but then in five minutes you can be surrounded by wildlife and feel like you are miles away from it all.

© Emily Gray Photography 2012

My kids’ favourite place for lunch is Cafe Britannia in town. They are happiest when they can order beans on toast and the staff are really great with them. I constantly have 3 children in tow so I haven’t discovered my favourite place for lunch yet, but I’m open to suggestions!

In the afternoon we usually stay at home or see friends. The kids start to get tired so we prefer to have a busy morning and then take it easy in the afternoon with playing or some arts and craft. Sometimes, if the girls are playing happily, I will try to get some work done, but this isn’t easy now the baby is here! If we do head out it’s to the park. Chapelfield Gardens or the Jenny Lind playground are favourites.

Dinner is usually something that I can cook quickly! I’m NOT a fan of cooking. I make one meal for the whole family and we eat together at 5pm, with my husband joining us when he gets in half an hour later. This is such a luxury for us as he used to have a 90 minute commute when we lived in London so he wasn’t home until almost 7pm.

If I go out, my favourite place is East Twenty Six or Vibe. Admittedly I’ve only eaten in a handful of restaurants in Norwich so far, so I’m looking forward to trying out a few more restaurants once the baby is more settled!

Susie Verrill and her son Milo, photographed in Soho. Susie writes a blog “My Milo and Me”.

In the evening I work, work, work. I have photo shoots to edit, clients to email and invoice and my diary of shoots to schedule. I also spend a lot of time feeding the baby and trying to get him to sleep!

Anna from Mother Pukka, with her daughter Mae, in Hackney. Photographed against wall murals painted by Camille Walala.

My bed time varies. Before I had the baby it would be between 11pm – 2am depending on how much work I had to do. Now it varies between 10pm and midnight, unless I make a concerted effort to get an early night. But even then that usually means 10pm. This might explain why I find the mornings so tough…

All images by Emily Gray Photography