Category Archives: Self Empowerment

The Bideford Half

Bertie and Croc's Half Marathon effort

Challenge is a word Bertie and Croc are quite use to experiencing. I mean, let’s face it, when your legs are as small as theirs, even climbing into a camera bag can be a challenge!

Just recently Bertie and Croc embarked on one of their biggest challenges since returning to the UK. At first they thought they were on another, ordinary adventure. They were sat comfortably in the back of the car watching the trees and landscape roll past. They were on their way to somewhere called Bideford. Bertie was, as usual, quite excited as he had never been to Bideford. Croc, as usual, was quite pensive as he hated going somewhere new and didn’t understand why this would excite anyone?

When the warm sun finally began to light up their faces, they realised they had arrived. They could hear the voices of several people, and knew that something interesting and exciting was going to happen. As they made their way closer and closer to the excited chatter they were surprised to see more people that they ever imagined, all in active wear, walking, jogging or standing around.

“What on earth is happening?” Queried Bertie. Croc shrugged and nestled deeper into the pocket he had been hiding in. Crowds, yuk, they made him shiver down his spine and feel slightly queasy.

A loud voice came over the crowd, announcing there were 1,400 people running today! Bertie looked around in shock, then down at his own small legs, “Running!?!?”

The starter went off and so did Bertie and Croc, being carried in a pocket each, bouncing around. They heard the strangest sound. It was music, Bertie was sure of it. He braved a peak out of the pocket. There were bagpipes, he heard someone say! “How odd?” Bertie shouted over to Croc. Croc pretended not to hear him over the noise. He was definitely not going to stick his head out when he was being bounced around like this. In fact, he was beginning to feel slightly sick.

Eventually, the bounciness calmed down and they began to get use to the motion. Croc, curiosity getting the better of him, braved a peek out of the pocket and saw Bertie, wind in his fur, waving manically at him! They were in a race and the landscape was amazing! They were running along the side of a river, under a canopy of trees, with an amazing view.

They watched the mile markers go by… much further, thought Bertie?  Suddenly they began to slow. Bertie, wondering whether the race was over, peered even more from the pocket. He jumped, as a small jelly bear fell into the pocket with him! He poked it. It didn’t move and his paw got all powdery. The familiar bouncing motion began again. They had had a jelly baby pit stop!

After what seemed like forever, Bertie began to feel them speeding up. He looked over at Croc, who had also felt the increase in the bounces and sank safely to the deep depths of the pocket. Bertie was getting into this now. As the wind blew at his fur, he felt liberated and began to cheer. They crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours.

Something else joined Bertie and Croc’s pocket on the way home….a big shiny medal. Bertie and Croc had just run their first half marathon. Bertie was super excited and chatted away all the way home. Croc silently stared at his medal. It was huge, and a strange feeling came over him. He felt proud!


The Toy Shop

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When Bertie was just an untravelled bear he was quite introverted and was extremely cautious about other toys. What did they want? Why were they being nice to him? He would often think as a rouge bear would try to start a polite conversation with him. In fact, Bertie had become so introverted that he had buried himself at the bottom of the toy bin in the hope that everyone would just leave him alone.

How different Bertie felt about life now!

Bertie had begun to notice that his friend Croc had similar characteristics to young Bertie. He would often hide in the bottom of the coat pocket and when Bertie first met Croc he was hiding at the back of the bunk bed in the dark. Croc had started to grow more and more confident within his own stuffing and Bertie had begun to feel a sense of pride at being able to help him on his journey to discover the inner Croc. After all, thought Bertie, what good is all this knowledge and experience if it is not shared and used to help others?

Today Bertie took Croc to meet some new friends, just to see how Croc would react. They emerged from the narrow pathway which lead to Barley Hall into the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of York again. There were so many people, thought Croc, unable to get his head around where they had all come from. The streets were so small and the buildings so close together Croc felt if he turned sideways he would cause several people to trip up over him.

Bertie grabbed Croc and dragged him out of the safety of the pocket, much to Croc’s protesting. He settled with Croc on a  windowsill of an old shop. Croc got such a fright when there was a tap on the window behind him. Turning around slowly, half expecting to see a ghost bear, Croc saw a large green Crocodile-like toy much like himself but stood upright waving at him! Croc looked on in shock as his brain processed the expanse of toys in front of him…..there were hundreds, all smiling and waving and there was no where for Croc to hide. He could either throw himself into the crowds of people or stay where he was and socialise.

Taking a deep breath, Croc did a small nod towards the other toys who responded with great joy at the acknowledgement he gave them. Looking over at Bertie Croc could see him grinning widely from underneath his small, blue, winter wooly hat and he felt instantly reassured. He was amongst friends for the first time in his short Crocodile life and it felt great.


Words and photographs copyright of Samantha Key 2016

Appreciation and Gratitude

2016 03 Wellington Monument  2016 03 Wellington Monument Bertie

Bertie had learnt on his travels that appreciation and gratitude are two things that go a long way and cost absolutely nothing. Gratitude for the little things in life had made Bertie appreciate his life a lot more and feel a lot happier in his own stuffing.

Bertie and Croc’s first trip in the UK to Somerset was going well. Croc was a fairly quiet travelling companion and Bertie was having a few problems getting him in front of the camera. Croc preferred to watch from a little way off safely tucked up in someones pocket or hiding in the camera bag.

Today Bertie and Croc visited The Wellington Monument, an imposing 175 feet high triangular tower located on the highest point of the Blackdown Hills. The Wellington Monument is 3 km south of Wellington and is a grade II listed building. The Monument was built to honour The Duke of Wellington, as a way of expressing gratitude and admiration following Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The monument itself is believed to have been completed around 1854. It has 235 steps inside which can be climbed, but Bertie decided due to the fencing all around the monument, climbing the steps would not be an option today!

Bertie and Croc discovered that the Duke of Wellington responded to the monument by saying he had no intention of visiting the structure once it was completed. Bertie thought this was definitely an example of an ungrateful person. Still he was glad that the Egyptian inspired tower was completed and continued to be restored. As Bertie and Croc travelled away from the monument he watched it stand proudly on the hills, a landmark to everyone who visits and lives there, and a reminder to feel grateful for the things in life that others sacrifice their time to give to you.


Is your organisation thinking big?


It’s such a shame that not all organisations and work places operate to this concept!

Giving people ownership of the work they are doing makes them feel valued and creates a culture of responsibility. People would take pride in what they do. It would also help communication and encourage Project Management skills.

Having an idea is just the start of the process. It is following the idea through to completion which is the hardest part.

Are you thinking like an ant?

2014 05 Bungle bungles copyright Key Image Photographers
The awesome Bungle Bungles outside Kununurra, Western Australia

It’s all about perspective.

When your looking up at something it seems impossible, huge and intimidating, like a mountain.

Look down on something and it can seem small, insignificant and nothing to worry about, like an ant.

If you get many ants together, they may be small but they have the force and determination to be able to move objects much bigger than themselves. They look at the size of something and ask for help and work collectively towards a shared goal/outcome.

Everything you view is put into perspective by your thoughts. The amount of effort and determination you put in is based on your belief systems and what you achieve is based on your ability to believe in yourself.

Are you thinking like an ant? Where no mountain is too big, no hill too small, everything can be achieved with the help of a few friends and some determination.

Love is in the air

Key Image Photographers wooden heart
Love is for a lifetime, not just a day!

Ah, Valentine’s Day! Great if you have a significant other the spend it with but what about all those single people out there?

Why do you need someone else to validate that you are loved?

I was super excited one Valentine’s Day when a bunch of flowers mysteriously appeared on my doorstep. Did I have a secret admirer? Who could it be? All was revealed a few days later when I found out they were from my mum! She saw them when shopping and thought I would like them…..I spent days wondering who my admirer was!

I’ve spent many Valentine’s Days spoiling myself with all my favourite things….a long walk with my dog, my favourite cake, or going to my favourite class at the gym! Yes, while all those happy couples are scoffing loads of calories at over priced restaurants I’m working out so I look and feel super hot, sexy and single!

Even now I’m in a relationship I believe that every day should be Valentine’s Day….not just once a year.

So when you get up tomorrow hug your loved one like it’s Valentines morning. If you can’t hug your loved one hug yourself or your dog or your cat. Why not even hug your teddy and notice how much better you feel.

Love is for a lifetime, not just for Valentine’s Day.

Creating your uniqueness

Adelaide 2015 - Copyright Key Image Photographers

I have never been one to follow the crowd. Even when I tried in my teenage years, desperate to fit in and feel “accepted” it all went wrong. I always came back to myself.

It wasn’t until I was into my thirties that I began to grow into my body, when I began to truly embrace who I am and the uniqueness of me.

While photographing the sunset in Adelaide at Glenelg I decided to hide from the crowds and photograph it from underneath the pier. Converting the file to an absence of colour and making it Sepia emphasises the strong and sturdy form of the pier.

Yes, it is good to capture those breath taking shots that you see constantly displayed on social media and the internet, but sometimes it is more magical to go your own way and create a photograph which embraces your uniqueness, describes who you are and resonates with your soul.

Some people use digital manipulation to create who they are and make the photograph unique to them. Manipulating the image so it represents how they feel, rather than what they see, and it becomes a piece of artwork like a painting. I prefer to take a photograph which is a representation of what I see and add words to it to describe how I feel. Everyone is different and everyone is unique. How do you show your own uniqueness in your photographs?