Real life

From Bat­man to beach babe, Ol­lie is a will­ing model for mum Gilly’s cre­ations. And­she’s mak­ing as­man­yas she can be­fore he starts crawl­ing. By Kim Wil­lis

Friday - - Contents -

Baby Ol­lie has yet to crawl, but has al­ready per­fected pizza-mak­ing and posed in front of pyra­mids.

Gillian Corke, 34, a pri­mary school teacher from Gosport in Eng­land, wants her baby son to try kitesurf­ing, pizza-bak­ing and be­ing a rock star. All from the com­fort of his own home, of course.

Dodg­ing a roam­ing tur­tle, a few cu­ri­ous fish and a gi­ant crab, the in­trepid sea­farer floats through the ocean. Moments later, his mum scoops him up, changes his nappy, gives him a feed and puts him to bed. For Ol­lie is an ad­ven­turer with a twist. He may have been to the moon, karate-chopped a mon­key and flown on a dragon’s wings, but he does it all just be­fore bedtime. And all be­fore he’s learned his first word or taken his first step.

Mum Gilly says, “When Ol­lie’s big sis­ter, Eloise, now three, was a baby, I was on ma­ter­nity leave from my job as a pri­mary school teacher and I had the urge to get creative.”

Only, Eloise wasn’t a will­ing model for her mother’s vis­ual ad­ven­tures. “She had re­flux and cried as soon as I put her down. The idea was soon scrapped.”

Ol­lie was born on Jan­uary 21 this year, and quickly es­tab­lished him­self as a laid-back baby. Gilly says, “He seemed

to just love hav­ing his pic­ture taken. So when he was about 10 weeks old, I got out a bit of tin­foil, some du­vet cov­ers and din­ner plates and set to work.”

Gilly’s first cre­ation was Ol­lie hang­ing along­side his romper suits on the wash­ing line. “The idea came to me while I was hang­ing up the wash­ing. I posted the pic­ture on Face­book and my friends all thought I was mad, but then the ideas started to snow­ball – I had to grab a Post-it and write them all down.”

Nearly ev­ery night, Ol­lie en­ters into a new world – join­ing the cir­cus, sail­ing a boat, vis­it­ing Egypt, Paris, Moscow and In­dia. Gilly’s cre­ations are all made with things she’s found around the house.

She says, “I have one rule – I can’t buy any­thing new for the pic­tures. I just make them up out of things I al­ready have. Which means I have to be in­ven­tive – my hus­band Ju­lian, 34, can’t re­mem­ber the last time he had a pair of socks as they’re all used in the scenes.” She points out she’s not a pro­fes­sional but a teacher and a mum. “I love arts and crafts and have plenty of yo­gurt pots and lol­ly­pop sticks. If you’re in­ven­tive, you can make any­thing work. I have to think out­side the box. For the fire­man idea, the fire­man’s hose was our vac­uum hose.” And for the pizza oven scene, “I made the ‘food’ my­self out of felt, and my mum knit­ted me some ap­ples, plums, a pineap­ple and a pizza.

“For the Bat­man idea Ju­lian had bought Ol­lie a Bat­man drib­bler-bib, and I thought if I turned it around so it was on his back, it looked like a cape. I made the build­ings out of place mats and used foil and old T-shirts for the rest.” For each shoot, Ju­lian will stand on a stool and lean over the scene with his arms hold­ing the cam­era out­stretched, hop­ing to cap­ture a funny look on Ol­lie’s face, while Gilly en­ter­tains the star from just be­hind the cam­era.

Eloise loves help­ing her mum cre­ate the scenes too. She goes to bed at 7.30pm then the mum has half an hour to get the pic­ture of Ol­lie, get him fed, clean and ready for his bedtime at 8pm. Gilly says, “It’s a pretty small win­dow, but I don’t have time to spend on the cre­ations dur­ing the day. I’ve got Eloise and Ol­lie to look af­ter. Ol­lie’s ad­ven­tures are strictly be­tween 7.30pm and 8pm!”

Once fin­ished, Gilly will leave the cre­ation in place so Eloise can find it in the morn­ing.

“The first thing she says to me is, ‘Mummy, what pic­ture to­day?’ then she

‘I have one rule – I can’t buy any­thing new for the pic­tures. I just make them from things I have’

runs down­stairs to see. Her favourite was the fire en­gine, but the beach scene was bril­liant be­cause we got all her toys and had a pic­nic on the make-be­lieve beach. All her an­i­mals had a ride on the boo­gie board. But she doesn’t like be­ing in the pic­ture – she leaves the mod­el­ling to Ol­lie.”

Gilly knows Ol­lie’s mod­el­ling days are num­bered.

“He’s learn­ing to turn over at the mo­ment, which makes things tricky. As soon as he can crawl he’ll be off on his own ad­ven­ture and we’ll have to stop do­ing these – I en­joy them all the more be­cause I know it won’t last for­ever. For one thing, he’s get­ting so big we’re hav­ing to make ev­ery­thing else on the set even big­ger to keep the pro­por­tions right. Soon he’ll just be too big.”

Gilly’s friends are beg­ging for a cal­en­dar or even a book of Ol­lie’s Ad­ven­tures but Gilly never did have any big plans. “It’s all just for fun. I get to mess around with the kids and come up with silly ideas ev­ery day. That’s all there is to it.”

Most re­cently, Ol­lie recre­ated the fa­mous Star Wars scene of Luke Sky­walker look­ing out at two moons. Gilly says, “I broke the rules and bought a light saber from the 99p shop. Ol­lie’s mon­key played the role of Chewie and Ju­lian in­sisted on be­ing in charge of that one. Star Wars means a lot to him.”

Gilly’s favourite of all of the ad­ven­ture scenes is ‘Ol­lie Un­der The Sea’. She says, “I love div­ing and be­ing in the ocean, so set­ting Ol­lie up with sea creatures was my favourite, and the ex­pres­sion on his face was price­less.”

Ol­lie has been a nat­u­ral star, gig­gling and pos­ing as soon as he’s in po­si­tion. Soon he’ll be too big and wrig­gly to con­tinue. But, as Gilly says, “When he’s older he’ll be able to say he’s al­ready been a wiz­ard, a ma­gi­cian, a builder, chef and cow­boy. Not to men­tion mas­ter­ing wind­surf­ing and snow­board­ing. Not bad for the first few months of his life!”

Since her first wash­ing-line scene (above), Gilly’s ideas haven’t stopped flow­ing

Even Gilly’s mum gets in on the act, knit­ting a pizza for this scene

From dad Ju­lian tak­ing pho­tos to Eloise help­ing Gilly with the art­work, the whole fam­ily is in­volved

StarWars fan Ju­lian in­sisted on be­ing in charge of this recre­ation

This is Gilly’s all-time favourite as she loves div­ing and finds Ol­lie’s ex­pres­sion ‘price­less’

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