Well there really is never a dull moment around here and our little drama baby is definitely living up to her name! After a stressful few days, we ended up on the antenatal ward at the hospital yesterday after our normally super active baby decided […]
As you may or may not have seen on social media, I was a bridesmaid at my Uncle & new Aunty’s wedding at the weekend. It was so lovely to get glammed up and spend the day celebrating as a family and I was honoured […]
I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seen photographs, read people’s stories, looked in awe at the transformations, but absolutely nothing in this world could have prepared me for the sense of calm you feel when you arrive. Walking through the door of the Red Shoe Studio and being greeted by 1/4 of the dream team, Mandy, I felt any worries or concerns I’d had on the seven hour journey from Kent the day before literally melt away. This little barn would be my home for the next two days and I couldn’t have felt more ‘at home’ if I tried. Within ten minutes my shoes were off and by the door, I’d made myself comfortable on the studio sofa, cups of tea were in hands and we were all chatting as though we’d known eachother a life time. Another ten minutes in and Sarah, Sam & Nicole had arrived. There was belly laughing, outfit comparison and yet more tea. This calendar shoot was feeling more and more like a girls sleep over by the second.
I was fourth in the line up on day one, after Mandy (MIL), Tasha (SIL) & Rita (Grandma) so I was lucky enough to get to watch their make up and shoots. I watched as Mandy & Nicole worked their magic on their hair & make up, transforming their familiar faces into those resembling superstars.
I watched as Sarah complimented them and their outfit choices, immediately putting them at ease with her genuine interest in what made them who they were. I watched as she brought out confidence in the most camera shy girl I know. I watched as she made Grandma feel like a super model in her 79th year.
And then it was my turn in the hotseat. Nicole was in charge of my hair and make up and the first thing she did was check out my outfit for the first shoot so that she could match my make up look to it. I’d been out with my friend the week before on the hunt for something to wear and I’d picked out a pink candy stripe shirt from Victoria’s Secret and a pretty white underwear set from George at Asda. We decided on pink lips to match and relaxed wavy hair. I was in the hands of an expert and I felt like a celebrity being made up for a walk down the red carpet.
When Nicole had worked her magic, it was time to get changed and make my way onto ‘set’. Despite standing in my pants, wobbly bits fully exposed in front of a captive audience (Scroll down and you’ll see what I mean!) I actually felt so confident.
I’ve never been a super skinny girl. As a teenager I was just terribly self conscious, never comfortable in my own skin and saw myself as bigger than I actually was. I’d do anything to get out of PE at school because in my eyes, everyone else looked just fine in those blue polo shirts and polyester tracksuit bottoms but I just felt frumpy and the size of a house. Looking back now, I realise how wrong I was. I was a size 10 from the age of 11 until I was 20 and as my Mum always said, I was perfectly in proportion, but nothing in the world could get rid of that wish that I too could fit into a size 6 pair of skinny jeans like the other girls.
Over the last two years I have gained a dress size and a stone in weight and I long to get back into my size 10 favourites. But being a Red Shoe Girl isn’t about changing yourself to fit your or anyone elses ideal shape or size, it’s about taking your insecurities and vulnerabilities and using them. It’s about feeling beautiful just the way you are. And the way Sarah makes you feel like it’s a perfectly natural thing to be stood by a giant window with your bum out is a talent noone else could possess I am sure.
Posing was the thing I was nervous about, I’d had visions of full on BNTM intensity in the lead up to the Red Shoe shoot, had worried that I hadn’t had enough practice in front of the mirror at home, that I’d feel awkward and self conscious about my legs and chubby cheeks but all of that was so unnecessary. Sarah talked me through everything before we began and helped me find the right poses that would be flattering on camera. I took so many tips away from the shoot about how to take a flattering photo but the one we all still sing out at gatherings is “chin forward & down”.
Before I knew it my shoot was over and Sarah was confident that she’d got the photo she needed. I got back in my jeans and t-shirt and we were all siting around having some lunch when Jude arrived. After admiring her totally gorgeous bump we got talking about the calendar and how we were one girl down. With that, Super Sarah came to the rescue and talked the gorgeous ‘Make up Mandy’ into being one of our Calendar Girls! For years Mandy had been making up women and transforming them into Red Shoe Girls, but now it was her time to take her spot in front of the camera and boy did she rock it!
Mandy is the one of us there that day that the campaign resonated with the most. I won’t go into too much detail, Mandy is going to share her story over on the Know Your Normal website in a couple of weeks but Mandy is a breast cancer survivor. She’s been there, through finding the lump, through diagnosis, the mastectomy, the treatment, the worry and has come out the other side fighting fit proving that there is life after cancer. She is what Know Your Normal is all about. She knew her normal, reported the change, and saved her life.
Jude and her baby bump were the last shoot of the day and again I watched in awe as the ‘dream team’ as I like to call them, worked to style and take beautiful photos. Jude was a natural, in fact I am certain she was a model in a previous life!
I left the studio that day absolutely buzzing for tomorrow. I couldn’t wait to see the next five girls feel it. Feel the confidence, the empowerment that they never had before. To feel and be a part of the atmosphere that left a lump in my throat and at time took my breath away. And most of all, I couldn’t wait to get made up and do it all over again!
Stay tuned for the next installment. I promise there will be even more gushing, beautiful photos and a whole lot of love for the people who made this dream of mine come true.
Thank you so much to Sam from Samantha Kay photography for capturing these totally beautiful behind the scenes images of the day. She bloody rocks.
Everyone has different things about themselves that they want to improve cosmetically. Me? My list consists of dropping a dress size, having more voluminous hair and sorting out my teeth. Me and my Dentist have never really been friends, even the thought of walking into the […]
In my last post I promised to tell you a little bit more about a great product I discovered in my July Pink Parcel. FabLittleBag are on a mission to reduce the amount tampons which are flushed down the toilet and end up floating about in our rivers […]
I really cannot believe that it’s been over three weeks since we travelled up to Chester to meet the gorgeous Sarah & team and shoot the photos for our Know Your Normal charity calendar. THREE WEEKS?! It feels both a life time ago and just like yesterday all in one. I’ve been a bit lapse in blogging more about the photo shoot itself due to an impromptu hospital stay because of two fat arse cysts having taken residence on my right ovary, so for that I’m sorry but I promise to fill you in on all the details next week.
As the shoot was coming to a close on the last day there was a bit of a break between lunch and the group shots and so naturally, as girls do, we all got nattering. Very quickly the conversation turned to the calendar itself and what the plan was when it came to launching. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really thought that far ahead. I knew we’d get them on sale some time in late summer / early autumn, but apart from that my focus had been on arranging (and surviving!) the photo shoot. After lots of excitable chatter, we had decided that this thing we were doing, this great big bold and beautiful thing that had the potential to save other women’s lives, needed much more of a launch than just a quick online update. This calendar needed a party. The party of all parties to show the world what we had achieved and what we aim to achieve over the next year, using beautiful images and real stories of real women to raise awareness of two charities whose work really does save lives every day. And that was that, the girls had spoken, I was to go home and plan a kick arse launch for our kick arse calendar.
And so here I am, writing this. A public invitation to women across the UK to come along and enjoy an evening of all out girl power at the launch of our Know Your Normal charity calendar.
The party will start at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th September at Oakwood House Hotel, Maidstone, Kent after a one hour press conference to which we invite members of the press and bloggers.
Tickets will go on sale on Monday 25th July and will be £20 per head. Women aged 12+ and babes in arms are welcome. Please ensure you bring some ID for the bar.
Your ticket will include…
Upon arrival you will be greeted with a glass of prossecco / non alcoholic fizz.
We will have a range of entertainment and some very special VIP guests.
There will be food provided and a full bar service.
There will be a raffle for which 2 tickets will be included in your entry ticket.
You will each receive A Know Your Normal goody bag filled with KYN bits and bobs as well as some make up and beauty essentials.
Your chance to meet the #KYNCalendarGirls and photographer Sarah Sadler and hear their stories.
And lots more to be confirmed.
The calendar itself will also be available to purchase on the evening. If you are going to preorder you can opt to collect your calendar at the party.
More importantly, we invite you to dance to your hearts content, laugh ’til your jaw aches, drink & dine & share your normal. You never know, by doing so, you might just save a life.
We so hope to see you there.
To keep up to date with all of our plans and to register your interest, please click here to follow the event on Facebook. Feel free to invite your friends and family too!
Follow me: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Bloglovin / Pinterest
Follow my Know Your Normal campaign: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram KYN FACEBOOK COVER
*The Know Your Normal Calendar will be available for pre-order from 22nd August. We are hosting a launch party on 15th September in Kent. For more info, click here.
Despite what the weather might suggest, summer is finally here and so it’s time to revamp my wardrobe once again. People often ask me why I invest so much money on more formal items than causal ‘weekend’ clothes but I spend the majority of my […]
I cannot believe we are two weeks on. It’s taken me this long to even find the words to sum up the whole experience in my head but before I write any more I want to say a big thank you to everyone who made […]