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 this trip possible. Leading the Know Your Normal Calendar project has introduced me to so many inspiring women who I am very happy to now be able to call my friends.
Wednesday 8th June
I woke up at 8am. Ahhh, the lay in! Having worked solidly for ten days straight and not slept past 5.30 for even longer the luxury of having an extra few hours sleep literally felt like heaven. I had packed the night before and so all I had to do was get up and get my face on before my lift to Mandy’s arrived. By the time Dean arrived to pick me up and drop us to Mandy’s I’d somehow managed to pack another two bags. How on earth were we going to manage to get everything in the car!?
There were four of us travelling up from Kent – Tasha, Grandma (Rita), myself and Mandy who being the only one of us with a licence was the designated driver.
We hit the road at around 10.45am and the SatNav gave us an ETA of around 3.05pm. I could feel everyone’s nerves in the car. These three ladies had pretty much volunteered themselves to be a part of this calendar of mine before they’d really had the time to think about it and no-one really knew what to expect. I’d shown them Sarah’s facebook page, the types of photos she took, the sort of thing we were looking for, and asked them to pack three options of things to wear during the shoot while keeping an open mind that they might want to pack some pretty undies just in case they were feeling brave on the day. I knew that travelling all this way and potentially taking them way way out of their comfort zone in front of the camera was a big ask. A big big ask. Jeeze, even I was nervous. But as I sat in the back seat of Mandy’s car under a helium canister and a box of goodie bags I felt so lucky to be a part of a family who would do this for me. To help raise awareness of the Know Your Normal campaign and with any luck save a woman’s life.
Four hours and several disputes with the SatNav later we reached the half way point. Time for lunch. We spotted a Frankie & Benny’s sign at the Banbury turn off and made a swift exit from the motorway. Food & fresh air were in sight. It was a beautiful sunny day and so we chose a table outside and sipped icy drinks before our lunch was bought out to us. The staff were friendly and food was delicious. A quick loo break and then it was time to get back in the car and take on the next half of our journey. Mandy vs Satnav battle, round 2. ETA 5.22pm.
We arrived at the hotel at 5.40pm, four hot sticky messes with stiff limbs and full bladders and big sighs of relief that we’d all made it in one piece. I checked us all in – we’d booked three rooms at the Chester Central South East Premier Inn the week before to accommodate for all of the Calendar Girls who were staying over night and we headed to our rooms to shower and refresh before heading to the neighbouring pub for a well earned drink and a bite to eat.
Marissa & her husband arrived shortly after us and after months of chatting online and planning big things for the campaign it was so lovely to finally put a face & a voice to a name. After a quick chat and a few Vodka Cranberry’s Tasha and I popped over to Sainsbury’s to stock up on lunch for everyone for the next few days before heading back to the room for a pamper session with face masks and a glass of rose.
Tomorrow would finally be here and I was so so excited to meet Sarah & the rest of the Red Shoe Team. Now all that was left to do was keep everything crossed that everything would go to plan.
*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.