Last week Thursday I had a really important day scheduled, a day where I really needed the weather gods to be on my side.
I knew scheduling a photoshoot in December was a little risky, and I knew it would be cold…I bought a bright orange scarf for the occasion because of this fact, all I asked for was no rain or crazy wind…and what did I get?
Rain and Crazy Wind.
Well it seemed like that anyway.
I’d got my hair cut and highlighted the day before as you do in advance of these things…of course I wanted to look my best.
My photographer when we had gone over the shoot on the phone earlier in the week had said, “I will make you look like you, but on a good day” but this was never going to be me on a good day. Not with this bloody weather.
It was blowing a gale as I left my home with my nerves and wheelie case in tow, the forecast rain hadn’t even started yet but my eyes were already watering from the cold….there goes my pre school drop off makeup efforts (What the mums at the school gate that morning thought I will never know, most days they are lucky if I have brushed my hair)
It’s funny, because in many ways I wasn’t overly stressed about the weather or even about the results of the photos. I had told myself the night before, that it was out of my hands…what will be will be. I needed new photos this side of Xmas…and I just had to go through the motions and get them done.
The photographer was lovely anyway, a real blast she put me at ease right from the off. Vanessa Valentine is her name, a photographer known more for her actors headshots than photographing East End plus size marathon runners turned life coaches…but hey if she could make me look half as good as some of the folks she normally shoots I’d be happy. Plus, she had come highly recommended by the lady creating my new website.
New website you say?
Yes…I have a new website coming, because I am launching my signature programme in January…and for a change I didn’t want to do everything on a shoe string. I had decided to invest in myself a bit…to have more faith that my programme would sell out…not because of lovely new photos, snazzy new website or wonderful testimonials…but because the course and my ability to transform the lives of the women I work with is bloody brilliant.
I just had to keep reminding myself of that at 9am in the middle of Stratford that Thursday morning with my hair being blown in every which way.
The first half of the shoot took place in the warmth of my most favouritest (and yes that is a word) Stratford cafe in the whole world. The View Tube, or as my 4 and a half daughter likes to call it “The YouTube”.
It is where I retreat to with my laptop when I have had enough of my own four walls at home, it’s where Rose and I cycle to at the weekend to have brunch…and it is also where many moons ago I used to give talks on the development of the Olympic Park as it took shape all those years ago.
It felt great to be doing my shoot in a place that felt like home, rather than a venue to give some bullshit constructed idea of my lifestyle…this place is me through and through…hence why we stopped for lunch here too…which was when the heavens really opened. It absolutely tipped it down. The rain was hideous. I had a brolly and a coat with a hood…but it really was impossible.
We had all these wonderful locations in Hackney Wick planned…but I would have looked like a drowned rat if we had headed out in that…but then Vanessa had an idea…and we spent the next twenty minutes with me mucking around outside the cafe with a brolly, while she took some shots of me outside whilst trying not to get her camera wet.
My hair was a frizzy mess by this time but do you know what…I simply did not care.
What is a girl to do?
Who has perfect hair anyway?
Not me thats for sure.
I’ve always been the girl to jump head first into the pool on holiday rather than sit posing around a pool…I go to the gym with my hair scraped back 3 times a week, and I run marathons for fucks sake…and even when I do dress up for the occasional awards event on night out, I normally have to get ready with a small child in tow…so perfection is rarely the look I go for.
In fact now I think about it, I am slightly suspicious of women with good hair every day.
Looking back at the pictures of the day which came through this week I realise that the ones I love most are the ones after the point where I thought what the heck and started having some fun…anyone that knows me knows I’m a bit rough round the edges…my hair sure as hell isn’t perfect at 3am in a hotel bar as I sit there putting the world to right…nor at the finish line of the Tough Mudders I do.
Yes, I wanted some photos of me not in running kit…but they still needed to look like me.
For the final part of the shoot we headed to Hackney Wick, and as we got off the train the rain had almost stopped….and then…wait for it…the sun emerged, and I felt like a goddess…I shit you not.
There I was in my Primark jeans, my new orange scarf and my East End swagger…with my own personal photographer capturing my every move. the builders on the building sites around Hackney wick didn’t quite know what to make of this big sturdy bird strutting her stuff without a care in the world….and even Vanessa knew at this point we were getting some magical shots.
As we walked through the Olympic Park on the way back to the tube, fatigue hit me. I was exhausted. It’s hard work being yourself all day you know. Plus, I have a tendency to look stern in pictures…so my face ached from smiling so much. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot to be happy for these days, but old habits die hard.
I love my new photos and I think when I reveal them all properly to you with the new website and my upcoming marketing campaign I think you will love them too. They are sooooooo me. And who would have thought it would take some good old fashion British shitty weather to bring out the best in me.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Vanessa Valentine who was a dream to work with. She made everything so easy for me…other than being shorter than me and asking me to squat so that she could get a better angle…damn did this woman not know I am in the middle of marathon training.
But seriously she was an absolute angel.
Check out more of her work at www.vanessavalentinephotography.com/, please note these are the behind the scenes unedited versions of the photos, not quite the finished ones for the website…and they still look super hot right?
Look out in a few weeks for the launch of my new website all about my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind.
I have women already chomping at the bit to sign up, even before the new site has gone live…I sold 2 places today to women already on one of my other programmes…I reckon it was the new “she looks like she’s got her shit together” photos that did it.
Or maybe it was the ridiculous early bird price of just £359 (With a payment plan) and the new rates will go live on the 1st January. You can have a look at a brief overview of what the programme is about here….or you could wait until the new snazzy website is ready…although of course the course is the same.
Heres to living bigger in 2018, and to plenty more bad hair days.