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Wednesday 28 February 2018

Outfit Photography- Expectations vs Reality and my home truths & tricks

I felt compelled to write this post after having so many of my non-blogging friends and family tell me how “natural” and happy I look in some of my recent photos. Needless to say they do not understand the struggle that is outfit post photography!! I’ll let you into some of photo secrets and home truths of taking them...

90% of the time you will be freezing your bollocks off if you live in the UK and want to take pretty outfit snaps. Very rarely is the weather nice here.

Wind is a phenomenon which can go really in your favour and make your shot look real and so cool or really f*cking awful- particularly if you live in a flat farming area where wind travels i.e. Cambridgeshire. So the photo above- I was actually furious with the wind that day but somehow the stars aligned and presented me with this shot which subsequently was a really popular post on my Instagram.

This however never made the cut. Somehow I don’t think I need to explain why... #sexybumeatingmyshirtdress

Another drawback to British living is the fact that it rains A LOT here but if you smile and fake laugh through your photos, sometimes you can forget that your hair is slowly becoming a frizzy mess and somewhere along the line you’ll pretend that feeling damp is FUN! Not only was it wet when we shot this outfit, it was horrendously cold; so much so that I was not surprised I developed the lergie shortly after but of course it was worth it for the gram right? Clearly it was an excellent idea to don a thin lace dress outside in January...

So far I have only showcased the negative truths of outfit photography but in the same shoot as the photo above, I bumped into a rather lovely chap called Brian who happened to own a classic car shop round the corner and was shooting this little baby for his website. Being in the right place at the right time meant I got the opportunity to pose with said car (I’ll call her Bessie) and boy did Bessie add some pizzazz to the photos! Cheers Brian you absolute legend and Bessie- you’re a doll.

So onto the “looking natural” in outfit photos... I have developed a technique known as the fake laugh when I pose. Yes you will look like a hyena with lock jaw during the process of taking your photos but trust me- it works to get that “I’m so happy life is wonderful” look. Thankfully my blogger gal pals know this signature move but every time I manage to persuade the husband to take my photos he is bewildered, confused and downright furious with how ridiculous this method is, especially when there are onlookers curious as to what is going on. They have a look of “you okay hun?” strewn across their faces whilst Chris is highly embarrassed and mortified.

Another one I like to do is look at the floor. Looking into a camera can be really off putting and I don’t know if it’s just me but don’t you find when you shoot with someone you don’t know so well you feel a bit...shy? I know that their eyeballs are behind that camera lens and I’m effectively pulling wannabe sultry faces at them. I’m not having a stroke or trying to seduce you- I promise.  Instead I like to opt for looking at the most FASCINATING pavement, concrete or grass I’ve ever seen. If that doesn’t make you smile- what will?

Yup, I have props and like many a blogger I aint afraid to utilise them so I appear to have my shit together and life is pretty. 

Now, I genuinely do use the coffee cup featured in this photo but the reality on this day was it was empty. If it had contained hot black caffeinated liquid whilst posing, I guarantee I’d have chucked it down myself within minutes and ruined everything or even worse IT WOULD HAVE GONE COLD. Who wants that kind of negativity in their life?

The reality was- it’s pretty, it’s something believable to pose with (and something I do actually use ALL the time ) and was off to the pub as soon as we’re done shooting so fuck coffee. As for the flowers? Well, they matched in with my outfit like said coffee cup but the reality is I NEVER wander around with a bunch of flowers, especially not in my handbag.

These fake beauties work wonders and save me from a soggy handbag lining.  Using props just helps to add a bit of interest to an outfit and accessorise it further. 

I even use the bloody dog. Walking Harry is something I do- of course but maybe not always looking so glam. The reality is its usually 6am and I’m in UGG boots with no makeup on. #pretty

So what I don’t like or get about certain outfit photography in blogging is when the outfit is worn purely for taking a photo. If you’re someone who genuinely walks around London in killer heels all day then fair play to you- I take my hat off  and fake flowers to you but if you wear them purely for the gram then those heels or that hat are never to be seen again? I have to ask- what was the point? To me that’s not authentic and don’t get me wrong I know that fake flowers in my bag isn’t authentic but at least I’m being honest. I think sometimes it’s taken a bit too far and if you’re like me you end up wondering why people are... pretending? But that’s just my view and that’s a whooole different topic; one which I’d rather not to get into. All I will say is anything I wear in my outfit posts I wear in real life too and I’m proud to have it in my real life- so much so that I’ve put it on my blog or Instagram.

So that is a little insight into the reality of my outfit photography. Apologies for the many variations of my moon face throughout this post. If you have any sneaky techniques I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Is there a “natural” pose you do that I’m yet to master? Also what's your thoughts on authenticity?

Toodle pip!

Monday 26 February 2018

Getting glam and #FOREVERAGAINSTANIMALTESTING with The Body Shop

Last week I was invited to The Body Shop in Queensgate, Peterborough for a make-up consultation and to show my support on banning animal testing in cosmetics. Of course I was up for both of these things and headed into store on one of the late night shopping nights- SO handy when you work full time!!


The Body Shop are running an extremely important campaign to ban animal testing. Back in 2013 the collective efforts of The Body Shop and their partner Cruelty Free International led to a European ban but unfortunately there is still a shocking 80% of countries that allow animal testing. The practice of animal testing needs to be banished everywhere and by signing the petition you can help make that happen. You can do so online (click here) or in store.

The Body Shop are so committed to the cause, having never tested any of their ingredients or products on animals and they never will, which is one of the reasons I am such a huge fan of them and have been for many years.

If you’re a long time reader of the blog or subscriber to my YouTube channel you’ll already know how much I love their products. I opted for a make-up consultation whilst in store over a skincare or body consultation as its something different to what I’d usually choose.  I already use a lot of their skincare products and wanted to explore their makeup range. The lovely Michelle was my consultant and she listened to all my make-up needs and concerns such as the fact my face is oily AF and I need powder in my life if I want my face to stay on. She instantly put me at ease and was so easy to talk to and have fun with.

We tried out the Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation first as I thought it would work best for my skin, but surprisingly I wasn’t a fan of the coverage; being a bit too heavy for me personally but if you love a matte full face then boy... that stuff is FULL COVERAGE. I was getting serious Nikkie Tutorials vibes from it. Slightly subtler me ended up going with the Fresh Nude Foundation which was a beautiful medium coverage and felt really light on the skin. For my eye make-up I told Michelle that I prefer natural tones and the same for my lips but by the end of the session she had convinced me to be brave so I said sod it- lets go for a bold lip.

She's A Gentry

When I had the final reveal I was SO chuffed and could not stop smiling! (It was verging on embarrassing how much I was smiling and staring at myself in the mirror- HA!)
The lip colour reminded me so much of MAC’s Ruby Woo and really set off the rest of the makeup. I was really glad I took Michelle’s advice by choosing a bold colour and I instantly looked refreshed after a long days work. I was also conveniently ready to head to the pub after too- hurrah! The main feature I couldn’t stop staring at was my brows. It’s amazing to see how other people do your makeup and their little twists on it can make you look so different. I had Michelle do a quick brow demo on herself after so that hopefully I can now perfect her brow game on myself.

Photo of She's A Gentry at The Body Shop

One of the fab things about all the consulations at The Body Shop is that they’re FREE, making it the perfect opportunity to try out the products you’re curious about. All the products I tried during my makeup consultation were available for me to take home and try as samples so I can see how I get on with them at home. I also took away the some of the new body and skincare samples to try before I buy which is available for everyone that wants to sample a product.

The Body Shop make-up consultation

Feeling suitably glam, I then had a little peruse around and picked up two of my Holy Grail products which I’ve written about before on here before. And naturally I had to treat myself to one of the Body Butters which I then realised I could personalise- again for free!! 

 As I’d been into store to learn specifically about the campaign for cruelty free, I had to go with the bunny sticker but there are loads of designs you can choose and would make for a lovely gift too *cough* MOTHERS DAY *cough*

I came away from my getting glam session with a huge grin on my face and a bag full of goodies, feeling very very happy. If you do one thing this week, please make sure you sign the #FOREVERAGAINSTANIMALTESTING petition and if you’re near a Body Shop, go in and have an explore!

Also thank you to the wonderful ladies at The Body Shop in Queensgate for having me- you were the best – especially for taking all my posey photos ;-).

Friday 16 February 2018

These are the games of the weekend

photo of She's A Gentry

Today felt like spring could well be on its way. The brilliant sunshine and a playlist of Stevie Wonder's greatest hits put me in the best mood and inspired to take some outfit snaps!

She's A Gentry
Top- H&M
Hat- Tobi *
Jeans- F&F
Boots- eBay
Bag- Radley
Coffee mug- Dotcomgifthop 

SS18 outfit idea

The poor old Instagram husband (otherwise known as Chris) got roped into taking some snaps for me and did so rather begrudging until I said we could go for a beer after! We actually ended up going to a pub we've always thought of trying and I'm so glad we did as it's bloody awesome! We're already planning to bike there in the warmer weather for a bevvy or two in the sunshine.

dotcomgiftshop travel mug

Tobi panama hat

I got this hat from Tobi* last month. When it arrived I panicked thinking f*ck it's such a winter colour,I'll only get a few months wear out of this max but I was wrong! After a rather successful peruse around H&M, I came across this floral beauty of a top with a colour palette that matches kinda perfect with my floppy hat of dreams and looks rather fab for spring! I love the colours and the cut of the top; making it comfy and easy to wear whilst appearing to have made some sort of effort. I must be getting old but comfy fashion is my thing nowadays! The hat itself is great, adding some warmth to the chilly weather and makes my outfit (dare I say it) look just that bit more...extra? Kinda hate myself for using that phrase...

spring outfit 2018

I'm unashamedly a fan of a bit of matchy matchy so may have brought my coffee mug out purely for some photos... It got chucked in the car immediately after and replaced with a cold glass of prosecco in the pub! I have to say though it is a little gem to have with you on the go, especially on frosty mornings.

She's A Gentry

Anyway sorry for the major photo spam but honestly Chris took so many photos I was happy with, I couldn't really pick! If anyone knows how I can win him round to actually enjoying taking outfit photos for me it'd be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure how long beer bribery will last...

What are you planning to wear for spring? I just want the winter weather to bugger off now. Its made its point- we all get it.

Sunday 11 February 2018

February Feels: Weight loss, happiness and life lately

photo of Shes A Gentry

I feel like I'm the only person who was sad to see the back of January this year. I turned over a new leaf this year rather than making resolutions and vowed to slow down and look after myself. So far I can confidently say it's working and god do I feel better for it.

2017 was rather a turbulent year. Exciting but turbulent. I started the year knowing a house move was inbound and finally after waiting Chris and I moved into our first owned home. Exciting as it was, I found myself feeling very stressed and then nothing really calmed down after that. We were booked up left right and centre to do things which as amazing and great as they were, were also tiring and by December I was paying for it. Over a stone heavier, exhausted and also skint- something had to change. Come January 1st I was raring to go and full of enthusiasm. I cracked open the green tea, said goodbye to junk food and wiped my diary clear.

A lot of people I find hate their own company and spending time pottering around the house. I however thrive on these blissful times and since having a clear diary and having the time to relish being at home, I realised how little I've been able to do this over the past year and just how much I enjoy this time. Having some time out from being here there and everywhere means I can get shit done. I've had time to plan, organise and reevaluate things in my life. My house has never been so organised nor have my thoughts. Stuff gets done and its not stressful, rushed or hastily decided. I haven't been a complete hermit and have seen and done a few things over the past few weeks but when I have, I've fully appreciated those times and the people I'm spending it with. We live in a world of fast paced, social media, stimulating stuff and I think we all can be guilty of not switching off. When you finally allow yourself to do this it's like a switch has been flicked and you finally feel like you again. I can't really describe it but I feel like I've found myself again.

As for the weight loss, I've so far lost a stone in a month and I am unashamedly proud of myself. With last year being on the go so much, I was eating things for convenience and anything that was quick and because I was so exhausted the idea of actually cooking and preparing meals made me feel even more tired. Since clearing my diary and having more time at home, I've had more time to cook proper food and use those recipe books that for so long have sat at the back of the cupboard longing to be used. I also signed up to Weight Watchers again- something I hadn't used for a few years. I tried Slimming World back in April last year and did get results but for me they weren't sustainable and Weight Watchers works much better for me personally as I can still eat the things I like and have found a balance. By loosing some weight I've gained back my confidence and self loathing in the mirror has disappeared. I'm still a fair way off where I want to be but I know that I'm making steps to get to where I want to be that are achievable and work with my lifestyle. Clothes in my wardrobe are fitting much more comfortably or actually just fitting for the first time in ages which makes me feel so much happier.

So this all leads onto happiness... It's a funny thing happiness. Everything I've mentioned above isn't rocket science and is really quite straight forward but actually taking the time to slow down and assess my own needs has helped me enormously to achieve what I want for 2018 and be happier in the process. Looking after myself means that I feel better in my own skin and can be a better friend, family member, wife, blogger, colleague etc and give more to the people around me I love.

I Spy Graphic Day Dress- Tobi
Jeans (old)- New Look
Boots- New Look
Feather Necklace- Fiona Jones Jewellery
Leather bracelet- H&M

Anyway this has turned into a rather rant blog post! I never normally write this style of post but the words have literally just poured out of me onto the screen and I'm literally just typing my thoughts and feelings. It's almost verging on verbal diarrhoea! With that in mind, I'll leave it there and bid you goodbye but if you enjoy this type of post please let me know!

Friday 9 February 2018

DIY Burning Man, Embellished Captains Hat | Festival Style

I know it's February but I love a project and I like to be prepared, especially for festival season!

Embellished captain's hats caught my attention in 2016-2017 and after some research I found some wonderful creations over on places like eBay and Etsy. As usual, the price tag quickly put me off and then I got to thinking- why can't I just make my own? So armed with a glue gun and all the sequins, gems and general shiny things I could get my hands on, I set about making my embellished beauty which you can see me creating in my latest YouTube video:

Let me know what you guys think and also what you're planning to wear to festivals this year!

Sunday 4 February 2018

True Romance | A Valentines Outfit of The Day

It's February, Valentines will soon be here and already I'm feeling lace and pretty dresses for the occasion but with a bit of casualness thrown in with a biker jacket and a beanie!

I did this shoot with the rather wonderful Loved By Laura in a quaint village close to where we live. Little did we know that our choice of location is quite the spot for photography until we met Brian- a local owner of a classic car company.

Now I wish I could say the car below was mine (maybe one day) but Brian was super kind and offered to let me pose with this convertible dream!

Chris and I do tend to celebrate Valentines Day in some way; be it a meal in or a meal out, cocktails or a movie so I chose this dress from Tobi  as it can be dressed up and dressed down and the smock style is my jam! I love a bit of boho indie style and this dress really makes me feel like me. I can go out, eat a decent meal and no one will know how bloated I really am underneath- hurrah!

Dress- Tobi*
Leather jacket- Matalan
Boots- New Look
Hat (old)- New Look
Necklace- Joma Jewellery
Feather spinner ring- Old Farmhouse Jewellery

Have you got plans for Valentines Day this year and if so what are you planning to wear? I'll be spending it with Chris but also having a few Galentines get togethers too!

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