Friday, 31 October 2014

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (October 2014)

What a month it's been!

I turned 40 on October 12th and I have loved it.

I've embraced being a decade older as my 30's have been so much better than my 20's ever were. I am now married to the most wonderful man and we have two amazing children. I'm blessed with amazing family and friends - some I've known almost all my life now who I love dearly and some who I've met through work before children and some I even met online in the last few years. We now live in our dream house in the best neighbourhood ever and I've made some really close friends from my neighbours - people I can always rely on.

Not only that but this year I did something completely out of my comfort zone. Something I never ever thought I would do and I have the photographs to prove it.  I even took the big decision to blog about the photo shoot. It was incredible and I still feel amazing when I think about it.

My actual 40th birthday fell on a Sunday and so it was a fairly laid back day where we invited family and my best friend of 33 years out for a special lunch. I was spoilt rotten with amazing cards and gifts and I felt so blessed.

Then, for the 'mad' half of my 40th birthday we held an 80's themed party at the house for close friends and neighbours. It was an amazing night and I really can't wait to blog all about it...now I've just about got over my hangover!

Matt and I are still closer than we have ever been and he's also now sporting a stubbly beard look which I think really suits him.

After the chaos of my birthday we were looking forward to some family time last weekend. We spent a lovely Sunday morning at a local country park where we walked, talked, played, kisses, played Pooh sticks, jumped in muddy puddles, collected leaves and basically just enjoyed the outdoors. We followed it with a lovely Sunday lunch at a nearby pub.

It was perfect.

I thought it would be nice to set my 'big' camera up on a rock whilst we were out and take a self-timer photo of us all.

TC wasn't for coming out of the mud to pose for a photo and so we captured this…



When I looked at the photo on the back of the camera I laughed so much that I knew I didn't need to capture another one. 

TC is two and half now and I think it sums up his ever growing defiance perfectly!

And here are some of the photos I captured on my iPhone that day - it was a fairly inexpensive day but it is one that I will remember for a long time.










dear beautiful


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Red Shoe - The One Where I Felt Sexy

Sunday 12 October 2014 was a very special date.

It was my 40th Birthday.

I still can't quite believe it.

Me? 40?

I remember thinking 40 was so old when I was younger. Now I know it isn't. Well, not to me anyway. I still feel young.

I was actually really excited about turning 40. I was definitely more upset about turning 30. I think it's because my 30's have been so much better than my 20's ever were.

Matt and the kids are my world and I'm right where I want to be in life. We are all happy and healthy and that's all I can really ask for.

Last year was a bit of an up and down year and I wanted 2014 to be the year that, not only I turned 40, I rediscovered the woman inside. I did it thanks to finding a friend of a friend, Sarah Jane, and Red Shoe Photography.

Here I share my Red Shoe story...

I’m not really sure where to start with this but I’ll try my best…

In 2009, after the birth of my first child, I took the big decision to leave my career and become a stay-at-home-mum. A lot of people think this involves a WAG-type lifestyle but it can’t be further from the truth. Plus, going from full-time work to being at home with a child has a huge impact on your lifestyle and your confidence. 


5 years on and another child down the line I realised I’d let myself go a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum and I love that I get to see my children flourish every day – I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s just sometimes I forget that I’m a woman in my own right too.


I spent 2013 in a rut after a friend suffered a horrific tragedy. Instead of embracing life and realising it can be cut short, I got really down. I also often found myself eating all the wrong things and not looking after myself at all. It had a huge impact on my wellbeing.


At the end of last year I discovered Red Shoe. 2014 was going to be the year I was turning 40. I knew that Red Shoe would give me the focus I needed to kick the next decade in the ass. 

I have to admit that it took me a good 6 months to pluck up the courage to book the photo shoot. I didn’t really tell anyone about it. I wanted this shoot to be ‘my little secret’ – something just for me. I didn’t even tell my husband. I still can’t believe I managed to get a suitcase and huge bag full of underwear, clothes (including one of his shirts!) and props out of the door without him noticing. I never realised just how sneaky I could be.


The day of the shoot I was shaking so much I thought I was going to throw up. I’d never done anything like this before. But there was no going back.


When I arrived at the studio I met Mandy. How amazingly lovely and welcoming she was. She is amazing and I still struggle to believe she’s the age she is. Mandy put me immediately at ease and I felt so much better. Mandy worked a miracle on my hair and make-up and made me look and feel like the most beautiful woman on earth.


Then in came Sarah. The most wonderfully sassy and hilarious lady you’ll ever meet. She made me feel so sexy – a word I would never associate with myself at all. She got me to mirror poses and work the camera. She made me laugh and she also made me cry. I had the best time and I felt totally amazing.


By the time I left the shoot I just wanted to rewind the day and do it all over again. It was incredible.


The results? Well, lets just say that it’s not just me that’s pleased with them and it was worth being a bit sneaky for! I absolutely love them and I think I have really kicked turning 40 in the ass. Mission accomplished.


Thank you Mandy and Sarah for the tears and laughter we shared that day. It was awesome xx


I can't even begin to tell you just how nervous I was on the day of the photoshoot. I'd never done anything like it before. However, now I have, I can highly recommend it to anyone. I felt totally alive and incredibly sexy that day and I still feel quite good about myself even now, almost 4 months on.

Sarah and Mandy had a big impact on me that day and have continued to have an impact on how I feel.  They were amazing and you cannot fail to be perfectly at ease with them. They are two incredible women who I now call friends. Love them!

Here I'll share just some of the 31 awesome photographs Sarah took back in June.











I think you'll agree that it was the perfect way to kick turning 40's ass!



Please check out the following links




I have written this post to share my story and share 
my Red Shoe experience. I paid for my photoshoot myself. 
Sarah Jane has given me kind permission to use one of 
the images she took for my blog and social media design 
and for me to share some images with you all.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (September 2014)

September has been a busy month. 

Really busy.

It's been a month of birthdays, nights out, days out, meals out and general madness. I feel like I haven't even got time to break wind right now. I'm also on countdown as I'm turning 40 in less than 2 weeks! Eep! I'm going to be revamping the look of my blog to coincide with my birthday too and I have some very special photographs to share. I am really determined to find the time to blog properly again.

Anyway, back to this past past month...

Matt and I have weirdly become closer than I ever imagined over this past month. We've always been incredibly close - we share everything - but this, this closeness is amazing and something I wish I could bottle and sell to every single couple I know right now. We are so thankful for a lot of things too. We have two happy, healthy and beautiful children. We have amazing family and friends and our house move last June was the best move we have ever made. We love our new house and have made some fantastic new friends from our neighbours. We are off for a third trip to Walt Disney World with the children next year and my parents are joining us for part of it too. I could go on.

We've lived in this area together for over 10 years now (I've lived here all my life). We are a stones throw from beautiful countryside, amazing cities and lovely beaches. We have the perfect mix of what we need at this time of our lives. We are also very close to Chester Zoo.

Because of this we have a membership which means we can go along anytime we like. Sometimes we will just go for an hour so the children can visit some of their favourite animals and play on the play ark for a while. We love Chester Zoo and I've written about it before we had a membership. 

What makes it so special now is that we have been watching the new BBC drama 'Our Zoo' which is based on the true story of the Mottershead family who founded the zoo in the 1930's. The series documents their fight to make Chester Zoo work, despite huge opposition from the locals of the village of Upton.

It's fascinating watching the history of a place I love and have known all my life. I was born just down the road from Chester Zoo too so it makes it even more special.

The only bad thing (for us) is that, since the series has aired, Chester Zoo seems to be a lot busier than it used to be. This is a great thing for the animals and conservation work they do though and I'm so pleased the series is such a huge hit. Thankfully, even when it's busy it's still a superb day out. If you haven't been then you should make sure you manage to visit. I may see you there!

I've been to Chester Zoo a couple of times this month with TC and friends but we went there as a family on Matt's birthday weekend. It was perfect weather - not too hot or cold - and there were plenty of animals to see and fun to be had. MC wanted to go on the monorail as she'd never been on it before. I decided that this was to be the setting of our family photo for this month.

Matt decided to yawn on the first take.


Then TC shut his eyes on the second.


But I didn't bother taking a third photo as both of these were enough. They show us as happy and together and that, for me, is the perfect photo.


dear beautiful




This post is not a sponsored post
I wasn't asked to promote Chester Zoo or Our Zoo -
I just love them both

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