Paying it Forward


Paying it Forward


So recently, it was International Pay it Forward Day!  Now, I hadn't heard of this one before, but I really love and admire the concept, and so wanted to get involved.  I decided that I would gift a mini Womanhood shoot to someone that really deserved it, and all I asked in return was that they 'pay it forward'.  And after speaking with my hair and make-up stylist (Hall of Fame - Styling), Deborah kindly offered to gift a styling session prior to the shoot as well, so what a wonderful pampering treat this would be! 

By way of Facebook, I asked people to nominate someone who they thought deserved to receive the photoshoot, and why.  I had some lovely nominations and found it really difficult to decide (I wanted to choose them all!).  However, I finally settled on a nomination from Sue for her mum, Jenny.  

"She's the most caring person, always there for everyone... She was brought up not knowing her real family, but through sheer hard work found 4 of her siblings a few years ago... Sadly 3 have now passed away (one only yesterday), and she is feeling very low. This is something my mum would never think of having done, and I would love to spoil her."


On the day of the shoot, Jenny and Sue arrived together.  We got Jenny into her hair and make-up, while we all chatted and got to know each other.  And seeing how fast Jenny could remember all the names of her 12 great grand children was impressive!  

I suggested that it would be great to photograph Sue and Jenny together at the end of the shoot, and Deborah kindly offered to make-over Sue as well!  Jenny and I moved into my studio and worked our way through different poses, backgrounds and outfits, laughing all the way.  She is such a lovely and beautiful lady, with a gorgeous style and love for colour, and it was a real pleasure to take her portrait.  At the end of the shoot, Sue joined us and I captured their portrait together, as mother and daughter.  

During the session, Sue explained how they had been 'paying it forward'..."I have organised a seaside entertainment day for 22 local elderly people in my area at the Ightham Darby and Joan Club that I organise."

From the moment I entered the studio I was welcomed by Jade and made to feel comfortable and at ease, as this was all a new experience for me. It was a truly wonderful experience from start to finish. Thank you for making it such a perfect memorable day!
— Jenny
Thank you so much for showing my mum how beautiful she is inside and out. Thank you so much for everything!
— Sue


'UNMASKED' - a personal portrait project


'UNMASKED' - a personal portrait project many of us have a complicated relationship with what we look like.  Too skinny, too fat, too wobbly, too wrinkly, too bony, too tall, too short, too lop-sided, too spotty, too scarred,  too hairy...not hairy enough, not smooth enough, not curvy enough, not flat enough, not defined enough...PHEW!! The list goes on.  Too many of us are constantly judging ourselves, and find ourselves lacking.  We are our harshest critic, and there is no escape...UNLESS we change the way we think.  We should be able to look in the mirror and LOVE our bodies.  These amazing, unique and beautiful bodies that are carrying us through this life, designed to withstand all manner of endurance.  

The use of make-up is one way that so many women try to cover up / enhance their faces, no matter what age.  And I decided that I wanted to explore this in more detail, alongside the inner (or in some cases, outer) critics, as well as hoping to help make women realise how beautiful they are without enhancement.  The project 'Unmasked' was born!


I interviewed and photographed 18 women in total, who all signed up willingly, for a variety of reasons.  For the interview, the women had to answer three prepared (and one unprepared) questions:

1) What made you sign up to this project?

2) What hurtful things have been said about you, or do you say to yourself?

3) What do you love about your body?

4) What do you love about yourself?


The replies were fascinating.  From signing up to challenge themselves and push themselves out of their comfort zone, to setting a good example for their children, to just having some 'me' time whilst supporting a local artist.  The honesty and trust that my sitters gave me during the interviews was really appreciated, as I was able to find out how and why some women felt the way they did about their looks.  


The final two questions were really important, and one that I feel we should regularly ask ourselves.  I even made myself answer these questions prior to the project commencing, and realised that it was more difficult than I'd expected.  However, I felt really positive after answering the questions myself, and I hope that my sitters did too.  


Following the interview, was a mini portrait shoot.  The requirements?  No make-up, no hairstyling, no editing.  The women could bring whatever clothes they wanted to wear - be it casual, lingerie, glam - whatever made them feel fabulous.  I also produced black and white portraits only, which gave the project a unified feel.  I absolutely loved working on this project.  It was wonderful to see how some women came to realise that they could leave the house without make-up on; many saw beauty where they'd struggled before.


This project became so much more than about make-up - it was about body positivity, acceptance, self-love.  This is so close to my heart, and I thank every one of the 18 women who made it into my studio to support me in this project.  As well as this, thank you to the countless women who expressed an interest, but weren't able to attend for whatever reason - your support means so much to me.  

I have decided to continue with offering 'Unmasked' sessions alongside my normal portrait shoots.  They will last for 1 hour and cost £45 (portraits to be purchased separately).  The portraits will be in black and white, and include very minimal editing (at the request of the client).  If you think this would be of interest to you, please get in touch as I would LOVE to photograph you!



'Womanhood' - A mother and daughters portrait experience


'Womanhood' - A mother and daughters portrait experience


Recently I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Marlena and her two daughters, Natalia and Amelia.  On arrival Amelia and Natalia were shy but excited, having not had make-overs or portraits taken before.  After a little time spent just relaxing and chatting, and of course some pampering from the hair and make-up stylists, all three were really excited to begin.  Both girls were naturals in front of the camera, and all three made my job so much fun.  


They had brought a number of different outfits, as advised at their pre-shoot consultation, and while they were being styled, I worked out which outfits would look good together.  The girls were thrilled to be able to request different hair styles, but I was determined to get some shots showing off their gorgeous long locks!

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And not to forget Mum - Marlena was stunning with an infectious laugh, and it was wonderful to be able to treat her to some pampering and 'grown-up time' with her daughters.  Having not had professional portraits taken before, this was a really special experience for them all to share, and remember. 

Marlena, Amelia & Natalia-LR-019.jpg

The closeness and love that these three wonderful people shared was clear to see throughout the shoot.  It was such a special session for me, and I couldn't wait to show them the final portraits.  

The personal video that was taken during their shoot, as well as their slideshow of gorgeous portraits, did manage to get a few tears, and I was thrilled that they loved what they saw.  Making people happy and seeing them fall in love with portraits of themselves makes me swell with pride and love for my job.  

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If you'd like to share this special pampering experience with your daughter, your mother, your sister, your aunt, or your best friend, get in touch to book in your consultation and see how we can tailor this wonderful session to you. 

07507 355775



Deborah at Hall of Fame - Styling

Jessica at Jessica Helen Beauty



The Real Cost of Photography


The Real Cost of Photography

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Often people don't know what to ask when approaching a photographer, so their first question is usually, "how much do you charge?"  I have seen so many Facebook posts with people asking for a cheap / 'reasonably priced' photographer. 

People often seek the cheapest option available, because they don't know what to look for and because 'face value' is easiest to understand.  However, what most people don't realise is that they are not only buying a product, but also the photographer's time, expertise, vision and creativity.  What is important to one person might not necessarily be important to another, and that is why photography can be tricky for a client to navigate when it comes to what is being charged.  As well as this, there is no set formula for what is being charged, and there are so many different product options it's mind-blowing, so how does the client even begin to compare photographers and attempt to work out what is 'reasonably priced' or not?! 

Trust me when I say that most photographers are a party to this quandary too.  How much is much is too much...what products should I offer...and so on and so on.  If only there was a simple formula!

Many entry-level photographers are enthusiasts that decide to try and earn a bit of money from their hobby.  They are perfectly happy charging £30-£70 for a photo shoot and then providing all images as digital files.  Now the reason for this is three-fold - firstly, they do not yet value their photography as art, or a business.  They are still learning, they feel excited with the fact that they've just earned £70 for something that they find relatively easy to do, and they don't have to pay the bills with this money.  Secondly, offering digital files is easy because they don't have to address the vast selection of products on offer, they don't have to look at product quality or have high outlays.  Thirdly, most people just want digital files anyway, so they can print themselves. 

Sadly, a fair few photographers get caught up in 'competing' at this level for business, and this then lessens the perceived value of photography.  

I have already written about the intrinsic value of photography in last month's blog post.  Here, we can look at the monetary value of photographs in the following example:

  • The average life expectancy for men and women in the UK is 81 years old. 
  • A couple have a baby when they are 32
  • The newborn portraits that they commission will have an average shelf life of 49 years
  • Let's say the couple paid £100 for their newborn shoot and this included 75 images.  
  • Divide the £100 by the number of years the couple will be using the product: £100 ÷ 49 = £2.04 per year
  • Now divide £2.04 by the number of images: £2.04 ÷ 75 = 0.027

That's 3p per image per year!!


And that's before considering that the baby will grow up and treasure these portraits themselves, so really the average shelf life should be 81 years.  And this figure is also before deducting any additional costs associated with completing the job, such as:

  • time spent before, during and after your photo shoot, making sure you receive the beautiful portraits that you are expecting
  • business overheads such as insurances that keep the client and the business protected
  • time spent researching their products so that you get the very best and most durable quality
  • costs of buying and maintaining their equipment, so nothing falls apart on the day (and if anything does go wrong with their equipment, they will have a back-up so your shoot doesn't have to be rescheduled)
  • costs and time for continuing professional development, so they can provide you with the style and quality that you are expecting, and also add their creative influence to your portraits
  • costs and time for health and safety training (i.e. for correct and safe newborn handling and posing) 

So the photographs are practically being given away for free!


Most people forget that photographs last a lifetime, and they get to 'use' their product every single day.  Some people consider professional portraits a 'luxury' item, but this is no more so than a television or a mobile phone.  Some people spend hundreds on the newest mobile phone or television, and this will become obsolete in only a few years time.  Photographs last a lifetime, and even longer when they are passed down through a family to each generation. 

However, only you can decide how much value you put in a photograph and how much importance you give to these memories. 



The Real Value of Photography


The Real Value of Photography

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What will your children find when they look for photos of you?  The back of a head?  Some hands, supporting them taking their first steps?  Some legs at the side of the image?  So often, mum's are the ones saying 'no, don't get me in the picture' or are the ones taking the photo.  They are there to support their children, and often do not think about the memories being recorded.  Make sure you exist in photos!  For your own memories, and for the memories that you leave behind.  

A lot of women object to being in photographs because of what they look like at the time.  But it doesn't matter how much you weigh or what your size is - these factors do not impact on how much you are loved.  You can be big, curvy, fat, slim, skinny, flat and still be beautiful and deserving of love.  To your children, you are the most beautiful person in the world.  They love you unconditionally; it doesn't matter what you look like.  

And when you are gone, I bet they would give anything for a photograph of you, be it smiling and having fun with them, all snuggled up and having a nap with them, or just sitting and having a cup of tea.  Photographs and memories don't have to be professional portraits.  Although this is a nice thing to do and has it's own benefits, sometimes the most beautiful portrait can just be photograph capturing someone going about their day-to-day life.  



Research has shown that children that grow up in family homes and have photographs of them on the walls / on display, have increased self-worth.  

David Krauss, a psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit."  Krauss is one of the earliest pioneers of PhotoTherapy, which is the use of family photography within mental health therapy.  

With regards to whether print or digital has the greatest positive impact on a child, Krauss says, “My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall.”  “I am very conservative about self-esteem and I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort.”  Krauss believes that we should place family portraits in the child's bedroom so that it is one of the last things they see before sleep and one of the first things they see when they wake up.  “It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.”

As well as children, this works in a similar vein for adults.  Although you may not like your photograph being taken because you've never seen a portrait of yourself that you like, it stands to reason that if you have a portrait of yourself that you love and you display on your wall at home, your feeling of self-worth will increase every time you see that photograph.  This can work whether it's a portrait of you on your own, or alongside your family.  If it's a family portrait, you see yourself as part of the family unit and your place within the family is reaffirmed.


So with that in mind, schedule some time to sort through all your photos (and get some updated portraits if necessary) and send some to print - be it in the form of a few small prints, an enlargement or a collection for the walls (see picture above), or an album or book.  If you'd like any help with ideas for wall collections, I have a great board on Pinterest (click here).  And if you'd like any help with updating your portraits, you know who to call! 



    New Year's Resolutions - the key to successful goal-setting (guest blog)


    New Year's Resolutions - the key to successful goal-setting (guest blog)

    To celebrate the start of a new year I've asked Life Coach, Mary Meadows, to write a guest blog all about how best to write and keep your New Years Resolutions (goals).  So read on for some super helpful information...


    New Year’s Resolutions (I hear a *groan*) they have a bad reputation…there is nothing more disheartening than a failed one. ‘They don’t work!’ I hear you yell…  Well, this blog post will change your mind and possibly your life!

    So let's begin by considering the facts about New Years Resolutions. They are usually made based on something we have failed to do the year before (and we’ve usually failed because a) its hard work, or b) we hadn’t actually considered the work it would take, or c) its just not that important to you). When we make them it's based on a feeling, a thought of how fabulous we will feel when we *insert your favourite NYR here* and that thought requires no action. Only 8% of people keep their NYR's. For the other 92% they have given up usually by the 17th January…


    As a Life Coach I am an expert in all things goal-related; I support individuals in developing and producing success in all areas of their lives. I help you build your natural strengths and skills, providing a fresh perspective. I am an expert in action. I believe you, as a client, are creative and resourceful and I support you in facilitating lasting lifestyle change.


    So how do you set a NYR/goal that sticks for the whole year? How can you end 2018 feeling fabulous, inside and out? (basing that on the fact that over 40% of NYR's are around health and wellbeing) Read on friend, and take notes…


    1. Consider what is important to YOU. So many of the goals I hear are not actually YOUR goals. Its based on what society, communities, the media, your friends or families believe should be your goal and quite often not what YOU actually want or need for your life. Part of my toolkit of resources I use with clients is the ‘Wheel of Life’, it’s a simple way of considering all areas of your life, and your satisfaction within those different areas. Click to download this free template and get going NOW. 

    2. Decide where you would like to focus your improvements. I would encourage you to base your decisions on where you feel most inspired to focus (this is where lasting change starts) not on a temporary motivation such as weddings/holidays/Christmas. 

    3. Focus on your habits. Automatic behaviour i.e. habits, form the majority of our days, and thats where the secret lies. When we think about goals and change we often focus on the ‘big stuff’ like moving house, losing 3 stone, changing jobs it all seems overwhelming so we procrastinate, get distracted and move on to something else. If we choose to focus on our habits, paying particular attention to positive action involved in those habits, those small, daily habits produce long term change.

    4. Focus on the positive. Often we associate things like going for a run, making time to cook a healthy meal from scratch, learning a new skill with a negative thought ‘Ugghh’ ‘haven’t got time for that’ etc which makes it far less likely that you will take action. Procrastination sets in, and the downward spiral begins of negative thinking…the ‘f*ck it’ takes hold, and you are stopped in your tracks. This is where the language we use in our heads is super important, the ability to pause, notice the negative and re-frame it with a positive thought and a small action. So a bit like this ‘its cold, I don’t want to go outside’ PAUSE ‘I always feel amazing after a run around the block’ *put trainers on* and before you know it you are out the door…

    5. Don’t try and ‘stop’ anything, instead focus on the ‘start’. When we try and stop anything, we just think about it more, we are drawn to it, we focus on nothing else but the lack. Instead by focusing on starting something, and the building of habits and small steps needed, its focusing on the positive, get excited! 

    6. View failure as practice. For the majority of people when we feel ‘stuck’ (and this is true for most areas of life) is because of a fear of failing. And that FEAR can stop all action taking place, so changing your thoughts, thinking about failing as practicing will support you in striving towards anything and everything. Everything is a practice, the benefits of practicing is that we get to try again the next minute, the next hour, the next day.

    7. Write it down! The power in writing stuff down is immense. NYR/Goals that stay in your head without consideration, planning, usually stay in your head as dreams. Think of something as simple as writing down a shopping list, your trip to the supermarket is far more successful than when that list stays in your head. Apply the same focus to your NYR/goals and you are on to a winner.

    8. Reflect and Review. Get a timeline in place, for review and reflection for your NYR/Goals. This is how you move forward. Breaking goals down into short term, medium term and long term. Decide how and when you are going to reflect on your progress, here are some great questions to help you. What went well? What not so well? What am I going to do differently tomorrow/next week/next month? There are no right and wrongs with this. The skill of reflection and reviewing is one that will grow, once you see and experience the benefit.

    9. Celebrate EVERYTHING! Celebration in adulthood is usually reserved for birthdays, and holidays. We don’t consider in adulthood the benefits of celebrating.  As a parent think of how you celebrate every small thing your child achieves, boosting their confidence and belief in themselves. Crazy that we don’t do enough of this as an adult. So how do you celebrate? A great question to consider. A high five? A dance around the kitchen? A hug of achievement? Doesn’t have to be a big gesture, but celebrate every small achievement to boost your sense of achievement, and your confidence in moving forward.

    10. To support your NYR/goal setting here are some great questions to get those juices flowing - 


    What is your NYR/Goal?

    Why is it important to you?

    How committed are you to making it happen? (on a scale of 1-10)

    What are the benefits of achieving your NYR/Goal? How would it improve your life?

    What information/resources of you need to strive towards your NYR/Goal?

    What skills/qualities/strengths do you need?

    What are the major obstacles to achieving your NYR/Goal?

    Who can help you?

    What is the first step you need to take? When will you take it?

    How would life be this time next year if you don’t work on this NYR/Goal?


    Having followed all the steps, answered the questions, you will have a considered, realistic and achievable New Years Resolution! 

    Above all commit to ACTION. 

    Nothing changes, if nothing changes. 

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year

    Mary Badass Meadows 



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    Contemporary Women's Portraiture


    Contemporary Women's Portraiture

    This month I have decided to write about this amazing woman.  Stacey decided to have her portraits taken to expand her life-experiences and embrace new opportunities.  In recent years, she spent a lot of her time organising fund-raising events to raise money for The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust, which supports the neonatal unit at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, and who cared for her baby before he sadly passed away.  Her family's fundraising has raised almost £7,000 (and invaluable awareness) to support this charity, enabling them to buy new equipment and continue providing support to parents and families.


    Stacey is not only a mum, but she is a woman.  I think sometime's we mum's forget that we are women and have another persona than that of 'mum'.  Sometime's it's nice to remember who we are inside; who we are when we aren't busy being 'mum'.  We embraced this idea with Stacey's shoot by using a number of different gorgeous dresses, and allowing Stacey to have fun, be pampered, and play 'dress-up' for the day!

    With such a genuine and bubbly personality, it wasn't difficult to get gorgeous portraits.  Stacey is such a beautiful woman, both inside and out, and it was great to be able to give her a reason to wear a stunning dress from her wardrobe that hadn't been worn yet!


    Stacey and her family have very recently moved to Australia to start a new chapter in their lives.  I feel so lucky to have met Stacey and had the opportunity to take her portraits, and I wish her and her family the very best of luck and happiness in the future.  xx


    10 Seasonal Things To Do


    10 Seasonal Things To Do

    Well, Christmas is a-coming, sneaking up fast!  Our wonderful Tunbridge Wells has a wealth of seasonal activities going on, as well as our beautiful neighbouring towns and villages, and not to mention all the activities that we can do for ourselves!  So I thought I'd share a few of my favourite things to do here:

    1)  There are still so many fallen leaves on the ground, or leaves yet to fall - take advantage of the late autumn by going for a lovely walk.  Enjoy throwing and kicking leaves, listen to the crunching when you walk over them and the rustle when you walk through them.  Climb trees and run around; take photos or just enjoy the moment.  You could even choose your favourite leaf shapes and colours and take them home - these can be stuck to paper to create autumn landscapes (or hedgehog spikes if you draw the face on), or you can laminate them and hang them from the ceiling / door frame / windows.  

     Sheffield Park National Trust

    Sheffield Park National Trust

    2)  Visit a Farmers' Market or a Christmas Market.  We're so lucky that these are relatively commonplace in Kent, and what a great way to spend some time and support local businesses too!  Wrap up warm and wander through the stalls, and see what goodies you can find.

    3)  Get in the Christmas spirit with some seasonal crafting at home with the kids.  Now, I have a confession - I'm not a big crafter with the kids.  I can't quite stand the mess, their attention spans are so limited that by the time everything's set up, they want to do something else, and F's at the age where he just wants to put everything in his mouth (and has been for a long time!).  I do not find it relaxing!  However, once in a while, I do like to get a few bits out for them, and November / December is one of those times.  I have a lovely book with craft ideas in and of course there's Pinterest.  Ready, get set...go!  Paper, card, paint, apron, wet wipes, googly eyes, pom poms, glue and pens...

     Hand-print robins for Christmas cards - just add a googly eye and draw in the beak and feet

    Hand-print robins for Christmas cards - just add a googly eye and draw in the beak and feet

     Stencil finger-print Christmas trees

    Stencil finger-print Christmas trees

    4)  Visit a castle.  Luckily we have plenty to choose from, with some of our favourites being Scotney Castle, Bodiam Castle, Hever Castle, Tonbridge Castle and Dover Castle.  You can enjoy the beautiful grounds as well as swot up on your history!

    5)  Baking at home - now this is one I really enjoy!  We try out anything from decorating gingerbread men, to baking biscuits, flapjacks, cakes and/or mince pies.  The kids love getting involved and it's always fun being able to taste the end results.  


    6)  Go and enjoy the Christmas lights.  Whether these are in your local town, or simply in the streets near your home, Christmas lights are being turned on already, and what a great way to embrace the time of year and to get into the Christmas spirit.  I absolutely love seeing the Tunbridge Well's Christmas lights after dark - it's so magical!  

    7)  The ice rink at Calverley Park is real must for us.  And it doesn't have to mean skating!  Over the past few years I've ended up taking the boys just to hang out, to listen to the music and maybe share a treat whilst watching the skaters from the warmth of the cafe.  It's such a lovely atmosphere and always brings a smile to our faces.  This year will be the first time that we can take both boys on the ice, so that should certainly be interesting!


    8)  Immerse yourself in the festive season by putting a Christmas CD on loud, and singing at the top of your voice whilst dancing around the house to the music - the perfect activity to do on your own or with family / friends / kids!  So much fun to be had (my kids don't know what they're in for!)!

    9)  A great place to take the kids at any time of year, but garden centres are a real treasure trove at Christmas.  With their festive displays and produce, miles of Christmas trees, decorations and paraphernalia, they can be quite magical.  Ones that we enjoy going to are Notcutts (Tunbridge Wells), Brookside in East Peckham (has an amazing grotto), and Ruxley Manor in Sidcup (fantastic grotto, ice rink, Reindeer, carousel and great Christmas displays).


    10)  Feed the birds.  It may be getting cold and wet, and we might be less inclined to venture out, but we can still help our feathered friends.  Creating some fat balls or topping up a bird feeder in your garden is something you can do if you want to stay at home.  Or if you wrap up warm, a trip to Dunorlan Park to feed the ducks and geese is always a favourite of ours.  However, don't forget that you shouldn't feed ducks and geese with bread!  Foods recommended by the RSPB are corn, peas, oats, rice and seeds.  


    'Why Your Selfie Doesn't Look Like You' - a blog to read


    'Why Your Selfie Doesn't Look Like You' - a blog to read

    I've come across this fantastic blog post recently, explaining why you might not think you look like the person in your professional portraits.  The blog was written by Roxanne Elise Photography and I personally find it fascinating.  Obviously these are things that I am aware of as a portrait photographer, but I've never actually done the experiment on myself and been able to compare the results.  Seeing just how different Roxanne looks in all of her portraits is surprising!  

    Click here to read the article

    Definitely worth remembering when you finally see yourself in your new portraits!



    Starting School


    Starting School


    Ah, schools... Before now, I've only ever studied in them or worked in them, but this year my baby is going to start in Reception class!  

    Like parents across the country, at the end of last year I started the daunting task of researching the different primary schools in my area, going on tours and checking out the staff, pupils and facilities on offer.  I'm not sure if the process is the same across the country or not, but in Kent we have to choose 3 schools and list them in order of preference.  The Council then allocate schools, and so on.  Having submitted our choices in January, we were eagerly awaiting the notification of which school we had been allocated.  Despite claims ( article) that 97% of children were allocated one of their top choices, we sadly fell into the 2.56% that weren't offered any of their choices.  We were instead allocated a school that we hadn't considered.  I went along for a tour to see what it was like, but I decided that it wasn't the school for us.  So we were now in limbo.  I immediately put us on the waiting list for all of our choices, and we just had to sit and wait for the reallocations.  It was a long two months, listening to other parents talking of their children's schools and plans to meet up with other people going to the same schools.  However, we got no further with the reallocations, at which point I was getting a little worried!  I started looking further afield and managed to find a school that was actually relatively near us, but I'd never been to the village before so hadn't considered it.  More importantly, they had one space left!  I put my son's name down and went to view it that day, and what a lovely little school it was.  The staff were really nice, and I got a really good feel from it.  A huge weight had been lifted from my mind and I was now happy that my little boy had a lovely school to start at come September. 


    Well, through a busy summer of trying to spend as much quality time with each other as possible before school started, I managed to find my way through the ordering and labelling of school uniform and other necessary paraphernalia. It is worth noting that I bought a stamp and ink from Stamptastic and it was so easy to label everything!  I think it took me about 10 minutes, if that.  The clothes have been through the wash and tumble dryer, and the names are holding fast.  To be honest, even if they do wash out at some stage, I don't mind as they are so quick to redo.  Anyway, my son had u-turned on his excitement to go to school and now wasn't too sure, but his first day was soon upon us.  I think he's still adjusting to the shock of actually having to go to school every day for five days each week, and I'm still adjusting to having to get up and get both boys (and myself) ready to do the school run each morning too (for some reason this hadn't occurred to me!).  However, we seem to be surviving and, despite his best efforts to not tell me anything about his day, he is making friends and learning things.  We love the school that he's ended up at and, although it wasn't originally on our radar, we're really happy that he goes there.  

    It's official, my baby is growing up!  But it's all got to be embraced with a certain amount of humour - we've already had one cold, one timeout, one accident report, one school-wide notification of nits, countless emails from school...and it's only the end of his third week (first full week). However, I've been reassured that this is all perfectly normal!  We're so proud of our young man and how he's coping with the huge adjustment in his life.

    What an all-encompassing adventure the start of your child going to school is.  Although the school selection process could well be improved (in my opinion), I am extremely happy with our outcome. 



    Business Blog Feature - Pure Power Studios


    Business Blog Feature - Pure Power Studios

    What’s your name? 

    Holly and Ryan at Pure Power Studios


    What do you do?

    We teach 25 minute Power Plate training sessions, giving you a fast effective full body workout – exercising on a whole body vibration platform such as the Power Plate gives you an intense work out making your muscles work the equivalent to an hour – hour and half in the gym but in 25 minutes!



    Why did you start your venture?

    Holly has worked and instructed at Pure Power Studios since the very beginning over 4 and a half years ago. The opportunity arose to purchase the business in October 2016. Since then Holly and Ryan, the new co-owners, have built on the fun, friendly and personable sessions giving clients a great workout.

    What do you want people to know about you?

    Our sessions are for any age, any ability we have clients ranging from 16 – 72. All sessions are instructor –led and a maximum of 6 people per session giving the clients great attention in the class enabling the instructor to correct give advice on techniques and guide every person through their workout.

    The Power Plate has an array of benefits here are a few:

    ·      Cutting your training time down yet still seeing the results

    ·      Increases bone density (really important to maintain as we get older)

    ·      Improves joint stabilisation and health

    ·      Muscle definition and strength

    ·      Improves flexibility

    ·      Aids weight loss along with a healthy diet

    ·      Improves cardio stamina (if you attend our cardio inclusive sessions)


    What are your aims?

    To bring Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas fast and fun sessions using the Power Plate giving great fitness tuition, encouragement and nutrition plans.

    If you could only give one piece of advice to my audience, who would it be to and what would it be?

    To everybody! We’d say don’t put off starting a fitness regime, start now, your future self will thank you for it AND we’re here to help anybody and everybody!

    My Personal Review

    I have been attending classes at Pure Power Studios for a while now, although not as regularly as I would like.  I love that the classes are short enough to squeeze into my busy day, but also very effective from a workout point of view.  They are challenging and varied, and there are lots of different classes to choose from.  The studio itself is cosy and the classes are small, meaning it feels more like a personal training session than a class at a larger gym, which certainly suits me better.   I'd definitely recommend it!

    Get in Touch

    Tel: 01892 537760



    Address: Pure Power Studios, 16 Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2LU


    Timeless Family Portraits - The Walkers

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    Timeless Family Portraits - The Walkers

    Late last autumn, I had the absolute pleasure of taking family portraits for fellow photographer, Matt (Matthew Owen Photography).  I had first met Matt on Aspire's Bespoke Photography Training Course, where we studied together for 12 months, and I was instantly impressed by his passion for his craft, and his stunning photographic style.  It was an honour when he asked me to take his family portraits, and he freely admitted that he and his wife hadn't had any photos taken together as a family since their wedding day 10 years earlier!  Now, Matt lives in Stoke-on-Trent, so getting together for this wasn't going to be straight forward.  However, I was heading to the Lake District for a holiday with my family, and so we made a stop on the way home.  Seeing the logistics fall into place, I was very excited to be able to ask Matt if he would do the honour in taking our family portraits as well!

    Given the time of year (mid-October), the weather was unpredictable and we had to play it all by ear, but on the day, it was fantastic!  Our families had never met, so we spent the first while chatting and getting to know one another.  In true 'Matthew Owen Photography' style, Matt had set up a few craft activities that we could do together, for the shoot.  First, it was decorating gingerbread men!  I did this with Zac, my eldest, while Matt photographed us.  Then Matt and his son, Sam, decorated theirs, while I photographed.  Matt's daughter, Molly, also got involved, and a lot of fun was had by all! 

    We then went for a walk in a nearby woodland location.  Taking it in turns, we photographed each other making paper boats, which we were planning on sailing later.  There were some gorgeous locations here too, so Matt and I worked together to get some timeless family portraits for each other.  This actually worked really well with the limited attention spans of our respective young children, and they loved being able to run around and play with each other in between portraits.  

    Next, we were on the way to find the stream!  We were all excited to see how our boats would sail, although it was getting a little bit late in the afternoon.  We reached the stream soon after, and took it in turns to race our boats, which was so much fun!  Unfortunately the light was fading quickly by this point, so we didn't have as long here as we'd hoped, so we decided to call it a day and get back to the cars.  Luckily, I had booked a hotel nearby for the night, so we didn't have too far to travel that evening.  

    I'd forgotten my coat at Matt's house before going to the shoot, so we had to pop by before our journey back to Kent.  The heavens had opened and it was torrential downpour when we left the hotel.  However, when we arrived at Matt's the rain had cleared and it was beautiful sunshine again.  Excited by how well the previous day had gone, and wanting to make the most of the opportunity, both Matt and I were keen to get 'just a couple more shots' of each other's families, so we all drove to another location and were able to get some gorgeous portraits to add to our collections.  However, we finally had to call it a day, and my family and I had to start the journey back home.  It was a real pleasure to meet Matt's wife and children, after having known him professionally for so long.  They are such a wonderful family and you can clearly see the love that they share.  It was also really lovely to see how well our kids got on - Zac was asking to play with Sam and Molly for ages afterwards, and he still does sometimes!  

    It was great to work collaboratively with Matt, as well as to be photographed by him.  The portraits of my family that he produced were stunning, and we love them all.  Likewise, I am very pleased with the portraits that I captured of his family, and know that this 'photographic extravaganza' was a success!  

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