To See or Not to See...

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To See or Not to See...

Written on 26th May '17

I never thought I'd be saying this, but last week I had laser eye surgery!  Let me take you back...

When I was at senior school, probably aged 11, I hadn't thought anything about my eyesight and thought it was perfectly normal.  I was given an eye test at school and it wasn't!  I was really shocked that I couldn't see properly, and actually got quite upset...they had to keep on making the letters bigger; it had really surprised me.  From there, naturally, I went to get glasses (huge tortoiseshell rims with blue flashes in, that matched my school uniform!) - I was meant to be wearing the glasses at school for seeing the blackboard (remember those days?!), watching television / cinema, and later on, for driving but, being young, I don't think I often wore them (except when I was driving).  It was only when I went to university that I went to the opticians and asked about contact lenses.  The first time I had them put in for me, and was told to walk up the road and back to best them, and I walked out and could not believe it - I could see all the leaves on the trees, I could see so much, it was amazing!  Up until then, I'd not really thought much of it, but this was a whole new world, to see everything, and finally realise what I'd been missing out on.  So then I became an avid contact lens wearer - I wore them every day and for much longer periods than I should have been.  

In 2014 (I'd been wearing contact lenses for around 12 years by then), I developed a corneal ulcer.  Now I'd never heard of this before - didn't know what it was, how it had happened, or anything.  I went to bed and felt like I had something in my eye.  The next morning, it still felt like that - I had a look and could see something but couldn't get it out.  I booked in to see the doctor that afternoon, and he referred me to an ophthalmologist, saying that I had to go straight there (being 4pm on a Friday).  The ophthalmologist told me that it was very serious, and put me on drops, every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours, and then every half hour for the next 2 hours, and then every hour on from there.  I had to do this through the night and I remember camping out in the lounge as I didn't want to keep my husband awake, and I did the drops, reset the alarm for the next period of time, and then try and get some sleep before the alarm went off again.  It wasn't fun!  This was a real wake-up call.  The ophthalmologist had said that this was probably due to poor hygiene when putting the contacts in and taking them out, and I'd be first to admit that I'd become pretty lazy about this.  Time for a change, and I started thoroughly washing my hands before touching my eyes. 

However, 2 years later, I'd developed another corneal ulcer in the same eye.  Luckily I'd recognised the feeling and got myself seen to straight away.  I saw a different ophthalmologist at this point, and one of the first things he asked was if I wore my contacts in the shower and when I go swimming.  I said yes, wondering what he was getting at, and he said that I shouldn't have been doing that!  Now I'm pretty sure that I've never been told that, although how would I remember going back 15 years?!  This wasn't raised when I had my first corneal ulcer, but as well as that, it hadn't been mentioned at any of my annual contact lens checks at the opticians.  This was the first thing they'd said to me, and I was absolutely astonished.  Even if I had been told 15 years ago, when I first had them fitted, how am I expected to remember that?  

And one major concern is that every year I had to have the regular contact lens checks, checking the health of your eyes, vision and fit of the contact lens, and at no point had I been advised about safety, in so much as you shouldn't be wearing them in the bath, shower or when swimming.  Yes, I was advised to cut down the length of periods that I was wearing the lenses, but I wasn't told why.  I've recently learnt that this starves the eye of oxygen, and this can damage the cornea.  On the back of all this, I was also advised by an assistant at my opticians that there were in fact much better types of contact lenses on the market, that are more permeable and let more oxygen into the eye.  On asking why I hadn't been advised of this, I was told that there was nothing wrong with the type I was using, it's just they're being superseded by the more up-to-date version.  This had disappointed me, that I hadn't been advised of this before, as I would have undoubtedly upgraded, especially given that I had already had one corneal ulcer.  

 Portrait by Matthew Owen Photography

Portrait by Matthew Owen Photography

Due to my two corneal ulcers, my ophthalmologist had advised me never to wear contact lenses again.  Although I could wear them and not develop another ulcer, I could also wear them once and it happen straight away.  Basically, it would be playing Russian Roulette with my eyesight, as next time the ulcer could develop in a different place and cause loss of sight.  So, back to glasses wearing for me.  

I rolled with it, got used to it again, and that was fine.  However, there were a few niggly issues that I didn't feel comfortable with, and so I had an assessment at The Centre for Sight  in East Grinstead.  I'd heard good things about them, and also done my own research.  The assessment itself was so thorough that it really put my mind to rest about the whole procedure.  They were so thorough, so knowledgable, so attentive and keen to make sure I understood everything.  At the consultation with the surgeon, Mr Daya, at the end of the assessment, I was advised that I was suitable for laser eye surgery!  How exciting!  I felt so confident and knowledgable in their abilities after the consultation, that I booked in for my surgery.  

On the day of surgery, my lovely Dad drove me to the Centre for Sight, and waited there for me.  I had been told I would be around 3 hours, and went in for 8.30am.  I was nervous, but the staff were lovely and kept me well-informed and put me at ease.  Nothing was a surprise (except perhaps how well rested and relaxed I was!).  The lasering itself only took about 5 seconds on each eye, and I was probably only in surgery for about 15 minutes.  I had been given lots of eye drops for anaesthetic and also a relaxant prior to surgery, so I wasn't worried going in, and it certainly wasn't painful.  I had improvements in my sight straight away, and was told that this would improve over time too.  I was given some amazing goggles (pictured), and was told to go home and sleep for 4 hours - with two young children, I didn't look a gift-horse in the mouth!

The following day I went back for an assessment and was told that my eyesight had vastly improved and I was legally able to drive without glasses for the first time ever!  I think my dad was relived at not having to drive my car again on the way home, and I was just as keen to get back behind the wheel again, and it felt fantastic!

It had never occurred to me to have laser eye surgery, and I hadn't even thought about it, until I was told I should never wear contact lenses again, and even then it took me a good year to think about it, look into it and get it done.  I was quite excited in the lead up to it and, being a week on already, I love it.  And it's not so much any big changes, as I could see already with my glasses.  But it's the little changes - not having the glasses rim, beyond which held fuzzy vision; it's the not having to take 'my vision' out / off before going to bed; not getting steamed up every time I open the oven!  I'm still having to apply regular drops to help in the healing process, and I have to wear the goggles at night for another week to prevent me from rubbing my eyes.  I've been told I can't get water in my eyes for 2 weeks, so I've still got another week of wearing my swimming goggles in the bath and shower, or when the boys are having their baths (that makes them giggle!), and I can't wear make-up yet.  But as of next week, I can get back to normal.  

Being a photographer, obviously my passion and livelihood are heavily reliant on my eyes, and my sight is of the utmost importance to me.  Prior to having my second corneal ulcer, I'd always worn my contact lenses for shoots, and had actually never used my camera whilst wearing glasses before.  It was a good (if obvious) lesson learnt - yes, I can use my camera with my glasses on (!), but I know this will be really freeing.  It is amazing not having to wear glasses every day, and to not miss out on anything visually.

Based on my own experience, I would highly recommend Centre for Sight.  They are very attentive, very informative, very knowledgable, very thorough, and I couldn't fault them.  I'm certainly very happy that I've gone through this procedure with them.  

However, I do feel very passionately that at every annual contact lens check, wearers should be reminded of the basics of eye and lens care; wash your hands before fitting them, don't get water in your eyes, don't wear them for very long periods of time, give your eyes a break from wearing them, but also the opticians should be saying WHY you should be doing this.  Tell people about the risks involved, of oxygen starvation, of corneal ulcers, and so on.  If you are a contact lens wearer, please do remember these things, and put them in place.  And also at your annual check, ask if there are any better lenses on the market - if it's only a couple of pounds a month extra, it's worth it to protect your eyes and, in turn, your sight!

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Spring Bump Portrait Shoot

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Spring Bump Portrait Shoot

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Nina and her bump.  When talking over possible locations, Nina mentioned a woodland in Etchingham that she grew up near, and has many memories of exploring and playing in, and it sounded perfect!  We met up one sunny Sunday morning, and went for a stroll, casually stopping at different locations to capture the portraits.  Although just out of daffodil season, and just a little too early for the bluebells, the woodlands were still beautiful, with enough greenery to lend to some magical portraits.  

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We had a lovely time chatting and laughing, and capturing this special moment in their lives.  I'd like to wish Nina and Mike many congratulations on the arrival of little Cassian (what an unusual and wonderful name)! xx

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Personal Branding

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Personal Branding

With more and more people setting up their own businesses, it is important to recognise the value behind personal branding.  The business’s brand is vital, as this is how you convey the type of business you have, to the type of client you want.  However, a lot of people underestimate the importance of investing in professional quality imagery to support that brand. 

With the majority of businesses having a website, which is often the initial go-to area for clients, you want this to represent your business in the best and most appropriate capacity to match your brand.  A business can easily fail to get potential new clients past the website viewing stage if their imagery is mediocre and out-of-date. 

Having been there myself, I appreciate that as a new business, there seem to be endless ‘essential’ areas that you need to spend your limited supply of start-up cash.  However, it is important to get your branding right and you must consider what image you’re trying to portray.  If you choose to feature images of yourself, they should be professional (I don’t mean stuffy!) and up-to-date.  No selfies and no cropped holiday snaps!   And if you have been in business for a while, now might be a great time to take stock, re-evaluate your values, branding and marketing, and revamp your imagery!

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As well as websites, there are also the many social media platforms that require profile images, as well as any printed literature that you might be using.  It’s best to use different portraits, if possible, to best reflect you and the purpose of the portrait.  For example, the portrait you use on your ‘about me’ page might be relaxed and informal, whereas the image that you use on your main web page might be more professional.

I offer specific personal branding portrait sessions, that include hair and make-up professionally styled, and a pre-shoot consultation to discuss your outfits, your brand, your business.  Images from this session are styled on purpose, which might include extra space to one side for text on your website, or with an image ratio suitable for social media.  However, if this package is more than you require, I do offer 'Simply Headshot' sessions as well.

For more information, you can call me on 07507 355775 or send me a message via my Contact Me page. 

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Business Feature - Emily & Jack's Children's Boutique

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Business Feature - Emily & Jack's Children's Boutique

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What’s your name? 

Carolyn Davies

What do you do?

I'm the Director / Owner at Emily & Jack’s children’s fashion boutique

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Why did you start your venture?

After working as a Buyer travelling a lot, I took some time out. At that time we noticed our daughter was having regular absence seizures, to then be diagnosed with Childhood Absence Epilepsy, so I decided it was perfect timing to do something that gave me a better life balance and without the commute to London every day.  So I started an online shop with girlswear at first, working at home. Then I found a shop in a part of Sevenoaks along with other boutique shops, which enabled me to carry on the online store, as well as adding clothes for boys and babies. 

What do you want people to know about you?

I have over 20 years of experience in Buying.  I am a Mum with 1 daughter (Emily, aged 9), and a nephew (Jack).  I also live in the local area.  Emily & Jack’s is a childrenswear boutique and we specialise in sourcing emerging brands, organic and also baby gifting.

 Emily & Jack's is a treasure trove of wonderful and original clothes and gifts!

Emily & Jack's is a treasure trove of wonderful and original clothes and gifts!

What are your aims?

To build a lifestyle kidswear brand that introduces new and emerging brands and offers a point of difference from the rest of the high street.

I am also passionate about raising awareness for young epilepsy. ‘Purple Day’ is an international epilepsy awareness day, and this year it is being held on the 26th March.  To read more, to get involved, or to donate, visit www.purpleday.org

To get in touch with Carolyn...

www.emilyandjacks.co.uk

01732 758833

Or visit the charming shop at 31A Holly Bush Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3TJ

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Why I Want to Photograph Women

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Why I Want to Photograph Women

Women are beautiful.  No matter what age, size or shape, all women are beautiful.  However, most women would say that they are not.  That they are too fat, too old, too wobbly, too wrinkly...  

...too this, too that...

When will we learn to love ourselves?!  I know that a lot of this judgment of self-image is down to advertising and the portrayed image of women throughout the media.  Celebrity magazines bringing women down for having cellulite, wrinkles, wobbly bits, eye bags…basically, for being normal.  And the airbrushing that goes on with celebrities and models is ridiculous – so much so that they hardly look like themselves.  And when they do look real, they’re criticized for it! 

As well as that, mannequins in clothes shops are generally size ‘0’, so we are surrounded by the visual idea that this is normal.  So, the pressure is there to look better than our best, all of the time – to continuously strive to be skinny, to be ‘airbrushed’ and perfect.  THIS IS NOT REAL!!  And it makes me sad that young girls and boys are being brought up in a world where they feel they have to worry about their weight and size from a young age. 

We must be the change that we want to see – we must show our children that we love ourselves as we are, and we do not need to constantly strive for a 'better' body.

A few other things also need to be considered here.  So many women say that they don’t look good in photographs, that they are not photogenic.  This is a misconception!  All women can look gorgeous in photographs, it’s just a case of knowing how to pose yourself to show your best side.  Also, how much better do we look and feel when we’re taking a photo of ourselves before going for a night out, rather than just on an everyday trip to the supermarket?! 

Another very strong factor is ‘memories’. If your children look for photos of you in 20 / 30 / 40 years time, what are they going to find?  Children think their parents are the most beautiful people of all time.  It doesn’t matter how old or young or slim or curvy they are.  They will just want photographs to look through and it’s important to make sure they have these. This is what they will remember and cherish. We must exist in photographs!

My aim is to take gorgeous portraits of real women, and I want all women to realize how beautiful they actually are.  And this is even better when we can share it with our mums, step-mums, nans, sisters, daughters, cousins, aunts, girlfriends… It’s creating memories for you to share, and also to pass on to future generations.

My ‘Womanhood’ luxury portrait experience is aimed at doing just this.  With personal pre-shoot consultations to make sure I know exactly what you are hoping to come away with, as well as making sure you are completely comfortable with me and the experience, this helps to soothe any nerves and allows you to fully relax on the day.  The session starts with a professional make-over, and we then work through your outfit choices with different backgrounds and the best poses for your body.  This is such a fun and liberating experience, and you will walk away feeling thrilled that you’ve invested time in yourself. 

After your portrait session, I will book in a Reveal with you, where you get to come back and see around 30 of the very best portraits of yourself.  These will have been hand-edited, to turn them from good to great, so you only see what others see of you – a beautiful woman! 

Why wait for a better time – accept and love who you are now, get your session booked in, and start celebrating YOU!!!

Contact me

07507 355775

hello@jadetinklerphotography.co.uk

 Before and after images

Before and after images

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Timeless Newborn Photography - Baby Sullivan

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Timeless Newborn Photography - Baby Sullivan

To start off the new year, I wanted to share this newborn portrait session with you.  I had the pleasure of photographing baby Sullivan when he was only 6 days old.  He was very stubborn and certainly did not want to give up his dummy for most of the shoot!  That was not a problem though, and I managed to work with him to capture some gorgeous portraits.  

It's always such a wonderful job to be able to photograph newborn babies with their parents and siblings, and to show the love that they all have for this brand new being.  Sullivan's older brother was certainly very proud of his new role as 'big brother', and it was clear that he adored this newest member of his family. 

I feel it's so important to capture these early days of a baby's life with the parents as well - it's the little moments in time, the interactions and the love that will last a lifetime.  Taking the time to capture these moments, and having the photographs to look back on, is invaluable. 

To book your very own special newborn portrait session, please contact me and we can discuss your requirements.  It is important to book in your newborn session as early as possible (normally around your 20 week scan) to reserve my time around your due date, as I do get booked up.  Please read my Frequently Asked Questions and How to Book pages for further information.  

 

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Photographing Twins!

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Photographing Twins!

Just after New Year, I was lucky enough to photograph twin boys, Harrison and Dexter.  As they were born just four days before my little boy, a newborn shoot was off the cards.  However, I managed to get them before they got too old - at just 27 days!  

These boys were absolutely gorgeous, and so different!  When I arrived, it was beautiful to see how the boys were cuddled up asleep, snuggling their faces into each other.  Needless to say, photographing two babies at once means double trouble!  I took my friend and fellow photographer along as my much-needed assistant, and, together with the parents, we attempted to feed, settle, wrap and pose the boys ready for photographing...but they had other plans!

Newborn sessions are held when the babies are less than 14 days old, as this is when they are sleepiest, and it is easiest to settle and pose them.  As babies get older, they become increasingly awake, aware and inquisitive, and more difficult to pose!  That said, these guys were pretty good, although they certainly weren't keen on being posed.  As with all shoots, I adjusted it to suit the needs and happiness of the babies, and we focussed on wrapping the boys and getting less posed shots, which luckily they were very happy to comply with.  

I really enjoyed photographing Harrison and Dexter, and the challenges that it raised.  It was beautiful to see how the boys were connected - I think it must be very special to be a twin!

It was also such a pleasure to be able to capture the little details that are gone all too quick - Harrison had a gorgeous sprinkling of milk spots over his nose which I couldn't resist. 

Thank you to Natasha and Jon for allowing me to capture your beautiful boys! x

The shoot took place in our home as requested by us. Jade bought along everything she needed to make the day as comfortable as possible for us and the boys. She was wonderful with the boys and gently manoeuvred them into positions to capture the most adorable shots.
— N
The photos were amazing and after some very hard deliberation we chose our favourite pictures to be captured in an album and a mosaic wall art feature. Jade personally delivered the products and we were over the moon with the finished articles.
— N
We have had so many lovely comments from friends and family about Jade’s photos. I’m so glad that we took the time to have a newborn shoot and we’re grateful to Jade for going out of her way to undertake it for us, especially given she had her own precious newborn at home.
— Natasha

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Save Family Photos - a blog to read

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Save Family Photos - a blog to read

A while ago I read a fantastic blog from Design Aglow - an interview with Rachel LaCour-Niesen, founder of Save Family Photos.  It spoke to me, not only as a photographer, but as a daughter, a granddaughter, a wife and a mum.  Basically, it spoke to me as a human being.  It triggered me to consider my time on this planet; my life and the lives of my loved ones; the story I am creating, and the stories that have already been lived by my family.  And the many untold stories, that have yet to be shared or else they will be lost with time.  

Photography is such an amazing medium, a way in which we can keep people remembered for future generations.  It is important not only to record our own generation, but also to learn the stories behind old family photographs too, and pass these on.  

Click here to read the blog - it's worth the read!

And, in the spirit of saving family photos...

 1982 - Four generations - my Great Nan, my Nan, my Mum and me!

1982 - Four generations - my Great Nan, my Nan, my Mum and me!

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Business Blog Series - Fitness 360

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Business Blog Series - Fitness 360

What’s your name?  Rachael Marsden

What do you do?

I’m a personal trainer and nutrition coach, specialising in female fitness, including strength & conditioning, weight-loss and pre/post-natal exercise.

Why did you start your venture?

I started Fitness 360 because I wanted to work for myself doing something that I’m passionate about.

I believe that a combination of good nutrition and the right exercise programme is key to a healthy, happy body. I use resistance training and my 12 week ‘Lean for Life’ programme with clients to help them achieve their best ever bodies.

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What do you want people to know about you?

I’m 40 next year and am stronger, fitter, healthier (and 2 dress sizes smaller!) than I ever was in my 20’s. It’s never too late to get into shape.

What are your aims?

I want to inspire women to re-connect with their bodies and give them the tools they need to take control of their own health and fitness for life.

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

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind

You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth

Until they've faded but trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back

At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now

How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked

You are not as fat as you imagine”

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Sunscreen’ 

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Personal Review - by Becky (pictured)

Rachael has been training me once a week for 4 months now and I can't believe the results I have seen in such a short time - I am so grateful to her!  During my second pregnancy I gained 3 stone, and when my son was 8 months old, I still had almost 2 stone to lose.  I am not very motivated to exercise, being busy with 2 children and a full time job, but had a hit a wall with my weight and fitness!  Rachael is highly knowledgable about fitness and nutrition and was able to be flexible with my time constraints to train, whilst making the sessions fun and keeping me interested for the hour.  She has a been a big help with specific post-natal recovery, and I now feel healthier and more comfortable with my body than I have done since before I had children.  The sessions are relaxed and exercises rotate every few weeks.  I have seen quick progress with things I have never tried before like weights and kettle bells, and Rachael manages to push you without you really realising.  Overall, Fitness 360 is the best decsion you could make for your fitness and nutrition - it has been life changing for me!

For more information...

www.fitness-360.co.uk

info@fitness-360.co.uk

07747 767802

www.facebook.com/fitness360TunbridgeWells

twitter.com/mrsfitness360

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Business Blog Series - The Florist Tunbridge Wells

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Business Blog Series - The Florist Tunbridge Wells

What’s your name?  Jo Fisher

What do you do?  

I’m a local independent florist working from my home studio in Tunbridge Wells.  I provide flowers for all occasions, including weddings, and at the moment I’m busy focussing on Christmas. I’ve just launched my Christmas Collection of door wreaths, which are a joy to make. Luckily, Christmas is my favourite time of year so I’m fully embracing the busyness!

Why did you start your venture? 

Having worked in marketing for a number of years, I wanted to do something more creative and hands-on. I always dreamed of being a florist, and about five years ago I decided to make that dream a reality. For a time, I was commuting to London five days a week and then working at weekends in a local florist to gain experience.  This gave me an opportunity to refine my skills and gave me great exposure to the florist industry. I love working with flowers and being able to use a beautiful, natural product to create something fit for any occasion.  I quickly learnt the hard graft required at peak times such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, working 12 hour shifts for three consecutive days in a row to fulfil orders! Chaotic, but loads of fun! This gave me the inspiration to pursue a career in floristry and, since having my son, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own floristry business to enable me to be more flexible and combine family life with a career that I love. 

What do you want people to know about you?  

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Tunbridge Wells better since having my son and setting up my own business. I love this town and feel lucky to live here. To be honest I can’t see me ever leaving; however, there is a part of me that would love to live by the sea and so I’ve got my sights set on a beach retreat on the Kent coast that we can escape to and enjoy at weekends. I think that would be so fun. Maybe the first step will be a beach hut!

What are your aims? 

My aim is to continue to learn, so I often attend floristry courses to build upon my skills, and I always say yes to opportunities that I know will challenge me, to broaden my experience. At the moment I work from a home studio, which suits the work that I currently do. However, one day I would love to have my own shop. I’ve already got a mood board and can completely visualise how it will look and feel in minute detail. I’m really looking forward to one day being able to meet more customers face to face and welcoming them into my own environment. For 2016, I’m planning to focus my attention more on weddings, including freelancing for local venues, as I really enjoy being part of someone’s special day – who doesn’t love a wedding?!

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

Becoming a new mum a couple of years ago was a massive learning curve for me, and the best piece of advice I could give to pregnant women or new parents is to make as many ‘mummy friends’ as you can, whether that’s through your local baby groups, antenatal classes or online.  I found it invaluable to be able to share my journey with a continuous support network - especially during the 2am night feeds! I love watching my son grow up with a group of little friends that we’ve known since he was born.

Reviews…

“The attention and bespoke service that Jo offers makes her business stand out from the crowd, and is a genuine step up from the usual online retailers.”

…”amazing quality! The attention to detail on the stylish packaging made them feel very bespoke and high end!”

“Truly stunning, cannot recommend you enough - gorgeous flowers and outstanding service from start to finish.”

“I had a great experience ordering from The Florist Tunbridge Wells. I was able to have a conversation about what I wanted and even chose a delivery time on Mothering Sunday! It was a magnificent arrangement that was amazing value for money.”

 

For more information…

www.thefloristtunbridgewells.co.uk

hello@thefloristtunbridgewells.co.uk

07969 841695

www.facebook.com/thefloristtunbridgewells

twitter.com/thefloristtw

www.instagram.com/thefloristtunbridgewells/

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Business Blog Series - The Daisy Foundation, Tunbridge Wells and Rother

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Business Blog Series - The Daisy Foundation, Tunbridge Wells and Rother

What’s your name?  Anna Hayes

What do you do?  

I am an antenatal teacher with The Daisy Foundation – I teach Daisy Birthing Active Antenatal classes, and I am also qualified in infant massage and movement, which I teach in Daisy Baby Tinies and Wrigglers classes which are baby massage and yoga based. Daisy Birthing is an amazing pregnancy and birth preparation class, supportive of all birth choices.  Although it’s an active birth class, it’s not just for women who are planning on having an active and natural birth.  Active birth means being an active participant in your birth, however that is.  You might be planning an elective section, or a more medically managed birth.  So, I support women through pregnancy, and give them the knowledge and tools to feel relaxed and confident about birth. The class is all encompassing, helping you prepare for a more positive birth, whichever route you take.  Daisy Birthing is unique, because it’s a fusion of movement, breathing for labour, deep relaxation, gentle birth hypnosis, and we know that those things linked together, can help women get mentally and physically prepared for birth and enable them to have a more comfortable and easier birth, and a more positive one. 

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Our baby classes are perfect for mums and babies, very much geared towards the experience of mum and baby together.  Our Tinies classes are especially designed for those first few weeks after birth, when mum and baby are getting to know each other and bonding, and helps with that fourth trimester period, the three months after birth when babies are still adjusting to entering the new world and mums are adjusting to life with a newborn.  I love watching the loving glances and smiles between the mums and their babies as they enjoy their massage together. When babies get a bit bigger and more wriggly, Wrigglers offers them a fun, bouncy, baby-yoga based class, using movement to build those underlying motor-sensory skills, using rhythm and beat to build up underlying skills for communication and developing an understanding of the world. What makes Daisy Baby unique is that it is very much mum and baby orientated, with small intimate classes, babies don’t become over-stimulated, and the classes are very age appropriate – they have a little Daisy magic!

I feel as though I go on a journey with women, particularly if they come to Daisy Birthing when pregnant, and then bring their babies to Tinies and then Wrigglers. I get to know them really well and it’s a privilege to share that journey into parenthood.

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Why did you start your venture? 

I’d had a career as a speech and language therapist prior to this for about 20 years.  After I’d had my own babies, I became completely fascinated with pregnancy and birth, and it kept niggling away at me, to the point where I decided that I wanted to change direction and be involved in this world of pregnancy and birth.  I retrained as an antenatal teacher, having done lots of research into different methods, and discovered The Daisy Foundation (previously known as Lazy Daisy).  I instantly knew that Daisy Birthing was the method that I wanted to teach because the values and the principles totally resonated with how I felt labour and birth should and could be for women.  I wanted to be able to support and enable women to have choices, be informed, and have the positive birth experience that they were hoping to have. Daisy Birthing was one of the first independent antenatal classes to gain FEDANT approval. Its founder, Julie Long, who was trained in pregnancy yoga and birth hypnosis became aware that neither approach was suited to all women or all births, feeling that something was missing, and that led to the development of Daisy Birthing. There are now over 160 teachers across the UK supporting and empowering women. In 2014 we became The Daisy Foundation, a not for profit social enterprise, where money is used to fund projects which support mums, parents and babies. My own birth experiences contributed to that feeling of wanting to be able to empower others to have perhaps better experiences than I’d had.  Looking back at my own births, things could have been very different, had I had the benefit of Daisy.

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What do you want people to know about you?  

I am a mum of two boys, and I am completely passionate about what I do.  I absolutely love teaching, and my mums and mums-to-be, often say they love my warm, friendly, and informal style.  I don’t think my boys would agree with that, all of the time!  But the enthusiasm I have for the classes clearly shines through. 

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What are your aims? 

To spread the word about Daisy.  I’d love as many women as possible to experience the benefits of the birthing and baby classes.  There’s something about these classes that make them special. I would love to see Daisy Birthing as the number one pregnancy and birth preparation class.  I see the huge benefits that women attending the class experience.  It’s very affordable and accessible but I’d also like to be able to link up and work with other agencies and organisations to make classes available to vulnerable women and others who might not otherwise come.

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

My advice would be to pregnant women – not to fear birth.  To understand that it is a natural process, one which most bodies are designed to do, and the key to enabling that process is staying calm and relaxed, and trusting your body.  In labour and birth, it allows the flow of natural hormones, which keeps endorphins high and enables your body to work as it wants to. If you understand how your body works then you can enhance and work with it.  Sometimes with the best will in the world a birth journey can take an unexpected route, but with the right mindset it can still be a hugely positive and exhilarating experience!

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My Personal Review...

I signed up to the Daisy Birthing Active Antenatal Classes with a little trepidation - would I be the only second-timer and would the classes be relevant for second-timers?  I discovered my answers were no and yes, respectively!  It was nice that there was one other lady who already had a child, and despite everyone else expecting their first child, it didn't make a bit of difference!  All the ladies were warm and welcoming, and easy to chat to, some having completed the six week course previously, and for others it was their first class as well.  With regards to relevance, this course covered different aspects of labour and birthing that had either not been covered in my previous attendence of antenatal classes, or it had been explained differently.  The 'active' part of the classes was gentle and focussed on stretching and breathing.  I had developed some quite painful pelvic girdle pain during this pregnancy, and Anna adapted movements to within my capability and ensured I didn't put any undue stress on my pelvis.  It was such a relaxing class, just 1.5 hours out of each week to focus on me and my unborn baby, and to chat with other pregnant women.  My favourite part of the classes were the deep relaxation / gentle hypnosis sessions, which I could have easily fallen asleep in!  Altogether a great investment in my time and money in preparing for my new little bundle to arrive!

For more information…

www.thedaisyfoundation.com/antenatal-classes-in-kent-and-sussex-anna-hayes

anna-hayes@thedaisyfoundation.com

07773 685765

www.facebook.com/DaisyFoundationTunbridgeWellsRother

Twitter @lazydaisytw

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Business Blog Series - House of Colour, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge

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Business Blog Series - House of Colour, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge

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What’s your name?  Amanda Richardson

What do you do?  

I am a colour analyst and personal stylist.  I work with people who have a desire to make positive change, and want to learn how to be the best version of themselves that they can.  I show people how they can easily feel attractive, comfortable and confident every day, whatever they do in life, from the business world to socialising or even regaining their identity following parenthood, retirement, or weight loss / gain.  It is all about getting in touch with your identity and reflecting who you are on the inside, on the outside. 

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Why did you start your venture? 

I had my colours analysed 18 years ago and it had an enormous impact on my life - it gave me back my confidence and made me realise that I could still be attractive, and be myself, following the challenging early years of parenthood.  At the time, I’d loss sight of myself. My body had changed drastically (for the worse) making me feel unattractive. I was focussing all my attention on caring for my child and my own wellbeing took a back seat.  My mum and sister took me with them to see a House of Colour consultant to try and get my mojo back.  Seeing myself in my Cool, Bright Winter colours was a real light-bulb moment and I was blown away by the power of the transformation that wearing these colours made.  I’ve stuck to it ever since!  About 8 years ago my family and I moved from North West to South East.  I looked up who the local House of Colour consultant was, as I wanted to buy some more make-up, and found the current provider had been doing it for 26 years and was thinking of giving it up. I instantly felt this was something that I had to do, a chance to share the amazing experience that I had had with House of Colour with other people.  I was looking for more of a challenge and this was the perfect opportunity.  I’ve been doing this for the past 3 years and love it! 

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What do you want people to know about you?   

I absolutely love my job – it’s the most rewarding job that I could ever dream of.  Just to see the transformation in people, from when they first walk through the door to when they leave is fantastic, a real pleasure.  I am also a qualified neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, and I love Elvis!

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What are your aims?  

To share the magic of colour and style with as many people as possible so that they feel wonderful about themselves.  It’s not about vanity, it’s about creating harmony between your appearance and your personality and discovering your own personal style.  I don’t push make-up and fashion, I advise people which colours, trends and looks would work for them personally. I want people to celebrate their individuality and not give them ‘one size fit’s all’ approach.  I provide guidance and help so people can see it for themselves and easily put what they have learned into practise.  I aim to inspire positive change.

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

To everyone – Be yourself, love yourself and avoid wearing black! 

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My Personal Review

I was on the session with a lovely lady called Michelle who, after explaining that I was writing a blog about Amanda, kindly agreed to take photos while I was having my colours analysed.  We decided that Michelle would go first - Amanda put a white cape around her shoulders and front to remove the colours that she was wearing, and a white cap to remove her hair colour.  Amanda then worked through the different colours to find out if Michelle was on the warm or cool spectrum, by draping different colour fabrics around the shoulders.  I was encouraged to sit close by so that I could observe the differences between each colour spectrum, and it was really interesting to see the changes and effects of different colours.  After deciding that Michelle was on the warm spectrum, Amanda then worked through different colours to decide whether Michelle was on the Autumn or Spring scale.  Once I knew what we were looking for, it was quite obvious to see that Michelle was Spring.  Amanda then looked through some make-up to compliment this season.

It was then my turn in ‘the hot seat’!  I’m glad I had the experience of observing Michelle having her colours analysed before me, so that I knew what I was looking for on myself.  Having worked out that I was on the 'cool' spectrum, Amanda then worked through the drapes again to decide if I was Winter or Summer and we all agreed that I was Summer.  Amanda then looked at the make-up to compliment this palette, and showed us how the make-up worked well with the season’s different colours. 

After a light lunch, we then worked on our ‘ratings’.  We worked through every single colour within each other’s spectrum, and Amanda rated each colour.  For example, whether the colour was really complimentary and could be worn as a large block, or if it should be kept to a minimum, as an accessory only.  That in itself was very useful too.  We were also looking at colour combinations, and which colours would work well together as an outfit, within our specific seasons. 

Amanda is really lovely to work with, really approachable, comfortable to be around, not judgemental in any sense, and very understanding…she knows how inspiring the experience is, as she’s done it herself.  She appreciates that you can’t just go out and buy a new wardrobe, and she doesn’t expect you to do that.  She makes it all very achievable.

It was such a liberating experience to realise which were the colours in my spectrum to start with, how my colours were rated, and I can now have confidence moving away from blacks, and in choosing brighter colours that I know will compliment me and make me look good.  I’d not heard of colour analysis before meeting Amanda, and found the whole process absolutely fascinating.  I would definitely recommend this to everyone! 

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For more information...

www.houseofcolour.co.uk/amanadarichardson

amanda.richardon@houseofcolour.co.uk

07568 523986

www.facebook.com/HoC7oaks

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