Sussex Style Beauty Editorial

I’ve been terribly quiet lately, and I thought it was finally time to explain why. A couple of weeks ago, I was appointed Beauty Editor for a new glossy magazine called Sussex Style. I won’t bombard you with info on it as most of you will have already heard about it, and I don’t want to be a walking, talking ad, so I’ll just say that it’s going to be high end, aesthetically driven, stocked all around the South East, and ultimately something that this county needs!

Anyway, with my deadline looming large like a…large loomy thing, I had to set to work quickly. I’d decided that I wanted to aim high with my beauty pages. Instead of featuring products alone, I chose to create an actual beauty editorial. Now, this was one of those cases where I’d blindly opted to do something without actually knowing whether or not it was feasible, but I’d set my bar and I was determined to reach it.

I soon realised just what I’d let myself in for. First, there were the creative decisions to be made: what kind of looks was I going to go for? I began to compile moodboards, both in real life and on the dreaded Pinterest (I continue to be the only girl in the world who despises the wretched thing). That was the easy bit. Next, I had to assemble a team to help me get my ideas from the ol’ noggin to the page. I have to thank the Twitter community here, because it just wouldn’t have been possible without them. Within a few hours of tweeting I was overwhelmed with talented photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists.

Next, I talked to the people who’d been suggested, and we started to work out teams, and dates. I was extremely lucky to snag a makeup artist called Marie-Isabel Kennedy, aka Maz. Not only a ridiculously talented young lady, but she also pulled a team together as she recommended a wonderful photographer called Parisa Walklett, and also an absolutely fantastic hairstylist called Stephanie Hayes. From there, it was all systems go – I put together a brief, we started to arrange dates, and then it was time to cast a model.

This actually turned out to be the most stressful part of the operation. Up until this point, things had gone alarmingly smoothly – the team had fallen into place, we had Parisa’s studio all sorted out, the looks were signed off on, and jewellery had been sorted (more on that shortly). As we were working on such a tight time scale, it was extremely difficult to sort out a model, so I spent a rather stressful day frantically emailing and phoning all the big agencies, throwing myself on their mercy. Tell you what, it’s no joke when they talk about how young models are; heaps of the girls I requested were at school on the day of the shoot!

On Friday afternoon at 5.25pm, with the shoot on Monday, Select Model Management came up trumps with a gorgeous girl called Hannah Murrell. Hannah had the most perfect face for the shoot, and we were delighted to book her. When the booking was confirmed, I’m not ashamed to say that I leapt out of my chair, punched the air a lot and ran backwards and forwards shouting ‘YES!!! YEEEEES!!!!’ like a fool. Because what good is a crack hair and makeup team, a brilliant photographer and gorgeous jewellery without a model?!

On Monday morning I headed up to London to pick up the jewellery. I was incredibly happy with how lucky we’d been on the jewellery front. I’d put out a twitter call for some high end, quirky pieces, and while I had a good response, nothing quite fitted the bill until I got a tweet from the lovely folks behind Jolita Jewellery. Founded by Algis Abromaitis (the designer) and his sister Jolita (the marketing/press/PR guru), their pieces fit my brief perfectly, and I spent a happy hour browsing their site and pulling options out. Jolita was delightful to deal with and made my job extremely easy, and was hugely accommodating; I’d recommend them strongly to any stylists or anyone putting shoots together.

I picked up my precious cargo from the lovely Jolita, and headed out to Finsbury Park to Paris’ studio, where I met Hannah, Maz, Steph, Paris, and the adorable Henry, a French Bulldog/shih tzu cross. I’ll leave you all to put those two breeds together…We listened to a lot of music, ate a LOT of biscuits, fawned over Henry, drooled over the jewellery, and I got to watch some extremely talented people in action. The whole thing was a dream come true, and I genuinely kept expecting to wake up at any point.

I’d like to take this chance to thank my MD at Sussex Style, Sean, for giving me free rein; my amazing team of Paris, Maz and Steph, the wonderful Jolita Jewellery, the awesome Hannah, and all the tweeters who helped me out on a VERY tight deadline. That photoshoot was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I feel so proud of it. Not to get all soppy, but the whole thing meant so much to me, and I feel like I’m finally doing the things that I dreamed of doing as a teenager. I still can’t quite believe it’s all happened!

Sussex Style magazine will be coming out in November, and in the meantime hop over to the Facebook page or the Twitter account @SussexStyleMag to keep up to date with the latest news!

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Ten Things That Made My Life Better Last Week

Not the catchiest of titles, really, is it? But I thought because I’d spent the whole week being a complete and utter whingebag, feeling sorry for myself, and weeping in the corner because I felt too exhausted to move (still found the energy to cry though! Sweet as a nut!) I should get back to my cheery self with this post. Combined, all the below things made me feel about a million times better, so if you find yourself in a sticky spot, these are the things you need:

WARNING: Some of the below are a bit embarrassing.

  1. Friends: No, definitely not the TV show, which I hate with an intensity that almost scares me. My actual proper friends. People have been AMAZING this week, and I think you know who you are. People have gone out of their way to try and make me feel chirpier, and I really appreciate it. I didn’t need reminding about how brilliant my friends are, but I’ve been reminded anyway. Thank you all ever so much for picking up the pieces and seeing me through.
  2. Ukulele: Whenever life gets a bit rubs, I get my ukulele out. I find it very calming. Even though the one song I uploaded to Soundcloud was super duper depressing, I’ve secretly been playing Human League, Bellowhead, Ween, and also ‘Call Me Maybe’, which has its very own entry.
  3. Biscuits: Obviously. Don’t think I really need to explain this one too much, but biscuits and cakes were definitely a big saviour of the week.
  4. Adam & Joe: Should be prescribed on the NHS. Download their radio shows – I get them orft the interweb, which means I get full shows, so three hours of hilarious goodness. Their voices are weirdly reassuring, the content of the shows is absolutely top notch, and the music is 6Music brilliance. Definitely listen. It really does make things right with the world.
  5. Horrible Histories: Balm for the soul. Well, if it’s your kind of thing. I used to love the books as a child, and now that I’m a bit more grown up, I very much like the array of hot men in the show. Hot men who occasionally dress up as highwaymen and stuff. But let’s keep it clean! Great show, don’t let the CBBC aspect put you off. Yes, the comedy can be a little…elemental, but regular sketches include Historical Apprentice, Historical Masterchef, a movie pitch sketch featuring the League of Gentlemen chaps, and absolutely corking songs parodying all sorts of genres. Give it a try!
  6. Call Me Maybe: When life is sitting heavily on your shoulders, I strongly recommend meaningless pop songs. Shallow can be so good.
  7. Justin Timberlake’s ‘Justified’: It’s pretty obvious by now that music has played a big part in cheering me up. Justified came out when I was about 13/14, so perfect for that early teen phase where music just sticks in your head and means a huge amount. Such a great album, and it really made me happy to hear again the other day.
  8. Country walks: I live in the countryside, but I often don’t really notice it. I was lucky that some friends decided to sort me out this weekend. Saturday morning, I went for a lovely wander around the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, and to an antiques fair in a church hall. I can’t begin to describe how reassuring I find that sort of thing. The musty smell, the dust particles swirling about in the light coming through the latticed windows, those particular blue cups and saucers than every church or town hall has. Sunday I went for a long walk across the fields in my home town with chums, children and dogs. You can see in the above photos the pair of lambs who decided to come over and say hi. When I got back from the walk, it felt like the weight of the world had lifted from my shoulders (please excuse the cliché.)
  9. Exercise: When I was feeling weak and pathetic, doing Pilates really helped me feel stronger and a bit more in charge of my poor, sad body. I attempted Tracy Anderson, but she’s the queen of the following aerobic sequences: jumpy jumpy turn turn twist star jump twist pirouette leap. Not marv when you’re a bit dizzy anyway. So I did Cassey Ho’s pilates sessions – look for ‘Blogilates’ on YouTube. And I lost 4lbs in a week! *Air punch*
  10. Pets: Finally, I recommend that you find a pet and spend some time with it. I have none, so I managed to chill with a cat on Saturday, two lovely dogs on Sunday, and also the lambs. It’s very soothing, and really helps to take your mind off things.