January 7, 2022

Empowering Boudoir Photography

My top 5 reasons to say yes to a boudoir shoot.

I believe all women should have the opportunity to do an empowering boudoir shoot at least once in their life.

The term boudoir still appears attached to outdated ideas that women who choose this are merely doing it to please a man.  When I first started my modelling career I never imagined I would be comfortable modelling lingerie . I certainly wouldn't have been comfortable expressing the more sensual side of my personality when I was younger. From my own experience I've found it totally empowering.

I had the pleasure of talking with Jane Earnshaw,  the founder of Chique Studios,  a photography and make over business,  for the Out of the Bubble podcast. Jane inspires women to become more confident in front of the camera and embrace their natural beauty.I spent the day with Jane to hopefully help bust some of those fears away and show you just how accessible it is for everyone and what an impact it can have on someones confidence.

Here's my top 5 reasons why I think you should YES to a boudoir shoot

  • When do you get to spend the whole day being pampered?

From the minute you walk in to a good photographers studio you will be well looked after and made to feel special. I would say do your research when it comes to booking , check out there website, look at their photo gallery. Personally I love working with female photographers as I think they can relate to a woman's vulnerability. Try and work with a photographer that has a diverse range of images and women on their books. You may walk in feeling nervous but by the time the hair and make up team have finished you'll feel like a million dollars. Allowing yourself to step into a different world is so much fun.

Rachel Peru model lingerie shoot with Chique Studios

  • It will boost your confidence.

Lots of women struggle to feel happy in their bodies,  insecurity stops them thinking they will look good in the photos. We all have parts of our bodies that we aren't happy with

In 2016, the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report interviewed 10,500 women and girls across 13 different countries. The results were staggering and women in the UK had the lowest body confidence scores in the world. Only 20% of women and young girls saying they liked the way they looked.

We ALL have amazing parts of ourselves that will always shine through on camera. Being honest with your photographer about your worries, prior to the shoot, will help you relax.  The photographer wants you to see just how naturally gorgeous you are and they will bring out the best in you.

 

  • It will help you connect with your sensuality, whatever that feels like to you.

Expressing your sensuality doesn't have to mean wearing lingerie and lace. You may feel more sensual wearing a trouser suit with a hint of cleavage showing. I actually think the term boudoir should be changed to empowerment. It's such an individual feeling.

We've all been conditioned to think that women after 40 need to hide our bodies away, that our bodies in midlife are perhaps something to be ashamed of. This can only leave women feeling invisible and lose confidence in themselves. I strongly believe we can and need to reclaim our ageing bodies back and learn to embrace them just as they are right now.

When I model lingerie and share my body confidence posts on social media 50% of the population maybe surprised to hear that I am not doing it to please their male gaze. The fact that a woman in lingerie may be viewed as sexy is merely a by-product and not the goal; I think it’s important for us all to remember that.

I do it to show other women that it is OK to celebrate and enjoy your body, no matter how old you are. It’s my choice to express myself this way and I am finally confident enough to own that. I hope you can too.

  • It will push you out of your comfort zone.

Yes stepping out of your comfort zone is a little scary but it's definitely where I've grown the most in the last ten years. I find it helps to build a new memory bank of life experiences that you can always call on if your having a bad self belief day. Having those beautiful images of yourself to go back to will give you that extra boost of confidence.

 

  • To celebrate just how fabulous you are

Doing a boudoir shoot can really be a way of showing your body some self love. A reminder just how amazing your body is showing up for you every day. Every wrinkle, every stretch mark, every scar tells a story of what makes you unique. Capturing that in a lingerie shoot is powerful and something to be celebrated.

(P.S If you're offered a glass of champagne on the shoot take it! You deserve it x)

“Feeling confident, being comfortable in your own skin - that’s what really makes you beautiful.”

#janeearnshaw #chiquestudios

 

You can also watch the behind the scenes video with Chique Studios HERE

Outfits- Pink suit @Zara

Pink bra @Playful Promises

Black Body- Figleaves #gifted

#empoweringwomen #bodyconfidence #bodypositive #embraceyourbody #midlifewomen #boudoirshoot #chiquestudios

 

October 25, 2021

Sustainable Fashion on the High Street

If you've been following me for a while you'll already know I'm a big fan of wearing vintage and preloved clothes. Not just because it's good for my bank balance but also because I think we all need to play our part in creating a more sustainable fashion environment. You can create sustainable style whilst shopping on the high street too. I love fashion and always will do but I am becoming increasingly conscious of the damaging impact the fast fashion industry has on our environment; let's face it, it's impossible to ignore! But it doesn't mean we can't remain stylish.

I completely understand that the thought of going vintage shopping is a little daunting for some and that spending hours in a charity shop or on Ebay isn't going to be for everyone. That's why it's exciting to see high street brands bringing this conversation into the mainstream. I love what the Designer Boutique as part of Next have been doing to make sustainable fashion more accessible.

The recently launched collaboration with designers Marques Almeida and Caroline Issa turns unloved, deadstock fabrics into 'wearable works of art'. Vogue business recently reported that "deadstock fabric and unsold inventory are weighing down the fashion industry, which is responsible for 10 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions" perhaps a sobering thought next time you look in your wardrobe!

With this in mind I'm really wanting to create a wardrobe that works harder for me, with pieces that can transition across the seasons.

I love this Marques Almeida X Label stripe shirt dress #gifted ,which will look great this Winter with a black polo jumper, thick tights and biker boots or over jeans as well as dressed up with heels for a night out.

In the Summer I'll be back in my faithful white pumps and denim jacket so this dress will still look fresh. You might be thinking £129 is a bit pricey for a shirt dress but when you think about how much wear you could actually get out of it then it becomes a sound investment.

Wrap organisation , a charity that works to promote and support sustainable resources, reported that "As a whole in the UK, the average lifetime for a garment of clothing is estimated as ~2.2 years" But if we extend the active wear of our clothing by an extra 9 months we can significantly reduce the negative impact on our environment.

I've also got my eye on the Bright check coat designed by Caroline Issa as part of this collection.

Of course it's not just Next that are making positive changes with sustainable fashion on the high street, here's a few of my favourites to follow!

H&M made a commitment to make sure at least 50% of each piece in their Conscious collection is made from sustainable materials.

Asos Responsible Edit is a one stop shop for environmentally conscious clothing and accessories. This seems like a particularly important move for a brand known for its fast fashion links.

You can't go wrong with & Other Stories and they have a great collection of clothes made from recycled and sustainably sourced materials.

If you're wanting a bit of luxury why not take a look at the Rixo Sustainable collection. I love the Pink Paisley dress made from  recyclable materials and off cuts of fabric that would have otherwise been wasted and it's made in a female owned factory in India too. Only available on line.

“As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy”

#Emma Watson

 

If you'd like to read more about how to create a sustainable wardrobe why not read my Style Swops & Charity Shops post.

#gifted #sustainablefashion #highstreetfashion #sustainablestyle #midlifestyle #over50style #shirtdress #stripes #fashionafter40 #fashionblogger

 

 

 

March 1, 2021

Finding body confidence in midlife.

How I have overcome my lack of body confidence to become a silver haired curve model, modelling lingerie at 50.

Rachel Peru model

If someone would have told me in my twenties and thirties that I would become a full-time model in my late forties I would never have believed them.

To the point where I actually booked to have a breast reduction because I hated the size of them and honestly thought this would make me feel happier, thankfully I reconsidered. It makes me feel sad that I wasted so much time and energy on these thoughts instead of living life to the full.

I was very shy when I was younger and didn’t have a big career mapped out when I left school, I really wanted to go to Drama school, but my lack of self- belief held me back. I spent fifteen years in various retail roles until I had my three children and then retrained as a nursery school assistant as it fitted in with family life easily. I found myself getting divorced at 39 and decided to finally go to University and gained a 2.1 Education Studies degree aged 41. I was delighted and thought I had finally got my career mapped out and imagined a new career in teaching. Life has a habit of turning plans upside down when you least expect it and shortly after my eldest daughter became ill with crippling and anxiety which resulted in her being home schooled and me having to leave my full-time job. Little did I know what was in store for me in the following years.

Four years ago, I began a new career, aged 46 as a model. I’m a UK size 14-16, with grey hair and a 34G bust.

I didn’t plan to do this; it just sort of happened at a time when I least expected it. After getting divorced at 39 I went to university and gained a BA in Education Studies and worked as a nursery teacher which I loved. My eldest daughter was struggling with severe anxiety which in the end led to home schooling and me leaving work. This really knocked my confidence being at home and I definitely felt very isolated for what felt like a long period of time. I was asked to model in a local McMillan charity fashion show by a close friend and although nervous about it I agreed. This was just the thing to help me regain my confidence, because it took me out of my comfort zone, and it was exhilarating. I had also decided to stop colouring my hair after battling grey hair since I was a teenager. It’s hard to explain but for the first time I truly felt like me, this in turn helped my confidence grow even more. After volunteering for McMillan for a few years I decided to send photos off to agencies after some encouragement from others and to my surprise I was offered contracts.

I am now signed exclusively with Bridge models in London and I love my new career, I get to meet so many different people, travel and wear some fabulous clothes, including swimwear and lingerie.

But the thing I have become most passionate about is being able to represent women in midlife and help challenge the media and fashion industry.  I am finally happy in my skin and have never felt more confident about my body, but I am aware so many women in midlife come to a body confidence crisis and when you look at how invisible in media, marketing and the fashion industry it’s hardly surprising.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go lingerie shopping in a department store and see models in their forties and fifties as well as the younger women? I want to be able to relate to the images and imagine how I would look in them, instead we are bombarded by youth which often leads us down a negative ageing body comparison.

I want to be able to share all my experience and knowledge gained,  all of the things that have worked for me over the last ten years that has helped me become happy in my body and move forward in life. I have recently gained a BodyLove diploma.

 

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x

 

 

February 12, 2021

Midlife Inspirathon- Spreading midlife positivity

A 13 hour live marathon day, interviewing inspiring women, spreading some midlife positivity.

Wow what a day to remember!

Where the idea came from

When I first had the idea to celebrate the launch of the new Out of the Bubble podcast series  I never imagined it would grow into such a big event. During the last 14 months my modelling work had obviously dwindled due to the pandemic,  so having the podcast to keep working provided me with a sense of purpose.

I knew I wanted to create an event where I could give something back, as women supporting other women, is at the heart of my personal brand, so creating a fundraising event seemed like the perfect fit.

What is a Midlife Inspirathon?

The Midlife Inspirathon is a full day of live interviews. over on my Instagram page , interviewing 22 women all with inspiring stories to tell, whilst raising money for two women's charities to support.

Women Supporting Women

The Motherwell Cheshire charity, CEO Kate Blakemore has become a familiar face on the podcast.  I am constantly blown away by Kate and her teams dedication to help girls and women from all ages and backgrounds offering a wide range of services.

Last year I started to build a relationship with the Smart Works Leeds charity after joining them as a guest on body confidence panel so I was delighted to have the chair Helen Oldham join me for an interview.

Who joined me?

What a pleasure to interview 22 women all with inspiring stories, live on Instagram starting at 8.30am and finishing at 9.30pm. From midlife body confidence activists, authors, midlife mavericks and every day women all with amazing stories to tell. The message that age is not a barrier to following our dreams, reinventing ourselves and finding new passion and purpose was loud and clear. I was left feeling inspired for the next decade and motivated to keep stepping up and removing my self made barriers to make sure I achieve so much more.

 

 

 

 

A celebrity line up-

When women support one another incredible things can happen.

I was so grateful to have everyone join me and for celebrities , including BAFTA winning television and radio presenter Katy Hill who is now stepping in to a new arena after training as a personal development and empowerment coach supporting the event.

Well known Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton who has also had a successful solo career, along with actress, singer, presenter, podcaster and founder of the lifestyle community The Capsule Natalie Anderson.

Sally Carman interrupted her busy Coronation Street schedule to talk to me about her role as an ambassador for the Motherwell Cheshire's Believe project. A project that supports women who find themselves in a vulnerable position, often homeless, with children whom are taking way from them into care or placed for adoption. Sally took up the ambassador role after her character Abi Franklin had a very similar story line.

All the interviews are now available to watch on IGTV here

Thank You!

The event has raised £1380 so far and I have say a huge thank you to all the sponsors as without them it wouldn't have been possible.

In no particular order-

Bridge models, Clair Mackenzie, The Business Revolution, Clockface Beauty, Copper & White, Susan Esco, Dye2befree, Mandy Taylor- founder of Charity Angels, Cloud9, Nima marketing, ChocolatePR, Jacynth Bassett, Jo Cusden, Audrey, Annie Stirk, Wear My Freedom, Yourbody.love

Final Thoughts

We can not allow our fear of failure stop us from pursuing our dreams in this next chapter of life.

All the women I interviewed are grabbing hold of midlife and making sure that they are certainly not invisible.

There's a real sense of midlife community, women who are supporting one another and reaching down to others who may need a hand up. I only hope we can build on this and hope that the media , fashion and advertising companies start to truly reflect the real power of women over 40 who are shining brightly later in life.

Don't forget you can also find lots more inspiration over on the Out of the Bubble podcast.

I'm just getting started!

Keep being fabulous x

 

 

November 21, 2018

Out Of The Bubble podcast with Jo Moseley (HealthyHappy50)

Episode 1 of Out Of The Bubble podcast is out and I got to talk to the inspiring Jo Moseley otherwise known on social media as HealthyHappy50. Here are some of the best bits!

I've known Jo for about 12 years, our children went to the same primary school together and then we both went through similar lifestyle changes, also known as divorce. I've been quietly watching and admiring the work Jo has been doing and her journey. She has grown and changed over the years and I have full on admiration on how she has transformed her life and what she has achieved so far, although I have a feeling she has only just getting started.

How do you describe yourself?

I still describe myself as a mum first and foremost and as a single mum that will always be my biggest thing. I have a very normal day job. I'm developing an interest in adventure, little adventures, environmental aspects and all the things about wellness and well-being around being outside and doing fun little adventures.

You say 'little adventures' but some of the things that you've done to date I wouldn't class as little. Can you tell everyone what your first challenge was and how you got started.

The first challenge was probably the biggest. In 2013 my mum died of Lymphoma, four days before Christmas and I decided to do something in her memory. The only real sport I did at the time was indoor rowing so I rode a million metres and a marathon, which basically means rowing 10,000 metres every other night for 8 months. We raised just over £10,000 for the MacMillan charity.It was a great way to honour her memory and it was great for me to help work through the grief and turn it in to something positive. So I started with something big and now I do lots of little adventures, wild swimming, paddle boarding, running, picking up litter and surfing.

How did you start indoor rowing in the first place?

A few months before I had been crying in the supermarket, with my sons when I just had one of those moments when I put my bags down and said I just cant do this anymore.I wasn't sleeping, I was really stressed, mum and dad were going through chemo, a friend lent me a rowing machine which really started to help me sleep and it started from there.

So most people might do a challenge and then think okay I've done it, that's fantastic and then go have a cup of tea and put their feet up. You didn't do that did you?

No I think I realised how much better I felt, I was 48 and i think some of the crying wasn't just life overwhelming but it was the early stages of the menopause but I didn't realise it.  I never asked my mum about the menopause, it just wasn't talked about. The symptoms were creeping up on me without me knowing so I did some research and realised these symptoms, crying, aching joints, not sleeping, feeling more anxious were symptoms of the menopause.I realised exercise had really helped me feel better and it would be silly of me not to continue.These self care routines to get me through the day became more enjoyable so once I was swimming, running and eventually paddle boarding they were activities that were so much fun, why wouldn't I want to do these things on a daily basis.

How did you get involved in the This Girl Can, Sport of England campaign?

The first time was after completing the Great North Swim and I took a picture with these really huge goggles on and they had this thing where you could upload an image and choose a slogan , one of the slogans was 'Damn right I look hot'. So there is me a 50 year old woman with massive goggles and a yellow cap and they saw it and chose me, I did a little bit of radio interviews and they were just broadening it out to fifty year old's and moving way from focusing on younger women.

The second time recently I wrote to them and told them my story thinking they wouldn't necessarily be interested but it was more about me being brave. I had this idea that if I wrote to people , the more I got no's the less it would worry me and they said yes.They put it out there and so many women said thank you for sharing the tough times and being so honest, I realised the more honest I was about the crying and difficult times and being injured the more normal I was, the more relatable I was the more It inspired people.

Were you sporty when you were younger?

When I was little up to secondary school age I was doing all the things i'm doing now, I didn't think they were sporty , I was called a tomboy, now I would have been called a sporty girl.I would be out climbing trees, throw myself in to the sea, try and skateboard, ride my bike. I've got a picture of me on my Chopper looking cool in my Bay City Roller tartan trousers but then when I got to school it was all very formal and that just turned me off.I loved gymnastics, doing headstands and cartwheels but school stuff just turned me off. From my late twenties to my late forties I did just about nothing, maybe one 5k walk and I did the Moonwalk when my marriage was collapsing.So its always been in me but for many years it was dormant.

So after all these challenges you've now discovered this real passion for paddle boarding , is that your main love?

I think I love all of them, I love anything to do with the water.Paddle boarding is easy in the sense that I live near a reservoir so I can do it in my everyday, whereas surfing and body boarding I have to go to the sea.

One of the things I don't think you realise is the impact your social media posts have on other people, I see your posts out running, picking up litter being outdoors it makes me want to get out and do something.I think social media for the over 40's is a really inspiring place. How do you find social media?

I love Twitter because everyone was so supportive, it's quite quick and you can learn lots of news things about conferences and events. Instagram is very pretty and very supportive and kind. You can curate a really kind environment and I've made loads of friends that I've actually met. You can't make friends over night but this is a different group of friends built upon shared goals and dreams and that brings them alive. I've not met anyone that I've then gone away and thought I'm so glad I met.

I would say it takes a lot of confidence to get out there and meet new people, have you always had that confidence or has it come with everything you've been doing?

I think I've had it and lost it. I think babies, marriages, miscarriages, divorce, grief, they dampen who you are, it's just a case of excavating through all those difficult situations and revealing who you probably are. I am more in my fifties like I was aged 9 or10 than I have ever been.I'm totally cool with the idea that I'm uncool. I'll never be the one who walks in to a room and they'll think wow she's so glamorous, they'll probably think when did she brush her hair but I'm cool with that just as I was when I was at nine or ten without the angst of teenage years. There's a real liberation now. I think your thirties and forties are really difficult because you are establishing who you are and there's a lot of keeping upness which if I was back there again I would say don't even try, follow your own thing. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, it's just not relevant to your life and I still have to say that to myself sometimes.

Do you still get scared when you are doing new things? How do you over come it?

God, yeah.

I think i've learnt you only have to be brave enough to do the next thing, you don't have to climb the mountain just take the next step. You've just got to believe in yourself and see what happens. I'm going to give it everything I've got but not necessarily attach it to the outcome.

You've got quite involved in litter picking, plogging and environmental issues. Can you tell us more about it?

I have always loved the sea, my dissertation was about the environment back in the 1980's, I've been more aware of the problems with plastic and like most people watched David Attenborough. It's just been a rediscovery of something that I was interested in when I was younger. At the beginning of the year I decided to do a litter pick or beach clean every day and post pictures and see if anyone else would join in. The first thing I got invited to talk about what I was doing was at a running festival, it was just one of those relationships that I had built on Twitter. It always amazes me that people are watching you from a distance without you realising in a good way and thinking she's quite consistent about the subject, then someone comes along and says would you like to be involved in this, I never imagined it. It's interesting because at the beginning of the year I had written a list of crazy goals for the year,when I looked back a lot of them had come true, even if from a slightly different angle.

Do you think you've found your purpose other than being a mum and a daughter?

Yes massively. In fact I see the link between the environment and well-being is the link I want to share with people. Particularly at our age there is so much about our own well being, going through the menopause, the mental changes and there are so many things that we can do with a purpose to help bring everything together. So much of the environmental and adventure world is dominated by younger people and I just want to say look actually we have a contribution and we can have these little adventures that can be hugely enjoyable.

What's your current challenge and what's next?

I am running a 1000km this year, so I'm currently on about 750km. I'm thinking of doing a longer run next, possibly picking litter. Maybe there is one big thing in me when my boys have left, we'll see!

What song motivates you?

This Is Me from The Greatest Showmen by Keala Settle

What book inspired you?

Playing Big by Tara Mohr or anything written by Brene Brown

Who inspires you?

Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement

You can follow Jo over on Instagram and Twitter @healthyhappy50 or on her website www.healthyhappy50.com

To listen to the audible podcast please click on the podcast link or visit

I'll be back in two weeks when I talk with Zoe McNulty from School Of Strut.

In the meantime...keep being fabulous x

May 26, 2018

Women over 40 wear lingerie too!

As a woman in her forties I still love to sit down and read fashion magazines and I'm guilty of losing hours shopping and browsing on line. I love fashion and that includes admiring and buying nice underwear. I am a 34FF bra size so that in its self limits my accessibility, although there are so many more brands doing my size fashionably now. However what I find completely demoralising as a shopper is that they are always modelled on young, fresh faced models who look stunning with their youthful bodies. But trying to imagine what I might look like in my 48 year old body compared to the image is never a positive comparison. Our body shape changes, are skin isn't as tight and firm as it used to be, I need more support up front!

But I can still look and feel good in the right lingerie without being constantly reminded that I am ageing. It does leave you with a feeling off being written off by the fashion industry and things need to change.

Lingerie set (XL) and dressing gown , Gifted from F&F Clothing. Photographer Mya Fawcett, MUA Emma Denton.

Whilst there are some very positive brands embracing this change such as Berlei, Panache and Lonely Label wouldn't it be nice if all brands got on board and didn't just see it as a quick PR eye catcher for individual campaigns but don't carry it through the rest of their website or advertising.

This Berlei campaign is the way forward and they are at the fore front of embracing all ages in their continued advertising. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we saw these kind of images every time we opened a magazine.

How amazing does this older model look for Lonely Label lingerie, I look at this photo and I can't help thinking that if we saw women of all ages we would be less insecure about growing older and it would help our self confidence and body positivity as we change through the decades.

Whilst I think this photo of 57 year old Julianne Moore modelling for Triumph is beautiful, I only hope they continue down this road in their ongoing branding and images. I want to be able to relate to the models in magazines and fashion branding ,please don't alienate us, after all we have money to spend and make up a high percentage of your sales!

Panache lingerie set 34FF

Basque set Bravissimo 34FF.

More from the blog

Social Bubble - On Instagram

OUT OF THE BUBBLE

Out of the Bubble champions women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way. Inspiring others to become more confident in body and mind.

We all have a story to tell.
 

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