A letter to all the music snobs out there!

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I bloody love music. It has the power to lift me up or give me comfort. It makes me dance. It makes me cry. It makes me feel stuff. It’s amazing and I’m forever in awe of those with the talent to create it.

However, what has always pissed me off are those people who believe that they are somehow superior to others because of their taste in music. I’m lucky, I grew up in a house full of music and wide ranging music styles. Some days my dad would be playing Glen Campbell or War of the Worlds and on others, my mom would be playing her Boogie Nights mix tape. I did my GCSE coursework to the tunes of the 60s and me and my childhood friends made up dances to everything from Buddy Holly to Bucks Fizz.

By university I’d learnt that it wasn’t cool to admit to liking pretty much anything but 90s indie, preferably from Manchester, and for years I felt like I had to hide about 75% of what I loved.

Then I properly grew up and realised that I don’t care if I’m cool all the time. Music is so subjective. It’s personal. It’s an emotional thing. It’s what touches us and sounds good to our own ears. It is a time or a place. It is a loved one or a fleeting moment.

So for that very reason, no one can be better than anyone else because of the music that appeals to their ears and no one should be able to make you feel bad for liking what you like. 

What’s more, there can be no such thing as a guilty pleasure when it comes to songs because – if it makes you happy then there should be no guilt! 

Warm regards
Katie x

Midlife makeup lesson

Anyone remember the heavy blue and green eye shadow from the 80s?⁣

And then do you remember those ladies who carried on the trend way after it was considered flattering? ⁣
⁣Now, I’m not a massive follower of trends so if it makes you feel good, crack on! However I do think that getting stuck in a rut and doing what we’ve always done with the products we’ve always used can be a bit ageing. Products change so fast and many brands are now created with ageing skins in mind (@studio10makeup I’m thinking of you! 😍) They are so much more flattering than something that we may have loved in the past.⁣

With that in mind, I invited Sian @flicks_and_red_lips from @so_coco_rouge to one of my #midlifeglowup chats which was full of top tips and advice. If you haven’t had chance to watch yet, go to my IGTV and give it a save now!⁣

This week I caught up with Sian again and as it was half term I invited my (mainly) teacher friends, and my daughter, along for a virtual makeup lesson. I haven’t seen them all in real life since September so it was a lovely way to see each other but do something completely different together.⁣

We all used the make up in our own bags, (so no pressure to buy anything new) and Sian gave us a step by step demonstration on how to create our own ‘face.’ Undoubtedly we all learnt something new and I definitely now have more confidence on how to do a blended eye. So watch out. There may be some more colourful eye shadow posts on the way!! ⁣

Have a swipe to see more of the results and the before.⁣

Products I used:⁣
Serum foundation & lipstick @bobbibrownuk 
Blush & lipliner @studio10makeup 
Eye shadow @toofacedlovestheuk 
Lip gloss @trinnylondon 

Spring – can you hear me?!

So what to do when you can’t get to spring fast enough? Bring a touch of spring to your outfit!⁣

I’ve been quite colour averse for the last few months but when I saw this cardigan @moobou it screamed SPRING at me and so I treated myself! And, as a Brit, we need cardigans all. year. round! So I did check out what it looked like with my beloved shorts too. It passed the test!

So come on spring, let’s be having you! I’m ready, my bulbs are ready and my cold bones are most definitely ready! ⁣
Who else is ready? 🌷🌱🌷⁣

#MidlifeGlowUp

Unbelievably, we’re half way though my #MidlifeGlowup chats! Time flies when you’re talking to some really interesting people! 🥰 I can honestly say that I have taken away something from each and every one of these conversations and I’m sure that you will too. They also cleverly overlap and interlink, so make sure that you catch the whole set to get maximum benefit!

So far I’ve chatted to:
@cocobee06 about ‘if not now, then when?!’ and general go get’em positivity!
@componopersonaltraining about overcoming your barriers to exercise and getting fitter for a healthier life. Remember that there’s a special, Midlife Glow Up, full body exercise vid over on Anna’s IGTV.
@ukglowology about caring for your skin and face yoga.
@annie_breen_nutrition about reclaiming your energy and the importance of looking after your gut.
@so_coco_rouge answered many of your questions about makeup and not getting stuck in a rut of doing the same old, in the same old way!

Still to come:
@marvellousmidlife is here on Wednesday to talk about peri menopause and some of its ‘invisible’ symptoms and where to get advice and support. 
@katie.portman will share her styling ideas for developing your personal style and colours.
@traciesedit will be here to answer any hair issues and styling questions.
@drlouisewrites will round it all up and talk about what she learnt when writing her book ‘Your Best Life. A Doctor’s Guide to Radiant Health Over 40′
@componopersonaltraining will hopefully be back to see how your fitness mojo and motivation is getting on by March!

If you have any questions to be asked in the upcoming chats, feel free to drop me a message.

Just go to my IGTV tab to catch up on anything that you may have missed. They are around 40 minutes long so treat them as a podcast, bang one on while you’re doing something boring and have a listen! ✨

Last night out out!

Never one to miss out on a decent viral bandwagon, I’m joining with @moodswings_and_otherthings (Insta) Lottie’s post about her last night out before lockdown 1. 

Unbelievably mine was almost a year ago. 29 February 2020! 🙈 We went to Nottingham to go out with some of my husband’s colleagues. We ate amazing Thai food, pretended that it was his birthday so that the waiting staff would bang drums and sing to us (think it’s in my silly Instagram highlights if you want to see!) and I took this never-seen-the-light-of-day toilet selfie! 

As I’m not a massive night owl I don’t really miss mad nights out that much, but I do miss sitting in restaurants, eating food not available within a five mile radius and live events and music. We had so many theatre trips, concerts and a festival cancelled so I can’t wait to dance and sing badly, and loudly, with 100s of people again. One day! 

Fancy joining in and sharing the story of your last night out out?

It seems that we love dungarees!

This is my contribution to #andyshomecatwalk. The brief for this week is #whereverilaymyhat. So where’s my hat eh?⁣

Well I’ve twisted the brief somewhat in a Paul Young 80s stylee and added the ’that’s my home!’ bit at the end! So the above are photos of me in my natural habitat – my home, my denim and my big thick socks!

To be fair, the photos are not as important as the homelessness message that @rebeccaweefsmith and @dappasnapper are trying to raise over the next few weeks along with their #wearingwellbeing message to help our mental health during lockdown. As I’ve said before, the last year has definitely been a reminder of how lucky I am to have a beautiful roof over my head and a garden to tend. I’m aware that we are all just a couple of events away from losing our home, so I’ll hand you over to Rebecca for all the info…⁣

I am just one little person but this Instagram community we have built is bigger, louder and bolder. You lot are amazing. Your support makes my world feel brighter. With you around I am hopeful. ⁣
Caring about how you look, clothes, fashion, style is often classed as shallow and self- obsessed. My experience of fashion friends is the opposite. But then I am very lucky. ⁣

Yes we can help ourselves to feel better about all the shit that’s going on by getting dressed in clothes we love BUT we can also show that in doing so we care about others. ⁣

One unexpected outcome that I love about #Andyshomecatwalk is seeing the connections that evolve and branch out: people who are sharing posts and content that I’ve never met but who are willing to make an effort to spread Andy @dappasnapper story and raise awareness and funds for @sheltercharity. I wouldn’t get quite so far if I stood on a street corner with my boards but with all your help on Instagram I think we can make a splash with this campaign, what do you think? ⁣

Check out Rebecca’s profile for more info on how to join in and how to donate.⁣

Never have I ever…

Fancy a game of never have I ever – the make up edition?⁣

I’ll start us off!⁣

In spite of being born in the 70s and growing up the 80s, never have I ever worn blue eyeshadow….until last week! Turns out that I quite like it and I might even try it again at some point.⁣

Any ’never have I ever’ make up stories to share? Or any top tips for wearing blue eyeshadow? I have green eyes so I know that it’s not meant to be the greatest combo but as I was going for a 70s vibe….🕺🏼⁣

The 10 minute morning makeover challenge

Those of you who have already read my post on me and make up after 40 will realise that I’ve only recently started to make an effort when it comes to make up. Make up phobia is real and that fear of a tan foundation line along my jaw is the stuff of my nightmares!

However, if I’m *really* honest, the reason that I don’t slap on a full face every morning is that I simply can’t be arsed! Even though I know that I look better with it on. If the day ahead involves shopping, washing, walking the dog and sitting at my laptop in the kitchen, then it’s only me that is going to be spooked when I walk past a mirror! Should I be walking into town later, then I may slick on a touch of concealer, mascara and lip balm so not to scare the locals 😉

So if you see me with ‘proper’ make up then I’ve probably been ‘working working’ or I’ve made a special effort!

However, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who can’t be bothered getting out of bed half an hour earlier than necessary or, whose life is already crammed full with kids, family and super important work stuff. It really does come down to priorities and mine will always be to stay snuggled under my warm duvet for as long as possible rather than face the world with a perfect eye liner flick. (I wish I even had those skills! Haha!)

This is really not about rushing out to buy loads of new products (although feel free, if you need an excuse!) nor do you need serious talent, because to be fair, how often can you accurately copy the skills you see on make up tutorials, or is that just me?!

The aim is to give you an idea of just how little time and effort, and how few products, are needed to actually create a lovely daytime look. Watch the video here, you may be surprised – we certainly were!

We’ve never created a video before so it’s not beautifully lit, but it’s real and there are no filters. (Please be kind! We’re already cringing a little bit!) It’s two normal women in a kitchen trying to help other normal women like you! If you like it, please do let us know, and if you have any make up issues that you would like Allison’s help with, just drop a note in the comments.

We hope that you can create the daytime look with the products that you already have, but if you want to know what we used:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation
NYX Concealer
Stila Convertible Color on cheeks and lips
Rimmel Scandaleyes Pencil
Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara
Arch Angel Brow Gel

Thanks everyone!
Katie & Allison xx

Katie Isles on Instagram
Allison Tye on Instagram and website

 

 

The Marmite effect of Instagram

Hello, my name is Katie and I am an addict. Luckily for me, I only have a handful of addictions and there are only two over which my, usually ironclad, willpower has no control: recipe books and Instagram! Leaving my problem with recipe books to one side for the moment, let’s focus on the social media app with those little square images!

I have always loved photos and photography. As a child, I would happily look through anyone’s photo albums (as long as there were people in the photo, I wasn’t so keen on landscape back then!) and as a teen I rocked my way through many a roll of 35mm film and eagerly awaited the return of my developed images; most of which were grainy, blurred or heavily featured my fingerprint! Luckily over time, cameras have improved and so have my skills. Therefore, Instagram is naturally a habitat that appeals to me. I love looking at all the beautiful images of people and places, seeing how they have been composed and learning a little as I go. Sometimes I’m even inspired to buy stuff, try a new recipe or a different way of squatting in the gym.

fullsizerender-11

I’ve just had a look and I posted my own first photo in October 2011. It’s a photo I took of my, then seven year old, daughter as we sat watching tv and it received 5 likes. In the last five and a half years, she has grown a lot, and so has Instagram and my fascination with it.

I’m a fully paid up Instamember! I post regularly, I scroll, like and comment loads and most importantly for me, is that I engage. I truly feel part of a friendly community with some of my followers and when I’m working from home, that may be the only social interaction that I have all day, so I really appreciate the laughs, love and occasional lows that I share with these people.

Having said that, there are days where Instagram is like a bitchy friend dropping snidey comments that make me feel far from great about myself, my life, my home or my career. I defy anyone not to be occasionally affected by the sheer array of beyond perfect bodies, wrinkle free faces, houses, wardrobes or perfectly lit peachy flat lays. Or what about that friend who unfollows you or doesn’t follow you back in the first place? Your colleague who appears to be doing oh-so-much better than you or the gorgeous wonder mum, wearing her slogan tee, snapped with her super cute, Boden clad child shovelling down homemade quinoa burgers, while you’re in saggy trackie bottoms and scraped back mum-bun eating peanut butter from the jar.

(I do know that they’re not doing it to make me feel bad. Only I have the power to make me feel that way! The issue lies within me and the way I feel is only a reflection of myself.)

Do not get me wrong! I have been that person that has photographed her lunch, taken photos of the one perfectly tidy little corner of my home, my happy holidays and Gloria Isles, the cutest of dogs. I don’t think that you can help but fall into that trap and hey it’s fun. Hell, if you look at my Instagram profile, I’m sure it could make some turn a pale shade of green, and that doesn’t make me feel good because, while I lead a pretty great life, it isn’t always rosy.

*But* I don’t ever lie. There’s no editing (beyond a filter), magic body shaping, or hanging my husband from the chandelier for the Instaperfect image. In real life I’m a very open and honest person, flying by the seat of my pants and just about holding it together on a daily basis, no matter what my photos appear to show. I hope that the captions that laugh at myself and the behind the scenes Instastory provide a much more realistic version of me.

And I think that’s what we all have to remember. Instagram is the (highly) edited moments of life and not real life at all. Many people’s followers and likes are bought and/or fake, lots of images, faces and bodies are photoshopped, the posted ‘casual’ selfie was probably number 48 of the 76 taken and the most carefree of ‘what I’m doing now’ posts was probably perfectly staged and re-shot!

Over the last few months I have subconsciously changed many of the accounts that I follow as I was fed up of being bombarded with unattainable perfection every day, whether physical or material. Bored! I’ve also stopped following many of the big bloggers. Unfortunately, it appears that once you get so big that you get sponsored, you quite often lose your ‘soul;’ the original uniqueness and quality of your posts and recommendations is diluted and your profile becomes peppered with whitening toothpaste and diet tea promotions. I’ve definitely had a seismic shift towards real, maybe slightly imperfect, people. People I would be drawn to in the real world. People who chat, engage and don’t just post ‘awesome!’ before unfollowing you 24 hours later!

My profile has definitely changed since I started modelling. In my early Instadays I rarely posted a photo of myself, it just didn’t sit right with me, but now here I am posting various versions of my face. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel right, so you’ll often find them accompanied by some sarcastic caption 😉 However, as Instagram is great for connecting fellow models all over the world, it’s lovely to be able to keep in touch with people that you’ve met along the way. In spite of what you might think, some of us are a pretty supportive bunch and cheer on our colleagues. And hmmmm okay, let’s just skirt over those moments when you see someone doing a job that you would have simply loved to have known about..…

I know that there will still be days, when I will spot something or follow some virtual path, that will make me feel a bit crap but I am a lot more aware of it. I try to stop myself before I get to that point! I seek out the professional photographers that I admire and the amateurs that I can learn from. I love the bunch of fabulous #IgersBirmingham who bring out the best of my much maligned city and the #LMDweddingbelles and the new #ALLlovelies who are simply the most supportive bunch of ladies in the whole wide world! To make it work, I just had to find my own group of people that suit me and give me lots of virtual lols and hugs.

So the fact is that most days I love it but very occasionally I hate it. Am I alone with these feelings or has anyone else felt the same? Are you a lover or a hater? A secret stalker or a 20-a-day poster? Do you feel pressure to only post the very best or do you spamalot? Any words of Instawisdom? (And I haven’t even touched on what it’s like being a mom to a tween of the Instageneration because that’s a whole other blog post!!!)

Was Huey Lewis right? Is it hip to be square?! 😉

Much love
Katie xx

If you’ve made it this far, why not follow me!!

Commercial models and their clothes

One of my least favourite questions nowadays is ‘so what do you do for a living?’ It is certainly not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed by my answer, but it’s more that there is a high chance of this question being asked in the school playground or gym changing room. You know those times when you’re looking far from glamorous and you can visually see people look you up and down and compare you to Gisele Bündchen! Therefore, to save my blushes, more often than not, my generic answer is that I work in marketing. 😉

Many people are unaware of the whole side of commercial modelling, so make assumptions based on the fashion modelling that they have seen on the tv and Britain’s Next Top Model!

kitchen

The purpose of a commercial model is to enhance the product, make it come to life, allow it to be seen in its real environment and show the lifestyle of the people ‘around’ the item. We’re not there to be the ‘face’ of a product like a fashion model, we should not overpower what we are there to sell nor should we take attention away from it and generally, we should represent an aspirational, but attainable, average person. Chances are, that on a daily basis, you will see many commercial models in magazine and street advertising and in television adverts, yet you wouldn’t recognise or be able to name any of them!

The next question I’m often asked is, ‘do you get to keep the clothes?’ To which I generally reply, ‘yes, because they are mine!’

The fact is that when you’re a commercial model you are expected to provide suitable clothing for your jobs. Once you are confirmed for a role you will be sent a brief giving you details of the wardrobe that you are expected to provide, how they would like your hair styled and, if necessary, what kind of make-up look to create. To be fair, this is generally a nice, natural, day look. Not too heavy!

What a client doesn’t want is that your clothing detracts from or gives the wrong impression of the product. Therefore, if a potential customer is more attracted to your clothing, jewellery or make up over the product that you are helping to sell, then the campaign could fail!
Scotts

So let me tell you a story. I started modelling just under two years ago and the first thing that I had to sort was some images for my portfolio. Cue a quick trip to Modelcamp HQ one frosty winter’s morning (unfortunately before their Fuerteventura days).

A couple of days earlier, Lewis had provided me with a list of the kind of thing to bring, so I cobbled a variety of outfits together to take with me. However, it very quickly became apparent that my personal style was not totally aligned with the commercial world as Gary rifled though hangars laden with All Saints leather jackets, trousers and a whole host of black and grey. Needless to say that his stylist skills were put to the test as he struggled to put suitable looks together, declaring that I need to get myself some colourful Primarni!

It was a steep and sharp learning curve, but I very quickly realised that what I like to wear in my own time is not going to cut it on a commercial shoot. So much so, that I now have a separate cupboard full of my work clothes that I never open for my personal life, yet they are client approved and that makes for easier packing! My work wardrobe is like a costume; it helps me to become the character that I am employed to play, be that a friend, mum, wife, tourist, or office worker.

KatieI

If you’re new to commercial modelling, here are my 7 top tips for putting your work wardrobe together:

  1. You may have to potentially lose your personal style when you’re on a job, but you are being employed for your look/face/body so don’t get a strop on! When you’re being employed as a new mum, turning up expecting to wear your leather mini skirt and crop top is just not going to happen, no matter how good you look in it!
  1. Lots of briefs include ‘no stripes, big patterns and logos’
  1. Put together a selection of the following kind of thing:

Women

– smart, darkish jeans
– cream, smart trousers / chinos
– white jeans
– white / grey long sleeved t-shirt
– plain t-shirts of various colours – neutral, pastel and bright
– range of plain knitwear – neutral, pastel and bright
– an office suit (as this is more expensive, I only buy one as needed!)
– a couple of summer and smart dresses
– knee(ish) length skirt
– age appropriate gym/sports wear
– plain coloured one piece swimsuit
– nude and black underwear, strapless bra
– a trench coat, outdoor jacket, smart coat
– collect some smart and woolly scarves/winter hats
– keep a range of costume jewellery together / belts
– black ballet pumps, clean white pumps, beige and black heels

Men
Similar to the above, with the obvious exceptions

– a nice suit
– smart jeans & trousers
– a couple of smart shirts with co-ordinating ties
– polo shirts in different colours
– couple of pairs of casual trousers and/or chinos – navy, beige
– smart shorts and swim shorts
– T-shirts (white, black, a few colors, no logos)
– couple of smart jumpers
– black/ brown smart shoes, casual/boat shoes, trainers (minimal branding)

Obviously don’t feel that you have to go out and buy all this straight away and bankrupt yourself! See what kind of jobs you get in and build up the most appropriate for your roles!

  1. Once you know what you need, you don’t need to spend loads on the clothes. Pop to H&M, Matalan and Primark etc.
  1. Ensure that what you take is clean, ironed and polished, especially if you’re on film as it cannot be retouched later. Even if it’s a photo shoot, no photographer is going to thank you for the extra time they have to spend in post production photoshopping your dirty shoes!
  1. Don’t forget to remove your jewellery/watch unless asked to wear it.
  1. Avoid current high fashion items. You are meant to reflect a ‘real, attractive person’ Also, if you’re lucky, the client may want to use the image again (nice usage/buyout?) but they won’t be able to if your outfit is particularly dateable.

So there you have it. You’re all now prepped, primped and perfectly ready for your next job! Those of you who have been doing this a while, what have I missed? What are your must have, wardrobe essentials and top tips?

Good luck!
Katie xx