Roll forward a few months, and you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that exactly such a chance was open to me - my own photoshoot with My Boudoir and Georgina!
Naturally I jumped at the chance and before I knew it I was arriving at Nicola's house for my shoot. Having read Georgina's comprehensive write-up of her boudoir photoshoot experience I had a fairly good idea of what to expect but I still had feelings of apprehension. I'd never done anything like this before - it was exciting and terrifying all at once!
As soon as I was greeted by Nicola I felt significantly better. She was an absolute joy - so genuinely friendly and lovely. We had a general chat to begin with to put me at ease (I thought I'd hidden my nerves well but clearly not!) and then we looked through the clothes I'd brought with me to model in. I must say that I hadn't taken the time to prepare myself particularly well and had packed in somewhat of a hurry and should have read My Boudoir's brilliant help pages on their website (including FAQs, what to expect during your shoot and what to bring and what to avoid) more thoroughly in advance. However, the dresses I'd brought along seemed to mostly be spot on and included the following:
Collectif Dolores Doll 'English Rose' Dress
Collectif Dolores Doll 'Red Leo' Dress
F&F Clothing at Tesco Julia Animal Print Dress
F&F Clothing at Tesco Stella Morgan Shift Dresses in Red and in Black (review to follow)
Anna Scholz for Simply Be Cowl Colour Block Dress
Pinup Girl Clothing Jessica Dress in Navy (review to follow)
Marisota Coleen Nolan Ruffle Dress
I'd also packed my brand new maroon corset from the wonderful Orchard Corset (review to follow) and a selection of lingerie. I'd already talked to Nicola on email about how I don't post full length photos of myself in lingerie on my blog and that I didn't think I'd be willing to have photos like that taken during my shoot. She was absolutely fine about this and assured me that she would only take photos I felt comfortable posing for.
Once she'd looked through my outfits Nicola showed me a sheet of images she'd compiled to give us both some inspiration for what sort of poses and shots we might try. I had not thought about this in advance at all so was very grateful for her guidance! I'd previously seen many of the images she showed me on the My Boudoir Facebook page and I was excited to think that I'd soon be posing similarly to these glamorous-looking women.
During our chat, the lovely make-up artist and hairstylist Sarah had arrived, so Nicola went to make us tea while Sarah got started with me, I had been asked to arrive wearing no make-up and with hair washed the night before...this is what I looked like:
Actually, the above photo was taken the day after the shoot, which is why I am looking rather tired. But you get the idea - no make-up!
Believe it or not, I have never, EVER had my hair and make-up professionally done before. Even when I go to the hairdresser's I usually wash my hair at home first and arrive with fairly wet hair, get it cut and then leave with damp hair (seeing as my hair is naturally wavy it's no good blow-drying it as it simply turns into a huge fuzzy mess. I end up looking like someone from Dynasty!). So, being pampered by the lovely Sarah was quite an experience for me.
Sarah was brilliant. She started off by asking me if I had any thoughts on how I'd like my make-up done. Naturally, I hadn't thought this through in advance at all but fortunately Nicola was on hand to advise and asked for a vintage look with big, soft curls in my hair.
Sarah set to and in no time at all my hair had been caked in hairspray and set in rollers. She then went to work on my face, taking the time to apply my make-up carefully and methodically. I felt thoroughly spoilt!
When the make-up was done, Sarah disappeared behind me and got on with unravelling the rollers and styling my hair.
During this time, Georgina arrived. She'd got the train up from London and it was lovely to see her. We all chatted for a little while and then Nicola went through her outfits, just as she'd gone through mine. The idea was to have some photos taken individually and then some together. We were both very excited about this as we'd never had the chance to have a proper photoshoot together before. We'd posed for silly photographs at the Evans blogger event a few weeks earlier but it was certainly a fun prospect to be at My Boudoir together.
After a while, my hair and make-up was complete. It was time for my photos!
Nicola ushered me upstairs to her studio, which was in fact her bedroom! Yes, this amazingly talented woman rather aptly uses her very own 'boudoir' to take the photos and then edits them in a room across the landing. A true home enterprise - very impressive!
After explaining which dresses she was going to snap me in, Nicola left me to get changed. The thing I was most anxious about was having to stand around in my sky-scraper killer heels for hours on end - they are not the most comfortable shoes (although they do look great) and I am unsteady on my feet at the best of times. Fortunately, Nicola clarified that I'd only need to wear my heels in certain photos where my feet might be showing so I was allowed to start off barefoot - hurrah!
My first outfit was my black F&F Clothing at Tesco Stella Morgan Shift Dress, replacing the thin animal print belt with my own red patent leather belt.
Nicola returned to the room and explained how and where she wanted me to pose. She was brilliant - talking me through every aspect of the shoot throughout. She told me that the lights would be hot and I should try to avoid looking directly at them. Another top tip was to maintain a blank expression on my face and to keep my mouth unsmiling, with my lips slightly parted. This didn't seem to make sense to me as I thought I'd end up looking bored in the photos but I went along with Nicola's instructions as I appreciated the fact that she knew what she was talking about.
As the time went on, I changed into and posed in my Collectif Dolores Doll Red Leo Dress, my F&F Clothing at Tesco Julia Animal Print Dress, my Pinup Girl Clothing Jessica Dress...and a red wig...and...a bra and corset. Yes, I actually did it!! But more on that in a few moments.
My photo session lasted for around an hour and a half. The time absolutely flew and when Nicola said we'd finished I must admit that I felt rather disappointed - I was enjoying the experience so much that I could have gone on for much, much longer! But she had to do Georgina's photoshoot so I disappeared downstairs to have my hair and make-up renewed by Sarah before she left and to iron our Pinup Girl Jessica dresses, which had both become crumpled in our travelling bags.
After George's shoot, Nicola got us both together to take a range of snaps but as time was running very short we didn't get many done and in the end there weren't any that we were all happy with, which was a shame. But Nicola very cleverly put together a collage of us instead, which I will show you a bit further down the page.
First of all, let me show you the images Nicola so cleverly produced of me from our shoot:
And the collage of Georgina and me:
And my two favourite snaps of Georgina:
And now onto the subject of me being photographed in a bra and corset.
This bra wasn't just any bra. It's a bullet bra - in size 30K! For anyone who knows their bra stuff, they'll appreciate that bullet bras in larger cup sizes are pretty hard to come by and certainly anything over an H cup is more or less unheard of. Well, I managed to track one down in a size to fit me, and I'll be writing a full review of this bra in due course.
As the bra offered me full coverage, and was accompanied by my longline corset from Orchard Corset and Georgina's Evans Scarlett & Jo Leather Look Leggings, it didn't feel like I was wearing lingerie but instead a complete outfit. I therefore took the plunge and allowed Nicola to take some photos of me in true boudoir style...
Looking at these photos, I still can't quite believe that the woman in them is me. Nicola has worked her magic to enable me to look classy, sophisticated and elegant. And my 'blank' expression turned out to not be that at all - I look wistful, or saucy, or dreamy, or full of attitude, depending on the photo and Nicola's clever use of lighting and editing. I would have liked to do more photos with some sort of expression, however; particularly laughing, smiling or maybe giving a cheeky wink or gasp. I guess they'll have to wait till next time...!
Nicola makes no secret of the fact that she edits her photos and I think she does it brilliantly. Yes, the vast majority of my blemishes and lumps and bumps have been magicked away but the pictures still look like me and I have been told by several people that they reflect my personality. Great skill indeed.
All too soon, my time with My Boudoir was over. It had genuinely been one of the best days of my life and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
But our adventure did not end there. Georgina and I made our way back to her flat, where we quickly got ourselves ready and - still in full vintage make-up and hairstyles and wearing our Pinup Girl Jessica dresses - we met up with friends to celebrate her 25th birthday, which had passed a few days previously.
(But of course we added accessories; namely a belt and a shrug!)
Even Cheryl from Invest In Your Chest was there, which was great as we hadn't seen each other for ages.
Cheryl and I couldn't resist posing for a silly pic together.
We all had a great time but unfortunately I had to leave early (if shortly before midnight is considered early...) as I had to drive home, which took around an hour and a half.
When I got home, I took a few quick pictures of myself on my iPhone to show how well my hair and make-up had lasted:
Apologies for the poor quality due to the bad lighting in my hallway. Despite that, I hope you can see how well my hair and make-up held up.
Eventually, after a few moments of surprising myself with my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I removed my make-up and crawled into bed, happy but completely and utterly shattered.
The 'My Boudoir' photoshoot is an experience I'll never forget and I had an absolutely wonderful time with Nicola, Sarah and Georgina. Nicola and Sarah are consummate professionals and carried out their roles to perfection.
If you ever get the chance to have a photoshoot, especially one with My Boudoir, I would highly recommend it and strongly urge you to go for it. I appreciate that photoshoots don't come cheap but they really are worth every penny in terms of confidence building and self-esteem boosting.
Thank you SO MUCH to Nicola, Sarah and Georgina - it was wonderful to be able to share such a fantastic experience with you all. Hope to see you again soon!