All Posts by Anna Smart

Selfies…sigh

The world is split into 2 types of people now. Yes, it's the selfie takers versus the non selfie takers and the selfie people are over running Facebook with photos of themselves, leaving the rest of us with photos of our pets, meals and, in my case, shoes.

So, what's the difference?  I'm not talking about people who post 37 photos of themselves a day, pouting and asking if they look ok, having found a filter that rearranges them to resemble, well, who knows, but not themselves.

No, I mean those people that, when out and about somewhere new, like to have a memento of the occasion. Nights out, meals with friends, holidays.

Versus the rest of us, who did take a selfie once, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. Until the next time we took one, deleted it in horror, forgot all about it. And so on.

Why can't we, just for once, have a selfie worthy of sharing. Or keeping. You know, as a profile pic instead of our kids, dog or favourite meme.

​Well, we can. We just have to take more than one photo...oh, the horror.

Now, I don't mean we take a photo from the same angle with the same expression, repeatedly, hoping this next one will magically turn out better and then being shocked when it doesn't.
No. You need to move. the. phone.

You also need to pay attention to how you're holding the phone, because whether it's straight, tilted forward at the top, or tilted forward at the bottom, will make a difference to how you look.

What the selfie people have already done is figured out their best angle, and then they tend to stick with it. It's not that they have a natural tendency to look better in photos, more that they put a bit of effort in at some point, so that they could have photos they were happy with, leaving the rest of us falling at the first hurdle.

I've looked at lots of angles, so you don't have to

If you want to see the difference how and where you hold the phone takes, here are 9 selfies I took earlier (which is more than I usually take in a month, I might add).

The top row are all with the camera in front of me, level with my head.

Top left - camera straight
Top middle - camera tilted forwards at the top
Top right - camera tilted forwards at the bottom (if you can see nostrils, get your phone higher and straighter)

The middle row, I have the phone in front of me, but raised up.

Middle left - phone is straight
Middle middle - phone tilted forwards at top
Middle right - phone tilted forwards at bottom

For the bottom row, I have the phone slightly to the side, and raised.

Bottom left - phone is straight
Bottom middle - phone is tilted forward at top
Bottom right - phone is tilted forward at bottom

The quick tips:

If you have no desire to faff with different angles, here's a shortcut:

1. Don't tilt the phone forward at the bottom, unless you want your face to look wider at the bottom. Define the shape of your face more by tilting it forward at the top.

2. Get some height and distance between the phone and you (but don't do this by moving your head backwards - that is the route to extra chins "What I'd really like in a photo is more chins" said no one, ever).

3. Have the phone slightly to one side, instead of straight in front of you, and turn to face it.

This gives me the bottom middle photo.

You may also notice the importance of looking at the lens, not at yourself on the screen, and remembering to smile. I totally did that for demonstration purposes and absolutely not because I am deeply uncomfortable taking my photo, and also a bit of a twit.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Cameras aren’t mirrors…

On the one hand, we know cameras/phones aren't mirrors.

On the other, we consistently treat them like they are.  Or to be more precise, we treat photos as though they're showing us exactly what's there.  In fact, we have a tendency to trust a photo more than we trust a mirror.

We can look at a photo and think "I thought I looked ok in the mirror and now I see myself in this photo I look dreadful. Wtf?"
The less we like having our photo taken, somehow the more we're going to let a bad photo devastate us. I mean, the mirror, that was a quick look before leaving the house. A photo is permanent proof of what we look like.  The truth's in front of us. It can't be denied.

I beg to differ.

Listen carefully (although, to be fair, I'll probably say this quite a lot more than once).

Looking terrible in one photo, several or all photos ever does not equate to looking terrible, full stop. And it doesn't mean you can't look good in photos either. It doesn't make you unphotogenic.

It's far more likely that you're tense and uncomfortable in front of a camera. The more photos of yourself you see, that were taken when you were tense, the more photos you see that you don't like, and that reinforce to you the notion that you're unphotogenic.

If you believe you're going to look terrible in a photo, well, you quite probably are. Pre-empting a photo looking awful almost certainly means you're changing everything from how you're standing or sitting, to the expression on your face. You're most likely radiating tension.  It's a snowballing situation that reinforces it's 'truth' every time you see a photo of yourself.

If you go tense whenever someone pulls out their phone to take a picture, then that picture is not going to be a true reflection of what you usually look like. Yes, it's a version of you, but it's a temporary version of you under stress. Don't look at the photo and believe in it as representing what you genuinely look like.



Start being more aware of how you felt when a photo was taken. If that feeling was "like I wanted to run away, but that would have seemed odd" then take the resulting image with a pinch of salt. Accept it as not being how you usually look, and take away its power to hurt you.

Much love,
Anna
xx

(By the way, cameras lie all the time - including your phone when you're taking a selfie, but that's another post xx)







Faking it until you make it

AKA - so you think you're not confident?

Are you the kind of woman other people think are confident, when deep down you feel like a complete fraud? Because you know that you're faking it? And actually, you're not confident at all.

What if that's all confidence is?

We tend to think that confident people are breezing along, not giving a thought to what people think of them, but are they?
Or are they like the rest of us? Filled with the same insecurities, fears and worries. They've just managed to get themselves to the point of doing things anyway.

What if other people thinking you're confident means you probably are?

Maybe confidence isn't something that's there for you all the time. Perhaps it's not some kind of serene feeling, whatever you face, that means you know the answers, can take the plunge, can be brave.

Maybe all it really is, is about overcoming fear just enough.  Overcoming fear doesn't mean not feeling it. It simple means being able to move past it, and take action.

If you're 'faking it 'til you make it' when it comes to being confident - you're probably already there.

I've been doing it for years. I know other people will often see me as chatty, confident, more than a bit bossy and 'take charge-ish'.

Do I sit at home thinking "I really don't know what I'm doing, what if everyone finds out? And do they even like me anyway?" 
Of course!

I needn't worry - because the truth is they're all waiting to be found out too.

And that's the big 'secret' to confidence - it's not some magic feeling of knowing what you're doing all the time. It's just taking action, despite sometimes not knowing what you're doing, not feeling like you should be doing it and not being sure the outcome is going to be as you want.

All the time women look at our images in the studio and say "but all of these women are so confident - I'm not like that!".
In reality, everyone has felt exactly the same way. If you've made it into our building, you are exactly as confident as the last person. And the next!

Much love,
Anna
xx

You made me look and feel amazing - thank you.

The whole experience was brilliant, the team put me at ease throughout both in our pre chat over the phone before our session and during the day.

The personal touch to find out what I liked and didn't was reassuring and gave me confidence - although a little nervous during the build up.

The hair and make up by Katrina was excellent and she gave me some tips along the way which is always a bonus.

The photoshoot itself, although shy at first, was the most amazing experience. It was something I have always wanted to do but completely lacked the confidence to follow it through. The team made me feel at ease and helped my confidence grow during the session and getting into poses, which made me feel relaxed and by the end I was enjoying the shoot so much I didn't want it to end. I felt and looked a million dollars.

The viewing session was a bit emotional for me as  wasn't sure what to expect but the images have come out so well. I am so pleased and it's given me such a personal boosy. I recommend every woman does this once in their lifetime.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat!!
Thank you so much to Anna, Robin and the team.

Michelle.


Shoes with a story

So these shoes come with a story.

Firstly, I should say I know they're nuts. I'm not expecting everyone to rush to the shops, wanting a pair. I like mad shoes. And when I first saw these, months ago, I fell completely in love.

However, they're also not the most practical shoes ever and I couldn't really justify getting them. Then, Irregular Choice had a huge sale. Maybe I could justify getting them, if they were a little cheaper...

So, I watched the price and kept thinking 'just a little bit lower and I'll buy them'.

They reached the right price. They were sold out in my size. They had pink ones, they had blue ones, but they didn't have these ones. All that was left to do was whinge to Robin that I had lost them forever (I didn't think they'd me making more - I doubted they were the most popular style they could be making).

I'd like to say I let the whole idea of them go, but that would be a complete lie - I grumped, whilst Robin pretty much took no notice.

And then, on Tuesday, it was my birthday and I found the reason they had sold out in my size is because Robin had bought the last pair.

Is it ridiculous for a pair of shoes to make you happy? Yes. I'm therefore ridiculously happy 😉

Much love,
Anna
xx


The year in 365 pairs of knickers

How does someone go from no body confidence to posting a photo of themselves in different underwear on Instagram every day? You'd have to be brimming with confidence...wouldn't you?

When I first spoke to Vee, and her take on how she's improved her body confidence, I knew I had to find out more!

" My journey into reclaiming my confidence actually started about 9 months before deciding to do 365 days of knickers. I have an incurable chronic health problem and because of this I was retired from my job because of ill health. It meant I lost my identity as a professional person and with it whom I was. I was suddenly retired at 42, no prospect of working again. Plus I was initially so unwell I wasn’t able to get out of bed and function. All I could wear was soft and comfortable clothes.

Once I found a treatment which meant I could function again I looked at my wardrobe and realised that all I had was leggings, soft clothes, no bras, and black cotton knickers and I realised I had absolutely no self esteem. I’d always loved pretty underwear and what I had in my drawers even my Grandma wouldn’t wear.

I went out the next day to New Look and bought some lace knickers.

I opened an Instagram account and started posting pictures of me wearing my new underwear, just as a record for myself initially but then I got followers and realised that people liked what they saw, which gave me a confidence boost and actually improved my body image.

I then read an article from a lady who showed that the before and after pictures in adverts for slimming products could be faked and watched some videos on You Tube on how to pose your body to display it to its best advantage. Now when I say I’m a size 16 quite a few people don’t believe me.

So how did a different pair of knickers every day come about?

On the lead up to Christmas 2016 I did an advent style count down of Christmas themed knickers. I loved thinking up different ways to make the pictures seasonal, using tinsel, lights and other Christmas paraphernalia.
It also got really positive feedback from my IG followers. I realised that I had a managed to collect a lot of knickers in the nine months leading up to Christmas and jokingly wondered if I had enough to do a different pair of knickers a day.

What has doing this achieved for you?

My body confidence is sky high. Yes I’m the wrong side of 45 and I’m a size 16/18 but no one cares and the only person who ever cared was me.

Having confidence in my body has meant my girls are more confident in their own bodies too.

Plus it made me realise that regardless of size everyone has issues with their body. Yes everyone has issues, from wanting a bigger bum, boobs to wanting a slimmer tummy or thighs. if someone criticises you it’s their insecurities that bring that out of them and jealousy in your confidence.

And what do your family make of it all?

My 15 year old calls my knickers dolly pants and laughs when I head straight for the knickers when we go in shops. My other daughter is the same. Both of them think it’s quite funny that I show my bum on the internet every day in different knickers but they also are encouraging and supportive.

My husband thinks it’s fantastic. Having body confidence means I’m more confident as a person too plus he gets to see all those knickers in person so there are some benefits...

What are you hoping to achieve by doing this?

I want to build up confidence in other women, we tear each other down when what we should be doing is building each other up. I’m so much happier as a person since I started building confidence and stopped being so negative. Everyone has positives regardless of size, shape or colour.

Plus when you compliment someone you get a boost too because you made a difference to them.

And how's your body confidence now?

As I said it’s sky high, even on days when I have bad health days and I struggle with wearing normal clothes. I found comfortable, soft and sexy clothes and knickers.

Plus I’m more confident now to go without a bra, nipple covers stop that noticeable nipple poke and are a great sexy boost. Plus there are so many soft and sexy lace, cotton and microfiber knickers out there.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us about your project?

It’s not so much about the knickers but about instilling confidence in yourself and others.

As I’ve said I’m the wrong side of 45, a size 16/18 and need to lose a serious amount of weight but the only person who has the right to say that is me.

As women we constantly tear each other down and criticise each other, I can guarantee that even reading this many people will be internally criticising me for what I am doing.

If your thought was ‘wow she has some guts, showing her fat backside on the internet’ think about it in a more positive and helpful light and leave it as ‘wow she has some guts’ because that is more helpful.

Straighten each others crowns instead of knocking them to the floor.

And finally - where do you get your knickers from?

My knickers come from a variety of places. Good old Marks and Spencers have great knickers, New Look, Next and even Tesco do great 3 for 2 offers and have great variety of shapes and sizes.

I love Brazilian cut as they make your bum look good. Something with a back detail is always my favourite though and Victoria Secret/Pink do fantastic knickers (and yes the XL/L fit my size 16 bum absolutely perfectly).

If you've found your body confidence has taken a knock and you've found a novel way to overcome it and get your confidence back, please get in touch via the form below - we'd love to share your story.

Much love,
Anna
xx
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