The 2nd year….

Two years today my beautiful man. Although time passing and dates feel less relevant than before. No amount of time changes the pain of losing you Rich. We talk about you often... you are very much apart of our lives and I hope we make you proud.

I wrote this on the 15th October 2017, and although my life and the girls lives have carried on when Richs did not... the series of firsts and lasts continues. They continue because of love. The pain and grief is like an old friend.... today is the 2nd anniversary of losing a man that was by far too big and beautiful for this world ❤️

Without you my love my life is now a series of firsts and lasts.

The first time I heard the news.

The first tears that wouldn't stop.

The first time numbness came in.

Thinking about the last time I saw you.

The last time we talked.

The last time I said “I love you”

The first time I had a shower and you were not there.

The first time I removed my nail varnish that I applied with you near.

The first time I stripped the bed, one of the toughest things I have ever had to do... that my darling broke me.

The first time I drove the roads we would travel together to your mums.

Thinking about the last time and you were there with me.

The 1st meal I cooked and no plate for you.

You always cooked anyway... the last bags of food in the freezer that you made so we ate well, are still frozen as I can't bear to know it will be the last time I taste your food.

The 1st wedding enquiry, talking about how happy they are.

The last time we talked of marriage, you said let's do it soon... I replied don't even joke, I would do it tomorrow.

The first time I had wished more than anything that we had....we had done our vows.

The 1st time I managed to sleep... the sofa is my new bed, being in our bed without you is too much.

The 1st morning I woke, and for a second had forgotten what has happened, the last time it hit is worse than the 1st.

The 1st time I put the bins out, a job you insisted was yours.

The last time I held you.

The last time I kissed you.

The pint of milk that you brought went off... pouring that away hurt.

The 1st kilo dropping from the scales... and then the second, then the third. Food does not feed this. One thing feeling the grief, the 1st time you see it reflected back at yourself is another.

The 1st time the girls found out, the last time they asked about you, over and over.

The last time I brought clothes for you was for the last time you would be dressed. The cashier was talking about the weather. It was raining that day.

The 1st time I saw you afterwards... looking peaceful and asleep. I didn't want to leave you.

Was the last time I could stroke your hair, hold your hand...

Was the first time I knew that you were in fact gone... that this was real.

I wore the same clothes on the day that we met for the last time I would be near you.

The first time I asked into an empty room “are you here? Can you hear me? I love you” Is asked as desperately as the the last time I asked...

You would say to me my life does not work without you.... my darling man, my world has stopped without you. I shall love you for all of time... I hope where you are now time is irrelevant, I hope you are waiting for me... I hope you are at peace my love... I hope that all the love that comes from the many beautiful friends, your family... and me... is wrapping around you... I hope you are feeling it right to your core. You are loved, you will always be loved...

I love you, and each and every first and last is there because of my love for you ❤️

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Mums Make Porn

One year ago today I was invited to create a casting video for a place on the incredible documentary “Mums Make Porn”

(This is me after two hours sleep after arriving home from holiday and getting up to take my girl to her 1st day of college.....

I was shattered....

Filter was my friend this day...)

On the Wednesday I had a meeting with a director and producer.

On the Friday I was told I had “The Part”

On the following Monday I was on a train down to London for the 1st day of filming....

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Believe me, in a blink of an eye your world can come crashing around you. The unimaginable pain can be wrapped around you with no warning....

And you know that saying

“life does not happen TO you, but FOR you”

can at times feel like a stinging punishment....

This time last year was LIFE reminding me that:

if in a moment your life can fall apart... this then means, that by odds, by the ying & yang, by the equilibrium of life, that life can also throw an unexpected adventure your way....

So (hey girl!!) this is me reminding YOU....

An adventure could happen to you at any time. And when it does, when it knocks on your door.... as broken as you feel... will you be open enough to embrace it?

Will you take the risk that life can throw you the good & crazy & unexpected... ?

Will you always only expect the “certainty” that only bad things can happen in a blink of an eye? That only bad things are the unplanned, the unprepared....?

Strong back... for the bad

Soft front.... to stay open

And wild heart.... to go on the adventure

Go forward and expect the adventures too xxx

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When self belief becomes a daily practice, not a destination 🖤

You kinda believe that once you have done all the self work...

Or reached a weight goal

A business goal

More confident

Feeling stronger in your own capabilities.

That that is,

well,

it.

All work done and you have reached your end point.

And the one thing I have learnt is that....

Once you have reached that goal... whatever that may be for you.... you don’t then stop doing the work.

This is now your new daily practice... it’s work every single day. You stop doing that work and guess what? You are going to end up back at the beginning.

So instead of setting yourself goals, instead of wishing you were more confident/braver/fitter

Darling teach yourself new daily practices!

If listening to motivation videos and audio books help you feel more confident.... then it is now part of your new daily practice.

If going to the gym or walking helps you become stronger, then this is your new daily practice.

There is no quick fix.... there is no one stop shop that can fix how you feel about yourself for the rest of your life.

Ladies that have come to us feel incredible... but afterwards they will have times were old belief systems will creep back in...

Because, you know, well...life....!

I know with a few ladies when this has happened they look at their portraits and say

“What would she do?”

Their portraits are their daily reminder of their authentic true self.... but seriously life will kick you in the arse over and again if you believe short term fixes will change your life....

What new practices can you bring into your daily life? Think about that and less about what you wish needs to happen to create the life fully lived ❤️

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Cheshire Business Branding Photo Shoot

Not only do I love empowering women… I am equally as passionate about Business Branding and Marketing.

How you feel about yourself comes through in your business...

Fact.

How do you sell a product or service if you don’t feel confident in who you are? If you don’t value yourself and what you have to offer?

I am so passionate about people becoming the person they are meant to be...not the one their projected self beliefs are...it saddens me when I see someone not living their full potential because of fear... I wonder what gifts they could bestow upon the world if they just

Got

Out

Of

Their

Own

Way???

And so why branding images has become so natural for me to offer, because it is an extension of what Red Shoe is fundamentally about....You being your full potential.

This summer has been full of branding sessions....

Thank you all that entrusted Red Shoe to help you get out of your own way and create content that is authentic to you and that you can be proud to share and talk about what YOU offer...

The world needs more people like you ❤️

To reach your personal goals

You kinda believe that once you have done all the self work...

Or reached a weight goal

A business goal

More confident

Feeling stronger in your own capabilities.

That that is,

well,

it.

All work done and you have reached your end point.

And the one thing I have learnt is that....

Once you have reached that goal... whatever that may be for you.... you don’t then stop doing the work.

This is now your new daily practice... it’s work every single day. You stop doing that work and guess what? You are going to end up back at the beginning.

So instead of setting yourself goals, instead of wishing you were more confident/braver/fitter

Darling teach yourself new daily practices!

If listening to motivation videos and audio books help you feel more confident.... then it is now part of your new daily practice.

If going to the gym or walking helps you become stronger, then this is your new daily practice.

There is no quick fix.... there is no one stop shop that can fix how you feel about yourself for the rest of your life.

Ladies that have come to us feel incredible... but afterwards they will have times were old belief systems will creep back in...

Because, you know, well...life....!

I know with a few ladies when this has happened they look at their portraits and say

“What would she do?”

Their portraits are their daily reminder of their authentic true self.... but seriously life will kick you in the arse over and again if you believe short term fixes will change your life....

What new practices can you bring into your daily life? Think about that and less about what you wish needs to happen to create the life fully lived ❤️

Dear Husband…

This is a message for all husbands/partners/boyfriends

She doesn’t see what you see... this beautiful woman on your arm has absolutely no idea. I know you may not always get this... I know that at times this may frustrate the hell out of you.

Your beautiful, incredible woman standing in front of the mirror crippling herself with self hate talk...

You try and reassure her... you remind her every single day...

And still she does not see what you see...

From my experience this is her journey. You can tell a woman for all of eternity how incredibly brilliant she is... ultimately she has to believe this for herself.

She will only do this if she sees it for herself.

Show her!

Show her with love.

Show her with patience.

Show her by listening, and listen without feeling the need to give a solution.

Show her her worth even when she cannot see it ❤️

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Online bullying.

This is such an incredible human... he came to me with this idea. This is for all the hate he has received online and in person... I am honoured to have photographed this image for you Conor ❤️ You are amazing

“For all the hate directed at me, for all the times these hateful words were used against me to try and bring me down... I want you to know, these words do not define me, I am more human and more love than your words”

#pride

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When Anxiety Takes Over

I have had to do a LOT of work on this recently. 

Maybe it was the huge workload after the last 7 months?

At one point I was shooting and editing weddings, Red Shoe shoots, full time at University, filming a three part documentary for Channel 4 and a being single mum.
Maybe it is still the process of grief after losing my fiancé...?


But whatever the reason was, recently I was finding it hard to sleep and then waking up feeling the panic that was, already at the start of the day, all consuming... that feeling was taking over... and to be honest I had no fight left in me.

I love books... and for obvious reasons I just didn’t have the time to read/make the time to read...

or go to the gym...

or walk the dog... 


So in my attempt to get some pleasure and time-out back, this year I have been listening to one audiobook per month.

There have been two that I simply lost interest in but I have found the whole audiobook thing really enjoyable and easy to fit in and around my life say while I’m the car or while editing...

Go me multitasking!!

And it was this book that inspired this blog post for you...

And it is:
Brene Brown - The Power of vulnerability.

She has spoken at TedTalk, there is a Netflix documentary, she has written so many other incredible books... seriously if you don’t know about her go and look her up!
Brene has to be one of the most incredible humans!

Yes I love her….


In this book Brene talks about fear, vulnerability & anxiety.... 
She also shares, from all of her research, 10 goalposts to wholehearted living.

And I want to share them with you...

but seriously buy the book!

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Goal post number One

Raise your hand if you are a people pleaser?

Raise your hand if you are always putting yourself second?

Raise your hand if you are surrounded by people who don’t do for you as you do for them?

You may hate me for saying this but… I’m going to say it anyway….

By not setting your boundaries, by not being authentic and true to you… you are creating and telling the world that you come second. You are telling yourself that, you are setting those boundaries.

Stop being afraid of pissing someone off because you have to say “No”

Because your boundaries and authentic self is now 1st priority, not 2nd.

But do this in a way of showing compassion to yourself and the other person….. Do this by showing love to yourself and the other person.

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Goal post number two

Be kind to yourself darling. Know the difference between YOU being a failure and something not working out as planned.

You are not the only one to have the troubles you are maybe experiencing…. so don’t feel ashamed by them.

Be mindful. Slow down. Ground yourself in this moment you have right now.

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Goal post number three

What are your numbing tactics? Scrolling through social media? Smoking? Eating too much, eating too little? Over cleaning the house? What do you do to numb down when you are feeling anxiety?

Sometimes this feels like self care. Understand the difference…. once you recognise this and take action everyday to do something that takes care of you, you will feel replenished and not drained.

Do today something congruent to YOU.

Remember who your friends are… the true ones. The ones where you can pick up the phone, bitch and whine about something shit…. but that you both know that this is just a “thing”

The bad does not define you…

but you can bitch about it,

dump it

and move away from it.

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Goal post number four

I have been doing a LOT of business and market research lately… I have been watching video after video of the most successful people within business.

And they all say the same thing….

Gratitude.

Writing down three things every single day…

Making gratitude talk not just self talk, but also making it a daily conversation. What are your children or partner grateful for today?

Make gratitude a daily practice. Yes you have practice this….

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Goal post number five

How rough is this one…. ?? Give up the need for certainty???

This for me is a tough one, what do you think? We need certainty in our lives?

Right?

But I guess if we get locked down on the details of how things should pan out then we are going to have more disappointments? Maybe having the faith that everything will work it’s course, that your gut feeling can be trusted? That you have faith and trust within yourself?

Give up the fight…. this one is too tough for me. After my fiancé passed away, in grief I was numb and angry. I battled everything to create the certainty that I needed for my family to be protected and safe. I was no ones victim….

And as Brene says there is an idea that you sit in two camps

Victim

Viking

I was (and am still) a Viking. And the daily battle is tough. One fight done and ding ding I’m looking for the next…. no one was going to look at me and my family as victims.

So I’m working on lowering the gloves. Enjoying the day…. not looking for the next traumatic disaster that I need to prepare for.

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Goal post number six

Do you do anything creative….? There is more and more evidence from research now suggesting that Art is not only beneficial for anxiety …. but that being creative is a human necessity….

Don’t think that what you create is never good enough by comparing. Just go and CREATE for you and your soul.

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Goal post number seven

How many times have you felt guilt for having a lie in?

How many times have you felt guilty for engaging in something that makes you lose track of time and has no purpose other than you enjoy it….?

Rest darling…. you are not a machine…

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Goal post number eight

Repeat….

Anxiety is NOT a lifestyle.

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Goal post number nine

Maybe you would like to work full time as a creative writer/photographer/poet? Maybe you need the full time “proper job” to support yourself.

Dont be hard on yourself!! Believe me, being a self employed full time creative is not for everyone. Because you then become a business owner…. and this is a very different thing!

Let go of what it should look like… do it because it brings you bloody joy!

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Goal post number 10

You know how you feel and move when you are dancing and singing..?

Now imagine how someone would stand/come across to you if they are cool, calm and have their shit together.

The both don’t match do they? One is expressive, moving freely

The other is stone cold still….

keeping your shit together doesn’t mean you have to close down….!

Dance baby dance…..

I so hope with all my heart that this will help you ❤️

Can you practice all 10 everyday?

Would you like me to send over the goal posts to you so you can have them on your phone as a daily reminder? If so drop me a message and I would be happy to…

I have been really mindful to practice, and I can say hand on heart it is working…

Step into your wholehearted self and life with love, compassion and knowing you are not alone…

much love

Sarah xx

International Dance Day

💫INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY💫

Shared from the wonderful mama ballerina Alice Jelly my wonderful ballet dancer for this shoot…

“Wishing all dancers, every shape, size, gender, level, experience, age, genre, ability, a very happy International dance Day! Dance is truly for everyone, and today is a day to celebrate that fact.🎉🎉🎉

.

Dance is so much more than winning titles and medals and pretty photos (although you know i love the latter 😂) It's about expressing what's in your soul. It's about release. It's about being able to pause time and live in the moment. It's about conveying a message, and being able to be open and bare and vunerable with your emotions.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

.

I hope you all get a chance to dance today, even if it's round your kitchen with the radio on! Dance for dancing's sake👌🏼👌🏼“

.

📷 Red Shoe

Thank you to Sarah for capturing my soul.

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#internationaldanceday #internationaldance #dancephotography #dancephoto #femaleportrait #femaleportraiture #balletphoto #balletpost #ballerinaposed #adultballerina #adultballet #danceforall #danceislife #dancelife #balletlife #weblognorth #webloguk #danceblog #balletblog #adultballetgang #adultballerinagang #enpointe #pointeshoes #pointe

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Let’s talk about age shaming

Let’s talk about age shaming.

Because I’m not really hearing this conversation loud enough … it’s like the pink elephant nooooooo one is talking about.

”ermmm frumpy mum sex… I wouldn’t know what that is”

Was said from some 20 something Porn performer to us 5 mums while we were researching the industry for the documentary “Mums Make Porn”

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And this comment stung… collectively we had about 120 of sexual experience between us five grown ass women, and here was this 20 something with her all of what, 5-7 years of sexual experience… looking at us like we didn’t have a clue…?!?!

Passive, arrogant age shaming.

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So …

You are busy enjoying life, but then something will happen at around 35. The comments will be made about how you dress/your hair/or have you had children will begin to creep in.

Are you not married???

Well wait until you hit 40 and beyond!

Now at your most confident, your most grown, your opinions and thoughts are emotionally and intellectually articulated upon the experiences life has given you... you have absorbed them all...

But honey you are now irrelevant. Apart from the mass beauty campaigns to help keep you “young”... your relevance in this world is no more.

And I see this all the time with every women who has left her 40s... even the women dreading her 40s... She has felt the irrelevance.

So let’s stop this... and it starts with you. You the fabulous, incredible WOMAN that you are... And this is what 40, 50 and 60 looks like...

fabulous, strong, intelligent, interesting, life personified, relevant and incredibly beautiful....

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Sarah xxxx

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

{My Mother Kept A Garden}

My Mother kept a garden,

A garden of the heart.

She planted all the good things

That gave my life it's start.

She turned me to the sunshine

And encouraged me to dream.

Fostering and nurturing

The seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rain came,

She protected me enough.

But not too much because she knew

I'd need to stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example

Always taught me right from wrong.

Markers for my pathway

That will last a lifetime long.

I am my Mother's garden.

I am her legacy.

And I hope today she feels the love

Reflected back from me.

Show you mum with a pamper day she will never forget… maybe for herself or with her daughters…

Prints will be there for her great great grandchildren to see…. A forever gift of love ❤️

Mother and Daughter photo shoot

Morhers Day photo session

Mothers day gifts that mean the world

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Why portraits matter…

The wonderful Anne-Marie

“If like me you need some time for YOU!

Some time to feel like the most important person in the room...

Some time to share crazy life stories, to laugh hysterically then to reflect on how precious life can be...

To be made to feel beautiful, to look beautiful even when you think your best years are behind you...

And when the chaos of your life takes over again, and you need a reminder of how amazing you are, just need to sit down and look...

Then be a Red Shoe Girl 👠❤️

Thank you Sarah and Mandy for not only a wonderful

Day but for my beautiful box of memories 💕”

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To be a mother means

Chances are you were never shown what self love & care looked liked. What it really meant.

And if you are honest with yourself… what does self care look like to you? Or how do you think other people would feel about you declaring:

“self love for me!!”

You were shown how to be nice and kind to others... you were shown how to care for others. But never were you shown how to do this for yourself.

You may have been shown by actions or overheard conversations that to love yourself is selfish, narcissistic even ... by being shown to put others thoughts and feelings above your own makes you a good person.

We all want to be loved…..

But real self care and self love is not selfish... it is required by you to give the best you can to the others around you.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

And you feel this, because it should not be this hard!

This is not your fault... this is just learnt behaviour. Your mother was self sacrificing as was her mother.

It is our duty to raise the next generation of daughters to see their self worth. To see their capabilities. To not be self doubting. To have the confidence and the self-belief to go and live their best life.

And this starts with this generation of mothers.

The self sabotaging has to stop...

This is not just a portrait session.

This is your journey to stepping away from your sabotaging beliefs and stepping into the person that raises others up by actions of love.

Love for yourself always transforms those around you...

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Female portrait experience in Chester

The wonderful Claire

“All I can say is WOW. What an amazing experience from start to finish. Sarah and Nicole could not have made me feel more at ease, or more special.

It’s been a challenging few years and, in particular, this last year has been a massive journey for me. And like so many others, self-care always seems to get put on the back burner. But sometimes you need to do something for yourself. This was my gift to myself.

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I am generally uncomfortable in front of a camera, I don’t really know what to do with myself and I feel silly and out of place. But there wasn’t a chance of that. From the moment I walked in and sat down with Nicole to have my makeup done, we were chatting away about all sorts of things whist Sarah joined in, in between sorting clothes. All day we chatted and laughed. Sarah directed without it really seeming like it and I didn’t feel silly or uncomfortable once because I wasn’t seeing myself as I usually do.

You will walk out of that studio feeling like to have made a friend – both in Sarah and Nicole but also with yourself.

Xxx”

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The perfect valentine’s day gift

The perfect oh so sexy gift for this Valentine’s Day...

Red Shoe has created a limited, brand new, photo shoot session exclusively for this Valentine’s Day...

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A one hour shoot at our Chester Studio with one 10”x7” beautifully mounted print at just £100

To include hair and makeup is at £160

Get in touch to book your session and gift the print to your lover on Valentine’s Day ❤️

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Or you can treat your queen with a gift card to present on Valentine’s Day and she can book her shoot... {major hint alert needed girls}

Bookings for this session are incredibly limited, and the last chance to purchase will be February 12th ❤️

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Mental Health Awareness

Today I was invited back to unite the union at airbus Broughton to talk about men’s mental health.....

These guys should be so proud in making this secret killer a normal conversation to have... and also working hard in putting systems in place to support anyone suffering with their mental health.

All for you Rich...
#manupmandown

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Life beyond the big C

Life beyond the big C

I am a #survivor of breast cancer (16yrs) I had a left breast mastectomy, 7 months chemotherapy and 5 weeks radiotherapy, 5 years Tamoxifen and 2 years Arimadex.
For all that time I’ve used a stick on prothesis in the cavity where my breast was, the stories I could tell you about that !!! hahaha !!

Over the last 3yrs I have lost 7.5 stone.
3 months ago I had DIEP Flap breast reconstruction at Whiston Hospital .
I am awaiting nipple reconstruction and an areola tattoo !

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More than just a makeover shoot // Christine //

More than just a makeover shoot // Christine //

I cannot recommend this experience enough; it allows you to see your self, as others do, not how you think you look. But it’s not just about how you look, it is about how you feel, it’s about celebrating a point in your life, it’s about capturing the moment, because all we have is now."

Read More