If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you'll have seen that I spent last weekend with my blogging besties in London. To give you some background, we met at Blognix, (a blogging retreat), in February of this year, although some of us had met one or two of the others before. The beauty of this digital age though, is that we were all familiar with each other's blogs, so knew at least a little about everyone else. We spent most of that weekend together and decided to keep in touch, because we got on so incredibly well. And my goodness do we keep in touch. We have a group chat on WhatsApp and we exchange literally hundreds of messages each day. As bloggers, we are "sharers," so are prone to discussing anything and everything whether or not it is blog related.
As a group of seven international, professional women, we realised that our diverse styles and personae lent themselves to becoming a group- a squad, stronger than the sum of its parts. What started as a kernel of an idea has become reality and we are now the Over 40 Collective, an entity born out of mutual respect, friendship and a realisation that our collective voice has an influence, a very positive influence, within the 40+ market. Each of us has a former or concurrent career and six of us are mothers.
So what was the weekend about? Well, it was a weekend for friendship, laughter, food and wine, because first and foremost we're friends. With 13 children between us, it isn't easy to arrange a weekend away, so it was planned long ago and was much anticipated. However, because of our busy schedules, the weekend had to double up as a strategy meeting, as a planning exercise and as an opportunity to have a group photoshoot so get images for our website which will launch in the New Year.
We spent much of Saturday at The Hampshire Hog, where we had a thoroughly Instagrammable private room, a lot of fizz, divine food and a very productive brainstorming session.
On the Saturday evening we dined at Brackenbury Wine Rooms, but were aware of the 9am call time for our photoshoot so retired at a respectable and sensible time.
We were lucky enough to be working with London-based photographer Rachel Vogeleisen and it was her assistant Magda that kindly shot all of these images with my camera. Needless to say, we can't wait to see Rachel's images.
We decided to each wear two outfits, one that would represent our signature look and one, in soft tones, that would blend with each others'.
We went to several different locations for a "street-style" shoot and these are my favourite candid shots.
Once we felt we had what we wanted, we returned to Lisa, (The Sequinist's), London home for more of a studio style shoot. It was very cold outside so while the Rachel the photographer set everything up, we warmed up with coffee...
...And checked our social media, (but of course), before changing outfits.
|Photo:Catherine Summers (Not Dressed as Lamb)|
Here, photography graduate Catherine, (Not Dressed as Lamb), gives us some direction...
Shoes of course make for a very serious topic of conversation.
Candid photography always reveals more than what first meets the eye. In the shot below you you can see I have a clip at the back of my top to pull it in a little. We improvised with one of the clips Lisa uses to keep her food fresh.
And because we really don't take ourselves too seriously, my favourite shot of the entire morning...
|From left to right: Michelle (RetroChicMama), Michelle (The Barefaced Chic), Catherine (Not Dressed as Lamb), Elizabeth (What Lizzy Loves) Nikki (Midlife Chic), Annette (Lady of Style), Lisa (The Sequinist)|
Love Liz x
Red high neck ruffle swing dress, £39, Marks and Spencer
*Leopard print double strap court shoes, £49, Marks and Spencer
Pale grey tulle midi skirt, £45, Jolie Moi at Aspire Style
Grey sequinned top, Boden, past season.
Silver shoes: "Tahiti" in champagne glitter, Jimmy Choo, past season.
I Will Wear What I Like/ Visible Monday/Shoe and Tell/Turning Heads Tuesday/ Brilliant Blog Posts/Top of the World Style/ Fun Fashion Friday/The Saturday Share
Photographs: Poppy Johnston
*Disclosure: These items were gifted