Occasionally life throws us a curve-ball doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s bad, sometimes good and every once in a while it’s downright extraordinary.
Picture this: you’re heading off in one direction, only to find that — at some point — you seem to have gone off the beaten path and ended up somewhere totally unexpected.
I feel like this about my career.
I have always had a creative role; I began as a catalogue designer in my early 20s, then moved on to art-direct photoshoots for over 15 years.
I loved my job so much. But the London commute, long hours and trying to conceive made me assess my work/life balance; and in 2010, I stopped art-directing and began to design wedding stationery instead.
Roll on another 2 years.
After an arduous time, battling fertility issues, I was pregnant for a third time (with twins) and — on a whim — started a blog one day.
6 years later, my beloved twins are 5 years old, I’m still designing (occasionally) but my blog is now my main source of income.
In my 5th decade, I found myself with a totally new career. In an industry I knew absolutely nothing about.
But with a combination of hard work and luck, the blog that I started on impulse began to present the most fortuitous opportunities.
The latest — and one of the most extraordinary — was being asked to take part in the Style at Home Christmas Tree Challenge.
The Style at Home Christmas Tree Challenge
Back in early August, the Style at Home editorial team threw down the gauntlet and asked me to decorate a Christmas tree — sponsored by a high-street retailer — which would feature in their December magazine.
Of course I was going to say yes! What a fantastic opportunity.
I chose HomeSense as they’re a brand that I’ve frequently worked with over the years and I love their ranges. There’s always something different and unique in store and their offering is a little bit different to the rest of the high street. I always end up buying something I didn’t go in for.
And their Christmas decorations didn’t disappoint! Hot, bright colours with a Mexican twist; think llamas in place of reindeer and cacti rather than holly.
Arriba — just gorgeous.
Back Where I Started
Needless to say, I had a ball.
Hanging out in a location house, with a photography team, is something that I’ve done for a third of my life so it felt really easy and natural.
What felt unnatural and pretty extraordinary was standing in front of the camera, rather than behind it!!
I’ve never had my make-up done before — not even on my wedding day — so that was a real treat. Wearing a posh frock, heels and false eyelashes surrounded by Christmas — in the middle of August was surreal.
The whole day was surreal. But amazing.
And once again, reminded me how strange life is.
Strange that — almost a decade after I last set foot on a photoshoot — I was back where I started; only in a totally different capacity. Not art directing, but modelling. In my mid forties.
Life’s weird twists and turns never cease to amaze me.
Curveballs and Covergirls
But this serendipitous tale doesn’t end there.
What was an already extraordinary event ramped up another notch last week, when I received a message from a friend to say that she’d spotted me on the cover of Style At Home magazine.
To say I was bowled over was an understatement!! A covergirl in my mid-forties?
I never would have anticipated that in a million years. This is the mother of all curve-balls.
So thank you Style at Home for making an old gal very happy. And thank you life — for always surprising me.
How I’ve gone from directing shoots for magazines to appearing on the cover of one is beyond me.
But it just goes to show that sometimes when you change direction in life, although your destination might be unclear, bigger and better opportunities might be just around the corner.
Thanks so much to the Style at Home team for asking me to take part in The Style at Home Christmas Tree Challenge 2018! The December issue is on the newstands now. Pop and pick up a copy — and let me know which is your favourite tree!