Omne trium perfectum

#Blogtober18: Loving these right now

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How could today’s #Blogtober18 prompt lead me to anything but the faces of these three?

Loving these three from way before they were born, right now and forever more.

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And I’m also still loving these photos taken by the fabulous Merika Green back in April at Moot Hall near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire as part of a portfolio update for Faith’s agency Zebedee Management.

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Undoubtedly skilled with a camera, she also managed to keep the three of them sat together happily – magic powers indeed!

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#Blogtober18

 

Making the opportunity to be represented

Our gorgeous Faith is privileged to be represented by specialist talent agents Zebedee Management.  The amazing stories of Faith’s fellow models are usually the focus of the agency’s promotions but this weekend, as they celebrate 18 months of success, the spotlight is being shone behind the scenes on Zebedee’s inspirational directors, Zoe Proctor and Laura Johnson.  Here Zoe gives us an insight into their story so far…

ZM1Both Laura and I have a background in working with young people and adults with disabilities and additional needs and the media industry too.

Laura is a qualified social worker and mummy of a child model and I’m a qualified FE lecturer, specialising in teaching performing arts to people with disabilities, I have also worked as a model myself for over 20 years.

Laura and I came up with the idea for ZM on a winter walk on the beach. I remember being so frustrated at the lack of opportunities my very talented performers have.

It really was a lightbulb moment… we realised that if no one else is going to look to champion disability diversity in fashion and the media, and create opportunities for people with disabilities in this industry, then we will!

As directors we oversee the whole of the agency, from working with clients, booking artists and scouting for new talent, and working hard to get our name out there and ensuring the bookings are coming in for our talent.

We are a social enterprise, so another important part of our work is developing a community for our members, providing training and development opportunities and developing awareness campaigns.

Working with those who have disabilities means we have a responsibility to them beyond their bookings. We take extra time to work closely with clients, artists, parents, carers and service providers to build a transparent, trusting relationship and to manage the expectations of everyone involved. We put in a huge amount of time and energy into ensuring their talent is supported and protected throughout the casting and creative process. We attend shoots to alleviate anxiety, hold workshops to better understand vulnerabilities and strengths, build confidence and support the families with community social media groups.

ZM2We have a long way to go but our passion and drive has only grown and grown and to think we have helped some incredible people realise their dreams makes us so proud.

The support we have been receiving recently is wonderful too – Emma Gardner from ELVIS ad agency says: “ I want to talk about the unsung heroes, the two women that helped cast the recent models you have been seeing in some huge campaigns, two women that are doing brilliant work in driving real change behind the scenes.
Zoe and Laura founders of Zebedee Management, a specialist model and talent agency working with, and for, people with disabilities and difficulties in this brutal industry. With a unique and incredibly important USP, their clear company ethos is both impressive and humbling.”

Our models say:

“The experiences I’ve had from being a part of Zebedee have been life changing. They have given me not only a sense of belonging but also body empowerment and a better positive outlook on not only my looks but my opportunities in the future. I use a wheelchair and they do not see it as a problem but a part of who I am and they embrace it. Which has helped me embrace it too. It has completely changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us all. Thank you.”

“Gabriel has gained confidence in front of others. His concentration and listening skills have increased. He enjoys being in front of the cameras, but doesn’t just do his own thing now. He can follow direction with increased understanding and he is less dependent on us (parents).  As a family we are proud to be part of team Zebedee, we feel valued and very much that the team know us as a family.”

“Zebedee has given me purpose and self confidence to be who I am! I feel comfortable with myself and my disability which I saw as something that held me back, but not anymore, I can see a future for myself. I LOVE TEAM ZEBEDEE!! It couldn’t be run by two better people!”

 

We are now 18 months old and the company is still in its infancy but momentum is truly gathering, we have now had models booked for nearly all of the major high street brands, including the groundbreaking River Island campaign, Marks and Spencer’s, Mothercare and Matalan. We have had models featured in Hunger magazine by Rankin, walking in London Fashion Week, starring in several of the big soap dramas and loads more bookings by forward thinking companies.

We work tirelessly to make a positive change not just for our models lives but to a world wide audience in the hope we can breakdown barriers and see a more inclusive representation of differently abled people in the media and fashion worlds, to normalise what is possibly the last taboo.

Find out more at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk
Follow #teamzebedee on Instagram

Stepping into the spotlight

In the spring of 2017, at just a few months old, Faith was signed by new talent agency Zebedee Management.

As well as obviously having impeccable taste, the two driving forces behind the company – Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor – are truly inspirational.  Building a business from scratch in a notoriously difficult industry, with the aim to increase the representation of people with disabilities in fashion and the media, in just their first year they have already helped their talent work with such household names as Disney, the BBC, River Island, Matalan and Mothercare.

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Photos by Chris Waud, Go!Photo

Being such a mini model, Faith requires regular updates to her portfolio to capture how quickly she’s growing and changing.  She missed the last regional group photoshoot when her heart operation was suddenly brought forward so we were really grateful when Lincolnshire photographer Chris Waud offered Zebedee models the chance for a portfolio update in his Market Rasen studio.

As you can see, she had a great time and Chris managed to capture a cheeky glint in her eye too.

He also won over Faith’s big brother and sister who never need much encouragement to perform for the lens and wanted to get in on the act too.

I know I’m slightly biased but I think they all scrub up rather nicely!

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To book a Zebedee model or find out more about who they represent, visit the agency’s website at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk and follow #teamzebedee on Instagram.  

A wardrobe fit for speedy and snappy dressers

A review of me&i clothing

The autumn season is definitely upon us now and, as much as I love the colours of the falling leaves and the family celebrations it brings us, the change in the weather also means it’s time to put away the summer wear and bring out the long sleeves.

So when Swedish clothing company me&i offered to send us two items of clothing from their latest range to review I jumped at the chance.

The company’s ethos, encompassing organic gender-neutral baby clothing, design-led comfortable items for older children and an emphasis on ethical manufacturing, certainly appealed to me.

NAnd, as we discovered on their arrival, their soft, bright design, high-quality jersey fabric tops of choice didn’t disappoint.

First of all we had to make a choice.  If you know me, you’ll know I’m not generally the best at making decisions anyway, but the range of great designs offered by me&i’s current season made it even harder.

For Luke I almost chose the under water  top as I really liked the “dark ocean/black/orange” colour tones and he’s shown an interest in submarines recently but I finally settled on the motorcycles instead.  The first toys he ever fixated on to the point of us having to buy them as he wouldn’t walk away from them, Luke has long been interested in motorcycles, also often stopping to stare at the real thing and their riders (slightly embarrassing but they’ve usually been quite nice about it fortunately).

The brighter “turquoise/orange/black/rowanberry” palette also seemed to be the way to go seeing as I have been bemoaning the dark and dreary colours of the plain school uniform he’s forced to wear for most of the week – weekends should definitely be full of colour!

Plus, or so I thought, it would give me the perfect excuse to finally ask a friend if Luke could “try out” his bike – lots of fun for Luke and a great photo opportunity for me.  Sadly, as with all my best laid plans, Mother Nature had other ideas for my ambitions but fortunately the rain didn’t stop Luke’s play.

And mummy seems to not have chosen too badly as it’s been his top of choice ever since – so I can also attest that it washes well too!

VFortunately Willow also loves her new wardrobe addition.  The alligators with handbags tunic jumped out at me as just perfect for her.  Absolutely bag mad (and her collection even includes a crocodile one), she had also requested some storybooks with crocodiles in on the day I was choosing so it seemed just right.

EShe does, however, very much have her own sense of style and what she will and won’t wear, so the fact she chose it to wear on a playdate with one of her godmums to show off her bag collection, as well as to a park, for play time at home in the garden and even to her ballet class, was reassuring it was a good choice.  And, again, I already know it washes well.

(If you have a mini one who’s particularly enamoured by the creatures with toothy grins, me&i also offer a tennis alligator top).

The quality, comfort and range of fun designs as well as the company’s ethical stance meant that I knew I’d be keeping a look out for future season collections but their recent addition of the chubby bats range already means they’ve definitely won the fashion heart of this Halloween fan.

Find out more at www.meandi.com

Florals, nauticals and frayed threads – it’s Lincoln Fashion Week 2017

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Photo: Stuart Wilde Photography Ltd on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week

If you’ve spotted live mannequins in the city’s shop windows, had an exclusive event tote bag thrust into your hands in the High Street or seen demonstrations of the latest hairstyles all the cool kids are choosing to display then you’ll know this week is Lincoln Fashion Week 2017 (April 28 – May 5).

Lincoln’s fashionistas were encouraged to sign up to sashay down the various catwalks showing off the best of what the city has to offer in this season’s styles and the mini ones were very keen to answer the call.

I’m sure I’m not the only mummy who’s never quite sure how their children are going to behave in certain situations but both Luke and Willow enjoyed taking part last year (Model behaviour) so much that I thought it was definitely worth giving it a go.

This year the venue for the Children’s Fashion Event was Debenhams in the St Mark’s Shopping Centre, the minis took part in the Mothercare section of the show and both Faith and mummy made our catwalk debuts.  Photographer Stuart Wilde was on hand on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week to capture all the models strutting their stuff and took a particularly stunning one of Willow clearly enjoying being the centre of attention.

The Lincoln Mothercare staff didn’t get to meet the minis beforehand but made excellent selections for them.  Willow is a fan of bunny rabbits and liked spotting the ones peeking out from behind the flowers of the yellow floral prom dress and, with its full skirt and one of the neck bows peeping out of the side of the cute cardigan it was paired with, her outfit’s 1950s’ vibe pleased this mummy.

Luke is very slim and last year paperclips were deployed to prevent the trousers he was modelling falling around his ankles and disrupting his enthusiastic posing.  This year I’d remembered to bring safety pins with me but they were made redundant by the bibshorts that meant his shoulders took the strain.  Part of a set that included a stripy t-shirt (children always seem to look good in stripes, don’t they?), the outfit is part of the retailer’s Beside the Sea range and very redolent of summer.

Faith’s floral dress with yellow highlights matched her siblings outfits tonally and, quite used to the adoration a newborn attracts, took the whole proceedings in her stride (or in mummy’s stride anyway as she was obviously being carried).  What a good looking family we’d be if I could match their clothes so well each day?!  It would never work of course seeing  as Willow’s “age-appropriate behaviour” currently leaves her diametrically opposed to almost everything I suggest and we don’t usually make it through a day without at least one person needing a change of clothes at some point.

Mummy had a little wobble when first trying on the jeans she was allocated.  Clearly three months hasn’t been long enough to loose any baby weight (or four years to be more accurate seeing as she never lost it after having Luke let alone Willow or Faith) and she probably shouldn’t have had three slices of cake for lunch before heading to the show (in her defence it was very nice cake and oh my goodness doesn’t breastfeeding make you hungry?).

Fortunately I finally realised that the denim part was meant to stay below the waist and there was a stretchy bit that went over the “bump” (I mainly wore leggings during pregnancy so lacked jeans experience) and felt very hip and trendy at least temporarily due to their fashionable frayed knees.  The jeans were teamed with a striped blue nursing top (hopefully adults look good in stripes too) which was very comfortable and flattering and seemed to provide easy access (although I didn’t try it out in the middle of the catwalk!) and I’m quite tempted to treat myself to one if only the weather would stay consistently nice enough to prompt me to.

We only had the one outfit this year which was quite enough for daddy and mummy Malpi who were doing most of the undressing and dressing but as Luke left the catwalk saying “I want to do it again” we better make sure we sign up to Lincoln Fashion Week 2018 as soon as we can.  And, who knows, the minis might even get to play at hiding in the lockers in the changing room again because that seemed to be great fun too!

What we wore:
Luke – Bibshorts and T-Shirt Set
Willow – Yellow Floral Prom Dress and White Cardigan
Faith – Floral Dress and Knickers Set and White Purl Knit Cardigan
Mummy – Frayed Ribbed Knee Over the Bump Skinny Maternity Jeans and Striped Space Dye Wrap Front Nursing Top

Find more outfits at www.mothercare.com

Find out more about Lincoln Fashion Week via its Facebook page.

Made up with my make up

I’m a mum of three under 5s.  It’s not surprising that my “beauty regime” usually consists of cleaning my face with one of the numerous wipes my 2 year old discards as she pretends to blow her nose on each separate one in the pack.

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If I manage five minutes alone in a room that’s “me time”.

And, if I do get any colour applied to my face, it’s usually courtesy of said two year old’s face painting box – her current technique errs on the side of more is more.

So when I saw makeup artist Zoe Moore’s pre-Christmas post in the Facebook group Lincoln Mummies xx offering free makeovers to local parents in order to enhance her portfolio I thought it was a lovely idea.

“We’re too focused on everyone else this time of year so this is a treat for you,” she wrote.  “I can come to you or vice versa, but I will have a two year old in tow so kids welcome”.

And I have to admit it was her credentials as a fellow mum that clinched the deal for me.  Most mums know not to expect another mum’s house to be of show home pristineness and that you’re very unlikely to complete a conversation let alone activity without numerous and varied interruptions.

As Zoe updated the Facebook group at a later date “I’ve been having lots of fun doing free makeovers for stressed mummies! We’ve had screaming children, lots of mess and breastfeeding to work around but it didn’t stop us   It’s been really rewarding making you all feel a bit better, if only for a day.”

The first thing Zoe and I had to work around was busy schedules.  We finally agreed on a date and then had to pick another one due to a changed medical appointment for my eldest.  Then my youngest decided to put in an early appearance and we were in hospital on that day so we had to rearrange again.

When our stars finally aligned, our two year olds enjoyed a romp through our toy collection together whilst Zoe transformed my usual sleep-deprived look into a more glamorous countenance.

Working with the Body Shop products she is a consultant for, which appeal to my ethical leanings, she explained every step and described each product as she applied it and discussed different looks and techniques that would be suitable for varied occasions.

Being pampered for even just a short time with the usual chaos continuing around me was lovely.  Zoe didn’t know when she came that I’d received two very sad piece of news the day before and that her and her daughter’s visit was a very much needed light point in an otherwise upsetting week.

We were both interested in what daddy Malpi’s reaction was going to be when he came home from work.  He said “have you had your eyes painted? It’s pretty. It reminds me of how pretty you always are.” And then spent the next few minutes trying to say it was nice but not that I don’t look nice normally which was amusingly sweet!

Now I just need to find the time to look through the catalogue she left me.  The cleanser she used along with the eye shadow palette are definitely on my want list – hopefully they’ll inspire me to find a few more minutes to devote to making myself feel better in the future and help to hide the suitcases under my eyes that have taken up residence following more than four years of disturbed night times.

Sunday Sevens #2

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my second entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

  1. PuddleometerMaking a Splash

We found these wellie boots for Willow secondhand when she was attracted to the monkeys on the side and have only just noticed the rather fabulous puddleometer on the backs.

Stocking.jpg2. Christmas is coming

I’ve had several conversations with Luke about Christmas recently. Because, you know, it’s March, you’ve got to be prepared.  His main concern, prompted by finding this mini stocking, seems to be that Faith needs a stocking too which is really sweet so I’ll let him off.  But I’ll also make sure we do a better job of clearing every single last piece of Christmas paraphernalia away properly this year.

3. New reading material

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We finally had time to spend our World Book Day tokens this week, popping into Lindum Books in the Bailgate in Lincoln quickly whilst on our way to a playdate.  Luke chose Peppa Loves World Book Day, Willow’s choice was Everyone Loves Underpants and we decided to get the Where’s Wally title too for daddy to share with Faith.

SarahDuckHotelWe were also given a copy of Sarah & Duck Stay at the Duck Hotel by one of Willow’s godmums.  After reading this several times in quick succession, Luke was so determined to visit the Duck Hotel himself he and Willow started packing their Trunkis in preparation.  Who wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel where there’s a slide directly connection your room to the swimming pool?

4. #BookEngland

I took part in a Twitter # hour hosted by Brit Mums and Visit England this week focusing on the literary holidays the country has to offer to staycationers.  #BookEngland was a delightful conversation with fellow reading enthusiasts and reminded me of places I’d already been pre-minis that I’d like to go back to with them, as well as suggesting new places to go.  Seven Stories in Newcastle, The World of Beatrix Potter, Swallows and Amazons locations were just a few.  Through the tweets I also discovered that Lincolnshire’s Belton House is hosting a Moondial exhibition this year in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Helen Cresswell’s novel.  And now, through a friend’s Facebook page, I’ve also discovered there’s The Story Museum in Oxford which looks fab and is another one to add to the list!

5. Viral interview

I don’t believe anyone can have failed to see the BBC interview where South Korea expert Professor Robert Kelly was upstaged by his family antics.  If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock this week then Google it – it’s hilarious and endearing.  But also make sure to check out some of their follow up interviews as they highlight what such a lovely family they seem to be in slightly less panicked circumstances.  Isn’t it nice that the chaos of ordinary family life has stolen the headlines at least for a few days?  And I’m sure a few of us know a lot more about the situation in Korea than we otherwise would have…

6. Road signs 

roundaboutLuke’s nursery asked us to take photos of road signs when we’re out and about as his group expressed an interest in what they mean whilst they were taking part in another activity.  This was two or three weeks ago.  We’re still taking photos of road signs now.  It’s nice that he’s taking his homework seriously but our March 2017 family photo albums are going to look a little weird…

7. The Mini Malpi blog on tour

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Many thanks to Sarah Hogan who is in the process of launching The Mummy’s Movement for featuring my blog Loving a designer label as a guest blog on her website.

“Being a busy Mum can be a bit isolating sometimes and we don’t want you to feel like that anymore.  Join The Mummy’s Movement” she writes on the Facebook group – and you’re all welcome to join too!

And don’t forget World Down’s Syndrome Day is on Tuesday!

 

SundaySevens