Last minute Christmas gift idea – give a voucher for a Pamper and Pose photoshoot

There’s still time to buy a gift voucher for  a portrait mini-session with Lisa Marie Gee Photography at the special pre-Christmas price of just £45 for a 30 minute photoshoot and a framed A4 print. Vouchers are valid for six months and make a thoughtful and unusual Christmas gift. Orders received by midnight on Friday will be sent out by first class post, or hand delivered if you are local to Oldham. Local deliveries and email vouchers can be bought right up until Christmas Eve.

Sessions can be booked for individual portraits, children and families and can take place at home or out on location. Packages may be upgraded at any time after the voucher is purchased and additional prints and photo gift products may be ordered after the photoshoot.

Click on any of the images below and add to basket to purchase your voucher. Please include the recipient details in the delivery instructions and specify whether you would like the voucher emailed or sent out. For deliveries local to the Oldham area you can even have your voucher framed in the A4 frame that comes as part of the package.

 

2013 – That Was The Year That Was

It’s that time of year when people like to look backwards over the year and process what it meant, what was achieved and take stock as we move into the start of a New Year. I’m no different, so here’s a little look back at 2013, Pamper and Pose style:

2013 was a landmark year, both for Pamper and Pose and for myself personally. Looking back I think that for the first half of the year I drifted along, working mostly as a makeup artist and lacking much in the way of drive or vision. Now, I think that I was feeling frustrated. What I wanted to do was to develop (excuse the pun) the photography side of my business, but I lacked confidence and self-belief, having been badly put down by photographers I knew.

And then something happened. Call it fate, serendipity, or the universe lending me a helping hand, depending on what you believe. What happened was that Welshot Photographic Academy came into my life. I heard that my friend Laura Norrey was modelling for them and before I knew it, one summer evening, I was walking with her into the lions’ den, aka a room full of photographers. I was so nervous that I managed to drop my camera and broke a flash trigger I had borrowed.

But I took a selection of photographs I was proud of that night. The people were welcoming and I learned so much that I couldn’t sleep, I was so excited to get my camera out again. This is one of the photographs I took of Laura that night and for obvious reasons it is one of my favourite images of 2013:

That weekend, itching to create, I set up my studio lights and took a whole load of photographs of my family:

I joined Welshot, couldn’t wait for the next Academy Evening. Under the gentle, parental encouragement of owners Lee Iggulden and Eifion Williams I have spread my photographic wings and tried my hand at low light architectural, street, macro and commercial photography. None of that has any obvious direct link to Pamper and Pose, but the key thing is the way Welshot has boosted my confidence and given me the drive, no, a need, to constantly be learning more. And I do, all the time, from the Welshot team and from the many members I now count as friends.

It gave me the confidence to strike out on my own when I had always worked in partnership before. I redesigned and rebuilt this website, introducing these two little chaps, a creation I made to amuse my children, but which ended up as the mascots for Pamper and Pose.

Photographing children remains my first love and is central to what I do at Pamper and Pose. In the last couple of months I have done makeover photoshoot parties all over Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire. I absolutely love the fun we have. And last month I finally plucked up the courage to hold a family photoshoot day. It was a great success and I photographed six lovely families that day. I plan to do more of them, and soon.

When I look back at how far I’ve come during 2013 I am very excited to find out how much I can learn and how much I can achieve in 2014. I would like to put on public record my thanks and appreciation to those who supported, encouraged and believed in me this year. So, to my family, especially my husband and my Mum; to my lovely friends, especially Julie Crowley of Clear Mind, who coaches and supports me; and to my new Welshot family I will raise a glass and toast you at midnight.

A very Happy New Year to everyone who reads this, and to everyone who has worked with me, used my services or in any way supported me this year. You have all helped to make Pamper and Pose the fun business that it is. I can’t wait to see where 2014 will take us.

Facial Friday – Home Made Calming Face Mask

© Taratata | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Taratata | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I promised in my post on Tuesday that I would post a recipe for a home made face mask to calm redness and irritation caused by freezing cold weather and warm central heating. I am a great fan of making skincare products at home. You can make very effective treatments very simply and cheaply from ingredients you will find in most kitchens. The added bonus is that you know for certain that there are no chemical nasties going near your skin. Everything you put on your face is actually edible, even the finished recipe. And by the way, it smells delicious too.

 

So here’s a very simple recipe to start you off:

 

Honey and Oatmeal Calming Face Mask

 

© Bravadoben | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Bravadoben | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

1tbsp natural yoghurt

1tbsp honey

1tbsp oatmeal

half teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Mix the ingredients together. Apply to the face and leave for up to half an hour. Put your feet up and relax while the mask works its magic. Yoghurt and oatmeal are both very soothing and great at calming redness, while honey and nutmeg are natural anti-inflammatories. If your skin is exceptionally dry then try adding a glug of olive oil to the mix. As well as being moisturising, it doesn’t clog the pores and is excellent for repairing damaged skin.

 

Even though the face mask is all natural, there is still a small chance you could suffer a reaction to one or more of the ingredients, so if there are signs of irritation, such as stinging or severe itching, wash the mask off immediately and cover your face with a cloth soaked in cool water.

 

I hope to start publishing skincare recipes ans products every Friday, so please subscribe if you would like to read them, along with my skin, hair and makeup tips on Tipsday Tuesdays. And if you give the mask a try please give me some feedback, I’d love to know what you all think. Thanks for reading and happy experimenting!

 

 

Tipsday Tuesday – How to protect your skin from the arctic weather.

© Cinjenkins | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Cinjenkins | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

 

Ok, so technically it is Spring and we ought to be starting to get our skin ready to be unwrapped for Summer. But in reality we are shivering in arctic temperatures. Icy winds and snow can play havoc with your skin, especially when you are regularly alternating between freezing weather and ramped up central heating. The heat and cold might give you attractive, rosy cheeks, but it is also incredibly drying. If your skin is already on the dry side you may find it becomes itchy, inflamed and even flaky. Here is a Pamper and Pose recommendation for what to do, and not to do, to protect your skin.

DO take extra care to moisturise your skin when the weather is bad. An easy way to do this is to temporarily swap your usual day moisturiser for your night cream. Even simpler, add a drop of olive oil to your usual moisturiser and apply. Depending on how dry your skin is you may need to do this daily, every other day, or maybe just once a week as a treat for your skin. A once or twice weekly nourishing face mask will do wonders. Check back here on Friday for my Friday Facial post, when I will share a recipe for a lovely home-made face treatment that will reduce redness and inflammation while restoring much-needed moisture to your skin without clogging the pores.

© Alainjuteau | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Alainjuteau | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

You should also keep your lips protected with a good quality moisturising lipstick (look out for vitamin E), or lip balm. But DON’T use petroleum jelly. As the name suggests, it is a by-product of petrol oil. Mineral oil, unlike plant oils, sits on top of your skin and is not absorbed. It will form an efficient barrier, but it won’t moisturise your skin and you will find that the more you use it, the dryer your skin will become. Look out instead for products with olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and beeswax.

This is the first in a new series of blog posts entitled Tipsday Tuesday. Check back every Tuesday for topical makeup, hair or skin care tips.

Gabrielle’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Birthday Party

DSC03283

 

You would think as the self-proclaimed pamper party queen that my own little girl’s birthday party would be a doddle. Indeed, last year’s party was very simple. A fairy princess pamper party and photoshoot. A doddle, if a little noisy. But this year when I broached the subject of her birthday party, Gabrielle hung her head and said, sheepishly: “I don’t want a pamper party this year Mummy.”

It was like a dagger to the heart to be told the parties you do for a living are not good enough for your own, but as it turned out the reason she didn’t want another pamper party was because she wanted to invite boys. Big sigh of relief followed by several weeks of worry. What on earth was I going to do for a party that would a) live up to last year’s and b) compete with all the other parties she gets invited to.

Eventually we hit upon a chocolate theme, inspired by  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (one of Gabrielle’s favourite films). I didn’t want to be tied rigidly to the film as a theme, it would be more of a general chocolate and sweetie party. But we did start out with golden ticket invitations, wrapped inside ‘Wonka’ chocolate bars.

 

2013-01-07 22.50.10 2013-01-07 22.33.04

 

I decorated the table with all sorts of sweets and goodies, including two chocolate fountains, and dressed the room with balloons and giant lollipops.

 

 

photocrati gallery

 

Even the birthday cake was overloaded with chocolate. DSC03202

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decorated another room as a disco party room with fairy lights, pink drapes, giant sweets, a disco light and a bubble machine.

 

DSC03218 DSC03226
DSC03227 DSC03231

 

I split the guests into two groups and while half played party games in the disco room, the other group made mini chocolate pizzas and jelly bear sweets in the kitchen.

 

DSC03213 DSC03250
DSC03251 DSC03248

 

The chocolates and sweets were put in the fridge to set and we all gathered round the table for tea. There was only one rule: everyone must have sandwiches before diving in to the chocolate fountains.

 

photocrati gallery

 

With the food out of the way there was just time for everyone to have a bit of fun with all the props in the Pamper and Pose Photobooth, before the parents arrived.

 

DSC03284 DSC03285-2 DSC03286
DSC03294 DSC03293 DSC03290

 

Each child took home a ‘swag’ bag containing the goodies they made, a slice of birthday cake and their choice from the selection of sweets and biscuits on the table. Everyone left in one piece and smiling. I hope that none of the children were sick once they got home 😉

 

 

 

Something Beautiful 4/1/13 – Handmade Angel

I have made a start on putting the Christmas decorations away. This always makes me a bit sad. So it seemed fitting that today’s Something Beautiful should be the angel who has been gracing the top of our Christmas tree. It makes me smile every time I look at it and I wanted to post a photo before it gets packed carefully away for the next 48 weeks or so.

 

Flynn's Angel
Flynn’s Angel

 

The reason why my little paper and glitter angel is so special is that it is the first thing that my three-year-old, Flynn, has made for me. He goes to playschool now, but he’s not one for sitting down and making things for me. I know that there will have been a fair amount of persuasion and coercion involved to get him to sit still long enough to make it. And I’m well aware that his contribution to the overall design and finish will have been minimal.  But he was so excited when he brought it home and presented it to me, and his little face beamed with pride when I lifted him up to place at on the top of the Christmas tree.

 

I shall pack it away carefully and bring it out again next Christmas. Flynn won’t even remember it. But I will.

 

This is the third post in a series I am calling Something Beautiful. The initial post, that explains what it is all about, is here. I would love others to join in and maybe we can change the way we view the world, just a little bit. Post your own beautiful things on my Pamper and Pose Facebook page.

 

 

New Year New You? Small Resolutions Can Lead to Big Changes.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a good festive period. Mine was fairly quiet, spent with my family, which is just how I like it.

 

New Year's Eve, Gee style.

New Year’s Eve, Gee style.

So now it’s 2013 and it’s back to work for most of us, so what now? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? I have. It is no secret that the last few years have been a struggle for me, I have blogged before about my battles with depression. Yesterday, fired up by the New Year (and the New Year’s Eve alcohol)  I boldly announced that 2013 is going to be the year that I get strong, get well, get fit and build a successful business.

 

Woah Neddy! That’s a rather massive resolution to make.  Anyone else pledged to make huge life changes? Are you now wondering where to start? Small steps, that’s the key. As I was sitting in the conservatory this morning with the first coffee of the day I started to get overwhelmed by the height of the mountain I have to climb. That’s the thing about those of us who suffer with depression and anxiety, we tend to get easily overwhelmed by tasks. We need to break big problems down into small, manageable steps in order to make progress.

 

So, as I gazed out of the window at the grey and drizzly day, I started to feel sad. Lots of posts on Twitter and Facebook from people fed up at going back to work today. But then I spotted a small thing of beauty – a spider’s web covered in tiny little droplets of rain. I grabbed my camera and here it is:

 

Spider's web

Even on a flat day, when all the celebrations are over, when everyone is going back to work and when the weather is grey, miserable and damp, you can still find small things of beauty. So my plan is to open my eyes and every day look for something beautiful. I might photograph it and I might share it. I might not. Let’s not make any rash promises eh? 😉 But I will at least look for it and take a mental note.

 

I reckon it will help me to have a positive outlook on life and that has to be a major plus point when you are trying to defeat the black dog.  Why don’t you join me? Just try to find one beautiful thing to be grateful for every day. It could be something big, it could be something small. I might start a post on my Facebook page and invite people to share their finds. It can’t hurt can it? And you know what they say. From little acorns………..

 

Happy New Year everyone. May 2013 be a great one for us all.

 

 

Grab a silly hat, pull a funny face and say “CHEESE!!”

I am delighted and very excited to announce the latest, newest and quite probably the most fun Pamper and Pose service so far – the Circus Big Top Photo Studio.

Add some fun and originality to your party or event by hiring our mobile photobooth style studio, packed full of fun props for you and your guests to pose with. Take your pick from our selection of wigs, hats, glasses, moustaches, boas and props galore and say “cheese” for the camera. Be as silly as you like, we dare you!

Our Big Top is bigger than the photobooths run by other companies, so we can accommodate several people at a time.

 

We also add the personal touch by providing a ‘real life’ photographer to man the studio at all times and help you choose your props and poses.

 

The big top adds a fun twist to any party and is particularly popular for wedding receptions. It is also a great fun and highly original entertainment for children’s parties. We can provide props to suit the theme of your event and we guarantee that your guests will love it!

 

 

We offer fully inclusive packages so that you know exactly what you are getting and there are no nasty surprises. This includes:

  • Unlimited visits to the studio throughout the hire period.
  • All the images on disc.
  • Design of the photos to include your name, event details or company branding.
  • An online gallery where all your guests can view their images and purchase a range of photo gifts.
  • Free upload to a Facebook gallery so guests can tag themselves and share images.
  • Free setting up and dismantling of the Circus Big Top.
  • Props to suit the theme of your event.

For more information about availability, packages and prices give Lisa a call on 0161 300 6224 or fill in the contact form.

What World Mental Health Day means to me.

Today is World Mental Health Day, a day when particular effort is made to highlight a range of conditions that will affect one in four of us at some point during our lives. It is a difficult issue to promote due to the stigma that is still attached to it. How ridiculous in these modern times when pretty much any sort of (legal) lifestyle choice is deemed acceptable, that suffering from an illness should be something to be ashamed of?

 

I have been ashamed. Yes, I am the one in four. I want to be the sort of person who courageously stands up and fights mental health prejudice, but a lot of the time I don’t. I don’t do it because I am scared of the consequences. I am scared that I will be judged. Judged as a friend, as a business woman, a wife and, more than all of those, as a mother. I know that my children suffer because of the black clouds that often surround me. I don’t need to be worrying that people are pointing the finger. There’s no need. I already think I’m a bad mother, that’s part of this horrible disease depression. It makes you doubt your every ability.

 

Several days each month I get up feeling like I should give up my business, that I am rubbish at what I do and will always be so. I have spent my entire career feeling like I have pulled the wool over people’s eyes and that any moment now I am going to be unmasked as a fraud. I felt like that throughout my previous career in newspaper journalism, through my progression to PR as I climbed the ladder in the press office of one of the country’s best-known charities, from regional press officer to senior press officer at HQ. I was so afraid of being ‘found out’ for being useless that when a new, bullying, boss came along I ended up having a nervous breakdown.

 

I became a child again, moving back in to the family home, and it took my family (particularly my amazing Mum) two years to put me back together again. I suppose you want to know why I am telling you all this? Because I want to show that there is a positive side to mental illness. Can’t see it? Well then, let me explain why having that breakdown was the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Without it I would still be slogging away at a high-powered career, working up to 12 hours a day with no time for relationships and little in the way of a social life. Instead, I have a husband, two beautiful children and my own business. I have a great set of friends, some of whom probably had no idea until now about my 20 year battle with depression. To an outsider it may look like I have nothing to be depressed about. And that is exactly the point. There are people with far more going for them than I have who spend their lives battling their own private demons. None of us choose depression, it chooses us.

 

Depression is an illness like any other and we should not be ashamed to admit to it. I have mountains of admiration for the high profile celebrities who have recently talked so openly about their own battles. People like Denise Welch, Stephen Fry, Alistair Campbell, Nicole Kidman, David Walliams, Will Young and Stan Collymore. A couple of weeks ago Dame Kelly Holmes bravely revealed on national television that she had self-harmed and considered suicide. She is an Olympic champion! So, I figure  we ‘one in fours’ are in illustrious company.

 

The more high profile people who stand up to be counted the sooner this ridiculous stigma will be banished for good. It makes it a little easier for mere mortals like myself to quietly whisper from my corner: “Actually, me too!” I still suffer, the black clouds descended again after the birth of my son and they have still not lifted. I am coming to terms with the fact that I will never be completely rid of them and I will probably have to take medication for the rest of my life. But you  know what? If that’s what it takes then so be it. It is only the same as taking daily medication for diabetes or thyroid problems.

 

Why should I be ashamed of something that has made me the person I am and got me where I am today? Yes, I have much to be thankful for. And hopefully one day in the not too distant future I will be able to feel that as well as know it.

Life has a funny way of reminding you what’s important….

I have written before about the eternal juggling act that is combining motherhood with starting and building up a business. It was brought into focus for me on Friday when I received a sharp reminder that whatever happens my children will always come first.

 

I was in the middle of a huge ‘to do’ list on Friday when I received a call from my five-year-old daughter’s school. She had earache and wanted to come home, could I possibly collect her please? My first reaction was to be really disgruntled that I had so much to do and my work was being disrupted. I had just got myself a coffee too!

 

I got to school and collected a tearful Gabrielle. By now I had formulated a plan that involved me tucking her up on the settee with some treats and a DVD so that I could carry on with my work and my day wouldn’t be a total write-off. I thought this was a great plan, but Gabrielle had other ideas. I got her into the car and set off home. But when I turned to look at her she was deathly pale and basically unconscious. When I tried to rouse her she just mumbled at me, her eyes rolling in the back of her head.

 

To my intense relief she was back with me after only a few seconds, although it felt much longer, and I drove her straight to the emergency doctor, all thoughts of work banished from my mind. It transpired she had a sky high temperature, caused by a viral infection. She had showed none of the usual signs of having a temperature. We mothers know the signs. I’m not a ‘helicopter’ mummy and I’m not one to panic in a crisis, but I don’t mind admitting I was shaken to my core.

 

Of course, as any mummy knows, as soon as a dose of infant paracetamol kicked in and brought down her temperature, she was pretty much back to her usual self. I wasn’t though. I had been reminded where my priorities lie. This weekend I have spent lots of time with my Gabrielle and only worked when she and her brother were in bed. This morning I am back at my desk working and she has gone back to school. She’s fine, but I’m still feeling a little emotional. Several times over the weekend I have caught sight of my lovely girl and been reminded how beautiful she is to me.

 

As a snapper specialising in photographing children, I take way more pictures of my Gabrielle than I do of anyone else. I never tire of taking her photograph. A couple of years ago I made a little video of my best photos of her. It still brings a lump to my throat every time I watch it. Now seemed like a good time to update it with some of the many photographs I have taken since. So here it is and here she is……my beautiful Gabrielle, set to the song that gave her her name. Gabrielle, always know that however busy I am, however hard I am working, it is all for you and your brother. You are my world.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaS6sKaZDBc