The JD Williams spring campaign is live!

Yes, after much nattering on from me, I can at last share some of the final shots from the spring campaign which has now gone live. Watch the TV advert here. Paulina and I weren't used in the commercial this time, but can be seen over the social media campaign.

If you recall, this was day two of filming at the Dairy Shed just a 20 minute drive outside Cape Town. This was the middle of the day and the temperature was in the early 30's.

The wedding scene was set against this fabulous floral archway with all of the cast wearing pale pink and nude outfits. 

When the filming was done the stills photographer Elisabeth Hoff stepped in to take my shots. Once again it has to be said what a privilege it is to be photographed by Elisabeth. If you check out her profile you'll see that she's very much the photographer of the moment with recent subjects being Mary Berry, Marco Pierre White, Emma Willis and Davina McCall, to name a few. Elisabeth is making her name as a modern day David Bailey.

Elisabeth gives strong direction, thank goodness, and yet also helps to relax her subject with a great playlist. I have a funny clip on my phone of me drifting off into a bit of a reverie when the music had me dancing and singing as if I was on a music video - Elisabeth soon brought me back into the moment! 

The brief video above (working or not?) is from the JD Williams Instagram feed and can also be seen here

And so, back to reality. I've returned from my short trip to the mainland. Storm Gareth tried his best to disrupt my plans, but I arrived on the mainland, diverted to Newquay instead of Land's End and was slightly shaken not stirred from the flight. I had an appointment at the hospital for a bone density scan and will get the results anon. So what on earth did I manage to do with myself for the rest of the time? Shop, I can hear you all shout out. And shop I did! Below is a veritable rainbow collection of shoes, boots and separates to bulk out my already busting-at-the-seams wardrobe. When the big seasonal clothes changeover takes place I'll be turfing out the least worn pieces to go the next charity event locally.

The jacket from Primark (£15) matches a pair of trousers I bought recently and will make a fabulous summer suit.

The brand is Boohoo, price £7.99 and was a TK Maxx find.

Topshop had a sale on... these were reduced from £42 to £20.

Another TK Maxx scoop - River Island trousers at £9.99 instead of the ticket price of £40.

The New Look sale this time, and these sandals were £8 from £22.99.

TK Maxx again and the brand is Vera Moda, price £9.99.

A culotte jumpsuit by Spense, found at TK Maxx for £24.99.

Another TK Maxx bargain, from Zara at £15.

Ethnic print trousers from TK Maxx £12.99.

Topshop jumper reduced from £25 to £10.

Topshop polo shirt reduced from £15 to £9.

Various vest tops in the Topshop sale for £2.50 each.

New Look sandals reduced from £22.99 to £11.

Paint splattered deck shoes by Sioux Grasshopper at TK Maxx £20.

Stradavarius jumper from TK Maxx £5.99.

Black patent boots from Topshop reduced from £70 to £35.

White kitten heel boots from New Look £7 from £25.99.

Frida Kahlo tee shirt from Primark at £6.

Yes, this was me in the changing rooms at Topshop seeing what the camera had to say about this outfit. It said yes, obviously!

It's great to be back home again, back to work where Polly and I are still licking the gallery into shape as the first trickle of customers come in to see us. I'll be back soon with some work outfits made from these new separates. I hope you've enjoyed this image heavy feature and look forward to seeing you again next time!

                                                                                         Anna x


Trip of a lifetime - part four

The first day of filming in Cape Town for the JD Williams shoot took place here on location at The Castle of Good Hope. The fortress is a National Monument which dates back to 1666 and is the oldest existing Colonial building in South Africa.

Evon and I had been picked up at 4.30am and arrived when light had barely broken. She and I were the first to be called for shooting - she for TV, me for Content, which I had learnt was the name given for anything that wasn't TV ie. social media, magazines, etc.

The sun rose and quickly the courtyards within the fortification became like melting pots capturing and holding the early sunlight. I was photographed in shade initially, but the second shoot for me was in full sunlight. I had my own personal brolly holder who came to shade me between shots. 

This was my spot.

And this was my backdrop. At the time we were shooting there was no shadow for me to take refuge in. My biggest worry was that the heat was melting my lipstick almost as soon as it was applied!

After my shots, I got changed and Louise and I did a bit of personal photography for our Instagram stories. I definitely could do with some lessons from her with regards to posing as she is such a blooming natural. Maybe that's the answer though, just to be natural.

Louise Boyce has been modelling for 20 years and most of those for JD Williams as part of their stable of full time models. She is a consummate professional who is also blessed with the most amazing bone structure and perfect teeth - she's everything we have come to expect in a model. Best of all, she's very down to earth and approachable. I did quite a bit of hanging out with her on this trip, including a very long breakfast where she shared her (now revealed) secret that she was 12 weeks pregnant. No-one could have guessed as she was fit as a flea and able to work the long hours needed to get the shots. See her blog here - Mamastillgotit

I sometimes worry that my constant gushing negates the validity of my comments, but I shall forge on regardless. Elisabeth Hoff was the photographer who captured my likenesses on this shoot. I'm unashamedly suffering a girl-crush about this woman. I did, at one point, shout across a crowded dining table that she reminded me of my Sindy doll who was the most beautiful thing in the world to my childhood self. My grown up self loves this living Sindy doll with as much fondness. Elisabeth is a total perfectionist in her art, and as such isn't to be messed with. Her entourage ran, fetched and carried at her bidding, aware that magic was in the making. She made me feel at my ease, saying the right things at just the right moment, helping my anxieties to melt away. She even stepped in at one point to disagree about an outfit that had been chosen for me as she didn't feel it reflected who I am, refusing to photograph me. She then rifled through wardrobe, pulling together something that was indeed totally me. I can't wait to see the shots.

Inside, more magic was being spun around the next wave of models. Hair being styled and sprayed and make-up skillfully applied to enhance all that nature has bestowed.

And this is where the technical stuff happened. Orchestrating all of the different shots from the filming was the production team, overseen by the client. It's just as you've seen, "Quiet, please. Action!" ringing out, time after time until the take is in the bag. 

In between shots, we all found ways to while away the time. I had taken a book to read - "Bonkers: My Life in Laughs" by Jennifer Saunders which was brilliant and totally absorbing. I must admit that the whole, Dahling, Luvvie thing became quite infectious and something that I played up terribly on the final morning at breakfast when our large table of models was being visited by stylists as they came to say their goodbyes. We were being watched (blatantly so, in fact) by a couple nearby, and so just to give them full value for their money, I switched onto full Ab Fab mode, with lots of air kissing and cries of "oh we must work together again dahling, and soon!" - goodness knows if they saw right through it, but they just couldn't keep their eyes off us.

Once all of my shots were done, I made a foray around the castle, dodging into the shadows to get out of the now scorching midday sun. 

I found these plaques honouring the brave men who fell during battles for their countries, all tucked away in this tunnel. The castle is still protected by South African troops who can be seen exercising throughout the day within the castle walls. Filming and photography were interrupted a couple of times as the sound of marching approached and soldiers strode through the middle of the set. 

Being the oldest woman on the set often had me playing the mother hen role, but sometimes I was touched by the kindness of the team as they would keep an eye out for me too. Richie Lattin is Content Director for TBWA Manchester and as such seems to be around quite a lot, filming for social media, organising as well as giving hands-on help with the set, overseeing choreography and is very much evident at the happening side of things. He is kind and considerate to me as one might be to an ancient aunt. He understands me and my insecurities, my dance limitations and my readiness to put myself down and yet still believes in me. Unlikely as it is that he may actually read this, I'd still like to say "Thank-you Richie for making me feel comfortable and part of this other-worldly situation".

I do hope that I've not bored you to death with my glorified holiday snaps. I'll be back with part five, the finale, soon and in the meantime I wish you a lovely weekend.

                                                                    Anna x

Created by bo design