A will be turning 11 next week. She’s never been one for big parties or a lot of fuss and didn’t know what she wanted to do this year, so when my work colleague offered me a free photographic studio session (that she had won in a school raffle and would not use) I jumped at the chance. The session was for a makeover and photo shoot and she could take a friend. The first friend she asked was not able to make it so next on the list was new friend, S. We were told that the girls would have half an hour each for hair and make=up and then an hour with the photographer for the photo shoot, during which they could wear different outfits. An 11 year old girls dream. (Well, probably wouldn’t have been mine but I’m not the one in the picture here).
Yesterday was the day of the big event. The two girls have been getting very excited and busy planning outfits and wondering what it would be like. I picked them up from school and we headed to Willows Farm Village where the studio is based. They were very quiet in the car – too excited to speak? Nervous maybe. We were a little early (who? me? never?) and the girls had a quick muffin and drink while we waited. I’m not sure why but food always offers a nice reprieve from a bit of a wait so I was glad that I was armed with refreshments. The girls perked up a bit and became a bit more chatty but I was getting worried that it would be a bit of a low-key photo shoot if they carried on like this. The photographer introduced himself and then they were taken through to a little room to get their makeovers. The lovely young lady that was in charge of making them (even more) gorgeous got to work on A and curled her hair into long wavy tresses and then applied some very natural but noticeable make-up. She looked so grown up! Then it was S’s turn and she opted for the same look but with their very different colouring (A is fair and blonde and S is dark and exotic) they made a great contrast. But they were still very quiet. It was such an alien experience for them (and me!) I think they were a little bewildered and subdued.
Next stop the photo studio where the photographer perused their outfits and agreed with them what they should wear so that they complemented each other in the shots. Music was put on – The Vamps (of course!) – and they got ready. As soon as the changing room curtain was closed around them to get ready, the chattering started and they were soon in full strength pre-teen mode. Why was I even vaguely worried? They emerged from behind the curtain and they looked fabulous. All legs and hair and cool clothes. The photographer began with some shots of them together to get them used to being in front of the camera and they were very quickly posing away with hands on hips and big smiles. It was fun and easy and they were brilliant. He made them laugh with silly jokes but treated them like the bright girls that they are and asked them what they thought of different ideas.
They changed outfits – dresses this time (S’s mum works for Monsoon and S had an amazing fifties-style tea dress which looked beautiful; my girl was slightly more understated – I wonder where she gets that from? – but looked equally lovely in a dip-dye denim tunic) with bows in their hair and bare feet. Different poses and more smiling. Nothing too grown up: just good fun and some lovely moments. Another outfit change and some different background colours; a wind machine and some silly faces – grumpy, cross, happy, goofy, pouty. They loved it. It was all over too soon but I suspect there will be lots of amazing pictures and it will be hard to choose just one or two.
I felt positively ancient sitting opposite these two glamorous girls whilst they ate their McDonalds “treat” tea, with their lovely, glowing faces. I don’t let A wear make-up very often, and then only a flash of mascara and some lip-balm, so this was a real treat for her. I have to admit that I didn’t like her looking so grown up and felt a little bit sad that she looked so much older than she is. But, it was only for a few hours and it was all washed off at bedtime. She was pretty horrified when she saw how much came off on the cotton wool pads, and I don’t think she will be nagging me for blusher or eye-shadow just yet.
It was a great experience and they talked non-stop on the way home, and I suspect they will continue talking about it for some time to come.