Yesterday our secret mermaid project was published and we can tell you all about it!
Back in March we were contacted by Emma, the Beauty Editor at M&S to ask us if we wanted to be involved in a beauty photo shoot for the M&S ‘Inspire Me’ section of their website. Emma said they loved our Instagram account and wanted to us road test some of their products to see if they help with some of the common problems that open water swimmers encounter – you know dry skin, stringy hair, chipped nail polish etc. We thought this sounded like excellent fun and we didn’t think it would be too serious (little did we know) so we readily agreed.
We exchanged emails and had a chats with Emma in advance and she kindly sent us some of their products to try out. During our conversations with Emma we realised that this photo shoot might be slightly more serious that we had imagined so it was with a dawning sense of in-trepidation that we arrived for an 8.30am ‘call time’ at Hillingdon Lido one Friday in late April and met the 15 or so crew for the shoot.
Our day started with fittings with the fashion director Nicole who had a short list of costumes for us to try before we went into hair with Gow (I got a free haircut along the way), make-up with the lovely Lisa and treat of all treats getting our nails painted by Emma. Nail polish is pretty much the only make up we wear on a regular basis. The costumes selected were a mix of beach wear ones with some more sport ones which we could swim laps in.
Once we were dressed and made up and with our hair in beachy waves it was outside for our first shots. My (Katie) first shot was walking up and down some steps into the water and Manda’s was sitting on the side with her legs in the water. All the crew were wrapped up warm (the weather was not great to say the least) but we are hardy open water swimmers (mostly) so we were fine! Everyone was super patient with us even though I am sure we were cr8p as models! After our outside shots we had our ‘beauty’ shots using some of the products before the final shot of jumping into the water. The poor photographer Nicky had to get into the water to take this one!
Hillingdon Lido was a lovely venue. The lido itself is a 50m unheated art deco style pool with a very vintage feel. The sports complex also has an indoor 50m modern pool which we didn’t swim in but which looked good. We would certainly recommend it for locals in the area. I can’t see us making too many trips there ourselves, however, given it took us about 1 hour 45 minutes to get there and that there are so many great lidos much closer to us.
The focus of the shoot was on beauty products which help with all our open water swimming related wows. Our absolutely favourite new product we have discovered as part of the shoot is Ameliorate Transforming Body Cream. This is a luscious body cream with lactic acid to help smooth out bumpy skin. This was perfect for sorting out our dry post swimming skin and we would definitely purchase this again.
We also loved Leighton Denny Crystal Top Coat. We love painting our nails but with young children we don’t have lots of time and it is important to have a top coat which dries quickly. This Leighton Denny top coat is a quick dryer.
Before the shoot we had no idea how much effort and energy goes into organising something like this and it was such a fun thing to be part of. Thank you M&S for inviting us! Now if only I was 5 stone lighter, Manda was 5 inches taller and we were both 20 years younger we might have a new career…