On a very warm Friday at the beginning of July I stood at the train station with a nervous knot in my stomach. Waving goodbye to my children for 4 blissful days away was actually the easiest part. Ha! Having spent the week prior stressing a million times over what I was going to pack or wear, bought an entire new wardrobe ( I mean I couldn’t turn up dressed like a mum could I?). My anxiety raging like a fire, worrying I'd miss my train, get lost, lose my suitcase/ camera bag, face plant the pavement , get drunk on the first evening or do anything that generally made me look stupid in front of new people.
Now although leaving the kids was easiest decision, actually investing in myself felt like I’d taken the biggest step ever. I must have looked on the He(art) of Home website at least 30 times. I continually stalked Yas , Clare, and the He(art) of Home Instagram pages for months. Despite my initial reactions of “ Oh I can’t spend that much money on me“ something kept drawing me back to it. I know I needed to be brave and take a big step. The step that I hoped was going to change the course of my photography business forever. But I the back of my mind I was saying to myself “What on earth am I doing booking onto a workshop with 12 other women I didn’t know?” I was going to be staying in a house in London with all these new people, sharing a bed with someone I didn’t know?( my choice there are private rooms and shared rooms available) ?! Really? I would be putting myself out there not only for a PUBLIC portfolio review but an afternoon of live shooting I front of all these incredible photographers 😳What was I thinking?!?!?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was happy with my photography and proud of where I managed to get all by myself In just a year. But there was something missing. I wasn’t really sure what it was. I knew from looking at the images that both the incredible photographers (Yas and Clare ) who were running the workshop and the all the all the photographers who had attended in 2018 were producing I could see I was going to benefit hugely from the workshop.
As working mum’s I think we don’t like to invest in ourselves. Although all the signs pointed to this being the absolute right choice something was niggling in the back of my head which I couldn’t get rid of. Could I really spend that much money on myself and benefit from it?
To help me make my decision I turned to one of the attendees from the 2018 workshop and asked her for really honest feedback from her time there. We had built up a little bit of a relationship over Instagram over the last few months so I knew she would understand where I was in my business and be able to give her honest feedback . She absolutely agreed that it would be the best thing for me to do. That was the last sign I needed. I contacted Clare right away to ask about places available. To stop myself from backing out I’d booked within 24 hours of that initial contact with Clare. I knew that if I faulted at any point then that niggling voice in the back of my head would’ve told me not to do it. Boy I’m glad I took the plunge!
On that Friday but I left with a mixture of butterflies of excitement and nerves. I couldn’t wait to get to the house, yet I was really scared to knock on the door at the same time. Thankfully for me when I arrived another attendee was just about to knock on the door . So there we were, two strangers, both about to walk in to something totally unknown, but both totally unaware about how our lives are about to change.
I could write pages and pages about my experience there. I could talk about the delicious food all lovingly prepared by the wonderful Agi, the free-flowing wine, the vibe, the stomach hurting belly laughter. I could talk about the incredible house, the way we were all totally immersed in all things photography, how well organised everything was. I could even tell you all about How Yas and Clare had thought of every last detail...But I won’t just trust me all of those things are there.
But I want to talk about is what I personally gained from my time at the workshop. I went with what I thought was a clear vision of what I needed to take away from the time with them. My biggest surprise in the whole weekend was that what I thought I needed I didn’t and what I didn’t know I needed was exactly what Yas and Clare managed to give to me.
I didn’t know I needed a tribe of women photographers who I could call on any point of the day just rant or for some advice ( thanks to our wonderful WhatsApp group). I didn’t know that I would gain more confidence in my abilities than I ever thought possible. I didn’t know that being surrounded by 12 other incredibly passionate, like minded women with a love of photography. How they would ignite the biggest fire in my belly and allow me to take my business to the next level. As someone who doesn’t always see what others see in me somehow, Yas and Clare somehow managed to instil more confidence in me in three days, than anybody has been able to for me in my entire life time.
We learnt so much in such a short time our brains ached every evening. I didn’t even know I was capable of learning so much. How they managed to cram so much in I’ll never know. They don’t hold back , they give you everything you need. The tools that Yas and Clare give you to takeaway are the most valuable things I’ve ever invested in.
I can honestly say that that weekend changed my life, I know I know, you think I’m exaggerating. Honestly though, it was without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done. My mum even commented that I came back looking happier than I’ve ever done from a week in the sun.
I can’t thank Yas and Clare enough. I will forever be indebted to them and hope that I can give back to them by pushing my business to the next level and showing them just what incredible mentors they are.
If you’re reading this because you are considering booking onto He(art) of Home for 2020 and beyond my advice to you is- DO IT! Don’t falter, It will sell out. I promise you I was you eight months ago booked to attend HoH 2019. If something is calling inside you and you want to achieve more this is the course for you.
Thank you so much Yas and Clare I had the best weekend, so much so I hardly took any BTS photos!