My journey with domestic abuse | Mildura Intimate Photography
EVEN before COVID-19 diverted our lives drastically this year, violence against girls and women had reached pandemic proportions.
Worldwide, 243 million girls and women have been abused by an intimate partner in the last 12 months.
Forty percent of these females don't report it or seek help.
For someone who has never experienced domestic violence, it would be easy to shake your head and wonder why.
As someone who has experienced domestic violence. I know why.
As countries implemented lockdown incidences of violence against women increased, in some countries five-fold.
Photo supplied by upsplash.com
Wednesday, November 25 was "International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women". It also signified the start of 16 days of activism to end violence against females.
You may have seen the orange ribbon tied around trees at places like the Langtree Mall or Mildura Base Hospital.
The theme is: Orange the World - Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect.
There are many different types of violence - some more prevalent in our community then others.
Probably most common in our country are domestic violence, which includes economic violence (controlling finances, school or work), emotional violence, physical violence, psychological violence and sexual violence and Digital or Online Violence, which includes cyberbullying, doxing (public release of identifying or private information) and non-consensual sexting.
In Australia, 16 percent of women have experienced physical violence from a partner since they were 15.
More than one million children are impacted by domestic violence.
On average, one woman per week is killed by a current or former partner.
For me, it was that I thought I would struggle to cope without my partner, mainly emotionally and financially.
On top of that, I had conflicting thoughts of the love for my partner, the memories of the good times, when they were "good" and then there was always the promise that he would change.
I know too well how these thoughts can consume and suffocate you - forcing you to stay in a relationship where you are being treated not like you should.
There are many services that can support you locally when domestic violence is involved but even knowing that it was hard to make that first step - daunting, frightening and the unknown.
I like to think I have a small but special group of friends, and family members who have all the care, love and support in the world for me. But still it was a huge step to take.
Photo supplied by upsplash.com
And then one day I had enough. I had enough of being belittled. I had enough of being controlled financially. I had enough of the emotional abuse. I had enough of the name calling. I had enough of being scared and I had enough of walking on egg shells.
Suddenly the unknown was less scary than reality; the life I was then living.
And so I did it. I ended my relationship. I turned to my family and friends, I turned to The Orange Door.
I let go of that control and I trusted, because I believed I deserved more than how I was being treated. I believed my family deserved more than how they were being treated.
I'm not going to lie. It's been challenging, it's been hard. Most days I cry.
There are constantly times when I feel how hard this all is, dealing with all the services when you have a family involved is overwhelming.
I can even understand why people contemplate staying in abusive relationships with how hard separation is made.
But there is that underlying feeling of relief. Relief that I don't have to be subjected to that abuse again. Relief that the only way now is up. I just keep reminding myself I am one step closer to freedom and happiness.
I recognise my past relationship gave me some of the best experiences and times of my life, but I also refuse to let the bad times define who I am today.
I never thought I would be brave enough to break the cycle. I never thought I would be brave enough to say enough is enough. But I made that change.
And if you need to make that change - it all starts with you.
You don't need a referral to call The Orange Door or you can visit their website for further information about their services: https://orangedoor.vic.gov.au
And remember, if you believe your safety is at risk, call 000.
Stevie's Boudoir Photo Shoot | Mildura Intimate Photography
With her striking coloured locks, bombshell curves and sexy pout, I think all of our breath was taken away when we were given a glimpse of Stevie's Boudoir Session.
Stevie absolutely nailed her session, and brought to it a bit of sass, a sultry style, and her favorite boots!
Let's read on about what fears and feelings Stevie overcame during her session and take a look at this Goddess absolutely Slaying her Shoot!
Did you have any obstacles or fears about doing this session?
I’m not a fan of my body
What made you take the leap of faith to do a boudoir session?
How short life truly is.
Did I provide enough pre-session info?
How did you feel BEFORE your session?
How did you like working with my team? Did you love your hair & makeup?
Yes. Absolutely loved them both!
How would you describe the session? (poses, direction, comfort level, thoughts, FEELINGS)
Excellent. Felt comfortable really quickly. Felt good. I loved all the poses.
Was the session different than you expected? If so, how?
Definitely. Was not awkward like I thought it was going to be. And I felt pretty confident in my lingerie in front of someone I hardly knew.
How did you feel AFTER your session?
Happy. Which is rare at the moment.
What was your favorite part?
I loved having my make up done. But I loved the poses in my boots.
What was your least favorite part?
Ahhh I didn’t have one.
Would you ever do another session?
How did you feel when you saw your images?
It felt strange. Like it wasn’t me. But I love them. And I’m so excited to see them all.
Did anything change about the way you see yourself after the session?
I was that bit more confident in myself. Happy I could do that.
Do you have any advice for women considering doing a boudoir session?
Just do it. It’s so worth it. Makes you feel better about yourself! And Lauren is just amazing.
Any final thoughts on your session, or anything you'd like other woman to know?
If you need to feel empowered or need that life lift up, do it. Life is to short not to try it.
Investing in your health - Pure Romance | Mildura Intimate Photography
NOT too dissimilar to Pure Beauty, the company Pure Romance is all about educating, empowering and entertaining females.
When we did a recent shoutout to businesses to support our local women on our Facebook page, Jody Hosking, a Pure Romance consultant commented, and I was interested to know more.
There still seems to be a real shame or stigma surrounding some of what Pure Romance is about - bondage, role-play and sex toys.
Firstly, it's worth noting Pure Romance is about much more then that, as Jody explained. "Most people think Pure Romance is all about lubrication and toys, but those products are actually only 20 percent of what we sell," she said.
"We have many other products ranging from lip balm, moisturisers, shaving cream to sunless tanners.
"There is also massage products which include gloves and oils.
"As a mum it's nice to spoil yourself and our products let you do that, whether it's with some awesome smelling body lotion, hydrating body oil or shaving cream."
But then there is the other side - the side that lets both couples and individuals explore their sexual sides.
"I've found people don't like talking about toys which is disappointing," Jody said.
"Self love and spicing up your love with your partner should be spoken about without shame.
"Sex is a healthy and important part of a persons life."
Recognising just how many people are exploring a more sexual side to themselves, Pure Romance offers flavored lubricants, massage devices and a large array of sex toys.
Jody, who holds Pure Romance parties, hopes her get-togethers encourage conversation between friends and begins to normalise such discussion.
"Some people who are inexperienced at using toys don't know where to start, so having someone that you can talk to can open doors for the inexperienced," she added.
"Part of my Pure Romance journey is education, and this helps us help others."
For more information on Pure Romance, you can join Jody's Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/263559154859049/?ref=share
Dating disasters and Tinder tales ... Part Two | Mildura Intimate Photography
I had organised a date with a guy after meeting him on a dating website.
He turned up, looking nothing like his profile photo. He also had a growth in his eyelid which I couldn't help but watch move every time he blinked.
Pre-Covid I had made plans to grab a bite with a guy I was interested in. We were going to a local restaurant and it had been a while since I had dated so I was extremely nervous. I told my big brother about it and he said he was free that night so suggested keeping an eye on me.
I didn't know that meant locating himself at a table right near where we were seated and giving the guy a death stare all night. It was really uncomfortable and needless to say we didn't go on another date after that.
I had a first (and only date) with a boy I had been chatting to over social media. I was excited as we had really good banter and he was good looking.
I put a lot of effort into my appearance and thought I was looking super cute.
I got to the pub I was meeting him at, and saw him sitting over in the corner.
I went up, introduced myself only to have him reply there must of been a mistake - he was expecting me to be thinner!
Regardless to say I turned on my heel and marched right back out of that pub before unmatching him.
I had been seeing a guy for a little while and I thought things were progressing well.
I suggested one day meeting at the dog park with our pooches and alarm bells started ringing when he told me he wasn't ready for that step in the relationship - for me to meet his dog!
The craze that is OnlyFans | Mildura Intimate Photography
IT'S likely you have heard of OnlyFans before - a British content service by subscription that now has creators and subscribers in every corner of the globe.
For me, I only became aware of it when former Supercars driver Renee Gracie joined, and after declaring she earned a ridiculous amount of money, the media attention was intense.
Recently an anonymous follower posted a question about OnlyFans on the Pure Beauty VIP page.
It was empowering and refreshing to see a number of members were very much in favour of females expressing themselves through means like OnlyFans, if that is what they wanted to do.
Content makers on OnlyFans has drastically spiked lately with the havoc Covid has wreaked. A quick Google search will show creators can make $100,000 a month, although $180 a month is the median.
Given its’ popularity, it is no surprise Pure Beauty was able to find a couple of local creators on the site and we spoke to them to get an insight to find out the role the website has played in their lives.
Ana* turned to OnlyFans in March after the first lockdown happened.
"I lost my job due to Covid and felt like I was desperate for money," Ana said.
"I had seen other women on social media doing similar things and I liked the idea that I could control what content I put up and would not have to do anything I was uncomfortable with."
Ana describes her content as "classy nudes", although there is a range of content available through the website from cooking to feet fetishes to pornography.
Ana's page features a bit of bondage but is primarily photos of her in lingerie.
"Sometimes I will pose nude, but never exposing myself in a way that I would be unhappy with someone that knows me coming across," she said.
"I have been very mindful that what I put on the internet is on the internet forever, and I may not get it back, so I have been very careful not to post anything I might regret later.
"I am quite a creative person, so I feel as though the content that I am posting is art in a way."
A misconception I found after speaking to the two creators, is that people think OnlyFans makes easy and quick money, when in actual fact it couldn't be further from the truth.
We will touch on that further with our second creator, but Ana said she didn't realise at first how much effort and time it takes.
She has, however, really enjoyed building her fan base, talking to fans and getting their feedback.
"Most of the time it’s a real confidence builder for me," she added.
"While it has been a fun and unique experience, I don't think I will do OnlyFans long term.
"Like anything that is exciting and fun at the start, the honeymoon period has worn off and I’m losing a bit of my drive for it after six months."
Ana said some of her family and friends are aware of her account and most were very understanding once she explained it was an art for her and she really enjoyed it.
"I enjoy being open about it to certain people," she added.
"There have been some mixed reactions, some have warned me to be careful of internet predators and others have said ‘power to you’ and they think its great.
"I think once they hear how much money I have made they seem to think it’s a great idea."
There is a portion of people who view OnlyFans as sex work, and with that comes a stigma.
However, according to Ana, that "dishonour" is becoming less and less thanks to OnlyFans becoming more and more popular.
"At the end of the day, we are all entitled to do what we wish with our own bodies and explore our sexuality freely," Ana said.
"We should be able to do so without judgment.
"As I get older I have realised that sex is not so taboo, we all have it, we all have bodies, and reproductive organs, so why be so shy about it?"
Laura* echoes Ana's sentiments.
"With age, I have become a lot less reserved about my body," she said.
"All females have boobs, we all have butts and fairies.
"And for me, the beauty of OnlyFans has been my confidence has grown immensely.
"It doesn't define me, but people pay money to view my content; to view my lingerie clad boobs or butt!"
Laura isn't as experienced as Ana with the OnlyFans game but has still enjoyed healthy takings from it.
She said she joined the website after reading about it on the news and thought she had nothing to lose by giving it a go.
"It's been a surprising experience for me, enlightening, interesting, sometimes daunting," she said, sharing she has come across a couple of interesting characters.
"I have had a couple of fans who have struggled to understand the boundaries and become obsessive somewhat, but you need to be very firm with them.
"Likewise, I've had some very interesting requests but will only ever do what I am comfortable with."
Laura finds it frustrating when she heard people refer to it as easy and quick money.
In actual fact, she said, she spends at least a couple of hours a day networking, promoting her page and trying to build her audience, on top of her day to day job.
"And that is probably on the lighter end of the scale when it comes to creators promoting themselves," she said.
"The best way is through social media and there is an endless rabbit hole of options to explore - Facebook groups, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok and Twitter.
"It's time consuming and tiring - just like any other job!"
There are a select number of Laura's family and friends that know of her presence on OnlyFans, and thankfully all of them have been accepting and encouraging.
"But there is still a stigma attached," Laura said.
"The creators, the subscribers, they are going about their business, they aren't hurting anyone so what is the big deal?
"It might not be for everyone, but no-one is forcing it on you.
"Just don't judge those who make the decision to create material or subscribe to the website."
* Not their real names
Sanitary Items to suit you | Mildura Intimate Photography
With well over 60% of Australia (and the Worlds) population, sanitary items are a big ticket item that impacts women socially, financially, mentally and physically EVERY month!
Up until last year, Australian women were taxed on these products as a Luxury Tax!!! Can you believe that!? We were charged extra on buying necessary items, because it was deemed a luxury by the Government!!!!
Mass marketing will tell us that the only options available to women to use each month for their menstrual cycle are Sanitary Pads or Tampons, BUT did you know that there is a whole new world out there of options?
Let's explore some options......A girl has to have options! Am I right???
Traditional Sanitary Products - Pads & Tampons
My journey into "womanhood" began through scrolling through my friend's older sisters copies of Dolly, where we would cut out and fill in all of the free product samples, and send them off. We sent off to all the brands of pads and tampons. To say we were well stocked up when we did eventually begin menstruating is an understatement!
Back in those days, we only had the options given us of pads and tampons - so really, we needed to decide what we preferred, which brand, with an applicator or not, and what suited our lifestyle at the time.
Sanitary Pads come in all shapes and forms - wings, no wings, ultra thin, maxi, maternity, overnight - the list goes on!
Many women don't like the feeling of "leaking", or the impact of not being able to go swimming, or the general bulkiness (well not so much any more - trust me, they were pretty bulky back when I was a teenager!) But much has changed nowadays, but obviously the swimming is still an issue!
Many pads now shape to your body (so you no longer feel like you are walking with a baguette between your legs), have odour neutralisers (whatever that is!), are ultra thin but have maximum absorbancy, and stick to your underwear (with the wraparound wings) to hold it in place. My how times have changed! Pads obviously need to be changed regularly, and the size or absorbancy level of the pad will depend on your cycle flow and the corresponding day (ie: Day 1 is obviously usually the heaviest, with Day 4-5 being the lightest)
Tampons are obviously worn internally within the vaginal cavity, and absorbs the blood whilst the vaginal muscles hold the tampon in place. The tampon expands as it absorbs, and must be changed throughout the day. Different sized tampons are available, dependent on your flow, with a heavier flow perhaps requiring a larger sized tampon for your earlier days, and then changing down to a smaller sized tampon for your lighter days.
Keep in mind that tampons will also absorb the vagina's natural lubrication and bacteria, which can change the normal pH, increasing the risk of infections from the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), which can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare, but life-threatening infection that requires immediate medical attention.
Tampon design varies between companies and across product lines in order to offer a variety of applicators, materials and absorbencies. There are two main categories of tampons based on the way of insertion - digital tampons inserted by finger, and applicator tampons. Tampon applicators may be made of plastic or cardboard, and are similar in design to a syringe. The applicator consists of two tubes, an "outer", or barrel, and "inner", or plunger. The outer tube has a smooth surface to aid insertion and sometimes comes with a rounded end that is petalled.
Differences exist in the way tampons expand when in use: applicator tampons generally expand axially (increase in length), while digital tampons will expand radially (increase in diameter). Most tampons have a cord or string for removal. The majority of tampons sold are made of rayon, or a blend of rayon and cotton. Organic cotton tampons are made from only 100% cotton. Tampons may also come in scented or unscented varieties.
A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene device which is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. They come in many shapes and sizes, so obviously, it can be difficult to find the right fit (clearly, there is a no-returns policy or a "Try before you buy" option).
Its purpose is to collect menstrual fluid and prevent its leaking onto clothes. Menstrual cups are usually made of flexible medical grade silicone, latex, or a thermoplastic isomer. They are shaped like a bell with a stem. The stem is used for insertion and removal. The bell-shaped cup seals against the vaginal wall just below the cervix. Every 4–12 hours, the cup is removed, emptied, rinsed, and reinserted.
Some people love these scientific feats of ingenuity, but others just can't get used to them. Speaking from my experience, I was very keen to try a cup. The prospect of limiting that waste of tampons or pads each month was big in my books, as was the fact that I was spending so much money each month on tampons - it seemed very excessive. So, I happily paid $45 for a cup, not knowing what shape or size my cervix was, but having a bit of a guess. I knew that a menstrual cup, once inserted correctly, would not be felt, would stay in place and allow me to continue living my life as per any normal day (because I was doing that anyway????). I must admit, the first few months were a breeze, but then I had a few months where the cup was just uncomfortable and awkward, and I found insertion and removal difficult and a bit of a battle. I admitted defeat, and my cup has sat alone and solitary in its lovely little satin bag in my bathroom cupboard since.
Thankfully, there is so much information available now for menstrual cups, and how to find the best fit and cup for you, which will definitely make it easier to work out your cervix shape and size and purchase the best cup for you.
Head on over to https://www.menstrualcupsaustraliaonline.com.au/menstrual-cups-australia/ for advice on finding the best cup for your needs.
Prior to first use, and after each period, the cup requires cleaning - usually by placing in gently boiling water for 5-7 minutes.
Period Underwear - can we all come up with a better name than this? I know, I get it - it's basically telling us exactly what it is, but Geeesh!
Aside from the name, this is my jam! Great for the environment, resusable, no requirement for any other products to be used with them, underwear ranging in styles, sizes, lacey numbers, patterned knickers or plain or bright colours!
This underwear is seriously comfortable and oh so easy to use!
There are many brands available, but my favorite is definitely Modibodi - 100% Australian owned and designed, I first tried a pair not long after they first launched. Periods, Incontinence, Sweat, Pregnancy - Period proof, Leak proof, comfortable, and sustainable. I love these knickers! They are 3mm thick and have a top, middle and bottom layer.
The top layer is a soft bamboo that wicks away moisture, fights bacteria and stops smells. The middle layer is made of Merino Wool, that absorbs fluid and locks it away, and the bottom layer gives waterproof protection, ensuring any moisture and liquid is securely staying where it is.
They offer options of moisture wicking only (exercise friendly - for sweat) through to heavy/overnight or maximum protection for 24 hours. Size 4 to 20, Maternity, Curvy, Vegan, Swimwear and Activewear are all available.
But how do they work?
Well, let me tell you how simple they are! You've got your period - you put on your underwear (I don my heavy pair & then get dressed in my clothes). I do all the stuff that I normally do - whether I am menstruating or not! - at the end of the day, I remove my knickers & then I rinse them thoroughly in the laundry sink. (You can rinse them in the shower if you prefer!) I place them in a wash bag to wash in my next load of washing. I then put on a fresh pair of my heavy/overnight knickers ready for bed! And repeat....only interchanging with a moderate/heavy and then a light/moderate pair for the last few days of my cycle.
Modibodi sell packs and offer discounts too when purchasing 5, 7 or 10 pairs at once. They also offer a 10% discount off your first purchase if you use the code EMPOWER at checkout. You can find them at: www.modibodi.com/?msclkid=21a45162d39f1e7aa1980ee857e53e3f&gclid=CLqLt-H1uuwCFV0vjgodf1sDXQ&gclsrc=ds
Of course, there are plenty of other brands out there now, but I like keeping my money in Australia.
So I hope this has helped a few of you in possibly changing things up to a more environmentally and cost efficient way of menstruating.
Why You Should Do a Limited Edition Shoot | Mildura Intimate Boudoir Photography
Limited Edition, Luxury, Exclusive, Elite - they all go hand in hand when talking about one of Pure Beauty Photography's Shoots. But did you know that Pure Beauty also offered Limited Edition Shoots throughout the year?
So what are these Limited Edition Shoots, and how can you be an Exclusive Member of this Elite Club?
Limited Edition Shoots offer a Theme, have only availability for four lucky women, but still include your Hair and Make up, One outfit change and 45 minutes of shooting time!
You definitely need not worry if you will get enough images in 45 minutes - I can guarantee you that Lauren will have images in the hundreds for you to choose your favorites from!
Places for these shoots get snapped up seriously FAST, so bookings are taken on a first-in basis, with payment for the shoot itself being made at time of booking. These are not shoots that you have the time to sit back and wait to book yourself in for - these are the shoots that you HAVE to have!
The date(s) are pre-set to fit in with the optimal shooting duration, and best time of the day for the location (if outdoors).
These Limited Edition Shoots are a fantastic way to accept and embrace the skin you're in, boost your self love and self confidence, and do it all with the amazing support of Lauren and three other incredible Beauties embracing their own confidence and bodies at the same time!
*Not all Limited Edition Shoots are in a Group Setting. eg: Sheets to Shower
Here's what some Lucky Ladies have had to say about their Limited Edition Shoot....
"So much fun! We had a good time chatting and laughing while the other ladies had their sessions. Stripping off among the trees is definitely something I am pretty comfortable with! Haha!"
"It was an experience like no other. I was on an absolute high the entire time and the women were all so supportive and encouraging! LOVE LOVE LOVE!"
"So much fun! It's great doing a shoot in a small group because everyone is really supportive and we all thrive off each other."
A Limited Edition Shoot will help you overcome those initial nerves, put you at ease, and you will start to feel relaxed and excited, and perhaps even forget you are in your lingerie!
These Shoots are seriously FUN! You will be laughing the whole time, and the confidence boost you gain from not just Lauren, but also the other participating ladies, just skyrockets! It is like having a professional photographer along on your girls weekend away!
Like a full Experience, Lauren guides you throughout with poses and positioning - this girl has an eye for locations, and always gets the perfect shot that is only enhanced by the theme or place!
Pure Beauty Photography aims to run up to Four Limited Edition Sessions each year - each time, embracing a new theme.
What themes or locations would you LOVE to be a part of? Drop us a message to let the Team know what you absolutely NEED to do! What Shoot could you not say NO to?
So we all talk about how life changing an Exclusive Experience with Pure Beauty Photography can be, how does this differ to a Limited Edition Shoot?
If anything, it is like a concentrated shot of confidence. All the feels in limited time! It's a major boost immediately, and you leave feeling all the incredible perks and bonuses of an Exclusive Experience.
"It renewed the want to accept the things I currently have and not be so negative about changes I have gone through."
"I feel more comfortable in my skin and more free to let loose around my husband."
"After every shoot I do, I see myself in a better light then I did previously. I accept who I am and love the body I am in, I still face challenges when I don't feel great BUT I can look back at these photos and just think WOW! That's me, I look amazing and I felt fucking great. This helps that journey continue."
"I realised that I'd been hanging onto something that was dragging me down and holding me back at my last few sessions, and in life in general. I just totally let that go and had such a great time! I love my body and what it is capable of, and I love that Lauren captures it in all its glory, and I can truly be myself and it all translates beautifully into the images."
So what are you waiting for girl?????
Do you want to get in on a Limited Edition Shoot for yourself? There is just a couple of spaces left for the Sheets to Shower Exclusive Limited Edition!
Just think....45 minutes to yourself, getting pampered and glammed. 45 minutes of everything being just about YOU. Feeling like the Goddess that you are, and proving to yourself that you are one sexy, beautiful, incredible and empowered woman!
"Honestly, just do it, even if you think its not for you or you wouldn't be comfortable, book an introductory session, have a chat with Lauren let her know how you are feeling, Lauren and her team have incredible way of easing those feelings and you will only ever do what you are comfortable with. It's an experience you will never forget and you will absolutely treasure the photos forever (one warning, it can be addictive, you will want more!)"
"Do it, and if you get the chance, do it again! Relax and trust that Lauren will make you look and feel amazing."
Behind the Scenes with Zoey Andrews | Mildura Intimate Photography
I’VE been a freelance writer for more than two years and a journalist for over three years prior to that.
But never have I struggled to write something as much as I have sitting down to write this about myself for Pure Beauty.
I guess most of us just aren’t used to talking about ourselves, maybe I’m a bit scared also about how honest I will be. I’m probably more uncomfortable with being the focus of something.
But here goes anyway.
My name is Zoey. I’m 34 and have a husband, Daniel, and two amazing children - Lucas (seven) and Bohdi (three).
My husband works away from home a lot so mostly it’s just the boys and I hanging out, navigating life together.
I can be bright and bubbly but can also be plagued by anxiety and doubtfulness. Sometimes I hide a lot behind a huge smile.
Compared to who I was, I’ve definitely conquered and continue to overcome some challenges, and coincidentally enough I have Pure Beauty to thank for that.
My first experience with Pure Beauty was just over a year ago now.
It finally happened with a lot of encouragement and persuading from my husband, to do something for me in hope I would see how others apparently see me.
A few years ago I experienced something that not only destroyed my self confidence but also my self worth.
Little did I know that Pure Beauty was what I had been waiting to stumble across and when I did it began my journey of recovery; my path to self confidence and self worth.
I’m not “fixed” by any stretch, it’s a continual process, but Pure Beauty opened my eyes to the good stuff about me and showed me the not so good parts of me are insignificant.
I remember driving to my consultation with Lauren before booking my experience.
I’d spent so long viewing photos that Lauren had captured of other beautiful ladies.
I remember being ashamed and embarrassed that, in my current mind, she was never going to be able to turn me into one of her works of art.
I told her this so many times during our chat - that although I believed she was a miracle worker, I was definitely beyond her help.
She didn’t bat an eyelid and knew better. Even if I didn’t.
Fast forward to my actual experience and I was a mess of doubt and nerves beforehand.
And then I stepped into the studio. Vee did my makeup and Mairee my hair. I loved both and I started to feel comfortable.
Being in front of the camera took some getting used to but Lauren’s energy and enthusiasm was infectious.
I left the experience feeling content and happy, promising myself that even if I didn’t love the photos I would remember how the experience made me feel.
In hindsight, I had no idea how those couple of hours that Saturday morning would change me.
Lauren flicked a sneak peak through to me that night. I was working doing media and publicity at Timmis Speedway for a Series my husband and I covered at the time.
I remember what I was wearing at the time. I remember where I was standing at the time.
I remember taking a while to come back down from the shock of what Lauren had captured and I remember not being very productive afterwards.
I couldn’t believe it was me. It clearly was. But wow.
At that moment I realised I didn’t care if my arms weren’t firm, I didn’t care I had a podgy stomach, I didn’t care that my thighs were wobbly. I had good bits and they far outweighed the insignificant bad.
That was my lightbulb moment and when I viewed the rest of the photos Lauren had taken at my shoot, I no longer cared anywhere near as much what others thought of me, I accepted myself - all of me.
I’ve now booked in my second experience with Lauren and I am so bloody excited. I cannot wait to push myself that little bit further and see the magic Lauren can create once again.
To be involved in Pure Beauty in the capacity of a blogger is exciting and a privilege to me.
Lauren has built a platform of inspiring and rocking women. You might just all not know how amazing you are yet.
That’s why I would love for each and every one of you to experience a Pure Beauty shoot.
You deserve it.
So that’s me and my Pure Beauty experience.
But who do I look up to, who inspires me?
It’ll probably come as no surprise to those that know me when I say my Mum - Lee.
Dedicated, giving, hard-working, loving, loyal, patient and strong is how I would describe her.
She’s everything I aspire to be in everything that matters in life.
In the public eye, there are two famous females who I look up to.
The first is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
She’s awesome because she’s a boss! She runs a country, manages a family and takes it all her stride.
The second is Meghan Markle and I think we can all learn a bit from her.
How much criticism has she faced? How many people have tried to sabotage her fairytale?
And yet she’s made her own decisions and is living her own life, even if it is against the grain.
She’s brave and opinionated and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
I hope I can enlighten and entertain you through my blogs for Pure Beauty and if there is anything you would like featured, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote, one of my favourites:
“And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” - Mark Anthony
BDSM and bisexuality- Ellie's* story | Mildura Boudoir Photography
ELLIE* has always known she was bisexual. There was no real defining moment for the now 36-year-old.
"I never really came out and told anyone," the Mildura local said. "It was always just there."
"My friends just picked up on it when they witnessed some of my escapades when we went out. It just sort of filtered around from there."
"None of my family or friends were fussed about it."
Image source: Unsplash
While people have judged her over the years, Ellie said that was their own problem, as she isn't fussed by what others think.
She did, however, face challenges occasionally when in a heterosexual relationship.
"A couple of them thought that because I was bisexual, I'd instantly want to bring another girl into our relationship," Ellie said, explaining it led to some pretty intense disagreements.
"Also, while 99 percent of guys are respectful about it, there's that one percent who think bi females should act like they see in porn videos."
Image source: Unsplash
Now, Ellie only dates males - finding relationships with guys easier.
"I had a few relationships with girls when I was younger, but it was mainly just a mutual benefit thing with them," she said.
While bisexuality can even today still be met with judgement, Ellie said people have become more accepting of it in general over the years.
And she said she has the LGBTQI community to thank for some of the best times of her life.
"If you're curious about the same sex, there's no shame in finding someone to talk to," Ellie said. "It can be very confusing for some people for a lot of different reasons. Mallee Pride also has some great information."
Ellie said BDSM wasn't always about sex. It taught her different ways of getting pleasure without getting naked and having sex.
"The most important thing to remember about it", she said, "is there is nothing bad, dirty or wrong about it."
"I was involved in mainly bondage (shibari), discipline, domination and submission," Ellie said. "It all depended on who I was with at the time."
Despite enjoying BDSM, Ellie said not all sex went down that path.
"Some people just aren't keen on it, and there is nothing wrong with good old vanilla sex," she said.
"Both are as good as the other in my book."
For family reasons, Ellie is no longer a part of the BDSM scene, but said those who are interested in experimenting with BDSM should do their research, with plenty of resources out there.
"Don't be afraid to ask questions," she said.
"As for trying something, my first experience involved silk rope ties."
"Look for something that you are comfortable with, something that interests you."
While Ellie admits there is judgement on those that enjoy the BDSM lifestyle, she believes it is mostly because people are scared of what they don't know.
"I've had good and bad experiences with BDSM," she said. "The good far outweigh the bad."
* Not her real name.
Are you involved in an open relationship, sex industry or swinging scene? Are you part of the LGBTQI community?
We want to embrace and empower everyone through our Pure Beauty website, so if you think you have an interesting story to share that will assist us in breaking down the barriers, we want to hear from you.
Helping little people deal with big feelings | Mildura Intimate Boudoir Photography
Recently, I was chatting to my sister, who works in the mental health field, about some big emotions my seven year old was experiencing.
During the conversation she happened to mention Kids Helpline - a service I had definitely heard of before, but to be honest, thought things had to be pretty extreme to contact.
Appropriate local services can have a lengthy wait for appointments, and if you are like me, you’d like to see your little one’s mind put at ease sooner rather than later.
In our case, Kids Helpline certainly hasn’t replaced these services, but it is a good go to in the interim.
Chatting to other local mums since, it seems to be that when big things are troubling little minds, Kids Helpline really is an under used and untapped resource.
Kids Helpline was founded in 1991 and on the first day alone answered 3200 calls. By the end of that year, nine months later, their counsellors had taken 90,000 calls.
In 2018, after 27 years of service, eight million calls had been made to Kids Helpline, well and truly establishing its need within the country.
So what can Kids Helpline assist with?
Plenty of things.
But first let’s look into what Kids Helpline is and who it can help.
In Australia, Kids Helpline is the only free, confidential and private counselling service available 24/7 either online or by phone.
It assists those aged five to 25 years of age, although there is an associated service available to help parents.
There are so many big emotions our little ones feel, and it’s expected they might not know how to handle them all. After all, it’s something adults often still struggle with.
They might be feeling angry, anxious, lonely, sad, scared or stressed. This could be from something that has happened at home or school.
Maybe it’s body issues, bullying or cyberbullying, family or friendship issues, mental health or feeling unsafe.
Probably one of the biggest, most impressive things for me was that despite being apprehensive when first calling, the counsellor quickly made my son feel comfortable.
He was so comfortable that he came running out of his room mid conversation asking for paper and a pen as the counsellor told him her name so he could ask for her next time if he wanted.
And after a lengthy conversation with the counsellor you could see the positive result it had on him.
There are some things to encourage your child to, or if you are a young person calling, think about before you call, such as what problem are you hoping to discuss and what is your goal or outcome from the session.
While your call is confidential, Kids Helpline do have a Duty of Care, which means they might need to tell somebody if you or someone else are in danger of being significantly harmed or in a life threatening situation.
The Kids Helpline website can be accessed through https://kidshelpline.com.au/
Its layout is really easy to navigate and not only can you access counselling through the page, but it also provides plenty of advice and information about a range of topics that impact young people - from ADHD, feelings, respect and setting boundaries.
- Zoey Andrews
Here you will find my featured babes, #wearepurebeauty , as well as some tips for your boudoir shoot- from lingerie shopping to hair and makeup
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Mildura resident and Photographer, Lauren Southwell launched Pure Beauty in late June, 2018 & is committed to helping woman feel beautiful, sexy and empowered through the art of Boudoir Photography.