The big day has arrived – I’m finally able to talk about a very exciting secret that Ramsey, Blue and I have been keeping!
When A Greyt Christmas Tail was released earlier this year, we sent out press releases and contacted several publications hoping to be able to generate some publicity. In August I received an email from Ella Dove, a journalist at Prima Magazine who was interested in including the dogs and I in a feature looking at why this will be our best Christmas ever. We emailed back and forth for a few days making sure that she had all the information she needed to pitch to her editor and then exciting news….the editor said yes! We arranged a phone interview and a date for a photo shoot in London.
Ella called me at the designated time and we had a lovely chat about the dogs, how the book had come about and the reasons behind it, then she put me in touch with picture editor Jo Lockwood who went over all the arrangements for the day of the photo shoot. I’m not good at being centre of attention so the idea of a photo shoot was slightly terrifying but she reassured me and arranged a phone call with stylist Rachel Fanconi (only Helen Mirren and Dawn French’s stylist!) to discuss likes/dislikes, clothing styles and ideas for the shoot. Rachel was wonderful and made me feel much more relaxed; she’s also a huge dog lover and we definitely hit it off, talking about all kinds of fun options for styling Ramsey and Blue.
The day of the shoot arrived and the dogs and I had to be at the studio in London for 10am; this meant a 3:15am alarm in order avoid rush hour in all the major cities on the drive down from Wigan. Ramsey and Blue were very confused as they were bundled into the car at this ungodly hour but soon fell back asleep and we made good time to High Wycombe, where we picked up my sister Naomi before hitting London traffic.
Jo had very kindly made sure that the studio had parking and a park nearby for the dogs. It was a beautiful studio, a big open space with several different options for sets. Lights were being set up, Christmas trees decorated and hair and makeup were in full swing when we arrived. There were five different shoots happening that day so everyone was really busy and the studio was buzzing. Jo introduced herself and we met all the crew, everyone was so friendly and Ramsey and Blue were in their element getting lots of attention. I wasn’t sure if Blue would feel overwhelmed by it all as she’s quite shy sometimes but both of them were good as gold and soon made themselves at home, throwing their toys around, getting lots of fuss and making a mess with their food bowls. Naomi had volunteered to look after them for the day so they didn’t get bored and mischievous.
We were introduced to hair and make-up artist Liz Kitchiner who was tasked with making me look glamorous, and photographer Liz McAulay then it was time to go and find out what I’d be wearing. Stepping behind the curtain into Rachel’s room there were rails and rails full of gorgeous clothing, everything you could ever imagine with lots of sparkle and shoes and boots to die for. I also noticed a pile of very glamorous dog collars on the table for the two real stars of the day. My outfit chosen (no more worrying about whether any of the clothes would fit), it was time to start the process of making me look presentable. Naomi took the dogs for a walk across the road while Liz got to work and then, before I knew it, it was time.
It was so nice to get dressed up and feel glamorous for a day. Rachel had picked out great outfits for us, including sparkly collars for Ramsey and Blue and the most amazing pair of sparkly silver boots for me – I had to buy a pair on the way home, they truly are fabulous. The set looked very festive, decked out in shades of greys and creams, complete with a beautiful Christmas tree and sparkly presents. Ramsey took an instant liking to one of the sheepskin rugs – he may have got a bit too friendly with it but at least now we know what to buy him for Christmas…….!
Finally we managed to distract him and both he and Blue laid down in perfect poses, ready for their moment. Liz the photographer was patient and talked me through the shoot; Ramsey and Blue looked gorgeous and performed brilliantly. There were a couple of small distractions, too many people for Blue and the rug for Ramsey (!), but Rachel expertly wielded their favourite squeaky hefalump to distract and get them back on track. Jo checked the photos, said they had the shot and we were done.
After changing back into regular clothes we had some lunch, said our goodbyes and headed home. It had been a wonderful day, very glamorous and out of my comfort zone but the best part was meeting and talking to all the other people who were being featured, including Ella and her lovely mum. There were some truly inspiring ladies there and it was an honour to be included among them. Thank you so much to everyone at Prima for giving me this opportunity and making us look and feel so special – and an extra thank you to Naomi for dog-sitting.
I was so proud of Ramsey and Blue, it was a long day for them but they really couldn’t have behaved any better and were great ambassadors for their breed. Greyhounds and lurchers are rarely seen in magazines, especially glossy national women’s magazines such as Prima, and hopefully this will go some way towards changing the way they are seen. Step aside Britain’s Next Top Model, we’ve got Ramsey and Blue….Britain’s Next Top Dogels!
Prima’s December issue is on newsstands now, it’s the issue with Julie Walters on the front cover. I’d love to know what you think of the feature, please do let me know.
Don’t forget, you can order your copy of A Greyt Christmas Tail by clicking on the shop button at the top of this website. To make the perfect Christmas gift, from now until Christmas all copies ordered through this website or our Facebook page will be personally signed – just leave details of who you would like them dedicated to in the comments section upon checkout.