Is this the year you stop hating your looks?

Shutterstock woman hidingIs this the year you stop hating the way you look?

Practically every woman I know hates something about the way she looks, if not harbouring a general meh feeling about her overall looks. Instead of it being a little feeling, like, “I wish my hair were thicker/my waist thinner/my thighs firmer but I’ve got so many beautiful features”, it translates into a poisonous creeping feeling of hating ourselves.

We avoid wearing certain clothes.

We don’t look in the mirror.

We start to think we don’t really deserve to feel good about ourselves because we are ugly (nevermind the content of our hearts and minds).

Beauty and being a parent

After we have babies — a period during which our bodies change dramatically and seemingly permanently — the situation becomes even more problematic. It’s harder to devote time to “upkeep” such as exercising, brow plucking and hair styling, and we have these little humans around us all day.

They think we’re beautiful because we are their mummies. If they begin to understand how harshly we judge our own appearance, it hurts them. Even worse, it prompts them to judge themselves harshly. This is something none of us wants.

Now, this may not apply to you. You may have a healthy self-image and a positive, generous appreciation of your looks. To that I say, Hurrah! Text me your secrets.

But the event that revealed to me just how negatively I thought about myself was a photo session BritMums had last year with the talented Julia Boggio. Because suddenly I realised, Hey, I look good.

The secret of Boggio Studios

Julia Boggio

Julia Boggio

Julia is the owner of Boggio Studios, one of London’s top portraiture photography studios. Home by Midnight is her service that caters to women. She puts her clients at ease and creates images that are playful, professional, themed, sexy…the whole gamut.

Her real talent is understanding her subjects and revealing their beauty and personality.

For the shoot with my BritMums co-founder Susanna and me, she asked us what type of pictures we wanted and instructed us to bring a suitcase full of outfits and accessories.  She gave us some basic posing tips (listed below) and she showed us that every woman (even us!) has beauty and glamour inside her.

Yes, it does take some effort if you want to look as polished as a celebrity you see in a magazine. Yet when regular people like us add in a professional hair and makeup stylist, and get the right light, and are art-directed by a professional, we can look that good. (Check out these stunning before-and-after pictures of other Home By Midnight clients.)

Only for the vain?

It’s easy to dismiss these type of shoots as simple exercises in vanity, something for people who start every conversation with I and mount poster-sized head shots above their fireplaces. But in actuality, it’s an opportunity to think differently about yourself, and only yourself.

It doesn’t matter about that niggling little list in your head. I realised that I had been carrying that list around, referring to it frequently (“Don’t eat that biscuit; look at the state of your thighs!”). Since then, little by little, I’ve been tearing up that mental list and figuratively tossing the pieces over my shoulder.

Jennifer Howze Susanna Scott BritMums picture by Julia Boggio

It turns out we don’t usually stand this way

Jennifer Howze by Julia Boggio

My “casual” look

Susanna Scott portrait by Boggio Studios

Susanna flashes a glamourous smile


Blogger experiences at Boggio Studios

I’m not the only one who feels that way after a day with Boggio Studios. Domestic Goddesque aka Kelly had a similar a-ha moment from her shoot. T from Mummy Barrow took her teenage daughter for an “Innocent and Wild” experience at Boggio Studios, aimed at girls. And we love these images from presenter, BritMums Live emcee and friend Katy Hill with her family.

As a mother herself, Julia understands how nervous getting a picture taken can make some of us. Her Home By Midnight shoots make the process fun. There are props, there are costumes (superhero cape, anyone?), there is a stylist, there is a glass of bubbly to hand.

Best of all, there is the feeling that you come away with: You are beautiful.

Isn’t it about time we all realised that?

Scroll down for Julia’s tips for the perfect pose.

BritMums founders Susanna Scott and Jennifer Howze

I love this Union Jack / jumping bloggers pic


Julia Boggio’s tips for the perfect pose:

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders back
  • Pull your chin out and down to avoid the double-chin effect
  • Angle your body sideways for a flattering silhouette
  • Do “Barbie toe” — one foot in front of the other, with your pointed front toe just touching the floor — for a red-carpet-ready pose (see Victoria Beckham)


Home by Midnight


Facebook: homebymidnightuk



Top image: Woman hiding face by Kamira / Shutterstock

Share Button

About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel,, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.


  1. 17 February 2015 / 15:14

    Gorgeous photos ladies and great post. We should definitley all love ourselves a bit more x

    • 17 February 2015 / 15:34

      Thanks, Karen. Yes we all need to be a bit kinder to ourselves!

  2. 17 February 2015 / 18:48

    Lovely post. I’ve been wearing the same style of easy to wear, comfortable clothes. I need a change to something more stylish.

    • 18 February 2015 / 08:22

      Lynn, I caught sight of myself once in a shop window and thought, Egads, must do better. As a result I did a closet edit, got rid of clothes that had lost all their shape, unflattering jeans, etc and now at least when I throw something on I know it fits well.

  3. 18 February 2015 / 07:32

    Great post! I detest having my photograph taken as I usually feel physically sick when I see the results. Hence, the only photo out of there of me is of the back of my head (see left!). I am not photogenic at all (I was, two children ago – but age and having children has taken its toll!). I need to get over this – perhaps a session with Boggio studios might be what I need!

  4. 18 February 2015 / 08:25

    Elizabeth — And here I thought you were just being stylish and design-y with your blog picture! You are being so much more critical of yourself than anyone else would ever dare be. (Would we say to a friend the things we say in our heads to ourselves? Not in a million years would we be so unkind.) If you’re considering a session with Boggio, I’d say it’s well worth it.

  5. 18 February 2015 / 13:50

    What a delightful, life and beauty-affirming post! You ladies are ALWAYS gorgeous so these shots just added an extra touch of sizzle. I remember Julia shooting my little one years back at the Bubble London trade show and she really has a knack for capturing personality and playfulness, as well as a great looking photo. I recently got all glammed up for a traditional ceremony in Nigeria and while I certainly wouldn’t wear that much make-up on the daily, it does bring the wow factor and I’m really happy to have those photos for keeps. Thanks for sharing yours 🙂 x

    • 18 February 2015 / 15:05

      Uju, I didn’t know Julia had photographed your children. Good models to start with — I be the pics are gorgeous! I’d love to see the images of you dolled up for a Nigerian ceremony too. Thanks so much for commenting.

  6. 18 February 2015 / 17:14

    Wow, you both ladies look stunning! have never had a photo shoot and would love one before I hit 40 in June. Some great tips too, doing the side way trick already, that really does work, but need to remember the one about the chin as have realised that lately have a few pics with double chin …. not a nice look!

    • 19 February 2015 / 08:47

      Mirka, Once you know these tricks you start to see them in all the celeb pictures you see, and you notice that the celebs look the same in each picture. It’s all just replicable poses — things we regular folk should take advantage of so we’re camera-ready.

  7. 19 February 2015 / 08:30

    Gorgoues ladies! And yes I hope that this year is the year i stop hating my looks!

  8. 23 February 2015 / 08:10

    Such glamorous mums!! It’s so important to promote a healthy mentality about our bodies!! I totally agree. x

  9. 20 April 2015 / 18:22

    You both look stunning, beautiful photos x