One of the things that has changed my life immensely over the last three years is the #mystylephotochallenge It is a daily photo challenge that I created back in November 2014. It has had a massive impact on my life and definitely led to me being brave enough to take more risks in my life, personal and career and along the way I have made many friends and met some lovely ladies in the flesh.
For those of you not familiar with this monthly challenge I pop over to the Instagram account @mystylephotochallenge and join in. You will not regret it. I can guarantee that you will meet a wonderful group of lovely ladies sharing daily pictures of our individual interpretations for each day’s prompt. And having a few laughs along the way.
When I joined Instagram in September 2014 I was very shy and apprehensive about posting my photos or talking to anyone. I did not have many female friends (more about that another time – it has a lot to do with growing up with a mum who suffered from mental illness) and was not used to communicating on social media with anyone I didn’t actually know.
I decided the best way to dip my toe into this whole new world was to join a photo challenge. I found one that I liked the look of and started posting my photos each day. There were only about half a dozen of us posting and to begin with I was too scared to comment on anyone else’s posts. Then this wonderful lady came into my life and starting “chatting” to me. And even though, at that time I had never met her in person, we became friends. This lady (who is sadly no longer on social media) gave me the confidence to put myself out there to interact with more people.
So back to the beginning of #mystylephotochallenge. The photo challenge I had joined was nearing an end and I had enjoyed it so much that I wanted to continue. However, the only ones I could find were very ‘American’. There was only one thing I could do. Create my own.
This was the very first challenge back in November 2014.
We started as a small group and I need to give a special thank you to those original ladies who have continued to come back month after month. They probably don’t realise how much of an impact they have had on my life and how grateful I am to them to have stuck with this each month. The #mystylephotochallenge has become a very personal thing for me. It made the transition from being a busy mum to living on my own with Mr A a lot easier and filled the gaps left by not running around after my two children. It has helped me overcome some insecurities and allowed me to grow as a person and build my confidence.
The month of the first anniversary a group of the original ladies met for the very first time in London. This was before it became common for people who met on Instagram to meet up in real life. I know that we were all a little apprehensive. But we had a fantastic time.
This meet-up was also where a friendship started between three of us that has led to many more drinks and even a weekend away. I would never have imagined that I would end up sharing a tent with these two ladies who I met on the internet @lizbotr_style and @alex_bettertogether
We following year we had another meet up with a couple more ladies joining in. This was a great afternoon tea with free flowing Prosecco and far to many Porn Star Martini’s than I care to remember. It was quite a sight in Henry’s Bar in Convent Garden…. 24 cocktails all lined up along the bar (it was two for one!!).
So I am sure you can see what a fabulous group of ladies take part in the photo challenge. I am continually overwhelmed each month when more and more ladies join. Yesterday we had over 60 posts and a number of stories. I could never have imagined that something that I created to hide behind has become this wonderful daily interaction between a fabulous group of ladies who share a snippet of their lives and are so supportive of one another. Something I have not always experienced in my own life.
This year we will be trying something new and I will be handing over the reins to a few other ladies to design the monthly challenge. Our first “guest challenge” is March and will be created by the lovely Lynne @tryingforstylish. One of our original ladies is going to step in and take over June. I know Tracey @ellisneviesmum will do a wonderful job.
We are not too far away from 100,000 posts on the hashtag, which is amazing. Thank you to all all of the fabulous ladies who take part, It wouldn’t be the success it is if it wasn’t for you.