It’s a warm, sunny Wednesday in the Cotswolds. The skies are blue, the sun is beating down, and the grounds of Barnsley House and Spa are looking stunningly beautiful. Already, I’m enjoying my afternoon here, sitting out on the terrace overlooking the gardens. I’m waiting for Susie Mackie’s presentation to start, sipping a glass of iced water next to other attendees, all of whom are wonderfully dressed and lovely to speak to.
Twelve noon, and Susie announces she is ready to start. So, we all gather in The Potager restaurant, sitting at a long table of fifteen. Each place is set with a napkin folded neatly with a sprig of rosemary on top – a little touch that didn’t go unnoticed by anyone. Next to it are copies of Susie’s new leaflets, wonderfully designed and expertly put together.
Once everyone is settled, Susie begins her talk. She is calm and collected, standing comfortably in front of her audience. First, she introduces who she is, and how she’s come to be where she is now. Her words are thought-provoking and everyone is captivated by her story.
She moves on to talk about volume one of her book, Women of Spirit, briefly covering some of the stories told by inspirational women. Some are heart-breaking, some are saddening, but all end on a positive. Each story is accompanied by a portrait of its author, photographed by Susie. She has captured the essence, the true spirit, of every woman.
Her presentation also includes an interactive element, where we are asked to turn to the person next to us and offer a compliment. Susie explains the importance of just replying with a simple “thank you”, rather than trying to deflect someone’s praise or nice comment. Although some of us have never met before, we all feel safe and relaxed enough to take part.
Once we’ve all given and received our compliments, Susie goes on to talk about her work as a boudoir photographer, and how she aims to help give women the tools to love their bodies, and to feel self-empowered through embracing themselves and their appearance. It’s truly inspiring and moving to learn that boudoir photography has helped many people overcome certain things – one client even said that it should be prescribed to treat depression!
A round of applause concludes Susie’s presentation, followed promptly by a two course lunch. The food at Barnsley House is absolutely delicious, not to mention the wine! Everyone talks to each other warmly, and Susie makes sure she chats to each of us.
If you wish to feel empowered, to learn about the journey of others, or to meet like-minded people, Susie Mackie’s presentations are the perfect way to do this. I leave with a smile on my face and a new sense of confidence I haven’t felt before. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon.