This is so so so important!
I go to bed at 9pm every night and spend the last hour listening to a meditation podcast or BBC Radio 4, I do love a good political debate it relaxes me or I watch the football!
I light candles, dim the lights and have lavender incense sticks.
I also like to have the window open it's important to not be too hot and ensure I have fresh bed sheets - anything I can do to sleep a full 8 hours the better.
I also put my phone and computer in another room.
I practice Yoga daily I usually try to fit in 20 mins after my Nike App training.
3. Nike App training
I do 20-30 mins of HIIT training daily it's important to sweat but I don't over do it as I noticed this caused too much stress on my body which had a negative effect on my mind.
4. Eat Well
I eat very healthy and I do not cut anything out. If I want a chocolate bar or ice cream I will. I eat everything in moderation.
Fruit and veggies plus healthy carbs.
I love, love my Tom's gorgeous mash potatoes and peas yummy! Plus a good old cheese sandwich!
Not together obviously.
It's important to feed our brain with healthy foods but food that makes you happy.
5. I read positive books
It's important for me to encourage positive thinking - at the moment I'm really into:
- Fearne Cotton - Happy and Calm
- Gerad Kite - Everything You Need You have
- OSHO - Living Dangerously
- Ruth Fitzmaurice - I Found My Tribe
6. Social Media Its not essential - Trust me!
Pinterest and Instagram these are the only forms of social media I use.
I only follow my family, close friends, my skate buddies and cute animals. Only things that will put a smile on my face. A cute puppy or racoon yep I'm cool I know!
I only use it to post about my book, it's a marketing tool for me, I'm not socialising really cos I prefer to be more personal with my friends in real life. Not saying socialising online is bad it's just not for me its doesn't help my mind stay positive.
30 mins to 1 hour per day allocated to social media because it does have it benefits, it's a great marketing tool and it's nice to see my friends especially if they are in different cities.
7. Go outside
I love being around nature. Regular walks is a must.
8. Listening to positive podcast
Happy Place by Fearne Cotten is great!
9. Hanging out with my family and friends as much as possible
Communicating in the real world is the cure, living online is not good for you. Regular coffee dates, dinners or gigs.
10. Finally talking and being open will save you.
You won't believe how many people out there get it and are happy to help.
I'm about to share something very personal but I hope it will help anyone who reads this to speak up and get the help you deserve.
As previously mentioned on my blog and interviews I have suffered from Mental Health problems since my early teens.
I spent all my life thinking I didn't really fit in. If you ask any of my closest friends they will say I have an unusual way of seeing the world and have always wanted the world to like me. I have lived in a constant state of paranoia my whole life.
I spent the past 10 years a loner, I would usually be to scared to make friends, or if I did I would have this fear they didn't like me or I wasn't good enough. I know as a fully grown adult you would think I would have grown out of this, however with the pressure of work, not skateboarding anymore due to an injury and the every growing need to experience so much out of life, social media I must say made this part particularly worse I had a break down!
I spent time thinking what could I do to break this, I was scared, ashamed and thought no one would understand not at my age. I often would hear "pull yourself together" or "you're just being weird Charlotte" or so I thought in my head.
Romantic relationships were a no no, I just couldn't believe someone would want to love me, so I would look for things that were wrong and push people away.
I couldn't sleep, eat or concentrate on work for years, I was a walking time bomb! One minute I'd be ok and the next the world would be collapsing around me all in the space of a fews days, even hours sometimes.
I read this now and I worry some one will read this and think I'm being dramatic or wonder why didn't she pull herself together but when your brain doesn't function, the brain paths are broken honestly there is no controlling it!
It was only until I rang my mum around 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon and said "Mum I have a cup of pills here by my bed, I'm a failure to everyone and I don't want to live, I can't function like this anymore I'm sorry".
I knew in that moment I was crying out for help.
That's was the moment I knew if I don't get help or tell someone I'm going to do something terrible. It was the most frightening experience and very confusing. I just wasn't myself I had lost the world to live, blurry eyes and just walked around like a zombie.
Anna my sister in Law came rushing to my house and just sat with me for hours we talked and it was the first time in all my life I could be honest and say I find life really hard, help me!
The next day I went straight to my GP who was amazing, I was put on anti depressants which I didn't want to do but they have saved my life. I have started a exercise programme and a new healthy normal diet. I was referred to a Healthy Mind Charity who I now talk to on a weekly basis. I'm also a member of The Big White Wall online website where you can talk to others, draw your feelings, learn how to live with mental health issues.
Having been diagnosed with Border Line Personality Disorder, strains of Bipolar and Anxiety, I felt a huge relieve to be honest with myself because after 20 years of just putting up with it, destroying relationships, my career and friendships I could now start to look after myself and control the negative thoughts so I can enjoy these things again.
Despite all of this I was still able to produce a book which I find madness and I think it's through the love and support of my family, my boyfriend and the girls being so welcoming that got me to achieve this project.
Thank you !
I hope reading this today you can see that anyone can suffer from Mental Health problems and it's nothing to be ashamed of. There is so much help out there now and talking actually helps in a big way.
I'm glad I spoke out before it was too late because I can now enjoy the simple things in life, I take it much slower and I'm really invested in my new friendships, my family and love - more than ever!
I want to be frank, I do still have the odd down day, that's human nature but they are nothing like they used to be and with daily practice I'm able to live a normal life.
Below are helplines you can call if you ever just need to chat :
The Recovery Letters
Tel: 0808 808 4994
Tel: 116 123 (Free)
Friends in Need
Aware Defeat Depression
Helpline: 08451 202 961
Campaign Against Living Miserably
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58
Papyrus HOPElineUK: 0800 068 41 41
Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (1pm - 11pm)
Helpline: 0800 018 2138
Helpline: 0800 1111
Helpline: 0800 138 8889
SADA (Seasonal Affective Disorder Association)
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
0300 304 7000
Tel: 0333 323 3880
Time to Change
Tel: 0300 5000 927
1. What would your cat say about you if I asked it for a reference?
Cuddly but doesn't sit down for long enough. Always late and very tight with Dreamies.
2. What is your Top 5 tracks on your current Spotify Playlist?
Really random bunch but my last 5 listened to tracks are:
Something In The Air - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Wandering Star - Portishead
Never Be The Same - Camila Cabello
Love Fool - The Cardigans
Juicy - Biggy
3. You're on Death Row, what would be your last meal?
A roast dinner and then strawberries and cream for dessert hahaha!
4. Describe your life using film titles?
A Wonderful Life
Lately, A Series of Unfortunate Events, hahaha !
5. You're a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be?
6. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Mila Kunis. She's a babe, I love her!
7. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be? Why?
Henry The 8th. I hear he puts on a pretty great feast! I loved learning about the Tudors at school.
8. Who was your favourite Spice Girl?
9. How long does it take you to scroll through Instagram before getting bored?
I don't tend to scroll Instagram too much, unless its for work stuff! I usually rely on Kirsty to send me the stuff worth seeing hahahah!
10. Finally and this one is important so pay attention. What do cats dream about?
Taking over the world obviously! Or maybe just a Dreamies Factory....
Posted on May 04, 2018 - All words Nikita
G.W.R. with Concrete Girls Photographer Charlotte Thomas
Charlotte Thomas is the a UK-based skateboarder-turned-photographer behind the book, "Concrete Girls"; a photo project documenting the female skate scene in the UK. We were lucky enough to snag her for a photoshoot recently (check out our Instagram for photos from the shoot!) and also made time to sit down with her and get to know the girl behind the lens. Enjoy!
Hi I'm Charlotte Thomas, I'm a skateboarder and skateboard photographer. I've been skateboarding and a photographer for over 15 years now. I have my first published book out in June 2018 titled Concrete Girls, which is a huge 5 year project that I'm very proud of!
What do you like about shooting photos, and, specifically- skateboarding?
It allows me to meet new people, I love capturing the natural vibe of people. It's great to see a smile or hear laughter when we all hang out. This is only caught when they don't focus on me shooting so I try to stay invisible throughout the day and just let people skate.
When we are focused on a trick it's great team work, two creative minds working towards creating that perfect photograph. I always remember to respect the skateboarder- I have to make them look as awesome as I can. It's important to listen, be patient and offer encouragement.
What's been your best moment behind the camera so far?
Photographing my hero Ryan Allan and getting to hang with him during the Supra Skateboarding UK Tour . He is a friend now and he will offer me advice on photos and projects - a real nice dude!
When did you start shooting photos?
I started shooting skateboarding and producing photography when I picked up my board at the age of 16. However, I started taking skateboard photography seriously in 2014 when I started a book project called, "Concrete Girls". Before that, I would shoot skateboarding for fun and worked in Fashion in London.
"Concrete Girls”, that sounds awesome! Tell us more about the project.
Yes, Concrete Girls came about in 2014 after I spent the weekend down in Plymouth with Stefani Nurding shooting for Sidewalk Skateboarding Magazine. After that trip the idea in my head was to create a book capturing the UK female skate scene. When I first started the project I didn't have a publisher, I just started contacting girls all over the UK asking if I could meet them to shoot photography for a book idea.
Then, 4 years into the project I got in touch with Cindy Whitehead who owns Girls is Not a 4 letter Word Publishing House. She agreed I would be the second book to be published via them!
A dream come true.
The whole project has been created and executed solely by myself, it's something I'm very proud of- I've worked very hard on this.
Above image from Charlotte Thomas for Concrete Girls release
That's amazing! Without even seeing the book yet, we already are so engaged by the title and the story you just told us. How did you choose the name, “Concrete Girls”? Does is mean something to you?
Concrete Girls is very simple- we skateboard on concrete and my subject was girls.
Ah! Simple and straightforward, that's perfect.
What do you connect with in skateboarding?
The one thing skateboarding has taught me is to be yourself, push hard, commit, express yourself, build friendships and see the world. It's freedom to me !
For real- it is!
What are you doing when you're not skateboarding or shooting photos?
At the moment I'm working on building the Concrete Girls brand and launching the book. It will be available to buy June 2018. Please follow @concretegirls on Instagram!
Also, I practice Yoga and Self Love to manage my anxiety and depression. Spending time with my Gorgeous man Tom, he loves to take photographs too so he will often come with me on skate adventures. Looking after our fish, Tom and I have 6 Mollies.
Learning to build skateboards with my brother Adam. Oh, plus there's getting prepared to be an Aunty. EXCITING TIMES !
Alright, the last one - Top five must-have snacks for any day of Skateboarding!
Wow never been asked this before, ok here goes:
Flask of English Tea
Pot of Humous with Carrots and Celery sticks
More English Tea!
Um, yum! You're making us hungry- we're packing that the next time we get out to the skatepark now too!
Thank you again to Charlotte for taking the time to sit down with us, and also for coming out to the skatepark with us for our most recent Nikita shoot. If you haven't already, go hit @concretegirls with a follow and double tap all those pics- they're completely rad.
Below Images taken by Thomas Cole.
March 2018, I was lucky enough to be flown over to Munich and Austria to spend a week with NIKITA shooting a great up and coming skater Alisa Fessl.
I have an interview over on Nikita website now talking about Skate Photography, Concrete Girls and my love for good old 'English Tea'.
Below are my images from the trip
All images copyright @ 2018 Charlotte Thomas
What would your husband say about you if I asked them for a reference?
"She's nice, until she gets hungry." :)
What is your top 5 tracks on your current Spotify Playlist?
Seasons, the Future Islands/ Badbadnotgood version. & by Pinegrove.
Bein' around by Courtney Barnett.
Relapse by Fossette.
When you were mine by Lambchop.
You’re on death row, what would be your last meal?
My late nan's rice pudding and a strong black coffee.
Describe your life using film titles?
Much ado about nothing. Or The Hangover...
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be ?
A sunny, happy yellow.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be ? Why?
Gosh, there are so many... But I'd have loved a good chat with Wittgenstein.
Who was your favourite Spice Girl?
I genuinely have no idea. I was listening to Coltrane.
How long does it take you to scroll through Instagram before getting bored?
I struggle to sit through 30 seconds of footage these days!
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Eat, Play, Love
Below is other skateboarding photography I have taken along side the Concrete Girls project.
First day of Spring today well not officially but the sun was out and what do us Brits like to do when we see a bit of sun, yes you guessed it get the BBQ out!
Today my family got together at my brother's workshop for a classic Saturday British BBQ. I take my camera everywhere with me especially when I'm with loved ones I was so pleased with the outcome of the photos. I thought what a great opportunity to introduce the people in my life that have been a huge influence on me as a photographer and a human being.
Anna Svan - Jewellery Designer, Artist & Owner of Halo Hair Looms - halohairlooms.com
I first met Anna two years ago when my brother introduced me to her as his new misses. My first impression was 'who is this Icelandic mega babe my brother has managed to pull'!
Well done Adam!
We hit it off instantly which I was so happy about being an older sister. I haven't always formed a close bond with my brother's past girlfriends but this woman was different she was warm, chatty, really cool, genuinely interested in making my brother and his world happy.
Instant best friend material!
Over the past two years I have learnt so much about Anna, she is a keen Human Rights Activist you'll often see her at a march within the UK or Iceland. Has a huge talent in alternative medicine, natural healing and how to really take care of yourself as a human. As well as this she is a kick ass jewellery designer, artist and makes the most beautiful flower headbands for all occasions.
The one thing I love the most about Anna is how much she loves my brother, she has encouraged him to grow as a man, to be more open and free spirited. Adam and Anna are expecting their first baby in June 2018, yes that's right I'm going to be Aunty and I can't wait.
Anna has been a huge part of Concrete Girls behind the scenes, helping with packaging, ecommerce and coffee dates to discuss all creative ideas. Our favourite spot is Black & White in Worcester, gluten free carrot cake to die for!
Today, I did a mini pregnancy shoot for them both and I'm over the moon with how they turned out.
Adam Thomas - Woodworker, Brother and All Round Very Cool Human! - Website coming soon
Adam is my brother, he started carpentry at the age of 16 and has been announced as the most sort after carpenter and woodworker within the Herefordshire area. Having worked on million-pound houses it's hard to put into words just how hard working and talented he really is.
Now starting his own business as an Established Woodworker, he is often found in his workshop in Cradley, Worcestershire creating bespoke furniture. His next project is making a Snake Skeleton Chair, this I can't wait to see.
Adam is also helping me in creating bespoke skateboards for Concrete Girls which I will be introducing to you in the late Summer.
Soon to be a proud father to a son, I can't wait to get the little pirate out on a skateboard and documenting his life.
Thomas Cole - Photographer, Love of My Life & Guardian Angel - solacemoth.com
When I met Tom, it was love at first sight, his Irish charm had a huge part to play in this, that accent instant swoon!
Tom has inspired me in ways I'll never be able to thank him for, being a sufferer of Anxiety and BPD I sometimes find life extremely difficult at times, where most people don't understand or find it difficult to except people with mental health difficulties, Tom has been by my side and helped me overcome some of my most difficult times. Through his love and support, I now live in a more calm way and manage my demons. He has taught me to believe in myself, love my body, have confidence in my beauty, to take more photos, to get back on my skateboard and to love, trust and build friendships, something I had lost for over a decade.
For his birthday this year I bought him his first 35mm Film Camera, a man who has a passion for photography, drones and all things digital I wanted to introduce him to the world of 35mm film. To my delight he is in love with it, probably more in love with it than me some days ha!
I also built him a website and encouraged him to follow his talent of being a photographer. He has a natural gift and a real eye for beauty. Encouraging him to find his inner creative spirit has been incredible for us as a couple because he has become the second arm in Concrete Girls. Taking all the behind scenes pictures, coming on trips producing film and photos for clients and has become a real blessing.
I'm extremely lucky to be able to share this with the love of my life.
As well as my Mum and Step Dad Roger, without these 3 talented creative humans there would be no book or Concrete Girls, no Charlotte so with all my heart thank you for saving my life!
Below are the photos from our BBQ today in the sun, taken by myself and Tom.
I was so honoured and touched today, a very talented illustrator took one of my skate photos and a portrait of me, combined the both to create this beautiful picture.
100% taking pride and place in my home!
Be sure to follow her @BoulgomCatCBC on Instagram.
These are the images I took for a photoshoot for Supra Footwear last year in London featuring the gorgeous Rianne Evans. I was kindly asked by Supra to hang out with one of my friends and take photos.
My perfect day!
Concrete Girls - Its just friends hanging out!
Rianne is one of my favourite humans, so relaxed, never any drama and just happy to get involved with Concrete Girls anyway she can even with a looming university final exam.
Rianne's everyday look is much more chilled but for the purpose of the shoot I kindly asked her to step out of her comfort zone for me. She is wearing my Vintage Leopard Print Coat a real charity shop find, my Skate or Die Sunglasses and Supra Footwear.
What would your dog say about you if I asked it for a reference?
She tramples around like elephant foot when I'm trying to sneak up on squirrels but she always delivers breakfast and dinner and takes me out on time! Gives good cuddles, a bit annoying when you're trying to have a nap.
What are your top 5 tracks on your Spotify Playlist?
My wife dominates the Spotify playlists! If I manage to take back control then its:
'Everything is borrowed' The Streets,
'A Certain Romance' The Arctic Monkeys
'Machine Gun Funk' Biggie
'Roof of your car' The Streets
'Full Clip' Gangstarr
You’re on death row, what would be your last meal?
Toast and Marmite.
Describe your life using film titles?
I'm not a big film fan! And this question is really hard!
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be ?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Some cool young skater like Roxana Howlett who would do the stunts!
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be ?
Not sure, this question is really hard!
Who was your favourite Spice Girl?
Geri 'Ginger Spice' Halliwell.
How long does it take you to scroll through Instagram before getting bored?
I just tend to do speed scrolls if I'm getting bored but I'd probably hazard a guess at 5 mins before that happen's.
Finally and this one is important so pay attention. What do you think dogs dream about?
Rabbits and Squirrels without a doubt.
Yesterday I was invited down to attend the Girl Skate UK birthday bash at Broom Skatepark in Leicester. It was so much fun, loads of amazing prizes kindly donated by some of my favourite brands, guys & girls shredding together and it was so nice to meet up with old and new friends.
I have selected my favourite photos from the day below.
For full coverage of the event pop over to GIRL SKATE UK and check out all my photos, plus videos and other fun content.
Remember to follow @concretegirls on Instagram.
Photos below taken my Charlotte Thomas.
Today's post is dedicated to the lads!
In this world I am a full supporter of empowering women, making them feel they can be whoever they want to be, embracing their bodies and who they are however I am also a massive voice for empowering men too!
Men also need to embrace themselves, their talents, be happy with their bodies and believe in who they are and what they want to be.
When I first starting skateboarding there were only a handful of female skaters in the UK. I spent most of my days at Hyde Park Skate Park, in Leeds with Thomas Harrison, Leon Walton, Jamie Liam Humphrey, Rory Martinez, Chris Parsons, Simon Burlo and Manhead. These amazing men made me the skateboarder/person I am today, they taught me tricks, encouraged me to keep pushing, praised me when I landed something new, they taught me to be myself and I was not treated any differently because I was a girl.
They were and always will be my family.
Don't get me wrong at the time I would get the "WOW" factor from some of the younger kids seeing a girl on a skateboard but I can't blame them it was pretty unique back in the early 2000's but we were all skateboarders together.
Roger Peacock, my Step Dad has been the driving force behind this whole project. He was the man who drove me from one city to the next getting the photos for the project, he helped me understand that people will always put you down but to keep fighting and pushing to be the best version of yourself. He never gave up on me when I thought I couldn't do it or the world was going to hate the project - He said " Do you believe in the project and the girls?" Yes, Thats enough!
Thomas Cole, the love of my life taught me that facing your demons and anxieties head on was the only way to defeat them, he showed me to love myself, to be better, to push myself and not be afraid of anyone. He too has invested his time and passion into this project and making sure I was on track every step of the way.
My dad, Idris and my brother Adam who have been incredible, both two men who don't show emotions too well but sat and listened when I needed to talk, just being there and listening was enough.
If it wasn't for these skaters Thomas Harrison, Leon Walton, Jamie Liam Humphrey, Simon Burlo, Manhead, Chris Parsons Rory Martinez, Roger Peacock, Thomas Cole, Idris Glynn and Adam Thomas there would be no Concrete Girls as I would not have picked myself up during my darkest of days.
Skateboarding is the unity and love of all people, its freedom to express yourself and be creative amongst kind and creative people. You can let go of all the crap that happened in your day and just go hang with your friends!
Men & Women together ONE LOVE!
I've put together the very basics you will need to take pictures of skateboarding using a Digital DSLR camera.
Spend time talking with the skateboarder, see what trick and area they want to skate. Visualise in your mind how you want to compose your image, do you want to focus just on the trick or tell a full story by composing the surrounding area of your subject.
Composition is really key!
It's important to not distract from the skateboarder to much, ensure they have a relatively plain background when they are performing the trick. This will allow your subject to pop out of the image,
Discuss with the Skateboarder the angle of the image, as much as you're the photographer its extremely important to respect the skater, you need to make them look as awesome as they can!
Make sure within the framed image you can see where the skateboarder started, the trick and where they land. You need to tell the whole story.
3. Camera Set Up Digital- Image Quality
Set the image quality to the RAW setting with the highest bit depth number available (12, 14 or 16) and the image size to the maximum resolution output your camera is capable of. Set colour space to Adobe RGB if you have an option to do that.
Always format - fully erase - files from your memory cards in camera, not on your computer. And don't mix up memory cards from different cameras unless you format them with that camera before use.
This can be tricky as you're shooting a moving object, you want your skateboarder to be in focus at the right point of the trick. I usually get the skateboarder to try the trick once or twice to gage where I will be shooting the subject. Get them to stand where that point is and set your focus at that position.
Most cameras have AUTO FOCUS option however I would use Manual Focus that way you have more control and can set it exactly. ALWAYS ALWAYS recheck it before shooting. I've had times where I've missed the trick or the skateboarder was out of focus, can be a little upsetting for both parties if they've just nailed the trick!
6. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.
SHUTTER SPEED 1/1000th
LOW APERTURE - (Blurry foreground/background) 3.2 - you must get your focus right shooting at this aperture.
ISO - 400 - If its quite dark I would bump the ISO up a little bit but try not to go too high as your image will get a lot of noise.
7. Tripod & Remote Release
For sharper results and to reduce any shake that can be a result of the hand held shooting - use tripod & remote release.
With so many skateboard photographers, photographers in general nowadays with all this cool technology, it's important to find your own style and have fun with it! Be yourself and remember its a team effort but always respect your subject, its your job to make them look the best they can!
Hi I'm Charlotte, I'm 34 years old, I'm a skateboarder ( old timer these days ) and skateboard photographer.
I started skating at 16 years old but really found my skate home in Leeds, where I spent my University life.
Hyde Park, Leeds was my home for most of my 20's, this is where I spent days taking some really hard slams for months just trying to ollie up a curb! The lads I spent most days with, would be constantly picking me up off the floor.
A few years went by and I had managed to learn to boardslide a small rail, this was the only "wow" trick I could do for months, so I was given the nickname 'Charlie Boardslide'. It stuck and now thats my name among some of my closet friends.
As time went on I grew more and more confident through skating everyday, I started to learn heel flips, I could ollie off blocks and up curbs but my favourite time skating was through the University to classes. There is something so free about cruising the streets on your board, especially on a summers day in Leeds.
Leeds was the best time of my life skating but as mentioned in my talk last Saturday at House of Vans London, I was the only regular girl skater in Leeds for nearly 10 years. Girls were dotted all over the country but it was word of mouth via the guys that I would hear of another girl skater in the area or from another city.
Lois Pendlebury was a northern lass but she was away so I never got to skate with her until the last few months of my time in Leeds.
Jenna Selby, another amazing photographer had organised a Girl Skate Tour - called Mega Mission this was the first time I got to meet any other female skaters at that time.
After many years in Leeds I decided to move to Barcelona where I lived with Maria Falbo, she was a skater from Manchester at the time, we met through friends and just clicked so moved in with her. It was an amazing experience, a completely different culture to what I was used to, so laid back and people skated very late at night, Macba was the go to place then.
We lived a few flats away from JB Gillet, one of my heroes at the time. We would often see pro skaters cruising the streets and hanging out, it was so exciting to a young skater back then to hang out with your idols as if it was normal. I had to be very cool and relaxed you know!
(Below is my only video part from my time in Leeds, remember we had no social media back then.)
When I came back from Barcelona, I moved to London to start my career in Fashion. I was a shoot producer for many years for Topshop and Topman. Skating took a back seat during this time however most Saturdays I would go to Mile End skatepark for a mini cruise to keep the old legs working!
Once I got the big city out of my system, I decided to move back to the countryside, Hereford where I was born. The skatepark was voted by the lovely Lucy Adams as one of the best in the country. So if you ever get the chance come down and see me.
A few years back now, I cracked my coccyx skating the bowl it was then I couldn't skateboard anymore, this was when the dark times became real. I had hit rock bottom and one of my old friends said to me, why don't you start taking pictures of skateboarding to keep in with the scene and still see your friends.
So I did and the rest is history.
I still skate but only cruise these days but I still love it and I cannot wait for the Summer.
(Below are some images taken of me in BCN days, me and JB Gillet, Mega Mission Tour, meeting the Nefarious Crew and shooting Stef in Plymouth for my feature in Sidewalk Magazine. )
So Girls, for all of you who were there on Saturday at the House Of Vans London - Girl Skate Camp you would have seen myself, Stef Nurding, Lucy Adams and Daphne Greca talk about issues around Mental Health.
Stef openly talked about her issues with Anxiety and how Instagram has lead her to question her own body image, self worth and has quite frankly burnt her out. She opened up by saying that despite her having all these 'Followers' it did not mean a thing and that it was all a fake reality the posts we all share online, a little snippet of our "So called perfect life."
Stef gave us some of her tips on how she is tackling this, by focusing more on her Skateboarding, reducing her time online and self love.
Following on from Stef I began to tell you my story of a lifetime of Self Doubt, Depression and Anxiety.
During my 20's ( 2000's pre social media) I was faced with the demanding pressures we all face, who am I, what career am I supposed to be pursuing, am I pretty and thin enough, do I have the right clothes, why I am not fluent in seven languages, play a musical instrument, travelling the world on fancy holidays and making loads and loads of money. Plus being a pro skateboarder was a big deal for me at the time.
When all of these things seemed unobtainable I started to slip into a dark place within my own mind which I like to call "The Monster". Throughout my whole life this Monster has stayed with me, most days I wake up with a huge fear of anxiety, even at 34 years old, I'm still worrying am I good enough, damn it I didn't go to the gym yesterday, I burnt the pans again when cooking bake beans, I'm not travelling the world as a blogger, photographing myself in a bikini in exotic locations, constantly working out, I can't speak French and therefore feel this huge amount of guilt because aren't we all meant to be aspiring for this so called 'Perfect Life".
This perfect life notion has always been around, however I feel with Instagram we have all got ourselves into this negative mindset that we should all be these perfect humans achieving everything in life but instead of being ourselves and becoming beautiful in our own right we instead spend hours scrolling through Instagram feeling sorry for ourselves that we are not on that surf holiday in Bali, with a perfect ass and abs! Ok maybe thats me sometimes however we all have a tendency to compare, the thief of joy ladies!
Now the one thing I hope, can bring you joy from Saturdays talk, was did you notice that all the women sat in that room were gorgeous, talented, confident enough to try a new skill and make new friends but more importantly we all felt the same. We were together making each other feel better by just talking and being open about a taboo subject. I don't know about you but just seeing how many of you felt the same as me actually relieved my symptoms and made me realise, I'm not alone and that we can all take on "The Monsters" together!
Now after a tough few years of several psychologist therapy meetings, anti-depressants and the sheer strength and support of my family I have finally got a hold on "The Monster" and I would love to give you my tips on how to beat your Monsters.
1. SKATEBOARDING - First and foremost the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life, it is really good for your fitness, keeps you toned and healthy, you get out in the fresh air which is amazing for your skin.
Its learning balance, co-ordination and strength which is also really beneficial for your brain, it keeps you feeling positive because you are learning a new skill.
You get to travel, make friends, smile, have a laugh and be yourself.
Skateboarding can be enjoyed at all levels, I went from not being able to push, to grinding ramps and doing flips tricks, to an injury, to just cruising. My point is you don't have to be throwing yourself down a set of stairs or competing in the XGames to be a skater, just get on your board and find whats comfortable for you.
2. FRIENDSHIPS - Skaters are the nicest humans on the planet FACT! You will make a friend on your first day of skating I promise you and obviously with the amazing Girl Skate UK and all they do for the scene you can always pop along to one of the events and they will be there with open arms to get you started.
Its important to remember girls, you will always have haters, I have loads of people who either don't agree with what I'm doing or we just don't click as people and thats ok, my motto is "If you don't like me, I must be doing something right" but also try to be kind to people even if they are not being so nice because they will be dealing with "Monsters" too and 99.9% of the time its got nothing to do with you.
Plus kindness always brings them around eventually.
Ask for help, when I told my friends and family what was going on I felt scared and ashamed would they think I was insane, or just feeling sorry for myself. However it was the complete opposite true friends will be there for you no matter what. Through opening up I have got the help I needed and made more friends by being honest, open and myself.
"Hi my name is Charlotte, I'm anxious and have depression every now and then, if I need some alone time or haven't replied to your text or Instagram update, its nothing personal I will, but I'm just doing some me time right now and thats ok. "
3. 30 MINS SOCIAL MEDIA TIME PER DAY - So as I mentioned on Saturday Social Media feeds that "Monster" so in order for me to feel happy and positive about myself I allocate 30 mins per day where I upload content to Instagram, answer any messages and have a quick look at what is being put out there that day. Then I switch off, or put my phone away.
The one thing I noticed was the world isn't going to end, I'm not going to miss out on anything and I had more time to focus on learning a new skill, skateboarding more, taking more photos and actually talking to real humans in real life! Laughter was something I missed staring at technology all day long, when I started getting out and about more, organising "No Phone Catch Ups" with my girlfriends we all benefited from it and had a laugh. More of this please, plus its good for your heart!
4. FOLLOWERS V FOLLOWING - I only follow people who inspire me, who make me feel positive and skateboarding. Plus cute animals and funny accounts who take the mick out of everyday life, this is always a winner.
@fuckjerry and @celestebarber - Hilarious!
5. FIND YOUR INNER ARTIST - Skateboarding has so many artistic avenues it can be hours upon hours of inspiration. I love decorating my board and Stef Nurding has some great ideas over on her blog. Danni from Girl Skate UK always has some really cute creative ideas she's amazing in the garden too, watch skate videos old and new, start a band, watch documentaries, be inspired by Eloise Dorr and her incredible illustrations, learn to draw.
Skateboarding can bring you so much creativity, if you just look at your fellow skaters and get inspired by them.
6. TOGETHER - Most important thing I want you to remember is we are all in this together, skaters stick together and I hope we see you at the next event which is the 31st March 2018 in Leicester Broom Skate Park - GIRL SKATE UK 4th Birthday - PARTY!
On Saturday I was lucky enough to be asked to come down and do a Live Talk and Photography Workshop for the Girl Skate Camp at House of Vans - London.
It was an amazing day, I was overwhelmed with the turnout of really cool girls, all coming down to skate and celebrate National Women's Week.
All the girls I met were all so lovely and it was great to see them so keen to skate and get involved with the scene somehow. I met some very talented musicians, artists, creative bloggers and of course all giving it a go and learning to shred!
At 3pm, I did my first live talk on the HOV sofa sat alongside, the amazing Stef Nurding, Lucy Adams and Daphne Greca discussing issues women face at the moment in society from self image, anxiety to Instagram and is it really worth all this hype! Plus the audience got to hear the back stories of our skate lives and our future plans.
There were some great questions from the audience and I'm just so touched you took the time to come down and meet with us.
You were all so rad and I hope I see you all again soon at the next get together.
Remember be yourself and just have fun skating.