Charity Event GirlsLYF for MIND and REFUGE

GirlLYF wearing Sidnie Couture Photographer: Glyn Kelly

Two days on and I still can’t wipe the smile off my face after this incredibly empowering charity event. My good friend Claire Kendrick, a hairdresser I met two years ago at another charity fashion show,  decided only a few months back  to run the first ever GirlLYF charity event for MIND and REFUGE. And Boom!  Did this incredible woman deliver or what?! I am so proud of this lady.

Let me tell you a little bit more about GirlLYF who are supporting the charities MIND and REFUGE. When GirlLYF was formed only a few months ago, (a place where women can talk freely in a safe environment and bear their souls without being judged), the response was overwhelming. It swiftly became apparent that many of these women had been struggling in silence with mental health issuers and/or experiences of abuse. These issues and experiences of hardship had touched these women at some point in their lives but being able to open up in a safe haven it became clear that by supporting one another, empowerment worked wonders. GirlLYF decided to make it their mission to pull together and raise money for charities close to their hearts as well as breaking the stigmas associated with mental health issues and domestic violence.  Together these incredible ladies are already making a difference. Together they are so much stronger and so much more powerful. Within intentions to reach out to those that are still struggling behind closed doors.

As soon as I arrived at the Titanic Hotel with my Son Fin by my side (who I can’t thank enough for putting up with so many beautiful ladies and only a few men in one room), it was clear the atmosphere was relaxed, uplifting and empowering.  Beautiful, authentic women, young and old, from different cultural backgrounds, in different shapes and sizes, skin tones and with different life experiences, all there with the same goal in mind. To empower one another. To give each other a confidence boost. To celebrate we are all beautiful. To break that stigma for those suffering mental health problems or abuse in silence. To reach out to those feeling isolated with their personal struggles.

Next stop, hair and make-up. I must give a huge thank you to the make-up artists  and hair stylists, who gave up their free time to make us all look glamorous and wonderful. Professional, friendly and lovely women all of them. We were supplied with beautiful outfits by fashion designers Taya Mahachi and Sidnie Couture. Alongside Hat designer Janice Charles, jewellery designer Judith Jones and bags were supplied by Anna Barrett Lawrence. Everyone looked fabulous in the designers’ creations. Keeping in mind most of the ladies walking for these designers had never before been on a cat walk. However with team work from the make-up artists, hair stylists and designers, and above all supporting and encouraging one another, each and every one of these women shone on the run way.

The show was opened with a bang from an incredible dance act from the Manchester based African Carnival Dancers.  This incredible group of dancers of all ages was formed in January by two beautiful, determined young ladies. I wouldn’t be surprised if they will soon make an appearance on Britain Got Talent! There was also a performance from the SingMe Merseyside Choir, sending chills down my spine. An amazing performance from singer Misha B. The girl got everyone up dancing and singing along in no time. Can I just point out what a lovely humble young lady Misha is. She chatted with everyone backstage offering words of support and laughter. We were even spoilt with an act from a group of volunteers ‘Hunks in Trunks’. No need to tell you how delighted all the ladies in the room where!

I spoke to so many coming off the run way saying: “I can’t believe I just did that”. “It was liberating”. “For once in my life I felt beautiful and confident”. “Without this opportunity and the love of these women I would never have done it”. How lovely and empowering is that? How much is this needed in today’s society where glossy magazine images are that highly edited and body shapes are digitally reshaped? Where we are made to feel we are not good enough if we can’t live up to those expectations. I did see tears that day. Tears of joy, of pride of the emotion of feeling you are not on your own. I also saw a lot of hugs, high fives and heard so many cheers, heartfelt compliments and words of encouragement. Again, how beautiful and empowering is that!

I was given the opportunity to introduce everyone to EssyEntials. I can’t put into words how stressful public speaking is for me. I am comfortable in small groups but standing on a stage, with a mic. in a room full of people still petrifies me. Thank you Claire Kendrick for your support, who was by my side the whole time. (You see again how powerful the support of a likeminded, kind and supportive female friend can be.) To be honest, I still am not sure what I said, but it did remind me of doing my first ever cat walk just over two years ago. I started with trembling knees and a mouth as dry as cotton, but as soon as I started it wasn’t too bad at all. These days I just get an adrenaline rush before going up on the run way. I hope when talking about my journey and my plans to start workshops for women came across well. I did ask my son after wards how it went. The cutie said: “I was very proud of you but very tempted to shout out loud ‘That’s enough now Mum , can we go home’!

I’d like to thank all the brave women involved. What an amazing team brought together in one place.  An event that for sure has touched many. Giving the knowledge they are not on their own. Giving confidence knowing they are good enough and beautiful. I would also like to thank my dear photographer friend Glyn Kelly who photographed and filmed this event. Without each and every one there and showing love and support this event would never have happened nor been such an overwhelming success on so many levels.

I’ve already heard through the grapevine the GirlLYF Charity Show will be repeated. I shall keep you all posted as it would be lovely to see lots more of you there helping empower one another and basically having a fabulous time,  raising awareness for MIND and REFUGE in the process. Any of you reading this and feeling the need to have a little chat about your own personal struggles please don’t be a stranger and contact either Claire Kendrick or myself. We will help point you in the right direction for help and support. You are definitely not on your own and that there are always better days to come. Better days like this fabulous empowering Charity event. See you all there at next one!


One thought on “Charity Event GirlsLYF for MIND and REFUGE

  1. Wow where do I begin…Really???

    I’ve had to leave it a few days to digest, as it’s been so overwhelming.

    But you know what I’m …
    ❤️So honoured
    ❤️So proud
    For what happend last weekend ❤️

    Women coming together participating in every shape and form leading up to the event , during the event and after the event …..
    It didn’t matter to me how much people did individually, all that mattered to me, was that they supported and made a difference no matter how big or small .

    You know……when women show up for each other and support each other

    ⭐️we make a difference .

    ⭐️We make change

    We stop stigma ❌

    This event was pulled together in only a matter of 3 months and that is truly incredible. Now this could only happen because of all of you that supported it .

    I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve hit brick walls, but I knew my passion,my love and my drive for the charity’s Mind and women’s refuge would never ever get in the way of stopping me to keep my focus. 💪

    Not only that, I felt the power of true, beautiful strong women that supported the event in a way that I will never forget and that feeling will never leave me……EVER!!

    You know GirlLYF was formed based on women finding a safe haven to bare their soles to others .

    The love and strength that came from that made us realise that supporting two charity’s
    Mind and women’s refuge would give us strength and unity to empower and help to stop the stigma .

    Sarah Rawlings. Thankyou for the numerous help with posts, zoom calls and general phone calls ❤️ we have cried and laughed but it’s been so worth it .

    So now I want to thank everyone including Glyn Kelly who with his daughter Jane, who worked tirelessly to provide us with some amazing photography which I have provided below. These two amazing people have supported me for the past year and for that I am forever greatful ❤️

    To the Titanic Hotel Liverpool for the wonderful running of the event .

    Special thanks to

    Essy Van der Vlies

    Supporting our runway to give our ladies confidence in their walk empowering and uplifting . Feed back was amazing from the ladies forever greatful .

    Rachel Maziere husband Gary of T5 event media
    These guys are so professional and were so supportive to the event and we are all so greatful for what your business did to support the day .

    Cathryn Rawlinson for heading the make up team……..your devoted passion to support this event was outstanding forever greatful .

    Lindsay Browne such a sweetheart with only a week to go this lady got involved didn’t let us down and supported the hair team well done Lindsey we appreciate your love and support so greatful .

    Caroline Pearce
    For travelling 4and a half hours to dress the venue lady you are amazing you did us proud

    To Sing me Merseyside
    Wow what a wonderful team you have Billy Hui and Wendy so forever greatful .
    It was so empowering and uplifting proud you could all be apart .

    Nidah M Ali Thankyou so much for all the admin you did the help with running orders endless lists along with sorting raffle prizes .
    Numerous visits to the hotel long hours of phone calls late at night .

    To our wonderful Christina Francotte who opened the show wow you inspire me I must learn how to dance like that.

    Special thanks to

    Jewellery Judith Jones

    Designer Sidnie Couture

    Designer Carloid Houghton

    Hat Designer Janice Charles

    Designer Taya Mahachi

    Handbags Anna Barrett Lawrence

    Special thanks to Women of worth Jb Burton and Sharon Sim Sim Richards everyone felt the positivity in the room it was outstanding .

    Georgie Baddley for your outstanding voice
    Thankyou for singing 🎤 and giving up your time ❤️

    And to our amazing celebrity Misha B from the xfactor .wowsers to have been up close and personal to this amazing women was outstanding so blessed we where so honoured for her to sing for us .

    Then there was the Air squad dance group…….these kids made me cry with happiness they uplifted the room with their love and spirit to dance .

    Sylwia Jackson for your beautiful polish speech and uplifting the room with your infectious smile and personality.

    Amirah Vandan –
    Education in Africa Speech

    To Dorretta for introducing some of the fashion shows your voice is amazing you kept us all smiling .

    To my beautiful Jude Hanley for standing by my side introducing the acts and bringing 40 amazing people from Manchester i can’t Thankyou enough #heartofgold

    Jo Eva for helping keep the event on track with the fundraising and entertainment. Sincerely grateful.#beautiful

    Michelle Churcher for the beautiful hand made gifts on the table lots of your hard work time and effort.#beautiful lady

    Christina Impey
    Love support and numerous phone calls to Refuge.such a #beautiful woman

    Sally-ann Jackson
    For helping Nidah with the raffle
    To all the models
    You ladies definitely knew how to rock that cat walk.#beautiful .

    To hunks in trunks massive respect an thankyou

    To the Ambassadors
    And girl icons who played a part so proud of you all and sincerely greatful team work made the dream work ❤️

    To our foundersCarina BentleyySarah Rawlingss Thank you to you also and to the dearStephanie Orrr a special Thankyou from deep within my heart ❤️ to you for passing over to me your founders position .

    I am forever greatful and love you for your honesty. I will make you proud and promise to push through the true meaning of GirlLYF to help support others and give back to all in need .

    To everyone who gave up their time made any contribution big or small , a raffle prize , shared a post or just donated #sincerly grateful.

    People are welcome to share the photographs below, but please give credit to Glyn Kelly and tag him in any posts.

    Amirah Vandan –
    Education in Africa Speech


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