If you’ve landed here, you’ll know that body positivity is a strong influence in my work and in my attitude to life. Towards the end of last year, I had one of those moments where things just fitted together magically to make a wonderful weekend of bopo goodness!

On the Friday night, I met my fab friend Sarah, for dinner & to go to our local screening of the Embrace documentary. I’d booked to see it back in March, but didn’t make it and was so pleased to have another opportunity, having cried at the trailer numerous times.

So we wandered up to the vineyard in Coggeshall (is there any better place for a get-together than a vineyard with a WINE VENDING MACHINE?!) and immediately got chatting to Kika, the photographer on the night. One of the things I most love about the photographers I meet these days, especially the female ones, is the instant camaraderie and support that emerges when we cross paths, rather than the suspicion and competitiveness that has been a feature of previous encounters with other people in the same industry.

Carla and Sarah by Kika Mitchell Photography Photo by the very lovely Kika Mitchell Photography

When we went up to the screening room, I had the lovely surprise of seeing my photographs on the Love You Burlesque flyers in the goodie bags! (I’d know LYB were using them but it was fab to see them in real life, as it were).

The evening was hosted by Lauren of This Girl Is Enough, who introduced herself & the film and then let us settle into watching it.

The documentary itself was moving, powerful and beautiful – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, and I think all of us left having learned something, even those of us who have been working on body positivity and loving our own bodies for a long time.

Sarah and I stayed out, putting the world to rights and discussing things that had come up for us from watching it, till much later than I usually would have done, and it was just a perfect way to spend an evening.

And then on the Saturday night, the Love You Burlesque cabaret was in full swing. I was performing in a group set with my weekly class, and also brought my mermaid pop up shop with me, plus I was supporting some close friends who were dancing in different numbers.

Love You Burlesque 2017 Cabaret | carlawatkinsphotography.comPhoto by Olly Brant – there’s me on the far right in blue & black, next to gorgeous Annastasia, my Ink Drops partner in crime, and my beautiful bopo powerhouse friend Fran Hayden in the centre! 

The first cabaret under the new name, it was as luxurious and decadent as ever, the performances were varied and glorious, I had fantastic chats with all sorts of people and I reconnected with a mermaid who I’d previously known only as a mermaid, but via burlesque.

To be surrounded by love & body positivity, to see women gathering to celebrate our bodies rather than hating them, was a very special experience.

Here’s to much more body positive power in 2018!

Love You Burlesque 2017 Cabaret | carlawatkinsphotography.comPhoto by Olly Brant