Jess | #FriendsofCE

Jess | #FriendsofCE

My name is Jess and I’m 26 years of age. I’m originally from Ireland, studied at the University of Oxford and did a degree in Earth Sciences, where I met my boyfriend Ed. We now live in Bristol where he is completing his PhD and we have a lovely wee scruffy grey lurcher, Maya. I’m a Stay at Home Dog Mum and take my role very seriously, that wee dog of ours requires much love and attention! (I’m unable to work due to disability; I have multiple chronic illnesses which quite severely impact my life and abilities.)

I would absolutely love a career where I could be off out adventuring and exploring the wilderness every day but since finishing my degree, my health hasn't permitted a lot of that. My adventures are slightly more tame these days but my love for the outdoors is no less! If I have even an ounce of spare energy on a good health day you will absolutely find me outside, appreciating nature :).

My ultimate dream is to have an old abandoned farm deep in the countryside somewhere, where we convert the outhouses into rooms and run it as a B&B. It’d have a lovely old farm kitchen with a big old pine table for us to have nice slow breakfasts around with the family and so I can do lots of baking at and we’ll have two scruffy lurchers lazing in front of the Aga. If it’s got old servants’ quarters too that’d be great because I was always desperate to explore somewhere like that when I was a kid and it’d be so fun to play hide and seek around. I’d love to be somewhere rugged and remote where we can let the dogs zoom for miles and go on picnics with a good flask of tea.

Bravery, I feel, comes in many forms and oftentimes it’s silent and invisible, and only the person being brave knows about it. It’s the standing up to that wee voice saying  you’re no good or you could be better or you’re worthless. It’s stepping out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t have to be a big step, it could even be just  a tiptoe but the very act of taking that step is the bravest thing you could do.

I think I recently felt brave when I spoke up to a doctor whilst I was in hospital, very unwell, and they were not being very understanding or helpful in terms of my treatment. I was incredibly shaky afterwards because I hate any hint of confrontation but I’m really glad I was brave enough to speak up because the doctor went away and read up on my condition that evening, and came back the next day much more caring, understanding and proactive with treatment.

Without a doubt it has to be Autumn is my favourite season! And then Winter is a close second for me. It’s socially acceptable to hibernate and stay tucked up under a blanket, drink hot chocolate and watch movies, which is one of my favourite things to do, and of course, all those lovely wooly jumpers and coats you get to wear when venturing into the outside world! You can’t beat it!

I think because I spend a lot of my life inside the house or in bed due to my illness, when I do get to go outside I really appreciate the outdoors a lot more than most people who are so used to going out every day, it tends to just get taken for granted. There’s nothing better than standing outside and smelling the fresh air, seeing the leaves changing colour, feeling the cool breeze and even the damp drizzle on your face that you get in Autumn. And I promise you’ll find me kicking through those stunning fallen leaves no matter my age, I will never stop loving autumn leaves!

One of the signs of a true friendship is the fact that you can pick up right where you left off the next time you speak or see each other. And also, despite not being in touch for a while, just when you know they’re going through a tough patch or they know you are,  you send a message of love and it means the absolute world to you both.

When I first saw the new collection I was speechless, the shape and design of the new bags is so beautiful, keeping the signature curvature of the Bloomsbury but bringing more to the table, literally! The Bloomsbury will always hold a special place in my heart because I tend towards smaller shoulder bags but the additional room and space means The Alicia and Emma are a lot more versatile and usable in a variety of circumstances which I know will appeal to so many.

I also love the new CE branding, the logo is simple and classy, and the gold tone hardware really ties everything together. The pink suede lining is such a beautiful addition to the bags too, it definitely makes them feel all the more luxurious and it compliments every shade of the collection perfectly. Charlotte has such an eye for detail and I’m so proud of what she’s achieved!

The #FriendsofCE shoot day with Charlotte Elizabeth could not have been more perfect! The weather was just right, it was a great temperature and although there were some clouds, the light was good, it stayed dry, and the leaves stayed crunchy - essential for a perfect Autumnal day in my opinion!

We met all the girls in St. James’ Park and were able to chat and catch up at the cafe whilst we each took turns doing our individual shots. Meeting everyone, and Emma and Amy, Charlotte’s sisters, was actually so lovely, they’re such friendly humans and we got on so well, it genuinely felt like I’d just bumped into some of my girl friends! After individual shots we did a few group shots and then celebrated the success of the day over some delicious lunch.

I had great fun on the shoot, it was so nice for me to feel more confident in myself again - I’ve not modelled in a long time but it felt natural and comfortable, and I really enjoyed it, especially working with a brand whom I’ve loved and supported for so many years.

What I really appreciated about the shoot day was that CE managed to bring together women from all different walks of life with different tales to tell, of different ages and with different achievements, and yet we all got on so well, came together and bonded over the beauty of the brand. It felt really empowering and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to take part.

The fact I can relate to Charlotte in terms of having multiple chronic illnesses, makes what she has achieved even more impressive. I aspire to be a successful business woman like her. Supporting her brand is easy, she is such a lovely human being, always approachable and easy to chat to and not only does that make for us being friends but it’s also a fantastic quality for a business to have because it allows the customer base to feel connected to the brand, having spoken directly with the creator. Not only that but the quality of the handbags is incredible, the difference to other bags of equal pricing is remarkable, and the step up from high street to Charlotte Elizabeth is truly luxurious.