It may be pouring outside but thought our new showreel would keep you all smiling!
Woking Hospice is a place that is very dear to my family. The team there have cared for two of our good friends in recent years and helped their families cope with the heartbreaking loss of their loved ones.
I have been so impressed by the counselling that is provided for the bereaved children particularly by a rather charming lady, Julie Cole, Children’s Services Manager.
Several years ago, a specialist counselling group was set up by the hospice in memory of a young man (and friend of my stepson) called Tom Di Felice who was tragically killed in a road accident on 15/12/2009 – he was 17 years old. Through tireless fund raising by Tom’s family and friends, the “Tommy D Project” was launched. The group is there to help young teenagers, who have lost someone close to them, through their bereavement.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Julie last year and was in awe of the work she does with this group and the “Footsteps” group for the younger children too.
In 2012, Julie had the idea to plan a trip to Kenya to take the Tommy D group to volunteer at The Children of the Rising Sun Orphanage in Malindi, Kenya, which is home to 60 orphaned and abandoned children.
Each member of the group had to fund raise to cover their £2,000 travel costs. Endless car boot sales, car washes, quiz nights, mufti days, sponsored walks etc followed as they all worked hard towards their targets.
Following a fund raising event I organised for the hospice in August last year, I was invited to meet the team and offer some basic face painting training to give them the skills to offer the service at various events to help add to their fund raising efforts. One sunny but chilly day in Woking in October we spent several hours spreading paint; glitter and smiles around the room; set them up with some mini kits and sent them on their way to raise valuable funds.
12 months on and I received the most wonderful email in my inbox. A message from my young friend Megan, just back from Kenya, full of emotion and excitement about her trip and attaching photographs that made me shed a few tears. The teenagers had all taken their face paints to Kenya with them and had had an opportunity to paint the orphans who had never experienced face painting in their lives.
It was so moving to think that just a few hours training a year before led to something happening 6,641 miles away that will no doubt be a memory they treasure for the rest of their lives. (Loving the fact that I now know, thanks to Google Maps, the exact mileage from my home to Malindi, Kenya!)
Total respect to Julie Cole, Kate Whyatt, Nick Di Felice, Lisa Jones, Megan Lowe, Joe Plume, Liam Grant, Andrew Baynham, Francesca Sleet, Rafaella Barratt, Lucy Braithwaite and Robin Guy who made up the team.
Most importantly, the kids self confidence grew, and they pushed themselves to limits they didn’t know they had!
FUN FACT!! – as a group they lost 71 lbs in weight! Result! Wish I’d joined them!
The team hope to return next year, with some possible new Tommy D members who have joined in recent months as well as those from the previous trip!
If anyone would like to help by contributing to next years funds, they should specify, Tommy D, or Tommy D Kenya when donating. See links below.
To read more about their adventures please click here.
To make a donation:
Special “mirror moments” are what makes every face painter’s day! Thought I’d share a few of mine with you together with a little ditty I wrote some time back for Face to Face Magazine!
Oh little child upon my chair
Look up at me but please don’t stare
Close your eyes but don’t squeeze tight
Just gently like when you say “goodnight”
Pirate? Princess? Tiger or Clown?
I’ll make your face the talk of the town
My sponge will dab and my brush will swirl
Stroke by stroke the design will unfurl
No, don’t peek yet, it’s not quite done
If you look just now you’ll spoil all the fun
A few star bursts and a couple more dots
A sprinkling of glitter will ensure you love it lots
Ok my sweet, your time has come
Open your eyes and see what you’ve become ….
A curious face in the mirror peers
A slight intake of breath then the smile appears!
That smile is the reason I love my job
The first one I saw almost made me sob
In this complicated world of sadness and woe
I carry my paint and glitter wherever I go
I hope I change lives in some teeny way
By bringing a smile to those having a bad day
For our mirror moments will always be
Unforgettable sights for all to see.
I am blessed that my job takes me to some wonderful locations and the Black Swan in Ockham, Surrey is one of my favourites!
A pub that I frequented in my early 20s (back then it was affectionately known as “The Mucky Duck”) has changed beyond recognition since those dim and distant days.
Nestled in idyllic Surrey countryside, whilst being only minutes from the A3 and the M25, it is hugely popular with local walkers and cyclists but also attracts patrons from all over the country (and the world!). When chatting with the parents of the children I’m painting I find that many use it as a central meeting point for family get-togethers and celebrations as it’s so easily accessible.
You can often find us set up just inside the entrance of the pub, especially on bank holiday weekends. We have great fun keeping the children occupied whilst the parents enjoy the mouth-watering food on offer; and sometimes they brave my chair too and enjoy a good dousing of glitter themselves!
This Sunday we were invited to set up in the fabulous beer garden alongside several local food and wine producers at their popular Farmers’ Market.
It was great to see Mary again with her melt in the mouth cakes and biscuits and I had another opportunity to paint her beautiful daughter, Emma.
The Black Swan’s premium wine supplier, La Caves de Pyrene was on hand offering wine tasting. I avoided the temptation to partake but couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle to take away and enjoy later!
I did sneak a nibble of the cheese on offer from Turner’s Fine Food followed by another purchase! I can highly recommend the Baromar (similar to cheddar) and the Plumptondown Lynchetts Soft (similar to camembert).
Whilst overcast, the weather was kind and the Garden Menu was just as popular as the main Lunch Menu served in the restaurant. My mouth was watering all afternoon as the pungent, aromatic smells wafted over to me from the delicious barbecue! The two Rivitas that I had wolfed down whilst I set up my kit earlier just didn’t cut the mustard!
After a quiet start, the children came at me thick and fast!! Dalmatians seemed to be the order of the day for many but of course there were your guaranteed array of tigers and butterflies wandering around the children’s play area by the end of the afternoon!
A couple of wolf requests sneaked in too … a little spooky … I am reliably informed that back in the early 80s the pub was used as the set for “The Slaughtered Lamb” bar scene in An American Werewolf in London! Strangely I do get asked for more than the average amount of wolf paints when I’m working there!
You can find more information about the Black Swan here.
Liam and his fantastic team will be delighted to welcome you. (Please do book if you want to eat in the restaurant – I have never known it not to be packed!)
Every 2 years I like to do something to support Red Nose Day and this year I’d really love to prove the point that every “little” helps.
I’ve had amazing support with previous charity fundraisers I’ve arranged; some of the success has been down to some very very generous donators.
This year I’d like to just ask each of you to consider donating £2 ONLY to my Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/FascinatingFacesRND to see what we can do by pulling together as a local community; a facepainting community; my wonderful Rock Choir community and …. anyone else who knows me!!!! (It was £1 originally but have now found out that the minimum donation is £2!!!)
Some of you will know that I’m rather “known” for my face painted clowns and, if it all goes to plan, I have a rather special new design in mind for Red Nose Day 2013.
SO in return for your generosity I will paint my specially commissioned new clown face design today which, if we hit my target of £100 I will publish on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/fascinatingfaces at 10pm tonight!
Please please please share this link on Facebook; Twitter; by email; word of mouth …. EVERY LITTLE HELPS!!
(If you already “like” my page I think the new photo will come up on your Facebook page as soon as I publish it but please do check in just in case! If you’re new to my page please click on the “like” button to be added automatically. The image will also go live on Twitter!)
I just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has booked us during 2012. It has been an absolute pleasure to paint your children’s faces; your faces; your bodies and bumps and we sincerely hope we’ve helped you create some extra special memories along the way.
Another big thank you to all the other amazing artists who have helped me help you by becoming part of the Fascinating Faces team at various events across the country.
We have been delighted to support some fabulous charities over the last 12 months and have helped to raise several thousand pounds along the way.
Here’s a quick shout out to all of them together with links for you to visit should you wish to find out more.
Shooting Star Chase http://www.shootingstarchase.org.uk/
Woking Hospice http://www.wsbhospices.co.uk/
Brian Wolfe’s Fight for Life http://www.gofundme.com/tg9l0
Missing People https://www.missingpeople.org.uk/
The Soldiers Charity http://www.soldierscharity.org/
British Heart Foundation http://www.bhf.org.uk/
Children in Need http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008dk4b/features/cin-donate
Marie Curie Cancer Care http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/
Unfortunately we could not support ALL the charity requests we received but hope those we had to decline understood and managed to find someone to help with their causes.
If you would like to keep up to date with our fundraising and public “appearances” then please remember to “like” our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/fascinatingfaces and/or “follow” us on Twitter https://twitter.com/GuestyGirl
I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and exciting 2013.
Here’s a few of our special memories of 2012.