I have recently returned from a fabulous week away! I was lucky enough to hitch a ride on a job that my photographer husband Olley has enjoyed doing for the last eight or so years – Sir Cliff Richard's calendar shoot! And I wasn't working – just making the coffees, occasionally holding a reflector or sunshade to help achieve the best photo, and mainly just relaxing and re-charging.
Olley shot the 2014 calendar last year in Nashville, where Cliff had just recorded his latest album full of rock 'n' roll tracks. Since then, Cliff has been working hard to promote the album and is preparing for a European tour, so he is enjoying a few quiet weeks in his home on the sunny island of Barbados, and decided it would be the location for his 2015 calendar.
Olley has shot a couple of earlier ones there, some in Portugal – where Sir Cliff has another home – some in America, and the UK too. The chance to join him in the Caribbean was too much to resist, especially as our younger son Billy was travelling as camera assistant, so with Bex and Charlie away at uni, there would be no one left at home for me to worry about.
Sir Cliff is such a lovely man. With a man who has achieved as much as he has you might expect, even forgive, an occasional touch of arrogance, but there's none of it! He welcomed us into his beautiful home for the first of the two day shoot, and just got on with the job. He wears a different outfit for each shot, and works with a stylist to make sure he's happy with each look. It's not difficult for him to look good, though. At 73 he could easily pass for 20 years younger – fit, slim, and with a gorgeous smile, he looks great in every picture (although perhaps Olley has something to do with that too!).
People often wonder whether Cliff manages it by being obsessed with his diet to the point of having no fun in his life. I would say he's disciplined, particularly about following the 'eat for your blood type' diet that he has found works so well for him.
But that only means that, as mangoes are off limits for him, he chose the guava daiquiri to celebrate the end of the shoot when he bought us all a cocktail at the beach bar that Olley chose as a location. In fact, we all had two! So he enjoys having a drink, and he was heading out later that evening to join friends for a curry, so I would say he's pretty normal (in a super sort of way, of course!).
We delayed our flight home by a couple of days to enjoy a short holiday together once Olley had finished working, and spent some time exploring the island. It has a relaxed, easy feel to it, with different personalities depending on which side of the island you visit.
On the west coast, where Cliff lives, the beaches are typically Caribbean, with leaning palm trees and crystal clear azure water lapping gently at pristine white sand beaches. The sea is perfect for swimming and snorkelling – Olley and I enjoyed a couple of early morning dips, and Billy and I were lucky enough to have a turtle for company on one of our swims. Beautiful animals, so elegant in the water – it was a special moment. The beach bars play happy reggae music and serve rum punch all day – what more could you ask for?!
The scenery on the more remote Atlantic east coast is altogether more dramatic, with cliffs dropping down to wide expanses of sand and rolling waves crashing in – not always safe to swim in, but exhilarating to watch. The south coast is more built up, and we shopped in a local fish market for fresh tuna to barbecue at a fraction of the price I would pay at home. It was delicious!
Olley had packed his cameras away – he doesn't tend to take photos when he's off duty – but I captured my own images of this lovely place. I've posted a couple here, and I've enjoyed looking through them again as I chose which to share with you.
I'm back at work now, of course, and just want to let you know that this Wednesday's Morning Style has one of our most popular themes – it's helping you choose a capsule wardrobe for summer. We find a few key pieces that will work hard for you in terms of being versatile and easy to wear together in a number of ways, and will hopefully go with lots you already have in your wardrobe.
Try to join us at 10am but also check back here on my blog – I am hoping to be photographed in most of the clothes to show you a number of different looks and outfits and I'll post the results for you here – watch this space!
Until then, take care.