Hello everyone. I hope 2018 has been kind to you so far. Last year, I said I was going to blog more. I didn’t. There’s one 2017 resolution that didn’t happen. But never mind. If at first you don’t succeed, try again… Or whatever it was that person said. Good advice. So here we are, 2018 (it just has to be the perfect year as it starts on a Monday. It’s just beautiful!). I’m actually going to blog more this year. You can hold me to that.
I wanted to write a bit about my achievements of 2017 and my plans for 2018… This post will be about gratitude for last year and intention setting for this year. I don’t expect you to read all of this really, you can just wait for some of the ones I’ll be posting later this month which will hopefully be less rambly. Hopefully. This post is more for me than anything.
I think 2017 was a good year. I achieved so much and did so many things. Plus, 2016 was just so shit for pretty much everyone that 2017 probably seemed awesome by default… Amirite? 😉
But seriously, 2017 was great for me. I have the best job in the world (at least I think so), so many exciting things happen because of my job and doing what I love (like getting the chance to go to Greece for example!), but I don’t just mean that 2017 was good for my work, although it was. I mean that 2017 was good for me. I did things I didn’t think I’d be able to do. I did things I can really be proud of. I had fun and explored new places. It was a really awesome feeling as 2017 drew to a close and I was writing down what I was grateful for. When I’d finished, I felt a little overwhelmed at how awesome a year it had been. And it’s given me a bit of drive to make 2018 even better.
I didn’t feel like 2017 was all that great when I was living it day to day. It felt average at best. But the power of looking back at all the things I did was a really amazing experience for me. If you didn’t write a list of things you’re grateful for that happened in 2017, I strongly recommend doing it. At first you’ll be staring at a blank piece of paper, but then you’ll think of one thing and then another, and another and before you know it, you’ve written a whole list of things. It’s magical.
My 2017 Gratitude List
The first thing I want to write about is the number of books I read this year. At the beginning of 2017, I set myself a goal of one book a week. So by the end of 2017, I will have read 52 books. I achieved my goal and actually ended up on 57 as the total number of books I read in 2017. I think that’s awesome. I love reading so much. I read a variety of books, mostly fiction, but some YA fiction, some graphic novels and a couple of non-fiction books too. I’m going to list them in a separate blog post, in case anyone else is as much of a bookworm as me and wanted to inspiration on things to read. I’m always happy to receive book recommendations, by the way, so feel free to comment with your favourite book or ones you’ve read recently and loved. I read pretty much everything! So even if I didn’t blog like I’d planned in 2017, I achieved my reading goal! That’s something to be proud of.
In 2017, I finally got to spend a weekend away with my best friend, Katie. We stayed in London and went to see Mamma Mia! onstage at the Novello theatre. Then we got very very drunk and spent the next day hungover in a fancy hotel eating vegan pizza from Zizzi and watching Come Dine With Me on TV. Literally the stuff dreams are made of. It might seem a weird thing to say I’m grateful for in 2017, but let me point out that me and Katie live very far apart and hardly ever get to actually see each other. So that weekend really rocked, and I’m very very grateful for that experience. Thank you 2017 (and thank you, Katie!)!
Me and Katie before leaving the hotel, and in the lift on the way out of the hotel, on our way to see Mamma Mia!
Me and Katie queueing outside the Novello theatre and then seated in the theatre, waiting for the performance to start (there was lots of giggling and girlish squeals!)
Me hungover, snuggled in the hotel room, eating vegan pizza from Zizzi in the hope of curing the hangover, and watching Come Dine With Me on TV, while snuggled in the hotel bath robe and slippers!
I taught a yoga and meditation class to children in 2017. My mum works with kids, she’s always been a teacher. She asked me about whether meditation and yoga could help some of her students. We talked about it and decided that I should go in to talk to the head teacher and the deputy head teacher about it. So I did. I mentioned wanting to do my yoga teacher training at some point because teaching yoga is something I’d love to be able to do (eventually). And before I knew it, this idea had snowballed into me teaching a 30 minute yoga and meditation class to two separate groups of children. Well, that escalated quickly.
I. Was. Terrified.
I was so scared. I’m very passionate about yoga and meditation and the benefits of those things, so often find myself talking to people about them… but to actually try to impart that knowledge to a group of children in a way they can understand and connect with, who will all be looking right at me the whole time, expecting me to know all of the answers to all of those awkward weird questions that children ask… *shudders*
I’ve never been one to enjoy public speaking. I’m actually quite shy and quiet and don’t like being the centre of attention. So this was scary for me. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. All of the kids were lovely, I had fun and they had fun, and I got a really positive reaction from them. It was a fantastic experience. Another win for 2017, I overcame a fear and it all went well.
Two yoga themed self portraits I took at the beginning of 2017.
Another thing that was really exciting for me in 2017 was going on holiday with Katie in August. I don’t really like warm weather when it hits England (I spend the whole time it’s here [all 24 hours of it, usually] complaining that it’s too hot to do anything and wishing for winter, and then when it’s winter, I spend the whole time huddled up in duvets with hot water bottles, grumpy because it’s too cold all the time, wishing for summer…)
Anyway, so me and Katie had decided to go to Portugal for a few days. It’s really hot in Portugal in summer. It wasn’t until I was packing that I realised how much of a stupid idea this was. In May, when me and Katie were in London, it was really really hot (anyone else remember that crazy hot weather we had in May??? It was ridiculous…) and we both spent the whole time complaining that we hated warm weather… I was failing to see the logic behind us deciding to go to a hot country in the height of summer, but we did.
And it was actually amazing. The heat is different to the two days of summer we get in England and it was lovely. We spent time in the pool, on the river beach, sunbathing by the pool, sunbathing on the veranda… Basically lots and lots of sunbathing. It isn’t usually my thing, but apparently it was for the time I was in Portugal. I was like a reptile, basking in the sun at every opportunity. Then in the evenings, we got to go in the local village and attend their festas. We were staying in a tiny village, away from anything even remotely touristic so we got to experience real, rural Portuguese culture. The festa was lovely. There was music, dancing and wine. Everybody knew everybody. It was beautiful to watch and amazing to be part of. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to experience a different culture without all all of the touristic influence. Thank you 2017 for the experience of another culture. And thank you to Marilyn and David (Katie’s aunt and uncle) who let us stay with them and showed us around.
Me having a selfie with my favourite boy before I left for the airport, and a photograph of me outside my front door, all packed ready to go! (I’m a loser, I’m aware of that fact!)
Me and Katie on the shuttle bus into the airport (looking very tired as it was about 4am, and then us sitting on the plane, being very excited and discussing whether or not is is okay to order prosecco at 5am, if you’re on an aeroplane (in case you’re wondering, we ordered the prosecco).
Pool selfies are mandatory on holidays that involve pools. As are the weird faces, so don’t judge!
Me and Katie enjoying the river beach in Coja. It was amazing and such a lovely day for it. The sun was hot, and the water was cool. Perfection.
There were lots and lots of selfies. I’ve limited it to just a few as I’m sure you’re sick of seeing my face by now, but I’d like to mention that these sunglasses died just before I was supposed to go to Greece so I had to buy new ones that aren’t as lovely. R.I.P favourite sunnies 😦
Pool selfie, followed by a photograph of me nearly drowning because I’m trying to read in the pool… Followed by a slightly more dignified picture of me afterwards (There was a more flattering version of that last picture, where I don’t have such a dorky look on my face, but I thought this one was more fun!)
Me and Katie in the car on our way to the airport to go home. It was some ungodly hour in the morning, hence the darkness. Me on the plane, listening to either Bowling for Soup or the soundtrack to Mamma Mia. I can’t remember which. Then a picture from just after we landed back in England. It was raining. I don’t know who that guy is in the background.
While I was in Portugal, I appear to have taken lots of photographs of my legs. If anyone can explain why I might have done this, I’d be very grateful. I have no idea.
In September, I spent some time in London. I was there to go to the Wanderlust 108m festival which is described as a mindful triathlon. Basically, it was a 5k walk or run, followed by yoga, followed by a meditation. I bought my ticket as soon as I heard about it. One ticket. I’d be going by myself. It was the first time I’d be going to something like that alone. Usually there would be friends, or family to go along, or I’d just drag the boyfriend begrudgingly along with me. But that wasn’t an option this time (worst. boyfriend. ever… just kidding). Basically, if I wanted to go, I’d be going alone. So I did.
A couple of months after booking my ticket, I found out that just two days before the Wanderlust festival, the lead singer of my favourite band was going to be performing a solo acoustic tour in London (Jaret Reddick form Bowling for Soup, in case you’re interested). That was fate. So I bought a ticket to that too. One ticket. I went by myself.
Going to things alone is actually really empowering, if a little scary. 2017; giving Misuzu the confidence to do what she wants to, even if she has to go it alone. I’m very proud of myself for dong it. Again, it might not seem like a big deal to you, but believe me when I tell you, this was a huge deal for me. And it was a nice adventure.
A picture of my ticket to see Jaret, and a selfie of me waiting outside in the rain before the doors were opened.
A selfie of me with my extortionately expensive Jack Daniels and Coke (London prices are crazy!) And a selfie of me post-gig, back at my hostel, wearing the hoodie I bought from the gig. It says ‘Jaret Reddick might be my dad’ on the back.
The day between the gig and the Wanderlust festival, I decided to have a wander around Camden. While I was there, I stumbled across this palace. I had my lunch there and it was AMAZING. I got back to the hostel and in the end decided to go back to Camden to find this place again for dinner. It really is that good.
Anyway, so the Wanderlust festival kicks off with a 5k walk or run. I was convinced I’d be walking it, if I managed to finish it at all. I’d tried to start to train myself to run a couple of months before the festival but as usually happens whenever I try to pick up a running habit; I did it for about a week and then stopped. I just can’t seem to keep a running practice. I’m not really sure why…
But anyway, I attended the Wanderlust festival as I’d planned. By myself. Prepared to walk the 5k to kick of the mindful triathlon… And for some magical reason, I ran the 5k. Okay, I walked some of it, but I ran more than I walked, which was an important distinction for me. And I did it in just under 40 minutes (which, I think is pretty good!). I’d been aiming for an hour so do it in less than 40 minutes felt really really great. I felt soooooo happy and energised when I finished the run (rather than exhausted as I’d anticipated)… I was really proud of myself.
I did something I didn’t think I had it in me to do. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard (and very sweaty) and took an awful lot of perseverance… But I did it. So 2017 saw Misuzu running 5k!
A selfie of me shortly after I arrived at Wanderlust. I got there early so I got a great spot for my yoga mat. And then there is a picture of the stage (I was the front row, right behind the mats that were set up for the volunteers… Arriving early has its benefits!)
A pre-5k selfie with all the other people waiting to start the run, and the Wanderlust starting line. A screen shot of my phone just after I finished the 5k! And a lovely, post-run selfie, covered in sweat but very very happy!
A funny selfie just before the yoga started. The sun decide to come out, making me all squinty… But it was glorious doing yoga in the sunshine, with thousands of other people! And then a picture of the yummy vegan food I got there.
Finally, in 2017 I got my first opportunity to work abroad as a model. I was invited to Greece by a photographer, Rick who goes by the name of Garden of the Muses. At the beginning of November, I spent a week in Greece with Rick in the Peloponnese region. I learnt so much about Greek history and culture, as well as working with Rick to get some amazing images. I’m hoping to go back this year at some point as I’m sure the images me and Rick will produce will just keep getting better and better each time. So, 2017 taught me to say ‘yes’ to opportunities as they arise. By saying yes, you might be taking a risk, but good things can come from taking risks.
A selfie of me in the Theatre of Epidavros at the Sanctuary of Asklepios with the new friend I made! (There are more selfies and silly snaps from Greece but I think I’ve overstayed my welcome a little with them in this post, so I’ll save those for another post!)
Oh, and here are the new sunglasses.They’re just not as good!
My parents moved out of the house I grew up this year, which gave me the chance to go through all of the things from my childhood ( I had taken up a large space in their loft when I ‘moved out’ after university). It was great to see evidence of the adult I became, emerging from all of my childhood items. And lots of lovely, embarrassing photographs too. That’s always lots of fun!
An old photograph of me and my little brother camping, two school photographss from middle school and a framed picture of me as a super cute baby (clearly, I was supposed to grow up to be a model, since I’ve been doing it since I was tiny!)
I’m grateful for all that Matthew has done for me this year. He had continued to support my work and helped me to feel confident in putting myself out there. It’s very easy to miss feeling gratitude for the people and things that are always there, so I wanted to make sure I included this here.
Thank you for all of the lovely things we have celebrated this year, like Mardi Gras, birthdays and of course, Christmas (Christmas especially, we did so many lovely, festive things!).
Thank you for getting me 26 presents on my birthday in July because I jokingly said a few months before that you had to get me 26 presents because I’m turning 26.
Thank you for agreeing to have Halloween a bit early because I was flying out on the 31st.
Thank you for taking me to see the My Little Pony movie and not even being embarrassed by the fact that I wore my Fluttershy t-shirt.
Thank you for always being there waiting with a glass of red wine whenever I get back late from a shoot. You have no idea how amazing this is.
Thank you for wearing the scarf I made you.
Thank you for all of the little surprises that arrive in the post, like Rosemary Clooney CDs and Adrian Mole books.
A family portrait I took of us on Mardi Gras, and a selfie we took when we bought our pumpkins for carving in October.
Me and Matt when we went to see a Bon Jovi triute band in July, The Hoosiers at the beginning of October and then when we went to see the My Little Pony movie at the end of October.
The bunny shaped Easter egg Matthew got for me, a photograph of our pumpkins (Matt’s is the one on the left, mine is the one on the right) and our lovely little Christmas tree, Antonio (yes, we name our Christmas tree every year!)
My 26 birthday presents, and a photograph of me enjoying a G&T on my birthday 🙂
Matthew wearing the scarf I made for him.
Finally, I’m grateful to Yorick for being awesome every single day. I love you buddy.
My beautiful baby from a shoot I did with him at the beginning of 2017.
Yorick being all spooky on Halloween!
My Goals for 2018
So I’m just going to write down a few things here that I want to achieve this year. Some are more personal, and some are more to do with my modelling work. If I post it on the internet, then I have to try twice as hard to achieve them. That’s how it works, right?
Anyway, here goes:
- Blog more (first post of 2018, check!)
- Plan more modelling tours, including Scotland and Ireland (because I’ve wanted to do that since I first started modelling!)
- Go back to work in Greece again, if Rick will have me!
- Put more effort into my own photography.
- Read at least 52 books this year too. Because only good things can come from reading more.
There, it’s on the internet now, so I have to try extra hard. Accountability. It works wonders 😛
So, thank you for reading this. If you stuck with it until the end, I’m grateful (and somewhat astounded). You’re probably bored to tears by this point… I’m sorry. But I needed to write this post for myself. It’ll be something I can look back on in December 2018 and see how far I’ve come and whether or not I managed to achieve all the things I listed here. It will be interesting, I think.
My trip to Greece is what I will be writing several blog posts about during the course of this month, to showcase the work me and Rick did. It is work that I feel deserves attention. So after this rambly, kinda self-centred post there are some really great images ready to be published on my little piece of the internet. So keep an eye out. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t let this post put you off!