Bookworm #2

At the beginning of 2018, I did a review of my year in 2017 and a list of all the books I read that year. I will be doing the same this year, but the review post is going to be a little later on in January. I’m sure that everyone is desperate to read about my antics of 2018, but in the meantime, here’s my bookworm post!

 

In 2017, I read 57 books. In 2018, I read 52 books. The reason I read a bit less last year compared to the previous year is that a lot of my work was local, meaning I spent less time catching trains… My designated reading time. Which sucks a bit because I love my time spent on trains. Whizzing around the country and getting lost in some amazing books. But anyway… My goal was one book a week, and I achieved my goal. Awesome!

 

So here they are… The 52 books I consumed in 2018. let me know if you’ve read any of them or if you want book recommendations or anything. I love talking about books as much as I love my job. And you all know how much I love my job!


1. Without You, Anthony Rapp

2. A Christmas Cornucopia, Mark Forsyth

3. Tigers in Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann

4. Welcome to Nightvale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

5. A Little Taste of Poison, R. J. Anderson

6. The Looking Glass House, Vanessa Tait

7. The Sister, Louise Jensen

8. The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton

9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick

10. The Hidden People, Alison Littlewood

11. Ella and Otto and Russel And James, Emma Hooper

12. Copy Cat, Alex Lake

13. Don’t Wake Up, Liz Lawler

14. Ink, Alice Broadway

15. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

16. Sleepyhead, Mark Billingham

17. The Mermaid’s Scream, Kate Ellis

18. Scardy Cat, Mark Billingham

19. Flight, Isabel Ashdown

20. The Winter’s Child, Cassandra Parkin

21. Frog Music, Emma Donoghue

22. Behind Dead Eyes, Howard Linskey

23. The Gift, Louise Jensen

24. Out of the Blue, Sophie Cameron

25. The Girl Before, J.P. Delaney

26. The Secret Life of Cows, Rosamund Young

27. But Then I Came Back,  Estelle Laure

28. Caraval, Stephanie Garber

29. Friend Request, Laura Marshall

30. Talking to the Dead, Harry Bingham

31. Beautiful Liars, Isabel Ashdown

32. Th1rt3en, Steve Cavanagh

33. Clean, Juno Dawson

34. Anything You Do Say, Gillian McAllister

35. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

36. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

37. The Defence, Steve Cavanagh

38. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J. K. Rowling

39. Spark, Alice Broadway

40. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J. K. Rowling

41. Gangsta Rap, Benjamin Zephaniah

42. I Have No Secrets, Penny Joelson

43. Helka’s Children, James Brogden

44. The Plea, Steve Cavanagh

45. The Liar, Steve Cavanagh

46. Paper Towns, John Green

47. An Abundance of Katherines, John Green

48. The Twelve Dates of Christmas, Lisa Dickenson

49. Mistletoe on 34th Street, Lisa Dickenson

50. What Happens at Christmas, Evonne Wareham

51. Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin, Catherine Ferguson

52. The Christmasaurus, Tom Fletcher


I also read a short essay by Mark Forsyth called ‘The Unknown Unknown’. If you love books, I highly suggest finding it and reading it.


 

Questions and Answers

So every year I say I’m going to write more on here and every year I end up getting too busy to actually do that. Ah well, that’s life. I’m taking a bit of time to write this post because it’s one I’ve been wanting to get down for a while. The purpose of this is to answer some questions I commonly get asked about my work.

Being a freelance fine art model isn’t something that people expect to hear when they ask me what I do. A lot of people don’t even know it’s a job. And I understand that. If someone had told me this is what I’d be doing before I started doing it, I would have laughed at them. But here I am. Doing what I do. I love it. I love my job, I love being able to express myself creatively and get paid for it. Living the dream. I don’t make loads of money doing this… I do it because it’s fulfilling and fun and I genuinely think it makes me a better person. I’m so much more confident than I used to be because of my work. And I think that’s truly wonderful. So I want to share a bit of insight with you here.

I gave people who follow me on social media the chance to ask me stuff, so most of the questions I’m answering here come from my followers. Thank you to everyone who responded and asked me questions. There are a couple of questions I’ve included that are ones I’ve put in, simply because they’re questions I get asked a lot. I hope you enjoy reading my responses!


What made you get into modelling?

Well, as I said, I never thought I’d be a model. I always had people saying to me, “You should be a model!” but I never really thought anything of it. That’s just something people say as a compliment, right? So I was never thinking to myself that modelling was something I wanted to get into.

I went to university and got my BSc in Psychology from The University of Kent and then stayed on to get my MSc in Forensic Psychology. I moved back to Stoke after I graduated and while I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I started working at Evans (a plus sized clothes shop) with my older sister. I actually quite enjoyed my work there. I got to work with the customers to find clothes that made them feel amazing and confident. That’s a really priceless feeling. Anyway, while I was working there, my dad was setting up a photography business and asked me to help out as a second photographer on a shoot he was doing because I could just about stumble my way through working a camera. He had hired a model through a website called PurplePort and after working alongside my dad with the model he had booked, I remember thinking to myself that I bet that would be a really fun job.

So I signed up to PurplePort, thinking I could get into modelling as a bit of a hobby. This was in January 2015. I quickly got asked to do a TF shoot with a local photographer (a TF shoot is one where you don’t get paid but instead are given images from the shoot to use for your portfolio). It was fun. I enjoyed it a lot, despite it being absolutely freezing! After this shoot, I did a few more TF shoots and was pretty soon having people contact me asking to work with me, and asking what my rates were. People wanted to give me money in exchange for my modelling after just a few shoots!

I started getting more and more modelling work and was becoming quite popular as a model. In September 2015, I left my part time job at Evans and went into modelling full time. I don’t regret my decision one bit. I feel like I’m living the dream! This isn’t what I thought I’d end up doing but you only live once, so I figure that I may as well spend my time doing something that I love and am thoroughly passionate about 🙂

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An image from my first shoot back in January 2015 on location in Staffordshire.

©Kevin Sheldon


Are you a full time model?

Yes, I am. Modelling is my only job and my only source of income. I often get asked what my ‘day job’ is… And well, this is my day job. The work comes and goes. Sometimes I’ll be shooting every single day for two weeks solid. Sometimes I’ll only have a handful of shoots in a month. That’s just what it’s like being freelance. However, just because I’m not shooting every day doesn’t mean that I’m not working. Admin is a huge part of what I do. A lot of behind the scenes work goes in to me making the most out of modelling as a career, and it’s not all just pulling poses while someone clicks away! Responding to messages, putting out casting calls, reviewing mood boards, researching the best travel options, uploading images, organising images I’ve been sent, writing references for people I’ve worked with, posting on social media, and writing blog posts (like this one). So when I have some ‘down time’ from shooting, I’m actually still working… Just catching up on all the admin I haven’t had time for while I’ve been busy shooting! I think I spend as much time in front of a computer screen as I do in front of a lens 😉

I also spend a lot of time travelling. Catching trains around England… And more recently… planes to Europe. Greece, The Netherlands and Bulgaria are already ticked off the list! It really is a full time job!

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A shot from my shoot with the duo known as Sybarite in Zwolle, The Netherlands in March 2018.

©Sybarite


Do you have some sort of dance of gymnastic background? You seem to have a wide range of movement and flexibility in your posing but also a grace and subtlety to your work.

I get asked this a lot. Firstly, thank you. I really love hearing that I manage to convey grace in my images because that’s what I’m going for. I often say to people that my aim with my fine art nude work is about femininity, beauty and grace, rather than nudity. To me, the nudity is an almost incidental aspect of this type of work.

But anyway, no I do not have any gymnastics or dance background. I am quite possibly the most clumsy and least co-ordinated and graceful person in the world… Which I find pretty amusing given the type of work I do! I do yoga on a daily basis but I’ve always been really flexible anyway. That’s about the extent of my ability in this area! The way I pose does have a dance-like beauty to it, but those shots are usually taken just a second or two before I fall on the floor 😛

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A location shoot in Staffordshire, October 2016. This location involved a huge climb but it was so worth it!

©Stephen Plant


Some of your portfolio involves low-key lighting and environments that accentuate the interplay of light and shadows or silhouettes. These work well with you as the model. Is that a style you enjoy and how much of it is led by yourself as the model or is it an avenue that the photographer wishes to pursue?

I really love low-key work. I prefer dark and moody images in my own photography and I think that is in part because I love those dark and moody images in my modelling work. Playing with light and shadow is a lot of fun. I enjoy shooting this because it’s a bit hit and miss sometimes, and that makes the results even more exciting when you get it right. It also means that the model and photographer have to work more as a team, which makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable. For me, anyway!

With regards to the second part of the question, it’s usually a bit of both. Some photographers will book me if that’s a style they want to shoot, because they know it’s something I’ve done a lot of and am competent at. That goes for photographers who’ve never tried this style before as well as photographers who specialise in that type of image.

If I’m on a shoot and I see the potential for low-key or silhouette work, I will always mention it to the person I’m working with in case it’s something they would like to try. Very few photographers have a solid plan of what they want to shoot and are quite happy to just go with the flow, incorporating my ideas with theirs to create something unique in whatever studio or location we are working in. Not all studios or locations would be suited to this type of work; but when it’s an option, I’ll always point it out if I think it’s something the person I’m working with would be interested in.

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An abstract low-key shot from a group shoot in October 2015.

©Steve Betts


Do you think art nude works best in colour or black and white?

Ah, this is one of my favourite debates. There are some photographers out there who will insist that art nude must be black and white. This is because when you have an image in black and white, the light and dark parts of the image are more prominent and this is important in art nude work. However, I do think that omitting colour altogether from art nude photography is a bit too restrictive. Colour images have their place in art nude photography. Especially if there are interesting colours in the frame offering a complimentary colour or stark contrast to the model or other parts of the environment.

Personally, I lean towards a preference of black and white images in general, so would say that the majority of my favourite art nude images of my own work have been presented in black and white. However, sometimes there is an art nude image that just works in colour and by converting it to monochrome would lose some of the magic that I see in a particular image. So basically, my answer is a bit of a non-answer… I think generally black and white works best, but there is no blanket rule.

A monochrome and a colour shot taken at a Mycenaean bridge on my first trip to Greece in November 2017.

©Garden of the Muses


Do you prefer studio or location shoots? Or is it just down to the weather/environment/assignment?

It’s very rare for a shoot to be booked on the agreement that ‘it’s a location shoot but if the weather is bad, we move into a studio’. This is mostly just because you have to book a studio and if you didn’t use it, you’d still have to pay for it! It tends to be that I’m booked for more location work in Spring/Summer/Autumn with some studio work in Spring and Autumn when the weather isn’t as predictable; and pretty much exclusively in studios over Winter (with the odd crazy photographer who still wants to work on location during the colder months!).

There are some ideas that will only work in a certain place, whether that’s studio or location so that will dictate where the shoot needs to take place. In colder months, you don’t have the option of working on location as often. And that’s just how it is.

In terms of my preference: if I had a choice between working on location or in a simple white wall studio with studio lighting, I’d always choose location. It’s more fun and inspiring. A little unpredictable in terms of weather, light, and of course, there’s always the chance that you won’t be able to shoot somewhere because of a loss of access, other people being around etc. But that just makes it a bit more exciting!!

I’m happy working with a few studio lights and a backdrop, don’t get me wrong, and these shoots can be really fun and crazy too. But generally, you’re quite limited in what you can do. They’re great for controlling the environment for bodyscapes, portraits or working with projectors etc. but it would all get a bit boring very quickly for me if I was visiting the same studio all the time. But not all studios are the same. There are an increasing number of natural light studios appearing. They’re usually based in old factories, warehouses or houses and offer something different again. These studios are more interesting to work in because you can always find something different to shoot, without the worry of having to postpone a shoot because of bad weather. These sorts of studios I class as almost like location work and I enjoy working in them very much.

Studio days are pretty fun (this is a day when a model is at a studio all day and photographers book hour-long slots with them) and of course, this can only happen in a studio really, so studios are good for that reason. These events are a good way to meet a lot of new photographers in one day, or work around a theme where photographers would only want about an hour each anyway.

Generally, I’d say I prefer working on location amongst ruins or woodland, with natural light studios as a close second, followed by a more traditional studio environment. But I do love shooting wherever and I enjoy the variety!

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A shot from a location shoot in Staffordshire, October 2017.

©Michael Szabo


What’s your routine on the day of a shoot?

I’m not sure I have an actual routine for a day when I’m shooting, especially as each shoot will require different things from me, but here’s the gist of it:

I make sure to contact the photographer a couple of days before a shoot to check everything is still okay for the shoot and to see if they have any last minute ideas that I may need to pack for.

I usually get my bag packed the night before so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning! I will look over past communications with whoever I’m going to be working with to make sure I’ve got items for all the themes we’ve discussed.

If I’ll be working through lunch or travelling for a while, I’ll also make sure I’ve got food ready the night before too. I quite enjoy cooking, and with me being vegan, it’s not always easy to buy food on the go so I always make sure I’m fully prepared!

I’ll often wash and straighten my hair the night before a shoot too, because this can take me about an hour (most people don’t realise that my hair is naturally somewhere between curly and wavy, making it a bit too unpredictable for shooting!). If I’ve had a busy day, I’ll wash my hair at night and straighten it in the morning, but mostly I will just go for it and get the drama over with the night before 😛

On the morning of a shoot, I’ll get up and have my breakfast (the most important meal of the day) and slowly start to get ready. I always give myself plenty of time so I don’t have to rush. My make up is always better when it’s been applied with care, rather than in a rush!

Then I’ll get dressed into clothes that I will have chosen the night before. I make sure to wear clothes that don’t leave many marks on the skin (something you learn pretty quickly as a model) and make sure that it’s both comfy (especially if I’m travelling for a while) and easy to get into/out of (to maximise shooting time if in a studio but also to make things easier if shooting on location!)

And then I’ll make my way to my shoot or wait to be picked up, depending on the shoot. If I’m travelling, it’s usually by train meaning I have a 30 minute walk to the train station. I always make sure I have extra time because I don’t like being late and having to rush. I will have worked out what time I need to leave the night before.

That’s about it I think. If I’m being particularly good, I often wake up a bit earlier to do yoga and meditate before I leave. I find it’s a great way to set yourself up for an amazing day. But lets face it, we aren’t always that on top of things 😉

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A yoga themed self-portrait from January 2017. The pose is called crow pose or bakasana and is an arm balance.

©Misuzu


A lot of your work is art nude. Do you find it weird at all being naked in front of photographers?

I think that unless you’ve been involved in shooting art nude in some way, wether as a model, photographer, make up artist, designer etc. then the concept of nudity in this environment may seem a bit odd. For me, this is my job so I don’t even register that I’m naked when I’m working. If I was on the streets and suddenly had no clothes on, sure I’d notice and it would be really weird… but when I’m working, it’s just normal!

I specialise in classical fine art nude… So being naked is just what it is. My body is the tool I use to create the art work that I do.

Sometimes, I have to actively try to remember that not everyone sees nudity in their daily life as much as I do, so I have to be mindful of that. I’m always looking at work from my friends who are models or photographers, so I’m seeing the nude female form all the time… and it’s not weird for me. Strangers sitting next to me on the train, however, might find it a bit shocking that I’m casually browsing pictures of beautiful naked ladies as they appear on my social media. But never mind.

Anyway, off track a bit. No, it’s not weird for me. And thinking back, it wasn’t even weird in the beginning either. If I’m there to shoot art nude, I’ll whip my kit off and get to it. Professional, like. I’m not overly body confident… I mean, we all have those things we aren’t 100% fond of with regards to ourselves, but I’m totally at ease when I’m working nude around photographers. They’ve booked me looking the way I am and they’ve already seen me naked before we’ve met so there’s little point in me getting all self-conscious about it! That’s the way I look at it anyway.

I have to laugh sometimes when we’ve stopped for a coffee break on a shoot and halfway through my coffee, I’ve realised I’m still nude. And often, the photographer hasn’t noticed either. That’s how not weird it is!

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A behind the scenes shot of me setting up for a self portrait shot, taken on my trip to Bulgaria in October 2018.

©Colin Grist


Is your job ever scary? You go with photographers you’ve never met before by yourself to locations, and sometimes in foreign countries.

My job would seem pretty scary if you don’t know everything that goes into booking a shoot. At least, the way I go about my work, it’s not scary anyway.

I know sometimes friends and family who don’t know the industry get a bit worried about me. In their eyes, I’m swanning off into the middle of nowhere with complete strangers who are probably axe-wielding-maniac-serial-killers… Or jetting off to a different country to meet someone who is likely just running a human traffic operation. And I understand this view. But it’s wrong.

Most of my work comes through a website called PurplePort, which I’ve mentioned earlier. On the website, models and photographers leave references for each other when they’ve worked together. I always look at the references before agreeing to work with someone. I don’t often work with people who have no references for my own safety, and just because someone has references, doesn’t mean that I will work with them. I’ll always look at the quantity and quality of the references before agreeing to work with someone. I’ve learnt to read between the lines a bit with them too. If someone has references that are pretty basic, then I’m always extra cautious to check them out. I also look for things like who has left the references; I look to see if models I recognise have left positive references or if they’ve been to studios I know, things like that. You can tell if someone will be fun to work with on the length of the reference people have written after shooting with them. It’s a good system and I know that PurplePort are careful to remove people who aren’t genuine. It’s also common practice to message others who’ve worked with that person too. If someone has left a negative reference, I’ll find out why by messaging whoever left the negative reference, and then deciding if I still want to work with them.

Even if there are positive references, it doesn’t always mean that someone is 100% safe. I always make sure that someone knows where I am and who I’m meeting. I have also been known to do a bit of internet stalking on people too, just to make sure they are who they claim to be. It always pays to be extra cautious and I’ve found that I have to trust my gut. If I get any odd feelings about working with someone on the basis of their communications or things they’ve said to me or asked me, then I won’t work with them. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

I have worked with people who don’t have any references but always in as safe a way as possible: making sure I’m not going to be anywhere alone with them (I don’t accept lifts from them, for example). I make sure in this situation that it’s a group shoot with people I trust, or that I’ll be working at a studio where the studio owner will be around; or go with another model or a make up artist, or take a chaperone with me. Everyone has to start somewhere and there will have been a point at which everyone had no references!

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A shot taken in Den Haag, March 2018 on my tour to the Netherlands. I stayed with the photographer and I’d never met him before. This is a great example of checking someone out beforehand… I really enjoyed spending time with Shihari and will be staying with him again next time I visit Den Haag 🙂

©Shihari


How do you choose who to work with?

I work with photographers of all levels of experience and ability. Part of the thing I love about my job is getting to meet people from different walks of life, and we are just converging over one thing we have in common: our desire to create art. I think that’s a pretty special thing.

I don’t particularly choose people to work with. Nine times out of ten, they’ve chosen me. As long as someone isn’t dodgy (see my answer to the question above!) then I’ll work with them. I don’t care if someone is a professional, has been doing photography for their entire life… or if they just picked up their camera the day before.

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A location shoot in Staffordshire, taken in June 2018. Yes, those balloons are tied to my nipples.

©Danny B


What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been asked to do for a photograph?

I love this question. And I get asked it a lot. I’ve been asked to do many strange things in my job… and it’s all part of the fun! I don’t know if I can answer the weirdest thing, but I can give some pretty fun examples:

  • More than once I’ve been asked to get into a cage, but the best one was when I was in a bird cage and there was just enough space for me to curl up into a ball. The cage had to be lowered onto me. It was only good for a few shots though, as I couldn’t really give much variation of the pose as I wasn’t able to move!
  • I was once asked to wear a cat mask and was given a fake rat to play with. Me being me, I immediately got into character and had the poor little fake rat (called Scabbers!) dangling out of my mouth my his tail!
  • I was at a studio once where there was a coffin in the corner. Of course I got into it and we got some shots of me coming out of the coffin as if I were a zombie!!
  • On a Christmas themed shoot, I was given a ‘Santa please stop here sign’ and told to do something creative with it. So I sat on the floor with my legs apart and put the sign between my legs. I found that pretty funny 😛
  • Recently, I was on a trip to Bulgaria with another model, four photographers and the guy who ran the trip. We all stayed in a villa in the second part of the week and once we’d chosen our bedrooms, me and Stacie Mai (the other model) realised there was another room off the one we had chosen. It was this weird Playboy themed room, with mirrors over the bed (I wish I was joking!) and playboy cushions etc. One of the photographers there likes to take Polaroid pictures and so we got a set of super tacky polaroids in this room with me and Stacie. They were so much fun to shoot but really tacky! It was amazing.

I’m aways up for shooting weird stuff so these are just a few examples of the whacky things I’ve been asked to do. There’s likely a hell of a lot more anecdotes I could give, but I could probably write a book on them, so I’ll leave it at that… For now!

Two of the aforementioned Polaroids from Bulgaria 2018. Modelling by me and Stacie Mai. I love this set so much. It couldn’t get more tacky if we tried 😛

©Andy Harding


And that’s all for this post! Thanks again to the people who asked me questions. I really appreciate people taking the time to think about what they would like to know. If this post has sparked any further questions from anyone, let me know and once I get enough, I’ll do a round two! I really enjoy taking about my work, and having the opportunity to answer questions people might have is really cool. Thanks for reading this! 🙂


If you like my work and want to support me, feel free to buy me a coffee by clicking here for PayPal or here for Ko-Fi. I’m also on OnlyFans, so click here if you would like to sign up to see images before anywhere else, exclusive content, and selfies!

Greece: Tourist [Post #4]

Get ready for another pointless post, jam-packed with selfies! I’m not even kidding. This one’s about my trip in general. I thought some people might be interested, so here we are. It’s quite a long one, so if you’re staying, you might want to grab a cup of tea or something and settle in.


Travelling to meet people I’ve only ever conversed with online is part of my job. It’s normal for me. Photographers message me online, we discuss a shoot, then get in in the diary. It’s all done online and it’s rare that I even speak to a photographer on the phone before I work with them. Then I travel, usually by train, on the appointed date, at the appointed time…. To meet someone I’ve never met before. It’s not weird for me. It’s just my job. And I really seem to have perfected the art of finding a person on a busy train station platform when I have absolutely no idea what they look like. It’s a skill developed through the weirdness of my job. But that’s irrelevant… Moving on…

Travelling out of the country to meet someone I’d not met before, was kinda weird. I have to admit, I felt like a bit of a badass for doing it. I’d talked to Rick a lot online before I flew out there and of course, I’d checked he wasn’t a crazy axe murderer or serial killer. He seemed legit from his online profile, and appeared to be exactly who he said he was. But it still took a certain level of bravery to say yes and just go. I don’t think many people would have. But I did.


This is me at Manchester airport, and then me sitting on the plane… My first time flying alone (and I’ve never really flown a whole lot in my life anyway!!)

The ‘Welcome to Greece’ sign as I got off the plane, and then a picture of me when I finally arrived at what would be my home for the next week!


My first day in Greece did not involve any modelling. The weather was a bit cloudy (Rick prefers bright sunlight for his work) and because of the travelling, Rick thought it would be a good idea to just explore and relax a bit. Which is what we did.

I learnt so much about Greek history and culture that first day, I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am. I love learning, so having someone who has a degree in archaeology talk to me about ancient civilisations as we walked around those sites was simply amazing.

We did a lot of sightseeing that day. We visited the Mycenaean bridge on the way to Epidavros, a Mycenaean necropolis in Dendra and walked up to a Mycenaean citadel in Midea (the views from there are amazing… I made sure to take lots of pictures). Then in the afternoon, we went to an old disused train station where we came across some old, rusted trains. We spent a little while there while both me and Rick, captivated by the strangeness of the huge machines forgotten amongst all of the greenery, took lots of photographs. I will be posting more of my own photography from my trip to Greece at some point. It was an incredible day, my mind full of lots of new facts and information. It was great!

We also went to Nafplio on my first day in Greece, so that I could go to the market and get food. Being vegan, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find much to eat in Greece. But I needn’t have worried. The market in Nafplio was such an amazing place. You could get an array of different fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dried beans, herbs, spices, olives…. And everything was so cheap compared to markets in England. It was vegan heaven, like a rainbow of yummy food, stretching out as far as you could see… Needless to say, I didn’t go hungry while I was in Greece!

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Me as a tourist, standing in front of a 3,500 year old bridge built by the Mycenaeans. It was amazing to walk here, imagining the people who built it such a long time ago… We came back to this bridge a few days later for me to model there. You might recognise it from one of the images in the post Greece: Vintage [Post #1].

A selfie with the views from the top of the Mycenaean citadel in the background and then a selfie of me at the disused train station (notice the Jaret Reddick hoodie for anyone who’s reading this and understands what this means… ❤ )

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A Mycenaean tomb at Dendra

 

The steps up to the Mycenaean citadel at Midea and the view from the top, just after you go through what is left of the gate. The view was spectacular!

 

One of the abandoned trains we saw at the disused railway, a picture of me doing something weird with my feet, and then a picture of the back of one of the trains, showing the graffiti there.


The next day was my first day of modelling where Rick drove me to Methana. I talked a little about my time there in my post Greece: Fashion [Post #2]. I got to see more Mycenaean ruins (and model with them as my background) as me and Rick started to create the art that was the whole reason I was there!

Later, we visited a Mycenaean citadel, with a Hellenistic addition to it… And then drove up a volcano! It was amazing. And there were goats. It is important to mention the goats. They were really really cute.

Two selfies of me on this lovely warm day in Greece, rocking the new sunglasses because my old faithful ones died, just before I was supposed to fly out to Greece. These ones are okay… But I miss my old sunnies!!!

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The remains of what I think Rick told me was a Mycenaean village (he will email me after reading this to let me know if I’ve remembered wrong!) I love that you can still see where the walls of the houses would have been so you could see how big the rooms were. I also saw things like evidence of where columns would have gone, and spaces for cooking or storage pots too. I was turning into a little archaeologist! It was amazing.

A view of the sun light hitting one of the hills on Methana as the sun set and then a photograph of the sun setting as viewed from a volcano! I believe that the land you can see the sun setting behind is actually pretty close to where I was staying in Epidavros. Conversely, you can see Methana from the apartment I was staying in.


The next morning, I took a little walk down to the beach that is just a few minutes away from Rick’s apartment. I made friends with a beautiful ginger cat there. Except for me and Ginger, there was nobody else around. It was so quiet and peaceful, it was almost like my own private beach! Plus, the views were amazing. Luckily, I bought my camera and had a quick photo shoot with my new furry friend before heading back the apartment.

That day, me and Rick visited several olive groves to get some shots (you will see these shots in future posts, I promise!) and one of them had an old Mycenaean road running through it!

Then that evening, we ventured into Epidavros, the village where I was staying. On the way, Rick showed me several really interesting historical sites. Honestly, everywhere you look in Greece, there is something beautiful to see, or some old history to rediscover. It is a magical country.

A selfie of me on the beach in the morning and a selfie of me walking to the olive grove with the Mycenaean road running through it!

 

Another amazing sunset-in-Greece picture. This times by ruins instead of a volcano. Then a picture of my Greek coffee 🙂


The following day it was raining. Just my luck, I know. So we decided that we weren’t going to shoot that day… Instead, after a fairly lazy morning spent reading while Rick got some things sorted out (which was good after all the walking and exploring!), Rick took me to the museum in Nafplio. It was incredible seeing all of the things that had been found by archeologists in the exact places that I’d spent the last few days visiting and exploring. That was a really, really cool experience!

We then spent the afternoon exploring Nafplio after we had been to the museum. Rick had lots of things to show me. I was very lucky to have had such a knowledgable tour guide! There were lots of lovely views from the higher points of the city, and the buildings were all so beautiful. I took many photographs on my own camera, it would have been rude not to, being in such a beautiful place.

Oh, and the cats. The cute, adorable, cats and kittens were everywhere in the city. I wanted to take them all home, but obviously, couldn’t… So I settled for taking lots and lots of photographs of them instead!

I bought some komboloi (Greek worry beads) while I was here too, as well as getting small gifts for my family. It was a lovely day of being a tourist and enjoying the country I was in.

A beautiful dog, napping outside the museum and then a view of the sea from a pretty little outlook. You can’t even tell it had been raining earlier that day at all! It was quite amusing to see the Greek people all bundled up  because the temperature had dropped a few degrees. I was perfectly warm enough in my hoodie, while they were in heavy coats, hats and scarves… It would have been considered a lovely warm day in England!


On the Sunday, we went to the Sanctuary of Asklepios in Epidavros. This is probably my favourite place in the world. It was sunny and warm, and hardly anyone around… Rick showed me all the exciting things to see at this archaeological site. He took me around the site a different way to the way most people go. I preferred his way.

I could see the ruins becoming more and more well formed as Rick told me about the Ancient Greeks and the Romans and the myths and legends surrounding the area and the Gods and Goddesses associated with it. I was enthralled. It really was like a dream… But real. I was really there, walking where so many people have been walking for so long. It was magical.

We ended up in the Ancient Greek theatre. It was mind blowing. I studied classical civilisations in my GCSE and I’d always wanted to visit an ancient Greek theatre (one of those things that captures a young mind, I guess). And now I can say I’ve really seen one. Not only seen, but stood where the actors will have stood. Walked across where the orchestra will have been… And sat where countless people throughout history and from all over the world have sat. If that isn’t amazing, then I don’t know what is.

We sat there for a while, enjoying the sun, making friends with a cat, and watching the tourists stand in the centre of the theatre and shout up to ask if we could hear them (you really can, by the way). I also took the opportunity to get some touristy shots as well as doing some of my own photography… Because how could I visit somewhere so utterly amazing and not get those tourist photos??

Selfies in the Sancturary of Asklepois in Epidavros. The first one was just in courtyard. I included it here because my the-sun-is-in-my-eyes-I-can’t-help-but-squint face made me giggle. In the second shot, you can see some of what’s left of the sanctuary built by the ancient Greeks.

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Here, Rick got a shot of my photographing the ruins of the sanctuary. I have no idea how I can stand like that without falling over, but clearly, it’s helping me to hold my camera steady. Weird.

A selfie as I walked around the grounds of the sanctuary and a selfie with my new friend at the theatre!

A selfie taken from the theatre. You can see how huge it is, you can totally see why it blew me away! And then a shot of my feet (why, oh why do I keep doing this?) on the steps of the theatre.

Two more shots taken by Rick of me with the theatre in the background. You can see how absolutely breathtaking it is!

Okay two more pictures of the theatre, then I promise I’m done with them! One where you can see my feline friend in shot too, and one where you can see the height of the theatre behind me. It’s an amazing place. I really love it there.


My last full day in Greece, wasn’t good weather, unfortunately so I didn’t get to model outdoors any more after my time spend modelling in the olive groves after visiting the Sanctuary of Asklepios on the previous day. On my final day, we wandered into Epidavros again and then took some shots in the apartment using the natural light coming in from the window. They were really really lovely shots, so I didn’t mind not having chance to model outside again!


It was an early start to get to the airport as it’s a long drive and my plane was pretty early in the morning… So I reluctantly left the amazing country that is Greece to come back to Manchester, where my dad was waiting at the airport to drive me home back to Stoke-on-Trent. Modelling in Greece was an amazing experience, and Rick has even invited me back again! I enjoyed every moment of my time in Greece, and I learnt so much! It was lovely, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have experienced the things I did in my week there.

A photograph of me at Athens airport, and then me in my seat on the plane ready to go home!

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A photograph of the window of the plane just as I landed back in England. It seems that whenever I go away to somewhere warm, it’s always raining when I come home as if it’s saying, ‘welcome back, Misuzu… I bet you’ve missed the rain!’


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my time in Greece. I really did have a wonderful experience, I learnt so much and saw some truly amazing things. I can’t wait to visit Greece again!


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Thank you 🙂


 

Bookworm


So I said in my last post that I would write up a list of all 57 of the books I read in 2017. I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them. I also love getting recommendations of books, so feel free to get in touch if you’ve read anything particularly good lately!

I’m just going to write the titles of the books I’ve read, followed by the author in italics. They are listed in the order in which I read them (hence, the silly amount of Christmas themed ones towards the end…)


  1. 2am at the Cat’s Pajamas, Marie-Helene Bertino
  2. The Host, Stephanie Meyer
  3. A Pocket Full of Murder, R.J.Anderson
  4. The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, Tom Baker
  5. Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter
  6. Three Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell
  7. I Know This Much is True, Wally Lamb
  8. The Earth Hums in B-Flat, Mari Strachan
  9. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  10. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Graphic Novel Volume 3
  11. Song of Willow Frost, Jamie Ford
  12. Poor Unfortunate Soul, Serena Valentino
  13. Girl Singer, Rosemary Clooney
  14. Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  15. Unspeakable, Abbie Rushton
  16. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover Graphic Novel
  17. I See You, Clare Mackintosh
  18. Ink and Bone, Rachel Cain
  19. The Photograph, Penelope Lively
  20. 13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher
  21. Wayfaring Strangers, James Lee Burke
  22. The Girls, Emma Cline
  23. The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss
  24. How Not to Disappear, Clare Furniss
  25. Woman of the Dead, Bernhard Aichner
  26. Red Hill, Jamie McGuire
  27. The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, Kieran Larwood
  28. Sleeping Giants, Sylvian Neuval
  29. Dead Man’s Blues, Ray Celestin
  30. Die of Shame, Mark Billingham
  31. Killer Move, Michael Marshall
  32. Love, Love Me Do, Mark Haysom
  33. Master of Shadows, Neil Oliver
  34. Pax, Sarah Pennypacker
  35. Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch
  36. Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  37. The Incorruptibles, John Hornor Jacobs
  38. The Dry, Jane Harper
  39. That Part Was True, Deborah McKinlay
  40. When God Was a Rabbit, Sarah Winman
  41. Freaks, Kieran Larwood
  42. The Death House, Sarah Pinborough
  43. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend
  44. Rhyming Rings, David Gemmell
  45. The Windvale Sprites, Mackenzie Crook
  46. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Graphic Novel Volume 4
  47. Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover Graphic Novel
  48. Doll Bones, Holly Black
  49. Fearless, Tim Lott
  50. The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend
  51. Christmas Around the Village Green, Dot May Dunn
  52. Little Sister, Isabel Ashdown
  53. Coming Home… For Christmas, Patricia Scanlan
  54. The Christmas Train, David Baldacci
  55. Mistletoe on 34th Street, Lisa Dickenson
  56. Snowed in for Christmas, Claire Sandy
  57. A Gift to Remember, Melissa Hill

So there we go. The 57 books I read in 2017. An utterly pointless post in many ways, but if even one person finds a book they enjoy because of it, then it was worth me taking the time to post this 🙂

Happy reading in 2018!


 

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

 


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.

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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 🙂

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Matthew wearing the scarf I made for him.


Finally, I’m grateful to Yorick for being awesome every single day. I love you buddy.

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My beautiful baby from a shoot I did with him at the beginning of 2017.

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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!