Greece: Vintage [Post #1]

So this is the first of a series of blog posts dedicated to my trip to Greece in November 2017.

They are going to go as follows (and I will add links as they get published):

Greece: Vintage [Post #1]

Greece: Fashion [Post #2]

Greece: Rock [Post #3]

Greece: Tourist [Post #4]

Greece: Ruins [Post #5]

Greece: Classical [Post #6]

Greece: Abstract [Post #7]

I’m excited to write about my trip and share some of the work I did there with you.


Basically, this series of blog posts is being written because I was lucky enough to get to work for a whole week in Greece. I was invited there by a fantastic photographer called Rick, who goes by the name Garden of the Muses for his photography work. He took me to some amazing places and I saw so many wonderful things. I’m not surprised that the photographs from the trip are all so good! You can access his website by clicking here if you’re interested in seeing more of his work.


When I was looking through the images Rick sent me (while I was back in cold, rainy England!), I saw that he had edited several of the images with a particular style. They really jumped out at me. I think it gives the images a certain timeless quality that I can’t really explain. I decided they would form a great little group of images for my first blog post, to introduce the sort of work we did.

I’ll be honest, some of the poses in the images I’m about to show you are a little clumsy for my tastes (well, I can’t nail it every time can I?). I probably wouldn’t have liked some of these images if they had been edited differently (and by differently, I guess I mean, in a more average kind of way). But they seem to really work in this style for some reason and I’m not sure why. It just goes to show that editing really does make a difference to the image.

[The poses I am talking about  here relate to photographs 3, 4 & 10 in particular]

There are also a few images in this post that are included in future blog posts, just edited differently (by differently, I mean black and white). These images in black and white are among my favourite images from my time in Greece. I feel like those same images in this particular editing style makes them into something else, and I like them for a whole different reason. I’m not even sure if that paragraph reads well, so I hope you understand what I’m getting at. Basically just that these images in this style are awesome. Those same images are even better in black and white and you’ll see those in other blog posts. I think that makes a bit more sense. Maybe. Moving on…

[Here, I am talking about photographs 2, 7, 8 & 9 in particular]

It’s amazing how something simple can change your opinion of a photograph. That’s why I decided to give these images a post of their own. I’m not going to say much else in this post. I’ll shut up and let the photographs speak for themselves.


1.

1

©Garden of the Muses


2.

2

©Garden of the Muses


3.

3

©Garden of the Muses


4.

4

©Garden of the Muses


5.

5

©Garden of the Muses


6.

6.jpg

©Garden of the Muses


7.

6

©Garden of the Muses


8.

7

©Garden of the Muses


9.

8

©Garden of the Muses


10.

9

©Garden of the Muses


I hope that you like these shots as much as I do. There’s just something about these images in this editing style that makes them so different. I can’t explain it, and I’m probably making a mess of trying to explain it. Let me know in the comments which ones are your favourites! If I had to pick just one, I think it would be number 9!


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!

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.

IMG_6170.JPG

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 🙂

IMG_5573.jpg

Matthew wearing the scarf I made for him.


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

yorick-5wm

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

IMG_5775.jpg

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!


 

Valentine’s Day 2017

Valentines Day. What a load of shit. Chocolates, flowers, cards, teddy bears. Waste of time. Waste of money.

Just kidding.

… Okay, mostly kidding.


I’ve never really been a huge fan of V-Day, and that’s not coming from someone who is single and bitter at the world. I’m not. I just find it all a bit forced. I mean, as a couple, you have your anniversary to celebrate. If you’re married, theres the day you met, your fist date, your engagement day and your wedding day. So why all this V-Day nonsense on top of all that?

I don’t care how in love you are or how well you know someone, your ideas of what to get your other half have got to be maxed out when you add Valentines Day into the mix as well.

Everyone is showing off what they received as if that in some way validates their relationship, rather than simply being with the person who bought them all the useless junk in the first place. Especially now with social media and everyone fighting for the approval of their peers or strangers they’ve never met through likes and comments.

Madness.

Huge cards, bouquets of flowers so big that they make you sneeze if you even think about it, so much chocolate you’re at risk of being diagnosed with type II diabetes in your early twenties. And all this not long after Christmas. It all gets a bit out of hand if you ask me.

That is, until like me, you start to think bout Valentines Day as a way of celebrating the concept of love, rather than this bizarre, ego boosting shit fest. You don’t have to be in a relationship to experience or celebrate love. You have parents, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, pets… You have love for many people in your life. Even single people can celebrate V-Day.

For the last three years, my Valentine has without a doubt been Yorick. My bunny. I love him more than anything else (sorry Matthew).

I also always make sure that I take time to wish a ‘Happy Valentines Day’ to a few of my close friends. I want to make sure they know that they’re special to me.

They’re important.

I love them.

So it makes sense for me to let them know they’re on my mind on a day where we are all gathering around to celebrate love.

And then there is the thing we all shy away from. Self love. You can’t fully love others unless you fully love, accept and care for yourself. That’s the hardest love to give.

So I made sure to show love to myself on Valentines Day too. I did a lovely self-love yoga practice and meditation to let myself know that I’m important. I’m there for myself. That probably sounds a little silly to everyone who isn’t into that kind of lifestyle, but I wanted to mention it, because it’s important. I think so, anyway.


Valentines Day… It doesn’t have to be about couples and all that lovey-dovey nonsense. It can be about your friends. About yourself. And of course, our pets. Because honestly, animals are the best people we know. Unconditional love.


On that note (and there are some images coming, I promise), I wanted to share my favourite quote about love. In the spirit of things, you know?

Chick flick alert: Love, Actually.

One of my favourite movies ever. It’s about love. Not everyone ends up with a ‘happy ever after’ in the film. But everyone’s okay. Everyone’s alive. Everyone has love in one form or another.

That’s life.

It’s not always picture perfect.

But it’s ours.

That’s what Valentine’s Day means to me, anyway.


So here’s the quote:

(Hugh Grant, by the way! *swoon*)

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.


So here are some of the pictures I ended up with from a little session in my home studio set up on V-Day. Doing something that I love. Modelling. And photography. Okay, two things that I love.

I bought a couple of little props and just went for it.

I won’t say anything about each image like I usually do.

I’ll just let you have a look through, see what you think.

Some shots appear twice as they’ve been edited a little differently. I think they look cool side by side.


Love

valentine-1wm

valentine-3wm

valentine-11wm


Classical

valentine-14wm


Chocolate and Wine

valentine-29wm


Heart

valentine-35bwwm

 


I hope you enjoyed looking through those. I had fun shooting and editing them!

Just because you can’t take life too seriously, I’m gonna end this post with a few outtakes. Me, stuffing my face with chocolate. Classy.

Peace and love. Namaste.


 

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation” – Oscar Wilde

This is me writing the blog post that I don’t have to write. I got other people to write it for me. I was going to write something, but then I thought, why write something myself when I can get other people to write it for me? Okay, so I’m kidding, obviously (everyone knows I love to witter on about nothing in particular!)

But I did think it would be cool to ask people I’ve worked with to choose their favourite image of me.

So I did.

I contacted some of my favourite togs and requested that they pick their favourite image of me.

One they’ve taken.

A few of them got back to me with an image and a little something to say.

*I’ve decided to order these images in order in which I met each photographer (not necessarily, the order in which the photograph were taken as a few people I’ve worked with on many occasions!)*

So here we go, I’m taking a back seat on this one.


Paul Smith (Cellar Door Images)

https://www.facebook.com/cellardoorimagesuk/

https://www.instagram.com/thecellardooruk/

Misuzu

The image I’ve chosen of Misuzu comes from our very first shoot in March 2015. She’d very graciously stepped in at the last minute to fill a cancellation I’d had and I wasn’t really sure how well the session would turn out. I needn’t have been worried as she completely blew me away with her posing skills and her ability to emote on demand. I wanted a Peter Lindbergh feeling to this set and Misuzu was able to provide that slightly vulnerable and yet completely connected to the camera look that such a shot demands. I love the natural light, the shabby backdrop, the £3 charity shop outfit and the texture in the floor and chair. Exactly my sort of image and Misuzu is a vital component in it.

I love this image too. Clearly a favourite since it is the main picture on my website. One of my very first paid shoots… Just as I was figuring out that modelling could really be my job! I have several favourites with Paul, but I think this one will always be up there.

Here is a link to a fantastic set we did that was published on the NIF Magazine website: http://nifmagazine.com/warehouse-times-paul-smith/


Phil Lonergan

2.jpg

My favourite image created with Misuzu is the light sabre triptych. The concept of this image had been in my head for months and I had really struggled to find the right model to do it justice. This was the first time I had worked with Misuzu and she made it so easy to get the images I wanted. The shot was captured using a light sabre in a totally darkened room, a 15 second exposure with an off camera flash on the final pose. I did some final editing using Photoshop and Lightroom. We didn’t just take a picture we created a fantastic image.

This was a fun shoot. Lots of playing around, experimenting and giggling. One of my favourite shots from this shoot was a more classic art nude shot, but with the light sabre in there as a prop!


Stephen Plant

1

This photo is from my first shoot of many with Misuzu. Not only taken in Spring bust also you might say in the ‘spring’ of our seasons working together. Misuzu’s natural beauty, grace, elegance and poise even though she was fairly new to modelling impressed me so much, not to mention her character and personality- and many shoots later still does. We have co-created so many memorable and beautiful images together bur this one always appears in my mind first.

Whenever me and Steve shoot together, it always a fun shoot. Not only because we get on so well, but because I learn so much about nature each time (fungi, insects etc) and get a nice day out in the countryside with his glamourous assistant Mickey (his beautiful canine companion).


Buzz

http://www.fujixphotography.co.uk

1

When I was asked a while ago by Misuzu, to pick my favourite image that I’d taken of her during our shoots, I had no idea how tricky such seemingly easy question could be. We’ve shot together in my lounge, in a hotel room and at the side of lake. During the shoots we’ve managed to shoot some very different looks, using natural light and a variety of strobes. I have never come away from a shoot with Misuzu feeling anything other than delighted. On getting the images from the camera onto the big screen of the computer that delight usually only increases to something like elation.

I generally tend to “see” in black and white and the setting on my camera are such that I can take black and white jpegs straight out of the camera and to Social Media with no post production. Once I have the RAW images downloaded onto the big screen I refine the images using Silver Efex Pro. Maybe it’s just me but the world always looks better in stunning shades of monochrome.

I have at least one image from each of my shoots with Misuzu printed out and displayed somewhere, and I initially thought that one of these might be “my favourite”. However, on looking through the images from our shoots together I finally decided on one from our “Beauty and the Beast” set. We’d been working up by the lake at Joel Hicks Studio and already had a great set of images taken on the jetty. In search of something a little different we wandered away from the lake and came a across an excavator and dump truck. As usual, with Misuzu I suggest something that involves danger, a ridiculous prop or something just plain stupid. Misuzu gives me a hard look, then smiles and happily goes along. It pretty much always works out and we manage to produce something really nice. On this occasion she had to traverse a patch of long unkempt grass and climb onto the tracks of a large dirty excavator whilst maintaining some degree of dignity and ultimately being somewhat, mostly, completely naked. Whilst Misuzu negotiated the aforementioned assault course, I busied myself with modestly setting up camera and pleaded with her to “be careful”. As usual, despite the midges, the spiders, the lack of clothes and the hard uncomfortable steel tracks, Misuzu managed to pose as gracefully as ever and without any complaints.

The contrast of gentle beauty and grace against the waiting power and energy of the excavator are things that bring me back to this image time and again.

I don’t think I have anything more to say. Buzz covered it all. Pretty much. Totally. I’ll just move on…


Derwood Pamphilon

3.jpg

I was inspired to photograph Misuzu in this setting to show her elegant shaping in the huge space of this disused industrial location. I love the symmetry and elegance it portrays. This is one of many fabulous images that we shot together and my firm favourite.

It was so much fun to shoot in this location. It was funny because my feet were black from the dirty floor by the time we had finished! I love my job!


Michael Szabo

3

I love this image because the outfit choice (orange dress, sunglasses and hair style), along with the shape of Misuzu’s body and the tones of her skin. It was a tricky shot to take due to the composition consisting of very light and dark areas, but the Nikon managed to capture it perfectly.

(F2, 1/200, ISO100)

I always love what Michael does with the shots from the shoots we do together. I’m particularly fond of his photoshop work but I have to agree that this one is one of my favourites too, despite the fact that it has had very little done to it!


Misuzu Photography

shapesnstuff-1wm

Of course, I had to add a favourite of mine thats mine. Does that even make sense? Anyway, I love this picture because it’s quirky, dark, creepy and weird.

How do I manage to quote myself on my own website? *cough* narcissist *cough*


That’s all folks! Don’t forget that I have a mailing list, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr! Follow, share, like, love, whatever!


 

November.

I haven’t completely disappeared and I’ve still been modelling, but my online presence has sort of diminished. I had a very busy November!


I was a NaNoWriMo participant this year. If you don’t know what that means, it means I wrote a novel last month! Yes, a novel. The way NaNo works is, you write at least 1,667 words every day in November to stay on target for hitting a 50,000 word count.

I wrote something every single day in November, finishing with a word count of 54,155. I wrote a novel that has been inside me for nearly a decade. It’s a story I’ve been wanting to bring into the world for a long time and to know that I finally did it is… Well, it’s amazing.

To anyone who has ever taken part in NaNo, whether you hit your goal or not, well done for doing it. It’s a really daunting task, but I was lucky… My story wrote itself for the most part. There were points where I wasn’t sure that it was actually me directing my characters’ actions, rather they were choosing their own adventure! Sitting down and writing a novel is a great experience and I think it’s something everyone should try at some point.

I now have a first draft of something that I can work on for the foreseeable future to get it up to a standard whereby I might actually want someone else to read it…


During November, I also completed a 30 day yoga programme by Yoga With Adriene called Empower. It was a lot of fun and physically challenging, but I completed that too.

I love yoga because it gives me time to myself to reflect and quieten my mind. The Empower programme wasn’t like that, it was more of an intense work out. It was tough and I like a challenge, thoroughly enjoying my 30 days of it. That said,  I’m happy to get back to the slower, self-love, reflective, mind-body awareness, soothing yoga for the most part (maybe a little of the more intense stuff mixed in here and there!).

Again, something else I challenged myself to and succeeded. Adriene is doing (as she does every year) a programme that runs throughout January, and if anyone is interested in doing this with me, it would be great! It’s always more fun when you can share the experience with someone else. I’m quite looking forward to it.


The last thing I wanted to talk about (and probably the most important bit!) is… *drum roll please* I’ve started working behind the lens as well as in front of it. Just for fun, not for work, but even so, it will help my modelling work immensely if I understand the process from both sides.

I had a DSLR when I was 21 but I didn’t dare to take it off automatic: it confused the hell out of me and I really struggled to get my head around how photography actually works. I figured it’s best for me to stick to the side of the lens I know how to rock, right?

But recently, I have been experimenting and I’ve found that I’ve actually taken some pictures that I not only like, but love.


In November of last year, I worked with a photographer when I was touring Gloucester. He showed me some of the sites because he had worked in the city centre for a long time. I got some pictures while we were wandering around… Then later on, he taught me how to take pictures at night with a long exposure. He explained how the aperture changes what the lights end up looking like on your final image. It was the first time that phrases like ISO, F-number and shutter speed had any meaning to me. Before, it all just went straight over my head and I couldn’t understand it. Here are some images of Gloucester towards the end of last year.


gloucester-1wm


gloucester-2wm


gloucester-3wm


It was another six months or so after then that  I started to look at my camera more seriously again. I did a location shoot with another photographer friend and then afterwards, I took some pictures with my camera. I picked up a bit more advice there and got some fantastic pictures in the beautiful woodland location we were in (it helps when the person taking you is extremely knowledgeable in all things nature and spotted some great things to photograph that most people miss!)


edits-28-10-16-steve-2wm


Edits 28-10-16 Steve-4WM.jpg


edits-28-10-16-steve-1wm


My Dad helped me to transform my front room into a little studio space. It was partially so I could try out some ideas I had and partially to have somewhere to shoot if the weather is cold or rainy, so shoots don’t have to be cancelled or postponed.

Wy Dad taught me how to set up all of the lights properly, then I had a go at some studio photography in the comfort of my own home. I started to photograph my pets in there and got some images that I’m rather proud of! Turns out, the modelling gene runs in the family: my fur-babies are superstars!


yorick-5wm


mj-1wm


hale-1wm


I spent a few days in Wales with my Dad earlier this month (yes, I know it’s not wise to go to Wales in December… It’s wet!) He helped me to understand the technical side to getting some amazing landscape images. I got some pictures of the beach and of the fog coming down the mountains.


Wales 10-12-2016-10WM.jpg


wales-10-12-2016-3wm


wales-10-12-2016-7wm

 


Personally, I’m really proud of the pictures I’ve taken so I hope you like some of them too. I’m aware they aren’t perfect (learning curve, right?) but I’ve created something that I like and that’s what’s important to me. I’ve learnt that my style is very dark, I seem to prefer darker images and that I favour high contrast too. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but I’d love to hear what you think either way.


I often think about how fortunate I am to have met the people I have and to have been given the opportunities I’ve been given. Especially around this time of year. I’m very lucky to have been helped and supported by many family members and friends. I was always encouraged to be creative as a child and I never grew out of it. That’s probably how I ended up becoming a model, because I get paid to be creative. I’m really going to put more effort into my photography from now on. I have a studio in my front room and family/friends who know lots about photography. What excuse do I have not to?


I want to take a moment to wish everyone who reads this (and everyone who doesn’t) an amazing Christmas and New Year. Have fun, stay safe and make sure 2016 goes out on a positive note and start 2017 without anything from this year holding us back.

Namaste.


I now have a studio that I can put up in my front room. If you’re not a photographer then ignore this, but if you are and might be interested in booking me in this space, here is a list of the stuff that’s in there and a link to the PurplePort casting call:

  • A white background that can be backlit (it works really well, I’ve had a play around with it!). It turns around to be a black background and has a green screen cover with a bit that trails on the floor.
  • Four studio lights (two for the back ground, two for the model with soft boxes)
  • Barn door
  • Coloured gels
  • Honeycomb
  • Snoot
  • Tri-flector and stand
  • A frame and clips for hanging your own backdrops from (I’m hoping to get a black and a white one of those soon too)
  • Sekonic light meter to help with set up.
  • Full set of triggers.
  • I will be getting speed lights soon too and I have a soft box for them already.

Expect to see more work from me in this space from both sides of the lens (it won’t all be bunny pictures, I promise!)


 

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection – Gautama Buddha

This post isn’t modelling related (sorry). Remember my recent post about the carnival? I started that one off with an intention for my next trip around the sun. More posts, more of me. So here we go.


I finally started a daily yoga practice 90 days ago today!!! This post is in celebration of that and is the story about how I started. No modelling images here, I’m afraid. Just my ramblings and thoughts!


I’d been meaning to start doing yoga for over 3 years. I’d owned a yoga mat for over a year. Despite this, I still hadn’t actually started doing yoga… Because… Well… I had no clue where to start! I don’t drive and there weren’t any classes near to me. I didn’t want to just buy random work out DVDs and stuff, because you never know what you’re getting. Also, I was worried in case I didn’t hit the poses right and hurt myself. So I just ended up not doing it at all.

Then, I was having coffee with my big sister. I was saying about wanting to start yoga. She recommended a yoga youtube channel called Yoga With Adriene. I took a look when I got home and found something called 30 Day Yoga Camp. In this camp, there is a video for 30 consecutive days. Each video consists of a work out and a mantra to focus on, every day for 30 days.

This happened on the 1st June. June is a 30 day month. So I rolled out my yoga mat (after shaking off the dust!) and started. After that first day, I did the relevant yoga camp video every morning, first thing after I woke up. I took a picture every day. I used an app called Rhonna to add text to each image, stating the mantra. I posted each picture on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

I completed Yoga Camp. Since then, I do yoga every morning and every evening. Yoga is the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up, and last thing I do at night, just before I go to bed. Often, I do some yoga during the day too. I can’t get across in words how much yoga practice has helped me. Specifically, the way Adriene teaches it. The idea of being kind to yourself, kind to your body, honouring what level you’re working at every day, being grateful for who you are and just a general sense of self love and appreciation.

I wish I’d started practicing yoga  earlier! Well, that’s not true, actually. In a way, I wish I’d started earlier, but mostly, I think I discovered the magical world of yoga at just the right time. The right time for me. I was in the right place for it to imprint upon me. It was as it was supposed to be.

It is because of the amazing experience I had, that I wanted to share my 30 days with you. I want to share each of the mantras and what they mean to me. This is a very personal thing for me, but the process of writing them down and putting them out there reminded me to stay true to myself, to stay open and honest about who I am and how I’m feeling. I hope that by writing this and putting my experience into words, I can inspire someone else, the way Adriene inspired me!

“Find what feels good” – Adriene Mishler


Day 1: I Accept

I accept myself as I am today. It’s okay to express self-love. It’s not vanity, it’s taking care of yourself. Show up for yourself and you’ll find it easier to show up for others. I accept.

1


 Day 2: I Create

I create time for myself and my yoga practice. I create a space where I can be free to focus on my practice. After doing yoga for a little while, this time and space I created became habit and part of who I am.

2


Day 3: I Embrace

I embrace change. When I was doing yoga camp, I was achey from the second practice. So I had to work hard to embrace the aches, because it meant there was a positive change for my body happening. Embrace happiness. Embrace your true self.

3


Day 4: I Awaken

I awaken my body and mind. I now do yoga every morning, but on day 4, it was the first time I woke up early and did yoga. It was a habit that stuck since then!

4


Day 5: I am Alive

I am alive. What more can I say about this mantra that those three words themselves don’t already say? I am alive. I’m grateful to be alive. Enjoy it.

5


Day 6: I Am Supported

Day 6 was abs day. The mantra helped me through this tough practice, because it was all about feeling supported by your yoga mat and finding inner physical strength (core strength) to help guide you. I am supported by my own body. I am supported by the people around me. I am supported by the earth.

6


Day 7: I Am Capable

I am capable of a lot more than I think I am. I always thought I really suck at anything to do with balance. I surprised myself on day 7. I was good at a balancing practice! I am capable of seeing a tough yoga practice through to the end, therefore, I am capable to face challenges life throws at me.

7


Day 8: I Choose

I choose to do yoga everyday. I choose to strive for healthy body and mind. This is my choice, and I’m proud to have stuck with it!

8


Day 9: I Am Bold

I am bold. There isn’t much else to say here. Be bold. Be you.

9


Day 10: I Am Present

I am present. Yoga is great for keeping your mind present and focused. When I’m physically on my mat, I find it easier to keep my mind there too.

10


 Day 11: I Release

I release the tension in my body, and in my mind. I have learnt to let go of things that are no longer serving me and learnt to relax more, physically.

11


Day 12: I Trust

I trust myself. I trust the yoga practice. I trust Adriene to always have my back (she has on many occasions!)

12


 Day 13: I Deserve

When I originally posted this on my Instagram page, I wrote quite a lot more than for the other days. I’ll just write the same thing here:

“Today’s mantra got me thinking less about myself and more about people in general. What does everybody deserve? Everybody deserves to be able to love themselves, body and mind. Everything in the media and advertising seems to work on our insecurities and make us feel like we are missing something or aren’t as good as we can be. We all DESERVE to be able to accept ourselves fully, as we are in this moment. Love yourself, because you are you. Love your body, because it’s the only one you’ve got. Love your mind, because you are unique. That’s what we all deserve.” – Misuzu

13


 Day 14: I Go With The Flow

I go with the flow and can learn to let go and just roll with what’s happening. You can’t control everything that happens, so just let it flow and allow yourself to be carried along with it.

14


Day 15: I Am Open

I am open to transformation and change. I am open to all possibilities. When you allow yourself to remain open to possibility, you never know what good things might come your way!

15


Day 16: I Enjoy

I enjoy practicing yoga. I enjoy the journey and I enjoy taking that time for myself. I enjoy looking at how far I’ve come in such as short space of time.

16


Day 17: I Am Focused

I am focused. During practice, you focus on your breath and let that guide you through your movements.

17


Day 18: I Surrender

Another mantra where I’ll just quote what I originally wrote:

“I struggled with today’s mantra. The practice was awesome, but the mantra just didn’t seem to resonate with me at all. What am I supposed to be surrendering to? Then something kind of ironic happened. I realised that I didn’t have to force a mantra to resonate with me or to make sense right away… There’s nothing wrong with that! So I realised, I’d surrendered the need to always understand. I’d surrendered to the mantra by realising I didn’t have to force it. Cool, huh?” – Misuzu

18


Day 19: I Respect

I respect myself and I respect my body. I respect the yoga practice.

19


Day 20: I Am Worthy

I am worthy of the positive changes that yoga practice brings for my body and mind. I am worthy of self-love and love from others.

20


Day 21: I Believe

I believe in myself and my own ability. I believe in the possibilities that practicing yoga brings.

21


Day 22: I Surround Myself

I surround myself with positivity. Positive thoughts, positive energy and positive people.

22


Day 23: I Am Secure

I am secure in my body and mind.

23


Day 24: I Am In Control

I am in control of my own body and my own yoga practice.I choose to practice yoga every day. I am the only person who is in control of that.

24


Day 25: I Am Strong

I am strong. I have a strong, determined mind and my body is getting stronger with more practice.

25


 Day 26: I Attract

I attract a place of calm and stillness on my mat. Only I can make this place a sanctuary, and I have attracted positive energy to my mat.

26


Day 27: I Am Grateful

I am grateful for the positive changes that practicing yoga has bought me. I am grateful to everyone who supported and/or encouraged me during my journey through the 30 days. I am grateful for Adriene, I could not have asked for a better teacher.

27


 Day 28: I Celebrate

I celebrate my progress. At this point, I was four weeks in and already, yoga had become part of my day and part of my identity. I also took this time to celebrate all of the people who helped me to get this far, and I celebrated myself for getting this far.

28


Day 29: I Love ❤

I love myself. I love my body. I love the people who have been there for me. I have loved my yoga journey!

29


Day 30!

“I did it!! Congratulations to me, I’m so proud of myself right now. Day 30 is choose your own mantra. I spent a little time thinking about this… I was tempted to go for ‘I am victorious’… But I changed my mind… I’m going to come back around to the mantras that have aided me this past month. Starting at: ‘I accept’. These past 30 days have flown by… And I’ve changed and grown so much in that time, on and off my mat. So here goes:

I accept myself fully. I create a space on my mat and time for myself. I embrace the yoga practice with open arms. I am truly alive! I feel supported by my friends and they have helped me to see that I am capable of being successful. I choose to be bold. In my practice, I have been working on being present. As I release myself into the practice, body and mind, I learnt to truly trust in it. I deserve to feel great. In this 30 days, I have learnt to just go with the flow and sink in to my practice. I have remained open to the positive changes and enjoyed my time. I stayed focused, surrendered to the practice and formed a higher level of respect for myself in my body and mind. I am worthy of this change and I am worthy of positivity. I believe that if I surround myself with this positive energy, I can be the best version of myself. I am secure and I am in control: I am the only one responsible for myself and my health. I am a strong person. I attract good things and remain grateful for what I have. Today, I celebrate my victory and I love myself, fully. I accept.

Thank you @adrienelouise … You have changed me. I’m a better, happier, healthier person than I was 30 days ago. You have taught me that self love is important. Peace and love. Namaste!” – Misuzu

30


So there we go. Thirty days of mantra and yoga. If you’re curious about starting a yoga practice, or if you’re just looking for something a little different in your work out, I fully recommend Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Camp. It’s great for body and mind. Try it. I’d love to hear anybody else’s experiences with yoga!

If anyone is interested in subscribing to Adriene’s members site, if you use the link below, I get a free month for recommending you, which is cool. I do fully recommend the Yoga With Adriene members site, there is so much on there, there really is something for everybody and it is all done with such positivity.

https://yogawithadriene.vhx.tv/?campaign=YWAR-2430119

If anyone is still reading this and is interested in meditation, there is a great app called Simple Habit. Five minutes a day is all you need to do to feel the benefits. I really recommend it if you’re looking to start meditating or prefer guided meditation. Anyone can meditate. Give it a try with the link below. If you use the code DMMKC then you can get a free two week trial:

https://www.simplehabitapp.com/

That’s all from me for today. Any questions or comments are all appreciated. Thank you for reading. Namaste.