Tuesday, 27 December 2011

snap happy


for the friends, family, and Christmas.

What is Christmas really about? God? Gifts? Food? Family?..
For me, it's people. People and love are what makes this world keep turning. There's a lot of shit in the world - we know that. God knows, we only have to tune in to BBC news or pick up a newspaper to witness and read about this. But somewhere among the shit, there are people and there is love.
For me, this is what Christmas is about. Christmas is almost a gift in itself - a gift of time to spend with these people. A time when we don't work and we don't study, or rush, running and racing against time.
Life is not perfect. Nothing is perfect.. In fact, what the hell does 'perfect' even mean? If any one ever figures this out, my goodness, they will be able to hang their hat up and become the wizard of all philosophers of this time. Even more-so if they formulate a step-by-step plan of how to reach this wonderful state of being. But for now, perhaps perfect is just an idealistic pigment of our imagination. There is not such a thing as a perfect day or a perfect person or a perfect life.
So no, things are not perfect, but I do have pretty wonderful people in my life. Friends are the ones who have made this Christmas a good one. A lot of time has been spent with good friends. Old and new friends. People keep you going. People have such power and such love.

I hope all who read this have had a lovely Christmas filled with love.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

for the friends

It is probably quite clear from my post below that tonight has been spent baking cupcakes.
Ahh, the simple pleasures. Painting my nails glittery deep blue, scented candles, Bon Iver on my playlist, and baking.
Life is mostly far too crazy to find time to even call my best friends, never mind take an evening out purely to bake. But it's been great. My housemates are all away for Christmas so I've been able to really do whatever the hell pleases me. I'll be spending Christmas at home too; but just a rather minimal amount of time at home, not an entire week! Oh no. One day is sufficient.
So I have baked cupcakes for my family instead.
Today was spent with a couple of best friends from school. We went for lunch and coffee, and spent hours just catching up together. It was wonderful. I laughed..
In fact, we laughed together and it felt just lovely to be happy in the moment.

Sometimes we spend so much time worrying and living in the future, or just some place in our minds so much so, that we become out of touch with ourselves and the life we live. This future-land, the ideal place, or the imagined world slowly becomes our reality. Sometimes this works.. 'Escapism' - as some may call it. Others would say you're a 'dreamer', existing on earth with your head in the clouds, one cloud away from the rest of them with one foot barely touching the ground.

It's not a conscious decision, and it's certainly not a 'bad' thing. But sometimes it's just nice to live in the moment. For the balance.. and for the friends.

cupcake anyone?



Thursday, 22 December 2011

story about a child

I have never met this child. In fact, I barely know the woman who shared the story with me.
It was fairly late and dark, and we were driving back from a shoot I did last month when the client was telling me about her family. She has a little boy at home who I seem to remember is three years old.. This little boy was asked the simple question - 'how old are you?', to which he had a naive, most beautiful, yet wise response for his mere three years of knowledge and wisdom.
'I am not old, I am young.'

am I feeling festive yet?

Could I possibly be feeling somewhat festive?
Tonight my housemate has been out somewhere which means I have been home alone. I watched movies, I drank hot chocolate, lit scented candles, wrapped gifts, and hand-made these little christmas cards.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

these were the sunbeams

'Just like a sunbeam thrusting it's way through cloudbanks and tangles of foliage to spread a circle of light on a tangle of forest paths, came some comment from you. It was clarity, even disentanglement, an additional twist to the picture, a putting in place. Then the consequence - the sense of moving on, the relaxation.
These were the sunbeams.'

- from a case study in an article I am reading. (an account about the effect of the empathic response)

Monday, 19 December 2011

album of the week

I made a little iTunes purchase last week and have not been able to stop playing this album since it made it's way onto my iTunes library. In the words of Charlene - it is simply exquisite. There is not a better way to describe the music on this album.
Now usually I am not a fan of covers and I don't generally rate artists who release a mediocre cover of a previously wonderful track. Saying this - Birdy has become the exception to this rule of mine.
It's one of those albums you get a little lost in your mind while listening to.
This is the track I adore..


'People help the people
And if your homesick, give me your hand and I'll hold it
People help the people
Nothing will drag you down
Oh and if I had a brain, Oh and if I had a brain
I'd be cold as a stone and rich as the fool
That turned, all those good hearts away'

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

about an owl..

'You make so much sense, yet at the same time you sound like you should be sectioned'
I do love how honest my friends are.
So truthful and actually pretty accurate..
I am appreciating the value of what it means to be human.
It's the almost unspoken connection and support that I am incredibly fortunate enough to know I have.

Monday, 12 December 2011

nice

This weekend has been pretty nice. 'Nice' is such a bland and non-descriptive use of a potentially good word. But nice is what is has been, so therefore, I shall stick with it. Goodness knows where the time has gone. Life has taken the hours and turned them into dust, never to return. No, I do know. Time has been spent with good friends, plenty of tea and coffee, watching dance performances, catching up, and keeping out of the miserable coldness and rain that lingers outside.
It'll be a rather rude awakening when my alarm wakes my sleepy head up in approximately four and a half hours time. I have a 9am presentation tomorrow morning, presenting to the class my research proposal as it stands at the minute.
Call me a bit of a nerd but I'm quite excited at the prospect of this research. It has the potential to be pretty gripping and intriguing.
For now though - sleep. That would be nice..

songs of the wild

Owen Bruce and Mackenzie Hamilton For Pulp magazine..
These shots are so serenely beautiful. The whole spread is beautiful actually, but these ones in particular catch my eye. They remind me of the times when I would say to myself over and over, again and again..
'take me somewhere wild, take me somewhere free, and just let me be..'




Saturday, 10 December 2011

calmness after the storm

I shall never underestimate the power of spending time with close friends. The past couple of days have been somewhat calmer. Presentation was delivered (Which I hope went well..) and I have another presentation on Monday. More deadlines are approaching but not in the near future. By 'calmer' - what I mean is that I am not feeling that intense pressure. I am actually feeling blessed to have such love for my nearest and dearest. Similarly, I do not feel so blessed that time doesn't always allow me to see them half as much as I'd like. Nevertheless, when we do spend time together, it is wonderful. I am thankful for the small things and I'm probably right in thinking that I say this rather a lot.

If we cannot be thankful for the smaller things in life, then what on earth can we be thankful for?
Do we just hold out, waiting and endlessly, hopelessly waiting for the miraculous 'magical thing' to happen.. Just like that? Just because? That one thing that will make everything okay? That will make the world a better place? That will make us accept ourselves - see a new perspective? The one thing we wish for each morning and each night? The secrets and the hidden obsessions to be no longer clouding our mind?
No. Because will we ever be happy that way? Do we even know what that 'miracle' cure is??

Miracles don't quite happen in that crazy way.. Not in this world anyway. Perhaps there is another beautiful world in which life has an entirely different meaning. But in this world, life is very much real and we are very much alive. The meaning of that is yet to be defined. Subjectively and individually defined.
The world is moving, time is moving, and we are ever-changing and ever-alive.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Vogue in Mongolia







An 'amazing editorial' type of post is way overdue by now - so thought I would post this and share my love for it. It's from December's Vogue. Shot by the genius that is otherwise known as Tim Walker. Him and the model, Krisi Pryhonen travelled to Mongolia to shoot this colourful and cultural collection of beautiful images.

Monday, 5 December 2011

keep on rolling under the stars

'There was nowhere to go but everywhere,
so just keep on rolling under the stars.'
- Jack Kerouac, On The Road

meaning of time

And one clock stopped
              - And knew the meaning of time.

Carl Rogers, 1967.

I was in the uni library for the majority of today - trying to work on this week's presentation, but instead getting caught up in books and books and books. I liked last year. We focussed a lot on Carl Rogers and I think what he has to offer holds a lot of depth and meaning. Some love it, some do not; and others just won't get it. I see both sides - but nevertheless, his words are often rather beautiful and philosophical.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday - end of a week, beginning of a month

Technically today is Sunday but it's not yet Sunday in my mind. It's 4am, meaning my mind is still on Saturday-mode. And it's 4th December, so not actually the first day of the month; however, it is my first update of the month. This is simply me aimlessly justifying the title of this post.

You know sometimes we have those weeks that feel as though we will never quite reach the end in one piece? The week begins with a diary over-view and suddenly overwhelming panic strikes. Panic is followed with worry, closely followed with stress.. And then a very necessary cup of tea to bring yourself back down to planet earth. Then the alarm goes off and the madness begins.
Madness, insanity, stupidity, mania, craziness, defiance, foolishness.. (the list of nouns could continue!)

I think I have provided enough clarity as to how my mind has been manically functioning. I had not long arrived back from Cyprus, (suitcase still on bedroom floor and unpacked as I type..) handed in my research methods assignment, done 'something important' at uni.. I say 'important' because quite frankly, that's all I remember due to the brain remembering some form of fuzzy hazy memory by now. Then had a bridal job over on the other side of Manchester. It was pretty good. A long day - quite hard work, and in a beautiful location manor house/hall. But I remember it was cold. It was freezing cold in fact, because there was no heating on the floor we were shooting on. It was THAT rustic and beautiful and old.. There was no heating or light fixtures in the ceilings. But it was beautiful. The other model had her mother with her - which consequently made me miss the comfort of having a loving person take care of me too. I would say this made me miss my own mother, but this would be the wrong comparison to make because having my own mother there would have caused more harm than good!

Anyhow - Back to the shoot. It was pretty good. The client was lovely and really took care of her ice cold to the bones models by providing us with cuddles, fleecy warmed up jackets, soup, and hot cups of coffee and tea throughout the day. She used to model herself, before designing. This always helps because there's a level of understanding that not many others can reach. Despite all the loving warmth, we were still turning a rather purple shade of blue towards the end and I was beginning to wish I had bought my hot water bottle with me. I love the team on that job. Photographer was Sarah Jones - someone I've gotten to know a little more now, having worked with her a fair few times. She is a wonderful person. Wonderfully individual, she puts herself into the picture and yet still knows exactly how to work and create beauty.

Briefly returned to York, back to uni, had a tutorial with my tutor who gave me rather stern words about missing lecture time and that I must sort my priorities out etc.. I tried to explain the commitment that my work requires at times, but in all honesty I was almost fighting a losing battle. So much so that I'm not even wanting to write much of it here. I struggle to understand this particular tutor at times. I hate to resort back to saying that I feel 'misunderstood' - but this is the most relevant phrase that I can concoct. It fits this situation -  and yes - this is exactly how I feel. Her treatment of me feels unjust and uninformed, yet the more I attempt to put a voice to this thought, the bigger the dark hole I dig myself into. So what can I do? Leave it? Get these thoughts out with the few close friends I have at university who take the time to ask about 'me' and not about the 'me' they presume I am who presents herself in pages of glossy retouched photographs without a care or emotion or ounce of humanity to my name or in my bones.
Should I keep quiet and keep my thoughts in my own mind? Perhaps so.

Well, back to York I went, and then back down to London for a job for Boots. I stayed down there a couple of nights - worked. It was good also. I actually enjoyed this shoot. It was easy - good job, brilliant team, we were really well looked after. This was a much needed boost to my deflated mood. I came back up to uni, worked until I could work no longer on my Psychology project proposal, submitted that, did work placement, (which I think I may begin to enjoy once I have a few more sessions under my belt) went to lectures, and have now begun work on the next presentation - which is in a few days time. Hello Sunday - Hello work - Tea is most welcome. No, sleep is most welcome first.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Style etc magazine

A few of my personal favourites from shoot for Style etc magazine..
Special mention goes to the team:
Amy Best (photographer), Hayley Stott (hair and make up), and Siobhan Cooper (stylist)


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

love and loss

'Be loved by those who love you.'
Written by a father who recently lost his daughter.
I don't need to write much, but I felt the need to write those words

Monday, 28 November 2011

and back to reality

Only just back in the country and already I've somehow managed to feel knee-deep in uni assignments. No, waist-deep, if not deeper. So much work... Just so much work. University is not easy.
But I am doing what I do best and attempting to keep my head above water with it all. Time may not be on my side, but it is border-line impossible for my head to actually allow myself to fall behind so at least I can kind of rely on myself in that respect, to keep going. It isn't an option for me to screw this up, so I do not allow myself the choice. I will get this work done..

In other news, I just thought I should post a little update. Life in general.. This will predominantly read as though you are sifting through my thoughts as a pose to a more comprehend-able logical and rationalized structure. When I think.. for as much good as 'thinking' does, there isn't really all too much to say.
No, I have a life time of 'things' to say. Contrary to what some believe, my life time (as young as I may be..) actually has provided me with one hell of a lot of experience and knowledge. Far too much than I could ever need at my age. Far too much than I sometimes feel able to hold. But nevertheless I can't pretend otherwise. It upsets me when people insensitively and naively point their judgements, holding the belief that 'young people can't possibly have experienced enough to understand life.'

What makes any one being so 'powerful' and special enough that they should own the right to judge another? This not a plea of self-righteousness, just a thought that is constantly being provoked.

I shall sleep soon. And I really shall sleep well. Today I was working at a shoot in a freezing location just outside of Manchester. A huge country hall, no heating, no lighting. Just coldness, but lots and lots of beauty. Wonderful team, lovely client.. Lovely day. I am now eternally thankful for my hot water bottle, a hot shower, cups of tea, and my bed. Therefore I shall make full use of my bed until my alarm goes off in six hours to wake me up for uni. Tomorrow will consist of uni in the morning, followed by a tutorial, hopefully finishing my assignment, then travelling down to London.
Such is life.
Life is a crazy thing, but isn't it such a waste if we don't enjoy it?

sights of Istanbul











Saturday, 26 November 2011

more warmth in a parcel

My epic Nan has been sweet and thoughtful and done it again - Returned home to another surprise parcel from Kent, which contained a lovely hand-knitted autumnal coloured scarf. Perfect for the coldness. Just cosy and brilliant and warm. I have written before - about how much I feel cared for and wrapped in love when I wear items of clothing that others have made for me. It's so cold in our house that I am wearing it as I type. I am wearing it and I feel happy. 
I do have lots of pictures from my travels to update, but for this moment in time I am just taking a little break from my Children's emotional development assignment to share this. I'm taking a break because I really would like another hot chocolate. (Caramel options I believe is the current favourite.) Also because my housemates are being unnecessarily loud. Anna - I can hear you and Ciara singing. It's beautiful. It really is full of light and soul and tune. However, your lungs are singing with rather a lot of power ;) 


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

when in Turkey..

When in Turkey, a Turkish full body massage is a necessity. There is a lovely spa and pool in the hotel, so it would have been rude not to take advantage, right?..
Anyway, I am currently fully appreciating the relaxation this has allowed my body. Yes, it is 1am and I am still wide awake, STILL cannot get my head in the correct place to focus on any kind of academic work. But sometimes we just have to roll with it. 'Go with the flow' - as most would say. Live in the moment, acknowledge and deal with the current issues, but if you struggle to do something about them, usually there is a valid reason. Pushing past that reason would negate the very immediate issue of 'why' you struggle in the first place. Probably true in all kinds of contexts. After a full day of being a tourist, sight-seeing, eating, and taking in the atmosphere and culture, every inch of me felt entirely ready to spend this evening winding down the only way the Turks know how..
If that meant taking a break from 'life', then that break was most willingly accepted.
                                   

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Land of the Turkish

'Merhaba' I believe is the Turkish greeting, otherwise known as 'hello'.
Currently in my hotel room in Istanbul, obviously soaking up the Turkish life.. and drinking a cup of English tea. Yes. The rules of travelling: When on the road, one must always carry tea bags. A little comfort from homeland where ever you may be. Hardly immersing oneself in the culture, but necessities overrule. I did source out some soy milk from Starbucks, which is now taking pride place in the mini-bar fridge.

I have been here before. The city of an almost overwhelming (for a health-conscious vegetarian) food and drink-loving culture. There is a seemingly never-ending supply of people. I'm not entirely sure where most these people have come from, or are going. Maybe they are just 'living'. There are a large amount of Turks, but hearing the languages down the streets, a fairly substantial amount of European travelers occupy and partake in the madness of this world. Where the East meets the West. A paradoxical combination of rustic culture against graffiti-ed walls, commercially purpose-built shops and buildings, with glimpses of beautiful architecture and minarets of mosques. I know a culture isn't entirely about a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing landscape and atmosphere. It's about the people too. And the 'vibe'. And at this present moment in time I am still struggling to understand where this borderline unhealthy obsession with what I find a vaguely unappetizing cuisine originates from.. I am sure I will be told otherwise, but I feel as though I need some real direction as to where to direct my 'fussy' habits and to overcome the fact that to refuse any offer of food out here is seen as an offence to the host/chef/giver of food. Perhaps to mutually give and accept food is interpreted as a mutual understanding and acceptance of each other. I don't know. Must learn a little more about this one..

Will get to do a little sight seeing tomorrow, so hopefully will get some good little amateur snaps on my camera. For now though, it's 12.45am and I actually intended on getting a little work done. This is why my laptop has come with me. But it doesn't look likely for this evening..

Friday, 18 November 2011

a beautiful place

My research critique is finally completed and referenced and ready to be handed in tomorrow morning. At 3.30am, this feels like an achievement.
Body is exhausted.
Eyes are closing.
Mind is manically running away with itself.
Heart and soul are somewhere in-between.
I'm struggling to string together fully logical sentences, so these half-written statements shall have to be sufficient!
Today I went to uni, had a tutorial, worked through the rest of this assignment, and packed suitcase ready to jet off to Turkey tomorrow. Well, London tomorrow. The flight is an early Saturday morning one. I really am rather ready to sleep so goodness knows why I have decided to stay awake and write this post instead.

The top trend on twitter tonight is: 'It's a beautiful world because...'
This warms my heart.
It really is an incredibly beautiful world, and I get to see even more of it this week. I'm a blessed girl.
In fact, this twitter statement doesn't actually need to be completed. It is actually as true as the truth can be, just as it is. Why must we always justify our thoughts and views? Why can't we just say that the world is a beautiful place, because it just is. Left to interpretation. Surely if we begin to pick apart each wonderful thing in this wonderful world then we start to see the flaws and eventually these unknown aspects may not be a mystery and will not seem quite so beautiful any more. I, for one, would rather some things remained a mystery. I would rather stay a little naive to certain aspects. Let's not look for faults.
Perhaps this is my head in the dream-world talking.

Let's just appreciate the world for it's beauty and say no more.

a life?

'Life is the most fragile, unstable, and unpredictable thing there is.'
- Grey's Anatomy

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Ceremonials

As the title suggests, I returned home this evening to find a lovely delivery from Amazon, with my new purchase of Florence and the Machine's new album - 'Ceremonials'
It has, of course, been playing on my iPod all evening. It's currently 3.20am so it's no longer playing. I am a good housemate, therefore I shall not wake them up from their sleep. But yes, all evening I have been listening to these beautiful tunes, just appreciating how lovely this entire album is. The music actually speaks for itself. What I am posting about, is within the 'adoration for Florence' context, but is more so to draw attention to the album art work and the incredibly beautiful shots in the cover book. I know Florence flies the flag for red heads, but oh my days. These shots are honestly lovely.

'I'm attracted to the idea of drowning, or rather the idea of jumping off and being enveloped by something not bad or good, just enveloping. When I was a kid, I had a moment when I got under the water, lying on the pool floor, and I felt I could breathe. I've been trying to recreate that feeling ever since.'
- Florence Welsh.



Monday, 14 November 2011

I'll cover you - Rent

Those who know me fairly well know that a huge aspect of who I am, is made from my love of the theatre and all things musical. All things on the stage that are 'make believe'.. playing a role, as such. Yet the paradox is, that the 'playing a role' can become so entirely authentic and powerful and evoke such real emotion.
Well, back to the point. We watched Rent the film last night. I just had to post this beautiful, beautiful scene.

http://youtu.be/vAaXD9PscQs

Jesse L. Martin is the guy who plays Collins (Who sings the song)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

weekend

This weekend has been brilliant and I am currently drinking a hot cup of tea, prepping myself for a long day tomorrow and beginning to think I should really make use of this time to make progress with my assignments rather than write blogs. Procrastination? Quite possibly. But as we know, that's not necessarily a bad thing. I decided to take the weekend off and have my sister over to stay the night. She hasn't seen the new house since I moved, and we haven't even spent more than a couple of hours in each other's company since mid-September. That's two months worth of sisterly catching up to do. So we had a lovely relaxing weekend, went for dinner at Betty's, indulged in delicious food, lots of tea, good conversation, and a relaxing night in. I forget how young she is. She's only thirteen. But she is perfectly lovely in every way. She makes me a very happy big sister.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

300

Entitled '300' simply because this is my 300th post. Original, I know.
Today has been rather productive at uni. Finally feeling like I'm making progress, which I have to admit, is a wonderful feeling. To be acknowledged too, and to be told that you are a competent worker and good at what you do? Once accepting this, it's something to hold onto and a comment that means a hell of a lot when a self-belief battle is at hand.
I am currently sat at the train station waiting for my train to London, hot drink in hand and reflective head on my shoulders. Prime blogging time. Although I'm struggling to produce a worth-while post that isn't just the strange and wonderful ramblings of this mind of mine.
One thing I shall take note of - is something I am aware of more and more. The little things in life can make the world of a difference. Of course, we all know this to a smaller or greater extent. But I just realise that some of us are more sensitive souls. We are strong, but it's a delicate and fragile strength, not often recognised.
Train stations are reflective places. We have no choice but to wait. Let time pass, let people pass. And wait.. Often alone. The irony is that we are often in a rush to get to where we must be. In a race against time, but we are still waiting, standing still. Able to appreciate the smaller things that might otherwise pass us by.
One comment, one small gesture, one random stranger smiling as they pass you by, or the compliments you are able to accept rather than let your mind fight. The person-person ways of life.
I just appreciate it is all.
An appreciation of life as we know it.

Monday, 7 November 2011

the soul

'You do not have a soul.
You are a soul.
You have a body'
C. S. Lewis