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


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)