Friday, 30 November 2012

Last post of November: Hats and friends

It is indeed the very day of the second to last month of 2012. It's almost December, and it is very almost acceptable to purchase this year's Christmas jumper, put a Christmas tree up, and complete my December deadline assignments. Yes, completing and submitting assignments... This must be done soon. Not forgetting to have a little fun along the way; I am going to see Florence & The Machine next week and also going to Tim Walker's exhibition and I cannot wait for some good downtime spent with wonderful friends. Afterall, these are the people who make life worth living.
I also would like to share this hat, handmade for me by Ruth, one of my nearest and dearest at University. When I was younger, I was very, very, awkwardly painfully shy and quiet. I doubt any of my primary school teachers could actually remember me if you approached them now! Anyway, I was never outgoing or confident enough to make a lasting impression, therefore; no one knew me. I was less than a 'wallflower', meaning that I was far too shy to even have anyone possibly notice that I was quietly observing. No one knew enough about me to have a laugh or to joke, or give nicknames or invite me to fun things. I always wanted a nickname. And it seems that now, my friends have adopted the name 'Tanman' for me. I don't know how, or why this has come about, but I think its wonderfully sweet. Even friends who don't know each other both use this name. It never fails to make me smile.

Moonshine, sunsets, and November shooting

Wonderful people really are the most fascinating and endearing things in the world; they keep the world moving, and meeting so many of them is one of the reasons I enjoy working as a model. Yesterday I shot for one of the Boss creative tests, for a really cool project my agency are doing. We had a small team of just three people, four including me, and we worked on location at Haigh Hall - the second time I have done a shoot here. Fortunately, having shot here before, I was fully prepared for the coldness that I was about to experience. It's a shame, because the Hall is so beautiful, but it is just so damn cold!
On the whole, I have become quite the expert at putting into practice the power of the 'mind over matter' thought process, so despite the moonbeams filling the sky both when leaving my house in the morning and arriving home at night (very late because of very, very delayed trains) it wasn't too much of a problem. I actually had a really really, really great day. Here are a couple of pictures I took from my trusty iPhone. Check out the sunset.. We finished shooting and walked back out to the cars, greeted by the most beautiful and calming sight of the winter sun setting over the grounds. Peacefulness and nature at its very best!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A personal note

I need to write a personal note, just to keep my feet on the ground where they belong.

We always have and always will have choices in life, even when we feel unable to make decisions or when stronger feelings cloud the rational mind.
It is all too easy to get passively lost in a cloud of negativity when we feel a lack of control.

Resentment can only invite a similar attitude, reinforcing negativity. However; view the world with a positive spirit and you'll see a whole different picture. You will invite the world in, rather than push it away

Friday, 23 November 2012

Yearning for the summer sun

It is now Winter. Nights are darker and colder and longer.. Town is filled with Christmas lights and mince pies line the aisles of shops as we prepare ourselves for the festive season. But it really wasn't too long ago that the beautiful rays of summer sun were in the sky and we embraced freckles, ice cold drinks, friends, the outdoors, and late, light evenings. Here are some shots from one of my favourite shoots I did over summer. They have finally been published so I am allowed to share them :) 
We had the most wonderful team of ladies. Kayti Peschke, Siobhan Cooper, and Rebecca Anderton.

it is the week of Thanksgiving

It is finally Friday!

The week is over, and it has been a week of unquestionable progression and productivity. I have had no castings or jobs or modelling-related activities, other than confirming what sounds like a really cool shoot for a project next week. This has meant I have really been able to focus on my degree; what I often refer to as the 'second half' of my life. Lectures, tutorials, my voluntary work, and also an additional training session for new mentors about to begin the process I embarked on this time last year. Despite working with young people in care for a year now, I attended the training session with the existing years worth of experience already under my belt, but this by no means implies that I am an expert.. Not in the slightest. I learn new things each week I meet with my young person, and I definitely learnt some new and valuable things and found the day quite motivational. I'm really pleased that I've continued my voluntary work, even though there are no university requirements to do so for me this year.

It was a considerable challenge to detach myself from emotions. The work we do is very very real and meaningful, and once working relationships are established.. my goodness, there is a new depth to what this meaning is. You almost have to learn to manage this as you go. I sat with a couple of other girls in my year and suddenly just felt like one of those 'sensitive souls'. It's not an overbearing sadness, it's just called 'being human', I think.

In other news, I am really happy with my new glasses, healthy hair trim, and the jumper my Nan lovingly knitted me which arrived in the post yesterday. It is the week of the fourth Thursday of November, otherwise known to Americans as the celebration of Thanksgiving. The week we can give thanks and gratitude, even if we're not residing in the United States of America. It is historically a ceremonious religious occasion for Americans or Canadians. I am neither religious or American, but I am still thankful for very much of what my life has become. We don't really even need the excuse of Thanksgiving in order to feel appreciative, but it's just nice to acknowledge and make the best use of this day. There are many, many things that unfortunately we cannot change, but we can change the way we think. So if we eradicate a negative feeling and replace it with one of positive value, what's the harm in that?

Happy thanksgiving. Here is a little picture of me today wearing my new glasses and jumper (while hard at work in the library!)

From Autumn to Winter

Thursday, 22 November 2012

'You will fall in love with train rides... & nowhere seems like home anymore.'

Browsing Facebook one Tuesday early evening and I come across this beautiful piece of writing. When accidentally stumbling across something, your mind either reads once, overviews, and moves on to the next new and wonderful thing. However, there are the times when whatever you stumbled across seems to resonate somehow and it's still present in your thoughts a couple of days later. This is why I am sharing this poem. It was actually shared on Facebook by poet and model and friend of mine, Max Wallis. (thanks Max for the post!)
So, here it is..
It seems to be about the aspects of life that we encounter, unprepared for. The aspects that we either fall ace down at the hurdle or we embrace with arms wide open, wings out, and run with until we're flying through the clouds with our feet off the ground.The uncertainties and the beautiful life that no one can prepare us for..

Here’s What Our Parents Never Taught Us
by Shinji Moon

You will stay up on your rooftop until sunlight peels away the husk of the moon,

chainsmoking cigarettes and reading Baudelaire, and
you will learn that you only ever want to fall in love with someone
who will stay up to watch the sun rise with you.

You will fall in love with train rides, and sooner or later you will

realize that nowhere seems like home anymore.

A woman will kiss you and you’ll think her lips are two petals
rubbing against your mouth.

You will not tell anyone that you liked it.
It’s okay.
It is beautiful to love humans in a world where love is a metaphor for lust.

You can leave if you want, with only your skin as a carry-on.

All you need is a twenty in your pocket and a bus ticket.
All you need is someone on the other end of the map, thinking about the supple
curves of your body, to guide you to a home that stretches out for miles
and miles on end.

You will lie to everyone you love.
They will love you anyways.

One day you’ll wake up and realize that you are too big for your own skin.

Don’t be afraid.

Your body is a house where the shutters blow in and out
against the windowpane.

You are a hurricane-prone area.
The glass will break through often.

But it’s okay. I promise.

a stranger once told you that the breeze
here is something worth writing poems about

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

options and energy

Just a brief update, because it feels as though this blog has been neglected over the past week. A lot is happening, and with most considerably prominent aspects of life,  more often than not the thought  crosses my mind of 'I must blog about this!' However, these momentary occasions and thoughts or events accumulate so rapidly that before I know it, a collection of blog-worthy notes are safely stored in my mind, all unique in their meaning and content, therefore unable to be collectively written in one post; but I am intently aware of posting too often consequently becoming 'one of those' irritating people who plaster their life all over the internet for any old body to have a gander. For me, this is treading on dangerous territory of being mistaken for a self-righteous egotistical being, which I hope to the high heavens is not a realistic portrayal.

In other words, the above paragraph is trying to say that although I do not post everything I wish, there are infact many, many things I would like to write about. I hope that one day all these things will find themselves well written.

Today has been 'one of those days'. It's the only way I can describe the stream of events from today, and even that description fails to do this Monday justice. It has not been bad, by any stretch of the imagination. It's not been bad at all. Just busy. I am lucky enough to have the most wonderful tutor at University, who I had a rather long tutorial with this morning, discussing all things future-orientated and these subjects always run the risk of making one feel slightly small and insignificant and overwhelmed. However, I must point out the very point that I believe my sister gave me the insight to see: I am in fact incredibly lucky to have so many options available. So rather than feel overwhelmed, I can accept that this is just a natural process for my mind to go through and I can feel excited and free with the knowledge that eventually, the right path will be taken.

Following this tutorial, I bumped into my good friend Jen who sensed a coffee and moment to just 'be' was much needed, so we went to the glorious small coffee shop, the Perky Peacock to get a quick coffee before I went off to the school I have my placement in. Then back to uni, dissertation lecture, lots of tea consumed, home, and work. So, it's not been bad. It's just been a long day.

On my walk back home, the main thought I had was one about energy. What we choose to do with our energy, how we use it, how we are prone to misusing it, and how it impacts on others. Energy is an incredibly powerful component of our make-up. Along with our physical body and our genetic biological and mental functions, we also each have a psyche, with energy levels attached. We have a choice each day of how that energy is used. So, as I walked, I made a very conscious decision to turn my energy into the positive and productive kind.
I hope this continues...

Thursday, 15 November 2012


This is my university. Pretty beautiful, don't you think?

Today my gratitude is for this building. I live in the beautiful city of York and as much as it is incredibly small and limiting and I have to travel an obscene amount for my jobs, I do love this city. It is home. And these cities we can call 'home' are very few and far between. Some people are forever searching for their home and never are able to find it.. Anyway, that is another thought for another day.

For today, I am very appreciative of my university. Not only because it is a place very beautiful to look at throughout each season of the year, but most importantly because of the people it has introduced me to. I am in third year. A year to this day, I will (hopefully) be attending my graduation ceremony.

Oh, so many mixed feelings about this. But the main one being of appreciation.
If we really do only have today, then today I am happy

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Annie Haak

Work for Annie Haak A/W 2012 jewellery collection that I shot during my stay in London over summer

sharing the positive energy

Today I attended a research methodologies conference at University. 9.30 - 4.30 was spent sat in a room of mostly Phd students, academics, researchers, lecturers, and doctors, educating my mind on the ins and outs of various research methods and figuring out where my small undergraduate dissertation can fit in amongst the grand scheme of academic research.
I shall not feel overwhelmed or undervalued when comparing my own capabilities and knowledge levels to such high standards of success, I shall just share the positive energy attained from today's educational experience.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Train-travel updates

I am typing this blog from my trusty iPhone (thank goodness for the world's technological advances). Currently I am in transit somewhere on the transpennine route mid-way between Manchester and York en route home from a rather long, but good days work. It's 6.30pm and total darkness out of the train window so even if I were to be graced with a beautiful scenic view for the journey, I wouldn't be able to appreciate it anyway. This is England however, and this train route isn't the most aesthetically pleasing in the peak of daylight so I'm not missing out on too much. Just reflecting really, on how the days at the minute seem to be vanishing ever so quickly.

Today I left the house at 7am, my housemate was still fast asleep (lucky!) and I took the train to Sheffield for round two of the bridal job we shot last week. Then travelled to Manchester in the car with make up artist-exraordinaire Sarah to finally catch up with super-booker Lauren at Boss. Things have been so busy lately that I hadn't been in to check in and catch up with what's new since before summer. This is before my stay in London.. A really long time for a model to not see her agent. So this was a long overdue and lovely chat.

In other happenings, Friday-Sunday was spent almost entirely focused on uni work. I feel accomplished now, and the pub quiz on Sunday night added to my areas of extra useless general knowledge. I learnt that we do not call a baby penguin pingu or fluff ball. It is indeed called a chick. Also, South Korea is the only country in the world to have a toilet themed theme park. Perhaps the most interesting thing to be added to my mind of vastly expanding knowledge, is that the Greek goddess of victory goes by the name of 'Nike'... Now we know how the famous sportswear brand came up with that clever brand name!

Win-win weekend. Lots of writing and essay planning, extra knowledge development accomplished, and good time spent with friends. Work-life balance I believe?

I have been doing an incredible amount of thinking about my post graduate study options... Locations, courses of study, and my modelling work. So much thinking that I believe my brain may explode with thoughts. I think it's time to push this thought aside for the time being and focus on what's happening in the present. One thing at a time... Must not get carried away planning! Must focus on now. This involves getting home, cooking a nourishing meal, and doing a little essay writing before getting some rest in preparation for tomorrow.

And breathe.
Happy travelling...

Friday, 9 November 2012

gratitude changes everything

To be grateful
To be thankful
To appreciate

What does this mean for you?
Instead of feeling disheartened about yourself and the world we live in, how much would your outlook on life change if you felt appreciative for the positive influences surrounding us? These are the things that keep the world moving forward, the things that inspire us to change, and the things that educate our minds in ways that are otherwise difficult to connect with.

Last night I had a brief telephone conversation with my mum. We had both had a long and demanding day and were both about to head to bed. I had emailed her my newly written CV asking for motherly advice on anything I may want to change. No one knows the events and experience I have to date better than my own Mother does, so I thought if anyone could offer some better insight int the art of 'selling oneself on paper', my mother can do this with great ease. Our conversation consequently moved onto something I have been considering for a while; taking a course in creative writing. Even the fact that this blog has been regularly updated with almost five hundred posts to date since October 2010 says a little something about how much I value the art of writing and expressing through words. Of course my writing expands and ranges from scientific psychology reports and academic assignments through to highly personal reflective journal documents, hand written letters to friends, and my much loved journal of personally chosen poetry, quotes, philosophical thoughts, and book/film extracts. So, in conclusion it is reasonably fair to say that taking even a short course in creative writing would most definitely fulfill another aspect of myself that has not yet been explored fully.

My mother's response was entirely positive, until validly stating 'But you don't have enough time Tan.', to which I responded 'There is only enough time as I think there is', meaning that if I tell my mind that there is not enough time, of course I will not find the time. The preconceived belief that time is not there will overrule the reality. Alternatively, if the belief is created that yes, there is indeed enough time for me to dedicate a small number of hours a week to learning and educating myself in this area; low and behold, I will find time. Belief is a powerful notion. It may all sound a little like 'airy fairy nonsense' but I suppose until trying it out, there is no way of fully knowing its truth. We have enough time as we allow there to be. To think that we don't is merely an illusion of the mind.

So, today I am grateful. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

it was a cold day

Yesterday I was a very cold model. I do feel the cold, so on days like yesterday I have learnt to adopt a 'mind over matter' attitude. Very much 'I think, therefore I am.' So, if my mind draws in on coldness it becomes easy to forget everything else. On the other hand, if my mind allows all other aspects to be viewed then I really am  free to feel whatever I choose to feel. And I felt quite content on the train back home last night.

I know.. November, winter, coldness, bridal dresses.. These words almost spell out chilly frozen toes and many many hot beverages required to warm the hands! It was a 'surprise' job.. I didn't know I had been booked on it until the evening before (such is life!).. Nevertheless, despite the hurry to re-arrange my day, it was a lovely surprise because once more, the people made the day one of happiness (if not tainted with some frosty icicles..) This is not an ironic metaphor, the people were incredibly warm and lovely and provided lots of hugs and even an insulating blanket (thank you Ailsa) and chocolate brownies.
Here are a few behind the scenes pictures.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Illuminating the sky

It is the first Sunday morning of November, it is suitably and seasonally cold outside and I drink my morning coffee as I catch up on TV (USA X factor - and by the way, immense talent on this show!) and I contemplate the day ahead. Cousin coffee time, then there is lots to do.. The most crucial things being purchasing food to fill my fridge and crossing off some things on my 'uni work to-do list'. I will feel significantly better once this is done.t
I must begin writing my first assignment for the 'psychology of creativity' module. The title of the assignment is one of those artsy creative titles and I think it requires the writer to be blessed with possessing a great amount of divergent thinking itself just to write well. 'Is creativity inherently mysterious?' - go, critically explore. Create and define your answer..
Aim for today is to really do a significant amount of reading for this one and produce a plan of my answer, so to speak.
Before I do any of the above, I shall leave you with a few photographs of last night's activities. After going to the cinema to watch 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', from the Stephen Chbosky novel, I went to Harrogate, met some good friends, for what could even be described as an annual tradition of ours, the Stray bonfire night.

When in Scotland

To continue smoothly on from my last post, I am back home in York now, but my short trip up North to Scotland was simply wonderful. As a model, I travel a lot. Those who are very close to me are among the lucky select few who see my (sometimes extreme) highs and lows regarding travelling and tiredness and the stress involved in trying to plan my life outside of modelling.. I have called my Mother at ungodly hours of the morning from foreign countries, spoken to model bookers at midnight before jobs, broken down to tears in countless public locations and relied on good friends to be there, whether that is letting me share their bedroom, their hotel room, their food, a hug, or being on the other end of the phone when facing the day ahead feels too much. I don't know.. Perhaps I over-complicate things. My mind does tend to run away with thoughts sometimes, and perhaps I should continue learning to just let things be as they are. Accept that which I cannot change, etc. However, I am only human and I cannot help but feel overwhelmingly stressed with the lifestyle I have all too easily formed for myself.. Human beings strive for balance, which for me, includes incorporating a little time for Uni lectures, social life,  family, and dare I say it, a little downtime?

Well, I take what I have, I am thankful each day for those things. Waking up each morning for me is all too similar to the concept of playing a game of cards; I never know what comes next. It is either a good hand or a bad hand, but the deciding factor is ultimately what I choose to make of it. I am becoming increasingly less caught up on the aspects of life that I have no control over, and by doing so, I am able to practice my positive thinking even more-so. It's becoming almost like second nature now.. There are so many things to be thankful for and to appreciate. Why focus only on the 'bad', when the 'bad' is only subjective and negates all the good surrounding?

Anyway, going a little off route here. This post is meant to be about my shoot in Edinburgh. It really was beautiful. It was so damn cold (as can only be expected in early winter days in Scotland) but the remote beach location we drove to, the people we worked with, and the open log fire made the job a rather enjoyable one. It was such a nice change to be working somewhere other than London. Travelling to a location so far away from my usual life meant that I could really be mindful of the surroundings and focus on the job, as opposed to living life quite literally on the edge.