Monday, 31 December 2012

An ending of the year

Today is the last day of the year 2012. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives..
Tonight I will be bringing the year 2013 in with Mark and I am really looking forward to this celebration.
This Christmas period has been spectacularly lovely. It's amazing how empowering and uplifting a change of mindset can be. It's not always easy to remain focused on the good, but this focus has given me quite possibly the best Christmas I could have wished for. I've spent an entire week at home with my family in Harrogate spending good time with my mother and each one of my siblings. We even took a day trip to London yesterday to enjoy Christmas number two with our grandparents, London cousins, aunt and uncle. Of course, time with family can be a little intense at times particularly if you don't live at home with the family any more. Dynamics and relationships change and people grow up. But I chose to embrace and enjoy this week. And that's exactly what has been done.

I returned back to York a few hours ago with my suitcase and bags of goodies feeling very, very grateful for many things. Mum even prepared an additional bag of treats for me to take with me, and we went to buy lots of food to fill my fridge with, so I really am feeling loved and thankful. We had our traditional Christmas Eve night in a bar in Harrogate with good friends drinking and catching up on life. And I am pretty certain in my conclusion that this Christmas has been about graciousness, giving, and love. Afterall, what is life, if we are not gracious, if we only take and not give, or if we do not have love in our hearts?

When we begin a new year, for most, it is a time of somewhat nostalgic reflection, of gratitude and appreciation, and of hopes and aspiration. It seems right for me to share a few of my thoughts. This year, I have learnt that it is fascinating and oddly ironic, the insights that looking back in hindsight can provide. And I am learning that there is an incredibly delicate fine line between what is a calculated risk and what is a damn silly decision.. I have also discovered that letting go is a valuable part of growth, but that goodbyes are quite possibly the most difficult yet profound way to manage these times of letting go. I know that I greatly value what people can offer. I believe that people and humanity are what keeps this world moving and keeps human spirit alive. This is the reason for me knowing now, that I will make the most of all the goodbyes I have yet to make. A good note to end on, is perhaps the most personal of the year. This is the year I have found positivity and goodness, and I shall take these with me always and share them with all.

Happy New Year to one and all x

Monday, 24 December 2012

The night before Christmas Eve

The night before Christmas Eve.
It's 1am, so in fact it is now Christmas Eve. It seems that 23 days of December have quite quickly disappeared before our very eyes never to be seen or lived again.
University work has willingly taken a back seat. In fact, it's been thrown right out of the window to a far away country for the past week as I've welcomed a break from being a student and enjoyed spending time with friends, giving and exchanging gifts, being creative, and working on a shoot. Back to my life outside of Uni. If life is about balance, then I believe that this week has been an achievement. I've even had some alone time, which is something I value very much.
The next few days will be spent in Harrogate at home. Back to carpe-ing the diem and to a wonderful few days of Christmas, family, friends, festivities, and celebrations.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

new faces and new stories

'Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let the pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride, even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still believe it to be a beautiful place.'
- Kurt Vonnegut.

I often wonder whether I am right to believe this.. after all, there is so much pain and suffering in the world, and as human beings I'm not sure we have the control to make it all disappear. However, the darkness cannot cast shadows on the light because there is always, always light. We just shut the curtains sometimes. In other words, we are prone to sitting in deep darkness and forgetting that if we allowed ourselves to open the curtains up each morning, just a tiny, tiny bit, we would see such a beautiful view.

This is only a very short post because I am shooting tomorrow and I must sleep otherwise my poor makeup artist is going to have some very big under eye bags to conceal. I have spent this afternoon with some very dear friends celebrating Christmas and have spent this evening gathering together some information for Uni assignments while organizing 'things'. These miscellaneous 'things' take a rather long time to sort out but at least life feels a little more tidy and ordered now.

So very much has been going through my mind. (isn't it always?) I have been transferring dates to remember from my current diary (which is looking a little worse for wear) to my shiny new 2013 diary, and therefore been reminiscent and a little nostalgic while remembering times both wonderful and saddening. There have been many, many changes this past year and if anything, I am realizing just how quickly these changes can happen, and how people come and go, but they never really 'go'. Not really. If they ever really arrived in your life with meaning and purpose, they do not just 'go'. It is impossible to just leave and forget. Practical life moves on just as the clock ticks, and your emotional life catches up eventually. But still, we don't forget.

I am looking forward to this coming year and all the new faces and new stories I will be embracing. Not so much to the goodbyes that will inevitably take place, but the hello's and new experiences.. These are the good ones. These are the times I look forward to.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

feeling like Christmas

After spending the past couple of days with the most important people in my life, my family in my hometown of Harrogate, I have returned to York feeling suitably festive. Term is finished, the ten days countdown to Christmas have begun, and I have created the most beautiful soundtrack to Christmas this year.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

a mid-afternoon thought

'The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change
until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.'
-R. D. Laing.

I am currently very much in my own haven in the living room of my house on the sofa with the curtains drawn, Christmas tree lights on, and Christmas music playing while I plan my next essay entitled 'Essay on the application of theory.' Seems very blunt. I hope I can bring it to life a little. I have built a list of books I need to get from the library and I'm getting some ideas down on paper for what I need to include in this essay but I really just don't want to step outside into the arctic conditions. I must at least go to town because I have a few things to post. When I'm in town I will already be half way to Uni so may as well go the full way and get some of these books so I can make a start.

I'm not even sure why I am making myself do this work, I have over a month until it's due. Part of me really wants to just get everything out of the way before Christmas because I have had a little taster of what it feels like to relieve the deadline pressure and I like it very much. Also as my tutor likes to acknowledge, I do like to feel in control of these things, and part of that is by being very strict with work in order to avoid feeling like life is falling apart around me yet I am still living and breathing in a zone of disaster. That, is not a nice feeling at all. So, this is why I sit here with my work.

It is strange, that I enjoy learning, because I never really appreciated the value of learning while I was at school. I actually went to a wonderful school that still holds a very strong place in my heart. I went to my classes and achieved well, I revised when I had to and always got my coursework in on time, I was not disliked by teachers and I even had a few friends. Goodness knows how people really perceived me at that time. I did not dislike school, my young mind just held very little awareness of the meaning of learning, other than we revised from text books and had to sit exams, get good grades, and go to University. But that was OK. We don't miss what we never know. The thing is, now I am in my final year of University and have a little understanding and experience behind me, I am making up for those teenage years of never fully appreciating. Maybe it's just what life as a teenager means? Who knows. But I left Uni on Tuesday feeling so appreciative of it all. I don't 'have it all'.. Not even nearly. But I am building up something that feels quite special and right. The feeling that I am on the right path.. It's a nice one, and quite honestly, I'm not sure anything has felt this certain before. I will not allow myself to even anticipate the thought that something may come crashing down at any point.. It won't, if I don't allow it.

So, these are my mid-afternoon thoughts mid-December. As we say, I am fighting the good fight. And I'm now going to embrace the coldness.. This has been a more personal post, spontaneously written, but perhaps now I've actually written these things, the rest of the afternoon will flow.

Tilda Swinton

To refer back to my thoughts on Tim Walker's exhibition, I wanted to share a few of his shots with Tilda Swinton, which were beautifully exhibited on the walls of one of the exhibition rooms. I cannot select a favourite shoot of his, but because of how beautiful I think Tilda Swinton is, these are most definitely up there in my top few. I was surprised at how much of his work is shot around various locations in England, however this one was shot last year in 2011 in Iceland. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Tim Walker

This post is a subtle continuation of my last post which discusses the wondrous being that is Florence Welsh, the machine, and my time with Amy. As I briefly mentioned, if my GP prescribed train tickets and friends rather than pills and referrals, this trip to London is exactly what he would have suggested. I submitted my dissertation proposal and only took with me some essentials, even leaving my trusty diary at home. Stress levels were alarmingly high due to deadlines and I wasn't even sure if I would be able to switch it off so easily. But in fact, I did it with such great ease that I wasn't even aware I had tried to de-stress, it almost happened naturally. This is what I call the power of people. I came home, took the weekend off, and went to Uni on Monday morning feeling like a new and revitalized girl. While I was in London I also spent the day with Jamie, a photographer friend of mine who shares my borderline insane obsession with the work of Tim Walker (a photographer). So, along with a little shopping, walking by the Thames, plenty of chats and coffee drinking, Christmas markets, and dinner, we paid a visit to the incredible Somerset House to go to Tim Walker's Storyteller exhibition.

Ever since studying art when I was sixteen-eighteen, I became aware of Tim Walker's ability to capture something of a special and raw meaning and quality with his camera. Since then, I became a model and therefore immersed in the core of the fashion industry, incredibly aware of how art, beauty, and creativity are so beautifully and gracefully interlinked through representation. As a model, it is sometimes all too easy to get lost in the way we work. We are glorified clothes hangers, dolls booked to be dressed and made up, just another number, another girl, another book of beautiful images, the next will always have something more. Oh goodness, it is easy to get stuck in something very lonely. However, there are always two sides to every story, depending on our mentality and our mindset when we approach it. There is something magical and exciting about being able to meet and work with people who believe in something more than what is immediately available right in front of us, who break the rules, who believe that something new can be created. From my eyes, there is a certain kind of eternal youthfulness and energy that wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for being able to access the imagination.

This is the other half of me, which is often hard to explain. It is difficult to capture, but it helps understand why I appreciate certain elements of beauty. When I post pictures of light and nature and things that 'look' lovely, it's not just because they look lovely, things have multiple layers and are always more than skin deep. These sights and pictures must be remembered because of the feelings they evoke from the strength in what we see. Perhaps this is just subjective and perceptive but it may help explain why it is that I adore the work of Tim Walker so much. The exhibition was wonderful, by the way. Very, very beautiful. My mother has bought me the Storyteller book for Christmas and I am very excited to open it in 12 days time. Here are a few pictures of mine and Jamie's day.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Florence: All this and heaven too

As I wrote on Wednesday evening, one of my assignments was submitted and I packed an overnight bag to go down to London for a couple of days. Day one, I met up with Amy and we went to see Florence & The Machine at the O2. Mission Florence happened!! I had never been to the O2 before and I think Amy can vouch for my rather excitable little face when we were exiting the tube station and could see the outside of the building lit up in the nights sky! Amy and I chilled in the afternoon and went for dinner before watching the show. Ahh, Florence was simply exquisite. She is a red-head, so naturally I have already developed quite a love for her and her music. Seeing her play a show and feeling the atmosphere was something quite special. Her energy is so boundless and youthful, yet her words have such meaning and depth, and she has this certain voice that can almost raise the rooftops above and beyond the stars. This free spirited soul combined with lyrics that are far more than just words thrown together overnight, and an undeniably honest and beautiful voice all make for what was a breathe-taking performance. I am lucky to have shared this experience with Amy, and as we discussed my usual 'profound' blogging style, I think she may read this post! So, my darling one, when you do read this blog, here is another thank you for having me at your place to stay the night. You are the kind of friend who doesn't judge me on how many sweeteners I take in my coffee, and yes that may sound a little silly but for me, it's about unconditional acceptance, and isn't this the foundation of what friendships and people are all about?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree is up and decorated, I have submitted my dissertation proposal and ethical approval form and I am taking the night off. I cannot wait for the next two days in London with some nearest and dearests of mine.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Colours may vary: Sophie and I in colour

Recent editorial the beautiful Sophie and I shot together. Check out the editorial here and full credits.. The team was rather large (but very very awesome to work with)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The house of the four winds

I write this as I am on the train; a well known and much spoken about 'second home' of mine. It's approaching 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and the sun is setting, the train is somewhat quiet, comfortably warm, and I haven't any books with me to read so I'm welcoming the freedom and head space this 45 minutes is giving me. I have briefly visited harrogate to see my mum and collect a Christmas tree for my house. I'm currently sat on the train, accompanied by a Christmas tree and a little box of pistachio almond and caramel flapjack pieces.
I feel relatively on top of my work so I've very much welcomed a day of me-time. The train is almost back in York now, so before I attempt to walk back home carrying this tree, I will leave this picture I took earlier. This man looked so peaceful and the winters sun was so powerful. It is unusual for two concepts of such opposition to look so beautiful together.. But here is the moment captured on camera: peace and power in one still picture. The man is reading 'The house of the four winds'