Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Baking and the 'wild west'

I have been granted an unusual amount of time off this week. (is this 'summer holidays'??) So this afternoon I invited my sister round to do what we do best; bake, catch up, drink lots of tea, and subsequently I am always inevitably introduced to another of her wildly amusing but somewhat endearing self-created phrases such as 'the wild west' and 'the lone lamb'.
Welcome to the life of a Beetham sister.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Opening doors

Two doors close, one door opens... at least in terms of securing a clinical placement that is. Of course there are almost an infinite number of doors available to us in many areas of life, placement opportunities included. After sending numerous emails, CV's, and applications, and attending two interviews already, both of which politely turned me down, it's safe to say that I was beginning to feel I may be facing an uphill struggle. That, combined with somewhat perfectionist standards and a frustrating self-perceived inability to allow the inner-critic to quieten down meant that my brain was working overtime in order to contain all the worries that went alongside what might be viewed as an ordinary task of ease and patience; finding a placement.

However, doors do close; sometimes quietly and gently, and sometimes because we use our free choice and autonomy, deciding to close the door at least temporarily for the time-being. But some doors close abruptly in a rather unexpected and loud manner; not to say they won't open again, and certainly not because of the 'terrible and completely unworthy' person you are, contrary to what the inner-critic might convince you to believe. So, needless to say, when I was offered a position as a trainee counsellor at one of the best placements (for me) I could have hoped for, my entire being was restored with all the enthusiasm I was fighting to maintain. I had an interview yesterday morning and was offered a position within hours.. I am now really, really looking forward to this new adventure, to the first year of my training, discovering what lies ahead, and hopefully opening many more doors.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A multiple era day

Today has been really, really brilliant. I worked on a shoot that was just a lot of fun to work on. And really wonderful people too. Always a good recipe for a happy person. We were also shooting only an hours drive from my house, and a close location is always a godsend. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Another Monday, another week

Another Monday, another week. This week has been suitably kick started with my second placement interview, this time in Leeds - lord only knows how it went. I spent the morning frantically attempting to locate and retrieve all the relevant documents I needed for my CRB (now known as DBS) checks and proof of eligibility to work in the UK and proof of my degree classification and any other relevant qualifications. Somewhere along the line during my walk to the bank, I found myself spontaneously walking into the Gap sale and even more spontaneously, being unable to resist my impromptu urge to purchase myself a pair of new jeans. Yes, jeans; the dark blue variety, skinny fit, high rise. I wonder if tomorrow I might even brave wearing them.

My diary this week looks fit to burst. Really, there isn't room to squeeze any more in even if I tried - and try, I have. I constantly find myself wondering how life would be if we had ten day weeks rather than seven day weeks. But alas, some things we simply cannot change - not with all the positivity and will in the world. So here marks the beginning of another week (a seven day week!) and it is astonishing the power a full diary has over my mentality.

Monday, 22 July 2013

It was an afternoon off and the sun was shining

York in the summertime: Change and the nitty gritty

York in the summertime. This is the first summer in four years that I've not dedicated entirely to modelling. And furthermore, the first in three years that I've consciously decided to spend at home. By home, I mean here where I've made my home in York, not living out of a suitcase spending most of my time going to castings or on jobs being 'herded' around, my schedule run entirely by someone else's schedule made for me. I made the decision to be at home for a number of reasons, if not just to maintain control of my own diary!

My life has grown in so many ways; ways which really require me to be grounded and keep nurturing the things that matter the most. And this task is somewhat challenging due to the many restrictions presented when living out of a suitcase with no permanent address. This is my summer of change.. And it is change enough to decide to remain in a place I call home and make the changes happen rather than opt for my usual summer-time  get up and go. I do love this world, and I am getting increasingly more curious about the places I have not yet been but long to see.  Perhaps usually I go because it's nice to escape for a while. It's nice to escape the worries of life and transfer these worries onto just keeping my measurements down and making sure I get to castings on time. But the thing is, the real worries of life don't miraculously disappear just because I've successfully kept myself at my 'perfect' measurements. Oh, if only life were this simple. In fact, even those worries are still there because no matter how much work on our bodies we do, for some reason or another we never quite measures up anyhow, not to others and certainly not in the only place it seems to matter (our own mind). So I wonder, why we are prone to misplacing so much focus on these things anyway, when really the worries and decisions concerning the nitty gritty of life are the only agents of significant change and real meaningful substance. I guess as our priorities shift, so do our values. As I discussed earlier this evening over a soy cappuccino with a good friend - today is not a day to escape, rather it is a day to live. Of course, the concept of living has a very different meaning for each of us. For me, it involves some form of awareness, acceptance, and trust. Three major notions for just a simple four lettered word!

So a summer of being in a place I call home...

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Always an illusion

When booked on a modelling job there is always an element of surprise and mystery. I never quite know what it is that I'm walking in to when I arrive at the job. Sometimes we are pre-warned by our bookers beforehand but for the most-part a lot, of information just is not communicated until the very last minute. A lot of sometimes painstaking planning and preparation goes into the pre-shoot work, so I suspect that this lack of communication on my part is due to the fact that as the model, we are ranked as the 'least important' person on set; we perform as we are directed and therefore we have no creative input either on or off set. We do what is asked of us - nothing more and nothing less. So it's no surprise that we should arrive unaware of what's ahead. In fact, I've grown to quite embrace the inevitable spontaneity and mystery rather than fight it. The world is constantly moving and changing - nothing ever remains the same, so why must our life remain static when the word continues to spin? However, we may be the least important creatively, but we are most definitely a vital person on the job. Without the model, would a shoot really take place?

The 'odd' things I've been asked to do/wear/be could combine to create quite an entertaining list of requests. These are things that the agency have checked out beforehand or just things that have been introduced there and then on set. I sometimes wonder if clients might think that models are super-human beings; not part of the collective human race, but part of another invincible and untouchable race completely. I don't like to be the bearer of bad news.. But we are human beings, just like every other person in this world. Nevertheless, I have indeed been requested to do many strange and wonderful things... Underwater, 'pretend' to be underwater, in fact, 'pretend' to act out many odd and unusual scenes... work with ravens, snakes, dogs, alpacas, shoot up a mountain, in ice, in snow,  under bridges, in cars, in pools, on roof-tops, old deserted buildings with no roofs covered in either dead pigeons or pigeon poop, (I DID love this one though...!) many uncountable public locations. Odd times, odd locations, odd, strange, and wonderful people... I could write for days on end the stories I've collected. But the point of this post was to document Thurday's happenings. I was warned by my booker that I would be on a trampoline for this job. Great, I thought.. Great exercise, I can use a trampoline.. This will be OK. I arrived on set to find a crash mat and boxes of various heights for me to throw myself off whilst dressed in different outfits. FYI, crash mats are not as soft and lovely to land on as my 15 year old high school self remembers them in PE high jump athletics lessons! No complaining here, but it was most definitely a challenging day, and I am without a doubt suffering from whip lash in my neck and many bruises over my body today.

Oh, the glamorous life is never quite what it seems. Always an illusion

Dark and twisty...

10am on a Saturday morning - my boyfriend is watching Django Unchained and left me up to my own devices on his new iPad. I'm not complaining - in fact I'm quite content in my own Saturday morning double-dosed caffeinated world. I'm not watching the film as there's far too much killing and violently murderous scenes for my personal enjoyment, but I am, however, appreciating the incredibly beautiful soundtrack which oddly accompanies what appears to be a very unappealing narrative.

I'm even less inclined to watch these scenes due to our theatre viewing yesterday evening. We went to Harrogate Theatre to see The Strange Case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde. This is also a rather gruesome tale of murders and such graphic descriptions. Nevertheless, regardless of the somewhat traumatic experience of witnessing the actor singlehandedly re-enact his murder scenes and re-tell the graphic details of the very act, I was pleasantly taken aback by the sheer skill it requires for one man to seduce  a small but captivated audience in the studio theatre at the top of the main Theatre. The actor surpassed himself and successfully told his story single-handedly whilst remaining entirely in character; a somewhat challenging task when one portrays multiple characters in a single performance. Most definitely a compelling but dark tale. 'Dark and twisty' i believe is the term we used! Initially, the psychologist in me assumed I was witnessing a performance of either a schizophrenic man or a form of personality disorder. But essentially it served to illustrate to me that we each carry both light and dark within us. To assume otherwise would be to deny our realness. The authenticity of being human is a falsified authenticity if we are to deny our inevitable flaws in favour of only ever demonstrating the light. This isn't to say acting upon darkness is neither healthy nor beneficial, and certainly not in the way demonstrated by Dr Jeckyll. But it seems important to acknowledge that both light and dark exist in each one of us, in whichever form it takes. Someone said to me earlier this year that waking up to the realisation that none of us are perfect, least of all ourselves is an awakening to the reality our flawed being. To be flawed is not wrong, it is to be real and present. After all, to be perfect in a flawed world... Would that feel half as good as we assume?

A beautiful morning for a run

As the entire British population will be well aware of by now, we have truly been gifted with some beautiful weather lately. This makes exercising in the outdoors all the more appealing. I've been trying to balance gym work outs with some outdoor running (either early in the morning or late evening so the sun doesn't produce a melted woman in the space of five minutes...)

It's been really quite nice. It's refreshing, energising, and nice to explore parts of York I wouldn't ordinarily venture to.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A trip to the Bowes Museum

Yesterday I ventured up to the land of County Durham with two wonderful ladies - fellow red head Ruth, and talented milliner, Claire. We had a great day out, wonderfully accommodated by The Bowes Museum. The building itself is a rather magnificent property of grandiosity, not to mention the grounds and the incredible exhibitions inside. We viewed Tim Walker's collection of photographs; a significantly scaled down version of London's Somerset House exhibition at the beginning of this year. Nevertheless, Walker's work shall never fail to instill beauty and fantastical elegance into the room. We then admired the costume exhibition elegantly displayed inside the Museum, and enjoyed a healthy and very delicious lunch at the cafe. It was a Sunday of art, friends, and sunshine.

It's a rather rare occasion that I find time to enjoy a leisurely day such as this one, mainly due to my inability to allow days off or even an evening off. To sit down and 'rest' is not even an option right now, but I'm almost certain this will change as soon as I begin studying again and my mental energy wears down my physical energy. Nevertheless, this seeming lack of ability to 'relax' is both great because I'm getting lots done whilst earning money, reaching out to open new doors, and keeping my head part way in the academic/career path I'm following. But on the other hand, it means that I constantly dread the day that I can't fill. It hasn't happened yet, but I have six weeks until I start my new job, and over two months before my post grad course begins. I do have a lot happening; modelling, work with Women's Aid, and work with young people in care, plus my on-going endevour to locate my placement for September. I made the difficult decision to leave my work with young people - my last session is in a weeks time. One main reason being that there are so many unknowns, but so many very exciting potentials right now that it's just impossible to begin to predict a single thing.

However, regardless of the busy nature of this summer, days off with a purpose seem much more appealing. I shall definitely make more efforts to allocate time for opportunities to expand my understanding of the world. It seems to be all relatively smaller parts of the greater picture. The more we inspire each aspect of who we are; the heart, soul, and mind, the more we can offer back out to the world, in each area of life. Each part inevitably feeds the other.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

to slow down, speed up, live, and run..

Friday evening has been reached once more. Here we are and yet again I am left curious as to where on earth the hours and days of this week have gone. Clearly they've disappeared right before my eyes but not because they've been wished away; I've been living... And to live with the knowledge that time is vastly passing one by quicker than ever before is both frightening and awakening at the same time. It is a reminder to both speed up and slow down. Curious. And even more-so to be aware that somewhere not too far away, there are people on the opposite end of the scale. A person who wishes time away in a place where each hour seems an eternity. Two people experiencing the same quantifiable space in an entirely different way. And not necessarily two people - perhaps even one person at different stages of life. I have certainly experienced those parts of life where wishing time away by counting down the hours and the days and making lists is the only way to gain a sense of meaning and productivity. The meaning is not a healthy meaning at all, but it is a meaning nonetheless.

So as I oddly remind myself to both speed up and slow down and live in the process, I attempt to figure out if this is even humanly possible. If one was to ever work this puzzle out and conclude, would it be known as 'balance?... This week has been filled with various happenings. Child and youth studies conference, work, more work, glorious sunshine, my first placement interview, and attempting to begin my new project, which I anticipate will take quite some dedicated practicing (the new 'skill' shall be revealed to my friends at New Years... hence the mystery). I have also been making time for people; catching up with those important to me, contacting family, and saying goodbye to a very wonderful and influential tutor.

I got some jobs done this morning and then made the most of my day off by spending the afternoon and evening with my sister - going on a road trip, picnic-ing, doing what sisters do. It's been a really relaxed afternoon. Of course the guilt kicked in and I decided I must go running this evening as it was too late and the gym was closing, but it turns out this was a really great call. I had the best and most enjoyable run yet. It was quite late evening and the cool breeze was perfect. I absolutely notice the difference in my body strength and stamina. To say a month ago I struggled to run 2.5 miles, yet tonight I ran 5 miles, thoroughly enjoyed each minute, and could have run more if the sun hadn't completely gone down! I may see no physical results - I see myself no thinner and no leaner, but something internal must be working based on this vast improvement.

Below are a few snaps from this afternoon with my dear sister. Plenty of sunshine, iced coffee, and love.

Monday, 8 July 2013

an extraordinary wave of heat or a summers day?

I am currently sat in my garden making good use of our new garden furniture.. Bench, table and chairs. I had a moment of realization on Sunday morning whilst I was waiting for this furniture to be delivered. I realized that recently my 'newly acquired items' include garden furniture, a car, car insurance, food, a sat nav, gym membership, and another month's rent and bills. Now I know I'm a 'young professional' and a graduate and such, but these things seem awfully serious. However, saying this, at this very moment in time, I am thoroughly enjoying being able to comfortably sit in our garden, and Archibald (car) is most definitely doing a wonderful job and making traveling for work a much less stressful endevour.

So, the activities of the weekend. I didn't go to the gym as much as I'd have liked. I shall kick away the guilt before it even surfaces it's ugly head. Firstly because I would never like to be the woman who prioritizes her gym regime over her social life, her friends, or her boyfriend. And secondly because it has been (and shall continue to be, for the duration of this week) absolutely and beautifully warm and sunny. How pitiful that we have reached a point here in England that the universe provides warmth and sunshine in July (weather we might typically assign to summertime) and yet we now refer to it as a 'heatwave'. Why must it be a heatwave when sunshine and blue skies are the embodiment of our summer months. Of course, this is England, and yes we are unfortunate with regards to the weather, but has it become so much so that we refer to a typical summers day as an extraordinary wave of heat...

Being a true Brit and appreciating not a summers day, but a so called extraordinary wave of heat, I did enjoy this warmth. I gained some extra freckles on my arms and face and knees, and I experienced that late summers evening glow. You know that feeling of bliss. Of warmth, tiredness, present moment contentment, satisfaction. That feeling of knowing your to-do list is still in the diary in your handbag, or sat on your desk at work or home.. Yet although the to-do list is not being attended to, and although it must be attended to at some point, this is not the focus of the mind. That end of a long summers day feeling is knowing that the only thing that matters right now, is exactly that: right now. If ever there was a time to think of the present moment and live in the here and now, it is evenings like this. Evenings that seem to be eternal and yet the sun sets and it's Monday morning before we were ever ready for it to be so.  We spent Sunday evening at an outdoors cinema watching Les Miserables. Sunset, friends, outdoors, and Les Mis... This is the recipe for such a beautiful evening.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Friday news: Archibald and a First Class degree

It is currently 2.45am and as much as I am in disbelief about it being Friday already, we have indeed reached the end of another week, and there's no time like the present to write a new blog post. This is one of the less favourable consequences of running from place to place like a mad woman throughout the day - sleep doesn't just happen; the brain must catch up with the body in order to fully relax. Anyway, today, like most other days taught me a few lessons. Firstly, I spent a considerably long time sat in traffic. The sun was shining and I either wished to be outdoors enjoying the sun or doing something productive and worthwhile at the gym as opposed to sat in my car just waiting in a never ending queue of traffic. This queue of traffic very effectively allowed me to practice my patience to great lengths. Secondly, I was reminded of just how much my boyfriend knows me. He returned from Scotland with gifts of a scarf, green tea, and macaroons... gracefully received. Thirdly, I was reminded never to go to Tesco's immediately after a two hour work out at the gym on a ridiculously hot day without at least getting changed/showering beforehand! You will most likely come across someone you know. And the hot and sweaty/tired/no makeup look whilst supermarket shopping really doesn't work wonders.

In yesterday's news, I received confirmation of my degree classification. I now have a First Class Honours degree in Counselling and Psychology. Needless to say, I am overjoyed in every sense of the word. For once I don't need to wish that I could/should have done better. There's no room for ridiculously negative self-critical inner-dialogue; I couldn't have received any higher. I did my best and my best really has measured up. I have updated my CV with pride and shared the news. I did notice where my thoughts went not too long after being shocked that I couldn't have wished to better myself. They went to my post grad studies. I decided that having received an 80 for my dissertation, if nothing else inspires me by the time I write my Masters dissertation, I shall really, really enjoy continuing my undergrad research to Masters level. The standard of academic writing has also been readjusted to a higher level.. Perfectionism at it's greatest here!

I also purchased a new (old) car yesterday morning. I have named him Archibald (Archie for short) and although this means I have more financial commitment at the most financially crucial time; a lot of pressure mounting up and post graduate tuition fees to self fund, I concluded that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Purchasing a car, securing a second job, and re-beginning a fitness/yoga regime were all main features of my Summer plan - part of creating change. One month into Summer and all three have been successful. I do have a couple of other smaller new projects on the go, and I am leaving the mentoring work I do with young people. A difficult decision to make, but one which I am certain is the right one.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


It was 5am yesterday morning and as I was walking to the train station I had two thoughts hugely prominent in my mind. Thought number one: 'Man, I really, really could do with a car today.' And thought number two: 'whoever thinks modelling and travelling is a glamorous lifestyle is severely mistaken.' I felt many things yesterday morning... Glamorous certainly was not on my list of feelings. In fact, I would happily challenge anyone to accompany me for a day and have their eyes widened to the reality of what appears from the outside to be perhaps one of the most beautiful, luxurious, and easy jobs going. I am certain that after just one day, their views would be significantly altered.

It is not my style to complain, although I do think we are all deserving of a good complain with a trusted companion over a soy latte or glass of wine from time to time. However, complaining for the most part tends to result in me being reduced into a spiral of negativity and that certainly is not a spiral I wish to impose on anybody or myself. So complaining about a job which I have full control over my association and employment in the industry is both passive and unproductive. Regardless of the ungodly hours of the morning, the job really was a good one in comparison to others. I arrived at 9am and we finished shooting at exactly 1.30pm. For once, a half day really did mean a half day, and this is unheard of in the modelling world. I suspect it was because it began to rain and we were shooting outdoors, and also they had booked in another model for the afternoon to shoot the second editorial for the next edition of the magazine. My expenses were covered, I was given a lift to and from the train station, and the client and team were a really great bunch of people. I was home by early evening and even had the energy to have a good couple of hours at the gym and make my offers on a new car (which I will be viewing and perhaps purchasing tomorrow morning).

Some things (like 5am mornings and the rain on location) must just be accepted. It was, however, one of those mornings when my alarm woke me up and I had to give myself thirty seconds to have that dialogue in my head: 'What...? What time is it? What day is it? Where do I need to be today? What am I doing?' Needless to say I soon realized that Cheshire was the location and I had a train to catch so I must hurry, make my flask of coffee and leave the house to embrace a brisk morning walk to the station. This sense of rushing and non-stop activity is not exclusive to my day of madness yesterday, it is somewhat reminiscent of the majority of days at the minute. To say I was hugely concerned and worried that this summer might be a struggle due to lack of work, lack of people, too much time, and not enough opportunities, my experience of 'summer' so far couldn't be further away from my initial anxieties. I knew that I was in for a 'summer of change', so to say. I was right in that respect; many things are changing/are about to change. But in the midst of creating that change, my fear of 'nothingness' has influenced my structuring of the days so that I am rarely home.

So can I see life slowing down...? Not really.
Do I want it to slow down...? Again, no.

As always, if not to be written about, then life is to be lived. Even at 5am, life is to be lived.