2013

It’s been a whirlwind of a year – not quite a tornado (though I did experience a typhoon in Vietnam) but a bit more than a gentle breeze.

– I travelled to Wales, Belgium, Paris, Scotland, Switzerland, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Italy, Malaysia, Vietnam and Australia, bringing my current ‘countries I’ve frolicked nude in’ list up to a respectable 18, across 5 continents. I discovered that I am an absolute idiot for never even thinking of getting some kind of air miles scheme, which is something other normal people do who have any shred of intelligence when travelling as much as I do. I hate myself whenever I realise how long ago I should have started one. I WILL sign up for one soon.
– I fainted for no apparent reason and inflicted a wobbly head and split lip on Paris.
– I started having piano lessons again (having quit at 17 during A-levels). It makes me incredibly happy. I learnt to play Liszt’s Liebestraum no.3, though I’ll probably never be able to do it with the expressiveness of Lang Lang’s eyebrows.
– I was bored on a bus journey once and wrote a list of ‘Silly, Brilliant and Memorable Places I’ve been Nude’. Here it is in its current form: at the Eiffel Tower, on a horse, en pointe in Death Valley (although I did a reduced deal for a shoot there with a Brit called Tony Parsons, in exchange for images, and after 2 years have STILL not seen any results from him, despite an enjoyable shoot and many polite reminders, which is disappointing), Lucerne Valley (that gorgeous cracked earth!), on top of a clown, in the Canberran bush with wild kangaroos, in a lavender field in Gloucestershire (I want to shoot there again so I can re-make my lavender shortbread), in a pay-by-the-hour hotel in Brussels (but the images were beautiful!), at Iceland’s Geysir and the outer pools of the Blue Lagoon, high up in the snowy Swiss Alps, halfway up the stairs in Montmartre, in a German sunflower field, underwater in California, in Dubai, in the Black Forest, on a fish carved out of stone, on a Norwegian beach (the coldest I’ve ever experienced!), hanging off the tail of a (grounded) helicopter, in a Tuscan vineyard, in the London Hilton Metropole. Etc.
– I finished my second novel and am crossing my fingers that I’m getting somewhere with a new agent. I don’t like to talk about this much because it means too much to me.
– I almost-but-not-quite cried when I compared house prices in Oxfordshire (the most expensive part of the UK, and annoyingly where I decided to be born and would very much like to stay) with those in Manchester, just 3 hours north (and chosen as a random example), where I could buy a house for literally a quarter of the price. The saving continues…
– I was interviewed for this feature, answering questions about my thoughts and experiences on this unconventional career of mine.
– I wrote this article about vanity.
– I wrote this self-esteem manifesto, ‘For Women’.

…And I packed this blog full of new images once or twice each week.

Without further ado, my personal highlights and favourites, with huge thanks to the people who thought it a good idea to hire me and see what we could come up with. I hope to work with you all again!

From ‘Damsels in Distress‘ (image by Keith Cooper, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Life is but a Blur‘ (image by Keith Cooper, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Snow Deer and Winter’s Wonderland‘ (image by Karen Jones, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Snow Deer and Winter’s Wonderland‘ (image by Karen Jones, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Pianos, Women and Houses‘ (image by OnePixArt, Beverley Hills):


From ‘Lilies and Vanity’ (image by Vernon Trent, Dusseldorf):


From ‘Cascading Light‘ (image by Ross McKelvey, Northamptonshire):


From ‘Cascading Light‘ (image by Maximus Operandi, Northamptonshire):


From ‘Cascading Light‘ (image by Maximus Operandi, Northamptonshire):


From ‘House of Flying Daggers‘ (image taken as a behind-the-scenes shot on my mobile phone, Belgium):


From ‘House of Flying Daggers‘ (image taken by Will White, London):


From ‘‘I only Feel’*‘ (by Dimitri, Belgium):


From ‘‘I only Feel’*‘ (by Dimitri, Belgium):


From ‘Vitality‘ (image by Chris Lloyd, Oxfordshire):

From ‘Blue Sky Desert‘ (image by Brian Connor, Joshua Tree National Park):


From ‘Charcoal Metallics & Garden Gates‘ (image by Steven Bruce, Palm Springs):


From ‘Pipe Cleaners and Autumn Leaves!‘ (image by Paul Viant, Wiltshire):


From ‘Pipe Cleaners and Autumn Leaves!‘ (image by Paul Viant, Wiltshire):


From ‘Poolside‘ (image by Jim Baab, California):


From ‘Bulbs & Benches‘ (image by Paul Bartholomew, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Sumptuous in Brussels‘ (image by Pieter Vandeur, Brussels):



From ‘SWPP Annual Convention – London Hilton Metropole‘ (image by Manes Pangalos, London):


From ‘In Vivid Paint‘ (painting by Nurhilal Harsa, Turkey):


From ‘Twigs, Sticks & Weaves‘ (image by Karen Jones, Milton Keynes):


From ‘Twigs, Sticks & Weaves‘ (image by Karen Jones, Milton Keynes):



From ‘Sharps, Flats, Shapes and Curves‘ (image by Prashant Meswani, Oxfordshire):


From ‘24 hours in Pareeee!’ (image by Jeremy Howitt, Paris):


From ‘Queen’s Well, Glen Esk‘ (image by Jim Furness, Scotland):


From ‘Welsh Rain, Reflections‘ (image by Richard Spurdens, Wales):


From ‘Welsh Rain, Reflections‘ (image by Richard Spurdens, Wales):


From ‘Firebird‘ (image by Vanessa Mills, Cambridge):


From ‘Moss, Kicks & Lochs‘ (image by Alex Ingram, Scottish Highlands):


From ‘Moss, Kicks & Lochs‘ (image by Alex Ingram, Scottish Highlands):

From ‘Moss, Kicks & Lochs‘ (image by Alex Ingram, Scottish Highlands):


From ‘Greens and Lilacs‘ (image by Richard Maxim, Cambridge):




From ‘Fires and Falls‘ (image by Graeme Delargy, Falls of Orchy, Scotland):


From ‘Fires and Falls‘ (image by Graeme Delargy, Falls of Orchy, Scotland):


From ‘La Source, River Adur‘ (image by Jeremy Howitt, Sussex):


From ‘A Horse, Cosmic Skirt, Mints and Buttercups‘ (image by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire):

From ‘A Horse, Cosmic Skirt, Mints and Buttercups‘ (image by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire):


From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):


From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):

From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):

From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):

From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):

From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):

From ‘Swiss Alps: Soaring through Landscapes‘ (image by Jim Furness, Switzerland):


From ‘Locks and Leaves‘ (image by Steven Bruce, California):


From ‘Heavenly Stairways‘ (image by Maximus Operandi, Northamptonshire):


From ‘Heavenly Stairways‘ (image by Maximus Operandi, Northamptonshire):


From ‘5‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Sussex):


From ‘5‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Sussex):

From ‘5‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Sussex):

From ‘The Milky Sun‘ (image by Steven Billups, Germany):


From ‘Romance‘ (image by Kev, London):

From ‘Romance‘ (image by Kev, London):

From ‘Romance‘ (image by Kev, London):


From ‘Tuition with Stefano Brunesci‘ (image by Stefano Brunesci, Wiltshire):


(Embarrassing outtake where I don’t even look like myself:)


From ‘Elephants‘ (image by Rayment Kirby, Sussex):


From ‘Elephants‘ (image by Rayment Kirby, Sussex):

From ‘Elephants‘ (image by Rayment Kirby, Sussex):


From ‘Gaia, Jetty‘ (image by Jeremy Howitt, Sussex):


From ‘Gaia, Jetty‘ (image by Jeremy Howitt, Sussex):

From ‘Gaia, Jetty‘ (image by Jeremy Howitt, Sussex):


From ‘Edwardian Ladies, Bridges and Stables‘ (image by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire):


From ‘Edwardian Ladies, Bridges and Stables‘ (image by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire):


From ‘Edwardian Ladies, Bridges and Stables‘ (image by Tony Nutley, Buckinghamshire):


From ‘Edwardian Ladies, Bridges and Stables‘ (image by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire):


From ‘Fee Tree‘ (image by Klaus Rieger, Germany):


From ‘Fee Tree‘ (image by Peter Gruener, Germany):


From ‘Monbachtal‘ (image by Steven Billups, Black Forest, Germany):



From Morgan & Ellis Creative Experience Day: “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde*‘ (image by Scott Morgan, Bristol):


From Morgan & Ellis Creative Experience Day: “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde*‘ (image by Scott Morgan, Bristol):


From Morgan & Ellis Creative Experience Day: “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde*‘ (image by Denny Wong, Bristol):


From Morgan & Ellis Creative Experience Day: “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde*‘ (image by Emma-Jane Lewis, Bristol):



From Morgan & Ellis Creative Experience Day: “How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” Oscar Wilde*‘ (image by Zoltan Sandor Nagi, Bristol):


From ‘Norwegian Black – On an Island‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Aalesund):


From ‘Norwegian Black – On an Island‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Aalesund):


From ‘Sheer Bellydance‘ (image by Evie Smith, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Earth Blood‘ (image by Katie Eleanor, Hampstead Heath, London):


From ‘Waiting in Hanoi‘ (image by Keith Cooper, Oxfordshire):



From ‘Waiting in Hanoi‘ (image by Keith Cooper, Oxfordshire):


From ‘Weather Forms & Sea Fans‘ (image by Rebecca Parker, Warwickshire):


From ‘Weather Forms & Sea Fans‘ (image by Rebecca Parker, Warwickshire):


From ‘Fish and Coconuts‘ (image by Steven Billups, Black Forest, Germany):



From ‘Hills, Marsupials and Zoolander‘ (image by OnePixArt, Beverley Hills):


From ‘Black Sheer Nude‘ (image by Warren Jopson, Brisbane):


From ‘Black Sheer Nude‘ (image by Warren Jopson, Brisbane):


From ‘Greensleeves‘ (image by Ken Pegg, Dorset):


From ‘Greensleeves‘ (image by Ken Pegg, Dorset):

From ‘Greensleeves‘ (image by Ken Pegg, Dorset):

From ‘Greensleeves‘ (image by Ken Pegg, Dorset):



From ‘Greensleeves‘ (image by Ken Pegg, Dorset):

From ‘Earl Grey + Jacarandas‘ (image by Jeff Wack, LA):


From ‘Anomaly‘ (image by Bjorn Hansen, Sydney):


From ‘Anomaly‘ (image by Bjorn Hansen, Sydney):



From ‘Sureline Shoreline‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Norway):

From ‘Sureline Shoreline‘ (image by Sjur Roald, Norway):

From ‘Sureline Shoreline‘ (image by Malvin Jan Dyb, Norway):

From ‘Sureline Shoreline‘ (image by Malvin Jan Dyb, Norway):

From ‘Amphitrite‘ (image by Peter Cassar, Geelong, Australia):

From ‘Amphitrite‘ (image by Peter Cassar, Geelong, Australia):

From ‘Blue Skies & Dagmar Falls‘ (image by Cam Attree, near Byron Bay, Australia):

From ‘Blue Skies & Dagmar Falls‘ (image by Cam Attree, near Byron Bay, Australia):

From ‘Blue Skies & Dagmar Falls‘ (image by Cam Attree, Dagmar Falls, near Sapphire Beach, Australia):

From ‘Blue Skies & Dagmar Falls‘ (image by Cam Attree, Dagmar Falls, near Sapphire Beach, Australia):

From ‘Rags and Riches‘ (image by Frits Kraefft, Holland):

So what’s next for 2014? I change my mind every second about whether to do more or less of this or that, so that I can’t even tell you much about my plans. I hope my adventures will continue in whatever way they think it best!
Also, here’s a quote I like:
‘Bertrand Russell’s happiness increased by doing more of the things he enjoyed, eliminating unattainable wishes, and making the welfare of others more important than his own.’ Clever man, wasn’t he?

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU FROM ME! 🙂 
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Blue Skies and Dagmar Falls

Some new images for you by the absolutely excellent Cam Attree, RAWards Australia Photographer of the Year, excellent host, provider of excellent comedy films and bringer of mango sorbet.

These are from a tiny 5 minute thing we did near Byron Bay, after another shoot he worked on (during which I mostly sunbathed). Kinda missing that blue sky at the moment!

Later, I shot with Cam again at the beautiful Dagmar Falls:

…. Where I was joined by the beautiful Ivory Flame (my good friend and wonderful listening ear), for some of my absolutely favourite shots ever taken of us together:

And in colour:

Thank you Cam!

For Women

EDIT: here’s a link to Womankind Worldwide, a charity that you might like to donate to this Christmas. A huge amount of help is needed and doing a little bit is better than nothing.

***

This blog post has been on my mind for somewhere between a few days and a few years. It’s going to be a little piece written for women, by a woman who loves women (I love men too, for the record, but this is not about them).

I’m going to write it as a ‘flow of consciousness’; much like all my blog posts really, as I very rarely plan them, or go back and edit – the result will hopefully be that it’s entirely honest, and possibly even a bit intimate as I share details about my own life and my own thinking. It might also get a bit hippie-dippie in places, and for that I make no apologies, because this stuff is important and probably has its roots in emotions and values.

***

I’m aware that this blog has a big-ish following from all over the world, possibly because it features a lot of nakedness, but also because there are a surprisingly large number of people out there who appreciate art, beauty and the striving for its recognition (after all, the internet is not short of other supplies of nakedness for nakedness’ sake; I like to flatter myself and my followers that you are after something more interesting).

Those of you who are linked to me on facebook may have an inkling of what I’m waffling towards… Although it’s been on my mind on and off, the final trigger for this post was a message I received recently from a very young, beginning model, who thought she was troubling me by getting in touch (I am never troubled by hearing from other models! I love it!) and wanted to tell me that, although she’d been considering starving herself towards a tiny bodily ideal for fashion work, she had since seen my artistic portfolio and thought better of it. Seeing my work (image after image of a UK size 10, rather than the 6-8 fashion standard), made her re-think things and feel better about herself, such that she is content with the way she is. Honestly, it made my day to hear that.

So here’s the thing….

I have noticed, more and more, over the last few years, that I have better body confidence than the majority of women. I am happy with my physical body in a deep way, and in a way that I find is increasingly unusual. I wish other women had my confidence. I’m going to write some thoughts down in the hope that you find something in it, even just a small thing, a single phrase or thought process, that might make you feel better about yourself in a long and sustaining way.

Some disclaimers…
– Immediately, I want to point out that I do NOT think I’m perfect. I could easily point out multiple ‘flaws’ – ones that you may or may not have noticed about me yourself – if I felt there was any benefit in doing that. I’ve written about this before in previous articles. Every person has areas of their body that they would change or ‘improve’ if there was a magic wand with no catch. I want that to go without saying, because it’s so incredibly obvious.
– I’m aware that this is a very self-indulgent piece of writing, but my aim is going to be to talk through why, exactly, I think I have this confidence, in the hope that perhaps a few other women might see things in a new way that will enable their own confidence to expand. I love women. We’re very important. (That’s probably the crux of my argument, right there, but I’ll carry on regardless).

Some scattered thoughts I hope your own brain will make into a coherent structure for me (Thanks for that!)

Perhaps my contentment with my physical body has a lot to do with the fact that it comes NOT from my physical body. It comes more from my knowledge of the deep truth that I am a member of womankind, and in turn a member of the wonderful group called humankind. How can you not respect and honour yourself once you know how amazing that is?

As women, we have a lot of intrinsic power. We have a lot of worth – equal to that of men – and are incredibly valuable. We are not objects to re-mould, criticise or apologise for. No mistakes were made when each of us were created; we were supposed to be how we are. There is a huge amount of freedom in that knowledge.

Although this shouldn’t be the case, the amount of respect we receive from men can often be limited by the amount of respect we show for ourselves. If I go around telling people I’m not worth something, then why would another person believe that I am (unless they are more spiritually evolved/generous than I am)? This is an important point in so many areas of life, as well as in modelling (that’s modelling both an artistic endeavour and as a business one). You must respect and honour yourself before you expect another person to, and you must show that respect in tangible, positive actions such as boundary-setting and saying ‘no’ to things you’re not comfortable with, without it becoming a huge drama. If you are not getting the respect you deserve, you must remove yourself from the situation.

Thinking back to some memorable points of life at which my body became a ‘thing’ to be considered, I’d say my first memory is (and it’s a cliché!) at a ballet class. I began ballet at the age of 3, but I think I was about 6 when (and I have a clear memory of this) we were told, ‘pull your tummies in’. Dancers will know that many movements and balances can’t properly be performed without engaging your core muscles at the same time, but of course the implication was also to appear slim by minimising the natural curves of the stomach. Girls do become aware of their bodies and its relationship to conceived notions of beauty, with all the ‘shoulds’ that come along with that, from a very young age. This isn’t a terrible thing, necessarily, but I feel lucky that I grew up with a mother with strong values (despite her own  battle with her weight) and who celebrated my curves (which appeared early), and so any fascination thereafter with being skinny was never very deep.

Now, I never ever ‘suck in’ my stomach for photographs, though I hear most models do. I do engage my core muscles frequently though – it helps to balance – and that may be a small part of the reason my abdominal muscles often appear very defined. I don’t ‘try to look thin’; I aim to look like the best version of myself (and to balance when on my toes!).

In secondary school, aged 13 or so, a boy in my class took it upon himself to rate the bottoms of all the girls in the row of desks in front of him, throw scrunched-up balls of paper to get their attention, then, when they turned round, held up a number. The fact that tight trousers were in fashion made his job easy. I got 10 out of 10 (and some commentary feedback), and that marked the beginning of my awareness that men found my curves sexy. Seeing as life is much easier if you go with reality rather than object to it, I decided to take my curves as a strength rather than a fault to be worked on. I’d like to think that if the opposite had been true, i.e. that I had been praised for being ‘skinny’ or ‘slim-hipped’, I would have felt the same way rather than fighting it. The truth is, obviously, that multiple and conflicting notions of beauty can and should simultaneously hold.

I strongly believe that if anyone – whether it’s a friend, lover or photographer – hints or jokes that you are overweight (or underweight), you should feel sorry for them, firstly for their rudeness, a terrible affliction, and secondly because they may be rather narrow-minded. (Of course if there are proper concerns about your health at stake then that may be a different matter.)

Never compare yourself or allow yourself to be compared to other women. Photographers who mention exactly what another model would have done (in their imagination) in the same location as soon as you arrive there are the bane of models’ lives. This happened to me once and was deflating – hardly inspiring! – but it’s not uncommon from the stories I’ve heard. I suspect a photographer/artist would be quite put out if a model casually said at the beginning of a set, ‘Oh, if xxxx was shooting this with me, I bet s/he’d already have set up that light over there and angled it slightly differently…’ Comparisons can be toxic. Celebrate individuality, the person right there in front of you, and your own self for what it is and the beautiful things it can do and is doing. Your authenticity is creative. Forget about everyone and everything else.

Meanwhile, although I don’t find the following rude or offensive (models have to be thick-skinned and objective, after all), if a photographer points out that, in a pose where I’m twisted or bent over, there is (God forbid!!) a small fold of skin, say at the waist, I would smile and adjust my position, but inwardly wonder what is so terrible about the proof that a body is stretching or bending and not made of plastic or rubber. This happens to the skinniest models out there, because if it didn’t, it would be because you could not bend. Similarly (and girls I’ve mentioned this to outside of the industry are amazed by this), I have seen models of all shape and sizes (from ‘average’ to ‘fashion-model-thin’) up close in the nude, and I have to this day never seen a woman without any cellulite at all. We all have it, even if it’s very very slight and invisible under most lighting conditions.

The desire to be strong and healthy is much more admirable, positive and attractive than the desire to diminish yourself or binge. I enjoy the feeling of being toned and fit, so that is what I strive for and that can really be the only proper motivation for changing your weight if you feel it needs to be changed. External motivations will mess with your head and self-esteem, and your self-esteem (and head) is worth protecting. I feel grateful that dance and exercise are enjoyable to me, and that I tend towards healthy (and always vegetarian) food anyway, because dieting sounds to me like the most boring thing in the world (I love cooking and hate denying myself).

People reading this might think, ‘it’s OK for her – she looks pretty good so of course it’s easy for her to feel good about herself’. I hope I can get across that this ISN’T where my self esteem comes from, and that if it did, it would be a very hollow version, brittle and breakable at the slightest critique (don’t forget, there is a lot of critique in this industry both online and in person; did I mention models have to be very thick-skinned?!). I sometimes wonder, though, if this is linked to the self-respect idea; that you get what you put out. I respect myself so others naturally show me respect. I ‘market’ myself with the assumption that I might be aesthetically appealing, so people respond as though this may be the case. The most plain Jane can improve her attraction instantly, merely by believing that she is attractive. How can she do this? By understanding that she is a woman, and that women are amazing, and worth appreciation.

I can’t not mention the impact a tiny little book I was given when I was growing called ‘The Goddess Within’ has had on me. I wish I could remember who gave it to me. Compiled by River Huston, it’s a cute 4-inch-square book with beautiful pictures and quotes from prominent women on each page, in categories of ‘the attitude’, ‘the look’, ‘knowing’, ‘loving’ and ‘living’. These are some quotes that stood out to me at the time (I actually pasted some to my wall) and which I still love:

‘I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.’ – Rita Mae Brown

‘I am tough, ambitious, and I know what I want. If that makes me a bitch, OK. I can throw a fit. I am a master at it.’ – Madonna (admittedly I mostly just find Madonna annoying, but I love this quote.)

‘I never practise, I only play.’ – Wanda Landowska (I think I once declared this to my piano teacher. He was probably un-amused.)

‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt

‘Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Our goals should be health and stamina.’ – Emme Aronson

‘Women should try to increase their size rather than decrease it, because the bigger we are the more space we take up and the more we have to be reckoned with.’ – Roseanne Barr

‘Elegance does not consist of putting on a new dress.’ – Coco Chanel

‘Don’t deprive me of my age. I have earned it.’ – May Sarton

‘Don’t compromise yourself; you are all you got.’ – Janis Joplin

‘People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.’ – Rebecca West

‘We make ourselves up as we go’ – Kate Green (I adore this quote and it’s on my website in the ‘adorned’ gallery, as well as being at the beginning of a novel I’ve written.)

‘The brother that gets me is going to get one hell of a woman.’ – Aretha Franklin

‘When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.’ – Anais Nin

‘Loving, like prayer, is a power as well as a process. It is curative. It is creative.’ – Zona Gale

***

……….OK, I have no idea what I’m doing with this blog post anymore, or if I’ve achieved any of my aims (if you liked it, I’d love to hear from you at ellarosemuse@live.co.uk, and you are welcome to share it) or if I’ve just bored you all in the process of trying, but I will leave it here, after listing a few resources/links that I swear by and recommend. No one grows in a vacuum; take a look if you want to take hold of your power and see things on a different level of honouring and valuing yourself for who and what you are. Life is too short not to and your happiness is too important.

General:

‘Women who Run with the Wolves’ – not really a light read, but very ethereal and whimsical as well as earthy and gritty. I made an important life decision after something in one of these chapters clicked for me, and have felt better ever since.
‘A Woman’s Worth’ – I haven’t actually read this yet but am looking forward to it arriving in the post soon.

Dating:

(because I love this topic; it’s heterosexual-based because I am; I’m sorry if that doesn’t relate to you; hopefully the principles are universal)
– ‘The Tao of Dating‘ – I only found this quite recently, but wow, this man is wise. Chase the fulfilment, not the person. 🙂
‘Why Men love Bitches’ – Another one about dating and about being the best version of yourself for your own benefit. It’s hilarious, full of practical advice and not as annoying as it sounds.
Baggage Reclaim – this blogger has annoying habit of writing ‘you’ when she means ‘yourself’, but other than that, it’s amazing.

Amphitrite

want to say a huge enormous thank you to Australia for having me. Your sharks didn’t get me, your spiders didn’t crawl on me and your bears didn’t drop on me… And on my last day, I frolicked in the bush with kangaroos in the background. Happy! Big thanks especially to the friends, lift-givers, event-makers, airport picker-uppers and all staff at the various branches of the 5* Model Hotel chain: Cam AttreeMel BrackstoneZoe WisemanMalcolm GrantDzhaminat GrantMichael Marlborough, Jacy, Wick, Mo & Eggbert, Anne Duffy and Glen. You are all thoroughly excellent humans (etc) and made my trip a massive pleasure! Thank you!

I am so, so happy to be home now, even though I didn’t want to leave Australia. There are so many things here that I am looking forward to catching up with and getting stuck into. I woke up last night, having arrived in the UK early yesterday morning and (predictably) couldn’t sleep because I was so excited (and jet lagged, and bizarrely craving weetabix). It’s such a weird feeling, time travelling, and waking up in my own bed after two months away, feeling for a second or two that perhaps the whole trip was just a very good dream!

Anyway, as if I enjoy sitting endlessly on my bum in various guises of transport, this evening I’m getting a train to deepest darkest Somerset for a very exciting shoot for an extremely talented wedding dress designer. The new collection will be shot with such a beautiful theme, and although getting married is absolutely no way near my radar, I see nothing wrong with prancing around like a princess in various manifestations of lace, silk, beads and sparkles for the day.

Finally, I thought I’d show you some images by Peter Cassar, taken on a beach in Geelong, Australia. First, the set up (a shot on my phone; what a lovely, lonely, lost looking chair!):



Later, I’m really not sure what would have looked more strange to the woman strolling past along the beach, me sitting nude on a wooden chair on the sand, or Peter using a house-hold broom to meticulously smooth out the sand around me. He didn’t quite succeed in sweeping up the whole beach, but we did make these images, the first of which is called ‘Amphitrite’:



The chair angled itself so perfectly before crashing violently into the waves (I’m going to take credit for a good throw; no trickery required… :-))