Christmas Blooms

Manchester yesterday, Brighton tomorrow… I seem to be both speeding up and winding down for Christmas… I’m sure many of you can relate! Here’s a quick update of some slightly Christmassy portraits from Paul Lock, who I had the pleasure of modelling for again recently.

Wishing you all a wonderful time full of love and joy, and only minimal crass and over-electric flashing neon. I’m off to a Christmas carol service with my family tonight in a tiny, tiny village church which was bedecked beautifully this time last year for my older brother’s wonderland wedding. 🙂 Can’t believe how time zooms!

Merry Christmas and I am looking forward to seeing many of you next year, all over the world!

 

 

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2012: a Retrospective

My New Years Resolutions are going to be quite pared down this time around. I’m actually not keen to change a huge amount. I’m feeling happier than I’ve felt in a while and am gratefully aware of it. This last year has been hard in certain ways, but I’ve got through it by frequently reminding myself how much I have to be grateful for, how independent and capable I have become, and also relying on my (full of questions, full of curiosity) spirituality. I am extremely lucky in so many ways and thankful for it! On top of that, I feel like I’ve finally found my ‘tribe’ in terms of dance classes, which are very important to me (missing them terribly over the Christmas break, but I would like to officially announce that I at least went on my exercise bike ON CHRISTMAS DAY, in between fistfuls of ferero roches), have made lots of new friends in the last few months by putting myself out there and meeting up with people based on shared interests, and am feeling more confident that I will be free to finally focus on what I want to focus on, now that upset and confusion are out of the door. I also have a lot of very exciting possibilities to look forward to!

Anyway, enough of all that. I’m shamelessly copying something Ivory Flame did last year, and showcasing some of my personal favourites from my 2012 year of blogging. What an amazing year it’s been!!!

From Happy New Year, by Ron Skei, Vancouver:

From Rich Caramel Chocolate, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Mosquito nets, Metaphysics and Mississippi Mud Pie, by Mel Brackstone, Mexico:

From Pottery, Petals and Peach Sunset, by Cam Attree, Mexico:
From Luxury Strikes Again, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio
From Natural Women, by Stephen Billups, Mexico:

From Bug Off*, by Cam Attree, Mexico:

From Dance in the Studio, by TarMoo, Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Trips and Leaves, by Robert Farnham, Mexico:

From A celebration, some wedding princessing and some Lions (and a monkey), by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From The Edge of the World, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Costume Changes, by Mike Croshaw, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Spring Flower Portraits, by Richard Tuckett:

From Technicoloured Earth, by Billy Sheahan, Mexico:

From Silk in the Dark, by Barry Barker:

From Let’s Dance, by Jeremie Nassif, Paris:

From Mean, Moody and Magnificent Muse in Montmartre at Midnight (post macaroon), by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Strength in the Dark, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Swathes of Lavender, by Imagesse, Gloucestershire:

From Paris by Day ~ Travelogue, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From Portraits, Box, Stripes and Lightning, by Eric Kellerman, Nijmegen, Holland:

From Postcards – an Exhibition, by Robbie Wraith, Oxfordshire:

From On the Plank, by Vanijzen, Amsterdam:

From Fairy Paintings, by Philip Malpass:

From Lioness Lightplay, by Neil Snape, Paris:

From Trees and Bicycles, by Jules Photography:

From Riverdance, by Britalicus, Edinburgh:

From Extreme Eiffel Tower Exploits, Etc, by Jeremy Howitt, Paris:

From White on Black, by Klaus Kampert, Dusseldorf:

From TWO ~ Ella Rose and Ivory Flame, by Karen Jones, Eye for an Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Yerbury Fine Art Nude Masterclass, by Max Operandi:

From Pebbles, by Jeremy Howitt, Brighton beach:

From Public Service Announcement ~ A Book! 😉 (And I’m hoping to start putting together a massive book for myself in 2013, covering various styles) Cover image by Keith Cooper, digitally magicalised by Moonmomma:

From Bedroom Glamour, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Clouds and Poppies, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From Colouroids, by Steven Billups, Black Forest, Germany:

From Lions, Points and Window Light, by Nige W. Hallam Mill, Stockport:

From Gypsy Dance, by Frank (Pangolin). Gregory Brown’s LoftHouse Studio, London:

From Red Jellyfish and Black Tutus, by Richard Spurdens. Hallam Mill Studio, Stockport:

From Painting with Chaos, by Terry Joslin, featuring Ivory Flame. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

From Sunset, Candle, Tree, by Rayment Kirby, Sussex:

From When We Had Summer, by Max Operandi:

From Hands and Roots, by Steven Billups. Black Forest, Germany:

From Peaches and Cream, by Richard Lund, Buckinghamshire:

From Purple Haze, by Keith Cooper, Cheltenham Film Studio:

From Mr Cupid, by Karen Jones, Buckinghamshire:

From Enchanted Forest, by Calandra Images. Fife, Scotland:

From Solarised, by Zoe Wiseman. Palm Springs, CA:

From Beetroot and Rocks, by Bob Freund. Joshua Tree National Park:

From Cracked Earth, Sleek Fashion and Tumbleweed, by Jeremy Howitt. Lucerne Valley:

From Ourania Ascending Mount Wilson, by Jeff Wack, featuring Anoush Anou. LA:

From A-flitting and a-fluttering, by Brian Martin. Fife, Scotland:

From Mirrors, by Neil Snape. Paris:

From Otters, Rocks and Water Lillies, by Imagesse. Pembrokeshire, Wales:

From Running in Heels, by Tony Ornstien, Oxfordshire:

From Underwater Fires, by Zoe Wiseman, featuring Meghan Claire. California:

From Grapes and Ferrets, by Vincent Rijs, Amsterdam:

From Thinkin’ About Your Body, by OnePixArt, LA:

From Guide us to Thy Perfect Light, by Karen Jones. Eye For An Image Studio, Oxfordshire:

Back to the New Years Resolutions thing, I’ve realised that, for me, black and white decision-making is liberating, though it’s definitely not something that comes easily to me. With that in mind, one new thing is that I’ve decided I will probably no longer drink any alcohol – not because I think drinking is bad (it’s not!), or because I don’t like the taste (I do; wine and cocktails especially!), or because I have a problem with alcohol (I hardly drink as it is!), but because I’ve finally acknowledged the fact that, for as long as I can remember, I’ve shown signs of alcohol intolerance. I looked it up on Christmas Eve when one drop of sherry made my face red, and apparently most of my Mum’s side of the family were tee-total for reasons unknown (hhhmm….); and I’ve since learnt that alcohol intolerance can be hereditary. Ha! Thinking back, as a teenager, there are a few things that stand out: I only started wearing make up on my face to pre-emptively cover up the extreme ‘flushing’ I’d get over my face and chest after just a couple of sips of wine, and I remember sitting with my friends and wondering whether I was wearing the wrong size underwear because my chest felt painful and tight after a few drinks. I also know that the ‘depressant’ aspect of alcohol, especially after drinking wine, is a real thing for me, where a party high is followed by feeling really down the next day. So I’ve decided not to bother drinking alcohol at all. That’s not really a ‘resolution’, though, as it’s not something I feel compelled to do for moral or health or other reasons of self-improvement (and I won’t be strict about it); it’s just a new, official validation of what I’d suspected all along. So bring on the lime soda and cranberry apples! Or something. I can still dance and have fun; I just won’t feel like my cheeks are on fire, and can drive home at the end of it. 🙂

On the other hand, I’ve also learnt that black-and-white goal-making is not so helpful for a person who is already extremely ambitious and has high expectations of herself. So sometimes ‘I will do a bit of x every day, and just so long as a bit of x gets done, I will have succeeded’ is more helpful as a goal than ‘I will do precisely y amount of x everyday, so that by z (where z = an unrealistically short term), x will be completed’. You all know I’m talking about my writing. And that I will probably still aim to do y most days. It’s just that I’ll be kinder to myself if I don’t manage it, so long as I’ve ‘shown up’ and done something. (But see ‘free to finally focus on what I want to focus on’, above.) 🙂

…Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful final few days of 2012… and a fresh, bright and hopeful start to 2013!

Guide us to Thy Perfect Light

Evening! I’m bringing you a special Christmas Edition of blogginess today, courtesy of photographer Karen Jones who booked me recently at Eye For An Image Studio in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and subsequently got an image accepted onto the excellent 1x.com photography site. With no cheesy Santa outfits in sight, here are some of the shots from our festive 2-hour session:

‘Ice Prom Princess’; with my bridal net underskirt and Karen’s beautiful crown tiara.

‘Merry Christmas’; with Karen’s stunning berry extravaganza:

‘Laced Light’; My vintage Victorian-style wedding dress, plus some lights weaved into my hair!

‘Self Doubt’; All done with one exposure:

‘The Powder Room’; Karen wanted to do something a bit ‘different’, so I made asked her to bring some flour so we could make a mess. In the end we used talcum powder, and I smelled utterly amazing afterwards! I love how well the fine powder shows against the black; it looks a bit like smoke, floating in wisps around me!

(I liked then in colour too! Or are they best in monochrome? Hhmm.)
Thank you so much Karen for always being such fun to work with and up for trying new ideas. We did so much! Just shows what can happen in two hours, with a bit of creativity, forethought and fun effects/props! 
I’m really hoping more photographers will want to try ‘different’ things with me where they can, whether that involves stylists for distinctive themes and strong ‘character’ work, make up artists for close up beauty portraits, fun ideas for textures or effects, interesting locations, crazy hair dos… whatever. Why not make 2013 the year you vow to do something a little unusual…? It doesn’t have to be expensive (and the model often has contacts who are willing to collaborate!), but starting with a theme and asking a model what they might already have and can contribute can work wonders!
On that note, I hope all your Christmasses are filled with joy, love and wonder. I’m back from a carol service (Christmas isn’t Christmas without one; ‘We Three Kings’ being a firm favourite), after having decorating the Christmas cake (my traditional contribution; involving some worse-for-wear plastic festive characters, reindeer and edible golden balls!), and then we all decorated the tree together with German wooden decorations, baubles, bells, bows, candles, etc. etc. I absolutely love this tradition of waiting until Christmas Eve to do it; until now the tree has been simply festively green. We have two new cats this year, fresh from a rescue centre, and one of them would win awards for her potent blend of fearlessness and clumsiness. All eyes on the (quite controversial in this house; is it disgustingly tacky? Or does it pick up the candle-light beautifully?) silver lametta.
Merry Christmas everyone! X

Glastonbury: Ice and Ivy

Last week I drove for hours on treacherous ice and snow to get to Glastonbury for a shoot with Ed Melville. Much of the journey was in first or second gear and there were times, during the way back, at which I thought I might never get home!! BUT it was worth the trip and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ed wanted some Christmassy images with a ‘pagan’, natural theme, amongst other things. He’d gathered ivy and holly, and I fashioned myself a headdress.

We then went a little bit mediaeval/pre-Raphaelite. I’m really struggling to decide which to upload to my portfolio, so any help here onwards would be appreciated!!

Red and musical, featuring a Nordic lyre (which I could not resist twinging constantly, poor Ed):

Also, I now have these. I’m so sorry I’m bombarding readers of my blog with belly-dance pictures, but I’m having such a blast doing them…

Hope everyone had a wonderous, splendiferous Christmas. HAPPY NEW YEAR and love to all!

Berkeley Castle Charity Shoot

I had the opportunity to help out the Cotswold Care Hospice recently by taking part in a shoot designed to raise awareness of the Cotswold’s charity shops in the run up to Christmas. I am hugely pro shopping in charity shops and love to think that the clothes and items I buy there have their own histories. I know some people can be squeamish about this kind of thing, but I would urge anyone to have a look and challenge them not to find something cool to buy!

The shoot took place in Berkeley Castle. I’ve shot there before and know how jaw-droppingly stunning a location it is, which kind of sealed the deal for me, as well as the fact that it was a chance to work with Simon Walden again. Simon did my second ever shoot so I was keen to show some improvement the second time around! He is a great character – full of energy and enthusiasm.


It was a fun day! From left to right: Marianne (Care Hospice), Simon, Ashley Williams (hair stylist), Marcus (Care Hospice and photographer), Emma, Kas, moi, Rob Golding (photographer), Kate Parker (stylist).

Some shots from the day:

And finally, part of the shoot was a mini Christmas party scene! It felt very bizarre doing this in early October, but somehow I’ve felt a bit Christmassy ever since. The table was very luxuriously dressed, but, sadly, the wine tasted of sprite….. Ah well. Cheers!!