Of Castles & Gold

From one long-standing shooting tradition to another, how lucky I am to have worked again recently with Jeremy Howitt on another little adventure – this time in the north of England, around Northumberland!

It was the usual (finely) organised chaos of early starts and day-time cat-naps, so that I lost track of what day was what, where I’d been, who I was… etc… by the end of the fleeting trip, but we had such a lovely time! I love the results – dramatic beach scenes with castles and vistas as the sun winds up or down – and we even managed to squeeze in a trip to Alnwick Castle to see where some of the scenes in Downton Abbey (and Harry Potter) were filmed (and by the way, I hope you’re all glued to your screens this season in case I make a fleeting appearance in a couple of scenes; I’m going to miss it while I’m away and am making my Mum record it all for me!); and for me to be utterly beaten by the world’s biggest ice cream, which covered me in delicious chocolate and had me rooting around for tissues to clean up me/my clothes/the bench. I was such an embarrassment; clearly out of ice-cream-eating practise (I don’t normally ‘do’ ice creams, but had a sudden craving. It was all very ungraceful.).

Anyway, I’m off to Indonesia for a month now, so things here may get a little slow, but will be back and raring to go in mid-November and am (by the way) taking bookings now for November, December and January; and from April onwards. Things are getting all a bit inter-continental again, and I like it! 🙂 I will be snapping away while away on this trip, I’m sure, so my instagram will floweth over in all likelihood, since I am clearly addicted to it these days. (and oh, I am going to miss Sir Fluffalot terribly while I’m away; I hope I survive without his enormous fluffy face looking alarmed at me. I know, I’m ridiculous, but LOOK AT HIS MAGNIFICENT FACE!!!)

OK, those mermaid scenes and so forth, forthwith (thank you so much again Jeremy!):

You can also read Jeremy’s version of events here. (I’m so glad he posts these threads, not least so I can remember where exactly I’ve been. He knows me well enough to know how terrible I am at knowing my way around places (and knowing whether to turn left or right out of a hotel, despite having been there for three days, for example), so it will come as no surprise that the place names became a slight blur after the early morning starts, even if the places themselves are spectactular; it really is a miracle that I can travel solo as well as I do. Nevermind. If I was the sort of person who would end a blog post with a hashtag, it would be #cantbegoodateverything (but I wouldn’t do that, because then where does the full stop at the end of the blog post go?) – I’ll put it here: .

A story full of sea

Having spent this morning unpacking from yesterday’s trip and re-packing for tomorrow’s, and while listening to Eska’s debut album (she fits somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Laura Mvula, I think; though those elements are disparate and she very much does her own, unique thing!), I thought I’d show some photos I’ve just received. In April, I was able to fit in a shoot with Perry (Imagesse), who I’ve worked with many, many times now, while in Cornwall primarily for another shoot for The Wool Company. We always end up in some very beautiful places (often beaches!) and I love his storytelling imagination which whirs while I pose. In fact, these images were delivered to my inbox yesterday with a long story written to accompany them! In between the images below, there are some snippets of his words and phrases…

‘…When I was walking a quiet section of the coast path on the rugged wreckers coast…Somehow I had stumbled on a secret cove…


‘I made my way down a set of steep steps I found myself absolutely alone in that pure new world...’



‘…The rhythmic mantra of the ocean…’



‘…I made my way, to the glowing brightness which led me out of the cave…’



‘…I discerned something else…’ 


‘…something smooth and curvaceous…’ 


‘…moving through the cove…’


‘…My mind started to work overtime…’ 


‘…if she had not come from the land…’ 


‘…she must have come from the sea…’



‘…she remained in my vision…’


‘…then she turned and walked purposely towards the sea…’

The Wool Company

Despite roasting in a studio yesterday along with 5 other models for an exciting shoot involving ghosts, cliffs & scaffolding(!!!) I feel like autumn is considering stopping twiddling its thumbs today and sadly, yet beautifully, hitting us with some cooler air…

To get over this shock (and also because I was, quite frankly, knackered, after non-stop shoots galore plus the horrible news that my doggie suffered heart failure while away; she is now on 3 different medications per day, poor thing (and we are grappling with the trauma – for all parties – of having to shove little tiny pieces of ‘make-you-better-I-promise’ down her little throat), and she is dealing incredibly well with her gorgeous little heart beating at several million miles an hour to cope with all that’s going on in there; seriously, I know it sounds weird, but the X-rays of her tiny little body were adorable!), I decided to take a nap this afternoon and make the most of a recent purchase: welcome The Wool Company’s mattress topper.
Wow. My entire bed is anew. Not that there was much wrong with it before; but seriously, I feel like it has new soft, floaty depths!
Gorgeous, afore-mentioned piglet certainly agrees (click to enlarge):
(yes, I have a rose on my pillowcase!)
Anyway, back (more directly) to The Wool Company. I’m delighted to be able to say that I’m their ‘face'(/body), having recently shot for the second time around the moors and beaches of Cornwall, and finding their lovely website adorned with pictures of my mug and windswept hair. It’s such a huge pleasure to shoot for them and I’m already looking forward to next season’s photoshoot. After spending a couple of nights at the family’s farmhouse I felt very much at home, and loved chatting to Harry and Sarah in the evening about music and life as much as snuggling up to the wool capes and cashmere scarves on little bridges and next to lakes. Definitely my cup of tea, that sort of thing! 🙂
I obviously had to make the most of the discount I was kindly offered and purchased a few things of my own after the shoot, one of which I’m wearing below (clue; I look particularly happy in it!). I just think it’s so nice to own things that feel so beautifully made and of the kind of quality that has you dreaming of autumn/winter nights by the fire…
Some shots and screengrabs:

 And in other news, I duck into La Galleria in Picadilly last night after a shoot in London to have a quick look at the painting ‘Access to Justice’ by Andrew Brady, which I posed for (as Justice herself!). I was pleased to get a text from Andy just beforehand telling me he’d won the ‘People’s Choice’ award! The exhibition, ‘Injustice’, was run by London Legal Support Trust in association with Arts for Justice and you can see the entries here.

Here’s ‘Access to Justice’:

About the artwork:  ‘Painted especially for this exhibition, this piece is an  allegory for the way in which the disadvantaged in society find it difficult to gain proper access to justice. Justice here is represented by the figure on the right; she is blind, which traditionally represents her impartiality.The bejewelled figure in the centre represents those with money, influence or power; able to gain the ear of Justice while at the same time obstructing the figure on the left, who, with her threadbare blouse represents the disadvantaged. Making cuts to Legal Aid is one of the greatest injustices in our country today.’

Norway part 1: Arctic Winds, Rainbows and Midnight Sun

I’m really excited to be able to show these so quickly after my trip to Norway. It is so appreciated when photographers send things to me so soon after a shoot! Hakon Gronning had invited me to Norway for 4 days to shoot with him and, on some days, a small group of other photography enthusiasts. I’ll say straightaway that this is hands down the coldest I’ve ever been on a shoot. It was almost debilitatingly cold, and I became absolutely best friends with a blanket between shots, though even with several layers of knitwear, a huge padded coat and this thick wool blanket, I still felt very cold, so there was definitely quite a lot of insanity required to do this. The main reason for the cold was the fact that the arctic winds were blowing directly at us!!!! Not very comfortable…. Luckily, the photographers were all completely understanding of the need to shoot (and for me to pose) efficiently, with absolutely minimal time ‘unwrapped’ in the wind. They were also very appreciative of my efforts, which goes such a long way! All of them were very creative and lovely to work with, warming me up with lots of tea afterwards!

Considering these conditions, and the very short time frames (maybe 1-2 minutes per go), I think we did quite well. I’d brought one of my pairs of dance wings in my suitcase and the light just washed through so delicately, like they were insect’s wings! It kept raining (and there was a brief rainbow behind us!), but the ‘midnight sun’ (these were shot around the summer solstice!) was just incredible. Such a magical place and yet another opportunity I can look back on with pride and excitement that I did it!

I hope you like these as much as I do. There will be many more from this trip from different locations and from different photographers – I’m just being impatient and showing these straightaway! 🙂

… And behind the scenes from earlier that day: me with my best friend:

Heavenly Stairways

Iceland was amazing. I can’t wait to tell you (and show you) all about it!!

In the meantime, though, and before I jet off to Germany, I want to show you these, courtesy of Ian Parry aka Maximus Operandi. He has taken some incredibly idyllic, romantic images and I really love the shots we did.

My travel plans are getting more and more exciting as I go on; I’ve just added arrangements to Norway and Italy to the mix for the next couple of months! I am disgustingly lucky. 🙂

In other news, I have mostly been designing customised converse trainers (how can I ever decide on the final design??? Arrghh!!) and admiring this incredible, wonderful lady.

Enjoy your hot weekends!

Swiss Alps: Soaring through landscapes

I was lucky enough to be asked to meet Jim Furness in Switzerland earlier this month for a two-day adventure into the high-altitude glorious vistas of the alps! This was my first visit to Switzerland, and I have to say, the country is just utterly beautiful. I really hope to go back sometime. You’ll be able to see from the images how idyllic it really is. I couldn’t believe how fresh and vivid everything looked.

(First, I have to mention that I had a bit of a ‘life affirming’ moment on the way to the airport for this trip, when I forgot that I couldn’t pay for a bus ticket to Heathrow by card after noon and didn’t have enough cash. Before I even had time to panic, a helpful member of staff at the park and ride (Pedro from Portugal) simply GAVE me £20. I couldn’t believe it. I asked him how I could pay him back, wondering if I could do a bank transfer there and then using my phone, but he just shrugged and said ‘take it’. Of course, when I arrived back from Switzerland and saw him there again, I was able to pay him back in Scottish money, which he was fascinated by. For those of you who might be thinking ‘I bet he likes to help out all the pretty girls…’ or something along those lines: firstly, he wasn’t flirting whatsoever, though we had a good conversation about his life (he was a successful artist working with metal, keen to find his way back into that field now that he lives in the UK), and secondly, he told me that he frequently gives money to passengers in a rush who realise they can’t pay by card. I asked him, ‘don’t you go broke just giving your money away so often?’ and he said he often finds stray notes around the car park. I thought he was brilliant.)

We stayed in Jim’s friend’s cabin, enjoyed fondue and Rösti, and spent the days riding up cable cars (which ranged from the commercial and modern to the more… well… ‘wooden box’ variety, being little more than a crate used by locals to transport milk!) and walking around the mountains for the best views. We got the best of both worlds in terms of weather – it was warm and sunny, with snow-topped peaks! I also got to practise my German a bit, despite initially thinking it would be a French speaking part of the country (duh!). As Jim had described to me beforehand, the sound of cowbells is almost omnipresent, as the four-legged wander around the hills.

Here are my favourites:

…You can see a full screen slide show with music: click here
I’ve also got some ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots, courtesy of Wendy, Jim’s friend and host….

….as well as my own photos, taken while snap-happy-journeying into the sky or while Jim set up his own shots (just a few here, but if you wanted to see more, I’ve got a ‘Nice People, Places and Things’ album on facebook which makes me very very happy to look back through):

(It’s OK, if the wooden box falls apart halfway up the mountain, simply press this red button…’)

(Wendy and I)
Last but not least, one idea Jim had prior to the shoot was the idea of possibly doing some video while out in Switzerland. I was a bit unsure. Having done nude video before I wasn’t new to it, but also feel strongly that it’s something that can easily become a little too ‘erotic’ for my tastes. Often video becomes all about the model, which can be very indulgent, and when nudity is added to the mix it can be difficult to control the mood of the output… Stills, on the other hand, while hopefully portraying plenty of narrative, are miniscule captures of fleeting moments; videos are so much more substantial (literally). There is a lot more responsibility as a model and perhaps a lot more scope for misinterpretation. Then again, I knew that Jim saw things exactly the same way, and wanted a result that was in line with what I would be happy to do, and I’m so glad we decided to just go for it. As such, despite the deliberation beforehand, the video below was completely spontaneous.
Having listened to the music, we did it in just two full-length takes (the one below is the first, and our favourite), and just moments before the camera started rolling I was saying ‘I have no idea what on earth I’m going to do, by the way.’ Jim is completely new to video work, so we are extra grateful that this came out so well! I think we succeeded in making a piece that is not necessarily about ‘me’, but about the glory and beauty of nature, and the innocence of a nude woman within that.
Jim’s portable ‘JamBox’ blasted out the dream-like sounds of Hildegarde von Bingen’s ‘Veni spiritus eternorum alme’ (lyrics beneath the video). The only plan I had was to begin by walking on set, but following the music felt easy, with soft, flowing movements that expressed the splendour of the incredible view and the gravity and beauty of the lyrics.


Here are the words:


Come, kind spirit of the ages,

visit the hearts of your people, casting out ill conduct;
fill with supernal grace
each earth-born heart.

You who are the gift of the most high God, perpetual fount,
balm for the spirit,

promised gift of the almighty, you merit our faith.
Upon the holy apostles
you poured forth fiery tongues.

Give light to hearts, strengthening the wretched
with abiding courage.
Impart true love
and the manifold gifts of charity.

Drive away the envious foe,
grant the joy of heavenly peace.
Thus lead, going before us,
that we may have the strength to climb up

to the vault of heaven.

Translation: Susan Hellauer


So once again, a big thank you to Jim for this opportunity to visit Switzerland, the images and great conversations, and the chance to push boundaries!

PS. This is the book I mentioned a couple of posts back, for those of you who’ve been asking. I’d recommend it! 

A Horse, a Cosmic Skirt, Mints & Buttercups

I was going to serve up some mountainous goodness next, but instead, I have been distracted by yesterday’s longest day-ness, such that I’m going to quickly squeeze in a few sunny shots from a recent leisurely afternoon spent once more with Karen Jones. We’ve worked together many times (and will be doing so again soon), and she’s another photographer who’s great at coming up with different ideas each time, throwing new props at me and even letting me pose with a horse again (this time it was the rather pretty-headed Joss, who Karen’s husband kept reminding me was ‘just a big dog’.). Joss loves mints. And grass. 🙂 I was at the same time having serious befuddlement over whether or not to keep a recent purchase, my ‘cosmic skirt’ (so called, obviously, because it has planets and stars on it, as all good skirts must..), so I thought I’d put it on and see how it photographs for some gypsy bohemia, avec a bunch of Karen’s lavender (and then I thought I’d imagine how that might translate to some hot beach somewhere someday..). We then found a little moss-covered nymph perch, for which Karen covered my head in a wreath of rose buds for a few quick shots… And then, it would have seemed a real shame not to dunk ourselves amidst a field swimming in buttercups.

Any favourites?

Now, today, I WILL master my plans for Iceland and Germany next month. I will I will I will.