Wednesday, 29 August 2012


I've been reading an amazing book recently; one I picked up in a hostel in Costa Rica at the very end of my Central America trip last year, then put back on the bookshelf as it was too thick to carry home (my backpack was 100% full of things collected over the course of 2.5 months; souvenirs, textiles and the most beautiful hammock you'll ever see (and which I haven't seen in a while, since England is not the ideal hamaca-hanging arena).

I spend an indecent amount of time on, buying new CDs most weeks and occasionally treating myself to new books too... and I bounced through 'recommendations' a few weeks ago until the same book caught my eye again. And it could get to me without me carrying it!

I will admit that one of the reasons I initially was drawn to this book in San Jose was the cover. I think the most discerning readers always judge a book by its cover... And I have always been drawn to wolves. Here it is:

'Women who Run with the Wolves: Contacting the power of the wild woman', by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Unknown to me at the time, this is apparently a real classic, a bit like 'The Artist's Way' and all that other good stuff. I'm learning a lot from it, and it's also interesting to consider it in the context of my modelling work (tenuous link ahoy!!). My images often portray what I'm told is a very feminine, soft and sensual 'prettiness', and this book explores the other side of that womanly coin; the intuition, power, primal animal attributes and wisdom of women. When you're feeling a bit too simpering and primped, it's a good slap in the face. Women should be strong, powerful and deeply creative, not overly passive, girlish and naive; they are deeply knowing, instinctive and in touch with the vital, if they let themselves be.

I'm about a third of the way through, but I'm finding the author's writing style so beautiful and poetic; so mad, funny and academic all at once. So this is a big fat recommendation. She weaves mythological fairy tales and folklore from all over the world with psychoanalysis and explorations of the unconscious, paradigms, roles and archetypes that can help us know what to do and who is who and who has what intention... and how to stay true to yourself. Cool huh?

I love a word which comes up frequently in the book: 'criatura' (creature). I think the following shots compliment the theme, being quite different from straightforward 'pretty' or 'perfect' representations of femininity, so they are well worth an appearance on my blog; they show flesh and bone, the workings of the body, and are real and mysterious at once. I also think they are beautifully lit, which never hurts. :-)

By Shane Lewis, shot in Dublin:

On another bookish note, what an amazing idea this is, at a time when libraries here in England are dying/being closed due to cuts and land-line public phones aren't really very necessary. Apparently these book exchanges are cropping up in rural villages; I imagine my American followers will find this very quaint. ;-)

And, I've got the guilts about updating this blog, etc., when I still have lots of emails to catch up on. I am getting to them ASAP. Sorry.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Red jellyfish & Black Tutus

Evening! I'm back in England, where a bikini doth not an outfit make.

I've just had a really lazy summer holiday in my parents' apartment in the south of Spain, where temperatures were, of course, predictably and gloriously HOT, the outdoor pool glitters in the sunlight and makes the perfect arena for weird and watery races and acrobatics (I rarely actually swim), floaty dresses were reluctantly donned to walk around unbelievably beautiful white mountain-backed villages, and hazy sunsets and star-filled nights were the rule. I am so lucky to have that little part of the world to escape to!

(Although, shock horror: I got stung by a jellyfish!!! I couldn't believe it!! My boyfriend spotted a couple of these small red, alien floaty creatures bobbing around and swam a little way towards them to peer at them, delighted (BOYS!!!). I, cleverly, backed away, only to be lanced in the ankle by one floating around behind me!! It hurt SO much!! I really panicked, as I've been to Spain many times but never seen or experienced this there, and I have no real 'jellyfish knowledge' (other than on the east coast of Australia, where jellyfish = bad) and didn't know if it was a serious situation or not... And does 'red' not equal 'I will poison you' in nature?...

...All this panic was going through my head while my ankle began to feel stiff and swollen, I felt all wobbly, and the pain kept shooting through me over and over again. I think my loud English swearing caused a bit of fuss, so the water quickly cleared, and then was slowly filled up by gallant men with fishing nets, who seemed determined to empty the sea of all possible jellyfish and display them on hot rocks on the beach. Urgh. Anyway, it was all fine, I didn't die, and my red double-tentacle swipe tattoo has now mostly disappeared completely.

By the way, it was a nudist beach. (Well, tan lines are disallowed in this career, are they not?) Yes, the swimmers absconded quite quickly.

*Sorry to all the people who've emailed me over the last couple of weeks* - I allowed myself hardly any internet time while on holiday (there is none in the apartment), but I will be replying to all messages soon now! It's good and healthy to have time separated from the world of online activity, but it's been so nice to catch up today on all the many and varied blogs I follow. I'm also planning a few new things and projects to get started with (or wrap up) over the next few weeks - don't you just love that fresh perspective and buzz you get about your home life after ever just a short time away?


I had a really fun and productive shoot with Richard Spurdens last month, a long-awaited second shoot, while on my trip to Stockport, and the following images have kindly arrived in my inbox, made at Hallam Mill Studios. We shot quite a few different styles, and I think there are many more ideas in the planning.

I have many more photos lined up to show here, as always, including some I love and should have posted weeks ago, and get so excited by seeing the results from the shoots I've done! Stay tuned! ...And it's always nice to hear which shots stand out most to my blog readers, so do speak up if you feel the urge! :-)

My newest black tutu, with my lingerie leotard and pointes:

Stylised portraits:

Shot from above, making the most of a floor:

A new blue skirt I love, and window stories:

Some posing around:


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Modern Day Dramas!

Hello everyone! Hope you're all doing well and enjoying the summer (if you're in this hemisphere) and Olympic showdown, wherever you are! I've been watching it on and off - SO inspiring to see people with dedication and talent and determination to work hard be rewarded - it's not often that happens in our society on such a big scale. Looking forward to the closing ceremony tonight as I absolutely loved the opening one. Let's hope Icke and co are wrong about the satanic occult/illuminati hocus pocus going on behind the scenes and it's all good fun... *nervous*! My boyfriend is working at the NBA house, finishing today, so hello to you!

It's been a whole week since I've updated this blog, which is a bit unheard of as loyal followers will know. I've just been SO busy and that's been compounded by computer, internet, browser and phone upheavals all happening at once. I am now thoroughly part of the modern world thanks to my little brother, who has built me a new computer (I now have to get to grips with the concept of 'clouds', google chrome, magic servers in the sky... all that stuff. Seriously, it is actual magic to me, I don't understand any of it). A couple of days ago I was set up with a new computer and phone on the same day and literally felt like I needed a lie down. I had to go and sit outside in the garden for a while and sip tea. This new-fangled technology is making my head spin. I will see how I go for a week or so but I might have to plead surrender and request for myself a good old-fashioned microsoft office installation so that I don't have to get my head around the idea of my novel floating around cyberspace as a 'google doc' when it could just be snuggled safely on my desktop. Apparently it will sync itself to my laptop when I take that around on travel/trips. And don't get my started on google chrome... I move my mouse to one corner and the entire screen changes before my eyes. I have a virus protection software thing that now talks to me (I am under strict instructions to thank it out loud each time it announces its success; I would have done that anyway of course, much like the conversations I have with my sat nav.) And my mouse is wireless. My brother looked at me pitifully when I told him I was proud of the fact that I don't have twitter, and actually don't even know what twitter looks like, as I've never seen the website. No FOMO here. That said, once I'm set up with technology I'm pretty good at using it as I'm quite intuitive and technology is obviously made to BE intuitive these days; I just don't understand how any of it works. And that's fine really, I think.

OK, anyway, so all in all I am now back on top of communication and able to respond to all sorts of nice emails, etc., which is well, nice! :-)

And here are some more shots from Britalicus, made up in Scotland. Love the drama in these!

(Look! There are 4 of me! Magic! :-) )

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Gypsy Dance

In my ongoing quest to make bellydance and gypsy/boho costumery a respected sub-genre of modelling in its own right, I give you today's offering: a cacophony of movement and colour! These images were taken by Frank, a photographer from South Africa, shot in Gregory Brown's studio in London. Frank said I made his day by asking if I could blog some of these, whereas actually by giving me permission he made mine. I love all the colour, passion and movement in these! I enjoyed doing all this styling myself (I specialise in eclectic and chaotic visual adornment).

I've got so much to do today, but am definitely definitely going to choose new dance classes to try next week. It's probably a toss up between tap (my first love), contemporary and belly, at the moment I've had a break from the latter but maybe I'll take this 'freeze time' two month-period (the name I have literally just come up with while typing) that I'm taking off modelling to expand creative outlets in the physical sense. I woke up this morning and realised I missed modelling. It's taken me just five days - I have to admit I really didn't expect that. (I have always thought modelling was just an extension of my love of dance/performance though, so I suppose it's all entwined.)

What I call my 'mermaid' costume, bought at a dance festival...

What I might call my 'vibrant earth chaos collision collection'... Featuring my incredibly joyous skirt/dress multi-option wear silk piece (seriously, it came with a little card with diagrams demonstrating 19 different ways of wearing it - no idea where that card is now) from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. And some other stuff from my bedroom narnia to make me suitably be-jangled.

Salome... featuring my favourite sheer dance veils, chiffons and silks...

Please let me in on your favourite shots, as always! Thank you! :-)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lions, Points and Window light

After a challenging and rewarding couple of days of modelling in the very beautiful part of the world that is Pembrokeshire (during which I saw an otter swimming around between lily pads in a lake I was modelling in - more on that another time - and decided I want to have a statue of a reclining lion on top of my dream future house, inspired by a pub we passed in one of the village/towns), I got home and spent the day before yesterday shifting and lifting furniture around with the aim of putting my writing desk in a south-facing room (it is utterly miserable and dark otherwise, and now that I've graduated from just typing on my laptop while lying on my bed to having an actual desk, I've decided to go the whole way and validate the whole thing with thoughtful arrangements!) This desk-moving ritual marks the beginning of a new era for me, in which I will for the next two months be taking my novel-writing more seriously again and sacrificing photoshoot fun (and also money) by not modelling in August and September, except for maybe a few very local afternoon bookings. I have to do this because I will be away travelling for modelling assignments for much of autumn and will hate myself if this novel's first draft is unfinished (or at least not very nearly finished) by the end of the year.

I'm also doing an online course at the moment, and I've had a brilliant few months of being extremely busy, modelling wise, so now it's time to switch things around and take control of what I want to achieve for a while! (And obviously the location of the desk was the only thing stopping me from multi-million pound literary success...) Yesterday, 1st of August, in my black-and-white jazzy geometric pyjama-style trousers from Mexico, I made a good start, and have also been discovering my exercise bike (picked up a while ago from the front lawn of a neighbour - with permission...), marvelling about my new exercise regime (bike plus yoga plus walks/runs) which will have me bikini ready for my holiday in Spain, and generally just looking forward. I'm also thinking of finding a new evening class to meet some new people (since so few of my friends actually live nearby now), plus trying a few new dance classes I've found... I love making changes!


In other news, here's something the brilliant Gregory Brown wrote about the Faerie Garden print book I put together recently: 'Ella Rose – a very fine model – has created a book of pictures by many different photographers. The book is called Faerie Garden. I am happy to have a couple of my photographs featured in this book. The pictures I took of Ella Rose were shot in Nerja, southern Spain last year. More of our photographs from that trip can be seen in this gallery.'

Sean Buckley also wrote this, and it's really nice to know how pleased these kind photographers are to be featured in this way!


After what feels like a million years of threatening to visit the Manchester/Stockport area but never quite fitting it in, I had two trips recently - one for a commercial booking (a publication feature will probably follow on this blog at some point - thanks to those who have spotted me on various things!) and one for a two-day visit to Hallam Mill Studio in Stockport, of natural-light fame. :-) I had a great time there, and my first booking was with Nige, whose initiative-taking was stellar (in deciding it was time I visited and setting things in motion rather than just vaguely always saying 'whenever you're in the area....' - seriously photographers, this kind of solid booking is so appreciated; I wish people would do it more as it really makes life easier for models!).

We had a great shoot, although the light was in and out, in and out... that old game which makes it a bit tricky getting camera settings right for more than about one second at a time... Anyway, Nige has been extremely kind and sent me lots of images from the day, and I think there are lots of lovely ones here, especially the ones in front of the window, with the faded, washed-out ethereal feel. I don't pretend to be trained to dance en pointe or to have perfect technique (I'm going for a contemporary mash up instead really...). Although we were all pretty convinced I would be a ballerina when I was young and I did reach the highest grade, I finished studying ballet seriously before I was old enough to train en pointe (I moved house, left my brilliant dance school and, to be honest, got a bit distracted by things I found more fun and more 'free'/less stilted... and then my genetic 'child-bearing' hips grew to insane proportions, of course, and all ballet hopes would have been dashed beyond my control anyway, had I still been interested in pursuing that side of dance), so I'm very much just experimenting CAREFULLY with pointe-work as I go, bearing in mind the principles I did learn during my time of studying ballet... taking it gently and just playing about for photoshoots), but I do find the style so pretty and dreamy and hopefully just about pull it off for a balletic-ish feel.

So here are some shots from Nige...

...Any favourites?

Also, I definitely can't resist adding this unedited outtake from a catologue-style fashion set we did, where the top Nige had brought along was unfortunately far too big and blew out a bit at the front in a mightily bulbous kind of way.... This is definitely what I will look like preggers. Can't wait! (Well, I definitely can wait - but you know what I mean!). Haha!