Wednesday, 6 October 2010

A little interior design

We're in the middle of redecorating, the hubby and I. I think we'll forever be in the middle of redecorating unless one of us wins the lottery. It's quite frustrating when I think of how long it will take to do everything, but it's actually quite fun to do bits here and there and it keeps my mind constantly active to find new ideas and include little bits that inspire me.
As far as the living room goes, we've recently bought a new cream leather corner sofa, Venetian blinds, a pair of Grecian-style decorative pillars, (full-length) and a glass-top table with a heavy stone effect base. The walls are a vibrant orange, fireplace wallpapered with an old brick/stone design and the floor is oak-style laminate.
It would be great not only to design a unique, ornate room in which we can relax, but also something I will be able to use as an elaborate set for shooting where necessary. Forget the Grecian theme for a minute, simply the Venetian blinds can be used creatively.

(Photo is courtesy of David Radford at The Studio, Bristol, 2009)

We're after a Mediterranean feel for our living room, including elaborate wall decoration, artificial vines, tiny LED ceiling lights.. the ideas are endless.
I stumbled across this gorgeous site today; pretty inspiring stuff, huh?

Monday, 4 October 2010

'Scarlett Dress' quartet, 2008

Sometimes I like to go back through old photos, they make me smile.. ♥


Photography by Jim Bateman.
Hair, make-up, styling by Cheryl Elizabeth.
Location: New Forest, Hampshire


Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Grange at Northington

Just posting some pictures from a shoot yesterday at Northington Grange; a mansion near Winchester which is a stunning example of the Greek Revival style in England, remodelled in this way very early 19th Century.
My photographer, Russband and I started by capturing paparazzi 'glamour-girl' shots with his wife's SLK Mercedes (since she is selling it this week and he wanted some shots before it goes) ..before moving into artistic nude by the fountain and against great doric columns. The nudes are my favourites so I'll start with those.

Past visitors to this lovely location have included George IV, Thomas Carlyle and Lord Tennyson.

This mansion is open to the public and it is always a risk to shoot nude in such places. There is no law as such against nudity in public in the UK and we clearly weren't trying to offend, despite there being a few people wandering around (it was a Saturday after all) as well as a young couple with a baby and you would generally take even more caution when children are around.
Well I was standing by one of the pillars and this guy literally just came from nowhere, catching my eye first before he even saw Russ. He walked straight past me, no more than three metres from where I was standing and thankfully didn't say a word. I apologised and tried to cover myself but I forget there are many understanding, open-minded people around as well as the ones who find it harder to appreciate or understand.
He acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary, which I find rather amusing. Maybe he was too shocked to show any emotion.

Anyway, one of the car for good measure.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Beautiful body art

I adore these shots taken 22nd August by Nigel Bunker.
Nige is a photographer I've admired for a while and I've forever been after some high quality body art shots for my own portfolio.
We teamed up with the talented Parminder Bansil; she travelled from Kent to Farnborough weighed down with beads, gems, stick-on crystals, inks and brushes and created the most stunning art on my body.
Her talent really shouldn't go unnoticed; she regularly creates body art for Indian weddings, but I hope she soon becomes a widely-known name for styling in the modelling industry too.
I simply love everything about the results and I can't wait to collaborate with these guys again soon.

The whole design to mid-thigh took 4 hours to create. It was an amazing experience to watch her literally 'draw' in intricate detail over my skin - from the smooth curve of the outlines to the finishing 'bead' touches on the face.

Jewellery by Parminder Bansil
Hair and make-up by Cheryl Elizabeth

Friday, 1 October 2010

Recent work at Lowford Studio

I seem to be getting more than the usual number of bookings at my local studio, Lowford recently, which is great as it's so close to home and so very well equipped. The studio owner Christopher Brick is lovely and a very dear friend of mine, and he knows I treat the place as my second home. I often go there with my laptop during my free time to get a change of scenery from home and concentrate on admin.

Two half-day shoots I'd like to post - one from June with Kevin Burroughs and one from August with Ian Newman, both whom I'd worked with previously and both who I hope to work with again in the near future.

Kevin and I primarily worked on anonymous portraiture with a hat and lingerie, while Ian and I concentrated more on a relaxed, classic fashion / glamour feel.

© Kevin Burroughs
Hair and make-up by Cheryl Elizabeth

© Ian Newman
Hair and make-up by Cheryl Elizabeth

A Yerbury wedding photography workshop (MPA Wessex region)

Tomorrow marks fourteen weeks since mine and Robert's wedding day. More than a quarter of that first year has already passed in a whirlwind of household DIY, socialisation and domestic bliss.
As you may know, I was lucky enough to pick up my dress for just £180 including seamstress costs, and I am still reaping the little pleasures from wearing it (literally) to work! Only a couple of weeks ago, I was dancing about in it for two independent boudoir shoots in the same week.
But I shall have to update on that later. If a bride is ever lucky enough to get to wear her cherished dress again, she probably didn't have the opportunity to dress up in all her glory before the event.
Well, Trevor and Faye Yerbury made that happen for me.. the Monday before my big day in June.. in a slinky champagne / gold little number with a small train and a gorgeous French veil made of weighty silk tulle for one of their wedding photography workshops at Exbury Gardens in the beautiful New Forest.
On the day Faye took my long hair, tangled from the wind, and twined it round her fingers, sweeping it into this magnificent messy braid with strands of hair cascading down my cheeks. It's something that would take me weeks to achieve, yet in no more than 10 minutes I looked like a bride of some royalty.
Despite concentrating on the job in hand to produce the most visually stunning pictures I could, there were so many emotions running through my head knowing I looked and felt the part of a bride, but remembering that this was just acting and I was to experience 'the real thing' not even a week from that very date!

Trevor Yerbury and his wife Faye are two of the most talented photographers, specialising in weddings, boudoir and art nude; their work just goes to show how excellent creative teamwork can pay off. See more of their work on their many blogs, all to be found categorised here: (my favourites being the Weddings and Boudoir blogs)


The soft tulle of the French veil was heavier than voile or netting, so rumpled perfectly over my face in the breeze without obscuring all the detail from my features in profile.
The weave of the fabric works in line with the rippling effect in the wind.

Warm tones in the first photo here again with the soft tulle guise, leaning up against the engine shed door.
Second photo by Faye - a magical old tree taken with wonderful natural light.

Reclining bride.
One of my favourite images, processed to a warm black and white with some texture, taken under the wisteria drenched gazebo.

The bridge above must be every photographer's delight but the real sweet spot was here, the little hidden corner.
And finally, modelling a beautiful net headpiece / bridal veil / hat made by Faye.
A group shot of the fantastic Yerburys, (Trevor next to me, Faye standing behind him) Michelle the other beautiful 'bride' for the day, Keith Curtis (crouching, far right with sunglasses) and budding wedding photographers who took part in this fabulous workshop.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Digital art

It's great when something or someone kick-starts your brain into remembering something that happened a while back.
And so I was talking the other day to my good friend and photographer Keith Curtis about post-photo processing and photographers who specialise in this, when we both recalled the time Keith hosted and I modelled for a brilliant Photoshop tutorial day with demonstrations by the very talented Vincent O Byrne, more than two years ago.
I emailed Vinnie not thinking he'd remember me but miraculously he had finished the image, turned it into a digital masterpiece and posted it to me this evening, after all this time.
Well he's captured me in a light I couldn't possibly disagree with of course! A floating angel, feather wings with an illuminated halo.. a symbol of light and peace in a stormy world.
Ah, to live in dreamland!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Rustic innocence

On checking my emails a second ago, I see Graham Wood has already been working on one of my favourite shots from yesterday's shoot at the Red Rose Studio.
There will be others to follow shortly, including more from this photographer from other recent shoots.

I love this for its rustic tones, innocence and the soft light emphasis on my fluffed-up hair ♥

M a k e - u p ,   h a i r   &   s t y l i n g   c o u r t e s y   o f   C h e r y l   E l i z a b e t h

30 excuses you make for NOT running

1. "I don't have enough money to join a gym" - well get off your gluteus maximus and go running outdoors then.

2. "I'm too unfit for that" - Er... so was I... BEFORE I started!

3. "I'd get two black eyes" - Decent sports bras don't need to be expensive. Look on ebay for brand new packs for a fraction of the cost in shops. I'm a 32C and I manage just fine with normal padded bras.

4. "It's raining outside" - A drop of rain never hurt anybody - if anything it will help to cool you down.

5. "It's pouring down" - Okay, well take a break today or maybe go in the evening if it clears up. You don't have to run every single day without fail, as long as it's regular running every week you're good.

6. "It's been pouring down non-stop for the last 2 weeks" - Not very likely, but sometimes it's hard to want to go outside when the weather seems consistently rubbish. Instead, run on the spot in the coolest room in your house with the windows open. It's not a good long-term substitution for running-and-actually-getting-somewhere, but it's better than not doing anything at all.

7. "There are 2 inches of solid, lumpy ice on all paths and roads within 15 miles except for the M3 motorway. Running around a park in the dark would be pure stupidity unless you have a death wish" -

8. "It's too cold outside" - You will usually start off cooler than normal and come back absolutely boiling. In winter, substitute shorts and t-shirt for tracksuit bottoms and a hoodie over your vest top/t-shirt that you can take off if you need to. Not rocket science :D

9. "The mornings stay darker for longer, the evenings get dark earlier and I don't like running in the dark" - Neither do I and I haven't figured that one out yet other than invest in a treadmill or run during your lunch breaks at work. If you know someone who enjoys running, go with them so you're not on your own.

10. "I don't like running on my own but I can't keep up with my running partner/they can't keep up with me" - If you've both made the choice to run together, then the quicker of the two should challenge themselves by running back to their running partner every now and again when they've overtaken them.

11. "I can't afford decent trainers or running shoes" - You don't need to buy new shoes at first as you're probably not going to be doing high mileage. Just a comfortable, good-fitting pair of trainers will do fine.

12. "I'll have to see my doctor first" - Well hurry up and make an appointment, although you really only need to get advice from your doctor if you have any known problems with your joints, (knees, ankles) are in general poor health, have issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease etc. or are over 45.

13. "It's so time consuming" - No it's not actually. All you have to do as soon as you wake up is stick your running gear on, slip your house key into your bra (er, guys I'm not sure where you'd stick yours!) and charge round the block. A gentle jogging pace will get you 1.5 miles in just 20 minutes and when you get back you're done. There's no drying off or de-tangling hair after swimming, driving to the gym and faffing with your locker, so there's no excuse really! Running is also quicker than swimming and burns more calories per minute than any other form of exercise except cross-country skiing.

14. "I've started loads of times but I never stick at it" - Okay so that's not as good as running continuously 4 times a week, but it's better than never having done it at all. All that means is you're either bad at managing your time or have motivational issues.

15. "I can never seem to motivate myself" - Why don't you ask yourself why you want to run in the first place? Is it to keep your body healthy and fit, to lose weight, to take part in running competitions/marathons to raise money for others/charity, to feel good about yourself, or just because everyone else seems to be doing it/someone has talked you into doing it? If you can't find a good reason why YOU want to achieve something good through running, then how do you expect to stick at it?

16. "I started running and now my calf muscles are killing me" - Yeah that will be your Achilles. It's a common complaint, but completely expected. You're not injuring yourself all the time you are running at a pace where you can still sort of carry-out a light conversation with someone. If your legs really are aching badly, take a day or two out from running, but try not to leave it any more than that. The ache is a sign exercise is having a positive effect, building muscle and losing fat. Try to work through the burn without completely killing yourself.

17. "I've heard running can damage your knees/ankles later on in life" - Yes this can be true but the risk can be significantly reduced by running on grass, or for an even harder workout pebbles or sand on the beach. Anything that gives way slightly as you run on it will reduce the constant pounding on your joints. This is also where a decent high-quality pair of trainers come in. The more mileage you do, the more you will need this.

18. "If I started now, I'd have to give up in December because it'll be xmas!" - Even more reason to keep running then eh? How many Christmas puds have you had? Yeah I have to admit, even I take Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day off as well as New Year's Eve, but why give up on the other days? Don't wait 'til January to make another weight-loss resolution that you never stick to - keep going with the workouts and there'll be no weight gain in the first place.

19. "Oh no, I've woken up to late, I've missed my scheduled run" - If you have to go to work, then go running after work before dinner. If you don't, it's never too late to go; it doesn't have to be first thing in the morning and you are allowed to sleep-in on your days off believe it or not!

20. "It's too hot to go running" - This can be a problem and sometimes really off-putting. Try sticking to the shade and take a bottle of water with you. If you start to feel dizzy, stop and walk a while.

21. "The only time I can run is when the kids are just going to school, people are in traffic jams getting to work; it's a pretty busy time of day and I get embarrassed running when there are so many people about" - Try to avoid the main roads and maybe walk first to a place where you know is a bit more secluded and then do your run. Wearing dark sunglasses helps to hide your identity, or at least feels like it does!

22. "Why would I exercise when I can just reduce how much I eat and cut-out all the foods I love" - Why would you even do that? I eat everything under the sun (no jokes please) and haven't weighed myself in ages. I'm reassured in knowing a quick run every day will keep me trim without having to give up ANY types of food. Surely what you look like in the mirror and seeing the tummy definition is worth so much more than sticking to what the scales say, getting the correct BMI and spending your time calorie counting, which is probably more time-consuming than running anyway!

23. "I just ate" - Ideally go running before you've had breakfast or anything to eat that day as it will help prevent getting a stitch. Some people prefer to eat something small beforehand to give them energy. If you've just eaten a meal, wait a couple of hours and go then.

24. "I've left it too long between getting up and going for a run and now I feel shaky because I'm so hungry" - Eat an apple or a banana or even just drink a glass of squash or something similar (that has flavour) and then eat something else when you get back. You probably won't be hungry for about half an hour after you've come back from a run, even if you were starving before.

25. "I get bored" - Vary your route. Not every time necessarily, but maybe once every few weeks.

26. "I'm scared of varying my route in case I get lost" - ;)

27. "I don't want to lose weight, just tone but crunches and sit-ups don't seem to be doing anything" - You might not look like you have extra fat or want to lose it, but if you want to tone your stomach and maybe other areas but having difficulty, it probably means your muscles are trying to tone under the excess skin. Running helps to sculpt the body perfectly. Any excess weight that you might not even notice at first will fall off quickly and your muscles will start to tone. You may want to continue toning exercises alongside running for even quicker results.

28. "I get called a fitness freak by my friends for just running twice a week and I'm embarrassed" - The only person who'll be embarrassed in the long run is the one making jibes because they will leave it a lot longer to do anything to keep their body in shape (if at all) and they'll probably let it get out of shape first! People unfortunately find it easier to make fun of those doing the things they'd like, but really can't be bothered to do. And that's not your problem. Just agree and be proud of caring about your health.

29. "I'm far too big to start off with running. I can hardly get off the sofa let alone jog down the street!" - Nothing wrong with walking to start with. In fact brisk walking burns more calories than the same distance cycling or swimming. Walking in heels is even better as it tones the bum. Guys - I can't possibly comment!

30. "I'd only get too good at it. I'm like that with everything I do" - Ah, what we'd all give to be like you! Maybe you're exceptionally good at fighting middle aged spread and heart disease too.


At the end of the day its just willpower. There are still days I would rather do anything than go outside. I often don't enjoy it when I do go out with that attitude but when I come back I feel so much better for it. It's that which makes me go.

It's difficult explaining that to people who don't run. I don't believe anyone who says they have never had a bad day....
By varying routes, speeds and terrain (sometimes even a treadmill provides a welcome change) all provide diversions from thinking "I've got to do another run around the same loop in the same time".

Anybody who has been denied mobility at any stage in their life would give their right arm to get on their feet and charge down the road. You have one body, one life - get out and use it.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Art nude workshop - Sunday 24th October 2010

I would just like to take a moment to plug Helen Diaz's art nude workshop taking place Sunday 24th October at the gorgeous Harwood House, Warwickshire. While Helen is typically a talented and established model herself, she will be working 9am-5pm on the day as host and organiser only.
Photographers, both amateur and professional will be given the opportunity to photograph four professional models on the day,  Amie Dodgson, Raphaella, Tinna and myself. You are guaranteed to come away with beautiful memorable and creative photographs for your portfolio.
Six photographers are confirmed out of eight possible places. Unfortunately space is limited so if you're interested in such an event, book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
The total cost for the day is £250 per photographer, this includes the hire of four models, hire of the entire mansion, model travelling expenses, a buffet lunch and refreshments. This is an eight hour day.
Contact Helen:

I've been to Harwood House many times and am familiar with the surroundings; the last time with Joel Parr July 31st. We worked on achieving dark erotic imagery alongside a few moody lifestyle photos, joining up with glamour model Carrie Lucy for one particular set in the master bedroom.


•Exclusive hire of Harwood House and ALL of its rooms and surrounding land, nestled within the majestic Warwickshire countryside
•The fees of FOUR professional models with a long track record of producing stunning work. All with fantastic references and known for their reliability and professionalism.
•Models working from fashion up to art nude, creating truly memorable images.
•Models will apply make-up before the event and will have a wide range of clothing to change into.
•All model travel costs are included.
•The house has spacious rooms with lots of natural light.
•Indoor swimming pool, perfect for creating water shoots.
•Two acre secluded garden, perfect for outdoor shoots
•A playful snooker room
•A beautiful split level staircase which leads onto a large circular landing and a ‘hideaway’ annex.
•Many double bedrooms to choose from to shoot in, decorated to a high, hotel standard.
•Open plan attic room for the models to change in for the event, which will be their private dressing room.
•Stunning dining room
•Large sitting room
•Detailed coving
•Decorative gold-plated chandeliers
•A magnificent Italian marble fireplace
•Stunning hand carved Brazilian-oak doors.
•A full buffet will be offered for lunch in the large kitchen provided and refreshments will be provided throughout the day for photographers and models.
•Vegetarians can be easily catered for!
•Free car parking on site
•Excellent networking opportunity, to work with other photographers and models.
•You are very welcome to bring your own advertising material, i.e. contact cards.
•A fun and action packed day, gaining experience and confidence and creating sensational images.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Photographer: Manuel Odabashian a lovely photographer, originally from Cyprus, of Armenian descent and residing in London. Two shoots I've had with him have been enjoyable; both at Adrian Pini Studios, but a complete contrast in terms of style, lighting and look.
And Manuel makes me laugh. He introduces me to all his favourite music during a shoot, tells me he goes dancing regularly and is learning to sing opera, that he's often found singing round the studio.

There are only two months between these two shoots, first from March 2010.


This beautiful black scarf is something I picked up from tiny Greek island, Skiathos a few years ago and helps to transform what starts off as a rather ordinary headshot into something more eye catching to the viewer but without detracting from the face. I love how the silver sequin detail and intricate beading is picked up by the flash making it sparklier, but you need not travel Europe to find exotic garments - I try to look for interesting fabrics, textures and sparkly bits in town that I can throw over my skin. Charity shops are great for this; great for materials, hair accessories, jewellery, hats, props and more.

Something so simple can be a fashion statement, a finishing touch to a refined outfit. Not even nude has to be nude. A pretty voile scarf wrapped around a bare figure can be used to enhance shape, emotion even.

These nudes however, from late-May are not telling any story, but are simply a beautiful interaction of light and skin, and shows how light plays on the curves of a nude female figure, defining and sculpting.
I like the way the second image is almost a silhouette on the box.
Who said low-key on white doesn't work?