Hey guys! It’s great to be back blogging again. How are you?
Last week I turned 25 years old, and it seems like a nice round number to have a look back at the things I’ve done in the past. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget all the things you have accomplished in the past – so I invite you to do the same and take a while to think about your positive achievements from the small to the large.
1. Leaving school with good GCSE’s and A Levels
2. Finishing my BA Honours degree at University for the Creative Arts
3. Moving out of home
4. Discovering gratitude and being thankful.
5. Learning how to do laundry, and look after a home.
6. Meeting Jack, getting engaged and working on us.
7. Learning about Anxiety, myself, and going to therapy.
8. Going to MCM Comic Con!
9. Finding kindness in small things and the big.
10. Becoming a professional photographer and being a freelancer.
11. Leaving a job I hated
12. Friendships – both recent and lifelong
13. Working on a film set – I can’t wait to do more!
14. Published in Photography Magazines – Starburst Magazine, Dear Photographer, Practical Photography etc.
15. Living alone in my first year of uni
16. Holidaying with Friends at Center Parcs
17. Seeing lots of theatre – my personal favourites have been Wicked and The Addam’s Family Musical
18. Made Good friends Online
19. Completed A Pokemon Game
20. Going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour
21. Learning and creating photography – both analogue and digital
22. Dying my hair blue.
23. Loving nature and animals
24. Helping in my old primary school
25. Creating Jasmine Aurora
Comment below something you have accomplished, no matter how big or small.
As someone who deals with various mental health issues including anxiety and depression, every now and again I make it my priority to have a date with myself; aka, a Self Care Day.
Finding the time for me to do this is rarely the issue, but actually taking a break and doing it seems to be the difficult part. It’s the same with most things that are good for you, isn’t it?
Anyway, I’m trying to do this once a week while I recover from various anxieties – taking a whole day to chill out and ignore work for a while. Some days it’s difficult, others it’s a total blessing. But always necessary and I never regret it.
If you read my last post you’ll know that I journal a lot anyway, but on self care days I make it a priority to get everything that’s in my head down on the paper. This can be in the form of a ‘Today I feel’ kind of paragraph, or I personally find it really helpful to do a spider diagram with short bullet points so that I don’t miss anything in my fast moving mind. Whatever is floating around get’s written down or drawn.
Ah, here it is. The thing I know that is so good for me, and so helpful, and yet it I put it off so often. On a self care day I try and do 10 minutes of meditation at least once. Hopefully more. Reconnect and check in.
Tidy Your Space + De-clutter
I cannot work properly if the space around me is in chaos. Putting things away when they belong, doing a bit of cleaning, or even decluttering your wardrobe makes a big difference to how I feel mentally. If my space is tidy then often so is my mind. These kind of things often get put the side on busy days or bad mental health days so take some time to make your space super comfortable to be in.
Similar to the above – get the job off your mind and get a fresh smelling wardrobe and home all at the same time. Ahhhhh it’s done and it feels great.
Podcasts, Reading + Music
I like to lose myself in something, to tune out for a bit. The great thing about podcasts and reading though is that it doesn’t involve a screen and hopefully the the temptation to just check twitter or work emails just wont be there.
That yoga you’ve been putting off? You’ve got the whole day ahead of you to relax and work on you so roll out the mat. Whatever exercise you like doing, work it into your Self Care Day. I like getting outside too, even if it’s just a potter into town.
Shower, Baths + General Pampering
Getting clean is such a good feeling and I always feel so fresh and ready to take on the world a bit more after a good shower. Use the fancy soap and the expensive face mask. Paint your nails. Pluck your eyebrows; do whatever makes you happy with how you look and feel that you generally don’t have the time to do.
You can do all of the above or just hand pick a few that work for you – the important thing is you take the time every now and again to focus on you.
What else would you add to your self care day?
Hello hello HELLO (read that in Rupaul’s voice), I thought I’d do a little blog series as a monthly catch up to share what I’ve been doing and liking as well as projects that are in the pipeline too.
At the moment I’m not in a position to hire a studio (if anyone even know’s of a decent white wall, I’m there!) so I’ve been trying to expend my horizons in a few different directions and try new things. I’m still very much inspired by conceptual, surrealist and fine art portraiture but it’s taking a short break until I have the means to create the images I really want and feel rather than making a half attempt with half the resources.
SO, the first thing I’ve given a little go is…
A little bit of still life…
I’ve been enjoying setting up a mini (make shift) studio in my house at the moment where I can set up some still life. Mostly these photos are intended for premium stock photography, but it’s made me think that maybe I could also use this in my own work too. Using a simple blue background is SO effective and the colours I can get from it are so awesome.
I have been journalling on and off for years, but a few years agoI discovered bullet journalling which opened up to me the whole online journalling and planning community. I am yet to find the unicorn that is ‘planner peace’ where I feel like I have totally nailed my organisation through journalling, but I’ve found it to be something I really love doing.
I was suggested a video on youtube which was someone doing a flip through of their general journal for 2017 – containing everything from song lyrics, days out, gratitude, things they found inspiring, business cards…. anything that felt like it meant something on that day to that person. It was not for organisation, it was for fun of the process, and perhaps a bit to look back on in the future. This changed everything in the way I do things. I’d been trying to keep a bullet journal but whenever I would get ‘arty’ with it, it would dilute my planning and to do lists and all became such a jumble. Therefore I now work with a couple of different journals including a new handmade one which is my do-whatever-I-want journal. I’ve been collecting photographs, things from my day, painting and exploring new artistic expression in this handmade journal, and I still have a pristine and working bullet journal on the side. It is WORKING and I love it. One of my favourite things to do at the moment is to watch Charmed while journalling at my desk. I find it relaxing and fun.
Perhaps one day I’ll film a journal flip through of this one, I’m not sure. But here’s a link to the video that inspired me, and I liked this video too.
The thing about post production in software like Adobe Photoshop is that the possibilities are limitless and there is always new things to learn, new techniques, new shortcuts. I’ve discovered two things this month: glitch photography and gradient maps.
Yoga and Mindfulness
I have been reading everywhere for years that the ‘secret’ to feeling better with depression and anxiety is through yoga and mindfulness. I’ve given it a go many time before, found a bit of a benefit, but then quickly forgotten about it or moved on to something else.
This month I dug out a book from the archives of under my bed called ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ that I’ve had for years and decided, why not? I need something to sooth my soul right now. It’s an 8 week mindfulness course, and I started by doing a short mindfulness meditation every day. Prompted by this, and noticing I had started to become more mindful, I found the book Frazzled by Ruby Wax at the library and read the first few chapters. She was a huge advocate for mindfulness practise. In one of the books it mentioned how a man had tried yoga to broaden his mindfulness progress and that he found doing it everyday, so again I thought – why not do both? I’ve got nothing to lose and I feel terrible. SO. I’m only about 3 or 4 days into the daily yoga + mindfulness practise and I do feel like there’s been a slight shift in my perspective. It’s almost like someone is putting a bit of a magnifying glass into my life and showing me all these details I would usually be too stuck in my head to notice. I’m new to the practise, but I’m going to carry on and hopefully write a blog post about how I get on with it.
The yoga routine I’m following is this one here.
Published in TWO magazines!
When I wrote down a list of goals for 2018 (which reminds me, I must dig them out) one of my main goals was to have my work somehow featured in a magazine – big or small. In April this happened and completely by suprise. A while ago I took some photos of the cosplayer and model Onyxeia of her Black Cat cosplay, and this month she had a feature in Starburst Magazine which is available all over the UK including W H Smith which was where I picked it up – woohoo! Goal met.
Secondly though, I received confirmation that a photo I submitted to the ‘details’ edition of Dear Photographer had been accepted and will be in the upcoming magazine. I have pre-ordered my copy from America and I can’t wait to see it when it arrives. Keep an eye out on my instagram if you’re interested in seeing that when it arrives.
The Denim Jacket ™
This month I bought a denim jacket from ebay (costing a whopping £4.20) and I finally been putting to use all the badges and pins I have collected from various things. There is still room for LOTS more but I really can’t wait to wear this now that spring is here. Wearing a baggy tshirt, leggings, boots, denim jacket and a scarf is my new favourite comfy daytime look.
What’s happening next?
This summer I have a few exciting projects coming up including working on another film as an on set photographer / stills photographer which I am super excited for. I will most likely be telling you a bit more about that over on my Instagram nearer the time so do check that out if you’re interested.
I am looking at starting at least one new personal project too – this will either be a portrait project or a documentary project. It’s been a while since I’ve had something that I can really sink my teeth into – so although I’m very much in the research and planning stages at the moment, I’m looking forward to having something to work on that’s just for me.
If you’re reading this, I want to extend a huge thank you for your support in reading my blogs and liking my posts. It means so much that someone is interested in what I do.
If you’d like to follow along I invite you to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin’ and please feel free to reach out and say hello!
Have a great day,
Bonding with Birds… like a Gilderoy Lockhart novel… get it? Last week my mum took Jack and I out to Birdworld Surrey in Farnham. Now, this was quite a bit deal. Having lived in the area since university in 2011, I have been wanting to go to Birdworld so badly but it was one of those things that I just never got around to even though it only takes around 15 minutes on the bus. But at last, last week, we went.
I love birds, I love them a lot. I also love dinosaurs and actually all kinds of animals so getting to spend some time with them was really great. It worried me that it would be like a lot of zoos where the animals are in small enclosure – especially with birds where I feel like they need the space to fly. But overall I felt like the animals there looked really well taken care of and had plenty of room to roam about. I think a lot of them where also allowed to fly outside, like the birds of prey, and birds like the Penguins where also part of breeding programmes. It was very informative and educational too.
My favourite part of the day was meeting the Cockatoo which is in the 8th photo – the white bird with the crazy yellow hair do. We approached it because it looked like it was being quite social and wanted some attention against the bars. We said ‘Hello!’ and was greeted by it saying ‘hello’ back to us in it’s parroty squawky voice. I still wasn’t convinced it was repeating what we where saying but it soon whistled back to my mum, made kissy noises, said ‘who’s a pretty boy’ and when we where in fits of laughter proceeded to laugh along with us.
I’m very into ornithology, the study of birds, and I would absolutely love to study more into it and do what I can to help and discover more about these beautiful creatures. My joke beforehand was that we where actually going to Jurassic Park for the day to see real life mini feathered dinosaurs. I’d love to see these animals in their natural habitat one day
I want to take more photos like this, I just love the happy memories and wonder of the natural world mixed with humans that it puts accross. It shows our human curiosity and highlights how much we need to look after the natural environment around us. Next I would love to go back to the London Aquarium and Natural History Museum. If you know of any other places then please do let me know as I’m keen to explore.
I hope you have enjoyed looking through these photos! I invite you to follow me on Instagram for more updates.
Jasmine Aurora x
This image was one of those that just flashed into my mind one day and I had to make it because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
For me it represents those tough days of depression or anxiety where you’re stuck in negative thought cycles and wish you could step outside of your head for a breather. It’s also for those nights where you’re awake at 4:00am and wish you could turn off and go back to sleep.
‘Switch Off’ by Jasmine Aurora