As we say too-da-loo to another year I like to reflect on the things that have happened over the last twelve months. On a national level if 2016 was a year of shock, highs and lows, 2017 was a year when consistent crap seemed to be the norm. Brexit limped on, inflation continued to rise, and horrendous ‘breaking news’ featured so regularly there was no room for horrified, wide-mouthed reaction or you’d have permanent jaw ache. It wasn’t all bad, but you get the gist.

On a personal level, 2017 brought around the year of change. My friends started having beautiful babies, got engaged, and moved out.  I changed my home, my job, and my relationship, even my hair! I went from ridiculously happy, super positive to the saddest I’ve been in ages, back to being pretty content.

The whole ‘consistent crap’ has also been a continuing theme in my family situation, and my new life in London definitely hasn’t quite turned out how I imagined it would. It also appears having my hair chopped off consequently lost me all my powers (so I believe…)

However, if there’s one fact I do know about this year- it was the year of love. Absolutely nailed it. Forget Megan and Harry, Straw and Cox was the biggest love story of 2017.

I said goodbye to any toxic relationship I’d ever had and welcomed with open arms the sort of love only seen in Disney films. It is glorious. If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t fill your stomach with butterflies and your heart with joy get out now. Trust me, you can do better and it’s worth the wait. When the person you’ve fancied for ages turns out to be everything you’d ever hoped for, and also weirdly appears to be the male version of me, it’s pretty fucking awesome. I not only get to wake up with a man who’s beam brightens my mornings, but I also get to wake up with my best friend.



I can’t believe how different this feels from last December, and that’s why I like to write little roundups at the end of my year on the blog as it’s a nice reminder of what’s happened and also how I feel. We can never really measure progress unless we record it, so I’d definitely recommend starting if you don’t already.  Letting my barriers down was the best decision I ever made. Rule book out the window, feet first.

Alas, as they say, I wish you could have it all. I sort out my love life and everything else turns to shit.   I moved to a city of chaos where I felt lonely and sad. I’ve given up the hobby I’ve loved since I was 7 in exchange for a job that frustrates the hell out of me. There’s this huge inner conflict in me, which sounds ridiculous and, if anything, I hope it royally fucks off next year. I’m like the worst needy girlfriend- I just want London to love me, even though I despise the hell out of it at times.

It’s been a weird old move. I moved for my career and for my relationship and I’m not going to lie I feel like a fraud. One thing I have learned is exactly what I DON’T want to do anymore which sometimes is just as helpful as knowing what you want to do.  I just miss horse riding and my yard so damn much.

2017 was also a year of realisation. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or just taking a positive from spending so much time alone, but I realised I’m actually very content in my own company. Maybe it’s because no one cares in London but I’m more than happy now to go for dinner on my own, and it feels GOOD. I also realised the value of friendships and who my true friends really are. When you leave somewhere you’ve lived for a long time you leave a mass network of connections. The ones that matter become vividly apparent.  Thank you to every one of you who has listened, cared, and supported me this year. I love you all and it means more than I could ever show. I hope I can do the same for you.



To say I’m gutted not to be seeing in the New Year lit up by the fireworks in Sydney is mahoosive fat understatement. But I’m also looking forwards to finishing work and watching the incredible fireworks in London on our balcony.   As I mentioned last year I don’t like to make resolutions, in fact the only thing I said I’d do this year was to carry on doing as much exercise as I could, which will continue.  I also want to travel as much as possible. In 2017 I’ve managed to visit five different countries including four that I’d never been to before.  This is pretty good for the average person in my eyes, especially as two were the other side of the world.  I also managed to do quite a few creative shoots this year, and working at Wimbledon was the BEST.  However, there are a few things that I would like to keep at the back of my mind next year, and I will read this post again in a few months to remind myself.


One of my favourite shoots this year, and one of the best days


Firstly, I want to be grateful for all the parts of my life that make me feel good and for all the successes I have, no matter how small. I would never, ever have expected to be writing this sitting crossed legged in a London newsroom this time last year, so here’s to the unexpected and making the most of it. Last year I ran away from it all, in 2018 I will attack it all head on.

I need to let go. Let go of the things I can’t control. I can’t fix my family, I can’t make everyone happy and I can’t always be on top of everything. Toxic people don’t have a place anymore and I have to move on. Sometimes silence is the most powerful weapon.

On the other end of the scale, praise and support is more than welcome. This year, if you spent ANY amount of time on social media, there’s always some pernickety argument or actual shit storm brewing. Judgments, criticism, and bitching. People pointing out the smallest mistakes, or jumping immediately on anyone’s failures or flaws. I want next year to be the year we’re all a tad more supportive, god we need it!

I spent several days away from social media at Christmas and I wasn’t even bothered. I didn’t miss the glutinous pictures of the piles of food consumed, the endless videos of next-door’s kids, or the brags about the ‘#BestChristmasEver’. When we don’t feel great, and we don’t feel good enough, enter social media. There’s nothing like the illusion of inclusion to make you feel utterly miserable.  I guess ultimately this time next year I’d like to have a bit more balance, and also patience. When we notice a void we try to fill it, I’m just not sure what I want to fill mine with yet.

So before we all march into 2018 like we’re embarking on a life-changing voyage, with a heartfelt promise of leaving all misgivings and mistakes behind, let’s not be shortsighted enough to act as though these are exclusive to the last twelve months. Maybe the order now is the acceptance that this IS the status quo, we either put-up-and-shut-up, or do something different.

Happy New Year and thank you for all your support,

Jem xx



2017 in pictures:

I started this blog a few years back when I was trying to heal my Eczema. I wanted to share my experiences- what I ate, what I used instead of steroid treatments, and also any products I could find that were suitable for all the sensitive shells out there. When I took the images for my blog I realised that as this was my only focus it meant I couldn’t share all the other things I do and the images I take.

I also promised myself that the moment this blog started to become too much of a headache and less of an enjoyment I’d take a step back.  So much has been going on this year- new job, new city, new man… well he’s not really new anymore but the point being so much has been going on I just kinda let this fall by the wayside.

I also realised that the things I want to share and write about didn’t necessarily fit with my blog’s original intention, so I’ve decided to change it a little. I love writing on here and I love creating images and sharing what I’m doing, but I want to be able to post about EVERYTHING. If I find a miracle product for sensitive skin I wanna share it, equally I want to be able to post about the shoots that I do and all the other things that scuttle out from my imagination.  I want to write about the things I care about and share my creative projects too.

No doubt my blog will go through many incarnations, just as I do as a human, but it will always remain a consuming hobby for it’s adapting author.  In the words of Dr Seuss*:  ‘It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become…’

Jem xx


*From ‘The Lorax’, and if you haven’t seen this then shame on you!




2016.  What a messed up year.  We lost so many greats- Bowie, Wood, even Wogan.  It was also the year of Brexit and all that came with that, oh and of course not to mention Trump.

On a personal level 2016 was the year of heartbreak, frustration, and incredibly poor timing. Even Brad and Angelina didn’t make it…

The year started out happy, promising and with a man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with.  Somehow along the way that all turned to shit and I went from practically killing myself on a horse to one of the worst years as a family since Mum died.

I remember last year writing a post about how I wasn’t going to make any new year’s resolutions and I’m kinda glad I did- failing at impossible goals was the last thing I needed in 2016.  Let’s face it- we all promise ourselves in December that next year will be ‘our year’, we’ll climb a mountain, or live entirely off green vegetables.  Nothing like the cold reality of disappointment when you realise it’s not your year, you can’t even climb the stairs without tripping up, and McDonalds know you so well they offer your ‘usual’ as soon as you walk in…

Of course we all go into a new year with the best intentions but if I’m totally honest 2016 for me, and many of my chums, was a pretty turbulent year filled with inopportune events. This included my horrendous riding accident in February, the day before I was going on a course I’d been waiting AGES to get a place on, work frustrations and just generally terribly poor timing on a number of things.  I even found an amazing personal trainer and after only a few sessions she told me she’s off to a new job.  Sucks.  To be fair we’ll stay mates but she’s a bloody beast in the gym and I’m going to miss her and that peachy butt sooo much!

This year I think the only resolution I want to make (and it’s not really a resolution) is to continue exercising as much as I can.  Exercise is an escape. It provides time to get lost in your thoughts, or just lose your thoughts to pushing yourself, and you feel so good afterwards it’s a no brainer for me.   I think to be honest this is more a continuation of a lifestyle than a resolution and if you look at something like that it’s not something you’ll easily break.

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Gemma to the power of two = double trouble…

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to be in another country for New Year’s Eve, and this year is no exception.  I’m dashing off for Christmas too this time- today I’m flying to Australia for almost four weeks armed with a year’s supply of freelance savings, a couple of new bikinis and my oldest friend in the world.

I’ve known Gemma since she was born (just under a year after me) and her Mum was BFF’s with mine. We grew up together and had the cutest childhood.  I think one of the reasons we’re such close friends is we’ve got that much dirt on each other it would be lethal not to stay that way!  This girl has been through SO much this year and come out stronger and happier than ever and I’m so proud of her and everything she does.  I am privileged to have so many good friends in my life- they are, after all, the family we choose.  She’s more of a sister to me, and what this girl doesn’t know about me isn’t worth knowing.  This year we’ve got each other through what we now refer to as  ‘Black Sunday’, ‘dark August’ and all the other utter rubbish times this year- from not being able to walk, to ALL the boy dramas, and from work issues to family chaos.

You know when you have that friend that you don’t even need to say anything to and you know exactly what the other person is thinking.  This is Gemma.  We just get each other.


Heartbreak was everywhere this year.  Couples that I literally thought would be together for the long haul seemed to fall apart left, right and centre.  I started the year with a man I genuinely thought I’d be with until I was grey and seriously wrinkly; it’s crazy how so much can change.  Not just within a year but within a matter of hours!  Maybe my Disney- fuelled childhood provided me with unrealistic expectations of love and romance, and a fairy tale ending is purely that- fictional.  Gin and Prosecco profits will definitely be on the rise thanks to me and my pals…

To anyone I hurt or upset in 2016 I am truly sorry.  To anyone who hurt me- I hope you are too.  What a fucking roller coaster.

It’s not just been a year of heartbreak in terms of relationships but also in terms of my family situation too.  It’s so bloody fragile and it rips me to pieces on a daily basis.  I think when things are good in a family you take it for granted.  I would do anything to have my normal family life back but right now that seems like a distant dream, maybe an impossible reality.  I literally cannot wait to get away from it all and discover new places I’ve never been and run straight into the sea.  It’s a big world out there- adventure is waiting…

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    ‘All I’m after is a lifetime of laughter’  

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that you have to surround yourself with people that lift you up.  Equally you have to lift your friends up too.  I’ve been pretty slack with a couple of friends this year and that’s something that definitely needs to change.  It’s ok to expect your friends to be there when you’re down but I also need them to know they can rely on me too.  It’s so important.

In a year when hate and anger won votes and elections it’s easy to focus on the negative but there’s actually a whole heap of things to be positive about and I have so much to be grateful for!

I just want to smile my way through 2017. Laughing is my favourite things in the world and if you are surrounded by people that can make you laugh so hard it hurts, well then life is just SO much more enjoyable.


My beautiful BFF Becky and I at the festival of dreams…

So here’s to 2017- let’s hope it’s better for all involved! You never know who you’ll meet on that spur-of-the-moment night out, or what’s waiting for you just around the corner, and don’t forget- Prince Charming comes in many different guises…Exciting times indeed!

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, supported me and helped in any little way.  I love you all and I wish you all a Merry messy Christmas and a Bonza New Year!  I’ll see you on the other side.  Now where’s my passport…


Jem xx




I need this more than ever right now! Life is odd and just when you think everything’s ok it’ll throw a massive curveball at you.  I try so hard not to be negative or sad but sometimes it’s an impossible task.  There are just too many things going off that are bringing me down right now and it’s all too easy to just slide down that slippery slope.  So during (another) sleepless night I tried to think of all the things that would cheer me up and put a smile on my face and I made this little list.  Hopefully it’ll help you guys too!

Positive vibes people….

1. Find a photo you love from a moment when you were truly happy.  You CAN be in that place again.  The photo above was taken during a pretty crappy time, and for my friend too, but it was a really happy moment. I was carefree, with someone I love, and loving life.  It’ll happen again.

2. Exercise.  Do anything to get your heart rate up.  Run, walk, dance, kick a ball.  Do whatever you can.  Those endorphin’s are real.  Enjoy them and the knowledge that you are looking after your body.  It’ll reward you with happiness, trust me.  Since my accident I’ve not been able to ride or do pretty much any sort of sporting activity.  I’ve never felt so low.

3.  Eat well.  It’s so easy to skip meals or over indulge when you feel low.  Do yourself a favour and fill up on nutrients and all the superfoods you can find.  Your body will thank you for it and you won’t have to face the guilt after scoffing that family sized bag of Galaxy Counters.

4.  Go outside and go somewhere different.  A change in scenery always reminds me how small we are and how vast the world is.  Make the most of it.  There are so many interesting people out there and fascinating places to go to.  Life is too short not to explore.

5.  Change your hair.  Sounds basic but the feeling after a new haircut/colour is a real booster when your self esteem needs a pick me up.

6.  Clear out.  Nothing helps cleanse a clouded mind like having a good sort through all the clutter you have.  Sell your old things you no longer need, make room for new items and relish anything you find that reminds you of a happier time in your life.

7.  Find a new hobby.  Start a project, learn a new language, and take on that thing you’ve been meaning to do forever.  The time is now.  You’ll never be this young again, so just do it.

8.  Call that person you’ve been meaning to.  You never know- they might need cheering up to.  Equally surround yourself with friends, they CAN make you laugh and they will.

9.  Do something good for someone else.  Let’s not be selfish people, helping others will help yourself.  I’m not suggesting you give you every free minute in your life to volunteer but even a small act of kindness is one of the quickest ways to instantly feel good again.  Don’t forget to say thank you when someone else returns the favour.

10.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a GOOD person with a good heart.  Quit all the bitching and gossip and enjoy life. Being respectful to others will only breed happiness onto yourself.  Think about how you see yourself and how you want to be seen. Try and stop comparing yourself to others, you can only ever be you.  That’s why you need to be the BEST version of you possible.

Tell yourself that you’ve got this, a positive attitude can overcome a negative mind.

Don’t forget to SMILE : )

J xx

I’ve been absent from my blog for just over a week, which is pants.  About 9 days ago I managed to end up in hospital following a pretty bad fall from a horse.  It has been horrific, but I say pretty bad as it could have been a lot worse.  Moral of the story: wear a body protector!

Being in so much pain, damaged, immobile and TOTALLY reliant on others has made me really think about how much I take for granted and how grateful and thankful I really should be. In our lives it’s so easy  to moan and grumble about all
the ‘if onlys’ and the ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘if I worked harder/had more money/was curvier/thinner…’ etc etc , we forget about all the good things we have.

Being injured made me realise all the little things I normally take for granted. The freedom to drive, go where ever I want, change a pillow case without crying in pain, walk up and down stairs, run, or even brush the nest that is my hair without hurting.  It also made me realise how amazing people are, family and friends, and my dearest Bear.

Moving away from beauty and food, this post is all about my reasons to be happy and the things I am most grateful for 🙂 So I challenge you all today to think beyond the doom and gloom and appreciate the little things in life that, without which, you would be as miserable as Dot Cotton during a tomato juice strike.  You might have a the mother of all bitchy resting faces, but there’s ALWAYS a reason to smile!


Whether you’re single or not the people we love the most need telling.  Friends, family, housemates (I class mine as close friends), your partner, that girl/boy you’ve fancied since time began.  Tell them. When I lay in hospital freaking out it was my Dad and my boyfriend who made me feel safe and realise that, even though I detest hospitals almost as much as funerals, I was in good hands and I was ok.

We rely on our friends to be there for us and I don’t think we realise how much until we need them the most.  Heartbreak, death, birth, change.  The people we are closest to are the ones that get us through life’s highs and lows, yet are probably the people we take for granted the most.  They’ll always be there, right?  After Mum died I now always make a point of telling Dad I love him whenever we speak.  I wish I’d told Mum every day.  I’d have been lost this week without the Bear, my family, and my friends.  Nothing brings your relationship closer than your boyfriend stepping up to be your carer let me tell you!

I’d have been lost without all the lovely texts, notes, food parcels and little gifts from my chums. They made me feel loved when I felt really low and I hope that I can always be there for them when they need a friend in return.


If you can drive then you will know how amazing you felt when you first passed your test.  Over time that joy fades into rush-hour frustration but for me this week I realised how much I rely on little Hugo (my car) to go everywhere I need to. This week also made me so grateful for all the holidays I’ve had, especially my skiing trip recently.  I wouldn’t have been able to do that in my current state!  We are so lucky in our society that we can just book a flight and get out of here, we can even move to another town or country whenever we fancy.

Visiting new places not only widens your horizons but you learn so much and meet so many amazing people, and I’m so grateful for all the holidays and experiences I have had.  Here’s to many more!!!


This week I got lovely email from a company I’d written about in a previous post and it made me feel so happy!  I don’t work for myself (that’s my dream one day…) but my blog is the one thing I create alone, I make time for it and I know it’s all my work.  When I get a nice comment, or email it feels amazing because I know I’ve achieved that- all on my tod.  I love the blogging community, there are so many inspirational, interesting people out there, and even though sometimes it’s easy to just look at other people on social media and compare myself I also know there’s a tonne of support and wonderful things going on and I’m grateful to be a part of that.


Some people may scream at their screens, or laugh in disbelief, at my next sentence but it’s true so sorry. I miss exercise.

There I’ve said it. I totally hold my hands up though, I’m one of those people that when it’s cold and wet will have to force myself and argue in my head to run or do anything energetic but when the choice is taken away from you, it sucks.  I miss horse riding, I miss being able to sprint up the stairs, pick up my ridiculously heavy camera at work, and run until I can barely breathe.  When I came back from my skiing trip I was on such a healthy eating/exercise kick I was feeling so good about myself, and then my stupid accident happened.

Getting up early at the weekend to go to the yard does suck, but once I’m riding I’m in my happy place.  I am nervous about how I’ll feel when a horse starts tanking off with me again, but I miss being in the saddle and I miss riding my bomb-proof old pony Oslo.

Exercise makes you feel SO good about yourself afterwards.  The endorphin hype is real and even though it can be tough the sense of achievement afterwards can’t be matched.  If you can move, just do it! This time last year I was training for the London Marathon, this year I’m training myself to pick things up with crutches…


What a wonderful animal Oslo is.  My pride and joy (see above, photo credit: Lee Wallis) I love him more than words.  Not being able to drive to see him, stroke his velvety, moleskin-soft nose, and sit on top of the old boy is killing me. He wasn’t the horse I fell off (I love that horse too) but he is my special boy and I’ve owned him for over half my life.  He’s amazing. Everyone that meets him agrees and he’s taught me, and so many others an awful lot.

He’s the gentlest sole but a real character and I’d be lost without him.  Sometimes being at the yard, especially in winter, when everyone else is busy doing something else makes me question why I do it but then as soon as I’m at the yard I’m so happy and as soon as I cuddle Oslo I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  Having a horse is a massive commitment but I’m lucky enough to have a situation where other people look after him too.  It took eight long years to persuade my parents that having a horse would be a good idea, and I’ve never looked back.  Being away from him makes me realise how fortunate I am to have a horse, and the special bond that comes with it.


Recovering from an accident is a long process and it was good to know from my scans that, other than my current damage, I’m a healthy person.  This isn’t something anyone should take for granted.  My sight, smell, touch, ability to move, I’m thankful for it all and I’ve realised how important it is to look after myself.  Diet and exercise is cruicial, and even though I’m enjoying boxsets and chocolate, it’s made me realise how much I need to stay healthy- not just for my skin but for my insides too.  I love creating healthy meals and food can be so much fun, when you’re a child like me and can even turn your own breakfast into a bear!  Health isn’t just about the physical though, good mental health is vital and I really hit a low point last week and it’s easy to just fill your mind with sorrow and self-pity.  This is where staying active, surrounding yourself with positive people, experiencing new and exciting things, and travelling will keep you healthy in mind and body!


Anyone who knows me knows I live my life at 100mph.  I am always in a rush (usually late), and I’m always the ‘I don’t have enough time’ person. I would never spend a full day in bed, or lounging on the sofa, ever.  I don’t have enough time.

These injuries have forced me to do pretty much sod all, and I’m (sort of) grateful for this.  I also don’t want to waste it.  I think we waste so much time doing stupid pointless things, that we could actually spend doing useful things to help us achieve our dreams and goals.  I am 100% guilty of this.

My problem now is that I’m always saying how much I dream of time off work but now I have it I’m so immobile I can’t get anything done! So when I am back up and running I intend to spend less time procrastinating about what I want to do and actually get on and do it! Well, here’s hoping anyway… In the mean time I need to be grateful and thankful that I’ve been given time to think- about what I want to do with myself, my career, where I’d like to be and what I’d like to do.  Time is precious and it’s nice to spend time on your own, getting happy in your own skin. These are just a few things I’m grateful for, I could go on all day but no one wants to read that amount of shizzle and this is long enough as it is!

So get thinking about what you’re grateful for and what you probably take for granted, and don’t forget to tell the people you love that you do!

J xx