Everyday Life

Everyday Life: Bonfires, Books & The Woods


I don’t even know where to start, really. I guess I’ll start where I left off last time –  the reason I was (supposed to be) doing all the resting  this month.

I had a minor operation to remove a couple of small lumps from my massive head. They had to use local anaesthetic so they could talk to me as they did it. I was alright with that, I’ve never had a general anaesthetic and I am a wimp just at the thought of it. One nurse held my hand and monitored my reactions as they gave me the injections. ‘She’s still smiling,’ she said, as the surgeon made his first incision. ‘Let’s have a look what’s in there then,’ he said. It was a serious moment, I needed to be still, but then, with slightly nervous excitement I said, ‘I hope it’s gold and we can weigh it in!’

I had a nice time. Yes, I know that sounds odd, but, the surgeon and his team were so lovely to me, and I appreciated it.



A couple of days before I was lucky enough to be given a hair cut by Gen, the salon director at RUSH, Cambridge. I liked her. There was none of that holiday gossip small talk. She told me about wasps that lay their eggs inside caterpillars, and that flying ants are actually called princesses. She was enthusiastic and friendly, and at no point did she cut my face or insult me. I’m definitely going back.

I was pleased with my hair, it looked good – even the nurse said so as she gelled it flat to my head. She said it was really soft, so soft that she couldn’t get the hair clips to stay still, so she had to use gel. When the clips were removed my hair unfurled into a proper nineties style quiff (apart from I don’t think dried blood was a thing then). I had to keep the quiff for five days. I got quite used to it, but was relieved when I was finally able to wash it away.


I was so tired, for days. I had no idea I would be so tired. I think my brain didn’t tell my body what was happening, so it thought it was some kind of attack and acted a bit surprised. It did feel like someone had been trying to sculpt my head with a chisel. I stayed on the sofa and watched We Bare Bears back to back. (I love Ice Bear!)

I ate popcorn, a lot of popcorn, a much welcomed care package from my friends, the Chase’s. The goat’s cheese flavour was like grown-up cheesy puffs. (I’m allergic to goats milk products and it gave me a rash. Obviously I’m not greedy and was just trying to test the ingredients out! Hmmm.) My favourite flavour has to be the Smoky Bloody Mary – spicy tomato, yum.

We had to miss the penultimate round of the Lotus Cup Speed Championship at Curborough because my head wasn’t ready to wear a helmet, but the car is all fixed and looking awesome – especially if you squint, and make wheel squealing noises at the same time.




You know that post I wrote about doing good things for others last month? Well, not only did it get published via Keep Britain Tidy as part of their Waste Less, Live More campaign, but it also got published on the Huffington Post!

Oh yeah, sounds pretty good dunnit, but wait for it, innit… and then Arianna Huffington contacted me and personally asked me to contribute to her new project, Thrive Global. Yes, that’s right. (Takes a bow. Looks embarrassed. Takes another bow, does a curtsy.)

There’s a sleep related article in the pipelines, and I’m looking forward to trying to fit in as much research as I possibly can this month. (Zzzzzz).





I’ve also started work on an exciting project with two other photographers, Laura Ward and Jayne Lloyd, and in September we began shooting at the headquarters of Facebook in London.

What a place to work! I had a salad with a Snapdragon on it. And, yes, they do have a help-yourself sweet bar, but I can’t show you any hard evidence. Mmmm, pink foam prawns. (Sounds totally rank! Oh, apparently they’re called Pink Shrimps, that’s nicer.)

I met, and photographed, some amazing women, and at the end of the day, instead or feeling tired and weary, I felt energised. I also rode the back of a sofa in a floor to ceiling window, I don’t know how many floors up, to get my shot, because I am totally dedicated to the cause (and also lacking self-control).




The biggest thing this past month though, the consumer of my thoughts and the eater-upper of my time, has been GIRL TOWN. It’s been a lot of work, and planning, and late night/early morning Skyping, and it’s finally come together at Photomonth London in the form of the most excellent exhibition and residency. (Not sure I can be trusted, what with my over inflated ego?! Ignore me, and take Whitechapel Gallery’s word for it? They put it in their Top 5!) Fist pump, woo!

I’m not sure what chicken news there is this month. It’s feather moulting time, the garden is strewn with their discarded plumes. Sandra looks the healthiest she has ever done, Patty Slipper has just decided that it’s okay to sleep in the big house (result!) and April is still trying to sleep in the tree.

If you’ve seen my Instagram stories you’ll know I’ve had to use a ladder to get to her. It’s not easy, but she helps by stepping backwards off the branch and onto my head, so I can use both hands to climb back down again.




We had the most lovely and calm weekend with my brother and his family at their new home. Blackberry picking and gathering pottery finds from the fields. Saving hedgehogs (from their normal daily routine) and discussing ideas for the inception of our (that’s me and 7 year old Jocey) latest idea, Wild Toiletting magazine. And I accidentally got a pocket full of earwigs.




We ate our dinner outside in the woods – charred potatoes and soft buttery leeks cooked in the bonfire, and chicken cooked over pine, cherry and rhododendron wood. It was so good, we couldn’t even ruin it with our bad singing.



Cambridge Independent published their Top 11 Foodies to Follow, and there I am (by fluke, not ranking) at the top of the list.

“If you’re easily distracted by stunning photography then be prepared to lose a few hours on Karen Harvey’s blog, I Don’t Like Peas. Even if you do like peas, it’s well worth a look as Karen is an award winning photographer and accomplished writer. In addition to Cambridge reviews you might also come away with a cocktail recipe, travel tip or even a book recommendation.”

That’s nice, isn’t it?! (They forgot to mention the chickens though. Best not tell Sandra!)


Speaking of book recommendations, over on the Shutter Hub blog we shared our latest favourite photo books. There are some beauties, really there are. There’s loads of great stuff over on the Shutter Hub blog, actually. You should have a look, if you like nice things. We’ve got quite a few events coming up in October –  a talk at Brighton Photo Fringe, Jane Bown talk and panel discussion, London meet up, Manchester meet up, peer portfolio reviews in London. Media Futures workshop in Leeds – all of them totally free. And of course, the GIRL TOWN Photomonth exhibition, and BRIGHT in Leeds.

Hmmm, it’s no surprise really that I’m hopeful of ‘researching’ sleep at any possible opportunity…. Zzzzzzzz!



Oh, and I shovelled six tonnes of concrete in the rain (project ‘garage build’ is on), and now I’m about to launch myself into a month of madness. Send help… and shoes!