12/31/2013

The Next Day: My 2013 In Review.

I still can't quite believe that it's almost the end of 2013, and that we're about to say hello to January. Where on earth has this year gone?

It's been a very varied year in terms of new clients and interesting projects, so thought I'd do a review of my favourite images from each month. Some of them feel like they were shot a million years ago, whilst others just yesterday!

January.
Burlesque star Miss Banbury Cross with make-up by Empress of Slap, Lana Pillay.
January decided to throw me straight in at the deep end, with a shoot lined up for superstar make-up artist Lana Pillay (also known as Al Pillay and The Empress of Slap.)

The shoot was for Lana's portfolio work, and we were thrilled to have burlesque superstar Miss Banbury Cross lending her beautiful face for Lana to work on.

February:
Marnie Scarlet Diva.
February kept the burlesque theme going strong, with another of the cabaret world's top performers being captured by my lens. This time it was a fun latex filled shoot with Marnie Scarlet Diva who I had been lucky enough to meet when shooting her for Diva last year. I'm really looking forward to getting her in front of the lens again in early 2014 as she is an absolute joy to work with.

March:
Amazing hair by Alex Hardy at RUSH Hair. Make-up by Coco Syed. Latex by Sasha Louise. Accessories by Lovechild Boudoir. For full styling and model credits, click here.
March was a fun month as I got to work on quite a range of high fashion and vintage inspired editorials. The two which really stood out for me were the above series for Alex Hardy at RUSH Hair (which can be seen in full here) and the series below for Brighton based milliner, B Millinery.

Bettie Blue in B Millinery.
April:
My first task for April was shoot one of my favourite people and capture all of her tattoos. As her body is a stunning work of art, we went for a series of artistic nudes with the intention of conveying a feeling of freedom and liberation for Volup2 Magazine.

Part of the editorial for Volup2 Magazine. To see the full series without the tactical blurring, click here.
The second interesting shoot came quite by accident. One of my dear friends and favourite models travelled with me to do a shoot on a vintage Harley Davidson, but it was the owner who caught my attention on the day. Although the images of the model were beautiful, it was the gruff exterior of the gentle giant shot in-between outfit changes which became my favourite portrait. I think it was mostly because it's a world which I would normally have no access too, and I found him really intriguing.

The Enforcer, from the Vikings pack of Harley riders.

May:
Adventures on a narrow-boat.
May was a wonderful month, where I spent almost half of it sailing across the North canals in a beautiful narrow-boat with Howard and his family. It enabled me to have some much needed relaxation, with beautiful views, sunshine, rain and boardgames all featuring very heavily! As a child, I wanted to grow up and travel the world in a tiny boat writing stories and it was pretty difficult saying goodbye to it at the end of the two weeks. Although it's not an easy or glamorous life, I'd definitely swap land for the canals given the opportunity.

June:

The dazzling Lana Pillay, aka Al Pillay and The Empress of Slap.
June say my studio filled with sequins and songs as the always stunning songstress and cabaret star popped over for tea and a photo session. It's always a lot of fun shooting with Lana Pillay, and you can check out some her brilliant make-up tutorials here.

July:

July was a month of events, with lots of cross country travelling to capture a variety of celebrations, parties and happy memories.

August:
Introducing Lord Dicely, Gentleman Gamer.
My favourite shoot from August was incredibly easy to choose, as I managed to get my darling Howard in front of the camera in his guise as Lord Dicely. For anyone interested in boardgames, he has a fascinating (and often quite funny blog here. Hopefully next year will bring lots of videos too from the dashing gentleman gamer.

The stunning Luna DeLovely starring in her Behind Room 8 series.

Although it is also very much a work in progress, another highlight has been working on the Behind Room 8 series with one of my favourite people in the world, Luna DeLovely. I cannot wait to finish them off properly in the New Year and get them out there for all to see!

September:

September had too many wonderful shoots and events to choose from. I absolutely loved wielding the camera at Howard's father's 70th birthday, which involved lots of acting and poetry reading as well as the usual party spirit.

I was excited to work on some more portfolio work with Lana Pillay, this time aiming for a series which had a little more bite to them.

I was also thrilled to shoot chef and humanitarian Simon Boyle for both The Brigade and Beyond Food Foundation, with one of the images due to appear in a book soon.

October:
October saw lots of corporate events and product shoots, but the one which stood out the most to me was once again at The Brigade. This was because one of the events lined up was a chocolate making and decorating class with Coeur de Xocolat, and I of course had to sample all of it! I even got to make and decorate a chocolate lollipop for Howard, and it was such a fun and lively evening to capture.

November:
The beautiful Bettie Wishes and her friend, Ted.
November really spoke to my vintage sensibilities, and I was excited to work on Bettie's Christmas promo material.



I also picked up a new client called Bohemian Rose Vintage who sell the most stunning range of vintage jewellery. The only downside is that I wanted to buy almost everything I shot, but I did at least manage to pick something up for my sort-of-sister-in-law's Christmas present.

December:

Sadly most of the work I produced in December still needs to be kept under lock and key until publishing / competitions deadlines are over. However I was happy to work once again with Make-Up By Coco, Alex Hardy and another new client from RUSH Hair, Asta Gudiene. These photos are so beautiful, and I cannot wait to share them with you once I'm able to!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings, and hope that it brings all of you lots of fun, happiness and memories.

Happy new year! 


Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

12/29/2013

Golden Years; The Struggle Against New Years Resolutions.

I always think the week between Christmas and New Year is a bit like sitting in a railway station. You feel like you're waiting and waiting for something to happen, whether it's an end of year party or just getting back to a normal schedule. I love Christmas and all the fun which goes with it, but you do find that you lose track of the days and each festive movie begins to melt into the next.

My Christmas was a fun, happy boardgame filled affair in the countryside with Howard's wonderful family. I feel incredibly lucky that they've let me share in their traditions including finding the fabled sugar mice in my tree stocking and was absolutely spoilt by all of them. Although the day itself was great, I have always been a lover of Christmas Eve as it has a certain magic to the air, mixed with excitement and anticipation. I got to read a Christmas story to Howard's five year old niece and nephew which had already made my holiday complete before I even got to the giant pile of presents! There is nothing like two excited faces to make you go home filled with a genuine excitement for the happiness which Christmas can bring.

One of Mama Dicely's favourite games, K2. This always gets brought back to Lambourn, and you can read Howard's hilarious review of it here.
Back in London, our thoughts of course turned to plans for New Years Eve, and with that, I started to consider the crushing series of resolutions which would inevitably make my January miserable and leave me feeling a washed up failure by the first week of February. And then I decided that I was done with resolutions - what I really need to do is make some small changes, and re-focus. Instead of working against myself with deprivation, I am going to apply more moderation and see what happens.

1. Don't aim to lose weight - try to change your diet and fitness routine.
We've all been there on the 1st January with a raging hangover and an unopened box of Celebrations. Those promises of "I'm eating nothing but salads" have made way for "I need a fry up or I am going to die", and the thought of even crawling from the sofa to the kitchen makes you want to cry.

I've been in a constant battle with my weight since the age of 15, and it's taken until my early 30s to get a proper diagnosis of what's going on. For me, it has never been as simple as eat less and exercise more as my body is dealing with both PCOS and Insulin Resistance to quite severe degrees. Yet there are things which I can do to help moderate the condition - a low GI diet, making sure I do take regular exercise and ensuring that the things which are bad for my body are treats only, and not a regular occurrence. (Pizza, you, me and the rest of the carbs are going to have to have a little chat...)

It doesn't have to be a horrible, restrictive ordeal. It'll be fun to experiment with food and find tasty alternatives which will make me feel better both inside and out. I don't need to eat less, just differently, and when I fancy that slice of pizza or pack of Malteasers, I can do so without feeling guilty about it. Complete deprivation is a bad  idea as it often leads to feelings of shame and self hatred when we inevitable crumble after a bad day. Where's the fun in that? Life is for living, and I fully intend to keep that tub of ice-cream and emergency bottle of wine for those days where nothing quite else will do.

I have also learnt to take on board that I need to watch what I'm not eating as well as what I do. It's important to eat your five a day, but it also needs to be varied. Eating ten tangerines isn't going to give me enough protein or good fats! When I'm busy working I frequently have a bad habit of not eating enough which is incredibly bad for my blood sugar, thyroid and metabolism and need to start packing small healthy snacks to take on shoots with me. This will also hopefully stop me crashing once home and craving a truck load of carbs as I need a sugar fix.

Time will tell with this non-resolution, but it is one which I am feeling positive about. I'm looking forward to getting back on the running wagon and enjoying waking up with beautiful, foggy views from Hampstead Heath.

2. Don't aim to earn more money - ask yourself how you can be more successful.
Every January, I always seem to attack my business plan with some sort of wolf cry, and then instantly fall back into familiar patterns. This year has been one of my busiest with many new clients ranging from corporate big wigs to individual small businesses and sole traders. So why hasn't my bank balance reflected this? Even more frightening, why has my work / life balance turned into work / work / sleep for five hours / work?

Certainly November and December saw me take on more work than I could reasonably manage, and it was by editing insane amounts in my pyjamas on caffeine highs that I managed to clear the backlog in time to hit their respective deadlines. So what was the problem? It all stems from knowing what your worth is and although I have a series of rates, I have always been happy to work on a sliding scale with smaller businesses and individuals. But taking on a job which sucks up all your time for next to nothing? Sometimes you need to know your worth and walk away.

This year I am not going to be afraid to ask for what I feel my time and work is worth. I'll be happy to negotiate, but being paid isn't someone doing you a favour. It's because you can fulfil the client's specific needs to a perfect standard. This is something I need to remember when moving forward. I don't want to get to next December, and contemplate how hard it is to be this broke!

I have also learnt to not be afraid of trying new things. Two years ago, I started up Whiskey Kittens with my friend Tom, and discovered that I'm actually quite good at DJing! Who knew? This has led to being paid to DJ at private parties, events and even weddings, and with a wide love of music ranging from 20s jazz to 70s glam and beyond, I've been quite flexible and picked up a lot of gigs as "that vintage DJ" which totally works for me!

(If anyone who wants to offer me some work, I am also an internationally published writer too with particular interests in fashion, music, cinema and vintage lifestyles. Just in case anyone's looking...)

My plan moving forward is to sort out my portfolio, upload my new work, cut the old stuff and hype up the other things I'm good at. It's easy to be stressed and second guess yourself, but if you're a freelance and you're surviving in this climate, you must be doing something right!

It feels incredibly liberating to ditch the new year ball and chains. I'm hoping that a clear mind and fresh outlook which offer a more positive avenue to seeing the changes I want to make happen. I am also hoping that it will be easier to bounce back from when things inevitable go wobbly from time to time.

Here's to a happy 2014, with no self-loathing, deprivation, impossible diet restrictions and self imposed stress. Remember it's easier to make small changes when feeling more positive, and small changes eventually add up to huge ones.

Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

12/21/2013

Let It Snow - Vintage Delights with Bourjois Java Rice Loose Powder.

I'm going to be honest and say that I initially brought the Bourjois Java Rice Loose Powder for two reasons. Firstly, I had spilled the entirety of my current  powder compact over my bathroom floor, and secondly, how beautiful is the vintage inspired packaging?

Bourjois have recently celebrated 150 years in the beauty business, so the Java Rice Loose Powder is a modern dupe of their cult classic from 1879. Sold as a "radiance powder", it sets, smooths and boosts your skin's natural glow all in one swoop of a fan brush.

I had brought it with the intention of using it as a setting powder, and was surprised to find that it looked very shimmery in the pot. Used sparingly, it's still suitable for all over the face but is particularly effective on the cheek bones as a subtle illuminator. A lot of reviews have compared it to the Ambient Lighting Powder by Hourglass and at a quarter of the price, I didn't really believe that was possible. But having tried it, Bourjois have really upped their game and have both blurred the skin and the lines between drugstore and high end products as it really does work the same sort of cosmetic alchemy on your face.

The product itself is a slightly shimmery, pink, translucent powder which is suitable for all skin tones. It's finely milled to avoid being too teenage-sparkle prone or too ashy. It also comes packaged in a handy sifter jar so it thankfully won't suffer the same fate as my previous powder.

The powder has a very light scent to it too which felt very evocative of my childhood, and even with my difficult sensitive skin, the perfumed element didn't dry it out or irritate.

Whilst long term I don't think it would replace my usual setting powder, it is certainly a product I will buy again as a subtle highlighter. I felt it really gave my face a lift when swept over my cheekbones and brow bones and is definitely a product to get my face through all the Christmas and New Year festivities!

Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.) 

12/20/2013

Dancing Machine

Whiskey Kittens is the monthly club night I run with my darling friend Tom, and with it's mixture of rock and roll and burlesque sensibilities, it's the perfect excuse to really dress up.

I'd been dying to wear my Hell Bunny petticoat which I'd picked up brand new for a bargain price from Greenwich Market a few weeks previous and I felt it really filled out my Collectif swing dress in all the right places.

Dress: Collectif Dolores Doll Classic (£50).
Bolero: Gift from a friend.
Petticoat: Hell Bunny.
Underbust Bodyshaper: Magisculpt Retro Bodyshaper at Simply Be (on sale from £17.50). 
Tights: Tights: Simply Be (£16 for two pairs).
Boots: Primark.
Roses: Pearls & Swine.
Necklace: Custom made by Bete Noire Jewellery.

Of course my favourite accessory of the night was my handsome chap, Lord Dicely. It always find it quite sweet how he steps out of his usual goth scientist attire to step back to a 1950s hunk. 

Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.) 

12/19/2013

Christmas Wrapping


Are you getting as excited for Christmas as I am? There was a time where I really found it difficult to feel the festive love, but being Howard's girlfriend and a member of #teamhylda has forced me to embrace the season of mulled wine and silly jumpers with open arms. We've been getting into the party spirit sincewe put up our tree on the 1st December, but there is one annual Christmas shindig which always really confirms for me that Christmas is almost upon us.

Every year my darling friend Lana Pillay throws a glittering Christmas party, with a beautiful tree, lots of bubbles and fascinating people . Being a showbiz starlet and celebrity make-up artist over at The Empress of Slap, I needed to make sure my outfit was right for the occasion so opted for my Lady V London dress and some slinky shapewear from Simply Be to keep everything in place!
Dress: Lady V London.
Underbust Bodyshaper: Magisculpt Retro Bodyshaper at Simply Be.
Tights: Simply Be.
Coat: Asos Curve.
Roses (in hair): Pearls & Swine.

The soggy weather certainly didn't dampen any Christmas spirits (and goodness knows, plenty of spirits and bubbles were consumed!)


I'd even attempted some tacky festive nails, using two Barry M varnishes (one of their red gellys and their snow like Christmas glitter which I'd previously wrote about here.)

I have one more deadline to hit before I can step up from mulled wine to ALL the gin, rum and Quality Streets and absolutely cannot wait. In the meantime, here's a festive message from the lovely Lana (and if you're in need of some Christmas party make-up tips, check out her YouTube channel here.)


Enjoy all those Christmas parties!

Until next time,

Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.) 

12/18/2013

Let Your Hair Down


One of the questions I get asked the most is how I get my hair to look the way it does. As someone who has hair which of a naturally frizzy texture, I have spent many years fighting against it with an assortment of tongs, straighteners and all manner of heated torture instruments.

It took until my late 20s to realise that I just needed to work with it. Despite being neither quite curly or straight, it was still versatile and held a style when properly set. With that in mind, I looked up lots of different ways to create soft waves which didn't require the damaging heat I'd constantly attack it with.

Pin curls became my hair saviour for a variety of reasons - they are easy to sleep in, can resemble a neat up-do when setting and take little more than a handful of bobby-pins. And as for the fringe, my trick is to roll it around a cut up bun doughnut and secure in place with more pins.

Beware - make-up-less  how to photos ahead!

What Do I Need?
 Freshly washed hair which is mostly air dry.
♥ Paddle Hair Brush.
 Hair serum.
 Hair Pins.
 Hair Spray.
 A hair doughnut cut open.

Make sure you're armed with lots of bobby pins to help keep the pin-curls in place.

Use a cut-up bun doughnut to create a faux-bang.

A little hair serum run over the ends before pining up will help reduce frizz when the curls are brushed out.
How Do I Pin-Curl My Hair?
1. Section off the front part of your hair which will later create your faux-bangs.

2. Take the doughnut and with your hair starting underneath, roll upwards towards your forehead.

3. Secure in place by pinning the ends into your hair with bobby pins.

4. Once secured, fan the hair out along the fringe so that it covered the entire doughnut.

5. For the pin curls themselves, take a section of hair and roll the ends around your fingers. The larger the section, the larger the wave created.

6. Carefully roll the hair back up towards your scalp, making sure that the ends are kept tucked in.

7. Pin the curl to your head. Cross over two pins in an x shape for maximum hold.

8. Continue this until all your hair is pinned up and spray with hairspray. Leave overnight or as long as possible
How Do I Tie A Headscarf?
Often I'll run to a shoot with my pin-curls happily concealed under a silk scarf as it keeps my hair out of my way and ensures that it'll be freshly brushed out if going somewhere afterwards. It's become a style which I choose to wear whilst running errands as no one need know it's functional rather than just a look you were going for. I'm always amazed by how many people compliment me on my "hair" when all they can see is my faux-bangs peeking out!

1. Take a large headscarf and fold it in two so that it becomes a triangle.

2. Place the "triangle over your entire head so that the longest ends are on your shoulders, and the shortest ends, your forehead.

3. Take the longest ends and bringing them upwards, tie into a knot. This should make the scarf feel tight and secure around your head.

4. Pick up the two shorter ends and pull one either side. In each hand, you should be holding one end each from the shorter and longer sides of the triangle.

5. Tie the ends into a bow and use a few hair grips to ensure the scarf stays in place.
6. If you feel inclined, add some sheer red lips and black eye-liner flicks to really go for that retro nod.
What Next?

When you take the curls out the next day, you'll find that you have something resembling ringlets in your hair. I always feel like some sort of screen siren at this point, although the reality is I look a bit more like a cocker spaniel!


There have been times where I've sprayed insane amounts of hairspray on them and let them be, but they will sadly drop very quickly especially if it's warm.

What I do next is take a large paddle brush and start to gently break through the curls. This is the point where I always panic as for a few minutes, you will see frizz. A lot of frizz. However, keep brushing again and again, and use your fingers or the brush pad itself to create the shape of the curls. After a few minutes if doing this, your hair will magically start to look like waves again and you can breath a sigh of relief!


When happy with it, rub a tiny bit more serum over your hair to smooth any fly-aways, and you are good to go!

I really hope that helped with how to do pin curls - please feel free to leave any questions in the comments if you're not sure about something.

Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.) 

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