Blog post by Nampet • November 5, 2020

Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to have the most amazing experience of having my portrait painted by artist, Hazel Morgan. Not many people get to say they’ve been oil-painted by one of the leading portrait artists of their generation!

Nampet in a white dress – painted by Hazel Morgan

We travelled to Salisbury (where Hazel lives), and stayed overnight in London on the way because I needed to get some things for school too. We stayed in a very cosy hotel called Point A in Westminster. The staff were so lovely, and the first thing I did when I got there was eat the fancy truffles in the room. After settling in the room, we went shopping. When we went to Matalan to get a new hoodie, we realised at the till that Mum had lost her bank card! Luckily a kind man called Gary helped us out at the station and we managed to get the last of the shopping before getting back to the hotel. I relaxed and played some Roblox before bed, knowing I had an exciting day ahead tomorrow, meeting Hazel.

In the morning, I scoffed the last of the truffles, had some breakfast, and we picked up a bunch of flowers for Hazel and some Lush bath-bombs for her daughters.

Hazel picked us up from the station and drove us to Woodford. The scenery was beautiful and so green. Then we arrived at Hazel’s cottage. It was so lovely and she was such a great host. She has a daughter about my age, so we got chatting and became friends. She has an older daughter about 13 too, who joined us on the trampoline.

Nampet Sae-Heng sitting for Hazel Morgan

Sitting for an artist is quite a long process, so having Hazel’s daughter there entertained me for some it. It was also made easier by the fact I felt so comfortable. Hazel did such a great job of putting me at ease and making the cottage feel like a safe, relaxed space. We tried lots of different outfits and ballet poses, both sat down and stood up, and Hazel took some photos to work from throughout. The poses we settled on were an attitude to the back, extending my arm in fifth above my head, and one of me sat down tying up my pointe shoes.

Nampet sat in a blue dress – painted by Hazel Morgan

I was allowed breaks during the sitting, so I could stretch and chill out a bit. Also, Hazel put a mirror in the room so that I could see what she was doing. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly Hazel worked – it was really impressive. Another way Hazel made the time go quickly was by putting on a Disney film to occupy me whilst she painted; it was called ‘Into the Woods’, and it was a fun way to keep me entertained whilst keeping still!

The paintings took three days in total, so we stayed at the cottage and I got to have sleepovers with my new friend.

When Hazel was finished, it looked incredible.

I’ve also just started my new school, Norwich High School for Girls. It’s really fun so far. I found it a little hard to make friends at first because I was nervous, but I really gained confidence after the first week and got better at introducing myself. Now I feel much more settled and love that I have made new friends.

My new school uniform

I’m really enjoying the lessons because I feel like so much new information is being presented to me in a new way.

It’s quite a change from my last school, which was a small village school with only 11 people per class. At Norwich High School for Girls, there are 18 people in my class. Aside from being much bigger, it’s also got so many amazing resources and facilities. At my last school we had 20 Chromebooks for the whole school, but on my first day at Norwich, we got given an iPad each. Some teachers prefer using the iPad to teach and others prefer textbooks, but it’s nice to have a combination of both.

School work on the ipad

English is definitely my favourite at the moment. We’re currently studying ‘Journey to the River Sea’ by Eva Ibbotson. Our homework was to read three chapters but I loved it so much that I read the whole thing!

At the moment we’re having all of our subjects taught in our form room, to save people being too close at the moment because of Coronavirus. I actually prefer it this way instead of moving from room to room, because you can feel settled for the day. Also, we have to wear masks when walking around the corridors, and you have to pay £1 if you forget it, so it’s much easier to stay in the form room.

Next term they are planning to have us move from classroom to classroom for each subject, which I’m a little anxious about, but the positive of that is that I’ll get to meet people from the other forms. At the moment I’ve only been able to socialise properly with my form group, so to make even more new friends next term will be exciting.

I was a little shocked at how late lunch is at school, as they are staggering lunch slots at the moment, meaning it can be anywhere between 1:10pm and 1:40pm. I’m always hoping I’m one of the earlier slots!

Outside of school, I’m also keeping busy. My private ballet lessons look a little different at the moment because my teacher is not allowed to place their hands on me because of government guidelines for the pandemic. I’m having to take instruction, which is a new challenge for me and my teacher, but we’re adapting.

I was working towards a ballet exam before lockdown, but because of all the disruption this year, it wasn’t able to happen, so my teacher decided to start training me for the level up. This new exam that I’m aiming towards is more advanced, and when I went to book in for it, my teacher and I realised that you have to be 12 years old to take it. It’s not a problem they’ve come across before because I’m the youngest student that has been put forward for the exam.

Gymnastics is also looking different at the moment. They too aren’t allowed to have hand-on contact, which is even harder when it comes to gymnastics, because I’m used to teachers helping to position me and support me. Even though it’s difficult, I’m so happy to be back doing it, because I missed it so much over lockdown. I was doing conditioning from home every day, but it wasn’t the same as actual class. I’ve gotten a small sprain in my ankle at the moment, so I’ll have to take gymnastics and ballet slowly for a little bit, but it won’t hold me back.

It’s been an eventful few months, and I’m so thankful for all the experiences I’ve had. I can’t wait to see what the coming term holds for me.