Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts


Sleepless, Long Nights, that is what my Youth was for...

I did it Ladies and Gents! I, Emily Duffield, speaker of no Portuguese, owner of two left-feet, and know-er of no-one in Brazil, donned on the heaviest, and certainly most extravagant outfit I've ever worn, and sang and paraded my way through Rio Carnival's Sambadrome as part of the Beija-Flor Samba School. Carnival is such a huge deal throughout Brazil - each Samba School represents so much to its people, and whilst it's extremely competitive, it's also the most magnificent spectacle you could possibly ever see, or have the honor of being a part of. The colors are magnificent, the atmosphere is electric, and the excitement is truly indescribable.

In all honesty, I couldn't quite believe I'd pulled this one off, and especially now as I sit back in a grey, cold London, I certainly can't. And what makes it even more unbelievable to myself is that my Samba Parade won the whole Rio Carnival! Beija-Flor were announced the winners the hour before I left for my flight home, and as I struggled through the airport with a large additional suitcase, which just managed to fit my costumes headpiece inside to bring home safely, it felt like the icing on the cake of a very sweet, dulce de leche flavored trip. The rest of the outfit is on some ship somewhere over the Atlantic right now, and should hopefully arrive in a huge box sometime before Notting Hill Carnival. Bets are already being taken for which of my male friends has to wear it this year...

I spent the last eleven nights of my Brazil trip partying non-stop in Rio. From beach to bloco, from bloco to nightclub, Brazil doesn't sleep during Carnival, and neither did I. I needed four fillings (!!) on coming back home, and if that doesn't say Caipriniah overload then I don't know what does. Before my party marathon, however I got back to basics in the Amazon. Intrepid I am, practical I am not...

Not the most prepared, I turned up in Manaus the day before I embarked on my Amazon Adventure with a checklist of essentials I had to source for the jungle. Shopping when you cant speak Portuguese, don't know the town, and have stepped right off a 24 hour airport-to-airport sleepless flight made my task all the more difficult. Consequently I turned up to take on the jungle with my following take on the list's essential items (...and I feel this has to come with a 'don't try this at home kids' warning...) :

A pair of £10 bright white plastic trainers instead of proper trekking shoes. An umbrella instead of a waterproof raincoat (the only one I could find was a small child's 'Barbie' one and I couldnt move my arms in it so the woman in the shop would not let me buy it) left me praying it wouldn't monsoon. My protective head wear was a gangster cap with 'G-UNIT' written in gold on it. Oh and the trousers to protect me against snake bites? My black Primark leggings. And what was my camouflaged backpack to take with me into the jungle? A bright pink child's rucksack with 'FASHUN' written in large gold letters on.

I looked ridiculous, and a safety hazard in itself. When I met my fellow trekkers and they were all attired in head-to-toe mosquito body suits, camouflage clothes, proper shoes, and had been planning it for months, me and my hastily bought bright pink rucksack stood out like a sore, ghetto thumb. David Attenborough would not have been impressed.

But practicality issues aside, my time spent in the Amazon truly has to be one of the most magical things I've experienced. To canoeing through floating forests, to camping out in the jungle, watching the sunrise rise over the river whilst surrounded by dolphins, to learning about healing plants and trees it was a beautiful experience. Ok, so my attempt at carving my own cutlery whilst 'surviving' in the jungle left me with chopstick-like utensils (I had to eat with my hands), and my attempt at fishing for my own dinner found me 'catch' the boat and recruit others to help me pull in the 'massive fish' I was struggling with (...we nearly capsized.)

And so glitter, lost fish, and samba hips aside, I'm now back in London. Bronzed, hungover and very cold. Back home things haven't changed. You return feeling slightly altered: you've experienced a million different things and your life moved at a million paces; but then your back and things are exactly the same. Whilst comforting, it can't help but make me urge others to go out and see parts of the world before it's too late. Life back home will always wait, but life experiences wont.

And after spouting off that little hippy freedom speech, I'm now going to directly contradict it, as I am taking the step to being a little less fancy-free, and am attempting to get a mortgage in London. I've lived in seven different places over the last two years, and in all honesty it's about time I had somewhere that I actually could call a home, and it be mine. Plus the sooner I get my own flat, the sooner I can get a French Bulldog right? I have no visions of grandeur with my first home, an ex-council estate in Hackney it will be (says the budget). Well, either that or Essex. But I'm not really into vajazzles, so East London vibes it is.

I've just wrapped my first TV commercial of this year, and am starting work on another next week. My body's now used to late nights from laptop spreadsheets rather then samba beats. Whilst the verdicts still out as to which one involves less sleep, I know which one definitely involves more chocolate.

I work hard at my career so I can go get lost on dreamy beaches, and last year I Produced an hour long documentary called 'Black and Blue'. Its airing tonight (22nd March) for the first time on Sky Sports 1, at 6.55pm. Shameless self-promotion from me, but if you find yourself at a lost end please do tune in. It was a great pleasure to make, and something I'm extremely proud off.

Emily x


Los Angeles to London. With love (and extra baggage...)

So here I am at LAX, awaiting my flight.

I'm too excited to make London my base again. I fell in love with the city last summer, and I'm sure that feeling will continue this year. It's about time I began to root myself, stop always flying away and have a base (for a time). I'm sure the fact that I know I'm coming home to warmer weather then I left is prompting this thought, but hell, I feel like being more settled. And what can settle one more then the pitter-patter of tiny feet? No, not a baby I hear you gasp...but a sausage dog? Ive wanted one for far too long now. Maybe the time is finally right? I'm sick of pretending to walk 'Frankie' down the street when no-ones around, maybe I just need to man up and walk a REAL one. Although 'Frankie' is very good with commands!

But that's a by-thought, really whats occupying my mind is two things. Number one; quite how expensive and inaccessible is froyo going to be back in the UK, and number two; quite how much money do I need to open my own froyo palace in East London?

I've got far too much stuff. I'm currently wearing five layers underneath a fur coat, and I've got Reece's Buttercups tucked into my shoes. The metal detector is going to have a whale of a time when I go through, and the Reece's are already starting to melt from the heat radiating off my highly layered body. This is going to be one very messy arrival at London Heathrow. I do this every time and never learn. Next time I'm going to need a man to help with this, or at least have enough left on my credit card to buy extra baggage allowance. I'm now starting to panic that I gave my boyfriend the right flight arrival details, as if not I'll be paying people in squashed Reece's Buttercups to help me lug it all onto the tube. Oh who am I kidding, I'll have eaten them all on the flight.

I give my tan three weeks until I'm back to applying to several layers of Garnier sun-shimmer. And I've given my social life two weeks where I can loftily say 'Oh this tan? It's just from living in Los Angeles the last three months dah-ling'. And then it will be over. And people will be coming back from Ibiza more bronzed, and I'll be fuming as I spent all my would-be Ibiza funds on drinking Slurpee's out here.

But I've had the best time, met some amazing people (although not Ryan Gosling), and happily ticked off one of my life's ambitions. I couldn't be prouder of myself for just doing it, and couldn't stress more the belief that if there's something you want to do, well you should just do it (as long as its like socially acceptable ya know). 

Oh and Dad, I'm onto Tattoo no.7. I'm sorry, but it had to be done. I now bear an angel wing behind my right ear as a dedication to my time in the City of Angels. I hope it looks good, as I can't see behind my ear, and I went to the tattoo shop on my own. Hold up - he's blatantly inked a penis behind my ear hasn't he?! I knew I shouldn't have made that joke about his beard...

Los Angeles you've been the best, but London, your going to be even better.

Emily x


Froyo, Flu and Freckles...February in the sun.

Ruben Domingo

Ruben Domingo

Venice Canals at sunset
Ruben Domingo

Lizzeth Noreiga

So it's official. I love L.A, and I love frozen yogurt. I'm twelve days straight at the moment and bar the brain-freeze, maaan it feels good. Or rather I should say, tastes good. And I should know. I've fully sampled my local Yogurtland's WHOLE range, and when a new flavor of the month came out at the weekend (red velvet cupcake in-case your interested) even I was embarrassed at how excited I got.

So I figure as an avid lover of frozen yogurt who could be a better brand ambassador then moi? Ok, so the one time I tried this with Pepsi they didn't quite fall for it, but I was pitting myself against the likes of Britney Spears and Beyonce. Yogurtland's mascot is like a cow or something, so I figure our appeals on a similar par.

Yogurtland I hope your hearing this. I would write to them to tell them this, but hey who uses letters in this day and age. Instead I plan to work my way in through instagram... by posting heavily filtered froyo's and hash-tagging the hell out of them. I think this is the best option; my boyfriend back in the UK is pretty sick of waking up each morning to a different whats-app picture of a frozen yogurt, so I need to expand my audience.

Apart from building up my collection of Yogurtland's takeaway spoons, since my last blog post I have been lucky enough to shoot a lot of fashion with some great photographers and companies. (And Father since your last email, I apologize in advance for the smoking in the above images). One of my favorite shoots was on Venice Beach, and shot entirely on old film cameras. The fun really is in waiting to get the images back, completely unsure of how they are going to turn out. And all the films imperfections only add to its charm. (for the ease of distinguishing the film from digital I have placed them at the end of this post!)

And when I haven't been shooting Ive been flu-ing. If that is such a word. My mouse-like immune system has not taken well to being in and out of the cold Californian sea, and my glands decided to swell up sumo-wrestler style. Now I'll admit I'm a hypochondriac at the best of times, so I self-diagnosed glandular fever and started crying about having to book flights home.

I didn't book flights home however, as I found out my boyfriend had booked us tickets to Disneyland as my Valentines day present, and I'll be dammed if I don't live out my dream in March and go round for the day dressed as Minnie Mouse. So I ate an entire pack of jelly vitamin C tablets. Didn't help, but hey, they tasted like fruit pastels. Cue Mama Linda and her 'super chicken corn chowder soup'. It may have looked like the dogs dinner, but it worked. Like a dream. And coincidentally it also tasted like a dream. Creamy, chickeny and potatoey it is yet another thing to add to my growing list of favorite American foods.

The weather is still delightfully sunny, and I have grown freckles. It's only taken twenty-six years. If I could have told this to my thirteen year old self who used to try to recreate them with brown felt-tip, then I feel my teenage years may have been less angsty, and would have looked less like I had some weird large blackheads on my nose every weekend. My twenty-six year old self however has suddenly realized its only going to age me, and little too late has bought an anti-wrinkle cream and decided to start applying suncream.

I look forward to the month of March as I have some really special people coming out to see me. One of those is my baby sister who I have not seen for over a year due to her living in Australia. Like me she has wanderlust, a taste for the sun, and also like me she has written into The Ellen Show to play on our 'reunion' story. (Ellen give us tickets - and possibly a car too?!) Whilst my loved ones are out here I plan on playing the tourist and adding to my tattoo collection with some new ink.

I'm leaving Mama Linda and the beautiful Marina Del Rey to move to an apartment in Santa Monica for the next month. I'll miss Mama Linda's home cooking, but shes promised to send me on my way with a full compilation of the best Motown and her corn chicken chowder recipe.

February may be drawing to a close, but my Yogurtland campaign is only starting... cows beware.

Emily x

Above images shot on CONTAX 645 - 80mm Lens - BW - ACROS 100 Film by Gabe Sachs
Above shot on CONTAX 645 - 80mm Lens -COLOR - PORTRA 160 by Gabe Sachs
Above images shot on LEICA M6 - 50mm Summicron - BW - ACROS 100 Film by Gabe Sachs


California Soul...

It's been a long time coming, but here is it, my first blog from sunny California.

I touched down just over a month ago, raring and ready to start this adventure to immediately be put to at an abrupt halt in New York airport. Due to bad snow conditions the airport was at a standstill, and my connecting flight to the sunshine of L.A looked like a distant dream. Told I could not get a seat on another flight for three days, and with no hotels available I received my meal tickets, made friends with the caretaker, and took up residency on the airport floor. New Yorkers are notoriously rude, and the ones I encountered were no different. Apart from one. A young woman at the flight desk offered me her spare room to use after she finished her second job at the hospital that night. I was touched by a strangers kindness. (Obviously I didn't take her up on the offer....she could have been an axe-murderer for all I knew), but it warmed my heart in a somewhat chilly airport.

After sobbing to flight desks and sobbing to my boyfriend back in London (o2 phone-bill LOVED that one!) I finally managed to get a standby seat on a flight a day later. Heavy heart lifted, I arrived in L.A, got to my hostel....and then it sank again.

I was on Hollywood Blvd. At night. Now if you guys have ever been to Hollywood, you will know it ain't like the movies! It's not a good place to be at night, and the colorful mix of crackheads and prostitutes make it even the more uninviting.

I kicked myself into action (after all I was not going to leave the sunshine for cold back home quite so easily) and I quickly found myself a place to live. With a heated pool, jacuzzi, gym and my own balcony I finally started to feel like I was in L.A. And the best bit about it all? The woman I live with. 'Moma' Linda is like my black American mom. She listens loudly to Aretha Franklin, cooks the best homemade burgers, gives me donuts for breakfast, and when I get a job says things like 'Baby Gurl I am so proud of you!'.

And I have been working hard. On my tan. Bearing in mind the last time I was properly in the sunshine was one whole year ago when I was living in Australia, this has been a welcome break. L.A has peak tanning from 12 - 2pm so regardless of wherever I am, I try to get out at this point and expose any flesh I can to the sunlight. Envision baby turtles scuttling to the sea to survive...well that's me at midday running into the last patch of sunlight on pavement. The Californians think I'm stark raving mad... "it's the winter dude?!" but they just don't understand what its like for us sun-deprived Brits. 

But apart from the tanning I quite seriously have been working too. On a few American Film Institute short films, a 'tinder' documentary (which co-incidentally is filming back in London in March... if anyone wants to be on it hit me up!), and had several exciting meetings with Production Houses out here. I have also been working with some lovely L.A photographers on several fashion shoots (pictures soon to be on the blog!)

One thing which has come to me as a huge eyeopener is the large gulf between the rich and the poor in America. Due to my fear of driving on the right hand side of the road, I've been exposed to it more then most whilst taking the public transport. And let me tell you, taking public transport out here can be a rather scary experience. Unlike in London where everyone and anyone uses the tube, out here only crazies, drug-dealers and Mexican cleaners seem to be on the bus. And that is no exaggeration. The bus drivers are like the toughest people I've ever seen (especially the ones with the Hollywood and Downtown LA routes), and they have to be.

When I'm not getting harassed at the bus-stop for cigarettes, or trying to ward off the weed fumes coming from the gangs hanging around, I witnessed a rapping man the other day. He just would not stop rapping. To no-one and everyone. I couldn't figure out if I was impressed or scared (a little of both I think) but all I kept thinking in my head is 'this is so #america right now Emily'. Yes, I hash-tagged in my own head. I kind of wanted to look, but I didn't want to be drawn into like a bus rap-battle as I didn't need to show him up with my own rapping skillz. (I see my friends rolling there eyes here...oh god is white middle-class Emily drunk and trying to rap again?)...moving on anyway....

Macklemore was not lying, I've been popping tags in the thrift shops out here! They are awesome, and before my time is up I plan on dedicating a post to the best thrifty's here in this big ol' city. And there is a lot of them. You can tell a good one by the smell of bad breath... the worse the smell, the better the bargains.

It's taken its damn time and a lot of frozen yogurt, but L.A living has seriously won me round. The sunshine each day is just so uplifting, as is the positive attitude of most of the people out here. The TV is trash, there's a Starbucks on every corner, and there are free refills on giant size sodas. Everywhere. I also have come across quite possibly my new favorite food. I use the term 'food' rather loosely here (I could eat a plate of it) but I'm sure most other people would see it as a *ahem* dressing. Ladies and gents I present, RANCH DIP. Creamy, garlicky and oh so good (bad), I will be filling my suitcase home with bottles. To every other American its just 'raaaanch man', but to me...well its been an eye-opener let me tell you. On what us Europeans are missing out on! (friends you will be re-educated back home).

My hair has gone darker yet again due to the hair-dyes 'ash brown' color coming out jet-black, and due to me using a permanent dye, well there isn't really much I can do about it. But now I'm tanning the color of what I'd describe as 'stained wood' I figure looking more Mexican can only aid me on my frequent bus rides out here. So really, the positives outweigh my hair faux pas (although my forehead still has a black-stain a week on...)

I guess I'm kind of on a sabbatical out here, and I tell you what....I thoroughly recommend it. Book that ticket, and get on that plane. Life is just too short. You have a dream, chase it. It's that simple. Or at least it was to me.

And I don't regret it yet...
Emily x


'BITCH IM FROM THE SW12' : A load of air from the Big Smoke

So as per life has taken over, and my blog has suffered terribly as a result. Sorry blog. But it's the Easter weekend, I have a few days to myself (albeit to nurse hangovers) so what better way to make myself feel better then to write about my life?

So I moved down to London mid-January amidst the snow. And here I am end of March still amidst the snow. As yes, England has not warmed up, and this elusive spring is still looking very elusive. I don't need to hear about how "it was 25 degrees this time last year", all I am very aware of (whilst I place layer over layer to leave the house) is how it most certainly is not right now. The only part of my body which is cheering this freezing weather is my lungs. I have cut back ridiculous amounts on cigarettes as when weighing up whether to turn into a block of ice for a hit of smoke, I choose not.

Since moving to London I've moved house, moved jobs, and lost numerous valuable items. I've fallen asleep on tubes, fallen down tube stairs, made some amazing new friends and caught up with amazing old friends. I've learnt to never trust my navigation skills (ending up in Guildford instead of Picadilly Circus can do that to you), but to always walk with purpose: even if your getting on the tube going north when you should be going south. (It just makes you feel more clued up). (Even though your obviously not). I've had a huge shock at the price of things here in regards to my meager wage, and whilst trying to live the high-life have been surviving off free Nutella sandwiches at work. Everyday. For about 6 weeks. I've been drunk in more bars then I can remember names, yet still haven't scratched the surface of London's nightlife.

All in all I LOVE IT. I love it! I can't express the natural high I still get when I get out at Piccadilly station each morning to be surrounded by grand buildings, theaters, statue's and London's iconic red buses. Maybe its because I was away for so long, but I cant help but feel proudly British for our wonderful, vibrant, buzzing capital. I love the accents, the cheek, the banter and I have wholeheartedly fallen for this city and been swallowed up by it. My itchy feet are itching a lot less now I'm living in the Big Smoke.

I'm living South of the river in the most beautiful house in Balham. Resigning myself to the fact that I would probably be searching for a place to live for weeks, view numerous pokey rat infested flats, and end up living with a strange old Latvian man in a damp room, luckily my experience could not have been more different. I put up an ad, had a response, went to view the house and BANG love at first sight. With the house and housemate. Trying not to be too rash (I'm always far too rash) I thought I can't get the first house I viewed, but left the property with myself and Lisa (my housemate) gushing "I shouldn't say this but I really want to live with you". So after working out ze old finances I did. No rats or strange old foreign men in sight, my new house comprises of myself and three other lovely creatives. Working in PR, Fashion and Film we all just clicked. We also all like dancing. A lot.

 Job-wise I moved from my original role at SpliceTV to Rushes Post-Production house. Whilst getting on thoroughly well with everyone at both Splice and Rushes, I have had to come to the conclusion that Post just isn't for me. I much prefer being part of the initial creation and organization of a project, rather then the tweaking of the end result. Being a hater of someone that sits and moans about a situation rather then changing it, I have decided to shortly leave the world of Post and go freelance. I've met some lovely people in Production down here so it should all work out. Hell I've been living off Nutella sandwiches for the last month, so living like this for a bit longer can't hurt too much.

And that's that. The shortest summary I could make of my last two months down here. I don't intend to leave it two months till the next post, and I don't intend to write quite so much in the next post. More pictures, less writing. On some frivolous fanciable subject hopefully. (Or as my mother would describe : "the internet thing you do with bad grammar where you post pictures like no-body ever had the idea to turn a pair of jeans into shorts before?").

Happy Easter everyone!

Emily x