Showing posts with label happy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label happy. 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


Coconuts, Caipriniahs and Condoms...Feliz Ano Novo from Brazil !!

Feliz Ano Novo!! A very late, but very Happy New Year to everyone from a sunny Brazil!! Apologies in advanced for formatting errors on the blog, I'm attempting to write it on a severely cracked iphone. I learnt a little too late that hammocks, phones, and balance do not bode well when one is intoxicated by caiprinias. My phone now resides in a sock, has a hissy fit around 3pm daily, and attempting to send emojis means dabbling with shards of cutting glass. I give it until the end of the week. But hey, I made it through all of January with a phone, so Ive got to give myself an air high five for that!

So, my trip. I'm not going to lie, on the train to Heathrow Airport I had a sudden reality check about what I was doing coming out here by myself. After losing my bankcard, and not even realising when I arrived in Brazil until the day I flew, it raised several alarming question marks in my own head (and no doubt my parents) about just how capable I am of not being my usual hopeless self when I'm travelling alone on the other side of the world. Well here comes the truth... it's been absolutely fine. In fact its been more then fine, my trip so far has been amazing. Going to a non-Western country on your own as a girl to travel raises quite a few fears, and certain stigmas, but so far in my experience as long as you keep your wits about you and go by the book then you should have little to worry about. I couldn't be prouder, and happier with myself for getting out here and just doing it.

And one thing which continually surprises me is just how receptive everyone seems to be to a solo traveller. I have had no problems meeting people, befriending people, or a lack of invites. Gone out the window are the cliques which are formed back home and everyone seems to get along. I've formed friendships with many people which in day-to-day London life I possibly would have not, and found each of these new different friendships to be an entirely rewarding experience. Something which cant help but open my eyes to how I view new friendships, and how I should change my initial ideas of first impressions back home.

I'm struggling with the language I'm not going to lie. It took me the first two weeks to say 'thank you' the correct way - 'obrigada'. Until then I had been saying 'arrabiata' (which of course is an italian pasta dish), which was always followed by a palm-to-face moment. Which was then followed by me wondering if it was time for dinner yet.

My lack of even basic Portuguese means I've taken to using lots of grand hand-gestures and facial expressions as an attempt to get my point across. Being the ever organised person I am, I obviously turn up in Brazil without an adaptor for any of my english plugs. Cue me in shop attempting to explain to a confused shop assistant what I want, by grandly mimicking with my hands the plug going into the socket. The shop attendants confusion shifts to a knowledgeable 'Ah Si!'. Perfect, workable hair-straighteners here I come! She returns triumphantly... carrying a pack of condoms. Since that misunderstanding I have somewhat downplayed hand actions, I am still yet to find an adaptor, and I am still yet to have straight hair.

Alas, I've fared no better reading Portuguese. Such as that time I was on a night bus and misread the buttons in the loo. Theres me pushing the panic button wondering why it wouldn't flush, until theres people at the door and little english me shouting 'It's fine I'm just trying to flush!!'. Or that time (well, three times) that I've doused my hands in liquid sweetener at cafes, reading the front to be antibacterial hand-wash.

But let's start from the beginning; Sao Paulo. I turn up on New Years Eve to the hostel I frantically booked last minute, to find out my booking was so last minute that they don't have it. And that the one person working there trying to explain this to me doesn't speak any English. The only space they have left is a solo room. I take the solo room and walk into the dormitory to introduce myself to make NYE friends...and nobody speaks English. Or seems interested. I walk back to my room and the door handle falls off, locking my belongings behind it. I spend the next hour with the hostel employee on google translator - 'I need to make friends tonight - dont want to be on my own...' - 'what kind of friends' -'no i think your misunderstanding me' and another half-hour trying to get the door handle back on to retrieve my belongings. By now its 9.30pm, I'm terribly sweaty, despairing, and leave for another hostel. On entering my next hostel two English speaking girls are just about to leave for New Year festivities. I take two minutes to change from my twenty-hour flight clothes, wipe the sweat off my brow and stick a bindi on. I have never spent so little time ever getting ready, let alone on NYE. All vanity has pretty much gone out the window on this trip, along with the thought of ever having straight hair, or proper makeup on. My companions take me to a club, and we drink Caiprinias first on the street. All the Brazilians are dressed in white as it's meant to bring good-luck and prosperity for the year ahead. I'm head to toe in dark blue; so go figure. And so, I dance my jet-lag off in a cachaca induced state with perfect strangers who are all saying Feliz Ano Novo and someone is even sick down my leg (thank god for flip-flops), but in the imperfect madness of it all it became a perfect New Year. And one I'll certainly never forget.

I move on from sprawling, hot Sao Paulo to the beautiful Florianopolis. And from there to the breathtaking Igacu Falls. And briefly into Argentina (but no steak!). And from there to the rhythms of the Salvador streets. And from Salvador to the pretty little town Lencois and to trek Chapade Diamantina National Park. And from there to the Unesco World Heritage town Olinda. And then from there onto Natal, and then onto the beautiful beaches of Praia da Pipa, which is where I am currently residing.

And what have I learnt so far from all of this? Brazil is BIG. I've travelled on more 28-hour bus journeys then I want to think about again, and I've eaten at more roadside pitstops then restaurants. But thats what travelling is, being on the road right? And by damn Brazil has a lot of it.

After all my grand designs on go-pros, and different cameras, and camera head-straps, I've realised that the best moments on this trip just cant be captured on camera. Like swimming in a lake at night surrounded by fireflies. Or boating right up to the mouth of Igacu Falls and laughing so hard that I am choking on the water flying in my face. Or lying out looking at a full moon and the most stars I've ever seen through the leaves of dancing palm trees. Or playing dominoes on the street with some old men that speak no English, and me no Portuguese. Or trying to keep up to the pounding drum beats at a sweaty Bloco in Salvador. And then after the Bloco *ahem* be interviewed by Brazilian television afterwards and be asked to dance like a Brazilian for the camera. Proving the point - Definately not one of my best moments captured on camera.

My plans of coming home a skinny traveller have quickly diminished with the Brazilians diet. Revolving round meat, cheese and bread (fried of course) for every meal, I am just thankful my harem pants are elasticated. Thank god for the caiprinias are giving me one of my five a day!

My backpacks ridiculous. I shouldn't have packed half the rubbish I did. And I'm too stubborn to throw any of it, so I spend half my time nearly toppling over once its on, and purposely booking hostels that do not require an uphill walk. Luckily Brazilian men are so charming, and helpful. And in my packing panic of quite how many hot-pants I should bring, I forgot the key essential of packing enough underwear. Cue me turning a group walking tour in Salvador into the guide having to take me underwear shopping. And cue him telling me after, that the shop was laughing at me as I did not buy the norm (thongs), but instead only pants that grandmas wear.

I've nearly been here just over a month and I don't want to stop. England seems a bit of a far away dream, and a cold one at that. I cant recommend getting away enough to people, and now I've done this I can't recommend enough just doing it by yourself. Pushing your boundaries is all part of finding out who you are and what you can do. My next stop on this journey is the Amazon, to sleep in the forest, catch my own food, and carve my own forks and plates out of trees and stuff. Whilst it all sounds very Bear Grylls, I have the feeling the only boundary I will be pushing is starvation, as I cant say I'm too optimistic about my survival skills. I think the mosquitos will be feeding better than me...

Emily x


Accountants, business cards and turning 26. The start of grown up me?

 Time has flown all too fast since my last post. Apologies but any spare time I've had recently has been stolen by whiskey drinking, perusing Harrods and listening to the Beatles.

I'm still hopelessly in love with the city. The recent evening sunshine has made me fall even deeper. Why would you choose to do anything other then wander by the Thames in the warm evening, drink fizzy wine out of plastic cups and point out all the landmarks? I've become an angry tuber. Mainly because I'm always running late and I need the damn tourists to move out my way. My list of lost belongings is turning into book, and I've been mugged once again. I throw myself into things, and have thrown myself into the fast pace here. Late nights, early mornings, too much art and not enough sleep.

I took the great leap of faith to quit my job and go Freelance about two months ago. I've been lucky enough through lovely people and hard work to find enough work to keep me going, and keep me believing that I'm doing the right thing. And even more amazingly the projects and roles that I've been taking on are very exciting. Tomorrow I start freelancing two days each week at a Production Company - earning the exact same money over those two days which I made in a whole week at my last job. Financially I can now also justify to myself that I have made the right decision.

I turned 26 last week, got myself some business cards, and got myself an accountant. It all sounds terribly grown-up. I'm really not. I also watched a good friend of mine get married last month. Weddings, babies and buying houses couldn't be further from my grasp right now. I'm still trying to navigate the tube and sign up to speed-dating. Both of which are hopelessly lost causes.

I'm writing this in a cafe in Central London whilst waiting for a meeting, to open an email off a friend stating we have a few weeks to get down to supermodel proportions for an Arabian themed birthday party. Another lost cause - the cafe I'm in has the best chocolate tart I've ever eaten. Times two. My dentist is going to have a holiday on me soon.

Life's been crazy good and crazy bad recently but being in London at the start of summer is the most exciting feeling in the world. There is a festival every weekend, an exhibition everyday, and a rooftop bar on every corner. And the promise of future tattoos...

Emily x


Ye of little faith...

So the last month has found my heart racing, my nights sleepless, all over relentless thoughts about a very large package. But not that kind of package. A package that involves excitement, enjoyment, and hours of undressing. Once again, not that kind of package. 

15kg of clothes, shoes, hats, headbands, scarves, and even the obligatory Polaroid camera has for the last three months been floating somewhere around the Atlantic since it's departure in a sellotaped laundry bag from Melbourne in January. And since I accidentally lost (threw out) it's tracking receipt I have been haunted by images of extremely well- dressed Pirates in hand-made floral headbands and sparkly hot-pants. If they resemble Jack Sparrow I could have maybe forgiven them for their assumed thievery, but unfortunately I think Johnny Depp is rather an unfair benchmark for the modern day sea-men (jeez the innuendos are just coming in this post...) (Oh touché. Again!) 

I need to apologize to Australian Post who I wake up most mornings cursing, and the lady on the phone at the Liverpool Post Office who I relentlessly wailed too. I have not been so happy since I found out I didn't fail my degree, and that Wispa bars were being remade. 

After all - 'one thing lost, another found' - Maybe this is karma's way of totaling out the entire make-up bag I drunkenly lost on the tube last week. (To wake up and discover this catastrophe when I had to go in for the first time to a production company I desperately wanted to impress. Ladies a tip : buying whatever products your local Sainsbury's stocks at 7.30am in the morning before running onto the tube does not impress). Some might say that was just me being hopelessly (and drunkenly) idiotic, but I'd like to think it was meant to happen in order for me to get my clothes. 
As after all how could I get by without these :
oh and these:
oh and let's not forget this sparkly dress and bag that were oh so nearly goners...

Obviously the weather will have to perk up before these little numbers can get cracked out. I would like to say we can expect that soon, but seen as we're into April and we've been battling snowstorms today I'm just going to hold back on any predictions on that front.

Wardrobe, come to mama. 

Emily x


Sugar highs, Leaving lows...

Three weeks at The Golden Door Retreat in Queensland left me invigorated, healthier, more energetic, and positive. Whilst their my eyes were opened to natural ways and means to cure your body, holistic health, the benefits of vegetarianism, and alternative therapies. Whilst there I embraced the life change and tried several of the treatments on offer : flower reading, naturopathy, feldenkrais, hypnotism. I tried to cure my sugar addiction, found out about my intolerance to gluten, attempted to realign my posture, and sort out bad sleeping habits.

I left the Golden Door with a spring in my step clutching my two sugar-free muffins determined to make some changes to my lifestyle and diet. I arrived home to Melbourne to find a welcome home spread of pick and mix, chocolate, cheesecake and wine. Needless to say I couldn't get to sleep until 5am that body was so high off the sugar it hadn't had over the last three weeks I just could not sleep! Not even a bottle of wine was enough to put me into a slumber.

 Old habits die hard and I spent my last day in Melbourne with the girls re-toxing my body with cider in the sun, then crying into an open suitcase as none of my things would fit. A fair chunk of outfits had to get left behind in various friends wardrobes, and when I toddled off to the airport there was little weight difference between myself and the 50kg of clothes I 'had' to take with me.

Australia has treated me better then I ever could have hoped, and its a country I will always hold dear to my heart. But as the fortune teller at the Golden Door said to me : Australia is just a pit stop for myself. So on to the next one : New Zealand awaits!

Emily x


Everybody needs good neiiiighbours!!!

So in the past week not only have I got a house, but I have also got a job. ON NEIGHBOURS NONE THE LESS! Im a production assistant/runner, which means I'm the bitch. Perks of the job : the free buffet food each day and the Nissan x trail I get. Cons of the job : getting fat off all the free food and the stress of driving around Carl Kennedy and trying not to crash. But all in all Neighbours + Emily = a very happy Emily!

Love Emily x