Showing posts with label sunshine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sunshine. Show all posts


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


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


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


I said, her from the city, so her got to be witty...

I try with my fashion photography. And sometimes I try, get a gorgeous participant, and get it a little bit right. Or at least I like to think so. Here is a selection of some of my recent pappage!

Emily x


Hobbit shaped footprints...

Hello from Auckland! 

I arrived on a rainy Sunday with a suitcase weighing the same amount as me and a list of gumtree rooms to view. After numerous viewing failures I landed upon a small goldmine within Mount Eden...a lovely flat-share with an even lovelier couple.

Landing in a country which I have never visited, knew not one soul who lived there, yet waving a years working visa in my hand certainly meant I had my work cut out for me...not only to make good friends, but to also find work within the industry I want.

Right now I feel like the 'Yes Man' (you've read that book right?!) ... I'm currently saying yes to everything, going everywhere and meeting everyone I can. And boy what a positive experience it has been so far! From birthday invitations to finding freelance work, after only a week I'm on my way to making friends, and getting a job. To coin a phrase 'jammy' is how I would describe whats happening at the moment. Thanks life. Now if you could bring the sunshine out that would just be the cherry on the cake!

I've even had a new hairdo as I figured new city, new hair. And for the first time in 25 years I actually left the hairdressers smiling. Finally I've caught up with the trends and joined the ombre brigades. And if the wines I had this afternoon are anything to go by, blondes definitely do have more fun!

Emily x