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


Tattoos, Flights, Fat Cats, New Flats and a Hazardous 4 Bird Roast : the last three months...

It's been a while since my last blog post, and when I look to evaluate the past three months, yet again its flown by, and yet again a lot has happened...

In my last post the weather was sunny, my hair was blonde, and I was complaining about dry sandwiches at The Savoy. The weather is now windily pr-empting winter, my hair is dark, and The Savoy were kind enough to offer myself complimentary champagne and nibbles in the American Bar to make up for the dry sandwiches. Oh the power of a blog (thank you social media!).

Since then I've moved from South to East. First 'temporarily' into my boyfriends bedroom in Bethnal Green. Cue four weeks later, and the novelty of living out of bin bags (which was never really there to start with) had run very, very, dry. Now I don't know how many of you have ever searched for somewhere to live in London, but let me tell you, when your on a budget and don't want to sign a years lease it is hellish, and a rat race. We'd turn up to flat-viewings to be told they were already taken, in fact many a time we'd get a call en-route to the viewing to be told not to bother coming, it had gone.  And if the room is actually still available when one does turn up, you turn into some kind of puppet, desperately trying to interview successfully against your fifteen other competitors who are viewing that night : "No we don't smoke, drink, tidy is my middle name, and whats that you LOVE birdwatching....oh what a coincidence, me too!!"

After a month of viewings each evening (I joke not) we had no social life, a huge bill on the oyster travel cards, and a pretty good knack for grabbing reduced sandwiches en-route to each house. Our outlooks were bleak, our mealtimes were bleaker. And then out of nowhere, through sheer luck and persistence we found ourselves the perfect place. Our own flat in a Victorian house, split over two floors with our own garden, a smeg fridge and a temporary cat. Located in Dalston, with ten minutes walk to Broadway Market we could not be more happy. The cat, however, could be. Terribly grumpy, and awfully fat, Charlie only shows love when he wants food. And since his owner emailed concerned he might not be able to fit through the flap soon, limiting his food means he loves me even less now.

I love having my own place, my own space, and even my own garden. I feel awfully grown up. The only downside is when the chocolate digestives have gone in two days straight, and your partner says he hasn't touched one you have to own up the the fact that your 'flatmates' arent robbing them, and face the harsh reality it was all just you.

And even more perfect about the new flat - we have it up till the 10th January. And seen as I'm off to Los Angeles to live and work from the 6th January for three months - well it could not be more ideal. Yes, I booked my flights, and now my daydreams are full of sunshine, super-size diet sodas (yes I said soda - getting down with the lingo already), rollerblading in bikinis, and The Ellen Show. And of course, a bit of work in Hollywood thrown in here and there.

Work has been good to me in the last few months, and I've started working respected roles on commercials. And recently two Christmas Food Commercials, which can't help but put one (however early) in the mood for Christmas. The most harrowing part of the whole experience was when I tucked into a sample Four Bird Roast mid-pre production meeting and realized I had taken on half a toothpick. Or better put, it had taken me on. I saw my professional demeanor going down the drain before my eyes, not to mention my own life. Gluttony was never a good look.

Last week I got new ink at Frith Street Tattoo parlour. Words designed by my talented friend Cressida on my arm, LIVE/LOVE (www.cressidaomahony.com) and the Cross of Lorraine on my finger in respect of my much loved french grandmother.

I've become obsessed with a fedora hat, as it hides a multitude of sins, whilst making one feel like their channeling a 2nd rate version of Kate Moss at Glastonbury. It has, however, become a challenge as of late with this windy weather, and I'm either debating sellotape, or just leaving at home. Probably just leave at home - I don't have time for eyeliner in the mornings, let alone sticking my hat to my hair.

Apart from those main points, I've floated around happily for the last months in haunts of London with friends and wine, seen my first Opera, found a love of olives, lost my third phone this year and fourth bankcard, and been to a premier of a film I worked on. It's been a while since the last blog post, but once L.A. rolls around in January I'm determined to be much more blog savvy and wow you all with epic tales of super-size portions and Brad Pitt sightings.

That's enough from me now, as I have a Halloween rave this weekend and have grand ideas of dressing as a giant Moth (think Silence of the Lambs). However, since last years Bat Outfit with an umbrella strapped to myself was a fiasco in the wind of Wellington, I've got to be more practical with this one. After all, dancing for hours with some giant wings spells disaster, not to mention the need for a lot of deodorant. I'll figure it out (...end up being a vampire).

Happy Halloween!

Emily x


Graduating, tanning and dreaming...

So here I am, 26 years old and finally a graduate. Never one to win a race, predictably I did it 5 years later then my parents wanted. And predictably the weather was a heatwave, the Graduation Hall had no air-con, and I was sliding around inside my gown. Which was about 3 sizes too long and permanently falling off my shoulders. Cue me asking any random I could to "pin me in". But the sun was shining, the parents were happy(ish), and I even got my own shout-out due to my course no longer even being a degree (yes Leeds realised it was a hopeless course mmm about mid-way through me being on it). Nothing like good money wasted! I also got asked by several students 'what the job market looked like'. Whilst it made me feel rather self-important, I also felt I was looking the closer age of 30 and settled this unease with a few Peach Bellini's in the Union afterwards. De-light-ful #newfavouritedrink (yes i hash-tagged!). And whilst my mum got drunk and threw scathing remarks at my divorced father over the Union table I still couldn't help but think all in all it had been rather a successful day.

Back to London and a few days later I went for a highly anticipated high-tea at The Savoy with my godmother. And I have two words for you. STALE SANDWICHES. I may be from the North, but a high-class hotel can't fool me, I know if my breads been out in the sun a bit too long. And my finely cut sarnies were slightly tough around the edges. But the cakes were tasty, and no eyebrows were raised when I substituted my choice of tea for a coca-cola. But still, should have gone The Ritz...

The weather in London is currently amazing, and this long long heatwave makes me feel great about the fact that I can't afford to go on holiday this year. Being a freelancer I'm working on a rewarding project at the moment called tanning. Its currently looking good.

Apart from graduating, eating stale-ish sandwiches at The Savoy and re-hydrating this heatwave with Pimm's, I've been having some wholly sunny thoughts about the future. Sunny thoughts which involve moving to LA in January and working there for a few months. Just to ward off the cold winter blues in London, and to split up Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes (joke!) (well...kinda). I've always wanted to be one of these people who work in LA for a few months of the year, and then London the rest so I've decided I'm just going to do it! Flight is getting booked the minute my bank account starts to resemble the plus side.

Hope everyone in the UK is enjoying this glorious weather!

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


Made in Shoreditch 2013 Fashion Show, London.

Deep down in the midst of East London, an unused warehouse was turned for one night only into a creative mesh for art music and fashion. 

Bringing together the best new emerging talent from London’s fashion, music and art scenes, Made in Shoreditch’s 2013 Fashion Show went off spectacularly two Saturday's ago. Ten of East London's hottest independent designers showcased their winning designs. The look was modern, space age and ethereal.

London’s emerging talent on the art scene showcased pieces around the warehouse. My favorite was the Cara Delevingne inspired Graffiti canvas by up-and-coming London artist Danny Mendoza.

Big thanks to Off Beat, Vivid Fashion Group, and One Piece who put together a fantastic night. Bring on 2014’s!

Emily x


Made in Shoreditch : 2013 Fashion Show

Uber uber excited for this one. This time in two weeks I will be at The 2013 Shoreditch Fashion Show. Showcasing ten independent designers, this talented bunch was selected from a judging panel headed up by Mischa Barton, Eliza Doolittle and Oliver Proudlock.

Produced by Vivid Fashion Group and supported by Made in Shoreditch Magazine,
the event takes place at the Hoxton Docks. Along with the catwalk, the event will also feature fashion illustrations, projections, photography, installations, designs accompanied by live bands and DJ's. 

A limited number of tickets are on sale for the general public. For more information about the event check out: http://madeinshoreditch.co.uk

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