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


March Madness

My time here has flown by, and this time next week my feet will be firmly on the ground back in London. Well not firmly, as lets face it, they never are, and even less so when I have been drinking (Bambi on ice springs to mind)...something which I hope I will be doing a lot of when I return. Not from drowning my sorrows, but from catching up with ALL my friends (*cough*cough* everyone I'm coming home!).

This last month has gone even quicker then normal, probably as it's just been one big holiday. The clean-living and daily swimming routine I had going on went straight out the window the minute I left Mama Linda's (corn-chowder recipe in hand of course), moved to Santa Monica, and picked up my boyfriend from the airport. The lack of gym, pool, and eating burgers for ten days straight will kinda do that to you. Not to mention an impromptu trip to Las Vegas and copious amounts of Bacardi 151 (the devil in drink form *shudder*).

After waving goodbye to my love (with the promise that it's salads all the way for us back in London) I was re-united with my sister and a good friend, and a day later I can honestly say I don't think The Getty Art Gallery has ever seen three quite so hungover souls. A highlight of their time here was our visit to Disneyland as the 'Three Mouseketeers'. At the age of 26 I dressed as a giant Minnie Mouse for the day, and yes, I loved it. The greatest acheivement of the week however, had to be when we got enough stamps on our froyo loyalty card to receive a free 8oz of frozen yogurt. It was a proud moment for all involved.

I've been lucky enough to be with people the last month who have been brave enough to drive on the right hand-side of the road. And the only slightly hairy moment of the whole time has to be when my friend straddled three lanes of traffic oncoming at 70mph and casually asked 'Is this legal ?'. Needless to say there was a small amount of hyperventilating coming from myself on the backseat.

March has brought along two more new snack obsessions. First, Recces Peanut Buttercups. For some bizarre reason I've always believed I disliked them, without even trying them. However, try them I did, and it was as though my mouth had just bitten into a small part of heaven and all its creamy, nutty glory. Since then I have been eating at least one Reece's a day, with the justification that I cannot get these back home. When my friend pointed out I could indeed buy them back in the UK, I shushed her and proceeded to buy a pack of four. The other new fad in my life is 7/11's Slurpee. It's like I've reverted back into a second childhood where instead of being allowed to drink one a year, I can drink a x-large 44oz one a day. And I do. The only reported side effect so far is a blue tongue.

My suitcase is already straining from all my thrift shop purchases out here, so I was highly relieved (if not embarrassed) when my sister rather incredulously informed me that ranch dressing is available in England, so there is no need for me to bulk buy out here. 'How have you never tried it?? You wrote a whole blog about it, and they sell it in Subway Emily.' Ok, so I've never been a sandwich kinda-gal, but now I know that's where the ranch is at... Subway, hello.

Since I've been out here I've found myself really influenced by the creativity, and the get-up-and-go attitude of the Los Angele's people. The American Dream is truly alive and kicking, and if someone wants to achieve something, well, hell they go out and do it. Us Brits are notorious for talking down dreams we have and putting aside projects we would love to do. When I get back home I have several exciting work projects in the pipeline, but a sideline venture which I am really excited to get started on is my own clothing brand. I've been really inspired by all the self-made brands out here, and look forward to putting my own stamp on things.

My final two days are going to be spent chomping Reece's, shooting one last fashion shoot, and stuffing as much froyo as possible without suffering from brain-freeze. Oh, and of course looking out for the elusive Mr Gosling.

LAX I'll see you soon, Ryan hopefully sooner...

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


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