Posts tagged travel

Oh Summer, why couldn’t you stay?
And yet, this morning I received a parcel that brought all the warmth and light back.
In August I stayed with friends on a boat sailing round Turkey. It was every bit as nice as that sounds, jumping off the side of the boat into crystal clear Aegean water, our towels hanging up to dry on a makeshift washing line.

The towels became a bit of an obsession with us, Turkey has such beautiful textiles and the Hammam towels they had on the boat were such pretty combinations of soft colours, they dried in minutes. The younger members of our party crashed out in the shade snuggled under them like blankets. My lovely friend Leslie and I adopted a holiday hobby of searching for replicas in the local markets.

So when I opened my parcel this morning what did I find?
Two bright pieces of Turkey, nestled in there, releasing a little more Summer into the day.

I am not, I feel I should make clear right from the beginning, pro gun.
I do not think that guns are things that people should have in their houses. I do not think that Oscar Pistorius would have done so much damage (allegedly) if he had only had shouting and throwing things at his disposal. I do think that the idea of arming teachers so that they can protect themselves against potential crazed gunmen in schools is the most ridiculous idea on the planet. Once we start legislating for the loony minority we’ve all lost the plot.
But, this aside, I found myself this morning, staring down the barrel of a rifle and learning to line up my sights on a paper target with tiny numbers on. This, you understand, in the pursuit of happiness. It’s a bit cloudy at the hotel today so a group of us had gathered for a lesson and a little bit of friendly competition with some weapons. As you do. Now really, these are just air rifles but still, it’s quite an intimidating thing to be holding.
Good, says the instructor, come down a bit and to the right. He’s obviously assuming I have some sort of control over what I’m doing.
Again again.
Four shots and the card comes back, 29 points puts me in second place and look, I went through the same whole twice. Consistency! Hmmmm, what’s that stirring inside me? Aha, competitive spirit, hello my old friend.
It is the second round and the target is much, much smaller. My temporary excitement about being in second place has long been blown out of the water by much higher scores but still, I’m keen for my next go. Five targets on the square, the instructor calls “Top right” as the one to aim for. Top right? That’s minute. Two shots.
Bang. I’m getting used to the kick back, leaning in more with my shoulder. I am, as they say, “styling it out” rather nicely I feel.
Bang. Bullseye. I’m not even joking. “Professional” says the instructor, his voice heavy with Spanish accent and big brotherish teasing.

Yeah baby, that’s me, fashion sniper. Where do I get me one of these?

Remember this?
Well, I’d actually set it aside for a while. My head had been turned by other shiny things, I’m extremely shallow like that, and I hadn’t been using it recently. But, having only thrown a couple of things into my wash kit in the way of make up and finding this among the things, I decided to give it another go.
It turns out to be a total holiday hero.
The reason is this, the downside of using powder kohl in general is that it can have a bit of ‘fall down’ under the eyes when you apply it which, if you’re doing it on a normal, in the city worky-type face is a bit annoying as you’ve probably just undone some of your good efforts that you then have to sort out and redo. But on a holiday-y, slightly sun kissed and otherwise entirely bare face, it’s no big thing. Just wipe a bit of Crealine under each eye after application and away you go with your smidge of smudgey smokey oh this? I just slept in my mascara after a night out with those surfers attitude.

Incidentally, (and obviously) the best way to wear it if you are not on holiday is to, (drumroll please) put it on first, before anything else. Then clean up before you proceed. I didn’t say it was rocket science, but it is very satisfying once you get these things figured out.

Oh, and lastly, this photo is taken from an extremely ancient shoot I did on Miami beach.

Today has been fun. Today has involved driving an open topped white Saab slightly inappropriately (stay right! stay right!) around a small warm island and laughing a lot. Today was my kind of day.
One of the places we visited was César Manrique’s cactus garden. I am a longtime admirer of Manrique, I love his sense of scale and drama. I do love me some drama. His use of natural light in his home, later made into a Foundation to showcase his work and art collection, is incredible. He made a James Bond lair in a rock and theres just no arguing with that type of genius.
His cactus garden, created in an old quarry, has terraced sides, like an amphitheatre. Inside the amphitheatre, cacti gladiators, the badasses of the plant world, battle with each other for status while bonkers playful elements like that face waterfall up there, show that really, he was just a guy who liked to have fun.
I bet he would have liked my Saab. Now, I’m on the left, right?

white jeans-1

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Oh Julie, you are, as always, so right.
There is a short list of things that I decided many years ago were essential, whatever the holiday destination. From work trip to country weekend to beach, there are a couple of things that I always find I need, or rather, that I feel a bit panicky without. These things, since you ask so nicely, are as follows: some kind of massive pashmina, (this is in fact my comfort blanket, airline pillow, extra jumper and cuddly toy all rolled into one). (Although I actually quite object to wearing one in the evening as it makes me feel slightly like I’m in too flimsy an outfit at a wedding. In Surrey.) Lavender oil, (to make my pillow smell like home) (I’ve gone a bit pillow-centric here, but bear with me) a gallon of moisturiser and a pair of jeans (or, if you’re feeling fashion today, a jean). You can travel in them, they knock the edge off your oh I’m not sure now new holiday top and if your beach based Easter break that was supposed to get you away from the biting, trying to hurt you cold in England, turns out to be not that warm either they will keep you cosy while you saunter casually up to the bar and order yourself a another medicinal whiskey.
How then, what with these strict rules and everything, did it come to pass that I ended up in the Canaries with no jeans? Error.
But in every mistake lies an opportunity and all that and this, I felt, was just the time to indulge the white jean fetish that has been gently growing inside me for about four years. (I am not one of life’s fast learners).
The issue I have with white jeans is that they also look a little bit Euro Sloan. Or, when worn in combination with any cashmere item, a little bit Yummy Mummy. I do not pass judgement on these looks and yet, they are not the ones I aspire to. Despite this, my yearning for a pair was growing as they would, I fancied, turn me into a cool French girl in a band a la Charlotte Gainsbourg. Now that is a look I can aspire to. Please.
Well, as with so many questions, Zara was the answer. I’m in the middle of nowhere currently and the shopping opportunities are few but if I know anything I know that there’s always a Zara. So quick shopping trip done and white jeans in hand, or rather, on slightly goose pimply legs and I’m gonna tell you what I’ve learned.
Number one, go up a size. White jeans should not be skin tight. This, from a girl who lives in skinninest skinnies.
Number two, roll them up a bit. Simples, but makes all the difference.
Number three, know that you do indeed now look a little bit Euro-sloany and a little bit Yummy Mummyish and not at all really like you edit French Vogue, but stop caring. Just stop.

Walk your warm legs to the bar and get the whiskies in.


Apologies. I have entirely absented myself, in a Jeffrey Bernard is unwell type fashion, from this site for a whole week. I have, in the words of Withnail, gone on holiday by mistake.

I don’t mean I didn’t know I was going on holiday. I wasn’t kidnapped and bundled into a van with only a large tube of Ambre Solaire for company. I packed a bag, got on a plane, used coins that felt like not real money to pay for a car that felt like an Inception style reflection to get to a hotel, I knew I was coming. I know I’m here. What I wasn’t expecting was the drama of, are you ready? NO WIFI. Nothing doing. They said there was wifi, it’s not a retreat for over internetted types or anything like that (good lord, no) it’s just that it doesn’t work. So that’s no Twitter, no FB, no wiki, for goodness sake. Reception told me it was ‘my device’ but judging by the amount of guests disgruntledly wandering the corridors muttering about passwords, there’s a heck of a lot of people trying to use my device. Anyway, doesn’t matter does it? We’re here now.

So, there now follows a series of short posts, postcards, if you like, that I have written (entirely without fact checking) but not posted this week.

Well, it’s tricky trying to find the right stamp, isn’t it?

Mascara 2013-03-28 (04.47.28-476 PM)
I thought I’d make an attempt at being all fashion and leave off the mascara (so over, it’s all about the new clean, did you not get the memo?) but I’m just not hard enough (and yes, I accept this Lady Fashion, you cruel and fickle mistress). So last week I caved like the wimp I am and bought a nice shiny new one. I’m so loving it (don’t tell Ms Fashion, she’s a bitch when she’s angry) so I’ll share with you the name, Inimitable Intense by Chanel.
Now yes, partly I’m just a sucker for the pretty packaging, partly (oh c’mon, Chanel has the nicest presentation). BUT also it does, as my friend Charlie rightly pointed out, give a very particular look. And that is a look that I like, a little bit sixties, nice and long, a bit rock and roll and doesn’t budge even if you get sweaty. And as discussed, I like to get sweaty. I’m not sure that Hitchcock heroines ever got excited by having a workout, but sometimes my muses get confused and if Tippi Hedren ever did pop down to Pineapple for a dance, I reckon she’d have been wearing this.
So just one problem then, in a couple of days I’m heading to the sunshine (hopefully, fingers crossed) to hang by the pool (double fisted knee slide, I hate Winter and this one is never ending. Ever. Fact.)
So, options here as I see them are
1. Ditch the mascara, go au naturel and on trend and make Missy Fashion happy.
2. Wear it anyway, who cares if it runs in the pool.
3. Put on massive sunglasses and order a large Pina Colada.

Hmmm, what would Tippi do?

Aha! Holiday time and, given the ‘Summer’ we’ve had here in London, about time too.
Packing is always a big deal isn’t it? What to take, what to leave behind, what looks good in one place looks totally wrong in another and all of that. I’ve got my suitcase packing pretty down by now but what I’m really obsessive about is the carry on situation. Wait, that sounds like a film, but you know what I mean, the stuff you actually have with you when you fly. The stuff that protects you from the budget airline with the screaming baby you know is going to sit near you.
Now this is all a lot less fun since the security got tightened up post 9/11 but still, there are certain things I deem essential in flight.
So, with apologies to these guys, this is my list..
Big pashmina (aka the comfort blanket) because planes are always cold.
Cosy cardigan, see above.
Socks, see above. (Now actually don’t look, they’re not beautiful any more, but they are snuggly soft and cashmere.)
Fan, because sometimes, planes are hot.
iPad, hello Easyjet.
iPhone, yeah Mac addiction, whatever.
Headphones, see above.
Eyemask, nicked from previous flight, for sensory deprivation.
Moleskin notebook and pencil, for ideas and because pens always explode on me in planes. I have the clumsy thing.
Wallet, obviously, with passport and all that jazz.
Camera, never far from my person, would never check it.
Massive sunglasses, I know the smaller ones are cooler but I just like ‘em big.
Stuff to read, of course.
Sweets for take off and landing.
(Now, this is the bit that got trickier, but with judicious use of sample sizes and a clear ziplock, I find it’s all still possible.)
Bioderma cleanser, possibly for flight but really in case my luggage gets lost.
Avene water spray, yum.
Avene moisturiser.
Bioderma sunscreen, really in case my luggage gets lost, are you getting the theme here?
Dr Hauschka lip balm, seriously the best.
Mario Badescu Control Cream, because, clearly, I need control, and just in case my…you know.
Mini toothbrush and toothpaste, because I like to brush ok?
Ducray hand cream and nail file, for distracting myself. We’re in the air you know, it makes me a leeeetle bit nervous sometimes.
Lavender oil, we’re in the air..
Rescue Remedy, yeah, d’you think?
And then really in case my luggage gets lost, in the black pouch, emergency bikini, underwear, rolled up tshirt and silk slip dress/nightie. Just in case is all I’m saying, just in case.
Big bag to put it all in.
(Full disclosure the source of all the luggage losing paranoia stems from a holiday I took with a group of friends about eight years ago. All the suitcases went on, all the suitcases rolled off..wait, all except mine. Now this would have been ok had I not been with a group made up entirely of boys. Not a bikini or moisturiser among the lot of them. So there you are, this is how I deal.)
(And actually, of course, it didn’t matter a bit even at the time because we were all having way too much fun but anyway)
OK, I’m stopping, I’m stopping.
What about you, what do you have to have with you?


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