Monday, 13 June 2011

A final post

Hello there, Blogger world. I HAVE MOVED!

A fond farewell goes out to Google, you did me proud for my first ever blog but I have now moved to greener pastures.

Check out

Follow. Comment. Bookmark. Enjoy.

Let me know what you all think!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Another chapter

After a particularly dry spell over the past three months, where I have found the ability to get myself in gear and get down to some serious writing, I have all of a sudden plucked up the productivity from somewhere and made some decisions about my path in the future.

As it turns out, my current place of work as an Editorial Assistant has decided to extend my temporary contract by another 6 months. (I genuinely have no idea why because I am in fact at work as we speak, no where near on a lunch break, writing this. Oops.) As much as I gritted my teeth whilst expressing my delight in staying in the country for longer than I expected, I was a responsible adult and thought it would be best for me to save a whole load of dosh so that, come 2012, I can travel comfortably for once in my life.

Therefore, I might be a little thin on the ground for subject matter in terms of travelling until then. Having said that, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve as destinations planned, so never fear, dear readers. I also have a huge overhaul of the blog coming, so that will entertain you for a while, right? New shiny tools and sections are involved, I promise you a revolution.

This will take up quite a lot of my time but hopefully will be kicking off as soon as possible. Until then, read some old posts, they're always a hoot.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

That Second Sex

So, little girls are having push up bras banned from their sections in stores pretty soon here in the UK. I, for one, say hooray! (But feel sorry for those mum's who will encounter the inevitable backlash, good luck to you all.)

On an opposite note, a wave of anarchy has hit the world and encouraging us ladies to get out there on some 'Slutwalks' and reclaim that blessed word as our own, as well as liberate our sexuality. I've been reading about this in today's Guardian article 'Marching with the Sluts'. This protests the idea that promiscuous clothing attracts negative sexual advances and can lead to sexual assault and rape, leaving some of the blame with the victim.

Hmm, tricky one. I am very much as advocate for women wearing what they please and not fear sexual assault in the process. Protester's banners read 'My Clothes are not my Consent', and nothing could ring more true. Whilst women (and men for that matter) do dress up to attract sexual attention, you then cannot make the illogical jump to consent for sexual abuse, making it her fault that these advances occured. However, the truth remains that if you are willing to dress in less, you are more often than not going to get some unwanted attention. If you think you can tackle that, then sashay away!

A complex subject, one that I'm finding too hard to ponder and will end up contradicting myself. A sad fact of life is that men rarely fear of sexual abuse, an even greater sad fact being that their natural greater strength is the main reason.

This is something I have loathed for several years now, that my physical make-up as a woman can stop me doing certain things. Particularly as a traveler, there are places in this world I just cannot go alone to due to my sex. Grr. My time in a 10k (or the awaited half-marathon I am undertaking in September) will never be as good as a man's. Doube grr!

I will probably try my best at fighting that as much as possible in the hopes that it won't get me killed one day. I often get some funny looks when describing my solo female travels, but you'd so surprised but how many women out there are going it alone and staying safe all the while. I could not think of anything worse than sitting at home and cursing my womb for my lack of adventure.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Reason for Everything

I am currently reading 'Of Human Bondage' by W. Somerset Maugham and came across this quote:

"It's no use crying over spilt milk, because all of the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it."

It got me thinking about my own attitude towards fate, as in recent months the phrase 'everything happens for a reason' has been repeated to me by many an inidividual in an attempt to make sense of it all.

Since I gave up on my Christian persuasion a number of years ago, I have been considering my feelings towards the idea of forces beyond our recognition. Whilst I still don't believe in a single all-powerful entity, and I also don't entirely believe that you can send your thoughts out to the universe to control it's actions and receive your hearts desire. And yet I cannot sit here and believe there is no force pushing some of us together, or pulling some things apart, whatever form it may take.

I have to say that looking back on the 22nd year (it is almost coming to an end), some things have fallen into place for reasons I cannot comprehend. But it still feels like those reasons are there.

Many people have come into my life this year, and couple have also gone out of it. It has only dawned on me recently what some of these people have brought to my life, in terms of my own personal development.

I experienced the death of a friend for the first time, and it has changed my perspective on life more than he ever would have thought. I've experience heart-ache this year more than I have before, and yet looking back it all makes sense as to why this person was there for a little while, and also why he has left my life for the time being.

Each step of travelling has had it's impact on the way I live. India taught me that there is so much more to the world than our little comfort zone of England. Morocco taught me that travelling with eight people is a complete nightmare, but somehow we still made it work. Canada taught me too many lessons to explain, but mostly that I do possess the courage to go it alone. Barcelona was the biggest party I've ever had.

This time last year I didn't know I wanted to be a writer. I can only imagine what my 23rd year will bring!

Lastly, I'd like to send my love to the friends and family of Matt Harris, the friend of mine who passed away last September. Today would have been his 24th birthday. The reason you were taken from us is still unclear.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A Hedonist's Guide to Barcelona: Cafes and Restaurants

So, I didn't spend every waking minute in Barcelona in night clubs...luckily. In keeping with the Spanish way of life, I spent the daylight hours mincing around the city looking for anywhere to sit, ponder and scribble.

I'm going to dive straight in with my favourite place that I went to probably three or four times during my stay there; a little rustic tea house named Caj Chai. Situated in the heart of the Gothic quarter, (in fact it can be a mission to find but persevere because it's worth it!) this little den smells unbelievable the second you walk in and feels like home to me. You're given plenty of choice when it comes to tea to drink, with a plentiful menu littered with exotic options. My personal pick was cinammon black tea, one I ashamedly didn't budge from each time I went. Those who are a little peckish should randomly choose the little Indian and Arabic pastries served. Those a bit more hungry could probably take down a chocolate brownie if they think they can handle the density.

If you're out on a shopping spree in and around the Gothic quarter and fancy re-energising with some carbs, there is great place just off George Orwell Square aptly named Pasta Bar. This tucked away spot provides nicely sized portions, and reasonable priced too. You choose your pasta (some cost more than others but only by a euro or less), your sauce, and then any other accoutrements that take your fancy. Whipped up in a matter of minutes, it will keep you going all afternoon in the Barcelona sun.

Finally, this last place was introduced to me whilst eavesdropping on a conversation the delicious man at the front desk of our hostel was having with some other guests. Caleuche is situated on the other side of La Ramblas, Paral.lel being the closest metro station. It's mouth-watering menu made it hard to choose just one single thing, so myself and a friend of mine ended up having to choose at the last minute and then subsequently sharing. Whilst inching our chairs every so often back into the sunshine as it was moving over us, we ended up staying here for around three hours without even noticing, our bellies nicely full from pizza and salad. If you're staying the HelloBCN, which is just round the corner, ask the front desk for a card for this restaurant and you'll be able to bag some extra food for the same price.

Now I've talked about food, I'm starving...

Monday, 23 May 2011

A Hedonist's Guide to Barcelona: Nightlife

Truth be told, Barcelona was probably the  least productive bit of travelling I have ever done. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it was a 'holiday', one of my least favourite and most insulting words. I embraced the pleasure-seeking Spanish life to the max., and ended up partying all night, snoozing 'til midday, recovery and repeat.

So, in terms of tourism, I am useless. In terms of nightclubs, bars, incredible pasta joints and my favourite tea house, there I can help you. So as to not make my posts too long, lets stick to the nightlife first and the more savoury acitivites I will explain at a later date.

We mostly went out with the crowd in our hostel, as they organised club nights for free. Situated right next to Paral.lel metro station are a couple of bars we frequented before hopping in cabs towards the club.

Malverde is a teensy little mojito place that seems like it's always empty until thirty of us from the hostel arrive and then there's hardly room to breathe. The poor barman dreaded the clock striking midnight I'm sure. The beers are cheap at around 2.5 euros, which believe me is nothing in comparison to how much you're about to spend later in the night.

A stones throw away from our hostel is El Petit Apolo, nestled behind the Apollo Theatre (more to come on that tasty gem). With individual beer pumps on each table and the dangerous ability to pour your own drink without having to wait for service, this place was a regular haunt of ours. You're given a number from 1 to 10, representing your table number, and a couple of screens around the place show you how much you've poured and therefore how much you've spent (its around 7 euros a litre). They even turn it into a competition and have first and last place emblazoned across the top of the screen. The tapas here is hit or miss, as is the service. Don't order the Russian salad, tuck into plenty of fries with spicy sauce and be pushy with the staff otherwise you'll never get served.

So, the clubs. Not much of a clubber myself as I prefer quirky bars, Barcelona was a taste of something different for me. Hyde Club and Boardbar are both pretty standard clubs but worth a visit. Both have walkways from the door opening up to a wider dancefloor, Broadbar's is lit up with UV and white lighting which gives it a classy feel. Get ready to spend in both, drink are rarely less than ten euros a pop. Needless to say I stopped drinking on arrival.

The one club that everyone says in a must-do in BCN is Razzmatazz, a.k.a my worst nightmare. It's a huge clubbing complex, with five rooms, an endless number of staircases, and the capacity for tens of thousands of people. Granted the drinks are cheaper, but intimacy is thrown out the window and replaced with black concrete walls and a funny smells that sticks to your clothes. Still worth a go if it's your kind of thing.

Last but most certainly not least, is the Apollo Theatre, and my favourite clubbing destination in Barcelona. I was but seconds away from getting on a bus to a beach club with the rest of the hostel when a certain lady from Manchester next to me pointed out that the building we were standing next to was supposed to be the best indie night in the city. How could I possibly resist? After some sweet-talking to skip the queue (seriously Anna, mad skills) we found ourselves howling Florence and the Machine and Blondie until the wee hours amongst a huge crowd and next to a stage with it's own bar, a very excitable DJ boosting the crowds energy and, mysteriously, a telephone which the DJs used to call...the bartenders? Their mates? Pete Tong?! To this day it annoys me that I don't know what it was for. Anyway, as far as club nights go for me, this I would definitely recommend.

Go forth and enjoy, and drink lots of sangria in the process!

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Another post on Barcelona to come, but whilst I try and shake off this headache and reposses the will to write, check out these mad snaps from photographer James Mollison. I don't want to put up too many in fear of plummeting the sales of Mollisons' book in which they are published, and plagarising the website which I got them from, but here are a few.

There are so many more I wanted to put up and it took me a good half an hour to just chose these, which I see as just as good as the ones I left out but I had to choose! i implore you too take a look at the rest.

Major perspecitve shake-up ensues.

(Also, my birthday's coming up in June and you can buy the book here. Say no more.)

Where would you rather sleep?