23.5.13

The Big Adventure: Full Moon Fail and a piece of paradise






What backpacker ventures all the way to Thailand, reach Koh Phangan on the exact night of the Full Moon Party, and fail to make it down for the night? Me. That’s who.
Pathetic I know, but a combination of money-conciousness and travel sickness tablets that turn out to be sleeping pills resulted in a mildly unconscious afternoon and therefore a very quiet, lazy evening drinking on a beach. Another flaw in our full moon plan was that I had somehow managed to book us into a hostel on the furthest point on the island from party beach, Haad Rin. We did however find a little corner of paradise on the North East of Phangan called Thong Nai Pan Noi.

Thong Nai Pan is one of the least developed areas on the island. This however, makes it insanely expensive to get to, rounding up at about 400 Baht pp each way. (Now I know this is only roughly £10, but when you consider that you can get from the island of Koh Lanta, across the Malaysian Border and onto the island of Penang for 800B each then you get kind to be a stingy tight-ass – once in the Thai budget mind-set it’s painful to break!)

The area is split into two beaches – Noi and Yai. Noi is roughly half of the size of Yai - Yai meaning  “large” in Thai - that are about a 15 minute walk away from each other (by walk I mean hike up a very steep road with man-eating spiders). There are some stunning waterfalls around the area, but again, all require a steep walk along the main roads and through the forests. Well worth it though. 
Phangan is a very mountainous island and roads tend to be steep and dangerous. Before we arrived we were warned about the accidents that happened and the ‘Phangan Tattoo’ – the ripped raw scars motorcyclists end up with after riding drunkenly through the jungle paths!

19.5.13

Red Velvet Cupcake Feasts


Last weekend I threw on my charity cape and baked: The Alderney Animal Welfare hosted the first of many Car Boot sales and it proved the perfect excuse to bake lots of cakes (And scrape the bowls of my creations with my finger). But the most popular by far was the Red Velvet Cupcake, inspired by the Hummingbird Bakery recipe book.

Ingredients:

60g Unsalted butter
150g Caster Sugar
1Large Egg
15g Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Organic Red Food Colouring
120ml Buttermilk (Split into 2 60ml portions)
150g Plain Flour
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
½ teaspoon White Wine Vinegar


Gas Mark 3 for approximately 25 minutes (Until light, red and bouncy)



16.5.13

Cannes Film Festival: Hollywood Glamour revived in Europe

There are a couple of events that I have promised myself I will fight to attend at least once in my life. One being the Cannes Film Festival; the other is the Met Ball in New York. Each year the Cannes Film festival stuns - and not only with it's screen delights. The actors and actresses embrace the high-society glamour and dress to impress - every day, be it night or light, is a red carpet and all eyes are on them. Last year Diane Kruger was captivating in couture creations. Today's opening saw the likes of Carey Mulligan and Nicole Kidman on the red carpet, next to it-girls such as Cara and Georgia May.



The Big Adventure: Koh Samui





42 hours after leaving the comfort of our London-town abode we stumbled with rucksacks off a long-delayed catamaran, pale, windswept and exhausted. Our first experience of Thai Culture? Why, taxis of course. (By the end of the trip we were both sorely tempted to purchase the t-shirts with loud slogans saying ‘No, I Don’t want a f***** suit, massage or Tuk Tuk!’) Of course being Thailand, a taxi is never simply a taxi...



After piling into the car he started shaking our hands saying ‘You my friends yes? My name Mayo. My friends. Yes? Police Police!! We all friends. Friend long time. Yes?’ Then we clicked: This was in fact not an actual taxi. Just a bloke with a car -  the realization set it that we were probably getting horrendously ripped off. Awesome Thailand! Our need for sleep set in and overcame our fears - we smiled at the police roadblock and eventually made our way to our little home for the week: ‘Frenchy’s’.  

The Big Adventure: Trip of a lifetime



Travelling: It's supposedly going to change your life. I left with a hundered expectations and before I knew it I was back home, with the same bad habits and anxieties as I had two months earlier, albeit I was a lot more tanned.

But in many ways it does change you - now I know that there is far more out there than I could ever have imagined. I literally stood where the photographs that breed dreams were taken; I now eat very spicy chillies; I no longer harbour intense irrational fears of natural disasters such as volcano eruptions and tsunamis (now they are only mildy irrational). I tried - and failed at - surfing; I faced my fears of animals with more than four legs (Its the way they move...all quick and creepy). I came back with far mroe self confidence and a readiness to start my life.

Unfortunately, I am poor and unemployed. So this start remains in the future dreams. Instead, I am reliving the trip of a lifetime in these posts I will be sharing over the next few weeks. in many ways they are like a diary - personal and irrelevant to anyone that doesnt know me. But in others they shall hopefully provide tips and advice for the trip that thousands will take. If anything, it's a nice reminder of the start of this year.

I hope you enjoy xx

15.5.13

Gatsby-Mania



Miuccia Prada's Illustrations (WWD)

I’m going to embrace the cliché of the moment and talk about the upcoming film of the year: The Great Gatsby.
This afternoon I lay back and read Bazaar’s article on cover girl Carey Mulligan ahead of the Cannes Film Festival opening this afternoon. Now this film was hyped up almost a year ago now – so what did I do? I read the book. Now I’m quite proud of myself for this, usually I say I’ll rad something, forget, and then watch the film and my imagination will be forever tainted. There’s nothing like creating a visual and comparing it to an actual film – if it’s been done well, then you forget your own vision. The world created by the director takes over – it becomes real.
The Great Gatsby is a tale of lavish hedonism, a tragic love story. The Jazz-age is associated with embracing life, sex and fun. Perhaps it is because of our own climate, our own desperation for release, that it was begging to be re-made into a film. And by Baz Luhrmann? Well, Baz is awesome. Look at Romeo and Juliet, or Moulin Rouge. Epics. 2013 was just waiting for another.

2013 film
1974 film

One of the things that draws me to is the beauty: Miuccia Prada created many of the costumes while Tiffany’s layered the bedazzling jewels onto Mulligan’s neck.  This season is seeing a flurry of flapper fashion revival – headbands, mid-length skirts, sequins, drop waists, understated elegance. In fact it’s been around for a good few years. Look at Gucci SS13 – the gold, black and silver, long flowing tassels and glamorously coiffed hair. The party dress is having a comeback – classic but with modern quirks such as a flash of the naval, or some seductive sheer panelling.


PRADA's Great Gatsby exhibition, New York (WWD)

PRADA's Great Gatsby exhibition, New York (WWD)

Gucci SS12

This isn’t a review of the film – just a summary of why I (and so many others) are dying to watch it. The anticipation is building – can it live up to expectations? I won’t know for a good 3 months (the 50-seat, damp, uncomfortable island cinema plays films the week they come out on DVD – devastating, I know). But I wanted to explore how this film has influenced our culture so vividly before even its release.  It is time for old school glamour to return, for us to play with our femininity and have fun with our style. And that promo with the booming soundtrack...it just keeps building...


Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, a quietly seductive socialite of the Roaring 20's - Luhrmann in fact created the character out of inspiration of two lovers


Mulligan styled by Grace Coddington for Vogue USA June 2013


It is also a fabulous excuse to wear a headband again. 


Tiffany's

ASOS £15



ASOS £12

Tiffany's Jazz age collection