Sunday, 30 September 2012

Fearless adrenaline junkie?

Anyone want to see some hilarious photos of me in an attractive red jumpsuit with a trouser hem 6 inches too short? Grinning like a maniac while dangling rather high above Toronto?


Here you go:

I know you've seen this one before. But that was a photo of a photo - this is the real, high-res version, so you can see the terror/elation on my face properly.

What you are looking at is the city's newest tourist attraction, the EdgeWalk. Basically, a bunch of fearless bloggers and I were suited, booted where necessary (apparently my converse were fine, but they provide trainers if you need them) and sent 365m above downtown Toronto. For a stroll.

I'm not particularly afraid of heights. But I'm also not particularly brave. As we travelled up (in a glass-floored lift) I really thought it was possible that I would freak out and end up cowering in the doorway watching the others tap-dance on the edge of the world.

This didn't happen. Although the video that the guide filmed of our little jaunt (they wear cameras on their helmets) mainly seems to involve me muttering 'ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod' under my breath, I actually found myself on some kind of crazy adrenaline rush within seconds of first leaning out over the ledge.

It helps a lot that you spend more time preparing and doing safety checks, and understanding how the harness system works, than you do actually walking around the tower. It also helps that our guide was great, very reassuring and not too high-pressure.

But basically, I've concluded that I'm just a bad-ass adrenaline junkie totally down with scary things. As long as they don't involve bungee cords. Or jumping out of planes. Or sharks. Or any kind of caving/pot-holing. Or rollercoasters. Or anything else that might make me travel-sick.

But me and walking slowly while wearing an absurd outfit? We're good. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Holibobs: Cayman

One very good/very bad thing about hitting my late 20s is that gradually, lots of my favourite people have started to leave London life far behind.

My beloved friend S is happily ensconsed in Amsterdam, which I still think might actually be the world's coolest city. Two more of my friends are thinking about abandoning south London in favour of a spot of travelling in the new year.

And this summer, two of my old friends, former housemates (and most fiercely competitive Risk opponents) decamped to the Cayman Islands for a prolonged spell of Caribbean living.

I can't imagine why they would favour coral reefs and fresh seafood over the Victoria Line and Nando's. Ahem.

This is bad news (on a purely selfish level) because I'll be deprived of their company on future trips back to England. I might even have to find other Nando's companions.


Los Angeles to Cayman really isn't very far at all, in the grand scheme of plane-hopping antics. So in a months' time I'll be jetting off for a few days of sun, sea, stingrays and Scrabble (see what I did there? Alliteration, baby!) in Grand Cayman.

It is entirely possible that I am counting down the days on my calendar in coloured pencil like the big old geek that I am...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


I don't even know how I'd summarise the last couple of weeks except to say that they were hectic. And also that my love affair with Toronto continues unabated.

I'm still shattered, so here's a round-up composed of very few words and some seriously mediocre photos (my beloved SLR had to sit this trip out because I had too much work-based luggage to haul around).

I got to meet this guy:

And a whole bunch of other people too.

There were a few of these:

Yes, that's a margarita with a gummy worm. Classy.

A fair bit of caffeine in Toronto's numerous achingly hipster coffee shops (necessary to keep me going two weeks without a day off):

A couple of days of pampering at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton and its fancy spa, and a tiny bit of adventuring in and around the city, from St Lawrence market to West Queen West, to the Distillery District and Toronto Island.

Oh? And pretty much the highlight of the whole trip?

I think 6-inches-too-short jumpsuits are set to make a comeback...

That's me (blurry). Hanging off the side of the CN Tower. More on that next time!

It's been a pretty great couple of weeks, but it felt SO GOOD to get home to my own flat and my own bed. I have a very good feeling about autumn in LA this year...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Toronto redux

Pic by John Cavacas from here.

I leave for Toronto today.

For the next two weeks I'll be running around like a crazy lady, working 18-hour-days, chatting to famous folk about some (potentially) interesting films, and hopefully loving Canada just as much as I did last year.

Oh. And did I forget to mention that for the last few nights I'm staying here?

Sometimes - just sometimes - there are perks to my job. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


In an ideal world, I would have been back in England this weekend, watching my friend B get hitched (in a tipi!) to her lovely man M.

But, sadly, another trip back just wasn't logistically or financially do-able. So instead, I've been eating, drinking, generally hanging out with LA peeps - and re-discovering my baking mojo.

I used to bake a lot. Pretty much every week, I'd head into the office with cupcakes, or biscuits, or cookies. I could whip up a mean Victoria sponge. And an excellent cointreau chocolate cake.

And then my beautiful stand mixer went into storage, I moved to a new city, in a new country, worked from home and realised that I didn't have enough people to actually consume all the stuff I was baking. And while I'm willing to go to heroic lengths, I can't actually eat an entire cake on my own...

But this weekend a few friends and I decided to go to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and watch Scarface. With a picnic.

I volunteered to make dessert.

I thought I'd ease myself back into this baking malarkey slowly (plus I still don't have most cake pans, a whisk, a sieve, or pretty much anything else needed for more complicated recipes) with chocolate brownies.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and whipped up a batch with only minimal flour-spilling, kitchen destroying antics.

And they really are pretty good - a touch gooey, rich without being cloying, and just a little bit salty.

The picnic was a success. The film, less so.

The cemetery is always a super-cool place to see films. We had blankets and cushions, we had insane amounts of food. But, in retrospect, trying to watch a three-hour movie featuring a host of incomprehensible accents, whilst one's view is partially obscured by bushes, gravestones, and latecomers - not the greatest idea. By about half an hour in, we were all giggling like maniacs trying to work out what the hell anyone was saying to anyone else, who anyone was and why they were taking chainsaws to one another.

We made it to the two-hour mark, admitted defeat and headed home. The strange thing is, I think we had more fun than if we'd actually paid attention to exactly what Pacino was getting up to...