Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012: A year in travel - part 1

This title reminds me of the Twilight films - The Celia saga: Places I've been in 2012, part 1. No? Just me? Oh well.*

Anyway. The whole point of this here blog was to help me remember where I've been, what I did there and why I wanted to go in the first place. So. Here's a handy little summary to save me (and you, if for some reason you were ever interested enough in the first place) scrolling through a shit-ton of old posts to remember where I happened to be in April 2012...


I kicked off the year in south London with a raging hangover (first meal of 2012? Brixton Burger King. S, I hold you firmly responsible for this...) and spent my last few days in England catching up with the beautiful Miss M, hanging out with London people and shivering under a pile of blankets before heading back to LA, sunshine and a January of general busyness and hard work.

It's possible my definition of 'hard work' is a little skewed...

In the name of work, I also flew up to San Francisco for the briefest of overnight stays. As I haven't been back since, there's very little I can tell you about it, apart from that I stayed in a really rather lovely hotel.


I spent my birthday in Arizona on yet another overnight work trip. Yet again, while I can vouch for the general awesomeness of mashed potato bars and show you more pictures of pretty hotels, I can tell you absolutely sod all about Phoenix...


This is where things get a little bit more exciting, because my awesome friend B decided to fly over and hang out with me for a couple of weeks, and, as well as touring the sights (In n' Out is a sight, right?) of LA, we took a little jaunt down to San Diego, stopping en route in Temecula for a spot of wine tasting and more than a spot of cheese consumption:

Oh cheese. And other yummy things. How I love thee

We ambled and ate and drank our way around San Diego in beautiful sunshine.

And even crossed the border into Tijuana for a few hours, where, instead of spending a wild night drinking $1 margaritas and getting crazy on prescription meds (which is apparently what you're SUPPOSED to do in Tijuana) we wandered around in the middle of the afternoon, enjoyed a glass of beer and took photos of Mexican-looking things. Because we're wild like that.


Of all the trips I took this year, I have to admit that my absolute favourite is probably one of the least exciting from an outside perspective. I flew back to England over Easter for my friend Jo's wedding, and went back to Cornwall for the first time in 15 years, with my family (sans brother) and two dogs in tow.

South Cornwall (and specifically the Fowey estuary) is, and always will be, one of my favourite places in the world, and it felt so special to be back there after such a long time, hang with my family, get to know my sister's boyfriend better and spend my days traipsing through the countryside and eating far too many scones.

The view from the car park. The CAR PARK, people.

Then I got to head back to Suffolk for a few days, spend a little bit of time with my favourite ladies and witness the incredible nuptials of these guys:

Next up: Part 2, in which I have a huge row with my mother while surrounded by giant trees, go to two more weddings and stay in a hotel with a TV in the bathroom mirror. I bet you can't wait...

*Not that I'm likening my year in any way to the antics of abstemious yellow-eyed vampires battling the wrath of Michael Sheen. Um.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Oh Saul.

I know I'm not unique in this. But man, I love Homeland. To the extent that I've been known to refuse Sunday evening invitations to stay home in my pjs and Homeland it up.

More specifically, I love Saul Berenson.

Photo: Kent Smith for Showtime

No spoilers here, I promise. I know the season hasn't finished yet in England. But I will say that while I didn't feel season two was quite as consistently great as season one, my devotion to Saul has just grown and grown.

Plus, if you've seen the Princess Bride, you probably love Mandy Patinkin for a few other reasons too.

In my game of Celebrity Happy Families (you don't play that? You totally should. Michael Caine is my pretend celebrity grandad, and Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton are my imaginary aunt and uncle. Imagine Christmas day!) he's totally taking the dad spot.

So yeah. Watch the finale. Watch his face. It's amazing. AMAZING I tell you.

Oh - and, if you want any possibility of taking Carrie/Brody/Dana  seriously ruined for you entirely, watch this. I'm now strangely fascinated by Damian Lewis' tiny mouth.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Songs for Christmas

Less than two weeks to go until Christmas, and one week exactly until I fly back to England - I've purchased my Christmas(ish) jumper, I've eaten my first mince pie and drunk my first (ok, and second and third) glass of mulled wine. I'm feeling festive.

So I thought I'd make up a little Christmas mix of the songs that have been accompanying me as I've baked cookies, botched home-made wreaths and attempted to DIY Christmas cards this year.

And yes, it has Fairytale of New York on it. Because however many times I hear it piped through tinny shopping centre speakers , it never induces murderous feelings. Wham! on the other hand...

1. The Midnight Clear, Sufjan Stevens

2. Carol Of The Bells, the bird and the bee

3. Baby, It's Cold Outside, Rufus Wainwright and Sharon Van Etten

4. Christmas Night in Harlem, Louis Armstrong and his All Stars

5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Slow Club

6. Home For The Holidays, Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler

7. Horchata, Vampire Weekend

8. Just Like Christmas, Low

9. Christmas Wrapping, Summer Camp

10. Wonderful Christmastime, The Shins

11. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, She & Him

12. The Christmas Party, The Walkmen (featuring Nicole Sheahan)

13. Merry Christmas, I Love You, James Brown

14. I Wish It Was Christmas Today, Julian Casablancas

15. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt

16. Fairytale of New York, The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

16. Xmas Riff, Marc Bolan

You can, as always, listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

And, just in case all mention of Christmas is making you want to hide in a corner and listen to something that doesn't involve sleigh bells, may I recommend the ultimate anti-Christmas tune?

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Graffiti run

I've not been doing so well on the running front over the past couple of months. It's always trickier in the winter because my favourite route shuts down earlier, and it's still usually a little warm for daytime jogging, but that's no excuse for general lameness.

So I decided I need a little motivation. Nothing too drastic, just some fun running deadlines for the not too distant future.

Enter the graffiti run!

It's just a 5k, so nothing too challenging, but I'm going to try and work on my speed. Plus see how cool it looks! And I've cajoled my friend J into signing up as well, so I'll have some company as we work our way around the course having coloured powder chucked at us.

If you fancy signing up, the LA run is March 16th, but there are others coming up in Texas and Arizona over the next few months too.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

You guys

Seriously. I need help.

What do people wear when it gets cold?

I've become very comfortable in the land of sunshine and bare legs and sky-high stilettos. Which has been fine for the past 11 months. But now not only am I coming back to a (currently snow-laden) England for Christmas, but I'll be in Amsterdam for New Year.

I'm reliably informed that the Dam is even colder than London.

What are all the cool kids wearing these days? More importantly, what are all the really-busty-can't-rock-the-androgynous-oversized-jumper-look cool kids wearing?

Or is that the cool kid rule? Can't be bigger than a B-cup, wear anything above a size eight, and it also helps if you've got the kind of cheekbones you can use to cut glass?

That's not going to work for me, people.

I have a camel coat. I've been wearing it with a tartan scarf and skinny jeans and moccasins. It's fine for LA cold. Which is about as cold as London on a warmish day in March.

I spent much of last Christmas huddled underneath a pile of blankets and two dogs, shivering and looking pathetically at my dad until he put the heating on. That's not going to work this year either. Apart from anything else, there's only one dog left, which means only half the body heat. Also the older my dad gets, the more miserly he gets with the thermostat.

So. I need recommendations for:

: : Waterproof shoes that I can wear with both skirts and skinny jeans, that don't cost as much as the down payment on a Ford Focus.

: : Layers to wear under my purdy camel coat that don't make me look like a) a total dick or b) the Michelin man.

: : Hats. I like hats. My current one keeps falling off my head, though. That's no use on a bike in Amsterdam.

Maybe not a hat quite like this...

How cold is it in Europe right now? Am I over-thinking this? Are you going to tell me it's actually only mildly chilly and I'll be just fine? Please tell me that. Please.

Top pic: Flavia Oliveira for Elle Espana, bottom pic Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

DIY Christmas wreath

I bought a hot glue gun.

It's pink.

Nothing can stop me now...

It looks better in real life. Kinda.