Thursday, 27 October 2016

BARCELONA - A SUNNY DUET

If you haven't watched the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona I advise you stop reading, find a good streaming site and do so now.

Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Woody Allen are one hell of a combination. The sound track is really good too. The way this film presents the city is so inviting - balmy nights, red wine and Spanish guitar in court yards covered by vines and fairy lights.

At the beginning of summer, my man and I were trying to decide where to go for a city break and after watching this film for the 100th time we decided it's time to take our asses to Barca (please see previous post for pie chart)

Like most Mediterranean cities the buildings and streets still have an old world glamour that has deteriorated over centuries. The buildings that remain have seen the rise and fall of empires and dictators, and have been through the evolution of the country from fascism to the European Union to Brexit (yuck).

We were only there for 2 or 3 days and I wasn't feeling the OTT vibes of the W hotel and CDLC and all that bullshit. 

We just slept till late, explored the city in the sunshine all day, watched the entire season 1 of Stranger Things and ate and drank nuff. Perfect. 
   

Among the crumbling beauty are the tell-tale signs of modern life. Graffiti of a poke-ball in a play ground, flashing signs for night clubs and pharmacies. The usual stuff.

Top: Urban Outfitters

Denim Cut Offs: One Teaspoon 'Bandits'





Tiny details








Sandals: H&M

Tiles: Gaudi






Lace Top: Zara

Denim Cut Offs: Custom Vintage Levi's

Shades: RayBans


It wouldn't have been a trip to Spain without plenty of Paella. So tasty! The Spanish serve this dish in a platter or in the pan it was cooked in. Sometimes still sizzling. You drizzle the lemon all over the rice and chicken.




My favourite Aperol Spritz with tapas on the beach.

Playsuit: Cochianna's Store in New Kingston Business Centre, Jamaica

Choker: ASOS

Handbag: Patrizia Pepe


Sunday, 23 October 2016

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

When I'm travelling I like to divide my days and nights into three parts (yes, I made a pie chart) 


Barcelona is a city with all three in abundance.

As soon as we landed and dropped off our bags we headed to Las Ramblas (a main tourist destination and hub in the city) to have paella and some Spanish wine. The youth and warmth of this city strikes you here, as you watch the crowds amble past and feel the Mediterranean sunshine on your face.  

Don't ever shy away from the big tourist attractions if you're on a holiday. Experience as many landmarks as you can in this life - from Renaissance period art to graffiti in the hidden alleyways. Immerse yourself fully and deeply.  

Gaudi began construction of La Sagrada Familia 133 years ago, and this cathedral is still unfinished. If you think about it - when the idea of this mega-structure was first conceived women couldn't vote, WWI and WWII hadn't happened, people barely had running water in their houses much less mobile phones and WiFi. Big things guys... and this cathedral is still not finished.

From afar is has an ugly-beauty. It reminded me of sandcastles I used to make with my brother and sister when I was a kid - taking soaking wet sand in our fingers we would hold them high and let the sand drip-drop into lumpy piles and shapes before they washed away in the waves.  

Nothing can prepare you for what's inside. The design is breathtaking, there is no other word for it. Your neck will ache from staring up at the ceiling and walls. I can not believe there is another space like this on Earth. Even if you know nothing about art, and don't care about design, you must see this place once in your lifetime.














Barcelona tip's and trick's 
  • If you go in the summer - take water with you EVERYWHERE. It is so hot... so hot. You won't even believe how hot it is. 
  • Book ahead for all tourist attractions - we didn't book the Gaudi Park Guell, so we couldn't go inside as it was completely booked up. Super annoying, especially after the sweaty hike up a mountain to get to the park. 
  • If you visit La Sagrada Familia it is worth paying extra for the audio guide and to go up one of the church spires. You get a beautiful view of the city and get to see the main cathedral floor from above. 
  • Eat Paella, as much as possible. eat. eat. eat. 
  • When you visit the beach - bring a book, snacks. water, and a towel. Also bring some change to rent an beach umbrella. To rent one for the day is approximately 6 Euros.

Monday, 17 October 2016

One Step, Two Step




Much to the dismay of all my English boarding school teachers, I - a 6 foot tall Jamaican - was NOT athletic. I was an uninterested, pseudo-rebel, I just did not want to do it. I spent so much time figuring out new, creative ways to get out of PE class and any games sessions, Joanne the Scammer would have been proud of me and the non-athletic rejects.

That all changed when I was in university and first started modelling. I was on the treadmill 5 or 6 times a week, running 5 or 6 kilometers each time. It was an obsession that became unhealthy. I went from being unfit and being insecure about my body to being super fit and even more insecure. I think when you're wrapped up in that kind of mentality nothing is good enough. No matter how many pounds I dropped, or bones I could count on my rib cage it did not seem like I had stopped being the girl I was in high school. Pounding my knees on those treadmills for many years made me develop some sort of tendinitis - I can't run 5 K any more.

Fitness is still a huge part of my life. I have a gym near my house that I try go to in the mornings before work. 6:15 am wake ups do not happen easily, so I don't go as much as I would like, and the pounds are visibly piling up.

What the Americans do the rest of us follow, and so the fitness-coconut-avocado-no-gluten craze has fully reached across the pond and cemented itself in our capital.


  Perfect sized portions at Detox Kitchen


This city has so many classes and studios to choose from. You don't need a membership, but the classes fill up quickly they have waiting lists.

One of my favourites is Psycle London Mortimer Street branch.



The classes are amazing - dark room, flashy lights, great music and at £20 per class it better be. They give you the cleats (spinning shoes) and can have your bike fully set up for your height before every class. Its a combination of using your upper body, lower body and some weights thrown for a full-body experience.

It is the only place in Britain I have ever heard a group of white people enthusiastically clap and whoop like a gospel choir. The facilities are immaculate white with clouds of freshly laundered towels, complimentary organic Bumble & Bumble hair products, dove deodorant, hair ties GHD hair straighteners and anything else a girl needs to grab a fancy-pants smoothie in the cafe outside.

The best part about the studio is the instructors. They make you feel like your part of a team, and when riding on the beat with 50 other tired ass people you really feel that way. I'll share my secret - if you like dancehall and hip hop, riding with Alana on Sunday at 11:45 on a Sunday is where you want to be.

Just try not to party all night and do a class in the morning.... trust me.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

BENVENUTO A PORTO CERVO

A few top feelings of boring adult life in not particular order:

i) Taking your bra off after a long day
ii) Waking up on a Saturday or Sunday without needing an alarm and no hang over
iii) Turning your out of office on during the week because its time for a HoLiDaY

Sardinia is a large island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.

It sunny, beautiful and glamorous - everything I needed in a get away from 'real life'. So off I went... bye bye grey London! Ciao Italia!

With a group of my friends we went to stay in the villa of our Sardinian girl friend. She works in concierge and PR for many private clients, restaurants and night clubs in London, Sardinia and Cote D'Azur- so basically, she got the hook up.



We had aperitifs at Phi Beach - I think it's one of the most beautiful venues I've been to. I promise, I had a near spiritual moment when the sun was setting on the horizon and they were playing Fleetwood Mac - Dreams ... or maybe it was the drinks. 

This summer I really discovered Aperol Spritz - a perfect summer drink with Aperol liqueur, champagne/ Prosecco, soda water, a splash of Campari, plenty ice and a slice of orange. DO try at home. 








After Phi Beach, we had dinner in Porto Cervo marina surrounded by Super Yachts. Beautiful sushi, espresso martini's and wine. I din't have my phone out at the table so there there aren't any pictures of the food, just some dessert. I ate a lot of dessert this summer... a lot. 



Then we went straight to Billionaire Porto Cervo Sardinia's exclusive night club. 

The next day, we wondered the island in the sunshine. After negotiating a painfully expensive taxi ride. We had lunch and coffee by the smaller marina in Porto Cervo and enjoyed the views of the yachts. 


Second night and it's party time! You can tell I have lived in London a long time because all my clothes are black. It was so nice to get dressed up, do my make up and hair and wear heels. I am around 6" 4 in heels, which is kind of intense for people who don't know me. The older I get the funnier I find this - if I meet someone and I am sitting they are so shocked once I stand to say hello. 


Jacket: ZARA

Top: ZARA

Shorts: Cochianna's store in Jamaica in New Kingston Business Centre. 


Clutch: ASOS

My friend tried to convince me that the beaches in Sardinia were the most beautiful in Europe. Being from the Caribbean she noted I am spoilt for beaches. She's right - our sand is the whitest, our water the bluest and the most crystal clear - most days you can see your toes in the sand through the waves. I will admit I did not swim in Sardinia, the water was just too cold! But still very beautiful. 




The view was stunning, like a scene from The Talented Mister Ripley. Super yachts and beautiful young tanned Italian people, little kids playing in the sand. There were many sun beds and umbrellas for hire, as well as African immigrants hustling and selling towels and imitation designer handbags. 

Its a completely different way of beach leisure that we do not culturally have as Jamaicans. For one thing, most Jamaican's can't swim. 


Dress: Forever 21

Shoes: Same as above

This night - guys, I can't even tell you about this night. We turned all the way up. Tequila, tequila, tequila. All I know is those shoes were exchanged for flats before the clock struck midnight and I didn't get home until the sun was up. 

Not going to lie, coming back to the office was like returning from a fantasy. 

x o x o


NOTCH LONDON

This was the first summer i spent in London. Usually I go back to Jamaica to see my family.

London is beautiful in the summer. In May and June the streets are lined by roses and cherry blossom, pinks and reds and the sky is so blue. 





The days are long, with the sun setting at around 10 pm during the longest days. This means there is plenty time for lazying in parks, having picnics, or discovering new rooftop bars and finally getting to catch up with old friends. City life is so hectic, and once routine sets in its easy to go months without seeing people who live only 15 minutes away from you. 

This particular Friday I was bored at work stalking peoples snap chats and I see my friends LIT snap story and they're in London partying in Shoredtich somewhere the night before. Of course, I text them instantly. No hang overs to be used as an excuse - its summer and we are going out! 

My friend Maddy had come to visit London from Paris. I met Maddy on Britain's Next Top Model Cycle 8 (almost 4 years ago, yikes!), and have remained friends since. She was with our friends Rida and Tasha, who I met through Rissikat, another friend from BINTM. 

They were all meant to be going to Ibiza to see Rissikat but they're trip had sadly been cancelled last minute, so they were doing some partying in London instead.  

We headed over to a new pop-up bar right opposite Marble Arch tube station called Notch London

It's a roof top bar just above the busy Oxford Street, it's open air and has a really cool East London vibe. We waited in a queue for a long time (one of my pet peeves) it was so long that the people in front of us started leaving one by one. We were having a great time catching up so we waited it out. 

After that long ass wait, once we were inside we went straight for some drinks. I had a Giant Ice tea at £12 it came in a very on-trend mason jar. There were also Old Fashioned's and Negronis that came in colourful vintage tin cans. 






The music was really good, a mixture of hip-hop and electric dance music. Plus it had cool activities like Sharpie pens to draw on all the surfaces. But the best part about this place was the swing sets! After a few drinks we were playing like school kids and of course had to have an IG worthy photo shoot. 




Always have to nuff up ourselves, but the bartender didn't seem to mind being our photographer!

We were there until the place closed. It was so much fun to see these girls, we couldn't go home.

So we made our way to The Cuckoo Club, on Swallow Street. I went to university with the very glamorous girl who does the door there. She let us in though it was a private party or something. We had some of the canap├ęs and some prosecco before any one noticed we weren't invited or dressed for the occasion. 




I think I'm getting old because the second best part of the night was taking the Night Tube home for the first time. It was awesome. Forget whatever fusion restaurant, whatever bar,  whatever new pop-up HIIT-yoga-boxing studio - the best thing to happen to London this summer is the Night Tube. 

Earrings - Bought in Jamaica

90s Choker - ASOS

Silver Necklace - Christmas Present

Bodysuit - Missguided

Denim Skirt - ASOS

Bracelets - random purchases and gifts 

xoxo