Oregon country fair OCF 2014 fun and games happened tapeparade fields eugene oregonMuseum of architecture cite d'architecture black dress white tightsnew york subway High Line chelsea manhattan lower west sideI was about 14 when I watched a programme with my Mum that documented the “top 50 things to before you die” or whatever. I remember eagerly jotting down trips and destinations that looked interesting. I’m not normally a big fan of lists like that and I don’t think travel should be about ticking boxes but I was quite young and hadn’t heard of many places. I’ve always thought travel is an incredibly important part of growing and being a rounded person, and you don’t really get a sense for a place if you’re just waltzing between hotels and tour guides. Not in my book anyway!

So, although I’ve done quite a lot of the classic “things everyone should do” from seeing the Northern Lights, walking over Golden Gates Bridge, swim in an Icelandic pool, gondola in Venice etc, I thought I’d share some my more personal travel highlights. I’m kind of a risk-taking, up-for-anything sorta girl anyway, but there’s something about travelling which makes it easier to just push everything a step further than normal… nabano no sato nagoya led light show light tunnel flower botanical garden laila blog tapeparadeCasanova camel Facebook egypt sensatori sharm el sheikh laila arab bedouin arabic arabia travelling on a camel 1. Last year in New York, asking a boy I met on a plane to marry me to try and avoid going home.

2. Aged 14, staying in a provincial french village for a music course we ended up spending an entire day in a local primary school and playing our instruments for the children.

3. The first time I stayed up all night in New York.. I was 18, it was my second trip there and I snuck out of the hotel with a few friends (we were on a school trip) where we tried unsuccessfully to blag our way into a jazz club – instead ending up sat around the back until the sun rose up.

4. Last year, crying actual tears in one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever seen – Metamorphosis last year at MACBA in Barcelona.

5. Aged 16, being taken out by the locals for a night on the town in Turkey and every single person assuming I was Turkish. Then being taken to the club all the hotel reps go to after hours – it was basically the Kurdish version of Dirty Dancing.

6. Aged 15, seeing the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia and feeling completely overwhelmed knowing this was where so much of the best art from the last century had been created.

7. Aged 20, the weirdest night of my life in Paris which involved champagne and a show at the Moulin Rouge, multiple “Earthquakes” at Toulouse Lautrec’s favourite bar, then multiple Guinesses at an Irish bar before descending into blurry chaos and a few more weird encounters which I can’t really share. But they were good.

8. Staying up for my last 36 hours in San Francisco and consequently having the best sleep of my life on the 28 hour journey back.

9. Aged 5, one of my earliest memories: falling asleep on a camel in Kenya and then waking up with the camel licking me. Another early memory from the same trip is swapping a piece of a cake with a monkey.

10. Aged 19, befriending an old Italian man in Rome; our only mutual language was French so we spoke entirely in French for an hour. He showed me a tiny local church, the outside was shuttered and covered over and inside of was entirely tiled with little gold mirrors.

What are some of your favourite travel memories? It feels like ages since I’ve been away and I’m itching to get to Helsinki, Australia and possibly back to my beloved New York before the year is out. Looks like I’ll be headed back to the homeland as well. I’d like to ask if any of you have a Pinterest board of places you’d like to visit? Let me know if so – I’d love to see and hear about your travel experiences.Parc Guell Gaudi Barcelona Spain Tapeparade blog tape paradeBarcelona pretty architecture exterior building gold peach white blue tiling tiles palm trees fountainGirl in black dress joy the store floral blossom laila geisha blog tenryuji kyoto shrine indoor temple wooden wall ceiling tapeparade bamboo mat floor wooden screenThis is my entry for this weeks #WeBlogSummer – I am shockingly late because for some reason scheduling the post didn’t work. Lovely Sophia’s post is here and she has links to the rest of the gals involved.


aIMG_5755I make quite detailed resolutions so I thought I’d share them, I apologise in advance if this is the most boring post ever! I like to keep busy, but after exhausting myself in 2012 I set the productivity bar very low for 2013 and it’s been my “sloth” year off. My resolutions included going on holiday, going to the zoo, moving out and learning to drive.
I completed nearly all of them. The best one was taking James to Mauritius! James is the first person outside of my family I’ve been to Mauritius with and it was one of the best trips I’ve had, (and an excellent opportunity to air my floppy hat collection – 4 is a bit excessive for everyday UK weather).17IMG_6052
 How adorable is the teenage chicken! I love teenage birds, they look so weird as their feathers change. They are rarely photographed at this stage of life because they look so strange.aIMG_5955Despite my year off I did do a few things: relocate WOLF PACK to London, create two concerts, go on two tours with Rhum & Clay to perform A Strange Wild Song (performing in Bath, Cornwall, Chulmleigh, Winkleigh, Devon, LiverpoolOxford, Bristol, Margate, Leicester, Derby, Exeter, Ilfracombe & Reading), create a website, go on holiday to Mauritius (with James), Rhodes and Fetiye (with my bestie Philly) and Manchester (with all my friends!),  move house (twice), pass my driving test, triple my private students and start volunteering at a charity shop.IMG_7636aIMG_7679aTurkey turkiye fetiye outdoor exterior Laila tapeparade giraffe girl interaction animalas baby giraffe animalaIMG_8995aIMG_4811IMG_3277IMG_3662IMG_3602a
I’ve read a few blogs mentioning resolutions centred around personal growth, career development and health and fitness. Mine are never like that! I basically just have a list of stuff I want to do. It’s possibly a bit unrealistic but I am quite an ambitious and driven sort of person.
My 2014 goals:
Keep to a maximum of three projects to focus on
Hang out with (long list of friends I don’t see enough)
Tour North America
Go to Monkey World
Go to New York, Disneyland, Brazil and Cambodia
Take James to AMNH (my favourite museum in the world)
I’m lucky to have been given so many opportunities and to be able to shape my own career and do something I love as a job: although it’s hard work, difficult to justify at times and insane hours I never contemplate doing anything else.IMG_3622
Lastly I started my blog this year! Thank you to James, Philly, Justin, Dave and everybody else who helps me with photos and all of my friends for sharing this year with me! Thank you so much to all of you who read, I never ever expected to meet so many lovely people. I’d love to know what you’d like to see next or if you have any suggestions – leave me a comment or have a click in this little poll below! What are your plans for 2014? Happy New Year everyone, I wish you all museums and good times. Thank you to everybody who was part of my 2013!
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