Happy Easter! The day we celebrate spring, eggs, flowers, bunnies, baby/dead Jesus, flowers, the dairy industry and most of all, caves.
The Country House
I’m terrible at relaxing. I almost never “switch off” and I function at quite a high level most of the time; numerous projects going on in my head, multi-tasking different jobs and constantly planning my time. If I’m not working then I’m partying or out seeing friends – and if I’m not doing that, I’m asleep.
Friends have told me repeatedly I need to find some sort of relaxing activity to unwind with, and just a couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Ocean Loans to see if I wanted t o take arelaxing day off. My initial thought was “No, I don’t do relaxing”, before immediately seeing the offer as perhaps the perfect experience I needed to properly learn to de-stress!
1st photo. Bandana, shorts, vest top – all boys and belonging to housemate. Shirt – £13, Beyond Retro.
3rd-5th photos. T-Shirt – $5, Buffalo Vintage, Portland, Oregon. Skirt – £10, Amy Winehouse Foundation pop-up shop.
I feel like every time I go to the sea it’s obligatory to document it. These beachside outfit photos are nothing compared to last time I was in Mauritius but without my trusty photography steed (James) or any adequate packing time I had a random assortment of both clothes and photos to go through.
I’m normally straight into the sea and swimming around with the fishes in Mauritius, and this is the first time I can remember NOT swimming out into the sea. The beach was lined with volcanic rock; the huge, porous black rocks you can see in these photos. Volcanic rock is my favourite rock to have by the sea; they are smooth and often flat on top, they hold onto the suns warmth (perfect seats) and also dry out quickly. British rockpools tend to be jagged-edged slippery deathtraps in comparison..!
I was astounded by the amount of different animals living between the rocks. As we all know by now, I’m obsessed with animals so I was in my element exploring. The sandy floor was lined with sea cucumbers, sea urchins, seahorses, baby flying fish, mudskippers, anemones, sea slugs, baby octopi and starfish. And this is all packed into a space of a couple metres! The main reason I didn’t want to wade out into the sea to swim was because I was terrified of destructing a whole ecosystem with my giant human feet, or worse, destructing my giant human feet on the backs of the spiny sea urchins. Instead I spent hours clambering amongst the rocks, taking time to observe and trying not to disturb.
Autumn in Mauritius
September and October aren’t normally the times of year I set off for the Mauritian sunshine but that’s how it happened this year. It was slightly odd digging through my jumpers and winter dresses to find all of my recently packed away summer clothes; coupled with our last-minute booking I had some bizarrely mismatched outfits in Mauritius that I would have never thrown on in London. But then again, it’s holiday: time to live in the moment and just go with it…
This is a slightly random assortment of photos, I’ve already told you why I was there and my thoughts so as you might expect documenting the trip and everything we saw wasn’t really first priority for me this time around. I’ve written a lot about Mauritius before (LINK SPEW), it’s a pretty amazing country with lots of tiny islands to explore and a crazy geographical range; mountains, rainforest, woodland, beach and city. People often describe Mauritius as paradise; I’m completely biased of course but I definitely agree, aside from the natural beauty of the landscape (JUST LOOK AT THE VIEW FROM OUR FLAT IN THE TOP PHOTO) it’s got an endearing charm all it’s own amongst the welcoming people and ramshackle little towns. All in a country smaller than London!
We stayed in a flat near to Port Louis (which I’ve posted about before here), the capital of Mauritius and home to a lot of my family as well as some of the most evocative buildings I think I’ve ever seen. The colourful, slightly dilapidated constructions always stick in my mind when I’m back in the UK. Last time I was in Mauritius James and I stayed in a super-fancy hotel (post here) so it was a totally different experience this time sharing a flat with my Mum and Dad, especially as it’s been about 8 years since I last shared a house with my parents/spent longer than a couple of days with them. Again, it’s holiday, time to just go with it…
Dubai & Mauritius
I’m currently in Mauritius, a tiny island off the coast of Africa best known as a honeymoon destination. I’m not here for a holiday but sadly due to a family situation that is reaching crisis point. This trip was completely unplanned and last-minute, arising at the most inconvenient time in the way these things tend to. We had a few days stopover in Dubai (as you may have seen from this jubilant post) and I am now in Mauritius. Mauritius is one of my favourite places in the world and I’ve written a lot about it before.
Even given the present circumstances I’m grateful to be here in this beautiful country, although I feel very displaced right now. I had planned for September and October to be about recording, rooting myself in projects for the next couple months, writing round the clock and laying the foundations for next years work. Instead I’m a million miles away from home, trying to reschedule and mentally readjusting to effectively pausing my life for a bit. I feel like somebody’s taken over the reins for a bit and it’s pretty bizarre. If I don’t get much chance to blog in the next few weeks.. you know where I am, and I’ll try and share this incredible place on Instagram (@lailapictures) from time to time as well.
I’m incredibly excited to announce that I’m going to Japan!
I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to go to Japan since I was 8. My childhood and teenage years flew by through a filter of J-Pop, karate, harajuku fashion, raiding comic shops for imported manga, scouring London for Japanese restaurants and finding anime on the internet after the death of Fox Kids. As a kid my love for japanese culture marked me out as a weirdo but these days everybody has a favourite Studio Ghibli film and there’s sushi on every corner – I couldn’t be happier!
I met the wonderful and amazing Sam (check him out!) last year and we became close friends, eventually realising last Autumn that neither of us had ever been to Japan despite a lifetime of devouring Japanese culture and wishing to visit. So, we’re going – to see the sakura!
I’ve put together this Pinterest board of places to go to and I would LOVE your recommendations!
If this outfit looks a little familiar to the last post it’s because I was only away for 5 days – so just took one coat and bag! I’m always amazed at bloggers who manage to generate 2-3 completely different outfit posts on a single weekend trip; how much stuff are you guys taking? It impresses me as I’m way too lazy to carry my own stuff and never pack anything heavy or bulky. I’m sure that will change when I get my own entourage..!
This dress is a rare new item and it was a Christmas present; I love velvet and I love red and I really love short dresses so it’s a winner all round. I got the coat from a charity shop and including dry cleaning it was a grand total of £14! Everyone describes it as red but it’s more of a very dark orange.
These photos are from Tewkesbury – the main attraction is the stunning Tewkesbury Abbey, but we spent a fun afternoon exploring antiques shops and tea rooms. That was kind of the timetable for the whole holiday if I’m honest – I’ve never really been on that kind of slower-paced, meandering holiday and so it was quite novel for me and a really different experience. I especially loved strolling along the river; I tend to think of London as quite green and full of nature (typical Londoner…) but there’s none of that woodland brand of stillness that I found in the Cotswolds.
Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
I first went to the French architecture museum in Paris when I was 20. One of my best friends had visited a few months before as part of his architecture degree. He’d sent me a postcard which lived on my university bedroom wall, so the museum already seemed familiar. I spent an entire happy day wandering in and out of the gigantic halls, astounded by architectural feats, the permanence of everything.
Immediately it became one of my favourite museums. There’s such a sense of calm there being surrounded by the huge windows that overlook the Eiffel Tower and gardens. The atmosphere is part museum, part library and part reverential sacred space. I’m not sure if it’s the enormity of the building or the many casts of churches and cathedrals, but it’s quite unlike any other museum I’ve visited. Old buildings always fascinate me; what would they say if they could talk? What have they seen? Who have they known? Did the hands that built them know they would be remembered in hundreds of years time? Commemorated, examined by artists and dreamers?
So of course on our most recent and magical trip to Paris I took my friends. We wandered around in silence, speaking quietly in hushed tones so as not to disturb the ancient buildings. And I left with that same sense of wonder, of reverence and of sketching out ideas that might outlast me. Outside the feeling continued on the square tiles of the Trocadero, laid down hundreds of years before, and the “temporary” structure of the Eiffel Tower posing in the background.