Gringo Diaries Part 2: Bolivia, from La Paz to Sucre
LA PAZ, UYUNI SALT FLATS TOUR, POTOSI, SUCRE
LA PAZ, UYUNI SALT FLATS TOUR, POTOSI, SUCRE
Hello Tales of a City Girl readers – and a special shout out to whoever it is that keeps my visitor level at 3 per week according to Facebook, despite the fact it’s been 11 months since I posted.
So, while I’m in between jobs (honestly, I am in between contracts, that isn’t just code for unemployed), I’ve started missing being in the office. There’s only so much delight you can get in watching TV programmes your partner hates you watching, and organising your wardrobe you can do, before you need the cash and camaraderie of the office environment. Which led me to think about the different characters you meet while there. Do you recognise any of these?
Dear Tales of a City Girl fan(s) – I owe you an apology. As if Facebook wasn’t enough of a minefield of guilt trips, it also snidely reminds me every time I log in that it’s been over 45 days since I posted anything TOACG related. Let me explain.
There aren’t many places I would choose to live in England right now other than my beloved London. Kent? Done that. Essex? Meh. The North? So North-y. But there’s just something about Edinburgh. Or maybe I’ve drunk too much whisky. You decide.
They say the greatest mark of an actor is how well they can perform on stage, especially in a play. With minimal set and musical trickery, the emphasis is purely on how well they can draw you into the story with their acting power.
What is the best way to serve champagne? Chilled, from the fridge? Pfft, good answer, but kind of amateur level. Try this for size –from a backlit, ice-filled bath, served by a well-dressed waiter. Now we’re talking.
What do I have in common with the Made in Chelsea lot? No, it’s not the fact people pay me to go to their bars – it’s that I also agree going to a spa is the only way to spend a weekend darling. Although, unlike reality TV toffs, I can’t really afford to go a lot. This is why I’m so pleased to post about my brilliant and affordable trip to Aqua Sana Spa in Center Parcs. Yes, that icon of happy childhoods everywhere has a spa too – and a damn good one at that.
Sorry for the long delay on posts. Since my ankle sprain I have also been getting over a bug and consequently all my time and effort has had to go on feeling sorry for myself, sleeping in until 2pm and listlessly scrolling through the Daily Mail sidebar of shame. It’s been full on.
Yesterday I sprained my ankle. I was blissfully running along, about half a mile into a 13 mile training run when all of a sudden my headphones were brutishly ripped from my ears, my ankle turned inwards, I threw my phone outwards, and I fell downwards, scraping all the skin off my knees in the process.
Ah London. What a beautiful melting pot of cultures and activities. A place to fall in love with. A place to realise dreams. A place to be whoever YOU want to be. A place of diversity. But despite all of this poetry, a place where you are almost guaranteed to meet all of these people.
Escape rooms have sprung up in the capital more and more recently. Offering an injection of high-paced fun with an adrenaline-popping challenge element, I’ve always wanted to try one. Lady Chastity’s Reserve isn’t an escape room in a traditional sense as you’re not trying to break your way out. But you are trying to win a bottle of wine, so after sorting out my booze ‘cheat days’ for the week (yes, I am now a full-on marathon training wanker), I joined an illustrious team of work pals to give it a go.
Sorry for the lack of posts recently – I may need to shimmy down to one a week for the time being while I rebalance 2016 life. I’m sure once my new year resolutions begin to wane, I’ll be back up to twice a week. And to continue with my more streamlined (or lazy… however you choose to view it) approach, this pet hate is an evolvement from stand up comedian Nick Doody’s routine I saw last week. My phrases are different though, promise.
I was thinking the other day when I was procrastinating getting up for work, my head delightfully cocooned by my warm pillow, how it is people say they enjoy the cold side of the pillow. Like removing your head from its cosy position, to flip the pillow and snuggle up to its cold-hearted bitchy twin, is somehow a treat. And it made me think about some of the other things people like which I don’t get. Read on and see if you agree. And take it with a pinch of salt, yeah? After all, it is coming from someone who follows people from Made in Chelsea on Instagram, so we all have our weird likes to bear.
Welcome to this new and exciting section of my website, you lucky people. I’ve always said I will run a marathon before I’m 30 and 30 is now becoming a real looming figure rather than a distant number, so I’m going for it. My Edinburgh marathon is now 19 weeks away (but who’s counting eh?) and you, yes you, get to join me on my training adventure as I get ready. First things first, to be a runner, you need proper shoes. So here goes…
Close your eyes. Now. This may be an error, seeing as I want you to read my review, but just do it for a couple of seconds. That is how dark Dans Le Noir, the dining in the dark experience, is. It’s disorientating, disconcerting and something everyone should try once.
On the first Monday back at work, that might seem like a stupid question. And to make my day worse, I walked 25 minutes to a swimming pool to start off my pre-marathon cross-training and they were shut due to lack of chlorine in the pool, which seems a bit of a fucking pool essential. And then, when I called Dan on the way home, he sweetly suggested that I could pick him up dinner as I wasn’t going swimming any more. Suffice to say, he got his own damn food. Anyway, I’m going off topic. Here are some reasons why January is crap – and some why it’s cracking.
Every year I give myself New Year Resolutions and I’m usually fairly good at sticking to them. Not to toot my own horn, but last year I launched the blog, exercised 3-4 times a week (apart from a gap of a month or two in the summer, which unfortunately coincided with the only time I was in a bikini all year) and grew back one of my eyebrows from overplucking (such patience you know). I had a bunch of others, but those were the main ones. This year, I’m going to start on Monday. Partially because I spent this New Years Day in bed until 1.30 and then went to the pub for a cheeseburger and chips.
Getting older gets a bad rap. Your hangovers are dire, you’re probably not going to get away with not turning up for work in the same way as not turning up for seminars, and you’re legitimately old enough to marry/have a baby and will be expected to have opinions on both. But it is not all bad. At the ripe old age of 28 and a half (remember when the half used to be important to add? Ah, youth) here are some of the good things about nudging 30.
Now is the time of year you may be considering trying to nudge your over-worked mind into the direction of Christmas festivities. Not having any children to get me in the Christmas spirit (thank God), I’m usually looking for anything to get my cynicism Christmasified. Mainlining mulled wine, having an enormous Christmas tree, staring glassy-eyed into the Libertys window trying to muster enthusiasm… and Christmas markets.
I entered a writing competition for Elle, where the brief was to write a piece around the hashtag #relationshipgoals. I lost (trust me if I’d won, you’d have heard me going on about it by now). I reckon that’s just because they’re keeping this wicked entry behind though. So at a special event to celebrate women in writing I will be presented with a separate special prize while Caitlin Moran and Lorraine Candy cry and call me an inspiration to the future of words. Anyway. Take a look. It’s pretty different from my current blogging style, but hey, it’s good to try something different every now and again.
It’s getting to that time of year when I start to feel all prickly that I haven’t managed to tie down what I want to get anybody for Christmas. It would be so much easier if you could just give yourself the money you’d spend on presents and then everyone could watch you unwrap them on Christmas Day. True, the magic would be somewhat lost, but imagine never having to see the crestfallen expression on a loved one’s face as you realise your ‘quirky’ gift was in fact just mis-judged. But I am here to help your Christmas inspo with my dream Christmas list. Kind of. In no real helpful way at all.
How often have you asked yourself whether you’d rather just be asleep? From work to bars, there has rarely been an area of my life where I haven’t thought to myself that I would. That I’d rather be in bed and that it is only society that is stopping me fulfilling my desire for entire hibernation. I mean I reckon if I was allowed to work for half the hours of the day I have to I’d have twice the capacity. If nights out finished at 10pm I wouldn’t have to pretend shuffling and swaying like a sleep-impoverished zombie is a dance move and I drink espresso martinis for their taste. You get the hint. I LOVE SLEEP. So, on a night where I would love to be asleep by 7 but life got in the way, here’s three reasons why sleep just is the bomb.
Sometimes even a city girl needs a dose of country Bumpkin.
Stress has got to be one of my biggest pet hates. It’s a useless, energy-sapping emotion. And although there are plenty of things for us all to get stressed out about for real both for ourselves and others, this isn’t a blog about this. There are others who can write about those issues with a lot more eloquence and argument than I can. This is a post about the ridiculous things that have the power to stress me out, hopefully to make you laugh. But equally likely to make you ponder whether the best Christmas present for me would be, in all honesty, a strait jacket.
Yesterday I took the afternoon off work, and won’t come back until Tuesday. I booked myself into a manicure, and I’m off for a long weekend in Suffolk as soon as I finish this. The past couple of months, Dan has been busy doing crazy-tired eyes at his work emails until gone 11 every night. Although I haven’t been as busy at work, it’s still been pretty busy, and socialising, going to the gym and trying to work out a blog post that’s going to blow your minds is tough to keep up with, alright. So a little mini pre-Christmas break is pretty welcomed. But the admin can be so annoying.
Stuck for somewhere to go this weekend? Looking for somewhere new? Here is a list of 26 places you could go in London this weekend, and a handy key to help decipher which you’re in the mood for. Aren’t I good to you. Oh, and two to avoid too.
Gourmet Cinema Club brings a classic film to you with a difference. No longer will you be sharing your cinema experience with other cinemagoers loudly crunching nachos while you simultaneously try to ignore the beacon-like glow of people’s iPhones in the dark. With Christmas just round the corner, should you be putting the Gourmet Cinema club on your list to Santa?
Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I lost my writers’ mojo a bit, and began to get disillusioned with thoughts like how Gwyneth Paltrow can write a seven step guide to yawning on Goop and still get more hits on that one post than I have since launch. But fortunately for my millions of readers who didn’t know where to turn, I am BACK with five of my favourite things I’ve done in London and why I’ve enjoyed them. The mojo may have died but the love of alliteration in titles never will.
Kill your Friends is based on the 2008 novel by author John Niven, a great book of biting satire for those of us looking for a different, more updated American Psycho. But is the magic lost when translated into screen?
Little Black Lies is an exceptional book, whose characters and plot will leave you questioning everything right up to the last paragraph – and then leaves you there with a new twist. If you are a fan of smart, well constructed thrillers, make this your next read.
Wine and cheese tasting is one of life’s great pairings – like toasted cheese and Worcestershire sauce, gin and tonic, chips and ketchup, it’s just meant to be. But it can be expensive for little return (let’s not forget the upsetting Cheese and Wine Festival). Can Dionysius do it better?
I thought I was overdue a pet hates post. So here’s my therapeutic look at everything annoying me with London life right now (please note this post is meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek. I’m not enough of an idiot to really count these as real problems).
Whatever you think about theatre, there’s a production you cannot have failed to hear the hype around. The Book of Mormon is the one show that if you’re going to see it, people either enthuse about the time they watched it to you, or express their longing to see it too. Everyone’s heard of it. I was lucky enough to get a last minute ticket from my friend – and suddenly my evening plans of laundry and going to the gym didn’t seem so fun anymore. Here is what I thought.
Posh bars are all well and good. But if spending £7.00 on a gin and tonic for weekday drinks makes your wallet sob then I would recommend the Roxy. The Roxy puts the bling in dingy, the hope into Happy Hour, the soul into student bar, the tenuous rhymes into my blogging time.
So, I’m feeling lazy (Sunday evening, y’all) so instead of writing a proper post I thought I’d write down the places I’d recommend you check out in London. The list started being way long though so I’m starting with just food (oh, and coffee snuck in there, now I can’t be bothered to remove it). May add to this as I remember more places. Anyway, enjoy. I haven’t linked to these places as it would take far too long to do the whole ‘no-follow tag’ thing for this list but I’m sure you can use the power of Google.
Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Things got crazy busy and I got ill (for anyone going through their own winter bug, kiwi fruits and spinach contain TONS more Vitamin C than those lying good-for-nothing oranges. Stock up). Anyway… I will give you a second to collect your tiny violins and set your faces to shocked-sympathetic, because I’m about to tell you one of my irrational fears and how, if you are the same, you can get better at it. Ready?
London has a huge cultural offering and no-where is this more apparent than in our theatres. If done well, theatre has the power to make us laugh, cry, and be inspired. I went with my uni friends to find out how many of those boxes Future Conditional ticks.
From my office to schoolfriends, there was rarely an area of my life where I didn’t know someone going to Croatia recently. It was like divorce, one in three people you know were likely to experience it. But unlike divorce, Croatia is something I’d recommend you aim for – although it probably is as money-draining and freeing as a divorce, hoho. Anyway, strange metaphor over (it’s been a long week) – here’s my travel tales from Croatia.
I love London’s thirst for immersive experiences, and when this one promised cocktails too, I couldn’t help but leap at going. Especially as it’s themed around zeitgeist synonym of the past five years, Breaking Bad. Way I figure it, enough super-fans of the show will be queuing for a ticket it would have to be bang on the buck to amuse all these Heisenberg wannabes. So a few of us work lot went along to find out.
In Croatia I managed a whistle-stop tour of 5 books in 10 days. I’m not sure how much I digest books (I told Dan on our first date I tend to ‘read by osmosis’, it’s a testament to him he asked me on a second) but I think this fact makes me kind of a good book critic in my casual opinion. It means if I want to go back to the book and actually read it, it’s worth a proper look. If you’re looking for your next good read, see if any of these take your fancy.
In this society, women’s bodies are a constant source of debate and it’s rarely consistent. Read any gossip magazines or the Daily Mail sidebar of shame and you’re presented with a wealth of dichotomies. These magazines suggest an arse ten times the size of a human head is hot (hi, Kardashians) but belly jiggle ain’t. In this style of media, thin women are a source of inspiration or a dangerous indication of society’s obsession with slim.
I'm Florence and I like to write.
When I'm not writing about pensions and mortgages in my day job, I write about my life in London, in which I cannot afford a mortgage even if I sold off a kidney, and I've still got another 40 years at least before I can access my pension.
I'd say I'm an ordinary girl looking for an extraordinary life, but clichéd phrases really annoy me.
Read my blog to find out more about my pet hates; and more on the places and things I love. And if you want to, please feel free to contact me with article ideas or feedback.