“So I fell in love with someone who.. I would’ve died for. And that’s like a real drug isn’t it” – Amy Winehouse

When it was first announced that an Amy Winehouse documentary was in the making, I have to admit that I was a little put off. I thought it was another way to make money off the back of someone who passed away in such sad circumstances.

Nevertheless, as the release date came closer and most of London’s tube stations were covered in promotional posters for Amy, I decided I would go see this movie to at least try and understand a little bit more about her life.

So, on a relatively slow and warm Saturday evening, I found myself queuing at the Clapham Picturehouse, unsure of how I would be feeling once I step out that very same premise a few hours later.

And all of my personal beliefs about Amy Winehouse as a person, and the purpose of this film were totally changed.

Like most of the general population, my previous general understanding of Amy was quite simple – an extremely talented girl, but unfortunately also someone with a lot of addiction issues and personal demons to deal with. Whenever images of her and Blake Fielder-Civil surfaced looking rather – pardon my French – shitfaced; I can’t say that I was surprised and I most definitely judged her.

When Amy passed away, two days prior to my 22nd birthday, I was also not surprised, despite feeling saddened by these news. It felt like the unfortunate conclusion to her very public descent to hell and a new addition to club 27.

The movie completely changed my vision of the troubled singer. Narrated by those closest to her, Amy suddenly felt like a real person, not just someone who’s public meltdown’s were regularly exposed on tabloids. She became likeable and her downfall more, dare I say, understandable. After all, how many of us can say they coped well with their unlucky love stories? How many of us could actually handle that in the public eye, and stay composed?

Of course, Blake was not the only reason behind Amy’s downfall, though it is easy to point our fingers towards him. The beloved pin-up songstress did not handle fame very well, and part of her coping mechanism included unwinding through drinking and smoking, both tobacco and marijuana. Mix that with other drugs that became readily available to her, and you’re bound to end up in a very dark place.

Perhaps the saddest realisation I had was that Amy was just like the rest of us girls. She had a heart and feelings, and just wanted to be loved. Unfortunately for her, Amy’s fragile frame was a relfection of her inner-self – she was not strong enough for all of this.

I strongly recommend this film to all of my readers. Even if you’re not the biggest Amy Winehouse fan, it is an interesting modern-day reflection of what can happen to an individual going through the various shitstorms life throws in our faces. It is an eye-opener to perhaps pay more attention to those around us in times of hardship, and just lend a helping hand to someone who may need it, whether they ask for help or not.

Please watch the trailer below:

Last weekend, I took the executive decision of escaping to Paris for a well-deserved weekend getaway (fabulous, n’est-ce pas?).

Ready for Paris

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still very much besotted with London (literally a smitten kitten), but lately it’s been all work, work, work and no fun, so this blonde decided to remedy the situation.

Now this may shock some people but – I did not go see the Eiffel tower. I did not have a lovely stroll on the Champs-Elysée. At this point some of you may be asking yourselves “why bother going to Paris at all”, right?

In fact, I spent my whole weekend in one particular area – the Marais – without seeing any famous landmarks, and it was absolutely perfect.

Best part of the weekend? Stumbling onto this wonderful café.

Café Charlot

Located on the corner of rue Charlot and rue de Bretagne, Café Charlot gives off an old-school Parisian bistrot vibe. With a very cosy and initially rather intimate looking interior, do not be fooled – you’ll be lucky to get a seat at this café (and so we were). The menu is extremely tempting in terms of its dishes and more importantly its wine, and considering you’re in one of Paris’ most hip areas, it is a rather affordable outing.

As much as we loved our Charlot experience (anyone ever had waitresses recite them classical French literature quotes just because?), I believe we took the café a liiitle bit for granted during our Saturday brunch, as when wanting to return on Sunday, it was completely packed and the waiting queue was similar to that of H&M’s designer collaboration collection launches.

Café Charlot is a hidden gem in the Marais, feeling like that secret-yet-known meeting spot for locals, and I most definitely will be returning there on my next visit (I see you, Charlot cheeseburger.. nom nom nom!)

Dear reader – got any similar café tips for this blonde?

What better way to start off a sunny weekend, than with a purchase that might as well be categorised as theft (after a very enjoyable lie-in with hot mug of coffee, whilst catching up on Bloglovin of course).

Having always had a somewhat unhealthy love affair with white sneakers, I decided it was time to take matters into hand, stop ignoring the issue and deal with it pronto – yes, this blonde needed a new pair.

For the last ten years, I have been loyal to my Converse All Star hi top white canvas trainers. It has been a good, steady relationship, with its highs (all dem outfits looking straight out of a Swedish streetstyle blog), its lows (the sad moment you realise you need to part ways with your trainers because the holes have simply become unignorable), and its joyful reunions (that happy dance triggered by the purchase of a new pair – totally guilty).

Nevertheless, sometimes you yearn for something different. You want to break the system, kill the routine, and switch things up a little.

And that’s when my infatuation with white Nike AirForce 1 Mid’s began.

First, you innocently browse online and offline, and tell yourself browsing can’t hurt right? Then slowly, you start considering the pro’s and con’s of both your current pair of Converses, and the new, much shinier option. You carefully evaluate, without letting the panic settle in, as it is a big step to take. You start dreaming about those Nike’s. You secretly style outfits in your head with them, without actually owning a pair. And finally – when enough is enough – you decide you need to make it public, and take the plunge (crazy how a shoe situation can be just as dramatic as a Latin American telenovela).

I found it very hard to get my hands on a pair my size, as judging by the availabilities in the shops I visited, those Nike’s were predominantly designed for cool people with very big feet (cue the inevitable “I need a glass of wine” every time I left a shop disappointed).

But it seems that life is full of surprises and has a funny way of working out. Whilst out on a mission to buy everything else but those gorgeous walkable white leather dreams (pretty sure I left the house saying I need socks), I somehow ended up in Office, trying on these exact same trainers. Needless to say, I ended up with no socks but did purchase one pair of exquisite Nike AirForce 1 Mids.

Nike AirForce 1 Mid

Serious sneaker romance

Serious sneaker romance

And the best part? Junior size, baby.

Nike AirForce 1 MidWhoever says junior size, says junior price – I only paid £51.99, and need a second to just even think about my luck.

On another note – should we be worried that nowadays’ juniors have massive feet?

It seems only yesterday that I last wrote, all excited for my upcoming holiday and big move, yet life has kept me rather busy in its whirlpool and time has literally flown by. From coming back to work after two weeks in paradise & being thrown into the deep end, to having to organize my relocation to London in the space of two weeks (which can be quite challenging if you’re pretending to be an adult and your everyday life consists of work, work, coffee, and work).

Wishfully looking to the future. Or, just a picture, y'know.

Wishfully looking to the future. Or, just a picture, y’know.

So here’s a quick recap of my most recent life discoveries slash all of the great wisdom I’ve acquired (err, mainly about myself?):

  • My feet get swollen on flights longer than 6hrs. Yup, I am officially old
  • Snake meat tastes like chicken
  • Things rarely go according to plan (like that schoolnight you planned on being home by 8pm, and you get home at 4am. Wise life choice, Laura)
  • I wear a lot of lipstick. Like “I-feel-naked-if-I-don’t-have-any-on” a lot.
  • It’s hard to go against your vices – cutting down my caffeine intake is a right pain!
  • I apparently own enough apparel to live out of my suitcase in a hotel for three weeks (not sure whether this is a positive thought, or one to worry about?)
  • I am most definitely a dreamer, and always will be. And that’s perfectly ok
  • Music gets me through anything in life – the happiness, the sadness, the loneliness, the stress.. #addicted
  • I cannot survive navigating in London without the citymapper app
  • New dream slash life goal: enjoy a glass of champagne with Steph & Dom from Gogglebox (considering our mutual love for this fine drink, we’d get on juuust great)

And now – off to have some coffee

As I sit writing this, heavily influenced by the day of the night before type of symptoms (damn you wine, I thought we were friends), I have exciting news that have kept me on my toes these last two weeks.

Life presents you with opportunities, whether they’re just means to have a random adventure or something you’ve always wanted to do, and you’ll have a decision to make – to jump or not jump (and this is illustrative, mkay).

I fundamentally believe that whilst we are all in charge of our own lives, sometimes life has to intervene too. And so it did, through a very unexpected 5pm phonecall on a Thursday. And I said yes.

I was told I could move whenever I wanted to, whether that was the next day or the next month. As I have my holiday coming up, it wasn’t a really practical option and I opted for a later date. And so it seems that I will be moving to the Big Smoke, a city so exciting and lively yet frightening at the same time due to its sheer size, on September 27th.

I am very excited as it is a new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to see what it brings. I also look forward to this as it will enable me to produce more interesting content in this blog, because let’s face it – London is a lot more exciting than Luxembourg.

So here’s a list of things that preoccupy me currently:

1) Finding a flat. I have two weeks to sort myself out once I arrive there, and I’m hoping it is enough time as I will be working during the day. But hey – challenge accepted.

2) Transport. Zone 1-3 monthly travel card, you killing me!

3) Clothing. As I have no proper home in my first two weeks there and I will be living in a snazzy hotel, I will be heading over with one suitcase. For any girl, this is reason enough to have a small panic attack. And to be super selective.

4) Shopping. The upside of going with only one suitcase is the inevitable excuse that, you know, you just have to go shopping. And London is a wonderful place to do exactly that. RIP credit card.

5) To bring my skateboard over, or not to bring my skateboard over. Hmmm.

In addition to these particular 5 points, there’s of course more food for thought. And speaking of food, it’s time for me to go grab breakfast – miam.

Once upon a time, I moved away from the city I pursued my bachelor’s degree in. As goodbye’s generate great sadness, my friends and I celebrated accordingly – in true student style, things went from classy (champagne in the park) to hazy (cue the morning after; it took us a good 15 minutes to remember everything about the previous night).

Over time, I had come accustomed to filming some of our random moments spent together, as I wanted to have as many memories as possible. And then one day – I was hit by a million dollar idea (sadly the million dollars remained in my head, and not in my bank account) – why not put all of the memories together in a single video?

I taught myself how to edit on my crappy undergraduate laptop using Windows Live Movie Maker, and soon published my first video. Whilst the editing wasn’t great, nor were the special effects (I am pretty sure it included some pictures I had re-touched in Paint for the LOL’s), it is something my friends and I re-watch every so often and laugh at (a. because of the low level of dignity involved in said video, and b. due to the above-mentioned poor editing).

Luckily, over time I have upgraded my laptop and evolved as a video editor (mainly due to using iMovie instead of WLMM), and I take great pleasure in creating little videos that make for fantastic memories (and make one cringe less). Whilst I ain’t no Sofia Coppola, it feels satisfying to see myself get better and be able to do more things with the program. I recently also purchased a go pro camera, which I cannot wait to play around with come my big trip to Cambodia and Bali.

The latest video I did was about the wonderful time I spent in Rome, and watching it makes me so happy.

If you are interested to see some more of my work, have a look at my time in New York & San Francisco, as well as my last couple of weeks spent living in Edinburgh.

Now for some poll – dear reader, have you taught yourself anything useful?

Just like most modern human beings with a healthy ego, I have interests and hobbies.

Reading? Yes. Cooking? At times. Competitive dog grooming? Er, whut?

I have long found fashion films fascinating; so much so that I even wrote my master’s degree dissertation about them (yeah, this blonde’s a smart one – cue the ninja emojis).

Now let’s be clear – I’m not speaking about visual lookbooks or fashun films that get screened in cinemas à la YSL (though, let’s be clear, I’m not hating on them).

I am speaking about those artsy fartsy, cinematographic, sometimes awkward/futuristic/humoristic videos that are randomly posted on youtube/vimeo/a brand’s homepage. Some feature unknown models, others famous actresses and models. Some are directed guerilla style, others have astronomical budgets for something that is ultimately 4 minutes long. Bref – there is a selection of them out there.

Following the above eulogy, it is no wonder that today I am writing about one of them.

When this short film by Younji Ku was featured on SHOWstudio’s website, I knew it had to be something spectacular. And my my, it is indeed.

The short film features Kate Moss (and her beautiful kitten eyes) during a shoot for Vogue Italia (2010) with the legendary Nick Knight.
The way the chosen soundtrack perfectly blends in with the video manipulation renders this piece utterly compelling, and though it features some nudity, it is in no way vulgar.

Kate, Nick and Younji – I salute you. Forever on repeat.

Whoa, whoa – mic drop – Laura, you haven’t written in over a month!

Indeed, my work-life balance got heavily disbalanced, largely in favour of the former, but this blonde is back (quite literally as I got back from a business trip from London yesterday)! And what better way to buy your readers’ love back than with a little recap from a beautiful weekend spent in the baguette capital, err, an undisclosed amount of time ago.

Paris is where my mother and I embarked on our life adventure; it’s where I first went to school and learnt French; it’s where I started rollerblading; it’s where I got my first kiss from my first crush. It is at the same time a very clear moment in my life, but also one with very few, hazy memories as I was so little.

Since a long weekend was fast approaching, we decided to escape Luxembourg to wander around a very summery Paris. Each time I’m back, I feel like an inbetweener; inbetween being a tourist and a local.

The weekend was perfect. Full of sunshine, fine wine and family, as even my sister joined us all the way from Amsterdam.

It consisted of sightseeing,

getting lost in the city,

cute cafés & being a victim to The Man (self-confessed Starbucks fan speaking here),

random finds

and one regret – not having bought this GAP dress.

I do have to admit that whilst I usually pester about Paris because of its busyness and occasional rude locals, this time I have nothing bad to say.

Paris, maybe we are friends after all.

This is going to be an existential post y’all.

Remember that one time you were really young, and you were playing being a pop star/movie star/astronaut/president/whatever floated your boat back then?

I do.

Most of the time, we played in my childhood friends’ kitchen and her grandmother looked at us endearingly. We would be the Spice Girls one day, and fighting over who got to be Britney Spears another (and let’s face it, I totally felt more connected to Britney due to my, err, blonde hair).

I just remember thinking how lucky the Spice Girls and the Britney’s of this world were. How wonderful and cool their lives must be.

Add a few more years, along some IQ to my brain capacity, and I started to realise these things don’t just happen. People work (their asses off) towards achieving their dreams. Whether they’re successful is of course an entirely different story, but hey – at least they have the courage to try.

I have always considered myself to be adventurous enough to do the things I set my mind on to, whether that’s getting a tattoo or studying abroad. But for other dreams – bigger or crazier – I have always listened to that inner nagging voice of reason, telling me how “that’s just silly, Laura”.

Until 2012, that is. 2012 is the year I grew balls (yo, I’d love to have a better expression, but that’s not the case). I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to achieve in my life, and breaking them down into smaller parts to have an action plan. And it was revolutionary, because it suddenly dawned on me – everything is doable. You just have to actually pursue it.

Want to be a movie star? Get some acting lessons. Go to castings. Start with smaller projects, perhaps even a film student’s film.

Want to become a pilot? Get some flight lessons, and apply to a good flight academy, sponsored by an airline.

Now you’re complaining that you don’t have enough money for the above? Get a job, and save up. If you’re convinced and driven, you will invest in your dream.

I am lucky to be surrounded by really inspiring friends, who I constantly witness chasing their personal dreams. Whether that’s the small town girl becoming a certified yoga instructor whilst studying in a demanding university, or the former schoolmate who’s competing with other dreamers to become Swiss airlines’ newest explorer (you can vote for him here). Coming from a rather sheltered family, it is really amazing to see, and it motivates me even more to pursue my own dreams; no matter how non-significant or delusional they can appear to others.

So what have I done? I actually bought a notebook to write all of my dreams down (and of course it’s pink).

The aim is to cross items off my list, as life goes on. Some will be easier to achieve, (#20. Discover Berlin on a skateboard) whilst others may never happen (#27. Drink a glass of wine with Kelly Cutrone). But hey, at least I dare to dream. And that takes balls.

And I am happy to announce that item #12 will be crossed off on the 30th of August 2014, as yesterday my friend and I booked our tickets to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

So dear reader, what are you waiting for? Go chase your dream!

Post-Cambodia booking happiness

Post-Cambodia booking happiness

When life gives you random opportunities to act upon, I heavily believe you should, err, seize the bull by its horns and jump upon it (what an opening statement). And this is exactly what happened not long ago.

Whilst in New York last year, I made a new friend, who in the space of less than 48hrs proposed to me (quite literally, despite being in a relationship), whilst hanging out in the most amazing open air bar overlooking the Brooklyn bridge (random and romantic enough for you?).

September 2013

September 2013

Those 48hrs were all we had, but it seemed that we’d known each other forever.

So when she told me she was making her lifelong dream of travelling around Italy come true, something clicked in my head, and I knew I had to go join her for a small leg of her trip.

Some whatsapp messages, minor planning, expensive flight tickets and hostel arrangements later, it was exciting to think I was going to spend Easter weekend in Rome. And the added bonus? I managed to catch another friend during my layover in Munich airport – winning.

So what did I do in Rome?

I kind of saw the pope during his Good Friday open-air mass (his holy tent was hidden by a tree); I took way too many cab rides; I visited the Colosseum during the worst weather ever (and sorry, not sorry for the weather pun, but I was blown away); I climbed Palatine hill and was full of awe; I saw the Vatican by accident (‘omg, is this St. Peter square?’); I spoke way too much New York English; I spilled my heart to lovely strangers; I ended up at an Easter Sunday mass afterparty in Vatican City, where I drank wine and prosecco with priests (movie moment right thurr); I ate the most delicious gelato; I allowed myself to be surprised by the city. Bref – I wholeheartedly lived in the moment, taking in as much as I could, whilst thinking about how beautiful life is. But I reckon the pictures below will give a better insight of this.

Night time tourism

Night time tourism

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

My tastebuds vs. America - I tasted salty bretzels with nutella

My tastebuds vs. America – I tried salty bretzels with Nutella

The moody sky above Palatine hill

The moody sky above Palatine hill

Viewpoint on Palatine hill

Viewpoint on Palatine hill

Vatican city

Vatican city

An afterparty in a residential area of Vatican city

An afterparty in a residential area of Vatican city

Gelato, dipped in white or dark chocolate

Gelato, dipped in white and dark chocolate

The whole weekend was a dream. It involved very little sleep, a lot of Aperol Spritz, overindulging in pizza, and lots of new random people, without whom I cannot quite picture my life anymore.

Even though it was just a mere weekend, I felt exactly the same upon leaving Rome as I did after it was time to finish my travels in the States – heartbroken.

They say all good things come to an end, and it was definitely the case.

But hey, we say good bye to meet again. We leave to come back. We have experiences like this to motivate ourselves to work, and then do it all over again.

This year I vow to live for the weekend trips, and to save money for grand adventures, somewhere on the other side of the world.