Brit Invasion

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Snow Patrol, TMO, Boiling Crab, Yosemite, San Francisco with flavourings of Santa Barbara and Solvang

Okay, so this past week has been mind blowingly mental. So, where to start? Tuesday, the beginning of the madness.

A few friends and I drove to LA in rush hour to go and see a band I’ve been in love with since I was about thirteen:  Snow Patrol. Yes, Mr. Gary Lightbody was just moments away from me, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. And my 13-year old self was exploding with happiness. Doors opened at 7, and we parked up the car and ran to Jack In The Box down the street to fill up on food before the concert began. Supporting this wonderful band was the man of ginger wonder himself, Ed Sheeran. He is finally making it big in America, his debut album came out this week I think! So he started of the magnificent show and then the delightful Gary Lightbody and co marched onto stage. I’ve literally never smiled so much, he smiled and I smiled and the world smiled. The band’s performance was electric, the backdrop enhanced the charming music exponentially and Lightbody’s quick wit had the audience in tears of laughter between moments of beautiful emotion.
So, Tuesday night was wonderful. Truly superb, and none of us managed to bring a camera to the event so all will have to be stored up in our memories forever and always. The next night brought about something none of us had experienced before, the filming of a TV show. The ever popular dating show Take Me Out is debuting in America in June and we were lucky enough to get tickets to the recording of the first ever show. Now, the show is very very popular in England with the hilarious presenter winning the hearts of a nations, we were excited but fraught with intrepidation over what they would change and what they would stay the same. The presenter? George Lopez, a firm favourite of American television viewers, charmed us with his jokes and his personality was just as good off camera as it was on camera. And the ladies? Well, what can I say?Just tune into Fox on June 7th to find out what they’re like, that’s all I’m saying. The experience was raw, beautiful and long (!) The whole shebang took 6 and a half hours, that included one of the girls having a seizure and being taken off to hospital and the re-filming of one of the single men’s “talent” which involved a slinky metallic silver Speedo and far too many air thrusts. It was an individual experience to say the least!
Thursday night? The Boiling Crab. This is a seafood restaurant popular among many SoCal natives, and basically entails ripping apart innocent shrimp and eating like children. That is acceptable behaviour. We got back at 1am, mostly due to my lack of organisation and the Zipcar arriving late earlier in the evening. All in all, I got three hours sleep at night.

Three hours sleep? Yes, because at 5.30am we were on the road to Yosemite. That’s pronounced yoh-sem-it-ee, I learned that the hard way so I’m keeping you in the know.
Yosemite is wonderful, big trees, big rocks, vast green fields. It was completely different to anything I’ve experienced in California thus far, with it mostly being desert land or ocean. Nothing else can explain it apart from photographs, so here you go:


Exhausted, but nearly at the waterfall!

Just a little peek for you there.
The next day we set off on the 5 hour car journey to San Francisco. What a beauty! Now I can understand why everyone raves about it. We stayed near Union Square in a questionable Motel 6. It was lovely though, and the rate was good for the location. Of course we hopped on the trolley to head to Pier 39 to see the sea lions (after a cheeky browse in the Levi’s store). We bought cup of the famous Giradelli hot chocolate and listened to the delightful rhyming tones of a beggar man claiming he could speak any language, then we caught the bus to the highest point of the city to snap some lovely photographs. And here are the pictures to sum up the experience:

Learning from Zoltar


We left our heart in San Francisco!

Golden Gate on a windy morning

We set off for home on Monday, aiming to stop off in the Danish immigrant town of Solvang and to have dinner in Santa Barbara. Solvang is interesting… it’s like Denmark cross with cobbled English streets with Americans roaming around.

And finally we hit Santa Barbara at about 8pm, jsut in time to have a curry, and of course shop for fine British goods!

The next post will probably come tomorrow, lots more to tell.

For now I’m tired, must wake up at half 5 to guest on my housemate’s radio show: Suburban Outiftters 6-8am, KUCI 88.9 FM and online!


Beckett 106 and Coachella 2012

Right. Christ. Where to start?

It’s been a whirlwind of a fortnight, let’s begin at the calmer end: Waiting For Godot performance at the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles. I had never seen or read Samuel Beckett’s enchanting play before and having seen it I love it! I don’t want to ruin anything if you have yet to see or read it, I just suggest you do. We went of the day of Beckett’s 106th birthday, and what better way would he want us to celebrate the day than to go to Diddy Riese for ice cream cookies a second night in a row! And it was still gorgeous of course. All in all, a perfect night once again.

A week of relative calmness followed, mildly interrupted by trips to the Spectrum and Walmart to stock up for the best weekend of our lives: Coachella 2012!

So, Coachella. If you haven’t been, go. If you have been, go again.  As with all festivals, the music is only 35% imortant, what really matters is the community atmosphere, the parties and the people. And boy did we have all three! So, we hooked up at Indio’s In-N-Out Burger with a nine car convoy from San Diego and set off to what would be the stickiest weekend of our lives. A group of about 30 internationals threw themselves full frontal into the spirit of the festival. The temperature? 39 degrees Celsius (for you Fahrenheit fans, the internet converter tells me that is 102 degrees). Yep, hot. And not only was it 39 during the day, it was an average of 20 degrees Celsius once the sun set, so no need for coats or hats, and heaven forbid if you wear a pair of jeans! No, the attire for the weekend consisted mostly of a bikini top, a pair of shorts, flip flops for the day, Vans at night, and maybe a scarf to wrap around your head should the sweat start falling into your eyes.  

Anyone who worked up the energy to buy bag of ice was everyone’s best friend, anyone who had a spray bottle of water was everyone’s best friend, and anyone who had baby wipes was everyone’s best friend. There’s a theme here… Now, I know what you’re thinking, what about the bands?! Well of course there was music, why else would we go through the stress of buying tickets?!
For those who aren’t aware, this was the 2012 line-up for Coachella:

Now, who did I see out of all of those I hear you ask. Well here’s the list of the artists I saw:

Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Swedish House Mafia, The Vaccines, Florence and The Machine, Kasabian, Calvin Harris, Miike Snow, Radiohead, Snoop Dog + his minions, Morgan Paige, Lissie, Santigold, R3hab, Band of Skulls, Breakbot.

That was about it. Sadly, I did miss Kaiser Chiefs, David Guetta, Buzzcocks, and Bon Iver. The heat was too much for some of them and others clashed.  

Overall, the weekend was crazy. An average of three hours sleep were endured each night before waking up at 7am to blistering heat and the Canadians next door discussing bacon and other such trivial matters. Intelligence reached an all time high when we finally figured out how to smuggle vodka into the festival site, and the British flag was being waved far too many times to count as a healthy experience. Showering was pretty much pointless. There were showers on offer, and if you could bother to wait in the queue for an hour to finally take a five minute shower you were quids in, but as soon as you left the showering complex the effort was wasted. Sweat would immediately begin to ruin the cleanliness, and if you had washed your hair it would be bone dry in mere moments. 

The whole weekend was amazing. Oh my goodness, I was a broken woman when I returned to Irvine. I only recovered this morning actually.




Joshua Tree imagining

I wasn't stuck! There was merely a seat shaped hole in the rock so I obligingly lounged in it.


Victorian London @ Universal Studios, Hollywood.

Death Valley: Badwater Basin

Death Valley: Badwater Basin

Death Valley: Badwater Basin


Okay, so it took me a while to post another blog. Apologies. But time = drama. And what drama I’ve had.

I’m home in England for winter break (Christmas holidays, everything in brackets is the British phrasal equivalent – just a heads up, American fellows), coming into contact with devastating rain storms, enjoying a lot of what my American friends would call “driving stick” (driving a manual car), and refilling the hotwater bottle at least seven times a day.

Jet lag more than ruined my life last Sunday but we won’t get into that, instead I’ll talk about my week visiting uni friends in Canterbury. I took along Peter The Anteater, the UCI mascot and he had a wild time, here’s the evidence:

And there you have it, Peter anteating his way through Canterbury and the surrounding area.

In other news, I got a new car: a Mini Cooper. Yep, very British and very cool. Her name is Jill – after the erotic novelist, Jilly Cooper. Who else would you want to name a vehicle after?! She is a babe of a car, unfortunately no photographs have been taken in her short life thus far but there will be some in the future, never you fear!

The last week of Winter Quarter at UCI is a painful one. As all Americans (and very few Britons) know, the last week of a Quarter, Semester or Term is called Finals Week.

This is a devastatingly horrendous week filled with exams, term papers and coffee. More coffee than the usual 5 or 6 a day. If you are to encounter Finals Week in your life do not expect a) sleep, or b) a balanced diet. In fact, any food at all is a bonus. To encourage us further into an academic whirlwind of panic the sororities and fraternities paste every inch of blank space along the walls of the footpaths with notions of good luck. Now, I’m not a student who has ever felt particularly stressed or had an overwhelming feeling of panic over an upcoming exam but everyone casually chatting about Finals in a pseudo-carefree way can have an enormous effect on an individual such as myself.

But enough about that, it’s all about the end of term party that comes as reward. This part of Finals Week is not just restricted to American students, every country has surely experienced this. It’s the idea of drinking excessively and partying hard. But it always fails… to a degree. One goes into these situations expecting their lives to be turned upside down, for destiny to intervene and make magic happen. But that almost never happens. Instead, you’ll end up going to a dismal gathering, drinking excessively just for something to do and partying becomes harder. This was kind of how our night panned out, we did the classic OC night, hanging out at the lifeguard hut on Newport Beach and ending up at a random Christmas sweater (jumper) party. A typical way to end your first quarter at UCI.

In other news, I’m broadening my music tastes. Well, maybe I’m just delving further into my favourite British music acts than I have previously done. These acts are mostly Rizzle Kicks, Stornoway, Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran. You will most likely have heard of Snow Patrol because of their famous single: Chasing Cars. Rizzle Kicks are my favourite Brightonian act since The Kooks, a cheeky pair of lads who rap over remixes of Jessie J, Arctic Monkeys and Ed Sheeran. Of course, they produce tracks of their own, these are the ones that got them to the dizzy heights of musician royalty. Ed Sheeran has become the most popular musician of 2011 in England, a man America needs to get to get cosy with immediately. Last but not least, Stornoway. A band formed entirely of Oxford graduates who are close friends with my best friend’s sister. They produce a raw, folky sound that  fits perfectly with every mood and season.

Rizzle Kicks: Harley and Sylvester x

Stornoway. Playing football with a baked potato?

Ed Sheeran - second fave ginge x

Snow Patrol have never released an album I haven't loved ❤

So that’s been me for the past few weeks. I know it’snot wholly informative but I didn’t want to bore the chickens off you! If I don’t post before Christmas then have a good one my loves! x

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