Posts Tagged ‘florida’
Because we don’t get to be freezing cold often enough here in the UK, when we were in Orlando this summer, we decided to go and be freezing cold in the Icebar, which, as the name suggests (and as you probably already know), is a bar made completely out of ice.
I say we “decided”. That makes it sound like there was actual planning involved, doesn’t it? Trust me, there wasn’t. In fact, we didn’t even know there WAS an Icebar in Orlando until it popped up in the “places near here” list on Foursquare. That explains why I’m really not dressed appropriately for the freezing cold. Well, that and the fact that I’m NEVER dressed appropriately for the freezing cold, obviously. At least I found a belt for that dress, though, hey?
As it happens, you don’t really need to worry about dressing for the cold at the Icebar, because right before you go in, they give you these big, padded, parka style jackets, plus gloves to wear. Or, if you’re very vain and/or pretentious, you can pay extra for a giant, floor-length faux-fur coat. I can’t imagine who would actually DO that, though?
(These photos were all taken in really low light (and in some cases, with my iPhone), so some of them are a bit blurry. Also: VODKA. OOh, lookit my icy throne!)
OK, OK, in my feeble defence: as I said, we hadn’t actually planned to go to the Icebar that night. We were in Orlando for a dinner show, and because I am a little brat, the only way my family had been able to persuade me to go to a dinner show (because quelle horreur!) was by telling me there would be free wine. And there was free wine, people. (And actually, the dinner show was HILARIOUS, but then, now that I think about it, maybe everything is hilarious with free wine? I mean, the Icebar was certainly hilarious after it. Hmm. Look, guys, I’m going to just wait here while you all go and pour yourself a nice, big glass of wine, OK? Trust me, this post will seem all the better for it.) So, if I’m completely honest, I was already a little bit tipsy by the time I decided I absolutely HAD to have a floor-length faux-fur coat. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t have done the same thing sober. I could be wearing a faux-fur coat right this very second, for all you know. I could also be drunk right this very second. There is literally no way to know.
Because the bar is fairly small, and also because I’m guessing they don’t want hoardes of drunken people falling around and knocking over the sculptures, they only allow a few people in at a time (don’t worry, you get to relax in the “Fire Lounge” while you wait. There is no fire in the Fire Lounge. There is vodka, though.), which is actually really good, because it means you get the opportunity to wander around and look at everything without having to push through crowds of people. You also get the opportunity to take silly photos with the various Things That Are Made of Ice:
(It’s the giant, woolly gloves that make this shot awesome, isn’t it?)
Now, I know you’re all probably freaking out right now at the sight of my bare legs and open coat, but one thing we all noticed was that it actually wasn’t all that cold inside. I mean, sure, it was a tad nippy. And we were wearing thick coats. (And need I remind you: VODKA.) But it’s not like you’re OMGFREEZING, and you’re not in there all night (we stayed for one drink, which was more than enough time to have a good look around), so it was cool. Do you see what I did there? Cool? In the ice bar? I’ll get my coat. My… faux-fur coat…
[Dress: River Island (old) // Shoes: Vivienne Westwood for Melissa c/o Sarenza // Cardigan: H&M (new) // Sunglasses: Gucci c/o Shopbop]
I’ve written about high tea at the Grand Floridia (or “Grand Tea at the High Floridian, as I just wrote….) before, but, well, I’m going to do it again, because as anyone who’s gone through my archives will know, I really only have about three subjects which I just repeat endlessly, and hope my readers will have really short memories. And also because, like our trips to Disney’s Boardwalk, visiting the Grand Floridian has become a bit of a Florida tradition for us: not just because of the high tea itself, but because the hotel is so beautiful to walk through – and one of the best spots to watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from, other than the park itself. (And sometimes including the park itself, to be completely honest…)
Because the high tea is so popular you really have to book in advance: we booked ours as soon as we got to the Orlando area, and had to wait a week for the first available time slot – which we then almost missed, due to heavy traffic on the way there: whoops!
As you can see from the photos, though, we did make it in time (just!) and thoroughly enjoyed our high tea. I took the opportunity to wear my favourite of the three River Island dresses I bought in this style last year (The other ones are here and here, if you’re particularly interested…), plus a pair of my Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragons. I’d brought the cardigan along to beat the chill from the aircon in the hotel, but also because Tropical Storm Debby was still hovering above Florida, and making the weather a lot cooler than normal. Happily, though, the sun came out for the first time in days when we wandered down to the hotel’s boat dock after our high tea, marking the return of the hot, sunny weather we’re used to in Florida, so I couldn’t have been happier. I mean, champagne, sunshine, big-skirted dresses… what more could you ask for?
Well, maybe a carriage, actually. A big, white, Cinderella-style carriage, say…
Seriously, they think of everything at Disney. They really do.
Every year for about the past five years now, Terry’s birthday (and my dad’s too, actually) has fallen while we’ve been on holiday. Which just isn’t fair, is it? I’m currently campaigning to have my own birthday moved to June, so I can ALSO celebrate somewhere hot and sunny, but for now I’m just taking comfort in the fact that wherever Terry chooses to celebrate his birthday, I get to go too.
This year, Terry wanted to celebrate his birthday at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Which kinda makes my “high tea, followed by a trip to Zara” seem a bit shoddy, really, doesn’t it?
(It wasn’t really.)
(I got a really nice jacket in Zara.)
(And champagne with my high tea.)
For those of you who’ve never heard of it, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a new(ish) addition to the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Theme Park, and is designed to look like Hogsmeade, from the Harry Potter books (well, d’duh!), with Hogwarts itself as the centrepiece.
The park actually opened on Terry’s birthday, two years ago. Unfortunately for us, that was the day before we due to fly home from Florida that year, and as people had been queuing overnight just to get into the parking lot, we decided to give it a miss. Being the huge Harry Potter fans that we are, though, we weren’t going to let that happen twice, so on Terry’s birthday this year we got up bright and early (well, we got up early, anyway. I’m never exactly “bright” at that time in the morning. Or, you know, any other time, really.) and off we went.
The park was busy. Like, REALLY busy. Like, “OMG, not even the Magic Kingdom on 4th of July that time was this busy”. Seriously, we’re no strangers to Florida’s theme parks, and how crowded they can get, but at Harry Potter World, you would walk into a store and then have to just stand there and wait for the wall-to-wall tide of people to gently carry you to different parts of it. So it was busy. That was the only negative, though, because the park itself is just amazing. I think it’s probably the most visually stunning of all of the Florida parks, and they’ve done a fantastic job of re-creating the Harry Potter world: in fact, I got a bit teary as we walked into Hogsmeade, and then turned the corner to see Hogwarts looming over us, it was just that perfect.
Inside Hogwarts castle is the main attraction in this section of the park: the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. We had to queue for over an hour to get onto it, but trust me: it was worth it. And I say that as someone who won’t generally wait for anything if I don’t have to.
(There was a man in line behind me who kept cracking gum in my ear. I wanted to kill him. It was still worth it, though.)
The ride is really hard to describe: it’s kind of a cross between a simulator and a… rollercoaster? OK, hold that thought: it’s totally not a rollercoaster, which was a relief to me, because I HATE rollercoasters, and had spent the entire wait going, “Is this a rollercoaster? No, seriously, is it a rollercoaster? Because I’m not going on it if it’s a rollercoaster. Do you think it’s a rollercoaster?” And no matter how many times Terry told me that, NO, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IT IS NOT A ROLLERCOASTER, WOMAN, I wouldn’t believe him. But it wasn’t a rollercoaster. It was, as I have just learned from the Wiki page about it, a “robocoaster”. Hee! It – and I quote, because I’m lazy:
“ allows the seats to pivot while being held above the track by a robotic arm. However, the ride is not a roller coaster but a scenic dark ride. The experience includes scenes such as flying around Hogwarts castle, encountering the Whomping Willow and a horde of Dementors, and being caught in a Quidditch match. The ride performs such movements as dropping, spinning around, twisting and turning. The ride does not go upside down, though there are a few moments when riders are flat on their backs.”
It’s totally awesome. There’s also holographic versions of Harry, Ron, Hermione and a lot of the other characters (played by the actors from the movies) and… yeah, it’s just awesome. In fact, we liked it so much, we rode it twice, which turned out to be a good thing because on our first ride, the car broke down briefly. It started up again after about 30 seconds or so, so we didn’t think it was a big deal, but during the second ride, we realised we’d missed quite a bit of it, so we were glad we’d gone back. (We were also glad we’d chosen to take the “single riders” line, which, as the name suggests, means they will just slot you into any spare seat in the cars, rather than seating your party together. You do get split up from your friends/family, but only by a few minutes, and it takes the wait time from something like 90 minutes to something like 15 minutes, so it’s definitely worth doing. It also allows you to walk around singing, “All the single riders! All the single riders! Aaaaall the single riders! All the single riders!” to the tune of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”, and that rocks, too. I’m singing it now, in fact.)
After our first ride on Forbidden Journey, we went to the Three Broomsticks, for lunch and Butterbeer:
The lunch was just OK: pretty standard theme-park fare. The Butterbeer, though, was fantastic: Terry had actually got a recipe for Butterbeer off the Internet back in December, and had made some himself, and he was pleased to find that his attempt was pretty close to what they were selling in the park. It’s super-sweet, and tastes a bit like butterscotch. It’s also impossible to drink without ending up with a pretty impressive Butterbeer Moustache, so that’s fun, too.
And that was our day at Harry Potter World. We also walked around the rest of the Islands of Adventure Park, which we’ve visited a few times now, and did some of the rides there. None of them involved giant castles and snow-capped streets, though, so we apparently didn’t take any photos for the rest of the day. There’s always next time…
This is the Don CeSar. Isn’t it pretty? It was opened in 1928, and was known as “The Pink Castle” to all of the rich jazz musicians and flapper girls who used to frequent it. You can just imagine them all, leaning out of the windows with their little bobs and their champagne glasses, can’t you?
We actually hadn’t intended to visit the Don CeSar – we were on a drive further down the coast – but, well, I have a bit of a thing about big hotels. I’m fascinated by them, and any time Terry and I go on holiday, we make a point of going into as many of them as possible, just to walk around being nosey, and imagining the ghosts of bygone eras flitting past. Also, the Don CeSar does really good ice cream, so there was no way we were just going to drive past, were we?
(My ice cream isn’t in this photo. It was in my belly. Because, yeah, like I’m going to leave ice cream just sitting around while someone takes a photo of it: AS IF. (Mmmm, ice cream…))
Today’s post, however, is not about the Don CeSar, or, indeed, about ice cream. No, today’s post is about this playsuit:
So, yes, this is a playsuit, not a dress. Everyone thinks it’s a dress, but nope: playsuit! And the thing is, I’d NEVER wear a dress this short. Uh-uh, no way. As this is a playsuit, though, (not a dress!) it somehow feels more acceptable: I mean, those are shorts you’re looking at, people. Shorts! And as far as shorts go, they’re actually pretty modest. “People wear shorts MUCH shorter than this!” I told myself when I bought it. “So, I’m not wearing a really short dress: I’m wearing really quite long shorts. Which is totally different!”
Because the bottom half of the thing consists of shorts, then (Are you all getting that these are shorts, by the way? Because I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that enough yet. Also, I’ve written the word “shorts” so often now that it’s started to look totally alien to me. Shorts, shorts, shorts.) I figured I’d be pretty safe in this. It’s not like the wind would blow the dress up, (Because it’s not a dress!) and expose my nether regions, say. Why, I could bend over as much as I wanted to, and still remain totally covered. By my shorts. Nothing bad could possibly happen!
And, actually, nothing did. Not THAT day, anyway. A week or so later, though, I wore the playsuit in Orlando, on a quick trip to an outdoor mall. It rained that day. The rain made my legs wet. And… you see that bag? That bag that’s slung over my shoulder in these photos, but which I often carry in the crook of my arm, brushing my hip/thigh area? That bag made contact with the fabric of the playsuit, and that fabric rode up my legs (which, lest we forget, were a bit wet, and therefore sticky), and folks, it stuck there. Somewhere in the region of my butt, let’s say. Oh, GOD.
I have no idea how long I walked around like that, with one butt cheek on full view. All I know is that eventually two sales assistants in J Crew took pity on me, and alerted me to the tragic situation. “Um, ma’am?” one of them said, looking as mortified as I was about to feel. “I, um, think your dress has ridden up a little…”
(And, you know, it WASN’T a dress! It was a …oh, never mind.)
Well, I hastily pulled the fabric back down, and then I did the only thing I could really do in the situation: I burst out laughing. Clearly relieved, the two sales assistants laughed, too. Together, we had a good old, hysterical laugh at me and my stupid playsuit. And then I slunk off into a corner and I DIED. I’m still dying now, actually, as I think about how long I might have been walking around like that before I realised. It can’t have been too long, I don’t think. I mean, it’s not like people were pointing and laughing at me, or anything, and… oh.
And after that, I never did wear that playsuit no more. Even although it was quite a lot of fun to spin around in.
Yeah, I’m easily amused…
(Dress, Stop Staring; shoes, Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon ‘Cherries’)
On our way back to the apartment after the trip to Tarpon Springs I wrote about in my last post, we stopped in at the little town of Dunedin*, purely so I could pay a visit to Kina Kouture, which is basically my idea of heaven, selling dresses by Stop Staring, Bettie Page, Trashy Diva – all my favourite brands, in other words.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the store we discovered it was actually closed for refurbishment, but the lovely owner must have seen the look of anguish on my face, because he very kindly allowed me to come in anyway, and not only to look around, but also to try on this dress in the bathroom (which was like a boudoir, and totally awesome), seeing as the changing rooms were closed at the time. The dress in question is by Stop Staring, and I’d seen it in the window as we drove up, and immediately known it would be coming home with me. Sure enough, ten minutes later I was in possession of the Prechus, which I wore to dinner the very next night, thus continuing my “a-polka-dot-dress-a-day” streak. GOD.
Of course, pin-up style polka dots call for cherry accessories of some kind, so I wore this with my Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Cherries shoes, which just might be my most favourite shoes ever. Shh, don’t tell the others!
(*Fun fact: the summer I graduated from university, I applied for, and was offered, an internship with the local newspaper in Dunedin. Because of the extreme level of stupidity I was operating under at the time, though – and still am, actually – I’d completely failed to realise that an internship wasn’t, you know, paid, and that I’d be working for nothing, but would still have to support myself, the whole time I was there. (I think I’d imagined I’d just be hanging out at the beach all the time, maybe hitting up the Magic Kingdom on the weekends?) Well, I couldn’t even afford the airfare, let alone several months worth of food and accommodation in the US, so I had to turn it down. It was a shame, because I’d already concocted an elaborate fantasy around this job, in which I was such a success as an intern (you know, whatever that was) that after a couple of weeks I was promoted to editor: a job which came with a huge salary, a penthouse appartment, and a clothing allowance. Instead, I spent the summer working in a call centre in Scotland. Oh, the humanity…)
The whole time she was at the coast, my mum (who is a worrier, like me) remained in a constant state of RED ALERT, perpetually scanning the horizon for the sight of the shark fins which she was convinced would signal the imminent death of every last one of us. We should never have let her see Jaws that time, seriously.
Now, I wasn’t the least bit worried about shark attacks, but I can’t really fault my mum for her CONSTANT! VIGILANCE! because the only reason I didn’t worry about being eaten by a shark was because I knew there was a far more dangerous enemy at hand: CRABS.
See, beaches can be difficult for me, on account of my phobia of crustaceans. (Ya don’t say!) Clearwater wasn’t too bad, because it’s busy and it’s clean, and it gets raked every night, so it isn’t exactly the ideal habitat for my arch enemies. A couple of days into our holiday, though, we decided to take a trip to Tarpon Springs, which is a little Greek community* just along the coast from Clearwater. We’ve visited Tarpon a few times now, but go back when we can, not just because it’s one of the few places outside Greece itself where you can eat a proper souvlaki, but because last time we were there we did a dolphin-spotting trip, and the dolphins put on such an amazing show for us that we just had to do it all over again.
(*When I say “A Greek community”, I mean EVERYTHING there is Greek: shops, restaurants, people… This time around, Terry, being Greek himself, caused quite a stir in some of the stores, where the people just could. not. get. over. the fact that he was a Greek who’d been born and raised in Scotland. “OMG, a SCOTTISH GREEK!” they kept shrieking. “CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, THAT IS SOOOO CUUUUUTTTTTEE!”)
This year, unfortunately, the dolphins were being shy, so we only got a tiny glimpse of them. To make up for it, though, we were taken to a little ‘desert’ island just off the coast, and allowed to wander around for half an hour, collecting some of the millions of shells that were washed up there. Now, I didn’t know this would be happening, because the island stop hadn’t been part of the previous trip we’d taken there, so I was a little unprepared for it, and didn’t have my swimsuit or anything with me. It was probably just as well, though, because as soon as I stepped off the boat and clocked all of the shells, I knew instantly that I was in the presence of The Enemy. They were close. They were all around, in fact. And so I passed a slightly uncomfortable half an hour scanning the sand for any sign of them, while my family all tried valiantly to pretend that, why, no, those holes in the sand weren’t made by crabs, definitely not, no crabs here, and my mind shrieked at me to “RUN! NOW! ENEMY SIGHTED OMG!”
As it happened, the enemy was only briefly sighted, in the shape of a large, dead crab which a girl from our boat picked up by its tail, and, OMG THEY HAVE TAILS, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I didn’t know they had tails. Next I’ll find out that some of them have, I don’t know, WINGS, or something, and then I’ll have to build me a crab shelter and live inside it forever more, and I’m not even joking.
The island was very lovely. The water was warm, the sand was white. And every single night that week I woke up babbling about how there was a CRAB! IN THE BED! and then lay half-awake for the rest of the night, convinced they were coming to get me. Once we got to the Orlando area, it took another few nights for my mind to calm itself and accept that they (probably) wouldn’t be able to travel that far inland.* Then again, prior to that, I hadn’t realised that some of them have TAILS, so really, there’s no telling what They might be capable of…
(*It was totally plausible that they’d manage to get into our 9th floor apartment, though. Like, they’d crawl out of the ocean, walk up the beach, use the key fob (HOW? Oh yeah, with their TAILS, obviously…) to get into the complex, march through the lobby and into the elevator, use their TAILS to press the button for the 9th floor and then use their own secrit key to get into our apartment. From there, it would be just a short, sideways scuttle to where I lay asleep, little suspecting what horrors were creeping towards me in the dark night. Seriously, why more people aren’t afraid of crabs, I will NEVER know…)
(‘Alcohol Dogs’ is totally going to be the name of my band…)
Me scrutinising the ground for the slightest sign of crabs…
Baby, there’s a shark in the water
There’s something underneath my bed
Oh, please believe I said
baby, there’s a shark in the water
I caught them barking at the moon
Better be soon…
-VV Brown, Shark in the Water
(Dress: Bettie Page ‘Jazmin’ dots; shoes, Zara; sunburnt nose, Amber’s own)
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a warm Forever Amber welcome for this red belt! It’s a little crooked, it looks like it’s fastened in the wrong hole, and I think it was probably wishing it was somewhere else, but at least it’s THERE. Which is more than can be said for all my other accessories, which were at that moment sitting at home in the UK, going, “Say, you guys: weren’t we s’posed to be someplace else round ’bout now?” “I dunno, Bob, she never mentioned nothin’ to me. Fancy a game of Yahtzee?”
Anyway, enough about accessories, or the lack thereof.
One of the best things about being at the coast for us was being able to watch the sun set every night (and sometimes to rise in the morning, too: our bedroom had a huge window, so if we were awake early enough, we could watch the sun rise without even getting out of bed: score!). Where we live, we’re pretty much hemmed in by buildings and trees, and we’d have to go climb the nearest hill or something to be able to see a decent sunset, so we really enjoyed being able to just watch from our balcony every night, or go down to the beach. We saw some gorgeous skies over the course of the holiday, and it’s made me even more determined to live near the sea one day, if only for a little while.
This dress is by Bettie Page, and I got it from eBay last winter, just a few days before the great closet switchover of 2011. Because it was winter at the time, I packed it away with the rest of my summer stuff, and as I hadn’t had a chance to wear it, I forgot all about it, so when I unpacked it this Spring, I felt like I’d got a new (free!) dress. This was its first outing, and the photos were taken in a hurry, so we didn’t miss the sunset, but never fear, there will PLENTY more polka dots to make up for them…
Two weeks away feels like the whole world should have changed,
But I’m home now, and things still look the same.
I think I’ll leave it ’til tomorrow to unpack,
Try to forget for one night that I’m back in my flat.
On the road where the cars never stop going through the night,
To a life where I can’t watch the sun set.
I don’t have time.
I don’t have time.
I’ve still got sand in my shoes,
And I can’t shake the thought of you.
~ Dido, Sand in My Shoes
(Zara dress; Christian Louboutin shoes; Gucci sunglasses)
Today is the 4th of July (Happy 4th, American friends!), and even although that fact has absolutely no relevance for me whatsoever, I figured I’d show you this little red, white and blue outfit, in honour of the occasion. And also because this is the next outfit I was planning on posting anyway, so that worked out pretty well, hey?
Now, before I say anything about this outfit, I need to first of all explain the massive packing fail I committed for this trip. See, I’m bad at packing: always have been, always will be. There’s a reason I always shop a lot on holiday, and it’s not JUST because I shop a lot ANYWAY. No, it’s mostly because I’m a terrible, terrible packer.
It’s not for the lack of trying, either. No, actually, wait, let’s be honest: it really IS for the lack of trying. I mean, I KNOW all the rules of capsule wardrobe-creation. I’ve read the same articles you have. I know about the colours-which-all-effortlessly-go-with-each-other, the mix-n-match separates, the two pairs of carefully-chosen shoes that will take you absolutely everywhere. I know. I’ve even done it once or twice. The thing is, though… I HATE the “capsule wardrobe”. HATE it. Because, OMG, BORING.
I like to take ALL the things with me when I travel. I have this horror, you see, of being somewhere and thinking, “Mmm, you know what would be the perfect outfit for this situation I suddenly find myself in? That dress I left hanging at home in the wardrobe.” And honestly, two pairs of shoes? What is this, Sophie’s Choice?
Also, and this is important: for me, a trip abroad is often the only opportunity I get to wear my summer clothes. I love summer clothes. I hate winter ones. I may have mentioned this once or twice. But summer in the UK lasts two weeks (if we’re REALLY lucky, I mean, and we never are), so vacation time is really the ONLY time I get to dress the way I want to dress, as opposed to the way I have to dress.
So I overpack. And yes, I do it deliberately.
With all of this over-packing, then, you’d think that at least I’d have endless outfit options, and would never find myself lacking for something appropriate to wear, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong, though. I pack lots of stuff, but I pack the WRONG stuff. Every. Single. Time. Once time, for instance, I packed only black clothes. For a beach holiday. Another time, I only took stripey clothes, so I looked like a sailor the whole time. Oh no, wait: that’s just my normal life, isn’t it? Let’s not even talk about the time I climbed a mountain in a pair of clogs. Or, indeed, the fact that I once owned clogs.
(I was a teenager, OK? They were fashionable at the time…)
On this particular trip, I committed no less than three packing offences. They were, in no particular order:
1. Packing with the assumption that I would, at all times, be either:
a) on the beach
b) at a fancy party in 1958
And, of course, we were only at the beach for a week, and we didn’t visit 1958 AT ALL (It was closed, apparently), so… yeah. That didn’t really work out too well, did it? In fact, almost all of the 34 bikinis I packed (only slight exaggeration) remained unworn, because, honestly, I don’t even LIKE wearing bikinis.
2. Almost every single item in my case was either:
Seriously, I can think of maybe two outfits that didn’t have either a spotty or stripey element. At one point I managed an unbroken streak of, like, 12 days in a row in polka dots. Then I switched to stripes. GOD.
3. I didn’t pack any accessories. At all.
OK, I did pack some belts. As you can see from these photos, though, I’m not wearing any of them. In fact, I’m not even wearing my wedding ring, or my watch. It’s a wonder I even managed to dress myself at all, isn’t it?
Because I didn’t pack accessories (and also because it took me two days to remember where I’d hidden the belts), this outfit is a lot simpler than even I would normally wear it. And, I mean, I’m not really big on accessories at the best of times. And yes, it’s because I’m lazy. But even I would normally have added a little something to this outfit, but I didn’t. So there you have it.
About the dress, by the way: it’s one of THOSE dresses. Yes, one of the ones with a story. And its story is almost identical to the story of the mint green Zara dress: it’s a tale
told by an idiot, full of sound and fury of me finding a dress, loving a dress, not buying a dress, the dress selling out, me searching eBay for months and finally hunting it down. And actually, this one was even WORSE than the whole “mint dress” saga, because I had multiple opportunities to buy this dress. It was in store last summer, when I was in California, and every single Zara I visited (And I visited a LOT of Zaras, let me tell you…) had the dress. In my size. Sometimes ONLY in my size, actually. Sometimes there would be just one solitary dress hanging there, all lonely. And it would be my size. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.
But I didn’t buy it. No, it was… too easy. I like a challenge with my shopping, you see. OK, I don’t: I didn’t buy it because I stupidly convinced myself I’d never wear it. Then the second I got home, I realised my life would be empty and meaningless without a stripey dress with a pouffy tulip skirt. It took about six month’s worth of eBay alerts before it came down in price enough for me to buy it for less than retail (I have a “rule” when shopping on eBay: I refuse to pay more than the retail price of something, no matter how much I want it…). And I DID wear it. Which just goes to show how stupid I was LAST summer, eh? (I did an even worse job of packing for that trip, I mean, seriously.)
My point? You’re going to be seeing an awful lot of spots and stripes over the next few posts. (Even more than usual, I mean. ) And not a lot of accessories…
(This is what I was looking at while these were being taken. Purty, no?)
Well, folks, we’re back, as you can probably tell from the fact that my Instagram photos have abruptly switched from photos of sunsets (and, er, rubber ducks…) back to their usual programming of photos of Rubin. And rain.
(OK, I haven’t actually taken photos of rain yet. I will, though.)
It’s been an… interesting… couple of days, starting the day before we left Florida, with the realisation that someone had cloned my debit card and cleaned out my bank account (and the subsequent 1.5 hour argument with my bank to convince them that it wasn’t ME who’d been paying for taxi rides in London while lounging by the pool in Florida. It’s a long story…), to the fact that it took us over 24 hours to make it back home, thanks to an already long layover at Gatwick, which got even longer thanks to a delay on our flight. (It was so cold in the airport, and I was already so tired, that I spent part of this delay lying with my head on Terry’s knee, with clothes borrowed from my dad and Terry draped over me in a bid to stay warm. My mum later told me I’d looked like “a heap of old rags”. Excellent!)
Anyway, since we’ve been back, I have, of course, plunged right into the usual pit of gloom, with a severe case of the Post-Holiday Blues. Rather than dwell on that, though (And hey, I’m sure you can just refer to any of my previous “OMG, I HATE BEING HOME!” posts if you really want to…), I’m just going to show you some photos from the apartment at Clearwater Beach where we spent the first week of our trip, almost half a lifetime ago – or it feels like it, a least.
We stayed on the 9th floor of a gorgeous apartment building, right on the beach. Our view to the front was the one you can see above, and to the back was a view of the Intracoastal Waterway:
(There was also a little black poodle pup living in the building. That has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but still: POODLE PUP!)
It. Was. Amazing. In fact, we spent a LOT of time on those balconies, just staring at the view, and sometimes watching the lightning from far-off thunderstorms, which will be familiar to anyone who’s visited Florida, particularly at this time of year. In fact, one night we’d planned to go out, but just as we were about to leave, the most amazing lightning show started up, so we sat down to watch it on the balcony, and then, when I got up to go into the kitchen for a drink, I walked SMACK into the closed patio door behind me. Actually, I’ll be honest: “walked” is the wrong word. I actually SPLATTED against that door like a bug on a windscreen. I bruised both my forehead and elbow (which I think I must have raised at the last second, in a bid to protect my face), and spent the rest of the holiday waving my hands in front of me to make sure I was walking through air rather than glass, every time I stepped outside. (I’d like to say this stopped me doing the same thing twice. You all know it didn’t, though, don’t you?)
We also spent a lot of time on the beach, where we apparently only took “walking into the sunset” type photos, even when it was 7am in the morning. These ones are from our first day, when we all woke up early due to the jetlag, and walked for miles along the beach:
It’s mostly empty because it was still early, but the beaches on the gulf coast are so long that it’s not hard to find yourself a reasonably empty stretch, which is good because, well, The Others. You’ll just have to imagine it, though, because after this, we didn’t take many more beach shots, for fear of destroying the camera with sand or saltwater.
Speaking of photos. though: as you’ll already know if you follow me on Facebook, we took 1,518 of them during this trip. And there are another 666 (OMG! THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST!) on my mum’s camera, which is where most of these come from – thanks, mum! I’m going to be kind, though, and stop here. For now. Like the Terminator, though, I’ll be back…
(Blazer and shorts, H&M; top, Madewell; shoes, Zara)
Hey, folks, remember me?
I’m still in Florida, but we’ve been having a spell of rainy weather, so I’m taking advantage of the downtime (while my dad barbecues in the rain, wearing a poncho…) to check in with the blog. And, well, to post photos of myself jumping, just to annoy my friend Ewen, who I know loves them really…
Rain aside, we’ve been having a fabulous time. I’ve spoken before about how coming to Florida always feels like coming home to me, and with a week left to go, I’ve already started to dread the actual “coming home”: I mean, at least Florida rain is WARM, you know?
We spent our first week here at the coast, staying in a gorgeous condo, right on Clearwater beach. I might have cried a bit when we had to leave. We spent Terry’s birthday at Universal Studios, and mostly at the new Harry Potter section of the Islands of Adventure park, but other than that, this trip has mostly been about relaxing. And eating. And God, it’s been good, rain or not. And naturally, we’ve taken approximately 32,491 photos, all of which I’ll bore you with at length when I get home.
For now, though, I’m off to do some more eating and relaxing: see you all soon!
(P.S. It may have rained a lot these past few days, but that blazer wasn’t strictly necessary, because the temperature is still in the 90s: I just take it with me to wear indoors, where the air con is always set to “freeze Amber’s ass off”…)