Wanderer

Tips for a Movie-Worthy Road Trip…

We’ve all seen a road trip movie and thought, ok, that’s what I want, right?

I think road trips never work as well anywhere but America. Something about narrow roads, roadworks and swerving around potholes rather kills it for me. It’s supposed to be about open top Cadillacs or Mustangs, long, long straight roads, a group of friends with a tendency to scream ‘wooo’ at the slightest thing, and a great mix tape – even if no one has used a tape since what? 1997? 98? Basically, this:

Take a cross country road trip, without worrying about how much it will cost to fill up!

Or, you know, as this is England, this:

weekend escape = country road, picnic basket, roadtrip

Or if you’re really going for it, this:

I love a good road trip. I can’t tick off the Mustand/Cadillac yet, but I can say that I have been on  road trip in a Mini. And a yellow camper van. Both of which were brilliant.

Top 10 Tips for a brilliant road trip:

1. Company. Obvious, I know. Nothing sucks more than grumpy company. Except for the person who throws up all over everyone else. Luckily that’s never happened, but I imagine it would be pretty hard for a trip to bounce back after that. I’m not even going to bother explaining why good company is such a must for a good road trip.

#friends #RoadTrip | photo shannon lee miller

2. Music. It’s always a good time for music. The Black Keys are perfect. As are Sigor Ros when you hit ‘downtime driving’ mode. You know, when you need to recover from having laughed so hard for so long, it feels like you’ve done about a million sit ups. Not that down time driving ever lasts long with friends about. It’s all about laughing through the pain!

3. Record your memories. I’ve been on a few spur of the moment trips… without a camera to hand, despite trying to always have it within reach. It sucks. Folks, always take a camera on a road trip. Or a video camera, and you can make a lovely movie of your road trip, like these.

4. Picnics. They go hand-in-hand with road trips, I reckon. Especially as I have a few crumb-phobic friends, so snacking in the car is a no-no. I’m a bit of a ‘picturesque picnicker’ too. Pink lemonade, berries, cupcakes. I like my meals pretty.

not a specific place, but fall weather in Dallas is a perfect place for a picnic!

5. Sleeping under the Stars. Sun roof, convertible, or good old fashion sleeping back in the grass, I love sleeping in the middle of no where beneath the stars. You don’t realise just how few stars are visible from the city until you’re on a hill surrounded by mile and miles of fields in a Cath Kidston floral sleeping bag.

6. Fashion. I admit, I tend to be the girl who carefully plans her road trip outfits. Apparently that’s sad, but I’d hate filling a suitcase to find that nothing is suited to my trip, or nothing goes together and everything clashes and blah blah blah. I personally love Free People for the girly, boho-but-not-quite-hippy clothes that I take on my road trips. And of course, good old Asos.

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7. Freedom. It’s the whole nomad-lifestyle calling to me again. When you’re on a road trip, you’re just leaving all of your worries and responsibilities behind and throwing yourself into life. However, don’t be as free as a certain anonymous someone I know who was feeling so free and spontaneous and crazy that he decided to abandon his phone and his wallet at home and just drive… a great idea, but money is needed for petrol, people!

8. Glamping. I spoke about glamping back in May. I still loveit. Again, picturesque. I think this is the influence of years of admiring Tim Walker‘s work. I seem to live my life like it’s one big Walker-esque spread. Minus the over-sized props. I would if I had the budget, though. One of my favourite things to take along on a road trip is a portable projector. Or rather, I love to take along my friend’s portable projector – and my friend too. Not just because he has a portable projector, either. (♥ H) Picnic blanket of food, sky full of stars, a sheet draped over a tree, an old movie projected against it, a cluster of deck chairs and blankets over our legs… perfection.

Love this photo~

9. Getting Lost. I love getting lost. I always find the best places when I’m lost, be it the amazing ice cream bar in Venice that I stumbled into to ask for directions (which, sadly, I haven’t been able to find since), or a tiny village with an amazing bookshop because I’m terrible at map reading and sent my designated road trip driving friend in the completely wrong direction. Oops, but so worth it.

10. Be Spontaneous. I know that spontaneous road trips can mean that packing the above items just don’t happen. Like me and my camera. Picnics and glamping and carefully co-ordinated outfits need a chance to happen, especially if you’re on a budget (I’m sure you could whip up a great picnic of berry-topped-cupcakes and pink lemonade from Marks and Spencers and Waitrose, but I prefer homemade. Still, there’s nothing more exciting then grabbing the car keys, finding a friend or two with a) a license to drive and b) a car (neither of which I have), and just going. No map, no plan, just laughs and that amazing feeling of having no responsibilities for a while.

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Oh… I’m so itching for a road trip right now. Anyone?

I guess it’s not the best time of year for road trips… I suppose I can keep myself busy until the sun finally arrives with a few road trip movies. Little Miss Sunshine, On the Road and the last 30 minutes of Elizabethtown (I don’t even bother with the first hour and a half).

Ah… summer.

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Wanderer

Quirky Corners of the World: Tasmania’s Totem Pole

How amazing would this spot be to climb?

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Found in Tasmania (I bet you’d never have guessed with a name like ‘Tasmania’s Totem Pole’!), which for those of you who are utterly rubbish at geography, is a state island 150 miles from the southern coast of Australia, and a part of its commonwealth. To be honest, you say Tasmania, I think devil:

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The totem pole is in fact, a stacked rock, and, you guessed it, the result of years, and years, and years, and years of erosion stripping away layer after layer of rock, etc etc. Basically from erosion, the cliffs and rocks become arches similar to this one:

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More erosion…. blah blah blah, the top of the arch crumbles away, the sea smooths out the stack, and one day… you have a totem pole. And lo, where you have interesting vertical rocks, soon enough you get a load of skinny, taut-muscled, free-spirited travellers (or you know, Aussies), with dreadlocks, a van full of climbing gear and the same climbing itch that I get – little old dreadlock-free, skinny, invisible-muscled English me.

I don’t really know why I get such an urge to climb any rock I see. Especially big ones like this one. I’m terrified of heights. Skydiving did not cure that fear. Nor has climbing. What is even more unnerving is the fact that the constant base erosion of the waves beating against it, means that sooner or later, the Tasmanian Totem Pole will collapse. Even now, its base stands at just four metres wide. Not something you’ want to topple mid-climb, right?

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I suggest, if any of you are getting the itch to skip on over to Tasmania (or in my case, a whole ten thousand, five-hundred and seventy-one, according to Google Maps), i’d be quite quick about it, because who knows for how much longer this amazing, adrenaline-inducing climb will even be an option!

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Workaholic

Katie Stainer Jewellery

Tasha 1#

 

I really enjoy collaborating with talented individuals; designers, makeup artists, models. I love to see how others look at the world, and to be inspired by them, and hopefully, I inspire them in turn, and if I see evidence of that, it’s just the best feeling.

This particular shoot was focused around the jewellery and accessories of the amazingly talented Katie Stainer, whose portfolio and online shop can be found here. I’ve always adored origami, though my skills in that area are limited to cranes and boxes, and the occasional fox, so you can imagine my envy to see Katie’s beautifully folded, waterproof jewellery, all made from vintage books and decorative paper. After far too long admiring her collection, we turned our attention to the task at hand.

Tasha 2#

Katie is a very down-to-earth character, the sort of person who nonchalantly folds a book into a headpiece as a spontaneous photograph idea that one of us threw out there, chatting about her favourite novels and TV shows as she did so. Therefore, she wanted equally down-to-earth images, free of over-edited, perfected models who had been pinched in, smoothed out, polished and slicked to perfection. Therefore, we chose to work with Tasha, a girl who is naturally stunning in her own right.

Tasha 3#

 

Our studio was makeshift, but wonderful, consisting of draped fabric pinned to the wall, alongside a wall of glass that allowed plenty of natural sunlight. While lately I have found that I spend more and more time in a studio space, I always try to find a space with large windows such as this one; I will always prefer the use of natural sunlight over makeshift lighting any day, and even when I do find myself turning to Profoto or Lasolite or Bowens for a helping hand, I try my best to recreate sunlight as closely as possible… unless I’m going for something completely dramatic, of course, such as during this shoot.

To top off the shoot, Katie was kind enough to give both myself and our team a necklace each from her collection, which I took as a sign that she was definitely happy with how our shoot turned out in the end.

Tasha 5#

Tasha 6#

Tasha 7#

 

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The 3 L's

2014

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It is definitely a good time for a re-brand, I would say. Time for a new website, new photography blog, new logo… a completely fresh, new look.

Recently, I’ve learnt the importance of not allowing my portfolio, my business and generally, my creativity to become stale. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a loop, like a broken record, repeating the same ideas over and over, producing the same photographs, working with the same people. I was guilty of this in 2013; for example, I worked with one particular model no less than half a dozen times in two months. We worked great together, and, as people often do when they work together as often as we did between 2012 and 2013, we became good friends, which for a while only fed our creativity further; she was, I suppose you could say, my muse. However, after a while, our model-photographer friendship became less of a muse, and more of a habit. Our shoots became less ‘spontaneous’ and more ‘half-heartedly planned’. Actually, no, half-hearted is not accurate… just… rushed.

It was therapeutic, really. In many ways, 2013 was a bad year for me, personally. A lot happened, and these somewhat repetitive photo shoots were a release, with the familiar team, making me laugh, inspiring me. I don’t regret falling into a replay loop for those two months, but it’s definitely not something that I wish to continue either.

I plan to break that mould this year, and to experiment with new creative teams, new locations, new creative mediums. I have been working hard to learn web design, experimenting with graphic design, throwing myself into the creative writing that I have always privately enjoyed so much. I have for some time been considering whether I am purely a photographer, or whether or not I will some time in the near future also call myself a graphic designer, or a writer, or even a web designer? The four creative professions overlap easily, they can each focus on the same fashion-led specialty, while opening my eyes to ways of creating art that this time last year, I would never have considered.

I have so many plans for 2014, and I am so excited to begin! I will be stepping out of my comfort zone with some new projects. I will be experiment and discover new areas of photography, further my new-found graphic and web design skills (hopefully, talents), exploring new styles and techniques and meeting new people. I have a moleskine of ideas that are still little more than a scribbled note or a hastily drawn sketch, and this needs rectifying. What’s more, I will be deciding on my future ‘base’. It’s no secret that I tend to be a bit of a nomad. I blog about it here. I love border-hopping across Europe; the vast array of cultures, languages and opinions are such a wonderful source of inspiration for me. However, recently I have been wondering whether it is time to lay down some roots, and to find a base for myself, and to become a girl who occasionally travels, rather than a girl who occasionally flies back home.

It’s a tough decision for me, and right now I have no idea which I will choose… not just in terms of nomad or… sedentary? And after that decision, then there is the matter of which country do I choose? Which city? London? Paris? Milan? Or do I throw myself out into the unknown entirely and fly to the States, to NYC – a complete unknown to me. It would have to be a fashion capital, I can say that much at present. That much is clear, no? No doubt, I shall blog about my decision, once it is made, and so keep a close eye.

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Vanity Feed

February Wish List

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  1. Cambridge Satchel Company. Navy & Peach Satchel. £160. Available here. I’ve been dying for a Cambridge Satchel for ages, but somehow I just never end up buying one. Soon.
  2. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Prices start at about £90. Available here. This was my perfume of 2012, and I’m missing it. Not that I specifically choose a perfume for each year… it recently occurred to me that I just so happen to buy my perfume around Christmas each year. Or of course, someone buys me perfume as a Christmas gift. Maybe I’ll break with routine. I love Dior J’adore – especially the teeny tiny travel sized bottle that I have in my purse because it’s adorable. But I’m definitely more a Chanel girl. Always have been
  3. Bo-Homey cushion. $44.99. Available here. Because my bed is screaming out for some cushions. It’s just so pretty!
  4. Crosley Keepsake Turntable in Blue Floral. £160. Available here. What is it about vinyl that makes every song sound so much better? I’m more than a little bit obsessed with vinyl, be it vintage, classics or new releases. But a floral turntable?! Yes, please!
  5. ‘Time of Your Life’ phone case, available for a range of Samsung or IPhone models, as well as prints, posters… etc. Prices start at $15. Available here. I love everything in Kavan & Co‘s Redbubble portfolio. It takes self-control not to paste my whole home with beautiful motivational quote posters. It seems I’m a sucker for graphically beautiful inspirational quotes.
  6. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith… or, you know.. JK Rowling. £9.99 to pre-order from Amazon… I think Waterstones have the same pre-order price too! I’ll be buying mine from the latter. Waterstones need my money more than Amazon. Available here. It’s like Harry Potter all over again. Queuing outside bookshops at midnight for a book release. Actually no, I never did that with Harry Potter. I’d be sent to school, my mother would go and buy it first thing in the morning, and I’d some home to find I’d then have to wait the three or four agonizing days for her to finish it. Luckily these were during my pre-Facebook days, and I avoided the M25 circa book six. But this time, I don’t have to share this book with the rest of my family. I read the first of the Comoran Strike series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, mostly during my few months in Rome, reading a few pages a day in bookshops because I didn’t want to carry around a bulky €25 hardback copy with me. Anyway, super excited for book two!
  7. Alexander McQueen Velvet & Leather patent heels. Originally £455, but here, they are £204.76!! I don’t know how well I’d be able to walk in these. Anyone who knows me knows that my heel-skills are limited to kitten or wedge. Me and stilettos are not on good terms. But still, they are beautiful. These and a little brocade black tea dress? Yes. I keep having to push the word ‘steampunk’ from my head, though.
  8. Chloé monochrome jacket. Originally £1370, but here, £479.50. There is nothing to say but, I have 1000 outfits from my wardrobe that would look so good with this. Damn…
  9. Victoria Beckham. Originally £2195, but here, £987.75. Pricey, but my god, so gorgeous. It’s sexy but girly but classic. Without the visible built-in bra straps, I’d say it’s very ‘modern day Audrey Hepburn’, except that I think she’d have avoided the outerwear as underwear and visible bra straps trends. Isn’t it about time that certain newspapers stop wondering if the ex-Spice Girl/’WAG’ can match other designers?
  10. Tom Ford Lipstick in Spanish Pink. £36. Available here. I’m still searching for that perfect pink lipstick. It’s out there, somewhere. Maybe I’ll try this one next.
  11. Undercover Leather Travel Organiser. £59.95. Available here. Cyclamen, please, magic gift-bearing elves of the universe. Of course, I can’t have a wish list without something travel-related. I don’t really need this, of course. I love my On the Road passport cover too much, but still. Browsing, browsing, browsing.
  12. Guerlain Météorites Face Powder. $60. Available here. I know, I know. Pretty packaging doesn’t mean that the contents are necessarily as amazing as they look, but it’s hard not to pick my makeup on looks alone. I mean, it’s the beauty industry. Choice of three colour pallets depending on your skintone; clair, medium and dore.
  13. Olivia Burton Floral Watch. £85. Available here. I haven’t worn a watch in about a decade, not since the hideous, chunky hand-me-down that would go off at random times during those rare moments of silence at school because I had no idea how to un-set the alarm. Is that trauma? Perhaps.
  14. ‘Refind your footing’ in turquoise. $34.99. Available here. I’ve loved brogues and brogue-esque shoes for a few years now. I’ve worn the soles out of several pairs now, I wear them to often! So far, though, I’ve stuck to ‘classic colours’; black, white and various shades of brown. But these… oo. I have room for a pair of turquoise brogue-esque flats in my life. Also available in brown, blush and beige. Actually… I want them all.

Hmm… right now I’m struggling to remember why exactly I’m saving my money… time to stick a memo to my wall, I think.

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