Traveling in Bermuda and Taking a Break

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It's been a bit quiet around here for a few days, mostly because we are in Bermuda for a week trying to sort out plans for our wedding in October. It's an intense time, but we are having loads of fun with it. It's amazing to be back in Bermuda, the last time I was here was in 2007 so I am long overdue for a visit. We are making sure to visit the beach as much as we can, and catch up with old friends. It's lovely to be back in my Grandfather's house, even though it makes me sad that he's not here with us.

I'll be back to regular posts next week, but until then you can see loads of photos from Bermuda over on my instagram feed.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the beach!

For Springtime in the Fields :: a Jumper and Jeans

Jumper I'm Wearing || More Green Jumpers

Jeans I'm Wearing || More Black Jeans   

It's sunny but it's cold, it's grey but it's warm, spring time can be a really confusing time. The amount of times this week I've left the house only to regret wearing my light spring jacket - the sunshine is telling me lies and it's just not warm enough. Or just the other day I walked to Columbia Road and was way too hot with a scarf, but way too cold without it. Confusing times.

Towards the end of winter and at the start of spring my daily uniform is a jumper and jeans. Not exactly inspired I know, but I love how with a simple jumper and jeans combo you can be feminine: a pastel jumper, light jeans and a ponytail; androgynous: with a tight jumper, collard shirt and brogues; or even sultry: low cut jumper, killer heels and skinnies anyone?

I've been a big fan of dark green lately, worn with dark grey jeans and a bright red lipstick. On slightly greyer days there's something about a dark green that makes me feel like I belong in the wild.

On another note, I thought I would try out an outfit style post, what do you guys think? I got a camera remote a little while ago and this was the result of me learning to use it. I've never tried a self photo shoot before, and it was a lot of fun. I wasn't sure what to do with the pictures I took and I felt a little self conscious about posting photos like this on here, but I thought... what the hell! Why not? I feel all Catherine in Wuthering Heights.

Oh, and with this outfit above I wore wellies because the fields are still soggy up north. Outfit post fail. 

 

A Weekend of Pizza, Hanging Around Hackney, and Being a Lazey Bones

These days I'm trying a little bit harder to be a little more lazy. So all weekend Adam and I just relaxed around the flat, watched some of my Poirot box set, and ate pizza. I'm not even going to tell you how much pizza I ate because it's embarrassing, but let me just say that traveling to Bermuda next Friday and the prospect of wearing a bathing suit is making me a little nervous. 

We hadn't been to the flower market in a few weeks so on Sunday we walked Molly to Columbia Road, grabbing a coffee along the way. It was packed as usual but we managed to escape unscathed with some beautiful soft pink ranunculus and a bunch of blue hyacinth which smell gorgeous in little pots around the flat.  

We took a detour on the way home to a square in shoreditch where we thought we could sit and I could take some pictures while Adam ate his ice cream. But when we arrived we found a bandstand busking in process. We used to go to bandstand busking a lot when Adam and I first started dating, and it was nice to sit in the square with Molly and listen to a just a man and his guitar. It reminded me of a simpler time. 

I also spent some time with friends and got to hang out with some of my favourite blogging girls on Friday (eh hem, over pizza). Michelle was visiting from Italy so we got a group together and went to Franco Manca with ChéLuluJo and Catherine. These girls keep me laughing pretty much non-stop, blogging friends are pretty awesome.  

And now it's Monday and I'm waiting for the bus and the weekend already seems a million miles away. But it's ok because we've only got a four day week ahead!! Hooray!

Pakistan Travel Diaries: Photos from the Road Part One

Pakistan is unlike any country I have ever been to. It really surprised me! I thought working there would be both a lot harder and a lot easier than it was - I know that doesn't make any sense, but I guess I mean that all of my preconceived notions of what I thought it would be like we're turned on their head. 

For example, I expected to be stared at and to have to wear a head scarf. All the girls at work get stared at a lot when they travel and personally, it's never really bothered me, I'm curious about people as well. But something about the way eyes followed me everywhere around my hotel in Lahore felt a little different, a little more uncomfortable - though I encountered nothing but friendliness. I can't say why I felt uncomfortable, I certainly didn't feel threatened but it did feel... different. Also I was the only westerner in my hotel, so maybe that thought got in my head a little.

Also, I didn't quite realise how much films, tv and the news had formed a lot of my opinions. But when I arrived in Lahore at 4am and the highway to my hotel was exactly like a highway in Toronto would be like with well kept roads, signs, flower displays on roundabouts, etc... I was a little baffled. I expected something a bit shabbier. Shame on me, I know, but don't judge me too much. Ok, maybe judge me a little. I know Lahore isn't representative of all of Pakistan, but it was a beautiful, modern looking city.

Having said that there are donkey carts all over the place, gypsy camps on the side of the river (which sometimes has water and sometimes doesn't, depending on whether India feels like turning on the tap - apparently), and a fair bit of poverty. There's also a law about how late you can celebrate your wedding, I think it's up to 10 or 11 at night and after that you have to either take it into your house or end the party - it was explained to me that this is for energy conservation and maybe a little to do with noise as well. There also seemed to be a real contrast between life on one side of the river compared to the other - my hotel was on one side and the clinic was on the other side. 

All of my photos to share are from the road, that short time I spent between the clinic and my hotel. I did visit a shopping mall but I thought I probably shouldn't lug my camera around, and also one shopping mall very much looks like another wherever you go. So all of my photos are shot on the move as I crossed the river twice a day. I had to wear a head scarf when I sat in the front seat of the car and my amazing colleague Ahmad was really patient with me when I asked all my dumb questions about sheep (but, I mean, just look at this thing). He took me out for chocolate cake and coffee at the end of the day and is just over all one of the coolest people I know. He's a pro at slowing down the car so I could get better photos and really calm about telling me to put my camera away when we came to a toll crossing, security check or police barrier.

I'll share part two of my photos, and my thoughts on my visit to Pakistan next week. I also have more from India to share over time, so I do hope you like travel posts!

Just to Give you Some Background

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I’ve been blogging for two years as of this month. Two years!! Amazing. I can’t actually believe I’ve found two years’ worth of things to write about, but there you go, I’ve done it and I will continue to do it because I love it so much. I’m so grateful for all the friends and fun that blogging has brought my way – but that’s not what this post is about, so I’ll get to it…

You all seemed to really enjoy my Life Before London post, and this one is along the same lines, though it doesn’t come with much of a point except to explain a little bit more about me. I like to hope that I am giving an honest representation through my blog, and I think part of that is explaining who I am. The other day a friend of mine asked if I was Canadian, she’s known me for a long time and my sort of half-assed answer didn’t really cut it for her, so I had to actually explain. I figured if she didn't know, then it probably wasn't very clear to anyone else. So here’s a brief life history of Freya P Dowson:

I was born in Bermuda and lived there until I was six with my mum and my older brother. My parents separated when I was one, maybe when I was younger than that I’m not sure, and my dad was living in England. My grandparents lived in Bermuda too, but when I was six my mum, brother and I moved to Toronto. Because of the laws back then and some other reasons I’ve never bothered to think much about, I’m not considered Bermudian, so I don’t have a passport. My whole family stretching back to the land before time is mostly British, so my nationality is first and foremost, British. My parents sound and act like they were born and raised in England (which they kind of were and weren’t, but that’s a different post), and my brother and I are the only ones who have Canadian accents in my whole family.

Marching forward a few years, my mum had gained Canadian citizenship and so my brother and I did as well. My dad moved to Canada to be closer to us and I grew up moving around Toronto for twelve years. I went to a bunch of different schools and lived in a bunch of different neighbourhoods. I was a really outgoing child, but a really shy teenager.

When I was 17 my mum remarried and lived between Jamaica and Toronto for a little while – Christmas in Jamaica was lots of fun! When I was 18 my dad moved to Hong Kong for work and lived there for about six years – spending summers in Hong Kong is still one of my favourite ever memories (and secretly I want to move back). I left Toronto myself in 2002 for university in the UK and the rest is history, I’ve been living in England now for twelve years! I never intended to stay, but it just kind of happened.

These days my dad is back living in Toronto, as is my brother. My mum moved around a bit but eventually landed back in the UK, and I’m here in London. My grandparents’ house still stands in Bermuda and is one of my favourite places on earth. And I feel very much like an international Ping-Pong ball.

So whenever anyone asks where I’m from, I kind of give a half-assed answer because the truth is, I’m not really sure what I would call myself (though I am tempted to say Narnia!). When I'm in the UK I feel at home, when I'm in Canada I feel at home, and same goes for Bermuda. I mostly feel at home when I'm in the company of people I love, which is probably the most important thing.