Working night and day at GAP

At this time in my London adventure I was employed at the London flagship GAP store on Oxford Street. I was on the mens floor which was a good experience, it just kind of sucked being underground all day, I felt like some form of burrowing animal. I don't know I am weird like that, I need natural light in order to function normally. There were some really great times, I worked with some really great people and met some pretty nice guys who would make shifts a lot more enjoyable. But there were also some pretty dirt rotten times. It was a valuable experience, but at the equivalent to $10 an hour it really wasn't worth the mind-numbingly boring tedious hours spent repetitively folding and hanging up pretty ugly clothing. 

The only item of clothing I really liked and eventually bought which me and boyfriend now share/ it generally moves between houses a lot. 

For about 4 of the 8 weeks I worked there I was known on every document that had our names on it as "Arica". 

Kicking back at Joe & the Juice on my break replying to essay fb messages from friends back home. It became a bit of a cycle during my 32 hour weeks. Tube- Work - Joe & the Juice - Work - Tube - Sleep.

Still don't know what they were on about, saw them about 4 times during my time working on Oxford Street. 

I did two overnights in a row whilst working at GAP. It was near the end of my stay in London so I figured why not, whats the worst that could happen? I will go back to Australian time? We spent the two nights rearranging the whole store. First night was women's and the second night was men's. Up until about 2am Lola (Below) and I spent the time folding and discussing important world issues in terrible Russian accents and doing other ridiculous things. At about 3 when we had a break we all started to crash.

We pulled through our first night ok and came out of GAP onto an empty Oxford Street at 7am. It was eerily empty. And my eyes had bags halfway down my face at this time. 

On the walk home I passed this house and decided to take a photo of the filth. I kid you not it stayed like this for about 4 weeks. 

This was the completely finished Women's floor. The second night we were tackling the men's floor. 

On our break at 3am we went to McDonald's where this charming little illustration was on the donation box, how sweet.

I am not even going to bother describing the second night because it was horrible. Everyone who had worked the first night was back for the second night and I don't think any of us where functioning at full capacity. The above photo was taken at 7am, both the men and women's floors had been rearranged and made to look pretty and all the staff had been transformed into zombies. But to be fair it was an experience and I got some training in visual merchandising which was pretty great. 

These photos were taken on break at work one day. The sky was actually completely blue. That is how rare it was that I actually took a photo of it. And the great part was that this was in between an 8 hour shift during the better part of the day. Such a waste.

Cheers GAP, I had a blast working below minimum wage.

With love from London

Joe & the Juice and Tube station fires

On this day I met up with Georgia and Lewis for a drink and a catch up. Before L came, G and I went to my favourite place to chill out at Joe & the Juice. Whenever I had a break at work I would always go there and sit upstairs on the comfy lounges and indulge in some good old fashioned free wifi. This was one of my first times going and I still didn't know the boys there very well. Georgia went up and paid and somehow I scored not only a free juice (my favourite is "Pick me up") but also a free passionfruit. So obviously that was a great way to start my afternoon.

Just documenting the great view G and I had from where we were sitting. Joe & the Juice, where hot men come to make and drink juice. 

We met up with L then all went and got drinks at a couple of different bars and then later on in the night we parted our separate ways and headed home. I usually would go to Tottenham court and catch the Northern line straight to Hendon Central until later on I realised changing at Euston was a lot quicker. But point of the story is that I didn't know this at the time so I was still going to Tottenham Court Station, and when I got there on this evening there was mayhem. Apparently there had been some fire or something ridiculous like a bomb scare, so the square had been stripped bare and traffic was piling up for miles. So I guess that added some excitement to the day I had spent sleeping off the weekend. 

With love from London


Here are just some cars I would like to add to my imaginary shopping list of things I will never be able to get for various reasons, most of those reasons revolving around my incredible lack of money. But in the meantime a girl can dream. But in all honesty my dream car would be a Kingswood, but mum would never allow me to get a vintage, too much maintenance and upkeep apparently. 

Some other cars I took a liking to.

With love 


Olympics Hype

As we all know the Olympics came and went this year and I was "lucky enough" to be in the thick of it all. To be fair it didn't affect me in any way really. It fact it was kind of fun experiencing it all now that I think of it. Little things were changed, trains were later, waiting at banks was made more exciting with gymnastics playing in the background, people on the tubes seemed more talkative and the Metro was bigger. 

But not everything was great about the Olympics and being smack bang in the middle of the city for it. I had just been employed at GAP on Oxford Street. And if you have ever been to Oxford Street you will know how jam packed it is, now times that by 10 and you have the Olympics crowd. Oh so many tourists. Basically going between the tube and GAP was a daily struggle, and going somewhere for lunch took 15min longer then it should have. I think the thing that made me the angriest about the Olympics hype was what they did to Trafalgar Square. They had a big screen in the middle of the square which was great, there were tables and chairs laid out and food stalls set up which was all well and good. But not only were the Lions completely cut off from the public but the whole square was covered with these ugly festival fences and you could only enter this square through one corner. The reason this didn't make much sense was because it was a free event.

I was quite lucky this year. I was in London for not only the Olympics but also the Jubilee. And I was in Poland, Warsaw in particular for the Euro 12. I followed the various hypes throughout my travels, but always remained an outside observer, except for the Jubilee, that was a great 4 day weekend. I guess I'm more of an observer then a follower. 

During this week I met up with Georgia a couple of times and just kicked back for the rest of it because karma had gotten to me and because I had had such a great time in Paris I now had to make it up to the universe by being sick. On this day I met her after work and we went to a bar under London Bridge and due to the lack of seats at every single bar/ pub in London after 5pm we were sitting on the ground. I didn't mind though. I really miss having afternoon drinks with my girl G and we would discuss everything under the sun until we were blue in the face. 

The next day I stayed in bed and then in the afternoon decided to go tick something off my to do list, go to the Hard Rock Cafe. I had no one to go with so I went by myself. On the way I stopped off in Oxford Circus to do some window shopping. When I got off the tube I was confronted with this. Hoards of tourists climbing over each other for a glimpse of the Olympic torch. It was absolute mayhem. I got out of there as quick as I could. 

If you have been following my story you will know by this point in time I am well and truly broke, especially after Paris. So at the Hard Rock I could only afford a glass of Pimm's and a side Caesar salad which still seemed to break the bank. I sat at the bar and ate and while I was eating I was reading the third hunger games book and was quite into it. I was sitting at the bar which was where the chefs were preparing the food to go out and the waiters were kicking back. So I had a lot of the waiters start conversations with me and found myself telling the same sad sob story of being broke and without any friends hence why I was eating a side salad at the bar and reading a book. 

I ended up having the waiters and chefs all feel sorry for me and I kept having little things dropped on my plate, sun dried tomatoes, olives, extra salad, garlic bread. By the end of it I had eaten over a full size salad. And not only did they do that but they insisted on singing happy birthday to me so I could get a free birthday ice cream. Which to be honest I didn't really want because I was trying to lose weight, which when I told the guy he pulled up a chair next to me and waited until I had eaten the whole thing. I still can't decide whether it was creepy or just over friendly. But either way the free food was greatly appreciated. And as I have said before, always rely on the kindness of strangers. 

If my day hadn't been filled with enough serendipity already this was definitely the cherry on top. In my efforts to avoid the hype I ended up almost walking straight into it. Walking back to the tube from the Hard Rock I almost walked straight into the Olympic Torch. I like the design of it. I haven't paid much attention to the Olympics since it was in Sydney but I have a vague recollection of it being silver white and blue. Maybe I'm wrong I don't know, but this one is very modern chic. I was there for about the time it took me to take these two photos. As I said, the Olympics never really phased me. And to clarify with all those people who asked why I didn't go, I HAD NO MONEY. I was one broke girl in a big city suddenly obsessed with competitive sports. I watched one whole event from start to finish on tv though (I didn't have a tv so I just sat in a bar and watched it) showjumping, that is one intense sport. The horses are basically flying and then the medal gets given to the human. Here's to being the dominant species of the world. 

I apologize for my bitterness towards the Olympics. It was just not that exciting for me.

With love from London 


Shoot for Walthamstow College

This was possibly the worst shoot I have ever done. The advertisement claimed that they needed models for a fashion shoot for the Fashion Design students final collections. When I arrived, I kid you not the "Fashion design students" where all around 14-17 years old and had no idea what they were doing. They said they were starting up some company called "The I feel experience", it is pretty bad. So basically these 12 year old tried to get me to fit into this tiny gold dress that belongs on stage at a 5 year old dance recital, which I clearly couldn't fit into. So instead they put me into this ridiculously ugly polyester long sleeved dress. Just for a little background, this was possibly the hottest day London had all year, I kid you not it was 33 degrees that day. 
So we went outside in the boiling hot sun in this disgusting oven of a dress and because the other models were smart enough not to show up I was modelling with one of the students who was everything I could never be, black and British. And she was like 12 and had boobs which was annoying considering I acquired mine around the age of 15. 

I could go on for days how shit this shoot was but I will just break it down for you:
. 3 hours
. 33 degrees
. Standing in direct sunlight the whole time
. In a long sleeved black dress
. No drink breaks or water anyway 
. Ugliest shoes/ dress I have ever had to wear and neither fit

And after all of this the photographer only sent me 1 nice image that I like (the second one). I know he took good ones I looked through them on the day. Oh well life goes on. Life lesson learnt, if your not getting paid and you walk into a classroom of 10year olds who are organising your shoot, just leave. It's not worth it. 

Behind the scenes...

With love from London


Reunion with G after travelling

After almost 2 months of on and off travelling I was finally back home and settled and the first thing I had to do was catch up with my best friend Georgia, who I hadn't seen since before Poland. We met up at our spot in Camden and drunk a bottle of wine each and watched the sun go down. We hadn't planned to go out or anything because not only was I dead broke but I had definitely not had time/ couldn't really be bothered to put my face on for a night out. But somehow our simple plan of meeting up for a bit of wine turned into quite a mess of a night. It started raining so everyone cleared out except we decided to just crawl under the bridge instead. 

We spent hours telling eachother stories of our adventures since we had seen eachother, and over time the stories became more drunken ramblings then anything, and next minute we were serenading eachother under the bridge, sharing ipod headphones listening to French music. When out of nowhere a guy with a guitar came over who we had been speaking too before and started serenading us with his music. We drunkenly danced, trying not to fall into the water and had a lovely time. Then we decided to go to a club across the water. 

Turns out it was fetish night at the club, this happens once a month and we just happened to go there on this night. There was a mass of spandex and lycra and g-strings, and man thongs with little furry animals on the front, and studded harnesses and big women overflowing in tiny corsets. It was a weird night. We watched people take turns at getting whipped outside, G danced with a Jesus fella half the night so most of the time I found myself alone making friends with midlife crisis men in leather thongs or girls on the dance floor who just didn't like wearing bras. At one point I got dared by some relatively normal people I had found and was talking to for a while, to go and "fondle" one of the topless girls boobs, that was an experience.. 

By the end of the night I had lost G in a field of fetishes and couldn't find her so took the bus home and called it a night. Definitely a weird one. 

A bit later in the week in which I had spent desperately looking for a job/ trying to get my National Insurance Number, I stayed at Georgias one night and she cooked me potato and leek soup, just like mumma used to make. In the morning I had an induction for my new job at GAP on Oxford Street. Funny story of how I got it. See I went in still waiting to get my NIN which was being held hostage at my disgusting old place in Walthamstow by my degenerate, half a brain, can't speak English housemates and I decided hey I might as well pop in to GAP to talk to the manager again who I had spoken too before I went to Poland and basically she just said "Hey you're great come back after you travel with the paperwork and we will give you an interview". So they day I went back in I spoke to the manager for about 2 min before she put me straight into a group interview that had just started, winning!

I got the job, which to be honest considering the people in my group I wasn't exactly surprised. One man was around 50 and Indian with an extremely thick accent who spent the majority of his interview stating everything he thought that was wrong with GAP. It was such a strange thing to see. But basically I got the job and it was induction the day after I slept at G's and she made me soup for dinner. Except slight problem, in the morning when she left for work, so did her landlord who has a habit of locking every single door and window in the house so nothing can possibly get in, or out which is what I found out that day. I was locked in my best friends house on induction day at my new job. So I did some crazy James Bond type stunt work, although in a dress and somehow jumped off he garage onto a fence onto the floor. Then I was in the back garden so I still needed to climb over another sharp and pointy fence to get out. 

I made it out! And to my induction! But not without a few cuts and bruises along the way. Before my induction I relaxed at my usual hang out Joe and the Juice where looking back now I probably spent exorbitant amounts of money for freshly squeezed juice and wifi, but to be fair I was mainly paying for the wifi. The book I am reading is Mockingjay, this was the second time this year I was reading the trilogy, and to be honest I would do it again, I am so completely and utterly obsessed with those books.

First day on the job! Was pretty fun, we just met eachother and watched movies and signed contracts, no biggie. It was pretty cool getting the job at a ridiculously famous fashion shop, in their flagship store in London, but to be honest, GAP has such boring/ ugly clothing. But you got to do what you got to do. I got my new threads with the 50% discount, which was good, saved me a fair bit. Totally regretting those "boyfriend jeans" though. I thought they would look like they did on the poster, not at all... Loose and tight in the wrong places, regrets....

But at this point in time everything seemed to be falling into place, considering how depressed and anxious I was, and how much I wanted to go home before mum came and visited. This felt like a whole new fresh start for me in London. I wasn't staying much longer, when Summer left so did I, but that is still a while away. New job, new house, new friends, same great friends. 

With love from London

After Paris

I caught the train home with a heavy heart and sleepy eyes. In only 4 days Paris had blown me away and swept me off my feet, I was and still am hopelessly in love with that beautiful city. Just before I got on the train an old man gave me a beautiful flower for no reason what so ever. He just said to me, "A beautiful flower for a beautiful girl" and wandered off.
On the train home I was sitting across from a couple who kept giving me weird looks, most likely because I kept falling asleep and most likely snored or did something embarrassing  I remember trying to fall asleep on my hand that was propped on the armrest, until I fell down to a rude awakening of direct armrest to face contact. 
After the tiring train ride home I decided to treat myself to a candle that I purchased at a little boutiquey store, vanilla and caramel, the most amazing scent in the world. As I sat alone in my bed smoking a ciggarette on the windowsill, listening to Moon River by Frank Sinatra with my new candle burning in the background I couldn't help but think Paris never happened, it was too surreal, too incredible, just perfect.

Paris, Je t'aime