From December 28th until January 1st, my sister and I were in Scotland. To be specific we were in Glasgow from the 28th to 31st, then we spent New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh at their world famous Hogmanay festival. Hogmanay is the Scottish NYE, and they like to go ham with the fireworks. Our night kind of went haywire, but before I get into that, here’s a rundown of the stuff we did:
Dec. 28: Meandered along the River Clyde to the People’s Palace, a museum about Glaswegian history.
Dec. 29: Went to the Glasgow Necropolis and felt very much like Hamlet (I have this thing with cemeteries… There’s a cemetery by my house that I spend a lot of time at), saw the medieval beauty of the Glasgow Cathedral, and went to the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art
Dec. 30: Wandered the University of Glasgow grounds (um… Hogwarts is that you?), went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Dec. 31: Had a TIME AND A HALF at Edinburgh Hogmanay.
Now, let me tell you a little story about Hogmanay…
So we took an hour-long bus ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh and get there in time to drink some wine and wander around before heading into the street party. The street party goes decently– we saw a really incredible Celtic band and kept warm dancing in the crowd. Every hour on the hour, there’s a small fireworks display leading up to the main event at midnight. Eventually it gets to that time of night and we’re treated to a stunning fireworks display right over Edinburgh Castle to ring in the New Year. I really can’t stress enough how absurdly beautiful it was– and I was sober.
After this the night starts going to smithereens. We’re trying to get out of the crowd but everyone is going different directions at once, so this massive crowd comes almost to a complete standstill, and everyone starts shoving each other to get out of the way. It takes 5 minutes to go 5 metres. Slowly, we get out of there! And out of the street party! But we have nowhere to go… Hostels in Edinburgh all jack up the prices significantly around Hogmanay (a bunk in a hostel dorm was ~$100 Canadian for a night), so we decided to be cheapskates and just pull an all-nighter. It didn’t seem like it would be that hard, the city is wide awake and there’s tons of people everywhere, but neither of us wound up really in the mood for it.
But whatever, right, it’s fine! We just need to kill time until 6am when we have a train back to Glasgow, where we’ll be flying to Dublin. We wandered around this beautiful Scottish city we’d never seen before all night, until finally we can go to the train station and wait for our train.
WELL GUESS WHAT. THERE WERE NO TRAINS RUNNING ON NEW YEAR’S DAY. WHICH SCOTRAIL HAD CONVENIENTLY FORGOTTEN TO MENTION WHEN WE BOUGHT THE TICKET FOR 6AM ON NEW YEAR’S DAY. So that was great. We ended up having to run to the bus station to catch a £30 ($48.82, for my Canadian friends) bus to Glasgow so that we would have time to get to the airport before our 11am flight to Dublin, ALL OF WHICH WE DID ON NO SLEEP.
Don’t ask me why I thought this would be a good idea. I’ve learned my lesson and I will never go outside again.
Anyway, to end this, here’s a video of just a few seconds from the midnight fireworks in Edinburgh (that almost made all the hell we went through later worth it)…
A video posted by sarah sloan macleod (@s_sloan) on
Happy new year! Next up: Dublin.
*Side note: If you’re wondering why we didn’t just fly to Dublin from Edinburgh, believe me: that was the plan. We booked our flight through GoEuro and it said it was from Edinburgh to Dublin… Later we checked the confirmation email and saw it was actually from Glasgow to Dublin, and they just assumed we had a car and could drive there. LMAO.
It’s 4:00AM on December 12th and I’ve just woken up after about 2 hours of sleep. I have a plane to catch at 6:45AM from Vancouver to Toronto, where I’ll have a 7 hour layover before hopping on a second flight, this time from Toronto to London, England. If everything goes according to plan, I won’t be home until mid-to-late March. London is just the first stop on the tour of Europe my sister and I are embarking on. It’s 4:00AM on December 12th and I am very, very, anxious. But time, relentless as ever, keeps moving. Soon enough It’s 10:00AM London time (2:00AM Vancouver time) and I’ve just landed at Gatwick Airport. Oh fuck. Holy shit. Here we go.
Here is the rundown of the 10 days I spent in London:
WHAT I DID
HOW IT WAS
We were too exhausted after our long flight to do much other than wandering, but walking out of the Tube at Piccadilly Circus and looking up at the bright lights of the city really was something else.
Such high ceilings! So much natural light! And free????? How??? But also... Egypt called, they want their shit back.
-Harry Potter Walking Tour
We saw the IRL Diagon and Knockturn Alley and it was a good time.
-221B Baker Street
-Southbank Christmas Market
"All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock." -Mycroft Holmes, BBC Sherlock
Being in a room full of Rothkos at the Tate made me really happy.
-National Portrait Gallery
The Wellcome Collection surprised my sister and I by being probably our favourite thing we did in London despite only finding it advertised online as basically a collection of weird shit.
-Hampton Court Palace
-London Bridge Experience
♪DIVORCED BEHEADED AND DIED, DIVORCED BEHEADED SURVIVED, I'M KING HENRY VIII I HAD SIX SORRY WIVES, SOME MIGHT SAY I RUINED THEIR LIVES♫
A little known fact about me: I went through a phase of being REALLY obsessed with the Tudors. Needless to say, I was excited to be in Henry VIII's favourite palace.
-Handel & Hendrix Museum
I didn't realize how many dead people you're surrounded by at Westminster Abbey... It's a place equally as morbid as it is beautiful.
The Handel & Hendrix museum was also really fascinating-- the German composer and American rock musician lived right beside each other 200 years apart, and now their former homes are a museum.
-Tower of London
-Tower Bridge Exhibition
This was the day I annoyed my sister by quoting Hamlet even more often than I usually quote Hamlet.
-Lights of Soho
-Camden Pub Crawl
Lights of Soho is a neon art gallery (which, if you've seen my Instagram, you know is very me). We followed it with a pub crawl-- my first ever!
-Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
I've been wanting to go to Sketch (a crazy London restaurant) for ages-- ever since seeing photos of its crazy bathrooms online. For our last day, our friends came and met us in London before we went to Manchester to stay with them and we got tea and cakes at this absurdly gorgeous place.
I’m planning on making video diaries for each place I head to, and my London footage is actually all edited and ready to go, I’m just living with sketchy hostel wifi so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to upload it. As soon as it’s up, it’ll be added to this post, but in the meantime, however: here are all my favourite pictures….
If you’ve made it this far, I appreciate you giving a shit. I’ll be doing my best to keep updating throughout my travels, but if you want to see everything more or less as it happens the best place to do that is my Instagram.
Every November, my boyfriend’s family goes to Tofino to spend some quality time together. This year they were kind enough to take me along. This video documents the most Pacific Northwestern place I’ve ever been. Seriously, Tofino in November perfectly follows every stereotype anyone has ever had of the PNW.
Over the Halloween weekend (or Halloweekend, if you will) my best friend and I went to Victoria. This seems to be a bit of a tradition for 18 year old Vancouverites whose friends go to the University of Victoria, because on the 5 hour journey there we bumped into tons of friends of ours who had the same idea.
By the time all my friends who are going to far away universities get back to Vancouver for their winter breaks, I’ll already be in Europe, so I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to see some of my favourite people before I disappear to the other side of the world for four months.
We were only there for a weekend, and it’s not like it was super far from home, but here are some of the photos I’d like to share of my nice lil crisp Autumn getaway:
On the first of August last year, my boyfriend and I had our auras photographed by Christina Lonsdale of Radiant Human. She’s Portland-based but her studio is made to travel and function all over the world. I’ve been following her work via her Instagram for around 3 years now and was super excited to have my portrait taken by her last year when she stopped by Vancouver, and then doubly excited when I saw she was making a return this week.
A photo posted by sarah sloan macleod (@s_sloan) on
It’s a nice combination of science and mysticism. Scientifically: your hands are placed on sensors that read your electromagnetic energy, and that information is translated into colour values then overlaid onto a picture of you to create really dreamy, ethereal portraits. Mystically: the colours that appear are interpreted by Christina as reflecting certain parts of your personality. Colours that appear in the top show your thoughts (and what you put into the world), the left shows your self, and the right shows your persona.
A year ago, my aura was almost entirely red and purple, a colour combo Christina deemed “the creative hustler.” At the time, I was much more introverted and that shows in my portrait– my aura doesn’t extend even to the edge of the frame, because I mostly kept my energy to myself. The picture was taken before my senior year of high school began and before I started working in a restaurant and was forced to talk to strangers daily. Now I’ve been out of high school and working full-time for four months. I was so excited to see how my aura might’ve shifted as I have shifted.
I was not disappointed! Look at what I got yesterday!! So much more than just purple and red, and the colours reach the edge of the image because I’m not an awkward introverted little baby anymore. The green and orange make total sense to me since joining the workforce and discovering that– much to my surprise– I have workaholic tendencies. Not only did I think the interpretation was pretty spot on, but Christina actually remembered my boyfriend and I from when we went last year, which really made my day.
I would love to make this an annual occurrence and see how my energy changes over time・ﾟ *✧・ﾟ・*
My boyfriend and I went on an end-of-summer (or start-of-fall) trip to Portland from August 30th to September 6th! After two weeks of editing, my travel diary/vlog/montage/whatever you want to call it is finally finished. Here it is, along with some of my favourite photos from the trip.
Update 09/27/16: Had to re-edit and re-upload the video because copyright issues meant you could only watch the whole thing in Canada… Should be working worldwide now ♥
Here’s a roundup of all the things that are shaping me as a person and as an artist this month.
…Could there be a more pretentious way to open a moodboard blog post? Probably not. You’re welcome.
I’m always feeling yellow and orange come fall. When I left Vancouver and went away to Portland for the first week of September, it was summer. By the time I came back, it was suddenly fall. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just Vancouver, with its culture of knocking down and rebuilding anything that’s over 30 years old (à la Hollywood-reboot of film that doesn’t need a reboot) but when I leave it I never feel like my city has been still and waiting for me to return.
I’ve been watching a couple shows– I finished Stranger Things (like everyone else with a Netflix account) and absolutely loved it, almost as much as Eleven loves Eggos. I also started watching Degrassi: Next Class out of curiosity and a need to fill the hole in my heart that is present when I don’t have a Shitty Teen Drama TV Show to watch. I assumed it would be cheesy trash, which it kind of is, but I also wound up binging all of it because it’s HIGHLY ENJOYABLE. Even though the acting/writing can be weak, it’s really progressive, has a diverse cast, and I watched all of 90210 and Gossip Girl, bad teen dramas are my guiltiest of pleasures.
Promises Ltd. (the musical collaboration between producer Chrome Sparks and singer Charlie Brand) has been playing on my phone pretty much nonstop since a friend of mine sent me Days of Lavender. Their entire EP is made up of gorgeous, dreamy songs with a vague hint of sadness, but I think the standout for me is Crystal Showers. It’s the kind of music that just makes you FEEL things. It sends me into some kind of sad love scene from a movie that doesn’t exist.
In late November I’ll be going on a four month long travelling stint across Europe, like a typical post-high school North American looking to fill up time during their gap year. It’s been weird being in SEPTEMBER, the time between The Summer After Graduation and The Winter of Travelling. The time Between. It’s like my life is on hold and not actually currently happening. It’s like life is both going in slow motion (I can’t wait to go do new things) and moving far too quickly (oh god I’m leaving everything I love for four months SO SOON). It’s like everything I do now is just… in anticipation.
My sister joins me in December and I won’t be back home in Vancouver until the end of March. My thoughts about it waver between genuine excitement, extreme nervousness, and a calm kind of curiosity. Whenever someone asks me why I’m going, I just think, “why not?” I’m not really seeking to FiNd MySeLf, I just want to have a good time, experience new things and be young, present, and alive. There also isn’t much keeping me in Vancouver right now– I’m not in school, I work a job that (although I love it) isn’t exactly a career, I’m experiencing the normal shift in friendships one experiences after high school ends (where the friendships that are only maintained out of convenience stop being convenient, and therefore stop existing). Parting from my boyfriend is going to suck, big-time, but I have no other solid reason to remain here, stagnating.
My first destination is Manchester, UK, to stay with one of my favourite, favourite people, Cosette. We’ve been talking about me coming to visit her for over a year now and I can’t believe the day is coming so soon?
Then my trip comes to a close with a stop in Montréal before heading home. More of my good friends are in school there, at prestigious universities, making me briefly question the non-collegiate path I’ve chosen for the time being. It’s weird watching someone post videos of boozy frat parties publicly on their Snapchat stories, and then privately send you snaps of them stress crying from their workload. I was getting some First Year University Dorm Life FOMO for about a week, but now I’m pretty content that I’ve given myself a break before pursuing further education. I’m excited to end my long-haul trip there. After months of pretty much only seeing and doing new things, I think it’ll be nice to DO new things in a place I’ve SEEN before, with people I’ve been friends with for years.
Some unrelated inspo:
Tavi Gevinson’s Infinity Diaries for Rookie Mag are the kind of pieces you read and then spend the whole day thinking about afterwards– just intensely real and beautiful snapshots of her life as an 18-year-old living and growing in New York City. I also read it and was just, like, “FUCK.” She’s a successful editor-in-chief, writer, actress and feminist. #goals?? And she’s only 20 and has her whole life ahead of her to keep doing cool shit! I hate idolizing people because they’re literally just people, but she is a cool people and has been someone I’ve admired and respected for… 6 or 7 years now? I hadn’t even looked at Rookie Mag for a year or so and then this piece reminded me how great it is.
I love love love Every Frame a Painting, a YouTube channel dedicated to film analysis. I got into filmmaking kind of by accident– I loved to act and write, and I made my own YouTube channel in 2009, back in the days when sketch comedy reigned supreme on the site and I thought my dumb 12-year-old self would do that and hit it big. Obviously my filmmaking ability has changed, y’know, just slightly since then, but I still do approach it from a background of writing and acting, and the actual film form and theory is the part I arguably understand the least. Take this video, for example. It (combined with my background in live theatre) influenced my decision to shoot conversations between characters in one long, unbroken shot that frames both actors in my most recent short film.
Basically, Every Frame a Painting is gold and helps me understand film form better even though critical analysis of films was always my least favourite part of my Film Studies class. I’ve been documenting all the films I watch over on Letterboxd— they’re not exactly hard-hitting reviews, but I like being able to look back at everything I’ve watched recently.
I extremely thoroughly enjoyed this Refinery29 Shoot that embraces frizzy hair. My curl type is naturally frizzy af and I’ve pretty much just incorporated the frizz into my aesthetic cause trying to tame it is too much effort. I’m glad to see Refinery29 doing the same thing!
And, finally, I extremely, strongly, really thoroughly enjoyed this video that I’d like to end this post with. I think the best part of this video is when Johnny unabashedly profits off of women’s unpaid labour w/ that fashion show hahahhah. This is the kind of stuff I think of when people say they were born in the wrong generation. Like, I’m so glad I’m alive in 2016 and not 1940. I humbly present: How to be a Classy Girl.
So I saw this Buzzfeed post full of cheerful phone lock screens earlier and thought they were all very pretty but not very me. I’m not hating on the positive self talk, but I just think nihilism is a whole lot funnier. So I made a bunch of cynical, pessimistic lock screens for cynical, pessimistic people. They’re cropped for the iPhone 5 because that’s what I own, but they should work for most phones. Also, I’m not a graphic designer, so these are extremely amateur, don’t hate me plz. The backgrounds are by various artists whose work will be linked in each lock screen’s caption!
And finally, here’s one of these screens in action: