When I’ve had a crappy day or my head is filled with made-up scenarios and situations I’ve made ten times worse by overthinking, only a trip to New York can soothe me.
Sadly I’ve neither the money nor the physical ability to hop on a transatlantic flight right now. So the next best thing is Sex And The City. I know, I know. It sounds utterly ridiculous but losing myself in the drama of four, wealthy, successful women, living it up on the streets and Park Avenue apartments of New York, is good for my mental health.
We’ve all don’t shitty things in our lives. Lied, cheated, been selfish, whatever. But somehow, watching fabulously-dressed, no f&ks-given, women make these same mistakes, is pretty spell-binding.
Carrie is awful to Big, he can’t commit. Carrie treated Aiden even worse. He needed security. Trey can’t get it up, Charlotte just wants to be loved. Harry loves Charlotte, just like she wanted, only initially she’s ashamed of him/his appearance. Miranda wants her independence, Steve just wants to adore her, and Samantha? Samantha just has it all.
Since SATC hit UK screens back in ’99, the overriding question was always, “which one are you?” Same went for The Spice Girls. The stigma being if you were a Samantha, you were a bit of a slag. Fast forward 20 years and I’m fully admitting that I’m a little bit of all of the SATC characters – guys included. Just not Berger. Don’t be like Berger.
When everything around me feels like it spiraling out of control, the ultimate chill is a full back catalogue binge. Followed closely by Gossip Girl – although I can’t see Dan as innocent after becoming hooked Netflix series ‘You’. If you know, you know.
I have deadlines looming early next week so I can’t currently afford to lose two days to New York and high fashion. I’m going straight in with the first movie. Expect tears, but an altogether much happier me in around 2 hours time.
On NYE 2018 I made a resolution to spend at least 30 days of the brand, spanking new year out of the country. It’s March 2020 and I still haven’t achieved it, however, if I could jet off right now…
I travelled 12,000 miles around the world when I was 8 weeks old. My mum flew us from Australia to Liverpool to meet the family. My Aussie passport stamped, I arrived in the city for the first time in 1983. Since then I’ve been back to my native Sydney, walked the streets of NYC, tanned on the beaches of Turkey, Greece, Spain, Germany, watched shooting stars streak across the Nevada desert, sipped cocktails in Hong Kong, explored wartime history in France, chased dreams in New York, done the Disney thing twice over and made London, the northeast of England and Cumbria my temporary homes.
It’s not bad going for someone who started a family at 22. Travelling with kids makes things slightly more complicated, but not impossible. In her first 18 months of life, my eldest daughter boarded no less than 17 Ryanair flights (I know, tantamount to child abuse) as we nipped over to France to see my folks.
She was the token 1 year old getting me all kinds of disapproving looks on a long haul flight to Las Vegas. Only to sleep for 8 hours and behave like a freaking angel for the rest of the flight! The little one clocked up some miles in Manhattan at just 2, saw the Statue of Liberty and a love of Ghostbusters was born early on. She’s hung out on the Four Seasons fairways in Portugal, she’s paddled in the warm water at Padstow. In short, we’ve had some amazing adventures.
Travel took a back seat when the other two little legends came along. I’ve never been a jet setter but we did okay. Now I trawl through Instagram accounts of families who have sold everything to go travelling around the world together with their young kids, educating them on everything from religion to languages, science, and nature, a truly 4d experience. The only reason I’ve regretted not buying a house is that I can’t sell it and bugger off to globe-trot. Sake!
That old adage – If I won the lottery, or came into some money, the very first thing I would do is pack us up and get on a flight. Right now it’s near impossible to go to the corner shop without being questioned by the police.
But, there’s a big old world out there, waiting to come to life from the travel magazine pages and websites. This is my ‘stage one’ itinerary.
Around the world with Katie James, if you will.
Leave the tourists in Marakesh and head north to Casablanca for incredible Moorish and European art deco architecture. 20 degrees in Spring, a fresh Atlantic breeze and phenomenal photo opportunities. I’m going straight in for a culture shock on my first stop and I think the romance of Casablanca is a great start.
I loved Indiana Jones growing up and a visit to the lost city of Petra, Jordan could be the highlight of my worldwide trip. The ancient Al Khazneh temple, which was carved out of sandstone is at the top of my list at this 2000-year-old ancient city. Worn in Nikes, Canon, spare batteries and lensed sunglasses is all I need to roam free and step back in time here.
I’m 37 and I’ve never been to Italy! How has this happened? I’m going to visit Rome in the Autumn time to see the starling murmurations – which are annoying as hell to locals, but a sight to behold for those interested in more than just the ancient tourist attractions. COViD-19 foiled my plan to visit a couple of weeks ago, but there’s an Air BNB roof terrace and an Aperol with my name on out there, somewhere.
The floating city! Since that epic sinking sequence in Bond film, Casino Royale, Venice has held a special place in my heart. People have told me the water is stinking, the streets are always crowded and it’s like 8 euro for a coffee. Yeah but, the city floats! Planning a trip to arrive around the time of the Venice Film Festive would be pretty epic too.
I bloody love Disney’s Hercules. I loved learning about ancient Greece at school and there’s something about ancient civilisations and mythology that has to be felt. The textbooks just never did it justice. You can’t be a massive Nike fan and not want to visit Athens. Guaranteed to be humming the Hercules soundtrack the whole time.
Bit of a random one. I’m a big sports fan. I always loved watching international cricket as it happens. The Ashes of 2005 was the one, got me through my first pregnancy. I adored Nasser Hussain (don’t ask, it was the way he wore the cap I think.) Anyway, he’s from Chennai in India and having read his autobiography, I just always wanted to go!
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Oh Colombo, a port city, much like my own (adopted) home of Liverpool. The Sri Lankan capital has experienced many international influences from dutch, to Portuguese, British and of course, independence. A trip out of the metropolis to The Last Kindom in Kandy is a must too.
Me and my eldest kid are huge comic con and cosplay fans and so a stop in Japan was vital. Tokyo might seem the obvious choice and how I loved Lost In Translation. But Osaka is the one for me. The cherry blossom trees at Osaka Castle, and the contrast of the bustling Dotonbori, the food and the retro gaming – the perfect way to absorb the culture.
I had the pleasure of working with the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race as it set sail from Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock. The race involves a stop in Sanya, China, a place that I’d never heard of before but once you’ve caught a glimpse of its stunning beaches (Sanya Bay, wow) and incredible cultural monuments, you have to go!
Palmerston Island, Cook Islands
I read the amazing history of Palmerston Island in The Sunday Times magazine, probably about 5 years ago. Everyone who lives on this tiny atoll can trace their image back to a man from Leicester. Yep, Leicester. William Masters arrived on this coral reef enclosed island in1863 with two wives and the rest they say is history.
Tahiti, French Polynesia
Okay, this pit stop is pure because of an Eddie Murphy line in a 90’s cop film. Nope, not Beverley Hills Cop, but Metro. ‘Naked in Tahiti’ in a rubbish English accent – along with the black sand beaches, lagoons and love of artist, Gaugin, I could take a week off to get naked in Tahiti. The island is also in the shape of figure 8, which is kind of special to me.
Continuing my love of ancient ruins. 15th-century citadel, Machu Picchu is most definitely on the travel list for me. Nearby Cusco is the gateway to The Scared Valley. From a bustling tourist center to the tiny Andean villages, experiencing ‘The Road to Eldorado’ style Inca trail is something I’d love to do with my kids.
Miami! Will Smith made it sound so amazing! The art deco hotel fronts, skating along South Pointe Pier, a lazy day on Lauderdale beach. Lunch at Boia De, cocktails at The Broken Shaker and back to the airport. Stay just long enough to capture some incredible photos and we’re off again.
New Orleans, USA
My sister and I are life-long Scooby Doo fans and there’s no finer episodes than the ones set in spooky New Orleans. Cut to 2020 and the recent season 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina channeled the Mardi Gras style so perfectly, that it reignited a flame to want to visit. Plus, The Princess and The Frog has us all wanting to check out the Louisiana Bayou tour!
Niagara Falls, Canada
You don’t want to know how much time I have sat and watched the Niagara Falls live stream from on top of the Sheraton Falls hotel. Seriously, I have a problem. I’ve wanted to board the Maiden of the Mist since I was about 9. Fascinated by the stories of people attempting to go over the magnificent falls in barrels etc has had me captivated for too long.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sticking with Canada, hiking doesn’t get much better of fulfilling around Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Highlands is the place to be for a wild adventure, then it’s back into the 4km long boardwalk of the Halifax waterfront to feast on amazing seafood. I interviewed a lady who was sailing on the QM2, which en route to New York, was stopping in Halifax. She raved about it and now I want to see if for myself.
It has to be said, sailing back into Liverpool has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences, even as an adopted Scouser. The Royal Liver Building standing tall and proud on the waterfront, those iconic Liver Birds keeping watch. Sometimes the best thing about travelling, is coming home.
This weekend I celebrated ten years in my job. Starting out at 22 I didn’t think I was ready for a full time career…..no prior training, demanding clients and round the clock shifts. However the rewards are endless if you’re willing to take payment in dry pasta pictures and heart-swelling pride.
My not so little girl is ten. I’ve been reminiscing this weekend saying things like: “Oh this time ten years ago I was at the Women’s Hospital being induced” I’m not sure anyone looks back fondly on childbirth…do they? But after ten years my memory has done a good job of glossing over the 24 our induced labour and walking like John Wayne for a week or so afterwards. I felt as if I’d been hit by a bus that morning when I realised the pregnancy was finally over and the real work had begun.
My girl spent her birthday jumping round at Velocity Trampoline Park with her friends. I spent her birthday wondering how I got so lucky to have her as a daughter. We’ve been through the mill a bit over the years, house moves and changes in our family circumstances and she’s just taken it all in her stride. I couldn’t have picked a better partner in crime.
She’s full of mischief, with her big curly hair and freckle-smattered cheeks. Her favourite prank at the moment is pulling my pjay bottoms down while I’m doing the dishes or hiding in the shower when I tell her there’s homework to do. (Three times she’s got me with that one) I get my own back by putting embarrassing messages in her packed lunch box every Monday and cutting her fringe wonky.
We’ve shared some awesome times. Our faces lighting up when the Statue of Liberty came into sight from the Staten Island ferry in New York. Watching the fountains at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Summers spent picking/eating strawberries in rural France in 40 degree heat. We’ve broken a Guinness World Record, completed the Santa Dash 5k (dressed as a Christmas pudding) and chatted live on Radio City FM.
So many brilliant memories that make being her mum the best job in the world.