Baby, You Rock My World

My Gods have voices of velvet and sometimes play guitar. Oh soul music. I don’t know how I’d live without you.

There’s something so breathtaking about listening to someone croon and you can tell it’s coming from the depths of their heart; chills me to the bone.

To think two years ago I didn’t really listen to music. I certainly wasn’t very passionate about it. I was interested, but now I feel like it’s the air I breathe. I get edgy if I don’t have my headphone time every day. I need to be alone with my muses.

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Gotye – Heart’s A Mess

When going through some really tough things I found music and talking were the only ways I could heal. I distinctly remember listening to Gotye’s Heart’s a Mess and feeling like my ribcage was caving in. There’s just so much emotion in that song and where I was at the time allowed me to really, truly feel it.

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INXS – Baby Don’t Cry

Next came INXS and Baby Don’t Cry. I feel like that song gave me the strength I needed to push through. I’ve never been a wallower. I really don’t like the idea of putting on sad music or a romantic film and hurting myself further. I feel things way too deeply as it is. That would kill me! Gotye was my little moment and then I’d pull myself back out of it with Michael Hutchens’ husky tone.

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The Clash – Rock the Casbah

More recently, within the last year, I’ve discovered the absolute gold that is music from the 60s, 70s and early 80s. I’ve always been a lover of the Police, Prince and Bowie but bands like the Cure, the Clash and Earth Wind and Fire have influenced my modern favourites so much. It’s so good to go back to where it all began. That music doesn’t age!

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Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby

My other loves, the ones who hold my nostalgic heart, are the indie bands of the 2000s. I don’t know about everyone else but as I kiddy I was heavily influenced by my Mumma’s taste. I remember hearing Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand and thinking, I think I like this. I asked mum is she did to which I got a distinct ‘no’ and so I didn’t really pursue them. It was a only short period in time where I’d lost my incredibly strong will!

Now, at 24, I go back and listen to KC greatest hits on the regular and realise the little indie kid has always been in there. Ruby has to be one of the greatest songs of all time. I’m calling it. Though I must admit, we do share a family love for Stereophonics.

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Stereophonics – Dakota

It would be a crime if I didn’t mention my birthright here too of course. I think my close friends all know my family and I are Mods. Those unfamiliar with the term need only google the likes of ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘Paul Weller’. We’re all about the smart shirts, shift dresses, monochrome, Jam shoes and of course, scooters. I myself love a good beehive. The music is otherworldly and a fantastic mix of soul, ska, r’n’b and new wave. No greater band show the pure genius of the movement like Modsquad; our wickedly talented WA based legends. Without a doubt my favourite nights out are spent grooving to these cats with Mumma and Papi.

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The Jam – Going Underground

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Madness – One Step Beyond

With a swell in my chest, I mention my current obsession. I love funk. I can’t wait to get my abs back and don some bell bottoms and dance like there’s no tomorrow in Melbourne with my two favourite bands, Vaudeville Smash and Sex on Toast. They have taken the greatest music decades, in my humble opinion, and brought it in to modern day in such a refreshing way. I honestly have their discographies on repeat. It’s timeless shit. I’m going to stop fan-girling now.

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Vaudeville Smash – Richter Scale

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Sex on Toast – Oh Loretta!

I haven’t even gotten in to my Rockabilly side. I’m a girl of wide variety that’s for sure! Cash and Elvis know they have my loving, victory rolls and pinup dresses to-boot. But I think it’s safe to say from this post, there’s no one particular era that I identify with. I feel incredibly lucky to live now, so that I can enjoy every era at once.

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Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line

Of course, special mention goes to the love of my life, Alex Turner. He is my own personal mod father. I love him more than white bread. His genius is on par with the greats and I feel honoured to have grown up witnessing his own artistic growth. Arctic Monkeys and the Last Shadow Puppets are in my mind the greatest bands of all time. BIG CALL. The lyrics are beyond anything I could even begin to attempt. The eloquence with which Alex writes is unparalleled. His voice is silk, he’s a Yorkshire lad and honestly, he’s just lush.

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The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next To Me

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Arctic Monkeys – One For the Road

That about sums up my little journey through music lane. I’m so passionate about it and thank you to anyone who took the time to read. Maybe a few of you agree with me.

If you’re looking for some new tunes, please check out my picks. I don’t take love lightly.

Take care and Alex Turner bless.

Harleigh Q

Xo

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Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

Howdy y’all

We did it! We survived! We decided against driving off a cliff because we just have too much to live for (like running up the Rocky steps) so here we are, and here’s some stories…

Day One – LA to Lake Havasu

Oh my God. We got a Stang.

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This is Sherry (chosen as Jess’s doggie is named Cherry, which was our first choice).

She’s a purring Angel of machinery and I only feel like a slight traitor as I was converted to Holden a while back… But bugger it I drive a Ford at home anyway. She’s been with us through sing alongs, heated debates, deep discussions and heavy gossip. She’s part of the family and giving her back is going to be heart breaking… Alas! This was day one. The adventure begins.

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I picked London Bridge Resort because of my own sentimental attachment to the actual one and only, and also because it looked cool af and had a great spot on the Californian border.

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I cannot recommend this place enough. It had the coolest vibes, heated pools, a day spa, a candle shop (far more exciting than it sounds) and stunning views of the lake. I have no idea how we managed it but we got upgraded to a bridge view from our cheap little lead in. We still had to spoon but we are used to it by now. If you’re going to do Route 66, this stop is a must!

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Day Two – Lake Havasu to Flagstaff

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Talk about a contrast in scenery, we went from desert plains to forest and mountains in a few hours. The weather changed with it too and the jumpers came out. It certainly drops off at night here.

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Along the way we visited Seligman which we had dropped by with Contiki the week before. It was photo op time! It’s a brilliant little town for the classic 66 feel and right off the highway. Chuck it on your list please.

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Flagstaff itself is a gorgeous Uni town that felt like a movie set. It was completely idyllic and the view of the snowy mountains in the distance was just the cherry on the cake. Had to have a cheeky Starbucks surrounded by students and spend a small fortune in target to really feel at home.

Day Three – Flagstaff to Albuquerque

Second five hour journey in three days… We are Perth girls, we can handle this. Right?

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We passed the border in to our first new state, New Mexico! We passed a whole load of casinos and reservations on the way in as we crossed the Navajo desert. Yay desert! I was starting to miss her. It was getting too green for my liking.

Alb herself wasn’t too much to shout about but we had limited time to check it out. It’s a big place so I’m sure we left many stones unturned, but it was Santa Fe that really drew me to NM.

Day Four – Albuquerque to Dallas

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Because we are wild things we decided the most efficient course of action was to drive ten hours, via Santa Fe, all the way down to Dallas. We were tossing up between a night in Amarillo to break it up or doing two mega days and checking out Oklahoma City too. At this point we were so excited to not set an alarm in the morning that we figured a direct trip to D town was our best go.

I booked us a downtown hotel and got this lovely message upon confirmation:

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Oh Texas.

My favourite stop on Route 66 was brief and breathtaking. An hour north of Albuquerque is the beautiful town of Santa Fe. It’s filled with markets and old buildings. The parking situation is a nightmare but how I wish we had stayed there!

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At 12pm we hit the road again and didn’t actually get to Dallas until 2am… Efficiency is not our strong point. Those who followed us on Snapchat know it was an eventful journey.

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The next day we did what we do best, wandered aimlessly and shopped. Jessie found her version of heaven. I think the entire day was her perfect day.

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A strange homeless man decided to follow us ‘for six blocks’ in order to ask us if we were hippies. Interesting. I also did that thing I do where I injured myself for no particular reason and had to disinfect my entire body just in case. Ah downtown.

We topped off the day with a visit to Denim and Diamonds on steroids, Cowboy Red River. We made some lovely local friends and I finally learned to two step!

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I was also gifted a tequila shot, which here in America means spirit glass full of tequila. I’m not complaining. We tried Whataburger on our way back to our hotel, and 5am drunk Leigh thought it was the best burger of all time. I think I’m going to have to try it again sober, as I did make the rather bold statement that it was better than In n Out.

The next day Jessie did her thing and checked out South Fork Ranch while I prepared myself (slept all day) for a visit to Gass Monkey Bar n Grill! Papi and I love this show so I was super excited to see it and maybe run in to a familiar face.

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Sadly no sign of Richard but after dinner we did find what turned out to be my version of heaven, the coolest dive bar since Sonny’s.

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Austin

Oh man. What can I say about Austin? It was wild.

We stayed in one of my favourite of places so far, the Firehouse Hostel which was downtown. It was a converted firehouse from the 1800s, hence the name, and apparently we are super likeable at 4pm because we got upgraded to the top level room. No neighbours, just us on our own floor living it large. It was glorious.

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There were three beds in there and we still opted to share. I think because neither of us wanted to give up the proper bed, not because we like each other or anything.

So apparently in Austin, Sixth Street is a thing. It’s the equivalent or Northbridge/the Valley and we were right around the corner. Awesome!

There were more bars that you could poke a stick at with every kind of theme you could think of. We started at a country bar and moved to a dive. We’ve got the compromising thing down! Then we ended up at a place I can only describe as a poor man’s Coyote Ugly. Lots of bar dancing, lots of seedy people. Jess loved it of course. As soon as we end up somewhere that plays RnB I tend to tap out but I did my best to keep up with my loon of a best mate.

That night we made friends with a homeless man who told us a whole bunch of filthy jokes. We had some jock hit us up for naughty things (managed to restrain myself from knocking his block off) and the rest was a blur of free tequila!

My favourite spot in Austin had to be the gorgeous hidden bar at the bottom of our hostel. It was literally behind a book case. It felt like you were walking in to Bugsy Malone. I was in love!

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So far we had done a lot of drinking and not a lot of sight seeing. This was about to change in…

San Antonio

We had a few people describe SA to us as ‘too busy, too touristy…’ Etc. so I suppose our expectations were a little low.

Those people were wrong!

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It’s absolutely beautiful. The Riverwalk is one of my favourite spots so far on this trip. They have restaurants all along the banks and you can do a little cruise up and down and learn about the history too. The food was excellent and we shared our seats with some hungry ducklings.

There’s a few touristy things you can do like the house of wax and haunted ride if you feel like it, but it certainly wasn’t trashy like Hollywood Bldv.

We did a spot of shopping and just wandered. We stumbled upon the Alamo and did a bit of self educating.

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Its a really beautiful place I highly recommend to anyone heading to Texas. It’s not a state I would say is unmissable… (Jess will kill me for that) but SA is worth the trip.

Houston

Oh my Houston. I absolutely fell in love. We stayed South East of the city, across the road from NASA. Best location by far. I have an awesome travel agent (my travel agent is me. I’m awesome).

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It took a long time to get through the city traffic (a 3.5 hour drive took 6) so we didn’t really see much of Houston itself, but considering the Space Centre is one of my major bucket list items this really didn’t bother me.

It did not disappoint.

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I had my mind blown on multiple occasions that day and part of me wishes I could live there just to get the annual membership.

I’m a big big nerd in case any of you fell for my cool girl act, so getting to watch the incredible presentations and walk through an actual spacecraft, touch a piece of moon rock and learn about the Mars mission had me on a total high. What a universe we live in!

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I even got a spaceglobe. I’ll have to post a photo of my mass collection when I get home.

Thank you Houston for seeing us merrily out of Texas. Thank you Shez for still running beautifully.

Next chapter… New Orleans!

The next post is sure to be a fun one.

Thanks for reading my loves ❤️

Xo

The Wild Wild West

Ciao amici e la famiglia!

I’m going to do my USA posts in four parts, Wild West, Road Trip, South East and Eastern Escapade. We have officially completed part one so while we drive to our first stop along Route 66, I’m going to tell you all about it!

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I feel calling Hollywood ‘interesting’ would be a gross understatement. When I picked to stay there my main motivation was finding somewhere within walking distance of a few attractions, as I knew jet lag would be a killer.

We landed safely and royally buggered after a 24 hour journey with my old faithful, Virgin Australia. We had a lovely videographer sat with us on the way. His name was Daniel and told us tales of the documentaries he’s filmed in Central America, and being held at gunpoint by a farmer. It was an incredible way to pass the time and a very cool introduction to the interesting people we would be encountering in LA.

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Our hostel, USA Hostel Hollywood, was literally around the corner from the boulevard. We arrived too early to check in so crashed out in their lounge. When we woke up groggy in our room at 11pm after a long and full snooze, we realised we may have stuffed up. It took us four days to fix our vampyrism.

In that time we managed a midnight feast at Hard Rock with enough nachos to feed a small village, we worked our way in to party with the DJ in a cool LA club and I smashed a snow globe within seconds of buying it.

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We met a few characters and hitting the Maccers is never a good idea, but it made for some good stories!

We did find an incredible place called Mel’s Diner which had duke boxes on the tables. For a quarter you could turn up your jam. We smashed a bit of Johnny Cash and I had the best milkshake of my life.

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After our nighttime adventures in the ‘wood it was time for Jess’ very first Contiki!

I love group tours with all my heart. This was to be my fifth, and my second Contiki.

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I have met some of my best friends on group tours that I am still super close with to this day. I was really looking forward to connecting with some fellow travellers and covering as much ground as possible while the pros take the lead for a couple of weeks.

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Day one we headed out to Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Oh how I fell in love with Venice. It helped that it was also the location of one of my favourite films, Romeo + Juliet. Vintage shops and markets mixed in with Muscle Beach, Arnie’s old stomping ground. Yes please!

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Next we hit up my absolute favourite spot of the tour, San Diego. It had everything I love the most. Shopping, nightlife, history, water and the best vibes.

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Our fearless leader went above and beyond and arranged a night at the baseball for us. This was without a doubt the biggest highlight for me. We got to see the San Diego Padres smash the Pittsburgh Pirates (sorry Will!) so I’ve picked them as my team. I will stay loyal.

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The next night we visited old town which was filled with gorgeous old buildings and markets. A very Mexican experience!

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I can’t wait to go back one day; for Comicon most likely.

Next we headed through the desert to our chilled out stop at the Golf Resort Arizona. I brought my trusty wagon along.

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We drank by the pool and at night headed out to our very first country bar. The line dancers were fascinating and it was a very cool mix of old and new. It reminded me of a skating rink from the 70s without the rollers.

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A great surprise for me was Sedona. Known for its rocks and crystals I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the breathtaking landscape and native American style really blew me away.

But then came… The Grand Canyon.

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I think it was more impressive than I’d expected. It doesn’t match my eternal fascination with Kings Canyon but I’m only slightly biased.

We got to experience a sunset by the rim, and for those of you who know of my extreme phobia of heights, check out this bad boy!

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Call me Leigh, conquerer of fears.

More bus selfies before…

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Vegas baby!

I fell in love with the place when I was there for Global ball last year. It’s mental. There’s really no where else like it. We had two wild nights out and it’s all a bit of an awesome blur.

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Without a doubt the highlight had to be the surprise marriage of two of our unsuspecting Contiki fam.

Jess and I were tempted to join when we saw Elvis was the celebrant but we wouldn’t be able to afford the inevitable divorce after three weeks in a car together.

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In a bus full of hangovers we made our way to the total tranquility of Bass Lake.

I’m astounded by the sheer contrasts in California’s landscape and this place really did it for me. It was heaven.

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My second favourite night on tour was spend around this bonfire with a bunch of cool people, beers and smores. Will and I nerdfested hard over our mutual love of all things pop culture, I learnt some more Italian from my beautiful Martina and it was overall one of my top nights ever. Sometimes all you need is a deck chair and good company.

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Yosemite has been on my list ever since I learnt how to pronounce it. It’s one of my goals to do an overnight hike with my angel Natalia one day here. The waterfalls were breathtaking. We went bear hunting and even just watching the hikers prepping was an experience in itself. Another one on the must return list.

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We spent that night dressed in our Walmart best singing karaoke to the locals (sadly I couldn’t partake in this. I lost my voice a week in to this trip and it’s still yet to return. I think it’s all the drunken yelling. We all know not speaking is not an option for me).

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Our final destination: San Francisco.

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I really didn’t know what to expect with this one. All I knew about it was what I’d seen in Mrs. Doubtfire and Milk so I wasn’t well prepared for the sheer wonder of the place.

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From the touristy and fun Fisherman’s Wharf, to the beautiful Golden Gate Park; from the iconic Castro to the Painted Ladies… I was honestly moved. I couldn’t live there, but I love what these incredible cities are doing for our planet. Everyone was free to be completely and unapologetically themselves. I had a great time, and I spent it with the best people.

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P.S. We saw a whale under Golden Gate Bridge. What the actual.

We headed back to LA and said our ‘see you later’s and my heart broke a little bit, as always, but true love lasts a lifetime! And our next Contiki actually passes through Will’s home town of Pittsburgh. We’ve got ourselves a tour guide. I am beyond excited to be reunited. One month of self navigation to go first!

Here’s to the start of our next adventure…

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Meet Sherry ❤️

Another update to come from the dirty south in a few weeks time.

Love you all

xo