Not been blogging for a while (sorry readers) but was recently inspired by my friend Kelli’s rather brilliant blog in which she invites us to join her as she travels ‘several flights and seat-classes behind different rock and roll bands, before standing at the side of the stage in everyone’s way’ do check it out it’s hilarious!

I wasn’t always a wag. I used to be on the other side and work as a sound engineer. But Kelli looked like she was having so much fun I thought I would give it a crack, so I went out and found myself a black t-shirt clad boy with a sharpie and a penchant for knob twiddling and here we are!

My first trip as a wag was to the exotic location of Thailand. I was super excited – finally I would get to live the dream!
Then a few days before we left my boy casually mentioned that the gigs he was doing were actually for his ex-girlfriend. There is nothing like having a z-list Bollywood singer, budget Indian shampoo brand ambassador, bendy, better at yoga than me and definitely thinner ex to compare yourself to (note to self, don’t ever google your new boy’s ex girlfriends even under the pretence of ‘research’ for your blog). So I decided I would give watching her prance about on stage at some rich Indian’s 25th wedding anniversary (all the best gigs babe) a miss and swap sitting on a flight case behind a mixing desk for heading straight to the hotel. Except boy told me he was sharing a room with the keyboard player so I couldn’t. Luckily boy isn’t a complete twat and promised to book us a room elsewhere… wait for it Kelli… with a bathtub!

But this is jumping ahead. Let me tell you about the flight, which I took separately and several days later to boy, singer and her hairdresser because, well that would have been awkward and I had to go to work anyway that day.
I cashed in my old Jetairways miles (now Intermiles) and got myself on Thai Lion Air. I didn’t have quite enough miles for a direct flight so I opted for getting up at an ungodly hour and a change at Bangkok.
Except I didn’t get up because I didn’t go to bed. The day before I was a judge at The Indian Consumer Wine Awards (will save the full story for my next blog) and consequently hung around afterwards, picked up some partners in crime and half drunk bottles of wine, went back to mine and it escalated into some kind of weird drunken living room Bollywood party, then a local club and much dancing and some ‘kamikaze’’ shots. By the time I got to the airport I was quite frankly smashed which put a serious spanner in my last minute shopping for a birthday present for boy plans. Still I achieved some kind of gift with the help of a bemused shop assistant and somehow managed to catch my flight.

Sorry to say, on Thai Lion Airways there is no such thing as first class but I did get to sit in seat 1A with all the leg room and the flight was pretty empty, so after forcing down some vegetarian duck whatever the hell that was (not very pleasant I can tell you) I slept across three empty seats. I must have been looking rough because when I got off the flight the air hostess told me ‘get well soon dear.’

Bangkok airport is big and long with large sections that smell of pee and I had to walk really far to find a bar, but find one I did and was very happy to find airport beer doesn’t cost the earth like every other airport ever. Two bottles of Chang (local Thai beer) did a damn good job at staying my hangover, which was just as well as my flight was delayed.

948AFD51-23B2-43B4-AFE4-722BF75D0090 One flight and one much better meal of tom yum shrimps and more unconsciousness which loosely resembled sleep later, I was in Phuket. Where my luggage had been lost.
I found my luggage after yet more epic walking and met a nice man called Toe who sorted me a decently priced taxi which actually turned out to be a minibus. I then had a fairly painless journey to the hotel where I was reunited briefly with boy before he went off to his gig. The good news was no room sharing with keyboard player but sadly no bathtub. Boy did have the foresight to get me cold beer and there was ample small bottles of hotel toiletries (a little fetish of mine and also fellow wag Kelli) and a lovely pool so I was a pretty happy bunny and set about amusing myself while he did his work.

By amusing myself, I basically mean drinking one beer and then passing out from sleep depravation. I woke up with make-up smeared across my face which was rectified by a shower and my transformation back into a normal person was completed by the time boy got back from his gig. That night we hung around by the pool with the band and crew (minus the singer who was drinking chamomile tea alone or something) who were all really lovely and stayed up until 5am – our new default bedtime for the rest of the holiday.
Next morning 8am and zing! My body clock was truly screwed as was wide awake. Boy was snoring and half on the floor so I rolled him back into bed and went for a really good swim and felt all healthy and pleased with myself. Here’s a picture of the view from our balcony:

anenglishwomaninmumbai thailand hotel

Post-swim boy emerged from his slumber and we went for breakfast, ate a mountain of dragon fruit and popped next door to the spa for a massage and a pedicure which was lush. My friend Dave was very kindly picking us up and running a little late so obviously we went to the bar. A beer and some very oily tempura later we were on our way down to Rawai via picking Dave’s extremely cute kids up from school.

Dave and Trix have a lovely villa five mins from the beach where we headed straight away to catch the sunset and have a swim. I braved wearing a bikini (a rare sight) and was happy to find none of the lecherous stares I’m used to receiving on my usual Goa beach haunts. Rawai beaches are really clean, not too crowded and a much more family chilled out vibe than the more northern Phuket beaches like Patong so I’m told. Equally the nightlife in the south consists more of nice little restaurants and bars as compared to the Patong ping pong shows and street hustle as experienced by boy several nights previous (there is a story here involving a live chicken and some razor blades which is far too disturbing to recount).

57fce382-81ad-4693-b02a-c35f9321ac1bThat evening we went for a delicious meal in Dave and Trix’s local restaurant and I managed to procure some cake from the seven 11, ready to see in boy’s birthday at midnight, which we did, complete with candles, terrible singing and some amount of beer. Boy seemed pretty happy with this – winning!

The next day Dave drove us up along a winding road with incredible views to the big Buddha. The Buddha is still being made and you can give a donation in return for a tile which you can write on to become part of the structure. In the absence of being able to think of anything profound to write we wrote our names and my daughter’s name and the date. Here are some pictures of the Buddha and the awesome view:IMG_0904

anenglishwomaninmumbai buddha view rawai

That afternoon we went to see Trix’s studio and gallery in Phuket Art Village. Trix is a fantastic painter and tattoo artist – here is a picture of her with some of her work:

The Art Village is a ramshackle collection of quirky structures built largely out of recycled bits of wood and flip-flops and other random stuff, housing some incredibly talented artists and a soon to open bar. It is tucked out the way but well worth a visit – highly recommend!

A delicious lunch, yet more beer and a massage later (where boy promptly fell asleep snoring, causing much giggling from the Thai masseuse ladies) we went back to the villa to find Trix and Dave had rustled up an amazing BBQ and a small mountain of prawns and fish and ribs and papaya salad (my fave!)
After we had stuffed our faces to the max me and boy went out to go find the reggae bar and Dave fell asleep on a chair.
Time seems to go by extra fast in Thailand so it was super late by the time we had walked to the bar and it was pretty empty and we were pretty drunk so didn’t stay long. Did like the bar (also recommend). Did drink tequila. Did end up on a very empty beach for romantic moonlit walk. Bliss!
Walking was a theme that night and the walk home felt twice as long. We made a doing friend who followed us all the way home and upset Dave and Trix’s cats. When we reached home at 4am we found the kids had got up and were happily eating breakfast like it was the actual morning. Dave woke up from his chair slumber and packed them back off to bed as it was clearly still the middle of the night. Me and boy finally collapsed into bed tired and happy with big beach plans for our last day.

All plans of getting up early went out the window however and we woke up technically in the afternoon (whoops!). We headed straight out to check out one of the smaller beaches, armed with snorkels and random snacks from the seven 11. There are a ridiculous number of seven 11s in Phuket which is just fine by me as I love buying strange things and also beer and both can be found in abundance in these brightly lit, wondrous stores of convenience. I bought a pile of stuff which seemed to be largely seaweed, snail, centipede or squid based.


Anyway, beach was lush and snorkelling was just beautiful – I saw about 20 different varieties of fish – rainbow shimmering massive ones and electric blue tiny ones and striped angel fish and ones that look like sand on the bottom of the ocean until you nearly step on them and they move and freak you out. On the rocks were pink fronds and blue frills and black spikey balls and corals the size of a hula hoop, winding their way up in spirals.
I swam a lot, got sunburnt and sandy and took pictures of boy looking all cool and handsome chilling under a parasol. I wish we could have stayed there for days, just doing nothing, but our flight was the next day so after one more massage (during which boy fell asleep snoring again), we thanked and hugged goodbye our fantastic hosts with the most and took a taxi back north and checked into a hotel near the airport to make the morning less early and painful.
Here are some beach pictures and pictures of our food:


The airport hotel was boutique and amusingly British themed – rather lovely wallpaper and a great picture of Big Ben on the wall but still no bathtub. Actually boy was going to get me a bathtub room, which amassed him a ton of gold stars, but it was expensive and pointless for only a few hours of stay, so I used self-discipline and said ‘don’t worry about it’ because I am not a total princess.

We went out and ate a mountain of food and reached that point where you are so nicely tired and stuffed you can’t even finish your beer and just have to go to bed.
After the best three hours of sleep ever, we said goodbye- see you soon to beautiful Phuket and got on a plane home. Boy took his revenge on the plane for me laughing at him for falling asleep and snoring all over the place, by taking pictures of me looking extremely attractive, asleep with my mouth open while he waved a beer under my nose. I’m not putting a picture of that. I did manage to sleep the entire flight which was great as when we landed I went straight to office and boy went straight to a soundcheck. Work hard, play hard (or something) – bring on the next adventure!




An amazing thing happened to me last week – not off my own merit I have to admit – in truth it was down to pure luck of having a British passport thus being able to travel to Europe at a moment’s notice (well until Brexshit anyway). Also, my boss who should have been going was unwell which is not a lucky thing at all. I felt rather guilty about both of these things so planned to buy lots of Belgian chocolates for all my colleagues and vowed to do my company and my adopted country proud on the trip ahead.

So still a little unable to believe I was really going, I found myself on a (very nice – shout out to the brilliant Brussels airlines!) plane going to Tomorrowland. I was part of a group that included Indians, Canadians, Norwegians, Ugandans, Germans, of course Belgians and maybe a few other nationalities.

We were put up in a stunning converted church hotel in the beautiful town of Mechelan which, is so picture perfect I felt like I was on a film set. The surreal feeling was not helped by the fact that I was playing golf. Yes golf – not a bad way to tour a city. Even stranger, I ended up being ok at playing golf by the time we had reached the final hole at the newly opened town museum. The museum, not unlike the mixture of modern and ancient architecture in the town, had a mixture of modern art, historic artifacts and cool technology engagements. The day wound up rather fittingly in a brewery for dinner, after which I rushed off to get as much sleep and charge in my batteries for the following day. Mechelan – you get a big thumbs up and recommendation to my readers! Belgium is just so bloody nice you have to see it! As are the people – even the airport immigration officer was charming, funny and friendly!

So after eating as much as I could cram in for breakfast we set off for the festival. I won’t gush on too much about how amazing it was and how lovely our host and the new friends I made were – I will let the pictures do the talking. However if I had to describe the experience I think I could sum it up in three words – SO MUCH LOVE!!!

For a commercial event, I heard a huge amount of non-commercial, awesome music. I met people from all over the world carrying the flags of their home countries – not to stand out in the crowd, but to show solidarity that they were there, part of this huge, diverse global family, dancing together. The feeling of peace and unity in the face of all the shit we read in the news everyday really was incredible. It was backed up by the MCs and DJs expounding the same philosophy, the lyrics in some of the tunes being played and in the films and interviews about the festival I have since watched.

There was hardly any litter, no vandalism, no glaring in your face sponsorship plastered everywhere killing the vibe and the art, I didn’t see any trouble (or interestingly, any police in the festival), felt safe as a woman wandering around by herself, highly decorative infrastructure (and not much of a queue for the loos), world class sound, lights and production and just beautiful happy people of all ages (yes! I wasn’t the oldest there!) holding it down and having the best time. I even found some Belgian hardcore and people who know what R&S is. My feet hurt from dancing so much and face from smiling like I used to ‘back in the day’ as we aging ravers say! My head however did not hurt – no hangover and no ringing ears.

A one in a lifetime, great experience and a very, very grateful me.

Now come on India! – Let’s overcome all the challenges we face in the events industry here (I won’t kill the joy of this article by listing them now) and bring Tomorrowland home to India – or create something of our own equal, or if it is even possible, better!



A New Kidney for Filu – Reunited! an update


Regular readers of my blog will know of my campaign to help my friend Filu get a new kidney. If you haven’t heard about it you can read more here:

Towards the end of last year Filu finally found a matching donor after many years of waiting and painful dialysis and had her operation. I went to visit her at the end of last year to see how she is getting on and give her the remainder of the funds raised.

I opted against my original idea of the biggest bunch of flowers ever as she is under strict instructions from the doctor- everything has to be sterile and Filu has to wear a mask and limit her interactions with the outside world for several months to avoid infection while her body heals. Luckily she has her mother (pictured far left) taking care of her along with her beautiful daughter.

The following week after my visit Filu had another small operation and may have several more follow ups post surgery. She is on a huge cocktail of different pills and will have to take medicine for the rest of her life so her body doesn’t reject her kidney. However she was full of positive spirit and determination as always and we were very happy to be reunited (and our daughters also!) She told me how strange and wonderful it feels to experience her new kidney beginning to work and how she thanks God (she is Catholic) for giving her a new chance in life. I am once again in awe of her courage and humility and thankful to all the people who helped her.

I am keeping my campaign running and will continue to help as much as I can to raise funds to pay for her medication, especially in these months where she is unable to work doing her job teaching children. I am also seeking details for any charities and NGOs who may be able to help with the long term costs of her medication. Please take a look at my Fundrazr campaign and if you are unable to donate you can always help by sharing on social media or reblogging. Thanks!


A New Kidney for my Friend in India -HAPPY UPDATE!


It has been 32 weeks since I started my fundraising campaign to help my friend in India get a new kidney. After on operation that could not happen due to a problem with her back and a lot of praying and waiting, yesterday Filu had her operation. It was a very long ten hours but thankfully it was a success and she now has a new kidney!

You can read her story and view details of my campaign in my original post here:

She is still unconscious – her sister messaged me this morning and said she will be in ICU for 3-4 days. I hope to go and visit her next week with my daughter or whenever they allow visitors. Please keep your thoughts and prayers with her and her family for a fast recovery.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who donated and supported this campaign and helped to make this possible. I am still collecting donations towards the post-operation medicine and a great big bunch of flowers which I hope to deliver to her when I visit so please share this update and if you can then any last donations will of course be appreciated!

Please click on the link below to get to the fundrazr campaign where you can still donate and see how much we have raised so far.