Desculpe, sou Inglês - Sorry I'm English

It's been little over a week since moving over to Rio.

The phrase I've used most?  "Desculpe, sou inglês". And it's soo frustrating. I am desperate to speak the language. People here are uber friendly but it's rare for Brazilians to speak English. So there's a massive barrier between me and whoever decides to initiate conversation. Waaa

Whilst my Portuguese is abominable, I have (surprisingly) managed to sort of few things out.

Room? Check.

Teaching work? Check.

A language swap? Check.

Fall completely in love with the city and already consider options to gain a permanent visa? Check.

Including considering marrying a local? Check.

Passport swap anyone?

OK so, the room. I think I've managed to find the 💎 amongst the rubble. And believe me there's a lot of rubble when searching for a room in Rio. Prices for gringos can easily be seen as akin to daylight robbery. A lot of people quoted me London prices for box rooms that smelt like old toasties. Thankfully, by chance I heard of a friend of a friends girlfriend (try saying that three times fast) that was moving out of a room in Arpoador. A beachfront location nestled between the neighbourhoods of Ipanema and Copacabana. I immediately fell in love with colonial style building (there's a front door fit for a princess), the apartment and the idea of living with the 5 Brazilian girls currently staying there. I moved in last night and aside from a few homely touches (I can hear my friends shouting me to me across the Atlantic ocean 'YOU NEED PLANTS AND ART GIRL, PLANTS AND ART') it already feels so comfortable being here.

Teaching work... is getting there. After an interview, I was given a role teaching English at a NGO school in a favella community for two days a week. It's full on but incredibly rewarding. Being able to give less privillidged kids the chance to have a fairer start in life is something very special. The kids are balls of energy that bound into the classroom. Not to mention, I'm learning so much from the experience too. Whilst it's not paid, I'm being given so much life experience and happiness that I feel a lot richer than I would from a physical wage. That said, I'm going to have to pay my rent somehow if I want to keep the princess front door! So I will have to find private students...

Language-wise my prayers were answered a few days ago, when I was introduced to someone looking to do a language swap. I'm going to teach them English in a coffee shop once a week and in return they will teach me Brazilian Portuguese. The good thing is that they're an advertising student, so I can pass on any marketing jargon on from my degree. Plus, I'm also planning on paying for Portuguese lessons once a week. Again, by chance when I rushed into the lift this morning I got talking to an old lady with an incredible sense of style. It turns out she's my neighbour and she spends some time teaching Portuguese to gringos. Very lucky and super convenient. Yippee.

So, that's week one. A home, a little work and some lessons sorted.

Holly x


The longing to experience something alien is a feeling I know all too well. For years, I've craved the unknown. To immerse myself in a totally different culture, language, climate...everything. An experiment to see if I can cut it, set myself up and be happy in a place so far distanced from home - both metaphorically and physically, if you will. 

I remember being 10 or 11 and concocting my own fashion line designs - sure that I was destined for a future travelling the world with my couture collection - Milan, Paris, Tokyo. (Note that my dreams as an 11 year old also included becoming an international criminal thwarting spy as a very close second!?)

Still, as the years have gone on, this longing has grown with me. Although arguably now a little more rationalised. And I'm not the only one. The number of millennials who aniticpate to live, travel and complete international assignments abroad are growing. With 59% of millennials in the US alone willing to move abroad for work, its clear that expat opportunities are something to be taken seriously (Business Insider).

Although baffing to our parents generation (the idea that I've quit an arguably decent job in a large corporate company has only alluded to my dad that I have lost the plot). Leaving a dream job, flat, friends in London to teach English abroad in Brazil has definitely been the right decision and one long in the making. 

So, with that in mind, as of tomorrow morning I will be packing up he remainders of my stuff and embarking on the 14 hour journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Rio De Janeiro. I've got no job waiting for me, no flat and little to no ability of speaking the language... It's going to be an ineresting first few weeks to say the least. Thankfully, one of the things I do have waiting for me at arrivals, is one of my closet friends and ex-housemate, Nikola, who made the move to Rio back in January. 

I am so excited to share everything that goes on over the next few months - the good, bad and the ugly. There's no set plan in place, and no date promised for me to return on.

Lets see what happens.

Holly x 


Put your hands up if you've managed to make it from Monday to Thursday with only £5 in your bank. **Waves hand frantically and awaits praise and gold medal**

You guessed it. This week I have been BROKE. So broke that I have curbed my weekday cocktail habit and have stayed in (almost) every night. Hence, I'm spending my ironically named 'thirsty' Thursday in bed with a good old glass of H20. 

The glass, by chance, is washing down my budget meal. The latest installment in a series of vegan one-pot wonders that I have been eating as a staple post-work.

You may have noticed that it is chickpea based with a side of, yup, hummus. A little excessive on the bean front, but it works - believe me. The dish isn't too heavy and can work with pretty much any vegetable, provided you nail the base. I managed to squeeze 4 veggies in there (spinach, tomatoes, runner beans and broccoli) but you can add/take as you wish.

Here goes:


What you need:
- 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
- 3 frozen spinach blocks
- 1 Handful of Chopped Runner Beans
- 6 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 head of broccoli cut into florets
- 1-2 big dollops of tomato puree

- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1/4 tub hummus
- Coriander to season
- Paprika to season
- Salt to season

What you do: 
1) Take a large pan and heat up some oil. Then throw the drained tin of chickpeas in.

2) Add the vegetable stock cube (I was able to crumble mine over the pan)

3) Add the quartered cherry tomatoes. You can add water and carry this on as and when if the content begins to burn.

4) Add a dollop or two of tomato puree. Mix. It should have the texture of a liquidy sauce now.

5) Add broccoli and frozen spinach. You can also add the chopped runner beans.

6) Season with garlic, salt, paprika. I always use pre-chopped garlic, it's LIFE CHANGING.  

7)  Let the contents of the pan simmer on a low heat, stirring occasionally (I used this time to wash up).

8) After around 15 minutes or so, when the sauce has cooked down and you're left with a moist contents, you can take the pot off the heat. 

9) Grab a bowl and fill it up depending on how hungry you are. I had quite a small portion as I had a big lunch. For the final steps, dollop some hummus on the side and tear coriander over the top.

10) Enjoy! It tastes SO good. 

Holly x 


There's something about eating freshly cooked food in open air that makes me feel really really good. 

Since moving back to London, I've fallen into the habit of using Sunday afternoons as a time to claim my apartment building's roof as my own. Over summer, I've spent hours crowded onto the roof's picnic bench with friends, friends of friends and my new flatmate. 

Whilst I'm notorious for inviting everyone over for a BBQ and leaving BBQ duties to an unexpecting visitor (sorry, Joe), today I whipped up a super easy rice dish. Something that tasted so good (if I do say so myself) that it is carrying us through to Monday's dinner time, too. 

Rooftop Rice has the texture of paella and is a little bit of a one-pot wonder. It's the sort of thing that you can curl up on the sofa with a bowl of or share with fellow hungover friends, in need of something to help them eat their way out of the reminders of Saturday's antics. 


What you need:

- Enough rice for each person (I never measure rice and totally freestyle. Half a mug pp perhaps?)
- 1 vegetable stock cube
-  2 peppers (red and yellow)
- 1 tin of sweet corn
- 1 1/2 tins of kidney beans
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes 
- 2 tea spoons of crushed garlic
- 1 red onion
- Portion of coriander 
- 1 handful of cashew nuts (optional)
- Pinches of salt, chilli powder, mixed herbs (to taste)

What you do:

1) Using a wok, cook the rice in boiling water and the vegetable stock. 

2) When cooked through, add the chopped onion, garlic and some of the tinned tomatoes. This will keep the dish 'liquidy' (technical term) and stop the rice from burning the bottom of the pan. You can add the seasoning now too, and top it up to your taste as the dish cooks. 

3) Keep the dish simmering on a low heat and continue adding the tomatoes/more water to ensure the dish doesn't burn. Be careful not to add too much though, as we won't be draining the water off.

4) Add the tin of kidney beans, chopped peppers and sweet corn.

5) Cover the dish and let simmer for 20 mins. Ensure that you check the dish at 5 minute intervals throughout and give it a stir. 

6) Whilst this simmers, you could make a yogurt to accompany it. I just mixed some chopped coriander with garlic salt, mixed herbs and natural yogurt (preferably soy or coconut)

7) As a final touch, you can add a handful of cashews to the pot. The texture goes with it really well and is extra protein apparently (my flat mate told me this?!). Tear the coriander over the top and you're good! 

8) Plate it up, bowl it up or if you're feeling especially fancy, take the wok outside and let everything pile up the dish into their own bowls. 

Super easy and vegan (yipeee). Enjoy  ♡

Holly x