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How to make an apartment feel like home

Acrobat Lauren Herley is currently living in London while she is performing ‘Closer‘ at the Udderbelly Festival (April 7-June 12). We talk to her about how she settles into a new place while she’s on tour.

1. Tell us about your current living arrangement in London. Do you already have any local areas you go to for coffee, groceries, wine etc?
Lauren: There are actually three of us acrobats who are staying together in an adorable two- storey apartment in the Holloway area. There is a Waitrose near by, a lovely little organic market, and a few small cafes with really yummy menus.

2. Do you have any tips for how you make your apartment feel more homely for long term stays like this stint in London?
Lauren: My life lives in my suitcase so I don’t have very many things, but I always like unpacking my clothes in the closet and placing my books by the bed and unpacking my toiletries and perfume in the bathroom. This makes me feel like I have a little place to call home. When we have a kitchen, I love to cook and bake and I love fresh fruits and vegetables. I make sure to stock up on them and place them in the kitchen so it looks colourful and inviting.  I will also always search for a yoga / pilates studio near where I am staying and go there on my first few days in the city. This makes me feel more at home.

3. Can you tell us about a time when you have lived in one place on tour for a long time?Lauren: I once did a resident show contract on Broadway in New York for 8 months. It was the longest I have been in one place in almost 7 years! I had a small studio a little north of Harlem. I made it light and placed black and white photos and posters around, I had lots of candles and a cute checkered bathroom floor. I had a bath so I kept lots of sea salts and oils by the tub. I had a tiny kitchen and with my crazy schedule I was never able to cook or bake. But I kept teas and fresh grapefruits on hand. Luckily I was on the 3rd floor and had lots of natural light, it was old fashioned with wood floors and high ceilings. Though it was a small space it felt spacious. I had a big white / comfy bed. This is a necessity for me. The bed to be big and comfy! I found a health food store I would go to on my day off and buy yummy food which I would always consume within 24 hours. I would listen to jazz music daily and nightly. Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie and many others are what can make me feel warm and at home. Music plays a big part in my comfort.

4. Do you have something that you always make sure you take with you when you go on tour? Lauren: Yes, a tiny little soft bunny stuffed animal from a dear friend of mine. Bunnies are my favourite animals and I think a Bunny would be my spirit animal. I always bring “PinPin” which is French for “Thumper” with me because it reminds me of finding comfort.

5. What’s the most elaborate meal you have made on tour?
Lauren: Once while on tour with Cirque Eloize we had a tiny kitchen. I, with the help of my boyfriend made a massive lamb roast with a risotto and apple pie. This was for a Christmas dinner with the cast and crew. It was a lot of work but so fun to accomplish in that tiny place. I like to buy grapefruits / bananas / avocados / tomatoes / apples / milk / tea / cereal / peanut butter / bread and honey. These are the things that keep me going when constantly on tour in hotel rooms with no kitchen & just a tiny fridge. Sometimes they are all you need when your body gets tired of constant restaurants.

6. Is there any type of ingredient that you haven’t been able to find (doesn’t exist) overseas? Lauren: Hmmmm…home for me is Montreal and one of my favourite things to eat is rillet de canard on toast. This is very hard to find when you’re not in Western Europe or Montreal. So I can really miss it sometimes.

7. Where do you usually source your foods from when you’re on tour? (markets, organic stores, superstores etc.)
Lauren: I always look for the little organic food shop, the quality in the products are always a bit better and the fruit / vegetables taste better. If I’m in a city for over a week, I will always try and find the local markets as well.  It’s always very fun to discover a new city and find what the locals eat and also find what you know your body likes!

8. Do you often have dinner parties (or events) in your room with the other artists?
Lauren: With Circa not too often, I would like to do it more because theses things are very fun for me, we do sometimes and I will usually make the main course and someone else will bring wine and cheese, etc. They are one of my favourite things to do!

Circa is based in Meanjin (Brisbane) on the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal people. We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the many lands on which we create and perform. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
Always was. Always will be.