‘So, which lipstick do you reckon I should have?’
I asked, perhaps rather too eagerly, to a bunch of ladies who were already getting stuck into nail varnish, glitter and face sequins.
Surely, the question on your lips is ‘Ed, why the hell are you putting on lipstick?!’
Selecting the bright red slutty lipstick, I made my own choice. I cleared my throat, the girls looked up expectantly, to which I declared,
‘Ladies, prepare to meet Lola!’
It was only a meagre hour ago that I stepped foot into Barrio East bar in the heart of Shoreditch in London, shaking the droplets of light rain from my raincoat only to be greeted by the gorgeous staff from Thomas Cook Airlines, resplendent in their flight outfits and pert hats, smiling away whilst signing me on board and placing a wristband on me. To be honest, I was rather dazed by their beauty. But my mesmerisation was soon interrupted by a slap to my arm by Sunny in London who I hadn’t seen for months.
‘Hey Ed! Long time no see, ready to party for the #CarnivalFiesta?‘
I nodded my head rather too enthusiastically and we both made a beeline for the rows of Caipirinhas and Mojitos waiting for us in rows. We were one of the first ones here and it was no time like the present to catch up.
So exactly is going on, I’m sure you are wondering? You don’t really don’t need to hear me go on about caipirinhas, you know already how much I love them since I first tasted them in Brazil more than two years ago.
See More: Foz de Iguazu
I love Caipirinhas.
Thomas Cook Airlines is laying on an event in Barrio East for us selected bloggers to experience what carnival is all about in their much popular destination of Tenerife.
This exotic destination is part of the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, yet part of Spain, and Tenerife actually hosts the second most biggest Carnival after Rio de Janeiro’s.
This made my ears prick up. So I only have to fly a quick four hours to party in sambatastic style with showgirls, beautiful people and most of all, have the time of my life? I don’t have to fly fourteen hours to South America?!
Okay, let’s get serious. We need to find out what can happen there. And that’s what exactly Thomas Cook Airlines wanted to show us here in the heart of London.
Welcome to a night of Carnival Fiesta!
Soon, more bloggers turned up, including my partner in crime from my Iceland trip, Jen of She Gets Around, and my beautiful harem of bloggers such as Nicole of A Life Less Beige (Please don’t get back to New Zealand!) and An Ocean Away. There weren’t just travel bloggers, oh no, there were lifestyle and fashion bloggers. I had the pleasure of knowing the blonde bombshell that is Cat Foley of Survival Survival.
Suitably watered and fed (delicious tapas food), the evening was launched in vibrant explosion of samba, hips flying all over the place by a dynamic duo who would soon feature later on for me.
Afterwards, an interesting speech was given by Thomas Cook Airlines showcasing Tenerife as their ‘hot’ destination but soon we were told to line up to new given out numbers separating us into our groups. This is when the activities started to get us in the frame of mind of partying Carnival Fiesta style!
My first activity saw me sent to the make up booth to first transform me into a glittering Carnival creature. As the other boy in the group, I was unsure what to do. Perhaps, I should follow the girls’ leads. They all chatted to one another, excited by becoming showgirls, and not one to be left out, I picked up a red lipstick and squealed with them that I, too, would turn into a showgirl called Lola. Because as the song goes, she’s a showgirl. First apply, green sequins to face an dust face with glittery powder. Then, apply a musky eyeshadow to entice and hypnotise revellers. Don’t forget the eyeliner too! Once that’s finished, finish off your face with an outrageous lipstick of your choice and apply messily. Finally, complete your transformation by painting on turquoise nail varnish to bring out fierce Lola. I turned round to show the fruits of my labour to the rest of the group. They all screamed and said I must have done make up before. I blushed and uttered that this was the first time I really put professional make up on before (I discount the time I made myself up for Rocky Horror Show one Halloween). I actually twirled, pleased at the thumbs up until a lone male voice rang out from across the room: ‘Christ! I didn’t realise we had to drag ourselves up!’
Becoming the Samba Dance King Queen
Remember the dynamic duo that opened up the evening with their hips flying all over the place? Well, it was now our turn to bust a move samba style but not before them teaching us. Donning a straw boater hat given to me by the dancer who looked at my funnily because of my make up, we were then shown three samba dance sequences that we can freestyle with to use at a carnival. They added the importance of moving your upper body too. For the men, we had to show we were strong. I only found that out after the guy told me off for following the girl dancer in front of me, which saw me shaking my front as if I had boobs there. ‘No, no, no! You follow me, not her! You are not a… Woman!’ He stumbled once again seeing my make up. I nodded and followed him showing how strong I could be in the art of samba. Heck, I even think the All Blacks of the New Zealand Rugby Team would be scared! But soon, I would remember all the moves even in the bathroom next morning when I was brushing my teeth.
Making your own Carnival Headdress
Our next activity saw us making our own headdresses. For me, it was all about the bling and feathers. I confess I did go overboard, cackling away into the air with my glue gun primed in my fingers. Twenty minutes later, it was done. Check it out. And what’s more, Lola was complete. I can now pose delightfully. That guy was right. I do look like a drag queen.
Margaritas in each hand
Fully made up, I startled the barmen behind the bar at Barrio East as I joined them to learn how to make Carnival cocktails whether they were Caipirinhas, Mojitos or Margaritas. Throwing their cocktail mixers in the air, I stood awed as I wished I could be that cool. They seemed to do it so effortlessly. I now knew why everyone fell in love with Tom Cruise in his film called… Cocktail.
‘You want to go?’ The barman offered me his mixers, snapping me out of my burgeoning man crush. I blushed furiously like a drag queen being told rude jokes. Accepting them, I attempted to do a simple spin throw. I missed and swallowed in dismay as it clattered noisily on the floor. Everyone stared at me, my eyes were downcast as I meekly picked it up and offered it back.
‘Okay, let’s make you a margarita.’ The barman correctly guessed I needed a drink after that.
Wowing me by teaching me how to spread salt on the glass, how to crack open a mixer from the glass and do wonderful things with lemon slices, I suddenly found myself with two margaritas, one in each hand.
‘What am I meant to do with both of them?’ I asked the barman.
‘Down one of them?’
Silly question. So I did.
The night endth
Now, I’ve already done most of the activities. I had a chance to talk to the Tenerife Tourism board and Thomas Cook Airlines, but as the place was so noisy, I wouldn’t have been able to hear them.
So I went to compare make up, dance moves, headdresses and my margarita with my fellow bloggers.
But the night hadn’t ended yet. As Carnival proves, the party goes on and on and on.
Then it was the announcement from Thomas Cook Airlines to see who won the best social media entry using the hashtag #CarnivalFiesta. Can you guess who?
It was me!
And my prize was the Tenerife Tourism cabin bag with goodies inside! Woo!
So would I go to Tenerife?
Well, I confess I’ve already been to Tenerife twice when I was a kid with my parents. But I’ve never visited as an adult and I certainly haven’t been to the second most biggest carnival on the world.
I’ve always loved Tenerife and with that mind, yes, I’d loved to come back to Tenerife.
Although, not in this carnival make up get up, you know.
I got weird looks on the London tube on my back home…