Thursday, 28 August 2014

Working a Festival Season - 2014

You're probably sick to death of hearing about festivals this summer, but bear with me. This post is not intended to be about festival fashion, bands reviews or anything else along those lines but an overview of my personal lifestyle this summer. Despite being a partial lifestyle blog, I don't really feel like I share enough about myself, how I make a living or what I regularly do with my spare time on here. So as we come to the end of festival season, I thought I'd change that. You're most likely to find out about snippets of my life through my Instagram, where I post snapshots of my everyday life and what I'm up to, so going forwards if you'd like to know more then feel free to follow me there. But for now, I'm going to give a little update through this post.

working festival season
I left my fashion digital marketing and PR job back in November 2013 to go off and spend some time snowboarding in the Swiss and French Alps, ventured off to Thailand for 2 months to relax before starting a summer packed with hard work but lots of fun too. Josh is Operations & Logistics Manager for Headphone Disco, a large silent disco company based here in the UK and over in America too. The summer is a really busy time for the company, with loads of festival bookings both here and in the US. I work for Josh as event manager on site, assisting with the logistics of setting up on site plus managing the staff and the shows themselves. It's hard work, but an amazing opportunity and I get to see some really cool festivals, plus everything that goes on backstage too! I've also been lucky enough to DJ to an 800 strong crowd at Boardmasters festival, which has to be one of my highlights of the summer. It's such a crazy feeling to be up on stage and hear all those people singing along and dancing to your set.

UK festivals
I've been lucky enough to attend 10 festivals in total this summer, including a couple as a customer instead of working. 10 festivals across the summer, mostly between mid-June and the end of August, is quite a lot to squeeze in so I've been a bit of a nomad, living in a tent from site to site. It's not the most glamorous of jobs, but the perks definitely outweigh the slightly less attractive elements!

UK lifestyle blog
My top working highlights of the summer 2014 festival season have been:
- AAA at Creamfields festival plus an Artist wristband meant we were able to bump into 2/3rds of Swedish House Mafia backstage, plus catch glimpses of Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Skream and watch my favourite dance act, Above & Beyond, play from the very same stage they were performing on
- DJing to 800 festival goers on the Sunday night of Boardmasters festival, as mentioned above
- Managing a 5,000 capacity tent at Creamfields for the World's biggest Headphone Disco!
- Getting to know and spending time with some amazing people, most of whom have worked for us over the past couple of months

If you're interested in seeing what the Creamfields Headphone Disco was like, take a look at the video below :)

I've had the best time over the last few months, travelling around the country with Josh and doing everything we've done couldn't have been much better [vom alert]. This might be the only chance in my life to cram this many festival in one summer, next year I might well be back in a full time, regular hours, job so might not have the time, holiday leave or ability to move around as freely as this year. I wanted to write this to give a little bit more of an insight into my personal life, my current job and the experiences I've had, for you guys to get to know me a little more - but I also wanted to document it for myself. Writing this will keep it documented online, remind me what I've achieved so far this year and the amazing opportunities, experiences and time I've had.

As for now, festival season 2014 is now over for us. We're heading to Southampton for Josh's sister's wedding this week where I'm a bridesmaid so that's exciting! They're having a festival themed wedding, so there's still really one festival to go but we'll be able to properly enjoy it and celebrate with family and friends! Following that, we'll be taking our Headphone Disco kit on a 3 week tour of the UK Student's Union venues and clubs, for fresher's week in September, then heading off for another winter of travel to South East Asia, NZ and Australia. After that, who knows.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Favourite Nail Polishes for Autumn

Barry M polishes [L-R]: MNP 3 - Caramel, 313 - Dusky Mauve, MNP 4 - Vanilla.

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse this weekend. So that's it now, in my mind I have given in to the fact that summer is over. It might sound negative but I'm slowly getting to grips with it and coming around to the idea that Autumn [and eventually Winter] is on the way. 

I'm not going to dwell on the obvious negatives, but focus on looking forward to wearing dark colours [like I don't all the time anyway], layering up and changing my wardrobe around. By the end of summer I'm usually starting to get a little bored of summer clothes and pastel colours anyway - so here's to matte nudes and deep purples in the nail varnish department!

It's a complete coincidence that all my current favourite shades are by Barry M, but I do own a lot of their nail varnishes - who can resist them when in Boots?! Which shades will you be heading for during the Autumn months?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Cornershop - a shop filled entirely with felt products!

The Cornershop - Bethnal Green
The Cornershop - Lucy Sparrow
Lifestyle blog - review of The Cornershop Bethnal Green
The Cornershop Kickstarter
Bethnal Green The Cornershop
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While we were in London a last week, we took a trip to The Cornershop in Bethnal Green. Josh initially found out about this project through crowd-funding website, Kickstarter - he's a bit of a Kickstarter fan, having backed over 90 projects now - so of course he backed this one too. He tends to go for any quirky, fun projects so this one definitely fits the bill!

Lucy Sparrow is the artist behind The Cornershop, who wanted to create a "fluffy shopping experience" while playfully questioning the politics of consumerism. The shop is entirely filled with felt replicas of our favourite cornershop products - there's chocolate, sweets, papers, milk, tins of beans and soup and even the till is felt! It's interesting to look around, although it's a tiny shop and it was incredibly busy when we visited [on a Friday afternoon], you can also buy the products from the store and take them home/have them delivered once the store is closed at the end of August. In my eyes, the project questions the amount of money we spend on cool, fun yet useless items. I don't completely know how I feel about this, as I'm a sucker for pretty, shiny, decorative items that I don't really need but I know that the money could be better spent within my own life and in others' too. Maybe in future I'll be questioning whether I really need to spend my money on something I don't essentially need, who knows. We're risking this all getting a bit deep, so I'm going to stop there and think about it some more. 

What do you think the message is behind a shop full of felt products, or do you think it's just a fun display? Have you been to see the shop? It's open until the end of August so pop down if you're near the Shoreditch/Bethnal Green area!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Outfit: 'how long are those going to stay clean?!'

I love the monochrome/all-white/all-black outfits that are frequently seen on Pinterest, but I never thought it would be the type of look I'd attempt myself. However, when I saw these ripped, white jeans on Celeb Look all those images came flooding into my head and I had to have them. I haven't quite worn them in one of those beautiful, structured, smart, all white outfits yet - but maybe one day. I'll work on it. These jeans are the softest material, with a pretty high waist which I personally love, at £19.99 they're a bargain. I can't wait to style these in autumn outfits, with a chunky jumper tucked into the waistband. 

I popped on a cami top with the jeans, opting for a simple silver necklace from Pia Jewellery to match. This necklace is the most flexible chain ever, is that a weird term to describe a necklace? Well, it is - you barely notice you're wearing it, it's perfect. You could easily wear this necklace day in, day out and even sleep in it too if you wanted to. The clasp on the end of the chain is tiny, so I'm going to be threading some of my own small pendants on, to mix it up sometimes.

Have you bought into the monochrome trend? How would you style white jeans?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Old Wives Tail - Melado Hair Growth Oil Treatment


I'm constantly urging my hair to grow longer and faster than it does. Then paying around £40 for a hair cut but asking them to barely cut anything off, which is always too much. So any product which claims to improve hair growth always catches my eye, whether it truly does or not! It's a tricky one to measure [literally], but any product which improves the condition, health and feel of my hair is a good'un in my books. 

Old Wives Tail have a lovely brand story - all treatments are the product of a homemade recipe passed down through the generations, originating in Portugal and ending up in the UK. The 'Old Wives' part of the brand name relates to the older generations of the family and the 'Tail' linking it all up with hair!

The Melado Oil Treatment is a product packed full of organic essential oils, designed to soften the hair and nourish right down into the hair follicle. The consistency of the product is like that of any of the oils we're familiar with, such as olive oil, so it's pretty runny. The directions state that the product should be massaged into damp hair - I just run my head under the shower slightly then towel dry until just damp. I then pour a small amount of oil into the palms of my hands and rub together before applying to my scalp - do this over the shower or sink! Once the scalp is covered, I use a wide tooth comb to distribute the oil through the lengths. Pop your hair up into a bun then just chill out for an hour, or use the time to write up a blog post like I did! Once the hour's up, wash your hair as normal then pop a little conditioner just on the ends - you really won't need much. I find that I need two shampoos to get all the treatment out of my hair and a thorough rinse too.

After my hair is dry, it feels so soft and nourished. The ends especially feel much smoother and less flyaway - I love the fact that a product with no chemicals or crazy-named ingredients can achieve this too. The smell of the essential oils, lavender in particular, fill the bathroom while you're using the product and lightly transfer to the hair when dry too - it smells lovely. I can't really comment just yet whether it's made my hair grow any faster - but it's keeping it looking, smelling and feeling in very good condition which are all positives for me! Do you think hair treatments make your hair grow any faster? Which products should I try out?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Byron, Proper Hamburgers in Camden

Byron, Camden
Byron Burger
Where to eat in London
Burgers in London
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Josh and I spent a lovely few days in London this week, visiting our ex-housemate who has just moved into a flat near Camden. A trip to London is usually a one day thing for us, so having a friend living there permanently now means that we could spend a few days doing some of the more normal, less touristy stuff and not have to cram loads into one short day. 

We were meeting up with some friends in a Camden bar later in the evening so we decided to get some food beforehand. We were crossing a road and Josh, my long-time vegetarian boyfriend went 'ooh, what about there?' - yes Josh, what a suggestion! Byron is one of those London food places that's been on my must-try list for ages - along with Patty & Bun, Meat Liquor and various other renowned burger joints. 

I customised the blue cheese burger and added extra bacon, opting for a medium-well cooked burger with skin-on fries. The waiter was really angling for me to try a medium or less cooked burger, but the half-vegetarian in me [I rarely eat meat, unless eating out as a treat] wasn't having any of it. Josh had the veggie burger - consisting of portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, goats cheese, spinach, tomato, red onion and aioli plus these amazing courgette fries which were incredible. I definitely recommend trying those, I'm not usually a big courgette fan either! 

Overall it was a lovely place for dinner - the food was amazing, it was served really quickly by an attentive waiter plus the decor inside the restaurant is so cool. It's a clash of different, retro, 70s style wallpaper on every wall - plus a massive old-style telly hung up on the ceiling. You should try and stop there for lunch or dinner, if you're around Camden and looking for food!  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Outfit: Denim Dungaree Dress

Floral Crop Top: H&M // Dungaree Dress: Select // Backpack: Primark // Sandals: Primark

Wearing a dungaree dress and a backpack did make me feel like I was on my way to primary school, but I couldn't resist putting this outfit together on a warm day last week. I picked up the dress in Select in Skegness for a bargain £12 and it's also available for that price on their website! The sizing was a little out though - I'm always a UK size 10 however only an 8 or 6 was available in the store, so I tried on the 8 hoping that I might squeeze in... and I did, with lots of room to spare. So I ended up buying the 6! Now I'm definitely not a size 6 so please take this into consideration if you buy online and down size slightly. 

I popped on this floral crop top underneath, which met the top of the skirt part of the dress perfectly, with only a little flash of ribs showing occasionally. I've been looking for a leather-look backpack for ages, so snapped this one up for £8 in Primark. I'm trying not to buy too many new clothes or accessories at the moment as we're off travelling again soon so I won't use them, but I couldn't resist this. It's the perfect size for my giant purse, phone, keys and other little handbag essentials - it's had so much use already!

I wore this out on a shopping trip around Southampton, picking up craft bits and bobs to decorate a giant wooden festival-style letter. You know when festivals spell out their name on the site with giant letters? Josh's sister is having LOVEFEST set up at her festival themed wedding and different people are decorating each letter. Josh and I went mad with glitter, fairy lights and tinsel on our letter E... obviously. I will hopefully be posting about the wedding when it happens in a couple of weeks - I'm a bridesmaid, so exciting!