This is the year penguins will fly.

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Ladies and Gentlemen Of the Road – An Awesome Weekend

Last weekend I went to a festival called ‘Gentlemen of the Road’. This festival is a little different to normal festivals as it has many different ‘stopovers’ rather than being based in one town. This year it went to 5 different places, mainly in the US but they also had one in Lewes which is near Brighton (UK). The whole thing is the brainchild of Mumford and Sons, one of my favourite bands of the moment. Their music is just beautiful and so full of feeling. I absolutely love them.

My sister and I, she was the one who bought me the ticket 🙂

They designed these ‘stopovers’ to not only enjoy amazing music but also to involve the local people and their culture.

“the spirit of the project remains: a music festival that celebrates local people, food and culture, where everyone pitches in and everybody gets something back.”

Source : http://www.gentlemenoftheroad.com/stopovers/

This really was apparent as soon as you walked into the venue, and what a venue. It helps that the town itself is also gorgeous. We arrived a day early as we had a long(ish) car ride and wanted to make sure we weren’t rushed in putting up our tent. As we drove through the town we noted how quaint and pretty it was, for any Yorkshire people reading this, it reminded us a lot of Beverly.

The campsite

We weren’t camping at the official campsite but another one called ‘Spring Barn Farm’, a really quaint little farm with lots of animals for kiddies to see and a lovely little farm shop.

As we were a day early we were one of the first to set up and so had the pick of the field (at least of the area we were allowed in)! Obviously we went for a nice flat spot with a good view and not too close to the toilets or bins (you don’t want the smell to waft over now do you!). After we’d set up we relaxed with a few ciders and a bbq. A very nice, quiet relaxed evening.

The next day the main events didn’t start until around 5, we we’re able to spend most of the day under the baking sun, in our bikini’s, watching everyone struggle with their tents in the heat. It was lovely.

Sun worship

We had been informed that the campsites barn had been set up to have a little bar and food area (apparently the bar would be open until 2am!). We didn’t go there for breakfast as we had plenty of bacon and eggs, but we just couldn’t resist the lure of ice cream! I imagine they made a pretty penny with that bar as it always seemed busy, it was definitely a good idea for them and just what the campers wanted!

To get to the festival we had to walk for about a mile through fields, I’m pretty sure i’ve walked longer through a campsite at a festival before and so the fact we we’re walking through some pretty fields rather than in between tents was very welcomed.

A Gentlemanly Flag

Once we got there the queues weren’t that bad at all, although we had got there early (Again) and so missed most of the waiting it seems. Some people said they had to wait around 45minutes just to get their wristbands! I think that was just down to needing more staff and in all honesty I’ve waited longer at V fest. If that was the only problem they had for the whole weekend then they did a pretty damn good job in my opinion. The whole thing was definitely very well run from what I saw.

As soon as we walked in we we’re greeted with rows of waving flags, coats of arms and old style food stalls. It was almost like being whisked back to medieval time, that’s if it wasn’t for the giant glowing letters spelling out ‘Gentlemen of The Road’. It did have a modern feel to an old style and was very in-keeping with the town it was situated in and the grounds (which looked like an old castle or monastery) the event actually took place in. It really set the mood, a great start to a great event.

A Dramatic Entrace

 

Our group enjoying the sunshine

On the first day we saw bands such as  Youth Lagoon, British Sea Power and Vampire Weekend. It was a great line up and great start to the festival. Vampire Weekend are always great and we had a good dance and sing along.

Vampire Weekend being awesome

As always at festivals there was a lot of interesting outfits. The usual festival wear; bright flowers, crop tops, dungerees, plaits, hippie-esq outfits etc… There was also a lot of fancy dress including a couple of bananas, home made t-shirts as well as a lot of merch t-shirts bought and then immediately worn. I took a lot of pictures of the festival fashions (which made me feel oh so stalker-ish) and will be doing a blog post on the do’s and don’ts of festivals and festival fashions in the near future.

The best hat i’ve ever seen…most likely.

All too soon it was time to head back to the campsite. The way was nicely lit and they had lots of marshals to make sure you didn’t get lost.

Cider also took up a large part of the day…

The next day started just as relaxed as the day before. The arena didn’t open until the afternoon leaving us plenty of time to sit around and get ourselves ready.

We bought some posh bread and Brie from the farm shop, we we’re living the dream and felt very middle class. We had the brie with some bacon and rolls we had leftover for breakfast (it was mouthwateringly amazing) and then saved some of the brie and the fancy bread to take into the venue as nibbles.

Fancy Guitar Shot 

The line up on the second day was again amazing, including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Mystery Jets, The Vaccines (one of my mums favourite bands) and (of course!) Mumford and Sons.

There were also some lesser known bands playing. One of my favourites of these being Bears Den who had some Hauntingly beautiful music.

Bears Den’s Drummer showing he can multi-task like a pro! (It was his birthday as well!)

As the day went on the bands just kept getting better and soon we were on our feet constantly dancing away! The arena was getting packed but still we danced around as if no one was watching and loving it! (although maybe the cider had something to do with our dance moves…)

My sister and her friend getting excited for the Vaccines

By the time Mumford and sons came on we could barely see the stage, but we didn’t care. All the performances we’re amazing, everyone really put a lot into it and it was obvious by the crowds reactions that their time and effort was much appreciated.

Usually at a festival you find that there’s at least one or two acts that just aren’t all that great, they don’t seem to want to be there or just aren’t very good live. But every one of them was brilliant. Maybe it’s because it’s quite small compared to others so the acts are more carefully selected, but it definitely made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

Mumford making me swoon

At the end of Mumford and Sons set they invited ALL the other acts onto the stage and they all jammed together! It was incredible.

Then the after party started with ‘The Very Best Sound System’ which was very dancey with an african feel. Definitely a great end to the festival.

Everyone on stage!

The whole thing was just so well put together, Mumford and Sons (and their team) have done such a good job.

We ended up partying well into the night and had a lazy morning whilst watching everyone pack up their tents. All too soon we too had to pack up and leave, I was sad to leave after such an awesome weekend but was most definitely looking forward to a shower!

If one of the Stopovers comes near you then I highly recommend going! (as long as you like the music of course).It was such an amazing weekend and I will most certainly be going next year if they’re around again!

So thank you to all the organisers, Spring barn farm and Mumford and Sons for a really great weekend away! I hope to see you all next year!

‘Till next time

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Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while, life seems to have got in the way as well as some frustrations with my screen printer.But i’ve already had a busy day practising (although I seem to have most of the paint on myself) and now I have a few bags just about ready to be sewn together! So i think it’s finally time to announce the winner of the second competition of May!

It seems like there’s more on my hands than on the fabric…

Congrats to Jennie Evans! I have already sent an email and hope to post the bag to you soon. 🙂

And don’t forget there’ll be more competitions to come!

For now though I have some more screen printing to do (and some new designs to try) before going and practicing some long boarding with Ash.

We both have snazzy new helmets from Octane sports to keep us safe now so there’s no excuse! 🙂

Photo on 2013-05-20 at 16.45

Slightly silly, very safe.


A Famous Cousin

Yesterday I went straight from work to the south bank to meet up with my aunt, her partner and my cousin.

There was an Alternative Families festival thing on at the South bank Centre and, with my cousin being adopted and living with 2 mums, they thought they would take a trip down to see what was going on!

There was lots of cool things for kids to do all day, with alternative fairy tails (such as King and King and Tango Makes Three) talks about alternative families and much more.

We even found a jolly farmer with some baby animals we were allowed to feed and hold! I wont lie, I almost stole one of the lambs because they were so darn cute!

IMG_20130219_183949

Looking extremely tired from my long week at work…

Tiggs (as we call her) managed to be picked for an interview and they used her footage, probably because of the most adorable quote ever:

‘Anyone can be a family, as long as they love each other’

We are all so proud of her, she’s come a long long way since she was first welcomed into our family when she was quiet and extremely shy. Now she is such a bright, bubbly, loud and completely lovely little girl! I definitely think she spoke some very wise words there and her mums should be very proud. In fact we all should be, and most definitely are, proud.

She was also asked if she would like to appear on a future TV show called ‘My Life’ which she was very excited about. Again it is a show following Alternative families and sounds very exciting.

Tiggy kept saying ‘This is the best day of my life!’

I think she’s a star in the making!

The news video can be found below with her adorable quote, another cute boy and a book about Penguins! 😀

From Cinderella to King and King

‘Till next time!


Enormous Raffle! 50 Prizes to be won!

Today I heard of an Etsy teams plight to help their fellow team member. It really does prove how much of a great community Etsy is and really restores a bit of faith in the human race.

Sandra, of Azulado, lost her husband to cancer a few days before Christmas. Now she is struggling to support her 5 year old son whilst making arrangements for her husbands funeral, not an easy task for anyone.

With all the extra costs for the illness and burial of her husband and finding it difficult to get support from her government she is understandably struggling to get herself back on her feet.

This is where her Etsy Team comes in. They have all banded together to organise a huge raffle full of amazing handmade gifts! With 50 chances of winning something beautiful, whilst supporting a family going through hard times, who could say no?

The raffle only costs $5 usd (that’s roughly £3.50) so not exactly breaking the bank, but can hopefully make a lot of difference to one family.

I think this plight has really touched me personally as it is very similar to own my mothers situation when she had me.

A month before I was born my dad died from a heart disease leaving my mum to bring up myself and my older sister on her own. Luckily our family supported her throughout and, in my opinion, myself and my sister have grown up very well (she really did do us proud).  I couldn’t ever imagine going through what my mum went through, she is truly an inspiration to me and a fantastic woman.

So please help out another mother going through a difficult time.

All the details can be found here : http://star-of-the-east.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-kindness-of-strangers.html


Employed and Loving it

I decided to do a bit of baking this week. It didn’t turn out the best ever (the mixture could have done with some more air in it), but i still made some tasty buns. They have chocolate philadelphia smeared on top which is every bit as good as i thought it would be!

Nice and colourful!

On wednesday I started work at a Weatherspoons which is only 10 minutes away from my new flat (although a 45 minute drive for the moment).

I’m actually really enjoying it and have actually always had a fascination of being a barmaid for a while. When I was younger I used to always be the ‘waitress’ at family parties. I remember at a barbecue once (probably when I was still in primary school)  my uncle had managed to get a proper beer pump and I spent hours pulling pints for everyone attending. I loved it and was getting pretty good by the end, despite my young age.

I also used to always help my next door neighbour with the food when ever he had bbqs, and even spent a whole night at theirs in an apron being a ‘waitress’ and handing out drinks for all the guests.

Genius

So obviously this is a job i have been destined to do for a while.

Yesterdays shift was quite easy. I spent the whole shift on the floor cleaning up plates and glasses and also getting the food orders to the patrons once they were cooked. It was relatively uneventful, other than a lovely old woman giving me a £2 tip which was very much appreciated!.

Todays shift was slightly more…chaotic.

Sprinkles and a 'Flower' or two.

I was learning the bar today, and there is quite a lot to learn so it was definitely a little bit harder. Everyone was nice and friendly though and seemed to understand it was one of my first days and had a nice joke around.

Until it came to one particular customer…

I was half way through serving a customer and an old man barked his order at me. I told him to hold on as I was serving someone else, finished the order and went back to the old man saying ‘Was it just one pint you wanted?’. At this point he started shouting at me (not even just a little bit of a raised voice, it was loud enough for the whole pub to hear) about how he was ‘not deaf’  and ‘didn’t mumble’. This shouting must have gone on for a full 10 minutes whilst i apologised and then went to pour his drink. At this point I was the only person on the bar as well so didn’t really know how to handle it all, but he shut up and sat down once he had his drink.

Showing off my 'Challenge 21' badge

Later he came back to the bar  and started making some very inappropriate comments suggesting a man at the end of the bar was listening to porn (why else would he have headphones in?!). He carried on making various rude comments, and then proclaiming it was ok to say these things as he was 90. Then he overstepped the mark completely by pointing to me and saying ‘I bet you’d take your top off for an extra £200 an hour’. At this point one of the managers, who was right beside me this time, started lecturing him about inappropriate behaviour and then went off to either talk to the other manager about him or calm down (possibly both). When she got back the old man had already left but she apologised to me for having such a bad customer on my second shift and assured me he was barred.

He really was quite strange, but you have to expect some…characters.

Work again tomorrow (from 9 till close), will probably be full of even more exciting moments with it being a Friday night!

Not really looking forward to driving home at 1am but at least we’re moving soon! As long as all the paper work goes through ok we should have the keys by next thursday!

Till next time!

Claire x