Category Archives: Festival Features

More on festivals.

Melbourne | The magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival

IMG_1219I waited a whole year to experience the magic of Rainbow Serpent Festival. I arrived in Melbourne this time last year, just three days after this incredible festival took place, I was devastated to have missed it but having been deep in the outback completing my farm work there was simply no way I could make it in time. It was a worthy sacrifice – those last three days of farm work meant I got the opportunity to stay in Australia for another year. Those last three days meant not only could I come back to Melbourne, one of my favourite cities in the world, but that I could get a second chance to experience life over the rainbow.IMG_2566IMG_2547For those who don’t know about Rainbow Serpent, it’s the ultimate in hippy trippy dreamland fun. Deep in the Victorian countryside that can only be described as desert in the 35 degree heat, a few small fields are filled with around 10,000 colourful, bright, passionate and excited souls for just a few days. Reminiscent of festivals like Secret Garden Party and Boomtown Fair in the UK, the festival is the kind of celebration that brings together a huge range of people, some pretty interesting characters and some seriously beautiful souls for a few days of creativity and magic.IMG_2564IMG_2551This year celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the festival is a veteran amongst others and you can tell on arrival, many of those pulling up in camper vans to the most incredible campsites filled with marquees, sofas, outlandish decorations and the rest, are people who have been going for years. The kind who exclaim with sheer happiness when you disclose that this is your first Rainbow Serpent, their faces light up at getting to witness you experiencing the magic for the very first time. It’s easy before you go to feel like everyone just gets caught up in the hype or that it couldn’t possibly be as good as they say. IMG_2548IMG_2562Well, as a well seasoned festival veteran, I can safely say that the hype doesn’t even do the festival justice. Rainbow Serpent blew my mind – not just the music and the stages, the theatre and the arts, the yoga and the creativity. It was the people, the incredible collection of people passionate about one cause – making it the best celebration of Rainbow Serpent yet. Time and time again we were blown away by the amazing characters we met, experienced and then parted ways never to see each other again – but the most important thing was that we shared that one moment together.IMG_2565IMG_2550I was an incredibly lucky girl during this festival – the kindness of strangers has never been more apparent. Two of my friends were determined for me to attend the festival despite my already having given up on finding a ticket. They pushed one friend into tracking me down a ticket and when that one fell through he went to the ends of the earth to find me a replacement – whats the big deal you ask? This guy had never even met me but went to an incredible level of effort to not only ensure I experienced Rainbow Serpent but that I had the most amazing time possible. I travelled up with a friend from work and we spent the next few days camping with an amazing group of people – I couldn’t have put together a better bush doof crew if I tried.IMG_2567IMG_2560The bare basics – we hired a car from Hertz who I would never hire from again, overly expensive and extremely rude staff who constantly tried to overcharge us for things they hadn’t pre-disclosed. We borrowed a tent from a friend, filled up eskis with ice, beers and boxes of pasta – going prepared saved us a lot of money on food. The festival was totally BYO so we went prepared with bottles of vodka and rum decanted into plastic bottles (no glass at the festival) and lots of ciders and beers. Costumes and a hell of a lot of glitter filled ur bags, but everything else we needed was already at the festival or in our amazing campsite. We were in North camping, just a short walk from the Market Stage which was filled with the most amazing music almost 24/7, the food stalls which had a great selection, and the chill-out areas.IMG_2563IMG_2561Although the music is the main event and I had an fantastic time watching the acts, there was a lot more to the festival with plenty of amazing fun for kids, healing and massage areas, talks on everything from depression to psychedelics and society, creative workshops on survival skills, yoga and meditation, and art. There was so much going on and so much to do, you didn’t want to sleep or waste a single second. It was an absolutely amazing event and I well and truly give it the Absolutely Lucy stamp of approval – if you’re backpacking Australia and happen to be in Melbourne around January next year, I really recommend picking up a ticket. Trust me this festival is a life-changing experience and you won’t regret splashing the money. IMG_1218

Photos provided by myself and Hannah Gunstone, even they don’t do the festival justice but they certainly give you a taste of the fun!

Have you been to Rainbow Serpent – tell me about your festival highlights? What other festivals have you been to while travelling?

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Travel | Top tips for being a happy camper

img_2335I’ve always very firmly believed that fresh air, a good dose of nature and time spent by the ocean can cure just about anything. It doesn’t matter how stressed I’ve been over the years, or how frustrated, I’ve always found solace in spending a few days away from everything, getting back to basics and enjoying life in it’s purest form. Over the years I’ve spent weekends camping in the Lake District, Peak District, in the shadow of Mount Snowdon in Wales, and around my home in Norfolk. I’ve stayed in campsites ranging from a full-on Glamping experience complete with champagne and pink wellies, to the most basic, wild campsites you can find, and I’ve done it in all weathers. Later on, as I discovered my love of festivals, I quickly realised that I was a much bigger fan of the four-day weekend camping events that allowed you to truly lose yourself in the music. I teamed up with Yelloh! Village, who offer the world’s finest open-air hotels and camping rentals, to write about what makes the perfect camping experience.imageThere’s something about getting back to basics with a group of your closest friends that just spells out a lot of fun. Whether you’re heading off to explore an untouched wilderness and can’t wait to get away, or you simply fancy going a bit wild in the woods, it’s a perfect way to actually spend time together with no distractions. It’s easy to forget that every second we spend with friends these days is dictated by the myriad of text messages, Snapchats, Facebook updates and Tweets that dominate our existence these days. Once all of those are done, often your time together is up and all you have to remember it is what is documented online. I was out with friends the other night and even dancing in a bar, every second of our moves was being photographed and snap-chatted by the pair for social media. It’s funny and it’s become an inherent part of our lives now but sometimes it is nice to just switch everything off and talk surrounded by nothing but nature. I guess I’m a country girl at heart, but I just find it so soothing to be away from the stresses of everyday life and there’s something about open space that just heals me.img_2333Some of my best camping memories are of the Glamping weekend I spent with my two best friends, the time spent camping in national parks in the Tasmanian wilderness as part of an epic 10-day roadtrip, and the hilarious times we’ve had setting up our tents and lounging round the campsite at festivals. Everyone was just present, laughing at each others’ jokes and experiencing every second together rather than thinking about how they would record it for social media. Every camping experience I’ve had boils down to the same factors whether we’re raving at a festival, getting lost in the woods or out on the moors – it’s the same few things that really make a camping trip a success, and a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re sat reading this thinking camping is so not for you, then think again – I never used to think I would enjoy it but it’s now become one of my favourite travel experiences. Plus it’s a great way to explore the world around you when you’re travelling on a budget, whether locally or on the other side of the world, the basic components of camping remain the same, it’s just the weather that gets better!image

What makes the perfect camping experience?

Tent

This is definitely something you want to invest in – buying a £5 tent from the supermarket and expecting it to withstand all weathers is just stupid. Even if you’re going to a festival – if it rains and becomes windy, your tent is going to flood and collapse and you won’t be able to get dry and warm. A camping trip can quickly become miserable if you have no way of getting dry. Look for great deals in the sales – I picked up my beauty of a tent in the Halfords sale a few years ago and it has seen me through countless amazing festivals and trips – it’s huge and easy to put up, and it  was reduced to less than half price when I got it.

Camping spot

Choose your pitch wisely – there’s nothing worse than putting your tent up in a rush and finding out later when you’re trying to sleep that you’ve camped on a 45 degree slope or there’s a massive rock right where you’re laying. Trust me, as someone who did a four day camping festival sleeping at a 45 degree angle because we arrived too late and couldn’t find a better spot – it’s absolutely bloody awful. Don’t do it. Always feel for rocks and lay down inside before you peg it to the ground.

Food

Plan the food you take well and it can change your whole experience, forget instant noodles and soup, its easy to cook up a good and healthy meal on a little gas stove. On my 10-day road trip around Tasmania we planned heavy meals of chilli and rice, and pasta to refuel after days of climbing mountains. It was quick and easy to prepare for four people so don’t be put off by the thought of it. There’s nothing better than a good, filling, hot meal at the end of a day camping.image

Location

There are some incredible places to camp in the world – under the stars in central Australia, on the beaches in Tasmania, and in the shadow of mountains all over the world are just some of my favourites. Choosing your location well can take a regular camping trip to the next level. Yelloh! Village has some amazing locations scattered across France which give you the opportunity to explore the landscape, towns and villages. Choosing a campsite where you can have a campfire also makes all the difference.

Price

Camping is a great way to travel if you’re on a budget. Especially for groups or families where accommodation could be expensive – there are so many free and cheap options available for campsites, and if you’re planning on repeating the experience your camping equipment is an investment rather than an expense.

Timing

Always look out for the skies above you – I’ve been lucky enough to camp in some amazing places with incredible views of the super moons, specific constellations, shooting stars. Sometimes the most beautiful sights are the ones that are totally free. There’s nothing better than a spectacular sunset, or making it up for sunrise.image

Company

The one thing that really makes the experience complete has to be the people you share it with. I say it all the time but it never becomes any less true, even in the most dire situations and the worst accommodations, the people are what shine through your memories long after the trip has finished. Taking your best friends who will make you laugh until you cry is the best way to approach a trip – no matter what goes wrong you’ll still make it an experience to remember.

Happy camping!

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Travel | #SendMeAway to Eastern Europe’s music festivals

imageAs the former editor of This Festival Feeling, and an avid festival goer – my mind never strays far from the topic. I’ve now spent over a year backpacking around Asia and Australia, but haven’t yet been to a festival! It seems shocking behaviour for the girl who managed to attend seven festivals in the year before I came backpacking and several more in the years previous to that. I just love festivals, from the amazing music and locations to the creativity and stunning art pieces, to unusual theatre performances and fantastic characters you meet along the way. It’s like entering another world where you can be anyone you want to be and everyone is just as welcoming, happy and beautiful as the people you meet when travelling. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been too upset at missing festivals so far, because the travelling experience is much like living in a festival every single day, but I have to say, after a year I am getting a bit antsy. It’s this time of year, once Christmas is out of the way, my mind always turns straight to festival season and which ones I’m going to be attending. This year is no different, I know that there are many amazing Australian festivals going on while I’m working in the outback which is annoying timing – I’ve missed the annual Falls Festivals and will be missing Rainbow Serpent in a few weeks. But instead of moping, I’m looking at which ones I will be able to do. Just a week or two after I arrive in Melbourne the St Kilda Festival will be happening which sounds like a fantastic celebration of music, arts and culture – plus it’s free!imageimageThe team at Icelolly.com have asked me to write about my dream holiday destinations of 2016 to be on with a chance of winning £1000 towards the holiday and an Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera which would be the most incredible prize. These cameras are amazing and I’ve loved the idea of getting one for a while – not always practical for a backpacker who is living on a budget – and the £1000 towards further travel would be an incredible bonus. After reaching my one year anniversary of travelling and making the decision not to return home but to keep travelling and exploring the world around me, I started to think about my next year on the road and where I will end up. Of course all plans are always open to change as a backpacker, we are known for our habit of changing everything at the drop of a hat, but that’s one of the luxuries we gain when giving up everything to travel. I love the freedom that comes with this lifestyle. At the moment I have a vague plan that I will be returning home to England in May when my first year Australian visa runs out, it will be perfectly timed so I can spend my 26th birthday with my friends and family at home and I can’t wait to see everyone. After spending a couple of months at home catching up with everyone and heading to a few festivals, I will hopefully have a bit of money put aside for a little jaunt round Europe to visit some amazing friends I’ve met since travelling and see their home countries. Places like Paris, Berlin, parts of Holland and Denmark could all be on the list and I’ll be backpacking the whole way. I’m hoping all this works out and I have enough money to really make this happen.imageimageI know my whole life sounds like a holiday but it really will be nice by then to have a break from Australia and to get back to European culture for a little while. One thing I will really love is heading to a few festivals because the UK and Europe really has that amazingly creative and quirky style when it comes to festivals that I really love. After going to Hideout Festival in Croatia a few years ago and having the most amazing time, I was keen to explore some other great festivals in Europe but never had the time/money to do it. If I won the £1000 I would use it to visit two top festivals on my list: EXIT Festival in Serbia leading to the new Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro, followed by Sziget in Budapest, Hungary. Nestled in Eastern Europe, they are countries I’ve wanted to explore for a while and around the festivals I would use the time to see as much as possible. The multi-award winning EXIT Festival took the title of Best Major European Music Festival at the EU Festival Awards in 2013 and it’s easy to see why, held annually at the Petrovaradin Fortress I would argue it has one of the most incredible locations for this huge range of acts to perform. People from around 60 countries around the world flock to the festival grounds each year to watch the magic unfold and that’s what I love, the diversity of the people you will meet along the way. I love that EXIT has a unique purpose behind it after starting as a student movement fighting for peace and democracy in Serbia – that is what festivals are all about.imageimageBy taking part in the EXIT Adventure, you get the opportunity to attend two award-winning festivals across two countries in 10 days. I would get to party in this incredible fortress in Novi Sad followed by the stunning Jaz Beach in Montenegro – last year over 300,000 people attended. The festivals have previously hosted acts including The Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, Emile Sande, Andy C, Skrillex, Soul Clap, Bondax and many more – all acts I would love to see live! And the best thing about all of these, is that there would be plenty of time to arrive at the festival beforehand so I would be able to explore the fortress and the catacombs that lay beneath, to find out about the amazing history and the ghosts that lay down there. History lines the streets of this part of Northern Serbia where one building still holds a cannonball jutting from its walls where if was fired back in 1849. For the beach bum in me it would be wrong not to enjoy one of Europe’s best Danube beaches before heading to Fisherman’s Island for some fish goulash, the local delicacy. And with four daily markets across the city, I wouldn’t be able to resist a browse before heading to Laze Telečkog for some local live music. After a busy week exploring Serbia, Jaz Beach will be the perfect place to relax, this underdeveloped area will be great for unwinding and enjoying a whole other set of acts performing in the same place huge acts like the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Madonna and Lenny Kravitz have previously played.imageimageThen it would be on to a destination that has been on my bucket list for a long time – Budapest, Hungary. With Sziget Festival seen as the Hungarian jewel in Europe’s festival crown, it is an event that is often compared to Burning Man – one of my ultimate dreams to attend. Getting to combine one of the countries I most want to visit with a festival is a fantastic opportunity to see the city in two very different lights – first of all a cultural and historical context followed by seeing how they really party. With countless stunning buildings to visit and view from Parliament to the Basilica, I can tell that just walking the streets with be an experience in itself but with plenty of walking tours on offer it will be a great way of learning more about the history that lies right in front of you. There’s so many amazing museums to explore and I have to admit, I love a museum, especially the quirky ones that teach you about a history you never knew existed. I love a good trip to the spa and after three festivals I think I’ll be in need to some TLC so I’ll be heading to Szechenyi Baths and Pool for a visit and a chance to relax. All these amazing activities will take place around the iconic Sziget Festival which will take place on an island in the middle of the Danube river featuring a huge range of acts from hard rock to dance, this year’s line-up so far includes Bastille, Bloc Party, Bring Me The Horizon, Chvrches, John Newman and Kodaline. The line-up is amazing but for me the real draw would be the activities on offer and the huge range of art from The Hands of Unity to the Magic Field, the landscape is transformed by these beautiful structures.imageTo say I’m excited talking about a trip like this is an understatement – writing this has made me miss festivals more than ever and I can just imagine the amazing experience that would come with this trip. From the people you would meet and the things you would see, to the culture you would experience along the way. It would be the Eastern European trip of a lifetime and the winner would get an opportunity to capture every single moment with an amazing camera to share it with everyone who came along for the ride. The beautiful thing about blogging is that every single one of you who reads these posts would be there with me experiencing everything along the way, so let’s hope I get lucky and win so we can make this trip a reality! I have to nominate another three bloggers to write about their dream trip so I choose: Chelsea of Loving Life in Wellies, Steph of Big World Small Pockets and Nick and Amy of What the Pho Podcast – enjoy guys!

Where would your dream trip take you? Are any European music festivals on your bucket list?

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Travel | Boho beads for mermaid babes

imageOne of my biggest addictions, both in travelling and in life, is jewellery. I come from a fashion-loving family – my mum is a bit of a hoarder when it comes to clothes and always buys one in every colour. My sister on the other hand works as a fashion buyer and only deals with the finest of clothes and the snootiest of brands. I’ve always loved clothes but I’m more about finding something quirky and unusual than about spending a fortune – when I came travelling I was made for spending my days in bikinis and my nights in floaty tie-dye creations. The colours and the materials were the things my dreams were made of – from elephant print hareem pants to brightly patterned dresses and floaty tops with colours rolling into each other. I have a serious love of brightly coloured and patterned clothes – to the point that often I’ll struggle to find items that will go together in my wardrobe. Packing to come travelling with just a 65l bag was a toughie and I was torn between wanting to take everything and nothing at all with me – a big part of me was keen just to start over with fresh clothes and a new attitude. I ended up taking a bag stuffed with clothes and threw most of it away when I hit the shores of Thailand – realising the markets were packed with gorgeous colours and fabrics was just too tempting for a girl like me.imageAs my travels went on, I stocked up here and there, buying things that inspired me from bags and bracelets to tops and dresses. I even had some amazing gifts from friends including a yoga pal of mine who picked out some of my favourite trousers of all time – great taste! I loved the way my clothes reflected my state of mind and they perhaps showed the biggest outward change other than the smile on my face – finally I didn’t have to play at being smart or ‘fashiony’ – I could just dress as scruffy as I wanted and nobody cared. Basically it was like embracing the festival version of myself every single day – we’re talking bright colours, tassels, patterns, glitter and FUN. And we all know how much I love the festival version of myself. However, it got to a point when I knew I had not long left in Asia and that I would still have to send a lot of my clothes home before hitting up Australia – I had to stop shopping for clothes and to stop filling up my already overflowing backpack and start finding other ways of collecting mementos. I chose jewellery – my other great love. From rings and bracelets, to necklaces and earrings, Asia is packed full of amazing, quirky jewellery that will appeal to all tastes. Before I knew it, my arms were full of bracelets and my ankles full of anklets, but when it came to arriving in Australia I decided it was time to shed several of them and to make a fresh start in this new land.imageFor ages at the beginning I couldn’t afford to shop – living in Sydney for a month then partying my way up the East Coast meant I had little dollar to spare on frivolities like clothes and jewellery when there was goon to be bought. Plus, as many of us backpackers would say to each other – we often wore the same thing on five nights out in a row because we were always with a different crowd and no one would know the difference. But by the time I arrived in Darwin and was earning a good wage from my two jobs, I started to get the itch to shop again. Trying to save as much money as possible – I limited myself to charity shops like Vinnie’s (which actually had an amazing range of brand new clothing in top condition). But when it came to jewellery I just couldn’t resist the stalls down at Mindel Markets, one in particular is held by Embella which quickly became one of my favourite jewellery brands of all time. Started up around seven years ago by Sally, who started making jewellery at seven years old, the brand is a unique design and jewellery business. Originally starting up in Victoria, Sally and her husband Ross toured the festivals with Embella products before taking a motor home on the road for six years, eventually ending up in Darwin where they fell in love the lifestyle. It’s a brand that was made by travellers for travellers and I love the way the pieces reflect the feeling of being at one with the world around you. My favourite piece is my Earthgirl anklet ($49), pictured above, which never leaves my ankle, but I couldn’t help my addiction to their rings and bracelets as well. Most importantly, I love that I have a special sterling silver piece of jewellery that will stand the test of time to always remind me of that special time in Darwin and all the people who I loved there. It’s a brand that is made for girls who feel most at home with their toes in the sand and their heart in the waves.imageThe other brand that has got me all excited is one I have stumbled across since I’ve been in the outback – I just happened to see something online about Wanderer Bracelets and I loved the idea behind them so much that I wanted to share them with you guys. A perfect gift for any traveller, or something special for yourself – I actually bought myself these two bracelets as a Christmas present and something to celebrate my year of travelling solo. The initiative was started up by a guy called Ben who quit his job, sold everything and moved to Bali in his twenties – a guy after my own heart! Driving up into a jungle village one day, he met Made and his neighbours who were incredible artists but didn’t make enough to support their families. Their partnership sparked an international movement which sees them selling the bracelets to people all over the world. They are supporting an entire community while creating jewellery out of white buffalo bone – an all-natural sustainable source which also helps fight the ivory trade. All amazing reasons to support such a fantastic business. But even more special, you can get a bracelet engraved with custom coordinates of a place that is special to you – for me, it was the coordinates of my home in Norfolk, UK. It’s something special that will always mean that my heart is where my family and friends are at home, even if I’m the other side of the world. As I said, a perfect gift for a traveller and so affordable at around $22 each. And I couldn’t resist getting the mermaid tail bracelet to go with it, because let’s face it, I’m definitely a mermaid. A perfect brand for travelling souls that know their heart will always remain firmly at home.

What do you think of travelling fashion – are you all about the tie-dye and elephant pants or do you prefer something more formal? Have you found any great boho jewellery ranges? What do you prefer as a memento of your travelling times?

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Indulge your inner festival queen with New Look

imageI’m taking a break from the travel posts today to cover one of my favourite topics – festivals! Anyone who knows me will know I’m a bit of a festival queen and that I can never turn down a chance to party on a beach, in the woods or in the beautiful English countryside. I love festivals and everything about them, but it is UK festivals that really hold a special place in my heart. So you can imagine how gutted I am not to be attending any this summer – I know, I know, I’m travelling the world, how can I be gutted about missing a rainy festival? Well trust me, if you’ve ever been to a UK music festival and completely lost yourself in the bizarre, the magic and the music for four days – you’ll understand. Becoming editor of This Festival Feeling gave me an amazing opportunity to attend as many festivals as I wanted, to experience them behind the scenes and to write about and review them. I’m a lucky girl to have this chance and it took me from being a girl who had never been to a festival to one who have been to around 15 in three years. After managing to fit five in last summer (including the amazing Secret Garden Party, BoomTown Fair and We Are FSTVL) you can imagine I feel a bit lost getting all these email updates as announcements are made and knowing I won’t get to see any of this amazing live music, I won’t get to cover myself in glitter and I won’t get to see all of these crazy things this summer.imageBut you guys will get the chance! So as many of you have been doing with my blog over the last four months, I will now be living vicariously through you as you party your way through the UK festival scene. One of the fun things about festivals is the complete freedom to be creative with the way you look and dress – I often find a stray piece of glitter while sitting at work weeks after a festival and find myself longing to be back in the fields covered in sparkles again. I love clothes anyway and am a bit of a shopping addict – don’t ask how heavy my backpack has become – but you’ll notice this is a my first fashion post! I never end up writing about fashion because I don’t really consider myself an authority on it, but New Look thinks otherwise and they have asked me to join their festival fashion campaign by picking out some of my favourite festival outfits from their new collection. In my book, New Look are a great source for affordable and cute outfits for festivals – I always refuse to spend mountains of money because let’s face it, festivals are messy and there’s no guarantee those outfits will still look good by the end. You want fun patterns, cute accessories and lots of glitter!

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So, just to help you guys out, I’ve already checked out the collection and put together two outfits I love so that you guys don’t have to do the legwork and deal with stuffy changing rooms. All of these can be ordered online from the comfort of your sofa, so you don’t even have to get dressed! My first outfit choice is this cute purple Ethnic Print Playsuit (£12.99) – I love playsuits because they’re cute and cover your modesty when you get a bit drunk, plus the pattern would look great with a tan! Team this with the Light Brown Leather Fringed Sandals (£27.99) because a sturdy pair of sandals is a must for me at a festival – I know the weather is supposed to be rubbish in England but out of my 15 festivals it has only rained at two of them. Wellies are hot and sweaty to dance in and even trainers can be a bit much – it gets hot in those tents! So why not embrace the sunshine and get your tootsies out? Do what I do and wear these in the day to let your feet breathe and then don the trainers for nighttime to keep warm. This summery combo would look great with lots of quirky jewellery, maybe a body chain or headband like the ones below – I always prefer the feathered or chain ones to the flowered. Plus plenty of rings – they are my weakness!

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My second choice of outfit is something more for nighttime because quite frankly it gets bloody cold when you move out of the hot sweaty tents and into the winds that whip across the fields in the UK. It’s always good to have a couple of cover ups – a cute jacket or kimonos are my personal favourite because of the flowing material. I love the colours in this White Tile Print Dip Hem Kimono (£19.99) and would definitely team it with some denim shorts and a bandeau crop top, which are both available from the collection. But it would be the Gold Linked Bar Body Chain (£7.99) that added the detail to the outfit along with the Gold Jewelled Drop Tikka Head Chain (£6.99) for some added fabulousness. Both of these outfits only come to around £40, as I’m sure you already have basics like denim shorts, and you could easily wear them after the festival as well which is great – if they survive! Make sure they are both teamed with lots of glitter, a dash of face paint and a hell of a lot of fun. Then load up the car with ciders, grab your mates and get to that festival!

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I’ve been super lovely to you guys and linked all of these pictures to where you can find the clothes on the website so you won’t even have to search for them if you just love them! To check out the rest of the collection, click here head to the New Look website and get that bank card ready.

Have you got any festivals planned this summer? What is your favourite festival fashion combo? Can anyone recommend any music festivals for me to check out in Australia and New Zealand? 

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*This was a sponsored post but all opinions are my own

10 awesome opportunities being a journalist has given me

580161_10151456511187617_100428838_nBeing a journalist hasn’t given some people the best reputation in the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean that journalism is a bad career choice. If anything, I say that journalism has opened countless doors for me and has given me some awesome opportunities over the last few years. There are lots of amazing things about the job – you get to work with people which is perfect for social butterflies like myself, you get the chance to hear amazing stories first-hand and have the privilege of sharing them with the world, the trust that your readers and those sharing their stories place in you. There are a lot of tougher sides of the job as well, like having to write a tribute to one of your former best friends after a horrible accident, but that is why I think it is important to enjoy the good parts.488260_10151030389642617_308764103_nI know some don’t agree with getting freebies through journalism, but this is one of my favourite parts of the job – the privilege and extras that come with it. Journalism opens you up to a world of opportunities that you would never have had otherwise, and that is something I love about it.I know a fair few journalists who never really take advantage of the extras in the job, which personally I think is a shame considering how low paid so many journalists are. I know some won’t agree, but I tend to look at it as the tips a waitress would get. This is just a bonus to the job and, as a bit of a blagger, I don’t mind asking – I always figure if you don’t ask you don’t get. Which is clear from how many amazing things I have been lucky enough to gain – I always ask the question. So what have been my best blags and the top experiences my job has given me?

  1. My top has got to be weekend tickets to an incredible electronic dance music festival, Glade Festival, that was right on my doorstep. It was only my second festival and this experience really showed me how much I love festivals, plus it gave me a taste for reviewing and writing about festivals which then led to my work at This Festival Feeling.
  2. Close behind was tickets to Wyndstock – a Midsummer Ball, another festival, this time a more upmarket one with swing dancing, posh banquets and a fake fox-hunt – it was so much fun and again gave me a great opportunity to write about festivals. As did free tickets to the first Zoo Project Festival.
  3. I have just booked in to write a feature on a circus that is coming to town – how better to do it than to have a lesson from a Mexican high-wire expert who has been walking the wire since he was six-years-old and to interview him?
  4. Tickets to the theatre – I have pre-written and reviewed various shows at theatres across the area over the last few years. All brilliant experiences and, as a big theatre-lover, have helped me develop a working relationship with the various theatre groups because I have actually seen their work.
  5. Tickets to the ballet – a stunning night watching Swan Lake as a thanks for giving a series of write-ups to another theatre and free tickets to music events in the town.
  6. Taking on a new local bootcamp for a feature was brilliant fun and I got to take along a group of mates to get really muddy as we tried to complete an obstacle course and had a boxercise class.
  7. I’ve got another coming up – this one is Loopy Ball, which is also for a group of mates and it football but inside giant blow up balls – should be funny and I’m looking forward to it.
  8. Getting to interview and meet theatre, music and TV stars is an amazing bonus of the job and running the entertainment section, I’ve been pretty lucky.
  9. Priority screenings of the pantomime – I love a Christmas panto, and getting invited along, with my family in tow, to watch it before anyone else has is pretty good fun. Priority tickets are always a winner – running the entertainment section means I always know first when a great comedian or show is coming to town and I can usually reserve tickets.
  10. A fantastic Glamping trip with my girls as part of a review.

250010_10151043161977617_225305037_nOf course, we’re not all in it for the freebies, we do it for the love of the job and a passion for reporting news. But, being a journalist is a stressful job with constant deadlines, you work hard and if opportunities come up I don’t think we should be afraid to snap them up. Much like bloggers accepting gifts of review products. There’s plenty more I haven’t listed – so budding journalists, if anyone tells you that you are making a mistake with your career – why not ask them if their job gives them the chance to do all of these amazing things?

What’s the best freebie you’ve ever had through work? Are you thinking about going into journalism?

Ab Lucy sign off

Festivals: Where are all the female bands?

10397834_10152219575647617_2424544814853925969_nI know I seem to have festivals on the brain  at the moment, but we are slap bang in the middle of festival season, so you’ll have to keep reading these posts for a few weeks yet. Anyway, this one is slightly different to all my reviews and reminiscing posts about previous festivals – this one is focusing on an interesting infographic that was sent to me by the guys over at Farfetch about the number of female bands performing at the world’s top three largest music festivals. Despite the crowds surrounding the stages at festivals being full of women of all ages, whether they arrive in huge groups or in pairs, it seems that most of the line-ups for 2014 were dominated by male acts. Where are all the female musicians when it comes to the stage? This infographic focused solely on three of the world’s biggest festivals, starting with our very own Glastonbury Festival, which saw 175,000 flocking to Pilton between June 25-29. These figures were compared with those from Denmark’s Roskilde Festival which attracted 110,000 between June 29 and July 6. And finally, Belgium’s Rock Werchter which saw a further 110,000 between July 3-6.1004604_10151480508882617_1052791188_n

How big is the gender gap?

Let’s kick off with the figures on how many acts featured female members at each of the festivals. Glastonbury saw a whopping 83% of male performers to just 17%, but actually this was the highest percentage of female performers. Roskilde saw 88% of male performers compared to a mere 112% of females. But Rock Werchter showed the greatest gender gap with just 11% of female performers compared to 89% of males. Glastonbury may have been storming ahead, but still stood at only 17%!

Does genre matter?

As you can imagine, there seems to be a wider gender gap for some musical genres than others, and perhaps that is why some festivals in particular are struggling with the number of female artists. Women were best represented in pop, then rock acts at Glastonbury, with electronic, R&B and world music trailing behind. Over at Roskilde, pop remains the top representation of our gender, followed by rock and jazz, with further and much smaller representation in funk, experimental, electronic and world music. Rock Werchter, music like Glastonbury, went hard on pop and rock female-led acts, with far smaller numbers of electronic acts, then folk, jazz and world.

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Who’s headlining the festivals?

Another sorry result for the ladies who were distinctly absent from the headline acts, in fact entirely so from Roskilde which featured no female headliners! Rock Werchter wasn’t far behind, with just 6%, and even Glastonbury only boasted a mere 15% – although this did include the fabulous Dolly Parton!

Is it a popularity contest?

The research team spent some time looking at Facebook likes and comparing both male and female acts to see who appeared most popular – these were used as record sales information was not available. Some of the top acts at the festivals included the male-led metal band Metallica who took to the main stage at Glasto and Rock Werchter this summer and boast 37,423,683 likes. Hip-hop artist Drake took the main stage at Roskilde and has 34,000,000 likes, he was joined by rockers The Rolling Stones who have 19,000,000. Skrillex represented electronic music at both Glasto and Rock Werchter on secondary stages and has 17,514,547 likes. While rockers Kings of Leon took to the Rock Werchter main stage with 12,000,000 likes, joined by Pearl Jam who have 9,997,000 likes. Finally the ladies chime in, popstrel Lana Del Ray headed to the main stage at Glasto with just 9,461, 785 likes. Ellie Goulding took to the stages at Glasto and Roch Werchter with 9,409,676 likes, with Imagine Dragons and Ed Sheeran trailing behind.

Bucking the trend?

One of my favourite festival moments of the summer is actually one I wasn’t even there for, I watched Dolly Parton’s performance at Glasto live on TV but loved every second, I felt like I was there. She line-danced all over that stage, entertained the huge crowd of over 100,000 with her fabulous and funny stories at the Pyramid Stage. She actually drew a larger crowd than Arcade Fire and Metallica – both headline acts! So it seems that although male acts might be more popular on paper and to the booking agents – but when it comes to winning over the audience, it’s anyone’s game!

10590525_10152223383927617_4194751662331272017_nIt’s strange, this is something I hadn’t really thought about before. Considering all the festivals I have been to over the last three years, particularly this summer, I had never actually paid attention to how many female acts there were, or even what genre they seemed to stick to. After reading the infographic and really starting to think about it, I’ve certainly noticed that the majority of acts I have seen live this summer have definitely been male acts or male-led acts. I only actually remember seeing a handful of female headliners and one group featuring women taking a headline slot. While at We R FSTVL, Annie Mac was shockingly the only female act I remember seeing and while she really is a great role model and champions the female DJ, doing it alone perhaps highlights a real lack of women working in the electronic music genre.

At Secret Garden Party, one of the most impressive performances came in the form of Foxes who took a sunny, daytime slot on the Main Stage, while the powerful strains of Martha and the Vandellas had the whole crowd on their feet in one of the headline slots. This festival was probably one of the more female-friendly for acts but was still lacking slightly. BoomTown Fair actually went in the opposite direction with almost all of the acts I saw being male or at least male-led – I only remember seeing one act with a female singer, but there may have been others from times when I couldn’t quite see the stage. It’s a bit sad if there are actually all these female acts out there who are working their butts off and just aren’t being given the opportunities to perform on main stages at festivals – but is this a bigger problem with the music industry? Or is it simply a case of there are more men out there who want to be musicians to the level of performing at festivals? I’m not quite sure…10556415_10152190746577617_6474017272307128048_nWhat do you think about the figures and about the questions they raise? Do you think this highlights a bigger problem with the music industry – or are there just not enough female performers?

Ab Lucy sign off

What I’m going to do when festival season is over…

hot-stone-massage-therapyI talk about festivals a lot. But who could blame me? My work as editor of This Festival Feeling is something that takes up a lot of my time and I am extremely passionate about it. I love that it brings two of my greatest loves together – writing and festivals. I may have only gone to my first festival two summers ago, but it changed my life and led me to where I am today. And where am I today? Well, I’m the editor of a pretty big online publication focused solely on my favourite topic and I manage a team of writers who all love festivals and writing as much as I do. In addition to being lucky enough to get to do something I really love, I’ve gained masses of experience in producing digital content, working with PR companies and editing, plus I’ve had the opportunity to attend festivals for free – that’s the dream! I’ve been very lucky, but at the same time, I have also put a lot of hard work in, working a full time job, writing a blog and finding the time to edit reams of press releases, articles and features is not easy. I spend hours each evening writing, editing, filing and sifting through spam folders to find the stuff that you guys read in just minutes. It takes time to source the photos and liaise with PR companies, to interview artists, organise press accreditation and all the rest. But I do it because I love it, and hell yeah I love attending the festivals. But, even I get to a point when I need a break from all the festival talk, the pounding bass lines and late nights. It’s been a busy summer for me and if you’ve been reading, you’ll know I’ve crammed a lot in. I’ve been to four festivals (I’ll be on my way home from number four as you read this) and three of the festivals took park on three consecutive weekends. Around them, I’ve still been working full time with no time to really rest or catch up on sleep in-between them, no time to let the hangover fade before heading out to the next festival, and barely time to unpack my bag. Of course, my work is full time at the paper, but then we also include blogging on here around four times a week, writing up all the festival articles, previews and reviews and all the other every day stuff, plus don’t forget I’ve been working as a babysitter and waitress as well – trust me, I’m a busy bee.sleep-like-a-babyWith all of this going on, I have to say I am exhausted. I’ve actually had my first cold in at least five months because my body is so tired and I’m constantly faced with deadlines I have to meet. But I don’t want anyone to think I’m moaning about any of this – I put myself in this position and I may be tired but I’m loving every second. I’ve never been the sort of girl to sit about and wait for life to happen, I grab the bull by the horns and swing it round until the sun comes up. But now with just one more festival to go before I get a break to recover ready for the next, I’m starting to think about how on earth I filled my time before festival season, and what the heck am I gonna do when it finishes? Here are just some of the things I have on my to-do list for post-festival season:

Sleep

I can’t wait for lie-ins and a chance to catch up on some zzz’s in my own bed, rather than on a sleeping mat in a tent. I can’t wait to wake up from a night’s sleep and not have to pry my eyes open, to not have to force myself out of bed and to actually feel like I’ve slept enough. It’s strange, normally I really make sure I always get a solid eight hour sleep in because I know how much it affects my productivity and I feel much better for it, now surviving off so much less and not getting a chance to catch up really takes its toll.

Pamper

The day after I get home from the next festival (BoomTown Fair) I have booked myself and the boyfriend in for a full body hot stone massage – I used a voucher I got for my birthday and can’t wait to be seriously pampered after this summer of festivals. I love a massage and usually have a regular spa day with my mum, but we’ve both been so busy that we haven’t had one since the end of last year – I’m looking forward to a really luxurious treat after all this partying.

Watch

I seriously need to finish Orange Is The New Black – I reached about halfway through the second series when all the festivals kicked off and suddenly my workload doubled! I really want to know what happens next and I’ve already got another two series lined-up to watch when I finish it. I love getting into a TV series, but it doesn’t take much to make me lose interest, but this is one I have really enjoyed and I want to make sure I watch them and have the time to really enjoy them rather than rushing to watch them when I’m too exhausted to pay attention.

Blog

I have so many big plans for this blog and the biggest is a huge redesign which will make it look completely different, but I also have plans for lots of posts and new sections that I hope you will all love. I just need the time to programme all of this in and get it up and running. I’m planning on taking Absolutely Lucy to the next level and if you read my interview with The Bloggers Lounge you will have a few ideas about the changes I want to make content-wise. I hope that all of your guys who read Absolutely Lucy will like the changes and will support me through the next stage of writing.

Plan

Of course, you will all know by now about my travel plans for next year, well planning the actual route and booking the flights etc has been put on hold during festival season, but once all these events are over, it’s full steam ahead and saving is my main priority – so work will take over my life a little bit. As you know, I have started work as a waitress, on a bar and babysitting of late, and I really want to be able to put a lot more time into both of these over the coming months to help save as much money as possible for travelling.

Catch Up

I’m looking forward to catching up with friends properly. I’ve seen my festival group loads lately but I worry I’ve neglected my other friends a bit and am looking forward to having lots of time to catch up with them and what’s been going on in their lives, plus I can’t wait to tell them all about the festivals I’ve been to. I try my best to keep up with everything my friends are up to, but when you have as many commitments as I do, it can be difficult, particularly when my friends are all as busy as I am!10527339_10152190746447617_5900766769861430926_nThere are lots more things I’m looking forward to doing when I have more time on my hands, things like selling my stuff at car boot sales and on eBay, sorting out my CV and visas for travelling, getting back to the gym, organising a blogger’s meet-up and another university reunion. Lots to do and something tells me I’ll be even more busy once the festivals finish, but bring it on!

Have you been really busy this summer – are you looking forward to having some time to chill after all the festivals? What else can I use to fill my time post-festival season?

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Staying Beautiful At Festivals – What To Pack

sgpI’m trying my hand at something new here – not usually a beauty blogger but I’m always up for a challenge and this post combines beauty with one of my favourite things – festivals! As editor of This Festival Feeling I am always looking for the latest trends in beauty, fashion and music at all the top festivals. We are well into festival season now and with Glastonbury right around the corner, it is the perfect time to dig out those pots of glitter, those fabulous fake eyelashes and all those outrageous lip colours you’re just too scared to wear to work. For those who tend to stick to a bit of foundation, a simple eye-liner flick, and a clear gloss, festivals provide the perfect opportunity to experiment with colours and textures. For those who already love a flamboyant look, this is the time to really unleash the beast within and go all out.

So what are my beauty must-haves for festivals? Well I always have two lists – the essentials and the fun stuff.

Festival Beauty Essentials:

  • Make-up wipes are so necessary after a night of dancing in a sweaty tent, and to scrub all that glitter off your face to start again the next day.
  • Moisturiser with SPF is a great shout, with all the alcohol and (fingers crossed) sunshine, your skin will quickly dry out and if you’re out all day in the sun, it is always helpful to have that extra bit of protection.
  • Under-eye concealer is an absolute life-saver after a long night of dancing and drinking. Let’s be honest, who wants to spend a festival asleep? But that does leave those rather unforgiving shadows to deal with.
  • Sunglasses – yes I know these are a tad more fashion-y, but they do hide a multitude of sins and whether you’re dancing in the sunshine, in a tent with a huge light show, or just suffering a huge hangover, they always come in handy.
  • Nail files are a must for me, I’m such a clutz and always dive in without thinking, which means I always end up breaking my nails. I can’t stand being left with jagged edges so I always carry a file to touch up.
  • A black eye-liner (preferably felt-tip like the one from Collection 2000) these are amazing for doing smooth flicks but also for fancy dress make-up e.g. cat make-up!
  • Compact mirrors are so helpful. If you’ve ever been to a festival and realised how rubbish the ones in portaloos are if they even have them, and quite how bad they smell, you’d realise the importance of taking your own. Although I’m not sure how badly you’ll want to look in it by the final day!
  • Bright lipsticks combined with a great pair of shades really can complete the festival look. When you’ve just surfaced and all you want is a pint and a burger, if you can’t be bothered to slap anything on, grab these two and you’ll be ready to go!

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Fun Beauty Extras for Festivals:

  • GLITTER! Always my favourite, all different colours and plenty of it! Where else can you get away with having glitter all over your face and body? It takes any average make-up look into full festival-mode instantly.
  • Fake eyelashes are a great addition, but only if you go for the extra fabulous ones with gems or feathers – if you go for the plain ones it’s really not worth the hassle and the time of putting them on.
  • Feathers are a fantastic way of jazzing up festival make-up, you can easily attach them around the eyes or hairline with eyelash glue or make-up glue for dramatic effect.
  • Gems and beads also can easily be glued on and will look stunning around the forehead and eyes – why not sit round with the girls and do each others’ before heading into the festival fields?
  • Face-paint can be another great way of splashing festival fun all over the place, neon colours always go down a treat and it is so simple to do designs for your friends.

Whatever happens, unless you have serious cash to spare – don’t be tempted to get a “makeover” or be “glittered” by one of the stalls because that will often knock you back £20 and quite frankly, it is more fun to do it with your friends and save the cash for the bar. Pictured, you’ll see a couple of my own festival beauty looks – I had a lot of fun dressed up as a leopard at Zoo Project Festival and I can’t wait to go back to Secret Garden Party in a month – it really is the home of glitter and all things flamboyant! What about you guys? Are you heading to any festivals this summer? What looks will you be going for? Share your festival make-up ideas below!

Happy Festivalling!

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*This post was originally a guest post – click here to see the original.

Why not check out some of my latest guest posts?

Festival 3I’m on a bit of a guest post and collaborating hype at the moment. Loving working with other bloggers and online magazines to get more writing experience and also to share my work with new readers. It’s a great way to make connections with other bloggers and I’m enjoying the opportunity to meet new people through it as well. I’ve written a few guest posts before now which have all been well received and some have even led to other bloggers or readers contacting me for advice relating to journalism or setting up a new blog. I would definitely recommend to other bloggers to get involved in guest posting because it is also really fun. It gives a good opportunity to write something a bit different or for a different audience and keeps a good writer on their toes.

Check out some of the guest posts I have done previously:

And an interview with me as editor of This Festival Feeling:

If you fancy a read of my latest work – my newest guest posts have just gone live – one on my favourite topic of festivals and the other on why I love lifestyle blogging:

I should have a few others coming up soon and will let you know as soon as they go live. In the meantime, if you are looking for writers to contribute to your site, guest posters for your blog or to do a collaboration – please leave me a comment below or email me hello@absolutelylucy.com, I’m equally keen to get other writers posting on Absolutely Lucy, so why not drop me an email?

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