The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Cambridge Autumn: Photography


So am off to an event tonight at The High Tea Club which I'll more than likely be blogging on this weekend.  

But before that I just wanted to upload some random images I took today. 

My home city is gorgeous at this time of year.  

I frickin' LOVE Autumn!


Monday 26 October 2015

Event: Suffolk Blogger Meet

A couple of weeks back I went to the Suffolk Blogger Meet arranged by @DaisyXXO.  Held in Bury St Edmunds, a place I have zero knowledge of, I was pleased/relieved that Clashing Time offered to give me a lift.  We met up with Life's A Catwalk and Loved By Laura and after a mini mare due to all the car parks being closed (!!) arrived at the venue only a little late to see what the what was.

Inside we were greeted with cookies, chocolates and a smiling if slightly nervous looking Daisy. Stall holders happily chatted away to whomever approached them, their smile never wavering as we rearranged their products for our countless photos. The only slight annoyance was the venue was rather dark which meant it didn't lend itself to wonderful images with tons of natural light.  This did become a conversation starter though and I got to meet a couple of fantastic ladies running their dream businesses.  **Queue a little free publicity for those gorgeous indie traders**

Ivy Joan are a new company selling all manner of cute interior furnishings.  Their soft and cosy blankets were a real hit, perfect for snuggling under on forthcoming predictably damp winter days. So too were the framed letters but as you can see from the below picture, they know their market! 
The Charity Candle Company are just that, beautiful candles that you can purchase safe in the knowledge you are helping one of four totally worthwhile charities.  The scents were mellow yet fragrant and prices being between £2.50 and £8.00 meant these beauties pretty much sell themselves, especially in the run up to Christmas.

To add to the fun of meeting new blogger friends like Sahara Splash, there was also a raffle which had an immense number of prizes.  I wasn't as lucky as Life's a Catwalk (who won four times) but did get picked to win one of five gorgeous packs of birthday/post cards and all sorts of fabulous paraphernalia from Yoohoo Mail.  I took this as a blessing from the Gods and confirmation that my stationary addiction was healthy/to be encouraged. 

This was particularly welcome as not 10 minutes earlier I had knocked one of the A4 framed posters from YooHoo's stand crashing to the ground. Incidentally it didn't break so I can also vouch for their durability... which was the plan all along.  Yeah, see I wasn't being clumsy, it was a performance test! 
And try not to touch suicidal frames!  
...... Anyway

The main thing I took away from this event, apart from the six(!) goodie bags - it's fair to say that Daisy is one connected chickee - was how our community is expanding.   The blogging scene has blown up over the past few years and while it's true there are those that are just in it for the freebies many do just want to connect with other like-minded writers.  Eager to learn skills, experiment with apps and attend events we used to have to traipse into the big smoke, but no more.  Thanks to people @DaisyXXO and @ClashingTime who started CambMeetUp, those of us on the outskirts can now get a piece of the action. 

About time too!

Have you found that blogger events are spilling out from London to the smaller cities?   


Friday 16 October 2015

Stylist Live

Alright I've been off with a cold and done nowt on my blog for a week but I'm back (phew I hear you all say). And what a week to come back to, you’ll be hearing about all sorts over the coming days but first it’s the Stylist Live event*.  An occasion which not only made me consider joining a political party, but also gave me a free Swarovski crystal note book!

@GirLRunningLate and I arrived at the Business Design Centre and grabbed our free glass of bubbles. While GRL made a beeline to get her hair all glammed I mooched over to the Stylist display.  Past cover images, quotes from previous editions and a mock-up of a worker’s desk - a bit Tracey Eminy just less of a mess - were shown. I wasted more than a little time imagining it was my desk and it was I that had the best job in the world.

When I was done with fantasyland I ascended the stairs and joined the first queue I saw. Luckily this was the Swarovski crystal free gift queue and nail files, candles, scarves and notebooks were all available to us just because we were there.  I probably could have left right then happy I’d got my money's worth... but I didn't.  

Good job too as I would have missed coffee scrubs, places to design your own shoes and have them moulded to your exact foot measurements, cute new lifestyle magazines and bargain priced clothing galore! 

Emerald Street gave us a place to charge our phones AND nab some free pick and mix but one of my favourite stands was Spry. Selling chic candles in an array of scents the fragrances were enticing and burned clean for, I'm told, between 20 – 50 hours depending on the size of candle bought.  

The fashion show was, after a small hiccup with the music, both interesting and professional and I fell for some of the period drama and 80’s trends we were shown.  The fast pace and slamming tracks were perfect for the occasion. I've been to fashion shows recently that are literally HOURS long and which lost their way 15 minutes in.  Kind of excruciating... in a seriously first world problem way.

In the interest of balance I do feel it only fair to add a few notes on what didn't work but I’ll make it brief as I don’t want you to dwell on this too much.
Ticket Purchase Problems – Thursday being a half day should have been cheaper than the rest of the event. They obviously realised this after we had bought tickets - good on ya Stylist - but then offered either a partial refund or a glass of fizz on arrival.  Seeing as we all got said fizz anyway I'm doubly glad I went for the refund!
Water Stations – these were few and far between, actually I only saw one and in a warm setting with overexcited people being given free shizzle this seemed a little short sighted.
Directions – the learning labs and talks were not well signposted.  Several of those manning stands didn't seem to know where the talks were and by the time we had found some of the labs many were already full.

All that aside and cutting them a little slack, it is their first go at an event like this, my time at Stylist Live was well worth it with the highlight being the Caitlin Moran chat**.  She was so comfortable and engaging.  So eloquent, able to back up her arguments whilst adding more than a little humour to her points.  The slightly obsessive part of me didn't feel like I was in a public talk at all, she has that knack of making it feel like we're all just chatting down the pub.  I thoroughly enjoyed how she imparted her wisdom and could have listened to her speak on masturbation, abortion, the state of the world and how she blew her chance at being friends with Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift all the live long day.  She's even inspired me to look into joining in this lark we call politics by seeing what The Women’s Equality Party is all about, a feat no one else has come close to accomplishing.  Plus she’s done it all with a sense of joy and positivity that is positively contagious.  I’ll climb down out of her backside in a moment but may as well finish off by admitting what you probably already know. I seriously love her and wish she was my friend.  

So I'm off to discover more about The Women’s Equality Party and try not to doodle images/made up conversations I would like to have with my new BFF in my new sparkly notebook.

If you went to #StylistLive let me know your take on it below.
*bear with me it’s gonna be a long rambley one!

** I wrote that  bit whilst queueing to go into the Moran chat because I knew it’d be awesome sauce and it was!  


Monday 5 October 2015

Review time: Not A Jewellery Box

I've been lucky enough to be sent an item from a newish company called Not a Jewellery Box.  NAJB began 5 year ago when director, Emma Cox, decided to get all the jewellery she wasn't wearing that much organised.  I can totally relate here, I have tons of accessories that I love but that are sitting around half forgotten in boxes or hanging haphazardly on hooks.

When I was on holiday in France I wanted to take an array of pieces with me, which I ended up carrying around in a plastic apple - more normal than it sounds.  Having looked over the website however the little book of necklaces/earrings look to be those “Oh thank God someone made that” super cute inventions that the hyper organised, or those that aim to be, will love. They come in an array of colours and are pretty reasonably priced too, even for a freelancer with minimal cash.

In keeping with the name I am reviewing not a jewellery box, but this cute heart pendant by Blue Lace Designs - incidentally the designer of which is Emma’s BFF.   It can be clipped onto the necklace or used as a zip pull decoration or charm.  I'm a big fan of hearts, feathers and arrows on jewellery so this little blue beauty is right up my street. 

It’s a little awkward to pull the clasp back and I don’t recommend you do it with painted nails, gels will be fine but ‘normal’ varnish will take a beating. That said its fast becoming one of my go to accessories, the leather strap softens over time and can be adjusted to fit a bunch of different lengths.  

I decided it can even be used as a headband as well, not sure that was the aim but it stayed put, looked cute (how many times have I said ‘cute’ in this post!?) and didn't pull on my hair. 

Not too shabby for Rachel! (sorry old friends’ quote. I mean Ally of course!)

What do you think?


Sunday 4 October 2015

Foodpark Night Market Review

Last night I went to my first Foodpark Night Market.  I've heard quite a bit about these events and having bought my tickets weeks in advance I was eager to get to the venue. Gravel Hill Farm (quite gravely, not very hilly) reminded me of that advert for the ARTS cinema with the stalls, lights and middle class people sat around hay barrels. I imagine talks about where to go ski-ing and the perils of private education were had by many a punter whilst queueing for their alfresco supper and trying to stop ‘Imogen’ from touching anything dirty.    

Live music was provided by Will Robert playing his twinkly sounding guitar and soothing us with his Ben Howard-esq. vocals.  I actually felt quite badly for him when he finished as he didn't get anywhere near as rousing an applause as he deserved.  Check him out, he's honestly rather good!

As my stomach began to grumble attention turned to the array of street food vans available under the corrugated iron roof. While offerings from The Wandering YakFired up Pizzas and Guerilla Kitchen were included, there was little in the way of BBQ food and anything resembling pulled pork or chicken wings was missing completely. Luckily a firm favourite was on offer and once again Steak and Honour did not disappoint with their truly gourmet burgers.  The wait was only half an hour as well, positively speedy in comparison to past experiences!

When it came to quenching our thirst, the prosecco and Pinkster gin bar were pleasantly easy to get to, obtaining a beer was less well orchestrated.  One of the three servers seemed more concerned with writing the beer names on the taps than actually serving his customers - something that should have been addressed before the event started maybe?  By 6.30pm, only an hour or so after the market had opened the queue was 40 mins long.

So there were aspects of the event that lacked organisation, however the vibe I got was one of a delightfully chilled night with relaxed friends and families mingling to live music and Christmas style lighting. While my beer drinking buddy was less than impressed, I would definitely give the night market another go.  Here are my tips to make the most of it if you fancy going to the next one:

Keep up to date on Facebook: here you can check if it’s sold out – sometimes tickets are available on the door but its stonkingly popular so book early to avoid disappointment (sorry for the cliché saying but I have first-or rather second-hand knowledge of said disappointment as some of our friends left it too late to get their tickets)
Don’t drive: - there’s no parking so cycling, taxi or public transport is the best way to arrive (plus then you can have a few tipples!).
Arrive Early, Doors are 5pm and the first hour was by far the most civilised!
Bring cash- most vender's do not accept cards.
Go with the flow. As advised you will most likely have quite a wait for both food and beer.  Even if you aren’t hungry I'd order your food before 6.30pm, the queues mount up quickly thereafter.
Bring the Layers! it’s a beautiful setting and while soft cosy blankets are provided they are quite small and there are far fewer wraps than people that need wrapping up!

Have you been to the Cambridge Food Market, what did you think? 


Friday 2 October 2015

Modish Shoes - Cambridge Art Fair Window Display

I'm aware the subject matter is flitting around all over the place on the blog at the moment. I hope you're enjoying seeing all the things I am into, kinda too bad if you’re not!  So from Photography and Music we now take a hand brake turn to art... and shoes.  Well this is me, you knew they’d be cropping up here somewhere soon, right?

As it's Cambridge Art Fair the window of Modish Shoes in Green Street has an artist’s studio window display.  Roof Brown (of 10:AM Design studio, and designer for Homestuff with History, another great find on the same road), designed the concept around a Tess Recordon painting which makes the focus of the display.  And its Ruth’s attention to detail that really transforms an independent shoe shop window into an art instillation. From the monogrammed shop name on the giant pencils to the table, which is actually a larger than life painter’s palette, the details make this display really stand out.

Modish Shoes, owned by Sarah Decent, advise they road-test every single pair of shoes they sell - now that sounds like a job I was born for, let me know if you're looking for any new testers Sarah.  They've also been recommended by The Guardian as one of the Top 100 Shoe shops in the UK and sell well known brands like Fly London and Calvin Klein.

Sadly the large painting in the window isn't for sale, but Sarah has an array of prints and greeting cards that are available by the same artist. The display and cards will be around to pursue and purchase until next Sunday.  Just one more reason to take a stroll down Green Street, one of our coolest roads for independent interior design and style. 

Have you seen any interesting window displays recently?

Tess Recordon Prices:
Greeting cards £2
A4 unframed print £48
A4 framed print £95
Large print unframed £250
Large framed print £350 

Thursday 1 October 2015

Review: Mallory Knox - Good Natured Gig.

So last night I continued my descent into teenage EMO regression by going to the Mallory Knox gig at the Cambridge Junction.  The band being from Cambridge (tenuous link, a friend's boyfriend used to play cricket with one of them, no idea which one though) I was intrigued to see what they had for their home fans. 

You know how some bands start off slowly and warm you up as they go?  Yeah, the Knox don't do that. Shout at the Moon and Wake Up were the first two songs up and the energy continued from there.  I was a little concerned that I wouldn't know many of the lyrics being a newish fan and the aforementioned ditties being among my favourites.  I worried I might get a little turned off toward the middle or end of the night but this wasn't to be.  The band front man Mikey Chapman was relaxed, chatty and inclusive keeping us enthralled and entertained through the set.  

At times he did get a bit emo himself, telling us how much he loved us and urging us to love each other and make the world a better place, all a bit USA type mushy. While certain American feminist, atheist, vegetarian You tubers go on and on AND ON about how famous people can't really love their fans, I got the sense that these guys really do have a great deal of affection and gratitude for theirs. Which in a way is a kind of love isn't it?

One thing that really stood out to me was the fans - young as they were - and how cool they were to each other.   In a small venue like the Junction which holds less than 1,000 people there were circle pits and walls of death a plenty.  All of which was I closer to than I had ever been seeing as I'm more a Manolos then mosh pit kinda girl.  And while there was tons of shoving the second, someone fell over there were at least 3 others there helping them up.  One guy even lost his glasses and we all stood back while he retrieved them. 
That's not the do-si-do they're doing.
I'm sure all this makes me sound like a complete grandma and maybe it has always been this way.  I've got to say though it really gave me such affection for the people there, whose only interest was to enjoy themselves and look out for each other.  Maybe I'll join in next time.

I said maybe!

PS tickets still available for some gigs here.
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