Taylor Swift Reputation Tour – Wembley Stadium

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Confession: I’m a very big Taylor Swift fan and I have been for quite a few years, confession number 2: I wasn’t the biggest fan of her last album Reputation...at least I thought I wasn’t until I saw the songs performed live last Saturday night and it all sort of made sense.

There’s something about going to a concert at a stadium that feels just that little bit more epic than going to even the biggest arena show, yes sure the stage is miles away but the atmosphere is contagious and even the biggest Swift cynic would have found it hard not to get carried away with it.

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Before Taylor took to the stage and after Charli XCX and Camila Cabello had warmed up the crowd the giant screens on each side of the stage played clips of her meeting fans at her Reputation listening parties (in her own house/s no less), she does love her fans does Tay Tay. Then the lady herself appeared to huge cheers from the 70,000 strong adoring crowd and kicked things off with ‘Ready For It?’ we were all given light-up wristbands on the way in and they flashed with various colour changes the whole way through the show. The majority of the set was made up of songs from Reputation, the album with much darker themes than Swifts previous ones delivered so much more live than on record, with the production and stage sets enhancing the songs perfectly. Taylor switched between the main stage and two smaller stages in the middle of the crowd, as well as ‘flying’ over the crowd in a snake skeleton during ‘Bad Blood’. Then there were the countless outfit changes into various sequin cat-suits and the huge blow up cobra snakes popping up from the stages, making the whole thing a spectacular theatrical experience for the audience.

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While the old Taylor may be “dead” as she proclaimed on ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, she can still be resurrected occasionally as proved during a medley of ‘Style’, ‘Love Story’ and ‘You Belong With Me’, where we got to relive the country/pop Taylor for a few minutes.

The most unexpected moment of the night came when she took to the piano and started playing ‘Angels’ only for Robbie Williams to pop up through the stage, we’d been speculating before the show who her special guest may be after Niall ‘One Direction’ Horan joined her the night before but I definitely wasn’t expecting Robbie, it was the perfect choice though and watching Taylor grinning up at him from her piano as the crowd erupted with excitement was a genuinely lovely moment!

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One of the hightlights from Reputation was ‘Getaway Car’, another song that came to life in a live setting, then there was the brilliant ‘Blank Space’ which I think is still one of her best songs. The colourful, fun, dance/sing-along of ‘Shake It Off’ complete with confetti cannons was another euphoric moment and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ finishes off the night in joyous fashion.

I’m always going to have a softer spot for ‘Red’ and ‘1989’ than for Reputation but I am in no doubt that Taylor Swift is at the top of her game when it comes to being the perfect pop star!…now when is that greatest hits tour going to be?

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Photos by Carly Blake @cblakeyo

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Recent Make: Personalised name cushions

I’ve been making a few personalised name cushions for new babies and childrens birthday’s recently so I thought I would show you what I’ve been up to! This lovely natural star fabric with pink and green lettering was a for a new baby girl and I always think stars work really well for a nursery!

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For another new arrival I made a rainbow lettering cover with a cute grey heart background, I only had enough to make one cushion with this heart print though and I can’t seem to find anything similar so if any of you fellow sewing/craft lot see anything let me know please!

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I think the rainbow lettering is perfect for brightening up a room whatever decor you have, it’s also great for little ones when they start to learn colours too of course!

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The second rainbow one I have made is for a little girl called Louise celebrating her birthday! On this one I made the letters slightly bigger as there were less to fit on.

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Louise cushion cover

If you’re reading this and thinking “I would like one of those!” or something similar then feel free to send me a message.

Gill x

Get to know my brand…the interview

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I was recently contacted by Zoe who runs The Interview Zone to ask if I would like to answer a few questions about my business and I was more than happy to do so!

They post an interview from different independent businesses each day throughout the month and then do a catch up post at the end of the month. It’s a really great way of letting customers find out more about the story and the face behind a brand! It’s also good to learn about other small businesses and to find fellow makers that you may want to network with!

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Here’s a couple of snippets from the interview but if you want to read the full article I’ve linked it at the botton of the post!

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Head over to their site to read the full interview! https://www.theinterviewzoneuk.com/new-blog/2018/01/06/gill-makes

 

Going Naked!…

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I recently decided to join the Naked Cards campaign set up by Becka Griffin and co. The idea is to encourage small businesses to do their bit for the environment by cutting down on plastic usage wherever possible. Many handmade card sellers have cut down on their use of cellophane bags in orders through the post since the launch of the campaign with the idea to either go completely naked (the card, not you) or package them in a paper bag which can be recycled.

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Personally I’m not feeling quite ready to send my cards out with nothing at all on them yet so I decided to switch to these cute little candy striped paper bags!…which I actually think look much prettier than just plain cello anyway! what do you think?!…

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So what to do with any cellophane bags that are left over? well I am going to keep mine packed away for any craft fairs as I do think the cards need them on there for transporting and when people are thumbing through them, I’ll also keep some for any wholesale orders I may have.

There are definitely other things I need to consider in both my personal and business worlds to be more eco-friendly but every little helps right?!

Naked Cards Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nakedcards/

 

 

Liverpool Love

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After Dot to Dot festival I headed across from Manchester to Liverpool for the rest of the weekend with the small matter of a Champions league final going on…as a Liverpool fan the less I say about that the better! the city was heaving, and although the night didn’t have a perfect end for us reds I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else for it.

lpoolIt’s hard to stay down when you’re in Liverpool and the sun is shining though so on Sunday I went to the best place in the city when it’s a sunny day, the waterfront. The Tall Ships Festival was on over the weekend so it was a great atmosphere and bustling with people.

 

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There really is very few better places to be on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend…and although I wont pretend to know the first thing about boats or ships it was pretty amazing seeing them in all their glory along the river, unfortunately I didn’t get to see them set sail on the Monday but I hopefully next time!

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Oh and a trip to Liverpool wouldn’t be complete without finding these four lads would it?!

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Gill x

Dot to Dot Festival 2018 – Manchester

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A bank holiday weekend in May is never quite complete without a little trip to one of the many mini festivals taking place around the UK…well it’s not for me anyway! In previous years I’ve either been at Sound City in Liverpool or Dot to Dot and this year I returned to the latter for a day and night out in Manchester.

 

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Dot to Dot is one of the best metropolitan festivals in the UK and takes over the music venues of three cities on three consecutive days of the late May bank holiday weekend, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. I’ve seen some great bands in previous years including Peace, Mystery Jets and Wolf Alice, and the festival can boast about helping the likes of Florence and The Machine and Ed Sheeran no less, so I know it’s always a good place to catch the next big thing before they become, well the next big thing!

I have to be honest this year I was struggling a little bit in the run up to the festival as I’ve been a bit out of the loop in terms of new music and just having a few brief listens to some of the artists playing meant that there wasn’t much that grabbed my attention immediately. Sometimes that can be the best way though as you end up stumbling across a band that’s completely new to you, and best case scenario? it’s one that you like and want to see again!

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I had heard a little bit of Brighton band (now based in Manchester) Chappaqua Wrestling before the weekend so I popped to see them at Jimmy’s bar in the Northern Quarter, I quite liked their sound which is very summery and quite easy listening, but I definitely feel as though I need to see them again before making a decision if it’s my thing as some of their songs were a bit too same-y.

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Fontaines D.C. are a band that I keep hearing lots about, a couple of friends had seen them at The Great Escape festival and recommended so I was intrigued to check them out, they were playing early evening at Night and Day Café and it was a really good crowd that were obviously also keen to see them! I loved how they were just so different from a lot of the new bands around at the moment with a real punky, gritty sound. I also love that the front man’s Dublin accent comes through so clearly, their single ‘Chequeless Reckless’ hasn’t left my head since and I want to see them again!…also respect to the guitarist who was sporting a ‘repeal’ sweater so extra points there.

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At the back room of Gullivers pub locally based band The Elephant Trees were playing a small acoustic set, it wasn’t on my list of things to see but after chatting to someone outside I was persuaded to give them a go. Their singer Martha had a brilliant voice that seemed to stop everyone in their tracks, seeing as it was an acoustic set I would like to see them again with a full band to get the full sound but definitely ones to keep an eye on.

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I almost felt a little bit like I had failed on my mission to see loads and loads of bands at Dot to Dot this year, by the time I got into the swing of things there were a lot of schedule clashes but having thought about it since, sometimes that old quality over quantity saying rings true and speaking of quality the festival once again managed to book a top headliner in The Horrors. I may be biased as I’ve been a fan since their days of smearing black face-paint on the audience (yes that happened) and singing about Jack the Ripper, which happened a good eleven years ago now.

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Over the course of five albums they have managed to transform themselves from a goth-rock fad to one of the UK’s best live bands with a back catalogue full of great songs. The Albert Hall was also the perfect venue for The Horrors with its stained glass windows and just general gothic/churchy vibes, their strobe light show and minimal yet theatrical live performance is one that never fails to impress. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day at Dot to Dot than with a little dance to The Horrors take on disco as they play ‘Something to Remember Me By’…

…it wasn’t quite the end though as after the live bands finished The Horrors were keen to carry on the party by taking their records over to Band on The Wall back in the Northern Quarter and treating us to a DJ set from bassist Rhys Webb, where I had a little chat with them about those facepaint days.

Thank you Dot to Dot for once again putting on such an excellent day of new bands and old favourites!…I’m already looking forward to seeing what’s in store for next year and seeing which names from this year make it big.

Gill x

Hello there!

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Is anyone there?!…I haven’t done very well at blogging at all recently, I did fall out of love with it a bit last year and struggled to get back into it to be honest! I’ve had a blog on and off since 2011 (eek!) and it’s always been more of a diary in a way, rather than a ‘business’ sort of thing. I often used it to keep a record of gigs I’d been to or trips away and as I’ve always enjoyed writing it was nice to waffle on a bit more than you can do on social media. I think blogging now is so different to when I started mine up and it can sometimes feel like there’s pressure to make “a success” out of having a blog rather than just doing it for enjoyment! so with that in mind I’ve decided to try and get back into it without worrying about who is reading/or not reading, I can’t promise they’ll be a huge amount of consistency to my posts but I will try and at least do better than recent months!

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So what have I been up to in daily life!?…(apart from posing with windmills) well in my post at the start of the year I mentioned that I had been working on my Sewing a Song range of cushion covers and since then I’ve been taking more orders for personalised ones. It may be a very niche market but quite a large chunk of my customers are Kings of Leon fans and it’s lovely to be able to make bespoke ones for people with song lyrics that mean something to them or their loved ones.

I’ve also been working on developing my other ranges which is still very much work in progress! but I’m keen to try out some more illustrations as I’ve loved doing these city ones for people…

…and my bee cards are some of my best sellers so I want to continue developing those into a range too!

Gill x

Dot to Dot Festival 2018 Preview

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I’m going to be heading up to Manchester for Dot to Dot festival soon, having missed it last year I’m looking forward to spending the day back at one of the best Metropolitan festivals in the UK.

Now in it’s 13th year Dot to Dot takes place in three cities – Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, the festival hosts a long list of established artists as well as showcasing some of the best emerging talent from both the UK and overseas.

This year The Horrors have been picked to headline and on Friday night they will close the Manchester day with a set at the cities Albert Hall. With five albums and a well-loved back catalogue since they emerged in 2006, they’ve proved to be one of the countries best live bands and are sure to live up to expectations when they close the festival in each city.

Returning higher up the bill after playing Dot to Dot in 2016 are Manchester’s very own Pale Waves who since signing to the Dirty Hit label and working with label mates and fellow Mancunians The 1975 have gained a notable following, they’ll no doubt draw one of the largest crowds with their set taking place at the Albert Hall just before The Horrors.

Up and coming Chappaqua Wrestling are another Manchester based band – although originally from Brighton – the two best mates have a summery Beach Boys-style sound that on the first few listens remind me of The Magic Gang, while Dublin garage rock/punk band Fontaines DC seem to be creating a buzz so could be ones to watch out for.

A few other names on my list to check out include; Yowl, Bad Sounds, Fizzy Blood, Turnover and Dead!….although I usually find with Dot to Dot and other city festivals  sometimes its good to just see what you stumble upon as you pop into different venues, you never know when you might find your new favourite band!

You can still get tickets for Dot to Dot by clicking the link here – Tickets

 

My 2017 – a summary!

It’s been a while since I wrote any sort of post…months in fact…eek, but inspired by other reviews of the year I’ve been seeing pop up since Christmas I thought I would do a little look back on my 2017. This year has been a little bit of a strange one for me…as I’m sure it has for many others. I started off thinking that it would be the year I moved to a different city having left London in Autumn 2016 to return to Suffolk. I am however still in Suffolk for the time being although the plan to move elsewhere is still very much a plan! I have spent most of the year working on getting my business up and running and although there is still a lot I want to do, compared to the end of 2016 it is looking much more how I want it to. I thought I would share some of my positive and happy memories from 2017…sorry its quite a hefty one!

I spent Valentines Day with Drake (and a few thousand other people) at the O2 Arena, with the most amazing seats near the front and it was probably one of the greatest live shows I’ve seen to be honest. Then in March I returned to Anfield to watch Liverpool play for the first time in years, it might have been a rainy game against Burnley but they did at least win!…and I got to catch up with old friends in Manchester and Liverpool.

As mentioned earlier I spent a big chunk of the year working on ‘Gill Makes‘ and ‘Sewing a Song’, the response since I started the song lyric cushions has been really lovely and I’m so happy when someone asks me to make a personalised item for them or just pops to my Etsy shop and orders something. There is still a lot of work to done but I can at least now say I am so glad I broke away from London to put more focus on it all!

2017 was my first year without a holiday for a while, in fact I haven’t been on a ‘proper’ holiday since 2015 so I appreciated any opportunity for a change of scenery (and a glimpse of the sea).  I’ve always loved Brighton but since my friend has moved nearby I feel like I’ve explored it a lot more and know a few more hidden gems!

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Saying goodbye to one of my favourite bands was a bittersweet moment of 2017, I cut down on the amount of gigs I went to last year but there was no way I was missing these (which is why I went to three of the farewell gigs). I won’t bore you all again as I’ve already blogged about this (here!) but even though I was heartbroken back in June I am so glad I met so many friends via these guys!

 

Even though it takes place in my home county Latitude festival felt like a holiday in the summer so maybe I did have a proper holiday after all. It was a massive highlight of 2017 – as it has been every year since I started going in 2013 – staying in a cottage helps with the holiday feel too! Watching The 1975 headline will always be one of my favourite festival memories and it came at the perfect time after the post-Maccabees comedown!

In August I saw another one of my favourite bands, The Cribs, play two album release shows in two days (with the added bonus of an acoustic performance in Kingston’s market square). I always love seeing this band but this was a really lovely few days catching up with friends too ❤

Continuing along the music theme…although in a slightly different vein…during the same week in August as The Cribs gigs I relived the 90’s when I was lucky enough to write about Now That’s a Festival (read about it here if you wish!) I think it was exactly the occasion for my friend and myself to forget about all those things stressing us out and just for a few hours transport ourselves back to our teen years…oh yeah and I met Lee Ryan and Damage.

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Another music related highlight came in September when Mystery Jets took over the Garage in North London for five nights of ‘Jetrospective’. The band played a different album each night and I obviously couldn’t choose which one to go to so went to them all…it was one of my favourite weeks of the last few years let alone just 2017 and made up for having to turn down a few other gigs!

As I touched on before in 2017 I managed to finally develop an idea I had a while ago (about 5 years ago in fact!) into a product. My ‘Sewing a Song‘ cushions are something that I am continuing to work on and am in the process of working on new designs and ideas but I am really grateful to anyone that has encouraged me along the way or has ordered from me in the last few months.

As a bit of a New Years Eve cynic I couldn’t imagine including it in a review of year highlights usually but 2017 into 2018 was one of the nicest NYE’s for a while as I got to be reunited with one of my best friends from Australia. Like proper tourists we watched the fireworks from the banks of the Thames, even though I don’t live in London anymore I still love it and seeing out the year with the fireworks and one of best mates has possibly made me a little less cynical 😉

Happy 2018 everybody!

G x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Make – Wedding gift for a fan of The Smiths!

I was recently commissioned to make a cushion for a wedding gift with the lyrics from The Smiths song ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’ on the front.

I found this pretty cream/beige fabric with tiny blue flowers on it in a shop in Sudbury, Suffolk and thought it would look great with a brighter blue fabric that I had in my collection for the letters.

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I usually tend to make most of my cushion covers 38x38cm in size however as this one had more words on I needed to make one that measured 50x50cm. If I’m making the lyric covers I tend to roughly lay out the words/letters on the fabric to figure out the best way to put them on.

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I use heat n’bond adhesive on the letters, tracing them all out first before cutting each letter and ironing them on, after they are all secure and in place I machine stitch around them to finish it off!

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Since I’ve started making the Sewing a Song cushion covers I’ve received a few requests for different lyrics and I’m happy to make ones for people so please feel free to get in touch if you would like something personalised made.

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