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

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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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank holiday in Brighton/Lewes and Big screen on the beach

Over the bank holiday weekend I headed down to stay with my friend who lives in Lewes, we hadn’t really made too many plans but I was lucky enough to win tickets through Camden Town Brewery to the Big Beach Screen ‘Quadrophenia” event on Saturday night!

We were so lucky with the weather over the weekend and as we headed into Brighton from Lewes early Saturday evening the sun was still shining. The showing of ‘Quadrophenia’ at the beach screen was to coincide with a whole weekend programme of events focusing on the history of mod culture and the famous bank holiday day clashes between mods and rockers in Brighton. Now days it’s the chance for people to show off their elaborate scooters along the sea front and dress up in 60s clothing!

After being slightly delayed at the bar (due to the fact they had run out of beer!) we got ourselves a rhubarb cider and some popcorn and found a space on the pebbles, before the film there were DJ’s and a pianist to keep everyone entertained. There was a great atmosphere in the crowd, with quite a few people decked out in sharp suits and 60s style dresses. With the sun setting behind the screen it made for a striking view. It was a such a unique experience watching a film whilst sitting on a beach and one I would definitely recommend (perhaps depending on the weather!)

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Once the film had finished there was a Q&A session with a couple of the actors from Quadrophenia including the lead Phil Daniels then a Who tribute band took to the stage to carry on the party! We hadn’t eaten during the film so decided to leave after a couple of songs to grab some food in Bok Shop which is a new tres trendy chicken restaurant if you’re ever in Brighton and in need of some chicken wings. We finished our evening with a rhubarb gin (best drink ever!) at The Office pub before heading back to Lewes.

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On Sunday we stayed in Lewes and checked out Artwave which is an annual festival where artists and makers open up their studios and homes for a couple of weeks, we didn’t plan which ones to look at but instead just wandered around seeing what we discovered and we managed to see some lovely things! Lewes is a really pretty town to  explore with loads of little cafes and tearooms to stop at along the way including Laportes which uses local produce and was super tasty! I wrote more about it in a previous blog post if you fancy a read! I love Brighton and its surrounding area so it was great to head down there for the weekend!

 

Festival diary: Latitude

It’s been a full on (and sometimes emotional) few weeks in terms of music related things for me, there was The Maccabees farewell’s in Manchester and London, a few days later a trip to Hyde Park to see longtime faves Kings of Leon, followed the day after by the Grenfell fire benefit gig at Bush Hall.

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Continuing on the gig wave I spent last weekend at Suffolk’s (my home county) biggest festival, Latitude, it was my fifth year in a row which I guess means I really like it there. As always I met up with friends from London and we headed to the cottage we’ve stayed at for the past few years – festival-ing in style no less – which makes it feel like a holiday as well as a festival. It’s been a strange year or so for me with leaving London, trying to spend more time working on my own business and trying not to spend too much cash in the meantime, so because of all this I made the decision to give up my Glastonbury ticket, NEVER an easy thing to do but it just didn’t feel right for me to go this year. So when the opportunity to go back to Latitude came up I jumped at the chance.

Anyone that’s been to Latitude before will know how lovely it is, the lakeside setting is so pretty and the forest provides plenty of hidden stages and happenings! It’s also super easy to run between all stages because everything is so close – great for people like me who lose their sense of direction easily or are trying to cram in 4 different bands in the space of 2 hours.

After picking up our wristbands on Thursday evening we had a wander around the site and took ourselves off to the restaurant by the lake run by East London’s Blixen, because when you’re at one of the most civilised festivals in the country why not eat steak off proper plates and enjoy a cocktail!? (nicest cocktail ever btw)

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I’m always keen to hear new music and check out bands I haven’t seen before, however I am also pretty happy when loads of bands I’ve loved forever appear on  a festival line-up and Latitude did not disappoint this year. The Coral, The Horrors and Mystery Jets made sure I spent most of Friday afternoon/evening at the main stage reliving the early-mid 2000s. Then Friday night delivered one of, if not the best, festival headline set I’ve seen for quite a few years from The 1975, the energy was INCREDIBLE and in Matty Healy they have the perfect pop/rockstar. After seeing them on the Lake Stage in 2013 it was great to see them back as headliners and absolutely win at doing so.

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Saturday delivered plenty of good things too including a Willy Mason acoustic performance on the tiny SOLAS stage which was hidden away in the forest. It was the perfect setting and felt like one of those special festival moments, having a chat with the man himself after made it even more special. Another trip down nostalgia lane happened early on Saturday evening with a set by Two Door Cinema Club, I had sort of forgotten just how many tunes they had and the fact that they are the perfect sunny afternoon festival band! It was great to see Chicago boys Twin Peaks again after missing their last date in London, they played an awesome set at the Sunrise Arena on Saturday night.

I headed up to the main stage to watch Mumford and Sons on my own (none of the group I was with are fans!). They may not be everybody’s cup of tea but the set reminded me how much I used to love them and the crowd singing back every word to them was quite an emotional moment! I headed to SOLAS after Mumfords to meet up with everyone and to watch Parcels – the Aussie bands midnight set ended up being one of my favourite moments of the weekend and a band I will definitely see live again, despite our weary feet/legs they managed to keep us dancing for the whole time they were on stage. I cannot recommend checking them out enough!

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Sunday afternoon came around far too quickly and featured the chilled sounds of Matt Maltese on the Lake Stage followed by a rare Latitude rain shower and Public Service Broadcasting at the main arena. Sunday also saw a bit of clash situation which involved me running around watching little bits of Childhood, Loyle Carner and The Magic Gang on three different stages, as mentioned earlier that’s why it’s so great the stages are all relatively close! Fleet Foxes were the main stage headliners on Sunday night but I headed to the Sunrise to watch Temples and once again did that thing of forgetting how much I loved them. After a quick half hour dance to BBC music headliner Fatboy Slim we reluctantly wave goodbye for another year. Latitude you remain firmly at the top of my festival list.

Head to the bottom of this post for a list of everyone I saw!

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In no particular order!

  1. The 1975 
  2. Mystery Jets 
  3. Two Door Cinema Club
  4. Afrikan Boy
  5. Sløtface
  6. HMLTD
  7. Parcels
  8. Life
  9. Honeyblood
  10. Formation
  11. Mumford and Sons
  12. Twin Peaks 
  13. Willy Mason
  14. The Magic Gang
  15. Matt Maltese 
  16. The Horrors
  17. The Divine Comedy 
  18. Loyle Carner
  19. Childhood
  20. The Coral 
  21. Temples 
  22. Fatboy Slim
  23. Dan Croll
  24. Strong Asian Mothers
  25. Sh!t Theatre – Dollywould

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton wanderings and Brighton Fringe Festival

I headed down to Brighton for the day on Friday to catch up with a friend who lives nearby. I’ve been staying in South London (cat-sitting!) for a week and thought it would be the perfect time to pop down to Brighton – the train from East Croydon only takes about 45 mins too so it’s really easy from the South…also pretty easy from anywhere in London but y’know even easier!

Although it was a pretty grey day when I arrived and we had a few rain showers, the sun came out just in time for us heading to the seafront! For lunch we grabbed some food from the ‘Street Diner’ which is a collection of stalls selling a variation of street food in the Brighthelm Gardens there were loads of yummy things on offer…no photo of our food as it was consumed too fast 🙂

My friend had mentioned that Brighton Fringe Festival was on while I was down there – it runs throughout May and ends at the start of June – so we had a little look at the programme when I arrived and picked out a comedy show later in the day. There’s a box office outside the Theatre Royal where you can just walk in and buy tickets which is really handy if like us you happen to find yourself in Brighton during the fringe and fancy checking the listings out for that day.

Note: in other food related findings Gelato Gusto on North Laine provided a much needed sugar hit in the afternoon, see above for pic featuring their waffle bites, ice cream and fruit combo (SO GOOD).

We headed to The Warren in the evening to watch comedian Dave Edwards discuss the world of modern dating in his show ‘Looking for Love!’, the studio where he was performing was actually an old shipping container which was pretty cool and the show was really funny!

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With the sun coming out later in the day the evening turned out to be super lovely so once we came out of the comedy show we went for another wander and instead of heading back to the station we decided to pop into the open artists studios at Phoenix Studios, the building is home to 100’s of artists and makers as well as providing space for temporary art projects and an education programme. It was really interesting chatting to some of the artists and a really inspiring end to the day!…..

…..Until next time Brighton!

 

Wicken Fen

Since I left London I’ve started to rediscover the area that I grew up in again (Suffolk, but very near to Cambridgeshire and Essex too). Just outside of Cambridge there’s a nature reserve called Wicken Fen and the other week when it was much warmer than it is today (err, why is it only 8 degrees again!?) I went on a little day trip with the family to explore!

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Anyone that knows East Anglia will know that most of the county is as flat as a pancake and Wicken Fen is the perfect place to experience the flat-ness! You can walk around the wetlands on the specially built boardwalk and wander past the historic wind-pump. There’s also the option to take a guided tour down the river on a boat, which we didn’t do this time but did look lovely. During the spring and summer the Lode Lane cottage which has been preserved as one of the original fen residents homes is open and definitely worth having a look around.

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Even though this was only a short drive away from home it felt like being on holiday (even if it was only for one day!). At the moment I’m thinking about moving to a different part of the country (tbc) but as I definitely appreciate more now how much amazing countryside there is in the East of England and it’s nice that will always be home wherever I end up next!

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Bread & Meat, Cambridge

Last week I spent the day in (a very freezing) Cambridge showing a London friend the sights! even though I used to work in the city I never spent much time appreciating how many little back streets there are to wander through. Although we wandered to the river it was way too cold to go punting which is one of the main tourist-y things to be doing in Cambridge, so instead we strolled around the Fitzwilliam Museum, the University buildings and stopped off for lots of tea/coffee/hot chocolate (anything to keep warm basically!).

For lunch we headed to Bread and Meat which is tucked away on Bene’t Street near the Corn Exchange venue. Having not spent much time in Cambridge over the past few years I’ve probably missed a number of ‘trendy’ places like this popping up across the city, but this is the one we stumbled upon…and I’m so glad we did! The name is definitely accurate, the fairly simple menu gives you the choice of a ciabatta sandwich or a bread free bowl which includes your choice of meat, slaw, salad/veg and potato wedges. There are a few sides to choose from too, (check out the menu on their website). We both went for the bowl option with their signature porchetta, the Italian style roasted pork with herbs was delicious with a yummy perfectly crunchy crackling and a salsa verde sauce. Apparently the homemade sausage rolls are v.tasty too and for those with a sweet tooth the handmade brownies looked amazing.

If you live or work in Cambridge then this place is definitely worth checking out, oh and they serve wine and beer too so it could be a great little stop off before heading to the Corn Exchange for a gig!

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Image via Bread and Meat website 

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Shame Cambridge wasn’t looking quite as colourful as the food!….

 

 

 

Tate Modern

Tate Modern’s Switch House extension opened in the summer and I went to have a look around this week! The tower creates 60 per cent more space for exhibitions in the gallery, and was designed by Herzog & de Meuron‘s…you can read more about it here! The extension has ten floors and features a 360 degree rooftop viewing deck at the top where you can get some pretty impressive views of the London skyline. (some daytime and night-time shots below!)

I also checked out the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition whilst at the Tate, it’s the first full-scale retrospective of the modernist artist’s work since his death in 2008 and features his silkscreens including the one of President Kennedy, 1,000 gallons of ‘bubbling clay’ (Mud Muse -1968-71) alongside paintings, sculptures and photographs from throughout his career. The exhibition is on until April 2nd, find out more details on the Tate website.

 

 

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Winter wandering

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Belated Happy 2017 to y’all!…I’ve been quiet on the blog front since last year (not that long ago but it feels like an age already!), mostly due to the fact I’ve had a fairly boring existence while trying to concentrate on building a website for my crafts – you can have a little look here if you’re interested! – and working on other bits and pieces. I thought I’d do a little post to say hello though and to share the photos I took on a stroll in Long Melford at the weekend including the ones of this lonesome swan, I love how much he/she looks as if they are posing for the photos.Oh and I also decided to add a photos category to the blog to inspire me to take (and post) more rather than just spamming Instagram with them all…here goes!

G x