ReefXLSFF at Boxpark, Shoreditch

When it comes to surfing in my family, my dad is generally the go to guy. I spent many childhood summers spent sitting on Cornish, French and Portugese beaches watching the main man on the water, but I never really *watched* it properly.

So when an invite popped through for the ReefXLSFF at Boxpark event, I knew there was only one person I could possibly invite. Sure enough, my dad turned out to be a seasoned London Surf/Film Festival goer and was delighted at the prospect of heading down to watch some of the ‘Shorties’ from the last few years as a warm up before the main event. This year will be the fifth incarnation of the festival, presented by Reef, and it’ll run from the 16th – 24th October. The festival takes place across a variety of venues around the capital, and will feature the very finest of surf features.

IMG_20150820_202758It was already a given that my dad would enjoy it, but I was surprised at how much I got into the whole thing. When you watch surf films, you find that your concern over knowledge about technical terminology melts away into a simple state of ‘woooooowwwwwwww’. I spent most of the evening watching the Shorties while turning to my dad and going ‘WHAT THE?! That’s AMAZING!’ It’s thrilling to watch as people glide in and out of waves, completely obscured by a tunnel of water, only to come out triumphant at the other end.

IMG_20150820_191829And a few words for Reef – such a strong presence from my childhood; the name emblazoned on the slightly cooler bikinis and shoes that I knew would turn me into a serious beach-goer. I was lucky enough to snag a few goodies from the new collection, and I have nothing but praise for my new palm print backpack and comfy sneakers, perfect for weekend walking. I also just need to tell you about my charcoal grey Reef t shirt, which is probably my favourite t shirt in the world. It’s at comfort blanket levels of awesome; the softest cotton. I dream about this t shirt during the working week.

IMG_20150820_184135So I have two strong recommendations for you: one, to check out the LSFF line up and go and escape to the board. Number two, if you’ve EVER been on a beach, Reef is still unbeatable for practical yet really rather beautiful kit. Don’t be that idiot in Primark garb that falls apart instantly. Take your beach time seriously and head to Reef!

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My week in pictures

I don’t usually do these kind of posts as I think they’re a bit of a cop out, but things have been absolutely crazy the past week and a half. After coming back from holiday, things went into hyperdrive and I went from being a freelancer to working full time in a London entertainment PR agency. I’m enjoying every minute of it. It’s one of those jobs where you can’t wait to get started in the mornings, and I couldn’t be happier about working there.

But awesome job aside, I’ve barely had a minute to sit down and blog. So to fill the gap, here’s a selection of pictures of what I’ve been up to (spoiler alert: mostly eating). To sum up, I did the following: went to an open air screening at London Zoo (more on that soon), ate, went to a hen do, rehearsed for a musical in a gun room, accidentally attended an ‘Ibiza Pizza Party’ in a tiny village pub in Surrey, drank cocktails with pipettes in, wore an oversized cricket jumper, and ate some more. Not pictures are the pheasant impressions I did with friends at the end of the night. Don’t ask.

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A crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy week

Thought I’d pop in a nice T Rex reference in the title for you, just so you can get it stuck in your head all day long. It’s also appropriate, because of what I got up to on Monday. It’s been an obscenely busy week, and I’ve been from Guildford to Sussex to Leamington Spa to Sussex to London to Sussex….Sleeping in my own bed has become a luxury of the highest order this week! It’s been an extremely exciting week – though very, very tiring – and I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s been insanely busy but I’m finally free today, to bake cakes and loll around, and to read the beautiful copy of ‘Style Me Vintage’ that the charming Naomi Thompson sent me!

Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer If you’re not acquainted with Mr B, then I seriously suggest you sort yo’ life out. Mr B aims to bring old fashioned values (ish) and elan to the art of hip hop, forging a new musical form called ‘chap hop’. While he may often sample rap in his ‘recitals’, as he calls them, he’ll usually perform in a three piece suit, and his moustache is always in tip top condish. India and I sort of found him by accident at Latitude last year. It was a rainy Thursday night in July (yeah, THANKS, England), and we actually just perched ourselves in the poetry tent to shelter from the rain. Little did we know that we were about to embark on one of the finest musical experiences of our lives.

We were lucky enough to see the chap at the Boileroom in Guildford on Monday, and we weren’t disappointed. We also managed to push ourselves through to the very front, so there was nothing between us and Mr B apart from a pair of tweed trousers and a microphone. We also saw an incredible group perform called ‘UkeJam’. I suggest you look them up if you like ukuleles, and jamming. I hope you like jamming too. I also recommend you Youtube Mr B, because he has a magical power whereby he makes everything right with the world. Try it. If you’re having an appalling day, Mr B will make it vanish. If you get a chance to see him live, you’ll find yourself feeling all warm inside. That’s the sensation of your cockles being thoroughly warmed. Enjoy!

After lunch in Guildford on Tuesday, then a race home to finish a job application and do some writing, I had something completely different to do. On Wednesday I had a bit of a journey to go for a networking event. I’m not going to go into detail or even mention any names, but let’s just say, it really wasn’t for me. I have rather specific taste, and…well, this wasn’t to it. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. So with that in mind, on to Thursday!

Fortnum & Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon My editor Rachel at LadyMPresents.co.uk received an invitation to go to the launch of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum’s. I’ve been madly in love with the place since I was small and my parentals took me there, and as Rach was unable to go (she’s a strong contender for ‘busiest woman in the world’) she asked if I’d like to take her place. Would I?! Stepping over the threshold into a haven of true Englishness was a wonderful feeling. We were greeting not only by the fantastic PR team, but also by a chap playing a grand piano. I can’t quite put into words the glorious feeling of well-being that settled on me the longer I stayed in the tea salon, but I’ll just say that it made me phenomenally happy to know that things like this still exist.

I’m writing the event up in full for Lady M Presents, so won’t go into all the details here, but I’ll just say that despite the full blown, cockle-warming Englishness of the occasion, it also fulfilled my Marie Antoinette fantasies. If you’ve seen Sofia Coppola’s film, you might remember the abundance of cakes and cocktail saucers. It was like that. Endless champagne being poured, tea-based cocktails, and cakes EVERYWHERE. Sumptuous macaroons, phenomenal cherry and almond cakes, a reinterpretation of a peach melba…I almost cried. And they just kept coming. Waiters were moving constantly across the room, bearing plates of food. In the cold, hard times of this double dip recession (although surely we’ve passed double dip and we’re now the equivalent of some grossly unhygienic party guest who’s thrusting their carrot stick into the hummus repeatedly?) this was the perfect remedy. Check LadyMPresents.co.uk later in the week for my full write up.

Sundance After Fortnum’s, we dashed along to the O2 to see a film as part of the inaugural London incarnation of the Sundance festival. We had tickets to a film called ‘Liberal Arts’, directed by and starring an actor called Josh Radnor. I’d never heard of him, but I was reliably informed by my companion that he was in a TV show called ‘How I Met Your Mother’, which is, I believe, the methadone to the heroin of Friends. That aside, the film was absolutely incredible, and well worth seeing when it’s released in cinemas in the Autumn. It’s ostensibly about a 35 year old man who falls in love with a 19 year old student called Zibby, played by the magnificent Elizabeth Olsen. I unashamedly love the entire Olsen family, so I was happy about this.

The love story element is quite reminiscent of Lost in Translation, but it’s extremely well played and cleverly done. 35 year old Jesse (Radnor) doesn’t seem to just be in love with Zibby, but with youth itself, that he now feels is something he lacks. It’s a fascinating portrayal of getting older, and yet not being Old. Jesse in turn is young in the eyes of his old professors. If you’ve had an arts education like me, please see this film. It turns over ideas about how the arts can slightly mess with your mind a little bit, and seal you too much inside your own head, or your own romantic ideas about life. There’s so much I could say about the film, but I’ll try and keep it short. The performances were masterful, including a wonderful and surprising turn from Zac Efron, of all people. The soundtrack is also beautiful, containing lots of classical music, and the setting for the film is the verdant campus of Kenyon University in Ohio.

In terms of themes, it really resonated with me. Not just the arts education, which I’ve had a double whammy of with my English and Drama degree, but I also found I identified with both Zibby and Jesse in different ways. There was a comment on how young people talk in constant hyperbole – ‘this is the best song EVER!’, which is something I do an awful lot. Even though I’m a long way off 35, I’ve been struggling with the idea of getting older lately, although I’m not sure why. In the Q&A at the end, Radnor said some interesting things: ‘There’s an arrogance to youth. You don’t understand that time is happening. Then suddenly, you’re not the youngest person in the room’. But ultimately, the film was about acceptance of getting older, or being at a different stage in your life, saying ‘what gifts are here for me?’ I can’t recommend the film enough, and I’ll definitely be seeing it again.

So, that was Monday til Thursday of my week…another post coming soon just to finish things off, but I’m SO HAPPY to be at home this Sunday, and looking forward to chilling and baking!

Snow Day

I hate being bored, don’t you? In the back of my head, I can hear the echoes of the phrase ‘only boring people get bored!’ Well. Sometimes interesting people need a break from all of their exhausting and creative pursuits, and would rather like a bit of time off. Sometimes, the most fascinating creatures among us get stuck in the house, due to…oh, I don’t know. Snow?

And so it was yesterday. Trapped in the house! I elected to start a roaring log fire, put the original St Trinian’s on, and try and loll about a bit. I haven’t been used to taking weekends off lately, so I find that my brain is still running and my hands are fidgeting, and I generally want to do something. A lot of the time, I find it easier to relax by doing something that isn’t related to my work, or is utterly pointless but thoroughly enjoyable. For a start, I decided I’d wake myself up by going out into the snow with bare feet. I’ve never done that before in my life, and I’m not sure why I did yesterday. A combination of supreme boredom caused by the endless similar ‘snowy scene’ photos that appeared all over the net, and the fact that it was going to take me ages to get socks and shoes on. Anyway, I highly recommend it, and here’s the proof I did it:

I saw the comedian Josie Long do a brilliant stand-up show a few years ago, where she talked about all the things people put a huge amount of effort in to, but which don’t actually make any difference to life whatsoever. The show was called ‘Trying is Good’, and Josie pulled together a bunch of examples of the aforementioned ‘tiny things’ that people devote their time to. She handed out little hand-drawn booklets to all of the audience, and later in the show she passed around sweets and oranges for people who were particularly lovely. I was charmed by the show – she also mentioned how at the Edinburgh Festival, she would make badges for all the audience members on a daily basis, as well as sticking packs of sweets to the bottom of chairs as a nice little surprise. One of my tutors at uni, who’d been working at Edinburgh that year, told us that Josie held a month long Boggle championship over the course of the festival, challenging everyone to games between shows.

I unashamedly love that sort of thing. We get so caught up in only doing things that are important and that will drive us forwards in life, that we rarely ever spend time on something silly and purely for enjoyment purposes. Well, I’m a big fan of doing little thing just for the sake of it. That’s why I bought myself a 24 pack of Sharpie pens, despite having no practical use for them whatsoever. One of my February challenges was to make a stop motion animation, and I decided yesterday would be perfect to give it a shot. I’ve never done anything like that in my life before, and it was a big process of trial and error. For my ‘final’ piece, I shot about 200 frames, editing it together using the amazing free JellyCam software, and the result is below. It’s so far from perfect, or even being any good, but it was my first time! And I’m going to try some more (better) stuff in future. Hope you enjoy!