Summer Tales, Shoreditch

Months after booking tickets, I finally went along to Summer Tales in Shoreditch on Saturday night. (Wow, that’s some sibilance…) After seeing heaps of blog posts and beautiful pictures across social networks, I couldn’t wait to finally see the venue. Turfing up around 7.30 on Saturday, we faced a mammoth queue – word to the wise, either turn up dead on 6pm when doors are opened, or buy a queue jump ticket (cocktail included.)

IMG_20141124_124753 IMG_20141124_125154Inside was the jungle paradise of my dreams – all credit to the event planners, who had plucked palm trees, sand, tree houses and neon signs to produce something beautiful AND fun. Attention to detail was excellent, from candy striped cushions in one of the upper bars, to a tiny beach with hammocks and beach chairs, to wooden swings…the whole thing felt like a playground for adults. With alcohol. In fact, alcohol from COCONUTS. Which brings me to an important point – make sure you go armed with cash. Boozy coconuts at the ever lovely Cocoface were cash only, and we were banned by the security guy from popping across the street to get cash out as he said we wouldn’t be allowed back in. So, lesson learned.

IMG_20141124_125041 IMG_20141124_125545I think London is developing an increasing intolerance for pop ups and installations and takeovers, especially those around the Shoreditch and Hackney areas. You could say…they’re starting to feel a bit HACKNEYED. HA HA. But seriously. I know these kind of things have a bit of a bad rep, but when something is brilliantly executed and an awful lot of fun, I can easily overlook the fatigue and get on board. Summer Tales pulls off a real coup, transforming a small grey patch of Shoreditch into somewhere magical. In many ways, it had the laid back festival feel that Secret Garden Party lacked at points.

IMG_20141124_125802 IMG_20141124_125810It’s somewhere that you can go for a relaxed few drinks and a delicious supper from one of the street food stands, then have a bit of a dance around on the covered dance area, surrounded by fairy lit trees. As a bit of a sad sidebar, the crowd in Shoreditch seems to have changed a lot, generally speaking. It used to be somewhere you could go out and not really care what you looked like  (something I increasingly admire in a place!) but over the last few years it seems to have turned into an extension of the West End. Girls were teetering through the woodchips and sand in five inch heels, holding mirrors up to check their fake lashes, adjusting teeny tiny dresses. It was fine, and all power to you if that’s your thing, but it felt a bit like watching the Kardashians going camping.

IMG_20141124_131632

All-focus

All-focus

Anyway, that aside, I strongly recommend it for making the most of the last few weeks of summer. Go for a Pin-Up Colada at the Lazy Flamingo Bar upstairs, grab a fishbowl of booze at the downstairs bar, sit and relax on a swing, and be a weirdo like me who strokes the tiny patch of sand going ‘the sand feels sooo good, I love sand!’ And most definitely have a dance. The DJ broke out a hyper-electro, instrumental version of the Human League’s ‘Things That Dreams Are Made Of’, which delighted me no end. Just be as charming as possible to the security staff and do your best to avoid the girls in the bathroom screaming ‘THAT LIPSTICK IS SOOO MY COLOUR’.

Summer Tales runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Red Market in Shoreditch. Buy tickets here.

IMG_20141124_131334 IMG_20141124_141737 IMG_20141124_142019 IMG_20141124_143149

Advertisements

Kopparberg Urban Forest

Much as I like South West London, it has a couple of big downsides. Primarily the lack of proximity to East London, which is where all the good stuff is. If you want some third rate DJ playing chart cheese while people in salmon trousers do non-ironic mumdancing, S Dubz is definitely the place for you. That isn’t to say we don’t have some good stuff over this way, but it all tends to fit a bit more into my ‘that was an absolute SCREAM’ category than the ‘that was a really chilled night’ one. Maggie’s is a scream. Beaver Lodge is a scream. Bunga Bunga is the screamiest. IMG_20150703_193320

But you catch my drift – if you want somewhere that isn’t quite so…well, so ‘hair n’heels’, then you’re going to have to venture further afield. Kopparberg Urban Forest was top of my hit list last Summer but I never quite made it along, so I made it top priority this time around. As with last year, they’ve created a sort of Scandinavian/East London composite, full of food stalls and wooden light fixtures decked out with foliage. Jam jars full of flowers hang near fairy lights, and there’s a little bandstand type thing in the centre that reminded me irresistibly of Groundhog Day.IMG_20150703_185805IMG_20150703_191345IMG_20150703_183807

The frozen strawberry & lime cider hit the spot after a long hot day and crammed Overground journey, and once we’d got hold of some sweetcorn fritter wraps, we started to unwind and enjoy our surroundings. DJs for the night were the awesome ‘Rock the Belles’, a kind of collective of female DJs, bands and artists, and they were playing an excellent selection of both old school and…new school (is that a thing?) hip hop. Now, being white middle class girls who went to private school in Sussex, my friend Sophie and I are quite obviously PRO hip hop dancers, so we really went for it. I mean, REALLY went for it. IMG_20150703_194437 IMG_20150703_200929 IMG_20150703_210529 IMG_20150703_211141

Emily Rawson, founder of Rock the Belles, got on the decks for the last few hours of the evening, and played a bit of everything from Roots Manuva to Kendrick, plus an awful lot of stuff that I’d never heard before but danced like a loon to anyway. She was EXCELLENT and I highly recommend you looking her up if you live in London. The whole thing had an enjoyably 90s vibe, and to our delight we happened to see an actual, honest to god dance off unfold. Very relaxed at first, everything turned up a notch as it started to get dark, and the place really came into its own.

IMG_20150703_225046The Urban Forest finishes this weekend, and entry is FREE, so I strongly recommend you get yourself down there for the closing events. Just make sure you wear shoes you can dance in. IMG_20150703_225054IMG_20150703_225139

Disco at Kingly Court

HEY!

So, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus since June, because quite frankly, I couldn’t find the time. And I was having too much fun. I’m going to attempt to catch up a little bit, and let’s start here, with a club review.

Absolutely ages ago in the Summer (remember THAT guy?!), I piled along to a new concept club called ‘Disco‘ at Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street. It’s the newest creation of the hugely innovative Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling (also responsible for Maggie’s), and it’s one of those fantastic places where every single detail has been carefully considered. On arriving, you’re greeted by Pan Am uniform-clad staff, all perky smiles and pencil skirts. It’s fun – you’re given a boarding pass to enter, and the rather tiny club is a delightful tangle of rollerskates, neon and disco balls.

Disco 035

The drinks selection is glorious and…I’m trying to skirt around using the words ‘kitsch’ or ‘retro’, so I’ll just say: very apt for the theme. Cocktails heavily feature Midori, grenadine and orange juice, and spirits can be ordered with a mixer of Cream Soda or R. White’s lemonade. If you’re getting down on it, opt for the twinkly jewel in the ‘Sharer’ crown: a hollowed out disco ball packed full of black raspberry vodka, Moet, Malibu, Midori, pineapple and passionfruit.

If you’re into zinc counter tops and slate walls, this place is not for you. Only take your fun friends, those who have a healthy taste for gold hotpants and Donna Summer. While it’s obviously supremely gimmicky, it’s so well-conceived that you can’t help but be charmed by it. All in all, I absolutely adored it. To get in, you either need to become members (it costs £35 a month after a £100 joining fee which includes free entry for two, discounts on private hire and priority booking on tables) or you can get on the “limited” guest list on the website and pay £20 for entry. Possibly not the most budget-friendly of places, but you’re  guaranteed a wonderful night.

Disco 007

Disco 015

Disco 018

Disco 019 Disco 020

Disco 024

This very lovely bouncer asked to pose for a photo….

Disco 055

…and then was worried he didn’t look tough enough, so he did a ‘security guard’ pose…

Disco 060