Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Music Festivals

Music festivals are certainly popular.  Every thing I'm reading on the internet at the moment, whether it's fashion or music or getaways is breathlessly commentating on them.

The best festival fashion!  

Who's appearing at a festival near you?

See what your favourite celebs were wearing at Coachella!

There seems to be a cultural yearning for an idealised urban version of the countryside which combines the best bits of city living, (music, fashion, cool people) with the best bits of a rural life, (open air, space, trees).

So I may be a little controversial when I say this...
I absolutely loathe outdoor music festivals!  Proper hate them.  Really.

I think people assume they're going to be like this...


whereas I know from working on far too many festivals that they're actually like this...


In ten years of working on festivals, I can safely say that I remember one mud free festival.  One!  Usually they're just a grim struggle against the odds.  Just walking through the mud to catering requires herculean effort.  It's a struggle to keep the rain off your equipment. It's a struggle to keep clean.  Every simple task just becomes a monumental effort. 

There was the notable time where I got stuck in the mud and I quite literally couldn't move.  It was late at night and I'd finished work so I was on my own & the site was relatively deserted.  It'd been raining heavily the previous two days but on that particular day the rain had stopped so the mud was starting to dry out and had become extremely sticky.  It had been very hard work walking through this one field because it had been churned up by the heavy vehicles and the sheer amount of people moving through it.  I reached a point where I couldn't actually move my legs.  The mud was so deep and so sticky that every time I tried to move my legs, I fell forward onto my hands. Late at night, dark, no one around and I couldn't move - I don't mind telling you, I was scared.  Thank god I had my phone in my back pocket and after a number of tries I was able to get hold of my crew boss who came & found me and literally pulled me out of the mud by my arms.  

And that is one of the many reasons why I hate festivals.   

Monday, 21 April 2014

My favourite blogs

Since I started this blog, I've become a voracious blog reader.  I'm constantly amazed by the depth of talent and the breadth of vision out there so I thought I'd share with you my favourite blogs.

In no particular order they are;

Style at every age.
This is a fashion blog that's realistic.  Sharron realises that we don't all necessarily have huge budgets or perfect figures but can still love clothes and want to dress well.  Great for letting you know what discount codes are available too.  She's a lovely lady as well who takes the time to comment thoughtfully on other blogs.

Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles
Written by Ms. Madge.  It's stuff we can all relate to - restaurant reviews, thoughts on pop culture, personal stories, tales of her travels - written in her warm, relatable style.  She's a real sweetheart too who, again, takes time to comment on other blogs.

Coulda Shoulda Woulda
I love Naomi's quirky and often very funny view on things.  My favourite features are the magazine reviews.  Also excellent for interior design.

All I am -a redhead.com
A perfume blog written by Ines, a Croatian woman.  I love her passion for perfume.  She mixes perfume reviews with thoughts on pop culture and book reviews.

Sirenvoices
A blog written by a serving paramedic.  I am constantly awed by his ability to deal with situations which would send me into a tail spin.  It's people like him, in the emergency services, who keep the rest of us safe.  He has a beautiful evocative writing style

Mrs Trefusis takes a taxi
Written by Helen Brocklebank, who is, I believe, an important magazine person.  She lives a life we wish we could all lead - glamorous media parties, cocktails and lycee educated children.  It's written in a self deprecating style which makes you root for her.

My love of old Hollywood
I adore old Hollywood films.  She adores old Hollywood films.  It's a blogmatch made in heaven.

Pandora
Written by a French art history student, Louise who posts fashion pictures of herself inspired by classical artworks.  It's quite unique and rather special.  Seriously, read it.  Some of the text is only in French.


Friday, 18 April 2014

On relaxing

I've been working very, very hard recently.  Weeks and weeks of 6 thirteen hour days in a row then one day off.

As a freelancer it's incredibly tempting to accept every bit of work offered to you because there's always a little voice in your head saying, 'Take it whilst it's there.  Next month may be quiet'.  It's gotten to the point, however where I feel I'm close to burn out so I decided that I had to have some time off.  So I turned down work over Easter (eek!) and now I've got seven blissful days off.

I've been looking forward to it so much that I was surprised to find myself, pacing round the living room this morning going, 'What now? What should I do now?'  Yup, I've forgotten how to relax!  I'm so used to meeting deadlines, having to be somewhere, working like the clappers to deliver a show on time that I've actually forgotten how to take it easy.

So I intend, this week, to rediscover the slow life.

  • Sit and read a book with Radio 3 on in the background.
  • Go to a film on my own.  Probably the Yves Saint Laurent film.
  • Catch up with friends.  I have an old friend from high school who I haven't seen since we came over to London together more years ago than I care to remember.  We've been trying to arrange a meet-up for about six months now and I'm ashamed to say that it's always me who blows out because of work.  
  • Bake.  I love baking but it's time consuming so I haven't baked for ages.  I want to try and make a good & gooey chocolate cake.
  • Work my way through the box set of Breaking Bad.
How do you relax?  

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hero beauty products - Superdrug facial masks

My Superdrug addiction crept up on me quite stealthily.  I'd find myself popping in for cotton wool pads but somehow leaving with £20/30 worth of stuff.  Before I knew it, I was shopping there almost every week.  The problem is, the stock is just too well curated.  It's the combination of niche brands and high street names, all very reasonably priced, that makes it so seductive and hard to ignore.

My favourite items are the individual Superdrug mask sachets, all priced at a whole 99p each.  Yes, I could drop £30 plus on a high end mask which would last me about six months but my skin needs change and sometimes that particular mask wouldn't be appropriate.  However with a stash of different mask sachets, all bases are covered.  

Looking tired because you've had a stressful week at work with lots of early starts and no time to eat properly?  The De-stressing mud mask will take care of that.



Just done 6 thirteen hour days on the trot in a dusty theatre and no matter how much you clean your face at the end of the day, you still look slightly grimy?  Look no further than the Deep Cleansing Fruit mask.  



Raisin face syndrome because you've done a long day teching a show and haven't drunk enough water because you can't keep running to the loo?  The Anti-Aging Moisture mask is your friend here.  The anti-aging bit is pretty handy too.



My favourite is definitely the Detoxifying Dead Sea Mask.  I adore the lavendery smell and it just perks up the complexion when you're looking a bit grey & dull.  



P.S.  I wasn't paid to write this review.  I just really like Superdrug.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Hero beauty product - Kiehl's Fig Leaf & Sage Aromatic Mist perfume

I bought this perfume for myself as a reward after one of my crazy work-all-hours-god-sends periods.

It's an unusual one for sure.  People either seem to love or hate it, but I really like it.

The packaging is clean & somewhat minimalist but retro.  White background, black lettering and a picture of the bottle inside.  No nonsense there.  The bottle itself continues the same minimalist retro theme - simple shape, clear glass, the retro Kiehls font embossed on to it and a silver cap.  With so much rather verbose, over the top perfume presentation around, I found this rather satisfying.



The perfume itself is strong.  The sweetness of the fig is counteracted by the sharpness of the sage.  It shouldn't work but it does.  Initially the sage is the foremost note but it settles into a rather warm, pleasing aroma.  At the risk of sounding like a press release, it really did remind me of sitting in a Mediterranean garden on a hot day.

I also liked the fact that you can buy it in both small and large size. Sometimes you want to treat yourself but can't spend too much money.

I think it's a great perfume for (hopefully) warm summer days.

*Edited 10/4/14
 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Reflections on creativity

It's good to be back.

I've just been on one of those crazy production periods where you're working thirteen hours a day for six days a week.  It's hard work but I do enjoy it - seeing a show come to life before your eyes.

It fascinates me watching the creatives at work.  The starting point of a scene/show/piece of work is very different to the end product (inevitably lauded as something special).  It's that development process which I find incredibly inspiring.

I was working with a very well respected director recently whose whole thing was to avoid what he called 'usual'.  Not in a wacky, "I'm different, me" way but in an avoidance of mundanity and cliche.  We'd build a scene (which inevitably I'd find amazing) but he'd pace around the auditorium musing on how it wasn't working because it was too 'usual'.  He'd then spend ages on trying out discordant notes until he'd find something that worked.  Often it was only something minor like a light flashing where you wouldn't expect it but it introduced a vague sense of unease.

Besides a feeling of pride at being involved in such an amazing production, it left me with a better feeling of how to be creative.  I have lots of ideas but I often get frustrated because they don't seem to work.  I realised, after working with him, that your first go doesn't necessarily have to be any good, it's just the starting point.  I think the idea is to have knowledge of the 'grammar' of expressing an idea and know how to subvert it, or not, to tell your story.

Let me explain what I mean by 'grammar'...

We all know how to watch films/theatre etc.  When the Lumiere brothers first showed their film of a train pulling into a station to an unschooled audience, people were terrified because they didn't know how to read it - they just assumed it was an actual train coming towards them through the screen.

 

Over a hundred years later, we're so well versed in interpreting film it feels natural.  If we're watching a film for instance, we know that it's not a real time narrative but we suspend our disbelief for the 90 minutes of the film.  We know that the train is not going to emerge from the screen.  That knowledge of the conventions of what we're watching is the grammar.

Knowing the grammar but choosing to subvert and knowing how to subvert successfully was definitely part of the Famous Director's schtick.  I'm definitely going to try it in my own stuff.  


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hero Beauty Product - Eve Lom Intense Hydration Serum

I wish I had more than a small sample of this.

Image via www.sephora.com

It's one of those products that really worked for me right from the start.  

It feels more like a gel than a regular serum - clear in colour, thicker and slightly sticky in the way that gels often are.  I applied just like a regular serum by smoothing it over the face.  As it dried, I could feel it tightening.  For someone like me who has a droopy, jowly face this is a Good Thing.

I'd been through a tough stretch at work & my complexion was feeling particularly parched.  I can safely say that after applying this serum just once, my face felt noticeably less dry.  Not completely re-hydrated, because that would be impossible after just one application but that tight feeling you get with dry skin had subsided to easier levels.  

The sample only had three applications in it but even so, people started commenting on how good I was looking.

I found it worked best if I exfoliated my face first.

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