My Favourite Bands at Slam Dunk Festival 2018

I’m going to put it out there straight away and say that the line-up has been better… But we still saw some great bands put on a show, the sun shone (for some of it) and the beer was flowing, so we can’t complain, can we?

Dean and I went to both Slam Dunk North and Slam Dunk Midlands, this is because we can stay in both locations on a budget and transport is much easier/cheaper. We go to two of the three dates so that we can fit in all the bands we’d like to see because with a decent line-up, there are far more clashes than anyone would want.

I started to list my top three favourite bands at Slam Dunk but I realised there are actually way more, some of which are smaller bands just making their name, and others are bands that I already knew would put on a great show.

20180526_164117

Broadside
Broadside are a fairly new band for me, even though a little bit of Googling has revealed that they formed in 2010, so they aren’t new to this! Not only do I enjoy their music, they put their personality into the show and were truly grateful for the crowd. The vocalist kept thanking us for the applause and aside from being a great live band, they showed their human side which is a bit emotional to see and really makes a performance, in my opinion.

20180526_200830

Four Year Strong
Now FYS had two sets, one of which was on the acoustic stage. I’m going to say that I enjoyed both but I preferred the acoustic set. Whilst the main set was energetic, fun and exciting to watch, the acoustic set brought more personality to the stage. There’s something really moving about such a raw and personal set where the artists make comments in between songs more than just “how are we all?” and “the next song is…” We watched FYS acoustic in both Leeds and Birmingham, and whilst the Birmingham set was beautifully played with the electric guitars, the Leeds performance actually topped it for me. The electric guitars weren’t working so it was up to Dan and Alan to think on their feet and play some songs on acoustic guitar that perhaps weren’t as well-rehearsed or planned (even though I personally thought they still sounded ace!)

ROAM
While a lot of bands bring out the inflatable pineapples/tomatoes/unicorns/rubber rings etc., it’s not every day that a band incorporates that into their comments between songs and tells little anecdotes that really show their human side as well. On this occasion, I’m talking about backing vocalist, Alex Adam. It was fun to watch the band play and also listen to them in between songs just talk amongst themselves, unrehearsed, totally random anecdotes and conversation. It’s the human-edge that really improves a performance for me, by the looks of this!

20180526_173955

Moose Blood
I had only seen Moose Blood once prior to SDF18 and it turns out that they are even better to watch when you know the words – I suppose that’s true for most live music though! When I first saw them support A Day To Remember, I knew I liked them but listening to them since and then seeing them live, I definitely enjoy their music. There was nothing super personal about the performance, I think it was just comparing this performance to their supporting performance, I really noticed how much I like listening to them and the live performance was no different from a recording. A band who can truly perform their songs and recreate the MP3 sounds, is a band I like to watch.

20180531_221153-ANIMATION

Me vs Hero
After hearing them discuss that they were no longer a band and that they had reunited specifically for SDF18, I think that’s where the emotion and the personal performance kicked in. The passion that MVH put into their performance, through the words they were singing and the conversation in between songs really did just hit it home to me that this was their last performance – which possibly made me appreciate it more. I had never seen them live before so I feel lucky to have caught them at SDF18, particularly if it was their very last ever performance like they said!

Zebrahead
Despite them being super hungover on the Monday in Birmingham, they still managed to put on a brilliant show. Not all bands take the time to thank the security for keeping the crowd and band safe, and take notice of the members of the crew that perhaps don’t get as much recognition. It’s that down to earth feeling and then the energy in the performance that I really enjoy about Zebrahead. They have fun on the stage without defacing their music, or just messing around on stage.

20180526_213613

As It Is
Again, a fairly new band for me, although they have been around since 2012. This was the first time I had seen As It Is after hearing them on a Waterparks radio on Spotify, and they really lived up to what I’d hoped. Although they didn’t show too much of their personalities on stage, the passion that went into the performance and hearing some of their catchy tunes live definitely popped them into my favourite performances of this year’s festival.

Goldfinger
I don’t even know a lot of their songs apart from 99 Red Balloons and I still love watching them live – that’s a true performance if someone who doesn’t even know the music can enjoy watching them. This band is the same age as me and somehow the vocalist has far more energy! They bring a lot of fun, energetic vibes to the stage, and add something new too. This year they had a crowdsurfing competition between two people in the crowd and gave them each a beer on stage afterwards. With a mixture of the personal aspect of the performance and engagement with the crowd, I think Goldfinger really nailed it with their performance – they have definitely had years of practice!

There you have it, my favourite bands from SDF18. Did you go this year? Which date(s) did you go to? Who were your favourite performances?

Twitter | Instagram | Depop

Advertisements

Taking a Step Back

Initially I thought about writing this post to explain why I’ve taken some time out of blogging, writing posts, staging the best photos I can take, writing it up, sharing it on social media… and on goes the cycle. Then I realised that this is my space to write when I want to so there is no reason I’d have to justify it. If you want to step back from a hobby for whatever reason, you absolutely can.

I stepped back from blogging for a while because I was putting too much pressure on myself to create content specifically twice a week, on specific Tuesday and Thursday, meeting specific topic criteria such a Travel or Lifestyle and it just wasn’t happening. This blog is my space to document my travels and share life tips and tricks when I feel like I have a nugget of information that I feel would be useful for others to read about.

Now, I’m no mathematician, but 30 days Annual Leave in a year and one travel post per week does not add up to decent content every single time. I don’t need to write one post a week, that’s a target I set for myself, nor can I afford to be gallivanting here, there and everywhere every month of the year.

Taking a step back doesn’t just have to apply to your hobbies. As I’m getting a bit older and starting a life for myself, I’m certainly appreciating those days perhaps at the weekend or on holiday when I can take a step back and maybe even use a face mask or unashamedly take a nap at 3pm. I’m finding that due to working during the week, my weekends are taken up by social plans. I’m not complaining that “ugh I have to spend time with friends and ugh do I really have to go out and have fun today?” but I certainly appreciate the time out (as will my friends, I can assure you).

It’s so important to take a breather, particularly if you want to assess your current situation. Are you overwhelmed? Perhaps you’re taking too much on? Is there a deadline you need to extend or priorities you need to list (of course that was going to make it into this post – we all know I love a good list)

Taking a step back can be anything from declining overtime at work, to spending one evening a week doing absolutely nothing (apart from eating dinner and then sleeping, of course). Here are some of my favourite ways to take a step back:

  1. Spend one entire evening making priority lists for everything: housework, appointments to make, food shopping list, etc.
  2. Take out ten minutes every morning before or at work to list your priorities for that day. Those that aren’t achieved, move to tomorrow’s list.
  3. Spend an entire weekend looking after yourself: catch up on sleep, a skin care routine, meditation… Whatever self-care you have been putting off, now’s the time.

Those are some generic ways to step back but this is a very personal process and to be successful with it, you’re going to want to assess which aspects of your life have taken a back seat.

And hey, I would say I’m back to blogging, but you know what? If you don’t see another post from me for a while, maybe enjoy the archives and I’ll be back when I feel like coming back.

What do you think?
Do you have any tips for taking a breather?

Twitter | Instagram | Depop

What May means to me

There are features of Facebook that I’m not particularly interested in, stories and live videos, for instance. One feature that I do appreciate is the On This Day feature which shows you all posts (however embarrassing or boring) from previous years on that date. It’s a reminder of milestones and of how embarrassing you may have been as a 13 year old on social media (it can’t just be me?!)

Laptop

On 1st May 2017, for example, I was welcoming in the new month and milestones such as my last university exam ever. A pretty big time for me, granted, but it’s crazy how times change and how something may feel like the biggest event ever at the time yet a year on, for instance, I’m working full-time and my last university exam seems a world away. Never mind university, my GCSEs seem galaxies away… Yet at the time they were what my future rested on. Crazy.

Our trip to Dublin was another highlight of this time last year when 10 of us decided to hop on a plane and see the Irish sights (Guinness included). I’ve always loved city breaks and I’ve certainly continued this into my early working life, regularly using my annual leave days to jet off and see another corner of the world. This time last year was the perfect time to celebrate the end of an era with those I’d studied and partied with for the past four years.

Slam Dunk Festival

The last event I made a note of in May last year was Slam Dunk Festival 2017. Two days of pure pop punk music, sun (or the British excuse for it), beer, and band t-shirts — the best! Dean and I have been to this festival a few times now and we always go to North and Midlands so that we can ensure we see all the bands we want to see without sacrificing any time from other bands. Twice the time, twice the chance to see everyone. You should see our schedule, there’s a reason I’m known as the queen of spreadsheets at work…


So, last year May meant three things to me: milestones, friends and festivals. This year, similarly, it represents friends, family and festivals. Sounds perfect to me.

Friends.
Instead of hopping on a plane to be a tourist in the Irish capital, this time I’m hopping on a MegaBus to York. Not as glamourous but just as exciting. I’ve been to York before and it’s absolutely gorgeous so I’m excited to see it with some friends this time. Might we see more about York on the blog, Paris? Ooh good question, I’ll guess you’ll have to wait and see, hmmm…

Family.
We are hosting my family and Dean’s family for the weekend, for the first time in a good few months (does it count if they got accommodation so that no-one has to attempt to sleep on our tiny sofa bed?) I love planning a weekend for them; places to go during the day, drinks in the evening, meals out… Family time is really important to me particularly now that I live a couple of hours from my family home.

Festivals.
Party, party, party! I’m not hardcore enough for a three-day tent stay in July/August so I’ll make do with two days of Slam Dunk 2018 which is a happy medium between lots of bands and also the comfort of a substantial sleeping space i.e. an actual bed. Right the way from creating the playlist one month prior to the festival so that I know all of the words, up to wearing my new Slam Dunk t-shirt on the way home, wishing that I could start the weekend again. It seems to be becoming an annual tradition (as long as the line-up is good!)

What does May mean to you?
Are there any milestones or fun things you do every year?

Let me know in the comments!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

About Me

With a lot of ‘about me’ or ‘get to know me’ blog posts and YouTube videos, there tends to be a lot of “this is my name and this is where I’m from” but I compared it to meeting someone for the first time and there are some much more important factors when considering whether that person is friendship-worthy. So here are some super serious facts about me that I tend to use to gauge my interest in a friendship with another human being or that friends have pointed out about me and said that they have had to look past in order to continue our friendship and that’s fair enough.*

*Just for the record, I’m totally joking (apart from the toothbrush one, please don’t be that friend), we can be pals as long as you’re a decent chap. I just fancied sharing some ‘out of the box’ aspects about me.

20180329_220502.jpg

I DON’T USE BOOKMARKS.
I have many bookmarks and I can’t tell you where any of them are. How can they keep my page if they’re at the bottom of the drawer? Once I plan to pause, I just fold the corner of the page. I also bend the book so the spine gets creased… Not the best if you’re looking to preserve the book but I just find it easier that way.

I SOMETIMES DON’T WET THE TOOTHBRUSH AT ALL.
Sometimes I do (and it can vary between before I brush or after) and sometimes I just put on the toothpaste then brush my teeth. I think this varies between different people and I won’t judge whether you wet the toothbrush; as long as you don’t have dog breath, we’re good to converse.

I BECOME INTERESTED IN POPULAR TV SHOWS TOO LATE.
I don’t tend to watch popular films or TV shows when everyone else does because I can’t be bothered getting involved in the hype. Instead, I hear so much about them that 3 months later, I decide to watch it and it’s actually a great idea because by then I can binge watch it on Catch Up, so who’s winning now?

I SAW THE HARRY POTTER FILM SERIES IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2017.
I had seen the first couple, but I never read the books as a kid and I hadn’t seen the last two films until last year. I’m sorry, I know. It’s a mix and match really; I had Philosopher’s Stone in hardback; Chamber of Secrets on DVD; then the rest I’d just seen bits and bobs when ITV went through those phases of showing them all at once. It really is a mess and I’m glad I got it together last year because it was getting embarrassing.

I TAKE OUT THE TEABAG BEFORE I POUR IN THE MILK.
I’m not sure how or why anyone manages to get this wrong (no, not different, it’s plain wrong) but here’s how it is: I put the teabag in the cup, pour in the boiling water, squeeze and remove the teabag, pour in the milk, (add in sugar/sweeteners for those who take them), and stir.

What about you, at which point do you pour in the milk? Do you use bookmarks?
Let me know in the comments!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Travel Q&A

  1. Do you prefer long or short flights?
    I’ve only ever been on one long flight and it was to New York. I really enjoyed it because I had never experienced in-flight films or food before. No, it isn’t gourmet (or at least if you travel economy, it isn’t) but it’s just fun when you’re only familiar with getting on the plane, listening to music, eating the snacks you bought pre-boarding, and then getting off the plane. I don’t have an equal sample of both, but I think I prefer long haul flights just because of that one experience.
  2. Which apps do you use most when abroad?
    RyanAir to book the flights, AirBnB to book the accommodation, then when we’re there, we use Google Maps for directions, restaurants, landmarks and transport. We sometimes use TripAdvisor for food and sightseeing because sometimes you can catch some great offers, but it just depends which offers they have at the time of your trip.
  3. Where will you go next?
    We don’t have a set plan, but Greece is on the cards, and we’re talking about Munich (Germany) towards the end of this year. We’ll see what happens but our last trip was over two months ago now so I’m getting the travel blues already!
  4. What do you consider your highest priority when booking your trip?
    Budget is a real factor, I’d say. It doesn’t hold us back though; I think we’re pretty open to most opportunities as long as we can afford it reasonably comfortably.
  5. What are three things that you can’t travel without (apart from your passport and boarding pass)?
    Phone, headphones and compact mirror!
  6. Do you plan your itinerary for the trip beforehand or spontaneously choose on the day?
    This depends on the trip. When we went to Budapest, I planned most landmarks that I wanted to see and when I wanted to go there, more or less. Yet when we went to Stockholm, I was totally laid back and hadn’t really planned at all. I don’t really know why that was the case but I hadn’t researched half as much for Stockholm as I had for Budapest – maybe we had more time between booking and going to Budapest, than we did with Stockholm?
  7. Do you ever learn any of the language before you visit a place?
    It’s a real shame but I look up phrases and never have the confidence to use them – even though I lived in Spain for a year and managed then! My worst fear is trying to communicate in the native language and being asked to repeat myself or getting a long-winded response that I don’t understand or know how to reply to. If you’re interested to know more about my feelings towards languages and travelling, there’s more about that here!
  8. Would you ever go interrailing?
    Definitely, it’s just a case of budget and deciding where we’d both like to go. It looks really fun and there are companies that help you with the planning, so it’s definitely on my bucket list, I just don’t have a timescale for it right now.
  9. Do you prefer hotels, AirBnB, or another type of accommodation?
    To be honest, it depends what for. Hotels for the ease of just getting up, having breakfast and heading out, then returning to a made bed. AirBnB for my pocket and the freedom to come and go as we please – no eating time restrictions or checking in and out restrictions.
  10. Do you collect any particular type of souvenir when you go abroad?
    I usually get myself a keyring but I’ve started to run out of space in my handbag let alone on my actual keys! I also usually buy my Mum and Grandma a fridge magnet each because they collect those.

I hope you enjoyed this short but sweet read!
If you’d like to ask me any more questions about travelling, then please leave them in the comments!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Home

As a twenty-something who settled in the city I went to university, I have to go a bit further afield than round the corner to see my parents. My family home is two hours drive from where I live so it’s important to me that I often take the time to visit my childhood hometown and my family. When I was at university, I’d love going home for a Sunday Roast or a Shepherds Pie, and for the holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Nowadays it’s more about catching up with my family, but there are a few particular aspects of visiting home that I really do love.

REMINISCING ABOUT THE OLD DAYS.
I love chatting to my parents over dinner about how my Mum popped me on the car insurance and my Dad took me out one day before my first official driving lesson, and I got home adamant that I’d never be able to do it (ever the optimist!)

THE SOUND OF THE BIRDS OUTSIDE IN THE MORNING.
You’re probably thinking “surely you get that in a lot of places?” but for some reason, the tweeting outside my window in a morning is dinstictive and gives me that warm homely feeling. I’ve no idea what type of birds they are but they sound so cheerful as I roll out of bed to get breakfast.

IMG_20180224_085941_493.jpg

HOME COMFORTS.
This stretches from the same family photos in the lounge to having the same bedroom that I did as a child (if since redecorated). I love sinking into my old bed at night and waking up to the furniture I picked out as a 16 year old (I had/have impeccable taste.

DRIVING.
Despite having had a full driving licence for a good few years now, I have no need for my own car due to living within walking distance from work and the city centre. This means that driving my Dad’s car when I’m home for the weekend is still novel and I still get really excited.

20180224_114010.jpg

MY CAT.
If you have any pets or have had before, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I talk about my love for my cat. She’s a loveable little fluff ball who amazes me every time I go home because she remembers who I am and sits on my knee for cuddles. I don’t know if cats are supposed to have a good memory but I always worry that she’ll forget me… But she never does, which is a relief!

CATCHING UP.
Even though I speak to my Mum every day, it’s still nice to go home and give my parents each a proper hug and hear about what they’ve been up to. It’s also a great time to note down any gift inspiration for any upcoming occasions! You might see or hear something in the house that will give you the perfect idea for the next birthday present!

20180310_230942.jpg

I try to make a real effort to visit home when I can, it’s so important to me that I catch up with my parents regularly. We’re due another date in the diary soon and I’m super excited!
Do you often reminisce?
Do you have a favourite place that brings back happy memories?
If you’d like to share it, please feel free to leave a comment!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Things people only do at the airport

I like to think that I travel as much as I can, and that I make the most of my budget and annual leave. I enjoy that feeling of sitting in the airport at 3am (well, not so much the 3am part) with a full breakfast (at this time? Really?) and a cup of tea ready to hop on an aeroplane to wherever I might be going. It’s a fun place to people watch and analyse what people actually get up to in what is actually the international equivalent of a bus station, except you wouldn’t catch me doing any of the following things at the bus station… Now, the excitement of going on holiday might make you do some funny things but here are the activities I can only ever recall seeing at an airport.

2017-08-25 10.07.08 1.jpg

DRINK ALCOHOL AT 4AM (NOT AS PART OF A NIGHT OUT).
If I woke up in the early hours and cracked open a Rekorderlig cider for breakfast, it would be frowned upon; but somehow this societal norma is launched straight out of the window in the hours leading up to a flight inside the four walls of the airport.

SPEND £16 ON A BOOK.
You could have bought it on Amazon for a third of the price or even download it on your Kindle for less than a fiver but for whatever reason, seeing it in the flesh and smelling those brand new book pages seems to blur your budgeting lens and next thing you know, you’ve spent £48 on a series of books that you might not even read.

20180312_143904.jpg
This one was in a ‘3 for £5’ offer in The Works, but you get the idea…

DOWN A BOTTLE OF WATER IN A QUEUE.
There’s no other place I recall seeing this than in the queue for security. You’ve forgotten to drink it on the way to the airport but there’s no chance you’re wasting your £1.79 bottle of Evian. Only two people ahead of me in the queue and a 50cl bottle? Challenge accepted.

20170601_165227.jpg

SMOKE IN A DESIGNATED ROOM.
I suppose this depends which airports you’ve been to, but I’ve never come across a room specifically designed for people to smoke in, as opposed to going outside for a cigarette. I remember being at the airport in Prague and there was no door to leave the building after going through security so there was just a group of strangers cramped together in one area behind a glass door. It just seems totally backwards to me.

Do you enjoy people watching when you’re relaxing?
Have you seen anything else you’d consider an otherwise socially unacceptable (or just unusual) activity in an airport?
Let me know in the comments!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram