Wilderness 2014

Last weekend, we hit the road to get our glamping on at Wilderness Festival.

We’d agreed that given my less than outdoorsy nature, we’d go for the boutique camping experience, despite the faintly ridiculous cost (we could probably have done a week somewhere exotic and luxurious for the same price…) But it was quite something, turning up to Charlbury on a sunny Thursday afternoon and being greeted by rows of yurts, tipis, wigwams, Airstreams and Touregs – as the husband said, it was like being in the Hobbit shires. Complete with free copies of the Times, The Telegraph and HuffPo water bottles obviously.

DSC_0006DSC_0009

Nestled in amongst ancient oak trees and set back from the main festival ground, our yurt was at the far end of the boutique camping ground so noise from the main site didn’t travel to our tent. People in the yurt next door singing The Thong Song at 4am though, we could definitely hear that.

My festival highlights were definitely Arcola Theatre presents Boy on the Wilderness Stage on Friday lunchtime – a beautiful, moving dance performance to commemorate WW1 which made me cry like a baby at the futility of war. Despite the rain, Metronomy on the main stage on the Friday night were amazing but possibly even better was the mad dash to escape the rain into the Secret Forum, where we watched Future Shorts – nothing like a Tibetan movie about a photographer to make you realise how lovely and random and peculiar the Wilderness experience is. The mobile disco we stumbled across on the Saturday night, which was 8sq foot of joy that danced around the fields between Hix and the bandstand brought a smile to all our faces.  And the food – the food was spectacular, from breakfasts by the Breakfast club to dinners from Moro. We didn’t book any banquets, but we’ll definitely do that for next year, the food looked incredible.

DSC_0028DSC_0023

As always, some lowlights and mostly around the cost vs benefit of boutique camping. The event organiser in me couldn’t quite work out why checking in to our yurt, with only four people checking in ahead of us, took around 1.5 hours, particularly when there were a lot of staff just hanging around… Similarly, having spent £300 on tickets + double that on the yurt, we expected a little more than a futon mattress, a duvet and a side table. Just a couple more little touches (camping chairs, lamps) would have made the experience infinitely better.

The Breakfast Club, which is without a doubt one of my favourite places in London, couldn’t make the festival service work – at one point on a Saturday morning, the queue for boutique breakfasts was about 10 people long, yet wait time was 2 hours. For a bacon sandwich. Not ideal for a group of hungover campers. And the fact that the boutique bar closed before the main festival site did – would have been nice to be able to grab a drink for the tent on the way back.

However, having said all that, we’ll definitely go back again – it’s one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever been too, the foodie in me had a lot of jealousy at those better organised who had booked banquets and feasts. Bring on Wilderness 2015.

DSC_0039

A year goes by…

And what a year it’s been. 2014 has not been kind to me or those I love- family lost through evil illnesses, friends lost because it became too much for them to keep on keeping on, limbs lost in road accidents (not mine), relationships feeling on the edge of brokenness but trying SO HARD to be fixed. All in all, I (rather dramatically) feel I’ve lost the very essence of me, this year has been throwing bricks at me to see which one would send me collapsing into rubble.

So I’m taking a break and taking some time to fix myself and stop all the emotions in the world living in my throat, just waiting to break free at any moment in time.

Rather than making this a big ole ‘poor me’ post, I’m writing this to say that over the next few months, I’m going to make a concerted effort to write more here – but not about misery and woe, mostly about food and drink and drinking and eating.

Watch this space. I’m bringing the joy back and it’s starting with writing. Hopefully.

Rainbow shelves

Two months ago, we bought a house. We owned property before, but going from a small one bed flat to a 3-bed house has left us both feeling spectacularly like we’re playing at being grown ups (I don’t think I’ve had to go upstairs to go to bed since I last lived with my folks 12 years ago. It’s very strange, but kinda fun).

The house we’ve bought actually used to be my parents place. They’ve downsized and we’ve upscaled. All in all, it’s been a very topsy turvy house purchase with a world of emotions attached. Thankfully it wasn’t my childhood home so I’m not attached to the green carpets in the lounge or the four different coloured and patterned carpets upstairs (honestly, what is wrong with old people?!) so now we’re in, we’re working hard at changing the bits that need changing and working out how we can afford to do the more extravagant building work (like a brand new kitchen….)

Our weekends are taken up with painting walls, weeding the garden, browsing furniture blogs and websites and visiting antique markets to drool over lovely mid-century furniture we can’t really afford.

One of the things we hated about our old flat was the lack of space to display books and memories. I’m a prolific reader and had hundreds of books (and I’m sure I’ll write a post on my love of my Kindle soon), the husband also likes to read but a bit more slowly than me) and came to our relationship with many books that he’d inherited from family and friends over the years. So we knew we wanted to have a space to display our books and intersperse them with knick knacks and thingiemejigs that we’ve collected on our travels. My lovely friend Kate, who has an awesome interiors blog that showcases her fabulous home, has a bookshelf in her home where she’d colour matched the spines of her literature to form a literary rainbow so in the spirit of interior theivery, I stole her idea.

Using Ikea’s Billy bookshelves as a basis (you cannot go wrong with an Ikea basic!), we built five bookshelves and attached them to the wall in what is now referred to as the library (because we’re fancy). And then the fun started….

300

Or at least the organising did. I love to organise everything from making sure that the glasses match when I load the dishwasher to lining up shoes in order of heel height so having a wall of empty bookshelves appealed to the obsessive compulsive in me. And as you’ll see from the below (and my cover image), the result is a slightly dishevelled but rainbow matched shelving unit. I even went so far as to match vases and ornaments and pebbles and pennies to the different coloured sections (this was the point when the husband went upstairs to put his head in his hands and sigh!) It’s not perfect but it’s very much us and it’s probably the only bit of our new home that feels like it’s imbued with our spirit (so far! We’re working on the rest of it).

311.jpg

(sort of) Wishing fate had dealt me a different hand…

At a formative age, I read somewhere or heard someone say about an elderly American lady from the Deep South that she liked to listen to her stories whilst eating bon bons. This sounded like a fantastic way to spend an afternoon or a lifetime and I’ve since strived to make my life one filled with bon bons and stories.. However, as I’m not actually 80 and I don’t have a terrace on which to while away an afternoon listening to my stories on the wireless, it’s sometimes easier imagined than done.

And I’ve never spent an afternoon with a quilting bee.

All in all, my dreams of being an elderly Southern gentlewoman are shot down by being a middle-aged British/Sri-Lankan living in working in grey and cold London town.

Not that life’s at all bad. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s bloody good fun. I’ve got a job, a house, a cat, a husband, great friends and family. So this blog will record the stories we make when we play together and the bon bons we share when we eat together and hopefully one day they’ll be tales we tell when we are all old and wrinkly and have terraces on which to while hours away.

Story telling, bad dancing, much eating.