The 27 Club Mixtape

Yesterday I turned 27 and surprisingly did it rather respectably. The weekend started with champagne breakfast, leading to a stop-over in Cheltenham, a lovely bubble bath (don’t have that luxury at home), beer and fried chicken, finally finished reading Frankenstein, then a walk up Malvern Hills, and ended with noodles, Blue Planet II and Stranger Things.

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But turning 27 and having a chilled-ish weekend gave me time to think of the ’27 Club’ and those iconic stars that died way way way too young. So in homage, here is my ‘27 club mixtape‘ which you can listen to and follow on Spotify:

  • Amy Winehouse – Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
  • The Doors (Jim Morrison) – The End
  • Rolling Stones (Brian Jones) – Midnight Rambler
  • Friendly Fires (Richard Turner) – Photobooth
  • Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues
  • Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
  • Nirvana (Kurt Cobain) – Lithium

Happy (or emotional) listening guys xxx

Music Festival Essentials

Right now I’m so excited! Tomorrow I’m off to Truck Festival in Oxfordshire.

I really just can’t wait to get there, put the tent up and crack open a can. Aside from the general festival atmosphere and discovering new bands, I’m really looking forward to…

  • Libertines – even though I’ve seen them so many times before, nothing beats singing along to the Libs
  • Cabbage – after seeing these previously in a small venue in Leicester I can’t wait to see how they perform to a big crowd, bunch of mad-eds
  • Slaves – I’ve loved their work for a few years now, be great to finally see them live
  • Reggaerobics – does what it says on the tin… good little reggae dance along
  • Idris Elba – what a man, need I say more

I love festivals, and over the years through trial and error I’ve managed to get festival packing down to a tee. Here are my festival essentials…

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  • Glitter – These days, such a festival essential. But did you realise most glitter is made from plastic? Do not worry though, Eco Stardust are here to save the day. They sell beautiful biodegradable glitter.

Did you know? 8 million tonnes of the stuff end up in the ocean every day – the equivalent of one rubbish truck of plastic every minute.

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  • No rinse shampoo & dry shampoo – Not showering for a few days takes it’s toll. Luckily there’s fantastic inventions to help out. Lush’s No Drought dry shampoo is made from natural ingredients and as always is not tested on animals. The grapefruit and lime oil in it makes your hair smell amazing! All you do is dash some powder onto your roots, let it soak in, then brush out. Another hair saver is Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo made in the UK, again animal testing free and they use recycled materials for their packaging. All you do is put it onto dry hair, lather up like you would normal shampoo and then towel dry.

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  • Wipes & hand sanitiser – The shower and toilet situation is never great at a festival. A wet wipe wash and constant application of hand sanitiser is essential. I’ll be taking Earth Friendly Baby Wipes with me which are 100% biodegradable, made in the UK and free from parabens, SLS and animal testing. My go to hand sanitiser is Nilaqua. Made in the UK with fair trade ingredients it is free from palm oil, parabens and SLS. It’s cruelty free, suitable for vegans, biodegradable and has recyclable packaging.

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  • Poncho – First making its appearance at Glasto 2011, it’s been an essential for every muddy UK festival since, it tucks neatly away into a bag ready to be pulled on when the heavens open. Mine regrettably was bought from Primark back in the day, but I really have gotten wear out of it.

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  • Dr. Martens – Sometimes, just sometimes, festivals aren’t one big puddle. This is why I ditched wellies years ago for my Doc Marts. They work in both bad and good weather (saving on packing), they are stupidly comfy and provide more support than wellies.

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  • Sun cream & insect repellent – There is very little escape from the extremes at a festival. For suncream I use Jason SPF 30 as mentioned in my Summer Essentials post and for insect repellent I use Incognito Anti-Mosquito Spray. Last year I was eaten alive at Isle of Wight. This year I won’t be making that mistake again.

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  • Milk thistle – Part and parcel of a festival is alcohol. Massive consumption of the stuff. To ease the effects of alcohol I take milk thistle, courtesy of Brainfeed. Milk thistle is a traditional herbal medicine used to relieve the symptoms of alcohol consumption, several scientific studies suggest that the compound silymarin in milk thistle can protect the liver from toxins. I’ve been using it for nearly two years now. This is definitely a festival essential!

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Other essentials include; something to drink from (water bottle, reusable cup) as suggested in my last post, camping chair, music speakers, sunglasses (check out Monkey Glasses), mirror (for that all-important glitter application), recycled bin bags (always clean up your mess) and clothes for every occasion!

One last crucial essential (that my sister managed to forget last year for T in the Park… sorry Fi) – your ticket!!!

I’m now all packed and raring to go. If you’re off to a festival I’d love to hear what your essentials are. I’m always up for new ideas to make the experience easier.

Ciao x

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Is High Fashion Slow Fashion?

Those who know me know just how much I adore Alexa Chung’s style. A mix of band t-shirts, 60’s mod, English eccentric, scruffy hair, pumps, satchels and high waisted jeans.

So today when she launched her very own fashion label I was eager to see what was on offer.

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I headed to the website and what I found was a great selection of clothes, shoes and accessories but at ridiculously high prices… And this made me think about the ethics and transparency behind high fashion labels. They charge the earth, but why, is it merely because of a brand name? OR Does the garment truly cost that much? Are the cotton farmers, factory workers, shipping merchants, leather dyers paid a fair wage? Given good working conditions? Are the materials extremely good quality? Grown organically? Sourced locally? Rare? Handmade? Do they even know who their suppliers are? Where they are? What conditions they are working in?

Much of the ethical focus is on those fast fashion brands (Primark, H&M, ASOS, Boohoo etc.) because they are cheap and mass produced. Many investigations have been carried out and widely published in the media. However high fashion brands seem to have been left untouched and unscathed.

Is high fashion slow fashion?

I decided to send an email. Within 15 minutes I had a response:

“We understand your concerns. All factories had been visited and approved by our team.

We are also part of the UN Global Compact Program. 

We are happy to make fashion and to make it right as fair as we can.

Here is the link to UN Global Compact website if you want to learn more about it.

This response was a good first step, it shows they believe in making fashion fairly, but it merely just generated more questions. “Where are your factories? What did you find on your visits? How did the workers seem? What about the farmers? Where did the materials come from?”… So I will keep pestering until I get those answers.

But I am only one person. The only way we can get brands to own up and be transparent about where their clothes come from, the only way we can then get brands to ensure where their clothes come from is fair is by all of us asking those questions before we buy. If we keep asking brands the questions and not buying from them until they answer those questions well, they will be forced to ensure their clothes are made ethically.

Petals, keep on asking #whomademyclothes xxx

Beautiful Bank Holiday in Berlin

This time last week I was begrudgingly returning to work following a long weekend in Berlin (which now seems a lifetime ago). Having visited the city just last March, this trip’s aim was to practice our German ‘skills’, see the sights we didn’t manage to see last time and to experience some of the cool suburbs Berlin has to offer.

Whilst there we racked up a daily average of 27,000 steps. But do not fear, the calories burnt were soon topped up with booze and food.

Friday night after lots of German beer in Neukölln we headed to the Quasimodo jazz club in Charlottenburg to see Alexandra Savior perform. She was good, but as often happens didn’t even play our favourite song Shades!

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Saturday was spent mooching round the many vintage and independent shops. My will power somehow miraculously kicked in stopping me from spending a fortune on a beautiful handmade belt from Hoffnung or on a new pair of brogues from Zeha. That evening we hit Torstraße, having a different gin in each place and returning to our favourite smoky cocktail bar – Neue Odessa.

Berlin has a huge hipster scene. After watching a Rick Stein programme earlier in the year where he visited Berlin and called every cool place he entered ‘noir’, we also began calling these hipsters ‘noir’ and created a ‘noir scale’.

Sunday morning we ticked off the Reichstag from the tourist list. We’d booked to do this tour of the German parliament buildings last time but were too hungover to turn up. That was silly of us because I definitely recommend doing it, the views are amazing and you get a great overview of Berlin’s history, so make sure to pre-book before your visit and pick up the audio guide. Final pointer on this… it is FREE!

For lunch we headed to Kreuzberg for a famous Burgermeister and then crossed the Spree to the East Side Gallery to look at the graffiti and umpteen selfies being taken on the Berliner Mauer (wall).

On our way back to the hotel I was determined to find a Photoautomat machine just like Richard Ayoade in Travel Man. Nearly making the full journey back to Alexanderplatz and not finding a machine we decided to follow a ‘noir’ looking fellow to see what cool place he was heading to. This ‘noir’ chap all of a sudden dipped off the path under some old bits of wood, so we followed. On the other side of the wood stood what I’d been looking for, a Photoautomat machine! There was also a mini beach, fire pit, food huts, a bar and Bob Dylan blasting from the speakers. Holzmarkt was an amazing find.

Berlin, once again you were a blast. See you next year! x