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Preview: I’m ready to have my MIND BLOWN by BoomTown Fair

998783_10151575326382617_248476865_nImagine a world of complete freedom. A world where everything is topsy turvy and nothing quite makes sense. Like that dream world between sleep and wakefulness – it never quite seems real but suddenly you can touch it, hear it, smell it and touch it. BoomTown Fair is like your imagination, your wildest dreams and craziest nightmares have all exploded before your very eyes to create the most bizarre fantasy world, right in the middle of Winchester.

It’s a place that is simply impossibly to do justice to in words if the ones reading haven’t been there, but I’m going to do my best to try after only experiencing BoomTown Fair for the first time myself last summer. I don’t think I have ever been so utterly blown away by anything and have described it ever since as Disneyland for adults – but even that doesn’t accurately explain the incredible effort the team behind it all go to. The sets are majestic and the whole town comes alive in a variety of incredible ways – this is not just a music festival, this is whole experience and that is what I most looking forward to this summer.993683_10151575327612617_1598547716_nThe experience of BoomTown Fair completely immerses you from the second you walk through the gate and begin the trek across the festival grounds themselves to find your camping spot. After camping on a 45 degree slope last summer, I am intent (haha geddit?) on making sure I get a good spot this summer, but even that position gave us an incredible view over Downtown and particularly the Arcadia Spectacular – which will continue to be a real highlight for me. This astonishing construction has to be seen in action to be believed – the music, the bass, the fire, the action – it all just blows your mind and I have never experienced anything like it. I can’t wait to get back in there.

Elsewhere, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Tribe of Frog forest party has grown for 2014 after experiencing the psy-trance beauty of it last year. The stunning light show on the tree canopy had us all transfixed by its beauty last summer and I’ve no doubt the magic of the woods will be back in force this year. Last year’s brand new Lion’s Den stage was my favourite place to be and I’m sure once again it will be hosting some of the finest acts that will have us all dancing long into the night again. In particular I am so excited to see headliners Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers – both incredible performers and sure to be the perfect addition to those summer days. But the one addition that really made my summer complete had to be the one and only Mr Boombastic himself – Shaggy! I can’t wait for him to bust out It Wasn’t Me and hear the crowd singing along – if you ask me, he belongs at BoomTown Fair.1233979_10151575328442617_1069348507_nLast summer I spent hours just walking around the festival discovering new amazing places and stumbling across fantastic hidden entertainment and that is something I am seriously looking forward to this summer. BoomTown Fair is a festival you can truly get lost in for four days and that is what it is all about, leaving who you are at the gate and discovering a whole new you. The roller disco is definitely on my to-do list, along with the paint fight and without a shadow of a doubt I plan to throw myself into the madness of the Outrageous Carnival where I’m sure there will be some incredible costumes and more great music.

Other brilliant acts I’m looking forward to catching include The Skatalites, Tha Cat Empire, Babylon Circus, Eats Everything, Ms Dynamite, Treacherous Orchestra and especially The Secret Swing Society after their amazing performance last summer – those guys were so good, make sure you see them! While walking around the festival, I’ll be looking out for those amazing party vehicles and the tiny little holes in the wall where the real weirdos are hiding with their fantastic little shows. Last year I saw a group giving bizarre haircuts to people with grass for hair and I still can’t get over being beckoned into a dark room where the oddest little puppet show started up – just when you think things can’t get any stranger – they will! The only advice I can give to a first-time BoomTowner is to prepare to have your mind BLOWN!1004920_10201803721885873_11532542_nLast year I was firmly a Trenchtown girl, I could be found drinking in as much dub, reggae and jungle as I could find, but this year I’m not yet sure where my allegiances will lie, perhaps I will join the Barrio Loco party district. It all rests on the costumes and on the music for me, but I know I’ll be having a lot of fun exploring every district – see you there!

 My preview for BoomTown Fair as appeared on This Festival Feeling.

Preview: Jimmy Carr on tour

article-1340548093969-13bb9319000005dc-33928_466x310Mixed reviews. That’s what I’m expecting to be the opening line of my review of Jimmy Carr’s latest tour – Funny Business – which I was given tickets to go and see live for Christmas. My boyfriend and I are going this Saturday night and I’m not sure what to expect, or even whether I will find him funny or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love 8 out of 10 cats, although mainly for Jimmy Carr’s laugh and the banter between the comedians. But whenever I have seen him do any stand-up, I have always been less impressed by him as I find he tends to descend into sarcasm and bitchiness rather than actual humour, and quite quickly as well. Now I like a bit of sarcasm as much as the next person, but my point is that I don’t necessarily find it very intelligent.

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence. (Oscar Wilde)

Sorry Oscar – I’m not sure I agree. making snide comments at someone is not at all intelligent, it’s just that sarcasm sometimes goes straight over some peoples’ heads. Does that mean they are stupid? Or does that mean you are just trying to insult them indirectly and they just haven’t noticed? I’m hoping that when I see him live at the weekend, that I won’t notice these things quite so much and that he will actually be quite sharp and funny with his comments. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing another comedian live and you guys will be getting a review next week!

Have you guys seen Jimmy Carr live before? Or have you got any other comedians line-up to see?

It’s my birthday today!

cakeIt’s my birthday today! I’m  24 years young and pretty damn happy about it – there won’t be a full post today because sadly I’m at work after a weekend at a festival – so feeling a little delicate and knackered! Plus it’s raining! It never rains on my birthday – think the weather is sympathising with me being at work after the beautiful weekend. But despite all of this, I have a smile on my face and I’m feeling pretty good! I’ve got some old school soul boosting my mood with a cracker of a happy birthday song that my friend sent me and thought I’d share it with you:

Gorgeous right? Just what I needed this morning to pick me up. Now I’m looking forward to getting home, having a big glass of wine and putting my feet up. In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about how much things have changed over the last few years and how even with a pretty rough start to the year, I’m a very lucky girl. So here’s a big thank you to all of the people who have made these last 24 years amazing – here are just some of the ones who have made a big difference to my life more recently:

  • My beautiful best friends who have been there through the very worst and best of times. In the last few years I have never been more grateful for them and in the last 12 months I have seen one happily married and the other making huge plans for the future. With all of our birthdays within a few weeks of each other, I’m pretty sure 24 is going to be good for all of us!
  • My family who have helped me make one of the biggest decisions of my life, to completely up sticks and travel across the world, leaving my job and everyone behind. It is simultaneously the scariest and most exciting thing I have ever done and I’m so grateful for all their help in making this decision and plans.
  • My boyfriend, who still after eight years puts a big smile on my face and knows exactly how to make me feel better post-festival with pizza and Homeland.
  • My girls – for the first time in my life I actually have a massive group of girl mates who actually outnumber my boy mates! They again have been there through thick and thin and can always be called on for a great laugh and plenty of fun – something I have been much in need of after the last few months!
  • My festival buddies – without you last summer would have been boring as hell, I love you all for dancing with me until the sun comes up and for making that walk home after a long night still laughing about absolutely nothing. This summer will no doubt be just as amazing because it will be spent with you all again and I can’t wait.
  • My fellow bloggers – you know exactly who you are, the wonderful friends I have made through this blog. The ones who comment on every post and keep me wanting to write more, the ones who have made me feel part of the blogging community and the ones who have proved how amazing it is to be a blogger.

There are lots more people I could be thanking but it’s my birthday and I’m sure you already know who you are. In the meantime – here’s to the next 24 years! Gulp, I’ll be nearly 50 then!

A weekend of sunshine and skydiving in Norfolk

10259791_10152052007567617_3291112992051207503_nLast weekend, I headed out to UK Parachuting over at Beccles Airfield to watch a group of grown men fling themselves out of a plane and scream like little girls. What a way to spend a sunny day! It was such a random decision for all the boys to do a skydive, but after someone suggested it, they all decided they were up for it. Before we knew it, they were booked on it and a few weeks later, here we were!  It was a gorgeous summers day – the hottest we had seen yet in Norfolk – and everyone was out in the sunshine eating ice creams as they waited to be called up. I had firmly decided I wasn’t going to be taking my feet off the ground, but was more than happy to offer moral support and to video the boys (pictured above).

10371988_10152052008092617_4004815505940194698_nAfter they all signed in, we had to wait until their groups were called up. It was a busy day at the airfield, so we expected to be there a while. I just wished that I had been more prepared – others had brought chairs and picnics to enjoy, but we just hadn’t thought of that at all.

10363877_10152052008027617_3748810895108617275_n We made up for it with an ice cream and a sit on the benches, one of the boy had brought a Nerfball, luckily that was over quickly after one managed to hit me in the head with it (not amused). Thankfully, someone had a box of beers in the car to keep us entertained once the group had a brief safety session.

10345543_10152052007717617_724608603554442552_nDespite being told no-one would be called up for an hour and a half, someone soon came over and started yelling at us all (after only about 20 minutes) because we were all bring called. We headed back over to the hangar and the boys started suiting up. They had to put on these amazing jumpsuits – so flattering (not!). They did seem to suit some of them, but the others looked ridiculous and I took a lot of enjoyment out of this, especially the wonderful little hats as you can see in the above pictures. They were all harnessed up and strapped in – obviously this cued much groping of their “man-parts” which apparently were rather uncomfortable.10348316_10152052007797617_2935174272223610823_n

After this, there was a lot more waiting around, for which I was glad to be in a summer dress rather than these hot, sweaty little suits.While waiting, I’d clocked several charity groups, including The Matthew Project who had a vicar taking to the skies!

10313974_10152052007912617_6581314115251572621_nFinally, it was time, the first group of boys were called up to their plane after a brief safety session and they scooted in with their tandem divers. One of these skydivers had done over 10,000 jumps in his time! After a brief flight up, swooping over the airfield and looping round as they climbed higher and higher, the cage was slipped open. Those on the ground were all craning our necks and squinting into the sun to spot them as the first skydivers jumped out of the plane. It was an amazing sight to see these tiny dots grow larger and larger until their parachutes burst open. Some were allowed the grab the reins and you could see them swinging from side-to-side and doing loop-the-loops. They floated faster and faster towards the ground and swooped down, being told to raise their legs at the last minute as they bumped down on their bums – a funny old sight once you could see their facial expressions. Two planes later and they were all on the ground raving about it.

It really did sound like an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience – to get that incredible thrill would be just amazing and I definitely plan to do it in my lifetime. They all said I should have done it then, but I just didn’t want to spend £180 on it now when I could do it in New Zealand or somewhere next year instead. But it really did sound incredible and just what an amazing experience to fling yourself out of a plane and to float to the ground like that. The ultimate thrill. They were all so glad they had done it, with some even hoping to do the course to learn how to do it on your own! I know I didn’t do it myself, but if I were you, after seeing their reactions, I would definitely give it a go! I certainly plan to!

Have you been skydiving? What was it like for you?

Preview: Kicking Off A Summer Of Raving At We Are FSTVL

we areFor those who would like to read my preview story for This Festival Feeling on We Are FSTVL (which I am reporting on this weekend for my birthday). Here is a copy of my preview along with a link to the full version.

Is it just me or is anyone else struggling to remember the last time they saw the sun shine? It may have been a mild winter, but it has been a dark one for us festival-lovers. We’ve all been knuckling down, working those extra hours and praying for summer sun and smelly tents – what have we been working for? To pay for that first festival ticket – that first taste of freedom and madness that will set the tone for the next six months.

For some of us – the luckiest ones who managed to snag tickets – that first taste of festival fun will come in the form of We Are FSTVL this weekend. I couldn’t be more ecstatic at the thought of going to a festival so early in the summer but also being able to ease myself in to a non-camping one. After not having put up my tent in over six months – I wasn’t quite ready to break that streak yet.

My friend and I have been chomping at the bit to go to We Are FSTVL since before the line-up was even announced. After hearing last year’s incredible electronic offering, we knew it would be right up our street and after last summer at Hideout Festival, we needed a hefty dose of bass to get us all warmed up. The huge sell-out success of last year’s event was more than I needed to tell me that I just had to be in the huge crowds packing out this year’s event, and the fact that it is just a day before my birthday seems even more of a perfect excuse! Friends who went to the festival last year said they were more than impressed at how big it was despite still being such a youngster in the festival world, and with the event doubling on the number of days this summer and growing the infrastructure of the festival itself – I’m sure those returning will be in for a treat when they see how it has grown in just one year.

I’m not sure there are enough words in the English language to explain how incredibly excited I am for this line-up, but I’ll give it a go. The Saturday will see a huge nine stages for us revellers to wander amongst, I know when I arrive I’ll be instantly battling myself and praying that my favourite DJs have enough time between their sets for me to run between stages. Over on the main We Are FSTVL stage I’m just dying to see Disclosure and Maya Jane Coles playing alongside Hot Since 82 and Maribou State, but let’s hope there’s no clash with Knife Party over on the We Are ELCTRNC stage because I have been waiting for an opportunity to see these guys live for years!

I can never turn down any stage curated by MK after seeing his set on one of the Hideout Festival boat parties last summer. He’s an amazing DJ and I’m sure he’d have only the best lined up to join him which we can see instantly from the likes of Ninetoes, Route 94 and Shadow Child. The Hospitality stage is the one I am most excited for because if I manage to get myself over there, know I could stay there happily all night long listening to huge summer sounds of Fred V & Grafix’s latest release Forest Fires which is on repeat in my car at the moment. But even when they finish up there’s more from Camo & Krooked, High Contrast, Shy FX, Danny Byrd and Friction among many others. Wow. What a huge line-up! The other stages are equally packed with huge DJ talents and I just know my head will be spinning as I try to keep up with each set.

Sunday will just blow my mind as the one-and-only Fatboy Slim headlines with Annie Mac and Duke Dumont – just brilliant. After seeing Fatboy Slim the first night of his Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour in the UK, I know how incredible he is and it was one of my dreams to see him headline a festival and blow up the main stage. Over at the Cocoon stage I’ll have to catch some Sven Vath to give me flashbacks to when I saw him at Glade Festival two years ago – again an amazing set. A RAM Records girl through and through, I’m so excited to see Andy C leading the charge with special sets from Sub Focus and Noisia, and with Calyx & Teebee, Loadstar and Mind Votex also lined up – there’s a chance I’ll never get away from the stage. Over on the Desperados WHSE stage, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs are not to be missed and I know I’ll be spending a lot of time at the Toolroom Knights Ibiza stage, soaking up the Ibiza sounds and reminiscing about Hideout Festival with the likes of Mark Knight, Tensnake, Tough Love and Pete Griffiths.

Phew – just writing all of this has blown my mind, I can’t imagine what it will be like in reality but I’m expecting big things and hopefully lots of glorious sunshine to help me start off my summer tan. Here’s to the first festival of the summer!

My rules for following the etiquette of blogging and social media

follow-usThe explosion of social media and the internet during my lifetime means that unlike our parents, the online generation have been exposed to a whole new world of social politics through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and various other apps and sites. It’s actually crazy to think that in my lifetime, things have developed from that huge box computer in my dining room, which was ridiculously slow and blocked the phone line, to a world of laptops, iPads and smart phones. But it has happened, and with it has come a whole new social etiquette that can make or break friendships and career opportunities – as us bloggers know only too well.

twitter_follow_meNow there is the complicated web of retaining boundaries by separating personal accounts from professional, through dividing friends across Facebook and Twitter depending on your relationship, and even having a system for following people back. It’s just crazy that this is something we even have to think about – but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown over the last seven months that I have had to think more and more about these types of things, and I’m sure that many others have felt the same. So, after a lot of thought, I have come to a few conclusions over blogging social etiquette that I think might help out other bloggers who might have found themselves in a similar position.keep-calm-and-add-me-on-facebook-graphic

I’ve noticed that as my blog and social media sites grow with more followers, readers and comments daily, that while most of them are people interested in my writing and reading what I am putting out into the world, there are also a small proportion who are just interested in gaining more followers. This to me is just sad. I absolutely love when I get new followers because they have seen a post of mine or they have engaged in discussion of a topic with me. I love meeting other bloggers through the FBL and Lbloggers chats because we all engage with each other and talk about topics we share interests in. So when people just follow to ask for a follow back, or they follow you and if you haven’t returned the favour within 24 hours they unfollow you – I just find this a) incredibly rude and b) just plain ridiculous. I just don’t understand what these people think they are gaining by having high numbers of followers or “friends” who are not interested in what they have to say or are posting.

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Ironically, I received this email this morning..

I am lucky to have so many Facebook friends and Twitter followers because I have so many who do interacts with me on a daily basis both about day-to-day life and about my blog posts. I value my readers and appreciate their comments and feedback – so I just can’t understand why some would rather have faceless and nameless masses of followers who never speak up or give you any feedback.

So, I have made myself some new rules that I thought might also help my fellow bloggers:

 

  1. I will no longer be following back those who ask me to follow them, but if you ask me to check out your blog I will happily do so and if I like what I read I will return the favour, as I do often.
  2. If you comment or message me asking me to follow you so that you will follow me – it is an instant no-no because what is the point in that?
  3. If you follow me on Twitter, I will check out your Twitter and any blogs – if I like what you post and have to say, I will return the favour but only then. I love my newsfeeds on all of these sites because they show up the topics and information that I find interesting and inspiring. I refuse for them to be clogged up with spam and rubbish instead.
  4. I will continue – as I have always done – to leave three lovely comments on other bloggers’ sites every day. This is something I have done from the beginning because I think it encourages us to be more of a community and I love to give positive feedback to great posts. I expect nothing in return – just to have put a smile on someone’s face.
  5. I will very rarely become Facebook friends with those I meet through blogging or work – this is because I have a Facebook page for my blog and would prefer to use that. But also, because my personal Facebook page is for close friends, school friends and family. I will on occasion break this rule if I have become close friends with other bloggers – but this just helps me retain a little privacy.

follow-meI hope this hasn’t come across negatively, but I think that when we are all as busy as we are, not all of us have time to sift through the genuine followers and friends as well as the true ones. I would much rather spend my time talking to those who are genuinely interested in reading what I have to say and discussing it instead of those who just want to up their digits. I have a wonderful core following of readers and I appreciate every comment you leave, every tweet you send and every Facebook like. It is what keeps me writing these posts and excitedly waiting for feedback – everything you guys have to say is what fuels my mind and my hands to want to type the next piece. Thanks for all your feedback guys and I hope this post will help my fellow bloggers in making their own set of rules for dealing with the follow-back demands.

What other social media and blogging advice would you give? Comment below and you could be helping other bloggers.

The songs that will make my summer soundtrack

1004604_10151480508882617_1052791188_nAfter last year’s incredible summer, I plan on hitting up a heck of a lot of festivals this year with good friends, a crate of warm cider and a muddy tent in tow. What more could a girl want over those summer months? With the first festival of the season taking place over this weekend – my birthday weekend – I’m so excited to get properly in the summer mood and get dancing. But what is it I’ll be dancing to this summer? Well, here are my top summery songs of the moment – these are the ones that have me dancing along in my car and singing along to with the radio.

Forest Fires by Fred V and Grafix is just one of those chilled out songs that instantly puts a smile on my face. It makes me think of summer drives with a car-full of friends and the sun beaming down on us, lots of cocktails and laughs. It’s a perfect summer warm-up song and I just know I’m going to be hearing it a lot this summer.

Another huge tune that I absolutely love has got to be Mr Probz – Waves which is my ultimate driving song of the moment. This song is the perfect length for my drive to work and when the sun is shining in the mornings, it is perfet for de-stressing me and chilling me out before the chaos starts.

Any song with a hefty dose of saxophone is always going to make me happy and Faul & Wad Ad vs. Pnau do exactly that with Changes. Although released a little while ago now, I’m still not bored of this and I can’t imagine it going away. This is the sort of song that is used as the soundtrack to festival videos and that’s why I love it.boom1 Hippie Sabotage – Stay High  is another of those really chilled out songs that I just love. It reminds me of being at BoomTown Fair last summer sunbathing and hanging out at the Shisha Tent with the boys or dancing in the woods.

Duke Dumont – I Got You is such a happy sound, the steel drums just scream summer and it just makes me want to dance around at a festival and pull silly faces in photos with my girls. When you listen to the lyrics, it is such a cute song and I love what it is about.

Again, like Duke Dumont, Sigma – Nobody To Love also puts a huge smile on my face and I love that everyone always sings along. It’s such a fun song and no-one can resist a teensy bit of Kanye thrown into the mix. If you haven’t heard this song, I’ll be shocked because it is everywhere at the moment.

What would summer be without Paolo Nutini to light up my life with his latest album? Pretty dark I’ll tell you. I love his soulful sound and it’s perfect for lazy summer days in the park. I would absolutely love to see him live at a festival but sadly he won’t be performing at any I go to this summer.

Let it be known that I heart Bastille. Last summer, I saw them perform their whole album in the gorgeous sunshine at Secret Garden Party and it was one of my favourite festival moments of the summer. They were amazing live and it cemented my love of them entirely. A year on and their album is still one of my automatic go-to playlists and I still know all the words.sgp1

What’s your summer anthem of the moment? Leave me recommendations below and I’ll add them to my playlist!

 

Review – David Rodigan headlines Outlook Festival Launch Party

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After months of waiting impatiently for festival season to begin, finally we kicked off a summer of sunshine, smelly tents and great music at the Outlook Festival Launch Party held in Norwich at the weekend. A huge coup for the city, organisers of the regular reggae and bass nights across Norwich were given the chance to host the event, with the one-and-only David Rodigan set to headline. Put simply, the event was a huge success with a great turnout and perfectly captured the spirit of the Croatian festival with everyone in the festival and holiday mood after a day in the sunshine. Taking over one of Norwich’s newest clubs, and giving me the opportunity to check out Wonderland for the first time, it was a perfect venue for such an event, with two huge rooms dedicated to a collection of incredible local talent pitted against top UK DJs. 10258449_311580088989135_219188688413307796_o

After seeing Rodigan live at Secret garden Party and Hideout Festival last summer, within the space of a few weeks I went from having never heard of him to a massive fan – his sets are amazing for those who haven’t seen him –  perfect for summer festivals or lazing around in the sunshine. The whole venue was buzzing with excitement as we waited for the DJ to take to the stage as crowds flooded through the doors and between the two rooms. In the second room there was plenty to keep you dancing as T>I and Tango & Ratty took over with some serious jungle/drum & bass beats and a fire-dancer.

Another DJ I was just dying to see live and have done ever since catching his remix of Rudimental (see above) is Phaeleh (pronounced Fella). He’s an incredibly talented DJ with a totally fresh sound and I love his music, which I have seen described as “cinematic electronica, but his roots are in dubstep, garage and house” – I have no idea what that means but I know I like it! His set was just magical, and all my friends who had never heard of him were all impressed – I was just over the moon to have finally seen him live and so close to home. His set was perfect right before Rodigan’s – chilled us all out right before we kicked off the dancing again for the reggae master.davidThis is the only good picture I managed to get from the night – the others are just a touch too blurry thanks to my awful dancing. Rodigan smashed on to the stage and the whole room went wild, his set was incredible as usual – I would expect nothing less – and played all of our favourites with plenty of “Pull upppps”. I can’t describe my happiness when he cracked out My Boy Lollipop – always puts a huge smile on my face and I love it when everyone starts singing along. The crowd was filled with all ages, and everyone was singing and dancing along. I go out in Norwich quite a lot and I have to say this was the happiest and most chilled out event I have seen there yet. After such an amazing night – I just wish I was going to Outlook Festival to see the full line-up in action! I’ll definitely be looking out for further Bassjam events in Norwich. Organisers BassJam said: “Wow what a night!! Was an absolute honour having David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan bless the decks, sick sets all round too!! Big love to each and every person in the dance!!”

Review: Sarah Millican Home Bird tour

saIt’s always got my goat a little that there just don’t seem to be as many female comedians around. I love going to see comedians live and watching them on television because I think the two give you very different experiences of a comedian and can often leave you with very differing impressions of their work. For instance, I know someone who loves all of Jack Dee’s stuff on television but when she saw him live she was very disappointed. Likewise, I am not usually very keen on Jimmy Carr, but will be seeing him live in a couple of weeks and am looking forward to seeing if I prefer his stuff live. In Sarah Millican’s case, I have always loved her stuff but have never seen her do a huge amount of stand-up on television. I have seen more of her on her chat show and when she has appeared on other shows, and was interested to see what she would be like live and when she wasn’t tied to the watershed.

My boyfriend got us and his parents tickets for Christmas to see her Home Bird tour at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday night and we were all looking forward to it. Particularly because none of the four of us had ever seen a female comedian live and going back to my opening line, this is something that has annoyed me. Over the years of snatching up tickets to see comedians in Lynn, Norwich and Cambridge, I have seen countless male comedians including Milton Jones, Stewart Francis, Daniel Sloss and Russell Howard. But where are the women? Their gigs just don’t crop up as much because a) there are less of them and b) those that exist just don’t seem to reach the same level of fame! I just can’t understand why when Sarah Millican’s two shows were packed out and everybody clearly loved both the main act and her support act – Sally-Anne Hayward.

47267-24113-nottingham-comeI was so impressed by Sally-Anne’s set after having only seen only small clips of her before. She kept the audience guessing with her hilarious tales that never went in quite the direction you were expecting and caught us completely off guard with her saucy comments leaving the audience in hysterics. The bits about her mum’s relationship advice really made it for me and I’ll definitely be looking out for her work in future.

She welcomed Sarah Millican on to the stage and instantly I was struck by how little she actually is and how at home she would look sitting on your sofa with a mug of tea and a cat. I’ve always loved the way she is just the kind of woman who would fit perfectly into my group of friends – she is filthy, funny and doesn’t give a f***. Starting your set off with an anal sex joke definitely sets the tone and the audience loved it, with all ages enjoying the show equally. Sarah gave a perfect example of how we all find the same gross things funny and of how we’re actually all equally mad and just think we’re the only one. It was very refreshing it was to hear a woman talking about women’s things – jokes about lady parts, nana’s swearing as they cough and the entertainment of living with a man. All topics that are just as funny as the standard grumpy young or old man that seems to be taking over the comedy world.

She gave a great gig and we all left the show with a smile on our faces. If that’s not the telling of a good comedian, I don’t know what is. I would really recommend you try and catch her Home Bird tour because it is just brilliant and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. I don’t think I have ever seen such a varied audience at a comedy show and everyone was joining in and chuckling along. I would definitely say that Sarah Millican is doing it for the girls when it comes to comedy – her style is fantastic. sarahWho is your favourite comedian – male or female? Have you seen this tour – what did you think?

Stephen Sutton’s story is a tribute to the power of social media

suttonUnless you live under a rock, you will have heard the devastating news that the hugely inspiring Stephen Sutton passed away in his sleep yesterday. I still can’t believe the cruelty of a world where someone as pure and good as Stephen could be taken so harshly from his family, friends and from the rest of the world, but remain happy for him that he had achieved so much and could go having made such a difference to the world around him. Although incredibly impressive, I actually believe the fundraising £3.6million for the Teenage Cancer Trust is the lesser part of what he did for our society. Of course that money will save lives and will go towards creating a legacy in his name, but isn’t it so much more important that through the power of social media he managed to inspired a nation?

So many people were touched by his story, a quick scroll down Facebook or Twitter will see countless messages saying how amazing he was and what a loss it is to society. Importantly, not just those in full health were touched and inspired by him, Stephen also became an icon, a shining example, for those who are suffering from cancer, whether terminal or those in treatment. He showed them that cancer is not the end and that there is so much they can do from a hospital bed with the power of positive thinking. Having known a lot of cancer sufferers in my time, both those who have died and those who have survived, I can tell you that positive thinking really can make all the difference to those going through this. I write countless stories about those with cancer who refuse to let it get them down, who throw themselves into fundraising and who often beat the disease. Not saying these are related, but it certainly gives the patient a new focus and drive rather than just worrying about being ill.suttAfter the No Make-Up Selfie craze flooded Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds just weeks ago thanks to a teenage mum from Stoke, we have seen yet another incredible use of social media thanks to Stephen Sutton. The teenager used Facebook and Twitter to spread word of his bucket list and to eventually raise £3.6million, which has been referred to as a credit to humanity. I can’t help but agree. In a world where Facebook and Twitter seem to be mainly used as ways of showing off, putting people down, or worse, trolling others, it is refreshing to see social media used to do good and unite a nation. The whole point of social media was to bring people closer together but with all the news reports on disgusting uses of the sites cropping up in recent years, it seems that more often than not they are being used negatively. Finally, we are seeing a new craze of using social media to help others and to make a difference.

The amazing thing about social media is that it is so easy, whereas before if you wanted to help charities you had to organise events, donate money or volunteer, now you are contributing just by sharing photos and messages. By sharing links to fundraising pages, you are already raising awareness and spreading the word. Online donation pages also make it so much easier to help, to donate to individual causes, challenges and to the larger charities. I’m just fascinated by how the No Make-Up Selfie spread like wildfire and the message of Stephen’s death is yet another incredible example – the Facebook announcement was shared more than 120,000 times within an hour of its publication.

Perhaps now more than ever it is important to take a good long look at the way we use social media and to make a concerted effort to be more responsible and to use it in the right way. I’d love to see a world where those using it to be nasty, to be perverted or to put others in danger just didn’t exist, but sadly I think where there is the technology there will always be these individuals. What I can hope for, is that the majority of people will continue to, or will start, using social media to really make a difference by raising huge amounts for charity by spreading these campaigns after being inspired by the work of Stephen Sutton. A far better use of our time than paying any attention to the Neknomination craze!

Click here if you would like to donate to Stephen’s campaign for the Teenage Cancer Trust.