*Review: Mr Nutcase customised phone cases

photo 2 (1)I was so pleased to receive an email from the team at Mr Nutcase asking me to review their customised phone cases just days after I had decided to replace my current one. I previously had a customised photo case from Photobox, which I loved, but after having it for a very long time I felt the pictures were no longer in date. I wanted new faces, sharper pictures and less scratches over my new phone case and this was a perfect opportunity to replace it. Everyone has always loved my personalised cases because they are just so unique and my friends just love that their faces are all over my phone!

I was pretty impressed by the simplicity of the website, which allows you to create a customised phone case where you can upload your own images from your computer to make a phone case personal to you. I have found other websites that are a lot more complicated when trying to customise items, but this let you pick out your favourite pictures with ease. Photos of special people and places, words that mean something important to you, or even your beloved pet can be among the images you select – the world is your oyster! There are only four easy steps between you and your custom phone cases – choosing a layout, designing your case and adding photos, paying and having it delivered to your door. Easy right?

photo 3I was so impressed with the speed of service and the quality of the design, which you really notice when comparing it to my previous Photobox case is far clearer with much sharper images. The colour was far better and there were a great range of options available to add words, change the layout of the photos or even add cartoon elements. It was brilliant and there were so many options available to make it a truly unique design to you – in a world full of the same rubbish and cheap-looking designs, isn’t that what we all want? The cases are available for a whole range of brands and not just for phones, but a whole range of tablets as well and in a particularly lightweight plastic. At £14.95, they are a touch more expensive than any old case, but for the quality, I would be happy to pay that and am considering getting myself a new case for my iPad Mini as well.

Like the look of these cases and in the market for a new one? Why not take advantage of a special 10% off your order by entering the code ‘Thanku10’

Review: We Are FSTVL – A Perfect Start To The Festival Season

fatSmaller festivals can be a shock to the system if you are more used to the huge crowds moving en masse towards the main stages, but so often they can be a welcome break and a chance to see your favourite artists in an intimate setting.

A newcomer to the festival scene, We Are FSTVL hooked me in with a massive line-up and promises of finally being able to see the likes of Knife Party, Annie Mac, Duke Dumont and the one and only Fatboy Slim hitting up the main stage. Plus the early start to the festival season and the chance to ease myself in with a non-camping event was too much to resist! After months of build up, excitement and pouring over the pictures from last year’s event, finally it arrived and unfortunately so did the rain clouds. Blackened skies and pounding bass awaited us at the festival site, which was amazingly easy to get to and was particularly well-organised, but we refused to don wellies in the hope the weather would hold. (We were glad we stuck to our guns by the end!)fest 23Despite being quite surprised by how small the festival site was, we soon appreciated the close quarters as we navigated the stages and bars with ease, something that proved very useful later when trying to run to the bar or the loos during a set. Walking on site, you couldn’t help but be drawn over by the huge main stage and I was overwhelmed with the excitement of the thought of seeing Fatboy Slim on there the following night. I loved the decoration of the stages and across the festival site, it really added to the holiday atmosphere and everyone was certainly in the party mood as they posed for pictures among the flowers. Perhaps the weather put people off slightly, but the festival never felt overly busy as you walked around and was definitely quieter on the first day, but this was great for those who were there and fancied dancing to Disclosure by the main stage. Knife Party finished off a brilliant first day with a banging set that had us all jumping in the mud – as best as we could with our shoes stuck – and their light show and flames were incredible. We were a little disappointed that pretty much the whole festival seemed to shut down straight after their set and their set had just left us wanting to dance long into the night.fest 1The second day was much busier and the sunshine had clearly brought everyone out in a good mood and ready to dance – the line-up was fantastic and the bars were busy. On a back to basics not – I was very impressed with the state of the portaloos which were the cleanest I have seen at a festival – probably helped by no camping. But was rather let down to be charged £5 for a tiny 330ml can of beer – I understand the bars are there to make money, but this seemed a bit much. Especially when there were no water points to even fill up a bottle of water. Something else that I found, and heard many others complain about, was the extreme police presence on the second day – the previous day had seen minimal police and plenty of well-mannered and friendly security who were happy to help you find your way around. The second day, everytime I turned around, the police were hauling someone off to be searched or sprinting into the crowd by the stages to tackle someone. Perhaps completely justified, but it did change the atmosphere of the festival slightly with everyone waiting to see who would be dragged off next.

fest 5

My favourite part of the stages, and the festival, had to be the platforms which had been set back from the main stage and provided the perfect view across the crowd and the stage. I spent a lot of time up on these, and one particular highlight had to be Annie Mac’s sunset set as the final rays of the second day were cast across the crowd and she told us all to turn and look at the view.

fest 4Later on, for Fatboy Slim’s set, these provided an incredible view over the crowds as they danced furiously to hits like Renegade Master, Praise You and Eat Sleep Rave Repeat. I’m not sure I can do the set justice with words, but the incredible light show, lasers, fire and confetti that streamed out of the stage just blew everyones’ mind. For those who, like myself, might have seen him play on the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour in a dark and dingy club – this was beyond anything I could have imagined and the clubs did not do him justice. He certainly knows how to put on a show.

A shame I wasn’t there to compare this year’s expansion to last year’s but I’ve heard from many people that they were very impressed – looking forward to seeing We Are FSTVL develop in the future! A perfect start to the festival season! Full review is available to read here.

Watching the world through a screen

cameraMy first festival of 2014 gave me a good opportunity to ease myself in to a summer of raving in the sunshine. A non-camping festival, We Are FSTVL gave a perfect chance to have a couple of days in the sun (and a bit of rain) dancing with good friends to amazing music. While I was there I was lucky enough to see the likes of Annie Mac, Knife Party and Fatboy Slim giving massive sets on the main stages. It was incredible to finally see three of the top acts I have been dying to see live on a main stage in just one festival and with a huge line-up We Are FSTVL was a surprisingly intimate affair. Despite this, I noticed a continuing theme across the stages and tents, which made me slightly sad. Forget those who are hepped up on pills and the rest, forget those who are too drunk to stand up, forget those who decide to light up flares in the middle of a crowd. At least these guys are living in the moment and are really making the most of the experience. These ones aren’t the ones who bother me.

The ones who really upset me are the ones who are living it through a screen. I might be overreacting slightly, but it actually really offends me to see a crowd full of people who are watching a once-in-a-lifetime set as a DJ they have been wanting to see all their lives closes the main stage, but that they would prefer to watch it through their camera lens. After seeing Fatboy Slim play XOYO in London on the opening night of his Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour, my mind was blown. I had never expected I would actually get a chance to see him live in my lifetime, let alone playing brand new material. But from then on, the dream grew and I was just desperate to see his set transform from the basement of a tiny, dark club to the main stage at a festival and how lucky I was to find he would be headlining the first festival of my summer! I, and all my friends, were beyond excited to see him play live and we made sure we got up on one of the platforms facing the main stage nice and early so we could get a good spot for Annie Mac as well. We had a perfect view of the whole crowd, the main stage and the sky above it which was filled with fireworks, flames and confetti throughout.10371481_10152067841697617_8181578491216340227_nSo imagine my dismay at seeing the people around us pulling out their camera phones and holding them up for the entire set. Not just up on the platform, but even down in the crowd, there was a sea of phones raised to the sky. What is the point? Can anyone tell me? In the days of Woodstock and early Glasto – when some would argue festivals were at their finest – no-one had camera phones or insisted on Instagramming every moment. Instead they lived every second, they dances to the music, felt it in their bones and spent the time meeting people, making friends and singing along. THIS is what festivals are all about. I know the convenience of camera phones means people want to capture every moment, and I have no problem with that as I too love to take photos of my friends smiling and happy, to keep those memories for long after the hangover had faded.

My problem is that people are choosing to do this rather than live the festival and the music. They would rather watch the whole explosive and incredible set through the phone screen and be sure that it is perfectly framed and looks like you are having an amazing time rather than actually experiencing it themselves. These are the people who don’t end up dancing at the festival, the ones who arrive home looking as perfect as when they set out and care more about the way the festival looks than feels. To me, the most important thing has always been they way I felt in that moment. When you see an incredible headliner take over the main stage after waiting months to see them live, when the stage explodes with confetti and flames, when you are singing along so hard you lose your voice, when you’re dancing so hard you nearly knock out the person next to you, and when you and a complete stranger throw your arms round each other and bellow out the words because you’re both just so excited. THAT is what festivals are about, losing yourself in the moment. They are about getting home and trying to tell people about it, but knowing that words just cannot do that moment justice. That no matter how you try to describe it, that those who weren’t there just won’t understand.1601495_10152067841647617_2257286975690457222_nMy concern is that our technology is so convenient that so many are missing out on this experience. They don’t know the beauty of having a single picture that transports you back to that moment and how you felt, rather than an hour-long video of the set with terrible sound and a jiggly camera focus. Who really wants to sit there watching it back later on? Do you really think your friends will be jealous when they see you spent that hours-long set videoing it rather than enjoying it? I certainly wouldn’t be jealous of that, I would just consider it a wasted ticket. I have lots more festivals in the pipeline for this summer and I just hope I will be seeing a lot less of this and a lot more people living in the moment. Ironically, one of my favourite festivals from last summer was BoomTown fair which was all about the experience and I barely have any pictures from it because I was so caught up in the moment and thoroughly enjoyed myself. (See my preview for BoomTown here.)

What kind of festival-goer are you – guilty of living behind a lens or totally in the moment and forgetting you have a camera?

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?