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Review: Something Special in the Madness when Five Ska come to town

Last Saturday, I headed to one of King’s Lynn’s best local music venues to watch what is without doubt, my favourite band ever to play the town – Five Ska. I was so excited, after seeing them play Bar Red once before and loving their set that I was thrilled to see they were returning. I dragged along a group of friends who really weren’t expecting to like the band even though I was raving about them, but they soon changed their tune!

The band are a group of experienced musicians who formed in 2010 with a set list that includes all those mazing songs from Bad Manners, Madness, The Specials (One of my faves!), The Dead 60s and many more.

Here I am with the man himself! Amazing singer and definitely knows how to get the crowd up and dancing..

I have always loved ska music, in fact anything lively that you can dance to is usually on my radar, but it was particularly while at Boomtown Fair in the summer that I really started to love this type of music and the freedom that comes with it. Especially after seeing Neville Staple Band give a surprise performance, along with several other amazing acts. I love the way this music gets people of all ages up dancing and it certainly has that effect every time I see the band play – what starts as an empty bar soon packs out with people in their 60’s dancing next to 18-year-olds – it’s a great combination and creates a good atmosphere.

The band play a tight set and the crowd aren’t shy in singing along to all their favourites – Town Called Malice always gets everyone singing and dancing along and is one that I’m always waiting for. My sister and friend both came along with me, more for the drinks than the band, but they were straight up the front dancing away and singing along with a group of guys who had turned up in their braces and were dancing like crazy.

Leanne, myself and my sister, Laura

Five Ska are a refreshing change from the rock and acoustic-heavy music scene in West Norfolk and the packed out bar/huge queue waiting outside just shows you how good this band really are. For those who aren’t much about the heavy metal or heavier music and just want something lively and fun on a Saturday night, this is the band for you and this is certainly the venue. We had a great night and it was brilliant to go up to the band and chat in the interval, they even recognised me from last time!

They are a bunch of awesome guys playing fantastic music and I am very pleased to have heard they will be playing Bar Red four times next year so I’ll have lots more chances to see them. Looking forward to it already!


Mind blown by the Renegade Master!

After years of waiting, months of planning and weeks of listening to his songs as I drive to work each morning, I finally had the opportunity to see the man himself – FatBoy Slim DJ live at a top London club on the very first night of his brand new tour. Just typing the words gives me goosebumps all over again because not only was it an incredible gig, but it was one that I had been waiting a lifetime to go to. As a huge dance music lover, I have had my top ten list of DJs that I simply have to see play live in my lifetime (I’m sure we all have that same list for whatever music you might prefer), and FatBoy Slim was top of my list.

For anyone who grew up in the nineties and loved music, fair enough I may have only been about five when some of his tracks came out, we still grew up listening to his tunes on the radio, hearing them played at school discos, on Top of the Pops, mum and dad singing along… The list goes on. Whether we were aware of it or not, unless you lived under a bridge, FatBoy Slim, like the Chemical Brothers and Oasis were a huge part of nineties culture and therefore our lives. I always think that the music of the time plays a part in shaping the future lives of individuals and I think listening to this type of music as a youngster (yes I loved the Spice Girls as well!) is part of the reason I love live DJs so much now – this makes me worry for the generation growing up listening to the rubbish churned out by the likes of One Direction and Miley Cyrus.

Anyway, back to the gig. I headed to XOYO for the first time with a bunch of boy mates from home and my boyfriend – all of us ridiculously excited for the night ahead. My boyfriend and I already had tickets for the Basement Jaxx gig at Brixton O2 Academy the following night so had decided to make a weekend of it. We were staying in the Restup Hostel (a five minute walk from the Elephant and Castle tube station) the first night, which was perfect – close to the club and cheap – helpful since we would barely be in the room! Heading into the club, we made for the bar for a quick whisky to warm us up and then went on into the main room. The venue was great – dark, smoky and underground – just the way I like them. It was the perfect basement, gritty setting for the gig and the room was already busy as the house DJs warmed up the crowd. We headed through the crowd and found a good spot where we soon cut loose and started dancing as we waited for the man himself.

He exploded into his set with Renegade Master and everyone went wild – it was amazing to know that everyone there was as excited as we were to experience not only a gig, but the opening night of the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour. Everyone was dancing like their life depended on it, not just with their friends but with everyone around them. A few songs in, he dropped Free Mandela which was an incredibly powerful moment as we had heard on our way into the club of the great man’s death. The whole crowd punched the air and sang along – it was incredible and just shows you the power of music to unite people and express extreme emotion – something that I’m sure many would judge as lacking in a DJ set. I could sit here and list every amazing song that he played but there would be no point. It is important to say that he played a great set spanning his whole career from the earliest songs right through to his latest release of Eat Sleep Rave Repeat – and that one certainly got the crowd bouncing. FatBoy Slim also made sure to play loads of other amazing tunes that have basically been the soundtrack to my summer, with hints of Disclosure and others.

I was so utterly impressed by his set, which proved that as a DJ he truly is as relevant as ever, despite those who commented to me when I bought the tickets that isn’t he really old now? Well after seeing both FatBoy Slim and Sven Vath DJ, I can safely say that age is just a number and great music is not only a talent but one that lasts. The fact that I have now seen him live once has simply proved to me that I must see him again – perhaps next time in a festival setting to see how his set compares. I would fully advise any dance music lovers out there to take any opportunity they might get to see the godfather of dance rip up the DJ set, purely so they can see where it all began. This is definitely one of my top three gigs of the year and I had the most amazing time. I was so glad I could share it with so many of my friends and it will stay in my memory forever. If you look in the picture above, I am the fifth person along from FatBoy’s knee! Woop!


Tick tock says the clock – but how do you fit it all in?

I am the beginning of the end, and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and I surround every place. What am I?

I’ve had a few people comment lately on how I can possibly manage to fit everything I do into each week. One woman that I work with was astonished that I manage to work full time, write and edit a festival website, run a blog, go to the gym several times a week and get on with my NCTJ training as well as having a busy social life. Well, I can’t be the only person out there burning the candle at both ends to fit everything in, especially if you’re having to follow your passion outside of a job that is not quite as fulfilling as they might like. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how I manage to do it and keep it going, but here are some of my top tips for keeping track of everything and managing your time well:

  1. Most importantly, buy a diary. Make sure it has plenty of space to write your jobs for each day and USE it. Don’t just stick to it for a week. If you tend to flit from job to job without finishing things then make sure you tick something off before you move onto the next thing. Set yourself the task of writing all your jobs for the day in each morning and then work your way through them – it might be hard at first, but after a while you’ll wonder how you ever managed without a diary for your appointments. It’s also great for keeping track of all your nights out, meals with friends, work do’s etc so that you don’t end up getting double-booked.
  2. The to-do list is very important when it comes to time management -you need to go into each day with a list of everything you must achieve in order to have any concept of how much you have achieved by the end of the day. Each morning when I arrive at work, I set myself a list of targets and jobs that need doing – no matter how small it is important to list them so you get the pleasure of a job well done when you tick it off your list. I then make sure any social engagements are listed and training time, then after this I list time for blogging/editing/writing. By setting it out into a new timetable each day, it is easy to change according to how demanding your work/social schedule happens to be that week – a steady timetable is hard to keep with if, like me, you are quite a spontaneous person.
  3. Refuse to give up your social life and the things you enjoy. It is important to stay balanced and spend time doing the things you enjoy as well as grafting, otherwise you lose your motivation and rewards system. The way to use this is to use the naughty step/Pavlov’s dogs theory of good behaviour = reward, while lack of work = punishment. Train yourself to understand that by putting the work in, you deserve your time to kick back and relax. I tend to spend three nights a week working on coursework, with the other two week nights spent at the gym and writing for my blog – these are my treat nights.
  4. Prioritise – you must always realise that the work you are being paid for and that which will pay off more in the long run (i.e. training) are more important – even if they are more boring or less satisfying. You are lucky to have a job in the current climate and must not let your work suffer because you want to stay up all night blogging. Be responsible and it will pay off.
  5. Use your lunch breaks wisely. I work in the town centre so it is bloody tempting to go out every lunchtime and spend my hard earned wages on useless crap or clothes I don’t need. I went through several months of this when I started, but now I am trying to make the most of the hour by using it to study my law books and shorthand, and blogging/editing the website. It means that spending an hour doing the website at work gives me an extra hour free when I am home in the evening to be spent at the gym or doing something else.
  6. Don’t feel bad for saying no. This is the hardest one for me, which I really struggle with even now. I hate disappointing people or letting them down by saying no to a social engagement – even if I really cannot afford it/have the time to do it. I always feel bad for letting people down, but when you have a lot of friends in different social groups, it is difficult to share out your limited social time between them. Let them know that they mean a lot to you and that you are sorry, then make plans to spend time with them in the coming weeks when you are a bit freer. Again, you could use the lunch breaks or gym time wisely by combining gossip catch up with a bite to eat or a workout. Look for ways to combine jobs and duties.
  7. No matter how much you love your blogging/writing/editing/creative activities, remember that they are solo activities. We humans are social creatures and you must remember to put the people in your life above all else every now and again – don’t miss out on social occasions because of a blog post that could have waited – you’ll regret it in the long run.
  8. Create a network of useful friends in similar fields – for example, I run the entertainment section of the newspaper and have worked hard to build a packed little black book of contacts in theatre, music, dance, arts etc – not only have I made the contacts, but I have maintained them by making the odd phone call to catch up, meeting for a quick coffee and so on, to make these contacts feel valued and to make sure that I am the first on their list when it comes to latest news and updates. By doing small and steady amounts to maintain these friendships, they pay off a lot by providing me with plenty of material for each week’s paper without my hours of searching for stories.
  9. Put yourself first every once in a while. It is easy to get swept up in keeping all these jobs going and making sure you are up to speed with everything. It’s bloody exhausting. Give yourself a little time off every now and again. A few days away from all work, no checking emails, stay off social networks and keep your mind on other things. Relax and forget it all.
  10. The second most important thing – you must want to do it. So many people fail to fit everything in because they lack the motivation and can’t really be bothered. You have to really want to do everything and to want to do it well – otherwise you will end up doing an average job at everything rather than impressing in all areas. And no-one wants to be average!

Hope these tips help you – this was all I could think of. But I really think it is down to the individual as we all have our own ways of working efficiently. What works for me might not suit you, and vice versa. What is your top tip for managing your time well?


(And the answer to the riddle is the letter E)




Why I’ve forgone the chop for long locks

I’m Lucy Ruthnum, and it’s been 11 months since my last haircut. (Now this is the bit where you are all supposed to chime in and tell me I don’t look like a homeless person.)

I’ve always loved the experience of having my hair cut, of going to the salon and having your hair washed and treated with lovely products before being combed out by the hairdresser and cut to the style you love, but with the expertise of the stylist who knows how to make the style suit your face. I love the conversation that comes with it, catching up with the hairdresser on all the gossip, what they have been up to and what has been happening in your life.

It is so relaxing and I always feel a million dollars when I walk out, until a great gust of wind undoes all her hard work! But this time last year, with a freshly cut bob bouncing around my jawline (as others described it, reminiscent of Jessica from Mistresses), I clocked that I only had a matter of eight months until my best friend’s wedding. That sent alarm bells ringing in my mind – because what comes with bridesmaid duties? The up-do, tightly pinned, ringlet curls and the rest. Not really suited to short hair, the style suits those with flowing locks but from my experience not those of us with shorter crops.

I remember being called on last minute to be maid of honour at another girl’s wedding, not really one of my close friends, and being forced into a horrible up-do that made my face look like a moon and stupid ringlets that looked ridiculous. I looked like Miss Piggy. And I was not happy. I didn’t complain once, but I’ll be damned if I was going to let that happen again.

Plus, with all my big plans for a summer of festivals, I knew my unruly short curls would not be very helpful at a festival, getting greasy quickly and with no way or tying my locks back I was in for a lot of hassle! I decided to grow it out from that point on. I was terribly impatient to start with and couldn’t believe how long it seemed to take to grow, I was massaging my scalp every day to provoke growth and was using all kinds of products to encourage my hair to grow, eating and drinking all the right things. But you know how it is, as soon as you want your hair or nails to grow it just doesn’t seem to budge! Finally I started to notice some real growth, my fringe grew out and the layers started to move, but it took ages until I could get it up in a ponytail once again.

The problem is that I really love my short hair, but it is just such high maintenance, it is not the sort of style that you can just leave. Even with my tousled look, I have to style it and sort out the fringe so it looks tidy at least which is more than you want to be doing at a festival. However, long hair can get a bit annoying because it takes so much longer to wash and it doesn’t frame your face as nicely, plus it doesn’t look as edgy. You can’t win, all I know is  that usually when I have one, I am craving the other.

My hair grew to the perfect length by the wedding, but it was okay in the end, my friend decided she wanted us with natural hair and make up so I just curled it a bit. You can’t really see here how long it was at this point but it was just about shoulder-length when dead straight, possibly slightly longer. It was great for my summer of festivals because I could just tie it back which, considering the heat at each one, was great and left me free to not even think about greasy locks. Unfortunately all the pics I have of my hair seem to have curls rather than straight hair so you can’t really see how much it has grown, but I judge using the ponytail test. Whereas before I could not even tire up my hair, now I can tire all of it back, even my shortest layer which used to be my fringe. This is great and despite being very tempted to cut it short again, I think I like having longer hair at the moment. My plan is to keep growing it for another month or two, until after Christmas, and then perhaps I will return to the salon for a trim.

I do have to mention that in the time since my last chop, I have not actually felt that my hair needs a cut. It is healthy, glossy and full of life. I haven’t even used a hair mask for a long time, but I have no straggly ends or dry bits, and certainly no split ends, which I am pleased about. I think your hair, like any part of your body begins to look after itself if you leave it to nature. But, for the products I do use on my hair:

  • Brilliant Brunette’s by John Freida shampoo and conditioner (or the illuminating ones if I fancy a change)
  • Aussie 3-Minute Miracle for a hair treat
  • Mark Hill Beach Babe Salt Spray to bring out my curls
  • John Freida Luxurious Volume thickening blow dry lotion for when I want it straight with volume
  • And classic Silvikrin hair spray in firm hold

I haven’t had my hair straight for a few days so haven’t been able to take a picture to show you where we are at now but will try to do so soon. What about you – what’s your favourite hairstyle? Do you prefer long or short?



The day a special sausage was slapped down on my desk.. literally

So today I received possibly the nicest gift I have ever had as thanks for a story I have written. To be fair, past contenders were potted herbs and a few books and CDs, but this time I was given something edible! After writing a story about three butchers who are taking part in Movember and are launching a special sausage called the Johnson Flyer to raise money, I jokingly said to the manager that I would have to pop by and get some of the special sausages. The next day, one of the photographers slapped them down on my desk as a thanks from the butchers! So kind. They are flavoured with black pepper and sage and I am looking forward to trying them in sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.

To the butcher, who I have also thanked in person, and to others out there – it is truly lovely when you do a job like mine to be thanked for helping to ease people’s situations, publicise events and so on. So few people actually say thank you these days that it means so much more when you do hear it. The world would be a much better place if people remembered how much little words like please and thank you are worth. So, thanks for reading and please come again!



My first piece as editor of This Festival Feeling

My first article as editor

My first article as editor

Check it out guys! Here is a snapshot of my first published article as editor of This Festival Feeling – not only did I conduct the interview, come up with the questions and write up the final piece, but I also had the opportunity to edit the piece, format it and deal with pictures for the site. It was great to see both sides to the job and I was really pleased with the interview. If you would like to read the piece in full, click the picture above.

I am now officially the editor of the website and will oversee all writings and work, edit pieces and upload them to the website. I will still have the opportunity to write but will have the power to come up with strong editorial ideas and to lead the team. It is a great opportunity and I am really looking forward to the year ahead of leading a team on this project. It will help to give me the experience of an editor position with the focus on something I love – festivals. It is also an opportunity to have access to festivals in a way that I haven’t previously. I have a feeling 2014 is going to be a good year.

We are looking for other members of the editorial team – if you love to write and are looking for some extra work experience and a way of getting your writing published in exchange for free tickets to festivals – drop me a line below and I’ll point you in the right direction.

I’d also love any feedback on my article, again, leave any comments below – I look forward to reading them.



Follow me on Instagram?

Follow me on Instagram

Lords and ladies of WordPress – just another way of following my everyday life and goings on outside of AbsolutelyLucy. My Instagram account is regularly updated with pics from my day-to-day life, anything that entertains me and anything else that comes my way. As I have mentioned before, I am a bit of an Instagram addict, although I resist a lot more now, I still love it.

For those on Twitter, why not follow me @LucyRuthnum for regular updates about what I am up to.


So, I wrote a guest post…

Does Distance Learning Journalism Work?

Does Distance Learning Journalism Work?

All about my experiences of becoming a journalist, my alternative route into the career and my training. Click on the image above to read the full article.

I would love any feedback on the article and to hear from other aspiring journalists – please do get in touch by commenting below.


Something smells good…

Chorizo and Broad Bean Risotto

This Friday, I’m planning on trying out another delicious risotto recipe, this time cooking for the boyfriend and his new housemate to break in the oven at their new house. Looking forward to this one, think I may enjoy it even more than the mushroom and blue cheese recipe I used before because it will have a more spicy and exotic taste. I love using chorizo in meals and letting other items cook in the oils and I love the use of broad beans in the recipe. I think I might edit the recipe slightly by using pancetta instead of just bacon, melting in some Mexicana cheese and possibly adding some wine – I loved the white wine undertones to the previous dish I made.

Can’t wait to taste it! Click on the picture to read the recipe in full.

Has anyone got any risotto recipes that they love? I’d love some contenders for my next try!


Getting homely as the winter nights draw in..

I’ve become rather excited about all parts of the festive season lately – I guess I have finally accepted the summer is over and now I need to get ready for the winter. To me, this means, food, food and more food. I’m now thinking about pumpkin soups, Christmas cakes, chocolate logs, cheese boards, roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, gravy and mince pies.

Just listing those was making my mouth water! So I decided to get ahead of myself and start celebrating the festive season. My mum bought a couple of pumpkins for us to carve out and although I seem to have lost much of my artistic skill since the last time I carved a pumpkin while at university, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

My happy little pumpkin – I called him Doug

After I was finished, I scraped the rubbish into the bin, lit a candle inside my new friend, Doug, as I named him, then began to get out all of the baking bits and pieces. Sadly one of the women at my work that I like and admire the most is taking voluntary redundancy and because of the rate of it being processed, she is due to leave today. I wanted to do something nice for her last day so I decided to bake some mince pies because I know she loves my baking.

Baking mince pies

I have my own way of making the gorgeous little pies, I use a mixture of shortcrust and puff pastry for the bottoms and tops. I usually use shortcrust pastry on the bottom cup, fork some holes in the bottom, pop them into a muffin tray and fill the holes with delicious mincemeat.

For the tops, I use a heart-shaped cutter to cut out puff pastry, or shortcrust works just as well, and after coating them in milk, I pop the hearts on top. Bake in the over for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown and then take out to cool. Once they have cooled, scatter icing sugar over the top and enjoy!

TOP TIP: If you are feeling particularly decadent, make the whole mince pie with puff pastry – it melts in your mouth and is even better!

ADMISSION: No I don’t make my own pastry – I am fully able to and have done in the past, but don’t really see the point when it is never quite as nice as shop bought, takes a hell of a lot less time to make these pies (one of the attractions is it takes less than 30 mins to make a huge batch) and even the professional chefs use shop bought and recommend it.

The finished product – yummy!