Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Tuesday Shoesday – My week in #FloorSelfies

When I first heard about the #FloorSelfie challenge, I found myself getting a little excited. Not only do I love a good photo challenge, but I also love shoes, and taking photos of my feet for a week sounded like great fun. No need for any special equipment to get involved with this challenge; I simply charged up my phone and snapped a photo whenever the thought entered my mind. By the end of the week I’m pretty sure that I’d started to search out more interesting floors with fun colours or patterns, or maybe it was simply the fact that I was noticing the floor more often . How often do we look down, really? We’re missing interesting designs and even art by keeping our heads up. Anyway, enough rambling – here are my favourite shoe photos from the week and little bit about the location to go with them:

Excuse the pun but I ‘kick started’ my week of #FloorSelfies with a day out at the seaside. And we enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually went back to the coast the day after too. I snapped some photos on the beach and almost soaked my toes by trying to get the Tuesday Shoesday snap above when the tide came in. The traditional walk along the promenade followed, with me dribbling over beach huts that I could never afford, followed by a big hot chocolate to warm up. The second day we went to Southwold Pier and had fun playing air hockey and winning 2ps in the arcade. Something I hadn’t noticed before was that the pier has footprints painted on the deck all along the length of the pier. Don’t follow them though – some of the footprints head right off the side of the pier! I found a set of flipper footprints and snapped this fun #FloorSelfie.

One of the most exciting thing to happen to me this week was something that I couldn’t really photograph. My husband had been picked in a ballot to go to a recording of a TV special in Elstree Studios. With the performance being ‘top secret’ and absolutely no cameras allowed, it was hard for me to get a photo but I wanted to record the day out nonetheless. Here’s the fabulous wooden floor in the entrance to Elstree Studios and it’s the very same spot where I later met Tim Peake and Professor Brian Cox. Yes, I got a selfie with an astronaut! Best. Moment. Ever. And I managed to give Brian Cox a pair of ChattyFeet’s Prof. Brian Sox socks, which he found hilarious. Oh, you’ll notice a different pair of shoes in this shot – they are my favourite Hush Puppy flats the rub a little on the heel so aren’t great for wearing all day long. The following day we took a walk in the countryside and noticed just how autumnal everything is – leaves are turning brown and conkers are falling. Must remember to go blackberry picking this week before it’s too late.

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My photos from Latitude Festival 2016

Just wanted to share a quick blog post today with some of the photos I took at this year’s Latitude Festival.latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-12 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-11 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-2Some of my personal highlights included watching a breath-taking performance by festival novice Jane Horrocks in the Film & Music arena, and sitting in on the Standard Issue Magazine discussion in the Literature tent, where one of my favourite actresses Helen Monks was on the panel.

As you probably know, I only really go to Latitude festival for the comedy, art and theatre performances so it was great to watch some fantastic performers that I’ve never seen live before, including David O’Doherty (who had me screaming with laughter as soon as he started to play his tiny keyboard, and who I later bumped into and snapped a selfie!) and the MC for the comedy tent David Morgan. The Toy Story trilogy acted out by the Comedians Cinema Club was a surprisingly fun way to spend the afternoon.

Last year’s MC Nish Kumar performed again this year, and I chuckled my way through Mark Watson’s lunchtime set. We decided not to watch the standing-room-only performance by Bill Bailey and went to check out Jane Horrocks’ festival debut with the If You Kiss Me Kiss Me Band. Luckily we got there early and ended up with a front row spot as the tent quickly filled to bursting point. I’m certain that Jane’s performance will go down in Latitude history as one of the best festival music sets ever. What a legend. latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-16 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_-4 latitude festival 2016 summer fest suffolk_Food was great, the sun was out, I drank lots of milkshakes and brought home the traditional Latitude cup, so all in all it was a good year at the Suffolk-based festival.


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The 2016 Latitude line up & my unseen photos from last year’s festival

The excitement is beginning to build and I’m hearing more and more mentions of the festival on social media. It can only mean one thing; it’s almost time for Latitude festival. Yes we’re only a few weeks away from East Anglia’s biggest music, arts and comedy festival and I can’t wait to go. It’s the highlight of my summer and kick-starts the holidays for me. The festival runs from 14th-17th July this year and I’ve been following the line-up announcements with anticipation all year. I blogged about the dance line up as soon as I heard about it, because my lindy hop heroes Swing Patrol are going to be performing this summer. I. Can’t. Wait.latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-13

The headline acts were announced earlier this year and includes The Maccabees and Beirut getting the party started on the Friday night, The National and Chvrches on Saturday, and M83, The Lumineers and New Order rounding off the festival on Sunday. If the star-studded line-up wasn’t enough, there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds) more acts to enjoy on numerous stages throughout the festival. Check out the full line up to find out which of your favourite performers will taking to the Obelisk Arena, the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage, the Sunrise Arena, the Lake Stage, the Alcove Stage, Comedy Tent, Literature Tent, Theatre, Film & Music Arena, Waterfront dance stage, Poetry tent, Cabaret venue, the Faraway Forest, the Woods and SO many more!latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-8 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-15

Now, you may have realised from my 2015 round-up of Latitude Festival that one of the main reasons I go to the festival is to see the comedy. Where else in the world can you see 50 internationally renowned comedians all in one place? I’m perfectly happy to plonk myself down in the Comedy Arena and not move for 8 hours! The only thing that will tempt me out of the comedy tent is if Nick Helm is performing in the Poetry arena. Or I might consider moving if a group of 5 comedians are putting on an improve show in the Literature marquee. Other than that, I tend to stay put until the last comedian has performed, then I go skipping off (with cheeks that ache from smiling so much) to enjoy the music for the rest of the evening. latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-9 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-12 latitude festival lineup 2015 2016 music comedy photos-10

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Latitude Festival 2015

Latitude. What a festival. What a wonderful weekend. It was magical, hilarious, nostalgic and happy. And that’s just my experience of the event. I’d love to tell you all about it today and share some of my photos so that you can get an idea of the fun weekend we enjoyed at Suffolk’s biggest arts and music festival.Latitude festival photos 2015-12 Latitude festival photos 2015-10 Latitude festival photos 2015 Latitude festival photos 2015-2I’m pretty sure that no two experiences of Latitude would be the same; for some it may be one mad-dash from crowded arena to packed tent, watching the UK’s hottest bands and newest stars; for other’s it might have been a chilled out weekend of lake swimming, saunas in the woods and art installations; for me it was a complete mix of crazy-busy music performances, laugh-out-loud comedy and chilling out in dappled shade. You can tell it’s a family festival by the sheer volume of activities and entertainment provided for children and teenagers; I’d love to share my festival experience with you and here’s what we got up to…

 

The mornings at the festival were the most calm and relaxed times of the day for me. There were fewer people on the site – it gradually became busier during the day as day guests arrived and campers awoke – and the performances taking place on the smaller stages were generally acoustic and very chilled out. I certainly noticed an increase in volume after midday as the bigger stages plugged in their speakers! In the mornings the calming sound installations, such as the bandstand adorned with recycled can pieces and giant wind chimes in the woods, tinkled and clunked in the breeze.

 

As the day warmed up and festival-goers descended into the arena the tents and stages became noticeably busier but, no matter what performance you were hoping to see, it was likely that there would be room for you to view the act. Of course, in some of the tents, such as the popular BBC Radio 6 Music stage, it seemed like standing-room-only for many of the bands but there was always space to make your way into the crowd.IMG_1741Latitude festival photos 2015-24 Latitude festival photos 2015-21 Latitude festival photos 2015-11 Latitude festival photos 2015-8 Latitude festival photos 2015-25 Latitude festival photos 2015-3The highlight of Latitude for me is always the comedy. With more than 40 acts over three days there was always a performance to watch and you could easily lose track of time as one comedian handed over to the next in a continuous schedule of laughs. I had some ‘must-see’ acts circled on my festival timetable including Latitude veteran Marcus Brigstocke and headliner Jason Manford, along with my newest comedy heroes Sara Pascoe and Joe Lycett, whose clever camel improvisation & Tinder jokes had me screaming with laughter.P1060211 IMG_1887 IMG_1911P1060287In amongst these superstars I discovered lots of new comedy acts that I probably wouldn’t have seen elsewhere including a late-night improv show in the literary arena featuring Thom Tuck and Deborah Frances-White that culminated in Lycett snogging Brigstocke on stage. That’s the great thing about Latitude festival, you get to experience performances – comedy, music, theatre and film – that you might never have found otherwise. My evenings since the festival have been spent looking up future performances of the new acts I discovered and my calendar for the rest of the year is already filling up with comedy club visits and tour dates.

This type of festival is full of surprises – not least the unbilled Ed Sheeran popping up on various stages over the course of the weekend – and I love finding myself in the right place at the right time and experiencing something amazing. While deliberating what to eat on Saturday, for example, I heard a commotion in the Poetry tent. We nipped into the rapidly filling-up tent to find a fantastic beatboxing session starting up. I couldn’t believe my ears as entire music tracks – drums, instruments and lyrics – were performed by one person! The BAC Beatbox Academy joined together to create a wall of sound with their voices, recreating a number of  famous tracks, and the performance culminated in a beatbox battle with members of the group showing off their skills against each other. Simply astonishing and I’m so pleased that I was passing the poetry tent at exactly the right moment.

A video posted by Cassiefairy (@cassiefairy) on


IMG_1879 Latitude festival photos 2015-32 Latitude festival photos 2015-33 Latitude festival photos 2015-34 Latitude festival photos 2015-37 Latitude festival photos 2015-66 My absolute highlight of the whole festival also took place in the poetry tent. Nick Helm. Need I say any more? I’d spotted a sneaky performance by this talented guy hidden away in the schedule. I actually ran across the festival site when I heard his gravelly voice yelling ‘Do you like jokes?’ over and over at the audience. I wanted to be shouted at too. Not content with standing at the doorway for the performance I slipped inside the tent and found myself sitting at the very front feeling rather nervous (as I know what Helm can do to his audience) but excited to see this rockstar hero in action.

I don’t want to go on and on about how amazing the guy is because I’m sure Helm would hate the kind of review that I would usually write for this absolute legend but watching him belt out songs, yell poetry and hurl punchlines at the audience in his angry growl was the best moment of the festival for me. I never realised I was such a fan-girl; I wonder if anyone else was affected in the same way by Nick’s performance? I didn’t want it to end and, luckily for me, the next act due to perform in the poetry tent had cancelled so a series of artists took to the stage to perform poems for the waiting crowd including another swoon-inducing poetry performance by Helm.

IMG_1742P1060205 P1060240 P1060264 P1060289Now, on to the music. Honestly, it’s a great festival if you’re really into new bands but not knowing half of the names on the line-up really did make me feel my age. Thankfully, there was a decent amount of ‘my kind’ of music too including The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and Noel Gallagher closing the festival at sunset on Sunday. A lot of acts that I wouldn’t mind seeing, such as Years and Years and Seasick Steve clashed with the comedy acts I came to see, and let’s face it, I was still recovering from my Helm experience to take too much notice of anything else on Sunday. Still, swaying the night away to ‘Don’t look back in anger’ while propping up the arena bar was a pretty good way to end the weekend and we made our way through the illuminated woods to admire the finished installations that artists had been working on throughout the festival.

 

 

There’s plenty more festival highlights that I haven’t mentioned so here’s a quick list of must-do experiences: free gondola rides across the lake and this year lake swimming was introduced; the helter-skelter in the kids arena isn’t just for the little ones and looks great lit up like a beacon at night; a 3D animated light show takes place on the lake each evening; caravans, sheds, tents and wooded clearings play host to non-stop theatre performances, story-telling and films; and – my favourite thing – there’s a huge amount of food available and from the gourmet pies to the naughty burgers it was all delicious. IMG_1986 P1060324 P1060303 IMG_1954My sunny weekend at Latitude Festival has really stuck in my mind; I’ve been day-dreaming of comedy performances all week, wondering whether beatboxing could be a new career for me and washing the dust off my toes. Loved it. Want more. Will be back.


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Have you wiped your feet on the Comedy Carpet?

Have you stomped your mucky boots all over the carpet? Have you laughed as you scuffed your trainers over the floor? Did you wipe your feet? I am of course referring to Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet, a seafront installation by artist Gordon Young which forms part of the seaside town’s regeneration project and is now a must-see feature of the promenade.

I visited this artwork/landmark/feature a while back (as you can probably tell from the photos it was very cold on the seafront during the winter and I was well bundled up!) but I wanted to share the photos with you and let you know what a great addition to Blackpool’s promenade it is. The artwork’s blurb reads as follows “the Comedy Carpet is a celebration of comedy on an extraordinary scale. Referring to the work of more than 1,000 comedians and comedy writers, the carpet gives visual form to jokes, songs and catchphrases dating from the early days of variety to the present. Sited in front of Blackpool Tower, the 2,200m2 work of art contains over 160,000 granite letters embedded into concrete, pushing the boundaries of public art and typography to their limits.” And I have to say it is a pretty amazing sight to behold. My friends and I spent hours walking over the comedy carpet, reading all the jokes and calling each other over “Have you seen this Tommy Cooper one?” etc.

comedy carpet blackpool peter kay eddie izzard chuckle brothers

I took the above photos because they are all my favourites: I got kinda excited when I spotted the Eddie Izzard birds quote and my pal Kerry and I had fun recreating the Chuckle Brothers’ “to me… to you…” with our invisible ladder! I photographed “Next Muffin” not knowing what comedy it referred to, but simply because my cat is called Muffin, so if you know what the joke is please let me know. We all had a really great time looking around the comedy carpet, even though it was dark and very cold by the time we started walking it. I’d like to come back in the daylight so I am planning on incorporating it in my trip up north this summer. Apparently there’s even a map and guide book to the Comedy Carpet and I’m sure I missed out on seeing 100s of quotes what with all the running from one joke to the next, so I’m really looking forward to going back and keeping myself amused for hours on end!


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Review: Tim Minchin’s Comedy Prom at Snape Maltings

Proms venue - Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk

On Tuesday 30th August I was fortunate enough to see comedy rock star Tim Minchin‘s performance at Snape Maltings Concert Hall as part of their August prom celebrations. I say ‘fortunate’ for two reasons; firstly because the performance was amazing and will go down in history at Snape; and secondly because, as is the case with the majority of Minchin’s gigs, this performance was completely sold out months in advance of the date. Following the success of his Comedy Prom on the BBC the previous weekend, I was certain that there was no way I’d be getting to see the man himself.

Tim Minchin performing on stage - look at his lovely hair!

I was one of the unlucky ones who could not get hold of a ticket for love-nor-money and was advised that my only chance of seeing the gig was queuing at the box office on the morning of the performance for one of 20 prom tickets that were to be released at 9:30am. So I arrived with my cushion and magazine to queue with my husband and best friend for the chance to get a ticket – and the 2 hour wait was a tense one, as we had no way of knowing how many people were in front of us in the queue at the second box office in Aldeburgh. Luckily we managed to get 3 prom tickets – which meant sitting on a cushion on the floor at the front of the concert hall, in my opinion the best seats in the house! Very lucky!

Tim Minchin performed his solo show, without an interval, for two hours straight and belted out some of his classic rock comedy tunes including If I Didn’t Have You, Prejudice and Dark Side. He kicked off the show with my personal favourite, the piano-based ballad Rock and Roll Nerd and after some first-class comedy anecdotes, introduced some new material. His lyrics were equally intellectual (despite some excessive swearing in The Pope Song!) as his previous work, and I was delighted to hear that many of his new tunes were slower, more ballad-y and less comedic. These songs certainly reflect Minchin’s status as a respected composer (and now writer of a west-end musical!) and demonstrated exactly why the world-famous concert hall in Suffolk was packed out with classical fans – he is a musical genius.

Minchin had the audience singing along during the songs and rolling in the aisles as they joined him on the journey through his quick-witted stories and songs. Delighted fans called for an encore and Tim obliged with the beautiful tune White Wine in the Sun and completed his one-man show without a dry-eye in the house.

Thanks Tim, I loved every minute. X

Visit http://www.timminchin.com/ for information on upcoming performances

Were you there? what did you think of Minchin’s performance? Get in touch!


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Festival on the Sunshine Coast

 

 

Welcome to Latitude Festival!

As the summer festival season approaches I’d like to share an article with you that I read last year.

Kate Sampson of She magazine writes about her experience of festivals in the June 2010 issue, in particular Latitude festival in Suffolk, which I have attended a number of times; “Around us were children of all ages, smiling and dancing in all manner of fancy dress, enjoying precious moments of magical family togetherness. The steeper ticket prices and strict security ensure that large crowds of undesirables are kept at bay and the invitations [to festivals] weren’t coming from let-it-all hang-out parents, but sophisticated, responsible, like-minded folk.”

I too really enjoyed the safe and happy atmosphere of Latidue festival, and noticed that the number of festival-goers in fancy dress or wearing the lastest fashion trends was growing; “Festival chic had clearly arrived and brought with it new sartorial demands. Dressing up in dreamy designer dresses or chic attire, complete with mandatory Hunter wellies and fantasy accessories has become de rigueur, with Kate Moss as the figurehead. “I have a dress-up chest,” Kate admits, regarding her festie queen wardrobe. “I love to create this fantasy kind of thing.”

Latitude festival is “A living, breathing fairy story”and the fact that it is hosted by the ‘Sunshine Coast’ adds to the fantasy of hazy, relaxed summer days in the dappled shade; “Its all about the atmosphere of being with friends in a slightly crazy town, buying pink tutus and having hands hennaed. There’s a feeling that time has stood still. People have stopped rushing to get somewhere and are simply chilling out.”

 …Sounds absolutely wonderful. And it is!

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