Here Comes the Sun, Do-Dun-Do-Do…

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter …
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here”

. . . . . . . . . Sun is Shining. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .Weather is sweet. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . Makes ya wanna move. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . Ya dancin’ feet . . . . . .  . . . . . . .

The COUNTDOWN TO SUMMER has already begun, but recently us Brits have been having a test run.  With average temperatures reaching 23C in some places this past week, we have been livin’it up and basquing in the sunshine before the clouds rain and SNOW arrive next week.  With this in mind, and friends down this weekend it got me to thinking about all the things I love about summertime.  Now I’m a self confessed Fall/Autumn Bird!! I love big chunky knits, scarves, hats, jumpers, big thick jeans and my Ugg boots.  I’m not a massive fan of sun dresses and an awful lack of wooly tights!!

Although my moaning suggests I hate every single thing about the summer, there is an awful lot that I actually love about the summer months that I’m going to share with all of you today!…

♥ WATERMELON ♥

Oh my b-jeseee-juu-juuu-juicee!!..I LOVE WATERMELON, but I can only eat in in summer, fresh chopped up it’s refreshing as icy cool air and packs serious punches in smoothies and sorbets!! Classic contender for fruit salads and cocktail fish bowls all summer long, crack one of these out at a BBQ and no one will be complaining.

♥ NO SHOES ♥

Yes you heard me correct, I’m a no shoes girlie!! Some people find it weird, me? I love it!! No socks, crack out the old pedicure set, get buffing and polishing and get them little piggies out for all to see.  There is nothing better than wiggling your naked little toes in fresh mown grass, clean dusty sand or the cold water of the pond!

♥ SWIMMING [and floating] ♥

I love pools in the summer, going swimming in the winter always feels useless to me, you get in cold, you get out freezing, and wet, now you go out to your car and your frozen, icy, and still cold.  In the summer you get out the pool on holiday and the warm sun dries your skin gently, as your arm gets some much needed exercise lifting that 4th Mojito up and down and up and down, it’s the perfect exercise routine during those short lived summer moments.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ SUMMER ROMANCES ♥ ♥ ♥

Aren’t they just the best?  The rush of sneaking around, being cheeky, finding that magical someone on holiday who totally gets you and then the inevitable tragedy of returning to grey and stormy Britain and sitting by your window rembering how he sang that last song to you at Karaoke and the whole crowd at Butlin’s totally loved it!  He’s not your ‘usual’ type, but Ibiza helped you find him.  You wouldn’t normally ‘date’ a guy called Bertie, but the Gran Canaries allowed you to see past a name.  And you would NEVER sleep with a guy on a first date, but in Zante, every bar is a different date rightt???? well then we’ve been on 7!

Summer romance is the best, totally guilt free possibly teenage soul destroyingly beautiful romance!!

 ♥ GARDEN PARTIES ♥

 Oh my crystal balls, I love garden parties…paper plates, paper lanterns, paper cups, paper streamers, paper napkins Maybe it’s just the paper I like??  No, seriously, the atmosphere of a garden party, especially a British Garden Party is second to none!! Crack out the cider, get the sausage rolls sorted and bang on some Bob Marley, and summer has arrived!! Making sure there is sufficient cover from baking sun and nasty clouds and popping up fairy lights to lighten the dark when the sun comes down but the party continues!!  Eating Al Fresco, and having water fights in the summer sun! Marvellous!

 

NOW, NEXT UP IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE SUMMER PLACES!

♥ BRIGHTON ♥

Brighton is one of those places that excites me as soon as I see the first sign for Lewes from Tunbridge Wells.  When me and Wonder Woman, are racing down the motorway knowing when we get there, the arcades are calling, the doughnuts are frying, the chips are being chipper and the lanes are calling us in with their lilting magic.  Brighton is the perfect summer place to be, especially in the lanes.  You feel like your in a different world when your shopping down there, with a smoothie in one hand and a bespoke cookie in the other you can be there for hours, then skipping down onto the sunsetted beach watching the old wreck drift off to sleep as the new pier comes alive with swirling rides and flashing lights, oh to be a Brighton Dweller…

 ♥ P.Y.O ♥

Being a Kentish girl, nothing excites me more than when the Pick Your Own signs start to pop up around the county.  The workers start to set up little stalls in the local laybys selling the freshest strawberries, raspberries and cherries that money can buy.  All the fruit that’s not ‘perfect’ enough for Tescos and the like, come straight into our homes down here in Kent and we are lucky lucky lucky!!  Kentish Strawberries, need no sugar, no cream NOTHING, just a bag filled to the brim and my own hand for picking them up and I’m in heaven!  

♥PIMMS’O’CLOCK♥

This is a magical time of day.  You don’t know about it?  Really?  Well let me tell you all about it.  Pimms’o’clock is a magical time of day where it becomes totally acceptable to start drinking large pitchers of this fabulously summery aperitif!  If you’ve never had pimms you gotts try it especially in the summer.  Top a large amounth up with lemonade and ramm it full of cucumber, mint, strawberries and oranges tonnes of ice and enjoy!!  The simplest, easiest way to get nicely merry on a summer’s eve!

~♥~ HOT AIR BALLOONS ~♥~

When I was a child, my Grampy and my Mum used to take me to a Balloon festival every other year or so.  It used to amaze me the different shapes, sizes, being able to see them so close fireing up the fires and filling the vast canopies with hot thick air, the basket gently lifting off the flattened grass and the excited passengers leaping inside.  When I see a Hot Air Balloon, I instantly drift of to being in the back of my Grampy’s car, driving somewhere and spotting one out the window in a dusky light driving back from my Great-Grandparents house.  I would see the balloon and tell my Gramps who would tell me to follow it till it flies over the bump…[the bump being the horizon]….they were always so fun to watch and track across the skies, a lovely summery memory!!

♥ DRESSING LIKE A HIPPY ‘COS IT’S FASHION ♥

I love this about Summer.  Now my Mumma dresses like a hippy all year round, me, I have to restrict it to the summertime, when the boho shades and long beach dusted hairstyles come back in.  The giant canvas bags, the calming pastels set against the bright whites and mellow taupes.  SUMMER comes alive in fashion and it’s the one time of year I find myself really having to FIND things to wear, but I love it, I buy a few key pieces and just mix’em’up Gok Wan stylee!!

One of the places where this one becomes like no other, and I dress only for comfort and comfort alone and that is…

♥ WOMAD ♥ 

The Womad festival is in this country for a mere 5 days at the end of July and everytime I’m getting ready to go, come rain or shine I know summer has well and truly begun!  This is the Siam Tent at Womad, it is beyond describing, nothing like eating hot churros in here!!

 ♥ BBQ’S BAYBEE ♥

Ain’t nothing summery without a BBQ!  I love to be inventive with my BBQs though, I love doing my chicken wings and burgers and hotdogs etc, but I love going to town and doing seafood skewers, lamb koftas, ribs, corn on the cob, baked potatoes stuffed with cream cheese and chives, my world famous potato salad, and my legendary Guacamole courtesy of my awesome cousin in Minneapolis!

Remember, BBQ’s ain’t nothing without BEER!

♥ROADTRIPPING♥

Is there anything better.  Than, jumping out of bed and packing a bag, stuffing it full of random mismatched clothes, grabbing a bottle of pop from the shop and leaping into a friend’s car and going for a drive?  To the  beach, to the park, to the lakes, to the forest, to…anywhere really!!

 FREEZE-POPS AND ICE-CREAM ♥ 

When it’s really hot, like so hot that you forget about wearing make up, you pull all your hair on top of your head so nothing touches your skin, you wear the lightest cotton clothes and the thinnest sandals and its just super hot.  Can you remember what it’s like, to open that freezer unit chocca-block full of ice cream and freezepops and ice lollies….It’s heaven!  I think my favourites HAD to be mini-milks! never chocolate always vanilla or strawberry!  When I remember them, they were the perfect combo of creamy ice cream and a freeze pop, they were 15p back in the day and totally AWESOME!

♥ SHADY PLACES AND SUNSET ♥ 

There’s a certain smell at this time of day in the summer.  It’s almost hazy, like plants and sea air and forests all mixed into one.  Like the random smell when a ladybird lands on your cheek, sorta mixed with the smell of hot rain on the tarmac, and a lingering of firewood.  Shady places under trees and next to walls are always interesting, little lines of ants making their way to the picnics, flowers growing in the cracks of walls and tiny birds taking a restful nap in the trees.

♥ MASSIVE SUNGLASSES ♥ 

AWESOME FASHION!! LOVE THEM!! Theres alot of aspects of summer that you kind of want to hide from teh rest of the world.  Big baggy eyes where you partied really hard at the weekend, sunburnt cheeks from the beach trip with the girls, peeling forehead where you caught the sun a bit too much, last night’s makeup up after a cheeky little flingo!!

 ♥ ICED TEA…………
……..Iced Tea……….
…………..ICED TEA ♥

My mum and I have a slight obsession with Iced Tea.  1.  It has to be LIPTON! 2. Mango sucks, Peach is okay, Lemon is the best.  3.  It must be served in a stemmed glass almost like a very large brandy glass, with lots of Ice, a Straw and by a delightful belgian waiter at Café De La Paix in Poperinge Belgium.  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and this combination quite simply will never be broke!!  Oh, and a stay at Talbot House is always best.

♥ MEADOWS, GARDENS AND OTHER GREEN STUFF ♥

I’m not much of a countryside person, for someone who essentially lives in the countryside.  I’m not a fan of bugs, I don’t like walking through fields and I hate the idea of being chased by a fox or other wildlife.  When summer hits town, I love going out with my brother for long walks around the raspberry fields and through the woods, it’s always a laugh and when we go with Wonder Woman and Ruby the dog it’s so funny watching her want to sprint off whilst we are all lagging behind!

AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST..

The best thing about summer??  The ultimate most awesome thing about a few random weeks of patchy sunshine, searing heat then freezing rain?? What I hear you scream is the best thing about an english summer???  It’s the people!  It’s being on the beach flying kites, it’s yelling at the outside tv’s that aren’t loud enough over the roar of the fans drinking outside whilst the pub stays silent, it’s clubbing with your mates and coming home to daylight at 5am, It’s helping your step-gran out at the local church fete, making cakes and treats to be served with tea, it’s the refreshing taste of orange squash after hating it all winter and enjoying it in massive jugs after a mammoth water fight….Summer, sun, long days, and longer weeks make for an amazing summer, and it’s the people that make it, nothing else matter’s really.

Hope you enjoyed this,

Happy blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J.Simms ♥

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Countdown to the Summer

Summertime for me usually means 1 of 3 things…Garden Parties, Beetroot Salads and WOMAD.

I have been going to the WOMAD festival since the age of about 12-13ish, which makes this year the 10th year of my return.  Every year my family come together, my step sister [Poison Ivy] dyes her hair a fresh shade of awesome, my step brother [Batman] stocks up on the beer and whiskey and The parents [The Incredibles] start testing the tents and airbeds, filling the gas bottles and checking the solar powered lighting and I delve into the secret place in my wardrobe which harbours all the WOMAD clothing.

Now This year is the 30th Anniversary of the WOMAD festival, started by Peter Gabriel back in  [let me calculate this] 1982.  It’s also as I’ve said our families 10th year of the tradition of attending.  All this excitement has got me to thinking about the moments that were most special to me, moments that will stick in my head forever…when I was younger my siblings and I weren’t too fussed with the music, I once fell asleep in a crowd of thousands watching heavy dub reggae, but in later years I have really [To my step dad’s joy] finally taken an interest in the music, watching the line up change over the coming months, joining the forum to discuss potential acts and really investing in the festival that has grown to mean so much to me and my family.

As a youngster, for me WOMAD was like going into a book (bear with me).  When you drove into the site (originally in Reading, but even more so since the move to Charlton Park) at the old site you sort of drove around the barriers so you couldn’t see in, all you could see were these weird and wonderful cars and vans and people on roofs, and windows open with people hanging out in the sun, rear windows blocked by hoards of multicoloured banners and tent bags and boxes of wine.  To a child’s eye it was all magical, this feeling slumped towards the end of the Reading site’s history, by then us ‘kids’ were getting a bit older, starting to enjoy the bacardi breezers more than the party itself…then it moved to Charlton Park, and after a rough first year [THE YEAR OF WOMUD]…

Charlton Park recaptured my imagination, entering the site through the ‘purple gate’ going through a little castle gatehouse made you feel secretive and special driving into the tree lined fields, all the effort of dragging your makeshift home through the already worn down sandy coloured grass, with every step relinquishing a little more of the modern world, losing a shoe gaining a sandal, losing a sat nav and acquiring a programme, losing a house and moving into a tented home…

Unless you’ve been to WOMAD it’s hard to describe WOMAD, it’s not like Glastonbury or Reading or V fest, it’s just NOT.  Yes there are tents and music for younger people now, and even designated camping with a bar ON SITE!!, but it’s still not a normal festival.  It has balls at the same time as having respect.  It is unique at the same time as being popular.  Every person you pass generally smiles at you because you know the secret, you know the WOMAD truth just like they do.  Whether they are a newbie or an old timer, a WOMADspa goer or a DirtyFestieLover, your all the same, your all equals, there to enjoy good music, good food and a good time.

So to finish my introductory post about WOMAD, I thought I would share some of my favourite acts from my time at the festival.  I couldn’t include them all as youtube only provides so much for me, but I have included pictures throughout this post which are my own and my families of the festival we have grown to love, adore and cherish.

If the quality is not great I apologise, I tried to find the best ones online sadly there is no TV coverage of the WOMAD festival although it is on BBC radio 3.  So I have had to rely on audience footage.  I hope you enjoy none-the-less…

2011 – The Boxettes

Last year The Boxettes were literally jaw dropping! Every part of their music is created by their voices alone.  To create those sounds, I was dumb founded and so was the entire audience and the gatherin gfor their workshop as well.  I didn’t even touch my cider once throughout the performance I was that in awe of these girlies, if they came back for the 30th Anniversary I would cheer till my mouth pissed off for the rest of the festival!! check them out THE BOXETTES.  Their one and and only video for their single ‘FREE‘ is what drew me to them to begin with and I had heard from the london grapevine that is my friend Iron Man, that if I didn’t see them last year I’d regret it.

2010 – Imogen Heap

2010, was for me (and most of my family) THE best year at WOMAD.  Every single one of us, as we have very different tastes, found something we thoroughly enjoyed and we all came home positively beaming.  For me 2010 has a special place in my heart, as I got to see one of my favourite artists on the planet.  Imogen Heap was amazing and even though I was 3/4 of the way back in the Siam Tent, surrounded by very tall South Africans [who gave me a beer and let me stand on their step stool :)] it is still to this day the most emotionally powerful and affective performance I have ever seen.  I was totally overwhelmed in a way I never expected to be by music.

2010 – Imelda May

Also in 2010, we had the AMAZEBALLS set by the totally beautiful Imelda May, Now I was supposed to be going to a dubstep gig in the Big Red Tent but Poison Ivy persuaded me to stick with her and The Incredibles to watch Imelda, I was sceptical, I had heard of her but wasn’t all that fussed, so went off to get some food [My favourite Paella was on the cards that day] and as  I was walking back I heard this funky dirty beat, and these amazing rock’n’roll riffs and was dancing with my Paella wondering where it was coming from.  It was only when I saw Poison Ivy gesturing me into the crowd with a beer I thought ‘Okayyyyy now this bird is goooooood’.  Needless to say we bought the album and sang it like crazy people all the way home that year!

2009 – Nneka

Nneka was a discovery for me.  I saw her on the line up a few months before hand and got hooked on her track Heartbeat.  I was pumped to see her but my family weren’t too sure.  I convinced my step-dad that she was like warm honey on a bagel and he agreed to come and see her.  He loved her dolcet tones and the rest of the family loved the dancing beats which allowed them to boogie.  It was at that moment i said she would make awesome dubstep music.  6 months after WOMAD her track Heartbeat had been remixed by Chase and Status and was being played on BBC radio1! have I mentioned i’m a music psychic? *NEW POST ME THINKS*

2007 – The Dhol Foundation

And finally, The Dhol Foundation.  This group has a treasured and hallowed place in my families heart especially my mum’s.  Johnny Kelsi, the front man is an incredible force to be reckoned with and has the charm and wit to go with the immense amount of talent he displays in every single performance.  My mum blares their albums from her car like a regular boy racer, you can watch her smacking the steering wheel in time with the electric fusion beats and nodding her head, no in fact headbanging to the drops and kicks and intrigueing sounds on every single track.  She was heartbroken at WOMUD when we had to leave early before seeing them, and since then has not been able to see them.  If I ever won the lottery I would get them to do a private concert for her.

AND WELL, THAT’S IT…

For now anyway, I will update as we get closer to the festival and I shall be live blogging from the site itself this year as well.  But until then enjoy the videos and check out the WOMAD website and buy some tickets yourself, if you do let me know and we can have a WordPress Bloggers Meet at the Chai Tent 🙂

Happy Blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J.Simms x