Thursday, 30 August 2018

RiZE Festival Chelmsford 2018

This year saw a new festival come to Chelmsford after V Festival closed it's doors last year.  I wasn't too sure what to expect especially as there were clearly some big changes.  For a start V Festival took place over a Saturday and Sunday whereas RiZE was being held on the Friday and Saturday.  I wasn't able to attend on the Friday, this personally didn't concern me too much as looking at the line-up there weren't really any acts I was desperate to see and I much preferred the acts on the Saturday.

About a week before the festival they released a map of the new layout.  The layout was much smaller than V Festival, which to begin with I had my reservations about.   I needn't of worried about the smaller layout though as this proved to be much better and  lot easier to navigate between the stages.  I spent a lot of the day moving between stages to catch as many acts as possible and to make the most out of the day so it definitely worked to my advantage.  

Even though the festival appeared smaller, there was still a big range of stalls on site selling all of your festival gear from hats and sunglasses to fancy dress outfits, plus glitter stations and an oxygen bar.  There were plenty of bars too, and the queues for these were really short, definitely an added bonus as no one wants to be wasting time in the queue for a drink.  I'm not sure if maybe I hadn't noticed the variety before but there seemed to be a lot more rides too.  My only negative was the lack of toilets, as soon as it hit about 5pm there was a constant queue for the toilets and it was a big queue.

Over all the atmosphere was really good and for the first time ever at a festival I didn't feel awkward, out of place or irritated by other festival goers.  It felt like there was an equal mix of ages and everyone seemed to be aware of others round them which made a real difference to the experience.  In the past it has felt like the average age was about 18 so this was a really nice change.

And the highlight of the festival for me, it had to be seeing Sean Paul.  I loved it.  
RiZE was a definite hit with me and I will definitely be looking to go again next year if it returns for a second year.

~ Gem x

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Dreamland ~ Margate

I've really struggled to write this post and on numerous occasions have actually wondered whether to publish it or not.  I don't like writing negative reviews but feel that this one could potentially be justified in saying that perhaps I may have visited a little too early.

After seeing a fellow blogger's post about Dreamland last year it has been on my radar as somewhere to visit.  It's not all that far from home in Essex and on a good run can be reached within an hour and a half with no traffic.  I loved the colour and vibrant look of the place, and the fact it had a real retro appearance to it, I had to visit.  At the beginning of July, the time came for that visit.

On arriving at the entrance I was charged £16, this didn't include the roller-skating as stupidly I had forgotten to take socks with me and being a hot day I was wearing sandals (proper school girl error there).  This was the only option I was given and so I merrily paid the amount.  The park didn't appear to be overly busy which was really nice.  There was plenty of space walking around and this gave the opportunity to take in all the quirky little pieces dotted around the park which really did give it a retro feel it looked to have in the blog post I had read previous to visiting.  

The first ride we decided to go on was the Big Wheel as we thought this would give a feel for what was in the park and also an opportunity to check out the views.  Considering the park seemed pretty empty there was a fairly big queue but nothing too serious, I would say around 30 people were ahead of us, I assumed with it being a ride that's able to take a large capacity of people we wouldn't be waiting all that long.  Only we waited for around 45 minutes, for some reason they were only filling 10 of the pods.  It felt like we wasted so much time for a mediocre ride which was a real shame.

Determined not to let the long wait put a dampener on the day we then headed to the Chair 'O' Plane which thankfully we were able to get onto straight away.  This is one of my favourite rides, such simple technology and a lot of fun.  The old ones are always the best.

Already feeling much better about the day we made our way next to the scenic railway.  We were met with a much bigger queue this time and queued for just over an hour.  The ride itself was good and it made a change to see a ride of this type to be manually operated.  Of all the rides in the park this is the biggest so it seemed about right it would have the biggest queue.

The trouble is, this was literally about it, unless we wanted to ride on the small kiddie rides or queue up again for over an hour for the 3 rides we had already been on which personally would not have put me in a much better mood than I was already in.  I had paid £16 to go on 3 rides!  Not impressed, especially as I later learnt that you can in fact pay per ride rather than purchasing a wrist band, this would have been a lot cheaper.

As I have said at the beginning of my post today, I do feel that I have perhaps visited the park too soon as since my visit there have been a number of new (what I would call big) rides that have opened.  I'm just not sure I can bring myself just yet to return.  Maybe in a couple of years I'll visit again and hopefully by then there will be even more rides opened.

Have you visited Dreamland before?  What did you think of it?

~ Gem x

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Enjoying The Simple Things

Life is busy and we are all guilty for not taking the time we should to appreciate our surroundings, stressing ourselves with deadlines and life in general.  I have been trying so hard recently to slow things down a little.  Leading up to what is a really busy and stressful time of year for me at work, I am trying hard not to let this get to me.   I've been spending my spare time appreciating the world around me and taking a leaf out of the Norwegian's and Danes book to be more 'hygge' and I have to say it does seem as though it is working, and it feels good.

On Sunday I braved the threatening rain clouds and headed to the local reservoir for a much needed walk in the fresh air with my new trusted rain coat, which can I just say I am in love with (I've wanted one for ages but was always worried it was too bright, well to hell with those thoughts now).  It felt so good to be amongst nature, hearing the leaves crunch beneath my feet and taking in the wildlife that surrounded me.  I'd actually forgotten how good it feels to be out walking, it's been such a long time since I did it last.  And oh how happy it made me feel to see the signs of autumn being right around the corner.  Is anyone else as excited as me for the arrival of Autumn?   Okay so yes, I agree it is still a little early to be getting too excited, but it is definitely getting close and I for one can't wait.  A few more hot sunny days would be a welcomed treat though I'm not going to lie.

It gave me time to think without interruption or distractions, being alone with my thoughts and processing each one properly, giving it my full attention.  I did take my phone with me but that was purely for taking photos, no social media, no phone calls, no texts.  I rarely disconnect from my phone and it really is something I need to do more often, even if only for a couple of hours each day.  It frightens me how addicted to my phone I have become.  I always feel lost without it and that is so wrong.      

I have also started taking steps to calm my evenings after work down, helping me to relax more and chill out.  As someone who loves candles I have really appreciated the evenings drawing in and the fact they have become slightly cooler over the past few days.  It has been the perfect excuse to light some candles, plug in the fairy lights and enjoy the flickering light around the room.  Spending time reading a book or watching Netflix, I am hooked on '13 Reasons Why' at the moment, I'm almost finished season 1 so I'm near enough half way through now.

I'm going to continue taking more steps to be more hygge, enjoying the simple things in life and also making sure I have things to look forward to, it always helps to keep my spirits up.  What do you do to help keep things calm in your life?  I'd love to hear some more suggestions.

~ Gem x