Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer's For Stampeding

I went to the Summer Stampede at London's Olympic Park a couple of weeks ago on Saturday 6th July. It was hands-down one of the best days of my life thus far. I made the way to Stratford in London with my sister to meet up with 3 of our very good friends. It was a perfect, gloriously hot, sunny day with barely a cloud in sight. I'd never visited Olympic Park before, or even been to Stratford in London before, so it was a new experience in itself!

So, on Saturday, I had the pleasure of seeing: Bear's Den, Haim, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Ben Howard, Vampire Weekend and Mumford & Sons (!!!) When I think about this line up, I just want to cry a little because I just want to relive this day over and over and over again, like a perpetual Groundhog Day... only, in a good way.

At the start of the day, we got into Olympic Park at about 12.30pm. We ate first and chilled and looked round the grounds before heading over to see Bear's Den at 2pm. We stayed towards the back at the start and soaked up the atmosphere, it was just so nice to be there standing / sitting in the sun (and getting thoroughly burnt in the process, haha). Bear's Den were fantastic, I loved that they played a couple of the songs that I knew & loved ('Isaac' and 'Pompeii') - I can see them becoming hugely successful in the future. They really were a great start to the day.

Then came Haim! They were soooo much better than I thought they were going to be and so good live! I'd listened to a few of their songs before, but was kind of indifferent about them. However, it was fantastic when they played 'Falling' - sooo good. Afterwards, in the 30 minute break, we headed to grab some water from the taps, but the queues were ridiculously long haha. I definitely don't want to relive those haha, but we managed to get back to our spot in time for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros! Alex Ebert was so charismatic and engaged with the audience by getting some lucky people to dance with him, asking them questions, etc... He was hilarious. When they sang 'Home', the atmosphere was... electric. Jade Castrinos was brilliant too, her voice was sooo good & complemented his so well. They make such a good pair & I enjoyed their set so much.

Ben Howard came up next and I had been waiting for him all day. Besides Mumford, he was the act I was most looking forward to perform. He was everything I'd hoped for & more!!! His voice was magical and he appeared to be so introverted and didn't say very much in between songs, but when he sang, I literally melted (no, not literally). He played quite a few new songs, as well as some of my favourites 'Only Love', 'The Wolves' & 'Keep Your Head Up', but I would've liked if he'd played 'Old Pine' or 'Gracious'. Nevertheless, he was absolutely amazing and I'd love to see him perform again soon! Also, I loved how he tried to toy with us at the start of the last song by pretending to play a new song, but in fact, he played 'The Fear'!!! Such a wonderful song, one of my all-time favourites.

Next, Vampire Weekend were absolutely fab!!! They played a load of their old & new stuff, loads of which are great to listen to in the summer, including 'Unbelievers', 'Holiday', 'Everlasting Arms' and 'Giving Up The Gun', as well as the classics 'A-Punk' and 'Oxford Comma'. They were so energetic and quite fast-paced which got the entire crowd in a good mood for Mumford. They are an absolute must-see live as they're wonderful.

And lastly... Mumford & Sons!!! They were absolutely, ridiculously, wonderfully brilliant. They were funny, full of character, ridiculously talented & performed every song to perfection. By that time of the day, it was getting dark & the sort of fairy-lights were getting turned on... The atmosphere was incredible. Again, they played a mixture of old & new songs - 'Babel', 'Little Lion Man', 'Love of the Light', 'I Will Wait', 'Awake my Soul', 'Hopeless Wanderer', 'Timshel', 'Dust Bowl Dance', 'Winter Winds', etc., much to the joy of the entire audience. During Mumford's last song, The Cave, confetti started shooting out from the stage and I felt... something close to the meaning of the word "euphoria", I imagine. I can't really describe it without sounding seriously corny / cheesy / clich├ęd, but it was the most amazing feeling.

At the end, everyone (minus Bear's Den) came back up on stage to play one last song: Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'. It was the perfect end to the night & I feel so incredibly privileged to have been able to get tickets to spend this day with some of my best friends & enjoy this day. I can't quite believe that this was 2 weeks ago - what I would do to be able to relive it right now...

Photo overload to follow:

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 ^^^ Outfit: Topshop dungaree skirt, stripy top, Ray Bans, Cath Kidston bag (borrowed) & loafers ^^^
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^^^ Typical festival flags :-) ^^^
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 ^^^ My friends // Beautiful fairy lights ^^^
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^^^ Me with my lovely friends :-) ^^^
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^^^ Haim!!! // Friends during Mumford's set ^^^
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^^^ Fun in the sun & applying sun cream haha // India Bourne! ^^^
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^^^ Ben Howard! ^^^  photo SummerStampedeCollage3_zpsc253ab94.jpg
^^^ View of the stage from the queues for water // Vampire Weekend! ^^^  photo SummerStampede8_zps85046b05.jpg
^^^ Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros! ^^^   photo SummerStampede1_zps750a102d.jpg
^^^ Me & my friends during Bear's Den's set ^^^
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^^^ Mumford & Sons ^^^  photo SummerStampede15_zps3442109e.jpg
^^^ Confetti during 'The Cave'! ^^^  photo SummerStampede14_zpsc83080f9.jpg
^^^ Mumford & Sons ^^^

 Whewww. Finally finished this huge Summer Stampede round-up post, haha. Sorry it took 2 weeks! In other news, I've finally finished school for the year!!! This summer won't be quite as relaxed as I'd like since I need to write my personal statement... complete all the rest of my UCAS application... All of which seems to be on hold because of results day (which is less than a month away, eek!).  Nevertheless, I am determined to try and enjoy this summer now that all of my family are over to visit & my aunty's wedding which is only 2 weeks away! Exciting :-)

Hope you're all well! Can't believe that this heat wave we're all experiencing in the UK is still happening! Let's hope it sticks around for the summer!

Chloe xxx 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

After having the same blog header for over 3 years now - when I first started my blog - I felt like a change was in order. Much like so many things which are constantly changing in my life, I feel that I have to embrace it. It's the only way of making change any more manageable or easier to deal with. This year has seen quite a few changes: The move from secondary school to sixth form has been huge. I love the freedom and I've loved making new friends. After feeling like I'd been stuck in a rut for a while, it's been nice to adapt to new and better things. However, there have also been times where it's been pretty hard, what with the difficulty of A-levels, the added responsibility of now being a "young adult" as opposed to a glorified "kid" and generally just growing up.

In spite of the fact that I've always thought of myself as a bit of an old soul - usually being described as 16 going on 60 - my recent week at work experience in a proper working environment, coupled with 2 hours of commuting each day, has made me realise how much I ought to relish my school days as much as possible, while I still can.

Nevertheless, like I said, I have been trying to embrace change as much as I can. There is no point in dwelling on the past - or so I've been told - because if you do, life has a way of becoming overwhelming and daunting. And that's not what life is about!

In fact, one of my favourite quotations is: "Things change. And friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody." 


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Chloe xxx

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Holidaaay, oh a holidaaay

Currently, I have Vampire Weekend's "Holiday" stuck in my head (hence the title). I was so so lucky to see them live on Saturday at Summer Stampede along with a whole host of other bands (full post coming up soon). It was such a fantastic day and I keep on flicking through my photos and videos to relive that wonderful day!

Anyway! Enough gushing... The past couple of weeks have been pretty hectic. I stayed in Oxford with my uncle for a few days. I was mostly working on an essay, but also spent lots of time with my baby cousin who is simply adorable. I also attended Oxford uni open day which was beautiful. All the students were so lovely and I also made a new friend. All in all, it was a really lovely day, despite the ridiculously high pollen count which caused my ridiculous eyes to puff up to the size of golf balls as my hayfever returned with a vengeance!

After a few days in Oxford, I went to St Albans to stay with my aunty & her fiance, which was also lovely! I had a few days work experience at Barclays bank in Canary Wharf and then also went to UCL and LSE open days, both of which were amazing. I will count myself seriously lucky to attend any one of these universities.

Whilst travelling in and around London, I was often far too preoccupied with my surroundings to be bothered with lugging my camera round with me, hence the following bombardment of phone pics:
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^^^Starbucks latte // Beautiful skies in Canary Wharf^^^
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 ^^^West Hampstead (one of my fave places) // The London docklands in Canary Wharf^^^
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 ^^^Gap & DKNY denim, Kurt Geiger loafers & random stripy top // More West Hampstead^^^
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 ^^^Swanky reception at 1 Churchill Place // Barclays^^^
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 ^^^Iced caramel macchiato (my fave drink) // Travelling on the tube^^^
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^^^ New dungaree dress // LSE Open Day ^^^ 

In other news, I mentioned this a couple of posts ago, but I wrote a dumpling guest post for Molly of My Name Is Yeh! I was so happy that Molly asked me to be a part of this and I had such fun making these pork dumplings. If you would like to have a read and look at what I conjured up, please click here!

After 2 weeks away, I'm finally back at home and planning to spend the next week relaxing and trying to get some reading done!

Hope you're all well and enjoying the summer wherever you are! Here in England, we've kind of struck gold with the weather lately, which has cheered me up no end!

Chloe xxx