Thursday, 23 July 2015

I Scream Ice Cream. The Top 3 Places In London

ice cream places in london
Hi ladies, summer and ice cream are an unbeatable combination. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, then you will have already seen that I’m a passionate lover of all things cold and sweet. Now that the heatwave has come back to the UK it would be scandalous to not enjoy a cooling ice cream treat. Plus where there’s ice cream involved, there’s me! I’m going to show you the top three places where you can indulge into some fantastic ice cream opportunities in London.

1. Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour (FREE)

Ben & Jerry’s annual free ice cream tour is back in town and throughout the month, the van will stop at several locations all over Central to share their latest Core Edition (please find my Ben & Jerry Core Edition review here). Me and my friends Karen and Tania (WhenTaniaTalks) were lucky to get an exclusive look inside of the mysterious ice cream van, so we joined the team for a day.

We headed over to the van which was parked in Camden and there was a long queue of ice cream lovers waiting for us. The Ben & Jerry’s team gave us a fantastic lesson in how to scoop the perfect ice cream cup and we even got the chance to use the guillotine to hand out sharer tubs.

ben and jerry's ice cream
ben and jerrys ice cream van
ben and jerrys ice cream van in Camden
Ben and Jerry's ice cream
inside Ben and Jerry's ice cream van
handing out ice cream
inside the ben and jerry's ice cream van
having fun in the ice cream van
respect for the man in the ice cream van ben and jerrys

It was a right sweet mess and so much fun!

The tour in London has a few dates left for July and rumour has it, a nationwide tour is in planning for September. Keep your eyes peeled as I will give you an update later in the year.

2. Magnum Pleasure Store. Pop-Up in Covent Garden (£4.50)

Magnum Pleasure store in London

Oh the Magnum Pleasure Store, where should I start? Well, it seems Magnum has realised the potential as this is their third year returning to Central with a pop-up store. Last year’s Magnum pop-up store at Selfridges was a massive success, so it comes as no surprise that the brand has now reopened for this summer season.

The concept is still the same. You chose a vanilla or raspberry flavoured Magnum which then gets dipped into either milk, dark or white chocolate (watch my Magnum video here). There’s a collection of sweet toppings ranging from chocolate brownie to eatable pearls via roasted pistachios to spicy chilli flakes. A chocolate drizzle and Magnum button will finish the creation and voila there’s your customised ice cream.

customised Magnum
Design your own Magnum ice cream
Magnum in London
Magnum creations

I went three times during my London trip (Is it sad that the staff started to recognise me?) and enjoyed some wonderful creations. In comparison to last year’s store, the Covent Garden one is small and offers a limited variety of toppings. However, the Magnum Pleasure store is a unique experience and you shouldn’t miss out on it! So if you’re in London and not in Covent Garden, then you’re in the wrong place.

Head over to this very special experience in Covent Garden (until 30 August) or Westfield Stratford (until September).

3. Cornetto Pop-Up Cinema Experience at Westfield Stratford (FREE)

Cornetto Pop Up Cinema

After shopping, Alex and I were approached by a member of Cornetto asking if we would fancy a unique cinema experience (yes!) including some free (yes!) ice cream (definitely yes!). So within no time, both of us enjoyed a Cornetto Hazelnut and Raspberry and we were given some stylish headphones. We would then sit down in a small cinema and watch Cornetto’s latest campaign.

Cornetto cinema experience
Cornetto cinema experience London
Cornetto ice cream

I can reveal that the film focuses on teenage love but I don’t want to give too much away (like other websites and blogs have!) and spoil the fun for you as I can highly recommend you to go. The Cornetto Cinema experience was surprising, totally unique and a bit random so if you have ten minutes or so, head over to Westfield in Stratford. You’ll find the cinema in The Streets until the end of the month.

Update: Guess what has happened? I wasn't aware that Cornetto ran a competition at the time. So every time I promoted my post over on my Twitter with their hashtag, I got added into their competition. The main prize to be won was a pair of Beats by Dr Dre Headphones and guess who the lucky winner was!!!! 

Yes, me! Can you imagine? I was completely surprised when they reached out to me announcing me as the winner. The headphones arrived a few weeks later and I love them. They've become an everyday essential for me and I still can't believe that my ice cream post won me something so useful and super cool. So folks, keep up your work and writing, you never know what it may lead to. 

That’s it for today. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed summer and some cool ice cream so far? Tweet, Instagram or leave me a comment, I’m always looking forward reading from you. 

Till next time,
xx Caz xx

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Glastonbury 2015. Part 2

Glastonbury summer 2015

Hi lovelies, I hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of my Glastonbury experience 2015. Let’s go back for one last time to the biggest music festival in the world and relive some of my highlights together. Shall we?

Day 4: Saturday

Saturday just flew by so, so fast. After a good night’s sleep and breakfast with our friends, we all made our way over to the stages. Alex and I started the festival day over at The Other Stage to see Ella Eyre. We’ve seen her at Wireless Festival last year and when we arrived at the stage, there was still plenty of space. The gig was one of the most relaxed ones of the entire weekend. Most people sat down to listen to Ella’s songs and it felt very relaxing to not get squeezed by the crowds for once. 

Glastonbury mud
with Alex at Glastonbury

Glastonbury wouldn’t be Glastonbury without a phenomenal surprise. Ella must have thought the same because she gave her fans a very special musical gift. She introduced her new single ‘Good Times’ which is officially out on the 7 August and can also be found on her debut album Feline (out 14 August). Ella was incredible. In a scorching hot 25 degrees, she rocked all over the stage in a very tight overall for 45 minutes. Everyone (including me) got very excited when she took the microphone and introduced her new single which was ‘very exclusive’ and ‘only for Glastonbury’. The song is very typical Ella: a well-balanced mixture of soul and upbeat with a big portion of good vibes. I can see it to become a summer hit in 2015. The potential is there. 

Ella Eyre at Glastonbury

After the gig, we attempted to see Years and Years, but when we arrived at the venue we had no chance to get in. It was so overcrowded! We were far from the stage but managed to listen to two songs. I really liked their music and I can see why they’ve been so popular. Slightly disappointed we bridged some time watching Idris Elba’s DJ set. The atmosphere was great and there was enough space to dance.

Idris Elba at Glastonbury

Later in the afternoon, Alex and I headed back to The Other Stage to see The Maccabees. We’ve seen the band before and they introduced songs from their new album. I kind of fell in love with the band's guitarist (he was constantly flirting with me via the big screen you know). Haha, Alex just found that really funny! In the middle of the set, the lead singer would say a few words of praise to Florence’s show from last night (WHY did I go to see Rudimental, why?????) and suddenly, less than two metres away, someone lifted a red-haired girl into the air. Everyone starred and was unsure. Is it Florence or is it just someone looking like Florence? 

Florence partying at Glastonbury

It was her but by the time my brain functioned again she was back on the ground, hastily putting on a blue hat and sunglasses. I managed to take a quick picture of her. It was such a surprise! And she is tiny and so young!!! I mean when you see pictures of her in magazines, she always looks like a super confident woman and there she was, a young, shy girl who partied with her pals at a music gig. #fangirlingover

Glastonbury sign
The Ribbon tower at Glastonbury

After the gig, I went back to the tent to get some warmer clothes for the evening. Though the daytime was filled with warm air and the sunshine, the nights were bitter cold. I got dressed for the last gig of the day: Kanye West.

It was a nightmare to get back to the festival site. It seemed everyone wanted to see Kanye so I squeezed myself into a crowd and just got carried along. Luckily I spotted Alex and he had to fetch me. Kanye started his 2h show bang on time and the performance didn't always run smoothly. I'm not a big fan of his music (I only know two songs) and the crowd was extremely rough. A behaviour that showed at last year's Wireless Festival and now again. There were a few interruptions, some people were super aggressive and tried to annoy the rapper with laser pointers and provocative flags. Overall an experience I'm not keen to go through again.

Kanye West at Glastonbury

 Day 5: Sunday

The sound of raindrops woke me up on the final day of the festival. The day was humid and wet and the rain stopped shortly after we had breakfast. When we were ready for the day, we got our BonsaiSocks Wellie Socks* out and came together for a little feet selfie :)

Bonsai Socks goe Glastonbury

You may remember my Bonsai Sock review post from a few weeks ago and I promise to test them under hardcore circumstances at the festival. So here comes the update: I wore my blue and orange pair for the last four days. No matter if it was raining or boiling hot, my wellies stayed on. I danced in them and walked at least 20 miles per day. The socks got sweaty, they got wet, they got muddy BUT THEY DID NOT SMELL. They kept my feet always dry and did not develop any odour. I involved my mum and Alex's parent's in the smell test (just imagine a muddy pair of socks been rubbed into your face 'Can you smell please??' sort of scenario) and both confirmed the socks were free of any unpleasant scents. After a wash, the socks needed a while to dry but their colour didn't fade. I'm pleasantly surprised that the socks' promise to stay odour free has been kept and I can't wait to take them out for another festival experience in the future.

We would then start packing our stuff together. This time we planned to do only one trip back to the car, so we squeezed the tent as tightly as possible, ate the remaining food and recycled the litter. As you can imagine we faced the same scenario as on the first day. Though only a handful of people prepared to go home and the way back to the car was less crowded than on arrival day, it took a good 40 minutes to take everything back. The worst 40 minutes of the day!

At the car, we had a little break including a drink and some food. We pumped up one of the tyres and changed clothes. Though it was cloudy (with a chance of rain) it was very humid and warm. It cleared up later in the day so no rain poncho was needed anymore. Back on-site, we had a bite to eat alongside a massive milkshake (we pretty much lived off it for the last four days) and we managed to see Lionel Richie (from very far away) at The Pyramid. The atmosphere was superb and Lionel seemed to have had a fantastic time, too. He joked and sung 'as many songs [as he] could remember'. 

Police on horse at Glastonbury

You know when you like something a lot and you're having a good time and then suddenly the time just flies by extremely fast? Though I'm not a big music fan and a few things really annoyed me at Glastonbury, I didn't want to accept that it was the last day nor did I ever want to leave. I enjoyed spending so much time with Alex, something we rarely do due to our living circumstances and also the camping was fun. 

In the evening we managed to see Charlie XCX and her show was so cool! To all the gigs we've been, people knew the lyrics and I would have stood there not knowing what was going on. But at Charlie's show, it was the other way round. I love her songs so I sang from the bottom of my heart. You should have seen my Alex's face who would stand next to me in a slight shock. At some point, he would lean over to me and say 'You sing so loud'. Oops! 

Charlie XCX at Glastonbury festival

Charlie's gig was full on girl power. So energetic, loved it! After she had finished we would stay at the venue for the next gig so we managed to stand in the FROW for Lianne La Havas :)

Lianne La Havas at Glastonbury

I've never heard of her before but was positively surprised by the talented singer. Definitely going to check out her album. Sadly after her gig, we would slowly but surely prepare to go home. We walked for the last time over to The Pyramid stage to have dinner and a drink whilst watching The Who. We watched them play for like 20 minutes and then moved over to The Other Stage where we caught a few moments of The Chemical Brothers.

It was a wonderful evening and I got upset that we had to leave. Alex wanted to be home by 1 am at the latest to miss all the traffic, so we walked back to the car, the last time past stages and tents.

Overall I had a great time at Glastonbury. I enjoyed spending time with Alex the most and the camping was fun, too. I didn't mind the music nor the toilets or the missing showers (facial wipes did a good job but I can't deny how much I loved the hot shower when we got back home). There were a few things that really annoyed me including the stressful hassle of transporting belongings to the site. Most people were extremely rude, they would constantly push or squeeze right in front of you at gigs or completely ignore you. I was also outraged at how many people felt the need to bring drugs and get high at festivals. It was shocking! I do understand everyone wants to have a good time, but I feel very sad for people who have to consume drugs in order to 'enjoy' special moments. Call me old-fashioned, innocent or narrow-minded but I have a zero-tolerance towards drugs. 

Glastonbury festival experience

However, Glastonbury was an interesting experience and I wouldn't mind going again. We'll try to get tickets next year as there will be a gap year in 2017 to allow the farm to regain strength. 

I hope you've enjoyed this final part of my Glastonbury experience. Let me know if you've been too or are planning on going to any other festivals this summer. Hope everyone is well and we'll speak soon.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time, 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Glastonbury 2015. Part 1

Glastonbury ribbon tower

After four years of trying to win the Glastonbury lottery, Alex managed to get us tickets for the biggest music festival in the world. He was lucky to snap them up in the resale in April and we spent an incredible weekend at Worthy Farm in Somerset on the last weekend in June.

We joined 250.000 'chosen ones' for this years' epic Glastonbury Festival and became 'campers' (Alex for the fifth time in his life and me for the first time). I'm going to split my Glastonbury diary post into two, so you'll see lots of pictures and all the bands we've seen. 

Day 1: Wednesday

Having suffered from food poisoning the weekend before, it was for a long time not clear if I was able to go. I recovered very, very slowly from it and my stomach still felt a bit funny when we made our way over to Somerset on Wednesday morning. Alex woke me up at 5 am and we left our house shortly after 6 am. The drive was actually not that long. It took us around 45 minutes to Bristol and then it was another 30 minutes to the beautiful county of Somerset. The culture nerd I am, I've visited the small, sleepy town of Glastonbury many times before so I was super excited to come back to one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

We got stuck in traffic just after the motorway and the sunburnt already from the sky. It was forecasted to be sunny all weekend so I packed only five outfits and some warmer clothes for sleeping at night. I can tell you now, that I ran a bit short of clothes during the festival, so if there's a next time I'll definitely pack one or two more outfits.

We arrived at the car park for around 11 am and sadly, we couldn't choose where to park. The system was allocated and guided otherwise we would have parked a lot closer to the festival site. We were in the outermost ring, so the way to the site was extremely long. Now, the most stressful and hardest part of the entire weekend started. Alex mentioned that Glastonbury is huge and that there will be a lot of walking involved, but he didn't tell me about the thousands of people who would turn up with their trolleys, tents, even entire fridges full of drinks to run all over the place.

Alex helped me to pack my bag and sleeping bags, he loaded his trolley with the tent and camping chairs and planned a second trip for later in the day to come back for the food. So we walked for 15 minutes and joined a massive queue. It took us 2 1/2 hours to make it through the gates and I never had such a stressful time in my entire life. So many people, everyone was squeezing and then no shade but the burning sun. I mean I love hot weather but, not with hundreds of kilos packed onto my shoulders. I felt really sick and wished I would have stayed at home. 

camp site at Glastonbury

When we made it through the gates, the real stress began. Finding a suitable camping spot. Alex has visited Glastonbury before, so his instructions for the perfect spot were somewhere near a water point, close to the site and toilets. He usually camped in the area close to The Other Stage so we took all our stuff across half the festival site. We walked past a few suitable spots but my Alex insisted on checking out his area first. By the time we arrived there, the area was fully taken. I got really tired and naggy, so Alex just got one of his camping chairs out and let me sit down. 'I'll come back for you when I found a spot, but it can take some time. Maybe an hour or so'. Well, that was fine by me so I sat down and waited for him to return. I watched people arriving, struggling with their tents or having a barbecue and I got a bit peckish.

Alex returned shortly and surprise, surprise he went back to the spot I've seen earlier. So I took all of my stuff and went all the way back. The tent was half-way up so we decided to pump up the air beds to have a little rest. By then it was already 3 pm. Alex later made a second trip to the car to get the remaining food and drinks. His friends also arrived and he brought them back to our tent. When they were all set up we had a little barbecue and enjoyed the summery evening. The boys later headed to the festival's club and disco area Shangri-La and Arcadia whilst I had an early night. 

Day 2: Thursday  

The first night was so cold. I slept with three layers of clothes but still felt like a massive ice cube. I warmed up in the morning when the sun burnt down on the tent. Today was all about exploring the site as there wouldn't be any music on until the next day. We all had breakfast and then made our way over to the music tents, food trucks and amusement parks. Glastonbury is huge. I've never seen anything like it before and I would best describe it as a small village but with the entire London population squeezed in. 

The site is divided into several sections and in between are camping areas, stages and music tents. Nearly everywhere are food trucks and crowds of people. Glastonbury has a lot to offer. There are not only music tents and stages, they also have clubs, a cinema and fun activities. They have their own radio station and a Glastonbury Free Press paper with the latest news from the site. I liked that a lot because it contributed so much to the atmosphere and life on the festival site.  

Glastonbury venue
Glastonbury venue hanging matts
Glastonbury circle of flaggs

The Festival is hosted on a farm, so there were fields and hills on site. Alex and I made our way over to the flags and the famous Glastonbury sign and had a fantastic view from up there. To fully appreciate the panorama picture below, you should click on it to enhance it.

Glastonbury panorama
Glastonbury stages
Glastonbury stages and campsite

My favourite part of the entire festival was an area called The Park. It was so colourful and happy with a lot of charm plus it had a viewing platform called The Ribbon Tower. The atmosphere was incredible although there were no bands playing that day. Seeing the entire festival site was an amazing experience. I've never seen anything like it before and just imagine how much time it must have taken to build all of this! The weather was fantastic so we sunbathed and ate ice cream. 

Glastonbury ribbon tower
Glastonbury flowers
Glastonbury festival ice cream

Towards the evening, we went back to the tent where we met our friends. We had another lovely barbecue and then headed to the furthest area of the site where all the clubs were (Block 9, Shangri- La, The Common). We ended up in a very bizarre club. Mexican death people danced happily around and it was a great atmosphere but so random! I slept a lot better that night as it was generally warmer in the tent. 

Day 3: Friday

The first day of music, yeah! Friday started out really well. We all had breakfast and then split up to see all the bands. I wasn't too bothered about music if I'm honest because Glastonbury also lives from the atmosphere of camping and having a good time with your friends. I was a bit sad we all kind of split up but there were far too many people so it would have been a nightmare to stay together.

Glastonbury pyramid stage

We all went to see the bands we wanted to see and then would call or text each other where we were. I found it fascinating how people developed a sixth sense to find each other in that incredible crowd. Alex and I attempted to see our first act but I was a bit disappointed. I've been to festivals before but Glastonbury was so different. Thousands of people turn up for an act and if you haven't been to the venue at least 30 minutes beforehand, then you most likely have no chance to see the band as there are far too many people and you won't see or hear a thing. It took me a while to get used to that. 

My only wish that day was to see Jungle so we made sure to be extra earlier at The Other Stage to see them play. We watched the previous act 'Catfish and the Bottlemen' and it then started to rain. 

Glastonbury Jungle 2015
Glastonbury Jungle set 2015
Jungle live performing at Glastonbury 2015

Jungle were fantastic! They were on stage for around 45 minutes and played my favourite song "Time" in a longer version. The crowd loved one of their break dancers: an 8-year-old kid came on stage and rocked that place with her performance. If you have the chance you should catch up on the entire show on BBC player. So, so good!

We then headed to The Pyramid Stage and watched The Libertines for a while.

The Libertines at Glastonbury

For the evening we decided to see Rudimental instead of Florence. Florence was asked to jump in and take over as a headliner as the originally booked Foo Fighters cancelled their performance. Many people moaned about it which I couldn't really understand. Florence is an amazing singer and her songs are definitely worthy to play on The Pyramid Stage. I was torn between Rudimental and Florence and in the end, we decided to see Rudimental over at The Other Stage.

Rudimental live is a lot different to Rudimental on the radio. The baseline was extremely dominant and the singing sounded like a mere screaming. They've altered their songs to make them more appropriate for live performing, but they've cut out the best bits which I like to listen to. Overall I didn't really get the feeling that I usually get on my radio and I was gutted for days when people and the media raved about the magnificent show of Florence. Yes please stop rubbing salt into the wound!

Glastonbury the other stage

So here we go, the first three days of my Glastonbury weekend. I'm going to publish the second part of my Glastonbury Festival 2015 summer adventure later in the month and I hope you've enjoyed reading my experience at one of the biggest music festivals in the world.

Have you been to any festivals this summer yet or are planning on going? Did you go to Glastonbury and if so, let me know all about your incredible weekend. I'm looking forward to reading from you.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
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