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Good Times at Greenbelt

I spent my bank holiday weekend at Greenbelt Festival, in the grounds of Boughton Estate in Northampton. The weather was glorious, the company was great and I have a list of acts and things I took part in that were so good and you should check out.

1. La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva were really really fun. Formed in Brussels by 3 Colombian immigrants, the band is super high energy with music you can’t help but dance to. I couldn’t stop the entire set, and was exhausted by the end. But no-one in the band flagged, and even when we met them afterwards, they were still up and going. And so so lovely.

2. Toby Campion

At a spoken word event hosted by Harry Baker, several great poets performed – Erin Bolens, Bridget Minamore, Gecko and Toby Campion. As you can probably guess from the title of this section, I’m gonna talk about Toby, but you should check the others out too. Because who doesn’t need more poetry in their life?

Toby came on and performed a drunk love poem about a chance meeting abroad, about meeting someone called Marcus. I can’t deny that LGBT content always has me paying a little more attention, because as a queer woman, I’m alway looking for representation and community. And the poem was also well written and highly enjoyable.

Following the poem about Marcus, came a poem about imagining your ex in twenty years time that expressed feelings about the homophobia still riven through our society that I don’t know whether I could put into words. And then a poem about the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, which had me in tears.

To end, Toby weighed in on the great debate of whether the Midlands is in the North or the South, reminding everyone that the Midlands is it’s own unique entity. At Uni this was well worn terrority, and this poem rings true with all the things I wanted to say about being from the Midlands. All in all, every poem Toby performed rang true to me, and if you’ve got the chance to go see him, I would really, highly reccommend it.

3. Harry and Chris

I saw Harry and Chris by myself at Greenbelt last year and have spent the whole year listening to Simple Times, so I was pumped to see them again, this time with family in tow.

Bringing their second Edinburgh fringe show to the stage, Harry and Chris were just as enjoyable as last year. I was a little disappointed that most of the songs I’d heard before, but I have been following their YouTube channel closely so it’s not too much of a surprise. Besides, hearing people live is always good. They’re touring now so you can catch them in a town hopefully vaguely near you.

4. Herstory

This year, in addition to all their usual areas (The Canopy, The Big Top, The Playhouse to name a few), Greenbelt had The Red Tent – a space for those people who identify as women. While some talks were open to all genders, for the most part over the weekend, it was a female only space.

One of the events was Herstory by Alice Wroe. Firstly, Alice gave a talk about the importance of finding women in history, reasons why we often can’t find women in history with the way we think about the past at the moment, and what the Herstory project is. Alice is a really engaging speaker, and I left with a lot to think about, particuarly about why, when I’ve questioned the lack of women in history books, I haven’t gone looking for them.

The second event was taking part in the Herstory project, where you are invited to recreate Judy Chicago’s art work, ‘The Dinner Party’. An important piece of feminist art from the 1970s, it remembers and celebrates women from history. At the Herstory event, you are invited to explore the story of a woman from history, to assemble her story in your voice and to present it back to those gathered as if you are her. Not only does it mean you learn about several women who you might never have heard of before, but you celebrate and support each other.

Both Herstory events were incredible, and if you ever get the chance to go to one, I would highly reccommend it. It’s left me trying to find the women in the history of the places I go to and the things I take part in, and not just accepting that history is always men because that’s the narrative we’re so often told.

All of the people mentioned above were really great, and I loved seeing all of them. If you get the chance to see any of them, I hope you have a great time. Let me know what you think.

I paid in full for my ticket to Greenbelt and no-one has asked for my opinion on any aspect of it, never mind asking for a list of my favourite bits. I just really enjoyed the people listed above. 

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Buckt Box -Adventure in the Post

While I’ve been AWOI (Absent without Internet) I’ve not just been reading and cross stitching and generally becoming a well finished Georgian Lady, I’ve been using huge amounts of 3G to keep up to date with Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general.

During my online travels, I came across Buckt, a hopefully soon to be available subscription box. Now, I love a bit of surprise post, and a subscription box promising new and exciting experiences sounds right up my alley. Especially as it would mean having loads of adventures to tell you lovely people about.

Intrigued, I got in touch with Daniel (Founder and Director of Buckt Box) to see what Buckt box is all about. He was lovely enough to answer all my questions, and what follows are my questions and his answers (slightly edited due to length – I did ask an awful lot of questions).

What is Buckt?

Buckt is a subscription box and digital community inspired by the idea of a bucket list. Each month our awesome subscribers get 8-10 activities delivered to their door: surprise tickets to top attractions and venues, discounts on higher end bucket list activities, exclusive invitations from our partners and money-can’t-buy bucket list challenges.

Our launch is in January, so it’s all systems go, which means it’s kind of crazy, but also so so exciting.

What inspired the idea of Buckt Box?

So, about a year ago, I came out of a long-term relationship. The reality of the situation had hit me and – honestly – I was pretty down in the dumps. As you can imagine, it was a pretty rubbish time. I can’t remember why but one day I woke up and decided to write a bucket list: things I wanted to achieve by the end of 2016; everything I wanted to do but hadn’t had the chance.

Honestly, it was pretty therapeutic. It made me forget about the situation I was in, think ahead and gave me something to look forward to. A few weeks later I was thinking about an idea I had whilst at university about a ticket subscription box and then it clicked… What about a bucket list subscription box?

A bucket list is a really cool concept. It means so many different things to different people – making people happy in so many different ways. Buckt will mean something different to every person that subscribes to it in the same way that a bucket list means something different to every person that has one. That’s why I truly believe Buckt will be something special.

What’s top on your own bucket list? Why?

As mentioned earlier, I actually wrote a bucket list of things that I wanted to complete by the end of 2016. It isn’t necessarily those HUGE things that people associate with a bucket list, but was just a list of activities I’d always wanted to do but never got around to doing. For example, I’ve done a bungee jump, meditated, rode a horse, gone to yoga, adopted a tiger with WWF, performed in a public space and loads more because of it.

I really want to do a sky dive, and plan to do one next year to raise money for charity. Hopefully I’ll be able to tie it to Buckt in some way…

Are you basing it nationally or do you have international ambitions?

Initially we are launching in the West Midlands region (because the West Mids, in particular Birmingham, is the best place in the UK. Okay, as a Brummie, I’m slightly biased). We aim to move into London by August 2016, and then into East Midlands and the North of England in Jan 2017.

My dream is to take this international. It’s a model that can work in most places, with the US in particular already accustomed to the idea of subscription boxes. I’d be happy with anywhere nice and warm to be honest!

What do you think should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Ohhh it’s a tricky one. One thing I would say is don’t just think big. What are those small things that you may overlook, but actually you’ll remember forever?

It’s also not just about paid activities. Maybe you’ve never watched all the Lord of the Rings films back-to-back but really want to. Or you’ve never watched the sunrise with the person you love. Maybe it’s a challenge. I’ve got completing a long-distance run on mine (at the time of writing the list, it sounded like a good idea…). You could include learning a new skill or a langue. Or maybe it’s about trying something new, for example meditating, or going fishing (which are in mine).

Of course, there are the big things. I did a bungee jump and loved it. I’m glad I didn’t wimp out! I would totally recommend doing that.

What makes Buckt different from other subscription boxes?

What we are doing is truly unique. Buckt isn’t about sending random items that eventually end up on eBay, but actually giving subscribers fun, happiness, excitement; something to look forward to each weekend.

Can you could describe Buckt box in a sentence? How about 3 words?

Buckt is escape from life’s routine, inspiration for the adventurers and will bring fun and joy to all that subscribe.

3 words? Go live life.

Currently Buckt box is looking for support on Crowdfunder to help with the launch. There’s loads more info about Buckt on there, and of course, a list of rewards for donors.

To me, Buckt sounds like a great idea. Going out, doing things, exploring the cities that you live in are all things that I love (especially when there’s a discount…). And Buckt has so many bases covered from tickets for attractions, to invites for art festivals, to challenging you to take a step outside your comfort zone.

And as a Birmingham based gal, I do love the idea of something beginning in the Midlands. But I suppose, like Daniel, I might be a touch biased.

As with so many of my over enthusiastic posts, this post was written because I genuinely think Buckt sounds like a great idea. No money or products were sent to me in the making of this post. 

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Working 9 to 5

Well, actually I work 9 to 5.30, but what’s a half hour when you’re making pop culture references?

I did a whole week at work, guys. Only fifty or so years before I can retire. I’m kidding, I’m not desperate to retire yet. Give me another couple of weeks. All joking aside, it went pretty well. There were lots of induction-y things which aren’t the most interesting, but I can now build a website. And how to post stuff to the internet. Because I obviously didn’t know how to do that already… But yes, it was a pretty decent first week, the office is pretty cool, the people are lovely. All I need now is for all of my university friends to move to Birmingham.

And so, because I did a whole week at work and now I’m exhausted, have a list of things I’ve learnt.

1. Getting up is hard, staying awake is easy.

I have to get up at 6.15. You would have thought I would be used to this thanks to Germany, but no. It’s still difficult. Although staying awake once I’ve got to work is surprisingly easy. Much easier than staying awake in a lecture. Although on Friday, I didn’t realise I was wearing my shirt inside out for a good couple of hours…

2. No-one knows everything.

So like I said, I’m doing a lot of induction things and that partially means being set tasks and having to ask a load of questions. Which I thought would be terrifying, because obviously I want to come off as competent and capable, which is difficult when you’re starting a job you’ve never done before and you don’t understand the software. Thankfully, a) everyone’s lovely and b) nobody knows everything. So happily, I get to meet more people in the office and ask them the questions instead. Socialising and being told my questions are good? Jackpot.

3. Muscle memory is strong.

I have new log in details to remember, which is fairly standard. Except for the part where I keep inputting my university login details. And then when I go wait that’s not right, I input my school log in details. Muscle memory is powerful and long lasting. Don’t mess with it kids.

4. Lifelong learning isn’t all Italian classes.

Teachers at school went on about lifelong learning a fair bit. It got mentioned at university graduation too. And for some reason, I got it into my head that lifelong learning meant Italian classes when you’re 45 because you go to Rome every year and isn’t it divine? Having typed it out, I now realise what a bizarre idea that was to come up with and hold on to. It turns out lifelong learning also includes learning how to put websites together and how to work software that has a mind of its own.

5. Brummie accents make my day

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m working in Birmingham. And that means Brummie accents. Unlike a lot of people I like the Brummie accent. I also like accents from the surrounding area. (Note: If someone’s from the West Midlands but not Birmingham and you tell them that they’ve got a Brummie accent, they are not responsible if they yell at you.) And now my day is suffused with all variations on those accents, and it feels like home.