Saturday, 16 June 2018

5 Amazing Things We Loved At Hogsozzle 2018

What an incredible time we had at Hogsozzle this year, I must try not to gush too hard in this post because even two weeks later I'm still buzzing from the fun and frolics.

I definitely over packed for this one...


We arrived in convoy late on Friday afternoon, much later than my plan-loving brain had reckoned on. This meant we didn't have our pick of the pitches, and with 7 tents in our group we needed a large area to spread out. We eventually had to camp right at the entrance, which I was pretty miffed about at first but it turned out swell, we could see and hear everything that was going on and felt right in the action.


And the weekend began! There were so many amazing things at this years Hogsozzle, I honestly believe it was the most fun I've had at a festival for several years, the food, music and company was all spot on. Instead of the usual run down of what we did every second of every day, I want to change up my review style and I'm going to instead share 5 of the best things about Hogsozzle this year.

1. The Once In A Blue Moon Cafe


You have no idea the actual joy I had in my heart as I rounded the corner in the hidden wooded area and saw the first peeks of a tent I recognised from Curious Yellow last year. The Blue Moon cafe people really know how to run a festival chill-out zone. They they sell amazing vegan and vegetarian hot food that has actual nutrients in, they open early for breakfast and they take debit cards - in addition to a fab line up of smaller musical and comedy acts and I believe an open mic. The tent is beautiful too, I found out from them last year that it was custom made for them in India with a wonderful starry ceiling and lots of soft seating.


Late on Saturday we headed over to their fire pit and had a lovely vegan curry full of vegetables and for pretty good price of £7 for the 'deluxe' version with yoghurt and a flatbread. I also have to thank the guys for finding and keeping hold of my phone at one point in the festival! I can't wait to spend more time snuggled up in a corner with a rum, listening to music and chatting with friends at Curious Yellow in a few weeks time! If you want to find out more about the Once In A Blue Moon cafe, they have a website here.

2. Costumes and Crowns 

As always, the fancy dress at Hogsozzle was on point! I spent most of the morning before we set up fixing up my LED crown, my first light-up festival piece that I'd made myself and it was a dream. I did a DIY on how to make your own which you can see by clicking here. The best thing about it was that it lit up the portaloos which were pitch black otherwise!


These photos are from In Squared Photography's album of Hogsozzle pics, click here for more.



The theme this year was Fairytales and Fantasies and people really went to town with some mega costumes! There was so many giant sequins, wonderful facepaint and men in shiny leggings. 


3.  The Curious Yellow Takeover

I can't believe how lucky we are to be involved in two festivals like this that had such a fab crossover. Saturday night in the dance tent was all about Curious Yellow, which I've posted about lots and is coming up in just a few weeks. The DJ's took over with their unique dance vibe for the whole night and went down a storm. Seeing Greg and Dan from the Curious Yellow crew at a festival so completely different to the one they run was so fun and we found out that the Hogsozzle boys  will be attended Curious Yellow in return!

I don't have any photos of the guys as it was really dark in the dance tent and everything looked drunk and blurry by then, if anyone has one of their set-up let me know :)

4. Friends

This was the first time we have been to Hogsozzle without the band playing, so it was all for fun and no stress about instruments or missing band members. It meant everyone could relax and enjoy the weekend so we took a pretty large group of friends with us, some of whom we don't get to see very often and it really made for an amazing experience. Hogsozzle is small enough that you can't really lose anyone, so every corner we turned there was a friendly face covered in glitter greeting us and we had some epic dance tent moments with our crowd. We've talked about Hogsozzle a lot at home so it was really good to show our gang all of the fun there is to be had and make some amazing memories to kick off the summer with!






5. The Paint Fight

So, four years in and I haven't actually taken part in the paint fight. Party because by the Sunday all of my clothes are already wet and muddy and I'm losing my voice, which means I don't especially want to breathe in a bunch of paint dust. This year I planted myself in a prime spot at the top of the hill, near the bar, overlooking the main arena. The incredible Rumpsteppers revved everyone up and it was one of the most epic paint fights I've ever seen, the color just kept on coming every time the beat dropped and everyone came away looking like they were from another planet - next year I promised myself I will definitely get involved, as long as the showers are working! Even though I was pretty far back most of my clothes have remnants of paint powder on them - a word of warning if you are reading this in 2019 and getting ready for your fist Sozzle - don't wear your best clothes for the paint fight!!!!




So that's it, my top 5 favourite things from Hogsozzle this year! There was so much more I could talk about but I don't want to repeat myself from previous years. If you want a fully detailed run down on everything that was Hogsozzle 2018, I found this great post by That Festival Blogger, who I didn't get to meet this time but I'm certain that our paths will cross again by the end of the summer! I want to give a shout out to the Hogsozzle boys for an epic, unforgettable party, Anal Ian for the paint fight photos, Hayley and Ian for driving, Patawawa for being awesome and also for bringing back the biff with me and all of my lovely friends for making it a beautiful weekend full of love and amazing memories <3


Next up, Curious Yellow in two weeks and I'm BUZZING! I'll be sharing some of our costume ideas for the fruit theme over the next few weeks, if you haven't got your ticket yet, snap one up quick because it's going to unmissable - use the code 10turner2018 on their website (click here) for a tenner off.

Photo credits: Alex Krook, Tasha Rhodes, Ian Frost and In Squared Photography

Thursday, 7 June 2018

All Curious, All The Time

This weekend we are hitting up Alresford Festival  with The Turner Brothers, my excitement and general happiness levels have stayed pretty high since Hogsozzle and I'm looking forward to getting back on the road with our tent and a bottle of rum!

Then, two weeks later is the one I've been counting the days to since it finished last year, The Curious Yellow. I've gushed pretty hard over this genuine secret garden party since I first attended three years ago and I cannot wait to drive down that lane for the forth time on the 29th of June. Tickets are still available (click here) if you fancy it, use the code 10turner2018 for £10 off.

I still have an epic Hogsozzle post coming up in a few days time, but in the mean time I wanted to collect all the posts I've written about Curious in one place, starting from 2015. Click below for three years worth of reviews, videos, pictures and extreme joy from The Gibberd Garden.



    

I'll be adding a full round-up of the madness of 2017's event in a week or so, please add me to your Bloglovin or other blog reader to keep up. Follow Curious Yellow on Facebook here - let me know below if you are coming!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Light Up Festival Fancy Dress Crown DIY

First things first, Hogsozzle was a blast. You'll be sick of me going on about it if you follow me on any other social media but I just want to take a minute to say I have the serious post-festival blues this week - I'll be doing a full post with loads of photos and thank yous to the incredible crew and stalls early next week.



Right now I'm here to share a DIY for the crown that I made to pull together my Snow Queen costume. I didn't get a decent picture of the whole outfit, it was pretty much just a white top and a big fluffy waistcoat other than the crown anyway, but I do have a lot of pics of me loving life in my light-up headpiece!





I have to say that my usual attempts to create festival fancy dress don't tend to go this well. Right now, my crown is sitting next to me in almost perfect condition, still lighting up, ready to rock another event. This never happens to me. Usually anything I made falls apart instantly, gets lost or broken or simply begins to degrade without explanation. Not this baby. The materials are relatively easy to source with the exception of the plastic base which I was lucky enough to find behind my boyfriends sofa. The actual plastic I used is something to do with digital printing, it's about 3mm thick and matte white. I've found something similiar on Amazon as an alternative and linked in the materials list below.

The instructions below are for creating a Snow Queen crown similar to the one I've made, but you could easily change up the colours and additions to create something that suits your own costume needs!

You will need:

Heavy duty plastic sheet (try this one in 3mm or 2mm if you don't have a craft knife)
Sharp scissors or craft knife
Gluegun
Sellotape
Metal ruler
String of battery operated lights
3 meters of 1cm wide velvet ribbon
2 meters of thin silver cord
1 meter of 3cm wide binding tape
5 medium pompoms
1 large pompom

First, measure your head circumference and add two inches. Use the measurement to draw a strip on the plastic (obviously using one of the straight edges as a guide and to reduce wastage!)

Mark an inch off each end, this will be where you join the crown together.

Mark the centre point.

My centre spike was 4 inches and the spikes on either side were 3 inches. I marked them off with a metal ruler and then drew another line 3 inches higher to use as a guide for the top of the spikes.

Once everything is pencilled in, start cutting. The plastic I used was just about thin enough to cut with normal scissors but next time I'll use a craft knife for a cleaner finish.

Now it's time to decorate! Use the binding tape for the headband. I measured the width of my band so that the binding tape would fold very slightly over and conceal the white edge.

Next it's time to add the lights. I started at one end and worked out there was enough for three lights per spike. Move slowly, securing the wires away from the base of the bulb with a bit of glue. Use your metal ruler to press hard onto each glue spot, this will harden it quicker and leave a flat finish.  Leave the battery pack loose with some spare wire for now.



To wrap the spikes I secured the velvet ribbon on the bottom and slightly to the side with a blob of glue and wrapped it all the way around, covering as much white plastic as possible and making sure to wrap the wire of the lights tightly to the spike. The ribbon is secured with a tiny bit of glue at the top - use the ruler to harden and flatten as before.

Do the same with the silver ribbon, wrapping it round the spike to fill in any gaps. You could add another ribbon or thread here if you wanted but as my spikes where meant to represent icicles I didn't mind the flash of white showing through. You could also paint the plastic with acrylic paint before you start wrapping it.

Use a small pompom to conceal the joins of the ribbons, thread and binding tape.



Finally, I cut a hole in the big pompom and squirted some hot glue into the hole, wedging it hard onto my centre spike. I was most worried that this would come off but it held fast and I don't think I could get it off if I tried!!

I joined the two ends together with sellotape which I also wrapped round the battery pack. This means I could lay the crown flat if I didn't want it to get damaged on a long car journey and also makes it easier to change the batteries.

Done! I would LOVE to know if you try this method to make your own light-up festival crown and see pics of your finished piece! I'm so proud of this that I'm tempted to make some custom ones so if you don't have the time or materials get in touch on twitter or email me.




Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Festival Fancy Dress Inspiration for Hogsozzle 2018 - Fairytales and Fantasies

Festival season is nearly here! I'm pretty pumped about getting out and about this year and if you follow my blog on the reg you'll know that Hogsozzle in Hertford is the first festival of the year for us. For the first time in four years, the band aren't playing but that isn't going to stop us going and making some epic memories! If you haven't got your ticket yet, HURRY UP -  Click here for the link.



Aside from the free hog roast, paint fight and dancing all night, one of my top favourite things about this little festival is the fancy dress. Every year we try tell people we are bringing how much the whole site goes to town on their costumes on the Saturday night but noone really gets it until they have been - there isn't a person on the side of that hill that hasn't made some sort of fancy dress effort!

So, this year, money is a little tighter so we are going to DIY a lot of our costumes. On Wednesday, I'm hosting a craft night at my house and I'm hoping to knock up something pretty mega so I've pulled together a bunch of inspiration from around the web. The theme is Fantasies And Fairytales which leaves quite a bit of scope.

I tried and failed last year but this year it's happening, I want an LED cage skirt. Searching online led me to the discovery that these are actually called a 'Crinoline'.

SOURCE


SOURCE: @desiperkins

SOURCE

My plan is to whip up one of these using O-rings and some stiff metallic fabric, then to stick LED strip lights on the inside. I found some neon string LED's, these come in five colours, I might purchase just the green one but the full kit is only £9.99 - here is a link. By the looks of it, the battery pack is small enough to hide in the waist area, fingers crossed.





I've loved all the tassle bodysuits I'm seeing and I don't think it would be too hard to find a plain one to add my own ribbons or tassles to. I've been browsing Jaded London and Boohoo for inspiration, here are some of the fab ready made pieces that I've found ...


I've looked and looked but I haven't found a DIY for making these kind of bodysuits at home so I'm hoping to photograph my efforts, I'm thinking jewel coloured ribbons and potentially some dip-dying.

Primark have a fab festival range this year too, with everything under £20 and some great dupes of the giant disc sequin pieces that were all over Coachella. Obviously, the hassle here is going to be finding the pieces in store, because if your local Primark is anything like mine then hunting down individual things you've seen online is a bit of nightmare. Still worth it if you can pick up these bits...



No festival fancy dress outfit is complete without a crown, tiara or headdress of some description and they are definitely one of the most fun and interesting things to craft up yourself.

A few years ago I made a crown for the Cosmic Disco themed Hogsozzle, click here to see how.



This year, I'm hoping to go bigger and better with my headwear - I've been in love with Aurora Moon Headwear since I discovered her a few years ago, just look at this total beauty;


I don't think the budget is going to stretch that far (although I think for the work and energy that goes into her pieces, the price is amazing!) so I've been rounding up lots of DIY's and I'm going to have to do my best to construct something that doesn't hurt to wear or fall apart.

Here are some of the DIY's I've found but there are millions out there and obviously, head over to Pinterest for ultimate festival crown inspo.

  • This DIY shows you how to make a great base out of twigs and a glue gun
  • Such a cute feather DIY from Paige Joanna here
  • Make a pompom hairband super easy with this DIY from Brit & Co
  • Super easy and cheap mermaid tiara video here
  • Here is a great DIY for making a light-up flower crown

I'll be posting about the craft night and sharing the successes and disasters that we whip up over on my Instagram, I'd love if you would give me a follow - @katyclouds. I can't believe it's so close to the May Bank Holiday already. Let me know in the comments below if you are coming along to Hogsozzle and links, hints or hacks for making amazing fancy dress costumes that can withstand festival shenanigans.

Katy x

Monday, 30 April 2018

Following Hashtags & Growing Your Instagram Audience



Do you follow any Instagram hashtags? If not, you are seriously missing out, not only on discovering amazing new accounts that aren't selected by Instagram to be on the Explore page but also on reaching a much wider and more relevant audience.  I'm so excited to share this as discovering this feature has been one of the things that brought me round to LOVING Instagram again and actually seeing a benefit from using it to promote my blog and other online ventures. It's easy to feel stuck in a rut, that your images are only getting seen by the same few people - break out of the mold and start using these hacks (are they hacks? I feel like hacks might be one of the most overused words on the internet) to set yourself apart from the masses!

 I've spent the last few weeks looking for information about this relatively new option and for once, the Blogosphere has come up wanting. I'd love to know about any other articles written on this subject from a similar perspective.

Here is how you do it, really simple. Just type the hashtag you want to follow and then click 'Follow' on the search results screen.



Easy right? The results will show up between content from users you have chosen to follow along with the username of the creator and the relevant tag.

I've always struggled with hashtags and which ones are the best to use. It's all very well that there are over 2 million posts under #nomnomnom but is anyone actually SEARCHING for that hashtag? It doesn't seem likely to me. I believe that there is a big difference between hashtags that are top searches and hashtags that are used on the regular. It's pretty hard to find this information online as it changes so often. One of the things you can use the follow hashtag feature for is to follow hashtags that you have been using on your own content, see how your content fits in and what other users are tagging their similar content with - #ukbloggers is a great one to start you off.

It's not the simplest thing to find out how many people follow individual hashtags, I have yet to find this information in a useful list form that I can link to. Occasionally, slid into my regular feed I'll see a little section like this which is another great place to find relevant hashtags to put in my caption:





Since I started using this trick, I've have a major jump in my Story views. As you can see above, following a hashtag means that all Stories marked with that hashtag will show up in their own little circle on your Explore page.

I've followed my hometown hashtag and I find that people tend to tag their Stories when they are going to the gym or eating out, it's given me a great insight into where is best for Sunday roasts in my town, as well as helped me to discover lots of local content creators who I like to follow and support. I now make sure to add a hastag and a location tag to every single one of my Stories and no word of a lie, it's improved my Stories views by hundreds. I used to get around 100 views on most of my Stories and since I've been tagging as much as is relevant, I've jumped up to getting an average of 400-500 views each and quite a few of those viewers turn into followers. The tags don't need to be super-obvious, you can actually make them small enough to blend in pretty well with your image if you don't want them spoiling your aesthetic.



Some of the biggest success I've had from this has come from locations and event tags. I've already mentioned above how using a tag relevant to my home town (literally just the name with a hashtag before it) has made a significant impact on my Instagram Story views, but I've also found that some of the best way to get views from new potential followers is to use relevant event and location tags on your images and Stories wherever possible because people are following these high-traffic hashtags.

When the #trippinwithtarte event happened, I did an experiment to see if this hashtag was getting a huge number of views on Stories. I used some actual Tarte make-up so my post wasn't a total sore thumb (keeping things relevant is key to turning all this extra reach into a growing audience) and I actually hit nearly 900 views on the Story.

I tag a location into all my content now, both my pictures on my main feed and my Stories and although I've been trying quite a few new things to grow my Insta, I'm convinced this has had a significant impact.

I also followed the #trippinwithtarte and several other major beauty launch hashtags and will continue to do so. This means I get some great beauty content and I'm coming across new make-up artists and beauty bloggers on my feed that I would never have found through the explore page. I try to engage with as much of this content as possible too, which also generates new followers and engagement on my own account. Now, I look out for hashtags that are relevant to the UK blogging community and I follow them to, I've really found some amazing Instagram profiles this way that have inspired me to become a better creator myself.
Once you have spent a few days adding these tags to your Stories and posts and finding new bloggers and creators through hashtags that you are following, you'll be able to start using this information to improve your reach and impressions. If you have found a tag getting you a significant increase in Stories, chances are it will have the same impact on the main content that you are pushing out, as it often means there are a lot of followers of this particular hashtag. I have found that many of the hashtags that I use regular don't have anywhere near the impact that I thought they would when I include them on Stories, so I've dropped them out of my regular copy & paste hashtag job and I'm switching in tags that seem to attract a much higher number of views.

The only way that a new follower will come across your Story is if they are actually searching for the specific hashtag that you included, so experiment with lots of different locations, events and individual tags to try and build a unique set of hashtags that will contribute towards getting your content in front of a wider audience.



Every individual will have a different set of hashtags that work for them and will be following a completely different set of hashtags themselves. You can see which hashtags a user is following by clicking the 'following' number on their profile and then selecting 'hashtags' on the page that their following list is shown. This is super interesting as it's a great way to find new hashtags to tag and test out, but it's also one of the things that promoted me to write this post. So few of my favourite social media agencies, influencers and content creators are following any hashtags at all! It's such a useful and interesting feature that I've made it my personal mission to try and get more people following hashtags in this way. Many of the bigger influencers that I follow have created their own hashtags for their fashion, travel or lifestyle content and this is another fun way to utilise this feature - you won't miss any of their content.

You could follow the tag for your favourite photo editing app, your favourite brands, influencers or charities to see their content more regularly. What about following the hashtag for a festival you are attending or your favorite resturant or holiday destination for serious lifestyle inspiration. Which hashtags are you following? I'd love to hear them in the comments below,

Katy x


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ultimate Festival Inspiration - Tassels, Sequins & Metallics

All I want in life is sequins, biodegradable glitter and my friends in a field - four weeks until HOGSOZZLE!! (buy your ticket here)

We can't wait and I'm starting to try and put together some outfits for the occasion that I can add to the ridiculous amount of festival clothes I bought last year and create some super-memorable ensembles. I've put together a wishlist which I'll add to and edit over the next month and hopefully beyond - I hope you will find something that you love...
Amazing right?  Bookmark this page as I'll be adding lots more items as I find them online and these sell out.  I'd love to know what you think, if you make a purchase from my list or your favourite online destinations for festival garms, please leave a comment below, or hook up with me on Instagram here.

Katy xx

- This post contains affiliate links

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Camping Essentials For Sleeping And Comfort at Festivals (or on holiday!)

I struggled with what to call this post. Sleeping Bag Information Post? Camping Essentials For Sleeping With Some Comfort In A Bony Field?



Check out my Festival Tent Shopping Guide Here for lots of tent options.

You probably already have a sleeping bag tucked away in a cupboard, but just in case yours (like mine) ended up with four chocolate bars in the bottom stashed in the airing cupboard for a year, here's a guide to some of the best sleeping bags and other extras you can buy at every price range to give your weekend a little bit of extra comfort.

Worst case scenario, we once had a short notice opportunity come up to camp at a festival that we thought we were only going to for the day, although we had a tent we didn't bring anything to sleep on. Here is an actually photo of my trying to sleep on this occasion using our other supplies as a makeshift nest - the neck pain was real.



I don't recommend this set-up.

First things first, do not underestimate the chill of a summer morning in the UK. You WILL need a sleeping bag and something to lay underneath it so the chill in the ground doesn't give you a cold.



1. Trespass Seista (click here for reviews, info and to purchase) - £24.74

This is the sleeping bags that we have currently. They are super lightweight and pack down into a tiny bag the size of your hand but I've never been cold whilst inside mine!

2. MultiWare 3/4 Season Sleeping Bag - £9.59

When buying a sleeping bag, you'll often see how many seasons it's suitable for out of 4. This bag is thicker than the Trespass one but rolls up quite a lot bigger. My son has one of these for his school trips and it's pretty effective, the best thing about it is that you can open the whole thing out flat like a blanket or if you felt so inclined you could also zip two of them together to make a double.

3. Mountain Warehouse Apex 250 Sleeping Sack - £15.99

Suitable for two seasons, which I kind of assume are Spring and Summer although that isn't immediately clear. It's useful to have a distinctive pattern so when you come to pack away you don't pick up the wrong bag - this also packs down into a tiny little sack so it's ideal for longer walks to your campsite.

A sleeping bag alone won't give you a huge amount of support for your back. If you are anything like me (by which I mean, if you are over 25 and have ever hurt your back) you'll know that sleeping on freezing cold, rock hard ground isn't the best. I'd strongly recommend some kind of airbed or 'lino' type mat to prevent cold transfer and give you a little bit of extra comfort. Most of the mats around now are significantly better than those awful blue airbeds that your Mum used to have for sleepovers. We tried to take one of those once and it got popped within about an hour. We dragged it out the tent and used it as a sort of communal picnic blanket but it ended up abandoned in the field, soaked in wine and regret.



1. Trail Extra Thick Self Inflating Camping Mat  - £24.99

Self-inflating camping mats are the future. You simply unroll, undo the valve, put your tent up and then your mat should be full inflated although you may need to blow a few breathes into it the first few times to inflate the cells properly. It's a clever vacuum system that means you don't need to carry and heavy air pump and the relevant batteries around with you. This extra-thick one looks cosy, we have the Vango version (below) but if I had seen this I would have gone for it.

2. Hikenture Inflatable Sleeping Mat with Pillow - £30.88

This looks amazingly comfortable, I can just imagine flooping down on it after a hard night dancing and it's a self-inflater too. Buying a mat with a built in pillow means you don't have to bring one from home, although I always do as I like to sit on something soft when I'm sitting around camp.

3. Vango Self-Inflating Camping Mat - £28.10

This is the mats that we have and they have lasted 12 festivals so far and haven't succumbed to cigarette burns or punctures. They roll up and come with bags but they are slightly heavier than the sleeping bags, yet I always forget that they need to be factored into the weight of our belongings when we are loading up cars and trolleys. Definitely worth a buy, I've recommended them to so many people.

Once your essentials are sorted, see if your budget stretches to a few extra bits to make your campsite comfortable and welcoming.  Here are some other bits and pieces that we have either used or really want to add to our kit this year.




1. Sunncamp Inflatable Chair - £11.95

What a bargain! Although you probably need a pump to inflate it, this style of inflatable chair has been my favourite the last few years and I'm chuffed to have scored this for our kit. I've usually found that someone else on the campsite will be happy to lend a pump if one is needed so I'm crossing my fingers and taking this along.

2. Chill Out Wedge - £14.99

I can't wait to bust this out! We got this as a gift last Christmas and it literally looks like a dream for lounging around camp getting ready for the night ahead. One of the main issues I have with camping is there is never anything to lean against to relax #firstworldproblems

3. iRegro Inflatable Sofa - £24.65

I have a love/hate relationship with these things. They look great, you sink into them like you are floating on a giant cloud and they are weirdly easy to inflate, you just wave the opening about like you are trying to put on a duvet cover. But they are thin and they seem to be the thing I see abandoned most after tents at the end of a festival so I get the impression they pop quite easily. Keep away from cigarettes and sharp sequins!

I hope this has helped! Please do comment below with any links to your own essential camping kit :)

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