Although June was not quite as busy as previous months, it really tired me out. Which is strange, because come to think of it, I had a whole month of Saturdays off – quite frankly unheard of. Then again, although this sounds like the dream, I’m a fan of my Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, my mid week weekend; the time I get to run all my errands without the hustle and bustle of weekend shoppers. Not in June though. A whole month of a completely different schedule in this gross, sticky heat…well, I think it may have broken me. Not just because of work, but also because I actually ended up making plans on some of these Saturdays instead of hiding away in my flat and you know, relaxing. As I type this I am remembering just how busy in fact June was. No wonder I’m feeling it.
I started my month off eager to kick my reduced dairy diet into gear (spoiler alert, I ordered a cheesy bites pizza at the end of the month) by subscribing to Bright Zine. I absolutely adore this magazine and although I am in no mind to go vegan right now, it definitely makes for an inspiring read for small changes I can make, both in diet and lifestyle. I was really excited to see the latest issue bigger and better than ever, more features, more ideas, plus it came with a free “ethical lifestyle toolkit” – another set of on the go cutlery for me, this time with a straw that fits in the box AND in the delicious mint green that I had requested from my flop of an Amazon order previously. Winner winner seitan dinner.
You may be wondering why I’m trying to reduce my dairy intake if not for going vegan, and well to be entirely honest, it’s more of a health thing. I still want to enjoy REAL cheese, but I don’t want to take it for granted, or my health for that matter. I also just really love eggs. Egg on toast. Egg salad. QUORN SCOTCH EGGS! Yeah I just enjoy this food far too much to give it up for good, but for my health I am absolutely willing to cut down (even if only to go all out later on). Ethics are great but so is eating what you want. It took me a long time to give up meat properly, but I only did it when I was ready, so dairy, you’re not going anywhere just yet.
I feel like I’ve spoken about the no-meat thing to death in these monthly posts, so moving swiftly on…
This month I went to the cinema for what feels like the first time in ages. If I’m being really honest I think some of the bits that made me laugh most about Deadpool 2 were the closing credit clips. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but on reflection, it just did not match up to the first, although I would absolutely watch again. I may have been more excited for food and cocktails at TGI’s after. Sizzling vegetable fajitas went down a treat with a side of fries (because who doesn’t love fries, right?) and a couple of cocktails, one significantly stronger than the other. Then an impromptu trip to Sprinkles for dessert. Certainly one of the best ways to have spent a Friday night.
A fun evening out was followed by one of those Saturdays off, which just so happened to be the day that DIY Southampton was on. Local art and music all under one roof, in a safe environment, what a way to spend the day! As always half of Lush were there, either visiting or holding stalls themselves. I think my favourite purchase has to be Louise’s zine on cat calling. I was super excited about seeing it the minute she announced it and was over the moon to see that my recommendation for her to see Dream Wife at Common People had resulted in this amazing spread:
The following Saturday was spent in London, and I think it goes without saying that you should not wear new Dr Martens to a big day out in the city. I am still sporting those delightful rubbing marks on my legs , but hey it was a pretty good day. I dragged Christine to a vegan diner in Camden where we had the BIGGEST, tastiest burger and fries each. Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner sure know what they’re doing when it comes to tasty vegan fast food that isn’t just beans and chickpeas.
We didn’t really have a plan for the day and just used the tube to get to various different areas. I quickly found out that retail sales in London are gross, but at least I got some quality time with an old friend. The weather wasn’t too unbearable either, but boy was I ready to make my way home come 5pm. This was the start of me being tired for basically the whole month, however not long after returning to Southampton I was invited to some impromptu birthday drinks. My intention was to go for “just a couple” but it rarely works out like that does it? Never mind, I really enjoyed myself, even if my hungover sat underneath an awful state of long overdue exhaustion the next day. I have never felt so old.
Fast forward a few days and I’m setting off Devon with a bunch of other Lush folk for this year’s big old retail meeting. I was really excited about leaving Southampton behind for some countryside views, having a hotel room to myself and being able to network with many fellow minded people.
We stayed in Exeter, and took an early morning coach all the way out to the country. I was seriously concerned about the coach making it down some of those lanes at times but fortunately, we all made it in one piece. The two days were full of inspiration, team development and the ultimate customer experience, as well as a look into new business ideas AND make up. I particularly enjoyed the delightful self care tent next to the stunning pond, a real spot of serenity away from the overwhelming amount of going ons in the main space.
Now, I had an amazing time but I do have to admit, there were times where everything just seemed to pile on top of me, so that pond space was a really lovely touch and absolutely necessary for a quick five minutes respite. I really felt looked after.
Sure enough, I left feeling super inspired, ready to go back to the shop with a brand new attitude. Before that though, it was time to party. Once again I had not planned to stay right until the bitter end, but thanks to a load of free drink tokens (not only my own, but others’ unwanted leftovers), I was indeed there to see the whole night through. Two hours of sleep later, I woke up to a cold Pot Noodle that I had made to eat before bed, and soon realised that if I wanted to make the most of a free breakfast I had better get up and out of bed there and then. It hit me that maybe I can’t do these late nights anymore. Is 24 really the age that I have to start being sensible? Either way, it’s not exactly gonna stop me. After all, most of my nights out aren’t followed by a three hour train journey back home after. Thank fuck. That might have been the longest journey home EVER. This time my Saturday off was spent doing the bare minimum, but also making sure to leave the flat at some point in order to build up for the first shift back the next day.
Just as I thought that the month’s main events were over, I took on a spare ticket to see Queens of the Stone Age at Finsbury Park, knowing full well I had work the next morning. Whatever, there was no way I was going to turn this down.
I absolutely loved seeing QOTSA, Iggy Pop, Miles Kane, Run The Jewels and Deap Vally, but there was something off about the day. Maybe it was the dodgy sound tech, the heat, the crazy queues, maybe the simple fact that the facilities just didn’t cater for 45,000 people. While the bands were incredible, the day itself just wasn’t up to scratch, and as much as I hate to admit, it did have an impact. You could say that people could just NOT buy a beer, and I mean, I did decide to just wait til it died down later on, but considering that they had beers and cider made up ready to hand out, it just baffles me that it took so long to get served. That being said, the food queues were no where near as long and I had an amazing pumpkin katsu curry; say what you want about Finsbury Park that weekend but they definitely nailed the food options.
Finsbury Park ended up releasing a statement claiming that 40% of bar staff failed to turn up to work that day, but to be honest it was more than the crazy queues. Getting to the toilet was way harder than it had to be. We were encouraged to bring empty plastic bottles to refill at various points across the park; I only saw one (just a reminder about those 45,000 people) and the bars were refusing to do water refills. So after an hour or so of queuing in that heat, people were expected either to trek to the refill point or buy a new water – absolutely not on!
I hate to shit on this day because I am really glad I went as I have been waiting for so long to see QOTSA and they most definitely did not disappoint. Unfortunately every time someone has asked me about the day, as much as I want to go on and on about how great the bands were, I just can’t go without mentioning the shit show of organisation. It really sucks, but onwards and upwards to better shows to come.
June hasn’t been as much as a month of reflection as some of the others have been, but god damn did a lot happen. As if I started off by saying that it wasn’t a busy one. I haven’t got much planned for July until the last week, so hopefully I can chill out a bit. I’ve already spent a load of money on things to come later this year (TICKETS FOR CHILDISH GAMBINO!!!!!!) so I can only assume I’ll be sticking to Southampton for any so far unplanned activities.