This week my Mum and Dad reached their silver wedding anniversary, and to celebrate they threw the garden party of all garden parties so for this blog post I thought I would do pictures rather than words to show you what they created. Outfit information can be found at the bottom of the post.
On Saturday, Splott Market was transformed into a festival haven and invaded by keen party goers ready to get colourful.
A couple of months ago rumours began that Cardiff was going to play host to this retro warehouse rave, and since then the excitement has been steadily building. On the 14th June the festival focused on the celebration of happiness through exploding colours and pumping music arrived in Cardiff for the first time. Ravers turned out in the masses for a day to remember.
My white clothing did not last, within approximately 60 seconds of walking into the venue I was showered in a variety of colours. The colourful explosion continued throughout the day and created some unique tops that me and my friends hope will not be affected from a spin in the wash.
The hall was filled with a drinks and food stalls meaning visitors could remain for the entire 8 hours. Everything you needed to survive was on offer; food, drink and a large space to dance. The main focus was the music and colour powder, and so the décor was kept simplistic with a large open space.
Now on to the main attraction; the music! Golden Boy was one of the first artists to take to the stage, the moment he played one of his more famous remixes Whitney Houston’s ‘Love Will Save the Day’ the crowds went crazy. My personal favourite ‘That Thing’ was also played. Golden Boy is incredible!!
Later on in the day American DJ and producer Second City took to the stage, and performed the hit that rightfully earned him his first ever UK number one single; ‘I wanna feel’. With the help of his MC he managed to get the festival revellers loose and partying hard. He told the crowds to get low before jumping up and shooting the contents of their colour bags into the air as the beat dropped in his infamous hit. It felt intimate and at that precise moment it was as if everyone in the enormous room was in it together.
Finally, Annie Mac concluded the night with a set list that demonstrated her extreme musical talent. A perfect way to end the Color Festival shenanigans.
Everyone is now eagerly awaiting the return of the Color Festival for another day of pumping music and looking unashamedly colourful. What a perfect end to second year!
Thank you Color Festival,
*This was originally published on the Cardiff Times blog.
We arrived in Florence mid afternoon and were quite tired from the travelling so decided to save the full tourist tour for the following day. We found Megan a map and true to style we were at our hotel within twenty minutes, it really is quite impressive to watch especially as I am someone who can get lost on my way to work (I have been working at the same place for 4 years). We dropped our stuff at the hotel and found a small park where we sunbathed trying desperately to get a tan to go home with. I always feel pressure to be brown when I go on holiday, it's like people expect a tan if you're missing from work/social circles for more than a week. Although our tanning was cut short when we realised we were lying next to a big dollop of dog poo. We then went to the nearest place that served take-away pizza which turned out to be an Irish bar.
The following day we arose early ready to take in some culture. We fully intended to spend the day museum hopping, but the sight of the mammoth queues meant we viewed them all from outside, and took in the famous bridge made up of shops. We then hired some segways for the rest of the day, and got drunk at a sports bar; much more mine and Megan's style. Segwaying was a little difficult in such a busy city. The rules for segwayers are a little blurred, were we pedestrians? cyclists? cars? We questioned this every five minutes. We had a couple of mishaps such as me driving straight into a bicycle rack only to be told off by a bunch of people waiting for a bus right next to said stand. But Megan most certainly takes the prize for biggest segway fail after crashing into a young Italian girl's leg about 5 metres away from the segway hire shop where we going to hand them in for the day. Megan apologised but continued to scoot along due to the heavy rainfall, it was at this point the young girl remembered the naughty words her english teacher had taught her and shouted "Stupid Bitch" in the most aggressive way I have ever heard anyone say anything. This gave us countless laughs for the remainder of the holiday and it's also become my pet name for Megan. She will now forever be my stupid bitch.
After a few cocktails on the Sports Bar happy hour, we headed back to our hotel for another Italian night out. Thankfully Megan had her map out all day getting people to circle where the clubs were as a result we were set. What we didn't anticipate was for the heavens to open and us to be left to do a half an hour walk in the pouring rain, so I pulled a Carrie Bradshaw (circa SATC 2) and hailed us a cab with my leg. Although I am sure mine looked much less elegant than hers. We arrived at our club for the night, and asked him how much we owed him, and he was like no worries so we happily climbed out and entered. Once in the club a keen Tomorrowlander spotted my bracelet that I was still sporting and we indulged in a long chat about the epicness of the festival. We followed this by drinks and a lot of dancing. Another perfect night out in Italy.
On our final day we decided we would go to a swimming pool to catch some final rays before flying back to England and Wales for some undoubtedly miserable weather. We got to grips with the tram system and the ticket machine that literally threw your money back at you and made our way to the outdoor pool. We spent the day chilling, gossiping and judging other swimmers. We concluded that if you are going to wear an adidas tankini to a swimming pool then you can't just climb into the pool and do breastroke without putting your head in. I am a bit judgemental when it comes to swimming strokes having been a competitive swimmer and I earn money by watching people swim (I'm a lifeguard), so it was nice to share judgmentalness.
At our final meal we reflected on what had been an amazing trip that we were both very sad to see it end. I had a salmon pasta and Megan had a risotto, the gorgeous food was accompanied by an old man playing music off his keyboard come accordion contraption. The meal could not have been anymore Italian. We ended the night with a walk up to the top of a very large hill with a hell of a lot of steps, where we could see the whole of Florence and we said goodbye to Italy (for now). I had an amazing two week European adventure, and it's definitely made me get the travel bug. I hope you have enjoyed my travel based pieces, over the next month I will be shaking it up a little and blogging mainly about fashion. Expect a lot of OOTD posts. Here are some songs that will forever remind me of our week in Italy:
After Venice we spontaneously decided that we would have a day and night in Verona before heading over to Florence. Our main reason was to see that infamous balcony. We were very sad to leave Hotel Giovannina which had earned a special place in our hearts.
We were both nursing slight hangovers from the night before, so I headed straight over to McDonalds for one of my favourite things in the world, something guaranteed to make happy... A MILKSHAKE! (Side Note: Italian McDonald's sell pasta!!). After an infuriating 20 minute wait for McDonald's to open, I finally got my milkshake and quickly downed it. We then made our way over to our platform, only to be greeted by a man who had followed us home the night before from the kebab shop (classy girls!), and tried to have a sleepover in our room. He helped us carry our suitcases up the stairs, and then proceeded to sit right next to us on the train. He was a bit of a creep, but hilarious. We made him sing Maria Maria, by Carlos Santana (the song of our trip) and hits by Shakira and he had the most monotone voice of anyone I have ever met which only fuelled our train giggles. After a short train journey, we arrived in Verona (the ticket only cost 8 euros). On arrival an Italian stranger who resembled Andy Jordan from MIC (a guy who we had been hanging out with in Venice also looked like him... must be an Italian thing!) spotted two confused looking tourists and he took us under his wing. He was fluent in English due to his year abroad studying in America and he decided to help us for nearly an hour ensuring we got the right ticket, bus and knew where to get off. During our Italian trip we could not believe the niceness of strangers and how much time they were willing to give up in order to help us. We quickly dropped off our stuff at our hotel and headed into the centre...
My favourite tourist attraction the trip was definitely the day we saw Juliet's balcony and got transported back to Shakespeare time to immerse ourselves in one of the most famous love stories of all time. Each tourist gets their five minutes of fame where they get to stand on the balcony and pretend to be looking out for their love. I couldn't believe that the film Letters to Juliet is actually based on a true concept. Whilst in the museum, there is a post office where tourists are offered the opportunity to post a letter to 'Juliet's club', a group of female volunteers who are ready to try help you solve your love dilemmas. And, in true 21st Century style you can also use one of their computers to email them. Me and Megan wrote one, and are awaiting a reply... very exciting!! On leaving we touched Juliet's left breast which is meant to ensure luck in love. Since returning home Megan has got back with his ex boyfriend... magic I am sure. Now it's just me... After having a work around and yet another gelato, we met Megan's sister (who was au pairing nearby) for dinner at a restaurant which looked over the arena. I finally got to have a bowl of spaghetti carbonara, a dish I was dying to try on Italian quarters and it did not disappoint.
Our day ended with a lot of confusion over public transport. We ended up doing a whole circle on a bus and by the time we got back to the square we originally caught the bus from we could no longer get one as they had stopped running. This resulted in us paying for a taxi, and vowing that the hotel we booked in Florence would be nearer to the city centre.
The first two days in Venice were spent alone waiting for Megan to finish her au pairing in a village near Bologna, but instead of exploring the Italian streets and canals I spent the first 48 hours reading 3 books, sleeping a lot and sitting in reception using their wifi. Not exactly Julia Roberts in 'Eat. Pray. Love.', but spending a weekend at Tomorrowland really does take it out of you and it's not too easy to make friends when you are alone and staying in a hotel.
When Megan finally did arrive we spent our first day exploring the centre of Venice. Italian food is one of my favourite types of food and so after eating only one chocolate croissant and a big mac medium meal in 48 hours, I was incredibly eager to tuck into some pizza. We found a cute restaurant on a side street which served us some mouth watering ham and mushroom pizza along with a bottle of their white wine. After much catching up done over our lunch, we started to explore the streets. Luckily for me if you give Megan a map she could get you to the centre of the world and back using numerous shortcuts. Her Duke of Edinburgh award has certainly not gone to waste.
We began our tour of Venice with a walk through some of the markets. We seem to be badgered wherever we went, maybe that's because we couldn't resist trying on some hats that reminded me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. We also found ourselves in an alcohol shop, trying free sample shots of every alcohol he had, including absinthe. Limoncello was definitely our favourite and became our beverage for the rest of our stay in Venice.
Next we decided to take a gondola ride through the city. But not before being treated to a rather entertaining show of a husband and wife fighting over whether she was allowed to put her Ice Tea in the bag after yesterday she didn't screw the top on properly causing it to ruin his film. Who still uses film?! Aside from this the gondola ride was gorgeous. You definitely can't go all the way to Venice without taking one!
After our first full day of being tourists we decided to take a siesta (something that became a habit during the trip) and then got ready for a night out.
We ventured out into our little town on the outskirts of Venice and by some miracle found a small bar and some friends. These friends ended up taking us to a hotel pool party and we didn't make it back to our hotel till 4am. Me and Megan were so pleased with ourselves that we managed to find a night out against the odds. In fact we may have described ourselves as "owning Italy" once or twice.
The following day we spent in reception due to the torrential rain and thunderstorms occurring outside, and so we ended up befriending the reception staff who brought us free cups of tea and entertainment for the whole day which included a dancing and singing show. One got a little too friendly. We told him all about the new friends we had made the night previous and told him of their plans to take us to a club that night. It was later when we were getting ready that the 40 year old receptionist knocked on our door in his suit and tie matched with his best flip flops that we realised he thought he was coming out with us. After politely telling him he couldn't sit in our room while we got changed, it all became a little awkward but we will always have that one special day. The said receptionist's hand can be seen in the picture of me in the sheet above. After requesting fresh sheets he decided to come into our room without knocking and chuck the sheet over me. It was a very strange but hilarious day. Anyway, on our final night in Venice we got taken to a club called Molo5 and had a lovely time dancing all night with our new Italian friends, and we even scored some free drinks from the bartender as he felt sorry for us because cards were not an acceptable form of payment. Although it was a little infuriating that all the English music that they listen to is about 2 years old and when we requested new songs we were told they only played what made the Italian partiers happy.