91- Dreamers


The Gladstone's Land Rover has become somewhat of a character at The Good Life Experience...
OK, this is the fourth fifth time I have re-written this post now. I find myself brimming with sentiment, but unsure how to voice it on this occasion.

I want to write something brilliant and worthy, of both the people who work so very hard to put together a great line-up year on year and pack thought and beauty into tiny details all around to make it such a special time and place, as well as of the lovely bunch of attendees.

I want to write about how the rows of canvas tents give a feel of how I think an old time jamboree or summer camp would look and feel.

I want to write about the campfires and how we are all drawn to them like moths or the historic cave dwellers that we evolved from (and sort of still are).

I want to write about the learning and newness of so many things.

About the food smells drifting around and the tasters of so many dishes on offer from camp fire cookery demo's.

Most definitely about the hundreds (thousands?) of adorable dogs that have caused a petition to be started in our house in favour of becoming dog owners by the time the next GLE rolls around.

I want to write about how it is a meeting ground for old friends and a brilliant place for finding new.

I want to write about the inspirational impact that people like the Meek Family have on others.

I want to write about the joy of packing everyone else off to bed and heading back out on my own to wander the site watching bands with a hot chocolate in hand, meandering between tents and fires and feeling the joy of freedom after a tense day of arguments from over tired children.

I also want to write about Michael from Best Made Co who flew over from NY. Who brought with him a suitcase full of s'mores ingredients for everyone's enjoyment. It would not be The Good Life Experience without the s'mores and fires...

And, of course, I want to write about Ben Fogle's amazing legs...

Most of all I want to write about dreamers and passion. Every person who turned up to perform or talk or teach or show did so with such amazing passion that you can't help but get a little bit "infected" by it.

The four founders drive for putting the whole thing together and daring to dream of a different kind of field based, music infused experience (don't call it a festival - it's more than that...) and seeing it through the tough times (councils unhappy about fires amongst other ridiculous things, I don't want to start on how silly rules and regulations have become...) as well as the fun.

The little girls prancing and dreaming of being ballet dancers whilst The 12 Ensemble warm up.

The crafters who quit their day jobs because they dream of a simpler life where the important things take centre stage who come and inspire everyone else to be quitters too.

The music makers who tell their stories intensely with instruments and lyrics (and in many cases a good ol' knees up of a dance to boot).

The cooks and chefs who take ingredients and turn them into something truly wonderful with gusto and love, teaching people not just how to feed themselves and their families, but to nourish their souls in doing so.

The inspirational people who are passing on their knowledge, not pulling secrets safely to their chest but throwing out their arms and saying "look, this is what I've learnt and know and I want to share it with you...".

So many dreamers and doers with rocket fuel like enthusiasm for what they do and sharing it. I can't help but feel that any words I write will not even begin to give the true flavour of not only what it is to be at The Good Life Experience, but also what you take home with you after the last camp fire has gone out.


TGLE team did too good of a job at putting on lots of interesting things and making everything look wonderful this year (and the weather was just spectacular too), I started to sort through photos to include in this post and have whittled it down to 90 and will have to work at cutting that down... Photos and highlights coming in the next week or so.


This was our third year at TGLE and next years date is already planted firmly on the calendar. Join in the fun - as I write, super early bird tickets have been extended - book them now and give yourself something to look forward to as the colder days set in...

90 - Bluedot in Photos


So, this took quite a lot longer than originally planned to get around to posting, but hey, summer happened. It was one of the best for a long time and honestly I want to flip the calendar over and start back at July and do it all again. This year I'm definitely not quite ready for autumn but that is for another post I suspect.

Here are some of the highlights from Bluedot back in July...

89 - Bluedot in words



This. This is what I live for. This and (shhhhh, don't tell anyone...) service stations.

There are a multitude of stereotypes I could throw out for the things that ladies like. I will simply say instead that conversely to probably 99% of them, my poison of choice is a sunny festival day. This image pretty much sums up what I'd like to see if there is a heaven and I make it there. A hot and sunny day wound down to a lazy hazy sunset over a field of flags waving in the breeze with a night of dancing, singing and mingling under the stars ahead of me.

We've been looking forward to Bluedot for months now and boy did it deliver.

This time a week ago I was dragging my heels like a sulky teenager as I left the festival site to come "home". After a mere three days it felt like I was leaving home. I can hand on heart say that in a field with a bunch of people I have never met before is my happy place and the one that I imagine feels like curling up on the sofa after a long day at work does to most. There is something strangely energising about the hum of energy created by so many people in the same place all with a common interest. With Bluedot being somewhat niche that feeling felt intensified significantly. I witnessed the most awesome collection of funny and intellectual t-shirts I have ever seen (I don't have any photos sadly). I danced under the stars. I slept next to the world's third largest radio telescope. I learnt things about stuff I'd never even thought of. Met people (some old friends, some new). Spent time in an illuminarium. Taught my daughter the perils of festival toilets. Showed the littles a few things, they showed me a few too. Lost all sense of inhibition dancing to Underworld - after all, no one here knows me, right? (later found out that I was spotted by someone who did know me - oh well...). Stayed up too late (small made it to 1.30am after a nap through Air and a Haribo and glow stick fuelled Jean Michel Jarre set). Discovered new music and generally had the best weekend I think I've had since I can't remember when.

One of the things that I love the most about the new wave of festivals that seem to be surfacing right now is the sharing of information. As a species we have spent since the dawn of humanity collecting information and learning and now, more than we have in the longest of times are gathering to share it. The telling of stories around camp fires (literally quite often - The Good Life Experience has an epic log pile to keep such activities fuelled) and the passing on of knowledge is becoming, dare I say it, a "thing" and I couldn't be happier. It's about time we stopped carrying around trade secrets and tidbits of info close to our chests and started to fall back into true communities. Bluedot was a perfect example, science pros gathering to teach anyone less knowledgable then them a thing or two, musicians super passionate about sharing their stories and everyone listening and learning and soaking it all up like sponges.

Last but by no means least, as well as forming a brilliant receptacle for Brian Eno's installation the Lovell Telescope inspired awe and wonder at the capabilities and tenacity of humankind and the scale of life, on and beyond this world. Bluedot, you were awesome, quite literally. Thank you.

Up next week - Bluedot in pictures - stay tuned.

Did you see me dancing like there'd be no tomorrow to Underworld or making like a rock star (albeit with a child on my hip) to Public Service Broadcasting? Do you have any festival recommendations for dates I should have in my calendar for next festival season? How has your first week of summer holidays gone? - Connect with me over on Twitter or Instagram or simply leave a comment...

@bbutterscotch / @littlegreenshed / @alfiesstudio / @thefuturekept
It's been a while since I last posted a round-up of #ihavethisthingwithglasshouses. Alas, I failed miserably at posting a monthly selection (which is what I would have liked to do) but there are some beauties for you to catch up with. I've started a Pinterest board of the images I select for these posts too, be sure to check it out here.

@squarehare / @tinykingdom_uk / @haarkon_ / @hannah.straughan
This (below) by @vesters_workshop is my very favourite today. It isn't traditional and maybe only loosely fits the stereotype of "glass house" but it feels like summer in Italy. With the rain pouring down outside, I think we all need a bit of that.

Join in the glass house goodness on Instagram - I'm looking for guest-post reviews as part of the "outdoors-in" series - know somewhere amazing you'd like to see featured? Tag me in to a picture on Instagram (@alfiesstudio) or get in touch here...

87 - Bluedot



The project and design work wind down has begun. Today is my last "proper" day of work for six weeks and we are celebrating in style this weekend by heading off to our first summer holidays adventure at Bluedot festival.

With a stellar (pun intended) lineup (Public Service Broadcasting, Underworld, Air, Beth Orton, Caribou and Mercury Rev all on our must-see list with lots others we're looking forward to being introduced to...) and lots of family fun to be had we can't wait to be dancing under the stars and getting our space and science on.

Big acts aside, I'm quite looking forward to seeing the apparently world famous Nic Harrigan and his Titchy Tiny Science show, centred on Kevin, a little piece of dust with some big ideas. I'm quite sure small will love it as there's talk of rainbows I believe and I'm looking forward to seeing how a fellow South Bromsgrove High survivor is doing (it really is a small world, I was super surprised to see a "Nic Harrigan" mentioned on the press release and even more surprised to learn via the magic of google that it is the very same that I used to sometimes hide out in the library and talk music and CD's with in sixth form).

The best part, we've managed to keep it all a surprise from the littles. They have no idea they are going. As the boy dreams of becoming a spaceman one day and girl loves to dance I think it'll be a super start to six weeks of summer adventures!

We got our tickets the day they went on sale but I believe there are still some Tier 3 left... (click here for the Bluedot site)

Let's hope the dry weather sticks around for a weekend that's bound to be out of this world!

I'm done with puns now, as I write it is hot, my brain has all but melted and there are just so many pun opportunities... Done - I promise...

Photos credit to http://www.discoverthebluedot.com

We bought our own tickets to this event.
I'm not being paid / sponsored / bribed to feature it - I just like sharing good stuff with you!

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