Moonlight Phoenix has risen

music, feminism, spirituality, words and more

The Julie Ruin at The Electric Ballroom, Camden 26/5/2015

Well yesterday was my first gig proper (excluding local band gigs) for almost 2 years! The last one I went to was to see Taffy back in July 2013!

I had been waiting for a long time for this particular gig as it was originally going to take place in May last year, then lead singer Kathleen Hanna fell ill (she suffers from Lyme disease) and it was postponed to later in the year, but then it got postponed again, so I’d been waiting over a year for this gig! and the anticipation was even higher than it would have been anyway, as those who know me well will know I am a huge fan of Kathleen Hanna. She is one of my inspirations and it would be fair to say that her music with Bikini Kill and Le Tigre helped me on my path to feminism. So obviously when she formed a new band with her former solo project’s name ‘The Julie Ruin’, and they announced a date in London, there was no doubt I had to be there!

I had originally got two tickets thinking either my partner or a friend would perhaps accompany me. Due to my husband’s health problems, he can be in lots of pain or perfectly alright from day to day, and he had some pain in the lead up to the week of the gig, so we thought it would be best to find someone else to take his place. I offered to my friends first, but most of the people who would have been interested were either at another gig the same night(Babes in Toyland on the same night- a good night for the riot grrrl resurrection), live too far away, or didn’t have the money to get to London.

I was quite prepared to go alone, as I have been to gigs alone before, when I was a gig reviewer, it was common practice, and it was actually fine and not scary at all! But then I had a brain wave, rather than not using it, or trying to sell it, perhaps I could try to give it away to someone who maybe couldn’t go because they hadn’t been able to afford a ticket, or something like that. That’s happened to me loads of times, so I know I would appreciate that! So I posted a tweet on Twitter and tagged The Julie Ruin, asking them to retweet. They retweeted me and so did several other people. I got a reply from a girl called Rika, as she was the first one to reply (I did get a few others after), I got in touch with her and we arranged to meet at the gig, since the tickets were on my phone anyway, and perhaps we could be make friends too 🙂

Anyway…I left mine around 5 to try and get to Camden for 7. I enjoyed the train journey, as I looked out at the window, admiring tall daisies on the way and even saw a fox (!) Got to Liverpool street and I was hungry, so grabbed a tofu curry from the Japanese place there, then made my way to tube as it was rush hour and manic. Northern line was packed and hot! Was relieved when I finally got to Camden town, I was a little early (not much) just enough time for me to sit and munch my curry (which I managed to get all over my hoodie oops) then wander over to the Electric Ballroom to see if I could spot Rika.

I spotted a small Japanese girl, and I was a bit unsure to begin with, but after a few minutes I asked and it was her, so we joined the queue and had a chat. She has only been in London 2 months, and she is studying Languages at university here. I was glad I gave the ticket to her, as she was really nice and seemed to really appreciate it 😀

The doors opened just after 7.30pm, after a bag check, we went in and navigated where the toliets were (hadn’t been to this venue for ages)! then got a drink (with some language help from me), before finding a spot near the front to watch the support acts.

The first one came on around 8 I think and were an all female band called ‘Feature’. I loved them! Raucous, passionate, melodic punk, this was right up my street 🙂 Everyone else seemed to be enjoying them too.

In between the support acts, I had to visit the loo again, and there was a huge queue, so by the time I came back down, it was hard to get to my same spot, so we were slightly further back but still near the front. Then the second act ‘Woolf’ came on, sadly I was suffering with bad tummy cramps during their set, so couldn’t enjoy it as much as I might have done, but they were shouty queer punk very similar to Bikini Kill, I felt! The songs/shouting words (lol) were very short, so they must have played quite a lot of songs in that time. During their set, so twat decided to come falling onto me and a load of other people, probably hoping to start some sort of moshpit, but everyone looked at him with disdain then he went away again! This was a Kathleen Hanna gig after all, if she had been on stage at the time I don’t think she would have been amused! (In her Bikini Kill days she would discourage violence and ask for girls only to be at the front). There was a definite sense of community spirit at the gig as the woman in front of me asked if I was okay (I was) and we said how it was completely inappropriate. Then when Woolf finished, she had to go to the loo so she asked me to hold her space, so along with her boyfriend I did, and when she came back she even offered me some of her beer! (which  politely declined but only because I’m not a beer drinker lol)

It seemed like forever before the main event started, I always get impatient at gigs! It was getting more and more crowded in the venue and people were definitely trying to get closer to the stage.

Finally, the band members started to arrive on stage one by one, until all but Kathleen Hanna was there. The band obviously knew who the star of the night was, as anticipation was getting higher and higher as we waited for the queen of riot grrrl to step onto the stage.

I haven’t been able to find the setlist yet so not sure what song they started with but the crowd went mad, not violent, just very enthusiastic jumping up and down! I managed to cope with a couple of songs before I decided to move a bit further back, mainly as I wanted a bit more space to dance! It was so crowded, it was quite hard to get through the crowds but I managed to get about halfway back where I found a small space I could just about dance in! I could then begin to enjoy the gig properly and enjoy I did!

I was a bit disappointed but not entirely unexpected that they didn’t play any Bikini Kill songs and only 1 Le Tigre song (Friendship Station) but hearing The Julie Ruin’s songs live was actually a lot better than on CD, and the songs are so danceable, you can’t help but like them 🙂 They also played ‘Radical or Pro-Parental’ which is a song from the original solo project.

As well as great songs, they spoke a lot between songs, and as you might be able to guess Kathleen Hanna had lots of cool things to say. Just some of the things she mentioned- abortion, being called a slut for wearing tap shoes when she was 6 years old by her father, and how there are many types of feminism in the world and that’s okay, it’s okay to not agree with it all.

The set was about 1 hour in total with 1 song as encore.

the songs I do know were played (in no particular order as I can’t remember):  Radical or Pro-parental, Friendship Station, Run Fast (encore song), Oh Come On, Goodnight Goodbye, Lookout, Party City, Ha Ha Ha.

I managed to find the whole set on Youtube, so if you’re interested, here it is:

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April 2015- Scream in, Scream Out, Time for Healing..

so how has April been? Well read ahead to find out…

My Key Focuses for 2015

FRIENDSHIP- this has probably been my quietest month so far this year for social activity. Started feeling quite positive as I have mostly been this year but then a week ago my Nan died and my mood has gone plummeting with it. I haven’t done anything social for 2 weeks now and having pangs of friendship loneliness again. Lots of people were very nice when my nan died, and I know they said I could ask for anything I needed, but I guess all I wanted was for someone just to come round and give me a hug and listen for a bit. For some reason I didn’t bring myself to ask for that. I guess I’ve seen others that have gone through similar and they seemed to cope better by being alone. I did get invited to someone’s birthday party and I didn’t go. Now I regret that I didn’t.  I think being alone doesn’t work for me. I guess death does cause different feelings and perhaps confusion. (on the day I found out, I was so not with it, I ended up getting lost on a bus)!! On the other hand now I’ve admitted that I’m feeling a bit low, some of my lovely friends are trying to make plans with me which is nice.

FUN- obviously this hasn’t been present much this month either. I did have a really fun day at my friend Sherry’s Soup meeting you can find out more about Southend Soup here. I got lots of free books, read some of my poems, got my face painted and most importantly Miguel pitched there! (he didn’t win but did do very well)

edit: almost forgot the steam fair! That was so much fun!

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CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- didn’t do so much of this in April. I did get my book proof read though and I wrote a poem for my nan which I will be reading at her funeral next week.

Goals/Aims

To have regular healing clients- had hoped to focus on this during April but I didn’t. I did however have one new client.

To be a supervisor- this died right down this month, I just need my manager to help me finish the training book then I can do the test.

To finish my book- onto the next stage now, got good feedback, the person who read it also offered to put out a few grammatical errors for me but I haven’t heard back yet.

To visit Glastonbury, Gaunts House and Three wishes festival- nothing. I had put some money aside to go to Glastonbury but I ended up using it to buy a ticket to see L7!!

To be better at birthdays- still not been good at this!

go along to street spirit- didn’t do this either..

spend less time on Facebook- I did do this! I came back onto social media but I have changed the way I use it, I didn’t put Facebook or Twitter back on my phone and now when I look I don’t bother to read the whole feed. I just look at the past hour’s posts, messages, notifications and the groups, then come off again.

reconnect with my pagan/witchy side- read one Scott Cunningham book that I wasn’t that keen on

go into nature more- I went for a nature walk every week! I’m now increasing it to twice a week. I really love it when I do.

watch less t.v- probably been watching a bit more this month

get into music again- got excited about a gig for first time in ages! I was at the computer at 9am waiting for the L7 tickets for London to come on sale. So excited I got one!

Things I’ve done this month:

Lovely start to this month as my friend Sherry organised a fundraising meal at the Railway as part of her fundraising efforts for Mind for the Brighton Marathon. you can still sponsor her here

The following evening was the Inspiring Women meeting, there were a lot of new ladies and my friend Lauren came along for the first time.

Miguel and I went with our friends Karen and Trevor, Fiona and John and a few others to a vintage Steam funfair that was on in Chalkwell Park. It was a lot of fun, if a little expensive. I couldn’t go on as many rides as I would have liked but I had lots of fun on the ones I did, we went on the carousel, on the swingboat (which was fun and scary as there were no barriers)! and I went on the swings that spun round really fast and high up in the air, it was like I was flying!

My women’s circle this month was another small one with just 3 of us, but was about happiness and went well. We talked in depth about what makes us happy and challenged ourselves with questions to make us really think about this. Then made a happiness pledge (which I feel like I’m failing at the moment oops)

I went into Leigh on one on my days off with Miguel which was really nice as it was a sunny day and there was no specific plan so it was just enjoyable. We went to a crystal shop, had a juice at a juice bar, explored a graveyard and went to a health shop. On the same day I went to my friend Susan’s with my other friends Fiona and Sara which was nice.

The following day I went for a walk in Chalkwell park with Sara which was really lovely and we hugged a tree!

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My friend Lorna has temporarily moved back to Essex so she came to visit one day which was lovely as I hadn’t seen her for ages 🙂

There was Southend Soup- which I mentioned earlier in the post and then it gets quieter. I had a dentist appointment (boo)! and a healing client on the same day (yay).

I went to visit my grandad with my family, I do feel so sad for him. We did get to look at old photos though which was lovely as I saw lots of photos I hadn’t seen of my brother and me before!

Then we get to the present day and I have been doing overtime galore and not much else….

but you know what they say ..

things can only get better!

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March 2015- You tell me I’m exceptional and I promise to exploit you..

And another month has passed! This was an interesting one, as it was a whole month without social media! If you read my last few posts you can read how I get on, but put it this way, I have been super productive! But more detail lies within this blog post…

My Key Focuses for 2015..

FRIENDSHIP- Another quietish month. I still feel good about my friendships at the moment though. This month was more about working on my projects and looking within..

FUN- well, as said on previous post, I didn’t do as much socially, not that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t about fun in the sense of laughing and letting the inner child. (and I know she is dying to come out and play)!

CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- this is my focus I did the best on during March. As I suddenly found I had more free time, I actually worked on my book, I did the edit for the feminist chapter I’m contributing and I have put together a collection of spiritual poetry. A little more work to do but soon I will be ready to take the next steps and self publish.

Goals/Aims

Regular paying clients for my healing- again, not really my focus but I did have one again.

To be a supervisor- I’m now working on the study book for management, so won’t be long before I could take that position. I also passed my Product Advisor test, so now I’m a fully qualified associate for Holland and Barrett!!

To Finish my book- as I’ve already said, I did great with this! I’m now ready to have it proof read and then take it from there. It’s not long, but I’m happy with it.

To Visit Glastonbury, Three Wishes and Gaunts House- I think the only one that is realistically going to happen this year is Glastonbury. I have started putting money aside for it. I’m also on a mission now to get to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice, so I’m hoping we will be able to combine it with a visit to Glastonbury. I’m telling as many people as I can, because we will find someone eventually that will want to go too, and then we will solve the problem of getting there easily!

To be better at birthdays- still a bit rubbish!

go along to street spirit- still haven’t been able to go.

spend less time on Facebook- well I didn’t spend ANY time on it in March!

reconnect with my pagan/witchy side- starting use pagan manifesting techniques..

go into nature more- only 1 again but I’m working on this, and trying not to let weather put me off, as this is really important to my path.

watch less t.v- yes I’ve been reading a lot also!

get into music again- I bought my first album of the year Paulo Nuttini’s ‘Caustic Love’ which I really like. I also heard Courtney Barnett on the radio and really like her 🙂

Things I’ve done this month:

I went to Million Women Rise for the first time in two years. I went along with some of the Essex Feminist Collective, so I met some new interesting people and it was a good day.

I went to a group called H.U.G.S that do holistic talks once a month, this was the first one I’d been drawn to go to which was about astrology and it’s impact on your health.

A mini fire ceremony at our friend Roberta’s house where I burnt notes of what I wanted to get rid of, and what I wanted to bring in.

I caught up with my friend Sue as I hadn’t seen her for months as she hasn’t got a car at the moment. I met her from her work for lunch and we went to a small cafe and I had stuffed peppers without the cheese which actually turned out to be really yummy 🙂

My women’s circle this month was about crystals, and I was going to hold it in a local park but the weather was so bad we had to change the venue to my flat where we would be warm! There was only 3 of us this month but we had a nice session including a small food share.

Another new group I went to T.A.G who also do talks once a month (they are run by the same people as HUGS but hugs is holistic and Tag is other spiritual and truth awareness topics) again this was the first one I’d felt drawn to and also Miguel wanted to go as it was by a shaman called Leo Rutherford, and it was very interesting.

My friend Lola came to visit and we had a good chat 🙂

for the spring equinox we had a fire ceremony at our friend Roberta’s again and it was really nice. We had about 10 people or so, and the energy was great. I have also noticed things coming true that I put into the fire since.

Finally I went to the brighton Vegan fayre for the first time in 5 years as I won tickets. The only problem was I work on Sundays so I could only go for the day and it was quite tiring as I spent 6 hours of the day travelling! It was packed but a good day overall. Bits I got: a ‘vegan’ necklace, cat earrings, a catnip toy for the cats, raw choc goji berries, vegan marshmallows, vegan wagon wheels, and vegan egg mayonaise! I also watched a talk about facing fears and living your dreams, and watched a cookery demo about quick and easy meals.

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Feburary 2015- Give Me One Good Reason Why I Can’t Make A Change…

Blimey, how did it get to be March already? February went past in even more of a blur than January, I guess those few days we normally have at the end of the month make all the difference! I don’t think I have been as busy socially but I have been working really hard. here’s the usual rundown of how it went.

My Key Focuses for 2015

FRIENDSHIP- still feeling good about this, don’t think have been quite as active this month but there has still been things going on in this area.

FUN- didn’t really have enough of this I don’t think, mainly because I’ve been focusing on doing overtime and getting to understand my supervisor training. My mood has been a bit funny at times too, it’s better now but for a few weeks I was feeling quite low, possibly because we were in a mercury retrograde. A lot of people seemed to be going through strong emotions at this time, I’m glad it seems to have averted now! (edit: we did go to see Simon Amstell though which was fun)!

CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- I signed up to some of poetry blog challenge, where you got sent emails sent daily through Feb with a word, and a form of poetry that you could try if you wanted, there was no obligation and you didn’t have to use all the suggested prompts. I did write three poems, so I’m quite pleased with that, even if they were in a similar vein. I didn’t feel very inspired otherwise though.

Goals/Aims

Regular Paying Clients for my Healing- didn’t quite put as much focus on this as I had intended but I did have one client in Feb, so that’s one more than last month- hooray!

To be a Supervisor- the training has been carrying on and I think my confidence is slowly coming, I even did the banking in another branch!

To Finish my book- didn’t do this at all. Oops!

To Visit Glastonbury, Three Wishes and Gaunts House- nothing towards these yet

To be better at birthdays- was a bit rubbish this month. Was good with Valentines though- I adopted a bear for Miguel!

go along to Street Spirit- still been unable to do this, although did send some money when they did a sponsored event.

spend less time on Facebook- have been continuing cutting down looking at the feed by 5 minutes a day so now up to 4 hours and 40 minutes between looking, I’ve mostly stuck to this apart from the last few days because I’m going a step further and coming off both Facebook and Twitter for a month! I’m doing it for charity- https://www.justgiving.com/nosocialnetworkmarch and I will be posting updates on here on how it’s going. Only been a day so far, and it’s pretty weird as I keep going to look at my phone and it’s not there, and it’s like my head is suddenly full of status updates and tweets! I also couldn’t tweet a request into a radio show earlier! (they only said by twitter or facebook not email)!

reconnect with my pagan/witchy side- nothing towards this yet

go into nature more- I had one walk to Priory park. The cold has been putting me off, but hopefully it will warm up soon!

watch less T.V- think I have been watching less generally

get into music again- went to a local gig the other day to see Mo Fingers, an instrumental band who’s music is hard to categorise, it’s funky, psychedelic and rocky all rolled into one and very danceable! I’ve also been listening to the playlists on BBC 6 Music a few times- I really enjoyed the riot grrrl one. I’ve also just realised I like George Ezra too! (having a radio on at work does make you start liking certain tunes and I only discovered one of them was ‘Budapest’ when I watched The Brit Awards)!

Finally, the things I actually did:

Our friend mark visited (he now lives in Hastings) which was really nice, and he told us all about how different it is there compared to Southend, it sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to visit!

We went to the local theatre to see Simon Amstell, as I had bought tickets for Miguel’s birthday. I had never been to see a comedian before so it was a new experience. It was a shame our seats were really pants, but he was really funny and insightful as well!

I went for a lunch at The Railway with a small group of friends and we had a lot of laughs!

I had a Sacred Money Archetype consultation which was very interesting, you basically answer a lot of questions and then it reveals what your money habits are like. My one is an accumulator, which is someone who is very good at saving but hates spending money, and it was accurate, it was funny!

I had my women’s circle as always even though we had to change the date as people couldn’t make it on the original planned date in the end. We did about Shamanism and it included finding power animals for each other, I think it went very well.

Went to a debrief about the EDEN conference where we just discussed how the event went, and what things were good, what we could do better etc.

I went to a fundraising quiz night my friend Sherry organised, and I as I thought, I am rubbish at quizzes, but as it turns out, so is my friend Sara, so we spent most of the evening making beautiful pieces of art with raffle tickets!  You can help my friend out by sponsoring her here https://www.justgiving.com/dustyrunsbrighton/

as previously mentioned we saw Mo Fingers.

Sadly, I had to attend a funeral of an old friend called Stanley who was a long time member of Southend Animal Aid. He was very active to a very late age (he was 94 when he passed). I was very glad to be able to go and pay my last respects to an admirable man.

it ended on a happier note, as I went out last night with my old pharmacy colleagues. We went for a meal at Bobby Jo’s on the seafront and had a bit of a catch up.

Now it will be interesting to see how productive March will be without the distraction of social media..

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January 2015- Hey, I Put Some New Shoes On and Suddenly Everything is Right…

Wahey the first month of the year has just been and gone! and I’d say it was a pretty good month. I’m starting to like January again!

So here’s my usual round up for the month that’s just been.

My Key Focuses for 2015

FRIENDSHIP- I’m actually feeling pretty good about this at the moment. I’ve pretty much done something social every week, and I’m developing some more close friendships, so I haven’t experienced any feelings of loneliness at all during January- hooray!

FUN- I think I’m still discovering what ‘fun’ is for me, I do a lot of social/group activities but although they are wonderful in various ways (deep conversations, sharing, spiritual activities) i don’t know if I would label them as ‘fun’. I think the most fun I had so far was joining in with the drumming workshop at the E.D.E.N conference I went to, I really let loose, dancing, making some noise, and there was no alcohol involved! Just pure joy, and that’s what I need to find more of!

CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION- I did a lot of writing in January as I had to write my first draft for a chapter about feminism I am contributing to an actual real life going-to-be-published book! It was hard, I put it off and off, but eventually I motivated myself to get moving and make my deadline. I am awaiting to hear what the publisher thinks about it!

I also wrote one poem, and took part in a Vision Board workshop as well as making a joint vision board with my husband Miguel. As for feeling inspired, I’d say I’m not quite there yet but I did attend some inspiring events.

Goals/Aims

Regular Paying Clients for my Healing- no clients at all this month but I didn’t really focus on promoting this during January due to the chapter I had to write taking up a lot of time.

To get to supervisor training in my job- I’ve been studying almost daily, and I actually started my supervisor training last week, so i am well on the way! I just need to gain my confidence a bit more when it comes to handling money for cashing up etc.

To finish my book- again, didn’t really have the time to focus on this due to the chapter!

To visit: Glastonbury, Gaunts House and Three Wishes fairy festival- nothing towards this yet

To be better at birthdays- I organised a surprise get together meal for Miguel’s birthday and bought him tickets to see Simon Amstell- I think I did pretty well!

Get involved with the Green Party- I attended a local Green Party meeting, but didn’t feel it was for me, so I will see if maybe there are other ways I can get involved or help, rather than go to meetings.

go along to Street Spirit Southend- most of my Saturdays were busy so haven’t got round to this yet unfortunately.

Spend less time on Facebook- think for the most part I managed this, I’ve been cutting down times between looking by 5 minutes a day (not that I would really look that many times a day but I know this way I won’t let myself waste time on there unless my allocated time is up) and I have got to two and a half hours between looking at the feed, and for the most part I have stuck to this.

reconnect with my pagan/witchy side- I don’t think I really did anything towards this particular goal during January.

go into nature more- haven’t really done this yet

watch less t.v- I think I have been watching a bit less, and trying to do other things if Miguel is watching something I am not interested in like read a book.

get into music again- been listening to the radio more (XFM mostly) and I’ve discovered the joy of listening to full albums on Youtube! I’ve also discovered that I like Paolo Nuttini and Royal Blood.

Finally the things I did in January:

Had a meet up with at my friend Carina’s flat with a few other friends including the lively Lorna who lives in Oxford now. A typical vegan get together as we ate far too many goodies and discussed various vegan related issues including raising vegan children. (not me personally but a few of the others are parents)

I went to the Inspiring Women meeting which was the Vision Board workshop I mentioned, this is my board:

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I read a few of my poems at a poetry event at the Westcliff on Art gallery, which I think went quite well.

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I went to my friend Stella’s Goddess group, where we worked on the throat chakra and also took part in a beautiful shamanic flower ceremony.

I went to the Green Party meeting.

I met up with my friend Lola (my best friend from infant school I recently got in touch with again) at her flat and got to meet her gorgeous cat, have a great chat, some coffee and vegan rocky road!

It was Miguel’s birthday and I arranged a surpise birthday meal at The Oaktree market, so although he knew we were going for a meal he didn’t know there would be friends waiting for him! It was a complete nightmare to organise but went really well in the end, the right people were there and the food was amazing! It was all Japanese themed.

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Miguel and I got invited to have dinner at our friends Maria and Simon’s flat, we had a lovely meal, deep conversations and a play with tarot cards.

I went out for lunch with my friend Lauren at The Railway Hotel

and it all ended with the marvellous E.D.E.N conference which I blogged about here

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The Inevitable End of the Year Post 2014!

Well it’s that time of year again, for one of my favourite things, a list of great things about the year (or what I thought anyway) just in case you might care haha.

Music this year for me has taken a bit of a back seat as I stopped doing radio over a year ago now, and I also don’t do music writing very often now, so I have really noticed that I’m really out of touch now compared to what I was! I didn’t actually go to much in the way of gigs, in fact all of the few I went to were local gigs by tribute or cover bands!

I think the only new album I listened to this year was Kasabian- 48:13 as Miguel got it for my birthday. They are my favourite band so obviously I loved it! I did think a lot of the songs were so catchy as I learnt a lot of them after only a few listens, such as this…

in the last month or so I’ve tried to try and get a bit up to date again so I’ve been listening to XFM a bit and I have discovered I quite like this band that they play a lot.

oh and who doesn’t like this one..

I can’t think of anything else..feel free to share your 2014 musical thoughts in the comments!

Books

well GoodReads comes in really handy for this! I read a lot of books, and I tend to get them from the library or from this awesome independent book shop near me so they probably weren’t released this year but a few of my favourites were…

Going Out by Scarlett Thomas- if you haven’t read by this wonderful author you definitely should! This one is about a boy who is allergic to the outside world and is desperate to go outside…

Project Butterfly by my friend Kelli Angliss! a dark novel about experiments on humans. You should check it out!

Just Kids by Patti Smith- a really beautiful memoir

and finally..

the Hunger games series! Yes I am a bit behind the times and I still need to read the 3rd book, but oh my Goddess I loved it!

Films and TV

I went to the cinema slightly more this year..yes a hefty THREE imes I can think of!

Once to see Tinkerbell and the Pirates 😉

Hector and the Search for Happiness- a really heartwarming film with Simon Pegg

and the film version of before I go to sleep which was also good but I think my favourite of the three was hector.

I really got into Buffy this year and I finished all the series off! I loved it loads! A lot of my favourite series ended this year 😦 I’ve recently started watching Portlandia which is insane! but amusing.

Photos/Moments/things I did in 2014

Joined the Inspiring Women of Southend group (formerly Southend Passionate Women)- lots of inspirational talks but also fun creative activities such as making scrapbooks and t shirts!

hayley poet

read my poetry out loud, not once, not twice but three times! First time at The Palace Theatre, then at my friend Kelli’s book lauch (pictured) and finally at a writers gathering.

running my spiritual women’s circle 🙂

My magical 30th birthday! I got to be a fairy!

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Gaza Protest

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went to the Pagan Conference and Witchfest

did a ‘rough sleep’ for the homeless

got a new job!

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30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 22: My 10 Most Popular Blogs

The top ten posts on this blog! Just in case you missed something..

10. A Faery Tale (or what my 30th party was like)- (June 2014)I had a fantastic Fairytales and Magical beings party for my birthday this year. I decided to blog about it in a different way!

9.The HARP Cardboard Box Challenge-(October 2014) I recently completed a rough sleep for the local homeless charity HARP, I wrote about the experience.

8. I Saw the Sign and it Opened up my Eyes..(April 2013)- about being given ‘signs’ in everyday life.

7. Manifestation- The White Despacho Ceremony (March 2013)- I wrote about manifesting, and a beautiful manifesting shamanic manifesting ceremony I was part of.

6. The End of Pigtails and Army Boots- (September 2013)- I used to do a feminist radio show for quite a few years, it was great, but then it came to it’s natural end.

5. Good Things: Netherlands Special (May 2013)- I wrote about all the fab things we did on our holiday to the Netherlands last year.

4.The Singer of Courage (April 2013)– I wrote something about confidence and courage.

3. 30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 14- Proposed Lap Dancing Club in Southend (November 2014)- I wrote recently about the plans to bring another lap dancing club to Southend, and why I’m against it.

2. Feminism in London 2013 (October 2013)– I wrote about the brilliant feminist conference I attended last year.

and drum roll please…the most popular blog so far on here is…

1. Interview with Sue Denim (April 2013)– Not very surprisingly, my interview with former Robots in Disguise band member and now solo artist had the most hits ever!

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30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 18: It’s Witchfest Tomorrow!

I found out about Witchfest just last year and managed to get to it. I had an amazing time buying pretty goodies, and going to a great variety of talks and workshops. I enjoyed it so much I am going again this year! This year there seems to be even more great talks including ones on Faery Witchcraft and Shamanism. There are even dancing, laughter yoga and a make your own wand workshop. I’m hoping to have enough energy to catch some of the music this year too! here’s my blog from last year about it:

Yesterday I attended my very first Witchfest, an event that’s organised by the Children of Artemis, an organisation who not only spread a positive and truthful message about witchcraft and wicca, but also help witches and pagans by providing information and social outlets such as an online forum and events. They also have a magazine. For some reason Witchfest had passed me by but this year I found out about it and knew I had to go.

It’s at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, so from Southend it was something of a trek, meaning I had to get up at a stupidly early time, but a mix of excitement and being engaged with a book about a girl searching for faeries around the world including meeting Brian and Wendy Froud, I somehow managed to stay awake for the journey. When I finally arrived in Croydon, I wasn’t sure where to go but that didn’t last long when I noticed the gothicly dressed people, I followed them and I was soon queueing outside the venue where there was entertainment in the form of morris dancing from The Wild Hunt Bedlam Morris

Shortly after I could go in, and the place was full of all sorts of people, some more goths, some with witches hats, some with tall wands and yes even some dressed perfectly casually! That’s one of the great things I noticed about Witchfest, it’s a great opportunity to dress up in all your witchy finery (I decided upon a black dress) or you can go as you are- it doesn’t matter. There was even a few children there too. I went into the main hall for the introduction for the day in which we were told a little bit about witchfest and the children of artemis. Just after there was an opening blessing performed by Tyullan Penry which I found really positive and moving. There was a part where she said blessings to all the various people at the event and the audience chanted “Blessed Be” after each line, with a clap for the “Be” and there was a part where we breathed into our selves what we wanted from the event.

I then made my way to my first workshop of the day which was in a little room up the top of the building- it was a wand workshop, as I didn’t have a wand I thought it would be a great opportunity! We could choose between two types of wand, the one I picked was a Willow branch as I have always felt an affinity with the willow tree. We were shown how to charge the wand which we did there. As I did mine, I saw faeries, unicorns and lots of colour. I felt I could use the wand for healing as well as for general ritual use. We then had the option to decorate the wands as we chose, with a variety of materials available. I didn’t feel the need to sand mine down too much, I wanted it to be as natural as possible. I only used green and yellow paint on mine, I did try to do symbols on mine, but to be honest with you it does look quite messy and childlike! But I have decided not to change it, as I think it was the faeries wanting me to let my inner child out, and gives the wand playful qualities and joy.

After this I attended another talk by Tyullan Penry called ‘Sacred Shadows- Discovering Inner Shadows’ which was all about discovering our ancestors, and how we are all connected, and she spoke a bit about the work she has done researching the ice age for her book of the same name.

I had a bit of a break to look around and have lunch before going to a talk by Vivienne and Chris Crowley ‘The Mysteries of Samhain’. They had a slideshow and took it in turns to talk about the wheel of the year, how our ancestors used to live with the dead by having things like the ancient burial sites we’re aware of today and even some faerie folklore! I loved that they were both funny and almost child like. I really warmed to them and enjoyed what they had to say.

I took another break to look around the stalls before I went to The Writers workshop which was by Tyullan Penry again! I was expecting we would be doing some writing of some kind but it was more of a discussion, she gave some very good advice on topics such as self publishing, and about the industry in general. she was very open and honest, and answered lots of questions. I found her talk very motivating and inspiring.

The last workshop I did was a very brief meditation ‘Enchantment and Empowerment Journey’ by a dream mystic called Shodie. It involved going to the underworld to ‘enchant’ something into your life using chanting (but not out loud in this reality, just moving lips and saying it in the journey) feeling the idea coming to life, and then receiving an animal that then imbues the spirit of that wish and enters you. I won’t say what mine was about but the animal I got was an owl, who is also a recent new power animal for me.

I did attend the closing ritual but I was very tired so it went a bit over me, there was still a few workshops and music after but I decided to have a last look around and then make a move for the long journey back. In the end I got a rose quartz crystal pendulum, a faery necklace, some nag champa incense and some crystals (snakeskin jasper for Miguel, goldstone, howlite and malachite).

My overall summary of the day

The not so good- lack of vegan options for food, long journey, not much of a gap between workshops

The good- workshops and talks all free to get in, a lot of reasonably priced stalls, variety of people, good workshops and talks

overall a great day and I’d recommend it to anyone who is a witch or even is just curious.

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30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 16: 10 Songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life..

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30 Day Blogging Challenge Day 12: Inspiration

Today I’ve decided to write about someone who really inspires me. I think if I had to pick my top inspirational person, it would be the musician and poet Patti Smith.

Why does inspire me? As a writer and a poet myself, I am completely in awe of her beautiful poetic lyrics. I’m currently reading her book ‘Just Kids‘  and she did actually originally start off as a poet, with no aspirations of being a musician. It wasn’t until one of her first public poetry readings that someone suggested she had someone put music to her poetry. She had a friend play guitar along with it and soon became a performance poet.

Eventually she also became a musician…

Not only I am a great admirer of her lyrics, poetry and music, I also admire her for being a fellow activist. She has done many anti war events and of course wrote protest songs.

I was lucky enough to see her perform live in 2012, and honestly it was the best gig I have ever been up to. her beautiful, inspiring music and an inspiring speech about everyone having the right to pray in the way in choose, at the time a reference to then political prisoners Pussy Riot.

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Honestly I love her so much, I could post many more videos into this post to show you how great she is, but we’d be here all day! 🙂

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