Weekend Review: Nat Hudson

Weekend Review: Nat Hudson

 IndieTracks, a DIY pop music festival takes place every year on a Heritage railway site in Derbyshire. Though Becca has attended many times before, Elle has never been so we've decided to go together this year and are really looking forward to it! We spoke to  Nat Hudson to gain some insight into the life of a festival organiser and find out a little more about what we can expect this year...

What do you do for work?

I work in communications and project management in the NHS, which involves working with hospitals and patients across north London to provide the best possible quality of service and improve ways of doing things for patients. I really enjoy working with both patients and clinicians, and really admire everyone who works in the health sector. 

What's your proudest career moment so far?

My first job was working as a regional newspaper reporter, and it was a great feeling to have my first article printed knowing that thousands of people would be reading it that afternoon. I still have a copy somewhere in my flat! 

What's your favourite way to relax and unwind after a busy day?

I've a six month old son, Luke, so we relax together by reading 'Goodnight Moon' and 'Dear Zoo' and listening to music. And then after he's asleep, I've been watching the second series of Master of None on Netflix which is fantastic. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a journalist ever since I was small, and followed that path for several years after university. I still really enjoy writing and I'm so lucky to be able to be working on spreading the word about our music festival. 

What are your favourite pastimes outside of work?

I play the violin in an orchestra, and we've played shows with some great artists including Darren Hayman, Haiku Salut and Ralegh Long, as well as releasing our own album. I also really enjoy helping to organise the Indietracks festival, and when I'm not doing those things I really like reading, films and catching up with friends. 

When is your weekend? 

Before I started maternity leave, I worked Monday to Friday, so my weekend would start on Friday evening and run until Sunday night. My husband Andy follows the same pattern, which is nice, and I'm sure those days will still feel like the weekend when I return to work part-time in the autumn. 

How do you tend to spend the Indietracks festival weekend?

It's usually incredibly busy, but a lot of fun! I'm often on the gates meeting artists, arranging press interviews or selling t-shirts in the merchandise tent! However, I also try and make sure I see my favourite bands as well, and hang out with my friends. The Sunday often feels a bit more relaxed, especially once we know all the bands have arrived. The venue is a beautiful steam railway in the countryside, but it's a bit off the beaten track and it's a relief when all the bands follow the directions carefully and find the entrance okay! This year will be very different as I'll be bringing Luke, so I'll be mainly spending the weekend in our new indoor children's area, helping to organise activities in there.

Your ideal weekend break... 

Holidays are very different now that I have a baby, so my ideal break would be a nice cottage in a seaside town that's easy to get to, with some nice cafes, galleries, shops, a beach and ideally some music going on somewhere. I've always loved festivals, so somewhere to watch some bands in the daytime with a couple of drinks and some nice food, but with an easy walk back home afterwards! 

Your ideal Sunday menu... 

Breakfast: Ideally brought to me in bed by someone else!
Lunch: My local pub does a fantastic Sunday roast, so I'd probably head there with my husband and Luke
Dinner: I'd love to be sitting out in a lovely Italian square as the sun sets with friends and family

Do you have a signature dish you like to cook?

Looking after a small baby means I don't have much time or energy to cook at the moment, but I do like quick and easy comfort food - so fish pie and apple crumble are probably two of my favourite things to make!

What's the normal soundtrack to your weekend?

At the moment it's BBC6 Music, the Indietracks 2017 Spotify playlist, the latest Wave Pictures album and baby lullabies.

QUICK FIRE - without too much thought, name your absolute favourite...

Book: 1984
TV series: The Wire
Band: Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Music festival (other than Indietracks!): Green Man
Museum: I don't really have one, but I went to the Museum of Brands recently and really enjoyed it!

What can we expect from Indietracks 2017?

We're a friendly festival that celebrates creative and independent pop music, and we're based at a steam railway in Derbyshire. So visitors can ride the steam trains, and watch bands playing across four different stages. We're so excited with this year's line-up, which has some internationally-known names like The Wedding Present, Cate Le Bon and Frankie Cosmos, alongside some of the most exciting new artists around, including Martha, Joanna Gruesome, The Tuts, Peaness and Shopping. We'll also have art and craft workshops, discos, real ale, fine foods, a family area for babies and toddlers and late night karaoke. 

How can people follow what you do and get in contact?

We're on all the usual social media places, and have a website as below: 
www.indietracks.co.uk
twitter.com/indietracksfest
facebook.com/indietracks
Instagram.com/indietracks


A night at the drive-in

A night at the drive-in

I've just moved into a new decade of my life. In the lead up to this momentous occasion, I had attempted to  complete a list of "30 things to do before 30" - inspired by friends and fellow bloggers.

I say "attempted", because I didn't get far past writing half the ideas down, let alone ticking all them all off. Never mind. I've extended the deadline another 10 years.

And I'm pleased to report that last  weekend I ticked one of those boxes - and I didn't have to fly long haul to do it. Motion in Motion have brought the American drive-in experience to the UK (more specifically, the East Midlands) and were kind enough to let us into one of their first events. 

So on Saturday night, Paul and I packed up his Fiesta (we didn't dare brave my attractive-but-uncomfortably-tiny-convertible) and drove through sunny Leicestershire countryside to the Prestwold driving centre, for a screening of Dirty Dancing. (Fittingly the romantic 80s classic also turns 30 this year!)

Arriving around 90 minutes before the film started, we were ushered into a great spot on the second row back. Once parked, we were quick to go in search of dinner - locking eyes almost immediately with Peter Pizza  (weirdly I'd thought earlier that day that I'd not had one of their sourdough creations for a while).  Kindly the chef allowed me to be nosy and climb inside their van to watch our pizzas go into the woodfired oven. 

To wash it down, Paul opted for a super sweet milkshake creation from the Shake, Waffle and Roll van - while I rather boringly got a tea.

Back in the car we pushed back the front seats and got comfy - and increasingly excited as the sun began to dip and the big screen became visible - prompting us to tune our radios into a particular FM frequency. The car stereo sprung to life with a selection of tunes from the film (and boy, is it a good soundtrack!).

There was a small delay in the advertised starting time of 9pm, but the general pleasant atmosphere and being in the comfort of our own car meant we were happy to just chat and sing along to the radio. Plus the darker it got, the better the screen view.

And then it began - and I quickly remembered how much I like the film, plus we had the added novelty of the situation. It felt a bit like we were in a film when other cars flashed their lights to grab the attention of the stewards walking and rollerskating around with sweets and popcorn. I half expected Rizo from Grease to saunter by.

Our enjoyment wasn't dampened (ha) when the rain started pouring - our only concern was how many car batteries might die if we all had to use the wipers for the full film.  As the temperature dropped, we snuggled into the duvet we'd brought with us.

Unlike being in a normal cinema, it was absolutely fine for us to loudly comment on the film - but we weren't in a complete bubble. We were happily reminded of the other cars and their occupants at key moments in the film - e.g. "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" - when horns started beeping and headlights illuminated the screen.

We left (swiftly guided by stewards) listening to the end credit music until the FM frequency was out of range, with big grins. Fully recommended night out.


Flashback: May

Flashback: May

It's been over a year since we moved from our original blog, Make Do and Spend, to The Weekend Collective, so we thought it was worth a retrospective look back into the vaults.

It's so great having our blog posts to remind us of where we were, and what we were doing at this time one, two or five years ago. A  bit like a diary, that we share with the rest of the internet.

Last year...

Two years ago...

  • Two years ago, Elle was taking a well needed stroll through the bluebells.
  • And Becca was holidaying in Positano, on Italy's Almalfi Coast (eating lots of pizza and pasta)
owl

THREE YEARS AGO...

Picnic bread - by Elle Jane

FOUR YEARS AGO...

Spaagetti words

FIVE YEARS AGO...


Weekend Review: Laura Millward

Weekend Review: Laura Millward

Our favourite thing about blogging is undoubtably the awesome creative and talented people we've meet along the way, when blog friends become real friends its all the more brilliant! So this week we asked fellow Blogger, illustrator, zine creator and matey Laura to take part in our weekend review....

What do you do for work?

I work in marketing for an arts centre called QUAD in Derby.

What's your proudest career moment so far?

I really enjoy working on the promotion for our annual outdoor film festival, Summer Nights. The buzz when we launch the films and getting positive feedback from visitors is a brilliant feeling.

What are your favourite pastimes outside of work?

I really enjoy drawing and making zines and comics in my spare time. Other than that I love watching films, reading graphic novels, finding old photobooths, rummaging in vintage shops and discovering unusual museums which I document on my blog, Make Do & Mend.

We love your watercolour portraits and zines, available from your etsy store, What inspires your illustrations?

I starting experimenting with watercolours again to feature within my latest zine, dedicated to the cult 90s TV show My So Called Life and I really enjoy using this medium, especially as it gets me away from computer screens! I really enjoy drawing people more than anything else so making portraits is really fun. I've made quite a few for friends' wedding presents.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to have a go at creating their own zine?

Give it a go! The great thing about zines is they don't have to be perfect. Zines were born out of a DIY culture, and they can feature any topic you choose which is why they are so fun to make. Zines are meant to be quite hands-on, and made on a low budget, the best thing is having the freedom to make it however you choose, and the chance to share your passion with others. It's also great collaborating with other people around the world who share your passions.

We hear you're collaborating with Janet on a zine devoted to 90's Nostalgia, how can people get involved in contributing to this? 

We have had some great submissions so far for our Mixtape zine! We are giving a rough deadline of the end of April but this could possibly be extended a bit, so there's still some time to submit an article, just email it to me or Janet 

When is your weekend? 

I have a traditional Saturday/Sunday weekend!

How did you spend this weekend? 

Last weekend was really lovely - the weather was so warm for April. My Saturday began by having brunch with my boyfriend Tom at Small Food Bakery, an amazing bakery situated in a building called Primary, which used to be a school and is now artist studios and cafe. They serve freshly baked bread, pastries and delicious coffee. 
We then met up with a couple of our friends and jumped on the Red Arrow bus to Derby to explore FORMAT International Photography Festival on its closing weekend. The festival takes place every two years and exhibits artwork at various venues in Derby, including derelict buildings, such as the amazing Pearsons building. It's great to explore some of Derby's forgotten buildings during the festival and discover places you didn't even realise were there. 
We ended the day with a stroll through Derby's Darley Park and a pint in the sunshine, from The Abbey inn, and noticed some gorgeous cherry blossom trees on our way back through the park.
On Sunday I met up with my friend Caroline - we had planned to cycle to a new veggie cafe in Bingham but I discovered quite last minute that it was shut on Sundays (booo!) so we made alternate plans and headed to a new cafe called Blend in the newly revamped Sneinton Market in Nottingham. We are planning on starting up a Veggie/Vegan Midlands food blog (the working title of which is 'Ey Up Mock Duck' - got to love a pun!) so this was research for our first post. I couldn't resist ordering a 'Brie-yonce' - a  grilled cheese sandwich with mushrooms, brie and spinach. Two thumbs up!

How typical was it for you?

Many of my weekends seem to be spent here there and everywhere, so it was great to have some 'down time' in Nottingham, and time to soak up the sun!

Your ideal Sunday menu... 

Breakfast: The best breakfast I've had was at Ray's Bucktown B&B in Chicago. It's made to order and you can choose from French toast, pancakes, omelettes or my favourite, a combination of everything with Ray's Roasted Red's (fried potatoes marinated in oil, garlic & rosemary..mmm)
Lunch: A nice (veggie) Sunday roast somewhere in the Peak District.
Dinner: A vegetarian meal at Cafe Roya, a brilliant veggie restaurant in Beeston. Last year it was named the UK's best vegetarian restaurant in the annual Food Awards. I've booked a meal there for my birthday and can't wait to see what's on the menu, which changes every month.

What's in your fridge?

Some leftover Millionaire's Shortbread that Tom made last night. Yum.

QUICK FIRE - without too much thought, name your absolute favourite...

Book: Blankets by Craig Thompson
Film: Hi Fidelity popped into my head first for some reason...
TV Series: My So Called Life. (Honourable mentions: Mad Men, Girls, The Wire, Spaced, Louis Theroux and The Simpsons!)
Holiday destination: New York
Museum: The Pencil Museum in the Lake District!

How can people follow what you do and get in contact?

I blog at Make Do & Mend, or you can follow me on Instagram. My Etsy shop is Make Do Shop. Thanks for having me guys!

A Beginners Guide to... Canteen

A Beginners Guide to... Canteen

Street food in Leicester would usually conjure up ideas of a heavy nights drinking followed by a kebab of uncertain origin that would almost certainly be lived to regret the next day. However, around a year ago I began to hear whispers of rather fabulous event held in Birmingham called Digbeth Dining Club, the idea of street food for foodies really appealed to me and I vowed to visit but then never had the inclination/was too lazy/too busy to travel all the way to Birmingham on a Friday Night. Enter CANTEEN, bringing the street food trend to Leicester, offering a whole host of creative and innovative local street food vendors and proving once again that Leicester is definitely not shit!

Last Friday night was C and I's second visit. So being as we are now aficionados I thought i'd share a few tips on what to expect...

  • Arrive early, CANTEEN gets busy, with around 800 people turning out to the last few events its a good idea to get there early so you can take your time, browse a little and be sure to get a plate or two of food before the traders sell out. The doors open at 5pm till around 10. there's live music, DJ and a few bars so its well worth making a night of it.
  • Take cash, and plenty of loose change. None of the traders take cards and having the correct change speeds up the process considerably.
  • Work the room, or courtyard, have a good stroll round first to decide what you want, then go for it!
  • It's worth sampling a few dishes too. The variety of Traders, from burgers to waffles via greek platters and halloumi fries, means there's something for everyone.
  • Expect to bump into everyone you know, seriously! It's so rare for me to bump into anyone I know these days in Leicester so it was a lovely surprise to catch up with some old faces, and meet a few new friends too!
  • Be prepared to que, this is part of the fun, grab yourself a drink and get in line, you'll be able to watch your food being cooked to order at some of the stands too! A few more traders were added to the bill for last nights event which meant the ques were a little shorter and the traders a little less under pressure. 
  • Beware of que jumpers- do not tolerate this behaviour, its just rude.
  • If in doubt- divide and conquer. C and I joined separate ques, I was in charge of obtaining the burgers, whilst C was on a bao & Kimchi mission. We then reconviened to share our spoils.
  • Eating is mostly done standing up, unless you really do get there early enough to bag yourself a seat.
  • Be kind to the traders, these guys work so incredibly hard and get absolutely hammered so be patient and courteous, obvs!

LCB depot hosts the event every last Friday of the month, so the next event will be 26th May, get it in your diary and we'll see you there! For more info and updates on who will be trading you can follow the CANTEEN facebook page here.


Weekend Review: Janet Brown

Weekend Review: Janet Brown

You may have noticed we've not been very active bloggers recently - sometimes "real life" gets a little too hectic to reflect online. But now we're back - and what better way to return than with a Weekend Review from one of our favourite bloggers (and now RL friend) Janet...

What do you do for work?

I’m a Book Selections Manager for The Willoughby Book Club, which basically means I pick books for people as a job! I also manage all their digital marketing and social media. The WBC is a Leicestershire business set up in 2012 by husband and wife team Adam & Chloe Pollard and they’ve since grown to be the foremost book subscription company in the UK.
In summer 2015 I was a very stressed secondary English teacher, when I saw an advert for book experts to join their team: I applied, and the rest is history. Now, instead of working 70+ hours a week, I spend my days looking at, talking about, taking photographs of and choosing books.

How do you go about choosing a book for a complete stranger?

99% of our customers give us information when buying a subscription – whether it’s for themselves or as a gift – so I have to hand a list of authors, genres and/or books that each customer loves, and sometimes extra information like a Goodreads page or blog. From there, it’s a mixture of extreme book geek-ness, research, and luck!
For example, if a customer has told us they enjoy reading YA romances, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novels, and the Tales Of The City series, I might pick one More Than This by Patrick Ness – combing, as it does, elements of LGBT romance and dystopia in a literary YA adventure. It helps that I read – a lot – and that I enjoy immersing myself in researching titles.

What advice do you have to someone considering a change in career?

It’s something I’ve done twice now: first, applying for a PGCE after spending a couple of years as a legal secretary, and then leaving teaching for WBC, and both times I felt instinctively that I was doing the right thing. I’m not a risk-taker by nature, but in both cases I leapt first, looked later.
So my advice would be to trust your gut and your heart, and don’t let fear talk you out of something you know is right. Ultimately, if things don’t work out, you can always go back to the career you left with some new experiences under your belt and on your CV.

What's been your proudest career moment so far?

Even though I left the profession, so many moments in teaching made me proud: it’s a great job in many ways – those lessons when a student finally gets ‘it’, or when a class throw themselves into a text and enjoy it as much as I do. I don’t miss the stress of teaching but I do miss the students themselves.

And your biggest achievement outside of work?

Being accepted onto an MA in Gender Studies at Leeds University, which I’ll begin in September.

When is your weekend? 

I’m very lucky to only work four days a week, so my weekend runs from Thursday evening until Sunday. Friday tends to be my ‘get things done’ day, leaving me with two days to properly relax.

How did you spend this weekend? 

It was a pretty typical weekend for me and my partner; as neither of us have family near (Thomas is from Glasgow and I’m a Yorkshire girl) there weren’t any family meals or gatherings to attend. We started Saturday the usual way: a lie-in punctuated only by our cat, Missy, shouting at us to get up.
Thomas is a huge foodie – he loves to eat and will try anything (provided it’s vegan!) so our weekends often revolve around our meals, both at home and out and about. Saturday was no exception; we started the day with Huey on 6 Music while we made breakfast – vegan croissants with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam – before heading out, first to Market Harborough for a mooch around the charity shops, then into Leicester for a late lunch at Oscar & Rosie’s, which has just opened and serves some of the best pizza in the Midlands.
Sunday was a lazy day at home. I started the day curled up with a cuppa and a stack of magazines, then worked on zines for an hour or two. I had a stack of my previous zines to send out to people, as well as needing to edit some submissions for a zine Laura and I are currently working on. It’s called Mixtape and is all about 90s (i.e. the best decade!) nostalgia: we’re still looking for contributions in whatever form you like, so give me a shout for more information or to submit.
We had vegan ‘fish’ finger sandwiches for lunch, then went for a long walk on Aylestone Meadows. We’re so lucky to live in a city but with nature close by – within minutes of leaving home we’d seen a heron idly watching the river, a robin darting around collecting twigs for a nest, and a rabbit escaping into the hedgerow. Then home, with a cup of tea and a book (current read - The Lauras by Sara Taylor), before I made vegan lasagna for dinner, accompanied by 6 Music on the radio once again.

Which bits of your weekend do you usually edit out of your blog posts?

The inordinate amount of time I spend in my pyjamas! I’m a total homebody and can happily spend a whole weekend just pottering around the house, reading, and hanging out with my cat. All very enjoyable, but it doesn’t make for very interesting blog posts!

Your ideal Sunday menu... 

Breakfast: A large mug of tea and pain au chocolat fresh from the bakery, eaten with Thomas on the balcony of the Paris Airbnb that we stayed in on our first trip together.
Lunch: A salmon cesear salad with a glass of sparkling wine, on the outdoor terrace of Montebello (in the southern suburbs of Cape Town) with my mum, cousins, aunt and uncle.
Dinner: I’d dine solo, with just a book for company, on veggie nachos at Lola Rosa in Montreal accompanied by a pint of local Quebec cider.

What's in your fridge?

My fridge has a split personality; although I tend not to eat or cook meat at home, my shelves usually have at least three kinds of cheese as well as butter and eggs for baking, while Thomas’s are stuffed with an array of vegan staples such as hummus, vegan mayo, and Violife cheese. Plus, of course, stacks of fresh veggies and usually at least three lots of leftovers (currently languishing in Tupperware -  some homemade guacamole and leftover chilli, and a tofu Thai red curry).

QUICK FIRE - without too much thought, name your absolute favourite...

Book: Impossible to name just one! But three off the top of my head are Persuasion by Jane Austen, anything by Poppy Z Brite, and Simon Vs The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Film: Dazed & Confused
Fashion brand: ASOS
Holiday destination: Cape Town
Museum: The National Media Museum in my hometown of Bradford.

How can people follow what you do and get in contact?

I’m @jbistheinitial on Twitter and Instagram and my blog is jbistheinitial.blogspot.co.uk