Summer 2017 in 80 photos

I’m sat in my fleeze in my living room waiting for work and uni to start back up in the coming weeks; all this means that summer 2017 is over.

I’ve honestly had the best season in a very long time. I’ve worked ridiculous hours in ridiculous conditions, seen and experienced things I never thought I would, created memories with friends that will last a lifetime.

To everyone who has been with me in this crazy ride we’ve called summer and festival season: thank you for everything and I love you so much.

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Summer in the City 2017

Summer in the City gets better and better every year I swear.

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This has been my third year volunteering at SitC and second as a Team Leader in the Meet and Greet area, and what can I say? Every year I fall more and more in love with the event.

For those of you who live under a rock or something, Summer in the City is the UKs largest YouTube convention and it has panels, merch stalls, three small stages that were new this year, the main stage and the meet and greet area.

Thursday is just a day for us volunteers to get together and do about 7.000 goody bags, and I’m not even exagerating a little, we did a total of 7.000 of them. But its a nice environment because the whole volunteer family gets together and we get to know some of the newbies and see friends whom we haven’t seen in a year. After the long day of goody bagging we all went back to our respective apartments and something that was different for me this year was that myself and five of my friends were sharing a flat about 12 min away from the venue, in the same building as probably about 30 more people from our SitC family. My flat and our amazing Key Team Leader Charlotte had pizza and drinks in the apartment all in our pjs and had a chance to catch up in everything that has happened in the last year.

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Friday morning came around and we all had different start times in the flat but myself and Alex, who is my SitC hubby and without whom I think I’d jump off of the ExCel roof at some point over the weekend, we started at 12. It was a very relaxed day seeing as there is not meet and greets on Friday so we had anxiety and panic training and then had a chance to wonder around the merch stalls and see everything that was happening in the expo hall. We ran in to Gary C when he was relaxing with a facemask and some kind of glove things so we joined him for a cheeky facemask. Then we did the instagram booth which had a swing and massive colourful baloons behind it, did a boomerang and another few photos before we went and helped out with the SitC merch and rolled some tshirts. I ran in to some more of the YouTubers whom were in my four lanes of m&g over the weekend so I introduced myself just so I would actually know their faces and they would know mine when the time came around. We all went to the pub after we were done just to have some dinner and catch up with more people, also to not just go home right after a long day.

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Saturday I woke up and I do believe that the first words that came out of my mouth were “Alex, meet and greet starts today!” (obviously in a very sleepy and exhausted but at the same time excited voice). We got to the ExCel bright and early, had briefing all of us together and then us M&Gs went over and briefed all the volunteers and did some role-playing which is always fun, it gets the newbies more relaxed and comfortable around us all which is lovely. 12pm stress hit as we had thirteen m&g starting at the same time, thirteen. It was good though, once we got back in to the flow we managed to sort it out and everything ran perfectly. I had some amazing people on my lanes like Miles McKenna, Mark Ferris, Lucy Moon and Kingsley whom were all lovely! (There was more but I can’t be expected to remember everyones names, soz) There were some that ran over time (*cough* Niki and Sammy *cough*) because the YouTubers love talking to their viewers which is the sweetest thing. As per usual I became the “official Albon body guard” so after all my m&gs were done I helped Niki and Sammy at their merch m&g and then got them to the afterparty safely. It’s always nice seeing them two, like Niki said, if I don’t take care of them over the weekend no one will haha! After the day was done the floor2-flat2 people went to the O2 for dinner, but we were all so delirious we crashed when we got home.

Sunday, bittersweet Sunday. It’s the last day of SitC. M&Gs ran smoothly over the day although if I have to hear the words “fast track” again I might actually jump of the previously mentioned roof. Because there was so many fast-tracks I was actually around the crowd of fans again which I haven’t been in two years and it reminded me a lot of why I love this event, they’re all so blooming lovely! I had wonderful people like Pete Bucknall, Brizzy, MeetTheVloggers and The Gabbie Show (again, amongst others) on Sunday and they were all absolute stars! I actually had time to take a break and go see  my lovely friend Georgie whom I only seem to manage to see for about 30min once a year during SitC because we’re both so busy.. But nevertheless, it’s always lovely to see her! Surprisingly we finished with enough time to go to briefing, get changed and enjoy some of the rides and main stage performances before the night was over. Sunday night is always messy for us SitC volunteers as we all rally at the pub and have a few drinks, get emotional telling each other how much we love each other, what an amazing job we’ve all done and things like that that obviously go very well with the downing drinks, haha! The afterparty was very nice, got to catch up with some of the YouTubers and thank them for being so amazing as well as keeping up the praise with the volunteers. I ended up being the responsible one drinking water from about midnight and putting people in cabs home so that everyone got home safe and leaving last with Georgie and Lee. But it was a fantastic night and I wouldn’t change it.

Now, here comes the bit where I get sloppy and emotional and thank some people whom have made this weekend amazing, however I don’t have time to thank everyone so if you’re not in here please don’t get offended.

Georgie and Lee – thank you for aways being honest with us, whether we’ve majorly screwed up, not doing our jobs 100% to your liking or if we are being amazing, you’re always honest with us which is highly appreciated. You two always make managing a massive group of volunteers that are running the event look easy, when it really isn’t; you guys take a lot for us and you’re always inspiring (I believe I’ve had drunken chats with both of you about this on Sunday, lol). And of course, thank you for trusting me enough to bring me back and still give me all the responsibility you give me.

Charlotte – the shining star from heaven above that makes me not crawl up in to a ball of tears at the end of the corridor of doom every year come Sunday afternoon. Thank you for all you do, for making sure that myself, the rest of the M&G TLs are alright and above all, thanks for never bullshitting us and telling us both good and bad. You’re the glue that holds us together and we all meant everything that was said in the little huddle outside the pub. Love ya heaps.

My fellow m&g TLs – don’t even know where to start with you guys. Obviously this year we had our little newbie Lor, you were a star. We all know how stressful it is, specially it being your first year, but you handled it like an absolute pro and weren’t afraid to ask for help whenever needed. Meg, I feel like I barely saw you this year compared to last year because you were all the way down in 1 and I was all the way in 14! Having said that however, it’s always nice to know that you’re there, that you can help me with whatever so thank you for a second year of “which blonde team leader do you mean?”. Alex, my SitC hubby, you are my rock, you really are. I don’t think I say it enough, but you and me and the dynamics we have and how we work together really helps me get through the stress and the 50+km that the weekend brings. You always have that smile on your face and so much energy and you just lift my mood even if you’re just doing random yoga backstage or sitting on the trolly like the queen you are. I love you all so much, please don’t go making any other plans for the weekend of SitC because I can’t do it on my own.

Now that that is done, that the weekend is done and that my SitC blues has lead me to already put SitC 2018 in my calendar and make a countdown for it on my phone, I’mma go try find myself in the SitC vlogs that have come up.

Thank you creators, organisers, contractors, mcm, kilimanjaro, all the previously mentioned people, and of course, thank you to my SitC family for yet another amazing weekend. See you all in August 2018 (if not before!)

Also, tickets for SitC 2018 have already gone on sale if ya’ll wanna come and meet some fab YouTubers -> http://shop.sitc-event.co.uk/

Heartbreak and Acceptance

Day 159 (177) – The Last One

If you know me you’re probably aware of the breakup I just went through and you know it’s taken a whole lot from me. Not the person per say, but the whole experience has just broken me in a way I didn’t know was possible.

Seven months ago, when I didn’t even know this person I ended up falling in love with, I was mostly happy, very positive and optimistic. I had my group of friends, a job I enjoyed, had just moved to another city and in to an apartment that I adored and was just starting my second year at university studying my passion. Life was good to say the least. However, even though I’d moved cities and university I did not feel ready to leave my life in London, somehow something inside me kept telling me to just hold on for a little bit longer. So that’s what I did.

On October 6th, also known as my birthday, I got the most amazing birthday present ever, I met him, but I had no idea what I was in for. For the following month and a half my life was a rollercoaster, weekends were absolutely perfect and weekdays we’re torture, specially Mondays. Somehow, after a lot of tears, we managed to make it through that and by November 20th he was calling himself my boyfriend. If you could have seen the stupid smile on my face when he let the word slip, how I tortured him for it and pointed out that I had heard the word slip, that I hadn’t missed it. And that’s how the most amazing three months of my life began.

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? The fact that officially it was just three months. The fact that three months could affect me in this way, or even just the fact that this one person could affect me so much then and still to this day.

Anyway, we used to spend weekends together up in London but very soon in to the relationship we decided that when he had his six month breakout clause in his leasing contract, which was March 20th, he would move down to Brighton, where I lived. This wasn’t a decision made lightheartedly or out of nowhere, we just realised it was the best thing for his mental health and for both of our economies. I used to get on the train on Thursdays after my lectures and go straight to his house and not come back to Brighton until Monday mornings right before my lecture. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him.

I’m not saying it was a perfect relationship, Lord knows it was nowhere near it! We argued, we both said things that we regretted as soon as they left our mouths and we know all to well how to push the other persons buttons to get them angry or hurt them in the worst way. But through all the bad there was also a lot of good. Small things that would just melt my heart, confessions and honesty during our many long late night talks, walks around Camden holding hands on a cold Decembers day, iceskating, improvised romantic dinner-and-a-movie date nights… This one time I didn’t have the time to come see him before the shift and he had the night off, however when I got home I had a card on my pillow waiting for me from him. Another time I was sad and he came home with a bouquet of roses from work. Nothing major nor incredibly romantic, but it was the small things that always made me know he loved me. I don’t want to get to much in to detail because at the end of the day those moments were ours, his and mine, and thats where I want them to stay. Let’s just say that our lows were very lows and our highs were very highs, we didn’t really know how to stay in that middle area.

Towards the end of the relationship I could feel him pulling away from me, physically and emotionally and the fact that we had to then spend twenty days from one another didn’t help the situation. However, I thought that it was just me being paranoid and that if we could just make it through those twenty days then we were just a stone throw away from him moving down and us starting our life together in our apartment. I had dreamed about that moment so many times and had gotten used to living with him and having him around at all times.

The breakup itself shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to me, but somehow it did. He’d just gone through something that I believe put his life in perspective and he realised he didn’t want to be with me anymore. From my side it just seemed like another rough patch because I was aware that when we weren’t together he had a lot of things going on, he’s a busy guy like that, so the fact that we didn’t speak that much wasn’t such a surprise and the fact that I missed him but he didn’t have time to miss me wasn’t such a surprise either. But there’s me romanticising everything again, because obviously, that’s not what was going on.

At the time of the breakup I was doing a job where I was on my own for nine days (six from after the breakup) and I couldn’t go anywhere nor have someone over to help me because I was so far out. So I spent those following six days crying, crying a lot. I had no energy to do anything nor did I want to, I just sat and waisted away my week because I couldn’t handle to utter words out loud or to even think about doing something productive with my life. We had contact and got back to communicating very well and shortly after those horrible six days I got some kind of closure, or so I thought.

It’s now been a week and a half since he moved in to the apartment, because of course all of the arrangements for the move had already been made and it was still the best for his mental health, however he lives in the other room and now plays the role of housemate and best friend. Now, if anyone out there is considering moving in or letting their ex-partner whom they still have strong feelings for move in to your home, don’t. Be selfish, take care of yourself first, because let me tell you something, it’s not easy. Personally I can’t say no, and if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t want to either. I thought, nay, I knew we could crack this, I still do, but God damn in, it’s so hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the fact that we are not a couple, that we are not together. It just wasn’t our time right now, it might come in however long or it might not, no one knows. However, even knowing that and knowing that for the time being we are better as friends, it is still horribly painful. This is the person I saw myself having kids and growing old with and now I have to sit in the same living room as him watching him text someone else and just smile and pretend like I don’t notice how he turns his phone away from me when he’s on it like he did at the beginning, or how he flips it over so that I can’t see the screen in case he gets a text. I have to pretend like I don’t know when he’s lying or withholding information from me and I have to pretend like I haven’t cried myself to sleep more than once since he’s been here.

For the past month and however many days it’s gone back to being a rollercoaster. Some days I feel like we really do have a connection and like we are the only two people in the world, other days I feel like he tries avoiding me like the plague. It’s a weird thing because I need to remind myself every day that we are in fact, not together anymore, so he doesn’t really owe me anything, why the relationship didn’t work and also of the person he is and how he works.

Now, why did I start writing this? Well, because I’ve made a decision not to let him rule how I feel so much anymore. He’s so unaware of the power what he says and does has over me.. He really has gotten on with his life without me, even though it hurts that he’s done it so quickly and like we didn’t matter at all, I need to do the same, it’s what we agreed on.

So, the other night I took down all the photos of us and anything that reminds me of our time together from my room and put them away in a safe place along with my rings that he got me. I’m taking that as my first step towards getting better. It’s hard though, getting back to being happy after being with someone that made me so ridiculously happy. It’s like when I was with him I was on 150% happiness level and when he broke up with me I went down to a solid 10% happiness level and clawing myself out of that hole is hard. I’m aware that I don’t need anyone to make me happy, that I can and should be happy all on my own, but it’s like a really hard comedown or terrible hangover. I was on top of the world, I was up on Olympus and now I’m keeping Hades company down in Hell.

A friend of mine asked me to describe the feeling the other day and the only way I could explain it to them was this: “Feels like there is a physical black hole where your heart is meant to be, like you have no energy to get out of bed, take a shower or even eat, like everything you believed and everything you’d planned has been a lie, like you can’t understand what happened, like it isn’t real and you will wake up from this nightmare any time now… Its fucking horrible and painful and dark as fuck”. It gets better, it has gotten better in the past month and I’m coming to terms with our situation, but that doesn’t mean that I am ok, or anywhere near it. I’m getting by, taking one day at a time, trying to concentrate on me, my life, my friends and my career for the time being. He’s got me here when he needs me, I don’t give up on people and I’m not about to give up on him or on us, whatever that means, but for  right now, I have to be selfish and take care of me.

Yes, it’s been a hell of a ride. Yes, it’s been the most painful experience of my life. Yes, I’ve probably literally cried about 10L of tears in the past six months. But it’s also been the best experience of my life. I’ve let myself love and feel things I’d never felt before. I’ve let someone in and felt every inch of their soul merging together with mine. I’ve got one of the best people I’ve ever known now fighting this battle agains life by my side. So no, I wouldn’t take it back and no, I don’t regret a single thing or second of it all.

Two Thousand and Sixteen.

It’s that time of the year again where I’m sat here with, in this case, a cup of hot chocolate reminiscing on the year that has passed.

Oh how things can change in just one years time, in just 365 days. I brought in the year that was living, studying and working in London. How to describe the first few months of 2016… Library, work, pub and alcohol, long nights and a new adventure.

February came around and with it Valentines Day, which has always and will always be my favourite day of the year. Most importantly I organised and staged my very first concert, all done by moi. Granted, it wasn’t a massive success, didn’t even come close to breaking even, it was absolutely not sold out; but, everyone that was there had a great time and I believe that at the end of the day that is what’s important.

March came around and I was still spending a lot of time at the library and at work, with barely a second to breathe. Yet somehow I found the time and energy to start sound engineer training at least once a week down at the Tooting Tram and Social. And I got to meet James Bay, so that was a highlight!

April, what can I say about April. I went to Sweden for a little escapade, just to find some actual time to breathe and get away from London. I think this is when I started to realise that I was drowning in London, that I needed to get out of there, leave somehow. April also marked the beginning of summer in the only way I know how to recognise it: with a Lux Lisbon concert (vlog).

In the beginning of May my sister came and visited me, granted, she only came around because we were meant to go to a country concert but the artist cancelled. She was here for a lovely weekend and two days after she left myself and some classmates held our assessment event that we called New Youth and it kicked ass. I have never felt so proud and excited about a night that I have worked at as I did that night. To know that six of us organised that night, that sold out night, to perfection is one of the greatest memories I have of 2016. In the end of May there’s this festival in Brighton called The Great Escape, just this little thing that is alright (note the sarcasm, please.) It was the beginning of festival season getting to work as Venue Rep Assistant at this one. Ending May with the most horrible and exhausting breakup I have been through.

June started with festival nr 2: The Great Skinhead Reunion in Brighton as well, working as Stage Manager Assistant. I think this is around the time I was realising that Brighton was going to be my next home and this is when I talked to the universities about transferring. The week after festival nr 3 came around which was my first festival that I got to work with my amazing friend Devin and where we met our new friend Luke, Wildlife. The memories, just amazing really, it was the beginning of an era. June 17th marked the end of my first year at university and the end of my time at BIMM London. Two days later I was on a train on my way to the biggest adventure of my life: Glastonbury Festival. Nine days of mud, rain, long walks up and down hills, heavy lifting, building stages, putting together the sound equipment, organising the stage and liaising with bands. This is still, to this day, the best nine days of my life. Thank you for this.

In July my childhood best friend Greta came to visit and we went to see Mumford and Sons perform at British Summertime in Hyde Park where Mumford himself crowd-surfed right next to us. Nothing much happened until the end of the month when I headed to France for a few days to a Mengelkamp family reunion. I have never, ever, in my life, been so sunburned as I was when I came back form France.

August was definitely the month of festivals.. Starting off with Summer in the City, those four amazing, exhausting days of youtubers, fangirls and my SitC family. This year I got to be a Team Leader for Meet and Greets and it was both the most exhausting and rewarding experience, so thank you for that. The week after myself, Devin and Luke headed off to VFest and worked long tiring shifts but loved all the music and amazingness that this job has allowed us to see. The following week was Reading Festival, which was the end of our festival squad and the camping festival season. It’s sad really, that we didn’t get the perfect festival squad together until the very end of festival season, but with any luck most of these amazing people will be there this summer as well so I get to see them again. The end of August was my moving day as well, I had to move all my things out of my apartment and I was officially homeless, yay. So I went to Spain for a week, because why not. I partied like my life depended on it, it was fiestas after all!

September started in Spain but as soon as I came back to England I moved in to an AirBnB in Hammersmith and worked the very last festival of festival season 2K16, BBC Proms. Then I took off to Sweden for a few weeks to see all those friends that I hadn’t seen since I moved away from Sweden back in 2014. After that summer 2016 was over. I came back and was homeless for a few more days but my amazing old host family let me move back in to my old room and took amazing care of me, like they always have. And Mr. Boss Man, if you’re reading this, thank you, again.

October was the start of a completely new adventure. I moved to Brighton, but somehow knew I needed to keep my job in London. So my amazing friend Rebekah let me stay with her during those first weekends. I turned 21 (whoop whoop!) and celebrated with the most amazing group of people in my favourite pub in London. I started my second year at university studying Events Management, changing courses is one of the best decisions I ever made, this is really the right thing for me. And ended the month on a high note with a Shawn Mendes concert with Devin to mend broken hearts.

November was a dramatic month, just like October was. So, like the completely sane and rational person I am, I went and got a massive tattoo on my leg the same day I was going to a concert. To say that I was in pain would be the understatement of the year, but it’s fine.. The Christmas vibes were starting to creep in so a bunch of us went ice-skating at the Natural History Museum and the One Direction fans in the group kept shouting “we’re having our Night Changes moment!” which I will forever love my girls for haha! UK Beatbox Championships came along and it blew my mind more than the previous years, if that is even possible!

December 2016 started with a much needed trip to the countryside with J, oh how I adore the English countryside. My amazing friend Victoria moved on the 17th so I squeezed in as much time as possible with her, which included going to the cat cafe, sky gardens and getting un-intentional matching tattoos as well as a very emotional goodbye party. J and I went to see the 1975 which was a lovely concert. Then I headed off to Spain for a short nine days with my family over Christmas. And then I came back here to bring in the new year with my little poo on a stick, J.

So what has 2016 taught me? It has taught me to never give up, to always get back up again, to chase your dreams because they really do come true, that if you want something and you work really hard for it and have patience you will get it. It has taught me that your heart can break in many different ways, by many different people but that there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with the love of friends and family. It has taught me to not give up on the people that need us. It has taught me that, sadly, friends come and go, but not to regret when we have to let go of someone, their time in our lives might be up and it’s time for both to move on and up. It has taught me to be happy and positive, no matter the situation, life goes on.

2017, please be good to me, to the people I love and to everyone else.

Last night.

It’s the last few hours of the last night that I live in London, at least for now. And as tomorrow approaches I’ve come to think back on this last year where I’ve lived my day to day in the amazing, vibrant, wondrous place that is the City of London.

For years I had been dreaming about moving over here but I’d never in a billion years would have thought that it’d be as amazing has it’s been. All the opportunities I’ve had, all the adventures I’ve been on and concerts I’ve been to, but most of all, all the friends I’ve made.

I’ve been to so many concerts this past year, so many random, last minute gigs that I heard about through some friend who texted me, or even through facebook. I have broadened my music horizons so much because of all the people I’ve discovered and all the music my friends have sent me. I have discovered my true passion for live music.

I’ve experienced working at a venue where I’ve done the stage thing, where I was the one setting up the rig and making sure everything worked so Will could do the sound engineering. I’ve been the one introducing myself to artists in the street telling them that we need to work together. I have the most amazing job, which I absolutely love, at one of the most well known venues in Europe. I’ve worked with my lecturer at the UK Beatbox Championship and at this intimate launch event. I have worked at eight festivals this summer of which one is Glastonbury, freaking Glastonbury! I’ve had so many opportunities this year in live music that I can not thank my lucky stars enough for.

Last night I went to a goodbye concert for this artis who I did sound engineering for a while back and just saying goodbye to him brought a tear to my eye, so sitting here, having to write this makes me cry even more. Even though I know I’m coming back to London on Tuesday for the rest of the week, the worst part about leaving London is leaving all my friends. I’ve met so many amazing people over this year, so many true friends, the kind of friends who will help you out in the darkest of times, who don’t mind it when you call them crying in the middle of the night or talk about the same boy for hours and hours, the kind of people who will offer you their house when you have nowhere to live or help you find something else. The sort of people who are passionate, and bright, and loyal, and loving, supporting, caring, and I could list a thousand other characteristics that my friends here have but I’d be sat here until the early hours in the morning and we just can’t have that. I want to thank you all for taking such amazing good care of me and for letting me be a part of your lives this year. Don’t go thinking you’re getting rid of me, because you’re not, I just wanted to thank you for the time that has been up until now and for the many many years to come.

I guess I’m just feeling very emotional and wish I could pack you all up and take you with me to Brighton, but I know I can’t, and I know that everyone has their own life and we all need to follow our dreams (wherever the darn things might take us) but just know that I love every single one of you.

So here’s to more amazing memories and to the many many years to come. I might be moving, but I’m not disappearing and you’re sure as h not getting rid of me that easy.

Festival season 2k16

Festival season is over and as such I’m in mourning.

I’ve had the absolute best summer of my life doing exactly what I love and doing it with friends, both new and old.

I have worked seven festivals this year and even though I’m exhausted, my feet hurt from wearing my cheap £12 wellies and I don’t want to see another porta potti in at least another year it has been, without a doubt, the best experience of my life.

I have never been so sure that I want to work with festivals and events as I am now. At every festival I’ve just about had the time to take a minute to appreciate everything around me and the fact that this is my life and that it’s amazing.

I can’t explain this feeling with mere words or photos so I’ll just leave you with the knowledge and reassurance that I absolutely love my life, I’m so happy to be where I am at the moment and also, I’m going to sleep for a full week because I’m so tired!

I love you all!
xx