Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Refuse to Sink | Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2016

Strong Island Clothing Co

Let's talk about stripes. Everyone loves a stripe. Breton tees are probably the most versatile piece and the one staple that everyone should have in their wardrobe. Paired with black skinny jeans, a leather jacket and a beret for Parisian chic, tucked into blue mom jeans with converse for preppy laid-back style, or under a classic black suit for those tailored-meets-casj vibes. They're an easy piece to work with, no matter what your style.

This one from the new Strong Island Clothing Co summer collection is a classic Breton style with thin, navy blue stripes, complete with subtle embroidered details. In this instance, I wore mine with simple sandals and jeans, and paired it with the wooden wayfarer style sunglasses and the bright yellow 'Refuse to Sink' pac-a-mac. The nautical themed outfit complimented the backdrop of Eastney Marina perfectly, and hen it cooled down in the evening I threw on one of the classic crew sweaters to keep off the seaside chill.

The new Strong island Clothing Co range is now available in store now and online. If you’re in the area take a visit to ‘Shop Ahoy’ in Southsea and check out all the new products for yourself.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Isle of Wight Festival 2016

The Isle of Wight has always been a nostalgic place for me. Having had family live there in the past and spent many a summer holiday there when I was younger, stepping off the hovercraft into Ryde and breathing in that Island air is like stepping back in time to my childhood. The festival is no exception and has always been a haven for nostalgia for many people, a place to relive musical history for music lovers of all ages. This year didn’t disappoint, featuring headline performances by 1970s rock heroes The Who and Queen, and 1990s favourites Stereophonics and Faithless.

My dad was at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, the year The Who played for the first time. 46 years later and there I was, at the same place and seeing the same band. Pulling at my nostalgic heart-strings once again, we danced away to classic hits ‘Who Are You?’, ‘Baba O’Riley’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Pinball Wizard’. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey provided a fantastic performance that was enjoyed by a crowd of fans across multiple generations. With references to their previous performances at Isle of Wight Festival, for just one evening we were transported back to the 1970s.

The band I was most looking forward to seeing at this year’s festival though was of course Sunday night headliners; Queen. The band made the controversial decision in 2011 for Adam Lambert to fill the shoes of much-loved Freddie Mercury as lead vocalist on the road. In my opinion it was the best decision they could have made. Adam Lambert makes no attempt to impersonate Freddie Mercury and instead he is an incredible performer and flawless vocalist in his own right. He has brought the power rock anthems of Queen back to life and allowed a whole new generation the chance to see and embrace the band once again. The whole performance was incredibly poignant and emotional, with Lambert dedicating ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ to the victims of the Orlando shooting, and to “anyone who has been victim of senseless violence or hatred”.

This year’s festival was in collaboration with Cancer Research UK and Channel 4’s joint charity effort, Stand up to Cancer. Together we all paid tribute to David Bowie, whose last headline act was at Isle of Wight 2004, and who died of cancer at age 69 earlier this year. We purchased Ziggy Stardust masks and danced along to ‘Starman’ in the main arena, performed by Andrea Corr and Gary Kemp. The atmosphere was incredibly moving as thousands of music fans gathered to pay their respects.

Across the weekend I had a lot of fun seeing plenty of fantastic bands. One of the most exciting of these was a blast from my pre-teen past; Busted. My inner 12 year-old squealed with excitement as Charlie, Matt and James stepped out onto the stage. As to be expected, there were several groans and cringes from a generation who haven’t yet forgiven boybands for taking over the pop-punk stratosphere in the 2000s. I, however, was part of the crowd of devoted 1990s kids, with all those years spent jumping around our bedrooms with air-guitars, singing along to ‘Year 3000’ and ‘What I Go To School For’ suddenly racing back to life. They didn’t disappoint, and with a spattering of new music throughout, Busted embraced their nostalgic value and sang all our favourite hits.

A couple of relatively new bands who I thoroughly enjoyed over the weekend were Blossoms and Hello Operator. Blossoms came onto the scene just last year, rising to fame with hits such as ‘At Most a Kiss’ and ‘Charlemagne’. We managed to catch the last half of their set after rushing over to the Big Top after Busted. They captivated their audience and performed a great selection of tunes including latest single ‘Getaway’. Hello Operator graced the presence of the Jack Rocks stage, a stage brought to us by everyone’s favourite festival drink; Jack Daniels. With a plastic cup of Jack Daniels Honey & Lemonade in hand, I joined the crowd for Hello Operator’s lively and energetic set. Whilst still a fairly new band on the scene, they had the audience on their feet, dancing along to their single ‘Stephanie’, and generally having a good time.

As usual, it wasn’t just about the music though. With around 96 food stalls pitched up at Isle of Wight Festival, there was more than enough choice for sustenance to keep us partying all weekend. Long gone are the days of dry burgers and soggy chips as your staple festival diet. This season we had pulled pork sandwiches, stone-baked pizzas, fresh churros, and there was even a Moët tent for the fancier folk. A few people mentioned that food seems to be becoming such an important factor at festivals now that in some ways it is becoming more important than the music. My only grabble would be that there was almost too much to choose from…

The weather stayed beautiful all weekend despite constant forecasts of heavy rain, with the sun shining through the overcast sky to keep us warm and dry. The only exception was half an hour on Sunday evening, but I welcomed it as an excuse to finally don my favourite Refuse to Sink pac-a-mac.

Overall, it was another amazing weekend from John Giddings and the Isle of Wight Festival family. I look forward to seeing how many incredible bands and performers they can squeeze onto our favourite little neighbour Island this time next year!

Original article: Strong Island Co
Photography: Sarah Nunn, Callum Baker, Sara Lincoln

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Sun Always Shines in Southsea | Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2016

Strong Island Clothing Co

My good friends at Strong Island have just released their Summer 2016 collection and for some reason they let me loose to prance around the beach showing it all off, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share it with you all.

The collection mostly consists of t-shirts, hoodies and sweaters, but also features accessories such as a bright yellow pac-a-mac (festival essential), wooden sunglasses, and a picnic blanket - complete with beautifully hand-cut leather carrying straps.

You might have noticed me talking about Strong Island a bit more often here on my blog lately. That's because I joined the team at the beginning of the year as a contributing writer to their online magazine. I love my hometown of Portsmouth & Southsea so the fact I get to join in with local events and play a small part in promoting the creative scene of the city makes me very happy.

Strong Island acts primarily as an online resource for music, the arts and all things cultural within the city of Portsmouth. In 2010 they began designing and selling a couple of t-shirts to a handful of friends, and since then it has expanded into an independent store and exhibition creating brand new collections on a bi-annual basis.

This summer they've released a collection that stays true to their roots with the same high quality that their customers have learned to love, but with added attention to detail. The graphic tees showcase a combination of minimalist embroidery and detailed designs, all with the classic but subtle Strong Island branding. 

The new Strong island Clothing Co range is available in store and online now. If you’re in the area, take a visit to ‘Shop Ahoy’ in Southsea and check out all the new products for yourself.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Common People Festival 2016

Against all the odds, the sun shone down on Southampton this bank holiday weekend as 40,000 people gathered to enjoy Common People Festival for its 2nd year running.
As one of Bestival’s little sister festivals, the event was filled to the brim with live music, dance performances, incredible street-food, boutiques and fun activities for all the family. As with all of Rob da Bank’s festivals, the attention to detail was spectacular and there was never a dull-moment to be had, and with guests of all ages partaking in the fun, there was a very relaxed and family-friendly vibe to the weekend.

Returning to his home town to headline the Saturday night, Craig David described the gig as the most important ever, exclaiming “you can take the boy out of Southampton, but you can’t take Southampton out of the boy!” Bringing his TS5 radio show all the way from Miami to Southampton, Craig David knows how to start a party and work the crowd, and his latest hits proved just as popular as the old favourites.

The first day featured several iconic, pioneering musicians from different eras and genres, including living legends of Indie-Rock, Primal Scream, who performed an exhilarating set that captivated the audience from the beginning. Other favourites were the Godfathers of Hip-Hop, Public Enemy, who after nearly 30 years performing together, are still as relevant as ever.

Kings of Pop, Duran Duran, headlined the Sunday night, garnering huge respect with their continued pursuit to create new music which they performed alongside the classic crowd pleasers, providing for their long-term, die-hard fans whilst also gaining the attention of new ones. The set was lively, exciting and full of atmosphere, bringing people of all ages together in one show-stopping performance.

Alongside the likes of Katy B, Jamie Lawson and dare I say, The Cuban Brothers, Portsmouth’s home grown talent still shone through. Rex Domino, a self-confessed “example of millennial self-loathing in a creative musical context” played a set early in the day. It was fantastic to see them captivate the attention of the audience for the entire set, considering the quiet time of day. Old favourites Kassassin Street took to the Uncommon Stage just before Duran Duran started, gearing the audience up with a fun and lively set. At one point the lead singer couldn’t bear to miss out on the fun and just had to jump in and join the crowd.

For me, one of the most visually exciting acts of the whole weekend was Batala Portsmouth, a local 60-piece drumming band, famous for their Afro Brazilian Samba Reggae drumming. As the first Batala band to establish itself in the UK, this is their tenth year of playing gigs across the South Coast of England. With the loud and infectious music, vibrant dancing and bright costumes, it’s no surprise it was so well received by the audience during the pop-up performances across the weekend.

Aside from the music, the second most important thing at any festival is deciding what you’re going to eat. With sumptuous street-food from Portsmouth favourites The Tenth Hole (On the Go) and Pie and Vinyl, and so many others including incredible pulled-pork and beef brisket from Smokestak and fancy cheese on toast by The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Company. For the grown-ups who’d had just about enough pints of cider for one day, the Jam Jar Bar served delicious cocktails, shaken and served in hipster jars and with a slightly smaller queue than the usual bars, what else could you want?

If you fancied a break from the hustle and bustle at the main stage, then a few of the other fun activities available included the iconic helter-skelter, a big wheel, and not forgetting the World’s biggest bouncy castle. Common People pulled out all the stops to kick off festival season 2016 with a bang, and with a little help from the weather Gods on their side, they definitely pulled it off.

Photography: Stuart Barker, Jordan Bareham and Common People

See the original story and more photos at
© Sarah Nunn

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