Classic VW Art For Xmas Pressie

7 Jan

For my wife’s 2013 Xmas pressie, I was desperate to redeem after 2012 calendar art disaster!

Thanks to postings by advertising history specialists, I gathered a collection of classic VW adverts by New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB). DDB started work with Volkswagen in 1959 with the iconic “lemon” AD campaign. This canvas illustrates the history of this vibrant and innovative collaboration.

The result – 2013 pressie now pride of place in our house (2012 pressie binned!)

Ultimate Wedding R&B Music Mix

7 Jun

Today I was the Buttercupbus wedding car driver for the lovely Elissa and her bridal party of Cat, Alicia and Nix.

Not only where these glamorous gals the most chilled bridal party ever as they sipoed bubbly and wine enroute to the wedding, they had Pushka’s rude gal JBL GTO sound system positively bouncing! These gals were firmly putting the “party” in bridal party.

The girls has prepared the ultimate R&B wedding music mix. Here is the track list:
1. Let’s Get Married – Jagged Edge
2. Jumpin’ Jumpin’ – Destiny’s Child,
3. Don’t Mess With My Man – Lucy Pearl
4. Live at Jimmy’s – Big Pun, Angie Martinez, Cuban Link
5. What’s Luv? –  Fat Joe Feat. Ashanti
6. Dance With Me – 112
7. I Do (Wanna Get Close To You) – 3LW
8. Afrodisiac – Brandy
9. Get Right – Jennifer Lopez
10. Where My Girls At – 702
11. Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle
12. Baby Boy – Beyonce Ft Sean Paul
13. Gangsta Lovin’ – Eve @ Alicia Keys
14. Senorita – Justin Timberlake

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Anker® 7200mAh Extended Battery Combo for Samsung Galaxy S3, S III, GT-I9300 – TPU back cover included [18-Month Warranty]:Amazon.co.uk:Electronics

4 Jun

Picture the scene. You are shoulder riding at your favourite festival, poised for the ultimate selfie with your face on the big screen. Only your mobile is out of juice. The horror, the horror…..

The mobile phone is the ultimate festival goer tool. Sat nav, whats up messaging. Clashfinder browsing, weather reports, social media updates, video of main acts.  Festival phone usage is relentles and saps away the precious battery juice.

The Anker® 7200mAh Extended Battery Combo for Samsung Galaxy S3 is the key essential. It boosts battery life by 4 times for maximum sustained usage. At the  recent Elderflower Fields festival my Samsung outlasted my wife’s iPhone and I was still taking family selfies at noon night.

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The downside is that the battery is the equivalent on a brick in weight. Ladies there is no sneaking this phone down your hunter wellies. But on the upside is you are rocking the 80s retro look, then you will be happy to pimp your 21st century Samsung as a 20th century Nokia.

Anker® 7200mAh Extended Battery Combo for Samsung Galaxy S3, S III, GT-I9300 – TPU back cover included [18-Month Warranty]:Amazon.co.uk:Electronics

4 Jun

Picture the scene. You shoulder riding at your favourite festival ready for the ultimate selfie with your face on the big screen. Only your mobile is out of juice. The horror, the horror…..

The mobile phone is the ultimate festival goer tool. Sat nav, whats up messaging. Clashfinder browsing, weather reports, social media updates, video of main acts.  Festival phone usage is relentles and saps away the precious battery juice.

The Anker® 7200mAh Extended Battery Combo for Samsung Galaxy S3 is the key essential. It boosts battery life by 4 times for maximum sustained usage. At the  recent Elderflower Fields festival my Samsung outlasted my wife’s iPhone and I was still taking family selfies at noon night.

image

The downside is that the battery is the equivalent on a brick in weight. Ladies there is no sneaking this phone down your hunter wellies. But on the upside is you are rocking the 80s retro look, then you will be happy to pimp your 21st century Samsung as a 20th century Nokia.

2014 Elderflower Fields: Glam vs Adventure Festival?

2 Jun

Family festivals in 2014 are just getting too “glam”. I’m not just speaking about the acres of fields set aside for Mongolian tents with wood burning stoves. No, I’m speaking about princess glam. As a father of two princesses aged two and five, I find myself sat in a tent being forced by two daughters to embrace the fairy arts of face-painting and have glitter sprinkled over my head by an enthusiastic artists (see Lee Festival 2013). As a gritted my teeth I found myself wishing that I had boys.

I did have a niggle about the location when I booked the tickets for 2014 Elderflower Fields. It wasn’t the usually Sussex venues that normally expect for a festival (racecourses, national trust venues). When we rocked up at Pippingford Park in our campervan that the memories flooded back. Years before my wife and I had subjected ourselves to an extreme cross-country 10k run. This venue is now default for mud and obstacles extreme events, Top Gear film shoot for quad bike testing and WWII reenactments. This was definitely not glam?

We had day tickets and the venue opened at 10am. As we scramble down the hill that forms the natural ampitheatre for the main stage, the girls spy mountain bike courses, skakeboarding ramps and a climbing walls sponsored by Sport England’s SpoGo. Soon the girls are out of the festival trailer and out exploring with the other kids. Anoushka signs up to a sports camp and is running around with frisbes, handball and tennis.

The highlight of the Sunday afternoon was the massive picnic sponsored by So Sussex with food provided by local businesses.ElderflowerFestival2 My initial expectactions for a box of wafer snacks were far exceeded by amble feast of tasty bread, best ever hummus and a decadent chocolate cake. With the sun beating down we relaxed as we shared our picnic blanket with strangers, and watched our family meet new friends and dance to the music.  Face paints were arranged while dad had a post-picnic doze.

My personal highlight was in the late afternoon. We were too late to participate in the woodland activities sponsored by the John Muir Trust.  We set out in a mini-beast adventure scouring the woodland debris.ElderflowerFestival Mini-beasts were soon forgotten when the girls discovered spent rifle shells left over from WWII reenactments.  For the next 1 hour covered a huge area finding bugs, beetles and bullet cases. This is extreme kids festivalling! We finished the night by the main stage in the traditional family festival activity: shoulder dancing!

Elderflower Fields is a uniquely diverse family festival. My comparison would be with the Just So Festival which defintely meets the glam criteria. Just So Festival was able to channel focus onto the main stage music. At Just So, our girls danced to delighted with their face paints with their hand made fairy wings to blissful folk music. The main stage at Elderflower was lacking any dance participation by the kids. In fact there was no kids to be seen by the stage. This was not the fault of the musicians. Simply that they could not compete with the lure of the neighbouring fields and woodlands for great outdoor adventures. The two festivals are the polar extremes of family festivals.

I relished my time Elderflower Fields and adored by time with little explorer girls. They were muddy, exhausted and had a great time. They didn’t cry once. Little boys are wimps. So glad I have two daughters!

The Will To Survive: Review of The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story of Survival During the War in the Far East by Alistair Urquhart

9 May

fogotten highlanderVictory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

 

 

 

True account narratives are regular fodder in my reading or audible book archives. I an in awe of sports hero for their will power to push their the limits of the human body to achieve their goals. It is also inspiring to hear accounts for survivors cling to the meagre fabrics of hope in their stranded expiditions from mountains or the great seas to reach home. But nothing can compare with the raw, honest will power of this Aberdeenshire born WWII soldier to endure the most unspeakable humilations known to human kind in the book The Forgotten Highlander. The quote from Winston Churchill is telling summary of Alistair Urquhart, a Gordon Highlander. Alistair was conscripted into the army at 19 and stationed at Fort Canning in Singapore. In 1942 he was one of 80,000 British army forces that were taken prisoner during the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese army. The was no great battle or grand victory. The Malayan campaign is one of the British Army’s greatest errors. The 80,000 prisoners were now under the control of an army that did not respect surrenders, prisoners, Geneva conventions or human conditions. Alistair’s story of his endurance for the next four years is beyond my comprehension. From the train rides and death marches to the hellfire pass on the Burma Railway, to the hell ships such as the Kachidoki Maru used to transport prisoners from Malaya to Japan, the torments build and build to unspeakable limits. All the time Alistair and the PoWs are inflicted with countless diseases including tropical ulcers, malaria and cholera.  Then there were the beatings, the tortune and the punishments. The conditions do not simply test the human bodies ability to survive, but stretches the fabric of the human will to survive. On this Alistair had one basic success factor: he sought to each and every day to survive from sunrise to sunset. Alistair like may veteran PoWs did not share his story on return to civilian life. He withheld his story for over forty years and must have struggled with the inner demons and nightmares.  I have to confess I had my own nightmare simply on visualising the accounts. How Alistair buried his experiences for so long and then re-accounted this unrelentless story defies my understanding. I am glad he found the courage as this is a story that needed to be told. Not simply for the horrors that so many thousands enduring during the WWII Far East campaigns, but to share that the will to survive can be fed with basic memories of home, family and a selfish courage to endure every day.

Music That Matters Podcast: Runner Powered Podcast, Volume 1

29 Apr

http://blog.kexp.org/2014/04/25/music-that-matters-podcast-runner-powered-podcast-volume-1/

Vision and Investment Benefits Holidaymakers at Bunn Leisure Holiday Camp

23 Apr
Seaside_Playing at West Sands

Seaside_Playing at West Sands

Our family enjoy nothing more than a stay vacation especially over the Easter holiday season. The previous years have generated record temperatures for April with extended periods of clear blue skies. The downside of stay vacations is that the facilities of many holiday and caravan parks are tired and need of fresh capital and attention.

Our first impressions of the Bunn Leisure holiday camps were extremely positive. The park had evident had a fresh lick of paint and the signs were all bright and directing holiday makers to the wealth of facilities available including tennis courts, playing fields, kids clubs and a large leisure centre with swimming pools. It was the wide and attractive beach that was the focus for our attention.

Bunn Leisure with the support of key stakeholders including the Environment Agency developed in 2012 the largest UK man-made beach project worth approximately £15m. This required shipping massive granite rocks from Norway, reclaiming over 500,00 tonnes of shingle and sand from the sea to extend the existing beach. The results of this ambitious project is a wide expanse of beach front, accessible to all the camps in the resort. The main restaurant has the perfect vista to enjoy this scene in the setting evening sun. I found it hard to believe I was still in England during mid-April with temperatures averaging 20C and not a cloud in the sky.

The Oasis facilities are excellent. The stand out feature was a 25m competitive swimming pool next to the family and kids adventure pools. Throughout the day I was able to access the pool and conduct my planned training sessions. My wife used the gym facilities using the running machine and weights.

Our two girls aged 5 and 2 had a fantastic time. They loved the caravan that was located in the White Horse camp in a quiet area next to a large playing field. Both were entertained in different kids clubs with the eldest scoring out with wizard training school and dance academies. Our 3 year yorkshire terrier enjoyed the camp, but this was mainly cause he was off duty from regular patrols to evict urban foxes from our garden.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the holiday park. It is a definite must for a stay vacation and scored high on value for money.

evening walk

Bailey and Alec enjoying an evening walk on West Sands Beach