Midsummer merriment

it may have been 3 weeks ago now, but Midsummer weekend this year was unexpectedly good fun. We had meant to make the pilgrimage to Stonehenge with some friends, but everyone forgot about it until a couple of days beforehand, by which point we’d made other plans and it just wasn’t viable any more. I had really been looking forward to it and was sad we weren’t able to go, but at the last minute we discovered a couple of events were on: the Wolvercote & Wytham Midsummer Festival (in Wolvercote itself) on the Saturday, and the Hayfield Road Midsummer Street Party (in Jericho) on the Sunday, both of which turned out to be lovely and made the weekend feel special.

IMG_6024The previous day (Friday 20th, Midsummer’s Eve) had been pretty exhausting, so we had a very leisurely Saturday morning. We decided to walk up along the canal to Wolvercote – previously we’ve always walked up through Port Meadow, but Ed had been on a couple of recce runs along the canal, so we thought we’d try something new.

IMG_6026IMG_6033IMG_6035The canal is lined with brightly decorated canal boats, many of which have lots of plants and ornaments on the roof.

IMG_6038IMG_6036After an hour or so we reached Wolvercote! The fair was held on the village green, and as we arrived some people started making giant bubbles, which of course drove all the kids present crazy. It was hilarious to watch them crashing around chasing after bubbles.

IMG_6109 copyIMG_6042 - CopyIMG_6045 copyIn ultimate nostalgia mode, we got ourselves a couple of 99s and sat down on the grass just as the maypole was being set up. I’ve never seen a maypole in action before, so, coupled with the ice cream and the sun, you can imagine my levels of excitement. There were also games, races, and a dog show.

IMG_6054IMG_6062IMG_6056IMG_6065And of course plenty more bubbles!

IMG_6081 copyIMG_6091 copyIMG_6096 copyIMG_6108IMG_6097We headed home the familiar route, down through Port Meadow, and arrived home feeling the effects of the sun – drowsy, and a little bit pink.

IMG_6114IMG_6121That evening we had a lovely rest at home, curled up on the sofa watching films, and after another lazy morning on Sunday, we wandered up into Jericho in the afternoon to seek out the Hayfield Road summer street party.

IMG_6133IMG_6134 - CopyIMG_6135When we turned up, the Harcourt Collective were on stage, playing one of my favourite songs – they were so good, I need to keep an eye out for them! (You can find some recordings of theirs here.) There was bric-a-brac, face painting, a bake-off, and food and drink. It was a lovely, relaxed event, with lots of families and people hanging around chatting. It was so nice to see a community come together.

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We sat there for an hour or so, enjoying being outdoors with warm weather and good music. It was the perfect way to end the weekend. This summer so far has proved to be idyllic, and I’m almost sad to be leaving next week for 3 weeks in Greece! I feel like I’ve really, finally experienced the quintessential English summer that you read about in Enid Blyton novels. I hope it stays like this for August and September – I have many plans (most of which involve blackberry-picking)…

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A feminist lifestyle blog manifesto

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The very first two blogs I started following were the Vagenda and Esme & the Laneway. Between them, these two say a lot about me, I think, and they go some way to explaining my confusion in terms of what I want this blog to be. I love so-called ‘lifestyle’ blogs, where people share their adventures, recipes, their day-to-day living – I just enjoy getting an insight into other people’s lives, and I guess it’s a sort of wish fulfilment. Esme, for instance, has the most amazing vintage wardrobe and style, and is always getting up to such interesting things (so many brunches!). She’s made me really want to live in Melbourne! On the other hand, the Vagenda is packed full of the sorts of articles I love to read – funny, tell-it-like-it-is honesty on everything from Grazia to victim blaming.  It deconstructs the sorts of ideas and ideals that are fed to us wholesale. It made me realise that I have opinions on things, and that I want to get those opinions out there.

Bringing these two strands together, though, seems like a huge challenge.

Lifestyle blogging is often seen as trivial or twee, and it doesn’t help that many lifestyle bloggers seem to perpetuate this by rehearsing very conventional roles or ideals. But does it have to be this way? Can you reconcile lifestyle blogging with more ‘highbrow’ pursuits?

I want to write about the issues I care about: current affairs, feminism, literature, art, politics, but also cooking, music, and life in Oxford. I want this blog to be a space where I can be creative, where I can feel free to express myself, share my thoughts and feelings. I think I need to get over my fear of ‘not being intellectual enough’, and admit that, actually, I do enjoy food, fashion, homewares etc, just as much as I enjoy reading articles and having debates/rants with my friends. I love the idea of documenting life as you live it and appreciating the here and now. And I guess that is where my interests intersect.

Ultimately, I want this blog to represent me, which means it will end up being a mish-mash of things. But that’s ok. A feminist lifestyle blog? Let’s see what happens.