Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Innocent Unplugged

The room I am currently in is home to a Playstation 4, a TV, a laptop, two iPads, two iPhones and a Mac. I’m not bragging we have just invested a lot into our tech and as a couple, work wise and at home, we are both firmly plugged in. Occasionally I look down at the iPhone glued to my hand and think how good it would be to put it down. Sometimes I just crave the quiet again. I crave no notifications, no constant inbox checking, no likes, no whirring of machines and no more fears of low battery. Sometimes I want to Unplug.

Innocent are one of my favourite brands ever and apparently unplugging is somethign we have in common. One of the founding members did a talk at the local University when I was still in school and I have always remembered his casual approach to starting a business with his mates. As a brand their witty Twitter banter won me over and their ethics are simply on point. I even put learn to Knit in my 101 in 1001 list so that I can help out with the Big Knit scheme later this year. Yes I dig them, so when I saw on Twitter they were hosting a festival where you leave your phone at home, I knew I was in.

To answer your burning question, yes there were free Smoothies. There were actually lots of them in lots of flavours and juices and coconut water too. All of the volunteers at the festival were actually Innocent employees so you never know who was handing you a smoothie. My personal favourite was the recharge smoothie with mango and pumpkin. This was kindly handed to me on Sunday morning after I emerged from my tent to start the search for a bacon sandwich. Almost as good as coffee. 

The location of the festival was incredible. You camp in a giant field next to some tall trees and then, to get to where the action is, you walk through a storybook woodland pathway. There are strings of lights criss-crossing through the trees and little signs telling you to switch off. The 'Last Instagram Post' sign was my favourite as you can see from my pose above. The last bit of the walkway is through giant flower bushes in rainbow colours. It was absolutely beautiful and such a pleasure to experience it in the sunshine. 

There were yoga classes and workshops on offer throughout the weekend. My personal favourite was Circus Skills as you may have guessed from my love of Aerial acrobatics. It involved a throwing and catching game, spinning plates and some other circus toys I didn’t get a chance to play with. There was never a dull moment over the weekend, and there was always something you could jump in and join in on. We randomly went with one guy to see his friend play at the open mic session and he turned out to be the most amazing singer!

Growing up, we had a Mr Motivator fitness video on VHS. Every 90’s kid seems to have had a Mum who was working out to Mr Motivator’s unique brand of spandex and happy exercise. He was on the people’s stage on Saturday afternoon and was genuinely one of the best parts of the festival! We did a little dance workout and then right at the end he made a speech about taking care of yourself and others. It was incredibly motivating, I’m not kidding, he does what he says on the tin.

The only thing we really missed out on was the outdoor spa which looked absolutely incredible. There was a sauna and wooden hot tubs out in the gardens and people serving prosecco. We actually did have tickets but my very sweet but very mistaken boyfriend misread the booking and we showed up right at the end of our allocated slot. It was completely sold out for the rest of the weekend so sadly we missed out on our romantic woodland spa. Instead ate some cereal bars in our very cold tent. Not quite the same but at least we were together.

Throughout the weekend there were little details that just made the event even better. As an event manager these are always what make it for me and they really made the festival stand out against other events. There was a Beer Pong table which proved predictably popular. It’s not my best game but still. Someone brought along Hula Hoops to play with in the sun and there were two guys making giant bubbles that bobbed through the crowd. The giant graffiti wall was a hit, I’ve never used spray paint before and I can’t exactly say I was an artist but it can pass for an abstract piece I’m sure. All through the trees were anti-phone signs to help tie the unplugging theme to the wonderland style event. 

Aside from wanting to disconnect, Lucy Rose is the reason I booked tickets in the first place. She is a tiny little thing with a gorgeous voice and lyrics that tell me how I’m feeling. We stayed late on the Sunday to see her play and we were so close to the front it was almost like she was singing to us. She did not disappoint at all and she sounds exactly like her records. We held hands in the crowd and listened to her lovely voice float around us. I was especially enamoured when she sang ‘Shiver’ which I would highly recommend if you have never heard of her before.We sat out in the sun on both days and listened to music acts we weren't familiar with. Jake Issac, Ethan Ash and Kimberley Anne where all great too!

After Lucy we headed home back down the M25 to plug firmly back in. We hopped back onto Instagram, we watched Game of Thrones and we started sifting through those inboxes. I like to think we learnt a little bit though. It’s nice to really look at someone and talk to their face not to a screen and see their eyes look back at you and not the top of their head. I think future date nights might be a digital free zone from now on…

Thank you to Innocent for hosting us for the best weekend of the year! 

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