My holiday in the Ibiza party playground!

Generally when you tell people you are taking a vacation in Ibiza they either look at you with a smile and laugh or they squirm at you with outright jealousy. Im not going to deny that I love a good party, the madness of a rave and appreciate a balmy coastal lifestyle. As my second time visiting the vibrant island, I was pretty amped about this trip because my friend Mel (DJ Decimel) had secured a few gigs and at the last minute, I had a few friends from Australia who wanted to meet up while over on their European holiday.

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For those who have yet to be acqainted with the white Isle, there are normally two sides to it. Not just for the clubbing and partying but its also well known for its spa and yoga retreats, over the top villas and stunning landscapes. If you’re fond of a sunset or sunrise then you’re in for a treat as well. The island has numerous spots for catching some of the most spectacular sights, in fact the best in the world I reckon.

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Going in August, which is the peak of the summer and also the hottest, means it is swarming with people, so make sure you are as close to the beach or a pool as much as you possibly can be. With the sizzling humidity, it really is essential.

We caught an EasyJet flight out on the Friday evening form Gatwick Airport. You’ll find the times to fly in and out are slightly obscure, even with airlines such as BA. Im not sure if they do this on purpose but the airport is literally only a few km’s from the central part of Playa d’en bossa so very convenient if you happen to be staying around that part of town. I personally think this is the best part of the island to stay in and certainly as a ‘base’ if you are a club fanatic. All the big name clubs are a stones throw away and the beach scene is very popular providing loads of tunes to kick start the party. Ibiza Town which is only up the road, is quite upmarket (and close to Pasha).

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We stayed in an apartment type block above Delano Beach club, which is adjacent to the well known party spot, Bora Bora Beach club. Equipped with an ample sized balcony providing us with some not so shabby views of the surrounds, it was only a few minutes walk to Ushuaia on the right and Jet apartments to the left. Being a small island, you don’t have to worry about transport, most things are reachable by foot unless you plan on travelling to San Antonio which requires a taxi.

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The first night we arrived was a fairly late so we opted to stay in with a few beverages and soak in the energy. For me, I was glad to be looking at some dreamy ocean views after being teased after my Oz trip back in February. That and being able to wear a pair of shorts! I was also determined to wake early for the first sunrise of the day which was well worth it for the lack of sleep.  Anyway sleeping is cheating 🙂

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The next day I wanted head straight to the sand and catch a few rays. A normal afternoon around here would be a packed beach with people looking slightly worse for wear, a lot of naked bodies, girls in bikinis strutting along with their megaphones and with head turning outfits (usually promo for the club nights) and some seriously loud beats. We were lucky enough to have some wicked tunage supplied by Delano with even a few patrons getting up and dancing on some furniture. You see in Ibiza, its ‘anything goes ‘which may be quite an eye opener for some but for me this place is all about letting go and enjoying the moment, crazy or not it has to be done!

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Over the course of the next few days you can pretty much imagine there were some late nights tearing up the dance floor or as some would say, raving until the break of dawn. Spain is profoundly known for its partying so this pretty much means that nothing gets going until  at least after midnight.

The only negative thing I could say about Ibiza is the cost. Bring cash and plenty of it. To get into a club like Space, Sankeys, DC10 or Pasha you are looking at around 40 to 50 euros and then drink prices are enough to make you weep. Sometimes you will find people on the streets giving out wristbands with cheaper prices. This does not necessarily mean you will getting a good deal, so be very wary of that.

For Amnesia I went for the VIP Terrace option and purchased online. Or you can find local people like Luigi who are selling tickets and not ripping people off. Another smart idea is to always pre drink in your hotel/apartment before you head out. There are little convenience stores dotted around selling beer, wine and spirits so you shouldn’t have any issues finding one and this will save you hundreds. Trust me.

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If I had to say what the highlight of my trip was I would probably say Formentera. I missed out on going to this magical island the first time around so I was determined to get there this time! You can catch the Ulises Cat which is about 15 minutes walk from Bora Bora beach club and really easy to spot. It will take about 40-45 minutes to get there and if the seas aren’t too choppy you should be in for a nice ride. When you get to the island you will need to hire a bike or moped if you want to go swimming as this is a good 40 minutes of walking and know one wants to endure that in 30-40 degree temps. No thanks.

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We didnt have the foggiest clue where we were going once on our bikes but the beauty about getting lost on a small island is that you cant go too far and besides, thats what makes its a hell of a lot more fun! We managed to stumble across a hidden gem off the beaten track called El Tiburon. Undeniably providing some of the best views of the pretty turquoise waters and white sandy beaches that the island is known for, we were exceptionally lucky to get a table because it was full booked with reservations. (good sign of a decent restaurant) Ibiza is highly regarded for their fresh seafood and sushi so go nuts if you enjoy this type of cuisine as you wont find much better in this part of the world.

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I was feeling like an overload of carbs as I knew it was going to be a rather long night ahead and wouldn’t have time to be eating before heading out. My attention was drawn to the tagliatelle pasta on the menu. With fresh succulent prawns, semi sun dried tomatoes, it was incredibly delicious and paired nicely with a couple of glasses of Julie & Navines white vino (cheers Indy for the modelling). It was in fact, one of the best meals I had the pleasure of eating on this entire trip – absolutely sublime. 

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After a small food coma moment we made our way down to the pristine, crystal clear waters for a long dip and a session of sun baking. However it didnt end there. On our tipsy trek back to the port we stumbled across another colourful beach bar for some obligatory sangria. White to be precise. Cant recall a time that ive ever had this before, its always been a red but this I much prefer, especially when it comes with a bundle of the longest straws you have ever seen!

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As I mentioned earlier my friend Mel had a couple of gigs secured – one being at Tropi trance bar in San Antonio. This is known as the West End and takes about half an hour by taxi to get there. If im honest this part of the island doesnt really do it for me but Mel’s set was so impressive I completely forgot about where I was (or perhaps that was a few too many vodka’s) After we headed to one of the oldest and well known clubs on the island – Amnesia. The place is totally off the hook, bagging some of the best DJ’s in the world, I was fortunate enough to be in the same presence as Paul van Dyk, Eric Prydz and Jordan Suckley that evening for Cream night and let me tell you this club is on steroids, its humungous!! I cant even count on my hand the amount of times I got lost in there but that is a whole different story which shouldn’t be told 🙂

After nursing a severe hangover on the beach all day, I was almost unable to make it to Eden that night but with the legend Judge Jules playing behind the decks in the main room it would be really rude of me to miss out on this one. My friend and our photography for the trip Jon Self, managed to worm his way into the DJ box and take pictures of the man who was I was a huge fan of back in the day (and clearly still am!).

Im still envious of you Mr Self!

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Being the foodie that I am, I was gagging to try out a few more restaurants and what more of a perfect place then Ushuaia beach club (yes its not all about the music when you’re are here!). The hotel itself is famously known for some of the best club nights and pulling top international DJ’s. ANTs being one of the club nights on the Saturday was a favourite of mine. Purely because this is my type of dance music.

I had a friend staying at the Tower which is the other part of the hotel, next door. You know, the one with all the flowers running up the walls of the exterior. You can find a decent sized pool filled with bright colours and flamingoes, a bar and roof terrace serving quality cocktails and parts of the hotel decorated with ‘ants’ which I found bizarre but also ultra creative.

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The Beach club my friends, is fantastic. Filled with the beautiful people, (no doubt the people that are staying there) not only do you have those ‘views’ of the water, a resident DJ perched above the patrons and mouth watering food but if you happen to be there of an evening you will be able to hear the sets being played from the club area. Music and food? Perfect combo right. Be warned though, you may want to get up midway of your meal and have a little boogie while finishing that last bite. Hey, if you cant do it here then when can you?!

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First time around I was dying to dig into their sushi and mark my word, it did not disappoint one bit. They also have a Japanese restaurant called Minami which I was really hoping to try out but sadly just ran out of time. I know…..ME who worships any kind of Japanese on a daily basis…..this is just outrageous! 😉

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As my experience here for lunch was so on point I had to get a few of the crew back here for round two. Dinner consisted of:

The fanciest tuna tartare that existed

Fluffy raffoli pasta with truffle cheese (and lots of it!)

The most enourmous king prawns

Crusted sea bass with herb roasted vegetables which I had major food envy over. Have you seen this size of this dish?!

A selection of sorbets

A shot of  Hierbas ibicencas (thank you Luigi!) which is a traditional Spanish digestif

 

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While I was out on the island, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Raver of the year – Alex van Naher, Nick ‘the Kid’ Coles and DJ Decimel at the Tropicana Beach club. Even on holiday I seem to be working but since deciding to incorporate more of the music side of things, I wanted to make sure I had made the most of any opportunities while I was here.

The secluded beach bar and restaurant is located only metres from Blue Marlin (which has now become quite the household name and known for its glitzy glam crowds and the hefty drink pries that go with it). Tropicana was slightly more low key which was nice to have some time out from the madness.

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Later on into the evening we popped into @ night bar where Mel was gigging at and since it was one of the last nights out on the town I wanted to go all out in true Steph style. Sankey’s is a nightclub franchise with clubs in Manchester and New York City and which also happens to be a favourite of mine. That evening they had Steve Lawler and Hot Since 82 playing so this was already ‘in the bag’ decision wise. Whether I was coming with the troops or a lone ranger, I was not going to say no to a gig like this.

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The last time I was in Sankeys I had the rare chance of seeing Solomon live. These guys blew it out of the park and especially in a venue like this where it can get horribly overcrowded and hot; to be able to take your mind of the uncomfortable surroundings is absolutely superb.

Again a sweat box but for me its all about minimal and tech house music, so I wouldn’t care if I was dancing on a rubbish bin in the sahara desert. If the quality of the music is there, nothing else should matter 😉

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I may be biased about my opinion of Ibiza and go on about how much I adore it but all in all this holiday truly was a blast. The reality is, you barely sleep, you party hard at night and bask in the sun during the day. Its nonstop craziness which can be exhausting but you learn to appreciate some of the best music and dance clubs on the globe today.

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With the season coming to an end, I am already planning for 2016 and this time around I will make a point of spending more of it exploring the wondrous sights of the island. I would love to capture the sunset at Es Vedra, do some water sports, hire a boat and maybe treat myself to one night at the opulent Hotel Hacienda. It would also be a dream to check out Sublimotional, which is located in the Hard Rock Cafe and one of the most expensive restaurants in the world to dine at. Slightly over the top but we all deserve some luxury from time to time!

 

*Photo credit to Jon Self Photography

*Tanned up by Bella Bronze Tan

*Special thanks to Alex, Nick, Melissa & Luigi 

 

Interview with Raver of the Year, DJ Nick the Kid & Decimel (part 3)

 

DJ Nick ‘the Kid’ Coles  

Trance & Progressive DJ & Producer

1. Who is Nick the Kid and tell me about yourself?

To keep it brief, I was born in Devon, I’m now 34 years old and have spent the last 15 years working within many areas of the industry. In that time I’ve worked extensively in club promotion UK, Ibiza & Australia, Label Management / Music Reviewer (Trackitdown) and of course as a producer & DJ for the last 15 years. 

2. Loving the alias name, how did you come up with it?

I’ve been DJ’ing since I was 14, so I was fairly young when I started out hence why Nick The Kid seemed appropriate at the time and stuck. My friends chose the name for me around the time of my first over 18’s club gig when a promoter was putting pressure on me to ‘have a stage name’ due to the fact I still looked like a member of Hanson when I was 16. They voted on it and it’s been with me ever since having to answer this question now I’m in my 30’s! 

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3. Why did you choose to be a DJ?

I’ve been DJ’ing & promoting for over 20 years now with my first foray into DJ’ing playing under 18 hardcore events when I was 14. I’m just a massive music lover, I had piano & guitar lessons growing up and when I first heard The Prodigy Experience when at school and tapes from the likes of Carl Cox, Easygroove and Sasha, Rave music was just something I had to pursue. The music, the parties, lifestyle and of course the 1210’s quickly filled all my spare time. It was a very different game back then. DJ’s had true unadulterated passion for wanting to be a DJ, travelling miles collecting vinyl, carrying heavy boxes across fields at 4am. I’m not saying that this passion doesn’t exist today but now anyone with an internet connection and a pair of headphones can call them self a DJ, which I feel took away a lot of the magic and has diluted the actual term DJ to some extent. The appeal has never wavered for me though, nothing beats standing in front of a decent crowd whether small or large and having fun behind the decks with your favourite music. Cause that’s what it’s all about right?

4. When was your first time in Ibiza and tell me about your experience?

I first came to Ibiza in 2003 purely for a holiday.  We certainly went in at the deep end; hiring a plush villa for the 4 of us and spending around £3k each in a week. We went to places like DC10, Coccoon, Pacha, KM5 and We Love at Space. It was all so new to me, it blew my mind and although we had an amazing week, DJ’ing here just seemed such an unrealistic & unobtainable goal at the time. Years later in 2007 I returned under Radical Escapes to work on the legendary Ibizan Heat week and with a lot of thanks to Kirk Field over the last 8 years or so I’ve been lucky enough to have played at many of the best nights out here ever since such as Cream @ Amnesia,  A State Of Trance @ Privilege, Judgement Sundays @ Eden, Carl Cox’s Closing Party @ Space, The Zoo, Es Paradis, Captured Festival, Connect @ Privilege and many more! It’s been one hell of a journey leading to me actually residing in Ibiza for the last two seasons working on Judgement Fridays @ Eden and also being on location for my day job with download / media store Trackitdown.net. I still also help out with Radical Escapes week’s each year which now boast some of the best targeted and value for money clubbing trips to Ibiza. Ibiza JetSet (House – June), XStatic Ibiza (Hard Dance – Sept) and our very own trance week of course Ibiza Trance Event – Sept (Formerly Island Of Trance). It’s amazing to have become so involved with the Island. I love it here. 

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5. Best club in Ibiza and why?

Without question Amnesia was and still is the original and best Ibiza club in my eyes. I would give me right arm to have been around at those early parties with Alfredo in the late 80’s, you really can feel the heritage, character and history oozing from the place. You could spend millions upon millions creating a state of the art (and often clinical) super club to serve a purpose but for me you just can’t recreate the magic of Amnesia! It still has that authentic rave feel to it’s nights which I absolutely love! 

6. Other DJ’s you rate and influences?

There are just too many to mention and different horses for different courses. I love all music but big ones I’d say that switched me on to underground rave music in the 90’s were Sasha (Piano house days), Carl Cox (Fact 1 & 2), Judge Jules (Radio 1), Paul Oakenfold (Perfecto Fluoro the album secured my love for trance in 97) and  Mark EG for showing every DJ on the planet how a DJ performance should and could be delivered! 

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7. Up and coming gigs?

This summer has been literally amazing, I’ve been lucky enough to play most weeks in the main room at Judgement @ Eden, as well as main room gigs Connect Privilege and Cream Amnesia amongst others. Moving into the Autumn I’m looking forward to playing at Godskitchen arena located at Westfest in Shepton Mallet nr Bath (31st Oct), Headlining the Trancecoda after party in Birmingham (7th/8th Nov), I’m back at the Gallery/Ministry Of Sound on the 20th Nov and then a small Xmas bash with friends closer to home in Minehead, HouseNation (18th Dec). I am also trying to secure a venue this autumn to celebrate 15 years of my event Hindsight – so keep an eye out for that! 

8. Whats the best gig you’ve played at?

Wow, tough question, there was one year (I think 2012) where I got to play the closing sets at both Judgement @ Eden and also Cream @ Amnesia all within a few days. Both gigs were absolutely insane that week and I’m not actually sure how many DJ’s have ever had the opportunity to do both within such a short timeframe. Hard Kandy in Melbourne is also a firm favourite of mine every Xmas – such a great crowd out there! 

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9. How do you see the trance scene 5 years from now?

Coming from the heyday of trance in the late 90’s it’s amazing to see the scene really thriving again and not just here in the UK, it really has become such a Global industry nowadays which wasn’t always the case. Like with all movements there has been popularity peaks & troughs of course but I think trance & progressive music worldwide is probably now at it’s strongest point it has been for years. It would however be great to see a few more younger fans switching on to the music as these most certainly hold the key to the future. 

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Id personally like to thank all three for participating in this blog post and a huge thanks to the awesomely talented Jon Self for his photography! 

Interview with Raver of the Year, DJ Nick the Kid & Decimel (part 2)

DJ Melissa ‘Decimel’ Grant 

Trance DJ/Producer

1. What are your thoughts on the Trance scene out here in Ibiza?

There is a real community and family like feel in Ibiza. The network of djs, artists and fans genuinely feels like home.

Add great music to the sunshine and what seem to be never ending days, it’s a formula for happiness and I feel pretty damn happy!!

2. This is your first time to Ibiza, how are you finding it and what clubs are you loving?

It is my first time!! And what a first time it has been. I still pinch myself thinking about how lucky I am to be DJing on my first ever trip to this wonderful island!

My first gig was at the Tropi Trance Bar in San Antonio, and to me, that beat any club hands down. The promoter, Dave Cook, has some seriously good talent spinnin on the decks and it was a privilege to fill the room and have a proper party with our fellow trancers on the island! They enjoyed it so much they invited me back, and I have to say it has to be the most fun I’ve had at a gig so far.Probably because of that family vibe, being right in there with the crowd and the unity that connects us all on many levels. It was a truly mindblowing experience!  Being part of the Ibiza Trance Family was such a proud moment, one I’ll never forget!

I got to play at Eden Nightclub the following night too, that place was epic and the sound system was great! I loved the layout!

I have to say, Amnesia gave me a bit of Amnesia! I kept getting lost! That being said, the Cream event was also top notch with

some of the best trance lineups I’ve seen on the island.

Where I was staying there was a Bar below called Delano’s. That place had music rocking all day and it was genuinely quite difficult to pull myself away from my beach apartment, but I knew more awesome music was just around the corner 🙂

I loved the vibe at Ushuaia beach club, my friend was staying there and we had an evening listening to Martin Garrix and Oliver Heldens, my goal is to be playing there next year at the A State of Trance event, aim high!

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3. Influences and current artists you are listening to?

This is a really difficult question, because I love ALL kinds of music, not just trance.

I’m really into my melodic chillout at the moment, but my favourite must listen to regular shows are Ben Gold’s Gold Rush Radio and Markus Schulz, Global DJ Broadcast. I just love their vibes and track selection!

Some upcoming producers who are really impressing me are Dimension and Abstract Vision. Beautiful energetic tracks with that progression i absolutely love.

I’m a sucker for a good Anjunabeats track too, Genix, Ilan Bluestone and Andrew Beyer are ABSOLUTELY smashing it at the moment!

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4. I hear you have a track coming out soon, give us the down low about that

Well it was always going to be difficult, trying to create “my sound” but I always knew what I liked. Pumping energetic basslines, alittle beautiful breakdown and bang straight in there again with that pure energy I love.

I’m currently working on a few other tracks too, I’m in the mindset of *find your creative genius*!!

For now, that’s all I can really say, but you’ll hear more as soon as it becomes official!

I also have a compilation album coming out on Equinox Recordings Label. They approached me to mix their annual compilation album! So watch this space, release date is October :).

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5. What made you want to start Djing?

I was always known as 2-minute-Mel! I would usually invite my friends round to my place after a big night out, and I’d have playlist after playlist of awesome tuneage! I’d get through most of the song then already have lined up the next track! Eventually, I entered a competition, and won it! I got my first ever experience on the decks with one of my Trance Idols, Andy Moor! He taught me the basics and from there it just felt right that it was an avenue for my creativity, and an outlet for what seems to be infinite energy that I always seem to have!

I never knew I would actually be pretty good at it! Then again, I’ve been working in IT all my life and digital djing is mainly software and hardware based, so it was relatively easy to learn.

I had some awesome teachers, another DJ from London called Yiota and Mark Walker who works with Elevation Audio. They helped me get ready for my first ever gig at Ministry of Sound in the Baby Box! It’s crazy to think that was just a year ago really, considering how far I’ve come, but if there’s one thing you could say about me, it’s that I am determined and have a major passion for music and how it unites people universally.

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6. Best set you have played so far and why?

That had to be my set at the Tropi Trance Bar..The energy there was UNREAL!! That being said, I’ve got a fair few nights from Ministry of Sound, London where I had opened the room and packed it within 45 minutes, and I really enjoyed setting the stage for the next DJ. Looking back, I would say that my set opening the 103 Room in Ministry of Sound back in May comes a close second! It’s been quite some time since a trance label had the 103 room, seeing how well the rest o the night ran, and warming up for the likes of Coop & Jones, Lewis Duggleby, Paul Webster and Signum really gave me goosebumps!

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7. Any upcoming plans or gigs that your fans would love to hear about?

There are 2 in the pipeline which are currently TOP SECRET! But I cannot wait to announce it… Just keep your eyes peeled on my Decimel page and all will be revealed in a month or so! I’ll also drop my debut track exclusively during my set, so you definitely don’t wanna miss this one ! 😉

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Photo credit – Jon Self Photography

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Locations –

Ibiza – Tropi, Eden

Interview with Raver of the Year, DJ Nick the Kid & Decimel (part 1)

A few weeks back I was out hitting the clubs in the famous White Isle and while soaking up the party atmosphere I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful sorts including the most energetic, ‘full of beans’ person I have ever come across, Alex van Naher. Also the talented DJ Nick ‘The Kid’ Coles and my dear friend, Melissa ‘DJ Decimel’ Grant. I got the chance to interview each of them and get the low down while they were out on the party island. I’ve also broken this up into 3 part series so don’t stop reading at this post. Parts 2 & 3 to follow! 

Alex van Naher

Raver of the Year 2014 

1. So tell me a bit about yourself

Professional guy, always been hard working but my passion has always been for raving. Started my rave career back in 1991 when it was a very underground scene. It managed to take me away from the lifestyle I had including a lot of studying. Born in Birmingham, raving opened up my world to travel the globe.  On the way I was meeting great people with plenty of new exciting adventures. Also started hitting the underground and main stream clubs in central London at 17 years of age ( my College years). I really started to appreciate music to a different level. Went to University in Manchester which also opened up eyes to new music. I started listening to the likes of Graeme Park, Brandon Block, Allister Whitehead, Jeremy Healy and Boy George. Also a big fan of the Iconic Miss Moneypenny’s in Birmingham, the most glamorous club in the world.

After following the house scene, I moved on to Progressive with influences such as Sasha & Digweed and more harder dance with Danny Rampling and Graham Gold before finding my true heaven that is Trance in 1995/96 with Paul Oakenfold and Paul van Dyk. Godskitchen in Birmingham and Gatecrasher in Sheffield and Cream at Nation in Liverpool soon became my mecca’s to Trance music in the mid 90’s. My passion for trance hasn’t waivered in 20 years and gives me the same feelings I had all those years ago if not more these days. It does something to me that fulfils my soul, makes me happy and emotional – I don’t think any other music does this for me.

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2. Why do you think they choose you to be raver of the year?

The sheer volume of events I attended! How I like to connect with people, the way I dance and probably how people perceive me. Huge love for music and the atmosphere it creates – I always feel at home which people can always relate too. I really enjoy the company of other ravers and the community of people that come together. I still appreciate the fact that I have this accreditation but always remaining equal to everyone else. My Affiliation with trance music is also a big plus.

3. What are your thoughts on the current trance scene?

I think following the emergence of EDM three year ago, trance has seemed to have fallen on the wayside. With the passion, commitment and the hard work around the UK and Europe, I can definitely see a re-emergence in cities like Birmingham, Bristol, London, Prague, Ibiza, Manchester, Dresden and Milan. With the way the trance family unit connects with one and another, it will help install it back where it belongs. 

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4. Favourite place/club in the world to party/rave?

Cream Ibiza at Amnesia Club… it’s the best event and best global club and totally identifies with me. It’s a trusted brand with quality line-ups. Such an amazing night and iconic venue that guarantees 100% satisfaction when I leave the club and leaves me begging for more!

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5. Favourite festival?

Luminosity beach festival at Beach Club FUEL located in the town of Zandvoort to the west coast of Amsterdam, Holland. Having the festival at the Beach makes it extra special. It unites the most passionate ravers across the globe, real great people to connect with and you end up making friends with – this is the special thing about Luminosity Beach Festival. It brings the best in trance every year – massive headliners, trance styles for everyone and ‘save the best for last’ Sunday Trance Classics sets to close the event. Luminosity Beach Festival has it all and I’m hooked. It leaves people weeping for weeks after in a state of emotion as to how brilliant it was again!

6. If you could stage a rave anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Amsterdam instantly speaks trance. It connects people from all over Europe. The city that never sleeps for trance. Very Liberal and has a great vibe to it. Dutch people are also super friendly and very welcoming plus Amsterdam has the best festivals in the world.

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7. When all the raving is over, how do you like to chill out?

I don’t chill out. I work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. The only thing I am constantly thinking about is when is the next rave.

8. Anything you would like to add?

Trance is the past, present and future in my eyes. They say ‘House Every Weekend’ but I say ‘Trance Every Second Of The Day’… this is the music that defines me and sets my heart alight… Viva La Trance! 

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Photo credit – Jon Self Photography. Alex’s own. 

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Locations –

EDEN, Tropi San Antonio, @ Night bar, Tropicana beach club 

Bank holiday madness – SW4, Notting Hill Carnival & Little Yellow Door

The August bank holiday weekend always seems to be on the chaotic side with loads of different festivals going on all over the country. It almost seems overwhelming to think about how many activities are taking place and where to decide to go with what…

All these choices.  Its a hard life. 

But hey, never mind that, all I know is how much my bank account is going to be hating me for it come Monday evening…. Something about the memories being ‘priceless’ come to mind?! 

 

Every year its obligatory for me to attend my favourite electronic dance festival, South West Four, located down at the common in Clapham. I do have a soft spot for music festivals however this is the only one I feel doesn’t have your standard ‘commercial’ acts as to that of V Festival and Wireless. Nothing wrong with that either, its just me being extra fussy. They also have some exceptional people playing this year from the likes of Maceo Plex, Hot Since 82, Bakermat, Eats Everything, Eric Prydz and Faithless. 

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I was keen to get my dancing moves on over to the Main stage for Tube & Berger when we arrived. Playing alongside Paji they had been bagged as a hot favourite to see this weekend and since I am loving most of their tracks of late, I couldn’t miss out on seeing the German duo.

The weather was unpredictable as always and after hoping we wouldnt be seeing any rain drops, down it came late that afternoon. There is a running joke that I am cursed with the rain whenever there is an outdoor event on and I am actually beginning to think this is true! In previous years its never bothered me too much, I just whacked out the umbrella,  trusty coat and raved the night away however this year it seemed a tad different. People trying to cram into the tents especially for when Fatboy Slim was playing, a little on the dangerous side I thought and the crowds seemed far bigger this year to previous years. The sound system was also rather disappointing in most of the tents apart from The Gallery. Paul Oakenfold and Andy Moor’s sets were a far cry to those of Bakermat’s and Solomun’s – really felt for these guys.

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As much as I really do rate this music festival AND I am never one to complain on my blog posts but I really didn’t think it met the bar of high standards this year at all.  I paid £70.00 for a ticket and nearly £100 in booze which was a pretty average selection to say the least. Although on a more positive note, my friend did go on for day two on the Sunday said it had improved with a better vibe and the quality in sound was far far better.

 

Maybe I can be convinced to go back in 2016 as the convenience of location and the fact that they bring in some of the best DJ’s around the world is a huge drawcard for me. 

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DAY 2

After waking up feeling slightly groggy me and flatmate had made the decision to check out Carnival on the Sunday. I am a virgin to this colourful, annual event and it really did seem appropriate to have a sticky beak while getting amongst the crazy vibe that its famously known for.

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Im not going to lie when I say I was feeling on the nervous side about going along after hearing so many people telling me some outrageous stories. It takes a lot to stop me from going to an event and if I generally felt threatened by everything, I just wouldn’t bother to walk outside my house and that would just be ridiculous. 🙂

 

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After a couple of trusty G & T’s I was starting to get into the swing of the heavy bass coming from the passing floats and getting squished in the crowds of people. Surprisingly it had no affect on me in the slightest. Everyone seemed in good spirits, singing, dancing and having a hoot of a time. Don’t get me wrong, there were dozens of people walking around with bottles of rum and a few dodgy looking sights but in general I didn’t feel unsafe to the point where I wanted to run a mile.

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I got to try out their traditional Jerk chicken, which is an absolute must if you are planning on coming along for the day. Just make sure its piping hot as Ive heard that a few did get some nasty food poisoning (it happens). Of course the day wouldn’t be the same without a glass of bubbles in hand and might I add superbly priced.

As we were strolling around or would you call that two stepping, there were people hanging out of windows, dancing on roof terraces and a few locals selling beer to party goers. Anything goes and theres no way you want to come here in a bad frame of mind… leave that at home! 

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The Notting Hill carnival is most certainly is a wild one and the biggest street party I have attended to date. A top tip would be to leave before the sunset as you can start to feel some weird, intensity in the air.

At this point, I guess its off to find a local bar to hit up and continue on with the festivities!

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Little Yellow Door has been on my ‘to do list’ for quite sometime and having exchanged Whatsapp messages only recently, I was lucky enough to get on the guest list and try out some of their mouth watering cocktails.

Forgive me because I cannot remember for the life of me what the name of the cocktails that we first attempted were (nothing to do with the G&T’s beforehand) but the fact that they were decorated with toasted marshmallows is a definite thumbs up from me, with or without a name!

Murray, the bar Manager gave us some outstanding service for the evening. Churr! 

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Once youre actually upstairs, its very minimal in size and you almost feel like you are in someones living room…..

Actually you do and its great.

It has a real ‘Shoreditch’ feel to it and I absolutely adore everything about it. 

The DJ was banging out some tribal inspired carnival tunes to take us into the night. The place was pretty rammed at one point but not in a way that you felt uncomfortable or in ones personal space. You’ve just gotta go with it at Carnival! 

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Theres also a cozy cubby house for those who want more of an intimate feel, a large mirror, a couple of couches and some random ornaments bobbing around the place if you’re into the more eclectic interior design. I know I am. 

 

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As if the night couldn’t get any better then when I happened to bump into my best friend who was there for a girls night out and had no idea that we would both be at the same venue. Great minds think a like as they say! 

Super keen so come back and try out their food menu next time. The place is just very cool, hip and has a really cracking vibe about it. Its tucked away and only metres from Notting Hill gate station, so if you have trouble finding it just look for a ‘Little Yellow Door’.

 

Well Bank Holiday weekend, done and done. Its been a blast as always, feeling completely ruined but as they say no rest for the wicked and the show must go on!

Rollin, rollin, rollin.. to the Brixton Academy for Limp Bizkit.

I can remember back I was just 15 years old when I heard the Limp covering George Michaels ‘Faith’ on the radio and thinking, who are these dudes, im really digging their heavy metal, hip hop kind of sound. At the time I was going through those confused years of being a teenager and jumping from one genre of music to the other. I was heavily into RnB, as well as emerging rock/punk bands such as Linkin Park, Radio Head, Live, Green Day, No Doubt, Smashing Pumpkins and the Aussie legends Silverchair. When the Limp released Signifigant Other and their first single – Nookie I just couldnt get enough of this American NU metal band and by the looks of things, neither could anyone else.

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Trying to be somewhat classy before the gig (not a chance!)

 

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Followed by their 3rd album in October 2000 – Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water which featured hits such as My Generation, Rollin and My Way were rocking on airways and the charts all over the globe. The Bizkit were ‘in’! 

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I never got the opportunity to see them in New Zealand or Australia which was far too disappointing to even get into, until friends of mine travelling over to the UK recently mentioned they were planning to see them at the very iconic Brixton Academy and asked if I wanted to join.. ahh hello! They themselves are big fans of the Bizkit and after deciding within a few minutes I was already racing to the website to purchase my ticket for their August 27th gig. 

 

Its been quite some time since I went to a heavy metal concert and after seeing a zillion Dj’s playing in clubs it was rather a nice change of scenery to experience something different. I really dont mind the Brixton Academy. The floor itself is the biggest pull. If your not really a mosher like me then being able to see from the back row is a huge plus and at Brixton, full view of the stage from a far is certainly provided. 

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The supporting act Mothers Cake were on as I arrived and although I have never heard of these guys before, it was, shall we say, a pleasant start to the evening?! Not sure if those are quite the words we will use but you get the drift. 

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Limp bizkit arrived on stage about 9.30pm which was relieving considering the history of some rock stars. Im just not prepared to wait 2 hours for anyone, thats just pure madness and maybe my impatientance talking here.

Front man Fred Durst was welcomed by a roaring, energetic crowd and went straight into tracks like My Generation, Breakstuff, Liv’in it up and my absolute favourite of theirs – Re-arranged. I must of played this at least a thousand times over the years.. its never gets old! 

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Their performance was just as epic as I had been told and exactly what I expected – loud, lots of swearing, hot, sweaty and loads of antics. The lights were spectacular so big ups to the lighting director on that one. Freddy has still got it on stage with those dance moves and at 45 years of age, he’s actually doing better than most people half his age. (Will note that he’s still wearing those signature caps).

Wes Borland is not a surprise still dressing in his obscene, crazy outfits and at the very end he managed to entertain some by flinging a few guitars around the back of the stage. Wouldn’t be the same without a few rockstar antics. 

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All star performance from the Bizkit. I’d be more than happy to relive my youth for one more night and see these guys again!

A foodie extravaganza at Taste of London

The question is, where on earth do you start when you come to a festival as big as this? When you’re obsessed with food as much as I am, its like being a kid at Christmas all over again and since I missed out going the previous year, I had some serious making up to do.

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The best part of this festival is the amount of top restaurants and chefs who participate. This means you get to try a small taster of each if you haven’t already had the chance of dining at. There are still multiple places that I am dying to munch my way through (and the list just keeps getting longer and longer everyday). 

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Me hardly being able to contain myself

 

Theres also dozens of pop ups to grab your favourite cocktail or a glass of bubbles at the Laurent Perrier tent if you prefer darlings. I stumbled across the Havana club bar (yes stumbled) which was offering a mojito masterclass not only giving you the chance to be your own bartender plus taking away a very cool looking aluminium cup. Not bad for a fiver. 

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Here I am with some Liquid Gold bubbles (Strawberry puree & Prosecco)

 

If you do prefer to watch some the chefs cook up a storm (and maybe learn a thing or two along the way) then there is plenty of that going on as well. I walked into a taste of Bobby Chinn from House of Ho who was showing us a number of delightful crawling insects – crickets included. Sadly I took a pass on that one. Just not my thing. 

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For all you vino experts, yes there was a wine theatre but with a queue as long as everest I just couldn’t be bothered to line up. Maybe next time. 

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Sushi Samba Tom Yam Cocktail – next level!

 

Just when I thought the day couldn’t possibly get any better, I managed to hear my way to the gorgeous sounds coming from the Coffee House Sessions band stand. Very important that one has a balance of soulful tunes, combined with food (and a few cocktails) This is all I need in my life to make me feel content. 🙂

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Obligatory headphone selfie

 

After a rather good looking chilli cocktail from the Sushi Samba bar I came across some more music. Yippee! This time it was of the silent type. You know the wireless headphones, people shuffling around and having a giggle. Gotta love a silent disco and thanks to Mortimer’s Orchard, they were kind enough to provide us with some epic 90’s tunes to bounce around to. 

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The beauty about going to event like this, is the people you come across. Its fantastic for networking or even going on a date! I meet the owner of La Di Da cupcakes and was lucky enough to dig into their Pina Colada number. For a minute, I actually thought I was drinking a cocktail. As good in taste as how they look – absolutely incredible in flavour. 

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Pork steamed bun. I have a soft spot for Scott’s Kurobuta – his Japanese junk food never disappoints!

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Well hello there Gin and Tonic ice-cream. Where have you been all my life!

 

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Roe deer Compote, Celeriac & Cocoa – wowza L’Autre Pied!

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Alcoholic ice tea – don’t mind if I do

 

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Rock Shrimp tempura, chilli garlic sauce and a hint of lime from Aqua Kyoto.

 

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Selection of quality tea leaves all the way from Aussie land. Was great to chat to the friendly folks of T2 and a few Melbourne peeps. This tea is outstanding. Even when its being brewed, the smell is good enough to eat (and you probably could) Lush!

 

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When 4pm rolled around, I have to say I was pretty devastated to be shown the exit. Why is that time always ticks over way too quickly when you are having fun? In my view, Four hours is just not enough for a foodie and I would strongly suggest doing at least two time slots to get pack it all in. Or if your stomach can handle it, do the whole five days. 

 

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Found myself another chair. All that eating and drinking is hard work…

 

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The most unusual dessert I may have tried – Raspberries, port, wood chantilly & toasted nuts from Roux @ Parliament Square. Think I can still taste the alcohol..

 

There certainly is something for everyone here; with so much to taste I can see why it is the greatest of its kind. Such an awesome summer festival to head along to, especially when the weather decides to behave itself. Ive already got my act into gear and booked to go to their Christmas special in at Tobacco Docks, after all you can never have too much of a good thing. 

 

PS still salivating while writing this post. Take me back 🙂

The Fela! @ Brooklyn Bowl

 

 

Food and Music. The combination just doesn’t get any better than that.  

 

After having a smashing time at the Brooklyn Bowl not so long ago and being super impressed with the venue, I was delighted to return only this time around it included a live music act called The Fela!  If you aren’t already well aware by now, I have a strong desire for music, whether its a DJ in a super club, a classical orchestra, a jazz band in some intimate back street bar or a dramatic performance of Italian opera in Holland Park. Whatever genre it might be, im fortunate enough to the have the opportunity of experiencing all of this and right on the edge of my doorstep. 

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Not only does BB offer some off the chart food to nibble on and 12 lanes of social bowling, they have also played host to some of the biggest acts in the music industry.     

Acts include – Lauryn Hill, Pharrell Williams, We Are Scientists, The Dandy Warhols, Dinosaur Jr. and im sure many more to come in the future. 

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As always, the hospitality and service is world class. I invited my best friend to tag along with me and get her take on what she thought of the American chain. Top points once again on the food menu. Okay so its full of sugar and loaded with salt but it tastes so damn good (you know it). In fact for a bowling alley, its definitely the best ive tried. Who remembers those hot soggy chips in a basket when you were a kid… urrrgh?! 

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I was pretty eager to see a performance from this New York band known as CHOP AND QUENCH, “The Fela! Band” .Mainly known for their straightforward performances of classic Fela Kuti compositions, they are all about bringing their own original music to the stage. Comprising of 13 members, its probably the biggest band ive ever seen live. Truly. 

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Their on stage performance was completely different to what I was expecting and although I shouldn’t be mentioning this, would give Beyonce a run for her money! Flambouyant, high energy with sizzling and brightly coloured costume, the one thing I enjoyed the most about this band was seeing how happy they looked on stage and how natural it all was for them. Now thats what you call loving what you do! 

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Big ups to BB London and Michelle for inviting me along to another outstanding evening.  Great gig venue and worth checking out if you have never been before. 

By the way, have to mention how super duper their Frozen margaritas are. The best! 

 

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Address: The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX

Twitter: @BBowllondon 

 

**sponsored post**

DJ Decimel – The New Lady of the Trance Scene

Ive known Melissa for almost 3 years now and one of the things that bought us together as friends was of our strong desire for music. Working together back in 2012 we attended my very first festival in the UK – the BBC Radio 1 Hackney weekender.  From then on in we have danced up many a storm at a number of other festivals and our favourite dance club in London, no other than the Ministry of Sound. 

Melissa has always expressed her love and passion for Trance music and when I heard the news that she finally going to be getting behind the decks I knew that things were going to be big for this truly talented young lady. 

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How it all started… 

Hailing from Islington in North London, this true Londoner has grown up around the club scene and from a young age, frequented many of the super clubs in London. Her proven crowd interaction together with her enticing progressive set-lists will take even the newbie listener on a journey through all styles of trance, showing true versatility every time she plays. 

After winning a competition in May last year to be tutored by one of the most successful trance DJ’s and Producer’s – Andy Moor, Decimel was able to be taught on the very same decks in the main room and used by some of the most famous DJ’s in the world. Even im a little jealous 🙂

Recently, she played her debut set at of course, Ministry of Sound. Such an achievement for someone who only started just over a year ago and im not surprised really, with her good ear for music, the only next best thing to do was to go out and spend big up on some DJ gear. 

Since then, her inspiration, talent and infectious ambition to succeed has led her to becoming one of the most talked about female DJ’s on the trance scene today. Gigs to date include Ministry back in August 2014, their sold out Christmas party December 14, The Urban Bar and the Rhythm Factory 28th March. 

This year sees Decimel productions coming to life with some exciting collaboration projects in the pipeline and some club appearances at one of my all time favourite places in the world to party – IBIZA!  

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**  www.decimel.com  **

 

https://twitter.com/DJDecimel

https://www.facebook.com/djdecimel

Instagram @DJDECIMEL

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Must have music links –

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/djdecimel

Mixcloud – http://www.mixcloud.com/decimel/ 

 

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Live Set Recording for your listening pleasure – 

Ministry of Sound Gallery Christmas Party –https://soundcloud.com/djdecimel/ministryofsound-thegallery-19dec14 

Rhythm factory – https://soundcloud.com/djdecimel/decimel-liveelevation-audio-2nd-birthday-280315

 

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Past & Upcoming gigs 

Ministry of Sound, London 15th August 2014

Ministry of Sound, London 19th December 2014

Elevation Audio After Party (A night of synergy) 

Elevation Audio 2nd Birthday, Main Stage, warming up for the likes of Dan Dobson, James Rigby, Jordan Suckley

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May 29th – 103 Room – Ministry of Sound, London

June 20th – Projekt in Bristol (Ascendance)

August 13th – Official Pre – Cream party – Bar Tropi, San Antonio, Ibiza

August 16th – Elevation Audio @night – Playa Den Bossa, Ibiza

 

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Sneak peak Video – 

 

Stay tuned kids if you dig your trance music, I have a feeling that the year ahead is going to be a very productive one for Decimel and only great things are going to come her way! 

Wishing you all the very best to my dear friend, DJ Decimel – Go get it girl!

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Photography courteous of Jon Self

https://www.facebook.com/jonselfphotography?fref=ts 

This Blonde says, relax…

 

Recently I was asked to take part in the Art Spas Says Relax competition, which got me thinking. What are the type of things I fancy doing when it comes to unwinding and relaxing amongst the hustle and bustle that the London lifestyle brings? 

Well here are 5 ways I believe certainly help me.

 

 

1.  Going to the cinema

I love going to watch a film and switching everything off. This includes my mobile phone that I admittedly spend far too much time on these days.  Its a great way of disconnecting from the world for a couple of hours and not having to worry about what is going on around you. Sitting back, stuffing your face with popcorn or loads of sugar and being engrossed in a good flick is just the best, isn’t it?! 

 

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2. Weekend cheese & wine sessions

There is nothing quite like a mid afternoon session in the garden or sat in a comfy sofa chair, having a selection of gourmet cheeses, some full-bodied red wine and chit chats with your bestie. A great way to unwind with all the comforts. Oh and don’t forget to add some bitter dark chocolate and a sneaky gin to finish. That will do me nicely. 

 

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3. Working out

I’ve been going to the gym for over 10 years now and never have I once felt like im sick of it or developed a ‘cant be bothered’ attitude towards it.

You’re probably thinking how on earth can this possibly be relaxing. Working out is hard going, don’t get me wrong but its the after feeling of a clear head and I tell you after a mentally draining day at work, this cannot be beaten. Lifting weights and doing cardio is part of my general regime but I also like to mix it up with a few classes in between so it doesn’t get so mundain.

Any type of exercise is good for you regardless. A healthy fit body = a healthy, stress free, relaxed state of mind. 

 

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4. Home pampering sesh

Every woman loves to be pampered but finding the time for such a thing can almost seem impossible these days. When I have few hours spare, I love nothing more than putting on a pair of comfy PJ’s, some fluffy slippers, an organic face mask and sitting in front of the box.  I prepared a face mask today I found online using only banana, honey and some lemon juice. Below are the details. Let me warn you that its a pretty messy exercise and visually not so appealing to look at but I had a fair bit of amusement trying to mush it all over my face. The skin did feel slightly smoother and fresher but that was before I realised there were lumps of what looked like baby food all over the floor…oopps

 

2 bananas (ripe so you can mush them up)

Organic Honey (the more organic the better)

1 lemon squeezed (although 2 tablespoons will be enough)

Mix together and presto!

MAKE SURE YOU ARE LYING DOWN FOR THIS OR IF SOMEONE CAN HELP YOU PUT IT ON TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER..

Leave on for 15 minutes 

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5. Must have music –

One of my favourite ways to relax is without a doubt is listening to music. For me personally, music is something I could never go a day without listening too. EVER. I still love to whip out a cd from my larger than life collection I have from time to time otherwise Im addicted to Spotify. Yes, before you judge, I am old school like that.

Anything ranging from deep house, electro or buddha bar lounge to the beautiful sounds of classical violinist Vanessa Mae. It puts me in a zone which is hard to describe using words but anybody who is a muso will definitely get what I am trying to say here. 

Headphones in. World off.  

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*This is a sponsored post. All views/content are my own* 

You too can enter this competition if winning a spa weekend sounds like your cup of tea.  Head over to their page by clicking HERE to see all terms & conditions. 

 

#Blondoner 

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