Monday, 11 July 2016

How to make your festival experience healthier, smarter and more amazing

It’s festival season in the UK, which means it’s time to get together with your mates and listen to some great live music as you stand in knee-deep mud, balancing a warm cider to your breast while expertly dodging flying bottles of piss…some experiences may vary!

I am definitely a fan of ‘The festival’. I love the expectation. I love the music. I love that you can seriously get in touch with your inner child, be a bit weird and every one around you is doing the same.

But for the healthy living addict, festivals can be a bit challenging…

Where the hell is the organic fruit? 
Why is every vegan option Mexican-based?  
Wait, I’m drinking ALL day? 

For these questions, I have to give this side of advice: Ease off. 

Personally, I see festivals as a chance to let loose. They’re like mini super-exhausting holidays. I go to around two a year, which equates to about five or six days. There is no other time in the year when I will be drinking as much alcohol, eating so much rubbish or staying up so late. I justify my cutting lose by grabbing onto that beautiful word: balance.

Having said that, I don’t think going to festivals mess up my wannabe-healthy-living too much. On my first day at Download festival this year I walked 50,000 steps (Thank you, Fitbit). That is four times the amount that I normally do in a day. At Secret Garden Party, I dance for hours on end. Well, I call it dancing. It’s probably more flaying limbs, but hey, back to my point about being about to be a weirdo without judgement at festivals. 

So back to balance; it’s not cheating; this is rewarding. A few days of the year living ‘wild’ isn’t going to wipe out all the hard work you’ve already put in. Balance is key.  

Still, it doesn’t hurt to have the following at hand to help you inject a bit of healthy to your festival experience:

Yes, most festival organisers are starting to realise that not everyone wants to plant their face in a soggy burger and the selection of eateries is improving (Still waiting for you, Reading Festival…) but I still bring a selection of food with me. Preparation is everything, when I camp I bring the following: 

Vegan Mushroom Rolls: A doddle to make, easy to transport and great snack food. I took them to Download this year and they were the perfect first night dinner. 
- Bliss Balls of all types: You can buy them, yes, but there are so many recipes on the web one of my favourites have to be Raw Caramel Macadamia Balls  Again, easy to make, transport and they don’t need a freezer to carry. 
- Smoothies: This year I bought the packed lunch Innocent Smoothie cartons They were an absolute blessing when I woke each morning to menacing dehydration
- The obvious but I have to mention: Nuts, granola, oatcakes, avocados, bananas, coconut water, just plain water. Chuck some halluomi on the BBQ and have it with some hummus and avocado; it’s a winner. 

Your own penis
What, what? Okay, otherwise known as the Whiz. It’s basically a funnel to help ladies pee like a man. Or as Wikipedia like to call it: The Female Urination Device. I took one to Download and it improved my wellbeing to such an extent, it has to go on the list. Festivals equal queuing. My boyfriend waited for forty five minutes to use the portaloos one morning at Download. My bladder would have had none of that. So what did I do? I zipped up our tent and used the Whizz right into an empty bottle. No mess, no spills, all thrills because I was liberated. It also meant that I didn’t need to walk across a field filled with tents in the middle of the night for a wee. Safety first, people. I cannot express how the Whiz made my festival experience more awesome! 

It seemed like the moment a guitar finds its way into an open field in the UK, the heavens open and you end up in a lot of mud. But sometimes you get lucky. So bring the suncream to protect your skin as well as bringing your wellies to protect your feet. And don’t forget the socks! After all, Bear Grylls puts dry socks as one of his top ten survival essentials because, and I quote, ‘It's as important emotionally as it is physically’. Because wet feet SUCK.   
If you’re looking to get lucky, and don’t mind that your partner may not have washed their nether-regions in three days, bring condoms. If you would like to hear the ‘Cheese Toastie’ story told to me by one of my festival friends, just ask me on Twitter

The Bum-Bag
I am a portable supermarket at festivals. I hate having a bag when I’m dancing, so the bum bag is another one of my festival staples. The following is a list of what it carries, all of which I always end up using and thinking to myself: ‘You are so smart for having these on you, you smart thing, you!’. I carry loo roll, pain killers, mini hand sanitiser, money, phone, poncho, hip flask, eye drops, plasters, snack bars. I also clip a water bottle to the bumbag, which as well as allowing me to be my own hydration station, provides me with a subtle dance space maker when I swing my hips. Hey, it worked at Secret Garden Party! 

Have fun, people. See you in the mud.



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