Friday, 21 June 2013

Featured Artist: Lyndsay Hula Hooping Hooper

 Almost everyone has hula hooped at some point in their lives, but not everyone can simultaneously use five hoops at different points of their body; Meet Lyndsay 'Hula Hooping' Hooper, (yes, that is her real surname), a hula hooping enthusiast and entrepreneur.

 I interviewed Lyndsay after the Leamington Peace Festival where she had a stall in the name of her business, 'Hooper Hoops', where she sells hoops designed to your fancy.

Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.

Hi, I'm Lyndsay, a designer and hula hooper! I work as a freelance illustrator and designer. I'm currently setting up a bespoke web design company called with a friend from Sweden. In my spare time I drool over beautifully designed fonts and jam out with my hula hoops!

How did you get into flow arts?
I've always been fascinated by poi, contact juggling, staff and diablo etc. Four years ago I saw a video of a girl on Youtube hula hooping and was utterly mesmerised. I wanted to move as gracefully and as confidently as she did with this hula hoop. I was living in London at the time and the next day I took myself to Camden Market and brought myself my first ever hula hoop, an instructional dvd and spent the summer teaching myself from the dvd and Youtube and joined a local group that met once a month to jam out!

Where have flow arts taken you?
EVERYWHERE! I've been all over the country to attend and learn from workshops and also to perform. I even went to Spain last year to expand my learning at a hula hoop convention there. It's taken me to a different place mentally as well. That sounds like hippy waffle but its true as it's also helped me grow as a person - in confidence, awareness of my body, reduced my stress levels and introduced me to the flow arts community that are such a relaxed and welcoming group of people.

What has been your favourite experience so far in flow arts?
I can't limit it to one! The feeling of nailing a trick you have been struggling with for ages is an amazing experience. The adrenaline rush from performing. The satisfaction and exhaustion after attending a weekend of workshops. The delight in teaching others to hoop. The sense of quiet and utter contentment at lazily hooping in the grass on a sunny day and getting "in the zone".

Any favourite tricks?
Chest hooping is very soothing but I also love one handed flourishes, (where the hoop twists and twirls round your hand at an awkward angle).

Tell me a bit about your hoop business.
I started making hoops the first year I began hooping and soon people were asking me to make their hoops too. Last year after I finished uni I thought I would teach myself about web design and started making a website dedicated to people ordering their hand made hula hoops. It then grew from there and I'm now looking into running classes locally as well as performing and making bespoke hoops!

Tell me a bit about the work you do involving fonts and web design?
Josh and myself are setting up a web design company that designs and codes websites according to the customers wants and needs. Each part of the process is carefully communicated with the client to ensure they are getting the bespoke website they require. I spend a lot of time in photoshop designing and redesigning websites and talking things over with Josh to see how he can make the code work with the designs. I also love typography in all its forms, although I have an intense dislike for comic sans!

 During the autumn of 2011 I directed a documentary about flow arts, called 'Go With the Flow', featuring Lyndsay and her hula hooping shenanigans. The film also features fire hooping, fire breathing, poi and staff. It took us from my quiet little hometown down to a big hooping event in Bristol called Swhoop, which is so worth a look into if you are interested in becoming part of the hoop community as they have events on every year.
Go With the Flow Documentary:

Hooper Hoop's Website:

Hooper Hoop's Facebook Page:

Swhoop Website:

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Peace Festival 2013

 The Leamington Peace Festival was founded in 1978, this year was it's 35th anniversay. It is always held in the Pump Room Gardens, a park in Royal Leamington Spa, every year on the weekend before Summer Solstice.

'The Leamington Peace Festival exists to promote an understanding of international peace in all its aspects, including environmental harmony & living in co-operation with others.'

 For a day that was predicted to have stormy weather from 12-5, we were very lucky; there was no rain at all while I was out and it was actually very hot and sunny, which really was great as last year it tipped it down. It was a lot more fun showing my boyfriend around as he hadn't experienced the festival at it's best last year, and we also went with a good friend of mine who I'd recently got back in touch with.
 Sunny weather on the Peace Festival weekend draws huge crowds who all want the same thing; to enjoy a really, fun, chilling day. The festival is a great place for people of all ages and interests. That's one thing that I really love about it, there is something for everyone, and as it's whole aim is for peace and fun that is exactly what you get.
 The festival is split into sections across the park, with two main points which is where the music and entertain is staged, one point is the bandstand and the other is a stage at the far end of the park; this is where people come if they really want to relax, spread out on the green grass with their friends, listen to the music and take in everything.
 The rest of the festival is busy, lots of people looking for unique gifts, great bargains, exotic goods and great food. The food stalls really are brilliant.

A few tips if you plan on coming to the Peace Festival and want to do it right;

1. Give yourself time to have a few hours there, especially if you want to look at everything, try products and chill at the stages.

2. Save some money. It is still fun if like me you enjoy looking at things rather than splurging, but if you intend on trying a few different foods and bringing back gifts I would say bring about £30 or more. The good thing is that it is completely free to go to the festival.

3. Look around first before you decide where to spend your money. For example, some of the stalls sell quite similar products, but you may find something more you at one than another, find a better price, or find a more genuine and friendly shop owner.

4. Bring a camera. Always ask for permission if you are photographing people's stalls, but almost everyone will say yes.

5. Chill out and enjoy it!

 When I got there I was so hungry as I hadn't had time to stop for a bite to eat all day, apart from my cupcake I had at Gladrags when doing my photography and interviews over there, so I scanned the area for the nearest food stalls and decided that the vegetarian and vegan stall had the smallest queue. I do eat meat, but consciously try to eat less than most people do as I believe that most of us eat more than we need, so I love trying vegetarian stuff. I went for an organic tofu and nut burger and it was amazing! It was jam-packed, sauce and salad dripping everywhere. If someone handed it to me and not told me it was tofu I would never have guessed and as I neared the last few bites I yearned for another.
 Every year at the Peace Festival there always seems to be a fad for girls, sometimes it's fairy wings, or silly hats, this year it was flower garlands of course; the festival may have started in the 70s, but it is bang on trend, so my friend and I both got one each. We spent a long time looking at the rings at each of the stalls too as they had a lot of nice ones with semi precious stones.
 Had I had a bit more money on me I would have also picked up a new pair of poi for myself. I saw the most beautiful style at one stall. I have some that I've had for years but have become a bit tattered, so I will definitely be looking out for these again. I also really wanted to try the Spanish Churros, but as I didn't get a chance this time I am hoping to try to make them myself at some point.

 The festival always has a wide away of music and entertainment. During the couple of hours that I was there I heard a bit of rap, metal and a band that were particularly impressive performing in the bandstand. They had a male vocalist, a violinist and their sound, to me, was reminiscent of Florence & the Machine.

Examples of stalls
alternative hobbies

 There are so many different types of stalls at the Peace Festival. There are food stalls with a range of edible goods from a range of countries, entertainment, children's tents, face painting, workshops, places to sign up to hobbies, tents which give you information on alternative lifestyles, clothes, accessories, home decor, hammocks, didgeridoos; anything fun, exotic or relevant to alternative lifestyles is very likely to be there which makes it fascinating.

Hooper Hoops

 A friend of mine, Lyndsay, had a stall at the festival where she was selling hula hoops and signing people up to workshops. Her business is called 'Hooper Hoops', as incidentally to her passion her last name is Hooper. You can customise your own hoop, choosing grip tape colour and sparkle tape colour which she makes to your order. I recently bought one from her and it is great. The size and weight of the hoops, combined with the grip tape make it simple to pick up, and once you've caught the hoop bug you are hooked. There are so many cool tricks to learn as well as it being a good hobby for you.

 I will be doing a 'Featured Artist' post about Lyndsay and her hoop business very soon, so if you are interested in flow arts, keep an eye out for this.


 One of my favourite things about the Peace Festival is all the fairy related items you can find, and the best stall for these sorts of things is Fairyglass, a family run business. Their products make great gifts for girls young and old, ranging from fairy wings, to tutus and edible glitter.

They have a number of websites for their different products including;

For further information on the Peace Festival or if you would like to find out when the next one is being held, visit;

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Book Worm 3

 If you have ever read my blog before or know me well, you will know that I like books. A lot. So here is this year's update on my reading list and progress, today seemed like a good day as I bought four books at a charity shop for just £1.50 in total, (charity shops being another thing that I am crazy about).
 To help me log my progress in what I've read, and to help me achieve my reading goal each year I like to use Goodreads. You can use it via it's website, Facebook or even download the free app for your mobile phone, where you can even scan in the book's ISBN number to catalogue it. I set myself a goal of 10 books to read during 2013, I could read about 5 times more than that if I didn't have everything else keeping me busy, which really is a good thing, else I might forget who I am I would read that much!

1. Books read so far during 2013
The Virgin Suicides, Submarine, Coraline & Other Stories, The Beach, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

 Both The Virgin Suicides and The Beach have made it onto my list of all time favourite books, along with Memoirs of a Geisha and Peter Pan. You should read these books as soon as you can!

2. Books being read/ waiting to be read. (I'm currently on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).

3. The books I bought today from the charity shop
Chi Gung (about Chinese healing & natural magic), The Lovely Bones (I really like the way the film was made, the era, colours and mise en scene. The characters are so believable and different, I really felt for them), Bridget Jone's Diary (I doubt many people who know me would think that I would want to read this, but I started reading it years ago and the book went missing!), and lastly a guide to Wild Flowers (I've been flower pressing a lot recently, and draw from them sometimes, and thought it'd be nice to have a way to know what they are all called).

 So yet another ambitious year of reading, and more books than I know what to do with, but I'm eager to plough through them and soak in every word and wonder.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Gladrags: Festival Vs Full Moon Party

 From vintage pieces to tie-dye kimonos and mystic accessories, Gladrags is a treasure trove for trend setters. Upon arrival at their 'Festival Vs Full Moon Party' customers are greeted at the door with colourful cupcakes and cocktails. The shop jam packed full of goodies reminiscent of the 90s, festival favourites and customised one of a kinds. There are frequent competitions to win clothing and discounts galore. With the shop celebrating it's 6th birthday and the recent launch of their own line, 'Elsie & Fred' it seemed like the perfect time to pop in for a visit and get the inside juice on Coventry's coolest boutique from shop owners Natalie, Chloe and Ryan.

What is Gladrags?

Chloe: Gladrags is a shop for creative people who like glitter and unicorns. It’s quite eclectic and a bit random.

Natalie: Gladrags started in 2007, it’s a mix of vintage and new clothing and accessories. It’s not all the same, we like to keep it unique and make the shop not just a place to buy things but to have fun and a nice time on a Saturday afternoon.

How did you start Gladrags?

Natalie: I worked at New Look and knew that I wanted to do something with clothing, to own a shop. I put together a business plan, looked out for empty shops, worked out what I could afford, and went for it. My brother, sisters and dad all helped to set it up.

Where do you hope Gladrags might go?

Chloe: We really want it to exist outside of Coventry, we have an online presence, and we are on ASOS, but we want to branch out. It’d be nice to have shops in other places.

Natalie: From launching Elsie & Fred we are hoping to build on that. We’ve just signed a new lease for the shop in Coventry, so this will be here for at least another three years.

Ryan: I hope it takes over the world!

Tell us about Elsie & Fred

Chloe: It’s Ryan’s baby.

Natalie: It’s Gladrag’s little brother. It’s the same ethos, modern meets vintage. Unique and customised clothing, so we don’t sell any other brands.

Ryan: We named it Elsie & Fred after our nan and granddad, which caught on. We wanted to give Coventry something a bit more alternative, and to be able to offer stuff that isn’t always available. It came partly from my own frustrations of where I’d have to go to get the stuff I wanted, some stuff off eBay, sometimes some back street shop. The inspiration for it comes from everything I love, the 90s, Will Smith; it was the perfect time to launch.

What inspires you?

Chloe: Part of our inspiration is from a shop in the 60s and 70s that was very popular called Biba. We wanted something unique and we set our own trends. We do a lot of research looking at stuff on tumblr, pinterest and blogs.

Natalie: We spend hours looking on tumblr, magazines, the internet, instagram, blogs. We like street based fashion, rather than cat walk.

Do you make any of the products that you sell?

Chloe: Yeah, mainly jewellery, we customise some clothes, do a lot of tie-dying and putting spikes on things. Anything on trend that we can do ourselves, we do.

Natalie: We do a lot of customising, but not as much as we used to. We make tie-dye kimonos. Dad helps too.

(At which point, Natalie’s dad walks into the shop, arms full of tie-dye T-shirts)

What are your top 5 current picks from the shop?

Chloe: 1. The floral headbands. 2. The Lion Jewellery. 3. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” top. 4. The Bohemian jewellery. 5. The kimonos!

Natalie: 1. The tie dye kimonos. 2. The Ganesh T-shirts. (They’re really popular) 3.The Lions selection. 4. The tie-dye “You Can’t Sit With Us” T-shirts. 5. The 90s jeans.

Any funny stories of things that have happened in the shop?

Chloe: In my first week working in the shop, when Natalie was away in Thailand the heater above the door set on fire. W shut the shop, called the fire brigade, they put it out and we thought everything was fine. When it came to locking the shop up for the night we found that the fire had burnt the circuit and so we couldn’t bring the door down over the front of the shop.

Natalie: During one of our earlier shop parties, not last October but the one before, I was working here and there was this Candy song playing. I looked up to see five girls in the shop all doing the dance routine for it!

Gladrags Official Facebook Page:

Gladrags Boutique Online:

Elsie & Fred:

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Kiss The World

 I recently have recorded a song with my boyfriend, he composes and records a lot of his old music, some new and some songs from his old band, Vague Dazy. The song that I was part of is called 'Kiss the World', on which I play a small bit of violin and do some backing vocals.

 It has recently been described as 'Psychedelic Folk'. I'm planning on writing a 'Featured Artist' section on Matt and his music next month.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Last Four: June

 'Last Four' is one of the new monthly features on my blog post. There will be more of these, including 'Featured Artists', along with other posts about my crafts, projects, hobbies and I aim to cover various festivals, parties and events.
 June sees in the first ever 'Last Four' and here is what we have;

1. Scented Nail Polish. Mmmmmm, a very fairy shade of green, sparkly and scented! What more could a girl want, oh how about a flower shaped bottle top? Loving this, and curious as to what scent it is.
H&M £2.99

2. Mini Milk Lipbalm. Mini Milks are just about the best ice pop I can think of, and now I get that creamy, sweet taste wherever I go. I love the packaging and colours for this, quite retro. I'm also looking out for a 'birthday cake' scented lip gloss I have seen on the Topshop website.
Claire's Accessories £3.00

3. I've bought more rings recently than I've probably owned in my life, which isn't saying much, but I now at least probably have one for each finger. Mood rings are especially cool in my opinion as they come in so many unique designs. I picked a few up on a recent trip to Brighton, but this crucifix mood ring can be found on eBay for just a couple of pounds.

4. Another eBay find, this cat ring wraps around your finger as if it is trying to hold on. I'm quite susceptible to black cat themed accessories as I have a little black cat of my own who follows me around everywhere. This little ring is a homage to my feline friend.
eBay £0.99

 If you have any products that you would like me to feature in my blog or any questions about my purchases above feel free to leave a comment :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Happy Return

 I have finished my time at university at last and now as I step out into the big wide world, I am returning to my blog; and am very excited about it. Throughout the last two years I have been blogging for my university and professional work and now at last I can return to what I really love for the foreseeable future.
 Firstly; Yes I have changed the blog name. Queenie's Cranial Cornucopia just didn't seem right anymore. I had a thought about a few things but have decided for the moment at least to use 'Moon Garden'. 1. I like the moon. 2. I like gardens. 3. It makes me think of beautiful, romantic and mystical things. 4. I really want to grow one when I move out and have my own garden; and lastly 5. I just remembered that I have started writing a short story called 'The Moon Garden'...better dig that out.

 I have done some cool things since last writing, so perhaps I will write some update type posts or posts relating back to these things. I'll be sure to be keeping to a lot of the types of posts I did before; crafts, purchases, while hopefully bringing some new topics too. Watch this space!