Tag Archives: festivals

Friends Fest and Enjoying the Moment

The weekend before last I went to Friends Fest in London with my kids. As a huge Friends fan, you can imagine how excited I was to go, and it was fun indeed. I was incredibly lucky to get tickets too. The event was on for five days, and it turns out the tickets sold out in something like 13 minutes – it was a fluke really that I got them, a friend on Facebook told me about the event an hour before the tickets went on sale, so I just went online and bought them with no real idea of the need for extreme urgency!  What’s even better is that the tickets were only £5 each, AND it was on my birthday weekend. Hurrah!

Here are a few pics from the day…

Vanessa on Central Perk couch

Notice how badass I am – blatantly disobeying the sign saying “No drinks in this area please.” Ha! Get me!

Vanessa and kids at Monica's table

It’s Rachel’s beef trifle! It’s Rachel’s beef trifle!

Monica and Rachel's apartment

They did a pretty awesome job recreating the apartment, see?

Vanessa and kids with Friends umbrellas

And it wasn’t even raining.

The event was organised by Comedy Central who have the exclusive rights to show Friends in the UK, and even though it was a promotion event for them, I really expected them to be trying to get more money out of people on the day, but credit to them, they didn’t at all. Other than a small stand selling some Friends branded merchandise, everything else was free in there. That cup of coffee you see me holding on the Central Perk sofa pic above, (you know, the pic where I was being a real badass), was free – yes, free coffee, tea, and cookies from the Central Perk cafe.

My daughter having her hair blow-dried in a Rachel style, also free:

Rachel's hair station

Dressing up in costumes themed from different episodes (me in wedding gown, daughter in cheerleader outfit, son in chicken head – yes he is under there), photo taken in booth and printouts to take home, completely free, no charge at all, whichsoever at all:

Friends photo booth pic

The friendly and plentiful staff from Comedy Central were also on hand to happily take all the photos everyone wanted on the many phones and cameras that were shoved in their direction. So we really did get a lot for the very reasonable £5 ticket price. And there were interesting bits of memorabilia from the show to browse too, oh, here I am again with my free coffee in front of some of the memorabilia!

Vanessa with Friends memorabilia

The main point I was going to make in this post (which I thought I might get to quicker, but apparently not), is about enjoying the moment. The area with Monica and Rachel’s apartment was sectioned off and they let groups in, a few at a time, and only for five minutes. It made sense to do that because it was clearly going to be the most popular area, and would likely have got too crowded to see anything. After the event, my son told me that during our five minutes in the apartment, he would have liked to explore a bit more, but I spent the whole time orchestrating one photo after another, making them sit and stand in various places, so that we could get all the shots, and then the five minutes were up. I realised how right he was, I thought about how much more I would have enjoyed the experience too if I’d just soaked it up a bit and looked around rather than being so totally focused on getting pictures. Of course we would want to get pictures there, but there’s a balance. Two or three pictures in the apartment would have been fine, I didn’t need twenty.

My realisation was quite timely because last week you may have seen a Tweet doing the rounds about this very subject, about taking time to enjoy moments rather than focusing solely on capturing them with our devices – Carrie Rubin referred to that Tweet in her last post if you missed it. This is definitely something I’m guilty of. Also, I don’t mind admitting – I usually want to get the photos not only to preserve the memories for us, but to have something good to show on Facebook, or on here. Really, is that more important than being there in the moment and enjoying it, creating the memories in our minds and hearts rather than in digital form? Of course it’s not.

But that aside, are you all jealous that I got to go to Friends Fest and you didn’t? Are you? Huh? Are you?

Vanessa with Friends picture frame door viewer

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Apparently We Have Black Friday in the UK Now?!

Black Friday
photo credit: sea turtle via photopin cc

Apparently we have Black Friday in the UK now. Turns out it’s been creeping in for a few years, but didn’t enter my radar until yesterday when I happened to catch a TV advertisement for a retailer’s Black Friday deals. This morning I decided to go online to see what Black Friday deals I could find, and discovered that even at 7am, the websites of major retailers were overloaded and I couldn’t get in to them. One site even offered me a queue number to wait in line to see the bargains. That’s right, like at the deli counter! I’m supposed to sit here staring at the computer screen, clutching my virtual ticket, waiting for my number to be called. As if I don’t have anything better to do. You know, like writing a blog post about it instead.

For those outside of the US who don’t know, Black Friday is a day of big retail sales that comes the day after Thanksgiving, semi-officially kicking off the Christmas shopping season.  It’s a day-after-Thanksgiving-thing, and we don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK. But as we do love to take on American things over here, we seem to have taken on the day-after-Thanksgiving-thing, without having the Thanksgiving thing.

But wait! I say we don’t have Thanksgiving here, and it turns out I’m wrong about that too. I should have realised what was happening when I started to see Libby’s canned pumpkin for sale in our supermarkets. I did a bit of online searching  and discovered that according to this article in the Telegraph, one in six British people now celebrate Thanksgiving. I had no idea.  The history of Thanksgiving makes it a little strange for us to be celebrating it here, but that’s ok, I’m all for it actually. Friends and Family getting together to share a delicious meal and think about what they’re thankful for. It’s a good thing right? After all, Thanksgiving would hardly be the only festival that is celebrated without much thought being given to the history behind it.

Interestingly, alongside this, I have seen blog posts and comments from Americans, lamenting the demise of the traditional Thanksgiving over there, with families getting together less, and retailers, too anxious to wait for Black Friday, opening on Thanksgiving day itself…hold on a cotton picking minute…do you see what’s happening here? That’s right, we are slowly and very sneakily stealing Thanksgiving from the Americans!  Gradually taking it as our own as the Americans stand there helplessly watching it sail across the pond. Oh the irony.

Back to today. Not wanting to be outdone by our American friends, I already see online news items talking about police being called to calm down surging crowds at UK Black Friday sales, with fights breaking out and arrests being made. I do love a good bargain myself, but I really have no desire to be part of all that. So instead I shall just sit here, clutching my virtual ticket, staring at my screen, and waiting for my number to be called.

What do you do for Thanksgiving, and/or Black Friday? What else do you think us Brits should adopt from America? (If there’s anything left that we haven’t yet adopted).

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Finally a quick belated congratulations to Linda Larrabee! Linda is the lucky winner of a $16 Amazon gift card which she won by getting the most right playing Truth or Fiction with author Lorna Lee. Linda doesn’t have a blog herself, she’s just a fan of Lorna’s, and who wouldn’t be, right? If you want to see what the answers were, I’ve updated the original post with the answers in red. If you didn’t win, you can console yourself by reading Lorna’s wonderful book, Never Turn Back, details here. You’re welcome.