Category Archives: Festivals & Camping

The Emerald St Literary Festival
10th June, 2017


I first discovered Emerald Street a few years ago, and pretty much fell in love instantly.

It was a proper girl crush. With a website. Which was weird. But not weird at all. Because Emerald Street is like having a bestie by your side. A chum in crime and the best kind of girlfriend, who’ll tell it to you like it is. Like it actually is. “No, that dress doesn’t actually do anything for you, you should stop wearing it” kind of friend.

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27th June – 3rd July 2016

Feast of Fitzrovia

Feast@Fitzrovia is back and this time it’s bigger than ever! Once again, the all-star cast of restaurants, chefs, cafés, bistros and bars are coming together to celebrate an array of international culinary delights. From Monday 27 June – Sunday 3 July, we Londoners will be treated to one of the most diverse offerings of gourmet menus alongside a jam-packed schedule of events that are sure to ignite appetites around the capital…

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Adventures in the Wilderness

Flower fairies in a hot tub

As you know, last week I came back from Wilderness Festival, where I’d been frolicking about in the lake, eating Patty & Bun burgers and generally having a jolly good time.

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Accessorize Instagram takeover
at Wilderness Festival

Woot woot! Tomorrow Betsy, LM and I are driving all the way into the WILDERNESS!  (In Oxfordshire. No bears. I think.)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that this will be my third Wilderness Festival experience, but this year I am doing something a little bit different…

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– Field Candy –
Cool Cats of Camping

Field Candy Box - Poppy Loves
As you know, a couple of weekends ago I was revelling at the Wilderness Festival and having a whale of a time.

I can assure you that my time there would have been much less fun had I been in a rubbish leaky tent, with wobbly pegs and one made of cheapy chops material…

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Wilderness Festival 2014

The Wilderness Festival 2014 - Poppy Loves

Hix gourmet banquets, wild swimming, aromatherapy massages, sunrise yoga, unicorn hunting, discussing the Sunday papers, tea and crumpets, clean loos (kinda), showers, handmade gelato, Burt Bacharach, leotards, glitter, champagne, the BEST BACON SANDWICHES IN THE WORLD (on some kind of organic sourdough. Obvs) and impromptu cricket matches… it can only be the Wilderness Festival.

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What I’m wearing to Wilderness
(and win a pair of weekend tickets to Wilderness Festival!)

Packing for Wilderness Festival - Accessorize 2

You may well remember that I went to Wilderness Festival last year and LOVED it. I skipped around in my sandals over the long weekend and found myself immersed in a magical land that was certainly not the big smoke.. I was deep, up to my sparkly eyelashes, into the Wilderness… (with The Guardian and a cup of tea in Oxfordshire.)

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It’s The Marvellous Henley Festival!
(and win a pair of tickets)

Henley Festival

The Henley Festival is a magical annual event etched in the diaries and imaginations of anyone who’s anyone.. (like you now – etch it, quick.) It’s a five night explosion of of unrivalled revelry. Taking place the week after the Henley Regatta, it’s one of the biggest and best-loved arts festivals in the UK.  BMW are the official sponsors of the Henley Festival and toot toot! They have kindly given me a pair of tickets to give away. The competition is at the bottom of this post so whizz down there and have a looksie.

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Hay Ho

HAY3 Ahhhh Hay. Hay Hay Hay. I love the Hay Festival – have you been? Think sunshiny hazy days, the inevitable pouring rain, deck chairs, more deck chairs, books, cups of tea, books, talks, lectures, discussions, more tea, music, conversation, books and cake. Lots of cake. It’s a Poppy dream. HAY6 HAY1 HAY2

Hay Festival was founded around a kitchen table in 1987 and for 27 years Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival amidst the beauty of the Welsh Borders. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking… as Bill Clinton so eloquently put: ‘The Hay Festival is the Woodstock of the mind’. HAY5 HAY8 HAY4

Hay loves stories. Hay loves big ideas. Hay celebrates the power of language and the pleasure of debate. It encourages us to have conversations about new thinking,  to engage with other people and revel in dreams for the future.

Hay Festival 2011

Hay Festival 2011


This year, Hay runs from the 22nd May – 1st June 2014 and is welcoming a host of amazing folk, including Carrie Fisher, Steve Coogan, Siri Hustvedt (LOVED ‘What I Loved’) Sebastian Faulks, Bill Bailey, Frank Skinner, (breathe..) Antonio Carluccio, Mary Berry (Mary Berry!!) Henry Winkler (The Fonz!) Julia Donalaldson… the list is practically endless.. I’m not even an eighth of the way through… you can whizz over to the Hay website to see the full line up. Hay Festival 2011

Hay Festival 2011

Hay Festival 2011


Hay continues to attract the most exciting writers, filmmakers, comedians, politicians and musicians to inspire, delight and entertain… and I shall be seeing you there!


Hay Festival
22nd May – 1st June

Photographs by Finn Beales




Music, Mohitos, Magic…and Mexico

Switzerland Festival

Weekend at The Edge of The Lake Festival, Switzerland

I don’t know about you.. but I am thinking about Summer. I’m not just thinking about it, I’m dreaming in Magnums and bikinis.. and in my dream I also look like a super model in my bikini… even if I’m eating 7 Magnums a day.

Even though I love my city, getting out of London for a little bit during the Summer months is fairly normal for me, and if I can combine this with friends, food, sunshine and music.. so much the better.

Last year I was lucky enough to get to Wilderness and this year I will be there again with bells on. Actual bells.  And recently, there have also been some other twinkly festivals which have made themselves known to me.. slightly off the beaten track.. and perhaps not ones you would usually consider… Ready?

Pic pilfered from Yukatan

Pic pilfered from Yukatan

CANCUN MUSIC FESTIVAL – Aug 28th – Sept 1st


Cancun? Yes, Cancun. Cancun in Mexico. Did you know they have an annual music festival? Well they do. The Cancun Music Festival hosts thousands of guests from around the world, who all converge in one of the world’s arguably, most beautiful and tranquil destinations. The music includes nationally recognized artists from around the world as well as local musicians from the Cancun area, which I love. I’ve never been to Cancun myself, but after a wee bit of research it appears that First Choice will whizz you over there (in a plane and everything) and you can choose your humble dwellings from their selection of STUNNING hotels.

Bulgaria, June 13th – 15th

Completely unlike any festival in the world, Meadows is nestled high up in the stunning Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria, very proud of its quirky and different attitude that doesn’t follow trends and other festivals’ concepts.
I love this – look at these ridiculously happy festival highlights:“Dance in the ethereal half-light of dawn and dusk as the sunrise and sunset stages provide some of the best un-signed, underground artists spanning eclectic musical genres from across the world”
“Watch the morning mist cascade over the mountain range as shadowy forms convulse and glide to the rhythmic beats of house and techno…”
“Dwell at the forefront of sound as jazz, folk and disco float through the intricacies of melody.”
“Indulge your primordial appetites with hearty food to feed the soul; all locally grown and locally produced.”
Wowee. And if you need more convincing – have a little looksie at this video…

Switzerland, June 27th – 29th

Visual art, live painting, ‘Groove Music’, beach animations and balloon modelling. Who would not want to go? Set in the heart of the Alps and on the stunning Geronde Lake in Switzerland, this boutique festival is in its 8th year of fabulousness.

On their website they rave about their beach volleyball, lake pedaloes, petangue, local vineyards & hill walks and oodles more family friendly activities… it’s also fully sustainable and eco friendly.

So, there you have it. Three magical getaways for you to explore… and if you go, please tell me! I’ll be the one with a Magnum.

Or seven.



The Folio Prize Fiction Festival, 2014

Folio Have you heard of The Folio Prize? I hadn’t, but I’m  extremely glad I found out about it and thought I’d share with you.

The Folio Prize is the first British prize to celebrate English fiction from every country, in every genre, in every form. Brilliant.

Sponsored by The Folio Society, (publishers of very, very beautiful books – you know the ones, with the gorgeous hardback covers) the prize has created an Academy of the world’s most eminent writers and critics to seek out and share the very best novels and short stories of our time.


In the weekend leading up to the first prize announcement, The Folio Society and The British Library (LOVE The British Library) are hosting a festival involving the Folio Prize 2014 judges – Lavinia Greenlaw, Michael Chabon, Sarah Hall, Nam Le, Pankaj Mishra – alongside shortlisted authors and members of the Folio Prize Academy, who will come together for a  natter (it’s down as a ‘discussion’) about the art of storytelling.

Together the Folio judges and guest Academicians (ho yes, I used that word) will examine how each element is essential to those books that stimulate and stay with us… and I suspect there will be some things that pop up and surprise us all…

Here are the listings, some of which are free and all of which will be held at The British Library (address below.)

Hope to see you there!



Saturday 8 March

Event: On Voice: Lavinia Greenlaw, Ali Smith, George Saunders and Erica Wagner in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 11.30am – 12.45pm
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: On Place: Nam Le, Sebastian Faulks, Amity Gaige and James Walton in conversation.Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 13.45 – 15.00
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: On Reading Women: Tessa Hadley, Frances Wilson and Suzi Feay. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.30 – 16.30
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Sunday 9 March

Event: On Genre and Form: Michael Chabon, Mark Haddon, Eimear McBride and Stephanie Merritt in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 11.30 – 12.45
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: Rachel Kushner and Anne Carson. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 12.00 – 13.00
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings

Event: On Structure: Sarah Hall, A.S. Byatt, Sergio De La Pava and Sam Leith in conversation.Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 13.45 – 15.00
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: Amity Gaige and Jane Gardam. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 14.15 – 15.15
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings

Event: On Context: Pankaj Mishra, Rachel Kushner, Andrew O’Hagan and Rachel Cooke in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.30 – 16.30
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: George Saunders, Eimear McBride and Sergio de la Pava. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.45 – 16.45
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings



The British Library
96 Euston Road



Bettane & Desseauve wine tasting
at the Saatchi Gallery

red wine

Pic from Bar Simple

I’m not a big wine drinker. In fact, I am a pathetic wine drinker. It makes me fall over. And my legs feel like custard. And it’s not after a bottle – it’s after about 2 sips.. so I think wine and I will never have a true romance. (It does mean I am a very cheap date though.)

However, I love everything else about wine. The ritual of it, the look of it, the evenings surrounding it and the knowledge behind it… it’s an art.

If you are a wine lover, you’ll be very pleased to hear that France, Italy, Spain and Greece have gathered together their very best wine producers and will be popping them on a plane to whizz them over to the Saatchi Gallery. For, this is where the second and terribly exciting Bettane + Desseauve Wine Experience is taking place.

These clever folk (they know their grapes) will be presenting to a public of professionals (my uncle) amateurs (you – no offence – if you win my competition) and one complete novice who knows nothing about wine (me).

I have 10 pairs of tickets to give away (yes, 10!) and you can enter at the bottom of this post.

There will be several events taking place over the tasting, including:

A wine auction organized by The Grape Foundation on the Friday evening – the funds collected will be donated to disadvantaged children

The Chardonnays Masters by the Drinks Business: a selection of Chardonnay wines from all over the world have been tasted by a panel of experts, the award-winning wines will be presented during the Wine Experience.

Wine Premiere Awards: a presentation of 12 innovative wine projects. Visitors can vote for the most innovative project, during the Wine Experience, and win a prize.

There will be lots of talks and masterclasses and lots and lots of yummy wine to taste.. you can read about it until your tongue turns red on their website here.

The event takes place on the 25th and 26th October. If you’d like to attend, just enter below!

Good luck and and maybe I’ll see you there…



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Poppy in the Wilderness…

“Cast away your consternations and plunge into a pastoral paradise of inspiration, entertainments and tranquility.”

Last weekend I was not in Kansas anymore.. no siree. I was deep, up to my sparkly eyelashes, into The Wilderness.. (um, in Oxfordshire.)

I should mention at this point that sadly, in my switch from Blogger over to WordPress I lost the originals of these images and so they are all a bit blurry.. however you can see them in their fighting sparkly form over here, if you fancy a nose.


The third season of Wilderness ran from the 8th – 11th August and we were treated to a magical weekend of glorious sunshine, arcadian arts, dazzling discourse, restorative rituals and after dark escapades… with processions and parades, boating lakes and banquets, debates and discussions, spas, circus spectaculars and some of the best music I’ve ever encountered…

The Tea Bus

The rolling landscapes of Cornbury played host to a sell-out crowd of over 15,000 festival-goers, who were treated to some sun-drenched escapades and sensational shows…

Martha Wainwright

Rodriguez (of Searching for Sugarman) made his only festival-headline appearance of the Summer, Empire of the Sun thrilled us, Noah and the Whale stunned us and the sounds of Martha Wainwright, John Newman, Michael Kiwanuka, and Tom Odell were to be heard throughout the Wilderness land, as were many others, including a host of acts from the London Folk Guild.

J Sheekey

Food lovers were in their element as they were treated to sumptuous dining experiences from some of Britain’s own foodie Gods, including banquets from Ottolenghi, Mark Hix and Polpo. Feasts from Moro and St John were also there to make us dribble and drool… it’s a miracle I fit in the car on the way home..I don’t believe I stopped eating. I actually don’t think I did. 

Transe Express

House of Davai

There is so much more to tell you.. the amazing French theatre groups Transe Express and Les Pepones brought their sensational outdoor circus performances to life, while we lay back under the stars, sipped gourmet hot chocs and guzzled organic baked potatoes with goats cheese and beetroot chutney, (I know.) and watched aerial performers elevated fifty feet up in the air and death defying trapeze acts, choreographed to a 1920’s musical swing score…

RSPLB saving the love-seeker’s day..

Jon Ronson at The Secret Forum

Chess in the Village Hall

The RSPLB (Royal Society of Pursuit of Love Birds) were there in force, bringing rockin romance and birdy naughtiness to the love seekers of the festival, there was swing dancing from Swing Patrol, Talks and debates in their hundreds at the Secret Forum, (led by The Huffington Post) and if I wasn’t swimming in the boating lake, watching Shakespeare’s at The Globe on the water’s edge, lounging at the lakeside spa, doing an Eggs Benedict masterclass at the Thyme Cookery School, getting sparkled up at Smashbox, playing chess in the Village Hall, hanging at the House of Fairytales or indulging in crumpets and tea in the Tea Bus, then I would be lazing in the sun, reading my book and letting the wonders of Wilderness waft over me and into the tips of my toes…

And I haven’t even scratched the surface… you can see my full photo album here, but it will still tell you only a fraction of the story that was Wilderness 2013… it’s a sensory explosion and I loved it.

Early bird tickets for Wilderness 2014 went on sale this week, so if you don’t want to miss out on the rompus and revelries next year, go and catch that worm here..

I will see you there..



Win a trip to the Edinburgh Festival!

Hip pip, the Edinburgh Festival is officially around the corner and I for one can not wait! My tickets are booked, I’m all packed (complete lie) and am a bit fizzy with anticipation.

One of the highlights has always been the whizzbangingly spectacular fireworks display, which is being sponsored this year by Virgin Money. They have joined forces with Little Red (Virgin Atlantic’s new UK domestic service between London and Manchester, London and Aberdeen and London and Edinburgh) and are giving us the chance to win a trip to the Edinburgh International Festival!

Want to know what you can win? Me too. Here you go:

1. A pair of flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh 31st August – 2nd September
2. Two nights stay in the prestigious George Hotel, which lies in central Edinburgh
3. Two tickets for the closing Edinburgh Festival Fireworks Concert in the Ross Band Stand – read more here

The competition is running until the 9th August and to enter, just click here – it’s easy peasy.

p.s. Don’t forget to get yourself insured too, in case your luggage goes walkabout and you arrive with no pants.. (I am speaking from experience). Virgin Money Travel Insurance will sort you out in a jiffy.

Good luck to one and all… maybe I’ll see you there!




Carry on Glamping

“I’m getting back to nature!” you cry. “I LOVE having no running water, I RELISH itchy scratchy bumpy and I LAUGH IN THE FACE of spiders in my knickers. Off you go, with your car bursting with rickety tent paraphernalia poking you in the ribs, tins of beans, wellies, loo roll and a feeling in the pit of your stomach that you may never come home alive.

Stop right there Poppy Lovers, for I (Poppy) have discovered the wonders of luxury camping, or ‘Glamping‘ as the kids on the street (or in the field) are calling it and I am sharing it with you.

Sawday’s Canopy and Stars are creators and providers of true, super duper luxury camping havens all over the UK and France (oui). All gorgeous, all unique and all undoubtably quirky. I’m talking yurts, treehouses, gramophones, shepherd’s huts, telescopes, gypsy caravans… and recording studios. Yip. 

The amazing living space in the top pic is called ‘The Geo’ – an eco pod in Cornwall. A smooth white bubble of style on the edge of rugged Bodmin Moor. It has a private kitchen (!) and bathroom, (BATHROOM!), sits above the vicarage and looks out over the hills. Every morning a scrumptious breakfast hamper (free of charge) is left out for you, with an evening menu for you to peruse should you not feel like cooking. So, you can just curl up on the giant beanbag on your sunny terrace and properly relax. I can hear you packing your bags already. (Include your walking boots – the scenery is stunning).

Family friendly, honeymoony friendly and grab-yer-besties-and-go friendly, they really do have something for everyone. Canopy and Stars treasure the simple things in life and the opportunity to slow down; they believe you can live (and work) in a sustainable, responsible way without having to compromise on fun, (whoop!) excitement, (whoop whoop!) and luxury. Hoorah!

They also have a bit of a thing for pigs, but that’s a whole other story


WIN £100 Canopy and Stars voucher!

It’s true, (no lie), I have a £100 voucher up for grabs for you to win and put towards any one of the delicious Canopy and Stars destinations! 
All you have to do is just one of the following things. However, each one you do counts as an additional entry, so you can be counted up to 5 times! (If you are already doing any of the below they will also be counted as entries). 

1Sign up to my mailing list
2. Leave a comment below
3. Follow me and @canopyandstars and RT the competition on Twitter
4. Follow my blog publicly, by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button, top left of my blog, (under the Twitter sign)
5. Become a fan on my Facebook page
Winner to be picked on Tuesday 10th May, 2011. 
Good luck campers! 
* Voucher is valid for 1 year and normal terms and conditions apply.