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Standon Calling – Dog Friendly?

Is Standon Calling Dog-Friendly?

Standon Calling claims to be “the most dog-friendly festival in the UK”. I was looking forward to it for weeks, hoping for it to be a really memorable weekend spent with my boyfriend and our dog. Well, it certainly was memorable.. but for none of the right reasons.

We were planning on setting off on Friday, but due to some hold ups and bad weather, we decided that it would be better to set off on Saturday morning. We woke bright and early ready to hit the road, It was 198 miles to get to Standon, and took about 4 hours including breaks for the dog to stretch her legs. So by the time we got there it was around midday, we had paid for the upgrade to the “Lavish Lands” which was a total mistake because there were no benefits to it, and it was just loads further away from the parking area than the other camping areas.

Camping at Standon Calling

When we got to the “Lavish Lands” the first thing we noticed was the annoying noise of the drum and bass area which it was situated directly next to. Now, let me just make this clear, I love festivals, I’ve been to loads and I’ve always had a great time, so I’m used to camping in noisy situations, but this really was awful. It is supposed to be family friendly yet all you could hear were the thuds of the bass reverberating around in your skull, it was like being a student again, having to listen to pounding music coming from the rave going on next door. God only knows how awful it must have been for the dogs, as their hearing is super-sensitive.

When we left the camping area I looked down and saw that my dog had a chicken bone in her mouth which I had to quickly pull out, as everyone knows that if a dog eats a cooked chicken bone it can splinter and cause life-threatening injuries. To my dismay, there were chicken bones scattered around the grass everywhere. Not just in the food area, but literally everywhere, as people were walking around they were just chucking the bones on the ground. Why on earth would “the most dog-friendly festival in the UK” allow in a stand selling chicken wings? Luckily my dog is small enough to carry, but there were plenty of larger dogs there who could easily have been badly injured or worse. How are dog owners supposed to relax and have a good time if they have to be constantly checking around for chicken bones?

Standon Calling Festival

It was raining pretty heavily by this time, however, there was nowhere to sit which was under shelter, and as I couldn’t put the dog down on the ground due to the chicken bones we either had the choice of standing in the rain or going back to the tent. In a normal situation sitting in the tent waiting for the rain to pass would have been fine, but with the awful noise going on it was impossible to relax, especially when the dog looked so upset about it all. So I went to the welfare tent to see if they had any ear plugs, and fortunately, they did. To my horror, they then informed me that the drum and bass would be going on until 4am, and they agreed with me that they didn’t know why they would put the camping area right next to it.

The ear plugs made absolutely no difference. The child-friendly lawn area probably would have had some quiet sheltered areas we could have sat in, but we wouldn’t know, because dogs aren’t allowed in there. So the only other option was just to sit in the car. We tried our best to have a good time, but even my usually optimistic attitude was pushed to the limit. After a bit of deliberation, we realised that the prospect of having to listen to the dreadful thumping noises all night was unbearable, and unfair on the dog. So we had to admit defeat, put down the tent and carry everything all the way back up the muddy slope. It took about 2 hours to get everything unassembled and back in the car (because the Lavish Lands was the furthest away camping area). By this time it was 10pm, and we were planning on at least seeing Clean Bandit before we set off, but what with being exhausted, and knowing that we had a 4 hour drive through torrential rain to get home, we decided to just set off. We finally got home at 2am, after having to stop a few times down the M1 for coffee breaks.

Standon Calling Ticket Costs

This has to be the worst festival I have ever has the displeasure of attending. The most soul-crushing thing is that with the amount I spent on the tickets, we could have had a romantic weekend away somewhere, or just put it into our savings for the future. The tickets were £156.56 each, and the Lavish Lands was £49.50 each. Including the transaction fee, this was a grand total of £417.86. Then when you think about the cost of petrol for a 400-mile round trip, and also that I took the Friday off work to get everything ready, it all really starts to add up. After excitedly telling everyone about the festival before we went, I then had to tell everyone that it was actually awful.

Contact Standon Calling

I emailed Standon Calling, asking for a refund, and today I received their response.

“We’re sorry to hear that you had a disappointing time at Standon Calling this year. We do try to advise people in advance that Lavish lands is closer to the main arena and as a result, being closer to the action can mean that it can be noisy on occasion. Unfortunately we will not be able to refund your festival tickets.”

I’m not usually one to complain, but seriously, to be so excited about something, spend so much money, and then just have the worst time ever is so sad, and I want to warn anyone thinking of going to Standon Calling, don’t do it!
If you are looking for a dog friendly festival, then keep looking!

Vancouver, Canada

Situated in Canada’s British Columbia, Vancouver is a trendy yet relaxed city with so much to explore. We visited towards the end of January for a 10 day holiday, and used the wonderful public transport to get around.

timbits

We arrived in the evening at about 8.30pm and went straight to sleep, but woke up at 5am starving. Luckily the airbnb host had provided bagels 🙂

We went for breakfast at Tim Hortons and got a very inexpensive box of 20 TimBits, basically tiny doughnuts balls of different flavours, so tasty!

vancouver apartment

This was the view from the apartment, it was incredible to be able to watch the whole city and the sunrises were amazing! (We saw quite a few of them due to the jetlag!)

Exploring Vancouver in January

Our Airbnb apartment was in Chinatown – (the largest Chinatown in Canada!) and we were there for the Chinese New Year Parade, which was the only time it rained for our whole holiday! Similarly to Yorkshire, it seems to always rain on a parade. The weather every other day was lovely, fresh and bright.

The main thing we noticed about staying in this area was the number of homeless people; there were so many! And a lot of them quite clearly on drugs. The taxi driver did tell us that this would be the case, he also said that they were harmless enough which was true. In fact, we actually got used to it after a couple of days. On Sunday evening we popped into the local 7-Eleven (like a Londis or SPAR but selling slushies and hot pizza) and in the queue in front of us was a one-eyed homeless man in a wheelchair with a massive rabbit on his lap. To be fair if I was homeless I’d probably get a rabbit for company too..

The fun activities, beautiful scenery and variety of delicious food made this a great trip, and Vancouver is such a lovely place to visit. We would like to go again in the summer, I think it would be quite a different experience.

Vancouver

This is a picture I took in Stanley park. We had just visited the Vancouver Aquarium, which was brilliant, and we were walking back through the park. The sun was setting, and the view was beautiful. I love the mixture of city and nature. I was quite keen to go in the horse and carriage around the park, but it seems like they don’t do it off-season!

Chinese Garden

Here is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden which was just around the corner from our apartment. There was a lovely lady who volunteers there who took us on a tour, explaining about the Ying and Yang of the garden, it was very pretty but quite chilly. I think it would probably be better in the summer, but it was still a lovely way to spend an hour.  They usually have Koi carp, but apparently, they had been taken indoors somewhere to make sure they didn’t freeze, there was quite a lot of ice on the water.

What to wear in Vancouver in January?

I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be really snowy and icy, so I pretty much just packed skiing clothes. This was so unnecessary, the weather was more pleasant than it is in England in January! Take a brolly, because it can be rainy, but you don’t need cold weather clothes, just plenty of layers. If you’re from England you’ll be fine, if you’re from somewhere glorious and sunny you might feel a bit cold. Luckily there are plenty of shops in Vancouver, so if you do realise that you’ve made a fatal packing error, you can always pay a visit to Old Navy. It’s all very laid back, so it’s definitely worth choosing comfort over style, you won’t feel underdressed 🙂

I just wore jeans or leggings and a top, jumper and coat. Cute comfy trainers are the way to go! This is me posing with a llama outside one of the nice quirky shops at Granville Island – I took my coat off for the photo, because I was wearing a coat in pretty much all the other photos, and I had just bought this denim shirt in Old Navy and wanted to show it off!

granville island outfit

Is Dine Out Vancouver Worth It?

Dine Out Vancouver was on whilst we were there, it was from 20th January – 5th February 2017, and I think it is usually around the same time annually. I had thought it would be really good, and was one of the contributing factors to why we booked our trip for the end of January. In reality though, we didn’t use it once! I think if you are the sort of person who really loves food, and trying new things, it is great. They did have some vegetarian options, but it is all mostly set menus that to choose from. So if you don’t like the veggie option then you won’t want to do the deal. There are events and shows which looked quite good, but quite costly. The veggie options are usually the cheapest thing on the menu, and I never really bother with puddings or starters (unless there is something that sounds particularly delicious), so for me, the Dine out Vancouver wasn’t worth it. The website does have the option to filter on vegetarian menus which is handy 🙂

You can either schedule lots of activities, or just spend your time wandering around through the various districts stopping off for food and to look in all the shops. We went skiing on Grouse Mountain had the most phemonenal view. There are bears up on Grouse Mountain, however they were hibernating so we were not able to see them.

If you’ve got any questions about planning a trip to Vancouver, please do let me know.

If you enjoyed this, then you can read about my trip to Portugal here. 

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Dream Travel List

In my job I am often coming across amazing places, so I started compiling a list of awesome things I want to do and places I want to explore (and animals I want to see in their natural habitats). 

This list is growing all the time, and if you have any suggestions please do let me know! ?

1. Churchill (Manitoba, Canada)

Friendly Canadians and polar bears! You can’t go wrong!

churchill-manitoba-polar-bears

‘Gaiter and Earring’ by Emma

2. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Sea lions.. who doesn’t like sea lions!

the-galapagos-islands-sea-lion

‘IMG_1042’ by Boyd Dwyer

3. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

For ultimate tranquillity, and incredible waterfalls.

plitvice-lakes-croatia

‘Plitvice Lake’ by 29cm

4. The Maldives

Paradise!

maldives

‘Kuramathi Island, Maldives’ by Mac Qin

 5. Bear Watching in Finland

More bears? Yes! ?

bear-watching-in-finland

‘Bear Watching Karhu-Kuusamo Finland’ by Gary Bembridge

6. Vancouver, Canada

Potentially meeting Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki

vancouver

‘Canada – Vancouver – False Creek, Burrard Bridge’ by Harshil Shah

7. Hawaii

hawaii

‘Hula silhouette’ by Brad Hagan

8. Warner Bros. Studio, California, USA

warner-bros-studio-tour-hollywood

‘Central Perk’ by William Warby

9. Seville

plaza-espana

10. Japan

cherry blossom