A Little Mid-Week Getaway...

It’s 5am and we’re halfway to Gatwick. We are off to sing on the beautiful Venice Simplon-Orient-Express! Here’s a glimpse into life on the road with The Spitfire Sisters. 

We have a day in Venice before boarding the train on Wednesday morning and travelling back to London via Paris, performing for all the passengers with Spitfire Steve, a baby grand and our saxophones. 

The excitement of the trip, as well as the sheer quantity of luggage we'll be taking (outfits! shoes! saxophones! music stands! microphones! the list goes on...) led us to a big discussion about our travel plans, routines and essentials. Our discussion went something like this...

What do you never go on holiday without? 

L: Clean Knickers. At least I try my hardest to remember to pack them. It hasn't worked 100% of the time. I'll double check...

A: My camera! One of my favourite things about travelling is wandering around some unknown destination with my camera. Obvioulsy it's wonderful to be able to show family and friends where you've been but I also love looking back on the photos in an attempt to relive an experience. 

H: My headphones; I can walk around a place for hours as long as I have a good album, playlist or podcast. 

What do you miss the most about home when you travel? 

L: My children.

A: My bed! I love my bed. Other beds aren't the same. 

H: A proper cup of tea. Actually, I don't miss anything too much, but I do love the feeling of coming home when you've been away. 

What travel snacks do you pack? 

L: I'm not very prepared when I travel and usually grab whatever there is from a local snack stop on the go. I do remember being given fruit boiled sweets to suck on the plane to try and keep my ears happy. 

A: I never remember to pack travel snacks, and I find that snack shopping at the airport is a good time-waster. Also, Hannah's a boss at emergency snackage so there's no fear of starving. 

H: I try and go for a good mix of healthy and unhealthy. Sweets, crackers, crisps, bananas and tea. For this trip I've packed some chocolate covered rice cakes, four bags of pic'n'mix for each of us, cereal bars a load of herbal tea bags. I have a reputation to live up to! 

What's your travel beauty routine? 

L: I try to keep a makeup free face with a light moisturiser, especially as we will be leaving very early in the morning for this trip. I do love a good rummage around the duty free while I'm at the airport. I probably come out smelling very confusing from mulitple sprays of various perfumes. 

A: Moisturiser and a quick bit of mascara - I find that this strikes a perfect balance between not looking like a zombie, keeping hydrated and haivng a blank canvas for playing at the makeup consession stands in duty free. 

H: No matter how early or late I'm travelling, I always wash my face with The Body Shop Tea Tree scrub as it wakes me up immediately and makes my skin feel amazing. Then it's E45 moisturiser, Glossier Boy Brow and whatever mascara I'm currently using. When I'm travelling with Louisa I never wear nail varnish as I always hope I can persuade her to give me a quick manicure. 

Favourite thing about planes or airports? 

L: The feeling of adventure and excitement. 

A: The older I get, the less I care for airports. I used to find them incredibly exciting, where as now I just want to be on my way. That said, I do like the fact that in an airport you can drink champagne at any time of the day without it being frowned upon. That's a thing, right? 

H: My pre-flight routine! I love to get to airports ridiculously early, look around every shop, settle on a place to sit, make sure I've got enough snacks, and get a coffee just before I board the plane.

What do you listen to when you go travelling? 

L: Last time I went travelling I was trying to learn some songs for an Ella Fitzgerald centenary concert and that was a wonderful travel companion, especially the five minute scat solo. 

A: It changes every time! There are a handful of albums that instantly evoke memories form certain trips, like Gavin DeGraw's Chariot which takes me straight back to sleeper trains in India, or Frank Ocean's Channel Orange which will forever remind me of a snowy trip to Stockholm with Hannah and Spitfire Bassist Doug. 

H: Podcasts; I like hearing people talk, especially if I'm trying to sleep in a new place. In terms of music, J made me a playlist about a year ago that is 164 songs long and I always revisit that whenever I can. 

We ended up having quite a few crossovers on the music we listen to when travelling, so here's a joint playlist of some of our favourite tracks! You can find our travel playlist on Spotify here.

https://open.spotify.com/user/hannahcastleman/playlist/3RbZef1KZ2m1Vfmqj0YNRK?si=r47IOUQEQ2uygFXRLKx3kg

1. It's Nice To Go Travelling - Frank Sinatra

2. Perfect Day - Hoku

3. Running Away  - Vulfpeck ft. Joey Dosik

4. Over-rated - Gavin DeGraw

5. Sweet Life - Frank Ocean

6. All I Want Is You - Sarah Jane Morris & Antonio Forcione

7. Remember - Seinabo Sey

8. Back To Basics - Jenny and the Mexicats

9. Misery Business - Paramore

10. New York State Of Mind - Mel Torme

Hannah never leaves the country, let alone her house, without some excellent podcasts. Here are her top picks. 

1. Elis James & John Robins on Radio X

2. Desert Island Discs

3. Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown (explicit content!)

4. The Chris Moyles Show on Radio X

5. This American Life

6. Wooden Overcoats

7. Serial Season 1 - I listen to these episodes over and over again. (explicit content!)

8. Another Round (explicit content!)

9. Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Show Podcast (explicit content!)

10. BBC Comedy of The Week

 

 

 

 

Lucy McLoughlin: Live Event Artist

We managed to sneak enough time to ask Lucy some questions about her work - enjoy!

S: How did you discover your talent for real-time painting and illustration?

L: From the age of 4 I said I wanted to do 'something with drawing'. I studied Textile Design and my mum was a tailor so looking back now it makes perfect sense that I have become a live event artist painting people and their glorious outfits. When I worked as an art lecturer I often gave demonstrations so that's where I got over the fear of painting live in front of an audience A course at Saint Martins and a discussion with a copywriter about my ideas helped me to focus and the concept of being a live event artist was born.

S: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

L: I have the dream job and I basically created it myself! I have combined everything I love: people, celebrations & parties, fashion, music, culture, theatre and painting, it's all there and it's marvellous. I get to go to all sorts of places, meet lots of lovely people and I get to see behind the scenes. It is fascinating and exciting and I am learning new things all the time.

S: It's clear from your website that you get to capture people at some incredible and exclusive events, which have been your favourite and is there an event you'd love the opportunity to paint?

L: My favourite event so far has got to be working in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot for 5 glorious days. I even got to paint the queen (although she doesn't know it... ssh!). I suppose the Royal Garden Party would be a pretty amazing event to attend. But really it's the diversity of my job that I love so very much.

 

Find out and view more of Lucy's work on her website.

On Friday 28th October we were fortunate enough to be joined at The Theatre Royal Winchester by live event artist Lucy McLoughlin. Lucy records shows, weddings and corporate events by painting in real-time, capturing guests, acts and their outfits!

 Lucy's view from the circle during sound check.

Lucy's view from the circle during sound check.