My first big event for this year's May Week was Jesus College May Ball. I'd had it pencilled eagerly into my diary for months and months ever since A asked me if I wanted to go in February, and finally the day came. Warning: an absolute onslaught of photos is coming in the next few posts. You're about to enter the crazy world of May Balls...
I spent the day running around Cambridge prepping myself for the ball. First stop was Stilo Nuovo to have my hair trimmed and blown out. Next, I went into Bobbi Brown at Lion's Yard to be taught how to do my eyebrows. That's right - 22 years on this planet and I'd never dared to venture near my brows with anything remotely resembling makeup! I'm pleased that I've learned to accentuate them, but after walking into the house after the makeover with my housemates not recognising me on first glance, my personal approach will probably be a lot more natural from now on.
Pre-ball selfie. Had to be done before my hair lost its curl. The ephemeral nature of artificial waves is just a fact of life when you have naturally straight Asian hair!
Had to crop out the
slight major floordrobe going on behind me. It seems I am incapable of getting ready for parties or nights out without chucking every item of clothing I own on the floor.
Boyfriend lounged around with a cup of coffee while waiting for me to do my makeup. A sensible move on his part.
Here's my May Ball makeup arsenal for the night: Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Saddle (used to accentuate the brows), Bobbi Brown Eye Definer brush, Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colour in Red Carpet, Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Concealer in Light/Medium (honestly the best concealer I've ever used) and BeneFit They're Real Mascara.
Of course, it took A under a minute to get changed. I helped him with his cufflinks. See, I can be supportive too! Then we scurried down to the kitchen to get my housemate to take some pre-Ball snaps.
We walked over to Jesus College and managed to sneak in the front entrance due to A being a grad. Score! The theme was 'Lost In The Woods', which manifested itself in several ways: Hollywood, Bollywood, The Enchanted Forest, The Frozen Forest, RainForest and Woodstock.
We played with peacock feathers and ate paella in the RainForest...
...then moved on for macaroni and cider in Woodstock. It may seem a little extreme, but food and drink is unlimited at these events, and in order to get your money's worth you must stuff yourself!
Not that I minded eating my body weight in ball food. I've been hankering after a taste of Anna Mae's ever since I heard about it at Kerb. I opted for the Kanye Western - deliciously cooked macaroni with a hint of mustard, topped with frankfurter pieces, BBQ sauce and crispy onions. Next time I want to try the Don Macaroni!
As the sun set, we headed into the Enchanted Forest to see what was on offer. Complete with lightbulbs twinkling magically in the canopy above, pink illuminated trees and fluorescent gingerbread houses, I felt like this area was taken straight from the Disney images and picture book scenes of our childhoods.
A reluctant smile from my date who was probably a bit fed up by this point with my shutterbugging, but resigned to the fact that it would inevitably continue...
A sparkly tent in the Bollywood area played host to a myriad of acts, from tribute bands to comedy stand up.
I was having some dress envy looking around at the beautiful maxis sported by some of the other female attendees, but I hadn't reckoned on the green eyed monster coming out so much in this picture...!
While in 'Bollywood' we grabbed a curry and ate it in the cloisters. Such a juxtaposition might seem slightly incongruous, but that's the beauty of May Balls.
We discovered a fern-covered waterfall set up in the 'RainForest', a surprise in the usually immaculately manicured gardens of the college and I couldn't resist a photo. My roots are in the 'Rainforest' of the world after all!
I heard whisperings of a cheese room and gravitated towards it with terrifying speed. We piled a plate high with everything from Brie de Meaux to...other cheeses I can't quite remember the names of. All delicious!
I am to my cheese haul as Smaug is to his trove of looted dwarf treasure.
We carried our dairy loot to the Frozen Forest to snack and so A could do the gentlemanly thing and bring me a G&T. The Frozen Forest really was almost frozen - after a week of sunshine and hot weather (reprised again this week, annoyingly), we had a cold snap with cooler nights and icy breezes, so a dose of alcohol and A's warm arm around me was definitely needed!
Luckily there was an awesomely monumental stag crafted from fairy lights to distract me from the relatively arctic conditions.
Oh, and fireworks. Those helped too...
The prettiest Ball wristbands I've ever had! Shiny!
I hadn't finished with the eating yet, by the way. Just in case you were wondering. Next we picked up slices of margarita and goat's cheese pizza.
And then pieces of fruit slathered in three types of chocolate and topped with caramelised nuts from the Banana Man. Mmmmm...
I enjoyed the Banana Man's t-shirt slogan. Yes, my mind is in the gutter. No, I'm not ashamed.
Chocolate-covered fruit presented in this way reminded me of the choco bananas sold on the streets at Japanese night markets, especially when I was able to consume it in such a suitably Oriental setting. Meanwhile, A queued up for a coconut filled with rum. Yup, getting our 5 a day in the best way possible...
Next on the agenda: Lola's Cupcakes. Beautiful at full size. 1000% times more adorable when they're mini!
A went for aesthetics and chose a tiny cupcake with delicate sugar work. I went for the most delicious looking one and chose the strawberry and cream cupcake. Ate it in two bites or less. I really hope Lola's make big versions of them!
And of course I had to eat my cupcake on a cup. A giant teacup, that is. It all felt very Alice in Wonderland...Curiouser and curiouser.
The later it got, the chillier I felt, so we decamped into Jesus Hall to check out what 'Hollywood' had to offer. The event organisers had aimed to recreate the glitz and glamour of the 20s and MGM with a buzzing casino - with wheels of fortune, roulette and a lot of poker.
In the court outside the hall big bands played noisy saxophone and soulful jazz numbers, while A and I did a bit of posing.
Not that I would ever be brave enough to step in front of a real camera!
We stood at the back of the tent to watch the Jesus headline act - Scouting For Girls, supported by Wilkinson. I was transported right back to my teenage days in 2007 and 2008 on hearing 'She's So Lovely' and 'Heartbeat'.
In the wee hours A and I made our way back to 'Woodstock' to participate in a little carnival-themed revelry. I oohed and aahed over the ferris wheel in all its illuminated splendour but didn't dare go on it because it looked a little bit too wobbly and fast for my liking...
We were happy to go on dodgems instead.
A and I were, of course, demons behind the wheel. Perhaps it's time for me to actually take real driving lessons...
I thought I'd end with this picture from the dodgems, a photo that ended up being one of my favourite shots of the night. After this we grabbed some cinnamony doughnuts from Yubba Yubba's and some breakfast pastries, then made our way back home in a peaceful, dazed state as dawn was breaking over the city.
Jesus was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best May Balls I've ever been to. Such a lovely contrast to the commotion of the garden party the evening before in which I spent ages trying to round up my friends just to do one activity. It was a beautiful, chilled out evening with a special person. I think I'll remember Jesus May Ball fondly as an extended (and very pricey) date with A :)