Torquay 2017: Your Survival Guide

So you’re planning on heading to Torquay next weekend?
Hanging out with old friends, meeting new ones, seeing your favourite BBC Radio 1 DJs, competing and partying on the English Riviera. It doesn’t get much better! Now I’m sure you’ve already researched and booked where you’re staying and are now thinking about what to wear, what to pack and “what if?” situations…

If you haven’t – wait. You don’t have to because we already did it for you! Sweet deal, right? Consider this your cheat sheet, detailing what to wear, what to bring and, most importantly, the top tips to maximise your fun. You’re welcome…

YFC Convention-goers are some of the most laid back in the country, but, for some, it’s that one weekend when you can ditch the PPE and break out your best looks – so leave the steel toe-capped boots and hard hats at home folks! And while last year Blackpool was scorching during the day, the temperature dropped like crazy at night, so be prepared with some layers. Now onto the necessities:

• Formal wear – Friday evening’s dress code is “Black Tie” but what does this actually mean in this day and age? From Bradley Cooper to Bond, James Bond, black tie remains the gold standard for formal attire – which means it’s essential to get it right. Can you get away with a bog-standard suit? Well, yes, you can, in the same way that you can get away with murder. But it doesn’t mean you should commit such a heinous crime.

A well fitted tuxedo, crisp white shirt and black bow tie can take any young farmer from Wurzel to Wowser in one easy step!

Rental tuxedos are reasonably priced for those who only sport this look once a year but Mark & Spencer and Matalan both offer reasonably priced, stylish options if you have a few similar occasions in your social calendar.
A good rule of thumb is black tie is not the time to be creative. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. If it’s the Oscars and you’re Pharrell, then wear a shorts-dinner suit if you must. (Really, though?)

For women, Friday is the night for you to look your most gorgeous! Embrace it and have fun. Black Tie usually suggests a long formal gown (if you have a chance to wear one, WHY NOT?) however we have been happily pushing those boundaries for years and now it is perfectly acceptable to wear calf length, shorter cocktail dresses and even tuxedos. Just make sure it fits properly and jazz it up with accessories, sparkly heels and plenty attitude!

• Fancy Dress – Saturday night is fancy dress night and this year’s theme is Princes & Princesses which should be royally good fun!

Ex US President and Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan once said: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” (He didn’t explain exactly what he meant by this – and he won two US presidential elections, which rather proves the point.) but if you go to a fancy dress party, and you need to keep explaining who you have come as, it’s a #fail !

Kids love dressing up, as it makes them feel grown up. Adults like dressing up because it reminds them of that feeling of being a kid! What this means is that actually being a grownup is overrated so what better way to avoid reality than to be a princess for a night?

How many of us girls (when we were six) dreamt about being a Princess? Okay so now it’s maybe Prime Minister, US President or farmer!

But years of Disney conditioning, plastic tiaras, story books and nylon dresses have prepared many of us for this very weekend but the guys – that’s another story entirely. For guys it’s about being funny and silly but think of the benefits of becoming Prince Charming or even just ‘Prince’ for the night – more fun, more attention and more chance of getting the girl!

If you haven’t thought about your costume yet aren’t you leaving it a bit late? For those of us who aren’t handy with a sewing machine, creative or just plain lazy, luckily websites like have a fantastic range of costumes and super quick delivery options


You might not see all these items as necessities, but it’s better to be over-prepared than under. Bring a small backpack for the essentials, and keep the emergency items at your hotel or in a locker.

• Cash– Most transactions accept cards but it’s always good to have a stash of cash just in case.
• Water, Agua, H20! – Passing out is the opposite of fun so buy water in bulk – you can get a 12 pack for about £3 and your friends will also thank you for it!
• Suncream – We can only hope…
• Phone charger – Duhhhh. Portable, man!
• Paracetamol – for the morning after
• Berocca – the secret lifesaver
• Earplugs – By the time your ears are buzzing after Day 2, you’ll wish you brought a pair.

Prepare for the Worst – Make sure your name and phone number are in your wallet in an obvious place. Think ICE – In Case of Emergency. Or if you plan on bringing a digital camera, make sure to snap a pic of your name and phone number. If someone finds your camera and peeks through your photos, they’ll know who to contact. I’m not joking, nice people return these items all the time, so make it easy for them to find you.
Live in the Moment – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones—they’re hardwired into our lives now. But weekends like this are always better when you’re absorbed in the experience, so let your social network wait. Let’s be honest: You’re never going to watch those iPhone videos again anyway.
Don’t Be “That Guy” – Be respectful of local residents, fellow convention-goers and the friendly vibe. Don’t wear offensive shirts, shove aggressively through the crowds. Don’t litter. Don’t over indulge and make everyone’s life a misery. Just be a nice person and have fun!

stephanie_berkeley_zl4u2oa9Torquay 2017: Your Survival Guide

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