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29 July 2014

Leaving flowers

I have made this post title a little sombre somehow but it's actually just a bad play on words of the fact that there are leaves and flowers on my new dress and top... deep huh?  I picked up the top and dress from Debenhams when they kindly gifted me a voucher to pick a couple of summer-y new wardrobe additions.  I haven't shopped in Debenhams for a while as my nearest one is about 20 minutes away in Bournemouth and I don't tend to go high street shopping that much, and also for some reason I haven't hopped onto their website for a little while, but I must admit that I was hugely pleasantly surprised and ended up going to the fitting rooms like some kind of carthorse - I think I tried on about ten things! It's a weirdly long time since I've actually been in a changing room since I tend to do the bulk of my clothes shopping online, but it was actually a good experience actually trying things on and getting a proper idea of how they fitted - I'm such a bad one for keeping things I don't like that I've bought online just because I can't be bothered to send them back! 

This leaf print dress is actually a bardot/off the shoulder dress but it seems to have slunk up for these photos oops!

Leaf print dress Leaf print dress 
dress: quiz at debenhams £19.99* // shoes: converse

I saw this top poking out from a sale rail and eagerly snatched it up - I'm always on the hunt for pretty tops (especially ones with Peter Pan collars!) as I'm such a lover of jeans at the weekend, so this was a must-buy. And it was £12 - what a bargain!

Collar floral Collar floral Collar floral
top: collection at debenhams £12* {instore} // jeans: topshop // wedges: h&m {old}

Do you have any jazzy floral prints in your summer wardrobe?  Have you checked out Debenhams lately?

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Advice for first time festival-goers

I absolutely love festivals, though I must admit that these days we usually buy a camper-van ticket and stay in the relative comfort of Tom's VW van rather than under canvas.  In my old age I find there's just something about lighting up the camping stove and making a cup of green tea and a bacon sarnie before heading into the hubbub of the festival site.  My first festival was Sziget Festival in Budapest in 2007 which was absolutely amazing - there was so much to see and do, the tickets aren't a complete ripoff, the food is amazing, the price of beer is capped at about 2 euros (or was when I went) and the parties and music go on late into the night.  I then went to Reading Festival in 2008, which frankly, apart from the music (four words, Rage Against The Machine) - I hated.  Some of our stuff got nicked, the last night was like a war zone (people set a block of toilets on fire and were throwing gas bottles into it) and the price of food and drink I think is extortionate (I really sound like I should be on Grumpy Old Women now).

Sziget festival
// sziget festival, 2007

Reading festival
// reading festival, 2008

Despite this experience, I'm still a massive lover of festivals, and with so many more festivals coming up over the next month or so, I thought I'd share my tips for first time festival go-ers.

  • Always opt for a tent slightly bigger than you think you need. If there are two of you sharing a tent, don’t assume that a 2-man tent will cut the mustard because chances are, it won’t. Sure, it will occupy two people sleeping next to each other, but if you want to store all of your things in there with you and you like a bit of space to stretch out, you’ll need a bigger one.   Get a pop-up tent if you don't fancy the idea of trying to put up a tent when all you really want is to crack open a cider.
  • Choose your festival wisely.  I didn't like Reading Festival but I absolutely love End of The Road, which is much more friendly and fun, with a great atmosphere and lots to see and do (there's a fairy light forest walk, peacocks wandering around, a comedy tent in the woods and usually a Pie Minister van!) Don't limit yourself to the big ticket, popular festivals - I hear great things about Secret Garden Party, Wilderness, Beacons and Somersault Festival.  Find a festival that matches your interests - if you're into skateboarding and surfing check out Boardmasters in Newquay.  (Check out this guide to the Ten Best Boutique Festivals in the UK).
End of the Road festival
// end of the road festival, 2012
  • Don't take anything you'd be deeply upset if it was nicked or lost.  I know a lot of people who transfer their sims into cheap old phones rather than taking your iPhone, consider disposable cameras or a cheap compact digital rather than an SLR and stash cash and anything else valuable in the bottom of your sleeping bag or a hidden pocket.
  • Take enough clothes with you, but be ready for any kind of weather. Even if you are spending a summer weekend in the middle of a field, that doesn’t mean it won’t rain, so pack an anorak just in case. Make sure you have plenty of warm layers with you, too. You can find plenty of shorts, tops, jumpers and stylish casual dresses from George at ASDA so you won’t have to spend a fortune on your festival wardrobe.
  • Take some sensible footwear. Whether that’s wellies, boots or a pair of Dr. Martens, you will need something that is both comfortable, and waterproof, just in case the heavens open.
  • If you’re camping as a group, pitch your tents close to each other, with the doors opening inwards in a circle. This will stop people from camping in the middle of your ground and will also prevent people from walking through your camp.   Don't camp next to a path, or a toilet block (no matter how convenient it might seem, a few hours in, it will smell. bad.)
  • Take gaffa tape. You will need it if your tent poles break (which is easily done if a drunk person falls on your tent or someone comes along who hasn't read the torch tip) It's also helpful to have with you just in case anything else needs fixing temporarily.
  • Take toilet roll and plenty of baby wipes. Take some sheets with you when you head into the arena, just in case the loos don’t have any paper in them (i.e. after the first day).
  • Don’t forget a torch. You will see people wearing headlamps and all sorts, but a simple torch will do the trick and will mean that you can see all of the guy ropes when you nip to the toilet in the middle of the night.
  • Pack a waterproof jacket. You will need it when it starts to rain! The last thing you will want is to feel sorry for yourself, soaked through to the bone. A simple parka jacket or anorak will suffice and you don't have to spend a lot to get one.
  • Pack snacks and cereal bars.  Festival eating can get expensive if you're buying every meal from food vans, so try and pack some cheap snacks that will tide you over and save you spending £6 on a bacon roll every day.
  • If you're driving and then parking your car and leaving it for a few days, pack a pair of clean socks, pants and warm clothes in your car so you've got something comfy and clean to come back to!
  • Festival toilets are the stuff nightmares are made of, so no matter how cool you might feel in your playsuit/jumpsuit/kigu onesie, that is not going to be fun come 1am when it's dark and you have to get completely undressed to go to the loo.
But most of all, make the most of the experience! Be careful, stay safe and enjoy yourself.   Let me know your festival tips - what's your favourite festival? What's the one thing you wouldn't be without?

// me, at end of the road festival
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28 July 2014

Rosie Recently

Last night I dreamt that our house was in the midst of a huge tornado, and that the whole area around the house was flooded.  In my house, along with myself and Tom, was my Mum and Dad. The whole house shook and shuddered until it almost tipped over and we held our breath, waiting to see if everything was about to crash down on us - but it teetered back to normality.  Realising that we only had a small timeframe to escape before the winds hit again, we all flocked outside and climbed over a fence to higher ground.  As soon as we got outside , we realised that my Mum hadn't come out with us.  I went back in to get her and she was frantically trying to wash up and make sure we'd left the house tidy.  In the end we got her out to safety.

What does this mean? I'm not sure - (if you don't believe in dreams having meaning you'd probably say that it means I shouldn't eat cheese before bed).  Perhaps it means that I should take heed of what I was trying to tell my Mum - that sometimes, the to-do list gets out of control and we put too much pressure on ourselves for things to be perfect and to keep on top of the demands of the day-to-day. Or maybe it's a personal tornado warning - a sign to me that things are starting to spiral out of control.

One thing that I get asked quite a lot is, "how do you manage a full time job, a blog, wedding planning, and doing all of those things that you then end up blogging about?" The answer really, is that I don't, or not very well at least.  I sometimes get up early to blog before work, I set aside evenings to catch up on blog reading and blog posting, and I have a Filofax that's run like a military operation (or at least a military operation that relies heavily on highlighters and post-it notes).  Tom told me that he feels that blogging is becoming a bit 'too much' at the moment, and that there are times when he would like to go out and do things but I have a list of things to photograph, review or feature.  So I have agreed to cut back and start managing my time a little better.  Over the coming months my job will stop being based five minutes away and turn into a 45 minute to an hour commute so I already need to anticipate that I'll have less free time and less time to blog.  I need to stop trying to wash up in a tornado and start being a bit more sensible.

But the purpose of this post wasn't to whinge about my to-do list, it was actually to tell you what I have been up to lately and how I've been spending my time.  In amidst being a busy-bum we've actually had a really lovely few weeks.  Our camping in Kimmeridge and a few other weekend bits lend themselves to posts of their own (and probably another video!) but here's a few other things I've done...

001. Been doing a bit of rolling around the neighbourhood on my little Penny skateboard...


002. Walking the dog by the river...


003. Being generally hot and bothered (but loving the sunshine!)


004. Tom has been baking sourdough bread most weeks which has been very, very yummy (Bodhi thinks it looks pretty good too...)


005. I've been getting stuck into reading again lately - I've been trying to make time to come home, sit in the deckchair in the garden and even just spend 10 minutes in the sunshine reading.  I've just finished Born to Run, which is all about barefoot running, the evolution of running and the Tarahumara tribe (the best distance runners in the world!) I've now just started The Round House by Louise Erdrich which I'm enjoying so far - I've loaded lots of books onto my Kindle app on my iPad Mini ready for Trek America in September!


006.  I've also been having a humongous clearout lately - I've given another three binbags of clothes to the charity shop and put another lot on eBay.  I had about 30 listings in total I think and made about £180 - bumped up by a satchel that sold for £50 and a couple of bits that sold for £25, most went for £2-3.  I was sent some results of a survey that Ladbrokes Games did today about American TV and film stars - Carrie Bradshaw was voted the most stylish female American character, and it made me think of the closet that Big built for Carrie - wasn't it amazing? I think I would probably keep all of my clothes if I had a huge closet like that, but sadly my wardrobes (yes, plural... ooops) are full to bursting, so more clearing out is in order!

What have you been up to recently?

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