Ten favourite things 003

001. A quick one before I start my ten favourites – I’ve realised that I save a lot of articles and then mention them in these lists, but it might be useful to share with you the app/site I use to do so.  I use Pocket, which I’m totally obsessed with – I have an app for my phone and iPad, and a button on my browser at home and at work.  If I see an article I want to save for later, I just add it to ‘Pocket’ and it saves it for reading later – and you can read it offline, so perfect for train journeys and travelling.  Does anyone else use it?

002. The first article I saved (and later enjoyed) this week was Lifehacker’s ‘Reduce stress by making “good enough” decisions’.  As someone who agonises over every tiny decision, this has definitely made me think.

003. Like every other blogger in the UK at the moment, I’m very excited that it’s now Autumn.  I have a few busy weekends coming up but after that my weekends are reserved for forest walks, cosy jumpers, X Factor and a takeaway on a Saturday night, Lush bubble baths (well, that’s every weekend), and lots of dinners from the slow cooker!

004. I recently watched a video about Attention Deficit Trait – it’s different to ADD/ADHD, which is a medical condition, but instead it is a state of your brain being “overwhelmed with chatter”.  The psychiatrist who coined the term says it's a condition induced by modern life, in which you've become “so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you're doing so much or trying to do so much, it's as if you're juggling one more ball than you possibly can.”  I can definitely relate to this, and everything I’ve read about ADT really resonates with me.  I constantly find myself writing an email on my computer, with one eye on Twitter on my phone, thinking about what I have to do on my journey home and worrying about something that happened at work.  I constantly find half-written emails or texts because whilst writing them I suddenly think of that article I was going to read, or I check my Instagram feed, or even abandon it to write a different email.  Despite all of these efforts, I find myself constantly being less productive than I could be – I constantly wonder how I’m not achieving more than I can with the time I have.  There’s some good articles on ADT and how to control it – this one in Harvard Business Review is particularly good.

005. I’m currently reading ‘We Have Always Lived In The Castle’ by Shirley Jackson and I’m really enjoying it – it’s a relatively short novel (one for a rainy Sunday!) but it’s quite eerie and spooky and very different to anything else I’ve read recently! I also signed up for the Audible free trial so I can listen to audiobooks on my commute, and I’m currently listening to Ruby by Cynthia Bond.  It’s very good but I feel like I’ve been listening to it for ages, so I think it must be quite a long book! It’s very well written though, I almost wish I had the paperback copy so I could note down some of the beautiful prose in it.

006. As usual we’re only a day into Autumn and I’ve already got a lengthy coat wishlist.  There are some absolutely beautiful coats currently in at Joules clothing at the moment and I’ll definitely be grabbing one of those.  I’m not sure if it’s the right season for leather jackets, but I also really want one of those – I think a leather jacket, scarf and jeans is a great look for when it gets cooler but it’s not quite Baltic enough for a thick coat.

007. My absolute favourite blog read at the moment is Love From Berlin.   A ‘conscious lifestyle blog’ written by Rae, who lives in Berlin (in case you hadn’t guessed).  Featuring absolutely beautiful photography, outfits, interiors, travel and lots more, it’s my absolute dream blog – I’m obsessed!

008. I’ve added several of these ‘Ten Most Important Books To Expand Your Brain’ to my Amazon wishlist…. (although I need to start getting my ‘to read’ pile down before I buy any more!)

009. I know I’m probably the only person in the world who hasn’t yet tried it or raved about it, but I bought the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer from John Lewis this week, and unsurprisingly I’m in love! Are there any other Laura Mercier products I should try?

010. I’ve been pinning lots of recipes to my F O O D Pinterest board lately – next on the list for cooking is definitely the Overnight Spiced Vanilla Pear oatmeal (made in the slow cooker overnight!) or the tortilla with eggs, ricotta and peas.  Yum.

img credit: boysahoy.com

What’s been on your list of articles, blogs or other things you’ve enjoyed this week?

*post may contain affiliate or collaborative links

Porto | Day one | Eating and exploring

Before I dive right in to our first day in Porto last week, perhaps I should explain why we chose it as a destination for a little getaway.  We decided to visit Porto on my birthday last month when we were on a spa day - we were discussing going on a city break to get some sun and some relaxing in, and no sooner had we decided that this was well needed, I opened up my copy of Simple Things magazine I'd brought to read by the pool, and there was a feature on Porto {read the article on the Viver O Porto blog here}.  To be honest, Portugal had never really been on my radar, and I knew nothing about the city of Porto; but reading about the sea air, amazing restaurants, historic buildings and rooftop bars - I instantly knew it was my kind of city.

We looked on Expedia and booked a deal for £300 each with flights from Gatwick and four nights at Hotel Vincci.  We used most of our annual leave when we went to Bali on honeymoon, so it was great to go from Thursday - Monday, have four nights in Porto and only use three days' leave.  The perfect thing about Porto is that the flight was only 1h 55m from London, and the time zone is the same so it's easy to get there, and jetlag free!

We stayed at my parents' house on the Wednesday night, and set off for the airport about 3am (our flight was at 07.40).  I think there's something really magical about setting an alarm for the middle of the night and going off on holiday when it's dark!  We parked at the long stay car park in Gatwick and got the shuttle to the North Terminal (I'm only putting this detail in because I know a lot of people weigh up coaches, trains and parking for going on holiday, and this turned out to be the cheapest and easiest for us).

As I mentioned - the flight was just under two hours, so by 10am we were touching down in Porto and eager to explore.  We only took hand luggage so it was easy to hop in a taxi, go straight to our hotel to drop off our bags, and set right off to soak up the city.

Our hotel was about a 25 minute walk to the Ribeira district, which is the historic, cultural area of Porto.  Exploring Porto involved a lot of walking generally, particularly walking uphill, so if I visited again I would definitely get a hotel closer to the main areas.

Walking along the Douro river really was amazing though - you can see across the river to the Vila Nova de Gaia, and the river front is lined with beautiful old buildings (the entire of Porto is, really). Many of the buildings are decorated in beautiful ceramic blue and white azulejo tiles.

Old buildings | Porto

Ribeira Square in Porto is the historical square, lined with cafés, markets and restaurants (more on this in a later post).  We were eager for some food, so we walked up the hill and visited a restaurant for lunch - opting for a traditional Portuguese dish of Francesinha.  Francesinha is a sandwich filled with different meats (pork, sausage, ham and steak), covered with melted cheese and served in a beer sauce.  To be honest, ours weren't very nice, but they are supposed to be amazing! We didn't try it again but I have it on good authority that if you have it from a different restaurant it's much better.

Fountains | Porto

We wandered up to this square with the fountains and the Igreja Do Carmo (the beautiful church with those amazing tiles again), and then onto the Leitaria da Quinta do Paco - a little café that is famous for its eclairs.  Their eclairs come in myriad flavours, from lemon curd, to coffee, to cinnamon, to mint, to of course, traditional chocolate.  I was woo-ed however, by this tempting little treat, the Oreo cheesecake.  It was very worth straying away from the eclair menu for, and probably the best thing I've tasted in a long time (we went back to this café twice whilst we were in Porto so you won't have to wait long to see one of their famed eclairs!)

Oreo cheesecake | Porto

After stuffing ourselves with cake, we decided to head back to the hotel to check in and have a little nap (well, we had been on the go since 3am!) We caught the tram back to the hotel - for €2.50 each it was an easy ride and dropped us off right outside.

The tram | Porto Getting the tram | Porto

After a little siesta, we headed back into town to find some dinner.  The walk took us past a viewpoint over the river, as if you need any more evidence of just how breathtaking Porto is.

View across the river | Porto

As we wandered up into town, we came across an outdoor bar with lots of people drinking wine in the sunshine, and a DJ playing jazz.  We pitched up and joined in - well, when in Porto!

Me and Tom | Porto

We then headed for tapas at a restaurant underneath the bar - sort of hidden in an alleyway under a big grass area, very difficult to explain! The restaurant was called Clérigos and served either tapas or a full menu in the restaurant.  We opted for tapas and it was amazing, we had patatas bravas, goats cheese, sausage, chicken wings, bread - all sorts (we over-ordered!) For the wine, they have a huge chiller with bottles of wine in, you insert a chip and pin card and you can pour wine directly into your glass.  I was very excited by the concept of self-serve wine...

With full bellies we got a taxi back to the hotel for an early night - ready for our food tour the next day! I can't wait to show you what we got up to on the Friday; the food tour was absolutely amazing.

Old buildings | Porto

And for a little sneak peek of the weekend - here's my YouTube video if you fancy giving it a watch (I'll probably do the weekend blog post in one so you don't get so sick of Porto you never want to visit!)

I'm trying to film more YouTube videos so please excuse what an amatuer I am - ha!

Have you ever visited Porto?


Bodhi's Day Out - a video

I feel like Bodhi dog hasn't been on the blog as much lately - he pops up on my instagram regularly enough (although it's even been three weeks since he's been on there), but he's not had his own blog post in a while.  There could be a variety of reasons for his blog absence, but if I'm honest, his three week break from instagram is mainly because... Tom gave him a terrible haircut!  We have a pair of dog clippers to give Bodhi haircuts, and Tom set it to a much lower setting than usual and basically shaved him.  He looked terrible (it's still really short!)  I like his haircut when it's super shaggy and curly so I'm hoping it grows back quickly!

ANYWAY - so I'm practising making videos at the moment as I'd like to do a few more YouTube videos to share things like days out, weekly vlogs and reviews, so I thought as part of my learning how to use Movie Maker (no Mac, so no iVideo for me), I thought I'd make a little video of some highlights of our weekend, from a Bodhi eye view.

It's not in the video, but one of his favourite parts of the weekend was when we were getting hog roast rolls at the festival, and he managed to find an area where people had dropped bits of pork from their rolls - he definitely helped clean up!

One of the things that Tom and I have always tried to do since having Bodhi is involve him in our life as much as possible - so we'll take him to the pub when we're going for a drink, Tom takes him to the beach when's he's scouting out the surf, we'll often take him to friend's houses (if they don't mind), and of course he always comes away camping with us.  When Argos Dog Insurance recently asked if I wanted to share a post about Bodhi, I loved the idea of sharing a video of a 'Bodhi day out' - he really is such a happy dog and has a lot of fun being out and about with us.  I love it when you can tell that a dog is at the heart of someone's family - I don't understand it when people get dogs and then just leave them at home all the time!

Do you have a pet you like to take everywhere with you? (I realise this question may not apply to all of you cat lovers out there!)

*post contains a collaborative link

My current skincare routine

Over the last few years I've been a little bit 'faddy' with my skincare routine, switching it up every few weeks or so depending on what was on offer in Boots, or what people were raving about that week.  Over the last couple of months or so however, I've remained true to a few core products that are now the basis of my skincare routine, and all of which I've already re-bought or will be re-buying. I thought I'd share on here the six products I'm currently using on a daily basis to look after my skin.

My current skincare routine  www.arosieoutlook.com Feat. Kiehls, Body Shop, Botanics, Estee Lauder. #bbloggers

1. The Body Shop - Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter - £13.20

I bought this after borrowing Sarah's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and totally loving it.  When I went online to buy it I really liked the sound of the Cleansing Butter, and picked that up instead.  I slather this all over my face, including on my mascara, and then take it off with a warm muslin or a cotton pad.  It really does just melt away make-up and even removes waterproof mascara.  It's really soothing and leaves my skin feeling really soft afterwards.

2. Boots - Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz - £5.99

This is actually one of the products that has stood the test of time, and one I always re-buy.  I find the rosewater scent so refreshing, I actually sometimes just spritz it on my face even when I'm not toning as it feels so invigorating! You don't need tons of product and I simply spray it on and then use a cotton pad a few moments later to clear away any excess.  I use it in the morning and before bed, it just feels so kind on my skin - I love it!

My current skincare routine  www.arosieoutlook.com Feat. Kiehls, Body Shop, Botanics, Estee Lauder. #bbloggers

3. La Roche Posay - Effaclar H Soothing Moisturiser - £9.50

I actually bought this in France last year in a Chemist's and hadn't gotten around to using it until a few months ago.  My skin was getting quite dehydrated and dry and I thought I'd give this a try to see if it would help - and it did.  Almost immediately my skin was noticeably softer, and it really put the moisture back into to my tired skin.  It's quite a small tube but you don't need much (I also really love the smell!)

4. Estee Lauder - Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Refinisher - £45

I actually gave this product a full review back in February and the bottle is still going strong! I use it before my moisturiser and it works so well and makes my skin look much brighter - it's so silky it also works really well as a primer before applying foundation.  It definitely loves up to its name by minimising pores and making your skin appear fresher and more even in tone.  You only need about 2-3 drops to cover your face and neck which is probably why it's still going strong seven months later! I'll definitely be re-buying it when it runs out.

My current skincare routine  www.arosieoutlook.com Feat. Kiehls, Body Shop, Botanics, Estee Lauder. #bbloggers

5. Kiehl's - Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate - £49

When I first got this I actually wasn't sure about it and demoted it to the back of the cupboard.  But recently I've been using lots of Kiehl's products on my hair, and a couple of people at work were raving about this - so I decided to give it another try, and I've decided I love it!  I's another product that feels super silky and instantly gets absorbed into your skin.  I have some fine lines between my eyebrows so I massage it into that area, and my crow's feet and around my mouth (although apparently you're just supposed to 'pat' it in) and I have seen a visible difference - I really do think it's reduced the deepness of the lines between my eyebrows, which is amazing.  I use it before my moisturiser in the morning, and before using the Midnight Recovery Oil at bedtime.

6. Kiehl's - Midnight Recovery Concentrate - £36

This product has actually been part of my bedtime skincare routine for some time now - I usually alternate it with the Pai Skincare Rosehip Oil but I find myself now reaching for this product night after night.  This is a bit of a cult product as it really does do what it says on the tin - it has a really lovely essential oil-y smell, sinks straight into your skin, and leaves your skin looking revived and rehydrated come morning.  It's very delicate and light so doesn't feel like you're putting something on that your skin isn't going to be able to absorb, and you really do see noticeable results.

My current skincare routine  www.arosieoutlook.com Feat. Kiehls, Body Shop, Botanics, Estee Lauder. #bbloggers

So these are my favourite products for keeping my skin in tip-top condition - what are yours? Are you a devotee of specific products, or do you mix and match?


My best friend's wedding - the prettiest garden wedding

A few weekends ago we went to the most perfect, beautiful wedding in the Wiltshire countryside.  It was such an amazing day for many reasons - firstly it was the wedding of one of closest friends, Becki, and secondly - well, you'll see why once you scroll through these photographs.  Becki did a Fine Art degree and is a keen artist, crafty person and sewing extraordinaire, so I just knew her wedding was going to have lots of pretty details and finishing touches, but I wasn't prepared for just how breathtaking it would be.  I took along my camera and Becki kindly agreed to let me post my photographs of the day on here - I couldn't not share them!

Becki and Joe's wedding was held in Joe's parents' garden (more of an estate than a garden), at their house near Marlborough.  It really was an utterly stunning location for a wedding, and the weather was just perfect for an outdoor wedding (they were so lucky!) We drove up from Christchurch in Tom's van as there was a special area at the wedding for everyone to camp (their wedding invites were like festival tickets, with a special camping pass!) It was pretty exciting to be able to park up, pull the bed out in the back of the van and know we didn't have to worry about making our way back to a hotel later that night!

Becki and Joe's Wedding

One of the first people we bumped into when we arrived, was Becki and Joe's dog Bu (a whippet). She had a special bow tie made out of pretty fabric.  It was one of the first signs that Becki's sewing machine must have been working overdrive in the weeks before the wedding!

Becki and Joe's Wedding

We then walked into the marquee area, where they'd made a makeshift bar out of pallets.  There was lots of amazing prosecco and beers and ales on offer - all of the beers (including a signature elderflower beer) were from their local pub, the Red Lion in Cricklade.  The marquee itself was beautifully decorated, with bunting strung across the outside and inside (all courtesy of Becki's sewing machine again), wildflowers from the garden in jars and pots, vintage milk bottles, ribbon strung on backs of chairs, bottles wrapped in lace, and all manner of other lovely little details.  It really was breathtaking.

Becki and Joe's Wedding Becki and Joe's Wedding Becki and Joe's Wedding

After a couple of prosecco's in the sunshine, the bride and groom finally arrived - in a tractor of course!

Becki and Joe Wedding

They had already been married in a Registry Office a few days before, so they were able to have a ceremony on the jetty on the lake, officiated by a friend.  The ceremony itself was really lovely, with personalised vows (and dogs popping along here and there to join in!)

Becki and Joe's Wedding Becki and Joe's wedding

Becki's dress was custom-made, and then she embroidered extra sections on herself (apparently she was sewing sections of the dress even the night before the wedding!)

Becki and Joe's wedding

After the ceremony, the bride and groom made their grand exit, in the tractor again!

Becki and Joe Wedding

Meanwhile, we were served pimms and lemonade, in jars with stripy straws (and little labels that said drink me - I was happy to oblige).  A band played, and Tom managed to consume about three jars worth of olives all by himself.

Becki and Joe Wedding

The trees in the area where we had drinks were also strung with lanterns, and hung with bottles with wildflowers in.  So pretty!

Becki and Joe Wedding Becki and Joe's Wedding Becki and Joe Wedding

After the drinks reception, Becki and Joe re-emerged from their tractor trip and we were seated for the speeches and the wedding breakfast.  The speeches were similarly lovely (it's always the Father of the Bride speech that gets me!) The wedding breakfast consisted of a whole plethora of amazing foods, from delicious breads and cheeses, to homemade pies from the local butchers, and even lobster!  We piled our plates high, of course, greedy guts that we are.

After the wedding breakfast, there was more drinks and merriment until the band played a little later - and long into the night! There was also an amazing hog-roast in the evening - I mean, does it get any better? And there was First Aid Kit playing on loop in the toilets.

I didn't take any proper photos of my outfit, only a couple of phone snaps.  Because I knew it was a festival-y wedding I went for this little cheesecloth number from Pull And Bear.  It was reduced in the sale and then sadly sold out.  I also did a sort of milkmaid plat in my hair and then had to cover it up with a flower crown as it was a bit messy!

Becki and Joe Wedding

The day after the wedding we awoke in the little camping area in need of refreshment and, of course, the ultimate hangover cure - a bacon sandwich.  Becki and Joe had stayed in a lovely little shepherd's hut just next to the camping area and when they got up they announced that they'd bought sausages and bacon to cook on their fire pit! (The best news I've ever heard).

The sausages were called Bloody Lovely Sausages, from their local butcher (Andrews Quality Meats in Swindon - they also did the pies and the hogroast), and they definitely lived up to their name. They were definitely the best sausages I've ever tasted.  I might have had a couple of sausage and bacon rolls - well, it would have been rude not to.  There was prosecco left over, so we accompanied the bacon and sausage rolls with Bucks Fizz.  The perfect start to a Sunday!

Becki and Joe Wedding

The morning after the wedding was almost as perfect as the wedding itself.  We all sat around in the sunshine, eating and drinking and whiling away the morning.  Tom even did a spot of fishing in the lake! (And nearly fell in).

Becki and Joe Wedding

After a few hours we sadly had to leave to head back to Dorset.  We were definitely sorry to have to go, after such a perfect weekend.  I think you can tell from this post just how much effort Becki put in to making all of the bunting, collecting wildflowers, and all of the details on the table and in the marquee, and it really did pay off.  It's funny how much more you enjoy weddings once you're married yourself, as you realise how much blood, sweat and tears goes into making the day perfect who everyone who comes along!

Congratulations to Becki and Joe, and thankyou for inviting us <3


Plans for September

August flew by in a total blur.  First of all my birthday, where we went for a lovely spa day, then my friend's wedding, Cowes Week, then lots of sorting and decluttering and re-painting the bathroom, then a bit of curious house-hunting, then Reading Festival, and now here we are in September.

September is shaping up to be just as busy, and just as exciting! Next weekend is looking very awesome indeed, with a meetup with Sarah (which inevitably will involve lots of food and lots of catchups) and then on the Sunday we get to help Princess Cruises celebrate their 50th anniversary with yet more amazing food and a nose around one their ships! I cannot wait for that.  It's really nice to be able to get involved in more nautical/maritime type events as it's so closely linked to my job and where we live.

The following weekend I think we're going to hop along to Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival.  I mean - have you ever heard of a better idea for a festival? There will be cheese, ale, cider, and more cheese. I'm excited just thinking about it.  I've booked camping at a nearby campsite so we can take the van (and Bodhi!) - I'm just hoping it doesn't rain so we can sit out and have cider and a barbecue and enjoy ourselves rather than hiding in the van!

The real highlight of September is a bit later when we go to Porto, Portugal for a few days.  We're flying out of Gatwick on a Thursday morning and come back the following Monday, so we have a good few days to explore.  Please do let me know if you've ever been to Porto before as I'd love some tips for things to do! I can't wait to eat lots of yummy food, have some drinks in the sunshine and generally explore.  I've been doing lots of pinning of pretty looking cultural quarters and architecture - it just looks stunning!

I think the last week of September will definitely be spent chilling after all of those adventures! I mentioned house-hunting at the beginning of the post - this is something we are not doing in earnest but we are casually keeping our eyes open for somewhere new.  Where we live now is very rural and it's not easy to walk to any shops or restaurants etc, and whilst I've tried to embrace the vegetable patch and cosy nights in lifestyle, I find myself getting a little lonely (we don't have friends in close proximity), and frankly a little bored.  I used to live in Southampton in the city centre before we moved to Dorset and I do miss being able to walk into town or go for lunch at the weekend without getting in the car.  So we're now searching for somewhere that's a bit more central to Bournemouth but still has nice walks and the seaside within easy reach - we shall see!  

So definitely lots of exciting things on the horizon - what have you got planned for September?


Reading Festival 2015

Reading Festival was the second festival I ever went to - my first was Sziget in Budapest (a pretty awesome first festival!) in 2007, followed by Reading in 2008.  I really didn't know what to expect back then for my first British festival and hoped it would be like Sziget - lots to see and do, good food, and plenty to explore and enjoy during the day.  I found Reading Festival to be completely different - the bands were amazing for the 2008 lineup (Rage Against The Machine were the best band I've ever seen live at a festival) but it was very much more focussed on the music than having lots of different acts and activities like Sziget did.  And the atmosphere on Sunday night was a little frightening (people set one of the nearby toilet blocks on fire...) - I was not expecting that.  But overall it was a totally amazing time, and whilst I've mostly been frequenting the calmer, folkier festivals (three years of End of the Road festival, which I love!), I've always fancied going back to Reading Festival one more time.

So naturally, I jumped at the chance when my good friend Fleur offered me a guest pass for the Saturday and the Sunday this year.  Fleur is one of my closest friends, but she moved to Ohio a few years ago so I don't get to see her as much I would like.  Her husband is the singer in the band Beartooth, so we were able to hop onto their guest list and rock up on the Saturday for a weekend of seeing awesome bands and having lots of fun.

S a t u r d a y

I picked up the lovely Soraya from Southampton at lunchtime on the Saturday and we arrived at the Guest Parking with no issues - easy peasy.  What then followed was definitely not easy peasy.  My FitBit says that I walked 15km on the Saturday, and most of that was the two of us walking with about 8 litres of liquids in a cool bag, a four man tent, three sleeping bags and two huge bags of our stuff.  We got the boat up to the Green Weekend area only to have to walk all the way back to get to the Artists Entrance.  I reckon it took about an hour in total to get there and get in.  Not cool.

Off to Reading Festival

We met Fleur at the Artists gate and then had to find the Guest Camping and put up the tent.  In the drizzle.  With some very limited instructions.  Soraya and I are big Alexisonfire fans and both went to their Farewell gig last year in London (they had a reunion for some festival shows) so to hear them playing whilst we threaded tent poles through the tent in the rain was pretty heartbreaking! Luckily we managed to get the tent up and ditch our stuff in time to hear their last few songs.

Reading Festival

We then went on to see PVRIS (who are great - if you haven't heard of them, definitely check them out (here's one of my favourite songs - St Patrick).  We then watched a bit of Atreyu and then Bring Me The Horizon.  The Saturday night ended up being spent in the Guest area, where lots of gin was drunk and the night was a little hazy.  I ended up being curled up in my tent by about 1am though - I'd like to say it was comfy but even my amazing North Face sleeping bag couldn't make sleeping on that rock hard ground a relaxing affair!

S u n d a y

We all woke up, as you do in a tent, about 7am.... ouch!  We were all looking forward to the Sunday as Fleur's husband's band Beartooth were playing, as well as my best friend Nicole's boyfriend's band, Bury Tomorrow.  We went in search for breakfast at about 9am but after paying £2.50 for a green tea we couldn't find much that was open.  All the other youngsters were clearly still in bed! After a bit of wandering around we went back to the Guest Area for a nice sit down (this is how 31-year-olds do festivals - we get up when no-one else is awake and then prioritise sitting down!) We saw Against Me! first around lunchtime.  I thought they were really good but there was a pretty small crowd which was surprising.  By then we'd met up with Nicole and went over to The Pit Stage backstage area to prepare to see Beartooth and Bury Tomorrow.

Beartooth played first and they were absolutely amazing, they totally smashed it.

Beartooth at The Pit Stage Beartooth at The Pit Stage, Reading Festival

Bury Tomorrow played next and they were similarly amazing.  I didn't get any good pictures of them, annoyingly! It was so cool to be stood on the side stage with my friends seeing their husbands and boyfriends play Reading; it must be such an awesome moment for them.

After a little bit of chilling out - and one of the best burgers of my life courtesy of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (best festival burger I've ever had), Nicole and I went to see Years & Years at the NME stage.  I'd only heard a few of their songs so I wasn't sure what to expect but they were really good.  It was actually nice to see a bit more of a chilled, laid back band after all the metal, ha!

Reading Festival

Then it was back on to some metal to see While She Sleeps play The Pit Stage.  I hadn't heard them before but they were awesome, really energetic and really got the crowd going.

While She Sleeps at The Pit stage, Reading Festival

By now it was about half 10 and I was driving back to Bournemouth that night so we went back to our tent to grab our stuff and head back to the Guest Car Park.  I thought it might be an easier walk back than the one there - but it wasn't! On the Sunday we racked up 16km on the FitBit, meaning that over the weekend we walked almost 20 miles in total, most of that carrying really heavy bags! Not sure how I wasn't a size 8 by the Monday morning! (Probably the burgers and all that alcohol...)

I was so happy to be back in my own bed when I got home (about 1.30 on Monday morning).  Even one night of camping ruined me - this is why we go away in a van rather than sleep in a tent! Overall it was such an awesome weekend - so nice to hang out with some of my favourite ladies.

Reading Festival

All my photos were taken on my new LG G4 - the camera is ace and I kinda love the 'soft skin' function a little bit too much, ha! Even soft skin mode couldn't hide those bags under my eyes from sleeping in a tent though, ha!

Have you been to Reading Festival before?


Ten favourite things 002

001. I'm currently reading Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill.  I saw someone share a quote from the book on Twitter and immediately knew I would love her writing.  It's really unique - almost like poetry rather than prose, but some of the lines are so beautiful I can't help but read, then re-read, then scribble in a notebook to absorb again later.

002. I've also finally dipped into the workbook section of The Desire Map and come up with a first draft of my 'core desired feelings'.  The Desire Map is a way of setting goals based on how you want to 'feel' rather than something material or something you'd like to achieve.  So instead of saying that you want to lose a stone, you might say that you want to feel 'strong' or 'healthy' - that way you make meaningful life choices that align with your goals (or 'goals with soul' as she calls them), rather than just tick sheets and to-do lists that end up just burning you out.  I'm excited to share my 'core desired feelings' when I'm 100% settled on them!

003. I made Sarah at Essbeevee's Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Bars (are there even five better words in the English language?) again last week for a friend who was leaving work, and they were divine. This is just a rubbish phone snap but I feel it captures just how good they are....

salted caramel peanut butter bars

004. I have been watching presentations and speeches from Steve Jobs lately (I now want a 'Stay hungry, stay foolish' tattoo after watching his commencement speech at Stanford University) and I love this quote particularly.  Really resonates with me right now.

005. Particularly loving the band Broods at the moment - they're rarely off my Spotify. They're like sort of lazy, chilled, electronic pop.  Really good for listening to on my journey to work! {Spotify link | YouTube link}.

006. I am mega excited that it's September - part of me is praying for an Indian summer, and part of me is praying that Autumn arrives early! I've been looking again at my Autumn Pinterest board (some of my finest pinning, if I do say so myself) and getting excited for walks in the forest, cinnamon candles and making soups!

007. I've been cheering myself up amidst all of this bad weather by planning lots of adventures.  Tom and I are going to Porto in Portugal in a couple of weeks, and I've also booked a little weekend away camping in September (I say camping, I mean going away in the camper-van, tents and I are not friends after this weekend at Reading Festival!)  We are also trying to plan a weekend in Paris with our Bournemouth Bloggers gang - I would love to get to Paris again before the year is out, I just love it.  I'm definitely going to enter this competition by Leisure Jobs where you can win a weekend in Paris, a Michelin star meal, with flights and hotels included.  I don't think you should enter though because I want to win - ha! (You should really, and you should take me if you win).

008. It's that time of year when I go coat crazy and end up buying ten different coats to get me through autumn and winter.  I might already have picked up this beautiful Poppy Lux Duster Trench Coat - I almost wore it to Reading this weekend but it's so beautiful I couldn't bear the idea of it getting dirty!  

009. I've not been able to do much running lately, as in order to run in the mornings and then get to work on time I have to be out and running at 6am (and I have been so tired lately!) but I managed a run on Friday morning and it was so beautiful.  It was quite a cold morning and it felt really autumnal - the mist rising from this field was particularly picturesque.

2015-09-01 12.16.40 1

010.  Not really one favourite thing but three favourite things that I just can't decide between, and I need your help choosing! I've been saving John Lewis vouchers from a couple of gifts and other bits and I now have enough to treat myself to something but I just can't decide what! I was pretty set on a Michael Kors Selma bag, but then it occurred to me that I have enough bags to sink a battleship and I don't really need another one.  I thought I'd go for something functional I'll really use and enjoy instead - but I can't decide between the beautiful Canon f/1.4 50mm lens (I have the f/1.8 already), or maybe a videocamera for doing more filming - I like the idea of the TomTom Bandit and its mobile app, or also the Sonos Wireless Music System.  Please help me decide! (This isn't some kind of weird list of links, I genuinely am stumped on this - let me know if you have any of these and whether you love them!)