Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Glastonbury Essentials | Glastonbury 2014

So I have nearly finished packing for the biggest festival of the year but what really is essential that you pack and what should you just leave at home?

First and foremost, no festival is complete without a good pair of wellies. Yes - with it being England you can't rely on the sun making an appearance even in the middle of summer so don't forget to pack these beauties or you will seriously regret it! I think mine are from ASDA but any sort of wellies will do. I think rain is forecast for over the weekend (typical Glastonbury style) so even more reason to prepare!

My wellies are very similar to these 
Secondly in addition to a good pair of wellies, you will probably need some sort of wellie socks or in my case footy socks. Due to the fact that I was a little bit behind on my packing, I didn't have the time to go out searching for wellie socks so I decided to use my initiative and head to good old Sports Direct. Good job too as my friend said she paid up to £20 for hers - ridiculously overpriced. I managed to grab two pairs of football socks for just £4 - bargain!

Next on my list has to be a good waterproof coat or rain mac. Again mine is from Sports Direct and it may not be the most flattering of coats but as long as it keeps me dry I am not too fussed. Hopefully I wont be needing this too much... I say this as the sun is beaming down on me whilst writing this very sentence... 

This waterproof from Sports Direct is sure to keep you dry
I think a hat and a pair of sunglasses have to be next. You have to be prepared for every type of weather scenario as they say and this includes the glorious sunshine (I hope this doesn't jinx it). I am going to be taking a pair of sunglasses and a hat from the wonderful Primark (no festival is complete without a Primark haul). Remember it's not recommended to take your best clothes to any festival, never mind Glastonbury. You're bound to lose something along the way and whether this is a pair of sunglasses, a hat or a can of cider I don't think you'll be too bothered if it's not worth a lot.

Next is of course alcohol. With this being the only festival that allows you to take alcohol into the arena, I think its fair to say you should stock up well - you would be silly not to. I purchased two crates of cider for just £18 from Tesco along with some vodka which I will be taking in plastic bottles along with a mixer of my choice (cranberry in my case). Remember glass bottles are strictly forbidden on camp so don't make the mistake of turning up with a litre of Smirnoff unless you want to get it confiscated.

Food-well this comes hand in hand with alcohol especially on those mornings when your'e feeling worse for wear. If you're anything like myself, going away and not having your home comforts can be quite a daunting experience. What am I going to eat she screams... Well luckily Glastonbury has a whole range of food outlets so at least I won't have to face the greasy burger vans every morning like you do at some festivals. However, if you want to prepare for the worst and save some cash in doing so then it's always good to stock up on snacks (one of my favourite words). My list so far include cereal bars, bread, apples, banana bread, beans, bananas, crisps and noodles. Of course if you like to think of yourself as one of the more experienced campers, then of course you can take all this in a cool bag and even throw in a stove to do some cooking on.

One of my favourites - Nature Valley
Money and ticket - well you wouldn't get very far without these two crucial items. I think I am going to take about £200 just to be on the safe side but with my alcohol already sorted I doubt I will end up spending all of this. Of course it's good to have ID too just to prove that beautiful photo of yours is you on your ticket. Glastonbury is very strict with it's ticket policy so it's best to be on the safe side and have more than one form of ID if you can. In my case this is a must as I have changed my hair so many times none of my photos tend to look like me any more! Quite embarrassing when you're 22 and get questioned about your ID at every bar I must add.

I don't know why I left this one until the end but baby wipes -  any sort of wipe in fact that you can have a good cleanse with will do. I am a clean freak so going without a shower for 5 days will probably leave me in tears. However with my baby wipes at hand I am sure I will get by somehow...

You don't want to be forgetting these in a hurry

Antibacterial gel - I cannot stress how important this is ladies!!! I carry this around with me in my handbag on a daily basis so I am sure it is bound to come in handy at this notoriously unhygienic festival. I am going to stock up on some more of this tomorrow just to ensure I don't have any emergencies.

One of my favourites but any hand gel will do
A cheap phone - I am taking my dads as I have misplaced my old Samsung one but any sort of phone will do as long as you don't mind losing it. Remember the older it is the more likely it is to stay alive! You don't want to be running around having to find somewhere to charge it on the first day. Having a phone handy is crucial if you are to get lost or lose your friends. Take it from my own personal experience, searching for hours for a tent that looks the same as the last 100 you past isn't the most enjoyable. 

This not only smells great- it also gives your hair a new leash of life!
Dry shampoo - another must have for you ladies out there who worry about looking half decent at this muddy festival. I love dry shampoo and will be getting through plenty of this during my stay I'm sure. 

Hopefully the ones nobody will forget - a tent, a pillow and a decent sleeping bag. I have decided to pack two sleeping bags this year as I hate being cold and no doubt I will be moaning if it is. I am relying on my friend to bring our tent along with some chairs in case it gets wet. Hopefully I won't play any part in setting this up either as I am useless when it comes to building things!

Is it a tent or is a house?
I am sure there are many many other items which one would class as 'essentials' but these are the main few I can think of at the moment. I am even more certain that I will return with a whole new list after experiencing this festival for the first time. But for now it's time to finish packing and start catching up on as much sleep as possible - I am sure I will be grateful by the start of next week on my return! For more information on what to pack and what not to, head over to the official Glastonbury page. See you all soon!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

New Hair and pastels | OOTD

Father's day brought many nice things including a huge family Sunday roast, two desserts (yes two) and of course an excuse to get dressed up in little something nice. As the sun was shining this was a perfect excuse to get my camera out and take some shots in my garden or what's left of it after the chickens have been let loose! 

I decided to go for a pair of new skinny jeans from Topshop as it was quite a warm day (but not quite warm enough for shorts), a pair of sandals from Primark which I bought quite recently and a gorgeous pink blazer, (again Primark) which I purchased last year. I think this look is perfect for those summer evenings when it's just cooling down. I love the colour of this blazer and think it works really well with my blue skinnies - the contrast between these two colours is lovely! The sandals which were only £8 are a very recent purchase and again are perfect for summer wear. These are very similar to the ones you will find in River Island at the moment but for a fraction of the price which is why I love Primark! I will only ever buy things that look like they're good quality products. 

I have also recently had my hair done. I'm not sure if you will be able to see really from looking at these pictures but I decided to have some more brown pulled through as I was starting to look like barbie! I really like it and think I may even go darker next time but I will have to wait and see as I am forever changing my mind. 

What pose shall I do?
Casual bench shot
Caught midway through talking
Serious much?
And finally-the must buy sandals if they're still in stock
Thanks again for popping by and taking the time to read my posts. Coming up next time I will be speaking about some new beauty bits after a successful Benefit Makeover in Nottingham along with my hectic shopping haul today!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Music Industry | Simon's Empire

What happened to the days when we were able to choose the music we wanted to listen to? The days when it was easy to distinguish between a pop and rock radio station? Just lately I've been getting really agitated by the lack of talent on our radio stations and not forgetting the TV. As an aspiring musician myself I know too well how hard it is to get on in the music industry these days. My dad, founder of rock band Judas Priest is forever going on about the changes in the music industry. 'It's not he same as it used to be in my days' he says 'people have turned to technology rather than playing live instruments'. Yes my dad may be in his sixties now but I wholeheartedly agree with him. Don't get me wrong I love the occasional dance hit and have been to fair share of 'raves' over the past couple of years, but there is no denying the fact that this music is not real talent. What it is however is a  DJ who has mixed a couple of similar sounding tracks together along with some mediocre vocals to probably deaf out the repetitive sound of the drum machine.

Mumford and Son's-Not everybody's cup of tea but at least they can play instruments!
To say that I genuinely used to look forward to the likes of The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent a couple of years ago and one day even dreamed of going on one of these shows is something I now feel somewhat embarrassed about. I now see past all the false exterior of these sorts of shows. Ever since I started uploading my own covers to Youtube and taking an interest in writing my own material, I've started to really appreciate the beauty of new and upcoming artists. Talented musicians who aren't getting the recognition they deserve because they don't want to embarrass themselves on these sorts of shows. However, some people see this as their last chance to make it, their only shot at fame. Fair enough, I get it if your in your fifties and have been longing to get up close and personal to the man that is Mr Simon Cowell, but if you are a talented artist going on one of these shows is potentially musical suicide. Simon Cowell's kingdom - something too many of us are feeding daily. The influence this man has in the music industry is shocking to say the least. How do we compete with someone who has the power to produce artists such as One Direction? How do we indeed...

The man himself - Mr Simon Cowell
Saying that, my cousin went on The Voice last year and even though he hasn't had much success from it, it was great to see something different on our TV screens - this being rock music; not something we see an awful lot of today. Too many artists these days are scared to take risks, to try something different. They would rather follow in the footsteps of others when really being different is what actually gets you somewhere. Take Lady Gaga for example - not to everybody's taste but a very distinctive artist in regards to her image and her style of music. This is another thing my dad has taught me - today in order to make it you have to have 'the look'. Something that makes you stand out from the crowd, whether this be a pair of round glasses like Ozzy Osborne or a beehive on the top of your head like Amy Winehouse. These are classic artists who will recognised in years to come unlike One Direction who have no real image and no talent (yes I am not a big fan of 1D if you hadn't noticed). If you're screaming at your computer screen right now, I hope fifty years down the line you remember this very blog post.

My cousin on The Voice in 2013
As well as 'the look' sometimes it's  also about the right  time, right place. Maybe if my dad stayed with Judas Priest that little while younger he would now be sitting in the Bahamas sipping on their finest Rum rather than sitting in West Bromwich downing some cheap ale. So yes my point is, if there is a gap in the market and you are able to fill that gap, do not give up! Just don't listen to the likes of Simon Cowell and all the other idiots out there who may tell you that you're not good enough or that you should alter what sort of music you are passionate about just to fit in with what is currently in fashion. I personally would like to see heavy metal brought back to the UK but will anybody be brave enough? And when I say heavy metal I am talking Led Zepplin Judas Priest sort of style. But what I really want more than anything is to see more of a variety of musical genres on our radio shows, at festivals, and on our TV screens. I want to see more up and coming talent rather than your generic pre pubic pop music. 

Atkins May project-My dad's latest conquer
I for one have stopped watching these sorts of shows, not because I think I am better than them but because they don't produce artists, they produce commodities and this is something I never want to be. I love music but I love music because of its meaning, the feeling it gives me, not because of its popularity. However today this is essentially what it comes down to - we are no longer able to choose the music we want to hear because we genuinely don't have much choice. The same songs appear to be on repeat on every single radio station! Okay I may be exaggerating slightly there but there is no denying the huge cross over of genres lately and the atrocious music that is being produced as a result. Of course there are your exceptions including the likes of Lana Del Rey and London Grammar for example who have broken through in the industry just lately, yet the ratio of these rare artists to the amount of talentless freaks on our radio and TV's is quite shocking. They have nothing on the classics produced in the 60's, 70's and 80's as I am sure many of you would agree and therefore the music industry is going downhill. Artists today have a lot to live up to but also a lot to gain too. I just hope the big dogs like Simon remember why they are being paid... for they musical ability that is.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Interrailing Chapter 4 | Rome

Following up on my previous post, in this next post I will be discussing the final part of my adventure in Italy; Rome. Roman history - one of the reasons I expect many people visit Rome, and something I too couldn't wait to witness. During our pleasant stay at The Yellow Hostel, again we got to see pretty much everything we hoped to  during our time in this marvellous city including: the Colosseum, the Vatican the Roman Forum and the Trevi fountain. Again we struck lucky with this hostel as not only was it pretty central, it was cheap, friendly and they had their own bar which was perfect for grabbing a quick drink or breakfast in the morning. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are thinking of visiting Rome.

So what did we get up to in Rome and what's worth paying a visit? Well let me start by telling you - there's plenty to see and do. I would probably be here all day if I started listing all the things you could do so I will let you in on some of the things you shouldn't do. One thing I must start by saying is that the underground system in Rome is not the best. The attractions are not clearly listed like they are in Paris and therefore it's not as easy to navigate your way around. However, if you are visiting Rome for a few days then this will be your best point of call. If you are like me and want to be certain that you are going in the right direction then I would recommend double checking with the locals! 

The Trevi Fountain
Just a tad wet after the torrential downpour...
Another fantastic way of seeing this enchanting city is by an open top bus. Yes I know what you're thinking-typical tourist, but when it's pouring down with rain and you haven't got a clue where you are going, paying twenty euros or so to jump on a bus which takes you to every sight in Rome makes it all seem worthwhile. Unluckily for us, it was freezing again and raining too - we got absolutely drenched. Probably not the best idea to sit on the top but I surely didn't want to miss out on any of the sights, rain or no rain! Joking aside, I must say, the weather did have a big impact on our time in Rome. I didn't think I would be getting my rain mac out, certainly not in this city! But it just goes to show-you cannot rely on the weather not even in sunny Italy...

After a just about bearable tour of the city, we decided to jump off at the Vatican. Again this wasn't the best idea as it was Easter Sunday the weekend we were in Rome and because of the rain, everyone wanted to take shelter, literally anywhere... I knew there would be a queue but I wasn't prepared to wait three or more hours in the pouring rain so we decided to jump the queue and grab ourselves a tour guide. This was pretty easy going even though the reception at our hostel told us otherwise. Yes, you can always rely on the wonderful tour guides standing outside the attractions on the lookout for vulnerable tourists. I am always very weary of anything like this, I hate the thought of being scammed but luckily it was all legit and after a half an hour introduction we finally got ourselves in the warm.

So another tip here - if you want to avoid long tiresome queues it may be worth paying that little bit extra for a tour guide. This way you not only cut the horrendous queues, you actually get to learn about the different attractions and are not just standing there wondering what an earth you are meant to be looking at. This I found was particularly useful in the Vatican and the Colosseum as neither of them had any signs to explain what each room/feature was. When you have an expert on hand explaining all the ins and outs, you can sit/stand back and take it all in. Now as I may have mentioned in my last post, I am not the world's biggest religious person, neither do I take an interest in the Pope's affairs. However, I must say the Vatican was a very special place indeed. The fact that it is a separate city to Rome is something, but only when you get inside do you realise the complexity of such place. Hundreds and hundreds of rooms all surrounded in beautiful art work. I think we managed about 40 on our tour but as our tour guide said you would be there for weeks if you were to study each one. Our tour of the Vatican lasted for a good three hours and by the end I was ready to get of there. It was awfully busy and there was an awful lot to take in but still well worth a visit especially if you are a fan of the pope.

Inside the Vatican
Just look at that detail - a glimpse of the stunning artwork on the ceilings
Michelangelo in all his glory
During our tour not only did we have the chance to visit the wonderful Vatican museums, we also got to experience the beautiful Sistine Chapel and the Vatican's gardens. Unfortunately the Basilica of Saint Peter was not open to visitors on the Easter Sunday weekend but this didn't really bother me too much as I was already exhausted. Overall, I think we definitely tried to fit too much in during our trip. We were soon to feel the effects of hours of endless walking as soon on our return home. I for one was aching for weeks! Luckily we had two full days in Rome to check out all the sights and the following day the sun decided to make an appearance just in time for the Colosseum.

Luckily we didn't pay the Colosseum a visit when it was raining

Inside the masterpiece that is the Colosseum

A better look at the beauty
Roman history in its finest form - this place was truly remarkable. I actually shocked myself at how much much I enjoyed it. Along with seeing the wonderful Colosseum, on the second day we also had a guided tour of the Roman Forum which again exceeded all my expectations. If you are a fan of Roman History or simply want to see some amazing architecture then I recommend you get yourself down to Rome ASAP! It was amazing to see so many of the vital foundations of these buildings still standing - you could really picture how it used to look all those years ago. It's crazy to think they used to have so many gruesome battles and these buildings played such an important part of Roman life. I must note, I am a huge fan of the theatre and anything performance related so for me this was bound to be one of my highlights of Rome..

One of the many temples in the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum at a glance-breath taking
The Colosseum from afar

The Pantheon

After a hectic two days exploring all that Rome has to offer which also included the spectacular Pantheon (see above), we finally got to sit down and enjoy our last meal in the big city. This time we decided to go all out in one of Rome's finest restaurants and what a delightful evening we had. As the famous saying goes; when in Rome... I think the pictures below pretty much sum it up. I don't recommend you reading the rest of this if you're hungry.
One of the best salads I've ever tasted-King prawn and avocado
Another delicious Italian pasta 
So there you have it. Besides the torrential rain and the countless hours of walking, it was great to finally see Rome. This was the place I held the highest hopes for out of everywhere on our trip and it certainly didn't let me down. In terms of size, I was quite shocked as Rome wasn't as big as I thought it would be but still more than enough to do in a couple of days. I will definitely be paying a return visit to Rome when I'm older as I am sure I will appreciate it even more so then but for now I will say Ciao!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Interrailing Chapter 3| Milan Fashion

So here we are at the favourite part of my journey; Italy. Following up on my previous post, I am now going to share with you the third part of my wonderful trip. Words can't describe how beautiful this country is. Fortunately for us, we got to spend the majority of our time here during out three week trip exploring the likes of the Roman forum, the Colosseum, the fashion of Milan and the jaw droppingly beautiful Florence. 

We started off in Milan. Now for those of you who love shopping like myself you may be feeling slightly envious as you read this. However I don't want to disappoint any of you fashionistas out there. Why you may ask? Well I was really looking forward to visiting Milan. Shops, shops and more shops. What isn't to like? Yet Milan disappointed me for many reasons. Not only was there not a lot to do or see, it didn't have a very pleasant atmosphere. To say it is one of the fashion capitals I expected so much more from this potentially magnificent city, but instead I got so little. Not helped by the fact that we were staying in the ghetto of course and had just been travelling for 18 hours from Barcelona. This includes a five hour wait outside a freezing cold train station in the middle of France (don't ask). Yes, unfortunately Milan is so not all about glamorous shopping, it has its deprived areas too! To say there was not a supermarket or restaurant in sight near our hostel would be an understatement. Our hostel was fine but this didn't make up for the fact that it made false promises. Located in a lively built up area.. I think not

Luckily we were only staying for one night so we made the most of the time we had and headed straight to the shops; central Milan. Window shopping-I've never been the world's biggest fan. I adore my clothes as much as the next fashion blogger but when you have a strict budget and a small rucksack then maybe coming to Milan isn't the brightest idea. I wouldn't be able to put Milan on the same level as Paris or London for it's sense of fashion because it's simply incomparable. Some wonderful shops but maybe somewhere to visit when you meet a rich man ladies. One thing is for certain though, they do damn good ice creams. Yes, I think Gelato may be my new guilty pleasure!

Central Milan
The wonderful Duomo
The best Gelato in the whole of Italy
Fashion' finest
Window shopping in Milan may make you want to cry..
The student hub where our apartment was located
I don't think I will be coming back to Milan in a hurry which is a shame as it does have a lot of potential. Maybe if I had a bit more money and time to really appreciate it then I would have enjoyed it more. If its any consolation the train station is really pretty, just watch out for the gypsy ladies who will try and con you out of money! In terms of safety this was something Milan failed on. I would definitely recommend checking out the Duomo as this was stunning. That's one thing you wont be deprived of in Italy, beautiful churches and cathedrals. There are also plenty of museums and apparently some pretty nice canals which we didn't get to see so if you are paying a visit to Milan, I would recommend you start looking up things like this to do in advance! 

Next up Florence and what a treat I have in store for you...


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