2013tori's tales: 2013

30 December 2013

150 // Blogger Inspiration / Part 2

Following on from part one, which you can find here, today's post is dedicated to five more ladies who have been a huge source of inspiration to me and this here Tori's Tales, as well as being wonderful friends who have brought a great deal of light and laughter to my year.

Being Little
Lyzi and I recently met in Bath at the Xmas Meet and I was so excited to see her in the flesh because to me she is absolute blogging royalty. Being Little is so bloody wonderful and by golly is it's presence on the internet entirely appreciated. Whenever I scroll through my feed and find a post from Lyzi I get a tummy full of butterflies - there's something about the way Lyzi writes and captures her world through her imagery that is so entirely appealing I can't help but get excited by each post that comes my way. And I sincerely adore Lyzi's wardrobe - vintage patterns and cuts, coupled with her super-cute hairdo and awesome tattoos, make this lady's style entirely enviable. I mean, check out this recent post - does she not pull off this 50s housewife-esque look amazingly well?! Lyzi also embraces real life subject matters on her blog and isn't afraid to shy away from those that could be deemed more sensitive - from lost loved ones, to chronic illnesses and posts on anxiety and depression - bringing an entirely human aspect to her blog that makes it all that more special (if you'd like a read, do check out her 'real life' feed).

The Briar Rose
It all started with a glimpse of red hair and a weakening at the knees......Megan's Briar Rose blog hit me full throttle between the eyes with it's wonderful, whimsical nature, stocked full of to-die-for outfits, charming days out, scrummy recipes and tantalising tales of Megan's life in Bath and Cornwall. Then one, very fortunate, day Megan and I started chatting and I was offered the chance to get to know the blogger behind the blog (and I grabbed it with both hands and ran!!). Scouts honour she's every inch as fabulous in the flesh as she is on her blog (I finally met her in person in Bath a few weeks ago and when she came to her front door I felt a little starstruck by how bloody flawless she looked - and there was me, in my shoddy jeans and jumper, cramping her style!) and my gosh, isn't Briar Rose quite something? Always true to her own individual style, Megan has carved a mermaid-shaped hole in this bloggy world that no one will ever be able to shift her from. Not only is it packed full of stunning photography but my goodness is it written by a writer (if that makes sense?!). You can just feel the passion Megan has for the industry every time you click on a new post.  Let me tell you, this gal was born to be an author, and I can't wait for the day when I'll be first in queue at her book signing (and this time I promise I'll dress up!). 

Ms Megan, Ms Megan, where to start aye? This lady has been a great source of strength for me over this past year, offering kind, encouraging words of support and the warmest of hands in friendship I ever did know. Megan is quite the young lady - someone who never fails to go out of her way to look out for me, to make me feel better, to show her support and offer the warmest of hugs across the interwebby waves. Her friendship I could not do without (lord knows how I made it through the first 27 years of my life!). And Megan is a beautiful blogger to boot - Moonbeamwishes is packed full of perfect snippets of her incredibly charming life, featuring trips out, diy (be sure to check out Megan's Etsy shop - Dear Moonbeams - which features her gorgeous hoop wall art!) and snaps of family nights in (and what heart-warming snaps they are; every photo exudes love and happiness); I always leave after a visit feeling that little bit more buoyed than when I arrived! I have now made it an ambition of mine to one day meet Megan in person (I'll swim to Cali if I have to!) because I honestly have so much to thank her for that my words on the internet will never be enough to do my feelings towards her justice. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Paige Joanna
OH THAT FACE!!! It's enough to make you fall head over heels!! Paige has one of those personalities that you can't help but take a shine to - she's chatty and friendly, warm, funny and oh so honest (and her honesty is something I really love, especially when it comes to chatting about joint woes, because Paige has her own struggles and entirely empathises - she has an incredibly dependable shoulder I can lean on without worrying it's all too much for her because I know she understands). She was one of the very first bloggers who reached out to me and was entirely supportive when I decided to start up Tori's Tales, offering advice and much much more (too much, she's so bloody generous) in the shape of my beautiful illustrated header (she does commissions people! Be sure to drop her a line if you're looking for something new for 2014!) - Paige seriously has more talent in her little finger than I do in my entire body! Her blog, Paige Joanna, boasts a beautiful array of outfits that, although I could never recreate (just because I could never look as incredibly awesome as Paige always does) are forever drool-worthy and an awesome source of eye candy!! 

Stephanie Dreams
I was chatting to Paige just the other day about how much I simply love Steph - her full-heartedness, her cheeky humour and easy-to-be-around nature (seriously, within minutes of meeting her back in June I felt like I'd known her forever, she's just that much of a sweetheart - and she had a lot to contend with considering I behaved like some crazy-weird fan-girl). Not only that but I believe Stephanie Dreams to be one of the most relatable and accessible blogs going - Steph shows us how we can all live prettily on a smaller budget (I'm always grateful for the inclusion of high street brands, especially as I'm not a huge lover of online purchases) and, being a student and all, the fact that she manages to do this means a great deal to me as a reader of Stephanie Dreams. Not only that, but Steph truly has created a warm and cosy space on the internet that I can so happily crawl into of an evening (and I love watching her videos too - her personality completely shines through - and, trust me, I'm not easily pleased when it comes to YouTube!). Oh, and 2014 is going to be a wonderful year for this lady because she is set to become Mrs Sam in October in Walt Disney World Orlando Fl - the thought of it makes my toes crunch in excitement! Steph deserves nothing but a lifetime of love and happiness to match that which she offers to everyone who knows her (and gosh, in that case, she's set to have a lot of it come her way this year!). 

I'd love to know who inspired you to start blogging and why!

28 December 2013

149 // Blogger Inspiration / Part 1

In all honesty this post has me feeling a little overwhelmed even before I've started it thanks to how much these ladies have come to mean to me this year. 2013 has been a big one for me because it's the year in which I became part of the blogging community and, since starting Tori's Tales in February, I have been on quite the journey (both via my blog and personally, although the latter is still a result of the former), one which has seen me form friendships with (and, in certain incredible and wonderfully lucky circumstances, actually meet) these special ladies below, all of whom inspired me (and in some cases, encouraged me) to start up my own corner of the old interwebs. Ladies, I thank and very much salute you! I'm not sure I could ever put into words just how much I truly adore each and every one of you but I'm certainly going to try my darn hardest to do so!
I've decided to make a little (alphabetical!) list of bloggers who this year inspired me to start penning my tales (and if you aren't already following these ladies and their blogs, be sure to pop on over and do so bloody asap!!). It's going to be in two parts as there are 10 ladies in total and I don't want to tire out your eyes!! Here's the first five (and please note all photos were taken from the blogs themselves and all credit is entirely given to the ladies behind them).....

You know when you stumble across a person, be it via their blog or twitter (I'm ever the fanatic) and instantly warm to them? Bee is that person. She is the bravest of young women with the strongest of hearts and the most positive of attitudes, and is most definitely someone I admire from the tips of my fingers to the soles of my feet. She is never without a quip to make you smile (or, more often than not, laugh your bloody head off) even when she isn't having the easiest of times - which makes her all the more endearing; buoying others up when you aren't feeling entirely healthy and whole yourself is no mean feat - and (I really must admit) just knowing she is there, on my twitter feed, is enough to keep me happily content for the rest of my days. Vivatramp is where she shares (without a doubt) the most fantastic of book reviews, as well as beautiful trips and truthful tales of her world, including those about personal subject matters, all handled with such joie de vivre (and passion for making the most of what she has) that you can't help but be swept along. 

Urban Tease
Chloe's was one of the first blogs I started reading back in June 2012 and, let me tell you, she had me at hello (or rather, she had me at 'First things first, I'm rocking the side pony today' - if you head on over you'll find my comment underneath said post!). A year and a half on and I am now lucky enough to not only call myself a dedicated Urban Tease-r but to also be able to say Chloe is a friend (and one I've met in person, this Summer in London, which is super crazy cool because Chloe is most definitely someone I look up to, thus to have met her in real, actual life was blow-my-socks-off-fan-bloody-tastic!!). Urban Tease is unlike any other blog I've come across - Chloe's outfit posts come coupled with wise words that seem more fitting to someone well beyond her years (and go a long way towards showing just how special a young woman she is). Never one to shy away from all manner of topics that are close to her heart (her thesis 'Unwrapping Rape Culture in Twin Peaks' can be read here), I honestly believe that is what makes Chloe (and Urban Tease) all that more inspirational - she says what a large majority of us just can't put into words (and trust me, I've tried). Her eloquence, her spunk, the fact she fights to stand up and support what she believes in, and her take-me-for-who-I-am attitude makes her one incredibly special human being. Chloe, you truly are a role model for the 21st century. Thank you.

Ella Masters
I remember the first time I found Ella's blog and just being in complete and utter awe of her illustrations (and that feeling hasn't ever gone away - this lady's talent will forever astound me!) - little plug here but there's a sale currently on over at the Ella Masters Illustrations Etsy shop so please do go check it out - and then falling for her gracious, warm and welcoming words. Her blog is full of honest chatter (and advice is never far away) coupled with personal tales of struggles that make her voice behind the words all that more real (and boy am I thankful for it, like so many others are) Edit: Ella has just this morning published a new post and I wanted to make sure you all head over and read it!. There's also a little twinkle behind those eyes of hers - a cheeky spirit and a zest for life, plus a tendency to push herself to do better in all that she puts her mind and heart to (could there be a better attitude for life? I think not!), all of which I'm sure will take her far in this world (ladies and gentleman, watch this space!). I can't wait to follow Ella on her journey through 2014 (be sure you do the same).  

Kailey is that bright spark you can't help but be drawn to - a shining star whose light will never diminish thanks to her truly bloody awesome personality, sweet-enough-it-could-almost-be-edible girly style and beautiful, old-Hollywood looks. She's the girl who makes anything and everything look good, rocking vintage styles and patterns in a truly modern way (I mean, come on, peach hair?! Never has anyone made me wish I could be brave and take the hair-dye plunge more than Kailey!). She's my go-to on cloudy days (be it via Mermaidens or Twitter) when I need a little injection of something fabulous to brighten my day - I just can't help but be wooed by her vivacious nature (actually, saying that, she's my go-to on any day - that's just how wonderful a little chit-chat with Kailey or a scroll through Mermaidens can make me feel!). I'm so excited to see what 2014 brings Kailey and I'll happily be by her side every step of the way. 

Lisette Loves 
I truly have no idea where to start when it comes to talking about Lisette. I guess, firstly, she gives me the warm and fuzzies (which is never a bad thing) and is someone I get to call a dear friend (and chat to frequently throughout the week, for which I am entirely thankful - see what I did there, Li?!). She's incredibly thoughtful, caring, kind, sweet, funny and supportive, rocks a smock like no other and has the hair of some sort of 80s aerobics /rock goddess (and, seriously, that is an uber-good thing - trust me people) that I frequently have an urge to stroke. Not only that but Lisette Loves is an incredibly inspirational blog, one that has blossomed in 2013 and settled in comfortably among those big un's you find in the blogosphere (and has recently been featured in the for-bloggers-about-bloggers magazine of the same name - your can purchase your own copy here and I suggest doing so for Lisette's interview alone - it's entirely heartfelt and is written, as ever, in her self-effacing humorous, and entirely breath-of-fresh-air-ed-ness, tone). Her Thankful Thursday feature is forever on the lips of bloggers and has sprouted many-a-post in it's honour. Take a trip over and you'll see why. It'll make you feel all the more fortunate for doing so. 

Thank you all for reading part one and be sure to check back for part two!

27 December 2013

148 // Boxing Day

Hello all!! I thought that, as everyone has been sharing sweet collections of their own Christmases, I'd pop up a few photos (I apologise for the poor quality - if only DSLR's were in the sale!!) that I just about remembered to take over the festive period, albeit these are all from our Boxing Day yesterday. After a leisurely morning (during which I pretty much did nothing bar put together a couple of pics for a round-up post I'm hoping to publish before the year is out!) the 4 of us headed out to spend the rest of the day with my Auntie, Uncle, cousins and Nanny. It started off as quite a civilised affair.....

1 // Sitting down for Boxing Day lunch
2 // Some of the yummy food we managed to stuff into our bellies
3 // Leaning Pisa shot glass!
4 // Drinking shots
....until limoncello got involved and, after partaking in a few shots-doing, Ju thought she'd show us some of her moves in the form of a headstand!! Belle and I had a go and the splits (as did Ju - she outperformed us all yesterday!) but I couldn't quite make it any more - I'm blaming it on my old age (and the fact Belle is a cheerleader!).

Ju showing off what looks like her disco/break-dancing headstand moves!
We spent the rest of the day playing games, chatting and generally just feeling full and merry! Here are a couple more snaps taken on various phones (and later posted to instagram) from across our day - the girlies can be seen top left (Moomin, Nanny, Me, Belle and Ju), the biggest and littlest cousin top right (we've ten years between us!), game playing bottom left (this was a particularly tense last Pass the Bomb round featuring my Uncle and Belle's boyfriend) and the whole family (minus Ju who took the pic!) bottom right! (and yes, that's my poor brother picking me up in the background - we ain't that tall!!)

(check out the gummy smiles on Hen and I - hamming it up for the camera like our lives depended on it!)

I hope you all have had a fantastic past few days celebrating and spending time with loved ones.

25 December 2013

147 // Midnight at Christmas

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I felt it only right to wish you all a Merry Christmas as the clock strikes midnight, signalling the end of Christmas eve. I am up in my room, tucked away in bed, being as quiet as only a mouse knows how whilst I await Santa's arrival (and that of Christmas Day). I must admit this year feels extra special as I have not only family to celebrate with but all of you so, although I shall bid you farewell and goodnight, I really must do something else first.....

I thank you for being here, for reading my tales, for supporting me (and to those of you who follow me on Bloglovin I owe you a big huge hug as today I reached 200 followers!), for leaving me such wonderful comments, for being my twitter buddies, for sharing your own tales and, above all, for making my 2013 truly unforgettable. You are all stars, each and every one of you. 

Much love,

24 December 2013

146 // Tori's Tales of the Week

Excuse the terrible quality, I took this pic of Walnut the Xmas tree on my phone!
I am writing this post whilst sat on the train home (though it won't be published until tomorrow - might this mean I'm being ever so slightly organised in my blog post publishing?!) willing the time away and the arrival of 12:54 pm when I'll be back in Winchester. It's nearing the end of the year - when I may just be posting a collection of my favourite tales of 2013 - but, before we get there, I've another collection of my Tales of the Week to share with you. There's been lots of last minute gift ideas ('tis the Season, after all) as well as searches for quiet and calm amid a month of much noise, yearly round-ups, special meets, childhood memories and a 'how do ya like your eggs in the morning?' kinda post :) Enjoy!!

All images shown belong to the blog whence they came and all credit belongs to the authors of the posts!

Tuesday 17th
Molly (guest posting for Tania) listed her favourite ways to eat eggs (there are some doosies for egg fans!)

Wednesday 18th
Giulia took some beautiful photographs of strangers

Thursday 19th
Anna shared a collection of her photography from 2013

Friday 20th
Trina showed off some childhood decs

Saturday 21st
Kitty spent the beginning of Yuletide at the North Sea

Sunday 22nd
Ronnie took time out to be still

Monday 23rd
Chloe came up with some fantastic gift ideas

I have one last (rather cheeky) offering in the form of the splendidly talented and superbly sweet Nora's illustrated bloggers post in which I feature. I still can't believe that not only did she pick me as one of her favourite bloggers (hush now child, you crazy?!) but also that I have such great company in the form of the other ladies she picked. Thank you again Nora!!

Check me out!!! :D

22 December 2013

144 // Tori and the boy do Christmas!

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1 // Our lounge (excuse the mess, uni notes and books galore!!) complete with Walnut stepping in as a Christmas tree replacement!
2 // Our kitchen, resplendent with a 'Merry Christmas' sign and Christmassy ornament-type-thing
3 // Our table, jazzed up with a few red and white goodies (John Lewis clearance!!)

Happy eve of the eve of Christmas eve everyone! Today, Sunday 22nd December 2013 (gosh, it's so near to 2014 now, which is pretty terrifying because that means 2004 was 10 years ago - SAY WHAT?!!), is much like the real thing for me because the boy and I are spending the day together celebrating our very own Christmas Day! Things are different this year to the previous four because instead of us both being at home for Christmas (and by home I mean back in the Winchester area) I am travelling back by myself and spending 10 days with my family whilst the boy stays here, in Nottingham, working and writing an important essay/revising for exams. It's not the happiest of plans - not only are we are sure to miss each other but I am also sad he is spending Christmas here on his own - but it's the way things are being done this year so we are choosing to make the most of our situation and celebrate in the best way we know how. Or rather, have decided how. Let's hope we pull it off!

If you follow me on twitter or instagram you may have noticed that last night I uploaded a fair few photos, and a video, of the progress I made during my dedicated-to-Christmas-decorating night. I finally (after too many hours to logically process) got everything done at around 11:30pm, ready for when the boy arrived back home from his 10 hour shift at 1:30am! It left us in the festive spirit and we are both very much ready and excited for the day ahead (which, for me, involves a lot of cooking!). We have plans to watch numerous Christmas films - The Snowman, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone 2 and Santa Claus The Movie - possibly play a game of (travel) Monopoly or Scrabble (or maybe both - heck, why not push the boat out?!), listen to Christmas music and, I imagine (most definitely on the part of the boy!), get very merry!!

Before I leave you, I must bring to your attention Lyzi's post on lost loved ones at this time of year - albeit a tough subject to tackle at any time, in December it feels particularly hard, and I'm grateful to Lyzi for doing so and sharing her story. If you are at all struggling to cope now, or at any time of the year, due to the loss of someone close to you, please know there is always someone you can talk to - there's no need to keep things bottled up. As Lyzi says, a problem shared is a problem halved.