July 2013tori's tales: July 2013

31 July 2013

No 81 My bucket list

*As you read this I'll be pootling along somewhere to/in/from Scotland! I'm away for the month of August but shall endeavour to keep in touch (tweet/read and reply to comments) as often as I am able. Thank you for popping by!*

I'm leaving this post until just before the deadline is up because, despite being aware of the subject matter for quite some time now, that's totally how I roll! If you don't already know (and I apologise if you do and have had said competition shoved down your throats more times than you care to discuss) Money Supermarket are holding a 'Bucket List' competition offering a first prize of £1000 to put towards crossing of an item you've listed (or it'll double to £2000 if they receive more than 50 entries!). The idea is to offer one 'budget' bucket list entry and one 'extravagant' budget list entry (known here as the Blow-out entry!). If you'd like to learn more, pop over to the website.

We've also to nominate 3 bloggers we think would be interested in getting involved, so I have chosen:

Right, let's go!

Have acupuncture

Doesn't she totally look like she's having lots of fun?!
This is a bit of an odd one as I realise, for many, the idea of having needles stuck into (and left) in ones body would be a nightmarish experience, but it's something I've been interested in trying for a good long while now. I have joint hypermobility syndrome, a condition that causes joints to move beyond the normal range of motion. It's a common problem, often known as double-jointedness, and doesn't necessarily cause problems for those who suffer with it. However, that isn't the case for moi.

I've been aware that something has been wrong with my joints for about 14 years (yup!) yet have only recently been properly diagnosed, mainly thanks to numerous doctors not really understanding the problem/taking me seriously. For me the outcome is daily pain (as a result of my joints doing as they please) which can occur in all manner of areas - hips (my first problem area), back, knees, shoulders, fingers, wrists and ankles - through all manner of activities (and by that I mean laying, sitting, standing and walking, nothing even remotely strenuous).

Back to the acupuncture. I've had, failed, attempts at phsyio (I'm still waiting to be referred, yet again, for even more) and, due to my not really getting on with it, it's been suggested on several occasions that I try acupuncture. However, I've been put on and take off a list again (long story) and everything seems to take such a long time that I'd love to be able to go privately to scrap the worry of waiting. It's not overly costly, roughly £45 for an initial session, but thanks to being a student it's not something I can really afford to do on a whim. I'd love to be able to though because if the result was that it would help me manage my pain better then I'd be able to take the costs of additional treatments into my own hands. I'm just worried abut the initial payout if it then doesn't actually do anything to help.

So, yes, I've been prevented from having acupuncture a) because NHS treatments have fallen through and b) private treatment and a student budget don't mix! What it could mean for me is help to let me learn with my diagnosis and the problems it causes. Pain management is rather hit and miss, so to find something that could cure/lessen my daily ailments would be pretty darn wonderful!

A 'find a career' fund

Career Advice No. 19: Teacher
Apparently this is Career Advice No. 19: A Teacher
This is going to be a bit of an odd one to try and explain. Rather than one big thing, I decided that what I'd like to do is have a 'budget/cash-moneys' pot to put towards trying to find out my dream job.

I am 27 and still have no idea what to do with my life. Like, no actual clue. And that bothers me. On a daily basis. Every so often I think 'Ooooo, what about this?' Or 'Ahhhhh, I could try that out' but more often than not what gets in the way of me trying something out is, unfortunately, the money side of things. As mentioned above, I am a student and because of Summer plans I have been unable to procure a part time job since leaving uni (hopefully this will change once I'm back and settled come September), thus I have nothing to put towards a 'job-finding-fund' to help me find that elusive dream career. I have a few different ideas swirling around in my head - from creative/design focused jobs, for which I'd need knowledge of photography and design programmes etc. which I'd obviously have to pay for as I have no such knowledge now - to interning for a big charity, such as UNICEF, which again comes with it's own costs (travel etc.) - the majority of which would need me to volunteer my services. I'm not sure what would best suit, so to be able to have a fund I can dip into to help work that out would be absolutely amazing. Who knows, I may even put it towards learning to drive (which I'm sure would help me reach my ultimate goal). Just the thought of it brings a big smile to my face because finding something truly 'me' is all I'm really striving for.

The prevention here has been, again, me not having the money put aside to dip into to help me figure things out. Being able to do so, being able to come up with a career that suits me, would mean absolutely everything. It would lift the biggest weight off my shoulders and, my goodness, would I be grateful for that! I can't even put into words what it would mean to me. The thought is indescribable.

28 July 2013

No 80 Wollaton Hall

This weekend the boy and I have been playing hosts, of sorts, to my parents who are staying with us before we leave for our Scotland trip this coming Wednesday. Yesterday we decided to visit Wollaton Hall and Deer Park; Mike and I for the first time since we visited back when we arrived in Nottingham, my parents for the first time full-stop! 

The manor itself has a far greater impact when viewed from it's exterior as the interior houses some sort of museum full of stuffed animals, minerals and other seemingly weird and wonderful creatures et al (not entirely sure why that was the plan that was went with!). Situated amongst acres of land (I could, of course, be exaggerating as I've no real clue when it comes to the actual amount of land and there doesn't seem to be any info anywhere of it) in which you'll also find formal gardens and a pretty lake (boosting geese and other beaked animals aplenty) and a secret garden (good luck finding that one, I've only just found out it exists thanks to t'internet). 

If you're looking to do something on a day visit to Notts (I'm sure you're all bursting to come) Wollaton is definitely worth a visit. Plenty of space to picnic and spot wild deer. A bouncy castle, ice cream van (always a bonus) and cafe awaits you. Oh, and look out for spray-painted bats; Wollaton Hall was used in scenes for the last Batman film (for Wayne Manor to be precise!)

Creepy, yet strangely beguiling, busts
One can never call ones home a mansion without ones own lion
The most normal room in the whole of the interior!
Wollaton Hall from the lake
We found plants overrun with these wee fella's
Focused on the wrong subject!
Pretty lake view
Hidden bridge
3 little ducks (went quack quack quack)
The formal garden area
A herb gardionay
My 'trying to be arty' shot
Wollaton complete with a bollard
The only deer I managed to capture (photo-wise) on the way out in our car!
Have any of you lovely lot visited Wollaton?

25 July 2013

No 79 A 'Thankful Thursday' kind of tale

I'm sure the majority of you are aware of wonderful Lisette's Thankful Thursday series (if not - shame on you! Go follow the series - and her blog - pronto!) and today I decided I partake, due to the fact that Lisette features rather prominently!

So here it is; today I am thankful for (amongst other little things like sparkly bows, sweetie shrimps - bellyfillers - and tea. You know, the important stuff) blogging. Because, thanks to blogging, I've met lots of amazing ladies who make me smile on a daily basis. And yesterday was no exception, for yesterday was the day I attended my second ever bloggers event - The Vintage Set's #VintSetFest, held in Birmingham's Custard Factory. Tucked away in a magical blogger-filled unit, the event housed stalls (and haybales) aplenty, goody bags and vintage goodies (overusing the word just because I can), sweeties (hence the aforementioned shrimps), hair products, nail products and jewellery, fizzy drinks, a band, a wee styling challenge and chatter galore. 

Photo c/o Ally. From L-R Ally, Lisette, myself and Tasha
I attended with Lisette, who I started talking to (I don't know how many) months ago thanks to the wonder that is Twitter. We met a little earlier in the day, for nattering, food (a girl after my heart, this one), nattering, tea and more nattering! 

Darn my camera for the blurriness but, eventually, here Steph and I are, in a photo, together (yay!)
After filling our bellies at Pizza Express (oh haiiii 2-4-1 Wednesdays!) and wandering around the shops (a little like lost puppies, what with both of us being without spenderoonies) we ambled over to the Custard Factory, where we met up with marvels such as Steph (I was like some crazy-ass-weird fangirl and she reacted most graciously and not at all like I was said crazy person, which was super kind!), Lily (who we had also bumped into earlier in Selfridges), Talia (who both of us guestposted for last week), the lovely Ally who I met at the first event I attended back in April, Paige, Jess, Katy (again, I was incredibly fan girly and I apologise because I think I took her by surprise!), Megan, Tasha and many many more. Everyone looked lovely, the atmosphere was fantastic and the company was the best!

Me and the girl herself, sporting the dress SHE MADE people!
I'm also incredibly thankful to be able to call Lisette my friend. I had the most wonderful day with her and, to top it all off, she gave me the fabulous pressies (seen below) to cheer me up (last week was a tough 'un). What did I do to deserve you, aye madam?!!

Lord knows I love me some socks, the cutest frame and a lovely postcard (not seen) keeping our bookcase company!
What are you all thankful for this Thursday?

23 July 2013

No 78 Crying lightning

I've barely made a dent in the day and already it has provided me with one of the most stressful mornings to date! I'm sure many of you were met with storms yesterday, maybe today. The one last night here was pretty spectacular, so much so I was too scared to stand near the window to take a picture! The fork lighting was huge, the biggest I've seen since Florida (good lord did we have storms aplenty each time we went and the last time the rain and wind that came with was bordering on hurricane-territory!) and lit up the sky for what felt like hours. Unfortunately, it didn't stop there. Another one started up this morning at around 4:30am, when I awoke. And then laid awake until 6am when I got up!!

I headed upstairs to make myself a cuppa (most welcome on the mornings when you eyes feel perpetually closed). I already had an alarm set for 7am so, you know, I was only an hour early! I had to get up as this morning I had an appointment for a scan at 10:15am, in a village north of the city (that I had zero knowledge of). Two mins before I was due to leave the house the heavens opened and down the rain poured. And poured. And poured. I was drenched within about 10 ft of my door, despite wearing boots and a mac, and carrying an umbrella. The water was gushing from the drains and the streets were deserted. It felt like being in an 'end of time' film, all apocalyptic-like. However, I made it to the bus, map in tow, so (apparently) I'd know where to get off the other end. The journey wasn't overly pleasant due to the myriad of bumps and the torrential rain beating against the windows coupled with my full bladder (2 pints of water drunk in about two mins!), and the unpleasantness didn't end there because I got off at the bus stop I'd (pretty heavily) researched only to find myself in the middle of nowhere. Literally. I stopped a couple of people to ask to point me in the right direction and they had no idea where I was talking about. Helpful. I ended up ringing the company who booked my appointment (I didn't have a number for the treatment centre because, to be honest, I thought they were one and the same!) and they couldn't find where I was so had to ring the centre to tell them I would be late and try and point me in some sort of direction that could, maybe, lead me to where I needed to go. Half an hour after I'd got off the bus, and a ridiculously long walk later, and I found it. I arrived, 15 mins late, only to be told nobody had rung on my behalf! Thank goodness they waited for me anyway. The scan, typically, took all of 5 mins therefore I was back on a bus within 10. The journey home was a hot and sticky one (anyone else find buses get distinctly more gross in the wet weather? Not because of the wet, but because of the weird heat that radiates from everyone's multiple layers of waterproof clothing) but I eventually made it back, where I nursed a couple of teas and set about thinking of the day ahead! 

Source: Edinburgh Castle Wiki Page
Anyway, enough of the rambling (you breathe a sigh of relief). Instead, I would like to ask you a question! As some of you will know, next week I am off to Scotland for the month of August (with the boy and in Eric) and have been debating what to do with my blog when I'm gone. As you are the ones who read it, I thought I'd ask your opinion, to find out which situation you prefer:

a) I've found a 'blogging every day' challenge that I could take part in
b) Schedule a few posts (I'm thinking two a week at most)
c) (with b) see if anyone would be happy to guest post and schedule them amongst the few I'm going to write

Please do let me know what you think, it's important to me as you are the ones who read my blog and visit it's pages when I'm off gallivanting among the Scottish highlands - I want you all still to be here when I get back!

21 July 2013

No 77 An update!

This is a bit of a sneaky post, because it isn't exactly one, but I wanted to let you all know that today I updated my 'About me' page which you can peruse at your leisure here. It needs a few tweaks (a tech wizard I am not!) but it took about one hundred goes to get it in the state it's in now so it'll have to do for a while!!

Meanwhile, the sun seems to have docked his head now (for good, so it seems) and is hiding behind his cloudy friends. Apparently rain will come. Oh England, why are you always about extremes? You never warm us up or cool us down, you just bake us, freeze us or drench us!

20 July 2013

No.76 Blended Days

Time recently has been stretched out across numerous hours, days, weeks even, blending them all into a mass of sameness that, at times, can be a little hard to bear (apparently I have a penchant for melodrama). Without anything to do - no uni, no job and, at times, only myself for company - I've found myself become increasingly fed up with my situation, and myself, and haven't really been able to snap myself out of it. 

Life right now
So as to keep myself occupied (and to stop any additional slumps) I've ended up spending a lot my life on the internet (when I'm not dodging flies that is - seriously, is anyone else's flat/house a fly-haven? We get a mini-swarm that congregates in the middle of our room) reading blogs, following my twitter feed like some sort of crazy-insane person and on tumblr.

Ahh, tumblr. I've recently revamped the old and brought a new one to life, one I'm much happier with (which is a silly thing to say but, sadly, true). This morning has been spent (besides cleaning the flat, thankfully the weather has calmed down a little to allow me to not leave puddles of myself all over the, fake, wooden floors) reading and tumblr'ing.

My 'confuse the flies' trick doesn't work when the sun isn't out
Those blurred black dots you see are the dreaded flies - there are approx. 11 currently buzzing round my head
Reading today has been internet-orientated (you don't say?!) and all of it related to the story of Chris McCandless. If you haven't seen Into The Wild - says I, who has only seen half of it - then please do go watch it. It's made and left it's mark on me, despite only having been exposed to half of the story on-screen. If the film isn't to your taste, or you are interested in learning more about Chris now, I suggest reading this article written by the man on whose novel based on Chris' life was turned into said film. Yes, there are a few untruths (of which you can read about on the web) but it's an interesting story all the same and one well worth exploring. It's not something I can really relay here, nor do I wish to, for fear of not doing it justice, but I honestly do encourage you to find out more about this life and journey. Hand-on-heart it is time well-spent.

An extract from the diary Chris kept, which he signed off using his alias 'Alexander Supertramp'
As for tumblr, today's session followed on from the reading. I can't get into pinterest - although I've tried, many a'time - as I prefer just to scroll through photographs, pondering about their back-stories, perhaps making up a few of my own. It's all too easy to get lost in so I suggest, if you do have time on your hands, having a go of your own. I'm sure to add a few lovelies to mine today (I'm guessing light-related, or bed-related - I don't know why - or both. Just expect both).

Before I leave to read about Carl McCunn, a name I've learnt thanks to the article above, and before you do so, hopefully to hop on over to tumblr and have a nosey, here's a quote for the day ahead (with thanks to Chris):

Photo links through to source where found: http://littleprince216.tumblr.com/
You can find me here - http://toris-tales.tumblr.com/. If you have a tumblr, link me up below!

18 July 2013

No: 75 Getting to know me

Just a short message to let you all know I'm guest posting over at Tal Types today. Click on through below!

16 July 2013

No 74: The one in which I made burgers!

I thought with this post I would do something a little different and show off (although I don't mean that literally, it's not the prettiest of posts!) a recipe I put together (bah ha) last week. I am not the worlds greatest cook, nor do I particularly enjoy cooking, thus we've got into a bit of a rut food-wise due to my not being arsed (I went with it) to actually come up with anything new or exciting to cook. We always seem to have burgers (from a packet, yum) and, after feasting on different ones at Glastonbury, I thought I'd try my hand at a recipe for myself. I used a book given to the boy a good few years ago and flicked through the recipes to find the simplest and easiest one to follow, which ended up being their veggie cheeseburger with chips recipe.

Today we're visiting somewhere new - OUR KITCHEN!
When I first started putting things together, and sorting out ingredients etc, I hadn't yet decided to blog it, hence the fact there are no piccies of the 'chips' being made. But make them I did! As the recipe was for 4 
I halved it (duh) so used:

(just under) 1/2kg potatoes
(just over) 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (they recommend vegetable, this is all we had)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder 
(I would suggest that if you like things spicy go a little more heavy handed with the cumin et al as the combination had more a subtle kick than a strong punch)
Pop the oven on at 220c, Gas Mark 7

All you need to do is scrub the potatoes (I'm not going to lie, I didn't have anything to scrub them with so they had more of a heavy-handed wash than anything else) and cut them into wedges. Pat them dry with kitchen roll (soggy pots are of no use to anyone) and lay them in a roasting tin, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle over the spices (I'm hoping you'll have better luck than me at sprinkling them because how the gosh darn do you actually do that when you only have a teaspoon to hand? Cue weird blotchy splatters!). 

On to the burgers themselves. I kept the recipe as is because the boy tends to have two burgers and I have just the one, with the leftover/s being eaten by the boy for lunch the next day. 
Right, you'll need:

1x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small onion (I used red), finely chopped
100g cheddar, grated
100g breadcrumbs (I used a seeded loaf)
1 egg
A little plain flour, to cover the hands with
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Oh, and BAPS! Must remember the burger baps!

As you can see from my pictures I don't have a pretty array of cooking goods and accessories, just the most basic of basics, nor do I have a window in my kitchen, so it's all plain utensils and harsh artificial lighting for this post I'm afraid!

First I popped the kidney beans in a bowl and gave them a good squish with a fork (this seemed to take a while, not sure if I just have ridiculously poor hand strength?). I then grated the bread for the breadcrumbs (always doing things out of order me, like some sort of kitchen rebel - screw the system!) and chopped the onion (seriously, nothing like being unprepared) before plonking both, plus the egg, cheese, salt and pepper, on top of the kidney beans. And yes, I'd suggest a larger bowl. 

Be sure to give it all a good and careful stir (if, like me, you don't have the right sized anything you'll need to be prepared for spillage). Make sure you also pop the pan on now - I had the oil heating on 4 (temp goes up to 6) but if you forget just whack it up a little higher then turn it down once they are in. Oh, and whilst you're at it, give the chips a little shake. I always forget this part but it's handy just in case you've got a few that are catching - tends to be the case when the oven is on so high. Thank goodness I'm with a boy who loves burnt food (and that's why he does none of the cooking!)

I'm going to tell you now. I love spatulas. They are awesomely awesome and pretty much my favourite thing in the kitchen. Bar all the food. 

Once all nicely mixed divide the mixture up (I used the spatula to do so), pop a little flour on your hands, then pick one up and pat it into shape before placing it in pan. Repeat for all 4 then let them sizzle away. Turn once (or, to be honest, as often as you darn well please. Sometimes I turn them a couple of times, as well as turning the pan around because it seems one side cooks better than the other?!).

Prepare your baps as you wish (we each just had half a bap which I placed the burger on top of because sometimes there's just too much bread involved); I just had butter, the mayo had gone off (booooo) and the boy had ketchup. Team with lettuce, or any salad you can be bothered with (or if the leafy stuff ain't your thing, go salad-less) and serve with the chips. 

This is obviously the boys portion!
And there we have it, veggie cheeseburgers and homemade chiperoonies!

Let me know if you try them out for yourself!

14 July 2013

No 73: Summer sweetens all to me

Check me out keeping on top of things bloggy-related! 

Yesterday the boy and I decided we'd make the most of the sunshine (and a day off for him) and explore the Leicestershire countryside. It seems we are all a little more active these days, desperate to make the most of the English countryside, riverside, beaches, villages and towns whilst this great ball of light brightens up our gloomy skies. It's nice to be in everyone's company; to see people enjoying themselves, be it walking along a country lane, or sitting in a pub garden. This is when England is at its best, when it's inhabitants are making the most of what our country has on offer.

Field we treked in opposite the castle
 Back to the day at hand - our original plan to visit the grounds of Belvoir Castle backfired a little when we found out the castle only opens Sundays and Mondays. However, as we hadn't visited the area before, and were interested in doing so, we decided we'd still make our way over and see what the day would bring.

As it turns out luck was on our side and in front of the castle there was a sweet little picnic area (and a cute shop I didn't venture in to for fear of wanting to buy everything my hands landed on) as well as fields for MILES. The first thing we did was walk around a couple of said fields (we had planned to make our way over to a distant church only to have our journey stopped by an overgrown path) enjoying the sunshine on our shoulders. It certainly brings back memories of Summer's away spent exploring different European landscapes. It was nice to do so in our own.

After the loop around we made our way back to the car and our picnic (loosely termed, certainly nothing fancy, just cheese sarnies and crisps!) then spent some time sitting on the picnic bench/grass enjoying the scenery and the company of a rather beautiful creature....

Field posing
Picnic companion
After we'd filled our bellies and exhausted the view we got back in Erica and made our way over to the neighbouring Redmile. A beautiful little English-countryside-typical village, it's the home of many gorgeous buildings (including one pub that, unfortunately, is now closed - someone whip that beauty up!) and chocolate-box houses (such as the one seen below). Being so small it took all of 15 mins to walk around but we managed to come across a map that pointed us in the direction of a river walk so off we took in search of it.

'The Villa'
Countryside views
As if we'd even contemplate walking this distance!
The most summery (read shortest and cool-est, temperature-wise!) dress in my wardrobe
45 minutes down the path and we ended up stopping at this bridge as we weren't really sure where the river would take us, nor were we equipped for a longer march in the sun having left water back in the car. The bridge provided us some shade whilst we sat and chatted, watching water-snails in the river (they are weirdly, and grossly, interesting to watch - how the heck do they cling to the surface from under the water?) before we turned around and made our way back to the car and our drive back home (listening to Cricket - anyone else being tortured by The Ashes?!)

I hope you are all enjoying your sunny weekends!

13 July 2013

The tale of the pinafore

Grateful you can't see these Primarni shoe specials properly, they've completely fallen apart!
A failed close up that was meant to show off the front (useless) pocket of the pinafore!
Call me a poor man's Jazmine (I sure will, multiple times, and with great emphasis) but I decided I eventually needed to hop on to the pinafore bandwagon, albeit far too late I'm sure!. The day before my trip to meet Chloe in London (if you haven't already, and you fancy doing so, you can read about it here) I popped into town for a bit of a wander. Stumbling into New Look, to shade myself from the sweltering heat (ok yes, I freely walked into it and no, there was no heat) I came across this pinafore whilst rifling through the rails and decided to just go for it and try it on.

No such luck before, I was completely amazed to find it actually fit me (my waist to hip ratio isn't usually so kind!). Taking myself off to pay, I was even happier to find out that, instead of £19.99 (or £16.99, I can't remember, either will do!), the pinafore was £9! (so yes, obviously very late to the party!). Off I then went to H&M to make up for the money I didn't spend (ha) and to find a top to wear underneath. And found I did! This (Breton-stylee) striped tee was sat in the basics section, just waiting to pair with a pinafore. Happy days!

I haven't worn this since Glasto (you briefly see the combo in this post), mainly because I'm lazy (it's so much easier to just pull a dress over my head!) but also because it's been too hot! Hopefully I'll get some wear out of it come the Autumn and Winter months.

Did any of you partake in this trend?

12 July 2013

A (part two of) Glastonbury tale

Happy Campers
As you can see, Saturday brought sunshine to our festival experience. The day didn't start until the afternoon as we had no real plans to see anyone before the evening. We spent the morning (after a late wake up - until Glastonbury I don't think I've ever slept in beyond 10am!) relaxing; reading our books, drinking tea (me, English Breakfast) and coffee (the boy, black) and listening to some music before hunger attacked us (ok me, always me) and we ventured in to find something for lunch.

Crowds gathering around a performance near the Big Top
It was BUSY. It seems with the sun now attending came EVERY Glasto attendee, milling about, enjoying what the day and festival had to offer. We walked in through the circus field, past the Big Top, where there were street (can I say street when there isn't one in sight?) performers/performances aplenty - music, dance, acrobatics (a trapeze!) and people on stilts (of course). Everyone seemed a lot more relaxed and carefree than the previous day; those who hadn't been before were now used to what being at Glasto was like and regulars were happily lapping up the sunshine-filled-festival-vibe (happy the rain, as of previous years, hadn't come to a head). We walked past stalls and stands offering activities such as face painting (and it seems many took them up on their offer!) and arts and crafts (I think I saw spoon-making?!) as well as campaigns highlighting situations and problems being faced in the outside world (Stop Hinkley, Water Aid, Oxfam and Greenpeace were all in attendance).

The aforementioned stilts!
Reminds me of the SATC episode in which Carrie tried this out. Anyone? Just me? Ok!
A pretty little touch
Festival etchings
We had a brief wander through Green Futures (how awesome is this water-sculpture-feature-doo-dah?!), me searching for a lemonade (you'll obviously be happy to know I found one, phew!), where people were sat in groups on the grass, surrounded by flag poles, happily chatting about their experiences so far and those they were excited to come. It created a lovely, welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, one that the sun happily added to.

Shirts off, wellies on (what an odd combination!)
Walking through the tented area was a bit of a surreal experience. Not having to deal with it myself (and thus not having done so since Wednesday like everyone else there) I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief when I walked through each of the sites we came across. I applaud all of you who managed to last the time, I certainly can't imagine being able to do it. Lack of space, forever overflowing bins, stomping feet, loud (albeit happy) festival-goers and smelly (complete understatement!) loos? You all deserve a medal, especially as so many of you looked darn-it gorgeous despite the obstacles (hello, how bloody fabulous did Lisette look?!)

Tents for milessssss
Back up to the flagfield we went, armed with a beer and lemonade, ready to sit and enjoy the view with the sun on our faces. Although the sun was hot, the strong winds kept the temperature down, so I wrapped myself up in what I had to hand (I think a scarf, seems highly likely) to keep my body temperature up but my burn factor down!

People enjoying the sun on the flag field
Then came a sit in the stone circle, where we were greeted by a very old and very naked woman walking through (we bumped into her again on the last day and, shock horror, she was fully-clothed of all things!) and we had another relaxing time chatting about all things-festival and making plans for later, before heading off to get me something to eat (yes, I waited all that time!). 

Dancing, guitar playing and other I'm-sure-there's-no-need-to-mention activities were happening in the Stone Circle!
We walked via the Other stage and caught a wee-bit of Two Doors set. I've lost interest in them a little since we saw them back in February (they seemed disinterested in the audience and far too interested in providing a completely unnecessary light show) but it was nice to see lots of people enjoying themselves, singing along.

Two Door
Food we did get, and yet more drinks (oooo, one cider for me please - my only alcoholic beverage the ENTIRE time), and another wander was had before we needed to set up camp (ok, not really, we just had to walk over there and stand) at the Acoustic tent (which is massive!). 

I think this globe was in the Greenpeace field (correct me if I'm wrong), where they were talking about their latest campaign to save the Arctic, resplendent with fake snow (which lots of children were enjoying being covered in!).

Ah, right, the Bootleg Beatles. Obviously The Stones were headlining Saturday but neither of us are fans so we felt it wasn't necessary to head over to the Pyramid - we were happy to leave the space to be filled up by those looking forward to the experience! Instead we decided - well, I decided - to go watch The Beatles tribute act (said to be the best around). We'd seen one before (in Bangkok of all places and, yes, they were Thai!) and really enjoyed the experience so I thought it would be nice to indulge in another, maybe jog some memories.

Early Beatles
Of course, they wouldn't be to everyone's tastes, just like The Stones aren't to ours, but as Beatles fans we couldn't help but enjoy our sing-along experience. There was quite a big crowd in the end, all happily dancing, jumping and shouting out the words. The band were fantastic, happy to interact (all in Liverpudlian accents, of course!) and make a few funny remarks about the headliners!

Sergeant Pepper Beatles
They went through the years, starting (obviously) with the earlier stuff (reminds me of travelling through Europe in Eric, specifically in 2010 to a town in Germany. Oooo, Trier. See? Love that memories are jogged!), through 'Sergeant Pepper' Beatles to the 'Come Together' Beatles. The costumes were great, the music fantastic, and the whole experience really did make it feel like we were watching the real thing. I'd have to say that they were definitely a highlight of the festival for me. Hey, it's the closest I'll ever get, so I'll happily take it!

Closing out the set
Afterwards we made our way over to Shangri-La and spent a couple of hours sweating off our drinks - the boy his multiple beers and my one cider! (more about this area later!)

Helloooo crowds!
We awoke to more sunshine (happy days!) and a slightly busier Sunday schedule. Another (late) morning during which we spent yet more time reading and relaxing. In fact, we were so relaxed we missed Rufus Wainwright (although typically because we'd got confused with times!). We made our way in at about 3ish and went straight over to West Holts to pick up some food (the boy had seen a stall the night before selling a veggie Thai-dish he liked the sound of). The sun was hot hot hot at this point, so we decided to just sit on the grass and bathe in it whilst eating (not sure when we'd be able to enjoy it again!), listening to the music playing and preparing ourselves (ok, just me then!) for the couple of acts ahead.

Enjoying his spring-rolls (I had somehow come away with a salad. What even is that?!)
Before making our way over to the Other stage we had another walk through Green Futures and into the Healing field, which we hadn't yet visited. It offers massages, yoga, meditation, quiet areas, different circles for different types of healing sessions, homoeopathy and so on and so forth. I was quite tempted by a massage but decided in the end it probably wouldn't be worth it as I had hours of jumping ahead of me so I'd just get tangled up in knots again!

The Healing Field 
Back to music! The boy is a huge fan of Editors (older stuff mainly) so it was a-given we'd go and watch them. Now I know NOTHING of their music so it was little bit odd for me, standing near the front, next to crazy-ass fans singing their heads off, looking like some sort of swaying loser! Still, it was fun to watch the boy enjoying himself (it would have been even more so if, as always, I didn't attract those who love moshing. Mosh-pits. Why do they exist? WHY? They always drain the happiness from my experience. I, of course, managed to be elbowed in the nose and kicked in the shin before I managed to back away. Thank you annoying men!).

I'm so happy this wonderful campaign - 'I need feminism because...' - made it's way to the big screens of Glastonbury. It's a fantastic project that was started by a Cambridge University student, who has since battled through despite hoards of nasty backlash to raise awareness of said campaign. If you haven't read her story, make sure you do here.

This sign reads 'I NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE Page 3 still exists'
Next up were Smashing Pumpkins. I realise I'm probably not your most obvious fan but I do love me some 90s Pumpkin. Unfortunately the boy and I got separated, due to yet another moshing sesh, and he ended up making his way to the barrier by the end of their set. It was really nice to see young and older generations come together to enjoy their music - the most diverse crowd I had witnessed the whole time at Glasto.

After food and another flagfield visit, to 'enjoy' the headliners from afar, we made our way over for our second trip to Shangri-La, boasting places such as Hell, The Seven Circles of Hell (hmm, theme?) and Heaven (ah ok, maybe not!). It's also situation alongside another area, Block 9. This was awesome and it's a shame I didn't get any pics. They'd erected a ruined tower block with a tube-train bursting through it, plus the NYC Downlow, a hotel used as a bar. Such amazing effort! 

Last time we ventured into underground territory in Shangri La but this time we decided to stay outside and watch the beatboxing on Shangri Hell, before spending time in a few different dance tents. These areas of Glasto are absolute must-see's; it's such a fantastic idea to have a separate corner that can come alive, properly, at night-time.

Pretty self-explanatory!
Check out this creepy area. Buildings with eyes that blow smoke rings (the building, not the eyes), larger-than-life dolls (hairless, limbless, eyeless - all the less's), side-show acts (one of those 'show off your strength' things, where you hit something with a mallet and it springs up and tries to hit the target at the top? Hopefully that makes sense!) and lots of games and activities meant for you to lose your money and them to gain (a lot of) it! 

I was tempted to get a tea from this fantastic 'Down The Rabbit Hole' tent but managed to stop myself out of the fear that I'd be showing my age!

Ready to go back, and indeed walking towards our exit, we 'stumbled' across Arcadia, a monstrously-sized spider hosting dj's, acrobatics and lazer-light shows aplenty. It really is something that needs to be seen to be believed, in all it's flame-throwing glory!

Arcadia (on the DL)
I won't keep you much longer (I promise) so here is a summary of our last day:

The clouds appeared, although the sun still made an occasional appearance, making it a little easier for those packing up stuff.
We had another flag field view-admiring session (there it is!) before walking through the Stone Circle (which was heaving, obviously these are those Glasto-hardcores you hear about, living it up 'til the very last minute!) and meeting the stone dragon!
We ate lunch (yet another veggie burger, too many to count) and watched the festival being taken apart (stage/tent/stall dismantling).
The boy sat outside enjoying the last few minutes of Glasto in Eric before we joined the queue home, the journey of which took 8 hours (and the less said about that the better!).

At last, the view!
Taking their time!
The hidden dragon
A rather large tree-man
The boy and his Eric
Little did we know.....
And there we have it! Well done, and thank you, for lasting the distance!