Wednesday, 19 July 2017

'As Long As We're Together...' | Latitude Festival 2017

Not much screams SUMMER, more than cruising to the coast for a festival. All you need is a best friend, plenty o’snacks, three-discs of RnB hits and Beyonce’s lemonade to get sassy to.

Which is exactly what we did last weekend. It was blissful, idyllic even. Well, until we nearly crashed my lovely little Betsy Beetle into the car in front at 70mph, when the traffic in front suddenly stopped and I had to swerve in to the next lane.

Worse still, the avoiding-a-crush-stunt was an EXACT REPLICA of a situation that happened on the way to Latitude in 2012, that time, with Tom driving his 1970s gold beetle and performing a similar side-swerve. My first festival tip: don’t drive to Latitude in a Beetle.

There was a time when my festival attire would only consist of something butt-skimmingly short, garishly bold or ostentatiously sparkly.

These days, I am allll about the comfort. We headed down on the Saturday, so I with stuck with slouchy culottes, a soft, grey-marl tee & converse. Only slightly jazzing it up with a choker and heavier-than-usual make-up, which I regretted after laughing it off, twice within an hour of setting up camp. After the 2.5-hour drive down turned in to a 5-hours as we neared the festival, I was confident that the day 1 comfort plan prevailed.

I only took a handful of photos of the cute set-ups in the forest. I was too busy enjoying things in real life, like in the olden days, so thought I'd share a couple of post-festie pics of what I wore on the Sunday!
Day two started our WARM. The kind of warm that makes pale-ass peeps like me cower in whatever shade is available until the clouds come over. I picked up this Pins & Needles red gingham dress from Urban Outfitters a little while back. It looks like it's sold out now, but they still have the top version of this style in their sale. Light and airy, it did the job and the pop of red made me feel fancier and fresher than I felt after two hours of sleep.

My wellies got accidentally chucked out during our house move last year, so these Dr. Martens black leather chelsea boots came in super handy, for stomping around the dusty Southwold fields all day. I am so obsessed with sport socks at the moment, and I've been going to Monki to pick up the cutest colour ways in the softest cottons. 

One thing, which I have always been quite good at during a festival is layering. I usually wear men's overshirts from R-E, but I spotted this way-more-festival-appropriate offering from Zara, with thee most beautiful rust-toned embroidered back and big red poms-poms and I freaking love it. Not least, because it's baggy enough to hide a granny cardigan underneath in the evenings, when the temperature dips ;-). Lastly, I used my basket bag to ferry around my little bits during the day, just because, that's all I use at the moment, and threw on my ASOS raincoat, when the heavens opened.

We'd missed the whole of Friday and big chunk of Saturday - including Willy Mason, who I was so so so looking forward to :( - but we did manage to catch a couple of crackers. The Lemon Twigs were incredible and it was so lovely to see my boy play on the Sunday eve, just before we headed home. I was in my element bopping along to 90s hip hop and starting a Jeremy Corbyn chant during the Hot Dub Time Machine and was both utterly perplexed and amused by the 'Teresa May Smackdown' punk / wrestling performance piece that was going on in the middle of the woods. I also really enjoyed the Dj Yoda who was mixing sing-along tracks to visuals and soundbites from Stranger Things (not long until season 2, woooop).
I'm going to be heading to a couple more UK festivals later next month, so do let me know if you've got any on your list and hit me up with anymore style recommendations to combat this weirdly warm / unsurprisingly showery British weather - catch ya' soon. 

Much love, 
L x  

Thursday, 4 May 2017

I Can See Clearly Now The Rain Has Gone...


Let’s jump straight in to it with a Pop Quiz: How shalt thou document the first ‘warm-enough-for-a-bare-leg’ day of the year?
  • By throwing on a floral midi dress
  • By visiting a pretty market town
  •  By enlisting a pal to capture this rarity for a blog post
  • All of the above

Leave your answer in the comments.

Hiya! I’ve decided to break up the Barcelona Solo Trip double-whammy to talk a bit about dressing for Spring, ‘cause it’s here, with it’s sunshine, and its lambs, and its torrential rain and hail-stones. Bless you Britain, you’re in a right muddle right now aren’t ya. In so, so many ways.

Despite your identity crisis Britain (says the girl talking at the weather via a small nook of the internet) I must say, I’m enjoying your flirtations with Spring and I'm enjoying putting outfits together right now. It usually feels like a hassle. The new styles that are in the shops at this time of year are usually so hyper-feminine, which is not typically my thang and so it often feels like a balancing game for me. That said, I’ve picked up a few new additions recently that I’m loving, as well as re-discovering pieces that had gone adrift (in the depths of my wardrobe) so I feel suitably equipped to press on with the new season.

The first was this floral midi dress, which I picked up a couple of years ago from our local Dr Martens Factory Shop. It was part of their design collaboration with Agyness Deyn and I love how it errs towards the grunge side of girly. The blue workwear overshirt is a sample that I picked up from R/E, the brand that I work for. Based on the 1940s French workwear Jackets, I’ve collected a fair few of these over the years. It’s menswear but they worn over-sized they make the perfect, lightweight cover-up for the summer months, that you can just chuck over a dress or with a pair of straight-leg trousers and chucks. I’ve got eye on this back-print version next.
As I get older, I feel that I’m more conscious of supporting local business and independent brands. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still partial to a high-street gem or two, but I am actively trying to source elsewhere, where possible. These cute little trainers are from another independent British-brand ohw? shoes who have recently launched a women’s capsule collection to their range that make a nice change from wearing converse all summer.

My sunglasses are a new addition, after the super nice guys at Glasses Direct got in touch to see if I wanted to try out a new style to which of course I said, yes please!

Before I found out I needed glasses, I’d always fancied wearing specs. I was one of those annoying people who would ask to try people glasses on. There’s something about someone in glasses that emanates a desirable “put togetherness” and I wanted a slice of that pie. 

That was until I had to choose a pair and I spent hours trudging through the opticians, trying on everything to find the one pair that didn’t make me look either bossier than I already am or like Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory.  

It didn’t matter how many miscellaneous nannas would stop to tell me that a pair suited me (you can find many a miscellaneous nanna in an opticians), I wasn’t feeling it. 

Then I came across Glasses Direct. It’s 2017. We are the Millennials, living in the age of the home delivery. Of course, I wanna try on glasses from my bed. 

I chose my first two pairs, which you’ve probably seen me wearing over the past year or so, from the London Retro range. The style and size of the frame is right up my alley. 

This time, I decided to go for the Scout Alex glasses in Blush, which are SO comfortable. I think I’m going to order the clear frame version soon but for my freebies, I decided to go for the tinted sunglasses version, because: summer time driving & sensible adulting.
If you are a spec wearer and don’t yet have a pair of prescription sunnies, here’s five reasons why you should consider it:
  • For driving on those freakishly low-sun days, when the glare off the road makes you squint so bad that the healthy dose of eye-liner you have applied  literally rolls off your face.
  • For spotting that life-saving bench when and your (fellow late-twenties) friend are ¾ of the way up the steepest hill at Bradgate Park and need a breather.
  • For spying. When you are in Company, remove your normal glasses. Be sure to make a point that you can’t see without them. Put on your sunglasses without mentioning that they are prescription and voila, you’ve got yourself some first-rate spy-glasses.
  • For reading Laura Jane Williams’ ‘Ice-cream For Breakfast: How re-discovering your inner child can make you calmer, happier and solve your bullsh*t adult problems’ in the sun, because it’s good for the soul.
  • For the FASH-UUN, because dayumn, they’re cute.  

Thanks for reading and thanks to my pal Jack for the snaps. Go follow him at @jookstew on instagram if you like a good travel snap. 

Much love,

L x

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

How To Spend 72 Hours in Barcelona | Solo Travel

I very rarely have trouble sleeping. More often than not, I have trouble staying awake past 11pm. However, one night in January, for reasons I cannot remember, I found myself tossing and turning in to the early hours. With James fast asleep next to me, I picked up my phone, absentmindedly browsing in an attempt to make myself sleepy. I know, I know, phones make insomnia worse, but it was starting to get light outside and my delirious, sleep-deprived mind told me it would work. The fool. Somehow, at some point, I found myself booking a short city-break to Barcelona.

I fell asleep shortly after the confirmation email had fallen in to my inbox.
Barcelona had been on my travel hit list for as long as I can remember so I'm not sure why it took me so long to get round to visiting. I’d fallen in love with Gaudi’s architecture during a GCSE art project (mad thanks to Mrs CT for pointing me in that direction), and I'd always assumed I would love the City just as much. And oh boy, it did not disappoint.

It was also the first holiday I'd taken on my own, so I thought 3 nights / four days would be ample time to chill out and see the sites. I’ll write about my thoughts on the ‘solo travel’ aspect in a separate post, because if I'm honest, I took far too many pictures to fit in to one.

On instagram, I’d put a call out for suggestions and annoyingly, I didn’t get through nearly as much as I wanted to. I concentrated on Gaudi this time but I for sure will be heading back soon, to see the rest. So without further ado, here's how to spend 72 hours in Barcelona (if you like buildings and beaches)...  
Sagrada Família & Casa Batlló
Before jetting off, my niece Chloe, suggested pre-booking tickets for the Gaudi attractions. Upon arrival, I can confirm that the queues were crazy loooong so that was indeed, a good tip. Even if you get lucky and manage to avoid peak times, it makes it so much easier to plan your day out (especially if you are only there for a weekend) having that allocated time-slot to work around. I don’t believe there were any restrictions as to how long you could spend there once you were inside. The tickets weren’t too pricey and most of the money goes back into the restoration of the building, which is quite nice isn’t it.

That said, if you didn’t fancy purchasing tickets for everything, all the architecture looks beyond breathtaking even from the outside. I still can’t get my head around the scale and intricacy of the Sagrada Família, it was phenomenal. From there, I walked to the Casa Batlló (I think it took about 20 minutes?) and got some close-ups stood underneath the ‘skulls’. Obvs. 
I’d planned to do a free walking tour the second day, to find out some stuff whilst getting my bearings  but I woke to find it chucking it down outside. I’d stupidly forgot to bring a raincoat so I switched up my plans and headed to the aquarium on the harbour, because I wanted to see some sharks. 

The one mistake I made was forgetting that it was half-term. After a very difficult and tense fifteen minutes of being a nice person, standing back to let all of the excited Under-10s push in front of me so they could look for Nemo, I decided I would reach contentment by pretending that no-one else in the world existed so I could watch the seahorses bobbing about. And I didn’t feel guilty. I mean, c’mon, I didn't once see them stop to read about the varying temperatures of the Mediterranean Sea. The brats.
I always enjoy a good meander around a flea market when exploring a new European city. The food markets in the City are insane. This particular fair of treasures and trinkets popped up for a day in the square outside between my hotel and the Cathedral. Reminding myself that I had only brought one hand-luggage case with me, I distracted myself taking pictures to avoid any return suitcase conundrums.
Park Güell
I have just typed out a mammoth paragraph about the park only to delete it all because JUST LOOK AT IT. It was even more beautiful and peaceful and magical than I’d imagined it would be. I think I did about five loops of the place before plonking myself down on the tiled serpentine bench to sketch for a little while. Yup, I turned in to one of those. 
The Beach
Let's go to the beach, each, let's go get away. Story-time: I really dislike that song, but what I DIDN’T dislike during my time in Barca was my trip to the beach, (they call me the queen of the segue). 

My hotel was very close to the Catedral de Barcelona, so I took a slow walk down to harbour, stopping in to few independent shops en route. Fortunately, the weather was absolutely beautiful that day and the only thing I had to worry about was whether to stop at the churro bar or the gelato stand. Cheers for the heads up on this one Jamie C! 

Like I said, I still have a list as long as my arm of things I want to see and do in this City and I am hoping I may be able to squeeze in another trip before the end of the year. If you have any other recommendations (particularly for good vegetarian food) leave a comment below.

Similarly, if you have any questions about solo-travel, I’ll be talking more about my (albeit small) experience of it in the next post and hopefully try and answer all the questions I was asked (mostly "WHY?") as well as the questions I had beforehand (mostly "HOW?"). 

See ya then.

Much love,
L xo
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