Now conisdering we are in the midst of a heatwave the title of this post may seem almost ridiculous, at least I wish it did. The truth is I have just got back from Reading festival and my birthday has just passed, which have and will forever be two undeniable markers of the iminently approaching Summers end.
This has been undoubtedly one of the best Summers yet, I have spent it dancing, exploring and meeting new people. I have volunteered at two festivals and attended one as a ‘punter’ (as we now call them) unveiling a whole new amazing festival experience. Whilst it is almost all sunshine, vodka and fairy wings (you can read all about it in my Latitude blog post 😉 ) I must say cleaning out tents filled with wee and used condoms was not quite what I anticipated, like they say it’s all sh**s and giggles until someone giggles and sh**s (or wees in this case).
I have also had a ball exploring different areas of Spain on my two trips abroad this Summer with some of my oldest friends. These trips were equally as comical and slightly resemblant of the festivals in terms of their weird and wonderful goings ons.
During my adventures this Summer with friends both old and new I have learnt a lot of new lessons and since my 19th birthday has just passed (2 days passed to be exact) I thought it would be fitting to explore 19 of my new discoveries.
Explore, the world is your Oyster go and see it. Explore places and people everyone and everywhere has a different story, discover it.
Be open to learning and seeing new things, you can’t explore without being open and curious.
Do not always take people at face value, the first impression you get from someone is not everything .
No matter how alone you feel there is always someone who cares.
Tequila is never a good idea. Like seriously, never.
Love yourself, how other people view you is not the end of the world the most important thing is how you view yourself.
You are never going to please everyone so stop trying.
Not everyone is going to please you, so long as they are not hurting anyone why does it matter. Think before you speak.
As much as we may sometimes hate to admit it our Mums know best. From friendships and boyfriends to clothes and makeup, pretty much every aspect of life really, they know best. It hurts to confess how many times I have gone out in the first outfit my Mum told me to try on after refusing and insisting I must find something else.
Saving money is sometimes the most impossible but rewarding thing ever, a real Catch 22. But just know without doing this our adventures will be non-existent.
It is okay to stay in your pyjamas some days. Life is tiring do not burn yourself out.
Laughing is the cure for everything.
DO NOT take anyone or anything for granted, nothing is guaranteed. Be grateful for everything, everyone and everyday.
Friends are important. They keep you sane and are as weird and wonderful as you, cherish them.
You do not have to drink alcohol to have fun.
Set your own goals and have crazy aspirations. You can only fly as high as your wildest dreams.
Take every day as it comes.
Enjoy every day is it comes.
Be kind and keep dancing like nobody is watching 😉
Sunflowers are synonymous with happiness, positivity and adoration. They are my favourite flowers and I couldn’t wait to visit them at the Pop Up Farm. No matter how grey the day the bright yellow radiating off the thousands of sunflowers in this never-ending field always manages to mask the colour of the sky.
It is a place where you get to pick your own Sunflowers, sweetcorn and pumpkins throughout the year when they are in season. With hay bale mazes, woodfired sweetcorn pizzas and barbecued farm-grown corn on the cob there is something for everyone. Naturally, we had to try it all and every bit was as delicious as it sounds.
As you wander round on the sunflower trail you get to choose each and every sunflower that you want and one of the ‘sunflower sommeliers’ will cut them down for you to take home, for a price of course. Every 7 stems cost £10, me and mum bought 7 each meaning 14 stems (all of which were originally only a head shorter of me) of sunflowers now grace our home filling every corner with a yellow glow.
If you are at University and are desperate to explore and meet new people but you can’t quite make your student loan and weekend wages stretch (lets face it it is almost impossible) then I cannot stress how amazing volunteering at festivals is. It mildly indulges the cravings of the travel bug whilst being low cost, incredibly fun and in the same country!
Recently I volunteered at the funkiest festival I have ever been too, Latitude, with Hotbox Events. My weekend consisted of drinking a bit too much (as per), making new friends, listening to insane music and dressing up as a Pixie. Over the course of the weekend I completed three six hour shifts in the woods arena and faraway forest dressed as a Pixie. Our shifts of getting glittered up, wearing tutus and refining our bubble blowing skills. Whilst it was all bubbles and laughs there were some more serious aspects of our role including watching out for fires, potentially helping lost children and ensuring there was no trouble. Fortunately, we had none of the latter. Our shift pattern was 9am until 3pm on Friday, 3pm until 9pm on Saturday and 9pm until 3am on Sunday.
Whilst we weren’t on shift we were able to explore and get drunk, basically just laugh and party (maybe sometimes a little to hard eh Molly;) ). I got to relive my Isle of Wight experience by seeing the likes of George Ezra and Sigrid again whilst adding to my live music resume with the likes of Big Moon, Pale Waves and Loyal Carner. We had arguably the best shift spot being in the arenas as we got to listen to all of the DJ sets and groove whilst attempting to be super heros (we wish!). However, I did miss my absolute favourites the Magic Gang, but who needs to see them for the fifteenth time anyway *eye roll*.
Of course Latitude festival would not have been complete without the pink sheep, exhibitions in the forest and lake swimming. Although I am unable to say I actually swam in the lake, courtesy of a combination of working, seeing music and being slightly too hungover, I definitely wish I had. It was a weird and wonderful festival that was genuinely filled with people of all ages. I absoulutely loved watching in awe as glittery mums and dads had matching exotic festival outfits with their tiny tots that they hauled along in personalised festival carts.
There were a million different stages with a millon different genres of Acts for everyone to go and see. We would spend the daytime in the BBC Sounds stage, the evening by the Obelisk stage (main stage) and the night/early morning in the woods raving, singing and dancing to the DJs in the woods. We even broke Massaoke by singing to loud! There was comedy, poetry, music, drama and dance just to name a few with masses of huge names including Lena Dunham.
Although I volunteered with a friend from uni almost everyone we encountered were volunteering on their own. The idea of doing something like this on my own, without knowing anyone there is both terrifying and liberating. It is an experience I would definitely like to try, especially if everyone I met would be there too! There was a variety of ages from fresh out of schoolers to uni goers, parents and grandparents which enabled us to meet people from every walk of life.
Volunteering meant we had discounted food and I actually ate something more than just a burger all weekend (however that really wouldn’t have been too bad)! I branched out to chilli and chips and chicken and chorizo paella. We had our own staff toilets and showers meaning we were always able to go about our business without the worry of catching some form of disease from even just looking at the lock in the toilet and it was the first festival where I did not have to keep loo roll in my bumbag. I even showered and washed my hair everyday, basically making festival history!
Whilst I am undeniably glad to be back in my own bed and preparing to go on holiday tomorrow I cannot wait to get back to dancing in a muddy field with strangers at Reading. Camping and wellies will forever have a special place in my heart, even if the wellies didn’t make an appearance this time.
This is where you will find me until I am flush enough to get my butt to the other side of the world.
So I’ve been back to reality for a week now (or I had been when I wrote this, since then I disappeared to Latitude festival without any signal and where this post failed to upload, Latitude blog post is also now pending) so it is safe to say I am missing the blue skies, sandy beaches and incredible architecture that composes Barcelona. It seems only yesterday we were booking this trip and now it is over. We had the most incredible time and now I all keep thinking is when can we do it again!
Barcelona is home to some of the most elaborate buildings, beautiful beaches and the worlds strongest cocktails that are definitely worth the pricetag. We stayed at the Hotel Sehrs Carlit, a 15 minute walk from the Sagrada Familia. For us it was perfect, it was basic and we were constantly stepping on eachothers toes but considering we were only there to shower and sleep it was everything we needed.
Being quite a trek from the beaches and all of the sea side restaurants we quickly became accustomed to the Metro. The metro was a lot like the London underground but with air conditioning and a lot more pickpockets. One of said pickpockets almost stole my purse! Before anyone starts to lecture me yes I was careful, yes I had my bag accross my body and yes I held it close. I was letting an old lady sit down on the chair I was standing infront of and when I put my hand back on my bag it was open. Luckily the old lady had hit it out of someones hand so I managed to get it back. It was like a scene out of madagascar when the old lady hit Alex the Lion with her bag. To make it even more reminiscent of a kids cartoon everyone within our proximity started shouting and fighting on the train accusing eachother in order to find the culprits!
That was probably the most dramatic part of the holiday as the rest of it was spent roaming the streets, chilling on the beach and ooogling at Barcelonas many sights.
What we saw…
Whilst we saw a lot on our trip we oobviouslyyy was unable to see everything. However, we saw so much It is impossible to elaborate on all of it so here are a few of my favourie sights.
La Sagrada Familia La Sagrada Familia definitely did not disappoint. This was the sight people urged us to see the most and whilst we had every intention of seeing it we were unsure of it’s history. We took a leap and decided to get the audio tour, despite doing History at univeristy I am not usually that interested in the tours but it was the best decision. It really helped us appreciate the beauty and meaning behind every tiny detail in the church that we definitely would have missed otherwise. The most spectacular aspect is that it is not even finished and it is not expected to be finished until 2026!
Arc de Triomf Even though I saw this landmark with slightly foggy sight and a wobbly disposition, oh and in the dark, it was still incredible. It was abosolutely huunormous! We unintentionally stumbled upon it on our incredibly long walk home in the early hours of the morning after we had been for a few too many cocktails in the Gothic Quarter. This is one of the sights you intend to visit again just to get a better look in the light but you never quite get round to until the taxi back to the airport. Nonetheless I am very pleased I got to see this, unforunately I am unable to compare it to the French one as I have never been to Paris. 😦
The Gothic Quarter The quaint streets of the Gothic Quarter were a far but well invited cry from the business of Las Ramblas. Full of hidden restaurants, bars and clubs there were so many gems we wanted to uncover. We had the best cocktails sat in some tiny bars along the streets as we made our way to the Cathedral. I tried my first caipirinha which although I enjoyed it has definitely not transferred my allegiance from mojitos. They will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Las Ramblas Busy, bright and bustling are the best three words to describe this never end stretch of shops and restaurants. Almost the Oxford street of Barcelona, it is where we had the best Paella of our whole trip and the largest cocktail of our whole life. This is difficult considering we ate a total of 4 paellas and at least 35 cocktails each whilst in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s Architecture Whilst in Barcelona it is almost impossible to miss Gaudi’s architecture. He dominates the city with his intricate and meaningful designs pulling visitors of the city in every direction bursting to see his work.
Where we ate and drank…
Being in Barcelona for 6 days and 5 nights you can guess how many different restaurants we ate in but here are a few of our favourites. Bacoa This was undeniably the best burger I have ever had, I am renaming it the King of burger joints. It is reminiscent of the fast food joints everyone has learnt to know and love but you order with a ticklist chosing your meat, bun, extras, sources and side in an immense amount of depth. You then go and find a table in the cosy outdoor eating area where your food gets brought ot you. The best bit about it is that it is right on the seafront and is the perfect place to watch the sunset after a beach day.
Surf House By the end of this post you will all have realised I am a proper burger gal as I am about to again rave about this restaurants… you guessed it, burgers. This is obviously not the only food the restaurant sells as it is also home to healthy juices, salads, poke bowls, burritos, ribs and tacos. We went to this restaurant on our last whole day whilst incredibly hungover after our barcrawl the night before. The whole holiday we had been desparate to paddle board and this restaurant allowed us to fulfill our paddle boarding destiny. If you spend 15 € you get 45 minutes on the paddle boards, result! This was the best hangover cure, even if we did spend most of the time laying down on our boards rather than attempting to stand up. At least we ended up with those beachy surfer curls we always dreamed of, kinda, not.
El Rey de la Gamba This is the restaurant we ate at twice whilst away, unintentionally as there are 3 versions of it along the same street on the way to and from Barceloneta beach from the metro. Each time was as good as the last, we enjoyed paella (suprisingly), mussles and chips and calamari. All of the waiters were hilarious and each time we were given free sangria (not as good as those ‘mojitos’ and ‘sangria’ the men sell on the beach of course *raises eyebrows*). I think all we ate on this trip was fish, paella and burgers!
Last but not least before our flight home on the last day we had a takeaway pizza on the beach to feed my frequent need for pizza. It was the first time we tried out the beach by all of the clubs and I cannot for the life of me remember the restaurants name but lets appreciate it’s beauty below.
And there it is, the outline of our trip to Barcelona. Of course it would not have been complete without spending all of our money buying goods, massages and henna tattoos of donkeys with large areas (if you know what I mean) off all of the ‘salesmen’ on the beach. The highlight was when our beach umbrella was home to a fugitive when a woman selling mojitos silently took shelter whilst the police drove past the beach. We decided not to question her when as she was a pro at candy crush and left us a mojito when she left, a silent nod to our lack of acknowledgment.
We chilled out, explored and as usual got a little too drunk than necessary but we enjoyed every second. I now have the holiday blues, again, and can’t wait to get my butt back on the beach.
After impulsively booking train tickets to Brighton midweek we anticipated the arrival of Summer, to Britains standards at least. Undoubtedly our expectations were exceeded by a typically British trip to the seaside consisting of hangovers, wind, arcades, gritty fish and chips and oh more booze. But you can’t forget the brave seagull and my new sparkly Birkenstocks.
Our alarms went off bright and early at 8.00am on Saturday morning. We awoke with slightly foggy heads after a night out at the pub. Consequently, we ended up going to sleep at 3.00 am, regardless of the promise to ourselves not to take it too far in attempts to avoid ruining our sunny trip to the seaside.
We finally arrived in Brighton at around 12.45 pm after having slept the whole train journey there. Once again my head was foggy, my hair was slightly resemblent of a wild porcepine and I was transparently bewildered by my whereabouts. Dishevelled and sleep-drunk, we joined the current of people and slowly began our downhill trek to the sea.
Although we began our trek at approximately 1.00pm we appeared to get lost on our travels in a sea of shops and did not make it to the real seafront until 2.30 pm. £145 later (between us, I am not that much of a shopaholic, at least not on that day) we were eating fish and chips on the beach surrounded by a swarm of seagulls. You can guess what happened next.
We were eating peacefully until one landed on our table. He greeted us with a nod like an old friend and stared at us awaiting approval to steal a chip. He squawked, and before we had time to protest, he stole not only ONE chip but the WHOLE polestyrene tray of chips off our table. It’s a good job I was hungover, it would have been in my right mind to chase him otherwise.
Obviously after this heartbreaking event we did all of the typical beachy stuff, walked along the pier, went to the pub, spent millions on the 2p machines blah, blah, blah. But before I round this up and let you continue to read more useful blog posts I feel inclined to inform you of my new Birkenstocks every person EVER must purchase immediately. This purchase contributed to the £145 mentioned earlier.
They were definitely the best £60 I have ever spent. It was one of those purchases you just have to make, you connect with them and know that if you did not have them you would spend the rest of the Summer wishing you had those white and silver sparkly Birkenstocks to pair with that brand new white dress you bought in the Topshop sale.