Thursday, 25 August 2016

My V experience & 10 things I learnt about festivals

I had never been to a festival before, I'd always dreamed of going but was put off by the cost. This year I threw caution to the wind and bought a weekend ticket to V.



Michelle Louise Love

I went in not knowing what to expect, I was a total festival virgin! My first impression when I arrived was how "real" the girls looked. This may sound like a strange thing to say but I'll elaborate on what I mean, in this day and age we are surrounded by airbrushed photos in magazines, and perfect celebrities on TV which quite honestly for a lot of us makes us feel shit about our-self. I often see girls on TV that look like they have flawless bodies, but being a V and seeing huge numbers of girls wearing shorts and dresses flaws and all made me realise that the things I am always bothered about my own body weren't as unusual as I thought. Don't get me wrong, there were girls there that were quite clearly blessed with good genes and had perfectly smooth toned thighs, but there were a lot of girls that had a little cellulite and a little wobble when they walk and they seemed to be comfortable with who they were.

I loved that it felt like a free place where girls of all body types could don a pair of shorts and not be judged, it's not something I've seen in every day life but it made me feel a little more comfortable in my own skin. Girls are prone to cellulite and not everyone is a size 6 or 8, not all girls have a thigh gap, or perfect boobs so it was really refreshing to see people's little imperfections and realise I am not alone and these things are all natural.

Jess Glynne at V festival 2016

I discovered boys will be boys no matter what their age and some will always act like idiots! They don't always know how to handle their drink and will quite often have way too much and find it hilarious to be falling all over the floor in a paralytic state. Festivals will attract people from all walks of life, and you will have to put up with boys gobbing on the floor and peeing in the corners and generally acting gross!

Michelle Louise Love, V festival


There will be more rubbish on the floor than you will have ever seen before, I personally was utterly shocked and found it quite sad and a bit disgusting to be wading through rubbish. There were hardly any bins for those that actually want to put their litter in one. Not that I think many people would use them anyway sadly. I felt immensely guilty putting rubbish on the floor despite being surrounded by everyone else's.

If you don't fancy being pushed, shoved and generally crushed then don't attempt to get to the front of the crowd. Lesson learnt here, on the Sunday I wanted to get closer to the stage to see Rihanna and although we weren't really close to the front it still made the experience a little less pleasant for me. People are in much closer proximity when you get further towards the front and the chance of getting stuck right by some drunkard that keeps elbowing you in the ribs becomes highly likely! I spent the majority of Sunday night being shoved in the back, having cigarette smoke blown in my face and getting generally irritated by stupid people shouting obscenities like "Rihanna sit on my face!" it seems that v festival certainly attracted some questionable people and there were a lot that lacked basic morals and decency, funnily enough quite a few of these sorts of people were more than happy to barge their way right to the front knocking people over as they went! So if like me you don't have a lot of patience for things like this then it may be better to stay a little further back in the crowd where the people are a little more chilled.

Falafel flatbread, V festival
Halloumi burger, V Festival


There's a lot of people who think it's entertaining to throw bottles into the crowd, not giving a shit about the poor sod it might whack in the back of the head! This really bugged me, and it wasn't one o two bottles it was lots that were flying across the horizon over the crowds heads hitting some poor unsuspecting festival goer as they made their crash landing. I just couldn't understand the type of people who would do this because the way I was raised that sort of thing was NOT ok!

V Festival

As if the chucking of bottles wasn't horrendous enough, some revolting individuals actually pee into said bottles and then throw them into the crowd. I still can't even believe this is a thing, when Gem told me I stared at her in disbelief thinking she was winding me up. Sadly she wasn't and people did actually do it, I just can't get my head around anyone wanting to do that to other people and question the type of upbringing they must have had to even contemplate throwing a bottle of urine! This another reason why it's safer to be mid to back of the crowd.

Your feet will ache like never before, you probably won't sit down much all day long so the heels and balls of your feet really take a bashing. I felt like a cripple at the end of each night and taking my boots off was almost as painful as keeping them on!

V festival 2016


You're going to be ripped off for everything you buy once inside the festival, from drinks to food to rides you are going to pay through the nose for it all. £8 for a tiny burrito (that wasn't even that nice) £6 to go on a ride and £10 to have a little bit of face paint put on one corner of my face. You need to go with plenty of cash and just accept the fact that it's all going to be uber expensive.

The excitement of seeing the bands and artists walk on stage is amazing even if you don't really like them that much! The atmosphere from everyone else around you is contagious and before you know it your hands will be in the air and you'll be dancing along.

The toilets will quite possibly be minging, and may be out of loo roll so remember to pack tissues. Always start queuing when you very first feel like you could do with a wee because by the time you reach the front of the queue you might be crossing your legs doing a jig trying to hold it in. If you wait until you really need to go it could end in tears!

V Festival


Festivals are an amazing experience, but you very quickly need to figure out the tricks and where you fit into the whole scene. Not everyone is cut out for the mosh pit covered in someone else's urine, sleeping in damp clothes in a tent covered in mud not having washed for 3 days. For some of us we are more suited to rocking up in the afternoon, chilling towards the back of the crowds safely away from flying bottles enjoying a little more personal space, listening to the music and then heading to the comfort of a shower and a bed for a proper nights sleep. We are all different, and there is no point in making yourself miserable trying to be something you're not, because the immense cost of a festival ticket with just seem like a huge waste of money if you don't follow your heart.

Festival season may be coming to a close for another year. But I can promise now that I have found what I am comfortable with, I will be purchasing tickets for a fair few for next year, along with accompanying hotel room bookings because I'm not really cut out for a weekend spent sleeping on the ground and no showers.


Have fun festival goers!



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Turtle Bay | The caribbean comes to Chelmsford

Chelmsford is having a serious makeover at the moment, new restaurants are popping up all over the place to temp peoples taste buds and the latest to join the party is Turtle Bay. Located right outside the exchange entrance to High Chelmer shopping centre which provides plenty of space for outdoor dining. Turtle Bay is a welcome addition to Chelmsford, variety is the spice of life and we were screaming out for something different in town. Turtle Bay certainly brings summer energy into the dullest day, when you step inside, the eclectic mix of lighting and decor transports you to a crab shack on the beach and you can almost feel the cool Caribbean breeze blowing through your hair. The smell of spices and BBQ fill the air and the music pumps through your veins.

Turtle Bay Chelmsford
turtle bay, chelmsford, restaurant, caribbean food


The cocktail menu is in my opinion one of the best things about this place, its extensive with 15 different drinks to choose from and they are fresh and new not the same old stuff regurgitated.

one love cocktail, turtle bay, chelmsford


Turtle Bay really manages to bring soul and good vibes into restaurant form, when you step inside you can really feel a very unique energy, a real party atmosphere that makes you want to drink a little too much! Good for their bank balance, but maybe not so much for yours.

one love cocktail
cocktails, turtle bay, restaurant, chelmsford


There's a large choice of different food that should hopefully suit most palates, just remember majority of the dishes will come with a slap around the face from the spice! Even the spiced chocolate pot came with a huge serving of chilli that my friends were less than impressed with, so order with caution and only if you like it hot!

I have to say the Run Down one pot was delicious; brought to the table in a rustic looking pot with a couple of dumplings on the side. Inside a spiced coconut stew is sweet potato, butter beans, carrot and pieces of corn on the cob all served with a hearty portion of rice and peas!

Caribbean food, turtle bay, chelmsford
run down one pot

Turtle Bay adds a little bit of sunshine and spice to Chelmsford and is well worth a visit or two! If you check it out let me know what you think?


Monday, 15 August 2016

Crazy Golf at Roof East

I spotted the crazy golf course on top of a building in Stratford and decided I had to go!

Roof East occupies the space on top of the original Stratford shopping centre, they have created a chilled out recreation space for Londoners to enjoy, with roof top cinema, a bar, food stalls, ping pong tables and a 9 hole crazy golf course.

I sat outside Stratford station waiting for my friend to arrive being bothered by some random man asking me if I liked fashion and wanted to swap social media links with him. I was pretty glad to spot my friend and escape the barrage of questions, not to mention the smoke from his cigarette that was encompassing me!

We entered the lift on the ground floor and ascended all the way to the roof top, upon stepping out we were met with a security guard who wanted to check our bags and he spotted a muffin that I had bought and not yet eaten and insisted that I had to leave it in a box by the entrance or eat it before going in! I understand that they don't want people bringing a picnic and pitching up to enjoy the view but I thought he was taking it a little far to confiscate a muffin! So a word to the wise make sure you have nothing in your bag you don't want to lose, even a bottle of water isn't allowed!

Birdies crazy golf, roof east

The roof top used to be an open car park, so the worn parking bays of its former life remain on the ground, the space has been decorated with quirky old cars now living out their days as elaborate plant beds. Spirited Mixers provide the bar service, and although busy you don't have to queue for too long to get a drink. They have a good selection to temp you into having one too many and have a list of cocktails on offer. They also have neat little chip and pin machines so you don't have to come loaded with cash which is always a bonus in my book, the never carry cash queen!

Roof East, Stratford

The view over Stratford is wonderful, especially as the sun goes down so I would recommend sticking around into the evening, but why wouldn't you, it's a great way to while away the hours and with food, drink and music on offer whats not to stay for?
 
Birdies crazy golf

The atmosphere is super chilled, and it seems that most people are pitched up for the whole day so tables and chairs are a scarce commodity, I suggest if you see one free you run for it and tackle anyone who gets in your way.

spirited mixers, roof east

The golf course itself wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be for its £9 price tag, in my opinion it could have been a little larger in size but it was fun none the less. There are handy tables at each hole so there's always somewhere to put your drink whilst you take aim and most importantly somewhere to lean when writing down your score! Whoever said its the taking part that counts probably always lost! ;)

It didn't take us long at all to complete the course despite there being people in front of us it all moved fairly quickly. Because there was just the two of us we progressed with speed and all in all it took us about 20 minutes in total.

Rockadollar dogs was our eatery of choice and man was it good! Their chips are triple cooked to perfection and could quite possibly be the best chips I've ever eaten! Their cheesy dog was also amazing even though it's quite possibly a heart attack waiting to happen.

Rockadollar Dogs, roof east, london

All in all we had a pretty good afternoon and I do plan to go back before the summer is over, I highly recommend it.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Fling Festival, Chelmsford 2016

The first weekend of July saw the Fling Festival return to Chelmsford, I have seen the adverts for this previously and not gone but this year Laura mentioned how much fun it is so I decided to gather together some friends and head on down to check it out.

After rushing like a crazy person we finally managed to get there at about 3.30pm and it was already in full swing, we did a quick circuit to scope out what was on offer when suddenly a rain shower descended upon us so we had to make a mad dash for the cabaret tent to take shelter. The tent was full to bursting with people watching various cabaret and circus acts, which were quite tongue in cheek.

Luckily the rain only last 5 minutes and the sun came back out so we were safe to roam again, we stopped off to watch the "horse" racing which consisted of people on space hoppers decorated to look like horses, bouncing up and down to reach the finish line in the fastest time, a unique and hilarious take on things.

Cashew Curry from Rupert street, vegan curry


The Fling is perfect for adults who love to create and get their hands dirty as there was a stand filled with loads of old junk and places to sit down with glue etc so you could turn the trash into your treasure, there was also a ceramic painting tent and a clay tent with people making some interesting and sometimes rather rude clay pieces, including quite a few penis creations!

There was so much to do from learning to bollywood dance to getting henna tattoos and face paint, listening to different types of music as well as loads of different types of food to keep everyone happy. The only downside to the day was the amount of time you had to spend queuing to get a drink which took an average of 20mins! After reading some people's frustrated rants on social media it appears this hasn't been the case in previous years so hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and make it better in 2017.

Fling Festival, chelmsford


I really recommend this small independent festival, its choc full with cool things to do and see. I will definitely arrive earlier next year though, because I felt we didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted to and sadly some of the little stands shut down quite early, so if you snooze you lose.

I will be interested to see what the line up will be for next year, it would be nice if they take on board the comments of the festival goers and bring back more of the things they had at previous years and make it more value for money, and keep the quirkiness at the heart of the festival.

You can also check out my YouTube video of the festival below:



Sunday, 10 July 2016

Park Life #YearToHappiness

A couple of weeks ago I arranged to meet my friend Gem to go for a photo walk in a couple of our local parks. Luckily it turned out to be a really nice day after the week of rain and flooding we had had; the weather was warm and most of the ground had dried out. Although we did come across the odd area of grassland that was still under water which seemed to create lots of excitement for a golden Labrador who was having the time of his life playing fetch wading through the water (and mud)

I have been trying to make a lot more effort to go out more and spend time with existing friends as well as making new ones, being around people really lifts your mood especially if its people you feel comfortable with and can really talk to about why you're feeling down. I haven't known Gem for that long but she is one of my favourite people, we met last year through our mutual hobby of blogging and we don't live far from each other so we have come to spend a lot of time growing our friendship. She is someone who I can be myself around and be honest with, which is exactly what I need. Making connections with people who can support you through your down times is really important when you suffer from depression, and I'm so glad I have found that in Gem.

ducks in central park Chelmsford
ducks in central park Chelmsford

It was so lovely to just stroll around Central Park and take photo's of the wildlife, the ducks are so friendly and swim right up to you expecting to be fed. Being outdoors with nature is really calming and I can feel it doing me good.

Central Park chelmsford
Central Park chelmsford
Viaduct, Chelmsford

Chelmsford is so picturesque, I love looking at the beautiful old viaduct with it red bricks that contrast perfectly with the green grass. There were so many little places to stop and take in the moment, I had a really great time.

Flooded grassland
Chelmsford viaduct
Chelmsford, Essex
Viaduct arches

Central park has some perfect spots to lay and sunbathe on a warm afternoon, we even spotted a group of people slacklining between some trees.

I'm still taking small steps towards becoming more happy, I keep trying to step outside of my comfort zone and enjoy life. I hope for lots more great memories along my journey.

#YearToHappiness

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Beach time bikinis

The weather in the UK may be a little questionable at the moment, but for a lot of you you'll be jetting off to places where the weather is a little more predictable.

Have you done your research on the best bikini's on the market yet to make sure you are looking hot whilst sunning yourself on the beach? If you haven't, I've compiled a list of a few of my favourites.

If you're in the market for a designer piece with a lot of quirk, then this Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini set is perfect. I absolutely love that it comes with a little bolero jacket. It's so unusual, and I am in love with it. It's certainly on the pricey side at £630 so it isn't for everyone, but I think it's beautiful.

Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini

The next piece I'm in love with is a lot more affordable, this little beauty is a lot more edgy and on trend with it's cool cut out design and gorgeous watercolour shades. This stunning tankini is from River Island and is a complete steal at £29.

pink print cut out bikini


The next set I've picked out is another River Island number, it's so pretty and girly with it's a pale pink colour and floral design it sent my heart all a flutter. It's a multi way bikini top as well and can be work 5 different ways which is great for getting more variety out of one piece. At £28 it's a great choice.

Cream floral print 5 way bikini



My next pick is a bit more trendy and playful with it's high neck style and bright colours, I think this bikini top could double up as a top with a lightweight kimono thrown over the top it would be great to wear out teamed with a pair of denim shorts. This little beauty is from New Look and is a bargain for £22.98. Annoyingly New Look don't display the top and bottoms together so I had to hunt for the set on their website, so here are the bikini bottoms if you are interested in snapping them up.




My last pick of the bunch is this gorgeous bright aztec bikini from Topshop, I love the fun print and the lovely design of the straps on the back, although they might not be great for your tan line! It's the priciest out of the highstreet picks at £32 but I think it's worth it.


I hope you're all ready for your summer hols and looking forward to jetting off and exploring new places. Have a lovely day everyone, and don't forget to read up on my Year to happiness project and follow along for updates.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Chilled cucumber and mint soup - vegan

raw cucumber soup, healthy eating, curing depression


I have been eating a lot of raw soups for lunch recently because I have wanted to get the maximum amount of nutrition out of what I'm eating. I took inspiration from the classic Spanish chilled soup Gazpacho which I really like. The only thing I dislike about it is the after taste of raw onion and garlic so I decided in future recipes I wouldn't put them in. This personal preference, if you like the flavour and can bear the pungent after taste that will live on with you for the rest of the day then by all means add them.

I love the refreshing nature of cucumber, and until recently had never tried cucumber and mint soup before, but really wanted to give it a try and now it is one of my favourite things to have for lunch. I definitely put my own twist on the soup to keep it dairy free as most traditional recipes call for yogurt.

My main aim for my raw soups is to make them filling, and pack them with nutrition so I use things like walnuts and flax seed to bulk them out a bit and give them a satisfying consistency.

I make my soup in my nutribullet so this recipe is for a one person serving.

Chilled cucumber soup recipe:

Half a cucumber (seeds and skin left on for added nutrition)
1 small bulb of fennel
1 flat dessert spoon of dried mint or 7/8 fresh mint leaves
small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
small handful of walnuts
1 dessert spoon of flax seed
100ml of water
1 tablespoon of lime juice
salt to taste

Roughly chop the cucumber and fennel and pop into a blender with all of the other ingredients and blend for roughly 1 minute until smooth and combined. You'll find the walnuts and flax give the soup a frothy light texture that I really love and make it more filling.

If you like vegetables you can't really go wrong with raw soups, the combinations are endless and are such a fantastic way of getting plenty of healthy veg into your diet in one sitting. I have been eating a lot of raw tomato soup, as well as spinach and fennel. Experiment and find what you love best!

Healthy tastes best!



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