coat: Barbour, top: Zara (similar), skirt: Urban Outfitters, sandals: Topshop (similar), watch: Daniel Wellington, sunglasses: RayBan, satchel: vintage

Ok so if we just set aside my sporadic posting and blame it on holiday prep, can I just ask: what is with this weather? I mean seriously. It feels like summer just hasn't happened this year and it's already nearly over. Somehow we've only managed to scrap a handful of good days and some freakish thunderstorms. Which has pretty much left my summer wardrobe in complete chaos. I don't know if i should be dressing for hot days, or preparing myself for a torrential downpour. I knew I needed a raincoat for Glastonbury, but who'd have thought my Barbour Ramspide would've seen so many outings? So with the weather still refusing to play ball (or stay consistent), I feel like the last few weeks I've been dressing like it's summer and layering for winter...
Although it's taken an age to get around to sharing this post, I feel like the jacket has become something of a staple at the minute. It's not quite cold enough for a proper coat, but since the weather app has become my best friend, I've found this is so easy to shove in my big old Mulberry. Or toss in my car on the way out of the flat. Better safe than sorry. Plus, look at it. I mean the colour, the fit, everything. I swear I've been on the hunt for the perfect fisherman's jacket for YEARS, and this ticks all the boxes. AND it's on sale! I love the shape and that it's got plenty of room for layering underneath. I'm usually between a UK size 8 and 10, and I got this in an 8 and find it quite loose fitting. So definitely no need to size up! The only thing it can't handle is too much of a torrential downpour (as I discovered the hard way in Glasto). But then those showers are on another level. And it seems to be coping ok here. Fingers crossed. And since I've been warned there's a threat of thunderstorms while I'm away next month, I think I may be bringing it along to Canada.
So yeah, it's taken me a while to get my arse in gear and now I'm sat frantically sorting out insurance and making mental notes of everything I need. I mean I know I don't need that many outfits for the next couple of weeks, but I need to have choices, right? So anyway, I'm blaming packing but really I've just spent the last week (after persuading Sarah to come out and shoot these photos), trying to find some headspace. And a spare moment to write. But my head just hasn't been in the right space. I just couldn't seem to force any words out, so rather than just pen something completely mediocre, I thought I'd just wait. Since getting back from Glastonbury, the last couple of weeks have flown over. And now Canada is just a couple of days away. Where is time going at the moment?! I feel like I've barely had time to recover from my last festival and I've got less than a week until I'm doing it all again at Way Home. So now I've (semi) got my head back in the right space, I'll be sharing my festival and holiday prep posts soon... Like I'll possibly be sat typing away in a departure lounge.. but STILL.
glasto 15 with barbour
Glastonbury. There's really no place like it in the world. I can't even put into words the whole overwhelmingly exhausting but exhilarating experience of being there. When you tell people you're going you're either met with extreme jealousy or a load of comments about the mud and how dirty you'll be after a week sleeping in a field. And yes, I finally got home on Tuesday afternoon sunburnt, bruised and blistered. But happy. Ridiculously happy after spending an insane week with the best sort of nutters. And honestly, I can't believe it's all over so soon. After weeks of planning and prepping, the whole week flew over. I wasn't really sure where to start with this post, but I knew I wanted to share some of my snaps - not the greatest quality because I'm definitely not a responsible enough adult to be trusted to take a DSLR to a festival and not drop it in the mud / lose it / break it. So here's a little snippet into a whole week of eating, drinking, dancing and complete over indulgence at one of the greatest places on earth. And of course, since festival season is finally here, how to survive at one...
glasto breakfast
1. Pack sun cream and patience
There will be lots of queuing. We waited for three and a half hours to get through those gates. And by the time we got through (and had been standing without any shade and three verrry heavy backpacks) we had managed to each burn our scalp, shoulders and noses. I'm quite olive skinned so in general, I wouldn't say I burnt easily and on holiday I usually use about SPF 25 as the highest. Glastonbury is a whole different game though. If you're lucky enough to get good weather, the sun is sort of relentless. And when you're out all day enjoying yourself, you don't notice how exposed your skin is. Even if you're a good tanner, take at least SPF 25 or 30, so you don't need to worry about looking like a lobster in all your photos.
2. Bring plenty of accessories and energy
Bindis, metallic tattoos, fluro body paint, feather hair extensions, floral crowns, costume jewellery, you name it, one of the girls brought it. You might feel a bit daft at first, but everyone loves to play dress up once they've had a few. And fluro paint is the gift that just keeps on giving. You can reprint it all over someone else's arm, or your clothes or someone else's clothes, then find it out glows in the dark. Or at least ours did. Which comes in pretty handy for losing people in Shangri La. Longer festivals like Glastonbury are all about pacing yourself.. you'll be out all day and pretty much all night, so catch up on your beauty sleep before you go. You won't be getting much when you get there.
ribbon raving
3. Be prepared for any weather
Both times I've been to Glastonbury it's rained and it didn't spoil either experience. It's sort of expected and it comes with the territory. So even if the forecast looks amazing, always be prepared for the odd shower or torrential downpour. If you're lucky, the majority of the time the weather will be great but once the ground has gotten muddy, there's usually nothing that can cope but big boots or wellies. This year's forecast looked pretty grim so I made sure I packed my Barbour short gloss wellies and some decent rain coats. And a poncho from Target Dry (which although I don't have any photos of was one of my failsafes during the festival and came in super handy!) I was gifted the Barbour wellies last year and I love them because they're quite short so it means my legs still get plenty of sun! This year, Barbour very kindly sent me one of their Rampside Casual coats too to keep me dry. I've been on the lookout for a yellow fisherman's jacket for AGES now and I'm absolutely in love with this! Made from a durable cotton blend, it's the perfect lightweight jacket for summer showers. It's perfect because it's pretty warm but because it's thin, it folds up really small so it doesn't take up too much room in your backpack. Plus the canary yellow made me very easy to spot in a crowd!
barbour rampside
Above all, the best piece of advice I can give you for any festival is have fun. Scream, shout and sing until you lose your voice. Laugh so hard you think you might vomit. Take too many photos. Try out new weird and wonderful food. Discover a new love for body art. Get paint all over your clothes. Get lost in a crowd of people but just enjoy being there. Wear flowers in your hair. Accessorise everything with glitter. Treat yourself to one more cider. Stay out too late. Dance until your feet are so blistered you don't think you can walk. And come home with the best memories.
With 50 cans of Strongbow, two litres of vodka, a litre of gin, a litre of amaretto, a lot of mixer, three 65 litre backpacks and two 6 man tents packed into the car, now seemed like a kind of appropriate time to get around to writing about Glastonbury. Or more importantly coping with sleeping in a field for five nights without washing your hair. Festivals are certainly not for the fussy. Yeah sure, you can pay someone to do it for you. But really wouldn't you rather use that money for an extra few pints of cider when the sun is beating down on you and you're having a great time with all your mates? Before I'd been to Glastonbury most people tried to reassure me that festivals are nothing like real life. And it's true. There are a lot of odd people, strange sartorial choices, almost everyone is filthy, and probably most importantly no one cares. Hair is one of the key things I stressed about before my first festival. How quickly would it look greasy? Does dry shampoo really turn into clay if you use too much for a prolonged period of time? I was full of all the usual questions. Then when I actually got there, I realised I didn't really care what my hair looked like because I was having a great time! Now I'm not saying that your hair will look amazing for the full week. Let's be honest, it probably won't. But here's my top tips for festival hair...
1. Plaits and tying up your hair can hide a multitude of sins
Let's face it clean hair is only really going to last for about 48 hours if you're lucky. If you're super lucky you might get a few days, but really most of us are starting to feel a bit gross after two. The easiest thing to do (if you're holding out from using dry shampoo too soon), is to scoop it up! If you're feeling lazy or a little too hungover, then a high ponytail will be enough to disguise any greasy locks. Or if you're feeling a bit more creative, then braiding or plaiting your hair is actually a really good way of hiding the fact it needs a wash. Plus plaits lend themselves to dirty hair since your tresses are easier to style and will hold in place for a longer period of time.


2. Experiment and get creative with your hairstyles
Ok, so when you're at a festival you can pretty much get away with whatever you like. Sure, you'd look like a bit of a twat walking down Northumberland Street in a flower crown. But you're in a field with a load of drunk and muddy people. If you want to embellish yourself with flowers and ribbons then go for it. You can quite easily create a braid with coloured cotton thread (if you have the time and patiences to keep winding it around your hair) or probably pay someone to do it for you. As for floral garnishes, anything with a long(ish), firm stem will be pretty easy to slot into your plait or clip into your hair. Remember this isn't real life. Embrace your inner flower child.


3. Use a pretty headscarf to hide greasy roots
If you're not one to tie your hair up, or you've had your hair up a couple of days, then head scarves can be a great alternative way of hiding greasy roots. Either tied loosely or clipped to your hair, you can turn any little strip of silk or cloth into a handy little hairband. Great for holding back any pesky fringes once they've lost their shape. They're also great if you want to try and push your hair back to get more sun on your face. Or if you've maybe had a bit too much sun and you've accidentally burnt your parting then they can be great for hiding your burnt bits...


4. Don't overdo it with products
While it's tempting to fill your bag with a load of miracle haircare products, don't. It's a waste of weight and a waste of time. Everyone knows that the more product you put on, the quicker it'll get greasier too. So try to leave washing your hair right up until the last minute and hold off using any products for as long as possible. Once you do, I'd stick to using the bare minimum. I only use three products: sea salt or texturising spray, hairspray and dry shampoo.

This year the folks at Bumble and bumble have kitted me out with my festival hair care survival kit, so I'm taking Surf Infusion with is similar to the Surf spray I'm so obsessed with. Since the infusion contains oil though, it's a bit more nourishing for your hair and you get a slightly glossier curl. I figure the oil will give my hair a bit of a treat after too many nights in a tent and bit too much dry shampoo. As for hair spray, I usually go for something texturising to build body for my fine hair. I hate when you get that awful crispiness, so I like one which doesn't leave too much residue. Bumble and Bumble Dry Spun Thickening Spray is great because it gives good hold and texture but doesn't make me feel like my hair is stuck to my head. Sure, you can feel the layer a little if you use it heavily, but it allows your hair to still have a fairly natural movement, so it's not lacquered to your face. As for dry shampoo, I'm usually a firm believer in Batiste but after a few issues (we'll talk about that some other time), I've been avoiding using any sort of dry shampoo. I figured that with needing to spend five nights in a field, I'll probably not be able to get away without it, so this year I'm taking Bumble and Bumble's Brown Hair powder. Unlike other dry shampoos, the powder is a lot finer and is coloured brown, so I shouldn't get that awful dandruffy finish you sometimes find with too much dry shampoo! I've had a couple of spritzes and it seems to do the trick. But honestly, I'll let you know after I've spent a week living in mood with dirty roots and tatty hair. And we can see how it really fairs. For now, I'll leave you with these.. and I should probably go get some sleep before we head off tomorrow! If you want to keep up to date, I'm sure I'll be sharing plenty while I'm at Glastonbury on instagram and snapchat - just search hannahlayford!
Ok so slightly different sort of post for me, but if you follow me on instagram you probably already know that I've just finished my photography course. And over the last few months taking that night class has taught me so much about not only my camera's manual settings, studio lighting but also composition. But it's just the start really and I think with something like photography, you're learning all the time. So since I'm a fan of nice, easy 'how to' guides, I thought why not share a few on photography? Now, I'm by no means an expert, but hopefully you'll get something from these simple tips and techniques. As set of photography tips, I've teamed up with Pets At Home (and of course Bosson's little furry fella, Tino) to share some hints and tips for taking nice animal photos. Hopefully they'll give you a little guidance to help you take great photos of your pets!

1. Think about your lighting
Every good photographer knows that good lighting is everything. Natural light is more flattering no matter what your subject, so shooting at the brightest point at the day is always going to give you the best results. That being said, golden hour (the time just after sunrise and just before sunset when the light is soft and redder than the rest of the day) can give you some great effects. You don't need to always have a bright image if your focus is sharp, so you can use your aperture and your shutter speed to create a darker sort of image. As a quick recap, your shutter speed and aperture both control the amount of light that enters the lens. Your aperture is adjusted using your f-stop (or f-number), and the higher the number, the more closed the lens and the less light getting into it. Similarly, the faster your shutter speed, the less light that can get into the lens. For the photo below, Tino wasn't in direct sunlight but the room was quite bright. With a high f-stop and a faster shutter speed, I was able to create a darker more shadowy image. At all costs though, try to avoid flash. Flash will bleach your colours and it's a particularly a bad idea with animals, because the reflectiveness of their eyes will make them look like aliens. It's also likely to startle the animal... and let's be honest, that's not going to make a great picture.
2. Switch your autofocus settings
Animals generally don't sit still, which can make them a pretty hard subject to shoot. Whether they're distracted while you're trying to shoot photos or you're trying to get an action shot, a slight blur or softness can add to you photo. But the trick is not to just get a completely blurred image. Switching your AF settings from single or one shot to continuous focus can make all the difference. Continuous autofocus or AI Servo AF if you're using Canon (or Continuous-servo AF if you're a Nikon user), means your camera will keep tracking moving targets up until the point where your shutter-release button is pressed all the way down. If you want to get mega technical, AI Servo works by predicting where your subject will be slightly in the future, based on estimates of the subject velocity from previous focus distances. Making it more likely for you to be able to capture a nice sharp image.

3.Understand the rules for framing your photo
The crop of your photo can be key to how attractive it is. Understanding about framing images and learning the rules of things like the rule of thirds or golden ratio and the Fibonacci spiral. The idea (if you don't want to get lost in a load of articles) is that you don't place the point of focus in the centre of the frame because it's not where people's eyes are naturally drawn. Instead you use the off centred eye of the Fibonacci spiral as the point of interest. So you can see in the shot above, that although Tino's face isn't in the centre of the frame, it's still the main point of focus. While using composition techniques like the rule of thirds and golden ratio are good guides and create really interesting shots, they are just guides. But by thinking about these rules, you're making more considered decisions about how you frame your photos. So even if when you understand the rules, you decide to break them, you'll still be thinking more about where you're placing your subject in the frame and why. Which of course is going to help you take better photos.
4. Get a bit more depth into your focus
Depth of field has to be one of the biggest buzz phrases in photography right now. Especially where blogging is concerned. In case you've been wondering what everyone is going on about, depth of field is the range of sharpness around your subject. A wider A narrow depth of field (the most popular in blogging) is where your subject remains razor sharp but your background drops out to a nice desirable blur. The effect is created using the low f-stop numbers (so your aperture is wider open). It's great for fashion blogging because it means when you're shooting outside or in a crowded area, the eye isn't distracted by the background. Likewise, it's great for food and products, because it keeps the focus on the main object you're photographing. Much like with portraits, a narrow depth of field can create a lovely focus on pets by creating a nice soft edge. This is particularly effective if your subject has a big fluffy coat like Tino.

5. Try being creative with your angles
Everyone has a good and a bad angle. Animals are really no different. By experimenting with angles and where you're shooting your pet from, you can create a whole range of different effects. A lot of animal photography is shot at eye level, and getting down to your pet's level can be a great way of getting their personality across. Since they're looking up slightly at the camera, you'll get a cute, big-eyed shot of them. You'll get the same sort of effect from a higher level (whether that's human or more of a bird's eye view). Lower angles (like with people) can also create a pretty powerful images. You're placing your subject in a more authoritative position so they're looking down into the lens. It's a more dramatic image and can be an interesting perspective to play with. There's no real rules with angles so it's a great thing to have fun with and play around with the different effects you create.
While I've kind of focused more on pet photography for this post, the tips are pretty universal for any subject. So hopefully it might come in handy for whatever you want to shoot! Like most art, your technique doesn't need to follow all the rules to be great. It's all about your eye. There's not a set sort of style that everyone will love, but you can learn the aesthetics of what makes a good picture and apply those principles to help improve your eye. It's all about experimenting.. which of course is all part of the fun!
It's fair to say that in the last couple of years, Newcastle's vintage scene has been dying a slow and painful death. Despite a few new additions to the city, the loss of places like Attica and online treasure trove, Cotton Love, has meant there's only really a handful of decent places left to peruse. And unless you're wanting a pair of denim cut offs, a garish 80s jumper or a Pop dress with an elastic waistband, there's not really that many places left. Enter the ladies at Yesterday Vintage Society, a cute little treasure trove tucked in Grainger Market. The market is somewhere I love to spend wandering around (ok, mainly for Pet Lamb's brownies), so it's been great to see more and more places spring up in the last few years. The Yesterday Vintage Society sprang up two years ago and it's the brain child of two friends, Rosie and Rachael. With their shared love of vintage clothing and little serendipity in finding a great spot in Grainger Market they dove into their business venture head first. Their ethos is pretty simple, they fill their little Aladdin's cave with only grade A vintage stock, so you won't have to wade through piles of rubbish stock. And they try to keep their prices down - even offering student discount - to help more people afford to wear good quality vintage clothing.
There's a lot of places starting to put more emphasis on price point, but like most things, quality always trumps cost. I'd rather spend more money and know that I'm getting something that's been well manufactured and is still in great condition. What's great about Yesterday Vintage Society, is that you get a balance of both. Nice prints and good quality stock, with a pretty low price tag. Not too shabby. I've always had a soft spot for vintage shopping but it's definitely not the quickest way to shop. You need to train yourself to be patient while sifting through the racks. Plus you need a bit of imagination. Sometimes your favourite dress is only 4 inches away... and by that I mean don't be afraid to consider cutting up and re-hemming pieces. One of my favourite pieces of vintage is an old floral Laura Ashley floor length dress that I hacked into a mini dress. There's nothing quite like the feeling of stumbling on that perfect piece though when you least expect it. But sometimes (most of the time) you'll probably leave empty handed. I think the key to all good vintage shopping though is going when you're in the mood for a rummage and when you're not after something in particular.
As I was raking about in the store though, amidst the pretty floral dresses and suede jackets, I did stumble on something I've been after for ages: the perfect vintage Levis jacket. Slightly bleached denim, as soon I slid it on, I could already tell it was going to fit like a glove. And of course, I've been after a denim jacket for AGES. But somehow they've never been the right shape or fit. I think denim (expect skinny jeans) is probably one of the few fabrics that gets better with ages. There's something about that distinct fraying around the collars and the sleeves that you just can't quite fake. Since I was far too excited about my find, I forgot to photograph it. Idiot. BUT I'll try and get it photographed as soon as I can. Safe to say, it'll definitely be making its way in my backpack for Glastonbury!! Despite my proclamations that I'll be packing MUCH LIGHTER this year. What's a girl to do though? I mean I don't want to be caught without options!




I'm a product pessimist. The more people rave about stuff, the more sceptical I am about their supposed miraculous qualities. Call me cynical but usually I don't believe the hype. Although when products stay on my radar for a while (and people keep going on about them), I start to get curious. Enter Bumble and bumble's Surf collection (particularly their Surf spray which I've actually heard mixed reviews about). In general, I'd say I pretty much fan girl over any of their products, and if like me you have fine hair, then you'll probably understand why. I posted about Bumble and bumble's thickening spray AGES ago. Then more recently about their Invisible Oil shampoo and conditioner. I seriously can't get enough of the stuff. So when I jetted off to Boa Vista last month, (although it feels like a lifetime ago now, sob), and they generously offered me a review of their Surf range, I obviously bit their hand off! I mean how else was I going to ensure the perfect beachy, mermaid hair while we were in paradise?
When it comes to holidays, I'm firmly a beach girl. Sure it's nice to lounge by a pool every now and then, but nothing beats being by the waves and feeling the sand between your toes. Plus all that salt water does wonders for your skin! But getting the ultimate beach hair isn't as easy as Pinterest and Instagram would have you believe. Usually it's much easier to achieve a full head of rats tails then nicely preened curls. Between the sand, salt water and wind, I find that my hair becomes really tatty unless I'm prepared. And of course that means being equipped with a tangle teezer and a bottle of salt spray. Over the years I've tried out countless different sprays.. from Loreal's Beach Fizz Play Ball to Toni & Guy's Sea Salt Texturising Spray. But none of them have helped me achieve the perfect mermaid hair. It's a delicate balancing act of finding one that will create volume that lasts without making my hair look like it's full of product. And that'll achieve maximum curl without feeling crispy. So when I first heard about Surf Spray, I was dying to see if this was the answer to all my messy (but not too messy) hair dreams..
Although it was mostly the Surf Spray that I was looking to try out, the range includes the Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner. With its nice and foamy texture, the Surf shampoo gives you that ultra clean feeling you need after leaving the beach with a head full of sand. The Creme Rinse then gives it the perfect dose of moisture to stop you feeling like all that sun has dried your hair out. Although it's aimed for holidaying, this set is the perfect treat for those weeks where you've abused your hair with a little too much dry shampoo.. When I get back from Glasto, I can see this being the perfect set to fix my dry shampoo/tent/rain/mud/beer soaked locks. As for the Surf Spray, I'm pleased to say it's taken the crown for my current favourite salt spray. With a crisp, fresh fragrance and a lightweight mist, it leaves your hair feeling textured. But not crispy with product. Perfect for post-beach, pre-night out hair styling. Or if you just want to get those cute, 70s bohemian tresses and you need a bit of texture. Since coming back from holiday (and with my own thin hair related issues), I've actually been using the spray now on a daily basis. Just after I've finished blowdrying, I give my hair a little spritz (at the roots for lift, and the ends for textured curls), scrunch it up and I'm sorted for the day. At £21.50 it's pretty pricey for a big bottle, but then I've been using it daily since April and I've still got quite a lot of product left. If you're not quite sure if you want to make the dive, you can pick up mini bottles of Surf Spray for half the price. But I can almost guarantee you'd be straight back out to buy the full size!

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You know that feeling when you haven't posted for ages and you get majorly hung up on what to share next? That. I'm blaming that for my recent silence. And a never ending to do list at work that means all I want to do when I get home is crawl into bed and read my book. After a busy couple of weeks though, and a visit to the Thinking Digital conference (more on that soon), by Thursday I felt like I was ready to fall over. But then the fellas at I Sunk Your Battleship got in touch to let me know about their launch party for their new Liberty print tees. And who's really going to turn down an invite to a launch party at Capology with free wine and free Longhorns?
I wouldn't say I'm that into street wear, at all. In fact, I'd go as far to say street wear is probably lightyears away from the stuff I'd usually wear. So when I first got the invite I was a bit sceptical about whether there was any point going down. But when I actually read the email, I actually really liked the new Liberty range. And I was quite intrigued to actually get down to Capology and have a look around! It's safe to say the decor of the store on High Bridge, and the tees, didn't disappoint. Obviously being menswear they're a nice boxy shape which is what I'd look for in t-shirts. There's nothing worse than something clingy or tight fitting. And when they're a boxy shape, they're perfect for rolling up the sleeves and tucking into high waisted stuff. I actually think I could see myself wearing one of the small grey or navy numbers tucked into my leather skirt! Maybe if I got one in a S or an XS...
With the wine and the BBQ food flowing, me and Bosson helped ourselves to brisket and pulled pork brioche buns, while checking out the range. With their muted tones, I'm actually a really big fan. And if I don't decide to get myself one, they could be a great gift for one of my younger brothers. Made from great quality material, each tee is carefully constructed here in the North East. Which in our era of 'make em cheap' and shady manufacturing chains, is a pretty impressive credential to have on your CV. And given there's not much I feel stronger about than supporting local manufacturing, I probably don't need too much convincing to invest in one (whether it ends up for me or a sibling!) So don't be surprised if one ends up popping up on my blog soon!
Big thanks to Ross and the ISYB and Capology guys for having me along. Slow and low meat and lots of red wine are without doubt the best way to spend a Thursday night!