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I can't believe September is here already. It feels like summer hasn't even lasted 5 minutes. Plus I've still got a load of summery posts I want to share before the cold weather comes. At this rate though we're going to end up in winter before I've even started editing. Maybe it's just me but it feels like the seasons have already started to change and click into place. We're in that in between weather where it's starting to get just a little bit too cold for bare legs and no coats. I don't know if it's just me, but when we get to this point of the year, I always feel restless. It's too far away from Christmas to get excited about the winter yet but I feel restless. And I've got itchy feet to plan some sort of adventure so I've got something to look forward to. It's like you get back from summer holidays and all of a sudden it's months until you have any time off again. And the only thing looming is the festive season. I feel as though I need a trip to the Lakes to explore the great outdoors and get snuggled up in a little cabin by a real fire. Or maybe a city break? Even if it's just a weekend away in London with the girls like at the start of the year. I haven't quite decided what yet, but the city break is looking more likely than an extra holiday. But rather than just go explore the city, I'd quite like to go back in December to catch the Nutcracker ballet or opera shows in London. Because it's something I've never actually done before. I've never seen an opera (let alone a big scale production) and what better way to start my education than with a performance from the English National Opera? Plus there's something very festive about the idea of spending a long weekend down in the big smoke and topping it off with a night at the opera. And the perfect excuse to get all dolled up in sequins, heels and fur.
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coat: Zara (similar here), top: Zara (similar here), sunglasses: Saint Laurent

You know that feeling when you've had a string of bad luck and nothing is going well? Then all of a sudden something clicks. After what's been a difficult year, the last few months things have started to feel easy. Maybe it was going away, seeing new places and making new friends. Or maybe it was just time for a change. Either way, here we are at the end of summer (and peony season). And it feels like I'm somewhere between an ending and a new beginning. Of what though, I'm not quite sure yet. But it feels like it's been a long time coming. I don't want to make this a big long rambling post about all the reasons why I've felt disillusioned. Let's just start afresh and move onto the next chapter. Hopefully it'll be one that's filled with better blogging habits, more motivation and a fresh outlook on everything. So after a weekend indulging myself a little too much with some of my favourite people, let's do this.
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Straw hat | armlet | Floral headband | Crochet top | Denim shorts | Flower sunglasses | Metallic tattoos | Bumble and bumble Dry Shampoo | Bumble and bumble Surf Spray | Raincoat | Wellies | Neon bodypaint

With V Festival this weekend and Leeds next weekend, we're finally coming to the end of festival season. Almost time to pack up the denim hotpants, floral crowns and metallic tattoos for another year. Although I've managed to indulge in my fair share of festivals this summer, I'm still a bit sad about it. I know festivals definitely divide people. And yeah, I get that sleeping in a field and getting drunk for a week isn't everyone's idea of fun. And yes, the toilet situation is extremely grim. But that's not the point. There's nothing quite like the feeling when you're there, surrounded by your friends, listening to music you love. All of sudden the mud doesn't matter. And how tired you are doesn't even come into your head. Yeah your wellies are rubbing on your feet after the first few days tramping about. But who cares? In that moment, none of that stuff matters. It's funny though because actually I'd somehow never got around to going to any festivals until last year. And I don't think there's a better way of losing your festival virginity than with Glastonbury. I guess it's a bit late in the day to be sharing this, but since I've still got all my photos from Canada (and Way Home Festival) to sort through, I still felt like it made sense to share this. Albeit it feels pretty late in the day to be picking out my favourite festival pieces. I guess with pieces like the Target Dry raincoat and Hunter wellies are sort of year-round staples though. I was sent this raincoat just after Glastonbury (unfortunately it didn't arrive soon enough to come with me) so I relied mainly on my yellow Barbour. But being even more lightweight, it's such a useful little waterproof to roll up into a bag when the weather's looking a bit iffy. Which lately seems to be pretty much every day.
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This last month has been a bit of a whirlwind, and life feels like kinda a blur right now. Particularly the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I got back from one of the best trips I've ever been on. I got to visit some pretty amazing places (if you're following me on instagram, you'll already have seen my holiday spam from Toronto, Way Home Festival, Chicago and New York). I met a whole bunch of brilliant people and made a lot of new friends. And after the longest time, I've actually started feeling like myself again. A lot like myself again. But my trip wasn't without its own little dramas! Which sort of prompted me to think of a few new post ideas, and to talk about what I learned from my own comedy of errors. A lot of bloggers lately have started writing about their travels. But not a lot of them write about what happens when things don't go as planned.

I've got a couple of posts that I want to write up - from getting the right insurance to being better prepared with your hand luggage. But let's start with the more boring (but possibly most important) one first: travel insurance. When it comes to holidays I've always thought of myself as pretty prepared... I always get good insurance (and of course check the fine print), I pack a mini medical bag... So planning my trip to Canada and the States, I thought I'd covered every possible avenue. And since I was spending a long time travelling alone, I thought I'd bring my MacBook along.. you know, in case I felt mega productive and wanted to blog out there. Suffice to say that didn't happen. But it did spur me on to take out some proper gadget travel insurance. Because when I double double checked the small print of my travel insurance policy, I was pretty surprised to find that the personal effects cover (up to £5,000) only covered me for items up to £100 each. Each. Having worked in insurance, there's a lot of small print that can trip you up with what's covered and what's not. It's the same with home insurance or car insurance, the things that you expect to be covered sometimes just aren't! There's all these tricky little loopholes they can write into policies that make it hard to figure out what's actually covered and what's not. Luckily, my gadgets were all safe and sound on this holiday, but after my suitcase went missing in transit for a couple of days, it has made me a lot more wary of taking out cover online. Especially when comparison sites make it seem easy to see what's covered, but leave out some of the important facts. Like the personal effects, I realised all of a sudden that some of my favourite clothes were now not only potentially lost, but potentially only items up to the value of £100 were covered. Which is a bit of a blow when you remember that your All Saints leather jacket was £300 on its own. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have my suitcase recovered without needing to claim on my insurance. But it's definitely been an eyeopener. As any blogger towing about an expensive bit of kit knows, you need to have a contingency plan of what to do if something goes wrong. And an insurance policy that covers their big old fancy camera and excessive wardrobe.
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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...
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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.
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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.
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ribbon raving
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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!
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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.
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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...
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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.

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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.

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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...

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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!

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