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tori's quotes vi


don't give up

Does age prove to be a barrier that we all too often come up against? 

Can we just dream a new dream, no matter where we are in life?

I’ve never really been one for dreaming, at least in the sense of dreaming something for myself - for my future (daydreaming, yes – but that’s a whole other story). Not that I'm a practical gal – I'm not claiming there’s no ‘head in the clouds’ living happening over here – but I’ve never really discovered a passion that I’ve dreamt about becoming a reality, or setting as my goal for life. As as a result, up until recently – that is, until I found these words from Lewis – I thought that was ‘it’ for me; that because I'm tumbling out of the top end of my twenties, and into the bottom end of my thirties, it meant that a passion - a dream - would be something I’d never know.  

I was wrong.

There’s a tendency to project certain expectations onto specific age groups (you know the ones I'm talking about) and to assume that, if you don’t meet them by ages x, y, or z, you've missed your chance. But I think Lewis is onto something here – age is said to be a social construct, after all, so why put all your eggs in one twenties-shaped basket? I’ve travelled plenty (though I'm always ready to travel some more!), I’ve helped raised children as a nanny, I'm at university as a mature student, I’ve worked many-a job – I’ve had my fair share of experiences, but that doesn't meant that’s it for me. Or, in fact, for any of you. There’s plenty to be experienced, across all ages, and all walks of life. Plenty of ideas to be thought up, and passions to be claimed.

So, what I'm saying is, there is no reason for me - for anyone - to give up on the possibility that, some day, a dream will be realised. A goal, met.  

For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, Tori's Quotes offers readers the opportunity to discuss their thoughts about a quote and related questions I choose for each new month. You can read past entries to the series HERE

Today, Ellen and Liz are sharing their thoughts on age and dreaming. If you have any thoughts of your own related to their responses, or the questions themselves, do share below.

I'm all about the natter. 

Introducing, Ellen! 

Ellen Under Water for Tori's Quotes, on Tori's Tales
OOTD #39

OOTD #39

Hello, I'm Ellen from London and I write my blog Ellen Under Water. I love listening and dancing to music, reading big books, and eating biscuits! Thank you to Tori for having me.

Does the message in this month's quote ring true for you? Does age matter when goals or dreams are concerned?

I completely agree. C S Lewis was obviously an extremely wise guy! Although it is as children that our initial goals and dreams are formed, naturally they change, adapt and grow over time. So why would we ever limit ourselves to early aspirations when everything around us changes too; why would our hopes and dreams not also evolve?

As we progress through life, there will always be new barriers in the way that need to be surpassed, so it is inevitable that we will all have goals without even realising it, be it finishing the pile of homework that’s laid out in front of us, or aiming for a new job. As humans, I think it is natural that we look towards the future and hope to prosper to some extent. And dreaming and setting goals is all about the future.

Italy 2014

Italy 2014

Have you witnessed the same in your life? Have your goals changed with age, or are you on the path you imaged yourself to be taking? 

I think I am quite a logical person in the way that I do not have any huge and extraordinary goals that I persist in fulfilling: I tend to live a little more for the moment, and plan only short term goals. That being said, the types of things that I do plan and dream for, have, naturally changed. And I can only imagine them evolving further as I age.

I don’t feel like I’m quite old enough yet to say if I imagined myself to be on this path, as I still kind of have to go to school! I do have plans for the future, as leaving school requires a certain amount of responsibility, but I’ll have to report back in a few years to see if have stuck to the path I expect…

OOTD #18

OOTD #18

Do you believe in setting goals for yourself? Is it important to you to do so, or - like me - do goals stall or stop you from getting you where you want to be (or prove to be some such similar obstacle)?

I do believe in setting some small and manageable goals, but I feel like, for me, setting huge and often unmanageable goals could be detrimental if they are not fulfilled. I know some people absolutely live for making goals and planning huge and exciting futures, but as much as I can, I like to see how things pan out when things are left to their own natural devices. I don’t like the thought of having a direct aim as to where I will end up, and I much prefer to tell myself that whatever happens, I want to be happy, safe, loved and loving. However I get there, I don’t so much mind.

Do you have a dream for yourself, for your future? 

There are ideal jobs or professions that I’d love to sit in, beautiful locations I’d love to live in, lovely people I’d love to be pals with, and so many amazing books I’d love to read. But to some extent we all have our preferences, and these are not necessarily aspirations, rather me just whiling away time and thinking what I’d like best. I could describe my idea of an idyllic future, but if truth be told, I’d much prefer to just see what happens. If I am ultimately happy, and I make others around me similarly happy, I feel my life will have been fulfilled. That’s plenty enough for me.

Thank you, Ellen! 

And, now, introducing Liz! 

wellmeaningbeing for Tori's Quotes, on Tori's Tales

Welllmeaningbeing is written by me, Liz. It's a place where I share my thoughts on wellbeing and how I am trying to live within a mindful lifestyle. Its a little space where I can ask questions and be creative, it's a place where I hope anyone who stops by for a read, will leave feeling uplifted. When I'm not harping on about wellbeing, I can be found nattering about green beauty products, yummy food, the delicious hot beverage that is tea and mini adventures.

Does the message in this month's quote ring true for you? Does age matter when goals or dreams are concerned?

When I was younger I expected certain things to have happened by the time I reached the age I am now, mainly that I'd a) feel like an adult (hello, when does that kick in?!) and b) I'd be on a set career path, one I'd already found myself moving along for a good few years.

This quote certainly rings true with me. Especially because I used to be so stuck on the fact that what I had once dreamed of as a child never became reality. Even now I catch myself thinking, "I'm way to old to start that now". It frustrates me - of course there is always time to dream a new dream and create a new goal. 

Have you witnessed the same in your life? Have your goals changed with age, or are you on the path you imaged yourself to be taking? 

I never had a set path in mind when I was growing up, even now as I am trying to move forward in a way that creates contentment. My goals focus on how I feel and what experiences I'd like to have. If I put too much focus on career I feel like that would leave me feeling constantly disheartened. I work to fulfill my needs not to fulfill my dreams. I have found it hard to find a dream job, so all my goals and dreams are outside of work.

Do you believe in setting goals for yourself? Is it important to you to do so, or - like me - do goals stall or stop you from getting you where you want to be (or prove to be some such similar obstacle)?

Hard work always pays off

Hard work always pays off

I'm very fickle and so it is hard to really set a goal in stone. I choose things like, I am going to become a better cook, I have going to start a blog. When I find myself in a moment of grandeur, I like to come back to reality and know that dreams are what you make of them and goals come and go. They move in and out of our lives are we grow and evolve. What may have seemed important can lose it's shine. For example, when I was fourteen I apparently really wanted to be driving a red convertible by the time of was 25. now, in present, I am only just learning to drive and in no way do I want that convertible. My goals have shifted. Driving will give me more freedom and the means to visit people and places further afield. The skill of driving is the focus, not the car.

Do you have a dream for yourself, for your future? 

If there is ever such a thing, I dream of the good life, where I will want for nothing but have everything I need in family, friends and in the space I have cultivated for myself.  I want to be able to keep things minimal and spend more time experiencing life happening. I want to watch my own family grow, create a support network for those around me and then, of course, grow old gracefully wearing draping fabric and massive gemstones. Darling.

And there we have it! 

Discussions are welcomed, and I do hope you'll join me in thanking both Ellen and Liz for taking time out to share on Tori's Tales. As always, I'm honoured by the effort put in! 

Have you ever felt the weight of an expectation rest on your shoulders due to age? 

Have your dreams and goals changed completely, or shifted, the older you've become? 

Between Lenses | Silence


Between Lenses, an Of Trees and Hues and Tara Victoria collaboration, on Tori's Tales


Yesterday I took myself out for a walk through The Park - a beautiful, private residential estate that originally belonged to owners of the Castle, and was used as a recreational area - with a camera around my neck, and a notebook toting (poorly) scrawled information gathered from Trina's most recent post for her Photography 101 series all about understanding shutter speed. I hastily walked through the city, eager for the sun to follow me, and only briefly stopping to snap a few shots of Robin Hood before I carried on my merry way (it had to be done).

Once I'd walked past the gates, and ambled down the hill (the first of many), marvelling at the fact that it seemed I was the only person out enjoying the late afternoon sun, I decided then was a moment to fully appreciate being out and about on my own somewhere beautiful. Then was a moment to soak up my surroundings, to really breathe the air, to crunch through the leaves (for there was many a carpet out for the offering), and to just be at one with myself. And when I listened - and I mean really listened - to what my environment offered me in return for my being open to it, I realised the air was thick with the quiet of still surroundings. Of silence.

'Silence' on an autumn walk, for Between Lenses

'Silence' on an autumn walk, for Between Lenses

And, so, the image above was born. I swooped down low, nestled my lens in-between the leaves, and captured this lone feather caught in the sunlight, dancing on the light breeze. 

Have you been searching for silence, recently? Why not join Of Trees and Hues and Tara Victoria for their 'Between Lenses' collaboration and share what you find. 

2 years in Nottingham


The Prudential Building, Nottingham

The Prudential Building, Nottingham

An anniversary

2 years ago today we moved up to Nottingham from Winchester and into this flat - me, after some 24 years in the same house, and the boy after some 3 in his most recent one. 

2 years in a duplex (the 12th apartment seen of 13 in total) that is 4 floors up one side, and 1 floor down on the other, having been built into a cliff side back in 1850. 

2 years in the historic Lace Market area of Nottingham (originally the centre of the lace manufacturing world) but a stone's thrown from the city centre, and on a street that is home to 4 bars (it has been reported Nottingham has more bars, restaurants, and clubs per square mile than any other city in Europe - quite the fact, aye?!), 1 church (the oldest in the city, built - most probably - in the late 14th Century), 1 art gallery in the form of Nottingham Contemporary (home to 4 gallery spaces), 1 family-owned-and-run cafe named Hungry Pumpkin, and 1 of the most haunted buildings in the UK - the Galleries of Justice Museum (previously a Victorian courtroom, Gaol, and police station).

St Mary's Church, Lace Market, Nottingham

St Mary's Church, Lace Market, Nottingham

Tori's tips! 

Never having moved away before, the experience offered quite the learning curve - here are a few tips in case you ever find yourself in the same situation: 

Image from the day we moved in! 

Image from the day we moved in! 

The move

Be prepared to feel a little overwhelmed

Moving can be stressful, emotional, and - therefore - both physically and emotionally draining. Because of this, make sure you give yourself breaks between getting stuff inside your new abode sorted - switch the kettle on (if the idea takes your fancy) and allow yourself time to let it all sink in, slowly. Don't push yourself. 

Unpacking is important but make it your aim to make the space comfortable rather than focusing on getting everything out at once! 

As much as unpacking is boring, and takes a long time, making yourself comfortable somewhere new offers the best opportunity to help soften the blow of unfamiliar surroundings. However, if you don't have it in you to get all the 'big' stuff out that you may have carted along, don't worry - it'll all still be there tomorrow! Take care of all those creature comforts first - pop your bedding on, fold your pj's on your pillow, grab those toothbrushes of yours and clink them into a fish-decorated glass (not negotiable I'm afraid), search for your favourite socks and decorate your feet, or find where you were in your book and get reading on that new sofa of yours. Take it one step at a time! 

Sort out all the nitty gritty (i.e. boring) stuff in the first couple of days

As soon as you are able, gather together all the info you need to allow you do things like getting the internet connected or setting up your account with the electricity company (or, if possible, do so before you move, because looking up stuff on the internet on your phone zaps data! ). Yup, all that fun needs-doing-now-you're-an-adult stuff. Trust me, though - you don't want to be a week down the line with all of it hanging over your head (especially as the internet takes time to get connected - a week or so, at least, in some cases!). Get it done asap and you won't have to think about it again (until the first bill arrives...), and thus can get back to enjoying more cups of tea. 

Door in a tree, Attenborough Village

Door in a tree, Attenborough Village

The new area

Take time to learn about the history of the place you've moved to

This was one of our favourite things to do when we moved, and something we still put time into now. Nottingham, and in particular the Lace Market, has an incredibly rich history, which makes learning about it a pretty fascinating experience. You never know what you might find out once you start digging!  For example, the area we live in once housed the Narrow Marsh Slums - a maze of 3 storey 'back to back' houses crowded around central courtyards that offered a shared commode for 20 houses, open gutters, and communal taps (read more here). 

Don't let the tourists have all the fun! 

It may seem a little cliché, but if your area is a known tourist destination, why not follow in the footsteps of the visitors and get to know your city (or town, village, hamlet...) through their eyes? Learn enough and you can offer up tour guide skills when you have guests come to stay! We've yet to hit up all the tourist hotspots here, but you better believe I got myself a picture of the Robin Hood Statue in the first week we moved.....

Explore the area around your new home 

Moving somewhere new opens up a whole host of possibilities regarding exciting places to visit, so make the most of it! We continued the tourist trend in our first week and visited Sherwood Forest and it's 800 year old Major Oak, the stunning Newstead Abbey, and a firm favourite of ours (and Bruce Wayne's) - Wollaton Hall. In getting out and about, we realised how beautiful the surrounding area is, and how close we are to places like the Peak District - I recommend exploring to get your bearings! 

Nottingham Council House building

Nottingham Council House building

What to do once you're in 

Use local independents 

After the move it was easy to get excited about the fact certain High Street stores could be reached by foot, but I'm now more appreciative of all the fantastic independent stores this city boasts - clothes shops, and music stores, cafes and restaurants. It's these I turn to when I fancy time outside the apartment. Yes, it's great to have places like Topshop nearby, but it's far more exciting to stumble upon, and shop in, somewhere that offers something a little different. 

Drink as the locals do

This isn't a tip from me (not being much of a drinker) but one from the boy - upon visiting our local pub for the first time, he had a go at trying out the local ales (most brewed at the Castle Rock Brewery about a mile from our flat!) and fell head over heels for the Harvest, if there's a particular drink the residents of your town go for, or a brewery nearby, why not try it out? Much like shopping local independents, it's great to be able to support Nottingham-brewed ale!  

Have a search for all the places you know you're going to need and commit the journeys to them to memory 

It may sound obvious, but it makes life a little easier when you know where the local big supermarket is (or markets), the Post Office (and Delivery Office), dry cleaners, DIY store and wherever else it is you'll likely to be stopping at every so often (or regularly, in the case of food related places). And while you're at it.....

Check out local transport links and keep an eye on prices!

We've the train station around 10 mins walk from our flat, and the bus system here is fantastic because it's far-reaching and day travel is capped at £3.40. We also have a tram system - with a new line being added that should open before we leave next year - which I used to get to New Art Exchange (and loved because it felt like I was going on an adventure!) recently.

It's always helpful to know how easy it is for you to get to and from the area you live, and also to work out how long it will take you to get to the nearest transport stop you're going to be using before you need to use it - time your walk so you can add it to your overall journey time! 

Have you moved recently, or are you planning to, soon? Have any tips of your own to share? Do so below! 

The month of September


A misty morning outside our window

A misty morning outside our window

A new season 

August signalled the end of summer for me, with it’s chilly days (and nights), it’s rainstorms and grey skies, and it’s 'let's slow things down' approach. It started with a trip to Blogstock, and ended with a weekend in Shropshire, but didn't have much going on in-between (apart from a detour into handmade fox territory). It also brought with it a few thoughts that left me feeling less-than fulfilled. A few worries. An aching body.

September has rolled around with a presence greater than the one it's sister maintained and fizzled out with. Already it’s day’s are sunnier, and a promise of an Indian summer lies ahead, dancing like sunbeams through the slats of our living room blinds, and tickling our shoulders, toes, and fingers wrapped around mugs of tea (that causes us to sweat when coupled with the heat of the midday sun) with it's soft sigh of a smile. September is to be a month of hello's - to friends, new visitors (for London will be welcoming a temporary resident in the form of Suruchi!), and family (thanks to a trip back home planned for the middle of the month). To my final year.

Our university campus, University of Nottingham 

Our university campus, University of Nottingham 

Plans for the month ahead

I've made a promise to myself to tackle each day as mightily as I can. My plans involve spending a little more time appreciating Nottingham - by visiting museum, galleries, and areas I haven't before - and to encourage myself to be a tourist in the city I live in; to learn more about it before time runs out. I'm also hoping to introduce a new series (somewhat related to the aforementioned explorations) - ideas are still in their infancy, but I like where they're going, and I'm keeping fingers crossed they'll end up appearing over here, all adult-like and informative! 

My attitude has been a little less bright and breezy of late - thanks to a build up of all those things mentioned above - but I am going to do my best to face up to the fears, and tackle things head on. With less than a month to go before the additional pressure that will come with the university term I don't want to start, it's important I make room by sorting out the stuff that's already here, clogging up head-space. 

What are your plans for September? What will a new season mean to you? 

Mission accomplished


Tea, flapjack, and a fox - Tori's Tales

There's nothing quite like the smile that appears (without thought) on one's face to accompany the words, 'I made that', nor the sense of pride that washes over oneself thanks to the achievement felt when a task is completed. A mission, accomplished

Fox is this week's achievement. And that little messy pile of oaty-flapjack-goodness (recipe adapted from Ella's) resting alongside my nearly-all-drunk cup of tea.

Feet up. Fox out. Belly full.  

What did you accomplish this week? Share below.