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A pause in January


A pause in January, Nottingham snowy roofs, Tori's Tales

2015 is here!

Well, hello there, my bright-as-a-penny-sparkling-in-the-sun (basking in the glow of this brand new year) friend, and how are you doing on this (finally-fine!) day? I am sat, enjoying the light that is pouring through our windows, and nursing a (very large - I'm talking, as big as my head) mug of tea (adorned with the words 'Tori's Tea' - a wonderful Christmas gift from the family I used to Nanny for), plus a head full of buzzing-about thoughts (as is always the way nowadays!).

(*Note: thanks to revision, I'm finishing this post in the evening, so the light is no longer pouring through the windows, but - instead - we are being artificially-lit by the poor excuses for lighting this flat came with*). 

I do hope that, for you, this month has started in a way that you'd be happy for the rest of it to follow suit (minus the inevitable the-day-after-the-night-before hangovers I'm sure many of you had to cope with, for which Annie has a miracle cure!). 2015 promises for so many a brand new show-me-what-you've-got-and-I'll-tackle-it-head-first start; a clean slate, a blank page...the chance to 'begin again'. I've seen 'resolutions' and 'goals' posts aplenty of late (good luck to EVERYONE who is starting the year with something to aim for!), but my favourite has got to be this piece from Erin (of Design for Mankind) on her 2015 non-goals (reflecting on all those things she is learning to embrace about this moment - doesn't that sound wonderful?!), mainly due to the fact I'm more of a 'let's see where the moment takes me (because I'm a pessimistic-perfectionist)' kinda gal.

For me, January is to be a month dominated by revision, as I prepare myself for my (second-to-last-ever set of) exams, starting on the 15th. As this is the case, I've decided to allow myself to take a little breather and a break away from this space - I shall be sharing as and when I'm able to - but no more than I can handle - to not get in the way of my revision. So, you might see me here once a week, or this might be the last time you'll see me until February (when, trust me, I will most definitely be back!). I'll see what I can do!

Meanwhiles, to allow myself a little down-time (all work and no play...and all that) - away from thoughts on Marx's theory of alienation, classical compatibilism, and human reproductive cloning - I'm working on that tantalising-trio of mind, body, and soul. I've actually taken to doing a little reading of late (how it's happening, I don't know, but I'm definitely NOT going to query it!), and am about a sixth (not sure why I felt the need to be specific) of a way through Danielle La Porte's The Desire Map, the aim of which is to figure out how I want to feel in 2015. It has to be said, I'm enjoying the read thus far, and am very much looking forward to getting stuck into the workbook portion in the second section.

Speaking of...I've just downloaded Susannah Conway's 'Unravelling the year ahead' workbook - which I did all thanks to Esmé (who is a marvellous creature, well-worth a follow - her most recent post 'Other People's Success: On Artistic Jealousy' discusses feelings of envy and jealousy in a way that makes me feel quite normal (we are only human, after all) for having them - and in particular because she has got me thinking about what I produce, and the creative legacy I'll leave via my online presence) - and, furthermore, have subscribed to Susannah's 'Find your word' 5-day email class (the first task for which I really enjoyed tackling!).

I'm also working through A Beautiful Mess' Blog Life e-course (which was graciously gifted to me by a friend), to help me clarify a few things blog-wise, and I can definitely say that, despite barely having scraped the surface as of yet, I already appreciate the insight it's giving me into the Tori's Tales of the future (wooooohhhh). On top of all that, I'm participating in the Yoga With Adriene #30daysofyoga series (which you can subscribe to via the YouTube channel). I have been a huge fan of Adriene's for quite some time now, and I'm looking forward to finding something new from her on my YT sub list every day! 

And so that is it, for now, dear ones! I'll be seeing you when.....well.....I see you (although please do feel free to drop me a hello or two below, or give me a little summin' to respond to by way of your plans for this month of January. I'm a busy-body; I like to know these things), if not before, via the mystical ways of social media...

Here's to 2015!


Here's to 2015, Tori's Tales


What a year it has been! One full of changes here on the blog - of new starts, new friends, and new paths. You'll find no posts from me here dated before March - with the re-vamp came my decisions to cut-ties with the Tori's Tales of yore and start afresh, with a clearer voice, a more open approach, and an overwhelming desire to find my feet in the community.

In deciding I wanted to do so, I branched outreading-wise - and came to know a whole host of blogs and bloggers different to those I was first exposed to back in 2012. Being so opened my eyes to life(style) blogging, and aided my decision to shift my focus towards documenting my daily life, fuelling my passion for writing and sharing the every day. 

All of the faces you see below played a part in making 2014 the year that it was. I have love in my heart for each and every one. Click through to immerse yourself in their worlds, and enjoy your time (well spent) reading through what they have to share. Each and every one has something special to offer you. These ladies (and Chris!) have motivated me in ways I couldn't even put into words - with their talent, determination, strive-to-do-more (or less!) attitudes, heap-loads of design and blogging advice, their keen sense of adventure, handy hints and tips, warmth, offers of (and chats aboutfriendship (comfort and support, too), their zest for life, eagerness to pursue the better, heart-warming (and often heart-wrenchinghonesty, and willingness to share warts-and-all

Image Map

Image Map

Image Map

And, of course, thanks must go out to everyone who has visited here over the last 12 months - whether you share your thoughts in response to my words, or spend your time behind-the-scenes, your presence is welcomed and greatly appreciated. I'm lucky to have you accompany me on my journey through life, and I can't wait to share my 2015 with you. And, thanks to my incredibly generous parents, I'll be doing so as the super-happy owner of my very own Canon, so I'll hopefully (once exams are finished at the end of January!) be able to offer you more in the way of photography and maybe something in the way of video come the new year! 

Here's to 2015, my friends. May it bring you happiness in abundance.

Between Lenses: Reflection


Between Lenses Reflection, Tori's Tales

I cannot believe this month's Between Lenses is the last of 2014 (although, don't you worry, it does not mean the end - Trina and Tara are, thankfully, continuing the tradition into 2015!). Although I have only taken part a handful of times, I have been following along since the collaboration began in January, and it has been an absolute joy to watch the series develop, and to have my images sit alongside those produced by the talented hands of both ladies (and, of course, by all of the bloggers who have taken part each month!).

Now to December's image, and I couldn't think of anything more fitting than a festively-themed submission!

Between Lenses Reflection, Tori's Tales, Christmas

A little reflection

This month's theme - reflection - called upon me to do a little of my own in the way of looking back across 2014 and reminiscing about what it meant to me. I will always look back on it fondly, as it was the year in which I formed many'a friendship that I now could not imagine myself being without, and because it was the year in which I became a part of this community.

Although I still feel as though I'm living in limbo-land where my tales are concerned (with thoughts for what I should do come the new year forever plaguing me), I'm so grateful to be here, sharing with you, and to be on the receiving end of the support offered every time I post. Revamping Tori's Tales back in March meant posting in a way that felt much more me - far more authentic of voice - and to have you all respond to the 'real me' so positively means the whole bloody great big world to me.

I always felt like the odd one out growing up, so it goes to show just how much investing in an online community can bring, because I now very much feel as though I 'fit in'. I know online friendships are often met with confused looks (and feelings) when discussed with those in the 'outside world', but I've never known acceptance or support like that which I've encountered through blogging and social media. I get to speak to the best friends a gal - in fact, anyone! - could ever ask for, every day, and - really - what could be better than that?


Top | Left - Warmth, Right - Silence

Bottom | Left - Mornings, Right - Urban

Here's to Trina and Tara for their amazing collaboration. Thank you both for offering us the opportunity to take part, and here's to the 2015 editions!

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland


Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales

Bamburgh, Northumberland 

We became enamoured with the North - and in particular Northumberland - last year, when we whizzed through on our way up to Scotland in our buddy Eric. A mixture of stunning landscapes, beautiful buildings packed-full of history, and charming coastlines, the area quite literally (thanks to those coastal ‘breezes’) took our breath away.

No spot more so, however, than Bamburgh - a dainty coastal village dominated by it’s (I still can’t work out which century it’s from, though I'm going with 11th) Castle, situated among grassy sand dunes, and overlooking a stretched-out-for-miles beach

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Fowberry Farm
Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Fowberry Farm

Campsite, views, and walks 

Although last year we had pride-of-parking-place on a tarmacked spot opposite the castle (what a sunrise that was to awake to), this time around – which was, in fact, back in October; how that time flew by - we chose not to 'wing it' but, instead, to plonk ourselves in a campsite. Yes, we have Eric, but his facilities aren't in the tip-toppiest of conditions – save a working stove top, comfy-ish bed, and his well-used/well-worn sofas - so I’m always on the hunt for shower facilities and a toilet I don’t have to empty myself! 

Fowberry Farm turned out to be the most perfect of choices. Nestled almost halfway between Bamburgh and Seahouses, it offered us a fantastic base from which to launch ourselves on walks, and the surrounding fields - through which our path to the villages lay (full of sheep - above -we were spooked by come Saturday morning, because we’d gone for a walk in the pitch-black night on Friday and had no clue they were there!) - offered us views almost unrivalled by any other campsite we've visited.. 

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Sand dunes

Beach walks, Bamburgh, and Seahouses

A lazy few hours Saturday morning were spent reading, and willing the clouds to part, before we headed out and across to Bamburgh, clad in layers of please-keep-us-warm clothing, and please-keep-us-dry macs. Battling the slanting rain, we crossed through the dunes and out onto the sand, and spent time slicing through (with tremendous force) the bitter-with-salty-tears air, witnessed only by a few brave-as-us couples, and their soggy-to-the-bone dogs.

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales
Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Seahouses

A loop back around to Eric - met by what I took to be a shaggy-coat-wearing greyhound, but which I've since worked out must have been a deerhound, one of many we saw that weekend - and a pit-stop for lunch, our full-bellied selves were met with brighter skies for the let's-stomp-to-Seahouses portion of our day out. A mini-golf-and-campsite-clad seaside town, the place heaved with tourists and pub-heading locals, and was strewn with search-for-chips seagulls, taunted by vinegar-soaked air.

An hour long (and then some) walk back across the beach created parched throats, eased only by a rest and a drink in a hotel bar, before the need to head back, eat some more, and slumber overtook us. 

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales


Sunday met with a swift pack-up-for-home, and a short journey around to the castle for photos . The morning sun lit our path, providing some much needed warmth for our early-hours let's-soak-up-the-sea-air-for-the-last-time walk, before Alnwick found itself with us terrible-trio for company. Barter Books came a'calling, before we zipped across for a river walk alongside the Castle (of Hogwarts, and soon-to-be Christmas Downton Abbey, fame), it's beauty set-off by the blue-and-green scenery. 

Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Barter Books, Alnwick
Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Alnwick Castle
Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Alnwick Castle
Motorhome life: Bamburgh, Northumberland, Tori's Tales, Angel of the North

Off to the motorway, and the Angel of the North we then zoomed (to marvel at, alongside icecream-eating pensioners), before tackling the 200-odd miles back down to the Midlands, with fuller hearts and lighter heads.

Our mission was simple – to spend time just being. To enjoy the coastal walks, the gorgeous views, and each other’s company. All of which we managed to pull off quite marvellously. 

A Tour Through Blogland


A Tour Through Blogland, Tori's Tales

I don’t think Sarah’s invitation – to be a part of the series ‘A Tour Through Blogland – could have come at a better time, allowing me to open up and update you on what has been happening. The idea is that, through the answering of 4 questions, you – my wonderful readers, and supportive community members – get to know a little more about what I'm up to, and the process behind these here tales. One then is encouraged to extend a hand to a fellow blogger(s), to have them do the same - find out who I invited to take part after my chat! 

What are you working on?

  • Content

I’m working – slowly, but fairly surely - on progressing. Though not quite enough time has passed by that any lack of presence is obvious, I have been pulling away from this space 'physically' lately, although mentally I detached myself quite some time ago. There has been something about ‘here’ – if I’m to be honest with you (and why wouldn't I be?) – that doesn't fit right with me. The feelings of unease arose originally from my worries about the design - and my lack of creative ability to makes changes - but has slowly moved towards the content I create, the need to take a next step, and the want to offer something a little 'more'. 

Though I haven’t yet put my finger on why, discussions (and wonderful advice from Trina, Holly, and Tara) have lead me to realise that, for me to progress (and I have, thankfully, decided that is something I want to do), I need to find a purpose for this space. Questions about what I 'add' to the lives (or, rather, the experience) of those who visit here have danced centre-stage in my thoughts of late, and the problem has been that I'm not sure I'm able to answer that question, much as I’ve tried.

My aim, then (alongside creating content you already see here), is to branch out (to think outside this little box-head of mine), and to do my best to offer you all something new and exciting; the meaningful every day. I want to share more of me - not just images (like the above - hellooo!) - but also my thoughts and feelings. Opinions even (yes, I used the 'o' word!). After reading a fantastically-raw and honesty-filled email from Molly last night - the newsletter for Cora, the company Molly is the founder of, whose mission I wrote about back in June - and the words of Shannon (that I head over to read every. bloody. day - that's how marvellous she is), I have realised how important it is for me to not feel frightened to be open. We all have voices that deserve to be heard, and I'm going to work towards lifting whatever it is that I've felt stifled by for so long. 

  • Life

The new year will bring with it my last 6 months at university, and a massive step towards my future life, with a move to a new city (either Sheffield or Manchester) planned for late summer, to coincide with my boy starting his postgraduate degree (which is jolly weird to say when we've yet to graduate as undergrads!). My wish is that I will be proactive in my search for what my own future will hold, and so I will be holding myself accountable for the decisions I make in 2015 by documenting my journey here. I have a slightly different story to tell than those of your average undergrad, as a 29 year old who very much has disliked her university experience (gotta be honest, haven't I?!), with no real plans for where I'm going, or what I want to do. I'm hoping that, in recording each step of the way, I'll be more present in my experience, and benefit more greatly from it. 

I’ve also been toying with the idea – and it’s something I discussed with Rosie and Amy via twitter, both of whom thought it sounded like a good un’ – of creating an online group to help others do the same; my idea is that (I can't take all the credit - that goes to this episode of Jess' podcast) those who become involved will set themselves goals for the month and in return will be assigned a partner who will help them achieve them, through encouragement and support. I haven’t thought out all the nitty gritty details yet, but I'm feeling jazzed about the idea - pop a comment below if it sounds like something you'd be interested in taking part in! 

  • Design

I’m also still working on a new design for this space. As I’ve mentioned, a lot of the problems I’ve had with posting here (especially new ideas I've had, i.e. those on introducing a series) is that I've been loathe to do so when it doesn't look as I want it to. Though I know my effort isn't ‘wasted’ as such, whilst I'm not happy with the way it looks I just can’t take the next steps I want to, content-wise. Because of this, I am determined to brush up on my (almost non-existent) html and css skills, and take a step towards creating my own designed-by-these-very-hands website. *Aside - any tips or tricks you fancy sharing would be most welcomed!*. It's been on my mind for a while but, ever-the-pessimist, I've told myself time and time again that I just can't do it. I'm hoping that I will prove that little voice inside my head wrong, and have something to show off at some point over the next few months!   

How does your work differ from others in its' genre?

Although I can’t profess to be anything special (I share this wonderful world wide web with hundreds of thousands upon thousands of other blogs), nor will I make the move to suggest that my blog slots into a particular genre (maybe a sub-genre, one I like to call a ‘my life’), the one thing I can be sure of is that what makes this space different is that it’s written by me about random happenings and thoughts from – you’ve guessed it – my life. Though I’m working on tidying things up a little come the new year, I find it hard to ‘categorise’ what I offer, because it’s all just a jumbled-up creation of my thoughts, words on days out, a collaboration here and there, and introductions to my local area...check back through my most recent posts and you’ll find one on Nottingham’s Christmas market, my Between Lenses entry (a beautiful photography-based collaboration set up by Trina and Tara), a ‘recollectionof my day, and highlights from a trip to a local market. There is no rhyme or reason, nor any real pattern to what I do, and that just is exactly what makes it different – no one else shares my perspective, nor does anyone else live the life I do, and that’s this space’s quirk; the me.

Why do you write/create what you do?

I always find ‘why’ questions the hardest kind to answer, as I lean towards a childlike (paired with a shrug) ‘because’. There isn’t just one ‘you’ve-hit-the-nail-on-the-head-there-son’ reason for why I do what I do, though the feelings behind my doing so fall in line with those of wanting and needing to. The latter, mainly, because it affords me an opportunity to be creative, and the former because there’s just something about the act of writing that nothing else I do matches – a want to give to others, to share with a community, and to document for the future me.

How does your writing/creative process work?

I’m baffled that it ever does! I'm more of a 'fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' gal than I am a ‘let’s get all my posts typed up for the week and schedule them’ one (though I wish I were more like the latter!). As I mentioned above, I am gunning for better organisation in the new year, however, right now I tend towards writing and publishing on the same day. I use Google calendar, and ‘plan’ post titles ahead of time, but I often end up chopping and changing what it is I go with on the day. I'm still working on building a library of images - à la Miranti's - I can dip into, because often I find myself without a photo to fit to my words (however loosely), and that can delay my hitting ‘publish’, but – again – this is something I might have to postpone doing until 2015, when I hope to (somehow!) save up enough to buy myself a (second-hand – student budget woes will always get in one’s way!) camera. Other than that, the actual process involves sitting at the table, (and occasionally staring out of the window), lots of editing (sometimes deleting and re-writing), and re-reading until the bloody cows come home.....the perfectionist in me has got me scrutinising every single word to the point where I have to hit 'publish' just to stop myself from going crazy! 

My darling friend Georgia's blog 'Brew Up Buttercup' will be the next door arrived at on this whistle-stop tour through blogland. Hop on over this coming Sunday to see what she has to say! 

Brew up Buttercup