Friday

THRIFTY TRAVELS: A Campingflight To Lowlands Paradise, Amsterdam

Hello everyone!
I'm back from Amsterdam! I had such an incredible time over at Lowlands Festival, four days went oh so fast.The weather was wonderful for us, I think it was in the high 20s most days and gloriously sunny.I'm a big fan of camping anyway so roughing it for a few days doesn't bother me. That being said, when I got home late on Monday night my caravan bed felt like a luxury!

In my previous post, I mentioned how we were doing the festival on a budget and we seemed to have it all worked out. When we arrived in Amsterdam Central we found a cute little restaurant called Cau and treated ourselves to brunch and 10 am Pina Coladas! Well, we were on holiday after all...
When we arrived at the festival you had to change euros into 'Muntern' the festival's own currency. This meant that out budgeting was out the window as Muntern made everything very expensive. We were street rats lucky to find a few Muntern on the floor so we could treat ourselves to churros haha.

In a way, it was nice to share food and live off the basics as it was a different festival experience. We were so excited to have squash in our water, probably as excited as when we allowed ourselves a beer each! Usually, it's the norm to get absolutely wasted at festivals but we were happy with a bottle of rum between us for a few days.
Also we noticed how well behaved the Dutch are, they definitely know how to party but there were no signs of awful, lairy drunks or people off their heads The Dutch are super-friendly and their English is amazing! I felt guilty that I couldn't speak any other language so it's definitely inspired me to learn. They welcomed us with open arms ( & beautiful airport staff) and I have fallen in love with the country and their Stroopwaffles :D





My favourite musical memories of the festival:
Years and Years covering 'Breathe' by Sean Paul & Blu Cantrell
James Bay doing his woo-aaaah-oooh noises in the crowd
Slaves just being general mad-heads on stage
Paulo Nutini singing 'Candy' and definitely looking into my eyes whilst doing so :)
Catching 'Pompeii' by Bastille
Limp Bizkit still being badass
Hot Chip just having the best set ever!
The Maccabees being so brilliant and humble
Passenger singing 'Things I hate' lalalalalaaaaaa
'Bitch don't kill my vibe' at Kendrick Lemar
Having a euphoric hour watching Tame Impala, ah it was so dreamy :)
M A J O R  L A Z E R having the most intense, upbeat energy


There were a few things I wish I'd packed that are definitely going on my festivalling abroad/ travelling essentials list;
A watch: Honestly a time-keeping device is just something you take for granted, we all had phone but they consequently ran out of battery so trying to keep to the band schedule was crazy. Next time a watch is a must have.
Portable phone charger: This one you can take or leave really but I took one to Glastonbury festival and it was brilliant, the queues for phone charging were ridiculous and I imagine it was quite a few muntern too! We managed to charge our phones at the airport on the way home so it wasn't so bad.
A hat: Again it's one of those things you'd usually pack for a holiday but as we were packing light I didn't even think to bring one. The weather was so warm and as we were constantly exposed I think I did get a wee bit of sunburn on my parting. Next time it's backwards baseball cap all the way Limp Bizkit style.

I could ramble on for hours about every little detail but I think I'll leave it there haha, I feel like after this little trip it's really got my travelling bug buzzing around. I'm planning to do some thrifty international adventures but I think I'll save that for another post...such a tease ;)

Have you ever been to Lowlands or another festival abroad? What were your essentials?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Sunday

How To Prepare For A Summer Festival Abroad When You're Skint

Aloha!
So in the early hours of Thursday morning I'm off to Amsterdam yeaaaaah. I'm going to Lowlands festival (or 'A Campingflight To Lowlands Paradise' if we're being fancy) for the weekend and I.am.so.excited :D
I have been to this festival before at the wee age of 17 so I'm looking forward to re-visiting the area as a 'grown-up'.
Aww naive, pouty nu-ravers back in 2008 :')
Some of my must see bands are: 
TAME IMPALA(!!!)
DJANGO DJANGO
THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
HOT CHIP
LIMP BIZKIT
MAJOR LAZER
PAOLO NUTINI
SLAVES
THE MACCABEES

I can't imagine that I was rolling in dough when I was only 17 but I feel like this time I'm really going to have to scrimp & save. Y'know me though, that doesn't mean it can't still be fun...

Cheap Flights
Skyscanner will be your best friend, you can sign up for e-mail updates and they will let you know when the price goes up or down. It's worth checking a few local-ish airports to see which ones have better flight times. We were a bit unorganised and in the few weeks when we were sorting out tickets etc the flight prices had doubles & now they have almost tripled so it's worth booking them early.

Acquire A Proper Bag.
Last time I went to Lowlands we took suitcases on wheels which seemed like an excellent idea but really it was the worst. Amsterdam is like 95% cobbles so within no time our wheels were square and palms were blistered. I have well and truly learned my lesson so it's rucksacks this time for sure.
I don't have a fancy ergonomic rucksack and I was actually shocked at the price for a decent one, anywhere upwards of £60 which isn't gonna happen on my unemployed budget.
Luckily I have quite a few friends who have been travelling so I've asked if I can borrow one for the weekend instead.

Make Sure You Know The Baggage Limits
We're flying with easyjet and have decided to have one hold bag between four of us & seperate hand luggage. The only reason we have to have hold luggage is because tents are apparently 'dangerous' which means they have foiled my plans to gauge out some eyes with tent pegs :|
Anyway if your baggage is too big or too heavy then they can be sneaky buggers and charge up to £20 per kg which is a bummer. So make sure you're on it and research the limits as all plane service are different.

Get Travel Insurance
I used travelsupermarket.com to find the best deals. It one of those things you really don't want to have to pay for but if anything happens we'll be grateful for it. For four us it worked out at £2.75 each which is nothing for peace of mind.
I also ordered a European health card as mine had expired. They're free to have and it just means that you'll have the same health rights as a citizen in whatever country you are visiting.

Share
We're only going for four days so we hardly need to take multiple packs of baby wipes & a can of dry shampoo each. Plus this will help for our limited baggage. So we're going to share beauty products and probably share a big bottle of rum when we arrive there too. The plan is to go to a supermarket when we arrive so that we can get what we need and don't have to carry it around. 
Last time we went my friend got her mint sauce confiscated at the airport as it was over 100ml and she was mortified-she didn't eat anything without mint sauce ahaha...

Have you ever seen such a symmetrical festival?!
I've been practicing packing light & pondering over plane suitable snacks haha,
Have you ever been to Lowlands or a festival abroad?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Saturday

Catch-up: JULY (CARAVANS, CATS, CAMPING & CHARITY SHOPS)

Well helloo there!
I do always start my posts with long time no see, but I have been incredibly busy since I left Preston at the beginning of June!
-It started with one house move
-Adopting the role of wedding planner
-Celebrating my mum & stepdad's wedding
-House/dog/cat/sister sitting for two and a half weeks
-Moving house again, this time from my childhood home
-Setting up my caravan
-Holidaying in tipis with my girls
-Wedding in tipis with my other girls

It's just been a crazy jam-packed couple of months, but I've absolutely loved it! I've literally just got internet in my caravan as my computer has been packed away in a box for far too long.

I'm super-happy living in my caravan which is known as 'The Lone Ranger'. It's such a cosy, cute space and I'll definitely be showing you more snaps when I find a home for everything. It's obviously got a hippy vibe and more plants and cat ornaments then deemed necessary but hey that's me :)
Body shop crew at Jill's wedding, Gorgeous view of Lake Windermere, Tipi holiday! Little area in my caravan
Another stunning view of the countryside, Mia helping with the moving process, Buckmaster wedding! Millie checking out my empty childhood room before we moved.

In fact, I'm just really happy to be back in the countryside. I have to admit last time I was living here I didn't make the most of it at all. I was stressed about job hunting and irritated that I couldn't settle properly without my own room. Plus I was on jobseekers and that was pretty soul-destroying especially as I'd just graduated university and I was desperate to be living in a city. I guess I was lonely too as all my friends were spread out over the country...

Now I'm in a completely different mindset, I have my own space, job-hunting is on the back burner and I have some of my best friends living close-by. My main goal over the next few months is to go travelling. Not necessarily a year-long backpacking trip just a few different countries whilst I don't have anything to tether me here. So many people my age have had gap years or worked abroad and I haven't done anything like that. My wanderlust gene has obviously reared its curious head.
The Lake District is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I'm so lucky to be living here again, but I need some new experiences and some sunshine!

I've got some exciting things planned for August, The main event being Lowlands festival in Amsterdam! I've been before in 2008 and it was incredible. Tame Impala are my must watch band, their latest album has been on repeat for the last month.
I'm also meeting up with a few thrifty ladies for a 'charity shop blogger meet-up' which as you can imagine is right up my street :)
I'll be catching up with a lot of my family too which is always nice.

Anyway, I'll be posting a lot more regularly now I'm settled here. Thank you for sticking around even through my erratic silences :)

What are you looking forward to this month?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx






Monday

Why I decided to leave my whimsical mansion & comfortable job to become unemployed & live in a caravan...

Hey guys,
 First things first there's been a whole lot of changes happening here at Whimsy Towers...

After April being a fairly crappy month, I found out I didn't get a job I'd been hoping for, my contract hours going down at work, things fizzling out with the guy I was seeing & general family dramas I decided I needed a change.

Where will I go? What will I do? Well, dear friends, this is something I've been trying to work out and the answer is I don't know the next step...
All I know is that I'm leaving Preston to go back to The Lakes & live in a caravan. I'm going to become a gypsy woman & take a few months off to discover what I really want to do with myself & maybe even find my calling. My housemates are in the same boat & they'll be leaving the ladybird nest & moving back to their parents. So the timing feels right.

After working in retail for 8 years (phew!) & struggling to get on the fashion career ladder without any 'experience' (read: years of unpaid internships) I'm going to take some time-out in the countryside. I'm going to finish my Nutritional Therapist course, start my Blogcademy course & really get to terms with creating content for my little space on the internet. Like a modern day Wordsworth...

The eclectic home of Trish Bygott, Nathan Crotty and their family in Fremantle, WA. Photo by Angelita Bonetti, styling by Anna Flanders for thedesignfiles.net
From beautiful blossomy Whimsy Towers to Bohemian caravan life. (I wish that was my caravan)

I feel like I just need a couple of months of me-time. Is that selfish? Perhaps. I've not had a proper holiday for a few years now & my wanderlust urges are growing stronger by the day. So many people my age have seen so much of the world & I've never left Europe. I've been trying to save up to go travelling, but it just isn't happening & most months I break even.

I'll get a part-time job to tide me over & so I can give my parents some help with the bills. My mum gets married next month too so I'm really excited to have a family get-together. We've not had any marriages in the family since I was about 3 so I'm really looking forward to it.
After the wedding, my mum & future step-dad are going on a two-week honeymoon to the Outer Hebrides so I'm in charge of a nine-year-old, two border collies & three mischievous kittens. That'll be a reality shock consisting of school runs, dog walks & cleaning out the litter tray more times than I'd like to...

I'm really excited to be reunited with my friends from school who I don't see enough of. Spending the summer with them will be wonderful :) Plus catching up with my family who I rarely visit will be a treat! Saying that I'm really going to miss Preston, I leave here on the 7th June so between now & then I'm really going to make the most of my surroundings.

Right now, I'm on a minimalist mission, for those who know me personally-it's a big thing. I'm a little bit of a hoarder but in reality all my whimsical belongings won't fit in a 1980s caravan. I'm being super-ruthless & having a huge clear out.


So, that's quite big news for a Monday!
Thanks for reading & I'm excited to document the next few chapters into the unknown...
Rachelle xxx





Saturday

Veggie Life: WHY I DECIDED TO GO VEGGIE & THEN VEGAN...

Hi everyone,
Over the last few months I've been having a bit of a overhaul in the diet department. I don't mean diet in the sense of calorie counting but generally what I consume on a daily basis.
I've always dabbled in vegetarianism since the age of about 8 but I never really took it seriously or had any proper motivation behind it. People just generally assume I'm a vegetarian, it must be my hippy aura/my save the planet vibes ;)
I've only considered myself vegetarian since October 2014. The main thing I get is 'oh my gaaahd you're veggie? I bet that's so hard...BACON THO?!' Well in fact it's been pretty easy. The only blip I've had was red velvet cake (sorry red squashed bugs!) I really don't find myself missing or craving meat at all.
Happy Vegetables Illustration Print by NeatoNectarine on Etsy, $15.00

I thought that being vegetarian was a step in the right direction but after researching the dairy industry I'm transitioning to become a vegan & eliminate all dairy products from my diet. As i'm still in the early stages I'm not beating myself up if there is a little egg powder in something or recoiling in horror when someones made me a brew with cows milk. I'm gradually phasing it out & I'm at the stage where I no longer buy milk, cheese or eggs.

I spent months changing all my beauty & household products to cruelty-free options yet I was still eating meat without even thinking about the consequences. I've genuinely been awoken to follow a more compassionate lifestyle & I know this does sound a bit 'out there' & I should go back to my tie-dye & incense but when did caring about things become a negative trait. People say to me 'like, seriously, why do you care?'& I'm like 'uhh why don't you?' 


Kindness matters in the world.Be kind.Be right ♥

I'm never one to preach & I honestly believe that you should be able to live your life in however way you wish. I genuinely didn't know about the things that went on in the food industry. I was ignorant towards it. Part of my nature is that I always like to find out more so I got books out from the library, watched documentaries,went on forums etc & I really opened my mind to a different way of thinking about my diet & the food industry.

I know that embarking on this lifestyle change can be a little lonely. I'm really chuffed that my housemate Becky is vegan & we share a lot of similar views so I think that has made the whole experience much easier for me. There is a huuuge vegan community on Instagram which I love, it's really inspirational. My housemate goes on a lot of Facebook groups but there seems to be a lot of negativity on them so I tend to stay away. At the end of the day you've got the same goal in mind so what's the point in trying to one-up each other?
Ciara Phelan Ciara has a particular passion for collecting vintage ephemera and textile patterns, this love can been seen throughout her work. The foundation of her practice is mixing analog and digital media both on screen and with a scalpel to create playful, colourful and dynamically composed illustrations.

My goals are to be happy, healthy & fuel my body in the correct way whilst making minimal impact on the planet & the animals. So I guess what i'm trying to say is my little space on the internet here is going to include more compassionate based posts. I've also started a Nutritional Therapy course so that I can hopefully gain a real understanding of the way food affects us. So holla if you have any questions about anything...

Don't worry 'Inspired By The Retired' will still be a thrifty/whimsy/magical/vintage place but with a few more hippy vibes sprinkled around :)

Are any of you lovely readers veggie/vegan? Have you ever tried it before?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx


Monday

Charity Shop Chic: VINSPIRED GOODSTOCK CHARITY SHOP, OXFORD ROAD

Oh hey there,
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch night of a brand new charity shop opening it's doors on Oxford Road, Manchester. Now this isn't you're typical run-of-the-mill charity shop which looks like the remnants of jumble sales from the past 10 years no no no...this is Goodstock a project by vInspired which is a charity that helps young people improve their confidence, gain skills & change the world!
'A creative shopping space for the cash-strapped & fashion concious. For charity.'
As soon as I walked through the door I could tell it was a completely different experience of a charity shop. The shop itself is huge, spread over three floors, with spacious displays so it doesn't feel like you have to scour rails & rails to find a diamond in the rough. All the clothes on the rails are real gems, handpicked to reflect the target market which is ultimately young people. The clothes were in excellent condition & there was a great mix of high-street, designer & vintage garments. All very reasonably priced. The visual merchandising was more alike to Urban Outfitters rather than a traditional charity shop. I absolutely loved all the little displays with pop culture references. It's genuinely a really cool shop.

On the opening night the shop was absolutely buzzing, I bumped into Katie from Gold Dust who I've met several times before which was lovely. There was a street style competition, nail bar, customising group, amazing food & free bar :)

Here's one of the dresses I picked up...Monochrome, mod, high neck, long sleeve? All the things I look for in a dress!

 I'm an avid charity shopper anyway so I'm not bothered by a good old rummage & sifting through old Primark from 4 years ago but I think this concept store will promote charity shopping to a younger generation & make it far more accessible & appealing. I know that whenever I visit Manchester I will always pop in & have a mooch as it's such a lovely environment. The vInspired team should be incredibly proud of there achievement & I hope that it's successes means that they can roll out the scheme to other cities too (include Preston please!) Thank you for inviting me.


Have you visited Goodstock yet?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx

Sunday

5 Beauty 'Hacks' That Will Save You Money & Save The World! (Kinda)

Howdy all!
So I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite beauty 'hacks', I hear some at work from customers & others I've discovered from experience. They will help you get more use from your beauty tools, make them perform better & save you pennies coz you won't need to replace them as often :D Plus the less you buy & more you recycle/reuse/repair the higher you get on the 'eco-babe' chart ;)

1) Sharpen tweezers using a knife sharpener.
I have been plagued with rubbish tweezers for many years, I've never splurged on a Tweezerman pair but when I was debating it, I noticed they offered a 'tweezer sharpening service'. Err why had I never thought to sharpen my tweezers before? So I ran my cheapy, blunt pair over my knife sharpener & boy what a difference it made! They are now much more precise & I don't spend ages trying to grab that one unruly eyebrow hair...

2) Use a 'magic sponge' to clean eyelash curlers.
Y'know the gross mascara gunk that likes to stick your eyelash curlers together so they don't perform that well. I'm guilty of leaving it for a while before I actually remove it (sorry!) but those amazing white sponges that claim to be magic really are! Just rinse them with water & the make-up residue comes off so easily. It takes seconds & they look good as new. My Shemura curlers have been going for over a year & they do recommend that you change them every 12 months but after they've been cleaned they still work really well.

3) Cut edges off worn down beauty sponges.
This one is a little more common sense than anything but if you have a beauty blender & it's stained with foundation & looking a little tatty simply cut off a layer of sponge at the same angle with some sharp scissors so you have nice new sponge underneath. Super simple & it means you can get more sponge for your dolla ;)

4) Keep & re-use travel size bottles. 
I'm a sucker for miniature products but if you buy them once, rinse them out real good & keep them for next time a sleepover or weekend away arises. You can then re-fill them with whatever your favourite shampoo/shower gel/ body lotion is at the time. I begrudge buying empty travel bottles when I throw away so many throughout the year! Save them £££s recycle your plastics & save the world maaan!

5) Have a designated brush cleaning cloth.
What? Use a face cloth to clean make-up brushes? Yep indeedy it works a treat! The texture of a flannel means that when you swirl the brush over a wet cloth it gives it a real deep clean. Apply a brush cleaner/mild shampoo & use a circular motion for best results. I recommend a visit to Home Bargains or the pound shop to pick up a cheap one & use it especially for cleaning your brushes. The cheaper ones often have a rougher texture so are prefect for the job.

I hope these tricks will help some of you!
Do you have any unusual beauty 'hacks' that you swear by?
Thanks for reading :)
Rachelle xxx