The saying ‘the best things in life are free’ is rarely true, but on some occasions it comes through. Hay is one of my favourite ever places, possibly my favourite place in Wales, and its annual celebration of literature, poetry and arts is a hidden gem in the festival world. The best part? Free entry for everyone – you only have to pay for individual talks and events (some of which are free too).
Really, I think the best things in life are the needles in the haystack – you know they’re out there somewhere and the reward comes from the challenge of finally finding them. Usually though, it’s something you stumble across when you’re not looking for it: a good book, a charity shop bargain, a new relationship… I’m a pretty down to earth person, but there are a few little mantras I do believe in and one of them is that if you’re constantly searching for something you’ll never find it. It’s only when you step back and turn your attention to another thing that it will suddenly appear.
Like when digging through your wardrobe to find a certain piece of clothing becomes an impossible task, but after returning with a clear head a while later it’s there staring straight at you. I think we run the risk of getting so caught up in concentration that we forget to enjoy our lives as they are, and when we start doing just that the best things begin to make an appearance.
Obviously this can’t be applied to every aspect of life, but it is a refreshing reminder not to worry too much and that good things can be waiting right around the corner. I had completely forgot about Hay Festival this year amidst part-time work and was lacking ideas on where to shoot this outfit until a friend asked me if I was going. Even if you haven’t particularly gone to see anyone perform (we didn’t) it’s such a lovely place to mooch around and the vibe is fun, quirky and friendly, just like Hay itself.
There’s an amazing selection of alternative food stalls that differ to the typical festival burgers and chips, a huge bookshop (great if you’re a bookworm like me and just love a nosey) and a cool vintage stall – unfortunately it wasn’t my day to find any hidden gems, although we sat and had a cider in the sun. Spontaneous trips and ideas always turn out to be the most fun (nights out and roadtrips in particular come to mind – driving with no real idea of where you’ll end up means you have no reason to worry or stress about where you’re headed) and chilled days out with a good friend like this one are good for the soul.
DRESS Charity shop (similar here) | SANDALS Birkenstock | BAG Vintage
This dress was a needle in the haystack discovery for £3 in a charity shop a little while ago and I love how comfy and breezy it is for lazy summer days. The classic style is updated with the wrap front and the navy makes a change from monochrome. It’s one of those great dresses to throw on when it’s warm but looks equally as pretty with a white t-shirt slipped underneath. I’m on the search for a knitted white cardigan that would go dreamily with it, and the reality of my life is that it’ll turn up when I’m not looking!
I’ve said it before but the pressure on young people to decide what to do with their lives is enormous, and I’m getting pretty tired of being asked what I’ll do with mine now uni is over. I have a few ideas in mind, but not having a specific plan and not overthinking the road ahead leaves a semi-blank canvas for opportunities that may come your way.
ph. Anna Herring.