10 things I learnt at my first time at Glastonbury

Europe, Uncategorized

in bed, 6 am Monday morning. We left Glasto a few hours ago and I start work at 9. power through mary, power through.

My first time at Glastonbury was a beautiful one. I won’t get gushy but it’s hard to describe the magic of such a huge and diverse festival. Here a few things I learnt over the past 5 and a half days from the UKs biggest festival.

  1. Simply arriving on site is a bit of a mission. – we were doing fine until about a mile away where we hit queues at standstill for hours and hours. Some came from Bristol and what should have been a 45 minute journey became a 16 hour one.
  2. Mud. Mud is evil. – the heavy rains prior to the week had caused the worst mud Glastonbury had ever seen. It caused traffic problems, it made it take FOREVER to walk between the stages and it was in for embarrassing you when you took a fall.
  3. glastonbury is really big. – Yep, everyone will tell you how huge it is but it’s not until you’ve seen it from the top of the hill that you can see how massive it is. It’s not that the stalls or stages are particularly massive but there’s so many of them. Each area is like its own mini festival.
  4. its impossible to see it all. – I missed out on the greenpeace slide and didn’t get a picture by the sign but when it takes a few hours to walk to these places, you just don’t have time to do it all.
  5. but that’s ok. – you don’t need to be super organised and strict with your schedule because you’re on holiday in your weird bubble of jam packed chill
  6. hippies are cool. – I used to think hippies and rockers and everyone in between we’re so extreme and hardcore and separate from my own life. But after going to a few festivals this summer I’ve realised that people who identify with these extreme stereotypes (or just look like they do) are normal and nice and not so different to myself.
  7. performers and organisers are great at paying tribute to people we’ve lost. – we marched and sang for Jo Cox, there were secret tribute parties for Bowie, dance nights for Prince and Coldplay allowed Viola Beach to play on the pyramid stage.
  8. days are great but the nights are better than expected. – silent discos, cheesy pop, trance in a colourful tent outside, giant sculptures with bars in, interactive installations and art work which surrounded clubs. It was all going on.
  9. campaigning is a great way to experience it. – I was lucky enough to go to Glastonbury with Oxfam to campaign for our new effort to support the refugee crisis, Stand as One. Free ticket, showers, meal vouchers, meeting awesome people, getting to know more people from work, engaging with festival goers and other charity workers were just a few reasons why I’m glad I went as a campaigner. ALSO, we walked for miles and miles each day so saw most of the site before it was so busy.
  10. British musicians are just amazing. – I could talk alllll day about how great some acts were but I’ll try not to bore you. Watch the BBC coverage and make you own mind up but personally, I was impressed by Jess glynne, Coldplay, Disclosure, Bastille, Adele and Laura Mvula. Coldplay know how to put on a good show, we didn’t want to leave at the end of the night 😦

BASICALLY. I had a wicked time in the mud and rain. Surrounded by friends, yummy veggie food, amazing music and a good vibe. Everyone should experience Glastonbury at least once in their life. Allllll the fun.image

Mary X


p.s. Shoutout to Monish and Samantha for organising everything for the campaign team. I’m not sure how you were still awake by Sunday evening but 10 points to you, woo. And new people I met, you’re all pretty cool. 5 gold stars for y’all.

KanYAY at Louis Vuitton Foundation

Au Pairing in Paris

I’ve seen Kanye a lot. I’d say I’m a fan but not a mega devoted one and like most people I much prefer his old stuff to the the new angry, aggressive, vain Kanye. But he’s a good performer so I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to see him in Paris. A group of us had our eyes peeled for an announcement of a surprise gig because of his last minute performance at KoKo in London so we got tickets; Matita and Rachel went on Sunday and Amrita and I on Tuesday night.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is an amazing, grand venue so we already high hopes. I was running super late because my host mum was late coming home from work, the train line I needed was closed and I had to wait ages for the RER (I watched the fat rats run around the platform while I waited). From Les Sablons I sprinted to the foundation, it’s surrounded by woods so I went between the trees in the dark like I was in a freakin action movie. Amrita had already gone inside and the queue was so crazily long so I managed to blag my way very near the front with a group of excited americans.

I found Amrita sat on the floor of a separate room where they were previewing the new ‘All Day’ video. It was cool to see an exclusive but the video was nothing special, just a camera following Kanye looking tired, rapping to an empty room. We got pushed into the auditorium and waited about an hour for Kanye to bless us with his presence… While we waited we watched everyone get excited by anyone who went to sit in the VIP section, Kris Jenner, Kendall, Cara Delevingne, Lily Donaldson, Gigi Hadid and Joan Smalls all showed up and spent their whole time taking selfies. No surprise there.

When Kanye finally showed up (didn’t actually wait that long. He usually leaves audiences waiting for at least 2 hours) he had nothing on stage, no musicians on stage and no gimmicks. He played his most popular songs from his last album; Blood on the Leaves went down well with all the frenchies screaming ‘blood on zee leeeeeeves!’. It was so squished at the front so we moved to the mosh pit while Kendall and Kris filmed clips and uploaded them to their instagrams. Probably judging us for being so sweaty and disgusting. We both agreed that the second half was much better than the first, all day, all of the lights, good life, can’t tell me nothing, touch the sky etc!

Even though the stage was bare, some songs were accompanied by surround graphics of trees and waterfalls. It was all very arty but didn’t fit that well with the music (in my opinion). The crowd annoyed us a bit with constant selfie taking, not really knowing the old songs and generally filming the whole gig. Like watching it all through their iphone screens. Not Ok frenchies. My favourite part of the night was when Amrita and I were the only ones to ‘get low’ during All Day. Literally us just jamming on the floor while everyone looked on in confusion. 

Kanye was awesome, the venue was amazing and we loved how intimate it was but I think that was the last time I’d see Mr West. Especially as half of the audience were more interested in what the Jenner/Kardashian Klan were up to.

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Mary x


Back home & Travel Playlist


Can I ever go anywhere without having some kind of slip up or fail? Apparently not. I didn’t sleep on Friday night as I needed to pack and generally sort out my trip. I’d intended to spend Saturday morning in central Paris, buying a few gifts before going to Bercy to catch my coach. Nope, I’d booked my coach from the airport, an awkward hour and a bit from my house. So no time for shopping, I rushed to the airport because last time I went there I almost missed my flight. Obviously I arrived way too early and was left hanging around. I read some of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl (thanks Carys & Evie!) on the journey and am finding it pretty funny. How someone in the public eye can be that frank and honest is beyond me though. Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 14.31.48

The feeling of coming home for the first time in months and slumping on the sofa was short lived when mum quickly told me I wasn’t allowed to eat on the new sofa and to go upstairs, hang up my coat and put my bags away. Cool. She was actually directing me to a small pile of unopended Christmas presents and letters. I opened my TEFL certificate, I obviously knew I’d passed my course but it’s nice to see the document telling me I’m qualified to teach overseas, how grown up of me. Georgie had got me the nicest bag ever and I’d actually pinned it on Pinterest ages ago without her knowing so we obviously both have great taste. Rhiana and Nev came over for pizza, chats and Take Me Out. Still feeling emotional about Nick and Looci… Feeling happy to have seen the gals.

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I braved getting in the car and driving Nev back to St Albans in the morning then me and dad went to Shadwell to see Charlie, James and baby Alfie. It still amazes me that he’s a real person and he has the softest baby skin in the world. I want a baby to just stroke and cuddle.

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My cousin Sheri and Auntie Doreen are coming tomorrow and I’m so keen to go to TK Maxx and River Island becuase I haven’t been in forever. I just went into town with mum and G to buy some new running trainers as I’ve had my last ones since mid 2012. I ran on the treadmill and had my feet filmed to see if I needed support trainers, I ended up with Nike Air Zooms in pink and black, so pretty but so expensive aah

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On Wednesday morning I’m flying to Alicante to see Kloe (pal from Paris). I know I’ll be hanging around the airport forever as dad won’t let me rush. So I’ve made a travel playlist for that journey and then my coach to Madrid on Sunday. Personally, every trip or holiday has to have it’s own playlist, maybe I’m just OCD about that, check mine out on Soundcloud –

Mary x

Techno techno technoooo (+ some crazy french teenagers) – 13th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

IMG_3513On Saturday Judit, Alex and I ventured into the new world of techno. I’m not a massive fan but the Techno Parade is one of Paris’ biggest music events of the year so we decided to go along. We were (fashionably) late so rocked up at Nation metro station 2 and half hours after the parade had actually started; I trusted that we’d find some hyped up teenagers who knew where they were going so we could follow and find the floats. After a few french guys asking which direction to go we realised none of us really had a clue. Luckily, after a few minutes a crowd began to gather and everyone confidently walked in the same direction.

Thousands of us walked and eventually reached the parade; to say the majority of the crowd were excitable teenagers is a bit of an understatement. Unlike Notting Hill (which is the closest comparison I can think of), there were very few adults or even 20 somethings so we did feel a bit like the boring ones at the party.


Also, french teenagers are crazy. Like full on swinging on lamp posts about 4 stories high with one arm. So casual. Some idiot decided to throw a bag of dry cement off the top of a building, filling the whole street with dust that meant you couldn’t see or breathe, cool.. IMG_3510


Apart from the ridiculous crowds and drunk kids it was actually pretty cool. The music wasn’t too TECHNO TECHNO TECHNO and I’m never one to pass up the opportunity for a dance with some strangers.

IMG_3527We spent the rest of the day chilling by the river, eating crepes by the Notre Dame and cocktails and dancing with the girls.


Mary x

The Grand Daddy of all fashion shows! – Tonight in Cape Town


Are you looking for something fun and fashionable to do tonight in Cape Town? If so, then I definitely recommend heading down to the Grand Daddy Hotel tonight from 6pm as fashion house owner Mampho Smouse is putting on a fashion show to present this seasons hottest trends from label Smouse Blazer. There will also be a presentation of Sihle Ndlovu’s latest work at label Faith Avenue; enough fashion to make any girl (or guy) super excited. Sithembile Msutwana will be holding his own on the DJ decks and ensuring all guests enjoy their night. 

I will be there helping to photograph the event as well as interviewing some of the designers and will report back on how the night went. I will be joined by some of Cape Town’s most beautiful models, players in the fashion industry and the night will be covered by a variety of Cape Town’s media outlets.

Message Sithembile for a ticket for just R80 (0724890200) or buy on the door for R100

31 May /  6pm – 12am / Grand Daddy Hotel, Long Street, Cape Town

I hope to see some of you there!

Mary x

Filling the gaps – February 23rd-24th



The past 2 days have been so busy that I feel like I’ve been here for weeks already (in a good way!) Sunday evening was spent watching the GAPs do their drama rehearsal. This year’s play is ‘Wind in the Willows’ and from what I’ve seen/ heard so far it will be a really good performance. The kids were so enthusiastic when they sang the songs that it reminded me of how unenthusiastic they sometimes were with us when we we rehearsing for ‘The Giant Slayer’!

Monday morning felt like the first day of a new job for me, it’s so different seeing everyone in their school uniform and attending lessons rather than on the weekends when life is a lot more relaxed. Monday morning also was the first time I saw the teachers again! Hugs and questions about England filled my morning. I spent 2 hours assisting Miss Bitz in the grade 2 classroom. We played games and used beads to teach the number ’13’. I then read ‘The Sly Fox and the Red Hen’ to the children before asking them questions on the book to help their understanding. By before 10 o’clock I was already on to the next set of jobs. Gilly had trusted me with the school car (God knows why!?) to collect the Christmas presents for children who are now at High School for me to sort out. Driving in Otjikondo is bizarre as you can only really go about 20km per hour… Later on I sorted out templates for the kids to send thank you letters to their sponsors for their Christmas presents and typed up examples for them to copy. The rest of my morning was spent in the birthday cupboard, basically a big room full of cupboards of clothes to which we give the children 3 items from when it’s their birthday. Anyway, the room was a mess because of a big pile of new clothes so I sorted them out and put them away in the relevant cupboards.

In the afternoon I played football with the grade 1 boys who are all very sweet. There’s even a boy called Frans who is ADORABLE and I know Fran (my friend, other volunteer Fran) would love. After offering 2 girls a quick dance in the hall I was greeted by almost 20 girls begging for a dance lesson. I also played table tennis with the older boys so it ended up being quite a hot and sweaty afternoon.

That evening we were invited to the Stommel’s for a music concert. We had a delicious buffet (and laughed at how small the mustard spoon was…) and then listened to Rebecca and Faustinas on the violins and Ian on the piano. They’re all so talented so we felt pretty lucky to be listening to them play. When you think about it there aren’t many people who can say they’ve listened to live professional classic music on a Monday evening on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Africa. Life is bizarre here but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lots of love,

Mary xx