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Friday, 4 January 2019

Year In Review 2018

2018 was a really great year and I'm so grateful. These are some of my highlights: 

I first saw Childcare when they supported To Kill A King in Nottingham and I became obsessed haha! I saw them a further ten times over the course of the year and I loved every minute! One of my favourite gigs ever was the 'Playdate'..in an abandoned tunnel. I wrote about it here.

I also saw Bastille as part of their ReOrchestrated tour and then again at Neverworld.

Royal Albert Hall
Photo not mine
Speaking of Neverworld, it was my first ever festival experience and I absolutely loved it. I still have moments when I feel sad because I'm not in a sweltering hot field with my friends, dancing to my faves! 

Seeing The Foo Fighters after being a fan since my teenage years was really special. They were incredible and yes, I did tear up during Everlong. 

I was invited to my first ever blogger event with Kiehls as they showed us their summer essentials. I also attended the 1st birthday party of Kiehls' concession in Leicester Highcross and other events with Aveda and The Body Shop. 

Music (Blogging)
I had some incredible opportunities in terms of my music writing. I somehow managed to interview my favourite band (Childcare) three times. 

I interviewed, and met Charlie Barnes, as well as Eliza Shaddad, Saint Clair, Miles Kane and Tom Grennan! 

I reviewed loads of gigs and it was pretty cool being able to go to gigs for 'work'-even if I ran myself into the ground doing so and had to take a few duvet days *nervous laugh*.

In September, I did a work experience placement with NME magazine and I was so in awe and thankful that they had even let me into their offices haha. It was a really important experience for me because it really cemented, for me, that music journalism is what I want to do. And it was super cool!

2018 saw me enter the life of a final year Biological Sciences student. I'm still finding my way around things and the thought of starting my dissertation fills me with fear, but hopefully it will all go well and who knows, 2019 might even be the year I become a graduate! Let's hope so!

All in all, I had a pretty decent 2018. Of course, I had a few blips along the way, but who didn't? Here's hoping 2019 will be equally as good, if not better ;)

What were your highlights of 2018? I'd love to know! 

Monday, 24 December 2018

Feeling Festive with The Jingle Boys and Kid iD

This year I haven’t been feeling very Christmas-y but luckily, a special Christmas show put together by The Jingle Boys and Kid iD got rid of my ‘bah humbug!’ attitude.

Photo credit: All photos- Ace Cheng.

 ‘Who the f*ck are the Jingle Boys?’, you may ask. Well, it’s a little bit hard to explain but they are a men’s choir (ok, that wasn’t actually that hard). They were supporting Kid iD at The Stag’s Head in Hoxton and performed loads of much loved Christmas songs. It was a great show. My personal highlight was when they covered the Spice Girls’ ‘2 Become 1’. It really made me smile, especially when they starting playing kazoos!

It was loads of fun but they were performing in aid of a very important cause – to raise funds for male suicide prevention charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). We heard some statistics regarding the frequency of suicide attempts amongst men and it was really shocking.

I should mention that all the money raised on the night went to CALM.

Kid iD then took to the stage for an eagerly anticipated reunion. Now, I’ll be honest, I’d never been to a Kid iD show or even heard much of their folk-ska-pop-carib-funk-rock music so I really didn’t know what to expect.or even that I’d enjoy their performance (sorry guys!), but my apprehensions were totally unnecessary. They were so good! They performed a lot of their own material but also covered ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ from The Jungle Book. It really was a fun night!

Four Tit DJs put on a set afterwards but I had to rush off to catch the last train home, which was a shame because I really would have loved to stick around… but at least I was humming ‘jingle bells’ on my way back.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Christmas in July- Liberty London Christmas Event

It might seem strange but back in July I was looking at Christmas presents. The reason? No, I'm not super organised. It was because Liberty London had turned the fourth floor of their store into a Christmas shopper's dream. It was full of gift inspirations for everyone and anyone. 

Photo credit: georgianhousehotel.co.uk

There were gifts for all ages, from vintage toys to silk PJs and also the finest jewellery. The gifts were also arranged at different price levels, so there was a section labelled 'gifts under £150', for example and there was also the section where money was no object-it is Liberty London after all, and Libertys and luxury go hand in hand!

I went with the lovely Safiyah Tasneem and her Little One (who was a total cutie, bless!) and we had fun looking at make up, of course. We also spritzed the famous Molecule 01 perfume and tried to see if we could smell it on ourselves! Haha.

Photo credit: harveynichols.com

I had a total fan girl moment when Fleur de Force walked past with Baby River. I have watched her for years and totally didn't know what to do with myself, so I just panicked..and then tweeted her later! Haha.

Unfortunately I have lost all the photos I took but it just means you will have to head over there and take a look for yourself! Liberty is a place I could get lost in for an entire day. They have such a great range of products and you're sure to find the perfect gifts there for the ones you care about. 

Have you been to Liberty London? Did you love it? 

Thank you for reading!

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Exoneration of Dan Smith: Why Bastille’s Front Man is Not Guilty of Killing Indie

As much as I love NME, they posted an article a few months ago which left me fuming. This is my response...

The “Bastille-ification” of guitar music doesn’t exist. It is a figment of Mark Beaumont’s imagination while he yearns for a musical era which has long since been put to bed, no doubt in a “drug-dazed” stupor of its own doing. 

He may have the proverbial ‘knife’ in his hands, but Dan Smith contributes much more to the ‘alternative’ genre than he is given credit for. Let me explain. Mark Beaumont, to protest the so-called deterioration of indie music threatened to hire a Donald Trump style “inflatable Dan Smith from Bastille over the Electric Ballroom, wiping his arse with ‘The Queen Is Dead’”. Beaumont envisions the frontman as the poster child for everything wrong with indie music today; reducing the Grammy-nominated Londoners to an “indie boyband.” 

There are countless reasons why his claims are totally baseless; never mind that he is belittling London’s protest against arguably the most reviled man on the planet (Trump! Not Smith!) by using their proaction to project his contempt-that all the bands he once listened to are either spouting nonsense (here’s looking at you, Morrisey), dead or just plain shit-onto, genuinely, my favourite person in the world. 

Surely we should give the ‘Happier’ hit-maker a fair trial before we hang him out to dry? Dan is genuinely one of my nicest people you could meet, and I have the fangirl selfies to prove it, but more so, he is talented, hard-working and has been known to give away M & S carrot cake to devoted fans waiting for him after shows-what’s not to love?!

One thing Dan Smith is guilty of is self-deprecation; he would be the first to admit that Bastille’s music is not for everyone. That’s hardly cause to vilify Smith; accusing him of ripping off the entire indie genre (“Indie’ was reduced from a way of life to a denim jacket, £48.99 in Top Man”). His crime? Partaking in a Top Man modelling campaign. The man is attractive, let him live! 

As for Bastille being the “endgame of a 30-year plot to tame, contain, castrate and commodify alternative guitar music”, the oldest member is only 35. Give them a break, for f*ck’s sake! No one is pretending indie music isn’t facing its problems but there are more realistic ways to counteract them. Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell believes more “less expensive rehearsal rooms” could help. Mark Beaumont has ignored the fact that the live music scene in London has been under attack with many venues being shut down. This might have something to do with the ‘lack’ of talent emerging. However, Sam Fender with his single ‘Dead Boys’ has a lot of hopes pinned on him to revive indie music. Rag n Bone Man’s ‘Wolves’ EP was released on Best Laid Plans Records, co-run by..you guessed it-our very own Dan Smith! So much for not making room for new talent! 

Also, the romantic notion that musicians must stay heartbroken and hungry; hell, heroin-addled even, might be pleasant for the listener, but the reality is that bands like Bastille work incredibly hard and even to tour to the point of exhaustion to earn their keep. And they are excellent role models. Self-destructive behaviour isn’t as attractive as it used to be, surely a good thing for musicians and fans alike?

Beaumont bemoans “indie’s biggest mistake was to become financially viable.” No doubt, he blames Bastille yet again. Are Bastille commercially viable? Of course they are! But why the f*ck shouldn’t they be? Especially having spent almost the entirety of 2017 on a (Wild Wild World) World tour, which coincided with the release of their second album, ‘Wild World’.

Importantly, Bastille have never claimed to be a ‘guitar’ band. If anything, they embrace pop and their latest chart-topping collaboration with Marshmello demonstrates that. 

The unprecedented success of ‘Pompeii’ allowed the band to experiment with mixtapes (Other People’s Heartache) which were available on Youtube, before Cease And Desist letters became too hard to ignore. Despite this, Smith still encourages fans to *coughs* illegally download the material if they have to. Hardly the way to make the big bucks, ey? Collaborations with artists-from Ella Eyre to Florence and the Machine (then relatively unknown). ‘Of The Night’, their version of Corona’s hit, was recorded before they were even remotely famous and it’s just a bit of fun between their songs about grief, the human condition and, funnily enough, Trump’s ascension to power. 

Beaumont reprimands Smith for his ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ references in his own ‘Quarter Past Midnight’ lyrics. I hate to do this to ‘Murph’ but if Beaumont wanted to have a gripe with anyone, it would be with The Wombats for ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ which was released years ago. 

Bastille go above and beyond when it comes to their fans, from setting up a voicemail service and calling ‘stormers’ for a chat to handing out hot chocolate before gigs in freezing temperatures, so when the accusatory ‘boyband indie’ article was published, it is safe to say that it caused outrage amongst Bastille’s fans. Many felt that the writer’s views were condescending: @bastilleaud “This week’s column: why bored, bitter, and hopelessly negative journalists must be stopped. Want to save music journalism? Kick out elitist men who think their music taste is superior to everyone else’s,” whilst @stillemagnolias expressed herself with the following choice words directed at the writer, “You’re not convincing anyone. You’re just angrily jerking yourself off, which is like one of the least fun ways to jerk yourself off.”

When comparing anyone to Sex Pistols, even in terms of record labels or contractual obligations it’s safe to say, the former aren’t going to fare well but it’s like trying to compare a current band to Nirvana. Impossible and totally pointless. Why do it? 

As far as Reading and Leads is concerned, you really want to blame (blame blame :P) for the downfall of a festival which famously had Daphne and Celeste headlining? I get it. You don’t like ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ and probably prefer swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ to Smith’s, but please don’t even try to tell me, even for one second, that Bastille fare worse in your eyes that the ‘U.G.L.Y’ singers! I call bullshit! 

Today’s generation of music fans are much less clique-y about who they listen to so genre allegiances don’t play as much of a role when it comes to deciding who is ’good.’ “I guess it’s interesting that it comes at a time where I think just people don’t really care about genre any more. It’s not a thing,” Dan Smith (NME, 2016).

Photo credit: Twitter @bastilledan

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Nyx Autumn Makeup Masterclass

Hey guys! I can't believe I haven't posted since August. Oops! I have been busy with uni and going to gigs (mostly going to gigs, if I'm honest). 

I attended the Nyx makeup masterclass at Debenhams in Highcross, Leicester recently. They were looking at new, autumnal looks such as the purple eye look and green smokey eye look we were given live tutorials of. 

The looks were very seasonal and also Halloween-appropriate. 

The looks were created using new Nyx palettes and new makeup from the new 'Machinist' range.

Everyone that attended was very kindly gifted a Nyx product and I received a ' strictly vinyl' liquid eyeliner in a brown shade ('Alliance'). We were given sweeties too. Yay! 

Overall, it was a great event to learn how to professionally apply makeup or update your skills with the step-by-step live tutorial. 

It was also a great way to learn more about the Nyx product range. I am a huge fan already, which you could probably tell when you see all the Soft Matte Liquid Lipsticks Kaushal Beauty made me buy (#YoutubeMadeMeBuyIt).

Do you use nyx products? Which are your favourites?

Thank you for reading! And thank you to Nyx for having me at the event!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Childcare Present 'Playdates'-Part 2

At risk of this blog becoming a 'Childcare' fan site (as my instagram is fast becoming), I am going to write about a little 'playdate' I had with the band at Topolski Studios in London.

Photo credit: @childcareband

Topolski Studios is actually Emma's late grandfather's (Feliks Topolski) painting studio. It was a lovely space, as I told Emma. It was a nice touch for them to invite fans to such a personal space.

Of course, Childcare being Childcare, the exact location of the venue was not disclosed. Rather, those of us who had been invited to the free intimate gig were asked to congregate outside the Ping Pong restaurant at Southbank.

I was in a mad rush trying to get to the venue for 8pm and, when I got there, I couldn't find the damn Ping Pong restaurant. No one I asked seemed to know either. Just as I was getting really stressed, who do I spot walking past but the frontman of Childcare- Ed Cares? Thankfully, he pointed me in the right direction (although I was a bit confused so he had to explain it to me three times).

Funny story- I was lost on my way to Bastille's Bush Hall gig last year and (yep, I get lost a lot!) and Charlie Barnes literally walked straight past me so I stopped him and made him tell me the right way to his own gig! 

Ok, so I finally find Ping Pong. And my friends. I am also wearing pink, as all attendees were requested to do and I am ready for Playdates 2! The first one had been so crazy and so much fun so there was a lot of anticipation around numero dos. 

After a while, two very official looking men were spotted in Southbank Centre, holding up a sign that said 'Childcare'. They stood there in silence until us fans realised they were there to collect us and lead us to the gig venue. 

Once in the art studio, we were asked to sit down while the band performed. They performed songs acoustically this time, in stark contrast to the loudness of the first playdates gig. The first song was 'Big Man' (I think). They also performed 'Bamboo', which I love. We were even treated to a special rendition of 'Kimberley' (as a reward for being "really good fans") which was very surreal. Childcare have pretty much stopped performing 'Kimberley' so I didn't expect that I'd ever hear it live. It's safe to say it made my night! 'Champagne Brain' was also on the setlist and the last song was 'Film Club', which we all stood up for.
Emma T (bass and vocals) 
They also set a 'challenge' for us, in the audience, to draw the band and the best drawing would receive a bar of fancy 'Green and Blacks' chocolate. It's safe to say I didn't win. In fact, I am so useless that I tried to turn my piece of paper into a paper fan instead, failed and then was super embarrassed when the band members came around to check our work. It ended up as a scrunched up piece of paper in my pocket, in the end.

It was nice to chat to the guys after and they thanked us for coming. I talked my usual nonsense of course, and was also able to give them some rainbow-themed gifts. 

My little Paperchase purchase for the band

There might be a Playdates 3 this month but nothing has been announced yet. If not, I will see Childcare on their 'Luckyucker' tour in October, which I am very much looking forward to! 

Have you been to any cool gigs lately?

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Childcare Present 'Playdates'-Part 1

As the first in a series of 'Playdates' that Childcare are hosting, I may or may not have found myself at their gig in a disused tunnel in London recently. It just happened to be one of the coolest, definitely non-illegal, gigs I have ever been to!  

Adhering to the strict ‘blue’ dress code, I had on a navy striped jumpsuit, blue eyeliner, blue nail varnish and bright blue heels-there was no way I was going to be denied access to this gig. I had been looking forward to it for too long!

Technically none of us had been granted access to the abandoned area situated next to the public toilet (although you didn't hear it from me; I ain't no snitch).

Photo credit: @lbrindley0409 (instagram)

So despite being kinda illegal (allegedly) and really creepy once the lights went out, the Childcare gig was incredibly fun. They're an amazing live band and, as always, they absolutely smashed it. Rich, especially, gets a mention, because I still can't believe how he played the guitar whilst in the crowd..on his back! But, then again, I can..because that's just how insanely talented this band are. 

Before the gig started, there was the challenge of finding the venue. Those that had RSVP’d to the gig announcement had been sent instructions via email for how to get there and what to look for. We had been told to enter at the same time (8.30pm) and had strict instructions to wait for a girl with a rainbow balloon to lead the way.

Once in the tunnel, Rich took on the role of support act in what felt like, and may have actually have been, more of an art installation (if that's the right term for it). For a good few minutes he played his guitar and whispered 'Childcare', amongst other things, into the microphone at varying volumes. I won't pretend that this didn't freak me out a little but it was worth it.


Then, they filmed parts of their next music video, ‘Big Man’, and there is a slight chance that you might see yours truly making a brief appearance in a Childcare music video coming soon (although I was hiding behind the speaker, so if I’m lucky, you won’t!).

The rest of the gang came out after and lights were switched off, which was quite eery. They started their set with ‘Film Club’ and introduced their new song ‘Champagne Brain’ later. It was the first time I have heard it performed live. Ed, in his usual modest way told us, “this is our brand new song and it’s gonna be f*cking good.” I have to say, he had a point!

They also performed ‘Bamboo’, which is the one where bass player, Emma, switches roles with frontman, Ed Cares, to take over lead vocals. They ended the set with ‘Kiss?’ which is one of my favourites, and also one I haven't heard in a while. They also played 'Magazines', 'Jumble' and 'Omega Grey' too. 

When they had finished, the playdate attendees were visibly upset, but we were told we had to get home in time for bed. Chants of "one more song" followed, forcing the band to come back and admit they had “forgotten” about the possibility of an encore. Of course, someone requested ‘Kimberley’ but we were quickly told by Rich that they “didn’t know that one.” It was a choice between ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ and ‘Dust’- ‘Dust’ won.

With "Eddy C"

Being the fangirl that I am, I had a little gift to give the band. I had brought them sweets and pens that matched the colour theme. The pens reminded me of some of the props the band use too, but I was really nervous about giving them to the guys. As my sister had told me, “you don’t give marshmellows to rockstars” but I figured that everybody likes sweets, right??

Luckily, they really liked the gifts and the pens even made it onto the official Childcare Instagram stories which, you can imagine, made my entire day.

Rich (again)

Afterwards, I had a chance to pose with the rainbow balloon and then I went home incredibly happy with how the night had gone. My friends and I couldn’t stop talking about how great it had been.

I can’t help but wonder when the next playdate will be and what they have in store for us.  
I just hope I’ll be invited!

Have you seen Childcare perform? Or listened to their music? 

Who are your favourite bands to see live? 

Thank you for reading!