Ten Awesome Scottish Bands

On topic of today’s news with the Scottish Independence Referendum and being the music obsessive that I am, here are some of my favourite Scottish bands. New and old of course.

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In no particular order;

1. Biffy Clyro

Mon the biff! Of course they’re probably one Scottish band that spring to mind first above all. Still haven’t seen them perform, massively jealous of everyone that has! From the growling vocals of That Golden Rule to the somewhat sweet Many of Horror (X Factor’s Matt Cardle- GTFO) they’re rock royalty.

2. Twin Atlantic

Having seen these guys twice now, I think they’re bloody amazing and well deserve to be going on their own arena tour in November. Creators of anthems such as Heart & Soul and Free, they’ve got a fiercely loyal fan base.

Oh and did I mention that front man Sam McTrusty is a bit fit? Just saying…

3. Chvrches

Little bit obsessed with these guys at the moment and they’ve become massive over the past year or so. Their synth drenched beats make for perfect indie dance floor tracks. Check out Recover and We Sink if you’re not familiar.

4. Franz Ferdinand

The opening bars to Take Me Out are unmistakable and if you’ve ever been in an indie club, when one of their songs are played, something very strange happens to the crowd. Everyone ends up doing some sort of march and air-guitar! Infectious music and one band I still haven’t seen live.

5. Primal Scream

Probably one of the key bands which started the indie pop movement in the late 80s. Movin’ On Up, Loaded, Come Together to name but a few. They’ve had few line up changes too, including The Stone Roses’ Mani.

6. Simple Minds

They’re responsible for the soundtrack to one of my favourite 80s movies ever! That iconic last scene where Bender walks across the football field, puts his fist in the air and says ‘Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club,’ before the drums kick into the chorus of Don’t You Forget About Me.

7. The Fratellis

Sadly they’ve gone off the radar now but the “lad” band were part of the soundtrack to my uni years. Many a good time was had to Chelsea Dagger, including falling over on my face in Propaganda…

And who can forget karaoke favourite, later covered by the late Amy Whitehouse – Valeeeeerieeeeee?

8. Glasvegas

“My name’s Geraldine, I’m your sociaaaaal wooorker.” You probably couldn’t get any more Glaswegian than these guys! With gritty lyrics about growing up in one of Scotland’s most notorious cities, you too will probably want to don the accent.

9. Texas

Bit of a 90s throwback but my parents had a couple of their albums and I remember my bro and I used to try and sing along in Spiteri’s accent ha! For all you Britpop fans, they’re touring again next April!

10. Prides

A fairly new band which I discovered via XFM a couple of weeks ago but I can’t stop listening to I Should Know You Better By Now. They’re playing in London next month so I might have to go along to see them! Also check out their other single Messiah, they have a proper retro vibe to them.

Those who didn’t make the cut- The Proclaimers…I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) was annoying the first time round, let alone the 2007 charity release. Soz.

What other Scottish bands/artists do you think are awesome?

Kopparberg Urban Forest

I got invited to the Kopparberg Urban Forest launch night last night and being a bit of a cider fiend, I couldn’t say no! And good news for all of you fellow cider-lovers, the month-long event is FREE!!!

Until the 3rd August, visitors can experience the awesome Scandi-style forest set-up at Dalston’s Bootstraps Company while supping on a ice-cool beverage (the Cloudberry flavour is yum!) trying out some authentic Swedish grub and listening to some up-and-coming band/DJ.

I’d advise anyone looking to check it out to turn up early doors as there was still quite a lot of people queuing halfway through the evening. It’s a really relaxed atmosphere though and we parked ourselves on a bench for a bit so that we could chill with our drinks and do a bit of people-watching. Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her husband Richard Jones and Foxes were the celebrity guests last night so keep your eyes peeled while you’re there!

The music line-up last night consisted of Scandi-pop singer Frida Sundemo (her ethereal vocals sound a lot like Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches) Nabiha (‘Never Played the Bass’) a DJ set from Stockholm’s 1987 and wait for it…Kelis! We didn’t manage to catch her headlining at the Great Escape earlier this year so it was pretty cool to see her in such an intimate setting. She did a medley of all of her hits, including a brilliant Milkshake/Madonna mash-up!

There’s a different line-up for each night including Lucy Rose, a DJ set from Little Dragon, The Subways’ Billy Lunn and the LoveBox after-party so if there’s anyone that you’ve been dying to see, get down there sharpish! It’s a cool idea, especially for people who aren’t going to a music festival this year and just want a chilled night out with some good music. It’s also conveniently close to Shoreditch and Hoxton if you’re looking to carry on the evening.

Hang in there guys, its nearly Friday! I’m off out around my old stomping ground in Angel and then birthday celebrations for my brother in the homeland. A well-rounded Essex & The City weekend, I’d say!

What I’m listening to: New Music

As you may or may not know, I compile and write a weekly Gig panel for The Ticket in the Daily Mirror (grab a copy today!) but one of my favourite things about it, is discovering new music. This might be through PRs, Twitter or my fave radio station XFM, who are great at premièring new music. So here are a few bands (some old, some up-and-coming) and songs that I’m OBSESSED with at the moment.

Coasts- Oceans

Heard this Bristol five-piece on XFM and I can’t stop listening to this song! It hooks you in with the its riff before crashing into the chorus; it basically screams ‘Festival anthem.’ If you like Foals, you’ll love these guys and you can catch them on tour in September.

Courteeners- Summer

Love the opening bass lines to this track. The Manc four-piece unveiled this as the first track from their new album Concrete Love, due for release on the 18th August. I’ve loved this band since their first album and “You’re Not Nineteen Forever,” is up there if I ever had a soundtrack to my life throughout my teens ha! ‘Summer,’ just makes you want to drive down to the coast for a perfectly British day at the beach.

Catfish & The Bottlemen- Kathleen

Very Strokes-esque and very catchy. These guys are already selling out shows at venues like The Dingwalls in Camden and their debut album The Balcony is out on the 15th September.

Coldplay- A Sky Full of Stars

Their new album is amaaaaazing! I’ve had a hot and cold relationship with Coldplay over the years because as much as I love The Scientist and A Rush of Cold Blood To The Head, after listening to them too much, they’re a tad depressing. Thankfully Chris Martin seems to have got his creative juices back (Cheers Gwyneth) and I actually like their new sound. Die-hard Coldplay fans will probably hate me for saying that but Martin hasn’t lost his lyrical genius in the process.

Ed Sheeran- Sing

It’s ridiculous how much I want to see this guy live! I’m sadly not going to one of his tour dates this winter but in the meantime, I’ll probably have X on repeat as much as I did with +.

Lewis Watson- Stay

Love listening to this, especially on those overcast rainy summer days that we have too often over here in the UK. Watson was first noticed through YouTube with his covers of Bombay Bicycle Club tracks and his vocals and acoustic riffs remind me so much of Ben Howard.

The Delta Riggs- Supersonic Casualties

This song has such a sixties vibe, perfect for the summer! Discovered these guys through the lovely Alix at their PR company. The Aussie band are currently touring in their home country but after a stint of gigs over here, I’m hoping they’ll be back again soon so that I can catch them live.

Saint Raymond- Everything She Wants

The Nottingham lad was playing at The Great Escape this year but I didn’t manage to catch him- waaa! He’s supporting Ed Sheeran on his tour and currently has three EPs under his belt, including his latest Ghosts. This track is mega catchy and I’m looking forward to hearing more of his material- can’t believe he’s only 19!!

 

What are you guys currently listening to? Send anything you think I’d like my way! Have a great weekend!

Guestival: How to throw a House Party

How beautiful was the weekend?! I see we’re back to overcast and muggy, which makes up about 60% of British summertime but if the sun is saving itself for the weekend again, I’m happy.

So on Friday, my bro and I threw a little festival-themed shing-dig at our house, to try and make up for the fact that none of us are at Glastonbury this year (*sob*). While we didn’t get to have any live bands (Kasabian are real busy at the moment, y’know) the festival spirit (and lots of spirits!) were there- minus the mud and the portaloos.

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Our family have always been party-animals, from my grandparents, my aunts and uncles and of course my parents. One of the best memories I have is our whole garden full of people with my Uncle on his decks and everyone singing along to “I’ve Found Lovin,” smoke-machine included! I was only about 9 but its cool that even in our stupidly small house, we’ve managed to have New Year parties, mile-stone birthdays, Halloween, BBQs etc and although there’s always the mess to clear up afterwards, it’s always a bloody good night.

I hope to carry on the family tradition once I’ve moved out of the nest but for the time-being, our parents are cool with us having people over, no Project X style gatherings of course! I’ve always wanted to do a festival themed party and of course, with this idea, I could let my creativity run wild ha! I raided Amazon, eBay and Poundland for party accessories, including bunting, a checked tablecloth, inflatable guitars and these personalised wristbands (below)- £4 for 50 from UK Wristbands Ltd and they’re perfect for any themed occasion.

Guestival Wristbands

I thought it’d be good to share with you a few house party planning tips since we’ve had a fair few over the years, seeing as ‘Organised’ seems to be my middle name ha!

1. Invite people you know personally. Fair enough if people want to bring their other halves but if its someone asking if their ‘friend’s cousin-twice-removed’ can come, forget about it. Aaaand if you do create an event on Facebook, make it ‘private’ so that you don’t end up with half your town in your house!

2. Budget accordingly. It’s so tempting to go crazy with decor, drinks and snacks etc but make a list and see what you actually need. Half the time we have stuff left over from previous parties (cutlery, cups etc) so check before you go out and buy.

3. Ask guests to bring their own booze. At the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to cater to everybody without spending a fortune so just provide the basics and perhaps greet everyone with a home-made cocktail or a shot!

4. Food Deals. If you’re providing food and you’re on a budget, look out for cheap deals in the supermarkets. Iceland do some awesome party-platters all year round that you can just chuck in the oven before your guests arrive and of course, at this time of the year, there’s always offers on BBQ goodies. Again, keep the spread simple, it’s a house party not a wedding!

5. Remove breakables. Do a sweep of your house or where the party is predominantly taking place. Most people hang out in our kitchen, hallway and garden when we have parties so we remove any breakables (ornaments, photo frames, glasses etc) beforehand and cover anything up that can be easily stained. Buy throws or cushion covers for sofas and chairs and if you have carpet, why not see if you can get your hands on some cheap tarpaulin from eBay or a hardware store.

6. Tidy on the go. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a complete mess when you feel like a complete mess. Although you don’t want to kill the atmosphere by asking people to put their cans/bottles in the bin, provide bin bags around each area so that guests are not tempted to just leave things everywhere. Of course, tidying up the day after is expected but you can help yourself by trying to keep it to a minimum.

7. Respect your neighbours. Give them a heads-up beforehand that you’re having a few people over and that there might be some noise, that way they’re less likely to complain! Maybe throw a couple of beers their way to keep them extra-sweet!

8. Make it interesting.  Most of the time house-parties have a relaxed atmosphere so that people can pour their own drinks, dance in the hallway like a loon if they want to or chill out in the garden. Having a theme always provides for an awesome night and of course, this is usually where drinking-games come into their own. Get everyone involved in Beer-Pong or a game of drunken Twister. Always drink responsibly of course!

9. Sort your play-list. No house-party is complete without a stellar play-list. We have a couple of friends who are DJs so they always do us a mix or just connect your iPod up to some speakers or a dock. Spotify is brilliant for making play-lists and if you upgrade to its premium service, you can play music without ad interruptions. Here’s one of my play-lists below:

10. Don’t stress out. It’s not a nightclub and that’s why house parties are great. If people want to sit and talk all night and they’re still having fun, it creates a better atmosphere. Obviously you want to make sure your home isn’t getting trashed and you have the absolute right to kick anyone out who’s misbehaving. If they’re true friends, they’ll respect your home anyway and if it’s an awesome night, people will always want to come to the next one. Huzzah!

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Out & About #3

Here’s another little round-up of the past couple of weeks; cannot believe we’re at the end of May now but its been an awesome month!

My Talented Girlies

My girlies are a lovely bunch and although work etc gets in the way sometimes, I always love a catch-up with them whether it be for a quick coffee, a shopping spree or a good ol’ fashioned girls night out.

Letitia aka Titch is one of my oldest friends whom I’ve known since the first year of secondary school. We got sat next together in Geography and both thought that either didn’t like each other but we were so painfully shy!

We’ve experienced the trials and tribulations of our awkward teenage years, celebrated our mile-stone birthdays together, (I’m three days older than Titch) holidays, road-trips etc, laughing and sometimes crying along the way.

Before some lunch last week, she asked me to help her out with her photography portfolio and although I’m the most awkward person in the world to snap (I’m usually pulling a stupid face!) the pics turned out quite lovely. I’ve gone for the chop again with my hair, always get bored quickly!

Letitia specialises in mainly family portraits but please check out her Facebook page- Metamorphosis Photography for her full portfolio.

The too-pretty-to-eat cupcake was made by another of my very talented friends, Emma. We had a girls night in with six of us at the weekend, complete with a Chinese takeaway, wine, chocolate and putting the world to rights, of course! I’ve known Emma since Sixth Form (she’s also a day older than me!) and she’s one of the nicest people you could meet. I keep telling her that she should set up her own cupcake business, we’d all happily be her guinea pigs for her creations. Hint! Hint! 

The Canary Wharf Jog

Before my weekend of indulgence, I took part in the Canary Wharf Jog and ran 5k to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. The rain stayed off thankfully and I managed to complete it in 24.5mins! Really pleased coz it was within my 30 min target. Just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me (£260 in total so far) and thank you to my boyfriend, brother and his girlfriend for coming down to watch me on the day.

It was such a brilliant atmosphere and it seeing everyone else in their red T-shirts spurred me on. It’s inspired me to keep up my training so that I can do a 10k and then hopefully by this time next year, half a marathon! Eeeek.

Don’t forget that you can still donate, if you wish, on my Just Giving page.

Arctic Monkeys

Amaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!!!

I think that sums it up! We headed to Finsbury Park for the first of their two shows on Friday and it was so worth the wait. Supported by Royal Blood, Miles Kane and Tame Impala, their hour and a half set included mostly material from AM but also classics like Brianstorm, I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor, Dancing Shoes and a solo acoustic version of A Certain Romance from Mr Alex Turner.

Slightly disappointed that they didn’t play Mardy Bum or When The Sun Goes Down but their back catalogue is so huge, they could have played a 3 hour set.

Another one to tick off my Gigs List along with Arcade Fire, who I’m seeing for the first time next month at Earls Court. Squeaaaaaaal!

I’ve also got a little review of the Arctic Monkeys gig in this week’s Sunday Mirror, don’t forget to grab yourself a copy m’kay?

The Great Escape Festival 2014

Well, what an amaaaaazing weekend the Great Escape was! Music, booze, awesome company and of course, all by the seasiiiiide. Shame about the wind though, lets say I rocked the Brighton back-comb for the weekend! Without further ado, here’s my recap:

Thursday

Amber Run

Amber Run on the Concorde 2 Stage

Amber Run on the Concorde 2 Stage

Five-piece band from Nottingham, who I got to have a chat with before their gig at Concorde 2. They’re currently working with producer Mike Crossley (Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Two Door Cinema Club) on their debut album. Check out their Spark EP now.

Circa Waves

Liverpudlian indie band who toured with Royal Blood, Temples and Interpol on the NME Awards Tour. If you like the Libertines and the Vaccines, you’ll love these guys. Stuck In My Teeth is a definite festival anthem.

Rae Morris

Singer-songwriter Rae from Blackpool gave her ethereal vocals to Bombay Bicycle’s Club ‘Luna’  and is now working on her debut album. Her EP Do You Even Know is out now- perfect to chill out to on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Augustines

The Brooklyn trio stirred up a storm at Concorde 2, with lead singer Billy McCarthy even launching into an ad-libbed tune about how crap Costa Coffee was to the amusement of the crowd. Following on from the release of their second self-titled album this year, the lads are now on a UK tour.

Shift K3y

The 20-year-old DJ  aka Lewis Jankel really got the crowd going with his 90s inspired garage mixes as the support act for Example in the Dome. If you’re looking for a house party mix, look no further than Soundcloud.

Example

The Fulham rapper bounced all over the stage

The Fulham rapper bounced all over the stage

Such a mental gig! The Fulham rapper wasn’t on stage till midnight and after a day of drinking/walking/standing, we somehow managed to find the energy to jump around like lunatics to his set. Afterall as Elliot himself pointed out: “If you’re sitting down at an Example gig, you’re a f****ing idiot.” He had a point.

Friday

Kaiser Chiefs

Ricky Wilson performing some mid-song acrobatics

Ricky Wilson performing some mid-song acrobatics

The not-so-secret gig in Concorde 2 was a full-house and despite being half an hour late on stage, the Leeds indie rockers put on an energetic show with frontman Ricky Wilson swinging from the rafters during “I Predict A Riot,” and jumping into the crowd during “Oh My God.”

Team Me

We managed to cram into Coalition to catch the end of the Norwegian pop-rockers set. Having been on the festival circuit over the last couple of years, they’ve earned themselves some hardcore fans and ended on a high with the whole crowd singing along to “With My Hands.”

Glass Animals

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this quirky Oxford quartet after being signed to Paul Epworth’s label alongside Plan B, Florence and the Machine and Adele. There’s a lot of psychedelic trip-pop around at the moment but with Dave Bayley’s liquid vocals and singles like “Gooey” and “Pools,” they’re beginning to stand out amongst the rest. If you’re a fan of Alt-J and Wildbeasts, these guys are for you.

Baby Strange

The Glasgow trio brought crashing guitars and growly vocals to the NME stage as they opened for the Corn Exchange on Friday night. They performed a cracking cover of Peter, Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks,” and are currently on a short UK tour following their support slot with Palma Violets.

Darlia

Nirvana-reincarnated is probably the best way to describe these guys with lead singer Nathan Day’s raspy Cobain-esque vocals. They’re on the festival circuit this summer, including support for The Libertines at their Hyde Park gig and will headline their own UK tour in September.

Royal Blood

I don’t need to tell you how bloody amazing these guys are! This is the second time I’ve seen them and jesus, did they pull in a huge crowd. Everyone goes crazy as soon as the heavy opening bars of Little Monster snarl through the Corn Exchange. They’re supporting Arctic Monkeys at their Finsbury Park gigs later this month and with their debut album likely to be released at the end of the summer, it won’t be long before they’re filling arenas.

Pulled Apart By Horses

The Leeds rockers are renowned for their sweaty, raucous shows but despite having the closing slot on the Friday night after Royal Blood, most of the crowd filtered out. The fans that stayed still managed to mosh themselves silly though.

Saturday

The Xcerts

Aberdeen indie-pop trio who opened the East Wing stage on Saturday morning. Rousing choruses and anthems a plenty!

Twin Atlantic

Really impressed by these guys after seeing them at Hard Rock Calling last year. You could lump them in with the likes of Biffy Clyro but the Glasgow rockers have got a bit more mainstream appeal. Tracks like Free and Heart & Soul will be massive on the festival circuit this summer…and the lead-singer Sam McTrusty is fit. There. I said it.

Years & Years

I thought the lead singer Olly Alexander was like 17 but it turns out the 24 year old is incredibly youthful and shy. The Kitsune quintet mix Olly’s choirboy vocals with synth beats. Check out their single “Real,” and their cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Breathe.”

Coves

We saw the psychedelic rock duo at the Lexington a couple of weeks ago and their debut Soft Friday is a car playlist favourite of mine but I think they had a couple of sound problems during their set at TGE. They’re touring heavily over the summer so check them out before they’re huge.

Jaws

Brummie indie quartet riding on the 90s revival bandwagon but that’s not to say they aren’t worth a listen. Single “Gold,” is dreamy.

Dog is Dead

Nottingham indie five-piece with some amazingly catchy songs and sing-along choruses. Check out “Teenage Daughter,” and “Two Devils.”

The Subways

Crazy end to TGE with The Subways

Crazy end to TGE with The Subways

I was obsessed with this band during my teens, probably due to my other obsession- The OC. It was sweaty, it was mad, there was moshing, beer thrown in the air and frontman Billy even stage-dived into the crowd at one point. They ended with “It’s A Party,” and it was honestly one of the best (and most apt) songs to end TGE.

Looking forward to their 10th festival next year already!

Fashion: Festival Style

Festival Style

Festival season is upon us and the British High Street is well and truly embracing the laid-back hippie style once again, with a bit of 90s revival thrown in for good measure.

So since I’ve been doing a bit of shopping myself in the lead-up to the Great Escape, here are my festival staples:

Slogan Tees

Who doesn’t love a slogan tee? While I’m not so keen on those with ‘Selfie’ or ‘Sick’ emblazoned across them, I do love a good ol’ band T-shirt. It’s cool if you can get your hands on a vintage hand-me-down but everyone from Primark to House of Holland feature slogan clothing in their summer collections. I picked this Topshop tee because Nirvana are one of my favourite grunge bands.

Crop Tops

If you’re daring to bare your midriff this summer, crop tops are a must-have. Pair with high-wasted shorts for that Coachella look or with a maxi skirt for a Boho feel. They say that less is more but that seems to go out of the window when you’re jumping around in a sweaty crowd. Add a fringed kimona jacket for some layering and you’ve got the Sixties vibe down to a tee.

Playsuits

It’s that perfect moment when the whole crowd is singing along to their favourite song. You’re hoisted up in the air on to your boyfriend/friend’s shoulders but wait, you’re wearing the shortest dress/skirt in the world. Unless you’re the exhibitionist type or you want to be included in Glasto’s late-night highlights, avoid flashing by including a couple of playsuits into your festival wardrobe. They’re extremely versatile and they’re fine to wear with or without tights. Aztec patterns are perfect for pulling off the hippie vibe but just make sure you have a toilet buddy with you at all times…

Short Shorts

We love short shorts, true but last year at Hard Rock Calling, I saw far too many arse cheeks for my liking ha! Denim cut-offs are an absolute must for the festival season but when purchasing them, treat them as if you were buying a pair of jeans. Look at the fit, the cut, the style and the colour. Remember that although the distressed look is very much in, too many rips can look like a DIY job.

Cut-Out Boots

Hunter wellies and Converse are always a festival go-to and while I’ll be packing my trusty, battered pair of Converse for the weekend, I’m also loving the cut-out boots trend. Weather permitting, wear them on their own or with a cute pair of ankle socks. If you’re opting for heeled, choose a pair that are going to be able to withstand being on your feet all day.

Junk Jewellery

My jewellery box is filled with junk and costume jewellery. I love bangles, beads and long necklaces with cute little charms. Accessorize is always my go-to store but over the years I’ve managed to collect a number of beaded bracelets and wristbands from gigs/friends etc. Don’t hesitate to pile them high!

Flowers In Your Hair

From beaded bandos to floral garlands, you’ll find hair accessories in most high street stores. Ditch the straighteners for the weekend and let your locks go wild for the hippie-chick look. Pack some sea-salt spray to achieve tousled beach waves and the dry shampoo…obvs.

The Straw Hat

If you’re not feeling the floral garlands, disguise your festival hair with a trusty straw hat. Not only that but it’ll also protect you from the sun or the rain.

The Back-pack

They’re back! Literally. Even designers like Chanel are at it with 90s revival and again its a practical staple for your festival wardrobe. I love this little Aztec printed one from Accessorize but if you don’t fancy reliving your childhood, try a bright satchel or a fringed cross-body bag instead. Where else would you put your essentials?

The Sunnies

Finally, sunglasses are the ultimate festival accessory. Disguise your lack of sleep with designer favourite Raybans or find high-street lookalikes from as little as a pound.

I’m going to be sharing my outfits from the festival in a post but I’d love to see what you guys are going to be wearing this season?

Have a great one! x

I’ve got the Month of May

May already?! Whaaaaaat?! The year is flying by and its just the beginning of my favourite time of the year…summer, summer, summer time! Hopefully the weather will sort itself out in the meantime but I’m sooo excited about this month!

The Cat Cafe

An absolute must for any crazy cat lady. I caught wind of this about a year ago and signed up to the newsletter  (très sad, I know) so I could receive updates about the opening day. My friend and fellow CCL Amy are going on the 3 May (we actually had to pre-book!) and will be nursing our post-house party hangovers with some afternoon tea, in the company of our feline friends.

Visit Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium 

The Great Escape Festival

I mentioned this a little while ago and not only am I excited about our little mini-break but I’m also really buzzing about seeing some new bands as well as some firmly established favourite, all beside the seasiiiiiide.

I’ll be tweeting and posting pics live across the three day event; if you’re going, who are your recommendations and who are you looking forward to the most?

Brighton Beach 2009

Brighton Beach 2009

The Canary Wharf Jog

Am I mad? Probably.  As part of my 25 Before 25 list, I wanted to take on another challenge and will be running 5-10k to raise money for the British Heart Foundation at the Canary Wharf Jog event on the 21 May. Heart disease is one of the UK’s biggest killers, accounting for more than 161,000 deaths every year. Donations will be spent on vital research, prevention and care, which will help save lives.

My Grandad had a triple bypass when I was just a toddler and he’s since had a pacemaker fitted. I’m just glad that there are treatments out there and I hope that as time goes by, more advances will be found with research.

If you wish to sponsor me, please visit my Just Giving page. Any donation big or small, would be amazing or even get involved yourself. Thank you! Wish me luck!

Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park

Feels like I’ve been waiting foreveeeeeer for this gig, having bought the tickets in November for Adam as a Christmas present. How I kept that one quiet, I don’t know?! They’ve been on my gig list since I bought their first album, just hoping they live up to the hype.

In the meantime, I’ve been writing a few more reviews (below) for The Sunday Mirror, including a cracking set from Tom Williams and The Boat, who I saw a couple of weeks ago at Soho House.

Tom_Williams_Review

It’s simple: I. Love. My. Job.

Hope you have a magical month! x

Out & About #2

Wow…what an insanely busy couple of weeks it’s been. I mean I like living la vida loca but I feel like I’ve been seriously burning the candle at both ends lately. I can’t really complain though as it’s been a nice mix of work/fun! Easter is almost upon us, of course and I’ve got a few more exciting things coming up over the next couple of months like…the Great Escape Festival in Brighton and Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park…nuff said right?

So today I’m talking gigs and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve managed three in amongst other events. First up was Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt at Shepherd’s Bush Empire (a little review of mine was in The Sunday Mirror- huzzah!) and it was a bit of mixed crowd with a few teens, a back row full of hipster indie kids and a couple more mature types, which was nice to see. Nina’s voice kinda reminds me of KT Tunstall or Amy Macdonald with a bit of Taylor Swift thrown in looks-wise. While she hasn’t got the stage presence of someone like Ellie Goulding, for example, her songs such as Selfies and He’s The One I’m Bringing back are infectious and she also performed a beautiful rendition of Say Something I’m Giving Up on You.

Next up was the NME Awards Tour at Brixton Academy. We unfortunately didn’t manage to catch Circa Waves on their opening slot but Royal Blood were blimmin’ awesome. The Brighton duo consist of vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher and jesus, can these guys make some noise. They’re playing at the Great Escape and supporting Arctic Monkeys next month so I can’t wait to catch them again. Many thanks also to Andy at Warner Bros Records for sending me a vinyl edition of their latest single Little Monster! In the support slot were Temples, who I was really excited about seeing but their music didn’t get the crowd going as much as I thought it would. I think there’s so many bands out there with that psychedelic sixties sound at the moment and I think it can be hard to distinguish. Still, you should check out their track Shelter Song – such a summer tune! Headlining were Interpol and after refreshing my love for them last summer, it was amazing to see them live. They performed some of their new material as well as classics like Stella and Slow Hands and I believe they’ve recently announced another London date for June.

Last Tuesday we were at Brixton again for the Wild Beasts gig, completely different crowd to the NME one but they put on a cracking show, complete with lasers. Yes- lasers! They’re also headlining at the Great Escape next month alongside Example (yeeeee) and Kelis (Milkshake. Boys. Yard.).

The second to last pic is of course, my Mumma and I, when I was about 2/3 I think in Dawlish. Dontcha just love the matching floral twin-set? Not much has changed to be fair! We had a lovely relaxing day for Mother’s Day and I donned my apron to bake a yummy Victoria Sponge, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately it was consumed rather quickly before I could take any blog-worthy pics!

And last but not least, I thought I’d add this picture of Adam and I before we went to my friends’ wedding reception last Thursday. It was lovely to catch up with some old friends from school and admittedly, lots of wine was drunk…Friday was fun. Ha. My dress, in case you’re interested, is from Oasis (sale bargain- £25!) and I paired it with a coral statement necklace from Accessorize and my trusty LK Bennett heels. How I managed to walk across the gravel carpark without falling on my face is beyond me and I’m talking pre-wine here!

Next week will be another busy one with a gig on Monday night (Tom Williams & The Boatcheck them out, seriously!) and plans for Adam’s birthday, lets hope the sun comes out, otherwise we’ll be rather soggy on the Thames- stay tuned!

Have an amazing weekend! x

You’ll always be 23…

So the madness that December usually brings seems to have started a little early although I’m not sure whether that’s because I was on a mission last Wednesday to get as much of my Christmas shopping done as possible in one hit. It was mildly successful in fact so I’m slightly relieved on that part although my purse isn’t…pros and cons I guess. That’s not to say that it wasn’t stressful though, my bro and I went into Westfield with a military style plan of precision (I don’t do wind0w-shopping) but the dawdlers threatened to over-haul the entire operation with their dilly-dallying and indecisiveness at the tills. For obvious reasons I can’t tell you what we bought on our little trip, although I did manage to send an email about my Mum’s Christmas present to my Mum (sorry!) so always check before you send ha! Perhaps I’ll do a little Survival Guide to Christmas Shopping as a future post.

How are you guys getting on with yours? Are you super-organised or a last-minute chancer?

In the spirit of this title’s post, I’ve of course, gotta tell you all about the eagerly-anticipated Stereophonics gig at the O2 arena on Thursday night. I think I’ll stay 23 forever, I haven’t found any cool song lyrics with 24 in them yet…send them my way please if you know of any.

I feel like I had had the tickets for aaaaaages, (think we bought them in like February?!) so I was so excited to be seeing a band that have been on my Gig Bucket-list for yeaaaaaars! I think I’ve tried on more than three occasions to try and see the Welsh rock band so I’m really happy that I got to experience them live at last. Aaaaaand they didn’t disappoint!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr Kelly Jones & co (erm…hello he’s gorgeous and he’s welsh!) they formed way back in the early nineties before their debut album Word Gets Around hit the UK Top 10 in 1997 and their single “Local Boy in the Photograph” became one of the first of many that put them on the map for global success. Their second album in 1999 features crowd-favourites such as “Bartender & the Thief,” “Pick a Part that’s New,” and “I’m just Looking,” and in that same year, they went on to play a tour that spanned Europe, the US and Australia.

Stereophonics. Image courtesy of Press via NME.

Stereophonics. Image courtesy of Press via NME.

Since then, they’ve released a further SIX albums, had a couple of member line-up changes, headlined at most of the UK & Ireland’s major festivals and are all married with families. They’ve also won awards from the Brits, NME, MTV, Q and Kerrang magazines as well as collaborated with Tom Jones and recorded a version of the Faces’ Handbags & Gladrags. Their latest album Graffiti on the Train peaked at Number 3 in the UK Albums Chart and as Kelly revealed last night at the gig, their ninth record is due to be released next year.

I think I have my Dad to thank for getting me into the Stereophonics, we always joke that although we don’t agree on most things, our music taste is second to none haha! I was gutted that my parents couldn’t join me for the gig because I have such good childhood/adolescent memories of their albums blaring in our house and everyone singing along. I recorded a couple of videos on my phone and called them during one of their songs, I’ve forgotten which one though ha!

I was slightly worried that they’d play more of their newer stuff than their old favourites but both my friend Amy and I screamed our heads off when Kelly announced, “Alright guys, let’s go back to 1997…” and amused us with anecdotes in-between songs about his mother putting the phone down on Richard Branson before they got signed and writing “Have a Nice Day,” in San Francisco. Highlights for me included “Maybe Tomorrow,” “I wouldn’t Believe your Radio,” “Mr Writer,” the raucous “Bartender & the Thief,” Kelly performing “Handbags & Gladrags” on the piano and finishing their set with an extended version of “Dakota,” complete with streamers and fireworks!

The band have received a lot of critical reviews in their time for Kelly’s raspy vocals and inner band conflicts with former drummer Stuart Cable, who died in 2010 after a heavy drinking session (R.I.P) but the one thing that the press should not fault them for, is their showmanship. They’re talented musicians, who exude a confident stage presence, but remain grounded and humble to their rural roots.

Last night marked their 75th and last gig of their Graffiti on the Train tour but as Kelly promised, another album is due for release next year. If they’re on your Gig bucket-list too, get up early on the day of release, open as many windows as you can and refresh the page like a crazy person, you don’t want to miss them! I’m still slightly bitter about missing out on Arcade Fire’s one-off show at Earls Court in June but you win some, you lose some.

The rest of this weekend is pretty mad too, I had a 21st birthday party last night, another birthday outing this evening (people need to stop getting older) so I’ll be glad of a lazy day tomorrow if I’m honest! Work is pretty hectic at the moment too and I’m in bed by 10.30pm most nights. I’ve got a few little projects that I’m working on at the moment but all will be revealed at a later date.

I leave you with one of my favourite Stereophonics songs…