Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April Favourites

I watch so many 'favourites' videos on youtube each month, so I thought I could do a post on my favourite products/things I've encountered this month. I've written down some categories and weeeeeell here are my April favourites :) :


Song: Kiss Me Slowly by Parachute


I really love Parachute, I think they're an amazing band. A lot of their music is very soft and generally just pleasant to listen to; easy on the ears. I've listened to this song SO much this month and it's just really pretty. Would recommend it and them 100%.


Album: Meet The Vamps by The Vamps


I did an album review on Meet The Vamps and I really did mean it when I said I love the whole thing from start to finish. It just sounds fresh and young, and I think artists at the moment are too busy trying to recreate sounds from the past, but this just sounds like spring to me. And it's not overly bass-y/hiphop-y like a lot of the music in the charts at the moment. It's just, well, really pleasant.


Book: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


I read some other books this month as well that I haven't written little reviews on, but I think this one was my favourite. I think that it's quite a lot to take, so if you're sensitive to topics like mental illness and that sort of thing then I'd avoid reading it. But I found it quite interesting, just seeing into that kind of mindset. There's definitely more content-wise than any of the other books I've read recently.


TV Programme: Spongebob Squarepants


I have no shame. Literally, every weekday Spongebob has been on Viva and I've watched it and loved it. I feel like it's just fun. It helps me forget what a mess my life is and kind of allows me to be young again. Escapism maybe you'd describe it as. I didn't really watch it as a child and now I feel like I'm making up for lost time (that'll be the excuse anyway).


Food: Chocolate covered raisins <3

I love them. I also have but I haven't had them in literally so long. And so this month I've gotten through rather a lot of them... oops (no regrets). They're healthy AND tasty; it's like the best thing ever. Although I don't think they really count as one of your five a day. Oh well, they're great (I don't have a picture because I eat them too quickly oops).


Make-up product: Maybelline's colour tattoos


Why did I not try these before this month?! Oh my god I love them. They're so easy to put on, like just dip your finger in and rub it over your eye. Quickest form of eye shadow I have ever come across. The shades 'Pink Gold' and 'On and On Bronze' are my favourites. Love them x100000000000.


Hair product: Batiste dry shampoo


Praise the lord for dry shampoo. It's so useful. I hate washing my hair; it's literally the bane of my life and there's so much of it (been considering giving it the chop for several years). Dry shampoo is so easy to use, you literally spray it into your roots and massage it in. It makes your hair look and smell fresher. Don't know how I'd cope without it.


Nail varnish: Barry M's Lychee (Gelly hi-shine)


This nail varnish has been my go-to this month. It's very subtle, but looks really nice and I suppose somewhat sophisticated. The Barry M gelly nail varnishes are definitely some of the best I've ever come across. They last really well and there are lots of different colours. This one's my favourite at the moment.


Scent: Victoria Secret's Love Spell


I love the smell of peach and this is basically that in a bottle mixed with a bit of cherry blossom. It smells so fresh and just like spring. I have this in the fragrance mist and you can just spritz up during the day. It's handy and just smells so good.

Place: The pond near my town...


There's a pond in a village nearby my town and I've spent rather a lot of time there this month. It takes me about an hour to walk there from my house but I think it's so worth it. There's not usually many people there, if any at all, and I just feel really calm and content there. I usually take a book and my iPod with me and just sit and read/listen for an hour or so and forget about all the things I should be doing. The ducks are cute too.


And sooooo those are my favourite things at the moment. Let me know if you like any of these things too, and what your favourite things have been this month :)


Until next time.


Contacts:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Saturday, 26 April 2014

McBusted!!!



Guess who just woke up, took off yesterday's top, put some actual pyjamas on, removed yesterday's make up and got back into bed? *waves* I'm the epitome of gross lolz.


I really need to get some paracetamol for my head and something uncomfortably cold for my throat before I continue writing this hahah.


Okay, so I'm now sat in bed with a bowl of frozen yoghurt and things could be much worse.


Last night (25th April), I relived my childhood at McBusted's gig at London's O2. And it was AMAZING. All of the nostalgia in the whole world.




The day didn't really go very smoothly for my three pals, Chloe, Charlie and Jess, and I, but the frustrations of earlier on were definitely made up for at the concert. Literally, it was just the happiest hour and a half or so ever. As soon as we heard about the tour we were all completely onboard and have been stupidly overexcited about it for a number of months.




I can't actually comment on the three support acts that there were, as we didn't get to the O2 until half eight, by which time they'd all been and gone. Luckily none of us were hugely bothered about missing them as technically we'd only paid to see McBusted and that was what we really wanted. Jess and I did YouTube 'The 3 Dudes' yesterday morning at sixth form though and they seemed okay, so I might look them up again.




When McBusted came on stage it was just the best thing ever. My childhood came back to life in that room and you could tell pretty much everyone else felt the same.




The only criticism I can make of the gig was that they didn't perform many Mcfly songs, with the set being mostly dominated by Busted songs. But I feel that that's quite understandable because Mcfly have been playing their songs for a good ten years whereas there's been a huge gap for Busted. And I'll forever sigh that Charlie Simpson didn't get on board (he was my favourite Busted member) but it was still great without him.




I loved their b stage, which was essentially a spaceship, that came down from the roof and was quite close to us as we were on one of the sloping corners towards the back. But my favourite songs to hear by a trillion miles were Sleeping With the Light On, Shine a Light and All About You. I'm the biggest sucker for a ballad and they just made me so happy/emotional/every feeling ever.




Overall the hassle earlier in the day was sooooo worth it and I enjoyed every second. If you're going to see them soon then I hope you have the most wonderful time, and if you're not then you should really try to (that or just watch the DVD of it which I believe they filmed for last night ahhhhh).
It was so wonderful and I just loved seeing how happy it made both them and everyone in the audience.


OOTD:



Skirt: ASOS (tall); Vest: H&M; Cardigan: Next; Shoes: Next; Necklace: Rock n Rose (exclusive to ASOS).





FOTD:




Foundation: Rimmel Match Perfection (Light Porcelain (pale as it gets lolz)); Concealer: Collection Lasting Perfection (Fair); Bronzer: MUA Mosaic Bronzer (Shade 1); Eyeshadow: Maybelline Colour Tattoo (On and on Bronze) and Urban Decay Factory (Naked 3 palette); Mascara: L'Oreal Miss Manga; Lips: Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter (Pink Truffle).


Until next time.


Contacts:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Meet The Vamps Review



How perfect can one album possibly be? That's the question I find myself having to ask when considering my adoration for The Vamps' debut album, Meet The Vamps. Perhaps there could have been a slightly more inventive title, but I think it's a nice introduction for them, just letting the world know who they actually are.


I cannot think of the last album I bought that I loved every song on. But I love every song on this album. I always expect to have at least a few tracks that I feel very 'meh' about, and one or two that I can't listen to without wanting to pull my ears off of my head, but, The Vamps have delivered something unconditionally wonderful in my opinion.

Obviously how much you like the album will be dependent on the type of music you like, but if you think that you won't like the band because they're 'just another group of teenage boys writing love songs' then you really couldn't be anymore wrong. There is a lot of heart in the album, but there's the perfect combination of upbeat songs and ballads, with country vibes that make me feel like I'm on a road trip in the height of spring. It's fresh, it's new, but it's kind of old school, and I love it.


Wildheart
This song was what really started to make me interested in The Vamps' music. It was their second single and I think it's the perfect song to commence the album, giving a strong taste of what's to come. This song is the guitar in my eyes, and throughout the whole album it's the guitar that is the dominate feature. It seems bizarre but it's so rare these days to have an album that's consistently acoustic and that's probably why I like it so much. Wildheart is fun and young and free, and the music video for the single expresses that entirely. The song made me actually like the band rather than just listen to their music in a nonchalant manner.


Last Night
Last Night is upbeat and fun, and to me literally just sounds like four boys having fun. It's catchy and very 'pop' and that really works. It was The Vamps' third single and the music video really brings out each of their characters. The lyrics basically outline the life of many a teenager, making it notably relatable to most, that or reminiscent of prior times.


Somebody To You
I feel that I don't actually love this song, but I'm in love with it. That's right, I can't develop a serious emotional attachment to another human being, but a song, of course!!!! I genuinely fear for my sanity :))))))))))
It literally managed to become my favourite song after listening to it once and I don't really even know how.
It's perfect basically. I have no further comments.
Listen to it. Listen to it right now.


Can We Dance
Being the band's debut single, Can We Dance kind of represents them. It's young and quirky, and ultimately very polite. Asking someone to dance is now such an old fashioned idea but it's the sweetest thing, and the build up to the chorus in this song is my favourite part by a million trillion miles; it sounds cute and just somewhat confused. Everything is adorable and it's hurting my heart.
It's so driven instrumentally and I can just feel every aspect of the production somehow.


Girls On TV
The first time I heard Girls On TV was about a month ago when The Vamps were supporting The Wanted at the O2 in London (I posted about it if ya wanna have a lil read: http://abbielour.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-wanted-word-of-mouth-tour-london.html). And it was so upbeat but with this relaxed backbeat that hints at a reggae influence, which is actually apparent in quite a few of their songs. The band name-drop Beyoncé and Rihanna within five seconds of each other - the controversy - but it works. The use of the ukelele is my favourite aspect, creating an aura of relaxation and I suppose innocence.


Risk It All
Risk It All starts with just vocals and an acoustic guitar, and slowly builds up in a moderate kind of way, and then the chorus is belted. It's quite 'chanty,' if that's a thing; I can imagine a crowd singing along to it because that's kind of how the backing vocals sound at times. 'AAAAAAAAaAaAAAALL' is an example of this (even though that's lead and backing vocals w/e), as well as the middle eight and 'JUST DO IT, YOU PUT ME THROUGH IT.' I want to go and chant it at my neighbours but I think they would completely misunderstand what was happening.


Oh Cecilia
CECILIAAAAA YOU'RE BREAKING MY HEART. All the chanting, I love it. Really, I feel like even though this song is somewhat sad, it's so upbeat and sounds really positive. I also heard this song when I saw The Vamps last month and everyone seemed really into it despite not knowing the song. I feel like it's sort of about trying to ignore infatuation and then having everyone constantly surround you with images/memories of that person and reminding you of everything you did wrong. How do they make that sound so happy? I don't get it, but I like it.


Another World
Ballads are often done wrong, that's something I've come to notice a lot. However, this ballad is a complete exception. A lot of the time it feels like the emotion is just too forced, but in Another World the lyrics seem so natural and effortless, and instrumentally the song just flows. It seems very nostalgic and that's my favourite feature in any song, so this is a real winner in my opinion.


Move My Way
Cute is the first word that comes to mind when considering this song. It is soooooo cute. It makes me think of spring and the idea of love blooming, the careless and free feeling of being around someone that you really want to be around. Equally it's quite cautious, with the want for things to 'stay the same.' I think this is what makes the song most relatable, because at one time or another we've all been in a situation where we don't want things to change. This song is pretty and sweet, and causes the album to continue to bloom.


Shout About It
Shout About It was actually the first song I listened to from the album and I don't really know why considering it's track 10, but it drew me in and I'm actually rather glad it was the first one I heard. There's something in the mellow guitar and soft piano that's incredibly alluring and utterly stunning. It's kind of nice that they're singing about shouting and yet the song is a contradiction of this and is so soft and quietly charming.


High Hopes
This song really reminds me of Mcfly, especially Love Is Easy, and yet equally it's very different. It's the perfect acoustic track and I can't stress enough how wonderful it is to hear a truly acoustically driven band. It sounds hopeful, being very fitting with the lyrics, and it just flows perfectly. The harmonies are my favourite feature by far in this song, slotting together like two hands.


She Was The One
In the first bar I actually almost thought this was a Goo Goo Dolls song, and so I admire the band's versatility whilst still using the same instruments and not delving miles outside their genre. This song is beautiful and it always makes me rather sad how the saddest songs are always the prettiest; it's tragic. But I think that it's because they're so full of genuine emotion and the artist is entirely connected with the lyrics. It's stunning.


Dangerous
If I was to sum Dangerous up in one word then it would probably be quirky, but I think you have to listen to it all the way through before coming to that conclusion. The chorus is my favourite part of this song because I feel like it's so driven rhythmically at this point, even more so than in the verses. I also like the snappy guitar riffs in the verses; actually maybe they're my favourite part. I think they might be. I've just listened to it again; they are my favourite feature. And now I can't get them out of my head hahaha. I like the bass line as well, you can really hear it all throughout unlike a lot of songs you hear nowadays where it's practically hidden.


Lovestruck
This song is cuuuuuute. I feel like most of the album is cute but this song more so than others. The lyrics are sweet and considerate and generally just filled with adoration. 'I'd wait all day just for a maybe,' is one of the lame things I'd love for someone to say to me: mega sighh. I love the piano in this, it's so pretty and delicate, matching the overall tone of the song.


Smile
Smile is another chanty one and I find myself really wanting to hear it at a festival; it's so upbeat and joyful that it would fit in so well. It makes me want to yell at people to smile. I'm really not someone who shouts either, so it's a strange affect. Again, another solid track that I seem to be unable to tire of.



On the Floor
Contrary to popular belief, On the Floor is not a cover of JLo's song lolz (that's what I was expecting anyway haha). I love it. It's so young and just sounds like it's aching with this naïvety and inexperience. It's sweet x1942793289. The consistent acoustic drive throughout is literally my favourite thing in the whole world; I honestly can't get enough. Similarly to Can We Dance it sounds very considerate and just caring and nice (describing something as 'nice' is actually the biggest compliment I can offer because it means it's just nice and nice in my eyes means utterly wonderful in an understated way; not too much but just enough. I feel like the word is constantly undersold; just FYI).


Golden
Golden's fun. It's youthful and I can imagine would sound better live???? I'm not sure why I feel like this, but it just seems to me like a track that should be on full volume and belted out. It makes me wanna clap and dance and generally just move in some sort of bizarre, free way (which would probably cause onlookers a lot of stress as I can't dance attttt allllllll).


Fall
I think that Fall is a really great track to end the album with. Often I find ending with a ballad is somewhat foolish as it's usually better to go out with a bang, but the song really builds up throughout the first verse and then there's a chanty chorus and I was sold despite my cautious first impression. It feels like the album is a progression from spring to summer in my eyes, as odd as that may sound. It's like the temperature outside getting warmer and occasionally dipping down again (hey ballads), and then it ends in summer. It's wonderful.


I hope that other people will enjoy this album as much as I do so we can all sit around a campfire, hold hands and sing merrily into the night; that or dance around in a field like maniacs, I don't really mind which.
I'm not even joking.


The Vamps are going on tour in September/October and I would highly recommend going along because they put everything into performing live and to be honest I think just the atmosphere would make it worth it.


Until next time.


Meet The Vamps on iTunes: link 


Let's communicate! (lolz I hate me)
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 7 April 2014

Revision :)))))))))



Just the word makes me want to vomit.

In the UK the Easter Holidays have just begun, which, to all the lucky, lucky A Level students, means that revision is due to take over our lives.

Now, my current main cause of annoyance on this topic is the poor quality of my school. The school where I study have put on a number of revision sessions across the first week of the holidays for both A Level and GCSE students. However, of course, none of my subjects are being covered as none of my teachers give a flying fig about my educational needs. As a result of this, I have to revise my three subjects with zero guidance, oh, and did I mention, I haven't even been taught the full course for any of them yet :)))))))) I'm annoyed because even though I'm sure they've got marking and sleep to catch up on, my teachers have no care for their job in actually teaching both myself and others. If we'd finished all the courses then I wouldn't mind as much, because at least I've have all the information from which I could revise from. My main issue involves history. We've finished all our coursework with one of our teachers, which is great and I'm really happy with. But the teacher who is covering the actual exam has literally only just gone over half of the course with us. That's half a course in roughly SEVEN months. And my exam is in less than two months time :)))))))))) (I hope everyone's really feeling the sarcastic smileys because I am). Did I mention that this history teacher is the head of sixth form and so should definitely have our deepest concerns as her priority?????
Literally makes me want to give up on not just my education, but, moreover, humanity (maybe that sounds hyperbolic but really REALLY).

Anyhow, so far today I have done two hours of media revision which was kind of a stupid idea. Media is by far the subject I enjoy the most and the subject I'm doing the best in, and it's also the last exam I have. But it seemed like a good idea to start with something I actually kind of like rather than go straight into history and want to throw myself off a bridge (decided to save that for tomorrow afternoon).

I've devised a revision timetable, as I have since I began my GCSEs nearly five years ago (I feel like I've grown old too fast). However, I feel like it's all good and well to have your time managed on a piece of paper in front of you, but the real challenge is actually sticking to it. This is why I change it every week to avoid my whole life becoming even more of a tedious disaster.

If you happen to be looking for any tips on revision, here's a list of things to do/avoid:

1. Plan your time on a weekly basis - do not give yourself the exact same weekly plan for six solid weeks because you will want to shut your head in the freezer.

2. Start now - I feel like there's no point starting revision before the Easter holidays, simply because you'll just forget everything quicker. I now have five weeks before my first exam (an AS history retake that I know nothing for hahaha), and now is the time for me to cram my brain with all of the knowledge I should have already acquired. I did try to revise for this exam earlier, but I was completely unmotivated and saw no purpose. However, now I feel like I really need to get my bum in gear and I know it's more important to learn all the information now. Equally, I would not put of revising for any longer for any subject. You do NOT have to make your entire life revolve around revision, and if you do so then you will go crazy in an amount of days if you haven't already. Just a few hours of one or two subjects a day, broken up with food breaks and a couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls (or any other show of your own preference) is the way to do it.

3. Don't pay too much attention to how much revision other people are doing - last year I felt like everyone knew everything and they all seemed to be revising constantly between April and June. Do not let the educational insecurities of others become your own insecurities. You know how much you need to learn and revise for your subjects, so don't let the actions of others, especially for different subjects, effect your own workload. Equally, if people you know hardly revise at all, still continue with your own plan and don't allow them to distract you. If they're your friends then they should understand your ambitions and admire your dedication.

4. Read the specification from your exam board (it's likely different boards will have different requirements so make sure you're looking at the right one) - knowing what examiners actually want from you is always more of a help than a hindrance. This way you avoid collecting a pile of extra data that the examiner doesn't care about or want to know your knowledge of.

5. Break things down into topics - for subjects such as history there are always various topics to study. Don't try and do a bit from each. Focus on one at a time and continually go back over what you've looked at previously. There's really no point in looking at the civil rights of African Americans and Native Americans at the same time because you will only get confused and be unsure of what's what.

6. Continue to have a life - don't entirely forget about your friends and personal interests. Those are the things that make you happy and if you continually push them aside then you will become a miserable, antisocial person. Put time for your hobbies etc into your timetable so you know when you have time for everything.

7. Breathe (this is probably the thing I struggle with the most lolz) - don't spend all your time panicking and losing sleep thinking about how you're going to ruin your whole life by doing badly. There's always another way to get to where you want. Yes, people will consider your evident educational abilities, but they care more about your people skills and the type of person you present yourself as. Exam results don't determine your future, you do.


That's my guide to successful revision; it probably just comes across as a load of nonsensical jargon (that or just common sense), but I hope it's somewhat useful to at least someone.


Until next time.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Review: The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath



I've just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and thought I should try and write down all of my thoughts and feelings about it before they take over my mind and I can't even think.

The novel could be a life changer for someone who's never experienced anything similar to the protagonist, Esther, and for those who can make connections, it's quite the eye opener, to an extent actually helping you understand how you feel/felt.

The thing is, I can't help but feel like nothing really happened. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great book, but when I thought about it, it was just a series of events that didn't really lead to anything. Obviously, Esther continually attempting to commit suicide is a big thing, and ultimately that was what the novel was building up to, and then her recovery, but I just feel like everything was so emotionally disconnected that it almost read like a list of events at points. I think it was like a bell jar. An empty bell jar with nothing inside of it, no emotions on the inside, and just things that happen, academic achievements, on the outside. And I think the reason I enjoyed the book so much is because we all feel like that sometimes; but for some people, they are a sample inside the jar, like the flower in Beauty and the Beauty, out in the world doing things and feeling things, feeling love and beauty, being indulgent in their lives; and for others, they're the jar: what's left behind of the things that happen to others. Just a cover with the only purpose being to enclose things, perhaps emotions. And you're left with nothing so much that you stop caring about the possibility of going and doing something, feeling something, for yourself. You're just empty, making little sound other than when someone brushes past you on the way to the rest of their life. Like even though you may have a million things to say, you remain mute. You are the secondary factor or reaction, the effect of something else for someone else. Sometimes I feel like that.
And I think that's what made me fall in love with the book.
I feel I can empathise with Esther, especially in the way that no one really seemed to understand her or make that much of an effort to do so, even when she's considered 'sane.'

The writing style was rather colloquial, making it very easy to get into and engage with; it was just like words falling off of Plath's tongue, seamless and effortless. But filled with disguised pain.

I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone. It involves a number of sensitive issues regarding mental health, but even if you find that somewhat off-putting, it's still worth the read. I loved the book and I'm sure I'll end up reading it again fairly soon.


Until next time.