Thursday, 31 July 2014

July favourites

Since I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands this month, I've had some time to think about my favourite things I've seen/heard/used etc this month.

Song


Choosing a favourite song of the month is always the hardest thing, because I literally listen to so much music daily, so in a whole month I hear a whole lottttta songs. However, this month I've come across a song called 'Don't Kill the Magic' by MAGIC! I really love this song and for some reason when I clicked on it as a suggested video on youtube I really wasn't expecting it to sound as it does, but I think it's great. It's just in my head all the time and it's got the right kind of intensity about it; I think I was expecting something a bit more rock-y and in-your-face, but it's got a really relaxed feel to it, kind of like funk music, but with an element of 'reggae fusion,' as wikipedia describes the band's sound. I just think this song is brilliant and super catchy. If you wanna have a listen (do it, I dare you), here's a link.


Album



This month the albums I have been listening to most are The Morning by Lewis Watson and 5 Seconds of Summer's self-titled album. I did a short review on Lewis' album here and I just find it really calming to listen to. It's very soft and easy on the ears, with poetic lyrics and haunting melodies. I also reviewed 5sos' album here, with a track-by-track giving you a real feel of my thoughts on each of the songs. The rock sound is so strong but not too overpowering and I feel like the perfect balance was struck.


Book


I've been really on and off with books this month. Some days I'll read for hours and others I won't even want to look at a book. I blame the heat really. When it's hot the idea of staying one place really isn't pleasing, but equally it often feels too warm to do much, and so I've gone from one extreme to the other. The only book I've truly enjoyed this month is Hemingway's 'The Old Man and the Sea.' I read this book just after I finished my exams and have already read it again. I think it's got a really important life message bide within the pages. The tale shows a man going to great lengths to catch a really great fish; he's a fisherman that many people doubt the ability of, and essentially the novella explains that you can achieve something great and not have it be all you wanted: something will always go terribly wrong. But he maintains the respect of the person who seems to mean most to him. I really love this book, and it's not very long, so I think it's one that everyone should find the time to read. It's important.


Food


Salad. Lolz, no one ever says their favourite food of any description is salad, but with the ridiculous heat that there's been in England over the past month (in many other countries it's probably still classed as pretty cool but it's different for us okay), I've gone off of most foods, especially anything warm. Thus, salad is actually the perfect solution. It's cold and fresh and not too much. And it's heALTHY??!?!?!??! I know, it's crazy. But yeah, I have just been loving salad this month (let us all hope that this will continue and I'll end up with a great body by this time next year, hahahahahahhhh hhhh I can dream okay). Particularly tuna salad, I don't know, you can just make it and put it in the fridge for twenty minutes and it's nice and cold and just good. But haha, equally, I've been loving ice cream (even more than usual if that's even possible), so I think that balances things out rather nicely (sorry body).


TV programme


I've loved One Tree Hill for years, but I've been watching it a lot in this past month. Seasons 1-4 are the ones I've concentrated on the most as I really loved it when they were all still at school and young. The reason I first started watching the show was Chad Michael Murray (let's be real lolz), and he's essentially the main character in the first few seasons and so these ones are pretty great if you're a fan of him. It's a show that I'll always go back to, kind of like friends; you can just watch the same episodes over and over even though you know exactly what happens.


Nail varnish


It's summer and yet I've barely worn yellow nail varnish so far?????? The nail varnish I've actually worn most this month is 'Black' from Barry M. I'm such a summer person hahah. Literally wore yellow through most of winter and yet now the colour would match the season I've put it away. I think black nails just always work; it's simple, it's classic and it matches everything. And this one's actually really good and for me lasts around a week before chipping massively, so it's one that's worth trying.


Hair product


Scrunchiesssssss. I've loved them since I was about two and my hair got long enough for my mum to put them in. They're just cute and girly and kind of a little bit quirky. They're perfect for summer; I can wear pink, white and patterned ones without them looking completely out of place, and of course black works great all year round. They've been particularly handy this month as I have a lotttt of hair, so when it's hot I don't really want it heating up my neck/back anymore; and plain hair bands are kind of boring so scrunchies are what it's all about. Whack it up and keep it cute. Cool.


Makeup product


Maybelline the Rocket Volume Express Waterproof Mascara is goooooood pal. I initially bought this because I realised I didn't have a waterproof mascara at all and my friends invited me to see The Fault In Our Stars with them (if you've seen it or generally just have any clue what it's about then I feel you'll understand). My friend Chloe recommended it and I always trust her opinion when it comes to makeup; literally this stuff is like black, liquidised gold (but mascara). I'm so fussy about how my mascara looks and cannot stand clumpiness, and this applies soooooo well, meaning I don't have to make any effort to separate clumpy areas because there aren't any. Probably going to keep the brush even when it runs out/dries up. It's brilliant. You should probably own it.


Scent

Strawberries gaaaaaa. Nothing smells better than strawberries in July. Every year at this time, it's all about the strawberries. They taste great too, but for some reason I always find the scent even more appealing than the taste. It's a sweet scent, but not so sweet that it's sickening if that makes sense. I don't think it's a smell I can really tire of, basically because it's only really something I smell around this time of year when strawberries are in season. They never smell as nice in winter, so when summer comes round, the smell of strawberries is one of the few things I really look forward to.


Place


I went to Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire in the middle of the month and it was so nice. I was expecting the 'safari' part to be awful in all honesty. The idea of being stuck in a car in the heat, for an hour or two, practically at a standstill due to lots of other cars stopping and starting to take pictures and watch the animals was not appealing. However, we went the week before all the schools broke up, so it was actually really pleasant and there wasn't much traffic around the park at all. The section of the park that you could walk around was really nice too. Everything wasn't too close together, but equally wasn't miles away. They had a boating pond with pedalos, and a train that went around a section of the park; the place seemed pretty well thought out. And the atmosphere was just right. Would definitely recommend going there when the children are still at school, as that's honestly the best time if you're hoping for a fun but relaxed day.


Let me know your favourite things from July, I'd love to hear :)


Until next time.


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Summer soundtrack

We're actually already half way through summer, so to be honest this post is rather overdue. I'm someone who listens to hours of music each day, and so I thought I'd share a few of the songs that I've been listening to most this summer and a bit about them.


1. Lawson - Red Sky (acoustic) listen here


This song just screams summer evening to me. It's so soft and peaceful, and I've spent many an evening watching the sun go down whilst listening to this song. The 'main' version, as such, of this song is on the deluxe version of Lawson's debut album 'Chapman Square,' which was released in October 2012, but the acoustic version was released on the ep for their first single 'When She Was Mine' in May of the same year. The song is just so soothing and I find it really calming after a busy/tiringly warm day. The blend of instruments and stunning vocals make it sound almost like a lullaby.


2. Blink-182 - Everytime I look for you listen here


This song is essentially about someone never being around, which is something that often happens in summer: people go on holiday or are busy with other things. I'm not really a massive fan of Blink, but I've been listening to them a lot more recently and there are quite a few songs I could now listen to for hours on end, and this is one of them. It was released on the band's 2001 album, 'Take Off Your Pants and Jacket' (what an album title, wowza). I don't really know what it is about the song I like, it's a bit tongue in cheek, and that's always fun, but yeah, I just like it and that's always a good enough reason to listen to something.


3. The Script - Give the Love Around listen here


This song has a very relaxed vibe and a positive, happy message. The song is on The Script's third album, '#3,' which was released in September 2012. I don't know why but I just feel like this song is best suited to summer over any other season. The strings section adds some instrumental variation and I always find that really refreshing to hear. I love the hints of syncopation that really reinforce the relaxing feel to the song.


4. The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA listen here


If you don't know why this song, then you don't understand life. Literally been listening to this since birth, no joke. Yeah. My parents LOVED The Beach Boys and their album 'Summer Dreams' was pretty much on whenever we were home all throughout my childhood. I believe the album was released in 1990, however I've seen a bunch of different dates flailing around, so that's not for sure. Anyhow, this song in particular reminds me of the summer holidays back when I was in my early years of primary school. My brother, sister and I would dance around the living room like idiots singing this song loudly enough to definitely annoy the neighbours. It brings back fun childhood memories.


5. The Killers - All These Things That I've Done listen here


All These Things That I've Done was released in 2004 and it's one of The Killers' softer songs, whilst still being rather anthemic and something that I'm sure would sound really great at a festival. The video's pretty strange, but shows men being intimidated by women, which is kind of refreshing considering it's pretty much always the other way around. Whoop, powerful women, whoop, screw gender stereotypes. But yeah, I just like the song really.


6. Pixie Lott - Stevie On the Radio listen here


This song encompasses everything that is summer in my eyes. It's essentially about going on a road trip, and what better time to do such a thing than this fine season (preferably to the beach or else being in a hot car wouldn't really be worth it). This song was released on Pixie's second album, 'Young Foolish Happy' in 2011. It's very upbeat with the most amazing harmonica feature by Stevie Wonder himself in the middle eight. I. Love. This. Song. Nothing more I can say really.


7. All Time Low - Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For a Night (acoustic)) listen here


If it's acoustic then it's probably gon be a winner in my eyes, let's be real. I love All Time Low's acoustics so much; they've still got the force of the originals behind them, but just sound prettier to me. I think it's kind of easier to grasp the meaning of the lyrics when you aren't distracted by all the other instruments, like, it's really stripped back and in a sense shows the vulnerability of the song. 'Dedication takes a lifetime but dreams only last for a night,' is an important lyric. The song was released on All Time Low's 2008 deluxe album, 'So Wrong, It's Right.'


8. Ed Sheeran - Tenerife Sea listen here


I heard a version of this with the sounds of the sea in the background and omg it was like the most calming thing I have ever heard. Whoa. You can listen to that here and I highly recommend you do because it's so relaxing, you have no idea. I love this song so much and if someone ever sang it to me I'd probably look like a seal clapping/crying (with the sounds, can you imagine, oh god). It's such a beautiful song, I don't know how Ed does it but he just does and I am so thankful. It was released at the end of June (2014) on the new album, x, which I happen to have reviewed here if you'd like to have a lil read.


9. The Used - Blue and Yellow listen here


'You'll never find it if you're looking for it,' is something I sort of live by (unless we're talking about a lost phone or something, then I'll look and I WILL find it dammit). I think when it comes to feelings the lyric is most relevant: I see all these people out looking desperately for love and it just doesn't happen for them. Gonna use Ted in How I Met Your Mother as a prime example here. In the end he's not looking for it, but rather stumbles across it. If you're looking to feel stable and secure then you probably won't: take risks and maybe it will happen. I don't know, this song's just quite important to me, and with a billion life decisions demanding to be made, I've been listening to it a lot. It was released in 2002 on the album 'The Used.'


10. Goo Goo Dolls - Notbroken listen here


I love the intro on the acoustic guitar. I remember first listening to it and literally being hooked after the first bar. It's initially a fairly soft song and essentially develops into somewhat of a power ballad, dipping and crescendoing in and out of the chorus. The song was on the album, 'Something for the Rest of Us,' which was put out in 2010. 'When the world is insane you get used to the pain.' It's not really particularly summery, but it kind of feels like it could be during the choruses.


11. Paolo Nutini - Last Request listen here


This song was released back in 2006 and I still love it. It's got a very soothing tone to it and Nutini's voice is so distinct and unique. The lyrics are cute and make my heart ache just a lil bit (damn all these darn ballads, help). I don't really have much to say about this song, but I think it really does speak for itself.


12. The Vamps - Somebody To You listen here


Somebody To You is one of my favourite songs by The Vamps and it makes me feel so happy. It's got the nicest message: this is one of those things that would mean the world to have sung/even said to you. 'Everybody's trying to be a billionaire, but every time I look at you I just don't care, 'cause all I wanna be, all I ever wanna be is somebody to you.' Yeah. It's just the sweetest song and I love everything about it (so not ready to hear it live in October, help (but equally so, so ready ugh (the smile is already forming))). The song was released on The Vamps debut album, 'Meet The Vamps,' in April (2014) and it was the song I immediately loved most. I did a review of the album here if you'd like to have a gander.


13. Nickelback - Photograph listen here


Whenever I tell anyone I really like Nickelback they give me a weird look/laugh. And I'm just like, oh. Like, you're allowed to like the song 'Rockstar' but if you like the others then it's funny???? Oh. I just think they're a really great band with such a distinctive sound. This song is very nostalgic and I think summer is the kind of time where you look back over things a lot, so that's why I've put it on my summer soundtrack. It was put out in 2005, and on the album 'All the Right Reasons.'


14. Mayday Parade - Three Cheers For Five Years listen here


I've really gotten into Mayday Parade over the last couple of years. When I first started listening I remember being a bit like, hmm, I don't know. But their songs are all consistently good, with meaningful lyrics and I love their sound. 'Another night, another dream wasted on you,' mega sigh. The song was released on the album, 'Tales Told by Dead Friends,' in 2006. I just really like it.


15. Lewis Watson - Close listen here


Close is a really pretty song oh. I didn't even mention it in my brief review of Lewis' album (here if you'd like to read it), but it's such a lovely song. A demo version of it was initially released on the ep, 'Four More Songs' in 2013, and then a fully made up version was then on the album, 'The Morning,' released early July. The song is essentially about just going somewhere that nobody knows you with someone close to you, and forgetting about all your worries; this is something a lot of people do in the summer time and so I thought it was rather fitting. And I really love the video for the demo gaaaa.


16. Westlife - Queen Of My Heart listen here


Don't think I've ever actually expressed my love of Westlife on here oh my. OhmygodIlovethemtoomuchhelp. They are the kings of ballads (seriously help me, my heart). You wouldn't believe the upset when they split up and I couldn't get tour tickets: all of the sighs there ever were (I'd say I was over it, but let's be real, I'm never gonna be (until they do a reunion tour (hurry, I need this))). Queen Of My Heart was released in 2001, and I remember it, sigh. My mum bought their first greatest hits CD with it on like the year after the song came out and I just listened to it over and over. I love this song, I love them, I love stupid ballads fml.


17. Ruthanne Cunningham - All In Good Time listen here


I can't actually remember how I first heard about Ruthanne, but it was a few years ago, and as soon as she put the demo of this song up on soundcloud I fell in love with it. It's one that I think a lot of people can relate to, and in the wait for A Level results it's incredibly relevant. I love the simple arrangement; it really reinforces the meaning and I don't think I could love this song more if my life depended on it. All the love in the whole universe.


18. The Maine - Whoever She Is listen here


This was actually the first song I remember listening to by The Maine, and I instantly gained an interest in the band's music. The instrumentation is so well put together and I love (of course) the use of the acoustic guitar. It was released on The Maine's debut album 'Can't Stop Won't Stop' in 2008. It's a really calming song and I really like the lyrics and everything about it really.


19. MAGIC! - Don't Kill The Magic listen here


This song is so good, I could listen to it on repeat for hours. The lyrics are very giving, if that's a thing, like it's all about giving someone everything you can in order to keep things special between you. The band have this really cool post-reggae kind of feel (if that's even a thing) to them that I cannot get enough of at the moment. The song is due for release in the UK on MAGIC!'s album, which is also titled 'Don't Kill The Magic,' on the 4th August and seems definitely worth checking out.


20. The Icarus Account - Everything We've Got listen here


This song is so beautiful and so is all of the band's music. I could listen to it forever. I did a post on The Icarus Account last month (you can give it a read here if you'd like), and I honestly cannot get enough of them. This song's quite tragic really; it describes a relationship that has ended, with the two people trying to pretend that everything's still normal and they're fine with being friends despite how difficult it really is. 'We go out with our friends but they all know that we're just pretending,' is a line that I can personally relate to, with everyone knowing that you're not okay with being in a certain situation with a certain someone anymore. The song was released very recently, on their ep for 'Girls Like You' in April (2014). Pretty pretty pretty.


21. 5 Seconds of Summer - Kiss Me Kiss Me listen here


'Here's to teenage memories,' really makes me think of summer (and so does the band's name ygm). The song is all about making the most of the time you have whilst being in a certain place with a certain person/people, which is what being young is all about, little do we all realise. I really like how upbeat this song is and the message is a pretty darn good one too. The song was released on the band's self-titled debut album at the end of June (2014), which I did a review of here if anyone is at all interested.


22. Kate Voegele - Sweet Silver Lining listen here


I love this song so hard. I've been re-watching One Tree Hill over the summer and this song is sung by the character Mia (played by Kate) at Lucas and Peyton's wedding (all the sobs). It was released on the album 'A Fine Mess' back in 2009. It's so beautiful and I can't believe I forgot about it because I literally used to listen to it every day. It's basically about being courageous and not letting anything knock you down, which is such a good message and it sort of helps just with life, I don't know, it's pretty.


23. Goo Goo Dolls - There You Are listen here


The video for this song is a fun one and I think that's why it's appealing for summer. It's very upbeat song, and was actually, little did I know, the band's debut single, released in 1991. I think it's just a really great rock song, and we all need a few of those in the summer. I like the instrumentation and shout-y/chant-y lyrics; it all works well together.


24. The Cab - La La listen here


La La is fun and upbeat, and just everything you really want to hear in summer. It was released in 2012 and once I start thinking about, or hear just a snippet, I cannot get it out of my head. The song basically creates a hypothetical situation, asking, 'what would you do if I told you I love you?' It's rather cheeky (lolz that word makes me feel so weird/uncomfortable/I don't even know). The song is just fun, literally that's the best word to describe it.


25. One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful listen here


How could I not. What Makes You Beautiful was released in the summer of 2011 and it was filmed on a beach. It's kind of a summer anthem if ya didn't know. I hadn't listened to this song in soooo long, but it came on the radio a few weeks ago and I just like, yes, I'm like fifteen again, omg. I remember when the video came out, it was a really sunny day and I was out at the park with a few of my friends and Charlie and me were dying lolz. It brings back fun memories. It's an ultimate summer song in my eyes, whether you like One Direction or not.


Until next time.


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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Family outing: the zoo

Can you tell how much I love animals and visiting zoos? This is the third time I've been to the zoo in under a year and it was still great. The previous times were both to Cotswold Wildlife Park, the first with my family and the second with my friends, but this time my family decided to go to Woburn Safari Park, which is a little bit further away from where we live and in the opposite direction. The choice of zoo was made by my mum and sister, but luckily they're smart and only actually looked at the ones that had rhinos, because they know at heart that's what I always want to see most. My parents wanted to go before all the schools break up for summer to avoid the rush, as my sister has finished university for the year, my brother has finished year eleven and I've finished sixth form, so we've got some time on our hands.

It was a bit awkward to take pictures whilst driving round the park as you couldn't get out of the car (sad times, wish I could have spend longer watching the rhinos, sigh), but there's a smaller area for the smaller animals that you can walk around, so the photo quality is a bit varied (and they were taken on three different cameras ahhh). Hope you like themmmmm wooooo :)






























Until next time.


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