Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June favourites


There hasn't been very much to dislike in June, so as a month itself it's a definite favourite.


Music:




The beginning of the month was kind of hectic in terms of travelling round the country and gig-going. I headed to Bristol with Chloe on the first Saturday of the month, after going home a few days before, and we stayed there with her sister, Grace, and went to see One Direction in Cardiff, which was so good. Then on the Monday I went back up to Birmingham, after having gone back home again with Chloe on Sunday, ready to go and see The Piano Guys on the Tuesday, and they were incredible. On Friday I then returned home (again), and had a lovely evening with Charlie and Chloe (we watched Mamma Mia one and a half times), before heading to London on Saturday, where Chloe and I went to see 5 Seconds of Summer. Can every week be filled with as much live music as that week please? There's literally nothing I'd like more.


On Friday (26th) I took my dad to see The Who at Hyde Park in London. And it was so good. Kaiser Chiefs played too and I love them, so it was a really lovely day. Aaaaand then on Saturday (27th) Ruth and I headed back down to Hyde Park to see Taylor Swift, and she was insaaaaane. Vance Joy was playing that day as well and I fell even more in love with his music. It was so lovely to hang out with Ruth again too, as I hardly see her with me being in Birmingham, so I'm looking forward to spending more time with her over the summer. Taylor owned the night; incredible.



So in terms of music favourites of June, I'm probably gonna have to say those, because they all delivered great performances and reminded me how much I've missed live music since mid-April, when I thought it would be a good idea to focus on revision and exams for the rest of April/May (hahahahhhh it wasn't (never again (ever))).

Anyway, onto other things, as if I haven't already said enough.


Book:


I've been reading Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates this month, and it is well worth a read. The book talks about how prominent sexism still is in society and I can relate to so much of what's discussed. I think it's a book that everyone needs to read.


Film:


The Imitation Game is amazing. I first heard about the film whilst it was still in production, as a few scenes were shot in my hometown, but it's only this month that I've finally watched it. And I was gripped all the way through. It's very interesting and is set during WW2, showing the story of how cryptanalysts were attempting to crack the code that the Germans were using to send messages. I found it really interesting and the acting is superb.


Makeup:


I've been so eh about makeup the past few months, but on the occasions I have bothered to wear any, I've been loving using Trick from Urban Decay's Naked 3 palette on my lower lash line. It just adds a hint of colour and being a bright copper tone it's very well suited to the summer and looks lovely when the sun is shining. I'll usually just line my upper lashes with a black eye shadow too to give my eyes a little added shape and dimension.


As for foundation, basically I've probably only worn it literally about five days this month. And my go to has been a lovely, light BB Cream from Maybelline that gives a sheer coverage, but just gives you skin a little something on the days that you don't feel like leaving your face completely bare. I really like this one.


Lastly, a makeup remover. I feel like everyone ever uses this and I've only recently hopped on the wagon. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water takes your makeup off so easily, and unlike pretty much all makeup removal products, this one works fine around my eyes, whereas most tend to leave them so sore and bloodshot, so this is a complete winner. Nothing bad to say about this product at all.


Place:




I've spent a few days in London this month and I've really loved being there. I don't visit the capital particularly often, so it was nice to get the opportunity to go for a few gigs and spend the days wandering around. I really loved the shows I went to in Hyde Park, and I'd love to go back there soon just to explore the rest of the park a bit more.


As great as June has been, I'm looking forward to July. Got a lil surprise lined up for a pal, and I am verrrrry excited for it to finally happen.

Until next time.


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Monday, 29 June 2015

Taylor Swift: British Summer Time, Hyde Park


Ruth and I went to the Taylor Swift gig for British Summer Time at Hyde Park and it was the most wonderful afternoon/evening ever. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had the best time.


One of my favourite singer/songwriters, Vance Joy, played, and he was amazing. I loved that he sang Georgia and From Afar, as they are two of my favourites and they sounded stunning (kind of a little sad he didn't play Red Eye though, but I guess that's even more of a reason to go and see him when he's next in the UK). His voice has the most gorgeous tone and it was the perfect thing to hear in the late afternoon.


I also really loved Ellie Goulding's performance; like Vance Joy she has a very unique tone to her voice and she sounded amazing. She did Starry Eyed, which I remember from years ago when it first came out, as well as the notorious Burn, and the stunning Love Me Like You Do, which was so beautiful.

Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift is an artist like no other. Not only is she an incredible singer and a talented musician, she is the most wonderful storyteller. During her performance not only was I blown away by her music, but I felt like part of a story. I felt part of something that would be remembered forever, something so special that nobody would ever dare to forget it. And I don't think I've felt quite like that ever before, but I know I'll long to feel that way again. And if I can go to another Taylor Swift show, I definitely shall, and I'd highly recommend you do so too.



One of my favourite songs of the whole evening, if not my overall favourite, was You Are In Love. I cannot describe the feeling. It felt like the most intimate few minutes, because the song is so strong and emotionally fueled, and yet the moment was shared by 65,000 people. It felt like we were all a part of something special as everyone sang to words back. It was stunning.



Style is one of my favourites on 1989, and during the song Taylor brought out a group of her friends to walk down the runway, which was so lovely to see as they all looked like they were having the most wonderful time. Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Serena Williams, Karlie Kloss, Martha Hunt, and Cara Delevingne all graced the stage and were met by a mass of applause due to their presence. I loved that they were all so happy to be there.



I loved How You Get the Girl; the props, stage setting, and outfits were all matched perfectly, and the stage looked just as great as the music sounded. All You Had To Do Was Stay was amazing too. I really liked how We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and I Knew You Were Trouble were performed differently to how they sound on Red. They both sounded a bit edgier and rockier and I loved hearing them that way. It shows the versatility of the songs beautifully. Also loved Clean and Enchanted/Wildest Dreams; her ballads are just something else.





Throughout the show she said some of the most wonderful things, to the point that my eyes were watering at one instance. She spoke about how who you are is enough and how the opinions of others do not define you. And I think when someone as well known as Taylor not just says those things, but lives by such things, you start to believe you can too. So thank you, Taylor, for everything. I honestly can't say enough kind words.




The day before I also went to see The Who at Hyde Park, and they put on a really good show too (although, I feel like nothing can really compare to Saturday evenings show (but the beauty is, you don't have to compare)). I'm really glad the gigs were in this order though, because I don't think anything would have felt so great as Taylor's show, so I ended the HP gigs on a high (the highest of highs).

Have you been to any of the Hyde Park shows this year? Let me know how you enjoyed them, especially if you were at Taylor's show, I'd love to hear.

Until next time.


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Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Piano Guys: European tour


This was the first concert I've ever been to on my own.

But even without someone I know to keep me company, live music is live music, and I have been wanting to see The Piano Guys for so long, and it was worth every penny, and still perfectly enjoyable alone.

They were sensational.


The show was at Birmingham Symphony Hall, which is absolutely gorgeous, and the sounds that filled the hall were even more beautiful than its interior. It's in central Birmingham, just passed the Library and in between the NIA and New Street Station. I'd never been there before, but I fell in love with the concert hall. It is so lovely and the acoustics were perfect.

I was sat next to a lovely couple who made conversation with me (which was really nice because they definitely weren't obliged to). They told me that they'd found out about The Piano Guys about a year ago, when researching songs to play at their wedding, which is next month. I wished them many congratulations, and I hope they have the most wonderful day. There were rather a lot of couples at the concert, and I can completely understand why; it's a very romantic show, with covers of emotive songs, old and new, and it would be a marvelous experience to share with someone you love. However, I still had the best time on my own, and I don't know, I think right now in my life I definitely enjoyed it more alone than I would have with someone else (being independent and taking yourself places is nice).



The performance was something else; literally, it was like nothing I've ever been to before. The combination of the most stunning sounds with the humour that the musicians offered was so entertaining. They wanted the audience to not only experience the music, but to have a laugh and really enjoy themselves, and they succeeded in that very well.

One of my favourite songs they did was a mashup of Taylor Swift's 'Love Story' and Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida', which was incredible. I love both artists and the way it was arranged was a complete dream. They got the audience involved in singing the 'ohhhh's' in Viva La Vida and it was just so fun. Another high point was 'A Thousand Years' by Christina Perri, where Nelson, the cellist, invited out his wife who joined them on the violin. It was a beautiful moment.



The other standout song for me was 'What Makes You Beautiful' by One Direction, which you can watch here. I have a feeling I've mentioned it on my blog before because I adore it, but it's just the way that they use the piano to make so many different sounds at once, it's amazing to watch and I'm so glad I got to see it live.

I smiled from ear to ear throughout the entire performance. The talent of these musicians is like none other I've ever come across. The skill and the charisma combined is utterly remarkable. I got goosebumps so many times, and I just loved seeing how much Schmidt and Nelson loved what they were doing, and how they'd grin even more when they caught your eye and saw your expression was just like their's. It was one of the most awe-inspiring evenings of my life, and something I'll never forget and forever long to see again.

If you get the chance to go and see them live, I honestly can't urge you to do so more. It is beyond worth the cost and just the most wonderful, fulfilling experience. I'll link The Piano Guys' youtube here, so definitely check them out if you've got some time spare, I don't think you'll regret it.

Until next time.


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Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com