Sunday, 31 January 2016

Mayday Parade: Black Lines UK tour

On Friday evening I went to the (O2) Institute in Birmingham to see Mayday Parade (and The Maine, who were one of the support bands). It was a really great show and I had a wonderful time.

The Maine played some of my favourite songs, including Am I Pretty?, Everything I Ask For, and Another Night On Mars. There was a really nice atmosphere when they were on, and you could tell that a lot of the crowd were (like myself) big fans of the band's music. A great set by one of my favourite bands; my only wish would've been that they'd played for longer.

One of my favourite things about Mayday Parade's music is that it can go straight from a heavier rock song into one of the most intimate, delicate ballads. And I loved how this happened throughout their performance. They were a complete delight to both hear and watch, as you could tell they were all really passionate about the songs they were playing.

Some highlights for me included Three Cheers For Five Years, Oh Well, Oh Well, Jersey, Terrible Things, and undoubtedly Miserable At Best, which was one of the most beautiful moments at any gig I've ever been to; hearing everyone singing all throughout, and especially when Derek left the stage and left us to finish the song. It was something truly magical.

I would highly recommend attending this tour if you haven't already, or going to any other gig either band do in the future. Absolutely brilliant.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

5 things to look forward to

During the more miserable months of the winter, it's always nice to have something to look forward to, especially when you're living under a pile of work and reading. So I thought I'd write a list of five things that I'm looking forward to right now, in hopes that they will act as motivation for the weeks to come.

1. Spring:
When we get to autumn I'm always like, maybe this is my favourite season, but it really isn't. Spring is wonderful. It's when nature is at it's peak and everything is blossoming and the whole country looks so much more beautiful and everything gets lighter and feels lighter.

2. Spending time with my mum:
I'm actually doing this right now, today, as I'm home for a day and a bit (was meant to have a hospital appointment but it got changed and I'd already booked the train tickets), and I'm very happy about it, I love Ann, she's literally the best ever. We're trying to plan out when we can next spent quality time together (how sad that I have to schedule in time with my own mother these days, being an adult is awful).

3. Cheesecake:
This might sound kind of silly but I'm always looking forward to eating cheesecake, it's undoubtedly the best food in the entire world and even though I don't know when I'll next be enjoying it (it's a treat that I indulge in very occasionally), I'm still always looking forward to it.

4. Live shows:
I've got a few of these to look forward to over the next few months, including Walk The Moon, All Time Low, Busted, James Morrison and Coldplay, among a couple of others.

5. Reading books that I'd like to read:
Basically all the reading I do is for uni; I literally do not have enough time to read anything recreational and that's pretty sad. So I'm looking forward to towards the summer period when I'll have finished all my course reading and can relax a little more and actually read something that I'd really like to.

What are you looking forward to and what's motivating you at the moment?

Until next time.

Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A fresh mindset

With the new year, there's a tendency to take on a new mindset and cleanse the soul, define goals and such; these are things that I don't usually do. But this year I'm feeling very different and therefore I feel like I need a bit of change and a chance to refresh. I thought I would write about my goals and motivations, my plans for work and life.

Current goals:

This year I would like to look after myself; I tend to prioritise other things over my well being and certainly my happiness, and now I think it's time I gave myself a little more consideration. I'd like to plan things out more, and go into more detail about exactly what I'm doing and when. I would like to keep on top of uni work at all times, and read for at least an hour a day. I would like to be braver in social situations, because I know I can and I've proven that I can many times and it usually feels good despite the struggle to do it. I need to breathe deeply through stressful times, and embrace anything that brings me happiness.

Current motivations:

I really want to finish my degree; I know I'm only just half way through, but all I can think about is wanting it done and wanting to know that I've done the best I possibly could have. It's motivating me that later this year I'll be starting my final year of uni. The prospect of travel is a strong motivation. All I've ever wished for is to be able to see all kinds of different things in all kinds of different places, so I'm motivated to work towards any opportunity to see a part of the world I'm yet to discover (which is almost the whole of the world). Happiness. The possibility of happiness is something that has always motivated me, despite it often feeling like a very hopeless wish. If there's a chance of happiness, I'll do what I can to get to it.

What is making me happy at the moment and how I can do more of this:

Living as simplistically as possible; not wanting for much is something that has made me more and more happy the more I've gone with it. As much as sometimes I will want for certain things, I love living with a little, as when a little is all you have, it develops into feeling as though that little is a lot.

Wearing minimal/no makeup has made me far happier than I ever thought it would. Some days of course I might feel particularly insecure about a spot or two, or I'll just feel like putting on makeup and being a little artsy with my face; but generally speaking, wearing little or no makeup has made me surprisingly happy in the past few months. I feel like my skin is having more of a chance to breathe and I'm also more content with the way my face generally looks.

I'm happy to have the occasional lie-in; I think this is mostly because it's winter and it's so dark in the mornings, as through most of the year I am without a doubt an early riser. I love getting up before or with the sun and going out for a long walk, and I generally feel much more productive getting up earlier, as there's more time to get things done in daylight; however, a lie-in every now and again (and by that I mean getting up after 8am) has been wonderful and has reminded me that I do have to let myself recharge once in a while.

Plans to stay engaged with work:

Make a to-do list everyday. This is something that I usually do, although I definitely started slacking a little towards the end of 2015, but knowing exactly what I'm doing/need to do throughout the day and having it all written down and prioritised gives me a much better chance of getting it all done (also the satisfaction and gratification received from ticking things off is the best ever).

As mentioned previously, reading for at least an hour a day is something I would find particularly beneficial. As an English student this is something entirely necessary for my course, but making sure I do it will ensure that I'm keeping on top of my work and will also engage me more in the text than if I only read a chapter or two.

Reviewing notes is something that I tend not to do until the revision period before/during exams. Therefore this year I plan to make more time to review my notes, especially those from semester one modules. It will make things easier to remember and will better consolidate my learning.

I plan to take short but regular breaks from work. I often find I move straight from one thing to the next without giving my brain a moment to take things in and adapt to a new task. Taking regular breaks will be better for both my work and well being, and will generally make me more efficient in my tasks.

Plans for blogging:

I'm hoping, as ever, to blog more regularly this year. Undoubtedly April/May and maybe some of June will be quiet due to exams and revision, but the rest of the year will hopefully be more consistently active. I might try to do a photo diary for April and May especially, just to have something to show what I've been up to and such without causing too much of a distraction from revision. I'd also like to take more time to plan my posts in advance, so I know what I need to do and how much time I have to do it in order to keep posting regularly.

General lifestyle aims:

I'd like to keep eating in a healthy/balanced manner. I managed this throughout most of 2015, although understandably with a bit of wavering towards the Christmas period. I would like to take better care of my body and skin, as I've noticed that I feel better in myself when I do this. I'd like to play saxophone whenever I get the opportunity, and go for walks whenever I can. I hope to allow myself to dream and have goals that might seem silly to me, because those are the ones that will make me strive for more.

Until next time.

Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour