Thursday, 31 March 2016

March favourites '16


So I haven't done a favourites post since June. That's how long it's taken me to like different things. Golly. Anywho.

Music:

This month I have been loving The 1975's new album, and their music in general. There's such a mix of sounds to suit every emotion, and I loved seeing them live. One song in particular by Taylor Swift I've been listening to all month is Ours; I just really like it and I'm a little bit obsessed with it at the moment. Lastly, Aleisha McDonald's Rhymes EP is back in my ears again, especially since the weather is starting to warm up (the songs feel like Spring/Summer to me). A beautiful, calming set of songs.


Books:

I think I only actually read one of these this month but oh well. On my Vic Lit module we studied Henry James' Daisy Miller, which I really enjoyed. It's a novella so didn't take long to read, but I found the content and characters really interesting (I think Henry James is great in general so someone I'd recommend reading).

The other two books are from 21st Century Literature, one of which I read at the very beginning of the module in January and was both baffled and enthralled by. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski is a very challenging book to grasp but once you start making sense of it (and reading a ton of criticism) it's a masterpiece. A complex but enticing narrative.

And the final book favourite is Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, which I kind of completely adore; so much so that I ordered the other two books connected to this one and am longing to read them. It's such an interesting dystopian (although kind of utopian too) plot, and I really like Atwood's written style, it's so easy to read and draws you further into the novel.

Three very different books, all of which I would highly recommend.


TV show:

Friends all the time. Remember when Friends was on E4 literally all day everyday, I really miss that. The fact that it's no longer on that channel anymore is the sole reason I haven't watched it in a few years. But my friend Ruth has recently gotten me back into it and I no longer want to watch anything else.


Film:

So I watched Freaky Friday for the first time the other day??? Amazing. Chad Michael Murray is in it and I've only just watched it??? Who even am I??!!!? Anyway, it's funny and I really liked it. If teen rom-com/chick-flicky kinda things float your boat then you should watch this. Really can't believe I didn't watch this between the ages of 11 and 15. I'm not who I thought I was.


Food:

Oh my god pasta. I've barely eaten pasta in the past year because I haven't really felt like it, but now ohhhh my gaaaaad I love it again, how have I survived without it. Pasta in all forms, at pretty much any time of the day. I'll take it.


What have you been loving this month?


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 28 March 2016

Song of the week #57



This is one of my favourite songs ever, by one of my favourite bands ever. I listen to Walk The Moon's I Can Lift A Car pretty much on a daily basis, and this week I've been listening many, many times a day. I love it.

The song is so motivational, it feels empowering and the passion within creates a fuel for life. I have never gotten to the end of this song without feeling inspired and without feeling better than when the song started playing. When I saw Walk The Moon live this song was such a moment, it felt like everyone there was feeling the same things as they sang out the lyrics. And I think we all felt better for being there.

A song I would recommend entirely.

Until next time.


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Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Friday, 25 March 2016

The 1975


On Tuesday I went to see The 1975 at the Barclaycard Arena (NIA), in Birmingham, at their biggest show to date.

They were brilliant.

The whole set was great, with a nice mix of songs from their first and second albums. She's American, one of my favourites, was really fun and energetic, as was The Sound, which had some pretty cool stage effects accompanying the music. I really loved the lighting throughout the whole show.

I particularly enjoyed Heart Out and Somebody Else too; all of the songs complimented each other and went nicely from one to the next. And Paris was really beautiful too, I felt like everyone came together more during that one.


Robbers was stunning, and undoubtedly my favourite song to hear. There's something about it that completely hooks me every single time I listen to it, and it was even more mesmerising live.

I loved that they incorporated the sax into their live show. It sounded wonderful and added further richness to the music. It's a very passionate instrument and matched their performance beautifully.

A band I would highly recommend seeing live.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A quote for thought #5


'So if you love someone, you should let them know' - Coldplay, Everglow

A very simple quote, which evokes some simple thoughts, but thoughts maybe we aren't thinking enough.

When was the last time you told your mum you loved her? Your dad? Your grandparents, best friends, siblings, your dog? The simplest three word phrase in the world, and yet it can be forgotten about so easily.

And at times it can be hard to say. If you're angry, or feeling down, it's not the first thing on your mind.

Maybe it's a romantic kind of love that you believe will be forever unrequited. There's only one way to find out.

So whoever it is, and whatever kind of love it is,

You should let them know.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 21 March 2016

Song of the week #56



Haim always make me think Spring/Summer (as a lot of songs seem to). There's such an upbeat, happy energy to a lot of their songs, and in particular, Days Are Gone.

This song feels so nostalgic, looking back on what once was. I love the opening line, 'and I got back up'; it feels really motivational, like sure those days are gone, but these days can be better. I can feel a sense of movement in this song, moving towards somewhere hopeful, somewhere happier.

It feels like the kind of song to listen to right now.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Spring cleaning


I'm actually spending some time cleaning out my bedroom at home this weekend, so literal spring cleaning is happening as well as more metaphorical cleaning.

As much as new year is a time for fresh mindsets and such, I feel like spring is a much easier time to cleanse your mind (and your room).

So I'm cleaning out my life this spring.

I feel like I've made a lot of changes recently, and I'm moving as much as I can towards being a happier person. And one of the ways I think is good for that is to 'cleanse', as such, by thinking about what I would like, who I would like to be around me, and the things I intend to do (in the short term at least (I can't make huge life decisions we all know that)).

Some of the things that I would like involve literally throwing things away, as I'm doing with my bedroom at home. I cleaned it out the summer before I went to uni almost two years ago, but I feel like there are a lot of things that I kept for no reason. Pretty much everything I need, I have at uni with me; understandably there are things I left at home that I use on occasion, like clothes and such, but there's a lot I don't require at all. As a result I'll be getting rid of things, sending them to the charity shop and such.

Something actually pretty big is that I've really come to terms with the fact that I don't want to live in Birmingham anymore. There have been things going on where I live that I'm really not happy with and that have caused me some grief, and as a result I've decided to live at home from the end of the semester, for both the exam period and my final year. This wasn't an easy decision but I think I'd really prefer to get the train a few times a week than to be close by and miserable. Practicality isn't everything. Well being is.

In terms of the people I want to have around me, I really do miss my mum and my dog and family when I'm at uni. My mum is my best friend and as much as we have hours and hours of phone calls a week, I miss just being near her; you can't always get the comfort you'd really like through the phone. There's a lot going on in my family as well, and as much as sometimes it definitely does feel easier to be out of the way, I'd like to be there and be more available to help out with certain things.

Something I intend to do is continuing to work my butt off. I spend so much time reading, writing, preparing for seminars, doing group work, and I feel like the more I put in the more I am getting out. I am so happy with my work ethic; sometimes it's a little exhausting, but it's all worth it as I'm literally doing the best I can and I'm not someone who will settle for less than my best. I'm hoping that this work will pay off in the last of my coursework, and ultimately my exams.

I feel like I've been making decisions, relatively big and small, that are making me feel better recently. Spring seems to be helping me spring into action, and I hope I can keep this up.

Though there will always be down days, I feel like I'm heading in the right direction to minimise them.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

James Morrison: Symphony Hall


On Monday I went to Symphony Hall to see James Morrison and I had a great time.

His support act, Kelvin Jones, was great and I really liked his sound. The ballads were beautiful and you could feel the soul within the songs.

James was wonderful. His performance was energetic and full of heart. I loved hearing his older songs, in particular Wonderful World and You Give Me Something, which were stunning, and also Broken Strings, which everyone in the room sang along to.

His voice is so unique and it's one of my favourites. I really enjoyed hearing his newer songs as well, with a bit of a different vibe to them, showing his versatility as an artist.

Overall it was a really great show, and James Morrison is definitely an artist I'd recommend seeing live.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 14 March 2016

Song of the week #55



Parachute have just released a new album called Wide Awake, and I really like it. My favourite song is probably the opener, Without You. It's so upbeat and makes me think of the upcoming Spring/Summer time.

It's a pretty classic pop song, the kind that we all need to hear every now and again. I love the backing vocals, I think they can add so much to a song, creating a somewhat gospel feel.

A great song and a great album, one I'd recommend checking out.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Thursday, 10 March 2016

6 reasons why I love Spring


Now that we're into March, Spring is getting ever so close and the colder weather is starting to settle into a warmer air; I thought I would tell you six reasons why I love Spring. It's definitely my favourite season (as much as I do also like Autumn), and this is why.

1. Nature comes back to life

I love nothing more than countryside walks in the Spring, when nature is essentially resurrected, coming back to life following the colder seasons . Where I live in Oxfordshire is particularly beautiful in Spring and I love passing by fields full of lambs and being outside in the warmer weather and sunshine.


2. Winter 'hibernation' ends

I tend to spend a lot of time inside during winter, despite how much I love the outdoors, as it's just a bit too cold to be outside for very long at a time. I'm looking forward to being outside more and enjoying the fresher, warmer, Spring air.

3. A change of food palette

As much as I eat a lot of fruit and veg all year round, I'm always inclined to eat more in Spring/Summer. The warmer weather brings a lot of fruit into season, making it better quality and more enjoyable.

4. Easter

As much as I've just said that I love fruit, who doesn't love chocolate? Not only am I looking forward to the Easter eggs, but also a break from uni and a chance to be at home again.


5. Spending time at home

As I've mentioned I will be spending a lot of Spring at home in lovely Oxfordshire, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with my mum and also reading out in the garden with my dog, which is something that always makes me happy.

6. End of the semester

Teaching is coming to an end, and knowing that after a while exams will be done and dusted and I'll get a chance to properly relax for a little while (and spend even more time with my dog) is something I look forward to every year. As much as revision is a bit of a burden, it'll be over soon and worth all the effort.

What are your favourite things about Spring?

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 7 March 2016

Song of the week #54



I've been listening to The 1975's new album, I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, since it came out and I am in love. Every song adds something really unique and there are so many different sounds; there's without a doubt something for everyone on this album. One of my favourite songs (and to be honest it was so hard to pick only one to focus on), is This Must Be My Dream.

The song has this wonderfully inspirational tone and it makes me feel so hopeful and constructive. When I listen to this song I feel like any dream is possible and achievable, even though there's a sense that the images depicted are only visible in dreams; there's no line between dreams and reality in this song. The drums are one of my favourite features of the song, with a sense of drive, but a relaxed drive, like nothing is rushed and everything is coming together in its own time.

My favourite part of the whole song though, undoubtedly, has to be the sax solo. It is so refreshing to hear the instrument I play and have adored the sound of for so long incorporated into music that so many people will listen to. And I think as an instrument, the saxophone is one that you can hear such passion in, and that's what this song seems to be most about. It sounds passionate, euphoric, wonderful.

I would recommend this song and album entirely; phenomenal.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Friday, 4 March 2016

Why reading is worth the time


As you may know, I am an English student, in the second year of my degree. From this angle, it may well seem as though I'm speaking from a biased pointed of view, but I think that reading really is something worth the time it takes to do.

The experience of reading is a very unique one. All the images in the text are ones that you create for yourself; and is unlikely that the characters you imagine will be the same for others or even for the author.

Reading requires thought, but only the amount you are willing to offer. Some people will come up with countless interpretations of what they read (oh hi there fellow English students), and other will take the meaning the author offers.

I think a lot of people think reading has become somewhat outdated, that films are the way forward. But a film literally shows you what its makers want you to see. You can discover so much more in a book. And you can lose yourself in another world for an hour a day, or an hour a week, however often you choose.

Personally, I think there's a magic in reading that nothing else holds. You create a fictional world alongside the author, through the images you evoke from their words.

And when else can we truly exert our imaginations these days?

Until next time.


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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fear of the unknown


I have no plan for the future. And that concerns me.

I'm currently in my second year of university, and it's come to that point, when we're closer to the end of our course than the beginning, and suddenly everyone seems to know what they want to do after uni. The few of us who don't are now panicking a little.

My main issue is not having one thing in particular that really interests me over everything else. I have varied interests and none of them seem to converge. This leads to me thinking I'm never going to have a 'proper' career as such and that I might end up changing jobs every couple of years, going from one field to another. The lack of security involved in this worries me. But at the end of the day, what security do any of us really have for the future? Things in this world are constantly changing.

And I think as much as this instability scares us, we should see it as a challenge. Fight the fear and do what you can to enjoy the experience as it plays out. Thinking in the long term is always a bit scary, because there's no knowing what will happen. We are all encompassed by the fear of the unknown. But we should aim to be inspired by the possibilities instead of terrified by them.

Maybe a plan will evolve, or maybe we'll learn to live without plans, and remain in the moment.

So, I don't know where I'll be in a year and a half's time, and I'm learning to be okay with that.

Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: @abbielour
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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com