Sunday, 31 July 2016

July photo diary '16

July's been a rather hot month all in all, at times I'd definitely say too hot for my pale skin. But it's been a nice change to all the rain prior to now. Here's a collection of photos showing what I've been up to this month.




Night out at the beginning of the month to celebrate Ruthie finally turning 18 woop.





The loveliest picnic with the girls ft. Ted and Louis.




Outdoor cinema seeing Dirty Dancing at St Hugh's College, Oxford.


Love of my life.






Afternoon tea and sight-seeing in Ox to celebrate CT's 20th.





A slightly rushed visit to Waddesdon Manor on a miserable afternoon.



When the boys are being boring, the girls snapchat (ft. my natural hair gosh).






A sunny day at Cutteslowe Park with Charlie, mini-golfing, zip-wiring, eating, and shade-bathing.






Vvvvvvery hot afternoon at Brill Hill with the girls.


One of my new favourite books, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (review to come soon).


The disappointment when your watermelon doesn't cut into a perfect circle, darn.



Early morning trains and lunch breaks by the canal.

Here's to a great August.


Until next time.


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

Monday, 18 July 2016

An Afternoon in Oxford


On Thursday, Charlie, Chloe and I headed into Oxford for a little birthday celebration for Chloe.

We started off with afternoon tea (/high tea) at The Grand Cafe, which has one of the prettiest interiors I've ever seen (it's also rather beautiful from the outside). The food was delicious, with egg and cress, and salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, plain and raisin scones, with jam and cream, and some little chocolate bites. The tea was also 10/10. It's quite a small cafe, despite the illusion created by the stunning grandeur mirrors, but it's definitely somewhere I'd recommend going if you can get a table.



Following afternoon tea, we did a little sight-seeing, as it's always nice to look around a city you're very familiar with; I think I sometimes forget just how beautiful this place is. We went across to the Radcliffe Camera and the Bridge of Sighs, two of Oxford's best known landmarks.



Then we headed off the do a little shopping, and a couple of hours later hopped on the bus home to attend our favourite pub quiz with some other friends.

Where are your favourite places to go in your city? And what are the best things to get up to there?

Until next time.


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

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Perspective - Lawson


You know when it's been almost four years since a band released their first album, and you're starting to question if the second one is ever going to reach your hands? Yeah.

But fINALLY, Lawson's second album, Perspective, is out and I am glad. And even better news: it's incredible.

Prior to the album's release, the band have put three singles out, all of which are incredibly catchy and the kind of thing you want to hear on the radio. Roads was the initial hint at what the second album was to feel like, and it was a great start. One of the main things I love about Lawson is how they can be so versatile and yet what you hear from them always feels somewhat familiar. They consistently show their capability to find the perfect blend of experimentation and the intimacy of their original sound. Where My Love Goes is the perfect ballad, but the way it's stripped back to match some of their acoustic tracks adds something extra special, and of course the video offers something even more wonderfully memorable. Money is the pop/rock song you've been waiting all day to hear on the radio. It raises spirits with lyrics that will resonate with most people.

Rio is groovy as heck. The beat makes you want to get up and dance long before the chorus hits. Bringing visions of carnival and dancing along the Copacabana with the city lights in the background, this song is one that makes me want to go out and live for the here and now (ideally somewhere warm and beautiful (like Rio)). Another stand out track (aren't they all though), is Lion's Den. This one I initially found very different, but all the greater for being a less familiar sound. It makes me think of a much (much) darker version of Juliet, with the same themes drawn out, but a bit more drum and bass. It's also got a killer guitar solo at the end; all hail Joel.

Love and War feels monumental, ending the album on a high and low at the same time. Though the song is very grand in composure, the lyrics are pretty sad but accepting, nonetheless sending the album out with a bang. It feels like the perfect song the follow on from Used To Be Us, which again has lyrics that lead us towards an ending. Here the drums create more of an emphasis, with a powerful bridge to the chorus, leading up to a couple of short but spectacular guitar solos.

There are two songs in particular that hit your heart so hard it may well break I Look Anyway is perhaps the bolder of the two, with a strong sound that really expresses the heartache of the lyrics, conveying them perfectly. Only Water though, Only Water kind of broke me. Probably because it feels like the Volta of the album, turning from the happier sounds to the devastating, and where you were so high, you're suddenly lower than ever before (ever before in the last twenty minutes anyway). The lines 'Sometimes I don't know myself, and I find I'm in tears when I least expect it' are probably the saddest, because they're the most relatable. I felt semi-okay when they were sang the first time, but when those words come back again with backing vocals and the full instrumentation, there's something so, so moving about them. It's like an inescapable sense of grief, but the fact that the vocals are shared makes it more bearable, like there's a shared grief rather than bearing the burden alone.

The two songs that make me the jolliest, because we're going to end on a high here, are We Are The Fire and When I'm Old. Where the former brings a strong sense of determination, the latter brings out all the love and life in my heart. We Are The Fire makes me feel like I can do anything, and it sounds like the perfect song to start off a gig, in the same way that it's the perfect album starter. But When I'm Old, oh golly, it is the loveliest, cheeriest, happiest song I've heard in a long while. And it's everything I want to hear from this moment on.


Overall, this is an album than earns five stars and then some. And I can only hope that it's heard all over the world, and that this band receive all the success and recognition they deserve.

Until next time.


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

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Outdoor Cinema: St Hugh's College


Last week Ruth and I heard about some outdoor cinema screenings that are happening in Oxford across the summer, and jumped at the opportunity to go to one.

On Saturday night we headed to St Hugh's College to watch Dirty Dancing. I'd never actually seen the film before and it was a pretty darn great way to watch it for the first time.

The doors opened at 7.30, but the film didn't actually start until about 9.30, so we were hanging around for a long time, but wanted to make sure we got good seats (ya know). We booked single beanbags, which came with a blanket to keep you warm as it got later.


In the wait for the film there was food and drink on offer, which we, of course, went straight for. I got sweet potato fries and they were probably the best I've ever had.

One of the trees in the garden was lit up with coloured lights, which added a nice little touch to the evening, especially as it darkened and the film started.


The audience was pretty fun, with lots of cheering and whistling at Patrick Swayze, and there was a nice mix of ages, with the evening being very accessible to a wide range of people.

Overall it was a really wonderful evening and definitely something I'd be keen to attend again.


There are several more screenings to commence in Oxford over the summer, at both Pitt Rivers and Oxford Castle, as well as at various other locations across England. So if you have the time to go and catch a film in your area, I would recommend checking out Cult Screens to see the dates of upcoming screenings.

Until next time.


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

Friday, 8 July 2016

Sounds like Summer

Today's post is a selection of songs I'm loving at the moment, and will be sure to keep listening to throughout the summer. Are any of these on your summer soundtrack?












6. Oceans Between Us - The Icarus Account












12. Walking In The Wind - One Direction










17. Waste The Night - 5 Seconds of Summer
















25. We Are The Fire - Lawson






Until next time.


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