Friday, 18 November 2016

Dolly On ... Smashing My 2016 Reading Goal!

So back in April, I'd read a total of two books: The Martian (that I read while I was in Thailand in February) and Midnight's Children (that took me the entire month of April to finish). I never thought I'd make this years' reading goal (26 books), but I am more than happy to say that I've smashed it out of the park and am on 33 books and we've still got six weeks of the year to go! I think I'm gonna up my goal to 40, because there's so many books on my TBR!

So, without further ado, below are the 33 full size books I've read this year (I've also read some short stories by Edgar Allen Poe, and the short Pottermore e-books, but I've chosen not to count them on here). I've put a star rating next to all the books, mostly I've given 4 stars, and I don't whether that means I've really lucked out on choosing good books this year, or I'm too nice to give anything lower. It's probably a mix of the two. 

I've arranged these in loose categories, not by date read, in fact, I literally finished Empire of Storms a few days ago, but I wanted to put the whole series together - obviously. 

Throne of Glass | Sarah J. Maas ****
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas ****
Heir of Fire | Sarah J. Maas ****
Queen of Shadows | Sarah J. Mass *****
Empire of Storms | Sarah J. Mass ****

Shadow and Bone | Leigh Bardugo ****
Seige and Storm | Leigh Bardugo ****
Ruin and Rising | Leigh Bardugo *****
Six of Crows | Leigh Bardugo ****
Crooked Kingdom | Leigh Bardugo *****

A Court of Thorns and Roses | Sarah J. Maas ****
A Court of Mist and Fury | Sarah J. Maas *****
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child | J. K. Rowling & Co. *****
Zenith | Sasha Alsberg ****
The Invisible Library | Genevieve Cogman ***

Freedom is a Constant Struggle | Angela Y. Davis *****
Are Prisons Obsolete? | Angela Y. Davis ****
Bad Feminist | Roxanne Gay ****
I Call Myself a Feminist | Victoria Pepe ****
Between the World and Me | Ta-Nehisi Coates ****

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas | John Boyne *****
The Reader | Bernard Schlink ****
The Diary of a Young Girl | Anne Frank *****
Slaughter-House Five | Kurt Vonnegut ****
Midnight's Children | Salman Rushdie ****

The Martian | Andy Weir ****
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Philip K. Dick ****
Room | Emma Donoghue ***
The Girl with all the Gifts | M. R. Carey *****
Every Day | David Levithan *****

Bitch Planet Vol. 1 | Kelly Sue DeConnick ****
The Examined Life | Stephen Grosz *****
Stiff | Mary Roach ****

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Where I'm At | November 2016

Hey guys, so I just logged into Blogger and realised that I haven't posted since April. That's what, seven months ago? Just wow. I'm terrible - but I'm pretty sure we all knew that anyway. So, I'm gonna just give you a life update, and then to ensure that this doesn't become too boring, I'm gonna share with you some of my current jams (that's songs for those people who aren't as awesomely cool (read: super lame) as me).

Ok, so what's happened since April? Well, a lot and also not much at all. I got a new job that I think I love (it's hard to tell when you're as mentally unstable as me), and have been there for just over six months now. The work is boring, but I've made some really good friends, and it's great to hang out with them all day. Everyone's also really social, so we go out at least once a week which is pretty much all I've ever wanted. 

I've also 'given up TV', in that I'm not watching any new series'. This has worked really well for me, as I've been a freaking monster with reading! I've read 33 books this year! I'm planning to write more about books, so look forward to that.

Apart from that I've been my usual up and down self, still not found a way to level myself out, but Im trying. Sometimes.

November Jams

Daniel Caesar | Get You (feat. Kali Uchis) - I discovered this artist through a playlist on Apple Music called #Mood. He's a mixture between D'Angelo and Frank Ocean, who are two of my favourite artists, so he was bound to be a winner. Unfortunately he's not got that much music out, but what he does have is fantastic - especially this track. 

Childish Gambino | Sober - Yet another thing I have Apple Music to thank for is the Childish Gambino Essentials playlist. I really like 'because the internet', but I've never really taken the time to branch out from that, so this playlist opened my eyes to some of his other tunes. There's some really great stuff on there, but at the moment I think Sober is my fav. 

Kiiara | Gold - Yes I know I'm late to the party with this one, but I was only introduced it through this cover by Pentatonix. Mitch's voice is incredible, but I have to admit that this is the one time I prefer the original to PTX's cover. Mostly because I just love the minimalistic production. 

Ariana Grande | Santa Tell Me - You know I love Ariana Grande right? Know I love her so much that my mum has put a ban on me playing her music round the house? Well, that happened, but #noregrets. Anyway, as soon as the clock struck midnight on All Hallow's Eve, I had this song on. I fucking love it, and I just hate that I've given in to the unwritten rule that one can't listen to Christmas music all year round. 

Solange | Cranes in the Sky - This song is fabulous. In fact this whole album is fabulous, and if you haven't listened to it, I give you permission to leave, do that right now. GO!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

I Met Nick Jonas!

Ok so, if you've read this post, then you know that I'm a HUGE fan of Nick Jonas' first album. It follows then that I'm less than patiently awaiting the arrival of his second, 'Last Year Was Complicated'. So, when Nick posted on his Facebook that there was going to be a Meet & Greet in London, I was like 'where the hell can I sign up?!'. 

Long story short - I won! I got an email from the people at Universal saying something along the lines of 'can you let us know if you'll be available at 5.30pm, if not we'll find someone else'. Ok this is where the story gets juicy. I already had plans with my dad (he'd booked us into a rehearsal studio to make some music until 6), so I forwarded the email to him saying 'I totally forgot about this (lie), is there any way we can move the studio to 5?' Of course, being me, I accidentally replied this message to Universal!!!!! Basically making it sound like I was asking if they could move the meet & greet for me! #megaawks Anyway, hilarious story short, the guy replied saying 'can you let me know you'll be there for 5:30'.

We were allowed to bring a friend, and I took one of my school friends who was so excited and, because she was going to be late, forked out for an Uber! Not sure I've got many friends who would do that, so thanks again babes. Anyway we get there and they sign us in, put us in the lift and send us up to the 7th floor. Once we're there they take our phones and lead us into 'The Boardroom', which is awesome! It had pictures of all their artists (pretty much anyone who's anyone) all over the walls, free food at the back (yum - yes I broke the diet and took a chocolate bar), lovely pink chairs, and a fantastic view of London. 

We were probably about the 15th people to arrive, so we took our seats in the back row, also I get very anxious sitting in any row that's not at the back. After being in there for about half an hour, with ladies regularly coming in to tell us that Nick was still in an interview and he'd only be 5 more minutes, he walked in. First thing I noticed was that he is sooo small. I knew he was small because of this video with danisnotonfire, but in real life he did look a bit like a child. Not that that's a problem (I swear I'm only ever attracted to small men - Chris Messina anyone?), I'm just super uncomfortable about my height and people making me look big, so I wasn't looking forward to the photos. He also looked very tired.

Anyway, Nick walked to the front of the room, sat down and told us how excited he was for his new album, how he's really delved into his sound etc. Then he told us he was gonna play us four songs from the album (silly me thought they would be playing them live, but no, just through the speakers), starting with the next single 'Champagne Problems'. He said it was about a night in a hotel room last year when he broke up with his girlfriend. The song's actually on YouTube now so you can listen for yourselves, but, as I'm sure you'll be able to guess, I really like it. Nick can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. The chorus is great. 

Stupidly I didn't take any notes when I came out, so I can't really remember much of the other tracks (I'm sure I must've mentioned how I have the worst memory in the world). He played us Chainsaw (which he said was a very personal song, and he'd like it to be a single), and Good Girls with Big Sean, and tbh I can't even remember what the last one was, I think it was The Difference. You can't blame me for not remembering though - I was starstruck! I was in a room with fucking NICK JONAS!! Queen.

Anyway, so then we all got to go up and have photos with Nick. Me and my friend walked really fast so we could get right next to Nick - sneaky eh? So he shook our hands, said thanks for coming or something and then we stood next to him. He put his arm around me which is what you do, but I'm so awkward I just stood there with my hands firmly by my side. Anyway, it's a nice picture, if not the best angle for me. And also, my hair is NOT that colour, it's like greyish purple. 

P.S. I went for a walk the other day and came up with a list of about 20 blog posts, so I'm planning to write all of those and post one a week for the foreseeable future. I have a LOT of updates!

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Fifth Harmony | Work From Home

So Fifth Harmony just dropped the track Work From Home, complete with a video, and I have a few things to say about it. Read on ....

I love 5H! I went to see them last year and they were fantastic! Their first album is pure gold, not only does it show off each members' powerful vocals, but it also gifts us with some sick beats (can I pull that off? I don't think so) and genuine throwback musical elements. Anyway, with that said, I wasn't anxiously awaiting new music, but when I saw Work From Home blowing up on social media I was excited to take a look. I'm sad to say that I'm disappointed with this song, but am holding on to the hope that the rest of the album, titled 7/27, is going to be better. 

I don't even know where to start, the video or the song? Either way, both are incredibly boring and remind me of someone equally boring, like The Saturdays. The lyrics are terrible, just trying to squeeze in every work/sex metaphor they can in the verses. The chorus is literally repeating the word work a thousand times, and it's dancey and fun, but as I've said, feels like it could be sung by anyone. There's nothing unique about this track at all. In my opinion the rap feature is sooooo overdone. Two verses by the primary artist with the third done by a rapper is so boring. Why doesn't anyone flip it up? Take a leaf out of Kanye and Big Sean's book on All Your Fault and try something new. The only bit of the song that sounds like 5H is the climax of the song where you can properly hear their voices and you've got both that electronic melody and a beat. 

The video is a whole other problem. Granted the girls all look beautiful (especially Lauren's new haircut), but what's new? It reminds me of the video for Satisfaction. I guess it's kind of a feminist statement that they've switched out the women for oiled up men? But anyway I hate that they feel the need to overtly sexualise themselves - let the music do to talking! 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Album Review: I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it | The 1975

I've been waiting for this album for a long time. I've been a fan of The 1975 since Chocolate - I'm not going to pretend I knew them before that, I'm not that cool. But I do remember where and when I was when I first heard it, so does that make me cool? Anyway, I thought they were you're classic run of the mill indie band, that was until they released Girls. Probably my favourite song of all time, definitely my favourite lyric of all time 'I know you're looking for salvation in the secular age but girl I'm not your saviour'. Long story short, we went to see them at Alexandra Palace a few years ago, they were great, but at the time I only knew the singles which was a shame. So I went home and bought the album and fell in love. I'm definitely going to do a post all about why I love the band, and I'll talk a lot more about the first album there. Basically I've been excited about new music from The 1975 for a long time and all in all I haven't been disappointed. 

I went out for a walk this morning to focus on listening to this album, and I wish I could have recorded my inner monologue. It was mostly 'wow's, 'no's and shocked 'fuck's, some of which have made it into the post below, so ... language warning!

When I first read the track listing for this album I wondered if The 1975 was going to be a whole new song, or the same as the track of the same name on the first album. Either way I would have been happy, but I was kind of hoping for the band to release a new song with the same name as one of their older songs, because what would be more The 1975? Anyway, it's a good track, and does, as I think it's supposed to, introduce the bands' unique sound. 

Love Me was the first track the band released as a teaser for the album, and I have to say it left me quite apprehensive for the future of their sound. This song is very different to anything on their first album. Granted, it's upbeat like Girls and The City, but in a less poppy more glam rock, in fact David Bowie-esque, way. Anyway, as you'll see, I had nothing to be apprehensive about, and do in fact really like this song, even more so after hearing Matty talk about it here. Wow looking for that video I found this one, which makes me love them even more <3 and feel like I am indeed in on the joke - yay!

The second teaser from the album was UGH!, and as soon as I heard the first few bars I felt like this was the best piece of music I'd ever heard. No joke. The music is happy and funky (especially that bloody fantastic bridge!), yet the lyrics are complex and clever. This song reminded me how much I love The 1975 and led me back to listening to nothing but their first album over and over. I think this was also about the time when I realised that The 1975 were (and are) my favourite band (sorry Paramore - we had a good ride). Everything about their music is perfection to me, the electro-funk happiness mixed with clever, funny, self-aware and sometimes mocking lyrics just feel like exactly what I want and need from music right now. This song has worked its way right to the top of my Most Played, sitting behind only the gospel version of Jealous

So the first track that was actually new to me, was track four, A Change of Heart. This song feels like first album stuff with a second album twang - I feel like the uplifting/happy edge makes it stand out from the first album. They really are the pink to the first albums black. One thing I remember about listening to the first album was that I didn't have a clue what Matty was saying in maybe 70% of the songs until I googled the lyrics. Now, it might be because I'm now very familiar with their style and am able to decode what he's saying, but I feel like I heard every single word in this song. It feels weird to say I'm disappointed by that, but I think that's just what I was expecting to get and didn't. Anyway, back to the song itself! I really like it, though I'd fucking hate to be the girl he's talking about. It's funny and chilled out and has all the musical elements I've come to expect from the band. I also love the references to their previous songs! What other band does that?! Have I said how much I freaking love them enough yet?

Fuck Me! That intro is the best thing I've ever heard. Before I listened to the album I scrolled through the Apple Music top charts and noticed that the highest charting album track was She's American, so I had high hopes. I've said it once and I'll say it again - I love funk! Music that makes you dance in your chair (like what I'm doing right now) is all I want. I feel like this song is actually very similar to both UGH! and The Sound, which is anything but a bad thing. If The 1975 decided this was their new sound and only made tracks like this I'd be happy. As per usual, it's impossible to define the 1975, but this song feels simultaneously 80s and 10s (is 10s a thing yet?). Also I feel like the band don't use drum kits too much, so that's quite a nice change in this song. 

Oooooooh I do like If I Believe You. So far the album's been full of banging single-worthy tracks, but this song is their first furore into the slightly more obscure, inaccessibility of early tracks like Antichrist, Menswear and Woman. But fuck (I'm sorry for all the swearing, but I did warn you!) this song is so good! About a minute and a half in it turns into a proper gospel/real R'n'B slow jam, it sounds so much like another song and I can't think what it is, for now lets say it's Untitled (How Does It Feel). Of course The 1975 use a gospel choir on a song about atheism - talk about perfection. To be honest anything to do with atheism is my jam, but this song just fucking hell wow. I'm gonna listen to this song so many times. You know what I think it is just major Untitled (How Does It Feel) vibes that this song is giving me. Oh and then there's a jazz breakdown with a sax four minutes in. The last few minutes see Matty repeating 'If I'm lost, then how can I find myself' over what sounds suspiciously similar to the Skins theme tune, and I love it.

Ah, now we get to Please Be Naked. When the tracklisting was revealed I assumed this would be another tongue in cheek, funk rock riot like Love Me, but no! It turns out to be one of the most beautiful instrumental pieces the band has ever made! Always flipping things upside down and challenging expectations these 1975 guys. Listening to this with my eyes closed transports me to a massive but empty auditorium that I'm sitting right in the middle of. I also feel like this would be a perfect song to listen to if you were on a desert island. Or sitting in the middle of a very busy road intersection when it's raining.

Ha ha, so one of my favourite 1975 tracks is Fallingforyou, and I wondered whether they were going to release any new music with no spaces in the title (yes I know I over think everything), and they did with this next song Lostmyhead. This is the first song that I feel could have actually been on the first album, it's got that very ethereal sound that just seems to surround you and run through your veins, without the shine and sparkle of the new stuff. If I close my eyes I feel like I'm a part of this music (is it too much to say I feel 'inside it'?). All in all this is a beautiful if slightly tragic track. Dare I say 'tragically beautiful'. This song, like a lot of The 1975s, has an epic quality to it, similar to that of 30stm, but in a way that doesn't feel like that's what they were going for. I really hope they do this live. I'm sure I'd cry.

Lolwut? The Ballad of Me and My Brain opens with what sounds a bit like a choir warming up. Be still my beating heart. I love love love when singers shout/scream their lyrics which Matty does to open this song. This song confuses me a lot in that I don't know if I like it or not. I feel like its a grower, I need to listen to it more to get into it, like how I feel a lot of the songs on the first album or EPs are. This song feels very short, which at this stage of my feelings for it, is a good thing. Awks. I really really do like the introduction though. Edit: Ok it's a day later and I love this song.

I first listened to Somebody Else sitting in a hammock in Thailand staring out across the sea, and I think that's the perfect place for this song. I wasn't too keen at first, mostly because the previous three teaser tracks had all been big poppy singles that you fall in love with on the first listen, and this really isn't that, but having given it a chance I do really like it. And, as I'm sure you'll probably have guessed, I particularly like the funky bridge, especially when Matty says 'fuck that get money!', it sounds so high and his accent makes me smile.  

Loving Someone has a quite dark somewhat spooky opening that leads into a singing/rapping thing that's very reminiscent of Menswear and M.O.N.E.Y. I love when they break the fourth wall (does that work with music?), when Matty sings 'sentient something or other, I can't remember' and then says 'whatever'. I love it. As soon as you get comfortable with the verse chorus structure of the song it throws out a spoken word portion that is just honey to listen to. Let me be the first to say that Matty has a really lovely speaking voice. This is the second song where they've had a female vocalist, and can I just ask why I wasn't approached to do this? I know I've never really sung in public and no one really knows that I want to be a singer, but I would have been perfect for this job!

So the title track of any album is going to have quite high expectations laid upon it, but for me I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it had a particular draw for me as I thought it might explain the ridiculously long album title! It doesn't. It does however do a lot more than that, it feels like about five songs in one, complete with a middle section that sounds like the soundtrack to an advert for Windows, and just does something so different and weird, much like the title itself. I feel like this song is The 1975 (the song) of this album (does that make sense?).

The Sound was released soon after UGH! and I didn't think that anything would ever live up to the perfection of that song, but this does a damn good job. I love the 90s keyboard riff and the dancy happy feeling that runs through the whole thing. I also flipping love the lyrics! They're so hilariously tongue in cheek. And don't even get me started on that fantastic guitar solo at the end. An altogether great great song.

I absolutely love the opening of This Must Be My Dream, it's upbeat but in a slightly more muted way than The Sound. It feels like a mix of the ethereal Lostinmyhead and the pure fun of UGH! and The Sound. I want to dance to this, but in a more laid back way than the singles, and with my eyes closed. Trust The 1975 to throw a Careless Whisper-esque saxophone solo into this fairly standard but elegant pop track. 

Okay so I think Paris is my favourite song on the album, and I think they should have ended the album here. As I think I've made pretty clear, I love love love love love happy sounding songs, and this is just that. The riff is very simple and actually sounds quite childlike. The lyrics are very clever (as expected), I particularly love the line about Mr Serotonin Man. I feel like such a fake using the word juxtaposed, but I love when The 1975 juxtapose really happy, seemingly simple music with sad, deep lyrics. They do it a lot and that's a big part of why I love them so much. I can't wait to make an album so I can sneak in cheeky references like this one. Oh this song is so beautiful, and another one that I wont stop listening to until I hate it. 

'Voila! That's the end of the album!' I wish. 

When this song started I was in shock. It's an acoustic guitar. On a 1975 track. Literally what's going on? I don't really know what else to say, this is not what I look for from the 1975. Anyone can make this kind of music, it's actually quite hard to listen to after the greatness of Paris. But anyway, Nana is obviously about Matty's grandma dying, so the lyrics are very sad and heartfelt, and maybe a bit close to home for me to listen to. Basically I don't know if this will ever get more than the two plays it's taken me to write this blurb. It's very sad (which is not what I like at all) and I don't like acoustic guitars on anyone by Ed Sheeran.

NOOOOO more acoustic guitar! I'm so over it. She Lays Down could literally be sung by anyone and I'm sure it's deep and meaningful, but this is not my music. I'm so so so glad these last two songs weren't the first things I'd heard from The 1975, because I probably wouldn't have given them another chance. Almost how it took me over 3 years to get over The A Team and like Ed Sheeran. So I just don't understand how they thought this song was a good closer for the album, obviously I don't know them as well as I think.

So altogether I really do love this album, but I'd love it even more if it was only 15 tracks long and ended with Paris. I've only listened to the non-single tracks a few times, so I may end up updating this or writing a totally new post about my favourite tracks and how I've grown to love Nana and She Lays Down (though I very VERY much doubt it). Okay guys, I think this is the best post I've ever written. Maybe I just need to stick to writing about music. It comes so easily.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Welcome to Thailand!

Okay, so I made it to Thailand! About two weeks ago (embarrassed emoji). I've meant to blog before now, but we all know what I'm like. I have been trying to post something every day on Instagram though! The link to that is in the sidebar, my username is lostinallmyselfishthoughts. 

So I came travelling with the idea that I was going to vlog. I was going to film and upload something everyday. I quickly realised that that was NOT what I wanted to be doing while ravelling. How do vloggers do it?! I also didn't bring my big camera with me (my canon DSLR), and although I'm still pretty miserable about this, I think it's caused me to look around and absorb my surroundings a bit more. Granted, I'm not going to go home with the most incredible photographs (which is kind of annoying) but hopefully I'll be taking more meaningful things back with me. I have been making sure to take photos on my phone and at least one video every day which I'm planning to compile into a little travel video when I get back. 

I also didn't bring a laptop/tablet with me. This has also depressed me quite a bit, but now I'm here there's nothing I can do. This has contributed largely to the fact that I haven't blogged since I've been here, because typing long posts on my phone is not particularly fun. But I'm gonna suck it up and just go for it! 

So, ignoring the fact that I can't work out how to add photos (the app won't download on my phone) and the lack of formatting,  look forward to a nice lot of posts coming up  over the next few days and weeks. After Thailand I've got some exciting things lined up :) 

Friday, 15 January 2016

Creative Inspiration | Gray Malin

I almost feel like I'm tainting this post with my words because the images really do speak for themselves. Gray Malin's photography is, to me, perfection. He both discovers and creates beauty in the world, and inspires me not only to explore the world, but also to document it creatively. When I'm rich I will buy so many Gray Malin prints they wont know what hit 'em, but for now I'll just scroll in awe. Make sure to follow Gray Malin on Instagram!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Open to 2016

So, I know, I'm the worst. Like worse even than Britta Perry. My last posts were in September! That's over three months ago, and even before that my blogging schedule was whack. So, not to sound like a broken record, but that's all about to change. I have a lot of exciting things coming up soon, and they most definitely cannot go by without me blogging about them. But, before we get into all of that, let me just update you on what's been going on with me over the last few months. 
  • I went to Greece for six weeks - So I spent a bit of time in Greece this year volunteering at a turtle rescue centre. It was good, but I'm saving a more detailed explanation for a separate post.
  • I got a new job - I work in a department store in London, and although I applied for a permanent job, I'm going to leave after my probationary period because I hate it so much. Okay, I don't hate it that much, but it's really not where I want to be. The customers are rude, the pay isn't worth it, and the products I'm selling (freaking curtain and upholstery fabrics!) I have no interest in or passion for, or even general knowledge about. EDIT: since I wrote this I've been moved to a different department which, to be honest with you, is slightly better. It's the China and Glass department, so we sell plates, glasses, vases, mugs and other decorative things. Still, it's not what I want to be doing, and I'm pretty sure I never want to work in retail again, unless I'm a manager. (Sidenote: We get a lot of famous people in my shop, recently I've seen Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Adele, Bob Geldof, the guy who plays Joe Carroll on the Following, and if you're a fan of British Royalty, I totally sold Kate Middleton some table cloth material)
  • I've not been (too) sad - so apart from a major slip up last weekend (don't ask why, it's ridiculous), I've been doing quite well mentally. I think working so much means that I don't have so much time to wallow and let my own negative thoughts stew. I've been anxious and scared about what's coming in February, but more of that to come below...
  • I've not really done anything of note - since September I've been to two gigs (both of which were great, Gavin Degraw and Fifth Harmony), been out for dinner and coffee with my friends (Candy Hearts reference anyone) a handful of times, watched all 7 Star Wars films, and that's about it. 
  • I've lost nearly 2 stone - I almost forgot to put this one in! Early in November I joined Slimming World, and have very nearly lost 2 stone. It's been really great for me, and the meetings are actually the highlight of my week. I love hearing what everyone's been up to, it almost feels like group therapy. I'm gonna try and lose 2.5 stone before February, because I know I'm gonna put it all back on. Ideally I'd like to lose about 5 stone in total, maybe thats a 2016 goal?

Ok so I'm not even going to bother reposting my 2015 goals here, because 1 it seems ridiculous and scary that that was a year ago, and 2, I failed miserably at all of them. So, what are this years' goals? Well, I'm not a goal person, I don't think. To be honest I've never had that period of self-reflection when you work out who you are, like am I Type A or B, maybe/hopefully that's all still to come. 

So, anyway, as you know, I'm totally obsessed with Elise, and was slightly heartbroken when she said she was going to stop posting five days a week on her blog. However, I totally get it (how she managed to do that for ten years still amazes me). Every year Elise chooses a word for the year, inspired by Ali Edwards' One Little Word, and this year I was inspired to do the same. I listened to Elise's podcast episode with Ali when I was taking a late night walk in the park to clear my head (it was that fantastic weekend I mentioned above), and as soon as Ali mentioned that one of her previous words was open, I knew that that had to be mine.

To me open means being receptive to new ideas and challenges, and not writing something off simply because I'm scared. I'm the type of person who always orders the same thing at a restaurant because I know I like it, and where I don't particularly mind this 'closed' approach, I think becoming more open could lead to some new discoveries, not just with food. Of course open also means that I'll be holding doors open for men at any chance I can get #fthepatriarcy.

Okay, so what's this big thing I was talking about that's happening in February? Well ... I'm finally going travelling around Southeast Asia! Woohoo! I mean, I'm equal parts excited and totally petrified, but it's something I've been talking about for years (as a friend recently reminded me). I've pretty much got an itinerary planned, but all of that could change as I meet friends and strangers along the way. I'm probably going to spend half of the time with friends, and the other half on my own. I am scared of course, we all know I'm a super wimp, but I'm hoping that with the amount of planning I've put in, there'll be enough things to see and do that I wont end up getting depressed in a hostel bunk bed and wanting to fly home immediately. 

One of the key things I want to accomplish on this trip is to make a film a week. Yes, like a travel vlogger, except I doubt you'll be seeing my face if it's not to show you my reaction to some new delicacy. I've bought a camera especially, so I have to do it. I've been really getting into YouTube again recently, but the side that's less about make up and buying things (which is starting to grate with me). I've been inspired by Casey Neistat, Tim Kellner, JacksGap, VagaBrothers, devinsupertramp. Of course, they're all white men (yay diversity!), because the majority of women on YouTube talk about makeup and clothes. So hopefully I can make some good travel videos for YouTube despite the fact that I'm a woman. (Too bitter? Oh well, that's because I am).

So that's everything for now, look forward to a post about my travel itinerary and then my videos! I'm planning to do one a week, so that should be at least 8 videos in total. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

The Best Songs of 2015

Ok, so at the end of every year I make a playlist of what I think were the best songs of previous 12 months. Usually I then burn the songs on to CDs and give the out as cheap Christmas presents. Well, I did neither of those things this year, as I've only just remembered to make the playlist! Thankfully, the forward-thinking me has been adding songs to the playlist all year, so here are what I think were the best songs of 2015...

Fifth Harmony - Reflection

Ok, so I was struggling to choose just one 5H song to put on this list, but when your mum knows most of the words to a song because you play it so much, the song is chosen for you. 

Nick Jonas - Santa Barbara

Ok, so this song is my everything. 

Miguel - Coffee

Urgh I love everything about this song. The bridge is just perfect. 

Fetty Wap - 679

I used to be sooo into Hip Hop, but to me, nowadays it all either all sounds the same or is so offensive I can't listen. So when I heard Trap Queen and 679, I kind of fell in love. 

One Direction - History

Ok, so I listen to a LOT of One Direction, and my favourite songs of theirs are probably all on FOUR, but I didn't want Made In The A.M. not to get a mention. It was tough to choose between Drag Me Down, Infinity, Perfect and History, but the meaning behind this songs led me to add it to the list. 

Marroon 5 - Sugar

So there was a time earlier this year, maybe in February, where I had this song on repeat for about two weeks. I love it. Not to sound like a total hipster, but I loved Maroon 5's first album, but recently their music has become a bit too samey and boring. However, when they released Sugar, which is like super happy (and that's what I'm looking for music wise at the moment), I just gave in. Also the video may or may not bring a tear to my eye. 

Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do

So if you know me, you know that I absolutely HATE Ellie Goulding. I really can't stand her breathy voice, and when I saw her live at Chime for Change she was terrible. BUT, I really like this song. I don't find her voice as horrendous as on previous songs, and I actually kind of like her falsetto (2013 Dolly would shoot me for saying that). 

Little Mix - Black Magic

As I said, I'm on a happy music kick, and this is probably the most candy-coated pop song of the year. I love Little Mix, I actually wrote a whole post about them here, and although I do like their new album, some of the sex references are just like ... woah. A.D.I.D.A.S. I'm talking to you. 

The 1975 - UGH!

UGH! I love The 1975. I'm definitely gonna dedicate a whole post to them. Freaking love them. I'm kind of devastated because I bought tickets to see them in March but I'm not gonna be in the country :( Hopefully they'll tour again later in the year, because the last time I saw them I wasn't as big of a fan as I am now. 

Justin Bieber - Love Yourself

I've never been embarrassed to like Justin Bieber, but this year he made it a lot easier to outwardly like him by releasing some genuinely good music. 

Ed Sheeran & Rudimental - Bloodstream

Favourite Ed Sheeran song by a mile (well tied with I See Fire), and this video is freaking epic! 

As you can see, 2015 was the year I got back into listening to chart music. Thank you Apple Music. For the record, I have lined up some classic albums to listen to while I'm travelling, so my ears will be subjected to a bit more variety.