Dear November...

Sunday, 4 December 2016

November you've been a busy month, like exceptionally busy, but  I am in no way complaining. Although this month has been scary and un-certain for everybody I believe there is no more of a crucial time to enjoy the little things. Yes this month has been hard politically, culturally, economically, but looking at life personally and intimately really allows us to find the positives and the things that will keep us going. November, you contain a lot of those little things.  

You began with a trip to Northampton, I went down to see my best friend Emily and meet all of her friends and party pretty hard (I stayed up for 24 hours to dance to the 1975, so much so I ended up just sitting on the floor without realising). We also managed to squeeze in a trip to The Warner Bros HP Studio Tour which was as magical as my first visit and there were new things and extras for Fantastic Beasts which was very exciting. It was so lovely to experience the wizarding world with my bestest' in the world and seems as we're both witches we felt right at home. I held her hand when we went around that corner to see Hogwarts, we cried together and we also facetimed Gareth so he wasn't left out, friendship right there. Northampton was amazing and I had so much fun meeting so many like-minded, lovely people that I now call my long distance friends and I can't wait to go back. 

2 Days after Northampton I went to Newcastle to see Jack Garratt, he was amazing and I would probably say is now one of my top three gigs I've been to, apart from the fact he didn't sing Chemical but he did do an out-of-this-world cover/mash up of Justin Timberlake and Craig David. The way he moves live is almost animatronic and you can tell he has rehearsed and worked his arse off to be there and although he's now doing arena gigs, he is still such a funny, humble human bean'. 

After Jack Garratt it was time to delve into Uni work and all things fun like presentations that make your knees buckle and dissertations whose first lit review is due after Christmas AFTER CHRISTMAS (I'm fine, really). Although I had a lot on at Uni I still managed to fit some socialising in here and there, this being in the form of getting drunk at 2 in the afternoon after said knee-buckling presentation #studentlyf (I'm fine, really). 

Even though this month was so busy I still managed to fit in a trip to Preston which was much needed and much nice. I got to meet some of Gareth's new friends and chill out in his minimalist bedroom surrounded by plants and I surprised him with tickets to see Fantastic Beasts (which; can I just say was bloody amazing and everything I hoped it would be)  And I also got to meet his new hamster Marjory, yes my boyfriend has a hamster called Marjory and she's so tiny and wonderful. Also, unlike last year I didn't have a breakdown in the train station hurrayyy, I don't think I even cried. This leads me to a comparison of last year's November when said breakdown occurred, my mental health was starting to be at an all-time low and I was in a pretty miserable situation, everything was getting on top of me and I was just about to ask for professional help, I didn't make one of these posts last year because I just didn't want to remember it, but now when I look back I can be happy because I'm on top of the world at the moment, my anxiety has really calmed itself down and I'm really happy with my course (although it is giving me stress it's healthy stress) and where I live. I even managed to go to my work's Christmas party and actually have genuine fun feeling relaxed I also won a bottle of whiskey in the raffle, now there's a silver lining if ever I've seen one.  

You've been the best November and I've enjoyed every second, even though you were jam packed I managed to keep my head above water and I am proud of myself for the balancing act I have done, thank you so much for some great experiences and memories and at least I can read this back and smile and forget about the November before you. I'll see you next year for more amazing times. 

How was your November?



Songs For // November

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I've got quite a hefty mixture of music from this month. A lot of variation and some are pretty strange, but hear me out they're all pretty awesome tunes:

I've always been attracted to James Arthur's voice, ever since he was on the dreaded Xfactor. His new album is pretty pleasing to the ears and as soon as I heard his new single Say You Won't Let Go I new I would love his new, cutback sound. Safe Inside is a deep ballad about worry and anxiety for another person, I relate to it a lot and I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a lil' tear when I first heard it.

When I went to see Jack Garratt this band called Seramic supported him and at first I didn't really dig their sound but then I heard the singer blast out this tune and the backing singers were amazing, it's very funkalicious' and it makes me dance like crazy! 

Paper Kites popped up on my 'discover weekly' playlist on Spotify and after reading about them in NME I decided to give them a wee' listen. I fell in love with their sound and I immediately put their whole latest album on my 'Mellow' playlist because they're just so; well, mellow.

I've heard people talk about Mac Miller so much recently so I decided to give his recent album a listen and I loved it, I love how unusual and down to earth it is and that it's really relaxed RnB one minute and then a bellowing political anthem the next My Favourite Part is just so cute with Ariana there and it just gives me all kinds of good vibes.

 One of my favourite Youtubers Haley Blais released an EP this month (this is a recurring theme) and I was so excited because I just love her music, Late Bloomer is definitely my favourite track on the EP but I also like Mine which is a song written to her dog, it's so emosh' and bloody wonderful.

Alicia Keys is back and her album is just so good oh my goodness! It has such mature and political themes but it also has some absolute tunes, so it can make you dance and think about things at the same time wow! Holy War is definitely my favourite track on the album, I'm absolutely in love with the lyrics, how simple they are and how powerful they are at the same time, she's such a good human bean'.

 I listened to The Weeknd's new album this month and didn't find it too tantalising apart from a few tracks (he's changed man). One of the tracks I liked was Six Feet Under it's what he's good at and it's really catchy.

Speaking of my fave Youtubers here's another one; dodie oh my I just love dodie and now she's a fucking girl boss and she's only gone and released an EP which is just so beautiful and full of feeling it made me weep a lil' bit. When  is definitely my favourite track although it's hard to choose. It's just so ethereal and it could almost pass as a song for a musical and the lyrics just hit you right-in-the-heart ouch!

  Stevie Parker is another artist I found in NME and I listened to her EP and again, fell in love. She's just so raw and emotional in her singing and her lyrics, but the songs are also tuneful and some could pass as up-beat, I'm very excited for her album and I desperately want to see her live.

 By the end of the month I had completely ran out of new music to and Spotify suggested I listen to this Christmas cover album thingy' by Gavin James. I enjoyed some of the covers but was still abit meh. Until I heard River which I think (I could be wrong) is his own song, I love the lyrics and I find it so relaxing and fills me with Christmas goodness, a lovely thing to be filled with when going into December. 

Wow that was lengthy. Looking back at November I didn't think their were a lot of good new releases, chart wise. But you never know what gems NME and Spotify are going to un-cover for you!



What have you been listening to this November?

Treasure Hunt | November

Friday, 2 December 2016

Because Christmas is upon us, I haven't really gone mad with the material items this month. Although I do have a few treasures to share that I have absolutely loved over November:

1. Jack Garratt Tour T-shirt 

 In the beginning of November I went to see Jack Garratt. His show blew me away and afterwards we made our way to the merch stand. I told myself I wouldn't buy anything 'you can't afford it Ciara you must start saving up for Christmas', but alas I saw this t-shirt design and I knew I must have it. It's such a cool illustration and quite an unusual design for a t-shirt and the condition is so nice and soft. It was also only £15 which, for merch from Newcastle O2 is so, so cheap. I've been wearing this t-shirt on homey days and tucking it into jeans as well. 

2. Agave Nectar 

When my beloved golden syrup ran out I decided to go for a healthier option to pop on my porridge. It doesn't actually taste that different, the only difference is the price! But it's organic and things so I'm okay spending a little bit more money and to not buy things invested by Unilever the wankers!

3. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin 

I really enjoyed this book through Novemeber and will be doing a full review of it soon, but for now lets just say that although this book is fiction, it is based on some kind of fact and it has really opened up my belief into reincarnation, that's all I'll say for now!

4. Lidl Spiced Christmas Biscuits 

I have loved these for the past three Christmases and when I became vegan I didn't think I could eat them, but last year I checked the ingredients and Yassss I can eat them! They are just these really sweet, spicy, gingery, cinnamony' biscuits nothing special really but I would favour these over ginger bread biscuits any day, they taste amazing! Especially when crumbled on top of my porridge in the morning.

5. Ravenclaw Scarf 

I finally got one! This month I went to The Warner Bros Studios the making of HP once again for Em's birthday and I promised myself I would get a Ravenclaw scarf because I regretted not getting one so much last time. I can now wear my scarf with pride as a true Ravenclaw! It was pretty expensive I'm not going to lie and it's such good quality and so soft, I also hang it on top of my mirror when I'm not wearing it so I can tell the world I am a Ravenclaw for forever more. 

Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure and all that. 

6. The Missing 

If you watched the final of Bake Off (so the whole of the UK), you will probably have been hooked by the first episode of The Missing. The plot was amazing, the twists were amazing, the cinematography was amazing. The only thing that annoyed me a little is that the plot was very similar to 13 the bbc three drama that aired this time last year, which I found to be a bit lazy. But I do love a good bbc drama with suspense and great camera angles and I've enjoyed every episode, especially the last one!

A nice little versatile pile there. What was your favourite treasure?



Blogmas 2016

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Yep, I'm having a bash at this. It might completely crash and burn but I think it will be a fun thing to do, to channel my creativity while I'm doing Uni work. I have a lot of Christmassy' ideas which I'm really excited about so I know there will be at least a few Christmas themed posts with structure, but the rest? God knows. It'll be all depending on how I feel and how knackered I am from Uni,sometimes it might just be a picture or a train of thought, all I know is that whatever I write it will be honest and passionate, that's why I'm doing this. I love writing so much and I think it will be great to look back on.

Now given the last time I tried to do this in May, my expectations aren't exactly high, but I'm going to do my best. I even bought pretty Christmas things and wallpaper samples and everything!

I hope you will come along on this Blogmas journey with me and I really hope you like my ideas. If you have any by the way, please let me know. 

A Not So Blue Monday

Monday, 14 November 2016

Can we just begin by saying that this week politics and culture wise has been horrendous, I don't want to hang on this subject for too long as I have read so many things about it and they are probably going to be more informed and articulate than me, an arm chair activist who is a  British white girl. It was a shock to everyone I knew, it was a shock to Britain as a nation I think. What I would like to say is 'Love Trumps Hate'  and although fear is a powerful thing, love and solidarity can always be stronger, if you are a person of privilege, please be ready to support minority groups and stick together, we are better in numbers after all. Here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

-Jack Garratt- I went to see Jack Garratt on Tuesday and he was amazing. I really enjoyed his set and he was so funny and humble, what a talented, lovely man.I also bought such a cool t shirt by a really cool independent illustrator and we managed to drive to Newcastle and back safely in the snow, yeyy!

-Planet Earth- Attenborough's back and although this program makes me feel warm inside it's also horrendously suspenseful and I do still need to watch it on iPlayer so I can fast forward all the deaths! But I do love this program and I find it so interesting that these remote places exist in the world, it just opens my mind and always puts my small insignificant life into perspective (soz lads we're not that important really). I also love the diary entries they do after the program to show how they film it, the cinematography is so amazing and I love to see how they set everything up and basically risk their lives to film these amazing events. 

-The John Lewis Advert- I know I'm very anti-consumerism but this advert is always the epitome of Christmas for me and I love how it's much more light hearted this year. It's a bit of light relief from an all round strange year and I think JL have put that into consideration when they we're planning it. It's also raising money for The Wildlife Trust which is wonderful.  

-The Super-moon- I haven't had the privilege to see it, because of the cloudy weather in Carlisle, but I can definitely feel it; hear me out now. I'm not normally a spiritual/sensory person but I have quite a rooted relationship with the moon. There is psychological and naturalistic research to say that  the moon controls everything, especially humans and if you allow yourself the idea that you can be positively effected by the moon, you might just feel it. When it's a full moon I feel much more energised and creative, I also feel very aware of everything and a little anxious but if I channel it in the correct way it can work really well and I can get a lot of things done. I feel like that today x10, I'm guessing it's because the moon is bloody huge.

-Mustard Mash- Again, anti-consumerist but; Sainsburys was right! Adding a teaspoon  of wholegrain mustard to your mashed potato is one of the best things you can every do, no word of a lie it makes it so much more flavoursome and adds a little bit of spice. I never used to like mustard but now I seem to be putting it in everything it's bloody great.     

What I have been listening to:

Seramic- They supported Jack Garratt on Tuesday and they were so good live. They are a little bit too funky for me to listen to a whole album, but there are a few songs that I've added to my main mix tape. My favourite song is Waiting, it was so good live especially the harmonies. 


How was your Monday?

Dear October...

Friday, 11 November 2016

October you've always been one of my favourite months. You bring in the crisp autumn leaves, the low sunrises and sunsets, the chilly wind and the witchy celebrations, all of which I love. You also brought along my first deadline for Uni and the prospect of having to look for somewhere to study for my masters degree, I don't mind though, I like being kept busy and now I can think of the future much more clearly I've loved looking further a field with a much more positive outlook. 

You began with a boost in confidence which caused me to sign up to an open mic night. I arrived with Janis in hand (my guitar) not knowing anybody and was welcomed by lovely, smiley people that were on the same level as me, it was a huge breath of fresh air and when I went up to sing I didn't feel as scared. I got a lot of compliments and made a few friends which was lovely. This was a big thing for me, my anxiety has been hardly non-existent this month and I've been taking full advantage of it, I feel so much better mentally, yes there are still days when the dread comes and I have to fight my own brain to get out of the door, but those days are becoming less and less and I could cry from the amount of joy this gives me, to think of a life without my anxious thoughts and I'm on the way to that becoming a reality (whoa that got deep fast!). Lets talk about something light shall we; Tv! October you brought a long some corkers that I enjoyed thoroughly, in no particular order: Bake Off, Derran Brown: Miracle, Easy, Black Mirror, Theroux on Savile, Freaks and Geeks , The Missing. You can tell the nights are getting colder, the telly has been great! You also brought along some good music, especially JOANNE. When Gaga does release an album it's always in October and every year I always wonder if this is going to be the year this October it was and I was so happy  (I'll stop talking about JOANNE now okay). 

This month I got to spend a lot of time with my loved ones. Gareth came up for a weekend and we got to see a lot of his family which was nice, we also went home for a little while, visited friends and cuddled some cats. After Gareth left I went back home for a while and cuddled my cats some more because you know, I could.  Halloween also happened and it was a good one this year, I dressed up as Poison Ivy and even though I a lot of people thought I was a tree, I think the costume was pretty successful, I did feel pretty baddass!

Well, I think that's it October, I didn't seem to do much but you completely flew by. I think because you're my favourite month you don't tend to stick around for an awful long time, but that's just part of your charm isn't it. You've been great October, I hope you stick around with your autumnal vibes for a few more weeks, just for me? I'll see you next year. 

How was your October?