Tuesday, 3 November 2009

1 month later

Its been exactly a month since my last post and its been a pretty average month. well… sort of. I turned 24 and had a great week and a bit celebrating, my birthday celebrations always turn into week long affairs as I've so many different pockets of friends that i like to keep happy and we end up doing different things. I had a visit from an old friend at this time and introduced her to the live stylings of A Plastic Rose & Mojofury at the Take Back City Hall reopening gig and then we topped her visit off by seeing Green Day play at the odyssey. The tickets weren’t the best. we were seated along the back wall just a few rows from dead last. but the show was amazing and we had a fantastic time!

I’ve ended up in A&E twice in the past month. that makes 3 times in 6 weeks if anyone’s counting. Although only the first time was actually me. averaging once every 2 weeks though. bit high for my liking.

Music I've been listening to is like always a lot of Local Norn Iron music, specifically Colenso Parade, A Plastic Rose & General Fiasco because I have their new CDs in my car and have been doing a lot of driving. My spotify discovery of the month has to be Sia. I’ve been listening to her constantly and loving the diversity of her music.

For the future I have a few things planned. Tomorrow I’m going to see the return of Mental Deficiency in Lavery’s. Then on Friday I have an operation in the Royal. Further down the line I’m planning on seeing several comedy gigs yet to be decided on and in the realms of live music the two major and majorly different acts I’m planning to see is And So I Watch You From Afar (Ulster Hall in December) & Lady Gaga (Belfast Odyssey, February ‘10)

That’ll do for now don’t want to get too rambley when I've nothing to actually say. I’ll do my best to post something interesting and constructive soon.


Actually I've thought of 2 more things.

Firstly song of the month for me is Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap

Secondly this month the first episode of the NI Chart Podcast was released and it has filled the void that was left when Panic Dots (formerly NI Podcast) went a new direction. I thoroughly recommend this to everyone to check out whats new and good for Northern Irish Music.


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Soft & Glorious

So for the past week I’ve been using a few new beauty products to try and regenerate my tired haggard skin which I’ve been seriously neglecting recently. I’ve been relying on old bottles of moisturiser, special offer face washes and free samples to complete my skincare routine over the past few months and its taken its toll.

I’ve noticed an increase in spots, something i’m very lucky not to have a lot of but recently I seem to always have at least one. And my actual skin has been greasy, blotchy, and dry all at the same time which is fairly impressive, though not the best for feeling comfortable with ones self. Having to resort to wearing cream based Foundations, my preference being a light mineral based powder, this attack of heavy makeup has left my skin feeling very abused and I’ve decided its time to correct the situation. 

After a panicked (rushed) search in Boots I spotted some Soap & Glory products and thought I’d give them a go. I’d used a friend’s face wash once and liked it, so, despite being out of my normal price range even on special offer (lol yes I am that cheap) I thought I’d invest in my own.

I bought the Catch a Wrinkle in Time Age Avoiding Day Moisturiser, Supereyes Moisturising Eye Gel & Self-Activating Facial Smoother Exfoliator (actually called the greatest scrub of all self-activating facial smoother, but I thought that might seem like some sort of declaration from myself).

I’m really happy with how my skin feels after using these products this week and although its still not quite recovered yet i’m happy with the direction its moving and was even able to go to work today without any Foundation or powder… just a little concealer ;)

So although this isn’t a product for life (don’t you hate it when a product gets discontinued or how your skin adapts to something and all of a sudden doesn’t work anymore!) its good for now and good enough to recommend if you’re in the market for a new range to try out.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Patrick Swayze


I start this post with a sad face. Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer tonight. He fought hard and well for a relatively long time given that the disease if the most aggressive and fatal form of cancer. It is sad but not unsurprising that he has now passed away and this saddens me as he, in Dirty Dancing, is one of my earliest memories.

He starred in some iconic films (i’m not going to list them here, we all know what they were and if you don’t then go read one of the many many essays that will be written about him over the coming days). Most of them cheesy. Some were so bad they were good. He was actually my first male film icon. When it came out i was obsessed with Dirty Dancing. I sang the songs, I learned the dances, I watched it constantly. You might think its not appropriate for a 5 year old to watch that movie. But I didn’t understand the concept of sex at that point. For me it was the music, the dancing, the idealistic love and hope and all that hippy stuff. I did actually learn my early ideals and views from it and many of them stay with me now, if in a more realistic version. Its still one of my all time favourite films.

This is the second of my child icons to pass in the last couple of months. I never talked much about Michael Jackson’s passing because it angered me, the sheer hypocrisy of the world in their changed attitude to him post mortem. But it was a loss to my childhood. Once again I spent hours

singing and dancing and watching, although I was slightly older at this time. and though I grew out of the obsession, I still look bad at that time with fondness. His music made me happy then, and rediscovering it now is bringing that back. I look forward to watching Dirty Dancing again (altho it hasn’t been quite as long since I watched it as listening to MJ) and rediscovering the emotions that film gave me.

So here’s to Mr Swayze. Wherever you are, and Whatever happens after the end, I hope you are in peace and resting.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I’m not usually an Album person. I prefer to listen to songs rather than full albums with only a few exceptions. Hence why my iTunes & Spotify playlists are almost constantly on Random/Shuffle. But recently I've decided that my neglect of albums needs to be rectified so I've sat down and listened to some of the artists that I have directly avoided due to hype. Before I go any further I will explain my aversion to hype. Its not that i think these artists or bands will be bad or that I wont enjoy them. I just feel that the media get so saturated with these over hyped artists that I can’t bring myself to listen to them in my private home world. I still hear their singles of course. I hear them at least once a night at work or when going around shops or listening to the radio or on the increasingly frequent Spotify ads. So I tend to avoid properly listening to the artists until after the hype has died down, sometimes the wait is longer than others… I completely missed the libertines era only sitting to listen to them a day or so before the announcement of their breakup. So this is my stance on hype. Its a fluid stance. sometimes I do hear about an artist and listen to the song and absolutely love it and think I must hear more of this. Whether that’s a result of the hype or the quality of the artist I’m not sure so I’m not ruling out either.

But on to the purpose of this Blog. I’m going to talk about a few of the albums I’ve sat down to recently and what I thought about them. I’m not going to call them reviews although that’s probably what they are. They are just my thoughts on what I’ve heard.

The first Album I listened to was Imogen Heap’s latest release Ellipse. Imogen is an artist I’ve listened to quite a bit (I’ll count her band Frou Frou among this as well) in my usual listening habit. I’ve heard a song, added to my collection and fell in love with it. But I’ve never actually sat down and listened to a full album of hers. In fact if it wasn’t for following her on twitter I’m not sure I would have normally remembered that the album was released on Monday when I listened to it. The record itself is great and unmistakably Imogen. I listened to it several times under the glow of my newly fixed lava lamp and fairy lights before deciding to call it a night. I loved it. but it wont be one of the albums that falls into my “must listen in one go” category. and I still find my self reaching to switch to the lead track of the album “First Train Home” which thanks to the magic of the internet I acquired some weeks ago and have been loving since.

Next up came Florence & The Machine and her debut album Lungs. Florence is definitely an artist I’ve avoided because of the hype. Like I mentioned above I’ve heard the singles. They’re everywhere and are played in work on a regular basis. But it was the constant quoting of lyrics by two friends on Facebook and the enthusiastic recommendation that came with it that prompted me to put this as part of my Tuesday album. Of course the mistake I made was trying to multitask while listening to the album and running about the kitchen cleaning and cooking. Something which I don’t recommend you do on a first listen to an album. So I didn’t get the enjoyment which my cohorts had exhibited. In fact I found myself turning it off half way through because I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. Something about the constant Full Energy vocals just didn’t do it for me. I’m all about the rise and fall of intensity and there was none of this that I could hear. I wasn’t put off though. I have resolved to go back to it and give it my full attention.

Which brings me to today. Wednesday. and my choice today is the original version of the recently remixed, Intimacy, by Bloc Party. Now again I’ve been multitasking by writing this blog and listening at the same time but with this being a much less strenuous task I feel that I am able to comment slightly better than with the Florence album. Again they fall into my category of Bands who I like maybe one or two songs (Flux & Banquet in their case) but generally avoid the rest. The album started well, the opening chord had a pitch which reminded me of current obsession And So I Watch You From Afar and made me smile. And for about a minute I enjoyed the swelling introduction. And then the vocals started. which ruined it completely. This was the first song Ares which has prompted me to go and listen to the great AISWYFA album after listening to this one but also almost made me switch off this one completely before it had started. Not a good thing from a lead track. However I stuck with it and I’m actually quite glad I’ve found two tracks that I would happily listen to again, although not necessarily seek out directly. You know the type of track where about half way through you realise “oh actually I don’t mind this one” and then have to seek out the name of it? Well there’s 2 of those on the album and that’s quite a lot for me actually. Those songs were Halo & Zephyrus with Biko coming in as a chilled out third. So on a whole a not bad album for my tastes. Works well as background music as I sit writing this, but I do feel as if I’m biding my time before something else comes on. In fact the interrupting Spotify adverts are quite welcome rather than being an annoying intrusion.

I’m not sure how long this album phase will last. It could end tomorrow or go on for a bit. When it does go on though I will keep it in mind to put a short paragraph up about my most recent listen. And will try to do them individually rather than all in one go so as to save my readers eyes from strain. So as the Bloc Party album finishes in a fairly timely fashion I thank you for reading, I’m off to listen to ASIWYFA now.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Re Made

I'm sitting watching an 80's remake of King Kong with Jeff Bridges and the guy who played Odo in Star Trek - Deep Space 9. I've never seen the film before although I've seen all the parodies and homage's to it. Its cheesy and its filled with Violin heavy orchestrations which remind me of old James Bond movies. The script at times is laughable but the effects of the Kong character are great! Its a great film and i'm absolutely loving it... so why did Peter Jackson have to go and make that awful Remake? I read the other day an announcement that the classic 80's Brat Pack movie St Elmo's Fire is being made into a TV series by That 70's Show alum Topher Grace. This was the latest announcement in a long line of Hollywood's recycling phase. I wonder if they realise that going Green means recycling paper and plastic not scripts and films.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Anybody Want a Cupcake?

I sit here a very satisfied and slightly hyper being right now. This is because I have spent the afternoon doing nothing but looking at and eating cupcakes. This was CupcakeCampNI, Europe’s first ever CupcakeCamp, (think of a camp as being a conference). Now we on our corner of this rock would usually think of the traditional Bun when someone mentions cupcake, with pink and white sugar icing, and hundreds and thousands poured over the top and maybe if we were lucky you might get a sugared strawberry or lemon jelly sweetie thing on top. But these cupcakes are so far away from the norn iron bun. These are traditional American Cupcakes, complete with Butter cream icing and more alongside muffins in size. They come in all sorts of colours and flavours and when it comes to decoration, the more elaborate the better.

There were so many different flavours, some familiar but with added twists, Strawberry became Strawberries & Cream and Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate became everything from Mint Chocolate to triple chocolate to Chilli & Peanut Butter Chocolate! Lemon became Lemon meringue, and you see where I’m going with this. Then there were the non traditionals. Chai Tea, Pina Colada, Mojito, Mickey Finn’s Raspberry Cocktails, Carrot Cake’s decorated with little candy carrots (handmade), these joined the other amazing decorations like miniature chillis, the beach themed cupcakes complete with ocean, beach towel, fishies and beach brolley! There was gold glitter dust, iced flowers with hand carved petals, swirls, beads, jewels, there was even a Nightmare Before Christmas Themed set of cakes which looked so good it was notable that people were afraid to eat one as it would ruin the look.

Moving away from the cakes themselves which I could go on about for days, and I probably will but not here. The day itself was relaxed (from the punters perspective anyway), there was a friendly atmosphere, everyone was chatting about baking techniques, icing techniques, flavourings, and for us cupcake novices we just enjoyed the moment that event organiser Ciarán Madden gave everyone permission to get stuck in and enjoy. I was very glad I’d starved myself before the event. Not that I condone starving yourself of course ;)

My day finished just after the amusing and problematic Demo from Marshmallow Grove owner Sarah Landstreet on how to make Marshmallow Smore Cupcakes (I will definitely be making my own marshmallow in the future!) and the Prize giving that followed. The overall winner of the event was the deserving Chai cupcakes which were not only refreshing, light and spongy; but also had a slight spice to them. It was then I grabbed a Box that I had “acquired” filled it to its brim, collected my free Tshirt and said my goodbyes, hoping to make it home before the sugar crash kicked in. Which I did... just.

I had a great day and the turnout was amazing. I’ve been watching the progress of the event on twitter from its initial announcement till today and I have to say Ciarán has alot to be proud of. I know that from now on there will be alot more cupcakes in my future. But for now here is some of what we were witness to...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Please Reply

I'm fully aware that i'm at the bottom of a very steep ladder and one which is hard to even get on never mind climb. So i am not yet at the point where people are contacting me for work. i wish i was. life would be so much easier. unfortunately i'm having to listen intently to the grapevine (something else i'm very low down on) for any hints of work and then search fervently for contact details so that i can send my painstakingly thought out emails basically begging for an interview so that i can meet them in person. I fully confident that once i get to meet the person i can win the job. i'm pretty good with people. I'm polite, well spoken (when i want to be) intelligent, and good at what i do, when i finally get a chance to do what i do what i'm good at. However one thing that i've noticed in these searches for employment is just the sheer amount of people who ignore your requests. You'd think an employer or company would be grateful that a person has searched them out beyond the normal channels and sent them a personal message. But the lack of response is astounding. I know they've all been in my position. This is a hard industry to get work and the Northern Ireland media community is a small industry with a relatively large population so that in some ways makes it more difficult.
But surely it hasn't been so long that a small concise email reply simply saying "thankyou for a query but i'm afraid we cant help you at this time" is too much to ask for? I'm not asking you to instantly give me an interview just because i have emailed you. i'm not asking for the job straightaway. just a small acknowledgement that you've read my email would be nice. please.