Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Busted. Blogtober - Day 17

Last night I went to see Busted. Let’s be honest, this is going to be the worst ‘review’ you’ll ever read as I just love this band. They could come on stage, sit knitting for 2 hours I’d still come away thinking it was the best thing I’d ever seen.

A while ago Busted announced a massive one night special date at Londons, Royal Albert Hall. Then not so long ago, they added a northern date at Preston Guildhall. Same set as the Royal Albert Hall just at a slightly less snazzy venue! 

When the news hit that the Preston show was also getting the 2 set Busted show the excitement was ago! Uniquely, the band split the set with an interval in between. The first half being an intimate acoustic performance with the second being a lively electric guitar performance. It’s the first concert I’ve ever been to where that has happened but personally I thought it worked well.

The acoustic first half of the set was a nostalgic rollercoaster to say the least. Something about the band turning their songs acoustic just turns you into an emotional wreck. These are songs which I’d grown up with and have listened to during the good / bad times so hearing them stripped down was an emotional experience to say the least. Not only that but the acoustic songs really showcased the bands talents as performers. Songs such as Meet You There, When Day Turns Into Night and Everything I Knew were all part of the acoustic set before they finished the half with my one of my favourite songs, Sleeping With The Light On. I really could listen to them perform acoustically all day so for me this half was superb. 

The second half saw Busted return to the jumpy, lively performance that you expect when seeing the band. The set list was similar to that of the recent Night Driver tour with the edition of few fan favourites like Loser Kid and That Thing You Do. I don’t know if it was just because it’s been a few months since I last saw them before but I thought the set from both halves was truly fantastic and was the perfect mix of songs both old and new.

These concerts are the perfect celebration of all things Busted. Even despite seeing them rather a lot over the past couple of years, it’s still crazy to me how they’re a band again but I completely and utterly love the fact they are. Honestly if you ever slightly loved Busted give them another listen in 2017 and go see one of the live shows. I can assure you they’re even better than you will remember. I just love them and these shows with the acoustic / section were just fantastic and I’m sure they’ll be being talked about within the Busted fan base for years to come.

Blogtober - Day 16

They say you should never meet your idols. As you don’t know them the picture in your head of them is always better than how they are in real life. But you know what, I disagree. 

I hate the word idol, as I don’t have anyone that I idolise as such. However, I do have favourite bands, actors etc that I absolutely love and have had the pleasure of meeting numerous times over the years so I feel like I’m qualified enough to write this blog post. 

Personally I’ve only ever had wonderful experiences with my favourite artists/actors. I mean I met one of my favourite band members on a train once and he invited me to sit with him and played me songs that he’d recorded and not released. The same person years ago, also invited fans (including myself) onto his tour bus to play card games. These days for me just show what genuinely nice people some people are, I would’ve been so happy with just getting a photo but instead I got one of the most memorable / amazing days of my life and I’m so very thankful to this day that he did both those things. Another great experience was when one of my favourite actors spent hours after his play signing autographs and taking photos with people who had seen his play. He genuinely took a minute with everyone who wanted to meet him despite the fact he’d been on stage for hours. I was one of the last to meet him and it was gone midnight so the fact he did this was so nice especially as you go to see the play and not for a meet and greet at the end.

On the other hand my friend met her favourite singer at a paid for meet and greet and was literally shoved in for a photo and shoved straight out again. As she was a huge fan she was still thrilled she got to meet her favourite singer but slightly disappointed it was so rushed and didn’t get to say anything she wanted to say. Years ago, I met a singer (who is now hugely successful!) and the same thing happened. The security at this event was just pushing people in and out for a photo and the singer barely uttered a world to anyone. If this person was my favourite artist I think I may have been a little unhappy with this experience. 

With the rise of paid for meet and greets perhaps there is now a culture where it turns more into a cattle market. You’re pushed in for a photo, then out to try rush as many people through as physically possible. Which is great I suppose as lots of people still get to meet their idols but on the other hand it’s that’s rushed are people really getting a good experience from it? Therefore proving the point that you should never meet your idols as they just look a bad person when they don’t have chance to say anything to the fan they’re meeting.

I first met my favourite band member at a cd signing which is ridiculously rushed and your not allowed photos. However, he told me he liked my tshirt, I burst out crying (I was 11 at the time ok...) and it was the best moment of my life for years. In that respect I suppose it’s what the person wants from an experience. For me, at the time just seeing my favourite celebrities in the flesh meant everything to me so even signings were just the most incredible experience for me. However, if you’re expecting to meet someone and have a full blown conversation with them perhaps your experience won’t be as good as this very rarely happens. You have so much you want to say to these people, to thank them for etc and sadly you just don’t get the time to in most circumstances.

I haven’t named names in this as I don’t want to label people who I think have been really nice and on the other hand I also didn’t want to slag anyone off either. Maybe I’d say if my friend had met her favourite artist randomly in the street it would’ve been a completely different experience to what she got at the paid for meet and greet so I really don’t want to judge anyone. Truthfully I love meeting my favourite musicians / actors, the buzz you get is indescribable. 

Has anyone else met anyone famous? Would love to hear how you felt the experience went.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me - Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice

For me it was fascinating that this book was written by two authors. At not one point during The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me do you for once think that it was. Despite being wrote by two authors the book flowed well and I couldn't find any potential points in the plot that had been missed.

The book itself is told from the perspectives of the two main characters Holly and Alex. Having the book told from both perspectives enables us to see the events that occur from both sides well. It made me laugh on multiple occasions just how wrong they both were about thinking they knew how the other felt. I feel that it was definitely a plus side of the book. 

Young Holly dreams of travelling the world but as she's gotten older she has lost that dream and has now settled for working as a PA. Holly is dating her boss, Richard. Richard is very insistent on the fact that Holly must keep their relationship a secret from everyone. Holly isn't having some affair with a married man, Richard just thinks it'll be better to remain a secret. It takes a good way into the book for Holly to realise that not everything Richard says is right. Alex on the other hand has always wanted to be a teacher. He has achieved his dream but didn't expect to be teaching students who had no interest in learning. Both characters are very relatable which I feel is an attribute to the story as you really feel a connection to Alex and Holly.

Holly and Alex are from the same Yorkshire village and were best friends when they were younger. They hadn't seen each other for 11 years and then Alex moves to London where Holly now lives. Holly and Alex have been hopelessly in love with each other most of their lives but neither have ever done anything about it. 

The book explores the relationship between Alex and Holly and makes you wonder if they ever actually will admit to each other that they love each other as more than friends. I found the book very engaging. My only major gripe is the ending as although it is implied I would've loved to know exactly how Holly and Alex ended up. Its left me desperately want to another book to find out exactly what happens! 

Synopsis - 

Everyone remembers their first love.
Holly certainly remembers Alex. But she decided ten years ago that love wasn’t about mix tapes and seizing the moment – though she’s not exactly sure it’s about secret dates with your boss, either.

But what if the feelings never really went away?
Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It’s a fresh start in a big city, and he’s almost certain that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Almost.

How do you know if it was meant to be… or never meant to happen at all?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Blogtober - Day 14

Today has been a somewhat productive day as I’ve been packing. Sadly, no I’m not going on holiday, I’m actually packing to go queue for a concert tomorrow...except the concert isn’t until Monday night so I’m either extremely bonkers / dedicated / insane / a combination of all three. 

I’ve been spoilt by my favourite band over the years. I’ve seen them individually in tiny venues with a handful of people after they split up, then they got back together and had this amazing front standing zone in front of the stage. Now, anything less than being front row at a concert I feel a little disappointed. Honestly, that feeling of being at the front and your favourite band being right there is like nothing else and that’s really why I queue for ridiculously long periods of time.

This blog post is a little longer than normal but I thought today I’d share with you my top tips for queueing for a concert. Obviously everyone’s will be different to what I find works for me but I needed a blogtober post and this topic is very relevant to my day today.

  1. Book a hotel

When I was in my teens I thought nothing of queuing overnight for a concert. However, as I’ve got older I’ve realised that for safety / sanity / making sure you don’t faint during a concert it’s so much better to book a hotel. It means you can still queue before people can arrive to the place by public transport ensuring your one of the first in the queue without the hassle of queuing completely overnight. If your hotel is near enough it also means you don’t have the stress of finding a toilet, you have somewhere warm to go if it’s cold, you have somewhere to charge a phone. For me the hassle of not having to find a toilet is the biggest thing, otherwise you’re always like oh the cafe next door will let you use theirs but you have to buy something, a McDonalds is a 24 minute walk that way, it’s just unnecessary stress! Basically I just love a hotel when I’m concert queuing.

  1. Be comfortable and warm

Pillows, blankets, duvets, 12 jumpers, 100 pairs of leggings under your jeans, sun cream, winter coat, waterproofs...you name it I bring it! You’re sat on the floor for hours on end and believe me it gets uncomfortable really quickly. I’ve got my overpacking comfy things down so much now that I can usually get comfortable enough to have a couple of hours sleep whilst queueing! You never can predict the weather either and I’ve found even on most warm days it does get a little chilly when you’re just sat queueing.My favourite bands annoyingly tend to tour in cold months too so layers are everything. It’s also worth remembering to ditch all your layers / blankets etc an hour or so before the concert as you don’t want to take them in with you which is where again having a hotel to put things in becomes very handy. Plus if you have lots of stuff, the security at the door will take longer searching you meaning you may lose the spot you’ve been queuing for all day which you do not want!

  1. Hand warmers

Ok, this one only applies when you’re queuing when it’s cold. But last year my friend and I discovered the absolute amazingness of hand warmers. Lots of different ones are available but we’ve found the ones that you can only use once and you shake to activate are the best. You shake to activate them and then slowly they warm up all day long - plus they last a good 8 hours or so! Feet warmers (yes really!!) are also available too! If you have any possibility it may be cold you need these in your life. 

  1. Food & Drink

This one seems a bit rubbish to put on my list but whenever I’ve queued I’ve always taken a bag full of snacks, sandwiches and water. Sometimes where you’re queuing could be quite far from anything so it’s nice to have nibbles on you so don’t don’t have to make the trek for food/drink too often. Remember, drink plenty of water! I have a tendency to faint at standing concerts so I try keep as hydrated as possible up to a couple of hours before a concert. Obviously you don’t want to need to dash for a wee when you’ve finally got inside so water consumption is stopped a couple of hours beforehand! I also always make sure I have a packet of Dextro energy sweets on me, I just find whenever I start to get that faint feeling it gives me a little extra boost to get through the night. 

  1. Entertainment

Again another really obvious point but you have to remember things to do. You do not realise how long queueing 15 hours + is until you’ve actually done it. Your phone battery seems to drain in record time too so make sure you invest in a good portable phone charger - it will be the best thing you ever purchase. Bring a book, bring a pen and a notebook, bring something to colour, bring your games console, bring playing cards...anything really that you think will help you get through the day. When you’ve been queuing hours and you still have hours to go it’s so wonderful to have something you can take out your bag to help the hours pass a little faster. It’s also worth factoring in that it may be raining all day so take something you’re able to do whilst holding an umbrella! 

  1. Friends

I do a lot of things alone but personally I would not queue for a concert by myself - though if you wanted to I don’t see why you couldn’t. However if you go with a friend it’s so great that you have someone to hold the fort whilst you go and have a walk round to stretch your legs (which you’ll need to do often otherwise you can’t physically move for hours...) or to go for food etc. The friend/s you go with must also be someone you can talk to lots and get on well with. You’re going to be with the people you’re with for a very long time so it’s good if you have someone you always have plenty to talk about with otherwise I can imagine the day will feel even longer. It’s also worth being sociable to others in the queue, people will often be passing excess snacks around or offering to get you stuff from the shop when they go which is lovely. You have the love of the band your seeing in common so it’s easy to start talking to people. You’re going to be sat with these people all day and stood with them at the barrier at the concert so it’s worth just chatting even a little to them.

I didn’t want to list make sure you remember your tickets and that your camera is charged etc as I figured that was just too obvious. I know my things are obvious too but they are just the things I find improve my queueing experience. I’ve probably forgot something really important I should’ve wrote on this list so no doubt I’ll end up editing it but the tips above are my top of the head top tips. I hope if anyone is going to queue for a concert they find this helpful. 

Have you ever queued for a concert? I’d love to know other people tips too!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Blogtober - Day 13

What if...? It’s a question I think of probably more than the average person. What if I’d done this instead of that...what if I’d not done this at all? I probably spend too much time dwelling on it which makes me a little sad at times.

I went to university in London before very reluctantly moving back home. It’s been 4 years since I graduated now (where on earth did that time go?!) and I still spend too many hours of my day to day life dwelling on the thoughts of what if I was still living in London. Truthfully, I’m not as happy as when I was in London. I know my circumstances have changed a lot which may influence that too, I’m now working 9 hours a day compared to 2 hours a day of lectures. However, things like the spontaneous trips to the theatre, the going to concerts in a weekday, the meeting up with friends for dinner - it’s all gone since I moved back home. London just has more of a spontaneous vibe. If you’re living within the M25 border, you’re pretty set for getting into central London at whatever time of day on public transport. Whereas now I’m back at home (and I don’t drive...) my whole life has to revolve around running plans around my parents which is insane now I’m in my mid twenties. This is even before having to work out the logistics of actually getting anywhere! I live quite rurally, so for example to go somewhere mid week I’d have to book time off work or book a hotel and set off for work early the next morning, top all that with an extremely infrequent bus service and it’s all just a logistical nightmare. It’s just a whole other world to London living.

I talked to a friend about this not so long ago. About what if things were different and we had both moved in together in London? How different both of our lives would’ve been or are we both just stuck in the London bubble? Would we have been as happy there working full time jobs or would the lack of money, small flat, packed commutes all just drive us out of London? It’s all in the past now and realistically neither of us will probably end up moving back but it does make you wonder what would have happened if things had been different.

Perhaps I do spend too long dwelling London. Part of me thinks I should just bite the bullet and move back yet another part of me thinks I could be so happy around where I live if I just accepted things more and stopped dwelling on the past. The same principle applies for say a new job. I spend too much time constantly thinking about the what ifs. I’m not happy in my job so I should just apply for another - simple? Oh no it’s not. I sit thinking what if I don’t like it as much, what if I move to (insert location here) and I hate the area, what if the people are horrible, what if I can’t do the job, what if, what if, what if! It’s ridiculous. I spend so much time pondering all the what ifs that I never bother getting my backside into gear, stop worrying about the what ifs and just get on with things and worry about the outcomes later. At least that way I wouldn’t be thinking what if as I’d have tried to do whatever it may be.

Once again it’s another waffled blogtober post. This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately so I thought I’d try write some of my thoughts down. Hopefully I’m not the only one who has constant what if thoughts! 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Blogtober - Day 12

The last few days I’ve been doing very little but watch television - all my favourite shows are back which means I’ve temporarily put the rest of my life on hold and turned into a stereotypical couch potato!

I’m not even joking. Tuesday I watched The Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Hunted, Wednesday was The Apprentice and new Once Upon A Time and right now I’m watching the new series of Riverdale. Ok so perhaps watching one or two episodes a night doesn’t warrant calling myself a couch potato...this is no where near as extreme as when I marathoned 2 entire series of Once Upon A Time over a bank holiday weekend.

I find when you work a lot of hours, watching a couple of episodes in an evening seems to be all you have time to do before bed. Then it just seems like all you’ve done in a day is, wake up, go to work, work, go home, watch tv, bed. I just feel like I’m wasting my day somewhat when I watch television in an evening. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the shows that I’m watching otherwise I wouldn’t bother. Just a little part of me feels like I’m not using my time productively? I’m that annoying person who wants to always be on the go doing something, reading something, travelling somewhere...just general doing stuffness. I’m even always on the go on holidays, much to people’s annoyance who I go on holiday with. So for me spending my evenings just sat watching television seems kind of a waste. 

That aside though can I just take a second to appreciate how good all these programs are?! Basically these are all the shows I watch and now they’re all on at the same time. If you have chance you have to watch Once Upon A Time, Riverdale, The Apprentice, Hunted and The Great British Bake Off (even if just for Noel Fielding!). I love these programs, it’s just a tiny bit inconvenient they’re all on television at the same time! 

Thankfully, I have a jam packed (Busted!!) weekend planned so hopefully I’ll feel as though I’ve been a tiny bit more productive and my blogs will have more point than my random late night waffle.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Don’t Tell The Groom - Anna Bell

I’ve had this review saved as a daft for a couple of years and I have absolutely no idea why I never posted it. As it’s 9:30pm and I’ve completely forgot about today’s Blogtober I figured I would post this!

Review - 

I'll be the first to admit that the two reasons that I chose to read this book is because it has a stunning cover and because I love the television show Don't Tell The Bride. Don't Tell The Groom is somewhat loosely based on the television show.

Mark and Penny have been in a relationship together for a very long time and have been saving for their wedding day long before Mark had even asked Penny to be his wife. The idea was that when it was time to get married they'd be able to have the wedding of Penny's dreams - complete with a Vera Wang wedding dress and Jimmy Choo shoes. In an attempt to boost the wedding fund more, Penny plays online bingo. Once Mark pops the question it is quickly discovered that Penny has gambled away £10,000 worth of the wedding fund leaving just £5000 worth of money to plan Penny's dream wedding that would rival Kim Kardashian's. In an attempt to keep her gambling hidden away Penny adopts a Don't Tell The Groom style strategy and plans the entire wedding herself cheaply so her accountant fiancĂ© doesn't find out about her gambling. 

I absolutely love the idea behind this book. I find the storyline a great idea and I wished I’d thought of writing this book myself! 

I find it very difficult to relate to Penny in this book which is my only real problem with it. Despite this I did find it enjoyable to read and it made me chuckle at some of Penny's slightly desperate attempts at trying to plan her wedding cheap. Penny even goes to the extent of taking a flower arranging course to arrange her own flowers for the wedding in order to save money! I finished this book very quickly so if you're looking for a book that's a reasonably quick read I would recommend it. 

Synopsis -

Penny has big dreams for her wedding day. She wants an unforgettable celebration, perfect down to the last detail, and has been saving for ages to make her dream a reality. When Mark finally pops the question, it's the best moment of her life. Until Penny checks her wedding fund and is horrified to discover that something has gone terribly wrong. There's far less money there than she'd thought, and it's all her fault. She can't tell Mark the truth about what she's done . . . her only choice is to get married on a drastically smaller budget. 

Working under the pretence of surprising Mark with her plans on their big day, operation 'Don't Tell the Groom' rolls into action, with surprising, hilarious and moving results. Will Penny be able to keep her secret long enough to say 'I do'?