Thursday, 24 December 2015

People That Made My 2015



With 2015 coming to an end, for the past few days, #PeopleThatMadeMy2015 has been trending on Twitter. I always like to get involved with this type of hashtag as it's nice to show your appreciation for the people that have positively impacted on your life during the year. However, the more I thought about it, I realised that 140 characters were nowhere near enough for me so I thought I would share my gratitude to my faves here instead.

FYI, this is likely to be a long, rambly and soppy post, you have been warned!

2015 has been quite an odd year for me. On reflection, both good and bad things have happened that I could never have foreseen but they do say that everything happens for a reason. However what I'm most grateful for this year is being given opportunities to make incredible memories, most of them with some of the most wonderful people by my side.

Kingsland and the girls

The start of 2015 provided me with some of the most memorable occasions, as Kingsland released their album through Pledge Music, therefore, any pledges we made were fulfilled. From the studio session, guitar lesson, listening party, the canal and the album party, I have no regrets whatsoever in pledging for these things as they were all very special in one way or another. The guitar lesson was my highlight, being taught to play by one of my favourite people and actually not being half as rubbish as I thought I would be! The canal boat was also brilliant as there were only 4 fans in our particular session, and we had such a laugh. I have #KingslandConfessions videos on my phone which I should upload at some point as they're hilarious.

guitar lesson with JJ (always will be Thomps to me)


Of course, there was also the tour. It was literally the most fun week trekking across the country! There was something about every date that made it memorable. Manchester was one of the best as I spent it with some of my favourite people. However, I still cringe at the time we spent in the nightclub afterwards hahaha. In Newcastle, we had the dressing room meet and greet which was really funny and surreal. Norwich was just the most bizarre gig, whilst London was the most lively, made even better by Jay/Jamie/Shaun making an appearance! I should also probably mention the awkward m&g haha. Brighton was probably the least memorable gig however I adored the place itself, my inner child couldn't cope with all the amusements on the pier! Lastly, Birmingham which was a bit sad as it was the last time I saw them as a group, however, I will never forget that there was another gig on that night, a band called Flatbush Zombies and the Underachievers. Their fans were grown men, who were fangirling so hard, I swear we've never looked that ridiculous lol. We googled them outside the venue and it was just so weird but hilarious too.

Obviously, with supporting a band, you come across a lot of people and make friends along the way. I'm not going to name every single person as I'll probably forget someone, however, everyone I've spent time with this year at gigs has made 2015 special for me. KL/solo gigs would not have been the same without any of you. I've always tried to be open and friendly and make time for everyone, so in that respect, I've met so many great people. There are a few people that I should mention specifically.



There's Dannii, who is my all time favourite person to go and meet bands/singers with, as she is so caring and always takes photos for you when hugging/chatting to said artists. She's also one of the most fun people, I always have a great time when she's around. There's Nikki, who I've shared many times with this year. We facetime a lot and talk about the same old things 90% of the time but it never gets boring. I've lost count at how many times I've listened to her be shouted at by her mum or watched her cooking food at stupid o'clock. There's Charlotte, who's like a little sister to me. I can't remember how we became friends as the first time I saw her at Connor's meet up, I took an instant dislike as one of her pals was SO annoying but I'm really glad that I actually got to know her, as she's one of the sweetest people. I've also got to mention the northern trio, Rach, Chelle and Jo. They're so much fun to be around. I'll never forget the day Chelle got to meet Nathan Sykes for the first time - it was the most precious thing, so much so that I cried along with her ha!

Everyone else that's pictured has made my year so special too. There's also people that aren't pictured - there's some who I haven't got around to taking selfies with, whilst Jakie, one of my favourite people ever, sadly lives across the pond. Nonetheless, as cheesy as it sounds, the people I've made friends with through Kingsland will always mean a lot to me.

The only bad thing is that shortly after the tour, the band split which of course upset me a lot. As well as not getting to see the boys regularly anymore, it also means I get to see less of all the girls. The best thing about Kingsland gigs was knowing pretty much everyone that was there. When I go to smaller gigs now, I barely know anyone which is just weird to me. Of course, the fact that some of the boys have gone solo gives us opportunities to see them, but it's really not the same. Whether together or as individuals, Thomps, Con, Josh, Matt and Jay made this year really special, and the memories made will stay with me for life. Supporting KL has been one of the most incredible/expensive/crazy/fun/frustrating times but they'll always have a place in my heart and they'll always have my support. I miss the KL boys and all the fam so much, but nonetheless I'm grateful to them for making 2015 such a special year.



Sarah

I've been friends with Sarah for around 5 years now. We met in University and she is the only person that I properly keep in contact with. We instantly clicked and we've remained close ever since. Ever since we left Uni, it's been more difficult to see each other and this year she moved to Cardiff, so I've probably seen even less of her. However, it then makes me appreciate the time I spend with her even more. Despite not talking all the time, we can meet up or start a conversation and pick up exactly where we left off. I value her friendship so much, I know that we will be lifelong friends. She's had a really tough year and I just hope that 2016 sees her get the happiness, health and security that she truly deserves.

that windswept time at Bracelet Bay

Em

I had to include the little one, as she's very important to me. This year I got to take her to see Kingsland perform for the first time, and I've seen her on a couple of other occasions. Whilst we don't speak as much as we used to, she's always a little ray of sunshine and she definitely made this year great for me. This year she also got to meet Joe Root, one of her favourite people in the world, and that in itself made my year as I know that meeting an idol brings you so much happiness. It's so lovely to see her grow into the beautiful person that she is, she makes me proud to have her as a little sis.

tour times with the little one!

Laura and Nicole

The terrible twosome haha! Again, I haven't been able to see much of these two this year, however, they have still been very supportive and made my year. They came to watch me do my charity climb (more about that later on), which meant the world. It was so nice of them to be cheerleaders for the day and to spend time with them afterwards. Of course, Laura also started her book blog this year which Nic and I write guest reviews for. I'm so proud of what she's achieved with it so far and can't wait to see the blog develop further in 2016. I'm also dead excited for our little meet up in January, as well as Laura and I meeting one of our favourite authors, Jill Mansell, eep!


2016 goal is to take more selfies haha

Musicians

A lot of musicians are included within people that made my 2015. I've spoken loads about Kingsland, but there are a whole lot more that have given me happy memories this year. Firstly there's Take That. I went to four of their tour dates this year, and every single one was just an incredible experience. They are phenomenal showmen and never fail to put a smile on my face. I even held hands with Gary and Howard during concert walkthroughs which added to the experience. The Britroyal boys were also a prominent part of my summer. We had our pledges with Kais and Mazin, one day out in London and another in Windsor. I've genuinely not laughed so much in a long time. The banter was flowing all day and they are genuinely such nice people. There wasn't ever an awkward moment. Through them, I also got to meet J.R Richards and his lovely wife Min, as we pledged for one of his studio sessions. We went to AIR Studios in London and it was the most incredible experience, what a stunning place! After several years, I got to meet Aston Merrygold again at Sunday Brunch, he was so nice as I remembered and certainly made me smile this year! (The only thing that saddens me about that day is that I was too scared to try and meet John Newman who was also at Sunday Brunch haha). I've also got to know Concept a bit better this year, and their visit to Cardiff supporting Only The Young was one of the highlights of my year. They care for their fans so much and spent ages making sure they met and chatted with everyone. Their weekly covers always make me happy too.


Britroyal, Concept, Aston and Nathan

As a The Wanted fan, a few members have made my year too. I got to go to Nathan Sykes' first headline tour which was incredible, his vocals are unreal! I also met him again recently at a signing and his attitude towards fans is something of which he should be credited for. He has so much time for everyone. Jay McGuiness also made my year - I miss the bugger more than words can say, but seeing him dance his heart out on Strictly every week made me so happy. Is it normal to cry watching him every week? Probably not, but he managed to reduce me to tears with every single performance. His Pulp Fiction jive was the most captivating thing I've ever seen - I've watched it back a million and one times, his mum makes me sob so hard when they show her going "oh myyy god!!". Of course, I had no doubt that my boy would win, but it didn't stop me from deafening the neighbours with my screams and frightening my mum with the inability to breathe for crying lol. I even won £70 after placing a bet, cheers Bird! I've also got to mention Tom Parker but more about him later on....




Mam

I'm so lucky to have the mam that I do. This year has been extremely testing at times, for her more than me, but it's made us even closer. We're inseparable most of the time, and I love having her as a gig buddy. She's crazier than I am, that's for sure! Not to mention an extremely bad influence when it comes to gigs etc. haha! We're so similar, always finishing each other's sentences, saying stupid things or singing really badly (and loudly ha). I am so proud of her - she's one of the most caring, hard working people and doesn't get enough credit for it. She has such strength and despite feeling like the world is against her at times, she always ploughs through. She's a fighter, and I couldn't ask for a better inspiration or role model in life. I'm not the best daughter out there, but she's certainly the best mum. You can't pick your family but I count my lucky stars everyday that I have her as a mum. It'll always be the two of us against the world. I hope that 2016 brings her the happiness that she deserves in abundance.



The O2 Climb supporters

One of my biggest achievements this year was climbing the O2 Arena for charity in memory of my grandad. Anyone who knows me is probably sick of hearing about it, but you can read about it here if you wish. What made the day so special, was the incredible support I received from friends on social media. I raised over £560 (before gift aid) but none of that would have been possible without those generous souls who donated towards the cause. I will forever be grateful to every single person who supported in any way. Not everyone can donate, which is completely understandable. That's why it also meant just as much to me when people took the time to wish me luck or give me words of encouragement. It meant the world to me and is something I'll never forget - there aren't enough thank you's in the world! It was also amazing to have Laura, Nicole, Kais and Mazin there to support on the day, as well as being able to climb with Mim.

David

Yes, a musician, but he deserves his own little bit. At the beginning of this year, I started listening to a singer called David Bulley after watching one of his YouNow's with mum. His voice blew me away and I became a fan instantly. A few months down the line, I got to meet him at a gig. Bless him, he was so quiet and shy, I'd never met a singer that was like that before. However the minute he went on stage, he transformed into this confident performer, the crowd lapping up every note he sang. Since then, I've been to see him perform several times and it's a pleasure watching him grow in confidence with every show. I've also had the chance to get to know him on a personal level, he's one of the funniest people I know, as well as being super caring and genuine. I hate it when fans say that they're friends with singers because to me that sounds silly, but I really have found a friend in David. He's been so supportive of me during the year and I can't thank him enough for that. Through him, I've also got to know Rob, who is hilarious, and Adam, who is the only person I know that is just as much of a Take That fan as I am! Without a doubt, he is one of the people that made my 2015 and I can't imagine not knowing him now. I look forward to seeing him smash his own headline tour next year. I'm so proud of what he's achieved so far, he really does deserve the world.




Mim

My twinny, where would I be without her?! Mim most definitely was a part of making my year great. I've managed to see her a few times this year, but I'm most thankful for the fact that she did my O2 charity climb with me. I would have struggled so much more without her - the fact that she's fearless made me push myself to be a little fearless too (even though I felt physically sick haha). It was such a special day for me and getting to climb alongside my best friend just made it even better. This year I even got to see One Direction with her, and it was cute to see her in an environment where she's really happy. I'd be lying if I said that our friendship was perfect this year because it wasn't. However, at the end of the day, it's made our friendship stronger. (I couldn't ever not be her friend anyway, she knows too much lol!). This girl knows more or less everything about me and she puts up with my ramblings/sitches over weird people ha. She's one of the most important people in my life - this year made me realise that even more and I hope that she's someone that will always be in my life! The only crap thing about being friends with Mim is that we live miles away from each other so I don't get to see her very often. I really hope that I see more of her in 2016, and I hope that next year is amazing for her. She's a very special person and deserves the best in life always.


at the top of the O2!

CelebMix

Finally, something that's made my 2015 particularly special is joining the CelebMix team as a writer. I wrote a post about CelebMix last month, but for anyone that doesn't know, in September, I applied to be a voluntary writer for the site. I got accepted a few days later, and the rest is history. What makes CelebMix special to me is the freedom to write about the celebrity world, whether it be music, film or TV stars. As an avid fan of celebrity culture and a lover of writing, the experience I'm getting is both priceless and ridiculously enjoyable - it never feels like work. At the start of December, I got to interview Tom Parker from The Wanted on his new solo project. I arranged everything myself, and as a TW fan from day 1, this was the ultimate experience for me. I begged for a day off from my full-time job so that I could go up to London - only an idiot would have passed up on such an opportunity! It was so surreal but extremely worthwhile, for sure it was a moment that made my year and one I will never forget. 

Another thing I love about writing for CelebMix is that we are different to other news sites. We pride ourselves on being positive about celebrities instead of fighting them like some press do - of course, a lot of stars come with controversies in abundance, but there's good in everyone. Some people make money from writing crap about people, whereas I'm proud that our writers steer away from this. Being a part of CelebMix has made me realise that I would like to do this as a full-time career, and while I have a long way to go, it's something that I'm determined to work hard towards. I can't thank Jack enough for giving me the opportunity to join the team, and for giving me additional responsibilities which gives me so much valuable experience. The rest of the team are also a joy to work with, we have such a nice community of writers that help each other with ideas and how to improve. I can't wait to see how the site grows and develops next year, I truly believe the future is bright for CelebMix.

interviewing Tom = life goals!

2015 has been one of the best on the whole. Experiences and memories made have been priceless and I'm really grateful for the good things that have happened. I have no idea what 2016 will throw my way but I hope it involves all of the people that made this year so special.

Hwyl am y tro!






Monday, 23 November 2015

Chain Reaction

Timehop's got me feeling (happy) emosh today and I try not to be as overly cheesy and soppy anymore if I can help it but sometimes you just have to and this is one of those times so soz in advance. (I also don't know if any of this will make sense as I'm just offloading to myself ha)

November 23rd 2012 was a day that changed a lot of things for me, in the most positive way. I didn't do anything particularly earth shattering, or possibly important for some of you reading but meeting three people for the first time on that day changed and defined me as a person.

I posted  this a year ago, reminiscing about a night that'll always have a special place in my heart. Times Red were the first band that I grew a proper personal attachment to, in terms of getting to know them as people. I've lost count of how many times I met them as a group, but this one night in Cardiff three years ago today kick started everything. I'll always have so much to thank that band for.

First and foremost, and most importantly of all, without them I wouldn't have met two girls that I know are lifelong friends. They're not even friends anymore, they're family. I made a lot of friends during the TR days, and despite not always keeping in contact as much, the friends I made are still very precious to me. However I'm fortunate that these two have stood by me through everything and are subsequently stuck with me for life ha. It's rare to find people who positively impact your life so much, but I've got two gems in Twinny and Sis.

Secondly, supporting TR opened my eyes to living for the moment. You don't know what's ahead of you in life, which is why mum and I would often do something that we love and decide to go and see them in a random place at the spur of the moment. We had road trips, travelled to the strangest of places and have the best memories to look back on.

After a while, anything we did for them became our sort of barrier, "is it acceptable to go to *such and such place?*" and this continued into our time supporting Kingsland. Had we not pushed our boundaries so much when supporting TR, we would never have gone so mad for Kingsland - the first time we did the entirety of their six date tour was a novelty, the second time was just a given that we had to do haha. I've been extremely fortunate (so far) that every job I've been in is flexible when it comes to holiday leave - just another reason why I make the most of things now, before I'm truly tied down.

Of course, in turn, supporting another band in extreme measures meant getting to know even more people and making new friends along the way. There are people that I love all across the country, even across the ocean in Australia. 

Kingsland are long gone by now but obviously some of the boys have moved on to solo careers which I've tried to support as much as possible. It was during Jay's (can't call you Shaun soz) first gig that I got to meet and see a singer called David Bulley perform for the first time. I'd been a fan for a little while before hand but in all honesty, the fact that he was on the line up was just an added bonus. However, since that day, he's become someone very dear to me and it's heart warming to see him grow as a person and performer.

It's like the six degrees of separation, as everything leads back to when I first supported Times Red. Had we not gone so mad over TR, we would never have gone crazy for Kingsland, thus I wouldn't have been supporting any solo careers and stumbled across David along the way.

Over the past three years I've learnt to live life to the full by doing something you enjoy. I've travelled the country and met the best people along the way. I'd like to think that loyalty is a personal trait associated with me, as I've always tried to support both bands and friends alike as much as physically possible. It's funny how supporting one band can be the catalyst to a chain of mind-blowingly brilliant events and memories that really have impacted my life. 

Scott, Staz and Luke - I miss those TR days SO badly but yanoe what, I'm happy to have the memories than not to have lived them at all. Thank you for everything 💗



Hwyl am y tro ✌️this

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Sorry: Blog Neglect

Anybody there??

To the few people that actually read this blog, I want to apologise for neglecting my little adventure-land recently. Despite still going to as many gigs/events as usual, I've been major slacking on writing them up on here. I do feel really lazy, even though this blog was only ever really a memory box for myself, however what some of you may not know is that I have still been writing about most things, but I've crossed over into the scary but exciting world of an actual celebrity website. Yes, someone's been stupid enough to let me write for them!!!

In September, I saw one of my Twitter followers talk about a site called CelebMix so naturally intrigued, I went to have a nosy. What I was welcomed with was an awesome celebrity news site that just happened to be looking for voluntary writers. After debating with myself for a few days, I decided to apply - the worst that could happen was rejection, something of which I'm used to by now!

Within a few days, my application was successfully processed and I joined the team. Without doubt, it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. It's given me a new perspective in terms of thinking about future careers. 

After graduating from University, my dream job was working in marketing but I couldn't get my foot in a professional organisation as I didn't have enough experience (the old vicious circle). I then applied for my current job, which is a charity shop manager. Don't get me wrong, I love my job so much and I'll always be grateful to my employers for taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity. However I also know that I don't want to work there forever. 

With my quarter life crisis fast approaching, I feel as if I've been plodding along for some time now but CelebMix has given me a new lease of life. What started off as a hobby has made me reconsider what I'd like to do in the future - being able to combine my love of music and all things celebrity with writing on a full time basis would literally be a dream come true. It sounds so silly but I really do owe them a lot for giving me the opportunity to rediscover my passion for writing and potentially giving me other career options in the future. I know that I'm going to need to work so hard if I want to build this type of career, especially as I don't think my writing is particularly good enough, but for the time being I'm having a ball, getting experience and learning every day.

I used to love writing as a kid, I would write stories and poems and I won small creative writing competitions. University definitely put me off writing - after turning in continuous assignments, including my dreaded 20,000 word dissertation, I didn't write anything of use for a while afterwards. That was until I went to a Britroyal gig last year and Kais encouraged me to start a blog about my gig travels. Without taking his advice and writing here for over a year, I definitely wouldn't have even dreamed about applying for CelebMix.

After coming home from a long day at work, I actually get excited at the thought of switching the laptop on and getting my CelebMix head on. I've thrown myself into it as I enjoy it so much. I've done roughly 60 of my own articles so far, including gig reviews, email interviews and general news stories. I also have admin privileges to check over other people's work and am the Senior Social Manager who deals with their Twitter account.

I haven't really spoken to many people about being a part of CelebMix. I've always been reluctant to shove my work in anyone's face as I'm very self conscious - I always worry about being judged or ridiculed for what I write. This is something I've been through with this blog. I was too scared to share posts on Twitter in the beginning (and I wouldn't/still don't dream about sharing on Facebook). I did post an article I wrote for CelebMix on Facebook recently and I regretted doing so straight away as someone thought it was nice to belittle what I'd done. The particular article in question was something I'd done under my own initiative, one of the reasons why I love writing for CelebMix, and I only shared it as it was going to be of interest to many of my friends. I'm fully aware that for most, writing for a site isn't a big deal however it means a hell of a lot to me.  


I get the biggest buzz when people acknowledge the articles I've written. I always get a bit anxious when writing anything, so to get a few retweets or positive feedback makes me really happy. Simple things please simple minds eh?! Confidence is something I struggle with but I know that if I want to turn this hobby into a career, I need to have more self belief! One of my fellow writers posted this quote the other day, I think it's pretty sound advice to live by.






I think I've rambled on enough now....but I have a couple of posts coming shortly. For the time being, here are a few links to some articles I've written about recent gigs.



Hwyl am y tro ✌️




Monday, 12 October 2015

"Oh My God, I Just Met Olly Murs!"


On Saturday we went to Birmingham to meet Olly Murs at his Waterstones book signing. The first (and last) time that I met Olly was back in 2011 so it was long overdue!

We arrived in Birmingham quite early in the morning and got to catch up with Em for a bit which was lovely. We then went for food before heading over to Waterstones.

The whole event had been ticketed beforehand so we were guaranteed entry. We started queuing around half past one, with the signing due to begin at 3pm. Due to the number of people already in the queue, they started the signing early. To be honest I was really pleased about this as initially one of the Waterstones employees told us that we wouldn't be allowed posed photos with Olly. The queue snaked around the bookshelves on the upper floor of the shop and as we got closer, we could see that despite the initial message from staff, people were actually getting pictures with him!


The nearer we got to Olly, the more excited everyone became. We were told to leave our bags on the right hand side and to get our phones out and books ready to be signed. 

Eventually it was my turn to meet him. As with any signing, it was so quick but well worth the wait. He was so lovely, just as I'd remembered, and thanked me for coming. The Waterstones staff were responsible for taking our photos and I must applaud the lady who took mine as my camera roll was full and made it look as if I'd been with him for ages haha! After we posed for a picture he gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye which was cute. In typical male celebrity style, I can say that he smells really good as his scent lingered on my top for hours afterwards haha.




I was excited for mum as she got to meet him for the first time. We have a running joke from many years ago when we went to T4 On The Beach and saw Hollyoaks being filmed. There was a character called Liberty who was a singer and I remember her running towards Ethan and Theresa going "Oh my god, I just met Olly Murs!" in the funniest way so we always joke about it, but now mum can actually say it!!

I was so pleased to get to meet Olly again after four years. I think the years have been a bit kind to us haha (why I was let out in public with that hair??)


Hwyl am y tro ✌️



Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Conquering the O2 Arena!

After months of annoying everyone with posts about my fundraising (sorry guys!), on Saturday it was finally time for me to climb the O2 Arena in London.

In case you've missed my spam haha, here's a post I wrote in July about why I decided to climb the O2. In brief, 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of my grandad's passing so I wanted to do a fundraising event in his memory, raising money for Ty Bryngwyn Hospice and Pancreatic Cancer UK. I have a fear of heights so with my common sense out the window, I decided that climbing the O2 would be the perfect fundraising activity!!

Leading up to the day, I kept reading up on reviews, people's experiences and general facts about the climb.  I completely stressed myself out knowing that the climb surface felt like a bouncy castle, that a lot of people found it strenuous and that going down on the other side would be far worse than climbing up!!! (Note to self: it's good to be prepared but some things just don't need to be read beforehand).

Saturday came and I was an actual mess in the morning.  There were some tears in the hotel, I couldn't eat my breakfast and mum said that my face was so white that I resembled the dead (cheers mum!!). Luckily we had to move hotels in the morning and there were gig tickets to be bought so I had a few things to take my mind off the climb.

We arrived at the O2 well in advance and just looking at the building made me feel physically sick. It really isn't that high at all, mum kept reminding me that it wasn't Mount Everest but at the time it felt like it was. Soon after, Mim arrived with her sister and I felt a bit more at ease. She is the adrenaline junkie/daredevil in our friendship so it gave me the motivation to toughen up. It was also lovely to have Nicole and Laura there to cheer us on.


before the climb!

Fifteen minutes before the climb, we headed over to 'base camp' to check in. We were handed waiver forms to fill in (which I probably should have read but I didn't need an excuse to run away there and then) and at 11:30 we were ushered into the briefing room.  We were introduced to our guide (I cannot for the life of me tell you what her name was as my mind was running riot, but she was female) and were made to watch a safety video.  The video was hysterical, a man communicating with us from the 'north camp' who made the expedition feel just as big a deal as it was in my head! We were then shown how to wear the safety gear before moving into the next room to get ready.

We were given climb shoes, a harness and a jacket (I was grateful for the sunny weather which meant that we didn't have to wear a full space suit!) and a last minute chance to empty our bladders.  Once everyone was equipped, we headed out to begin our climb.  We had our picture taken by an official photographer then I looked over the edge to see mum and to my surprise, she was stood with Kais and Mazin! I was so shocked to see them but I just waved at them as I was so nervous, I couldn't comprehend what was happening!! After everyone had been papped, it was time to begin.

happy face to mask the fear !!!

Coming from the biggest scaredy cat/most unfit person ever, the climb was actually fine! The beginning of the climb was fairly steep, and the surface felt odd as it was bouncy.  I was super grateful that it was a dry day as the grip on the blue walkway was questionable in parts, so it would have been much tougher in rain! To be honest, one of the worst things about the climb was trying to align the latch along certain points of the wire! I found that difficult at times, but never needed to rush as the people behind us were much slower. The higher we climbed, the flatter the walkway became and within no time, we'd made it to the top.  

At the top, we were unclipped and allowed to roam the platform and look at the incredible views of London.  It was great to be able to see my favourite city from this height, it looked even more amazing than usual. Mim and I took plenty of selfies to mark the momentous occasion and our guide took a picture of us too.  I didn't find our guide particularly informative, however I was so overwhelmed at having made it to the top, that I probably wouldn't have registered any facts anyway.

made it!!

hold the front page, MBKR actually taking selfies haha!

on top of the woooooorld!

the picture doesn't do the view justice!

Soon enough it was time to come back down, the bit I was most dreading to be honest! It was definitely more steep than the upward climb and I was constantly worried about slipping or falling over, even though I was perfectly safe in the harness.  Mim and I were third and fourth to go down and we reached the bottom very quickly. It was only then that I could laugh at myself for being so scared beforehand.  It was actually really fun and I would most definitely do the climb again. I also felt a sense of pride for facing my fear and doing something worthwhile for charity.

we climbed, we conquered!

It was all over far too quickly but it was amazing to be able to do something different to fundraise. As it stands, I have raised £553.12 (£640 when you include Gift Aid) which is absolutely crazy!! I set an initial target of £250 which I thought I would struggle to reach - never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that people would be so kind.

I must give the biggest thank you's to the following: Mam, Emma, Rach, Paige, Caroline, Robert, Laura, Summer, Julia, Sam, Nat, Lynn, Justine, Liz, Kais and Mazin, Lisa, J.R & Min, Craig, Chuns, Dearbhla, Sarah, Helen and Rhiannon, Sheila, Shelby, Ceri, Jalisa, Lyn, Mr/Mrs Anonymous (it will forever bug me not knowing who you are!!!), Jo, Laura, Nic, Caryl, Liann, Charlotte, Dannii and Rachel. You are the reason why both charities are going to benefit as without you, there would be no donations. I will never forget your incredible generosity - not only have you helped to support two incredibly worthy charities, but you've helped me to do something amazing in memory of my grandad so THANK YOU xxx

Also I would like to thank every single person who sent me a good luck message.  Not everyone can/wants to donate money and I fully understand that, which is why the fact that so many people went to the effort of wishing me well meant just as much. The love I felt building up to the climb was just insane. I'm so fortunate to have the best group of friends in my life and I am so thankful for all the support as it gave me the determination to face my fear. I must once again thank Mam, Laura, Nic, Malika, Kais and Mazin for being cheerleaders on the day and also Mim for climbing with me and getting me through it. Without you, I would have struggled so much more - I didn't have time to dwell on the daunting prospect ahead of me as I needed to keep up with you haha!!!

My fundraising page will remain open for a little while as I know that some people still want to contribute now that I have climbed - you can donate here.

The 26th of September will forever be a special day to me. I hope that I managed to make my grandad proud and that all the money raised will help to make a difference to people's lives. Once again, thank you to everyone that supported me in one way or another, you are all stars.

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

There's Only One Direction...

On Thursday I went to see One Direction in the O2 Arena, London. This was the first show of the UK arena leg of the On The Road Again (OTRA) tour and my first time seeing them perform a full set. Having seen them perform a short set at Summertime Ball earlier this year, I was really excited about watching a full show from the world's most famous boyband.

The first thing that surprised me as we sat in our seats was the variety of people in the audience. Whilst I was greeted with screaming fangirls in abundance (which was totally expected) there was also older women, couples and quite a few men!

Before 1D came on stage, we were treated to a great support act in the form of Jamie Lawson. I didn't really know who he was beforehand, I'd never heard him sing and my knowledge of him only stretched to the fact that he's signed to Ed Sheeran's record label. I was pleasantly surprised, as it turned out that he was a fantastic singer-songwriter. Jamie performed his original songs and a crowd pleasing cover of 1D's More Than This.  I can see why Ed Sheeran has signed him - he reminded me so much of the Ed Sheeran I first saw live a few years ago, and no doubt that after this tour that Jamie will grow even further in confidence.  Whilst I thought he was really good, personally I would have chosen someone livelier as a support act. I think an audience like 1D's want to be hyped at all times, yet I found Jamie's songs too mellow to get incredibly excited over. I think Jamie would have shone even more as a support act for someone else.  Nevertheless, this tour is the most incredible opportunity for him and an excellent platform to showcase his fantastic music.

After what felt like a lifetime of waiting, it was finally time for 1D who burst onto the stage to perform No Control. As one of the most popular songs amongst Directioners, the boys most definitely chose the best opening to the show and in return, the crowd showed their appreciation by screaming, singing along loudly and dancing about.  Kiss You was next, one of my favourites from their earlier days and they put on a very energetic performance!

Fireproof was one of the first ballads performed which was made even more special by fans holding signs baring the words 'Nobody saves us the way you do'. These were handed out before the show began (the first of many different projects that the boys will see during their tour) and I thought it was a really cute idea.

One of my highlights was Stockholm Syndrome.  When I first heard Four, it instantly became my favourite song and I was so excited to hear it live. Despite Zayn being the main singer on the album track, the boys did a fab job and didn't disappoint! I definitely got a bit over excited during this song, no shame haha!

One of the most eventful songs was Night Changes. The poor souls had real difficulty as they were hearing something different in their ear pieces and had to attempt the song three times! In the end, with the help of the fans they were back on track and I must applaud them on dealing with the sound problems so well. To be honest, the fans didn't mind at all as it meant getting a short acoustic snippet of Infinity which excited the crowd even further and gave them an insight to what they can expect on their new album Made in the A.M. The banter between the boys was also hilarious, Harry was trying to get people to tell jokes which was funny in itself!

There was a good mix of different album tracks and well known songs on the setlist, including Little Things, Best Song Ever, Clouds, Diana and Little White Lies. It was nice to see Niall playing the guitar on several songs. The boys spoke a lot in between songs, mainly thanking the fans for all of their support over the last five years. I must also mention Harry starting a kiss cam which was funny - an older couple kissed on camera and in return they bagged Niall's plectrum as they had a sign asking for it.  They were completely over the moon at the whole thing haha.

1D finished the set with Steal My Girl, however knowing that there were some important songs missing, we knew that there would be an encore.  Several minutes of anticipation later and they boys reappeared on stage to perform Act My Age, What Makes You Beautiful and Drag Me Down. They most definitely saved the best song until last - Drag Me Down is such an anthemic song and it's even better live (once again, no shame in losing my shhhh whilst they performed haha).

Liam kept saying how the O2 was one of his favourite venues to perform at, so I'm glad that I got to see them at such an iconic venue.  Their two hour set was the epitome of energy at all times and you could see what a great relationship they had with each other. I can finally say that I've seen a whole One Direction set and it was definitely worth the wait :-)

Here's some pictures from the night, courtesy of mum as she had a better view than I did!

Niall and his guitar
Liam

Louis
Harry entertaining the crowd

with the girls

the boys

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Friday, 18 September 2015

'London' - Britroyal album review


photo credit: Min Reid-Richards

This week the lovely Kais and Mazin, aka Britroyal finally released their debut album London! Having worked with Pledge Music to deliver the album, it is currently available exclusively to pledgers.  This means that if you missed out on pledging, you will have to wait until the iTunes release I'm afraid!!

I thought I would review the album in order to hopefully entice anyone to support the guys and their album once it is widely available.  London is a brilliant album, instantly memorable with catchy choruses and plenty of strings and guitar riffs.  If you are familiar with Kais and Mazin's music then you will recognise the trademark Britroyal sound throughout the album. However, on the whole it is a far more positive and upbeat record, full of inspirational messages delivered through anthemic tracks.

The track listing is as follows:

1. Stronger - what an epic beginning to the album! The opening chants are anthemic and there is a good, positive message to the song.  The song tells you that any pain you go through makes you stronger in the end.  You can imagine this song being played at a gig with everyone swaying their phone lights in the air!

2. Defiant - this song is more upbeat and carries another strong message, that you should never let anyone get you down - be defiant and fight for your dreams in life.

3. Change - I found this song to be almost countryesque!  The chorus is the winner here, simply telling you that 'it's never too late to change your life'. Whilst I love the message in the song, at the moment it is my least favourite track from the album.

4. Count on Me - there are woah oh's in abundance at the beginning of this song and it is extremely anthemic.  There is a good use of strings in the song too which adds to the great sound created by the guys.  Once again the lyrics are very positive, one of my favourites being 'I'll be the light in the dark when you can't see".  This song is a great way of telling someone that they can depend on you.

5. What Matters Most - this is one of my favourite tracks from the album. It is a beautiful and poignant ballad which, as with many of the album tracks, appears to have been influenced by personal experiences. Experiencing dark times can make you realise what's important in life.

6. Compromise - this is a more up-tempo ballad about keeping a relationship alive by compromising.  There is positivity within this song and it's most definitely a grower.

7. Head v Heart- cue one of the most trademark Britroyal songs on the album! As the title suggests, the song highlights the head and heart battle between staying and walking away. This will definitely be a good song to hear live. It is instantly catchy and the chorus is very easy to sing along to.

8. Tears - this is the surprise track on the album for me as it is the most far removed from the trademark Britroyal sound.  Nonetheless, between great guitar riffs and the fantastic vibe the song gives, it is one of my favourites by far.  The best line in the song for me is a lyric which almost sounds like a rap, which I find amusing considering how posh Kais and Mazin are haha, but the tongue-twisting lyric is 'and it's too heavy to hold under the weight of it all'. (It will make more sense to anyone when listening to it!).  

9. Love's Burning Out - this takes us back to the Britroyal style that we're used to. The song is definitely a grower and builds from the beginning into a strong chorus.

10. London Streets - the main album ends with another strong ballad.  Filled with woahs, drum beats and great lyrics, this is a great song to end a brilliant album with.

11/12/13. (Deluxe tracks) Wasted I Love You/Unfinished/Ordinary - Britroyal have added three of their previous EP tracks as bonus songs on the deluxe version of the album.  In my opinion these are the three best songs from their EP which you can download here. They are sing-a-long tracks, with Ordinary being the stand out track for me.

When I first heard their EP, it took me quite a while to get used to it however I was instantly hooked on this album within the first time of listening to it. I love how every song has a meaning behind it and how they've taken personal experiences and turned them into positive songs.  They have truly excelled themselves with this album and I'm so pleased that I pledged and got to own this superb album before a lot of other people! 

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Only The Young Tour


On Sunday night I went to Cardiff to see Concept support Only The Young on their 'Up Close and Personal' tour.  I was so excited to see them perform, especially as it was their first proper gig in Wales.  

We arrived in Cardiff ridiculously early as per, and after having food we decided to mooch around the shops to kill time.  One (crazy and very expensive) Primark haul later, we ended up having to rush over to the venue in order to make it in time for the doors to open haha.

Once we were let inside, we were greeted by lots of merchandise and I had a nice surprise to see Concept and Canary Swing personally selling their merch.  I bought one of Concept's new baseball tees (super comfy, may I add) and had a quick chat with Scott, Matt and Ben.  We then went to find a good spot.  I've never been to the Globe before but I really liked it as a venue as you had a clear view from wherever you stood, as it was very intimate.

The first support act was The Brooks, who opened with a Michael Jackson medley.  The twins were very good and got the crowd singing along to their cover of Four Five Seconds.  To finish their set they performed an original song called Cinderella.

Secondly were Canary Swing.  I absolutely love Canary Swing and became a fan after seeing them support Kingsland which feels like many moons ago now,  They are always so lively and get the crowd involved.  Whilst I'd grown accustomed to the old songs they used to perform, this time around they performed a few new originals, with Right Now being a personal favourite of mine.  You know that a song is good when you catch yourself singing along immediately despite not actually knowing the words!  They also did a great cover of Rita Ora's Poison before finishing the set with the classic Second Star to the Right.  I adore this song and it wouldn't be a Canary Swing show without it.

The last support act were the Basingstoke baes, Concept!  There aren't enough hours in the day in which I could fawn over them to you. They are genuinely some of the nicest people you could meet and they have talent in abundance.  They opened with an energetic performance of Uptown Funk which, with no question, was an enormous crowd pleaser.  Concept followed up with a cover of Nick Jonas' Jealous which was another hit with the audience.  I love it when they perform slower songs as it gives them the opportunity to fully show off their incredible voices - their original song Last Man Standing was a great example of this, gorgeous harmonies that complemented Ben's guitar skills. A big crowd favourite was their cover of Imagine Dragons' Radioactive - this is definitely my favourite cover from their set these days! I'd never heard the song before I first heard their cover but I fell in love with it.  They also make it their own with an insane rap by Karim and Matt.  They ended their set with another original called Young and Rebellious - and as the title suggests, it's all about having fun.  Every member of the crowd, young and young at heart were having the best time!  I could watch them perform all day - every time I've seen them, they step it up and improve even more than what you could think possible. I can't express how much of a joy it is to watch them!!! (end of fawning for now).

Last to perform was the headline act, Only The Young.  I've never seen them live before and only had their X Factor performances to compare to but they were full of fun and bounced onto the stage. They performed a lot of their XF songs, such as a medley of Jailhouse Rock/Twist'n'Shout, Blame it on the Boogie and Something About The Way You Look Tonight.  Amongst these were some great original songs, including my favourite Little White Lies.  Disaster stuck mid-set as Charlie fell ill but the remaining three did a great job of carrying on without him.  One of my favourite covers that they performed was Dancing in the Moonlight, which was a massive hit many years ago and a song that you forget about but as soon as you hear it again, your love for it is reignited haha. By the end, the trio were definitely missing Charlie's presence so invited Concept onto the stage to perform Shut Up and Dance with them - the atmosphere was electric! Everyone in the audience were singing and dancing along.  OTY ended their set with their debut single I Do which is incredibly catchy.

After the gig finished, we went outside to meet Concept.  They were incredibly lovely as per and we had quite long chats with all of the boys.  The typical Welsh weather was determined to ruin my selfies but hey ho, it was still a fantastic night and a pleasure to see them again as always.

first ever selfies with Nathan haha :)

Karim 

Matt

funny selfies with Ben

Scott

love this group pic!


Hwyl am y tro ✌️

(P.S I've started writing occasionally for CelebMix and wrote a review about this gig which you can read here - note it is a lot more unbiased that what you've just read, but I think it's acceptable to fawn over my faves on my own blog, right?!)

Monday, 14 September 2015

Soccer Six Fest

At the start of the month I went to Soccer Six Fest in Mile End.  I'm going to try and keep this short but I wanted to write about meeting one of my long time faves for the first time!!! (More about that later on...).

We arrived at the football stadium to a smaller crowd than what I've seen at previous Soccer Sixes that I've attended.  However, the venue and layout was one of the best that I'd seen and along with glorious sunshine, it was a good omen for the day.  Unlike previous S6's, I wasn't intent on trying to hunt down Kingsland lol, so that in itself made the day more enjoyable.  The main person I wanted to meet this time was Ray Quinn, although I wasn't hopeful as every time I could have met him at S6 before, he'd had to pull out for various reasons.

We saw a group of girls fangirling in a corner outside a small building so we went to see what was going on.  I soon discovered that it was the area outside the players' dressing rooms so we saw quite a few people arriving.  It was then that I caught a glimpse of Ray, and just knowing that he was actually there made me feel so much happier!

We wandered around the pitch and I saw Jake Wood (Max Branning in Eastenders) and had a picture with him. He had a full on beard, which just made me think about how his character is currently in jail and that he looked as if he was on the run haha!

I also saw George from Gogglebox - I'd forgotten that he was going to be there, and being a Gogglebox fangirl, I was properly buzzing to meet him!  He was just as I'd expected him to be, he was so funny!  His mum was also with him and I regretted not going to meet her too!

There were so many people on the line up, between known, unknown and rock acts, so I found it a bit overwhelming and didn't really utlilise my time properly.  I was also a baby when it came to getting people's attention, I don't like shouting at people so missed out on a few people that I would have liked to meet.  If I was to go again I would definitely take someone bolshy with me that isn't scared to get noticed lol! My fear of being hit by a ball was also heightened but I had a lucky escape this time unlike last year haha!

Also I was pretty much intent on meeting Ray, and it was a struggle and a half!!! I came to within an inch of meeting him in the morning but I wasn't on the barrier so I felt awkward clambering over others for a picture.  Several failed attempts later and I finally caught him just as he was leaving!  I'm so glad that I did - I've been a fan since he was in Brookside, around 13 years now and have followed his career from X Factor, Dancing on Ice and beyond.  Some people have said that he isn't very nice in person but they couldn't be more wrong, I thought he was so lovely!



All in all, I had a really nice day.  I didn't stay for the musical performances this time as I was tired and had seen who I wanted to. I didn't have any expectations as I have been disappointed at S6's in the past but this one was one of the best ones that I've been to.  Players were very accessible and it was quite a relaxed day!

Hwyl am y tro ✌️