Monday, 27 July 2015

What I'm Listening To...

The next gig I'm going to isn't until the end of August, so seeing as I have no adventures to write about, I thought I would share some of my favourite songs that I keep on replaying at the moment!

1. John Newman - Come and Get It

I love love LOVE John's voice. I first heard of him when he featured on Rudimental's Feel The Love back in 2012. A year later he released his own solo material, the first single being Love Me Again which was a massive hit! Last year he featured on Calvin Harris' song Blame, which to this day is one of my favourite songs. John is now back once again with his solo material, having recently released the amazing Come and Get It.  It makes me want to get up and dance!  I really hope I can go and see him live one day. I remember when he performed at the BBC Awards at the end of the last year and he was going absolutely crazy and I was just sat at home wishing I could have been there to witness it!

2. Years and Years - Shine

After the mammoth success that was 'King', Years and Years have done it again with their latest single Shine. It's not as catchy as King however it is equally as good in it's own way, it's one of those songs that you just want to sing along to. I really like Olly's vocals and the lyrics to the chorus.  They are another act that I would love to see live one day!

3. Conrad Sewell - Hold Me Up

Conrad Sewell is an Australian singer and you may know him from having featured on Kygo's hit single 'Firestone'. When I first heard Hold Me Up, I was intrigued as to who sang the song so I used Shazam to find out. Funnily enough, a few days later my local radio interviewed him and since then they play this song on a regular basis. I think Conrad has a really unusual voice and I've grown to love this song so much! He has previously supported Ed Sheeran and will support Jess Glynne and Maroon 5 later on this year which will no doubt increase his popularity.

4. Aston Merrygold - Get Stupid

I couldn't not mention this song!  Get Stupid is Aston's first solo single and my gosh it's everything I could have hoped for and more.  It's such a feel good song and every time I hear it I have to dance ad sing along really loudly (which, as anyone who's experienced me singing will know, is an utter travesty as I am tone deaf but the song  requires you to get your stupid on, right?!).  I really hope that this song charts highly for Aston, he seriously deserves it.  I'm so excited to see him solo for the first time at Fusion Fest, no doubt this song will be just as epic live as it is recorded!

5.  MKTO - Bad Girls EP

Last but not least, the American baes MKTO.  They released their Bad Girls EP last week and to be honest I hadn't been hyping myself up for it as the last few times, their singles haven't been released in the UK.  However I was scrolling my timeline and saw a French fan say that she'd downloaded it so I looked on iTunes, and low and behold it was available in the UK!! I don't know whether it's to do with the fact that music releases have changed from a Sunday to a Friday to coincide with global releases but either way I was so flippin' excited to have new music from them!!  I'd already heard Bad Girls so I skipped to the other three tracks, Afraid of the Dark, Monaco and Just Imagine It.  The latter two are beautiful songs but I've got to say that Afraid of the Dark is my absolute favourite.  I was hooked within seconds, it's by far my most played song in the last week!

What's everyone else listening to atm?  Leave a comment below :-)
Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Breakthrough Tour and Sunday Brunching

My latest adventure involved going to see David Bulley perform as a support act on David Coslett's Breakthrough Tour in Birmingham and London!  You may remember this post that I wrote in April after seeing David perform live for the first time - having been completely blown away by his talent at Foxy, I was more than excited about seeing him perform once again.

We arrived in London on Saturday and after checking into our hotel, we made our way over to Birmingham.  The gig was at a venue called Alfie Birds - I've never been there before but it was really chilled out, they even had shelves full of books downstairs so that you could read over a cuppa, which definitely appealed to me as my other favourite hobby is reading!  Once we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by David and his pianist Rob and guitarist Jack who were super lovely!  We passed on the 'Breakthrough Tour' cookie we'd bought for all of the boys then let them prepare for the gig.

The gig itself was in the loft area, it was so laid back that at the beginning we were actually sat on beanbags on the floor! As we waited for the first support act, David filmed everyone for his vlog and we got chatting to some of the other fans which was nice,  Finally it was time for the first act, a young girl called Brooklyn Rose.  She sang a series of covers as well as her own song Mr Smith which was quite catchy.

some of the Birmingham crowd with the artists

Next it was time for David.  His set was absolutely incredible and he was just as good as the first time that I'd seen him.  He sang a mixture of covers (Ghost by Ella Henderson and Jessie J's Flashlight) as well as his original songs from his first EP and his upcoming self-titled EP 'David Mark Bulley'.  One of my favourite songs was a new one called Kaleidoscope.  David recently posted an acoustic video of it on Youtube - check it out here:

World Full of Crazy was another of my favourites from the upcoming EP.  What I like most about his music is that he writes it himself so the messages within them come from the heart.  He spreads positivity and encourages you to believe that you can do anything.  He's gone through difficult times in his life but has used those experiences to influence his music and his fans and is a stronger person for it - it makes me really proud to be a fan of someone so special.

Unfortunately we had to leave the gig early before seeing David Coslett as we had to catch the last train back to London.  We managed to get a quick picture with David Bulley before we left and promised that we'd stick around longer in London haha.

reppin' my Lions tee

Despite not getting back to London until gone 1am, on Sunday morning we got up early in order to try and see Aston Merrygold as he was filming for Sunday Brunch.  I've been a fan of JLS from the minute they stepped onto our screens on X Factor and I've dedicated a lot of my time since then travelling across the country to see them perform and to meet them.  Obviously I was heartbroken when they split and it's been a long time coming waiting for Aston to release his solo music but he's finally back with a bang with his debut single Get Stupid.

The last time I met Aston was back in September 2012 so I jumped at the chance of possibly being reunited with him again after so long.  After spending a few hours hanging around, witnessing birds of prey being attacked by pieces of the SB set outside and a wild goose chase around the shopping centre, we finally got to see him.  It was so organised and his team made sure that everyone got time with him.  He was just as down to earth as usual, I'd definitely forgotten just how small he is!!! We had a hug and took some selfies (he's a fab selfie taker cos he took loads haha), it was so nice to see him again after so long and that he was as humble as ever. I really hope Get Stupid does well in the charts, he deserves it so much!  You can preorder Get Stupid here.

getting stupid with Aston

In the evening it was time to go and see David Bulley again as well as David Coslett for the last night of the Breakthrough Tour.  The gig was at a venue called Surya which is nice and intimate.  We also got to meet Julia for the first time at the gig, a friend we've made on Twitter through another singer called James Poole (it forever amazes me how artists can bring people together!).  We spent our time chatting whilst waiting for the first act which was a singer called Taylor Ames.  He sang several of his original songs which were very good.

with Julia

The crowd had filled up quite nicely by the time David Bulley came on and it was a complete contrast in atmosphere in comparison to Birmingham.  The crowd were so lively, partly down to the fact that there were friends and family in the audience.  David delivered another incredible performance - he has such a stunning voice and his songs are so catchy that I keep singing them all the time.  He received a rapturous applause, which he, Rob and Jack fully deserved.

Next it was time for David Coslett.  I've never seen him perform live before but I have known of him for some time.  He was absolutely brilliant, such a good voice!  He sang songs from his EP's as well as some covers that went down really well with the crowd.  It was amazing to hear everyone sing along to John Legend's 'All Of Me', however it was his cover of Colbie Caillat's Try that I really fell in love with. His set in general was just fantastic and he also received a great crowd reaction. You can buy his 'Breakthrough' EP here.

After the performances, we got to meet everyone upstairs.  It was lovely to meet David Coslett properly and to tell him how great he was!  We also got to spend a lot of time with David Bulley and to wish him luck on his trip to Poland.  He signed a set list for me and we also had pictures with Rob and Jack.  I felt so proud of the two David's - they're both incredibly talented and are some of the best unsigned artists I've come across.  I really hope that one day someone takes a chance on them and signs them.  Without being biased, I feel that David Bulley in particular is a hidden gem within the music industry and has a brilliant attitude towards life. 

David Coslett
Rob and Jack

David Bulley
It was so nice to spend the weekend with people who truly appreciate their fans.  The two David's had all the time in the world for their fans and spent ages chatting away and taking pictures.  As unsigned artists this is obviously a key factor for success, however they were genuinely happy to see their supporters and didn't make it seem like a chore, unlike some people I've met in the past.  In terms of signed artists, Aston is one of the most genuine and unpretentious people I've ever met.  He is ridiculously down to earth and it's one of the reasons why he deserves to go far on his own as he has never changed since day 1.  Artists, both signed and unsigned, could learn a lot from these guys!

I really didn't want to leave London after this weekend, it was pretty much perfect!  David posted his London vlog yesterday which you can watch here.

Here are all the twitter links you need:
@RobWesty - Rob (Pianist)
@J_Cassidy_Music - Jack (guitarist)

Hwyl am y tro ✌️


Friday, 17 July 2015

Why I'm Facing a Fear...

On September 26th, I will be climbing the O2 Arena in London in memory of my grandad Jim Redfern. You might have already seen me mention that I will be fundraising but I wanted to write this post to fully detail why I'll be facing my fear of heights in order to raise money for charity.

My grandad passed away on the 8th of March 2005, just over ten years ago now. Quite simply he was the most important man in my life. From the age of 7, he was the only male figure that I had and was a grandfather, father figure and friend rolled into one. He taught me how to ride a bike, he used to spend hours playing shop with me as well as playing cricket using his homemade bats. I idolised him, I still do. He was a remarkable man and will always be my hero.

Grandad fought in the Second World War and won an MM medal for bravery. He was always a very active man, walking back and forth to town almost every day up and down the steepest hill, he would still mow the lawn well into his eighties! He was always as fit as a fiddle which made it even more painful when he died quite suddenly of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and it is often too late to treat or survive the disease once the symptoms appear.

Once grandad was told that he had pancreatic cancer, his upbeat self just disappeared. It was horrible to see such a change in him when he was the most positive person beforehand. However when he was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread and it was too late to be able to help him.

Grandad went into Tŷ Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli to be looked after, and after 13 days he passed away. It was heartbreaking to lose such an incredible man.

A few months after he passed away, I organised a charity sale to raise money for the hospice and we raised £700. Whilst I know I won't be able to emulate that success again, ten years on I wanted to do something to help the place that cared for him so well during his final days. Tŷ Bryngwyn is a very important place to me and locally they do not get enough support, which is why half of the money I raise will be going to them.

The second charity I'll be supporting is Pancreatic Cancer UK. I wanted to choose a specific cancer charity for two reasons. Firstly as it was what grandad passed away from, and secondly as it is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK and currently only has a 4% survival rate.

It is so difficult to diagnose in time and more money needs to be spent on research as well as supporting those who suffer/have lost someone from the disease. Raising £55 can provide support for one patient/family/carer affected by pancreatic cancer. Every £100 raised can pay for a days research into new treatments, improving existing treatments and controlling treatment for side effects.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I will be climbing the O2 Arena in order to fundraise for these two charities. When thinking of something I could do, I wanted to choose an activity that would be challenging for me and require me to be brave just like my grandad was. I am terrified of heights, my legs shake just by climbing a step ladder in work so this is a good place for me to start.

The O2 is the perfect venue for the climb as many people that know me will vouch that I'm far more comfortable watching a concert inside the arena, rather than climbing up and above it. It may not be the biggest challenge in the world but it will be a challenge for me, I'm hardly the fittest person either so combine that with a fear of heights and I'll be like a sack of jelly on the day!  Luckily, my best friend Mim will be keeping me company on the climb. She's fearless when it comes to anything active so I know that she will reassure me that I can do it and give me a metaphorical kick up the arse if I need it lol!

I have set up a fundraising page with an initial target of £300 - I've already raised £275 but I would love to be able to keep pushing and raise much more.  I am truly amazed by the generosity of the people that have donated so far. I am also so grateful for every word of encouragement and support that I have received on social media.

I really want to raise as much money as I possibly can for these two charities and I hope that you can see why they are so important to me. Every penny will make a difference to these charities so if you are able to donate, please do. No matter how big or small, it will all count towards changing people's lives. If you cannot donate, I would be just as grateful for your support if you could share this post and the donation link as it will help me to raise awareness. THANK YOU 💗

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rant || Life After University

Exactly two years ago, I graduated from University.  It’s crazy how quickly time has flown and it’s got me thinking about my current position.  Many of you have just finished your first or second year or are perhaps waiting to graduate from your final year.  Some of you are likely to be embarking on the university dream come September.  Some of you might be younger and weighing up the pros and cons of university, where to go and what to study if you do go?  A few people have recently asked me about my time in university and in all honestly I do tell everyone that if I had my time over again, I wouldn’t go.

University is an expectation, which is pushed down your throats if you go to sixth form/college. “You can’t get a good job if you don’t have a degree” was something I was told many a time when I was in sixth form and there is a sliver of truth in that.  At the time, I didn't feel particularly forced to go to university.  It was the done thing to do but it was also something that I wanted to do for myself. I wanted to go in order to secure better job prospects in the future.  

I wanted to study Business and Management as it had been my passion for years during school and I set out to gain a first class degree, which I achieved.  However a degree alone will not get you your dream job.  Many people have their lives mapped out and future doctors, dentists, scientists etc do NEED a degree in order to get onto the first step of their career ladder.  However I wanted to work in marketing and the bane of my life from day one of job hunting has been the word EXPERIENCE.

As my degree was coming to an end in my final year, I started to hunt for full time work.  I was already working part-time in a shoe shop, which kept me going during my time at university.  Despite still having assignments to do, as soon as I finished my dissertation, which was the bulk of the work, I put a focus on searching for a job.  The first position I applied for was a marketing role within the university, with the student’s union.  I remember looking at the job description and thinking that I didn't have a hope in hell but I applied anyway, listing every little bit of relevant experience I had and detailing the fact that I was a current student therefore had a vast knowledge of the university and its services.  

To my surprise I was short-listed for an interview.  The most I could have hoped for was that they would consider me for an internship or something later on, but here I was being given the opportunity to interview in front of a panel of four and to present my ideas of how I would improve things within the union.  I sacrificed precious revision time for my final exam in order to concentrate on preparing a presentation for the interview, as the interview was the day before.  

I was terrified on the day, it was by far the most formal experience I’d had at that point.  However I managed to remain calm and delivered my presentation to a standard that I was happy with.  I think I stumbled slightly on the interview questions but I remember that the panel were very happy with my ideas and I left the interview feeling positive.  The next day I had a phone call to tell me that I didn't get the job, “just due to a lack of experience”. I was crushed and I cried for a few days.  In the end I just felt cross with them for raising my hopes, when they knew what experience I had beforehand from reading my CV.  I would have been happier had they just written me off before the interview stage.  To frustrate me further, they wanted a copy of everyone’s presentations so that they could discuss further between the panel – a few months down the line, I saw a number of my own ideas being used on the union website and social media pages by whoever got the job!

Not to dwell on that experience, I then decided to change tactics and look for placements that would give me the relevant experience needed.  In the end I was given an interview for a marketing position at an online builders’ marketplace.  I had a bad feeling about it as soon as I stepped out of the interview room, but desperate for experience and feeling under pressure I took the ten-week placement.  I hated my first week and I regretted taking the placement but I’ve never been one to give up.  I loved the marketing side of it, using social media, writing blog posts for the company, designing leaflets and posters etc but I loathed having to cold call people to sell advertising packages. I was often left on my own in the office and without any real support it was difficult to motivate myself.  By the end I didn't want to leave – not because I grew to love the place, but because I was in the mind set that I was getting relevant experience when to be honest I really wasn't.

One of my biggest regrets was three weeks into my placement when I had a day off for my graduation.  During the day the university were advertising a six-week role involving social media. As I already had a placement I didn't feel the need to apply.  In hindsight I should have at least applied – several people from my course went on to do it and were offered permanent positions afterwards.  After my rejection from the union, I think I was also in the mindset that I didn’t want to work for the university at all.

Back to the placement, my main issue was that the business itself wasn't very good; hence why the experience I gained didn't really make much of an impact when I applied for jobs later.  After the ten weeks were up, my boss wanted to keep me on but couldn't afford to so he found a grant scheme, which would keep me in employment with him for another six months.  Despite it not being ideal, it was something I wanted to pursue, as at the time I was desperate for just any kind of marketing experience.  In the meantime, my gran had lined up a job for me as a receptionist for a local company that sells fire alarms.  Not to sound ungrateful but I didn't want it, so I stuck to my guns as I had the mindset that once I got into an office job like that, I would never leave it.  I don’t regret doing that at all as I knew that it would be monotonous and would leave me de-motivated.

My decision did backfire when one week before I was supposed to start my six-month placement, I was basically told that I would no longer be needed as they decided not to continue with that side of the business any more.  Needless to say, I was gutted and once again stuck in a rut but I just kept applying for jobs whilst working part-time.  The last three interviews for marketing placements and jobs will always stick in my mind.  Firstly with a local council, I felt very positive during the interview and I did think that I would be able to do it.  However I received an email a week later to say that I was unsuccessful, again due to lack of experience, but that I had been in the “top 3 candidates”.  I later found out that the job had already been promised to someone internally.  The second and third interviews were just horrendous.  The second was supposed to be an informal chat but turned out to be a panel interview, fully in welsh.  Despite being fluent and having welsh as my first language, it was awful to have to think so formally and to find the right words for terms I only remembered in English.  The third interview was just appalling; I crumbled because I was just so desperate for someone to give me a chance.

Honestly it is such a catch 22 situation.  How on earth are you supposed to get the right experience if no one will give you a chance?  It really got me down for a good six months, I was tired of hearing the same spiel all the time from different employers when all I wanted was for someone to take a chance on me.

I remember talking to my boss at my part-time job at the time as I was at the end of my tether.  It was her that suggested that I look at full time retail roles as I had over six years experience of working part-time.  A week or so later, mum saw a job advert looking for a Shop Manager for a local charity shop in town.  Without my boss’ words of encouragement I would never have even considered applying.  For all the times I've studied human resources in business, I never once thought ‘oh yeah, I’d love to be a manager’.  I applied for the role just before Christmas 2013 as my last shot really. Had I not got the job, I don’t know what I would have done.  Luckily after a presentation and two interviews, they took a chance on me and over a year and a half later I'm still enjoying the role.

However, all the rejections and working in retail management has changed me as I am now unsure of what I want to do with my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I love where I work at the moment but I have no intention of staying there forever.  It suits me just right for the time being but there will come a day when I’ll need to move on and I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be wanting to go.  I think it’s okay to be like that, as I'm still moderately young in career terms so I have time to decide but I hate the uncertainty.  Whilst I do elements of marketing in the role on a daily basis, I know that if I were to apply for any of the posts I was previously rejected for, I still wouldn't get them due to not having enough of the right experience.  

At the moment I'm taking every day one step at a time - I enjoy my work and every day is a mystery in terms of the donations we receive and the customers we meet.  It is also a great responsibility being in charge of over 20 volunteers. On the other hand no doubt there will come a time when I'm ready to move on.  I'm lucky in the respect that I'm pretty much left to my own devices as it’s a standalone shop – I can choose how to market the shop, what offers to put on, how to display windows etc but it has changed my perspective on things, for example whenever I do move on, I don’t think that an office job would suit me.

I've rambled on here but the point I want to make is that EXPERIENCE IS KEY.  If you’re going to or are currently in university, PLEASE try and get as much experience in your chosen field as possible as it will help you immensely when applying for jobs.  I left university with a first class degree yet I'm in a job that didn't require a degree at all.  In my situation, the degree I have means nothing.  Whilst all experience will help you in one way or another, also trust your instincts.  I knew something didn't feel right with my placement before I had even started but I was so desperate to get a job that I’d have taken anything.  

Some of my younger friends decided against university and went into apprenticeships instead and I honestly couldn't be any prouder of them for going about things the right way.  Not only are they getting the relevant experience but also it can often lead to full time work once the apprenticeship has been completed.  I was talking to one of my twitter friends the other day who told me that she was doing a placement year in university and I was so happy to hear that, there is no doubt that it will her help her immensely when looking for work after graduating.

If you want to go to university then go and do it but for the right reasons.  Yes, the social life is fabulous and you will make loads of friends and get drunk every other night blah blah but you also have to knuckle down at some point. It’s no easy ride – the third year in particular will break you if you let it.  I lost count of how many stress induced fits I had and I was so close to packing it all in on numerous occasions.  University will be an eye opening experience and will make you stand on your own two feet.  The university I went to was only small and they pride themselves on being able to treat students as names not numbers, but even we suffered during the final year.

One of the reasons why I wouldn't go again was the uncertainty we faced in our final year.  My university was far from being the most top rated, but by any standard my course was let down in the final year when half our lecturers were made redundant.  My dissertation tutor took off to Italy for nearly two months at the most important time of the year!  I can laugh about that now – I remember hearing past students saying that your tutor will check over your dissertation numerous times, sometimes they will scrap half of your work and all these other horror stories – my tutor came back from Italy a week before my deadline and only saw 90% of my work for the first time three days before I submitted!  

Needless to say, everyone’s experience will be different and most people enjoy and learn so much during their course.  If you do decide to go then I'm sure you’ll have the best time! If you've made it to the end of this post then well done!!! But let me preach to you one last time about work experience, if you only listen to me once in your life then please let this be the time that you do. Experience is equal to a degree when applying for a job after university.  I am an example of what happens when you don’t have the right experience, I took what I could and now I'm following a different path to what I’d hoped for and there is nothing wrong with that!  However if you have your heart set on a particular career then please help yourself now as it will be of so much benefit to you in the long run, I promise you that.

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Monday, 6 July 2015

A Day Out With Britroyal....

On Saturday, my mum and I spent the day in London with Kais and Mazin, also known as twin singing duo Britroyal.  Mum has been a fan of the pair for a long time now and subsequently influenced me to listen to their music.  They already have an EP out called Unfinished which is brilliant and we have seen them perform live twice before.  When they announced that they would be releasing an album through Pledge Music, mum in particular was obviously very keen to pre-order the album as well as some exclusives.  One of those pledges was a day out in London so I bought it for her as a birthday present late last year and after months of mum becoming increasingly excited, it was finally time for her to have her day with the boys on Saturday.

excited faces!!!

Kais and Mazin came to meet us at our hotel in the morning as they were dropping off a signed guitar that mum had pledged for.  They were so sweet and gave us a box of chocolates and a lovely card too, as well as a plectrum to play the guitar with and a stand to display it on.  The guitar is beautiful and I’ve already had a few goes on it (using my vast knowledge from that one guitar lesson I had with JJ back in January haha!!). 

After chatting in the hotel for a bit, Mazin told us the basic plan for the day and the first stop was the Royal Academy of Music museum before seeing Wicked the musical in the afternoon.  We headed for the tube station and took a seat as we made our way to Liverpool Street.  We passed the time chatting and laughing – a common theme throughout the day, there was never once any awkward silences, just plenty of life stories and laughter!  Kais and Mazin are actually hilarious, one of the running jokes throughout the day was a story from when they’d been moving house a few days before.  Mazin was carrying headboards and managed to fall down the stairs.  Mazin kept doing an impression of what Kais said to him as he sat crumpled at the bottom of the stairs “Get up, we don’t have time for this!” which made me hysterical (to me, they have very posh accents which made it all the funnier!)

After getting a bit lost underground (our tube leader Mazin was slacking ;) haha) we eventually made it to Baker Street, and following a short walk we arrived at the museum.  It was on the verge of opening properly for the day so to start with we had a look at the things downstairs.  I had to laugh, not that I make a habit of going to museums but from what I gather you are supposed to remain quite silent however we were all chatting so much that we kept getting dirty looks from the curator!! Once we were allowed upstairs, we had a quick look at the string section followed by the pianos.  Kais was straight in there tinkling the ivories which led to the curator giving him a row!! The curator showed us some of the pianos, in particular a six pedal piano which was quite cool.  We chatted with her for a bit before leaving to find something to eat.

We headed for Victoria and made a detour past the Apollo Victoria theatre to collect our tickets for Wicked.  We had a pre-theatre snack in Wetherspoons (I can picture the boys doing an impression of Min, who would be horrified that they took us to a Wetherspoons haha!) then it was time to go and see the show.

I was really excited about seeing Wicked! Despite having seen it once before many years ago, I didn't really remember much of it so I was looking forward to seeing it again.  I had to control myself SO much when they sang Popular and Defying Gravity - they are my favourite songs from the show and I know them word for word.  The temptation to stand up and belt the songs out was too much, mum had to elbow me a few times to be quiet haha.  It really is a phenomenal show - such a talented cast! It's no wonder that it's one of the most popular shows in the West End.  There were plenty of laugh-out-loud and emotional moments as well as a nice little happy ending!

show selfie!

After the show we went to a bar in Leicester Square for a drink before going to Chiquitos for supper. The food was sooooo good!  I also got to thank them for this blog.  Back over a year ago now, Kais suggested that I write a blog about all of our musical trips and here I am still boring everyone with my adventures ;) now you know who's to blame for my blogging haha. It does make me smile when people read my ramblings but most importantly it will always be like a memory box for me however I hope that this particular blog post goes down well with the twins!!

It was over supper that we also got to have a sneak peak of the new album!!! Mum was beside herself at getting a listen to the mixes!  The songs that I got to listen to were really good, some were so anthemic and definitely made me even more excited about hearing the album in full once it's released. They've worked so hard on creating this album and I really hope that people get behind them and pledge for this little slice of brilliance.

Piccadilly Circus at night

Feeling fit to burst we took a walk around Leicester Square onto Piccadilly Circus, one of my favourite places in London.  We took loads of pictures once we reached Piccadilly Circus and Kais and Mazin kept joking around and doing impressions.  I was practically keeled over with laughter, it was just too funny.  They're such nice people and they made the day so easy and relaxed.  To finish off our brilliant day, we headed back to Leicester Square for some ice cream and people watching. 

us and Kais

group selfie

us and Mazin

my favourite picture of the day lol!

I felt quite sad as we parted as we'd had the most amazing day.  Over the years we've had some of the most brilliant experiences with our faves but this was above and beyond everything.  It was just so relaxed and full of fun and worth every penny pledged.  I've genuinely never laughed so much in my life, I can't thank Kais and Mazin enough for treating us like royalty and for an ultimately marvellous day.

Please support this amazing band by pledging for their album here.  I promise you it's well worth the money!

Hwyl am y tro ✌️

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bubble Footy and stuff

Last weekend we were in London to see Thomps and Connor from Kingsland playing Bubble Footy which was taking place in Croydon. Now that Kingsland have split, the boys are all doing their separate things and it was ideal that two of the boys would be at this event. From this point forward I will try and live in the present day by calling them their real names, JJ Thompson and Joe Conaboy, instead of basking in the old times haha.

We travelled up on the Saturday and conveniently enough for us, JJ was doing a meet up in Hyde Park that afternoon. I've never been to Hyde Park before and on arrival it was like I was living a nightmare between all the loose dogs and birds but I got used to it by the end of the day. The meet up coincided with Abbie's 18th birthday so it was nice to see her, Beth, Zoe, Natalia and Elaine that day. There were a few other girls at the meet up too, and we basically just spent time chatting with JJ whilst chilling in the park.  It was really casual and just nice to be able to spend time with him. Lots of laughs were shared and overall it was just a cute little afternoon.

After the meet up, we headed back into Leicester Square to have food. Instead of getting the tube we decided to walk as it was so warm and also extremely busy due to it being London Pride. As we walked down Regent Street we could hear the pride parade coming so we decided to watch along with thousands that had already lined the streets.

It was such a spectacle! It was so nice to see people being so supportive of those who are LGBT - there wasn't an ounce of negativity anywhere during the parade. It was quite remarkable to see men, women and children of all ages and of different ethnicities come together to celebrate gay pride regardless of their sexuality. There were all types of organisations involved, from unions to the big supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda, banks like HSBC and even a float representing different TV channels which had some of the cast of Eastenders on it!  

Shona McGarty (Whitney Dean), Jonny Labey (Paul Coker), Luisa Bradshaw-White (Tina Carter)

The next day, we set off to Whyteleafe in Croydon.  As we stepped off the train, we were amongst dozens of other people that were also trying to find the location for Bubble Footy!  Eventually we all arrived at the grounds and were soon let in to the area.  I still laugh thinking about when we had our tickets checked as mum was chatted up by one of the men working there lol!!!! He needed to do a "hug test" on her apparently..... soz cringe!

Once we were let in, we took a seat and waited until we could see Joe or JJ.  I wasn't really familiar or interested in any of the other people there, luckily we saw Joe almost straight away.  He was really cute when we saw him however he wasn't best pleased with his shirt as it said 'Connor Kingsland' on the back haha.  Once he acquired a sharpie pen, he scribbled it out and wrote Joe Conaboy instead, making a stand that he shall be known as Joe from now on.

RIP Connor Kingsland sob

Next we saw JJ who was just a smidge hungover from the night before ;-) both him and Joe were hilarious during their warm up, playing up as usual!!  Then it was their time to play in the bubbles.  It was so funny!  They spent more time trying to knock everyone over rather than actually kicking the ball which was so amusing to watch.

limbering up haha

We spent most of the afternoon people watching and speaking to some of the girls that we've met through Kingsland.  By the end of the day we went to see Joe and JJ again just as they were about to play their last match.  They were banterous as usual and after their match they made sure that we all had plenty of pictures with them.  We also got to see Kathryn, JJ's girlfriend again.  She is lovely although she deserves a medal to put up with JJ's antics haha.  As soon as they left, we decided to go back to our hotel as we'd had a tiring few days.  

some of the girls

favourite boys always

It's really odd not to see the boys as often as what we used to but then I guess it makes us appreciate each time and memory with them even more.  I can't wait to see Joe and JJ again in August where Joe will be performing his first solo gig whilst JJ will be presenting,

Hwyl am y tro ✌️