A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Bethan loves: 5 things I love right now

So me being the stupidly nosey person I am, I'm always intrigued to what people are currently watching, reading, listening to etc. Mostly because it gives me inspiration and new things to explore. So for people nosey like me, I thought I would start a new feature on my little blog about things what I currently love and my favourite things right now. Go ahead and check them out too!

I Choose Birmingham

I signed up to the 'I Choose Birmingham' weekly email around two years ago, but have fallen in love with it all over again recently. A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to interview the creator of it, Tom Cullen, and promised myself that I would read it properly from now on. The newsletter is a sort of round up of all the great things happening in Birmingham. Not only does it offer reviews of restaurants and bars, there are also features and news of what is coming to the city. It falls into my inbox every Thursday and makes a great read on my commute to work. If you're looking to discover a different side of Birmingham, I'd highly recommend signing up with them.

Women of The Hour Podcast 

I only discovered this podcast last week and have since been spending train journeys listening to it. The shows aren't too long and focus on women who are top of their game in their careers and they discuss everything from work to relationships. I like Lena Dunham anyway, so it helps, but she is so refreshing to listen to because she's just so honest! In a way, I feel like if I was to do a podcast, it would sound something like this. It's also pretty funny and contains lots of personal experiences and stories which make it a really enjoyable listen.

List for Life 

I'm not sure what my obsession is with this site, but I just love it! It's basically a huge amount of articles to feast your eyes upon, which is pretty much made for people in my age range. Best thing is that, like the title hints, everything is listed. Not only do I just love lists, having everything numbered makes them really easy reads and perfect if you're in a rush and don't want to read anything too long and detailed. The lists contain everything from meal suggestions to career tips and they're so, so good and gives me major inspiration. I'm also signed up to the newsletter, which unlike some sites, doesn't bombard you with information, so it's a win win situation! If you're as obsessed with lists and articles as much as me, you'll probably love this site as much as I do.

Amy Soundtrack

Admittedly, despite classing myself as a big Amy Winehouse fan, I only watched the Amy documentary film last month, but I just adored it. Obviously, I cried my eyes out and loved how it was a real true insight into her life, but I couldn't get over how many songs were featured that I wouldn't come across without the film. I've actually found that this soundtrack is the best thing to listen to at work (sometimes I put my headphones in to really focus) as it's a good mix of original versions of songs to just beautiful instrumental music so it's a really easy listen.

ASOS Wedding Shop

Over the past few weeks, I've been eyeing up what I want to purchase on pay day for my mom's wedding. ASOS's wedding guest selection has been there for me since day one! The section covers everything from dresses to accessories and shoes and has given me some major inspiration for the day itself. I'll definitely be making a few purchases from this on pay day and can't recommend it enough if you're in a bit of a rut on what to wear to a wedding this year.

Week in Review

Chilling with a sleepy beagle | Early morning selfie | My favourite Victoria Wood quote | Loving beautiful daffodils on my work desk | Remembering Prince | Waffles at Delightful Desserts | Saturday night selfie | Sunday morning with Gemma and Bleu | Spinning a bit of Amy

This week I was gutted to hear about the deaths of two of my favourite people in the world. Yes, it's unfair to be over dramatic about a celebrities death as it's not like you knew them personally. I grew up watching and appreciating Victoria Wood on TV, from Dinnerladies to Acorn Antiques, I found them all just so, so funny. Not only have I always admired her wonderful sense of humor, I also appreciated her determination to be a woman comedian and how well she worked with Julie Walters. How can you even start with Prince as well? For as long as I can remember, I have adored him. Purple Rain is by far one of my favourite songs of all time and I'm just shocked that his talent has been taken from us so soon. I think what scares me the most is how young Victoria Wood and Prince were, it just seems so unfair for their family and friends.

Obviously my weeks consist of work five days a week and trying to squeeze in a social life in between! On Wednesday, I met up with Ellie and Gemma for another incredible delightful desserts. It was fab to see them and to have a well deserved catch up. On Friday, me and my work mates headed to the pub after work after the boss let us finish a couple of hours earlier, what a top bloke! I was supposed to head to a gig on Saturday night, but after a few complications, me and Gemma decided we'd go for a few drinks in little old Stourbridge instead. We found a table, got two bottles of wine and were good for the night. Particular highlight was at around half nine when all the lights turned off for the 'disco' to get started and a family were still eating their dinner! That is what makes Weatherspoons painfully fabulous. As me and Gemma got into a deep conversation, which is the norm after that much wine, she told me how lovely it is to see me happy and in a job I enjoy. This made me feel all lovely and warm inside and really appreciating the way my life is panning out at the moment.

Today I spent the day with my grandparents. I often forget about the fact that they would have had loads of jobs before I came onto the scene 22 years ago, so we sat and talked about their lives and as you can imagine, it was really interesting! Nan also showed me the jewelry that  family members had given her over the years. Her Aunty Win, so my great aunty, sadly passed away last week. Win gave my Nan a few items over 20 years ago and she let me have Win's engagement ring. I'm not massively into jewelry, but I love this ring. It's so simple but pretty and I think because it's got a family sentimental value to it, it just means so much more.

Next weekend is going to be a mad one and I'm fairly excited about it! On Friday, me and my friend Viv are off to see Noel Gallagher and Saturday is my mom's hen do. On Sunday, me and my friends will be off on a night out for Viv's leaving drinks before she heads off to Liverpool and the following week will be the lead up to my mom's wedding. So, it's all fairly exciting. I still need to get my outfit for the wedding this week...so wish me luck! 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

I'm Listening To...

Here is what I've been listening to over the past two weeks. Sorry for the overload of Last Shadow Puppets but I just cannot get enough of their new album!

Bellman - Colored By You

Farao - Warriors

Blossoms - Getaway

Kimberly Anne - Bury It There

The Lumineers - Cleopatra

Kudu Blue - Vicinity

The Last Shadow Puppets - Sweet Dreams, TN

The Last Shadow Puppets - Miracle Aligner

The Last Shadow Puppets - Pattern

Let me know what you think about this weeks selection!

Two Weeks in Review

First day at work selfie | Free tickets to the Grand National | Having photo's with Steph at the Grand National | Snow - in April! | Teaching my niece a few tunes on my guitar | Walking down Brindleyplace on my way to work | Laughing about something in Aintree | Record Store Day - a few from my collection

So I guess I need to do a two week in review seeing as I missed out last week! As you can probably imagine, since starting my new job (explained in the last week in review), I've been fairly rushed off my feet!

The last two weeks has just been a roller-coast ride of attempting to get used to early mornings, commuting and the actual job. But so far, I am absolutely loving it! I'm learning so much everyday and am really looking forward to getting in the real flow of things and being a real journalist. It's so nice to be in a role that I don't dread going to and actually enjoy. Also, everyone in the office is so lovely and I'm finally in a job where I feel comfortable around everyone and can be myself, so although I've been super busy and tired, it's been really worth it so far.

 Fortunately, I started my job with another girl, Steph, and I think starting with someone else and us both being in the same situation has made this whole new job process so much easier. She's also hilarious and it's so nice to make a new friend and fellow budding journalist. On our third day at the new job, we were offered tickets to the Grand National, so how could I say no?! We headed up to Aintree last Saturday with more of the work lot and had the best day meeting everyone and having a few (a lot) drinks whilst putting a few bets on. Still didn't manage to win anything though...

Other than work, I headed on a date (lovely guy - but after different things I think!), caught up with friends and had two much needed lazy days with a good few rom-com's. On Friday night, me and Gemma watched How To Loose a Guy In 10 Days and I forgot how much I loved it. Does anybody else have some kind of weird love-hate relationship for Matthew McConaughey?! Sometimes I love him and fancy the pants off him and other times I just...don't. I also managed to see my niece for a bit last Sunday and have a good spring clean.

I also managed to squeeze in an interview with a super cool duo from Norway, you can read it here: http://bethantrolley.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/bethan-loves-blsh.html

So right now I'm feeling fairly pleased with how things are going and I'm feeling positive and looking forward to the future! I'm also excited because there is so much to look forward to over the next few weeks, like Noel Gallagher, my mom's wedding and a potential trip up to Liverpool!

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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Bethan loves: BLØSH

Cool, catchy, fun and very, very clever: Scandinavian duo BLØSH have lately become my new favourite sound. Their debut album titled ‘Keep Bleeding Keep Breathing’ was released back in February and the only possible way I can describe it is like a breath of fresh air. 

The album, which kicks off with questionably the most memorable track ‘Give it Away’, takes the listener on a journey, with just the right amount of fun, uplifting songs blended with slower, more dreamier tracks. ‘Keep Bleeding Keep Breathing’ is an album which in my opinion is simply made for long drives on summer afternoons, with a perfect mix of experimental and cool sounds, to laid-back and sleepy tracks, and of course, the contagious European vibes you can hear throughout. 

The album is the most exciting I’ve heard in a very long time and it’s put together so well that it almost feels more like a story than an album. Stand out tracks for me are the likes of Dance with Me, When Love is Alive and When The Light Doesn’t Fit You, as well as their super catchy Give it Away. BLØSH makes me very excited about not only their future and what we can expect from them in the next few years, but also the future of music itself, as the more groups that come along like this duo, the better!

I was recently fortunate to interview the duo from BLØSH and ask them everything from how they met to their influences...

BETH: I have seen that you’re from Oslo and Madrid, where are you both now based?

BLØSH: That's very true, a bit confusing. Both cities are there because Jørgen is from Oslo and Teresa is from Madrid, but we are currently based and living in Oslo.

BETH: How did the both of you meet?

BLØSH: We met at university in Liverpool. We were both studying at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. 

BETH: What is the creative process for you both?

BLØSH: We always work together. It might start with an idea that one of us has, melodic or lyrical, but there's always a process after that were both work together. We're a stronger team then individualists. 

BETH: What feedback on your album have you received so far?

BLØSH: It's been fantastic! Blogs and magazines like DIY Music, The 405 & Wonderland have all been writing about it which is mental, and we've had a couple of 10/10 reviews which is of course heart-warming. Still the fact that people are actually listening to it is what makes us most happy. 

BETH: How long did it take for you to put the album together and how happy are you with the finished product?BLØSH: It took us about 12 months from writing to releasing. It was a very intense period but looking back at it now we are extremely proud, 10/10 on the happy-meter!

BETH: What festivals are you playing at this summer?

BLØSH: We are playing a few but unfortunately we can't tell you yet! Can't wait to share the exciting news with you though!

BETH: Will there be a tour coming up soon?

BLØSH: We are touring Norway this spring and there will also be a European tour this fall. We are speaking to venues/festivals in the UK as well and hope to have some good news very soon!  

BETH: What and who influences you the most when making music?

BLØSH: Whatever really captures our attention. 'When Love Is Alive' came about because we were watching this amazing documentary called "Man On Wire" while our single 'Give It Away' started with a guitar riff inspired by African guitarists like Ali Farka Touré. As far as musical influences go we both love the Beatles and Paul Simon, but you'll probably hear more of The DØ, Oh Land, Dirty Projectors and St. Vincent in our music.  

BETH: What other artists are you enjoying listening to at the moment?

BLØSH: Norwegian artists such as Ary & Aurora are spinning frequently. A lot of cool stuff coming out of Norway right now!

You can download ‘Keep Bleeding Keep Breathing’ and enjoy it as much as I did on iTunes, Tidal and Spotify now.
Make sure you also follow the band on Twitter too (@bloshmusic) to keep up with tour and new music news! 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Week in Review

Floppy hat selfie | Watching 'About Time' in bed on Easter Monday | Getting acknowledged on Twitter by the queen that is Sex and the City's Samantha Jones aka Kim Cattrall | Then laughing at some of the genius things Samantha has said on Sex and the City | Drinks with Gemma | Having my first listen to The Last Shadow Puppet's new album | Powerpuff-ing myself, of course | Drinks in Bewdley with my best mates | Standard smiley selfie before I headed out

This has been my last week of being technically unemployed! I have now had 5 weeks off work and it really has just flown by, yet I've still managed to keep myself fairly busy and been able to have a good chill out, which is probably just what I needed. Tomorrow, I start my new job in Birmingham. I've known for 3 weeks that I've secured the job and I've been so excited to start, but now it's tomorrow, I'm so nervous! It's always fairly nerve wracking being the 'new girl' and having to figure out everything from what the acceptable work attire is and how everybody likes their tea to the actual work and how the day generally plans out for everyone. I'm sure after a few days, I'll be fine, it's just the first day always gives me the heebie jeebies.

So I started this week off in bed - the last week I've been really suffering from awful back ache, to the point that I struggled to do anything. So I snuggled up with a hot water bottle and watched one of my favourite films, About Time. While I was feeling sorry for myself, I received a few tweets from Kim Cattrall! This was so exciting for me, as not only did she acknowledge my blog post about my favourite books, but she may have also read it! As a huge Sex and the City fan, this was amazing as who doesn't just adore Samantha Jones? And lets not forget about the classic 80's film Mannequin either. In one of her tweets to me she said: "The secret to having a good life is accepting that every decade has it's joys and challenges - be good to yourself!" Now that is advice I really will cherish forever!

Thursday saw me at the doctors about my back and being happy with the outcome of physio; I have suffered with upper back pain since I was about 16/17, so I'm glad there may finally be a way of learning how to deal with it. Afterwards, me and Gemma headed to the pub to have a good chat over a few drinks and some cheesy chips. On Friday, me and my mum met up for a coffee and she told me the latest wedding info (She is getting married next month!) and we also had a laugh over the fact that Ellie and Gemma fell for my April Fool's joke of me being on First Dates! Afterwards, I went for a blood test, to be greeted by a 2 hour wait; thank god I had the last few issues of NME downloaded onto my phone, because a hospital is no place to be if you have no WiFi or 4G for a few hours!

On Saturday, I headed over to Gemma's to chill for a bit before we got ready and were joined by our other friends for a catch up, a few drinks and a game of jenga (the one where whoever makes it fall over, they have to take a shot...) before heading to Bewdley for a bar crawl. It was really nice to see everyone and of course, I took charge of the jukebox in one of the bars for a bit and became the local legend for a few minutes when I put 'Champagne Supernova' on - but what else would I choose after all?!

Today has seen me preparing for my first day at my new job tomorrow, getting notes together and preparing some lunch - I feel like it's my first day back at school after a summer holiday! I also helped my Nan out with some laptop issues - top tip; never ask me for computer advice as I don't understand it either...

I'm looking forward to getting another 'I'm Listening To' post together this week, as well as an album review and little interview with Scandinavian band 'BLOSH'.

Wish me luck tomorrow! 
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