A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Guest Post: 5 Albums I Want You To Listen To by Alex Green

So you know when I told you a few weeks ago to start expecting more guest posts, well here is number two! I had such great feedback from my last one with Sophie, which you can read here, that I wanted to get another of my friend's involved. Meet Alex Green! I met Alex five years ago (when the hell did that happen) at University. We both got involved in the student radio station - long live Looprevil - and I have seen him as a good friend ever since. The best thing about Alex though? The boy has a cracking music taste! So it only seemed right that Alex talked us through the albums he reckons we should be listening to right now. Take it away Alex...

Alex: When I was first asked to write the guest post I thought about how I came to know our gracious host and that, for those who don’t know, is by presenting on student radio. Music! Why didn’t I think of that before? Truth be told, I’ve fell off the music wagon since graduating, falling more into my films and books but it’s something I’ve wanted to fix and lately I’ve eased back into some more. I’ve rediscovered old favourites and new loves, some of which appear on this list.
Whilst presenting on the radio, I also did a podcast interviewing guests about their favourite albums. When I did my own choices, anyone could have guessed my albums as I never shut up about them. So, in this list I’ve tried to add some that might not be so stereotypical for me and hopefully some that will become your favourites too.

1.   Norah Jones – Come Away with Me

One of my all time favourite albums and one of the best, if not the best of the 2000s, Norah Jones’ debut album is in simple terms, perfect.

Mixing soft jazz, blues, pop and country, Come Away with Me is an album that one wishes would never stop. Jones’ vocals are stunning to say the least and she coolly invites you into every song as if she’s in the very same room as you.

Jones is the daughter of sitar virtuoso and George Harrison’s close friend, Ravi Shankar but this album takes no inspiration from her father’s work as it cements her own voice and unique style. If you’re still not convinced, the album won 8 Grammy’s at the 2003 awards including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for ‘Don’t Know Why’.

Notable songs to listen out for are ‘Don’t Know Why’, ‘Come Away with Me’, ‘Painter Song’ and the irresistible ‘Turn Me On,’ which is a song to rival Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it On and Etta James’ At Last, for the sexiest song ever written.

This album is perfect. Please listen. 
2.   Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

This is Ol’ Blue Eyes like you’ve never heard him before. Completely stripped down, there’s no finger snapping, big bands or grand shows here, it’s just Frank singing the blues and it’s beautiful.

That famous voice croons away and pulls at the heartstrings, sinking us all into his heartbreak for this is what this album is, a break-up album. It’s a lonely album about love gone wrong and is often considered one of the albums to truly fall under the LP label rather than just a collection of singles, it forming together to tell a complete story.

Ranked amongst the best albums ever, this classic is perfect for when you’re in need of some blues.

3.   ACDC – Back in Black

Because you can’t always have nice soft jazz and the blues. The ultimate rock album? Maybe. Some would agree, others chase me down the street with pitchforks. Whilst our Australian friends lacked the subtlety, lyrical prowess and musical invention of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Pink Floyd, they know one thing; how to write a rock song.

They bring power to the song unmatched by most bands that are not only catchy and sometimes pop oriented but will have you head banging, air guitaring and pretty much making you think you can do anything you damn please. This album in particular features several of those songs.

Obvious choices go to Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill and You Shook me all Night Long.

I said before that everybody needs to listen to the blues and the same goes here. Sometimes, you absolutely need to let go, give zero fucks and listen to something really loud. This is the album to do it. 
4.   Paramore – (Self- Titled)

Another hidden and I think underappreciated gem. Paramore are mostly given the Pop Punk tag, which is fine given their first three albums absolutely fell under that genre.

With this fourth album though, the game changed completely, with the now new trio putting out this mix of pop, acoustic, rock, ukulele, gospel brilliance. This is the first album after founding members Josh and Zac Farro left the band, leaving lead singer and original member Hayley Williams completely in charge.

What this gave us was a deeply personal album from Williams, one that definitely echoes her feelings towards her former band mates. (See Interlude: Moving on)

Overall, this album is a breath of fresh air for anyone who has suffered some pain and is now on the up, appreciating life for everything it is. It’s hopeful, full of love and has catchy and dance-y songs front to back. A really brilliant story when you think about the complete style change from previous albums.

Notable listens include Last Hope, a song which tells us that it’s no good to worry because good things will come, just hang in there. It’s beautiful and my favourite on the album. Still Into You as well is a standout as well as the three ukulele interludes, as well as Be Alone, Ain’t it Fun and (One of those) Crazy Girls. 
5.   Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Cool summer evenings. Drinking with friends. Dancing in the dark drunk and uncaring. These are just a few of the things this album brings to mind.

This album is just FUN. Though its main strength lies in Side A, the record as a complete work flows extremely nicely and is often one I listen to when I want to relax or need something chill on.

A great mix of pop, synth and soft rock, Phoenix really give us something special here. It’s not too long, coming in at just over half an hour and so is easily digested over and over. Eat it up; it’ll be like summer before it’s even here.

Look out for Lisztomania, 1901 and Love like a Sunset Part One and Two.

I hope you find some songs that you can connect to on this list and that some, if not all, of these album's make it into you new playlist/record collection.

Want to tell me about your favourite things? Get in touch!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

36 of my favourite lyrics of all time

I find people's approach the music one of the most fascinating things in life. I have always found that the songs that mean the most to me are either the memories they bring or the lyrics they have. For others, it is how great the guitar sounds in a particular bit. But for all of us, it is how the song makes us feel and the affect it has on us. Since I first started getting into music, when I was around 12 or 13, lyrics have always been the thing that stands out for me the most and what stay with me for long after the song has finished.

It all started when I went into Woolworths and I brought an album with my pocket money that still means the world to me years later: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys. I suddenly swapped listening to Ciara and Ashanti and became obsessed with these nitty gritty lyrics that just spoke to me, because they were so real. Since then, I have found myself having to write down lyrics I hear in shops and bars to Google later on, I have stopped in the street when I have had to rewind a song on my Spotify to make sure that I heard a lyric correctly and I have laughed and cried to a lyric even when I know I'm about to hear it. I will listen to a song and wonder what inspired the artist to write that particular lyric. So I have decided to share with you just some of my absolute favourites - its a miracle I've got this list down to 36 - the original was 87.

Upon reflection, I've realised that I am a bit of a dreamer when it comes to lyrics. A lot of them seem to be about love and the mystery of falling for someone. Others are about friendship, life in general and even death. If I was to explain what made me choose these lyrics, it would take me around a year to write this post. Many of them are self-explanatory, others have a personal meaning to me and some remind me so much of those I care about. I hope you enjoy my list and check out my Spotify playlist of all the songs included...

Wall of Arms - The Maccabees

Through these eyes there's no God above me
No devil below me, no purgatory, no pearly gates
The worms are what await me
It's only me that can forgive me
And I have faith, oh I have faith
I have faith, oh I have faith in those who put up with me

We Share The Same Skies - The Cribs

I have decided it's best that you know
I'm still thinking about old ties as north-west skies grow cold
No point in denying
Anxiety was my favourite feeling after jealousy

Into My Arms - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

And I don't believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that's true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you

Life on Mars? - David Bowie

But the film is a saddening bore
For she's lived it ten times or more
She could spit in the eyes of fools
As they ask her to focus on...

The Prophet - Jamie T

I think she lost her looks to the beauty and terror
She says her friends are fucked and in the fairest of weather
She asked me is it painless am I humouring the brainless
Being young and drunk and all fucked up and being in entertainment

God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys
Hand me the world on a silver platter
And what good would it be
With no one to share
With no one who truly cares for me

Sticks 'n' Stones - Jamie T

I was hanging out with Louie in the shooting gallery, when the news got through to me about you and Jeremy.
Pat on my back, and a swig on my brew, you're still my friend, it's impossible to hate you.

On Days Like These - Quincy Jones in The Italian Job

And its on days like these that I remember
Singing songs and drinking wine
While your eyes play games with mine 

Half The World Away - Oasis

So here I go, I'm still scratching around in the same old hole
My body feels young but my mind is very old
So what do you say?
You can't give me the dreams that are mine anyway

Sweet Dreams, TN - The Last Shadow Puppets

And I just don’t recognize this fool
That you have made me
Whoa I ain’t seen him for a while
And as your shrinking figure blows a kiss
I catch and smash it on my lips
Darling I can’t seem to quit
Completely falling to bits

Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles

Waits at the window, wearing the face 
That she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

Vagabond - Wolfmother

I go out walking all day long,
Take away this lonely man soon he will be gone,
Cause I'll tell you everything about living free,
Yes I can see you girl can you see me

The Masterplan - Oasis

'Cause everything that's been has passed
The answer's in the looking glass
There's four and twenty million doors
On life's endless corridor

Simple As This - Jake Bugg

Tried institutions of the mind and soul
It only taught me what I should not know
Oh and the answer well who would have guessed
Could be something as simple as this

You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse

Cause you're my fella, my guy,
Hand me your Stella and fly,
By the time I'm out the door,
You tear me down like Roger Moore

These Streets - Paolo Nutini

Walking by a high-rise to a landmark square
You see millions of people with millions of cares
And I struggle to the train to make my way home
I look at the people as they sit there alone

Pure Imagination - Gene Wilder in Willy Wonker & The Chocolate Factory

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it

Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse

I shouldn't play myself again,
I should just be my own best friend,
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men

Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone

I elongated my lift home
Yeah I let him go the long way round
I smelt your scent on the seat belt and kept my short cuts to myself

Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac

One thing I think you should know
I ain't gonna miss you when you go
Been down so long
I've been tossed around enough
Couldn't you just
Let me go down and do my stuff

Simple Things - Paolo Nutini

Oh, my father is a wealthy, self made man
But his wealth does not consist of riches or acres of land
And instead he has a family who are his biggest fans
That's something that I one day hope to have

Walk On the Wild Side - Lou Reed

Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody's darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head

Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

Well, since my baby left me
Well, I found a new place to dwell
Well, it's down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel

Common People - Pulp

I said pretend you've got no money, she just laughed and said oh you're so funny. 
I said yeah? Well I can't see anyone else smiling in here. 
Are you sure you want to live like common people

April Come She Will - Simon & Garfunkel

August, die she must.
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold.
September, I'll remember.
A love once new has now grown old

Do Me a Favour - Arctic Monkeys

And do me a favour, and ask if you need some help
She said, do me a favour and stop flattering yourself!
How to tear apart the ties that bind, perhaps 'fuck off' might be too kind,
Perhaps 'fuck off' might be too kind

Colors Of The Wind - Judy Kuhn from Pocahontas

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Lucky Man - The Verve

But how many corners do I have to turn?
How many times do I have to learn
All the love I have is in my mind?

The Whole Of The Moon - The Waterboys

With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far
Too soon

Leave Before The Lights Come On - Arctic Monkeys

And how can you wake up, 
With someone you don't love? 
And not feel slightly fazed by it

I Am The Resurrection - The Stone Roses

Your tongue is far too long
I don't like the way it sucks and
Slurs upon my every word

Fit But You Know It - The Streets

And when that bloke in the white behind us lot queuing
Was clocking onto you too yeah I had to admit
That yeah yeah you are fit,
And yeah I do want it,
But I stop sharking for a minute to get chips and drinks

Help - The Beatles

But now these days are gone and I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind, I've opened up the doors

Let There Be Love - Nat King Cole

Let there be wind, 
An occasional rain. 
Chile con carne, 
Sparkling champagne 

The Power Of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

This time we go sublime
Lovers entwine-divine divine
Love is danger, love is pleasure
Love is pure, the only treasure


Sunday, 15 January 2017

Guest Post: 5 Things That Make Me Who I Am by Sophie Lockett

So I decided to start mixing things up a bit and introduce a few guest posts onto my site! I feel like I spend a lot of time writing about my experiences and what makes me, me. But discovering how others tick, and just why, is something that has always fascinated me. I have a huge long list of things that make me who I am and I thought it was about time I started asking others what got them interested in certain things and what affect it has had on their personality. Over the next few months, I am asking friends of mine and fellow bloggers to open up, tell me and share their story. So look out for book lovers, music appreciators and foodie fanatics coming soon.

I will now introduce you to my first ever guest post, Sophie Lockett. Me and Sophie, who is by the way probably one of the sassiest girls you will ever come across, both studied Journalism together at Liverpool John Moores University and we lived in the same halls in first year - long live Grand Central. Over the past few months, she has started her very own blog, which you can see for yourself here, where she often posts about make-up and all things beauty. I thought asking her to write a post about what makes her who she is would be slightly out of her comfort zone, but she has smashed it of course! Sophie, take it away and tell us what makes you, you...


It had its fair share of light and shade but I wouldn’t change my uni experience for anything. My first year was undoubtedly one of the best years of my life, hands down. I loved my course and I loved my flat. I would say that leaving sixth form I was already a mature person, but being away from home and having to fend for myself taught me so much that I didn’t even know I either needed to know or already knew. Living with other humans is hard, especially when at first they’re complete strangers. You have to put up with a lot, learn how to give and take, compromise and pull your weight but without being completely taken advantage of by the lazy ones.

Through the three years you grow and change and become more of who you are. You make sets of friends in different realms: in your flat, on your course, with different accents, home lives, different kinds of educations to you. You can’t find that kind of experience when so many people are brought together anywhere else. I absolutely adore the friends I made at uni and it makes me sad that I don’t get to see them every day any more, even when sometimes we had our differences. I miss the movie nights with everyone sat around in their dressing gowns while I did tea duty for about 20 (I was renowned as one of the most skilled tea makers). I miss my shitty damp cold horrible house in second year where nothing worked and everything broke. I miss the running around the house and screaming when there was a spider, as as a house full of five women we were not equipped to deal with such an issue. I miss the trips out to the cinema and for tea with my course girls in third year. I miss the little knocks on my door when my housemates just wanted to come in to say hello or to have a cuddle. I miss running around Grand Central playing team games at 1am. I even slightly miss that stench of weed down the corridors (we all know who that was!). You can’t get those kind of experiences anywhere else.

Make Up

I suppose the first one is obvious considering the time that I put into my blog. I wasn't always into make up and I didn't always know 'what goes where'. I still don't really know now! For me, make up is not just about making yourself look pretty. It is a creative art, a form of expression and for me it became an outlet that I grew to be passionate about. I think there's something innately intelligent about the way that you can transform yourself through it, be that with tricks like contouring, elaborate face and body painting or using drag make up to become a whole new persona. Not everyone understands make up. Some people might see a graphic liner look and think it's 'weird'. Others will groan, 'oh no not ANOTHER wannabe make up artist, there's only a million around', or make accusations of vanity against you because they feel you post too much on the gram.

From my experience make up artists are clever, witty and beautiful people inside and out. Take Norvina for example, she's a business empire in herself, a perfectionist striving to give the people what they want while remaining true to herself and keeping that unique selling point with her brand. Amrezy isn't afraid to show people that she loves herself and there's nothing wrong with that, while oozing class and sophistication with every Instagram post. People like Desi Perkins, Holly Boon, Dyls Make Up, Patrick Starr, Amy's Make Up Box... I could go on forever with lists of amazing make up artists that to me are so much more than someone who just paints their face for a living. They are normal people who happen to have a talent which they have chosen to share with the world and really we should be grateful for it.


I am already a full-on cinephile. I am obsessed with films and movies and cinema and actors and actresses and anything under that kind of umbrella. I think that I could dial this back to my love of Disney when I was a kid. One of my earliest memories is doing 'a show' for my mum and one of her friends of Hercules where I basically stood next to the TV and sang, danced and spoke along with all the words. My favourite birthday presents were my 'Belle' dress and my Megara barbie doll. I suppose of all the Disney ladies these were two of the sassiest so I didn't choose too bad a pair of characters to admire!

Now that I'm older as well I notice little titbits in some of the films for 'grown ups', giving me an entirely new perspective at 24 on a film that I used to adore when I first saw it aged six. I listen to the actual voices of the characters now too and I'm always surprised at the calibre of actors that have done Disney. I still go to the classics for comfort, when I'm bored or sad or angry. Without fail it will always improve my mood. I feel like having Disney as part of my life has allowed me to keep hold of that little bit of my inner child despite everything around me seeming like it's growing up and getting harder and that much more serious. It will always allow me to have that link to my childhood even though I'm now classed as, shock, a grown up. Disney taught me that magic does exist in whatever capacity I want it to, that wishing upon a star can make all your dreams come true and that anyone from any walk of life, be it a cleaner working for her stepmother or a sea-faring girl from the islands, can be a princess.


Although I wouldn’t say I’m a particular connoisseur in any specific genre or band, I absolutely LOVE my music. I am that person that everyone hates, driving around with the volume triple what it should be so that you can feel the bass as I park at the lights next to you. I’ll literally give anything a go, be it the hardest bars of a rapper brimming with spit or a gentle lilting country jamboree (why not?). I love watching Jools Holland with my dad and seeing such a breadth and variety of music. I of course have my favourites. I love the narcotised slow sultry RnB vibes of singers like The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller, Banks and Tory Lanez. I am obsessed with Drake and J Cole, but then I’ll also listen to The 1975, Coheed and Cambria, Maroon 5 and The Killers who are all completely spread out over the musical spectrum. I think Pentatonics are incredible and I completely admire their ability to create entire songs just using their vocal chords and other body percussion while being so in sync with one another, that’s teamwork at its finest. I love a bit of classic cheesy pop, 5ive, S Club 7, Steps. I love watching musicals and listening to movie soundtracks.

I have a different music playlist for getting ready songs, songs to listen to while I’m in the bath, my angry playlist that I listen to when I’m not at my happiest, my sassy independent woman playlist which only has female singers or bands on it. I feel like music can totally make or change your mood when you need it the most. It can motivate you or prepare you for something, make you cry or make you scream, ‘I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW’ and throw stuff around your room along with Kelis. It’s so powerful and it’s so important.

My Job

So people who know me and the amount I moan about my job will be looking at this like, 'really?!' I complain about my place of work as much as the next person. Yes it's tedious, at times boring as sin and on odd occasions just downright unbearable. My job has brought me to tears on multiple times before. So why is it something that's made me me? Because without my job I wouldn't have met some of the people that I would class as some of my closest friends. I have my work mum, 'Auntie' Bex, who looks after me like one of her own, gives me pep talks and tells me how proud she is of me on a daily basis. I have learned from my close friend Dani to be selfish with my heart as she thinks mine is too precious to waste. She makes me howl with laughter and permanently dazzles me with how sassy, loyal and magical she is. I have a work little sis in my friend Hanna, who I want the best for in everything and I know will always have my back.

Most of all, I am thankful to my job for bringing me my best friend Steph. My absolute rock. My sister from another mister. One March morning in 2014 she turned up telling me she was my new manager and was staying for an hour or so to do paperwork. We made small talk about Gary Barlow and my old manager before going on a break together. As we sat down my phone buzzed on the table and it was a lad I was trying to pie off at the time. I then explained to Steph that the reason why was because his erm, 'skills' weren't up to scratch and the cappuccino she'd been sipping flew out of her mouth as she started crying with laughter. From then on we were bonded for life. Two holidays, two hundred glasses of gin and two billion amazing memories later and we're now looking to move in together. So thank you work for bringing all these amazing people and more into my life.

Tell me about what makes you, you! Get in touch via my email bethantrolley@gmail.com x x
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