Wednesday 11 December 2013

Christmas Gift Guide: for people who like music

Music list 1

This gift guide category is a big deal for me as I love music, it's a big part of my life and always will be. There are so many music related things on my wish list, some are genre specific but most are suitable for any music lover. First up is the actual music, this of course is completely subjective as everyone is into different bands and genres so instead of listing the bands that I think are 'cool' I've complied a list of my favourite box sets and Christmas albums. There are so many to choose from but here's the final cut.

1. The Clash have released this amazing Sound System collection of their entire re-mastered catalogue, perfect for the punk in you.
2. Whilst I find her highly irritating at times I do girl crush on Zooey Deschanel and I love A Very She & Him Christmas album. If you're a fan of The Carpenters and Pet Shop Boys I highly recommend this.
3. Sufjan Steven's Silver and Gold is a wonderful collection of Christmas songs. The box set contains 5 of his Christmas EPs containing traditional and original songs plus lots of other goodies like stickers. There's also a lovely vinyl edition too. Sufjan is an incredible musican so it's worth checking out his other box set Songs For Christmas as well.
4. Bob Dyaln's Complete Album Collection, need I say any more!
5. A fun entry here with A Charlie Brown Christmas album, what's not to love?
6. This wouldn't be a proper hansyhobs music wish list without a mention to Green Day. Whilst I appreciate most of you aren't Green Day fans it is definitely worth checking out Foreverly by Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, this is a gorgeous cover album of Everly Brother songs and very different from Green Day.
7. I never realised Conor Oberst did Christmas songs but alas there's a Bright Eyes Christmas Album, it's great so go buy it.
8. Last year I saw Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler perform thier Christmas Album live, it was so wonderful I'm seeing them again on Friday. This Is Christmas is an album of original songs and it's great!
9. With the tragic passing of Lou Reed why not treat yourself to a Velvet Underground box set or two. White Light / White Heat is my favourite album of theirs and I really want this box set!
10. If you like yourself a bit of indie folk music then I can't recommend For Folk's Sake It's Christmas 2013 enough, plus the cover art is just lovely.
11. I did say a Velvet Underground box set or two didn't I? The Velvet Underground & Nico should take residence in everyone's music collection and this 45th anniversary box set would be a lovely addition.
12. Blur, oh how I adore Blur. I have the vinyl equivalent of this Blur 21: The Box but the CD edition comes with some extra DVDs and materials. Buy it, buy it now!

Music list 2

Buying CDs for music lovers is great but sometimes it's worth digging a little deeper and get them something a little more unexpected.

Books are a great alternative to CDs especially as the music fan in your life probably already has the albums they want. These 4 new books are well worth a read.
1. Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith - the great musician died under questionable circumstance ten years ago and this book talks about his life and events leading up to his death including many interviews with friends, band mates, mangers etc. It's hard not to be a fan of Smith's work so this is well worth a read.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeah by Bob Stanley - The story of modern pop and Rough Trade are selling signed copies, I really want this!
3. Autobiography by Morrissey - of course this was going on the list. Not everyone is a fan of the great man or the Smiths but I ask why not, seriously?
4. Spy Rock Memories by Larry Livermore - the founder of Lookout! Records (where Green Day started) this man knows a thing of too about punk, well worth reading if you're a fan. 
5. I love diaries and I love Moleskine, voilà a music journal to record notes about your gigs, favourite albums and songs writings. The perfect companion for a budding musician.
6. What is your favourite band? One of mine is Belle and Sebastian so instead of getting me one of their records get me this AMAZING Dogs on Wheels brooch from Tatty Divine instead - btw they have an EP called Dogs on Wheels, obviously!
7.  Belle and Sebastian were amazing at EOTR festival this summer I hear you say? Commemorate it with a gig poster then - fyi this applies for most bands and most gigs, posters as an easy but super gift.
8. I like a film where one band has written the entire score. From The Sea To The Land Beyond by British Sea Power is a stunning film. I saw them perform it live the other day and was blown away so much in fact that this DVD is perfect for everyone!
9. Piramida by Efterklang is one of my favourite music films of the year. The film is about the making of the bands latest album and having listened to the album a lot (and loving it) before watching the film my appreciate of the music grew 10 fold once discovering how it was made. Fr now you can only download it but hopefully it'll be released on DVD soon.
10. Rough Trade gift vouchers if you're really at a loose end!
11. USB sticks that look like mix tapes is the perfect way to make a retro looking play list for your loves ones. I was made one of these years ago and it was lovely!
12. If you love festivals why not ask for the Primavera Sound Christmas ticket pack which includes a ticket to the festival in May plus a bunch of other goodies. With Neutral Milk Hotel, Arcade Fire and Pixies headlining it's going to be amazing and I can't wait to go!

Music list 3

A few electronic items and bits to help make your music listening experience more enjoyable.I've really got into vinyl recently so thought I'd include a few different record players depending on your budget.

1. In this cold weather I hate taking my gloves of in order to use my iPhone, the solution are the gloves from Muji with sensorts in teh fingers tips so no need to expose your precious fingers to the elements.
2. I go to a lot of gigs, a lot of really loud gigs so I'm seriously considering purchasing ear plus to protect my ears. This Etymotic pair come highly recommend plus they're pretty cheap too.
3. A portable pair of speakers always come in useful, whether it's for a trip to the park, enhancing the sound on your laptop or providing entertainment at a festival during breakfast. These X-Mi X Mini II 2nd Generation Capsule Speakers are a great investment.
4. If you want a mega fancy record player and amp then the TDX turntable with separate speakers is for you. It's most definitely a case of style over substance and to be honest it's probably best to stick with the cheaper simpler options but I couldn't resist sticking them on the list as they look so chic!
5. A simple and cheap turntable but be careful when purchasing as speakers aren't included, however it's easy to hook up to your old hifi so this is a great way to get started with your vinyl collection.
6. The Crosley turntables with built in speakers look great and also sound fab. Some people say to avoid these all-in-one systems as the vibrations can damage your records but I've been thrilled with the one I got for my birthday and the in built system means it takes up a lot less space and is easy to transport.
7. Everyone needs a decent pair of headphones and I go back to Sennheiser time and time again, the sound quality is exceptional!
8. Once you've bought every thing how about wrapping your presents up in this amazing music wrapping paper from banquet Records.
I hope this wish list has given you plenty of ideas, there are so many music related gifts out there it's just about being a little creative. Also, I've tried not to include an Amazon link if possible, that's because I believe in supporting your local independent record stores. I know this might sound a bit snobbish but record shops are really struggling these days so let's try and support them when we can!

How's your Christmas shopping coming along x

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Monday 25 November 2013

Christmas Gift Guide: for people who like their initials on stuff

H Stuff

I'm a complete sucker for anything with an H on it, whether it's a make up case, tote bag or t shirt I just can't get enough of my own initials. I'm assuming a lot of people are like that (are you?) so I decided to put together a gift guide of my favourite initial goodies.

Alphabet Bags is one of my favourite websites, I could spend hours drooling over the H goodies hence the reason why so much of this wish list is taken up by their stock. I already have 2 make up bags, coin purse and a tote bag by them but I can't help wanting more. I love the new iPad case, the multiple H print is rather cute plus it matches the make up bag I already have. The black and gold pouches are lovely as well, I can't decide between the two of them so naturally I want them both. The card holder would come in handy for my Oyster card and since upgrading my iPhone I need a new iPhone 5 case. I'm a firm believer that you can never have enough tote bags, I seriously must own about 50 but I love this black version (yes I already have it in white). So yes, I basically want everything from the store!

I don't own any H t shirts so I could definitely do with either this Hilfiger Denim or the black and white JDYH top. Also, you can't go wrong with a little initial necklace, I'm quite fond of this Topshop one. I've wanted this scrabble mug for such a long time so I'm hoping this will be my lucky year!

Do you like stuff with your initial on x

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Sunday 24 November 2013

The Reflektors AKA Arcade Fire @ The Roundhouse 11/11/2013

Wow, I actually can't believe I hadn't seen Arcade Fire live in SIX WHOLE YEARS before this gig! The main reason being that I wasn't a huge fan of Neon Bible or The Suburbs but this all changed when they bought out their fourth album Reflektor last month. Funeral is undoubtedly one of the best indie rock albums of the 21st Century, I love it dearly but over the years I felt the band had become more poppy. Reflektor came out and it was like an indie, disco, dancing explosion and I love it!

After a guerilla marketing campaign for the new album, Arcade Fire have been doing a small string of last minute 'intimate' shows under the band name The Reflektors and when the news of 2 nights at The Roundhouse was broken I was very excited. I'd only ever seen the band at festivals, twice at Reading Festival (2005 and 2007) and once at Glastonbury (2007) so I was looking forward to seeing them at a proper show especially in one of London's nicer venues. Having read reviews of their previous shows on this tour I knew we were in for something a little different. First of all their was a dress code in place, strictly formal or fancy dress. Lily and I chose to dress in our finest. By finest I mean that I wore my trust black sparkly velvet dress, leather jacket and creepers topped off with a random mask I found on top of my bookshelf. The audience looked amazing because everyone had made the effort to dress up, there was a really party vibe and it made you feel like there was a real sense of occasion. On arrival at the venue we were greeted with a mariachi band which really got everyone in the mood for dancing.

As gigs go it was quite short, around 90 minutes long but this was something we were expecting. The band have been playing the majority of their new album on this tour with a few old favourites thrown in for good measure. From the back catalogue we were treated to Power Out (my personal favourite track of theirs), Sprawl II, Haiti and Crown of Love, all performed superbly. For me the new album is full of songs that sound so much better live, that's not saying they don't sound great on the record but because they're quite dancey they sound a lot more intense in a live setting. Normal Person, Joan or Arc and Here Comes The Night Time were highlights for me. It was a great gig, one of the best I've been to this year and I cannot wait to see them next year for more dancing. I'm already counting 3 times at least in 2014 (Primavera, Earls Court and Glastonbury). Arcade Fire, what a truly superb band!

Are you a fan of the new album x

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Sunday 17 November 2013

The National @ Ally Pally 14/11/2013

Alexandra Palace is a horrible venue; big, souless and a pain in the arse to get to, but despite that I had a jolly good time watching The National there last week. I love this band dearly and this was technically the second time I've seen them live as I had no idea who they were way back in 2011 at Reading Festival. Anyway, due to bad organisation I got to the venue a lot earlier than anticipated hence my front row position.

The band played for a solid 2 hours which is no surprise due to their 6 album spanning career and whilst the set list wasn't perfect I can't complain too much as they really put on a terrific show. Earlier this year they bought out "Trouble Will Find Me' which is a really great album; tales of love and heartbreak which is all very National-esque. They ended up playing all but 3 songs of it and whilst I do love hearing the new stuff live I also adore the older tunes and more new songs inevitably means less of the oldies. They played most of my favourites but when you compare the setlist from the previous night the lack of Apartment Story, About Today and Available is a little hard to swallow. It was nice they played their brand new song Lean which features in the new Hunger Games movie and I of course enjoyed swooning on Matt from my front row position, I even went all fan girly when he came right up to the barrier on several occasions! I sobbed during Slow Show which is undoubtedly one of the most romantic songs ever written and I jumped about like crazy when they played Mr November. Matt Berninger really is amusing to watch, when he's not singing he paces about the stage like a lost boy which I found hilariously awkward at times.

It was a fun night and I really hope I get to see them again soon as they really are a phenomenal band. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Primavera and Glastonbury next year

Are you a fan of The National x

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Sunday 10 November 2013


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Leather Jacket - ASOS
Grey hoodie - Topshop
Breton top - New Look
Swan print trousers - Topshop

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Rucksack - Forever 21

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Hat - Topshop
Nose piercing - Metal Morphosis

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Socks - Topshop
Creepers - Underground

I'm not a punk, I never have been but it's a lifestyle that has always deeply inspired me. From the mohawks at punk gigs I frequented in my teenage days to the fashion icons such as Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, it is a fashion statement that I have always been fascinated by. Over the years I've experimented with many ways of dressing from girly dresses to colourful prints and even chic monochrome ensembles but I always find myself reverting back to my grungier ways.

I go to a ton of gigs and I always enjoy having a nosey at what people are wearing. Apart from the hairstyles one thing I always notice at a punk gig are the amazing leather jackets. You can tell when an individual has spent a long time customising theirs with patches from their favourite bands to adorning the collars studs and pin badges. I've always wanted something similar with the heavy duty, studded feel but minus the band patches (been there, done that) and a few months back, after years of searching, I finally found the perfect leather jacket. This beauty was half price in a sale and whilst still pricey at around £80, because of the real buttery soft leather, the perfect biker shape and beautifully studded collar I knew it had to be mine! Every time I wear it I feel like adding a more punk feel to my outfit and my way of interpretation this is lots of prints but keeping the colour palate muted.

Whilst there are a lot of prints going on from swans to stripes and even Aztec I think it works because the the colours are mainly white, black and grey. And yes I know my rucksack is far from monochrome but adding a hint of colour with a bag just adds another element to the whole 'punk' look. I'm not sure if it's down to my new nose piercing but this is how I've been dressing a lot recently and I really like it!

Do you ever dress like a punk x

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Monday 21 October 2013

Edinburgh Outfit Snaps

 Sunglasses - Rayban Clubmasters via Vision Direct *
Bag - Zatchels
Coat - Topshop

A couple of weekends ago I went to Edinburgh with a bunch of my best girl friends to celebrate my 27th birthday. We had a lot of fun exploring the city, eating delicious Scottish food and wondering what the locals were saying. This was my first trip to Scotland and I loved it, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and I'll definitely be back one day.

Saturday was our busy day of sightseeing starting with a few hours spent at the magnificent Edinburgh Castle so I decided to keep my outfit comfortable. Despite the sun making an appearance it was a cold and windy weekend and my trusty duffel coat kept me nice and warm. I was able to début my new sunglasses as well which was a nice treat, I've wanted a pair of Clubmasters for a long time now so I was delighted to try these out. They're the perfect retro style and whilst quite bulky they aren't too heavy to wear, I love them! I just need to remember to put my contact lenses in when I know I'm going to be wearing them. A day of walking around means my Converse made an appearance alongside my favourite satchel i.e. this over the top silver metallic number.

Sarah, Lily and I - the pineapples speak from themselves

My little sister and I being silly in the Missoni Hotel bathroom

Dress - Topshop
Breton top - New Look
Watch - Casio
Shoes - Converse

We had afternoon at the Missoni Hotel which was lovely and even spotted Russell Brand in the lobby which was rather exciting. Over the weekend we went to some terrific restaurants including the Dogs, Doric Tavern, Urban Angel and Cafe Marlayne. My favourite pub was by far the Brass Monkey and the Caledonian Hostel we stayed wasn't all that bad either. If you've never been to Edinburgh I really recommend a trip one weekend, it's a wonderful place with so much great culture. I really want to visit Glasgow now for a bit of a music pilgrimage as a lot of my favourite bands are from there.

Have you been to Edinburgh x

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Sunday 6 October 2013

LFW SS14: Orla Kiely

As you're all very well aware it was London Fashion Week last month and for the first time in about 4 seasons I was unable to attend due to a busy schedule. However, not being one to miss out on the action I sent my friend Deborah (a buyer at Debenhams) along to check out some of the shows for me. She's kindly offered to blog on my behalf so here's her first blog takeover, enjoy!

Since the moment I received my first copy of a slick, glossy Vogue, I, like so many others, fell under the enchanted spell that is the World of Fashion. Thus began my dream of one day attending the Holy Grail that is London Fashion Week. And now, thanks to my rather new and awesome blogger friend Hannah, this Autumn that dream finally came true!

So first thing first as we Fashion Lovers know, the outfit you decide upon for such an occasion is top priority and must meet the following criteria:

1. Be comfortable and versatile enough to endure all the waiting around and rushing from show to show; 2. Be transitional, reflecting new season trends but also remaining in keeping with the current trends; and 3. Include a mixture of high street and charity shop items and, in my case, treasures acquired from the Battersea Car Boot Sale (definitely check this place out if you haven't already, can't believe I'm giving away my secret!).

So, my wardrobe, my housemates' wardrobes and the piles of clothes set aside for the charity shop were raided, and an outfit was born.

Hot pink is tipped to be 'the colour' for winter (at last a colour palette of not simply grey and brown tones!), so I settled on this nifty number from H&M. The shape of the dress is very office wear and reminiscent of a VB dress, but the hot pink tones down the seriousness somewhat - this number would certainly spice up the boardroom! I teamed the dress with my ever reliable floral brocade trophy jacket (part of a two piece skirt suit picked up at the aforementioned boot sale for a bargainous £7!). To rough the look up a tad I added my chain necklace and my always in style ever faithful buckle ankle boots on bare legs, we thank you Alexa!

With me I took Nadia, my fellow fashion loving friend. She also works in buying and much like me loves a show, a champers and a fun time. Nadia as always looked effortlessly stylish, wearing her recently purchased Uniqlo chambray shirt dress with a Preen for Debenhams contrast wool biker coat and her signature tartan red scarf, which I always think works wonderfully with her cute blond bob. She has Ukrainian roots you know!

We headed to the Orla Kiely presentation where we were greeted by a super stylish albeit slightly soggy queue of fashion lovers. Of course, the outfits were a joy to behold. A particular favourite of mine was a look consisting of a transparent plastic mac with a prom skirt seen just underneath, giving the mac amazing volume?, topped off with a gothic inspired black fascinator - oh darling!

The Orla kiely set up was truly magical and I simply loved the theatrical element of it. This is one of the main reason for my love of fashion, it is an art and whilst it doesn't nesscercarily need to make sense it simply needs to provoke reactions and inspire people. Ever since Meryl Streep starred in Out of Africa, designers have been using safari elements in their spring/summer collections and the Orla Kiley show was no different. Her set transported us from an autumnal September afternoon to a hot midsummer's day on an African plane. The room was decked out with animal figurines, including a huge rhino and a zebra and, whilst the adults among us sipped champagne, the little ones were offered Um Bongo. Such a cute extra touch!

The catwalk commenced with the models dressed in what I would describe as sixties safari chic. The colour theme was pastel tones of pinks and oranges with bursts of crisp white. The garments were held together with shiny round statement metal buttons and accessorised with pale pastel pink wool berets and long white socks with sandals from Orla's new Clarks collaboration range.

I had a few favourites, but the piece that stood out for me was a super cute 60's boxed shaped two piece shorts and short sleeved jacket combo, set in a crisp summery white. It had an air of classic Chanel about it and, teamed with a golden tan, a micro lioness head shaped leather shoulder bag and of course socks and sandals would be a perfect summer outfit.

I'm a sucker for a white dress in the summer and thus another one of my favourite pieces had to be the stunning broderie anglaise number. The poofed out skirt shape was flirty and fun and the embroidery on the top half added a touch of designer quality. For a casual summer's day I would team this with a pair of black wayfarers and some Clarks original flat leather sandals, finishing with a simple gold chain bracelet.

Don't get me wrong I may have raved about the white but the coloured pieces were equally exciting. I'm a lover of anything a bit out there, and the two piece giraffe printed orange shorts suit (yes another short suit!) did not disappoint. The suit was teamed with a crisp white buttoned up shirt (a garment every female should have in their wardrobe), more Orla Clarks sandals and, if you thought the lioness bag was cute then check out the white panda shaped shoulder bag. Adorable!

Whilst we're on the subject of accessories, I must mention what Orla is renowned for - her signature printed handbags. This season she's added an African twist to them, with gorgeous animal shaped shoulder bags and appliqué animal detailing, to plain leather styles. The Orla Kiely x Clarks collaboration is going to be a big hit I can tell, who could go wrong with Clarks quality and comfort teamed with Orla's beautiful designs? I for one will be purchasing come SS14!

The models strutted to the sound of 'The Clapping Song', adding an edgy urban vibe to the African theme. The catwalk ended with the models positioned in an African safari film set, some with positioned painting and others posing with binoculars. Overall it felt like an upper class British 60's African adventure holiday and I adored it.

Nadia and I very much enjoyed Orla's afternoon presentation and were also lucky enough to spy Orla herself. We of course couldn't say no to a complimentary glass of bubbles and also helped ourselves to a copy of the daily London Fashion Week paper, bringing reports straight from the catwalk of the previous day's show.

I hope you enjoyed the blog take over, giving Hannah a well-deserved break and I look forward to bringing you all the next instalment of our day.

Did you see the Oral Kiely presentation, what did you think x
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Sunday 22 September 2013

The Cribs at Birthdays 27/08/2013

I've liked the Cribs for a long time but for some reason I've only ever seen them at festivals. When I heard they'd be playing a gig at the tiny Birthdays in Dalston I knew I had to get myself a ticket. Because this was going to be such an intimate gig tickets were near impossible to get, I was having major stress issues at my desk trying to buy them. The website was down, then they were sold out, then I could get 2 but then I couldn't get any. Anyway, after a lot of persevering I managed to bag myself 2 tickets. I'd never been to a gig at Birthdays but I've been there for dinner so I knew how small the place was so I was excited to see such a boistrous band in a tiny venue, I was definitely in for a good night.

 First impressions of the venue at Birthdays were not great, the floor seems to slope backwards so the further away you are from the stage the less you can see. Also, because the ceiling is so low the stage isn't very high up which exacerbates the view damaging effects of the sloping floor. Anyway, despite my terrible view the gig was terrific. As always the Cribs were full of energy and the crowd was rowdy. The band were greeted to chants of Wakefield from the band and it was apparent that there were a lot of Yorkshire boys in the audience. They bought out a greatest hits album earlier this year so the set list was full of gems however they failed to play my favourite song "Our Bovine Public' which I consider to be a one of their bigger hits so that was a little disappointing but alas a band should always leave you wanting more right?

I don't think I'll be rushing back to Birthdays for a gig any time soon but nevertheless it was an amazing experience to see the Cribs in such an intimate atmosphere. Hopefully they'll do a proper UK tour soon but I imagine when they do the venues will be a lot bigger thus causing me to be hesitant about wherether I'll buy a ticket or not, we shall see...

Also, before I forget to mention it, the Cribs were supported by Wolf Alice who are a fairly new London based alternative/indie band and are definitely worth checking out. The lead singer has a lovely voice.

Have you seen the Cribs before or been to Birthdays x

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Sunday 15 September 2013

#100London - August Update

Another bad month but that's hardly a surprise now.Started the month on a good foot by visiting the South London Gallery in Camberwell followed by the Sassoon Gallery in Peckham which is small and random. I'm also including Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar as they had a huge installation in the car park. Also popped along to the GX Gallery in Camberwell the same weekend which is another small one.

Later in the month I visited the Hayward Gallery which I have been to before this year but one of the exhibitions was 'The Museum of Everything' which is a moving museum so I'm counting it as an extra entry. This may be cheating but at this stage I need all the help I can get. I also paid Beanotown a visit which was silly and full of kids but sort of enjoyable. It was part of the Southbank's summer festival and is now over unfortuantely.

At the end of the month I also caught the Zandra Rhodes exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum which was fantastic and whilst I was in the neighbourhood I also popped into the Bermondsey branch of the White Cube.

Now my total stands at 35, eek I still have a long way to go. Can't believe I'm not even half way yet!

What museums are on your must see list x

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Saturday 14 September 2013

#100London - July Update

Oops, this post is a little late! July was a terrible month for museum visiting anyway so you'll be happy to know you haven't really missed anything. I went to the Wellcome Collection to visit the Medicine Man exhibition which I've actually seen before so that was a little pointless but I had time to kill in Euston and the exhibition is really insightful anyway so I didn't mind having a second look around. The same day I checked out the Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library. The exhibition provided a basic overview to numerous aspects of propaganda including war, health and even the Olympics. My boyfriend wrote a review on his blog 'The May Day Review' so go and check that out if you're interested. The exhibition finishes this week so if you haven't already been I urge you to check it out. Whilst you're at the British Library it's always worth visiting the treasures exhibition which is a permanent display of old manuscripts, the Magma Carter, Beatles memorabilia and other literary works.

I also popped into the Guardian, Gagosian, Pangolin and Kings Place Gallery the same day to have a look at their current exhibitions. All these galleries change their displays quite regularly so it's always worth popping in when you're in the area to see what's on.

That was it for July, a pretty poor attempt and because I have already been to the Wellcome Collectin this year I can only add 5 to the list which brings me to the grand and pathetic total of 31. I have a lot of work cut out for me!

What exhibitions have you visited recently x

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Friday 2 August 2013

We Are Scientists at Koko: Club NME 26/07/2013

So I got to see one of my favourite bands twice in 28 hours, lucky me! This gig was very different from the night before at XOYO. Because they were playing a club night, the set was naturally shorter but they played all their hits so that isn't necessarily a bad thing. They finished on 'After Hours' which I've already mentioned is my favourite song of theirs and fortunately all the on stage banter was different from the night before as I was a little worried it might be the same. Another great show but not as intimate as the night before, however We Are Scientists still manage to deliver a fantastic performance at half past midnight to a club full of drunken twats and therefore I am more than thrilled I got to see them two nights in a row. I love them!

Have you been to any NME club nights at Koko x

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Thursday 1 August 2013

We Are Scientists at XOYO 25/07/2013

We Are Scientists have long been one of my favourite bands. I've seen them live countless times and I firmly believe that 'With Love and Squalor' is one of the best indie albums of our time. When I was at uni they used to play gigs all the time but it's been a good few years since I last saw them live. When tickets for the XOYO show originally came on sale I wasn't able to get any so in the weeks leading up to the gig I was keeping an eye out until I managed to score one a few days before.

I'd never been to XOYO and as first impressions go I was pretty disappointed. The place has a random layout and the drinks are ridiculously overpriced. I know it's central London we're talking about but nearly £5 for a small bottle of cider is far from acceptable! The only redeeming quality about the venue is that it has about a 200 person capacity so for a band like We Are Scientists whom I love dearly it was great to see them in such a small and intimate space.

There were two support bands that evening, the first was Paint The Dark and I didn't like them very much. They seemed a little lacklustre and the lead singer awkwardly moved around the stage as if he was doing a bad impersonation of Matt Bellamy by playing lots of different instruments. The second support act were the Glaswegian band (I had to mention that) PAWS and I liked them very much. They're nice and noisy and sound a lot better live than their debut album would have you believe.

There are numerous reasons I love We Are Scientists live, one being their banter (I hate that word but it really is the best verb to describe their on stage chat) and their crowd pleasing energy. A lot of the time I'm not a huge fan of random chat between songs but Keith and Chris do it so well I always find myself laughing and wishing they'd talk for longer. Anyway, on to the music. They played a brilliant set full of old favourites like 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt', "It's A Hit' and 'The Great Escape' that always get the crowd jumping. They also played a ton of new stuff, I'm particularly found of the new album opener 'Rule Don't Stop' plus they squeezed in a couple unreleased songs as well. 'After Hours' is my favourite song (despite not even being on their first album) so I was delighted it was the finishing song pre encore. All in all the gig was fantastic and definitely one of the better times I've seen the band. Stay tuned for my second We Are Scientists gig because I saw them the following night at Koko, keen or what?
Do you like We Are Scientists, have you been to XOYO x

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Tuesday 30 July 2013

Mogwai performing live to Zidane at the Barbican 26/07/2013

The tweet I wrote after this gig pretty much sums up this whole experience and I call it an experience because it was like no other gig I've ever been to.

"Holy f ing moly @mogwaiband were incredible. Like absolutely bloody amazing! One of my best gigs in recent times. Wow!"

Now before I launch into the review let me provide you with a little background info. Mogwai are a post rock band from Glasgow and are famous for their dramatic guitar music and ear splitting loud gigs. If you follow me on twitter you are probably well aware of my obsession with Glaswegian bands, that city just keeps breeding amazing musicians (by musicians I really mean singers with sexy accents) but that's really by-the-bye. Mogwai have been on my radar since my first year of uni but I never really gave them much notice as I was more interested in songs with lyrics... Now I'm kicking myself for not giving them the time of day and missing out on what would have been many a special gig, but honestly there is no point dwelling over 8 years worth of missed opportunities because that's just silly.

In 2006 Mogwai wrote the musical score for the film 'Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait' and about a month ago I discovered that they would be performing the soundtrack live to the film at the Barbican. I managed to buy the last two tickets for me and my boyfriend (he's a huge Mogwai fan) and going into the gig on Friday night I remember him saying to me, 'Mogwai and a film about football, this is going to be totally out of your comfort zone!' Oh how wrong he was!

I'd not been to a seated gig in a very long time or one where a film is projected onto the back of the stage for that matter but as the band performed for two hours I was completely and utterly mesmerized. It's actually quite hard for me to describe the gig, watching an entirely instrumental set is something I'm not used to and even though I don't enjoy football all that much the music worked so well with the film that I loved it. The film is basically a football match focused on Zidane showcasing his incredible skill using 17 different camera angels. I didn't even know that Zidane was such a big deal but even a football novice like me could tell he had mad skills. One of the highlights of the gig was during half time in the match where footage from around the world at the same time was shown. As the volume of the music increased to almost deafening levels I was transfixed, I knew this gig was going to be loud but I wasn't prepared for just how much, it was amazing! A band like Mogwai deserve a venue with exceptional sound quality and the Barbican did not dissapoint, even with our terrible seats the band sounded incredible. At times I wasn't even paying attention to the film because I was so infatuated with the noise.

After the film finished the band did a 3 song encore including the extremely loud 'Helicon pt 1' as the finisher. I came away thinking I need to see a proper Mogwai gig as soon as possible but unfortunately they aren't really touring properly at the moment. I am so glad I bought these tickets on a bit of a whim because it really was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. I like loud music, I like music so loud that my ears want to bleed and Mogwai proved beyond doubt that they can deliver magnificent melodies at stupidly high volumes!

If you've never really listened to Mogwai before I really recommend this Guardian Music playlist x

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Monday 29 July 2013

Gigging wish list

What to wear to a gig

ASOS skater dress, £24 / Lulu and Co. owl t shirt / Oasis stretch skinny jeans, £28 / ASOS satchel purse, £31 / Converse ALL STAR OX Rojo, £63
I've been talking about gigs a lot recently so thought it would be fun to put a little wishlist together of things I like to wear when I see bands. I like to keep it fairly simple with a comfortable pair of shoes and you can't really go wrong with Converse. Depending on the weather I'll either go for jeans and a tshirt or an easy to wear dress, both of these work well with the red trainers and of course you want your hands free for dancing so a satchel is the perfect bag.

What do you wear for gigging x

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Sunday 28 July 2013

The Thermals at the Garage 23/07/2013

I've been to four gigs this week and considering how much I love live music I thought it's about time I started doing gig reviews on here. Not sure I'll be any good at it but hey ho I'll give it a bash nevertheless. First up this week was the Thermals at the Garage in Islington. The Thermals are an indie band from Portaland, Oregon (a city I would LOVE to visit) and a friend of mine describes them as a cross between Brian Molko (from Placebo) and the Cribs which is pretty accurate I'd say. This was the first time I'd ever seen them having only become a fan recently but I knew their energetically charged albums would transition into a loud and rowdy gig, I was not disappointed.

The Garage is a great venue, it's small and has good sound BUT the air con is seriously lacking. Now, I know going to a jumpy around gig on the hottest day of the year isn't the most sensible thing to do and the amount of sweat that was dripping from me afterwards is a testament to that statement but seriously how is it not possible to blow a bit of cold air into a 300 person capacity room? Air issues aside the gig was fantastic, I spent the majority of it jumping around with the boys as they played a selection of songs from across their six albums. 'Personal Life' is my favourite album of theirs so I was happy they busted out hits like 'I Don't Believe You'. Full of gusto, their live performance was very reminiscent of the punk bands I used to watch during my younger, grungier days. For me this is the sort of music I love and whilst my musical taste is quite eclectic I love jumping around like a loon!

Now, let's take a minute to talk about Kathy Foster, the band's bass player. First of all she has the most incredible asymmetric, blonde and black afro. Secondly, she is so effortlessly cool I want to learn how to play bass right this second so I can be just like her. I'm not going to harp on about how great it is to see an amazing female musician because frankly there are plenty of superb girl bands these days but inevitably a lot of the bands I do go to see live are all male so it's nice to see a women rocking out on stage.

The really cool thing about this gig is that it was a Songkick Detour initiative i.e. fans of the bands pledge money for the band to play a gig via the Songkick website. Once enough people have pledged, Songkick find promoters to put on the show and voila gig done! Because I'm nerdy I have my Songkick account linked to my Spotify and accounts so I always know when my favourite bands are playing in London.

Have you been to any gigs recently x

Disclaimer: Songkick gifted me with 2 tickets for this gig but I was under no obligation to write about it.

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Monday 22 July 2013

Summer Wishlist

Weekly Wishlist 1

The hot weather is making me covet pretty dresses with bold prints. I love anything with an animal print so the cat dress and giraffe are high on my wish list. The green metallic dress whilst not completely practical for this weather is stunning. Shoes and lots of them feature prominently on any summer wishlist of mine too. I can get enough of pretty sandals and even those these Dr Martens are pretty chunky the cute floral print is too cute to resist, plus they're in the sale. Also, big round sunglasses are always a staple, every season!

What on your summer wish list x

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