Living with an Epileptic pet


Some of you may not know that I have a pet chihuahua named Bluebell. Well, I do and she is the most cutest, cuddly and loving chihuahua you will ever meet. She hasn’t got an attitude problem that most chihuahua are known for, and she loves to play with people. She is a shy dog in public places and very scared of dogs outside of the home. But, as soon as a stranger enters her domain she transforms into a fierce Rottweiler ready to pounce on intruders! (She especially dislikes men… she must’ve been a feminist in a previous life!)

Bluebell is an all round amazing dog. She is smaller than a cat and requires less maintenance than your average dog, but she has some health issues which means she needs lots of love and attention.

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Ever since I can remember, Bluebell would act really strange sometimes. She would regularly run to me, or hide in a corner trembling and tensing up. At first I thought it could be a reaction to loud noises or maybe she was scared of seeing another dog on the TV (seriously, she is that scared) and because these episodes started happening while she was only a young puppy, I honestly thought she might grow out of it.

As she grew older however, they continued and worsened. They happened more frequently and started to get very violent. She would lose control of her body and spasm out of control. Her paws would raise above her head and she would lose all movement in her legs for 10 minutes, unable to walk even after the worst of her seizure was over. Bluebell’s pupils would also dilate and she would start to drool and foam at the mouth.

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Watching a dog go through all of this is tough, especially when you are emotionally attached to them and also when they are so small and vulnerable!

I thought it may be a case of hypoglycemia, which is very common in the chihuahua breed, but of course I didn’t want to take this matter in my own hands so we took her to the vets.

Before Bluebell was diagnosed with epilepsy, she had to be taken to the vet hospital for tests. I honestly didn’t know these places existed, it was like walking into a real hospital but with lots of animals everywhere – it even smelled like hospital! She stayed over night and the next day she was diagnosed with Epilepsy.

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Personally, I wasn’t aware that animals could suffer with epilepsy. Obviously, there is no cure for epilepsy at the moment, however she is taking medication to help with her condition. Bluebell has been prescribed with Epiphen, and takes 1/2 tablet twice a day. She also needs to have constant blood tests at the vets every 3-4 months, which she finds unpleasant but is getting used to.

The pills have worked in a way, her seizures are shorter and less violent, but we are still unsure what causes them. She has had episodes in the garden, while she’s asleep and even from just taking a walk. They can happen at any moment which makes it even more worrying because she could have a seizure while everyone is out of the house.

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It’s always a bit of a scare to see her in seizure mode, and you can tell she is confused and a bit uncomfortable when it happens, but all you can do is comfort her and hold her until it’s finished. You can sometimes tell when an episode is coming on because she doesn’t want to eat or move.

 

Bless her, she will always be my special little baby ❤

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New hair!


So I FINALLY managed to get myself to the hair dressers on Friday.

I’ve been dying my hair ginger for the last month, and I like the colour so much so I think I’m gonna stick it out a bit longer! I will eventually get round to dying my hair again at some point, but for now I’m sticking with a brassy tone for this hair cut.

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OLD HAIR

Something needed to be done about the length and of course my over grown fringe which was at the bottom of my nose!

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NEW HAIR

My hair dresser did a fantastic job! She added in my fringe, and thinned it out a bit. I naturally have curly/ wavy hair so my hair is very thick, so adding in lots of shorter layers at the back keeps the thickness down. (goodbye lions mane!)

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I have had it feathered at the front, which blends in with my fringe to shape my face, which I think i need since my face is a little round at the moment.

 

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All in all Im positively pleased with my new cut.

You want to become a singer? A beginers guide to singing Part 5: Netowkring


Networking

So, after having gone through all the steps in previous blogs Part 1, Part2, Part3, Part 4, you should start to feel more confident with your approach to your singing career. But what if after reading all these blog post’s you’re finding it hard to get better gigs or progress in your career? Well, just like any business it is wise to start networking from the get go, so you can increase your chances of success in the music business.

you may have heard the term “networking” at some point in your life with a very small, if any, explanation to what you actually need to do. It’s quite simple: To network is to get out there and meet new people!

You need to be regularly meeting new and exciting people that are involved in all sorts of projects within different environments. The kind of people you should be networking with are bands, managers, agents and of course other singers. Have meaningful conversations with them. Ak them about their work and exchange contact details. You should also be meeting these people at a variety of different venues: gigs, open mic nights, showcases, even conferences.

Make sure your conversations are memorable and you STAY IN TOUCH. Be nice to these people and drop a call/ text/ insta message or whatever every so often. You never know when a band might need a Dep singer, or an agency is holding auditions for new acts. If you follow these rules they will most likely remember you first before asking around.

The relationships you start to build with people after networking can turn into new found friendships, which could even mean that when you do become successful they are more likely to support you in the future.

Remember, the most successful people normally know everybody, and you should try to get into that circle to develop your career prospects.

Of course, you can achieve success by yourself without the need for networking; but it’s so much easier when you have a circle of reliable and friendly people around you, who may also need to rely on you.

 

What have I learnt from writing this series?

Well firstly, I’m extremely grateful that you’ve taken your time to read through all of my blog posts, and i hope they have inspired you to develop your own singing career. Personally, I’ve reminded myself that this career is not a race to see who can get to the top first, because in reality not everyone wants to make it to the top and are fine making a living from music part time. I’ve also learnt that not everyone will take my advice on board because they may not see me as a ‘trust worthy and reliable source’ which is fine too. I cannot say I’m an expert on the subject, but I started this project in the hope of shining some light on struggling singers who may have hit a rock in the road somewhere down the line in their career, or maybe someone who want to make the jump from their day job to singing. I have used my own experiences and advice passed down to me to write these blog posts, and I hope they have given you an insight on what it’s like to be a successful singer.

 

So you want to be a singer? A beginers guide to singing Part 4: Practice


This is the second part in a 5 part blog series covering the ins and outs of being a professional singer. You can check out Part 1  Part 2  & Part 3 before reading this blog post. I’m not talking about becoming a famous singer, although that could always happen! Instead I’m going to be focusing on other avenues in your singing career rather than this being a ‘how to be a pop star” blog post.

Practice 

Practice makes perfect – or so they say! As a singer,  the last thing you want is to be underprepared for your first ever gig – or any gig for that matter! And that’s just the half of it. Being well rehearsed in your performance is one thing, but you also need to make sure you are practicing your vocals at home to build up stamina and skill which could later be used in your live performances.

Firstly, let’s start with the singing practice. You want to try and aim for vocal practice at least twice a week to begin with, then eventually 4 -5 times a week for at least an hour minimum and 3 hours maximum. You want to have a variety of exercises at hand to practice with including range, agility, breathing and pitching exercises. Make sure you warm up before your daily vocal practices because your practices are going to push you to the limit! If you’re unsure on how to go about planning your vocal practice then get together with a vocal coach who will advise you on the things you need to work on and help you devise a POA for your practice and warmup. Otherwise, you can get some vocal books with exercise CDs to help you get started. Funky ‘n Fun by Kim Chandler is a great way to start.

So, after your daily vocal practice you want to concentrate on show rehearsals. The big question on every singers mind is: “lyrics or no lyrics?” I’ve been a part of huge debates online about singers using their words for a show. The argument is that having a music stand in front of a singer will detach the audiences focus from the band because it is the singers soul purpose to connect and engage with the audience, and they couldn’t possibly do that whilst having their head stuffed in a folder? Of course from a singers point of view there are a tone of lyrics to learn and how could you possibly learn all of them especially if you are the only singer in the band? Other musicians just have to learn the same 4 chords for a song but a song structure will have at least 2 verses, one bridge and a chorus of lyrics to learn!

Personally, I think the argument for lyrics could work in the favour of someone who is a Dep singer for example. They would’ve just learnt a whole 2 sets worth of songs in a short space of time. However for singers who have been playing the same set over and over week in and week out, I think it’s about time they got rid of the music stand! Of course, if you are performing on a stage or part of a show then there would be no way a music stand is aloud. You never see original artists with their music stands (even when they didn’t write the song) so why should you?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and please let me know what your vocal practice is looking like. If you need any tips of how to devise a vocal practice then get in touch and I’ll get back to you with some help! Next week is the final part of this blog series and is all about networking in the business.

 

So you want to become a singer? A beginers guide to singing Part 3: Food & Lifestyle


This is the second part in a 5 part blog series covering the ins and outs of being a professional singer. You can check out Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this blog post. I’m not talking about becoming a famous singer, although that could always happen! Instead I’m going to be focusing on other avenues in your singing career rather than this being a ‘how to be a pop star” blog post.

Food & Lifestyle

Ok, firstly changing your lifestyle will take time, so don’t assume that these changes will happen over night. Give yourself at least a year to completely eliminate all the bad habits that will stop you from reaching your full potential in singing. So let’s tackle food firstly…

You might find a lot of singers are “health freaks” but there’s a fantastic reason for this. As a musician you must take care of your instrument, and yours unfortunately is inside of you. Because your vocal chords are a part of your body they are very vulnerable to damage and super delicate. Therefore, you must make sure your whole body is functioning properly for you to reach your full singing potential. Yes, that means you must try and lead a very healthy and active lifestyle. Why? Well if you want to be at the top of your game for every single performance then you need to be doing this!

Firstly, let’s assess your lifestyle right now. What do you eat on a day to day basis? Is it full of faty and salty food or stock full of vegtables and lean meats? Do you drink enough water or are you a fizzy drinks person? Are you passive in your day to day life or do you take the time to go for walks/ get public transport whenever possible?

If you are eating lots of fatty and sugary foods then not only are they unhealthy for your body but also your voice. Remember, your voice is part of your body so what you put inside of you affects the whole of you, and not just your waist line. Try to eliminate heavy fatty foods and swap them with healthier options. Example: if you really love your milk then swap if for skimmed milk or even better unsweetened almond milk. Instead of getting a take away every Friday why don’t you make your own “fake away” at home? Instead of frying your chips bake them instead. Making all these healthy changes will not only keep your body in tip top shape but you will start to feel good about yourself too.

For your voice in particular, dairy is a big no no, but not exactly off limits. You can have dairy if your heart desires, but not too much. This is because the vocal chords work by vibrating together with a thin layer of mucus lubricating them. If there is no lubrication then they wont vibrate properly (which is why it’s important to stay hydrated – preferably with water). If theres too much mucus in the way they wont be able to vibrate properly, which is the cause of a dairy overload, so make sure dairy is down to a minimum. Fatty and sugary foods also affect this, and the best way to keep the mucus in check is to drink lots of water.

So how much water should you drink? Well, if you do a little bit of research some sources will tell you to drink 2 litres exactly, some tell you to drink less than this and others tell you to keep drinking water until your urine is clear. Personally I drink 4 litres of water a day (around 7 pints) but I’ve spent about 3 years working myself up to that. Water is the best thing for your body so keep drinking it every day. Yes you will find you go to the toilet a lot at the start but you will get used to it. You can cut up some fruit and veg and pop it in a jug to give the water a different flavour. Check out my lemon and cucumber water for a bit of inspiration.

If you find your voice is always horse this might mean that you have acid reflux, which is a common diagnosis among singers. A horse voice might just mean you have bad singing technique, however reflux symptoms can include having indigestion during the day and a burning throat, really really bad breath and sore throat/ horse voice in the morning. If this happens then you need to eliminate most acidic foods from your diet, and again drink lots of water. For more info about acid reflux read this book. Saved my life literally.

Remember that your instrument is inside your body, so while all your band mates will be able to function properly at a gig right after having a huge indian take away, you won’t. One of the best things to have pre gig is a salad or something with bread like a sandwich., The more veg included the better as it’s full of water and wont make you burp!

Now lets talk about exercise. Personally I love to dance and sing at the same time. I like to shake my hips and get my knees up high and jump around like a complete loony at my gigs. When I first started my career, I found this difficult to do so i started brisk walking while talking to build up my stamina. I started jumping on the spot in my singing practices at home and now I’m quite good at sorting out a dance off without getting out of breath whenever I’m gigging. My point is, if I hadn’t of decided to train myself and my body physically, I still wouldn’t be able to do this now. It fascinates me when i see Beyonce singing and going all out with her epic dance moves at the same time. This is a skill she’s worked hard on for probably the past 20+ years (possibly way back to the Destiny’s Child days), and it looks & sounds amazing! you can tell she puts in the hard work EVERY SINGLE DAY so I cant stress enough how important it is to work out as well as eat right if you want long jeverdy in this business.

I love hearing from other singers on how they keep themselves healthy and what they do it for their art, so if you have any tips for me then let me know in the comments bellow. I hope this has helped you become a better singer/ eater. The next blog in the series will be about practicing.

 

Lemon and cucumber water


Since losing 3 stone since September, I’ve been on a healthy hike! Every morning I wake up and drink 1 pint of water with a slice of Lemon in it. It really helps clear my throat and is also a refreshing start to my day. However, I’ve been thinking of other water ideas for my morning routine, and having going to a hair salon last week and being served a cucumber water I thought what woud lemon and cucmber water taste like?

I dcided to give it a go and it wasnt half bad! The cucumber gives a nice fresh essence while the lemon gives it a sweet and tangy taste. I absoutely love it and have been making it every day!

All you need is one lemon, a cucumber and a water jug. And some water (obviously). I get my water from the filtered water despencer in my fridge. 

I cut my Lemon first. Cutting the ends off and disregarding them, then I slice the lemon into 3 large slices, then into quarters.

Next the cucumber. I slice up 6 large chunky slices, then half them.

I chuck it all into the jug and then fill with water. And volia! Refreshing and interesting water made from home.

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Let me know what you think of the recipe and share your thoughts and photos of your own water masterpieces via my instagram and twitter.

So you want to become a singer? A beginners guide to singing Part 2: Money


This is the second part in a 5 part blog series covering the ins and outs of being a professional singer. You can check out Part 1 here. I’m not talking about becoming a famous singer, although that could always happen! Instead I’m going to be focusing on other avenues in your singing career rather than this being a ‘how to be a pop star” blog post.

MONEY!

Firstly, ask yourself why you want to become a singer? Is it just for the money? Do you seek fame and fortune or do you want to become a singer because you are passionate about music, and you want to express your feelings to the world through music and singing? If it’s the latter then you’re in for a great career. If you would much rather seek fame and fortune then I’de suggest sleeping with a famous rich man; it’s a lot easier and quicker.

Yes money is a small perk of the job, IF you are good at what you do and leave a good reputation with others. Otherwise, it can be a non stop battle for work, competing with other like minded singers for a 3hour spot at your local pub or club receiving the bare minimum in payment.

Before I started writing my own music I began my singing career at local pubs and Clubs throughout essex and London. I was trying so very hard to establish myself as an entertainer, often getting let down by the awful venues and terrible turn outs to practically every single gig. Don’t get me wrong, some gigs are great especially the parties and weddings, but these types of gigs often come round scarcely, so making money through pubs and social clubs are your best bet for a regular income.

When starting out my average pay was about £150 for x3 45min sets, most likely between the hours of 9 – 12pm or 8 -11pm. To make a good living you would need to do at least 2 of these gigs a week, and as venues normally don’t put on music during the week you’re looking at doing back to back gigs on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

After performing for a few years my average pay went up to £180/£200 and the sets got shorter. I was getting that pay for x2 60min sets which is a lot less strenuous on your voice. Personally, I would just do one long set of 1.5hrs instead of two or three, but it’s not up to me unfortunately.

Of course, some venues may ask you to play for longer and ask you to accept a smaller payment (like play for 3 hours for £50), which you should SAY NO to. Why? Well, if I undercut my friend by £10, and then you undercut me by another £20, it’s telling the venue that they can get singers for around £100 instead of £150. Before you know it all the venues in the area will be asking you to play for £90 a night or even worst PLAY FOR FREE, which obviously you don’t want to do. Some people might argue that “it’s for exposure/ to get your name out there” but we’re trying to make a career out of singing, not a hobby, so let’s leave the standards the way they are and say a big fat NO to people who ask you to reduce your price.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule, like for example if you were playing a venue 4 – 5 times a week you might want to offer them a discount, like £120 a gig instead of £150, or you could draw up a contract and ask for a bulk amount per month for performing regularly. If you get a job on a cruise ship then you most certainly will get a contract for payment per month and not per show.

If you are worried about the amount of money you’re charging for a gig then you can always get in touch with Equity or Musicians Union for their recommended prices to charge per job.

Again, different kind of jobs will pay differently. if you’re interested in becoming a tribute artists, then you could be looking at getting £300- £700+ for one performance. You can always find out about singing jobs online via starnow or singerspro.

Remember! If you are booked through any agencies, regardless or not wether its online or over the phone/ in person, you will have to pay them a commission rate (usually around 10-20%) EG: My agent “FindAsinger” get me a gig for next week for £150 and charges me 15% commission, I would have to pay them £22.50, therefore I walk away with £127.50.

Don’t forget, as a singer you are a self employed entity and all of your gross income (before deductions, like petrol and agent fees) are subject to tax! So don’t forget to fill in your tax return and keep all your receipts to claim back any deductible items.

Again, if you’re wondering what the hell you could use as deductions for self employment, the MU and Equity may have some useful advice for you. For a flexible guideline I always put down deductions as: Anything officey, anything musical, anything to do with looks/ makeup/ hair/ attire and any equipment you use. Other not so obvious deductions are anything to do with your car if you drive, studio time, agent fees, advertising, directory fees etc.

One final advice about the money side of things: Yes, you may just hit the jackpot and get loads of work and live the fabulous life of a singer. But don’t let your life revolve around money. Don’t strain yourself to make a heap of cash doing lots of awfully paid gigs to try and “establish yourself”. Spend only on the necessary items you need and keep the rest for a rainy day, or invest it back into your career.

So you want to become a singer? A beginners guide to singing Part 1: Gigs and career


So you want to become a singer? Well, let me tell you now, it’s not an easy ride. We’re talking about going through a whole lifestyle revamp just for your career, you might even be living on a very VERY small income and making huge sacrifices just for your art. Still interested? Read on!

This is the first part in a 5 part blog series covering the ins and outs of being a professional singer. I’m not talking about becoming a famous singer, although that could always happen! Instead I’m going to be focusing on other avenues in your singing career rather than this being a ‘how to be a pop star” blog post.

 

Gigs and career

As a singer you will be lucky enough to have such a range of diverse options throughout your career. For an outsider they might presume singers can only have one type of gig, but in fact there are many different avenues for revenue. Obviously, gigs will be an integral part of your career, but you don’t have to be in the spotlight for every gig.

The definition of a gig is:

“Gig is slang for a musical engagement hired. Originally coined in the 1920s by jazz musicians, the term, short for the word “engagement”, now refers to any aspect of performing such as assisting with performance and attending musical performance” Taken from Wikipedia

So in essence, it’s basically any kind of hired musical job that involves performance. As for not being in the spotlight, gig types could include being part of a choir, band, vocal harmony group or even a backing singer. Of course however, there’s always the solo gig with backing tracks, popular among local establishments but hated by other musicians. Backing track gigs are frowned upon so much by the musician community as it is seen as deterring away from live music and putting real playing musicians out of pocket. (I will probably write a blog post about this issue at some point).

If your goal is to make a full time income through singing then you might need to establish yourself in a host of different groups or “musical projects” to earn a decent living. A lot of singers make their living as part of choirs, a couple of different bands and of course the good old backing track gigs. This is a great way of adding more income as you may need to rely on the availability of people within these groups. Sometimes those people might not be available for certain dates whether they are doing music part time or just in another band, which is why it is always good to have a couple of different projects going at the same time. If you stick with one function band but the guitarist is always unavailable because they have to work nights on Saturdays then you’re in for a problem if you want singing to be your career.

Once established as part of a group, or if you’re going solo, the next step is to get some promotional material together. This can be in the form of photos, MP3s and of course videos. Making your promo material look like you are an interesting performer and can captivate an audience is always a plus, so try and get a very high quality live performance show reels if possible.

With a fantastic promotional pack you can start finding and applying for gigs. There are many many gigs available for singers including parties, weddings, pubs, clubs barmitsvahs and even house concert. Gigs can happen outside or inside, at hotels, festivals, holiday parks, restaurants… you get the idea.

You could decide to go on tour with your group, which could be very lucrative but also challenging if people have families or jobs back at home. I know a couple of singers who go on tour for a couple of months around the UK doing tribute shows like ABBA, dirty dancing and Motown evenings. If you are going to do these kind of gigs then you need to make sure you have a well polished show as these evenings are more likely to have the audience seated.

If touring sounds appealing to you then you might like to consider being a backing vocalst for an artist. These tours are mostly larger and longer, and you could end up being in a different country every other day! The work wouldn’t just stop at live stage performances as artist’s are normally required to do special promotional performances during the days too.

If you are lucky enough to look like a certain famous singer, from both past and present, then you may be able to create a tribute to that artist. Please remember that you must look AND sound like the artist, trying to create an authentic representation of the person you are impersonating. I’ve seen many terrible Elvis impersonators, and only a handful of absolutely amazing tribute artists.

If you’re adamant on travelling gigging around the world the gigs abroad may be your call. There is lots of work outside of the UK, via cruise ships and also holiday resorts. Of course, these might be “season only” based, but the majority of work for seasons is around March – November, meaning you could work for 9 months, come home for 3 and then back out to work for another 9 months. In certain holiday resorts and on almost all sea based contracts your food and board are paid for, meaning you wont have to spend a penny while working. You will have to pay for essentials though like toiletries, clothing and medication, possibly water depending on which country you are working in.

A non live based gig you could land is in the world of session singing. Now a niche and closed off path of singing, this career area is all about connections. You could be able to sing backing vocals on an Ellie Golding songs or sing a lead guide vocal for a famous artist, a radio jingle singer or even a voice over artist for adverts. You could also be constructing the backing vocals and melody entirely for a song which means you will ned to have a good ear for harmonies. The perks of the jobs could be that you are always working behind the scenes, however you will most likely will be expected to sight read on the spot leaving no room prior rehearsals to your session, so being able to sight read is to your advantage. You could be able to work from home if you have a good home studio and know how to use all your own equipment, or may have to travel to a studio.

Trying to find gigs could prove difficult especially if you are unsure how to start so I would recommend becoming friendly with local agents who would be able to get your foot in the door. There are thousands of agencies in the UK, and you can search for some brilliant wedding agents online. If you really want to make as much money as possible doing singing then you can’t limit yourself to just one agent. Some artist’s may think they lose value by spreading themselves among a huge array of agents… they are also the artist’s who are only making a part time income from their singing career. You will be required to give an agent a cut of your profit normally around 12 – 20%. Performer directories work just as well as agents, however instead of paying a commission percentage, you will often be required to pay for an anual membership for being on the directory.

Lastly, another avenue that is open to all musicians is teaching in your chosen instrument. Of course I would expect that if you going to use this to subsidise your income then taking up basic teaching qualifications and also singing and vocal coaching courses are an absolute must! Please do not try to teach someone if you do not have the basic knowledge because you never know the damage you could be doing to a budding singer. I have so many stories of absolutely awful singing teachers I’ve had in the past, I could probably write a book. The kind of “advice” and “training” they gave me in the past made me develop a cyst on my vocal chords, causing permanent scarring on my vocal chords even after the cyst had disappeared.

I hope you’ve found all of this information useful to you in your quest to become professional singer. If you have any questions then get in touch. In the next blog post of this series I will be talking about Money!

 

2016 goals


The Lilypad

NEW YEAR new you. Sounds like a phrase everyone will be saying this week. The majority of New Years Resolution’s” tend to lean towards heath and exercise, money saving and deciding to do more of something. Most resolutions are un reachable, a lot of us tend to think we’re some sort of super human to be able to achieve the extraordinary. Don’t get me wrong, if you put your mind to it then anything is possible, but realistically speaking someone trying to lose 2 stone a week or able to run a marathon in 30 minutes who’s never ran a day since secondary school seems a bit far fetched.

I don’t DO resolutions, I do goals. Something more tangible that’s also measurable. In august I wrote my mid year goals post, trying to make the most of the rest of 2015, and it went something like this:

  1. Do something with my hair
    (Done! Had a shorter cut, layers and fringe in September)
  2. Regularly update my blog and youtube channel
    (Sort of done. I’ve definitely been updating my blog on the regular but my youtube could use a little TLC)
  3. Take bluebell for walks more often (before it gets too cold 
    (DONE! We’ve got into a morning routine, I have my breakfast then we go for a walk, she then gets her breakfast afterwards)
  4. Write more songs
    (Even thought I’ve been in the studio recently it still doesn’t mean I’ve written any more material)
  5. Go out and enjoy life
    This just hasn’t happened.

So I guess hitting 2.5 out of the 5 goals I had set for august is pretty much an achievement. I mean I’m the kinda person who says something and never does it, never actually finishes anything, so this is a great accomplishment (go sabrina!)

For 2016, I’ve decided to give myself goals in 4 different categories: Weight & Health, Exercise, Lifestyle, Music and Business. Every month I’m going to set a specific smaller goal for each of these categories so I can actually achieve the bigger goal by the end of the year. I’m hoping that taking baby steps each month to achieve the “bigger picture” is what’s going to help me accomplish things this year.
By the end of the year I want to accomplish:

Weight and health:
1. My goal weight/ be able to wear and buy from normal size shops
2. To feel confident and productive in my life

Exercise
1. Run a 5k in 35mins
2. To enjoy regular exercise

Lifestyle
1. Have a minimalist approach to my things
2. To have an organisation system in place
3. To have a clear mind and clear body

Music and business
1. Reach 1,000 youtube subscribers
2. Have 1,500 mailing list subscribers
3. Have regular interactions on all my SM outlets

Let me know if you have any goals for 2016 and how you plan to accheive them.

What I got for Christmas 2015!


Seasons greetings! I hope ya’ll had a fantastic christmas like i did!

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As you might know, I absolutely adore Christmas and the majority of that joy lies in the presents. I rarely ever ask for something I’m never going to use or need, and that’s probably why I love christmas so much – I receive the things I yearn for!

This may just be my last blog post of 2015, and it’s so scary to think that I only started blogging a couple of months ago, and the blog is already receiving a great turn out from viewers. (yay!).

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Happy new year, and I’ll see you on the other side in 2016 🙂

Christmas tree brownies!


So, Christmas is less than a week away! (yaaayy!) I love a bit of baking, especially at Christmas time when my family is at home and can eat all my delicious goodies.

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This year, I’ve decided to make some christmas tree brownies. They are super delicious, but hold your fire if you’re a health freak, they’re not the healthiest things you’ve seen in the world. But hey, it’s christmas so let’s indulge a bit!

For these spectacular brownies you will need:

  • 200ml olive oil
  • 130g Dark brown soft sugar
  • 200g Golden granulated sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g coca powder
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pan to cook the brownies in

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For the decorations you will need:

  • Icing sugar
  • sprinkles/ hundreds and thousands/ decorative sugar

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So firstly, chuck all brownie ingredients in a bowl and beat them together. You should find that the mixture ‘clumps’ together which is fine, that’s just the oil sticking everything together.

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After you’ve beaten this bad boy prepare your shallow baking tray by spreading a dollop of  butter on the inside of the tray with a paper towel. Using butter will help the mixture to lift off of the tray and not stick. It will also give it a nice crisp texture when cooled.

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Bung it in the oven for around 25/30mins on 180 degree temp. While the brownies are cooking you can move onto prepping for the toppings. Prepare the icing sugar by mixing two tablespoons of icing powder with one tablespoon of water. Make sure it’s not too runny or thick. The icing sugar will help keep the toppings on the brownie.

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Taking the brownies out of the oven, make sure they cool a little before cutting them into triangles. To do this simply cut down the middle of the pan, then cut in diagonal lines across the pan just like in the photo.

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Now for decorating. Place each brownie on grease proof paper, and using a spoon pick up a bit of icing sugar and let it drip off the spoon while moving it from side to side on the brownie. Sprinkle some 100s and 1000s for decoration. nice and sparkly! (I added red food dye in the icing sugar thinking it would show on the brownie. I was very wrong!)

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You can then eat these by themselves warm (Yum!) or serve with some whipped cream or ice cream. If you make your own version of these, please share your masterpieces with me via twitter or email. Happy baking!

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Date Night: Imperial War Museum


FINALLY! We managed to get our asses down to the Imperial War Museum after weeks of putting it off (from Mitchell). Afterwards he told me “Oh, I actually really enjoyed that, we should come back soon” … mmmmhhhhmmm

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I had an appointment in Bond street at 12pm, so we made our way to the museum afterwards. Mr clever clogs decided to find the way to the museum via IFiona (His Iphone that he loves more than me apparently) which told us to get off at Chancery lane and take a 45 minute walk… wait WHAT?! Yes, there is a nearer station to the museum – Elephant & Castle – but Mitchell’s fucking fantastic response  “Well, you’ve always said you wanted to walk around London” pissed me off right to the edge I walked off in a huff, hence we walked. (Good thing I wore sensible shoes!)

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Unfortunately, because we got there at around 2pm, after we had lunch we only had a couple of hours at the museum which was a shame because we couldn’t take all the information in, nor did we go to all the floors. (I still blame Mitch for this)

If you’re thinking of visiting the museum any time soon, without doubt we both suggest you check out the Holocaust floor (4th floor I think). The stories I read and the things I saw were absolutely horrific, defiantly something I wasn’t taught in school, and I honestly couldn’t believe how sick and twisted humans can be.

Being a witness to the recent events taking place in the world right now I hope for a brighter future where everyone can live in harmony regardless of race gender or belief. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself any time soon.

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My date night suggestions


Suggestions

 

So if you don’t know, myself and Mitchell have been trying our best to keep up our bi-weekly date nights. Since we’re both living at home with the parents it’s hard trying to find alone time. I have about 5 people living in my house, including me, and if you’re counting bluebell then thats 6. If Mitch comes over, suddenly the house is awfully crowded and before you know it everyone is fighting for a chair to sit on. Having regular date night’s/ days helps us to have personal time together away from everyone else. (It also helps me to get out of the house once in a while)

Bellow I’ve compiled a list of date night/ day suggestions, mostly being one’s I’de like to do (nudge nudge Mitchell). I’ve also put these into price categories. I’m really sorry that most of these are within the London area, but I’m sure you can find alternatives in your area.

At the moment as I’m so poor, we’re trying to stick to date nights bellow £30. (All prices Per adult person)

Totally Free

  • Regents park
  • Green Park
  • Hyde Park (Our favourite place)

Free(ish)
Admission is most likely free but certain exhibitions may cost

  • Imperial war museum
  • Tate Britain
  • Tate Modern
  • Sacchi Gallery
  • V&A museum
  • Museum of London
  • British Museum

Less than £30

  • Harry Potter Tour (£30)
  • Winter Wonderland (£7 – £15 per attraction)
  • Hampton Court Palace (£18 – £19)
  • Kensington Palace (£15 – £17)
  • Houses of Parliament tours (£18 – £30)
  • Kew Gardens (£9 – £17)
  • Buckingham Palace (£21 – £37)
  • Tower of London (£25 – £30)

£31 – £60

  • Home date nights/ film, Dominos and BnJ night in (We spend roughly £35 or so)
  • Local theatre shows and gigs (Anywhere between £10 – £35)
  • Bars/ pub (Depending on how much you drink £40 – £50)

£61 +

  • West End shows, burlesques, dinner and dance (£65 – £100)
  • Eating out. (£30 – £75)
    Obviously you could eat on the cheap but there are some amazing restaurants in London to try out. Also, when we go out for a meal I expect at least two courses and a couple of drinks, otherwise we might as well go for a quick at McDonalds. Hardly romantic!

 

 

 

I’ve Been signed! (And I’m giving away free music)


Band-Management-Universal-jpg-1On 3rd October 2015 I signed with BMU, a fantastic management company who are literally bending over backwards to help me succeed. These guys are great and really passionate about music –  my music.  I’ve kept this secret in for SO LONG ever since they approached me all I wanted to do was tell the world, but now I’m officially on board I thought now would be an appropriate time.

As a celebration for my new musical venture I’m going to be giving away copies of my debut EP, Open Heart Therapy for free! Yep, you heard that right! Once the CDs are out of stock they won’t be coming back so make sure you get in quickly and get your copy. You can still however, get a free download from my website or my bandcamp page at any time if you prefer.

To get your hands on a copy simply sign up to the mailing list and include the postal address you would like your copy sent to. If you’re already on the mailing list then you can also change/ add your details.

 

 

My “Go to” makeup routine


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Hiya lovelys.
So, I’m not exactly the one to wear a full face of makeup every day. In fact, I’m pretty much a naked face person, rarely putting on “my face”  unless we’re going out on an important date or I have a gig; only to look some what presentable and obviously when I’m performing, you need your features to stand out a bit more than usual (and to not look washed out with the lighting).

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Most of the time though if I do desperately need to put makeup on I’ll chuck on my “half face”. Mitch loves it when I call it that, he describes it as “Not giving a shit makeup” which couldn’t be nearer to the truth. This look takes around 10ish minutes for me to do, and I love the feeling of hardly wearing anything on my face.Naked face

So, I start off this look by putting on concealer. I’ll put it on my breakout’s and of course my awful bags! Then I’ll get my Estee Lauder pressed powder and dab that on my face. I am actually in love with this powder because it has great coverage without making you look like you’re caked in makeup.  I’ll then do my eyebrows, using a dark brown eyeshadow to fill in and shape.

Conealer, foundation, eyebrows

After the eye shadow I move onto my eyes. I almost always do a winged eyeliner using a small liner brush and a gel liner from Maybelline. I normally use liquid eyeliner, but thought I’de give gel liner a go for once so this is my first ever purchase of gel liner. Since buying it back in July, I have quite a lot left so it defiantly lasts longer than a liquid, but I don’t think I’m sold on the whole gel liner thing.

I also put a medium brown eyeshadow in my crease to add depth, and finish off my eyes with mascara. I use “they’re real” mascara from Benefit.

Left eye

Both eyes

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Lastly, I’ll put on a tiny bit of blush. I’ve gone for a darker/ orange coloured blush today as I feel this colour suits my skin more than a pinky colour. This blush is old and I really must invest in a new one, but for now it works for me! I normally skip the lippie, unless we are going out for the evening, then I’ll most likely put on a red lip.Final 3

And there you have it! I hope you enjoy my photos, all courtesy of Mitch my photographer for the day. 🙂