Thursday, 16 November 2017

Liverpool's Sound with LFCTV

Last week, I was invited to Anfield to watch the official screening of Liverpool's Sound, a documentary by LFCTV which is a 'tribute to the inimitable Anfield noise' - sadly I couldn't go, but they kindly let me send my brother in my place so here's a guest post from him all about the evening...

Have you ever been invited to a press event at one of your favourite places in the world, arrived and been told you’re too early so had to sit in the car and drain your phone battery playing Candy Crush for an hour like an absolute lemon? Well I have…

Before I get into this I would just like to thank Liverpool Football Club for accommodating such a special evening, LFCTV for the opportunity and the pub for putting Katy on the rota meaning she couldn’t attend. I guess I should also probably thank Katy for giving me the opportunity to attend on her behalf but knowing her she’ll probably try and play this off as being my Christmas present or something!

Anyway, Katy was invited by Liverpool Football Club to attend as special guest screening of a new LFCTV documentary entitled ‘Liverpool’s Sound’. Unfortunately for her she had to work so I had the absolute pleasure of attending for her. When it was finally time to go in, after I had sat in the carpark for far too long, I was given the full red-carpet treatment and greeted with a beer. Can’t really ask for much more. Except maybe a 3-0 win against Chelsea after the International break…

Following this I was shown into the Reds Lounge in the newly refurbished Kenny Dalglish stand. It looked absolutely incredible and was full of refreshments. Slowly it started to fill up with invitees and staff and the drinks and popcorn began to flow. Around 7pm we were invited to sit down and were introduced to the documentary ‘Liverpool’s Sound’, expertly produced by Philip Reade and Mark Platt.

The story tells of the songs that are sung on the Kop during match days at Anfield and where they originated from, be it a group of friends on the couch back from an away game or a pub full of people celebrating a thrilling victory over a fierce rival. These people, sat in the audience amongst us, were interviewed and given the chance to reminisce about the good old days when Liverpool were arguably the best team in Europe, or at least the most successful. The documentary itself was funny, heart-warming and emotional and to get the chance to watch its premiere with the producers and the contributors and more importantly a room full of life long Liverpool fans, including an idol of my own growing up Jason McAteer.

After the documentary we were given the chance for a Q&A with the two producers Mark and Philip and a handful of the contributors to discuss what they thought about the overall final product that they had put so much time and effort in to create.

So all in all, a fantastic night at Anfield to support the premiere of LFCTV’s brand new documentary ‘Liverpool’s Sound’ which you can watch now on LFCTV and LFCTVGo if you are a subscribing customer! Huge congratulations to Philip Reade and Mark Platt on producing an incredible piece of work and a huge thanks to Liverpool Football Club for inviting us along!

Until next time, Josh.

Monday, 13 November 2017

My escape-the-office dreams...

You may know that I recently started an office job, and I'm slowly settling into it - I now have my own desk instead of borrowing someone else's, and while I'm not used to the early mornings just yet, the office clothes are something I can just about put up with now. But of course, like everyone else, I'm always dreaming of where I'd rather be and Furniture at Work™ challenged me to tell you all about it.

My bed, of course, is probably number one - leaving it at 6.30 every morning is The Worst, especially on cold mornings when I have to travel 1.5 hours to get to the office using public transport and I'm too skint to treat myself to a maccies breakfast. What I wouldn't give to stay tucked up there just that little bit longer.

In terms of working, though, I wish I could work from home; my own desk with my own laptop and pens and fairy lights, snacks, music on in the background, nobody coughing and sniffling around me. Of course it's not practical otherwise I'm sure everybody would be working from home, but it's definitely the dream for me - as well as any sort of remote working, like sitting in a coffee shop or in a spa (do people do that?) or on a beach.

Mostly I dream of being on holiday - a 5* all-inclusive spa resort or a hostel in a noisy city full of people, it doesn't really matter to me. Being abroad (or really, not even abroad - just away from everyday life) is so truly magical. I've been so lucky in terms of travelling this year, but I've worked hard to be able to do so and I can't wait to go away again so I'm always dreaming of my next jaunt. I'm desperate to go to Marrakesh, and Sofia is high on my list too; Disneyland and Disneyworld are always firm holiday-dreams of mine, and there's never a time when I'm not dreaming of being in Poland - Kraków, Poznan, or a new city entirely. Really, anywhere - I just looooove exploring.

But really, my office is very laid back and my job isn't too hard - I'm pretty lucky, although I think most people wish they were somewhere else when they're trawling through emails on a Monday morning! Tell me where you would escape the office & go to...

Collaborative post with Furniture at Work. See my disclaimer for more info.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Newton Faulkner live in Liverpool

I'm really getting into reviewing live music, and maybe I don't do it in the same way that music mags and publications do but when has my blog ever followed any rules? When I was offered the chance to attend & review Newton Faulkner's gig in Liverpool, I jumped at the chance - one of my best memories is driving all the way to Wales on December with my uncle, and Newton Faulkner being on the playlist. Music has the power to evoke feelings and memories you might otherwise have forgotten, and live music especially. Here's how it went...

We arrived at the box office to pick up our tickets and made our way inside, grabbing a pint each (thank u O2 Priority for your 2-for-1 offer) and heading for the balcony. We decided to stay up there for the gig were there are seats and a bar, because it's not dance-around-til-you're-sweating sort of gig and we had a day of walking ahead of us the following day anyway, so the whole evening was just so chilled out.

Sam Brookes, the support act, was wonderful - he's incredibly talented and seems like a genuine guy. He's 24 but has talent far beyond his years in terms of his stunning voice and the way his hands move across and along and around the guitar, making this sound that is so unique and so so lovely. His set was relatively short, but amazing nonetheless and it was a pleasure to listen to him.

A short while later it was time for Newton Faulkner to come on stage; now, I've seen him once before but not in a gig setting - I saw him play the lead in American Idiot the musical last year so I already knew his voice was pure gold, but honestly I'd pretty much forgotten how good he is. And he is, SO good. It was just him and his guitar and some backing stuff (I'm no music expert but he was the only one on stage) and he owned it. He's softly spoken but so funny - the set list was interjected with comedy and brilliant one-liners, and he bounced off the crowd so well.

Song highlights included Dog Food Taster, Brick by Brick, and of course, Dream Catch Me - the song that brought Newton Faulkner to fame when Jo Whiley (legend) played it on the radio and the song that I love the most out of all of his. But really, every song was incredible and I know I'm not alone in thinking that. There are so many singular words I could use to sum up the gig, but one that sticks out is 'relaxed'. Everyone was so chilled, so laid back and happy, like we were in our own little bubble of love and calm despite everything that's going on in the world - and if that's not the sign of a good gig, I don't know what is.

All in all it was an incredible night and I can't WAIT to attend & review more gigs for y'all, so I really hope you've enjoyed reading this! Lemme know if you've seen anyone live lately I'd love to know.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Free things to do in Prague, CZ

Every city has a whole host of things you can do without spending a penny (or cent, or koruna) so we decided to check out the free things that Prague has to offer. I knew not all of them would be great, so I wanted to share my thoughts here so you make your own mind up as to whether you should spend your time here, or in a bar somewhere drinking beer that's less than a quid per pint.

Grotta // we found this on Atlas Obscura (not an #AD, just a cracking little website) and we knew we wanted to go and see it - turns out it was a five minute walk from our apartment in Prague 10, nestled in a lovely park. It's an artificial cave, made in the 1800s by a millionaire and renovated in 2011, which has a fountain and crumbling walls and perfect photo opportunities. Hands down one of the most weird and wonderful things I've ever seen abroad!

Man Hanging Out // we did go out of our way to find this statue of Sigmund Freud hanging from a building, but if you're in the area (the interception of Husova and Skorepka) anyway you just need to look up. It's a bit meh - you can't actually tell it's Freud, and it's just a statue really, but worth tilting your head up if you're there.

Piss Sculpture // Sam found out about this one and she was dying to see it, so we wandered up from near the bridge and found it, with the help of Google maps, in a little courtyard where the Kafka museum is. It's pretty strange but also pretty cool, and there's a little gingerbread shop in the same courtyard so everything smells AMAZING. This one I would say is worth a visit to - if only for the next stop on this list...

Viewpoint // this one doesn't have an official name, but when we were visiting the the aforementioned Piss Sculpture I happened to notice a little gate between two buildings - at first glance it seemed to be nothing more than a car park but something told me to check it out anyway and so we did, only to be rewarded with an unobstructed view of the river and the bridge. There were two other couples down there and we all ended up doing mini photo shoots on the wall, and it was so serene and lovely.

Žižkov TV Tower // we got a taxi here, like right to the tower itself, which in retrospect was a stupid move. The tower has giant babies crawling up it but if you're right at the base of the tower you can barely see them - best to stop few roads away if you want to see them properly. Pretty cool, but just driving past would have been good enough for me I reckon.

Prague Meridian // if you're in the old town square, you'll definitely see this so it's not like you'll have to go out of your way - we could barely see it as they were building a stage for a festival, but it's pretty cool. They used to use it to tell the time and it's just a bit of gold on the floor, but interesting nonetheless.

John Lennon Wall // you'll be fighting off other tourists but this one is well worth a visit for the photo opportunities, buskers, jaw-dropping art work - it's so colourful and bright and everyone seemed so happy to be there. Plus it's only a few minutes walk from the Charles Bridge, which is something most people visit when they're in Prague (hence why I've not included it on this list!)

Fred & Ginger // also known as the dancing houses, these are two buildings that apparently look like they're dancing. They don't, really, but they're funky and cool to look at - I wanted to sneak upstairs to see the view from the inside but alas, Sam said we'd get caught which is probably true; it's a really posh hotel now, and it's definitely now on my list of dream hotel stays (blog post coming soon.....)

There's the obvious things like the astronomical clock and of course the Charles Bridge, and there's some other free bits we didn't get round to seeing and doing - but here's the ones we did do, so you can decide if you wanna do them or not!

Monday, 6 November 2017

My new in beauty first impressions

Let me preface this post by saying these things aren't necessarily new releases, they're just things that are new to me or that I've recently been sent. Without further ado, here's what I've got in my new-in beauty stash and my first impressions on them!

Urban Decay Trouble Maker is a mascara that's meant to be sex-proof, and ever since they sent it over I've been planning to test those claims out but to be honest, I just don't like the mascara. My lashes are straight, short and stumpy so I need something that can do it all, and this just doesn't - all it seems to do is make them look black. I'm gonna try it a few more times, though, because there's been plenty of mascaras that I've hated at first but then gone on to love (cough cough Too Faced Better Than Sex).

Nivea sent me a few products, one being their deodorant in this fancy limited edition can made in collaboration with Matthew Williamson which is, really, just a deodorant - but it does its job and smells nice, and I'd definitely buy it again. The can is one that you can 'lock', too, so there's no chance of it accidentally spraying all over your bag if something is leaning on it! They also sent me the Express Hydration body lotion which is really hydrating and doesn't irritate the skin at all, so it's perfect if you have eczema or sensitive skin like me; as well as this, they sent over their Q10 plus C anti-wrinkle eye cream which is being donated to my mother, an eye cream connoisseur, who might do a review if I ask her nicely.

Essentialle are a luxury French skincare brand who have recently launched in the U.K (find them here) and I was lucky enough to receive one of their facial oils - they sent me the Revival Nectar, which retails for £70 and is jam packed with ingredients to rehydrate dry skin and leave it feeling plump. It's reaaallly thick as facial oils go but smells amazing and feels nice; I'll update you if I notice any amazing changes in my skin.

Pixie are often sending out little boxes of goodies, and I've had two recently; one had some of the Glow Tonic To Go pads in, which are cotton pads pre-soaked with their coveted glow tonic. They're stronger than the glow tonic so not something I'd use every day or anything, but perfect if your skin really needs some oomph and I do really like them. They also sent a bunch of lip products including three of the Matte Lustre Lipsticks which are pigmented, nourishing and oh so pretty. I can't wait to wear them some more - selfies to come on Twitter I'm sure!

Crabtree & Evelyn sent me some goodies from their Goatmilk & Oat range, which is perfect for people with sensitive skin. It smells so nice and clean, and if you know me you'll know that their hand cream is one of the only ones I like - the little tubes are so easy to chuck in your bag and they soak in so quickly. There's a body lotion, too, which is lovely and again soaks in really quick, so it's perfect if you're in a rush. The hand cream is in the bathroom for when we run out of our current one, but I've tried a bit and it's so nourishing as well as doing its job.

As always, thank you to the lovely brands who send me products to review! If anyone wants to see in-depth posts about any of these, let me know :)