Sunday, 23 November 2014

Life Lately For Me And Mine

I was hoping to be posting a few good things up here lately, but plans have fallen flatter than a flat thing and life, well you just couldn't make this up.

While in town a few weeks back I decided to advance buy a ticket for our local fireworks display. I'd not really been out to anything in ages, and hoping for good weather impulse bought a ticket. Now £6 isn't a fortune, but it's still money I'd rather not waste, so I wasn't too happy to come down with a cold just before the day of the display. It was at that stage where I really didn't feel like standing out in the cold so I gave that a miss.

Around the same time I was very lucky to win a pair of tickets to a session at the O2 ATP Tennis Finals in London. Was so surprised and pleased, especially given the tickets were worth £128 and over a thousand people entered the Facebook competition. As it would be too much for my anxiety I mainly entered for Mum, who was really looking forward to going. Unfortunately she fell ill not long after I did, and although was hoping to feel better on the day, decided it was too much. It was the right decision to make, but she was really looking forward to it, it was too late to pass the tickets on to someone, and she's still not over what she caught.

So I don't have lots of fun things to blog about today, and I'm sitting here writing after a long week or so of cooking, shopping, work, then needing to take some time out myself as I had a short period of feeling under the weather.

I might not be officially ill at the moment, but it's freezing outside so I am hunkering down with my blog and a hot drink. Hopefully Mum will be back to normal soon (and my nephew who has had a cold as well) and we'll all be enjoying things a bit more. To cheer myself up I've just pre-ordered the new album from Olly Murs. Hopefully it will be as brilliant as his new single Wrapped Up is.

How about you guys? any good cold remedies to share, have you been hit by bugs? How are you cheering up the Winter months. Love to hear your thoughts and if you have any blog posts to warm us all up with Winter cheer do post them below.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Shopping For My Nephew

When my sister first said she was expecting a baby I was pretty shocked, it was a surprise to her as well, but for me something I didn't think was on the cards for a long while. Now we have a cheeky, lively 2 year old in our family and it's fascinating watching him grow, learn, and develop. I'm second in line for book reading, always get picked out for songs, and we have done an awful lot of Lego building. It also means I get to shop for a little one, something which I have done hardly any of - big kid trips to toy shops!!!

I've impulse bought the odd little toy or t-shirt, and had a birth, birthday, and Christmases to buy for, so I think I'm getting into the swing of things, though there are a few challenges - mainly that little man gets an awful lot of stuff - presents from Mum and Dad, me, Nan, my sisters boyfriends side of the family, sometimes some friends of theirs. Normally there's a bit of co-ordination going on within our core group to try and be different, but even then it doesn't always work.



I'm pretty pleased with some of my early buys though, both from Argos, and both which he is still playing with a year later. His first birthday and Christmas presents were a set of soft animal skittles and a little train on a track that can either bet fixed as a circle, or a flat wave. I think these type of toys worked as he seemed to grow with them in a way, figuring out what to do with them, and what they are, then finding new ways to play with them - the train track has been 'broken' and put together so many times, while the skittles have been thrown about, or we've all played and Joey's giggles have filled the air as he found great fun in 'cheating'.

With Christmas fast approaching I have already got most of his present ready to wrap, I just need to find something for his little stocking I made him last year. Being creative I can't wait to see his face when he opens up his crafty gifts.

Have you any favourites from your childhood you are introducing to your little ones, what toys do you secretly want to play with too? Let me know your thoughts below.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

T.I.N.A - Fuse ODG - Album Review



Normally I am introducing my soon to be 2 year old nephew to all the wonderful things of this world, but on this occasion it was the other way round, as it was his dancing around to a song either on the radio or TV that alerted me to FUSE ODG. Since Joey was taken by the song I used SONG ID to find out what it was, and now it's one of my favourite catchy, bounce around the house kind of tunes.

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review the full FUSE ODG album, which landed on my doormat this week, and I was quite excited to hear what else the Ghanaian South Londoner had to offer. I'll be the first to admit Afrobeat is not a genre I know a whole lot about, but I think I'll be doing some research from now on.

T.I.N.A is a 16 track album full of character, and featuring not just FUSE ODG and his musical style, but contributions from the likes of Wyclef Jean and Sean Paul. One of the first things that struck me after a listen was the honesty that seems to lie within all the tracks. The press release proclaims this album as an illustration of the artists love for his motherland, with T.I.N.A standing for - This Is New Africa. It's something I got a sense of and enjoyed.

If I hadn't already heard Dangerous Love and T.I.N.A I would have picked those out as potential singles, stand out tracks, and above all mood lifters. They are both easy to listen to, and have the right dose of commercial production for me to put them on at home, or request them when I'm out.

I was born and raised a pop fan, so while I didn't dislike any of the tracks, some of the heavier more electro beats and warped vocals got a little repetitive after I'd listened to the album a few times, while other tracks such as Antenna made my repeat play list and I had a little dance.

Possibly a little too much of the same for one record, but if this is a taste of 'New Africa' then I like it, and would like to hear more; maybe with some more female guest collaborations too.You don't sell over a million records in 12 months without putting the work in, but this album flows out of the speakers with a laid back ease that just makes his work seem effortless.

Are you a fan of Afrobeat? If you've bought this album or seen FUSE ODG live I'd love to hear your thoughts. I wonder what feel good music my nephew will introduce me to next?

T.I.N.A was released on 3BEAT and is out now, you can also click this link for his 2015 gig dates.

* This album was sent to me free of charge for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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