Blogmas?

It’s the first of December and the main word that I’ve been hearing for the past few days has been vlogmas/blogmas. It’s my first Christmas blogging and I have 2 big essays due in a few days so it doesn’t quite seem like the ideal time to be taking on something like this, however, once those essays are out of the way I actually have quite a few exciting things planned this month 🙂 So I’m going to make an effort to put at least a little Christmassy post up every day until Christmas eve!

So it’s the first of December and kind of aptly (I think) I had a dream about polar bears last night! So when I woke up today I decided to put on a documentary about polar bears which included a LOT of cute baby polar bears (if you haven’t seen one google them now they’re adorable).

I didn’t have much planned for today because of my deadlines but I did have an appointment at SK:N where I’m getting laser hair removal done. I’m currently having my underarms lasered. My main reason is because my skin doesn’t take to shaving very well, I get ingrown hairs and eczema in the area and also it pretty much just grows back by 2 days later. I’m so excited to not have underarm hair anymore! If anyone’s interested I can write a separate post on the whole process of laser hair removal.

Afterwards I headed to Tesco because I’ve had a real craving for cereal the past few days. I was pretty disappointed by the selection (no honey wheetabix minis and no clusters) so came away with tesco brand crunchy nut cornflakes. Anyway enough cereal talk.

In terms of Christmas shopping I’m actually quite prepared for this early on. I’ve already bought some of my mum’s presents, my grandma’s and my friends’ (luckily we do secret santa which makes it affordable). The only present I really have left to buy is one for my step-dad, a few bits and pieces to top off my secret santa and my mum’s presents. I’m not going to list the things I’ve bought here because someone might read it and figure out their present (hi ellie).

Another treat of today has been Taylor Swift finally releasing reputation on streaming services. I held out and didn’t buy the album because, well money, but I almost bought it yesterday morning before a train journey! Imagine if I’d done that only hours later for her to release it everywhere! I probably would’ve cried, but anyway all is well now and I’ve been listening to Delicate and Don’t Blame Me on repeat!

I don’t think I’ll have much time for festive reading this year because I have a few books I need to catch up on for my course (one of which is The Underground Railroad, definitely not festive). Also the books on my TBR shelf don’t really include any Christmassy ones 😦 but I am excited to see what everyone else in the blogging world will be reading over the holidays for future suggestions.

Well that’s been a bit of a mish mash of a post. I just thought it would be a nice way to kick off blogmas and later in the month my posts will probably get a bit better (when my essays are out of the way!)

Until next time,

J x

 

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TRNSMT Festival

Hey! So in my last post I mentioned that I’d been to a festival recently. I was in Glasgow from the 7th-9th of July for TRNSMT festival with some of my friends! It was really exciting and we all had an amazing time so I thought I’d do a post about it talking about some of my highlights!

We arrived by bus on the first day and rushed back to my friends flat to get ready. When we finally set off for the festival which was at Glasgow Green we were all feeling quite tipsy. We arrived in time for an amazing performance by London Grammar. I think they were probably one of my favourite acts of the weekend. Hannah Reid’s voice is just amazing.

London Grammar amazing performance at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
So here’s a very far away picture of London Grammar if anybody is interested.

Later on that evening we saw the headline act for that day which was only RADIOHEAD! I was so excited to see them and their performance didn’t disappoint. They played a range of songs from their many many albums including 15 Step and Daydreaming (two of my favourites). They didn’t play Creep though which a lot of people seemed pissed about.

Radiohead vibrant and energetic set at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
The following day, I’ll admit, I was slightly hungover. Not too hungover to get up and start drinking again by 11am (feel a bit sick thinking about that). Day 2 was by FAR my favourite day. The weather was amazing and to me it had the best line up! We arrived at the park in time for Stormzy’s performance, which we had all been looking forward to. We managed to get right down the front for it and there were a few mosh pits so the energy was insane. Stormzy had great stage presence and just seemed genuinely thrilled to be there which always makes a performance 10x better.

Young people dancing and celebrating in the crowds at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Young people chanting and enjoying music at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Stormzy lively performance at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
Saturday was just jam packed full of amazing acts and the next one we saw was The Kooks. I’ve loved The Kooks since I was a child but I never thought I’d see them live so this was a real treat. They played all the hits and one of my personal favourites Seaside. There was just good vibes al round when they were on stage, it was nostalgic in the best way.

After The Kooks George Ezra was on and as much as I like some of George Ezra’s songs we were all ravenous by this point so we made our way to the nearest burger van and got some food. I swear to god that burger I had was the best burger ever, the fact that I’d been drinking since morning definitely had nothing to do with it. A burger, cheesy chips and a pint of cider seemed like the perfect meal for that day…healthy too…

Later on one of my favourite bands ever Catfish and the Bottlemen came on stage. People were throwing blow up crocodiles around and it seemed like everybody there knew all the lyrics. It was amazing, every time they started playing the next song i was excited about what it was going to be! Unfortunately the BBC highlights show didn’t capture this, I tried to watch it when I got home and it cut out halfway through one of their songs? Rude.

Kasabian were the headliners for Saturday night and the whole crowd went mental. It was the perfect end to the night and Sergio Pizzorno was jumping off and on the stage and running along the front of the crowd, everyone loved it. If their hit songs weren’t enough to have the crowd going their stage presence definitely was.

blue smoke flares at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
On the final day it rained all day so it was out with the clear poncho things.

young people preparing for the rain with waterproof ponchos for TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
We all still had an amazing day though and because it was the last day everyone just went for it (and by that I mean drank way too much). It was my friend’s 21st birthday so we were all over excited.

We joked that Sunday was Scottish day because the headliners were Biffy Clyro and other acts included Twin Atlantic and Lewis Capaldi. The 1975 were a highlight for me that day, however, having never seen them live before I was kind of surprised by their image, I was expecting them to look more like a pop band than they did. We also enjoyed seeing Two Door Cinema Club and spent a bit of time at the Smirnoff House to listen to something a bit different.

There are a host of terrible pictures I could show you of everybody drenched and clutching bottles of echo falls but to preserve the dignity of myself and my friends I won’t. So here’s a nice one from before we went out instead.

young people at TRNSMT festival in Glasgow
The drinks were expensive, the weather was unpredictable but the atmosphere was brilliant. That’s all I’d expect from a festival in Scotland!

Until next time,

J x

this road is red alison irvine review

Books about Glasgow: Past and Present

The title of this post is probably a slight misrepresentation of what I’m going to talk about today. I’ve recently read 2 different, unrelated books about/set in Glasgow. One was written in 1992, Poor Things by Alasdair Gray (Click here!), and one in 2011, This Road is Red by Alison Irvine (Click here!). So when I say “past and present” I really mean “not really written that far apart in the grand scheme of things” but let’s just brush over that.

Poor Things – Alasdair Gray

poor things alasdair gray review

I recently read Poor Things for one of my English courses and then wrote on it in my exam (let’s not ponder that too much). Despite it having been published in 1992 the bulk of the book is set around the late 19th – early 20th century. It is the memoirs of Archibald McCandless and his experience with an old friend and his wife Bella Baxter. Without spoiling too much he describes how his friend and physician (Godwin, cleverly named I imagine) found a pregnant woman after a suicide attempt and salvaged her body and the brain of the fetus and created, essentially, a new human being from the two. Archibald then met and fell in love with this woman, Bella, despite her having the mind of a child. After McCandless finishes telling his story and we find, has died, Bella is left with the manuscript and adds her version of events on to the end.

The book won both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1992 and has been acclaimed for its intertextuality (frequently compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and full of Gothicism). Personally, I found it an engaging read and whether you’re from Glasgow or not I would recommend it. If you are from Glasgow though, you’ll recognise many of the landmarks referenced throughout the book, such as Park Circus and Charing Cross.

This Road is Red – Alison Irvine

this road is red alison irvine review

This book, in my mind, is decidedly more modern than Poor Things. It is set from the 1960’s to the late 2000’s, the majority of the lifespan of Glasgow’s Red Road flats. The flats garnered a lot of attention over the years, being the highest residential blocks in Europe when they went up and becoming an infamous slum in their later years. It’s no surprise that now, after they’ve been demolished, they remain culturally and historically significant.

I enjoyed this book so much. It contains so many different, interwoven, stories (almost in the style of Love Actually). Each of the stories is full, well rounded and interesting which makes each chapter of the book refreshing and exciting to read. Again I’d recommend this book wherever you are from. Simply as a work of fiction I rate it quite highly, but knowing that it is grounded in reality makes it all the more captivating. The book was also shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year award at the Saltire Society Awards in 2011.

I hope you enjoyed this little book post 🙂 if you’ve read either of these books or have any other suggestions please comment below!

Until next time,

J x

Found poetry in a classy Glasgow club toilet

I was just looking through all the pictures on my phone deleting all the screenshots and old, irrelevant crap when I came across a couple of pictures that caught my attention.

This post has no other point than to make you laugh (if you have a similar sense of humour to me).

I was pretty intoxicated when I took these pictures in a club called Flat 01 in Glasgow but I’m really glad I did!

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1

You know, I don’t really have much to say other than, to whoever wrote this, I like your message guys it’s a good one but I think you may have picked the wrong audience. Chances are most of the people reading it are off for a massive fuck off McDonalds at the end of the night. Not me. Genuinely.

I had a Subway instead.

Well that’s all I have to say this time, sorry it wasn’t very philosophical or intelligent in any way but I’m studying for exams at the moment (well really procrastination and sorting through all my old pictures) and can’t think of any elaborate ideas.

Until next time,

J x

P.s.

Have a good one Lozza

Glasgow Club, Flat 0/1

The Travel Tag

Hello!

I was recently tagged by Mew (her blog is really cool go have a look, https://love-mew.com/) to do the travel tag. It seems like a fun tag and because I love travelling and am going on holiday in a few days I thought now would be the perfect time to write it! Hope you enjoy!

1. What is your favourite place that you have visited?

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

I went to Prague in August 2014 with some of my friends. This was my first proper holiday (not just down to Glasgow for the weekend) with my friends and it was absolutely amazing. Prague had the perfect mix of restaurants, nightlife, beer gardens and beautiful architecture. It was the perfect place for us to go on holiday at that particular time as well, we’d all just turned 18 so we could drink legally! It was also really cheap out there, you got so much for your money!There were so many cool attractions in Prague like paddle boating on the river…

Prague

Exploring the local attractions…

Prague

and, of course, checking out the famous ice bar!

Prague Ice Bar

2. If you could visit anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

Perhaps it’s a popular choice but it’s been on my bucket list forever, New York City! A few of my friends have been to New York over the years and I am just SO jealous. I want to eat in all the cool cafes in Manhattan, try real New York pizza, go to the top of the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Centre building. I want to visit Liberty Island, Broadway, Central Park, Times Square and the Met. The list could go on, I’d like to spend weeks there to properly explore everything and get the full NY experience!

3. Would you rather go on a city holiday or a beach holiday?

Don’t get me wrong there are awesome things about both beach holidays and city holidays, but for me at the stage of my life I’m in at the moment there’s no doubt in my mind that my answer is city holidays. There are just way too fascinating, culturally rich cities so close by to go see. So far I’ve been to quite a few interesting cities: Prague, Krakow, Paris, Bruges. There are so many more on my list though such as Budapest, Berlin and Rome to name a few.

Krakow Poland

Krakow, Poland

Eiffel Tower Paris

(as I’m sure you all know)
Paris, France

Brugge Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

4. My top 3 holiday essentials are…

SUN CREAM

The worst mistake you can make is going on holiday without sun cream because if you get burned you will remain burnt and flaky for the rest of your trip (should also probably mention the danger you’d be posing to your health)! No one wants to look back on pictures of them on holiday and only be able to think about how red they look, do they? I’ve been there and I cannot stress enough how important sun protection is when you’re away even for a few days.

CAMERA (or any photo taking device)

I know some people aren’t the biggest fans of getting the camera out whenever they’re doing something interesting or cool, but I absolutely love looking back on photographs and remembering what I was doing and how I was feeling that day. I think you can be immersed in the moment and still take a few snaps to look back on later 🙂

A MAP

Of course you can access this pretty much anywhere now on Google Maps, but it’s really important to be able to get your bearings wherever you are. You don’t want to be wandering aimlessly the whole time you’re there, especially if you’re not there long and want to cram in all the local sights! Another thing a map is good for is finding your way back from all the exciting places you’ll be exploring, there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve been pretty stumped as to which cobbled street the hostel I’m staying in is down!

5. Are you an over packer or an under packer?

Unfortunately I have to admit I’m an over packer. I’m always pushing the weight limit on my hold luggage and usually have to take a pair or two of shoes out. I’d be so nervous if I only packed the essentials because I’d be worried there would come a desperate need for that fifth pair of shorts or that moisturiser I never even use. Better safe than sorry!

6. What is your favourite thing about going on holidays?

This one has to be split into two for me. Number one, is exploring new places. I absolutely loved visiting Krakow as it was so rich with history, museums and of course the Jewish Quarter which was incredible to visit. The other would be spending time with whoever I’m with, whether it’s friends or family. Going away on holiday and taking a hiatus from day to day life is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with those close to you.

Port De Polenca Majorca

Majorca, Spain

7. Would you rather go on holiday with friends or family?

This is a difficult question to answer because I love doing both, however I am at a time in my life at the moment where I am going on holiday with my friends more than with my family so I’d have to say friends for now. I have so many wonderful memories of holidays with my family from growing up through and would love to go on many more holidays with them in the future!

8. What is the most adventurous dish you have ever tried from another country?

I visited Shenzen, China in 2008 and tried quite a few interesting foods while I was out there, but I can’t specifically remember what any of the dishes were! The first thing that pops into my head other than that is when i tried Lobster when I was in Florida (wasn’t such a fan) and when I tried dumplings in Krakow last summer (definitely was a massive fan).

Polish Dumplings

They may not look massively appetising but I can assure you there were DELICIOUS! Me and my good friend Rebecca polished off the whole lot and a bread basket just to ourselves!

9. Who do you want to do this tag?

Anyone who wants to do it. Hearing about and getting travel suggestions from people is great! I don’t know that many bloggers as of yet so I’ll leave it at that for now but everyone is invited to do this tag by me 🙂

Please comment below if you’ve been to any of these places or would like to, and with any suggestions of places you’ve been and loved! I will also be going to Amsterdam on the 29th and will most likely put up a post about it shortly after I arrive back so stick around to give that a read!

Until next time,

J x

Childhood Reading Tag

Hello! I was stood in the kitchen the other day waiting for my pasta to boil, scrolling through my reader on WordPress and I was seeing so many cool, interesting posts people had written about books they’ve read or are reading. It got me thinking about everything I’ve read over the years and I thought of an idea for a tag! I’m not under any illusions that this is going to become a thing. I basically just wanted to do it for myself, but if anyone does want to do it then go ahead I’d love to see what other people read throughout their childhoods!

harry-potter-philosophers-stone

First Love – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m sure this is one that pretty much everyone can relate too. Harry Potter was one of the first things I read (or had read to me when I was really young) and it’s remained my ultimate favourite ever since. I absolutely love high fantasy in which you can just become completely immersed and forget about any troubles you may have had at school that day or that deadline that’s fast looming over you that you should really be working on instead of reading Harry Potter… Not that I’ve ever done that haha.

I don’t even know what else there is to say about one of the best selling book series’ of all time. I’m sure you all have but if you haven’t read them DO IT! I firmly believe everyone should read these books before they die. Recently my gran told me she hadn’t seen the movies and I could not contain my horror.

Blyton's Famous Five.

Oldest Reading Memory – The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

These books take me right back to my oldest memories of reading as a child. I don’t think they’re books I would particularly enjoy reading now I’m 20, but back in the day I loved a bit of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy. The one I remember the most is the “On Kirrin Island Again” book. I think I must’ve read that one over and over again. As much as looking back the characters’ speech is quite comical, I used to get pretty swept up in the drama of these guys’ summer holidays.

hnj

School Reading Memory – The Magic Key by Roderick Hunt

I’m not sure what everyone else read in the early years of school but I know that everyone at my school read a lot of books from The Magic Key series. I didn’t properly decide that English was my favourite subject until the end of secondary school but I definitely remember looking forward to reading what happened next with Biff, Chip and Kipper. This was so long ago I can hardly remember the individual storylines but I guess this series was pretty instrumental in me learning how to read, so deserves a mention in my opinion!

ghjk

YA Favourite – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is another super high fantasy series. I was really invested in the first book, then went on to read Inkspell and the start of Inkdeath. Unfortunately I think Inkdeath was either too advanced or too slow paced for my young mind but I remember absolutely loving Inkheart. A film adaptation was made of the book but unfortunately it wasn’t received very well and the sequel was never made. I’m not sure if it was the budget or just the wrong time, but I think that some amazing films could be made out of these books. Especially given the rise of the internet, fandoms and the popoularity of fantasy series’ like The Hunger Games.

gyuhkj

Guilty Pleasure – My Diary by Liz Rettig

Well I can’t exactly claim that this was academically challenging or anything but I’ll be honest with you, I loved these books. At the end of the day reading is reading and sometimes it’s just fun to read something a bit silly. These books contained the over dramatic internal monologue of Kelly Ann and I lapped up every page until, full disclosure, I was probably too old for it to still be acceptable. Oh well, that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure, not ashamed!

oijkm,

Honourable Mention – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I can’t finish up this post without mentioning The Chronicles of Narnia. I can’t quite place in my mind what age I was when I started reading these books but I think I was quite young. I remember watching the 1988 BBC TV series with my best friend Megan when we were children and later seeing the movies. As I’ve said previously I love fantasy series’, it seems criminal that I still haven’t read the Lord of the Rings series (I know) but I will get around to it! Obviously when I was younger I never understood the heavy religious themes of the books (Aslan is literally a thinly veiled lion Jesus), but to me Edmund was the original bad ass and he just couldn’t deny himself that turkish delight! A classic.

Well that’s everything from me just now but please do this tag if you enjoyed it! I felt really nostalgic writing it but probably forgot so many things that I read when I was younger.

Until next time,

J x

Update: thought I would tag a few people who’s blogs I’ve been enjoying recently.

Random Picture Tag

Heeeeyo I thought I’d do a really old tag today because why not? I’ve been looking at quite a few peoples old blog posts recently and this seemed to do the rounds back in the day.

Premise is you go onto your pictures pick a random folder and choose i think the fourth or fifth picture in that file, share it and explain it! If that’s not exactly how you’re meant to do it I apologise but that’s how I’ve done it for the purpose of this post.

Well I’m the kind of person who has all their photos saved into different folders entitled things like ‘Christmas 2012’ etc. So I decided to pick a folder from a time where I actually did quite a lot to increase my chances of actually having an interesting photo to share with you!

mcdonalds

That’s 17 year old me on the left looking pleased as punch about something! This picture is called ‘mcdonalds’ on my laptop, so as the name suggests this photo was taken in McDonalds. It was taken in Late July 2014 in Plymouth, so the weather was nice and warm! I’m not from Plymouth but I was down visiting my cousin Ellie (middle) during the summer.

We were on our way to an outdoors concert by Mad Dog Mcrea (props if you’ve heard of them, they were a local band), but someone needed the toilet so we all popped into McDonalds to wait for them. I wouldn’t usually dress up to go to McDonalds (and I also don’t normally look quite so thrilled about it either)!

Anyway this was just a short post because I thought it was quite a fun and interesting tag. If anyone wants to comment below doing the same consider yourself tagged!

Until next time,

J x