music

Harry Styles Sign Of The Times Review

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Image result for harry styles sign of the times

After 18 months of silence, Harry Styles has arrived with his debut single, Sign Of The Times. Now, I think it's probably best I establish myself as a pretty big One Direction fan quite early on, but know that that never let me like This Town or any of Zayn's music. But moving onto Sign Of The Times, my love for 1D doesn't really come into it, but instead my love for David Bowie who I can see as being a massive inspiration for this track. 

I was being very open minded about the track, knowing that it would probably be something that I would absolutely adore (spoiler, I do) but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. However, Sign Of The Times is right up my street with a ballad meets rock tune and words about love, space, and the eventual end of the world. It is a far cry from 1D's What Makes You Beautiful but I'm more than sure no one was expecting it to be, which is good. 



But, Sign Of The Times, does seem to be less about love and more about his time in One Direction and the restrains that he and the rest of his bandmates were placed under throughout those five years. The band's breakup/permanent hiatus led to worldwide pandemonium back at the end of 2015 and I do have my suspicions that the line 'just stop your crying it's a sign of the times/we got to get away from here' is some sort of reference to the pressure put on the band when they were together or the endless reams of rumours and newspaper articles about them, especially Harry who was seen as being the frontman of the band. But even if it is a love song, it's a bloody good one. 

As far as debut singles go, I think that this is the best track I've heard in a very long time and one that I know I'm going to have on repeat for days. 

The single is available to download and stream now, and Harry's debut album will be released in the summer.


lifestyle

Soundtrack To My Life

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Hi! Today I will be answering some of the questions from the 'soundtrack to my life' tag which is going around at the moment! As you can see from my blog, music is a massive part of my life and I have a pretty broad taste when it comes to artists and genres. Enjoy!

1. What song do you listen to when you're happy
Blue by Howl. It's one of my favourite tracks at the moment and is incredibly good live as well. It's a massive bop.




2. What song do you listen to when you're sad?
Back in December by Kaiser Chiefs. I always scream along to the bridge and it cheers me up immediately. It's also on their most underrated album. In fact, the entirety of The Future Is Medieval cheers me up when I'm sad.


3. What song will you have at your wedding?
A Million Love Songs by Take That. Yes, I know, the most traditional wedding song ever. It's such a good song though and can you believe Gary wrote it when he was 16? The songs I've written at 16 are horrific. 


4. What song do you dance around the house to?
Knights Of Cydonia by Muse. I sing the entire guitar interlude and introduction too, because it would be wrong not to.


5. What song do you play through your headphones when out and about?
In My Mind by The Amazons is my go to track at the moment, however all of The Amazon's songs are bloody brilliant and I would whole heartedly recommend going and giving them a listen.


6. What song do you listen to when you're angry?
Fallout by Catfish and the Bottlemen. During a very hard time I went through with my ex-best friend I would have this on repeat. It's such a good rant song and tends to summarise my feelings as well. Oh, and Pacifier by Catfish and the Bottlemen.  


7. What song would you have at your funeral?
Requiem by Gary Barlow or Carry You Home by James Blunt. I have always been a massive fan of both artists and Carry You Home always makes me feel really emotional, and I would hope that that feeling would carry over to everyone at my funeral. Requiem is about death(?) so would be rather apt.


8. What song makes you lose your shit at a party?
Mr Brightside by The Killers. I always find myself at the peak of drunkenness when it comes on at a party and me and my friends all stand in a circle and sing along. Admittedly, I'm normally far more enthusiastic about it than anyone else...


9. What was the last song you listened to?
Fairytale by Alexander Rybak. I am a massive Eurovision fan and this was the first winning song I can remember and is also such a beautiful song from an utterly beautiful and adorable man. I had been watching old Eurovision winners' songs, so ended up adding Fairytale back onto my Spotify playlist.


10. What is your karaoke song?
Copacabana by Barry Manilow or Laura by Scissor Sisters. I entirely blame James McAvoy for me new found love for Copacabana after he performed it on The Jonathan Ross Show a few years ago. Laura is one of my favourite songs ever and carries some really happy memories with it too.


11. What song has the most memories attached to it?
Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs. We played it at my dad's funeral and was his favourite song, but it was also the song that Ricky Wilson sang to me when I saw the band live last year. It was the most incredible experience of my entire life.


12. What song makes your cry?
Don't Forget Where You Belong by One Direction always makes me cry no matter when I listen to it, but I always bawl when I hear it life. Same goes for Angels by Robbie Williams, but I think that's a given.


14. What song do you hate the most? 
Honestly anything by Taylor Swift. I cannot stand her. Oh, and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. But, once again, that's a given. 


15. What song do you want to hear live?
Fake Tales of San Fransisco by the Arctic Monkeys. I've been a fan of the band for a good seven or eight years now and have always longed to hear them live. Fake Tales of San Fransisco is also my favourite song of theirs at the moment.


16. What is your favourite song of all time?
I think it must be Coming Home by the Kaiser Chiefs. It has this amazing way of making me feel on top of the world even at my lowest points and will always remind me of some amazing times I have had at gigs and the amazing friends I have met through the band. 



music

Take That Giants Review

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Take That are Britain's biggest and most successful boyband ever. Yes, they're even more successful than One Direction and The Beatles. If you look at their back catalogue then it's pretty clear to see why that is, with 90's anthems such as Back For Good and, of course, the 2007 number one Rule The World which has been played at every wedding to have ever happened since it was released. Now, the three remaining members (Mark, Howard and Gary) are back after a three year break with their new single, Giants, and a new album, Wonderland. 

I've always been a massive Take That fan and have seen them live twice, and will be seeing them twice this year too. Mark has always been my favourite, and I cried the morning I found out that Jason had left the band. Admittedly, I was pretty disappointed with their last album III, but after hearing it live I realised that actually, it's not that bad. I'm hoping that the same will happen with Giants. 




My first thought when I was listening to Giants is that it sounds a lot like Union J's song Tonight (We Live Forever.) Now, that isn't a bad thing but it's also not the BEST o things to say about a new Take That song. Take That have been renowned for their ballads and feel good songs which, yes this is, but it's nothing close to Greatest Day or The Flood. Looking at Giants and then III, it's pretty clear to see that Jason had a HUGE impact on the band's sound, even if he was often forgotten about. 

Lyrically, though, Giants is great. The chorus made me tear up a little bit when I first listened to it and after going through the lyrics, I realised it's probably about the band's fans rather than one individual which is sweet. I do think that an acoustic version of Giants will be more to my liking, though. Also, I'm praying that Mark and Howard are going to sing a bit more on Wonderland. That was another thing that really disappointed me about III, 90% of the songs were just Gary singing and then Mark and Howard's voices layered over the top Really, all I want is an album full of songs like The Garden and Mancunian Way

Also, can we just take a minute to appreciate how good Mark looks on the single cover? Serious make up inspo. 

Giants is out now and the new album, Wonderland, will be released on the 24th March.  

lifestyle

An Ode To Stationery

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I'm one of those ridiculously nerdy girls that loves stationery with a burning passion, especially notebooks. (I have an entire draw of notebooks. I know.) So compiling my favourite stationery items into a blog post seemed like the perfect idea.

A lot of my stationery bits were influenced by a little corner of Tumblr, the studyblr community. The main impulse purchase thanks to my fellow studyblrs was the Pilot FriXion Pastel Highlighters which I picked up from Amazon for £6; a lot of money for a five pack of highlighters. As much as I love the shades of them, they're pretty rubbish highlighters as a. they smudge my pen and b. the ink always bunches up at the end of where I've highlighted, leaving an uneven highlight. All in all, I probably wouldn't repurchase them but I'll try and use them up. Another Tumblr-enabled purchase were the Muji 0.5mm Gel Pens which I seriously love. I have all of the colours and two six packs of the black ones. I use these pens every day for my school work and the only disadvantage is that the ink smudges so easily so I always have to be careful when writing. I think a leftie would really struggle with these pens, but as I'm a righty I just about manage to cope.

But moving on to notebooks, I have a standout favourite. For all of my A-Level subjects, I have an Oxford Campus A4 Wirebound Notebook. The paper quality is insane and makes writing so easy and comfortable. The paper is also quite thick so it's pretty rare for the ink to run through the paper, both when writing and highlighting. The only highlighter that I've found to have run through the paper is my Promarkers but as I rarely use them, it's not that much of a problem. But as far as the rest of my notebook are concerned, they're from a whole range of places. My prized notebook, though, is my A5 Mulberry Lined Notebook that I bought as a 16th birthday present to myself. I am yet to use it as it is so pretty, and have instead been making my way through my notebook draw. I tend to use my notebooks for doodling and plotting out ideas for fan fiction rather than using them for anything overly productive. I really want to start a diary in 2017 so will defiantly use one of my many notebooks for that!

Have you got a favourite type of pen or a favourite notebook? Let me know in the comments below!

rambles

5 Aims For 2017

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It's that time of year again where Christmas is over and the New Year is yet to begin. No one is really sure what day it is and the only thing you really want to do is curl up and watch some feel good films and eat left over turkey sandwiches and Quality Streets. Well, that's what I want to do anyway. 
But before you know it, 2017 will be here and it will be back to the normal cycle, this little bubble of semi-permanent bliss and relaxation over for another year. So looking forward to next year, I have come up with my main 17 aims for the year.

Read More

I've always loved reading and with a bookshelf that is now bulging with books that I am yet to read and I know that it will make me a lot happier and a lot more peaceful with myself, probably. Whilst I write a lot, I don't read much which seems silly as by reading, my writing should become better. It's probably also why I did so bad in both of my English GCSEs.

Be Happier

Now this is a bit ironic for someone with depression to say but it's true. I just want to cheer up a bit and stop being such a miserable sod all the time. I think it's about time that I finally realise that I'm only going to live ones and I may as well make the most of it and not see the shitty side to things all the time. I've always been a firm believer in the 'thinking makes it so' logic that I learnt from Simon Amstell, so by me constantly thinking negatively, it's going to make my life worse. Positive thinking is the key to a positive life.

Go Out More

Yet another problem with having both depression and anxiety is my fear of going outside. Every time I go into town with a friend, or even with my mum, something always seems to go wrong, whether it's me not having enough change when I'm paying for something in a shop, or I manage to trip over something, every time something goes wrong it makes me want to leave the house even less. I might start walking or something; I live in such a beautiful part of the world and it seems a shame to not see it for all it's glory.

Work Out What I Want To Do With My Life

I'll be going to University in 2018. That's a pretty terrifying thought. But the only problem is that I have no clue as to what it is that I want to do. I've always loved writing and journalism has always been my ideal path but after starting my A-Levels and becoming a lot more interested in politics, I would love to work for the government, preferably GCHQ or MI6. I know that it's a big deal but if I suddenly disappear from social media in the next few years, you'll know which path I managed to stumble down.

Work Harder

The only reason why my GCSEs weren't what I wanted them to be was because I didn't work as hard as I could. If I work harder this year, I'll do well in my A-Levels and get a better degree in the long run. The more I learn now, the less I will have to work next year when it comes to my exams and I'm panicking because I can't remember everything. Working for just an extra hour a day is going to give me such a great advantage by the time the summer rolls around and I'm taking my AS exams which are vital for me to get back into sixth form. When I do finish school and go to work or university, I'll be working ten times harder than I am now and instead of having the shock of this sudden change, working harder now will lead to me being a lot calmer and more relaxed then.

Have you got any aims for 2017? Let me know in the comments down below!

lifestyle

What I Read in 2016

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2016 has been a very busy year for me. I've spent most of it panicking about school and when I have had time to finally relax, I've been writing my own book rather than reading. But when I do get around to reading, as rare as that may be (sadly) there is one particular author that I gravitate to, the wonderful Jon Ronson.

I got into Jon's books through Louis Tomlinson. He was seen holding a copy of The Psychopath Test when he left LAX at some point in 2015 and after that, I was desperate to read the book purely because the love of my life had been reading it. I was, from 2011-2015, the crazy One Direction lady so anything that Louis touched had to be mine. As it turns out, I made a good choice in asking for the Psychopath Test for Christmas.

The Psychopath Test is number two in my Jon Ronson top five. The book was an odd mixture of funny and terrifying, although the tale of Tony from Broadmoor was by far my favourite. Tony, who had committed GBH and was told by his fellow prisoners that if he told the prison's workers that he was insane, he would get sent to a 'cushy' prison instead, faked his mental illness by telling the workers that he had committed crimes that he had read about in books, such as in A Clockwork Orange or Ted Bundy's autobiography. Of course, he was believed and was sent to Broadmoor. I won't ruin the rest of the story for you. But all in all, it was a fantastic book that did leave me slightly relieved that there was no possible way I could be a psychopath, even if I did tick off a few things from the Hare checklist.

The second book I read this year was So You've Been Publicly Shamed which is at number one on my Jon Ronson top 5 list. The book was a real eye opener, especially as I live most of my life on social media. Justine Sacco's story was by far my favourite and since looking into her, I have made sure to never tweet anything that could be taken the wrong way. In my opinion, everyone who has some sort of online presence must read this book as it truly has made me cautious of everything I tweet or retweet.

The Men Who Stare At Goats was my third book of the year and I'm not going to lie, I never finished it. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two, even after reading at least 100 pages. The themes within the book are ones that don't really interest me and, whilst the writing is excellent, I was so rarely picking it up that I just ended up putting it on my bookshelf and forgetting about it. You never know, I might pick it up again at some point.

Frank scrapes its way into my top five at number five. I read it in just over an hour on the night that I bought it after having watched the film a few months before. I had never really heard of Frank Sidebottom before watching the film which I admittedly only bought because Michael Fassbender is in it. But the book was great and did make me cry at one point, but then I am a massive softie. If you've seen the film then defiantly pick up a copy of the book too as it really gives a different perspective to what happened.

I recently finished Them and found myself never wanting it to end. The people and topics within the book are possibly more relevant now than when the book was published back in 2001. Jon's portrayal of Islamist extremist Omar Bakri was questionable at times, but I did find myself actually quite liking him by the end of the book. But my favourite segment of the book is all about Jon's involvement with Alex Jones (no, not the The One Show presenter) and the Bilderberg Group. It's a very long story that left me crying with laughter and on the edge of my seat at the same time.

But finally, on to the book that I am currently reading. I decided to not mix up my author choice and am now in the middle of Out Of The Ordinary after I came across it in a bookshop in Whitstable during the summer (that's also where I picked up Frank.) My friend described it as 'fucked up' after he spend our silent reading session at school reading the blurb. But the book is very different to any of Jon's other books, mainly because it focuses more on his life and his experiences than other peoples stories. It's far more autobiographical which I almost prefer as it gives some context to Jon's other books from around the same time frame.

The only other book that I read this year was by my friend Josh Fox. 140 Characters of Truth is an honest and heartbreaking Tweet-based book all about Josh's secret battle with depression. After having done the same thing for a few years, it really made me realise how different things can be when you take away the constant pressure to constantly be happy and positive on social media. Remember to always tell your friends you love them and appreciate them, yeah?

I've now only got two of Jon's books left to read on my bookshelf, Lost at Sea and What I Do. I am contemplating reading What I Do first and then leaving Lost At Sea for when I go to New York next October, but it does mean that I'm going to find another handful of books to read once I finish What I Do. I'm contemplating picking up The Looting Machine again after I bought it when I was doing NCS, either that or The Evolution of Everything which I also picked up when I was doing NCS.

If you have any books like Jon's that you would recommend then please let me know as I'm going to have to start reading books by a different author next year!

rambles

Double Standards

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Every Wednesday lunchtime, I attend Girls IT Club. We never do any IT, instead we just sit and gossip with two of our teachers. However, yesterday we began an argument (although the others call it a 'hearty debate') over whether it was right for a YouTuber to put up a photo of her weight loss three months after giving birth. We were all discussing how amazing it was that she had lost that weight so quickly, whereas our teachers were very quick to jump to the conclusion that it was terrible and scary that we were 'idolising' this woman for how skinny she was, completely missing the point in why we were saying she was amazing. Now the irony within this is that my teachers, two married thirty something year olds, were not ten minutes before talking about what men they found attractive and discussing shirtless photos of them.

These double standards are what is totally wrong with today's society. We live in a world where it is acceptable, in the eyes of a woman, to drool over a man who has been heavily sexualised, such as a Calvin Klein model or a fit actor, but the minute a man says that a woman had nice breasts or a nice arse, they are attacked by angry feminists telling them how wrong and evil they are. The idea of the 'lad mag' is one that is appalling and sickening, but when you think about it, it's just a paper version of the over sexualisation of men that we see online every day. It's the same for pornography; we beg for the porn industry to be destroyed but the second a male celebrities nude is leaked online, women are all over it. But what about when a females nude is leaked? Do we sit there sharing it about and obsess over the size of her boobs? No. We advocate for it to be taken down out of fear of the woman being embarrassed.

The same double standards come to skinny shaming and fat shaming. If a woman is shamed for being confident in her body which may be classed as 'plus size', we rally to make them feel beautiful and tell them to ignore the haters, but when a woman is shamed for being too skinny, whether it's down to herself or not, we just ignore it and shrug because, well, who doesn't want to be skinny? They've got the ideal world. But we argue that we don't hate on them because of their size and that we're only looking out for them, but what if society hates them because we all want to be them?

A few years ago, my crush got a girlfriend and I hated her for no reason apart from the fact I wanted to be in her position. So perhaps this is the reason why we hate people for no reason; because we want to be them. Of course I am sure that every person in the world would want to be skinny and look like Mila Kunis or Kim Kardashian but we know that it will simply never happen and so we accept it and move on. But what about the people who constantly attack Kylie Jenner and tell her that she's famous for no reason? Is it because all they really want is her life? Because I know I would love to have her life. But sadly, we live in a world where the economy is ruined and success only comes to those who are beautiful or rich. It is slowly getting harder and harder for the working and middle classes to succeed and become politicians or bankers.

I live in a era that's slowly being taken over by the Tumblr generation that believes that all women bigger than a size 10 are beautiful and that those who are skinnier are mutants. That men have no feelings and can be manipulated and controlled in whatever way we want and that feminism is the belief in woman being more powerful than men which it quite simply isn't. I am a proud feminist and believe that the treatment of men and women should be the same. That women shouldn't get to drool over men and then moan when a man drools over a female celebrity. We live in a world where it is acceptable for a woman to tell a man that she wants to be fucked by him, and yet the second a man says that a woman is beautiful, we are up in arms and advocating for the man to be publicly shamed. Perhaps this is why the idea of male rape is ridiculed and laughed at, or why suicide takes the lives of 1/4 men in the UK.

Perhaps all of these standards that we push on men to look like Justin Bieber and have a big penis is affecting them more than we are led to believe. Because whilst most media companies are run by men for men, thus being why page three exists, but the internet is constantly overrun by photos of men in their underwear who have been airbrushed to perfection. Men are always seen as being tough and impossible to form but really, these images have exactly the same affect on them as the photos that VS models put up on Instagram have on women. It is demoralising and makes us feel a bit rubbish.