Sunday, 8 April 2018

April Playlist: What you should be listening to this month

I’m always obsessed with finding new music so I wanted to get back into the habit of sharing my monthly playlists with you guys. Looking through the new music I’ve found recently I could share A LOT of songs with you but I’m going to try and narrow it down to 10 a month.

No Good - Kaleo 
Icelandic band Kaleo were hand picked to have this song feature on ‘Vinyl’ a show on HBO. Apparently their band name means ‘the sound’ in Hawaiian, now thats pretty cool. No Good has some amazing guitar solos and combine that with lead singers Jökull Júlíusson gritty voice it's definitely a winner in my books. 

Gold to Glass - The Revivalists
The Revivalists are a seven piece American rock band from New Orleans. David Shaw’s soulful voice is balanced with beautiful horns, percussion and a catchy hook, what more could you want?!

Glitter & Gold - Barns Courtney
Barns Courtney sounds like he could have been born in the deep south but he’s actually an English boy born in Ipswich. Glitter & Gold is a gritty blues track that will have you pressing repeat over and over again. (Apparently they didn’t have drums in this track, the percussion is made by hitting old filing cabinets!)

Your Light Has Changed - We Are Scientists
Ok, so I know I’m late to the party with this band. So many people have told me to listen to We Are Scientists for years but for some reason I never did. Hands up, I was missing out. However Your Light Has Changed is from their upcoming album (release on 27th April) and when I heard it I actually put down what I was doing to listen. Full of rock vibes, awesome guitar solos and foot tapping percussion. It’s certainly made me excited for the album!

Meant To Be - Bebe Rexha feat Florida Georgia Line
When this first came on the radio I turned it off as its not my thing... but I have to admit its a massive grower. I love Florida Georgia Line’s beautiful country voice and when you combine that with Bebe Rexha’s quirky voice it creates a dreamy hook and something that is a bit different. You don’t hear much country music in the UK charts so its great it is getting out there with this song. 

She’s Got You High - Mumm-Ra
I have to admit, this is an old favourite of mine but I can’t stop listening to it this month. Its always a solid winner in my books. I fell in love with lead singer James New’s voice. It has this adorable English tone through it and its one of the reasons I love this song so much. It was featured in the film (500) Days of Summer so if you’re thinking you’ve heard it before thats probably where.

Royal Highness - Tom Grennan
Tom was up for BBC Music Sound of 2017 and frankly I’m surprised he didn’t make the top three. He writes these gorgeous emotive lyrics and has a raw, raspy voice to accompany them. I could have chosen so many of his songs but I think this has to be one of my favourites.

10,000 - Elliot Root
Elliot Root are an American alternative music band based in Nashville, Tennessee. 10,000 features on their 2017 album Conjure. Lead singer Scott Krueger’s vocal on this song is outstanding. So much soul manages to come across in such a mellow way. I’ll definitely be checking out more of their music after hearing this. 

A Young Understanding - Sundara Karma
I’ve heard this band a lot more on the radio recently so decided to check out some of their stuff. I’m so glad I did as this band is right down my street. They’re a British four piece band originally from Reading who make indie pop music (who also have the most BEAUTIFUL HAIR). This song is bold, fresh and a great look into a young 20 somethings life.

Let’s Stay in Bed All Day - Prides
I first came across Prides when they played at the Commonwealth Ceremony in Glasgow back in 2014. I fell in love with their slightly synth-esque music, it was different to what I was listening too at the time and that grabbed me. Let’s Stay in Bed All Day was released last year and features that same sound and power that they had back in 2014. This song is full of character and makes you want to dance around the kitchen!

Hope you enjoyed my April playlist recommendations! Let me know if you have any suggestions or have a favourite from this months playlist, let me know on twitter @beccax10.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Short stay? Five must do's in Amsterdam

I’ve just got back from a lovely four day trip with my boyfriend to Amsterdam (lets call him T as we all need a bit of anonymity in our lives don’t we!), and wanted to share some things to do if you have a short trip there. It was a bit of a last minute decision, accumulating holiday combined with the holiday year coming to an end left me with a week off work and no where to go. After asking around for suggestions Amsterdam popped up a few times, so with two weeks to go we booked our hotel and flights. It was on a bit a whim if I’m honest. We are new into a relationship, my friends thought I was a bit crazy (because I never do things like this…!), my parents were relived I wasn’t going on my own anymore but most importantly I wanted to do it and I have to say it was a fantastic decision.

After a lot of research on both our parts (him on food and me reading lots of blog posts…) we had a list of places we wanted to visit and places we wanted to eat. I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect but armed with a four day itinerary we flew out to Amsterdam.

I just wanted to chat a bit about the hotel we stayed in as we spent a fair while looking at the right hotel for us. As we were going as a couple we didn’t want to be in a party hotel but we wanted to be close to the action. We found ‘The Student Hotel - Amsterdam City’ and instantly loved the look of it. It was modern, four stops on the metro to the central station and a decent price compared to everywhere else. On arrival we were given a Stroopwaffle (more about these gorgeous things later) and given a city map. We headed up to our room and I have to say it was pretty amazing. Spacious, modern, clean… what more could you want? I’d highly recommend staying here if you’re heading to the Dam anytime soon. 

We did a lot in the days we were there and walked A LOT but I just wanted to go into the top five things I’d recommend you doing: 

Heineken VIP Tour
To my boyfriends delight, this was something I was really keen to do. Beer isn’t my drink of choice but I do enjoy a beer or two every now and again. I’d heard good things about the tour and I know i’d find it really interesting. 
Now T found out that they do VIP tours and set into convincing me this was the tour we wanted to do. To be honest the price tag put me off (it was more than double the price of the usual tour, did we really need that?) but once I looked into what you get I was sold. You got a VIP tour guide (in a group no more than 8 people), access to parts of the tour others guests don’t get, a personalised beer bottle and other gifts, and the winner - access to the private ‘Freddy’s bar’ (this costs thousand to rent out privately for a party!) to tase five different beers alongside Dutch cheese. I mean anything with cheese and beer I am there. 
Our tour guide Claire was amazing, our group gave her a round of applause at the end (sadly, she said she has never received that before!) and the other staff really made the experience and you feel very special as a VIP. 
Leaving on a high (might have had something to do with the six beers but we’ll glaze over that…) we wandered round Amsterdam hand in hand recounting beer facts with massive smiles on our faces. Highly recommend this tour!

Pizza Canal Cruise
I’m pretty sure one of the things that attracted me to T was his love of pizza and the look on his face when he realised that I loved pizza just as much as him. We wanted to do a canal cruise and we were going to book in on one of the normal daytime ones, but then we saw it. ‘Pizza Canal Cruise 8.15pm’. YES. 100% a cruise made just for us. Pizza, unlimited beer and a cruise. Winning.  We were on the canal boat for about 2 hours which was the perfect amount of time to make the most of the unlimited drinks, the views and fresh pizza delivered to your boat. It was a great way to get around Amsterdam and learn about the city. Its pretty hard to navigate around the city (well, for me it was) so it was helpful to do this early on and see things that we wanted to go and visit or learn about things that then made us wanted to go and see them. It cost us €39 euros each which I think is really good bearing in mind a normal cruise without drink or dinner costs €18 on average. Win, win!

The Food
Ok, so this is pretty generic but hear me out. Amsterdam is a foodie’s heaven. There is so much for you to try and it caters for all diets (I saw a Vegan Junk Food place). I’m pretty sure I could write a whole blog post on this (maybe thats one to add to the list) but I’m going suggest a breakfast, dinner and snack:

Breakfast - The Breakfast Club - T found this place one morning while I was getting ready (I was probably taking ages… oops) and it was only a quick stroll from our hotel. I mean look how beautiful these pancakes look, that should be enough to convince you to go. Buttermilk pancakes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, banana and honeycomb butter… damn. They also had some of the best coffee we had when we were out there.

Dinner - Bulls and Dogs - T and I actually found this place separately and sent it to each other so it was a definite visit. I’d read on various on blogs that they were the ‘Best Hotdogs in Amsterdam’ and I have to say they are definitely the best hotdogs that I have ever had. I had ‘The Bacon & Chips Dog’ (chips meaning crips in Holland) and OH MY GOD. Pork hotdog, mustard mayonnaise, bacon and crushed crips on the top. T had ‘The German Wiener Dog' - Beef hotdog, currysauce, sauerkraut and crispy onions. Even though his was good I think we both agreed mine won the hotdog wars. Conveniently it happened to have some of the best milkshakes in Amsterdam too. I had a Stroopwaffle milkshake, I mean look at it. Its like a meal in itself but it was so good. Safe to say we waddled back to the hotel that night.

Snack - Stroopwaffles - Now I’ve heard of these before but I don’t think we would have brought six packets back to the UK if we weren’t given them at the hotel (cheers The Student Hotel!). They are a traditional Dutch waffle with melted caramel in the middle. We had so many in our four days that I pretty much turned into a Stroopwaffle. I might even be eating one while I write this blog post… ok, we all know I am. Head to the Original Stroopwaffle stall in Albert Cup market for the best damn Stroopwaffle you'll ever have.

Sex Museum and the Red Light District
I debated for a while to put these in here but its just something you have to do when you are in Amsterdam, it’s definitely an experience. I wouldn’t say I am a prude but DAMN did I feel uncomfortable at the Red Light District. It took us quite a while to find the bloody thing, it’s not as easy as you would think. So after wandering around trying to find it for a good hour (told you its hard to navigate around!) we walked down this side lane and suddenly there it was. I get it, but it did make me feel very very weird. 

The Sex Museum was pretty funny but also pretty baffling. Don’t go in expecting a funny museum because it is full frontal nudity and sex ‘throughout the ages’… but if you fancy a bit of a giggle pay the €5 and have a wander around for an hour. 

We had this recommendation from one of T’s friends and I think if we hadn’t we would have missed out on a beautiful place. Vondelpark, thats right you’ve guessed it, is a massive park in the middle of the city. To make the most of it you really need to hire a bike and cycle around it as it's so big. We decided to go for a little stroll and get food at Vondelpark/3 Kitchen and Bar. Sitting out in the sun drinking Heineken and eating possibly the best club sandwich I’ve had surrounded by beautiful scenery isn’t a bad way to spend a Monday lunchtime.

There is SO much more I wanted to chat about in this post, but I think I'll finish it here. We did so much more and had the most wonderful time. Amsterdam is such a beautiful city with so much more to it than it is known for. 

“Some people think Amsterdam is a city full of sin. I think that in a city of freedom some people find sin”

To our next Adventure!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

Hello! Remember me? No...? Didn't think so.

I have hidden away from blogger for a long time now. It's been a mixture of not having the time and if I'm completely honest, falling out of love with it. I didn't really blog that much in the beginning compared to the bloggers I know but it got to the stage when I was worrying I hadn't posted enough or what my next post was going to be about. I blogged three times last year... I think that says it all.

I really want to start writing more so I have decided that now is the best time to pick this up again. I want it to be more organic. I'm not going to push content out for the sake of it. Expect travel, music the arts and food blogs from me as I bumble my way through my mid twenties not really knowing which direction I'm going or where I'm going to end up... oh the fun.

What a pitch. Stick around, see you soon!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

The S word

Smear Tests. These are talked about enough openly between women and when they are other women seem to want to scare each other about how painful they are or how horrific it was. Now I just want to spread the news...


I was so scared about going to get a smear test done. But if I'm honest it was more the fact someone I didn't know would be... you know... down there... Combine this with hearing horror stories online and other not too pleasant accounts from women who were kind enough to let me know it really put me off going. I'll be honest, I was one of those who put it off for way too long.

It didn't help that I was the oldest one in my friendship group so got the 'dreaded' letter first. The oooh's and ahhhhh's that went around the circle followed by stories of "Oh my cousin had hers the other year and apparently it was agony." did not bloody help in me wanting to book in for an appointment.

Embarrassingly, I turned 25 in October 2016 but I got my letter in February 2016. Now you can book your appointment in as soon as you get your letter, it doesn't matter if you're not 25 yet. I only had my smear test done at the beginning of March 2017... (I know, I know...). So this account is written a bit late...

As it was my first time, the nurse was incredibly lovely and explained everything she was going to do before she started. Then as she was actually performing the procedure carried on explaining everything. There was NOTHING to worry about. Yeah sure its a bit uncomfortable but nothing more than that. I'm sure its different for different women but please please please don't let any horror stories online put you off.

Results take a few weeks to come back and most women find there are no abnormalities in their cervix and if there are, it doesn't always mean cancer. That's important to remember. Its really key to carry on having regular cervical screenings throughout your life. Yes, they may be awkward but regular screening saves lives.

Don't do what I did and google smear tests, you'll just get all these horror stories I was telling you about. Instead check out Jo's Trust, they are a charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer of cervical abnormalities. They provide SO much helpful information about what you can expect from your first visit. They are also really active on Twitter so any answers to your questions are only a quick tweet away!

Remember, it may be awkward but it could save your life.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

She's all legs...

Just one of the many comments I get about my height... I'm a tall women, 6ft1 to be exact. As you grow up you acquire a weird set of skills or a way of coping with stuff that happens throughout life. Things are always going to be different and that is either a good thing, or bloody annoying.

1. You have become very good at guessing a guys height from his tinder profile. "Hmmm... I'm going to say 5ft11 *swipes left* 2. You're used to paying AT LEAST £50 for a pair of jeans. Cheaper 'tall' jeans always end up riding on your ankles. Ain't nobody got time for that. 3. You bang your knees on EVERYTHING. Seriously. You've become immune to the pain it happens at least three times a day on your desk alone. Knee pads for our birthdays? 4. There never seems to be any of your size shoes in the shop. They either just don't stock them or there has been a group of tall women raiding the shelves. Let's be honest it's probably the latter as we grab them when we can! 5. Dating is always a bit of a nightmare. We try and tell ourselves we'd be happy with someone who is shorter but when it comes down to it... we aren't. 6. Everywhere you go you get the dreaded "oooo you're tall aren't you?!" This always seems to come from the older generation. You just have the almost robotic polite response of "yes, yes I am" but we all want to give a really sarcastic response. One day... 7. No matter where you are in a crowd you'll be picked out. I mean this is great for gigs, we can see everything. But when you see your ex and you want to hide... good luck with that. 8. You've always been referred to as tall and it annoys you a little. Why not another adjective? Kind? Funny? Intelligent? These seem to be forgotten about when you're tall... 9. You forget how tall you are. Now I know this sounds stupid but let me explain. We're so used to standing head and shoulders above everyone else. So when you see a photo of you and your friends you're shocked when you actually are a lot taller than everyone... 10. We've learnt to embrace it. Despite all it's pains there are loads of great things about being tall.

Any more? Let me know!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017, I promise...

Firstly, a very Happy New Year to you beautiful lot! I was going to do a post about how my 2016 turned out but I decided to make some promises about what I want to achieve for 2017...

1. Get fit 
I haven't been happy with my fitness (and body) in a very very long time. I've tried to better myself and get the motivation to do it. To put it blunt it hasn't happened and I'm not going to make excuses. Its because I've been bloody lazy. To loose weight would be great, but this year its all about getting fit. I used to compete in rowing championships and now I couldn't even row 2000 metres without my chest exploding.

2. Cleanse the bad out of my life
So this could cover a lot of things, people and things. I've given A LOT of my time giving a shit about people who don't give a shit about me. I am not going to waste time on people who wouldn't do the same for me. Simple. This starts with a massive cleanse of people in my life, if you're not going to make the effort I'm not either. Its a bit sad because I know this could risk me loosing contact with some people, but come on guys its a two way thing.

3. Be happy
Maybe this is a cliche but I think but doing the above two things I'll naturally become a lot happier. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy. I have great friends, family and job but I just need to focus on myself a lot more this year and the people that want to come on this journey will.

4. Learn a new skill
2016 brought drumming, 2017 needs to bring something else. No idea what this will be yet but by the end of the year I want to have learnt something new, a sport, a language? I'm not too sure yet but I want to keep challenging myself. 

5. Go to loads of gigs!
Now this is given as I do a lot of this already but I want to head to some of the smaller venues and find bands I haven't heard of. I love music and going to gigs is one of my favourite things to do with friends, it makes me so happy. So more of this please!

I don't really know how 2017 is going to turn out, but its a year for self growth thats certain. I know the people I love will come on this journey with me and if they don't they can fuck off quite frankly :)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Magical Theatre

Phenomenal. I could end the post here and it'd be very simple. I'd also like to tell you everything about what happened but I can't. A bit of a catch 22. What am I talking about? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Lets start from the beginning. I have been a fan of Harry Potter since the books came out all those years ago. As a child I would spend hours with my head buried in the magical world of Hogwarts and I grew up resenting the fact I never got my letter... Still at 25 I'm convinced it got lost in the post. Like many millions of potter heads I felt a really weird sense of loss when I finished the books and then again when the films were all done. Then JK announced there would be a theatre show based on what happened after the Battle of Hogwarts I'm pretty sure I let out a scream of delight when I read the news. I work in theatre so the thought of having my favourite world portrayed through theatre made me so happy, its a real passion of mine.

Tickets were so hard to get hold of, once we had decided who was going to go we got all of our devices together so make sure we could get them! The queuing was horrendous, I think I was in a queue behind 15,000 + people, the demand was crazy. Luckily we managed to get tickets for 31st October 2016 to see Part 1 and 2 on the same day exactly a year and one day after we got the tickets.

I wanted the story to be a surprise and appreciate the magical moments that happen when seeing it in the theatre. So even though it killed me, I didn't buy the script and didn't talk to anyone about it who'd read it either. Knowing that other people knew and I didn't was so so hard but I definitely made the right decision.

So i'm not going to tell you what happens obviously, you need to experience that for yourself. The whole fan base has been so good at not leaking the secrets so everyone can have that magical visit to the theatre. We were sat in the stalls in the middle and even though some of the stage was cut of we have a really good view. What was to come was just mind blowing. The staging was impeccable and the way the magic happens in front of your eyes is phenomenal.

Jamie Harrison (Illusions and Magic) deserves a medal. The way the magic unfolds in front of you is pretty impressive and kudos to the cast members for making it look effortless. When you see people changing into other people without the use of CGI it is amazing.

I have seen A LOT of theatre but this is by far the best piece of theatre I have seen or that'll I will see in a very long time. I truly believe that this production is way ahead of its time and we won't see anything like it anytime soon. Make sure you try and get some tickets, I promise you won't be dissapointed.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Your choices are YOURS to make

I saw this the other day and it really sparked a fire inside of me. Why do I, and probably the rest of you reading this, worry about what others think? Its understandable but also pretty ridiculous. The only person who will remember your decisions five years from now will be you. Its not effecting anyone else life so why not make a choice in YOUR life based on someone else's opinion?

Lets turn time back to last Sunday evening. It was the eve of my 25th birthday and I was sat on my floor in my kitchen having a heart to heart with someone and waiting for my pizza to cook (that can I add I was REALLY looking forward too). I got so caught up in the messages my pizza burnt (great...) and I then proceeded to text my best friend that I was having a quarter life crisis that probably looked something like the below...


Looking back on it I laugh and I think what the hell Becca. Get yourself together. But at that moment in time I was just like what the bloody hell am I doing with my life? I mean it doesn't help that my Facebook (its evil sometimes) is FULL of people doing well in life. Houses, babies, engagements, job promotions you know the people I mean. I know people aren't going to post the bad on social media... but I mean why did everyone chose the one week I was feeling very reflective and lying in bed with the flu to remind me how bluergh I am. I mean what a good hand of cards I got that week. Yay 25. A, my best friend, gave me the best advice referring to heart to heart situation. And I'm quoting the actual text message now -

I think you need to just stop over thinking and make a decision either way.

YES. That was it, I always overthink situations. That is what I needed to do. I was worried about what other people would think of my decision, but did that really matter? No, it didn't.

I realised everyone has different opinions on what we all do in life and thats ok. It'd be boring if we all had the same views on things but those who love you will support you in what YOU want to do in life and they are the ones that are the keepers. They will be there to pick up the pieces and give you a massive hug and most importantly not tell you 'I told you so'.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Birthday Rockfish meal

I always take my friend Irina to the same restaurant every time she comes down to visit me in Plymouth. She lives in London and loves seafood. So in my head, Rockfish is the best place to go (and she loves it)! Plus, they only have restaurants in the South West so you can't get it in London! The fish is caught daily so the fish you're eating that day is so fresh and tasty! She came down last weekend for my Birthday so naturally before she got the train home we grabbed some seaside fish and chips.

Time and time again, they give the best service and even better food. Sorry if I make anyone hungry after reading this post, I'm already wanting it again and I haven't even put the pictures in yet... The restaurant over looks the Plymouth Sound and has a lovely seaside chic interior with lots of booths.

Now, lets get down to the details.. thats why we are all here! I am so predictable when I come to Rockfish, I get the same starter every time. IT IS SO DELICIOUS.

I mean lets just take a moment to look at this crab delight...

White and dark crab meat stuffed in a crab shell with a side salad, brown bread and garlic aioli. Its just beautiful. 

For main we both had the mixed plate of different seafood. It had prawns, monkfish, cod, sprats (normally there is calamari but they didn't have any!). The dips were their original tartar sauce and sweet chilli sauce, mmmmmm....

We'd be drinking the night before so as much as the gin cocktails were tempting me I decided to be sensible and also a big kid. I had a traditional coke float. I didn't even feel ashamed asking for it...

Best decision of the day.

Massive thank you to Rockfish for a lovely birthday meal and fantastic service! I'm sure we'll be back for lots more seafood soon!

Check out their website and head to your nearest Rockfish for amazing food!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The iced coffee battle 2016!

I love coffee. Those days when you can't function it makes me look like I'm not as tired as I am. Like I'm sure we all do, I hit a dilemma in the summer months. I'm already hot enough as it is but I need my caffeine fix. Thank god for the beauty that is iced coffee!

I want this mug SO badly!
Now, at heart, I am a Cafe Nero girl. They cheer me up in the morning and give me the best coffee a girl could wish for. And with a standard two shots in their coffee could you ask for me? But their iced coffee just didn't do it for me. So I decided I was going to go on an iced coffee 'tour' and find the best one! I didn't plan to blog about it, but hey plans change!

Lets start from the bottom up to build a bit of excitement.... (just me? ok then!). At number 4 we have McDonalds. Now I don't know what possessed me to go into here to get a coffee. Lets just not talk about it again, I've let myself down... but I did and I won't be going back there anytime soon. It was really really sweet and you couldn't really taste the coffee. It was full of chunks of ice. Not a winner. 2/5

Slipping in at third place, and it pains me to say this, is Cafe Nero. I have to admit, I've only had the one and it was ok. But after trying other brands I just didn't go back because the others were so nice. I think I need to go back and give it another try because I do feel like I'm cheating on Cafe Nero... but maybe they just make awesome hot coffee and we'll leave our relationship at that. The iced coffee was really really watery which lost a lot of the taste! 3/5

Second place goes to Costa. I don't normally go here as its a bit out of the way on the way to work but only went because a friend wanted to grab a coffee here. I have to say I was surprised at the nice it was. The prices start to creep up in Costa I think but it was full of flavour and the right consistency. Couple of chunks of ice here and there but otherwise a good drink. 3.5/5

And the winner is.... Starbucks! I very rarely go to Starbucks because I feel the prices are a bit higher but their iced coffee is amazing. Definitely worth that £3.25. I've had quite a few from here now and from different Starbucks in the city and they are all of similar quality. Its thick, not to creamy, full of coffee and no ice chunks (its a pet hate if you hadn't realised by now!). The staff in the Plymouth branch at the bottom of town are just LOVELY as well so it makes me want to buy the coffee even more :) 4.5/5

Let me know if you have any other places I should try their iced coffee's other than the big brands. It would be great to hear what your opinions are!

Blogger template designed By The Sunday Studio.