Saturday, 3 December 2016

Christmas Memories

So after a conversation over Facebook, I’ve volunteered to host this year's Christmas countdown, since our Franny is busy with packing. I don’t think this is going to be as good but , hopefully, it won’t  be bad a substitute either.

So, I will post about once a week on the weekend I’m going to aim for a Saturday, I may increase to twice a week nearer Christmas,we;'ll see how things go. If anyone has any post they’d like to share about Christmas if you leave the URL address in the comments I’ll post it on Wednesday  for a bit of festive mid-week reading.

I thought I would kick off my talking my some of my favourite Christmas memories.

I wasn’t sure where to begin so I thought; I would start by chatting about some my memories of and some the tradition I used to do over Christmas.  Originally, I was brought up as Catholic and an attended Catholic School. As part of the Catholic traditions, we would spend every year counting down Christmas through lighting the Advent Wreath.  I always loved the countdown to Christmas and the aroma of the church candles, it meant looking forward to Santa Clause coming.

The word advent comes from the word Adventus  meaning to come to.  The  wreath made from evergreen, displays five candles, with four candles on the reef, one is pink and the rest are purple. The one in the centre is white lit on Christmas Eve/ day represents Jesus’ birth. Usually, the candles are lit on the first Sunday four weeks before Christmas. The candles represent hope, peace love and the pink represents joy.

Image result for adventwreath

My Dad worked in the merchant Navy and usually was absent for Christmas this was normal for me. Every year My Mam would dress me and sister up in matching Christmas dresses, take photos to show my Dad and send to our family in London. I absolutely hated the experience every time.We would go to my Grans for Christmas Dinner and my Gran would have already had the Christmas dinner.  My Mam would either take over or assist with preparations. When I was younger, I was such a fussy eater I would usually have a plate of Yorkshire puddings and carrots  eat with a soup spoon with no gravy. Where everyone would sit have my Grans delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Afterwards, we would pull some Christmas crackers and sit around in silly paper hats. My Gran would prepare desert again my Gran would always serve me her delicious apple crumble  with ice cream while the adults had Christmas puddings. Afterwards, we would spend hours,opening presents , chatting and watching reruns of old Christmas comedies’.

After my Gran died there  was always  a big hole left; Christmas felt a rather depressing time of painful memories. Until Mam and I developed our own traditions of visiting the German Christmas market, it's never filled that hole but it gave us a new annual tradition for the two of us. We usually booked up a coach trip that took us to the most beautiful parts of the world. I absolutely fell in love with the Fairytale Romance of Germany and the Rhine Valley's Castles. The Christmas Markets with their wooden style log house huts with beverage stalls selling Wellington style boots  filled with Gl├╝hwein and bratwurst to keep us warm. My favourite place was The Black Forest region which was breath taking and after   It's where I learnt often about some of the German traditions of keeping witches in the house as a way of  keeping away evil; supposedly the uglier the witch the better she was for keeping away the demons.Well, this what I was taught,  by our tour guide I'm unsure whether this is entirely correct. 

There was one lovely memory a few years ago, I had the first ever time I can recall having  Christmas dinner with my Dad, with my ex- being absolutely ill still managed to cook an outstanding dinner. It's really difficult to describe that experience but it was just amazing. Simple but it one of the first time it felt like Christmas. (I don't have any photos of that day  just this one of my dad and my Mam. 

This year has a weird feeling, I can't believe we are in December already it terrifying how quickly time seems to disappear. I'm finally in our new house, so this year feels strange as everything not quite finished but yet I'll be spending our first Christmas in my house.. it feels like only yesterday when I was a kid waiting for Christmas. The is not finished I'm sure whether to decorate. for Christmas. If not I've seen a small  Black tree. 

This year the boyfriend  purchase an Advent calendar leading up to Christmas Say.

I would love to hear from other people's stories, memories, even quirky family traditions or anything interesting. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Benefit Cosmetic Event.

A big thank you to Laura from Ellefleuence for hosting another fantastic event, and Laura p for making me  like a glamorous starlet and for capturing the entire event. So far I think Laura has done an amazing job bringing more blogger events to the North East. So the future is looking interesting for the North's blogging community. 

I was fortune enough to get invited to Benefits Cosmetics events, held in Debenhams. Like usually, I was running late, despite living so close to Newcastle. The lovely Benebabes took care us. They taught us make-up tutorials and performed some eyebrow wizardry. The ladies weaved their magic transforming our natural brows by  shaping and  a lil' sprinkle of  Benebabes dust into a dream.

 I was greeted to the friendly and dazzling Benebaies  with their immaculate make-up and brows. They kindly greeted me with some nibbles of appetising  pizza. A massive thank you to Manny's for quenching my hunger. Awaiting was a glass of Prosecco, it turns out I'm addicted to the stuff. I couldn't resist tempation to sneak back for the occasional helping, of sweet nectar and scoffing my face with delicious ham and mushroom pizza; it has to be one of the best I've ever eaten.

I had a quick wander and saw a couple of familiar, friendly faces. We had a quick a gossip and catch up. Laura P gathered all of the group to pose for a few photos. 

Next, we opted into smaller groups for our makeup tutorials.We were introduced to the beautiful teal hair Beneibabe, Laura , wow so many Laura's. A thank you to both Amy  for sending me the pictures and Macara for taking the photos. On that night, I got to meet the gorgeous and delightful ladies on the left. Beauty bloggers Chloe Hxx and Toni Fashprenuer who I recently met via social media. I was really happy to meet in reality. These are super lovely ladies. Chloe's extensive knowledge of Benefit cosmetics is out of this world. She later confessed being a former Benebabe. So, fantastic for a makeup novice like myself. 

Our Benebabe Laura treated us to a luxurious pamper session, thoroughly explained the products and how to apply the makeup. 

Amy volunteered to be our group's model and she got a full makeover including her eyes, lips and brows. The highlight from her makeover was Amy's eyebrows  looked stunning our Benebabe Laura had used the Benefit Defined & Refined Brows Kit,  everybody complimented her brow, even Laura Elle and Laura P couldn't help noticing them.

One of my favourite products was Benefit's Lip Stain a dual product that combines as a lipstick and a blush. I love products with multiple uses.

The shades included :
1) Lolli Tint, a medium candy pink,  
2) Benefit shade (my favourite shade) an intense burgundy.  Originally used by exotic dancers as a nipple tint.  

Laura showed us a little goes a long way and how to lightly apply the tint on Amy's cheeks.  

My ultimate must have is Benefit's They're Real Eyeliner liner . The pen has a unique taper design making it easier to create the perfect eye wing. That's ones on my Christmas wishlist. 

The final result, I need this eyeliner. 

 The photos from Macara's makeover;  she had her eyebrows done in an HD style of brows,  eye makeup, blush and highlighter applied. 

Laura applied the Wot's Up Cream highlighter in champagne, a stunning complementary colour for most skin types. 

After her transformation. 

With everybody getting a makeover I  decided to get in the action by admitting I rarely use blush, so I was the perfect candidate for their range of blushes, contours and bronzers .The word bronzes terrifies me, and the only thing I know about contouring is something Gary Newman did in the 80's. Our Benebabe Laura convinced me to have a go and is incredibly talented by making feel at ease . Laura allowed me to choose a colour blush from Benefit's Blusher (pictured below)  they had a beautiful range of nudes colours ranging from a peach, subtle pink to a light bronzey colour, feeling relieved not to see the bright pink. Laura used Dallas Bronzer (pictured below) that can double as a blusher, this was a lovely colour that was beautifully subtle and give me a light glow.   

Since the event was focused on brows I opted for mine to be transformed, I chose  a natural look  since I'm not a fan of the HDs or thick brows. Despite my fears, Laura did a fantastic job .

 After feeling ultra glam Amy, Macara and I posed for a selfies. 

Thanks  Amy

With Christmas coming up our Benebabe Laura showcased their limited edition makeup collections. I'm thinking of getting for my lil' sister one. Below on the far right is the  Girls Go Wow, the design is based on Jackie Kenndy. Next is a Girlesque  design was inspired by the 1960's air hostesses.

We were shown Benefit's Exclusive Advent Makeup calendar, a coveted items amongst beauty bloggers.  To the point, there is even a waiting list for the item. 

It's A Gal's World has to be my favourite as it includes The Porefessional Primer which becomes wonderfully smooth and has a slight sparkle.It has my favourite Benefit product, They're Real Eyeliner liner and even comes with a selection of eye shadows. I couldn't help think Laura was the inspiration for the lady of It's A Gal's World.  

Benefit uses spectacular vintage artwork on their packaging throughout their products and the package looks enticing to purchase alone. Which got thinking about our vintage gal Laura P who seems to don a different hair role every I see her. For the night she sculpted a victory roll. Patriotic ladies wore in the 1940's and adopted the name in honour of the military troop returning home. 

The treats kept flowing at the event, as a  little memento , given a little goody bag.  Contained  Benefit 'BROWVO!' conditioning eyebrow primer and Benefit Roller Lash mascara

Benefits have produced the Benefit  Wow Brow App allows the user to locate their nearest brow bar and book an appointment for  treatment. By presenting the app after each Brow wax service entitles the person to build wow brow points for free treatment.

I'm still a makeup virgin and novice when it comes to certain things. I will admit, I've never used Benefit previously and the event was a fantastic introduction to the brand. I learnt so much about a whole new  world of  the product that's been developed for the perfect brows. I'm intrigued to purchase a couple of their products, which is The Porefessional Primer and  They're Real Eyeliner. The Benebabes were such an astounding ambassadors for the brand, they are so knowledgeable and helpful catering to all ours to needs. I plan trial out their waxing service.  Most importantly I had a great night and got the chance  to some lovely bloggers. Thanks again to the bubbly Laura from ELLEblonde  for hosting another fab night. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Review of Goth City Festival - Launch Weekend.

Last weekend, I've had a blast in Leeds, at the Goth City Festival. This was the launch weekend for the event but the first of it's kind for Leeds and West Yorkshire; I feel just experienced history in the making.

The Goth City Festival was based on celebrating the rich history of post-punk and goth movement within Leeds and Yorkshire. For the celebration, Leeds hosted a series of events from Gigs, acoustic sets and social events, something for everyone. I felt the most interesting event to attend were a discussions panel about Leeds Goth in perspective,  and readings featuring the acclaimed Rosie Garland. The perfect concoction of creativity to honour and induce a bit of dark culture to the city.

 The festival showcased a range of alternative bands associated with the goth scene who have been long established, in the underground scene or to the newest and upcoming acts. The event has been a collaboration of Goth City Promotions ,  Carpe Noctem and the local goth/ alt' community.  The festival wanted to maintain DIY ethos chose to work with more independent venues that have supported the music scene.

The most important reason, the local scene wanted to give something back to the community was part of the festival'a fruition. All funds will be raised  will be donated to PAFRAS, Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers a local West Yorkshire charity that provides support to destitute Refugees and Alysum Seekers.

Launch Night 

 Friday night the first gig was held at the Pack Horse, on the outskirts of Leeds. The boyfriend had booked the Kingston Hotel, a couple minutes from the venues not too far to wobble if we got too inebriated.

 We enter the upstairs room and greeted by a trad goth looking Joel ( the founder of Goth City Promotions) dressed in black and had donned his buckled winkle pickers for the night.  The first night  was  dedicated to Leonard Cohen, whom sadly died in the same week. On the table was a loving requiem tribute, comprising of a photo, a black rose and candles burning on the table.

We also offered the option to purchase raffle tickets with all proceeds being donated to PAFRAS, the boyfriend purchases a couple, I was looking forward to hopefully, winning something.

 I anticipated a huge turnout there fewer  people than expected, but there were around forty people, still a good turnout.

Isolation Diversion

 The night started off fashionably late but so worth it for  Isolation Diversion to make Goth City Festival history as they were the first band to perform.

Isolation Diversion a Manchestain band that started as the solo project of  Mark  Thrope  vocalist and guitarist .  They've been building their reputation up since they starting giving in December 2013 and realised several EPs. The band were highly influenced with  by post-punk and alt music.

The band had an old school style of an alternative sound which has a beautiful solemn sound with hints of dirge-like melodies and lyrics. They've developed their own distinctive sound with a harmoniously blending of male and female vocals which become very androgynous and soft sounding. The songs are simple, yet complex working on a number of different levels.

My favourite track was Prodigal Son, I fell under Isolation Diversion siren spell. This song has more of ethereal tone while maintaining their solemn sound. I can't stop listening to it.

The was a short intermission to draw the Draw prices, with Joel and his lovely assistant Martin Aylward, the drummer from The Expelaires. The prizes were donated from, an array of people like Joel,  Rosie Garland and other members of the scene. I wish I had recorded this was an absolutely hilarious with everything going wrong at every turn, from reading the ticket out nobody claiming the prizes, to at point the hat being dropped, some of the interesting banter about the prize and the chemistry between Joel and Martin was priceless. I couldn't help thinking the raffle may have been fixed as the same people kept winning prizes. Joel reassured nothing like that had happened and its just a coincidence. Logistically the number of people who attend with the number tickets meant a few people were likely to win more than once. I even won a set of tarot cards, and one guy won a sparkly spider ring, he was kind enough to pose for a photo.

The Expelaires

The next band were Leeds very own post-punks The Expelaires, one of Leeds original Post-Punk band was  established in 1978 and split in 1981.  The band former members Craig Adams (later of The Sisters Of Mercy, The Cult and The Mission), David ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden (later of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Mission) and Grape (later of 3000 Revs and Groovin’ With Lucy) The band reformed in 2012 and have been touring ever since.

The music was punk with some general rock influences through their melodies. The band was a lot more energic performance which great for a good dancing. In the Punk fashion, their lyrics more were about creating anarchy and rebelling against the establishment.

 My favourite was Poundland. It had a satirical theme based on someone losing their job from Poundland and that person is now forced to volunteer in the same job or risk losing their benefits. This sadly resonates truth at the present  state of the UK. Ok, no more politics.

During and after the event, we got the opportunity to talk to some of the other patrons about the awesome launch event, music and general life. With some really interesting exchange of anecdotes.

I think the launch night has a fantastic start to the Festival and was a great introduction  to  the bands and upheld the DIY ethos. The choice of bands was astounding from The Expelaire representing leads musical heritage and Isolation Diversion reflecting the of talent that's emerging at present time.

The night had a simple but intimate affair, which gives me some experience of the fledgeling alternative scene.  I can only imagine being born in 1988. The most important thing was the night raised over £128.

Second Night of the Launch Weekend. 

 Saturday night was a collaboration event with Carpe Noctum that featured three bands seemed were more goth orientated than the previous night. The event was held in the Lending Library, a larger venue, able to accommodate a bigger audience.

Doors opened from seven and the first band were  Caffeine Kill, sadly we missed most of the band and caught their final songs.

The Bristol based band have been established since 2002 and built a reputation for their lively energetic performances. The locals have described the band as "Bristol's answer to Rammstein kidnapping Gary Numan and forcing him to sing at knifepoint". This review had in me in stitches.

Upon entering the band had a lively performance. The lead vocalist captured my attention with his hand claw emitting beams of  light. I can't really review the band except what I heard they sounded decent, and it's a shame we missed them. Their style was industrial with heavy guitar riffs, and a lot of electronic influence; they sound similar to Orgy. The vocalist sounded like a more twisted and disturbed version of Gary Numan.

The next band afterwards were the Lesbian Bed Death the band were formed as a sideline by the guitarist Mr Peachces in 2004 the band has performed since and often changed their sound along with musicians due to commitment reasons.  Their current line-up includes affable Mr Peaches, vocals Sienna Vernon, guitarist Vik Voodoo and drums Aaron Samdi.

The first thing that stands was Sienna's voice, had a tremendous power required to suit the lyrics and melody.  The band's melodic theme with heavy guitar rock style riffs. All their lyrics inspired via classic horrors movies. The band's dark and macabre style lyrics had a goth feel, despite not being goth.

The weekend has a wonderful choice of bands with such diverse performances but my favourite has to be  Rhombus.  I have soft spot male and female vocalists. Rhombus is native to West Yorkshire. I didn't realise how large they were but I've not been into the music scene. The Band starting performing live and eventually supported large bands like The Damned. Gaining recognition as a contemporary goth band.  In their first album Remberance Day, they first added a female vocalist, who ended up joining the band permanently. The band have gained international acclaim and often tour Europe.

The band captured a range of darkwave influences, and use a combination of deep droning male vocals and more airer female vocals. The female vocals  a haunting whisper compliments each other wonderfully. The use a range of  traditional driving base, textured brittle occasionally flange style  sounding guitars and electric violins. The songs produce an upbeat medlies a great rhythmic energy   that made me wanna dance. After hearing their first song I was an immediate a fan.

Afterwards, I purchased a couple of albums from  Lesbian Bed Death  and Rhombus. I managed to get the CD's signed and my photos taken with the band members. So I was feeling pretty stoked. All  the band's members were amazingly friendly and happy to chat. This one my reason for preferring smaller gigs as you get a more personal and intimate experience, usually get a quick chat.

Just as I thought the excitement had died down and ready to leave. We an extra special treat of  Carpe Noctum, Leeds local Goth night. This is one of  the most  welcoming and awesome goth nights I ever attended. They played an array of post-punk, 80's Goth, electronic and some mainstream metal. There was ample room to dance and move. What I loved the friendliness of the venue and astounding positive vibes.

The weekend fantastic launch to the festival, listening to incredibly talented musicians, highlighting the diversity of music within the goth scene, enjoying ourselves, meeting friendly people, most important raising essential funds and awareness for a deserving charity. I hope this festival is the start of many to come as such a worthy alternative choice for a Goth festival, if you're like me and hate big crowds. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Leashes, The Dystopian Nightmare

I got the opportunity to review Leashes debut album, I really can't waive about this band enough.

Leashes are the latest underground band emerging from the London music scene. Leashes anticipated debut album is released on the 18th November.

When I first listened to their tracks, I was unsure what to make of it. I had a swirling emotion of apathy and hate with a sudden an epiphany, where I finally connected with the album . They shared my sentiments of fear, anger and frustrations. I realised this was a rarity amongst all the bland and repetitive generic music on offer. The album was phenomenal.

The album is a hybrid of music styles from nu metal's, mixing of music genres to the textured, low sounding guitars and bass riffs of savage aggression. To the gloomy themes that dark wave captured in the early 80's of the decimated North. The vocalist sings in an electronic denigrate style which intensifies the trepidation of the songs.
The lyrics have a satirical theme reflecting the darkest side of society and the turbulent destruction it impacts on the human psyche; enhancing the distorted and disturbing sound of the band. Resulting in each song weaving, it's own agonising mini storey of a conflict for the battle of supremacy we experience both inside and out.

Drowning spoke to me most, it has to be my favourite track on the album. The songs intro' starts with drum and base styling that leads me into a disorientated path of aggressive guitars riffs and painful androgynous vocals portrait the daily struggles of existence and the suppression of the self to conform to society. Until the pent up aggression builds to the extent it becomes too much has to be realised with roaring death growls. I think this precisely sums the state of being that we all experience every day.

The album is a dark and honest piece of music crafted from rage, torment and horror of the turmoils; we encounter in every day with living in a world of fear and extremism. This renewed my faith in the modern metal scene and takes us into a vehemently exciting new direction.

I look forward to following this band for many years to come. They're ready to blow your mind.

To support this independent band out check their website out Leashes

Support their journey via social media.