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Beware of Mr Baker

I'm not always in the mood for watching music documentaries. I certainly wasn't on Saturday night when all I wanted to watch was The Voice and stuff myself full of Caribbean takeaway, but ho hum, such is life I guess.


I sat down with the boy and his flat mate to watch 'Beware of Mr Baker'. I often find I enjoy films or documentaries the most when I have absolutely no preconception, which was the case here. I'll give you a little bit of background; 'Beware of Mr Baker' is a documentary looking into the musical career and current life of Ginger Baker, who was an exceptionally talented jazz drummer, playing for bands such as Cream and Blind Faith (to name just a couple).

It's safe to say the man is a bit kooky now (to put it nicely) but I'm sure we all would be if we'd been addicted to heavy drugs for the majority of our adult lives.

I don't want to give too much away, but whether you've heard of the bands mentioned or not, or even the man himself, I urge you to give this a watch. It's fascinating, bewildering and funny all in one hour and twenty minute documentary.

I'll include a trailer for the documentary below, and if you do go ahead and watch on my recommendation, let me know what you think.

Record Store Day 2014

Holy moly, it's less than a month til RSD '14, and I am SYKED!

Just thought I'd spread some joy about one of my favourite events of the year. This will be my third RSD and I'm happy and proud to be apart of a really important campaign. A campaign to get people back into record shops and buying music, as opposed to downloading or worse, illegally downloading music. After all, the music industry didn't become what it is by people stealing music. The music industry is built upon everything, and everyone. A loyal fan base, who will queue up for hours to get tickets, spend hundreds of their hard-earned cash on cds, records, gig tickets, merchandise... need I say more?! As a collective, we love music, and it really bewilders me to think that the very people who supposedly support their favourite bands and artists, are single-handedly bringing down the business.



I digress, the reason I love RSD is because it's repairing some of the damage that has been done over previous years. It's not necessarily about buying Vinyl - although each year there is an increasingly amazing release of limited edition vinyls to get people excited and through the door. It's the whole notion and process of actively going into a shop and buying a physical cd, record or TAPE?! Yes tape.

My first year in 2012 was slightly unsuccessful, I was still at uni in Swansea, it was the final loan payment day (students rejoice) so I went into town quick before going to work. I popped into Derrick's Music all smug like thinking I'd be the only one to go for actual record store day. Wrong. Although the shop was pretty much as dead as usual, I still wasn't able to get the limited edition purple 7" of R U Mine? by the Arctic Monkeys. I stood there looking whilst all the mullets looked me up and down thinking 'she must be lost'. I even had to ask Derrick himself. They ordered one in and it had already been sold. Sad, sad times.

But I guess last year really made up for it, it was a bright sunny day and I was feeling hungover. I managed to rope a couple of friends into coming down to Rough Trade East with me, despite it already being late in the day. I took some left over Rough Trade vouchers with me and only really had one record in mind that I wanted. We waited a short while in a queue that moved quite quickly and eventually made it in. I made a sharp bee line for the limited edition vinyls and there it was staring straight in front of me... I managed to pick up the Mystery Jet's Royal Festival Hall album, and one for my sister (which my friend got for me as it's one per person). Can you even imagine the joy?! There were loads left as well. It wasn't until I was half way round the shop looking like the cat that caught the canary that I realised BOTH were signed.


Pure RSD moment of joy right there.

I also managed to pick up a limited edition Brian Jonestown Massacre vinyl for the boy and had to keep it a secret until his birthday two weeks later. My sister and I coordinated and she picked me up an Elliot Smith 7" in Reading as well. Organisation is key.

I guess my point is, I love Record Store Day, it's invaluable in getting people out of their homes and into the shops and it's great for creating a buzz around a process that has almost been lost.

If you want to find out more about Record Store Day 2014 which is on 19th April 2014 (always the third Saturday of April), click here and get involved.

NSpa Melting Cleansing Gel

Having luckily grown up close to Nirvana Spa in Berkshire, I can honestly say it's a place well revered. A couple of years ago, ASDA in Reading started stocking the NSpa range of body and skin care products, which I assumed they were testing on the market. This may or may not have been the case but I've known of and used their products for a couple of years.

I was astounded last week when I popped into my local ASDA in South East London, to find more of an NSpa range than I'd ever seen before... even products for mums to be in the baby section (don't ask why I was in the baby section, I don't even know myself).

The great thing about this product range is, they focus on the luxurious nature of pampering yourself with none of the price tag. I absolutely love their Shea Butter Body Wash, which is about £3 for a huge bottle that lasted me a good 3 months ? Maybe even more.

I picked up one of their Beauty Boxes for my mum as she also loves these products but picked up the Melting Cleansing Gel for myself for a mere £4.50 - bargs.

Let me tell you, on first impressions this product smells amazing. I've used it a few times this week now, in the morning (using my Liz Earle Hot Cloth Polish in the evenings) and it's a really nice welcome change into my morning routine. The cleanser is at first what you might think is stiff on initial application but when you work it in it becomes a lot more manageable and really does 'melt' when warmed up against the warmth of your skin.

You then wash it off with warm water at which point the clear gel becomes a milk-like product and is easily removed. My skin feels soft and fresh afterwards which is always a good sign, as well as hydrated which is nice for someone with very dry skin. I'm really enjoying this, especially because of how well-priced it is.

I didn't need a reason to go and look for this range but trying this cleanser has spurred me on to try a few more products in this line. I urge you, the next time you're in ASDA, stop by the bath and skincare aisles for the NSpa range, I'm sure you'll find something to fill your basket with for a couple of quid.


Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Repair Mask

Wonder product alert!

Between you and me, I've never done a hair mask before (aside from Aussie's 3 minute miracle). I know. I guess I'd just never thought of it, because well, there's more important things in life.

Anyway, recently I noticed my hair had a constant frizz at the back whether it dried naturally, or by other means, so I thought I'd give this a go. I purchased the Dove Hair Nourishing Oil Care Repair Mask in a Boots 3 for 2 offer, with two other hair products, which I'm excited to share but will do so at a later date.


As I said, I cannot really compare this to anything else, but I used this and let my hair dry naturally and I literally could not believe the effects. It made my hair extremely soft, shiny and... nourished!

I'm so pleased with this product, because for the price £4.59 (or free if you get in in a 3 for 2 offer) you're going to get a good 15 uses out of it at least so it really is good value. I also adore the smell, definite hints of shea in there. Who doesn't like shea?!

I would thoroughly recommend getting involved with this hair mask, I use it once a week on a morning when I've got a bit more time (usually a weekend) and let it work it's magic. My hair has never been in better condition.

Have you tried this hair mask? Or have any other good ones to recommend?

Review: A Perfect Contradiction

There's not many albums I actively seek to buy these days, I don't ever feel like anything really excites me in the way of new musical talent. But when I saw Paloma Faith perform on Graham Norton a few weeks back (without doubt the funniest Graham Norton, I've ever seen), I was compelled to buy this album.



On the show she described the feel of the album as upbeat, and 'if it all goes to shit, we may as well have a dance'. Too true.

Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album the past week, it's had me tapping my feet and bopping along whilst walking through tube stations, singing around the house, and well pretty much all the time. Granted, it's not the most ground breaking album to have been released this side of the millennium but who cares? It's catchy.

So the album starts with the first single off the album, 'Can't Rely On You', co-written with Mr Pharrell Williams himself. Yes the song resembles 'Blurred Lines' mainly due to the drum beat and it's funky nature, but it's still a great, standalone song in its own right.

Moving swiftly on, we find ourselves reminiscing the 1970s with the subsequent tracks; 'Mouth to Mouth' and 'Take Me', my personal favourite on the album. There's a curious mix of disco style lyrics, jumbled with more modern, story telling type poetry that is a constant theme throughout the album, it's slightly confusing in places, and makes me feel like my disco loving ears don't know what to believe.

And this is where the album starts to slow, with 'Only Love Can Hurt Like This', and I don't really feel it reaches the same high again as the first three tracks.

It's almost like the album shifts from disco, back a decade to Motown influences with the songs with 'Taste My Own Tears', which I absolutely love and 'The Bigger You Love (The Harder You Fall)'. Now, I can't compare to any of Paloma Faith's previous albums because I have never listened to either of them but the impression I get is that she has stepped over a boundary on this album, in a good way. She has made musical progression, and obviously stayed true to inspirational music because her voice really suits this genre.

My only qualm with this album is that if you were to put on any Motown compilation, and then 'A Perfect Contradiction' straight after, you'd notice a lot of similarities. Some tracks are a little too close for comfort for me, I'm not going to mention which of the tracks remind me of which Motown songs, I'm sure you can come to your own conclusions, but there we have it. Such is the circle of life, and music.

Overall I'd give this album a generous 7/10 because it's had me dancing and singing and in a general good mood. The music is great, and Paloma's voice is top notch. A bit more originality would have scored higher but I still think this album is worth a listen for anyone looking to brighten up their day.

Payday Wishlist March 2014

A bit late this month, but better late than never, I suppose. You'll see that everything I'm lusting over this month is homey, because I'm moving (again) in May and can't wait to fill the place with lovely bits and pieces (deciding jointly with the boy obviously).

1. Double Walled Glass Mug - The White Company, £4 - I'm in love with these mugs. We were given them in a restaurant at the end of a meal for our teas/coffees and interest was sparked, immediately. I think they're cool, sleek and they don't burn your hands. And now at such a bargain price.

2. Medina Tumbler - John Lewis, £4.50 - I've had my eye on these beauties for a while and just think they're gorgeous. A bit more than I'd like to spend on tumblers but they are beautiful so I could definitely ignore the price tag.

3. Flowers and Stripes Cushion - Zara Home, £19.99 - Although I want to try and stick to a base colour of grey in the lounge, I just love this cushion, it's a lovely pop of colour, although I'm conscious the boy may not be too fond.

4. Tripod Table Lamp - Next Home, £55 - Yikes! I didn't see the price before I included this but it is gorgeous. We'll be needing a couple of table top lamps and I love the bright lime colour which will contrast well against my planned grey, but I guess we'll see how that actually pans out.

5. Le Creuset Rainbow Egg Cups (set of six) - John Lewis, £36 - Yes, it is a lot to spend on some egg cups but don't they just look lovely?! I knew you'd agree.

6. Painterly Rose Ceramic Measuring Jug - Cath Kidston, £20 - I love baking, I love Cath, I don't think I need to say ANY more.

So there we have it, my (belated) payday wishlist. If anyone has any great homeware websites to share, please feel free, I'm definitely on the look out.

Bruges

So blogging has fallen by wayside for the majority of this month, but that's because I've actually been quite busy. Yessir.

Last weekend 7th-9th I spent the weekend in a mini bus, with little leg room, cruising around Europe with a great bunch of people. Our main purpose was to go to Holland to see the boy's band play but obviously we took the opportunity to stop in various places for a bit of culture.

Here are some pictures of lovely houses and scenes in Bruges. I think the pictures portray the quiet and serenity of the place because there really was NO ONE around, and all dressed in our leather jackets and sunnies, we looked slightly out of place. All 15 of us.





Fish & Chip Friday

On Friday the boy and I indulged in a 'high end' fish and chip dinner. High end?! I hear you cry, well, I would have said exactly the same a few months ago but alas, here we are.

We went to Fish! in Kingston, a takeout and eat-in fish restaurant. As I'm currently living in close proximity, we thought we'd give it a go as a friday treat. Fish! was originally a takeout in Borough market, serving all types of fish and real 'chippy' chips to London punters. Since their success in London they've opened a couple of restaurants in Surrey.

So the verdict, I have to say it was possibly the best cod and chips I've ever had. The cod was flaky, the chips were proper chips and the mushy peas, OH THE MUSHY PEAS. For a more indulgent chippy you'd expect more indulgent prices but we paid a modest £7.95 for a cod and chips, which round these parts is definitely not over board I'm sad to say.


The food came in these lovely boxes, making it feel a bit more special than the usual paper wrapping. And no, I don't have any pictures of the meal itself because I was too hungry.

I bought us a Krispy Kreme each for dessert, after dreaming about having one all week. Suffice to say we were too full so had them for breakfast on Saturday morning.


The Basics Basic Baking Handbook

Wow, what a mouthful.

I wrote a post about this recipe book on my previous blog but thought I'd do it again, because it's worth it.



I originally bought this book to understand the basics and foundations of baking. Since then, I have gone on to bake many recipes from this book and it is worth shouting about, as one thing I noticed when purchasing this book, was the lack of decent reviews on it, so here I am.

The Basics Basic Baking Handbook is a God send for all amateur bakers. At a measly £7 from amazon, anyone can afford to indulge in this book. A little bit of background; the book's author Marguerite Patten worked for the ministry of food during the Second World War, which immediately tells me that this woman knows what she is talking about.

I have flicked through and read, and created many of the recipes in this book and I can honestly say that each and everyone I have actively tried has turned out amazingly. The directions are clear and concise and the measurements for and ingredients themselves are spot on. Everything I have made from the recipes in this handbook have turned out brilliantly on the first crack out of the hat.

I have a lot of time for this recipe book, not only because of its price, but because of its basic and accessible nature. If you're pondering over buying this or any other recipe book for baking endeavours, I would urge you to get involved.