Monday, 30 April 2012

Music Mondays

Hello it's Hannah here, yet again - it's Music Monday. Wahoo.

Fist punch the air, is it weird I get excited for this little feature every week...
More so this week, today infact. The sun was sorta shining, I am rocking my Pink Floyd tee and I am most certainly ready to share some lovely songs with you.

Whatsmore, today is for all you ladies out there, for not only your ears but your eyes, for this week I bring to you musical men. Many men. Five infact. If you like a man with a guitar, look no further. If you like a man with facial hair then today is your special day. Carefully handpicked, I bring to you the creme de la creme, the last Music Monday of April.

First up, the magnificent Bon Iver.

1. Bon Iver - 'Perth'

Words cannot describe my love for this band. Founded in 2007 by Justin Vernon, this American folk band continue to gain popularity and recognition worldwide, recently winning 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Alternative Music Album. Their debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago was released independently in July 2007 with the majority of it being recorded whilst Vernon spent three months in a remote cabin in North West Wisconsin. If you're not already familiar with their songs, many English folk maybe familiar with 'Skinny Love' - rising to fame through talented young singer, Birdy. Justin Vernon in my eyes, is one of the most talented musicians - joining forces with Kanye West as an unlikely accomplice on the hip hop artists album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Vernon has also founded Chigliak Records and has left his own imprint on home label, Jagjaguwar.

Perth, is the opening track from the self titled second studio album, Bon Iver released in 2011 . The mesmorising sound features haunting, electronic rhythms, with a voice that is an instrument in itself. His choral qualities matching the very best, accompanied perfectly my bold drumming and surging horns. 

2. Jake Bugg - 'Trouble Town'

Jake Bugg is an 18 year old singer/songwriter hailing from Nottingham. It's hard to believe his age when he starts to sing, displaying talent way beyond his years. Having played Glastonbury in 2011, Bugg was recently picked up by Mercury Records and released his debut single, Trouble Town on 2nd March 2012.

His strong acoustic abilities and impecable vocal delivery are reminiscent of the likes of Bon Dylan and Willy Mason. Noticeably influenced by The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, it comes as no surprise this young artist finds himself one of hottest tipped artists for 2012. Trouble Town is a true feel good song, a somewhat anthem for the youth today, as he paints the picture of life in a small town. Let's dance away under the Summer sun to this song.

3. James Blake - 'A Case Of You'

James Blake is a singer songwriter from London. Last year he was announced as runner up in BBC's Sound of 2011 poll, closely missing out to Jessie J. Blake has released three EP's before the highly anticipated self titled debut album on Feburary 4th, 2011. The release of his first single, Limit to Your Love created much hype for the young artist, achieving regular airtime on radio stations all over the country and rightly so. In 2011, the album was nominated for Mercury Prize.

However, when listening to this song it's hard to imagine James Blake has and continues to leave his mark as an English electronic music producer from London. Stripped back with just a piano, this Joni Mitchell classic is utterly sublime.

4. James Vincent McMorrow - 'Higher Love'

James Vincent McMorrow is an Irish folk singer/songwriter. With comparisons rife to the likes of Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne, McMorrows vocal abilities continue to grow from strength to strength with every opportunity. His debut album Early in the Morning was released in February 2010, much like Justin Vernon - McMorrow wrote the album during a self-imposed seclusion, this time in Ireland. 

Having made his UK TV debut on BBCs Later with Jools holland in May 2011, McMorrow has since performed at the Eurosonic Festival and his Steve Winwood  cover of Higher Love was featured in the LoveFilm television advertisement in 2011.

5. Keaton Henson - 'Small Hands'

Last but by no means least, the superb Keaton Henson. Not only an incredibly talented singer songwriter, this 23 year old is a man of many talents. Hailing from the suburbs of London, Keaton is an illustrator/visual artist and poet. His diverse, creative mind allows him to gain great appreciation and following. With his creative flow continuing from pen and paper, flowing into the sensational music, not even intended for release.

His debut album, Dear features a wide array of beautiful songs, each recorded in his bedroom. What's astonishing is the fact his bedroom is located directly underneath a flight path, close to Heathrow Airport. This slight set back forced Keaton to work to a busy flight schedule, often meaning the majority of songs were recorded in just three minutes, between planes. If you listen carefully, it is thought you can still hear the plane approach towards the end of the song, unique, cool, unexpected. Genius.

That's all for now. Swoon. I hope you enjoy. Happy Monday x


Monday already? Sheesh. Where did the weekend go? 
I'm really looking forward to Music Mondays today. I can't express how thankful I am for Hannah helping with my iTunes lack of music. Plus I'm hopefully going to be getting a new iPhone soon so I will have my library up and ready for some tune age. Don't forget to check out her blog Daisy Digital
Some things lately. 

- I don't remember if I told you guys or not but I kind of did a little something something with Poppy Love Vintage. She talks about it here. I really was touched by the lovely things she said and it was really sweet knowing that someone you'd been Facebook stalking was in turn stalking you back. You can check out her amazing stuff out on her ASOS boutique page.

- We reorganised our bedroom and when we moved our bed we found a nest of things that I thought I'd lost but Luna actually was just hiding them. Contact cases, make up brushes, tweezers, pens among many other odd things. 

3. As I'm sure you've noticed my new blog design that Don from Adeline's Daddy is working on. Isn't it fantastic? Once it's all finished we can talk about it more, but for now why don't you check out some of his other work. 

-I've been taking lots of salads in for my lunch at work and just to add a bit of protein and fibre I've been obsessing with Buckwheat and Quinoa. It's not too filling but does keep me going the rest of the day. Especially when I've joined a new gym with a friend and we've been going after work. Do you have any other fun healthy adds to spruce up a salad? 

-I know I sound like a flipping broken record but I'm so over this stupid weather. It is now May and I'm still wearing my winter coat. I went to the match Saturday and wore 3 long sleeves shirts underneath my winter coat. So not cool mother nature. 

-I'm signing up for my first actual marathon. It's a 5k so it's only small but gotta start somewhere. I'm pretty excited. If it's something your interested in it check  race for life for more details. 

- I miss instagram more than ever and I can't wait to get an iphone again.

-I am OBSESSED with this girls voice. She pretty much brings me to tears everytime she sings. Team Ruth

-I'm quite envious of my friend Emma because she gets to be around these everyday.

Right off my lunch is over. Off to working I go. 
Why don't you go have a gander at some Beautiful things and maybe even order? :) 

Take care.

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Ohhh nostalgia. 
I remember this exact moment and exactly what David whispered into my ears. Erika said for David to say some sweet nothings in my ear and David ever so seriously whispered: " Sweet nothings" He's always had this charm that makes me laugh from deep within. It really seems like just yesterday that I was anxious to get off of work to drive up to Branson to visit David. Sweaty palms as I gripped the steering wheel, windows down, music playing yet my mind was racing.  We'd been talking loads on the phone and feelings; no matter how much I tried to fight it, had turned from like to love. I kept telling myself to play it cool and really just take things slow. Then what happens? I get out of the car and we pretty much just straight away said the words we'd been wanting to say but knew that we didn't want to say it first time on the phone. I love you. It was such a kind of High School way we went about it but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

I can't believe that the most unthinkable happened and that almost three years later I am not only still with him, he's my husband. I live in England and we are ever so happy. So cliche and cheesy I know but if you have ever been in as dark as a place as I was before I met David you would not even think that something such as just simple happiness would ever be apart of your life. It's not something I really feel comfortable talking about or going into detail but I can definitely say he was my knight in shining armour. When I least expected it he swept me off my feet.  

I really have been feeling nostalgic lately. Missing wedding planning and all those stages before the big day. Do any other brides feel this way? Is this normal? I mean I do know that any bride must want to go back to their big day and relive it. I just want to be in a room with everyone I love again. Dancing the night away and  just being on cloud nine. 

Now it seems time is going by faster and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I feel like someone has pushed the fast forward button on life. I really want things to just slow down and be able to just take everything in a bit more. Next thing you know we are going to be 55 talking trying to remember the names of old friends we once knew, laughing about funny memories and telling tales of nights out and travels.  
I wish I could remember everything like I remember certain moments. It's unusual how certain things just stick with your mind and others as hard as you try to remember seem to slip into a black hole lost forever. 

How unusual when a scent or sound can instantly take you back to a specific time in life and it's almost as real as present day. It's sometimes the smallest things as well. I heard a Dean Martin song a few months back and I couldn't pinpoint exactly where I remembered the song and then I heard it again and it literally clicked. I could see my mom singing the song to me as I was lay in my canopy bed, blankie in one hand and thumb in my mouth. 

I also want to know does anyone else ever have dreams/nightmares that they've had since they were children? The mind really amazes me and I could probably go on and on about the philosophy and psychology of it all and how my mind is so intrigued by just really everything from the mind to how airplanes actually fly?
Am I the only one as well that is kind of sad that we won't ever be children again? Like I really miss childhood. I miss playing kickball and then dreading when the night grew darker because dark meant home time. I can't imagine how it must feel to be a parent and watch as your child gets older. I really cannot wait for that time in our life but definitely have some living to do before we are ready for that. I admire parents. 
Do you ever get nostalgia? 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Music Mondays

Hi there. It's Hannah again. So it's time for another Music Monday feature and I am a little excited for this one. I hope you guys like it. This weekend I went to see a great trio, 'The Staves'. Having seen them twice already, I regularly find myself trawling their youtube account. The other week I found an absolute treat and today I am going to share it with you.

So, as I mentioned to Tanja, today is Communion themed. Now, I figure you may be a little confused. Let me explain... Communion was formed in 2006, here in the UK by Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons), bassist Kevin Jones and producer Ian Grimble. It is a brilliant artist led organisation and combines live promotions, records, production and publishing, enabling a hub for songwriters and musicians alike to develop in the music industry.

It just so happens that Communion has released tracks from five of my favourite artists and whats more, I've seen them all live and they're equally flipping brilliant. So today I am going to explain a little bit about who they are/what they do and then leave you with a video, in my eyes - the best jamming session I ever did see. Here goes... Folk in all its glory.

1. Michael Kiwanuka - Lasan

Having supported Adele in 2011, Michael was included in the prestigious and highly acclaimed BBC Sound of 2012 poll and was named winner this year. His tender yet powerful, husky tones are noticeably influenced by legends such as Bill Withers and Otis Redding. A wonderfully captivating and  atmospheric live act who is often accompanied by a band, including percussion, guitar and keys giving off a great jazzy vibe. However, in contrast Michael has the ability to enthral an audience with just his guitar. The track, titled 'Lasan' is featured on Kiwanuka's debut album, 'Home Again' and is a collaboration between The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and Michael.

2. Daughter - Landfill

Experimental folk duo, Elena Tonra on vocals teams up with Igor Haefeli her boyfriend, lending his hand on guitar. The sound is haunting, moody yet atmospheric. Much like the above, Daughter are a great live act, with many unique and experimental traits setting them apart from many other bands of the industry. The Wild Youth EP is available for download now.

3. The Staves - 'Pay us No Mind'

The love child, or three for that matter of Fleet Foxes and Laura Marling. Hailing from Watford, three certainly in the magic number, in this case anyway. The steady interplay amongst their idyllic voices, is effortlessly beautiful. 'Pay Us No Mind' is taken from their current EP, 'Motherlode' and effectively makes use of smooth strumming sounds of both guitar and drums mixed with the harmonies of all three sisters.

4. Ben Howard - Only Love 

English singer songwriter Ben is polished to the point of perfection. His individual style of strumming, singing and jamming with his band builds an exceptional atmosphere. It's brilliant to see him riding a wave of new found success and especially nice to see him having grown from strength to strength in all aspects of both his vocal ability and presence on stage. 'Only love' comes from his debut album, 'Every Kingdom'.

5. Matthew & The Atlas - 'Come Out of The Woods'

Typically Mumford esque yet with their own, extremely unique style and oh that voice, as high as can be but yet so magical and touching, leaving any crowd in complete awe. A somewhat enchanting combination of vocals and instruments from lead singer - Matthew Hegarty, Harrison Cargill on the banjo and Emma Kraemer on violin, transporting the listener to a magical land. Without a doubt, one of the most exciting and upcoming folk bands.

Lastly but by no means least, the greatest jam. Imagine if some of the above collaborated...
Well you need not imagine... here it is. 'Over The Hill' featuring The Staves, Michael Kiwanuka & Ben Howard. Enjoy x

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Obsessing over: Pears and Rhubarb. I never knew I liked them so much. Looking at them you wouldn't think they are as lovely as they really are. But I guess don't judge a book by its cover eh? Although.... the cover is usually what draws me in. Whoops. 

Working on: getting more organised and prepared. We've had a big clean out and reorganising decorating the house. Seeing as we are probably going to be  here longer than we were thinking we really are wanting this to feel more homey.

Thinking about: what I'm going to spend my first big pay check on. I really need to swap some clothes like jeans and pants that I've been wearing for way too long now. 

Anticipating: This summer. I'll be going to visit home in June. JUNE. That means the last time I was home was about a year and 3 months. I won't have physically seen my mother since July. So many things have changed since the last time I was there. I not only have one adorable 2 year old nephew he is now a big brother to Easton. (As my mom and I were skyping yesterday Braxton walked in the room and tears literally just flowed out of my eyes. There he was so big. He waved and said my name and then when I asked him if he liked being a big brother his eyes got very wide and he shook his head very fast up and down. We introduced Luna to him and he smiled that cute little smile I hold onto.) My parents build a back porch and the house renovations are coming along well. My parents just got a dog last night. A gorgeous black lab named Silas. My mom has been wanting another dog for awhile now but I think even though my childhood best friend black lab Heidi passed a way my first year in Uni it's always felt as if we were trying to replace her. My mom said that he already has settled in so well and wanted to sleep in bed with her and Jim last night. I can't wait to feel sun with that disgusting humidity. I want to have some Chik-fil-A. I want to get in the car and drive without a plan and just stop wherever I fancy. 

Listening to: David screaming at the computer screen as he is watching the Everton match! Be glad your not on this side of the computer. I want to say it's just a game but I learnt along time ago that is by far the worst thing to say. 

Eating: You'll just have to wait and see won't you? ;) 

Wishing: that I still blogged as much as I used to. More content and less faff. I will categorise this also in the "working on".

Ps. I forgot to put credit for the Currently's I found them here

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

carrot and parsnip soup

Got to love some soup. Something nice and light when your hungry but not hungry enough for a big meal. It's nothing too fancy but thought I'd still share.

Now this only makes two portions but You could always just add and adjust to however many your feeding or even if you wanted to make a weeks worth to take to work or something?

Carrot and Parsnip Soup

5 Carrots ( Peeled and chopped)
2 Parsnips( Peeled and chopped)
1 organic vegetable stock cube
pinch of oregano
pink of sea salt
Non-fat Greek Yoghurt

I just chopped and peeled the Carrots and Parsnips and set them in a pot to boil. I splashed in the oregano and sea salt and then put the stock cube in the mix. Once the vegetables were soft I gave them a wizz in the blender. I didnt blend too long because I like it a bit chunky and not too runny. 

Then once I put it in my pot I added a few spinach leaves and a dollop of non fat greek yoghurt for some extra creaminess.

I really want to start making more soups for work. If you have any good soup recipes shoot them my way :)

Hope yall are having a nice day! 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


I used to make smoothies all the time,  smoothies with loads of ice cream, yoghurt, fruit juice and then add fruit on top of that. Thinking this was healthy when in fact the amount of sugar going into such a smoothie was in fact the opposite. 

So I guess you could say I've steered clear of smoothies for a few years. So I thought I would give it a bash. 
I used one grapefruit, one banana, a tsp of ginger, 1/4 cup of total non fat greek yoghurt, and added some ice to make it a bit thicker. 
This actually made more than enough and had some left over. Now I must say though if you don't like Grapefruit, you won't like this. The grapefruit does empower most of the flavour but I like it. 
I do want to sometime maybe putting homemade peanut butter in the mix for a more indulgent treat, but for now this little pick me up will just stay sans peanut butter. I also want to give somehow putting some white tea in the mix or earl grey. I think that would add lovely flavours.

Do you have any Healthy Smoothie ideas? I'm dying to try more. I've heard of different Green Smoothies. What do they entail? Share share share!!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Music Mondays

Hi gang. Happy Monday.

How was everyone's weekend? Depends I guess whether your an Everton or Liverpool supporter. Unfortunately the blues lost in the Semi-Final. Sad times. It was such a brilliant experience though I must say; just disappointing the outcome. So if I don't talk about it it didn't happen right?

Mooooving along to our new Monday feature. I'd like to introduce you to Hannah from DaisyDigital. Hannah and I have become friends via blogging/twittersphere. She has amazing music taste and is always blogging remarkable music reviews. She has a real knack for overlooked bands and is consistently giving me recommendations. I've yet to check out a band that I haven't liked. So get your iTunes ready and here's Hannah...

Hello there. My name is Hannah, I am 20 and come from a little place near Liverpool and it's pretty fair to say I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with music. So much so, I jumped at the opportunity to do this little feature with Tanja. I hope you enjoy. Being lucky enough to live not too far from Liverpool and sharing my time between here and Leeds, where I study at University, this past year has seen me attend more gigs than ever before and I love it. So, Tanja and I have decided to do a little feature for you, also known as Music Monday.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the 5 Must Listens this week... I guess this weeks picks are influenced by the sunshine bursting through my skylight today, all somewhat hypnotic Summer songs.

1. Bedouin Soundclash - 'Rolling Stone'. Coming from the Canadian groups fourth album, 'Light The Horizon', Bedouin Soundclash yet again strike gold. This time, in a somewhat understated mix of elegant, clean cut reggae come soul. The perfect song to relax and sing along in the sunshine to.

2. Alabama Shakes - 'Hold On'. Following their release via. Jack White's Thirdman Records last year, this group of highly talented musicians are currently riding on the wave of new found fame. This band have so much hype at present, with constant radio play over the past few weeks enabling them to quit their day jobs and get acclimatized to the very bright future ahead of them. Hold On is a fabulous introduction to the band, blending their bluesy yet subdued rock style. With vocal comparisons to the likes of legendary Amy Winehouse and Macy Gray, I predict these guys will soon be selling out gigs here there and everywhere.

3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - 'Home'. One of my Summer anthems from last year, I still can't get enough. I lose track of the number of contributors to this band. I think I counted ten last time. Regardless, they sound sublime. This song proves a unique take on the country and folk genre, resulting in a lively, charming song, perfect for this time of year.

4. Little Dragon - 'Ritual Union'. Having been going now for fifteen years plus, this song illustrates the talent behind Swedish electronic band, Little Dragon. The title track comes from their third studio album, released last year. The electronic beats are teamed with beautiful rhythms and melodies throughout and hey, it even made it to the catwalk at London Fashion Week!

5. Bahamas - 'Caught Me Thinking'. Toronto based Aife Jurvanene, or better known as Bahamas releases his first single this month taken from his debut album, 'Barchords'. I heard this a few weeks back and honestly, I think it's up there with the perfect Summer song. It takes me to a fantasy land of dancing about, sand trickling through my toes.  I can't help but hear a retro come dance sound, reminiscent of 50s soul and swagger idols. Whats more this guy seriously knows how to play guitar!

So there you have it, I hope you've enjoyed the first Music Monday post! Thanks Tanja :) x

Sunday, 15 April 2012

French toast

Woah Man. I forgot about French Toast there for a minute. Then for some reason today as I was organising the cabinets I realised that the bread was on it's last day. 

Bing a little light in my head ticked. 

French toast. Now I've never actually made French Toast but I've always heard how to make it and also just kind of thought I'd try what I thought and then if it doesn't work try and consult this little thing I like to call Google. Fortunately, google wasn't needed. 

What was needed:(this was made for one person so I would double if you were making for more than two because there was some left over with mine)
Not so fresh bread ( I used 1 1/2 slice)
1/4 cup Hazelnut Milk
1 tblsp cinnamon
1tblsp nutmeg
1 egg

Whisk together the above; excluding the bread, and once whisked dip the bread in both sides. 
Heat a pan. Now this step you could probably use butter, oil or whatever you use to cook/fry with. I just used that oil spray. I even though this isn't super HEALTHY I wanted to try and cut corners the most I could without loosing the tastiness of French Toast. Plus if you soak your bread enough it doesn't really need much added to cook in.

Once pan is hot I just dropped the bread in constantly turning sides not letting it burn or really get to crispy. (You can always keep it in longer if you wanted it crispier((is that a word?.. is now..))

Then your done. 

I ate mine with some fresh berries. But the options really are endless. 
Powdered Sugar, maple syrup, peanut butter, butter, bananas the list goes on and on. 

How do you have your French Toast? 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Homemade Granola

I love cereal and granola, but the facts are most cereals or granola are pretty packed with not so friendly ingredients. So I was decided I wanted to attempt to make my own granola, a healthier version ofcourse (in moderation) and cheaper.
I've gone about doing it 3 different versions and third version is by far my favourite. 
So here goes:
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flaxseed
175g dry roasted peanuts( you could do cashews or almonds here or you could use jar peanut butter. I did this the second batch and it was good I just really liked the texture and flavour of the homemade better)
2tbsp cinnamon
dash of ginger/nutmeg
1/4 cup no sugar added raisins
1/4 cup walnuts
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar ( you could also use a healthy maple syrup, honey, or sunflower oil) 

So I put the dry roasted peanuts in the blender/food processor and blended until they made peanut butter. I used about 1/4 cup of the peanut butter and put the rest in a jar for later use. (i.e. celery peanut butter sticks for a mid afternoon pick me up)
Then I put all of the above in a mixing bowl (while the oven is heating at 215C)
If it's really crumbly add more peanut butter or agave nectar. I like more chunky granola than tiny pieces so once all mixed I placed the pieces on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. I kept my eye on it I wanted it a bit crunchier so I left it a bit longer but after 10 minutes checked very often. 
Once the time was up I turned the oven off but left the baking tray in too cool. About half and hour later I just poked it(the first go around I broke it all apart immediately after it came out of the oven without letting it cool and it was alot softer and less dense) to feel if it was hard or not. Don't grab until completely cooled off or your bigger pieces will fall apart. 
Then do as you please with it. :) 

I personally like it with a bit of Almond or Hazelnut milk. 

I also saved loads and just reach in the jar every once in a while just for a sweet treat.

Hope you have enjoyed. Let me know what your thoughts are?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

hello hello

Soooo hello strangers. How is everyone doing? Did you have a very Chocolatey Easter? Well I sure did. I wasn't tooooo naughty on the chocolate but I'm thinking about doing another Clean Eating Challenge just to get to feeling better and everything cleared and cleansed. That kind of makes me sound like a freak. I'll accept it. So since you've last heard from me : David has turned 23. We celebrated in Leaf.  I've had my first week at Utility under my belt and I'm absolutely loving it. My American passport has arrived. My hair hasn't grown although I've asked it to everyday. I've actually missed blogging and after getting into the big swing of things will be making it a big priority to get things going. Right this girl is going to make my lunch for tomorrow and then climbing into bed. Oh adulthood you really excite me. Ok my lovelies who are still faithfully reading, thanks for bearing with me. Ps. Did anyone watch Crucifixion on Channel 4 the documentary about Gunther von Hagen's recreation of the Crucifixion using real passed on humans? I really want to know people's opinions and have some feedback.

Ciao Bellas