Tag Archives: music

Remembering

It’s a funny thing, your belongings. Some are practical, and therefore are needed, whereas others are not really that useful at all. So why do we keep all this stuff?

My sister was going through some old CDs the other day, and sending them off to get some money. It reminded me of the time I threw away all my old music cassettes.

I remember it well. It was in 2006. I had a pile of belongings and I was routing through them all. I was essentially homeless and needed to reduce my belongings by about two thirds. I knew, at the time, as I poured plastic rectangular cases from a dusty silver box and into the black bin bag, that I would regret doing so. I don’t think I’d listened to any of the cassettes for years, seeing as my cd player at the time seemed to chew them up and spit them out like a crazy robot.

But it was the memories, the thoughts that were almost recorded into that brown tape. The people I had been with, where I had bought them, why I had bought them. The songs were ones which took me back to events, and people, and reminded me of my terrible taste in music as a ten year old (Wet, Wet, Wet? Shampoo?). I even had a few tapes which I’d recorded myself, carefully waiting by the radio to cut off the talking bits. Recordings of me and sisters radio shows too.

Could I have kept a few? I guess. But what was the point? I’d never listen to them again. As if to prove my point, I no longer even own a product that you could put a cassette into. These tapes, these memories would just sit around in a box, gathering dust, lying dormant.

I chucked lots of other stuff out that day, but I can’t really remember what it was. That stuff is lost to the abyss of time, and if any memories were worth keeping, they should be stored away in my head, not in a box. I regret throwing the tapes away, when I think back to that moment. But you know, I don’t think I really do in reality.

Same with these baby clothes and toys. Harbouring these things, coveting every item. I’ve already sold a few on eBay. Yes, I may keep a few, but do I need to keep everything? keeping things doesn’t mean you remember things any better. I remember reading something (possibly Alex Garland’s The Beach) where it said the person doesn’t take photos as it distorts the memory. I kind of like that idea, which is ironic really being a blogger.

You know I really need to have a clear out sometime soon, cupboards, and boxes, and minds.

Martyna Wren’s Vintage Tea Shop Tour – Bristol

I am delighted to be able to have discovered Martyna Wren recently. Martyna is a vintage style British singer-songwriter; singing in an old fashioned style her own songs as well as those classics we all know. Her voice is beautiful and it is the perfect thing to listen to on a lazy afternoon. Her whole album has been recorded using authentic 50’s and 60’s equipment and methods, meaning the tracks all have a lovely nostalgic and timeless charm to them. I love the song Al Capone’s Girl – take a listen below:

Martyna is currently on a Vintage Tea Shop Tour, which sounds like a fantastic idea to me! You can have an afternoon tea whilst Martyna sings her songs. As a lover of tea, vintage and music, this sounds like the perfect combination!

Martyna is coming to Bristol on her tour this Sunday, 28th September at  3.30pm at Cox and Baloney, A vintage shop and tea rooms. It’s £22 per ticket, which includes afternoon tea and Martyna’s performance. Other dates are up on Martyna’s website.

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As Martyna is coming to Bristol, I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions! Here is my little interview with her:

Your love of vintage shines through your music and your style. What is your favourite vintage piece you own?

“My favourite vintage piece is the original 50’s dress I wore on my album cover. It’s blue lace with a net underskirt. Completely impractical but so beautiful.”
What inspired you to undertake a tea shop tour?
“The tea shop tour came about through my love of vintage and how much I enjoy having afternoon tea with friends. The album is steeped in nostalgia and the vintage tea rooms seem like the perfect setting to perform in whilst being able to share a vintage experience with the audience.”
If you could duet with any singer of the past, who would it be? 
 
“If I could duet with any singer from the past it would be Gene Kelly. I think he had a magic about him and a charisma that is so special (Plus I’d get to pretend I was in a big musical dance number from one of my favourite films).”
What is your favourite track from your album? 
“It’s hard to pick a favourite track because they all mean something to me but my top three would be Al Capone’s Girl, The World Can Wait and Two of a Kind.”
what is your favourite book? 
“My favourite book is Beloved Chicago Man. It’s the letters of Simone De Beauvoir to Nelson Algren between 1947-64. I go back to it time and time again.”
And lastly, how do you take your tea?
“I have to confess I’m a coffee drinker. Black with sugar and definitely a cake or two on the side!”
Thanks to Martyna for taking the time to reply to my questions. I am definitely going to add that book to my to read list, and I’ll let you off on the tea, because you can sing so lovely!
Martyna’s album The World Can Wait is available now.

 

Kindle Fire HDX Review

Recently I was very thrilled to attend a Kindle Event, and as part of the event was given a Kindle HDX to try out.

As a kindle lover, I was very excited to see what this latest Kindle could do.

Here’s what they say about the all-new kindle fire HDX:

“The all-new kindle fire HDX has a Stunning new 7” HDX display, quad-core 2.2 GHz processor with 3x the processing power, 2x more memory, 11 hours of battery life, and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio. The device is available in Wi-Fi or with 3G and ultra-fast 4G LTE, available from Vodafone and comes in the choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB storage.”

For more information please visit www.amazon.co.uk/hdx.

The HDX is a lovely model, very sleek, thin and easy to hold. Using it is easy, and it has helpful instructions to show you how to use it, which buttons to press etc, which is also really good if you have never used a tablet before. It also has a mayday button that you can press and a helpful person is on your screen – you can see them, but they can’t see you. I’m too scared to actually use this feature as yet but it’s sure to be useful one day! The screen is smaller than my iPad mini, but it is big enough to be able to watch a film on without distraction. I found it a little strange at first as you have to swipe away to unlock the kindle, and when in an app you have to tap at the bottom to get the home button.

In general, you can download apps, books and music to the HDX, and also video. It has been a life saver when I’ve been out and about or travelling, and putting on a children’s film or some children’s songs has made all the difference! The picture is really sharp, and clear, and it is easy to watch things on. The sound is fantastic. I found reading books on the HDX quite easy, it wasn’t a strain on the eyes, and it was nice to see little things such as it tell you how long it will take you to get to the end of the chapter – great if like me you want to get to the end of the chapter before lights out!

Kindle Free Time means that you have peace of mind when your children are using the kindle. Each child can have their own profile, which you can control, add books to – these are the only ones they can access. You can also restrict how much time your child has on the Kindle, and you can split activity time (such as using apps) and reading time. Basically everything on their profile is parent approved. Stores, in-app purchases and access to the web via Silk browser is restricted on Freetime so you don’t have to worry about crazy bills or children accessing age restricted content. I thought it looked really good, and an easy way to allow your child to use technology but with some control in place. I like the idea of a Bubs having a profile where all her books, apps and games are. It makes it easy when traveling and also keeps everything in one place. This is definitely a feature I think I’d use as Bubs gets older.

I especially like that there are awards and targets that can be set with regards to reading, to encourage your child to read. I really liked this, as I think having a real time measure how how you are doing can be really exciting and enouraging as a child. Anything that encourages reading is good in my book. As it were!

Bubs is just starting to get interested in what these tablets are, and I have found a few apps she really enjoys using, particularly ones with animals in where you can press them and hear the animal noise, or Cbeebies Playtime where she loves popping the bubbles on the Mr Tumble game! or where she can ‘draw’ (she likes to poke the screen with her finger!). As technology advances it’s definitely something she will be using in the future, and in short bursts i don’t have a problem with her playing or watching something on one. Having the Freetime feature is a real appeal to me with the Kindle, and reassuring.

Prices for the All-New Kindle Fire HDX starts at what I think is a reasonable £199.

I attended a Kindle Event where I was given a Kindle Fire HDX to review as part of my goody bag. All views are my own unbiased opinion on the product.

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Making Moves Group: Baby Groups and Making Mum Friends – Group Number Two!

So, me and bubs have gone to our second group! I decided to bite the bullet and go to another group after the success of the baby massage, which we are still going to and really enjoying. I am starting to chat to the people who attend that group a bit more, and I feel more confident than I did at the start. I can’t say I have found anyone I really click with yet though, although everyone has been really lovely.  So I thought why not expand my horizons, and get out of bed and go to Making Moves.

Making Moves is a group about Music, Movement and sensory play. It is a group for under 1 year olds. This seemed perfect for Bubs as she loves singing and music. When I walked into the room, I saw a few mums and babies sat around the mat. One end was crawling, trying to walk babies, at the other, were the babies lying on the mat, trying to wriggle about, or even newer born babies being cuddled by mums. It was clear that a lot of the Mums new each other and to start with I was a little flustered as everyone was talking to everyone else, and I didn’t know how to start. So I just sat there with Bubs, and talked to her instead! The lady who ran the group came over and I wrote my name down on their form. There were a few new members of the group, but a few of them already knew other Mums from other groups. Arrgh! Where do they all find each other, I wonder?! Luckily at this point a lovely lady who had seen me at the health visitor clinic started to talk to me, and before long the session started.

To start with, there was an introduction where everyone goes round the circle, introduces their baby and their self, and says something about their week. Dear me, what had I done! I thought, I couldn’t even remember what day it was, let alone something that had happened that week! Then I remembered Bubs had rolled over on the Monday, and so I said this. All going well so far.

The first part of the group session was singing. They all started singing songs, that I had no idea of. I tried my best to ‘lalala’ and mime where needed, and followed others for cues on when to lift/rock/swing baby to the tune. I am sure the more you attend these groups, the easier it is to remember the songs, but I was assuming nursery rhymes, and they were singing all sorts. I need to get a book of children’s songs, I think, much to my chagrin.

After the singing, there was a time to play with some streamers, although we sat this bit out as Bubs decided she wanted her bottle. They all seemed to love it though.

After the streamers, a bit of Abba was put on, and dancing around the room in a circle commenced, Mums holding baby, and swinging, lunging, lifting, rocking and free styling dancing in time to the music. Again we sat most of this bit out as she was feeding, but we joined in at the end.

After this, we had bubbles! This was great. The babies were lying on the floor, and bubbles were being blown all around them. Bubs absolutely loves this, I hadn’t even thought to try blowing bubbles at home, but  will now. She was absolutely fascinated.

After the bubbles, a big parachute was put over the babies, and we all lifted it up and down, over them, singing twinkle twinkle little star – that I could do. The parachute was dark blue, and had yellow neon stars on, so was lovely to watch their faces as it bobbed up and down over them. Bubs also really liked this.

After this, more singing, this time with shaker/maracas. Bubs loved holding the shaker and the sound it made. Lots of songs I didn’t know were sung next, but as they were quite repetitive I started to get the hang of them. People asked for specific song requests, and soon the old favourites were out, like Old MacDonald, and I was on safe ground again.

Then that was the end of the session! There was juice and biscuits and time for a chat after this, and everyone sort of fell into their little groups and were chatting. I left them to it I am afraid as I just didn’t have the energy to try and get in on a little group. Maybe the more I go, the more I may fit in with one, or start my own, eh?

I am definitely going again, she loved it so much, like I thought she would. A few people from the baby massage group will be going this time, so I may even start my own gang, who knows!? In end I know going to these groups is about trying to make Mum friends, but I can’t force myself to be friends with people who I don’t get that connection with, or who just seem nothing like me.  But I will keep going for Bubs sake as she really enjoyed all the interaction. She even started to take notice of other babies, and started to try and grab their arms!

So that was my second baby group adventure. Watch this space for more!

As Quiet As A Mouse – the need to talk as a new mum

As quiet as a mouse

I am a quiet person. I am rather introverted and I only really open up when I am with people I really know and trust. I don’t mean to be rude and I know sometimes I can appear sullen when actually I’m the complete opposite.

This makes making friends rather difficult. I hate making small talk and talking about things that really don’t interest me. I get flustered and usually end up making a prat of myself.  It’s not that I don’t try, I do,  but it must come out wrong. I say things and conversations end or people misunderstand what I say.  I try to crack jokes but they’re not  funny to anyone but me. Or I’m so quiet that people forget I’m there and when i talk they jump a mile.  For me the worst thing is making the effort, thinking its gone well only for people to forget who you are or the conversation you had the week before. I always remember who people are, not always names but their  faces.  If people can’t be bothered to remember me or dismiss me then i don’t have time for them. It just reminds me of being at school trying to impress the popular crowd and I don’t do that. I find rare gems of people who are my friends, few and far between but my friends are people I genuinely like to spend time with, I can’t be doing with who I call “fair weather friends” who only like you as you serve a purpose to them.

Books and music Have always been my solace. I don’t need to talk to enjoy either. My mum always told me you always have a friend when you’ve got a book.

Thing is, when I got pregnant I knew I had to start talking.

Bump Talk

I knew that talking to my bump was important.  However if I am on my own, I can spend hours not actually speaking at all. I did wonder whether the baby could hear my thoughts as there were always plenty of them. Then I realised music was a great way to communicate and I felt Easier singing along to a song.  So I spent time most days playing some music and singing to my bump. It didn’t usually take long but it was rather soothing and relaxing to do. I have a penchant for Disney classics, don’t judge me.

Songs I listened to:
Baby mine – from Disney’s Dumbo
Part of that world – from Disney’s Little Mermaid
Beauty and the beast – from Disney’s beauty and the beast

I also played music whilst in the shower, bath, car. This would be My favourite music on my Ipod.

Baby Talk

Now that Nancy is here, I am having the same difficulties as before. I am making a big effort to talk to her and interact with her.  I have taken to describing what I’m doing throughout the day to her as starting point. She loves to watch me  talking and will usually reward me with a smile.

What I need to get back to is my music.  I miss it ! And it is something that has fallen by the wayside of late. I find music calming, soothing and a good way to de-stress.

I have started  singing nursery rhymes to Nancy and she seems to enjoy them. What I am not doing and what I need to start doing is singing some lullabies. I found reading the recent guest blogs on @edspire blog, about lullabies (to raise awareness of The Lullaby Trust in memory of Matilda Mae), a useful reminder and has made me realise the importance of doing this.

I need to take the plunge

The other thing I need to do is start  meeting other people.  Other Mums, people I can be friends with.  I know I need to go to some groups for Mums and babies but the thought of having to talk, look daft, or steered clear of for looking aloof when all it is, is that I’m quiet, puts me off. I’m talking from past experiences of other groups I’ve been to such as slimming world. I need to think of things to say, questions to ask. To just take a deep breath and say something. I don’t find it difficult at work, where I can be teaching a room full of people or speaking to strangers, so why?

Does anyone else feel this way? How have you over come this? I will find a group to go to and I will force myself out of my shell.  I shall let you  know how I get on.