What I’ve been listening to – January edition

Each month I’m going to be documenting my favourite songs old and new, in a bid to help others discover new music and to encourage others to recommend new music to me.

As I write this I’m sat on a snail paced bus making its way through the foggy streets of Birmingham. We’re just over halfway through January 2017, and so far this year has been full of seeing old faces and filling my face with Mexican food – so far so good!

The following five songs have helped kickstart this new year, let me know what you’ve been listening to – i’m always keen to update my Spotify playlist.

1. Where did I go – Jorja Smith 

I found this song through the genius of Spotify Discover. Sometimes the discover feature can get it really wrong, but in this case it really hit the nail on the head. Jorja Smith made it to the BBC Sound of 2017, so i’m sure we’ll be treated to some more of her musical delights this year.

2. Unexperienced – Buttering Trio

Snoop Dogg himself has claimed that these guys are “dope as fuck”, so take both his word and mine and go give them a listen.

3. Redbone- Childish Gambino 

From his brand new album “Awaken, My Love!”, this smooth and soulful number has been replayed numerous times throughout my tedious bus rides to work. Childish Gambino never fails to deliver.

4. Thinking of you -Lord Echo

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Lord Echo have covered the Sister Sledge song, ‘Thinking of You” and injected some reggae into it that we never knew it needed. I love this and I don’t think i’ll ever stop.

5. Daffodils – Mark Ronson and Kevin Parker

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Anyone who knows me personally will understand my undying love for Kevin Parker. The man is a musical genius, and I am forever grateful that his music graces my headphones daily. I think I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since 2016, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon either.

Let me know what you’ve been listening to this month!

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while…

A lot has happened since I last posted on here, to be honest I almost completely forgot I even had a blog…but i’m back and i’m here to stay (as long as I don’t get my fingers cut off so I can no-longer type, but even then i’m sure there could be some kind of technology that would allow me to type with my eyes or something.)

You might want to know what i’ve been spending my time doing since this blog has been dormant, or you might not, but i’m going to tell you whether you like it or not.

First of all I graduated from university after a four year long stint of lectures, essays and seminars galore.

(Here is a picture of me graduating minus the silly graduate costume they make you wear.)

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Towards the end of last year the majority of my time was spent sat in my room reading, typing and mega-stressing, just so that I could add a little something extra to my CV. But, with the help from that little something extra written on my CV, as well as some luck and determination thrown in, I managed to get myself a job as an editorial assistant. The majority of my time has been spent working and adjusting to life as a graduate. I also moved in with my boyfriend and continued to make positive changes to my life.

I’m pretty happy with how life has panned out since university, and i’m excited to be back at it with the blog. I’ll be blogging loads more, (she says) so keep your eyes peeled if you’re ready to read more of my jibber jabber.

 

Care At Christmas

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Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has launched its #CareAtChristmas Campaign to help keep the hospice running throughout the festive period.

The hospice cares for 1200 patients throughout Christmas and they try and make it as special for each and every one of their patients. It costs the hospice £4 to ensure a patient that is well enough gets home on Christmas Day to spend the day with their loved ones, it costs £12 to pay for a festive meal for a patient and their families on Christmas Day at the hospice and it costs the hospice £85 to help only 8 patients receive care at home on Christmas day.

The hospice is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Christmas Day. Jenny and Demi are both working on Christmas Day this year and explain how important it is to make Christmas Day special at the hospice, “It’s my first Christmas providing patients with end of life care at the hospice on Christmas Day, although my family will miss me they do know that i’m doing a really important and special job.” She adds,”For some patients it will be their last Christmas so it’s important that patients are comfortable and enjoy their time here.”

Vicky Ross, head of the Family Care and Support Team, has been working for the hospice for 8 years now and she told us about one Christmas that she won’t forget. “It was a young family where the Mother wasn’t very well, they had a little 7 year old girl and they had completely overlooked Christmas because they were so focused on looking after Mum.” The hospice found out that the little girl had missed out on Christmas so they all organised a little Christmas for the family.  “The entire hospice collected donations of gifts and toys, we wrapped them all up and set up her bedroom as if Father Christmas had been.” Vicky told us, “It was just wonderful to see how happy it made the little girl, sadly her Mum died, but it was nice that they got to have that special time together, it’s all about making a difference.”

There’s plenty of ways to get involved with the #CareAtChristmas Campaign, you can buy Birmingham St Mary’s Christmas cards to send to your family and friends, you can order a Christmas poster to stick up in your place of work to share festive messages or you can visit the Care At Christmas website to create your very own Care At Christmas profile picture to spread the love on social media.

The Hospice will be Treecycling your old unwanted Christmas trees where volunteers will pick your old tree up for just a small donation. Hamish said “were not only just about raising money, were about doing good deeds across the city.”

Hamish, Head of Fundraising at the hospice said “it’s a great opportunity at this time of year to just spread a bit of love and a bit of cheer but also to raise some really valuable funds for the hospice.”

For more information about The Care At Christmas Campaign visit www.careatchristmas.org

 

The Birmingham Homeless Outreach.

It has been reported that there are more homeless people in Birmingham than any other city outside of London. The Birmingham Homeless Outreach walk around the city centre daily to give out warm clothes, food, hot drinks, sleeping bags, toiletries and any other items that could be used by the homeless.

The organisation was founded by Rik James who has been working to help the homeless of Birmingham for the past 6 years. Rik James was homeless himself before he started The Birmingham Homeless Outreach,”I had my own business, my ex wife who was my business partner took me into liquidation. I was homeless for three years in Liverpool before I moved to Manchester.”

The latest statistics show that there are currently 763 people sleeping rough in Birmingham every night. Homelessness can happen to anyone, Rik adds “everyone’s only three months away from being made homeless.  You lose your job, you lose your mortgage, you lose your house, then you’ve lost your wife and kids, you end up sofa surfing then the next minute you’re out on the street. Then you get into a cycle where you meet someone that’s an alcoholic or a drug addict, you start drinking or taking drugs to take away the pain, next minute you’re on a spiral down, this is why The Birmingham Homeless Outreach is out here to pick them up”.

Rik started up with an organisation in Manchester called Barnabus, and worked in Manchester helping the homeless for 14 years. Rik explained “I moved to Manchester because my daughter was being beaten by her husband, one day I was just sat there and I thought that I just had to continue the work.” Rik then moved to Birmingham and continued his work by setting up The Birmingham Homeless Outreach. “When we first started there was only two of us that we’re doing it, now The Birmingham Homeless Outreach has almost 800 members on their Facebook group”

The average age of death for a homeless man is just 47 years old, and for women its 43 years old, this means that homeless people live on average 30 years less than people  who are lucky enough not to be sleeping rough. The Birmingham Homeless Outreach safeguards the homeless, Rik uncovered the realities of homelessness, “we’ve found them dead, we’ve found seven dead in total.”  When The Birmingham Homeless Outreach meet a homeless person, they find out who their next of kin is and we take their names. Rik states,”If I don’t see them around the street in a week, I start finding out what’s happened and if I find out that they’re dead then I ring their family.”

The team ask local communities for donations to hand out to the homeless people of Birmingham. One homeless man explained how much it benefited his life “we’d be in trouble without them really, without them we’d have nothing and we would end up dead”.

The Birmingham Homeless Outreach are hosting a sponsored sleepout to raise money for the homeless on the 5th of December to raise money for the homeless people of Birmingham.

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If you’d like to get involved or would like to make a donation visit www.birminghamhomelessoutreach.co.uk 

 

 

STUDENTS // Birminghams Best Places To Work Outside

Birmingham is full of gorgeous gardens and open spaces where you can set up camp and tap away at your keyboards whilst soaking up some sunshine. Rather than keeping yourself all cooped up in your room doing work, there’s plenty of places to enjoy the sunshine whilst powering through all that work and revision ahead of May’s looming deadlines and exams.

Smack bang in the middle of the city centre and Selly Oak in Edgbaston is mac birmingham. There is a lovely outside area with benches where you can bring your laptop and snacks to sit and reach those lengthy word counts.

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If you forget to bring snacks you’re in luck because mac birmingham has its own cafe and its also situated just on the edge of Cannon Hill Park so you can go and feed the ducks when you’re head starts feeling like its going to fall off. There is also plenty of free events at mac birmingham for you to go and culture yourself.

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Another place to soak up the sun is ‘Pigeon Park’ just by St Philip’s Cathedral just on Colmore Row. Why not nip in and grab yourself a tea from Yorks Bakery Cafe and stroll across to St Phillips Square and do some work alfresco.

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Of course an obvious place to study is in The Library of Birmingham. The Library of Birmingham has two outside areas with free wi-fi; the Discovery Terrace on Floor 3 and The Secret Garden on Floor 7 are both ideal spots to say goodbye to that pesky writers block whilst taking in one of the best views of Birmingham.

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Last but not least smack bang in the centre of Birmingham’s city centre is The Ikon Gallery. Full of work from artists across the world the Ikon exhibits everything from film, sound to photography.

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Cafe Opus at Ikon Gallery has free wi-fi so it’s a great place to catch up with emails and soak up the sun whilst soaking up the atmosphere of Brindleyplace.

Let me know you’re favourite spots in the city @LisaViolet_W

Homemade Cheap Tortilla Chips!

Everybody loves snacks. Snacks are love, snacks are life.I have discovered a cheap and easy way to make fancy pants tortilla chips at home with just two ingredients.

All you need to make these tortilla chips are:

1 Frying pan

A whole bunch of plain torilla wraps

Olive oil/Vegetable oil

How to actually make them:

Cut up the wraps into little pizza triangles whilst heating up some oil in the frying pan.

Whack two pizza slices at a time and let them bubble up and brown and then flip and brown the other side.

photo 1Once the tortillas are all crispy and brown pop them onto some kitchen towel and dry off the excess oil

photo 2Continue making a huge ton of tortilla chips and then stand back and appreciate how easy to make.

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Grab some hummus and go to snack heaven.

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You’re Welcome

Send me your attempts on Twitter! @LisaViolet_W

You’ve all been using Selfie Sticks wrong // An Interview with the Inventor of the original Selfie Stick

GroufieWhen people imagined what 2015 would be like back in the day, they didn’t imagine us to be attaching our phones onto sticks just to get the perfect selfie.

The selfie stick has become the latest craze to sweep the nation and our social media timelines, it seems like everyones got their hands on a selfie stick. There are many different varieties of selfie sticks on the market to help get the perfect selfie. The original inventor of the selfie stick, Wayne Fromm came up with the idea whilst travelling with his daughter, they were forever asking for people to take photos of them together but the majority of the time they would just take photos of themselves and they were never in the same photograph so Wayne Fromm fixed these problems by testing out over 100 different prototypes of the selfie sticks to finally create the Quik Pod.

The selfie stick isn’t meant to be seen in your group selfies.  

“The stick is not meant to be in the photo.  The elbow of the arm should be in a relaxed position.”

Selfie sticks are like marmite, people either love them or they hate them. Many venues and festivals have already put bans in place to prohibit people from bringing selfie sticks into events, including several Premier League football clubs, museums and theme parks.

What do you think of selfie sticks? Comment below!