The Music Sparkle ✨🎢

Gone Live

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post, the time is flying by and as usual, busy, busy days. It sure is correct that the older you get the faster time goes and surprisingly even in these days of lockdown and restrictions, the time has passed very quickly.

Anyway, I was planning on writing a post about how my first FB live session went and I still will include this information and also tell you how the second FB live session went. Yes, I’ve done two!! Go me and pushing the comfort zone in all directions.

My first ever publicity poster!

I was so excited when the lady that runs The Virtual Club Bar group on FB sent me the above photograph for sharing the event. It was really happening. The day before the event I managed to get a bit of a cold with a sore throat. Typical. I drank lots of honey and lemon and a few Lemsips to ensure I had some kind of voice on the day. Oh I was nerve wracked the thirty minutes before I went live. I was so excited and so scared. I pressed the “go live” button and that was it, I was on. I had selected eight songs and I started off with the first one and although I couldn’t see comments I could see lots of hearts and thumbs up floating across the screen which helped so much. I knocked my microphone over half way through but I kept going. I do have a habit of losing myself in the music and forgetting where I am in a song and that happened to me during “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight”, I kept talking, restarted the backing track and off I went again. I have often said to my lovely vocal coach that my USP will be the audience wondering if I will come in on the right note, at the right time and if I can remember the lyrics because I do drift away into a world of musical daydreams.

Celebrate Good Times Come On!

By the time my 30 minutes was up I was nothing short of exhilarated, I’d done it, my very first gig in a virtual kind of way. My throat just about held up to the last song. It was well received as I was asked back and I did another 30 minutes, without microphones falling or forgetting where I was in the song, on March 14th and I was delighted with the comments and feedback. Somehow I managed to save this particular FB live session to my phone and I have uploaded it to You Tube so if you have half hour free at any point, tune in and let me know what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlqpXf1z_vo&t=23s

The Second Poster.

I have been asked back a third time this time for an hour on Sunday 25th April at 5pm so I am currently working on my set list for that. “Rose Garden” appears to be a firm favourite for people and I’m going to start including more Country and Irish songs as I get more confident. This has been great practice so far for when I may be able to take to an actual stage. The head will be gone off me with nerves when I get that far.

Praying and Manifesting.

Singing is something I always wanted to do and never ever thought I would. After a career in Industry leading to the Corporate world and then giving it up to be a carer for Mom and Dad, I never allowed myself to think that I could make this happen. Yet here we are. I didn’t give up on the dream, I pray, I push myself, I dare to feel the fear and have a go. What have we got to lose but a bit of pride if things don’t go as planned. I know I will regret not having a go at this. I love singing so much, my guitar playing is coming along and I receive such lovely comments from people that it spurs me on. Never ever give up on your dream, you can manifest it, you need to work for it and you can do it.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Snow Days

We haven’t had a real good snowfall in years. The last one I remember was in 2017 and my Dad thought I had gone mad as I got all wrapped up and headed out for a walk in the snow that day. We are very lucky in The Midlands area of England as we appear to escape the extremes of weather that hit other areas. I was delighted when a few weeks back I woke to find it snowing quite heavily and that it was settling on the ground. Oh it looked so beautiful. Yes, I was up and out walking in it and it was magical. Hardly anyone around due to lockdown restrictions, no cars disturbing the snow on the roads and the wonderful sounds of children playing in the gardens with their parents. It was almost silent in places as the snow fell. As you would expect of me, never without the phone in case of photo opportunities, here are my photos of my walk and a celebration of St Bridget’s Day in Ireland, Imbloc and Groundhog Day!

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Going Live

Regular readers of my blog and those that follow me on social media will know that during our first lockdowns last year, I took the plunge and started to sing into my phone and post the songs online. I finally got my website sorted out and published it and I started a Facebook page specifically for the music sprinkled with positive quotes. I’ve been delighted with all the love and support I have received and all the positive comments, shares and visits have really given me more confidence to keep doing what I’m doing.

About three weeks ago I received a message on my music page from a lady who runs a music group on Facebook. She asked me if I would do a live set for them. Holy moly!!! Fear seized me, then excitement, swiftly followed by more fear. I was stunned. Delighted but stunned. Well I had to say yes didn’t I? This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something I have never done before. I have never done a Facebook live and I have never, ever, ever sang live in public. It’s one thing to sing into my phone and post it online but to sing live!!!!

Practicing the songs for the live event.

So I said yes and arranged the date with her. I go live on Sunday 21st February at 4 pm GMT in The Virtual Bar. I have been practicing nine songs for the half hour set. I wasn’t sure how many I would need and if I start chatting, then I may only need one or two!!! Best to be prepared and have more than enough. I’m very grateful to this lady for giving me the opportunity to sing live and push my boundaries, as scary as it may be. I need to do it.

I’ve been reading a lot over the past months about Law of Attraction and I have watched the film The Secret. It’s so interesting the concept of asking for, working towards and manifesting what you want. Since I was a child I have imagined myself on stage singing. I was in my bedroom as a teenager singing away to my records and working out my dance moves. I lost most, if not all, of that creativity and enthusiasm as life unfolded and I wandered up and down different paths. When I gave up work to look after my parents, their Doctor said I needed to have something for me to escape and unwind with. Back came the music. Now life has guided me down another path and the music has become my main focus. I’m forever thinking of songs, drafting lyrics, dancing in the kitchen and yes again, visualising myself on a stage singing. Especially over these past months when I’ve been posting songs online. Is it possible that I am manifesting my dream?

February has opened up an opportunity for me. I’m pushing myself outside of the comfort zone. I’ll let you know how it goes.

February Love.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Get Your Healthy Sparkle On

January 2021. New Year, new start and yes we’ve all been here before. We have such great enthusiasm when we start anything new and it takes real determination to keep the momentum going. Whether it’s diet, exercise, work, a new project, you need to have real passion to see it through.

Over the past years since I have been writing my blog I’m sure I have written in January or even mid way through the year about heathy starts, eating well, moving more. And yes, I’m a prime example of someone with the best of intentions that falls off the wagon all the time and you know what, it doesn’t matter. I never give up. At some point I will try again.

Whilst I was a carer for my parents I lost weight, I was on the go all the time but I wasn’t what you would call fit and probably not healthy as I grabbed at snacks to keep going. When I lost both parents in 2019 I lost a lot of weight and I looked awful. There I said it. I did, I looked dreadful. Skinny doesn’t suit me. Then I started the chocolate and prosecco diet and after a while (because you can only get away with these things for so long) the weight piled on.

Last year during the first lockdown of the pandemic, my cousins and I completed the Couch to 5K training. We would all have a Zoom call to discuss how our “run” had gone that day and we were super proud to have completed it. You know from previous blog posts that I started gardening and that kept me active. At the end of August my cousin suggested a fitness trainer on YouTube so I investigated. Oh wow, this lady has changed my perception of working out. I love her workouts. There is something for everyone regardless of age, ability or whatever area you may be targeting to full workouts. The workouts are from 3 minutes to 30 minutes and I love them. I’m fitter, more flexible, toned and the workout has become a habit. Lucy Wyndham-Read is motivational and for me and many others, has revolutionised working out. https://www.youtube.com/user/LWRFitnessChannel/featured (The photo above is me post workout).

As the weather changed and I wasn’t out gardening, running or even walking so much plus I was now caring part time for a lady with vascular dementia, once again the snacking and food intake increased. I wasn’t exactly gaining additional weight as the workouts daily were obviously keeping things in balance but I did become mindful of what I was eating. One account that I follow on Instagram, Derek in the Kitchen, had a story about Nutracheck. Like the majority of us he was fed up with various diet plans, restrictions, fasting etc etc and just wanted to see values of what he was eating. This was exactly what I wanted. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables but am I getting my five a day? I drink lots of water but is it enough? Bananas have more calories than a glass of Prosecco? Really? Yes!!!!

I signed up for three months and it has opened my eyes to what I’m eating. I don’t appear to eat a lot of fats or foods with salt. I do eat a lot of carbohydrates and my sugar intake is off the scale. There appears to be sugar in so many foods! Over Christmas I enjoyed the goodies. The cakes, chocolates, nibbles and yes, the fizz. I don’t feel guilty, I had what I wanted to eat. I had a couple of walks, I didn’t work out, I had a restful holiday season. https://www.nutracheck.co.uk/Home

I wrote a post on Instagram last week about healthy eating, working out, getting fitter and everything in moderation. It really resonated with people. I had loads of messages from people saying that they too were fed up with the usual diets, food restrictions, starving themselves. I decided last year during the first lockdown that I would never diet again, life is just too short not to have what you enjoy. Just have it in moderation.

I’m not counting calories, I’m mindful of what I eat. I’m drinking more water, I’m back on the daily workouts, I have my treats and I’m getting fitter, healthier and toning up. I’ve signed up for the Country Walking Magazine #Walk1000Miles2021 challenge. https://www.walk1000miles.co.uk/ I’m off to a slow start but it is only January.

We can do this. We can get fitter, healthier and more active. Some small changes go a long way. Are you with me? Get your sparkle on!

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Hopes and Dreams

Get Ready…Go!

I appear to be full of hopes, dreams and plans for this new year ahead. I have such a positive vibe going on as I write this blog. I have my down days, where the memories fall out of my eyes and down my cheeks. January is now a tough month for me as much as I enjoy the month itself. This year it will be two years since my Daddy passed and I still relive various days over and over. Yet this year, amongst the sadness there is a huge appreciation of the blessings I had with my parents and gratitude for everything they gave me especially my independent spirit and ability to see things through.

So this year, lets see what I can make happen, what I can manifest and how much sparkle I can share. There will be good days, bad days and days that truly shine. We really are never too old to follow a dream, to take a chance, to grab and opportunity. Here’s to an amazing 2021 to us all, a year of hope, togetherness and moving on.

Winter clouds, moving on.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

2021 A New Chapter

Well here we are once again at the end of another year and what a year it has been. Who could have imagined this time last year that we were about to enter a global pandemic and all the changes that has made to our lives. Is there anyone on earth untouched in some way by Covid-19? Absolutely everything changed. All the things we did on a daily basis and took for granted were stopped. It was a shock to our system, our very being and yet here we are, on the brink of another new year. The year has sped by. For all the restrictions, lockdowns and changes, we find ourselves with Christmas over and the New Year just about to start.

New Year, New Start

We start the year full of hope. We have vaccines rolling out and we live in the anticipation that by Summer 2021 things will have returned to more of what we used to call normal life. The scientists and medics have worked so hard to discover and test the vaccines. Our front line workers have experienced a year like no other and sadly, some of us have lost family or friends to the virus. But we still have hope. We have made the best of what we have had this year. We have had technology to help us keep in contact with family and friends, to continue working, to shop, to workout and to binge watch TV shows. We have come together to support each other, help each other, think of each other and be more community minded.

Life changes, so do we.

2020 has been a period of reset for me. In an earlier blog post I wrote that I found lockdown peaceful, healing and therapeutic and I still feel that way. I have appreciated everything a lot more, what I had, what I lost and what I have gained. Lockdown and restrictions have given me a different life and a different outlook on life. I am at peace and comfortable with myself and what I want to do. During lockdown I did new things; gardening, singing into the phone and posting the videos online, chatting away on Instagram and it has been so lovely to receive positive feedback for sharing the sparkles.

I have always loved the month of January. I know some people find it a little bleak after all the festivities of December. I have always found it cleansing, exciting and the new broom of the year. Sweeping away the old year to make room for the new. I wish you all a very happy New Year full of happiness, good health and return to what we used to deem “Normal Life”.

January.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Merry Christmas

I want to wish you all a very happy, holy, blessed and hopeful Christmas. Thank you for all your support this year as I returned to the online world, restarted blogging, became an Instagram diva (πŸ˜‚) and started singing into my phone during lockdown to spread a little musical happiness which in turn has given me so much confidence. Whatever your plans, your hopes and dreams, I hope that the magic of Christmas touches your heart and that the sparkle of Christmas gives you the warmth of Christmas magic.

Merry Christmas.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Preparations

This year we are all experiencing a very different Christmas due to the various restrictions in place, the ever changing restrictions to protect us from Covid-19. Personally this Christmas feels different anyway. Last year I think I was numb with the pain of loss and I got through everyday surrounded by my amazing cousins and a wonderful best friend. This year I can actually feel the pain of the loss. However, as weird as it may sound, because everyone else is having a very different Christmas, I don’t feel alone. We really are all in this together. I have done a little bit of decorating and preparing, of course I have, I love that Christmas sparkle and if we can’t sparkle at this time of year, when can we?

Himself buys me an Advent Candle every year.
The large Christmas Tree hasn’t been up for years so I decided to decorate it this year and have it in my Christmas Song Videos.
Mom and I bought this Door Wreath a long time ago, I decided to hang it up this year.
Cappuccino and mince pies – yummy
Dragged out the vintage apron and started baking.
Some very old cake decorations that were my Mom’s alongside some newer ones of mine.
A Chocolate Christmas Cake I made for my lovely neighbours who look out for me everyday.
A Christmas Wreath to hang up on Christmas Eve with himself.
Another Chocolate Christmas Cake for friends of my parents.
One for my parents and one for my sister celebrating Christmas in heaven.
Love Came Down at Christmas.

Are you all prepared for Christmas? What plans do you have? Small Christmas bubbles are in this year. Thank God for technology, Zoom calls, and being able to speak to our friends and family online. Yes it will be a different Christmas yet it is still Christmas. Christmas is a time for hope and joy and that’s something we all need right now. So make the most of what you have and be sure to enjoy the sparkle of this beautiful season and hopefully, next Christmas will be better for us all.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Autumn falls away to Winter

I was out walking again. I was south of the city, close to where I was born and brought up. It still feels like home in the south although I have lived north of the city for a very long time.

Autumn was just ending and Winter was taking hold. It was a very chilly and beautiful afternoon and it felt so good to be wrapped up and in the fresh air. The colours around me were stunning so of course, out came the phone and I took a few pictures.

Love the Sun through the trees.
Autumn leaves 🍁
Stunning Autumnal colours.
Late afternoon in the burbs.
Winter approaches.

I’m sure onlookers think I’m crazy looking up to the sky with the phone in the air. Perhaps they think I’m taking a selfie! I just cannot resist these kind of scenes.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎢

Music Diva

It has been a while since I blogged about what I’m doing with my music. If you don’t follow me on Instagram or FB you won’t have seen my various leaps of faith over the past year. You may remember that I had started to learn to play guitar. My sessions were very start and stop due to my caring role and then the sudden passing of my parents last year. I returned to the vocal coaching and guitar sessions towards the end of last year. Just before lockdown was imposed here in the UK, my guitar tutor informed me that he felt I was ready to attend an acoustic night and feel the waters of performing live. I was happy I was finally at that stage of my learning and I was also so scared. The thought of actually getting up on stage to sing and play guitar…absolutely terrifying. And then came lockdown, great weather and the gardening.

Leap of faith time.

As lockdown ensured all live gigs were cancelled, social media, especially FB, was alive with people performing. Singing, playing instruments, comedy sketches, art work, you get the drift. I decided that now was the perfect time to try some of this for myself. How hard could it be to sing into the phone? Actually, it was nerve wracking. The number of times I had to say to myself “you don’t have to post this online, it’s just a practice run”. Sometimes it took hours to sing and record a song. I would lose my way in the song (sometimes I get carried away with the melody and forget the lyrics). Sometimes I forget to come in at the right point in the song, sometimes I sing in the wrong key. I can tell I’m going to be a very interesting act when the time comes.

I made a start and my first effort sounded ok (I’m terrible at self praise), I looked like a statue on the video. My friends all gave very positive comments and messaged me to say “why aren’t you smiling?” or “why aren’t you moving?”. It was difficult enough for me to stand there and sing into the phone, remember the lyrics and come in at the right point of the intro never mind move or smile.

However, each song I sang I became a little more confident. I shared my songs to various groups on Facebook and I was blown away with the amount of views and lovely comments I would receive. I started to receive messages with requests and I’m making my way through the list. I’m so enjoying that people want to hear me sing!

I have a wobble now and again, a crisis of confidence, wonder what on earth I’m doing, think that I’m not good enough. Then I have a word with myself and tell myself to just go for it, do what makes me happy and if I want to sing, play guitar and be sparkly then I should just do it. It’s so easy to measure yourself against what someone else is doing, or how others appear to get shared everywhere and I’m plodding along. But plodding along is good, I have a lot to learn about the music industry and how it works and what I need to do, the next steps. I’ll get there. A lovely lady once said to me to take the long road up the mountain, the scenic view, it’ll be better for me when I reach the top.

Another piece of advice I was given is about believing in myself because if I didn’t, nobody else would.

It’s up to me to do this!!

I have written some songs which I am working on with my guitar tutor. It really is the most amazing feeling to hear the music that was in my head come to life. I’m loving practising the songs on the guitar. We are even talking about getting into the studio next Spring and recording a CD. This is the stuff dreams are made of, well that my dreams are made of.

Find me on https://www.facebook.com/DawnMaxwellMusic

Or https://www.instagram.com/aurora_sparkles/

Not forgetting https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVHLg_2erVoITLESQY5trTw?

With love and sparkles xx