And it’s Monday again, how fast do the weeks roll by? I cannot believe we are saying hello to December later this week and it seems unbelievable that Christmas songs are on the radio and the Christmas films are on TV already. Time goes by so fast. When we are younger it seems to take an age to grow up, to be an adult, to do things we see our elders doing. Yet when we get to adulthood we start to understand that as nice as it is to do what we want to, being an adult isn’t that easy and along with the happy times we also encounter some very hard and sad times.
It’s a wake up call when someone we love passes away and it brings home to us our own precious life and how fragile it actually it. It really is a case of being grateful for each day we are given, living life to the best of our ability, being positive, sharing our sparkle with others and absolutely loving Monday.
Monday’s are like mini New Year’s, it’s a fresh start to the week, it’s best foot forward time to work on our dreams, hopes, goals and passions. Monday truly sparkles, without having Monday we can’t work our way around to that feel good Friday. Have the most amazing day and a wonderful week.
Way back in August, the late bank holiday weekend, I attended the very first Pairc Festival in Birmingham. Our Birmingham Irish Centre moved from the city centre to South Birmingham just before the pandemic started. The Digbeth area of Birmingham, historically the Irish area of the city, is being hugely redeveloped. It’s like a maze trying to get around that area at the moment with all the building and road works, you really feel like you are going around the block numerous times to reach your destination.
People were not happy at the move. The city centre is easily accessible for people who live around the city and the suburbs and for people coming from other parts of the country to events. However, the new club has a huge open sports ground and park area and this is where this first ever Birmingham Pairc Festival was held over the August bank holiday weekend. I bought tickets for Sunday, the closing day, because one of my favourite Irish music stars was performing, Nathan Carter. Thankfully the weather held and even in the evening it was a warm, late Summer evening. The atmosphere was incredible all around the festival area. There were families, couples, singletons and groups of friends rambling around visiting the various stalls and attractions. There were picnic’s taking place, dancing, singing, music, food and of course drink but not all alcoholic. It looked like every county in Ireland was represented with the people attending the festival. I could see T-shirts and flags from all over Ireland and it was just such a wonderful atmosphere. Inclusive, happy, positive and friendly vibes were the order of the day.
Prosecco and Chips, we are such classy girls! The ice cream was eaten at 11.30 pm after a night of singing and dancing because we just wanted to and isn’t that what life is all about?
One of the main acts was Finbar Furey, an absolute legend in Irish folk music. He gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Sweet Sixteen’ which was a favourite song of my parents and the tears fell, silently, but they fell. I wasn’t alone and found myself holding hands with strangers who were also moved to tears by the music and song.
As you can see from the photo above, there was a fantastic crowd in place for Nathan Carter’s show stopping closure to the festival. The whole area was alive with happiness, music and song. It was truly a special event and I am so glad that I attended. My friend and I had the most wonderful day catching up with each other, listening to and dancing to local bands and big name bands, talking to strangers, dancing like no-one was watching (because they weren’t) and we are already looking forward to the acts being released for next year and planning another day of Irishness.
I didn’t take many photo’s or any video footage. I decided to leave my phone in my pocket and just be in the moment, all day and all evening long. It was freedom!
Oh how I love Monday’s. I’m such a nerd but you know what, I really do love Monday. It’s like a mini new year in a way. When we want to start a new plan, have a new idea, start a fitness journey or a health goal we often say ‘I’ll start on Monday’.
I’m just getting over a particularly nasty virus which laid me low for two weeks. Over the last few days I can feel my energy returning, my mojo getting back into place and my passion for my music, my song writing and my inspirational vibe getting back into sync so here I am, it’s Monday and I’m wishing you the most wonderful and positive Monday. Here’s to a truly amazing week.
I’ve always loved November. There’s something about that watery sunshine mid afternoon before it becomes dark. Setting behind tree branches which are now almost bare, the grey misty sky and the smell of the cold air. It’s a peaceful kind of month. We haven’t quite said goodbye to Autumn and we know that Winter is just a breath away. The nights draw in ever earlier, the evening chill arrives much quicker and that morning frost beckons us to drag out the hat, gloves and scarves before we open that front door and step out into the world.
November is also the calmness before the hustle, bustle and magic of December arrives in all it’s sparkling glory. November is the month to reflect upon the year that has passed. We also remember and pray for those who have gone before us, we remember and pay tribute to our service men and veterans who fought for our freedom. November is such a beautiful, quiet and reflective month, we take it at a slower pace as we prepare for the month ahead.
Enjoy this beautiful Red and golden Brown month, the wonderful silence, the patter of the rain and the rush of the wind, the pre Winter sunshine and the early morning frost. It’s such a gorgeous time of year.
Yes, I love Monday’s. It hasn’t always been the case of course. I have worked in some jobs where I hated Monday and having to go into work. That Sunday night feeling of dread every week rolled round as regular as clockwork. We get onto the treadmill of work, jobs, offices, the commute which is wonderful if you enjoy your job and just awful if you hate your job.
I also had jobs where I loved going into work and Monday wasn’t an issue at all. Poor old Monday gets a raw deal. We hear all the time ‘oh no, it’s Monday again’, ‘Monday and I have to go to work’ ‘Monday is the pits’. We should turn these things around to ‘Yes, it’s Monday’, ‘Monday and I get to go to work’ ‘ Monday is a fabulous start to a new working week’. Turning them around makes such a difference to how we perceive Monday.
When I was studying for my BSc Hons in Health and Social care with the Open University https://www.open.ac.uk/ I completed a certificate in mental health studies as part of the overall degree. For a number of years I was the administrator of a Facebook page ‘Footsteps to Mental Health’. The page was very much centred on the benefits of walking, nature and getting outdoors, on our mental health. On Monday’s I posted a positive Monday quote and this was always the most popular post of the week. It gave people a lift, they felt energised, they looked forward to the day and the week ahead. Sometimes it inspired them to make positive changes in their lives. Small steps towards the life they really wanted. Making the changes, grabbing the opportunities, doing one small thing to enhance their day. I love inspirational quotes. Some inspire me, some get me thinking and some actually get me up and moving to do things towards the life that I want. If you can make today better, you can make tomorrow better and so it continues. Small things can make a huge difference. Get out for a walk, don’t scroll for hours on social media when you first get up, don’t sit down in one place all day. You are responsible for you. If you want to make a change to your life, it starts with you.
Every week I post a positive quote on Monday, about Monday, for Monday on Instagram and I tell everyone that I love Monday. This has totally changed my approach to the start of the week. I’m excited for Monday, I’m inspired to start the new week and I love to see and respond to the comments I receive about Monday. Monday is a fabulous day.
So perhaps positive Monday may just become a thing on my blog too.
I did it!! I actually did it!!! After all the months and months of preparation, studying, applying and generally sorting out what I needed to do, my debut single went live on Friday 30th September. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be available on that date. I was a little late submitting my files to the music distributor as I had encountered an issue in the size of the single artwork. Every platform seems to want things in different formats and sizes, another learning curve.
I was hyper the evening before when I just happened to check iTunes and I seen that my single was available for pre-order. It was unbelievable to be looking at my song and my artwork on iTunes. Soon after midnight it was available on Spotify and it was then that my DM’s became incredibly busy. The weekend was a whirlwind of emotions. I was so happy that I had achieved this huge goal but I was also sad that my parents and my sister were not here to see it. I know they would have been so proud of me and my Dad would have been asking me every five minutes how many people had streamed or downloaded the song.
The tears flowed on Sunday evening when I heard my song played on Phoenix Country Radio to an audience of 42K people. The DJ gave a beautiful introduction to my song, the story behind it and a taste of my background as a carer and now grabbing the opportunity to follow my dream.
So, what now? Well, I’m currently in the process of licensing the video to accompany the song and I’m also claiming my artist pages on the various streaming/downloading platforms. I also really need to start singing again as I’ve not had much opportunity to actually sing during the past few months whilst I sort all of this out.
Looking further ahead, 2023, the year I start to gig? I may as well push the comfort zone a little further now that I have come this far.
I know it’s been a little while since I updated my blog. There has been a lot going on the past few months and I have been working hard on the music although not getting much of an opportunity to actually sing. The preparation for releasing my music has been a lot to deal with. Having no experience in this particular industry it’s been quite the learning curve and at times I have found it difficult to get my head around things, but I’m getting there.
I have learned about copywrite, music licensing and music distribution. I have read so many blogs, terms and conditions, do’s and don’ts’s and also watched YouTube videos on those subjects and then I just had to take the plunge and sign up for things. I worked with a lovely lady on the social media branding. Her brief was to look at my Instagram account so she can get a feel for who I am and the colours I tend to post with and also we had a chat about my love of country music, sparkle and the look I was going for. I’m thrilled with the finished product and I look forward to using it in the future. The photo shoot was great fun, very different to just doing a quick selfie on the phone. It took me quite a while to get used to posing and I admit, I was a lot more comfortable when I was wearing my jeans and t-shirts than the floaty dresses.
So, we are well and truly on the way now on my musical journey, it’s all coming to fruition. It’s taken quite a while but I’m almost there.
Well this was a very, very exciting day for me. A photo shoot. Imagine me, me, having a photo shoot?! I had been trying on my outfits for weeks at home. Of course the additional weight gained over lockdown and holidays meant that a lot of clothes were tight and some were just too tight to wear. I had also spent months sourcing the jewellery I wanted. That Turquoise look, you know, it’s very ‘in’ in country music. I found some in very unlikely shops, thankfully, as the majority of what I wanted was only on sale in America and the cost of shipping was sometimes three times the amount of the item I wanted to buy. Thank you to Esty, Next and Amazon.
It was a dry day which was great as it had been raining most of the week before. We headed off to country park and we started the photo shoot. It was such fun once I got into it all. The photographer, Sean from Essay Photography https://essayphotography.co.uk/ was so good as putting me at ease and talking me through the various shots and directed me as to what to do, where to look etc. I had five outfits and had to run back to my car which was parked in the lane, to quickly get changed and update the jewellery I was wearing for the next batch of photos to be taken.
Once we had finished in the country park we headed into Digbeth in Birmingham to Norton’s Irish Bar. What a fabulous venue. I can’t believe I haven’t been there on a night out!!! The staff were amazing, so accommodating and eager to help with the photo shoot. Again, very exciting for me and at least this time I had the ladies bathroom to change my clothes in.
Standing and sitting up on the stage was amazing, I’ve not been up on a stage before. It filled me with such excitement and nerves. Once again, Sean was great at directing me and we have some absolutely fabulous shots from within Norton’s.
By the end of the day I felt like a real singer songwriter, almost like it’s not a dream anymore, I’m really making this happen and the right people are crossing my path to help me along in my dreams. We liked it so much at Norton’s we are going back there at the start of next month to film the video. There’ll be no talking to me I’ll be that hyper after filming a video.
As you may be aware, I’m not a great woman for wearing make up. Never without my lippy but I rarely bother with anything else, I’ve always kind of gone for the more natural look. With the vitiligo increasing on my face and the video/photo shoot coming up I decided to try out some looks.
A long time friend of mine had trained as a make up artist and I love to follow her posts on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mann_jag/ Jag predominately does the make up for Asian wedding parties and she is a super hair stylist also. The universe working it’s magic, the day before I contact her to ask about a make up trial, Jag messages me about meeting up for a coffee and a chat. So we combined both. Jag was also eager to try out some western make up looks so that she can branch out into that market. We had a fabulous few hours together, we talked and talked, we tried out looks and she made my hair and face look amazing.
As you can see, Jag did a spectacular job. The make up wasn’t heavy, it felt light to wear and wow, look at how she brought out the blue in my eyes!! Jag was a fabulous teacher too. She explained to me how to put on various make up’s, the tips of the right products, where you don’t need to spend lots of money on applicators and how to get the right angles for photographs. It was such a lovely morning together and all day when I passed a mirror, I didn’t recognise myself.
I also bought some new make-up from Sculpted by Amiee https://sculptedbyaimee.co.uk/ and I’m now a firm lover of her products. Jag was impressed too. I bought the all in one beauty base moisturiser and primer with built in SPF and it’s just amazing. So light when applied and I wear it alone or with a touch of blusher. The blusher I purchased is the Peach Blush Pop from the Cream Luxe collection. Again, easy to apply, gives a pop of gentle colour and a little goes a long way. For the lips I bought the HydraLip in Peach and it’s a beautiful, soft balm which moisturises the lips. Once again I have followed the Sculpted by Aimee account on Instagram for a long time and I really wanted to try her mascara so I added my name to the waiting list. I wasn’t disappointed when I received one. Amazing product. Again, very light, gives the lashes the look of being full and strong, no clumps in sight.
With the vitiligo increasing especially on my face, I have extremely white skin, as in snow white where the melanin has disappeared and then a tanned area where I have been in the sun. The make up I have chosen doesn’t totally cover up the vitiligo and that’s my choice. I wanted a light, subtle make up to give me a little additional confidence because sometimes people do take a second glance when they see the extreme white patches on my face. That’s fine. It is what it is. I enjoy wearing this make up, it’s light, easy to apply and remove and it gives me the look I wanted.