Tuesday, 24 April 2018

WHY VINYL?



Anyone who knows me even a minuscule amount will know that music is pretty much the love of my life, I truly couldn’t live without it. My favourite bands announcing a new album or tour dates is like a mini Christmas for me each and every time. No matter what way you look at it, the industry has grown over the years, but arguably fewer bands that spring up nowadays have the longevity that bands and artists had way back when (this is a topic I could save for a whole other post, but I’ll save that for a another day). Part of the reason for this in my opinion is the dying trade that is ‘physical’ music. 
 
This brings me onto today’s topic, Vinyl records and why you should buy them! I’m going to try really hard not to sound like an unbearable hipster in this post because of course, all opinions are just that and you’re entitled to your own. That said, if I can convince even one person to check out their local record store, I’d be over the moon! So, if you can bear to hear me out and find out why I’ll always preach plastic, keep reading!


I’ve admittedly not been a Vinyl collector for a long time at all, though before I got my first turntable last year, I still loved to buy CDs, for me there’s just something about actually owning your favourite albums that’s a bit more special that listening on Spotify or iTunes. I’m not here to slam subscriptions services, I’m a huge Apple Music user myself and I love nothing more than being able to easily create a playlist of my fave songs to blast in my car, but for me it’s just not the same. While I love a good shuffle at times, listening to an album on a record means you listen to one artist and one album all in one go. Often songs on a record will merge into one another or link to other songs on the album in some way and without really listening to the whole album in order, you don't always catch that.
There’s something that feels quite special about going to a record store, flipping through rows and rows of LPs to find what you’re looking for. It’s much more of an experience than just downloading the tracks and playing them through a Bluetooth speaker. For me, that’s what music is all about, it’s an experience. Choosing the album I want, taking it home, sliding it out of its sleeve and putting it on my turntable. then turning it over once the side is finished is just one of my favourite things ever and makes listening to the record all the more enjoyable. I’m thoroughly aware of how cheesy that sounds, but if I’m going to get gushy about anything, it’s this!

Other than the joy that is holding and owning your favourite records, there’s the sound. There’s much debate about sound quality between Vinyl, CD and digital and while I’m certainly no expert, I don’t believe it’s as black and white as one being better than another. That being said, many people, myself included just prefer the sound quality of Vinyl. The little scratch before and after the end of the record is probably my favourite sound in the world. While it's true that Vinyl can get warped or damaged, something you don't get with digital, I do think this can add to the character of the track and create a sense of nostalgia when the same part skips over each time you listen to a song.
Of course, a huge reason to buy Vinyl is supporting your favourite bands and Artists in a financial sense also. There's no denying that people just don't pay for music any more. With it being so easy to just listen online or download a song for free, it's understandable that it's more difficult for Artists to make big money from physical record sales these days. I don't think buying into Vinyl will 'fix' this issue, but I do believe it will make a difference and it's certainly a step in the right direction. You also get that whole ‘Vinyl experience’ that I mentioned above, so that’s got to be a bonus!
I think I’ll leave this post here for now as I’m sure I’ve been banging on enough about the topic, but I’d really love to know what your thoughts are! Leave a comment below or chat to me on twitter or instragram about this as I’d love to discuss!
 If you’d like to see more Music themed posts on Chloe’s Way, please do let me know!


Sunday, 25 February 2018

THE SNUG


Hey everyone! So, as someone who lives within a very easy train ride to London, I’m pretty guilty of just heading into the capital when I want to find a great cocktail bar, quirky lunch spot or somewhere instagrammable for brunch, but lately, I decided it was about time I started searching a little closer to home.


Not only does heading out a few minutes up the road save a lot of money in travel, but sometimes you can find yourself pleasantly surprised with places right on your doorstep. Having explored most places in our own town, we decided to branch out just a little further to surrounding towns and cities. Living in Hertfordshire, just outside of Essex, myself and my Husband are within easy reach of lots of surrounding areas such as Epping, Loughton, Stansted, Cambridge and Hertford, which is where we headed for lunch today. 


After a little searching around on google, we decided to head to The Snug, which is located behind the Hertford Corn Exchange on the high street. The Snug has a few locations including Hertford, St Albans and Cambridge, (so there may well be one near you!) but it doesn’t feel like a typical chain restaurant/ bar at all because of the unique, cosy atmosphere and quirky decor. Darren and I initially intended on heading there for brunch, but after looking at the cocktail menu online, we couldn’t resist trying them and lunch felt a more socially acceptable time to do so! Don’t be fooled by the picture of the clock, we actually went at around 12:30 in the afternoon!


We sat down at a cute little table with a faux cow skin bench one side and two cute mismatched armchairs on the other. We were surrounded by exposed brick walls, daffodils in glass bottles, board games and quirky mismatched decor. I particularly loved the Wayne’s World prints on the walls! The atmosphere in there was super relaxed and cosy and even though it was midday on a Sunday and pretty quiet, there was still a really great vibe. The staff were super friendly and they can certainly make a mean cocktail! 


On Sundays, cocktails are two for one all day and on Monday to Saturday, they have a happy hour where the same offer applies from 3pm-7pm. Darren had two Singapore Slings and I had two French Martinis - both were absolutely amazing, it was quite possibly the best French Martini I’ve ever had! Something that I really loved was that all the cocktails on the menu were included in the happy hour deal, sometimes you find bars will only do certain cocktails in a happy hour deal and often it’s a pretty limited selection so to have the whole (huge!) menu to choose from was fab. 


We had lunch in there also, both of us had a sandwich from the lunch menu, they do have a main menu for the whole day too, but the lunch menu has a few bits and pieces on it for a slightly lower price. There are quite a few options including veggie and some that can be altered to be vegan. You can grab a sandwich and some tortilla chips for £5.95 which is a fab deal. We had a sandwich each and shared some chips and this with four top quality cocktails came to just over £30, which I thought was a pretty fab deal! 


If you like the sound of The Snug (and I can’t see why you wouldn’t!), definitely check out their website and their locations to see if there’s one near you as I’d thoroughly recommend checking it out!


Have you found any hidden gems where you live? Do you have a favourite spot local to you? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

MOTHER’S DAY WITH PERSONALLY PRESENTED


Hi lovelies! So, Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking of the perfect gift for your Mums, Nans, Girlfriends, Wives or any other mummies in your life! I think Mother’s Day can be a tough one, because for me at least, it’s not like getting a present for their Birthday or Christmas, it’s a day to celebrate just how much they mean to you, so I like my gift to reflect that. Whether that be a spa together, tickets for the two of you to see a show, a bottle of her favourite wine or a basket of pampering goodies for her to enjoy, I think it’s nice for a Mother’s Day gift to be a bit more personal.


With this in mind, let me introduce you to Personally Presented, an online store specialising in personalised gifts. I thought this was the perfect brand to share for Mother’s Day gift inspo. The pictures I’m showing are slightly irrelevant as you can tell, as this is for my Mother in Law’s birthday, but I thought it’d make a fab idea for Mother’s Day too! Personally presented do lots of bottles of wine and spirits that you can personalise with whatever you want to say - I also went for the wooden wine box just so the presentation was that bit more special. The quality is fab, the printing on the wine label is clear and professional looking, which I love as I'd hate for it to look like we'd just printed it and stuck it on ourselves! The carving in the box is flawless also and it all just feels very high quality.

The site has far more than just alcohol gifts though (admittedly though, it is what I gravitated towards!!) from super inexpensive key rings, mugs, compact mirrors, socks and sweets to more luxury items like fine silver jewellery, watched and clutch bags - though most items on the site are £80 or less so nothing is going to break the bank and absolutely everything can be personalised with their name, initials or a message from you. 


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4.5.6

I’ve shared and linked a few of my personal faves below just to give a taste of what Personally Presented has to offer. I particularly love the Prosecco gummies, they're like the most grown up cola bottles to ever have existed! There are so many more options on Personally Presented though, so if you love the idea of something a little more personal for Mother's Day, definitely check them out!

What are you going to be doing on Mother’s Day? I’d love to know!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

DON BROCO


So, following my rather different post last week, I thought I'd switch it up again today with a post about probably my favourite thing in the world, Music. If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you'll know that one of my favourite things ever is live music. I go to gigs and concerts pretty much every month. So today I thought I'd write a post about one of my favourite bands, Don Broco! Their new album 'Technology' came out on Friday and I am obsessed. I'd pre-ordered the album a while back and my signed vinyl arrived on the day of release, which was super exciting. What was more exciting though was  actually going to see the band play at ULU Live in London for an Album release show. I'd already been to see them at Alexandra Palace back in November which is incredible, so when I saw that they'd announced another London date at a venue less than one tenth of the size of the last, I was practically bouncing off the walls.

So, the 2nd of Feb finally rolled around and after binge listening to the album all day, I was so excited to see them again! I was just a teeeeeny bit nervous that they wouldn't quite match up to the time we saw them at Ally Pally, because that was possibly the best gig I've ever been to. I've also been to see bands before that once in a smaller venue, don't seem to put as much effort into their set. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for Don Broco! From the moment they stepped onto the stage, opening with 'Pretty', a track from their new album, they put everything into the performance and it was musically and vocally on point the whole way through. The energy of the whole band was just incredible and they really interacted with the crowd in a way you can't always achieve in much bigger venues.

If you've never listened to them before, I'd definitely recommend checking them out. Their sound is so unique that a crowd at a Don Broco gig is really quite diverse, which creates a really great atmosphere. Due to their high energy, heavy sound, there was a lot of moshing and chaotic jumping around, but instructed by lead singer Rob Damiani to 'look after each other in the pit', there was still a really friendly and inclusive vibe in the crowd, which was really lovely to see.

Overall, it was just an incredible night, their set included plenty of new tracks, but only those that had been released as singles, which made sense as the album had only just come out that day - meaning everyone already knew all the words (not that I wouldn't have loved to have heard some of the brand new tracks!). They also played a lot of old favourites such as 'Priorities' and 'You Wanna Know'. I lost count of the amount of times I grabbed my Husbands arm screaming 'OMG I love this song!!'.


Now onto the Album itself, in all honesty, I think you'd have trouble giving Don Broco an actual genre, they're definitely a rock band, but they use a lot of electronics and random instruments (a couple of tracks even use a cowbell!) in their music which combined with Rob Damiani's insanely diverse vocals, give them a really complex and unique sound. Each album on the track is really quite different and they all have varying subject matter, but the underlying theme seems to be the modern age and how it's basically kind of fucked up.

You've got tracks that explore topics such as Social Media takeover, Fake News, Politics and Brexit, Fake News and Corruption in Hollywood. On first listen, the message in a lot of the songs can easily be missed due to the upbeat sound and heavy guitar and drums, but that's what I've been loving about this album. There are no entirely slow tracks, but they've managed to pack a lot of powerful messages into 16 (yes, 16!) heavy, high energy tracks.

I won't do a track by track review, as I'm certainly no expert, but I'd say my top three tracks on the album right now have got to be Come Out to LA, Something to Drink and T-Shirt Song.

Check out Technology here - I'd thoroughly recommend checking it out on vinyl if you can - the quality of these records is just fab!

Have you been to any great gigs lately? I'd love for you to let me know in a comment below!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

5 SIMPLE CAR SAFETY TIPS



So, following all the terrible weather we’ve been having, today’s post is going to be a little different! Today we’re going to be talking about car safety - not exactly a glamorous topic, but as you’ll know, I love to travel and sometimes, travel includes long car journeys! Just as pilots, train drivers and ship captains (is that what they’re called?!) check their plains, trains and boats are safe before they set off, it’s super important to keep on top of car safety too.

I’m certainly no mechanic, but being safe behind the wheel and as a passenger is something that’s very important to me and something that we should all keep on top of, so, I’m going to share a few simple tips on how to keep yourself and your passengers safe in your car.

1.    Checking for tyre tread
This was something I was told about when I bought my car, but it’s surprising how many people don’t do this, or even know they should check this! Tyres that are worn down are not only in dangerous (especially in wet and icy conditions!), but they are also illegal and can put you at risk of a fine up to £2500! This is something that’s really easy to check yourself though, the easiest way to check your tyre tread is with the ‘20p test’ simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves on your tyre, if the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured, you’re good to go! If you can see the outer band, your tyres may be below the legal limit and you’ll need to get them checked by a professional.

2.    Checking tyre pressure and condition
Similarly, regularly checking tyre pressure is important and will maintain the life of your tyres. You can find out your specific tyres correct pressure online or in your cars manual. You can check pressure and top up your tyres at most garages too, so this is also very quick and easy! It is also important, especially before a long journey to just check the condition of your tyres - I once drove (luckily only for about 2 miles!) on a tyre that was almost totally flat - I noticed that my car was pulling to one side and assumed it was the tracking, but I got home and realised my tyre was almost totally deflated! Following this incident, I’ve since been very careful about giving my tyres a quick once over before any journey. Should you need new tyres, but your car is unsafe to drive to a garage, you can actually order tyres online from Jet Wheel Tyre Website. Sites like this saved me a lot of time, hassle and money when I had my flat tyre!

3.    Correct Wheel Alignment
If your car pulls to one side at all while driving (and you’ve not got a flat tyre like I did!) - your wheel alignment or ‘tracking’ may be off. This is something that’s not only annoying while driving, but also means you have less control over your vehicle. The most obvious clue that your tracking is off, is if you’re driving down a straight road and when you loosen your grip on the wheel, your car pulls to the left or right. If you ever notice his happening, see a professional right away!

4.    Check your lights
Another seemingly obvious one, but also something that’s easily overlooked. Particularly in the winter, we drive in the dark a lot. Making sure all the lights on your car are working is very important as it’s not always immediately obvious when one goes. Again, it not only is dangerous to you and other drivers if your lights don’t work properly, but it is also illegal. Most of us remember to check that our side lights, dipped beam, full beam and rear lights are properly functioning, but you must also remember your indicators, break lights, reverse lights, side repeaters and number plate lights are working too. All this is much easier with someone to assist you!

5.    Windows, windscreen and mirrors
Another easily overlooked safety check is all mirrors and windows in your car. It is important to check for any cracks or chips in the glass, as uneven road surface can cause a tiny chip to turn into a big crack! It is also important that your mirrors are properly adjusted and that both the mirrors and windows are clean for full visibility. It is worth checking that your washer fluid is topped up too, as you don’t want to get caught out! Bonus tip, while you’re there, you might as well check your oil and coolant levels are adequate - these are both clearly marked on each individual car.

So that's it! Of course, like I said, I'm no expert, so please remember to use your own judgement and common sense when checking your car over and of course, regular servicing and MOTs are also essential to the safety and maintenace of your car.



Do you have any car maintenance tips? If so please share in the comments below!