Friday, 21 September 2018

SHARE THE LOVE: MUSICIAN EDITION

image 0

I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely bloody love music. Even that feels like an understatement, music can change, enhance or dictate your mood, it can attach itself to memories, define a moment.. It’s something that’s so personal and unique to every single person, but can also bring people together in the most beautiful ways. As music is so important to me, I like to support it in every way I can. This is exactly why I like to buy my favourite records on Vinyl or CD where possible, go to gigs large and small and share songs I’m loving in the form of Spotify playlists.

Supporting bigger, more established bands is still important, the music industry as a whole needs as much support as possible in the digital age, especially in terms of buying physical music, merch, tickets etc and this post is in no way to say that already established artists should be boycotted in favour of lesser known ones. But what about those just starting out or with a rather small following? There’s a certain smug trendiness to keeping those smaller artists to yourself and I’m among the many who’ve uttered the phrase ‘oh, you wouldn’t have heard of them’ – in the distant past, might I add! But we should shout about them, share them, stream them, see them, shop them.

In the same way it’s important to shop small and buy local, it’s so important to do the same with musicians. How often do you see a cute café that you once loved permanently closed, a pretty little boutique with an ‘everything must go!’ sale? It doesn’t mean what they sold was bad, it doesn’t even mean they weren’t business savvy and doing all they could to turn their passion into a success, sometimes it just simply means that not enough people showed up. It’s a pretty bleak image I know (and I urge you to also shop local/ small as much as you can!!), but it’s reality. Now think of this in terms of musicians, so many wonderful bands and artists are out there working so hard to keep their dream alive in the hopes that the world will hear them one day.

Sometimes, you can come across a musician with a tiny following with songs that hit you harder and speak to you louder than any huge artist selling out Stadiums and Arenas. Other times, you'll just hear the odd song that you think is pretty and that's cool too. Either way, don't keep it to yourself. Share the love! If you love it, chances are someone else out there will too. Supporting up and coming artists is so easy to do and there are so many ways you can do so, some very obvious, others that are easily overlooked. I thought I'd share a few of my suggestions for ways you can do so, but if you have any of your own, please do let me know as I'd love to hear them!

Buy Physical Music
A blindingly obvious one, but buying physical music helps to keep the music industry as a whole very much alive and kicking, the huge Vinyl comeback has helped this massively, but we can do more! In the day and age we're in, it's unrealistic to expect people to completely trade in the likes of Spotify and Apple Music for CDs and Vinyl, but the average 'per stream' payout is really tiny - think a fraction of a penny per play! With this in mind, spending a few pounds on CDs, particularly from your favourite newer and up and coming musicians really does make all the difference. Especially when these bands and artists aren't 'out there' yet, funds are often low and creating a physical CD costs money, there's the production cost, the cost of the artwork and that's on top of paying to get the thing recorded in the first place! Also, there's a certain nostalgia in collecting CDs and Vinyl again that's just wonderful, especially if music is a passion of yours.

Attend Small Gigs
Sign up for news letters for tiny venues, keep an eye on live music nights at local pubs, in general, the more people show up, the more that artist will get booked to play again. I'm lucky enough to live within easy reach of London and Cambridge, both of which have great music scenes. Even in my local town though, there are live music nights in several pubs at least a few times a week. They're always worth a go and usually a really great night out. Top tip and relevant to the last point, when it comes to buying physical music, the best place to do so is at a gig, as all the proceeds go to the artist and not a third party. Relevant to the last point, the best place to actually buy physical music is at a gig, as all the proceeds from the sale go to the artist and not a third party. We have Jack Burrell (more on him later) to thank for this fact - something I'd never even considered before.

Spread the Word
Again, very obvious, but it takes seconds to hit share on a Facebook post, or leave a comment on an Instagram video. I do stress that comments are important too - seeing a video with 100 likes won't necessarily make me stop to listen, but seeing someone comment how the song made them feel, or just expressing how much they loved it just might. Physically share it too, play it in your car for your friends, invite someone along to a gig. Even if you just find one person who loves the artist you do as much as you, they may then find two more. As with many other things, it's important never to think your word and your input can't or won't make a difference.

Stop to Listen
How often do you stop to listen to a busker, or pop into a bar or coffee shop when you hear the sound of an acoustic guitar coming from inside? It's easy to ignore and easy to walk by, but these people are trying to get themselves out there and it takes a whole lot of work (and guts!) to do that. Particularly in bigger cities, buskers aren't just dodgy guys trying to make a few quid for questionable late night exchanges, they're actual musicians who want not only to make some cash for their hard work, also want their voice to be heard. Actually stopping to listen not only shows you actually appreciate what these people are doing, but a crowd breeds a crowd. Not many people want to be the first one to gather round, but making that move may mean that ten other people do the same.

I think for now I've rambled on quite enough, but I really do hope this post inspires you to share and discover new and up and coming musicians and artists. If you have any that you love - please do head over to my instagram and let me know who they are as I'd love to check them out!

With the help of the wonderful Jack Burrell (also an incredible musician and coincidentally one of my favourite people on the planet!) - I've put together a Spotify playlist of some bands and artists that you should definitely check out. It'd mean the world if you did as many of them are friends of mine or Jack's, so please do show them some love! Check it out below or here if you can't load the player.



Happy listening!

Photobucket

Thursday, 13 September 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF OTHERS

I got rid of all the toxic people in my life and all the people who were just draining me of energy, always talking only about their problems, never asking how I was doing. Yes, I’m a good listener and friend, but I had to put myself first and take care of myself in order to heal.



I was all set to sit and write a blog post all about self love, self care and finding yourself today. Those things are incredibly important and believe me, I'll get those topics in time, but following my last post, all my ideas on the topic of 'self', while incredibly dear to my heart, didn't quite feel right just yet.

Going through something as life altering as the end of a marriage is tough, no matter how amicable or drama free your situation is. Life as you know it is turned upside down and while you know it's for all the right reasons, it's definitely more than a little daunting. I'm not going to do a poor me act by any means. My situation is one I've come to terms with and quietly dealt with over a relatively long period of time, so when we finally did split and the inevitable happened, I felt fine, I mostly just felt an overwhelming relief.

So because our split was pretty un-dramatic, I didn't quite realise exactly how much I'd need people around me. I figured I'd just go about my daily life as before, just living by myself instead. Friends thrown in the mix here and there, exactly as before. They had other plans however and I'm so grateful for that. From the moment I told the people closest to me about the split, they rallied round me like super supportive moths to a flame. The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of day trips, live music, takeaways on my sofa, midweek pub trips and shopping days and it's been just incredible.

I love people in general, as I've grown up I've realised just how important the people in your life are. People always use phrases like 'learning who your true friends are' in situations such as this and while that's true to a point, I also think life changing situations are a perfect opportunity to open your mind and heart to many others, not just sit back and see who comes to you. Going through this, I've confided in people that I work with, I've reconnected with an old friend I'd not spoken to for years and strengthened my relationships with my closest friends that I was in danger of almost pushing away. All these people whether they've been in my life for ten years or ten weeks have been there in ways I didn't even know I needed.

In situations such as mine, there's such a focus on 'doing you' and 'finding yourself' and as I've said, I have absolutely no problems with that. In fact, it's incredibly important. However, I truly believe that you need others to help you find yourself. There are people in my life right now that have helped shape me into the person I am today. My friends are a huge part of the reason I'm the strong and resilient person I am today. The unwavering love from the people surrounding me shows me that I can love again, that I can be truly, completely happy without feeling guilty about that.

It's not even just those already in your life either. I've had huge amounts of support from absolute strangers on the internet, their words meaning so much and showing me that I'm not the only one to have gone through a situation that was so alien to me. It's also not even those that know your situation, I had a conversation with lovely member of staff in a cocktail bar on Monday who was telling me all about how his motto was not 'You Only Live Once', but 'Live Every Day and Die Only Once' - a tad morbid on first listen, but his point resonated with me. Every day might not be the best ever, but you're living it, every experience is a lesson and a memory and you'll always have that. Learning from those around you is something that will always help shape your personality and outlook on life and we should never ever stop doing that or write it off in a tunnel-visioned bid to be independent.

So, I'm challenging you to recognise the importance of others - have a meaningful chat with someone you already know and love, reach out to someone you've lost touch with, compliment, converse with or help someone you don't know at all. Make someones day or let someone make yours. You are the most important person in your life, but there are a whole heap of people willing to help you love the hell out of who you are.

Special thanks to the beautiful people I'm surrounded by right now, you know exactly who you all are.

Photobucket

Monday, 3 September 2018

NEXT CHAPTER

100 Inspirational and Motivational Quotes of All Time! (61)

I've read countless posts like this one in the past and almost every time, they start with 'I can't believe I'm writing this' or 'this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do'. What about though, when you can believe you're writing it and actually, it isn't the hardest thing you've ever had to do? Fairly recently, myself and Darren decided very mutually to split after just a year of marriage. And we're really, totally okay.

It's a funny thing when a relationship comes to an end in any way, but when a relationship comes to an end 'just because', it's a whole other ball game. Of course, there were reasons and signs that perhaps we weren't quite in it for the long haul, but mostly when explaining to people why we were breaking up, we had little else to say other than 'it just doesn't feel right'. See, sometimes it's not about waiting for the fall out, sometimes it's okay to just say, we gave it a go and it didn't work out.

From the outside, it's easy to believe that a couple have it all, the perfect marriage and the perfect life and in some more basic ways, we did. We got on well, we have a great group of mutual friends, we went on lovely holidays together, we did lots of cool stuff together. We loved each other. Though when we stepped back from the social media worthy highlights reel and took a good look at the behind the scenes, it wasn't quite the same as the picture we were painting.

Of course there were reasons that we'd discussed that were factors, many of our interests, beliefs and ideas for the future, while not wrong on either side, did not align in the way they should in a marriage. Some of these were things we overlooked, not really thinking about the future because we were (and of course, still are!!) so young. We got engaged aged 22 and 23 and married at 23 and 24 and while at the time, we thought we were doing the right thing, we definitely hadn't quite considered the long term.

It's not to say we argued all the time or either of us did anything nasty to abruptly end the relationship, but we just realised we didn't quite love one another in the way you should when you're in it forever. It by no means we dislike each other and it by no means is to say we never loved each other at all. I do think though that when you meet someone so young, you either grow together or you grow apart. For a good while, we grew together and then we didn't and there's not a lot more to it than that.

I guess my reason for writing this post is not only to just let you all know what's been going on without the guesswork of cryptic posts and subtle clues, but just to put it out there, sometimes things don't work out and sometimes, it's okay to actually be okay. Despite your own feelings on the situation, knowing that you've got to break the news to those around you that view your relationship as 'perfect' is hard. It sucks in fact, but there comes a time where you need to be brave and do what's best for you.

Please do feel free to pop me a message on Instagram or by email on chloe@chloesway.com if you're going through anything similar to this. I'm not looking for nor do I need sympathy in this situation, but it's tricky one and if I can help anyone else get through something similar then I'd love to do so.

Until next time

Photobucket

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

WTF IS FEMINISM?


I'd like to start by making a very clear point. I'd absolutely consider myself a Feminist. I'd consider everybody that I love in my life to be a Feminist, whether they know it or not. Feminism, by definition is a range of movements and ideologies with the common goal to establish and achieve equal rights not only for Women, but for all people of any Sex, Race or Religion. I don't think I know anyone worth knowing that doesn't agree with that. So let it be known, this post is in no way 'Anti-Feminist', but I do think it's time that we look at what Feminism really means.

I've spoken to countless Women who've told me 'oh no, I'm not a Feminist!' and it's a rare thing to find a Man who'll openly admit to being one. I think that's a shame, but I don't find it hugely surprising. A lot of people have a skewed idea of what Feminism is and that's largely down to how it's often portrayed in the media. Anti-male slogan tees are sold in high street stores, boy-bashing posts are all over the Instagram feeds of big name brands, tweets about how 'Men are trash' gain thousands of RTs and likes and I can understand why people wouldn't want to be a part of that.

The impression that to be a Feminist means you have to be a Man-hating bitch is entirely false though. The 'Boss Babe' culture is brilliant, we're in a time where Women are doing huge and incredible things that our Grandparents wouldn't have even dreamed of. And yes, in some cases and in some industries it is still unfortunately more difficult for Women to get ahead and that sucks. But Feminism is fighting for change, fighting for equality in these situations, not making Men 'lesser and dragging them down beneath us because it's 'our turn'.

Men in the past and sometimes nowadays too, have had it easier in many ways, we know that. Does that mean though, that the Men of our generation deserve to be lumped together as a group of chauvinistic, unfeeling bastards that we have to rise above and take over? I don't think so. Equality is just that. You should always strive to be at the top of your own game, no one else's. If we're all doing that, there's absolutely room for everyone up there, right? The ideal goal is for every person on this planet to have equal rights, equal opportunities, equal pay etc etc. As much as it's blood boiling to know that that isn't always the case, it isn't the fault of all Men and we don't need to cast the entire male species aside to prove a point. Surely to do that is to do exactly what we're fighting against? An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Perhaps I'm falling into the all too familiar 21st Century trap of being too easily offended, but I just don't see what's so wrong about 'nice'. Strength does not equal hard and bitter. Nice does not equal weak and dull.

Feminism is equality for all people, Feminism is fighting for Women's rights, Feminism is a sisterhood of Women supporting one another. What it is not is unnecessarily hating on Men, putting down other Women who you deem 'anti-feminist' or spreading hate and negativity in any way. There's still a ways to go when it comes to equality between Men and Women, but the world has come so far thanks to the Feminists of our generation and many before us and I don't know about you, but I'm super proud of that and it's absolutely something I want to be a part of.

Photobucket

Friday, 20 July 2018

DOC COTTON


Fashion is up there with my greatest loves. I'm a lover of a bargain and fast fashion, but having a few really unique pieces in my wardrobe makes me so happy. Recently, I was contacted by the wonderful people at Doc Cotton and asked if I wanted to design an item of clothing, using their fab online service. So, with visions of creating bespoke designs for my little character in Animal Crossing in mind (who can relate? anyone??), I said a big fat yes please and thank you and got to work!


A few things to know about Doc Cotton before we get started;
Firstly, they are based in Peckham and everything is made on site, meaning it's all very local and ethically made. Not a sweatshop in sight!
The clothes are 100% cotton and made from scratch, leaving little to no waste in the production, which is amazing. I'm so all about environmentally friendly brands so it doesn't get much better than this.
All items are printed digitally, no nasty dyes used here.
They support talented people by using local and up and coming designers for their print designs. We're all about sharing the love over here so that was a major selling point for me.
You can also design your own prints as well as choosing from the huge range already on the site.


They do both men's and women's clothes including skirts, dresses, shirts and t-shirts for women and t-shirts, shirts, trousers and shorts for men, so plenty of options! The prices range from about £40-100, which while not cheap, for a high quality, 100% cotton and completely bespoke item, I think that's actually pretty bloody reasonable! The website is super easy to use - you simply pick which item and size you want, then choose your print, zip colour and thread colour. I went for this stunning palm leaf print which was by a designer called Lucy Heggie - a very talented lady indeed! I chose pink thread and a pink zip on the back, which I think go beautifully with the greens in the print. When choosing your print, you can choose how big or small you want it to be too, so each item is completely personal to your own unique tastes. While you're creating your garment, there is a mock up on screen showing you what it'll look like - this was super accurate, so you can be totally confident that you're going to LOVE your piece!


I designed and ordered my skirt on a Saturday morning and it was here by the Wednesday, meaning the turnaround was less than five days, which for something made to order totally from scratch is seriously quick! It came in a simple but classy branded cardboard box, wrapped in tissue paper with a cute brown paper label with the name of the person who made the skirt hand written on it. Zero plastic packaging, something a lot of brands should take note on! Totally bio-degradable packaging is another massive selling point for me so I loved that.


The skirt itself has been made beautifully. I ordered a size six and it is just a teeny bit big around my waist, but not so much that it's unwearable. I'd say it's true to size for a standard UK size six though, so I would definitely recommend ordering your usual size. The quality is fantastic and because its 100% cotton, it's super comfy to wear too.

So, if you're on the lookout for a super fun, completely unique piece, I can wholeheartedly recommend Doc Cotton! It's great to support local, ethical brands and this absolutely ticks those boxes.

As always, feel free to comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any comments or questions about this gorgeous brand!

Photobucket