Sunday, 21 October 2018

FAKE PLASTIC BALLS – WHY MY BOYFRIEND HAS SILICONE TESTICLES AND HOW THE F*CK THAT WORKS


I've shared a whole lot about some very personal things in my life recently and this post will be no exception. For those who need bringing up to speed, meet my boyfriend Jack (click to check out his instagram!), he's a musician, artist and all round wonderful person.

Oh, and he also technically has no balls.

Jack had testicular cancer. Twice actually.

While our relationship is still quite new, Jack and I were friends for some time before becoming a couple. We became close friends shortly after his second surgery. He was very open with me though, meaning that while I wasn't around for much of it, by the time he became my boyfriend, I was pretty clear on what had happened already. He'd gotten cancer in one testicle first and had that removed and replaced with a silicone implant, then later developed it in the second one and had the same surgery all over again to replace the second one. All of this I knew, he'd been very forthcoming with all the details so I knew exactly what had happened and how things worked. One time though, while waiting for him to go in for a routine appointment at the hospital, he told me that before he had the second surgery, leaving him with not one but two 'fake plastic balls', he was looking online for information on how things worked afterwards, things, to put it simply, meaning sex, among other things. He told me that though there was a lot of information out there about losing one, there was very little about losing both testicles.

What struck me immediately with this was that so much of what Jack had told me during both our friendship and the beginning of our relationship was things that he'd almost had to just figure out on his own. It was just shocking how little honest information there was out there outside of medical sites about how things are going to work 'down there' after having both testicles removed. I'm not going to go too much into the details of the actual cancer, it may be something to come back to another day, but for now, I wanted to talk about what it's like to be in a relationship with a guy with no balls.

The two biggest changes when having both testicles removed is that the body no longer produces testosterone, therefore testosterone replacement therapy will be essential for the rest of your life - the other is that the guy will of course be infertile. It's such a scary concept for young men and while testicular cancer is rare, it's still one of the most common types in young men, which is why it's so important that it's talked about. For us, the fertility thing isn't an issue. I'm certain about the fact that I've never wanted children and Jack is very much the same. It's not something I'll go into too much, because as someone who isn't concerned about that aspect, I don't feel particularly qualified to talk about the physical and mental difficulties that could cause.

The testosterone thing though I was pretty curious about. I knew that everything still worked down there, but I hadn't really considered how. At the time of writing this, Jack applies testosterone in gel form to his back once a day, this will soon be administered via injection which will be much more convenient than him having to apply every day. This couldn't be done right away simply because the dosage needed to be tested to ensure what he was getting was right. This replaces what isn't being produced by his body any more and basically everything down there is business as usual. Literally.

As his girlfriend, I can honestly say that what Jack went through has had very little effect on me and my relationship with him. Sex works in exactly the same way as it would with real balls, something that is of course a worry for guys going through the same thing. I won't go into graphic detail, because I know I have family that read my blog - but for us at least, there's been absolutely no worries in that department. Something we have both been asked by friends is how we felt about our first time together. For me, it didn't really occur to me at the time. Perhaps because I knew already that everything worked as usual in that department, or perhaps just simply because it wasn't the first thing on my mind when it came down to our first time together. I'm not entirely sure, but I can honestly say, any anticipation I felt was purely down to being with someone new for the first time. As for Jack, I think just knowing that I wasn't concerned meant that he wasn't either. It's something that'll be incredibly personal to anyone in a similar situation, but for us, it was all about confidence and feeling comfortable with one another.

Rather than anything being a problem or an issue, there are just a couple of things that we need to be aware of or things that need to be done every now and then. One thing is the testosterone - it has to be applied to his skin so I therefore can't touch the area until it's all properly soaked in, just because as a female, I don't need testosterone going into my system! This of course will no longer be something to think about when he moves onto the injections. The only other thing is that Jack does have to have fairly regular trips to Hospital - usually in London - to get checked over. Instead of seeing these as an inconvenience though, we both take the day off work and head up to the city, get the appointment done and then spend the rest of the day doing fun things - never a wasted moment over here!

Both Jack and I are fully aware that everyone is different and people going through the same thing won't necessarily have the same experience that Jack did. Of course, finding out he had cancer and going through the necessary process to get that sorted wasn't pleasant. It was something he very much had to process in his own mind, but something I hugely admire about him is his attitude to the whole thing. As much as it was a shock in the beginning of course, with the help of our wonderful NHS, he was given a plan and he dealt with it. He described the situation as a 'faff' more than anything else. Even now, he talks very openly about the situation, wanting others to be aware of it, not for him personally, but for themselves. He went through it and he got through it and it's important to us both that others see that and maybe think to go home and check themselves.

I, of course, can't speak for the Women with partners going through the process of cancer treatment or in the early stages because I wasn't there for that. But as someone who has entered a relationship with someone that's already been through it, I wanted to make the point that actually, it's really okay. Like I said, the fertility side of things certainly could be for some people, but for me and for us, I can genuinely say it doesn't affect our relationship day to day in the slightest.

While I don't want to be at risk of downplaying what is, of course a serious topic, I do want to get across that the 'after' part of testicular cancer isn't necessarily as scary as it may seem. I wanted to write this post very much with Jack's input so that the information I was giving was factually correct, so I hope that some of what I've said has been thought provoking if not directly useful. It's so important to check yourself and know your own body and be aware of any changes - because while the idea of having cancer is undeniably frightening, the risks that come with ignoring warning signs are much worse.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

UTMOST ME - NEURO REST


I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I’m not much of a sleeper. I sleep around 5-6 hours on an average night and get by just fine for the most part. The trouble for me isn’t the amount of sleep I get though, it’s the quality of sleep. I take a very long time to fall asleep at night and when I do, I’m an incredibly light sleeper. I recently got a new mattress which helped a lot, but especially as the dark mornings have started drawing in, I have found that getting up each morning has been getting a little more difficult.

So while I knew that I could be resting better, sleeping aids weren’t something I’d ever really considered. I’d only ever taken one once before going on long flight and it did nothing more than making me feel a little drowsy all the way from Gatwick to Florida, not fun! When the people at Utmost Me got in touch though, the timing was pretty perfect. I’d had a crazy few weeks and was beginning to feel the effects of very little sleep. I read a little about the brand before deciding that I definitely wanted to give their ‘Neuro Rest’ sleep aid a go.

The product is entirely plant based and contains no chemical nasties, which is exactly why I was open to giving it a go. The formula is made to actually reduce tiredness and fatigue, meaning it doesn’t give that nasty drowsy effect that a lot of sleeping aids can do. I’ve been using the product for around two weeks but have already noticed a significant difference in how I feel throughout the day moreso than at night. I’m finding that I don’t get that sleepy feeling I’d usually get at around 3 o clock at work each day. The disturbed sleep took a little over a week before I noticed a difference but I’m definitely finding it easier to fall back to sleep once I have woken up, which, considering I only sleep fairly few hours a night, makes a huge difference!

These are, of course, entirely vegan, which is something that was very important to me. In fact, reading through all the ingredients, it’s reassuring to know that the product is made up entirely of natural ingredients. For me, taking a supplement is something to improve your health and when they’re loaded with nasty chemicals, that seems pretty counter-productive! As they are not only for sleep, but anxiety also, it’s good to know that there’s nothing harsh in there! Anxiety isn’t something I particularly struggle with, but I’ve had a lot happening in general recently and have been a little stressed here and there for sure! Again, I will stress that anxiety is not something I can truly comment on, but I will say that since taking one of these per night, I have found that my mind is a little more settled in general, particularly when winding down in the evenings. For this reason and the fact that the ingredients are so clean, I would say it’s definitely worth a go if anxiety is something you struggle with.

Overall, I’d 100% recommend Utmost Me – Neuro Rest, while I don’t yet sleep perfectly every night, I have definitely found it easier getting up in the mornings and getting through the day without wanting to take a nap on my desk! Keep your eyes peeled over on my Instagram for an update when the bottle is empty, as I’ll definitely be checking back in!

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Sunday, 7 October 2018

WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING?

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'Finding Yourself'. Sigh.

Have you ever felt the pressure to define yourself? To find your 'niche'? To follow a path that you believe is pre-determined. I know I did. I'm not here to complain about my past, nor to talk smugly about my present, but I in light of recent... events, I do feel somewhat justified in talking about life choices and how important it isn't to make the right ones. Yes, I said isn't.

There's such a pressure, even from a young age to know who you are and what you want from life. Teens as young as thirteen are made to choose which GCSE subjects they're going to take, later on we choose what we're doing at college or uni as if that's our set path forever. We choose our career paths, find a Partner and find a place to settle down. All these things, marriage, home ownership and a solid career are very much a common goal for many young adults.

For me though, in a marriage that I know my ex won't mind me saying was very much not right, searching for a house I didn't really want, It felt wrong. I had a job I enjoyed (still true, got the career crisis out of the way two years ago), I had a husband and was about to become a 'first time buyer'. The thing is though, despite looking from the outside like my life was going exactly how it was supposed to, I'd never felt more lost. I put it down to growing up and feeling a sense of loss of youth, which I assumed was normal.

The honest truth is, I was far more concerned with how my life looked to others than how it actually was. Not necessarily for the good of social media or impressing people, but moreso because once I was in certain situations, I was terrified of rocking the boat or disappointing the people who cared about me. I'd love to give an inspirational story about some huge pivotal moment where everything changed, but it wasn't really the case. It was more just a sudden realisation. One day, I just had the conversation with my ex, who to my surprise was very much on the same page that I was. We spread the news and actually, as much as it did suck telling our friends and family that we were ending the marriage, it really wasn't so bad.

Taking that first step in beginning to live my life the way I wanted to resulted in a huge snowball effect in other areas of life too. I'm in a new relationship, which I will stress started very much after my marriage ended, I've made some important decisions regarding people that I do and don't want in my life, ending friendships and resurrecting old ones that I thought I'd never have again, I've decided that actually, I probably don't want to buy a house at all right now. Some of these things are quite scary, knowing how easy it is for others to jump to conclusions, particularly about a new relationship seemingly so soon after the end of another, but I reached a point where I realised that doing right by myself was far more important than doing what I felt I should do for the good of others that don't know my situation,

I'll be real with you, when I started writing this post, I initially wrote it from a much more general perspective, about how tough it is to find yourself and figure out where you're going in life. I realised though that in talking about a topic like that in such a general way, I was almost making the opposite of the point I wanted to make. Knowing yourself is a hugely personal thing and not something that can be generalised. Figuring out who you are and where your passions lie is a beautiful, wonderful thing. However there are plenty of ideas out there about how you should 'find yourself', but you'll never learn properly about who you are if you're trying to learn in someone else's style.

Lately, I've found that I have a pretty good idea of who I am, what I want, what I'm into and who I want around me. The way I've found all of that though, is completely by circumstance. I've discovered new things that I love through people I love, I've discovered my own beliefs and morals through a series of events and coincidences, I've done things and made decisions consciously for sure, I've actively chosen to experience things that have helped me work out exactly what I love and what I want, but only have I gotten a good idea of who I am through experiences that I didn't chose or expect.

The thing is, I don't really believe it's entirely possible to know exactly who you are or what you want in life because that is something that is constantly changing. To accept that though and to realise that sometimes, what you want will change or at least become clearer over time is really important. Your path may be down a row of identical houses with rose bushes and minivans parked out front or it may be completely off the beaten track, either of these or anywhere in-between is totally fine, just so long as you're not following somebody else's directions.

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Friday, 21 September 2018

SHARE THE LOVE: MUSICIAN EDITION

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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Thursday, 12 July 2018

LEESA


If you read my recent post about Habits of Productive People, you'll know that I've been making an effort lately to wake up early, so while laying in bed all day isn't really my thing, quality of sleep absolutely is. If I've spent the night on an uncomfy bed, I could've had a solid 10 hours and I'd still be grump AF the next morning. And until recently, that was happening! A couple of months ago, our mattress was so done for, that we rush ordered one of the only ones Argos would be able to do same day delivery on and OH LORD what a mistake! For about three months we suffered the worlds most uncomfortable mattress. Stupidly bouncy, loud metal on metal noises when you sat down too hard and the stabbiest of stabby springs, it was a lot. 

So, naturally I almost cried actual tears of joy when the wonderful people at Leesa asked me if I'd like to give one of their mattresses a go. After a little happy dance at my desk at work I said yes please thank you very much. I was given a code to order the mattress, which I actually prefer when an item is gifted, as it means that you do the ordering process yourself. Things like this make a huge difference to your shopping experience, so it's good to be able to review that part of the new bed journey too! I am pleased to report that ordering the mattress was super easy and very quick, so brownie points to Leesa before the mattress even showed up!

Turns out there wasn't much time at all between the mattress being in my cart and showing up at my door! The estimated delivery time said 5 to 7 working days but it turned up in just three! I'm not sure if I just got lucky or if this is a regular thing but I was very impressed.


Set up was seriously easy, the mattress arrived rolled up in a box and it comes so seriously compressed, for a moment  thought I'd accidentally ordered the wrong size! But we cut away the packaging and watched the mattress grow before our eyes! Once unrolled, this thing comes. to. life. In literally minutes it was at it's full size. It does take a few hours to totally firm up, but it's pretty much ready to sleep on right away. As you'll be able to tell from the photos, it's seriously thick (there's a good couple of inches below the bed frame too!), this is because it's made up of three layers, the first a Cooling Avena foam to regulate temperature, followed by a Pressure Relieving Memory foam that delivers body contouring, then a 15cm base foam that adds strength and durability.

I can wholeheartedly say that all of these layers come together to create the MATTRESS OF DREAMS (pun entirely intended). It's been so much cooler than any other mattress I've had through this heatwave the UK has been having and it definitely suits all body types. Both my Husband and I sleep so much better, he's not into a firm mattress, whereas I prefer something with a little less give in it and this is the perfect balance between the two. Something that I particularly like is that it doesn't bounce around when you move. Meaning when I shuffle and fidget in my sleep (a lot), I don't wake Darren up! I was suffering terribly with shoulder pains from my old mattress and after a month of sleeping on my lovely Leesa I can honestly say that they have totally gone! I had no idea until now that my mattress was the problem and always put shoulder tension down to my chair at work or dodgy posture but nope, just my sad old mattress messing me up.

Perhaps the best part, when you buy a Leesa mattress, you give while you sleep! For every ten mattresses sold, Leesa donate one mattress to organisations that serve homeless and at risk men, women and children at every stage of their transition to better lives. How amazing is that? Personally, knowing that this is something they do, I'd always choose brands and companies in future with schemes like this. Knowing you're one tenth of the reason someone has a bed for the night is an amazing feeling. Not only that, but for every single mattress sold, Leesa plant one tree -  they have partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant one million trees by the year 2025, so you're helping out the environment too. As if you needed any other reason!

So, naturally if you're in the market for a new mattress, I'd highly recommend checking out the Leesa website, the reviews on the site alone speak for themselves! As an added lil bonus, you can use my code 'CHLOESWAY100' for £100 off any size Leesa mattress!

Happy sleeping!

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Friday, 6 July 2018

SHARING THE LOVE

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At it again with the amateur motivational speaking. Do you think I could do TED talks? While kindness and being good to others is something that we're encouraged to do from the moment we can speak, sometimes actual acts of kindness are something we don't make much time for. In today's every man for himself culture, sometimes it feels easier to be a little selfish.

Self love and 'doing you' is great, we're in a generation of strong, independent people achieving incredible things. Because of that, sometimes doing things to help others out or build one another up can feel almost detrimental to our own success. If, like most people, you're a generally good person, it's very rarely a conscious decision to be a dickhead, but sometimes it can feel like congratulating  someone on something they're doing before you or better than you can be difficult. It's human nature, we're born competitors, we strive to be the best and that can be our strongest characteristic and biggest downfall all at the same time.

See, while you do need to work hard and do what you've gotta do to meet you goals, there's no shame in admitting that having someone tell you how great you're doing does give you a boost along the way. For a long time, I was almost too embarrassed to tell people that I thought they were doing great things. I was always too scared it would come across ingenuine, too forward or uncool. Especially as a teen and young adult, there's almost a pressure to be confident, sassy and untouchable and basically, saying sweet things to brighten someone's day doesn't exactly fit the brand.

I am a social media cheerleader (more on why another day) and I love how our phones and laptops are the easiest platform to share your work and your message with the world. Though in doing that, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling jealous of those where you want to be and feeling superior to those who are where you came from. And yes, you should do things ultimately for yourself, but on the whole, hardly anybody gets anywhere without a bit of recognition. A promotion at work comes with praise from your boss, a spike in Instagram followers can come with a share from another user, people helping and praising people is a beautiful thing and it's so easy to do.

It's true that you should be the change you want to see. If you want people to recognise and appreciate what you're doing, you need to do the same for others and I guarantee that the feeling you'll get from making someone else happy or proud of themselves is like no other. And hey, you'll discover some wonderful things along the way too! Be it your new favourite blog to read, some stunning outfit photos that give you fashion inspo or a musician creating beautiful songs, finding new and inspiring people and things does wonders for your creativity.

So, I'm challenging you! Spread the love, brighten someone's day and I promise you, it'll brighten yours right back.

As always, I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on this, so please do DM me on instagram if you have anything to say and especially if you'd like to share with me someone who you think is bringing their A-game right now!

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Monday, 2 July 2018

FIVE HABITS OF PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE


How often do you find yourself wishing you'd done something earlier? How many times a week do you say 'I would, but I'm so busy!'? I hold my hands up, I've been seriously guilty of this. I work full time in a very busy 9-5:30 office job, I'm also studying at the moment, I have a home to keep tidy, meals to cook, a dog to walk etc etc. So it's very easy to forget to leave time for the things you love doing.

For me, that's my blog, it's my instagram, it's playing guitar. All of these things were becoming more of a niggling 'I must do that at some point' thought in the back of my mind rather than things I actively chose to spend my time doing. Recently though, I decided that 'too busy' was a state of mind. Yes, I work until 5:30 and yes, I do like to keep my house tidy and cook a decent meal (most of the time at least!!), but does all that really take up as much of my time and I make out it does? I realised that actually no, it doesn't. So, today, I'm going to share with you '5 Habits of Productive People', some of these I'm already doing, others I'm working on, but I hope at least some of these tips will inspire you to fit just a little more into your day!

Late nights, early mornings.
No, I'm not recommending you go to bed at silly o clock and spring back out again 3 hours later, but that said, most nights, I go to bed at around midnight and I wake up at 7am. That's a good seven hours sleep and that suits me just fine. That does mean though that I have a good 5 or so hours after work to utilise, but I don't always use the time as best I could. A friend of mine recently told me that he gets up at 5am in the mornings to fit in the creative stuff before his day even begins. I was so inspired by that, not only do you get the stuff you love to do done, it also gives a sense of accomplishment before you go about the rest of your day. Said friend is @jackburrellhq on Instagram, please do check him out, he's an incredible artist and musician, so he's definitely doing something right with all those early mornings! I'm already making the effort to fit in a little bit of editing and blogging time after work, but with this in mind, I'm vowing to go to bed an hour earlier, set my morning alarm an hour earlier than I usually do and get sh*t done - hold me to it!

Earn your down time
Do you ever feel kind of guilty when you spend hours in front of the TV? Maybe there's a reason for that! Everybody needs their chill time, but having that time after a productive day feels so much better. If you find yourself scrolling through apps on your phone or sitting in front of the TV for hours on end every evening, question if that’s something you need to be doing or if it's just habit. Going to bed feeling like I’ve accomplished something absolutely helps me sleep better at night. If I’ve had a lazy day, I find it seriously hard to sleep, because I’m thinking about the million things I could’ve gotten done! I sometimes find that it helps to section my evening, so I get in at 6:15, so by 7:30, I like to have made and eaten dinner. Then between 7:30 to 8:30, I’ll work on blog and social stuff and then from 8:30, I’ll do things like wash my hair (always at night as it frees up my morning!), do my skincare routine, fake tan etc, then after that usually from around 9:30, I’ve got a couple of hours or so to just chill out. Believe me, it’s nights like this when I sleep so much better!

Use your breaks
Productivity of course doesn't just apply to your hobbies and social media accounts (as much as I'm sure we'd all love it to!), but also to your day job. I don't know about you, but when I spend my entire lunch hour at work just scrolling through my phone, I always find it so hard to get back to what I was doing come 2pm! Of course, work can be tough and your breaks are your time, but I find that if I spend my lunch hour doing something, be that a blog post, some photo editing or just getting outside for a walk or to meet a friend, I then go back to work feeling like I've done something for myself and I feel so much more ready to get back to it! A job is a job and while we may not love every aspect of it, there's pride in knowing you worked damn hard and did your best. Also, there's a kind of smug satisfaction to getting something done in your lunch hour that you'd have otherwise had to do before or after work.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Sometimes, when all else fails and you really are just too busy, knowing you have content sorted in advance is a godsend. So, when I have a free evening or a quiet Sunday, I'll take lots of photos, draft blog posts, reply to emails etc. When your blog and your Instagram are what you love to do, feeling behind and out of the loop can be stressful and suck the fun out of it. Where possible, I do love to write and shoot in 'real time', but I do like knowing I've always got something backed up for when I have plans that are taking up my time  genuinely just run out of time. Alongside this, take notes!! I cannot tell you how many times I've had an idea for a blog post or photo and then later completely forgotten what it was! Whether it's in the notes app on your phone or in a jotter kept in your handbag, write down anything and everything that comes to mind. It's a tip that seems so obvious but believe me, it's a life saver!

Keep your dreams in mind
Ultimately, enhanced productivity helps you to reach your goals and that’s what all of this is about. While the topic of prioritising your time and maximising productivity for things like blogging, music and photography may seem unimportant to some, spending time on the things you love to do gives purpose to each and every day. Keeping in mind why you’re taking photos, or learning a particularly difficult song keeps you motivated to keep going. Doing things just because they make you happy is beneficial for mental health and can dramatically change your outlook. Spending a little time each morning or evening to learn something new, work on your blog or social media accounts or even starting  a new hobby means at least for a small part of each day, you’re doing something entirely for yourself, to better yourself or to work towards your goals and aspirations and that really is an increcidble feeling. It’s a huge cliché to say it, but life is unpredictable and that's both scary and wonderful, but in the end, you don’t want to look back and feel like it was wasted. We all have to work and we all have to do things we’d rather not do, but don’t let those things be your excuse for not doing what you love.

Feel free to message me on instagram or comment below if you'd like to share your thoughts on the topic, I'd love to know if you have any productivity tips yourself!

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Monday, 25 June 2018

ADEXE

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled with watches. I love to wear one and I love the look of them, but I find that lots of watches appear too big and clunky on me. I’ve got quite skinny wrists and long hands, so I sometimes find that big chunky watches look a little bit weird! I’m also a bit fan of pretty, dainty jewellery and often a big old watch gleaming away on your wrist kind of clashes with the look of a ditsy necklace and pretty stacking rings! So, you can imagine how happy I was when the lovely people at Adexe got in touch, asking me if I'd like to receive one of their watches.

I decided to go for the 'Meek' Petite Silver Watch because, as I said, big chunky watches aren't my thing, that said though, from what I can tell, Adexe don't appear to do big, thick watches. Their bands are all quite slim, which I personally think sits nicer against your wrist. Some of the faces are bigger than this one, as they do both 'petite' watches like this and 'grande' watches. The petite watches have a watch face of 33mm and the grande 41mm. They also do a range of different colours, there was a gorgeous rose gold with a berry coloured face that I was also pretty tempted by! They do both all metal watches, like this one and leather strap watches in a huge range of styles, so there's something for everyone! I was thrilled with my choice, because its very slimline, simple and classic, meaning it goes with pretty much anything I wear.

The watch came beautifully packaged in a simple, white Adexe branded box, with the watch safely packed inside, attached by secure elastic to a padded insert so that it didn't slide around in the post. It came with a guidance card on how to use the watch and a warranty card inside a little envelope. It didn't have instructions on how to adjust the watch, but it's pretty self explanatory and easy to figure out and I'm sure you'd be able to find a video online for how to do so if you got really stuck. It also comes with a little tool to help you adjust the watch, which is great because I have had watches before that didn't come with this and have broken many a nail trying to adjust without an aid!

This watch in particular is made with Stainless Steel, so it's going to be super hard-wearing and while it isn't big and heavy, it does feel very sturdy and well made so I know it's going to last me a long time. While Adexe do use very high quality materials to produce their products, because the watches are designed in London and made in house, this reduces the number of intermediaries in between the design and production process, meaning the price tag is reduced. You can pay hundreds of pounds for watches of a similar or sometimes lesser quality, but Adexe watches range from £89 to £129, making a quality timepiece much more accessible to many people.

Let me know what you think! If you're interested in Adexe watches, you can use code 'CHLOESWAY15' for 15% off!

This watch was sent to me by Adexe as part of a gift-based collaboration. As always though, all opinions are my own and I am under no obligation to share a positive review of any product gifted or otherwise.


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HOW TO BUY CAR TYRES THAT ARE RIGHT FOR YOU


My car and driving isn't always something that is at the forefront of my mind during the summer, even less so my tyres. In the winter, we know we have to be extra careful, but with less rainy days and no risk of ice and snow, it's not surprising that tyres are taken for granted during the summer. The fact is, wear and tear happens year round and it's important to ensure that you're safe in your car year round. I've posted about car maintenance in the past and while I know it's a bit of a dull topic, it's so important.

Something that you might put off of proper tyre care, is the cost of new tyres. I get it, why buy your car new tyres when you could buy yourself new shoes right? Wrong! Without even getting to how unsafe bad tyres can be, they also increase fuel consumption, meaning you'll be spending even more money on fuel. It can effect your brakes, which can be very expensive to have to fix - so replacing old worn tyres can actually not only keep you safe, but save you money! For the price friendly factor, you can buy cheap tyres online at DAT Tyres here. My Husband recently bought a new tyre online after getting a nail stuck in his and it was so convenient not having to get the car to the garage with a flat!

Who loves a road trip in the Summer? We Brits travel in our cars a lot during the Summer, be it a weekend away or day trips to the beach, we spend a lot of time in the car. Wouldn't it put a bit of a dampener on your trip if one of your tyres went flat halfway down the motor way on your way to the seaside? Or worse still, if your worn out tyres were slipping and sling in the British summer rain. I'm trying to keep this post light hearted, but road accidents are all too common and can be caused by unchecked tyres. Something so quick and easy to check and fix, but all too commonly forgotten.

So, don't forget, before you head out on any trips this summer, check for punctures, check your tread depth (look up the 20p trick, it's so simple - https://www.tyresafe.org/tyre-safety/tread-depth/) and check your pressure (petrol stations usually have a free to use pressure gauge).

Happy driving!

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

POSITIVITY AND MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY DAY

Good vibes only! What started out as a little doodle may now turn into something more! shhhhhh. More will be revealed in good time... SHAKA!


Would you say you lived for the weekend? Do you hate Mondays? Did you know that if you spend 5 days a week waiting for the weekend, you're spending around 70% of your time wishing your life away?


Yesterday, I posted a few polls on Instagram, asking my followers to rate their general positivity levels and the results, as you can see below were super interesting! On average, most people rated how they feel about Mondays and their mood on a work morning pretty low and agreed strongly with the phrase 'I live for the weekend', but rated themselves very highly when asked how positive their attitude generally. I found this really quite interesting, because while many people seem to hate Mondays and be in a fairly low mood before work (on average, 5 days a week!), they still considered themselves to be positive in general.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all, if anything, I think it's great that people still feel pretty happy despite these things, but it does get me thinking, surely if these otherwise positive people could maybe adjust their mindset a little, they could spread their good vibes throughout the entire week and start living for every day rather than a rather small percentage of the week! So, with this in mind, I'm going to share a few tips that help me to feel more positive and to enjoy every day!

Start each day with a positive thought
I know, I know, it's massive cliche, but something as simple as waking up and telling yourself that you're about to have a great day can massively improve your mood. Thinking negatively and focusing on the bad things can have a huge impact on your mindset right from the beginning of you day. No matter what lies ahead, try thinking 'today will be a good day' before you even get out of bed. It's amazing what a difference it can make, honest!

Make the most of every moment
Sometimes, you have to do things that you wouldn't necessarily choose to do, that's life, while there may be several things you'd rather be doing, there's no reason why you can't make the best of every moment. Maybe you're crazy busy at work, but again, a simple change of mindset can do wonders. Accept and enjoy the challenging times, breathe and relax in moments you'd typically find a bit dull and boring. Enjoy talking to your colleagues, grab the opportunity to learn new things in your job (or school!) every day.
This doesn't only apply to worky things, but to leisure time too. Do you find that you're in a rut all week? Wake up, Work, Home, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. Sound familiar? Stop! Make midweek plans, go the pub on a Wednesday night, have a cinema date on a Monday. There are so many hours that you could fill doing things you love all week long, not just on Friday night and the weekend.

Stay present
This point relates nicely to the last point of making the most of every moment. Sometimes, it's really easy to wish the time away and keep thinking of Friday or of 5pm, but staying in the moment and accepting for what it is helps you to stay focused and of course, you'll feel less negative if you're not wishing you were somewhere else! Perhaps you're at work doing a task that's driving you a bit mad. In these sort of situations, I stop for a second and think about how accomplished I'll feel when I'm done. I focus there and then on the task and work as hard as I can and sometimes, I even come to enjoy the challenge! Even more mundane tasks like doing the washing up have a sense of accomplishment at the end, whatever you're doing, have your end goal in mind and take pride in working hard at the things you don't necessarily love doing while you're doing them.

Be grateful
Another cliche, sorry! It's important though to remember how much you have to be thankful for. It's easy to forget the little things when you're caught up in wishing your situation was different, but when things get tough, try to stop for a moment and think. You may be at school wishing the bell would ring, but right now, you're sitting, learning new things, broadening your knowledge and mind.You might be a work on Tuesday, counting down the hours until Friday, but think about the reasons you like your job and why you applied in the first place. And if you don't like your job, think about why you're there and be grateful for the experience you're gaining and how that'll help you in future when you look for a new role.

Accept the bad
Despite having a generally optimistic outlook on life and being a huge advocate of a positive mental attitude, I'm not completely on another planet and I do know that some days are just basically crap. While I'll always push to look for the good in every situation, it's sometimes good to just accept the bad times, roll with it, have a cry if you need to. You don't always need to be super strong and sunny about everything. It's healthy to feel sad and to let your emotions run free. Talk to people you love, vent on twitter, do what you've gotta do. Letting yourself feel negative emotions without feeling bad or embarrassed about it is as important to a positive mindset as any of these other points. Just when you're feeling better again, pick yourself up and do things to help yourself stay better, see your friends, watch a movie, have a bubble bath - just don't wait for the weekend to do so!

That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed this post, this is a topic I could go on and on about for days, so if you'd like to see more posts like this, please do let me know.

As always, my DMs are always open on instagram (@chloesway) if you fancy a chat or if you've got anything to add on this topic, I'd love to hear your opinions!



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Sunday, 10 June 2018

LONDON ROCK TOUR


Well hello again! Another music related post for you all today, this time though, it’s a review with a bit of a difference. I’m not going to be reviewing a band, an album or a gig, but instead the ‘London Rock Tour’, which was a tour my Husband and I went on last summer. It’s essentially a tour of all the rock and roll ‘landmarks’ in London, from Pink Floyd’s studio to Abbey Road. If this sounds like your kinda day out, then read on!

We met bright and early at The Original Tour Reservation centre just off Piccadilly Circus and met our tour guide, Lee and all the other people who’d be joining us on the tour. Lee was just fab and made sure to get to know a bit about everyone as he ticked our names off the list. There were people from all over the world on our tour and Lee made sure to find out everyone’s names and where they were from and managed to remember these details all day! So, introductions done, we headed off at 9am to begin the tour. 

We all jumped into the minivan (with band logos and branding printed all over the sides, love) and before we set off, Lee asked each couple or group what their favourite British bands were so he could personalise the tour slightly. Though there are places they go on every tour, he said he’d try to find at least something of some relevance to everyone’s favourite band or artist, which I thought was a great touch.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember every single thing we saw and in what order we saw them, but I’ll do my best to cover what I can without giving away too many details for those who’d like to take the tour. What I do remember though, was thinking that I should’ve been taking notes! Lee had such a depth of knowledge about the London music scene and he was fascinating to listen to. The way he told stories of great British bands and their history was so natural, you could tell this was stuff he really cared about, not just words learnt from a script. You could call out the name of any British rock musician and Lee would have a story to tell. Something I particularly loved was that he’d play music from each of the artists we were discussing at the time, which re-ignited my love for many bands I’d not really listened to since my Dad used to play me all his favourites when I was a tiny kid! 


Another particularly great aspect of the tour was that it wasn’t just a ‘look at this recording studio from the window of the bus’, we actually got off the bus several times to look around and even went inside a few places to explore. One in particular was ‘Regent Sounds’, a guitar shop that used to be Regents Sounds Recording Studio where bands including Black Sabbath, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks had all once recorded singles or demos in their early careers. This studio is on Denmark Street, or ‘Tin Pan Alley’. While we were there, we also saw a site that used to be a coffee shop where David Bowie was among their regular customers. Those into music will know that Denmark Street has some of the most musical history that London has to offer, that’s why it was a particularly interesting and somewhat sad part of the tour, as Denmark Street isn’t what it used to be and lots of renovations around the area are slowly changing one of London’s most historic musical streets. The history of the area was just fascinating to learn about though and it was definitely a highlight of the tour.


Among other things, we saw Paul McCartney’s London office, the school that the kids singing in ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd came from, David Bowie’s blue plaque at Trident Studios and Amy Winehouse’s house in Camden. Again, with all of these, we spent a little time there, in some cases being shown around the area and in others just being told about all the history and things that went on there. Again, I won’t go into the details too much so as not to ruin the surprises of the tour for anyone planning on going, but each and every place had such amazing stories attached to them and Lee knew every detail! Even driving around the city, he’d point to a doorway and tell you a quick anecdote about Paul McCartney, or to a shop to tell you what it used to be. It’s amazing how much history is hidden within our city just about everywhere you look!


The final stop on the tour was the famous Abbey Road studios and Abbey Road crossing from the Beatles album of the same name. Lee made sure everyone got the iconic crossing photo and that we all got plenty of time to browse around the studio gift shop to pick up souvenirs. 

The tour lasted three hours with a break at a coffee shop in the middle and I can honestly say there wasn’t a dull moment. If you’re into Rock Music and want to learn more about and fully appreciate the history of it in the Capital, I couldn’t recommend this experience enough. It’d also be great for those new to the city as you’ll visit some parts of London that aren’t necessarily typical tourist spots, but are worth seeing none the less!


If you are interested, you can book the tour here through viator, tickets are £35 each and worth every penny (though I am biased!). 

Thanks so much for reading if you've made it this far! If you have any questions or would like to know more about what went on on the tour, please do head to my Twitter or Instagram, I’d love to chat!
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Friday, 8 June 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!