Quotes. Royal Wedding Edition.

"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you."

~ A. A. Milne

Reflections. This was 25.

Where to begin when reflecting upon the past year on the eve of my 26th birthday? It's tough, but it's been a tough year. Equally, it's been an amazing year. I guess the two cancel each other out. Maybe.

It's not often I struggle with words, fail to articulate myself, but writing this is somewhat strange. That's because the person who kept me on the phone until midnight so he could be the first to wish me a happy birthday, the person who started my 25th birthday with me, well - we no longer talk.

When you feel like you spent most of your year with someone who kept you removed from their daily life. When you're made to feel that everything you say or do is a crime and you don't fight your corner. When you feel worthless and cry more than you smile. 

When you're left to deal with the scariest thing ever on your own and the person who isn't there to support you is instead tweeting about some random girl on the tube: "Girl using her iPhone to check her make-up. She doesn't know it yet, but I've just met my future wife." Yes, it was a "funny" tweet, but when it's the umpteenth "funny" tweet of that nature and considering what personal torment I was going through at that time, is there any wonder I sunk even further into the depths of despair? 

I've told The Boy I will never forgive him and I don't think I will. I know I can't honestly claim that it was an entirely miserable relationship, but sadly the bad times have overshadowed the brilliant ones and the memories I'm left with are those of puffy eyes and glum feelings.

Not only that, the impact of that ruined another relationship that took place in my 25th year. I pushed The Other One away thinking he'd treat me exactly the same way as The Boy did. In my 26th year I will try and give any relationship I have - unlikely, I want lots of me time - the chance to develop on its own merits without letting my past wrongly impact upon it.

That's a big lesson I've taken away from my 25th year.

This year my determination has come back. Funny how telling me I can't achieve something will make me make it happen in deference. I've gone from working at the University of Leeds --> Middlesex University --> Grayling --> UNICEF and The Next Web. My career has gone from strength to strength - despite those who said I'd never get anywhere in the digital industry - and I know there are further exciting times coming up for me this summer. I've also got a full manuscript with a publishing house at the moment in consideration for a book deal.

I rightly said back in December:
My recent pain has already been useful to me in a short space of time, it's shown me what I'm made of and reiterated what I want to achieve and *can* achieve. 2010 has been a transitional year for me, but it's been worth it because I know it will make 2011 a definitive year.
Definitely true.

These career changes meant a move from Yorks to London, and I'm finally feeling settled in The Big Smoke. It was tough at first - really tough - but I've made some brilliant new friends and I'm finally having so much fun in London. Changing jobs has a lot to do with this - I was really miserable at Middlesex, but I took it because it was the first job I was offered to get me down to London and to The Boy. Oh. The irony.

This year I asked for help. Some of you will know what that's in reference to. I needed that help. Never be afraid to ask for help if you need it, Treacles.

I went from blonde to brown to blonde to red, and had 9 inches cut off. FYI, I only ever change my hair from blonde in times of great adversity. Speaks volumes.

I spent too much money, went to the theatre too many times, and drank far too much champagne. 2011 will no doubt be the same. But, as long as I'm smiling this year, I don't care. I also said at the end of 2010:
I must try not to over-analyse, be indecisive or unhappy, and I will surround myself with people who are worth it. I will remember that I cannot control everything, that nothing is a given, and that in life you make your own happy ending. 
Here's to a happy 26th year. Happy birthday to me tomorrow. {^_^} And here's to a new start. This was 25; 26 is going to be utterly FABBITY, I'm going to make sure of it. xoxo

Chaotic soul.

"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star."

~ Nietzsche

Facing fear.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'

~Eleanor Roosevelt

TNW: Tackling obesity, the digital native way

Over on The Next Web you can find my article on Tackling obesity, the digital native way.

Make sure you have a read! xoxo

Drinking habits.

"I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty."

~ Madame Lilly Bollinger

Latest Loves 16/04

Chocolate Rain is inspired by childhood dreams and reminds me of another 'childhood' brand I love, Bobbypin by Jeffery Fulvimari. I expect my new Oyster card holder to draw jealous glances.

It's a tourist trap, but I quite love TGI Friday's, I must confess. I'm particularly partial to the Jack Daniel's sesame chicken strips. Oh, and the fact you can get a quite drinkable bottle of champagne for a mere £26.{^_^}

As a major fan of breakfast, The Breakfast Club makes perfect sense. I only wonder why I didn't go sooner.

The British Museum is awe-inspiring as a building; that's without considering the awe the content inside said building generates. Every time I go - and that's a *lot* of times - I always visit the Ancient Egyptian section. Best of all, it's free, which truly is wonderful in this day and age. Major kudos.

What are you all loving at the moment? xoxo

Musical review: Betty Blue Eyes

The musical Betty Blue Eyes opened this week at the Novello Theatre, and I luckily managed to snag some tickets last night to go and see it, making it my 7th trip to the theatre this year... Don't worry, I've already covered on my blog that I have a *bit* of an addictive personality when it comes to the West End!

To be honest, the tickets came up last minute and I hadn't had time to look into what the musical was about. I knew it was based on an Alan Bennett film, something to do with a Royal Wedding, and I vaguely recalled a pig - could that be right?! - on Tube posters. I think if you'd have told me I was going to see a musical about a pig... well, I may have had my doubts. (This is coming from the girl who is ridiculously excited about Shrek, a musical about a green ogre. I know, I know.)

But, I have to say, I ruddy loved it! The cast were superb, the score amusing and cleverly executed, and I absolutely fell in love with Betty - surprising for someone who loves bacon as much as I do! It was an utter delight. Definitely worth seeing!

Believe the impossible.

“There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." 

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

~Lewis Carroll

Latest Loves: Royal Gaga Edition

If you're a bit of a Glee fan, and you're a bit of a Royalist, then this Lady Gaga The Other Guys take on the Royal Romance is brilliant. It also scores extra points from me because it's set in St Andrews and it takes me back to my own Bubble days watching it (which, yes, overlapped with Wills and Kate's uni days there, before you ask). {^_^}

To watch it, and see what I said about it, head over to The Next Web. Fabbity! x

Thought of the day

"I'm living a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade income."

Latest loves: summer edition

This week has been utterly glorious in London, which has prompted my a summer edition of my latest loves. (Though I love these things every summer, in all honesty!)

I'm a bit of a meat fan, and and nothing can beat a BBQ and the smell of sizzling meat wafting through the air. Yummy! Make mine a hotdog, some chicken, and I wouldn't say no to some pork ribs and a baked potato and peppers cooked on coals either. Mmmm!

And then, of course, there's ice cream. I do a love 99 - it takes my back to childhood and the tinkle of the ice cream van - but I'm also rather partial to a mint chocolate Cornetto and a white chocolate Magnum. Delicious!

Summer clothing is my next summer love, in particular Havaianas which are my flip flops of choice. You really can't beat them. I was first introduced to these when I was over in Brazil - they're a Brazilian brand - and I've never bought another brand since.

And, finally, it's not deckchairs, per say, but sitting in a park or on a beach soaking up the sunshine. Of course, I always moan about my freckles coming out, but nothing beats a dose of serious sunshine. Well, apart from when the evil hayfever *really* plays up, but it's worth putting up with that for that glorious warmth.

What are your summer loves? x

TNW: Sex sells, but social media sells more

Today over on The Next Web you can find my article on Sex sells, but social media sells more.

Make sure you have a read! xoxo

Stumble. Yet succeed.

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily.  To not dare is to lose oneself."

~Soren Kierkegaard

Disclaimer: May mention silly LEGO vampires

I have a silly sense of humour. And a slightly Northern sense of humour, you could say. Oh, and I like to tweet. Which means that sometimes I tweet really silly things, that whilst there is a *truth* to them, they're not exactly *true* true.

And sometimes I tweet things like: "I dreamt I was a vampire partially made of LEGO ... It seemed to make sense in my dream. I hid in cupboards and jumped out at people. A-huh."

Yeah, I should probably should keep those tweets to myself.

Anyway, I say this because some of you may have seen that over the past few days a tweet that said I was going to go personally AWOL from Twitter ... I failed of course. Sometimes my inner Anthropologist chides me when I decide to "hold back" and I end up tweeting despite declarations like this. But, I digress.

I think most people have the measure of me and realise that I'm quite tongue-in-cheek, but I guess because of the nature of my new job I am slightly worried that some people *won't* realise this and it will cause all sorts of hoo-hah. So, this is my disclaimer that anything that comes from my blog or my Twitter account is my personal view, one not endorsed or championed by anyone else, and it really just reflects my own silly sense of humour, OK?

Right, glad that's sorted. Now, what was that I was tweeting earlier about getting waylaid by champagne tonight ... ;) x

TNW article: Social media and the music industry

Today over on The Next Web you can find my article on How to use social media to break into the music industry.

Make sure you have a read! xoxo

Overview of social media and the music industry

For a more in-depth look on how to use social media to break into the music industry, read my article on TNW, but here's an overview of social media and the music industry:

The music scene typically used to be that you’d get a band together, practice, play some local gigs to build up a fan base, and hope wildly that a record label scout would chance attending your gig and sign you up. Or, you might send off your demo tape to the record label in the hope that it got some attention and would snag you a recoding deal. That scene has changed.

Social media has opened up the world, meaning bands are no longer limited to fans from their home town or ones in the region – the world has become their stage, and MySpace was one of the first networks to provide that stage. But, it didn’t just provide a stage for artists wanting to be discovered, MySpace’s partnership with SNOCAP allowed fans to buy the music of unsigned artists at an opportune time when CD sales were falling because of digital downloads. CD singles used to be sold for £3-4, but with digital downloads costing as little as 29p, it opened up a market because fans could listen to the track online and buy if they liked it. The risk, and cost, of taking a chance on an unknown artist was removed for the fan, and the artist also won because it brought about exposure that wasn’t possible before.

MySpace has been attributed to launching the music careers of Lily Allen, Soulja Boy and Girls Like Boys, to name a few, but the social media landscape has changed. At the start of 2011, MySpace dropped 10 million unique visitors in one month, bringing their audience down to 63 million – at the start of 2010, MySpace was attracting 95 million unique users. Clearly it’s no longer the platform of choice for wannabe artists. Instead YouTube is the social media network of choice if you want to break big in the music industry, and it didn’t get much bigger than Justin Bieber.

Bieber was discovered back in 2008 on YouTube by Scooter Braun, but he wasn’t put on YouTube to be discovered. Instead, his mother uploaded his performance videos so that friends and family who couldn’t attend wouldn’t miss out. The rest, as they say, is history and Bieber Fever spread like wildfire.

But, there’s a new contender for the YouTube Bieber crown and that’s Rebecca Black, one of Bieber’s biggest fans and an example of someone who shows you don’t need talent to be a success in the music industry when social media can help you out. Black’s parents paid $2,000 for her to sing and feature in her own music video Friday which Black shared on Facebook and YouTube for her friends to see. The video was spotted by Comedy Central’s Daniel Tosh, and the video jumped within hours from 4,000 views to 14,000. By the evening it had reached 100,000 views, became a trending topic on Twitter, had Simon Cowell declare it as “genius” and prompted a parody video which has had nearly 3 million views. Black’s video has now had over 63 million views and she’s releasing a second single, LOL – pretty impressive for someone isn’t as music gifted as some of the aspiring artists who put their material up online.

Not everyone will luck out to the extent Bieber and Black did through using social media, but that doesn’t mean social media can’t still be used to help launch a music career. Also, you don’t have to be established or go it alone to get your name out there. There are brands out there that recognise that there’s a lot of emerging talent out there in the social media sphere and encourage it to be shared.

Lyle & Scott launched “Curated by Lyle & Scott” to showcase new talent, giving up and coming bands the chance to win a slot to play at gigs via a fan-influenced competition run on Facebook. Jess Pugh, Lyle and Scott’s Marketing Manager says: ‘We are really proud to have worked with such talented and exciting new acts throughout the “Curated by Lyle & Scott series” and have been astonished by the level of talent to have entered the band competition.” Ice Black Birds, who were one of the bands to win a slot through Facebook, have been thrilled with their success.

"Social networks are a huge platform for artists nowadays, especially if you are unsigned and doing everything yourself. As a band we rely heavily on our Facebook page and Twitter to alert people of our goings on, releases, gigs etc. It also allows people from all over the globe to connect with us and listen to our music."

So, there are a lot of opportunities out there, and if you’re serious about making it big with a music career, you can’t afford to ignore social media. The change in the landscape has made the relationship between the artist and the fans not only more personal, but far more instantaneous. Lady Gaga has over 9 million followers on Twitter and 31 million likes on Facebook, and whereas you won’t achieve these sorts of numbers as a newly emerging artist, any connection you can establish with your fans will make a brilliant start to your musical career.

“We encourage every artist to have accounts on the likes of Facebook and Twitter,” says Naoise Ryan of Universal Music Group. “It’s really important that they are accessible, plus it allows them to be closer to their fans and interact in ways that can benefit both parties. Nothing positive can come from ignoring fans in today’s music scene.”

Just believe.

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.”

~ W. C. Fields

Guest post: Tech & Web 2.0 Changing Consumer Purchasing

I've blogged over on The Social Penguin where I've looked at how technology and social media has changed the way we purchase as consumers.

Make sure you have a read! xoxo


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