IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! – Sort of.

This morning, I was very surprised when I found out from Timehop that it’s been a whole entire year since I started writing my little blog. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHAT’S THE STORI! 

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When I first started my blog back in 2016 I never expected to be the next Zoella or Megan Ellaby, it was simply a place for me to have a creative outlet, something that I had been craving for two years since leaving university.

Writing is something that I’ve always loved, even if it’s just scribbling a list down or using those 140 characters on Twitter, heck I even enjoyed writing my dissertation! My blog was a way that I could incorporate my passion for writing back into my life and in general a way of extending that limited Twitter character count.

I’ve mentioned Flipside Radio quite a lot in my blogs, rewind back to last year when they were advertising for a blogger and I thought to myself “What have I got to lose?” and sent them an email. From presenting I have met some really amazing people along the way, and I am so grateful to Dom from Soundsphere Magazine and Angela from We Are Chester for giving me the opportunity to do some writing for them!

I don’t know what the next year holds, but I reckon a re-branding is definitely due, although I really do love my feature picture of me attempting to look like a studious Theology student.

I haven’t hit a million followers (yet obviously…), but I am so so thankful for everyone who has taken the time to read my little ramblings over the past year, and tolerated my pollution on social media of sharing posts. You’re all fab.

Tori x

BEAUTY BLOG ATTEMPT #1: THE ESSENTIALS

When it comes to beauty products, I’m usually pretty clueless. I’m pretty sure you need an art degree to ‘contour’ and Mac is a computer, not something you apply to your face. The last time I attempted to buy new make-up I was like a lost sheep wandering around Boots, so I marched myself over the the No7 counter where the very helpful staff did a colour match for me.

Despite my poor make up attempts, there are a number of beauty products that I desperately find myself turning to. In my first ever ‘beauty blog’ attempt, here are some the products that I can’t live without:

1. BATISTE DRY SHAMPOO

Undoubtedly the most important product I’ve ever owned, Batiste Dry Shampoo is something that I overly rely on – a bit too much. Perfect for when my hair is at the very close ‘YOU SERIOUSLY NEED TO WASH ME NOW’ stage, dry shampoo will forever be my old faithful friend.

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2. BURBERRY LONDON

I’ve been wearing this perfume from the age of sixteen, and I am constantly praying that it never gets discontinued. It is so beautiful and it’s the one scent that when I wear people always ask me what fragrance it is. I usually purchase it in the airport, but I discovered a large bottle on allbeauty.com is only £28.95!

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3. HERBAL ESSENCES BEE STRONG INTENSIVE MASK/HELLO HYDRATION INTENSIVE MASK

Over the past few weeks the fear hit me that this had been discontinued, but thankfully I found it again thanks to the Boots website. It was recommended to me by my friend a few years ago, and it is definitely the best leave-in conditioner I’ve used. I usually leave it on for about 10 minutes and it leaves my hair looking and smelling amazing, without making it greasy. I tend to use it about once a week, and at less than a fiver it is a bargain! I also recently tried the Hello Hydration Intensive Mask and found it to be equally as good.

 

4. BOOTS EXTRACTS MANGO SUGAR SCRUB

I’ve tried a few body scrubs and this one is definitely my favourite. It exfoliates your skin and actually leaves it feeling beautifully soft. Not to mention the flavours are good enough to eat! The mango flavour is my own personal fave, but there are others such as coconut and vanilla available.

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5. VO5 GIVE ME TEXTURE ROUGH & SEXY SEA SALT SPRAY

Alongside dry shampoo this is definitely one hair product I cannot live without. My hair has naturally got a bit of a wave, and this spray is a perfect addition to make the waves set a bit more. I usually get the VO5 sea salt spray, another product from this range that I highly recommend is the VO5 Give Me Texture Dry Texturising Spray, which gives my hair that extra lift.

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6. MISS SPORTY PUMP UP LASH WATERPROOF LIQUID EYELINER

Undoubtedly one of life’s hardest tribulations: applying liquid eyeliner evenly. Despite the hardship of this task, I feel beyond naked without some cat eye on my lids. This liquid eyeliner was recommended to me by my friend a few years ago, and I’ve relied on it ever since. It has survived tears and long restaurant shifts, and at less than £3 a bottle I also can’t complain about the price!

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7. CHAPSTICK

Forever in my coat pocket, my strawberry ChapStick has kept my lips hydrated throughout all seasons of the year.

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8. SOAP & GLORY SKINCARE

I am a massive fan of all the Soap & Glory products, but I was so surprised at how good their face washes are. When I went back home to Ireland my mum had the Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk, and as soon as I was back in England I had to get some of my own. It leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh, and it smells incredible too.

9. WITCHSTICK NATURALLY CLEAR BLEMISH STICK

Whoever says you stop getting spots in your 20s is a downright liar. I am still victim to the occasional breakout, and the Witch Naturally Clear Blemish Stick is my lil’ rescue remedy. Simply dab on any temperamental areas on your face and it clears up spots without drying your skin out like other products can do.

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10. SUPERDRUG NATURALLY RADIANT BRIGHTENING EYE CREAM

My mum has proudly taught me the importance of cleansing and moisturising your skin from a young age. This advice includes using an eye cream, which I didn’t believe until I started to use the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Eye Cream, which is perfect for brightening my tired eyes in the morning. I can’t rave enough about the Superdrug own brands which offer other great skin products. My mum’s skin is flawless so I’m definitely taking her advice and religiously applying eye cream daily.

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These are just a few essential products which I swear by, I would love to hear some of your favourites and recommendations!

Tori x

ED SHEERAN: THE DIVIDE TOUR – THE NON-REVIEW

For the past three years my best friend Ste and I made a pact that we had to see Ed Sheeran live. I was beyond surprised when a few months ago I received a text that he had managed to purchase tickets, despite the amount of disappointed fans who had attempted to get their hands on them.

Looking back over the past number of months, it’s only May and 2017 has undoubtedly been the year of The Sheeran. His album tracks have dominated the top 40, and Divide has become the fastest-selling album by a male artist (shout out to Wikipedia for the fact).

Having heard positive reviews of Ed Sheeran live, and a decent album setlist I had high hopes for this concert and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

When the first supporting act arrived on stage I was pleasantly surprised to hear a familiar Northern Irish accent! Ryan McMullan, a singer-songwriter from County Down, undoubtedly lit up the stage with his beautiful acoustic style. I definitely recommend checking out his stuff on Spotify, I’ve currently got O’Susannah on repeat.

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Anyone who is familiar with Anne-Marie will recognise the catchy Ciao Adios, and of course Rockabye with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul. Hearing her was one of those moments when you hear someone sing live and you immediately go ‘Omg they’re actually amazing!’ Anne-Marie has got a bit of a reggae-pop vibe, but when she performed ‘Perfect,‘ a ballad track, you can see her versatile talent and range. I’m so excited to hear her full album now.

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Ed Sheeran does not need to be ‘reviewed.’ He’s so freakin’ talented I’m still trying to comprehend it. I didn’t really know what to expect from the concert in terms of a band or production, but it was far from him simply standing on stage strumming a guitar. He single-handedly managed to put on an incredible show, armed with his guitar and with his voice projecting throughout the arena. He managed to create an awesome atmosphere, and nothing gives me the feels more than hearing the fans singing their favourite songs back to the artist.

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Like any decent gig, you can’t forget about the encore. Ed reappeared on stage to the song that’s been engraved in my brain for the past few months, the catchy Shape of You. My highlight has to be the final song, You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, he had managed to keep up the momentum and energy on stage right until the very end where his rapping skills were showcased.

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It’s easy to see why 2017 has been the year of The Sheeran. The tracks on Divide are beautifully written, and if you’re lucky enough to see Ed live you’ll see just how talented he actually is.

It’s always a joy to spend some time with this crazy bunch, and what better way than a good gig?!

Tori x

Yo! Sushi Chester: New menu launch

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been six years since I met my friend Liam at the start of university. Alongside our passion for English Literature, the strong foundation of our friendship is firmly grounded in our love of Yo! Sushi (especially Pumpkin Katsu).

Naturally when the opportunity arose for us to go try the new menu at the Yo! Sushi restaurant in Chester we were beyond excited.

Rule #1 of any successful event: Greet your guests with sparkling wine. Check.

We were warmly greeted at the door with a glass of prosecco and took our place in one of the booths. As we ate we were serenaded with some live music which was the perfect setting to try some delicious food.

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Something I love about Yo! Sushi is the ability to try new flavours and foods that you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to. Is there anything better than having fabulous food paraded round in front of you to grab to eat?

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I’ll be really honest, it’s only within the past year or so that I’ve truly developed an appreciation for fish, especially salmon. Salmon and cream cheese bagel is one of my new firm favourite snacks, so I was delighted to find that Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese had made its way onto the menu.

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Any of my friends will be able to tell you that fried chicken is undoubtedly one of the keys to my heart, and the new Chicken Karaage can definitely unlock it! The creamy mayo on the side was a perfect addition to the chicken.

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Chicken Katsu has always been one of my favourite Yo! Sushi dishes, so I was so excited to get the opportunity to try the new Beef Katsu. I could add the tonkatsu sauce to everything I eat, I absolutely adore it. Another beef dish that is new to the menu is the Seared Beef, with radish, cucumber and quick-pickled onion, wrapped in seared beef with some schichmi powder. I love the variety that comes with eating in Yo! Sushi, and these different styles of beef dishes are the perfect example.

Furikake Fries: Let’s face it, fries are the perfect side to accompany most meals, so it’s wonderful that Yo! Sushi have adapted the traditional side whilst putting their own Yo! spin on it. Coated in sriracha mayo and then sprinkled with yuzu furikake, sesame, aonori and smoky bonito flakes, these had just the right amount of spice on them! The hottest thing I can hack is a jalapeño pepper, so these were spicy enough for me to enjoy the flavour of too.

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Cod Nanbanzuke: Honestly, I was a bit dubious of this dish as I wasn’t too sure if I would like the taste of it. I’m extremely glad I went against my first instinct and tried it, as it was incredible. The sweet and sour flavours complimented each other perfectly, without being sickingly sweet the way usual sweet and sour chicken can be.

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Osaka Style Squid: My past experience with squid has just been calamari which I love, so I couldn’t wait to taste this new dish. The spicy pepper squid had a slight kick, again like the Furikake Fries, it was slightly spicy without being too overpowering.

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Other wonderful new menu items:

Not actually from the new menu, but I just HAD to give it a mention, is the Malt Chocolate Pot. The following day in work I was still fantasising about it.

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Thanks so much to the lovely staff at Yo! Sushi, who were so welcoming and helpful when recommending their favourite of the new dishes. As you can see from the aftermath, we really enjoyed it!

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Also a big thank you for this goodie bag, I will be adding the sauces to EVERYTHING!

 

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What are some of your favourite Yo! Sushi dishes?

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Tori x

 

 

You can try the new menu at Yo! Sushi Chester from 25 April.

The Rankin Selection: A Taste From Home

In 2011 I moved away from Northern Ireland to study at the University of Chester. Over the past few years whilst living in England, I am constantly craving food from back home. You can imagine my excitement when on St. Patrick’s Day (how fitting!) I received some goodies from the lovely folk at Rankin Selection.

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Any student can agree that a fry is a necessary essential after a night out. Despite not being a student anymore, an Ulster Fry was definitely on the cards after St. Paddy’s weekend! When I came home from work on the Saturday, my other half had already helped himself to the ingredients in the food package, so he was definitely doing the cooking on Sunday morning!

Rankin Selection had kindly included the following simple recipe which had some great tips and advice for creating the perfect Ulster Fry:

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Coming from a farming background, my dad has religiously taught me to support local produce, so it was such a treat to receive sausages from back home! I chose to cook the sausages on the grill with some bacon, and they were absolutely amazing, and had the most incredible flavour.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of fried eggs, so I always opt for scrambled when having a fry. The breads from the Rankin Selection were a perfect combination with all the ingredients. It’s been too long since I had Irish potato slims and soda bread, it was the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time!

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I was also spoilt with a variety of breads from the Rankin Selection. Bread and cakes are undoubtedly the key to my heart, so it was such a fabulous treat to receive these! It was so good to have a different variety of breads to try from, rather than the boring brown bread which I occasionally have for my sandwiches at lunch!

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I haven’t eaten brown soda bread in years, and after trying these I will definitely be incorporating it back into my diet. I just simply toasted the bread and added a bit of butter, but you could add some toppings such as tomato (something my dad does!) if you wish. I usually find brown bread quite dry, but this was far from your usual cardboard-like wheaten bread, I nearly scoffed the whole loaf in one go it was that good!

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In my selection there were also a number of fruit breads, which when toasted made my kitchen smell glorious! I definitely recommend toasting these breads, as they are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning.

Barmbrack always reminds me of Halloween, remember being small and trying to find a ring in the loaf? This sweet bread took me back to my childhood.

The Irish Fruit Loaf was slightly lighter than the barmbrack, but equally as good! Again slightly toasted with some butter was perfection.

My favourite from the collection was the Irish Cinnamon and Raisin Teacake. I add cinnamon to nearly everything as it is one of my favourite flavours, and after being toasted my kitchen smelt heavenly. I treated myself to this with a coffee for breakfast and it set me up for the morning. I’ve got such a bad habit of snacking between breakfast and lunch, but these teacakes kept me going until lunchtime.

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When I visited my local Morrisons this week I was very happy to discover that some of the breads from the Rankin Selection were available to purchase here too, so in England I can get my fix of food from home!

For a girl in dire need of some traditional home food, the Rankin Selection definitely ticked all the boxes. Thanks so much to the team for all these delicious treats! If you’re in dire need of a decent fry, or just something to go along with your cuppa, these are undeniably your go-to!

Tori x

Find out more about the Rankin Selection here: www.rankinselection.com

You can also follow them on Twitter: @RankinSelection

Over seas from coast to coast, to find the place I love the most

As I sit and write this I can’t help but think how much I wish it was this time last year. I had just been to see The 1975 and myself and my two best friends were living it up in Dublin.

In honour of St Patrick’s Day, I’m dedicating this post to my favourite place in the world, Dublin. Here are some of my favourite things to do and see in the city:

Temple Bar

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With plenty of live music and bars, what isn’t to love? The perfect place for a pub crawl, there’s always a great vibe in this part of the city, and is certainly never quiet.


Tourist Spots

The first thing that automatically springs to my mind is the Guinness Storehouse. Last year we went on St Patrick’s Eve and got to experience some Irish dancing, which as you can see from our faces we seriously enjoyed.

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Here you can learn to pull the perfect pint of Guinness like a pro as well as learning the history that goes along with the famous drink. I definitely recommend getting on the hop on and hop off tour buses to get here, as not only are they cheaper than a taxi, you’ll get a guided tour of the city too.

 

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Last year was my first visit ever to the National Leprechaun Museum, here you learn about various Irish folklore tales, as well as getting to sit on some massive furniture. It is mega fun.

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If you’re feeling especially cultured, The National Gallery of Ireland has free admission, and has some wonderful pieces to look at.

History
Like any major city there is no abundance of history in Dublin. If you decide to take one of the open top tour buses you will learn loads about different buildings and historic figures in the city. You can also visit the jail, Kilmainham Gaol, where you can have a tour of the building whilst learning about its origins and inhabitants.

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There’s also Trinity College Dublin, home to some beautiful grounds and buildings, and of course there’s the famous Book of Kells which you can visit.

FOOD

Undoubtedly the most important part of the trip, food and drink. One of my most favourite things to do when in the city is grab a Butler’s hot chocolate (which is undeniably the nicest thing I’ve ever tasted) and go for a walk around St Stephen’s Green which is located opposite the coffee and chocolate shop.

For something a bit continental, there is the French café Le Petit Parisien on Wicklow Street. They sell incredible cakes and breakfasts, I especially adore the macaroons!

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If you’re after a decent burger and chips then Captain America’s on Grafton Street is definitely the place to go. I also enjoy eyeing up all the different items celebrities have signed on the wall.

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How to get here
RyanAir tend to have really good and extremely cheap deals on for flights, if you’re only going for a weekend if you just take hand luggage there will be no need to pay for a large suitcase. When you get to Dublin Airport there’s Aircoach, which has several drop off points in the city centre. It’s cheaper than a taxi too!

Where to stay
If you go to sites such as lastminute.com and booking.com you can get some brilliant offers. Just beware that you don’t get too enticed by the cheap price and end up miles out of the city, as you’ll make up for the price in taxis. Grafton Capital and O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel are in great locations and are walkable distances to Grafton Street and O’Connell Street.

As soon as I become a millionaire I am 100% moving to Dublin. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting for St Paddy’s you’ll be able to see the massive parades and enjoying the fabulous celebrations in the city, but pre-warning it is MEGA BUSY!

I hope you have a wonderful St Paddy’s wherever you’re celebrating in the world.

 

Tori x

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London Calling

At the end of last month I was lucky enough to be treated to a trip to London by my best friend. It was the perfect time for a mini-break, Christmas seems like a life-time ago and we still have a while to wait before summer (hopefully) appears.

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I’ve been to London numerous times to visit family, but it’s very rare I get to experience the tourist bits of it. Given how many steps I walked that weekend, I definitely did a fair bit of sightseeing!

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We travelled down on the Friday, rule #1 of going to London: PRE-BOOK TRAIN SEATS. Our train was packed but luckily Jen was on it and pre-booked our seats. With phone chargers at the table we were good to go.

On the Friday evening we went full tourist mode. From sitting in an office all week, it was good to get out and do some walking and also see some sights. It’s very rare that me and my pals are altogether at once so it was so nice to just go for a walk and catch up. After a stroll to see Big Ben and the Queen, we had definitely worked up an appetite. We had dinner at Planet Hollywood, by this point my phone had died so I’ve sadly no photos, but the food and cocktails were incredible! We had a few drinks after, but nothing too heavy as Saturday was another filled day.

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On Saturday morning the girls went off to Harry Potter world, which is one million percent on my bucket list! Ste and I had a very different day and were off to see the Arsenal football stadium.

We were staying at a Travelodge in Vauxhall, it was right beside the tube which was really handy to get to. Breakfast in the hotel was a standard buffet, enough to set us up for the day. My sense of direction isn’t great at the best of times, and especially not on the tubes, but thankfully Ste knew where we were going!

My only experience of football is from living with a Burnley fan, I’ve even shocked myself that I can name some of the players, but in all honesty I’ve had no choice but to get interested. For someone who isn’t a hardcore football fan I really enjoyed my trip to the Emirates! We did the stadium tour so we got to see pretty much everything. If you pre-book it’s not too expensive either, so I’d definitely recommend if there’s an Arsenal fan in your life.

 

After the tour we literally walked the whole of London, making sure to have numerous coffee stops along the way. After seeing Tower Bridge we found the Borough Markets and went to see The Shard. Dinner on Saturday night was at Bubba Gump Shrimp, if you’re into seafood and are a Forrest Gump fan then here is a definite must.

 


Our train on Sunday morning was quite early, but still gave us enough time to grab a quick (essential) Starbs, and it was back up north we went.

If you are planning a trip to London, it’s pretty self-explanatory that it’s a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, especially with a group of friends. If you’re booking the train, pre-booking well in advance, a railcard and sites such as Trainline and RedSpottedHanky.com will save you money on tickets. Also being that customer with vouchers on Vouchercloud and O2 Priority can also save you a bit of dollar on meals and days out.

I’m definitely ready for another trip with this fabulous bunch again.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: 2007, AKA THE BEST YEAR EVER OF MUSIC

I’m currently struggling to comprehend a number of things at this point in time, last year we actually left the EU, I turn 24 this year and somehow it’s not 4 years from 2007, but it is in fact, TEN. HOW ON EARTH DID THAT HAPPEN?

Rewind back to 2007, Ugly Betty was still a thing, Twitter was merely a bird sound, my life aspirations were high and I was about to embark on my years as an awkward teenager.

The thing that stands out for me the most about this year isn’t my parent’s divorce, it’s the sheer bangers that the world was blessed to hear, all of which are proudly still on my iPod.

If you listen to my weekly show on a Thursday on Flipside (self-promo alert) you will know that every week, in homage to 2007 I have been playing some of my favourite tunes from that year. Well it is Throwback Thursday after all!

Naturally, this sparked the idea for a blog post, so get your Maybelline matte mousse on and let’s rewind back to the ten best songs (and suitable Bebo flashbox material) of 2007…

10. Sugababes – About You Now

At this point in time the Sugababes were on their 15th line up, but the pop tunes were still massive. 10 years later the Sugababes appear to have parted their separate ways but I’m due to make the line up in 2026.

 

9. Little Man Tate – This Must Be Love

One of the most underrated songs EVER, This Must Be Love takes me back to my edgy days of trying to find music that no one had ever heard of. Their track Saved By a Chat Show which is about Jeremy Kyle is also worth a listen.

 

8. Klaxons – It’s Not Over Yet

Not the oohooohooohooohoooh-ohoh song, originally by Grace back in 1985, It’s Not Over Yet is my personal fave Klaxons song.

7. Rihanna – Umbrella

Ironically the song of the summer, Umbrella spent a massive 10 weeks at number one, it’s probably one of the most overplayed songs in the world that I’m not sick of …yet.

6. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Undoubtedly one of the best ballads of the 21st century, how could you forget screaming along to the iconic chorus in your room? Anyone? Just me then.

5. Kanye West Stronger

Like I was going to do a countdown of the best songs and not have Kanye West in it? Sampling a bit of Daft Punk, Stronger edged its way to becoming one of the most successful songs of the year, and was in fact West’s first UK number one single.

4. Kate Nash – Foundations

Rhyming ‘bitta’ with ‘fitta,’ Kate Nash was the indie princess that every girl could only dream of being. Her first album Made of Bricks was also pretty good.

3. Scouting For Girls – It’s Not About You

No doubt when Scouting For Girls are mentioned, your mind is immediately drawn to the young girl running through the streets of Eastbourne wearing a cardboard olive costume. But pre the Angus, Thongs and Snogging anthem that was She’s So Lovely, SFG released this absolute gem It’s Not About You. It also has a mega cute video.

2. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Taken from the album of the same title, and without a doubt one of my favourite albums of all time, Back to Black doesn’t just stand out as being one of the best songs of 2007, but definitely one of the best songs ever written.

1. Robyn – With Every Heartbeat

I was only 14 when this was released, and I may not have experienced pure heartbreak at this age but I felt I had with this emotional rollercoaster by Robyn. Fast-forward a couple of years later, she’s brought out arguably even better songs such as Dancing On My Own (let’s forget about that cover of it last year) and Call Your Girlfriend.

Thank you 2007 for these tunes.

Tori x

 

Also worthy of a mention:

Rihanna – Shut Up and Drive
Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene
Maroon 5 – Makes Me Wonder
Alicia Keys – No One
Arctic Monkeys – Brianstorm
Mutya Buena feat Amy Winehouse – B B
oy Baby
Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls (classic)
Feist – 1234
Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend
Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent
Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
Klaxons – Golden Skans
Mark Ronson feat Lily Allen – Oh My God
Jamie T – If You Got the Money
Common feat Lily Allen – Drivin’ Me Wild
The Enemy – Had Enough
Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
Mutya Buena – Real Girl
Maxïmo Park – Our Velocity
Beyoncé and Shakira – Beautiful Liar

 

Fashion Blog Attempt #2: The January Sales

Last year I attempted to be a “Fashion Blogger” that one time,  and in all honesty, over the past few months I’ve purposely avoided trying to go on big clothes hauls (much to the approval of my bank account). However, as the January sales hit, I couldn’t resist picking up a few bits in the sales (mainly Primark) and thought what better way at attempting to keep my New Year’s resolution of blogging more by showcasing the pieces here?!

Apologies in advance for the awkward poses, but it was the best I could do for a mannequin. …Oh and ignore the messy mirror too.

1. Work attire

I’m very lucky that in work we have a smart/casual dress code, but some days I like to go for the all out “Yeah I’m ready for business” look. Adapted from my restaurant managing days, when I need to look smart for work I simply go for black trousers, the nice top and a black blazer. Sorted.

I picked up the following tops in Primark, the first two on the left were only TWO POUNDS each. Happy days.

2. The casuals

I’ve basically dressed the same since the age of 14. Skinny jeans, t-shirt and trainers of some sort. My Converse tragically passed away last year and I’ve sadly yet to replace them but my plain black Primarni numbers have surprisingly lasted me almost a year.

For the past few years now I’ve been craving a massive oversize shirt, perfect for hiding food babies when I head out for a meal. I came across this stripey number a few weeks ago in a charity shop and I feel like my life is finally complete after finding it.

 

3. The party wear

I am absolutely obsessed with this outfit, and also mainly because it was the biggest bargain ever. It was my boyfriend’s sister’s 21st so naturally, I needed a new outfit. I discovered the gem of a navy skirt on the Primark sale rail for a fiver!!! I’d been eyeing up the purple metallic clutch for a while, and I was truly blessed to find the most awesome silver shoes in Outfit. I had an absolute nightmare trying to find a top (and something that didn’t make it look see through) but in the end again, it was Primark to the rescue. The whole outfit cost me less than twenty quid.

I’ve also managed to recycle the skirt for work. I’m all about the granny chic and teamed with the cardigan I definitely look like I’m 70.

 

I’m well kitted out for the next while, have you picked up any January bargains?

Tori x

A reflection on 2016: Do we really need to go there?

I think the last thing that we all need right now is to look back on 2016. We only need to look at the news or the internet to see what all has been happening in the world this year. I keep joking that 2016 doesn’t deserve an Instagram collage, however at this time of year I’m all about reflecting on my own personal life and what I can attempt to do better in the forthcoming year.

Earlier this year I started this little blog. Needless to say in 2017 I really do need to blog more (resolution #1). Little did I know that through it I would end up presenting my own radio show and start writing for an online music magazine. Something my 16 year old self only could have dreamed of! These are definitely been the things I am most proud of and these have taught me how important it is to work hard. Whether it’s getting up two hours earlier to do some writing or planning or just dedicating time to something more productive than trawling through my Facebook newsfeed. These experiences also taught me to just go for something, if you don’t ask you don’t get!

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Whilst these things have kept me going this year, recently I’ve been juggling my thoughts between ‘How can I get my dream job?’ to ‘Should I go back to university?’ Because in this day and age it looks like having one degree isn’t enough to get my dream job. I’ll leave 2017 to figure that one out… and hopefully my head too. In 2014 I had planned to do a Master’s (sure I even dedicated a whole post to it) and this year in particular my mind has often wandered to that big fat ‘What if I had done it?’ My definite resolution for next year is to stop living in the past. I spend too long dwelling on the ‘what ifs?’ and regrets of yesteryear, and whilst reflection on these is a good thing, mentally and emotionally it’s not good or healthy to focus on them too much.

Work has been my main focal point of 2016, in April I said goodbye to an amazing team and a job that I learnt so much from, but alas my time in hospitality was up. I joined the 9-5 life and it definitely took some adjusting to. I think it’s safe to say when you join the office life you need to make sure that you’ve found something that you can actually get adjusted to. This year I especially learnt that life is too short to not be happy, if you don’t like something then simply don’t do it. Everything is experience at the end of the day, a musing I’ll definitely be taking into the new year. As I said in my post about social media (self-promo alert) it’s so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel lost, sad or inadequate several points this year because I’m forever wondering and aching for where I want to be in life just because everyone else appears to have it figured out.

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Every year I vow I’ll try and save up money but this year was significantly harder when all my favourite artists decided to go on tour. Music is my first love and as cheesy and ghastly as it sounds, for me there is no better feeling than hearing your all time favourite band performing your favorite song. Getting to go to some amazing gigs with my best friends has undoubtedly been the highlights of this year for me. Not to mention I had my first (almost) moshpit experience when I saw Enter Shikari in February. I also can’t forget to mention that 2016 saw the loss of one of the world’s most iconic musicians, and undoubtedly one of my all time favourites, Prince. It still breaks my heart that I will never get to experience one of his live shows.

 

2016 also seen me take the big step of moving in with my other half. He didn’t even pay me to write this bit but it has been the best few months. It was inevitable we would learn more about each other and mainly how to put up with each other daily!

This year I’ve celebrated engagements and marriages, I’ve seen loss, but the thing that I experienced the most this year was change. I briefly mentioned resolutions, losing two stone and winning the lottery are obviously top of my list for 2017, but in general it’s to keep persevering, staying positive and trying to reach a goal that I want. I keep vowing to move cities but in all honesty I’m just seeing where the year takes me.


I hope you all have a fabulous one.

Tori x