Delamere Forest.

28.8.15



















Living in the city can get a bit much at times, especially if like me, you come from a tiny town in Northern Ireland. Sometimes I just miss getting back to the greenery and fresh air. So recently I used my day off to take to the countryside and venture around Delamere Forest for a day. 

A shady oasis set in the agricultural landscape of the Cheshire Plain, Delamere is a place for families to let off steam, escape the crowds and find peace in the heart of the forest. It's also home to 'Go Ape!' (which I'll hopefully get to soon!). The forest itself has trails for all capabilities, from 1 hour to 3, with various difficulties. We chose to do the 'Old Pale Trail', mostly because it was meant to be the one with the most wildlife. Amidst the trail, we were led up a hill and at the peak there were vintage stone markers pointing out the surrounding counties and their directions. We could even see the Liverpool Cathedrals thanks to the clear weather. 

The forest also offers bike trails, orienteering courses and horse riding so there's definitely something for everybody to do! Personally I'm already looking forward to going back and exploring some more of the stunning lakes and little trails off the beating track. I hope you enjoyed this picture heavy post! It was just so pretty! Aisling. xo

Interview: Lauren Bird.

25.8.15



Photos taken by Conor Kerr, c/o chordblossom.com
Music doesn't really get an awful lot of praise on my blog even though it's something I can't go an hour without listening to. My range varies, big style. And even though I'm obsessed with Taylor Swift and Little Mix at the minute (sad but true) sometimes I like something a bit more chilled out but still with those pop influences: enter Lauren. I've known her since my emo - teenage years (yep) when we used to play in an orchestra together, but I only realised her amazing talent when I heard her incredibly arranged YouTube covers, and then I was obsessed with her debut self-titled EP. After just a few plays of her new single 'Goodbye, Good Luck' I'm already humming the melody. And with it being released this week, it seemed like the perfect time to ask a few questions to the lady behind the ukulele. 

When and why did you start playing?
I started playing around 7 when I was given a viola at school and then I fell in love with music in general. I started learning guitar when I was 10 but I don’t think I actually started writing songs until I was around 13. Those songs will never see the light of day though because they are embarrassingly bad!


How many instruments do you play?
I play six: viola, guitar, bass, drums, piano and ukulele but sadly I can’t play them all at the same time, despite my best efforts. I tend to play guitar and ukulele mostly now though, they are the ones I write with.


Where did the attraction to the ukulele come from?
It came mainly for practical reasons because I’m pretty small and have the hand size of an 8 year old so I kept getting repetitive strain injury from the piano and guitar. I saw one for sale for £20 so I thought I would try it out and I instantly fell in love. I have three different sized ones now but I usually play the tenor uke on stage because it has a fuller sound.


Which famous musicians do you admire and do you take inspiration from them?
There are loads! I listened to Green Day a lot when I was a teenager and although my music is nothing like theirs I feel like the simplicity of their songs is definitely something that serves as a basis to mine. Then I just adore a lot of singer-songwriters but I think my biggest inspirations would be Regina Spektor, Merrill Garbus from Tune-Yards and Alanis Morissette. I just love everything about their music. Alanis is always very confessional and I tend to write very honestly too, I think mainly because I’m not remotely smart enough to cloak lyrics in metaphors! Regina is my favourite songwriter because she has songs for every mood and she doesn’t write about the same topics a lot, I try to do that too. Merrill is a big inspiration of mine recently for so many reasons, her ukulele skills being one of them. She also wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed her first album herself and it’s one of my favourites so when I’m feeling a bit lazy I think of that.


Do you get nervous before performances?
I had crippling stage fright for so long and it’s something I have slowly gotten over. A few years ago I decided that I wanted to pursue music anyway and every time I would plan to do an open mic I would feel sick for days beforehand with dread. Now it’s not so bad and a lot of the time I just get excited about playing. I think being a little nervous is healthy though because if I wasn’t nervous then I wouldn’t care about it and I think that’s all it is now. It’s not a fear of singing in front of people but of not being good instead. The only time I get very nervous now is either before I play a new song live for the first time or I’m playing to a lot of people but I think I’m slowly getting past that too. Oh, and being on the radio!


I love your YouTube covers, is that something you enjoy doing?
Thank you! Yeah, I do because I always pick songs I’m obsessed with at the time and I love arranging them into my style. Each 3-4 minute video takes between 6-8 hours to make though and there is usually an hour or two were I start to question why I’ve done so many parts but when they all come together at the end it’s great. It’s also a good way for people to discover my own music, which is the end goal really. 


What are your plans for future?
Just to keep working at it and keep writing. My first single is out on the 24th August and I have my first headline show in The Bar With No Name in Belfast on the 28th, which I’m excited/nervous about. I have an album load of songs written, it’s just being able to afford to record them now. I would love to be able to release my first full length album next year, but I will have to wait and see.


Where is the best place for us to keep up with you?
At my website laurenbirdmusic.com or on any social media with /laurenbirdmusic including youtube, I’m not original. There’s also a link on my website to join my mailing list, which I only use to post about the important things, not the very stupid thoughts I have all day like Twitter. Most importantly though all my music is available on Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify. 

A massive thank-you to Lauren for answering my questions. Be sure to keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter, and let me know what you think of her new single! Aisling. xo

Below are a couple of my favourite covers by Lauren, obviously One Direction and Taylor Swift. They are honestly amazing and give you a brilliant insight into how much effort Lauren puts into her work. 






Truffle Shuffle Wishlist.

22.8.15





Sometimes, I just don't feel like writing about beauty. And today was one of those days. I am a bit of a nerd at heart, and I majorly blame this on many a Saturday morning spent watching the Spider-man and X-Men animated series' with my brother many moons ago. Due to this I spend many an hour lusting over the many cult-esque items Truffle Shuffle has to offer. Today, I thought I'd share with you the things I've got my eye on at the minute. 

1. Matilda Book Cushion.  One of my favourite pass times usually involves sitting in a mound of cushions devouring a book, and this book shaped pillow would be a perfect addition.

2. Eat Me Cake Stand.  Cute cakes on a cuter cake stand. What else could you want?

3. Roald Dahl Quote Tee. One of my favourite quotes from Roald Dahl. I try to remind myself of this mantra on a daily basis to make sure I stay positive! 

4. Wonderland Scented Candle. I love candles, I love Disney. I need this. 

5. Doctor Who Egg Cups. Eggs are one of my favourite foods and I love the idea of eating them out of these adorable egg cups.

6. Gryffindor Scarf. This has been on my mental wishlist for as long as I can remember. I just want to be a witch okay? 

7. Golden Ticket Cushion. Similar in theme to the Matilda pillow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a special place in my heart after I was an emotional wreck at the west end show.

8. Gryffindor Jumper. Again, wishing I could wander the halls of Hogwarts wearing this. The streets of Liverpool will have to do. 

9. Spider-man Mug. Spider-man is and will always be my favourite superhero, so of course I'm going to drink out of his head. 

10. The Little Mermaid tee. Iconic image from my favourite disney film, I would love this as a bed-time tee.

11. Marvel PJ bottoms. Men's pyjama bottoms are always my favourite, they're so much looser and often have pockets - game changer!

There are literally 100 other items on Truffe Shuffle that I'm currently lusting after, I haven't even started on the Game of Thrones merch! But this will do for now. It's not my birthday for another few months, hopefully someone takes notice! Have you ever bought from Truffle Shuffle? Aisling. xo

What's in my BEACH bag?*

10.8.15







When it comes to Summer time, all anyone wants to do is run away to the sunshine. Unfortunately for me I haven't had a chance to venture over seas this year, so I've been taking every given opportunity to run to the little beaches dotted around Liverpool! And I've had some necessities that I could not of lived without this year! So.. what exactly was in my beach bag*?

1. SPF.
Being from the fair land of Ireland means I was cursed blessed with pale white skin. And said skin needs some looking after. After getting sun stroke a few years back SPF is something I take very seriously, so of course it's the first thing I pack for any day in the sun. 

2. Water.
Yes I am a bore, but keeping hydrated is so important if you're in the sun all day! For your own well being and your skin. I'm skin care freak so always try to hit my 2 litres of water/day. 

3. Sunnies.
A given really, sun protection for the eyes as well as making sure you look effortlessly cool. 

4. Various items of lip care.
Pout on fleek. Or whatever that means. I literally cannot be without lipcare at any stage of any day. And on the beach this is amplified tenfold. Give me some severe Blistex relief cream/carmex/lip butters and I just might make it through the day. 

5. Hand sanitiser.
Hygiene, am I right?

6. Sweat/Shine proof make-up.
Give me all the pressed powder. I know some people will disagree with even wearing make-up on the beach but it's my safety blanket! I usually pop on some pressed powder to keep the shine at bay, and a lip tint to ensure all day colour and I'm sorted. I also like to bring some blotting paper to remove any excess shine. 

7. Book(s). 
Reading in the sun is my absolute favourite thing to do, and I'm currently making my way through anything John Green has lent his hand to and I'm loving Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

8. Brush/Mirror.*
I usually try to rock some beachy waves when I'm by the sea, but sometimes I still need to keep it in check.

9. Sandals.*
Okay so not really in my beach bag but they're without a doubt a necessity. I used to hate wearing sandals until I realised that sand + shoes = actual hell. 

And I think that's my beach bag covered! Have I missed out any of your must-haves? If you're off on any last minute holidays be sure to visit boohoo, they have an incredible sale on with all your summer needs! Aisling. xo 

*items gifted from boohoo.com.