Happy Birthdays!

It was my little sister Vicky’s birthday this week, except she’s not so little anymore – it was her 21st birthday. She’s had a few days of celebrating, it started on Wednesday night in Sheffield with a big party – I think she’s still recovering from the effects of that now! It was also my Grandma’s birthday on Wednesday, so on Thursday I went out for a meal with Vicky, Frank, my Grandma and Uncle Alan.

On Vicky’s birthday on Friday, we went for a meal at Palace Chine in Kirkstall at lunch time, and then spent the afternoon at the White Rose Centre. We both spent a little too much money, but it was nice to spend the day together for once. While we were shopping, Vicky bought Frank a ‘onesie’ from Primark, to match the one she bought a few weeks ago. They were both wearing theirs on Friday night when Andy came around – and then we found out that he was wearing his under his clothes – cue a few funny photos and some very strange looks from Hannah when she called in – I think she thought they had gone bonkers (and she would have been right)!

I also made Vicky a pretty cool birthday cake, which was great until we tasted it. None of us managed to eat more than one bite because it tasted pretty disgusting (serves me right for trying a new recipe), so it all ended up in the bin – sorry Vicky!

 

MLB Stands up to Cancer

431566056For Game 4 of the World Series yesterday, MLB continued their partnership with Stand up to Cancer. Everyone in the crowd was given a card on the way in to the ballpark with the sentence ‘I stand up for…’, with a space to fill in the name of someone they know who has been affected by cancer. To start with, the organisers didn’t want to intrude on the player’s preparations for the game, but apparently when the players heard about it they wanted to get involved too, so when the time came for everyone to hold up their cards, the two dugouts were lined with players holding up their own card and showing support along with the 51,539 people standing in the crowd.

400_20111023231949148_600_400They say that everyone nowadays knows someone who has been affected by cancer, and it is really heart warming to see that as well as raising money for finding a cure, we can honour those that have been lost and support those that are still fighting, and those that have fought successfully and made it out the other side.

scanned097I lost my Grandad to cancer while I was still at school, and it was tough.  Hospices like Wheatfields Hospice (who cared for my Grandad) do fantastic work, but I am looking forward to the day when we can find a cure for this horrible disease. The worst part was knowing that there was nothing that could be done, but we can keep hope in the work that these fantastic organisations carry out that the future will be brighter.

431564980For more information about Stand up to Cancer and the amazing work that they do, visit the SU2C website.

su2c

Now Reading: F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Beautiful and Damned

I’ve just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’d been told by a lot of people on Twitter that I should read it, and I did really enjoy it. I was worried that there were going to be too many statistics which would make it hard to read, but I found it really informative – any statistics mentioned were clearly explained. I felt compelled to keep reading as I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. The book all took place a few years before I started watching baseball and I had no idea how the season ended, so it was really surprising what Billy Beane achieved with such a small payroll and a willingness to try a new idea.  I’ve just found out the film is out in the UK on 25th November – I’ll definitely be in line to see it.

the-beautiful-and-damnedThe next book I’m reading is The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recently bought a set of three books from The Book People (The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night). I read The Great Gatsby a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping that I enjoy this one as much. I’m a terrible one for judging books by their covers (especially if I’m in the local charity shop stood in front of a shelf of books for 25p each and trying to decide which ones to buy), but I do really like the covers that they have put on these books, they look very stylish and 1920′s-esque, perfect for these stories.

Now Reading: Michael Lewis – Moneyball

I finally finished reading Jane Eyre last night. I’ve not had much time for reading lately so it’s taken me a while! Too long for me to go see the film adaptation at the cinema I think, so I guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD to come out. The book was superb, a true love story with tragedy, heartbreak, and of course a happy ending (eventually). Whenever I though the story was starting to go a bit slow, boom – another twist! I really wish I had read this one last year when I first got it, as I really really enjoyed it.

20111015-142302The next book I’ve got is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I’ve had people on Twitter telling me that I should read it for the last year or so, and I finally decided that I would buy it from Amazon. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a good baseball book. There has been a film adaptation out recently in America, but I would guess that it probably won’t come out in the UK, can’t see many people being interested in a film about baseball. The only reason I could think of would be that it has Brad Pitt in it, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Wakey!Wakey!, Casey Shea, To Kill a King Part 2

Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to the Family Records for this really kind blog post - it put a big smile on my face when I read it last night!

Yesterday was the second part of our Wakey!Wakey! October tour. Show-wise, it was better than Nottingham, but I have to say I enjoyed Nottingham more – although this had nothing to do with the show or the venue.

The problem was parking in Manchester city centre. After driving round in circles in rush hour traffic for an hour trying to find somewhere to park, and to get TomTom to figure out where we were, we finally found a multi-storey car park. Drove in, parked up, went to walk out and saw a sign that said it closed at 10pm. We knew the gig wouldn’t be over by that time, so we left straight away, but it cost us £3.90 to get out.

After driving round a bit further, we finally ended up in an NCP car park, but that would only let us park for a maximum of 4 hours, meaning we had to leave the gig while Wakey!Wakey! were playing their last song, and couldn’t stay around to meet them again after. We had to walk through the guys from To Kill a King to get out, so I definitely felt rude. The worst part was when we got back to the car park there were only about four cars in there, so I don’t know why they wouldn’t let you pay for more than 4 hours.

The gig was at a place called Night and Day Café, which seemed smaller than the Rescue Rooms, and was infinitely hotter. We were so hot stood watching, it must have been way worse on the stage under the lights. Lets just say everyone looked kinda sweaty – especially Casey who came back out wearing a different shirt shortly after he finished. That being said though, it was a great venue. I love the smaller places – the gigs seem much more intimate, and you’re guaranteed to be able to see the stage.

caseyshea_inyourhead_500x500_mediumAgain, Casey opened the show, and there were more people listening this time, which I was glad about. Another awesome performance, I’m hoping that he may release a stripped back CD with just him and his guitar, I can feel so much emotion when he sings like that.  I also picked up his new CD last night, which is not on iTunes yet. I have a feeling it’s gonna be on repeat for quite a while. I’m also hoping that he may come back to the UK for his own tour, so that he can play for longer than just the opening act!

To Kill a King had some equipment issues last night. Firstly, there were guitar cable problems and there was a quick scrabble to find another cable while they were still playing the first song. Then there was a drum issue, which meant that they had to improvise and play a song without the drums. I have to say, they played on really well despite the issues and performed another cracking set.

Wakey!Wakey! performed more songs last night than they did in Manchester (they didn’t have to finish at 10, which was great). They played a few more new songs, which I love already, and of course the old songs with most of the audience singing along. There were a lot more stories last night too, including a story of Casey Shea’s wild Karaoke adventure on the first night of the tour in Canada. The only thing that could have been better would be if we hadn’t had to leave early.

We’ll have to bear that in mind for our next gig in Manchester – Pearl and the Beard on the 5th November. Really can’t wait for that – tickets are only £5 too!

 

Wakey!Wakey!, Casey Shea, To Kill a King Part 1

A.K.A ‘I don’t know any executives…’

Tonight me and Frank returned back to the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham to see Wakey!Wakey again. We saw them play there in June and it was awesome, and tonight just cranked it up to a whole other level. They’ve redone the stage since last time, and it was much better. We got quite  a lot closer too! Ed Sheeran was playing next door at Rock City and there were massive queues – those people don’t know what they were missing!

Opening the show was Casey Shea. I’d not seen him live before but I love his albums and he definitely did not disappoint. Just one man with a guitar, and boy does he have a great voice (and great hair too). I just wish that he could have played longer and that more people had heard him. Because he was on really soon after the doors opened, the room was not even half full until after he had finished. He sung some songs that I knew and some that I hadn’t heard before, but I was really happy when he finished his set with my favourite song – Love is Here to Stay.

After Casey came To Kill a King. They supported Wakey!Wakey! in June too, just before their single came out. They played a slightly longer (and louder) set than Casey and completely rocked it. Fictional State (their single from June) was brill, and they also played some songs from their upcoming EP – Bloody Shirt is my new favourite. The EP comes out on the 17th.

Then we get to the headline act: Wakey!Wakey! There’s not really much I can say that I haven’t said before – he is amazing! He talks a lot, but he’s hilarious too, and when he sings he just draws you in. I love War Sweater, and the refrain of  ‘What will your legacy be?’ sounds even more powerful live – it’s one of my favourite lines from all his songs. He played a couple of new songs which sounded great – I can’t wait for the new album! He finished his set with my favourite song – ‘Almost Everything’, I love the chorus – ‘It feels bad now but it’s gonna get better’.

After he had finished playing, he hung around after to meet everyone, and I got another autograph and picture. Just a shame that the venue didn’t close later so he could have played longer first.

The only downside to the night was driving home for 2 hours in the pouring rain, with nothing but silence from the passenger seat as Frank fell asleep shortly after we hit the motorway.

The best thing is, we are doing it all again tomorrow (well I guess it’s actually today now) in Manchester!!!

 

Isaiah 49:15-16

isaiah49-16-4

This was the theme of the service at Church a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since. How cool is it that God cares so much about us that we are written on his hands?  No matter what you may think, he doesn’t forget about you.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

(Picture Credit: Kim Bonner)

One to Cross Off the Bucket List

Well, I don’t actually have a bucket list, but if I did, this would have been on it.

Yesterday morning I went up to Marsden Moor with my Dad and watched the sun rise for the first time. How crazy is it that I’m 22 and that’s the first time I’ve ever sat down just to watch the sun rise? Marsden Moor is between Huddersfield and Oldham, and there’s a National Trust car park (Buckstones) which is in the middle of nowhere. At night, there are no lights for miles around, making it perfect for star gazing. It’s also the perfect place to watch the sun rise, as the car park has a great view to the East.

We both took our cameras to take some pictures, although I think my Dad’s photos are better! I’ve reduced the quality of mine to upload them, so they do look less sharp than they should. We were a bit annoyed by getting all the way there and then realising that we had brought the tripod but not the mounting plate – not much use without it!

It was an early start, getting up at 5.30 so we could leave at 6am. We pulled up in the car park at 6.40, and had about 20 minutes of the sky changing through the most amazing colours before the sun finally appeared above the horizon. We stayed about 20 minutes after the sunrise before the sun was too bright, and then went for a quick walk around Golden Acre. The autumn colours are starting to come through now, they will be fantastic in a couple of weeks. I love taking close up pictures of flowers, and I’ve been looking into getting a macro lens for my camera, a bit expensive for now though!