Wednesday, 28 December 2011

REVIEW: Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait?

Click here to watch my video review.

Did her family consider her important enough? Does it hold any amateur flaws? Was it even in her character to pose alongside her work?

These are just some of the questions raised by Dr Paula Byrne on Jane Austen: the Unseen Portrait?. Alongside presenter Martha Kearney, she begins the journey into finding out whether or not the mysterious portrait she has come to own is in fact one of Jane Austen.

The portrait, looks not too dissimilar from her sister Cassandra's sketch, the softened image we all know and recognise as looking like Austen. However, with its striking qualities, this 'new' portrait presents us with more sharp features, characteristics that many Janeites would rather choose not to be significance to Miss Austen. Across the hour long programme, we are invited to watch the vast dissecting of all elements of the portrait, from examining the materials used to produce the picture, to the signature on the back, and even the clothes the subject wears.

The Unseen Portrait does allow you to make up your own mind, giving you the chance to piece together all that we have learned about the possibilities of the portrait. However, with Dr Paula's convincing pitch to a panel of experts, one could quite easily be swayed in view. It is definitely a thought provoking experience, one that is not stuffed full of unnecessary detail or excessive adoration. It is, instead, a delightful opportunity to gain a historical insight into Austen's life as a writer in the early 19th Century. The question is, however, do you feel that this once unseen portrait could be the real image of Jane Austen?

 Amy x

Monday, 26 December 2011

REVIEW: The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen

Click here for the video review.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the world's biggest fan of Jane Austen's novels. Sure, I may have only read two, but even that's enough to tell me that they all centre around marriage, or money, or the interlinking of marriage and money (the recurring theme is not hard to identify, to put it bluntly). However, I do find her life to be one that is most fascinating to study, so I was rather looking forward to watching BBC's The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen. The big question, however, asks: did it deliver?

In short, yes. It took a different approach to what I was expecting though. The show's presenter - historian and writer Amanda Vickery - takes us along with her to an Austen convention, where we see rare items being auctioned off for extraordinary prices. We're given an insight into how Austen's work compared alongside others of the time, as well as the journey the classics took before reaching the high state of popularity they've peaked at now.

Not quite to a biographical extent, we do learn a little about what the author's life would have been like during the years of her publication, and also why she wished to remain anonymous with her work. The latter part, I found to be most fascinating, and exceedingly thought provoking.

Pieced together well, each section of the hour long programme flowed without interruption. Input from other historians, as well as Austen fans, helped fit together all elements of the exploration into Austen's life, to give us a wider view of the sensation she's become. The scale of popularity is impeccable. The festive period has produced us, this year, with many delightful TV shows connected with the great author, and this is one I'd most certainly recommend.

Amy x

Monday, 19 December 2011

What the Dickens?!

I won! I actually won!

As much as I love playing with words, I cannot write fiction. I lack the ability to develop my ideas, and cannot create characters that are well rounded. Regardless, I decided to enter the Waterstone's competition, for which one had to create a Dickensian character:

Mr Chuff. Chuff is an elderly gentleman with no first name. He appears to spend all of his days sitting in his ancient red armchair, a dusty old bookcase, overflowing with volumes, positioned by his side. Through the top of his glasses, he peers at those who enter his home, something which is a rarity. With few visitors, Mr Chuff seems to be an outsider. Yet, it's apparent that he has more wisdom than that which exists in the entire Universe. What is this man's past? Where did he come from? And perhaps more importantly, why does he only wear one slipper? x

I found out a mere few hours ago that I am the proud winner or a gorgeous collection of Dickens books, courtesy of Duckworth Publishers. Having only read my first Dickens story, A Christmas Carol, two days ago, I'm more than keen to plough through his collection. It's fate, without a doubt!

I can't wait for them to arrive; they look gorgeous.

Amy x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

In Memory of Angie Dowds

Sometimes in life, things will happen which take us by surprise. When I awoke this morning to the news that Biggest Loser trainer Angie Dowds had committed suicide, I was lost for words.

To keep this brief, I just want to say that my thoughts are with her family and friends. She certainly came across as a passionate, and indeed successful, woman with her career, and only wish that there was a chance to turn back the clock. Rest in peace, Angie, you were a true inspiration.


Friday, 11 November 2011

ManFest 2011!

Having booked the tickets several months back, I'd been counting down to the 9th November, the very day when I'd get to see, for the first time, Jason Manford live. Some two and a half years ago, I fell in love with stand up comedy. Now I'm one of the most unfunny people you'll ever meet, but I know what I like from a comedian, and Jason Manford became an instant favourite. Years after adoring his work, I've finally had the chance to meet him!

Before the gig, I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the queue in WHSmith to see him at his Brung Up Proper book signing (brilliant book - I bought four copies - you must read it!). Well, that was just sensational! An hour and a half after that, and I was seated comfortably in the Metro Radio Arena, the stage not too far away, Jason spotlighted and in his element.

The only comedians I'd seen live prior were Caroline Rhea and Costaki Economopoulos, but having watched Manford on TV for years, I knew pretty much how this was going to go. However, I'd just like to say that it's so much more exciting when you're in the room; the atmosphere is sensational! If you ever get a chance to see him live, to take up that offer!

ManFest 2011 was absolutely perfect; it couldn't have run more smoothly. Jason was a delight at his book signing, utterly hilariously at his gig, and an utter peach to be in the presence of! I'll certainly treasure that day forever.

Amy x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Derek Acorah's True Vision tour, Sunderland Empire, Sunderland UK

When one has waited an incredibly long time for something, they can often fear that it won't be as good as they'd perhaps hoped. This was certainly my concern as I clutched my front row ticket to see psychic medium Derek Acorah on his True Vision tour at the Sunderland Empire last night. Thankfully, I needn't have worried.

Having fallen in love with his work some seven years ago, at the age of twelve, I knew straight away that it was impossible for me to let his stop in Sunderland bypass me. The excitement had, of course, built up inside of me at a steady rate over the months that followed the booking of my ticket, however I hadn't prepared myself for the intense sensation of utter contentment that followed the moments after he first walked onto the stage. Bloody hell, I'm sat in front of Derek Acorah!, I thought. I couldn't have been more ecstatic.

The tour itself allowed Derek to interact with the audience, seeing Sam help him deliver messages from the spirits of audience members' loved ones who had come along to the demonstration. Never did you feel like Derek was lifting the thoughts from his own head; he was so descriptive with his words that you could quite easily visualise the spirits around him. One particular being in the atmosphere who stayed in my mind was a woman called Rose, who, I believe, had passed away at the age of 78. A heavy smoker and a little snooty, I actually felt like I'd known this lady myself in her physical body. Of course, this couldn't possibly so, but Derek never leaves the audience out when sharing information with specific audience members; we're all sucked into the emotional journey.

One could quite easily expect such an evening to be gloomy and depressing. On the contrary, Derek was full of life and hilarity. It's clear to see from his high energy that he's very excited to be on the stage, always embracing his gift and doing so very passionately too. Of course, I've never doubted Derek's abilities as a medium, however, if a skeptic were to see the show, they'd certainly be put in their place! Derek kept churning out information that was received to be correct; the believer does not need proof, but if they wanted such like, then Derek could certainly offer something of the sort.

I was fortunate enough to meet the delightful Derek after the show; I was the last in the queue and had a small wait, but it was certainly worth it, and so much more personal since it was only my friend and I left in the building (security and crew aside!). My five-minute conversation left me with much more information than I'd ever intended receiving from Mr Acorah. He said a few things that shocked me, delightfully, and a few that won't ever leave me. Over the foundations of his passion, he's layered knowledge, to create a combination that is nothing less than perfection. He's such a wonderful person, with an equally gorgeous soul. Whether you're already a supporter of Derek Acorah's work, or are just keen to see how a demonstration works, his True Vision tour is one not to be missed.

Amy x

Click here to read my article!


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonfire Epiphany!

I'm a very religious person. I'm not christened, but I'd consider myself to be Christian. However, I've also dabbled in Wicca, and only stopped practicing when the fear of going against the Lord's commands entered me.

Now this may all seem trivial, you may wonder why I am telling you this, but I actually had a small epiphany today! I've always been afraid of fire, once to the extent of pyrophobia, but I had no real reason for this. I'm fortunate enough to have never been involved in any fire-related incidents. Regardless, the somewhat irrational behaviour was always there.

Whilst gazing into the Bonfire this evening at a fireworks display, the glimmer of the moon, my power source, caught my attention from just above it. It was then, at that precise moment, that it hit me. I've witch blood running through me! None of my immediate family are Wiccan, nor were any of my traceable ancestors. However, I strongly believe that my deceased relatives from the 1600s were once witches.

This is the only logical explanation for my desires to go against Christianity and dabble in white magic. This also gives me a good cause, given the burning of said witches, for my hatred towards fire. I mourn for the death of those witches. Just because one is different does not mean they should be cast aside. They're my family, they didn't deserve hatred.

My beliefs will always lie within the Bible, with its allegories and morals, but in my heart there'll always be that sense of belonging in the world of Wicca. I cannot prove that any of this is the case, but I know it to be so.

Amy x

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A trip to Seaham!

Upon the recommendation of a lecturer of mine, Emily and I decided to take a day trip to Seaham! Okay, so we'd have visited inside Seaham Hall but if you take a look at the restaurant menu prices, I'm sure you'll understand why this was not a practical option for us! Instead, we spent a little while near the beach and then in the city centre, where we found not only Byron Place Shopping Centre, but also street names relating to literary greats, and a delightful little library too! I thought I'd share the photos from our adventure with you...

Amy x

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Oh, Joyce...

Right, it's time to say that enough is enough!

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to adapt my mind to James Joyce's modernist (mentalist?) way of thinking. A moment after I feel I've caught hold of what he's saying, I lose it again. However, in my persistent ways I shall never give up with him!

Having read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which I found satisfactory, I moved onto Dubliners. Sadly that did not deliver so much. Nevertheless, I'm now tackling Ulysses: 49 pages in and I find the concept of whacking Joyce over the head with the brick of a book most desirable! I just don't understand how "...wayawayawayawayawayaway. Paper." can comprehend for a good read! A few pages later he talks about wiping his nose-mess onto a rock...

Joyce, I shall never give up on you. If you fail to amuse me with Ulysses, then I shall move onto Finnegan's Wake. Indeed, I shall tackle the latter regardless of the outcome of the former. Your words are bizarre, but your peculiar mind is somewhat admirable. With around 650 pages left of this piece of..., we only (a long) time will tell.

Oh, and I didn't appreciate the fact that I was forced to dream about Stephen Dedalus last night. In C21st surroundings, he doesn't cope too well! Thanks for that, Joyce.

Amy x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Heaven, Sunderland Empire

Read the full article here:

Monday, 19 September 2011

'Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum' Series 3, episode 5 & 6

First of all, my sincerest apologies for the lack of blogpost about last week's episode; time ran away from me somewhat! However, to make up for such appalling behaviour, I shall give you both the aforementioned episode and the final episode right now!

Okay so last week's challenge I thought was quite exciting. A lot of patience, and indeed confidence, is required when working with children and I feel that Ryan especially coped remarkably with his role as Stumpy the Good Pirate. Ruby-Jo did worry me for a moment that she was going to give up completely, however she managed to turn herself around at the last minute - what a relief!

Jack and Tom didn't do as well as the other two but I still felt that they gave quite a good performance, and coped well with the screaming birthday 'Princess' who was demanding her birthday crown (as mentioned in the programme, hadn't she heard of the word please?! What a madam!). The outcome of that episode wasn't too bad. By this stage it was hard to pick who I wanted to go, as I felt they all deserved a place in the final.

The final of course was just as spectacular as the two series' finals previous. Now we were told that the parents set the final work challenge, however considering the last three series' have all seen house renovations, I find this hard to believe! Again, I felt Ryan did wonderfully as he was the first to buy all of the products he needed and admirably stuck within his budget too.

Ruby-Jo didn't do too bad at all, neither did Tom. Of course, it was all building up to the grand announcement of Series 3's winner, and I could not have been more thrilled! I shan't spoil it for you, but let's just say the winner has been consistent from day one with a positive, caring attitude. They definitely deserved to win - I couldn't be more proud of them! Now we just need to sit as patiently as possible and wait for the next series (fingers crossed that there will be one!) and hope that it's at least half as good as this year's! Yes, I'm very satisfied with the third series of Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum!

Amy x

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

'Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum' Series 3, episode 4

With the number of Young Dumbers in the house slowly decreasing, things are beginning to get tense...

It seemed that this week's episode focused around two things in particular: the set work challenge, and Gracie's little accident!

Let's face it, if you were to lose money, you'd be upset wouldn't you? However, when you've come from a life of being handed every penny you could possibly ask for, to misplacing your entire small supply of money for the week and leaving you with nothing, you're going to fret a little! I can understand entirely why Gracie was upset with this. I panic insanely where money is concerned and am constantly checking my purse in case I've dropped anything. I was thrilled to see the others pitch in to at least buy her something to eat; they should feel proud.

The work challenge for this week is one which would personally excite me to levels indescribable! Sure, I'd rather have volunteered in a cat shelter, but working in with the dogs would have been immense fun. Ryan seemed especially excited for the challenge to commence and this enthusiasm remained with him throughout as he bonded with his allocated pooch.

Jack and Tom actually did quite well, a lot more so than I feel the chief volunteers gave them credit for. I mean, who would want to spend the entire experience cleaning dog shit?! It was nice to see Gracie cheer up a little thanks to 'man's best friend'.

Oh, and I cannot finish this without mentioning the fact that Ryan and Ruby-Jo decided to spend an afternoon pretending to be homeless, all the while Ryan wearing a pair of Spongebob Squarepants socks (clean looking socks, I should add!). It amused my simple mind incredibly.

The conclusion of the episode I wasn't pleased with. Saying that, I didn't really want anybody to leave so I wasn't going to be happy regardless of who was voted out. With only just a few episodes left, I'm starting to feel a little saddened by the fact that it's drawing to an end. I've made a firm decision that I'd like Ryan to win, but whether or not this will be the outcome we shall have to wait and see! Until next time...

Amy x

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Build-a-Bear: Calendar Girls bear!

Having worked at Build-a-Bear Workshop for nearly two months now, I decided that it was about time that I built a bear myself! It's so challenging to resist the temptation of buying all of the bears (I have my eyes on Fudge puppy, ginger kitty and Autumn bear just now!), but the bear I helped fluff up yesterday is not for myself!

You know when you get an idea, a very spur of the moment thought, and you simply know that you shall not rest until you carry that idea through? Well this was one of those moments. I'd decided to buy Lynda Bellingham a 'Calendar Girls' bear. Familiar with the shop's stock, I straight away knew which items I needed to piece the bear together!

So we start with a Coconut Cup - one of the store's cheapest two bears (£9). It's a gorgeous soft cream colour, very basic but worked wonders for this purpose since the show's main colour scheme is white and yellow. After stuffing the new bear up, I added a purple heart (£1) inside of her, and this donates money to the National Literacy Trust. I like to be charitable!

Moving on, I collated all of the clothes I needed. This was nothing more than a basic white robe/dressing gown (£8), matching perfectly with the promotional photos for the production. I also picked up a small bouquet of flowers (£2.50) for Chris to hold (Chris being the name of Lynda's character in the production). I chose the bouquet with the yellow flower on it since the symbol for the play is the sunflower, however there was also a daisy, a tulip and another purple flower on there too! It looked very pretty!

Then came the birth certificate! A very fun process I find, inputting the bear's special details. Then I bought her! Money exchanging hands, she was mine (but only for a short while as she goes to her new owner on the 14th September!). The finished product has been tied together with a lovely piece of yellow ribbon, with yellow and white ties holding the birth certificate in place.

Lynda may think I'm mental (that's if she already doesn't!) but Chris Bear is absolutely adorable and at the very least, I had great fun making her!

Amy x

Thursday, 1 September 2011

'Knots and Crosses' by Ian Rankin

"Noughts and...oh, Knots and Crosses?! That looks...well I've no idea. I've never read anything by Ian Rankin. Let's give it a go!".

The glorious tourist shell surrounding Edinburgh acted merely as a mask to the troubles that lurked within, as two young girls have been found murdered after abduction. It's apparent that the two cases are connected, and it's up to Detective Sergeant John Rebus to find out why. However, things start to become a little too personal for him; just how much of his past is set to haunt him?

I have to admit, being a huge fan of crime TV shows I wasn't too sure if a novel of the same nature would be able to deliver so efficiently. I can now confirm though that I needn't have worried. Rankin provides just enough snippets of information as the chapters progress to allow us to try and work out who we think the criminal is, without ever giving the game away.

In fact, my predictions weren't even near close to the final outcome, the delightful surprise of the closing chapter leaving me satisfied with the read. The characters develop well throughout, with only the one slightly irritating, but relevant person cropping up every so often (watch out for Stevens, he may just frustrate you too!). Gill Templer I especially liked, her role bringing a glimmer of positivity to the otherwise dark case.

Without a doubt, I'd recommend Knots and Crosses. It wasn't difficult in the slightest to get into - I was hooked in straight away - and it's not really a challenge to follow either, despite the often high level of information which one may be required to balance at one given time. Definitely an author I'll be going back to, Ian Rankin as proved to me that crime novels can be just as fulfilling as watching similar stories unfold on TV!

Amy x

Monday, 29 August 2011

'Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum' Series 3, episode 3

*may contain spoilers*

Three episodes in, and my excitement for BBC3's Young, Dumb and Living off Mum is just as great as it was when the first series began back in 2009.

In true Young Dumber style, the show kicked off this week by highlighting the latest feud (clearly the revelation that Sophie's departure some two weeks ago was going to bring harmony to the house was very short lived!). Tom and Jack have developed somewhat of a Bromance, but for a while this just caused a lot of tension in the house, resulting in a rather messy food fight. In hindsight, I hope the food-throwing culprits realise that this was quite an immature measure to turn to! I detest food fights. Yuck.

The task of the week dominated most of the air time throughout the hour-long episode however. The six were to set up a pop-up restaurant in the house for, initially, twenty five guests (see image below). However, it turned out that thirty guests had arrived and the Young Dumbers were blamed for not having enough seats or plates. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if one was told twenty five guests, and thirty would turn up, one has the right to scream?

When you've never cooked before, delivering a three-course meal is never going to be an easy task. When you add the extra pressure, it's going to be quite intense! I actually feel that they all did really well! The Young Dumbers were divided into two groups; the kitchen staff: Tom, Ruby-Jo and Jade, and the front-of-house team: Jack, Ryan and Gracie. With a few hiccups along the way, the food seemed to be prepared rather efficiently by the amateurs, with the meals delivered with respect and care to the 'guests'.

Okay so perhaps things didn't go perfectly but it was clear to see that they put in 100% effort, if not more, so I do feel that Gareth was complaining a little too much. Sure, they lost him £150 as many of the guests were too rude to see that this was the Young Dumbers' first try at cooking and abandoned their seats entirely. However, I believe they did try as much as they could and one should never be punished for doing as well as they possibly could.

I have to say, the outcome of the elimination was a relief. I've nothing against the person who went out per say, however, I simply prefer the five remaining Young Dumbers! With another satisfying episode over with, it's onwards to next week...!

Amy x

^ Proof that they were told 25 guests initially, for which they had prepared themselves to cater for!

Two screen snaps I loved- a random fox, and Ryan petting a cute dog!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Kai Jenkins, rap artist

There's a cliche thought that the kids of today's generation lack ambition; it's often said that they care about nothing more than crime, violence and 'dossing around'. However, if one takes a deeper look into societies, one will see that this stereotyping is not necessarily a fair evaluation.

One teenager certainly shines above these assumptions. Kai Jenkins certainly holds a passion, which is made clear across his YouTube channel, KaiJenkinsMusic.

The fourteen year old, the eldest child of British actress Danniella Westbrook, uploads his work to his personal account online, sharing his talents as a rap artist. Not only does he write his own lyrics to accompany his music, but you'll also find a selection of his own music videos, adding to the expression of creativity.

Jenkins shows a great level of originality and personalty. His dedication is clear, the high level determination and ambition glowing around his videos. With his great talent and ambitions, it'll be exciting to see how far he has climbed within the next decade! If ever you need proof that teenagers do in fact know how to work for what they want, KaiJenkinsMusic is all the evidence you'll need!

Amy x

You can visit Kai Jenkins' channel, KaiJenkinsMusic here.

You can see my personal favourite video of his here!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Analysing Smash Hits! radio...

I used to listen to Smash Hits! radio on a daily basis; it was the only way I was able to keep up to date with today's music, I'm so out of sync! However, I did notice that there was quite a high level of repetition with the songs they play. So, I've just popped in my headphones and have decided to give it a listen for one hour solid. Having studied Radio, I've grown to love stations targeted at a slightly more, shall we say, mature audience? However, I'm going in to this music station with an open mind. Let's see what they throw at me...

(Start time: 9:30pm)

Mike Posner - Cooler than Me

One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful

Justin Bieber - You Smile

Jennifer Lopez - On the Floor

Cover Drive - Lick Ya Down

The Wanted - Glad You Came

Jessie J - Dude it Like a Dude

Example - Changed the Way You Kiss Me

Nelly and Kelly - Dilemma

JLS - She Makes Me Wanna

Alexandra Burke - Bad Boys

Leona Lewis - Collide

Usher - DJ Got Us Falling in Love

P!nk - Who Knew?

Nicki Minaj - Super Bass

Adverts - (One Day movie, Barclays Student Account, Toyota igo)

Chris Brown ft. Justin Bieber - Next to You

Olly Murs - Thinking of Me

(Finish time: 22:30)

Okay, we had a good start. I do like Cooler than Me, it's an addictive song and great to sing along to! This positivity remained throughout the second song too; I'd been meaning to check out 1D's debut single, so thank you SH! radio for allowing me to do so! It's quite a catchy one, that's for sure!

On dear, the third song has forced me to admit that I do in fact like Justin Bieber. I think SH! has melted my brain. As much as I'd like to question his somewhat cocky personality, he does have a good voice and a lot of his tracks are rather enjoyable! The fourth song too was most enjoyable, one I've enjoyed listening to for a few weeks now!

The fifth track of the hour was sadly not so good; the lyrics to Lick Ya Down are appalling. The tune isn't too bad the but general feel of the song is just...minging! Had never heard of the song that followed but quite enjoyed it!

Ah, now Dude it Like a Dude I love (in fact, I love it so much that I have it on my iPhone!). That was a cheery little treat there! However, the song that followed didn't impress me in the slightest! Bummer. Although it's not a song I care for, it was nice to see a slightly older song withDilemma thrown in there to take us to the top of the hour!

The tenth track wasn't too bad. I do like JLS but She Makes Me Wanna certainly isn't one of my favourite options of theirs! I was actually overjoyed though when I realised immediately that I recognised the song that followed - not a bad option in there at all from Alexandra Burke!

We appear to stick with the apparent X Factor theme with Collide being the twelfth track, a song by Leona Lewis I'd not previously heard. Well, it isn't too bad, I'll give it that! Track thirteen bored me near to tears.

Ah, P!nk! I actually knew this one straight away too, I'm quite proud of myself! A good option to cheer me up after the tragic latter! However, Nicki Minaj, I'm not impressed in the slightest with what you had to offer!

Slotting in two minutes of adverts at twenty-three minutes past the hour seems quite a peculiar thing to do, but I shan't complain - the two minutes of adverts were appropriate to the target audience and were slightly entertaining (only slightly!).

Now before I set the time on this challenge, Next to You had been playing at what would have been the same time exactly an hour ago...does this mean the next hour will be identical to the previous? To provide myself with an answer I kept listening for a little while. Thankfully, just before my scheduled hour was up, Olly Murs came on so I was overjoyed, both by the song choice and the fact that SH! weren't going with the repetition method! Following on we had songs from J-Lo (I'm into You), Nicole Scherzinger (Wet) and Ne-Yo (Beautiful Monster) so you can safely listen to the station for more than an hour without tiring of the same songs!

What impresses me most about Smash Hits! radio is the quantity of songs played in a one-hour period. To have seventeen tracks and just one advert break is pretty good going; most people will turn over to another station during commercials but at least this was not a temptation here.

The option for callers to contact the station and request their favourite songs is a nice little option too, however the fact that only recorded voice mails are played does make it a little less personal, with no connection being made due to the lack of presenter on the show!

The SH! ident breaks up the songs nicely so we know when a clear segue is being made. However, none of the tracks are actually introduced! You either have to know the song, or recognise the artists' voices, or as I did, Google the lyrics to the songs you've never heard of before to find out the track names! It's a little irritating, but a problem which can be solved.

In all, I'd say Smash Hits! radio is definitely worth listening to. Over an how during the evening show there is a good level of diversity in artists, with the modern music themed all the way through. I don't think I could cope with it on a daily basis, however I shall definitely tune in now and then if only just to try and stay 'down wit da kidz'! (Yes, you can roll your eyes if you wish...)

Amy x

(You can listen to Smash Hits! radio here!)

Monday, 22 August 2011

'Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum' Series 3, episode 2

WARNING: may contain spoilers.

With Sophie now away from the show, one would except harmony to be infiltrating throughout the house. However, not all was quite as straight forward...

The work placement task for the second week, I found to be quite impressive. The eight Young Dumbers were required to work in a fish market, packing and selling fish. Now I'll hold my hand up and admit that this is something which would make me gag. I don't fancy sticking my fingers into slimy fish eyes, not in the slightest. Nonetheless, it seemed that the majority of the Young Dumbers actually did quite well! Jade especially showed efficiency when studying the fish, and Gracie managed to forget about the squirmy side of the dead animals and got on with the job as instructed. When it came to finding the locations for delivering fish, this task too was completed much more smoothly it seemed than previous series' tasks (remember when they had to deliver flowers the series previous and it took one group forever?!).

The job challenge may have went well, but it was the atmosphere in the house which wasn't too rosy. The group ended up being divided: Enzo, Ruby-Jo, Jade, Gracie and Ryan all willing to work on a rota and do their bit, with Tom and Jack not showing so much as a caring thought. Where will this leave the house next week?

The elimination left me rather annoyed. I've four favourites, and one of those four were asked to leave. I'll be honest, they did seem the most head strong and the one most likely to cope in the 'real world' if they left now, however I still loved having them in the series!

Two episodes down and I'm still very much buzzing with excitement from this third series. I can't wait until next week's episode, but until then...

Amy x

This is my favourite screen snap from the episode - Ryan swinging a pig cushion!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Celebrity Big Brother 2011 (Channel 5)

(Video review: )

I don't like it. I don't understand how it lasted so long, and I can't get my head around why Channel 5 would wish to broadcast the show.

I've never liked Big Brother. I think I half-followed one series about five years ago but even that was done with just one eye open. When I heard it'd been axed by Channel 4, I was quite delighted. Finally I'd be able to switch on the TV and sigh with relief knowing that I was safe from the mind-numbing TV.

When I heard the rumours that Charlie Sheen was apparently being offered a large sum of money to appear on the revamped Channel 5 version, I did smile a little. Much to many people's disgust, I adore Mr Sheen and his involvement in the show would have perhaps persuaded me to at least check in with the show now and again.

Sadly, it was not meant to be. I didn't watch the launch last night - I have far more important things to do with my time - however, the lovely people of Twitter kept me well updated on who was going into the house. I have to admit, when the first into the house was Kerry Katona, I was a little delighted. Perhaps this was going to be Celebrity Big Brother after all; Channel 4 had a habit of introducing non-celebrities into such a series, which I laughed at incredibly.

We also have Amy Childs. I was ready to gouge my eyes out at that point. How can somebody who's famous just for being famous get anywhere in life? I know this contradicts what I've said about Katona, but...well, I like Kerry! I am not a fan of Childs in the slightest. Not one little bit. No way. Never. Ew.

We then have a bunch of people who I've never heard of: Tara Reid, Paddy Doherty, Darryn Lyons, Sally Bercow, Pamela Bach-Hasselhoff, Bobby Sabel. Having done a small amount of research on Bercow, I can at least conclude that there's a slight amount of diverse personalities in the house now.

If I had to predict a list of names of who I thought might have gone into the house, never would I have said Lucien Laviscount. Maybe I'm just not cool, maybe I'm too old, but despite his appearances in a few TV shows I've watched he's not a personality I've ever really cared for. However, it's an entirely different story with the last 'housemate' to enter.

Of course, I'm referring to Jedward! I absolutely adore the Irish twins; they're so full of energy and live. I think they'll bring a refreshing bounce to the show. Sure, previous contestants have often displayed high energy, but generally it's fuelled with hatred or insanity. John and Edward seem to have nothing less than a love for life and this should (I stress should) add an air of admiration in the house. I'm not holding my breath though.

It seems that not many people are 'feeling the love' for the show's new host, Brian Dowling. I do have to admit, while I like his character, I do feel that Davina made the show. Even though I didn't like the show, I did enjoy seeing Davina's enthusiasm and craziness on the occasion that I'd put on C4/E4 in the hope to watch a FRIENDS rerun, only to discover that yet another series of Big Brother was getting in my way. The world does miss McCall.

One episode down and I'm already annoyed with the show. Not even the lovely Jedward twins can make me watch it. I'm probably going to watch a couple of Jedward-based clips every now and then, but I'm praying they're the first to go! This is not because I don't want them to win - I very much do want them to win - but I don't want to even have to think about Celebrity Big Brother!

It seems that this is the beginning of a very long and frustrating road. Big Brother, I'm afraid I just don't care about you. Please try and not infiltrate my life, that'd be much appreciated.

Amy x

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Looking Back at Subject Choices...

Since today' is A-Level results day, I thought it would be the perfect time to look back over the subject choices I made back in my school days (which, quite frankly, were not that long ago!).

Now I didn't do A-Levels. Because I went to secondary school in Scotland, I naturally studied a Scottish education. The GCSE equivalents there are known as 'Intermediates' and 'Standard Grades', with the A-Level equivalents being 'Highers' and 'Advanced Highers'. Now my school didn't offer Advanced Highers as such, but more on this later.

I was fourteen when I had to make my first set of subject choices. At that age do you really know what you want? Well, yes and no. Having made my career decision at just seven years old, I'd learned by that point that diversity was part of the key to success in the TV industry. So, I decided to try a few different subjects. We did have a few compulsory subjects: English, Maths, German, RE and PE. I'll be honest, none of those subjects bothered me, and English I adored anyway, so I'd have probably kept most, of not all of them anyway.

We were required to take a Science, so I chose Biology. Good choice? No, not really! I detested it! Looking back, I think Physics may have been the better option, but never mind! As well as this, I also opted for Computing, History, Geography and Music. Here's the thing: given the fact that I spent a lot of time on the computer, choosing that first subject was a sheer waste of time. What I learned, I've never used since - why would I need to know how to draw a snail just by typing in certain key combinations?! Music was fun, but hasn't been too useful! History and Geography however were simply divine! Not only were they exceedingly enjoyable, but incredibly insightful and have provided me with a lot skills which I can apply to my career too!

In all, my 3rd-4th year subject choices weren't too bad! I think I'd have liked to have studied Modern Studies as I do take a keen interest in politics now, however at the time I hated them and couldn't get my head around them! My Higher subject choices I find to be much more appealing though. The four subjects I opted for included: English, Drama, History and Geography. Please do not ask me why I hadn't taken Drama the years previous; I cannot provide you with a sure answer! Well, actually, I can - I wasn't keen on the teacher and she left me with a negative attitude towards studying the subject. However, my Higher Drama teacher was an utter delight! He had a wonderful Irish accent and people say he looks a little like David Tennant... I think we will leave that conversation there for now.

English I loved. We studied some wonderful texts and was both rewarding and enthralling. History too was incredibly fun and although it took me a little while to get my head around one of the subjects, it gave me the chance to study the years surrounding WWII in greater detail (this is something I'm greatly passionate about). Geography was insanely fun. I've no idea how I can enjoy reading about soil formations or expanding my knowledge on the formation of glaciers, but I can and I did!

I don't really think I'd have changed anything about my Higher choices. I'd stayed on to do my last year of school and had selected Psychology and Philosophy, and was going to resit Geography and History too, but decided that I'd simply had enough. Instead I went on to study Radio at college, a decision I made very much so on the spur of the moment but it certainly paid off!

With some of my earlier subjects aside, I'm quite pleased with the knowledge I've gained from my subject choices and feel that, with a few tweaks, they could have been perfect! I suppose a lot of the subject enjoyment does come from the class environment. During those few months I studied Psychology, I found it to be one of the most interesting things I'd ever looked at, but the class just wasn't right and it dampened my enjoyment incredibly.

If you've still subject decisions to make, do give it a lot of thought. Make sure it's something you'd enjoy learning about - don't just choose a subject because you like the teacher, or because your best friend is doing it too. Ensure you put 100% into your studies - it's true what they say when we're told that you get back what you put in! I must have put something into my education since it's now giving me the opportunity to go to University! Enjoy every moment - don't complain about homework; put your mind to it and you'll find that it can actually be quite enjoyable! To those who have just received exam results, I hope you've done as well as you've expected, and if not, don't panic. It's not the end of the road - there are ways around certain situations!

Your education is so precious, the foundations to the rest of your life. Treasure each and every second and give yourself some very happy memories to look back on. I did, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Amy x

Monday, 15 August 2011

Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum Series 3

(Video review: )

For the past three years, Summer has brought great delight. This is not because of the sunny skies, nor is it because of the exciting fashions. No, the highlight of the warmest season is BBC3's Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum.

The first series back in 2009 allowed Robert Webb to introduce us to the almost 'Big Brother' like concept of a group of Young Dumbers living away from their pampered lifestyles and left to fend for themselves in one house. Not only do they have to cope with personality clashes, but they also need to learn to manage an allowance and undergo a variety of different tasks in the work place.

The new series has given us quite a mixed bag of personalities, which has indeed resulted in a few comedic moments. However, it's clear to see that there's one Young Dumber who is causing a tremendous stir and upsetting people on more than one occasion.

This series seems to have given us a few more people with level heads, those who know the error of their ways and seem to genuinely want to change them. However, will this pattern of positive thinking remain as the weeks progress?

On a personal note, Gracie and Enzo are firm favourites, however I've yet to etch this in stone since we're only one week in. I'm keen to see which other tasks are lined up for them, and cannot wait for more dramatic events to unfold! The first episode of this new series has proven delightful, but only time will tell if this is carried right across the series.

Amy x

Catch Young, Dumb & Living Off Mum every Sunday at 9pm, BBC3.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

'Swagger Jagger' - Cher Lloyd

(Video review: )

Never before have I seen a song that is good enough to reach the number one top stop in the UK charts receive so much hate...

Cher Lloyd caused an insane amount of controversy during her time on the X Factor last year, dividing the nation into 'haters' and 'supporters'. Some, like myself, were undecided about how they felt towards the young singer, however the release of her debut single, Swagger Jagger has left me feeling very positive about her.

Swagger Jagger delivers a message which has clearly been taken direct from Cher's experience, as she encourages her haters to move on and stop bothering her with negativity. She certainly receives more than her fair share of bad-mouth comments, and I'd be interested to find out just how many of those are jealousy-fuelled.

Despite all of this, Swagger Jagger has done exceptionally well as a debut single. The music video is full of fun and colour (and a Cheryl Cole clone - see image below), blending perfectly with the high energy beat of the song.

Lyrically, it's quite interesting. "You can't stop looking at me...tweetin' about me" - I've never before heard of an artist singing about Twitter, a concept which adds to the youth of Cher. "You're a hater, just let it go" is a simple but powerful message as she instructs the haters who are quick to share their poison views through the internet (but how many would actually say things to Cher's face?!). The only line I dislike is "Hi hater, kiss kiss I'll see you later...", as I feel it has an air of immaturity to it. The rest however I find to be quite clever and, indeed, catchy.

It took me a while to like it, but time paid off as I've now fallen in love with Swagger Jagger. It's definitely shown Cher's capabilities and is a song I don't think I'll tire of any time soon!

Amy x

At first glance it would appear that Cher had morphed into Cheryl Cole...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Dreams of Torchwood: Battle of Nine V Ten

Okay, so I’ve another dream to report to you this morning. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I do have a lot of Doctor Who and Torchwood dreams, and this one plays into that…

I sat on a train with a pile of tickets in my hand. Sitting backwards at the table there were two people in front of me, but nobody to the side. It became apparent that these two other people were my Torchwood companions. Yes, I was a member of Torchwood!

Shortly after the ticket inspector had come along, I noticed a metal creature approaching the train. It held the figure of a small dinosaur but once it reached the train doors, I could no longer see it. No commotion was created; it had arrived in peace.

I didn’t think anything more of it, until I felt something tugging at my legs. I hovered myself by using the table, resisting the creature’s strength as best as I could. Alerting my colleagues, action was quickly taken.

In charge of our group was a slightly round middle aged man (I imagine this is what Barrowman would look like if he abandoned the make-up and ate a couple of pies). Following his instructions, I sped along the train corridor, opening all of the doors to ensure passenger safety. It was then that we realised we had a bigger problem on our hands.

This had just become the battle of Nine V Ten. It turned out that the only reason the metal creature, now known as Ten, had come on board was to seek out its plastic enemy, Nine (think Autons V Cybermen!). As I made my way down the corridor with our unnamed leader following behind, Ten vanished out of sight. Instead, a long snake-like plastic arm slithered its way down behind us, chasing us and gaining speed.

Right at the very end of the corridor was a lift (yes, on a train…). Hammering on the button for the doors to open, we rushed inside and let the doors slam behind us. We were safe.

We were stuck in the lift for what felt like an eternity. Why weren’t we outside trying to do something about the creature invasion? Well, the answer to that is simply because we couldn’t! We’d somehow managed to get ourselves trapped inside the lift. We weren’t moving anywhere but the doors refused to open.

We had no idea what havoc was being created outside those doors – we couldn’t hear nor see anything. However, we had a new problem to deal with – our oxygen supply was quickly running low. Unable to leave the lift, it seemed as if our chances of survival were against us. Being Torchwood, we simply wanted to sort out the war that could have been unfolding mere metres away from us, but we were helpless. We couldn’t fight, and we couldn’t breathe…

I didn’t get a chance to see how this one unfolded, for I woke up in a state of panic and refused to go back to sleep. The dream was enthralling, action-packed and very exciting. However, once awake with the time to contemplate and replay the scenes, it seems so much more terrifying! This is also the second night in a row which I’ve dreamed about losing my life, both times with a TV-related, sci-fi twist. What does that mean?!

Amy x

Friday, 5 August 2011

Dreams of Mars, Marvel, Magic...Murder?

As you may already know, dreams mean a lot to me. I love dreaming and no matter how scary they can be, I treasure each second. However, last night I had a dream that has left me tempted to eat my words...

I'd ended up on Mars. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but there was a group of us led by the gorgeous Alex Kingston. (Doctor Who tends to spur sci-fi based dreams!) The others around me I didn't know, but in the dream realm it was apparent that I was aware of their names.

We were inside a standard apartment in a small block of flats - the entire surface of Mars it seems was just as populated as Earth is, and all with the human race. At least this was what I was to believe. This apartment was small (it actually remembered the flat I lived in this time last year!) with a small bedroom, a bathroom which I never entered, a living room and a kitchen.

A lot of the scenes took place in said kitchen, as we gazed out of the window. At times I felt like their wasn't a roof on this apartment, allowing us to see into the skies clearer. For up above there could be seen what resembled several Moons. Initially I thought we were on the Moon until I was informed that it was indeed Mars. Each of these 'Moons' turned out to be a different planet: Earth, Jupiter, Mercury and the rest, and one of them was in fact the Moon itself.

What made these planets stood out however was the fact that they were all a different neon colour. One was pink, another green, a different one blue and so on. This was quite peculiar to see, but very pretty. I'd taken my camera along with me and tried to take some video footage but they simply wouldn't show up for the camera, which was frustrating!

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a pipe from the building across the road to the one we were standing in. Out of this pipe shot bright coloured, thick gases, emitting them directly up to the sky. Not knowing what this was, I began to panic.

Upon asking our 'expedition leader', I was told not to worry. This was when I began questioning the fact that we were able to breathe on Mars. It turns out we had little oxygen packs strapped to us being fed directly into us - these were barely bigger than the mobile phones of today and would only last so long. Time was running out.

For the next hour or so I was frantic, asking if it was time to leave yet and trying to get everybody closer to the main door so we could leave as quickly as possible. However, it seemed that I was the only one with this attitude - it was as if everybody else was in a trance, without a care in the world.

Finally somebody agreed to accompany me down to the bus station at the bottom of the building which would then lead us to our transport back home. He seemed friendly enough, I knew nothing more about him than I did the rest of the group, but I wasn't going to go alone and since 'Kingston' wouldn't get ready to go, this was my only option to try and remain calm.

However, I quickly became aware of the fact that I didn't trust this person. They made me feel uneasy, a feeling which had been underlying the entire time I spent in the apartment building. I felt so alone, so scared. It was then that I suddenly realised that there was a pretty good chance that these were not of the human race. With no recollection of how I actually got myself to Mars, I began to panic. Who were these people? Why was I here? And more importantly, would I make it back to Earth...alive?

After that dream, I genuinely awoke terrified. I'd actually searched the house afterwards to make sure I was alone! It took me a good fifteen minutes to shake back to reality and calm down, not jumping at every little movement! As much as it's put great fear into me, I'd love to know what it means! Well, for one thing, I'll never be going to Mars...! It's deeper meaning however I cannot be too sure about...

Amy x

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Jedward's Loose Women interview...

Despite my huge admiration for Loose Women, I do miss the occasional episode (or ten!). Only today did I finally get a chance to watch Jedward's interview on the show from back in May of this year (clip can be viewed here).

There are so many memorable Loose Women interviews, but there's something about this one which stands out incredibly. I've always liked Jedward and find them rather fascinating, and their appearance on the ITV show has simply trowelled this on further.

Some may see the twins as rowdy and rude, but this is not the case! They simply have a healthy supply of energy and like to share their enthusiasm with others. Nowadays there are far too many people who fail to see any positivity in life and focus purely on the factors which drag our country down. Jedward should be available on prescriptions; they're a sure cure for depression!

The boys have a wonderful relationship with those around them, fulfilling their questions with hearty responses and energising the atmosphere. They're a delight to watch and I'll feel privileged if ever I am fortunate enough to be around them. They even end up breaking the Loose Women panel into song - how many people have you seen do that before?!

Although they've done many other interviews, this one on Loose Women is especially refreshing and exciting, the passion clearly spilling out of them. If you only watch just the one Jedward interview, I strongly recommend this one - it's cheerful, it's colourful and it'll certainly brighten up your day!

Amy x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Hoover talk!

Hoovering is not fun. Housework isn't too bad if you've got music playing loudly (my personal favourite is John Barrowman's rendition of Copacabana...), but annoyingly the hoover seems to enjoy drowning all happiness out. However, there's an exception...

Being on the latest shift at work a few days ago, one of my duties included hoovering the shop floor. I wasn't really bothered about this, but as soon as I saw I'd be handling Henry Hoover, I nearly died with excitement! I've always loved the concept of a hoover with a face but had never been blessed enough to actually play with one!

So off I went, cleaning up loose thread and small balls of stuffing fluff, all the while talking to Henry. It's a bizarre thing, speaking to a little face who masters in sucking. I even gave the little fella into trouble for whizzing off in the wrong direction when I gave him a little tug!

I've made it my mission in life to own a Hetty Hoover. As much as I love Henry, there's something so appealing about the luscious pink shade of Hetty. I also feel, given her feminine gender, that she may be a little bit more cooperative and helpful! I also plan on getting round to buying a mini Henry and a mini Hetty for the desktop - have you seen anything cuter?!

I did try talking to the duster cloth, but it ignored me. How rude! For now, I shall stick to socialising with those cleaning instruments who have the ability to brand a smile. After all, I wouldn't want to run the risk of seeming insane...

Amy x

Sunday, 31 July 2011

What do I want from my career?

I'm often asked what exactly it is about the world of TV and media I find fascinating. I don't buy into the whole 'famous for being famous' celebrity culture, but I love the high level of credit one can receive if they succeed in their own realms. David Tennant, for example, states that he is not a celebrity, just an actor doing his job. It's incredibly admirable and something I respect exceedingly. It's people like Tennant who make the industry so attractive, so rewarding, thus drawing me deeper into it. As well as this, I love the great level of opportunities that such a career could bring. Indeed, I do have my own selection of ambitions and goals I'd like to conquer along the way. I've managed to narrow them down to the top ten:

1. It'd be better than winning the X Factor...
Starting with the most practical idea chronologically, I shall address the Young Reviewers 2011/2012 competition I'm currently taking part in. The year long activity with the Evening Chronicle takes place right through to the New Year, and with the realisation that we're over half way through it, I'm beginning to become quite nervous! Regardless of the outcome, I'll have had an absolutely wonderful experience: I've seen so many amazing performances and indeed I've had my eyes opened to a few genres I wouldn't normally have explored. However, I'm not going to lie, I would like to win...! The frustrating thing though as that there's no telling how well we're doing against other contestants! Quality of writing does of course come into it, but one must also impress the lovely Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr (I'm absolutely not sucking up here in any way, shape or form...perhaps!) with enthusiasm and dedication. I'd love to think that the others taking part have neglected their roles, but somehow this would seem most unlikely! My fingers are tightly crossed that the outcome at the end is very positive and beneficial to my career...

2. Time to Tour!
The concept of touring is something I adore. I'm a born traveller and love exploring new places, meeting new people along the way. Touring opens these doors and many more. I'll be honest, I've not yet worked out how exactly I'd tour. A roadshow perhaps? I just know for sure that it is something in which I'd like to partake before I'm known only as a spirit orb!

3. Am I Loose enough?
I'd like to answer my own question there by telling you that yes, yes I am loose enough to involve myself with Loose Women (just don't go spreading that around!). After a bout of extreme low in my life, the show and its wonderful panellists managed to subconsciously lift me out of a serious Eating Disorder, giving me my higher most career goal to focus on. Just to be a guest on that show would allow me to scratch this option from me 'to do' list, however being a panellist, or indeed an anchor, would be the icing on my momentarily fairy bun sized career cake.

4. Cup of tea and a slice of column...
I remember when I was given my first computer for my tenth birthday, I'd spend hours writing little articles for my own pretend column. One I remember particularly well was a mini article about the possible extinction of pandas (complete with little Clipart cartoon panda!). I'd pay good money to work on my own column. Of course, it'd be entertainment media related, if I had my way, and would include a lot of researching and exploring! To receive credit where it'd be (hopefully!) due in such a way would be much appreciated! Yes, that'd be nice, thank you.

5. All for Charity!
Over the years I've done a lot of charity/activism work and this is something I still enjoy exceedingly. I'd donate a vital organ if it meant I'd be able to involve myself in one of the big charity events in some way. Children in Need is a personal favourite - I'd love to take part in the annual TV event! Any media-based charity event however would be incredibly appealing and would give me a great chance reboot my charity work! Will need to get my thinking cap on with this one!

6. What it must be like to be Blue Peter...
Imagine if your name was Peter, and your surname was Blue? That would look amazing on a passport! BBC's Blue Peter is the very reason my love for the media industry was born. At seven years of age I made the decision to become a TV Presenter, and twelve years later this is still a standing thought! The odds of becoming a TV presenter on there are not too great since they're not handed out like hot cakes or anything, but even just to guest appear on it would be magnificent! Plus, they have cute pets on the show...

7. Oh, Mr Cowell!
I cannot lie, I absolutely adore the ass off Simon Cowell. If you want to make it anywhere on TV as a presenter, you really need the backing of Simon Cowell (saying that, it didn't turn out too well for Kate Thornton who has now been axed from two major TV shows...). As much as I'd love it, my 'career goal' here is not actually to work for Cowell, but simply to acquaint him on a career level. Of course, I'd never say no for working for him, no matter what the contract said (I'm game for ANYTHING as far as Cowell is concerned!), but there are other realms waiting for me to explore first!

8. Love for the Time 'Team'...
I've a long list of people I'd love to work with, and putting Billie Piper aside for a moment, those at the top of the list are David Tennant and John Barrowman. I've been fortunate enough to acquaint Tennant briefly, one of the best days of my life I assure you, but I'd kill to be in a studio with him. John Barrowman, I've so many questions for. However, I'd let him ramble on all day just so I could listen to his voice, it's such a delight! To be around them at the same time would be heavenly, but as long as I get the chance to work with (or indeed, under...!) both of them at some point during my career, I'll be one very happy, close-to-fainting, unrequited infatuated-ridden bunny!

9. Such a dolly!
This one here may be a little bit bizarre, but I love the idea of having oneself turned into a small plastic doll! I used to be a huge collector of Doctor Who figures (and Spice Girls dolls once upon a time!) and find myself incredibly fascinated by the accuracy of the plastics' appearances. I'd love to have my own mini 'McLean' doll, if only to see how others interpret me! The same goes for an animation character - that'd be rather exciting! I've not quite worked out how this career goal will come about, but I'll try my best to find a way!

10. And we're live!
Thoughts of presenting live Television is something which terrifies the life out of me, but in all ways positive! I've presented the odd (some very odd!) live events, but only to a small audience. To present live Television with potentially millions of viewers would be insane! Shooting PTCs is one thing, where retakes are allowed if slip ups occur, but with live television there's no escaping your errors! Just to be able to say that I've broadcast a programme live would be a massive achievement.

There are so many things I'd like my career to offer me; this list is endless. Some of these may seem a little bit crazy, but such an adjective could be used to describe the foundations of my life! My career means more to me than anything, and I'll stop and no lengths to make it a success! I'll just need to ask you very kindly if you could send a lot of luck my way...?

Amy x

Friday, 29 July 2011

Dreams of 20th Century murder mysteries?

I love dreaming. Unlike some, I do remember my dreams pretty much every night of the year and each one I always look for deeper meanings in. Last night's dream left we hungry to find out more...

Searching through a small collection of belongings which had been retrieved, somehow, from the early 20th Century, we came across a large brass coloured pocket watch. On the front of this watch, engraved in the most elegant writing, was the name: THOMAS. The long chain of the pocket watch was attached to a photo frame.

This photo frame had rusted with age, yet was still kind to the eye, enchanting almost. Rather than finding a family photograph inside, there was a letter. Written on yellow coloured paper that hadn't seemed to fade over the years was a note; a mother wrote to her son, to Thomas.

The words of this letter I cannot hear, but there was a certain air of sadness around it. It was apparent that this mother had murdered her child, a boy between the ages of seven and ten. Why or how it was not known.

Communication with the child had not been possible and we were no closer to the truth...

Without a doubt, it's one of the most enthralling dreams I've had in a long time. It has left me with a good handful of questions too. I'd oddly not opened up the pocket watch - could it still be ticking? What was the mother's name? Why would she want to harm her own son? I cannot be more specific with the date, no more than knowing it takes us back a Century or so. Tonight, I'll hopefully reveal a little more information, allowing me to find out exactly what happened.

Amy x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I'd dunk ANYTHING!

People who don't dunk baffle me.

For as long as I can remember, I've been dunking. Hundreds of people do it. Yet, there are still those who frown upon it.

I am of course referring to the delightfully enthralling process of dunking biscuits into a cup of steaming hot tea. It seems that some biscuits were designed for this, but there's nothing more exciting than selecting a new option and emerging it into the liquid, eagerly awaiting the results.

Chocolate covered biscuits can be troublesome. If the chocolate melts too much it'll end up being smeared around the edges of the cup, causing nightmares when it comes to washing up. However, if the chocolate takes too long to melt, the biscuit part is likely to become too soggy, like mush!

Biscuits with sticky centres tend to remain crumbly and uncooperative once in the cup. Biting in to them creates incredible shock - one seeks to find a soft and delectable treat but instead finds that they're now covered in wet crumbs.

Digestive biscuits absorb the full effect, bringing an exciting caffeine-fuelled flavour to its soft texture. However, nothing will ever beat the basic rich tea biscuit. It's smooth surface becomes shiny and luscious. A quick dunk provides a soft suck on the slightly moist base, whereas as slightly more lengthy dunk creates a heavenly experience not to be messed with.

Those who are repulsed by the idea of dunking are missing out on an entire enchanting sugary world of fun!

Amy x

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"Morning's here, the morning's here...

...sunshine is here, the sky is clear, the morning's here!" - Joey Tribbiani and 'morning guy', FRIENDS.

I believe this is the earliest blog post I've ever done. At 8:20am, I've been up for an hour but my eyes still feel glued shut. A cup of tea later and an orange flavoured Dextro energy tablet and I feel no different.

I've always been a night-time person; my best work is done in the evenings and early hours (so if this turns out to be abysmal you can blame the sunshine). Mornings are too bright, too many people are alert and the days are too long!

I once had to leave the house at around 5am to go on holiday - this was bliss! It was still pitch black during the Autumn month and there wasn't a single person around. Excitement had left me with little sleep, yet still the moonlight filled me with floods of energy. Perfection.

The morning is filled with rush - I don't really have the time to be writing this as the day is calling for my attention, but I was so angry with the morning hours that I simply had to badmouth it online. I shall bid you all a morning time farewell, and see you when the stars come out to play!

Amy x

Monday, 25 July 2011

365 Day Challenge & FoundOnFilm

It's today! It's today! It's today!

Yes, just as I promised I'm about to embark upon a blogging challenge, which will last exactly one year, three hundred and sixty five days if you will. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my blog, it's just that I do occasionally forget to nurture it. To help keep me motivated, I've given myself this little adventure in order to give me something to reach for. I'm allowing to miss 10% of the post count, you can hear more about this in my video here.

For my first topic within this challenge, I'd like to draw your attention to a fellow YouTuber: FoundOnFilm.

There are lots of wonderful people on YouTube who post exciting videos and FoundOnFilm is the latest to come my way. The star of the videos posted on said channel is the lovely Sarah. In each video she talks to her viewers with consideration and equality, sharing her views about the latest beauty products.

The occasional haul video will give us an insight into her warm personality; the content she delivers is always enthralling, captivating. What makes Sarah stand out from the rest is her originality and down-to-earth attitude. There's a growing trend on YouTube for beauty gurus to clone themselves on the 'bigger' posters, however this isn't evident in this case in the slightest.

Each video will fill your day with fun and energy as Sarah addresses you not as a crowd, but as an individual. With over two million video view hits and over five thousand subscribers, it's clear to see that FoundOnFilm is a rising success.

Amy x