At last…scientific proof I need my weekend lie-in!

It’s true! Scientists have finally concluded than on average us women need 20 minutes more sleep than our fella’s! Yay! Actual scientific evidence…he can’t argue with that!

Better still, the reasons come down to us being much busier than men in terms of how we use our brains. Oh! – the leverage of that argument when negotiating who gets to lie-in and who has to get up with the kids next Sunday morning! Beautiful!

Obviously the whole point of sleep or rest is for our brains to recover from all the energy exhausted during our waking hours. Since women have to deal with sooo many more issues than men, we use more energy and therefore need more rest. (well I always knew that! ;) )

It comes down to our amazing multi-tasking skills really. I mean we deal with so many very different tasks all at once, going to work, getting the dishwasher/laundry on before leaving, dealing with the kids, dealing with our relationships, planning family meals, shopping, cooking, general housework, dealing with schools, kids social activities and personal dramas, looking after extended family members, remembering tons of birthdays/anniversaries – and these are the basics!

On top of all that there are hundreds of odds and ends that constantly crop up which involves always maintaining incredible flexibility…planned a chicken dinner? Forget it – hubby just decided he fancies beef and the kids all want different meals.

Granted the men in our lives may have to deal with some of this too, but (and I realise this is very general) let’s face it, beyond going to work everyday where he can pretty much forget about home until 5.30pm when he has to find his way there, there isn’t a whole lot of multi-tasking he has to do. Unless of course that’s part of his job. The scientists are telling us though that he still won’t need as much sleep as a woman!

Our brains are much more complex than a man’s, which enables us to take care of all the things listed above, which is simply down to our wiring. Another thing we already knew! The fact that we do so much more multi-tasking than the average man, added to not getting enough rest, unfortunately means that our brains age faster.

So we just make sure we get more sleep right?

It’s not as easy as it sounds though to simply ‘get more sleep’. I know from experience that once she’s had a baby a woman’s ability to sleep deeply and well changes enormously. It’s a kind of 24/7 radar for any noises as you are permanently tuned into listening out for crying or any kind of disturbance that  may be a potential threat to the child…and we all know that men can sleep right through babies crying! So we sleep much lighter than them, which doesn’t give us the ‘rest’ we need.

The very things that we have to deal with everyday are also responsible for us not getting proper rest. Stress and worry both result in lighter or broken sleep.

In reality though, the good news is that the men are catching up and catching on and have been for some time now. It’s not quite as ridiculous these days for a couple to decide to share everything fairly. As far as my experience has shown me, dads are much more involved with their children emotionally. As well as willingly divvying up the housework, shopping and cooking. So I suppose that means the lie-ins get shared too!

Think I’ll have mine this weekend…possibly even request breakfast in bed while I’m at it!



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Let little girls BE little girls!

This child is 11 years old and her role model is Jordan...her mother just wants her to ''be famous''!

There’s the same old bandwagon again..and the same people jumping on it to shoot their mouths off but not actually DO anything about it!

These stories have been filtering over to us for some time now, usually from the States but it’s getting scarily more common here, about little girls being made up to look like 25 year olds. The excuse? It’s for a beauty pageant. Seriously?? How long did anyone really think it would take for this ridiculous behaviour of dressing our daughters up like dolls and suffocating them in make-up, false tans and hair extensions, to trickle over into their everyday life?  There are 4 year olds out there who think it’s perfectly acceptable to wear blusher and lip gloss on a daily basis!

The latest outrage regarding this matter it is that now ‘mothers’ are giving their children, and I do mean children, not even teenagers….botox and boob jobs. As gifts! Hands up who’s actually surprised about this.

You must be kidding!

Why wasn’t this crap stopped way before now? Why the hell did it ever start?

Don’t get me wrong, we all find our own children the most beautiful creatures on earth….but taking them out to show them off in beauty pageants is obscene. That exhibitionist behaviour is about the parent putting their child through this horrific ordeal. It’s their insecurities, their need for praise or admiration. ‘Look my daughter won 1st place so I must be a wonderful parent right’? Wrong!!

I’ve read the articles, watched the tv documentaries and all you hear from the parents is that their children enjoy it and have fun so why not? Of course they enjoy it! What kids don’t enjoy dressing up and face-painting? They are innocents and have no clue what te effect on them will be when they’re older for this kind of conditioning.

Teaching them from day one – literally – that the way to succeed and go up in the world is through how they look. Even teaching them that they need to go up in the world or seek approval from complete strangers…this is incomprehensible to me. Once again it’s for the parents…’go be everything I wanted to be’, ‘go achieve all I wish I’d achieved’. Why can’t we just let them BE? Let them be happy and find their talents or strengths naturally by exploring and learning. Teach them how to be happy without stardom, huge mansions, flash cars. The pressure must be incredible for them. Thinking that they need these things to be happy because thats what mum and dad taught them.

We’re only here once. if we spend our short time here constantly striving for all these things we are taught are important things in life it’s going to be a miserable few years!

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“…it’s like some guy banging on some wok!”

Come Dine With Me is always an education! Take yesterday’s episode for example. I learned how to make a courgette roulade look like a vomit filled swiss roll, that it costs £300 a month to look after your dogs ‘properly’ (y’know…clothes, perfume, ribbons and bows…the usual doggy necessities) AND what a hang drum is….

Hang on (no pun intended honest!) that last one actually WAS educational! Just in case you didn’t get the sense of irony about the other ‘lessons learned’!

One of the highly cultured contestants, desperate to win the grand prize of £1000, invited in a friend to entertain his guests with the beautiful sounds of the Hang (pronouced ‘hung’) drum. Only to have it described as “…some guy banging on some wok” by one of the other slightly less cultured diners!

It sounded AWESOME! I’m no drummer but I know my music and this instrument is ‘special’. After seeing it, or more importantly hearing it, I spent the next few hours trawling the net to see where I could get hold of one. Bad news….you have to go on a waiting list! After which there’s more bad news…the one I like most, Halo, is about £2k!! Although I did spot one on ebay for £901. Still – looks like I’ll have to wait a while!

Anyway, totally impressed with the sound this guy was getting out of said ‘wok’ I joined all waiting lists, mailing lists and blogs having anything to do with hang drums!

Here’s some videos of what I found and why I must have one!

Hang Drum Solo



Gorgeous sound right? My birthday is at the end of the month….if anyone’s stuck for gift ideas….! ;)

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Illegal downloads – if you can’t beat ‘em…join ‘em!

Have you done it? Illegally? For free?

I’m talking about downloading music.

Anyone who is even the slightest bit clued up about using the internet knows how easy it is to find one of the many websites allowing music to be downloaded for free…instead of going out and buying the cd.

When I was (a lot) younger, I remember friends buying cassette tapes – ask your parents kids! – putting them in a tape-to-tape deck, pressing play/record and making a copy for other friends. Or even listening to the Top 40 on the radio of a Sunday afternoon and skillfully missing out as much as possible of the DJ’s chatter to catch as much we could of our favourite tracks.  None of us thought of the consequences or money lost by the bands producing the music. We certainly didn’t consider the morality of it. Producing copies of albums stained with talented musicians blood, sweat and tears and denying them their due.

In fact I don’t even remember it being mentioned as a negative thing until the internet became the way to do it. Mp3’s online were (and are) so accessible. Meaning you can just sit on your arse in front of the screen, download everything and anything, and all for free. Limewire, Bearshare, Frostwire… name a few, are well known sites with P2P (peer to peer) sharing of music, often infringing copyright and certainly meaning the record companies sales take a dive.

So what to do about it?

Well, as has already been done with Limewire for one, take out an injunction to prevent the access to coprighted material. Temporary though right? I mean, as quick as you limit one site or close it down even…..3 more have popped up!

Kaiser Chiefs are one band (and I’m sure many will follow) who have changed tactics to get around the whole illegal downloading business. Lead singer Ricky Wilson came up with an idea after a few bevvies whilst in Cornwall – theeee nicest place to be inspired by the way!

As with most bands, putting together the track list for an album involves a process of selecting 10-15 songs from a pot of quite a few more. Which means discarding some in favour of others – all worked on, written and recorded with equal passion and love. Then after much time, deliberating and inevitable arguing, they select the best tracks (or what the band/manager perceives as the ones the fans would consider so) promote it, put it in shops to buy….only to find that people aren’t buying it because they’re able to acces the ones they want for free!

So Wilson decided to let the fans and the people ‘sharing’ tracks illegally via the internet, actually get on board and be involved with the process. Their latest album ‘The Future is Medieval’ is one that can be put together by anyone that buys 10 tracks from a selection of 20. Thereby creating their own album which they can then provide a link to for others to buy. To create your own album will cost £7.50. Anyone clicking on your link who wants the same version you have created will also pay £7.50 but…you get £1 commission on every one of your version sold. You can even design your own cover!

The idea is to actually encourage fans to share the music online. It’s acceptance I suppose, that we are living in a different era. A digital one. It’s only a matter of time until you won’t have anything to actually play your shop-bought cd on anyway! Just like I can no longer play my cassette tapes!

Personally, I want to have that album in my hand. I need to open it up, appreciate the cover artwork, read inside, find out who engineered/mixed/produced the album, where they recorded etc. etc. I know – what a geek! I guess I’m just old-fashioned.

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Secrecy vs. Privacy…is there a difference?

This question gave me quite a lot to think about last night. For me, it’s quite black and white. There certainly is a difference and one or the other isn’t necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They are just…things. Words with dictionary definitions and no emotion attached to them unless placed in context.

Which means the emotions involved would vary every time along with the context. Then I had a conversation. With someone who completely disagrees with my view.

Apparently some people consider privacy and secrecy to be the same thing – and both to be negative. So I listened. Then I thought…a lot! Then I did some research for a broader spectrum of opinions. End result? I still think I’m right. Not just in the way that I always think I’m right though…I mean I actually really truly think I’m right. Which then leads to other issues but thats a whole other story!

So why do I think I’m right? Well because the majority of what I found when researching other people’s views seemed to justify what I already thought.  Also, of those agreeing with me, the voices tended to be of thinking people, writers, philosophers, intelligent people. The more negative responses on secrecy vs. privacy were written by people who sounded like they were worrying…panicking even! Absolutely terrified that their partner (or whoever) might have a private life/thoughts/feelings and therefore by labelling anything private as ‘secret’, they were able to make it sound like a bad thing, unacceptable in the relationship. When actually, in my opinion, what it comes down to is insecurity.

Secrecy to me suggests something shared between two or more people. Something that could be harmful if revealed to another  – but not necessarily to the person keeping the secret. Like ruining a surprise or revealing an extra-marital affair. I don’t keep secrets of a detrimental nature to anyone. I refuse to be involved in anyone’s mistreatment of another person or in causing any kind of upset. I only ever keep a secret if someone has asked me to specifically and it’s not ‘bad’! I mean, does it make me a really terrible person to have a secret shared between myself and my kids about what to buy their nan for her birthday? Of course not. To keep secret my best friends affair with her boss? Yeah, I think so.

Privacy is something belonging to the individual. Mine, yours, his or hers….but it’s things that are not shared with anyone else. My diary – is private, my emails – are private, my texts – are private. None of these things are particularly secret though. There’s nothing bad in there. I haven’t hurt anyone and am not doing anything terrible. It’s just my stuff! I’m allowed you know! Especially considering how transparent I am for the majority of the time with things like my music and my writing…little room for private matters in these areas of honest expression!

The things people keep private vary. Some people don’t mind sharing their passwords, some people don’t mind popping in to use the loo whilst their partners in the shower. Some people mind a lot! It’s not for anyone else to say though, what we can keep private and what we can’t. Privacy is so important. Today more than ever, when people can have a piece of you in so many ways. The idea of privacy has become so distorted in a world where you can just google someones name and find out all sorts of things without ever having even met them!

So where’s the line? Do you open your partners mail? Read your kids diary? Check their emails/texts? Constantly demand to know what people are thinking?

All things that could be validated probably, or at least excused, on one-off occasions. I’m sure many people have done these things at one time or another.  To make it a regular thing though has got to be a bit strange surely?

To demand that your partner have no privacy because you consider it secrecy (and consider both these things to be ‘bad’!) strikes me as a huge trust issue. Additionally, admitting to having ‘trust’ issues doesn’t make it any more acceptable to make these demands. If a person has a trust issue then it is their issue and theirs alone. Whether you can explain that it came about because of past experiences with unfaithful partners, a terrible childhood….whatever…you have no right to inflict your behavioural or learned habits on your loved ones and make them pay for it. If it’s affecting your relationship then surely it’s something you should have dealt with before getting into a relationship?! Getting into a partnership, no matter how close, doesn’t mean giving up your individuality. Two people in an intimate relationship doesn’t mean you have to become one person. 1+1 = 2. Intimacy has many levels, but I don’t believe that of all the sacrifices we make, willingly, for other people, that having no privacy at all should be one of them.

Everyone has a right to their own privacy. A moment alone with their thoughts. Our parents, children, partners, colleagues…we are all entitled to some. I believe it takes quite some skill to be sensitive enough to know where to draw the line between privacy and interfering or prying. Especially with family as this line can be flexible. Sometimes your kids are more open and will confide more in you their private thoughts. Sometimes your partner may withdraw and keep some things a little more private than usual. It’s important to remember this is not about you though. It’s about them. Their privacy. Their right.

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The Hotel!

I’d heard about this programme on Channel 4 and been told I’d like it before promptly (and typically) forgetting all about it. Apparently it was mentioned by someone who thinks I can actually take these passing comments in…whilst doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, loading the dishwasher, preparing lunch, planning dinner….awww – just call me Cinders!

Sunday evenings are usually put aside for catching up on my American favourites. My HBO fix. Whilst getting settled with my spag bol and lining up the vodka and cokes for the evening, ‘The Hotel’ began…so I thought I may as well see what the craic was.

I don’t think I’ve ever complained quite so much the whole way through a programme. At least not since the first Big Brother over 10 years ago….which incidentally turned out to be the last time I ever watched that programme! I have a feeling my Sunday nights will be returning to normal too and that last weekend was a mere hiccup.

The programme is a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary (although there’s plenty of drama in it too – particularly from the manager!) about life for the staff and fleeting guests at at the Damson Dene Hotel in Crosthwaite near Bowness in the Lake District. Manager Wayne seems permanently stressed, always on his feet, always rushing somewhere, usually to locate another member of staff (a mixture of Polish and Romanian people) and mostly to reprimand them for their latest faux-pas.

So much of the dialogue between Wayne and his staff is completely lost in translation and amusingly (although not for the poor soul on the other end of his ranting) this just makes him say the same thing repeatedly….but LOUDER. There are a small group of Polish cleaning staff, who obviously all speak the same mother tongue and are able to comfort each other, explain things to each other and slag off Wayne telling each other to ‘ignore him’. My heart went out though, to Amos.

He is the only Romanian and really struggling to understand and be understood. He is certainly the most appealing character and the cause of many sympathetic ‘awww’s’ and shouting at the tv telling Wayne off on his behalf! Amos is such a hard-worker, relentless in fact, despite being incredibly clumsy and a little bit clueless. At one point Wayne asked him if he could possibly carry three rounds of toast out to the dining room and I heard myself screaming ‘No! Don’t ask him to carry three – he can’t!’. It was too late though as a slice of toast predictably fell to the floor ensuing in Wayne grabbing the third round and storming off with it. However, despite repeatedly pissing Wayne off by dropping things, spilling stuff and trying to drag huge tables across the floor with a glass vase on top…Amos never says ‘no’. He is so eager to please and do any task he is set. Often saying ‘yes, yes’ when he hasn’t a clue what he’s just been asked.

Cut to a studio interview where we hear about Amos’ childhood. Never knowing his father, sleeping rough, not receiving a proper education and from that moment on I have an excuse for him at every step of the way! I know, I’m such a pushover.  He’s lovely though and tries so hard to do a good job despite the language problems.

Onto the guests! Oh my word! Another kettle of fish altogether. The episode I saw had a Christian couple come and stay a couple of nights. For a nice break you might think? Some romance maybe? Or just a dirty weekend?? Nope! They were on a complete mission to convert as many people as possible to Christianity! I couldn’t believe what they were doing. We saw them often praying in their room, sometimes just general stuff, one time praying to be protected from the ‘evil’ woman that was coming into the hotel that evening to do a seminar on angels!  The next thing you know the guy has asked at reception if he can have a word with Amos, who is promptly summoned and directed to the dining room where the guy is waiting. My jaw hit the floor when this guy started questioning poor Amos on his religious beliefs. Asking him if he understood what it was to be a sinner and telling him that he ‘needed to turn away from sin’!! Seriously?? All because Amos’ mother had deigned to saddle him with a biblical name. It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

A lighter moment followed though when the Christian couple returned to their room to find the bathroom door locked and the shower running. There was a bit of a moment when staff were trying to find a wire coat-hanger to pick the lock (master-key anyone?anyone?) to no avail, so Wayne was drafted in to kick the door in! Who was in the bathroom? No-one! I still don’t know what happened there…I must have been in the kitchen getting another drink to see me through to the end!

I think, its actually a great programme. Like a real-life Fawlty Towers…although the owner Jonathan Denby is none too keen on that comparison but come on! You can’t watch a flustered, frustrated, intolerant Wayne and not think ‘Basil’. Just as you can’t watch a well-meaning but often confused Amos and not think ‘Manuel’!

I think we all know I’ll be watching it again next week….I’m a terrible liar!



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24 hours on

Yep – I heard it. All the fuss about and how terribly they treated newcomers and people who didn’t shop at Boden or how great they are and what a fantastic network they provide for parents. I’d never been there though, the mysterious land of mumsnet, so how did I know who was right or wrong? Only one way to find out…

…so I joined. Oh yes, feeling like some kind of undercover spy I signed up (with all my actual details of course – we do transparency around here) and started browsing the forums to see what I could find. Well, I am a mum so felt perfectly within my rights to join, although I did wonder why it’s not called parentsnet, or if indeed the dads have a dadsnet all of their very own! I later discovered dads do have  their very own ‘thread’ named dadsnet within the forums of mumsnet but from what I read it is going to take a brave man to post anything on there!! Particularly if he’s unhappy with/doesn’t understand/criticising his wife in anyway!

For example one poor fella was asking some advice regarding his wife sleeping over at a male friends house. Before he could get any help though, he first had to deal with the barrage of comments querying his use of the word ‘let’ when asking should he ‘let’ his wife stay over at her friends.  It was almost funny how quickly people got their backs up but also concerning. That people being asked to reassure the poor guy, ignored his plea for help, instead picking on his choice of words! I mean, really had a go at him. Obviously he meant ‘let’ as in ‘should I let it happen without making a fuss’ right? Maybe not. Point is though, how unfair was it of them to make assumptions like this about someone’s intent. How easy would it have been to just ignore that one word slip-up and actually show some compassion and help the guy out? Have none of these people heard of ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say then….zip it?’

My own experience on mumsnet was similar. In that people assumed my intentions and wasted no time in having a go at me. Even though they’d actually got it completely wrong!

I had only been a member for about 3 hours. In typical style though, managed to get myself in trouble almost immediately!

After browsing for a while and seeing some questions on topics that I felt I could be helpful on, I decided to look at ‘unanswered questions’ to see if I could help anyone who hadn’t already received some. I don’t think everyone does this on mumsnet. In fact, I think some people intentionally go on threads where there are lots of comments already, purely so that they can set about telling everyone where they got it wrong….or criticising their spelling/grammar!

Having immediately come across some questions on topics I have quite an in-depth knowledge of, I answered one. It was about allergies I think. Anyway, when I sign off….from anything, I write my name and a link to my website. So I did. This was for a few reasons.:

1 It’s habit, I do it and most people I receive emails/messages from do it            too.

2 It’s honest and transparent. Let’s face it I could be anybody, this way I was    thinking anyone in any doubt could check the source of the advice I’d            given.

3 It’s networking. Which is what social networks such as mumsnet are all         about right?  ‘Nuff said.

4 It’s optional. Noone is forced to click on the link unless they want to. NOT     putting it there though, doesn’t give anyone the option!

Well…I immediately got told off for that! Not – asked if I was new here? Did I know that it’s not really how they like things done round here? Would I mind not doing that?

No, I got told off in a very IMpolite way by one person who was then followed by a few more jumping on the bandwagon and who all made complaints to the teacher….oops, sorry I mean mumsnet HQ!! Even though I had given the first complainer my clear explanation of the above points AND an apology AND told them I was new! I was being accused of promoting my website for profit. What absolute rubbish. I don’t make any profit whatsoever from people visiting my website, it’s purely for pleasure because I love writing.  Mumsnet HQ messaged me to let me know there had been complaints and would I not do it anymore. They also said my ‘comments to date had been well received though and we hope you don’t leave the site’.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be going back there again.  Not just because of some people kicking up a fuss about my ‘blatant advertising’! ;)

No, it’s because of the other things I kept finding. Bullying, lecturing, self-esteem-shattering ‘advice’ is NOT what parents, especially new or expecting ones need. Ever! If I had been using this site when I was pregnant or a new mum it would have absolutely terrified me. I felt so sorry for some of the genuinely concerned people who were being pulled this way and that, followed by people starting their own arguments about whose advice was best/wisest/most grammatically correct! Like a crowd of people all jumping up and down screaming ‘ME! ME! LISTEN TO ME!’

I feel tired now just thinking about it!

It was an experience though I’ll say that and I had no idea how intense it would be. In my opinion it’s nothing more than a playground, with it’s various stereotypical groups….the bullies, the gossips, the whiners, the competitive ones, the bitchy girls. Why anyone would want to go back there after 13 or more years of it I don’t know!

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Jack Wills Review

I must admit I hadn’t actually heard of this brand of clothing until today when I read about on in the Financial Times website.  I liked the cute dresses in the picture though, so decided to look up this Jack Wills fella.

The website initially reminded me of the Joe Browns brand of which I am a fan and have been for years but where they differ, is on desired demographic and more importantly (certainly to any students I know of!) cost.

JB tends to be a very ‘surfer’ kind of style, casual, relaxed, easy to wear and affordable. Similar to what I see on the Jack Wills website….apart from the prices. The JW brand is aimed at students, students with money, with an emphasis on both home and abroad, the ‘British-ness’.  Their description of what they do being:

‘Jack Wills creates fabulously British goods for the university crowd. Drawing inspiration from Britain’s rich history and culture, juxtaposed with a heavy dose of the hedonistic university lifestyle, we create authentic and relevant clothing for today.’

Ok, well there is definitely something very British about the brand.  From the tea-dresses in feminine floral patterns to the many items (particularly from homeware) emblazoned with the Union Jack (in the distinctive JW navy and pink).  Shoppers are referred to as ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ and there are blazers, rugby tops and polo-shirts galore.

It is easy to see how this style would appeal to students who are, mysteriously, all keen to express individuality with an original style but somehow all end up looking the same! Not criticising, I too was one of those students once!

JW are not big on advertising, keeping their stores fairly low-key on the outside and they avoid shouting about the brand for fear of becoming too ‘mainstream’. This tactic cleverly fulfills students desire and joy at finding something ‘new’ and ‘exclusive’ therefore fueling the feeling that they have found something different, individual.

This is all great, can’t complain about the products. They have captured the student ‘look’ right down to the authentic looking sweatpants with just the right amount of holes and fraying….

…but these authentic student looking sweatpants are £70 sweatpants!

I never knew of any student when I was at university who would choose spending that kind of money on clothes when they could find actual authentic retro looking clothing down the street at the local charity shop! I can hear the words ‘good beer money that‘ resonating in my head as I browse the JW website. Not forgetting those more conscientious students of course who would opt to spend that kind of money on books, bills or groceries.

All in all I like the brand, like the clothes, homeware and accessories. I just feel that students with less money to spend on clothes are already pulling off this look! Purely because, for them, it actually is authentic! However I reckon JW are doing it right. Getting this style to those ‘posher’ students who would never be seen dead in a charity shop and who want to make sure that, although their JW clothes send out a ‘student’ look, you still know that theirs cost some by displaying the JW or the recognisable (now) navy and pink stripe.



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Garage band – it’s for girls too!

I recently started using Garage Band as a quick and easy way to record some music using an acoustic guitar and microphone for vocals.  Although reluctant at first, as I don’t consider myself technically minded at all, I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to use.

Garage Band is a software application developed by Apple for Mac OS X and iOS.  It facilitates music and podcast recording and is compatible with both versions of the iPad….

…..and thats as technical as I’m getting!

Oh come on! You’re not interested in all that are you?  You want to be able to switch on, press record and play it back….for now anyway!

So its already installed (I am NOT telling you had to do that!) on your Apple product of choice….Mac, iPhone, whatever. Then you just select it from the menu, choose the instrument you’re using, plug in into your computer, press record and play/sing/make farm animal noises – whatever you want! When you’re done,  press stop and play it back. Not happy? Delete it  then….and go again til it’s right, then select another instrument or vocals.  Easy innit?

My experience only involves vocals and my acoustic guitar. I was shown the basics very very briefly.  However, whilst recording I started playing around with it and was very excited (I’m easily excitable :D) about how easy it was to work out more features for myself. I added backing vocals, a drum beat, keyboards….really quickly.

Other useful features include a tuner for your guitar and a metronome so you can add drums in later if you record to a ‘click track’.  I’m still playing around with it just for fun if nothing else.

I think its a great application to start with and a great bridge to using something more complex such as Pro Tools.


Just so you can see the potential once you get going….this guy really knows what he’s doing!


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Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

A recent break in Cornwall included a day trip to St.Ives which of course (for me at least)  means a visit to the Tate Gallery there.

It was incredibly fast to look around or at least seemed that way because it’s so small compared to the Tate in London.  These images are of the things that immediately come to mind thinking back on my visit to write this post…







The Long Ton by Simon Starling







Simon Starling







Rotunda Reflection



…the reflection picture is really cool to see live!  The middle photo is  the nearest image I could find to one of the Simon Starling works that I really liked and I’m sorry I can’t recall the name of it!

Now I don’t claim to know very much about art but I know what I like.  I can’t even always describe what it is that appeals or moves me in some way but when I feel it I feel it.  Nothing pretentious about how I discuss art in all it’s forms, so don’t expect anything clever from me in this post!

Something I DO know is that I get most pleasure from photography and sculpture.  Especially sculpture.  Always have. So, lucky for me then that my Tate ticket included entry to the Barbara Hepworth museum and gardens!

Having walked round the Tate one and a half times (checking nothing had been overlooked….kind of desperate to find more!) it was off to the Barbara Hepworth museum and gardens to see some sculptures.  I always like to save the best for last so the stroll there was exactly that, taking a route down tiny little streets of tiny little pastel cottages, until eventually reaching the main street which was filled with surfing gear shops, cake shops and of course, Cornish Pasty shops!

On the outside the museum itself just looks like any of the other houses on the cobbled street.  The only noticeable difference being the huge walls surrounding the gardens.

When you walk in, the first room is a history of Barbara’s life, in words and pictures with all sorts of interesting snippets of newspaper articles and old family photographs.  This display is arranged in a timeline of her life with various quotes from Barbara displayed on the walls.   I read every single word. Studied at every single item. It was captivating from the first moment.  Being surrounded by all these photo’s and other items made the whole experience quite intense.  So by the time I got upstairs to where some of her sculptures were on display I was already feeling quite emotional.  Being aware of her life and upbringing and ultimately, her death, doesn’t leave your mind for a second whilst looking at her work.

Although I didn’t know her name the sculptures were very familiar looking to me as I recall seeing them and liking them before….but a long time ago.  There were works in bronze, wood and stone as well as some paintings.

Outside in the garden is where the experience really hits me though.  There are many sculptures, some of which are below, but the bit that got me was seeing the actual studio.  It seems to be exactly as she left it as if she’s just popped out for a pint of milk!  This part really choked me up.  Half finished sculptures dotted about and all the tools she would have used (and maybe did) on display.  So yeah, this part made me cry.  The actual gardens though…beautiful.  Perfect setting for the sculptures and very hard to describe.  I think the best words to describe what I love about her sculptures are probably Barbara’s own…

‘The feminine point of view is a complementary one to the masculine … the woman’s approach presents a different emphasis. I think that women contribute a great deal to this understanding through the visual arts and perhaps especially in sculpture, for there is a whole range of formal perception belonging to feminine experience ‘ – Barbara Hepworth

So….here’s some pictures for what I can’t put into words.



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