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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Interview: This Burning City

This Burning City are an alternative-hardcore band hailing from Gananoque, Ontario, Canada. I was lucky enough to catch up with the boys for a chat.

Hi! Would you like to introduce yourselves?

Hey there! We're This Burning City from Gananoque, Ontario. Our band name sucks and our music’s not much better! Hahaha just kidding.

How did you first become interested in music?

We all became interested in music at a pretty young age. I can't really vouch for everyone else but I know I personally can say that it's always been a part of my life. I think everyone kind of has dreams of being a rock star while listening to their favourite band… We just took that extra step and formed a band.

How did the band come about?

Most of us met in grade school way back in the day and found ourselves liking similar music. After going to a Dead and Divine show, we grabbed some instruments and started getting together to jam. Eventually we found our direction and started playing shows and events, eventually picking up Nick on bass much later in college. We didn't know what to expect back then, or the amount of commitment and time this would end up taking, but we love every minute of it.

Continue reading: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/interview-burning-city

Are you a fan of This Burning City? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Book Review: Next Door To A Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager book cover

AD* | Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.

After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next-door neighbour is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be - pretty, popular, and famous - and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.

Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.

It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.

To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…

He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.

So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.

Cliques. Back-stabbing. Love gone bad.

Is this really what it’s like to live… Next Door To A Star?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Book Review: Sky's Fireworks by Cynthia Bruner

Sky's Fireworks by Cynthia Bruner book cover

AD* | Sky has one more chance to make her happily-ever-after happen, and the only thing that could stop her is the perfect man standing by her side.

Since she was a child Sky Fischer has known she’s destined to marry her next-door neighbour Kevin, but he hasn’t realised it - yet. This Fourth of July, Kevin’s back in town and Sky’s found a brilliant way to get his attention. She’s brought co-worker Boone along to act as her boyfriend. But Kevin is oblivious, her brothers are determined to chase away her suitors, and worst of all, Boone might be a little too perfect for his role. What if the future she’s been planning isn’t right for her?

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review: Snapfish Photo Book

As you may remember, I worked with Snapfish earlier in the year and reviewed some of their products with a summer theme. If you missed it, you can catch it again here.

Now, I've been lucky enough to have been asked to work with them again.

This time the focus is memories and celebration - inspiring people to celebrate their memories through beautiful photo books, personalised gifts, and home d├ęcor. It's all about using photography to relive special moments, and simply telling a story.

The story my product tells is very simple. It's a life story. Family is one of the most important things in life, and what better way to celebrate it than through pictures remembering precious memories.



As luck would have it, this year marked my nan's 70th birthday. Therefore I decided to create a photo book featuring pictures from some of our moments together to make a truly memorable gift for a landmark birthday.

I chose photos from all 21 years of my life and sorted them into an (approximate) chronological order. This way the narrative of our life stands out and weaves the photos of the book together.

That was definitely the most labour intensive project I've done so far from Snapfish, as I had to sort through all our old family photos in order to find the best ones (and we have a lot of photos, so this took a long time!) I also had a bit of a struggle trying to find photos with both me and my nan in. Neither of us are particularly fond of the camera, so photos with the two of us in seem to be a lot rarer than I'd originally thought! When I had eventually selected enough appropriate photos, I then had to scan the older ones in to get them onto my computer so I could add them to the photo book. That sounds complicated, but it's nowhere near as hard as it sounded!


Then came the design. I chose a classic photo book with a hard cover, because I thought it would prove more durable than the soft cover one I designed for my last Snapfish review. I also liked the cut-out cover (above) because it allows you to personalise it in a classy way - perfect for a gift.


The layout was simple - photos in chronological order, interspersed pretty equally between several photos on a page in a grid pattern and single stand-out photos dominating an entire page. Again I elected not to include captions or quotes because I wanted to keep it simple and let the photos speak for themselves.


I'm really happy with the finished product. All the photos printed beautifully and were nice and sharp and clear, even the scanned ones look just as good as the later digital photos.


When I gave it to my nan she was really happy with it too. She said it brought back many memories from over the years, and she spent a long while looking at all the photos. The Snapfish photo book was a success all round!

Have you used Snapfish before? Will you be using them in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 11 September 2015

My favourite woman in music: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is one of the most talked about people in the music industry right now. Whether you love her or hate her (how could anyone hate her?) you can’t deny she’s everywhere at the moment.


Taylor first made her name as a fresh-faced 14-year-old carving out a career for herself with her heartfelt lyrics, pop-country vibe, distinctive vocals, and trademark curly blonde hair. Her debut self-titled album was released in 2006, firmly establishing her as a country star in her own right. The third single from the album, ‘Our Song,’ made her the youngest person ever to have single-handedly written and performed a number 1 song in the Hot Country Songs chart. But that was just the beginning for the rising star.

Two years later Taylor released her second album, Fearless. My personal favourite of her albums to date, Fearless went on to become the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States. It also won her 4 Grammy’s, including making her the youngest ever Album of the Year winner.

Continue reading: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/my-favourite-woman-music-taylor-swift

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

It's time to take the #DairyPromise

Dairy products are a part of most people's everyday lifestyle. But do you think about where your dairy products are coming from?

AHDB Dairy is a non-profit organisation working on behalf of the UK's dairy farmers. As you may be aware, there are currently lots of problems facing the dairy industry at the moment, which is why now is the perfect time to push for change in the industry. The increased media coverage surrounding the issues means that more and more people are showing an interest in ensuring farmers are getting the right value for their produce. This is great - but the more people that are made aware, the better.

This is where we come in. Supporting fair, sustainable dairy farming not only protects farmers, but it also helps to preserve our countryside. And the best part is - anyone can be a supporter. That's why AHDB Dairy have launched the #DairyPromise initiative.

But what is the #DairyPromise?


It's simple. Next time you buy your regular dairy products, just look out for a quality logo such as the Red Tractor. These show you that the food you're buying is food you can trust.

To show your commitment, AHDB Dairy also encourage you to take the #DairyPromise online. All you have to do is click through and agree to look out for quality logos on your dairy products, then simply submit your email address to ensure you're signed up.

And - even better - if you need an incentive to sign up, the #DairyPromise is also running a supporting prize draw. Everyone who takes the #DairyPromise and submits their email address before 14th September will be in the running to win a brilliant overnight stay at a dairy farm for you and three friends. You can find more details about the prize draw and the farm stay here.

So what are you waiting for? Go over and take the #DairyPromise - I have!

Have you taken the #DairyPromise? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Book Review: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis book cover

AD* | Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie's whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she's ever met. Ben's life isn't easy, but he doesn't see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn't have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she's currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie's new favourite band, who just happens to be Ben's brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future... before she loses everything she has grown to love.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Book Review: Rising Tide by Susan Roebuck

Rising Tide by Susan Roebuck book cover

AD* | Time, and most of Portugal, has almost forgotten Luminosa, a small fishing community on the Alentejo coast. A cluster of white and blue cottages huddle under the cliffs overshadowed by the great manor of Herdade Albatroz whose family has ruled the village since the days of Napoleon. Far off the tourist route, nobody visits Luminosa by chance.

When a ruthless American racketeer turns up, the peaceful village's way of life could be ruined forever. But will other visitors - Piper Pines, seeking news of her long-dead Portuguese mother, and Leo Shine, bereft of a father and brother accused of terrible crimes - help or hinder his objective to drag Luminosa into the twenty-first century?