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22 April 2018

Straight-talking weird weekender Louis Theroux has produced some great documentaries, even a feature film discovering the strange human beings and things on this very Earth and beyond. Some of my favourites that I think you should watch are below.

My Scientology Movie
This is Theroux's debut feature film and it's a great one - if you're a conspiracy theorist or always wondered how the weird, sometimes intrusive world of scientology works, then please watch this one. It's so interesting and will definitely spark your interest in this strange cult, but also in what else Theroux has produced. It's on DVD, or anywhere you can buy films, including Amazon Prime Video*.

America's Medicated Kids
ADHD and other disorder treatment with medication is definitely a tetchy subject, but Theroux explores this in a very dignified way, interviewing parents and the children themselves to see how it affects them. Sometimes the only option to help them, these parents have no choice, but whether they want to or not is a different story. It's currently streaming on Netflix.

Among The Sex Offenders
Part of his LA Stories series, Theroux meets with past sex offenders to see how far they've come in their rehabilitation and what help and support is available. He also delves deep into the psychology of how they offend, making sure to ask the right questions to keep viewers interested, but not want to punch the screen out of frustration and disgust. It too is streaming on Netflix.

Louis and The Brothel
Mr Theroux spends a very interesting six weeks in a Nevada brothel (where brothels are somewhat legal) and interviews everyone working there, from the managers to the girls themselves. It's really intriguing and certainly opened my eyes to the horrors and craziness in the sex industry of America. As before, this is also streaming on Netflix.

These four are really good at highlighting different people and parts of society you never even imagined to exist. If you've watched any of Louis' documentaries, do let me know in the comments.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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15 April 2018

In case you didn't know, I have a lot on my plate creatively. I blog, do a podcast and hold down a full-time job in PR. I have some tips to achieve a work-life balance, but also to get the best out of your creative endeavours.

Utilise the spare time you have. 
A lot of the time when I get home from work, my day of creating and editing isn't done. I've been known to spend all evening working on a podcast episode, writing a blog post or scheduling the next day's tweets. So much so, I've now been recording most of my show at work, in one of the meeting rooms in my lunch break (colleagues - if you've seen me talking to my phone and wondering why I'm doing so, then that's why!).

Having said that, get off your phone for a while.
If I've spent all day in front of a computer, I like to have some time where I don't do anything and spend time with my family. I don't even take my phone with me, my notifications can wait. I do self-care activities like getting some fresh air or applying a face mask so I can relax a little bit, so matter how busy I am.

Prioritise what needs to be done. 
If I have an episode of Amy Talks that needs to be done, I'll get that done first before even thinking about what has to be written for the blog that week. I usually write a to-do list of what needs to be done both work and personal project-wise for the day, and try to get it all done. I admit it has been a struggle, but I've always been able to get things done on time.

If you don't feel motivated, don't force yourself to do it. 
I'm a big believer of this - there's been many times that I haven't felt up to writing or recording, but felt as if I've had to, and then it doesn't turn out as well as it maybe would've done. Motivation can come at random times, so act on it and create your best work. I don't pressure myself if I want to take a night off, but I have it in the back of my mind for when inspiration strikes.

Celebrate your achievements.
We spend so much time working on the next thing that we forget what we've achieved in the past. That's definitely true for me, so every so often I re-listen to my old podcast episodes or read blog posts that I love, so I still remember how great it felt to write or edit it. I also could've learnt something new from what I wrote in the past, so can use it next time.

Write down every idea that comes into your head.
I have wraths of notebooks and iPhone notes all over the place with creative ideas in it, including a potential book idea (don't know whether I'll EVER write it, but it's nice to have written down a synopsis at least). I can have a dream about something and it can inspire a blog post or podcast episode, so I always want to note it down before it disappears. I look at these lists regularly when I'm lacking afore-mentioned motivation and maybe it can spark me into tapping on my keyboard.

It's exhausting, but I really wouldn't change it for anything.

Do you have any tips on balancing so many creative projects at once? Be sure to share them in the comments!

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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6 April 2018

OK, I'm going to admit this right now, I stole this idea. But it's from the lovely Jenny, so I hope she doesn't mind!


Every month, I want to set myself some goals to see if I can achieve them throughout the month, with a round-up post at the end to see how I did. Below are my goals for April, enjoy!

Write at least one blog post a week: I keep falling in and out of blogging and being really unmotivated to write anything. I hope this changes as I will try to publish one blog post a week for the month and hope that it inspires me to keep going - I really don't want this site to go to ruins because I'm too busy, I need to make time for it. 

Reach 500 followers on Instagram: My Instagram page has always been lacking pictures that aren't blog post promos, so I really want to change that by perhaps introducing outfit posts or more of myself at least. I'm so shy in front of the camera so hopefully it can bring me out of my shell a bit!

Finish one of the two books I'm currently reading: I spend my time before I go to bed either on my phone or writing in my 30 Day Writing Challenge book, but I hope that I can further my mind and read either one of two books currently sat on my bedside table. 

Go for a reflexology session: I really don't treat myself that often in terms of self-care, so a refloxogy (or foot massage) session is perfect for relaxation and having some zone-out time with no devices, just heaven for your feet and mind. I nearly fall asleep because it's so relaxing, and I can't wait to be in that state again.

Do you have any goals for April that you want to achieve? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

Image courtesy of I DO

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31 March 2018

We're three months into 2018 already, how? Soon it'll be time for Christmas. I've got my playlist for March, which you can read the tracklist for below.

It contains some new songs that are in the charts from Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons and Selena Gomez as I listened to them whilst in Florida on their radio station (read about my trip here). Also there's some old tunes that I haven't included in a while, some from the usual suspects that I have on repeat all the time, as well as some tunes from Kacey Musgraves' new album which I have in fact reviewed (it can be read here).

1. What Lovers Do (feat. SZA) - Maroon 5
2. Loving Someone - The 1975
3. If Everyone Cared - Nickelback
4. Still Writing Songs About You - Old Dominion
5. Song For Another Time - Old Dominion
6. A Change of Heart - The 1975
7. Oh, What A World - Kacey Musgraves
8. Wilder - Ryan Follesse
9. Butterflies - Kacey Musgraves
10. Love Me - The 1975
11. Somebody Else - The 1975
12. High Horse - Kacey Musgraves
13. SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
14. Losin' Myself - Savi, Ida da Silva
15. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
16. It Ain't Me - Kygo, Selena Gomez
17. Loser Kid - Busted
18. Finally - CeCe Peniston

It's also embedded from Spotify below. Follow me on Spotify to find out what's on the playlist before anyone else. 

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

Covers copyright: Maroon 5 courtesy of Reprise Records (source), The 1975 courtesy of Polydor Records / Samuel Burgess-Johnson (source), Nickeback courtesy of Roadrunner Records (source), Old Dominion courtesy of RCA Nashville (source).

30 March 2018

Country superstar Kacey Musgraves helped bring the genre back to the popular state it's in today, with singles from her debut album Same Trailer Different Park being played on BBC Radio 2, a storming performance at this year's Country to Country and gaining critical acclaim with her ripping up the rulebook way of talking about small town issues.

Golden Hour is the third chapter of her story, and Musgraves shows that it doesn't have to be a guitar and banjo - there's a slight whiff of The Bee Gees throughout 'High Horse', as it rings to a chorus of synths and a toxicating drum beat, even the most seasoned Country fan wouldn't be able to resist tapping along.

'Mother' has a rather interesting origin story: whilst tripping on LSD, Musgraves get a text from her mum. After which she decided to write the album's shortest song at just 1:18, an ode to her mother. Since a lot of people have expressed that it makes them want to hug their mother closer or remember them fondly if not in their life. See, LSD can have it's uses if you're a songwriter.

Ballad 'Oh What A World' brings light to how beautiful nature is in the opening bars "oh what a world / I don't wanna leave / there's all kinds of magic / It's hard to believe", it's definitely something people don't appreciate that much, so should hopefully get people into saving the planet and I liken it to 'What A Wonderful World', but with more banjo and for the modern age.

Musgraves shines on this record, as her "golden hour of her life at 29" brings great depth to her songwriting talent and probably new fans that will be endeared to her experimental way of changing Country music.

Buy Golden Hour on iTunes, listen on Spotify or buy on Amazon (UK | US)**. Follow Kacey Musgraves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what she's up to.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

*A PR sample was sent. All opinions are my own. 
**An affiliate link is being used, meaning I make a few pennies if you buy from Amazon UK.

Cover image courtesy of Universal Music Group Nashville

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13 March 2018

Full-time bloggers seriously deserve a round of applause - it seems like a dream job, but must be a nightmare. Chasing up invoices from 5 years' ago, the fluctuating income every month and the pressure to write consistently, with doubts that anyone's going to read what you've written because it's crap.

I personally haven't ever wanted to enter that world. I've got anxiety and overthink things whilst working for other people and upkeeping their brand, let alone my own. Although working for myself and being a full-time businesswoman sounds joyful, I just don't think I could keep up with creating my own content constantly. Also there must be so much pressure to keep up with trends and create content based around that and not what you want to write.

Blogging is a great platform for my writing - but purely as a hobby. I like the sound of posting #ads all the time, but I'd rather have a 'traditional' job playing to my strengths, not doubting my abilities and bringing out my weaknesses. If I was a 'full-time blogger', I think I would cave in and threaten to quit about 4 times because I wouldn't be able to take the pressure. Whereas working for someone else, you can share your stresses with others and work out a solution.

That's another thing - I would be so lonely. I recently wrote about how loneliness affected me for 3 years at uni, but working for myself would be so solitary, as unless I had the money to hire staff, I wouldn't talk to anyone for weeks, driving myself crazy. How these people do it is seriously beyond me.

I'm not trying to talk down blogging at all, I'm just stating my reasons why I couldn't be able to doing this all the time and I won't be any time soon. I'm happy creating content every now and then and giving someone the opportunity to see my views about many different topics, it's why this blog was created. Throughout the last nearly 6 years I've learned a lot, but being the next Zoella just doesn't appeal to me.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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12 March 2018

Makeup is something that I'm not particularly interested in, but I am trying to broaden my horizons and buy some products I might enjoy wearing/using. But I'm a creature of habit, so only have a couple of items I use everyday. Below are the my makeup faves. (Beware, this is my best effort to make it look Instagram-worthy!).

L'Oréal Paris False Lash Flutter Mascara

This mascara's great and makes my lashes uhh-mazing! I already have long eyelashes, but with this, they feel longer and more full. I loved the Benefit Roller Lash, but wanted to try something different so went with this and recommend it a lot - I don't even know if they still sell it, that's how long I've had it.

Estēe Lauder Double Wear Nude Foundation

I tried this as a sample from Boots, offered last summer. They discovered my shade was Desert Beige, and I wanted some ever since trying it. My lovely sister Sarah bought me some for Christmas last year and now it's the only foundation I wear. The formula is so nice on your skin and I sometimes even forget that I have it on - that's how light it is to wear. A little bit goes a long way, which is great to know as it is quite pricey, but definitely one I would recommend if you're in the market for a new foundation.

Tanya Burr Cosmetics Illuminating Powder - Peonies Please

Although I don't watch many of Tanya Burr's YouTube videos these days, she does having a cracking line of beauty products, quite a few of which I have purchased whilst on a peruse around Superdrug. One of my favourites though is this Illuminating Powder, which I use instead of blusher some days, but can also be used as many other things. The shade is just perfect for my skin tone and the glitter adds just enough shimmer, rather than looking like someone who's just put their makeup on for a Year 6 disco.

PS. Pro Brushes

PS. Pro is Primark's range of makeup and brushes, and being the grand total of less than £5 (thank you sales!), they're perfect for all my brushing needs. I use them to apply and blend my foundation and concealer, as both brushes are really soft and is actually quite relaxing to use on my face. The blending brush works perfectly and I leave the house without foundation streaks everywhere from where I haven't blended it properly, like I used to - it's so embarrassing!

L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipstick - Plum Gold

I have to admit, I never thought purple lipstick would suit me in the slightest, but my sister encouraged me to branch out and try it. I now love it, and is one of my makeup staples as well as being one of my favourites. The formula isn't very drying and lasts really well on my lips. It also looks bold, but not outrageous. Application is really smooth too, which may sway you to get one. I wasn't sure at first, but now I love it.

That rounds up some of my makeup favourites that will take precedence in my makeup bag. I hope you enjoyed reading and have possibly found a new favourite or two!

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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