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'OrΓ©al 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.

EstΔ“e 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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2 March 2018

If you have seen any of my Instagram stories (the highlight’s still available) then you’ll know that I went on holiday to Florida last week. I had a great time - read below to see what I got up to!

We arrived on Saturday evening, but too late to really do anything. Our (being myself, my sister Sarah and my Dad) holiday started on the Sunday which meant a trip to Publix to get food and supplies for the next week. I'm saying 'supplies' because we stayed in a villa as opposed to a hotel, and it worked out perfectly. 

We stayed at the Marriott Harbour Cypress villas which I would wholeheartedly recommend as there's lots to do and socials to go to, as well as all the attractions that Florida offers. Below is a clip of the view from the villa every morning, a dream to wake up to. The rest of Sunday was spent chilling by the pool and reading my book, whilst also topping up my tan as the weather was perfect for doing so.

Monday soon came around and so did a round of minigolf at Pirate's Cove. It was really well laid out and had a lot of challenging shots to try and navigate, including over a small body of water. I didn't win sadly, but had a good time and even got a few hole-in-ones. Then it was time to hit Walmart, a place I'd always wanted to go (don't ask, I don't know why either) and get a few bits that I specifically wanted, including Crest Whitestrips that you can only get over there. 

Sarah and I bought a two-day ticket to Universal and Tuesday was the first of the days we used the ticket. We're both adrenaline junkies, so decided to ride all the rollercoasters and it was so great, such a rush. Harry Potter world was a dream to walk through, especially Diagon Alley, as well as the Hogwarts Express. Head to my Instagram page to see what happened, but there's some pictures below.

It was exhausting at Universal and I ended up with mild sunstroke as it was so hot (not something you want, trust me!) so thankfully on the second day of our 2-day ticket I was armed with a hat and sunglasses. Wednesday consisted of going to the pool and reading again, but also watching the hundreds of adverts for attorneys on American TV - not an ad break would go by without one. 

Weird ads and illness aside, the holiday and time off was so relaxing, not thinking about work or anything of the sort. Especially those days by the pool, without looking at screens too much and walking in nature really helps to clear your head and make you feel better about any worries (and I'm an intense worrier). 

Thursday it was back to being hurtled upside-down on rollercoasters as we headed back to Universal - this time deciding to tackle the Island of Adventures. It was bloody amazing, with all the great rides like The Hulk, The Cat In The Hat (one of my favourite films!) and Dr. Seuss land in general, it was awesome to explore them all. We also bought one of those refill cups each, as it costs $3 or so a drink and the cups were $15, with free refills all day so definitely take the opportunity to buy one if you can. 

Friday was our last full day in Orlando, and a packed one at that. All three of us went down to Daytona Beach, as my Dad visited in 1979 and wanted to see if it was any different. He wanted to drive along the beach (you can do that) but unfortunately it was shut. So went for a stroll instead which was so nice πŸ˜Š We went to check out the pier and I bought some s'mores ice cream from the local shop - it was amazing πŸ˜

Then Saturday arrived and it was time to go. Before that though, Sarah and I had some retail therapy at Orlando's premium shopping outlets where prices are really cheap. I bought a Kate Spade purse (as I was in the market for a new one) and a Coach cardholder (that I probably didn't need but it was on sale) and the total was around $75 for both: $55 for the purse and $20 for the cardholder. I love them and they take a proud place in my backpack.

We all had some lunch at G Mac's Place in Nona Beach, which is one of the golf player's restaurants (it was my Dad's choice hence knowing nothing about it) and the food was really good. It was then time to head to the airport and back to London.

I had the most amazing time and I would back to those Marriott villas in a heartbeat (or when I can afford it). It was the perfect break, and I'd like to thank my Dad for taking Sarah & I on holiday; it was everything we wanted and more.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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1 March 2018

February was an interesting month, and we in the UK are ending surrounding by a white blanket of snow, which is unusual for this time of year. I had a great February, including going on holiday to Florida (post about that coming soon) and being busy at work.

This month's playlist includes tunes new and old, including the usual suspects. The new stuff includes Imagine Dragons, new singles from Ciaran Lavery and Pop Evil as well as some old throwback tunes from Will Young and the UK's greatest boyband of the 00s, Busted. See the tracklist below and listen for yourself on Spotify (embedded below the tracklist).

1. Dancing - Kylie Minogue
2. Festival - RaeLynn
3. To Chicago - Ciaran Lavery
4. She's American - The 1975
5. I Got You - Josh Mirenda
6. Television Romance - Pale Waves
7. Breathe - Jax Jones, Ina Wroldsen
8. Thought It Was Gonna Be Me - Catherine McGrath
9. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
10. Waking Lions - Pop Evil
11. Devil - The Wandering Hearts
12. Rattle - The Wandering Hearts
13. Evergreen - Will Young
14. Personal Thunder - Will Young
15. Love Me - The 1975
16. It Ain't Me (with Selena Gomez) - Kygo
17. From Paris To Berlin - Infernal
18. Chocolate - The 1975
19. Whatever It Takes - Imagine Dragons
20. Loser Kid - Busted
21. What I Go To School For - Busted
22. Britney - Busted
23. Psycho Girl - Busted
24. Who's David - Busted

Hope you enjoyed this month's playlist, and hopefully find a new favourite artist or single!

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

13 February 2018

Unsurprisingly, I watch quite a lot of TV. I'm loving quite a few shows at the moment on a variety of platforms and I'm going to list them for your reading. You might find a new show that you can binge!

Takeshi's Castle
If you watched Challenge (a UK TV channel) at all in the late 90s or early 00s, as well as a very young Chris Tarrant hosting Who Wants To Be A Millionaire you would see a show called Takeshi’s Castle. It’s a Japanese game show where 100 “warriors” take on Takeshi’s Castle (an actual guy called Takeshi by the way, or a papier-mΓ’chΓ© head if he wasn’t there) to try and defeat him and his emerald guard.

You should seriously watch it, the games are mad in a way only the Japanese game shows can be and there’s some class outfits on show too. It’s commentated by Craig Charles (the Jonathan Ross one isn’t great) and he makes it, with phrases like “as my old grandad used to say” and “wakey wakey, for heavens sakey” making it a great watch. 

You can watch it on Challenge catchup and on YouTube. 

Jane The Virgin

I was recommended to check out this show via Snapchat - Cosmopolitan listed this as a show for me because of my star sign. I usually ignore these, but decided to see what Jane The Virgin was all about. By the end of Episode 1 I wanted to find out what happened to the complicated but intriguing characters. 

The storyline is fairly straightforward: a girl called Jane (who is catholic and therefore saving herself for marriage) get artificially inseminated by her doctor accidentally and then lots of drama happens that takes way too long to explain. 

Fast forward 4 months and I’m all caught up on 4 seasons of the show and am eagerly anticipating the next episode to be on Netflix on 3rd March. 

It’s streaming on Netflix everywhere, see what it’s all about HERE. If you’re in the US, it airs every Friday on CW. 

Vicar of Dibley

British comedy has a lot to exhibit, and The Vicar of Dibley is one of those great series that will be relatable through time. 

It depicts life in a tiny village with a female Vicar and the weirdos that make up the village’s parish council. It’s so funny and I love watching every episode, there’s little bits that are always missed. 

It’s available on catchup services and a playlist of episodes is on Dailymotion

The Grand Tour

Since the end of Top Gear for Jeremy, James and Richard, I’ve loved watching The Grand Tour. I love the cars on the show, as I’ve mentioned in my last post and the challenges are always fun to watch. The three presenters make it and the second season is their best yet.

It currently streams on Amazon Prime Video and is free to view for Prime members.

ITV News Programmes
It’s pretty weird to say that I love watching the news, but I watch it everyday that I can - it’s a staple of my lunchtime. Among all the news options these days, I just love ITV and their great presenters and correspondents, they all work so hard.

I may have mentioned it once, or twice (or 50 times) but I went to shadow the ITV News team last year - I wrote a post all about it which you can read HERE

You can catch ITV News on ITV weekdays at 1:30, 6:30 and 10PM. It’s on at varying times at the weekend due to what’s on telly that day, so check your local TV guide. You can also view the day’s news on the ITV News website or download the app

That rounds up my TV shows that I’m watching at the moment. Any favourites you’ve got that I should check out? Let me know below!

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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12 February 2018

I've been nominated to do the Versatile Blogger Award tag by the lovely Mary, so thank you for the nomination! I think it's great that we nominate each other for these kinds of things - makes for good reading and also you might find out something that you didn't know about the other person.

- Post 7 facts about yourself
- Nominate 15 bloggers to do this lovely tag πŸŒΈ

1. I'm a twin.
I'm starting with the basic facts and one that some of you might not know, I have a twin sister. Her name is Sarah and from seeing a picture of the two of us, you might assume that she's the older one, but that assumption would be wrong. I'm ten minutes older than her, but we don't hold it over each other at all. 

2. I can't drive (but I'm currently learning to!).
When you're 17, it's a rite of passage that you learn to drive and finally become free on the road. That didn't happen for me however, as I did a year of manual driving lessons in 2012 and didn't get on with it. However 5 years later I'm getting behind the wheel again, but in an automatic and I'm so excited to finally get my license!

3. I love puzzles and wordsearches.
I have a thing for wordsearches in particular, as they test your brain but also let you find new words that would never have known existed. I have a wordsearch app on my phone and I use it at once a day - it’s great for playing if you’re bored or on a long journey. 

4. I’m a lover of cars, and I don’t really know why. 
Even though I can’t drive, I really like cars - looking at them, seeing them being tested etc. It’s really interesting to see how they’re designed and engineered to be the best they can be. I liked watching Top Gear and now The Grand Tour, partly because of the presenters but also the great cars they have on the show(s). 

5. My dream is to be a published author.
I’ve always had a really vivid imagination, and have been writing short stories ever since I was little. I would love to write a whole book and maybe get it published or self-publish, but I really know what to write it about πŸ€”  in some ways I am the author of each post on this blog, but having a book to hold that I wrote would be so awesome. 

6. My favourite magazines to read are really ‘trashy’ ones. 
I like to read things like Real People and Chat, or what my dad would call “The Jeremy Kyle of magazines”, as I’m really nosy and like to hear about what’s going on in people’s lives πŸ™ˆ Some of the stories are actually quite inspirational, and some are quite shocking. They can also help raise great awareness of certain conditions and causes, so it’s not all bad. 

7. I love space and the stars ✨
I don’t really show this too much, but I do love looking up and seeing stars in the sky at night. I would to get more into astrology, especially considering I read my horoscope every week. I know it’s not real at all, but I like to see what they think my week is going to look like anyway. 

Those are 7 great facts about me, now I want to know about you! I tag following bloggers to do the same tag:

Hope you lovely ladies have a great time reading my post and writing your own!

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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9 February 2018

London-based Country/Americana foursome The Wandering Hearts might be a foreign name to you, but if you listen to the radio there's a chance you might have heard one of their tracks before. With lots of play on BBC Radio 2 and an interview on Bob Harris' Country Show among lots of publicity they've done, their debut album Wild Silence is out today.


The album starts as it means to go on, joyously upbeat and containing lots of captivating melodies. 'Devil' is a definite stand out track, with a quiet guitar strum accompanying the opening chords, drawing you in like a great offer you can't resist. Then it picks up into one of my current favourite tracks, which would be perfect on a driving playlist as its optimistic beat would be the perfect track to groove to on a long journey.

'If I Fall' slows the tempo a little, just to break it up a bit. If you thought that meant complacency, you would indeed be wrong. Record of The Day said of the band that they have "some of the best harmonies you'll have heard in years", and this song definitely promotes that, as they're seamless and make for spine-tingling listening.

'Rattle' is a percussion-soaked tune with a definite Country element, with an unexpected deep-voice bridge building up to a very bouncy crescendo in the chorus that continues until the next one. Think Sheppard's 'Geranimo' but with more guitar.

It took The Wandering Hearts 26 minutes to be discovered after putting their first ever demo on SoundCloud, and it's no wonder really - Wild Silence is an amazing exhibition of what they can do. Don't be surprised if you see them playing on the radio or touring in countries around the world. It also might make a few appearances in my monthly playlists.

Buy or listen to Wild Silence on iTunes, Spotify or Apple Music. Follow The Wandering Hearts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or visit their website to see what they're up to.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

*PR samples were sent. All opinions are my own. 

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