Catfish and The Bottlemen – Victoria Warehouse.

Freshly washed hair, well-kept Doc Martens and a brand new A-line skirt, it is safe to say I had NOT dressed for the occasion – but bloody hell it has been a long time since my last gig. After a year of god damn awful pop music – If I here even an utter of Drake’s One Dance again, I can not be held responsible for my actions – I was looking forward to listening to some decent music with a cold cider in hand. And Catfish and The Bottlemen were exactly what the doctor ordered. The northern heart-throbs always remind me of my carefree uni days when my best friend would always have the vinyl blaring from her room – God what I would do to go back to those days. Right, before I get too nostalgic. Here’s what Catfish and The Bottlemen had to say.

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Sticky floor, ten-year-old confetti stained ceiling and a thrown together stage – I knew it was going to be a good night. Gracing the stage with the banging opener, ‘Homesick‘, the crowd went from a civilised bunch of people apologising for the odd push to absolute chaos in a couple of seconds. People catapulting themselves headfirst onto complete strangers, lads grabbing on to the sweaty jackets of randomers to keep themselves upright and fan girls throwing themselves on shoulders to get a quick glimpse of Van – gah what a man. With my shoes well and truly christened, I was more than in the mood for the moshpits which were expected to follow. Banger after banger, the boys did far from disappoint.

With a fair mix of tunes off their old album, Balcony, and their newest treasure, The Ride, the crowd were truly spoilt. Having not listened to the new album as much as I had hoped before the gig – a few songs were a nice surprise. ‘Anything‘ is going to be a grower for sure. You know you’ve done well when you’ve got a catchy tune – you know the foot tapper type of tune. But when you’ve got genuis lyrics to go with it, you know you’ve nailed it. And that’s what Catfish have done on every single album. Fair play lads.

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Biggest tune of the night was of course ‘Kathleen‘. I don’t think my feet stayed on the ground at all for the whole of that. But what I do remember is choking on a the wispy curls of the girl in front of my during my heartfelt rendition of the song – it was rather inconvenient. Hairballs aside, it was nice to be surrounded by a cracking crowd who were there to waste every single ounce of oxygen belting out the tunes – rather than perfecting the best shot for a snapchat story. There is nothing worse. If I wanted to watch the band through a tiny screen I’d be sat at home on YouTube, tar.

Despite a wicked show, the lads lacked a little something – a few words perhaps. I’m not asking for a sit down chin wag about Brexit or the presidential debate. But a few words would have been nice. I think Van said about four words in total. It just seemed as though the gig was over in a flash and that was it. ‘Tyrants‘, no encore and home.

All in all, they were well worth the wait and I can not wait to see what they come up with next.

Peace out.

The Mad Grad 

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The fours for thought.

When it comes to fashion, there’s four gals who’ve got my back. For the I-refuse-to-wear-real-clothes Sundays, the shit-i’ve-got-an-hour-to-get-ready Saturdays and the I-refuse-to-get-up-earlier weekdays. These girls have got it sorted.

Megan Ellaby

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She’s a northern lass. She’s quirky. She has the best hair. So, I guess she’s an all round winner. She’s not afraid to experiment – but then again only she would be able to pull off sparkly shiver ankle boots with star print jeans. I’d just look like a massive dickhead. Everything just seems to work for her – jammy so and so. The moment I discovered her – when she went under the name asos_meg – my then waitrose wages started to dwindle. If she had it, I wanted it. Albeit she was a good 5″ taller than me, had sky scraper legs and locks to die for – I was convinced I could make whatever she wore work. Lol, wrong every time. She’s a grounded kinda gal. Prada sunglasses? Sure. But, I doubt she’s a stranger to Primark. Esp Manchester Primark. Like Alexa Chung, she likes to give two fingers up to everything which tries to get in her way. And she gave me a kick up the back-side to start blogging, play around with wacky pants and to pursue a career in something I love. Oh and we’re both a sucker for an artisan latte and a wardrobe full of Zara garms.

Alexa Chung

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Ok every girl has wanted to be Alexa Chung some time or another – don’t try to deny it. First off, she made up half of the sexiest celeb couple – gah, I need to find a boy who sends me love letters like Alex Turner. Although a boy at school used to do that and it was weird. I decided I wasn’t one for love poems after that. She’s been the face of the dreamiest magazine in the world, … actually planet, no scrap that… the universe – Vogue. I dream every day about working in their office. Ok, there might be a handful of people that think she’s a dickhead – but she means well. Gals, be grateful she is a feminist. I remember being asked the make or break question in an interview earlier this year, who is your biggest icon? The girl to my left said some woman president another said some random french author from about a million years ago. I must’ve looked like a right twat when I said Alexa Chung. Safe to say, I never got the job. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that – and I stand by my decision. She stands for a lot more than just fashion. She’s got a bit of fire – something I like to think I have every now and then.

Jenna Rink – 13 Going on 30 (aka Jennifer Garner)

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She perfected the god awful ‘spikey’ buns of the 90s (complete with the silver spiral twist clips) and bright blue eye-shadow. Out of all the films I’ve managed to watch right until the end – which has been few and far between – Jennifer Rink is the gal I can most relate to. Like me, She’s always dreamt of working for a fashion magazine. She had an obsession with dancing around her room to Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Ok we didn’t exactly have the same music taste. And she owed one of those hideous-off-the-shoulder-gem-encrusted-blue-top accessorised with two whole rolls of toilet paper. The one thing I haven’t done yet is wear my silky nightdress to work.. but I guess there is still time.

Felicity Jones

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Absolute hair goals – THE sweeping bangs girl. *quick fan girl moment* And boy does she knows how to don the peter pan collar. Ok she donned it went peter pan collars were in fashion. As much as I’m all for wacky patterns and quirky pants – she screams simple. But she makes simple so sophisticated. High neck jumpers and a polite-past-the-knee-skirt… Miss Jones nails it. Fav pic of all time has to be from her shoot with Vogue in 2014 – proper sixties. Baby blue coat with a dusty pink collar finished off with a Mary Quant-esk skirt. The outfit which dreams are made of. Icing on the cake? She’s a born and bred brummie – so there’s hope for us all. No matter how slow and stupid we sound.

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Who gets lost at Dot2Dot festival?

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So, I think I owe you guys an apology – it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been slacking on the blogging front. But, I’ll make it up to you – promise.  I don’t mean to rub it in – but I’ve been living the some sort of high life lately and haven’t had time to stop. From press nights at Turtle Bay to menu reviews at Missoula – I’ve basically been paid to eat my body weight in food and drink. Another rum punch? why not.

It’s been a very busy bank holiday. But, it started with a bang that’s for sure. I jetted off to Manchester for a day (and night) of unsigned bands, quirky venues and far too many ciders. It’s safe to say I’m still feeling the effects two days later. Ok, I guess it doesn’t help that I followed the ‘hair of the dog’ rule yesterday and had a generous tipple of gin at a family house party. But, it’s the bank holiday weekend and sleeping, eating and drinking is part and parcel, right?

Back to the festival, before I go on a sleep deprived tangent. The teeny-weeny festival – a cracking £12.50 a ticket – was scattered across Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Proper quirky. Like, who’d have thought you could watch Sundara Karma in a cathedral with a pint in hand? I know.

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I’ve been to a far few festivals, but this was something else. Ok, there was still the odd cup of piss flung in the air – but that’s a given. It was everything without the bullshit. No floral headbands, floor length kimono’s or 125ml bottles of wine in sight. It was just decent music for a change. We stuck to the pint-a-place rule so we could see as many acts as possible – and many acts we saw. By the end of the night, we had no sense of direction at all. Forget dot-to-dot festival – we walked the same circle three times to end up in the exact place we started. At least we found the kebab shop no bother. Saying that, we could sniff one out on a deserted island.  

Liss – a five man band from Sweden – tore the place apart in Soup Kitchen. Set in a grungy cellar – with make-shift toilets and stage – it was a real experience. We’d sacked the all-time favourite Mystery Jets off to see the unheardof band –  and it was well worth the risk. I’m all for sticky feet, sweaty hair and being packed in like sardines.

Dua Lipa were on point. Yet, the venue was past boiling point. Manchester’s Methodist Church was a literal sweat box. Vocally, she was wicked and she had real good stage presence (give or take the late arrival).

 

A festival up there at the top – it’ll definitely be on the cards for next year.

Ey up, a quick inside tip for anyone looking for somewhere ‘different’ for a drink

  • Soup Kitchen – kitted out with quirky furniture
  • Night and Day – proper chilled atmosphere
  • 57 Thomas Street – lush apricot cider

 

Until next time…

The Mad Grad

 

 

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Gym and Tonic – if only it was as good as the real thing.

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So, I’ve finally turned into the person. I’ve purchased a gym membership – ‘cancel any time’ – of course and I’ve planned a weekly routine. Send help.

Screw the beach body, Kim K bum and abs that look like baking trays – I’m doing it to keep fit. It’s so easy to get caught up in the work-life routine and forget about your own goals. It’s important to always put time aside for yourself. Whether it’s a stroll round a park, an hour watching your favourite TV series or a quick workout at the gym – sometimes you just need to ease your foot off the gas for a bit.

Let’s get one thing straight – I’m far from a ‘gym-head’. I’m that person who stares at a machine for ten minutes to figure out how it works. I’m also that person who can barely lift the lightest weights. Oh yeah, I’m also that person who has a half-hearted attempt a gym wardrobe. I’d much rather sweat in an Arctic Monkeys top. That way, at least if I can’t lift, people know I’ve got good music taste. Every cloud, ey?

I doubt I’ll be entering the World Championship body-building tournament or running a marathon any time soon. But, it’s all about one step at a time. I’ve always been a keen runner. Ok, keen and running should never be used in the same sentence. Let’s re-phrase that. I have two left feet, so I never made it as a dancer. And, height isn’t on my side, so I never made it as a netball player. So, I guess you could say running was a last resort. I was tactical – the 200m sprint was my forte. It was neither a sprint or trek.

Ok, I know I say I’m only joining the gym to wind down after work, yet I do have one goal in mind. I’ve done Race for Life, I’ve competed for Sparkhill Harriers and I’ve played for Sheffield Hallam’s Gaelic football team. But, there is still one thing to tick off – Mudderella. So, let’s see how that plans out.

Watch this space.

The Mad Grad

 

 

 

 

 

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“No, it’s not Ashton, it’s Aisling. That’s A-I-S-L-I-N-G”

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Well, that’s a wrap. I made it the end of the week without any major fuck-ups. Yeah, major is the imperative word here. But, it could have gone a lot worst. Believe me. Ok, I might have had heart palpitations, a tied tongue and a spate of shakes when I made my first phonecall. But, I still managed to pluck up the courage to do it. We’ll just ignore the fact it took three hours to do so.

It’s weird – I’m practically an adult now. Like, I have my own you-can’t-see-much-because-it’s-covered-in-sticky-notes desk, a fancy office phone (which I’ve soon discovered actually works) and a fully functioning email address. Woah – calm down. Fashion wise? I get to wear fancy shoes, fitted pencil skirts and elegant dresses – it’s bliss.

Saying that, it hasn’t been plain sailing. It’s a challenge and I’ve got a lot to learn. Writing is my passion and when I’m blogging words just roll off my tongue – but news writing is a completely different kettle of fish. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. And it’s an it’s an art I’m eager to master. I know it’ll come in time and the penny will drop – I’m just very impatient.

As far as work environments go, it’s pretty awesome. Everyone is so chilled and the room is constantly full of flying banter. Of course, I’m always the brunt of the jokes. But you wait, you wait until I’m all settled. They’ll need a tub of sudocreme for the burns. They’ll soon see the punny side. Joking aside, they’re a cracking bunch and have made me feel proper welcome.

Sticking to my word – even though I’ve settled into a job – it’s the year of experience. The first hurdle? shorthand. It’s shapes and symbols, so if it’s anything like algebra – I’m screwed. With that in mind, I’m proper excited to get my teeth into it and whip its ass. But let’s not get cocky – I haven’t started it yet.

So, the good news is that I’m going back for another week. They haven’t managed to scare me off. Not yet anyway. Although it’s difficult, I’m excited to grow and find my niche as a journalist. I know I’ve made the right decision and I’m full of beans to see where it will take me.

For now? It’s about nailing an Intro.

Over and out.

The Mad Grad.

 

 

 

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How to dress your way into a job.

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Eat, sleep, job hunt – repeat. That’s life post-grad. So, if you’re lucky enough to bag yourself an interview – fix up and look sharp. You can bet your bottom dollar your choice of shoe will say much more than 12 GCSE’s (… what are they again?)

Here’s a few tips to get you on your way:

Keep it Conservative.

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Scrap your CV, Linkedin and over-compensated cover letter – it’s all about first impressions. It’s like X Factor (the difference is you only get one shot). Keep it conservative, classy and clean (Of Course). Remember, you’re applying for a job not a position on Take Me Out. You may be £27,000 in debt, have a non-existent social life and be living at home, but the last thing you want is to look desperate – keep it subtle. A simple, flattering shirt coupled with a tailored pair of trousers can work wonders. You’ve got one chance to make your mark – so use your accessories to make a statement.

 

Put some spring in your step

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Tried and tested; vibrant colours, patterned pants and petite peep toes are the passport to a second interview. Dress like you don’t want to be forgotten and left on the shelf. For Pete’s sake – get creative, be original and inject a bit of life into your outfit. After all,  you’ve probably got under half an hour to sell yourself (no, not in that way). So, let your outfit do the intro. Black, ill-fitted, nylon trousers are so ten years ago. Unconventional, extremely comfortable and only-to-be-worn-with-white-knickers, these patterned pants are definitely the way forward. Chuck in a bold top and you’ll be onto a winner (S’alright, just thank us later).

 

The LBD

IMG_2121A girl’s best friend – Little Black Dress. Like a Maccies after a night out – it never disappoints. It’s an item which completes every woman’s wardrobe. Believe me. Simple, sophisticated and stylish, the LBD is the interview outfit. I bet you never thought you could look so professional. Karen Brady, watch your back girl. Perfectly complimented with a pair of mid-heel court shoes and a classy watch, you’ll be more than ready to get down to business. So, get in there and show them who is boss!

Happy hunting.

The Mad Grad

 

 

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You’ve got the Job!

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Reverse back a few weeks – to the point where I was having a mid-life crisis. I’d been rejected from a job I thought fit the bill for me. Now I realise how very wrong I was. Yesterday, I attended an interview at the Solihull Observer for the role of a News reporter/editor. Call me stubborn, persistent or maybe even lucky – but I got offered it within half an hour of the interview.

Alright, it’s only a local paper and the salary isn’t the best – but it’s a start. I’ve got one foot on the ladder and I’m going to climb. It’s the start of an adventure. They’ve even offered to support me through my NCTJ exams to become an accredited journalist. Who’d have thought it?

Of Course, I’m petrified to leave Waitrose – a job I’ve been settled in for 5 years – and it’ll be strange leaving everything behind. But, I know it’s something I needed to do (and soon). It’s a family. I’ve grown so much in the 5 years of working there (and I’m not just talking about height). Yet, I’m sure they’re all grateful that they’ll never have to hear my awful jokes and face my dry humour again. Joking aside, I think I’m more devastated about the fact I’m losing my discount card – no more treats for me.

I’m excited for the future and determined to make something of myself. As I proved to myself, anything is possible. I can’t finish up without making a reference to my guide-to-life-film, Confessions of a Shopaholic. Rebecca Bloomwood (who is just as ditzy as me) worked her way up from Successful Savings to Alette magazine. So, who know’s.

Watch this space.

The Mad Grad. 

 

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