Us the duo: No matter where you are

Back in 2015 a six second clip caught my attention. Showing only two mouths covering Calvin Harris’ recent club hit How deep is your love, I was captivated. A short internet search and I was welcomed with open arms into the family of Us the duo, or just Us, as they were known in the early days.

The duo, made up of husband and wife team Michael and Carissa Alvarado, are not only fabulous performers; they’re absolute fucking couple goals. A quick browse of their charming YouTube and it’s difficult to not be besotted. Video after video of covers and their own original catchy tunes, paired with the total obvious adoration they hold for each other and I was a changed woman, which is why when I heard they were coming to the UK headlining their first European tour I was dangerously close to requiring a triple heart bypass.

For the first time in my life I actually understood what the classic Pointer Sisters meant when they wrote their hit I’m so excited – after years of following (and falling for) a band which meant so much to me personally, I was going to be able to witness the magic LIVE.

Now i’m not going to lie to you – even though I could recite the proposal video, the wedding song and the aforementioned Vine from memory, I had never really concerned myself too much with their original tracks. As a self proclaimed super fan, there was no chance in hell that I was going to rock up to the venue (closest gig was in Sound Control, Manchester) without being able to join in, so back to the good old trusty internet for some
swotting up. After a brief search I was able to obtain the set list from another genuis, amazing, like-minded individual who had been witness to their sorcery in Dallas, US. I made a playlist, and for the next couple of weeks drove my family crazy blasting the duo’s trademark folk-pop tunes.

Then came the gig itself. A mad rush down the M60 stretched out for what seemed like forever, due to the fact my companion had been kept late at work. You can probably imagine my utter joy at hearing this…of all bloody nights! That aside I decided it best to not get my knickers in a twist – Within a few hours I was going to be watching a band that I had only ever seen on the internet…I wasn’t even sure these guys were actually real!Screenshot_20170320-130900.png

Descending the stairs into the main room the atmosphere was bustling. Soft covers and melodies filled the air and bounced off the red brick walls whilst the eager fans (like myself) attempted inconspicuously to get as close to the stage as possible without offending anyone (c’mon, it’s a British thing!). As close as nerves would allow, it wasn’t long until a chance look over my shoulder allowed me to see Michael and Carissa wading through the crowd – I could have died.

Starting off their set with a medley of hits from 2016 proved popular, as within minutes everyone in the audience was joining in, albeit a little less rowdy than what I was used to. The couple held their own and treated us to a range of songs from their new EP Public Record, complimented by their naturally humourous personalities. I was in my element. Singing as loudly as I could, the relentless practising had paid off and word for word crooned along to songs which effectively tell us the story of their lives. Magic

Quite quickly I twigged that the audience were there for arguably their most famous song, No matter where you are, and unfortunately this was apparent, as at times through no fault of their own the atmosphere felt a bit…flat. In addition, my only other grumble is purely down to the layout of the venue itself, as a wide concrete bollard inches from the stage hampered our view. This was not unnoticed by the band though, and they made a conscious effort to keep peering around said bollard to engage with us throughout the gig.

Personal highlights included Goodbye Forever and Fighting for you, yet a request constantly repeated from the audience (Oasis’ Wonderwall…this is Manchester I suppose) sealed off what I had completely expected; a stellar performance from two complete professionals, accompanied with the coolest, happiest, well written songs I could think of. I’m so pleased I had the chance of attending this gig, as it really did sum up for me exactly why I do what I do – for finding the relatively unknown, and witnessing the genuine magic that they create.

Until next time,

Jen x

Advertisements

Dublin (- adingdong) PART 2: The shit bits

Ok my lovely readers, now I have well and truly buttered you up with the fabulous traits a beautiful city like Dublin has to offer, It’s time to get real.

Prior warning people – This is by no means meant to piss off any hardcore Dublin fans. It is merely one ladies’ (lol) opinion on what i have said is a beautiful, energetic city.

Right, now that’s out of the way…

1. €9.00 FOR A CARLSBERG?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

Jesus Christ almighty Dublin, I know capitalgogartys-temple-bar-districtcities are known for being dear and going large and that but frig me I was genuinely astounded at this hike from £2.80 a pint in my local! Unfortunately, It didn’t stop there either. €13.00 for a single Vodka. €4.00 for

a tin of Diet Coke. €7.00 for a day pass on the tram!? Honestly, I am no skinflint. Literally, every holiday I go on I overtake money just in case I miss out on anything. But Mary Mother of God over €200 euros on a two night stop is literally enough to put me off coming back forever. Such a shame.

2. Homeless  😥 😥 😥

This is an unfortunate reason to tar my trip in Dublin as I’m assuming all is being done to combat such an issue in a capital city, but nonetheless it completely altered my time there. Why on earth is there so many homeless people on the streets of Dublin? As a reasonably seasoned traveller, I’ve genuinely never seen anything like it. After dolling out change to the first couple (perhaps slightly naive of me on reflection) it was quickly becoming apparent that should i continue, i’d be joining them, so the purse went back in the knock off and the hard faced cow came out.

3. Cannot believe I am writing this but…Where are all the Irish at!?

Go on guys, call me a hypocrit. A tourist, complaining about the amount of tourists, in the tourist area, of a capital city of a country. What a numpty – yes I know – however when compared with the fact I literally heard about three Irish accents the entire weekend, my ‘P.S I Love You’ montage’s were a complete fucking waste of time! Dublin, I was expecting my Gerard Butler, and all you provided was a Kirk from Corrie lookalike…gutting!

So there we have it. The results are in, the shots have been fired.

I really loved Dublin. Great company paired with a smashing apartment has ensured that the memories will always be pleasent ones. Unfortunately though, they will only ever stay memories, as I cannot see myself going back any time soon.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Jen x

 

Dublin (- adingdong) PART 1: The good points

Wowzerstrousers ladies and gents, this chick has just got back from a girly weekend in Dublin(-adingdong, as i have since proudly coined) and what an experience!

What exact type of experience, i’m not quite sure…

I know I had a great time. In all fairness, it is very rare I travel somewhere new and don’t enjoy myself. However, there are a few things that have…how do i put this…left a bad taste in my mouth(!?), and before all you filthy animals start accusing me of being rank, let me explain.

Ok, it is probably a lot fairer if I begin with the things I really, really loved.

1. Public Transport system rocks my socks.

Clean, un-smelly, fast, often…I loved the trams! After years of dodging the piss-stained seats of the Manchester tram system, I literally wanted to cry eve
ry time I boarded these heavenly tin cans. Not the cheapest, but we will get to that…

2. Temple Bar area is amazing.

Urgh the beauty of this place really grinds my gears. Due to the fact that we went at (what I’m assuming) is the best time of year, the bar itself was decked outemplebardublint in all its Christmas glory. Love, Love, Love! Massively made up for the absence of Christmas markets…(more on that next week!). Also tied with this is the music. Categorically, best live music I have ever experienced; Just sheer amazing-ness, at all times of day. Don’t tell anyone but I may have cried at Galway Girl. MAY HAVE!! The chaps performing always were the top of their game and really knew how to get the crowds bouncing, and bounce we did!

3. The food is to fucking die for…

…in most places. For some reason, it seemed like the majority of people from Dublin are  obsessed with (historically) one of the most precious combinations known to man – chips, cheese and garlic sauce *insert 200 heart emoji’s here*. As an avid garlic fiend by day this was like music to my ears, eyes, taste…all the senses. Props to the food in general in all honesty – even the supermarkets (and even the 100 million SPAR’s which line the streets) had an amazing, mouthwatering selection of shit. Jeeeeez check me out, actually impressed with the range of food on offer in a corner shop, I am getting more and more like my mother every day…fucks sake!

4. Lovely lotemple-streetcals

Whilst wandering through the main sections of the tourist districts (town centre, temple bar; various historical artifacts which i definitely got out of bed bright and early to see. In the rain. With a raging hangover) it is very clear to see why every local was friendly as fuck. We, as tourists, must make up a fair whack of their trade annually, if not entirely. That being said, a lot of the locals were really accommodating when us scuzzy bitches were asking where would be cheapest to get a Carlsberg, so fair play. Shame I couldn’t pull one! For the life of me, cannot see why!

Fingers crossed if you are on your way to Dublin in the near future, this post fills your heart with joy. 

However, if you are on your way to Dublin soon, I would advise you don’t read my next post, as I will be revealing my shit parts.

As always, let me know what you think down there (oi oi!).

Jen x

 

 

 

Albufeira Old Town – The do’s and don’ts

Fresh off the plane and there is something I need to share with you all.

Albufeira’s Old Town is stun.

I’m not joking here. What a lovely place! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows…here are my do’s and don’ts for your trip.

Absolutely do…

The beach. As you can imagine, in peak holiday time the whole bloody place was heaving (no complaints though!), so we decided to get our arses out of bed and thunder down to the beach towels in arms at 8am. This was a mistake. Nothing really gets going, or opens in fact, until about 9am, regardless of it being summer holidays. That being said, we chose to rent an umbrella and two padded sun loungers and because of our haste we nabbed the ones with the best view and closest to the toilets and shops, so not all doom and gloom. These were saving graces in all honesty and definitely worth the money, as come 9am the beach begins to fill up, and fast – you won’t believe how busy it was! And all for €15 per day – bargain if you ask me.

BeachWe took full advantage of the tremendous amount of water activities on offer and rented a pedalo, which is great fun…if you’re 12 or a group of more than two people. Not for the bloody life of us could we steer it correctly, cut to us spending an hour frantically peddaling out of the jet boat section of the water. Not fun, and friggin hard work!

Absolutely do not…

Get annoyed with the beach sellers. Yes, they are there all day, singing the same tune about fresh pineapple and watermelon. Yes, it is an absolute bloody rip off for a snide MK bag. But at the end of the day, they are doing their job, and if you take a minute to talk to them, they are the friendliest sellers I have ever been approached by. There’s normally an interesting tale of where they are from in there also, so ask the right questions!

Absolutely do…Old Town 4

Take your head out of cyber space and wander around the Old Town. Don’t get me wrong, the shops are purely tourist driven, so don’t be expecting Oxford Road, but it is lovely just to have a wander around. This is where the Old Town really becomes alive at night also, with decent food and lots of live music and drinks to cater for everyone. Highlights for us included a mexican tucked away across from Meet Bar in the corner which did ENORMOUS portions and Atrivum (think that’s what it was called) which was right in the heart of everything for drinks.

Absolutely do not…

Miss happy hour, if that’s what you’re there for. Drinks can be a bit pricey when it’s not happy hour, and when it gets to 10pm and you realise that between the two of you that you have spent €180, you start to feel a bit queasy, and it’s most definitely NOT the drink.

OldTown1*Side note – they do not water down their alcohol here, like you would get in several holiday hot spots around Europe, so do take care and stay with whoever you’re travelling with. Stick to your limits and remember, cocktails are LETHAL, and let’s face it, who wants to waste a day being stuck in bed hungover?

Finally, absolutely do…

Just enjoy your time. The Old Town, albeit only half of what Albufeira has to offer, is great fun for all members of the family. You won’t be disappointed with what this lovely place has to offer, and I know i will certainly be revisiting.

BEST FOR: Couple Holidays, Stag and Hen Do’s, Family Holidays…it really is a place that is best for everyone. We had no trouble, and no one got too rowdy. 4/5!

Jen x

How to beat the post holiday blues

Sigh; after a week of sunning myself poolside and eating as many carbs as I could get down my throat, it’s back to reality for me. Granted, quite probably for the best (Snack bar server at the pool had given me the super cute nickname of ‘chicken nugget’, and no, it’s not because I look like one…) however no matter how many luxurious retreats I wangle my way onto, I still find it really difficult getting back to normality on my return.

Certainly I cannot be the only one?

Quick WhatsApp round to the chicas and the evidence is clear – this horrendous affliction is suffered by everyone on the planet, and so I thought that being the considerate bitch that I am, I would create a fascinating guide on how to combat this horrendous affliction.

1. Unpack – Get that shit out of your life.

The complete worst part of coming home for me is staring at the suitcase which I have unsuccessfully attempted to hide behind my bedroom door. Get that shit cleaned out and packed away! Less crap to clutter up your living space = happy mind.

2. Live in your holiday memories as long as humanly possible.

Give your nearest and dearest a blow-by-blow of what you got up to, and I mean everything. “Hey guess what on holiday we saw some really cute cats” or “OMG on holiday you will never believe it, a waiter had the funniest joke about sangria i almost pissed my pants” etc etc. Who gives a shit if by the end of the week they are silently screaming to their selves “OMG I DONT GIVE A FUCK”. Haters gonna hate!!

And once you have worn those beautiful memories out…

3. Occupy your mind with ANYTHING other than these thoughts.

After about a week, you will 100% be getting severely down about how much fun you had, and why it’s so unfair that you’re no longer there. STOP IMMEDIATELY. MOVE ON. Don’t waste any more brain energy! You had fun, that’s great! Now get back to reality. Seriously, your friends will appreciate it.

4. Pamper yourself.pamper

What better way to wipe away your tears than to go out and transform yourself back into that stun princess who boarded that Boeing 737? Revel in it; enjoy your tan, get your hair sorted, shave, who gives a fuck! Just make yourself feel good again. It will  be worth it, trust me.

 

5. Get pissed with who you went away with.

The mandatory meeting of the people who are in the same boat as you. You will all be able to be glum together and wade through the amazing memories you have all created. If this doesn’t cheer you up, then the answer is simple…

6. Book another jolly!

This is can testify for. Get yo’self a one way ticket back to funtown, and then the countdown begins again!

Take my advise guys, it’s important and if we all work together, in no time we will have beaten this monster forever. If you think i’ve missed anything, have a comment at the bottom.

You know what I’m going to say; if all of this doesn’t work, there’s always Vodka!

Jen x

OPERATION ORGANISE: How to ensure you have packed all of your holiday essentials

Well the day has finally come – I’m off on my jollies tomorrow! That’s right, the annual last-minute nightmare of attempting to cram everything I own bar the kitchen sink into my tiny hand luggage case (many thanks, Ryanair) is upon me, except this time things  will be different.

I refuse to be a victim! Gone are the days that this chick is up until 2 hours before the taxi weeping silently into my memory foam travel pillow (which can I just say was a complete waste of time and money: sleep + flights = BULLSHIT). This time round i have it completely under control, and nothing is going to get in my way. But what is this mystical solution i speak about? Surely there cannot be a simple answer to this age-old issue? Well folks, there is. You heard it here first; PLANNING (altogether now: oooooh).

From the tiniest things (Gold Primark Hoops) to the most obvious (Beach Towel), nothing has gone amiss.

Planning

Nothing has been missed (sweat off!)

I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty of what I have planned, nor will I patronise you with what you should pack – dang it you is probably a grown ass person, you should know. However, I have broken it down into little subcategories that make it simpler for my tiny mind.

 

Starting from the top, we have; Face with essentials such as make up and overnight cream; Hair with everything down to bobby pins; Clothing (this is where it gets painful) which includes a full set of evening outfit ideas for each night staying, a full set of daytime clothes which can be thrown on and a full list of jewellery corresponding to which outfit they are for; Swimming (again, equally as painful…oh i do love being a woman!) inclusive of each of my five swimsuits and my three pairs of flip-flops and finally Miscellaneous which holds everything that doesn’t quite fit into the other categories (chargers, iPod docking station etc).

Now I’m not going to lie to you. This whole exercise has probably been one of, if not THE greatest procrastination experience I have ever indulged in. However, it sure has lifted a weight from my shoulders and soothed my chaotic, messy mind. Hey, one less job before I go I suppose! What’s in your holiday essentials? Comment below.

As for me? I’m clocking off – one too many Piña colada’s calling my name! I’ll try to update you as and when I’m sober enough, no promises though!

Jen x

Beach

Don’t be too jel bitches!

SOS: To backdate or not to backdate?

Life as I know it is pretty simple. I’m not being modest when I write that – I fill my life with pretty things and live simply. That being said, when pretty things mostly consist of adventurous donut toppings and living simply is just a flowery way of saying I am eternally skint, I’m not too sure if I qualify for such an ambiguous introduction.

Sitting at my desk daydreaming my summer break away, I had a dream. I’m not going to lie, we’re not talking on quite the same scale as old MLK right now, but we’re pretty damn close. I need to do something. Anything. Just not nothing, which is exactly what I currently do; I go to work to earn for my ridiculous lifestyle choices (champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget springs to mind) and then I go home, cook, clean, think about exercising whilst ramming a Slimming World lighter life chocolate bar down my throat, think about ways to avoid exercising whilst ramming another Slimming World lighter life chocolate bar down my throat, get ‘upset’ that I have no time left to exercise, pack up and come back to work. Completely and utterly fucking boring.

How at the ripe old age of 22 am I feeling like this?!

So I have decided to make a change. Take control. Or attempt too. Let’s call it a ‘personal little project’, so I don’t scare myself too much. Nothing too tying (ooh er) with absolutely no rules – just a space for me to clear my head and get my experiences down before I forget them, which leads me to the big question…

To backdate or not to backdate?!

Is this blog going to be my experiences going forward, after I have had quite frankly a frigging amazing summer? What about all of the fantastic holidays and horrendous pictures I could bore the internet with?!? OMG WHAT ABOUT ALL OF MY BELOVED (and massively popular) FOOD REVIEWS ON TRIPADVISOR!?!?!?

Gah! Way too much thinking for one day. I guess i will simply have to sleep on it. Now where did I hide those chocolate bars…

Jen x