soundtrack series: december

It’s December. December.

I say this every month, but where did that time go?

So far it’s been chaos: new job, new city, new house. But in among the crazy, I’ve also discovered some new songs which have kept me sane and have been added to my playlist thanks to Meg and her family.

Christmas hasn’t really been hot on my agenda this year (and even though it’s happened, it feels like a million moons ago) so most of these songs are just good to dance along to in the kitchen – all year round.

Here’s my five:

1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love

The perfect Christmas duet, Meg and I can be found singing along to this randomly in impromptu moments when we’re in the same room. Weirdly we’ve even managed to start singing it at the same time unplanned, and it has been constantly stuck in my head all month.

2. Mr Brightside – The Killers

This features in arguably one of the most relatable movie scenes I’ve ever seen. Cameron Diaz headbanging to this after a few too many tipples is something I can watch and get on board with. We’ve all had one of those moments, and what a tune to headbang to.

3. Jump – Girls Aloud

I am not the only one who dances along to Hugh Grant, surely? December wouldn’t be December without the annual showing of Love Actually in the living room, complete with mid-film-quoting and the Girls Aloud danceathon, led by the Prime Minister himself. Not a song I’m usually partial to, but who can resist at Christmas?

4. The Tide Is High – Atomic Kitten

As well as moving to Sheffield and starting a new job, I also seem to have been recruited into a new, up-and-coming girl band ‘0114 Girls.’ Coming home after work I now find myself partaking in band practice, complete with dance routines and attempted three part harmonies. It. Is. Gold.

5. Angel In The Night – Basshunter

Top of the list for our pre-drink playlist, this was played several times over the month. New Year’s Eve partying started with a solid twenty minutes of pure Basshunter (and headbanging). Starting the New Year as we mean to go on!

Any songs you’d recommend from this month? Let me know!

love sophie

soundtrack series: november

It’s been a busy bee kind of month (isn’t every month!?) and I’ve found myself rarely listening to music just for the fun of it. I’ve moved (yep, that’s right. You can read all about it here) and changed jobs and now my usual routine has vanished.

I am no longer singing (and dancing) along to eighties classics from a speaker in an empty bookshop, but rather I’m sat on a tram with headphones in, trying to drown out the tram speakers and the beeping doors constantly opening and closing to let on more commuters.

I’m excited to have a fun few weekends coming up where I’m out adventuring with good friends, good food, and hopefully some good music which will make an appearance in my December soundtrack series.

As for November, here goes:

1.Norah Jones – A Long Way Home

An absolute classic. The Long Way Home has been on my marmalade skies playlist since it was created, and I never bore of listening to it. I love her voice, and her songs are great to listen to at any time of day. I also enjoy listening to the Norah Jones Radio on Spotify. If you have it I’d 10/10 recommend!

2. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

The Boss is back, but this time in true original glory. This one has made its way onto my soundtrack series before, but as a cover. This month the original has been blasted from my speakers more times than I can count. I blooming love Bruce.

3. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World

It’s all eighties at the moment, especially living with Meg! This is just one example of the tunes blasted out the kitchen radio when Heart 80s is on. We do like to have a boogie when we’re washing up, so what’s better to dance to than the 80s?

4. Sara Bareilles – She Used To Be Mine

I love Sara, but only came across this song when I listened to the Norah Jones radio. I absolutely loved it and added it to my playlist straight away. It’s now a regular running through my ears on my commute, and I love it. It’s good for getting me geared up for work, but doesn’t make me want to dance in public (apparently it’s not appropriate on an 8am tram.)

5. James Blunt – 1973

Last but no means least comes from this beauty. And what a tune. I absolutely love James Blunt and was devastated when I didn’t get tickets to see him when he showed up in Leeds for the night. I started singing the first line to Simon, the cat, when I moved to Sheffield and the song has since stuck.

Let me know what you’ve been listening to!

soundtrack series: october

Along with the blog’s first birthday, and my new job, it’s been a busy one this month! I did however make it out of the house for some treat trips which was nice, including seeing A Star Is Born at Cottage Road which was AMAZING! I’d definitely recommend going to see it if you haven’t – it’s definitely had an influence on the soundtrack series this month.

In no particular order, here are my top five of October…

1. A Star Is Born Soundtrack

Okay, I know there is a lot more than one song on the soundtrack, but I just loved it. A firm favourite is Shallow, sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, as well as Music To My Eyes, and Maybe It’s Time. Gorgeous songs, gorgeous film!

2. Freya Ridings – Lost Without You

The lyrics in this song are absolutely divine (if you listen closely.) The soft piano backdrop is all her voice needs because it is stunning. It’s slow, one for a cold night reading, or snuggled up in blankets. Be warned, tears may be shed.

3. Trampled By Turtles – Wildflowers

I love this song. It’s got a bit of Noah And The Whale about it, and it’s a quiet but upbeat one I can imagine on in the background of a film where sandcastles are being built on the beach. It’s good in the car, and when you’re cooking (IMO.)

4. Nirvana – Come As You Are

I watched Definitely, Maybe on Netflix earlier this month, and ever since I’ve had this song practically stuck in my head on repeat. It’s a good one, and also features on my driving playlist.

5. Green Day – Jesus Of Suburbia/Whatsername

I’ve been spending a lot of time in and out of other people’s cars this month, particularly going on longish journeys with my brother, and I’ve found the only CD he seems to own is Green Day. I like them, and do listen to them, but now I feel like I know all the lyrics from their American Idiot album, and am all maxed out. It’s loud, and some of the songs make you want to drive a little faster, but they’re good, and I’m rather prone to a singalong.

 

What have you been listening to this month? Let me know!

love sophie

soundtrack series: december

December is such a throwback month for music, dusting off cobwebs from some Christmas favourites I wish could be played all year.

Compiling a list of my favourite songs this month was so hard as I wanted to list most of the charts. There’s nothing better than singing along to a Christmas classic whilst baking up some winter goodness.

I’m not a big music buff, and dip in and out of genres and artists, so I’ve enjoyed sharing my soundtrack series this year, in the hope it might introduce you to artists you haven’t heard of before. I find that if you like one specific genre, it can be easier to stick with it instead of venturing out into the unknown. (My dad is a stickler for this – apparently music from his era is the only ‘good’ music out there!)

So I bring you my 12 songs of Christmas (because 5 just wasn’t enough)…

1.Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues

Always at the top of any Christmas soundtrack I write, Fairytale of New York is my ultimate Christmas singalong. Whether I’m at home, driving in the car, or out and about, it’s on every playlist I listen to in December. Who doesn’t love The Pogues?

2. River – Eminem & Ed Sheeran

I like this song so much that it’s often on repeat and the volume is turned up as soon as I hear it. It’s quite catchy and good to listen to if you’re wrapping presents and not yet in a very Christmassy mood.

3. Let Me Go – Hailee Steinfield

A great background song which at first, I really didn’t like. After a few listens, however, I’m a fan. Not my favourite song from 2017 but it’s a good one.

4. Anywhere – Rita Ora

A good for everything song which I think is one of my faves from 2017. Not usually a huge fan of Rita Ora but I like the chorus (and know all the words which helps).

5. New Rules – Dua Lipa

I need Dua Lipa to write me a rule book to life because it’s just so true. The lyrics of this song are great and it reminds me of dancing around the kitchen in Edinburgh on a girly weekend away.

6. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Another Christmas classic comes from Band Aid. I love the original version but the modern one is equally as good. I always associate Christmas with a small collection of songs, this one included. It wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

7. Christmas Lights – Coldplay

I absolutely love Coldplay, and would say they appear in most of my playlists. And I’m not usually a fan of modern day Christmas songs, but I absolutely love the mellowed out sound. The piano introduction is really magical.

8. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard

I adore this song. It’s incredibly cheesy and corny, but it’s so catchy and I really do wish it could be Christmas everyday sometimes!

9. Reggaetón Lento – CNCO & Little Mix 

I might not know any of the words, but this is one of my favourite songs of this year. I make up the lyrics when I sing along because I love it (and wish I could remember the words.)

10. Havana – Camila Cabello

Such a good song to do anything to. Not too loud, but loud enough to enjoy wherever. great for driving (and singing along to) and great lyrics. An easy listener.

11. Perfect – Ed Sheeran & Beyonce

Although I wasn’t originally a huge fan, the Beyonce version of Perfect has definitely grown on me. I love Ed and his music, and like Beyonce and hers but didn’t imagine them ever crossing over. But I like.

12. Roots – Grace Davies & Paloma Faith

I’m not a huge fan of The X Factor anymore, but I watched the final this year and loved the addition of original songs. This one was one of my favourites. It’s such a humble song and I adore the lyrics. Paloma is also a gem.

So there you go! It was very tough to whittle it down to just twelve, and there are lots more which I’ve loved listening to that will no doubt make an appearance in the new year.

Have a good one x

love sophie

soundtrack series: november

Along with my classic playlists (those ones you can rely on for awkward car journeys or as background music for a cuppa with someone you don’t really know) I’ve ventured out this month.

I’ve listened to quite a varied selection. With prep going on for the my trek, and the trek itself, I’ve been listening to a lot of upbeat and motivational songs. One of my fellow trekkers compiled a playlist for us all to listen to and I’ve been doing exactly that!

I’ve also just begun planning a big exciting Irish adventure for 2019 with my friend, Meg, which has meant listening to lots of Irish music to get me in the mood. (We had a good dance around the kitchen as a break from logistics.)

So here’s my top five picks for November. I’m not feeling as Christmassy as I’d like at the moment so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait till next month for a special Christmas edition (It’s a good one.)

  1. The Dubliners

I mean, come on. Is there any better band to listen to whilst planning an Irish adventure? I’m absolutely in love with all of their songs but there are a couple which can (do) end up on repeat. I also think they’re a bit of a toe tapper (or a full blown jig if you’re me and Meg.)

If you haven’t heard of them, I’d recommend listening to The Irish Rover (what a classic!) as well as Seven Drunken Nights (which is hilarious!!) I’ll Tell Me Ma is also a good one, but with only one arm I couldn’t dance to it properly so that’ll be one for when I finish physio!

2.  Keira Knightley

Before I went to Oman, I watched Begin Again (for the millionth time) after discovering it in summer. I absolutely love the film, and the soundtrack, with a lot of love for Lost Stars, and Like A Fool.

(The whole soundtrack and film are worth a listen/watch!) I’m a fan of Lost Stars when I’m writing or driving and need to concentrate a bit.

3. Heather Small 

Proud has been a common choice for backing tracks to the videos people have been making of our trek. It’s a lovely song, and very motivational. It is a hit with me, and a belter.

Great for those solo car journeys when you know (hope) no one is listening!

4. Dido

Whilst travelling to the airport, home from the airport, and everywhere in between, I listened to a lot of Dido. She’s a good one to listen to if you’re in need of a chill. I sang Sand In My Shoes as we were joking about having the desert dust in our socks and boots for weeks. And that was on the middle of a mountain.

I also love White Flag, one of my absolute favourite Dido bangers. And Life For Rent. They’re great to listen to when you need to concentrate too, and I often have them on in the background when I’m writing.

5. The Foo Fighters

When we got to the top of Jebel Qihwi in Oman, the final summit, we arrived to Learn To Fly, one of my favourite Foo Fighter songs, being blasted from one of the cars. We also listened to Everlong, amongst others, as we welcomed everyone to the top.

It was such a special moment and one that I’ll forever associate with The Foo Fighters, and I’ll always remember it when I hear their songs on the radio. How incredible.

 

That’s a wrap on Novembers soundtrack, but I’ll be back in December with my top five Christmas songs.

Happy Listening, let me know your thoughts!

loce sophur

 

unintentional inspiration

I did the school run with my mum this morning and it was such a blast from the past going back to my old primary school, which I left ten years ago! I was amazed at the different changes that have happened since I left, and how the space has adapted to the growing intake and the ‘modern day’.

I went around the back and into the playground where the key stage two children queue up and found myself in an enchanted wonderland. From the pride flag, to a beautiful literary themed signpost, the playground had it all. I wish it had been like that when I was there, and it made me realise just how much has changed in the last ten years.

It also really inspired me to write.

I don’t know whether it was the reminiscent nature of it all, or the enchanting setting, or even whether it was just a good writing day for me. But whatever it was did wonders! I came home and bashed out a good chapter and felt really enthusiastic about where it was going and what I was writing.

I often really struggle for inspiration and forget to look closely at something. I can try really hard to think of something to write but when I read it back, I never like it. For me, the best writing always comes when I least expect it to.

Going back to the primary school today made me realise how fortunate I am, and how grateful I am to have had my education.

I thought about my protagonist and how they would feel at school. I thought about their own school ‘world’ and tried to build on one I had created before. I thought about my own experience of primary school and some very fond memories and friends.

It really helped.

It also made me think like a child.

A big struggle I think a lot of children’s writers face is getting into the mindset of a child. Unless you have/know a child, it is really difficult to imagine one without creating a subjective opinion.

It is very easy as an author to ‘write what you know.’ But the most difficult thing is writing for something or someone you find difficult.

We all have our own childhood which we remember (or not), but I think that makes it even more difficult when trying to imagine a child who is different to you.

If you were incredibly hard working, it is possibly quite hard for you to imagine being someone who struggled with work ethic. If you got on with your teacher and had a good relationship with them, it is hard to imagine being someone who really didn’t agree with the teacher. At least without stereotyping.

One thing I find difficult with writing a variety of characters is how well I’m portraying them to the reader. I don’t want the reader to see a stereotypical view on something. I want them to see the character I created. The character for themselves.

I think that having those unintentional inspirational moments can really help with this in your writing. You might be able to make your character more than just two dimensional. Having that inspiration, such as hearing a conversation between children, seeing them interact with adults etc, can really improve your writing.

You might not even realise it’s happened.

love sophie

Festifeel and other adventures of the boob kind

As I’m currently raising money for the boob-loving charity, CoppaFeel! I ventured to London, with some boob-baes to show our support and enjoy a day full of boobie banter, live music and glitter!

We had a great day listening to music from Pixie Lott and Fleur East (amongst others) as well as hearing some wonderful poets and hilarious comedians. It was a great day and it was filled with so much love and positivity.

Headed up by the boob queen Kris Hallenga and Fearne Cotton, the day paid tribute to the success of the charity and its many supporters.

I absolutely loved getting my glitter on and having a good old boogie to some of the best tunes I remember from my childhood. It isn’t every day you get to see Busted headline in such an intimate space. And it was boobin’ incredible!

I hadn’t met up with lots of the people from the Oman trek yet so it was a great opportunity to chat to them, have a dance and a couple of G&Ts!

House of Vans was an incredible venue and CoppaFeel! had received so much support that the festival seemed to have everything. From the live music to comedians, to boob booth and their very own Boobtown and Casa CoppaFeel! Artists were on hand to help with graffiti lessons for the vaults outside the venue, and skateboarders and other kinds of people on wheels were showing their moves. It was AMAZING!

And it all helped raise money for their wonderful charity!

Along with seeing lots of other fabulous people, including Ellie (the CoppaFeel Fundraising Queen), we also got to see Giovanna who will be leading my team on the trek across the desert.

It is so nice to have such a wonderful excuse to all come together on a Saturday to celebrate life and have fun sharing the boob love! (Covered in glitter!)

It made me even more excited for the trek, and having time away from my novel gave me several new ideas without thinking about it.

I will often find myself feeling guilty spending the day at an event/out and putting off writing, but I think it’s important to realise how valuable it can be. It’s first hand research.

I came away thinking that my protagonist would absolutely love the kind of music Busted and Pixie Lott sing, and it got me imagining how they would act at a festival. What a bonus!

Have you done anything recently, or been anywhere, that has inspired your writing? You might not have even noticed!

Let me know!

love sophie

soundtrack series: october

Where did October go? It’s been a wonderful month of new writing plans and exciting ventures, coupled with the beginning of my MA in Writing For Young People which I am absolutely loving! And new music!

When I was writing the opening towards the beginning of the year, I found Birdy to be a constant presence on my writing playlist. But I’ve discovered some new loves which help me get pen to page.

I’ve listed my top five artists of October for you below. Enjoy!

  1. Frances.

Have I been living under a rock or what?! OMG. The first time I heard Grow I didn’t want it to end. I definitely don’t mind admitting I had it on repeat for a solid week before I listened to any of her other songs. Don’t Worry About Me is also a gorgeous song to have on when writing. There’s something about her mystical voice and the piano keys which takes you off somewhere magical and lets you discover a whole new world. If you haven’t discovered her yet, DO IT! I promise you won’t regret listening to her delicious lyrics.

2. Jamie Lawson

I’ve never really listened to any of Jamie’s music before, but I recently listened to Don’t Let Me Let You Go and I fell in love with it. It’s a silky dream of a song and sits into the backdrop so you can still work. His voice is so relaxing and his lyrics are honest. I wasn’t a huge fan of Wasn’t Expecting That after a few plays, but I can’t seem to get this one off repeat! Definitely worth a listen, especially if you like Passenger.

3. Calum Scott

Oh my. I’ve always been a fan of this guy since his audition on The X Factor where he sang Dancing On My Own (one of my favourite songs). But he’s gracing my life with his face and voice again in his new single out in November You Are The Reason. And it is simply stunning. Definitely one of my favourite voices to listen to when I’m wrapped up in blankets with a cuppa trying to write.

4. Tori Kelly

Callen and Beth introduced me to her song Dear No One when we were in the car driving to our writing date a few days ago. It is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in a while and I like the relatable lyrics and the singalong quality it brought to the car journey. Songs like this are quick to put a smile on my face and make me feel in the mood to write. To say the song is three years old is telling of how timeless the lyrics are and how much fun three people can have in a car when it’s blasting out.

5. Imagine Dragons

Not Today, from the Me Before You Soundtrack, is one of the most beautiful songs (I might be bias because I think the same about the film). I love the textured voice behind the lyrics. It’s not their usual rocky number which I think is why I like it so much. The string layer along with the guitar lifts the song and makes it writing-backdrop-worthy. I find myself singing along whilst trying to picture characters in different situations and it somehow helps.

Are there any songs which you’ve found helpful whilst writing this month?

Let me know!

love sophie