Fancy Fancy Dress

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I have decided to throw a bit of a fun post out.

Just to keep you smiling as this week drags on. I feel you need a Humph and some motivation to get to the weekend and hopefully this will draw a little smile out and for a moment be a saving grace.

. . . sometimes I truly just waffle on don’t I.

Let’s talk about Fancy Dress.

Honestly I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for a chance to dress up and I don’t hold back. If I’m doing it – I am doing it right. Maybe I should do it professionally or help other people – which I can do, took the challenge to help my friend get a full costume within a couple of hours of a party for as cheap as possible. Nailed it!

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My all time favourite costume that I have done is the above. The Invisible Man. It was hot and warm but paid off when I would walk past people and they would gasp in awe and praise me for an amazing effort. This was Halloween 2015 – a night in town. Wearing a dressing gown, who was really loving life. Thankfully I didn’t get ID’ed anywhere. That would have been fun.

Other dress ups include; The Nun from the Conjuring for Halloween ’16, a wasteland raider for Halloween ’17, The Swedish Chef for Eurovision ’17, A Gun toting Spaniard for Eurovision ’16 and a Leprechaun for Eurovision ’15 (but if you remember rightly – Ireland didn’t make it to the final, so I had to tweak the full leprechaun costume that I had put together, adding a prisoners hat and shackles I adopted the guise of an Irish immigrant prisoner that had been sent to Australia. Not bad hey)

I’ve also done Doc Brown for a charity office event. There is an OAP snap in the middle somewhere from a night at Uni, the same with the Smurf and a Zombie Geek (posing passed out on the loo, but not actually passed out) and also The Hulk which took a lot of time and planning. Body paint isn’t a quick job – but boy it sure was fun.

I would love to know what you have dressed up as, send me your best. Also let me know what you think to my efforts. Let’s be honest you are so inviting me to your next fancy dress party aren’t you.

Much love!

 

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A Book Review – Our Little Secret.

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End of last year I wrote a book review. Today ive picked up a signed copy after its was published last week. This is that review.


So something you might learn about me is that I am not a big reader. I can read and I do enjoy reading at times but I can go for months or maybe years without reading a book. It’s just one of those things. I struggle to find something that can grip me and hold my attention because to me reading is a lot of work. It’s more so than say watching a film or playing PlayStation.

Saying this I am always proud as punch when I do find a book that I genuinely can’t put down and this post is about one of them books.

Our Little Secret is a short thriller from the mind of debut adult author Darren O’Sullivan (no relation – that we know of). A gripping story told from the point of view of several of its main characters. This is how the blurb sells it to us:

“A deserted train station: A man waits. A woman watches. Chris is ready to join his wife. He’s planned this moment for nearly a year. The date. The time. The train. But he hadn’t factored in Sarah. So when Sarah walks on to the platform and sees a man swaying at the edge she assumes he’s just had too much to drink. What she doesn’t expect is to stop a suicide. As Sarah becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets that Chris is clearly hiding, he becomes obsessed with stopping her, protecting her. But there are some secrets that are meant to stay buried…”

This sold it, I thought – why not, let’s take this for a spin and I was not disappointed at all. Without it sounding cliché I couldn’t put it down – any chance I had I would read a couple of pages. Going to bed, bored at work, whilst eating breakfast and heck even when I was on the loo, I was captivated and hooked.

The story follows Chris a troubled man who is ready to end it all, as we dive deeper into his world his reasoning and motives both shock and surprise the audience. Constantly questioning what he is doing, what the next move is and how will it end.

Pair that with the dynamic and inquisitive Sarah – to me she drives the story along as a relatable character that discovers the truth as we do, which I also like in a story I prefer to learn with a lead character than to be talked at and expected to pick it up when they tell me to.

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Her character was so deep and well thought out that it genuinely felt like I knew her or at least people like her, which again helped keep the story engaging for me.

Like any classic thriller this keeps you guessing, suggesting one thing and convincing you that you know what is going on before taking one sharp hand brake turn in the opposite direction, but not before knocking your socks off and making you question your own ability to make judgement calls.

Right up to the bitter end the story had me glued and all I can say – or even urge – is buy a copy, give it a read and just be in awe. The finale is one amazingly scripted act – the reveal is somewhat haunting and makes the whole book fall into place and ends with a bitter-sweet stunned silence.  

A final touch that I loved with this story is the locations. This is set in Peterborough and March which are places I know oh so well and just something as simple as that helped make the story more real to me rather than the generic London setting, this idea to keep the setting localised and more at home just made the story even better in my eyes.

It’s currently only available on iBooks or Kindle but for a short story on the iPad it has cleared up several proud accolades and gained some supportive reviews and feedback that has made Darren the author one proud little bunny. So much so that he is already well into book two, which I for one can not wait to read.

Finally once more let me just say how much I really enjoyed this story and can not recommend it enough. Check it out.

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Below are the all the links and things you will need.

Our Little Secret

Darren O’Sullivan

HQ Digital UK

 

Click the image to take you to Amazon via an affliated link.

 

 

Full disclosure I am not on the take or being paid by HQ Digital UK or Darren O’Sullivan. I am just a guy who read a book (finally), wanted to tell you all about it and also I just want to help this talented author out – if I can generate one new reader then I have done my job.

Beginners Guide to NFL.

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Well not exactly a guide to understanding the sport . . . I mean I’m not even sure  I can understand it all yet, let alone explain it. But this is more about my new-found fondness.

So Sports Fans we had the Super Bowl which was awesome!

I’ve always wanted to get into the game, but obviously being an American game and living in England it never felt like it was meant to be. It’s not easy to watch it over here and the support is low (which I was wrong about).

So after the Super Bowl, which I sat down and watched thanks to BBC iPlayer, I felt like I was ready to learn and understand the game. I picked up the majority of the rules pretty quickly and thought – Ok I am going to actively work on this, support the sport and follow the game.

Again being a Brit I have no clue who is good or bad. I know that the New England Patriots are one of the best, with Tom Brady’s arm and there Super Bowl wins. But I didn’t want to do that, you know that fair weather Manchester United supporting fan thing. I am just picking a side and rooting for them.

So as I have family in Houston I thought, this is an easy pick – Go Texans!

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When I was out there, we went tailgating – which if you don’t know turns a football game (which is already long enough) into a day session. Everyone turns up at the stadium with their pickup trucks and RV’s – they set up a tent, a BBQ and they just DRINK. I mean like they go to town on the beers and BBQ – my god it was amazing. I was so drunk that day it was unreal. It’s crazy how culture in the States is so different, over here you get a crappy pie and a warm beer before the game, over there you got a whole pre party that is good enough to be THE party.

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I then went and bought Madden 18 to help learn the rest of the plays, rules and dynamics of the game. Which so far has offered so much more than just that, the game is so in-depth in regards to what you can do, the drafts, the contracts, the coaching. It’s a whole different level of gameplay than what you would expect with something like FIFA – which is top of the football gaming world, Madden steps over that and gives so much more for NFL. I’ve been able to learn about techniques, plays and even the dynamics of drafting new players from High School – I can’t say I am 100% up on the know how just yet but it is coming along nicely and it’s so much fun.

I’ve also got a couple of friends that are fans of the sport which is helpful in my rookie state. One being a guy I work with – who is probably reading this right now and realising we are talking about him. Hey Steve! It’s useful to talk to these guys to help gain an understanding of bits of the game I might not get. I worry that I have become that person – now that I’ve found something new to take an interest in, everything can revolve around NFL. Like I want to get a Jersey but I also don’t want to be that guy. You know the one that after two months of having a new hobby has the team strip, some merchandise and a signed picture. It’s over kill. But you know what I mean.

I would love a Jersey but they are like £100 and well that is a lot of money right now. So hey if anyone out there wants to send me one in return for some favours, posts or reviews – sign me up. (Houston Texans Home Jersey – 2XL, 10 Hopkins, 4 Watson or 99 Watt)

Just an idea – worth a shot.

So here is to the continued learning of the game, the understanding of the nitty bits and the start of next season. Yes it’s about 6 months away but I can’t wait. Going to have to work out how to watch in the UK but it’s going to be fun. Any of my readers or followers an NFL fan? If so who do you support? Maybe you can help me get out of the rookie league and into the Pro status.

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My Throwback Playlist

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Over the weekend my GF and I got into a really strange but cool conversation about music – more importantly about late 90’s early 00’s punk rock.

The music I grew up on.

The reason this conversation was really fun for me was because her music taste is a bit left field for my general liking: preferring the likes of Little Mix and Rihanna. But it turns out through a few friends she had a patch of real music in her life.

Let me also say the views in this post are my own – using the term “Real Music” refers to something with instruments. I am not a fan of Auto tuned hip hop style stuff. Just how it is. The point of the post isn’t to slate different genres as I am fully aware everyone has their own taste and would not want to take that away from anyone.

The point of this post is to compile a playlist of songs that I grew with jamming too and lost gems that I haven’t heard in ages.

Get your best Air Guitar out the cupboard and get ready to ROCK!

My throwback feel good playlist is as followed. . .

  1. The Anthem – Good Charlotte: The GF loves this tune and will randomly start singing “Cause I don’t ever wanna, I don’t ever wanna”
  2. Dance Dance – Fall Out Boy: This song makes the cut because it’s the easiest title. Their whole “From Under the Cork Tree” album is awesome but all their songs have silly long names.
  3. Fat Lip – SUM41: What a great get psyched start to a song, that riff and then that fast paced burst of lyrics about Storming through a party.
  4. Misery Business – Paramore: This was a tune and half. I remember it taking my final year of school by storm and turns out one of the GF’s favourites too. Plus how hot is Hayley Williams 😘
  5. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World: Could be more something to do with the music video, but still a sweet song to jam too.
  6. Pretty Fly for a White Guy – The Offspring: Again they had a few I thought about throwing on here but there is something about this one that reminds me of an old friend who was pretty fly but never as cool as he thought.
  7. Famous Last Words – My Chemical Romance: I love this song because of how dramatic is it and turns out she loves it because she found out I can drum it. I like the little trivia about the Craig Simons the Drummer suffering from a slight burn and discomfort during the music video as a result of the massive fire behind him. Check out the end of the video HERE
  8. No One Knows – Queens of the Stone Age: Throw a great drum beat, a wild bunch of lyrics and a strange music video together and what do you get – this absolute beaut.
  9. Bring me to Life – Evanescence: A slight dip into the dark gothic area as we all did back in the day. It’s not a heavy song, but it is a great mix of soft also orchestra like music mixed with the upbeat rock of the band. What a tune.
  10. Holiday – Green Day: My biggest love, I couldn’t write a list like this and not include them. Their energy and talent is infectious and their music amazing! The GF got me tickets to see them at Barclaycard British Summer Time last summer which was awesome & she loved it as well.

I hope you enjoy this list, it’s been a real throwback listening to these and others again – strange how I can still remember the tunes and lyrics to them. If you have never heard of some of these tracks before go and check them out. Or strangly just out on the American Pie 2 soundtrack. That covers most bases.

These songs were my teenage youth – long summers with nothing to do, hanging out at skate parks, throwing house parties and rocking out in band practise.

Good times!

GREAT TIMES!

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Why I Love Netflix (and You Should Too!)

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Netflix as we know it now has become a worldwide phenomenon, serving as the first port of call for online streaming for Television Shows and Films, while utilizing a multi platform user base and even becoming an internet slang term . . . you know the one – Netflix & Chill 😉

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It’s almost became a god of the modern age, where devices are sold highlighting the fact they include and already have Netflix installed on them. In a world where top priorities are internet speed and a demand for everything NOW, Netflix has the market covered and with the profit they make they’ve started to pump X amount back into their own services, giving them a chance to create some outstanding award-winning shows.

This is where my post turns into a review.

The back catalogue Netflix has in its arsenal of self-produced films and shows to entice you in is ridiculous, the talent and value these productions hold in my eyes are outstanding and even rival the likes of Channel 4 and BBC (I love a good BBC drama). I personally think if things carry on the way they are going Netflix will end up replacing the TV License and will become the national institute that the BBC currently is.

Imagine in 5 years time streaming the Queen’s Christmas Day speech on Netflix – that would be a game changer.

The shows and films I recommend as a must see – like these are a reason to get a subscription are as followed:

win_it_allWin It All (Film) – I jumped into this one because of Jake Johnson (Nick Miller from New Girl) – he is a relatable funny guy and so I thought why not. The film is a simple five cast story that doesn’t rely on thrills and big budgets, which adds to the magical and feel of the film. It follows Eddie (Jake Johnson) who is a down on his luck chronic gambler and bigger loser, whose friend asks him to hold a bag of money while he goes to prison – keep the bag safe for 6 months and in return Eddie will be given $10,000. Simple. . . or not, Eddie starts taking money from the bag and gambling with it. Then . . . well the rest you will have to watch yourself. But I really enjoyed this film and it ends differently to expected.


What Happened to Monday (Film) – In a Dystopian future where the child rate is limited to one per family to save costs and resources a woman dies giving birth to seven identical daughters, her father takes them all in, hides them and raises them as to be savvy and understanding of this new world. The girls all grow up assuming the identity of one woman in order to not get caught out in the real world. It’s an interesting look on an estranged future that could be a little to close to reality one day.


The Fundamentals of Caring (Film) – This feel good heartwarming drama follows a teenager who is wheelchair bound and suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and his carer a writer on a break, trying something new. They go on a road trip, everyone finds something within themselves and everyone comes back a different person. It’s the standard formula of these kind of films but there is something different about it – the humour and way they deal with the themes is orchestrated beautifully and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.


House of Cards (TV) – I best keep this one short and avoid mentioning the lead (K.S) in fear of causing a scene. The show itself is AMAZING, such an edge of the seat drama revolving around the american political system. It took some time to get into and understand the terminology and system but once you get that (which I still don’t if I am honest) you can enjoy the rest of the show, the drama and plots. The cast is filled with talented actors and it really becomes an eye opener on Americans and their political status. Throughout the seasons we follow a family as they move closer to the goal of President and Dominance, with no remorse or thought for the people they hurt along the way.


The Crown (TV) – Now for the opposite of HoC’s – The Crown follows Queen Elizabeth 2 as she becomes ruler of one of the most influential and strongest empires in the world (bring it back I say), it’s an eye into Buckingham Palace and the Windsor family as they live their lives in the public view above the working class citizen. This show is well cast, well produced and educational – to learn about laws and rules that the monarch had or has to follow even in this day and age is wild. We know what is going to happen but just witnessing the behind the scenes of such events is exciting and maddening.

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Stranger Things (TV) – This one is a MUST! If you are one of the very few people who hasn’t seen or god forbid even heard of Stranger Thing’s then where have you been living? This 80’s throwback follows a group of kids looking for their friend who has gone missing. I’m going to leave the blurb bit there because it might get messy and spoiler fuelled if I carry on. Let’s just say that hands down these are the best child actors in the biz right now (with the exception of Jacob Tremblay, the boy from Room) these kids are relatable, funny and just amazing. The show takes a dark supernatural turn as it steps over references and homages of 80’s nostalgia and culture. Without a doubt the best of this genre out there at the moment – now for the dreaded wait for season 3.


I know this post has been a lengthy long essay but with so much content to offer Netflix is on point and only has one direction in its sights – Up!

Let me know your favourite Netflix produced shows and films, or what you think to the above and if you use this as the reason to get a Netflix account let me know about that experience and how you find these amazing recommendations.

So next time you get asked to Netflix and Chill try to think of me . . . or not – whatever you are into.