Saturday, 31 January 2015

Nicole Dollanganger


Recently I've been absolutely loving Nicole Dollanganger's music, so I thought I'd talk about it a bit here. I first came across Nicole on Tumblr as a couple of people I follow (such as graveyarddoll) reblog stuff from her quite often, and eventually I was curious so I checked out her blog and her bandcamp page, where you can download her music. First I listened to a couple of tracks from Observatory Mansions, and since I was instantly hooked I went ahead and downloaded the whole album, along with Flowers of Flesh and Blood, Curdled Milk and Babyland.

As always, I'm no music expert but I'd describe Nicole's music as extremely minimalist, eerie, haunting and otherwordly in terms of the sound, but personally it's the creepy and often gory lyrics that draw me in, as sung in Nicole's almost childlike voice the effect is utterly chilling.

I think my favourite album of what I've downloaded is Flowers of Flesh and Blood, as I absolutely adore the following tracks: Rabid, Nebraska, Adam II (Infirmary), Fleurs Captives, Danny and the title track Flowers of Flesh and Blood. I also have a slight obsession with Rampage and Sleepy Towns and Cemeteries from Observatory Mansions, and Blood Brothers from Curdled Milk.

I'm actually reading Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews at the moment, and I can pick out so many influences from it in Nicole's music, especially in Fleurs Captives but also in that she calls herself after the name of the family in the books, Dollanganger.

Here are a few songs of here from YouTube:

If you're at all interested in Nicole's music from what I've said about it, remember you can download it here.


Friday, 30 January 2015

Book Haul


Long time no post I know, but my exams are finally (FINALLY) over and at long last I've got a bit of free time on my hands - hopefully I'll be able to get back into blogging more often now.

To celebrate the end of exams yesterday, me and my friend went to the cinema to see The Imitation Game (which was absolutely brilliant), and then afterwards I dragged her along to a bookshop in the area. I had a voucher for the shop that I got for volunteering at a library for Duke of Edinburgh Award, and although it was €30 it didn't go very far in the end as the books there are really expensive (roughly €12 for a £6.99 paperback), being an English bookshop in Brussels that isn't part of a chain. In the end I had to pay some extra on top just to get three books, and to be honest there wasn't that great a range to choose from, but I'm never one to pass up the opportunity for technically free stuff, especially when it involves books. Here's what I got:

The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson

Naturally I was on the lookout for anything Tudor related, and while my search for a particular history book on the topic was fruitless, I found this and decided I had to have it. It's about Catherine de Valois and Henry V which is great because most of the Tudor historical fiction I have accumulated is about Henry VIII. It's also quite a hefty tome, which I'm looking forward to getting stuck into.

Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

I love a good Agatha Christie, and I'm always looking to add to my collection of Poirot mysteries, of which I have about 23 so far. Since I usually get them second hand I'm not majorly fussy about the condition I buy them in or the edition, but I really like these colourful editions with the author's name in that curly font.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I was originally going to get a different book for my third pick, but I saw this on the way to the checkout and changed my mind. I haven't seen the film, but I'm such a snob in that I like to read the book before the film so at least this way I can do that!


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie


Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité


Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 Favourites


Like every year, 2014 was full of highs and lows, but somehow I feel my highs were a little higher than usual and my lows a little lower. I had some awful times which I won't go into, but I'm happy to say I'm doing my best to leave the causes of those behind me. So lets stick to the positives - here are my favourite things of 2014 by category.

Visiting Iceland with my school was probably one of the best experiences of my life, let alone 2014. I wrote quite a long post about it back in May so I won't go on about it too much here, but I'd really love to go back and see the beautiful landscapes, colourful little houses, incredible northern lights and so much more all over again. This year I also went to Canada and the US to visit family, which was a fabulous trip: in Canada we saw Niagara Falls, went up the CN tower and tried real authentic maple syrup, while in California we went to Alcatraz, drove along 17 mile drive and visited Monterey. Although I'd been to the US before, it was way back in 2007 so it was really nice to experience it again with a more grown-up perspective - and to take advantage of the shopping, of course. A little less excitingly, I also went to the UK for a couple of weeks in July, to Spain in August, to Antwerp with my Geography class in September, and to London with my school in both January and November.

Iceland 2014

Since I got an iPod for Christmas 2013, 2014 was definitely the year I explored my own music taste in a lot more detail. I also delved a little deeper into Lana Del Rey's unreleased material - I know this is a slightly controversial area, but bypassing that a minute I can safely say it became (and will remain) some of my absolute favourite music. I also discovered a great appreciation for Bastille, HAIM, Lorde, and obviously the fabulous Emilie Autumn, but I'd also like to mention Melanie Martinez as a late favourite of mine - she's hella rad, to use Tumblr lingo.

My favourite unreleased Lana songs

I discovered so many amazing books in 2014, and acquired a significant number too, most of which will remain unread until 2016 at least. Ones that stood out are Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Gilt by Katherine Longshore and the book I'm currently reading, Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher. I think this was the year where I truly left my soft sci-fi/dystopian fixation behind and (thankfully) moved onto other things.

My favourite books of 2014

My discovery of ASMR videos in August has changed my life (see this post). I absolutely adore them, but the only problem is that they're often 30+ minutes long and I have limited time to watch them in! That said, I love falling asleep to some soothing sounds and whispering, so I manage to fit them in. My favourite ASMRtists these days are Brittany ASMR, GentleWhispering, MissASMR, albinwhisperland and of course TheWaterwhispers. Obviously, I've also been keeping up with mainstream YouTubers such as SprinkleofGlitter, Zoella, Tanya Burr, Fleur DeForce, Emma Blackery, Grace Helbig, Jim Chapman, Dan Howell, Hazel Hayes, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Hannah Hart, vlogbrothers, Troye Sivan, Tyler Oakley, Evelina, Gabriella, BriBry, RoseEllenDix etc.

In 2014 I also made accounts on Instagram, Goodreads and Bloglovin'. I actually made my Goodreads account on the 30th of December, so it's technically a 2014 favourite but I'm planning to really get into it in 2015. I've spent the past few days trying to remember all the books I've ever read and adding them there in an attempt to have a centralised list of everything I've read. I'm really loving Instagram so far, although I probably don't post the typical sort of photos. It's really changing the way I see things, as I'm always on the lookout for a good photo opportunity!

I can probably think of a lot more favourites if I try hard enough, but these are merely the ones that spring to mind. I wish you all a happy new year - I hope it's a good one!