How To: Motivate Yourself To The Gym

Before I start this post, I’d like to clear a few things up; I am still a semi-retired smoker, I am pretty useless at running and I am still convincing myself that I actually like the gym. I don’t claim to be a gym-bunny or the epitome of health and I am partial to eating all the pizza…but that’s exactly why I’m hoping this blog post will be helpful.

I tend to stay in two minds about the whole gym experience but since I’ve put my mind to it, I have started noticing some results (which just about keeps me going back). I hate, hate, hate the idea of it when I’m tired and rolling in from work but, leggings on, sports bra donned and once I’ve dragged myself to the treadmill, I actually quite enjoy it. Plus, the thing is, the feeling afterwards makes me never regret going.

So, here are my top tips for motivating yourself to the gym or out for a run (or any form of exercise you may fancy) for those of us that aren’t quite as disciplined as we might like…

Just do it
No, I’m not sponsored by Nike and I know this sounds obvious but let me explain. The more you sit and convince yourself of all the reasons why you shouldn’t go to the gym or out for a run, the less likely you are to do it. I am lucky as there is a gym in my block of flats I can use but even though it’s so close, I struggle to motivate myself to go after work most days. The knack? I don’t give myself any time to think about it – get home, get changed, go to the gym! It’s not always as easy as that after a long day in the office, granted, but once I’m there I’m there and I tend to get quite into it.

Arrange to meet friends
If you tend to go to the gym or running by yourself, you’re only letting yourself down if you don’t go. However, arranging to meet friends can be a real motivator because if you don’t go, you’re letting them down too. Plus, gyming it or running with your closest pals can make the whole experience more fun and you can have a catch up whilst you’re at it!

Invest in new clothes
It may not seem important but having the right clothes for the gym can make a real difference. Treat yourself to some new running leggings or trainers so you can look forward to wearing them. You don’t have to splash out on anything expensive, just find something you like and feel good in and you’re half way to wanting to go workout. Once you have your gym clothes on, it’s easier to change your mind set and you’ll want to exercise.

Set yourself goals
Setting goals can be a really effective way to push yourself into working out. If you’re new to the gym, set yourself little goals such as, ‘I will go to the gym twice this week’ or, ‘I will stay at the gym 20 minutes after work today.’ It might sound simple but once you’ve achieved a goal, you’ll want to beat it – plus it’s such a good feeling when you complete one! Once you’re into the swing of things a little more you can set more challenging goals such as, ‘I want to shave 30 seconds of my best 5k run today’ or, ‘I’d like to lose 5 pounds before my holiday.’ If your aim is to lose weight, taking photos of your achievements – such as times/distances on the treadmill or before and after pictures of yourself – can really help get you going. You might not feel like you’ve accomplished much but you’ll soon realise once you look back at those pics! The key is to set simple and achievable goals and then build yourself up – and don’t be too hard on yourself!

Reward yourself
Once you’ve achieved a goal, give yourself a little reward. This can be anything from a biscuit to a new pair of shoes to a gin and tonic – whatever you think will help motivate you to achieve your goals. As I tend to go to the gym straight after work, or just before work the thought of having my dinner or my breakfast usually keeps me going until I’ve reached my goal. Oh, and of course the ridiculous idea that all this gym work will obviously result in me looking like Kylie Jenner…

Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you really, really don’t feel like going to the gym – try and motivate yourself to go anyway but, the important part is, give yourself permission to leave after ten minutes if you really can’t hack it. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try I am simply not in the mood to go. Nine out of ten of those times, I can get past that feeling once I’m there but on the odd occasion, I just cannot convince myself to stay. Hey, at least you tried – don’t be yourself up and try again tomorrow!

Dude, The 90s Are Like So Back. How Fetch!

90sThe nineties was my era, my growing up, my obsessing over the Spice Girls and my most embarrassing fashion era to date. Granted, my parents are mostly to blame for the best part of my clothing faux pas (seeing as I was under the age of 10 for the duration) though I can distinctly demanding that I wore red and pink together a lot? Luckily, no-one really holds a fashion disaster against a 9 year old for very long and I soon realised that it was okay not to wear all the colours of the rainbow in all outfits at all times as well as donning all the Spice Girl memorabilia physically possible…

Anyway, as fashion tends to go in circles; the 90s are back. I say back, but they made their big reappearance last year and are still hanging around and more so than ever in 2015.

It always amazes me that when a fashion comes back around that my brain is convinced to like it again. I mean, how does that work? If someone had said to me a year ago that nineties fashion would be making a comeback, my reply would have been something like, “…but it was all so hideous?!” Yet, here we are in 2015 and the thing is, I’m really quite happy about it despite cringing at almost all photos from that era (seriously though, I did have some disasters). Obviously, not everything from childhood has made a comeback – hold the inflatable bubble bags and the velvet headbands ladies but here are my some of my favourite 90s fashions to re-work this year…

Doc Martens
Docs are a wardrobe stable for me anyway but they were a super big deal in the 90s. Owning a pair of the real deal was a sure fire way to be the coolest kid in the playground – and don’t even get me started on glow in the dark soles. Personally, nothing will convince me that there’s anything better than traditional black Docs but they come in every colour, like ever! To really 90s this fashion up, wear them with a dainty floral dress, denim shorts or embrace 90s grunge and rock them with a Nirvana or Nine Inch Nails tee.

Personal favourite – the ‘fake tattoo’ (which also came in arm size so you too could be Mel C). The weird thing about this particular 90s fashion is, I’m not even sure how much I liked it first time round so why do I love it so now? The little plastic choker goes with just about anything and will 90’s-up just about any outfit – plus, they’re super cheap! Another big 90s choker fashion is the simple velvet number and if you really want to relive 1995 then try one donning a silver charm (90s staples include a dolphin, a cross or a mood stone).

Jelly Shoes
Ah! The plastic shoe! These little bundles of comfort and joy have been back on our shelves for the last couple of years now and they’re so perfect for summer. Plus, they’re cheap as chips and come in a huuuge range of colours including, my personal favourite, glitter! They come in all shapes and sizes from sandals, to little boots to the traditional heeled number – in the original ones the heel was removable which I was told by peers was for the purpose of storing Polly Pockets? No? Just me. Wear your jelly shoes with little frilly socks for the ultimate 90s look.

Ok, so denim will never truly go out of fashion – it manages to keep up with all trends as it’s so versatile but denim was kinda’ a big deal in the 90s. Denim jackets, jeans, shirts, dresses, dungarees, shorts, scrunchies, headbands…the list goes on! To really execute the 90s look with your denim this summer, embrace the era of the ripped jean, double denim it up and rock a little denim dress with frilly socks and Doc Martens.

Plaid Shirts
Like the loyal jean, the plaid shirt never quite manages to disappear completely off the fashion radar. A winter favourite, the plaid shirt was another 90s staple – especially if you’re going down the grunge route! Simply tie one around your waist with a band t-shirt or a crop top with jeans, some chunky boots and a chocker for a truly 90s look.

Rucksacks and Bumbags
No, hold your horses, not those hideous inflatable rucksacks that lasted all of about a week and we’re not taking bumbags with cuddly toys on them either (hope that wasn’t just me too?!) No, this is 2015 and the rucksack and the bumbag are back but we’re doing it right this time. I don’t have a problem with a rucksack, granted the more tassels the better but the bumbag is a difficult one for me. Even the term ‘bumbag’ turns me off  (though it’s a lot better than our friends’ across the pond and their ‘fanny packs’) but I can’t help but love them because they’re just so goddamn useful. Yes, hard to make one look good but look, both my hands are free to text and hold gin and my purse is safe all at the same time!

Edit: Googling pictures of inflatable backpacks made me really want one?

Kaiser Chiefs – Coming Home

ImageAside from the fact Ricky Wilson has somehow transformed himself from a slightly overweight, mostly uncool lead singer into a handsome and much less annoying (but still fairly arrogant) ‘star’ of The Voice, I still sort of wanted not to like this single. Not least because of the aforementioned somewhat desperate attempt to cling into any sort of career by appearing on reality TV (see Kylie, Cheryl for examples) but 14 year old me still remembers the day my excitement was shattered when I met Kaiser Chiefs and was absolutely disappointed when it turned out Wilson was nothing more than an arrogant singer that had already gotten too big for his boots. 

That said and although Coming Home, if nothing else, it is ridiculously catchy.  Although it may not be a game changer for the band, the track will perfectly fill a headline spot as the closing song at a festival this summer and even in his new found judging fame, Wilson has never shied from his Leeds roots. Coming Home does feel like he is doing just that. Yes, the track itself is no cooler than any of it’s predecessors but it does get stuck in your head and I actually don’t think I mind it being there. There isn’t a drastic difference between Coming Home and singles like Ruby in the way of structure; both spend a little too long repeating the chorus and less time on the versus which are have the potential to be the best parts were they allowed to blossom a little more.

While Wilson’s abilities as a front man have never been doubted, he isn’t the strongest lyricist but he delivers the versus’ perfectly before the chorus kicks in which unfortunately has been tad over worked; I know he doesn’t necessarily claim to have the best voice but it sounds like he is trying to force an air of rock n’ roll to the track and Kaiser Chiefs have never screamed effortless to me. 

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t listened to it every day this week on my way to work but that’s partly because it’s on a playsuit I can’t be bothered to change and hey, James Arthur’s on the list so who am I to judge?! That said, he is a mega babe now so I wouldn’t mind meeting again if he was to prove 14 year old me wrong…

‘Coming Home’ is officially released March 31 as the first official single to be lifted from their forthcoming new album Education, Education, Education & War.


Fatherson – I Like Not Knowing

ImageScottish beauties Fatherson (then Energy!) first caught my attention in April 2009 when I reviewed their debut EP. It is probably an understatement to say that I fell in love with them immediately and just short of two years later I found myself reviewing their sold out gig at King Tut’s Summer Nights in July 2011. Even in that short space of time Fatherson had made an impact and I remember standing at that gig, feeling like I had found something special; a sort of special I wanted everyone to appreciate but also a sort of special I wanted to keep all to myself.

Now, two and a half years on from that moment Fatherson are making waves again with the release of their new single ‘I Like Not Knowing‘ and the announcement of their debut album ‘I Am An Island.’

I Am An Island‘ is set to be released on 7th April and if the new single is anything to go by, you should be absolutely excited about what is to come. Much in the same fashion as their most recent work, ‘I Like Not Knowing‘ is a punchy little number with a gloriously catchy chorus. Sod the chorus though, this single will have you singing by the time the first verse is over because as always Ross Leighton’s lyrics are not only written to perfection but sung so graciously. Up tempo, feisty drumming and some scratchy, yet anthemic guitar back him to create a beautifully formed single that I just cannot wait to see played live.


I just know this time, (yeah, I have said it every time, but I am right this time) this is the start of something. I will begrudgingly share them with you now, but I will always remind you I was there in 2009 because there is still a part of me that wants them all to myself…

You can listen to Fatherson’s new single on Soundcloud here.
Don’t miss out on this golden oldie though.

Photo: Emily Wylde

Arctic Monkeys – AM Review


It is hard to comprehend that AM is the fifth studio album from Arctic Monkeys. Was it really so long ago that they burst on to the scene with that single? Even harder to comprehend though is how fucking good is it. From start to finish AM is a masterpiece from a band that have not so much matured but become full fledged artists in their own right. So they grew up a little, experienced more but AM proves that Arctic Monkeys can do what the hell they want now – they’re still experimenting, fine-tuning but they no longer need to be defined by a genre, nor do they really need anyone’s approval because they already made it.

The twelve tracks recorded at Sage & Sound Recording in Los Angeles and Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California feature guest appearances from Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Elvis Costello’s drummer Pete Thomas and lyrics from poet legend John Cooper-Clark (I mean, need I say more or are you already away grabbing a copy…)? From start to finish it is a seamless journey through parties, sex, lust, late nights, bad decisions and frustration – all brilliantly illustrated by Turner’s mind-fuckingly sharp lyrics.

Arguably the best of those lyrics feature on ‘Arabella,’ “Arabella’s got some interstellagator skin boots/And a helter-skelter around her little finger and I ride it endlessly.” The whole track rolls off Turner’s tongue effortlessly at quite a pace and over perhaps the heaviest sound on the album. ‘I Want It All’ reminisces the past and Turner shows off his vocal ability as he hit some higher notes.

While opener ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ harks back to some of Monkeys earlier material, slower tracks such as ‘No.1 Party Anthem’ and ‘Mad Sounds’ could have been plucked from Turner’s own Submarine album. Both showcase Turner’s voice like never before.

‘Fireside’ is a definite stand out favourite. Catchy as anything it rattles on perfectly over bouncy drums before the darker, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ drags you on a journey through a rough night out, fuelled by booze, drugs and a rocky relationship. All of which is somehow beautifully juxtaposed over Matt Helder’s hip-hop influenced drums.

‘Snap Out Of It’ is an upbeat little number; light-hearted it is a refresher mood changer which leads perfectly on to another jiggly number, ‘Knee Socks.’ Closing track, the glam-rock influenced and gloomy, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ – taken from a John Cooper-Clark poem – stomps along and winds down the LP to a close. These may not be Turner’s lyrics but putting such a track on the album proves his confidence – he didn’t write it but he could and he will because I am pretty sure the best it still yet to come.

This is not a typical fifth album from a band struggling to clutch the last straws of a career; this is Arctic Monkeys making their own rules, proving themselves yet again and this is n’t even them peaking their career. The release of ‘R U Mine?’ may have hinted at great things when it was released but it didn’t quite prepare me for the tour de force that is AM. Arctic Monkeys don’t even need a fanfare when they release anything anymore, they know they’re good and so do we.

Go listen for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

Autumn/Winter 2013 Essentials


1. TARTAN This season’s ultimate essential. Whether you rock it in a dress, a skirt, a pair of bold trousers and just add a dash with a scarf, tartan is literally everywhere this Autumn/Winter. Choose a print that suits your skin tone – you don’t always have to go for fiery reds so experiment with print and colours!

2. FEDORA Last year the bowler hat stole the headlines but this year the fedora is making an appearance. Practical and stylish, this seasons easy-to-wear hat will keep your head toasty in the cold too.

3. LEATHER High shine PVC is the one this year but I cannot bring myself to even contemplate wearing it (too many Cher connotations, maybe?). However, the trusty leather biker will never go out of fashion; throw one on over pretty much anything to complete an outfit, keep warm and look sweet.

4. SOCKS A tad vague perhaps but socks are one of my absolute fave winter essentials – especially this year as chunky cut out boots are key to the winter wardrobe. Wear frilly ones with boots or brogues for a gorgeous day time look and then add some glitz with glittery ones for an dressier look in the evening.

5. ORANGE NAILS It’s all about orange nails this season – lucky for us all shades are in so there is guaranteed to be a colour to suit your skin tone perfectly. Plus, it will brighten up those dark days a little.

6. DARK RED LIPS Every winter. Without. Fail. Be extra careful when choosing your shade though as dark shades are sometimes tricky to pull off.

7. FLUFFY JUMPERS Perfect with a tartan skirt, the 90s style super soft jumper is back. Cosy, warm, ridiculously cuddly and amazing with pretty much anything. Try a cropped one with short sleeves for a grungier, evening look.

8. BABY PINK Super girly and easy to wear. Embrace your inner girly girl with a delicate skirt and rock it up with a leather skirt.

9. TURTLE NECKS Another piece that is screaming 90s, the turtle neck comes in loads of shapes, styles and colours and most are cheap and cheerful. Plus, they go with pretty much anything and can be casual day wear or dressed up for drinks.

10. CHUNKY BOOTS An all year round favourite for me anyway, winter is the time to embrace the chunky boots. Go for a heel for an evening look and Dr Martens for a more casual day time look. Don’t be afraid to embrace you inner grunge and try a girly dress with them – and don’t forget your sparkly socks!

Top 10 Albums

After hours of debating (with myself) and endless switching and swapping it’s done. So, here goes: the almost nearly impossible task of choosing my favourite album of all time. It will, without doubt, have changed in a few weeks time, maybe even next week or tomorrow but for now, this is it.

While I thought I’d be endlessly thinking of brilliant albums that would definitely be fighting for a place in the top ten, I came to realise the opposite; that as much as I like certain bands there are some that couldn’t get the album just right. David Bowie immediately comes to mind when the favourite artists topic arrises but no matter which album I listen to I always find my self skipping tracks. My favourite Bowie tracks are hidden amongst the soundtrack to The Labyrinth but they are few and far between cinematic instrumentals. I was also certain that The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and Dylan would make an appearance but while I may have had The Killing Moon and Lay Lady Lay on repeat for the probably the last five years of my life, I could not justify the including the whole LP.

The albums I have eventually chosen are those I can listen to on repeat, from track one until the end. They are the albums that I find myself going back to year after year and they are the albums that make me feel happy and sad, cynical and optimistic and the albums that I can walk down to the street to, feeling like I am in a film or like my life is so dramatic is deserves a soundtrack (I know).

Despite Fleetwood Mac releasing Rumours twenty four years before I was even born it has crept in at number ten. For the most part my list is contemporary music but Rumours is such a brilliant mix love songs and love songs tend to stay relevant. Ditto with my number seven and The Queen Is Dead. Morrissey may be a depressing sod but The Smiths get those twisted love songs spot on. The Editors fall in to that same category with their epic, atmospheric and almost cinematic tracks on The Back Room and For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver (the one who took himself away to live in a cabin for a few months and write this masterpiece) is one of those albums that just flows seamlessly whether it’s on really loud or in the background. It is tremendously good if you have a long train journey or a lot to think about. re:stacks is my personal favourite for this type of activity.

When I’m not feeling so thoughtful or sorry for myself I retreat back the my earlier teenage days when gigs and train travel was a whole new world to me. I didn’t manage to make room for The Cribs. Even though the were an integral to this part of my life I don’t find myself listening to them so much today as I do Maximo Park and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. A Certain Trigger is the album I always go back to. I still know what song comes next and it still makes me dance around my room as does Karen O and her gorgeous pop songs. If only I had room for all three albums but alas, I went with their debut, Fever To Tell, when Karen is at her best spangly rock and roll goddess stage as she screams ‘Rich.’ 

For anyone who knows me, even a little bit, the next album is an obvious one. Yes, it’s good old Florence and her Machine. Lungs is full of twisted songs (all covered by a soft female voice, if Slipknot were to sing this album it’d be a different story) about wanting to cut another girl’s heart out on account that she’s made our Flo’ cry and wanting to get so drunk you die. Sometimes I think we’ve all felt a bit like that, no? Just me then. Anyway, it’s been at least once a week for the last year and a half and it gets me dancing, even in public and that’s a rarity. 

The Scots making an appearance at number two and eight. Frightened Rabbit have three brilliant albums all brimming with meaningful love songs, break up songs and songs about snake shaped door stoppers but it was their second album that made my list. Midnight Organ Fight is genius; a favourite track being ‘Heads Roll Off’ which begins ‘Jesus was just a Spanish boy’s name/How did one man get so much fame?’ We Were Promised Jetpacks only have the one album but boy, it’s good. It is a strong mix of heartfelt meaningful and somewhat power vocals set over an ambient background or strings and piano before crashing into heavy drumming a guitar. These Four Walls could have been at number one.

However, Art Brut’s Bang Bang Rock and Roll is the top of the list. Singer Eddie Argos writes about his life in love in which he seems comically unsuccessful, his life in music and mix tapes and his life growing up. It’s the lyrics that are the genius in this album, and every album Art Brut released. ‘Bad Weekend’ was the song that summed up my snobbish NME attitude I once donned, ‘Haven’t read the NME in so long/ Don’t know what genre we belong /Popular culture no longer applies to me.’  Every song on the album sums up some part of life whether it’s falling in love with ‘Emily Kane,’ trying to understand ‘Mordern Art’ or just having a ‘Good Weekend’ while watching your little bother discover rock and roll for the first time.

  1.  Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2007)
  2.  We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls (2009)
  3.  Florence and the Machine – Lungs (2009)
  4.  Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger (2005)
  5.  Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)
  6.  Editors – The Back Room (2005)
  7.  The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1984)
  8. Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight (2008)
  9. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Fever To Tell (2003)
  10.  Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)