Minding my own business on my commute into work today, I’m sat as I am every morning, reading the Metro, drinking a latte and slowly waking up! Suddenly, I hear a splash, my lap feels warm, and my brain catches up with the situation…a woman has been sick on me. Yes my friends, SICK on me…
However, she was pregnant and I felt awful for her so I just said not to worry and a woman opposite offered me a Kleenex (really like drying up a swimming pool with 1 sheet of kitchen roll) which I accepted wondering how this was going to help! I couldn’t go back and change as I’d be late to which my boss would be furious, but I did have sick on me so obviously I had no choice but to shop (!) and I went seeking a new outfit on Carnaby Street. I tend to stay away from mainstream high-street shops because I like something a little more individual and quirky. I was pretty new to London but had found some great Boutiques around here but until today, had not discovered the best of all…
Just off Carnaby Street is a little shop called, Dahlia. It is magic.
I went in very conscious of the smell of sick on me and hoped the lady behind the counter wouldn’t notice! I scanned the rails and to my relief and delight, discovered something right away to try on. I then kept looking around just in case there was something better and sure enough, there was something else I liked. In fact, everywhere I looked in this small boutique, I saw clothes I loved! Without meaning to, I began to linger and take my time eyeing up the clothes but was soon snapped out of it by the buzz of my phone and my boss shouting at me, demanding to know why I was late.
I ran into the changing room and changed into a dress I knew I was going to buy before I even tried it on (I’ve teamed it here with a fur wrap to add a little something) and then went back at lunch to snap up a few more items! Delighted to find this place as its the most reasonably priced clothing I’ve come across in London that really reflects my style.
Check them out, they also have an online store (www.dahliafashion.co.uk)
It turned a rather horrible day into a truly successful one!
I am always amazed by the capacity music has to evoke so much emotion and affect how you feel so easily. Music holds a million memories. I often hear songs and immediately get transported to that time in my life when I was first listening to it, university days, travelling the world, a single moment in time when your eyes meet his across a room… Music allows you to relive these moments and remember things you haven’t thought about in months, sometimes years!
A song’s power over your thoughts and emotions is more often than not, positive. I’m one of those people who will listen to something, remember a happy memory and beam from ear to ear as I walk down the street! It makes the arduous, robotic, monotony of the “daily commute” enjoyable and time passes so much faster.
However, there are occasions when listening to music is more like…slowly torturing yourself! It can flood your thoughts with memories that your heart cannot handle. It creates a constant film playing in your head of happy times that are easier to just block out or that are simply too raw to remember.
I need music throughout my day. It usually lifts my spirits, distracts me and gives me an artificial soundtrack to my life in which I can lose myself and drift off. I like to daydream as well as reminisce, just get lost in my head. Music has always been a passion but in the past two years, it has become more a “way of life”. Every day I listen to it, new music, old favourites, whole albums. I read music Blogs and share new music with friends. I managed a band for around 18 months who filled me with passion and made me appreciate the finer details in the music, what makes a song go from “alright” to “special”. I like travelling on my own because it gives me time with my music, which ultimately feeds my thoughts. I love that time to just “be”. I love to talk about it, share ideas, opinions. My main use of twitter used to be to discover and share news and advances in the industry (however this has recently not been the case)!
So…where am I going with this…that listening to music has been…a challenge lately? Absolutely. It’s been done with a heavy heart, reluctantly and I’ve had to force myself to “tune in” and “zone out”. But its been a challenge worth taking on…something I felt I needed to “force” myself to do.
Recently, a woman told me her husband died and for 7 years she could not listen to music. Nothing. It had that strong affect on her emotionally. This is obviously an extreme example but it got me thinking about the power music has and in turn, how I could use music and these thoughts and memories to…help me.
It has been a strange experience because, on the one hand, listening to my favourite bands has been almost impossible, I’ve often started listening to a song and quickly had to change it or turn the iPod off altogether! Arcade Fire’s “Crown of Love” is an example of a song, full of emotion that before Christmas, I could deeply empathise with and relate to. The Nationals “About Today” actually made me feel sick, I could feel everything he was singing about and it allowed me to hear my deepest worries out loud. I decided I’d download Radiohead’s entire discography and just let it play (a band I’ve never fully appreciated) and lost myself in my head. Yet on the other hand, it has been a positive escapism too. Listening to songs that indulged in my feelings was, in a weird way, exactly what I needed. It’s like hearing everything you can’t stop yourself from thinking, being sung in a poetic and often deeply honest manner that it is actually…comforting. You’re suddenly not “alone” and someone else is sharing in what you are feeling.
Music is magical. Listening to these songs now, even though only a relatively small period of time has past, my mind does not react the same way and it’s once again uplifting. I put on “Crown of Love” last night and thought of nothing except that it would be a lovely song to dance to, I want to be spun around and held! It no longer held the…emotional attachment, the hope that it did just a few weeks ago.
Listening to a wider range of my favourite bands has also reminded me of the many amazing times I had with “that guy from across the room”. Each song, everything, seems to hold some memory for me, some forgotten joke or moment or…argument even. I guess I have realised that…it’s OK, that for a while it is just how it’s going to be. Certain songs will probably forever flood my mind with thoughts of “us” but they are welcome memories and they deserve to be remembered.
They will also hopefully hold new memories, new moments with new and old friends and if I just stop listening, then I’m depriving myself from letting music in, stopping it from sweeping me away and taking over my mind…It’s a passion and a need that don’t think I would be able to live without.
So another year has rolled around and I find myself in a situation I’d not planned for. I work in an office in Mayfair for a start (not exactly the actors dream!), I’ve also recently had my heart broken and I live in a fairly dodgy part of London. All of these factors and a few more minor ones were really getting me down. I wanted to start feeling good about myself again. I wanted to at least take control of one part of my life. So, being a totally girlie girl and never needing too much of a push to go shopping, I thought I’d take my control of my appearance. I didn’t want to “reinvent” my style, but I did want to feel like I was starting over. New Year, New Chapter…New Wardrobe! I started going over the things I loved about my “look” and I also looked at the stuff I always left hanging in my wardrobe and never wore.
I started to see that I had different “types” of clothing i.e. The Festival Look, The Rocker Look, The Garden Party Look and as much as I liked these clothes, I wondered what my wardrobe really said about who I am? I came to the conclusion it said…”I have no idea!”
So I started where, in my opinion, we all should… Looking at myself naked in a full length mirror. I went over in my mind what I liked about my body, what I couldn’t stand about it, what I should accentuate and what I should really cover up. I found this actually really uplifting because all I’d usually focus on was, what wasn’t right when I looked in the mirror. I know it is pretty typical to just focus on the negatives and all to easy to do too. However, finding those things that I do quite like allowed me to feel good about my body. THIS massive and very vital piece of the puzzle meant I had confidence to go shopping knowing what I wanted to show off, knowing what I wanted to hide and having a far higher hit rate in the changing room!
Next was to look at the clothes I always reached for, my feel good clothing. Why did they make me feel good? What colours do I favour? What cut do I typically chose? I also thought about women I admire and how they dress, what do I like about their clothing? How do they put together an outfit? Would that suit me?
If one good thing has come from working in an office, its the money that I get for it! My disposable income isn’t massive but if I pinch pennies in other places, I could afford to get myself some new clothing that says so much more about me. So, I hit the shops of London in search of my ideal outfits. I wasn’t totally clueless as to what I was after but I was trying my best to be open to new trends and clothing I wouldn’t typically put myself in. I really recommend this. It really forces you to focus in on what you like to wear and what you don’t, you see yourself in things you’d usually avoid but actually end up suiting and you have a lot of fun in the process!
I also recommend shopping alone, it gives you more freedom to search the aisles and the opinion you have of the clothing is yours alone. I was always talked into buying things I wasn’t sure of and sure enough, never wore! It is OK to ask someone what they think, but remember, people don’t want to hurt your feelings and will be careful, which isn’t always helpful.
Also, follow your heart. If you like something on yourself that’s a little more “out there” and “daring”…do it. And do it with confidence. What is most important is how you feel in the clothes you are wearing.
I’m pretty thrilled about my purchases and I really feel I’m starting to express who I am through my clothes…but more about that throughout my next blog updates…
Let me know how you got on!
To set the scene… I am sat at about 1 am, with a glass of wine, tears in my eyes and I hear this for the first time. Possibly the most unbelievably “close to the bone” album that I could possibly listen to. My ex boyfriend has returned to our flat and wants me to listen to it, will think I can relate to it. I do.
Have you heard it? No?…then please listen. It certainly seems a massive leap away from songs on their first album such as “5 days time” and “Jocasta” which are fairly standard mellow commercial tracks that got the Noah and the Whale name out there and pleased the label enough to justify a second album.
But this second album…what an album. It is rare you find a whole album that you can listen to start to finish but…this is one of those albums. From the moment it begins you can tell it is going to be a lot darker and deeper than its predecessor. On this first listen, I didn’t know the context or the history of the album. I was open to hearing it and curious as to why my ex boyfriend thought it would touch me so much. It is part of a “greater-whole” and there is also a film on DVD which I have not yet watched because at the moment I’m enjoying the scenes I see in my head. However, on the first listen, I immediately felt that it was part of a movie sound track. Emotive, and deeply honest, the tracks all make you feel something and you are compelled to listen, drawn in by the soft vocals and simple yet…somehow epic melodies. There is lots of long notes on strings and heavy piano that build and drop back down taking you on a journey. I could picture each scene intensely and I could relate to everything being sung about.
I don’t want to “review” the album…that would be a little pointless seeing as this was released in 2009 and their 3rd offering is out this year. However, I do think that if you haven’t listened to it, take the time to do so! If they are a band who you have ignored or let pass you by, find some time for them and particularly this album (although I haven’t heard number 3!). They are bloody great musicians and even with all my emotional attachments aside; if you just want to find yourself a new band, a new album to listen to…please give this one a go! I would be amazed if it didn’t grab you.
However… if you, like me, are walking around with a broken heart, unable to get it out of your mind, you might take comfort in the lyrics. Almost every song says something to me that makes my skin tingle and that floods me with those feelings again. I don’t know…it might not be the most helpful thing to you! But for me, it does help. Its poetic, dramatic, descriptive and real. There are lyrics that relate to anyone who has ever had their heart broken and lead singer, Charlie Fink sings of moments and scenes we have all had with people we are losing. It might hurt too much to listen, but it might also make you feel less alone. And if you ever just need to cry and feel all the things everyone else tells you to distract yourself from, then indulge in The First Days of Spring. Let yourself feel those things. Sometimes, that is what we need.
MY TOP THREE TRACKS (although I really do love them all)
The First Days of Spring