A Very Merry Christmas Mixtape – Curated by YOU!

very merry Christmas mixtape

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear – can I get an amen? Buddy the Elf might be on to something here because I sure feel more festive after singing along to some of my favourite seasonal songs!

I know that a lot of you feel the same way, so I took to Instagram to find out YOUR most-loved Christmas songs and I loved reading the responses.

Music has such an important and memorable part to play in our big celebrations, so why should Christmas be any different? I enjoyed reading (and listening to!) everyone’s top picks so much that I decided to put them together into our very own playlist!

So, here’s a Very Merry Christmas Mixtape – curated by you guys (with a couple of my favourites thrown in, too)…

You Make it Feel Like Christmas by Gwen Stefani (selected by @foreverhomeinspiration)

Last Christmas by Wham! (selected by @ashleymunster and @thegirlinthetartanscarf)

All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love (selected by @garytroublewith)

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses (selected by @humunculous_, @colourscarousel, @misscuppy, @glasgowfoodgeek, @gert1957, @rachiebaby, @lalatracyfaye)

Fairytale of New York by The Pogues (selected by @lindagraham59, @honeypopkisses and @st_mango)

Do They Know it’s Christmas by Band Aid (selected by @misscuppy and @amy_claireee)

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee (selected by @cleovantine)

Sleight Ride by The Ronettes (selected by @cleovantine)

Winter by Tori Amos (selected by @washu_domo)

Home For the Holidays by Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler (selected by @emusingemma)

It’s Christmas and I Hate You by Josh Weller and Paloma Faith (selected by @gert1957)

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra (selected by @jamesvsburger and @clortycatcrafts – who recommended all of the Rat Pack Christmas songs!)

Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens (selected by @ladykrw and @feeharvmakeup)

Step Into Christmas by Elton John (selected by me!)

Jingle Bell Rock by Brian Setzer Orchestra (also selected by me!)

Oh Santa! By Mariah Carey (selected by me, though there were one or two shouts for Mariah by you guys, too!)

very merry Christmas mixtape

Aaaaaand: JAZZ HANDS! 

I’m sure you’ll agree we’ve put together a pretty fabulous playlist, right? And I also think we can agree that Christmas Wrapping is a firm favourite. You might have some (or all!) of these songs already – but just in case you haven’t, I’ve put together our Very Merry Christmas Mixtape over on Tidal! You can listen to it here. 

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun and put their suggestions forward, I hope you enjoy listening to everyone else’s selections too!

This is my last post until after the festivities, so I hope you have an awesome time over the next week and I’ll be back here very soon. Happy Christmas!

A Doting Daughter Playlist for Father’s Day

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There are lots of words that spring to mind when I think about the relationship I have with my dad, but I think ‘music’ is one of the words that always feels most appropriate. I get a lot of my personality traits and tastes in various things from my dad (we both love comedy, peanut butter and quoting TV shows that everyone else has forgotten about…), but a shared passion for music is something that has bonded us for as long as I can remember.

My dad has always actively encouraged me to love music – to appreciate it, listen to it, play it and watch it – and it’s something that we’ve always enjoyed together. How exactly do you sum up a person in just ONE song though? It’s very difficult, especially when so many songs make you think of them! I think narrowing it down to five tracks is much more fair (and much more fun!).

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I’d like to share five songs that remind me of my awesome dad. Think of it as a doting daughter playlist!

1. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen 

I’m pretty sure that I knew all of the words to this song before I even knew how to tie my shoes. My dad used to play Queen quite a lot, and to be honest most songs by this band instantly transport me to my childhood, and hanging out with my dad. I don’t think there are many songs that are as fun to sing along to as Bohemian Rhapsody though, and that’s what we used to do (HE’S JUST A POOR BOY, FROM A POOR FAMILY!). We re-visited this track a few years later, when Wayne’s World came out, which we used to watch (and quote!) endlessly. Party on!

2. Escapade by Janet Jackson

It’s probably no surprise that my dad was the person that I went to my first ever concert with. That concert was Janet Jackson’s Glasgow date of the 1998 Velvet Rope tour. My dad and I are both Janet (Miss Jackson if yer nasty!) fans, and I remember being so excited to finally get to hear all of the songs we’d been listening to LIVE. Escapade is a song that reminds me of this concert, and long, sunny car journeys with my dad where we’d listen to it extra loud.

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3. Alphabet Street by Prince

This is the very first Prince song I ever heard, and was therefore the soundtrack for that magical moment when Prince’s music came into my life! My dad was right there with me. Well, kind of! I was assuming my usual after school position, sitting on the sofa watching VH1 (which I still maintain is about a billion times better than MTV… #sorrynotsorry) while my dad was making dinner. The video Alphabet Street came on and I was transfixed. Towards the end I said to my dad that I really liked it and asked who this guy was. My dad gave me his copy of Lovesexy so I could hear the rest of the songs from the album, and the rest is history. We spent lots of time in hanging about second-hand vinyl shops and branches of HMV over the following years so that I could obsessively build up my Prince collection, with my dad being the person I could rely on to understand the need to collect a back catalogue!

4. You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon 

Just to make it clear – I mean the Chevy Chase version! It’s hard to pinpoint exactly WHY this song makes me think of my dad, it just does. It was released a year after I was born and I think it must have had a lot of airplay for a couple of years after that. Either way, it brings back happy memories of bopping around the house with my dad when I was little and even when it comes on when I’m out and about it always makes me smile and text my dad and see what he’s up to.

5. Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters

Whoa, there – did I just pick a song that was released after the 80s? I know, I’m full of surprises! As I got into my teens my dad would give me a lift to and from concerts. I was getting older, and that meant that I could start introducing my dad to bands and albums in the same lovely way he had done for me previously. One band that I went to see was Foo Fighters in 2002, and my dad instantly liked lots of their songs, including the ever-popular Learn To Fly. It’s even his ringtone!

Music is always something my dad and I will share, and these songs are just a few of the ones that remind me of the amazing times that we’ve had, my childhood and being raised by someone that encourages me to actively seek passion and joy. I have no doubt that he’s reading this, so HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, BALOO!

Do you have a song that reminds you of someone special? Do you obsessively collect records too?

With thunderbolts and lightning (very, very frightening!),

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Post created in collaboration with HMV but all feels are my own!

 

Welcome To The Vault

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Do you remember the excitement of your first ever concert? Weaving your way through the sweaty crowds, singing (actually, make that shrieking!) along until your throat gets hoarse and generally feeling on top of the world?

For so many of us, going to see our favourite rock stars, bands and pop icons is about more than entertainment – it is a way of life! Music plays such an important part in our world that it’s hard to imagine not getting excited about it. Still, that special feeling of the FIRST time is difficult to beat, right? It’s sheer magic.

When the SSE Hydro opened in Glasgow in 2013, local gig-goers knew that a game-changer had just landed. A venue so huge that it could attract major events in music, sports and much more! I’d already seen two of my favourites (Prince – OBVIOUSLY – and Katy Perry) play the Hydro last year (and have seen a ridiculous amount of live shows in general…like I said, it’s kind of a way of life!) so when I was invited along by Clydesdale Bank to see Taylor Swift recently I was pretty sure I knew what I was in for.

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That is, until I heard about The Vault.

As well as holding over 12,000 superfans at each event, it turns out that there is also room for a couple more at The Hydro. Four, to be precise – if you and your buddies manage to get access to The Vault!

So, what is this Vault, it sounds like some kind of secret society?!

Well, yes and no! The Vault is an exclusive VIP concert experience that allows you to be part of the most secret society in town for one awesome night. But the beauty of it is, ANYONE is able to win access to it if they hold a ticket to a concert at the SSE Hydro. All you have to do is enter the dedicated prize draw and leave the rest up to lady luck.

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I started my evening at The Scullery, a Finnieston favourite and a perfect spot to grab a bite to eat before a concert at The Hydro seeing as it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away! I met up with Ryan, Sarah and Amanda for dinner and we were all giddy with excitement before our drinks order was even taken. Most of us had never seen The Vault before, and couldn’t wait to experience it.

I enjoyed a yummy cashew, strawberry and spinach salad for dinner and then – by the literal definition of ‘happy accident’ – ended up with two desserts! The night was clearly off to a fantastic start and before you could say “it’s all coming up Milhouse”, we were skipping down the road towards the Hydro…

Accessing The Vault is where the real secret society part kicks in. We made our way in to the venue through a separate entrance, managing to avoid any part of the queue – hooray! After slipping on our wristbands we were then led up a private staircase (yes, really!) and past the exclusive Hydro Club Bar. I was half-expecting a secret handshake at this point, but instead, a thick curtain was pulled back and we were seated in The Vault.

With a plush, roomy sofa and enough space to get up and dance, The Vault was the ideal size for a group of four. As well as the comfortable surroundings, we had one heck of a view of the stage!

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Before Taylor Swift was due on stage, we made full use of the special butler service and ordered our drinks. Waiting in line at the venue bar and missing the first song or two is always a bummer – but in The Vault we didn’t even need to get up as our order was taken at the touch of a button. I could quickly get used to this kind of thing…

Suddenly, the lights went down and the arena went wild as Taylor Swift came onstage and transported us to the streets of New York with her army of dancers. The show was a lot of fun, filled with lights, dazzling costumes and uplifting messages. And as well as being visually entertaining, Taylor (I’m 99% sure we’ll be on first name terms now, right? Maybe?) sure can belt out a tune!

For me, the real highlight of the setlist was Shake It Off, which was kept as a sparkling finale that had EVERYONE on their feet, shaking off their worries and feeling mighty fine. It’s a song that you just have to dance to, I can’t even keep still if it comes on in a shop.

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Being able to experience the show from The Vault really took things to a new level! The VIP access, space and wow factor (I still can’t get over that view) made things feel super special, and I hope that I win the chance to do it all again one day. It can’t transport you back in time to that very first gig, but it CAN recreate that feeling of excitement in a really extraordinary way and make sure you shake it off in style while catching your favourite bands.

Sound good? Find out more about The Vault and enter for a chance to win access here!

With confetti kisses,

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Photography credit: photo 2 – copyright Stuart Wallace