Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey // Album Review

Lana Del Rey is well known for her sinister, mysterious and eerily nostalgic sound to her music which has proven to be a success from the masses of fans she has gathered ever since her debut single Video Games was released. Since then the singer has released her first album in 2012 and after two long years of patiently waiting her much awaited second album Ultraviolence was released on 16th June 2014.

Del Rey released four singles prior to the release date. These were West Coast, Shades of Cool, Ultraviolence and Brooklyn Baby. Writing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis wrote that "every chorus clicks, the melodies are uniformly beautiful, and they soar and swoop.”  Lana had previously stated that Born to Die would be her first and last album however Ultraviolence proves she has a lot more to give and isn’t going to be silenced so easily. The Official Charts Company in the UK confirmed on June 18th that Ultraviolence managed to bag the number one spot overtaking popular bands such as Coldplay with their new album Ghost Stories. Her fans have felt overwhelmed by her mesmerizing album as they say she’s a ‘true cultural phenomenon’ and how the new album is ‘utterly compelling.’ Could this be Del Rey’s way of getting back at critics who didn’t believe in her talent?

On the other hand, there has been a lot of negative criticism surfacing the internet. A critic named Lauren Stern stated that she felt ‘bored and uninspired by the lack of originality’ and ‘it was just dreadful.’ A lot of reviews have mentioned how the album has been labelled as explicit content and you will need parental advisory which is something parents don’t want and gives a bad light to the album. Additionally, the whole feel of the album is very melancholic and slightly depressing, hypnotic and addresses disturbing issues including drugs and mental, physical and psychological abuse. This can have a detrimental effect on someone and can be very upsetting and lead to dangerous thoughts.

In my opinion, I absolutely love Del Rey’s album. I like how she’s transformed from her original sound and has improved vocally. It’s very eerie yet peaceful at the same time and I think it would be great to listen to for when you’re revising or trying to sleep. The production and her voice together make the album perfect to listen to on repeat and overall it’s just what her fans wanted.

Track listing:
1. Cruel World
2. Ultraviolence
3. Shades of Cool
4. Brooklyn Baby
5. West Coast
6. Sad Girl
7. Pretty When You Cry
8. Money Power Glory
9. ****** My Way Up to the Top
10. Old Money
11. The Other Woman

Bonus Tracks:
12. Black Beauty
13. Guns and Roses
14. Florida Kilos

Thank you for reading! I wrote this post in a more journalistic way so let me know if you like it or not? Also let me know down in the comments whether you like her new album and what your favourite song is? I’ve been very busy lately as I’ve been taking part in a film project with Voice 21 so I may be writing a blog post on that soon!

Hugs & kisses,
Nabeela x

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Harry Potter Spells Book Tag

The Harry Potter book series by J.K Rowling was a huge part of my childhood and growing up with these characters and the magical world of Hogwarts was such a fun and phenomenal experience. I saw this tag floating around YouTube so I decided to give it a go in a blog post – hope you like it!

1. (Expecto Patronum) A childhood book connected to good memories:
This would be The Witches by Roald Dahl. Oh my gosh you don’t even understand the amount of love I have for this book. I don’t even remember the storyline that well but I just remember not being able to put it down! Thinking about it now it should have been terrifying but something about it really excited me and made me fall in love with the characters page after page. I really applaud Roald Dahl for being such a wonderful writer and creating such a masterpiece.

2. (Expelliarmus) A book that took you by surprise:

The Edge by Alan Gibbons definitely surprised me so much. We were told to read it by my English teacher in year 8 and I didn’t really have high expectations for it, I just simply went into it blindly – and I’m so glad I did! It touches on difficult topics like racism along with hopes for a promised land and family issues which is very relatable. A fantastic book that can be read again and again.

3. (Prior Incantato) The last book you read:
The last book I read was The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott which is a true story where the author talks about the abuse and trauma she experienced because of her step dad Richard, both physically and mentally. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 star rating as it was truly heart breaking and despite the fact that I wasn’t too fond of the writing style and the awful topic it was very good and I found myself having tears in my eyes throughout it.

4. (Alohamora) A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before:
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett introduced me to the wonderful world of classic literature and I’ve loved it ever since. I think I read it twice when I was younger and I remember feeling extensively inspired by the female protagonist Sara Crewe and her bravery at Miss Minchin’s London boarding school. Ever since reading it I’ve found that I’ve been much more interested in classics and enjoy them a lot more whereas before I only stuck to genres that I was comfortable with.

5. (Riddikulus) A funny book you've read:
I think for me this would be The Blurred Man by Anthony Horowitz which I read when I was younger simply because the bumbling detectives Tim and Nick are hilarious as they don’t have a clue what they’re actually doing. This book made me laugh so much making it a really enjoyable and light read and I would recommend it to anyone.

6. (Sonorus) A book you think everybody should know about:

I feel like everyone should know about one of my all-time favourite books The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. I’m sure a lot of you have heard about it but I was so surprised at how good it actually was. I adore all the characters and how well they were developed, even including heartless Daisy. The writing style was pretty complex to be honest but I didn’t mind since the plot was fantastic and the message it portrayed about hope was intense and truly beautiful.

7. (Obliviate) A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read:

I didn’t like the fact that I knew what was going to happen to Augustus in The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I think it changed my perception of the whole book and it all sort of became predictable which I felt would have been different if I didn’t know.

8. (Imperio) A book you had to read for school:

We had to read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck in year 10 and I absolutely loved it! The characters were extremely fascinating to read about along with the setting and overall message was very inspiring and captivating.

9. (Crucio) A book that was painful to read:
This one will have to be The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey. The author of this book came to my school and signed free copies of his book so I just decided to read it and see what it’s all about and unfortunately I really didn’t like it. I just felt like it dragged on and on and the concept of dragons didn’t really interest me. Plus there was a lot about squirrels which I just didn’t understand. Overall it was simply boring and I couldn’t wait to finish it.

10. (Avada Kedavra) A book that could kill:

The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine will honestly kill you. I read this when I was in year 7 and I remember it so vividly as it has stuck with me ever since. It’s such a disturbingly compelling story about friendship and evil combined. What really killed me was the plot twist at the end as it really conveyed how screwed up and mentally ill someone can be. I’m not going to tell you too much but I definitely think you should read it.

Thanks so much for reading! I had so much fun doing this tag and I’m going to tag all of you to do it too. Talk to you all very soon!

Hugs & kisses,
Nabeela x

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Voice // A Short Story

The other day I was rummaging around some old files on my computer and found an old story I had written almost five years ago. I’ve always written short stories since I was just eight years old so it’s really interesting to see how my writing style has changed. After a lot of cringing and laughing at my work I finally plucked up the courage and decided to share it. At the same time I was a little disturbed about the fact it’s about devil worshipping and Satanists but then again I’ve always been oddly fascinated by dark and evil things. After taking a good look I found myself feeling extremely proud since I must have been only 11/12 and inevitably I feel like my writing has improved significantly - at least I hope so!

Silence, its pitch black. Crunch, crunch, crunch. I can sense someone approaching my house, coming closer and closer. Who is it? Someone did enter my house last night; someone did enter the room, the room where all my deadly sins come alive.
You might be thinking, what room? I wasn’t always like this; there was a time where I once was kind and caring, but that all changed. I’m sure you would like to know a lot more about me and my room, so let me tell you about my story.
Around ten years ago, I bought a brand new house on Tilly Hill. It was a two bedroom house, so it was reasonable for an old widow to live there. I had no friends, but I wasn’t lonely, I had my pet cat, Black. It was perfect, not a problem at all. That was before, I heard the voice, tempting me to start a life full of sins, I was told to become a Satanist.
So that was it, I had been so tempted to stop all of this, but it was too difficult. No one came to visit my house ever again; no one dared to even take a look. Everyone was scared of my house, everyone was scared of me. It didn’t bother me, I couldn’t care less. I had this one special room in my house, it was the library. I loved reading books, any type of book. That was before; the voice had told me to give up my books, to make that room into a worship room, to worship the devil. I did what I was asked to do.
For several years, I worshipped the devil in that one special room. Then came the night, the most terrifying night of my life. A group of teenage boys had decided to visit my house, and to find out what was in my room, what was the secret thing I was hiding from everyone.

So these boys entered my house, and foolishly entered the room. You see, in this room, I had kept these paintings. These weren’t normal paintings though, these were special paintings. When these boys entered the room, when they set their eyes on these paintings, they ended up in hospital. These paintings were so ugly, horrifying and disturbing that when someone sees them, they will end up going mental. They would have some problem, and then soon they would die. Something was different though, if you had died with seeing the paintings, you would always die smiling.
Rumours went round, talking about my house, my room. Others entered the room, saw the paintings and the same thing would happen to them. I kept on getting orders from the voice. The police came to search the house once, they were never normal again. I didn’t let anyone see me; I never went out in public. I never saw the voice either. Two years later, the house collapsed, and went up in flames. It was an accident of course, but somehow it felt as if it wasn’t an accident. The paintings were buried under all the ruins and of course I died. My body was left there, untouched; I was just a dead lifeless body rotting away. There was something else though, I was smiling.
I never heard the voice again, but then one night, I heard it. The voice said ‘Rest in peace, but I’ll be back again...’
That was my story about how I lived my life, and I was happy. I am now a spirit who haunts the ruins of the house. My cat, Black, wanders about, and I communicate with her. No one bothers to check out the ruins, everyone’s too scared. The voice still goes in and out of my head, telling me what to do and how to live my life. I agree with him, and do what I’m told. Yes, I am an old strange woman, and yes, I believe in the devil.

Thank you so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts on The Voice and if you would like to see some of my other short stories.

Hugs & kisses,
Nabeela x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Second Hand Book Haul

There’s no denying it, buying a brand spanking new book is a fantastic feeling. The smell and the feel of new books is just one of a kind however I absolutely love second hand books too. I know some people don’t like them and they prefer new ones which is understandable, but old books have their own special place on a bookshelf too. I noticed the other day that I actually have quite a few second hand books so I decided to share them with you in this haul.

Red telephone box:
Last year I went for a walk at a hilly countryside with my brother and my auntie and whilst we were walking we came across something very rare. It was a traditional red telephone box that contained piles upon piles of books and after speaking to the owner we found out that we can take them and if we wanted to we could trade in some of our old books as well. So I picked up three books that I found interesting and came back the following week to drop off some of our old books.

The books were –
  •  The Divide by Nicholas Evans
  •   This is How it Ends by Kathleen McMahon
  •  This Side of Heaven by Emma Blair

A few weeks ago I was at the hospital and as I was wandering around I found a stall that was selling books for just under a pound! I just simply couldn’t resist the bargain so I bought three for a really good price.

The books were –
  • No Second Chance by Harlan Coben
  •  Pack Up the Moon by Anna McPartlin
  • The Crimson Rooms by Katherine McMahon

Little café:
My mom and I went for some coffee one afternoon and I spotted some books that they were selling for charity so I decided to pick one up for only something like 50p.

  • The book was The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott.

Sister’s book sale:
The other day my little sister’s school was having a book sale so she bought me three books for under a pound as well.

The books were –
  •  Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  •   Love Letters by Katie Fforde
  •   Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer  Read Hawthorne and Marci Shimoff.

Thank you so much for reading. Please follow me on Bloglovin’ and also leave your blogs in the comment section, I’d love to check them out.

Hugs & kisses,
Nabeela x

Thursday, 3 July 2014

‘Count Your Blessings Not Your Flaws’

I fell in love with the lovely quote ‘count your blessings not your flaws’ by the beautiful Miss Lauren Aquilina. It’s just a really honest and great quote that we all need reminding of sometimes. I was watching Cherry Wallis’ video about body confidence which you can find here and it sparked up the inspiration for this post.

I can tell you now that I’ve never been satisfied with how I look and it has really affected the way I feel inside which is completely and utterly wrong. The media along with friends and family can all make us feel disgusting because they tell you it’s not the ‘norm’ to be  a size 12 or it’s not the ‘norm’ for a girl to be taller than 5”9. But what is the norm? Everyone is a different size, a different shape, so how is it even possible to be put in one category and considered the ‘norm’? Wow I think I said the word norm a tad too much there aha.

I’ve had people call me anorexic before and when I changed that to please them people started calling me fat. Now I’ve realised that people will NEVER be satisfied. We will never be happy with our appearance but if we improve our personalities and how we feel inside, our perception of ourselves will be much more positive.

“I am not trapped in my body. I am trapped in other people’s perceptions of my body.”

So for today’s post I wanted to share with you what I like about myself. That’s not me being cocky or arrogant in any way and I really hope you don’t perceive it in that way. I just feel we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the amazing qualities we have and we only ever point out our flaws. It was pretty hard coming up with the things I like about my appearance but I managed to conjure up three.

1. I love the colour and length of my hair. I feel really lucky that my hair grows quickly and it looks nice when it’s natural.

2. I also really like my eye colour. They’re a pretty brown colour and even though my eyes aren’t very big I still love the colour of them.

3. Lastly, I really like my teeth. I had braces a few years ago and now they’re super straight so I really like how they look.

"You are so used to your features; you don’t know how beautiful you look to a stranger." 

Thank you for reading! I really enjoyed writing this post and I hope I’ve at least helped one person today to feel more confident about how they look. What’s one thing you like about yourself?

Hugs & kisses,
Nabeela x