15 November 2017

Classically trained at a young age, Joe Hicks certainly knows his way around an instrument. It was inevitable then that he would fall into the hands of music producers and begin writing and recording his own music. This has seen him climb to success on BBC Introducing and included in Spotify and SoundCloud playlists from users all over the world.

His new single ‘Burning’ is described by Hicks himself as "'Burning' is about that addiction you get to someone, especially in the early stages of a relationship, where everything else in your life becomes almost non-existent for a while. It's like when you both call in sick to work so you can just stay in bed together all day. Completely blind, glorious, lustful self-destruction.” 

That is portrayed throughout every lyric of this song, as the rising crescendo on each chorus is hard to ignore   Each time it comes on I find myself tapping away at the minimalism yet genius of it, complementing the simplicity of its message and Hicks’ musical style. You might see this song in a future What I Listened To playlist, because I sure will be listening to it a lot, and you should too. 

Listen to ‘Burning’ on Spotify, download it on iTunes and follow Joe on Twitter to see what he’s up to. 

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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13 November 2017

It doesn't take much time to capture a memory these days. With the snap of a phone camera we can take a picture and a few taps to share it far and wide. If you decide not to take that picture, small memories, decisions and days doing great things can be lost.

One Second Everyday's app plans to change that. Originally a Kickstarter campaign, Cesar Kuriyama started recording one second of his life when he turned 30 and thinks you should too. It seems many people agreed, as during the 30 day campaign, it pledged more than twice what Kuriyama was looking for. He's also had coverage on outlets such as CNN, so this app is definitely one worth investing in.

I've been personally using the app for a little while, and it's brilliant. I even get a notification every day if I haven't filmed my second and you can see all the clips you've taken in a handy timeline, as seen below.

If you forget to film a clip within the app for that day, it even lets you import video and photos from your camera roll, giving you the chance to add a video your friend may have sent you that's made your day. This has been more a recent addition, but you can now add your location to the clips as well, giving your memories a new meaning as you can name exactly where you were.

You can view your timeline at any time, just tap the play button on the right hand corner. It can be all the clips you have, from a preset or a custom date. So if you want to only revisit the days of your holiday or the build-up to something special, you can do so very easily.

Exporting the video for the web couldn't be easier, as there's share buttons that come up at the end of your video, letting you get the web code and share it to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc. I'll be sharing my own video next year, so keep your eyes peeled for it.

For £4.99 on the App Store and for Free on the Google Play Store, you'd be really silly not to miss out on preserving One Second Everyday and having those special memories in a unique movie for you to look back on in a month/6 months'/10 years' time.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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25 October 2017

Guess what? This monthly segment on my blog is back! It’s been a while since I last did one of these but I decided that I wanted to start documenting what I listen to each month again.

For those uninitiated, at the end of each month I create a Spotify playlist of all the songs I’ve been listening to throughout that particular month and then share them in a post such as this one. You can see what a music fiend like me listens to, the new stuff I’m loving or the regular favourites that will probably appear in every one of these playlists. 😂

So what of this month’s music? I’ve really been on a country kick lately, loving a bit of that Tennessee and Southern accent 😉 My playlist includes a band I’ve always featured, Old Dominion, as their new album Happy Endings was released at the end of August and as you can tell, I really love it! 

Also featured a lot is a new artist I’ve discovered recently, although she’s been around for a while - RaeLynn. All of her songs from the WildHorse album are so damn catchy, particularly ‘Lonely Call’ and ‘The Apple’, both great country jams that I wholeheartedly recommend listening to. 

There’s lots more from The 1975, WESLEE and Savi to name but a few. Check out the playlist below and follow me on Spotify (akj.) to be first to see what’s in the next month’s playlist.

1. Paris - The 1975
2. The Sound - The 1975
3. Hymn - Kesha
4. The Apple - RaeLynn
5. Shoe Shopping - Old Dominion
6. The Other (Stripped) - Lauv
7. Caio Adios - Anne-Marie
8. Lonely Call - RaeLynn
9. Losin' Myself - Savi ft. Ida da Silva
10. New York at Night - Old Dominion
11. God Made Girls - RaeLynn
12. A Girl Is A Gun - Old Dominion
13. Bathwater - WESLEE
14. Hotel Key - Old Dominion
15. Havana - Camilla Cabello ft. Young Thug
16. Stand By You - Rachel Platten
17. Dark Places - Angel Haze
18. Diamonds - RaeLynn

Are there any tracks that you've had on repeat and want to recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

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Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

18 September 2017

How is it September already? I was looking through my calendar and realised how much of the year has whizzed by. But it's now autumn, my favourite season of the year - I have a couple of reasons listed below as to why.

The leaves turn a lovely shade of orange and litter the ground, making lots of great Insta posts and being lovely to walk across and look at as part of a landscape.

Frost when waking up, making it a very fresh morning 👌🏻

Cosy nights in having hot chocolate and heart-warming food whilst watching the rain fall outside (which is the most likely weather as I live in the UK 😂)

Wrapping up in such warm clothing when stepping out the door - winter coats, scarves etc.

Having fairly lights to light up the house on an evening and it being acceptable ✨

Turning up at work/school with a flask full of tea/coffee/hot chocolate to warm you up.

The sun going down early, so you can enjoy the sunset and all the gorgeous colours it has to offer 🌅

So those are just some of the reasons why I love autumn, do you agree with any of them or have any to add? I'd be so intrigued to know, pop them in the comments.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones

6 September 2017

Earlier this week I got the amazing opportunity to shadow the ITV News team for the day, learning how it all works: putting the news bulletins together, the graphics involved, the whole nine yards. So as you can imagine, I was pretty excited but terrified in equal measures, as I didn't know what to expect.

Turning up at ITN (where ITV News and as I found out Channel 4, Channel 5 and NBC News are also based) I was met by Camilla Mankabady, the News at Ten programme editor, and shown to the newsroom. Here's a fact you might not know: NBC UK News share the same newsroom as ITV, so it was really cool seeing both sides of the room being occupied with different news organisations.

The first task on my agenda for the day was to interview Europe Editor James Mates for my podcast (did you know I have a podcast? Subscribe on iTunes and Mixcloud if you would like) and beforehand, I was really nervous and worried about it. But all that worry was for nothing, as he's so lovely and patient, and answered all my questions with lots of detail and knowledge. I'm ever so grateful to James for taking time out of his schedule to take part. Listen to the episode HERE.

We also got a really cute picture together! 😍
Interview over, I went to Costa to grab some lunch and upon my return, I was invited to go and observe Paul Brand in the editing suite doing the voiceover and edit for his report going out on that night's News at Ten, all about the revival of the Welsh language being taught in schools. I even helped out a bit, giving verdicts on whether the piece sounded OK and we had a bit of a laugh which was nice and helped eased my nerves a bit more.

Camilla then took me to the 5pm meeting for the News at Ten, where I was first introduced to anchor Tom Bradby, which went really well and was really insightful.

In between these meetings I got chatting to everyone who was in the newsroom and saw each of their jobs for the day. ITV News have things called 'bongs' (not drug paraphernalia, don't worry) during the headlines of the programme - if you've ever watched any of their programmes, you'll know what I mean. I sat in on the creation of these bongs, making sure they fit to time and look perfect.

I also had the opportunity to speak to Tom Bradby for a bit after our brief introduction, I asked him all about journalism and working in TV, which was an awesome opportunity to have - he's also one of the people I look up to so it was an honour to get to speak to him ☺️

After our discussion, I was booked in to see how the Evening News was made by sitting in the gallery which is a big room of buttons, switches and screens with the Director and Programme Editor talking in the presenters' ear to let them know what's going on. The presenters always rehearse their script and the headlines to make sure they've got them exactly right.

It was so weird to see, as when the report videos are playing on the TV in everyone's homes, the presenters just sat there and waited for their cue to read the next lines.

The evening team went home, I went to get some dinner and sat with Tom and the rest of the NAT team, asking him questions and even looking through his headline script to make sure it all made sense or if there was anything to be added.

During this time I also went over to the Graphics department and the lovely guys there showed me how different graphics are made, the process of the Royal Family procession family tree being made, the Solar System map (which was really cool) and how they can transmit their graphics from their desk to your TV at home without having to pass through a server or letting anyone else control it.

Eventually it was time to go back to the gallery for the News at Ten, which was especially strange as I watch it every night and always wondered how it's made. Much like the evening news, Tom had to rehearse the trail (where he pops up a few minutes before the show), headlines and then his script for during the bulletin.

The director Robin and Programme Editor Camilla made contact with the correspondents and made sure they were ready, sorted through the order of interview, in this case Debbie Edwards went first then Robert Moore and the director relays all this back to Tom. How he or any other presenter manages to deliver the news whilst all this is going on in their ear I do not know - that's the craft of television news journalism I guess.

Below I've included a video from the Evening News that shows what I mean by being in the gallery and the cacophony of voices.

After the News at Ten I got the picture below with Tom before he left and I did the same. I was so sad to be leaving, but I really hope to be back soon. 

I would like to take this paragraph to say thank you to Camilla, Tom, James and the rest of the ITV News team for being so wonderful and letting me come and check out your workplace for a day. I learnt so much and enjoyed talking to everyone - it was one of the best days and one that I won't forget anytime soon.

To follow what's happening in the news, follow ITV News on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Also don't forget to check out their bulletins on ITV at 1:30pm, 6:30pm and 10pm every weekday.

A K Jones

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2 August 2017

With her beginnings in a small British village, Caitlyn Scarlett is certainly making waves with her debut EP, Red Tape, Vol. 1.

Her soulful voice and honest songwriting about life, love and everything in between is what goes into Red Tape, so Scarlett deserves to work with the biggest and best producers, including Levi Lennox (Zayn Malik, M.I.A) and this is reflected through the sheer difference in tone from each track, with the 16-year-old getting the support of Huw Stephens and BBC Introducing, her career is blossoming.

Don't expect this to be the last time you hear her name.

Buy Red Tape, Vol. 1 on iTunes and Amazon (UK | US) (if you do buy it from Amazon UK, I make a few pennies from each sale. Boring I know, but I have to tell you as it's the law). Also listen on Spotify for free.

Follow Scarlett on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Listening!

A K Jones


31 July 2017

You may have recently seen a new Veet product on the shelves at your local Superdrug or Boots and advertised on the telly, and said product their most recent release, the Precision Styler.

The product itself comes in plastic packaging and as we all know, plastic packaging is so hard to get into. But persevere, the product is always worth it. Inside is a range of tools to help your beauty regime become a lot easier. 

Inside the pack includes a trimmer with attachments for the underarms, bikini line area and eyebrows. As well as a little bag for holding it all, but I would be cautious about using it - it's made of very flimsy material and I've torn one of the bag seams already. 

In terms of use, it's very easy. One thing I will say is the instructions aren't very clear as to what each attachment does, so you have to try each one out and see. Also, the attachment head that comes attached to the product in the packet is very hard to remove, so be prepared to put some elbow grease into changing it for the first time.

I used it to trim my underarms and bikini area, and it did both of those very well. I would recommend using some shaving cream for them though, as it does itch and there is a little razor burn.

I would definitely recommend it if you have the money to spare on such a system. If not, then just buy plastic razors - they do exactly the same thing for a fraction of the price.

You can buy Veet's Precision Styler at Boots, Superdrug and on Amazon (if you click the Amazon link and buy it, I get a few pennies from each sale through their affiliate programme. I know it's boring but I have to tell you - it's now the law).

A K Jones

*A PR sample of this product was reviewed. All opinions are my own.

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