Kate Nash’s Made of Bricks tour – 10 years on from teenage fandom

Kate Nash’s debut album, Made of Bricks, was definitely one of the big albums of my formative years, having been released when I was the tender yet crucial age of 15.

Almost three years later, her second album, My Best Friend is You, was released just a few months after I passed my driving test and I remember driving round listening to Paris and Do-Wah-Doo in the sun.

But of course it’s Foundations, and the more twee Mouthwash and Birds, that captivated me first. We Get On was great teenage crush fodder, and every single song on that album had something to connect to.

So when Kate announced a 10th anniversary tour for Made of Bricks this summer, playing the whole album, I just had to go – even though I’d seen her during a more shouty phase in York in 2013 and hadn’t been quite so enamoured. (I still thought she was awesome and girl power-y though).

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International Cat Day and why I love my job

Not every job would let you go and pet cats at the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in Old Windsor on a Tuesday afternoon!

International Cat Day was the perfect opportunity to organise this – the day was trending on social media all day and we had incredible success earlier in the day asking people to send in photos of their cats on the Get Surrey Facebook page. I’m sure the fact I put a photo of my beautiful cat, Shanti, on the post made it all the more attractive to readers ­čśë

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Take That at the O2 Arena got me emotional – here’s why

Yes, it was about two weeks ago already, but I thought it would be nice to share this.

Take That always put on an incredible live show for a pop group and I saw that for myself during their recent run at the O2 Arena in London. So much thought had clearly gone into their Wonderland tour, way more than at most gigs I’ve ever been to.

And yet it was something really simple that meant the most to me.

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Sharing the love: Lessons in compliments from my cat

As anyone who’s met me in the past year-and-a-half is probably aware, I have a cat. She’s called Shanti and she’s very fluffy and cuddly.

On any given day, I’ll probably say most or all of these things to her:

“You’re lovely.” “You’re so pretty!” “You’re beeeautiful.” “You’re perfect.” “You’re my bestest friend!” and so on.

All normal things for a crazy cat lady to say to her feline friend.

But one day I got thinking – how come I, or indeed so many of us, don’t give these compliments to our real-life human friends with remotely the same regularity?

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What I’ve been watching in January

La La Land

1Although I’ll happily acknowledge its faults, I was still taken in by La La Land, like so many others. I was almost put off in the first scene by some dizzying and relentless camerawork which actually made me feel a bit queasy. Thankfully, things calmed down and, although the whirling long shots returned on occasion, I was able to sit back and enjoy the songs.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for days – I love all the songs and the beautiful instrumental themes, made all the more impressive by the fact Ryan Gosling learnt jazz piano for the film. He and Emma Stone are wonderful together, yet again, and though the story can be rather bittersweet it is a totally┬ájoyful ride. I’d happily watch this again very soon.

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My London bucket list

I’ve lived in London for three years now and I love being near so many places of interest and activities.

In reality though I work in Surrey so it’s not as simple as it might be to get out and about in London.┬áBut weekends and evenings certainly still have a sense of possibility (and I do get to a lot of concerts and shows).

I’ve decided to create a bucket list of everything in London I’d love to do that I never have so I┬ácan start work on it this year.

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Everything I read in 2016 rated

Five stars

  • The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King
  • Spectacles by Sue Perkins
  • Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
  • Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Four stars

  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Slade House by David Mitchell
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • After You by Jojo Moyes
  • Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
  • The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  • Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  • Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Three stars

  • A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
  • Me & Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  • Disclaimer by Renee Knight
  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  • Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
  • Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith
  • Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn
  • To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
  • One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
  • We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • Billy And Me by Giovanna Fletcher
  • Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher
  • Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
  • The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern
  • Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Two stars

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones