Rita Ora – Phoenix (Deluxe) & Paloma Faith – The Architect (Zeitgeist)

Not sure if have done an normal album review on this site yet but here goes with a double review, both of female artist I do enjoy listening to with very distinct voices.

Rita Ora – Phoenix

For me Rita is an artist that keeps producing better and better music and this album continues this with too me more good songs than average songs as often find on albums as normally you get 3 or 4 “Singles” which are good and the rest are average. The Deluxe version has 16 tracks including her hits Anywhere, Your Song along with her collaborations with Liam Payne (For You), Rudimental (Summer Love) and Cardi B, Bebe Rexha & Charli XCX for the track Girls , it also includes her latest song Let You Love Me. For me this is her best album and I hope she continues improving, the favourite track on the album is Girls but I do love Anywhere. Rating – B+

Tracklist –
1. Anywhere
2. Let You Love Me
3. New Look
4. Lonely Together (feat. Rita Ora) – Avicii
5. Your Song
6. Only Want You
7. First Time High
8. For You (Fifty Shades Freed) – Liam Payne & Rita Ora
9. Summer Love – Rudimental & Rita Ora
10. Girls (feat. Cardi B, Bebe Rexha & Charli XCX)
11. Keep Talking (feat. Julia Michaels)
12. Hell Of A Life
13. Velvet Rope
14. Falling To Pieces
15. Cashmere
16. Soul Survivor
Paloma Faith – The Architect

Paloma is a singer I really do love listening to as she has a unique voice and like Lily Allen and Kate Nash has her own unique songs, I do have to admit I’ve not got her other albums but love Changing and Only Love Can Hurt Like This that she has previously released. Whilst many of these tracks are not as well know it does contain Crybaby and Lullaby (with Sigala) but my favourite track is the one she has done with John Legend called I’ll Be Gentle which hasn’t been released as a single but I think would do really well as a single. I think she might not sell as much as she could because of her voice as whilst I love it I can’t really listen to an hour non stop like can do some singers but could listen to a track several times in a day without losing the love for the track. Rating B-

Tracklist –
1. Evolution (feat Samuel L Jackson)
2. The Architect
3. Guilty
4. Crybaby
5. I’ll Be Gentle (with John Legend)
6. Politics of Hope (Feat Owen Jones)
7. Kings and Queens
8. Surrender
9. Warrior
10. Til I’m Done
11. Lost and Lonely
12. Still Around
13. Pawns (Feat Baby, Nym & Janelle)
14. WW3
15. Love Me As I Am
16. Power to the Peaceful
17. Tonight’s Not The Only Night
18. My Body
19. Price of Fame
20. Loyal
21. Final Breath
22. Your Ex
23. Older
24. Make Your Own Kind of Music
25. Lullaby (with Sigala)
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The Greatest Showman – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Vs Reimagined

One of my favourite movies and soundtrack last year was The Greatest Showman and when they said were releasing an album with the songs sung by the likes of P!nk, Kelly Clarkson and Craig David I was really looking forward to hearing how it compared.

I have 3 songs that I really love in the Movie, A Million Dreams, Never Enough (sung by Loren Allred as Rebecca Ferguson didn’t actually sing the song) and This is Me so these were the 3 songs I played more attention to. Only the Reimagined album A Million Dreams is sung by P!nk, Never Enough by Kelly Clarkson (who I love listening too) and This is Me by Kerala Settle (who sings it originally), Kesha and Missy Elliot. Maybe it’s because I had listen to the original songs first but none of the Reimagined versions seemed to be as good as the originals, Kelly’s version of Never Enough not P!nk’s version of A Million Dreams gave me the chills the original versions gave me, personally to me it seems the people behind the Reimagined version jumped on the band wagon of The Greatest Showman and tried to cash in and with the names on the album should’ve produced a far better album in my opinion but as said it could be that I’m biased as listened to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack first and fell in love with those versions of the songs.

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack would’ve got a B+ from me whilst the Reimagined would only get perhaps a D-

Personally Radio Stations I rather listen to Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams and the rest sing A Million Dreams than P!nk.

Best of 2018

As 2018 draws to a near I’ve decided to write what I think is the best of 2918 in my own opinion

Movie – This is a hard one, there has been plenty of good films like Aquaman and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and big disappointments like Wreck it Ralph 2 and The Happytime Murders. I loved the 2 Musicals I saw this year (The Greatest Showman & Mamma Mia 2) and The Incredibles 2 movie was my favourite animation film but I have to go with Ready Player One as my favourite film of the year.

I still have Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns to see this weekend.

Album – Selecting 2 hear as one is a Soundtrack for Mamma Mia 2 – Here We Go Again as lived the tracks and think Lily James has a great voice that worked in the film. The second one is Jess Glynn, I love her vocals and can’t find any poor track on this album unlike many other albums I’ve listened to this year and also contains one of my favourite songs of the year – Thursday.

TV Series – The Marvellous Mrs Maisel- I know season 1 originally came out last year but I only watched this year and live this show and Season 2 was outstanding too and deserved the awards it has received. I love Rachel Brosnahan as Midge and though seen plenty of shows/films she has appeared in none have stood out like her character here.

Book – Not read a lot this year though am reading John Grisham’s The Reckoning and also The Twisted Tales by Liz Braswell but is one of my resolutions to read more this year. So not going to select a best book for me.

My achievement – completing a 11K walk around Fareham

Other things of note for 2018 – Baby Leon arrived by being born in Gareth’s Seat Leon and another Townley was born – Henry. Bryony turned 18 to become an adult

Gym Wear

Whilst been working out and on my walks I’ve been thinking about the differences between the different makes of my gym clothing and how there vary and thought I’ll make a post about them, I’ve decided not to do trainers as it’s not only the makes but the models that vary and everyone’s feet are different and as I had a ruptured Achilles my gait is different too.

Shirts

I have several makes of shirts, Adidas, Puma, Nike, Under Armour (UA), ASICS and an unbranded (Roly) one I got as part of a virtual run I did. They’re all say have moisture wicking material whether called dry fit or something else but all are designed for running, the Adidas and Puma tops are slightly heavier than the others and not as loose fit, ASICS top is also a tighter fit than the Nike, UA and the unbranded ones, the only difference between the 3 was that the UA doesn’t seem to snag and was a lot freer however whilst this is good in the gym it’s not necessary better when out for walks. I’ve not paid full price for any of the tops as tend to get what’s on sale but the best value top has to be the unbranded one as for £12 I got the top, a medal (for completing the challenge) and a gym towel, the only top I paid less for my the Puma ones which I do like as more vented at the back and wore in the summer when was hot. However my favourites are the UA ones as are light, comfortable and don’t stick when are hot and sweaty in the gym, my least favourite which surprised me are Adidas as I loved their clothes but these seem heavier and more suited to football than running.

Shorts

Shorts I was fussy about as when a member of Fareham Leisure Centre the shorts needed to have a pocket for my keys but now at PureGym it doesn’t matter as I use the lockers more as are in the gym itself and now don’t take my phone in. The shorts I have are Puma, UA and Everlast as these where brands that did pockets and really the only difference is that the UA ones are longer and have a thicker waistband that the other 2 but honestly makes no difference, in the summer I wore the UA as causal wear as well as walks due to them having a deeper pocket and slightly longer length but for Gym it’s whatever I pick out of drawer first. The only thing I don’t like is the inner brief so avoid shorts with these nowadays.

Socks

Now this was the surprising section and tried several different brands. My feet are a weird size as small 7 (whilst I can fit in a 6.5 they pinch my heel more). I’ve tried Adidas, Puma, UA, Karrimor, More Miles, Umbro, Sub and Sundried. I tend to wear low ankle socks but not the no show type as they don’t rub against my scar and are not getting caught between heel of shoe and my heel to rub, which makes a difference between getting a blister or not too. Karrimor and UA are more softer and cushioned but they tend to wear more quickly than the others, Adidas and Puma I wear as causal as they didn’t really have a cushion but they do a more cushioned pair but are about £10 a pair. More Miles started well as well right length right amount of cushion but after a few washes became harder and lost there softness. SUB (Brand found on Amazon and have their running hat) are advertised to be compression too but not found this and at first thought I had purchased the wrong size as felt big when walking but were the right size and fitted well it’s just felt light so felt my foot move a bit more in show then normal, by end of 4 miles I actually got to like them so will see how I progress with these. Sundried also another Amazon brand are the most surprising as these though don’t seem like it are the best I’ve tried so far, support across the mid foot (which I need) a good fit (rare for me) and the most comfortable. Umbro very disappointing with these as became stretched quickly and worn after a few sessions.

The only item that I’m struggling to find something that’s comfortable is boxers/briefs as need something that’s cool, supportive, comfortable and doesn’t cause chaffing, UA 6 inch boxers has 3 out of 4 (the only boxers that don’t cause chaffing) as do Lapasa (another brand found on Amazon) Briefs however most I have found are not comfortable or cool which is annoying and not sure can justify spending £20 on a pair designed for running.

PureGym – Fareham

I recently left the Gym at Fareham Leisure Centre and joined PureGym in Fareham which opened last week, part of the reason was costs as the Leisure Centre is near double the full price of PureGym but at present over 3 times the introduction offer and also when it does increase I should be able to use my health insurance to get 50% off yearly membership and partly I needed to get my mojo back and thought a Gym that’s geared as a gym would be better. The Gym layout at PureGym is not as cramped as the Leisure Centre though machine wise probably about the same amount of machines though the cycle studio is a bit more cramped but during my class this didn’t feel an issue though I wasn’t full. The Free Weight area is a lot bigger and at the back of the gym so doesn’t affect those using Cardio or fixed weight machines as you have the Studio in between which is also a fair size and can be used when classes are not in session so gives more room to do stretches and resistance band workouts. I went Thursday for an induction thinking that we’ll get shown how to use the equipment and certain exercises to do as this what I’ve had previously, come Thursday I was early and met Alex who then asked the questions I expected and he then took me to the Flexibility/Resistance area and explained whilst Cardio machines like treadmills etc are good the best results for fitness/weight loss is getting all the muscles working as well as getting the heart rate up, fair enough I thought and liked the idea of being shown what to do. We started with a Slam ball, these are weight balls that don’t bounce and a bit softer than medicine balls, he showed me how to squat to pick up, raise above my head and then slam the ball down (hence the name) from above my head, this is when Alex (my instructor) started talking about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and got me doing 20 seconds on doing this quickly followed by 10 seconds rest, he explained that you would increase the time working as you progressed and got used to the exercise. We did this for 5 minutes before moving on to the Kettlebells, these I have at home and do some exercises with these but again Alex showed me different exercises which involved squats again and getting the kettlebell above my head, this time was 60 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds rest after 3 sets of this I was shown another kettlebell exercise and another 3 sets done before moving to the Skierge machine (only machine used) where you pull ropes (pulleys) down as you would ski poles if was skiing, again we started slowly before doing 30 seconds fast before 10 seconds rest, at this time we were joined by someone else for the induction so it wasn’t just me now. I managed to get a breather whilst Alex explained the machine before we had a couple more goes before returning to the Slam Balls, by now I was sweating like a pig and arms/shoulders were hurting. We then went back to The Kettlebell but whilst Alex got the other person doing the exercise I did he got me to do the same with dumbbells before moving on to the Battlerope, I had never used this before though had seen and thought it can’t be that hard but after 40 mins of exercise and having a sweaty palm this was torture, you have a stance like you’re sitting a bit and then crack the rope alternately, the rope is looped round a pole so it always goes back to the other hand and when you crack it quickly it really works your arms but it also kills your thighs which did surprise me, we then did a quick look at a couple of machines before the end of the session, this had been the hardest I’ve worked out for a long time and my legs/arms still hurt 3 days later though I also did a cycle class (same as Spin & RPM) on the Friday (day after) but this helped loosen the muscles before they started hurting again. The Cycle class was good though maybe not as good as it used to be at the Leisure Centre but I’m sure these will improve but it’s the same workout minus the chart hits (still has music as you need it). Before my cycle I used the treadmills to warm up and found these very pleasant and found them not having screening on helped you actually concentrate on your workout, this is another thing I like about PureGym there is not a lot of TV so less distractions so you workout more intensively. The instructors I’ve met have all been friendly and very helpful. I also like the open plan and some lockers being available in the gym which I think is good as keeps the floor clear of bags. I’m sure I’ll be back Monday/Tuesday once I get swelling back of knee down as aching muscles I can cope with but after rupturing my Achilles the swelling and pain with tendons and ligaments I’m more wary off. Overall I’ve been impressed by the Gym and at present will certainly be going regularly again and have book Cycle again for Friday, I also like they have several 6:30am classes during the week which the Leisure Centre only had the 1, I may not attend them but if I wake at 5am as I sometimes do I might do. The only issues I can see having is a couple of the classes are £2 extra though I might attend them (Yoga & Zumba) I don’t like the fact they’re extra, the second issue is it might bag hot in the summer as couldn’t see any air conditioning especially in the Cycle Studio and it is really a big warehouse. The last issue which I think will disappear in time is there is not a great deal of classes at present and no Pilates or the equivalent to Body Balance. At presents it’s £10.99 a month (until December) and I think a bargain for a Gym membership and worth doing. My aching joints prove that even a couple of sessions help.

Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again

I considered skipping blogs about the Movies I missed but decided to write about Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again, the sequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia based on the Stage Musical with Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Christina Baranski, Pierce Bronson, Stellan Skarsgard and Meryl Streep all reprising their roles from the first film but with Lily James playing a Young Donna, Jessica Keenan Wynn as Young Tanya, Alexa Davies (Rosie), Jeremy Irvine (Sam), Hugh Skinner (Harry), Josh Dylan (Bill) and a guest appearance of Cher as Donna’s mother and Sophie’s grandmother.

This film is 2 stories as it continues from the original film as Sophie has now done up the old farm house and wants to open it as a hotel and is trying to sort out a launch party for this as well as dealing with a personal problem with her boyfriend, plus also it flashes back to when Donna first left university and arrived on the island and how she met the 3 men that could be Donna’s father. I really liked the way this was done as it really worked and I was surprised at how good Lily James singing was, she has in my opinion really shone this last year in the films she has done, the music as always with ABBA songs is top quality and most of the singing was also very good and it peaked at towards the end with Dancing Queen and then at the end with Supertrooper when the whole cast including both young and old versions of Donna, her friends and the 3 males, came together to perform. If you loved the first film then you will love this one, I think this is better than the first one and I love the soundtrack and as mentioned was a fan of Lily’s singing and performance you also can’t fault Amanda’s singing or acting too.

If you have a free afternoon or is raining then watch this, you will get your feet tapping and the time will fly by.

🎬🎬🎬🎬

I Have A Dream (song)

Whilst listening to Encore Radio earlier in the night and listening to Amanda Seyfried version of I Have A Dream I thought I do a quick post about the different versions of this song that has been released as its one of my favourite ABBA songs, I know of 5 versions that have been released either as a single or as part on an Original Soundtrack. So here are my opinions on each version.

ABBA – The original single, this is the benchmark as was the written by them and sung perfectly by them. You can’t fault it though I’m not 100% sure if now the best version.

Amanda Seyfried – Mamma Mia Film – I liked this version as is a upbeat version and suits Amanda’s voice. I have this on my walking playlist as has a nice tempo. I think this could actually be the best version of the song but can’t decide as mostly depending on situation on listening too.

Lily James – Mamma Mia Here We Go Again – I was surprised when I heard Lily James in this film and some of the songs really suited her but I think her voice is too soft for this track but it’s good that she didn’t try and do the song the same way as Amanda in the first film (or indeed as ABBA did). This is a relaxing version of the tracking and one I have on my evening playlist.

Westlife – Double A side single released at Christmas. Very hard for me to compare as the only all male version I’ve heard. This is more beaty (not sure if that’s correct term as drums are louder and more dominant) whilst I like to addiction of the child choir this isn’t as good as any of the other versions.

Lissa Stokke – The stage version of Mamma Mia. I’ve hadn’t heard this version until I started this blog. I don’t think it’s as good as Amanda’s or Lily’s version, it’s probably closer to Lily’s version than Amanda’s in the softness of the vocals but prefer Lily’s voice.

I had thought maybe there was a release by A-Teens who released an album of ABBA covers songs or ABBAMANIA TV special but seems neither did this track.

Ariana Grande- Sweetener

Not really a fan of Ariana but I will always have respect a place in my heart for her due to what she did after the Manchester bombing at one of her concerts and what she did for not only Manchester but probably the world and to me did more than any world leader did after the bombing. I’ve only ever really liked her One Last Time song and also to a lesser extent Problem so never really listened a lot to her unless it was on the radio and until her latest album Sweetener only had One Last Time in my music library however I actually like her latest album, it’s more lively and is one I could happily listen to in the gym and I will certainly be putting a couple of the tracks on my playlist. I doubt it’ll be an album that will get lost in a ever increasing female singers as even though she’s never been my cup of time there is no doubting her talent and the mixture of music keeps you listening whatever you feel like. It’s an album I recommend especially if you have a Music subscription like Apple or Google Music. 3 out 5 stars but so close to giving it 4.

🎤🎤🎤

Shaving Clubs

As razor blades become more and more expensive Shaving clubs have started becoming popular where you got x amount of blades a month (or every 2-3 months) for a lower price. I have tried several of these and these are my thoughts and opinion on them.

BIC – £3 starter set £2 a blade (£8 for 4) – blades felt blunt cut face when using and was very disappointed as BIC was what used first time shaving albeit disposable razors. ⭐️

Dollar Shave Club (DSC) – £5 starter box £2 a blade (£8 for 4) – similar to BIC in style nice shave butter that helps glide but left a lot of stubble. ⭐️⭐️

Harry – £3.95 trial set £1.75 a blade (£14 for 8) – nice clean shave and a nice feel to shaver, shave foam nice smelling. Comes with a blade cover. To me the best overall value as give a close shave and the shaver feels right. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cornerstone – £10 starter – £2.33 a blade (£14 for 6) – you get a personalised razor with 3 initials in starter kit, slightly heavier than others. Nice accessories and toiletries for the home as too large for the gym. Also comes with a blade cover. These I rate second to Harry’s and if did gym size toiletries I’ll probably use. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bold king – £13 starter set, £2 a blade (£8 for 4) – wider gap between blades recommend for body grooming. Nice shave but as wider gap does need going over a couple of times, doesn’t get clogged, expensive starter kit but I got a free wash bag with mine. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Gillette – £4 a blade (£16 for 4) this is really an offer by online retailers to try and make it cheaper but having to pay about £15 for a razor too it still makes an expensive option, Amazon do do the blades for around £13 for 4 instead of £16. Closest and cleanest shave. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dorco – £1 starter set, £1.49 a blade (£5.95 for 4) , the cheapest bar far but if you have anything more than a close stubble the blades blunt very quickly and if don’t shave for a week you use 2 blades just to get a clean shave. Aggravated skin when I used these. ⭐️

My favourite is Harry as like the shaver, it gives a good shave and the shaving gel has a nice fragrance. None of these blades got 5 ⭐️ as none gave as close a shave as Gillette Pro fusion blades but at about double the price I think that’s a sacrifice to make especially for me as you’re at the same stubble state the following day and the Fusion blades are expensive. I like that Cornerstone offer more products with their subscriptions too (a couple others offer shaving creams etc too but none as many as Cornerstone) though the only issue I have is that they’re full size products that you can’t keep in your gym bag as that would be ideal.

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