Wardrobe Conversion: New Office

I made the decision to commute from home to university for my third year for various reasons. While I may be scheduled in for less class time, it’s essentially my most important year and this meant ensuring that I had a space of my own to knuckle down and focus.

Unfortunately my bedroom isn’t the largest and while this makes it nice and cosy, it does mean you have to become rather inventive with ways of finding a home for everything. Before starting my third year in September, I didn’t actually have any desk or office space to work from. This hadn’t been an issue previously as I was living in London for my first two years where I had a desk area and prior to this, I made a habit of overtaking the dining room whenever I had a big essay looming. But by this point, it was time to really make a space of my own – much to my mum’s delight as she could keep the dining space tidy too!

One evening before going back to university, I was mulling over the different options in my head. I thought perhaps we could completely rearrange my bedroom layout? Although it all fits quite nicely currently and is probably the best arrangement for the shape of the room. We then thought about a folding table that I could get out as and when I needed to work? But this really was just a temporary fix. I then glanced over to my built-in wardrobe, housing mostly clothes that I hadn’t worn in ages and was hoarding for sentimental reasons more than anything.

Wardrobe before makeover

In essence, this was a redundant space sitting here that could be utilised in a really effective way. A vision started to piece together in my head. If you think of a wardrobe, the fundamentals already exist – the side walls are able to work as pillars to support the desk so all I would have to add is some shelving for storage. All of this could could be built and yet, still not interfere with the rest of the floor space, which seemed like a no-brainer!

I felt inspired and leapt to Pinterest for décor ideas. While feeling like a complete genius, I was quickly brought down a peg or two, as it seems I’m not the first to have this idea! This wardrobe conversion idea can also be known as a “closet office” or “cloffice” with many others going forth and conquering the DIY space-saver.

Although I knew exactly how I wanted it to be in my head, I’m not the best person for DIY experiments so I pitched the idea to my dad and got to work on the first step, which was finding a new home for the clothes. It should be noted that we also have a spare room which is used as a dressing room so these clothes were overflowing into my bedroom and it was definitely time to condense them. It was a difficult task initially but I obtained a strict policy of ‘when was it last worn?’ This fateful question enabled me to do a proper clean up and before I knew it, I was left with something that looked more like this…

Wardrobe without clothes

The rest of my room is in the theme of purple but since this space was full of clothes, we never thought it was worth decorating until now. I set about researching and came to the conclusion that the office space should have some kind of feature to set it apart from the rest of the room. It all seemed quite simple, although there was one obstacle we did face. Due to the fact that the wardrobe creates a cove effect, it could be quite a dark and dingy space to work in. Thankfully, my dad is an electrician so a straightforward solution to him, was to fit some small lights in the ceiling, operated by a pull switch.

After about three weekend’s worth of work, my room was finally transformed. Gradually coming together in a collage of photos below.

With the final product, accessories and all, being this…

Wardrobe after makeover

As I sit in my newly refurbished area writing this blog post, I realise how important it is to have a little space to call your own. Whether that be for blogging or writing time, organising your business or just taking five to enjoy a hobby. It allows you that breathing space and can also be really fun to get a little creative in the process!

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Frank Turner Releases New Single and Compilation Album

Folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner announced on Monday that he will be releasing a new album in the form of a ‘best of’ compilation. Going by the name Songbook, this compilation will also contain a brand new single release called, There She Is.

There She Is will give us the first sneak peak at what’s expected for Turner’s seventh studio album, which is due in the new year. On his website’s blog, he said: “My main priority will be finishing off the new album. Hopefully it’ll be out in spring next year (with some new tunes before then), and of course there will be tour dates galore to accompany all that.”

Turner has always laid his emotions on the line with his music, discussing his feelings openly and allowing his pain or joy to seep through his lyrics. There She Is, is no different in this sense, as I’m no detective but it seems to be closely related to his new relationship. In the past, Turner has sung about his rather unlucky-in-love experiences in Substitute, detailing previous girlfriends and portraying love as the missing puzzle piece. He sang:

“But oh, what I would give, not to stumble but to really fall in love/And I could substitute my singing for the sound of someone sleeping next to me.” 

Perhaps he has now found that missing puzzle piece. Many fans were quick to react to his joyous lyrics.

There is a beautiful simplicity to the new single. While it may not be Turner’s most ambitious lyrically, anything more would almost be too much. Even the accompanying music feels like a very laid-back form of rock, with many comparisons to Bruce Springsteen being made.

This isn’t Turner’s first time at a compilation album, having previously released a series of The First Three Years, The Second Three Years and The Third Three years, all containing covers and alternative versions of his songs. Songbook differs, standing aside from those previous, being the first to feature his favourite picks spanning across the past six studio albums.

Songbook is set for CD/digital release on November 24th, which might just tide us over until we get to hear some more new tunes.

You can pre-order Songbook here and listen to There She Is on Spotify now. 

On Paul Simon’s Birthday, Let’s Celebrate 5 of the Best Duos

Yesterday marked the American musician and singer-songwriter, Paul Simon’s 76th birthday. While he has had a very successful solo career – most notably for his album Graceland – it’s hits such as The Sound of Silence and Mrs. Robinson, which still remain at the forefront of people’s minds today. These were of course a product of the iconic duo Simon & Garfunkel, whose partnership spanned over just six years before they split in 1970.

From past to present, here’s five of the best duos in music:

  1. Royal Blood

    This two-piece rock duo from Brighton formed in 2013 and it wasn’t long before they were making their mark on the music scene with their first single, Out of the Black. They have been praised for their fuller sound, with many surprised that it’s coming from just two people. Since their formation, they have taken home various awards, including Best Live Band at the NME awards and more recently played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, in June of this year.

2. OutKast

Ruling the 90s and early 2000s with singles like Ms. Jackson and Hey Ya! is American hip hop duo OutKast. I challenge you to try and listen to them without singing along. It’s not possible! The duo became famous for blending a combination of funk, jazz and gospel, which was explored in depth when they released their double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2003. This gave the duo a chance to present their separate personas and musical styles and has been certified diamond.

Roses features both André and Big Boi in a battle-off scenario, which is said to have been inspired by musicals, Grease and West Side Story.

3. Tenacious D

This couldn’t be a post about musical duos without featuring the legends that are, Tenacious D. Comprising of Kyle Gass and School of Rock actor Jack Black, this rock pair lace their image and music with theatrical comedic elements. For some, this just won’t be their cup of tea but this has proved to be a successful technique at drawing many others in. Don’t let the humour overshadow their musical abilities though, as they even won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2015.

4. Twenty One Pilots

Slightly newer to the game are alternative hip hop duo, consisting of lead vocalist, Tyler Joseph and drummer, Josh Dun. Despite the pair forming in 2009, it wasn’t until the release of their single Stressed Out in 2015, that they really achieved widespread success. Signed to Fueled by Ramen, who also manage Paramore, it’s unsurprising that Tyler has also become a brand ambassador for Hayley Williams’ hair dye venture, Good Dye Young.

5. The White Stripes

Despite insisting they were siblings to the public, Jack Gillis and Meg White did actually marry in 1996, with Jack taking an unconventional stance in taking Meg’s surname. The pair later divorced in 2000 but continued making music together until 2011. Image was an important factor to them, creating certain conventions, such as a consistent use in just three colours; red, white and black and a theme around the number three. Their most famous song to date is Seven Nation Army, popularised for its distinctive guitar riff, it has also been more recently adapted in political events to “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”.

5 Sights to See in Ireland

I’m just getting around to writing a blog post about my 21st birthday trip to Dublin, Ireland. Armed with a checklist and several tourist leaflets, here’s five sights you should definitely cater into your trip to Ireland.

1. National Leprechaun Museum – http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie/

giant's room Dublin
As if I didn’t already feel small…

Take a trip into some of Ireland’s rich culture as a great storyteller leads you through a mythical world, experiencing some of the oldest Irish folklore legends. There’s lots of interactive activities to appeal to all ages. You’ll be taken into a giant’s room where you can get a feel for what it’s like to be a leprechaun’s size! As well as a dark, haunting forest where you will be told about the myth of the banshee and her spine-chilling scream! However, if you’re still wondering about that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you’ll have to take a visit to find out for yourself.

This is a really fun way to spend an afternoon and a great way to grab an essence of the country’s history. Storytelling is a treasured art, which created a sense of entertainment during bleaker times when forms of leisure were limited.

2. The Temple Bar – https://www.thetemplebarpub.com/#home 

If you’ve heard anything about tourist attractions in Dublin, you’ve probably heard about the iconic Temple Bar. Temple Bar actually covers a square of the cobbled streets and is home to some of the best places to go for live folk music and pubs. However, there is THE Temple Bar also, which has been serving up pints of Guinness for over 160 years and has had a few famous faces pay a visit there too.

Most notably, U2 who grew up in Dublin and later lead singer, Bono and lead guitarist, The Edge went on to purchase The Clarence Hotel in Dublin. The Temple Bar has a buzzing atmosphere to it. Stepping inside, you may be hard pushed to find a seat but the small pub is brought to life with the constant chatter and various sing-alongs you’ll find yourself caught up in.

Temple Bar

3. Guinness Storehouse – https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en 

Guinness factory

Some may think this is purely a sight for people who are interested in drinking Guinness but have no fear! For those of you that this applies to, the Guinness Storehouse is a fundamental element of Ireland’s culture and history, providing an insightful tour into how the ‘black stuff’ is made and came to be known as a national treasure.

There are seven floors with interactive attractions and a special treat for those who reach the top. If you battle your way to the top, you’ll not only be greeted with a free pint of Guinness (or chosen soft drink) but will also get to experience an impressive 360º view of Dublin.

4. Glendalough Wicklow Mountains – http://www.glendalough.ie/

Glendalough stream
In the distance you can catch a glimpse of the Round Tower from the monastic remains.

Hoping for a P.S. I Love You re-enactment? Wanting a taste of that movie lifestyle? Then take a trip to Glendalough Lake, located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, where one of the most romantic scenes from the movie was filmed.

However, there are many more reasons to visit Glendalough, known for ‘the valley of the two lakes’, you’ll be left breathless at its beauty. You can enjoy the wildlife surroundings on one of the many countryside trails or walk through the remains of the famous Monastic City, founded in the 6th century.

If you’re staying in Dublin as we were, there are many different companies that will offer coach trips to Glendalough for reasonable prices and ours also included visiting the town of Kilkenny.

5. Kilkenny Castle – http://www.kilkennycastle.ie/ 

I couldn’t make a trip to Kilkenny, without stopping by one of their biggest attractions, Kilkenny castle. The grounds are open to the public to walk through and observe the view but if you would like to see inside the castle, tours are on offer at a charge of €8 for adults.

Over the years, adjustments have been made to the architecture giving it a unique quality and with the gardens stretching out across 50 acres, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic.

Kilkenny castle

SensatioNail Express Gel Polish

A little while back I reviewed the Barry M Coconut Infusion range and having mentioned my disappointment with the paint chipping in such a short amount of time, I was really excited to try a new release from SensatioNail. I’m already a fan of the durability that comes with gel polish but have been on the hunt for a quicker alternative for quite some time.

nail colours
Left: Made Him Blush, Right: I Sleep Bare Naked

SensatioNail’s Express Gel Polish range promises to take as little as five minutes to complete and last as long as 10 days. This would provide me with the resilience I’ve been seeking, while also not taking up my whole evening to do. Surely too good to be true?

At the time of purchasing, Boots had an offer on of buy one get one half price, with the retail price being slightly lower at £10 compared to their standard gel polish. This enticed me to buy two light and summery shades to suit the season; Made Him Blush and the other in I Sleep Bare Naked.

I’ve been wanting a neutral colour suitable for every occasion and the paint on the right fits the bill nicely. I find that the consistency is generally good with these paints, not too thick which avoids making it congealed. However, for light shades like these, I would advise a couple of coats to thicken up the overall texture and appearance.

I couldn’t stop at merely two shades though and the offer once again lured me in so I purchased two more; Can’t Hear Myself Pink and Mauve It Or Lose It. The names are both a big giveaway, with Can’t Hear Myself Pink being much more of a coral pink than the red colour reflected in the photo.

nail colours 2
Left: Can’t Hear Myself Pink, Right: Mauve It Or Lose It

With over 20 colours to choose from this certainly is a selling point for the range. But the real question is still looming as to whether you can really have it all. While I was keen to try the range, it didn’t stop me from being slightly sceptical at its ability to last up to 10 days without a base or top coat to provide a helping hand.

It’s hard to judge as generally I would get bored quickly from being spoilt with choice and would want to change colours soon after applying one. I found that Made Him Blush and Mauve It Or Lose It stood the test of time lasting up to 10 days, although I did apply a top up coat at some point in between.

However, I have to reveal that to some extent 10 days was perhaps a bit optimistic due to the other two shades having slight chips within just four days, which only worsened with daily activities. So possibly too good to be true after all?

I may have found a solution to put my hunt to an end once and for all though. On one occasion, I applied a combination of Made Him Blush topped with glitter and added the standard clear gel top coat. This was to stop the glitter from having a rough touch but as a result, I discovered the paint was stronger than ever, even giving me difficulty when it came to soaking it off.

It may be one extra step to make time for but on the whole it’s quicker than following the standard gel procedures and in the long run you’ll be thankful.

So that’s a wrap, signing off from my nail polish journey… ’til next time anyway 😉

purple nailspink glitter nailscoral nails

From left to right: Mauve it Or Lose It, Made Him Blush, Can’t Hear Myself Pink.

Dyslexics in Film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

For Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel Studios returns with some familiar faces, as well as some brand-new cast members.

One new addition is dyslexic star Sylvester Stallone, who plays Starhawk, an enhanced humanoid robot and influential member of the Ravagers gang.

Stallone is joined on screen by fellow newcomer Kurt Russell, this sees the pair share screen time for the first time since their days as infamous cop duo Tango and Cash.

With an all-star cast, a loyal fan base and an extremely rare score of 100 with test screen audiences, anticipation for the release is now higher than ever.

The Plot

Set two-to-three months after the prequel, the Guardians are back and on a mission to help Peter Quill, the half-human and half-alien leader discover more about his heritage. There are a lot of mysteries to Quill’s past after he was abducted from Earth as a child and raised by alien thieves, the Ravagers.

As the team travel throughout the cosmos, they’re faced by numerous problems, which creep out of the woodwork. Ultimately, they find that they must stick together to make it through this mission.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is on general release across the UK from April 28.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


This content was written for The Codpast which is an online publication for people with dyslexia. Get more updates on this great cause by following them on Facebook or Twitter. 

Dyslexics in Film: Dyslexia film made by dyslexic people

Dyslexic filmmaker Trevor Thomson is reaching out on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to aid the creation of a new documentary, exploring the emotional journey of ‘coming out’ as dyslexic. But this documentary has a unique quality to it, backed by a whole cast and crew who are also dyslexic and can accurately portray the feelings and experiences that someone with this goes through.

The aim behind Trevor’s film is to create awareness and a better understanding amongst those who may be lacking information about dyslexia. Additionally, the team are also keen to inspire those who are struggling to deal with their own identity. “We want to give the viewer an experience of what it’s really like to be dyslexic,” Trevor explains, “it affects people in all different ways and all different walks of life.”

By addressing these issues, the film will lead you through the personal stories of several contributors, exploring the positives and negatives they have faced. Trevor reinforces the idea that dyslexia isn’t picky with who it affects and it really can happen to anyone. The short trailer for the film features the legendary racing driver, Sir Jackie Stewart exploring how dyslexia has affected him. He discusses how he has adapted his lifestyle and finds ways to “think outside the box” now, in order to complete daily tasks.

The team have a goal to raise £15,000 which will fund the whole production, including the crew, equipment and editing costs. In return, Trevor is passionate about staying connected to the audience and updating them as the project progresses. He will create a website, enabling viewers to interact with the team and share their thoughts on ideas raised.

This documentary is produced by Bluestar Streaming and Dyslexia Scotland. If you would like to get involved and help Trevor and his team spread their message, you can donate to the Indiegogo profile HERE.


This content was written for The Codpast which is an online publication for people with dyslexia. Get more updates on this great cause by following them on Facebook or Twitter