I’m banking on Strickland

21 Apr

Most will know 26 year old Ben Drew by the name of Plan B, recognised for his rapping career in the UK and explicit lyrics of his views of young urban life. Lines such as “her arse is tight and her breasts are bloody enormous” being some of the “nicer” words used in his lyrics.  Others may recognise him for his role in Noel Clarke’sAdulthood” or more recently his role in Harry Brown (2009) where he starred against the famous Michael Caine.

4 years on from his gritty debut album “Who needs actions when you’ve got words“, Plan B has released his next album “The Defamation of Strickland Banks.” The album sees a fresh style completely different to his grime raps. His shift includes a clear conceptual old-fashioned Motown feel to it. This at the moment is proving to be working in his favour. His first single “Stay too long” reached the Top 10s and “She said” isn’t far behind as it takes an evident role in the playlists of most radio stations.

Plan B’s soulful voice definitely works in the album. Each song tells a different story of Strickland Bank; a British soul singer finding himself in prison for a crime he hasn’t committed. It is clear Ben has decided to follow a new path in his career, but I’m pleased to say his old ways aren’t completely forgotten as his casual rap voice slips through in the album, proving that he is still a very talented MC. The songs in the album combine his old ways with his new, while others take a completely soulful and relaxed feel. Personally I think the new contrast works very well and I can guarantee the album will remain in a well deserved slot on my ipod!

Personal favourites:

Hard Times

The Recluse

She Said

My opinion:

A definite must listen

Fruity fun

10 Apr

The sun is shining outside so what better excuse to use my mum’s new juicer to make a refreshing fruity drink to enjoy in the afternoon sun rays.

All you will need:
Strawberries
Passion Fruit
Apples
Grapes
Tropical/Apple juice
Ice

Make sure you wash all of you’re fruit before popping it in the juicer, then juice away to make a yummy juice drink. For extra sweetness mix with a ready made juice to stretch out the portions. If you’re in a smoothie mood you could try adding frozen yoghurt or sorbet to thicken the drink up.

Finish with lots of ice and a slice of fruit to decorate, and if your’e pushing the boat out a pretty umbrella for a special touch. Now enjoy the afternoon sun in the garden with the latest copy of Cosmo!

I don’t usually follow a recipe and find most fruits mix well, but if  your’e feeling a little more inventive why not have a look at some recipes  at: www.smoothieweb.com (there’s a great selection of alcoholic ones as well, why not try one for a warm evening treat!)

My fruity fun

Usher: Raymond v Raymond

9 Apr

Usher’s last album ‘Here I Stand’ wasn’t a massive hit and I was a bit wary to listen to his new stuff. However I’ll give him credit as he’s won me over and I’m definitely rating his new album.

There’s a lot of speculation in the US at the moment that Usher still isn’t steering himself in the right direction. To be fair I think you’ve got to be a bit soft on him as after all he hasn’t had it easy for the past couple of years. (Especially after his divorce from wife and mother of his son, Tameka Foster.)

I think Usher’s definitely put his head down and put everything he has into his new album Raymond v Raymond. OMG (feat. Will.i.am) is at number 4 in the charts at the moment and I have a feeling this album could do well, (better than his last anyway!) The album boasts a nice balance of slow jams and club hits.

However I’m still not a die hard fan of his new stuff and definitely think his old stuff is unbeatable, nothing beats his Confessions era. But maybe it’s time for us Usher fans to grow to love the more mature (but still well toned) Usher?

Personal favourites:

Hey Daddy (Daddy’s home)

Lil Freak (feat. Nicki Minaj)

OMG (feat. Will.i.am)

There Goes My Baby

My opinion:

Definitely worth a listen!

Surveying the mounds

9 Apr

Last year we were required to write a feature interview for one of our assignments. I decided to interview Paul Mckenzie and ask him about the constuction of Northala Fields Park in Northolt Ealing. Two years on the park is being used successfully and turning into a perfect habitat for a number of different species. With the warm weather predicted this Summer there is no doubt the park will be used by all:


It is over two years since the Northala Fields of Northolt and Greenfield Park was opened in the spring of 2008 by Ealing council. The park offers a variety of ecological and recreational opportunities to the public.  I visited the park to track its growth over the past two years, and investigate the initial construction process the park went through in the four years it took to create.

Paul McKenzie ACinstCES survey director of McKenzie Geospatial Surveys undertook the leading role in the geospatial engineering of the park. His company specialises in providing land and engineering surveys/setting out for civil and construction industries. It merits itself on years of experience working with the bulk earthmoving sector involved with land redevelopment.

I met with Paul to discuss the process Northala Park went through to reach what it is today. He was first involved in the project at contract tender stage with the company CJ Pryor (contract) ltd in 2002. This required verifying the volumes that would be required to create the shapes as shown on the initial design for the park. The initial process also involved having an appraisal meeting with Ealing Borough council to discuss how the park would be constructed between the various contractors with their bid. Paul explains; “I was quite taken back by the initial designs because it involved the creation of four very large conical mounds on a flat landscape.” The tallest of which would be approximately 26 metres. These mounds would be the largest of their kind in Europe. After he was awarded the construction bid of the project, many tasks had to be undertaken before any construction could actually begin.

For full article click here

Story time – Sunshine

28 Mar

The other day after watching One born every minute on Channel 4 a short story idea came into my mind. It probably needs a lot of polishing, but this is how the first draft turned out:


The warmth of the sun peeps under the blinds as I lay waiting for Jake to awaken. He was late home from work last night so I decided to wait for him. It must have been past 2 when he came home, he slowly undressed and climbed into bed, laying next to me and slowly stroking my head. I didn’t stir. I didn’t fall asleep for about an hour because his intricate breathe kept me awake.

Jake and I have been going strong for 3 years now; I knew straight away we were well matched. His kindness overwhelmed me and it was clear he thought the world of me and me of him.

“Darling, how long have you been awake?”

“Not long,” I lied

The truth was I hadn’t slept well last night at all.

It has been over a year since I lost my first baby- Sunshine- but Jake preferred me calling her baby. I knew straight away when I was pregnant, my stomach had a different firmness to it and slight twinges made my body feel weak. 3 months passed and Jake had driven me to have my scan. The memory is vivid in my mind like it was yesterday. The doctor’s face turned pale as she frantically ran the ultrasound apparatus across my stomach.

“Wait here,” she said

Jake’s clench on my hand became clammy as his grin turned upside down. The wetness of his hand scared me. The doctor returned with another person- their face blurred and distorted. My mind became blank and Jake’s grip on me was lost as the numbness of my body took over me.

Her face screwed up as my numb body studied her facial expressions.

“Sorry,” she whispered

The coldness of my tears turned my body to ice contrasted with my throbbing hand where Jake clenched it so tight.

I didn’t leave our house for nearly a week, I couldn’t face the outside world- the sun rays. I often sat in her room, the soft lemon of the walls helped to soothe my mind. I often stared at myself in the mirror, studying the expressionless look that overwhelmed my face. The gap at the bottom of the blind often allowed the sun to poke through.

Things were different now; I had learnt to accept the hurt that over took my heart. I felt lost but it was if I had started to find myself again. Jake is a gem he helped me through my hurt.

Jake watched me as I peed on the stick, his blue eyes widened and I could sense his nervousness. I left the stick on the side before dipping into the bath that had been run for me.

The bubbles in the water caressed my body as I plunged into the water; a shiver ran through me as a single tear streamed down my cheek. It was the first time I had cried since her. The morning sun peeped through the open crack of the window. A cold breeze accompanied the sun and froze the tears as they slowly and simultaneously ran down my cheek.

The door handle turned and Jake poked his head round the door, his smile sending a sudden twinge through my body.

“Shall I?” he asked

I slowly lifted my legs, grabbing my hand around my knees as my body shrunk into a ball. I hadn’t been able to feel like this before.

Jake sat on the rim of the bath next to me, and slowly picked up the test- a twinge forced my body into spasm as the bath water rippled around me.

“You’re pregnant darling- we’re having a baby.”

The twinge struck again, as strong as a lightning bolt from the top of my body to my toes- It felt right this time- real- I thought as I clenched my smooth, firmed stomach. Jake clenched me in his arms as a final tear ran down my cheek.

“Let’s go out and celebrate, get some lunch or something, it’s a nice day and the sun is shining.”

“Sounds perfect,” I said smiling.

Patterned language

28 Mar

Last year we were required to write either 2 sonnets or a collection of limericks. I chose to focus on the sonnets after studying a number Shakespeare’s famous sonnets at A-Level.  Here’s my attempt at keeping to the conventional sonnet format:

Sonnet 1

My love for him is true but also rare,

His dazzling voice is music to my ears.

With each other many good times we share

Never would he hurt or bring me to tears.

The other man not special at all,

From him I did not get any pleasure,

He was a mistake, and I am a fool

It meant nothing it was out of leisure.

Though my secret love affair, that one night

Did make it clear and help me to notice

I wish to stay forever if I might,

With my true love and his meaningful kiss.

The furtive affair made it clear to me

That forever my love and I will be.

Sonnet 2

My lovers’ seductive eyes sparkle bright,

Forever with her I wish to remain.

When I lay close and next to her at night,

I think of when she entered my domain.

To the human eye she is seen faultless,

I know the truth of what lies beneath,

I want her to admit and to confess;

Her unfaithful actions cause me great grief.

I take pleasure in the times we do share

I am drunk with love, could never conspire.

Her sordid secrets do make my heart tear,

I dare to tell and be named a liar.

I believe it better if I forget

And be consumed by love like when we met.


It’s good to be a gooner

23 Mar

Okay so any gooners would agree the past month has been a pretty hectic one for Arsenal. But personally I think the next month could be much more hectic (in a good way).

The Champions league draw didn’t quite go in our favour, but what better way to start our journey to make it to the final (Start with the hardest). Arsenal are due to face Barcelona next Wednesday (31st March, ITV 19.45 KO). Although I wouldn’t put money on my team (bad I know) I still have true faith in them. Arsene Wenger deserves a trophy sometime soon and what better way to face arguably one of the best teams in Football history. The one question I’m asking myself is will my beloved Thierry Henry play against his former Arsenal team?  It’s an interesting question to ask after Henry said, ” Of course I get excited about it. I’m a fan. I’ll be an Arsenal fan until I die and if you ask me how that makes me feel about the possibility that Barcelona might meet Arsenal in the next round of the Champions League should we both qualify, I have to say I find the idea unthinkable.” (Times online article)

Anyway we will see, Arsenal have a home start against the Spanish giants so if we can prevent them from scoring an away goal we will have the upper hand! If not there’s always the Premier League. Arsenal fans last week were graced with a day at the top of the table and now with a list of okay fixtures ahead of us I think we are in for a pretty good chance. After all we’re only 2 points behind Manchester United!

Remaining fixtures:

– Birmingham v Arsenal

– Arsenal v Wolves

– Tottenham v Arsenal

– Wigan v Arsenal

– Arsenal v Man City

– Blackburn v Arsenal

– Arsenal v Fulham

Lets hope our team stay fit and on their best behaviour to give themselves a chance to lift the trophy this season!

What’s in?

8 Mar

So it looks like the snowy rainy icy bad weather is finally starting to shift? Well maybe, but anyway what better time to review the biggest trends for Spring and Summer 2010 and start deciding where your spare cash will go. Spring is just around the corner so it’s time for a wardrobe refresh. I visited London Fashion Weekend to pick up a few ideas for my new wardrobe.


Knee High Socks


A must for 2010, knee high, thigh high or over the knee socks will add impact to any outfit. Neutral knee highs will go well with shorts, hot-pants or skirts for a casual look. For a more glam look team a coloured pair with a patterned dress or skirt and top combination.

High Slits


Don’t be scared, but yes high slits are in! Be prepared to show your whole leg and thigh and possibly a little further. The high slits will work best with light floaty fabrics and maxi style dresses. It’s an all or nothing style, it should definitely be worn when you want some attention and want to turn heads. Team with heels and make sure your legs are flawless. However tanned legs are always a plus.

Jumpsuits & Playsuits

Last years Summer must have remains and I’m delighted to say this year the all-in-one  can follow any style; tailored, loose, sporty,overall or just plain and basic. Any style goes and can be dressed up with heels and statement jewellery, or dressed down with sandals or plimsoles. No wardrobe is complete without one.

Global Prints

Patterns are in. Team loud prints with a pop of colour on your lips or eyelids.  Mix your prints with statement jewellery, dress up with gladiator heels, or for a day time look stick to sandals. You can play about with this style and be as outrageous as you like!

Boyfriend Blazers


Another must have. The boyfriend blazer has reached its all time high. A great way to add sophistication to any outfit. The great thing about them is they can be as bright or plain as you like! Remember to go for an oversized style and roll up your sleeves to get the best look out of it possible.

Nude Tones


The naked tones are in- whether soft fleshy or earthy and neutral, anything goes. The nude colours work best with floaty fabrics and lace. Make sure the clothing isn’t too tight and doesn’t match the colour of your skin (after all you don’t want people mistaking the pale tones for your’e skin!) Keep jewellery and accessories simple to get a natural but sexy look.

It’s grime time

22 Feb

It’s definitely a week for the English grime scene, as the likes of Giggs and JME release their latest tunes and Tinie Tempah climbs up the chart ladder with his latest song “Pass out”. I jumped in on the bandwagon by visiting Bournemouth 02 to see Tinchy Stryder, supported by JME and Example and backed up by Ruff Sqwad. (20/02/10)

Catch 22 concert

I visited Richmond Classics in Bournemouth in the day in an attempt to get my “Star in the hood” t-shirt signed by Tinchy himself. When greeted by him he recognised the retro t-shirt (its quite old as I caught it at a gig when Tinchy was just starting out and supported Kano in London). Personally I prefer Tinchy’s old stuff, but I decided to give the concert and his more commercialised music a chance.

The Stryderman himself

Members of Ruff Sqwad & Myself

It was an early event starting at 7pm, when I arrived I was pretty disappointed and was convinced I’d walked into a school disco, the room was overcrowded with youngsters! JME and Shorty from Boy Better Know faded into the background as I took more notice in the children jumping up and down over excitedly. Don’t get me wrong I love Boy Better Know but was upset they had been put on so early before the queue from outside had even been filtered into the venue.

JME

Example was on next and definitely got the crowd going, the novelty of being surrounded by a majority of children soon started to wear off (until he swore, and I felt almost embarassed for the man that stood in front of me with his young daughter!)

Example

Tinchy Stryder definitely put on a show, the lighting and techniques contributed a lot to this. He performed for just over an hour, supported by members of Ruff Sqwad and Maveric, covering most of his songs from his newest album Catch 22 and his number one chart topper “Number One”.

A blurred Tinchy Stryder

So all in all I enjoyed the show after I  blocked out the young audience. I soon relaxed when I found myself a nice little spot by the bar with my friends.

Tinchy is a great example of how a young boy can do big things.  He is extra proof that the London Grime scene is at a peak and more and more artists are continuing to hit this peak and raise the level up another notch!

Barbie Princess

19 Feb

Okay so it’s not long since Princess Tiaamii, Katie Price’s daughter had her gorgeous curls cut off by Pete’s brother. Katie repied to the shock as she posted on Twitter: “Petes brother has cut princesses hair off can’t put it in a pony tail why would they do that to prove what point!”

Then Princess was shown on ITV posing as Katie Price’s “Mini Me” in fake eyelashes and make-up much to Pete’s disgrace. Pete replied saying: “It’s a two-year-old girl with false eyelashes, full make-up for the whole world to see. To be honest I’m disgusted with it – I don’t want to see that.”

The pair who split in May have continued feuds over their children’s hairstyles. (Junior’s bleach blonde hair and Princess’  curly locks) The next level was reached when Katie’s sister posted photos on her Facebook of Princess happily posing in lashes and make-up. Katie doesn’t see anything wrong with her daughter in the make-up and to be fair to her I agree. Every little girl thinks of themselves as a “Princess” and attacks their mums make-up bag! They find it even funnier when even though they are completely aware of being in the wrong they continue to pose to their parents who dig out the cameras when unable to keep a stern, angry face.

If the eyelash drama didn’t rattle Pete’s cage enough, then this is sure too. Princess posed with a new ghd treated hairstyle. Personally I think it suits her, but yet again it is totally unecessary. The last event may have turned out to be a initially innocent fiasco gone wrong, but we all know Pete will definitely not be happy with the straight locks his daughter was rocking on ITV2.

I suppose he does have a point, after all Daddy only wants to protect his little 2year old Princess!