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Christmas Card Letter: 2012

By Books & Authors, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, TechnologyNo Comments

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Monday 19th November 2012

Dear Reader,

Another year passes us by, time flies by so quickly doesn’t it? For me this year has been a mix of passive times with periods of immense activity. In January I bought myself an iMac (see iMac Part 1 & iMac Part 2), promising myself to write creatively more often. In April I went to watch Steps to relive my youth with mum, Ian & Jodie.

(Above left to right: Ian, Mum & Jodie. Steps Logo on MEN screen. Jodie & Mum.)

In May I had two weeks of annual leave and celebrated my birthday at Alton Towers. If you’ve never been to Alton Towers…you must go; it’s a brilliant day out. During my time off I also visited Chester Zoo for Steve’s Birthday and visited Steve’s family in Hastings.

(Above left to right: Steve in Giant Turtle Shells. Two Cheetahs sunbathing. Me, Steve’s Friend & Steve in Masks at the gift shop.)

My Degree in Nursing results were released in June and I got a Upper Second (2:1) Honours. I felt a sense of achievement and a sense of relief that it was finally over after I previously had to put the final module back a year.

Sye came to stay in July for the Summer. With his arrival I felt a renewed level of motivation to get things done. He returned to Uni. in Salford in the Autumn, it was good having him to stay but I am glad that he’s back where he wants to be.

I had a day trip to Liverpool in August with my good friends Chrys & Simon. Chrys being a proper scouser (minus the accent) showed us round the beautiful city and for the first time I understood why people love the city: the architecture, the culture (music) and the seemingly relaxed nature of the people.

Just before the day trip to Liverpool I started experiencing some severe back pain. After seeing my GP I had an x-ray, was given some painkillers and was referred to Physio. My back’s still causes me some grief now, but the combination of co-codamol and physio exercises have massively reduced the amount of pain I experience.

Having continued to blog throughout the year including several book reviews, I was surprised in September when I had caught the eye of a Publicist (who works for several publishers). This Publicist, from Publishers Group UK asked me if I would review one of their books. I had a bit of a confidence crisis, as I had absolutely no confidence in my writing but Sye encouraged me to go for it. So I did…

The Publicist was that pleased with my review that he sent me another five books to read and at one point stated “a career as a book reviewer beckons!” This was a huge complement and has given me a little more confidence around my writing.

About a week or so ago, I was approached by a Publicist Manager for Headline publishers who have asked me to review a copy of Fuse the second book in a trilogy.

Among my plans for next year is to develop my writing further. But for now I’m focusing on Yule and Christmas. Things are changing this Christmas; for the first time ever Mum is working on Christmas Day, I am off work for the whole Christmas period and I am going to attempt (with Steve) to make Christmas Dinner. Ha ha should be fun at the very least.

Have a joyful festive period,

Antony, Dylan & Russell (the cats)

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S Club Reunite – Missing Members, Out Of Tune and Older

By Music & RadioNo Comments

After Take That reformed, it was only a matter of time before other 90’s pop bands reformed. Last Spring I went watching Steps after they reformed (see Re-Living My Youth: Steps Live). So when I heard a rumor that S Club were reforming I did a YouTube search and found this video:

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It’s from an Australian TV programme called The Morning Show. The first thing I noticed was that there are several missing members. Where’s Hannah, Rachael & Jon? S Club’s reformed with only Jo, Bradley and Paul.

Next I noticed that they were out of tune; now don’t get me wrong I can’t sing but their performance reminded me of a really bad XFactor audition. Finally I noticed they are older, which is to be expected but I didn’t expect them to look that old. Their performance in the video (above) is really disappointing, especially when compared with this video of how they used to be:

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I wont be re-living my youth by going to watch S Club on their “international tour.” If you are going reform, at least do it whole (have all the band members back) and do it well (be able to sing) otherwise it wont give the audience a sense of nostalgia but disappoint them and taint their memories of you.

It’s interesting that since this appearance I haven’t heard anymore about S Club reforming or their “international tour.”

Blog soon,


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Four Hundred Posts

By The Web2 Comments

This is my four hundredth blog post since I went back to using WordPress about five years ago, before then the site existed in other various formats see Geeky Post: Website Development for previous formats. Whether you’ve been following my blogging for the last five years, had a browse through the archives or are a relatively new reader I wanted to use this post to reflect on some of my life experiences and my growth as a person in this time.

I’ve had many Good Times some of which have been watching various comedians and musical performers. I’ve seen Dylan Moran, Russell Howard, French & Saunders, The Feeling, Tina Turner, Pink, Kylie, John Barrowman and Steps. These experiences have been shared by the most important people in my life my friends and family.

At the beginning of this WordPress blog I wrote about people that inspire me, explaining how my friends and family inspire me. It’s as true today as it was then. Among my close friends I’ve wrote about good times with Simon & Chrys, Sye, Steve, Jayne and Kay. A few recent good times that spring to mind are a trip with Simon & Chrys to Liverpool and visiting Anglesey with Simon.

There have been a few new additions to the family including Shaun the long lost brother, his wife Sarah (see The Wedding of the Year) and their family unit. Dylan and Russell, my two gorgeous bengal kittens have been brought home and added to my family unit. I’m so thankful to have the love and support from my friends and family.

My love life has included dates, relationships, relationship problems and break ups involving several different men. I’ve moved to Spain to start a new life with someone and then moved back when it didn’t work out. I’ve learned from the relationships and although I’ve not yet found that someone special to spend my life with; I’m sure I’ll meet my Mr. Right eventually.

I made the choice to go back to University to complete my Nursing Degree, successfully being awarded a BSc Nursing Hons Upper Second (2:1). I’ve moved out of Nurses accommodation to a grotty house-share and then bought my first home.

Happy times have to be balanced with sad times; saying goodbye to M and experiencing grief after my younger brother Alex passed away are among the few truly sad times in the last 5 years. These events in my life along with others have helped my paganism and spirituality flourish. This has been seen with my Reiki One qualification, my work with Apollo and through me fully embracing pagan festivals such as Samhain.

My writing has developed with changes to subject matters, style, editing, grammar and spelling. Subject matters have changed, from writing purely about me and my life to an increase in reviews of books and films. I feel I’ve managed to keep a careful balance between writing about my life and reviews. I have retained and continue to retain that this is a personal blog, that I write more for me than anyone else. A place to write about experiences I have, memories I want to keep and thoughts that I want to share or reflect upon.

My own individual writing style seems to be unfolding although I’m not sure quite how, or what it will look like when it’s fully formed. I do know my writing is increasingly descriptive and seems at times to have a voice. I used to a write blog post and hit the publish button, whereas now I spend more time editing the post than writing the first draft. This has hopefully led to better grammar and spelling – although I don’t claim these to be perfect. In the past my blogging was a spontaneous event, now I try to write a little each day and this change has probably led to the improvement in my writing.

As I have continued to experience life I’ve certainly grown and developed in many different ways. Life’s events have influenced the way I think, feel or act in situations as they do for everyone. I have enjoyed writing about these events and continue to do so, so here’s looking forward to the next four hundred (plus) posts.

Write soon,


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Re-Living My Youth: Steps Live

By Friends & Family, Gigs & Shows, Happiness & Joy, History2 Comments

As part of my Christmas presents last year, mum bought me a ticket to see Steps with her, Ian and Jodie. We got into town early and grabbed a bite to eat:

Mum & Ian (1) – with Flash!
Mum & Ian (2) – without Flash.
Me being sophisticated drinking coffee. Later I spend some time peeing while the warm up artists were on. Luckily they were terrible and worth missing.
While Jodie’s off powdering her nose, me & Ian fight over her bag. We stop to pose for a quick photo.
Jodie’s back and posing for a photo with mum.
Mum, Jodie & Ian.
Mum, Me & Ian.
I decide to be cheeky and mess up mum’s & Ian’s hair (forgetting that Ian doesn’t have any). Mum retaliates as a photos taken.

We got to the Arena and took our seats. There were two warm up acts, both of which were shockingly bad.

Ian, Mum & Jodie.
The audience go wild as the Steps logo appears on the screens at either side of the stage.

Five tubes that Steps were rise up and into on their first appearance on stage.
A vault with countdown clock on. The graphic was completely on a back screen.
The vault opens.
Steps appear on stage.
The graphics screen at the back of the stage. The screen lit up, in combination with the lights made getting photos really difficult.
Steps appear on stage. We were treated to a few Steps classics with dance moves using the back screen as a Just Dance type game.
Steps – Dancing & Singing in boxes.
Backing Dancers – Playing with Fire, while Steps sing.

To give you a feel of the hyper-active, excited atmosphere of the audience, I took a short video:

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Then each member of Steps did a solo song. First Lee, singing a mix of a few songs. His performance was excellent, and there were even screams when he ripped open his shirt:

(Lee performing with his shirt open.)

Next was Faye:

(Faye performing.)

‘H’ sang Don’t Stop Believing and did some clever stuff by making it look like he was interacting with the big graphic screen at the back of the stage:

(H performing. With his use of the graphic screen, I struggled to get a good photo.)

Lisa sang next, singing a mix of different songs including her track ‘Lately‘:

(Lisa performing.)

Claire sang her solo last. Claire had put on weight, but looked better for it. Unsuprisingly she sang an opera type song (having been on Popstar to Operastar):

Then it was time for my favorite Steps song: It’s The Way You Make Me Feel. I couldn’t help feel disappointed, rather than just having H singing the male lines of the song both H and Lee sang them. There voices didn’t feel like they became one. I would have preferred just H to sing to be honest. Still the costumes lived up to expectations, see below:

Lee in his mask and suit.
H in is costume. Claire, Faye and Lisa wore corset type costumes. All keeping in the theme of the orignal music video.

H closer, a photo of the side screen.
Steps then went on to sing Love’s Got A Hold On My Heart

Steps stopped to say Thank you’s – mostly to the audience for supporting them. They even posed for a photo:

Then they slowed things down with a few of their ballot type tracks. What amazed me was that the audience sang along, louder than Steps at some points. The audience singing in mass made me aware of how many people related to the words in Step’s songs.

(Steps sitting on the stage singing some of their slower tracks.)

Steps brought back the hyper-active, excited atmosphere of the audience with Stomp and some other songs. Here’s some photos:

Stage for Stomp.
Stage for another song.
Stage for another song.
Steps on Stage performing Dancing Queen.

Then it was time for Steps to take a bow and leave the stage:

For their encore they performed the only track they hadn’t performed so far: Tragedy :

(Leaving the audience on a high.)

For me it was a bit of nostalgia, re-living my teen years. But Steps stated that they were back – so they may well release some new music. I hope they do, I really enjoyed myself and had forgotten how much I enjoy a bit of cheesy pop.

I would like to apologise for quality and size and of the photos. I should have taken my camera rather than used my iPhone, this would have improved the quality of the photos. I’ve also had to significantly reduce the size of the photos to save on disk space (see More Disk Space). But if you’ve not got tickets to see Steps, don’t worry as the tour DVD is available to pre-order here: Steps – The Ultimate Tour Live [DVD]. Also you can order the live concerts on CD here: Steps Live! 2012 [CD].

Blog soon,


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I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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