Thursday 30 April 2015

April Spotify Playlist

Hey everyone :)

It's that time of the month again and I am partly excited. Yes I said 'partly' because I have just been paid however I've paid all my bills and well looking at the state of my account balance - you wouldn't have thought I'd been paid but that all aside. Dave comes home on Monday and I have to go to Manchester to pick him up.

spotify playlist april

Anyway that's not what we're here to talk about is it?!

This month I've been listening to a mixture of old and new songs - I've been binge watching Pretty Little Liars and whomever they're music person is - needs a medal - the music is amazing!

Rachel Platten - Be Here

The first artist is someone new I've been listening to - one of her songs was featured on the 100th episode of Pretty Little Liars - oddly it's not on this album and it's not on Spotify as it's not technically been released yet. It's was going to be called Wrecking Ball however just before it was released - Miley Cyrus brought out her Wrecking Ball song so this song was shelved then renamed Begin Again - I think it will be released at some point - it's HERE if you want to listen to it. She has two more popular songs '1000 Ships' and 'Work of Art'.

Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest

I don't know why but I got back into Sara - I think it's here quirky videos - esp Brave! That video looked like great fun to shoot! Her music is sooo catchy and has that feel good factor :)

100 Essential Love Songs

I don't know why but I was searching 'love' on Spotify and I got into the album sections that contained the word 'love' and this one popped up - what's not good about 100 essential love songs!? Some oldies and new on the album which is great! Always worth a listen when your feeling love-dovey or lovesick :)

So those are my most listened to this month ... what about you?

Let me know of your interests so I can check them out and see if I like them too :)

shoutjohn logo

Wednesday 29 April 2015

The British Tag

Hey everyone :)

tea british tag

So I was watching Rhianna's video the other day (link in HERE) and I had saw this tag been done before and she made it seem so much fun so I thought I'd give it a go but on my blog and not on a video (yet ...).

Question 1: How many cups of tea do you have a day and how many sugars in your tea?
The first thing I do when I get to work in the morning is make a cup of tea. Then throughout the day I make lots more cups of tea. If I had to give a number I'd say maybe 8 or 9 cups. I don't take sugar just lots of milk and I leave the teabag in.

Question 2: Favourite part of your roast?
I like the roast potatoes covered in gravy. If it's a roast with yorkshire puddings then I love those as I put gravy in them and then cut them open and watch the gravy ooze out.

Question 3: Favourite dunking biscuit?
I actually don't have a favourite biscuit - I hate dunking biscuits into my tea as bits break off and you get lumpy biscuit bits in your tea - who wants that??

Question 4: Favourite quintessentially British past time?
I'm not too sure - drinking tea or watching the tennis when its on the television.

Question 5: Favourite word?
CHUFFED is one of my favourite words - means happy or proud.

Question 6: Cockney rhyming slang?
Bright & Breezy - EASY
Dickory Dock - CLOCK

Question 7: Favourite sweet?
We used to have a penny sweet shop near our high school and they sold these blue and pink sour fizzy bottles they made your tongue skin burn off - that's how sour they were. I find them every so often in some shops but they're just not the same. I also like those cherry lips that taste of soap.

Question 8: What would your pub be called?
I like boats - so something like the 'boathouse' and it would be near the sea or a canal so we could have a garden area near the water.

Question 9: No 1 British person?
Is it stereotypical of me to say William Wallace - as we learnt about him in school and obviously everyone has seen Braveheart. I was also fascinated by Diana, Princess of Wales and her death and the conspiracy surrounding it.

Question 10: Favourite shop/restaurant?
I love Harrods in London - but is that a British company? Oh I'm terrible at this ... if not then I do like John Lewis and Nandos (which I think is American too lol).

Question 11: What British song pops into your head?
Wannabe by Spice Girls

Question 12: Marmite - love it or hate it?
What is really odd is that I love Twiglets (which are are wheat-based snack covered in something similar to Marmite) and Walkers had a bag if marmite crisps for ages - which I loved too. However I can't stand Marmite from a jar. It's just disgusting.

That's all for this tag :) Let me know in the comments if you've done this tag before or if you're planning on doing it!


Tuesday 28 April 2015

Let's Knit Something ...

Hey everyone :)

knitting shoutjohn blue

knitting shoutjohn blue

So I thought I'd do a short post on something that is quite close to my heart.

When I was younger both my brother and myself were taught to knit by my granny (or grandmother if you're not from Scotland). Our knitting was kept at my grandparents house and every week when my family visited we'd get our knitting out and knit away while my parents talked about what was going on that week.

I wouldn't necessarily say it's hard to learn. It's like riding a bike or learning to drive - once you learn it you never really forget it. Yes - you might be rusty but once you get back into it - it comes back pretty quickly. My granny had a cupboard in her house and it was full of knitting needles and there were hundreds of bags of wool - I'm not kidding - there was an entire cupboard in her spare room dedicated to knitting needles and wool. However when she sadly passed away (due to a long battle with cancer) and then my grampa (grandfather for those not Scottish) passed away from a heart attack  a year or so afterwards - the house was cleared out and they were thrown out because no one wanted them.

knitting shoutjohn blue

knitting shoutjohn blue

knitting shoutjohn blue

I find knitting very soothing and relaxing and it keeps my hands busy. I'm trying to stop biting my nails - it's so easy when your watching Netflix and you're doing nothing with your hands so you start chewing on your nails or the skin around your nails. So I started knitting again to distract my hands. 

If you wondered eBay has a great range of shops that have wool and needles and they are not too expensive. 

Knitting always reminds me of my granny and I really do miss her. I didn't see her that much before she passed away because I was always working when visiting time was.

Death is hard to talk about but I remember arguing with my mum about going to see her - I refused every time and I do think it upset my mum (some might say it was disrespectful) but if you look at it from my point of view - you have this memory of your granny - fit and healthy and not ill - why would you want to ruin that with an everlasting memory of her ill, thin and fragile, jerking around on a hospital bed because she's hopped up on painkillers because the pain is too much and she thinks you are my brother because she's that out of it.

I still remember the memory of me standing at the bottom of her hospital bed. I think she passed away later that night or the next day - I can't remember - it's not something I dwell on.

That's the last memory I have of my granny - it's not one I think about frequently - I try to remember her fixing my knitting or when she taught us to knit or when she taught us to cross stitch - happy memories. 

This post got awfully dark all of a sudden. Apologies for that - we've gone from knitting to death in seconds.

granny mum funeral borgue

I'll leave you with this picture - sorry if you find it dark or too sad (excuse my mum's legs).

Let me know if the comments if anything reminds you of people you've lost - obviously I'll understand if its too difficult to say or talk about.


Thursday 23 April 2015

What's Useful When Blogging?

Hey everyone :)

I thought I would put together a little post on things I've used or found to be useful when it comes to blogging:

Canon EOS 700D - this was my first official blog purchase - I use it for recording videos and taking pictures for my blog - I would be lost without it.

SanDisk SD Card - If someone bought me this for Christmas - I would love them forever - you can never have enough memory cards! I just can't get over the cost of them sometimes though - because my camera records good quality HD - the memory cards needs to be a class 6 or above so this increases the cost.

iPhone - This phone (I think) is the best invention ever! I can keep track of everything from this phone - from Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest and so on ...

Notepad - I'm one of those people who likes to make lists - I don't know why I just get an odd sense of pleasure out of it so I love a good notepad to make little lists for my blog or just personal lists for things I need to do or buy.

PicMonkey - Helene from introduced me to PicMonkey (or well I read it in one of her posts) and I instantly fell in love with it - I used the free version for a few months and then tried their trial of the Royale version. It basically is Photoshop but on the internet.

PicMonkey Royale - Similar to above - their is a paid-for version of PicMonkey which gives you access to more options that the free version does. It's not too much - I think it cost me £25 (GBP) for the year subscription.

WD My Passport (Portable Hard Drive) - this thing is amazing! I use my MacBook for most things but the space on it isn't great so when I have no memory left on my MacBook I transfer it to my portable drive so I still have a copy. I try and never delete anything. I still have pictures and videos from my first video I recorded and pictures from years and years ago.

Let me know what you think about my choices? I know people will find different things useful for themselves when it comes to blogging but let me know  in the comments below :)


Wednesday 22 April 2015

I went to Rome (a couple of years ago)

Hey everyone :)

So I wanted to do a post from my past (sounds mysterious), you can probably tell from the title what its going to be about. In April 2013 - Dave and myself ventured to Rome (I bought us the holiday for his Valentines) which I might have already mentioned in another post.

Dave had already been on lots of holidays abroad, but this was my first time on a plane (I know shock, shock, horror, horror) whenever I tell everyone that the first time I got on a plane was 2 years ago - they act like I'm some kind of cave dweller who doesn't get out much.

So I managed to find a really good deal on (shout out to those guys). The trip with flights and the hotel cost around £1000 for both of us, this didn't include spending money but everything was relatively cheap so we took around €250 (EURO) to spend. I should mention for both of us the flights were only around £200 return - it was the hotel that cost so much ... you'll find out later why (I'm a bit of a snob too).

The flights were with Alitalia whom Dave had never flown with. It was a lovely flight - leg room was actually great - I say that because I always heard people complain about leg room - but I'm not that big anyway so not much of a problem for me. My friend Sam probably would have struggled as he's about 6ft something. The staff were very friendly and we got free complimentary juice and pretzels - we only had these on the way back because on the way there I thought you had to pay for them.

We didn't arrange transfers - all we had to do was get a train from the airport to Rome and then our hotel was a 5 minute walk from the train station - we were trying to prolong the trip from the train station to the hotel because we were several hours early for check in - I didn't time it very well.

When we got to the hotel - I actually didn't want to go in and neither did Dave - we were both dressed in what I'll call 'civilian' clothing - such as jeans, t-shirt and hoodies. The hotel was very formal - men and woman wandering round in suits, marble flooring and a big high check in desk. So forgetting what we were wearing I ventured inside and checked in - luckily our room was ready and after giving my credit card over to verify I was me - we were good to go!

The room was lovely - I've popped some pictures below - as pictures do speak a 1000 words ;)

rome 2013 trip john and dave

rome 2013 trip john and dave

rome 2013 trip john and dave

rome 2013 trip john and dave

rome 2013 trip john and dave

As you can see by the pictures the room was amazing! The bed was so big that I could starfish and still not touch Dave - I wish I had that bed here with me now! We had heating, air con, lighting on a little box next to the bed which was cool. My favourite part of the room had to be the shower - it was one of those overhead showers - the ones you see in the films and on television in the posh houses. It has to be one of the best showers I've ever had. Also if you read my other hotel review I posted a couple of weeks ago - you'll know I love mirrors and we had this lovely mirror in the bathroom that lit up around the edge (as you can see above).


So that was the hotel - there was many different places we visited - if I posted them all and wrote all about them we would be here for a few months so I'm just going to post a few pictures so you get the gist of it. We visited the typical places including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and a few others (which you can see below):

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

rome trip john and dave

Dave brought is pedometer with him each day and we did about 15 miles of walking each day - so if nothing it was great exercise for us. We both love walking (even if I complain about it) so the trip was thoroughly enjoyable for both of us. I can't speak for Dave (but he doesn't tend to describe things much anyway) but I'm sure he loved it too.

Oh and about my first plane journey - amazing! I love take offs and landings!

Let me know in the comments if you've been to Rome before or if your thinking about going.


Tuesday 21 April 2015

5 Things They Don't Tell You About Blogging

Hey everyone :)

5 things

I always see lots of posts about starting blogs or things people learn once they've got their blog up and running so I put together 5 things they don't tell you about blogging.

Blogger Jealousy - Yes it is a thing and I will happily admit that I have had it (and I probably still do) - I can set the scene ... you've been around longer than other bloggers but they're getting more comments than you, or their blog is getting more views - even though your doing everything you can to promote your blog. You get jealous of the way they take their photos and jealous of their new blog design ... we've all been there. It's not a bad thing. Everything takes time to flourish.

Is it Bloggable? - So one thing I've noticed when I go anywhere now - whether its out shopping or when I'm out at a restaurant or even at the cinema - all I think about is 'can I blog about this' - it can getting a tad annoying sometimes but I'm still in that honeymoon phase of blogging (even though it's been nearly a year) and so I do blog about anything and everything I do - which is one of the reasons I started in the first place.

Cost!!! - << can you see that I put 3 exclamation marks after the word 'cost' because blogging does cost lots and lots. Okay well I might be exaggerating - I should say 'it can' cost you but it doesn't have to. But I enjoy spending money - even money I don't have ... hello credit cards! I actually keep a costing spreadsheet on google of a monthly spend for my blog ... it doesn't look good. But the purchases are justified :) I have my camera for pictures that was around £800, then my vlogging camera another £120, then I bought another vlogging camera which was £500, then subscriptions - so my domain name (I have 3 so that's £21 a year) then PicMonkey Royale (£25ish a year I think) - I could go on ...

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures - Whenever I have to take pictures for my blog I really enjoy it. Depending on the time of day - I set up my light box, clean the surface I'm taking pictures on and put on some loud music and get my camera ready. Then I snap, snap, snap, snap, snap ... until I can snap no more. So after about 1000 pictures are taken ... I find the 4 that I like ... yes normally out of the hundreds that I take ... I find about 4 I like. This can be tedious sometimes as I like them to be perfect.

Social Media - Not necessarily a bad thing but over the past year I have not been absent from social media - there isn't a day goes by that I'm not on Twitter, or Facebook or Pinterest - it can be annoying to friends when they're trying to talk to you and you're engrossed in a Twitter debate about what the best blogging platform is.

So that's 5 things I think that I never knew when I started blogging or that no one mentioned.

Let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree?


Thursday 16 April 2015

ASOS Summer Items

Hey everyone :)

So the nights are getting longer and lighter and for the first time this year I got to smell freshly cut grass - which is one of the best smells in my opinion. Soon it will be Summer and that means holiday time! This year I'm going to Spain with a few friends - we went a couple of years ago and I absoluely loved it - I do burn quite easily so the first day when I got burnt to a crisp was terrible but afterwards I loved it.

Here are a couple of pictures from the holiday:

menorca 2013 shoutjohn

menorca 2013 shoutjohn

menorca 2013 shoutjohn


asos summer items wishlist

1. Bellfield Vest with All Over Aztec Print - £15.00
I love atzec print on anything. I managed to get a grey tank with white aztec print last year in the Summer H&M sale and I absolutely love it - I wear it all the time.

2. Superdry Logo Board Shorts - £37.00
I love the quality of Superdry clothing - its so thick and warm. The first item I ever bought was one of their fleeces and I still have it. I love their logo and I love brightly coloured clothing so these board shorts are ideal.
3. ASOS Sleeveless T-Shirt With Dropped Armhole - £6.00
I always think these sleeveless t-shirts are very similar to tanks just with a bit more material and as I have a bit of an obsession with tanks at the moment I wanted to try one of these sleeveless t-shirts too.
4. Abercrombie & Fitch Large Check Short Sleeve Shirt - £58.00
If you've seen my YouTube videos or read any clothing/fashion related posts - I am in love with (and have been for the last 3 or 4 years) with checked shirts. They are my go-to item when it comes to going on a night out or just general day wear if I'm feeling in a 'shirt-mood' day. (The model isn't too shabby either) :P
5. ASOS Vest With Triangle Print And Extreme Racer Back - £12.00
Again ... sorry ... another tank ... I like simple clothing items too - and a white tank with a black triangle is as simple as you can get.

Let me know what you think to my clothing choices - is there anything you would wear above??


Wednesday 15 April 2015

Melon Sunglasses

Hey everyone :)

So late last week I managed to somehow break my RayBan glasses ... this was a sad day for me ...

I learnt two things:

1. Take better care of your £140 sunglasses
2. Don't spend so much on 1 pair of glasses

This "incident" did have a silver lining though - it meant I got to buy some new ones :)

I thought I would look at some other brands instead of automatically going straight to RayBan again although I have to admit they have a pair of turquoise sunglasses that were screaming 'buy me' 'buy me' ... I somehow managed to press that X in the corner and stay away from the website.

I recalled that Dave had bought some sunglasses (or won them in a competition - I can't remember) and so I checked out the company I remembered called 'Melon'. They are (I think) a company that primarily caters towards snowboarders and skiers. Currently they stock sunglasses and goggles. They're range varies from set items to customisable options.


When you visit their 'sunglasses' page on their website - you are shown three categories: 

- premium collection
- original collection
- design your own

Now firstly I am buying sunglasses for myself and I wanted them to suit me - so when I looked through the premium collection - they reminded me something Proudlock from Made in Chelsea would wear and that is not me. For me they are too posh looking.

I didn't want to design my own straight away because this was the first pair I was buying and I wanted to make sure I liked their range and product. Also the price for customising is a bit more than their pre-set options.

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

So I chose the 'original collection' option. They have an extensive range from pink to citrus to grey to blue - I could go on ... I found one pair. These were a powdery white frame with sky blue lenses. These looked cool and sharp and instantly caught my eye so I added those straight to my 'cart'. 

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

I will add - that you are given the option to choose from 'non-polarised' and 'polarised' lens - I highly recommend that you choose 'polarised' lens - this does add a £7.50 additional charge to the cost of the sunglasses (non-polarised are just £20.00). 

Just to explain:

polarised - when we wear glasses our pupils widen which means they let more light into the eye - with polarised lens the product provides 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.

The sunglasses are also made with vertical polarisation which is beneficial to us because the light reflected by the sun on flat surfaces is horizontally polarised - this means the light will reflect from the glasses and not cause glare or be too bright for you.

non-polarised - these lens have a dark shade and reduce the light however they don't have the vertical polarisation so will not counter the effects of horizontal polarisation.

The second pair I purchased were the 'Zephyr' sunglasses:

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

They are a white frame with green-milky coloured legs and a green lens.

Overall I am very happy with my purchase and I've already taken a few selfies and been out in the car a few times.

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

melon sunglasses shoutjohn

Let me know what you think in the comments :)


Tuesday 14 April 2015

New Emojis!

Hey everyone :)

So last week Apple released their third update 8.3 which included lots of updates - mostly bug fixes for built in apps and lots of other updates that no one sees or probably cares about.

The main visible change was the new emojis. They added more than 300 new emojis including racial variations of certain emojis and lots of new flags.

The first change is that there are no longer 'tabs' you can just scroll along and the category will change automatically. I find this much easier to scroll and look for what I want rather than scroll, and then have to choose the next category and then scroll again ... and so on.


As you can see when you hold down on an emoji it gives you the option to change the colour - this is available on emojis such as the hand icons (like above) and even the couple emojis - obviously there are lots more but I won't go into detail.


They have also added new flags - I don't really use flags but this is quite cool. I did hear that some people complained that their countries flag hadn't been added.

There are also still two emojis that haven't been added that people are rather upset about - not as upset as they were about Zayne leaving 1D though:

> the middle finger emoji
> the taco emoji

Lots of people are happy that the poo emoji has been added to the list - I never really used it when I used the third party app for emoji.

The new update also comes in at around 233MB which is rather small compared to the last updates we received. Everyone will probably recall the horror of the iO.S 8 update when it needed about 5GB of space to install. My phone took about 10 mins to download (on a 100MB connection) and about 20 mins to install.

What do you think about the new update? Do you like it or are you not that bothered?

shoutjohn logo

Thursday 9 April 2015

Ori & The Blind Forest

Hey everyone :)

Hope your all having a great Thursday - I got up this morning and thought it was Friday - so my day was destroyed before I even got out of bed ... but that's another story for another day.

Currently I'm also torn between getting a new camera or paying my credit card - I know which will win - I have no will power. I really sometimes think I need professional help or someone should just take my bank accounts and credit cards off me and put me on an allowance each day.

Anyway ... I digress ...

A couple of weeks ago I found a couple of YouTubers whom record games on their channel and I instantly fell in love with them (is that a weird thing to say?) They are a husband and wife duo and they play all sorts of different games and I really enjoy watching them. Recently they started recording a new game called 'Ori & The Blind Forest' which had was recently released by Microsoft on Steam for £15 (GBP).

I loved their game play that much that I ended up going out the next day and buying an Xbox One and the game on the Xbox Store so I could play it ... so ultimately when my boyfriend finds out I've bought an Xbox One when I'm supposed to be paying credit cards off ... I will blame these two for this (jokes).

The Story (without giving too much away)
The game starts with a rather long scene (so get some refreshment and popcorn) where there is a big storm and the screen shows a large tree with white glowing leaves and blue magic/spirit-looking stuff floating around it. During the storm one of the leaves (Ori) breaks off the tree and is blown away. Ori (or the leave) lands near Naru (a large bear like creature) and transforms into a little white cat looking thing. Naru takes Ori in as her own and raises her/him. (According to sources Ori's gender isn't described as a he or she but for the purpose of this post I think she is a she) You then get to see them work together, play together and live together however after an event (which you find out later on in the game) happens the forest starts to die and so does Naru and Ori's food source. Sadly Naru passes away and Ori leaves to explore the foresy. She walks/crawls through the forest and also sadly passes away or collapses (it's not really clear). This happens directly in front of the spirit tree (where she/he was blown away from at the start) and the tree revives her. She then finds 'Sein' a being whom we later finds out is the heart/mind/light/being of the spirit tree and he is able to guide and protect her from enemies. He explains what happened to the forest and why it died and that they need to recover the lights of the three elements: Water, Winds and Warmth which will help restore the balance of Nibel (the forest). The tree controls the balance of all three - so once all three elements have been restored - Sein will then return to the tree and the tree will restore everything. Sounds simple right? Well there is an enemy of the spirit tree - Kuro (a crow of darkness) and we also make a friend 'Gumo' the last of the Gumon race.

That's the basis of the story - I won't go into more detail otherwise they'll be no point in you playing the game.

The Making (without boring you)
So from what I've gathered Ori & The Blind Forest was created over 4 years and inspiration was taken from a couple of games - one of them being Rayman. So I instantly knew I would love this game because I played Rayman when I was younger. It has a Rayman feel to it. If you've played Rayman you will notice this when you play the game.

The graphics are one of the highlights of the game - they are so crisp and real and for a 2D game they are absolutely amazing. I was always taken away by the World of Warcraft graphics and I know that one of the leads on the Ori & The Blind Forest projects was a former employee of Blizzard Entertainment whom obviously make WOW.

I was also amazed at the music in the game - which after some researching found out that it was actually recorded by a real orchestra. The combination of the music with the intense graphics really gives the game an edge.

I do highly recommend if you have an Xbox One or a PC that you pop onto Steam and buy this game - you won't be disappointed. Let me know in the comments if you do though :)

You can also find more detailed information on the official website HERE.

© ShoutJohn. All rights reserved.