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To be able to express emotions through instruments and singing is so beautiful. I can’t imagine how I’d tell people how I feel without a song to help me along the way or how to find faith when it’s lost.

After a rollercoaster of a day music helps me relax, remember and reflect. Originally this post was going to be about Naturally 7, a band who makes all their sounds through their vocals. I will still post a couple of videos of them, purely because of their unique talent. They are truly amazing, have a listen. But after the writing the first paragraph I feel this post can be much more.

Right now, I’m listening to UB40 – I Got You Babe. But when I shuffle through my iPod, I realise all 3441 songs remind me of a moment in my life. Each song takes me back to that moment, and all the feelings come rushing back. It’s funny when you think about it. While the song tells a story, you have your own story to tell too!

So what’s your song story? Do you have certain tracks which take you back? I would love to know, how important music is to you.

And as I promised, here are a few videos of Naturally 7. Let me know what you think.

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Got three days to spare? Here in London we can get so caught up in day to day life we don’t realise the months fly by.

Two weeks ago me and Nikhil headed out to Belgium. A short two hours on the Eurostar we were in central Brussels before we knew it. It was seriously quick!

Two cities in three days you can imagine the amount we squeezed in. We were proper stereotypical tourists, with me stopping to take a photo at every chance.

Really, there is so much I can share with you, but I could be here for a very long time. So instead I will give you a snapshot of Belgium from our eyes.

Heading out to Bruges from Brussels was quick. Catching a train, of which the ticket was included in the Eurostar ticket it took around 45 minutes. This was much quicker than finding our hotel. Street after streets, valleys, town squares each corner unveils history and culture. It’s beautiful. So untouched, with canals, bridges, horse rides, the beauty of Bruges can be captured within minutes. Getting lost wasn’t so bad in the end.

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Next, climbing the 366 steps of Belfort Tower, the view remained me of a play set town. Lines of terracotta roofs, floating boats on the winding canals and a perfect blue sky, it was definitely worth the climb. (Note to all those who know me, I did climb all 366 steps, there was no lift.)

Next came the all important chocolate shopping. First of all, lets just say, every other shop is a chocolate shop. You can smell the chocolate fountains. It was until we entered Dumons, a cottage-like store filled with homemade chocolate we knew we had found the one. Row of cute shaped chocolates. All ready to melt in our mouths. E bought a selection and took a walk in the park where we short listed our favourites. Then we went back for more! No not for us, to bring home!

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When heading to Brussels, we were already tired from the walking, so enjoyed the air-conditioned train. Arriving in the city, wow! It was like entering another country. The hustle and bustle of Brussels strangely remained us of New York. (You probably think we’re mad) Jumping on the Metro, the hotel was much easier to find with some French directions. Tout droit, tout droit. Straight on, straight on.

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Later we visited Grand Place, and Mannequin Pis. Yes that’s a little boy doing his business. Quite funny really, because the crowd around the sculpture is incredible. Eating some classic Belgium waffles and ice cream was next on the list. One word: Yum.

The following day we began the comic strip walk. This was fascinating! Walking up and down the streets of Brussels we discovered comic strips on sides of buildings. They were so random, but so fun to find. Yes, I did get us lost a fair few times, but once we got on a roll we found 18 of the 34 comics in the city. Was a bit like a treasure hunt whilst also taking us on a scenic walk around Brussels.

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Bypassing the cathedral and taking a break in the Park, we recouped some energy and headed out of the city to see the Atomium, a sculpture of an atom. Doesn’t sound too interesting, and it wasn’t really. Plus we got super lost there too. We were hungry and hot, so headed back into the city for dinner. Not forgetting desert, which is a must-have, we had some Australian ice cream which made us feel like we were five years old again. Quickly eating the ice cream before it melts and gets our fingers sticky it was more than delicious!

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Then it was back to the hotel to pick our bags up and off we went on the metro to catch our train home. I was tired. Nikhil was tired. Don’t think we’ve walked that much in ages. Well, I haven’t for sure! But it was definitely all worth it. All 500 photos!

I mean, honestly if you thinking of travelling to Belgium you can do each city in a day. Their vicinities are small, and everything is walking distance. If you are a vegetarian, food is pretty easy to find in Bruges, little harder in Brussels. That’s were a French phrase book could come in handy. But all in all, it’s all good fun. Although there isn’t much to do, you can uncover the beauties of each city your own way!

I had no clue what to get Dad, apart form everything which is outside my budget, so I painted him this picture. Simple, but I think it’s his kind of thing.

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The word ‘geisha’ means artist. Many assume geisha are prostitutes but this is untrue.

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From the moment I started reading the novel by Arthur Golden, I was captured. Mesmerised by the sheer beauty, elegance and exotic essence in the streets of Gion everything unfolded a hidden meaning. From each stroke of makeup to the way a girl wears her kimono; Golden tells the story of Chiyo who swaps fish life for the world of geisha.

The nine year old girl not only loses her family, but loses all control of her life to Memeha, her new older sister geisha. Chiyo embarks upon learning the art of conservation, music, dance, and seduction. Selling her virginity to the highest bidder in a world where love is an illusion Chiyo illustrates the life of geisha. But does she make it? Will she ever find happiness?

To be honest, after reading the book and also watching to film I felt somewhat dissatisfied. I wasn’t comfortable with the way geisha were being treated. Or how Chiyo, a little girl full of life and excitement grew up wearing a mask to hide her past. Perhaps I was hoping for more. More than just becoming a geisha.

Nevertheless her story is captivating. Her pure courage and determination to focus on what she had left in her life is truly inspiring. She does anything to fulfil her dream of becoming a geisha. Golden draws on Japanese culture, using every instrument to create an unforgettable atmosphere. You vision the colourful kimonos, feel Chiyo heart ache, hear the geisha giggle, and taste the salty tears of a girl who puts every ounce of her energy into her future.

An unusual but truly amazing tale.

When thinking: “What shall I write about this?” Kavita said something quite spectacular.

“The keys on a piano are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind.”

And that’s all I’m going to say.

Those of you who know me, knew that last Thursday I was supposed to be jetting off to the clouds. Not exactly, but a hot air balloon flight was booked, for the third time. Yes, 3rd time. And SURPRISE SURPRISE the British weather let us down again.

But this time it wasn’t very clear. More confusing than anything. On past attempts we could see the weather was clearly unsuitable and frankly quite dangerous, but Thursday evening looked beautiful.

So beautiful that I ended up spending the evening taking photos, 111 to be precise. Some of which I’m going to share with you.

Blue sky up above...

Blue sky up above...

There goes a plane, but no balloon...

There goes a plane, but no balloon...

Sun setting behind the biggest Pine tree I have ever seen

Sun setting behind the biggest Pine tree I have ever seen

Fallen pinecones

Fallen pinecones

Eat your heart out!

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Southbank was graced with the sound of dhol drummers as the youth of London gathered last Wednesday.

Musical life of Park High School in Stanmore took their beats to the Royal Festival Hall and hit the roof. Ensemble of dhol drummers performed ‘The Sound of Silence’ and brought an essence of culture and colour to the show.

The festival of musical excellence and achievement was brought together by children aged between 11 and 18 years olds.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club, an organisation which helps build community projects, both educational and humanitarian programs, the performers were short listed to play at the prestigious venue.

Sue Sands, chairman of the Rotary Club said: “Thank you for all your support and offering such encouragement to the young people of London as they set out on what will hopefully be a life long musical association.”

Kavita Tailor, a dholi has been playing for 6 months. She said: “It was so much fun and everyone was so enthusiastic.”

The diverse show also included pianists, choirs and orchestras.

My love for random hidden beauties in London.

I feel that sometimes living in a area you are so familiar with, you walk past little beauties without even realising they exist.

With people continusly flocking to London, I’ve got to admit, I love it! Getting lost in narrow streets can turn into such adventures because sometiimes those very narrow streets turn into cultures of their own.

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Pentago

I’m pretty sure many of you have claimed the title ‘Champion of Connect 4’ some time in your lives. The feeling of always winning brings back happy childhood memories. But fear not, as those memories can be restored with new ones.

 

If you want something a little more mentally challenging and let’s admit, not so easy, then the award-winning Pentago really does live up to it’s six trophies.

 

The aim of the game is to get five marbles in a row. However, the twist is that the board is sectioned into four smaller boxes which rotate. So although you may be one marble away from completing your row, which seems to be re-occurring for me, a 90 degree turn may turn you into a loser.

 

Really it’s pretty mind-boggling and when beaten it can come as a shock! Combining noughts and crosses, with Connect 4, this game is all about devising a strategy and planning ahead. Definitely some fun times!

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Random fact of the week…

In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator.

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