MY 2018 REFLECTION

First of all, I hope everyone’s had a good Christmas, been enjoying their time off and celebrating the festive season.

As this year draws to an end (happy last day of the year) I thought I would sit down and revisit some of my achievements, memories and learning experiences from the past 12 months.

I usually do a personal reflection but I thought this year I’d do a post because I think it’s really important to look back at how and where you started the year to where you are now and explicitly see your journey. Whether it’s in terms of your personal life, work life or a hobby, reflection is vital because days pass and life happens so fast that you often get so caught up with living that you miss your progression.

Personally I feel that in particular my personal growth was quite significant this year from transitioning into my second year at university, taking more responsibility and moving into my twenties but I also had a hell of a lot of fun this year.

I travelled to three amazing countries, one of which I always wanted to go to but never thought I’d actually visit, I attended some surreal events and had some amazing opportunities. This year was full of surprises from Partying with Giggs to visiting Idris Elba’s own venue before it was even launched and a lot of different shows, this year has been a pretty crazy one.

So what did 2018 teach me?

Put yourself out there

This year I finally come to realise that sometimes you have to say stuff it and just put yourself out there, challenge yourself and just show everyone who you really are and what you can do. It can be nerve wracking, daunting and even at times stressful but it’s the only way that you’re going to get anywhere in life.

The worst that could happen is that you shoot your shot and you miss- if so, get back up, learn from it and try again.

There’s a positive side to every situation

Whether the positivity shines through right away or if it takes week and months to be recognised this year taught me there is positivity in every situation, you just need to find it.

Everything happens for a reason

I may be being naïve and just trying to justify my L’s but no I truly think that in the past 12 months this saying has really meant a lot and proved a real depth in all aspects of my life.

There have been numerous occasions, too many to count on my hand and feet where I can honestly say that things happened for a reason. Whether it was so that I could

You can be your own worst enemy but you should actually be your biggest supporter

You are the only one who is stopping yourself from doing what you want to do or being where you want to be. We can all make up excuses that its because of X, Y, Z but realistically collect yourself and just get on with whatever you want to do. The amount of time we waste making up excuses and thinking about how we aren’t where we want to be isn’t helping your situation; spend that time thinking about/ actually making those steps so you can achieve your goals.

When doing this, do it with your chest, be your own number one fan because if you don’t believe in yourself and that you’ve got what it takes how do you expect anyone else to believe in you.

Stop trying to please others

This is a kind of bittersweet reality I faced this year because I started to do what I wanted to do, for me instead of trying to please others and I can honestly say that this is the first year I feel that I’ve truly excelled and achieved whilst being happy. This did come at a price though and you will most likely lose friends and have people try to dim you because they are intimidated or nervous by your glow up.

Saying that however, the people that I lost/ that you might lose were clearly not my true friends anyway and they did me favour because I was able to make real connections with people who actually care and want me to succeed.

Just live

This is probably the most powerful thing you can do, be present and live in the moment.
The past has happened, it can’t be changed, accept what happened, forget about it, learn from it just do whatever but dwell on it. As for the future whilst you should be mindful and think about it definitely dint try to plan out every day of the next 5 years because it won’t happen and life will do whatever it wants to do so the best thing is to make the most of the current.

 

My 2018 Memories

January

Not that much happened in January it was a pretty slow start to the year but my sister did graduate but let’s not give her too much credit because just last week she thought Theresa May lost to Donald Trump but hey ho on we go.

February

February was also a bit slow but this was the first time I bit the bullet and put myself out there landing my first contributing role for CelebMix which has since allowed me to grow and provided me with some insane memories.

March

At the end of March, me and some of my friends from university took a trip to one of our houses in Wales. I hadn’t been to wales in so many years and it was nice to be by the beach, explore a new place and just make fun memories. We also done cave trampolining which was fun.

April

The start of our, what turned out to be, summer heatwave. What a good month this was having fun in the sun from days out in London to having some drinks outside it was a good month. I also visited one of my best friends in stoke to celebrate her 19th birthday with her- it was messy.

The very end of April was when a huge, significant opportunity happened as I got my first ever celebrity interview and it happened to be with an artist I’d followed since she was starting out. This was such a turning point in the year in me realising what I wanted to do and believing that I could/can do it.

May

Still warm, thank god and I took a step into something I never thought I would- local elections. I covered the local elections In Uxbridge, London, and once again had some more fun in the sun.

My cousins came to visit me at university on the day of the Royal Wedding and I saw Raye and Rita Ora in concert with some amazing people.

June

I went from hot to hotter as I jetted off to Dubai with my girlfriend and her family for a nice break. I had the best time in the water park, drinking snow cones, looking at all the amazing sights and most importantly stuffing my face with DELICIOUS food.

I also saw Camila Cabello headline her first ever solo tour in Brixton and she is a star!! I wrote a review about her show and it was kind of surreal because I logged onto twitter seeing that her fans were quoting what I had said about it and it got around 500 collective retweets and over 1,000 likes which was pretty major for little me.

July

My camera roll has a lot of pictures of my girlfriend’s dogs in July so I guess they made my month. At the end of July, I also went on a once in a lifetime trip to China where I had the most amazing time and shared it with some of the most amazing people.

 

August

My China trip spills into August and it was on a HOT, boiling, scorching, Humid day in August that I climbed The Great Wall of China. I will remember that day forever it was such a surreal moment and even though I nearly died I channelled my inner Jaden Smith and was momentarily a Karate Kid. I won’t go into too much detail there’s a travel post about it coming soon!!

And talking of holidays I also went on a two week trip to Mexico with my family for some relaxation before heading back to uni for my second year.

September

One thing I can say about this month was that it was whirlwind and it flew by. From moving back to university, starting second year, volunteering and just living life September was a mixture of everything- oh and a visit to a really cool ice cream museum.

October

All things spooky for Halloween; as usual I left my costume till last minute and created some kind of scary attempt as the shops were closing.

I went to two really cool events this month too, the first being my first ever big event which was Jonas Blue’s album listening party which was such an unfamiliar yet exciting experience, and the second Olly Murs’ intimate album listening session for ‘You Know I Know” in Idris Elba’s own venue which hadn’t even opened yet- probably the first and last time I will be able to get into there.

November

November was mainly all things music; a lot of shows, reviews, fun and a Hard Rock Café reveal launch. I also started my intern journey at OK! Magazine alongside some amazing and talented journalists.

Two notable moments were partying with Giggs at Swizz Beats album launch and attending Rita Ora’s intimate show in celebration of her incredible sophomore album ‘Phoenix’.

A huge part of November 2018 was that this was the time i finally plucked up the courage to start my blog. After wanting to do it for the past couple of years i took the plunge and just started and i don’t know where this will go but i can say I’m glad i started and I’m glad that i’ve tried.

December

We may still just be in December 2018 but it’s been a good one. I turned the big 20 leaving my teens and becoming a semi responsible adult (this is a lie), there’s been lots of festive fun, quite a few trips to Wingstop and I had some fun times at Winter Wonderland.

If you managed to make it to the end then Thank You for all your support, I hope you enjoyed it and I’d love if you continued reading in 2019.

I wish that 2019 is the best year for all of us and that everyone can be happy, successful and achieve all they could imagine.

See you next year

 

New Music Friday 3

When I started to look at the songs which were being released this week, I was unimpressed and thought it would be such a dry week but thanks to a lot of mid-week announcements and ‘surprise’ drops there’s a plethora of new music today. If i was you i’d grab a drink and some snacks for this one.

One thing that I do need to mention is the fact that I don’t get what this ‘let’s release a single on Wednesday or Thursday’ idea is and why it’s been used for the past three weeks. I just can’t wrap my head around this concept, like really how does this help an artist?

I feel that one of the biggest tracks released this week and one that twitter will be eager to scrutinise is the return of Miley Cyrus.  Her return comes in the form of a collaboration with the incredible Mark Ronson for ‘Nothing breaks like a heart’. This track wasn’t what I was expecting at all when this collaboration was announce nevertheless, I do think with all it’s uniqueness I kind of like the country and western film vibe. The chorus definitely impresses more than the verse – which notably remind me of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’.

Another exciting return to music comes from the one and only Kelly Rowland. Yeah, we haven’t really heard from her in a while but she’s back with her new track ‘Kelly’. After a little bit of mess last week with the song being released then taken off streaming services she reassures us that Kelly has bands, Kelly has deals and that Kelly has class; you know what else Kelly has…. A SMASH! This trap alter ego is exciting, confident and she’s living her baddest life and I want to hear this everywhere. In my opinion this song is arguably one of the best releases of the week don’t @ me.

Next let’s talk about Clean Bandit, the British trio have release their new album today ‘What is Love?’. I always find their albums or albums similar from DJ’s or groups so interesting because they’re filled with features rather than just the same person throughout the whole project. First of all, I’m going to start with their song featuring Ellie Goulding ‘Mama’. This is the track that is on the new music Friday playlist but after the previous singles which actually banged such as ‘Rockabye’ and ‘Symphony’ I find this just misses the mark. It’s not a bad offering and Ellie does sound amazing but it’s just mediocre and a bit generic; I will probably listen to it I it comes on shuffle but I can’t say I’ll actively choose to listen.

On the topic of Clean Bandit, they are this week’s culprits of the early mid-week release after they released an unusual Charli XCX and Bhad Bhabie collaboration with ‘Playboy Style. First things I’m the realest, no jokes aside the first thing were doing is asking who in their right mind put Bhad Bhabie on this track and took away from all of Charli’s greatness. We’re just going to ignore that Bhad Bhabie 30 second verse and focus on the fact that clean bandit and Charli came through on this one. The track shows some impressive experimentation from Clean Bandit as they adopt a deeper, sexier R and B vibe which I’m totally here for and let’s just say that Charli lost the auto tune (not that I don’t think she’s great with it) and showed up to collect her bag and let you know she’s here.

Now onto one of the most popular ex boyband members ever- Zayn. After I was pleasantly surprised by his debut solo album the string of throw away singles he’s released for his soon to be release sophomore album have not been played more than once and even that ‘huge’ Nicki collab couldn’t save him. When I saw that he released his new single ‘Rainberry’ I was expecting the worst but he’s proved me wrong; the funky pop track which boats a jazzy electronic imbue blends the perfect level of experimentation whilst still sounding like him. I think this song vocally showcases his talent and introduces a new direction which he seems to be attempting to move into nicely. An overall pleasant offering which I think will become one of my favourite songs over the next week.

Following two great hits, Benny Blanco, has released his third solo single this week after spending years behind the scenes creating some of your favourite songs. ‘Better to lie’ features Jesse and Swae Lee and honestly the guitar heavy instrumental sounds like something off a Post Malone album but then it turns into a light pop rock track which id expect from a boy band. I wish Swae Lee’s contribution was longer than and that the song had a bit more substance considering ‘Eastside’ was a piece of pop perfection but you win some you lose some- not terrible just not all that exciting either.

So the viral cartoon we happen to call 6ix9ine released his delayed album ‘DUMMY BOY’ this week and even though I don’t rate it at all as an overall album I do think the Kanye West and Nicki Minaj assisted ‘MAMA’ isn’t half bad, has a catchy beat a decent verse from West and a nice push in my estimation thanks to Nicki’s verse and I don’t think that his own contribution is that bad on this song either- I hate to admit it but I think this is a bop.

Up and coming, former X Factor girl group, Four of Diamonds release yet another smash with their catchy sass fuelled ‘Blind’. Honestly this is the third impressive release in a row for the girls in which they’ve continue to prove they have what it takes to top the charts and be be the next big group. I like the fact they offer something different and hone in on an r and b edged pop vibe remaining completely mainstream but differentiating themselves from the likes of Little Mix to make them unique.

They aren’t the only former X Factor stars releasing music this week as 2017 quarter finalist, Rai Elle, has released her debut EP ‘KSB’. In my opinion she has the star quality to really make something of herself and I was gutted when she got the boot last year and her new single ‘All About U’ is an uplifting easy listen gospel infused soul track as she curates a solid offering. Do I think it will commercially do amazing, no but do I think it’s a pleasant listen yes for sure.

Lastly for this week’s extensive new music post we have a single from Alessia Cara ‘All We Know’. Before I get onto this song I really have been routing for Alessia, her first ever single ‘Here’ captivated that perfect moody, mysterious, society rejecting energy and her debut album was enjoyable but oh my god this comeback hasn’t been all that impressive. After a series of boring, stagnant and frankly middle of the road singles which I feel all personally missed the mark in some way (apart from ‘Trust my lonely’ which i low key love) she’s just done the exact same thing again. ‘All we know’ is uninteresting and substandard and whilst I can’t say she doesn’t sound angelic the song just feels like background noise and it’s great for that purpose but it sadly feels like such a long listen despite only being just over 3 minutes long.

Whilst I sit on this disappointment and hope for the rest of album to give me something fresh and vibrant, I hope you enjoyed reading this and have a good Friday!!!

Also I’ve decided to start a New Music Friday playlist which I’ll be updating weekly so you can see what I’m listening to and other new music which didn’t make the blog’s cut.

https://open.spotify.com/user/1124546142/playlist/3pabjNcE5J3stDi5mlL4iw?si=_fl8iQ6PQJufxg0l6bftKA

Catch you at the same time, same place next week.

SUMMER 2018: DUBAI/MEXICO

The title of this post might have you slightly confused, you’re probably thinking summer? It’s now November. Yes, I’m a bit late but summer 2018 was fairly busy and full of exciting new things and as the cold winter nights are drawing in I kind of wanted to reflect on the crazy few weeks I spent in some insane countries.

I enjoy travelling but definitely don’t do it enough; every opportunity I get, I like to take and it’s fair to say that this past summer I definitely made the most of my time off.

Back in June I took a week-long trip to Dubai with my girlfriend and her family. My first year at university had just finished and it was time for a well-deserved break, even if I do say so myself.

I was excited to go to Dubai as I’ve always heard people say how good it was. Because of this I had high expectations and I wasn’t left disappointed. As a city it’s associated with luxury, extravagance, shopping and unique architecture and I believe it’s the perfect place to live a lavish lifestyle even if it’s just for a short period.

Whilst I was in Dubai I stayed at the Atlantis: the palm which was the perfect place to relax,

have fun and make exciting memories. From the water park, Lost Chambers aquarium and marine activities to the 5-star luxury spa, gym and private beach it was the perfect place to do anything you desire and get those all-important zzz’s at night.

With this being my first time in Dubai, and due to the short time we had there, we tried to fill our days and make the most of our trip. During my week there we crammed in a wide range of activities from shopping at the Emirates and Dubai mall, watching the musical fountains and seeing all the landmarks of the vibrant city from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa.

Additionally, I enjoyed exciting days filled with adrenaline at the Atlantis waterpark, where I may or may not have consumed my body weight in snow cones, and a fun day exploring Dubai Parks and Resorts.

Dubai parks and resorts is a great place to visit with different themed areas along with a destination devoted to eateries from around the world. I went to the Motiongate park which revolves around films and had themed rides from unique franchises such as The Hunger Games and Madagascar.

 

Dubai wasn’t the only place I was lucky enough to visit as I went on a two-week family vacation to Mexico at the end of August. The beautiful blue sea and white sand beaches was exactly what I needed before coming back to London and starting my second year of university.

This holiday was definitely more relaxed than Dubai and chilled out as most of our days were spent soaking up the sun by the pool and beach. On one of the days I visited the popular tourist destination 5th Avenue which has everything and anything you could think of including a 7/11 with a slurpee machine so you can supersize that brain freeze.

Overall some of my top highlights of the trips were definitely the food in Dubai, being able to snorkel with the wide variety of tropical fish, sharks and rays in the hotel aquarium and also the experience of the different cultures in both Dubai and Mexico.

I had the best summer this year and i’m excited to travel more in the future and to plan for my 2019 summer break.

Arun