THIS IS OH, WEATHERLY

First new band recommendation of 2018, and oh, it's a good'un!

Get excited about this one, because the news on the wire is that this band is going to blow up in 2018.  The Dallas, Texas four-piece have already been featured in US and UK Music magazines such as Alternative Press and RockSound. Having signed to Hopeless Records back in October of 2017, the only direction I see this band going is up.

<oh weatherly> <music blogger> <new band> <hopeless records> <sweetlyshan>

You're sure to like these guys if you enjoy rock music that genuinely has so much emotion and fun energy in the choruses. The sort of track that you stand in front of your mirror singing into a hairbrush with so much emotion whilst you dance around your room. just me? ok... If you're looking for your new favourite song then give the track "Make You Bright" a listen;



There's no news of a UK visit yet, but if you live in the US you can catch Oh, Weatherly on tour with Centerfolds, Plans and many more.

<sweetlyshan> <music blogger> <hopeless records> <bands> <oh weatherly> <all time low>

2018 hold great things for this band and you're gonna wanna keep a close eye on these guys.

For fans of: All Time Low, With Confidence, Mayday Parade, State Champs, The Summer Set

Check out Oh, Weatherly's;     Website     Twitter     Facebook    Spotify    Instagram    

2018 Bucket List

I still can't quite believe it's 2018. In usual new year fashion, It's time to do my bucket list for the year; a list of all my aims for the year ahead. I did a 2017 bucket list post as well as a review of that list at the end of the year, so give those a read if you're interested.

Pass my driving test.
Yes, at age 21 I still can't drive. To be honest, it's not something I've ever wanted to do purely because there have been other things I would rather have spent the money on; such as travelling. But I do think at the age I'm at now it is becoming more and more necessary for me to drive.

Move Out.
I hate the fact that this has been on all of my bucket lists for the past 3 years or so, but this time I mean it. No, really. 2018 will be the first year that I'm no longer in education (scary right?) so I think it's time now, more than ever! I'm gonna be pretty specific with my aims on this one, I'd like to move to Cardiff.

Travel to at least 2 new destinations.
It's pretty obvious that travelling is going to be a constant in my life for the rest of it, or at least the majority. So I think it's do-able to say I want to go and explore 2 new places I've never been before. I  do have an entire travel bucket list, that I may do a post on soon.

Do some more photography.
I really love photography and I used to spend a lot of time doing concert photography but I rarely do any form of photography anymore that isn't taken on my iPhone. My aim for this year is to go out and do some more shoots with my friends!

Attend at least 2 festivals.
In 2016, I went to quite a few festivals and I loved them! But in 2017, being in America the whole summer, I missed most of them. 2018 I'd like to go to some more, hopefully some new ones that I haven't been to before - SlamDunk? Download?

Start my own business.
This one is vague and even more ambitious but I thought putting it in my aims for the year may motivate me a little more. I'm not entirely sure what sort of business, but I'm sure I'll keep you guys updated along the way!

Work with some more cool brands.
In 2018, my blog turns 5 years old! Over the past 4 and a half years I've worked with some pretty cool brands and I'd love to expand on those in 2018.

I'm really looking forward to this next year and I hope you'll all stick with me all the way.
<travel blogger> <music blogger>


10 Tips for Brits Working on US Summer Camps

So you're going to work on a summer camp in America next summer? Well first of all, congratulations on securing your placement. Secondly, don't panic - I've got you covered with a series of posts to help you out in the months before you leave for the US! Make sure you've also read my '5 Reasons Summer Camp Will Change Your Life'. This post is going to be top tips for all your Brits venturing into your first summer of being a camp counsellor.
  1. Create an American Amazon account, because it'll be your first American account, you'll be eligible to a month free Prime! This comes in SO handy, especially when it's halfway through summer end all of your plug adaptors have magically disappeared....
  2. Travel wash solution. This one is a lifesaver. Not really, but you'll thank me later. If your camps were anything like mine, the washing machines leave a lot to be desired, and half the time your socks come out dirtier than they went in... but fear not because you'll have your travel wash with you. It's super easy to just run a little water into the sink, add a little bit of the solution and give the essentials a quick wash. It's perfect for when you realise you've run out of underwear the night before and have none for the next morning.
  3. Take photos to decorate your bunk. A lot of staff will take little pieces of home to decorate their bunk with, just to make it a little more personal. I would highly recommend printing off 5-10 photos of your family, friends or anyone that you think you may miss. I always use the app Free Prints (you get up to 45 free prints every months, just pay for delivery!) It's super nice before bed if you're feeling a little down, you get to see your loved ones picture up in your bunk.
  4. Take an extra towel (or buy as soon as you get there). Your towel will get dirty and gross, I'm warning you now. Like I said, the washing machines aren't the best and you won't have a chance to wash your towel every day so I would definitely recommend having at least 2 towels - or if you're on a camp near a beach, an extra one for the beach. A flannel is also a Godsend, dust from camp will get everywhere and it's so difficult to get off.
  5. Get a sim card that will work in the US. I wouldn't necessarily get an American sim card, as they can be quite expensive. Instead I'd recommend shopping around in the UK for deals that allow you to use your phone overseas. I use Three, their sim cards work overseas at no extra cost and I never experienced any issues with signal. If, like me, you're on a contract on your phone in the UK, talk to your provider and see if they have any deals they can give you, or if all else fails, just get a cheaper sim for America! Being able to use your phone will come in really hand when you're off camp or traveling afterwards.
  6. Everything is more expensive in the US. This one may sound rather vague, but what I'm trying to say is fit everything you can into your luggage to avoid paying more to buy things out there. Simple things such as paracetamol, or suncream - you'll regret not taking the essentials that are cheap to buy over here!
  7. Talk to your family. For me, I didn't get homesick and you may find you won't either. From the point of view of a summer camp counsellor, you won't have much down time to be sat there alone missing home. However, they will have a lot more time to be missing you, so just make sure you find some time at least twice a week to schedule a Facetime/Skype call just to let them know how you're doing and let them talk to your for a little bit.
  8. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water. It is so easy to get dehydrated on camp and the irony is you'll spend so much of your time making sure your kids are drinking that you'll forget to drink water yourself. But your health is just as important as their's so make sure you're drinking loads of water. Your camp may provide you with a water bottle but I would recommend taking one with you just incase.
  9. You will have down days. Summer camp is amazing, but it's not a fantasy... in fact it's a very real environment. Some days will be challenging, some kids will be tough, you will probably have days when you just feel down and fed up, much like you do at home. Everything is intensified in a situation like camp. It's rewarding don't get me wrong, but do be prepared to have a few down days. It's totally normal. No one is going to be happy 24/7, and that's ok!
  10. HAVE FUN. Honestly, this is the most important tip. Say yes to everything (as long as it's safe and legal...) Go out with your new friends, try new things, eat weird foods, take risks, just enjoy yourself. You'll find it weird at first and you'll probabky think the other counsellors that have done it before are mad, and honestly they probably are but give it a week or two and you'll be eactly the same. Your time on summer camp is going to be the best summer of your life, so just enjoy it!

I hope you found this post helpful, if you have any questions, or have some suggestions of your own, don't forget to leave me a comment! I may do another post on essential things you have to take with you to camp, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

2017; A Year in Review

Back in January of this year, I wrote my "2017 Bucket List" so I thought it only right to do a year in review to reflect on how much of my list I managed to complete this year.

Number one on my bucket list for 2017 was to graduate from university with a 2:1. I'm so happy to say that I actually achieved this one and am now the proud holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature & Media Communications! I completed my final assignments in May, and received my results in July, although I was away for the actual graduation ceremony so I will be starting 2018 with my official graduation, (there will be a separate blogpost dedicated to the day!)

The second on my list was to travel America. When I wrote that blog post, in the very beginning of January 2017 I was in the process of completing the Camp America applications, little did I know I would be up in London at the end of the month to be placed at my dream camp in California! Summer 2017 led me all the way to the states, to live and work in California for 3 months before traveling to Nevada, Connecticut and New York. Being able to travel America was 100% the highlight of my 2017.

Also on my list was to "kickstart my career" which is actually a really funny story. I had full intentions of taking some form of gap year within a few months of writing that post, hence why I started it with traveling America. Although I think it's no secret to any long-time reader of this blog that I struggled with the horror that is graduate unemployment upon my return from the US. So, it is still a miracle to me that I was quite literally handed my graduate job on a plate. I now work in Marketing and Recruitment, which is something I hadn't seen being part of my 2017 for a long time, but I am very grateful it has been!

Moving out was a big part of what I had in mind for my 2017, and hasn't been something I've managed to do this year. Although I am still so so grateful to my parents for allowing me to stay at home whilst I work on my career and... well to put it bluntly, sort my life out!

Number 5 on the list made me giggle, "celebrate my 21st in style" whilst at the point of writing I suspected I'd be in America, I never knew which state. For my birthday weekend I ended up exploring Big Sur and other beautiful parts of Northern California, and as I was working on my actual birth-day, the weekend after some friends and I went to go and see my favourite band in concert- All Time Low!

So number 6 was to be my ideal weight, which I will admit hasn't quite happened yet and to be honest, I don't anticipate it happening in the next 5 days left of the year. However, I am back onto my diet plan with regular meetings with my dietitian so who knows what 2018 will bring!

The final thing on my 2017 bucket list was to be happy, which I think in years to come when I think back on this year I think I'll always have fond memories and remember all the fun and happy times I had throughout the year.

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who's been part of my 2017, whether you're a friend, family member or a reader/follower - thank you all for supporting me. Here's to 2018, let's make it another great year!

American Adventures; Los Angeles - Part 1

Stop 3 on our American Adventure was the home of Hollywood, celebrities and secrets - LOS ANGELES. A place that has topped every bucketlist I've written since I was 10 years old, this was the highlight of my trip. In total, we spent just over a week in LA, split between Hollywood and Venice.

HOLLYWOOD

LA is literally the land of dreamers, and Hollywood is its glimmering capital of everything fame and fortune. Although I don't quite have the funds to live this lap of Kardashian luxury, I did get to explore some of the breathtaking sights Hollywood has to offer. We stayed in a beautiful, modern apartment on Hollywood Boulevard - and an impressive 120 dollars each for 4 nights (for 4 people) - and being in the centre of Hollywood made our trips around there much easier. 

Day 1 - The Instagram Hunt.

Guilty as charged, I did transform into the basic LA girl (after being there a mere 12 hours) and made the executive decision that our first day would be spent on the hunt for all the famous Instagram walls. Our excursion took us to Melrose, Studio City as well as a trip to The Grove to refuel (on Pizza...) One of the things I learnt from being in LA, is that it quite literally encapsulates you, I could feel myself becoming one of those LA girls, the way I walk, the way I talked (minus the accent) and to be honest I can't tell if it's a bad thing or not. I mean let's be honest - the Kardashian cali lifestyle is the dream, and don't they say "fake it till you make it"? I'll insert some of my extra posey pics from my street-side photo shoots. Day 1 in LA ended with a visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We got there just before sunset, and spent around a good hour there until the sun set and the Urban Lights instillation really became what it's famous for - it is beautiful. Again, more photos were taken here but if you're into your art or even just if you're on the hunt for somewhere to take beautiful photos - LACMA is the place I'd recommend. We also saw someone get engaged!










Day 2 - Universal Studios.

Now, can you really go to LA without going to Universal? I had never been to a Universal Studios before so I wasn't sure what to expect - but sadly I think I was a little disappointed. One thing I did enjoy was the studio tour, and I'd recommend that to anyone who visits Universal! Personally, I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan but the rest of my friends were so a visit to Hogwarts was truly magical for them. We ended the day in Universal Studios with a Harry Potter light show that was projected onto Hogwarts. Both the lights and the music in the show were very impressive and a wonderful way to finish the day.


Day 3 - The Hollywood Sign Hike.

Ah. The Hike. We only had 3 nights in our Hollywood Air BnB, so on our 3rd full day in LA we were due to check out and move down to our next apartment on the coast. However, me being....well, me, I couldn't leave Hollywood without hiking to the sign - something that has been on my bucket list for years! I'd been researching the trails for the past few days and though I'd identified the best route for us. It was describes as "short and suitable for average ability" so I thought great!  So that's the hike we took. To cut a long story short, we hiked up the most difficult path there is, the steepest incline although the "shortest". I'll be honest, we obviously weren't experienced hikers, nor did we have the best level of fitness so after I'd had a mild anxiety attack at the top after realising we were half way into this hike, we continued and eventually made it to the sign! It was totally worth it, and a truly magnificent view.



The rest of our LA visit I will post in the next post, so keep your peeled for that!

5 Reasons Summer Camp Will Change Your Life

You've probably all seen the films like 'The Parent Trap' or 'Camp Rock', well summer camps like that exist in real life, and working at one is probably one of the best jobs in the world. If you've been to a summer camp as a camper, worked there as a counsellor or are thinking of becoming a counsellor in the future, take a look at my top 5 reasons why working on a summer camp will change your life.


1. The people. People who work on summer camps are like no other. You'll never find nicer bunch of genuine people who are all absolutely bonkers. To work with children in the first place you have to have an element of silliness, but summer camp staff take the award for the most amazing people you'll ever meet. And you're pretty guaranteed to walk away with friends for life at the end of those 9 weeks.

2. The children. So, okay, maybe not all of the children on a summer camp actually want to be there. But the challenge is part of the fun. You have the ability to literally change a kids life on camp, even from something small like helping them try a new activity, to conquering their fear of highs on the high ropes course or even answering their all important life questions. Those 2 weeks you spend with the kids will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives, and you are their counsellor that did things for them that they will never forget.

3. Finding yourself. It doesn't matter if you have a firm idea of who you are or if you have absolutely no idea who you are or want to be, camp is likely to flip that completely on its head. In an environment where your role is to put others before yourself, you're bound to push yourself to new limits and learn things about yourself that you never knew before. The number of people that have told me they left camp a completely different person to who they were when they arrived amazes me. And even if camp doesn't have that extreme of an affect on you, its bound to make you change the way you think about things and view life with a different outlook - I know I do.

4. A new way of life. Not only will camp give you an entirely new way of living for those 9 weeks, but its gives you an insight into how other people live. Many of your children will have come from completely different backgrounds from your own, and experiences like that enrich your life in ways that very few job roles can. In particular if you're an international counsellor going to the US for camp, you'll be overwhelmed by the different way of life.

5. The escape. Camp is quite literally an escape for many of the children that attend, but it can also be an escape for the staff. Regardless of if you're totally happy in your situation at home or itching to experience something new - summer camp will be a world away from everything you have at home, in the best way possible. When you're out there soaking in the sunshine in the gorgeous American landscape, quite often you'll completely forget about your life before camp. It's almost like starting over again, new place, new people... new you?

For me, and so many other summer camp counsellors, camp completely changed my life and confirmed my existing thoughts that I wasn't meant to just stay in my hometown forever. I need to travel to keep me sane, and that's one of the most important things working on a summer camp taught me, but it also gave me the skills to do so; the confidence, the determination, the passion.


Let me know if you can think of any more reasons why summer camp could change your life. Or if you’ve been to camp yourself, leave a comment of where you’ve been or would love to go!

American Adventures; Las Vegas & Grand Canyon

Part 3 of my American adventures series is going to be on one of my favourite places that I visited - VEGAS BABY.

The flight took off from San Francisco after a few nights exploring the city, you can read my post on that here, and off we flew to the infamous Las Vegas. The flight was only just over an hour, but it meant we were landing at around 9pm in the dark, and wow what a view we had! Coming into land in McCarren International airport in Las Vegas was something I'll never forget, you could see the entire strip lit up - the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids, everything! It really was quite magical, for lack of a clique.

Our first night in Vegas was quite literally a - check into hotel room..... aaaaand sleep, living it up right? But in our defence flying tires you out at the best of times, and at night it's even worse. One thing I will say about Las Vegas, and America in general but it hit us in Vegas, was "city tax". I know what you're thinking, whaaat? Well, in America they have extra fees added up onto everything, taxes and tips alike, but we weren't aware that these were additional to the price we'd paid online for the hotel. So when we checked into Silver Stevens, located just off the strip, needless to say we were a little shocked at the extra $60 we had to fork out at the desk. PLUS a $100 deposit (which took 3 working days after check out to go back into the bank).

Apart from that little blip, our stay in Vegas was wonderful! The hotel had a pool so on the 2nd full day, we chose to just lay by the pool all day, with the occasional stroll down to CVS or Subway for food! The weather in Vegas was the hottest we experienced during our travels, it hit around 43 degrees celsius. I would recommend the hotel, the rooms were nice- spacious, clean and had everything we needed for 4 adults but having realised that we could have had one of the hotels on the strip for the same price we paid for Silver Stevens (including taxes) next time we'd stay a bit closer to the action. It was nice to have a day just relaxing by the pool, after the long day out and Grand Canyon the day before, but I'll come onto that in a bit. We decided to venture out into the strip to catch the beautiful Nevada sunset and see all the lights that we'd briefly caught upon arrival.

The strip lit up at night honestly had me in awe, never before have I been so mesmerised by bright lights. I'm a city girl, as pretty much everyone knows, but Las Vegas just stands for something else entirely. One of my travel mates said something whilst we were wandering around the strip that has really suck with me, maybe because it's probably true. She said "people don't live in Vegas, they only exist" and I actually really like that, I think it captures the excitement that the city encapsulates. It's somewhere that I really enjoyed "existing".

Here are some photos of me totally in awe of the Las Vegas lights.


So, as I mentioned, one of the days in Vegas we did decided to do the Grand Canyon tour. We booked with the tour company "Canyon Tour" and booked the $89 South Rim Bus Tour. I wish I could say this was the perfect excursion, but unfortunately not. We had booked the day before, so granted we booked a little late but we were assured by the online booking system all would be fine. Thankfully we had alarms set for 5am, as we were told the bus would pick us up at 6am outside our hotel, but the morning off the hotel room phone rang - a curtesy call to make sure we would be ready and waiting for our bus at 6am. Down at the arranged meeting point just before 6am and there's no sign of the bus anywhere. It's not until we ring 3 different numbers in an attempt to contact the company and 40 minutes of waiting outside that the bus turned up, problem 1. We were driven to the depo where we were given a brief talk about what to expect, allowed to buy breakfast and snacks and shuffled onto our bus. Somehow, the bus was "overbooked" which meant the 4 of us along with 3 other passengers were stood outside the bus we'd paid for, with no seat. Luckily, we were appointed the seats at the front of the bus (that you were supposed to pay an extra $20 each for!) however the other 3 passengers never got on, so who knows what happened to them and if they ever a made it to the canyon! Problem 2. The bus driver was awfully rude and rather discriminatory, we have written complaints to the company three times but with no response! Problem 3. 

Regardless of the issues we had, it was definitely worth visiting the Grand Canyon. As one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, it really is quite spectacular! We stopped at 'Bright Point' and 'Angel Point' as well as the National Geographic visitors centre where we were given lunch vouchers which were included in the price of the trip. One of the things I would recommend doing is having an ice-cream at the main stop on the south rim, it was rather dear, at something like $8 but maaan it was good and actually provided us with quite a few laughs! The bus trip was long, about 6 hours there each way with around 3 hours at the actual Grand Canyon, with a stop at the Hoover Damn in the first half of the bus trip. Overall it was a 15 hour day (half of it sat on you bum on a hard coach seat), which is exactly why we needed the day by the pool the day after!

I would definitely return to Las Vegas, and maybe a good few years time I'd like to return to the Grand Canyon too! If you're looking to travel the west I would 100% recommend that these two places are very close to the top of your list.







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