Blogember: Day 28 – your life’s soundtrack

Every kid has a record that they make their parents play over and over again. For my youngest brother it was Lighthouse Family’s High (known as ‘The Toaster song’), for my sister it was Whitney Houston’s I will always love you (known as ‘Love You’) and for me it was Laura Branigan’s Self Control (known as ‘The Pink Record’ – because when I was born we only had vinyl records and it was a while before we upgraded to cassette tape. And that vinyl record EP had a pink cover).

We lived with my Nana and Grandad for a few years after my Mum & Dad separated, and until I was old enough to be home alone after school, I spent most of my time in their house. I was brought up on the music of the 40s like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller.

And of course then I got my very own cassette radio! The first tapes I owned were Dançando Lambada, Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue.

From there, it was the soundtrack of Grease and the music of Buddy Holly. I even had a ‘Rock n Roll’ party for my 9th birthday. Any chance I got I would be making up dance routines with my friend Debbie at school to songs from Grease. And yes, I also liked to listen to a bit of 2 Unlimited. I loved Buddy Holly so much, and was really upset to hear that he had died in a plane crash with Richie Valens. I tried to teach myself how to tap dance from a book in the library and made up a tap dance to this song…

But by the time I was 12 and leaving primary school, I was all about Oasis. I have clear memories standing with the rest of the two Primary 7 classes and singing this together in front of the school on our final day before we all went our separate ways to different high schools…

it remains one of my favourite songs, and one that I want played at my funeral.

Of course then came the Spice Girls. I was not immune to the girl power message and their dance routines were so easy to learn. I would watch the music videos, learn the routines and teach them to my friends and my little sister (and all her wee pals!). I’m hoping my stepmother has lost the video footage of us performing this one Boxing Day…

Every one has a coming of age film, for my generation it was Now and Then, the girls equivalent of Stand By Me in a way. I loved this song, and remember me and two of my best friends when I was 14-16 would walk along the road singing this song.

There are so many songs that remind me of being sixteen that it would have to be a soundtrack all of it’s own. I’ll thank my Dutch friends for introducing me to Krezip. They even did a cover of my Oasis favourite song…! And this one is another like Stand By Me that means a great deal…

If there is a song to remind me of university, it’s being in the student union and yelling TUNNNNE whenever this song came on. We’d all get up sing and do a bit of rocking out to this every. single. time. And will therefore have to be repeated at every birthday party or wedding we all gather at for the rest of time.

When I was really sick with post-viral fatigue syndrome, there were days where I couldn’t move from my bed. This song by Phatfish was what got me through that summer when it was at its worst.The song has a great many stories, but the main one is that the first time I sang this in public was on the day I was baptised in 2003. The church leadership graciously allowed me to sing it as I didn’t want to share a great deal of my backstory (what you’ll hear Christians calling ‘testimony’).

The final song is from One Tree Hill, and one I had on repeat as I basically sobbed my way to Australia in 2007 after leaving Aberdeen. Thank you Nada Surf for reminding me of the simple message Jesus had already taught me… always love.

Thankful Thursday

So for a while there my lovely friend Ruth was doing a thing called ‘Thankful Thursdays‘. Today is Thursday, which is weird because yesterday felt like a Thursday all day and I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact WEDNESDAY. And I’m very thankful today.

Music is a huge part of my life. I love to listen to it, I love to dance to it, I love to sing to it, and I used to love to create it. The door jamb of my car is still filled with mixtapes (redundant since an iPod tape adaptor got stuck in Cassie’s tape machine a couple of years ago). When the (evil) tramworks began on Leith Walk, I used to drown out the noise and destruction of the suburb that I love with my iPod when I walked to my work. When I housesat for my eco warrior surfing jesus loving friends, I’d pop my iPod into their massive dock and rock out in the kitchen as I made my tea or listen to worship music on Sunday mornings before church as I ate breakfast. My iPod earphones helped combat earache from the wind tunnel walk to the medical school. Music energised me through exam revision. It calmed me or helped me express my anger. It kept me alert as I drove my car up and down the UK.

And then my poor little iPod began to die.

My laptop became my iPod on train rides to London.

Silence or talking got me through gym sessions – not so productive without my ‘Gym Playlist’.

Journeys became more tedious in silence or with background noise.

Somehow, I managed to save money over Christmas. I’m still unsure how because there’s no miraculous donation in my bank statements. With that, plus the money returned for a gift my Mum bought me that never arrived on our doorstep I was able to purchase a refurbished iPod nano this week. I just know that I really, really appreciate the privilege of having an iPod again. I look forward to cooking to music, having a soundtrack for my journeying and some encouragement and inspiration for the treadmill/rowing machine/bike/cross trainer.


I know that I loved my old iPod, and I’m sad that it ‘died’. It was frustrating not to be able to just replace it. Now that I’ve been able to, I know that this is a luxurious gift.

One that I truly appreciate.


24 days of Christmas: O Come All Ye Faithful (by The Weatherfolk)

Ken & Casey Weatherford are better known as The Weatherfolk, an acoustic duo combining blues, gospel and folk music. Originally from the USA they are currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland working with the Edinburgh & Forth Circuit of the Methodist Church. 

We, along with our friend Andy the Cellist, have recorded an arrangement of the classic carol “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and we’re here to deliver it through your virtual chimney just in time for Christmas.

Click on the cover art to listen, and enter your information for a free download.

And as the song pipes through cars and computers and earbuds, we’ll find joy in knowing that we’re all humming along together that resounding refrain:

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord.

Ken & Casey’s song is part of a series of posts over the Christmas period as many of my friends join me for another blog party which I hope you’ve all been enjoying! Please feel free to comment on the recipe and I’d love to hear from you if you try it out. Please haste ye back for more guest bloggers who will be sharing over the next 24 days. You can find all the posts so far by clicking here.

A tough month

I feel I can write now, since I’ve had a good day. This last month has been a real struggle to get through (just in case you hadn’t already picked up on that through my previous posts, tweets or facebook updates). The song above has been my anthem this year, in much the same way that Maybe This Christmas was last year. 1 week of illness, 1 week of snow (and aggravating a back injury), 1 week of more snow, and continued ice (and more snow apparently on the way). I’ve missed lots of social engagements and was forced to work from home last week. I’ve missed 2 weeks of inter:act. I missed a whole month of church (through conferences and then illness). I haven’t seen some of my close friends in over a month.

It has been tough, and very isolating.

It has made me depressed.

I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights with vivid dreams and being in some discomfort with my back. It seems to begin to get better, but has got worse after going to church the last 2 Sundays – maybe I’m allergic to church?! ;) I know that I’m just generally feeling rubbish about myself – I feel like my body is failing me, and completely malfunctioning and as a result my self-esteem, self-worth and confidence is taking a hefty nose dive.

I’m also very aware that usually December brings the obligatory ‘reflection on the year’ posts, and as I tried to think, I realised that this year has not been a lot of fun in the grand scheme of things. It’s not that there haven’t been highlights, it just seems to be that the negative stuff has far outweighed the positive stuff this year.

I’m trying to find the love in this winter, and I’m struggling.

I don’t want to be sitting here wishing a fraction of my life away, but I am really.

I’m just longing for this year to be over, and the deepest part of me is desperately waiting for Spring to come.

New life, new hope, new beginnings, growth…

Happy 70th birthday John Lennon

One of my favourite albums of all time is John Lennon’s Imagine sessions. I would have loved to have been able to go to his gigs, and sat down and talked songwriting with him. Today would have been his 70th birthday, and I imagine (no pun intended) that there are many gathered in Strawberry Fields gathered around this very memorial in Central Park.

Happy Birthday John.

Even though someone ended your life prematurely, your legacy lives on to inspire so many…still.

Sunday Scribblings: Hungry

HT: Sunday Scribblings

There are 2 things that the word ‘Hungry’ makes me think of. Firstly it makes me think of Hungry Hippos. I seriously loved playing that game when I was a wee lassie! Secondly, I think of a song by Kathryn Scott called ‘Hungry‘, which is more about feeding your soul, God’s provision and surrendering yourself to Him.

So as I sit after a Saturday off work where I had a lie-in, haven’t straightened my hair or put a trace of make up on and spent much of the afternoon listening to music and reading books I’ve had on the go for months and never finished reading…I wonder what I’m hungry for, or what it is that feeds my soul?

I guess I have a hunger to grow as a person, as a child of God, and to grow to be more like Jesus. I am nowhere close to that goal!! But I think I make gradual steps in some areas over the last few years (and a few steps back in other areas!)

After having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I discovered the tough way that rest is key to my growth and the feeding of my soul. Without it, my immune system is defeated surprisingly quickly and I have no energy for learning anything really. My stubborn streak however does try to fight this, remembering a time where I did so much on little sleep and possibly the worst diet in the world…(Any of you done a day of dance training on a bottle of Sunny Delight, half a pot noodle and a snickers bar???)

Something I discovered on that journey was music…music and films somehow soothed me and inspired me in a way nothing else could when I had CFS.

Today, even now I find that it still does that in a way reading sometimes can’t when I find it difficult to get my brain to focus on listening to someone speaking or reading words on a page.

I find it important to have some time on my own in my car driving down a motorway with music on – praying and listening. A two-way conversation with God really!

And lastly it matters what type of food I eat.

Only today I was chatting with my friend and his family about depression, disease and the food you eat…why it matters. You fill your body with junk and it will bring you down. You fill your body with food that gives you the nutrients you need and you’ll feel and see the difference.

And when you’re feeling blue there’s nothing quite like some chocolate brownie cheesecake…

Or an innocent smoothie wearing a little woolen hat….

Flower of Scotland Friday: Only at the Fringe

A wizard tuning his guitar outside St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

A wizard tuning his guitar outside St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh

I noticed Lori’s ‘only in California’ post, and it reminded me that I never posted this pic. I was walking down the Royal Mile with my friend Gregor and saw this out the corner of my eye…I couldn’t help but get out my camera!!

Only at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival do you walk down the street and see a guitar playing wizard in the middle of the street.

What’s even better that nobody was giving him a second glance really.

All perfectly ‘normal’ during the Fringe!

Flower of Scotland Friday: Edinburgh Festivals

Yep, this weekend madness and chaos descends on Edinburgh. Why? Because the Edinburgh Festivals begin!! How this will work with the entire city centre one giant pile of tramworks remains to be seen, but already I’ve been accosted by tourists going to work in the morning and strange sights are appearing…like the giant purple cow in Bristo Square otherwise known as ‘the Udderbelly’.

I love festival time (apart from when I’m trying to get somewhere…) as it’s fun, vibrant, and full of tourists who don’t realise that Scottish ‘summer’ is often all 4 seasons in one day! Gotta love ‘em in their yellow plastic ponchos covered in Scottish thistle motifs!

Been trying to find some clips on YouTube for you, and I have to say, I’m disappointed. So I’ll start dragging my camera everywhere and see what I can do over the next few weeks during this crazy festival time!

We have…

The Edinburgh Mela

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh Comedy Festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (this one started last weekend)

Edinburgh Art Festival

….have I missed any out Edinburgers?

I go to the Soul Survivor Momentum conference at the end of the month, so I miss a chunk of the festivals – most annoyingly I’ll miss Alexander McCall Smith, Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre. :(

I have however secured tickets for one of Mark Watson‘s shows. I went to see him at the comedy festival last year, and he was fantastic.

Hoping to see some other stuff too, and if you know me ‘in real life’ and are up for going to see anything…let me know!!