An Introduction to Historiography

I thought it was high time I changed up the type of content on here and have decided to add in another topic I am passionate about – History.

As you may know I studied History at university and loved every minute of it, so I’m going to try and impart some of the knowledge I gained during my degree, in a brief and easy to understand manner. Plus it will give my friends and family a break from me bleeting on!

I’m not sure what topics I will cover or how often these posts will appear on here, I’m going to see what comes to mind, but feel free to let me know if there’s anything in particular you want to read.

I’ll try to cover some of the key periods in History, different types/areas of History, top facts, biographies of people and maybe review some places I visit.


For today I thought I would focus on a key word in all Historians Vocabulary – Historiography.

**Advance warning** – This post will be the dullest of the whole series, however  historiography a fundamental building block to understanding History in general and getting the most out of the posts that will follow in the future.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines historiography as:

The writing of history, especially the writing of History based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particular details from the authentic materials in those sources, and the synthesis of those details into a narrative that stands the test of critical examination. The Term historiography also refers to the theory and History of historical writing.

One of the many reasons this term is so important to Historians is that it defines the understanding of History, as well as substantiating that knowledge of History. Validating the Historian as an expert in their field!

Historiography acts as an umbrella for the two types of sources that make up our understanding of History – Primary and Secondary sources. The way I define the two are:

Primary – documented at the time, it is first hand evidence.

Secondary – is analysis and evaluation of a primary source and is most often written after the fact.


So, these posts are secondary sources, but they may use primary sources to form their conclusion.

Primary sources can take a multitude of forms, such as diary entries, written documents, artefacts, videos and many more.

It is important to critique and analyse sources, as they are often bias and in some cases incomplete. It is this ambiguity that makes History open to interpretation, thus substantiating your opinion using other sources is imperative.

Another key term often used when referring to the historiography of a source is “schools of thought” this refers to the different ways of thinking within History.

There are many different schools of thought:

  • Marxist – focuses on social class
  • Social History – often focuses on a “bottom-up” approach – looking at everyday life and people
  • Cultural
  • Intellectual – the history of ideas
  • And many more

Often when interpreting a source keeping these schools of thought in mind, can speed up uncovering biases and explain the influences of the author.

Another thing to keep in mind when analysing the bias of a source is whether it was intentional?

When analysing a historical object of a particular event or era of History it is important to use a variety of sources from across a variety of schools of thought.

Another key vein of historiography is the development over time… History changes when new sources or ideas about what happen emerge. At the end o the Second World War History books said Hitler was to blame (orthodox view), fast forward to 1961 AJP Taylor argued that the constraints of the Treaty of Versailles were to blame (revisionist view).

These different view points in historiography lead to continuous debates in the subject over popular topics, as both view points can be used to argue the reasons for the out break of war. Thus it is important to consult variety of both primary and secondary sources before forming your own opinion on either side of the debate.

If historiography is such a bore, why bother?

Despite being quite a dull part of learning about the past, analysing the historiography of sources makes sure you are using the best possible examples and forming a balanced argument.

History can be a valuable tool for the future, allowing analysis at the reasoning behind similar past events and why a particular course of action was taken.  This understanding of context can explain the importance of a particular event within the bigger picture, it also allows us to place and evaluate historical significance.

If historiography was lost, we could never look at past mistakes to help us make better decisions for the future. History may not necessary repeat itself but it does play a crucial part in shaping the future.

How do I know which historians to believe?

This is a very difficult question, as there is no real answer. There is no definitive list of who to believe and who to disregard as History is an ongoing discussion and because everyone will approach a source with a slightly different perspective. So, every time a new source is uncovered or re-examined the overall picture changes.


I think the most beautiful thing about History is that it will always be incomplete. The gaps left by the unfinished nature of History create the need for historiography to plug them and validate the accuracy of the information we do have.

Have you ever come across historiography before? What is your interpretation of the roll historiography plays in understanding the past?

Further Reading

I’m going to aim to give you some pointers for further reading on the subject or to develop your understanding of the historiography of a particular subject here:

  • This IB essay briefly explains the major view points held on each side of the historiographical debate for the causes of WWII.
  • L.S. Kramer and S.C. Maza, A Companion to Western Historical ThoughtBlackwell Publishers, 2013 – this book is a great overview of the major theories held over they key events and people in Western History.
  • E.H. Carr, What is History?, University of Cambridge Press, 1961 – this book is the core reading text for most university modules on historiography.
  • The Past Cannot Die Podcast, Episode 5: An Introduction to Historiography – this podcast explains the roll of historiography with to both researching and the overall understanding of a particular historical event.



Two Days in Frankfurt

This was a very last minute trip, in fact I didn’t even know this was on the cards until four days before we went. Without meaning to sound ungrateful it also didn’t come at the best time for me, as I had a night out planned on the Friday night!


Still a little drunk from the night before and when I say night I mean 4 hours earlier. We caught the first Lufthansa flight out of Heathrow on Saturday morning. This was my first Lufthansa flight and I was incredibly pleased with the aircraft and the quality of the service.

Due to the last minute nature of the trip my flight was very expensive at around £200, unsurprisingly at that price the plane as it was almost empty. This really helped my emerging hangover as I could lounge across three seats!

My return flight was a different story, as to be expected when on the last flight back to Heathrow on Sunday evening, it was rammed.

Both airports were super easy to navigate on the way out, probably helped by the fact Jonny was traveling with me. It was a different story on the way back, I got so lost in Frankfurt Airport trying to find the right place to go through security I almost cried. I finally admitted defeat and was very brashly told I was in the wrong place, which left me rather flustered and my internal panic alarms whirring.

Jonny and I got local taxi’s to and from the airport, although this service was great it did cost EUR 30 each way, so was in no way cost effective! Jonny and I mainly navigated Frankfurt on foot, however we did also take the S-Bhan and U-Bhan when needed.


We stayed in the Maritim Hotel Frankfurt, which was perfectly fine however on arrival it was obvious that this particular hotel was designed with the business traveller in mind and was attached to a massive conference centre. I would recommend this hotel if you are travelling to Frankfurt for business, but as tourists the 45 minute walk into the city centre was not desirable.

One of the down sides to this hotel was the lack of milk in the room – there was only creamer, so we paid EUR 2.50 for half a coffee cup of milk. That said the hotel did have a superb bar with a great vibe and a couple of restaurants too – but we opted to eat closer to the town centre.

Food & Drink

After arrival into the town centre settled we settle on a coffee and a cheese croissant, which was just the pick me up I needed while in the throes of self-pity.


We decided to spend some time on TripAdvisor finding somewhere for dinner, our first choice was Thai and Turf which was rated number 5 in Frankfurt. Unfortunately it was fully booked so we settled on a lovely local Italian, sadly I don’t remember where it was.

However I had the most amazing food and the price was pretty reasonable too. We both drank a local German beer which was very satisfying!

The next day we headed over towards the zoo and found the most wonderful breakfast place it was all you can eat for €4.99. We had croissants to start, followed by omelette and fried breakfast and finished it off with pancakes. Washed down with 2 coffees which we not included, but they were not expensive. Needless to say we were full for the rest of the day.

I do regret not trying any of the Apfel wine which is supposed to be a local favourite, however I never came across any to try.

Activities & Culture:

On arrival Jonny and I decided to go for a walk to see the Römer and get a lay of the land. This was lovely, sadly the Christmas Market was just being set up when we were there, but none the less it was pleasant. The town centre was busy, but in a charming way as opposed to a frustrating and overwhelming way.


Next we hit the shops, on the hunt for a woolly hat for Jonny! However as usual I managed to find some presents for myself. On the whole the shopping was good and the stereotypical German efficiency made navigating the sale section really easy. I

was also on the lookout for something to wear to work on Monday as drunk Katie had barely managed to pack for the trip. I was horrified when I opened my carryon case to find a pair of pants, a top and jumper for the next day as well as a selection of old magazines. None of which would help me on Monday!

We nipped over the Eisner Steg Bridge to view the other side of the city, which was a lot quieter and less touristy. The bridge was covered in love padlocks, which was very sweet (though these always make me worry for the structural integrity of the bridge!).

We took the U-Bhan back to our hotel, which was pleasant and easy to navigate.

The next day we went to the zoo (one of my favourite attractions in any city!), we took the S-Bhan from our hotel after a brief argument with the ticket machine. We got a little lost coming off the train and Jonny took me on an accidental tour of the local area, we saw the European Central Bank and these lovely community library boxes.


After Breakfast we headed into the zoo, there was no queue at the booking office and tickets are a bargain at €10 each.

I was gutted that the Penguin enclosure was closed and the tiger was most definitely a myth! This was made up for by the seals who were spooning and chasing one another. As well as the Hippopotamus who would hide underwater then suddenly pop up as soon as I turned my camera off!

But my favourite part was the petting zoo where I got to play with a goat!


After the zoo we headed into the town centre for one last look around, on the way we passed the famous bull and bear statue outside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

I loved our time in Frankfurt and feel we managed to strike the perfect balance of touristy and relaxing. The only think I wish we had done was take a boat trip down the river, which is supposed to be a great way to see the city.


To conclude, I would not recommend going to Frankfurt for a city break, as there is simply not enough to do and it is not all that touristy, but if you ever find yourself there and you have the time to explore I would definitely give it a go!

This was a very last minute trip and definitely a great end of year travel bonus, however I feel if we had planned to go there in advance I would have been disappointed by it.

Due to the last minute nature of the trip the travel and hotel were expensive, however the food and activities were reasonably priced and had we got more of a bargain on the room an flights it would have been a cheap trip!

It was bitterly cold when we were there so my other piece of advice would be pack layers and woollens. Also when it rains in Frankfurt it pours so an umbrella would have been a welcomed addition to our trip!

I was really impressed with Lufthansa and would definitely want to travel with them again. I would use the train to get to and from the airport to save some money and I would book a hotel in the centre as oppose to the business district.

The food and drink was great, though I wish I had tried the famous Apfel Wine, but my biggest wish for the trip was that I had not still been drunk when I packed!

This trip definitely reminded me how much I like Germany and has persuaded me to consider it for some other trips, I’d really like to visit Cologne and maybe try Dusseldorf. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any suggestions or reviews for me to check out.

Have you been to Frankfurt before? How did you find it? Would you go back?

Round Up 2017 Goals & 2018 Goals

So it’s safe to say I bummed out in terms of achieving my goals in 2017! I managed a grand total of 2 out of 15!

So I guess I need to do a little “wash up” as to why I haven’t achieved them.



  • Apply to join the Royal Navy – because I’m a scary cat! That and I am way too unfit! I’ve said I’m going to join the Navy since I was 7 so in someways I think I’ve put too much pressure on myself here.
  • Find a permanent job in London in the mean time – this is one I have achieved, I’d been temping at a company in the city for ages and finally in November they offered me a permenant position!


  • Get back into Fencing – I guess this one is also down to fear… The fear that I will be rubbish, but probably also laziness!
  • Get into yoga – this one never really left the starting blocks… I watched a few you tube videos on a few random mornings!
  • Run my mile and a half in under 12 minutes – laziness was the issue here… I didn’t make time for it and I was petrified of the hard work!


  • Have a morning routine – non-existent as I’m barely in bed before 1am!
  • Be more organised – I’m terrible, I’m probably more disorganised now because I got lazy and now I’m just overwhelmed by it all!
  • Be better at keeping in touch with people – every year I say this, every year I fail miserably, with no exception this year. Again because I’m lazy… There’s a big pattern emerging here!
  • Read 3 books a month – I think I totalled 10 or under for the whole year, so this didn’t go well. It s bad when you take in to consideration I bought about 50 and had £40 worth of library fines! Again I never make the time.
  • Read the news every day – this is the other goal I managed and boy am I glad I did in fact I cannot understand how I never previously saw it as important. Since reading it I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my ability to hold difficult conversations.


  • Publish 1-2 posts per week – another miserable fail… I was lazy and I never made time for it. I will write loads for about 4 weeks and then I will fizzle out, it’s stupid as I really enjoy writing posts and having my own corner of the internet.
  • Twitter 2,000 – interact more, host a twitter chat – I’ve really fallen out of  love with twitter since I left uni, I struggle to know what to say and because of that my engagement has fallen and I just don’t know really where to start!
  • Instagram – 250, 2-3 photos per week – at the start of 2017 I was so lazy Instagram was lucky if I even opened the app month on month, but out of the blue in August I fell in love with it and was posting regularly and loving it.
  • Bloglovin – 250 – I think I logged in to Bloglovin’ once last year!
  • Improve my blog photos – I have a DSLR and for the life of me I cannot understand why I have not used it when I take my blog photos!



  • Apply to join the Royal Navy – the application is ready to go I just have to stop being a big baby!
  • Achieve some professional qualifications – I’m not sure which ones yet, as I keep deciding and then changing my mind. Any recommendations welcome.


  • Get back into Fencing – I’ve got to face this fear now, I want to have joined a club by June. I’m going to use the time between now and then to work on building up my fitness and footwork skills so that my main focus on my return can be blade work and distance.
  • Get into yoga – this year I want to try and do it before work at least once a week, starting at home and then moving to a class once I’ve got a bit better!
  • Run my mile and a half in under 12 minutes – this year I’m going to make more of an effort to don my running shoes and try to make this a habit. I’m also going to aim to be in bed befor 10:30 for 2 nights a week, so I’m too tired can no longer be an excuse!


  • Have a morning routine – so let’s see how the being in bed before 10:30 for 2 nights a week goes first. Another part of this is leaving the house earlier, as I’m always 5 minutes late for work!
  • Be more organised – this year I’m going to make smaller goals to change the most important and drastically out of control areas of my life. I’m not going to plan it as I often get stuck in this stage of a project I’m just going to organise things as they appear to me in the way they feel right. In the hope that this leads to an overall improvement by 2019.
  • Be better at keeping in touch with people – in 2018 I’m going to make a more conscious effort to spend time with my family and friends. Including planning to meet up with them more and hopefully reconnect with a few others. Let me know if you have nay top tips on this one?
  • Read 15 books – I know not many, but this year I’m going to give myself the freedom to pick what I want and finish it whenever because my structured planning clearly was not working!
  • Learn to do crosswords – it’s a skill I have always admired people for so this year I’m going to learn how to do it myself.


  • Publish 1 blog post a week – we’ll this has not gone too well so far… Here we are in March and this is my second post! So I’ve set myself the task of posting once a week for 3 months… Let’s see how that works out.
  • Better Twitter Interaction – this year I’m going to spend more time interacting with people and forget the numbers. So by 2019 I want to be using it daily to communicate and connect with people. I’ve always been more of a words than numbers girl!
  • Instagram – I’m going to try and keep up my use of this app publishing posts, interacting and just generally enjoying this platform.
  • Bloglovin – I’m going to actually install the plug in on this site, publicise my Bloglovin’ and use it to read more blogs and connect with bloggers.
  • Improve my blog photos – so in 2018 I’m going to break out the DSLR and start using my ALevel photography skills.

So there you have it these are my goals for the remainder of 2018, many of them are the same as last years, I’ve just tried to release some of the pressure that I’ve been placing on myself in the hope that it encourages me to achieve more of them.

As well as having these overarching goals I have set myself the tasks of changing some small but important habits in my life, as little easy win tasks each month! In January this was to thoroughly was my hands with soap and warm water using the NHS recomendations everytime I went to wash them, February mine was to floss everyday, for March I want to get up as soon as my alarm goes off.

Hopefully these small and simple steps will help me build a healthier lifestyle as painlessly as possible.

What are your goals for 2018? How are they coming along?

A Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

You were a bit meh… But nonetheless a welcomed break after the roller coaster that was 2016.

You’ve still been bumpy, but in general the ride has been a lot smoother.

Again on your journey I’ve made mistakes and have learnt and grown a lot. However, the  lessons have been easier and the growth less painful as 2016.

The New Year was fabulous, spent in my beloved Oxford drinking too much alcohol and having oodles of fun, with my nearest and dearest friends.

Again January and February passed in a haze of alcohol and an all but brief flirtation with fitness.

March saw a welcomed break to Milan with Jonny, my mum and a family friend. I love Italy, as always the food was out of this world, but I won’t rush back to this city.

April saw me at work on my birthday, which was an interesting first for me. Jonny and I went out for dinner in the evening at the Buddha Bar which was sublime.

This was also the month my uni friends and I really reunited. None of us are that good at making an effort to keep in contact with one another. However, something always forces us back together in the end and when it does we’re back to being thick as thieves, as if no time has passed in between.

First it was the Oxford V Cambridge Boat Race, which saw us don outrageous boating blazers and sneak in to two boat clubs before retiring to our native ‘spoons for a night cap.

The end of April was topped off by one my favourite events in my social calendar, the Oxford University Tri-Service May Day Ball. This was the first time I’d been and not organised it myself, which meant for once I could get as pissed as I liked and not have to worry about any of the clearing up the next day.

May saw a family holiday to one of my favourite places in the world – The Azores. As always the food was exquisite, the wine in abundance and the scenery unrivalled. It was fantastic to relax and enjoy myself with my parents.

On my return there was a pub crawl to attend dressed as a flamingo no less. As always there was a twist to the night, we decided to take my friend’s sofa along for the trip. of course we added wheels first, which fell off at the first pub, so it had to be carried for the rest of the night. Sadly the sofa did not make it to Purple Turtle, but it did make it to the Radcliffe Camera, which believe me for any local to Oxford is a sight to behold! Frank the Flamingo did however make it to Purple Turtle, but his life was short lived as someone bit him minutes after entry.

In June Jonny and I went to Royal Ascot for the first time, which was an absolute hoot. I can’t wait to go again this year!

In July I celebrated one year of being in the working world. There was a trip to BRNC Dartmouth to see my bestie being confirmed. I also found out I was going to break my “American virginity” and go to NYC… What a gift.

August saw my friends and I reunited again, this time for a raucous party in Somerset, featuring potato canons, whirlpools and tipis. It was fabulous to escape the city and spend some real quality time with everyone. For the bank holiday Jonny and I went to Lowestoft, which was lovely. In true British style we both got very sun burnt on the beach! I am definetly on the look our for some more staycation destinations for 2018.

The main highlight of September was visiting America for the first time! Jonny and I had a wonderful time in New York and can definetly see why people go back year on year. We both love the idea of living there one day… So who knows, maybe we will some day.

October was a shock to the system especially after the wonderful heat of New York. Jonny cheered me up massively by buying us tickets to see Eric Paslay, Temecula Road and Jillian Jacqueline at the show they did for Country Music Week.

Another highlight of October was the appearance of Jonny’s first grey hair!

October was all topped off by a get together with my closest friends to celebrate Trafalgar Night. It was wonderful to see them all again and fabulous to catch up, but there was a slight tinge of sadness that we were all now grown up and starting to leave Oxford and that part of our lives behind.

November was a surprisingly good month, my job got made perminant, no more silly one month extensions on my contract. I also headed down to my home town of Plymouth twice, my dad came to London to raise money for the Poppy Appeal and I was bursting with pride when I saw him lay a wreath on the Civilian Cenotaph in Plymouth. I also got to spend a day messing about in the archives at my mums new work, which was amazing for a history junkie like myself.

Jonny and I also got to go and see the wonderful Maren Morris perform supported by her fiancé Ryan Hurd, which was insane as I am such a big fan of hers. As well as, a last minute trip to Frankfurt for a weekend. I also discovered a Yorkshire Pudding Steak Wrap in my local pub… This has changed quiz nights forever.

December brought with it all the promise of glamour and parties, but unfortunately I got tonsilitus in the first week so I was on water at my work Christmas Party and had to miss a ball. Once I had recovered I got into the swing of it. I spent the rest of the weekends darting round the south of England & Wales to visit family and attend various social events. I even got to go to a cocktail party and a ball, spending much needed quality time with my friends and family. After all that I feel fully recharged and ready for a wonderful and prosperous 2018.

2017 you may have been a bit more beige than 2016 but you were still a blast and I would not have had you any other way!

You’ve shown me that if you ride out the storm the horizon can be much clearer on the otherside.

You were everything I hoped you would be in last years letter

Here’s to 2017 being full of fun, learning, growth, adventure, success and lifelong friendships, but hopefully not quite as bigger rollercoaster as 2016.

So let’s hope 2018 will continue on the steady course you’ve plotted out for it and remain to be happy, full of adventure, growth success and fantastic people!

Thanks 2017 you were an absolute blast.

Good Me, Bad Me – Ali Land

This book was recommended to me by a friend. It’s unusual for me to read a book in the same year its published, as I normally wait until they’ve been out for a while before investing my time.

Good Me, Bad Me is a psychological thriller another unusual choice for me as I can’t stand horror. When it comes to crime I usually stay well within the safety net of Agatha Christie or James Patterson.

Written by Ali Land a Child and adolescent Mental Health Nurse who has worked in both the UK and Australia. The book has gone on to be an international bestseller, translated into over 20 languages.

This book deals with two of societies greatest fears a female serial killer who prays on children nonetheless. It is the choice to deal with  socirties biggesr taboos, which makes this book stand apart from other thrillers and keeps the pages turning.

Not only is the serial killer female, but her primary witness is her daughter – Annie. It is pure twisted genius to have Annie as the narrator, who explains the daily struggle between being Annie (Bad Me) and Milly (Good Me). Milly is the name she assumes in witness protection to help ease her in to her new life.

The reader and Annie/Milly form a bond early on and you suddenly find yourself rooting for her to find the strength to overcome the possessive maternal attachment that remains. Annie had me hooked by the end of the third chapter. The reader quickly forgets that she has had 15 years worth of training in manipulation and confidence tricks from her mother.

The book briefly outlines the day Annie decided to hand her mother over to the police. However the primary focus is on the time in which Annie is preparing to testify against her mother and Milly is learning to lead a normal family life – well normal if you can count the Newmont family as normal, I wouldn’t! Finally it touches on her life after the case and where she will ultimately reside once she has finished being useful to her foster father.

Land throws out snippets of the abuse and brutal murders intermittently throughout the book, which begin to paint the background that Annie remains very protective of. As she fights to keep the life they shared together from being clinically turned into evidence against her mother’s henious crimes.

Annie describes the conflict of emotion, knowing the terrible crimes that have been committed and that justice is necessary, but to her it comes at a high price – never seeing her mother again. Here again the feelings of Milly and Annie come in to conflict, when she states what if the “The person I want to run from is also the person I want to run too.”

The book covers a wide range of sub-themes, most prominently the age old nature-v-nurture debate. One of the things that takes this book from great to mind blowing, is that Land not only explains how Annie has been brought up to understand relationships as being about power and to gain power you need to be able to manipulate the other person, which is done by obtaining their trust.

As seen when Ruth (Annie’s mother) says “You’ll always want to play, my little Annie, I made you that way.” In the end you realise that not only has Land explained this she has also demonstrated how easy it is to manipulate people!

Land cleverly places Milly into a family that are themselves dysfunctional, there is a severe fracture in the mother daughter relationship between Saskia and Phoebe. This allows Land to touch on the issues that result from poor parental attachment and hints at whether this can also be counted as neglect?

By placing Milly in with the dysfunctional Neumont’s, Land further emphasises the point that appearances can be deceptive and how things can easily be hidden from outsiders in the domestic sphere, or people’s heads for that matter. There is also a touch on bullying and the ever growing and evolving cyberbullying, towards Milly headed up by her step-sister Phoebe.

However, my one complaint is Land’s continued use of short sentences, which did begin to loose their suspense and impact towards the end.

Richard and Judy made this book one of their Book Club reads for Autumn 2017. They interviewed Land about the book and where her inspiration came from: Land said it was from a personal desire to “know if like me, other people could forgive a child like Milly” and “it’s important that there are no boundaries in the realms of fiction.”

Interestingly, in the same interview, Land stated she did not “believe a child can be born evil, but I do believe certain traits are inherited.” She goes on to explain that although it seems shocking to the reader, as a mental health nurse she often, “ witnessed psychological violence existing between mothers and daughters.”

Who knows where this book will go in the future, but I think it would make a great film or better still theatre play.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, so if you are looking for a psychological thriller you can power through in one sitting then this book is perfect and it will certainly stay with you for time to come. As I mentioned earlier I was hooked from chapter three and could not stop reading from there, which is good going for me, so I would definitely recommend you check it out!

Have you read Good Me, Bad Me? Can you recommend any good psychological thrillers? Let me know in the comments.


UK Country Music Week Review

As you know/can guess from my blog’s name, I absolutely love country music! So I was super excited when my boyfriend bought us tickets to go to the Thursday night show on the 5th October 2017.

I knew Country Music Week was going to be happening in London, but I was unsure who I wanted to go with, so I just thought I’d let that one pass! Country Music Week consisted of  series of “unique events” put on by the organisers of the famed Country2Country music festival.

These events featured both UK and US artists and covered a wide range of the diverse genre that is country music – so there was something for everyone. In particular these events highlighted acts at the start of their career, using larger more established acts to draw in the crowd.

The Venue

I’d never beeen to The Boarderline before, but I am majorly impressed with it’s size and facilities. It is very small, which was perfect making these fantastic gigs even more intimate and personal, drawing the crowd in further. This really highlighted the talent and vunrablility of the artists that were performing.

We arrived late (the first act had all ready started), the room was just iunder half full, so we were able to move about pretty freely, which made getting the all important beers in easy. We had a Boarderline larger and a beer (the draft selection is not all that great) I can’t remember the exact price, but I know it was under £10 – which I consider good going, for London!

The horozontal set up of the room meant that even if you are at the back of the room or the bar you’re never too far away from the stage.

Jillian Jacquline

As I said when we arrived she was already playing her first song – Holier Than Thou, and the first thing I noticed as we walked in was how inthralled the audience was by her tallant and emotional rawness.

I’d never hear Jillian before, but Jonny my boyfriend had been listening to her on Spotify for the past few weeks and absolutely loved her, later he admitted she was the reason he bought the tickets in the first place.

Next up on her set list was Sugar & Salt, followed by Reasons and Hate Me, Jillian gave wonderful backstories to her songs before she sang them, which endeared the crowd to her more! She described the messy breakups which she found hard at the time but were all key to her journey and where she is today.

We were fortunate to be stood next to her mum and friends, this made listening to her perform extra special as you could see their pride and love for Jillian bursting out of them!

After her set was finished she came down and mingled with the crowd. I absloutely love her music and am so pleased I got to see her live, before she hits the big time, which I’m sure she will – there’s a reason in May 2016 Rolling Stone put her on their 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know

Temecula Road

I was super excited when I saw that this trio were going to be playing, I fell in love woth them a year ago now when I heard them on Bob Harris Country one Thursday night. Something which also shon through when they got up on stage. As soon as, they started singing the previously noisy audiance quietened down and all eyes were on them.

The banter in between music was strong, kicking off with a slight at Maddie’s youung age (16), mind you the others are not that much older with her siter Emma and family friend Dawson both being 18. Maddie seemed a little on edge throughout the performance, which I couldn’t understand as her talant was unreal.

They played three of their own songs starting with What if I Kissed You and finishing off with Hoping and Everything Without You. I love how their music captures the excitment and trepidation that comes with taking that leap and falling in love, especially for the first time.

They also did a couple of covers, from the beautifully eerie Desperado by The Eagles, which had lighters still been permitted inside would have seen everyone swaying them above thier heads!

Followed up with the infamously catchy My Church by Maren Morris, this had everyone clapping and singing along.

I would have loved to have seen the 20 Hits of 2016 Medley that Laura Cooney wrote about in her article for Entertainment Focus on their performanve on Saturday at The Boarderline.

This trio are very professional, which is exceptional given thier youth. I can’t wait to see how their music develops and matures alongside them.

After they had finished on stage they dropped down in to the crowd to mingle in with thier fans.

Eric Paslay

The headliner for this concert was this Texan born singer/songwriter, who has written songs for the likes of Jake Owen and Lady Antebellum. It was wonderful to see him perform in such a stripped back setting, just him, his guitar and the audience – he let us know this was his favourite way to perform. Despite being a highly successful singer in his own righ with his first album reaching Number 4 in the Billboard Country Albums Charts in 2014.

I’m absloutely in love with his current EP – The Work Tapes, which are five rough tracks that Eric is currently working on, so they are raw and unedited. As a non-musically talented human it’s great to have a sneak peak at the work that goes into the process of creating a song.

He kicked off the concert with Angel Eyes, which was quickly followed up with She Don’t Love You, High Class and Song About A Girl. He was super talkative and spoke so candidly and honestly with the audience about anything. From the affet of the Route 91 Harvest Las Vagas shooting, that had happened earlier that week and his views on gun law, to being in London for the first time. As well as, the thought process behind some of his songs and the ideas that spurred him to write them.

He also did a few covers such as, Free Falling by the legend that was Tom Petty, which was well recieved by all. My favourite cover has to be Elvis’ You Were Always on my Mind, this song took me right back to the many road trips I did with my dad when I was younger.

Eric hopped straight off the stage into a crowd of adoring fans and graciously signed autographs and took photos with the crowd!

Chris Country Radio

These guys had a stall at the venue and I was keen to get a T-shirt as it this station who get me up and out of bed each morning! Sadly I had no cash on me and they only took cards, so until next time.


I absolutley loved the stripped back nature of this concert which fostered intimacy between the artist and the audience. I thought it was great that the musicians could share the stories that inspired their music. One of the reasons I love being a country music fan in the UK is the small  nature of the venues, but this concert was unlike anything else I’ve been to.

I’m so glad I went as not only did I get to hear Eric who I have ben wanting to see for some time now. I got to see Temecula Road who I have liked for a while now, but would have been unsure about going to one of their gigs. I also got introduced to Jillian Jacquline’s music, which I am now in love with, she’s possibly my favourite country music artist at the moment. It was great to see these guys at the start of their UK careers. I could have listened to each act for a whole night let alone a whole gig!

Next year I am definetly going to make sure I am availible for more of the concerts in Country Music Week!

This gig has left me super excited for next week when I am going to see Maren Morris.



New York City Baby!

Last month, at the ripe old age of 22, I broke my American virginity and finally visited the country. This trip was a surprise present from my boyfriend to me for our 7th anniversary, which meant we only had 2 months to plan it *Panic Stations*.

New York was never really somewhere I’d ever menetioned going, not because I didn’t want to, but more because I never thought we would be able to afford it!

The weather was insanely good while we were there, it was around 27 degrees celcius in the days, dropping to about 19 in the evenings, which was brilliant, except I’d packed for London in September (around 17-10 degrees celcious), so I was pretty sweaty a lot of the time… attractive, I know!

Anyway over to the trip…


We flew with British Airways economy to JFK from Heathrow Terminal 5 and back premium economy. I’m not sure what they cost as they were a present, but I know we used miles to help. Most airlines fly to New York so if you’re looking, I suggest shopping around to find the best deal.

We booked Business Parking for Jonny’s car which was very good, we found a space straight away and after he’d done 10 laps of the car to check it was locked we got on the transfer and were at the airport in no time. I can’t remember the exact price, but I think it was around £100 as we booked it the day before we flew.

Terminal 5 was great – there was a bit of a queue to get our tickets, but other than that it was swift and without any hiccups. We went for breakfast at Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food, a favourite of ours. I had eggs Bennedict with a glass of Prosecco to really hit the day off, which tastes rather interesting at 6am!


The flight out was pretty uneventful. I watched Beauty & the Beast followed by Hampstead, which were both great and highly recomended. The guy infront of Jonny put  his seat backs straight away which meant Jonny’s journey was pretty uncomfortable!

JFK was quick and efficient in both directions, there were queues at customs and security but they are to be expected, my only complaint is that there are really only 2 places to eat at terminal 7 and neither of them are that appealing!

BA Premium Economy was really good on the way back,  helped by the fact our plane was a lot newer, but we had loads of space and the food and drink was great. I watched Table 19 and Snatched on the way back, which were good if you want somenthing easy to watch, but I don’t think I’ll rewatch them!

To get to the city we used Uber so we had no stresses about finding our way to a meeting point. On the way back we used the hotel’s car which was again very easy and pleasant.

We mainly walked around the city and for anything further afield we cycled using the Citi Bike’s at $12 per person and were everywhere. They’re pretty easy to operate, but the traffic could be a little scary sometimes, especially after dark. The grid system makes New York pretty easy to navigate both on the pavement and the road, plus CityMapper was really helpful if we ever got confused.



Location and price were our two main factors when choosing a hotel, as we didn’t have any time to waste. We stayed at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway as Jonny’s dad had points we could use plus it’s only 1 block from the Empire State Builing and about 10 blocks from Times Square. We had enought points to pay for 2 nights so only had to pay for 2 nights. So it only cost around $300 in the end, but beware they do slap on a $15 charge for ammenities each day – for the gym, wifi, etc.


The hotel itself was near enough what I expected, having known what Radisson’s are normally like. The room was quite big and very clean, we could even see the corner of the Empire State Building from our window! The bathroom was great and the complimentary tolitaries were fabulous and well stocked.


The hotel staff were incredibly polite and very helpful with any enquiries we had.

Food & Drink:

Food and drink was quite expensive in New York, but the portion sizes were huge so it proved pretty good value.

A new discovery of mine which blew my mind was cinnamon and rasin bagels with cream cheese – I mean wow, life altering!

I won’t bore you with going into detail about the places we had lunch as these were always on the go and mostly sandwiches! Below is a few quick reviews of the places we ate dinner:

Hard Rock Cafe,Times Square – Jonny and I love the Hard Rock Cafe and always go if there is one wherever we are visiting. The staff here were super helpful and found us a table within about 15 minutes. We shared some humongous Nachos, then Jonny had steak Fajitas for main and I had a Guiness and Jameson Burger which was yummy. Jonny and I normally buy ourselves something from the shop, Jonny got a hoodie, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted and then we ran out of time to go back… so I may have to steal Jonny’s hoodie.

John’s of Times Square – Our waiter was great he suggested a pitcher of beer as it was cheaper than individual pints. Jonny and I had seen the size of the pizza’s on the way in (the filled the whole table) so decided to share one, you can go half and half, but if you do you are charged for the price of two, so in the interest of fruigality we shared. I can’t remember what the pizza was called but I do remember that I loved it. John’s is great if you want no frills dnning in a central location at a good price.

For our final night we decided to splash out so I chose the The Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue at Central Park South for cocktails. It was every bit a dreamy as I imagined it, we chose to drink in the iconic Palm Court, and though meant as a dining space their cocktails proved to be superb. I had a “I Recall… Central Park in Fall” – similar to an Old Fashioned and every bit as lovely.


For dinner Jonny chose Quality Meats, 58th Street between 5th & 6th Avenue which is a fantastic steak reastuaurant. Our waiter, Eric happened to be a West Ham fan just like Jonny, so they got on like a house on fire! Be warned the wine menu is not for the faint hearted with some bottles exceeding the $3000 mark! We decided to keep to Quality Meat’s own bottles under the name of Quality Wine’s, which was lovely and reasonable at around $80. We ordered a porterhouse steak to share for main with some potato waffles and some broccoli and cheese bites.

Before our main came some starters arrived and we highlighted we’d not ordered them, but or waiter said they were on the house from a fellow Hammers fan. So we tucked in to the most beautiful yellow fin tuna crudo and some grilled bacon and peanut butter – I was in heaven!

When our main arrived they had run out or broccoli so he subbed in some of their famous sweetcorn creme brulee and some mushrooms, both of which were fabulous. The steak itself was cooked to perfection. I’d never had a porterhouse before, but I certainly will be looking to pair up with Jonny for one in the future. As we were getting ready to pay a chocolate pudding arrived which was to die for. Needless to say we left a hefty tip and would recomend it to anyone visiting there! This was the perfect ending to the most wonderful trip.


Activities & Culture:

When planning our trip we decided to buy the New York City Pass  before we left which allowed us access to 6 attractions chosen from a list of 9 for under £100.

We were supposed to do the Empire State the afternoon we arrived, but we both fell asleep!

Our chosen first stop from our city pass was the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, unfortunatley the only meant our ticket was paid for it didn’t give us any queue jump advantage. We hadn’t done enough research on it and had not booked (months in advance) to go up into the crown, which was disapointing! Next we headed over to Ellis Island, something I had studied at A level and was really looking forward to. We looked around the modern day immigration exhibition, the holding space, accomodation and records of the journey’s of the people who had spent time there, it was all very poiniant. On the boat trips Jonny and I got some incredible photos of the city sky line.

9/11 Memorial & Museum (we didn’t use our city pass for this one, so it cost $24 each) – we thought this would just be a quick trip, but it was so moving we ended up spending 3 hours there. I think this is such an important space for people to visit whenever they visit New York now, especially people of my generation as this event completely changed the way we live our lives. Both the memorial and museum are executed in such beautiful and respectuful ways. Jonny and I liked that The Sphere Sculpture that stood between the buldings has been kept and overlooks the site itself.

The Empire State Building was right next to our hotel so was it was really easy to get to. Our city pass gave us queue jump through security, which was helpful. The buiding itself was full of 1920’s and 30’s glamour. I was a little disapointed at the museum part, as it mainly focused on the structural feats of it being building, but not the numerous people who died while building it or any reference of its use or development over time. That said, the views were incredible! Our city pass also allowed us to go back and visit it the same evening so we could see the city at night, which was beautiful.

American Museum of Natural History unfortunatley, due to the rush we were in the whole time we were there, we didn’t have long here. Our city pass allowed us entry and a ticket to one of the shows, unfortunatley it did not allow us to escape the queues for tickets. We only got to see the African and North American Mammals halls within the museum itself, plus our show – Dark Universe. For me Dark Universe was too complicated and lost me early on, so with no chance of getting back in to it I decided to take a nap! On the plus side the show was in the planetarium so we got to visit the place where Ross and Rachel from FRIENDS had their first date! On the way back to our hotel we went for a proper cycle through Central Park, which was really fun.

New York Mets Baseball Jonny and I love sport so we really wanted to watch some kind of American Sport whicle we were in NYC and settled on the New York Mets as they are not as mainstream as the Yankee’s! We both fell in love with baseball and now support the Mets whenever they are playing! For supper we had hotdogs washed down by a couple of beers, which were quite expensive. We went during fan appreciation week, so there was a fantastic fireworks show at the end.


Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum my dad had been to New York just a few months previously and highly recomened this museum to us, especially as I love military history. We used our city pass for this one and did get queue jump as well. The museum is well equipt with a submarine, an aircraft carrier, a space shuttle and multiple aircraft including a Concorde. Jonny and I decided to pay the extra $20 each to do the Concorde tour, which talked about the history of the plane both in build and in flight as well as allowing us to go onboard. USS Growler, the diesel electric submarine, was really interesting to have a look around, using the boat itself as the museum space means visitors get a more hands on experience and sense of the working conditions. The USS Intrepid is an Essex Class air craft carrier which was built during World War Two as part of the Pacific Fleet. I was particularly interested in her involvement with the Japanese ship Yamato, but unfortunatly I didn’t find anything on this in the museum. I did however find the Vietnam exhibition very interesting, as I had never imagined that war from the sea. There is also an exhibition on Drones, which was quite interesting especially seen as their use has only really hit the limelight in recent history.

We did not really have that much time to do any shopping while over there, we went to one of the famed flea martkets, I didn’t buy anything as I thought it was quite overpriced for what was on offer! Other than that Jonny bought me a couple of tops and I looked at buying a watch, but never purchased it in the end. However there is one purchase I cannot gloss over and that was in the world famous Tiffany & Co. I had a necklace which Jonny had bought me for our first christmas and had added charms to for each of our aniversaries and last year just before our 6th anniversary it went missing. So he thought it would be quite fitting to buy me a Tiffany necklace seen as we were in New York to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Jonny chose a beautiful heart neclace form their new “Return to Love” collection, which I absolutley adore. Some of our friends (and Jonny’s mum) thought we had gotten engaged as when Jonny bought it they offered us some champagne so we had a rather cliched photo taken, we did giggle! Even if you are not buying anything you should pop in for a visit, the bottom floor is like a museum and there is even a letter from Audery Hepburn on the wall!

Top of the Rock Observation Deck we did this on the day of our flight home as a final attemp at completing our city pass, sadly there is no queue jump with this one, but you do go and book your time. So we decided to book this as the last thing we would do once we had finished our shopping, which was a lovely way to round off the trip seeing New York in all her glory. As an obsevation deck this is slightly better than the Empire State Building as it is taller, you can see Central Park more and the added bonus that the Empire State Building itself is in your pictures!


There were a few things we didn’t have time to see, but I was not that worried as we fell so in love with the city I know we will go back there in the future. Next time I’d like to see the Metroploitain Museum of Art, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales, to mention a few.


I cannot recomend a place more! For my first trip to the United States of America this was a dream. It was by no means a relaxing trip and 4 days meant it was a particularly busy trip, I’d definetely recomend anyone else going that 5 or 6 is probably better, if you can. This would have made out time a lot less rushed and allowed us to see more of the attractions we did visit as well as those we didn’t have time for. New York City is expensive, but in terms of value for money it’s so worth it! I would recomend getting the city pass if you want to see the main attractions it includes, as it can help you plan out your days. Transport around the city is relatively painless, from our hotel we could walk most places, but when we couldn’t taxi’s were easy to flag down, the trains were pretty easy to use and bikes were easy to hop on. Our hotel was pretty good, maybe a bit too expensive for what we needed it for as we were hardly in it, but then again it was so comfortable for when we just needed to crash! The food and drink was insanely good and the portion size was gigantic. Jonny and I would move to New Yourk City in a heartbeat, we just fell in love with it. There is definetly something in New York for everyone, if you’ve never been I urge you to start saving for a trip right now!

Have you ever been to New York City? Where did you go on your first trip to the United States of America?