Why to make art when you are sad

(Tracy Emin, 2010)

Unfortunately, I am about as good with a paintbrush as I am at remembering whether I brushed my teeth last night.  Honestly, it is grim how many times a week I genuinely forget to splodge some toothpaste around my mouth.  So, making stereotypical art – such as painting, drawing and sculpting – might not exactly be my forte, however, I am not too bad at expelling some anger from the dark clouds which swarm above my head through the medium of words.

It is quite sadistic that sometimes I relish in feeling a little bit more than deflated because I know my creativity flourishes in a fluorescent light. Usually, I find the thoughts that leave my mind and blossom into fully-blown, functioning ideas through my dancing fingertips will be a smidge more intense.  More intense does not exactly mean ‘better’, but it does mean they have more depth, and it does mean they are deeply personal.

The personality of my writing when I have a bee buzzing around constantly in my bonnet takes on a different character.  The girl ebbs away and this out-of-body-being takes over.  I peruse back over my words and smugly smirk, thinking “wow Ella, did you really write that?”  Can I blow my own trumpet anymore here?  Go on, dare me.

Personally, I find it easy to create art when I am heartbroken, or just plain sad.  There does not even really need to be a reason for my limbs gushing invisible blue goo, I just need to see those little air bubbles popping with my sighs and I am ready to rumble.  Making art when I am sad helps so much.

It is therapeutic.  It works wonders on my mind when I can simply prattle on and a stream of words leaves my fingers.  I find that poetry is the quickest, easiest and most simplistic way of getting my emotions out into the open.  I have reams of poetry and notebooks piled high brimming with snippets of my feelings since 2013.  I, pouring my heart into something, to create another something, is really something special.

I make my best art when I am sad.   It is just a shame that I have to be this sad to create my strongest works.  The tide changes quickly and time is just the lapping wave, rinsing the sand of clues of your past.  The footprints are physically gone and the stinging memory in your mind is numbed with the constant time flow.  I know it is okay to be sad, I just have to use it to my advantage.




The thoughts that etch themselves on my eyes,
And the sensations which burn my limbs,
Caress and nestle themselves deep below the surface,
So that reality is once again be regained.

There is not a breath where I do not loath,
And there is not a taste that I do not enjoy,
By polar opposites, the tide rewrites the stars and the story,
Which I desperately attempt to swallow.

Rewrite, remake, rejuvenate, repeat,
Take away this haunting image,
No longer can I breathe, as I am wallowing in deep water.



Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

I am a sucker for working hard.  I am also a sucker at slacking.  I like to brand myself as a professional lazy-perfectionist.  Sometimes I will wake up at the crack of dawn (by that I mean 8:30 am at the earliest), shove my laptop open, down a cuppa’ sugary coffee and find my fingertips dancing across the keyboard.  Other days, I will lie with my face up at the ceiling contemplating whether it is too early to go to Sainsbury’s and buy a bottle of wine.  It is always one or the other, unfortunately never both.

Because of my fluctuating capability to manage my productivity, I usually find myself eventually drowning under the weight of my self-made promises – because I have once again bit off more than I can really afford to chew.  Get that news piece done in the last ten minutes of my hospitality job break?

Expectations: “sure thang’ I will pop it over now.”  Reality: racing around the bar, making cocktails, typing up the odd word on my phone screen, flinging “I am so bloody sorry” emails left right and centre.


Is there a cure for this?  A remedy perhaps?  Yeah, the answer is “say no”.

I have always struggled with saying no.  I hate the sinking feeling in your stomach when you let somebody down who was all starry-eyed about you, and they metaphorically push you from the pedestal they had you perched upon.  Because of this bitter hatred of mine, I try to do too much in too little time and eventually, not wanting to upset anybody is my own unmaking.  What a cruel, cruel world this is.  Just gimmie’ some more spins of the clock, Father Time.

Another reason I always seem to end up with piles of work fluttering around my ears is because I cannot find the work/life balance.  Seriously, if you have found the code to keep you on a gold streak HAND IT OVER TO MY LIL’ MITTS.  So by my work/life balance I mean:

  • Full-time hospitality employment
  • Full-time university education
  • Blogging
  • Music Journalist for a variety of music websites
  • Having a boyfriend
  • Keeping fit & healthy (IE. Remembering to eat food)
  • Social life (IE. Actually replying to my friends’ messages)
  • Treat yo’ self (IE. Wash my hair and change my bedsheets)

I mean do not get me wrong, I know that there are thousands of people in the industry that multi-task way more than I could ever dream of, but I am trying my hardest to get that balance correct.  At this moment in time, the only thing that is really lax is the remembering to eat part of my life.  But, who needs to eat when you can buy Topshop boots… Right?

So, biting off more than I can chew is a serious pet hate of mine which I do every damn day of my life.  It is like when I have an assignment that I have had seven weeks to complete, and I still leave it ‘till the last day even though I ruddy hate myself every single time I do it.  Will I ever learn?

Have you any tips for managing your workload/time?  Help a gal out.



The Fortnightly Wishlist: Volume I

I never really tend to chat about fashion on the blog.  I have always kept it between the boundaries of food, music and lifestyle but maybe this is the beginning of me branching out into the world of fashion?  It might also just be an excuse for me to place all the pieces I am lusting after in one place and give me the greatest excuse to purchase but, we’ll see.

Hello and welcome to my fortnightly wishlist.  Every two weeks I am planning to put down into words which items of clothing, and maybe some sneaky pairs of shoes, that I cannot wait to get my hands on and my booty into.

My fashion choices have always been an integral part of my individuality.  At the age of twelve, I had already decided that following the crowd like a little-lost lamb, into Helly Hanson jackets and UGG boots just were not what I was built to do.  My mum bought me my first pair of flowery Dr Martens (which I still have/still fit my tiny feet to this day) and some electric blue tights with oversized cherries on them, while all my other friends were being gifted Paul’s Boutique Bags.  Fashion has followed me through my life and maybe it’s about time I started chatting about it.

So, here marks the beginning of my fashion talk.  The Wishlist.


By dresses, I do not mean slinky, low-cut, curved-hem cocktail dresses which ooze both sex appeal and self-confidence.  I just cannot get away with that look, unfortunately.  So by dresses, I am lusting after: pinafores galore; basically, anything which can make my 20-year-old self-resemble a school child as well as a relaxed, grungy throw-on, which can be styled up with both Dr Martens and/or a cute pair of sparkly socks and sandals.

(Working from left-right)

  1. ASOS Denim Shift Dress in Washed Black With Circular Ring Pull (£30.00)

There’s something about this shift dress which has changed my opinion of washed black.  The colour itself just reminds me of when I have had my Topshop Jamie Jeans in the washer/dryer too many times, and the ‘jet black’ colour turns to a mushy-almost-grey and refuses to match-up with any shade of black.  You know what I am talking about, right?  However, with its cute ring pull and high-neck, this shift dress screams the 60’s and would look perfect with a bright red polo-neck layered underneath. Am I converted into washed black?  Just you wait and see.

2.  Daisy Street Retro High Neck Dress with Ring Pull Zip (£19.99)

I fell in love with the faded red and white block contrast against the black of this figure-hugging dress in an instant.  That’s going straight in my basket.  Much like the ASOS denim dress (1), this dress also features a high-neck as well as a ring pull.  The sheer tightness of the dress is something I would usually tend to avoid, but I cannot deny how fantastic this dress would look with a pair of thick, cable knit tights and a teddy bear coat this winter, or a faux, black leather jacket and studded ankle boots for the autumn transitional period.

3. Jack Wills Check Shift Dress (£85.00)

Jack Wills’ stopped being a key player in my life a few years ago when big branded hoodies and gilets took my high school by storm, but this floaty shift dress might just have me back on the band waggon. I love the intricate detailing on this dress, especially the two tiny black bows which adorn the bottom half, as well as the elongated zip-up back, which is always a key selling point for myself (I need something I can easily get in and out of).  It screams preppy innocence and has serious connotations of down days wandering around Edinbrough or trying out sublime coffee shops in SoHo.  Anything that makes me seem cooler than I really am is a yes from me.

4. Lazy Oaf Heart Buckle Cord Dress (£75.00)

It is official, I have died and went to the most pristine and perfect corduroy heaven imaginable, thanks to Lazy Oaf.  Their current entire season has me bawking at my bank account, willing for the days to tick over until pay-day.  This is definitely one of the more favourable pieces on the site.  The square neckline compliments almost every body shape, as well as the above-the-knee-length making this pinafore easily transitional between day-to-evening. Throw in the three heart-shaped buckles and it’s true – I am in love.

5. Motel Rocks Halloween Oversized T-shirt Dress With Moon And Stars Print (£30.00)

If this is a specifically branded Halloween dress, then just make it Old Hallows Eve every night of the bloody year, please!  Dressed in the colour of wine, this almost smock-like dress is playfully short and a serious statement piece for every wardrobe.  Motel always manages to keep their prints bang-on the mark and this constellation print with larger stars and moons are beautiful.  Teamed with a pair of black Adidas gazelles and a pair of light-washed denim jeans, this dress can easily be made into an oversized top.  Versatile and essential, Motel, you beauties.


(Working from left to right)

  1. Rokoko Halloween Midi-Skirt In Sheer Glitter Mesh (£16.00)

Rokoko is a new brand on my radar but, what I have stumbled upon from them on the ASOS website, I am seriously digging it.  This glittery see-through skirt is from their designated Halloween range (which means that post-Halloween this beauty should be straight in the sale basket) and I sense some serious layering is about to take place. I imagine wearing this with a black Fred Perry polo shirt tucked into a bright bodycon skirt with this layered on top. I would not be confident enough to just wear this skirt with a body, so we’ll have to be creative if I do decide to purchase. I do like a challenge.

2. UNIF L8er Skirt (£59.76)

Slick, sophisticated yet with a rebel-edge – this button-through, yellow UNIF skirt with contrast piping is an essential piece for any yellow lover like myself. 911, yellow is taking over my life at the moment.  The skirt is extremely short, which means a pair of platform Vagabonds will go hand-in-hand to create a bottom-half look of sheer grunge.  With UNIF being based in America, I might have to wait for some more pieces to spring up on the website before I purchase this little number though.


Just like the skirt section of this wishlist, I have not found many jumpers that am racing around the house trying to find my purse so I can purchase them on the spot.  In all honesty, after trawling for the jumper of my dreams, I have only come across a couple, as detailed below.

(Working from left to right)

  1. Whistles Cropped Funnel Neck Jumper (£109.00)

This 100% hand-wash-only wool jumper comes in at the number 1 most expensive piece in Volume 1 of the fashion wishlist.  It’s Whistles, which means the price tag fits the quality, so we can let them off for placing this b-e-a-utiful jumper so high in the price bracket,  The cropped sapphire-coloured jumper looks like it would sit just on-top black high-waisted cords and with some patent doc martens on the bottom, you’d be running errands in the most spectacular fashion.

2. Dickies Briggsville Purple Logo Crewneck Sweatshirt (£45.00)

I swear by the men’s section in Urban Outfitters for when my soul needs something cosy, super-oversized and warm. Winner, winner – here we are – this deep almost-royal purple jumper from Dickies.  A steal at £45.00, I simply adore how simple this crew-neck throw on is.  The hem, neckline and cuffs are all ribbed, which means a rolled-up sleeve and a shortened hem is achievable – which is always great when you are not quite a men’s size small.

Tops & T-Shirts

(Working from left to right)

  1. Fred Perry Tipped Crew Neck T-Shirt (£45.00)

In a washed-pink which almost looks like a blush with black tipped sleeves, this top is ticking all of the boxes.  Fred Perry crewnecks suit my shoulder and neck shape perfectly, giving me the ultimate flattery.  This top is in the standard Honeycomb cotton pique material, making it both breathable and soft on the skin.  FP polo-shirts never seem to suit me (no matter how hard I try) so this t-shirt is the perfect alternative.  That is going straight in my basket.

2. Lazy Oaf Velour Striped Polo Shirt (£48.00)

Lazy Oaf offer 10% student discount, which means if (*WHEN) I purchase this contrasting-colour striped polo, it is going to be a steal at 43 quid.  Just like the heart-buckled pinafore dress mentioned earlier, the detailing really has me sold on this Lazy Oaf polo.  I am all heart-eye emoji for that heart-shaped ring pull.  Effortlessly cool due to the simplicity, these colours would go perfectly with a pair of spotty, burgundy tights I have loitering at the back of draws, alongside the previously-mentioned washed black ASOS pinafore dress and my trusty vagabond platforms.  It is like the universe WANTS me to buy it…

3. Nasty Gal For Your Love Mesh Top (£15.00)

Now the ONLY problem I have with Nasty Gal is that the quality sometimes resembles that of Missguided.  I do not mind fast fashion when the price down in the gutter, and I do not want to wear a piece more than a handful of times, but my adoration for this star-print mesh top is through the bloody roof.  Basically, the only reason I haven’t clicked ‘Go To Checkout’ on this longsleeved top is in case the quality is poor.  I do not think I can afford to be disappointed. Does anybody want to buy it first and let me know how it is? Pretty please, with sugar on top.

4. Nasty Gal So Cowl Hearted Shirt (£25.00)

Oh, look at that cowl neck and contrasting cuffs situation! It is oversized, meaning it would go swimmingly well with an “I-ate-too-much-at-Sunday-brunch” pair of loosely-fitting denim jeans and perhaps a pair of electric blue block-heeled mules on the bottom?  Whatcha’ think?  Yeah, I think it would be banging too.  Nasty Gal, be prepared for an incoming order.

So, there we have it.  The first volume of my fortnightly wishlist, brimming with the things I need and want to enhance my wardrobe.  Which piece can you see in your collection and how would you style it?  Stay tuned for more fashiony bits soon.


Lifestyle · Manchester

Life Update and General Housekeeping

Oh, did you see that Ells is back blabbing on the internet again?  Yeah, she must have stopped pouring pints down her warbler for long enough to string a sentence together.

Dear Diary, ‘Iya did you miss me?

It has been an excruciatingly extended period of time since I put fingertips to keyboard.  Since my last post, which can be read here, I have gotten pregnant, swapped style secrets with Courtney Love, replaced my toes with glasses of wine and have become a compulsive liar.  No, all things serious, things are really coming up Millhouse at the moment.  Yey for meee.

So let’s start with the basics.


My home-sweet-home away from home-home-sweet-home.  Manchester, my first love and my last, it has been so ruddy brilliant to be back inside you again.  Since the offset it has been all guns blazing; from catching-up with golden-oldie pals, buzzing around in a full-time job, downing tequila shots at a rate which would put the cast of Geordie Shore to shame and moving flats (more on this soon) there seriously has not been a dull segment of time since I returned to this rainy paradise.

I have had my body taken into captivity by food poisoning the last few days which resulted in me dropping my newly-cracked phone (Saturday night antics you always get the best of me) into a nice bowl of sick.  The said phone works and now I am determined to either erase the existence of my barely-there meat intake or insist on cooking everything to a well-done standard.  Chewy beef on a Sunday dinner platter at Ella’s, if anyone’s up for it?

Since I have returned to the city of – my – dreams, I have mastered the art of creating the most spectacular banana pancakes (seriously, it is all about the coconut oil to egg ratio), rekindled my love for Harry Potter via the delightfully alluring voice of Stephen Fry, lost shed loads of weight, got drunk more times than I have had hot meals, visited the Warrington IKEA purely for a fresh scoopful of Lingonberry sauce and celebrated my boyfriend’s 21st birthday in true style.

It is sweet to be back, MCR.

Moving Flat

If you follow me on any social media or know me away from my words, you will already know that I have moved into a beautifully airy flat with my best friend, brunching partner and platonic boyfriend, Andrew.  I haven’t travelled very far, I still live in the same apartment complex but now I have a balcony, red sofas and a Monstera deliciosa, so now I am a smug little kitten.  My record player is finally getting the love and attention it deserves, my Velvet Underground ‘Heroin’ poster is the pride of place in my living room and somehow I am managing to actually survive without a chest of draws… For now.  These are serious first world problems but they are my problems, okay.

I have Kilner jars coming out of my ears, big plans for expensive Persian rugs and enough incense to really put meaning behind that threat David Byrne made in 1983.  I am completely in awe of the possibilities this flat has to develop into my favourite place in Manchester (third to Federal Café and The Oast House) and excited to see the length my bank account can stretch to.  Really, I needed those three Diptyque candles that all smell the same… Honestly Halifax, I promise I won’t do it again until next month!

General Housekeeping

The word ‘housekeeping’ always reminds me of that time I and my old friends went on a weird-yet-strangely wonderful trip to M(Sh)agaluf. We had one official housekeeper, however one of my pals would do all the days dishes when she came home after she’d drank a river of Sex on the Beach and then I would continue to cause havoc by tidying up the balcony by disposing of unnecessary furniture and any plates which had not made it into Caitlin’s grasp. So, what was the point of our housekeeper?  Duh, to brush a straight line from the door of the room to the balcony and back.  That strip in the hotel room was more attractive than the Maga strip ever will be. Thanks, housekeeper, you really kept the hotel standards as high as ours were in Maga.

Anyways, housekeeping.  I begin university again next week.  Yes, I am finally making it into the second year of a university course.  Refrain from applauding, please.  I have essentially just had two gap yah’s where not a great deal of travelling commenced, but this is the year I get serious.  I say this every year of my education but this year I MEAN IT.  I am getting serious this year.

I’ve been made News Editor of my baby,, which is an absolute honour.  So, since today marks the first day of the internet in the new flat and the re-birth of myself into the real world, keep your eyes peeled on their news section as me and the team are about to fill it with wonderful, glorious and tasty titbits helping you to sink your teeth into your new favourite band.

The This Feeling Alive 2017 tour kicks off on October 1.  I’ll be heading down to the Manchester show, featuring the boys Proletariat alongside The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and Blackwaters.   The tour itself is promoting the ideologies that the NME Awards Tour used to hold close to its heart, yet on a grittier scale with an intense showcase of much more graft.  For more information regarding the tour, please see here.

Basically, to tidy this long-winded ramble up – the blog is back and I hope you missed it because I know I did!

Ciao for now,



Prosecco and Pizza at Artisan, Spinningfields

What do you need to cheer yourself up on a sunny Saturday night in Manchester?  A glass (a bottle) of bubbly, a g i g a n t i c carbonara pizza, a crazy gal pal and Liam Gallagher playing overhead.  You do realise I am talking about a night out at Artisan, right?

If you are not familiar with Artisan, then don’t worry, I had no idea it even existed until I walked straight into the bloody door!  The restaurant itself is situated in Spinningfields, Manchester, tucked away behind The Alchemist (its sister venue), The Oast House, and next door to Neighbourhood.  I could have caused some serious damage there with a pun, but we will quit while we are ahead, shall we?

From the outside looking in, Artisan is simply like your standard Spinningfields bar.  Spirits as far as the eye can see, punters dolled up to the nine’s, wine glasses being swirled in the dark wood room.  Don’t forget to stick ya nose in it!  You know the works.  However, heave yourself and your heels up the monochrome steps and my, oh my, you are in décor heaven.

As I said, monochrome is the name of the game, with hosts looking suave in black suits and heels, servers in black and white (or an own-style variation), the walls covered in black and white art, the menus were white and black.  Yadah, yadah the monochrome vibe looks slick and sophisticated and really makes you feel comfortable.  I liked it, can you tell?

I’d describe it simply as a real-life version of The Tardis.  The restaurant is in a separate building to the downstairs bar (connected by a windowed walkway) and there were so many tables you could spread everybody you have around for Christmas over a few of the booths.  Annoying, mildly-misogynistic uncle and bratty cousin included (obviously not at the one I am sitting at).

The servers were insanely efficient and beyond bloody friendly.  I and my friend Alex chatted to our waitress while she kindly poured our prosecco (I am used to drinking mine from a mug at pre-drinks, so this was an above-the-clouds bonus) and waited for me to decide on the pizza situation.

Asking me to choose a pizza topping is like asking me to stop buying trainers.

As you can see, I caved and went for the carbonara pizza, while Alex went for half a chicken and chips, did somebody say it was better than Nandos?  Did they? Huh, weird.

The carbonara pizza was absolutely delicious – both taste wise and in appearance. Topped with tagliatelle, bacon, layers of cheese, white sauce and topped with a gooey-louey fried egg, the pizza was seriously to die for.  With carbonara being my favourite play-it-safe dish, it is fair to say I have tried a few carbonara pizzas (Madrid is the place to find the dishes of your dreams) and this one seriously pipped them all to the post.  Hands down one of my favourite pizza dishes ever and this handcrafted one is seriously gonna be hard to beat!


If I was ever to be invited back into this wonderful establishment I would

  • Drink enough Prosecco to have the confidence to go into the photo booth (there was a long line of beautiful ladies, okay?
  • Have a taster of those super salads – the lady on the next table had both my eyes and waistline crying.
  • Dive head-first into a cocktail… or twenty-five.  Who knows?



Jack Rocks This Feeling @ Reading 2017: Four Acts for the Future

What do Sheafs, Anteros, Emily Capell and The Cosmics all have in common?  Why, a swanky place on the bill at Reading Festival, thanks to This Feeling and Jack Rocks.  If you are heading to the – sure to be muddy – fields of Richfield Avenue this weekend (25-27 August 2017) then be prepared to sink your teeth into a plethora of raucous talent and feast your eyes on forty-seven show-stopping acts.

With an abundance of aptitude, it can be difficult to decipher who you should be witnessing make history on the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage, at Reading 2017.  Luckily, Cigarette Sounds have broken down the weekend for you, detailing four acts and artists you earnestly cannot afford to not invest your precious time in.


Friday 25, 2017

A cast of cool cats are about to rain cotton candy-tasting indie pop on Reading 2017. The purveyors of your sweet dreams, Anteros, stand on the backbones of 80’s pop-ballads, forcefully blended with a colourful vocal range from frontwoman Laura Hayden and sprinkled with a pure passion when performing live.  Style-wise, think big hair, bigger boots and the clobber to match their spine.  Relish and invest in Anteros and you are bound to have a bouncing beam gripping onto your cheeks.

The Cosmics
Friday 25, 2017

Ravenous for consideration, The Cosmics drag you by your ears into their spinning storm of stimulation, not that you would ever dream of refusing them of course.  The regurgitation of modern-day punk is well underway and the Birmingham band is successfully fuelling the smoking fire with steaming, honest lyrics and wickedly crisp guitar lines. Harnessing energy unparalleled to many, their opening slot on the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage is not for the fainthearted.

Sunday 27, 2017

Some strident sounds from Sheffield is precisely how you should be finishing the final day of Reading 2017.  If you are still standing at 23:20 on Sunday night, then Sheafs will be rolling with the punches on stage, preparing your mind to be brazened with their clatter of drums.  Injecting you with a smidge of Miles Kane’s swagger and a dab of what goes on when the lights go down at Venue, MCR on a Wednesday night, Sheafs are here, poised and ready, to take down Reading Festival, Jack Rocks This Feeling style.  Fall in love with the band.

Emily Capell
Sunday 27, 2017

The sight of an open gob, raised eyebrows and contorting mouths cracking into grins of disbelief must be a sight our North West Londoner, Emily Capell must be used to looking down on to by now. On early as far as festival standards go, Capell has got us eyeballing the idea that we should be counting our lucky stars that we have the chance to see her on the Sunday at Reading before she skyrockets in the future.  A voice decorated with a 60’s twang and a pat of ska-influence where her riffs are concerned, Emily Capell is not an act to skip out early on.

So there you have it – the Cigarette Sounds pick of who you definitely need to see at Reading this year.  Alongside these names, we can’t help but mention the likes of White Room (Friday 13:20), The Shimmer Band (Friday 18:05), Blackwaters (Saturday 12:45), False Heads (Saturday 15:50), Plastic People (Saturday 21:40), No Hot Ashes (Sunday 13:35) and The Luka State (18:55).

Basically what we are attempting to project is that there is no need to place your body anywhere else at Reading Festival 2017 except the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage and your tent.

See you in the fields!