Album Review: Zayn – Mind of Mine

Album Review Zayn - Mind of Mine

Zayn - Mind of Mine     Zayn - Mind of Mine Tracklist

Friday, March 25th 2016; presses play and listens to ‘Mind of Mine’ on Spotify for the first time.

It’s a year to the day since Zayn Malik left One Direction and his debut solo album is unveiled upon the world. Let me start by saying I have always adored Zayn’s voice and I was intrigued to hear his sound and how his music comes across. I use the term come across loosely as I believe one of the most beautiful things about music is that each person can interpret a song and a lyric in a completely different way that makes sense to them. Over the past month I’ve watched and read interviews with Zayn where he’s discussed the album and one thing (pardon the pun Directioners), I’ve picked up on is Zayn’s genuine passion for the songs and the whole process of making this album. I wasn’t sure what to expect prior to listening to the album but lead single Pillowtalk is a good indication; sexy, honest and very much in the pop/R&B lane.

Zayn himself has described the album as, “weird, alternative R&B” stating, “it’s all sparse and random.” Each song has a different story to tell and while there is a mix of genres throughout Mind of Mine, the album still feels cohesive and works. A big part of that is down to production. The select number of producers alongside Zayn work together to achieve a collective sound, one complimenting the other. Zayn’s vocal ability is showcased and demonstrates diverse aspects of his voice. There are the typical R&B elements on tracks such as Drunk and Wrong (a duet with American singer-songwriter Kehlani), and more experimental elements on tracks such as Truth, Lucozade and the Intermission: Flower which is sung in Urdu.

If you’re a fan of Zayn’s poppier sound, you will not be disappointed. Zayn displays a bit of classic pop and has a One Direction-esque moment on Beatles inspired ballad Fool For You. His gorgeous falsetto features on a number of tracks including, It’s You, BeFour and She – further illustrating Zayn’s talents. Note: The “flashing lights” falsetto in the middle eight of BeFour is my favourite of the whole album!

If you’re looking to compare Zayn’s sound to another artist you will be hard-pressed to do so. While there are elements of Zayn’s influences throughout the album (Usher – Drunk, The Beatles – Fool For You, The Weeknd – TIO) it doesn’t sound like Zayn is trying to imitate those artists. The lyrics and thoughts are completely his. You can’t dispute the honesty in the lyrics and where they’re coming from.

It’s no secret that Mind of Mine is a rather sexual album with Zayn admitting himself that Pillowtalk is about sex. In my opinion this makes the album more endearing as Zayn writes about a topic we all want to hear about and know more about. It would be easy for these lyrics to come off as cheap and distasteful but something about Zayn’s voice and the way they’re worded make them beautiful. Zayn sings about getting to know someone, discovering what they’re really like and getting them to let their guard down in Borderz, “So take it off, let’s break down all of our walls. He also hints at being interested in more than looks in TIO, “Take off all your makeup baby take it off. A man who enjoys the no makeup look gets extra points in my book!

While Mind of Mine is a shift from Zayn’s former 1D days, he hasn’t lost his boyish charm and good looks that made teenage girls go crazy. I hold my hand up and admit I’ve never been a One Direction fan but the success the band has achieved is pretty amazing! I mentioned previously, Fool For You is the closest to a One Direction moment you will get on the album but the pop sensibilities of She are also not far off. You could suggest lyrically Rear View and Truth are about the band and perhaps the spelling of BeFour is a reference to the band’s album ‘Four’?

As you can probably tell from my glowing review, I am completely in love with this album! I have been listening to it non-stop for the past month and it will easily be one of my top albums for 2016. Again, I had no idea what I would think or if I’d even like Mind of Mine before listening to it but it really has surprised me. Discovering something left-field to what you normally listen to and ending up loving it is another thing I adore about music. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a similar age to Zayn but I feel like this album is right for me at this time of my life. While our lifestyle choices are worlds apart, the truthfulness and raw lyrics connect with me. A couple of years ago I might not have listened to Mind of Mine and appreciated it. Zayn has always had this mysterious persona surrounding him (though not created by him) and this album really sees him break down a few walls of his own and cement his place as a credible artist.

If I could describe the album in 5 words: sexy, honest, eclectic, captivating, beautiful.

Standout Tracks: Pillowtalk, BeFoUr, sHe, BoRdErZ, TIO and Like I Would.

Have you listened to Mind of Mine? What’s your favourite track? Also, be sure to let me know if you enjoyed my review!


Music Tag 🎵

Hi everyone! I saw this really fun music tag over on Allison’s blog last week and I left her a comment saying how cool it looked and that I was totally going to do it. Music is such a huge part of my life and one of my most favourite things so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! Make sure you head on over and read Allison’s post too!


  • List the first 10 songs that come on shuffle (no skipping, that’s cheating!)
  • Write your favourite lyric from each song
  • Tag your fellow blogging buddies

Music Tag

  1. The Saturdays – Ready To Rise: “I’m not that girl any longer, every minute I’m getting stronger”
  2. Britney Spears – Work B**ch: “Hold your head high/fingers to the sky/ they gon’ try to try ya”
  3. Hear’Say – Make It Happen: “Everybody’s out to get something, ain’t no compromise”
  4. Steps – Better the Devil You Know: “I’ll be here everyday waiting for your love to show”
  5. Girls Aloud – Girls Allowed: “If I want it, gonna get it, gonna take it, gonna make it this way”
  6. Dannii Minogue – Feel Like I Do: “Go some place not so crowded, somewhere we can talk about it”
  7. Cheryl – Waiting For Lightning: “Ignite the flame and set it off”
  8. Ellie Goulding – You, My Everything: “I know you don’t feel the same/you’re sensible but it doesn’t make sense” (This song is so clever lyrically).
  9. Sugababes – Caught In a Moment: “Your stare swallows me in and I can hardly breathe”
  10. Bianca – We Belong: “Whatever we deny or embrace” (Note: This is a cover of the Pat Benatar track).

Looking at that list it’s all very female oriented but I promise you I do listen to male musicians too.

Song lyrics always fascinate me because they can be interpreted in many different ways and everyone has their own personal reasons why a lyric is their favourite. Music reminds us of people, feelings and places and is something that connects us all. Music is a language we all speak which is why it’s so beautiful!

I nominate the lovely Claire (EclairsCares) to do this tag next, she’s one of my sweetest and most devoted readers and I know she also has a huge passion for music.


Vanessa White Inspired Makeup

Vanessa White MakeupHappy Monday lovelies! Recently I’ve found myself becoming a fan of nude-brown lips. Normally I don’t like brown at all but I have always thought a nude lip looks beautiful paired with a smoky eye or a bright shimmery eye look. Today’s post features a makeup look inspired by Vanessa White. Vanessa is a British singer and member of one of my favourite bands The Saturdays. Vanessa’s makeup is always immaculate and there are a few key points to achieving her look; a matte (or nude) lip, dark smoky eyes and a flawless base.

I don’t wear a lot of smoky browns so it was fun to create this look and experiment a bit with darker colours. Obviously my skin is paler than Vanessa’s but I knew the look I was going for and adapted her signature style to suit me and my skin tone.

The Menu

Vanessa White Makeup MenuProducts listed in order of application:

1. Simple Replenishing Rich Moisturiser – I squeeze a small amount into the palm of my hand and apply it using my middle finger. Thin, frequent layers soak into the skin more easily and are less likely to clog pores.

2. The Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist – I spritzed this onto my face after applying moisturiser to give an extra bit of hydration.

3. Brown Eyebrow Pencil – I hardly ever fill in my eyebrows but I know Vanessa is a fan of a bold brow. Mine are naturally quite thick (lucky me) so I filled them in slightly to give a hint of definition. I did this first so any harsh lines would be covered by foundation/concealer.

4. Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation in 101 Ivory Beige – I opted for this foundation over my Rimmel Match Perfection as this gives a more matte coverage and more coverage in general; adding to that flawless look.

5.  Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 15 Fair – As usual this was applied on my chin and around my nose where I have some redness. I also applied a small amount to the outer corners of my eyes to brighten things up a little so they wouldn’t look too dark with all the eye makeup.

 6. Australis Concealer Stick in Light – I don’t use concealer stick a lot anymore since I purchased Maybelline’s Fit Me but I decided to change things up a bit and try and use this for some contouring. I applied this on my chin, my forehead, down the centre of my nose and on my cheeks in a triangle shape.

 7. The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in 01 Light Matte – I lightly dusted this bronzer into the hollows of my cheeks and up onto my forehead and jawline using a ‘3’ motion.

8. Maybelline ‘The Nudes’ Eyeshadow Palette – This palette had to be it with the gorgeous browns and taupes. Shade 3 was applied as a base all over the lid followed by shade 7 which was used in the crease as a transition shade. Shade 6 was then applied over shade 3 and blended with shade 8 to create the dark smoky look.

Vanessa - Maybelline The NudesVanessa Eye Makeup

9.  Rimmel Supercurler Mascara – This mascara adds a lovely curl to my lashes and the curved brush really allows you to get into each individual eyelash and wiggle the brush to distribute product.

10.  Dainty Doll Cream Blusher 003 Billion Dollar Babies – This blush is literally the perfect everyday, barely there shade. I wanted to use this nude shade to add a little something to my cheeks without going over the top with colour.

11. Rimmel Apocolips Lip Lacquer in 200 Comet – Vanessa prefers a matte lip to a gloss but this is the closest lip product I own colour wise to her style. What I love about these lip lacquers is that the finish is somewhere between glossy and matte. The formula is not sticky and packs a punch on the pigment front. Comet also inspired this post and this look!

End Result

Vanessa Makeup Selfie 1 Vanessa Makeup Selfie 2I haven’t done a post like this before and I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you’d like to see more along the same lines.


Year In Review

Since 2015 is less than 48 hours away I wanted to recap some of the things which happened in 2014. I began my blog halfway through the year but I also want to share events from the first six months before I started my blog. I have broken it down in a monthly basis but please note not all months are included.


  • My 19th birthday. Everyone deserves to get excited about their birthday, right?!


  • Applied for my first job (at an optometrist).
  • Graduated and received my Diploma in Communications (Applied) from the course I completed in November 2013. Graduation was also on Valentine’s Day making it easy to remember.


  • Uploaded my first singing video to Instagram – Runnin’ by Nadine Coyle. Link.


  • Flew down to the capital for my brother’s Graduation – he received First Class Honours in French.
  • First Kylie Minogue tweet!


  • First job interview at Sudima Hotel. I’ve had five additional job interviews since.
  • Saw Ellie Goulding in concert. First concert EVER and hands down one of the best nights of my life!
  • Started blog!


  • Won a video message from Mollie King through a competition on Twitter. Thanks BuddyBounce!
  • One of my beloved cats, Chase, passed away 😦


  • I was old enough to vote in our election for the first time.
  • Sent goodie parcel to Dannii Minogue for her birthday.


  • Dannii Minogue received the parcel and tweeted her thanks.
  • Posted about the parcel on Dannii’s birthday. Post acknowledged by Dannii herself.

2014 was tough at times but looking back there are some great memories and I did a lot of things for the first time. This year taught me an extremely valuable lesson to put yourself first sometimes instead of everyone else. I’ve always had a kind and sensitive heart but I’ve also learnt a lot about how to treat other people. Take time out of your day to catch up with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, smile at strangers or let someone know how much they mean to you. You never know what someone else may be going through and a few kind words can help more thank you think.

Music is my biggest passion and I always enjoy finding and listening to tracks by new artists. I thought I’d include my favourite tracks of the year in a playlist as part of this post. Of course I’d love to hear about your favourites too!

I hope 2014 was good to you and here’s to an even better 2015! 🙂

Chanelle x



The annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards were held on Thursday night and to say I was appalled is an understatement.

To be fair I didn’t watch the entire awards ceremony, only the last half hour or so, but if that was an indication of what had come before it doesn’t seem like I missed much. I’ve never been a huge fan of New Zealand artists and their music but I couldn’t get over how unprofessional everything was.

Example number one:
New Zealand netball player and Silver Fern, Maria Tutaia, presented the award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year dressed in rather high heels (she’s already tall) and a low cut dress. The microphones weren’t adjustable so she had to bend over to speak. She then exclaimed, “If I bend over my boobs are going to fall out of my dress.” Wardrobe should have prepared for this eventuality and the presenters should have known the microphones weren’t adjustable or had microphones that were. When the winners were announced as Nelson brother and sister duo, Broods, Maria made a joke reading the winner out as ‘boobs’ before correcting herself.

Example number two:
walked away with the most wins on the night (six) but I hate how false she is. The way she struts on stage and tries to speak with an American accent further proves this point. During one of her acceptance speeches she said something along the lines of, “This album [Pure Heroine] is like a diary for me from ages 12-16.” Newsflash: Lorde is not the first artist to write her own music and use songwriting as a form self expression.

Personally I feel like certain lyrics in her songs slag New Zealand off. New Zealand is a beautiful country well known for it’s wide open spaces, farming industry and geographical features. I am incredibly proud of where I come from and the fact that I’m one of 4 million – some cities have that number of people alone. I have analysed some of Lorde’s lyrics below; it’s the Media Studies student in me!

“And I’m not proud of my address” – Lorde perhaps explaining she’s not proud of her background and where she comes from or she’s ashamed of the area she grew up in.

“We live in cities you’ll never see on the screen / not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things” – She wants to make a ‘better’ life somewhere she considers beautiful.

Example number three:
Live tweets were being shown on screen throughout the ceremony and one tweet in particular angered me. “Can’t wait to win an award so I can swear on live TV.” All I can say is if that’s your life goal and what you’re aiming towards then that’s pretty sad.

There was one shining moment in amongst all this mess. The presenter for the final award spoke about music with such passion and beauty that none of the previous guests had. That’s what these awards should be about, celebrating achievements not trying to make the funniest speech or act the coolest.

This line from Royals does sum up my feelings about the VNZMAs perfectly though, “We don’t care, we’re not caught up in your love affair.”

Chanelle x

Love’s Got a Hold On My Heart

This week marks a very special occasion. 8 years ago (October 15 2006 to be exact) is when I discovered Steps properly and fell in love with them.

I was pretty young when Steps were around the first time (1997-2001) and didn’t really know who they were despite their music being relatively successful in New Zealand.

Back in the days when people still used video cassettes I used to tape a lot of music programmes and one of these was the Smash Hits Millennium Party which Steps hosted and opened singing Better the Devil You Know. One night I heard the song on the radio in the car and remembered how much I loved it.

The next day I played the video nonstop and went looking to see if I could find any of their albums. I was in luck and managed to find a copy of Steps’ third album Buzz for 97 cents! Despite missing the liner notes/album booklet the CD was in good condition. I have never looked back since that day and I’m so glad I rediscovered Steps because they have been such an important part of my life for the past eight years.

A huge part of me wanting to be a singer is through the love I have for Steps and their music. When I listen to their songs I always feel happy and I would like to think I could have that affect on someone with my voice and/or music. Music is a very emotional thing for me, it’s what makes me happiest and I know it will always be there if I’m sad.

I was 11 when I became a Steps fan and I’m 19 now. In a way Steps have been the soundtrack to my teen years and I’m honoured I get to listen to their music and grow up with it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Steps would get back together again but in 2011 the band reunited for a TV show and to support the release of The Ultimate Collection. I’m loving being able to experience life as a Steps fan first hand this time round.

Take a look at my Steps collection below:


Steps albums

Step One, Steptacular, Buzz, Gold: Greatest Hits, The Last Dance


Steps singles

5,6,7,8, Heartbeat/Tragedy, Say You’ll Be Mine/Better the Devil You Know, Words Are Not Enough/I Know Him So Well


Steps videos and DVDs

The Next Step Live, live@wembley.2000, Gold: Greatest Hits, The End of The Road, The Ultimate Tour Live


Steps books

The Totally 100% Unofficial Special, Steps Poster Book, Steps In Private

Steps poster wall

Steps wall in my room using posters from the poster book

Ultimate Tour Merchandise

Steps tour merchandise

T-shirt and wristband


Solo material

Lisa Scott-Lee: Too Far Gone (CD1), Never Or Now. Claire Richards: All of Me

Throughout the years I am lucky enough to have received over 50 tweets from Steps combined. I used to have little conversations with Claire, Lisa has tweeted me for the last three years on my birthday and I even got a #FollowFriday from H once!

This is one obsession definitely not Better Best Forgotten 🙂

Chanelle x

Music Monday

Here’s some tracks I’m loving at the moment:

  1. Calvin Harris – Summer
  2. The Saturdays – What Are You Waiting For?
  3. Cheryl – Crazy Stupid Love
  4. Ella Henderson – Ghost
  5. Dami Im – Super Love
  6. OneRepublic – Love Runs Out
  7. Adam J ft. Amelle & Nightcrashers – Love Is All We Need

What song can’t you get enough of?

If This Is Love… 6 Years On

If This Is Love single cover

The Saturdays (five-piece British/Irish girlband) released their debut single, ‘If This Is Love’ six years ago today: 27 July 2008.

The track samples Yazoo’s ‘Situation’ and was co-written by Remee (Jamelia’s ‘Superstar’) and Ina Wroldsden (Pussycat Dolls, Leona Lewis, Britney Spears) among others. ‘If This Is Love’ entered the UK charts at #8 and is the first of a string of singles released by the group to reach the UK top 10.

I have been a huge fan of the girls since the very beginning and they are easily my favourite band (along with Steps). I can remember hearing the song for the first time and instantly falling in love with it. It is still one of my favourite Saturdays songs and a great choice of debut single.

The track holds such special memories; I remember being 13 and being so excited I’d found this new band. I played the track on repeat constantly.

In this case it most certainly is love!

Introducing Jessica Agombar

Jessica Agombar

Jessica Agombar is a British singer-songwriter from East London formally of girl band Parade. Parade had a top 10 hit with ‘Louder’ in 2011 and follow up single ‘Perfume’ also managed the top 40. After releasing their debut album in November 2011, Parade were dropped by their label. The band decided to call it a day after remaining unsigned for most of 2012 and the departure of Bianca Claxton.

Now Jess is stepping into the limelight on her own. Jess describes herself as a ‘Cockney songstress from Bow’ and ‘clever with words. She grew up around grime and Dancehall music and is E3 through and through.

Jess’ first solo offering ‘Double’ (produced by The Writers Block and co-written by Lisa Greene) was originally recorded as a demo by Parade for their second album, featuring alternative lyrics. DJ Target from BBC Radio 1Xtra added ‘Double’ to his playlist in November 2013.

‘Bam Bam’ premiered on Mistajam’s BBC 1Xtra show earlier this month and has already received praise and support from DJ Charlesy (Capital Xtra) and people in the blogosphere. The track samples Roll Deeps ‘When I’m Ere’ and is set to be a real corker!

Since Parade split a year and a half ago Jess has been busy songwriting and honing in on her craft as well as managing herself. One thing’s for sure, Jessica Agombar is not afraid of ‘ard graft!

Make sure you check out Jessica online:

Get To Know Me: Part 2

In the second installment of my ‘Get To Know Me’ feature I thought I’d talk about my biggest passion – music. Music really is my life, most of my money is spent on CDs as I prefer a physical copy of an album rather than a download from iTunes. I enjoy holding the album in my hands and reading the liner notes and thank yous.

I’ve loved music ever since I can remember. When I was a little girl I always listened to cassettes or the radio, there was always music playing in our house. I don’t remember having any major influences at such a young age but Shania Twain’s ‘Come On Over’ has always been a favourite album of mine.

I became serious about singing and wanting to be a singer when I was 10 years old. Although I’ve had approximately one singing lesson in my life, my ultimate dream is to move to the UK and become a singer. I’m my own teacher and sing for a couple of hours most days. I’d also love to do something in music behind the scenes.

A turning point was when I rediscovered Steps. I was only a few years old when they were around the first time and couldn’t really comprehend the fangirl life. Their music is often described as cheesy pop but the songs (and dance routines) are classic! For me music represents happiness and Steps are a huge part of that.

I won’t go into detail about all the musicians I listen to but I’ll give you a rundown of my favourites:

  • Steps
  • The Saturdays
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Dannii Minogue
  • Shane Filan/Westlife
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Girls Aloud
  • Shania Twain
  • Delta Goodrem
  • Pixie Lott
  • Rita Ora
  • Lawson

Are there are any artists you think I should check out?