I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to dedicate a whole blog to these guys. I’ve mentioned them before and would love to be blogging better news about them, but sadly, this may be one of my last chances to get my memories of these guys down in writing…… and pictures….. and videos.

Meet the boys…… The CC Smugglers.

Richie in the middle is the one responsible for forming the band 10 years ago. He is the lead vocalist and plays rhythm guitar, harmonicas and banjo.
He’s actually been dragged home by my daughter Murron after a night out on the town, to jam in our garage until the early hours of the morning.
Not that I’m complaining!!
He’s quite welcome to drag the rest of the boys round if they ever want to jam together in the future.

Sam, on the right, I know from work and he is one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. He’s also incredibly talented. He does vocals and plays rhytm guitar and fiddle.

The tall guy on the left of Richie is Dan and he does vocals and plays the double bass.

The guy in the hat is Ryan and he does vocals, lead guitar, dobro and banjo.

The guy in between Ryan and Sam is Tom and he does vocals, accordion and is one of the most talented piano players I’ve ever heard.

Then, last, but not least, on the extreme left of the photo is Iain who does vocals, drums and percussion.

I have had the privilege of seeing these guys in concert at least 5 times in the past (yes, I’ve lost count!) and I am pleased to say that I will be seeing them again in Cambridge on 1st November and I have also just secured tickets for their last EVER gig together back here at Esquires in Bedford on 19th December.

I say last ever, because after 10 years and some extremely bad luck in the last couple of years, the guys are calling it a day.


I remember the first concert. It was October 29th 2016 and my daughter was working on one of the doors at our local music venue, Esquires. It was Halloween weekend and fancy dress was optional. A friend decided to do some wicked makeup on us and Murron talked me into going along with her and having some fun for the evening.

She managed to get me a free pass into the main stage to see a band called the CC Smugglers.
So I stood at the bar in the main stage, on my own, and I waited.
I wasn’t disappointed. They were amazing. They were talented, catchy, enthusiastic and I needed to find out more about them.

I was lucky enough to see them again in December the same year as they did a tour rehearsal show on one of the smaller stages at Esquires. It was announced last minute so had a smaller audience and this time I dragged my husband along. He was hooked too.

That cemented my following of the band and I took every opportunity to see them from that point onwards.

A couple of years ago they decided they wanted to record and release an album and they wanted to fund it themselves. They used a company called ‘Pledgemusic’ to raise funds and they asked fans to buy merchandise.
All seemed to be going well for them. They were nearing the stage where the album could be recorded and released when the unthinkable happened. Pledgemusic went bust and ran off with their money.

That was really the beginning of the end for these guys, and in an interview for the ‘Bedford Independent’ this week, Richie states…

“Financially, it’s the end of the road for us,”

“The collapse of Pledgemusic cost us £20,000 and then we cancelled the How High tour after an incredibly traumatic bereavement that hit the whole band really, really hard.”

“We’ve given it ten years and we’ve thrown absolutely everything into this. We’ve sacrificed so much and everyone’s just emotionally drained.

“We’ve made a call to prioritise our relationship as friends over success in the industry.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t get back together at some point in the future, but for now, it’s time to call it quits.”

In the last ten years they have come close to a major record deal on two occasions. Releasing an album under their own control has seen them being played and interviewed on National radio and they have toured festivals across Europe and just as they are on the brink of well deserved fame and fortune, their luck runs out.

I am absolutely gutted for the guys. If I won the lottery, I would be backing them all the way!
I was lucky enough to be at their Album Launch Party and the start of the ‘How High’ Tour and I cannot wait to see them again on November 1st as they finish the re-arranged tour.
I will also be there at the final gig at Esquires on 19th December, a gig that sold out in minutes and meant that they added a penultimate gig on 18th December.
It is going to be a very emotional evening.
So for now, I will leave you with a few of my own photo and video memories.


I can’t believe it’s been almost a week already.

Last Thursday saw the last of our breaks away for a few days this year.
We got our middle daughter, Marjorie, tickets to see Russell Howard for Xmas last year. That show wasn’t until 3rd October this year!

My Brother and Sister in Law also wanted to take me out to celebrate my 50th birthday, and they wanted to take me to the place they got engaged, the Hawksmoor restaurant in Covent Garden.

So, we made an early start on the Thursday 3rd and drove down to Stanmore where we parked the car up for a few days and caught the underground to Wembley Park.

We arrived at the hotel before 9am and got them to stash our luggage away until we could check in later in the day.

We then headed into the city to do some shopping.
Marjorie had money to spend and wanted to go to the Primark and Disney stores in Oxford Street.

We then headed back over to the hotel in Wembley. The Premier Inn, right by the stadium, the SSE Arena, and a designer shopping and food outlet. Lovely hotel, friendly, efficient, clean and all that you need for a few nights in London.

We then headed into the shopping centre and had dinner at Zizzi’s before heading over to the SSE Arena and having one of the best laughs we’ve had for ages. Russell Howard was really on his game and we literally laughed our asses off for two whole hours. The Respite show was amazing and I really hope it comes out on DVD.

To say that Marjorie was a little excited is an understatement. I wanted to get a video of the Arena filling up. Watch this to the end.

Friday was spent doing more shopping with Marjorie in Camden before heading back into town and having dinner at my favourite cinema, the Picturehouse Central before making sure that Marjorie got on a train back to Bedford on her own.

Me an Ian were staying until Sunday because we were going out to dinner on Saturday with my Brother, sister in law Louise and my parents.

My Brother wanted to take me to the restaurant where he proposed to Louise. It was lovely!! I tried a cocktail called ‘French House’ which was incredible and was just like drinking sherbert! Deadly.
The food was amazing and the steak was to die for.

We slept in on Sunday before checking out and heading home.
London is tough on the body.
The streets are uneven, there’s countless steps to navigate.
Over the time we were there we walked about 40km!
After a full day at work and two days off, I’m only just recovering!
My muscles are so sore!

That said, I love London and would do it all again.
Roll on the next show, whatever that will be!


I have a long day tomorrow, Sunday, but next week promises to be a good week.
I have a couple of days of annual leave but the only day I am officially working is an extremely short shift on Tuesday.
I did an odd shift for a study day this past week, so I’ll be making the odd hours up on a 15:00 – 20:00 shift on Tuesday this coming week. The rest of the week is annual leave.
I’ll be driving down to London, very early on Thursday, with my husband and my middle daughter, Marjorie.

We bought her tickets to see Russell Howard at the SSE arena in Wembley for Christmas last year. We have the night booked at a hotel for the event that we are all really looking forward to.
Marjorie will be travelling home by herself on Friday.

Me and the hubby will be staying over for a couple more nights as my brother, his wife and my parents have arranged to take me out on Saturday in Covent garden for my 50th birthday.
They are taking us to the Hawksmoor, Seven Dials, and we are really looking forward to it.

This will be the last of our trips away for a while.
We have to be really careful between now and April next year.
We are so close to completing our financial plan. This time next year, things should be, if things go to plan, much more relaxed and happy.
It’s going to be a tough few months. But it will all be worth it in the long run.

DISH OF THE WEEK #81 – Tom Holland

This one is long overdue, but I have been putting this one off because it didn’t seem quite right. This one is a BABY!! and he’s only a year older than my eldest daughter!

Image result for cute tom holland

Tom Holland.
C’mon, who couldn’t love that adorable face!

His debut movie role was as ‘Lucas’, Ewan McGregor’s son in ‘The Impossible’. A performance that got him noticed, immediately.

Image result for tom holland ewan mcgrwgor the impossible

After a little bit of work on a TV show, honing his dancing skills as Billy Elliot in the stage production of the same name, and a role alongside Chris Hemsworth in ‘In the Heart of the Sea’, our little boy matured enough to become Spider-man!!

Image result for tom holland spiderman

After years of doing some good Spider-man movies and ‘almost’ getting things right, particularly with Andrew Garfield, they finally hit the jackpot with Tom Holland.

First introduced to us in Captain America: Civil War, Tom came bounding onto our screens with the enthusiasm of a puppy dog!
He melted the hearts of millions of young followers and the hearts of every Mom on the planet.
Tom is the ‘all around’ package. He’s young, charismatic, fun to be around, a great actor, hits the nail on the head with his portrayal of Peter Parker, hilarious in interviews and just an all around nice person in real life.

I don’t know anyone who didn’t cry at this………

After 3 appearances in the Avengers movies and 2 standalone Spider-man movies, fans were devastated with news back in August that after a fresh deal with Disney, over the character of Spider-man (owned by Sony) couldn’t be reached, we may not be seeing Tom in any future movies.

Fans were angry… in fact they were fuming!!

However, yesterday saw the news that fans had be holding out hope for, as it was announced that Spider-man is officially staying in the MCU and will actually be making another standalone Spider-man movie! YAY!

Tom’s response on Instagram was hilarious!!

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tom Holland (@tomholland2013) on

I’m so happy for him. (and look at the amount of followers he has… CRAZY!)
I’m happy for me too! As he will clearly be hanging around (excuse the pun) as Spiderman for a few more years yet.

I for one, cannot wait to see how this young man matures in his film career.
For now though, he’s clearly having the time of his life as Spiderman.


I completely missed the fact that the BFI London Film Festival starts the day before we go to London.
It kicks off on October 2nd.
I had the chance to get tickets to see Adam’s new film, Marriage Story at two events on the 6th October before we come home, with the possibility of Adam and the Director, Noah Baumbach, attending.


All the other screening dates, when we are no longer in London, are still available. Bloody typical!!

And so the wait to see this goes on.
Netflix are apparently releasing it on December 6th.
I really want to see it in the cinema first but that is now looking less and less likely. So it will be a popcorn and sofa day. Thankfully I’m actually on annual leave that week, so it’s actually good timing.


I have just started re-watching Grey’s Anatomy from the start again and I’m really enjoying it.
I stopped watching the show around 5 seasons ago as life got a bit too busy and the last 2 years in particular have meant that I’ve fallen behind with a lot of shows.


A show that I’ve never really watched at all is Peaky Blinders.
I don’t know why because, C’mon, Cillian Murphy AND Tom Hardy?

Again, life and uni studies in the way meant that I didn’t want to risk getting hooked on another show.

Anyway, today, I saw an article about Peaky Blinders and I find out that Sam Claflin in now in it too!! And there’s a cheeky appearance by Domhnall Gleeson’s brother Brian (even if he has got a Scottish accent instead of his native Irish!).

Now I’m torn between making my way through 15 seasons of Grey’s, half of which I’ve already seen in the past, or going for something completely fresh and new with Peaky Blinders.

What would you do?

DISH OF THE WEEK #80 – Hozier

There are always events in life that you will remember.
The birth of your children.
World events…. I bet you can remember exactly what you were doing on 9/11 or when Diana died.

Discovering ‘Dish of the Week’ number 80 is one of those events for me.

Today is the anniversary of a song that I absolutely adore.
Take Me to Church by Hozier.

I have a wonderful memory of the first time I heard the song and the beautiful voice of a tall (6’5″), gangly Irishman with long messy hair, called Andrew John Hozier-Byrne.

I had fallen asleep on the sofa one evening and I woke up to a very late night repeat of a Graham Norton show at around 2 in the morning.
It was the musical section at the end of the show and Hozier was singing Take Me to Church and I was completely blown away.

Here is that very performance…..

I was smitten and immediately looked up more about him and his music.
His first album, Hozier, is an amazing piece of work with every track a masterpiece that I can listen to again and again.

Take Me To Church and the self-titled debut album sent him on an international tour for more than two years and by the time he came home, he was burnt out. It took months to decompress and return to normal. He moved into a bungalow near his family in Wicklow and lived alone, “trying to do the everyday normal stuff that make people feel like people”. After a while the ideas for Wasteland, Baby! started to come.

It was a frustratingly long wait for this second studio album, that was finally released in March this year. One track on the album was release on an EP in Sept 2018. The amazing ‘Nina Cried Power’ with Mavis Staples.

It was shortly after the release of that EP that I actually got to see Hozier in concert in December 2018!
STUNNING is an understatement for this man live on stage.

If I ever get the chance to see him again, I will be jumping at it.

Wasteland Baby is another magical piece of work.
It’s hard to pick a favourite track, so here are just 3 corkers.

When I listen to his music, I find I am drawn to his live performances over the studio recorded ones. He pours his heart and soul into his music every time he performs and this makes every live performance different and stunning.

I just hope I don’t have to wait another 5 years for the next album!!