Album review: Diamonds & Demons – Nessi Gomes

If you’re looking to be taken to another place – to be elevated to something outside of yourself, then give Nessi Gomes’ ‘Diamonds and Demons’ album the time it deserves. This is not something to just have playing in the background; her music is going to do something to you, speaking to your soul – if you let it.

With a voice that is both striking and authentically beautiful, Nessi’s unique tone engulfs you in other-worldly goodness, inviting you into her circle. Her lyrics are emotive, raw, honest, pure and heartfelt. ‘Into the Earth’ has a haunting chorus line that connects you with something beyond here and now. ‘The wind blows through my hair’ makes you think of metaphorical dark winter days on the coastline, pushing you – testing you; you struggle on.

With a natural talent that cannot be disputed, it’s hard to pick favourites on this album as each song brings something different to the table; something that will hit you deep within your very core. Although unmistakably Nessi, every song is unique in its own right.

‘Can you break on through to the other side?

Do you tell yourself things that ain’t so kind?

Can you feel the worms wriggle in my mind?’

That inner voice gnawing away that we so often battle with each day is honourably captured in ‘These Walls’. We all have it; Nessi writes on our behalf.

Lingering layers of strings, woven through the melancholic melody of ‘Diamonds and Demons’ guide us into a contrasting duet part-way through, where that internal sadness of the lyrics lifts. Safely protected by the warm embrace of Sam Lee’s accompanying vocals, this additional voice serves as a symbolic support, enabling Nessi’s raw pain to rise to the surface and be undressed in the sunlight.

‘Falling Birds’ is a song I have listened to over and over and each time I do, I find something new within it. It started out as my go-to track that I first gave more attention to than the other songs and in doing so, has become a familiar friend. Having said that, it never loses its initial impact that hit me on the first listen. There’s something enchanting about her voice, combined with the stirring strings and soft beating undertones that would serve as the perfect fit for a movie soundtrack. Explore what images your mind creates as you listen.

For those who have a musical background, you will appreciate Nessi’s enunciation in ‘Long Way Home’. Perfectly balanced, with each word resoundingly clear, without being forced; it flows naturally with a kindness in vocal form. I challenge you not to feel tingles as you hear her sing ‘I’ll be back at dawn. Got to walk this road alone.’ As for the way she sings ‘leaves on the ground’ and ‘tears in her eyes’ – boy is this woman gifted. Despite the length of this track, it feels like only a few brief moments pass by while listening to it in its entirety. ‘Don’t drift into suspicious corners of your mind’ – how does she know?

‘All Related’ has an almost gypsy-like feel to it, conveying movement and magic. The intriguing concept that we are all related in love is both true and refreshing. We often perceive our experience of love to be something personal and unique to us, something that we own and only share with our beloved. Should that connection end, we believe the love is lost and reside to the life of the broken-hearted. How refreshing to consider that all of us have that love – it’s a communal force that we can give to and take from in equal measure.

Powerful imagery within ‘Don’t Jump In’ will have your imagination engaged and standing to attention. A clear warning that all is not what it seems – ‘it’s not real’ – can be interpreted as you wish. Chances are, you’ve been there.

Pleading to be healed by the symbolic cleansing of the sea, ‘Hold My Hand’ hits a nerve with anyone who has ever got to the point where things seem hopeless. Asking for the ocean to wash away every lie within, insistently throwing our ‘hell into the fire’, and breathing through the despair of unanswered prayers so that we can just ‘be’. As the song unfolds, and switches up to into a new realm (4:30 minutes in), a gentleness prevails. Shifting beyond giving up and the disabling entrapments of fear, a new hope emerges. The rousing strings and soulful guitar mirror the comforting lyrics that ‘all our darkness will turn to light’.

Devoid of the personal forgiveness that the rest of the songs on this album carry, ‘What Have We Done?’ has a very different feel to it. A strong, solid beat combined with electric elements, carries an anger inside that pushes you to a slightly uncomfortable place where you have to question actions that could have been avoided. The abrupt ending gives this track an unusual home; an unexpected surprise that I really liked.

This edgy feel is sustained at the beginning of the final song ‘You Guided Me’. As the rightful track to end this album with, everything to love in the previous tracks is pulled together in one: the imagery of light and forgiveness; the eternal hope that things will come good again; that folky essence that taps into our ancient roots; the stronger bass line and beat that we were introduced to in the penultimate track; and an uplifting happiness in knowing that life will go on, pain can be worked through and we can come out the other side, better for it.

Thank you Nessi for birthing this album and for giving us something magical, original and inspiring. As you urge us to do so in ‘Long Way Home’, the takeaway message for me has to be:

‘Take a breath of life and let the goodness in

You see it’s all around you

You just have to let it in.’


Turning on your internal light

It’s official. I am tooooootallllly innnnnn ♥ with this book – LIGHT IS THE NEW BLACK. Take note – this is not bedtime reading. I attempted reading this in bed tonight and next thing I know, all the lights are back on and I’m embracing the compelling urge to blog; an hour ago I wanted to sleep and not be disturbed until morning. That’s what she’ll do to you this Campbell woman, so you’ve been warned! Her book is a ‘get-your-butt-in-gear, seize-life-with-both-hands, give-yourself-a-shake-and-embrace-your-future’ kind of read.

I feel so connected to what Rebecca shares on each and every page, with the similarities between what her ‘calling’ is in life and my own being so in sync, it’s like reading how someone else has managed to overcome the exact challenges and thoughts currently needing a sift through in my own mind. We even share the same taste in jewellery (with mention of her turquoise ring – that ring could have been any other colour!).

Reading this book is like finding someone else in the world who did ‘being me’ years ago and has kindly crafted a cheat-sheet guide to overcoming life as Amy Murray. I know that although she’s making me feel like this book was written personally for me, any other creative soul trapped in the humdrum of their nine-to-five life will be equally connected to her words of wisdom and experiencing exactly the same personal connection that I am right now. What a beautiful thing to write something that unifies people all over the world and helps them feel reconnected to a true, real version of themselves that has long been lost in the muck of mediocre living. 

This post isn’t a book review – I haven’t finished reading the whole thing yet. Rather it’s here to serve as a little reminder that there are so many great hearts/minds/creatives/lights out there across the ocean, all finding their path in the world and exploring their own unique ways of bringing joy, happiness and light to others. Feeling really blessed to be alive right now.


Looking in the mirror

Hello creative souls! If you sometimes come up against others finding it hard to understand your amazing super awesome creativeness and you feel a bit lonely or like maybe something is wrong with you because you don’t fit the ‘norm’ (jeeez who wants to do that?!), then this article by Kevin Kaiser might help remind you how fab you are and inspire you to keep on creating. It’s written beautifully and reading this was like holding a mirror up to myself and realising that I am not alone – there are thousands – hundreds of thousands of creatives out there who are just like me. Far from being weird (incidentally, one of the best compliments anyone could receive as it indicates you’re not like the majority), your creativity is a beautiful gift. Share it and spread your light.

♥ Big love to your huge ‘ole incredible creative power! Keep on creating! ♥

20 Things Only Highly Creative People Would Understand

It’s not about the money – work on your dreams

What’s stopping you living your dream? Fear of failure? Fear of success? For people “who are running towards their dream, life has a special kind of meaning.”

Take two minutes out of your day to listen to this with your eyes closed. Poignant questions in this snippet from Alan Watts’ speech need your answers. How would you really enjoy spending your life? Once you have it, get to it – you have to live your dream. We don’t know how much time we’ll get to live it, so today is the best day to start.

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A thousand music-lovers united by a shared dream

I challenge anyone to watch this uplifting video without smiling. Wow! This is a seriously impressive execution of what started out as just a brilliant idea. The collective passion for a shared dream exhibited here is truly inspiring. To pull off having 1,000 people keeping in time and playing in unison, for an initial target audience of five people is remarkable. I’m pleased the Rockin’ 1000 team had a personal response from Mr Grohl and that Italy will get their Foo Fighters concert.

To find out more about the project, here’s the official Rockin’ 1000 website.

Today’s inspiration


‘Some day’ mentality seems to plague my thoughts on a daily basis so finding this little gem was a happy wake-up call to shift my butt in gear and actually get out there and start DOING instead of hoping and wishing things were different.

If you’ve got something you’ve been meaning to do, ‘some day’, I’ll leave you with this thought from Hugh Laurie (found on www.facebook.com/freedomwithtanner):


The real shame about ‘no make-up selfies’


You’ve seen it. Your Facebook newsfeed is overflowing with photos of familiar (and some not so familiar) make-up free faces and online media channels are rife with debates about ‘no make-up selfies’, posted in the name of Cancer Research.

I’d been dreading receiving my inevitable nomination to get on board with this campaign but not for the reason you might think. I go fresh-faced far more frequently than I wear make-up and my friends and colleagues have seen me in varying states of unmasked sleep deprivation over the years. That being the case, being challenged to post a photo of myself without make-up on was not the problem.

No, the real shame with these barefaced selfies is not in exposing our ‘real’ faces; it’s in the concept that women are considered brave to do so. How sad it is to live in a society where letting the world see the natural you is viewed as a courageous act. This sadness runs far deeper when the subjects of these selfies have accompanied their photo with an apology for how they look.

In the case of my friends, I’ve seen two kinds of ‘sorry’: the ‘sorry for the nightmares this will cause folks!’ joke apology; and the more deep-rooted, fear-based ‘I wasn’t going to join in with this but I have to because I support Cancer Research and I’m really sorry you have to see this’ apology. Both kinds ultimately stem from the same issue: genuinely beautiful women who genuinely believe they need to cover their faces up in order to be accepted. How did we get to this place?

When I first learnt of the no-make up selfies viral campaign, my mind started running riot with a tirade of anger-fuelled questions. How is posting a picture of yourself without make-up going to help people with cancer? What kind of a mental world are we living in here, where showing your real face is a heroic act? Isn’t this whole thing kind of insulting to people with cancer? Surely battling cancer is the definition of courage, not to be equated with the ‘bravery’ it takes to skip on an application of foundation? And why isn’t anyone else asking these questions?

Turns out I wasn’t alone. I happily hit ‘like’ on my friend’s announcement: ‘I hope all these people posting selfies are actually donating money to Cancer Research and not just taking selfies?’ Until reading his status, the images saturating my newsfeed made no mention of donating; they simply challenged nominated targets to go bare too, as a way of raising awareness about breast cancer and I had been somewhat confused as to what good this was actually doing.

My skepticism about this campaign grew as varying messages came attached with the selfies, ranging from ultimatums to either ‘post or forfeit a donation’, to ‘Here’s my selfie, I’ve donated X and now I’m asking you to do the same’. And then of course there were the boys, with contributions including pictures of themselves plastered in drag queen cosmetics, close-ups of their bare bums and the ‘putting it all out there’, with only a sock to cover their modesty selfie-shockers. With so many distortions on the posts I’d first seen, I wanted to find out what the original message had been from Cancer Research and how it had spiralled so quickly. Was this for breast cancer, testicular cancer, simply raising awareness about all cancer or an official fundraising campaign?

It didn’t take long to discover that Cancer Research did not start this campaign but since it went viral, has thanked people for their generosity and is delighted to see such a spike in interest and awareness. This was reassuring to learn, as it had seemed like total madness that the charity itself would put out a formal communication to the world, condoning the idea that it takes guts to go without make-up.

Weighing it all up and learning that considerable donations (over £2million in a 48-hour period) were reaching Cancer Research UK on the back of this selfie epidemic, I decided that if anyone asked me to post my own selfie, I would decline to do so as a stand against cosmetics but I would instead make a donation to such a worthy cause. I was still grappling with my anger at our social conventions at large and how ridiculous it is to be dependent on make-up as a measure of beauty.

That was until the first nomination hit my profile, coming from none other than my youngest sister. Miffy had challenged all three of her sisters to get involved, giving us 24 hours to join her. I looked at her photo and found myself thinking that it had actually taken her guts to post it. She’s a stunningly beautiful woman but cannot see this herself and I honestly can’t remember the last time I’d seen her face without make-up on. This, combined with the fact that she has recently lost someone very special to her to cancer, hit home to me that the selfie campaign is important and it is making a positive difference.

While still deciding what action I was going to take, my other sisters swiftly got their pictures out there and my second nomination came in, from a dearly loved, childhood friend who sadly lost her father to cancer. It always seemed a crime Colin was taken so young and he is never forgotten. Like you, my list of special people who have been stolen by the dreaded ‘C’ is far too long.

Still struggling with wanting to take a stand against believing it takes bravery to go bare-faced and not entirely sure how friends currently fighting cancer would view all this, I needed one more push. It came in the form of a beautiful friend who has survived her breast cancer battle and lives each day to the full. Her selfie was out there for all to see and boy, didn’t she look incredible! That was it – I’d put up a selfie as well as making my donation.

I’m ashamed to admit that despite all my hatred towards the domination of the cosmetics industry, I didn’t post the first selfie I took. No, that went wrong – several times. Then I asked my boyfriend if he could take a picture for me – preferably one where I had both eyes open. Six identical (and in my view hideous) shots later and there was no way I was posting any of these pictures. Thankfully, I remembered I had a no make-up selfie on my phone that I took a few months ago and both of my eyes were open. Strangely, I felt guilty that I hadn’t just gone with the first picture I took, until reading one of the many articles about this campaign that started with the question, ‘Be honest, how many selfies did you take before you posted?’ Clearly I was united in nationwide insecurity with thousands of other women.

Although I personally have no issue with not wearing make-up in public, I do find myself in awe of the dolled-up office beauties. You know the sort – the girl who paints herself with immaculate precision everyday and looks like she just stepped off a film set? You’ve seen her right? These women seem to be in abundance and when standing next to them, I admit to always wishing I had made more of an effort (and having even the faintest clue about colour matching. Yes, I’ve had many a ‘Tangoed’ faux pas with the wrong tone of foundation).

Ironically, it was only a week ago that I decided that as I approach the age of 33, I better start trying to make myself more presentable to the world (or if we’re being really honest, attempt to hide the blessings ageing brings our skin).  I took the time to seek specialist help and left the store 30 minutes later with the magical products that were to transform me into an acceptable looking woman.

After going for months at a time with no make-up on, I’ve worn it every day this week and my boyfriend has told me that I look beautiful every day this week. I had taken his compliments to be in direct correlation with my new cosmetics but thinking about it, he’s told me he thinks I am beautiful every day since I met him. Even when I had a horrendous stomach bug and was undoubtedly looking the worst he has ever seen me, he still told me that I’m beautiful.

Four days into my newly adopted make-up routine, I caught sight of my eyebrows as I looked in my rearview mirror on my drive to work. ‘Oh yes!’ I thought, ‘This new eyebrow stuff is working so well – they look much better! Why didn’t I start using this earlier? I can’t believe people saw me without this on! I’m going to use this every single day, for the rest of my life.’

Would now be a good time to tell you that on this particular morning, I had forgotten to apply my eyebrow tinting, brush-on gel?

Today is as good a day as any to start over

I’ve come across some really interesting articles today that have all taught me something.

The first is this piece by Jordan Price, a talented designer who had his heart set on working for Apple – until he DID finally get to work for Apple and discovered it was not the joyous experience he had thought it was going to be. This reminded me that there have been things that I have previously strived for and worked so hard to achieve but then once I got there, it wasn’t the life-changing eureka moment that I had anticipated. Instead it came with an almost flat, ‘now what?’ feeling. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have goals because I firmly believe that having challenges and things to aim for enrich our lives and help push us to be better versions of ourselves. Just maybe that eagerly anticipated euphoric moment of attainment needs to be kept in check with acknowledgement that this will not ‘fix everything’.

The second article I read was fittingly titled ‘In 5 years you’ll be…’ by Bassam Tarazi. Here Bassam shares this great advice: “Don’t stress too much about where you think you want to be in 5 years; instead, point your ship in a cardinal direction that parallels your character, skills and interests, and take action on where you want to be tomorrow, next week or next month.” The whole article is well worth a read and helped me realign my personal goals so that they mean something to me right now.

Third up,  ‘Making Great Stuff Is The Best Way To Meet Great People’ – Marshall Haas, I thank you sir! Really helped to read something like this right now as I have recently reconnected with my childhood passion for making things. I don’t really know how to go about pulling together all the ideas that are in my head and all the things I want to have a bash at making but something is bubbling on that front that I need to pursue.

Fourth, this very well-written and plausible explanation  from an experienced pilot as to what might have happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines Jet. What intrigued me most about this article is that it has highlighted how I can be so sure of something one minute and then with a little more guidance and understanding, my mind can completely flip to an alternative way of thinking. I’m not a pilot and I don’t know anything about flying planes. In light of this recent tragedy of the missing airline, for every day that passes without a conclusive, official explanation, I’ve been more and more inclined to think it must have been an act of terrorism or a hijacking of some sort. I’d made my own mind up that the passengers on that plane are all still alive but being used in some way, held hostage for something that will come to light later. One read of this article and my theory is blown out the water. Chris Goodfellow makes some really valid points: “Surprisingly, none of the reporters, officials, or other pilots interviewed have looked at this from the pilot’s viewpoint: If something went wrong, where would he go?” Rather than see this incident as foul play, what about viewing the pilot as a hero, desperately trying to get that plane down safely? “Smart pilot. He just didn’t have the time.” I guess until the plane wreckage is found, if it is ever found, we won’t know what happened for sure but it is important to consider simple explanations in a world where we have been drilled to trust no-one and suspect acts of terrorism are lurking around every corner. My heart goes out to all of the loved ones who do not have the answers they need in order to understand what has happened to the special people in their lives. I sincerely hope that more information comes to light soon that will help these people come to terms with what has happened.

And finally, this deeply moving, heartfelt post by a mother battling with so many ‘authorities’ that should actually be the very people reaching out to help support her and her son as they deal with Bartonella. I cannot imagine the strength and courage it has taken for this woman to ‘go with her gut instinct’ when health and education professionals have failed to support her. I had never heard of Bartonella until reading this but it sounds truly horrendous having to deal with this condition or see a loved one suffering with it, as well as not being given the right information or support infrastructure to help ease the suffering. Well done for speaking up and in doing so, you will no doubt bring a light to others going through similar experiences. It is not ok to pump our youth full of meds because we don’t know what else to do. It takes great courage to stand up against the accepted norm in medical practice and educational approach. I wish you and your son all the best for finding a way forward that eases this situation. Thank you for sharing your story.

So after exactly one year of not posting anything, guess today is as good as any to start over, take stock and begin a new journey in becoming the best version of myself that I am able to be.