Welcome to the second instalment of the Lux Family Law “Desert Island Discs” series. The first has been prepared by our director, Charlotte Leyshon. Charlotte explains in her blog how each of the Lux Family Law team will be preparing their own “Desert Island Discs” piece to give people a real flavour of each member of our team. If you’ve missed Charlotte’s blog, it really is worth reading My Desert Island Discs by Charlotte Leyshon – Lux (luxfamilylaw.co.uk).
Now that Charlotte has set the scene, the baton has officially been passed to me.
Before I reveal my first choice, a little about me. I grew up in Aberdare. Both my parents worked full time which meant I spent a lot of my formative years in the company of my grandparents, who were very supportive and played a significant role in my childhood. I am fortunate to have lots of happy memories from my early years, including many family holidays, countless days out with my granddad and plenty of BBQs with family and friends.
My first choice is a song that reminds me of my mother. Long before “Sweet Caroline” became the unofficial national anthem, my mother was always a huge Neil Diamond fan. When I was young, whether it be in the car or at home in the kitchen, Neil Diamond albums were regularly played on repeat. Somewhat embarrassingly, this resulted in a three-year-old me being able to sing (practically word for word) even the most obscure of Neil Diamond songs. A Neil Diamond song therefore seems the obvious starting point and I have opted for one of his classics “Forever in Blue Jeans”.
On the rare occasion that Mr. Diamond wasn’t dominating our stereo, I was given an opportunity to develop my own musical taste. At age 7 and at the height of Girl Power there really was only one band for me, and that was the Spice Girls. Like many young girls in the 1990’s I was obsessed, learning all the lyrics and dance moves in my front room much to the amusement of my family. To this day my dad swears that I really thought I was sporty spice! My second choice is therefore “Wannabe, by The Spice Girls”.
Growing up in a town like Aberdare meant that any musicians who also came from the area were immediately brought to my attention. This may sound like blind loyalty, but thankfully one band in particular has represented Aberdare very well since the 1990’s. That band is the Stereophonics; the three original members of the band all having grown up less than a mile away from my grandparent’s home. As many of the tracks on the Stereophonics’ first album are said to have been inspired by real life-events in and around the Aberdare area. While the song covers a tragic event it was written to celebrate life. My third choice is from the first album and is “Local Boy in the Photograph, by the Stereophonics”.
When I turned 18, I moved to Cardiff to study Law and Criminology at Cardiff University. At around the same time I also began a part time stewarding position at the Millennium Stadium (as it was then called). This not only gave me some much-needed spending money, it also gave me the chance to watch several iconic sporting and musical events, including the Welsh Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012, and concerts by U2, Robbie Williams and Coldplay to name but a few. Of the artists I’ve seen, the band that most impressed me was Take That. Their Circus Live tour in 2009 was an incredible show and something I’ll always remember. For this reason, my next choice is “Greatest Day, by Take That”.
Sport has always played a big part in my life. As a child, I wanted to try just about everything; swimming, diving, netball, hockey, horse riding and running. If it involved an element of competition, I wanted to do it. Although I’m no Olympian (there is still time!) I still have the same competitive spirit. In the last few years, I have run a number of half marathons and three full marathons, including the iconic London Marathon. Training in the depths of a Welsh winter is far from fun, but a good playlist would always get me through. The key is choosing the right playlist and timing your song selection. At the start of a race the last thing I wanted was an upbeat dance song which would only have encouraged me to set off too quickly. Similarly, a slow ballad when you’re nearing the finish line isn’t going to give you the final push you need. For my 5th choice I’ve chosen a song that I remember listening to as I was running down The Mall and approaching the finish line of the London Marathon in 2016, “Fight Song, by Rachel Platton”.
It seems only right that my final song should relate to my husband, Aled. Aled and I have been together for over 10 years and after the COVID 19 pandemic denied us two wedding dates we finally exchanged our vows in December 2021. The day was incredibly special, and we felt very lucky to be surrounded by our family and friends, especially after an 18-month wait! There are many moments from the day I will never forget. One standout though must be our first dance. My final choice is therefore “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, by Jackie Wilson”, which we chose as our first wedding dance.
The book that I have chosen to take with me to a desert island is The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. I read this book during our honeymoon in Costa Rica. The book challenged me to think about life choices and what, if anything, you would like to and can change in your own life.
Finally, the one luxury item I would choose for the desert island is a digital radio. This would keep me entertained and provide me with at least a sense of remaining connected to life at home, especially when a Neil Diamond tune is played!