Tuesday, 24 October 2017

I've Got My Ticket... Grease - The Musical

Without hardly any thought into it I would say that my favourite on-screen couple has to be Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson.


Of course, these are the two lead characters famously played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the extremely well known film that is Grease. Their love story truly is 'electrifying!' (Sorry, I just had to get that in somewhere) and I was very keen on catching the musical version when it arrived in a nearby city as part of its UK tour.

I was even more eager for the October date to arrive when it was announced that the role of Danny would be played by Tom Parker of boy band The Wanted. Plus, with it being my birthday shortly before I had the perfect excuse to sing along a little more than usual - and possibly dance too.

Everything you need to know about Grease the musical and my overall star rating.
Show Name: Grease - The Musical
Venue: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Performance Dates: Monday 23rd October – Saturday 28th October 2017
Starring: Tom Parker, Danielle Hope, Gabriella Williams, Louisa Lytton
 Directed by: David Gilmore
Musical Staging and Choreography by: Arlene Phillips

Brief Information:
Travel back to the 1950's and attend a high school where there is always something exciting happening. The arrival of Sandy, a new exchange student, gets classmates talking. At the beginning this is because of her squeaky-clean image, but when she is seen canoodling with the confident Danny Zuko everyone soon wants to know much more about her.

Next, Sandy finds herself hanging around with the coolest of personalities, including those belonging to the sassy 'Pink Ladies', building her confidence along the way - All in the lead-up to a very big transformation.

Prior to the show:
Although I had admired northern lad Tom's voice on the tracks that he released with The Wanted, it did cross my mind if that same husky voice I’d come to love would be up to scratch for some of the high notes John Travolta hits, particularly in 'Summer Nights'.

I had actually never heard the singing vocals of neither theatre-trained Danielle Hope (Sandy) or Ex-Eastenders actress Louisa Lytton, who was playing the feisty Rizzo before, which meant that it was going be a surprise entirely to me how their voices would compare with the original stars. 

What did you like?
A fantastic live band opened the show, demonstrating their expertise on their musical instruments. The first song 'Grease is the Word' came next with tons of energy from a bunch of the students. The stage settings were also a fabulous inclusion, with many being a variety of locations easily recognisable in American schools.

Whilst there were plenty of merry tunes throughout the entire shows duration time, it was also indeed nice paying attention to the slower classics, such as 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. This was beautifully sung as a solo act by Gabriella Williams who filled in for Danielle Hope, which was the name advertised as playing the part of Sandy initially. Louisa Lytton also portrayed her role of Rizzo brilliantly, not toning down her bold character at all.

Tom Parker still managed to include a little sign of his boy band days with The Wanted, rocking out with skill on an electric guitar whilst stood upon a blinged-out car for 'Grease Lightning'. Though I think that there aren't many of us who wouldn't not know at least a single dance action to this individual song, from watching the film the dance routine to 'Born to Hand Jive' appears to be much more complicated. The whole cast however seemed to have no difficulty at all, performing these rhythmic movements flawlessly on this certain musical number and in each of the others too.

The clothing and hairstyles of the 50's decade certainly stood out in each scene and, speaking of trendy looks, Sandy's makeover towards the end was just that. Soon after, the performances of 'You're the One That I want' and a medley of other Grease songs followed and, like the saying goes, these were "the icing on the cake". 

Grab your best friend for an afternoon or evening out, treat a young cousin (recommended eight years +), tell your uncle to throw on his dancing shoes - or why not bring along all three! Just like the smash-hit film, this cheerful musical will appeal to almost anyone.

What would you change?
As I've said already I love Tom's voice as a singer, but unfortunately it couldn't stretch to compete with John Travolta on that ending high note in 'Summer Nights'. Obviously neither Tom, nor I can adjust his vocal range to do so, but this and the fact that some of the songs were played in a different order to the film were two minor faults that I felt should be mentioned. 

My star rating out of five: 

Find out more about Grease - The Musical, including ticket prices and performance times:

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

On the Menu Today... Toasties and What to Fill Them With

You won't often find me slaving over a hot stove in our household (burning myself is the best excuse I have for the reason as to why), but that doesn't mean to say that I don't like to rustle up something yummy for my afternoon lunch.

Now, I am not much of a bread lover (although I do take pleasure in sharing a garlic baguette with two out of the seven of my evening meals), but occasionally I will reach for the sliced loaf. And, when I do, although appetising, your bog-standard tuna mayonnaise sandwich is rarely what I prepare.

Yummy toastie ideas and how to make them.My suggestion for lunchtime is a toastie!
Two slices of warm, toasted bread packed with anything you decide to spread inside and then sealed together, all ready to then be demolished.

This creation is rightly categorised under the 'comfort food' term I'd say, which is needed at times, but even more so when it is absolutely freeezing (chatters teeth) outside.
Plus, it is very straightforward to make - Here's how... 

A sandwich toaster or a toaster and a microwave (when cheese is involved).
The sandwich toaster is definitely a better option in my opinion as it actually provides a sealed finish on the bread.

1.) Using the sandwich toaster is a much easier method as all you need to do is grab your two slices of bread, add your topping(s), place together and then pop into the sandwich toaster for roughly a minute (depending on your appliances heat level). Then, flip over to toast the other side for around the same amount of time, slice in half and you're done.

2.) If you opt for using a normal toaster, toast your bread before adding any toppings. It will look almost the same as the above method, but obviously your bread just won't have the sealed finish.

3.) Now, when I make a toastie that involves cheese as my topping selection I like to melt the cheese before I toast the bread so that I can spread it across to cover the entire slice. I do this by popping one piece of bread topped with a cheese slice (think burgers in buns) into the microwave (mine is 700w) and then warm up on medium heat for around 30 seconds, sometimes a tiny bit longer. 

It is exactly the same steps when using a normal toaster, but I'd toast the bread before placing the single slice into the microwave. Remember that times may vary from the previous instructions. 

Topping Ideas:
Cheese / and... ham / jam / marmalade / pickle / onion / salad cream / brown sauce.
Ham / and... salad cream / pickle / brown sauce.
Chocolate spread.
Peanut butter / and jam. 

It is evident that there are lots more topping which could be added to this list, however these are the few that I have tried and enjoyed.

Sandwich thins are the perfect alternative to regular bread.
Wilko and Argos are two shops that I know who sell sandwich toasters for under £10 if you're yet to own this worthwhile appliance.
  Whether it's a toastie or a sandwich, 
what are your slices of bread often topped with?
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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Reserve at the Library... My Favourite Authors

Around three years back, it wasn't uncommon for me to finish a three-hundred page book in a week or less by reading, on average, for forty minutes per night. I feel some sadness in admitting that the same can't be said nowadays. 

 From what I've come across in writing many people find calmness in sitting down with a publication of their choice, but at this present moment a chapter of twenty pages is the maximum for me.

This sudden change followed after my acid reflux diagnosis and I have since suffered from anxiety on a daily basis. As I have quite an energetic mind I keep myself busy and find difficulty in concentrating on a book for too long.

Five authors that I would consider as being my favourite writers of fictional books.

It's funny because I can read things like letters through the mail, or blog posts much easier, but that doesn't mean to say that I will never get back to reading how I once used to.

On that note, there are authors that I would steer towards now despite my current reader's block. 
Here is my top five: 
By far, this is the author that I have finished the most publications of.
Although her written releases often have a target market of children and teenagers in mind, that wouldn't stop me from buying them today, even being in my twenties.

I don't have a best-loved book of this lady. All I know is that with each one I have been on some fabulous adventures due to her incredible talent of creating fictional stories that involve both seriousness and fun scenes that a lot of us can relate to the situations of.

Nicholas Sparks:
Never has a book brought me to tears before - until I came across 'The Last Song'. But, in my defence, the film also made me blub. Along with an almost guaranteed tear-jerker moment are happy scenes with characters of whom we start to almost feel like we know in reality.

Nicholas is a hugely successful American novelist, as well as a screenwriter and producer. These talents have allowed him to turn many of his printed accounts into films, including 'The Notebook', 'Dear John', 'Safe Haven' and a variety of others.

How could I not include Mr Dahl? His cleverness for inventing such memorable fictional personalities is extraordinary. I have no worries about him being forgotten in the world of literature as children are still pulling the likes of 'Matilda' and 'The BFG' off of library and book shop shelves now. Hey, I even managed to read about the remarkable girl listed above only a few months ago, though I haven't got around to catching the recent moving-picture about the big friendly giant...

Sophie Kinsella:
Most teenage girls and women lap up tuning into a chick flick on the television, and I am no different. Sophie, however, has this marvellous ability to bring such plots to life with the turn of a page. If you long to escape into a world that is never boring and one which will frequently leave you with the urge to giggle, then Sophie is the gal for you.

This highly-recognised female author of the chick lit genre is especially known for her 'Shopaholic' series, which in 2009 the first two entries of hit the cinema big screen as a single film starring Isla Fisher.

Whether it’s a whirlwind romance in the city, making friends with a puffin by the coast, or juggling every sweet that there is available to mankind, Jenny Colgan seems to undoubtedly warm my heart with the events that take place in her written work.

Although it might not matter to some, each of her outer covers own a design that is as charming as what features inside, which in my eyes, is an extra bonus.

What authors are you fond of?
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Monday, 7 August 2017

Next Destination... Parga, Greece

Greece is a country that I would revisit again and again - and I have, 
to many of their mesmerising islands. 

I know that the high opinion I have for this destination is not only due to its breathtaking surroundings, but the kind Greek residents, and not forgetting, the incredibly delicious food on offer.

All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga.
It has been almost three years since I last journeyed over to Greece, mainly because our family are running out of new places to go to over there. However, in 2016 I came across a superb deal (I am regularly on the hunt for discounted holidays) flying out May this year to the small town of Parga, which is located on the north-western coast of Greece.
Normally the average flight duration is around 3-4 hours via plane, which I can just about cope with sitting through. The transfer from the airport to and from the place that we stayed in was pleasant too, at around 50 minutes.
All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga. My parents and I booked into Zozefina Apartments & Studios for our seven-night stay.
I was shocked to find out upon our return that this accommodation had just a 2-star rating and I definitely think it deserved an extra star for all that was provided. A cleaner came every day to our studio room that was furnished with two single beds, plus a sofa bed, (guess, who ended up with that?!) a bathroom, plus a kitchenette. Appliances such as a hairdryer were also included, as was a satellite television and free Wi-Fi. 
A swimming pool and tables with seating were available downstairs from our room as well.
The only area I feel that could be improved on was to the food service when ordering from the snacks and drinks menu. The wait time was longer than expected and there wasn't much choice to select from, just your standard burgers and chips, omelettes etc.
We were in a brilliant spot for seeing things, being a five-minute walk from a line of restaurants and twenty from the stunning harbour.
All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga.All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga.
Although we ate back at our apartments on more than one occasion, when we did eat out we headed straight for Yannis Taverna. They provide an impressive menu of homemade authentic Greek dishes that kept tempting us back to try more of their glorious (and affordable) food. 
The meatballs, stifado (a Greek dish of stewed meat with onions) and the vegetarian moussaka were the trio of dishes that I tested out over three nights and all of them tasted extraordinary. Most of the meals can be ordered with a side of oven potatoes, chips, salad, or rice, which is an option that I particularly valued. Their Greek salad (with the must-have feta cheese) was another thing to rave about, and so was the mixed grill (for two people), according to my parents. 
 Last off, the staff of this family-run business were so friendly and would give you a complimentary shot of Ouzo (an alcoholic drink popular in Greece and Cyprus) or a coffee to finish off with if you wanted to after dining in their eatery.
All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga.

Each day we were out walking and stopped at different points to appreciate the clear sky, unbelievably blue water, beautiful flowers and a whole lot more, all in the satisfying heat that was in the high twenties.

You could book excursions with Thomas Cook for outings that lasted for either half or the full day.
My mum and dad had a good experience out to somewhere much further away, which meant a 7:30am pick-up for them and a return time of 7:30pm.
    Together we booked a train journey costing eight Euro per person.
This two-hour trip consisted of a tour of Ali Pasha castle and to take a look at the local waterfalls.
 Visiting the waterfalls nearby for twenty minutes was meant to be included on the second half, however when we stopped off at Anthousa Village that this is positioned in we were told that there was not enough time as it was too far away. As avid walkers though, we opted to travel by foot there and then back to our starting point - completely ditching the return journey in the train. Funnily enough, the waterfalls actually turned out to be a short stroll directly down the road.
All about my holiday to the Greek town of Parga.

Up from the harbour is also where you could wander around the ruins of another castle, the Venetian Castle of Parga. As this is quite a tourist attraction there was a restaurant on site where visitors could have refreshments after the steep walk up to its grounds. 

Overall, the town of Parga was another highly enjoyable getaway (plus another Greek destination crossed off of our list!) It will appeal to couples and families who relish a holiday to a part of the world that is picturesque, reasonably priced and somewhere that time for some relaxation and things to do are both on the agenda.

What part of Greece ticks all of the right boxes for you?
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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

15 Ideas of Delightful Things to do Come Summer Time

Even though the colder part of the year gives me a very good excuse to pull out my snuggly pyjamas, I'd much rather wake up to a bright, sunny morning over a typical dark winter one. 

I would most definitely like to socialise more and fill my days with exciting plans, but especially when the weather is nice.

Nevertheless, I can remember having many fun experiences, which I have listed some of below, along with a few others (most of them are free!) that I would like to include in my diary come summer time...

15 ideas of delightful things to do come summer time.
Full credit goes to the original designer of the 'Hello Sunshine' print. 

  • Visiting the seaside and having a short paddle in the water.
  • Delving into a McFlurry ice-cream or a Mr Whippy cornet (don't forget the sauce topping please!)
  • Reading a magazine from cover to cover in the garden.
  • Admiring pretty flowers as they begin to bloom.
  • Making up a picnic for a lunch park outing.
  • Taking crusts of bread along to feed the ducks with at a nearby river.
  • Bringing out the art supplies to engage in some drawing or colouring.
  • Listening to a favourite album whilst taking in the surrounding areas.
  • Testing the mind with book puzzles.
  • Paying a trip to see numerous animals at the zoo.
  • Attending a live music event held outside.
  • Going for a long walk in the countryside.
  • Preparing a colourful fresh salad or fruit dessert to eat sitting at the garden table.
  • Hitting the shops to replace or add to a clothing and shoe collection.
  • Finding coolness for a couple of hours by booking tickets to a cinema screening.

What do you have planned come summer time?
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

I've Got My Ticket... Sister Act - The Musical

Music, comedy and drama - the 1992 film Sister Act truly did have it all.


I'd previously seen this memorable moving picture live as a show on stage in London's West End many years ago now and remember having nothing but good things to say about it. Therefore, I felt that it would be completely unnecessary to question before seeing it again whether the current musical version touring around the UK would triumph like it did back then or not.


I would soon have my answer after attending.


Everything you need to know about Sister Act the musical. 
Show Name: Sister Act - The Musical
Venue: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Performance Dates: Monday 26th June – Saturday 1st July 2017
Starring: Alexandra Burke, Karen Mann, Aaron Lee Lambert, Joe Vetch, Alice Stokoe, Susannah Van Den Berg, Liz Kitchen
 Directed and Choreographed by: Craig Revel Horwood

Brief Information:
Never would anyone have predicted what was about to happen in the life of the sassy Deloris Van Cartier, who was played by Whoopi Goldberg in the original film. Shortly, the singer would be in a huge amount of danger after witnessing a cold-blooded murder taking place right in front of her eyes.

With nowhere else to run and hide away to for total safety the police have only one option for her - taking up residence in a convent. There this bold personality would live under a new identity as a nun beside other sisters, obeying to the strict rules that they are all used to. Obviously, for someone who likes to express her opinions Deloris struggles with these, which does not bode well with Mother Superior (originally played by Maggie Smith), the female in charge of this particular religious community.

However, It isn't long until Deloris does get to use her voice for a more productive cause when she begins teaching her fellow nuns how to sing. Not only does this newcomer transform the once godawful choir and build strong friendships, but she learns a few worthwhile lessons about herself along the way too.

My Opinion:

With directing and choreography matters being left in the very capable hands of the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge, Craig Revel Horwood, I really did have high hopes for this being an enjoyable production. As the winner of 'The X Factor' in 2008, Alexandra Burke was another famous name that I thought was perfect for the cast line-up, taking on the lead role of Deloris.

Aside from Deloris, there are some incredibly likeable personalities in the film and I was left wondering how other actors would portray these on stage. I needn't have been concerned though, as the entire cast shined brightly throughout.

Each of the songs had such meaningful lyrics and fitted brilliantly with what was being acted out in the particular scene that they were matched with, as did each of the instruments that were cleverly played for a lot of the two-hour + running time.

There was no ignoring the amount of glitz that was also presented to the audience either. Whether it was the fancy hairdo's, sparkly outfits or the vibrant stage layout, the whole auditorium was full of groovy inclusions.

What did you like?
I knew from watching the ITV talent contest and being present at two of her concerts that Alexandra owned an extremely powerful vocal range and could handle difficult dance routines, but it wasn't known to me the standard of her acting skills. It turns out that she really does have the whole package, proving herself as a class act throughout every performance. 

    Alexandra was definitely not the only sign of entertainment. Along with some comical dance moves from the male genders of the cast, those playing the nuns also had both the crowd and I laughing out loud when they began to gain confidence and strut their stuff. This musical even managed to successfully include some humour into more serious acted parts, which isn't often done without error.

    Along with an unexpected romance, I was surprised when I was close to tears (happy ones!) watching some of the scenes between Deloris (AKA Sister Mary Clarence) and Mother Superior. This partnership was pure excellence.

    What would you change?
    All of the songs featured were written for the musical. Each track performed was utterly impressive, but I couldn't help missing ‘I Will Follow Him’ – the final song sung in the film. Other than that, Sister Act - The Musical deserves nothing but praise. Plus, I have had the new tunes of 'Take Me to Heaven' and 'Fabulous, Baby!' stuck in my head ever since.
    My star rating out of five:

    Find out more about Sister Act - The Musical, including ticket prices and performance times:
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    Thursday, 4 May 2017

    My Straightforward Guide for Entering Competitions

    Entering competitions is something that I have been doing for many years now and what I would actually consider as a being a hobby of mine.

    As the saying goes - 'You've got to be in it to win it', so bear that in mind if you feel like there is absolutely no point or your thinking ' I never win anything'.

    If the giveaway is free to enter, which most online draws are, then exactly what have you got to lose?
    - Nothing! I tell you.

    My must-do's to stand a better chance of winning when entering competitions.
    First up, I'd like to produce the evidence (and just to clarify, we are not about to crack some kind of 'Sherlock' case) that you can be the winning entry picked from thousands with my bullet-point list of some of the prizes that I have won in the past:
    • Hand signed Justin Bieber CD album.
    • 'Maximum Pop' Christmas bundle containing film and book merchandise.
    • Selena Gomez concert tickets (pictured).
    • The Last Song film advertisement poster (the massive ones that you see in the cinema foyers).
    • Olly Murs CD album.
    • Miley Cyrus concert tickets.
    • Once Upon a Time (previously aired on Channel 5, now its Netflix) series 1 DVD, notepad and kindle case.
    • Autographed Union J Christmas card. 
    • Diversity concert tickets + meet and greet with group photo opportunity and autographed photo (pictured).
    • Monte Carlo film memorabilia. 
    • Usher concert tickets (pictured).
    • 'Tyrrells Poshcorn' (popcorn bags in various flavours - x1 pictured).
    • Rio 2 film merchandise. 
    • 'Higgidy' lunch bag and food (letter pictured).
    • Britney Spears concert tickets.
    • The Saturdays t-shirt + hand signed 'Nintendogs' DS game.
    • Miranda, The Inbetweeners + Micky Flanagan DVD box sets (letter pictured).
    • 'Burt's Bees' cosmetics bundle (letter pictured).
    • £40 Amazon voucher.
    • 'Canon' Camera (received through sending in a celebrity snap to a magazine that they chose to publish).
    • Disney Channel's Shake It Up meet and greet with photo opportunity (pictured) and goody bag.
    • Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie merchandise.
    • Hand signed Craig David promo CD (pictured).
    • Numerous fictional books (x1 pictured).
    • 'Chewits' sweets packet selection. 
    • The Paul O'Grady Show nodding 'Olga' (pictured).
    • Harry Potter colouring books.
    • McFly concert tickets + meet and greet with photo and autograph opportunities:
      I wrote a letter on why I should win and sent over a drawing that I had sketched of the drummer, Harry.

      I would like to clearly state that all of the above has been won over approximately the past five years and was not obtained through my blog in any way.

      There will, of course, be moments of disappointment when missing out, but hey, think of how great you'll feel when you do get that winning notification!
    I lost out on getting myself a pair of tickets to watch boy band, The Wanted, live in concert from the golden zone. This was a slightly embarrassing situation as it was through a local radio station and I was live on air. The answer to the question I was asked wasn't general knowledge and you just had to guess, which did make me feel a teeny bit better for not getting it right.

    Now, onto what I believe are useful in knowing when entering competitions...

    Via Twitter and Facebook -
    1.) Make sure that you have followed, retweeted and 'liked' the page to make your entry count, as almost all brands have this as a requirement for their giveaways.
    2.) Increase your chances by leaving a comment on the competition post.
    3.) Read the instructions, rules and terms and conditions (if any), such as only one entry per household, otherwise you could be disqualified.
    Plus, numbers 2 and 3 are also useful to remember when entering competitions on other websites that are not on social media.

    Through the Mail -
    1.) Use bright postcards or eye-catching designs to write your contact details and answer (if compulsory) on that will stand out from other postal entries.
    2.) Have a set of stamps put by, so that you can get your entry sent ASAP.
    3.) Look that the address you are sending to has been written down correctly (the same goes for when sending emails).
    4.) Check the closing date to make sure that your entry will get to the destination before it shuts.
    5.) Write neatly.

    Live on-Air -
    1.) Save the stations phone number before the draw opens so that it will be easier to hit redial.
    2.) Find out if there is a charge as you don't want to be met with a gigantic bill.
    3.) Stay away from the active radio when on the phone as it has been known to interfere with the line.
    4.) You will obviously be mega excited if you get through to speak to the presenter(s), but remember, talk clearly and avoid any background noise.

    Through Mobile -
    1.) Again, find out about any unknown costs.
    2.) A lot of the time you can only enter once, so don't do multiple entries.
    3.) Be aware of what details you need to include in the message and re-read before pressing send.
    4.) Listen / look out for a closing date and time.

    Well, there you have it! 
    Follow this advice and you never know what spectacular prize you could secure.

    Best of luck! 
    No matter if it was big or small, what have you won?
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    Monday, 10 April 2017

    What I Learnt From... Getting Through Life's Challenges - Part Two

    Taking up from where I left off in my other 'Getting Through Life's Challenges' post some months back, I've put together an additional five tips that I stick to in order to get the most out of my waking hours.


    The follow-up to what I learnt from getting through life's challenges.
    Full credit goes to the framed images original designer.

    1.) Socialising.
    Phone, text, email, write a letter, there are so many ways to keep in contact with the people you that you want to, no matter what their location. I try not to leave it more than a week without chatting to two of my dearest friends, who are now in their seventies. A conversation with them puts my mind at rest from knowing that they are okay. Usually, I will also scroll through my mobile looking at who I might not of heard from for some time, which will then prompt me to send over a text or Internet message so that person is aware that I am thinking of them.

    2.) Keep Active.
    Okay, so I understand if there is an absolute downpour of rain outside that the last thing you would want to do is leave the dry comfort you are currently in, but this doesn't mean that you have to be a couch potato for the entire day. If you own a games console like a Wii, pick up the remote and get your body moving along to the feel-good variety of tracks to choose from on 'Just Dance', for example. It is so much fun - especially with your best bud! An exercise DVD, the use of a hula-hoop or skipping are other examples of fitness that can be accomplished indoors.

    3.) Write It Down.
    Trust me when I say that bottling it up will only make things worse. There will come a point, like when a bottle of fizz is shaken up, that it will all come pouring out. Scribble what has upset or agitated you onto a piece of paper, or better still, talk to someone about it, even if it is a specialist. Let the heavy pile of sand you've been carrying in your shoes for quite some time just crumble away, like when it gets wet on the beach and is then flattened by the sea.

    4.) Distance Yourself from Negativity.
    If hearing about crime stories in the news unsettles you, switch the TV channel over, turn down the radio's volume, or skip those articles in the newspaper. On the other hand, when it's a friend who has the tendency to unleash their worries on you, kindly let them know how it affects your mood. Maybe agree to give them five minutes to inform you of their worries and then change the subject. You could do the same, but make it clear that you shouldn't be doing this on every interaction that you have with them. Soon after, you will hopefully see a difference and find that you are speaking less about those bothering things.

    5.) Do What You Love.
    Magic tricks, acting, space fanatic? Whatever you like spending your free time doing, carry on. As long as you enjoy it and it's not hurting anyone or yourself physically, you shouldn't feel the need to stop. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you will very well know that I have a passion for the British band, McFly. When I was in my teens at school I got teased a fair bit for being a fan, but not listening to their music would've caused unnecessary misery for me, so I continued to do so.

    Let me know if you do any of these listed already, or what has worked for you?
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    Wednesday, 8 March 2017

    Being a True Fan of McFly Looks Something Like This

    'Beliebers', 'Lovatics', 'KatyCats'... You have probably read or heard at a minimum about one of these fan bases that link to a certain singers following.

    Even though I am fond of Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Katy Perry, I mostly consider myself  to be a 'Galaxy Defender'.

    No, I am not a space enthusiast; this is simply the name given to us fans of the British man band, McFly.

    What being a long-term supporter of the band McFly, has meant for me personally.

    It is incredible how one or more individuals who you don't know personally can make such a positive impact on your life, may it be through their music, films or something else.
    Multiple posts of mine in the past have noted my adoration for McFly, however I want to express what results in being a part of a celebrity backing. You might already have the answers, if you yourself idolise a famous name(s). We are likely to have things in common, but definitely some different stories. 
     Here is a short history on mine. 
    Please understand that I would never want this post to come across as bragging. 
     This was written purely to give an insight into what is involved with being a celebrity's long-term fan.

    The Discovery:
    My dad had got hold of four tickets to a concert that had a mixed line-up of musical artists taking to the stage, one of them being, McFly. I was ten at the time and even though most of the acts performed just a couple of songs each this was enough for me to find a likeness for these fresh-faced newcomers.

    On my next birthday my parents presented me with 'Room on the 3rd Floor' - the foursomes debut album, which to no surprise I had playing on repeat through my CD stereo. This was the same with their next album 'Wonderland', which then a month later was followed by my second time seeing McFly live, but for over an hour! 

    I know that it isn't just me who feels that as a fan you must buy their every single, album, DVD etc ever released in order to fully confirm your support. Although *shock* I still don't own every single CD (I regularly search the web and boot fairs for those that I am missing) it doesn't mean that I didn't like that particular piece. 

    What I do own would be considered as a lot, most though are stored away neatly, with a few of my favourite items on display, such as an autographed tour book signed to me. 

    Personal Experiences:
    Gosh, in all honesty there are so MANY of these, too many to actually list. Stand-out moments for me include watching the band play live from the front row at a location not far from my home, my mum catching Harry's drumstick, then getting him to sign it at a later event, plus him recognising me at another.

    Receiving hugs numerous times from each member is always nice, as is engaging in conversation with them, even though a lot of those have been random. For example, Harry and Tom singing the 'Funky Pigeon' slogan from the advert to me because I'd given them a handmade card. Danny once sung to me too, at a concert where I was situated in the second row. Then there was another happening when Dougie decided to doodle a vampire cartoon onto my guitar at a meet and greet before a gig.
    Time, Miles and Dedication:
    None of the above has been obtained easily. This has been ongoing since 2004. I actually waited seven years to meet the band properly, where I could speak to them for more than a few seconds and get a photo with them.

    It has involved a lot of hours making plans, travelling around the UK and perseverance. For many of the events I was still quite young to be attending by myself and I totally realise that I was very lucky that my mum or dad, or both, would take me. 

    The Ups and the Downs:
    To this day with signings, meet and greets, concerts and other events I have seen McFly almost forty times in total, but please note that is spread over thirteen years.

    It hasn't all been plain sailing. For instance, missing out on meeting the band (I came third in a competition where there was only first and second prizes) or seeing other fans meet them several times when you haven't is deflating.

    There are some brilliant pluses though, such as keeping in contact with other fans who I have chatted with at past events and to be able to look back at the countless of photo's I have from those.

    Due to not being in the best of health and more recently, because of unfitting venue locations, I haven't seen Danny, Dougie, Tom or Harry since 2015 when I had been discharged from hospital the previous week and they were touring as McBusted.

    Like with everything there are good and bad bits, but to say that 98% of mine have been good is pretty awesome. Even if I never get the opportunity to meet McFly again I am forever thankful for all of the experiences that I have had.

    What famous face(s) do you look up to?
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    Tuesday, 21 February 2017

    I've Got My Ticket... The Full Monty Live Show

    I can't call to mind any film or television show about male strippers that most heterosexual blokes would be even the slightest bit comfortable with watching
    - Well, other than The Full Monty.

    There really aren't many moving pictures out there that have its viewer chuckling at almost every scene, but I can say, hand on heart, that for me, this one does.

    As I write this prior to seeing this stage version I am thinking that the cast has got a LOT to live up to!

    Show Name: The Full Monty
    Venue: The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
    Performance Dates: Monday 20th – Saturday 25th February 2017
    Starring: Chris Fountain, Gary Lucy, Andrew Dunn, Louis Emerick, Anthony Lewis, Kai Owen
    Writer: Simon Beaufoy
    Director: Jack Ryder
    Brief Information:
    First released for TV viewing in 1997, this comedy-filled story focuses on the lives of six recently unemployed steelworkers who currently have no earnings coming in and are struggling. Pennies aside, they each also suffer from their own different personal worries, which include depression, homosexuality and body image issues.

    When it is first suggested by an individual member of the men that they could all get a nice cash sum from putting on a striptease in a building often used by the locals, the others look of response, as you can imagine, is of absolute horror.

    Soon however, scheduled dance rehearsals, velcro-attire and a few bumps and bruises follow: as does, for one night only, the bare skin of these ordinary men being made public for all to see... but only if you have purchased a ticket!

    My Opinion:
    The first impression that I got from the opening scene was straight away very good indeed. Gary Lucy, who is best known for his acting roles in ‘Footballers’ Wives’ and ‘The Bill’ evidently displayed all of the right mannerisms to take on the role of ‘Gaz’ with perfection. His co-star Kai Owen, from where I was sitting, not only sounded like his character Dave, but looked the spitting image of him too.

    Accompanied by Nathan, a young lad and the son of Gaz, the close friends were already in a spot of bother just minutes in when an attempt at stealing scrap materials from an old warehouse issued multiple lights to spark. Then, of all the people to walk in and catch the duo committing a crime was the mother of Nathan and ex partner of Gaz, validating that these two didn’t seem to have much luck with their plans, and also that this production was going to be anything but boring.

    What did you like?
    During a play of the groovy song ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate are a few very dodgy hip thrusts from Gaz, all in full view of Nathan. Setting things straight, the boy comically gives his dad the harsh reality that to go ahead with this dance project of his, he is going to need training.

    I didn’t have to wait much longer for more foot-tapping music, as this came with the energetic movements of ‘Horse’, an older man auditioning to be part of the one-off strippers gang, who automatically gives the impression that he is hardly fit for even walking… That is until he breaks into ‘The Mash Potato’ dance!

    Along with the audience I found amusement with almost every section of the show. The script has the same amount of swear words as the film (more than I can count on the fingers of both my hands). Normally I would disapprove, but somehow this use of bad language still caused obvious laughter, which is often extremely difficult to do.

    The duration of the show really did speed by, and you know what they say: “Time flies when you’re having fun!” – Which the whole auditorium and I certainly did. And yes, just to confirm, the six do in reality, remove all of their kit (though, the most you will get to see are their naked backsides).

    What would you change?
    Reverting back to the film, nearing towards the end there is a scene where the group of men does a practice run in front of some unknown ladies, one being a matured elder. On stage a single woman around the thirty-year mark was brought in and this remake of that particular clip just wasn’t as humorous.

    My rating out of five:

    Find out more about The Full Monty Live Show, including ticket prices and performance times: www.marlowetheatre.com/page/3040/The-Full-Monty/1117
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    Tuesday, 7 February 2017

    My Seven Winter Must-Haves

    "Brrr!" is all I can say if asked about the weather in England recently.

    Just thinking about those harsh outdoor winds sends a shiver down my spine, even though writing this I am nicely wrapped up in the soft material of my dressing gown. I am wearing day clothes I might add, not my pyjamas - Although this won't be the only mention of my night attire, because right now I want to tell you about the little things that perk me up whenever the temperature plummets.

    So, here are My Seven Winter Must-Haves.

    Heated Puddings:
    Where else better to start than with food glorious food?
    Call me weird but cold custard straight out of the fridge on its own to me is something that I think tastes glorious. However, most people have this yellowy loveliness as the topping on a warm sponge, which is even BETTER.

    Chocolate, treacle, jam, whatever flavour or filling you settle on, they are all incredibly tasty and comforting on a cold night sitting on the settee. If you prefer an alternative to custard then you have a choice of creams too - squirty, runny or iced.

    Keep a look out for offers in the supermarkets. My mum returned from Poundland a couple of weeks ago with a two-pack of Jane Asher's Kitchen Christmas Puddings reduced down to 50p and paid 35p for a pair of Cadbury Milk Chocolate Puddings.

    Keeping Warm:
    From one hot luxury to another. 
    Two years back we were thrilled to have a wood burner fitted in our home, and not only does this let out great warmth, but it is really lovely to look at as well. I just picture myself reading a book or drinking a hot chocolate with marshmallows and it is such an idyllic scene.

    It is expensive to have the heating on full all of the time, so an electric heater or a hot water bottle might be a better option if you live alone or with another individual and that's it.

    Classic Games:
    Grab Monopoly, Battleship or a pack of cards for an hour or more of enjoyment away from all digital devices. Then all you need are a few bowls of nibbles and some hot drinks and you have an almost-free social get-together. 

    We pretty much always take playing cards away with us on holiday as you never know when a power cut is about to happen - Plus you can't go wrong with a game of Snap!

    Luxury Sleepwear:
    When purchasing winter pyjamas they have to be cosy and cute! (Well, that's what I go for anyway).
    Floral, leopard print, deer illustrated and a decorated caption are all what feature on the sets that I currently own.

    Remember that no PJ's are complete without thick socks or slippers either.
    How welcoming does this reindeer-inspired design look?

    Hydrated Skin:
    Getting older has made me realise how important it is to look after my skin. 
    Whether, its body, face or hands, dryness can appear on all of these places. I repeatedly carry a lip balm with me to prevent cracked lips, not just in the winter. 

    It wasn't too long ago that I discovered the brand Nip Fab who really do live up to their name. I apply a small amount of the company's Deep Cleansing Fix under my eyes and to my forehead before going to sleep and by morning it has disappeared. This products tub is huge, so I am sure that it will last me a long while yet.

    Grab the Remote:
    I've posted numerous times about what I have been watching on the television at that certain moment in time. You can see these here, here, here and well, here!

    Although I like to tune into scheduled programmes, TV box sets are a great solution for when you might only have 30 minutes to spare. My most preferred though when it is dark and dingy is a film - Something upbeat and that includes lot's of sunshine in its footage.

    How do you bear up in the winter?
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    Thursday, 19 January 2017

    How to Achieve No-Fuss Wardrobe Neatness

    Deciding on what to wear can be a tricky decision just on its own, but when the outfit that you are looking for is nowhere in sight, an overhaul of how your outfits are kept is most probably due.

    You might have a two-part cupboard, mirror doors or a sliding-apart wardrobe like mine, whichever it is storing outfits and footwear can quickly become a nightmare.

    Things can easily be turned around though, and to make this much easier for you, I am showing the inside of my very own wardrobe - And how I maintain its neat condition.

    Here are all of my dresses, t-shirts and vest tops. I like to arrange them based on their style, for example, if they have a thin strap I put these together, the same goes for long sleeves etc. I don't focus on the colours because, as you can see, I own a collection of vibrant patterns.

    My empty hangers are in a row together on the far right, which is also where I may have confused you by keeping a couple of jumpers, a dress, skirt and top next to each other. These are actually what I plan to wear over the next few days, plus they are complete with what jewellery I will team with them too. I really suggest doing this, it makes life that little bit less stressful when you are in a rush to go out.

    Next up is the adjoining side of my rail, which consists of jumpers, cardigans and more t-shirts - They aren't with the others because these particular ones are from concerts that I have attended in the past.

    Shorts and skirts are the additional connecting fashion pieces, as are some of my necklaces.
    Another top tip! Use a hanger to display these on to avoid any of those troublesome knots that are always a pain to untangle. You can also jazz things up a bit with some colourful hangers. I present a couple of my favourite dresses on posh bow padded designs.

    I know that it probably appears like I must have splurged a huge amount of money on my fashion items, but everything near on was bought from Primark or snapped up cheap at boot fairs over the years.

    My approach to what I wear is varied. I wouldn't say that I follow trends.
    If it catches my eye for all of the right reasons, I'll buy it - oh, though it should be at a bargain price too.

    Funnily enough I do actually have more tops and bottoms, but these are folded away tidily in my chest of drawers, whilst footwear stays on a shelf at the bottom of my wardrobe.
    If you have too many shoes and not enough room, plimsolls, flip-flops and similar kinds can be flipped over and stacked on top of each other without seeming messy.


    What is your storage solution for clothes, shoes and accessories?
    How would you describe your attire look?
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    Wednesday, 4 January 2017

    Goodbye 2016 and Hello to a New Year

    We have now entered the first month of 2017!


    After all of that celebrating, January sees most of us having made our New Year’s resolution, which we then try the darn best that we can in sticking to for say, a couple of weeks or so (longer if we really are determined).



    I didn’t want to set myself too big of a target, one that I had little chance of achieving. So, even though it may sound simple, mine is to have less of a negative attitude in everyday life. Even though most of the time it might be something that I’ve done or didn’t do that I'm critical about, I have begun to realise that acting this way effects the very few people around me. Thinking and speaking like this doesn’t help on my part either, especially mentally, and these are all reasons for why I would like to work on this.

    Although I feel a deep amount of sadness inside when the festive celebrations are all over and the Christmas decorations have to be taken down, being able to start afresh for the twelve upcoming months sounds pretty good too. Plus, if your household is like ours and has enough chocolates and biscuits in presents to last you over the next few weeks, there probably isn’t much room left to complain at the moment, right?

    Now, zooming back to the big day in December when Mr Claus had a very restful night a few hours before, are some photos that I snapped, including all of those prezzies (because you're never too old for those!) gratefully received by me.

    DVDs: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Possibly the longest film title ever?!) | Sabrina the Teenage Witch - The Sixth Season | Last Vegas | The Kids Are Alright | Penelope | We're the Millers | Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie.
     Books: The Crown 5-books selection series by Kiera Cass | Sabrina the Teenage Witch | Mary-Kate and Ashley - Two of a Kind | The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher | Taylor Swift - This is Our Song.
    Mixed:  Pie Face game | Over the Rainbow charity CD | Avon Sleeptherapy Restful Night lip balm | x2 Pairs of character ankle socks | Charm bracelet | Tribal print vest top | Checkered skirt | Hootie Owl warmer | Pinot Grigio wine | Sheep hot water bottle teddy | 'Love is' hanging decoration | Hair bows, floral band and pack of brown tie's | Playboy perfume deodorant | Box of Cadbury's Heroes | Typo glitter pencil case, 'easy writer' pen, 2017 daily buffalo planner and mini 'T' letter light.
    The Pie Face game was bought by my dad as a present for the three of us. I am pretty sure that he was inspired by The Jonathan Ross Shows Christmas 2016 episode (YouTube it if you haven't seen this). We are yet to play it, however the squirty cream is sitting in the fridge. 
    He also got me the Taylor Swift book as he knows that I am a big fan of the Swiftie. The sheep water bottle was also from him. I get so cold in the winter. Plus, I can cuddle this one!
    Everything else was kindly given by either my mum, close friends or work.
    After Christmas up until New Year's Day included countryside strolls, warm puddings, lots of TV - especially films, and two days off work for me! (My job hours are during weekends btw).

    What was the highlight(s) of your festive break?
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