Thursday, 22 September 2016

We Are Lumos: Charity Gala and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child London

In 1997 one woman captured the hearts of a generation and more to come. The story of a little orphan boy, his adventures and friends taught us that it's OK to be different and that there will always be a light, no matter how dark and bleak the world may seem. Now, 19 years later, J.K Rowling is putting that into practise.

Lumos is not only the spell that brings light, it's also J.K Rowling's charity working towards making the world a better place for over 8 million children (that we know of) in institutions.

Lumos Charity


I'm going to be honest here, I had heard of Lumos (obvs) but I had no idea what they really did nor the immense scale of their work. While at their charity gala as new ambassadors for Lumos, we had the opportunity to meet some of the celeb ambassadors and listen to talks from Georgette Mulheir and Bill Di Mechele who both chair the charity.

Normally when people think of orphanages (or institutions), many people will have the image of a loving environment and happy children running all over the joint. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Lumos charity


The harsh reality of the children in institutions is that 80% of them have at lease one living parent but have been placed into the system because of poverty, disability. discrimination and the need for health care that their parents may not be able to provide. Many children could then be subject to trafficking and abuse. Not only will they suffer physically and emotionally but also intellectually as their education could be considered as a sideline or they are lacking support to succeed.

Lumos Charity Gala


On the even darker side of things, shocking figures show that 1 in 7 children raised in institutions will resort to prostitution later in life and 1 in 10 will be driven to suicide, One. In. Ten. It's enough to send a chill down your spine and the look of sheer shock I saw on Jason Isaac's face (who is also new to the campaign), really said it all.

During the talks, Warwick Davis and Evanna Lynch told us more about the work they have been doing with Lumos, most recently in Moldova, what they have seen and how they are working with Lumos to get these children out of the institutions. It made me desperately want to help more.

While we were there, we had the opportunity to actually meet Evanna Lynch ( LUNA BLOODY LOVEGOOD) who is hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met. She came right over to our table and started chatting away and we all ended up huddled around her phone watching videos of Chris Martin singing a song about wanting to be in Gryffindor.

Gryffindor for the win.

Lumos Charity Gala
From left to right: 1. Mugglenet 2. Alex, 3. Katy 4. EVANNA LYNCH, 5. Katie, 6. ME 7. Charlie

Warwick Davis is in pretty much everything and sums up my childhood in movies so just being in the same room as him and working towards the same cause filled me with joy. Jason Isaacs... well, I have no words.

*cue silly giggles*

So very dashing, in a nutshell.



Following all the talks, photos and general nattering, we all filed over to the Palace Theatre for a special Gala performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There, the experience was opened by the one and only J,K Rowling giving is a speech about Lumos and their goal and their work.

J.K Rowling is just inspiring. Did you know she covers all costs of the charity out of her own pocket? I did not. Did you know that this then means that all proceeds go directly to the charity and their work to help those 8 million children (that we know of) one by one? I did not. The way she spoke so passionately about Lumos' goal to get those children out of institutions and into loving families really struck a chord. I've been privileged enough to grow up in a very loving family and this has made me want to do more. Already there have been discussions with the Bangarang Girls about what we can do. All. The. Ideas.

If you also want to help the work of Lumos, you can buy one of these AMAZING t shirts right here.

They're absolutely fabulous and I will continue to wear mine with pride. They're only available until October so you'll have to be quick and, remember, all proceeds go directly to Lumos and not into someone else's pocket.

Lumos Charity Gala
Don't we all look fabulous in these tops. You should buy one.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child London


When it comes to the play itself, I will obviously #KeepTheSecrets. I'm going to be seeing it again VERY SOON and will be sharing a completely spoiler free  review. In the meantime, for those of you who have read the script and had some sad #opinions, remember that it is not the finished project, There are so many elements that cannot be portrayed on paper. It's just the dialogue and stage directions so it's far from the full experience on stage. In short, it's an absolute delight. I laughed, I cried, I screamed. Charlie, Distracted, who has already seen it, thoroughly enjoyed watching my reactions!

Really, you just need to see it for it to completely make sense.



I am beyond thrilled that I have been given the opportunity to work with Lumos as an ambassador for their work. This was honestly one of the best days of my life and, despite how long this blog post has become, I really don't have enough words.

Earlier on, I described J.K Rowling as inspirational but, looking back on it, I don't think that word is big enough. She created a world that made mine, and so many other people's lives, better through a work of fiction and now she's using her influence as literary queen and icon to make this a reality for those who so desperately need it. Be the Light with Lumos and J.K Rowling and remember that children need families, not orphanages.







* Disclaimer: This post is on behalf of Lumos and to raise awareness of their latest campaign. I was not paid for this opportunity, just really bloody happy! 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Midnight Book release

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch

This post is a long time coming. Sometimes I wish Time-Turners were real so I could give myself a little more time... that and I wouldn't have to be rewriting this post because blogger deleted it. #Rude.

Back in 2007, Charlie, Distracted and I attended the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We were a part of history. We were doing something that we never thought would be possible again. It started a love for midnight releases, ever since that first one, I have been to many midnight releases for books, films and videogames. Most recently I was one of the first people in the country to leave Waterstones clutching my copy of Go Set a Watchman tightly to my chest.

I have to say though, nothing really compares to a Harry Potter midnight release.

The second I bought tickets, the eager countdown began. When the day came, I donned my Gryffindor colours with pride and, wand in hand, made it hastily across London to Piccadilly to join my fellow fans, cosplayers and Potterheads.

Harry Potter Cosplay
 

Standing in the queue with Leanne, Charlie and her sister, gold enveloped were handed out, we drew lightning bolts on our foreheads and we waited anxiously (well, I was) while we waited for Katy to arrive and the doors to open.

As we stepped through those double doors of my all time favourite bookshop, I was overwhelmingly happy for the first time in weeks. We were greeted by a String Quartet playing music from the films and I ended up with butterflies in my tummy.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch


 Seriously, hats off to the visual lot who organised the Launch. They had made everything perfect down to the tiniest detail. There was a pub quiz, Quidditch, Butter Beer, a mini version of Hogsmeade and THE THIRD FLOOR WAS OUT OF BOUNDS. Guys, you're all legends.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch


 After all our exploring and missing out on top points in the pub quiz... (George lost his left ear, not his right *Face palm*), we joined the winding queue up the stairs.

Midnight arrived and after a ten second countdown, there was an immense cheer throughout the shop. Tears were shed for a variety of reasons and I finally ha my hands on a copy of the script.


Once again, I was a part of literary history and I cannot thank Waterstones enough.

 I made my decision before the release to not read the script until after I had seen the play and now, thanks to the #WeAreLumos campaign, I finally have. The whole situation has made this year 1000 times better. There will be a new post shortly to tell you all about Lumos and the amazing work they do to improve the lives of children around the world.

https://wearelumos.org/


Monday, 12 September 2016

At the Theatre: From page to stage

Theatre London

Let’s face it, the West End s pretty much the best place to ever go to the theatre. I’m sure Broadway is awesome and everything but we are a country of performers, writers and musicians that is steeped in so much history, you can’t help but be in awe when you walk down the Charing Cross Road or Shaftsbury Avenue. As based on recent performances, and some past, London is the ultimate place to make the name of a new production, especially one that has been lifted straight from the page.


In 2003 we had Phillip Pullmans ‘His Dark Materials’ brought to life through the master of puppetry, in 2014 Harper Lee’s iconic To Kill aMockingbirdcame to the Regents Park Theatre and was so popular it continued to sell out at the Barbican, and now we have the legacy of ‘Harry Potter’ continuing beyond page and screen, with a two part spectacular at the Palace Theatre in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’… I say ‘spectacular’ but I’m just assuming as I’m not going to see it until the end of September…

Any way… Harry Potter is beyond the point… at this moment. Watch. This. Space.
As an avid book lover, one of my favourite things is to see my favourite stories appear in front of me as though they were real life and London will always be the place to see it happen. This is not just your standard listicle but it is a collection of tales that I love and have continued to love since I see the characters I have always imagined take their first step onto the stage. These are not in order of preference but are just a group of plays I have seen and WILL see. Some reviewed, some just hoping. Either way, I love them (already).

A lot of these will already have appeared on the blog but, meh!

The Phantom of the Opera

If you know me in anyway, you would have known that this would already be high on the list. It’s just a given. The Phantom of the Opera was originally written as a novel by Gaston Leroux in 1909 and back in the 1980s, it was turned into the production we know today; a musical love story of (doubtfully) unreciprocated love, splendour and beauty by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Everyone knows of the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and guaranteed you will know at least one of the songs even if you don’t know it. ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is one of those plays that I will go and see as often as I can. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I have sat in the audience of Her Majesty’s Theatre  (where it has performed since 1986. Dude, it’s older than I am!) to watch that chandelier come crashing down but I will always keep going back. I even went two weeks ago and I am adamant it’s the best version I have seen to date.

Les Miserables




Another of the longest running performances in the West End/ the world... but I didn't get to see it until 2014! Madness. Following the release of the film in 2012, Les Miserables has become even more famous/popular in some ways that many tend to forget about the book. It is a bit of a beast and I have lost count of the number of times I have tried to read it but the stage version makes everything so much more interesting. I'm the kind of person who always says 'the book was better', but with Les Misrables, that's really not the case. Just listening to the soundtrack makes me cry, let alone see the full performance.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

I first read this book when I was sitting my A-Levels... a bloody long time ago now. Charlie, Distracted  knew how much I loved it and booked me tickets to see it for my birthday a few years ago, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is an exploration of adolensence, curiosity, life with aspergers and so much more. It's very difficult to explain the concept on page, let alone how they do it on stage. It's just amazing. If you're going to see it for yourself, I strongly recommend getting seats high up. You'll thank me later when you see why.

To Kill a Mockingbird




Briefly spoken about it just now and also previously reviewed it here. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all time favourite book. When the stage version originally opened at the Regents Park Theatre, I tried desperately to get tickets but failed. When it came back to the Barbican, Charlie, Distracted succeeded because she's amazing like that. It's difficult to put into words just how good this was, all I can say is that it's always a good thing when you see something you love so dearly not tarnished by someone else's vision. They used the whole stage in such an imaginative way and truly brought the story to life, just as we always wanted it.

War Horse




When I read the book, I cried on the train. When I saw the play, I cried pretty much throughout the whole thing. It's strange to think that puppets can be seen as real. Seriously, the way they move and they noises the actors make as they control it, make the whole thing seem more real. With a minimal set design, it's all you can focus on. The whole thing is raw and beyond beautiful, it's no wonder it was around for so long. I was lucky enough to see this adaptation right before it ended and it will be going on tour in 2017. Do yourself a favour and see it before you miss it again.


I'm lucky enough to already have seen a bunch of my favourite books on stage, but there are still a fair few I am anxiously anticipating (in the good way).

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


If you know me at all, this doesn't really require much explanation and I'm counting down the days... and planning my outfit.

Trainspotting

This is coming to the Vaults and Charlie and I obviously couldn't pass up the chance to get tickets. We'll be there in November

The Red Shoes

A short story by Hans Christian Anderson turned into one of my favourite films by the Archers is now the latest spark of genius by Matthew Bourne. I will be getting tickets VERY soon.

What's your favourite book adaptation?




*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with boxoffice.co.uk but all opinions and excitement are my own

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Camping in Europe: Childhood Memories

When I was little, holidays mostly involved camping in Europe. You know, little Caravan Holidays with the whole family in the South of France and further. If you ask me, they're the best kind of holiday as you have a whole new adventure ahead of you from the very second you wake up at ridiculous O'Clock.

One year, my dad decided we were going to DRIVE to Italy. Even though  was very annoyed with the two day drive initially, this is probably one of the best holidays I have ever had. We had two cars, drove through 6 different countries (maybe...) and basically had our adventure last an extra two days while we were driving through Europe and jumping out of the car each time we reached a new border so we can stand there and say we had officially been in that country. It totally counts.

Sitting on the steps of a caravan, eating our sandwiches while wearing goggles... BECAUSE WE CAN

You may have noticed another post recently where I go on about being rubbish at camping, camping in Europe is different though as strange as that may seem. Rather than pitching up in essentially a field, European camp sites such as those from Yelloh! Village , can come with everything. In one place we were staying, there were barbecue pits, swimming pools, night entertainment and a private beach. Plus we got to stay in 4 caravans right next to each other and had our own private little world.

One of joys of camping, rather than staying in a hotel, rather than being restricted to certain areas or timings for things, you're left completely to your own devices. One time, rather than go to the on site cafĂ©, my mum made a whole roast dinner using the ovens from multiple different caravans, we got to explore the country we were in and one time jumped in a car and drove ffrom our camp site in France to spend a day in Spain. Just because we could.

During the years of camping holidays, I have made a bunch of friends from around the world and done things I had never even thought of... Like that time I went on a quad bike, crashed into a tree and was continuously sprayed in the face by a sprinkler... Typical me. Dressing up as Rocky Balboa (because I was a cool kid) and winning a prize in a fancy dress competition, and actually learning how to play pool...


Yeah, we're awesome

As an adult these are some of my fondest memories and I am constantly looking for the opportunity to go on another camping holiday. My dad has been saying for years we'll all go on one and I know for a fact I'll take my children (hypothetical right now) on adventures across Europe just like I had.





*Disclaimer: This post is in association with Yelloh! Village but all stories and stuff are mine. I do genuinely love camping and yes I did crash into that tree...

Monday, 15 August 2016

July Favourites

It seems to me that every time I talk about 2016 getting better, a massive pile of shit appears just around the corner. I'm not exaggerating.

This month has by far been the hardest of my life, eventually I'll talk about it some more but right now it's all a bit too raw for me. It's proven to be too difficult to do a weekly round up of good things because, to me, there aren't really many good things at the moment. Instead, let's just do this monthly so I hopefully have more good things to talk about. Maybe.

So, here are the good things from July.

Party Vibes:

Little Miss Katy threw her annual party. This year's theme was red white and blue. There was music, the #Bangarang girls, beer pong with blue punch instead of beer (#CrushedIt) and a drunken stumble to McDonald's on the way home before an Uber to North London. Katy, I love you. You are fabulous.



Orchestra on Tour!

I got to spend the weekend in Brighton with a fabulous bunch of musicians. We played two concerts, had picnics on the beach and, as a standard, went to the pub. It was wonderful getting to know people so much more. I'm really looking forward to going back to rehearsals in September. Also, check out my outfit...




Pokemon Go

I am not ashamed to admit that I am OBSESSED with this game and it actually lead to my first -EVER in-app purchase. I reached level 20 today and now have a Worturtle. I am one happy bunny

Speaking of Pokemon...

I have been re-watching the original series on Netflix. It's amazig

New dresses and shoes and stuff

Back when it was nice and sunny, I was really struggling at work because everything made me too hot... so I decided to take advantage of the sales. I ended up walking away with two skirts, a dress, 3 tops, a cardi and a pair of shoes... I was one happy bunny. PLUS! LOOK HOW PRETTY THIS IS!

H&M summer dresses


Laughing at old school photos

There were some absolute classics when we were going through some family albums when I was in Scotland last week. Here are some of my favourites.




HARRY POTTER EVERYWHERE!

*deep breaths*

There's this little play out called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You may have seen all the hoo-ha on the news about the midnight release of the book... I WAS THERE!



More on all the Harry Potter fun to follow...

What did you get up to in July?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Getting over the slump


There are a couple of things I have been keeping to myself and is one of the reasons why I was essentially 'off the internet' for a while. I mentioned recently how things haven't really been good but that I was celebrating having my blogging mojo back. Here's why.

In December, I was made redundant. To be honest, I was looking to leave anyway so it was a blessing in disguise really. But then 6 months into a pretty awful year, freelancing on and off and (more often than not) having no money and applying for 300 jobs in total, I have finally found a paddle to get me out of this Shit Creek called 2016.

Today (at the time I originally started writing this...) I started my new job at a awesome company for an awesome brand. It's very early days yet but after such  horrid time, I'm pretty happy. I haven't really had time to process it all just yet though. I finished my last Freelance gig the Friday before I started and performed in a concert on the Saturday. I have had so much to occupy my brain that all of this doesn't seem quite real yet.

I'm not the only one who is adamant that 2016 has been the actual worst. While working through it, I've realised some of the most important things to help get you through it.

1. TALK TO PEOPLE

This might sound bloody obvious but at the same time, I have a tendency to lock things away when I'm sad. I don't like being a burden on others but I also needed a shoulder to cry on. I dropped in and out of group chats, wouldn't talk to people for days and even didn't speak to my parents properly for a while. This is silly and makes things worse. Unless you get things out in the open, you might just explode.

2. It's OK to cry

Kinda connected to point numero uno but still valid. You hold things in, you go bang. My breaking point when was when I left a pair of headphones on the tube. I had spent so long holding everything in that I eventually just sapped over the tiniest thing and spent the 40 minute tube journey in silent tears before I had signal  to call my boyfriend and sob hysterically. Cry when you need to otherwise your tipping point could be when you've dropped your favourite mug or are out of bubble bath.

3. Don't stop doing what you enjoy

It might seem to be the easiest thing at the time. Cancelling plans or projects just so you can wallow in  onesie watching Jeremy Kyle but eventually it takes its toll. Sure, Jeremy Kyle is great and all that and can occasionally make you feel better... but at the same time, you need your hobbies and friends to keep your brain occupied. I stopped writing and cancelled on friends left right and centre. It took a while for me to realise that this was making me even unhappier especially when I had to make a point of going to the local coffee shop JUST so I could have some variety of interaction with a human.


4. Get out

Make little plans during the day that are easy. Even if it's:


  • 1:00 - Go and get coffee
  • 4:00 - Go to the shop to get food for dinner
  • 6:00 - Go and meet (X) from the station
You need to clear those cobwebs.

5. Enjoy the silly things

Watch bad movies, listen to Disney Soundtracks, read that book you love for the 10,000th time... Whatever makes you smile, bloody well do it.

6. Remember, it's going to be OK

Cliche and all that but it will be. It may take time. But these 5 little things do help you along the way. I promise. 



Monday, 4 July 2016

Hot Yoga with Fitness First for Yoga Day

Hot Yoga Fitness First

I have never really been an exercise person. I have tried it, I have tried running. I have also signed up to a gym once, went three times and kept paying for two years because I was too ashamed to tell them I wanted to cancel... such a failure.

Yoga, however, is something I can get on board with. I had never been to a lesson before but used to frequently do Yoga With Adrienne at home, Yoga for weight loss with Charlie when we lived together, and even a bunch of routines on the XBox Kinect. I've always been too nervous to go to an actual class in case I get laughed at.

Recently though, Fitness First invited me to attend one of their Hot Yoga classes. They're the only gym to have Hot Yoga as a complete package with your membership, rather than having to spend extra elsewhere. Not only did we get to explore the gym and learn more about Fitness First, but we also learnt more about Hot Yoga. I used to just think Hot Yoga = Bikram Yoga. Apparently not and when I heard how much work Bikram Yoga involved (and the fact it's a lot hotter), I'm glad we weren't doing that.

Group shot before the exercise. Left to right: Emma, Charlie, Me, Leanne, Amanda, Viki
Now. Before I go into the whole exercise part. Just look at how happy/slightly awkward we are. It was also the first time I had seen Charlie in 3 months so obviously we went for a beer beforehand... probably not the best idea but whatever.

So, after I broke the lock to my locker 5 minutes after getting it and taking my friendship with everyone one step further by letting them all see me in my pants... it was time for yoga.

Hot Yoga does exactly what it says on the tin. It's really bloody hot in that room... smells kind of like mint... and you also go through periods you're so hot that you start thinking 'oh my god, this is never going to end'.

Hot Yoga Class Fitness First


We only had a 45 minute lesson consisting of some pretty 'basic' positions, but by 'basic', I obviously couldn't do half of them properly and Emma put the rest of us to shame. Her boyfriend is lucky...

I was bloody awful. I used to do gymnastics when I was younger so you'd think I would be good at it but Christ no. I have no upper body strength to planking was ridiculous I'm not exactly 'bendy' anymore so the idea of getting a leg over my head is simply laughable and I cannot balance. Standing on one leg is a serious problem

BUT I HAD FUN!

I actually left feeling good, but tired and, unlike all the other times I have done Yoga, I haven't woken up in pain the next day, struggling to deal with stairs. It must be that whole 'hot' thing or maybe because there was someone to tell me what to do.

Hot Yoga isn't for everyone, kind of like any other kind of exercise, but I do recommend it. As I managed to bag some free passes at the event, I'll be looking into going back with Charlie at some point. There's no way I'd be able to do it on my own.

Have you ever tried hot yoga?




*Fitness First invited me to attend one of their lessons for free but all views on the experience and self-deprecating remarks are all my own.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Breaking Barriers - Invisible illnesses and disabilites (opinion piece)


Not too long ago, I wrote a post about having an invisible illness. I have Epilepsy, as I'm sure you know by now, but invisible illnesses and disabilities come in a variety of forms and each will come with its own barrier.

One friend in particular has chronic asthma and has to take steroids twice a week. She was at work one day and was coughing, someone turned to her and said 'that cough is the reason you are single'. Some people tend to be more understanding to people with physical disabilities and problems with mobility because that's what people understand but this is a situation we need to nip in the bud.

There are plenty of companies and charities working hard to improve the everyday lives of people with disabilities. People like Premier Bathrooms are working to make mobility easier at home (dude, I want one of those showers and I'm not even lying), There are Disabled Access Awareness Day and I've even seen bloggers pushing on social media how stigma is not OK and then the public have all pulled together to get them new wheelchairs and more.

With the invisible disabilities, there's a lot more to be done though. As can be seen, a friend was mistreated/mocked for having asthma (5.4 million people in the UK have it... so, what the hell?) so just imagine what it's like for people with Crohn's disease. People don't know enough about it to even be remotely understanding. People assume that any disability comes with a wheelchair in tow which is just not the case.

It's a matter of education. One of the best things I did was reach out on social media. Ask people to ask me questions about my illness and educate them in a way that's not facts, figures and scary medical terms. I did the same thing at a previous job rather than just give them a load of paper work to look through,

It's always going to be hard to help people understand something they're not exposed to in every day life. You can occasionally see people looking on with pity or have ridiculous comments passed in your direction. But when we work together, we can stamp these stigmas out all together.

Have you ever received any stigma/negative treatment as a result of a disability?



*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Premier Bathrooms. All views are my own and I genuinely want one of those showers. They look bloody amazing.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Breaking Barriers - what does it mean to be 'old'



A member of my family is recently going through chemotherapy. It hurts but it's also made me open my eyes to who is considered as 'old' or 'elderly'. If you speak to young children, they'll probably tell you people in their thirties are 'old' (even now I sometimes think the same thing... but only because I'm getting there myself and my twenties seem like they're flying past), but my grandparents are in their sixties. I used to think that was 'old' but mostly because that's the association people have with grandparents. Mine are still young and are flourishing. Unlike others. People and companies like Bathing Solutions have recently put together a campaign on this very theme.

Recently there have been stories going round social media about the older generation doing things that some of us wouldn't even think of. It's got me thinking what I would like to be old. There are yoga instructors in their 90s, 80 year old women taking there first class and even (in a funnier way), a 79 year old woman 'went missing' because she just decided to get her first tattoo one day. I mean, why the hell not?

Iris Apfel News Week
Image Source: News Week
Iris Apfel is who I want to be like.

She's well into her 90s but can live like she's in her 20s. She is a fashion icon and a true inspiration to women the world over. I think so anyway. The woman is an absolute hero and has reached a point where nothing has got in her way.

Also, there's Maggie Smith.

Professor McGonagall maggie smith

We all know she's an absolute hero. She's strong in literally everything she does. And look at her in Harry Potter. She had cancer while filming but like the true Gryffindor she is, she didn't let it get in her way and carried on filming.

Obviously these people are both celebrities and being older is different to everyone but if I could be a weird combination of these two women when I'm older, I'll be happy.

I'll own the world and won't let ANYTHING get in my way.

What do you think you'll be like when you're older?



*This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bathing Solutions and their 'Breaking Barriers' campaign

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Royal Ascot: Wine, horses and pretty dresses



So, these pictures were plastered all over my Instagram so #SorryNotSorry for doubling up but I'm still so happy that I finally got to go to Royal Ascot... and my outfit was awesome.

Ascot has always fascinated me in some way. It can be considered as the height of British Fashion and with over 300 years of History, it's always been on my bucket list.

Appletiser invited me to be a guest of theirs and I was VERY excited about it all. I foolishly turned down the Queen Anne Enclosure tickets so some friends and I could be together but the Windsor Enclosure was equally as fun, plus we didn't have to stick to a much stricter dress code!


In typical 'me' fashion. The first thing my friend Frankie and I did was head straight to the bar... after swapping into our heels from our 'emergency flats'. Seriously, thank god we took some!


Yeah to buying all the bottles of wine.

When it came to my outfit. It was seriously stressful. As I mentioned, I feel that Ascot is of significant importance to Fashion so I couldn't make a half arsed attempt, even if I was 'slumming' it with the Riff Raff (LOL, I don't mean it).

I was stressing about it and decided the only option would be to buy something new. Turns out I was too lazy and the idea of facing Oxford Street after work would have been far too much effort. I ended up doing a (slightly drunken) dash to Accessorize to buy some variety of head device and hope one of my many dresses would go with it/was clean.

One dress went with it... but it did have a wine stain on it. Whatever.

Totally hiding the wine stain with my bag...

You've all probably seen this dress before as it was my 'dancing dress' from my cousin's wedding a few years ago but it's always good to get a good few uses out of something. Plus, it's blue and went with the fascinator.

In hindsight, we probably should have arrived earlier (my fault, I was faffing all morning... and slightly hungover) because when we got there, there was, like, nowhere to sit. We hovered near the bar for a while but when we decided to venture down to the race course to have a look, i started properly kicking myself for not accepting the Queen Anne tickets. All the tables were taken and every patch of grass had someone else's picnic blanket spread over it

BUT IT WAS OK! We found my other friend Rosanna who had managed to bag a SINGLE chair... but at least we had a table for our booze!


We weren't exactly front row but we could see well enough as there were screens everywhere and we could see the horses speeding past too so we were all good. I was mostly a massive ball of excitement when the Queen showed up. I love that woman.

We did the bet thing, with absolutely no god damn clue what we were doing. Originally we were going to bet onn horses that had the most ridiculous names but after speaking to my boyfriend and Grampy, we ended on a compromise; A horse with a stupid name + some decent odds = Cunco,

I didn't win.

Oh well.

Lack of winnings aside Ascot was awesome and I CANNOT thank Appletiser enough for the tickets. I got to spend the day with awesome people, wear awesome clothes and basically have the most fun I have had in a while.

Frankie and I plan on going back next year... we'll just see whether that will actually happen!!

Have you ever been to Ascot?




*Tickets were given to me for free by Appletiser but a blog post was not a requirement. They gave me the tickets so I could have a bloody good day. I did, so I wrote about it anyway.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Saving for the future



Life is expensive. Like, very expensive. I remember days when I was younger and I thought £100 was a lot of money but now I cry bitter tears when I see that's all I have left, especially when I see half my salary disappear every month to cover things like rent and bills.

I don't make things any better for myself either though. Some months/weeks this year I have pretty much been living hand to mouth, wondering how life and the the things I enjoy can cost so damn much.

This year, I had tickets to Glastonbury but cancelled. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the two main ones are:

1. I didn't want to spend £200 to see Coldplay. Just no.
2. I couldn't guarantee I could actually afford to be there. Festivals cost a hell of a lot even after you've handed over the ticket money. UK Credit have put together an interesting article that shows just how and why.

Like many people, I have dreams to buy a house in the future but I also want to see a lot of the world. Next year we have plans to go to Mexico and have two 30th Birthday Celebrations to sort out (hopefully New York AND California). That's some serious pennies.

I don't have any grand plans to save thousands every month. It's just not possible in London unless you're earning a ridiculous salary. Which I'm not. HOWEVER, I don have some variety of plan to sort my life out and save for these things without living in poverty (yeah, I know that's an exaggeration). I have rambled on about something similar in the past, but this time I am determined,

Step 1 - Cancun

After looking at flights and the resort we'll be staying at (boom for friends with timeshare), it turns out it's not going to be as expensive as I thought it would be. I'll only have to save £1000 to cover flights, accommodation and spending money and as we're not going until 2017, that means I only need to save £50 a month. Achievable.

Step 2 - 30th Birthday Celebrations

The main thing here is that they will be happening one month after the other. My best friend's birthday is in September and mine is in October. FORTUNATELY it won't be a thing until 2018 which means serious saving time. 

I haven't looked into the costs or logistics JUST yet but think if I can pop away £100 per month over the next two years, that should definitely be enough. It might be difficult saving £150 per month as I'm not exactly on the highest salary in the world, but as they're actual goals, I'm sure I can make myself do it.

Step 3 - Get a house

I am determined to not be stuck in generation rent for the rest of my life. I have decided that it's just not going to be a thing. 

My aim is to have saved enough for a deposit within 5 years. As long as schemes like Help to Buy still exist by them, it may be possible especially considering there are two incomes. 

I have no idea where to start with this one as house prices fluctuate and I have no idea where I plan on being in 5 years time. At least I have finally reached a point of determination rather than wallowing in my misery.

Saving is always hard, especially when you live in London, but as long as you can set some realistic goals rather than jumping on trends, you will get there.

Are you saving money for anything fun?




*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with UK Credit but I was going to write something like anyway. All plans are my own and I'm actually doing these things.

Friday, 24 June 2016

That time I went camping.

camping in Brighton


I love camping. Well, the only time I have ever been camping is at festivals. I'm not sure if that 100% counts but in my head it does. You're sleeping in a tent, after all.

Recently, a pair of my boyfriends's best friends have got engaged. This is all very exciting and a decision was made for all of us to spend a weekend doing something and camping was clearly the answer.

Now, let me make one thing VERY clear. I was very excited about this up until the moment I got to Victoria Station. Where all the trains were cancelled. I was going somewhere I had never been before. No one wanted to help me (I asked 5 different people and tweeted National Rail in anger), and I cried. Like, actual silent sobs that didn't seem to stop.

I got there though. And was rewarded for dealing with a traumatic journey with beer and tapas. Much better.

camping in Brighton

Our campsite, Housedean Farm, was beautiful and very quiet. Each pitch had a barbecue pit and I swear to God that the onsite showers are better than my one at home. All in all, a five star review for Housedean Farm campsite!!

It wasn't the actual camping part that I struggled with though... it was the fitness element and nature.

On our second day (technically first for me because of the travel drama), we went for a bike ride. I love riding a bike. I used to cycle to and from work every day until I wasn't allowed to anymore. I thought this would be a nice relaxing bike ride to the beach or something. Turns out it was mountain biking and I nearly died. Plus, swallowing flies, nearly falling off a bike and splitting the tyre AND getting stuck in field with angry cows is NOT the one.

Bike Hire Brighton
This is my really unimpressed cycling face...
To be fair, it was stunning, especially when we reached the top of Devil's Dyke, had a well deserved pint and admired the views. Just look at this:

camping in Brighton

camping in Brighton

The sky may be all grey and stuff, but it's still lovely. Plus, BUTTERCUPS. Maybe the 20km there was worth it in the end, who knows!!

On top of that, I had to be rescued by Gary from a Daddy Long-Legs in the tent, run away from bees and was highly annoyed when I trod is cow AND sheep poo. So pleasant.

I realised that as fun as the whole weekend was (really, it was), I'm definitely a city girl. I can't even deal with a house spider let alone the risk that they'll have snuck into my tent while I sleep. Also, having your air bed burst on the first day is really not the most helpful thing in the world. Sleeping on the cold, hard ground well and truly sucks metaphorical balls.

To me, camping is mostly getting drunk around a campfire after seeing a bunch of awesome bands on stage but maybe I'll up my camping game next time and won't be as useless... hopefully.