Showing posts from January, 2017

Rent, St James Theatre

Rent has officially taken the top spot: best performance of a musical I have ever seen.

To put that into context, I averaged more than one a month in 2016 alone - I have seen an awful lot of shows in my 24 years!

The current touring production of Rent, which I saw during its London run at the St James Theatre, is truly outstanding.

I was slightly apprehensive before the show simply because I love the musical so, so much and have waited so many years to see it live. I was worried my expectations might be a little TOO high.

There was nothing at all to worry about.

We were on the front row, which for a show of this intensity was really quite incredible. We were almost under the feet of the actors, and right up close in their emotional moments. It takes a particular kind of skill, I think, to act in such an intimate setting. When your audience is inches away from you, you can't let things slip for a second.
It was incredible especially in the bigger group numbers to be watching the ca…

Book Challenge 2017: My Picks

In her thank you card after Christmas, my Auntie included a sheet of A4 describing the 2017 Book Challenge, which had been circulated by one of her colleagues.

I'm not sure who originally put the list together, but I'm taking up the challenge and reading a book per month, each based on one of the twelve categories. I do read a lot more than one book a month, but this will be a great way to get me picking some things I might not normally have come across.

The best way to kick this off seemed to be to choose my twelve books. I won't necessarily read them in the order shown below, but I thought I'd share them to hold myself accountable. I'll then share my thoughts each month on whichever book it is I've read.

My choices:

A book written by an author with the same initials as you
The Sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt

A book recommended by a friend (by my friend Jenny, in fact)
American Gods, Neil Gaiman

A non-fiction book based on a popular or topical subject

La La Land

Like many, I was so excited about the release of La La Land, and finally went to see it last week.

Telling the story of Mia, an aspiring actress and Sebastian, a jazz pianist, it's a beautiful story about love, dreams and the hard work that goes into making something of yourself.

I have to admit that the first scene had me a bit worried. While I love the thought of people breaking into song and dance in a traffic jam, something about that opening number didn't sit quite right for me. I felt like the choreography was really at odds with the song, and the sound levels sounded not quite right, with the voices sort of getting lost in the instrumental. I didn't find it particularly easy to hear the words, and that made the scene feel quite long.

From that moment on, though, I was sold.

The overall look of the film is absolutely stunning. The colours are faded yet bright, and it really has that nostalgic feel of the old Hollywood movies. I'd also quite like to channel Emma S…

The Recipe Post #8: Meatballs with Feta

Recently, I've been getting into cooking again and have been trying to test out new recipes regularly. So it seems only right that some of these recipe posts return to the blog!

Last week I took inspiration from Joe Wicks' first 'Lean in 15' cookbook, planning to make the 'Turkey Meatballs with Feta'.

Joe's recipe, I suppose for speed, called for ready made turkey meatballs, of which there were none in the supermarkets near home, so I adapted the recipe with beef meatballs.

After (mostly) cooking the meatballs - beef of course needed more cooking time than the turkey meatballs would have done - I chopped red onion, yellow pepper, green pepper and courgette. 
Into the pan they went, and were joined by the beef brisket meatballs.
Once the veggies were beginning to get to tender, I added a tin of chopped tomatoes and let it all simmer.
We actually made some sweet potato fries to accompany the meal, as it was to stretch between three of us (I doubled the recipe…

Kitty and Max's 21st: Photo diary

Last night, my baby sister and her boyfriend had a joint 21st birthday party.

I thought I'd share a few photos of what came together to be an amazing night.

They had uni friends, friends from home and family, and it turns out multiple, simultaneous games of beer pong is the way to unite the age groups. Who knew?!

After drinks and speeches in the hall, there was a main meal of Thai Green Curry or Terriyaki Beef, and then the marquee was equipped with beer pong tables and a dancefloor.

Kitty, Max and both sets of parents pulled off a great night, and they all seemed pretty happy about it!

Happy birthday, you crazy pair, I hope you're not feeling too bad today ;)

Re-reading and watching Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling. I wonder if she ever realised what a phenomenon that little boy with the lightening scar and his stories would become. 
The first book came out when I was about 6 or 7, so I’m of the generation who well and truly grew up with the Harry Potter books and then the films.
But what is it about the wizarding world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter that still keeps us so captivated?
I don’t have the answer, but I felt the need to put down here just how much I love the books and (although to a lesser extent) the films.
They formed such a huge part of my fictional world as I grew up, and the anticipation for each new book was huge.
I have all the books sitting on a shelf back at my parents’ house, the final few particularly special due to the little birthday messages from my lovely grandad in the front who always used to encourage my love of reading.
I guess the point of this post was that I realised over the last few months that none of my love for the Harry Potter series has dwind…

Dreams and Nightmares

I’ve been thinking more about them since an episode of The Odd Pear podcast a good few months ago (listen if you don’t, it always leaves me in a good mood!)
They were chatting about the point of dreams, the meaning of dreams and the fact they’d love to understand more.
Dreams regularly leave me completely baffled and maybe I should start recording them… although I think I’d start reading too much into them.
I only remember my dreams for a short time after I’ve woken up, but in that time they're all I think about.
Nightmares are the worst.
I don’t remember having them too often when I was little, apart from a recurring one where I was having a picnic with my pet rabbit in a forest and a fox appeared (don’t ask!)
However, in the last few years I’ve had them much more regularly.
I guess you could put it down to pressure and stress, probably in some ways related to my anxiety and just being busy.
The very worst are the teeth nightmares. I’m not going to describe them but they…

I Don't Drink: An Update

I wrote a post almost four years ago about the fact I don’t drink.
I think it’s less unusual now than it was then.
Times are changing in the world of health, food and drink, and I’m no longer greeted with the same level of shock when I say I don’t drink alcohol.
I think a part of it is also because I’m no longer at university, a bubble where such a big part of the culture is nights out.
I’ve never drunk, and I don’t plan on changing that.
I still go out. I still enjoy myself, I’m happy being around others who are drinking. I’m just not interested myself.
There are so many reasons why I don’t drink, or maybe why I didn’t start when I was younger.
Now, at 24, the reason is simply that I never have, and I don’t regret that.
I can see the appeal of a glass of wine with a meal, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
I should make it clear that I’m in no way an adventurous person when it comes to drinks in general.
I drink water most of the time, occasionally apple juice, orange juice, cra…

The Reading List #42

It's been a while, but here we are with a fresh reading list post!

I can’t believe this is Reading List #42 – there are so many mini-reviews up on here now. The latest four reviews cover fiction and non-fiction, and each of them really impressed me.

Elephant Song, Wilbur Smith

In Chiwewe National Park, Zimbabwe, TV naturalist Dr Daniel Armstrong films the slaughter of an elephant herd. In London, anthropologist Kelly Kinnear is caught up in confrontation with a powerful conglomerate warning them of imminent danger in Zimbabwe. Armstrong and Kinnear form an alliance in an attempt to fight greed and corruption.
This was beautiful. The characters’ passion for the land and the cause was clear, and the way both the beauty and the terror of the country are described in juxtaposition with one another is fantastic. I found myself totally immersed in their world, and the plot itself was fast-paced.
Stop Thinking, Start Living, Richard Carlson

This was recommended to me by my GP when I very fist …

Doing something that scares me

Today I'm doing something I'm really scared about.

Making appointments for something I'm really scared about.

This year will be the year I truly get on top of my anxiety.

I've written about it to some extent on here, and those around me know it's been having an impact on my life for far too long now.

At the moment I'm spending time making decisions that are all about looking after myself and taking those positive steps.

Will these calls today solve everything I've been going through?

Of course not.

But they're a step in helping to work through something I've been finding really tough.

The little steps all matter.

Come on 2017, we're in this together.

Online Overwhelm

I’ve got a bad habit when it comes to the online world.
I’m a hoarder.
I’ve spoken before about my relationship to excess ‘stuff’.
I think my online life is the same.
We look at so much regularly – various social media accounts, email accounts and websites – via laptops, phones, tablets…
There’s so much information and entertainment out there, how do you know when to stop?
There’s so much to consume and to learn and to read.
I’m a serial bookmarker.
Pressing that little star at the top of the browser is so easy.
I’ve got so many things to read later.
And the list build and builds.
Every now and then I have to set aside actual time to go through and digest some of the things I’ve been saving.
The problem is, there are some really great things on the internet.
So many articles, recipes, so much advice, so many ideas.
I subscribe to the newsletters of so many amazing people, all of whom share the work of other amazing people.
Sometimes my inbox alone could leave me with so much to read …

It's been a while

Happy 2017!
It's been quiet on this little blog for a large part of 2016 - it's been quite a year.
I've had some of my very happiest moments and some of my very hardest, and the last six months in particular have been challenging. 
But not challenges I can't beat.
One of my resolutions going into the new year is to write more. Whether it's here, in journals, in emails, or just to keep on my laptop.
When I write, I can work through how I'm feeling. I can focus in a way I can't during any other activity, and shut out more of the anxiety.
So I need to do more of that again.
That's just one of a few positive things I want to spend more of my time on in 2017, but it's the one it felt most fitting to share here and now.
However cliche it may be, this year more than ever before I'm so ready for a fresh start with this new year.
Watch this space...