WISHLIST

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Why You Need To Go and See Five Guys Named Moe

Five Guys Named Moe programme

January can always start off as a pretty gloomy month.

Christmas is over for another year, and all the buzz from New Year's Eve has vanished. It's back to the same routine, you're strapped for cash after buying presents and to top it all off the weather is as gloomy as you feel. 

If you're looking for a way to cheer yourself up a bit this January that won't cost you the earth, then how about taking a little trip to the theatre?

As an actor, going to the theatre has always been a thrill, especially when going to watch something completely new to me. 

In December I was lucky enough to go to the theatre 3 times in the space of a few weeks! If you want to know how I got cheap tickets and what other shows I saw, then let me know and I'll be happy to do a post about it.

One of those shows was Five Guys Named Moe

Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre

I had heard of Five Guys Named Moe but never seen it, so when The Corner Shop PR asked if I wanted to go and see it, I couldn't say yes quick enough!

Five Guys Named Moe features some of Louis Jordan's (one of the leading practitioners of early jazz R&B) greatest hits, all of which are toe-tapping, high energy numbers.

There is a loose storyline that puts the music well and truly in the spotlight, about an alcoholic called Nomax who is down on his luck, but when he meets the five guys named Moe they soon help him back onto his feet.

Five Guys Named Moe now has its home at the Marble Arch Theatre, a fab pop-up kitted out just like you've walked into 1940's New Orleans, including a live band above the bar, and delicious cocktails- try the Hurricane if you get the chance as they don't go stingy on the spirits!

The show is set in a theatre-in-the-round, with a ring of the stage going through the audience so you have the action right on your laps.

Now, if you don't like fun, then this show isn't for you. Singing and dancing are obligatory with cabaret style audience participation that ends the first half with a conga line out to the bar. Be aware that if you don't sing when you're told to you may get pulled up onto the stage...

I only knew one of the songs, but it really didn't matter as they are all so catchy that soon everyone knows the words. 

On stage, there is an extremely talented live jazz band, including some amazing solos that had the whole audience watching in awe- especially the trombone player.

The cast are all triple threat (singers, dancers, and actors) stars in their own right- they all have an impeccable bluesy voice that sends tingles down your spine and even though they are all very different they compliment each other beautifully in the harmonies.  

The person who stood out for me was Emile Ruddock who played Eat Moe, whose voice was so smooth and his comedic skills revolving around his love for eating was brilliant. 

Even though the stage was quite small, the cast were still able to perform wonderful dance routines with lots of tricks, flips, and splits along with some soft shuffle thrown in on top of the drinks tables!

Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre

I really had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch Five Guys Named Moe but I left with a huge smile on my face and singing the songs all the way home. 

Five Guys Named Moe is on at the Marble Arch Theatre until 24th March with tickets starting from £10, so make sure you don't miss out!  

ORDER TICKETS

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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017



It's that time again where we all get a bit reflective as the year draws to a close, and rightly so! What better time to look back at your achievements to see how far you've come, and your "not so great" moments so you can learn from them and then lock them away in a box in your mind marked DO NOT TOUCH!

For me, I can happily say that 2017 has been my best year yet. Hands down. No competition. 


Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017


WHY 2017 WAS GREAT

I WENT BACKPACKING AROUND NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTHEAST ASIA 


You are right in thinking that going backpacking was why 2017 was so special for me. Packing your belongings into a backpack and jetting off halfway around the world when you've never travelled further than Europe before is definitely an experience hard to beat. 

It's pretty scary, knowing you are leaving everything you are familiar and comfortable with behind to step on a plane taking you to a completely new (and very far away) country. 

It's really hard to put down into words how amazing this trip really was. 

From hiking around mountains in New Zealand to facing my fear of water and learning to snorkel, and from riding around on the back of a moped in Vietnam to walking with elephants in Thailand, each day was filled with new experiences and people that have turned into wonderful memories.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to travel to these awe-inspiring countries and experience new cultures and religions and could honestly spend hours and hours writing about every single amazing thing that happened. Even it takes me a good few years to get through all the posts and videos I want to create about this trip, I promise you will hear everything. 

I STRENGTHENED NEW FRIENDSHIPS AND REKINDLED OLD ONES


Even though I've lost some people I was really close to over the past few years (more on that a little later), 2017 has been the year of gaining new friendships. There have been some acquaintances that I've known for a while that I can now call close friends, that I may have never gotten close to if it hadn't have been for losing old friendships. 

I also rekindled some old friendships with people I thought I would never speak to again! This was something I definitely didn't see coming, but it came just when I needed it. 

While I feel like I've lost some friends this year, I also feel like I've gained a handful in return, and ending 2017 I know I have a group of wonderful, genuine, loyal group around me.

I GOT MOTIVATED WITH THIS BLOG AND WORKED WITH AMAZING BRANDS


After taking a 5-month sabbatical while travelling, I came back home ready to get back into blogging. It definitely took me a while, but this past month especially I've been creating content I'm super proud of with some amazing brands. 

I've been receiving products from brands that I thought would never work with me in a million years, but I can now proudly say I've worked with the likes of Kat Von D, Next, Bioderma and (very soon) Too Faced! 

I was also given my first press tickets to a West End show, which was an absolute dream come true for me! Keep an eye out for my little write-up of Five Guys Named Moe coming next week...

I WAS NEXT'S BLOGGER OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER


When I received the email congratulating me on becoming Next's Blogger of the Month a couple of weeks ago, I was left speechless for a good couple of minutes. To think that Next, a brand I have loved for a long time, thought that my content was good enough to be their blogger of the month was something I couldn't wrap my head around!




Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

WHAT I LEARNT IN 2017

TRAVELLING FOR A LONG TIME TEACHES YOU SO MUCH


I never thought that when I returned home from backpacking that I would have learnt as much as I did. Here are a couple of things that stood out to me.

Even though I was travelling as part of a couple, I was also very alone in the fact that I had to grow up a lot and learn to become completely independent. I had to make sure we were both healthy, fed and safe for 5 months. We obviously had a huge support network at home that was a phone call away when things did go wrong, but they were all thousands of miles away. We had to learn to handle things in the moment on our own, make decisions and think more with our heads than our hearts. 

I also became more confident in my mind and body. I let a lot of inhibitions melt away, and any nagging anxieties practically disappeared to the point where I could go to breakfast by myself, talk to strangers, make new friends, and make decisions all while sporting a bikini or elephant pants with no makeup on. 

I let go of a lot of things that had been holding me back, as I knew that 99% of the people I would meet, I would never see again. Having this always in the back of my mind definitely allowed me to do and experience more than if I'd been self-conscious.  

I learnt to be kind and compassionate to others. Not everyone that we met on our travels was always nice, but I soon learnt that even politely declining someone trying to sell you something on the street instead of yelling at them to go away meant a lot. Some of the people we met relied on tourism to keep their families fed, and a couple of pounds that you spent buying something from them would feed their family for a week. 

I became more respectful of this beautiful world, and how we can so easily destroy it if we're not careful. Visiting animal sanctuaries and national parks really opened our eyes to how humans can both help and hinder species and habitats, and how some places are exploiting nature to make money off of tourism while other places are actually making a difference in wildlife conservation.

DON'T TAKE TECHNOLOGY ANYWHERE NEAR WATER


This isn't a joke, I'm sorry to say.

After drowning both my cameras in the first week of being in New Zealand, you can imagine I was pretty distraught! I don't come from a wealthy family so these two cameras were items I had saved and saved for a long time and had been so careful with over the years. 

You can imagine how gutted I was when they became completely unusable within the space of a second. If you want to hear more about what happened, feel free to take a little watch of this video from our first week in NZ.

After getting my replacement cameras I have been so careful with them, keeping them in their cases at all times, but that hasn't stopped me from dropping my phone down the toilet. 

Again, I wish this was a joke. 

The moral of the story is: don't keep your phone in your back pocket and forget about it. Also keep any tech at least 3 metres away from any liquids.

SOME FRIENDSHIPS WON'T LAST FOREVER


They say that some friends will come and go, and this has really resonated with me this year. After experiencing something similar with my childhood best friend last year, I was almost numb to the fact that it started happening again with someone else. 

Luckily, this time I noticed it as soon as it started happening. I have succeeded in making sure I don't get walked on or used by people like I used to, and so when this person started to be rude, distant and throwing accusations my way, I wasn't having any of it. 

I was, however, confused. It came really out of the blue, and for a while, I thought, like before, it was just aimed at me. As soon as I heard she was doing it to another of my friends, I made a decision- give her a chance, and then if it continues to be a one-sided friendship, stop trying. 

That's exactly what I did and after talking things through we tried to make it work. But after reaching out and not hearing anything back for a good couple of months, I've decided to stop trying to please.

I feel great about it. I am sad that this person is no longer in my life, but I know as I said before that I have a great group of friends who are loyal and supportive unconditionally. 

I also lost another friend while I was away, and this quick severance really hurt as I was not even in the same country to face it head-on. After ugly and untrue accusations were made and then swiftly deleted on social media about my family and loved ones, they went on to block and delete as many people as they could. 

Even though their hatred had not been targetted directly at me, and as much as I wanted answers as to why they had said the things they had said about my own family, I returned the favour. I unfollowed. 

Even though I know and have learnt that some people will grow out of friendships gradually, it hurts just as much when someone cut the ties of friendship so severely that you're still asking "...why?" many months later. 


Reflecting on 2017



BAG - NEXT* (similar)




Pictures by Lauren

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I really hope 2017 has been an amazing year for you all, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has ever read my blog, liked an Instagram post or watched my Youtube. Your support means more than you all know, big or small, and I look forward to sharing more content with you all in the New Year!

Happy New Year!



Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Last-Minute Stocking Fillers

Last-Minute Stocking Fillers


In our heads, by now we would like to have all presents wrapped and under a perfectly decorated tree, with the house clean, and you're plopped on the sofa guzzling mulled wine watching Elf. 

In reality? 

You're frantically running around like a headless chicken trying to buy all your presents on Christmas Eve. Sound familiar?

I've been in both situations over the years, and however much you'd like to be all organised in plenty of time, life get's in the way and next thing you know it's Christmas on Monday and you've done nothing.

Thanks to the wonder of next day delivery, you can rest easy for a little while longer, so if you're clueless about what last-minute stocking fillers to get your friends and family this Christmas, I've come up with a little selection for you to browse through. 

If you're looking for a present for someone specific, be sure to check out my gift guides for:





ghost sweetheart 30ml gift set


THE PERFUME GIFT SET


Like I mentioned in my friends and sisters gift guide, giving someone a perfume set from their fave brand is an easy way to put a smile on someone's face. You know they're going to like it, and it will keep them stocked up until next year! 

Brands are also starting to add other products to their gift sets aside from shower gel and body lotion, like this Ghost Sweetheart set. This little candle is a great accompaniment to the perfume and will make sure your house is smelling just as lovely as you are. 


bareminerals something to talk apout lip gloss collection


THE MAKEUP COLLECTION


Know a product that your beauty-obsessed pal is desperate to try? Why not get them a little sample collection to play around with! There are so many out there at the moment that include a huge selection of products and colours for every budget. 

For example, the bareMinerals Something To Talk Apout lip gloss collection features 4 mini plumping glosses in (l-r) Golden Glaze, Attention Seeker (which is a brand new shade), Dare Devil and Tantalizer. You can easily pop any of these in your handbag ready for Christmas and New Years parties, and these pigmented long-wearing shades also help make your lips look fuller and plumper ready for all that kissing under the mistletoe...


premier estates wine chilean sauvignon blanc


THE WINE


Need I say more...if all else fails and you're still stumped for ideas, nothing beats a lovely bottle of wine, bubbly or spirit to help keep them merry over the holiday period. 

I'm a huge fan of Premier Estates Wine and recently I've been enjoying their Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, a beautiful dry wine that is deliciously fruity without being too sweet, and is really reasonably priced for a good bottle of wine. This is perfect with fish or chicken, and can we talk about how fab that label is?!




OTHER STOCKING FILLER IDEAS



   

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Hopefully this will give you a couple of ideas for those last minute stocking fillers that you're struggling to get! Be sure to check out my other gift guides for more ideas:





Happy present shopping!



e

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide for the Men Who Are Hard To Buy For

Christmas Gift Guide for the Men Who Are Hard To Buy For

It's crazy to think this is my last group gift guide! There will be one more after this about stocking fillers and last minute presents that will be going up at the end of this week, but this is the final one for a specific category member! It's strange to think that a week ago I was sat surrounded by products trying to figure out how the hell I was going to put this all together.

But I have, and I've loved every minute! I'm also pretty impressed that I've been able to produce 4 blog posts in the space of less than a week when normally I struggle to post once a week at the most. 

Make sure you're all caught up with my other gift guides for friends and sisters, grandmas and mother in lawsmums and last minute stocking fillers.

For me, men have always been really hard to buy for. I've grown up surrounded by picky men, which makes buying them gifts for birthdays or Christmas a right nightmare! This has meant though that I've slowly learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to presents. 

Take a scroll down and see if you pick up any gift ideas for those men in your life that are hard to buy for.


LOUNGEWEAR



One thing that I know is that men love to be comfortable. Doesn't matter what the occasion, if they're not comfortable then they are not happy. Loungewear, in particular, is a great gift to help them feel warm and snug this winter, especially if we get any more snow like we have this week.

next black fleece zip through hoodie

You will obviously have the usual options of loungewear like slippers, pyjamas, and robes, but if you're looking for something a little different, this might be what you're looking for.

This Next fleece hoodie is a great versatile piece that can be worn over PJ's or used to layer when heading outside. It is fleece lined on the inside as well as outside and is one of the softest things I've ever felt. It's basically a furry robe disguised as a hoodie or a teddy bear coat for indoors. Basically a blanket in the shape of clothing. Dreamy.

My dad does a lot of work on the computer, so sitting still in the cold for such a long time isn't the best thing for him, so this hoodie is perfect for when he's working at this time of year.



CHOCOLATE


hotel chocolat a dozen portly penguins chocolate set

I don't need to give this one much explanation; men love chocolate. End of. Well, unless they're allergic to it then maybe this isn't the best choice. 

For those who love chocolate, getting a little quirky set like this one from Hotel Chocolat would put a smile on anyone's face. These little penguins are so cute and taste amazing too. They're also available in the mix and match offer being run where you can buy 3 or more sets for £6 each. If you're looking for some more sets to pick up, check out my mums,  and grandmas and mother in laws gift guides.



BATH AND BODY


Some men are really into their skincare but for those who aren't, a great gift option is bath and body products. As much as they may turn their nose up at skincare, shower gels and aftershaves will always go down a treat as they are things they use already. My boyfriend has actually found products he loves and now uses regularly from Christmas gift sets. 

baylis and harding citrus lime and mint wash bag set

One of the great things about bath and body gift sets is most of the time they will come with a wash bag. Perfect for traveling, showering at the gym or for keeping everything tidy in the bathroom, they don't go unused. 

Baylis and Harding have this great small wash bag set available that comes with a cleansing shower gel and soothing aftershave balm in a vibrant citrus lime and mint scent. They are always spot on with their scents, especially for men, as they normally head towards a lovely mixture of fresh zesty scents with woody undertones like in this set. 


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There's my penultimate Christmas gift guide for men! I hope this may have helped you out in some way with sorting out pressies for those picky men. 

Once more, I want to thank the brands who gifted items for all of these gift guides- I was overwhelmed with the support I got while working on them!

Make sure to check out my other gift guides for:





How's everyone's Christmas present shopping going? Can't believe it's less than two weeks away from the big day...


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