28 May 2016

Goosebumps Alive: Review and Backstage Tour

As you might have seen if you follow me on Instagram, I recently attended a special event with Yelp in The Waterloo Vaults.  The event mixed nostalgia with amazing effects, set pieces and live performers to make a night I won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

Goosebumps Alive takes on the challenge of recreating some of the things we loved about the original Goosebumps books and TV series that are so well loved by many of us and presenting them in a new and original way.

The setting of The Vaults is perfect for this performance/maze as you wind you way through the various rooms and corridors!  There are 4 different story lines here so the repeatability factor of this attraction is high.  Once you are put with your group you will be transported to different rooms, each telling a different story inspired by a Goosebumps classic.

What struck me the most about this attraction was the costume, set design and impressiveness. Frankly it’s stunning!  Each room has been transformed into something completely new, where no detail is too small.  You are completely transported along with the sites, sounds and actions. Suddenly, you will find yourself in the middle of the action, being accosted by a giant bigger than you’ve ever seen, or having a rather interesting intimate experience in a lift, or in the middle of a tent based horror…

We were lucky enough to be invited to a backstage tour after we were done with our respective shows, and it was fascinating to get a peek 'behind the curtain'.   The timing and precision of the movement between the complex labyrinth or rooms, actors, set up and scenery, was almost unbelievable and unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Especially when I found out there were up to 22 performances a day.  As an ex-technical theatre professional, I was beyond impressed at how smooth everything ran!  It really helped keep you in 'the zone'.

It’s really hard to talk about this performance without giving stuff away, but you really must go and see it for yourself before it closes on the 5th of June, it’s an experience you won’t be forgetting anytime soon! Be prepared for the unexpected in every sense…

25 May 2016

OOTD: Autumn in Spring

Back in February I was on the hunt for a christening outfit.  I knew I wanted something vintage inspired but without too much of a ‘spring’ feel, as it was in the Lake District and therefore basically still in the depths of mid-winter (I thought light colours could look a little off).  I looked online, but never found anything I loved the look of, so I paired a couple of things I already owned to make an outfit I ended up loving! It just goes to show we should look in our wardrobes more instead of assuming we always need something new (I am very guilty of this!)
Hat- Vintage store
Hair clip- Sink or Swim Bowtique
Faux Fur Shaul- Jules
Necklace- Charity shop
Broach- Luxulite
Top-Lindy Bop
Belt- Lindy Bop (from a different dress)
Skirt- Collectif
Shoes- Debenhams

I started off with this Collectif skirt, which is one of my absolute favourites at the moment. It’s comfortable, goes with everything and it's tartan! I added the Lindy Bop top which I got in the sale, I think the colours go together well. The material of the top is stretchy and lightweight, and the cross over top is quite flattering.  I finished off this look with my Luxulite brooch for a touch of lighter colour.

I didn’t have much time to do anything with my hair so I paired the hat with this Sink or Swim Bowtique leaf hair clip, which made my straight hair more interesting.  Unfortunately I haven't yet been able to master vintage styles with my thick, poker straight hair.  The hair clip screams autumn, but I love how the colours go with my orange hair.

Lastly, I finished it off with these patent red shoes and faux fur shawl to glam it up a bit.  I grabbed the belt from a different Lindy Bop dress I haven't worn much yet.

Overall I kind of liked how this turned out, even if it is a bit out of touch with the season.  It's smart and appropriate enough for a family occasion while still having an element of fun.

Are you any good with seasonal wardrobes?  Or do you just wear different tights like I'm guilty of!

19 May 2016

Disney Princess Tag

When is the last time I did a tag? I honestly have no idea, but it's been a while so let's have some fun. In case you don't know, I am a Disney fanatic, and particularly obsessed with Disney World, and I'm heading over there in October. The excitement is building so I thought it's high time for a Disney tag! Amy of Cocktails in Teacups (who I will be going to WDW with) tagged me in this a few weeks ago so I'll give it a try. Although confession time though, Princesses aren't my favourite part of Disney, so this might be a struggle...

1. Which Princess do you like the least?

There isn't a Princess that I actively dislike, however if I had to pick one it would probably be Aurora. I just feel she's a bit bland as a character and I feel like I 'know' her the least.

2. Which Princess do you adore the most?

Merida, she's freakin' badass! I love that her focus wasn't just getting herself a man, she's got her own thing going on and she sticks up for herself. Plus she's into archery and I miss doing that!

3. Which Princess do you relate to the most?

I'd say Belle, she loves chilling out with a good book, doesn't care about being a little bit different to everyone else and hates creepy men!

4. Which sidekick do you wish you had?
This is hard, Disney has some cute animal side kicks! I think I'd choose Flounder, he's a fun sweetheart and a voice of reason! Meeko also gets a mention for cute cheekiness!

5. Which best friend(s) would you like to hang out with?

I'm struggling to think of their friends, is that different to sidekicks? Is Olaf a best friend? If so totally him, I think he'd be an amazing friend! Although I'd be scared that he'd melt all the time...

6. Which Prince would love you?

I'm going to be honest with you, I know little about the Princes, they all seem pretty similar to me. I remember a lot of people fancying Prince Eric?

7. Which parents would raise you?

Not princess parents but The Aristocats parents, Thomas O'Malley and Dutches.  My mum's regal and my dad's a total tomcat.

8. Which castle do you want to live in?

Can I cheat a little (again) and say Aurora's Castle, but the one from Disneyland Paris? It's so pretty and it has the cutest winding garden to the side...
9. Which dress do you wish to own?

Anna’s coronation dress is a contender, it's so pretty and the fit/colours are just perfect. However for overall dream quality, I'd have to pick the blue-y colour sparkle dress that Ariel wears when she's coming out of the sea.  It's captured my heart since I was a child. I'd love to do it as a cosplay but to do it properly I imagine it would be expensive (hello Swatskovi crystals!).

10. Which voice do you wish you had?

Anna I think, she's got a pretty good voice.

11. Which two Princesses would be best friends?

I like to think they all would be, they could go on big girly holidays or something.
12. Which two Princesses do you think would hate one another?

I think hate is a bit strong, but I can imagine Anna and Elsa arguing like any sisters would!

13. Which two sidekicks would make a good duo?

I can imagine Mushu getting along with most side kicks in his own sassy way, especially Raga.

14. Which two Princes would be best buds?

Again, I don't know enough about them, all of them? Perhaps they could go to the pub or something?

15. Which scene makes you cry?

I don't cry at 'romancy' stuff so to be honest none of them. Now Up on the other hand...
16. What scene makes you cheer?

Basically most of Brave! Also Mulan showing them how it's done.

17. Which movie is your favourite soundtrack?

Frozen's soundtrack is just so catchy, even if that song is overplayed!

18. Which scene makes you cringe the most?

I agree with Amy on this one, I can't think of any cringy scene but Snow White's voice is like nails on a chalkboard!

19. Which story do you wish was your life?

Belle's just for the Library at the end...or Ariel because she's a damn mermaid!

20. Which movie do you love the most?

This is too hard, I guess if I was picking one to watch it would be Brave, The Little Mermaid or Frozen, just for Olaf!  But it changes on a daily basis.

I'm going to tag Leann of Manga and Anime Maniac, Becky of Becky Bedbug and Lissa of Girl at the Rock Show

12 May 2016

My Amazing Solo Birthday

Last Monday I turned the grand old age of 28 and I did something I had never done before.  I spent it completely alone.

Now I know what you're thinking, put the violins away, it honestly wasn't that bad.  It was due to a bunch of not very interesting circumstances including thinking my birthday was a week later than it actually was, my other half needing to go back up north and pack after our last minute flat confirmation and my sister going on holiday.  My boyfriend was actually much more upset about it then I was (I had to beg him not to waste money on a last minute trip back to London, when he was moving here literally days later).  So what do you do when you face a birthday alone?  You make it amazing!

I actually found that it made other people more uncomfortable than it did me.  If someone at work asked what I was doing for my birthday, you could see them panic and try and reassure me when I told them I was planning to do stuff alone. The truth is I've never minded spending time on my own much anyway, in fact there are plenty of activities I prefer to do alone.  If you are going to spend a birthday alone anywhere in the world, London is a pretty good place to do it, so here's what I got up to:
Got Dressed up

Unfortunately I have no good pictures, the downside of being on my own was that I had no one to take photographs, but I might recreate this outfit on the blog at some point.  Wearing clothes that make me feel confident always puts me in the best mood for any day so I decided to not be lazy and put some effort into my clothes.  This skirt from banned is currently one of my favourite things ever, and I managed to wear a pettiskirt under it without feeling too silly.  This hat wasn't a great match to be honest but I needed something to hide my messy hair.  Along with my Banned bag and Collectif shirt and jacket, It came together quite well.  I even got compliments from strangers, always a rarity in London!
Had a 'Good Hour' message at the Lush Spa, Oxford Street

If you've followed my blog for a while you know that having a treatment at a Lush Spa has been on my bucket list for a while.  So I figured if I was going to push the boat out and treat myself, now would be the time to do it!  It was pretty last minute when I asked if I could get an appointment, and they were fully booked but as it was my birthday they said they'd see what they could do.  I got a call the day before my birthday to say they could fit me in, birthday=made!  I had the 'Good Hour' massage which involves dry ice, sea chanteys and rum among other things.  It was a bit painful handing over £90 at the start but boy was it worth it, it blew every other spa experience I've had out of the water.  I'm thinking of doing a full treatment review on here, let me know if you'd want to see that.
Went to the Undressed: 350 Years of Underwear in Fashion exhibition at the V&A

This was an exhibition I had been eagerly awaiting to arrive in London, it fits in well with my love of vintage clothing, and an exhibition is the perfect thing to do alone.  This takes you right through from the late 1800's to the modern day, including the personal highlight of some incredible Dita Von Tease show wear.  There are some spectacular garments here, and it's amazing what we put ourselves through in the name of fashion, especially us women!  I don't mind a corset and some suspenders every now and then but you can keep the back breaking S-Bend corset thank you very much!

Ended the Day in the Theatre, seeing People, Places and Things.

I had intended to take myself out for a cocktail or two before but by the time I left the V&A the weather had taken a nasty turn and I had gotten soaked, so I traded the cocktails in for a nap at home.  I am so rock and roll!  I dragged myself out of bed to see People, Places and Things at the Leicester Square theatre, which I knew little about but I'd heard good things.  Honestly, this play is brilliant, it's about a woman in rehab and the staging, direction and performances are all amazing.  It strikes the fine line between heart-wrenching and funny, I seriously recommend it to drama lovers out there.  I also happened to run into Tim Minchin in the foyer before the show (also alone, clearly that's how the best people see West End shows!)

The only thing I didn't manage to do was find somewhere for a good slice of cake, instead, I ended up eating a panini in the rain which was a bit disappointing.  However Harry made me an amazing (and humungous) cake at my 'second birthday'which we celebrated the weekend after, so that made up for it.

How would you spend a solo birthday?

10 May 2016

Nice Nails Baby Sub Bag- Worth it?

If you've been following my blog for a while now you will know I am a bit sceptical when it comes to subscription boxes.  As someone who usually only buys things based on good blog reviews, I don't like the gamble of getting things I won't use.  So when I was contacted to try a new subscription bag, I was doubtful that they could offer anything new.   However, they assured me that it would include high-end brands, bringing some new products to the market for the first time. They also assured me that despite the name of the company, it wouldn't just be nail products as I am rubbish with remembering to do my nails, so I thought why not give it a go.  Unfortunately, I received nothing but nail products, not great for me, but good for some.  I was also informed that each bag would include five beauty products including a voucher, however I only received three.  Here's how they describe the bags:

We are launching our monthly beauty subscription tote bags. This exciting new addition will bring consumers exclusive access to high end beauty brands and products.

Here's what was included in mine:
OPI Ginger Lilly Hand and Body Lotion 30ml- sample size £2.25
Avojuice Skin Quenchers lotions are filled with real, good-for-you, natural extract, Vitamins and antioxidants and an entire menu of soothing, nourishing ingredients designed to give skin a drink of moisture.

Nail Envy Nail Strengthener- 3.75ml- £2.95
O.P.I Original Nail Envy Strengthener is ideal for weak, damaged nails 
OPI Original Nail Envy provides maximum strengthening 
Hydrolysed wheat protein and calcium for harder, longer, stronger, natural nails 
Easy to use.

OPI Mino Rapid Dry Quick Drying Topcoat- 3.75ml-£2.95
Opi Rapidry Top Coat offers quick drying protection for your nails.
Rapidry Top Coat dries to a tough, long-lasting, non-yellowing, high-gloss shine in minutes, preventing smears, smudges and streaks
Perfect for use over coloured nail polishes or as a clear coat over natural nails.
Recommended for fast drying nails with a high-gloss shine.

£20 voucher for Nice Nail's Baby

One month costs £15, and you can get them cheaper the more months you buy in advance.  To be honest I'm pretty disappointed - I was told this would be 'a shopping experience like no other', but really it's just a couple of samples I can pick up for a few pounds each. I'm struggling to see anything special here.  The one plus side is that it's OPI, a really great nail brand with a fabulous reputation, and their full sizes do come with a price tag. The voucher is the biggest plus for me, if you live near Clapham the vouchers will pay for a manicure, and then everything else you get is a bonus.  This is just the first box but if they want to make it work for people further afield, it's going to need some real fine tuning.

How do you feel about subscription boxes?

4 May 2016

Moments: April

I've visited...
Old Trafford Football Stadium-  When in Rome and all that.  While in Manchester for the Funeral For a Friend tour myself and a couple of friends decided to do the stadium tour, as our hotel was nearby.  It's a huge and impressive operation, even if you're not a fan.
Dans Le Noir- The famous 'restaurant in the dark' held a celebratory press night which involved a silent disco and sign language.  Read more about it here.
The Fair- I've not been to a fair in ages and I loved them so much as a kid.  We weren't there long but I ate too many sweets, went on the 2p machines and went on a spinney ride that made me feel sick, so I got the full experience.
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens for St George's Day- There was knight fighting and a Punch and Judy show, you can't get more British then that!
I've read...
Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley- This was a book from work, a children's book about the Tudor court.  I really enjoyed it, and it definitely ventures more onto the YA side than children's.
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell- I got this for a pound as part of World Book Day.  I love Rowell's writing and this was no exception, plus it was about Star Wars!  A very cute short story.
Thatcher Stole My Trousers by Alexei Sayle- The second biography by the famous comedian, this was a bit hit or miss for me but it held some great insights.
Engleby by Sabastian Faulks- I picked this up in a library sale ages ago and only just got around to reading it.  I don't know how I feel about it.  It's a slow burner that's for sure, and while it was intriguing, I thought about giving up on it several times.  However the last 100 pages saved it.
I've seen...
Barnsley FC win the cup!- I was back at Wembley again this month, this time with the majority of my home town in tow.  Barnsley were in the finals for the Johnstone's Paint Cup Trophy (yes that's a real thing) and we won!  This is the third time I've been to Wembley with my football team and the first time we've come away with a win.  It was emotional!
A film at the BFI- My first ever trip to the BFI.  The film was great, it was part of the Flare LGBT film festival about two women going through a breakup.  Unfortunately though I've totally forgotten the name!
Funeral For a Friend's two gigs in Manchester- My first gigs of their finale tour, a different album each night.  I cried, and I cried, and I cried and I cried.  The last ever gigs are in May and I'm simultaneously looking forward to it and completely dreading it. Find out why this band mean so much to me here.
Gayby Baby at The Prince Charles Cinema- This one I actually did remember the name of!  This is a documentary about Australian LGBT couples with children, and it was fascinating.  The children in it were hilarious and so witty!  It was my first time at the Prince Charles and I loved it.  This was the start of their LGBT monthly films and I suggest you all go and support it.

I've played...
Fallout 4- I haven't had the time to play this in months but I had the TV to myself for a few days so I was back on it.  I love this game too much (except when I keep dying and throw a paddy).
Magic Kingdoms- I was so hyped up about this new Disney game but it wasn't what I expected.  It's an iPhone game where you get to run the Magic Kingdom in Disney, but it's nothing more than a low rate Farm Friends time game.  I got addicted to it because I wanted to unlock all the characters, but it was really buggy and caused me endless problems for my phone.  In the end I deleted it a few days ago because it was making my phone unusable.
Mini Golf- Yelp took me to Plonk to check out some mini golf.  I love mini golf and although I was as bad as ever I really enjoyed it, and met some great people.
I've been...
At London Book Fair- It was for work but it was a nice day, I didn't have too many meetings so I got to have a decent wonder around and see what all the other publishers were up to.
Flat hunting/ viewing etc- The big news for me this month is that my other half was offered a job, so he's going to be moving across the country to live with me!  Due to him only being in London for a few days we had a rush on to pick an area, book some viewings and start hunting!  In the end we actually went for the first flat we saw and didn't need to look anymore after the first day.  After some stress we were approved and are now awaiting moving day at the end of May.  I have never lived with someone I've been in a relationship with so it's going to be an adventure!
To the Vintage Car Boot Sale- It was amazing, I could have bought so much!  I came away with a couple of dresses and some jewellery, but I really had to stop myself buying stuff for the flat.  I can't wait until it comes back again!  Oh and the cars were so beautiful!
Made a Yelp Elite!- For those of you that don't know, Yelp is an app where you can review food and attend events to meet people as well as other things.  An elite is what they call 'the best of the best' and I was made one this month!  It happened so much faster then I thought it would and I'm chuffed!  I get access to things like events.
Hosting a Giveaway!- Have you seen it?  There's a £90 handmade bag to be won!
I've eaten...
At the Flavours of Lisbon event- I picked up a few tips but I think my cooking has a long way to go!
Barnsley's New Cocktail bar- I'd heard mixed things, but I have to say I liked it, the town could do with somewhere a bit nicer to drink.
Wahacca- My first experience of this Mexican chain and I was unimpressed, I am yet to find a London Mexican I actually like.
Meat Liquor- A friend of mine from home popped up so I took him here as it is currently my favourite place to eat and I want everyone to try it. Perfect if you like messy food, I am all about the chicken wings!
NY Fold- This is a pizza place that's meant to bring the New York style pizza to London, and they did a good job!  It's pretty cheap too, you can buy by the slice and the staff are all lovely.  I went here for a work birthday and I'd recommend it to anyone.
Secret Brixton- This was a huge project run by Yelp to draw attention to some of the local businesses, we got samples from some amazing places.
Honest Burger- This Brixton gem is a favourite of my brother in law, and I really enjoyed it too.  The staff are also super friendly.
Byron Burger- Are you sensing a theme?  Byron is one of my favourite burger chains but I was left disappointed on this occasion. 
I've hung out with...
Dave at the Ideal Home Show- British Gas were nice enough to send me a couple of tickets to check it out and I used it as an excuse for a catch up with my friend Dave.  I even won my own Wilbur the Penguin and tried out the Oculus Rift.
Dexter and Bella- My boyfriend's brother and his other half were nice enough to put Harry up while we were flat hunting, so the other Saturday I went around and they cooked us a delicious 2-course meal, which we finished off with watching Star Wars. Perfect weekend.
Kaycia- My little sister took me clubbing.  Yep!  It was an experience.

So there you have it for April, what did you get up to?
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