Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A Beauty and Skincare Haul

It's been a while since my last beauty haul so as I've been picking a few bits up here and there over the last few weeks, I thought now was the perfect time for another. I try not to over do it with makeup products and skincare because I just don't have the room at the moment but I felt like my makeup bag was in need of a bit of a refresh and there were a few products I'd had my eyes on for a while.
flatlay - concealer, blush, foundation and nail polish on wooden chopping board. Book to the right

L'oreal Life's A Peach Blush £8.99

I've been wanting the L'oreal Life's A Peach Blush for absolutely ages! It's been a product I've ummed and ahhed over everytime I've seen it in store or when I've spotted it online so I thought it was about time I just grabbed it. I couldn't resist that beautiful packaging and peach scent (yes, it actually smells like peaches!) any longer. I've used it a few times now and I just love it. It gives a warm peachy glow that I think would be flattering for all skin tones, a little goes a long way but it's really buildable. The scent is a bonus, I can't resist anything with peach.
Loreal Lifes A Peach Blusher

Maybelline Fit Concealer £5.99

The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is a re-purchase but it's actually been a long time since I last picked it up. I used to use it all the time but then my skin seemed to improve and I only really used it to cover any blemishes and occasionally under my eyes and once I changed my foundation, the shade I had wasn't suitable anymore. The weather has been playing havoc with my skin though so I thought I'd give it another try and luckily I found the perfect shade this time. Since going back to it, this time I've really noticed the difference it makes and I don't think I'll be going without it again anytime soon. It just adds a bit of brightness under my eyes which is very much needed each morning and I find it somehow makes the rest of my base look better. 

L'oreal True Match Foundation £9.99

I've mentioned the L'oreal True Match Foundation several times on my blog before, I even reviewed it a while ago and compared it to my previous love, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation. It's just brilliant for my skin, it doesn't cling to dry patches, it's quite full coverage which I like and it blends really well. I seem to go through it quite quickly but it's worth it.
Loreal True Match Foundation and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

I Heart Revolution Star Spinners £1.99

I first tried one of the star spinners from I Heart Revolution last year and I really liked using it, it had a gorgeous sweet scent and it was just as impressive as any Lush bath bomb so when I spotted them reduced to just £1.99 instead of £5 I picked up the two in the range which I'd not yet tried - Vanilla Spin and Star Gazer. I've not seen them on the Superdrug site since so I assume it was because they were being discontinued which is a shame but I'm glad I'll have been able to try each one in that case.
I Heart Revolution Star Spinner

Rimmel Rita Ora 60 Seconds Nail Polish, shade Roll In The Grass £2.99

I don't often pick up Rimmel nail polishes anymore. I tend to to stick to my trusty Essie or my new fave Sally Hansen but I couldn't resist the shade Roll In The Grass from the Rita Ora collection. It's not a colour I'd typically go for but it just screams Summer to me so I thought it would be perfect for warmer days. I think this would look especially beautiful on toenails with some pretty sandals to show them off.
Rimmel Roll In The Grass Nail Polish

Zoella Cream Scrub £2

I'd not tried anything from the many Zoella beauty ranges but when picking up some bath bombs I spotted all of her stuff was reduced, massively reduced actually so I decided to grab a few bits, one of them being the Cream Scrub from the Gelato range. I love a body scrub, a good exfoliation makes me feel so fresh and this smells absolutely beautiful. It's not overly sweet which I expected and it's a really decent sized tub so I think it will last me a while.
Zoella Cream Scrub

Original Source Hydrating Water Infusions Shower Gel £2

Omg, this smells incredible! I actually picked this up in Tesco for 99p but it's currently £2 in Boots. I seem to have a stash of shower products for ages and then one day I'll see I'm almost out of all of them so I've been picking a few things like this up here and there recently. There were 4 scents to choose from in the new Water Infusions range but Apple and Melon was my fave out of them all. So fresh and fruity!
Original Source Hydrating Shower Gel
I'd love to know if you've tried any of these products too and what you thought of them. Have you picked any new beauty bits up recently?

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

New From Haribo - Giant Strawbs Gone Mini!*

I am such a sweet fiend. I mean, I love anything savoury too but often I'll be in the mood for something sweet and fizzy, and when the mood takes me, Haribo are always there. You might remember last year I reviewed their Fruit Punch and Fruit Spritzers in the Frenzy range. There aren't many other brands which do such a range - Goldbears, Jelly Babies, Starmix, Tangfastics, Cola Bottles and so many more to choose from. One of my favourites of theirs though is the Giant Strawbs so I was thrilled to receive a little hamper recently full of those and their new Giant Strawbs Gone Mini.
Haribo mini strawbs and giant strawbs in hamper
Yep that's right, you can now get yourself mini strawbs, how cute! Sometimes when I'm in the mood for something sweet, little bags like this are perfect. I like to have things like this in ready to grab when I'm working or just need an afternoon treat so these have been thoroughly enjoyed over the last few weeks. 
Haribo mini strawbs packet held up
Haribo Giant Strawbs Gone Mini may be small but they are big in flavour, absolutely no different to the original. Always in season with a unique chewy texture and long-lasting strawberry taste just in bite-sized pieces this time. If you were wondering, they are suitable for vegetarians too! I think it's great that such an iconic brand like Haribo are expanding their vegetarian options meaning no-one has to miss out.
Haribo mini strawb next to big strawb
You can find Haribo in all supermarkets so if Giant Strawbs are your fave too, keep an eye out for the minis! They'd be perfect for picnics this Summer, road trip snacks or just to enjoy at home. These and some chocolate would be perfect for cuddling up with a film.
Haribo mini strawbs flatlay
What's your favourite from Haribo?

*PR samples

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

4 Tips On Saving For Your Dream Getaway*

I don't know about you, but I personally always like to have some sort of holiday to look forward to. It's not always possible to get something booked as soon as you come back from one of course, money doesn't just appear, but I'm always thinking of the next getaway or weekend break. I find it just gives me something to really look forward to and it massively helps me with motivation. Apart from our honeymoon to Paris and recent seaside break, we tend to opt for 1 or 2 nights away a few times a year either to see a musical or to visit a Christmas market, something along those lines, but that doesn't mean I don't long for a 'proper' break abroad. With the heatwave we're currently experiencing, I'd love nothing more than to be in Greece, in an all-inclusive hotel, with access to a refreshing pool all day and as many ice creams as I could manage.
Pool with a view of the city
With our 10 year anniversary coming up in 2021 (yes I know it's still two years away, but I like to plan) I've been thinking more and more about what we could do to celebrate and for me a week or two away somewhere would be perfect. We're currently ploughing as much as possible into our savings for a deposit on a house so to do that aswell as save for a luxury getaway, I wanted to let you in on a few of my top money saving tips.

Sell, Sell, Sell

I find sites like Ebay and Depop very hit and miss but so many people seem to have huge success with them so they are definitely worth trying out. I've managed to sell lots of home bits online in the past but you can pretty much sell whatever you want. Anything you no longer need that's just lying around, get rid. Any clothes that no longer fit or you don't wear, pass them on so someone else can make use of them. Shoes, books, DVD's, CD's, unused makeup, there is just so much you can sell online. Even if you don't make loads of money this way, that's the stuff gone and extra money put aside that you wouldn't have had before.

Switch Supermarkets

I always notice a massive difference in price when we shop in supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl. I've personally found the quality of the food is just the same as your usual Tesco, Morrisons, Asda etc but for a fraction of the cost. A shop that would cost us £50 in Tesco, we can get for £35 in Aldi so for us it's a no-brainer. Aldi also do salted pretzel chocolate which is out of this world so it's worth going there just for that! Switching supermarkets is such a simple change but can save you a really decent amount each month to put away. One thing I do try to do though is keep on top of my emails as supermarkets like Morrisons will email when they're offering things like double points if you have a Match & More Card so sometimes it does make sense to shop there instead. Once these points add up, you can get yourself a £5 voucher. I also find if shopping in the bigger supermarkets like that though, where I can I'll get the value range as it tends to be just as good as the more expensive ones anyway.

Save The Change

It's easy when you take cash out to use whatever change is left for stuff you don't actually need. I'm sure most of us just use our cards or phones now anyway but when there is spare change, put it away so if you have taken cash out for something, the rest isn't going to waste. Just a few pounds a week really does add up and it's always nice after a long period of time to count how much you've managed without even really noticing. Some banks have now started doing something similar though, that is actually called Save The Change and it's something I highly recommend getting involved in. How it works is that whenever you buy something with your debit card, they'll round up the amount you spent to the nearest pound and transfer the difference into a savings account. So if you spend £2.20 on a coffee, they'll put 80p into your savings. It's a really clever idea that can really build up to a nice amount!

Consider A Loan

If you know you're going to be in a position to pay it off, sometimes a loan is worth considering. Sometimes as holidays get closer we can realise we've not quite saved as much as we wanted or we just want a bit of an extra buffer to feel comfortable while away, so that's where well-established and reputable brands like CashLady come in. They can help you find short-term finance solutions for things like this and they come in handy in case of emergencies too. Whilst loans like this may have higher interest rates, we can't all borrow from friends or family, and sometimes in certain cases, things like this could be the only option. 

Do you have any other money saving tips?

*This post is sponsored by CashLady

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

New From Capsicana - The Ultimate Fajita Kit Review*

If there is one type of food I could have week after week and never get bored, it would always be Mexican. Whether that's fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, nachos or something else, those sorts of meals are always my fave to make and they just scream Saturday night in to me. I always look forward to an evening at the weekend where we have some sort of Mexican feast, stick a film on the TV and just indulge. When it comes to making these meals, I tend to vary between making my own and using kits by various brands and in the past I've turned to Capsicana which you might remember me reviewing if you've been here for a while! We loved their meal kits last time so I was thrilled to receive some of their new range recently - The Ultimate Fajita Kit and The Ultimate Refried Beans, and we wasted no time in putting them to the test.
Capsicana fajita kit and refried beans next to each other
Just in case you've never heard of Capsicana, the company was founded by Ben Jackson. He has become a bit of an expert in the different tastes' chilli gives and he's spent years in the kitchen trying the achieve the best blend of ingredients possible. Therefore Capiscana put the true taste of Latin America on the dinner table in less than half an hour and they now have an array of products for you to choose from that are sure to impress.

So let's get onto the fajitas! I am just obsessed with them so it's a regular contender for the meal plan and anything that can make life a little easier like this kit is always welcome. The Ultimate Fajita Kit (£3.60) contains their award winning Mexican Chilli & Honey Sauce, a Chipotle Chilli Salsa Mix and Tortillas so all you need to add is the chicken, onion, pepper and tomato. Other extras are of course optional and as you can see from the photos below, we like a few sides with ours to jazz them up.
The back of the fajita kit which has the instructions listed
The kit clearly explains how to make the ultimate fajitas and how to prepare the salsa which is always useful. Usually in packets like this, the salsa is ready for you but I liked that this just gives you a little sachet and allows for you to add your own tomatoes aswell as onion or any other seasoning you wish.
mexican salsa in bowl with fresh tomatoes next to it
Whilst our fajita mix was cooking and the tortillas were warming up in the oven, I prepared the refried beans which are genuinely one of my favourite things about fajitas. They do tend to be quite pricey for some reason but fajitas just aren't the same without them! Capsicana's Ultimate Refried Beans (£2.40) heat up in just 90 seconds in the microwave or you can just pop them into a saucepan which is what I did and heat gently to ensure they don't stick. These contain a combination of chipotle, smoked paprika and oregano so the flavour of them was delicious! They were definitely on the sticky side compared to other refried beans we've had in the past but they still went incredibly well with the rest of the meal.
flatlay of food - nachos, refried beans, sour cream, golden rice, tortillas, salsa and chicken
The award winning honey and garlic sauce on the chicken was beautiful. It was smokey but had a subtle sweet hint and just enough spice. It coated the chicken really well and there was more than enough for two of us. We added the chicken to our tortillas with some golden rice, refried beans, sour cream and salsa and they were incredible. So filling and comforting. The perfect meal for a Friday or Saturday night when you just want to chill and eat something hearty.
flatlay of food closeup - refried beans, golden rice, sour cream and chicken
flatlay - closeup - chicken, salsa, fajita kit
Writing this post has just made me want fajitas all over again so I think they'll be going on next weeks shopping list! If you want to try out the Capsicana Fajita Kit and the Refried Beans, you can find them both in Sainsburys. Capsicana also have a new Tomato and Coconut Fajita Kit aswell as an Ultimate Chilli Kit and even Refried Black Beans. I couldn't recommend these kits enough, so I really hope if you spot them, you give them a go!

What's your favourite weekend meal?

*PR Samples

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Monday, 22 July 2019

The Ingredients Of Us by Jennifer Gold Book Review*

I've read so many good books recently, I've been flying through them which is fun for me but not so great for the bank account or shelf space - the stack of books beside my bed is actually out of control at the moment! The last book I read, Gone by Leona Deakin blew me away but that was quite a heavy mystery type thriller so The Ingredients Of Us by Jennifer Gold was a much needed lighthearted read.
Cake on the front cover of book
'Elle, an accomplished baker, has a recipe for every event in her life. But when she discovers her husband's infidelity, she doesn't know what to make of it. Jam, maybe? Definitely jam. Fed up with the stale crumbs of her marriage, Elle revisits past recipes and the events that inspired them. A recipe for scones reminds her of her father's death, cinnamon rolls signify the problematic courtship with her husband, and a batch of chocolate cookies casts Elle in a less-than-flattering light. Looking back, Elle soon realises that some ingredients were missing all along. After confronting her husband, Elle indulges her sweet tooth in other ways, including a rebound that just leaves her more confused. As secrets from the past collide with the conflicts of the present, Elle struggles to manage her bakery business and maintain the relationships most important to her. In piecing her life back together, will Elle learn to take the bitter with the sweet?'

My review

Okay first of all, that cover! I know that's not what books are really about but this would certainly stand out to me in a bookshop, anything with or about cake is a winner for me. The fact that this is so much about baking and how Elle turns to it in hard times was what really caught my attention in the first place. Baking is my favourite hobby, it doesn't matter how I'm feeling, it just makes me feels good so for that reason alone, I felt like I could relate to Elle. She has her own bakery with friend Bonnie which is like my dream, so obviously that takes centre stage throughout and because of that there are actually several recipes throughout which I thought was a nice touch.

I found from the beginning I really liked Elle. Her ambition and love for baking shone through. All of the characters in the book were developed well but Elle in particular, I just grew fond of quickly. I also couldn't help but feel for her when we get into the real nitty gritty and discover husband Tom has been having an affair. From here we go back and forth to the days where their relationship was just starting, Elle's bakery was getting off the ground and when she loses her father. Though it does tend to flit from past to present each chapter, it flows incredibly well and allows for you to discover what's led to their marriage falling apart. It felt very authentic, a realistic look at life and how marriage does need to be worked at over the years.

Whilst from the cover you might assume this is a bit of a girly and fluffy read, I actually found it packed a real emotional punch. Yes, it was lighthearted and there were funny moments between Elle and friends, but to me it was so much more than that. A strong story that deals with loss, betrayal and trust, topics that I'm sure are relatable for so many people. I just loved Jennifer's writing too and it was a book that once I started I just wanted to keep coming back to it. Every opportunity I had, I was reading another chapter. I even like that the ending keeps you guessing too when normally I'd prefer for everything to be rounded off nicely. After everything have Elle and Tom managed to work their way back to one another? I'd love to read more from Jennifer in the future and another book about these particular characters would be wonderful.

The Ingredients Of Us was a really unexpected but enjoyable read and I actually think I'll be going back through it again soon to try out some of the recipes. Warm scones with jam and cream - yes please. I've never found a recipe which gets them just right so maybe this is the one!

Have any books surprised you recently?


*Book was provided via NetGalley 

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Friday, 19 July 2019

My Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe

Who doesn't love a big bowl of pasta? There isn't much else that I find as comforting. We make so many different meals with pasta and one that I've been coming back to recently is this creamy pesto pasta recipe. It contains 6 ingredients and could be made in around 15 minutes if adding no optional extras so it's a perfect choice for midweek.
creamy pesto pasta in bowl with silver cutlery to the side
Ingredients: for 2 people
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1 pepper, diced
300ml chicken stock
160g pasta
4 tsps of red pesto
3 tbsp of Philadelphia (any brand will do)

Method:
1. Weigh out your pasta (If I didn't, I'd make enough to feed 10,000) and add to saucepan with boiling water
2. While your pasta is cooking, use a separate pan to gently fry your diced onion and pepper 
3. When the onions and peppers are soft, pour in 300ml of chicken stock and leave to simmer for 5 minutes
4. Next, add in 4 teaspoons of red pesto to the stock along with 3 tbsp of Philadelphia. Stir well until everything has combined
5. When your pasta is done, drain well and tip into the pesto mix. Give it a good mix and then serve! 
6. We actually added in pork chipolatas too but you could easily throw in extra veggies or maybe chicken or bacon.
creamy pesto pasta in saucepan
This is such a simple meal and it honestly took such a short amount of time to take. It's incredibly filling too which is a bonus!


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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Our First Seaside Break & Bear's First Holiday! - Whitby & More

I'm not quite sure how it's already been over a week since we got home from our little weekend break and Bear's first holiday. It's always the way isn't it, you wait for something for months and then it's over in the blink of an eye. Though to some it may have just been a seaside break (I think sometimes people think if you don't go abroad, it's a bit weird but soz there are so many places I want to see in the UK) for us, it was so special so I wanted to share some of it on my blog to be able to look back on one day.
view of Whitby
Saltwick Bay, Whitby
We started our holiday in Whitby which is somewhere I'd not been in years and years. I still remember so clearly staying there with school one time but since then it's not somewhere we've never really got chance to go to together. After lots and lots of research, I found a lovely little holiday park at Saltwick Bay, pet friendly too, so that's where we stayed and it was brilliant. We got checked in early, they had provided toys, treats and more for Bear, we were literally right next to their own beach, and the shops were so handy. The ice cream there was heavenly. Within an hour of getting there we were down on the beach, the steps will haunt me forever but Bear had the absolute time of his life. I honestly don't think he's ever been so happy, running on the beach for the first time with us and his two uncles who he just adores.
collage - view from Caravan, selfie, Bear in the caravan, view of Whitby
After a chilled evening on the Friday and of course the first lot of fish and chips, Saturday was packed full and it was George and I's 8th anniversary that day too so such a perfect way to celebrate. We started out at Whitby Abbey, another bonus to the holiday park we chose, this was literally just down the road so we got to see it all the time. The weather was perfect each day we were there but on the Saturday especially, we had blue skies so everything just looked even better. We found the 199 steps, Bear tried his first pup friendly ice cream which he wolfed down, there were so many quirky shops and cafes one after the other, and we got the most delicious cakes from Sherlock's which was a place I'd spotted online and was desperate to visit.
199 steps, Whitby
collage of bear on the beach
Whitby Abbey
Bear asleep in the caravan
After seeing so much of Whitby, on the Sunday we decided to venture out to Scarborough for the day. I think I might have been there when I was very young but it was my first time there as an adult and it was gorgeous. We started out at Goathland Station which you might recognise from the Harry Potter films. It was so strange being there after seeing it so many times on the TV, and now I'm just desperate for a Harry Potter day one weekend. We also found places from Heartbeat!
collage - Goathland station, Scarborough, Heartbeat locations, George and Bear
That afternoon Bear had his first proper taste of being off lead on the beach, which was a little risky! He had so much fun, he even tried to run off. He's SO fast despite his little legs but luckily he didn't get too far. It just makes me so happy to watch all of the videos back and look at the photos of him as he really was just in his element. After the most delicious ice cream, we headed to Peasholm Park which was so beautiful. It's an oriental themed park which is just gorgeous to walk around. 
Ice cream at Scarborough
Bear on the beach
Peasholm Park, Scarborough
Our final day after checking out was spent in Bridlington. I've been so many times in the past and I have such lovely memories of Bouncer running along the beach and sitting on the land train so to be back with Bear was so special. I know it's soppy but I felt like it was sort of a way of connecting them as they never met and it was nice to recreate those memories with Bear and do these things again with my own little family. He loved the land train, the wind was blowing in his hair and he was looking fabulous! He got to try some chips aswell, went in the sea and got so much attention from people. I want to go back for the day with him already because it's just so nice there in the Summer.
Bear on the land train, Bridlington
Bridlington beach
After such a nice day in Bridlington we headed home, and now we're back I'm just so sad it's over. We got to see so much in our 4 days, it was some much needed quality time together and Bear really did have the time of his life. I'm already planning where we can go next year!
Whitby holiday park at night
Have you been to any of the places I've mentioned? Let me know if you have any recommendations of UK breaks for us!

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Monday, 15 July 2019

Gone by Leona Deakin Book Review*

You know when you finish a book and just can't stop thinking about it for hours afterwards? Well Gone by Leona Deakin did that to me! In fact I'm still going over it all in my head and I couldn't wait to share my thoughts with you.
book cover
'Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read: YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. DARE TO PLAY? The police aren't worried - it's just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something binds them all. And that something makes them very dangerous indeed. As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people. But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?'

My review

OMG. What do I even say about this book that can do it any justice? I love a thriller, it's a genre I've reviewed many times before on my blog but anything with a psychological element too and I am in so when I read the synopsis of Gone I knew it would be one for me. It's taken a missing person story and flipped it completely.

From the beginning I was captivated by the story and the characters. I was intrigued by Dr Augusta Bloom who despite seeming a little closed off at first, clearly had more about her than just her job and I also loved her friendship with colleague Marcus who almost seemed like the complete opposite to her. I warmed to them both quite quickly. Early on we are also introduced to a young girl called Seraphine who has been involved in a suspicious attack at her school. Augusta is the one to try and figure out Seraphine's involvement and question if there's more to her than she's letting on. This is sort of an underlying story throughout that at times was a little easy to forget about but it gets very interesting towards the end as things start to tie together!

Now onto the game itself which is what starts this whole thing going. What would you do if you received a dare on your birthday? It genuinely makes you question how you would react in that situation and makes you think about your own traits and what sort of person you are. It's so cleverly written and I just love how Leona has taken something that has been written about so many times before and completely switched it up. Despite having lots of characters involved and obviously lots of psychological chat which could have easily been too confusing, it actually flowed incredibly well and I was honestly addicted to it. I got vibes of the film Nerve throughout because of the game and then nearer the end it had a touch of Killing Eve about it which makes for an interesting but brilliant mix!

For a debut novel I think Leona Deakin has proved she's a force to be reckoned with. It's full of suspense, mysterious from the very start and she made me doubt every single character at one point! It touches on some really interesting topics like the impact of technology and social media too which gave me something to think about. I think it's easy to forget sometimes what we put out there can be found by anyone!

Gone has an excellent premise which has been executed extremely well, it's like nothing I've ever read before. I really hope this is the start of a series with characters Augusta, Marcus and Seraphine, I don't want their stories to be over just yet.

Book reviews - Messy Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac // Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

*I was provided with a copy for the purpose of this review. Gone is released in October if you want to pre-order!

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

My Honest Opinion On Each Musical I've Seen

I've been lucky enough to see quite a few different musicals over the last few years after completely falling in love with all things theatre in 2016. From Wicked which was the first show, to Waitress being the latest, each musical has been varied but each so special in their own way. Though I've reviewed each one on my blog I've been wanting to do something like this for a while where I sort of go through a few thoughts I've had about each show since. Sometimes I find months on, I'll completely re-think some things or a certain song will become a new favourite after hearing it live, so whilst this might be something most people aren't interested in, I'm gonna talk about it anyway.
flatlay of musical programmes, magnets, pins

Kinky Boots

I've kind of put all of the shows in to an order of my favourite but really it's so hard to decide! I think Kinky Boots will always, always be at the top though. We saw this twice, and I would honestly see this on every trip to London if it hadn't closed because it's one I would just never get bored of. It's just one of those shows I feel so passionate about, every time I hear the songs or I see something online (it's currently touring so try and catch it if you get chance!) I just remember why I loved it so much in the first place. I've lost count the amount of times I've listened to the cast recording, re-read my reviews and thought back to seeing the show. It just makes me unbearably happy. I'm already waiting for the day it returns to the West End.
Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre, outside sign

Come From Away

This is a very, very close second to Kinky Boots, because I can't even tell you all the emotions it makes you feel throughout. You wouldn't think a show about the stranded planes and people during the week of 9/11 could be uplifting but Come From Away is the most beautiful piece of theatre. It's heartwrenching at times, I pretty much cried from the start, but it's also incredibly heartwarming and it shows just how good people can be sometimes. I left the show wanting to be a better person and like I mentioned in my review, a show that makes you feel like that, is a special one. The music is just everything in this too, from the very first beat in Welcome To The Rock, which genuinely makes you feel like you're part of this new family, to the last note in the finale, which makes you jump to your feet. I have to see this again one day, it deserves a long run at the Phoenix Theatre.
Come From Away collage

Waitress

This musical really surprised me actually. I'd loved the Waitress soundtrack for a good year or so, which meant I was so excited when it was announced that it was transferring to London, but then there were a few casting decisions which seemed a little odd and there was a lot of negative attention on social media. Because of this I kind of went into it not knowing what to expect. Of course I wanted to love it, but it's hard not to feel a little unsure when there has been so much negative stuff said. Luckily it was everything I hoped it would be and more! I actually think people have been very unfair towards the show and whilst behind the scenes it all seems a bit of a mess, what you get on stage is amazing. What we saw was a fun show that will having you laughing til it hurts, but then ready to burst into tears at other times, mainly due to Katharine McPhee's powerful portrayal of Jenna. Given Katharine isn't a huge name over in the UK, I did think it was a strange casting choice at first but she completely proved me wrong and won me over. I now feel so lucky that I got to see her in her first West End show. Her voice is just heavenly! It's another show I hope, despite everything, will have a long life over here. I need to time to go back again!
The Waitress stage at the Adelphi Theatre, London

Hamilton

This was a real 'pinch me' moment. Though the Hamilton soundtrack took a few listens for me to really start to get my head around the story, once I got it, I was fully invested and it was like a dream of mine to see the show. Luckily we managed to get tickets for our 1st wedding anniversary in December and to be honest I struggle to see what will beat that for the next few years. We wanted to do something special and this was it. The whole thing just felt like a real moment that I know I'll remember. We had the most amazing seats, we had the full cast on who were all out of this world, especially Sifiso Mazibuko whose portrayal of Aaron Burr will stay with me for a long time, and the emotion that I felt was just on another level. I'm not ashamed to say that I cried and cried towards the end, as did many other people around me, and though other shows have of course made me emotional (I just have a lot of feelings okay), this really was something else. I feel so lucky that we got to see this at all, yet alone on such a special day. I don't think it's one we'll rush to see again just because I honestly don't think that performance can be topped and I want to remember that for a little while longer.
Hamilton collage

Wicked

I feel bad that this show has kind of slid to the bottom of the list but that's not because it was bad or anything like that. In fact because it was the first musical I ever saw I think it will always be special but since then we've just seen others that I've loved for different reasons or have moved me more. It will always mean a lot to me because it was the show that really sparked something in me and made me realise what an amazing world the theatre one is and honestly, I don't know what I'd do without it now. We had such a fab cast both times we saw the show and the second time was Rachel Tucker's last show so the atmosphere was nothing like I'd experienced before at the time. It's another show like Hamilton that I don't think I'd want to see again just yet unless the queen herself Rachel decides to return, the way she played Elphaba - I just can't imagine enjoying it as much with anyone else in the role.
The Wicked stage, at the Apollo Theatre, London

Heathers

The atmosphere in the theatre for Heathers was actually insane. Some of the audiences we've been part of for shows like Kinky Boots and Wicked have been up there but the night we saw Heathers, the fan girls were out in full force. I have still never seen a show like it in that regard. This was another show like Hamilton that I genuinely never thought we'd get to see. It was all of a sudden over in the UK and then in the West End and all so quickly so it's only by chance that we had a last minute trip to London in October and ended up getting to see it. It was a great show, we got see Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica who really surprised me and it was actually a lot more fun than I was expecting. Looking back now, it is quite teen and compared to some other musicals, just because of the set and a few other things, it maybe did feel a little amateur but I'm certainly not complaining that I got to see it. Just probably not one I'd be straight away booking tickets to if it ever comes back.
Heathers the musical collage
I feel so lucky to have seen the amount of shows we have over the last few years and hopefully they'll be many more to come. Some I'd love to re-visit and some brand new that I hear are on their way over to the West End! I'd love to know what the best musical is you've ever seen? Have you seen any of these too?

Similar - My Top 10 Hamilton Songs After Seeing The Show // My Ultimate Musical Playlist

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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

5 Things I've Learnt About Getting A Puppy

Just in case you didn't know, because I've definitely not mentioned it enough on my blog or Instagram...George and I got a puppy in April! It was something we had planned for, for what felt like forever and he really has become our whole world, I can't remember life without him, but that's not to say the last few months haven't been without their difficulties. Whilst I knew having a puppy wouldn't be easy, I don't think even I, someone who is completely dog obsessed, realised just how much of a shock to the system it would be. So I've been wanting to highlight just some of the ways in which our life has changed since bringing Bear home, and pass on a few tips.
collage - family selfie, Bear sat, Bear and George, Bear laid on the sofa

You think you're prepared...you're not

Honestly the amount of lists I had for weeks before we brought Bear home was insane. I tried to keep track of everything so once we picked him up we could start things off as smoothly as possible. And to some extent that did happen. We made sure we had things like his crate, bed, blankets, toys (you need an endless supply, they get bored quick!) food etc. We got all of the basics we thought we needed and that was all well and good, but once they're home, none of that stuff is really the priority. Well it is, but there's so much more too. I remember the second day just being so overwhelmed, like I just needed to go and sit in the bedroom and have a cry because I was just a huge ball of emotion! Of course the majority of that was pure happiness, this was something I had longed for so I can't even put into words what it felt like to have this little pup relying on me, but on the other hand, that's a lot of pressure! All of a sudden it hit me that he was ours and whilst we thought we knew everything we could, had researched as much as possible, and bought everything we thought we needed, it's a different thing entirely when they're actually home and they're yours and it's all on you now. I honestly don't think you can ever be fully prepared for how much your life is going to change.

Training takes longer than you realise

Not that I expected training to be a walk in the park, but wow it's a struggle. Bear has got some things straight away, he is such an intelligent little thing but there are also quite a few things which we are still trying to overcome, and it's been quite stressful at times! I think it's so important to remember that each dog is different and they all learn at their own speed. That's something I need to remind myself of more often. You google things and feel down because some peoples dogs have got everything at such a young age but then there are others who take years, so it's all just trial and error and doing your best. So far Bear has totally smashed it with learning to sit, lie down, come, and stay. We've figured out a routine that works well for him with his food, toilet training is finally getting there and he's pretty settled in his crate now (some nights he still cries but if you knew him, you'd also know he's a bit of a drama queen at times) and most nights are absolutely fine. But there are things we're still working on and I feel like we might be for a while. There's just no way of predicting these things and how long they'll take.
collage - photos of Bear

You'll worry more than you expected

I'm a worrier anyway so I fully expected to worry a ridiculous amount about Bear, but honestly some days you just can't stop! When he was first home, he was so tiny and I worried over every single thing. I was scared when he tried to get up on the sofas because I didn't want him to hurt his legs, I would be scared to go to sleep in case he was lonely or in case his cries were because of something else, I get worried when he doesn't want to eat his food because it makes me panic that he's ill, when really he's probably just being fussy and holding out for some chicken. And then when he was ill recently, I might have looked calm, but inside I was a mess. He's our baby, I can't help but want to look after him 24/7.

Everything requires planning

Even just a simple drive to the shops now takes so much planning - has he eaten yet, when did he last eat, will he need a walk first, what if he needs the toilet, how long will be we be. We knew we couldn't be spontaneous once we had a dog, but literally every little outing has to be considered and planned to within an inch of its life. Obviously I wouldn't change Bear for the world but I do sometimes miss that freedom of just being able to have a night out to the cinema, or to go for a meal, or even to just have a bath without making sure George can keep him occupied! We do sort of know now roughly how long we can be out for and feel comfortable about it, and I'm sure as he gets older that will increase and things will become a bit easier. When we've been feeling in need of some time together or just a few hours out of the house, we just adapt it now and go somewhere that we can enjoy with Bear too. Though we might not be able to sit in a restaurant for hours at a time, we've been having date nights in or going for lunch somewhere dog friendly, and I'm sure they'll be many days out with him in Summer to the beach. Things just generally need more thinking about beforehand.

You'll love them more than you ever thought you could

I always knew I would adore any dogs we had but I feel like my heart could burst with pride every single time I look at Bear. I know he's not a child and some people might have the 'he's just a dog' attitude but to us, he's our family now and I feel like he's filled something that I didn't even know was missing. Some days are hard and of course there's been times where I've thought what the hell did we let ourselves in for, but the overriding feeling all the time is just pure love and happiness. No matter how testing he might be sometimes, no matter how hard some days have been, the good times always outweigh any of the bad and I'm just so excited to see him grow and for us to experience this whole new thing together. 
Bear laid on the sofa, cuddling his toys
So that's 5 things I've learnt since getting a puppy! It's definitely been an extremely challenging time but also the happiest for us, so if you're thinking about it, do it! It will change your life in every way possible but make it at the same time.


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