Barbican Blogger Night; Cocktails, Pizza and Cinema

A little while ago, the The Barbican Leisure Park invited a few bloggers on a night out.

I’ve been visiting the Leisure Park since I got a Saturday job as a teenager. It was the venue for my first date, and many, many subsequent dates. It’s where I first discovered Cheesy Bites, and that I am terrible at bowling.

It’s the only place I feel completely, unhesitatingly confident driving as I know the route so well.

Accepting that invite was an easy yes.

We started off at Pizza Express, where there were cocktails and doughballs (and olives, and sun-dried tomatoes and all sorts of incredible things).

We got to sample the new drinks menu, with a light Tails Cocktail as a welcome drink. Espresso Martini’s are an easy favourite any time, and Pizza Express’ addition of vanilla added a sweet edge to the cocktail.

At Bella Italia, we shared some of the new menu options family style. Carbonara, Marinara pasata, Pollo Piccante pizza and a couple delicious vegan options with the both a pizza (i can’t find the name of), and a spaghetti in a lentil ragu.

The pizza was my first time trying Vegan cheese and there was no, noteable difference, i really enjoyed it.

We then split off into smaller groups, a few of the bloggers went to see A Simple Favor (Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick👌), a couple made their way home and Nicole and I went to see Venom.

Avoiding spoilers, it was as fun as the trailers made it look.

We were lucky enough to be treated to the evening, but a trip to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do with Matt, family or friends.

It’s one of the better things about the cooler months, in the last couple weeks I’ve been to see First Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody.Mow just to tick A Star is Born off the watch list…

I’ve added a little highlights section on my Instagram from the evening if you fancy a gander.

Book Review – All The Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr

“Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”
“Her fingers walk the tightrope of sentences…”

All The Light We Cannot See was this month’s book club choice, and as this has been on my TBR pile for a while it makes this read feel like a double accomplishment.
First off, the writing in this book is beautiful. As beautiful as the cover imaging.
The story is set primarily between France and Germany, with the lion share of the story unfolding between 1934 and 1944. The narrative tracks primarily Werner and Marie-Laure; Werner is a very gifted orphan whos father passed away in a mining accident who finds a way to escape working in the mines himself, Marie-Laure is a gifted, charming blind girl who’s life changes completely when her and her father have to escape occupied Paris for Saint-Malo.
I finished this book in about six days, a combination of how addictive this book is and the fact I had a couple days off spent primarily at Whitsand Bay. Anthony Doerr created a world I wanted to dive into at every spare moment, I was desperate to find how Werner and Marie-Laure’s stories would entwine.
I found the first two thirds of the novel more enjoyable than the final third. As much as I enjoyed this novel, I will be donating it to charity. I’m glad this came into my life, but I will not be recommending it at the same level of overexcitement which I did Pet Sematary of The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

That said, as much as I don’t expect to re-read this book, I can appreciate how beautiful it is. Part of me wants to pass this onto my dad, who though he isn’t a big reader loves radio.

There is a short video on YouTube from the author explaining how the story composed itself.

3/5

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Similar books to try;
The Book Thief; Markus Zusak

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom; A Review

The book begins on the day of Eddie’s death.
It’s a day much the same as any other in Eddie’s life, with the little routines and interactions he repeats day after day. The day however, is made unique by an unpredictable event, and a choice Eddie makes beginning him on his journey through heaven where he meets five people who his life has intersetected with in some way.
I picked this one from my TBR pile as I fancied a quick un-taxing read. Just below two hundred pages, it feels more like six short stories with the clearly separated parts (last day on earth, the first person…).

The fourth and fifth people he met were the ones that hit me hardest, and had me crying. Its reminiscent of The Green Mile, and how the story reflects on a moment of a man’s life, (though with less mice and magic).

It pulls at your heart strings, plays with your expectations and is a very satisfying read. Eddie’s story is simple, and relatable.
Its currently with my mum who spotted this on the side, and requested it immediately.
4/5
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life.
His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart.
He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers…”
Similar books to try;

Veronika Decides to Die; Paulo Coelho

The Lovely Bones; Alice Sebold

A Man Called Ove; Fredrik Backman

A Quiet Place; A Mini Film Review

I saw the trailer for A Quiet Place about a month ago, and I got so excited I made Matt and my brother watch and analyse the trailer with me.
The first thing to say about A Quiet Place is that, as with a good portion modern horrors, it is more of a thriller than a horror. Yes there are the jump scares, and monsters, and moments of horror but the whole storyline fits more closely within the thriller genre.
It doesn’t lose anything for this, but beyond the jump scares you shouldn’t come away too scared.
The film, at the hour and a half run time, could easily have been trimmed down to forty minutes or so.
That said, it’s worth a watch. It’s a fairly original premise, and well acted by the small cast. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, the same post dystopian future and band of survivors story line carries over into this film.
I probably wouldn’t rewatch this, but at the same time I wouldn’t discourage anyone from watching this for the first time.

My three favourite Lush Bath products

Can you blog about Beauty without having a tenny tiny Lush obsession?

Mine began two years ago after my first event, and built steadily from there.

The range of products to sample in Lush is huge. From soaps, and bathbombs to skin care and perfume. I’ve only really dabbled with a handful of products, and am in no way an expert but I do have one favourite product range from Lush that I almost always have on rotation…

Bubblebars.

As lovely as a bathbomb is, you get a single use out of it. I love a bubblebar as you can get multiple uses, and you still end up with much the same result ; a gorgeously scented, bubbly colourful bath.

They aren’t as fun as a bathbomb, but when you can stretch three uses for the same price point it eases my guilt at the small extravagance.

If you’ve yet to use a bubblebar and woild like a recommendation, or if you’re just like me abd incredibly nosey curious, I have a few recommendations of products to try;

The Comforter

£4.95

This turns water pink, smells like sweets and creates insane bubbles. I can also stretch it to three or four baths. This is easily my favourite bubble bar, and I will always call this The Refresher because it reminds me of the sweets.

Karma

£4.75

I saw this for the first time in a Tanya Burr video, this pyramid bar has a very strong almost overpowering insense scent. Once you break a piece off and run it under water though, the scent is much lighter. It makes water purple, and the whole bathroom smell incredible.

Sunnyside

£4.95

This gold tear drop is full of gold shimmer particles, so when you move the water shimmers and sparkles. It’s glittery and beautiful, and lasts about two baths.
I do try to branch out when I treat myself to something from Lush, but when I know the products I adore I do tend to default back. Which products do you pick up from Lush?
Emily

My Favourite Podcasts.

In the last 6 months I have discovered podcasts, I know I’m a little late to the party but at least I’m here. Throughout my teacher training year I’ve had to commute an hour to school and an hour back, which has given me ample time to enjoy some hilarious and thought-provoking conversations. I sometimes switch back to music when I’m in the car. depending on my mood, but generally I have relished having the opportunity to listen to people talking about subjects I wouldn’t normally hear about or that I don’t have the chance to discuss in my everyday life.

 

So I thought I would make a quick list of my favourite podcasts that I listen to regularly. Some I have gone back and am listening to all of the episodes and others I have just jumped in and ran with them.

 

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First up is Stuff You Should Know. This podcast takes on a different subject every episode and sees Josh and Chuck dissect these topics with skill and hilarity. They have taken on such varied theme as Remembering Stonewall to How Seed Bans Work to How Champagne Works, all in the last few months. So if you love finding about the weird and wonderful from two really funny and knowledgeable guys (and Jeri) then this will be the podcast for you.

 

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Next is the Elis James and John Robins podcast of their Radio X show on a Saturday 1pm-4pm. These are two of my favourite comedians and listening to their podcast is like being in heaven.  With John’s Shame Well, the Light Hearted Paper Review with Elis James and Humble Brag of the Week there’s something for everyone and if you’re anything like me you’ll end up laughing out loud on a train and have old people looking weird at you. Seriously, this podcast with the Hammer Legends is just too good you need listen to it.

 

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Then, we have No Such Thing as a Fish a podcast from the QI elves and researchers. Basically, four of the QI elves go around and present their favourite fact that they have found that week. The four then proceed to discuss these facts and they end up in some odd tangents, but it is so much fun. A great mix of knowledge and fun where I always learn something.

 

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Finally, we have BBC Radio 4 Seriously a podcast of seriously interestingly stories told a little sideways. This again, tackles some really varied topics that are always told from a slightly off centre perspective. My favourite episode so far concerns a woman telling the story of her grandfather who was a witness to the 1917 Russian Revolution and he had recorded his memories. She then goes to St Petersburg to see where he lived and what he saw. A truly fascinating and personal way to look at such a huge and significant event in history. This is a seriously good podcast (I am so funny).

 

This is just a list of my current favourites, I also listen to many other podcasts and am always looking to discover more. So, if you have any recommendations please comment and let me know.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

Currently Obsessed With…

I should probably start by saying that if I find something I like I get obsessed with it. I have been known to listen to the same band non stop for 6 months and watch the same film twice in one day. I can’t help it, it must be how I’m wired. So, I go in and out of phases of being obsessed with certain things and I thought I would share what’s currently got my undivided attention.

 

1. The Gilmore Guys podcast.

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As you probably already know Gilmore Girls is one of my many obsessions (I’ve seen every episode at least 7 times). But, recently I found of a way of revisiting the whole series without having to commit to another complete run through of all 7 seasons. I stumbled upon The Gilmore Guys podcast a few months ago and it has become the soundtrack to my 2 hour commute to work and back everyday. Demi and Kevin are hilarious and its really made me think a little deeper about a show I have loved for so long. I am a little late to the party (it started 2 years ago) but I am so loving the journey so far and can’t wait to make it all the way through, I’m on season 3 so only 4 left to go.

 

2. The River by Bruce Springsteen.

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A young Bruce Springsteen may just be my idea of the perfect man, he is bae! But this album in particular has been my soundtrack to the last couple of months, when I haven’t been listening to podcasts. Its perfect blend of upbeat dance alongs like ‘Hungry Heart’ and more thought provoking slow songs like ‘Independence Day’ and songs I must have at my wedding like ‘I Wanna Marry You’ work together to create an album that has everything you could ever need on it. Bruce fan or not, this album is everything.

 

3. Films starring a young Tom Cruise.

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Recently I have watched; A Few Good Men (pictured above), Rain Man, Top Gun, Risky Business, Jerry Maguire and Cocktail. Not only was a young Tom Cruise just the most handsome man in all the land, but this is also when he did some of his best acting work. Cocktail will forever be in my top 10 movies of all time and A Few Good Men is just sublime. Cruise’s early work was phenomenal, he was funny and charming and powerful and sexy and had gravitas. Do yourself a favour, and if you haven’t watched any of the films mentioned watch them, and if you have rediscover them. He’s allowed to jump on couches like a loon with a filmography like that.

 

That is basically it for the time being, but believe me it takes up a lot of my time. Let me know if you get obsessed with things too and what you’re currently in to. Now if you’ll excuse me I feel like I’m about to go deep into a young Robert De Niro phase, if anyone needs me I’ll be watching The Deer Hunter.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂