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.
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.
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.
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.
Reading is an absolute pleasure that I never have enough time to do. When I was younger and had a seemingly un ending amount of free time, I loved nothing more than getting lost in a world of words. The feeling of belonging I always longed to find with my peers, I found between the pages of books that introduced me to worlds I would have never normally come into contact with. And as I took on university and went into the world of full time retail work whenever I was feeling lost I would find my solace in great books. Books have never let me down, books have never hurt me and books will always be there for me. As is said in one of my favourite plays and films The History Boys:
‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.’
A good book can change your life. So here are some that have truly touched me in some way.
1). To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.
I first read this book when I was 14 years old. That first time I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of the court case storyline and found myself focusing on how much of myself I saw in Scout. I have since read and re-read it at least half a dozen times at differing times of my life and I’d like to think I now understand the varying nuances of this fantastic story, but still I can never read it without Scout’s character resonating with me. In Scout I found a like minded soul whose voice always feels like its echoing a version of myself that still lives in the child in me. From the themes of racial injustice to childhood innocence to gender roles and many more there is something in this epic piece of literature that will excite and inspire anyone. If you haven’t yet you must read this book, it will touch your heart in a way you can not even begin to imagine.
2). Regeneration – Pat Barker.
This is one of the few books I have been required to study, that was not ruined by the analysis process. Set in Craiglockhart War Hospital in World War 1, it tells the story of soldiers with shell shock (what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder) and the radical therapeutic treatment they received. In it we hear stories of fictional characters such as Billy Prior and we also get fictionalised accounts of War Poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The novel deals primarily with the idea of the effect that war has on the psychology of the soldiers, specifically the hugely damaging effects of the trench warfare of World War 1. Told with harrowing beauty this book really makes you think about what we have put our soldiers through.
3). Wild: A Journey fro Lost to Found – Cheryl Strayed.
I powered through this book on a holiday in Ibiza. I opened it up and was riveted. Telling the story of a woman who drops her life to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and through the trial and tribulations finds her way back to herself. If you’ve ever felt like you’re floundering, or that you don’t know what you’re doing with your life or that you are just completely lost this book will undoubtedly kick start you on your way back to path. It did for me.
4). Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer.
An expansion of an article about Christopher McCandless, the book tells the story of how this young man ended up dead in a bus on the Stampede Trail in Alaska.
Chris McCandless’ life long quest for truth is documented alongside tales of other liked minded maverick truth seekers. It will make you reevaluate everything you believe and how you view society and the way it works. It will make you want to find your own truth.
But listen to his lesson, no matter how disillusioned you feel with the world ‘happiness only real when shared.’
SPECIAL MENTION: The Wild Truth – Carnie McCandless.
Written by Chris McCandless’ sister it informs Into The Wild as it fills in the gaps she asked Jon Krakauer to leave. It also details her own inspiring story of overcoming struggle with no one to help her but herself.
So, what books should I read next? I’d love to hear about the books that have touched you.
I love documentaries. Perhaps it`s because I`m a pretty massive nerd at heart and I love to learn, or perhaps I`m just the most boring person on Earth…we`ll never know. But, if like me, you love nothing more than turning on the TV and learning something new then you need to check these movies out. All available on Netflix, which is always handy.
Blackfish. If you haven`t watched Blackfish then you must have been living under a rock, so I suggest when you leave the rock the first thing you watch is Blackfish. The documentary details the capture, treatment and lives of the Orcas at Sea World. Focus is put onto Tilikum who after being captured at age 4 has lived in captivity ever since, and has become notorious as he has been responsible for the deaths of 3 people. This film will make you seriously think about how we treat the kin we find ourselves on this planet with.
The Hunting Ground. This film, again, has been quite a popular watch recently but if you`ve missed it you must watch it. This movie shines a light on the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes that have been occurring on American college campuses and the institution`s lack of dealing with the problem appropriately. Told from the perspective of a couple of activists who are fighting the good fight on behalf of, not just those sexual assault survivors, but all women who have felt obligated or pressured by a man because it could be any of us. Solidarity sisters!
Requiem for the American Dream. Celebrated philosopher, social critic, political activist and linguistic Noam Chomsky is interviewed in this film discussing the distribution of wealth and power in modern western society. Chomsky theorises on the different ways that ensure that all the money and governance stays within an elite few and the other 99% keep their nothing.
Capitalism: A Love Story. Renowned documentary maker Michael Moore takes on another divisive issue: capitalism. Whatever your feelings about Moore and his style this movie really makes you think about system that is supposed to be fair for all but only seems to help the few.
Let me know if you watch any of these films and if you have suggestions for me.
When this goes live the Pantomime will be in Plymouth for another two days, as it finishes on the 16th. If you’ve yet to see it I can’t recommend the show highly enough, get yourself some last minute tickets if you can!
The pantomime is one of my families traditions, or started when I was very young and made my parents take me to a drama group. My earliest memory of them is “helping” my mum to make my costume for a scene where I was a poor child singing Food Glorious Food as part of a chorus, I also got to be a ballerina but I only remember the dress! When we moved house acting fell by the by, as the local drama group was incredibly over subscribed.
We did however keep going to pantomimes, solely as attendees and a Christmas Eve pantomime is a yearly thing. Previously the pantomimes we attended were by a group of committed amateurs but when they were no longer able to hold the show, we moved the the Theatre Royal. Over the last few years I haven’t been overly impressed by the Pantomime, it’s been enjoyable but pretty underwhelming, however this year was something else.
Since the marketing started popping up I’ve been printing out how though the show Is Cinderella, she is surprisingly absent from any of the posters. There’s a very obvious reason for this post show, it is Gok Wan and Paul Zeridin pantomime. They are the funniest duo I’ve seen on stage in the longest while. They have perfect comic timing and really seem to enjoy working together which makes watching them on stage so much better.
I think my favourite part of the show came near the end where the comic character, traditionally buttons, got everyone to sing a song. As a tradition after the first rendition, Paul had a few children on stage to introduce themselves before they sang by themselves, this is testament to how much of a family show it is he made a group of four children under the age of ten the most hilarious comic bunch. Be it squeaky foreheads or putting words into one of their mouths, he managed to make a token part of the pantomine very unique.
Gok on the other-hand, channelled his television persona from How To Look Good Naked fame, making Cinderella’s transformation about inner beauty as much as physical beauty. Any scene that Gok and Paul shared was enriched by them, as their comedy seemed more natural banter than scripted. I look forward to seeing more of Gok’s comedy in future.
If you feeling the January blues and you need a pick me up or you’re missing Christmas definitely take the chance to see the show what is there for the longest time.
When this post goes up, Christmas will be a day away! I will be going out to an early dinner with my family and seeing the pantomime at The Theatre Royal, hopefully persuading everyone that we need a Cointreau Hot Chocolate from The Treasury before our journey home.
Now, back to the post and away from my Christmasy excitement! Recently we were invited by No7 at Drakes Circus to experience thier Match Made Service at a private lock in event. No7 is an established brand that any beauty fanaticcan recognise, partially from its very body positive and female friendly image, and secondly from its placement in Boots Stores, its a counter I walk past regularly and havent graviated towards overly for a while.
When I first got into makeup at roughly age nineteen, I went to No7 as it was an afforable brand where I could get advice on an area that was very unknown to me. I stopped visiting No7 as they discontinued the foundation I was fond of, and from here started sampling other brands both high and low end. Realisitically I owe a lot of my make up knowledge to them for these foundation years. Thier brushes, alongside Real Techniques are ones I use everytime I do my makeup, and my blush brush at eight years old is still perfect and shed free.
Anyway, we were welcomed to the event by the lovely ladies from No7 and had a little catch up whilst we wiated for the rest of the bloggers to arrive, this one was particularly exciting for me as Sally could join me. This was her first blogger event, and our first shared one. The table was set up beautiful, with hand written name tags, gift bags and the most beautiful tea cups for us to drink from and plates of snacks. After an over view of No7 as a brand, which is almost as old as Boots itself and started as a skin care brand, we were intorduced to the Match Made Service.
The Match Made Service is unique to No7, and has been around for five years, it was inspired by decoraters and painters and is an incredibly unique system. the handhels device in the image above, takes 200 photos using LED lights which is repeated twice along a cleansed jawline so to get the most accurate reading. The device was tested originally on hundreds of different skin tones so to create a strong profile to build upon. From here they developed seventeen different shades, when you consider that there are also twleve different types of foundation to chose from No7 have a huge range to select from.
This is where the Match Made Service comes in handy, your shade is identified (I was calico), and after a couple questions about your preferences a foundation type is recommended. This is the first time ive hand my make up done for while, and having my face cleansed was suprisingly relaxing. It helped that No7 has such lovely friendly employees, I was put at ease and we discussed everything from Disney to lipstick preferences and makeup tips. For instance, as the foundation was being applied I leaned that you use downwards brush strokes so not to disturb the small hairs on your face.
Another really special thing about this service is that they are more than happy to go back to the beginning and change something up. If your not a fan of the coverage level, you can try a different base. If the lipstick shade isnt “you” , they’re happy to switch it up and let you see a different one on yourself.
Above is a less moody selfie with Ellie, we were both matched as Callico (like several of the bloggers at the event), and I think this is a lovely example of the subtle differences between the same base recommendation. I think I will be popping in to get this foundation as aside from my Rimmel bottle running out, I cant get over how good a match this was for my skin tone.
I loved the finished look, I’d like to play around a bit more with blushes avaiable as I felt this was a little too warm for me, but aside from this I thought this was the most natually pretty my skin had looked in the longest time. The Match Made Service is perfect for a post Christmas treat, especially if your looking to refresh your look. If your looking for a treat, where you can leave with a couple samples and not too much pressure for a sale they would be worth visiting. Especially if you consider the Plymouth Branch has a private area slightly away from the rest of the store, so you can feel comfortable even without your makeup on.
Before we left the event we were given some goodie bags, with a couple gift packs and a small burlap sack with skin care products matched to the needs we discussed prior to the event with Chlo. Im not going to show you whats inside the gift packs, incase you get them as a gift tomorrow! The cracker is part of a set, and the pyramid is a gift with purchase so they could even be gifts to yourself.
Did you want to read a different perspective on this? You could read Sally’s from a couple weeks earlier. A few of my fellow bloggers from the evening who documented the night: Ellie, Nicole, Rhain, Sam and Elle.
Now this post isnt sponsored, this is exactly the level of service you would recieve from visiting any No7 counter. I was gifted a couple bits, which Im incredibly grateful for, but there was no expectation to produce a post for this. I really wanted to share this experience, and pass along my recommendation for visiting one of these counters.
I was recently able to visit Riverford Field Kitchen fir the first time. I was quite excited by this opportunity as I’m a bit of a fussy eater, I don’t eat red meat. So the opportunity to eat at an establishment that champions local seasonal produce wherever available was a win for me.
Walking into the Resturant you struggle not to be impressed, the walls were decorated with dried items from previous harvests or imports. The tables and chairs were natural wood, with a very open kitchen and friendly staff. The crockery also had me the minute they layed the table, mismatched vintage plates!
We were shown to our tables and this is where the dining experience begins, the food is served family style, so each plate is passed around, and serve yourself from. Aside from being a change from the norm, this seemed a very efficient way of utilising servers time as they only deliver plates to the table once, and those plates are from a set menu so everyone in the party had the same thing.
The starters were roasted and carrots, and a plate of curly kale and cheese. I’ve tried kale before and not been overly impressed, but this I enjoyed immensely. My favourite of the two dishes by far was the carrot one, I love carrots and pickles separately so a combination of the two was a perfect dish for me.
The main dish was a bit of a let down for me, it comprised of preserved tomatoes with hard cheese shavings and some form of tortilla, I expected it to be hot and the cheese to melt into the different items but it was a cold dish. Luckily the sides were amazing: a parsnip and almond puree which was the saving grace for me (seconds and thirds were had), the second side wasnt overly impressive. The meat option went down well with the other other diners!
And desert was the best part, the table go to the kitchen and are shown all the options. I chose a cheese cake and a baked chocolate moose (like I’d chose anything else). I need to learn to make that chocolate moose, it was very rich but still very light as you’d expect from a moose. I need that recipe!
Overal I loved my visit to Riverford, I’d love to go again and try a different vegetation option for my main as I think i was unlucky with this visit. All in all I was really happy and would recommend this resturant to anyone looking for something different to the norm!