New York

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On Tuesday I hopped onto a plane to New York for a college trip, it was a such a whirlwind and I had the most wonderful time. This was the second time I’ve visited New York, the last time I went I was only ten therefore now I’m a lot older, I appreciated the beauty and vibrancy of the city. We managed to cram a huge amount of sightseeing into four days, as knackering as it was, it was an experience I’ll never forget.

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The evening we arrived, we head straight up the Empire State to see the view. We walked through bustling Manhattan in the freezing cold, and it finally hit me that I was actually in New York. The city was loud, bright and fast paced, it is quite literally the city that never sleeps and that is what I love so much about it. As we got to the top of the Empire State building and stepped out onto the observation deck, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. New York looked stunning and I found it surreal how quiet and tranquil New York looked from above, I can’t quite put it into words but I’d definitely advise anyone to visit the Empire State building at night rather than during the day. I feel the photos I took really spoke for themselves.

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Radio City Music Hall wasn’t something that I had high expectations for, I thought it was just thrown into the trip because we are a performing arts college and it’s the most famous theatre in New York. However I was pleasantly surprised. despite the fact that I was suffering from sickness whilst on the tour, I found it highly interesting and really enjoyed it. Radio city is where they host the Tony awards and it is home to the Radio City Rockettes. Whilst on the tour we walked around the whole building that was covered in posters of performances held there, saw the theatre itself and even met a Rockette. The tour itself wasn’t too long and something I’d really recommend to anyone visiting New York, if I am ever there during the holiday season I’d love to see their Christmas spectacular one day.

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You can’t go to New York and not see the most iconic building there, the Statue Of Liberty. We boarded the boat and endured the ice cold winds in order to snap a good photo with New York’s most famous lady. This would have been a lot more enjoyable had the temperature of been twenty degrees higher but it’s not something that can be brushed over when hitting the major sight seeing spots.

DSC00606The most poignant part of the trip was Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial. Considering America are known for doing everything big and flashy, the simplicity of the tribute is truly moving. The fountains are an outline of the base of the twin towers and engraved around them is the names of the people that died in the tragedy. Something I found incredibly touching is that scattered around the memorial are a few roses placed in the names of the people whose birthday it is that day. It was all so beautifully done and walking round, there was an indescribable feeling that filled the air as people contemplated the unbelievable moment in history.

DSC00599There is a museum among the memorial that we didn’t get to go into, but a friend told me how insightful it is therefore it’s definitely on my list of things to do when I next visit New York.

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One of the highlights of being in New York during the Winter is how beautiful Central Park looks in the Snow, I saw the horse and carriages and it would have been enchanting to ride through the snow on them. It reminded me of all the famous Christmas movies that are filmed in Central Park and it was something to tick off the bucket list.

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I saw two musicals on BroadwayDSC00567, the first was Aladdin which is relatively new to Broadway and a huge hit over there. It’s a well known story and it was told through the iconic Disney songs and huge dance numbers. There are elements of the show that have very different spin on the Disney film, such as Aladdin is accompanied by three musketeers that create a lot of comedy in the show and the emphasis on the setting with lots of Bollywood style dancing. I was suffering from extreme jet lag and my eyes did briefly close now and again although because the story is so well known it didn’t really matter. Despite the show not blowing me away, as it didn’t really give me goosebumps, I still thoroughly enjoyed it as it is a really fun, energetic family show.

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The second musical was Cabaret which was shown in the renowned Studio 54 which created an intimate setting for the show. The show itself was completely breathtaking, I was captivated as soon as I walked into the theatre and I felt like I’d just stepped into 1931. The theatre created such an ambiance and the show did not fail to disappoint. Alan Cumming is the star of the show and provided an exceptional performance, that I can safely say is the best performance I’ve ever seen in a musical. I am going to run out of adjectives describing this show but if you’re in New York whilst it is still running you’d be a fool not to go and watch it.  It is one of those shows that is entrancing from start to finish.

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Just walking the streets of New York was mesmerizing, it is a totally different world and somewhere I desire to live one day. Walking past The New York Times building inspired me to work really hard and hopefully one day I’ll be living and writing in New York. Until then, I am already planning my next trip to see the places I didn’t see and revisit the ones I loved the most.

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My Wanderlust Wishlist

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For an 18 year old I am lucky enough to be very well traveled. I love to see new places, experience different cultures and see how other people around the world live. As much as I love getting on. Plane and visiting a Greek island and lying on the beach for two weeks, I love to explore. My ideal holidays are city breaks, jetting off to a foreign place and cramming a load of sightseeing into a few days.

Foreign authentic food is the highlight of any trip, you can eat in Italian and French restaurants here in the UK but you only truly  experience the real thing when you’re in the country itself. When I travel I always make it essential that I try the country or city’s local delicacy.

All you have to do is look at my Pinterest to discover the places I most want to visit, so I’ve put together a list of places that I’m desperate to visit. Some of them I’ve already been to at a young age and want to experience again and some of them I’ve only experienced through photos on Pinterest, the pages of a book or through the lives of fictional characters on my favourite TV shows.

New York

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What inspires me to go: Sex and The City, Gossip Girl

I visited New York when I was about ten years old and as much as I had a good time, I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it for what it is. From what I watch on Gossip Girl and Sex and The City New York looks like a magical place full of excitement. I love a vibrant city and there is so much culture in New York, even though it isn’t massive, the city is so alive it appears that there is a never ending amount of new places to find.

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Places I want to visit: Central Park in the Winter, Empire State at night, Times Square on New Years Eve, Sex and The City tour, Gossip Girl tour, 5th avenue shopping, Stardust Diner.

Amsterdam

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What inspires me to go: The Fault In Our Stars, book and film.

Hate to be a loser but the party town in Amsterdam doesn’t interest me, what I am captivated by is the architecture. Amsterdam is probably the city I pin the most on Pinterest, the pictures speak for themselves, the beautiful coloured buildings, the canals, and the abundance of tulips. I want to go to Amsterdam to take a thousand instagramable photos. Finally the Anne Frank house is something I’ve been dying to go to my whole life because I adore her diary and I am so interested in her life.

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Places I want to visit: Go on a canal trip, do a bicycle tour around the city, visit Anne Frank’s house.

Nashville

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What inspires me to go: Country music, Nashville (tv show)

Country music is my all time favourite music and Nashville is its home. I’ve heard that the Southerners are the nicest people you’ll ever meet and I’d love a bit of southern hospitality. I’d especially want to go to Nashville whilst the CMA festival is on, as that’s when all the biggest country music artists play.

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Places I want to visit: CMA fest, Bluebird Cafe, Honky Tonk Highway, Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Flea Market, Grand Ole Opry

Paris

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What inspires me to go: Stephanie Perkins books- Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the happily ever after.
I’ve been to Paris when I was quite young and I visited all the main tourist spots. I’d definitely want to visit the main places such as the Eiffel tower, I really want a selfie with the Eiffel tower, call me cliché. However most of all I want to wear beautiful clothes, stroll the streets of Paris and eat delicious French food.

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Places I want to visit: Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, boat ride around on the river, Palace of Versailles, love locks on the bridge.

Is the blogging/vlogging industry losing its purpose?

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Rewind to ten years ago, when we would look for style inspiration and make up tips inside the pages of glossy magazines. Nowadays, we look to vloggers and bloggers, whose empire is built over the internet as they bring in millions of views over internet platforms such as youtube and bloglovin.

The craze started when people such as Zoe Sugg aka Zoella and Tanya Burr sat in their bedroom and filmed make up and hair tutorials, as the viewers began to escalate, so did their brand. Youtube appears to pay very well, and it also has its perks such as thousands of free products being sent to them and invitations to incredible events such as fashion week. Tanya Burr was recently named the 17th most influential young person in the Guardian’s Top 30 Young People in Digital Media, her hobby became her career and ultimately her success story. Now these youtubers have expanded to having make up lines, books and even their own live shows held all over the country.

Most young people became interested in bloggers and vloggers because they were relatable, they would regularly upload daily vlogs of every day life depicting that they are just ‘normal people’. As years went by and the simple camera in their bedroom turned into a full blown lighting, expensive cameras and impressive editing software, what originally was their hobby, turned into their full time job. Along with the millions of viewers, they appeared on the news and in magazines and their lives didn’t seem so relatable anymore.

Has the blogging and vlogging industry lost its authenticity?

It started out with young people writing their opinions and experiences online, or documenting it via youtube. These days it isn’t as real, they are constantly sent products to write about, invited to film premiere’s and sent on sponsored trips, not reflecting normal life but creating a new kind of celebrity culture. Many bloggers are now managed by different companies such as  Gleam who manage vloggers such as Zoella, Pixie Woo, Tanya Burr and many other well known youtube stars. Their job is to organise their events and “meet ups”. I recently watched an old vlog of Alfie Deyes where he arrives at his book signing and their car gets mobbed by hundreds of screaming fans.

Don’t get me wrong, I am addicted to watching their youtube videos and reading their blogs just as much as the next person, but I don’t see them as bloggers anymore, I see them as celebrities. I truly admire the way they have created their brand as they have built an empire on what they love to do.

I write on my blog because I love to write and I wanted people to read it, not because I want to be the next blogging star. I’m always reading blogs online and I’ll admit that I’m always attracted to the eye catching expensively designed blogs, with perfect layouts. I’m not criticising these blogs because I love them, I love how people have made a career out of what they love. I just feel that the blogging industry isn’t as genuine. When visiting universities to look at Journalism courses the teachers urge you to create a blog or youtube channel and get yourself out there because no one cares what you write about if they don’t find the person writing the content likable. Thus proving how the industry has changed. People aren’t as interested in hearing your views and opinions if they don’t know the person behind those views and opinions. Hence the importance of social media such as instagram and twitter to create your platform and give people a glimpse into your life.

After reading my favourite blogger Hannah Gale’s post about creating your brand. Her fifth point “be relatable” is what I am referring to, for example I love Hannah Gale’s blog because she writes about relatable topics, her make up hauls aren’t full of designer make up brands, she tweets about embarrassing moments and days full of anxiety and her vlogs are normal and relatable. In one of her latest videos titled “The average day in the life of Hannah Gale” the description states “Because it’s not all afternoon teas and free make-up and sauntering off on press trips (although sometimes it is).” Whilst I wish her the absolute success, I do hope that as her brand and blog expands she still maintains the engaging relatability in her writing. 

To all the bloggers and vloggers out there, please do show us your reviews on the latest products and vlog your wonderful holidays and press trips because we all are genuinely interested. However make sure once in a while you give us a glimpse into your real life, the one behind the instagram filters, because at the end of the day, the blogs we love to read and the vlogs we love to watch are the ones we identify with.

Why Sex and The City will always be relevant

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Sex and The City first aired in 1998, a timeless show about four women living in New York. The four main characters represent four different archetypes of women. They are strong, smart and successful women. When the show first surfaced, it created a new definition for the word “women”. The show surrounded their lives and their careers, emphasising the importance of friendship. In the duration of the show, they were there for each other until the end, through thick and thin and that’s what being a women is all about.

Women are constantly compared against each other, they are always in competition and whilst some competition is good, women should be supporting each other and surrounding themselves with positive feminine influences.

Sex and The City defines women empowerment.

During the series each of the women go through tough times, such as Charlotte being unable to conceive, Miranda’s mum dying or Samantha having cancer. Even through these obstacles their friendship remains unbreakable. Which is what should be reflected in the relationships women have with each other these days.

Some feminists argue that Sex and The City contradicts the idea of feminism because the show is centered around men. I would argue otherwise. If you look deeper into the show the foundations are based around the strong bond between the four women. I believe that the women embrace feminism, such as in the episode when Miranda isn’t happy that Steve won’t let her pay for anything, she tells the girls “I want to enjoy my success, not apologise for it”. They are exploring the modern era where women are full time workers seeking money and power.

When Miranda is looking for an apartment, everybody she comes across doesn’t believe that she is paying the deposit herself. She is a very profitable woman who works hard for her money. She doesn’t believe in staying at home and letting a man provide for her when she can put her Harvard law degree to use. Miranda is probably the most relatable woman in the show, as she is fearless in her opinions and never makes apologies for her life choices. She is the epitome of the modern woman. 

Also, in regards to feminism the whole sexual premises of the show took feminism to a new level. The women of Sex and The City were always frank and honest about sex, something that shocked many viewers. Pre the feminist movement, women were put on a pedestal to be seen and not heard. They were viewed as civilised and respectable ladies, not women who would talk openly about their sex lives. They talked veraciously, honestly and as some people would put it, they spoke “like men”. Considering feminism argues that men and women are equal, why can men talk about sex so blatently and women can’t? It opens up everyone’s eyes to the fact that women can do and say whatever the hell they want.

They defied all expectations. What they said and how they said it was simply revolutionary.

What made the show so refreshing is that in amongst all the men that come and go, their friendship only ever grew stronger; it gave single women a sense of self belief. They didn’t grow out of their friendship, as if it was their only priority until marriage and children came around. Their friendship held them together and spurred them on. As Charlotte says to the women in one of my favourite episodes “maybe we can be each other’s soulmates”. Yes, I agree that the show can be incredibly unrealistic at times, and we can’t always agree with their opinions.

But ultimately it restores our faith in the significance of retaining a strong friendship. It teaches us that us women really do need each other.

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Barbados

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If you follow me on twitter or instagram you’ll know that this year I spent Christmas and New Year in Barbados. Barbados is a beautiful island in the Caribbean and nowhere like anywhere I’d been before.

The thing I loved the most about Barbados is the people, everybody is so happy and friendly. Barbados is nothing like England in a sense that it is so chilled, everybody is so relaxed and calm, making it overall the friendliest place I’ve ever been. I guess if I lived on a small island where it is always hot and only a few minutes drive to the beach, I’d be like that too.

I spent most of my days relaxing on their beautiful beaches, it looked like a postcard with such white sand and clear blue sea. I read many books and listened to a lot of 1989 and pretty much forgot about anything to do with normal life.

As expected we did make a few trips in order to get a real feel for the island and how the locals live. Firstly we went to the famous fish market Oistins which is particularly popular on a Friday night. They have an abundance of outside cafes serving the usual fish, chicken, rice and beans, macaroni pie. We had dinner at Pat’s Place which was heaving with people. The food was delicious but there was a lot of it, Bajan’s clearly have big appetites. DSC00247
The atmosphere at Oistins was incredible, with reggae music and reggae versions of pop music blasting out the speakers from the DJ on the massive stage. As the night progressed everyone was drinking, dancing and really getting into the Bajan culture.

A few days later we’d booked to go on Ted’s tours which I can only describe as the weirdest tour of my life. The tour is lead by a man named Ted from Barbados. He is white but speaks with a Caribbean accent, he has a black twin brother and wears no shoes.

The tour was lots of fun and very informative and we traveled around the whole island with many rum punch stops along the way. If you are ever travelling to Barbados you should definitely fit this tour into your trip, the Ted’s Tours facebook page can be found here.DSC00356          Ted was hilarious and cracked some brilliant jokes along the way as he informed us of all the interesting facts about the island. We saw green monkeys, breathtaking views and even the famous Sandy Lane, where stars like Rihanna and Simon Cowell stay.

The highlight of the holiday for me was the catamaran boat trip that we took on New Years Eve. We went with a company called El Tigre who took us out across the Caribbean sea and stopped at various points to swim with the turtles and exotic fish. This was an unforgettable memory that I will always treasure, swimming with turtles in their natural habitat. I was slightly apprehensive before jumping off the boat because of my slight fear of the ocean. I’m not the strongest swimmer and I wasn’t a fan of not knowing what was swimming beneath me. Fortunately the sea was so clear that ten minutes after snorkeling around looking for turtles, suddenly two beautiful turtles swam underneath me. I was captivated by them. I kept on swimming around and shortly after I appeared to be surrounded by many turtles swimming around and occasionally popping their head above the surface for a breath.

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This is my sister (right) and I (left) on the Catamaran

Just like anywhere else you go in Barbados, the drinks never stopped flowing. The boat was also a fantastic tanning opportunity as I could lie on the front of the boat enjoying the breeze without getting to hot. Now I’m sat in my woolly jumper freezing cold in my bed it’s mad to think that just last week I was swimming in the middle of the ocean with thousands of exotic fish.

After spending the day sunbathing on the front of the Catamaran we then went back to the hotel for New Years Eve celebrations.

On reflection Barbados was like a different world. When we visited Bridgetown (the capital) it was quite run down. When just driving down the street there would be a tiny house made of wood right next to a beautiful house that would resemble a mansion. It was quite hard to get your head around the difference in people and lifestyles.

The architecture was so interesting, the houses were either painted vibrantly with colour or they quite literally looked like they were about to fall down. DSC00274DSC00267

Even as we were driving from the airport to our hotel, Barbados felt like a different world compared to Europe, America or anywhere I’d recognise. I didn’t know a lot about the country before I went but it really intrigued me, it was such a different lifestyle but somewhere I’ll definitely be visiting again.

I absolutely loved being away this December because I loathe the cold, so instead of freezing to death I had the perfect holiday relaxing and learning about the Barbados culture. However as much as I loved being away, it didn’t really feel like Christmas. As a huge Christmas enthusiast, I feel that being at home for Christmas is what makes it really special. If I didn’t have the restraint of only being able to go away during school holidays I think I’d love to go a few days after Christmas. Then there would be something to look forward to when Christmas is over and I wouldn’t feel the Christmas blues so much.

Top five books and films that I discovered in 2014

This year was a big year for films, two of my favourite books were made into films, I anticipated for a while as I am always weary when books that I’ve fallen in love with are made into a film. I now tend to view them as two different things that have a similar storyline so my expectations of the characters aren’t ruined. My top 5 books this year aren’t necessarily books that were published in 2014′ they are books that I’ve discovered and have had a long lasting effect on me. To me, there is no better a feeling than when you’ve read a book and it is left lingering in your mind for days. I decided to narrow it down to merely 5 books and films so I could squeeze in a bit of writing about how they’ve each made an impact upon me.

Films

Saving Mr Banks /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3190.jpg Saving Mr Banks was a magical family film. I’m a huge Disney fan and I’ve always been intrigued by Walt Disney and his imagination. The film told the story of the author of Mary Poppins and how Walt Disney convinced her to turn the book into a film. I adored the way they portrayed the strong and stern woman Mrs Travers and how throughout the film you saw the story behind the book and how she gradually warmed to Walt Disney and his ideas.

The Fault In Our Stars /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3191.jpg The bar was set very high for this film. The Fault In Our Stars was my favourite book, it made me roar with laughter and absolutely sob my heart out. The film had a lot to live up to but I absolutely adored it. It pretty much stuck completely to the book and I loved the way Shaileen Woodley played Hazel Grace, she was exactly how I imagined her to be. I cried a lot at the film, I’ll be honest though, I cried more at the book. I think it was because I was a lot more in love with Augustus from the book as opposed to Augustus in the film.

Divergent

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3193.jpg I was a bit hesitant about how much I’d like the fact that the lead of Divergent “Tris” was played by Shaileen Woodley who played Hazel Grace in The Fault In Our Stars. They’re two completely different characters but she did a fantastic job. The film was fast paced, climatic and stayed very true to the book. I was entranced by Divergent and I felt it did the book so much justice. I’m excited to see Insurgent in the New Year.

Love, Rosie

IMG_0046 Everybody loves a Rom-Com and Love, Rosie was my highlight of this year. It was set in the UK and told the story of a young girl and young man and their friendship throughout their life. They both clearly were in love with each other but never quite got round to telling each other. Yes, it’s cheesy and slightly predictable but I really enjoyed it and it warmed my heart a little bit.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3192.jpg You’re probably reading this thinking WHO ARE YOU because I hadn’t seen this classic film until a few months ago. I know, I’m a disgrace to womankind but as soon as I watched it, it instantly became one of my all time favourite films. I love New York and it truly is the perfect New York film. I believe every girl can identify with Holly and we all have huge adoration towards her cat. It is a timeless film that I plan to watch over and over again. Considering I sobbed inconsolably at the end.

Books

I am an Emotional Creature

By Eve Ensler img_3194 This book was recommended to me by my friend Anna James (you can view her blog here). She is the ultimate book expert so I asked her to recommend me a book that would change my life. She suggested I am an emotional creature and it definitely had an impact on me. It is a book made up of monologues written by young women all around the world. It talks about sexism and feminism and all the monologues are so poignant and moving. I read the whole book in one sitting and since then I’ve read it another  three times. I’m a feminist and this book really opened my eyes to sexism and the pressures put on women.

The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3195.jpg This book quite literally changed my life. The title really says it all, it was written by a woman living in New York who didn’t feel like she was getting by in life feeling adequate but not really enhancing her happiness. She decided to make a “happiness project” that involved her making “resolutions for life” that would strengthen her happiness. Each chapter focused on a different resolution and slowly but surely improved her life for the better. This book taught me a lot, especially how to prioritise looking after yourself.

Anna and the French Kiss

By Stephanie Perkins /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3188.jpg I read this book on holiday in the summer and I found it the perfect summer read. Sometimes I feel it is important to enjoy a nice relaxed read on the beach. Anna and The French Kiss is quite a big book and I read it in a day. It’s a love story about two teenagers that attend a boarding school in France. It’s cute, it’s funny and the perfect book to make you smile.

The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margret Attwood I am a massive fa/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_3196.jpgn of Margaret Attwood and I’m so glad I discovered this book. It’s a well known book set in the 80s, during the anti feminist backlash and it tells a touching story about fertile women being forced to bear children for elite couples. Women are told to stay at home to cook, clean and have babies and if they refuse to do this they’re labeled “unwoman”. The book tells the story of a woman named “Offred” and her life in this dystopian tale.

In Bloom

By Matthew Crow /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_00402.jpg This was another book I read on holiday and I was gripped from he first page. It tells heartwarming story of Francis, a quirky fifteen year old boy who suffers from Leukemia . The story is life-affirming, emotional and humorous. Although it is about a boy with cancer it is not a cancer book, there is a lot more to the story such as the lives of the interesting characters and their relationships, bringing Francis and his friend Amber’s young love to life.

Jack and the Beanstalk

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Last night I was lucky enough to watch Birmingham Hippodrome’s annual festive pantomime, the Hippodrome holds the biggest pantomime in the UK and this year they put on Jack and the Beanstalk.

I’ve seen a lot of pantos but this was the first one I’d seen at the Hippodrome and I was dazzled by the marvellous star studded show.

The well known story is told with spectacular special effects and impressive staging. I was handed a pair of 3D glasses when I entered the theatre and I was excited to see how they’d incorporate 3D visuals into the show. Unsurprisingly I wasn’t disappointed. As Jack led his brothers through the Giants lair, the 3D effects of bugs, spiders and numerous creepy crawlies jumped out at the audience as they shrieked with laughter and surprise.

I was particularly captivated by the spectacular moment when a huge helicopter flown by the character Simple Simon appeared on stage and proceeded to fly into the audience. Very similar to the famous helicopter scene in Miss Saigon on the West End, which proves just how grand the staging.

Stealing the show with her incredible vocals, Jane McDonald made her panto debut as the stunning Enchantress. She’s a regular on Loose Women and her witty and charming nature was brought to the stage as she captured the magical character with such charisma.

Duncan James took to the stage as the gorgeous hero Jack and a quick flash of his chest delighted the ladies of the audience. He was joined by Chris Gascoyne, well known for playing Peter Barlow in Coronation Street. He played the villainous role of Fleshcreep very convincingly, despite cracking a smile as Matt Slack performed some hilarious Coronation Street impressions.

Matt Slack was the perfect comedy character playing the ever so entertaining Silly Billy. Working alongside him to form a comedy duo was Simple Simon played by the exceptionally talented ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. He was my favourite character in the show because I absolutely adore puppets and he was truly hysterical with his sidekick puppet Sam. He made the show for me with his unforgettable performance.

The show entailed all the traditional aspects of a panto such as having a very over the top and riotous Dame played by Gary Wilmot, this being his 2nd performance as the Dame for Birmingham Hippodrome.

Panto wouldn’t be complete without the standard “he’s behind you” and “oh no he isn’t… Oh yes he is” that created great audience participation, however my favourite part was when they got the audience to all sing along with Simple Simon and invited four children up on stage to join in with the fun.

The whole show had me in fits of laughter but the Brum banter topped it off. The characters were constantly cracking jokes about places in Birmingham which had the audience roaring with laughter.

For my first Hippodrome panto experience I was enormously impressed. I’d recommend this show to people of all ages because not only is it a lot of fun, but it is a magnificent show full of talent. Especially the fantastically trained dancers and the stunning Robyn Mellor who played Princess Apricot.

Jack and the Beanstalk runs until the 1st of February, information and tickets are available here. Don’t miss out!

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What I’ve learnt in 2014

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/849/68734422/files/2014/12/img_0008.jpg When reading Emma Gannon’s blog  post titled “Lessons I’ve learnt in 2014” I was inspired to write one similar. As Christmas comes around so does the New Year and we all have those moments of looking back. I try my hardest never to look back and regret what has happened in the last year but there are always an abundance of moments that we learn from. 2014 was an interesting year for me, I grew up a lot, I figured out what I loved and what I didn’t love, who meant a lot to me and who didn’t and most significantly how to look after myself.

The importance of being selfish

Being selfish means putting yourself before others. I tend to be a people pleaser, I always go along with what everybody else wants to do in order to keep them happy. However I’ve learnt this year that whilst being selfless is important when it comes to being a good person, it’s equally important not to forget your own feelings and well-being so you don’t become despondent.

Embracing change

I’ve never been one that responds well to change. I tend to structure, plan and schedule everything that I do. I’ve always viewed change as a bad thing. Anything in my life that crops up unexpectedly seems to really throw me and mess with my mind. However when you think of it, what would life without change be like? This year I have learnt to “go with the flow” embrace change and see where life takes me.

Surrounding myself with positive influences

They say that as a person you are made up of the six people you spend the most time with. I’ve learnt over the past year that being involved with toxic people can have a really negative effect on your personality. I believe when it comes to friendship it is about quality not quantity by having a tight group of best friends instead of trying to be best friends with everyone.

Read everything

I love to fulfil my natural curiosity. I am a very curious person and like to have as much information in my head as possible. As I want to be a writer I need to be inspired and I mainly find my inspiration by reading. Instead of scrolling through Instagram on the train I’m constantly reading blogs on bloglovin- the app I’ve recently discovered and fallen in love with. I’ve read a huge amount of books this year and will hopefully double the amount that I read in 2015.

Say yes

I’m a girl of home comforts and a lot of the time when I’m asked to go out and do something new I normally find an excuse to say no. In the last few months of this year I’ve really pushed myself to say yes in order to discover new experiences and create memories. As important as it is to have downtime, I’m young and need to make the most of that.

Never save an outfit

This year I’ve got into fashion a lot more, not as much as a lot of people but I’ve developed my own sense of style. One thing I always used to do when deciding what to wear is picking something I love and saying “oh but I’ll probably find somewhere better to wear this.” I changed my mind a lot and I was too indecisive when it came to clothes by “saving” too many outfits. This year, if I want to wear something, I’ll wear it.

Write everything down

This year I started my blog and it is my absolute pride and joy, therefore I’ve found it imperative to write everything down. I always carry a notebook wherever I go so if I’m suddenly hit with an idea I have somewhere to scribble it for later. I recently read the book “Paper aeroplanes” by Dawn O’Porter, her book was based on all the diaries she used to keep as a teenager and at the beginning of the book it says

“Having my own diaries as my guide to how it really feels to be a teenager has been invaluable; I just wish I hadn’t stopped writing them when I was sixteen. If you’re a teenager now and keep one, don’t stop. Reading your own words many years later is the best story of all.”

I’ve kept journals since I was about 13 and I continue to write in them, so In the future I can look back and read my thoughts, feelings and dreams and see how my mind grew up. I want to write a book one day and I’ll be able to look back on my experiences and be inspired by my own writing.

Be ambitious

This year I found my passion. I know what I want to do and how I’m going to get there. I’ve been given fantastic opportunities such as becoming a blogger for the Hippodrome and these have really pushed me to where I want to be. I love my new sense of ambition and determination and I plan for it to build and continue in the years to come.

London and Miss Saigon

DSC00161I took a trip to London yesterday with my mum as I do every December as I always find Christmas in London so magical. Everywhere is covered in decorations and blasting Christmas music, it’s impossible not to feel festive. The trip was a present for my 18th birthday as I was going to see Miss Saigon in the West End. However there were a few things I wanted to do before the show.

One of my favourite things to do in London at Christmastime is go to Selfridges. However Selfridges is the sort of place that you need a whole day to properly look around, so instead I just had a nose around Tiffany & Co and then looked around the homeware at the Christmas decorations.

Everywhere in London is covered in Paddington as it’s the most anticipated movie this Christmas. In Selfridges cinema they were showing the film and many of the gifts on sale were Paddington themed.

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Around the outside of Selfridges, their famous Christmas windows also reflected the theme of Paddington. Even when wondering around London I seemed to spot a few Paddington statues, and only when I researched it did I realise there is a Paddington trail around London that you can follow to find the different statues of Paddington designed by celebrities. Information for that is here.

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I was impressed by the Selfridges windows this year however I was particularly impressed by the John Lewis windows. We all saw the poignant John Lewis advert this year with Monty the penguin, so John Lewis themed their Christmas windows in honor of the penguin himself.

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After strolling around Oxford street I went down the the Prince Edward theatre to see Miss Saigon. Normally when I see a musical I know the whole storyline, all the words to every song and therefore have a certain expectation for the show. However with Miss Saigon all I knew was that it was set during the Vietnam war and involved a love story. I’d listened to the soundtrack a few times but didn’t really know what to expect.

DSC00163It’s safe to say that I was blown away, as it is one of the most critically acclaimed musicals on the West End I knew it was going to be amazing but it exceeded that expectation. Firstly the set was astounding, I was captivated by the fact a helicopter flew down onto the stage. Even the intricate details of the set really brought the story together.

The lead girl who played Kim is 18 years old, never trained at drama school as she was spotted at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in America. I thought she was breathtakingly talented and every time she sang I was covered in goosebumps.

I found the storyline incredibly gripping and the ending had me in tears but it’s a musical that I truly loved and I’d definitely see it again.

London was sensational this Christmas as always yet it made me question why everything in London is a hundred times better than anywhere else in England. The decorations are more extravagant, the shops are bigger and better however the restaurants are a lot more packed which is frustrating.

I love London and it just made me want to visit New York around Christmas time as I can imagine it being unimaginably festive and beautiful. Hopefully one day I’ll make it to New York for the festive season.