I’ve found it really hard to blog these past few weeks. Every time I start writing a post I inevitably get distracted and open Twitter and then remember approx forty thousand things that I’m angry about. Writing about a hairbrush or a new vase seems more trivial than usual and I’m almost embarrassed to write such things when I know there are countless more important things going on.
But I know how much I still like to read blogs.
I love reading about new restaurants and sheet masks and recipe ideas (and hairbrushes! And vases!) and I know that caring about those type of things doesn’t automatically mean you don’t care about the bigger things going on. If you choose to bury yourself in the comfort blanket of Friends re-runs instead of tuning into continual political fallout on Sky News every once in a while, that’s perfectly fine.
And so in the spirit of not moaning/worrying/despairing constantly, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve particularly enjoyed recently. Yey!
Here they are…
1. School of Rock The Musical
Before being offered press preview tickets I didn’t actually know that Andrew Lloyd Webber had adapted School of Rock into a blockbuster musical, but it’s been a HUGE Broadway hit and it’s now come to London.
You’ll already be aware of how much I loved it if you follow me on Twitter but let me just say again: I LOVED IT. I basically grinned from ear to ear for three hours and it was laugh out loud funny from start to finish. The cast are phenomenal across the board, but those kids are just something else. If you’re looking for a show where you can laugh, cry and rock out…this is the show for you.
I’ll definitely be going again – and not just because I fell a little bit in love with David Fynn’s Dewey.
STICK IT TO THE MAN.
More info and tickets here.
2. Learning from a real life astronaut
I took my parents to see Mike Massimino in conversation with Dermot O’Leary a few weeks ago and I’m not not exaggerating when I say I’ve thought about the event every day since. I’d never been to a how to: Academy event before and when I bought the tickets I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but Dermot was the perfect host – you can tell he and Mike are genuinely very fond of each other – and it felt like the most intimate conversation which we were all just very lucky to bear witness to.
I can feel myself welling up just writing this actually, WHICH IS RIDICULOUS, but to hear Mike talk about his journey from being a kid in New York to doing space walks for NASA was just extraordinary. I couldn’t believe I was in the same room as him to be perfectly honest. Hearing him talk about the determination, the dedication and the very real human fears that all these men and women who have been to space have to go through was just awe-inspiring. It’s easy to forget that astronauts are real people too. Humans can do great things.
I learnt a lot from Mike and as soon as my Dad has finished reading his book, I’ll be nabbing it off him.
You can buy Spaceman here. (At time of writing the hardback is reduced to £6 which is BONKERS).
3. The audiobook of Alan Partridge: Nomad
I love Alan and this audiobook is as perfect as you’d hope for it to be, proper Kenco-coming-out-your-nostrils funny. It’s my first foray into the world of audiobooks and I managed to nab it for free as part of an Audible 30 day trial, but I think I’ll keep Audible when the trial ends. I’m not sure if all books would translate so well, but for comedies it certainly seems worth the subscription and it appears to be easy enough to cancel.
Get it on Audible here.
4. Actually moving my body (what madness!) at the gym
Swayed by a super cheap pre-Christmas offer, I joined a gym a few weeks ago. So far, I’m really enjoying going. I think the fact it’s so cheap helps (no contract and £17 a month!) as I feel like I’m going because I want to, not because I feel guilty that I’m spending so much on a direct debit. Gyms in London can be eye-wateringly expensive and cripplingly difficult to quit (can you tell that I only like to subscribe to things if I can easily cancel?!) so as much as I miss the steam rooms and free towels of the fancy places, I’m quite liking the fact that this place is just about exercising then going home.
We’ll see if I stick with it, but for now I’m enjoying the endorphins.
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
I went to the premiere of this last week and my god it was good. I’ve missed being transported into J.K’s wizarding world and I loved the darker themes of this movie. It did seem worryingly relevant to our current world politics, but this is a happy post so let’s not dwell on that too much eh?! The casting is spot on and the beasts are, well, fantastic.
Can I have a bowtruckle for Christmas?
6. Baking my own bread
You know how people say that baking your own bread is really satisfying? Well they’re not (just) being smug, they’re actually telling the truth. I hadn’t baked bread from scratch for years, but I went to a masterclass at The Jamie Oliver Cookery School in Shepherds Bush and within a few hours I’d made a rosemary salt focaccia, a stuffed wholewheat loaf (it had layers and layers of caramelised onions and crushed walnuts – as good as it sounds!) as well as a batch of pumpkin seed studded dinner rolls.
It really was a lovely way to spend a Sunday and I left the masterclass with a genuine confidence that I could knead, prove and shape my own breads at home. Baking bread is an exact science after all, so to be shown the ropes and learn so many different techniques in one day was exactly what I needed.
I was a guest of Hotpoint and Currys PC World (we were using the snazzy Hotpoint ovens to ensure no soggy bottoms) but the class is one that the Jamie Oliver gang run pretty frequently – it was this one.
7. Watching someone I love be sworn in as a magistrate
I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed being in court so much! I’m very proud….and tempted to try to apply myself one day.
8. Having Ant & Dec back
I ruddy love I’m A Celebrity and it’s SUCH a joy to have it back on our screens. They seem like a nice bunch this year (in the main!) and whilst there isn’t the type of Lady C drama that made last year’s series so watchable, I’m enjoying the happy vibes from this series so far. It’s been a nice treat to look forward to every day and Ant & Dec seem to be on brilliant form.
9. Unexpected life advice from Alpha-H director, Michelle Doherty
Beauty press events tend to follow a similar format: a PR talks you through a product launch, you neck a drink and you take a sample home to trial. Yes you may catch up with friends too and maybe make a personalised bauble or something else nice, but the bare bones are the same.
So when I went along to an event to hear about Alpha-H’s new beauty launches I didn’t expect to come away thinking as much about entrepreneurship as I was about skincare. I hadn’t met Michelle before, but hearing her speak about the journey of the brand over the past twenty years and how they’ve stuck to their core values – despite that meaning less products to flog – was really eye-opening.
I love Liquid Gold (blogged about here) and it’s one of the few beauty products that I repeat purchase without fail as I’ve never found anything that compares to it, but hearing Michelle talk so passionately about their other products has made me excited to try more from the range. A proper blog post on the new bits will follow soon!
Side note: If anyone from Alpha-H reads this I would LOVE to hear a podcast from Michelle about the business journey – I think a lot of entrepreneurs would find it really interesting, whether they’re into beauty or not!
10. Remembering how brilliant our NHS is
I wouldn’t say I’ve “enjoyed” having to use the NHS more than usual recently, but it’s comforting to know that when you need to – they’re there.
I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t work in the NHS, but I’m on the family WhatsApp group (lol) and I know how hard they work and how much they care about their patients. And whilst we should of course praise the doctors and nurses, it can be easy to forget the people behind the scenes that keep everything running smoothly too. My dad works in tech and he left his own 60th birthday party to ensure everything in A&E was running smoothly the other weekend. I’m not saying this to go WOOOOHEEEE LOOK AT HIM – it’s his job and he’d never complain about it – but it’s not just the doctors and nurses that make our NHS great. It’s a huge community.
We have to look after our NHS. I for one am very grateful for them.
11. Sips n Sounds at The K Bar
On Thursday evenings, the K Bar at The Kensington has live jazz and a whole menu of Sipsmith cocktails on offer. You don’t need to buy a ticket (although you may want to book a table) and the drinks are reasonable given the Kensington location, live music and general opulent surroundings – we paid £8.50 per cocktail.
I hate to use the phrase “date night” but it was a great place for a date. All very romantic and charming with big deep sofas and sexy candlelight – exactly what you want when the weather outside is vile. We really loved it.
I believe Sips n Sounds will carry on running until the end of the year, so if you’re looking for the perfect hideaway, expertly crafted drinks and a stunning soundtrack then you ought to check it out.
More info here.
12. Our family trip to Blackpool
I had so much fun in Blackpool, as you can probably tell in this vlog…
My mum booked a house in Chester on AirBnB and it worked out so much better than being in a hotel (and much cheaper!) as we were all able to hang out in front of the fire and just do everything at our own self-catered pace. It was awesome.