The 2019 Wish List

blog, books, concealer, inspired, life, lifestyle, london, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, trend, West End

Last year was a good year for me in terms of getting to the theatre. I made the most of cheap deals and daily lotteries to see the likes of Heathers and Hamilton. This year, I’m hoping for more of the same with a few extra plays thrown in! Fifteen feels like a lot at the moment but no doubt this list will continue to grow and change.

So here is it is, my 2019 wish list…

Waitress – I don’t think I could create this list without putting Waitress on it. Currently starring Broadway superstar Katharine Mcphee, this show features music written by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.

Come From Away – I’m all for a show with an uplifting narrative and if the reviews are anything to go by, this is the show to beat for feel-good factor! One quick warning with this one, there is no intermission!

Six – The music, the lyrics, the female empowerment. I am so excited to see this show. No doubt it’ll inspire a return trip to Hampton Court Palace afterwards!

A German Life – As a self confessed history geek, this one woman show starring Maggie Smith is right up my street. Based on the testemonies of Brunhilde Pomsel, Joseph Goebbel’s secretary, this is bound to be a sell out when tickets drop on February 26th!

9 To 5 The Musical – I’m all about the Dolly tunes.

Only Fools and Horses – I have low expectations for this show but I often find that when you go in with little hope, you are pleasantly surprised.

Noughts & Crosses – I am beyong excited to watch this novel from my childhood be brought to life on stage. An important and gripping love story.

Tina – Featuring songs from her incredible back catalogue, this show follows the life of Tina Turner from Nashville to stardom.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Having seen this at The Rose Theatre a few years back, Shakespeare’s only made it onto the list because I’m keen to experience the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

& Juliet – With 5 Grammy Awards under his belt, alongside a plethora of number one singles, Max Martin has turned his hand to musical theatre. Starring Miriam-Teak Lee, this is set to be an exciting twist on Shakespeare’s famous love story.

Witness For the Prosecution – If you’ve ever completed a stint on a jury, you’ll know just how boring the reality of the entire process really is. I am confident that this show will be anything but and cannot wait to find myself watching a case unfold in London County Hall.

Les Misérables: The All-Star Staged Concert – For a limited time, the longest running show in the West End is moving down the road to the Gielgud Theatre. With a cast made up of some of the biggest names in Musical Theatre, this is sure to be a ticket for the memory box!

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – This show will always hold a special place in my heart. Having grown up listening to an *admittedly bootleg* tape recording of Joseph, I’ve always secretly held a dream of one day playing the Narrator. Having last seen Lee Mead take on the iconic role, I’m looking forward to this new production.

Small Island – Landing at the National Theatre in late April, this show is an adaptation of the prize winning novel by Andrea Levy.

Dear Evan Hansen – I am the most excited for this show to land in the UK. With a soundtrack like no other and a message that has never been more relevant, I’m certain that this show will be a phenomenon.

Panto –  I’m not sure which one yet but I haven’t been to a panto since I was a young and have forgotten just how fantastically camp they can be. Recommendations welcome!

I’d love to hear what shows you’re all looking forward to catching this year!

 

 

 

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Caroline, or Change

blog, event, life, lifestyle, london, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, West End

Having seen Company the previous night, I had everything crossed that Caroline,or Change would come through for me and it certainly did.

I knew two things going into the Playhouse Theatre.

1.) Graham Norton had tweeted:

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 20.26.21

2.) There was going to be a singing washing machine…

Now, in my mind a singing washing machine evoked an image of a person with a painted up cardboard box flung over their head. This was not to be the case (thankfully). The way in which inanimate objects are given life in this show is brilliant yet somewhat bonkers.

It would in fact be fair to say that the show itself is rather unusual in its choices. Think Mighty Boosh vibes. For me, the moon was the weirdest element of the show, I can’t pretend to understand the involvement of the character but I enjoyed her quirkiness and vocal abilities nonetheless.

It is these vocal abilities that make Caroline, or Change so utterly fantastic. The entire cast deliver flawless performances with voices so beautiful I only wish there was a cast recording. Caroline, played by Sharon D Clarke is mesmerising. Whilst she plays a character who at times should be considered unlikeable to the audience, Sharon overpowers this with her stunning, soulful voice.

Now could I tell you the exact details of the show? No. At times, I felt I had to really choose which character to listen to as I experienced somewhat of a sensory overload. I’m not ashamed to admit it took me a while to connect the dots and realise this is in fact a story about change *I know, the idiocy isn’t lost on me either*. Set in Louisiana in the year 1963 we see Caroline struggle with the repetitive work of a maid in a time of great change in the country around her. I found the moments shared on stage with her daughter Emmie to be particularly moving and impactful.

You may have noticed, I’m not keen to go into too much detail about the show itself because a.) if you’re reading this you probably already have Caroline, or Change on your radar and b.) I personally feel this is a show in which you should go in with little expectation or idea of what it will be.

Once you settle in and get over the initial hit of eccentricity, you find a heartfelt story of family and opportunity performed by some of the best talent I have ever witnessed. So we can skim over the random clarinet playing and singing moon for the sake of a vocal performance of a lifetime from Sharon D. Clarke and her cast.

Parting Company

blog, celebrity, event, life, lifestyle, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, trend, West End

I must admit, I’m slightly afraid to post this one.

As a Disclaimer, if you’re thinking I’m going to be bashing any specific names in the next few hundred words, I’m not. The individuals involved in this show were all extremely talented and more than worthy of their place on a West End stage.

I am however going to have to say it…I’m Sophie and I hated Company!

I hated Company so much that I left at the interval. I know this will anger some so let me explain my personal standpoint on leaving shows. I rarely do this, in fact this was only the second time I have ever done so in my entire life. Now, with theatre comes a certain set of unwritten rules. For instance, you would be well within your right to loudly tut a person bringing a burger in as a show snack. You would also be within your rights to boot the bright phone screen of the idiot in front out of their hands should they decide to whip it out at a pivotal moment! But leaving a show has always caused me a bit of conflict. So I kind of judge it by my seating i.e. if I’m front and centre, I ain’t leaving. In my opinion this would be impolite. That being said, I would agree with the viewpoint that it is my money and time and therefore I can make the decision to leave should I want to. And on this occasion, I really wanted to…

Naively, I didn’t do my research on this one. If I’m honest, I was led by the 5 star reviews and glamorous posters lining the escalators of London Vauxhall Station. Company is the show of the moment, the must have ticket and I wanted in.

It was a quick realisation of regret, a bit like when you take a risk on an online order only to discover that the trousers are see-through and it’s less of a camel toe and more like a hoof! *I’ve taken a risk there in assuming that Camels do in fact have hooves and not feet* From the opening number in which various cast members sang Bobbie over and over, I was underwhelmed.

Call me cliche, but I enjoy a musical in which I leave with at least one song stuck in my head and a feeling that I’ve learnt something or taken a message from somewhere. Company is abstract, there is no beginning middle and end (well maybe there is in the second half, you’ll have to let me know). Abstract art and I are like oil and water, we don’t mix *another fact based risk for you there*. I’m very aware that this is a trait shared by some and that others will absolutely love the lack of structure, the audience around me are proof enough that the show is a success to so many!

I suppose I wanted to share my thoughts as the overwhelming feeling I had when leaving was that I lacked culture or intellect in some way. Like I was at a dinner party with a table full of people talking politics in Russian. Like I was left waiting for the punchline when the rest were already in stitches. Company is a beautiful show visually, the staging is phenomenal and I have no doubt that the audience as a whole was feeling that special buzz, I just didn’t.

There is something to be said about the, for want of a better word, ‘snobbery’ that comes with theatre. The idea that more commercial shows are in some way lesser to the ‘classics’. I don’t like that. In my previous post, I mentioned that I believe there is a show for everyone. Theatre is there to entertain and excite. For two hours, you are transported away from your daily life with no distractions and given a story to take with you. It left me wondering, did anyone else in that audience feel the same way as I did and were they perhaps going along with the majority in order to feel accepted in some way? Perhaps not. But personally, I’ll be keeping away from Sondheim in the future and looking for something a little more uplifting.

…Oh and if you’re wondering, the other show I walked out of many years ago was the diabolical, Never Forget. *I like to think that Gary Barlow would have my back on that decision*

Cheap Tickets For the West End!

blog, event, life, lifestyle, london, Musical Theatre, review, Theatre, West End

January in the West End means cheap tickets. There are very few opportunities to bag yourself a ten pound ticket to Phantom or Les Mis but when the country is low on money, the seats still want selling!

Mum and I always like to take advantage of the amazing discounts on offer via Official London Theatre. (I thoroughly recommend taking a look if you are at all interested as there are still plenty of tickets available running through February.)

This year we left it a little last minute and so, on a whim, we decided upon 3 shows. Having already seen several of the ‘big hitters’ including Kinky Boots and Lion King, we settled on Company, Caroline, or Change and Matilda.

Three very different shows with three very different, perhaps controversial, reviews to follow!!

The New Year sale isn’t just for Musical Theatre fans, there are several plays to choose from on the list including the utterly phenomenal Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time.  I was completely blown away by this show when I saw it a few weeks ago, from the staging to the acting, it was incredible. In fact so good that I feel it deserves a blog post all of its own!

There is a very outdated idea amongst many that theatre is overpriced and unreachable to the masses. This simply isn’t true. I found perspective in a recent trip to the cinema to the value of £18.25!! Obscene! Only justified by the fact that I was watching Mary Poppins Returns. In comparison, two decent seats in the Dress Circle for Caroline, or Change came to a total of £20.

I get it when people say that the theatre just isn’t for them, but I do believe that there is a show for everyone. A two hour experience in which that person finds some kind of connection. There is nothing like the post-show buzz that you just cannot get from a trip to your local Odeon.

If this post has inspired you to book a trip, a great site for good seats at affordable prices is todaytix.com. TodayTix offer daily lotteries to some of the biggest shows in the West End. I myself have been lucky enough to see Heathers, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Dreamgirls this way!

If you do decide to see a show, let me know, I always love hearing how different our experiences can be!

 

 

Happiness

books, life, lifestyle, mindfulness, self improvement

I’m a girl that loves a bit of mindfulness! (I also appear to be fond of an exclamation point or five!!!!!) Whilst I don’t always practice what I preach *does anyone?*, I do find that it makes a massive difference to my mood and mentality.

If you’re looking to get into the world of mindfulness and/or self improvement I would seriously recommend a book called ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ as well as ‘The Path’. If reading isn’t for you, try an adult colouring book or one of the many apps that teach you meditation (personally I have never been able to get into these).

This is one of those topics I feel like I could discuss for hours upon hours and it’s something I definitely hope to share more about in the future. But I truly believe it has dramatically changed my outlook on life.

For Christmas, I received a copy of Fearne Cottons book ‘Happy: the Journal‘. Fearne is a British television presenter with unbelievable style and a lush Instagram page to match.

We always hear how writing things down can be a wonderful outlet. ‘If you’re angry at a co worker, write an email but don’t press send’. As someone who genuinely spends hours pondering over whether a craving for watermelon makes you hungry or thirsty, this sounds like a terrible idea. The thought of losing focus and accidentally clicking Send like in one of those cheesy American comedies is far too fear inducing!

An old school ‘Dear Kitty’ style diary might work for many but it can be hard to know where to start. This journal is structured enough to guide your train of thought without being rigid in its’ questioning. Yes, daily entries can be a challenge for us procrastinators, but I find it just as effective when I fill out a few in one go.

blog9.PNG‘Happy: The Journal’ has really helped me to take a minute and deal with all the changes going on around me. There are very few things in life that we truly have control over, being able to write a few sentences about how you plan to move forward this year or what your biggest worries are can really help with perspective.

See now I’m a big fan of perspective. When people around me are being negative I tend to be the first to pull out a cliche about how lucky they are to have what they do. It is however so easy to be sucked into these thoughts and feelings. Who you choose to surround yourself with seriously does have an unbelievable impact on how you approach your day!

So when I have been lured into the metaphorical snake pit of negativity, taking 5 minutes to jot down a few thoughts can totally re balance my mind. Thank you Fearne!

How do you guys approach life? Are you into self improvement and mindfulness or are you a typical British cynic?

xoxo

She’s backk…

blog, life, lifestyle, Uncategorized

So after making endless promises to keep up to date with blogging, things kind of went South. Oh dearrr

Important life lesson learned…stop making resolutions!

The reason? There isn’t one. The excuse? I’ve got plenty of those! But I shan’t waste my time typing them up because ultimately, who actually cares? In a world in which Donald Trump is now President and we’ve long since moved on from the iphone 4 (see my ‘Contact’ page) my blog isn’t exactly a major concern!

‘BLOGGING IS DEAD’…hear it all the time. In fact, I’m guilty of dropping it myself a few times over the past couple of years. But why do I do it? Because I enjoy writing, because it’s therapeutic and because it makes me feel more productive than just watching back to back episodes of Fresh Meat on Netflix (total favourite at the moment).

Every few months I go through a ‘what am I doing with my life!? moment’. In September I decided to move across the country. This time, I’m going to start small and try and get back into blogging.

Basically this is just my, I’m blogging again blog post. See you tomorrow for my first official one (I scheduled it..profesh)

xoxo

The 2017 Checklist

beauty, life, lifestyle, reflection

big-ben

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions but I have been thinking a lot about what I would like to do and achieve this year. First item on the agenda…start blogging again!

The number one goal I have set for myself this year is to sort my finances out. It’s a boring one but it needs to happen. I have made a plan to pay off my overdraft and credit card within the next few months. The key to achieving this is that I have created realistic figures to pay back each month. With the help of direct debits and a large amount of will power to stop splurging on makeup, I hope to be free of debt by the Summer!

Recently I have found myself becoming increasingly interested in the concept of Mindfulness. For those that don’t know about it, it’s essentially the idea of learning to live in the present moment in order to clear your mind and calm your life. Perfect for anyone with anxiety! I am currently reading Mindfulness in Eight Weeks by Michael Chaskalson. This book is great as not only is it broken down into short, simple chapters but it also provides mp3 links to help you complete the exercises online. I want to continue to learn more and be able to integrate Mindfulness into my life fully by the end of the year.

Reflecting on 2016 led me to realise I need to broaden my horizons. So with this in mind I’m trying to find myself a new hobby. At the grand old age of 24 I’m thinking something a little more relaxing. Perhaps pottery or knitting? Essentially, I want to learn a new skill and challenge myself.

This year I am determined to spend less time on social media!! It’s beginning to feel like I spend my life refreshing news feeds and for what? One photo on Instagram is not someones reality. So many of us are guilty of seeking what others have based on a single image. I’d rather spend my time absorbing my surroundings and being present in the moment. So I’m going to considerably cut down my time on Instagram and Snapchat to begin with. One week in and I’m actually finding it a lot easier than anticipated. Facebook is next!

I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with ideas so I’m stopping here for now. In order to succeed it makes sense to me to be realistic with the number of things I want to complete. Perhaps in the Summer I’ll create a few more. What are your goals for 2017? If you are interested in Mindfulness also then please share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear them!!

Sophie xoxo

January Shade

bargain, budget, dupe, highend, holiday, inspired, life, lifestyle, look, ootd, reflection, review, tan, trend

It is cold here in England at the moment, really cold! So the winter coat is getting a lot of use (you can read about my favourite jacket HERE). But the days are also rather sunny and for someone who gets headaches just opening the front door, that provides an issue…

DIOR GLASSES.jpgI am obsessed with sunglasses, they are just the best thing on a sunny day and recently I was seriously lusting after a beautiful Dior pair. At £295 these “Dior reflected sunglasses” had to stay in my dreams and so I pushed them to the back of my mind and somewhat forgot about them.

 

SUNGLASSES

The other day I was browsing the MissGuided website and saw THESE lovely sunglasses. At £10 they were a total bargain and I just couldn’t resist.Once again I was so impressed by the speed and ease of the delivery service provided by MissGuided, they really are so good at what they do! For the price I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of quality but these seem pretty sturdy. It’s always a good sign when the product looks like the picture on the site. I love the contrast of white and gold and can’t wait to wear them all year round! They may not be Dior but they’ll do for me!

Sophie xoxo

 

My Current Favourites

bargain, beauty, celebrity, essentials, life, lifestyle, makeup, review, skin, skincare, trend

Everything is my favourite at the moment, even the word itself. So I thought I’d share some of my current loves with you all. From television to skincare here are just a few for you…

faves-SQScream Queens – I absolutely love this TV show! I’m watching along weekly in the UK so no spoilers please!! From the cast to the scripting this show is everything I love, but what else would you expect given that it was created by American Horror Story genius Ryan Murphy?! Despite the name it really isn’t particularly scary but it can venture into the gory zone on occasion. The show is set in a sorority house controlled by Queen bitch Chanel (Emma Roberts) and sees the cast being slowly picked off by the ‘Red Devil’. Jamie Lee Curtis is amazing as the slightly crazy, hard-faced Dean Cathy Munsch. Basically if you like pretty clothes, dark comedy and plenty of cliché rich white girl jokes then you need Scream Queens in your life!

faves-cliniqueClinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil – This stuff takes my makeup off in seconds. It’s amazing. I was using the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm but found that it often irritated my eyes, not enough to put me off using it but enough to make me want to explore other options. So I did my research and found the Clinique one to be a suitable alternative. I have found that whilst this is a great first cleanse you really do need to go in with a second one to get that fresh, clean skin feeling. For this I have been using an Elemis one (review coming soon). The Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil is perfect if you’re in a rush but want to avoid face wipes. 3 pumps for a full face of makeup, a warm flannel to remove and you’re done in seconds. Love. It.

faves-coatMissGuided Padded Faux Fur Hood Jacket– When it comes to jackets, I think I have a serious issue. I just cannot get enough! I feel like I need to have a different style for every occasion (funnily enough my mum disagrees). My justification for this most recent purchase however is that I was seriously lacking in the hood department. This jacket is sooo warm and the giant hood makes it perfect for walks in the rain (a must when you have two dogs). So that’s my reasoning, and I have donated an old one to charity in exchange which is a great idea if you want to rid yourself of a little shoppers guilt. On a side note I just have to say how impressive the MissGuided delivery service is, this arrived next day despite the fact I ordered after 8pm. They also have a great returns policy and bonus points for the 20% discount!!

Adele 25 – Despite spending hours and I mean serious hours attempting to buy tickets to her tour *to no avail* I have made the mature decision to forgive Adele. This new album might actually be my favourite of all her work. Hello is of course the ballad of the year but for me the number one song on 25 is When We Were Young (the video above), I bloody love it! I like the mix of uptempo and slow songs and basically I am just one of millions of passengers riding the Adele train right now.

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge – I wrote about this in a blog post which you can read here. I won’t bang on about it, but I have just been loving using this to apply my concealer recently. I cover the sponge in setting spray, wait a couple of seconds and then lightly bounce it over the concealer until it has fully blended. This is particularly great for the under eye area and once set with powder there is definitely less creasing than when using a brush. Brilliant and affordable at just £5.99, what more do you want?!

What are your current favourites? Beauty or random I would love to know so please do share them in the comments. Or you can tweet me @sophieaiken.

Sophie xoxo