My Dad-A Daughters First Love

A blog I’ve been wanting to write for a long time seems perfect to do this weekend ready for my Dad’s Birthday.

 

“A daughters first love “

I read a lot of quotes, I use a lot-especially in my blogs, then I decide whether I believe them or not!  However, there’s not a shred of doubt that the above quote is 100% true. Continue reading “My Dad-A Daughters First Love”

Find Me A Gift-Men’s Engraved Infinity Bracelet Review

I was sent an Engraved Infinity Bracelet for my Dad for
Father’s Day from Find Me A Gift!

Find

 

Who are Find Me A Gift?

Continue reading “Find Me A Gift-Men’s Engraved Infinity Bracelet Review”

525,600 Minutes-How Do You Measure A Year?

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I’m unsure if those of you that will read this, are familiar with the above number and the song it relates to.

Seasons of Love is a song from the West End musical, ‘Rent‘.

This song came on a year ago today, on the radio on my TV.  I was doing washing, something not abnormal in my life, but this time, I was doing washing, ten minutes after coming in from the hospital. Continue reading “525,600 Minutes-How Do You Measure A Year?”

Momma Makes-Mother And Daughter Tee Review

we were sent some awesome clothing from Momma Makes!

who are momma makes?

A Mum and Dad team of two-Aimee and Scott, who, after seeing all the beautiful products available on social media, decided they wanted to see even more!
After searching the internet for specific items they required for their own little girl, and having no luck, they decided to make her the things they had hoped to find online! Continue reading “Momma Makes-Mother And Daughter Tee Review”

Pride and Prejudice at The Marlowe Theatre-Review

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Last night, I was invited to the press night for Pride and Prejudice at the Marlowe Theatre.  Originally a Regent’s Park open air theatre play, the show has three weeks left of its tour, playing another four days in Canterbury, before moving on to Liverpool, Newcastle and Cardiff. Tickets are available here for The Marlowe Theatre and here for the other venues and dates.

As a 30 year old woman, who grew up reading the book, watching every screen adaptation of this reputable Jane Austen novel, and dreaming of meeting my own Mr Darcy, I knew I’d enjoy watching this stage version.
What I hadn’t bargained on, was just how much I’d enjoy it.

 

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Upon entering the grand auditorium of the Marlowe Theatre, the audience were met with a large structure on the stage.
From the very first scene, we were enlightened to what the structure was; a rotating scene changing creation, that enabled different scenes of the play to be altered without having to change an entire stage of props.
Cast members regularly stayed in the background, changing the few props at the back half of the stage, while main cast members kept the audience captivated with their clear and precise dialogue.

Acoustically, this dialogue is obviously helped by the Marlowe’s beautiful auditorium, but the cast themselves played a massive part in getting the audience to absorb the recitation of this well known story.

Moving on to the cast, the focus is immediately on Mrs  Bennet, played by the always resplendent Felicity Montagu.  Felicity brings out every ounce of drama and self absorbed hilarity, Mrs Bennett radiates.

Her relationship with poor Mr Bennet, played by TV legend Matthew Kelly, is acted perfectly; their tumultuous marriage, and his tolerance and desperation of her dramatics are constantly evident.  Felicity and Matthew, have a near perfect comedic timing, making the audience question whether there are two better people to work alongside each other in these two roles.

Their daughters, Mary, Jane, Kitty, Lydia, and Elizabeth, played by Leigh Quinn, Hollie Edwin, Anna Crichlow, Mari Izzard and Tafline Steen, play their individual characters with ease.

Mary and Kitty, even with their smaller roles, still have great humorous lines (and looks) throughout, and the wild child Lydia, easily shocked the audience, with her sudden change of character when she married the equally wild Mr Wickham, played by Daniel Abbott.

Daniel plays the role of Mr Wickham in the charming way the character is portrayed in the original text.  A charm that Mr Darcy definitely doesn’t have.
It is no wonder In that case, why we saw Jane initially assume she had stronger feelings for Mr Wickham.

Jane and Elizabeth are the closest of the sisters-both living for each others happiness, and their devotion to one another is a constant throughout the play.

When Jane finally becomes betrothed to Mr Bingley, the gracious contentment Elizabeth has for her sisters good fortune is played out beautifully, and, throughout the play, Mr Bingley, played by Jordan Mifsud, becomes a firm favourite with the audience.
His alternative methods of thought, and the excitement he has during every task he undertakes makes him effortlessly endearing.

Tafline, who plays Elizabeth could not be more perfect for her role.  Her quick wit, dry humour, sarcasm and relationship with her family, mirror my own, and, although I cannot hope to have the pure English-rose beauty Tafline possesses, her portrayal of this head strong confident character, is enough to make any independent young lady, look to her as their heroine.

Her strong relationship with her family, does not mirror the initial meeting with Mr Darcy, and their affiliation with one another is constantly turbulent and heated.

Ben who plays Mr Darcy, towers above his cast members, and, with his stern, brooding features, he plays the character with ease and poignancy.

The moment the audience had been waiting for showed us a new side to both characters.  Mr Darcy softened and allowed his love to rule over his terseness,  closely followed by Elizabeth admitting to her own feelings, following the kiss, both of which had the audience gasping and cooing over the romance and beauty of the scene.

Of course, Elizabeth could have had a very different life, had she chosen the interestingly eccentric Mr Collins.
Played by Steven Meo, a massive compliment has to go out to his portrayal of, let’s face it, a complete sleazeball!

For an actor to have the ability to not only make an audience cringe at the dialogue and mannerisms a character has, but to also have an excitement surround them every time they come onto the stage, is a massive talent to have-and his relationship with the unfortunate Charlotte Lucas, played by Francesca Bailey, showed us the awkwardness surrounding a relationship with this man.

Additionally to the above cast members and their incredible acting throughout, a special nod has to go to Kirsty Rider who plays the incredibly desperate Caroline Bingley.
Her affections for Mr Darcy, and her distaste for the Bennett family, are genuinely hilarious.  Even her facial expressions during scenes where she had no dialogue had the audience in hysterics.


It was also a thrill to see Dona Crook As Lady Catherine De Bourgh, and  Charlotte Palmer as Mrs Gardiner.  

Lady Catherine’s stuck up, displeasure towards Elizabeth made her the villain of the play-something Dona revelled in at the end, when she came on to the curtain call jeering the crowd into booing her.

Mrs Gardiner, although the sister of Mrs Bennet, thankfully was anything like her sibling.  Although she is supportive of her sisters self made stresses, she couldn’t be more different in personality.
A sweet lady, who adores her nieces, we can label her the wannabe Cilla Black of Jane Austen novels, in her attempt to make Elizabeth realise her feelings for Mr Darcy, when they visited Pemberley together.
Ending the show was a perfect letter scene, where the characters shared their good fortune with other members of their family.
The movement from the many members of cast, was once again, fluid and faultless, as it had been throughout.

Lights descended from above the stage, the actors took their places for the curtain call, and they were met with an incredible reception of applause (and lots of whooping).

In conclusion, this is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen, and the amazing evening was made complete, when I got to catch up with some of the cast after the show, who were all genuinely lovely.

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Big Thanks to the especially lovely, Ben Dilloway and Tafline Steen (Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet), for indulging me in a photo (for blog purposes obviously!)

30 Million Minutes*

Right, before I write anything else, this isn’t something I usually do.  I’ve never reviewed a TV programme/episode, I usually leave the critiquing to Ian Hyland-but I just couldn’t leave this one alone.

You see, since as early as was acceptable, my hero-my Dad, used to let me watch French & Saunders with him.  I then became a ridiculously massive fan of the Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, and mainly anything with Dawn French in.

Dawn French, very quickly became one of my comedy heroes.

On New Years Eve, the critically acclaimed show, 30 Million Minutes, was shown on BBC4.

Unsure of what kind of show it was going to be, I have to say I assumed it would be a whole 2 hours of stand up comedy.  But it was so much more than that.  It was basically an autobiographical show-the life of Dawn French!
People like Dawn French-well, anyone in the public eye I suppose-seem to have been moulded in our heads using a preconceived idea of who we think they are.
What doesn’t help are media morons, trying to convince us (badly), that what they print is true.
Social media platforms, where the age old game of “Chinese Whispers” comes into play-in the form of tweets/statuses, spreading untrue rumours.
And, as Dawn mentions during this show, horrible, nasty, vile arseholes idiots, who would happily mess with a child’s life to make a quick buck from a book full of crap.

So, imagine my surprise, when, while watching this glorious woman’s show, even though she’s double my age (sorry Dawn), I found the most amazing, and heartbreaking similarities in our lives.

I cried, I laughed, I laughed and cried at the same time.  

I felt my heart break all over again, when she re-lived her miscarriage, something she kept so private-like I initially did with my first one.  Who knew this amazing, funny, beautiful, open woman, had lost a baby-just like me.

I sat, open mouthed, at the detail in which she went into, when speaking about her father’s suicide when she was only 19.  My eyes glancing over at the photo of my life hero-my Father, imagining how it would’ve felt to lose him at such a young age.

I cried, so much, over her descriptions of her Grandmothers, because the similarities in them and my own Grandmothers was so unbelievable!

And, I recalled my own memories of my Mother and Father’s divorce, and looked at it from another angle, when she explained how one day, she just knew it wasn’t working with Lenny, and decided to put herself and her “truth” first for a change.
All those years of listening to why my parents had split-and never really understanding, finally made sense.  What Dawn and my Dad have in common (aside from age), is that they followed their hearts-and now, both remarried, know what they did was right for them!

If you haven’t seen it yet, none of these things are spoilers.  The context in which Dawn speaks about these life lessons and experiences, aren’t anything you can read in an article or blog.  They really have to be watched to be experienced fully.
Also, if you haven’t watched it yet, please don’t think its full of misery.  Somehow, Dawn manages to make you flip from heartbreak to hilarity in a matter of moments, and, at one point, I genuinely couldn’t work out if my tears were from crying at an earlier story, or laughing hysterically at another tale from her past years (the glass on the car seat literally had me in pain laughing).

To sum up-the entire 120 minutes, of Dawn’s 30 Million Minutes, are just unforgettable.  If you haven’t watched it, go watch it.  If you have watched it, go watch it again-and lets start some kind of DVD release petition-because I absolutely must own this show forever!

Thank you Dawn-for, well you know, everything!

X

*I stole the above photo from The Telegraph-just in case anyone was wondering!

The Trouble Isn’t Facebook….

My Dad always goes on about how he hates the idea of Facebook.  As a member of staff in a school, as a parent of three, he has an opinion of the social media platform, even though he’s never even been on it.

People use it in the wrong way.  It should be used to stay in touch with people who aren’t nearby, not to get one over on people, to use people’s words against them-I can’t bear it!

My god how we’ve bickered about it.  How I’ve defended the reason I use it.  In the end we agreed to disagree, and I just never bring up anything about it.

 

Just over a week ago, I ended up disagreeing with my own opinion, the opinion I’ve tried to convince my Father about so often.

My Facebook, was no longer being used to stay in contact with those that don’t live close by.  It wasn’t being used for people to send me funny posts, or sweet messages on my wall.

Instead, I had messages sent, from disgruntled people,who’d been fed information twisting my words, or in some cases, making things up I’d apparently said.  After a terrible few days in “the real world” and the realisation that a large amount of people who see into “My Facebook world”, were no longer people I could trust, I decided to deactivate it-I didn’t need it, until I realised that actually, I did.  Why should I suffer and not be able to speak to/catch up with the ones I do trust, that have never screwed me over?  Instead, I decided to delete those that I didn’t trust any longer/that I didn’t often speak to.

To cut a long story short, I deleted 28 people.  Some of those were family members (that sounds harsh I know).  But they were family members who don’t speak to me, don’t visit us, don’t see our children.  While speaking to a friend I mentioned most won’t even notice I’ve deleted them-and if they did, and they questioned it, I’d explain.  Those who were bothered enough about my “friendship” would make the effort to message me/text me and keep in contact.

A week went by, and no one messaged, and I knew then I’d made the right decision.  I’ve mainly used my Facebook for sharing my blog posts, but I know whatever I post, I can trust people not to twist my words, or share my posts back to those I don’t have time for.

Then 2 messages came through, a few days apart, but identical in content.

Why have you deleted me? Have I done something wrong?!

I replied with what I’d said to my friend, that I wanted it to be as private as possible now, that I’d had too many issues with it, and that’s not what I wanted from it.  That if people wanted to keep in touch, I was able to be inbox messaged, text messaged, Whatsapp messaged, or spoken to in person (plenty of ways to contact me!)

One of the people, replied saying that it was understandable, and they’d just worried they’d done something wrong-a worry I quickly eradicated.  We had a conversation.  We’ll keep in touch.

The other person didn’t reply at all.  Read the message, clearly got the arse about my reasons for doing so, and didn’t even respond.  We haven’t spoken since.

I wasn’t fussed.  In fact, I was quite smug.  I had been proved right in my reasons for doing what I’d done, and seen first hand the two types of people you end up with when doing something like this.

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The trouble isn’t Facebook-it’s the people using it.

Marmite Friend

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It’s become apparent recently, that people who I think I would like to get to know, or people that think they would like to get to know me, don’t really know what they’re getting themselves into before they speak to me.  In short, its wasting quite a lot of my time, thinking “ooh this could be a lovely friendship”, only to have them be put off me because of my traits/looks/personality.

For those that already know me, I’ve mentioned on a few occasions, how I’m a “Marmite Friend”.  You either love me or hate me.

For those who don’t already know me, to save my time as much as yours, I thought I’d put together a handy little guide, so you can see if it’s worth getting to know me in the future!

 


 

All About ME

  1. I talk a lot-loudly.  This sometimes gets mistaken for rudeness/self confidence/brashness/outspokenness.  It’s basically what I just said though, I talk a lot, and I’m loud.  I don’t mean anything by it, and actually I really lack in self confidence!
  2. I’m no oil painting.  If you’re after someone who looks good, to join in with yourself and other pretty friends, I’m not the girl for you.  Additionally, if you want a friend who’s not majorly attractive, to make you look prettier, I wouldn’t bother with that either.  Unfortunately I once had a friend (lets call her ‘K’ – because that’s what her name began with and really I’m doing her a favour she doesn’t deserve anyway, after her behaviour, by hiding her actual name) who actually told me she was only friends with me because I made her look good.  That won’t be happening again!  Personally, I don’t think looks need to define who a person is, and I would hope, if I was a “pretty girl”, I would have the same outlook.
  3. I am not my family.  I once was told by another lovely girl, that I must be “just like my sister”.  Just because we once shared a surname, which I also did with other members of my family, that doesn’t mean I’m anything like them.  In fact, I often tell my father, that I think he and I were probably both adopted into the family.
  4. I’m on facebook.  In addition to that admission, I will also openly admit now, that I will a) ask you if you are on Facebook, and probably add you 5 minutes after you confirm you are, b) Tag you (after asking your permission of course) in anything we do together/our kids do together, and c) update my status a lot.  These things have caused issues in the past, but once again, this is something that isn’t going to change, therefore, be sure you want that in your life.
  5. I can be a little flaky. But hey-at least I’m honest about it!  My brain is like a sieve sometimes, and I forget a fair amount, double book sometimes, and occasionally forget to reply to messages.  80% of the time, I’m pretty much on the ball though-80% is enough yeah?
  6. You only get one chance (most of the time).  Depending on who you are and how long I’ve known you, I do tend to give one chance if you f**k up.  If you’re someone who loves having a little bitch about me behind my back, or goes psycho over something pretty trivial, and when found out, doesn’t apologise or make attempts to sort the issue, I will cut you off…..or in my facebook-loving-terms, delete and block.
  7. My kids are my world.  If yours aren’t, we’re going to struggle.  Also, back to the Facebook thing, I share a LOT of photos of them on social media.  So if you don’t really like your kids or seeing other peoples, I’m probably not the friend for you.
  8. I’m 30 going on 50.  I have a dislocating hip, sciatica in my arse, rheumatism in my right wrist (mainly only in winter), and I love nothing more than a blanket and a hot chocolate.  I’m at the age where, once in a few months, a drink in a wine bar, sat in big comfy chairs, having a chin wag, would suit me down to the ground, but aside from that, nights out are no longer my “thing”.  Those re-finding their youth?  Good on you!  But I won’t be joining you.

 

I’m well aware, many of those points are highlighting my weaknesses rather than my strengths as a friend-so, for want of not alienating the entire population of prospective pals, (or the PPP as I have now abbreviated it to) here are some good points I’ve come up with……

  1. I’m fiercely loyal. If we’re friends, (and you haven’t tried to screw me over etc) I’ll be just that. Loyalty means a lot to me and unfortunately there isn’t enough of that in friendships nowadays.
  2. I’m a really good listener.  I said above that I talk a lot, and I do!  However, I’m a really good listener too.  I don’t know everything (contrary to what people assume I think about myself), but I will give advice when needed or wanted, and help where I can.
  3. I’m genuine.  Once we’re friends, that’s it.  I’ll be my true self, no matter what.  No falseness, no dishonesty.  Just me.
  4. I can cheer you up-pretty easily.  A trait passed down from my father to me, I’ve always been the “class joker” (or class joke as the bullies from my school used to call me).  As long as the situation needs it, I will usually help most issues with some form of humour.  I personally think this is a good thing-you don’t always need it, but then you don’t always need a friend that cries each time you do, or that hides away when the going gets tough.

 

I’m well aware, there’s not as many good things in that list, and that’s where my lack of self confidence comes in, but I would hope my actual friends would be able to add to that list!

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In summary, if you’re not put off with the things I’ve listed, we could probably be friends, (assuming you’re not some kind of nutter obviously).

 

Lets not waste time anymore, trying to start relationships with the wrong people, or forcing something that just won’t work.  At the age we’re at, there’s no need for massive groups of “friends”, that you can’t trust implicitly, that don’t love you for you.

 

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Xx

 

*The Marmite photo was taken borrowed off of the marmite website here-I love marmite, just in case you were wondering.

My Stepmother 

Family isn’t whose blood you carry.  It’s who you love and who loves you back.”

When I was a very young teenager, my parents divorced.  My dad left the house we’d been in as a family since birth, and for a while lived with my grandmother, his mum.

He then got his own flat, some time after, myself, my sister and my brother were introduced to ‘S’. 

On reflection, things were handled really well.  She was introduced as a friend, then they were a couple, then they moved in together.  Obviously not as quickly as I’m saying it, they took time, had holidays, lived out their dreams as two separate entities, then as a couple.

When they eventually did move in together, I was in my mid-teens. A good, bright teenager, although as most do, I had a small amount of rebellion in me.  

Looking back, I wasn’t one for sticking to rules.  I had a very tempestuous relationship with my mother, and rebelled against the rules my father set out.  As individuals, my father and my stepmother had their own priorities.  My dads being his children and ‘S’.  She had no children, so her priority was primarily her own family and my dad.

It didn’t stop them joining forces and helping each other raise us to be the people we are today.

To say I was happy about the joining of forces would be a lie.  I tried to rebel more, (honestly nothing major, just not keeping to rules etc), and I put this down to not wanting to be disciplined by my dads girlfriend. 

Honestly, now I look back, I know why I rebelled and disliked it so much.  I wasn’t used to it.  My mother used to shout and swear to get us to listen, which obviously never worked.  To have two people actually enforcing rules and punishing us when we didn’t adhere to said rules, was slightly alien to me. 

Months and years went by and I finally realised how unfair I’d been on them both.  At the end of the day, these two people were and still are my constants.  They still teach me, care for me, help me and love me , even now when I have children and a husband of my own. 

Special recognition, although my father is amazing as an individual too, has to go to my now, stepmother.  

It takes a really special person to love someone else’s children and treat them as your own.  A step mother’s love is selfless, unappreciated and rarely noticed.  But I have noticed it. 

I suppose, to end, I’d like to say I’m sorry, I know I was really hard work, but I hope I’ve made you both happy and proud of the woman I’ve become, and I hope you know how much you’ve influenced and helped me throughout the years. 

And to my stepmother? Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. 

Xx