Tag Archives: theatre

Lessons I’ve Learned in 2016

snoopyDo I start off with a reflective, thoughtfully written paragraph?

No, let’s dive straight in – so here are the 10 lessons I have learned over the last year:

10.  NEVER put a mixture of grapeseed and jojoba oil on your hair – it’s a b***er to get out.

Why did I do this crazy thing? Vanity, pure vanity. I have never been blessed with thick, voluminous, lustrous locks. My hair is baby fine and there has never been much of it. I have it trimmed regularly, but still, sometimes looks like 9 strands of hair…literally.

So I did what any other vain person would do and searched Doctor Google for some advice on how to naturally thicken one’s hair. And this seemed liked a reasonable suggestion. Just gently massage the mixture onto your scalp for 5 minutes and then wash off using a mild shampoo.

Well, the first bit worked, the massage was very therapeutic and mildly relaxing. But, did the darn oil wash off? No sir, it did not. I washed my hair twice and it still felt like an oil slick. Gross! Once it had dried, it did feel silky smooth, that did not last. By the end of the day it looked like I hadn’t washed my hair for a month. Solution, wash hair with baking soda and then wash hair with shampoo – that seemed to do the trick.

Lesson learned – don’t be so b***dy vain, and just use hairpieces like everyone else! (I’ve got a fab blonde long, curly wig I’m dying to try out. Will my IQ go down though once I put it on?)

9.  EGGS are great as a beauty treatment, just don’t eat them.

I’ve posted previously about the wonders of an egg-white face mask – and yes, I’m still slopping the egg-white on my face on a regular basis.

However, this was the year that eggs decided to give me up!

You know as you get older that your tastes change and things you used to like, no longer do it for you? Sometimes, as in my case, the food in question decided it did not like me any more. Without going into too much detail, I found that I now cannot eat eggs – or rather I can but then regret it!

Lesson learned – just stick to having egg on my face and don’t buy any chickens in the near future!

8.  FLYING SOLO IS FUN

This year, I grabbed the bull by the horns and decided to strike out on my own. S*d the fact that I had no one to go with, I bravely bit the bullet and went to places I never thought I would ever go to. And yes, I went on my own – or rather I was accompanied by a good book – and had the most splendid of times.

I knocked 2 items off the bucket list – I had afternoon tea at The Ritz and lunch at The Ivy and went to numerous plays/musicals in the West End all by myself.

Yes, you get stared at – I just buried my head a little deeper into the book and ignored, and yes I was shoved away in a corner )Ritz) and not really afforded the same attention (Ivy) as someone who had companionship at the table – but I had the most wonderful time.

I met some lovely people at the theatre and saw some fabulous productions.

Next year a spa day beckons – need another crystal healing session – and I might check out a few art galleries.

Lesson learned – don’t be afraid of doing things on your own.

7.  TRAMPOLINING is fun and very good exercise.

There are trampoline parks springing up all over the place. Forget Zumba, Ballet Fitness or Yoga, it appears “bouncing to get fit” is the new exercise fad.

I took SC to one of these trampoline parks and it was super fun. After an hour you certainly feel the burn, even if you do nothing more than bounce. You also leave with a tremendous grin on your face.

It’s also extremely good for your pelvic floor muscles. After having SC, my pelvic floor is not what it used to be. Let’s just say, trampolining certainly gives them a good work-out!!!

Lesson learned – having fun keeps you young.

6. I CAN or I’ll give it a darned good try at the very least.

I have started a couple of projects this year, that I have been um-ing and ah-ing about for a good few years. Finally, I decided that I should just do it – to coin a phrase. After all, what’s the very worst that could happen? Yes, I know, I could fall flat on my face, but at least I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried.

The 1st project is going well and the 2nd project after a bit of a shaky start is beginning to gather momentum, so hopefully, cross fingers, it will be onwards and upwards for both of them.

Lesson learned – don’t dither, just do it!

5.  CARROT CAKE and catch-ups are the best thing ever.

My best friend moved back overseas in September, and the one thing I really miss is our regular carrot cake and catch-up sessions.

Lesson learned – don’t underestimate the power of carrot cake!

4.  I AM WORTHY!

I worked out a long time ago that clearly, I am just not the right girl for anyone. And I’m happy with that. Me, myself and I (after a rough start) get on very well now and I don’t need anyone to make me feel happy or complete (if that makes sense?).

I’ve had my share of being treated badly, shall we say – an option, a replacement, a stand-by, a joke, etc.

I finally know my value. I may be quirky, weird, geeky, lanky, but I am deserving of something real, something true and something better.

I am strong enough now to realise that I am worth the effort of climbing to the top of the tree.

Lesson learned – I believe in actions not words.

3.  SMILE everyday.

No matter what, just smile. Like the song goes, “smile, though your heart is aching!”

Life is better when you smile.

Smiles, like laughter, are infectious, and your smile may make someone else’s day.

Lesson learned – smiling makes you feel better.

2.  GRAB OPPORTUNITIES by the proverbials.

Life sends us opportunities every day. We just need to open our eyes to find them.

When you are sent an opportunity, embrace it and make the most of it. It may lead to bigger and better things.

Lesson learned – be grateful for everything life throws your way.

1. LIFE IS AMAZING!

Every day is a blessing, no matter what the day holds for you.

Don’t worry about what other people think, do what makes you happy. What is the point of doing stuff that makes you miserable?

Life may not always work out the way we want, it will always hold surprises – good, bad or otherwise – and those little blips will either lead us onto better things, teach us what we need to know or just be something to brush off.

There will always be some upset, but at the end of the day that’s life, it’s never going to be plain sailing.

We have 86,400 seconds every day to live life to the fullest, so don’t waste them.

Lesson learned – to wake up every morning and feel grateful and blessed for another chance.

 

What have you learned this year?

Happy New Year everyone

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10 Things I Want to do in 2014

Now, let me state from the outset this is not a list of New Year Resolutions.

It is just a list of things I would like to do during the coming year – some off the bucket list, some not.

So , here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” – I’m up to Chapter 5, still another 98% to go according to the Kindle.
  2. Learn to speak Spanish – so I can understand and answer back. I’ve already bought a ‘speak-a-long’ CD which is pretty good, so I’m hoping to finish that and practice with some of the mums at school – who, thankfully just happen to speak Spanish 😉
  3. Learn to play the piano – at least learn how to read to the left hand line of music and know where the notes go and bash out a simple tune.
  4. Take a singing exam – just for fun.
  5. Learn to knit and actually knit something!
  6. Go and see Mamma Mia – dressing up optional 😉
  7. Try and do one of my exercise DVDs every day – yes, this might actually be straying into resolution territory, but I have some 10 minute workout DVD’s which are great and I am sure I can squeeze 10 minutes in a day … somewhere 😉 Need to work on my core strength – at the moment it sucks and a better core will help my posture in ballroom – apparently 😉 It might also tilt my pelvis back into its proper alignment – miracles do happen!
  8. Train my chimp so I can actually get things done as opposed to constantly doubting myself and my ability and end up doing nothing.
  9. Make and try a different soup each week. It is one of the few ways I can get SC to eat vegetables, and I’m a little tired of mud soup. I have just bought myself the Covent Garden Soup Company “365 Soups” book, so there should be some I can try 😉 Looking at maple roasted parsnip soup for next week, or I might try brussel sprout soup 😉
  10. Start writing my book – long shot one. I have a couple of good ideas, I just need to put them into some sort of coherent structure and plan it.

So, there you have it. 10 things I would like to get around to doing in 2014. Hopefully 75% of them are achievable and I will keep you updated of progress made.

What would you like to do next year?

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The A-Z of Life – Passion

Take your passion, and make it happen – to coin the song 😉passion

I’m not talking about relationship passion – because everyone knows that that initial intenseness fizzles out eventually and you’re either left with roots entwined with someone who has become your best friend or nothing.

I’m talking about being passionate about something – be it creative or otherwise.

Being passionate about something gives us an outlet from the hum-drum of normal life where we, more often than not, live to work rather than work to live.

That passion gives us our spark. Our reason for keeping going when stress gets too much.

I have always been passionate about the theatre. I love it. I could eat, sleep and breathe it 24 hours a day given half the chance.

I always wanted to be an actress, when I was younger, and yes I will admit it probably was for the illusion of glamour that surrounds the profession.

I joined various local am-dram societies, but despite that there was always something niggling inside, a flame burning away inside, I wanted more than just what I had.

My drama teacher, very wisely told me to go to university and get a career behind me before even attempting ‘life as an actress’ – and to be brutally honest, that was the best advice I have ever had – it meant that I was not reliant on the audition I walked into being the means to paying bills for the next month.

Eventually, I did go to drama school. It was hard, boy was it tough. They break you to build you and every single person on my course went through the “why am I doing this?” phase, we all felt we were not good enough at some stage.

Of course, when I left, there were no agents beating a path to my door, no big Hollywood producer calling – although I live in hope Stephen Spielberg will return my call one day 😉

I got the odd job here and there, but certainly not enough to keep the wolves from the door, so I was lucky I had my ‘career’ to return to.

The theatre though continues to be my passion. Whether I’m watching it, or doing it. There’s something about the moment the curtain goes up – it always brings tears of excitement to my eyes.

Nowadays, for me, it isn’t about the glamour, but merely that fact that it probably is the one thing I am (not being big-headed) pretty good at!

I am nearly free from the shackles of my contract (it certainly will be a relief to have the millstone removed from around my neck) and I am working on updating my ‘acting’ stuff and seeing if I can’t get the odd job here and there again – it’s been far too long.

The other thing that has recently become a passion is writing.

At school my English reports always said I lacked imagination, and that my structure of essays left much to be desired. Still I managed a reasonable B in English Language at O’Level and C in English Lit. (yes I am that old to have taken O’Levels!)

Having written various blogs for the past couple of years I have surprised myself at how, sometimes, the words seem to just flow – after enduring my school years struggling to find any inspiration whatsoever. I suppose that is the benefit of ‘life experience’ – it makes some topics much easier to write about.

So the next big(ish) project I am going to tackle is writing a book.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for fictional novels, so I’m going to see where the words take me.

Passion comes from within and sometimes that passion leads us on journeys we never knew we could, or would take.

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The Theatre, The Theatre…

…there’s nothing like the theatre!theatre masks

I love it!

Watching it, doing it, breathing it, sleeping it.

It’s what I do.

I’ve been involved with performing arts for as long as I can remember (and probably a good few years before that too).

My mum took me to ballet classes when I was 2½. Not because she wanted me to be the next Margot Fonteyn, but more that I had far too much energy and she thought it might burn some of it off.

But I loved it.

By the time I was 4, I was doing drama too.

My childhood was spent, literally, doing dancing competitions and dance and drama exams.

I did it because I loved it, not because I was pushed to do it like so many of my friends were. My mum always said if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to do it. My dancing friends’ mum’s made them do it, mostly because they wanted to see their daughters succeed where they had failed.

I knew I would never be a dancer – too tall for ballet, and entirely the wrong shape – but that didn’t matter, I didn’t want to go to dancing school I was far too academic and liked studying. I just loved to dance, still do in fact. I still try to do some ballet exercise, but these days I tend to do ballroom and latin 😉

Drama, on the other hand, was a completely different kettle of fish.

Oh I loved it, and more than anything I wanted to act for a living. I did go to drama school and got a scholarship, but it was not to be – I still dream that one day Adrian Noble will spy me in a local production and ask me to be in his next production at the National. I know this will never happen, but it’s nice to dream 😉

When I was 15, I branched out and joined the local operatic society. I got to sing, dance and act, all at once in a musical (which were, and still are my most favourite of films to watch). In my twenties I joined the local acting company too.

What a thrill. I could do what I loved, do shows I’d otherwise only ever dream of doing and still go out and earn a living. And more importantly, it was fun.

The one thing that has recently come to light was a conversation I had with a couple of people about am-dram. They were of the firm belief that the only people who did am-dram were those that wanted to show-off, people who want people to look at them.

In my opinion, this is not true of everyone. Oh, I will admit there are some people who do it because they want to show-off and want attention – and in my experience these are the type of people that you see on X-Factor who think they are great, but aren’t (you know the type).

First and foremost am-dram is a hobby. Yes, it takes up a lot of time and energy, but at the end of the day it is just a hobby like golf!

And the first rule of any hobby is enjoyment.

I am not saying that the people who just do it to show-off don’t enjoy it, but that should always be the crux of doing it.

I am not one of those who does it to show-off. I do it because I love it and it’s part of who I am. Even when I haven’t been in shows, I have always been able to find something to do with performing arts.

I am happy skulking around at the back of stage in the chorus, or in a lead role. And I don’t go for leads for the glory. I go for the challenge. the challenge of getting the part and then creating a believable character, getting under their skin, and living in their world for 2 hours – or however long the play is.

And Doctor Theatre is a marvellous tonic, because for those 2 hours, I can stop having to think about my life, and live in a world of imagination and make-believe.

And if I was one of those showy-offy people I wouldn’t get quite so nervous as I do – to the point of sickness. I understand nerves are normal, and I have mechanisms for coping, i.e., doing the same thing every night before a performance, from getting to the theatre at the same time, listening to the same songs in the car, doing the same things in the same order, etc.

But I do not like people staring at me. I hate it! It makes me want to curl up and hide away.

And that’s what a lot of people don’t get, or understand. They say “how come you can go on stage wearing this and doing that, but you don’t want to stand and make a speech?”

The answer is quite simple! If I was making a speech it would be me, when I’m on stage, it’s not me!”

But when it stops being enjoyable, I stop!

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Les Miserables

Having seen the stage show in London several times, I was desperate to see the newly released film of the smash hit ‘Les Miserables’.les mis

And see it I did on Friday – and boy it did not disappoint. I loved every single second of it and blubbed like a baby – I would have been sobbing uncontrollably had it not been for the fact I was in a cinema and was trying to retain some semblance of composure. I will definitely be buying the DVD, then I can sit in the comfort of the house, safe in the knowledge no one is around and have a good old sob.

If anyone hasn’t ever seen the show, film or even heard of the show don’t read this paragraph! It’s not called The Glums for nothing – after all pretty much everyone dies, and yes a minor French Revolution might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s pretty much secondary to the main thread of the story which is basically about relationships between people. (I’ve got the novel by Victor Hugo, had it for years, just haven’t attempted to read it yet – it’s rather large!)

There have been some critics knocking some of the performances, but I have to say I didn’t think there was one weak link from the main stars right the way down to the ‘chorus’ – after all the show itself is an ensemble piece.

Russell Crowe was actually very good – he can hold a tune (which always helps in musicals) and although some would say he wasn’t as strong as the others, I would counter-act that argument to say that he made up for any weakness in terms of acting the song – and I did cry when his character died!

And the other surprise for me was Eddie Redmayne! The only thing I have ever seen him in was Birdsong on the television and I wasn’t that impressed – he seemed to just pout a lot and look pretty, and I couldn’t actually ever understand what he was saying as he mumbled his way through the script. However, he has a very powerful singing voice and totally blew me away.

There was one part in the movie that I defy anyone not to be moved at and that is after the battle and all the dead students are laid out, Russell Crowe’s character is walking along looking for Valjean and he stops at the little boy, ‘Gavroche’ (a little street urchin of about 10), who has been killed. Russell Crowe takes a medal off his chest and pins it onto the body of Gavroche – that got me!

For those of you that are sitting there thinking, “Urgh! can’t think of anything worse 2½ hours of singing! I hate musical theatre!” – STOP! Yes, it is musical theatre, but there are no jazz hands, cheesy smiles and dance routines. It is a very powerful piece of theatre (& cinematography). It is moving, uplifting and inspiring all at once – and I have seen grown men cry in the theatre at it!

If you haven’t seen the film – try to see it.

I will be eagerly awaiting the release of the DVD, in the meantime having had the songs spinning round my head since Friday I think I’m going to dig out the CD and have a sing-a-longy in the car tomorrow on the school run 😉

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