Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Little Red at the Action Transport Theatre

What was your favourite fairytale as a child? I remember being captivated by the story of Little Red Riding Hood. "My, what big teeth you have" "All the better to eat you with". Ohh spine-chilling! 

So I was really excited to receive an invite* to see Action Transport Theatre's Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf. Having received rave reviews for its performance at Liverpool's Unity Theatre: 

"An atmospheric show which children cannot help but be drawn into"
Liverpool Arts Scene ★★★★★ (More here)

Little Red and the Bad Wolf was set to run for 5 shows at Action Transport Theatre. So I made a visit on Saturday, accompanied by two other adults and their two children. 

Action Transport Theatre, described by The Stage as "small but perfectly formed" is found in Whitby Park in Ellesmere Port, a park which I'm sure is beautiful when it's not pouring with rain like Saturday. I was greeted warmly at the door, had my name ticked off the list and then set about the nerve-wracking task of saving enough seats (it wasn't that bad I just felt incredibly British about it!) Children were able to sit on benches at the front of the stage, which was great because I remember years of craning my neck at shows to get the best possible view. 

Seats filled and lights down the incredibly energetic and flawless four-part cast took to the stage for an hour and twenty minutes of catchy, sitting around the campfire like songs, witty prose and engaging scenes. Throughout it all, the children around me were captivated, engaged and entertained - proved by one particular child who laughed very loudly, very frequently.  

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre

The two children with me were even distracted by the popcorn I'd bought for them and those behind me stopped complaining that they were starving as soon as the enigmatic, big, bad wolf took to the stage.

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre

I was quickly reminded this is not a 'pantomime' but a 'Christmas show' and while there was no boo hissing and 'oh yes it is' and 'he's behind you' there was plenty of audience participation and interaction. The size of Action Transport Theatre was perfect for ensuring any child who wanted to be involved in the wolf howling competition could be and the biscuits handed out at the end soon made their way into every sticky paw. 

Action Transport Theatre

Action Transport Theatre

Overall, Little Red and The Big Bad Wolf was the perfect antidote to a wet, windy Saturday evening. Light, warm and engaging throughout. Thank you to the amazing, energetic cast and to Action Transport Theatre. 

The fun doesn't stop there at Action Transport Theatre, although Little Red has now run its course, there are several shows lined up for 2017:

Weds 25th January - Beasty Baby
Sat 4th Feb - The Boy who Cried Wolf 
Sat 18th Feb - Monthly Family Film Club
Thu 30th March - The Writers Ball 

All I'm left wondering is, do I need a child to come along and isn't 2017 the year I finally get back to acting?

You can find out more about Action Transport Theatre on their website or their Facebook page

*I was given a complimentary ticket in exchange for an honest review  
**Photo credit: Brian Roberts

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wedding Wednesday: Vintage Inspired Colour Combinations

Hello and Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today guest post is from the lovely, Wendy who's sharing ideas of the very best vintage inspired colour combinations. Which is your favourite?

Most weddings naturally include celebrations of heritage and tradition. As we join two lives together and create one family, it’s totally logical that we would look to the past for inspiration. Perhaps that connection with eras gone by is what makes vintage themed weddings so popular. Or maybe they appeal to us because the colour combinations are just so stunning!

Vintage and retro are two terms that are interchanged without much thought, but they actually have their own meanings. Antique experts define vintage as originating at least 20 – 50 years ago (in fact the term “new vintage” is used to refer to the time period that occurred roughly 20 years ago). Antique generally refers to art, crafted materials and other items popular at least 100 years ago.

Retro, on the other hand, is anything that looks out of style for the current time period.
Vintage weddings can be influenced by the Medieval period, Victorian Era, the Roaring 20s, the sugar sweet 50s, the peace and love 60s, the Disco Fever of the 1970s or even the wild punk 80s era. Any particularly remarkable and colourful era is fair game as a wedding theme. That’s a lot of opportunities to combine and include your favourite colours! Here are three of the most popular vintage themes and the colour palettes most commonly associated with them:

Victorian Times Romance was practically invented in the Victorian Era. A young queen chose the man she loved despite status or the tradition of the contract marriage. Their annual tokens of love became our anniversary gifts. Our white bridal gowns are descendants of hers. Perhaps no vintage theme is more appropriate to weddings than Victorian. Characteristic of an English garden, a Victorian colour palette often includes blush shades along with white and ivory. Sweetheart roses, hydrangea, ivy and freesia are perfect matches for the theme.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s The Roaring 20s were colourful in more ways than one. Fashion got more revealing and culture took on a far more defiant tone. Weddings influenced by this era often include jewel tones like emerald, sapphire and ruby, as well as the highly popular turquoise and plum palette of the peacock theme. Although bright and bold is the name of this game, some of the background designs found in room décor and home fashion in the 20s inspires more subtle combinations like grey bridesmaid dresses with pale yellow accents and touches of very simple ivory.

Poodle Skirts and Good Will – the 1950s
The early days of Rock n’ Roll inspired truly nostalgic and wedding-appropriate color combinations. It was a sweeter era in many ways, with an air of innocence still intact. Pastel palettes work well with 50’s themes – think pale pink poodle skirts and baby blue sweaters tied around shoulders (both of which are also excellent candidates to pair with grey bridesmaid dresses). The 50s had a wild side too; so vivid neon pink or turquoise with contrasting black is just as appropriate as pale pastels.

The Psychedelic 1960s
In contrast, the free-love 60s turned colour palettes in a totally different direction. Floral patterns were highly popular and the British Invasion brought us a very “Mod” collection of high contrast, yet slightly earthy tones. Olive greens, brick reds, gold and turquoise worked together to bring the decade to its Technicolor life.

There is a vintage theme to inspire almost any couple, and a colour palette within a theme to capture the spirit of most romances. As you plan your wedding, look to the past for elements to include in your design.


Wendy Dessler
Super-Connector at OutreachMamaWendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customised blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Dubai Day 3: Desert Safari

Helloo we're off to Iceland today so why not talk about our hot summer holiday?

When we booked Dubai, I stated that I did want to spend some time just chilling by the pool and not spend all our time out and about exploring. We made that mistake in Sorrento last year and although it was amazing we came back more tired than before we left. So the plan was one day by the pool, the next out and about and so on.

However, an evening desert safari felt like a good compromise. It meant we could spend most of the day by the pool until we got picked up around 3ish and then we could do some exploring. 

I found the trip, by chance, through Trip Advisor (I'm always a bit in awe of their marketing and personalisation, but that's another story!) and booked it straight away. 

Dubai desert safari

It was really easy to book and their communication throughout was really great. We were picked up and then it was quite a long drive out, with two other couples, to the desert. At the rest stop, we went to the toilet (not the nicest experience, I'll be honest) and were coerced into buying a traditional scarf for Andy!

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

Then the tires were deflated a bit and we were off, hand break turning and hitting top speeds across the sand dunes as the sunset. Incredible. We stopped halfway and got to take photos. At this point, I wished I had some better shoes than my flip flops as they kept getting caught under the sand and falling off. But the view was absolutely spectacular. 

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

We then got back on the jeep, and were a bit unclear as to what we were doing next! I'd read that our trip included a camel ride and dinner but I expected that to happen in the desert! Instead, we were taken to a traditional desert camp where we ate curry sat on cushions on the ground, watched a belly dancer and Tanoura Arabic dance (quite bizarre!) and I got to ride a camel for all of 1 minute! 

Dubai desert safari

Dubai desert safari

I think because I had no idea how the whole experience would go I didn't build it all up too much in my head and as a result, it was the most amazing experience that I will genuinely never forget. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

2017 - New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

2017 resolutions

Do you make any New Year's resolutions? In May last year I stopped breaking them down into monthly goals and tried to focus only on my resolutions for the year which were:

New Year's resolutions 2016:

Get to target weight & reassess- I'm pretty much back to square one with this. 

Learn Italian - I started with this and did so well, managing over 20 days in a row of learning Italian using Duolingo but then got waylaid so going to take this up again. 

Save money - Yes! I did this! I was aiming for somewhere over £600 and to date I have around £2000 in my savings, that includes putting some towards Dubai. But I will also be using some of it for Iceland spends. 

Blog 2 times a week every week -  Ha woops! Nope!

Read more non-fiction books - I actually can't tell you if I achieved this or not. I think I read a few more biographies but I didn't finish Thrive! 

So, here's my resolutions for 2017:

1. Journal more - Under advice from author Hollie McNish (name dropping) I've been trying to write stuff down more. I was also given a beautiful Gratitude Journal (similar here) for Christmas which has space to write down 3 things a day that I'm grateful for, I am determined to fill it out every day and then read it back this time next year.

Kikki K Gratitude Journal

2. Write one blog post a week - I might not publish this many every week but just getting into the habit of writing once a week and having a bank to publish as and when. 

3. Lose weight - Of course, I have a target in mind but to begin with, between Iceland and my birthday (end of Feb) I'm aiming to focus as much as possible on calorie counting, eating well and not cheating at weekends. 

4. Record what I read - I started last year compiling a list on here and then stopped, I'm determined to use my Goodreads account to keep a check of what I've read throughout 2017.

5. Exercise more - I have a plan in my head of a weekly barre session, a couple of morning yoga sessions at home and more walks. I'm not renewing my gym membership because I'm not really using it and it's just wasted money. 

What are your resolutions for 2017?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Theme - High Tea - How to Pull It Off

Wedding High Tea

Good Morning and Happy Wedding Wednesday. I'm joined, again, by the gorgeous Roxana who is sharing all about how to have a High Tea wedding breakfast. Now, I had afternoon tea for my reception, so I hope she things I followed the correct etiquette! Enjoy!

Well, not everyone was born into a fabulous British tradition and culture but that doesn’t mean we can’t obsess about it with equal passion and admiration. Right? Right.
One of the epitomes of British culture is their worshiping of tea-drinking which, if we’re to be honest, have never been understood in full. Still, it’s something they’ve made look so attractive and so important that even those who don’t really like or drink tea would go crazy excited if they were offered one by someone sporting a fantastically sensual British accent.
The tradition of tea drinking, in fact, is of such importance that it got replicated onto the weddings, making High Tea one of the top celebrated wedding themes. Go figure! In all honesty, the whole concept of it is phenomenal, so then – why not celebrate it?
If you are one of the tea-obsessed brides to be and you are thinking of turning your big day into a tea-honouring spectacle, we’re giving you some top important tips to know about the High Tea tradition.
  1. The time of serving matters

Even though it was originally served between 5 pm and 7 pm with larger meals, high tea is now to be had in the afternoon although there may be some adjustments to that time, too. To our understanding, high tea events may now be held at any time of the day, as long as they align with the right etiquette.
  1. Size of teapots is important

It is very standard and very important to know that the largest teapot is for English breakfast tea while small teapots are used for herbal teas.
  1. Cutlery experience plays a role

It is safe to say that a table full of cutlery will be a very daunting experience; so, when you are setting the table, remember to do everything by the book. If you’re just seated at the table, use it from the outside towards the inside of your place setting. For all the brides that would go with the High Tea wedding theme, we’d always recommend hiring high tea catering professionals, as they’re familiar with the proper etiquette and won’t fail your expectations.
Wedding High Tea
  1. Matching bowls, yes

Cream and jam are to be served in matching bowls, preferably crystal. Small silver serving spoons follow.
  1. Tea serving etiquette is crucial

The way to serve (and drink tea) is to first pour tea, then add milk and sugar to taste.
  1. Learn napkin placement

The napkin should be placed on the left-hand side of your place setting; it is our understanding that “it should be folded with the closed edge towards the left and the open edge towards the right”. What is more, “when the diners were finished they would place the napkin on the right-hand side to signify the end of their high tea”.
  1. Use fingers to eat

Wedding High Tea
…BUT only if no cutlery is provided. The origin of “finger food” notion actually goes back to the tradition of eating with your fingers whenever there was no cutlery around.
  1. Master the teacup drama

Apparently, it’s not just about taking a teacup and drinking out of it – there’s a special way to do it. We’ve learned that back “in 1710 when the teacup handle was first invented it was a custom to pinch the front and the back of the handle with your three fingers and extending your little finger went to avoid spillage”. Naturally, modern day finds the little finger pretty inappropriate and rude, so it’s more polite to point your little finger down towards the bottom of the cup. Remember that “it is never considered polite to put your fingers through the handle nor to cup the bowl like a steaming mug”. Oh, wow.
Well brides, this is just some basic High Tea knowledge to grasp; there’s plenty more to learn but that’s the knowledge you’ll get from High Tea wedding planners. Trust them, they know stuff!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Dubai: Day 2 - Aquaventure Water Park, Atlantis

So I realised that if I want to write about our Iceland trip (which is 3 weeks away!!) I should probably get a groove on and finish talking about Dubai. Blogger fail!

You can read my first post all about Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel here

So tell me, what was your childhood dream? When I was less of a child, more of a teenage (I think I was 14/15) I wrote a list of things I wanted to do. I wish I'd kept that list. I remember some of it vividly though:

Wear a yellow prom dress (I wore the most beautiful, lemon yellow dress) 
Swim with dolphins 

So, it took nearly 10 years from writing that list but I finally got to swim with Dolphins!!


We arrived at Aquaventure Water Park planning to make the most of the rides before our dolphin experience at 2pm but the staff were super helpful and offered to move our swim forward, within 10 minutes we had our wristbands on and were waiting for a golf buggy to Dolphin Bay (because why would we walk??)

We opted for the Dolphin Adventure which includes:

Complimentary same day access to Aquaventure Waterpark
30-minute check-in/changing
15-minute orientation with a Marine Mammal Specialist
30 minutes in the water
Wetsuits and vests are provided and required while in the water
Bottled Water / Soft Drinks

Towels and lockers - we actually got given another towel after we'd changed and we rented a locker for the rest of the day. 

Dolphin Experience Aquaventure

Dolphin Experience Aquaventure

Dolphin Experience Aquaventure

The experience was absolutely amazing, we were with two adults and a child (children have to be 8 years to participate) and our gorgeous dolphin was called Blacky and he sung to us and we were able to pet him and interact with him while the trainers introduced him. 

There's a lot to squeeze into the 30 minutes, partly because the Dolphin is obviously still a mammal and will eventually get restless and fed up. But in that time we got to:
Belly ride 
and watch all the dolphins perform at the end. A true dream come true. 

Dolphin Adventure Aquaventure Water Park

Dolphin Adventure Aquaventure Water Park

Dolphin Adventure Aquaventure Water Park

Dolphin Adventure Aquaventure Water Park

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the water park. Due to Andy's vertigo we didn't go on too many rides (I didn't fancy queuing too long with strangers) but we did make use of the The Rapids (I mistakenly thought that it was a lazy river so wasn't the best idea straight after a pizza lunch!!) which go all the way around the park and are a fun way to get around. 

I also went on the Leap of Faith, a 9 story vertical drop where I had to be pushed by one of the lifeguards to get me over the edge. I screamed so loud that some of the tourists stood next to Andy commented on it! I'm not sure it's an experience I'd like to repeat. Leap of Faith and Shark Attack are both meant to end in the Shark Lagoon (obviously, they're enclosed) but the sharks weren't in the day we visited, unfortunately.

The whole day was a wonderful experience and the memories truly will last a lifetime.

What is on your 'Bucket List'?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

What are Jamberry Nail Wraps?

Have you heard of Jamberry nail wraps? My sister recently invited me to a Facebook "party" for her friends business and I found myself wayy too absorbed in the fun games and fascinated by the pretty wrap options.

Jamberry Nail Wraps

So what are Jamberry nail wraps? Nail wraps are thin vinyl sheets that are pressure and heat activated to adhere to your nail for a long lasting and beautiful look. They are made with durable materials, so smudges and streaks are never an issue, and can last for up to two weeks on fingernails and four weeks on toes! (Jamberry website)

With over 300 wraps to choose from, it's very easy to get lost in picking which ones you want to try! I ended up winning half a sheet in one of the games and purchasing some more in a deal with my sister.

When they arrived a few people asked me how I got on with them, hence this blog post!

On Sunday I decided to go all out for "cyber Monday" and try the City Lights wraps. The instructions are written on the packet but there's also a handy video on their website to follow. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Push back cuticles and clean nails with a Nail Prep Wipe or rubbing alcohol. When applying wraps over lacquer, apply a fresh coat and allow to dry.
  2. Match nail (finger or toe) to the nail wrap that best fits.
  3. Cut nail wrap in half.
  4. Peel off nail wrap and warm with the adhesive with a Mini Heater or blow-dryer for 3-5 seconds or until soft and flexible.
  5. When warm, press the wrap onto the nail. Apply firm pressure around edges to adhere the wrap to the nail. Use rubber cuticle pusher to seal the wrap around the base of the cuticle.
  6. To remove excess, trim the top with scissors and file off remaining wrap using a downward motion.
  7. Apply heat and pressure to the wrap again until it is bonded to the nail.

So how did I get on?

Well, to begin with, I put them on upside down with the curved end by my tip and blunt end by my cuticle. Not a good look!! But that was me not watching the video and generally being a bit thick. You won't make that mistake, I'm confident!

There's definitely a knack to it but I found the longer I did it the more used to it I got. Of course, as with painting nails, my dominant hand came off much worse than my non-dominant. They took some neatening up and it's definitely not something you want to be doing in a rush but overall, the instructions are easy to follow and only slightly more difficult than painting your nails and I definitely couldn't get my nail art this beautiful. 

Jamberry Nail Wraps

The best bit was I was able to just carry on with my evening without worrying about drying or smudging. 

So far, we're two days in and they're looking pretty good. They even survived a 4 and a half hour stint picking orders in our warehouse at work, including ripping open boxes and peeling labels. I'm not sure my normal manicure would survive that!! 
They do suggest some upkeep such as cuticle oil and filing, but I'm super lazy so I probably won't get around to that!

At around £15 for a single sheet (that does a minimum of 2 manicures and 2 pedicures (some lucky ladies get 3-4 manis a sheet!! But it is nail size dependant!!)) they're definitely a luxury in comparison to picking up a couple of bottles of nail varnish, but, in my experience, cheaper than if you paid for someone to do them at a salon. The range of options is amazing, they're suitable for nails of all shapes and the look can be changed with nail polish underneath. 

I will be hosting my own Jamberry party on Facebook in January, please let me know if you'd like to come along!

If you fancy placing an order in the meantime - Check out the website and contact the lovely Sara for more info. 

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