Thursday, 28 March 2019

The Bodyguard - Bristol Hippodrome Review

The Bodyguard Frank Farmer, holding Rachel Marron in his arms
Last night we were given tickets to review The Bodyguard, starring Alexandra Burke, who we last saw in Sister Act, along with Benoit Marechal and Micha Richardson. The Bodyguard made its triumphant debut in the West End in 2014 launching Alexandra Burke's amazing theatre career and was followed by a sell-out tour in 2015 - 2016. As well as Sister Act, she has also since starred in Chess and Chicago. Benoit Marechal first starred in the French version of The Bodyguard and Micha Richardson has toured with Legally Blonde, Fame and Mamma Mia. Here's what we thought of the show.

Monday, 25 March 2019

What to Buy a Teenage Boy Gift Guide

Boy looking thrilled with a pile of birthday giftsThis gift guide is entirely unsponsored and made up of all my own ideas, which I paid for myself. Not that I have anything against sponsored posts, they are a great way to discover new products and I wouldn't say I liked something if I didn't, but I feel I should get all the credit for nailing a teenager's birthday with absolutely no help, because it really isn't easy. This is by far the hardest birthday I've had to buy for so far. He gave me a list of four video games, two of which hadn't even been released yet, and that was it. I always think the trick with birthdays is to get some things they want and some things they didn't know they wanted. Here's what I bought.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Giving Up Sugar - After 2 Weeks

I'm very pleased to have got through and survived week 1 of giving up sugar for lent, but it has been a lot harder than I expected and I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I ate a lot more sugar than I realised. So far, I have not cheated at all, despite the headaches, which I'm really pleased about, but it hasn't been easy. I'm still having small amounts of sugar in some meals, but I have stopped eating all sugary snacks and soft drinks, which has meant I've needed to really think about what I am going to eat. Week 2 has been a lot more stressful than week 1, with a lot of different challenges and this is a diary of how I coped with the side effects of giving up sugar during week 2.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Win a Pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Steering Wheels

 This week we celebrated L's 13th birthday. If you are stuck for ideas for what to get the teenage boy in your life, I will be writing a gift guide soon, with all my best ideas. In the meantime, you can win one of the surprise hits this year, the Switch Joy-Con steering wheels. When I saw these, I wondered how effective they would actually be, as it's a pretty simple design, but L said they were brilliant and make MarioKart even more fun to play. They are pretty good value too, since you get a pair in every pack, so you don't have to buy two, like you do with some video game accessories. Obviously, I read the pack before I purchased and this give away is in no way linked to the fact I bought two boxes accidentally. Ahem.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Managing Chronic Pain Week 6

Title text over a faded out photo of a girl climbing on a wooden bar fence.
It's hard to believe we are so far into the course, it's gone so quickly. It's a really nice group of people and I look forward to going. I think I will miss it when it's over. Even though we don't necessarily know why the other group members suffer from pain, or what their circumstances are, it is still really helpful to be able to talk to other people in a similar situation. It really emphasises the point that pain is the same for everyone regardless of where the injury came from, or lifestyle differences. In the group, we've been talking about keeping in touch when it ends, which would be great. This week's topic was flare ups.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Everything That's Wrong with Universal Credit

Rolled up five pound note. I had avoided watching Skint Britain - Friends Without Benefits for some time, as I knew it would likely upset me, since the story is quite close to home. I watched a close friend struggle for years on benefits, it's still too painful for me to write about fully, since my beautiful friend eventually died from a stress-related condition, but it really brought home to me how life and death the benefits system is. It's not just a decision whether or not to hand over some money, or how long for, there's so much more to it than that. It's people's lives. So I guess this post as been a long time coming as I have a lot to say about everything that's wrong with Universal Credit.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Giving Up Sugar - After One Week

I always try to give up something for Lent. I think it's a really good opportunity to remind myself that there are people in the world who don't have things to give up, and how lucky I am to have a lifestyle where I'm able to have little treats and vices. It's usually something like chocolate, but I've been finding that giving up one treat is a bit of a cheat really, because there are plenty of other sweet treats to fill the gap, so this year, I've given up sugar. I have made it a bit easier, in that I don't count the hidden sugar in meals, but I have stopped eating any sugary treats. No cakes, biscuits, chocolate, nothing and it's been interesting. Here are the highs and lows of my first week, which was a lot harder than I expected.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Managing Chronic Pain Week 5

Title text over a faded out photo of a girl climbing on a wooden bar fence.After waiting an hour for a bus in pretty dreadful weather the previous week, it's probably not surprising that I came down with a really horrid cold virus the next day. I know that we shouldn't blame the weather, and viruses aren't caused by standing in the freezing cold, but I'm convinced it made it worse and have been sending psychic hate messages to the bus company ever since. Anyway, the upshot of all this is, that I couldn't attend week 5 because you are can't to go if you have something gross and contagious, on account of it being a course for people with chronic conditions who could have lowered immunity. So this is a summary of week 5, Communication, from the hand outs we received afterwards.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Captain Marvel Parent's Guide

Rows of Marvel Comic Books faded out, with the title in the foreground. It's not that I don't like Marvel films, I do. A lot. The problem I have is that they are heavily marketed at children, with many different toys, plushies, Lego models, etc, all featuring superheroes from the Marvel franchise. Which is absolutely fine, children need heroes, positive role models to look up to, but, here's the annoying part, the films are a 12A and often feature language and scenes that not everyone would consider appropriate, even if they are the right size for the corresponding costume! So, here is another Parent's Guide, so that you can make your own mind up about Marvel's latest superhero; Captain Marvel. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Natural Soap Company Review and Trial

A selection of soaps from The Natural Soap Company
I've suffered with eczema for years and other skin conditions too, like sebhorric dermatitis, which effects the scalp. I don't want to gross anyone out, but I do want to give a bit of background as to why I decided to switch my shampoo for natural hair soap, and maybe give hope to fellow sufferers with my results. I've never officially been told what causes these conditions, but I've always felt that harsh hair products could be making it worse. This post offers a review of the products I bought from The Natural Soap Company, and how their shampoo bar helped improve my skin.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Over 50 Easy, Cheap World Book Day Costumes

Taken from above, hands holding the book Guess How Much I Love You.It's nearly World Book Day again and if you've got more than one child, a tight budget or not a lot of free time, you may be having a little panic about this. You don't need to worry though, because this list includes every simple, cheap World Book Day costume you could think of and there's bound to be one that will suit your expectant offspring. They may not be the most elaborate costumes, but they will get you out of trouble last minute, and can be made from items you probably already own. Just pick the one that fits what you have in the cupboards. Easy! 


Friday, 1 March 2019

Managing Long Term Chronic Pain - Course Notes Week 4

Title text over a faded out photo of a girl climbing on a wooden bar fence.Week 4 of The Pain Management course saw a few returners and a couple of absences, but I'm getting used to who everyone is, so it's much easier and more relaxed now. I was late, because the stupid bus didn't turn up, so I missed goal setting and recap from last week, which wasn't ideal, but everyone was welcoming and forgiving. I had previously warned them that the bus is hourly and not exactly reliable. Stagecoach, sort yourselves out! Anyway, this weeks theme was Sleep and, since I have a sleep disorder and already have a reputation for falling asleep in class, this should be interesting. 
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