A Break In Bath

Before I get started I just want to apologise for the lack of regular posts, it’s been a busy few weeks with shows coming up! But I WILL make more of an effort to post frequently.

Last weekend Gareth and I went for an overnight stay in Bath. With work, rehearsals and life in general, we very rarely get the time for these ‘mini breaks’, so we grabbed the opportunity! We had a bit of a chipped windscreen situation before we even got out of Cornwall, but I won’t even go there! Gareth knows Bath well, but this was my first proper visit, so he was a brilliant tour guide.

We were so fortunate with the weather, one light shower and then a day full of sun. I am sure the bright weather enhanced the beauty of Bath; I loved it within moments of walking around – from the architecture and street entertainment, to the quirky shops and cafes, it was full of things to see.

We spent some time at the River Avon, which I of course recognised from the Les Mis film (I definitely didn’t dramatically sing the end bit of ‘Javert’s Suicide’ whilst standing there…*I did*…). Gareth equally enjoyed spending time there as we caught a sneak glimpse of the Rugby through the trees!

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After doing our first circuit of the city, we then went to check in at our hotel, ‘The Lansdown Grove Hotel’, which was certainly a new experience. The hotel was an incredible building, but very dated, which in a weird way I kind of loved and it was right at the top of the hill, so had some great views. (Although, the supplied fan definitely saved us from over heating!)

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We chose to brave the hills and walked back into the city for a wander and dinner. It was lovely to just explore and relaxing to sit and watch the world go by. I particularly enjoyed watching an artist write poetry and the streets, whilst listening to nearby buskers – so inspiring! Admittedly, we were exhausted early on in the evening after a day full of walking, so we stocked up on snacks and dragged ourselves up the massive hill to look over the city at night, which was stunning (La La Land’s  ‘City of Stars’ may or may not have been referenced whilst up there!) before returning to our room for the night.

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Prior to leaving, we took an early morning tour of the Roman Bath Spas. It was so fascinating and well worth the entry fee. We even tasted the water, which we regretted immediately, but hey, it may have done some good for our bodies! Then a quick over priced smoothie and coffee before heading back on the road…

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For those of you that read my blog for the ‘anxiety’ related content,  travelling can be somewhat of an issue for me, but you’ll be pleased to know that with a bit of self-talk and Gareth’s help my anxiety was actually manageable, so if you can, go and book yourself a weekend away and challenge yourself! You will most likely end up having a great time like I did – thank you Gareth!

See you soon Bath!

 

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Be Bold For Change

It’s international Women’s day!

I absolutely adore this year’s theme ‘Be Bold For change’ – it is utterly paramount. Via this link (https://www.internationalwomensday.com/BeBold) you can read up on ideas to inspire you to take a bold action. The ones that stuck with me were:

  1. Challenging bias and inequality – specifically:
  • Pull people up on exclusive language.
  • Challenge stereotypes.
  • Call it out when women are excluded.
  • Point out bias and highlight alternatives.
  1. Celebrate Women’s achievements – specifically:
  • Drive fairer recognition and credit for women’s contributions.
  • Hail the success of women leaders.
  • Celebrate women’s journeys and the barriers overcome.
  • Reinforce and support women’s triumphs.

What are you doing to #BeBoldForChange?

If we want to achieve equality, it is so important to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible achievements of women. Change only occurs when we stop accepting and instead, actively stand up for what we believe in.

I am going to celebrate today by:

  1. Reading a play by a fantastic female playwright (Lucy Prebble).
  2. Writing and sharing this blog post with the words and courage given to me by admirable female teachers.
  3. Organising myself and putting positive steps in place, demonstrating my female strength and determination.
  4. Motivate other women by sharing some wise words….

 

“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” – Michelle Obama

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.” – Emma Watson

“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” – Mary Shelley

“The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they’ll know it’s possible.” – Gloria Steinem

“I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.” – Evita Peron

“To tell a woman what she cannot do is to tell her what she can” – Spanish Proverb

 

One iconic female figure that inspires me is Audrey Hepburn. Her work with UNICEF, courage, fearlessness, elegance, individuality, performances, strength, kindness and so much more were totally admirable.

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Which women are you celebrating?

 

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Vegan/Gluten Free PANCAKES

Happy Pancake Day!

It’s Shrove Tuesday and my dear friend Wikipedia informs me that this is the day immediately preceding the first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday). In other countries it is called Mardi Gras (which is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’ and sounds far more fun in my opinion); this is the last day of “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent. In the UK and some other countries, we celebrate it by consuming pancakes. Apparently the association with pancakes is to do with using up the ingredients that are discouraged during Lent (i.e butter, eggs, fat). This is somewhat awkward and ironic when my recipe doesn’t exactly contain these…

I have been gluten/dairy/egg free for some time now and until today I had yet to have a ‘free from’ pancake *I can hear you gasping*. Yes, I was well overdue… Turns out they’re super simple and don’t require any of those ‘special’ ingredients, whereby you have to google like mad, go to 5 different stores and 2 health shops until you find what you’re looking for – just me?

What I did notice was that they ALL had bananas (or apple sauce) in them (I am not a fan), but I went ahead and gave it a go (Pancakes ROUND 1). If you love bananas, there are hundreds of vegan pancake recipes, like the one I used, online! My family enjoyed them, but I wasn’t lovin’ it. So, pancakes ROUND 2, I adapted a second recipe (no bananas and no apple sauce!), which was quicker, easier and I definitely preferred the taste, so below is the recipe!

(P.S We can all pretend that pancakes look picture perfect! Realistically ‘free from’ pancakes look more like interesting shaped crumpets, but it’s the taste that matters!

P.S.S I expect you to do this’Matilda’ style and listen to this as you make them >>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMKEgU_lN24)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 cup Oat Flour (just blend oats in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
  • 2 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. In a hot, lightly greased pan, cook for approx 2/3 mins each side.
  3. Serve with a topping of your choice, and ENJOY!

This recipe isn’t exclusively for vegans/coeliacs, anyone can enjoy them as a tasty alternative; but conveniently, they definitely have less fat and cholesterol than your average pancake!

Happy day of over-eating pancakes, before we ‘fast’ for Lent! 

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Vegan Valentine – Gluten Free, Strawberry + Chocolate Bites

Love is in the air (in the form of a delicious scent coming from my oven as these bake…)
February 14th – Valentine ’s Day. Some people love it, some hate it, but if it’s a reminder to show your affections to those you love, nothing says ‘I love you’ like some sweet treats. Equally, if you’re spending the evening alone, these Vegan and Gluten free tasty alternatives to your average cookies will be great company as you sniffle on the sofa at ‘Love Actually’.

Chocolate + strawberries = a match made in heaven; combined with oats, these are addictive treats!

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Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 – 25 mins

Ingredients:
• 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
• 1 and 1/4 cup gluten-free ground oats
• 1 cup gluten-free oats
• ½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¾ cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup coconut oil (liquid form)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Egg substitute of choice, to the equivalent of 1 Egg (For example you could use ground Flax/Chia seeds)
• 1 Large tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)
• ¼ cup dairy free dark chocolate chip (or broken chocolate chunks!

*You will also need cupcake cases!

Instructions:
1. Pre-Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine ground oats, oats, chia seeds, salt, baking powder, sugar and set aside.
3. Finely chop strawberries, and set aside.
4. Whisk together your egg substitute, vanilla and coconut oil.
5. Add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix well (mixture may appear dry at first until the strawberries are added!)
6. Fold in strawberries and dark chocolate chips.
7. Spoon heaped tablespoons into cupcake cases.
8. Bake for approx 20 minutes.
9. Let cool.
10. Share and enjoy!

P.S As much as I agree with ‘sharing is caring’, my top tip is to keep a secret box full for yourself before they all get eaten…

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xxx

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The Theatre Tag

During ‘Blogmas’ I was nominated by my lovely friend Frankie over on her blog (https://frankiegoestotheatre.wordpress.com/) to do the ‘Theatre Tag’. Guess what, I have finally done it! I actually found it a little difficult, as most of my answers would most likely be different in a month or so; but that’s the wonderful thing about theatre – it’s always creating new memories and provoking new thoughts!

  1. When did you start getting into theatre?

I was brought up on classic R + H musicals, such as Oklahoma!, so it has always been A PART OF my life. But I joined my local theatre group at the age of 8, and that is when it BECAME my life!

  1. How many shows have you been in?

My rough estimate (that doesn’t include concerts) is about 45!

  1. Favourite role played?

Lily St.Regis in Annie! I got to work alongside such great friends and also perform at the Minack Theatre. She is such a wonderful part to play and I loved every second.

  1. A tip you always give to the new theatre kids

LISTEN and OBSERVE! I only know what I know about theatre from doing those two things. Listen and observe, work out what you think works and what you think doesn’t, then give it a go yourself! Never stop learning from others.

  1. Biggest theatre pet peeves

Oh, my list is long…but here are a few:

– People who don’t listen.

– Talking in the wings or in the audience; it can completely ruin a show for the people watching and distract the people performing. I find it incredibly disrespectful.

– In amateur theatre I get irritated when people try to act like it’s professional.  I of course agree with making a show the best standard it can be, and as a company member acting ‘professionally’ by doing your best. But as someone who has experienced a variety of levels of theatre, I find it laughable when people get too absorbed in the minor details of amateur theatre and forget to have fun! I just want to shove them in something that isn’t ‘amateur’ for an afternoon and wake them up.

  1. Biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses

These are two things that I am always working out. I am always scrutinizing myself. I doubt my performances, which is a weakness because it means my performance is unfocused and not the best it can be. I pick staging up quickly which I guess is strength, although it often means I fall into the trap of the reliable understudy! I am also not great at picking up harmonies after singing soprano tunes my whole life. I think strengths and weaknesses grow and change over time. One day I will wake up and think, ‘wow, listen to me hit those notes!’, the next day I will wake up and feel as though my voice has had no training and should be heard by no one. Gosh, I don’t sound like a dramatic theatre girl in this post do I?

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration in theatre?

There are so many wonderful performers that have influenced me; I don’t want to limit it to one person.

Currently I admire ‘Emma Kingston’. I saw her in Priscilla and Les Mis, but she has been in a variety of productions, such as ‘In The Heights’. Her vocals are so versatile, from classical soprano to modern pop – INCREDIBLE! Sierra Boggess, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Lin-Manuel Miranda are other Musical Theatre inspirations. Oh and of course the one and only ‘Judi Dench’ alongside many other greats, but that’s a given, right?

  1. What’s your dream role?

The answer to this changes daily…

MUSICAL – Laurie or Ado Annie (Oklahoma!), Maria (WSS), Christine (Phantom), Kate (Kiss Me Kate), Nessa Rose (Wicked), Dawn (Waitress), Fantine (Les Mis) *Just so I can sing ‘You let your foreman take her awayyyyy’*, Belle (Beauty and the beast) Eliza (Hamilton) *but that would take a vocal miracle!* –  THERE ARE TOO MANY TO LIST!

THEATRE – I am all about Shakespeare so… Desdemona, Helena, Juliet (in that order).

  1. Plays or Musicals?

They both offer two completely different things; I probably have a wider musical knowledge than plays, purely due to my childhood; but regardless, I simply cannot answer this.

  1. What’s your favourite musical?

Another impossible question! I don’t think I have answered any of these properly.

The answer to this changes monthly. Honestly, I have a favourite musical per month. Recently I have loved Waitress and Hamilton of course; but if we are talking about long-term, never-fading musical love – West Side Story. The story, the characters, the choreography, the score; I genuinely view it as one of the greatest musicals ever created, it has everything.

  1. Most awkward onstage moment?

There have been a few…

Going on as a Cheshire cat understudy in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and wearing a furry leotard that was made for someone a little larger than me, then having my microphone slide off my bra and make its way down through the side of the leotard and out by my leg for a long dance routine was a memorable one! It has resulted in me becoming very obsessive in where and how my microphone goes on. Sorry sound crew!

Additionally, forgetting my words to ‘Whistle While You Work’ during opening night of Snow White! That was the first time I’d ever had a blank on stage. I never used to worry about it, but ever since then I do!

  1. Best offstage moment?

This is so personal and there are just so many. When I did ‘West End Stage’, my dressing room was where all the dancers usually are for Phantom of The Opera. I have lots of memories of being silly with new friends and admiring the piles of pointe shoes!

Equally, performing at the Minack theatre always provides lots of giggles, especially during ‘Annie’ where I was doing a lot of filming.

Because my ‘lifestyle’ blog has such random content, it means that I have a wide range of followers. Some of you will be in theatrical heaven, others of you will have skipped through this and that’s okay! Therefore, I am leaving this one as an open tag to any one who wants to participate, or if you’re not an active ‘blogging’ follower, you can leave your answers in the comments.

Now I am going to go and listen to some Hamilton and pretend I can sing it…

 

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Blogger Recognition Award – 2017

Thank you so much to ‘RubiRubiMakeup’ (https://rubirubimakeup.wordpress.com/) for nominating me. I honestly can’t get my head around the fact people actually read and enjoy my posts, let alone the fact my blog has been nominated to get greater recognition; it means a lot.

‘The Little Things Blog’ started in May 2016, so it’s all relatively new to me. I wanted to start a blog long before this, however the usual questions occurred – what will I write about? Who will read it? And of course, will people think differently of me? One day I sat down with Gareth and explained what I wanted to do and he said go for it, and I should just write about whatever I want to write about  – we agreed I’d write about all ‘The Little Things’ in my life that I think, feel, do, etc. I’d always felt I needed to have a certain type of blog, but as I began writing, I made the decision to not limit myself to a specific style, and so this blog has evolved into a combination of things, but I guess it’s closest to a ‘lifestyle’ blog.

At this time, I don’t think many people were aware that I actually suffer with anxiety. My anxiety tends to be hidden and I never scream and shout about it. I was worried about discussing it on my blog for this very reason; people I know might read it and learn about how I often feel and sadly, as I have learned, it does change the way people see you. But if I wasn’t going to be honest about it, who was? So the blog also became a platform for me to be honest, whilst also helping others.

This is also my little part of the internet where I can distract myself and let out some of that ‘inner monologue’ I carry around with me!

I don’t feel qualified to give advice as I have absolutely no idea what I am doing here and wordpress is still a mystery to me (if anyone wants to educate me on how I can alter the layouts and format of my blog with more detail, please do !) . . . My two pieces of advice for new bloggers are :

  1. JUST WRITE! Don’t worry about what other people are saying or thinking. If you have something you want to write about – do it. It’s honestly such a massive thing to put your words out there for others to read and not everyone is going to like it or agree with it. I have a mental list of things I would like to write about on this blog and I am still working up the courage! You don’t need to stick to a ‘theme’, you don’t need hundreds of followers, just write because you have something that you want to say.
  1. Create a notebook of ideas. I guarantee that once you get in the flow of things, you’ll lie in bed at 1am with a blog post idea, so make sure you have a little book you can fill with ideas.

P.S (I know I am only meant to give 2 – but I also want to add, try Blogmas. It shows you that you can write about ANYTHING and you get to meet lots of other bloggers!)

 

I would like to nominate these three blogs, for their beautiful and courageous posts:

To The Moon and The Stars – http://tothemoonandthestars.com/

My Blurred World – https://myblurredworld13.wordpress.com/

Beth Denny – https://bethdenny.co.uk/

 

Thank you not only to ‘Rubirubimakeup’ but to everyone else that takes the time to listen to what I have to say.

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select a blogger/bloggers you want to give this award to.Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

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Why VEGANUARY?

This January, Gareth and I decided to participate in ‘Veganuary’- i.e. go Vegan for a month. I  don’t consume milk or eggs as part of my food intolerances anyway, so for me, it has all been about additionally eliminating meat. Gareth on the other hand, has had to cut out all animal products at once and he has been incredible!

There are a variety of reasons as to why I wanted to try Veganuary –

Firstly, I decided that in the New Year I was going to have at least 1 or 2 days every week that were completely meat free. This is purely a health decision, as I am learning how my body responds to different food. I wanted to challenge myself this January and see how my body responded to the change. It was also in an attempt to get myself to eat a larger variety of vegetables (which has definitely worked!).

During and after Christmas, I suffered with terrible stomach pain and eczema. I put it down to too much Turkey and Chocolate; therefore my body desperately needed to detox. I should also mention that this Christmas I took the plunge and had dairy in the form of a few quality streets. I am pleased to report that the small quantity didn’t have a horrendous effect; however I didn’t feel too brilliant for quite a while after. I wanted to begin testing my reactions to dairy/gluten/egg again and although I doubt I’ll ever put them back in my diet completely, it would be nice to be able to eat out without the worry. It was a positive step for me, in that I was brave enough to try it, but as I said, it definitely didn’t help my health and so I wanted to detox. For me, the best way to heal my body is to follow a plant-based diet. So far this month I have also done A LOT of juicing/smoothie making  and tried to restrict my processed foods/sugar intake, whilst also partaking in Veganuary. As you can see, health has played a massive part in my decision.

The website dedicated to ‘Veganuary’ is filled with information which also contributed to my decision. Not only have I been focused on the health benefits, I have also been concerned with the environmental aspects; from saving wildlife, to saving energy, it’s fascinating the impact we can make. If you want to learn more about all of the positives, please check out the website.

https://veganuary.com/

We are half way through January and I am definitely surprised at my reactions and results this month. I know that everyone responds differently, however I wanted to share some of my thoughts so far.

  • I have only craved meat once, something I thought I might struggle with.
  • My diet is not restricted at all, in fact I am probably eating a larger variety of foods than I did prior to trying a Vegan diet. It turns out Kale can actually work its way into every meal if I want it to!
  • I am finding it easier to monitor my eczema. I know my eczema flares up when I am stressed or when there are changes in weather. But it has become incredibly clear that sugar (usually in the form of Chocolate) is a major factor for making my skin worse.
  • My stomach is thanking me! In comparison to how I felt the week of Christmas whilst living on too much meat and sugar, I feel so much better.
  • Vegan meals do not take ages to make! I think there is such a preconception that vegetable based meals take ages to prep – it takes no longer than prepping meat!
  • It’s easier to stick to it when you’re not alone. Having Gareth join in has been brilliant, we’ve supported each other the whole way!

So for all of you that have been wondering why I’ve been participating in Veganuary this month, there you have it! It has got to a point where it’s become a natural habit to eat certain foods, rather than just that little voice in my head reminding me to be sensible.

You don’t have to wait for ‘Veganuary’ next year to try this, just go for it! If you’re trying to improve your health and lose weight, correctly following plant-based diets can be such an easy and natural route to follow.  I promise you that  it’s not just a plate of lettuce and a glass of water – in fact, for a fussy eater, my meals have become more adventurous over this past month!

Let me know if you are also participating and how you are finding it? If you’re looking for some meal and snack inspiration, I’ll be happy to post the things that I am loving this month!

 

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