How to Live a More Simple Life

I’ve had a busy week / few weeks / month seems to be a staple sentence within a number of my blog posts. It’s isn’t an exaggeration as it’s rare that I get a long period of uninterrupted time to myself, and when I have logged off on a Friday night my brain has often felt more than a little fuzzy. However, being busy doesn’t equate to stress in the way it did when I was teaching – I’m lucky in that a lot of the things that I do and experience during each week vary widely and are usually lots of fun – but over recent months I have been trying to consciously trying to take steps to make life more simple. I have created lots of habits individually which I have blogged about over a period of time, but even just focusing on one of these could make a large amount of difference to your stress levels.
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Visiting the Coronation Street Tour

Visiting the Coronation Street Tour

Where do you take a Canadian Coronation Street fan when she visits for a few days?

The Coronation Street Set Tour at Media City in Salford.

Obviously.

It’s probably worth mentioning that I’m not a fan of the show, but Elena Peters is. However, the show has always been a huge part of northern identity, and being from the north has always been something I’m incredibly proud of, and she’s always asking me to send pictures whenever I go to Manchester. Before the set was moved to Media City it was situated at Granada Studios in the centre of Manchester and I remember doing the tour then with my family, so I was interested to see how it now looked in a new location, and I was excited to see Elena’s reaction when she saw the set for the first time.

The Coronation Street Tour is a guided tour of the outdoor working set. Tickets are only available at weekends for a limited time and need to be booked in advance. Continue reading

Theatre, Abstract Art and a Hidden Gem

I often equate a lot of the experiences and opportunities that The Bloke and I have to  being at a bus stop… you wait for ages and then three buses all turn up at the same time.

The latter half of last week was exactly that.

On Wednesday we went to see the fabulous 9 to 5 musical at the Alexandra Theatre. What I didn’t include in my review was that we also went to the after party, during which we had the opportunity to meet the cast. I managed to have a little chat with Louise Redknapp, who was lovely and utterly stunning in person (and she hasn’t aged since the 90’s), and get a quick pic with Amber Davis. It was a weird experience – I knew that the show was coming up so I made The Bloke watch the season of Love Island that she was on so he knew who she was, but she looked completely different in person. I’m awkward at the best of times, but when you’re surrounded by incredibly talented individuals that you’ve just seen perform on stage is a little intimidating!  Continue reading

9 to 5 at the Alexandra Theatre

Yesterday The Bloke and I went to see 9 to 5 the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

Based on the 1980 hit American comedy movie, 9 to 5 tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor after he blackmails them, will the ladies manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? While the film was released nearly forty years ago, many of the issues highlighted are still a prominent part of social commentary, particularly on the topics of equal pay and roles and treatment of women in the workplace.

Louise Redknapp as Violet Photo by Simon Turtle

Louise Redknapp plays Violet, a smart and ambitious senior office administrator and widow who is overlooked for a promotion in favour of a man that she trained. She is absolutely perfect for the role – strong, confident and self-assured with a beautiful voice and a presence onstage that demonstrates why she has had such a long and successful career as a performer.

She is joined by Amber Davis in the role of Judy, who has been forced to find a job for the first time after her husband has left her for his secretary. Made famous by her appearance in Love Island, I was admittedly a little dubious about the casting choice, but she quickly dispelled any doubts with a truly incredible performance – sweet, funny and making her own way in a new world, Davis has an absolutely sensational voice. Continue reading

Step By Step

On the 1st January I decided to work on Step One of the next part of my blogging journey, which would eventually lead to Step Two much later on. Neither Step One nor Step Two are actually needed if I’m honest, but I have seen how much more successful Step Two is once Step One has been established for a while. I was quite excited about it – I created a whole bunch of ideas of how I could build on it to make it beneficial…

…and then proceeded to ignore it.

It has been weighing on me for a while, getting heavier each day, so this morning I woke up to the dark and rain outside, had a little tantrum to myself and decided that if I achieved nothing else today, I would do this ONE THING. Just one. Continue reading

The Best Business Lunch Ever

Last month I took on a new client. I started her fitness class a few weeks before and we became friends, and this led to me helping her to develop her artwork and courses. 

The other day she invited me round to her house after the morning aerobics session for a business lunch to discuss areas of focus in September. She has a beautiful painting studio at the bottom of her (equally beautiful) garden and I was treated to a look through her artwork and sketchbooks, which are gorgeous. I’ve always admired that sort of creativity and her abstract style is one of my favourites, so it was nice to sit and go through ideas in the morning sun. 

However, what started as a business discussion turned into several hours of just enjoying being in her company, snapchatting her cat who was busy stalking squirrels from the fence, eating a rather tasty lunch and admiring the sunflowers on her table. 

Definitely the best way to spend the day!

Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre Review and Interview

Last night The Bloke attended the Press Night of Singing in the Rain at the Alexandra Theatre. Additionally, I was lucky enough to be able to interview the lead actor in the show (who happens to be an ex-student).

Singing in the Rain is this years’ Stage Experience production, which every year sees over 100 of the brightest young talent from across the Midlands put on a professional show. In just two weeks, with the support of professional industry creatives and technical staff, a full scale production is brought to life on stage. Previous Stage Ex alumni include Brummie comedian Joe Lycett (who performed for several years in the scheme) and musical theatre star Liam Doyle, who went on to leading roles in West End hits such as Wicked, Mamma Mia and Legally Blonde. Continue reading

An Evening at the Newly Revamped Marmalade Restaurant at The Rep

The Bloke and I were invited to the newly revamped Marmalade restaurant at The Rep in Birmingham last week.

The Marmalade team have been working closely with local businesses and artisan suppliers to provide customers with an all new dining experience that is inherently Brummie and combined with a new outdoor terrace that is capable of seating up to 200 people overlooking the recently developed Centenary Square, it is perfectly situated for both lazy summer lunches and date nights.

I liked the fact that the menus are environmentally conscious, utilising local suppliers with a focus on low environmental impact, including the use of heat exchange technology to reduce energy consumption and natural wetland systems. Continue reading

When Facebook Actually Leads to Good Things…

I’ve wanted to get back into some form of regular exercise for a while. The Bloke and I are fortunate enough to go out on a lot of day trips and date nights, but working from home means that I spend a large amount of my time sitting. I like sitting. I’ve adopted our living room space as my office which allows me to work from the comfort of the couch while binge-watching the latest series of whatever is available on various streaming services.

Unfortunately, while I find this extremely soothing for the soul (especially on a rainy Monday morning when everyone is battling their way through the traffic on the way to work), it isn’t particularly beneficial for the body and as a result my health has started to suffer for it. I repeatedly mentioned to The Bloke that I needed to start being more productive, but even the thought of it has proved to be rather intimidating. Continue reading

Things to See and Do in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Things to See and Do in Dubrovnik 3

In June I was lucky enough to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the first time. As a huge Game of Thrones fan I had been eager to visit for a while, but nothing prepared me for how spectacularly beautiful it was. Steeped in history, clean, safe and with population of friendly and lovely people, it’s an absolute must-see.

While isn’t possible to see everything in just a single trip, here are a few highlights that may help when planning a future vacation of your own. Continue reading