Friday, 29 March 2013


After weeks and weeks of window shopping, trawling through the internet and reading Elle and Marie Claire back-to-front a zillion times I have finally found three birthday outfits! You heard me, THREE! Magically, they haven't cost me an arm and leg either, and not juts because I haven't bought them all yet.

I've also entered a rather lovely competition to win a new outfit, I found it thanks to the wonderful Olivia Purvis and her blog What Olivia Did (make sure you have a read!). The comp requires you to create three outfits, all under £200 each. I thought I'd use two of my birthday outfits for the party/casual categories and I can dream about the holiday outfit until the summer finally comes (it may nearly be April but it's still snowing in Newcastle). 

Lets get the holiday outfit out of the way before I start crying–

Dress– Topshop, £75; Bag– ModCloth, $49.99 (£32.91); Shoes– Topshop, £45; Earrings– Olivia Divine, £10; Watch– Olive, £35.

Grand Total= £197.91 (close!)

If there's one colour that screams "THE SUN IS OUT!" it's yellow. That's why I love this dress from topshop, it just makes me smile! With something as bright and pretty as this, I just wanted to keep all of the accessories quite subtle– I think the white looks really clean. I might be a bit worried about getting tan lines by wearing a watch, but this one from Olive was just too nice to leave off!

My birthday day-time casual attire–

Shirt– Zara, £39.99; Jeans– Topshop, £35; Shoes– Zara, £49.99; Bag– TK Maxx (L.Credi), £39.99; Earrings– Aldo, £9.98; Ring– New Look, £4.99; Bracelet– ASOS, £15

Grand Total= £194.94 (close shave!)

There's something really unique and simple about this blouse from Zara, it reminded me of being in Thailand for some reason so I picked out the Buddha ring and elephant bracelet to keep the thai vibes. The pointed court shoes add a little edge to what could have also been a very laid-back outfit, if worn with ballet flats.

And this, ladies and gents, is my birthday party outfit!

Dress– Dorothy Perkins, £44.95; Bracelet– ASOS, £8; Shoes– Topshop, £55; Bag– Accessorize, £39; Earrings– Gins, £3.40

Grand Total= £150.35 (unexpectedly under-budget!)

Of all the outfits I thought this would be the most expensive by far! I absolutely love Dorothy Perkins fit & flare dresses, especially the boutique ones. They just fit so wonderfully– especially for a girl like me with a small waste and big hips! That was the only reason I picked up this dress; I thought it might fit nicely on the waist– I was right! Seeming as I bought it for my birthday I wanted to make some sort of statement with the rest of my accessories (hence the orange killer heels and floral clutch).

Only 5 more days until I'm an adult. I keep having childhood flashbacks. Playing with my dolls, having water fights in the street, being obsessed with vampires (real vampires– not twilight or true blood or whatever) and Harry Potter– I was mental about Harry Potter. Those were the days...
Any how, I think the mamma and pappa are taking me camping in Durham this weekend! Then the Daddy and step-mum get back from Mexico on Sunday :)

Enjoy your Easter!

P.S. Two blog posts in one day? What is the world coming to!?!?

Keep calm and get the wok out.

I only started cooking "properly" a year or so ago, before that I was just an expert apple crumble maker (I'll post my recipe soon) and ace food taster. Now though, I can throw a few things together without freaking out and asking the mother for help (now she just helps anyway). The most useful thing I've found out, is that you can cook almost anything in a wok. Any kind of meat, fish, vegetable, you name it. Put it in a wok and it'll taste good. As long as you add other stuff too of course...

My latest wok creation was a prawn and chorizo stir-fry for me and mamma. It took around 10/15 mins including prep time and according to her was the "best thing I'd ever made"– which probably isn't that hard. 

The best thing is– it's so simple. All you need are:

Half a ring of chorizo (we get ours from tesco)
A bag of prawns (around 225g- tesco again! But if you can get fresh prawns, do)
1/4 red pepper
1/4 yellow pepper
1/4 green pepper
4 cloves of garlic
3 salad tomatoes
Sprinkle of marjoram
Sprinkle of chilli powder/chilli flakes (use both if you like it hot!)
A few splashes of sweet chilli sauce (get the mild stuff if you like but I love Blue Dragon Hot Sweet Chilli)
Fresh parsley 

If your prawns are frozen, fill your sink with warm water, put them in a colander and let them defrost while you prepare everything else. 
Cut the chorizo into fairly thick bits (around 1cm), then cut them in half. 
Slice your peppers into long strips, thick chunks or whatever you prefer. 
Cut your tomatoes into quarters.
Use a thick knife to crush your garlic cloves (use the flat edge and push down, I always use a butchers knife). 
Chop your parsley a little, but don't dice it or reduce it to dust! You still want it to be leafy.
Put your wok on the gas (electric, whatever) and put about a table spoon of olive oil in (use more if you want) on a medium heat.
When the oil is nice and hot add the chorizo, peppers, garlic and tomatoes, stirring/mixing occasionally for a minute or two. 
Then add a sprinkle of marjoram and chilli (as much or as little as you like– don't be scared to have a taste!) along with the sweet chilli sauce. If it looks dry, add more sweet chilli– you can never have too much!

If (like me) you're using pre-cooked prawns, make sure you add them in last as you only need to heat them up. If your amazing and went out and got fresh, uncooked prawns, throw them in with the chorizo!

And wala!

Hoy some parsley on the top and your done!

Add some good old salt & pepper if you fancy– we did!

We quite like eating this by itself, but if you wanted you could even add some pasta, a jacket potato or even throw it in a wrap!


Monday, 25 March 2013


I mentioned in my last post (Work and Weight) that I had my drama school audition for Guildhall recently, here's my diary for the day.

7 am – Woke up, got ready into black jeans, burgundy top and my favourite blazer (tailor made) with my hunters, country jacket and an All Saints bag I bought a few years ago.

9 am – Arrived at Castle Gate in Newcastle for the audition a tad early. I was put in a waiting room and twiddled my thumbs for 10 mins before being joined by 7 other auditionees. We were taken down into the basement (not as scary as it sounds) by two ex students, Patrick and Anna. If you watch some of the videos on the Guildhall website about the acting course you'll see Anna talking about her year three show "Summerfolk".

9.30 am – When everyone arrived (6 boys, 2 girls- it's usually the other way round!) we all handed in our headshots, were given a number and had to write down our audition pieces. Funnily enough, I was given my lucky number 4 (not that it gave me any luck). Coincidentally, the  ambassador that had been in my National Youth Theatre audition a few weeks ago was there too!

10 am – After this we were given time to change and all taken into another basement room to meet Christian Burgess, head of acting and Dinah Stabb, head of movement– she was in Get Him to the Greek!!! We had a 15 minute warm up which involved lots of spacial awareness, eye contact and team work games. If you're not used to doing warm ups before sessions, what I mean by "spacial awareness" is you all have to move around the room and balance the space as much as possible, watching everyone around you so that all gaps are filled and you don't bump into anyone! Making eye contact was a big thing for Christian and Dinah, we had to find out the colour of everyones eyes and look everyone in the eye when passing them. Don't freak out though! It's a lot more fun than it sounds, especially when everyone is smiling and supportive– my group were lovely! If you're familiar with the number game, we played that a couple of times and managed not to mess up– which is hard. Basically, as a group you have to count to the number of people there are but if anyone speaks at the same time you have to start again. It's a lot harder and more intense than it sounds. Great for a concentration and awareness warm up though. To my surprise, Dinah joined in with everything which was really brilliant; having someone who is "on the inside" involve themselves in a warm up instead of just dictating it is so comforting. Finally, we were all asked to get into lines according to various factors (hair colour, height) without speaking and then had to line up against the back wall. This was the scary bit. Well, I say scary, but what I really mean is: we were put on the spot. Christian dictated something for us to say to him, which went along the lines of:

My name is...
I was born in...
Today I have come from...
The best day of my life so far was...
The worst day of my life so far was...
The reason I am interested in Guildhall is...

This may not seem like much, and it isn't, but I hate it when people ask me what the best/worst days of my life are. I just don't know. In a way, I suppose that proves what they're trying to say about being too young to get on the course. But the reason I don't know is just because I can't choose! So being put on the spot for that particular question freaked me out a little, as it did with a couple of others too (I think).

10.30 am-12 pm – After I'd finished freaking out and had watched everyone else (internally) freak out we were escorted back to the previous room in order to wait for our individual auditions. Being 4th, I had some time to chat with the rest of the group before going in. I rehearsed my monologues very dedicatedly and thoroughly to prepare myself for the audition that could change my life forever. That's what should have happened, but as my scoring out hints, I used the time to discuss plays and films with my new peers instead– which calmed me right down anyway, so I felt better. This is a piece of advice that could be brilliant or absolutely terrible, it's entirely dependent upon the person and their situation. I'm a people's person, like to calm my nerves by talking, had already performed all of my pieces too many times and was trying to find out a few things from Patrick about using him as a warm prop in my speeches. Which, interestingly enough, is a major difference about Guildhall to other drama schools: they encourage eye contact in your audition– so much so that I was able to use Patrick as a dead body for my Breathing Corpses speech!
On that note, I'll tell you about the audition shall I? So, Patrick took me to wait outside the room where we had our warm up and we had a little chat about what I was doing etc etc– he was lovely. Christian came and asked us to go in, he and Dinah were sitting behind a table on the left hand side of the room, Patrick took up a seat in front of it on the right, facing me. They asked me which piece I would like to do first, which was great because I love doing my Bellafront speech. I started with that, using Patrick to say it to (he reacted to me as well! Really nice to have someone do that during an audition), then they asked to see my Breathing Corpses speech (they found it quite funny when I asked Patrick to play dead) and finally I had to sing a few verses from my song. Stupidly, I always panic when I'm asked to sing, even if they just want to see how I act the song. Firstly, I said the song was from a play/musical by Lee Hall when it's actually by Alan Plater (I knew this but crumbled as soon as they said "Can we hear your song please?"), secondly, I avoided eye contact at all costs (I'm not used to small-scale audience eye contact, especially when singing) and thirdly I closed my eyes too much. Leaving all this firmly behind, they asked me a few questions about why I wanted to go to drama school and not university– which I could have answered better– then I was free to go. I went back to the happy room and carried on conversing.

After everyone had been seen, Christian and Dinah came in to tell all of us that no one was going to be recalled (very nicely of course). In all honesty, it was probably my worst audition so far so I wasn't that surprised, disappointed of course, but I saw it coming.

To cheer ourselves up, Owen (NYT ambassador), Michael McIntyre ("yes, like the comedian" he told us with exasperation) and I went for a coffee round the corner at Great Coffee (it's good, but expensive). This turned into 2 hours of chatting about auditions, plays, films and god knows what else, then we went into the winter and ended up talking about american history, politics and a lot more of god knows what else for a good 45 mins! Lots of laughter and good stories made for a nice end to the day.

If anyone reading this has any auditions coming up soon, GOOD LUCK! Feel free to get in touch with how it goes/your experience or any questions you might have– but I warn you, I am most definitely not an expert. It's just nice to share.

I'm finding it kind of therapeutic writing about about my audition, post-audition. I think I might write up My RADA and Bristol experiences while I'm at it. Clear my head a little before Central and Drama Centre!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Work and Weight.

One of my biggest problems is busyness. Everything's all calm in the summer (usually) and then BAM– I start a new play, say yes to some extras work that's too far away, go to college, go to work, save money, spend said money, eat, drink, breathe and before I know it two years have passed and I'm sitting here with less than a month to go before I'm officially an adult.

In the midst of coming of age, I'm also working, studying, rehearsing, auditioning, socializing (or at least attempting too), quality-timing and of course, breathing– when I get the chance. So, as you can imagine, I'm stressing the hell out because I don't know what to do or what to wear for my birthday. Even though I started actively working on it in February (eighteen). Need to get my act together! Doesn't help that I'm losing weight either (slowly but surely), I'll end up buying something then it'll be too big!

Speaking of weight, I think I need to stop caring. Or at least stop caring quite so much. I'm 5ft 2in and swaying between 9st 10lbs and 10st after years of fad diets and spurts of random exercise. I started off at 11st 2lbs, which wasn't fat, but it certainly wasn't thin either. Having an extremely loving family and a really bad metabolism didn't exactly help me with my weight as a child, so I had always been chubby. But high school is hard. It was around year 9 when I actively set about getting fit; I joined lots of sports clubs and even started rowing outside of school. Instead of having three meals a day I'd usually snack a little and then have tea, binging occasionally. By year 10/11 I had finally reached 10st 2lbs and couldn't have been more proud of myself– and the best part? Everyone noticed.

Two years later, I've never gone higher than 10st 5lbs and only managed to get down to 9st 8lbs, which has been my favourite weight by far. The problem is, I like food, my friends like food, my family loves food and the people I meet always like it too. It follows me everywhere! So I have to have some serious will power. This weekend for instance I didn't touch a single piece of chocolate although we were away camping (pictures below!)– and we usually binge like mad when we're camping! But today I gave in because I was stressed after my Guildhall audition (I'll post about that experience soon), so now I feel guilty. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Not for eating, but for feeling like that!

I should not have to feel guilty for eating, especially when I wear size 8/10 dresses. Yes my hips are a size 12 but sweetie, that's hereditary. It's about time I stopped dreaming of what I want to look like and realise that the way I look now is absolutely fine. Losing a few pounds won't hurt but it's not life threatening if I don't lose them.

Young women (and older ones too!) worry too much about how they look. I'm learning to come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to be a size 6, and that I don't need to be.

Life isn't about that. It's about being happy and making every second count.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Mamma's Day

As you'll all know it was Mother's Day yesterday! Now usually, I would make my mamma a card, by her a present and run upstairs with a cup of lemon tea in the morning. Being nearly a legal adult, this year was a little different.

After forcing myself to watch Flight (with Mr Washington himself) all the way through– it dragged, a lot– it was pretty late so I toddled off to bed with a tummy full of jelly's and chocolate raisins (and possibly a few peanuts). We're in the process of buying new beds and swapping bedrooms, so after a few days of merry-go-round beds it was my turn to sleep in the mamma and pappa's. Which just so happens to be a rather lovely water bed– you can even change the temperature!

I hoped in full of joy and was then rudely awakened at 3am by a mysterious shove that managed to kick me onto the other side of the bed. On waking the next morning (or being woken up to be more precise) I find that the shover from 3am was my mum, who couldn't stand sleeping in my bed. Considering it was mother's day this was a preeetty cute surprise, but I was too tired to get up. An hour and a half later I summoned the courage to go and get her card and make the usual cup of lemon tea and my traditional english cuppa, then we got dressed to go out shopping! The new T K Maxx in Newcastle is reeaaally nice. The old one was horrid and I practically lived in there, so you can imagine what I'm going to be like now. Lets just say I have my eye on a black Paul & Joe dress from the gold label section... And I may or may not have bought a new pair of shoes... (BCBG past season)

Anyhow, the best part of the day was the evening. I took (or rather my step-dad very kindly dropped us off) the wonderful woman who held me in her womb for 9 months for cocktails. After all, she's always said I was a cocktail baby!

Allard's is one of our favourite cocktail bars in Tynemouth. I bought us our first round, a Lynchburg Lemonade (lots of JD) and a Breakfast at Tiffany's (marmalade, lemon and gin)

Yes that is toast for dipping! (Delish!)

Halfway through these we ordered some tapas: fish goujons, spicy chicken strips and hand cut chips. Simple, but amazing. The chips especially are incredible.

Then we moved onto our favourites– a lovely merlot for mamma and a Butterscotch Beach for moi (butterscotch schnapps, chocolate liqueur and vodka with a worthers original in the bottom). I have far too many of these.

Last but not least the mother had another merlot and I opted for the mega-fattening Toasted Almond, with cream, Baileys and almond liqueur– oh so worth it. Paps came along to join in on the fun before taking us home. As we got up to leave, the incredible happened– It had started snowing! In March! England is a confusing country.

Tipsy chatter with my mum is hilarious and brilliant. We got home and started watching Mr Selfridge (addicted) and she complained of seeing double. Couldn't help but hoot.

Well, I shall not leave it so long next time and I will take more pictures!


Friday, 1 March 2013


Had a really great weekend. I spent most of Saturday auditioning for the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (second time) which was a lot of fun! We had a full morning workshop and then individual auditions in the afternoon. I enjoyed myself that much in the morning that I completely lost track of the time and didn't even realise we'd been there for three hours and it was time for lunch. So off I toddled with a girl who asked me a question before the session, thus making us break-time buddies, as we didn't know anyone else. After a quick coffee and a good natter (polite word for gossip– what did you expect?) I had to head back for my one-to-one.

Now I'm not trying to sound big headed, nor am I trying to make out that I wasn't nervous, but I was pretty relaxed during my wait to go in and I tried my very best to give as much advice I could to the younger people around me. My lack of nerves was mostly down to the fact that this was my second time auditioning for the NYT so I knew what was likely to happen and I've been in audition situations a lot, from RADA to college assessments and screen testing for a detective series episode. Most of the girls I spoke to were about to have their very first audition, ever.

After chatting about points of focus, monologue choices and staging ideas, my time was up. I was called into a room with one of the morning workshop leaders and an NYT ambassador who was at my workshop last year too. We had a chat, I did my monologue and then I did a few exercises with the ambassador running around the room while I ran after him trying to grab his attention; when it came to answering more questions I was so worn out that it took me a while to get any words to come out of my mouth. Luckily Mr. Ambassador seemed to be in the same position (I wasn't as unfit as I'd thought).

Then.... It was camping time! My mum and stepdad picked me up around the corner in our lovely motorhome/campervan thing to whisk me off to Bamburgh. Here are some pictures from our little over night stay

Sherwood Forest coat, H & M scarf, Hunter wellies!

Refusing to look at the camera. Love this jumper from Oasis, and that's the vintage necklace I bought in Tynemouth from my last post (you can read it here).

Checking out some local art work

We visited the Grace Darling Museum, and the place where she was buried. An old weather man from Tyne Tees was a volunteer at the centre! Only took us a few minutes to realise, then of course my mum just went straight up to him and said "you were the weather man weren't you!" pretty loudly. Got to love her. That was Grace's stained glass window in the church.

My mums new jumper (paired with a scarf I bought her) is making me jealous. Might. Have. To. Borrow. It.

Pitty I didn't get a shot of our cream teas before we demolished them– they were pretty impressive. The tea room in Bamburgh is in the top 20 of the country, started up in the 17/1800's by two sisters. They bought the building for only £8000 (or close to that) but spent nearly £13,000 on the wooden paneling alone! Mental.

Couldn't have put it better myself.