11/31 Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

11. List 15 of your favourite things

I foresee plenty of lists appearing this month… apologies in advance!

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  1. The Royal Family… I love the Queen but, I mean just look at him! Prince George is on a whole new level of cuteness!
  2. Inspirational quote signs (I’ve actually lost count how many I own)
  3. Notebooks.
  4. RuPaul and all of her fierce drag queens.
  5. Mermaids, rainbows and unicorns.
  6. My books – Workin’ It by RuPaul, Binge by Tyler Oakley and Life Is Short (no pun intended) by Jennifer Arnold, MD, & Bill Klein (from TLC’s show The Little Couple).
  7. Netflix. Some of my favourite shows include RuPaul’s Drag Race (no surprises there!), Orphan Black, The Big Bang Theory, Once Upon A Time, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Person of Interest, The Good Wife… so many!
  8. Dancing without a care in the world.
  9. Singing without a care in the world.
  10. West End theatre and live performances/gigs.
  11. Disney. Pixar. Warner Brothers. Kids films in general.
  12. Making lists and satisfyingly crossing the completed tasks off one by one.
  13. Brunch. Especially on a Sunday…
  14. Exploring new places and restaurants.
  15. Reading or learning new about new things whilst sat cosily on my bean bag with a nice cup of peppermint tea.
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Sunday brunch with my flatmates at Dishoom near London’s Kings Cross – Sausage and egg naan with masala beans and a pot of fresh mint tea

2/31 Wait… you didn’t know?!

2. 20 facts about you

I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky prompt… ten I could have managed but 20 facts just about me?! Well, here goes:

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My Queen… Amen!

  1. I’m addicted to RuPaul’s Drag Race and love pretty much all of the queens that have walked through the ‘You Better Werk’ room doors.
  2. My favourite colour is duck egg blue.
  3. I own more pairs of socks than I care to admit.
  4. I’m a bit of a Netflix addict – entire mornings can disappear if I’m not careful.
  5. I love singing and dancing.
  6. When I’m at home, I’m often found in pyjama’s… I mean what’s the point in wearing your outdoor clothes, indoors?!
  7. I began and completed WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts challenge in 2014.
  8. People find it odd that I don’t drink tea or coffee…
  9. If money was no object, I’d go to see a West End theatre show every single week.
  10. I have a very close family, which means the world to me, and am even related to Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.
  11. My Great Nan reached 104 and a half years young… the half is very important at that age.
  12. I’m obsessed with Mi backpacks. So far, I’ve got a peacock feather one, a gumball one, a galaxy print one, a duck egg blue polka dot backpack and one with elephants all over it.
  13. I’m commonly found wearing Converse hi-tops… wearing heels is for special occasions.
  14. For RuPaul’s BOTS, I temporarily dyed my hair blue. I loved it so much that I’m planning to dye it permanently blue – hopefully two tone, using cobalt and duck egg blue (of course!)
  15. Through my last job, I was sent on press trips to Iceland (Ice Age 4: Continental Drift), Norway (How To Train Your Dragon 2) and Slovenia (Postojna Cave), interviewed a robotic cockatoo (Nigel from Rio 2, with actor Jemaine Clement in another room) and even photographed the stars of TV on the red carpet at the National Television Awards.
  16. I have a BA (Hons) in Human Resource Management.
  17. I love afternoon tea… especially quirky ones such a Spanish or Thai themed.
  18. Working in children’s media means that I get to see many of the new films before they hit the cinemas and I’m a big kid who loves everything Disney, so I end up enjoying every single screening… sometimes even more than the kids that are actually there.
  19. I love unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. I even wanted to be a mermaid growing up… still do!
  20. Primates are my favourite animals (well, and dolphins and marine life of course), but I’ve been lucky enough to meet the famous Primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall three times and even helped her present awards.
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At the most recent Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Awards with my flatmate, Féaron, where we got to meet Dr Jane’s beloved Mr. H, which travels around the world with her.

I’m feeling positively Emerald! – Wicked: My Review

WICKED_Groupline_900x600 Dear fellow Ozians… As Wicked celebrates its ninth year in London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, becoming the 10th longest running show currently playing in the West End, I went along to find out more about this green phenomenon that has already played over 3,500 performances in London alone!

Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 global best-seller ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, this musical shows you a different side to the story in the legendary classic, The Wizard of Oz, and tries to make the audience understand why things may have turned out the way they did. When we think of Oz, the trio of witches or the wonderful Wizard, we instantly picture the 1939 film starring the fabulous Judy Garland as none other than Dorothy, who makes some unlikely friends as she tries to make her way back home to Kansas from this magically unusual land. Unbeknownst to many, this film is actually an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel published over a century ago, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – so this 156 page story has inspired many other books, musicals and films since its release in 1900! Photos from Blog Which leads me to the thrillifying wonder that is Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz! From Chistery’s first excited screech signalling the opening number, right through to the last note sung in the finale, I was transported to a crazy land where anything is possible and, quite frankly, anything goes! We go back to a time before the Wicked Witch of the West, otherwise known as Elphaba, was born and even then, it was far from plain sailing for the Thropp household. Now with her sister, Nessa-Rose (later known as the Wicked Witch of the East) wheelchair bound and without a mother to care for them, their father sends them off to boarding school. This is where the story really gets started!

I’m not going to give you a run through of the entire show as I don’t want to spoil anything, but what I will say is that the soundtrack for this musical is absolutely flawless! Every single song is on point and the lyrics really are an extension of the story. Plus, I feel like many of the songs are incredibly relatable to so many individuals at so many moments in their lives (but I guess this could be put down purely to interpretation). But, for example, the lyrics in probably what is the most widely known Wicked score, Defying Gravity, are the empowering words “Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules, of someone else’s game… It’s time to trust my instincts, close me eyes and leap”. This can be applied to so many realisations that inspire people to create a new start for themselves… it’s so Ozmopolitan! Approved_Wicked_DefyingGravity_FullStage_7510 I also loved all of the clever little references made towards one of the most famous adaptations, The Wizard of Oz – the flying monkeys; lion, tin man and scarecrow; a nod to the saying “lions and tigers and bears… oh my!”; Glinda’s transportation bubble; the poppy field; the Wicked Witch of the East’s stripy socks and jewelled slippers; Dorothy and her famous dog; as well as the most iconic Dorothy saying of all time “there’s no place like home”.

Another thing I’d like to quickly touch on is the theatre itself. Built in 1929 as a cinema, this grand stage has been the platform for many hit musicals including The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and of course Starlight Express. But you can really tell that Wicked has taken over this venue and it’s not just clear in the first shop in the main entrance either. The entire foyer is lit with a green tint, the theatre’s largest shop (and the majority of the other merchandise booths found throughout) are called the ‘OzDust Boutique’ and the most divine little bar found upstairs, is called ‘The Elixir Bar’. I mean there isn’t a thing these guys haven’t thought of!

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Now just wait a clock tick… it is evidently clear as to why Wicked has been seen by over 47 million people across 13 different countries, and has won over 100 awards internationally. This year, Wicked won the coveted This Morning Audience Award presented by the Olivier Awards, which is the only award that is decided by us, the viewing public. Wicked went up against Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, Billy Elliot The Musical and Jersey Boys, and a few weeks before the winner was announced, costumes from each show-stopper were on display in a small shop just off Covent Garden. I can’t believe how tiny some of the waists are on the dresses – how do they take a deep enough breathe for some of the notes they belt out?! 2015-04-11 14.26.21 I really did enjoy my one short day in the Emerald City and left the theatre feeling very empowered, as if I could conquer the world! Also, to have two women as the lead characters (and with such powerfully fine-tuned voices, capable of giving so much light and shade, and conveying emotion perfectly) was refreshing, too. I want to send the hugest congratulotions to the cast and crew for putting on astounding performances eight times a week! Now, if you haven’t seen it… what are you waiting for?! Go and get your tickets and rejoicify in the magic that is truly WICKED!

Interplanet Janet

#356: You get to design your own planet: tell us all about it — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.

Planet theatre 😀 it would have a mixture of weathers but would be predominantly sunny. It would be mostly autumn as I love the crispness of the season. The inhabitants… all who love the fabulousness of the theatre!

It builds character

#308: Tell us about a favourite character from film, theatre, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

It’s a shame the prompt didn’t mention TV as, of course, my first thought was Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory) – although I’d love to talk to Jim Parsons (the actor) both in and out of character!

That said, I think I’d have to choose Elphaba from Wicked considering I’m a huge west end theatre geek! We’d talk about how she became the strong female she is now (*spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t know the story*), if she would have wanted to do anything differently and what she’s got planned for the future.

Unconventional love

#133: Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.

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This was a pretty tough thing to answer, as there are quite a few things in my life that I love unconventionally… singing (everything), primates (of all kinds), conducting interview junkets, blogging, a wedge of Choccywoccydoodah traditional chocolate cake or the ginger cake, the list goes on! However, one thing that will always be a huge passion of mine, giving me goosebumps and bringing a lump to my throat, is musical theatre! I simply have a deep love and appreciation for the performers’ demanding line of work. My all time favourites, which I think will remain with me for my entire life (in no particular order as that was way too hard to decide), are The Lion King, Les Miserables and Wicked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been to a musical and come out with negative thoughts, but these three I could easily watch week in, week out!

Image: www.cafepress.com

My life is a musical!

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#26: What role does music play in your life?

Music IS my life. Ask anyone I know and they’ll tell you exactly the same. If I’m not listening or dancing to music, I’m singing instead! I must admit that I’ve actually lost count of how many pairs of in-ear headphones I’ve gone through, as one side always seems to fall silent after a few months … over usage! The genres I listen to and enjoy the most are the chart toppers, varied albums taken from West End shows and when extreme concentration is needed, wordless classical music (as this way I wouldn’t be able to get distracted by singing along!). Music allows you to be so expressive, it can be a complete mood changer (i.e. is great for a quick pick me up) and the majority of lyrics are easy to relate to and therefore possess powerful meanings and memories to various situations in your life.

If I was given the choice between listening to music whilst chilling out in my room or being able to boogie and appreciate music live, even though I love both I’d always, hands down, choose to be witnessing it live. Being able to see, hear and absorb the beautiful melodies, the buzz of the audience and of course the incredible voices, is simply a magical and inspiring experience. If it was up to me and money was no object, I’d make sure that I saw at least three live performances a week … actually, this is going to be one of my rules for when I move into London, as I’d have no excuse – it would be right on my doorstep!

Music is most definitely the way to my heart! … especially since the entire time spent writing this post, was accompanied by the magnificent sounds of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, Martin Garrix’s Animals, Bastille’s Of The Night, Katy Perry’s Roar, Little Mix’s Move, Ellie Goulding’s Burn and Gary Barlow’s Let Me Go, to name a few!