Sunday, 23 September 2018

An Open Letter to Kinky Boots, London

Dear Kinky Boots the Musical,

I've known you for over three years since the first time I heard the Broadway cast recording and decided I needed to purchase a ticket for the London production. My first visit to the show was for the first final cast show before cast change and the love was there straight away.

Since that visit I have returned to the London production twice, most recently a month ago. Each visit brings so much joy to myself and also to the rest of the audience. I have met and spoken to many people in the Adelphi Theatre, some first time watchers and many return visitors and it is safe to say that everyone leaves the theatre a slightly changed person.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Back with another book. I've really had the reading bug recently, I think it's good for me though as it means more time away from my computer and other electrical items. But secretly I think the bug is back because I love a good story.

My most read was Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland, known by many as the fabulous Sprinkle of Glitter online.

Little back story on the author...Louise as I've just said has had a YouTube channel since the early 2010's and I've been a watcher for almost that length of time. I actually started blogging way back when because of her, so without Louise being there I wouldn't be here right now. When she announced she had written a fiction book, I knew that I would need to read the book and once the book was out I bought it straight away.

Wilde Like Me centres around it's main character, one Robin Wilde (a single mother and part time professional make up artist) and her daughter, Lyla. From the moment, I started reading the book the images I had in my head for those two characters were Louise herself (or at least a slightly altered Louise) and her daughter Darcy. I think due to the amount of time that I have been watching Louise this was going to happen but I found it amusing that this is where my head went.

The writing style of this book was very Louise, it is the same way she has been writing on her blog for many years and it was very easy to keep up with. I really enjoy the way the book was written and you could really identify with the characters and it was altogether a pleasure to read.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
Rating (out of 5)


Sunday, 24 June 2018

Extroverted Introvert

I listen to quite a few podcasts, some educational, some thought provoking and some just entertaining. Recently I was catching up on one podcast by the name of Crash Test Mummy, which is produced by Mikhila of Miss Budget Beauty fame.

In one episode, she talks about being an introverted person or being an extroverted person and everyone thinking that we are all introverts because we are all shy and wouldn't dare to go somewhere alone. Now I'm not explaining what she said well (if you want to listen to the episode I will leave a link here) but overall what she said made me think.

Before we get into all this let me start off by saying that I have always thought of myself as an introvert but with some extroverted tendencies. For the eductional extrovert is "an outgoing, socially confident person, a person predominantly concerned with external things" if you will and an introvert is "a shy, reticent person, a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things". Reading these definitions I would be happy to say I am an introvert. Put me in the middle of a crowd I will be like a deer in the headlights, I will not say anything I would go bright red and it would be the most awkward thing you've ever seen.

I have learnt over the past week, whilst I've been home alone that I have had so much more motivation to do things, more energy and my mood has actually improved because I haven't needed to be as social as normally, essentially being left alone has boosted my wellbeing and that is something I didn't expect. This recharging by being alone is a big trait of an introvert.

The one aspect of me, which I think is slightly different is me when I'm on YouTube especially on the "main" channel, The Clare Necessities. On that channel, I'm perky and peppy and attention wanting, whilst talking about all and everything. With me being quite an introvert, you might come to the conclusion that this youtube/online personality is an act BUT it's not. I can at times be the wildest, randomest person you will meet and if you know me well and truly, you may have encountered this side of me but in the grand scheme of things I will be soon back into my little corner in my own little chair, reading a book or chilling out in silence, listening to the conversations without really saying much, recharging my batteries for the next time.

Thanks to Mikhila I have really had to consider where I am on the extroverted/introverted scale and I think I've come to the conclusion I'm an extroverted introvert.

What are you?
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Sunday, 17 June 2018

REVIEW | Beautiful UK Tour

When you are as a fan of theatre like me and you miss out on a big show being in the West End, there is no stronger FOMO in life than that. Curses to being two hours away and to expensive travel and hotel prices is all I have to say.

One good thing about popular shows is though that they on occasion can come to us in the sticks on a national tour. Over the years I have discovered new shows that I may have missed out on the chance of seeing if it wasn't for a tour. One show that this could be the case for is Beautiful - The Carol King Musical.

Beautiful is based on the life of Carol King, a singer and song writer who has created some of the best hits that the 60s and 70s saw. So many of the songs in this musical were well known by me as a lot of this music was what I was raised on by my parents. It's always brilliant to hear music like this ( or any music to put it simple) played live with an orchestera, it brings a different edge to the music and makes you want to jump out of your seat and dance along with it.

The cast in this tour production are smaller than a west end cast, however they are still every bit as professional and amazing. Bronte Barbé, who played Carol King had the most amazing voice and her fellow actors and actress were all awesome. The cast although smaller than a London cast were still perfectly formed and awesome.

Visiting a theatre can bring me such joy and I'm so glad that this show came on tour to my local theatre. I filmed a full review for this show for my Theatre YouTube channel, which you can see HERE or by clicking the video below.

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Summer Reading List

At the age of 27, I think it's finally time to announce my granny status. I don't smoke or party and there is nothing better than clambering into bed at 10pm, tucking in under my two duvets and reading a bit of a good book. It's simply smashing.

Another thing that has got me more excited about reading is the fact I'm part of a Facebook group that is very similar to a book club, it's full of people who love  a good book and everyone gives recommendations to each other and it's marvellous.

As we are getting closer and closer to that dream summertime in the sun, I thought it was about time to create my summer reading list. A collection of books I really want to read before the summer is done.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris...This book is one that has been on my radar for a while and I'm desperate to start reading it. I think it'll be an interesting read, due to what the book is based on/it's setting.

I heart New York by Lindsey Kelk...I'm a massive podcast listener, which is another story for another blog post but one of my favourites is co-presented by Lindsey Kelk. I have been aware of her books for many years, but I've never read any of them. I feel like it is my duty to read this book and probably all the series too.

After the Fire by Will Hill... I first got this book as part of a Zoella Book Club order that I placed over a year ago. Of all the books I bought in the order After the Fire was one that caught my eye. I'm not sure what to expect and I don't know anything about the author or the subject matter of the story but all the same this book is calling my name,

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland...Half the reason that I have got the reading bug again is because I've joined a Facebook book group, which was set up by Louise herself, so I feel like I definitely need to try out her book. This is not the only reason though as I have been desperate to read it since it came out in Hardback. I actually have the hardback version and the paperback version because I needed them both of course.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman...I am anything if a hype follower and that includes a book hype follower. This book has appeared on many instagram pictures, multiple videos and has also been mentioned a lot in the Facebook book group too. Again like most in this list, I don't know a great deal about the plot but for hype's sake, I need to read this book.

As you can see I've got a good deal of reading to do over the next few months. What about yourselves? Is there anything on your list?

Happy Reading Folks!
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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Vegan NOT Cruelty Free

Since I made the decision to be Cruelty Free at the beginning of this year I have become more interested in what ingredients are in my products. I've spent more time looking at the labels and something I have come across that seems to be turning into a bit of a trend.

Recently there has become a new trend to call a beauty product Vegan due to the ingredients. Although there is no problem with this as the ingredients used in the products are not from animal products or animal by-products, which is a really good thing, there is a problem of sorts with this.

That problem is that some of the products that are now vegan are not made by companies that are cruelty free. So although they are not made by using animal products they are in fact still tested on the animals that would have used for the production of the animal product. It's kind of a double standard if you think about it.

This fact has confused me slightly and annoyed me more than anything because if have cut out anything that comes from an animal, surely you won't be willing to put something on your face, hair or body that has been tested on an animal?

 This is why I use brands like Lush and The Body Shop so much. They are both cruelty free brands and also specify whether the products are vegetarian or vegan. It takes all the stress out of checking PLUS you know those products have not gone anywhere near a cute little bunny rabbit.

It just to me seems to be like certain big brands are trying to jump onto a trend bandwagon, which will boost their sales and make them look good, even whilst testing their products on the animals they're saving. But that's just me, what are your thoughts?

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Best Woman I know

Today is International Women's Day and today I thought I'd share some girl power love. Helen Anderson recently uploaded a video called "The Strongest Woman I know" in which she talked about one her friends and why she is the strongest woman she knows. I found this video very awe inspiring and I thought today I'd share with you all the strongest and best woman I know.

Meet Elle...If you don't know who she is, she is one of my closest friends and the owner of the YouTube channel, Blonde Elle. We met online just over two years ago as part of collaboration video that we were both doing separately but together (if that makes sense). Like any other collaboration video, once the videos are uploaded you spend a good chunk of time checking out everyone's videos and from the moment I clicked on Elle's video and her amazing accent came out of my speakers I knew we needed to be friends (cheesey but true).

From then on, we moved our friendship from just commenting on each others videos, to sending each other text messages and whatsapp messages to finally in February 2017 meeting "in real life" and spending almost a week together in Elle's house (which is a good 3 hours travelling away from me).

Elle is one of the best friends to have, she is a great listener and she offers some of the best advice around. She is completely honest and very helpful, for example she never gets fed up of me asking all the vegan based questions I have (and believe me there are many many questions).

As well as being  a great friend she is also an amazing mother to the most darling of girls named Holly and she has definitely created a good egg there. Holly is the perfect little girl with the most amazing personality, which you will have seen snippets of if you've watched any of Elle's vlogs.

On top of being a brilliant friend and an awesome mum, she is also one of the strongest women I know. She is a brilliant women and I'm completely honoured to have her as a friend.

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Too Fat for the Gym?

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I went to the gym for the first time in two years this week. The reason I hadn't been in so long wasn't due to an injury or anything physical. In fact the reason I hadn't been was a mental thing. I thought I was too fat for the gym.

Back story for you all. I am a size 18-20 and I have been this way for a good while. It took me a long time to be happy in the body that I have, for years I hated being the size I am. In fact it wasn't until I began blogging and vlogging that I gained confidence in myself and my body.

Although I love being the size I am, I also like to be fit and exercise. For the past four years, I have received membership to my local leisure centre from my parents and that means that I can go to all the exercise classes that I want (I currently do three classes a week - Zumba, Cardio Combat and Aqua Jogging) and on top of that I have unlimited access to the gym.

When I first got my membership, I got excited by the idea that I could visit the gym because I had always thought that it looked "fun" to go on all the machines. But the moment I walked in...every exciting thought and little moodlet I had about going to the gym was whipped away.

Instead I was greated by thin gorgeous people, jogging on the treadmills and picking up massive weights, all without sweating not even a drop. I tried to carry on and do everything I wanted to, whilst getting more and more red and sweaty. And then I went for a go on the piece of apparatus that scared me the most...the treadmill. The moment I started to walk on it, it began to shake under the weight of me and that made me so self conscious. I started to think everyone was looking me and I quickly finished off my stroll and exited rather quickly.

This experience made me fear I was too fat for the gym, I couldn't compete with these lovely gorgeous fit people. They had abs for days and me well I had rolls for days instead. I stuck to my exercise classes where I felt more at home and that was it...until this week.

This Thursday just gone, something snapped inside me and I suddenly decided to give the gym another go after so long away. I strolled through the door just like before and instead of thinking what I or anyone looked like, I just took my jacket off, put my headphones on loud and strolled over to the bikes to begin my work out. In 10 minutes I cycled 3 miles and I was so proud of myself. After that I did 10 minutes on the rowing machine, in which I reached 2014m. I carried on going round the machines getting more and more confident as I went.

Then the time was nigh...I tried out the treadmill once again. I only planned to go on for a few minutes for a little stoll but something changed my must have been this new confidence. I downloaded a Couch to 5k app onto my phone and I had a go, thinking I'd give up after a few minutes. But I didn't, I completed all 30 minutes of that work out...I ran (jogged) on a treadmill and yes it shuck uncontrollably and made the water bottle look like there was an earthquake in the area but I didn't care. IN FACT, I laughed at it all. It was like a little two fingers up to anyone around who was sprinting a mile a minute.

I may not be the thinnest person at my gym but I have not enjoyed myself exercising so much in such a while. I'm going back next week and I will keep going for it all to see if I can improve my distances on the machines each week and who knows I might be sprinting with the rest of them before you know it.

The long and short of this post is to tell a story. If you have had thoughts this month about trying out the gym, do it... get some good headphones, some great music and do it for you.

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

So you're Cruelty Free...Now What?

uIf you do not know, I have recently made he decision to go cruelty free in regards to my beauty products. This isn't some spur of the moment thing, it is more something I have been thinking about doing, alongside eating less meat too.

At the end of the day, animals like us only have one life and they don't deserve to have products tested on them just so that we can have snazzy new make up products. With this is in mind, I announced on my YouTube channel at the start of this month that I was going to strive to be cruelty free and then suddenly I was hit with a sense of now what?

This first feeling first hit me during my first trip into a Boots since my decision. Before, I would have spent hours looking at all the "new in" stickers and walking out with a bag full of new products. But this time instead of the feeling of joy that I used to have, I was struck with a sense of confusion...not really knowing who was a cruelty free brand and who wasn't.

I sent a quick message to some friends who have been cruelty free for a while to ask for suggestions of which brands were cruelty free in the store ready for next time, picked up the mouthwash I went in for, paid and big bag of new goodies in hand nothing.

Since then I have researching and researching again, constantly googling brand names and then adding cruelty free at the end and the results have been interesting. Some brands I knew even before researching that they were going to be no go areas, the likes of MAC who come under the parent company of Estee Lauder who sell in China and are therefore not cruelty free. Same with L'Oreal, Origins and many more brands too.

If actually saw me researching certain well loved brands, I actually celebrated when I saw that they were cruelty free. I literally wanted to high five those brands for doing the good thing. So going back to the title, I'm going cruelty what now?

Well I've created a list, which you can find here and also on the top banner. The aim of this to share with you all the brands that are doing the good thing but also to help me remember where I should spend my money. If I have missed any out, or if I discover any more then I will continue to update the list. But in the grand scheme of things for the blog and any beauty reviews that I do, there will be no difference but I thought I'd just have a chat about the new cruelty free me.

I look forward to my new journey.

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Was it my Fault?

In January, it is usually all about new beginnings and happy things. For me however, it's also a time to reflect on the past. One thing that has been in the back on my head for the past few days is the lost friendships of my past.

At the age of 27, I have had many a friendship. Some have lasted for years and years, some have appeared over the last few years and have become deep and meaningful very quickly. Other friendships have gone by too quickly and I lost touch with people. When I think of the friendships I have lost, I have began to wonder....Was it my fault?

The two areas of my life where the majority of my friendships were lost were University and the start of my blog, two major parts of my life I think you'll agree. In both situations I gained some really good friendships with people, like minded people with similar areas of knowledge, tastes or hobbies and whilst we were all in the moment all was amazing, I had people who had my back when times were hard and people who reminded me everything was ok even when they weren't. On top of that I had people I could make plans with, to go shopping with and to just shoot the breeze with over a cuppa, a pint or some chips.

However, in both situations as the time the moment ended (university finishing or people stopping blogging themselves) got nearer and hit us, the friendship began to fade. Looking back at all of this a few years later, I've began to feel like it was all my fault. Could I have done more?

Could I have messaged more? Tried to arrange to get together for drinks or a meal? Would things have been different if I had? I know it takes two to tango or in this case keep a friendship going however...was it all down to me that I don't have the same circle of friends that I had five or so years ago? Is it my fault I'm now spending so much of my time alone and on a computer instead of making memories with the people that knew me so well? Or is it just that the universe had those people near me at that time before sending us back to the way we were before it all happened? 

I just don't know.

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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The Cleanser that Changed my Mind

For the most part with beauty, skincare especially if after a few times of using it I don't like it, I decide outright that I don't like it and there it is. It's set in stone and my mind can't be swayed.

One product that was in the there we go don't like it category was Ultrabland cleanser from Lush.

I first tried this cleanser back in about 2014 and I used it for the first times during spring/summer. The mix of pollen in the air and the beeswax in the cleanser gave me a slight allergic reaction near my eye. It is safe to say after that little mishap I backed away from the product, quicker than a quick thing being quick.

However recently in the past year when my exploration deeper into the world of Lush, something in me was urging me to try the product out for a second time. Knowing what could happen if it got too near to my eyes I was very careful and from that feelings had changed.

In case you have never been aquainted with the Ultrabland cleanser from Lush, it is a oily cream cleanser, which emulsifies all make up on the face leaving the skin feeling luscious. It's secret weapon is beeswax, which just makes it feel like it is polishing all the make up off your face. It does leave a little residue on the skin but as I use this product as a first cleanse, the second cleanse which is more of a classic cream cleanser that means the complete package leaves my skin perfectly smooth.

Like I said at the beginning, if after a few times using a product if I don't like it I will not use that product again and will not miss it. Now however, if I was to leave this cleanser alone now, I'd severely miss it and so would my skin. In fact my skin has already started acting out a little bit over the last couple days because I haven't done my normal skincare routine.

It is safe to say that I've done a whole 180 on Ultrabland. Have you ever had a product you completely changed your opinion on?

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Monday, 1 January 2018

Hello 2018...New Year, New Me?

I'm well aware that I am jumping on the blog/vlog bandwagon in creating this post but who cares YOLO and all that. Is that still a thing by the way?

I recently filmed my resolution video  recently, which will be going up soon on my YouTube channel however, I wanted to write down a few things too as a written reminder of a few key points.

I have thoroughly enjoyed restarting my blog from scratch towards the end of 2017. I like that I can look back at the really awkward post from years gone by but without having the whole world being able to see them, which was what was annoying me before.
The fact that I now have a relativly "new" blog again I feel has given me a little bit more freedom to do what I want and not care about anything else. Therefore in this new year, I am going to attempt to continue putting content up for whoever wants to read it. I think I shall keep the mix of life, chat and beauty posts up, which I know is not conforming to a niche like every blogger should but I'm not every blogger I'm me!

I again have enjoyed (for the most part) filming and editing my videos for my three channels. At the current moment I upload twice a week on The Clare Necessities, once a week on The Theatre Necessities and either daily or weekly on The Vlog Necessities depending on which month it is. I love my vlog channel because it helps me to store my memories somewhere of the good things I want to remember in years to come. My "main" channel gives me a space to talk all things beauty and the theatre channel gives me a place to share my undying love of theatre and musicals with whoever listens. I plan to keep up with all three channels in 2018, so please subscribe to all of them to keep up to date.

On top of being ever so present online, I vow that 2018 will be the year that I look after me. I often put everyone and everything in front of myself and that has left me in some very sticky head spaces. I need to remember that although I really enjoy it all, my blog and youtube channels are merely hobbies and I do not gain any monetary help for doing it. If I forget an upload, so be it. If I'm not feeling like tapping the keys and writing a blog post, so be it.
Instead of stressing about those kind of things, I will instead endeavour to make more memories, spend as much time as I can with my good friends and do more of the things I enjoy.
I'd also love to travel again this year. In the past two years, I've been to New Zealand and Norway and when I'm away because I'm exploring new places and taking lots of pictures I am happy in myself and enjoying life. For that reason alone, surely I should travel again?

2018 isn't going to be the year for a new me, because I like the me I am. Instead I want 2018 to be the year for a better me. In 2017, I improved my daily water intake and I felt so much better and my skin appreciated it too. In 2018, I want to continue to drink more water, whilst exercising (and maybe even embracing the gym more) and just improve me and hopefully keep my head space healthy.

Happy New Year everyone.

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