Friday, 31 January 2014

That theatre feeling

I do love the theatre. 

Ever since I was young I can remember enjoying the experience. 

When little it was all about dressing up smart and going to see pantomimes, then childhood stories and my favourite books being played out on stage (BFG always sticks for some reason).

Then off to see more serious plays for school and college viewing. 

After, my love for musicals developed, all the costumes, songs and feel good factor.

Leading into more moving tales and thought provoking pieces. 

Everything stemmed from there and combined in a varied mix of it all - cheesy musicals from films and books I'd loved, tear jerking shows which set my emotions alight, watching famous stars tread the boards, becoming more cultured with all talking, no interval plays, being bewitched by ballet and opinionated over opera. 

I love it all.

It's now so much more accessible for all too. The one thing I do miss about theatre however is the glamour.

Not, the glamour of the stars and stage. That's of course still there. It's the audience that's lost its sparkle.

People used to dress up to go see a show. Now jeans are more often than not the outfit of choice. 

Tonight I went to see a play called The Weir. I got to go somewhat out of the blue as a friend at work could no longer go and sold me her tickets. 

So off I went with my Mum. We enjoyed a locely Italian meal washed down with red wine and then headed to see what lay in store for us for our £10 seats.

Ah meal, drinks and theatre is such a good combo!

Anyway I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. After my Michael Grandage £10 balcony experiences throughout last year at the Noël Coward theatre I'd warned my Mum how high and far the tickets may lead us.

However on finding our seats I was pleasantly surprised. Pretty good for what are commonly termed the 'nosebleed seats'. 

As for the show it lasted around 1 hour and 45 minutes with no interval.

From rough snippets I'd heard I'd got it in my head that it was going to be somewhat of a ghost tale and may spook us out.

There were some moments that got my skin tingling and my eyes watering (some weird thing I seem to get if I'm getting a bit scared by supernatural/frightening films/stories).

However this wasn't a scary story show, this was about relationships, emotions and humour. 

Set in an Irish pub, it reminded me of elements of the Cripple of Inishmaan, which also had a lovely feel to it and great humour. 

Although the show wasn't quite what I was expecting, I did enjoy it. It offered something different and kept me gripped and hooked on the characters in front of me.

Well known names feature, but that wasn't what it was about, it was the well developed characters who you couldn't help but love. 

Yet again I enjoyed another theatre experience and now it's got me wondering what can I go see next?? 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Going out or staying in?

I've been trying to arrange a girls night with some friends as I realised it's been a while since we all got together. 

Sitting here tonight realising I'm at home chilling again after doing my workout DVD, a realisation has hit me.

I can't remember the last time I had a big night out.

I've always loved going for a night out, getting dressed up, having a good drink and dancing away.

In all honesty I can't remember the last time I had one of those nights.

More recently evenings 'out' tend to involve nights round people's houses, or in my flat, catching up and enjoying food or drink indoors.

When we do go out with friends it's typically for a meal and a few drinks. Not heavy nights.

If me and my man go out again it tends to be to eat out or go watch a film.

Now I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but it's only registered with me today that I used to go on nights 'out out' with friends and also heavy drinking sessions with work. Both of which seem to have really been lacking over the last few months.

But do you know what? I really don't mind. Maybe it is because my head is focused on selling the flat and buying a house. Or maybe I'm just finally growing up and at 31 my priorities are changing? 

Tomorrow night I'm off to the theatre with my Mum to see a play as a friend at work couldn't go as planned so sold me her 2 tickets.

No it's not clubbing, it's not 'getting hammered' and I'm not getting super dressed up as I'll be going straight from work. But I'm really looking forward to it.

I really enjoy the theatre and last year realised I like plays, not just musicals. 

Maybe it's not a case of growing up, maybe it's just a change in tastes and interests? 

Once I finally go on that girls night I'll let you know! 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Slowly but surely

Sitting on the sofa I've got the guilts a bit this evening. I'm watching trashy reality TV - the Celebrity Big Brother final (the shame!) 

In front of me is the following view:

Yes. A huge pile of cardboard boxes. My lovely fiancé went and got these for me so I can pack up all the 'stuff' I've accumulated after nearly 7 years in my flat.

I started the 'declutter' and sort out last Saturday and since? Erm, well...not a lot.

I'm so excited to move out and buy a house with my man, but I am being so lazy about the steps beforehand to get to that point.

I need to sort it out!

I also kept eating bad food and lazing about. 

However, last night I started back on the 30 Day Shred and I've been eating healthily the last two days.

To try and stay on track I've started using the MyFitnessPal App again, just to help encourage me to watch more closely what I'm eating. I typically keep a food diary and use a very old Weight Watchers points system to help guide my intake. For now I think calorie counting is needed though. 

Tonight I finished work a bit late and I was pretty sleepy when I got home. I knew I couldn't give up already though and so tonight I did my workout DVD again.

It's frightening how quickly your fitness drops. I feel such a weakling at the moment. Just doing the moves with my super light hand weights I can feel my arms, shoulders and thighs aching. And even doing squats my glutes were starting to hurt.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning at not being too much in pain. Particularly that my bad back hadn't come back! 

Part way through I was regretting starting the workout. But as circuit 3 came around I knew I was nearly done and so it wasn't going to be hard as I expected.

I think tomorrow however I will be finding myself with a few tight muscles!

So although I feel rubbish I've not made more progress with my flat sort out and some other points on my To Do list at home, I'm kind of pleased with myself for forcing myself to get back on track with my fitness and diet. 

Slowly but surely I'll get there! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Back to basics

Ahhhh it feels so so good to do some exercise. 

After recently injurjng my back I've been a little fed up, wanting to exercise and get active but nervous and mindful of doing any further harm to my back. After all I still don't 100% know what caused the problem and I've never suffered from back issues before.

I realise I'm a tad late to the party here. January is all about New Year's Resolutions and gyms across the country are jam packed at the start of the year.

However, this time around I've been slow to stick to a diet and have found myself finding it increasingly hard to get motivated and back on track. I seem to keep getting ill (coughs, colds, injections) and hurting my back made being able to exercise even harder! 

Recently I was asked my opinion on the 30 Day Shred, as those of you who are avid readers of this blog and people who follow me on Twitter will know I've had a go at this workout numerous times. You could say I got somewhat obsessed with it!

In fact the last time I fully completed the whole workout and did 10 days on each level I had some pretty impressive results. 

At present I feel somewhat hypocritical giving advice on it given I've been eating like a pig and moving at the rate of a sloth.

So when I'm feeling sluggish, am not sure of my current fitness levels and am wanting to dip my toe into the pool of exercise where else would I turn? 

Back to good old Jillian of course.

I'm still to properly give my other Ms Michaels' purchases a go, but I find 'the shred' always a good starting point.

Therefore this evening I walked part the way home from the station (10 minutes so nothing too strenuous!) and decided enough of the excuses tonight I'd try and climb back on the fitness wagon.

I have to say I really enjoyed it. I can feel how unfit I am (and extremely stiff from lack of movement of late), but it wasn't that hard and it just felt so good to be moving!

Whether I'll follow the full 30 day in a row plan across the three levels we shall see. I doubt I'll be able to complete the workout on Friday for instance and also I'm keen to try and get back into some old good habits - running, spinning and maybe even swimming if I can drag my fiancé there! 

Alike my attempts to get started on decluttering my flat ready for valuation, I feel slowly but surely, a little bit at a time is the right approach to take for now. 

I've really been feeling down about my weight having creeped back up and my fitness dropping down. I don't like my clothes feeling tight and feeling self conscious of my appearance again so enough is enough I am going to try and battle the bulge by going back to basics. 

Jillian bring it on!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Why it's different if us girls do it...

My fiancé sat in bed and read my post last night (in a very mocking voice I may add) and then turned to me and immediately suggested another.

So here I am about to tell you all about boys and girls and why we need two sets of rules. 

Recently I saw a strip show, The Dreamboys no less. It was at my local theatre and we were a good few rows back I can assure you.

I'd seen the tickets advertised last year and decided it'd be a funny thing to do with my Mum, one of my best friends and her Mum. 

This was the second time I'd been to a strip show (the other being Adonis Cabaret in London for my friend's Hen Do). 

Both times I had a real laugh and a good giggle, but men have questioned how I'd feel if it was my man going to see female strippers.

My answer? It's different.

I also mentioned yesterday how I'm prone to a bit of banter with the opposite sex and maybe a dance when on a night out. Again, how would I feel if it was my partner doing that when on a lads night?

It's different.

We've often found random photos on our cameras in the past of group pictures or images of us pulling funny faces next to a complete stranger (male) from a night out.

What if I saw photos of my loved one in similar poses? 

It's different.

Sensing a bit of a pattern here? 

So why is it different for men and women? 

In my opinion females tend to be about having laughs or wearing new outfits on a night out. It is men who approach women.

When I've gone to see strippers they've had a comedy element. To me it's completely different to men shoving notes in a girl's underwear and drooling with their mates in seedy joints with comments like 'look at the t**s on that!' 

As a girl I know what men are like in a bar and club they are constantly on the lookout. It is not in my experience girls who go up to them. So I would conclude then that if your man is with a girl in a club or photo chances are he's gone up to her.

Yes I know this is a generalisation and I'm only going on me and my friends and what we've experienced. 

A girl goes to a strip 'show' not a club and giggles throughout. A girl goes to a club and has to shove away men who try and join their group and won't take the hint. A girl gets drunk and thinks she can dance like Rihanna and likes taking silly selfies, not really aware most of the time who's tried to 'photobomb' their image.

Of course as with my last blog there are some exceptions to the rule.

Men you disagree? You go on stag weekends and admire the architecture? You never approach girls in clubs? 

As I sit here and shake my head from side to side, tutting, I have one answer for you. Have you not learnt yet? Girls are always right! 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Since when did relationships mean so little?

Tonight I tuned into Celebrity Big Brother.

Yes my TV choice is poor and trashy, I'm the first to admit that. I'll also 'fess up the reason I was so keen to watch it on +1 was because I'd heard a former housemate was coming back in to stir up trouble surrounding 'love rat' Lee Ryan (former member of boyband Blue).

Getting ready to wind down and head to bed this Sunday evening before work tomorrow I'm fuming at the attitude and behaviour of this childish 'player' who's messed non stop with the heads and hearts (and goodness knows what else!) of two of the reality show's female participants.

Whilst I am fully aware this is all fun and games for the cameras and to set up the headlines for their gossip and celebrity magazine features, Mr Ryan's antics got me thinking about a topic I've been meaning to blog about for a while.

Relationships. And in particular this seemingly increasingly common attitude to not taking them seriously. 

Throughout my life and friendship groups I've seen many experiences of people cheating, breaking up and things not being as well as they seemed on the surface. 

However whether it's been cheating, break ups or divorce, with people I know or those I've simply heard about, one common theme seems to run true. 

Relationships, moreso loyalty just does not seem to count for much anymore.

When did things change and it became so commonplace to walk away from a long term relationship without trying? 

Who prompted this behaviour of as soon as you've taken the next step (marriage, moving in together) one partner is tempted elsewhere? 

I've lost count of the number of females who have relayed tales of nights out being approached by men in relationships (most commonly married). 

Or people who seem to stay faithful for years of courtship and then do the dirty not long after tying the knot.

Me and my partner have always had similar views on this topic thankfully.

However, since getting engaged myself just over a month ago it hits home even harder for me now.

I just cannot imagine making that commitment (and why would you) to someone and not taking it seriously.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no angel and I've done my fair share of behaving badly, but I was very young and foolish and having grown up and being in what I realised were actual 'proper' relationships I've known I'd never ever do those things again.

Plus those of you who have ever been cheated on you'll know how it feels and personally I couldn't do that to another human after being through it myself. 

And I'm not trying to say us ladies are saints, oh no I know plenty of tales from both sides of the gender fence and ages too. 

I may sound extremely old fashioned and of course I don't want us to go back to a time when people were ashamed and frightened and stayed in abusive and unhappy relationships as a result. That is no good.

But in typical boy meets girl (or of course even boy meets boy) situations what's wrong with trying to stick at it and stay strong, trying to work through things together? 

Or even those who don't have issues to get through, why isn't one person enough? Why get yourself into these committed situations if you don't want to/can't commit? 

If you like to sleep around or have a wandering eye don't set up home with someone in the first place! 

And as for people with children that 'play away from home' that is something I just can't even talk about. 

I've always been a natural flirt when I'm out and my boyfriend is well aware, I think banter with the opposite sex is normal and harmless. In fact there is nothing wrong with appreciating that someone is attractive. But you don't act on it. 

Recently I went to a club which was one of my favourites. I love going out drinking and having a good dance (especially if there's garage involved!) I always remember commenting positively to the girls before on the types of men who go there. 

This was my first time back there since I got engaged. The music was okay and I had fun with friends, but I found all I wanted to do was stand/dance with my man and kept checking my ring sparkling away! 

One of the things I love about being engaged is feeling I really belong to someone (not in a caveman-esque way). Knowing someone cares about me that they want to spend the rest of their life with me.

I believe and hope that is what they mean by this gesture as well. 

When I sit and look at that ring on my finger I think of the person who gave it to me. I think of the future ahead. I think of the times we've been through. I don't for one second panic I'm now trapped and stuck with one person forever. I don't long for my hen night so I can plan one last evening to be a bit naughty. 

I just am so thankful it's finally my turn and I've found a soulmate. 

How people can take that sort of commitment with a pinch of salt and throw it away or treat it like it's nothing I will never know. 

Everybody has different goals and thoughts in life, but for me this is something that can't change over time.

You find love, you treat it with the respect it deserves and you sure as hell don't waste it. 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Let the decluttering begin!

Today's the day. No excuses.

My fitness and weight may be a complete joke right now (thanks to diet difficulties in January and being ill/hurting my back), but there is one thing I can make progress on.

This year my boyfriend and I, or should I say fiancé (sorry the novelty has not worn off yet!) are looking to buy our first property together.

Exciting times ahead right??

Erm, when we've moved in somewhere ask me again.

Right now my only thoughts have been panic and worry.

What's happened to my plan not to worry this year? I know it's not great so far. I've been doing it okay at work so far though, so slowly but surely.

Anyways I already went through the whole saving, mortgage, surveys, property viewing process back in May 2007, when I brought my flat.

This time around is different - I'm buying with somebody else, moreso I've got somewhere to sell! 

Now four weeks into January what has been done to proceed with our plans? 

Er, I've brought some project books to make lots of plans and notes. Apart from that the only thing I've done is get overwhelmed.

Finally today it's time to admit enough is enough. It's going to take a while, but I'm  actually going to begin sorting my flat. Going through each room and de-cluttering, whether that's selling things, throwing them out or general tidying.

One question that will come up again and again I can already tell is how has one person accumulated so much 'stuff' in a one bedroom flat? 

Wish me luck!  

Friday, 24 January 2014

Bookworm is back

I was talking to someone about how I haven't blogged in ages and decided as I finished my latest read on my lunchbreak I'd use my train journey tonight to blog instead.

So hello!

And sorry (again!) for the silence. 

My 2013 ended very happily (blog to follow!) and my 2014 is going to be rather hectic (to be continued) so I've been a bit tied up.

One thing I have had time for, on lunchbreaks, commuting and before going to sleep, is reading.

Yes I'm still an avid reader and so far this year I've completed four books.

Using one of my Christmas presents I downloaded quite a few books to my Kindle which I've had my eye on. So far this year my literary experience has been shaped by others though.

Three books from my Mum (yes I know how this always turns out) and one from a work colleague.

Two were typical chick lit trash easy reads. One was randomly a historical Jamaican fable from the 20s and the other a dark and serious award winning novel.

The Hidden Cottage
The White Witch of Rosehall
Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop

What a mix indeed.

And I'm sure you can tell what category each of them fits into by their title! 

I gave my Mum a Kindle as her main Christmas present so there'll be no more physical book swapping in the future anymore.

Though I'm sure there will be a couple she got as other festive gifts which will be heading my way at some point soon - not that I'm complaining.

I've enjoyed all four of my 2014 reads so far, each in their own way have offered me escape from reality (not that I want to escape real life right now at all!) 

Last year I managed to read a total of 35 books according to GoodReads, but to be fair I am pretty religious using the site/app so it's probably pretty accurate. Seems so few for someone who enjoys reading so much though?

I'm not sure what the next book will be but it'll definitely be of the e-read variety. I've not used my Kindle in so long I'm sure it'll take me a while to get used to it again, though I shan't miss the pain of lugging a big book and holding it/turning the pages admittedly.

Every time I read a book I had been blogging a review on here, but I grew conscious the blog was going too far in that direction and potentially I was boring people. If I do still have any loyal followers do let me know what you think!

Or in fact any other ideas for posts you'd like to see. Chances are using my current life and influences you'll be soon be seeing views and experiences on engagements, houses, weddings and the like. Don't say you weren't warned!