Thursday, 29 May 2014

Haworth 1940's weekend

Nestled in the heart of Bronte Country in West Yorkshire is a small village named Haworth. It is known the world over for it's connection to The Bronte Sisters, and its railway has been used as a backdrop to many programmes and films, most notably The Railway Children.

Once a year it hosts a special 1940's weekend. Locals and visitors all dress up in 1940's clothes and enjoy a wide range of nostalgic events. This year was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and people didn't fail to make an impression.

The streets were full of army cadets, home guards, RAF pilots and bombers, along with land girls and pin up girls with curls and furs. There were evacuees and spivs along with pinstripe suited gangsters.

The streets were alive with parades and music, the shops and bars came alive with everybody complementing each other and stopping to pose for photographs for the tourists and visitors.

There was plenty to see and do from browsing the pop up stalls selling memorabilia, to taking afternoon tea and maybe having a jig at one of the tea dances. There were various displays and parades throughout the weekend.

Although I was there, I wasn't fully able to enjoy the whole experience because I was there for a joint hen and stag party with the sole aim of getting everybody very tipsy, however a friend was able to take some lovely photographs and I have his permission to share them with you on my blog.

*Photographs courtesy of Shaun White

Friday, 23 May 2014

Annie Get Your Gun!

Those lovely people at invited me to a night out at the Manchester Opera House to see the new production of Irving Berlin's - Annie Get Your Gun, starring Jason Donovan as Frank Butler, Emma Williams as Annie Oakley and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill!

The story revolves around the legendary Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and two sharp shooters, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley, fighting against each other to be the top shooter and against their love for one and other.

Filled with all of the classic songs, There's No Business Like Show Business, Anything You Can Do, The Girl That I Marry, You Can't Get A Man With A Gun, and many more.

I last saw Jason Donovan in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat many years ago and thought he was very good, sadly Jason's voice wasn't the strongest in this production and at times he was drowned out with the ensemble. Emma Williams can certainly hold a note as demonstrated in Anything You Can Do, you could hear the audience gasp for air as she continued to sing " any note you can sing, I can sing longer" and she certainly could sing it longer!

I thought Norman Pace was virtually unrecognisable as Buffalo Bill with his beard, and should have had a little more stage presence but alas the musical isn't really about him is it?!

The songs were certainly foot tapping and surprisingly I knew a lot more than I realised, however I did think There's No Business Like Show Business was slightly overused, it was used in the opening number, then a couple of reprisals in the first half, then again in the second, before using it in the finishing song so much so that I woke up singing it the next morning.

The main stage layout is of the circus tent with the orchestra sitting on stage, the different acts of the musical are announced along with the location and then it's all hands on deck as the layout is changed to accommodate the location. Lighting and boxes are used to depict the train scene and the boat scene, boxes are stacked to depict the hotel's doorway and Annie Oakley's dressing room all whilst the circus tent is in the background.

Given that the show is in it's first week, I have to say I did quite enjoy it, but it wouldn't have been something I would have voluntarily paid to watch given that the tickets ranged up to £45.

*I was invited to see the show for free, I was not asked to write a review but have done so of my own free will.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Review: Nair™ Argan Oil Shower Power Cream

Having suffered from psoriasis for many years, I find shaving a painful experience with cuts and nicks all the time on my legs, when I heard Nair Argan Oil Shower Power Cream was going to be the latest BzzAgent Campaign I jumped on board, eager to try it out.

Photo courtesy of Bzz Agent

I have tried hair removal creams in the past but they made my skin sore and irritated, but Nair Argan Oil Shower Power Cream was different. It was a lot kinder to my skin.

I did think it was quite smelly and messy to apply. The instructions said to spread a thick layer over the skin using the spatula, but all it did was to move the cream around my legs, so I ditched the spatula in favour of rubber gloves and found it far easier to apply by hand.

The spatula left uncovered patches!

The product says it can be used in the shower but prolonged exposure to water should be avoided as it will wash the cream off. Hmm how to shower without getting wet, well I struggled, I tried to shower standing at an angle but the cream still started to wash off so I decided to jump out and wait a bit longer. The cream can be left on for up to 10 minutes before it needs to be removed.

The spatula did do its job at removing the cream after the allocated time, but although the cream comes off the skin easy I did find that it wasn't easy to then wash it off the spatula and the cream just landed in blobs in my bath. It also didn't wash down the plughole easily, so I had to make sure I thoroughly cleaned the bath before the next person used it!,

But on the plus side, thanks to the Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil and Cocoa Butter, my skin felt like it had undergone an intensive moisturising treatment, they were smooth and soft, something that my legs have never been in my life! I enjoyed about 3-4 days fuzz free days before I noticed the hair was regrowing.

Photo courtesy of  Bzz Agent

I would probably use it again when I need nice cut free legs, ie for a wedding or holiday but wouldn't use on a regular basis as it's too time consuming and such a faff to use.

Disclaimer - I was sent a full size sample of  Nair Argan Oil Shower Power Cream to try out in return for a review. All words and opinions are my own, professional photos are courtesy of BzzAgent and have been credited where appropriate.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 19th May 2014

Good evening everybody, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and managed to make the most of the beautiful weather we've all been having.

I was out celebrating a friend's last weekend of freedom before she gets married on Saturday, been a long time since I've had a 'proper' night out and thinking about it I think it was actually my first all day pub crawl! Thankfully though I didn't appear to drink too much because I woke up on Sunday with a clear head.
Anyway - you wait all year for a wedding and two come along on the same blooming day! My friend and my cousin are both getting married on Saturday, at the same time but in two completely different venues. I've got to try and juggle the night do's so that I can celebrate with both of them.

Anyway back to the post, and hopefully back to some sort of normality this week. I have no plans to be admitted into hospital, there are no airport runs, and no 'work related meals out'.

So what shall we be enjoying this week?

Monday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Tuesday - beef stroganoff
Wednesday - fish fingers and mash
Thursday - child free night - anything goes
Friday - Fakeaway - either Chinese or Thai ( will be chicken something or other )
Saturday - cousins wedding day, 3 course meal plus possible buffet at night.
Sunday - roast dinner with all the trimmings

As usual this post is linked up with Mrs M's Meal Planning linky, click below for some great food inspiration.

Hug Your Cat Day*

So apparently there is a Hug Your Cat Day, where you must post a selfie of you hugging your cat.

*There is some confliction over the actual day whether it is today ( 19th May ) or the end of the month ( 31st May )

Either way I think it makes for a great photo, so here is me, hugging Leo!

At least Leo knew where to look!!

So come on people share your photos of you hugging your cat (or any other animal for that matter !! )

Monday, 12 May 2014

What a turbulent week!

So here it is Monday and I should be writing my usual Meal Planing post, but not today, food is the last thing on my mind at the moment.

I've just come out of hospital after being in there for nearly a week.

I went in on Tuesday to have a stent removed from my bile duct through a procedure called an ERCP ( Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography ) basically it's a combination of an endoscope and an x-ray. The hospital put an oxygen tube up your nose, put the stats monitor on your finger and then put a mouth guard in, before numbing the back of your throat and sedating you so that shouldn't feel any discomfort. Ha!, I'm tolerable to sedation because of the many painkillers and other tablets I was on after my pancreatitis, so it wore off very quickly and I was indeed able to feel everything! On the plus side I was allowed out of bed quicker and able to walk around ( once the oxygen tube had been removed from up my nose)

The procedure went OK as far as the stent was removed, unfortunately I contracted an infection and turned jaundice. I woke up on Thursday looking more like Homer Simpson than Mrs Homer! The hospital lights do a good job of covering the yellowness up, so here's a representative picture to give you an idea of what I looked like!

They call me Mellow Yellow!

Luckily a weekends worth of antibiotics has done the trick and changed me back to a pink colour, unfortunately my appetite has gone out of the window, so I'm going to have to take each day as it comes this week and just eat what I fancy.

Hope you all had a better weekend than me!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Psoriasis treatment - Days 5 - 7

Only been to the hospital three times this week so I've had two light treatment sessions and two ointment sessions. Because I hadn't been since last Thursday for the ointment, I've had to drop down to 0.5% for 15 minutes on Wednesday and 0.5% for 30 minutes on Thursday.

Due to other hospital appointments it's going to be a full week before I have another session, so I'm hoping to keep on top of it at home over the bank holiday weekend. Hopefully my light treatment will carry on, without having to drop down on that too!

Wednesday I was on 0.22 J/cm2 and today I'm p to 0.26 J/cm2 - means nothing to me, and to be honest I'm not sure the nurses could explain what it really means - all I know is the higher the J/cm2 goes - the hotter it gets!

It pings when I'm cooked!

Still look weird in these - don't think
I'll be starting a new fashion craze any time soon!
But I do like slobbing around in the pyjamas!

Today I had a pleasant surprise whilst sitting in the treatment room, and that was other female company. I'm always outnumbered by men and did wonder if the statistics that say psoriasis affects men and women equally was slightly off. So today the woman outnumbered the men by three to one, poor chap didn't know what he'd let himself in for having to listen to us three chatting about girly things!

Just hope my future appointments coincide with them in the future, it's nice to be able to chat to someone to pass the time.

Psoriasis treatment - Days 3 & 4

Ok, so I am officially burnt from the ointment that was put on my back on Tuesday, upon closer inspection I think it's because it was on an area of my back that I cannot reach ( I have short arms and can only reach so far!! ) so I have to stick to the same strength dithranol and avoid putting it on my back. This nearly put a spanner in the works for today, because today was the start of the UVB treatment, but as the redness had gone down I was given the green light - and a nice pair of goggles!!

Can't see a thing!

Yes I know I look weird, I couldn't put the goggles on properly and see to take a photo at the same time. They are a lot darker than regular sunbed goggles because these machines are stronger than regular sunbeds.

The plan is to increase the joules strength by 10% each time, the duration doesn't change much, I'll be on between 30 & 60 seconds, depending on how hot the tubes are - these machines are quite clever like that, it's all computerised, all I do is a press a button to say "yes that's my name" open the door, close the door and stand there like a roast dinner waiting to cook!

I get the weekend off so I'm going to make the most of a lie in!