theatre

This week is London Theatre Week!

Aside from raising awareness for the absolute talent that the West End has to offer, it’s also a great opportunity to to take advantage of some great deals, with TodayTix – the place to book for the best plays and musicals – with tickets from just £15, £25 and £35!

Today is the last day to take advantage of the above prices!

Which theatre shows do I recommend?

The Lion King

Disney’s best loved and most famous classic is an unforgettable experience on stage.

Book now

The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Matilda

The multi-award winning West End depiction Roald Dahl’s beloved adorable, smart kid with a big imagination and magical powers. How will she navigate around her awful parents and even more awful headteacher?

There are special effects used in this show that will blow your mind!

Book now

Matilda, Cambridge Theatre

Mary Poppins

Cameron Mackintosh has done PL Tavers (writer) and Disney (film) proud with his newest depiction of the ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious‘ children’s classic!

Book now

Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre

Mamma Mia

Where can you go to experience the greatest renditions of ABBA? Here.

Spend your ‘Money, Money, Money‘ on this smash-hit musical, ‘Honey‘! It promises to be a ‘Super Trouper‘ night!

You can expect to boogie and swap the London cold for an island for a couple of hours for an all-singing, all-dancing experience.

Book now

Mamma Mia, Novello Theatre

Les Miserables

‘I Dreamed A Dream‘ of you booking tickets for this absolutely sensation work of performing arts! Honestly, as far as stage shows go, this has to be the most memorable (probably more-so than Lion King in my opinion).

It’s a heart-wrenching masterpiece that cannot be missed! Bring a box of Kleenex, you’ll need it and prepare to forget you’re in a theatre!

Book now

Les Miserables, Sondheim Theatre

Phantom of the Opera

“Now in its 34th glorious year, The Phantom of the Opera continues to mesmerise and entrance audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London and around the world.” – Official website

Andrew Lloyd Webber never disappoints – and no, the Phantom of the Opera ISN’T dead!

Book now

The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre

The Book of Mormon

“‘The Book of Mormon’ is wickedly funny, risqué and inappropriate in almost every way, the music is punchy and fun but it’s also sassy and sweet – everything a musical should be!” – Manchester Evening News

The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre London

Book now

Wicked

Two witches, one worse than the other… What’s not to book for?

Defy gravity by booking tickets to this and be spellbound! Join them on the untold story of Oz before it’s too late…

Book now

Wicked!, Apollo Victoria Theatre

What about other theatre shows?

For the full list of stage shows, click here.

TodayTix is great because it could be used to book tickets for shows all over the world, not just in the UK – for London’s West End. You can enter draws to win FREE tickets every day, and experience great discounts on all the newest and best-loved shows that are around!

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love is blind

‘Love Is Blind’ is a new American dating series that is trending on Netflix. What is it? Well, it’s basically a hybrid of Married At First Sight, 90 Day Fiancée and The Circle… It’s a social experiment that checks if love really is blind.

Tell me more about ‘Love is Blind’

Singletons are put in a house (women in one apartment, men in the other) but date/speak to each other through walls in a pod, until they propose to each other… Only after the couples are engaged, do they see each other for the first time before going on holiday to Mexico. Their weddings will happen at the end of the series, after passing the family and friendships test (if they stay together).

Although ‘Love is Blind’ is a crazy concept, I can kind of see how things can get intense and deep so quickly. The pods, being in that type of environment, away from the real world 24 hours a day for like 8 days… It’s bound to get intense too quickly. It’s still surreal to watch, though.

It’s addictive for sure, so thankfully Netflix has been rolling out it out in nuggets, which is helpful for my social-life.

Only ten episodes have streamed so far, followed by the final five coming next week…

Trailer for Love Is Blind, Netflix

Want to know my thoughts on ‘Love is Blind’?

My favourite couple? Lauren and Cameron. They seem to have a soul connection that’s pretty intense emotionally.

Jessica & Mark? Well, they seem to only be together because Barnett rejected Jessica for Amber – even though he was in a love-square with Jess, LJ and Amber. Mark’s feelings for Jess are real, but it’s clear she’s still hung up on getting burned by Barnett (Matt).

LJ is a legend who deserved a lot better. As the series progresses, Jess seems still hung up on Barnett, even though she’s with Mark. They [Mark & Jess] didn’t last. He fought harder than she did, and tried more than she did. Mark deserved better. They initially went their separate ways on episode four, but are somehow clawing their way at it still because Mark doesn’t want to give up on it.

Barnett & Amber? I wasn’t a fan of Barnett at the beginning, but Amber seems to be good for him. He’s quite cheeky and he can be seen as a little bit of a douche if you don’t understand his personality. They seem to be the most sexual of all couples (bar Giannina who was keeping a count of how many days she’d been celibate for)!

Kelly & Kenny = too cute. Such a laidback couple, five episodes in. They seem pretty genuine. Also, apparently, Kenny is great at kissing. Kelly made sure to tell us all, a billion times! I love, love! (Also – these two were the only ones who focused more on communication and their emotional connection than sex, which is amazing).

Diamond & Carlton’s relationship was going swimmingly until Carlton dropped a bombshell that he was bisexual, which shouldn’t be a big deal. But, I suppose, he should’ve been honest from the get go – before they got engaged.

Secrets are never a great sign of a relationship. I feel like he was only on the show for the holiday, because the way he spoke to Diamond at the pool in Mexico was very disrespectful.

Damien & Giannina: ADORABLE! They were both bullied growing up, Giannina especially, which makes her seem a bit timid and low in confidence, but Damien helps raise it. He makes her see herself for what she is: a stunning human being. She also helped him with his problems too, a real team!

love is blind

My final say on ‘Love is Blind’

I definitely recommend that you tune in if you love shows like The Bachelor and Love Island.

Love is beautiful. When it’s right and pure, it’s unfailing and unwavering. Kudos to them for trying this experiment and I hope it works for them. We will see what comes out of it, next week and so on…

Do I agree that ‘Lice is Blind’? I’m sure I’ll be finding out soon enough.

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little women

Happy Galentine’s Day! I’m throwing it back to 2019 a little…

Little Women has to be the best film I’ve watched since A Star Is Born.

I have yet to read the best-selling, one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old literature written by Louisa May Alcott – but the film made me buy it.

Little Women, trailer

Tell me more about ‘Little Women’

Director, Greta Gerwig, did Louisa May Alcott and the March family proud by bringing the book to life in the most tasteful and respectful way.

According to those who read the book before watching the film, Greta actually included most of dialogue from the book – unlike most literature adaptations.

Little Women follows a group of sisters from the March family who grew up in living in Concord, Mass, during and after the Civil War – when women’s purpose in life was limited to marriage and beginning a family. However, the March sisters (like all women) had talents that went further than just being a wife or mother… They wanted to be dancers, artists, writers…

What do others say about ‘Little Women’?

The New York Times writes: “The foursome varies by temperament and talent, inviting a mix-and-match game of identification and infatuation. The oldest, Meg (Emma Watson) is theatrical and responsible; Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is musical and sweet. The youngest sister, Amy (Florence Pugh), and Jo are a painter and a writer who are frequently at odds. Before romance, tragedy and the ordinary pains of growing up complicate matters, they are an inseparable if not always harmonious troupe. Jo writes the plays that the rest of them perform for an audience that includes various toys, their mother (Laura Dern) and Hannah (Jayne Houdyshell), the housekeeper.”

I’m sure that everyone will agree with me when I say that Saoirse Ronan was the perfect candidate to play the role of Jo, and played it very well!

To be honest, the chemistry between all four sisters is so strong and pure that it felt as though we were watching a real family. The right actresses were selected for the right roles, that’s for sure!

If you’ve yet to watch this movie but are planning to, be warned: it’s a real tearjerker. It’s the right mix of twists: joy, heartache and humour.

My verdict: 4*

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lourdes
Norte Dame Grotto at Lourdes, France

Welcome to my first ever travel post! Today, I will be reviewing one of the most peaceful and beautiful holiday destinations I have ever been to…

Last year was the first time I visited France (and Lourdes in particular). I loved it so much that I went three times, last year alone!

(My excuse – not that I need any: I’m strengthening my faith, Lourdes is quite close to London by plane, and the flight tickets aren’t very pricy)

I know what you’re thinking: “isn’t Lourdes just for Catholics and Christians?” The answer is ‘no’. You don’t need to be religious enjoy the sights…

The are some impeccable views in Lourdes, and Pic du Jer’s mountain can be seen from every part!

If you’re looking for some great excursions that don’t involve a trip to the extremely beautiful Grotto, below are a few ideas…

Funicular – Pic du Jer in Lourdes

Sorry for the bad quality video of my journey in the funicular… In it, I hope you can make out the great views!

The Funicular will take you to the top of the Pic du Jer.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2d_No3EKiV4

You might be pleased to know that I will be investing in a Canon camera, which will enable me to record some brilliant vlogs of my upcoming trips (not just in Lourdes).

Boat cruise in Lourdes

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Boat cruise, Lourdes

Another excursion I enjoyed was a boat cruise. A friend of mine has a boat, so he took us for a ride. It was beautiful! Luckily, we chose a great day to go, the weather was stunning and the views were spectacular.

Strolls / Hikes in Lourdes

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Evening strolls around the town and Grotto, Lourdes

Late evenings are very quiet in Lourdes, so – why not take a stroll (or a hike up the mountain) around the grotto?

It’s a great place to be to clear your head – getting some peace and quiet, which is what holidays are all about…

If you’re a stroller/hiker by nature, why not try morning/afternoon ones?

Chateau Fort in Lourdes

There’s a 1000 year-old Chateaux Fort close by too, just a short hike up a hill… The views from up there are extraordinary!

What’s inside the castle? Musée Pyrénéen, a museum showcasing both regional artifacts and art.

If historic architecture is not your thing, there is a shopping district a quick bus ride away… (I didn’t take any photos of this, whoops!)

Story of Lourdes

Okay, now- let’s discuss the story of Lourdes, and why I went there specifically…

Lourdes is the town where Bernadette Soubirous lived with her family. The Soubirous‘ were a poor, Catholic family that made their money from running a flour-mill. As a teenager, Bernadette would go (to what’s now the Grotto) with friends…

During one of her trips, Bernadette experienced her first apparition of Virgin Mary.

Obviously, she was quite shocked and couldn’t believe what she was seeing, so Virgin Mary came back a few times afterwards – proving to her that it was real.

Each time Virgin Mary visited Bernadette, she told her secrets about the town, and gave her insight into future – along with a few tasks. One of the tasks was to “dig until you find a fresh water spring, and drink from it”.

Bernadette didn’t think it was possible to find a water spring, as there was nothing but mud and concrete, but her faith and belief made her do it. After she kept digging and sure enough water started to flow- not just any water, Holy water (which may not have been blessed by the priest – who didn’t believe Bernadette’s apparitions – but by Virgin Mary herself).

After word got around of Bernadette’s apparitions, she fled to a convent in another part of France, where she later died in her early 30s.

Miraculously, her body has yet to decompose all these years later, and is being showcased in a museum. Apparently, all the staff have done is add a thin layer of wax on her hands and face, everything else is God’s miracle!

Since then, people have travelled from all over the world, for the Bath (in Holy water at Lourdes Sanctuary) and to experience miracles from the Grotto and Virgin Mary shrine.

Many people have experienced miracles and cures from their physical and mental ailments.

On one of my trips, I met a lovely lady who explained that she previously experienced symptoms of MS, and the doctors diagnosed her with the condition shortly after, as she began to deteriorate. However, she made a pact to visit Lourdes each year and bathe in the water… I am glad to announce that since visiting once a year for five years to-date, her condition did not worsen… Every hospital appointment saw her consultants telling her that her MS has not worsened or progressed. She very recently received the all-clear and was discharged.

Look, the main thing that all those who went to Lourdes and experienced miracles have in common is that they all believe, strongly. Their faith in God is unfailing and unwavering. Without it, they wouldn’t have experienced them.

Sanctuary of Lourdes

The image at the top of this post is of the Grotto, in the Notre Dame Sanctuary. The statue of Virgin Mary is positioned in the exact place where Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette. Also, the rock walls surrounding the Grotto (shrine) miraculously have the water pouring from them. That’s where people go to bless themselves, each other and their possessions.

Nighttime mass, Lourdes

Above, is the video of one of the greatest memories of my life. This was recorded on the day of Virgin Mary’s assumption, in 2019. I cannot get over the beauty, it has to be witnessed in real-life because the video doesn’t do it justice.

lourdes
Candle-lighting section in Sanctuary, Lourdes

If you know me, you know that I love candles… Fun fact: I used to be so scared of flames, naked (and clothed). I couldn’t even light a match until last year… Since then, it’s been candle-lighting galore!

I cannot confirm nor deny that all the candles in the picture were lit by me!

I love the Sanctuary! There are three basilicas on the grounds. One of which is underground (used for international mass), another called the Rosary Basilica and the third being Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

There is no denying that Lourdes is one of the greatest places on Earth. Every time I visit, I feel the most peaceful I’ve ever felt.

As someone with an admittedly short fuse, my fuse has never been burned in Lourdes. It’s just magical!

Want to visit? I recommend staying at the Alba.

Hotel Alba in Lourdes

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Views from Alba Hotel, Lourdes

Alba is a 4* hotel a short walk away from the hustle and bustle. It’s in the quiet part of Lourdes, overlooking the mountains. It’s breathtaking to say the least.

Le Bodegon Brasserie in Lourdes

Introducing one of my favourite restaurants in the entire world. Shout-out to one of the greatest chefs of all-time, Jean-Pierre.

I promise to update this post with a selfie of him & I next time I’m there!

Aside from being the best chef ever, Jean-Pierre also makes the most delectable hot sauce, also ever! He very kindly gave me two jars to take home with me!

Le Bodegon Brasserie is fine-dining at its best. For €50, you can enjoy a Michelin star three-course meal! I had the best steak I’ve ever had, here.

What’s more, the ambiance in this restaurant is amazing. “Tres romantique” as I’m sure the French won’t say (because in their accent, everything sounds better)!

I went with my mum (and she’s my Valentine this year – as she has been every year)! But, it’s worth going with your significant other!

Of course, there are other eateries around, but Le Bodegon is my favourite.

Rating of holidaying in Lourdes: 5*

We plan to go again this year!

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halo burger

Halo Burger, ‘the UK’s first 100% plant-based bleeding burger joint’ (flagship store at Pop Brixton) serving Beyond Meat, opened its second branch in London’s Shoreditch, this January.

Veganuary‘ was a real test for me, and Halo Burger made it a lot easier!

If you follow them on Instagram, you’ll know that they have an account, plastering their feed with delicious ‘food-porn’ images and videos.

Tell me more about Halo Burger

Halo Burger’s menu is insane – it claims to be the first “plant-based bleeding burger” (made with beetroot juice, and the burgers contain protein from peas, rice and mung beans). Don’t even get me started on its vegan signature sauces and cheeses… That’s not all, their breads are, get this: GLUTEN-FREE!

I popped in and gave it a go last month, ordering a cheeseburger. I was not disappointed. I am in no way a vegan or vegetarian, and this tasted almost as good as the real thing. Also, knowing the bread was gluten-free is what sold it to me.

Details of the cheeseburger: “1/8LB BEYOND BURGER PATTY, AMERICAN STYLE CHEESE SLICE, DICED ONION, LETTUCE, TOMATO, GHERKINS, SIGNATURE SAUCE”

halo burger

My review of the Halo Burger

I was advised to try Halo Burger’s vegan-stilton cheese instead of the ‘American’ and was pleasantly surprised! I can’t stand blue cheese usually, but this seemed ‘okay’!?!

I’m not kidding when I say that their signature burger sauce is something else… Packed with flavour, I’d describe it as a mild spicy-mayo (without eggs, obviously). One thing to note though: be prepared to get it everywhere! The sauce is just as messy as the ones you’d find in its meatier counterpart…

The bun? I felt like I was eating air: soft, fresh and gluten-free. For me, this (along with the sauce) was one of the best bits.

The patty? Okay, I’m going to be honest… It didn’t taste of anything. It just tasted like mush, but the flavours from the bread, cheese and sauce compensated. After taking a bite, I did check if it was “bleeding” and it was.

It feels weird to say but… The burger, although healthier than its meatier alternatives, tasted pretty good overall.

Final words on Halo Burger

I’ll be taking my brother to sample the Smoky Carolina BBQ because, that just looks and sounds like it would taste bonkers! (Oh, and not forgetting their ‘chicken’ nuggets with ‘Don’t Have a Cow’ fries – dashed with Himalayan pink salt).

After doing some mouthwatering research, I found out that Halo Burger’s Pop Brixton branch sells fried vegan Magnum ice creams… So, umm… This begs the question: why am I still typing and not there right now!?

If you’re in Brixton (or Shoreditch) and fancy some dirty, filthy junk food *with a healthy, vegan twist* – make sure to drop by Halo Burger. You won’t regret it!

P.S. why not play their arcade game while you wait for your order? Situated right next to the counter, you can’t (and won’t want to) miss it!

Overall rating: 3.5*

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